Monthly Archives: January 2012

Apocalypse Diet Summary: Days 25-31

zombies, food, apocalypse, eating, diet, hunger, food culture

How long would you survive in the Apocalypse before having to eat this? Creative Commons: Daniel Hollister

Welcome to the Apocalypse Diet, where I have not bought any food since the new year began, unless I went out for dinner, which doesn’t count. I’m living off of the food in my place and blogging about it. I’ve hit what I think is the second stage; boredom. I’m not quite at stage III, which is the truly creative part, but living in the stretching out of veggies and protein, eating frozen homemade meals and recycling the ideas, ad nauseum.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 25:

What I’m truly missing is the fresh veggies. I tend to eat a lot of them. Sigh. Today was the nonexcitement day of two cookies and four crackers for breakfast, defrosted pollo en mole with rice for lunch, and defrosted not quite turkey shepherd’s pie for dinner. When I got home I realized that my cat might well have eaten a few zombies because I never overfed her and she’s still pudgy and glossy. I had a cup of instant hot chocolate (with Frangelico) later in the evening. I don’t like hot drinks so you know it’s either really cold or I’m desperate for sweet or both.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 26:

Zombies and people need good teeth to chew chew chew, so I had a dental appointment for breakfast. The almond milk, not quite successful clam chowder for lunch with a few crackers filled me up. It’s tasty even if it’s too watery. Dinner consisted of meeting up with a friend and having two ciders and an ahi tuna plate. So yummy from Biercraft and smothered in black sesame seeds with wasabi aioli and a bit too salty cooked spinach.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 27:

More mole with rice for lunch. Went for a couple of drinks after work and ate a bit of someone else’s calamari. I wasn’t that hungry because of the mole and yes, some chocolate peanut butter cups someone had a work. So dinner, or the evening actually involved nothing. I had two cookies and that was it. Sometimes I just don’t feel hungry.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 28:

Saturdays are always weird days of eating for me. I often don’t eat until half the day is gone. I still have this container of Dan-D-Pak Crunchy Peanut Snax Mix. They’re Chinese (or you can find them in Chinese markets) and have white sesame, black sesame, wasabi and seaweed crunchy coatings. A small handful of these is around 100 calories and while peanuts are pretty oily it’s not a bad sort of lunch.

I didn’t really eat and did work out so I was quite hungry by the time I went for dinner with a friend. I had chicken puttanesca on the Drive at the Libra Room. I go to the Libra Room quite often but usually for drinks so it had been a while since I had dinner there. Puttanesca is made with tomatoes, black olives, anchovies, capers, garlic (of course) and chilies. With a bit of cheese and generous portions of chicken this was a tangy, tasty meal. In fact, of all the Italian restaurants on the Drive I have to say this was the best puttanesca I ever had. Everything was blended so perfectly that I could taste each ingredient. Even the cheese stood out. I highly recommend it and for $15 I had enough for dinner on Sunday as well.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 29:

Sunday, another day of odd eating times. I had the leftover pasta for lunch and wasn’t that hungry for dinner so it was a

Engevita yeast has a cheesy flavor and can enhance meals. healthysupplies.co.uk

handful of the crunchy peanuts. A couple of my lemons were starting to looking sinister, so I made avgolemono, a Greek lemony soup often made with egg and orzo pasta. It turns out I had two recipes and one used rice, which is the style I made. I still have fresh parsley as well, and a lot of eggs that have to get used up. I had a small bowl and then froze the rest.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 30:

I had some of my vegetarian chili today, made with nuts and seeds and no meat. I was actually overfull with the 500 ml I ate. But somehow, I was hungry again for dinner which was pasta with artichokes, sundried tomatoes, garlic, carrot, onion and scallops. I mixed in a bit of grated parmesan and some engevita or flake yeast, which as a cheesy taste.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 31:

Here we are, at the last day of January. One month of the Apocalypse diet completed! Since I’m writing this during the day, I’ll have to post what tonight’s dinner was tomorrow. Breakfast was the crunchy peanuts, again. Lunch consisted of the last piece of chicken (besides the whole one still in the freezer) the last of the very wilted chive tops, garlic and the gai lan, which is still surprisingly green. I nuked these with some spices and water. Yes, no starch is evident as this is a throwback to my pre-Apocalypse style of eating lunches.

I’m pretending that an apocalypse takes place (maybe it’s a supervirus, massive alien abductions or an evil plot), which stops the supply lines (but for the sake of staying healthy and clean, the hydro-electric power and water are still working). Since the Mayan calendar actually shows the ending of one age and the beginning of another, maybe it’s now the Zombie Age (we’ve already had the consumer age).

I am documenting how long I can live on the food in my place, without shopping. Here are my rules:

  1. I cannot buy any food at all.
  2. If going out for dinner, it’s a bubble outside of the experiment. I will not be going out for dinner often.
  3. When I start to run out of proper nutritionally balanced foods I will take vitamins.
  4. When I become bored or am on to only condiments and alcohol, I will end my experiment.
  5. I believe I’ll be able to eat relatively healthy at least until March.
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Writing Update: January 2012

publishing, speculative fiction, anthologies, poetry, fiction, stories

Creative Commons: Drew Coffman, Flickr

It’s been a while since I did much in the writing department. Last fall slowed down for various reasons. So here’s a recap of last year. First I have several works from last year eligible for this year’s Aurora Award, one of Canada’s speculative writing awards. If you’re Canadian (current, expat or living abroad) you are both eligible for works published and able to nominate or vote. I believe the $10 fee now covers both nominating and voting. A list of works by Canadians is viewable at the Canadian SF Works Database. My eligible works for last year are:

Short Fiction

Poems

  • A Good Catch.” Polu Texni. Dawn Albright, ed. April, 2011. (can be read online)
  • Darkside.” Chizine. Sandra Kasturi, ed. May, 2011.
  • Shadow Relams.” Witches & Pagans #23. Anne Newkirk Niven, ed. BBI Media. Aug. 2011.
  • Sundance.” Chizine. Sandra Kasturi, ed. June, 2011.

There were a few other things published last year but they were reprints. You can nominate me or any other Canadian writer until March 31st and you can vote starting on April 16th. Along that line there is a short review of the Mirror Shards anthology, and Des Lewis has gathered all the reviews for the Horror Anthology of Horror Anthologies.

In the world of new, some time this year my poem “Visitation: Leda’s Lament” should be coming out in Bull Spec. “Gingerbread People” in Chilling Tales 2 has now been postponed until 2013. 😩 And my poem “Queen of Heaven and Earth” will be coming out in the spring issue of Eternal Haunted Summer.

I’ve been trying to finish my German steampunk story but still cannot come up with a good resolution, though it’s mostly done. I’m working on a tale about skin and psychopaths for another anthology if I can work out the structure. It’s being elusive. And still chipping at the novel. I also made January submission month and sent out quite a few poems and stories. Now I have to buckle down and get more

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Apocalypse Diet Summary: Days 20-24

zombies, brains, food, dieting, eating, apocalypse, diet, dining

One way to solve the post-apocalyptic food shortage. From thinkgeek.com

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 20:

I had Chinese food leftovers again today. And somehow this last week had a lot of dining out in it, which isn’t that common for me. Dinner consisted of a half a flour tortilla with two slices of diminishing cheese, some sundried tomatoes and garlic. Later on, dinner consisted of calamari at the restaurant. And wine; did I forget to mention the wine? It helps the zombies go down.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 21:

Saturday; I almost cheated today. I was out so late last night, and ended up in complete lazy mode. I didn’t do much but watch movies. I even forewent eating until the evening. Then I thought, oh how easy it would be to order a pizza (I eat pizza about three or four times a year). But then I remembered I’d been out Friday, and I was going to Gibson’s Landing tomorrow, which would be more money and more eating out. So I made a stir fry with the last of the baby bok choy, carrots, onion, garlic, some slowly wilting chive tops, shrimp, jalapeno, fish and soy sauce. Notice that the range of vegetables is going down. Normally I would have had more greens in there like broccoli and green beans, plus mushrooms. I did use the last of the lotus root which is a fun, wheel-shaped vegetable. I think I’m not cooking it right though because the texture is like potato and maybe it should be fried crispy. That was served on red and brown rice.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 22:

I didn’t eat at home today at all since we were up early and off to catch the ferry to Gibson’s Landing. So breakfast was a bagel, lunch consisted of sharing nachos, and dinner was prawns in garlic butter. Oh, and with a lot of wine. I had a hangover by the time we got home at 8:00. This trip was to receive the nominee’s pin for the Aurora Awards. Last year, my poem was nominated. Tarol Hunt also won the Aurora in the graphic novel category for his book Goblins. It was pretty rainy in Gibson’s. We looked through a few shops, and chatted with people so it was a nice day trip. Gibson’s seems to have fewer zombies. I get the sense that they stumble up to the piers and fall into the water, becoming food for desperate fishes.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 23:

Breakfast of champions; some leftover rice with heated almond butter and a tablespoon of dark chocolate chips. Lunch was some spicy peanut soup that I had frozen. And guess what I found in the cupboard? Kraft Dinner in all its orange fakey cheesery goodness. Unlike many, I didn’t grow up with this rather bizarre food, since my mother didn’t do a lot of prepackaged stuff. So I cooked it up and mixed the powder of doom with water and margarine, then added in some stir fried broccoli, onion, sun-dried tomato and garlic.

apocalypse, end of the world. food, eating, starvation, zombies, diets, food supplies

There won't be any fresh food at the end of the world. http://www.apocalypse2011.com

I decided to make chocolate chip cookies tonight. I have a lot of eggs and don’t really eat them. I hadenough flour but when it got to the sugar I was short that half cup. I ended up crushing sugar cubes with a rolling pin to get the rest of the sugar. Now there is no more sugar (except cubes) but if I’m frugal I might get two weeks out of the cookies. I misjudged on my chocolate and I ran out, in January. Oh chocoholism, what shall we do now?

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 24:

Today’s breakfast was (cough) two cookies. Lunch was the other night’s stir fry. The not too exciting midweek crunch. Dinner was the left over Kraft dinner but I was still hungry. So I popped up the last minibag of microwave popcorn, and burned a third of it. And I was still hungry, so I had this (very) mini bag of Prez, a type of pretzel stick. Then I had some nuts I found, cracking about five hazelnuts and one walnut. And I had this Knudsen’s boysenberry soda. I really don’ t like sodas (or pop) that much and it didn’t really appeal. But it was one of those nights of bits and pieces.

Boredom with all that one has is still a strong factor. Going into the local co-op to buy toothpaste had me eying cactus pears lasciviously, giving broccoli the once over, running my fingers along the curved sides of tomatoes. But no, I’ve still resisted the buying temptation. I look at all those foods like a brain starved zombie but I shall prevail (and I still have a lot of food).

For those just popping in, the apocalypse happened on January, 1, 2012, just in time for people to freak out about the Mayan calendar. Of course, since the Mayan calendar actually shows the ending of one age and the beginning of another, maybe it’s now the Zombie Age (we’ve already had the consumer age).

I’m pretending that an apocalypse takes place (maybe it’s a supervirus, massive alien abductions or an evil plot), which stops the supply lines (but for the sake of staying healthy and clean, the hydro-electric power and water are still working). I am documenting how long I can live on the food in my place, without shopping. Here are my rules:

  1. I cannot buy any food at all.
  2. If going out for dinner, it’s a bubble outside of the experiment. I will not be going out for dinner often.
  3. When I start to run out of proper nutritionally balanced foods I will take vitamins.
  4. When I become bored or am on to only condiments and alcohol, I will call my experiment  ended.
  5. I believe I’ll be able to eat relatively healthy at least until March.

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Apocalypse Diet Summary: Days 16-19

apocalypse diet, food, eating, restaurants, zombies,

What would a zombie restaurant serve? Creative Commons geekstir.com

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 16:

Starting the third week of the Apocalypse Diet and indeed I have not bought any food so far for 2012. I’m also not allowed to buy alcohol for home consumption but if I’m going out I’m allowed. I rarely drink much at home alone so this isn’t a big deal. As far as fresh vegetables go I still have brussel sprouts, garlic, onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, beets, turnip, bok choy and gai lan. But the last of the mushrooms went yesterday. Goodbye, mushrooms! I’ll miss you. I figure I’ll be able to make it through the next two weeks on the fresh veggies but then it will be a little more creative. I have limited fruit, some pomegranate juice and frozen berries, which will come out when everything else is gone. Hmm, there are some old frozen bananas so I could make banana bread if I have enough flour.

This weekend was the start of working on the frozen repeats so today’s lunch was my semi-successful clam chowder made with almond milk. It’s semi successful because I can’t make it thick and creamy like real chowder but better than my first try. However, freezing it separates out the “milk” and flour.

Dinner was pasta with sundried tomatoes, artichokes, last of the zucchini, shrimp, sunflower seeds, garlic, onion on rotini pasta. It was okay but the vinegar aspect of the artichokes made it a bit tart and I had a reaction (as I often do to vinegars).

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 17:

Crackers for lunch! It wasn’t meant to be this way but I left the cheese sitting on the counter. Crackers, mmmm. I had a meeting this evening where sushi was supplied so that counteracted the hunger but I started yawning a lot, probably because of no food and then the sugar spike from the white rice. Hot cocoa with marshmallows was my pre-bed drink. I don’t really like warm drinks but it’s so cold outside that even the zombies have frozen up. And really, the only good use of a marshmallow is in hot chocolate or rice krispie squares. The premix hot chocolate is too sweet so I tossed in a couple of spoonfuls of dark cocoa, and then had to add a lump of sugar because it was too bitter.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 18:

I entered the land of zombies today, foregoing my car for the possible bad snow conditions. One inch of snow can be very terrible in Vancouver and cause a lot of problems. People in Port Moody, Abbotsford, Langley and Chiliwack had a lot of snow and very icy conditions so indeed traffic was snarled. I looked around on the SkyTrain but ran into someone I knew so we ignored the zombies. And yes they were there. You have to wonder how long some of them have sat on the trains, going round and round and round.

My lunch was leftover sushi and veggie teriyaki dinner. Tasty enough. Dinner was the leftover  pasta from the other night. I’ve got to finish up the baby bok choy in the next few days as it’s turning, but consider, it’s been in my fridge a month.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 19:

Somehow, this has ended up as a week of eating out. With work, if someone else shares I would consider them or the restaurants) just being generous souls with sharing. So we had Chinese food for lunch. Dinner was out with friends to Les Faux Bourgeoiswhere I had a green salad, with beets, goat cheese and walnuts. It was large but nothing unusual.

From: doesnttaztelikechicken.com

The Fruits de Mer a la Provencale was a dish containing clams, mussels, prawns, scallops in a provencale sauce which is made of tomatoes, capers, onions and garlic. It came with a small cake of saffron fondant potato. I have to say that I dislike saffron. It’s musky, overly pungent and not that pleasant. My friend described it as bitter, which is not what I’ve ever experienced. But this was the first time that the saffron was done with a delicate enough hand that it blended inwell even if I did have saffron burps afterward. The meal was delicious, and recommended should it survive the zombie manifestation. The waiter, too animated to be a zombie, had the cutest French accent.

For those just popping in, the apocalypse happened on January, 1, 2012, just in time for people to freak out about the Mayan calendar. Of course, since the Mayan calendar actually shows the ending of one age and the beginning of another, maybe it’s now the Zombie Age (we’ve already had the consumer age).

I’m pretending that an apocalypse takes place (maybe it’s a supervirus, massive alien abductions or an evil plot), which stops the supply lines (but for the sake of staying healthy and clean, the hydro-electric power and water are still working). I am documenting how long I can live on the food in my place, without shopping. Here are my rules:

  1. I cannot buy any food at all.
  2. If going out for dinner, it’s a bubble outside of the experiment. I will not be going out for dinner often.
  3. When I start to run out of proper nutritionally balanced foods I will take vitamins.
  4. When I become bored or am on to only condiments and alcohol, I will call my experiment  ended.
  5. I believe I’ll be able to eat relatively healthy at least until March.

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How Writers Get to Be Slaves

writing, paying markets, speculative fiction, authors, paid to write, nonpaying writing sites

Salon.com Stockphoto: NickS

I haven’t talked about writing in a while but with the new year and the holidays out of the way I’ve been doing a submission blitz, as well as getting caught up on some reading for CZP. In my search for new or interesting or well-paying markets I’ve been going through www.ralan.com (the best site for speculative markets) and www.duotrope.com (the best site for poetry and fiction with average response times listed). There are some things that have started to irk me, which have always annoyed me but continue to perpetuate a bad precedent.

Forget about the wage freeze in your everyday job; if you’re a writer, then Charles Dickens made more than you and the amount people are paid hasn’t changed much in decades. That’s a bit of an overstatement. Sure, we hear about the J.K. Rowlings and the bidding wars for manuscripts like The Horse Whisperer, but in fact most writers are not being paid more than they once were decades ago.

In fact, I’m pretty stupid because the best place to make money as a writer is article writing for magazines, where you can average $1-2/word. Speculative fiction has a professional rate of .05/word. A few pay more than this. Many pay less, such as .01, .025, etc. Then there are the “for the luv” markets, those that pay in “exposure.” I don’t send to these markets unless I make a mistake in reading the guidelines. Maybe if I was just starting out I would, to get credits, but the rule is: start with the highest payer and work your way down.

Should you be selling your first SF or fantasy novel you might get $6,000-$8,000 as an advance against royalties, and never see more. I’m talking about the big publishing houses here, not the small or independent presses, and not about ebooks, as I don’t have enough information. But guess how much a first novelist made thirty or forty years ago? The same amount. So if you compare payments to writers against cost of living, we’re making less and less every year. And people expect it all for free.

writing, authors, submission guidelines, nonpaying markets, paying writers

What would you give to have your writing seen? Creative Commons: Greg Gladman Flickr

While I understand the want and urge to publish a magazine or anthology (I want to edit one myself some day) I think that an author should at least be paid something for their efforts. I’ve stopped writing and submitting to the erotic markets because they now want to pay $25 for a story. It’s not worth it at all for me to write something new for that. Meager as it is, my limit is around .03/word though I’ve made exceptions for particular anthologies. For poetry, I’ve been paid anywhere from $5 to $100. I usually will look for $10 or more markets and of course starting at the top.

My first clue that a market doesn’t pay when looking at their site is that pay isn’t obvious. Yes, some say, we don’t get paid so neither shall you, with the perverse logic that everyone should suffer equally. But more often than not they say nothing, as if they’re embarrassed to admit they don’t pay. Just say it up front, folks.

My annoyance meter hit the limit when I looked at www.short-story.me. Not only do you have to hunt to see if they pay (you won’t find it) but they have their contract displayed. Enough magazines do this and it’s not a problem but they’ve even gone so far as to copyright protect their contract. Seriously? It’s quite the contract too for giving away your print and online rights for free and no promise of even a print copy in return for your work. The writer gets to edit, because they won’t, and warrant that their work is theirs, though short-story me gets everything with very little in return.

I emailed them and this is how the conversation went:

I can’t seem to find what you pay on your site. Could you tell me what it is for fiction and flash stories?

Hi
We don’t pay.
Thank you
So you have a copyright protect contract to protect your rights but offer the author nothing? Would you expect a shoemaker to supply shoes for your shoe store, or a farmer to give vegetables to your store without paying them? Think about it. That’s what you’re doing to your writers.

I won’t get an answer, because they don’t care. Writers are considered little better than slaves for these markets. The site is about what you’d expect for one that doesn’t pay its authors. The stories have grammatical, punctuation and usage issues though not a lot. I only read four stories, or parts of them, and the quality is (cough!) okay but an actual editor would have helped. Some are overly descriptive, some have talking heads, or banal or clichĂ© language. Oh well, short-story me is one in probably hundreds of sites that take advantage of hungry new authors. There are sites that don’t pay and take less advantage but the whole overofficiousness of the contract bugged me. This site does give writing advice but I wouldn’t recommend it for submitting. I’d start with the paying markets, after you know your craft.

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The Skinny On Models

fashion, anorexia, bulimia, eating disorders, plus sizes, health

In the fashion industry, this is a normal size. Creative Commons: scrapetv.com

I’ve talked about this before, but it bears repeating. Back many years ago when I was in the throes of my eating disorder, classified as bulimia, I attended some group counseling sessions. Now my bulimia was not the normal one, where you gorge and vomit. I didn’t vomit. I starved myself, then gorged and then my bodily functions did a bit of a natural purge, but it was an uncontrolled desperate, self-hating way of eating and never on healthy foods. People with eating disorders never gorge on carrots or celery.

Now this counseling group was in the evenings at the psychiatrist’s home. I was the ugly duckling amongst the swans, but those swans were emaciated, walking sticks. Pretty much all of them were models dealing with anorexia. I remember the doctor asking once, “How many people have known someone who died from an eating disorder?” I didn’t but probably 80% of those models had known someone who starved themselves to death. The video below shows Isabelle Caro who died a few years after this was made at the age of 28. She looks 60.

And yet, twenty years later, we still see that the modeling, acting, dancing  and gymnastic sports industries have a prevalence toward the ultra thin person. Ultra thin to the point of sickeningly unhealthy. When I hear that models are considered plus size from size 8 and up I get angry. What does plus mean with sizing? Well, it means more than normal or average. Plus sizing when I was a kid was for truly large ladies, like sizes 18 and up.

anorexia, eating disorders, models, fashion industry, plus sizes, modeling, fashion, health, starvation

What astounds me is that this woman, by her dress, feels she's still beautiful. Creative Commons: evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com

Being classified as a plus size 8 means that you’re going to think you’re bigger than average, that there’s something wrong and abnormal about you. The fashion industry is probably the worst, with the movie industry coming in second. Seriously, these people should be smacked severely for causing needless deaths and psychoses. When children of six are worrying about their weight or being too fat, there is a lot wrong with the world. Albeit, as a pudgy child I didn’t have it easy and children are notoriously cruel, but our culture shapes what they consider aberrant.

I have Amazonian friends. They’re nearly six feet tall. Some are slimmer than others, because nature makes us differently, but none are fat. You can bet that by height alone they’re all going to be over 150 pounds and they’re going to be considered plus size. For that matter, maybe all of my friends (except one who is tiny and has size 5 feet but still has a bit of a tummy) would be plus size by modeling standards.

Hanging clothes on living skeletons who are lit and pomaded to look partially healthy gives no one the hope of looking the same in such an outfit. The pictures here are the extremes but models are often far underweight and on their way to an early death. Actors are told they’ll be fired from their roles if they put on so much as 10 lbs. Unless you’re a comedian; they’re allowed to be fat because fat is funny. And these supposedly normal size models…they stand a high chance of suffering throughout their lives, should they live that long. They’re not just missing fat, they’re missing muscle mass, not to mention nutrition to run a healthy body. Telling someone they’re fat doesn’t make them healthier if they starve themselves into nonexistence.

fashion, plus models, starvation, anorexia, eating disorders, modeling,

From Plus Model Magazine: Katya Zharkova next to the fashion industry's ideal.

There is  the beginning of a backlash in the fashion industry but obviously it’s slow when Twiggy (who was 110 lbs) would now be considered plus size. The clothing store Le Chateau perpetuates the skinny myth, where you’ll be hard pressed to find L, but you’ll find S, XS, XXS and XXXS. Shame on you, Le Chateau.  Plus Model Magazine embraces lush, curvy models, and the magazine looks a lot at unhealthy body image. This last image indicates the difference between the skeletal model preferred by the fashion industry and the body ideal that is more common for all women. There are very few women, a small percentage, who could be healthy and skinny enough to be a model without starving themselves.

So, don’t believe what you see in fashion and in the movies. Those aren’t real people sizes. If you’re wearing a size 12, that’s not a plus size. That’s average. And, mothers, don’t let your daughters grow up to be models.

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Apocalypse Diet Summary: Days 12-15

brains, zombies, eating, dieting, food, apocalypse diet, food supplies, end of the world
Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 12:

Today was another quinoa and  mole (molay, not moles) day. There was only about 1/2 cup of mole and likewise for the quinoa so I was pretty hungry by the time I got home, almost hungry enough to eat brains! Actually, if my freezer was filled with nothing but kidneys, brains, tripe, heart, tongue and all those other organ meats I would rather go outside, gnaw trees and take my chances with the zombies. They can have the organs. Blech!

For dinner I used up the rest of the quinoa with some steamed broccoli, carrot and garlic, and the last tablespoon of the earlier curry sauce. I finished off the last of a jar of Indian pickle. This stuff is extremely salty and I overdid it, making my meal very so-so. My stomach actually was growling at me (mistaking me for a zombie meal) when I went to bed.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 13:

Breakfast was  handful of hazelnuts and about 1/4 cup of pomegranate juice. The juice keeps quite well and I’ll be able to drink it for a while for fruity goodness. I took some homemade frozen gumbo out of the freezer for lunch. It’s a year-old batch and nearly the last. Gumbo is a Louisiana dish, made with a roux, which is  flour and oil stirred over a medium heat until it turns peanut butter color. Then you add your vegetables (tomato, onion, peppers, green beans, carrots, garlic, okra, etc.) and shrimp and sausage. I used turkey sausage. Some gumbos are more like soup and some like stew. With the red and white rice I added, it became more stewlike. Very filling and not low calorie. I’ll have to find a low fat version in the future.

My fridge is a type that sucks the moisture out of the air so vegetables can indeed keep for several months without going bad. Often jars of pickles and jams will start to lose their labels because the air is so dry in the fridge, and that’s saying something in the Pacific NW where there is often a lot of rain.

apocalypse diet, eating, end of the world, contagion, virus, food, food supplies

What will you be eating during the Apocalypse? Creative Commons: Tokyo Genso pinktentacle.com

For dinner, I did notice the baby bok choy starting to turn so I stir fried it with enoki mushrooms, lotus root, carrots garlic, onion, fish sauce, soy sauce with scallops on rice. At the local watering hole tonight there was evidence of zombie activity. Glassy eyed beings stumbling and slurring. They seemed to be out in full force. I managed not to get infected and made it home in the light smattering of snow. Zombies probably like colder weather since it preserves their body parts better.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 14:

Breakfast was about two tablespoons of leftover rice, with a tablespoon of peanut butter and chocolate chips. Think of it as a variation on rice pudding. The hard part was when I went to work out, I also walked up to the Drive to window shop. I often go shopping for food on Saturdays, and maybe snacks and because I hadn’t yet eaten lunch it was very hard to not go and pick up some food. But so far, I’ve bought no food to bring home.

I had the last of my stir fry veggies with scallops for lunch. Dinner was at a friend’s involving cheese, crackers, meats and lots of garlic. I came home with a bag of roasted garlic.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 15:

Breakfast, something I’m never good at, didn’t really happen because I slept in. So for lunch I found some perogies in the freezer and fried them up with mushrooms, onion, chive tops, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes in oil. Dinner consisted of some of the frozen shepherd’s pie from before.

I do worry that my starch intake is higher than it would be on my normal eating pattern. This makes me think about how poor people are often overweight, because their diets are low priced and carbohydrate heavy to fill them up. While vegetables are relatively cheap, they don’t necessarily fill you up the same way.

For those just popping in, the apocalypse happened on January, 1, 2012, just in time for people to freak out about the Mayan calendar. Of course, since the Mayan calendar actually shows the ending of one age and the beginning of another, maybe it’s now the Zombie Age (we’ve already had the consumer age).

I’m pretending that an apocalypse takes place (maybe it’s a supervirus, massive alien abductions or an evil plot), which stops the supply lines (but for the sake of staying healthy and clean, the hydro-electric power and water are still working). I am documenting how long I can live on the food in my place, without shopping. Here are my rules:

  1. I cannot buy any food at all.
  2. If going out for dinner, it’s a bubble outside of the experiment. I will not be going out for dinner often.
  3. When I start to run out of proper nutritionally balanced foods I will take vitamins.
  4. When I become bored or am on to only condiments and alcohol, I will call my experiment  ended.
  5. I believe I’ll be able to eat relatively healthy at least until March.

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Apocalypse Diet Summary: Days 8-11

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 8:

It’s Sunday today and I worked out, finding few zombies on the streets. Perhaps they gorged themselves on downtown club goers last night. At least the workout was relatively safe. Then I came home and had leftover turkey curry. And of course, the now ubiquitous chocolates. I wonder, if I run out of vegetables and proteins, can I count chocolate as both? The amount of veg curry with maybe 2 oz. of turkey was about two cups worth. I made it fairly low on fats, just the 2 tbsp. of margarine and that’s it for three servings. It should hold me till later.

mole, food, eating, pollo en mole, Apocalypse Diet, end of the world, stews

La Costena's mole sauce. Enough for a whole chicken.

I have two whole chickens in the freezer. I thawed one and with a jar of mole sauce that’s been in the cupboard for a long long time, I tossed it in the slow cooker with an onion, garlic, two carrots and celery and several cups of water. That should be ready tomorrow and good for quite a few days if I cook up some rice or quinoa with it.

The freezer is actually well-stocked but I had to make room so I can actually use some of the stocks to make more soups. This will tide me over between the meals. To tell the truth, if this was a real apocalypse I would probably be eating half of what I am. I have to go and take some rosemary from my neighbor’s bush. This would be allowed because no one could take all of it and it would exist, come contagion or zombies.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 9:

Lunch was, yes, leftover veggie-turkey curry. I could barely sleep due to the slow cooker wafting out aromas of pollo en mole. Mole is a chocolate and chile based sauce but not sweet. It seems my slow cooker worked over time and the chicken fell off the bone. In fact it was nearly so overcooked that the bones were soft and the cartilage bits very jellylike (yuck!). Always, when I cook a chicken or a turkey, I make soup stock of the bones. These bones were sucked pretty clean of all nutrients so no soup stock.

The mole was okay. When I’ve made it in the past I’ve used the store-bought La Costena sauce as a base and added extra pasilla and ancho chiles and other spices. In this case I added a few red pepper flakes and one dried habanero, making it slightly hot (in my books). I cooked up some red and brown rice and had it for dinner. There was a natural carbonated juice drink thing in the fridge (left behind during the holidays) so, while I don’t like carbonated drinks in general, I drank this mango fizz for the fruitiness.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 10:

Mexican dishes often have sauces and that’s what mole (mo lay) means. Because I cooked the chicken in it, it’s more of a stew. I had the same for lunch today and then packed away containers of the mole with rice and some just of the sauce. There’s quite a bit and it’s fairly filling so now my freezer is very very full. The next while will be alternating this frozen food with the hardier vegetables still in the fridge.

I was at a friend’s tonight so it was a hearty vegetable soup, with a piece of bread, some humous and chips, and a couple of chocolatey biscuits. And a bit of wine.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 11:

end of the world, apocalypse, eating, food, diets, zombies, Apocalypse Diet, food supplies

What would you eat at the end of the world? Creative Commons: sheetalmalik.blogspot.com

The zombies were knocking about the other night, some trying to claw their way in but can anyone explain why a moldering undead thing should have a superior sense of smell, according to Walking Dead, when parts of them seem to be rotting? In any case, it’s cool enough that the sweatiness of humans isn’t drawing them quickly.

Today’s lunch was canned tuna, with some of the leftover curry sauce, and half a flour tortilla. My cat loves it when I have tuna. I also grabbed the last of the peppery Chinese leaf vegetable as it’s starting to turn.

Tonight’s unevent (I was supposed to go for dinner with a friend) will be the last of the unfrozen mole, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and with quinoa and extra hot sauce. Yeah yeah, and a couple of chocolates. My intake in that department is about 100 calories a day.

This is getting long so I’m stopping it here.

For those just popping in, the apocalypse happened on January, 1, 2012, just in time for people to freak out about the Mayan calendar. Of course, since the Mayan calendar actually shows the ending of one age and the beginning of another, maybe it’s now the Zombie Age (we’ve already had the consumer age).

I’m pretending that an apocalypse takes place (maybe it’s a supervirus, massive alien abductions or an evil plot), which stops the supply lines (but for the sake of staying healthy and clean, the hydro-electric power and water are still working). I am documenting how long I can live on the food in my place, without shopping. Here are my rules:

  1. I cannot buy any food at all.
  2. If going out for dinner, it’s a bubble outside of the experiment. I will not be going out for dinner often.
  3. When I start to run out of proper nutritionally balanced foods I will take vitamins.
  4. When I become bored or am on to only condiments and alcohol, I will call my experiment  ended.
  5. I believe I’ll be able to eat relatively healthy at least until March.

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Apocalypse Diet Summary: Days 5-7

Explanation is at the end of just what the Apocalypse Diet is.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 5:

Apocalypse Diet, food, eating, egg nog, starvation, supplies, diets

I was not sad to see the last of the egg nog. Creative Commons: jeffreymorgenthaler.com

If the Apocalypse, zombies or a highly contagious virus had wiped out a fair number of humanity and made the rest afraid, you can bet that there would be raids and mass buying of food in the stores. People might hunker down and hide from the zombies, but the fewer numbers of eating humanity would mean more food though less suppliers. If it were summer, I’d start planting or hightail it to a farm where there would be lots of fresh food.

The interesting thing that I’m noticing about my Apocalypse Diet, and presuming that in a world where supply lines were cut so fresh produce and meats would disappear first, is that I’m trying to extend my proteins and vegetables. This means I’m actually making more dishes with carbohydrates in them. On average I don’t eat pasta, bread, potatoes or rice more than a couple of times a week. I’ve made shepherd’s pie, pasta, and stir fry with rice noodles so far. Those starches fill one up and bulk up the meal.

Because of this my lunches, which usually are only meat and vegetables, now include the last night’s leftovers. So today’s meal was pasta made with canned tomatoes (already opened or I would save this till the other vegetables ran out), mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic, weird Chinese leaf that I don’t know the name of, and shrimp.

For dinner I decided I needed to finish off the egg nog and realized I’ve been dosing it with rum because it is thick and so sweet. It turns out there was only a cup left so I swished out the container with water and thinned it down. It was fairly strong, rumwise, so I was rather relaxed. Normally I don’t drink more than two days a week so it’s interesting that the nog has upped my rum intake (or finishing off the other rather sweet fruit juice). I had about four crackers with cheese. Later on, when the nog wore off I was digging in the fridge and found a full zucchini, and some swiss chard. I had to cook up the chard as half of it was a runny green mess. And I had to throw out the feta, which was turning purple and yellow. Wasting food–bad. The chard went with a carrot, some chopped onion and a few cheese gratings.

I hate wasting food, especially with an apocalypse on, but I don’t want to make myself ill either. It’s imperative that I keep an eye on the greens and use them in order of shelf life. The zucchini wasn’t moldering but being a fairly soft vegetable I’ll have to use it in the next week. There are no more green beans or chard, but there are still enough veggies for a few more weeks.

ApocalypseDiet (AD) Day 6:

zombie, food, diets, apocalypse diet, eating, end of the world, food supplies

Zombies might be clamoring for food, but it isn't vegetables. Creative Commons: scrapetv.com

Pasta for lunch again today. Thankfully no more nog. Did I mention that I’ve had chocolates every day? Sob, my name is Colleen and I’m a chocaholic. But then, it’s the only way I get my caffeine since I don’t drink coffee or tea. I’m good for weeks to go yet but I only have a few a day.

Tonight I was working on writing and then went out dancing. In all of that I seem to have forgotten to eat, except for a few crackers. So of course when I got home at 3 am, with a friend who couldn’t catch her bus, we gnawed on crackers and cheese, finishing off one of the two cheeses I shouldn’t be eating anyway.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 7:

Being a Saturday, I tend to sleep in and eat less formal lunches. So it consisted of two chocolates (yes, still) and a handful of these Chinese coated peanuts. Some are sesame, some wasabi, some seaweed. A small handful is about 100 calories. I also have a jar of artichokes and although I should be saving the preserved foods for later I had one of these.

By evening I was actually hungry so I cooked up a sweet potato, celery, carrot, onion, zucchini and mushrooms. I made a curry sauce. Normally I have a jar and toss in a few spoonfuls but I only had powder and I’ve found that just too harsh on its own. So it was kind of a curry gravy; margarine, flower, garlic, curry powder, jalapeno, paprika and fennel. Turned out tasty enough, with leftovers of course. I put in the 4-6 oz. of frozen turkey still left form Christmas. The fridge is starting to empty.

For those just popping in, the apocalypse happened on January, 1, 2012, just in time for people to freak out about the Mayan calendar. Of course, since the Mayan calendar actually shows the ending of one age and the beginning of another, maybe it’s now the Zombie Age (we’ve already had the consumer age).

I’m pretending that an apocalypse takes place (maybe it’s a supervirus, massive alien abductions or an evil plot), which stops the supply lines (but for the sake of staying healthy and clean, the hydro-electric power and water are still working). I am documenting how long I can live on the food in my place, without shopping. Here are my rules:

  1. I cannot buy any food at all.
  2. If going out for dinner, it’s a bubble outside of the experiment. I will not be going out for dinner often.
  3. When I start to run out of proper nutritionally balanced foods I will take vitamins.
  4. When I become bored or am on to only condiments and alcohol, I will call my experiment  ended.
  5. I believe I’ll be able to eat relatively healthy at least until March.

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Movie Review: The Woman

I’m not a big gore and horror film watcher, which you might find surprising because I write a lot of darkly disturbing fiction. But I find often in movies, they’re going for the shock factor and splatter more gore than an abattoir. They’re disgusting but not necessarily penetrating, nor disturbing because of the story they tell. Maybe this is why zombies have become so popular. You can heap on the gore, entrails and gnashing of human flesh without much conscience. After all, they’re just undead, mindless animals and the real world has horrors greater than a shambling (or even fast running) zombie.

murder, feral people, cannabalisim, horror, Lucky McKee

Pollyanna McIntosh stars in the disturbing movie, The Woman

When I watched The Woman directed by Lucky McKee, written by horror writer Jack Ketchum, and McKee, I didn’t even know it was horror. I’d borrowed some movies from my neighbor and was just clicking through the unfamiliar ones. Right away I’m thrust into a situation that’s not what I’d call your every day world. Sure it looks like it. Streams, woods and sun filtered through the leaves. Except there’s a filthy feral woman, in tattered rags. These rags cover the essentials and she carries a knife so you know she’s been around civilization at some point.

The official site has the following description of the film: Family man and lawyer Christoper Cleek (Sean Bridgers) must do what he can to protect his family when he comes into contact with a feral woman (Pollyana McIntosh) living in the woods near his isolated country home. Through a series of harrowing encounters Cleek and his family quickly discover there is more to this woman than anyone would suspect and that sometimes the devil wears a handsome face.

This is actually an intentionally misleading write-up. I’ll be giving spoilers so if you want to watch this without prejudice skip to the last paragraph. From the beginning you see this very smiley family man but there is something wrong with the family. At the jarring switch from feral country scene to garden party you see a girl who ignores the boys flirting with her and looks back at another man. You see a man whose subservient wife gets him his drinks. His wife seems timid, his daughter cowed. But you don’t know the situation yet. As the story progresses you get the sense that there is something extremely wrong, yet Cleek seems a reasonable guy who loves his three children, who helps people out and believes in democratic decision making in his family. That is, until they disagree with him. When he goes hunting he finds the feral woman and decides to bag her.

While one could think he wants to help and humanize her his first thought is to keep her captive and of

The Woman, horror, abuse,

Zach Rand as the emotionally broken Brian Cleek

course chain her, hand and foot. Well, we’ve been shown she is an animal and will kill anything to survive…anything. But never is there any thought to calling some city service to help this injured and degenerate being. Cleek’s methods of cleaning her are already brutal, cold and suspect and when his wife questions keeping her he casually backhands her. Intimations of incest are also evident and his son shows a cauterised emotional state that reflects the father’s ideals. There are dogs locked away in the barn, never let out and a growing sense that even the son is damaged.

The males become obsessed with the feral woman. She’s beaten, tortured and raped, and she is unrepentantly hostile. Pollyanna McIntosh’s portrayal is stunning. She is so animalistic that the best acted zombie cannot compare. But she is a thinking intelligent if wild human in this film Her acting was all the more stunning because the actor/model is stunning in real life.

The movie slowly, horrifically spirals into more nastiness, with reveals of just how deep the depravity really goes. The depravity isn’t the feral woman, it is of course the smiling, reasonable Cleek who is really a subjugator of women, a rapist, and more depraved than a beast could ever be. The movie ends with mayhem, murder and some gore. One reviewer said they would have liked it bloodier but I think this made it more realistic.

There were a few things that didn’t ring quite true for me. The feral woman has bangs and if she was cutting her own hair with a knife they should have been more jagged. Otherwise McIntosh is more than convincing as uncivilized. Sean Bridgers as the father is convincing except possibly at the end when a few lines rang as untrue. The concerned school teacher is naively trying to help in the disastrous situation and when she is victimized I felt she gave in too easily and did not fight back when it was her life about to end.

Overall, this was a truly disturbing film that piled one horror on another. There is a comeuppance at the end for those who are the perpetrators and those too weak to stand up to them. This movie caused some outbursts and outrage at the Sundance Festival. But then, that is the sign of a horror film doing what it should. Often they’re filled with gratuitous violence and gore, and far too many women always the victims. The Woman turned the tables on that trope though it starts out that way. It definitely makes you think and shudder.  Yes, there was a bit of gratuitous violence and blood but actually fairly restrained. I’d give it seven blood splats out of ten.

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