Monthly Archives: April 2012

Vanity Gone Too Far: Genital Bleaching

skin bleaching, anus, anal bleaching, health, skin lightening

Perhaps a strategically placed flashlight would work just as well. From: newspitter.com

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you’re worrying about bleaching parts of your nether regions then you need to get your head out of those areas and go smell the flowers. And I mean that literally. Some of you might be wondering what I’m talking about.

There has been a prevalence in recent years for some people to bleach their anuses. Yes, truly. It seems it was something that porn stars did to enhance an overall skin tone  for the camera. Where else are you going to have bright lights shining down upon your genitalia, except maybe in the doctor’s office? But somehow, some vapid, silly people got it into their heads that human beings should be of one even color, even the places where the light don’t shine. They think everyone comes airbrushed like Playboy model pictures, porn stars and people in the movies who are lit, pomaded and dressed to look perfect.

We can of course blame media, the internet and the hyper sexualization for this offense. Why yes, I hope to be judged on the color of my butthole because obviously my intelligence matters least of all, then my personality, then my face. Yes yes, let’s prove who is the biggest ass; it’s those who worry about the color of their skin to the most minute degree. I would say that only white people do this because otherwise it would be a bright and shining star in a very odd place, but guess what? Other races or people of darker skin tones worry about lightening all of their skin. They want to be of a lighter tone. Michael Jackson was a fine example of taking the removal of skin pigmentation too far. If you’re bleaching your butthole, there are more things wrong with you than skin tone, unless you plan on being a porn star.

genital bleaching, skin lightening, culture, self-image, unhealthy fascination, narcissism

Because black people want to be white? What's wrong with this beautiful woman's skin tone? Nothing. From: blackskinlightening.com

Have I mentioned that anal whitening has also spread to the vagina? Oh yes, we want our labia bleached perfectly too. People might get certain skin conditions such as varicose veins or the redness of rosacea taken care of. That’s one thing and those conditions have other complications. But a human’s skin tone is not a condition; it’s part of nature’s pattern. Seriously, I have heard fewer things more ludicrous than bleaching genitalia, and any person who is more concerned about the color and tone of my genitals and anus is more of an ass than I care to talk to. I wont even get into the dangers of bleaching areas of such delicate nature. Clearly the people doing this have no idea that humans are made of varying textures and tones of skin, wrinkles, creases, dimples, beauty marks and birthmarks, moles and other differences. We are a landscape, not a blank canvas.

Once upon a time we worried about a good fit with someone as a partner. We also tried to fight racism and judging someone based on the color of their skin. We used to contemplate our navels. Now we’re contemplating asses.

Advertisements

12 Comments

Filed under Culture, fashion, health, people

Alberta Politics: Does the Wild Rose Have Bigger Thorns

I grew up in Alberta in a dyed true blue Conservative family. We voted Conservative, we thought Conservative. Like religion, we followed our parents. My brother, the eldest, was a young Conservative and became a member of parliament and minister under Peter Lougheed. He was considered a red Tory, a more liberal thinking Conservative. Alberta was so Conservative that Albertans could barely even recognize that other parties existed. I like to refer to Alberta politics and the way people vote as the lemmings of Alberta; they’ll follow their leader unthinkingly into water or the abyss.

politics, Wid Rose party, Progressive Conservative party, Alberta, Alison Redford

Alison Redford, leader of the Progressive Conservatives. Image from vollman.blogspot.com

After high school I went to art college and I guess you can say that artists are rarely conservative thinkers. Art is often about challenging boundaries, whether one’s own or society’s. Nice and pretty art has its place but it doesn’t say much. Art is often political. Just ask those who have been incarcerated over time for their writing or paintings or performances. But that’s another post.

Alberta’s politics run to the Conservative party both provincially and federally. They’re predictable. BC is not. We’re known as a swing province. If we’re not happy, we’ll vote the other way but for a long time we’ve been a more liberal or left wing province. That’s why the Liberals under Gordon Campbell came into power, because they pretended to be Liberals when they were as conservative as Alberta’s Klein government or more. In fact, I always suspected that Klein and Campbell were political bed buddies. Campbell certainly looked at what Klein did, then streamlined it and ignored the people. Christy Clark, who has not yet been voted in by the populace, is more of a Liberal but who knows by how much. BC might be a Liberal province but it’s been a combination on the federal level. And there is no guarantee we will stay that way and hardly likely. We’ve been NDP, Social Credit and Liberal. We’re more link monkeys on the vine, swinging this way and that.

Wild Rose party, politics, Alberta. right wing parties, Conservatives, Danielle Smith

But back to the lemmings next door. In my family, as disillusionment grew and politics shifted my family all moved away from being Conservative. Like the province I live in I have voted Conservative, Liberal and NDP. My other family members vote different ways and even my once fully entrenched Tory brother had to finally declare he was becoming Liberal. Why? Because Prime Minister Harper’s Conservative party has become dictatorial and so far right wing that homophobia and religious ideals are coloring the politics, and unlike the US, Canadians don’t like to mix church and state. Harper barely hides it but as I’ve said, if you’re not white and not Christian and something happens to you in another country, you’re going to be SOL for government intervention. Harper hails from Alberta, rare in itself for a prime minister.

We call Alberta Little Texas, known for oil, cattle ranching and rednecks. The KKK has a stronghold there. It’s part of the Bible Belt, a strip that runs into the US and known for ultra-conservatism, right wing, religious views. But Alberta does have pockets of other…somewhat. In a way it was surprising to see the rise of the Wildrose Alliance to challenge the Conservative party’s 40-year rule. I didn’t pay a lot of attention but when the media said the Wildrose was right of the Conservatives a friend asked, “What, is it Attila the Hun?” There is something right of this? Wow. But then Alberta was the birthplace of the federal Reform party (or Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance party as they were known until it was pointed out it spelled CCRAP) which was a right wing answer to the federal Conservatives. The Reform party was absorbed back into the Conservative party and that’s when Harper and his ilk gained power. There have been accusations that the Wildrose party emulates attitudes that were found in the Reform party, such as homophobia, racism and narrow views about the rights of a woman to her own body.

Is it the truth? I suppose at least partially. It’s definitely what the media picked up on in the campaign that saw Alison Redford’s Conservatives back in power. But the Wildrose party did get seats and the polls predicted they’d win. Maybe the lemmings were frightened by change or maybe they feared Attila over Caesar but the Wildrose was definitely a thorn in Redford’s side. I guess from my perspective, (obviously biased and no longer immersed in that province’s politics) the biggest surprise is that such a conservative province actually has two female leaders.

Leave a comment

Filed under news, people, politics

Traveling in Europe: Ghent

Europe 2011: Ghent

Clicking on the above picture will take you to the photo album.

After two days in Antwerp, I took a train to Ghent. I stayed at Het Rommelwater and Renee had sent me directions and which station to disembark from. It was a short walk down the major road, where the street curved away. Like Holland, Belgium has many tall narrow buildings and I lugged my heavy suitcase up to the second floor. The room was a double (since renovations were underway outside of the single room), and had a little sitting area and table. Outside the room was a fridge, toaster and microwave for use by the guests. Like many guesthouses, there were maps and information on the city.

gargoyles, waterspouts, belfry, belfort, clock tower, Ghent, Gent, Belgium, gothic, medieval

A view from the belfort overlooking Ghent.

 

I probably could have taken a bus but I walked to the city center along one of the canals in about twenty minutes. The weather was excellent so I didn’t mind the walk and a chance to take pictures. It looked like Ghent was going through a major reconstruction of some of its oldest buildings, which included the  town hall, a mixture of several centuries’ architecture. Some places you cannot get into unless you take a tour so I signed up to see inside the stadhuis. I was the only non-Dutch speaker (Belgians speak French and/or Dutch but it’s called Flemish) so I ended up getting a private tour. This was awesome because I could ask all the questions I liked. The hall is a blend of gothic architecture at one end and the more plain 17th century architecture at the other. As buildings of civic fortitude it wasn’t magnificent but it was interesting. There was even a throne room, with red velvet, a canopy and some ostentation. Supposedly one of the round seats with a cushion on top actually hid a commode underneath.

After the stadhuis I went over to the belfort, constructed in the 1300s. It also was the old cloth hall and this part of Belgium was known for its linen, wool and especially its lace. From the guildhall you could go up the clock tower or belfry, which houses at least four floors including many bells, a giant music box tumbler that controls the carillon bells, and the metal skeleton of the last gilded dragon that adorns the steeple. I decided to walk up all the stairs, that’s 366 or so, although there is an elevator that goes part way up. I stopped in at each floor to read the displays and let myself breathe. At the very top you can lookout over the heads of gargoyle waterspouts in 360 degrees. I took the elevator down, then wandered about the streets.

gothic architecture, medieval, Ghent, Gent, Belgium, travel, history,

This medieval building had more modern whimsical statues.

I did go into Saint Bavo cathedral but after the churches of Holland and Antwerp I was a little oversaturated and it was pretty tame in comparison.  I found Het Gravensteen (meaning castle of the count), which was built in the 12th century. Unfortunately it was so late in the day that it was closed. The castle is not as large as a city block, though it looks impressive and has a tiny moat around it. I would have loved to see the inside as castles were few and far between in these areas. Still, the weather was lovely for wandering along the streets and canals.

When it came time for dinner, there were many restaurants lining the canals. Ghent was my biggest food fail of the whole trip, which included England and Holland. One place was canopied, looking a little better class than some of the other places, and had this variety of shellfish including whelks and cockles. I’d never tried these so I walked in and asked for a table. They told me to take a seat outside and a waiter would be by. As I perused the menu I saw that you received a selection of shellfish for about 35 euros, definitely not cheap. But I waited and waited and waited. I don’t know if there was a prejudice over serving a single person, I wasn’t dressed well enough or the waiter just couldn’t see me sitting there but after 15 minutes with no service I left.

Ghent, Gent, Belgium, canals, architecture, travel

Ghent's canals are wider and fewer than those in Holland's cities.

The next place I chose didn’t work because the menu was almost all fried food. By the time I found a place to eat it was dark. I sat outside since the weather was still fairly mild and decided to try the eel, which I’ve only had as sushi before. The eel was cut in chunks and deep friend, rather tasteless and greasy. It came with a salad and mediocre fries, which is saying something for a country that prides itself on its frites.

I think the combination of all the construction around the cathedral and clock tower, the sad dining experience and some places being closed before I got to them, left me with little memory of Ghent. I was also coming down with a cold. The travel guide said you could do Belgium in two days (if you just hit the highlights) and Ghent could definitely be done in a day.

Ghent, Gent, travel, Belgium, belfort, belfry, clock tower, history

These life size statues were in the bottom most level of the clocktower.

4 Comments

Filed under art, Culture, history, travel

Clitoridectomy Performance in Poor Taste

racism, clitoridectomy, sexual abuse, female circumcision, controversy

A lot of controversy over this horrific image at a Swedish art show. Picture via: Frihetssmedjan

When a friend posted a picture of a bunch of laughing women cutting into a cake shaped like the caricatured torso of a black woman I was shocked, and like many others, saying WTF? The artist of this piece Makode Aj Linde in Sweden does various performances and art that look at racial stereotyping. The “cake” actually has the artist’s head sticking through, where he is done up in blackface. Swedish Minister or Culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth was asked to cut into the genitals to enact a clitoridectomy. The artist screamed and shrieked as this was done, with the rather gory, red cake interior revealed.

I thought this was only a torso but there are vestigial arms across the ponderous breasts. The artist’s head is done up in black face with a large cartoonish mouth. Many of the pictures show people laughing, taking pictures and eating the cake. The articles were somewhat biased with titles like “nig*ger cake,” “racist cake” and Lena as a  “self-confessed ‘anti-racist.'” The backlash was incredible and ironic since Liljeroth had been invited by the Swedish Art Organisation to speak about artistic freedom and the right to be provocative. Linde’s piece was definitely provocative but if I was an art critic I’d say it didn’t quite come off the way he was expecting.

On first glance we have three affronts: a doubly racist cake with the black person laying there, the black face upon the head, and then the mutilated cake torso smacking of outright cannibalism. On second glance we have people partying and eating the cake, disturbing considering the focal point. As I delved deeper I found a video that showed the artist screaming as the cake is cut. Several friends who viewed this changed their opinions from one of outraged effrontery to admiration because they were chilled by what they saw.

racial stereotyping, female genital mutilation, racist  cake, black person

Little Black Sambo is another racial stereotype: the big lips, white eyes and the watermelon.

As a provocative piece Aj Linde’s piece excelled. It definitely has provoked people to call for the Swedish minister’s resignation. It has outragedthe Association of African Swedes. Did it bring attention to the brutal act of genital mutilation? Yes, it did that too. But that seems secondary to the rest and was in all senses poor taste. Maybe there is no other truly effective way. I could see the human torso cake perhaps at a Hallowe’en party but as a means to highlight female mutilation, it could have stopped before people started eating the cake. What was the point of that? There are some stereotypes of Africans being cannibals and putting people in stewpots, but did that come across? And maybe most disturbing of all is that everyone overall seems to ignore the horrificness of such a cake and just party it up.

Is the laughter nervousness at being confronted with the uncomfortable thought of female genital mutilation? Is it a sign of people oblivious to events outside their purview? Is it a sign of blatant racism? Is it a sign of numbness to all the horrors in the world today? Is it narrow mindedness (if it’s not about me, it’s not important)? Maybe it’s all of these. It certainly is disturbing to me. For anyone who wants another look at female circumcision in terms of fiction, read Alice Walker’s Possessing the Secret of Joy, which might have been one of the first widely read accounts of such a practice.

Was this performance piece successful in what Aj Linde hoped to get across? All I can think is that in some ways, yes it was, though I think it misfired. I think a piece that mimicked the circumcisions with the screaming would have worked without the cake, but maybe the promise of a tasty confection drew everyone in at the end. If nothing else, this certainly did support an artist’s right to provoke.

http://www.mediaite.com

http://www.mirror.co.uk

http://www.bbc.co.uk

Flip Spagnoli

1 Comment

Filed under art, Culture, entertainment, news, people

Writing News: Sales and Nominations

writing, Aurora Awards, speculative fiction, poetry, fantasy

Creative Commons: Drew Coffman, flickr

The Chizine Reading Series will host a reading of the Friends of Merril shortlisted contestants in June. This is in Toronto and while I hope to be there in the fall for the World Fantasy Convention, I won’t be attending this reading. Maybe they can skype us in. My story, “The Ties That Bind” was one of nine shortlisted but not a winner. And speaking of being shortlisted.

I waited to put this out so that it coincided with the official notice for the Aurora Awards. For the second year, I have made it onto the nominating ballot in the poetry category. My poem, “A Good Catch” (still up at Polu Texni) is eligible to win the award. I have a one in five chance. Last year I was the only west coast poet, with the rest being in Toronto and all writers I know. And while I don’t know where Heather Dale lives, I am up against some of the same nominees: Carolyn Clink, Sandra Kasturi and Helen Marshall. And besides Heather, we’re all part of ChiZine Publications. Yes, it is a small world. And ChiZine Publications has done well in the novel category with four of six authors being published by CZP. Voting begins April 16 and goes to July 23. If you’re Canadian and have paid the $10 registration, you can vote.

On top of that I’ve just signed contracts for two stories, which I sold on April 1 & 2. If only all months (and days) were like this. “The Brown Woman” will be in the inaugural issue of Third Flatiron Publishing‘s e-anthology, due out in June with a theme of environmental disaster. This might be the first full-on e-reader style story that I’ve sold. That story has undergone many rewrites and point of view switches.

The story, “The Book with No End” will be out in Bibliotheca Fantastica, an anthology about magical books. Dagan Bookswill put

writing, anthologies, speculative fiction, books, fantasy, poetry, SF, Aurora Awards

Creative Commons: Eric Guiomar

this out sometime this summer. This story is about power and skin. In fact, when I look at many of my stories, they involve some aspect of skin. Even the Brown Woman involves the changing of a skin. It seems to be a theme I keep exploring. After all, skin is one of the largest organs in the body. Yes, it is an organ and considering the area it covers it’s very versatile in holding us together, maintaining our temperature and protecting us from environmental intrusions.

While it’s great to have several stories coming out, I’m by no means getting rich. That’s a work in progress indeed. Below is the full list of the Aurora nominees.

BEST NOVEL – ENGLISH

Enter Night by Michael Rowe, ChiZine Publications
Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism by David Nickle, ChiZine Publications
Napier’s Bones by Derryl Murphy, ChiZine Publications
The Pattern Scars by Caitlin Sweet, ChiZine Publications
Technicolor Ultra Mall by Ryan Oakley, EDGE
Wonder by Robert J. Sawyer, Penguin Canada

BEST SHORT FICTION – ENGLISH

“The Legend of Gluck” by Marie Bilodeau, When the Hero Comes Home, Dragon Moon
“The Needle’s Eye” by Suzanne Church, Chilling Tales: Evil Did I Dwell; Lewd Did I Live, EDGE
“One Horrible Day” by Randy McCharles, The 2nd Circle, The 10th Circle Project
“Turning It Off” by Susan Forest, Analog, December
“To Live and Die in Gibbontown” by Derek Künsken, Asimov’s, October/November

BEST POEM / SONG – ENGLISH

“A Good Catch” by Colleen Anderson, Polu Texni, April
“Ode to the Mongolian Death Worm” by Sandra Kasturi, ChiZine, Supergod Mega-Issue, Volume 47
“Skeleton Leaves” by Helen Marshall, Kelp Queen Press
“Skeleton Woman” by Heather Dale, Fairytale CD
“Zombie Bees of Winnipeg” by Carolyn Clink, ChiZine, Supergod Mega-Issue, Volume 47

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL – ENGLISH

Goblins, webcomic, created by Tarol Hunt
Imagination Manifesto, Book 2 by GMB Chomichuk, James Rewucki and John Toone, Alchemical Press
Weregeek, webcomic, created by Alina Pete

BEST RELATED WORK – ENGLISH

Fairytale, CD by Heather Dale, CD Baby
The First Circle: Volume One of the Tenth Circle Project, edited by Eileen Bell and Ryan McFadden
Neo-Opsis, edited by Karl Johanson
On Spec, published by the Copper Pig Writers’ Society
Tesseracts Fifteen: A Case of Quite Curious Tales, edited by Julie Czerneda and Susan MacGregor, EDGE

BEST ARTIST (PROFESSIONAL AND AMATEUR NOMINATIONS)

(An example of each artist’s work is listed below but they are to be judged on the body
of work they have produced in the award year)

Janice Blaine, “Cat in Space”, Cover art for Neo-Opsis, Issue 20
Costi Gurgu, cover art for Outer Diverse, Starfire
Erik Mohr, cover art for ChiZine Publications
Dan O’Driscoll, “Deep Blue Seven”, cover art for On Spec magazine, Summer issue
Martin Springett, Interior art for The Pattern Scars, ChiZine

Fan/Volunteer Award Nominations

BEST FAN PUBLICATION

BCSFAzine, edited by Felicity Walker
Bourbon and Eggnog by Eileen Bell, Ryan McFadden, Billie Milholland and Randy McCharles, 10th Circle Project
In Places Between: The Robin Herrington Memorial Short Story Contest book, edited by Reneé Bennett
Sol Rising newsmagazine, edited by Michael Matheson
Space Cadet, edited by R. Graeme Cameron

BEST FAN FILK

Stone Dragons (Tom and Sue Jeffers), concert at FilKONtario
Phil Mills, Body of Song-Writing Work including FAWM and 50/90
Cindy Turner, Interfilk concert at OVFF

BEST FAN ORGANIZATIONAL

Andrew Gurudata, chair of the Constellation Awards committee
Peter Halasz, administrator of the Sunburst Awards
Helen Marshall and Sandra Kasturi, chairs of the Chiaroscuro Reading Series (Toronto)
Randy McCharles, chair of When Words Collide (Calgary)
Alex von Thorn, chair of SFContario 2 (Toronto)
Rose Wilson, for organizing the Art Show at V-Con (Vancouver)

BEST FAN OTHER

Lloyd Penney, letters of comment
Peter Watts, “Reality: The Ultimate Mythology” lecture, Toronto SpecFic Colloquium
Taral Wayne, Canadian Fanzine Fanac Awards art

1 Comment

Filed under art, Culture, fantasy, horror, poetry, Publishing, science fiction, Writing

The Polenta that Ate Vancouver

cornmeal, polenta, food, cooking, recipes

Store-bought polenta looks like a monstrous, pale sausage. From tumblr.com

One of the discoveries of my recent Apocalypse Diet was a surfeit of cornmeal. In all I probably had three cups in two jars. With no sugar nor eggs I wasn’t sure I could make anything until a friend suggested polenta. I decided to stop the diet before I was eating only polenta, an unappealing possibility because I’ve had it before and it is definitely a vehicle for sauces and not a tasty dish on its own.

So I looked up polenta recipes. So easy. All that’s needed is water, salt and cornmeal. I was a little incredulous when it said 7 cups of water and 1 2/3 cups of cornmeal. But follow the directions on the first try.

I put the water in the pot with the 1 tbsp of salt. I used coarse grain salt, which might have been a problem. When the water had a nice boil going, the recipe said to sift the cornmeal through your fingers, adding slowly to the constantly boiling water, and whisking the whole time. Unfortunately, this requires three hands. I gave up on the sifting and just poured and whisked. Be warned! The recipe does not mention the geyser like blorps of hot spewing cornmeal. Luckily I jumped out of the reach and had to remove the pot a couple of times to calm it down.

Once all the cornmeal is in you switch to a wooden spoon and stir vigorously for 45 minutes until the cornmeal pulls away from the side of the pot. I probably should have used my Dutch oven instead of the slightly smaller pot because I had some errant morsels escape and burn on the stove.

polenta, cornmeal, gruel, food, cooking, recipes

The thickness of the polenta depends on the amount of water. With 7 cups, mine was thicker than this but about the same consistency as store bought polenta. From: http://romanianrecipes.wikia.com/wiki/Quick_Polenta

I stirred, and stirred…and stirred. And then I began to wonder if 7 cups of water was enough. The stuff thickened to a paste, to a mortar, all the while bubbling. You have to stir a lot to get the bubbles to release when it’s that thick. Teamwork would be useful for this seemingly simple process. I think I lasted 20 minutes. My arms were aching, my hands reddened by grasping the thin handle of the wooden spoon. I even had to take my rings off to stir.

After I gave up I prepared for the last stage; pour cold water into a bowl, then throw it out and put the cornmeal in. It makes a great wiggling mound. The alternative is to turn it out on the board but I was afraid of its amorphous properties. It’s interesting to note that I think this would have been a great zombie deterrent. Throw the boiling mass at a lumbering undead thing and it would stick, clog their nostrils and limit their decaying sight.

After 15 minutes I turned the mass out on the counter and it held its mountain of madness shape. There was enough that I sliced it into eights and froze it. For whatever reason the tablespoon of salt was too much. Maybe coarse salt is too strong. When I used it in cooking I didn’t need any salt in the rest of the food. I cleaned the stove immediately and it was hard enough to remove, but putting cold water in the pot, the residue cornmeal removed easily like a skin.  If I ate the polenta every day, it would probably last nearly two weeks. Next time, a bigger pot and a catapult for lobbing it at the zombies.

6 Comments

Filed under Culture, food

Tips on How to Survive the Apocalypse

zombie, apocalypise, apocalypse diet, survival, end of the world, diet, food

Surviving the zombie apocalypse means having food in storage. From: http://eleusinianmysteriesofreading.blogspot.ca

After surviving three months of the Apocalypse Diet, where I bought no food and lived off of what was in my place, I have learned a few things. In the event of an apocalypse (choose your poison), whether earthquake, alien invasion, uber contagious supervirus, zombies or a gadzillion insects attacking, how long would you survive? Looking at the necessities before battling the foe, that would be the basic creature comforts: a safe place to sleep, food and water.

It’s always good to have either frozen or sealed jugs of sterile water stored, which will keep indefinitely. In Vancouver, we sometimes get “boil water” advisories when the water table is high or there’s been an issue (rare) with the water system. You’ll want a few other items such as easily accessible flashlights, lighters and candles. You might have tools on your list but food is going to matter most. If the power cut out, then whatever you had in your freezer would have to be eaten first, starting with the meats as they thawed. Extra ice would help, or a cool place outside such as a ground cellar. Probably learning how to pickle items would help or how to salt meats if you had a full-on freezer with too many items rotting.

One thing that was absolutely essential in having fresh vegetables throughout my experiment was a low humidity fridge. It removes so much moisture that foods dry out as opposed to mulching down. I once had grapes turn to raisins over three months in my fridge (yes, another experiment). The secret is to leave as many out of the bags as possible or leave them loosely bagged. Items with high water content such as lettuce, spinach, zucchini will rot first, no matter what. Root vegetables will last longest. Apples will last longer than berries.

And of course, it’s important to have a lot of carbohydrates stored: potatoes, yams, rice, quinoa, pasta, flour, barley, beans, etc. I had all of these items and still hadn’t quite run out after three months. I learned some interesting things about eating patterns while eating for the apocalypse. I did eat less. I stretched out my vegetables and proteins by upping the carb content. Carbs fill you up. This explains diets of people who are poor. They’re often undernourished and eat too many fats and carbs, the easiest and cheapest way to feel full. I’ve heard people arrogantly say before that a person who is “fat” should just “lose weight.” It’s not always that easy without knowing the backgrounds, such as physical, mental or environmental disorders.  I consider poverty an environmental disorder.

I also rediscovered some foods; that barley is actually tasty and bulgar wheat isn’t bad, that potato flour can’t be substituted for

apocalypse, zombies, end of the world, survival, food, eating,

May the apocalypse be nothing more than a nightmare. From deviantart.com, artist: arcipello

rice or wheat flour in baking, that coconut milk, peanut butter and soy sauce make a quick and easy Thai curry. I am a food concocter at the best of times, throwing in this and that, so some dishes I never commented on as they’re my normal range of mad scientist fare. An adaptable mind will help as supplies run out.

As well, I found the archaic beasts that had lived in my cupboards for far too long: the raisins (gone to the neighbor), really dead prunes, a host of dried fruit I don’t eat, sauerkraut that will outlive cockroaches. I used up a lot of little bits of this and that but still have the fruit from liqueurs I made about ten years ago. I need to make muffins of this or throw it out. If the apocalypse happened in a month or two I’m sure I could survive another three months as I’ve restocked quickly. Buying in bulk is often cheaper. If it’s the growing season it won’t be as bad for fresh food, even if my freezer is relatively empty. Here’s to surviving the apocalypse.

5 Comments

Filed under Culture, entertainment, food, horror

The Case of the Missing Pigment

earls, albino rhino, beer, human rights, bigotry,

Earls isn't ritually murdering albinos but some albinos don't see a difference. From: Missauga.com

A recent human rights complaint has surfaced in BC, in regards to Earls Restaurant and the serving of their Albino Rhino brand ale. They’ve been making and serving the beer for 25 years but a woman, Ikponwosa (I.K.) Ero, has now filed a human rights complaint that the beer discriminates against albinos. There is a clip to watch as well as the news report.

There is a difference between being an albino and being albinoid, where one is missing some of the pigmentation. While Ms Ero looks albinoid, her boss looks to be albino. Albinism does in fact have some serious defects for the person afflicted including vision and blood problems, and cancer risks. However, albinism affects almost every species. Many Native Americans/First Nations hold the white buffalo sacred. There are albino rabbits, alligators, fish, tigers and people. So maybe Earls holds their beer sacred.

human rights, albino, albino rhino, albinism, earls restaurant

This baby albino rhino is from Rocketworld. Is it derogatory to people suffering from albinism?

While I imagine Earls named their beer for its paleness, Ms Ero’s boss, Peter Ash says, “Follow your logic. If they have Alzheimer’s appetizers on the billboard, you’re totally okay with bringing your grandmother there to chow down a plate of Alzheimer’s appetizers.” Well, unfortunately my logic runs a different path from his. If my grandmother had Alzheimer’s she probably wouldn’t care or remember what the appetizers were called. Reminds me of the diner in the US (Heart Attack Grill) that sells Flatliner Fries and Triple Bypass burgers. They’re maybe being honest or are they demeaning people who have had heart attacks?

Second, my logic says, yeah an albino rhino is a white rhino. It does not say to me that it has anything to do with a person, not is it derogatory in any way. Since albinism affects most species, how is naming this beer the same as being mean to albino people?

While people suffering from albinism have health challenges and might have been picked on by some insensitive people, overall I don’t see most people ostracizing them because of a beer brand. That may not be true in all cultures and albino children have been murdered in Africa for magical rituals. I fully understand being singled out for being different. I had a fair share of it in my childhood but I don’t presume that Albino Rhino beer is about albinoid people, nor that Fat Bastard wine is out to be nasty to anyone overweight.

Sometimes it’s good to be politically correct, and sometimes people become hyper-sensitized, seeing evil and wrong every where. I’d say take such brands with a grain of salt, but may I should say a grain of pepper.

 

5 Comments

Filed under Culture, news, people

Apocalypse Diet Summary: Days 88-91

apocalypse diet, zombies, cooking, food, dieting, eating, end of the world

This dried zombie flesh was starting to look appealing. Geekstir.com

These are the halcyon days of the Apocalypse Diet. I’m not taking it to its strange and bitter end where I subsist on jam, cornmeal and alcohol. April 1st is my doomsday, but let’s recap. I started this diet to see how long I could go without buying any food in my place. During that time, I’ve had a party and friends over. While I did buy food for those events, it was either completely consumed or put away to be used after the diet ends. So I do have a jar of mayonnaise, some crackers,  frozen vegetables and a small bag of green olives that I am ignoring.

Going out for dinner was a bubble outside of the experiment and obviously, if the zombies were scrabbling at my door or the evil supervirus running rampant, would not be an option. And if it were truly the apocalypse, I might not have water and electricity, or I might, depending on how these hydroelectric stations run. I’ve managed to bring lunch to work throughout this, but I have cut down on portions. I’ve been given a few food items as well and allowed to have them since during the apocalypse there would be some food trade. It’s been an interesting experiment and I’ll do a final post after the diet entries on what I learned from this. Now, on to the last days of the Apocalypse Diet.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 88 (Mar. 28):

There does seem to be less zombie activity outside the doors. Maybe, with the coming of spring, those semi decomposed, shambling creatures are starting to rot. Or maybe, they’re becoming fecund gardens in which seeds and bulbs are sprouting. Imagine, the walking horrors looking like ambulatory flower beds. You pluck lettuce and pansy from the zombie, the zombie eats you. Fair trade.

So, today’s lunch was the  last of last night’s dinner; pink pasta with beets, red cabbage, capers, tuna, and kalamata olives, with almost the last of the Parmesan cheese. It’s lasted so long because it was a fairly full container and I find it sweet, which doesn’t appeal.

Have you ever noticed how red cabbage (which is actually purple) looks like a brain when it’s cut? Maybe the zombies are winning after all. I had another dead soldier, .5 cup of couscous and for those who don’t know, it’s wheat. I didn’t rub it into separate bits like you’re supposed to. I just cooked it up. On top of that went the end-of-the-world medley; pickled artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes in oil, garlic, tuna, red cabbage, flake yeast and some herbs and hot sauces. Oh and sunflower seeds. One of my challenges this week has been how to make something that I can actually take for lunch. This will do for Thursday.

Chocolate pudding cake for dessert, with frangelico. And I found two half boxes of lasagna noodles in the cupboard, so I’m still hanging in with the starches…just.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 89 (Mar. 29):

The clock is ticking down and the zombies are being pushed aside by crocuses, daffodils and the beginning of spring. Lunch was indeed the same as last night’s dinner. Dinner was the last of the crab panang curry with broken up lasagna noodles. Not as good as rounded pasta noodles but I had one and a half boxes of the stuff and have had it forever.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 90 (Mar. 30):

vegetables, eating, food, zombies, apocalypse diet, fresh foods, recipes

Yes yes yes! I have missed my veggies. Creative Commons: Auntie P, flickr

Breakfast was a slice of bread my neighbor gave me (yes one slice, to display his bread making might) with peanut butter. Lunch was hazelnuts and dried cranberries because I’ve run out of foods that I can take for lunch. Dinner, I was saved by going to my friend’s and eating Chinese food.

Apocalypse Diet (AD) Day 91 (Mar. 31):

This is the last day of the Apocalypse. Tomorrow the fools come out and I shop. I had the last of the sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and more softened toenails (banana chips) for lunch. Don’t let anyone tell you that banana chips are healthy. There is so much grease oozing off of those things that I’m throwing the rest out.

Early dinner was glass noodles, with peanut butter and soy, and the last of the mixed shellfish, really almost enough for two meals but I’m heartily sick of mussels for quite a while now. They never were my fave, especially the frozen variety. I drank the last cider in the fridge, pear cider and that is the end.

April 1:

Today is the beginning of a new way of eating. I officially stopped the diet and then scoured my fridge since it was mostly empty. And I mean scour, pulling out every drawer and rack right down to the cavity. It’s never been so clean. What do I have left: 3/4 of a red cabbage, three apples, a few cloves of garlic, a jar of pickles, a bit of a jar of sundried tomatoes and another of artichoke hearts, sauces, spices, a few glass noodles, round rice tortillas, dried cranberries, plums, figs, guavas (how does someone who hates dried fruit end up with so much?), some pumpkin and sesame seeds, and frozen berries. I already gave my neighbor half a bag of raisins, threw out the rest of the banana chips and the very dead and dried prunes.

I went to the store and bought $30 in veggies and another $15 on rice, turkey wieners and tuna. Tomorrow I’m starting a different type of diet, one that limits fat and carbs and sugars. But for now, I survived the zombie invasion, and managed to exist for three months. There will be a follow up post but now…there are some veggies waiting for a party in my belly.

2 Comments

Filed under Culture, food, life