As is definitely noticeable, I have a new banner! It's pretty self-explanatory, so I'm going to leave you to figure how what its all about (and click on it!)
So our little party did go see Food Inc. last night in the cool little theatre. I'm not a pro on documentaries, so I dont have a lot to say on how well done it was, but I thought it was great. Everyone should go see it. And every one of those people should take another person who hasn't ever heard of it, as I get the feeling that most of the people that will actually notice and see the film as it is are already converted. Check here for screening times and places. Sorry Alaska, you don't get anything.
All the things I liked from The Omnivore's Dilemma had a presence in the movie, as well as a few other things.
- The American food industry as we know it is pretty much Fast Food. No emphasis is ever placed on quality or nutrition, only quantity and low cost. In the production of food products (and it really does become a product instead of food, food is way more personal than this stuff) - Workers are given shoddy pay in dangerous environments. However, the specific job of each person is so simplified that any one is instantly replaceable should they have an issue. - Workers (b). Chicken companies like Tyson hire illegal immigrants that work for insanely cheap and then pay the police to only arrest 15 of them every day. So in effect they produce our food for us for years before getting sent home with nothing. - Forcing livestock to conform to industrialized forms of production is causing new forms of bacteria that can totally kill us in a matter of days. Switching cows to grass for their last 5 days of life would eliminate 80% of the possibility of E. Coli in beef. Instead of that, the beef gets a lovely chlorine bath. Yay.
The last freebie is this one: 70% of hamburger meat in the USA contains ammonia-laced filler to kill the potential E. Coli. Instead of feeding cows grass, that green stuff they've eaten for 2,000 in the fields, to avoid a problem, we're causing a problem and then trying to solve it by injecting chemicals into it. Think about that when you're next hamburger.
And this doesn't even go into the nasty conditions of the animals, the destitute farmers that sell to the meatpacking/distributors, or that FDA is totally in the pocket of these abusive food companies, many of which used to work or run them before getting a government position.
However, you can do something about it! And I don't mean to become a vegan, because that would be terribly boring. But what you CAN do is buy as much food as you can outside this structure. You can buy food from local farms or at farmer's markets. You can eat that processed junk and eat more real food. You can vote for transparency in the system. All those good things!
If you're like me and have no idea how to get local food, you can check out Localharvest.org and see what's available in your area. It'll be more expensive, but that's the whole point. Better food now for a better life later.
Here's the first 3 and a half minutes from the movie. Excuse the creepy music.
So turns out I haven't posted anything in a week. I would have you believe that's because I've been too busy doing awesome things and haven't had time to write. That's partially true, I suppose, but not really.
However, tonight I'm going to this place:to see this movie. Of which one of the main contributors is Michael Pollan, who also wrote: Which is an amazing book that I love. I keep meaning to write a review about it, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I'll be attending with Miss Nemesis (sister and fellow food snob), GH (who's probably getting dragged more than anything else, poor guy), and Aubrey (who is my date, I'm hoping this doesn't scare her away).
Anyway, for those who dont know anything about Michael Pollan, a great place to start would be an episode of Fresh Air which was given in October 2008 when his book, In Defense of Food, had just come out. I take this moment to say that I LOVE Fresh Air and Terry Gross. It would be the most-awesome-thing-ever to be interviewed by her. It's definitely one of my goals in life to meet her. Anyway, he was on her show once and I'd consider the interview a very good place to start if you want to start your journey as a more-aware food consumer.
I finally got another photography gig yesterday. Little known fact about CoolBoy: I'm a photographer's assistant. This means I set up lights and do other management of equipment-type things that will usually bring the term "Pack Mule" to my mind. We had a photo shoot for ESPN magazine yesterday, which is awesome in itself. But even more awesome: I didn't have to go to my normal job, got paid about 2.5x what I would normally make in a day's work (but in just a few hours), and got to shake the hand of someone that's shaken the hand of Michael Jordan. Free breakfast and ice cream were also involved, you can't beat that.
We shot Mark Eaton, formerly of the Utah Jazz. He was a monster. Which is to say, he's 21 inches taller that me. I actually has to reach upward to shake his hand. What a beast. The shoot took place at one of the restaurants he owns in Salt Lake City. This one is called Tuscany and if I ever need to impress a girl, that's definitely where I'm going to take her. The place was awesome. It's designed to look like a house in Italy and has vines and stuff crawling up the walls and out of the ceiling. A guy could score some serious points there.
In other news, according to my little map on the sidebar. There's a person from Lodz, Poland that has consistently been reading this blog. To the Polish man (or preferably, woman) I say: That's so COOL! Please keep reading! And tell all your other European friends about me too! And you know, maybe leave a comment sometime.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to have Jeff Ludes on the blog this week. But then I looked at his blog and saw something awesome that pretty much made the decision for me. I wasn't able to find too much on him in a biographical sense, but he DID go to Art Center College of Design from '98 to '02. So I guess that's something. But anyway-have you ever wanted to know how to make your Honda or Nissan look cool? Jeff Ludes is your man. Using amazing action shots and probably a good 40 hours a week on CS4, he's managed to produce shockingly good shots of cars. Featured on many billboard and advertisements, I won't lie, this next one makes me want to get an Infinity. That and move to a place that has such pretty leaves during the fall to match it.
Okay, now for what I'm actually excited about. Some of you might have noticed my last post, which chronicled my epic battle with a Wild Alaskan Stallion of an automobile (she's still great, by the way). Some people apparently read into it a bit weird, causing a very short but intense discussion in the comments. But then Jeff had the following posted on his blog:
The laughter could not be contained. I guess it's a common theme.
So there I was, deep within the Alaska wilderness. My hunt had been going so long, I wasn't even sure what I was looking for anymore. The food had run out 3 days earlier and all those berries were finally starting to slow me down. Fortunately I was able to take that bear down the day before for some protein and shelter. 300 miles from civilization with only the caribou to keep me company, I began to wonder if I should just give it up.
Then I saw something. I wasn't sure at first what it was...the majesty and shine of The Beast in the Midnight Sun was too brilliant for mere mortals to behold. Then she turned away from me and ambled on, carrying herself as light as a magpie in the breeze. Through squinting eyes I saw... [This link is giving me a hard time, you'll just have to click and see]
I knew this was what I had been searching for all these weeks. In was our destiny to become one. I tracked her for 6 more days without even thinking of food nor water. She became my obsession, my very cause for life, and I at last headed her off. I knew she was toying with me-- but she was learn to respect me when I became her master.
A battle ensued. She took several dings on the doors and many a kick to the bumper before submission came. But come it did and I did mount her for the first time. Only to find that she was almost out of gas. Awesome. Not to mention she has a manual transmission. Double bad. But we were one.
Which isn't to say she isn't in need of a little training. There's some kinks we're working out with that whole "moving while in first gear" thing. But just wait my friend, our bond will become a thing of legend. Those who speak of it will only do so in fear, whispering in the dark and behind closed doors.
But not the movie. As of today I've officially been back from my mission to the Dominican Republic for one full year. I am neither engaged nor married, which I'm a bit proud of (but I will admit I'm tired of living with a bunch of dudes).
Let's take a look of how far I've got in the past year:
Dependence of Parents Days spent living with my parents: 21 Money regularly accepted from parents: I think only when I get sick... Times gotten sick: like 5
Finances Jobs: 3 Current wage: Less than I made when I was 16 Monthly bills to pay: 4 (soon to be 3, faster internet isn't worth it) Student loans: None. Thanks Dad, you're The Man Cars in my name: 1
Professional life/Fame Paying photography gigs: 3, soon to be 4 Copyright offices I work in: 1 Irony that I work in a copyright office: Great Copyright Infringement investigations preformed: 1 Irony that I have conducted an infringement investigation: Endless Times been a voiceover: 1 Times mentioned in Wikipedia: 1 Times I've wished I could be on Fresh Air and meet Teri Gross: Many
Culinary Achievement Chocolate Icing recipes perfected: 1 Times I've cooked for my roommates: 10ish Times I've gotten Brett to say "Mmm!": 1 Times made chocolate covered pretzels: 2 Times I made chocolate Andes cookies for the people I home teach only to find that one of my roommates took big bites out of them, causing me to completely lose my temper: 1 How funny that was for lookers-on: 9 out of 10
Education Degree Programs accepted into: None - curse you, mono GPA: Like 3.5 - again, mono is the devil Years of college remaining: At least 3
Living situation Roommates married off: 1 - and thank goodness, he was kinda weird Black Sleep-talking roommates: 1 White wiggles-feet-while-sleeping roommates: 1 White only-sleeps-when-the-sun-is-up roommates: 1 Arguments about the A/C daily: at least one How much this bothers me: None Washers, Dryers, and Dishwashers in my apt: None How much this bothers me: A bit Foosball tables in apartment:1 How much this bothers me: A lot Whispered, whimpering, conversations Brett has had on the phone with his girlfriend while I'm trying to sleep this week alone: 2 How much this bothers me: Less than the Foosball table, but it's still pretty odd.
Political Involvement: Presidential Elections survived: 1 Times wished Sarah Palin would just go home and do her job again: Any time I hear her name Worth of BYU student elections: -$Whatever the budget is
Literary Accomplishment Fiction Books read: 6.5 (sorry Golden Compass...I got bored) # of those about Zombies: 1 # of books I've read due to obligation of honor and conscience and not being a dirty liar-pants: 3 Nonfiction books read: 6 Papers written for class: 3 Blog posts written: 21 Blog posts written while at work: 21 Books checked out from library without reading them: 5 (I promise I'll read The 13th Tale one of these days...)
Relationships Dates been on: several, but not as many as I'd like Girls never called back: 2...oops Women with hurt feelings: 1 (totally not my fault) # dates with blondes ever: 0, I'm really not sure why this is Relationships been in: 2 # of those that were totally weird and probably shouldn't have happened in the first place: 1 # of those girls that are now on missions: 1 # of those girls that is in my ward and everyone still thinks we're going out anyway (yet she gets asked out and hit on by guys in the ward...backstabbers): 1 # of times that girl stepped on a cupcake and made me laugh so hard I almost peed my pants while laying on the sidewalk:1
Ethan & Savannah Times I've babysat los sobrinos: a lot, in fact, I might be sitting on them tonight...I don't remember.... Times I've kissed their butts like their aunts do: None Times I've wiped their butts: Too many Times been made a total sucker by sobrinos: Too many to count Times punched Savvy in the mouth on accident: 1 Planned dates with Savvy once I can drive my car: 1
Travel: Concerts attended out of state: 1 Times almost bought ticket to China: 1 Times almost bought ticket to Hawaii: 1 Times almost bought ticket to Alaska: 1 Times almost drove to Texas: 1
Missionary Work Times I've called/written old investigators: 0 Times volunteered at the MTC: 0 Times meant to volunteer at the MTC: at least 200, I even get the emails every week and it's like a free guilt fest every time Times reviewed a few mission letters: 2 Days thought about mission at least once in past year: 365 Mission friends married: Kind of a lot, like 15+, several of which got home after I did Mission friends that I see regularly: 0, but I have had lunch with Wilkins a couple times
Random Extremely sexy bicycles owned: 1 Accidents on said bike: 1 Drugs done: 3 - Prednisone (A+), Lortab (B- takes forever to kick in), Percocet (D-) Pron looked at in the shadows while no one was around: None Times missed church:1 Times wanted to leave during Priesthood because it's so boring: probably around 25 Shows that I've become addicted to and spent hours watching: 4 - House M.D., The Office, Lost, Arrested Development Hours spent playing video games instead of reading or exercising or cooking or going on a date: None of your business Completely random and inconsistent chastity talks received from sisters: 1
How much I enjoyed it: Immensely Number of time I'd be willing to repeat it: None
I have music on my sidebar. I'm not sure anyone's noticed because it isn't the annoying kind that just starts playing as soon as you get to the page and restarts every time you do something. It's a good little system though, made possible by working the system of your friends at Lala. I try to put things that I've found recently, but sometimes I just put weird stuff that I still like (which is how Kenny G got on there, that man can play).
Here's how it works.
We see three boxes just like these:
Each has its own Play button and won't play until clicked on (you're welcome). Lala has it set up so that you can listen to each song only once. If you try to listen to it again (or if it's just being stupid, which it often is) you'll get something like this: meaning that you can only listen to 30 seconds of the song instead of the whole thing. Fortunately, this is easily remedied. All you have to do is go into the Privacy setting of your browser and delete any cookies you might have from Lala's domain. Refresh the page, and you should be good to go. If you don't know how to clear your cookies, Google "clear cookies [the name of your browser]", that should lead to you something that'll help you figure it out.
I realize that it's Tuesday, but I'm not going to let that bother me.
This week is going to Aneta Kowalczyk, a photographer from Poland of all places. She started out as a model and didn't get behind the lens until 2006. It's taken less than three years for her to get her photos on the covers of fashion magazines. Not too shabby. Granted this is going a bit out of my normal range. Aneta does mainly fashion and beauty magazines and I've never really been into those (if you can imagine that). But that aside, her work is dazzling. Sharp contrasts, interesting composition, and freakishly moody models are the common theme. Her most famous shot has a bit more skin that I want to post on here and I don't have the heart to put a black box on it, so you'll have to do a bit of additional research if you want to see it. Actually, all you would have to do is visit her website. There's nothing you wouldn't see in a PG-13 movie, but more than I want people at BYU to see over my shoulder. Also, I think it appropriate to mention that it was reported to me that today is National Chocolate Day. I don't actually think this is true because the Daily Universe is completely useless. But I bought a Toblerone for the occasion anyway, because in all seriousness, what day should not be a chocolate day?
Ah, the 4th of July, a holiday that will forever remind me of my time as a Mormon missionary in the Dominican Republic. I officially became a missionary on July 5th (Three years yesterday!) but went to Utah to go to the Missionary Training Center on the 4th. So that 4th as well as the following pair of 4ths were all spent as a missionary away from my family.
How about a little recount of my past four 4ths?
Tuesday, July 4th, 2006 Half of this day was spent on an airplane (which is among my least favorite ways to pass the time) and the rest at a friend of mine's family reunion. I hadn't met any of those people before, nor have I seen any of them since. It took place in a place called Payson reached its pinnacle with the "Col-de-Sac of Fire!" extravaganza. It consisted of what I'm guessing was $2000 worth of Wal-Mart firecrackers that didn't leave the ground, but were still kinda neat.
Wednesday, July 4th, 2007 In my mission, Wednesdays are days known as Preparation Day to missionaries. It's the day that missionaries do things like go shopping, email the family, play sports, and (in my case) take a few naps. This particular P-day fell on the 4th, so I decided that I was going to grill up some steak for my companion Elder Aquino, a Dominican who had never had steak before. It was amazing, but turns out the reason he had been feeling so bad the past several days was because he had Dengue Fever. So the rest of the day and every day until Monday were spent at the hospital or the Mission President's house.
At one point that evening I asked President Thomas if he needed anything done and he told me that I could wash the mission van. Washing that nappy van was one of the greatest experiences of my mission. It was incredibly soothing. I think the only thing that could have beat it was mowing the lawn. I also spent some time talking to Prez about future career ideas, he had a lot to say about it. Good times.
Friday, July 4th, 2008 (leap year threw the day off) This was 6 days before I went home. I was burned out. Like...meat that fell into the fire and comes back looking like a hockey puck burned out. I don't recall most of that day, but I do remember that I did a baptismal interview that had been very poorly planned by some guys in my district so Elder Williams and I ended up getting home very late. However, in the interest of being festive, we made a stop at my favorite hot dog place from the year before. And I'm sure that night before bed we spent some time listening to Williams' Kenny G cd. So Good.
Saturday, July 5th, 2009 Highlights: Getting to sleep in Missing the parade Having tasty food and hanging out with my family Whipping up a replacement black bean and corn salsa super-fast GH letting me light the firecrackers he bought Contributing to Savvy's coin collection so she could get her first-ever Cotton Candy Kicking trash at a card game I hadn't played since I was 10 Seeing fireworks for the first time in 3 years
Lowlights: Missing the Hot Air Balloon festival Nemesis forgetting the awesome bean and corn salsa she spent all morning on at home. Accidently elbowing Savvy in the mouth, hard causing her to bite her tongue really hard, shriek horribly, and bleed a lot. Turns out I jump when I get a wet willy. The Stadium of Fire fireworks that we saw from the park were actually pretty weak
It's amazing how not-alike these four days are. Hopefully I can keep it up!
There are many simple, apparently painless ways to do this to harass your co-workers. Let's list a few.
1. Identify something your co-worker doesn't do very well. Point it out every time they do it wrong. Repetition is key. 2. Think of something bad that's happened to them recently, talk about it often. 3. Think of/Make up ways that they handled the aforementioned event poorly. Comment often. 4. Find out one of their goals, something that they've been working on for a while and are proud of, like a competition. Then, have someone else do it for you and take the award to work. Double points if this person comes to work and presents it to you in your co-worker's presence. Yay for gloating! 5. If your co-worker struggles with an assignment, instead of providing constructive criticism, just criticize. 6. Think up menial tasks you don't want to do yourself. Impose them upon your co-worker. 7. Make slights on the type of art and or/music your co-worker enjoys. 8. If something nice does happen to your co-worker, be sure to belittle it. 9. If your co-worker is sick (and male), spray their workstation down with a feminine hygiene product to "disinfect" it. Extra points if you can manage a spray onto the phone between calls.
Last but most importantly:
10. Giggle incessantly when you do any of the above things. The more girlier, the better.
It's MIT courses. For free! Courses are listed by department (look along the left side of the page) with everything you need to take the course all by yourself. Classes include a syllabus, lecture notes in PDF (sometime even on mp3s or videos), assignments, and exams.
I'm taking a course on java in the winter as a pre-req to get into the Information Systems program at BYU. Being that my programming experience is limited to that one time I got really bored with my TI-83+ in my Freshman math class when I was 14, I'm kinda worried about it and wanted to learn a bit about it before I take the course. Get this: All the course info for the equivilant course at MIT this past winter is right here. Yeah Suckahs! That's what I'm talking about!
So yeah, if you've ever wanted to take a class on something but didn't want to pay or have to follow the regiment, I've done all the looking for you. Happy learning!