Tuesday, April 29, 2008

140 / 100

So it would appear that your THIT has high blood pressure. Allegedly.

Son of a bitch! That can't be! Just thinking about it makes me so mad I could...

Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean...

All right, I'm better now.

I say "allegedly" because I'm not convinced by the results. This was a test provided by my work place. I'd signed up for it because...well...because I could.

I went a few minutes after being critisized for my handling of a situation. I don't know if that put me on edge a little or what, whatever. I arrive in the testing area which turned out to be the cafeteria on the floor above mine.

I joked right away that I was nervous about the whole thing. The ladies were quite nice, but one was particularly loud and didn't seem too reserved about barking out people's results. Hey, this is hardly a cavity search but nonetheless I expected SOME privacy.

The quieter of the two ladies conducting the tests strapped me up then listened in on my pulse. She then turns to the other one and says "Huh...Can you come listen to this?"

Yeah. THAT will help me relax. *grumble*

The loud one comes over and strats fretting right away. "Oh dear. Oh yeah. I can see why you called me over. Right. Yeah."

The suggestion was that I "relax" some more and they'd try again in five minutes. I enjoyed being given breathing instructions in front of the folks waiting in line, those waiting for the folks waiting in line to be done, and the old lady reheating the previous night's pasta meal. Relaxing was a little tricky right then.

The second test was no better. They then proceeded to quiz me on my sleeping habits, eating habits (vegetarianism went over well), family medical history, etc. I considered offering to turn my head and cough for them but thought that may come off sarcastically.

So due to the methodology and my discomfort in front of crowds and strangers, I question the results. However, rather than being one of those dumb-asses that lives in denial and makes excuses, I shall assume it's accurate and work on the areas that I can improve on.

Wish me luck but I don't need it. ;-)

Monday, April 21, 2008

I'm not a Protest Singer...

Dramarama was by far my favourite band in the late 80's / early 90's. They broke up for a spell but there's still a version of them floating around, however one of their key members (in my opinion) is no longer with them and that takes away some of the appeal for me.

They released an album in 1991 called "Vinyl" which included the song "What Are We Gonna Do?".

It's April 21st and everybody knows today is Earth Day
Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday to whoever's being born
And now I'm trying hard to think of something
meaningful and worthy, kind of earthy
to make everybody ask themselves just

What are we doing here?
and what are we doing to her?

There aren't a hell of a lot of songs about Earth Day, and Dramarama did not typically write songs like these (the title of this post is another line from the song). They were a rock band heavily-influenced by, appreciative and respectful of, the bands they grew up listening to.

Not being particularly environmentally-minded at the time, I found that the song stood out as being a little unusual for them, but I also liked it just fine. In fact, it's on my MP3 player now. It wasn't until years later that I understood it a little better.

Dramarama had broken up by then but I knew of a compilation album which included three new songs. Being that many of my Dramarama recordings were on cassette rather than CD, I had to get my hands on this thing! I ordered it from CD Warehouse (Clyde Ave.) and waited patiently for it to arrive.

There was a bus strike in Ottawa that year wouldn't you know it, I get the phone call that my CD has arrived on a day that we're getting about a foot of snow. To quote comic Steven Wright, everything's within walking distance if you have the time ;-) so I told the girl who called from the store I'd be there within the hour and off I went.

This was probably in 1997 now. Information wasn't quite as easy to come by as it is now and for a band that was largely unknonw here, it was even harder. The album had lengthy liner notes which I couldn't wait to read so I started on them on the way home (at one point, I dropped the booklet in the snow because my fingers were so damn cold. If you recall hearing a tremendously loud profanity in December 1997 and wondered where it came from, it was probably me).

In it, one of the band members explained the inspiration for the song a bit more fully.

The strong follow-up single "What are we gonna do?" parodied late period Beatles pop to cynically skewer the bumper-sticker mentality of all to many armchair environmentalists.


(Singer/songwriter John) Easdale recalls the song's genesis: "We played at the festival celebrating the 20th anniversary of Earth Day. Forget about the last 19 that nobody celebrated; 'It's the 20th anniversary, let's have a party!' And they did, at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.


When everyone left we looked at all the garbage left behind and wondered just what we were celebrating."

I know that there's an "official" video for this song but I haven't been able to locate it, or at least now in a format I can download. But the song still gets used, by those who are aware of it, to help "send a message". Best to click on the screen below to open the video in a separate window.

All right. Now it's April 21st and everybody knows tomorrow is Earth Day. Happy Birthday to whoever's being born. Those of you planning on participating, party responsibly. :-)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Run For One Planet


Actually, impressive. Staggering is more descriptive of what I'd do if I attempted this sort of thing. Man alive.

The Run for One Planet 2008/2009 North America Tour is our kick-off initiative – a carbon neutral year-long run around the continent by two Canadians, Matt Hill and Stephanie Tait, to inspire Environmental Action. Our goal is to run 1 marathon each a day, to inspire 1 million new actions for Earth and to raise $1 Million for our Foundation. To do this, we will be running 11,000-miles into communities, towns, and cities where we will run, speak, and inspire people to take simple daily actions, individually and corporately, to make a positive difference for the health of our planet.

I've joined their mailing list and I look forward to hearing about their progress. Last year I was hampered a little by our housing situation when it came to such activities but I'd like to be able to commit to a few of them this spring and summer. Maybe this is what "spring fever" is like for treehuggers. ;-) I'd like to maybe try to plan for one a month, whether it's a physical activity such as this one or a neighborhood clean-up event, something along those lines. Another caught my eye recently which I'll post more about later.

Upon return from our tour, all funds donated to the Run for One Planet Foundation will be used as seed money to launch subsequent Run for One Planet Marathons to serve as a Legacy of Action in some of the cities and towns we originally ran through.

In the unlikely event that either one of them is reading this, best of luck to you.

Click on the logo to reach their website.

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's All Good

Earlier this week, at work, I took the elevator down to the lobby with a co-worker. Someone had obviously just taken their breakfast up with them seconds before, because there was a strong bacon smell lingering in the elevator (which was a nice change from the smell of second-hand cigarette smoke, but that's a post for another day). I commented about how great it smelled.

"How can you like the smell of bacon? You're vegetarian!"

Ugh. Just because I won't eat something doesn't mean I can't appreciate its smell. I like the smell of gasoline but I never feel the urge to drink any.

Truthfully, I find these little moments funnier than I do frustrating. It's really just a matter of people speaking without thinking first. I can at least see the reasoning behind that comment, unlike those by folks who seem to assume that I eat nothing but pasta and lettuce.

Now I don't know if it's a spring thing or what, but I'm becoming more interested in learning how to cook. We've just bought a new BBQ (being delivered Monday) and the farmer's markets are going to be opening soon, so I'm getting the bug.

But man, am I ever brutal in a kitchen. I actually get stressed out, especially if I have to wait for something to cook. I become a wreck. It's just strange.

The problem with wanting to learn how to cook is that many books assume you already know the basics. But I don't. It's all I can do to make toast. Heaven help me if the butter's hard!

Here's an example from a meal I botched once; The recipe said to cook on "medium heat". Fine, off I go.

Before long I'm running around trying (and mostly failing) to prevent half my meal from being charred all to hell. Mrs THIT later tells me that I had the heat on too high.

Well, let's see...The twisty thing on the stove goes all the way to ten. Medium then, to me, would be, oh, about five. But no, apparently, that's too hot for "medium". Who the hell came up with this Klingon math??

Luckily, we may have found a nice little meal which will help me in both counts. It appears to be easy to prepare and if I bring it to work for lunch, it may help kill the perception that I live off carrot shavings.

Listen to these preparation instructions (or better yet, read them):

Add pouch to boiling water and boil for five minutes. Remove from water, carefully cut the package open and serve.

That sounds...manageable. It can also be prepared in the microwave in about two minutes. Three grams of fat, 26 grams of protein, 170 calories but look out; 20% of your sodium intake.

These are made from a product called gardein, which I didn't know existed until the first time we bought one. And wouldn't you know it, the package is apparently labelled with vegetable-based inks!

Is it identical to chicken? No. I always make it a point to state that because I would hate for someone to try it expecting no difference and being immediately turned off. It's a substitute and in my opinion, a pretty good one. If you're looking to reduce your meat consumption (for whatever reason motivates you) and/or seeking a quick meal option, you could do worse.