Friday, September 30, 2011

The Bad Soldier

I'm going through my old journals again. Now that I see what crap writing it is--in my early 20s I worked hard to show off my purplest prose--I have nothing against throwing these things away. I was in a long-distance relationship back then and I went on and on about how it was perfect, it was the one thing I'd been waiting for, etc. I was completely mistaken, but I clung to it so desperately I tried to convince myself of it in my own journals.

Later journals show me that this was not a one-time thing. I was in a pretty bad relationship some years ago, and my journal entries each started with a devotional about why that girl was so good for me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Corruption of Facebook and Google

Now I don't know what to do. Facebook and Google are donating money to conservative lobbyists and hiring conservative consultants. I don't wish to support these actions with my continued presence on their services.

But they are the Big Two, there is no one else besides them. If I stop using Facebook, well, they've already embedded software in every user's computer to track their movements online, ostensibly to make logging onto Facebook swifter and easier. And they never let you delete your account. You think it's deleted, you wait past the one month deletion period, and it seems it's still intact as though you hadn't taken any action to remove it.

If I stop using Google products, I lose years of blogging in Blogger and years of communication with Gmail. I lose simple photo editing in Picasa, and I lose the superior web search capacity of Google itself. They've got their fingers in more and more pies, but with their nose up the Republican pie-hole, I'm disgusted at my association with them.

Now what? How do I leave so people can still find me, and how do I research the political leaning of any place I might go? Yahoo and Microsoft are at least as corrupt; where do Tumblr and Wordpress stand? Do I really have to resort to Bravenet and Mail.com? I'm pretty spoiled: I've got free e-mail, web hosting, calendar, microblogging, blogging, image storage, and social networking. It'll be hard to find all that in one package again--more like three or four parcels that I have to rope together.

And when I go, I go alone: there is no way I can convince a substantial chunk of my friends and family to come with and strike out on this tough row to hoe. I've only led them from inferior services to superiors ones, and I've asked them several times to make these transitions. I've cashed in all my chips, there is no way anyone will expend the effort to live a guilt-free life of inconveniences when they've already got their roots dug in very deeply in Facebook (and, slowly, G+, whose greatest advantage is that it's invisible to parents). People will ridicule me for being reactionary and paranoid, but conservatives have repeatedly demonstrated themselves to be soulless, money-worshipping, war-mongering xenophobes, homophobes, sexists, and racists. The news is full of their hypocrisy, waving the Bible as a weapon against education while repeatedly getting caught in homosexual trysts and defying the word of Jesus to oppress the poor, aged, ill, and otherwise defenseless. The news is full of them shooting themselves in the foot, compromising their own goals, just to prevent any measurable success of the first black president.

That is who Facebook and Google are giving thousands and millions of dollars to, more and more each year. I cannot in good conscience be associated with either of them, no matter what it costs me to sever these ties. If I register protests to them, my words are guaranteed surer than anything else in this world to fall on deaf ears. The only response is to vote with my boots, but I don't know where to go after this.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Afternoon Reflections

It's been a pretty good day so far. I start work in two days, so Monday and Tuesday are valuable as my final two wide-open vacation days. When you're unemployed, days and hours tend to bleed into each other and it's easy to lose them in weeks and months. But when you have a job, nothing's more prized than a day off. People are so funny, where "funny" is a euphemism for more unflattering and accurate descriptors.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ten Current Lists

What's listing? Oh, I'll tell you what's listing. My wife commented that she's sick of lists being overused in journalism. I pointed out that the list is a mainstay of social commentary and reporting, which she conceded but suggested that it's a bit overused as a technique. So I thought I'd look around and see what lists are currently receiving airplay.
  1. 10 Handy iPhone Apps for Home Improvement
  2. Top 20 Richest Americans
  3. Top 50 Restaurants Most Fit for Foodies
  4. Toys R Us 2011 Holiday 15 Hottest Toys
  5. Ten States with Highest Domestic Violence Fatalities
  6. Top 10 New Foods at 2011 State Fairs
  7. Ten Colleges with Most Expensive Room & Board
  8. 10 Most Anticipated Light Heavyweight UFC Matches
  9. Top 10 Warren Buffet Dividend Stocks
  10. Top10.com - not a list, but a top-ten list generator
Please excuse lists for being a convenient way to simplify complicated information for attention-deficit consumers, okay? They're just trying to help. It's not like everyone gets nuance, you know.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Second Night of Cleansing

The boredom has been replaced by physical pain. So much fruit... my body can't handle all this sugar. Rebecca baked some kale chips to snack on, and they're pleasantly crunchy but unpalatable without... okay, I cheated. I took a shot of Tabasco Steak Sauce to wash down a mouthful of these things. I was just really hungry, I was about 500 calories short of my minimum daily required intake, I had to eat something. I couldn't shove another banana down my gullet.

Today I'm headachy and dizzy. After three cups of green tea I've gotten the headache down to a manageable level. I cannot take any more grapes, though. I'm seriously going to bite into the side of a gourd and grimace and choke it down just to feel something in my stomach. Neither of us have pooped since starting this cleansing, either. What the hell? Do all these mystical and unnameable "toxins" just crystalize and flake out of our skin? Turn into vapor? With all this vegetable fiber and tea, why have we stopped pooping?

The boredom is crushing. I can't even pick up a pen to write another segment of letter. I thought I'd get a lot of writing done today but it's not happening. I did read the entire first half of Hilary Winthrop's My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me, and I used my allotted online time to research who this creepy boyfriend was. Now I know, and it's hard to look at a picture of him without thinking about all his sexual hangups, his OCD, his bizarre feeding restrictions, etc. If I'd just seen him on the street I merely would've written him off as a douche, but knowing as much as I do about him, it's hard to look his image in the eye without needing a shower.

But the boredom. I took two naps last night, slept a full eight hours, and had another nap in mid-day just because of the boredom. We tried playing a board game but we're both so malnourished and irritable that it ended badly. I should be disappointed in myself: if the grid went down, I'd be the one stripping off my clothes, smearing my body in scavenged exterior all-weather latex paint, and howling from the tops of abandoned buildings just to have something to do. I would not be Honest John, patching up my cabin with horse manure, whittling a bear out of a stick, playing songs about crossing rivers on my banjo.

Now, just to mix things up, I'm going to go wash my dress shirts because I have an interview tomorrow. I wonder what I'm allowed to eat on this cleansing to prepare me adequately for this.

First Night of Cleansing

Let me tell you: life is boring without meat or electronic gadgets. I started reading a book and fell asleep immediately, around 9:30 PM. I woke up around 11 PM and now it's midnight and I should be asleep. Guess I could try to read another book.

That's so strange, because I've read books before. I got two Sheridan le Fanu collections from the library, I'm rereading three Wodehouse novels in search of a unique word I can't recall, I'm no stranger to sitting down with a book and focusing. But today it knocked me out.

No meat, dairy, processed sugar, or bread. I've been snacking on bananas, grapes, and almonds. I tried unsalted sunflower seeds but they tasted like beige. I'm allowed to go online to blog my progress, and I should contribute to my story-a-day blog too, but it's quarter after midnight and I feel like I should attempt to adjust my sleep schedule to normal parameters.

So, without video games, I tried to sit down and write a long letter. I successfully used up the ink in one pen (one personal goal has been to use up pens completely before disposing of them) but the letter isn't done and I had a hard time thinking of things to say to complete it. What I'm going to get out of this cleansing is some discipline and focus, I hope, because I don't seem to have it now.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cleansing Body and Psyche

Today's Monday the 19th day of September, and I'm going to embark on a three-day cleansing with my wife, Rebecca. She says mine only has to be two days, since I have a job interview on Weds., but I'm going to go all the way with it because jobs have impinged upon my health long enough. I'm in my early 40s, I can no longer be so cavalier with my intake, exercise, and sleeping patterns. (If I'm freaking out by then, however, of course I'll permit myself a coffee and a breakfast bar.)

What all does this entail? I'm not sure: I'm leaving it all up to my wife, who has clear direction and goals, and just following along. Would I have undergone a cleansing by myself? Maybe someday if I were really bored and feeling particularly flush, but probably not. Instead, left to my own devices, I probably would just double-down on healthful living, start exercising more, eat more fresh and raw veggies, cut down on meat--it was so interesting to live in Asian nations where meat is only a flavoring and not a dish or serving. My poops over there were like little report cards of passing grades for my GI tract. In the States and eating what Americans eat... it's much more depressing and sometimes alarming, and that was on top of rapidly regaining all the weight I'd lost by backpacking and eating stir-fried peppers and onions.

Right now I'm drinking hot water and squeezed lemon juice. I won't say "fresh" because, unless you live on a farm, subscribe to a CSA, you can't buy fresh food in the U.S. It's not available to you.

Anyway. Now starts the cleanse so maybe once a day I'll update how it's going here. Maybe less.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Best Coffee Shop in Minneapolis for Writers

Location: 2408 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55405, USA
I need to find the best coffee shop in Minneapolis... for writers.

By no stretch am I a coffee snob: I can pick out bad coffee very quickly (it usually exists in business offices) but I don't know where to find a well-made cup of coffee. I know the best cup of espresso comes from Bean Counter, but that's the sum and whole of my expertise. But more than this, I need to find a nice place to hang out and write--on my laptop or in my notebook--because I want to make a go at writing and getting published. It's difficult to do this in my own home because I'm so easily distracted, and I've amassed a good quantity of awesome stuff that I can go straight to, which is terrible for focusing on writing. And so I need a change of scenery, I need to get out and find a local business with an atmosphere conducive to quiet contemplation and the creative process. Vous savvez?