31 May 2009

Rainy Day Rissotto

Like much of what I do in the kitchen, these measurements are approximate as I generally am of the dump and pour method. This is as close as I can recreate.

1/4 c butter
1/4 c olive oil
2 Tbsp Chopped garlic
2 sundried tomato garlic spread
3 c rice
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
1.7 Litre veggie bullion
.5 Litre boiling water
2 tsp. cream cheese
1/3 c sour cream

melt the fat. sauté the garlic & spread. saute the rice. add vinegar. cook down. add enough liquid to cover rice. boil down. repeat until rice is soft, but not mushy. add the cream cheese and sour cream towards the end of cooking.

I am not a big fan of sun-dried tomatoes, but when they are not the only flavour, they are ok. For this dish i really liked it. It was pretty tangy, so probably a better side dish than main meal.

Little Miss Picky Pants said, "It's ok." - for those not familiar, that is a ringing endorsement.
His Sinfulness thought, "It is very good, and I garnished it with sun-dried tomato bits." - he likes sun-dried tomatoes much better than I do.
Teh Doctor, who was stranded "The texture was fantastic. Definitely firm creamy. The sour cream flavour lingers a little too long. And I went a little over board with the garnishing." - he also was excited by the sun-dried tomatoes.

30 May 2009

Work-out of the non-mental variety...

I realize that I need to exercise, and that it would in fact probably greatly reduce my stress levels, which in turn would reduce my headaches... however, stress has also sapped any minor motivation I might have had... this is a vicious cycle!

On a related note, there is an end in sight for my thesis.

23 May 2009

The use of animal byproducts

Warning: This post is heavy on the philosophizing and includes hot button topics of death, Christianity and veganism. If this is not your thing you may want to steer clear. Also, it is long.

This is a topic that has been much debated amongst various members of the flock - with strong proponents on both sides of the issue. The arguments range from corporate greed to health to evolution to personal pleasure. That is not what I want to talk about today. Today I want to talk about death.

Vegans are, with the possible exception of Christians, people who are more afraid of death than any other group I have encountered. This maybe because many of then were raised in a culture where the shadow of Christianity's fear of death has created a culture of youth that is unable to even talk about death. I don't know why it is, but most of the vegans I know, and know of, equate all death with cruelty and label all death as bad. There is a definite value judgement being placed on the ending of a life. In my experience value judgements are made out of two places - sometimes, they come from great joy; but, much more frequently, they arise out of fear. Now if you do not subscribe to a world-view where there is something after this life - be it heaven, reincarnation, or whatever - this fear makes sense. However, these same people are also frequently deeply spiritual people. I have to admit, this baffles me.

I understand, and even agree with, many of the arguments made about quality of life, health benefits, awareness and all of that, right up until they get to the point where death equals cruelty. That is where they loose me. None of the world-views that the vegans I know support this conclusion. Christians are only concerned with the life-after-death of humans, and it is supposed to be better than here. Buddhists believe in a cycle of reincarnation to end suffering - this one comes the closest to making sense to me, as your choices in this life effect your next incarnation, but death is a release into either the next incarnation or to enlightenment; it is the end of suffering. The Neo-Pagans I know come down on varying degrees between a summerlands-type heaven and a cycle of reincarnation, and the same issue that what comes next is something to look forward to applies to them.

So, if all these world-views see death as a good (or at least not bad) thing, why are vegans so opposed to it? Here we get to the value of life, which ones are more important and deserved to be preserved and which ones don't matter. It is argued by ethicists that the line sentience.The sentience line is usually drawn at the vertebrate/invertebrate line by science. But that is not the line that vegans take - otherwise lobster would be fine. And so would honey. So what is the line that makes some life ok to consume for sustenance and pleasure and other life, cruel. And who gets to decide where to step outside the cycle of life and death. Nothing lives except by the death of something else.

Now would probably be a good time to state that there are several points which vegans make that I completely agree with. That the quality of life of the animals we (omnivores) eat should be improved. And the giant corporate factory farms and animal testing do nothing to contribute to an improvement - or the ienvironment, or the health of developed nations. And that by making uninformed food choices which support these businesses, you perpetuate animal cruelty. I also think that it is important to consider all the consequences of your choices - especially food choices.

But by focusing on the death, I think that much is missed in the beautiful, natural cycles of the present.

18 May 2009


So, recently I was helping a friend determine the best ebook reader for her to buy, as she will be spending a year in China and books are heavy and take up space. Like me, the thought of a year without many easily accessed books was completely intolerable. So the solution was clearly an ebook reader. I was helping her for two reasons - (1)several of the blogs I read have talked a lot about different types of readers and (2)due to the space issue my insatiable book habit creates, I am going to get a reader in the fall, when I once again have funding. (n.b. moving is expensive!!)

We were not liking the Kindle, due to outrageous pricing, no external storage, and the general suckitude of #Amazonfail and their recent attempts to monopolize publishing in a not cool way. With all that in mind, we had decided to go the Sony route. Not only does Sony not suck, they have the deal with Google where you get 500,000 free books. Yay! Free! Books! Turns out however, that Sony is not compatible with Macs - both of us have a Mac. We love our Macs. We will not ever buy PCs again, unless they somehow manage to be as cool as Macs. Or the Devil starts ice-skating on his driveway.

So, no Sony. There was much with the sad face.

But Kindle still sucks.

Our phone conversation got cut off, and while I was waiting for her to call me back so we could figure out what to do, I read my daily blog posts. Turns out Smart Bitches post was on an ebook conference. Turns out there is a European company called Bookeen. Turns out they have a reader called Cybook. And it's compatible. With everything.

Turns out I WANT it.

16 May 2009

I am a big fan of "The Nietzsche Family Circus" and in light of all the paper grading I and many of my friends and acquaintances have done recently I thought this one was particularly apropos...