Archive for the ‘VENTilation’ category

5 Effective and (mostly) Safe Ways to VENT

June 20, 2008

Here are my favorite ways to safely vent when something really pisses me off or when Im just having an all around shitty day:

1- Curse.  Thats the beauty of curses — they are words that have a strong meaning, but theyre still just words.  Observe: “Hey dude, FUCK YOU!”  See?  I expressed my rage, but I dont really wanna fuck the dude in question. And I put so much effort into the expressive FUCK YOU pose that I actually let off some steam there.  Just dont curse out someone bigger than you…then it would cease being safe.

2- WORK OUT.  When I started working for a big financial firm my brother advised me:  “When you get stressed out, dont start using heroine, like most of your coworkers.  Just go to the gym and take all the stress and channel it into your workout.”  Seriously, Ive reached new limits at the gym by going when Im really pissed, and Im on the road to dieselness as a result.  Thanks for making me work last Saturday, douche bag boss.  Im gonna turn that into washboard abs, get really sexy, and screw your wife.

 “Yea, I’m gonna need you to go ahead and work this weekend, mmkaay? That’d be greAaat.”  This dude will have you cleaning out your ab lines with a Q-tip in no time.

3- Call your best friend and ramble in a really loud voice about everything thats stressing you out.  A good best friend will let you do 95% of the talking, interjecting only occasionally to express understanding or empathetic rage (e.g. “What, she really did that?? Youre right, she is a fucking whore!”).  Keep going until youre exhausted and youll find yourself able to conclude the call by saying, yea this fuckin sucks but, whatever dude, I guess shit happens.  And isnt that the goal of venting?  I think it is.

4- WRITE.  I was gonna include this as a variation of #3 because writing can be a form of rambling, but writing is different in a way because it takes longer and, most importantly, it’s tangible.  You can see what youve written, read it over, and edit it.  Editing it is really important because it can be a slow process, and reviewing your rambled writing really forces you to think conscientiously about what youre feeling.  Taking care to memorialize your thoughts can be incredibly therapeutic.  The final draft often coincides with a feeling of closure, and you can move on after that.   Blogs are a great option. Some prefer writing with their own blood on the doors of people that broke their hearts.  Either works fine.  (Crap I forgot that these are supposed to be safe ways…that’s really limiting.  Ok…use fake blood…or ketchup. But trust me, it’s not as effective.)

5- CHOKE A PUPPY.  Preferably a small one.  A poodle perhaps.  YES!…Im just imagining myself walking in the ritzy Upper East Side and jumping one of those filthy rich snooty ladies, pulling the pure bred groomed poodle out of her $2000 leather bag and choking it until its tail stops wagging.  Wow thats already cheering me up, and Im not even stressed out! This method IS safe (for you, not the puppy) as long as the poodle doesnt have sharp teeth and the lady doesnt have pepper-spray.

Ok FINE #5 is not a good way to vent, but I forgot what #5 was supposed to be and I cant remember for the life of me. 

Im open to suggestions.

Save the Bananas

June 18, 2008

Just shouting out this interesting NYT article about the rising cost of bananas and the threat they face in the form of a new virus affecting plantations across the world.  Bananas are my favorite fruit and the thought of losing them truly terrifies me.  Why is there not a Save the Bananas charity out there somewhere?  I get mail every day from associations asking me to donate to the Save the Humpback Whale fund and Gonorrhea Research fund (both worthy causes) but Save the Bananas should be right up there.

Chiquita Banana is one sexy fruit.

The article was also really interesting because it explains how the fruit was originally brought into the US and describes the immense power that the largest American fruit companies wielded over foreign nations reliant on income from banana exports.  It reminds us that we as consumers need to make informed decisions about what we buy and pressure our manufacturers to abide by certain standards of conduct.  This way the banana can come to be a symbol of international democracy…in addition to being delicious. 

This extreme weather is scaring the crap out of me.

June 9, 2008

Weren’t we here in NY just complaining 2 weeks ago about how we were enduring an impossibly long winter, causing us to wear sweaters deep into May?  And now were on the verge of topping 100 degrees in early June, setting a new record?  And this humidity is like an energy-zapping parasite that drains the life  out of people.  You can’t breathe out there.    This is scary to me because even though we all know by now that industrialism has taken toll on the environment, the rate of tangible change is more rapid than I ever thought possible.  I grew up here, and the weather was so different then.  I can imagine telling my kids this story one day:

 “When I was your age, we had 4 seasons.” 

“Wow, really papa! Is that true? Four whole seasons!” 

“That’s right kids.  Summer, winter, and two things called Spring and Autumn.  They were magical things.  We had breezes, and air you could breathe easily.” 

“Wow papa!  Can you tell us the seasons story again!” 

“Sure.  When I was you age…”

Be sure to hold onto your Spring and Autumn memories so you can tell your kids about them one day. 

Oh, and also….START TAKING CARE OF THE FREAKING ENVIRONMENT by conserving as much as you can and being conscious of the effects of your consumption.  We only have one world. Let’s take care of it.

Turkish Court Bans Headscarf In Universities — Again

June 6, 2008

This really pissed me off.   I’m going to Turkey for a few months on vacation; it has always been my dream vacation.  I think about it as a crossroads of modern human history, where so many civilizations have made their mark on the world, a mark whose beauty is reflected today in the diversity of the Turkish culture.

That’s why I was so pissed off by the news report today that the Turkish High Court overturned a legal change issued by Prime Minister Erdogan that would allow women to where the headscarf at Turkish universities on the grounds that the change violated laws protecting Turkish secularism.

Read that sentence again.  The purpose of the overturned legal change wasn’t to require women to wear the headscarf; it was to allow women who choose to wear it to attend a Turkish university. 

I know the history of Turkey is complex and that there is a strong general desire to protect secular laws from religious extremism, but this isn’t a question of zealotry or “Islamism” or security.  It is a question of liberty, justice, and equality.  Secularism can be maintained while preserving individual liberties.  These kind of laws cannot be made to assuage irrational fears; think about where the U.S. would be if lawmakers and courts never took a stand against irrational and often ignorant public opinion. The decision of the high court is appalling because Turkey is trying so hard to kiss EU ass and prove that it is progressive, yet refuses to pass laws securing individual liberties for it’s own citizens (the other well known grievance is the strict code of expressive censorship Turkey enforces). The courts are also considering banning Erdogan and his widely popular AKP party from politics altogether…they have banned entire parties in the past and are expected to do it again here.  

Obviously there are many other countries in the same boat, but I guess I just expect more from Turkey.  I am also especially sensitive to human rights violations that are validated by the courts…I place a lot of faith in court systems as the guardians against corruption, and I feel indignant when they instead become the purveyors of it (I wrote about a similar story a few months ago regarding a US supreme court decision).

Here’s hoping that Turkey can be a place where all people are afforded equal rights, and that any protests that result from this decision are widespread, yet peaceful.

My 5 Minute Journey Into Vegan-ism

June 3, 2008

Five minutes. Yea, it didn’t go so well. I’m slightly ashamed.

On the other hand, the ice cream I’m eating right now is so damn good.

I started thinking about cutting animal products out of my diet after reading a lot of blogs about how vegan and raw food diets can really transform the way we look and feel, for the better. The testimonials are boundless in praise, relating the stories of people who swear to have twice the energy, half the fat, buns of steel, filled in bald spots, whiter teeth, better LSAT scores, cheaper gas, and farts that smell like roses. And as I’ve been becoming more health conscious, cutting the crap out of my diet and going to the gym more, I said to myself, hey, I want me some roses. And if I can avoid the 2-hour long food coma that I endure after most hearty servings of meat, then that would be an added bonus.

So the next day I wake up ready to live the lean-and-green life. I usually walk straight to the kitchen from bed to make coffee and a small breakfast. That usually includes eggs. (Mmm. Soft, warm, creamy eggs. Vegan diet or not, eating too many eggs probably isn’t good for you, but I haven’t slowed down..theyre so easy to make, can be prepared in so many ways, and are just about the best thing in the world for breakfast. God made eggs so that people could eat breakfast. It’s true.) Clearly, I knew ahead of time that I couldn’t eat eggs if I wanted to be a vegan. I’d just find something else to eat.

Easier said than done.

Cereal? Need milk. Oatmeal? Need milk. (oatmeal with water is NOT an option). Soy milk is an option, just not a good one, far as I’m concerned (although ice cold chocolate soy milk is delicious). Cheese? Uhh, no can do. Bread? Ok, I can eat bread. Let me spread some butter on that…crap, can’t eat butter. Fruit? Why not… oh wait, that orange in my fridge is a big ball of penicillin…ok, how about that banana. Yes, bananas are great. I’ll have a banana with my coffee..my black coffee. Ugh, I don’t drink black coffee. Guess I will today…gonna have to go a little heavy on the sugar though…there, ok, not too bad. Damn, I’m still hungry. What’s that shiny thing over there? It’s a little heart shaped chocolate thingy…mmm, little heart shaped chocolate thingy looks tasty. Yes it’s the morning, but only good things can come from a little heart shaped chocolate thingy. Gotta get this damn foil wrapper off…mmmm, this is some delicious milk chocolate. Oh, CRAP.

As is usually the case with diets, chocolate was the culprit.

Yes, MILK chocolate. As in anti-vegan chocolate. Ehh, whatever dude. Throw some eggs on the griddle and let me get back to reality.

Now, I know that there were plenty of other things I could have eaten; I’m only pretending to be this ignorant, I swear. But the truth is that being a vegan – or making any other radical change to your diet, or any other daily routine – takes a lot of planning, especially when you start. You need to really make a commitment to it, and that means shopping properly so that you don’t feel like you’re denying yourself every time you see a heart shaped chocolate thingy staring you down. And there are actually plenty of things a vegan can eat…

…but not too many things that don’t cost twice as much as stuff a vegan can’t eat. Vegan-friendly food, and even healthy food in general, is expensive. Everything is expensive these days, but go to a health food store and stock up for a week, and then go to a regular supermarket and compare the bills. It’s crazy! I cringe every time I pass by the produce stand near me and see the price of avocados (my favorite thing in the world…$2 each!), but I still manage to eat healthy by sticking to basic vegetables. And though I save money by never buying prepared foods, I still sacrifice by rarely buying things I love to eat cuz they cost too much — fish, red meat, good cheese, fancy condiments — and being a vegan would take the sacrifice thing to a whole new level.

Not only is price a concern, but the ingredients found in a diverse vegan diet — what planet are they from? Try to make some vegan and raw food diet recipes and you’ll find yourself in Mongolia looking for a rare root that grows only in the mountains between June 4 and June 12. Wheatgrass, hemp seeds, bee pollen, seaweed..this stuff is not found in the typical Queens supermarket. Goya does not make tofu seasoning.

Dinner? Do I look like a freaking rabbit? Diets like this are what make Ben & Jerry’s so successful.

Vegan and raw food diets become especially difficult if you’re trying to cut down on the carbs. It would be a whole lot easier if I didn’t mind eating rice and pasta for dinner every night, but I do, because I’m trying to cut down my body fat and get in shape. That bread I saw that morning for breakfast? i could have eaten it with peanut butter and that would have been fine. But I don’t want a big piece of bread for breakfast every morning…I love it, but it isn’t great for you and it gets boring after a while. Take out the carbs, and these diets become damn near impossible.

Of course I know that it CAN be done, and many people do it everyday. But instead of making a huge leap, I’m just gonna take it one step at a time. I’ve started by adding a lot more veggies to my diet, and have gotten used to eating less meat. After that I can work on cutting back on the eggs and milk. As for the sweet treats like ice cream and chocolate, I actually prefer sorbets and dark chocolate anyway, and buying expensive fresh fruits can be my reward for eating well. I doubt I’ll ever come to the point where I’m having a seaweed shake for lunch every day, but I don’t have to in order to enjoy a healthy diet. I think the moral of the story is that as long as we are conscious of what we are putting into are bodies and moderate our intake, a healthy lifestyle can be achieved.

I’ll start right after I finish this ice cream.

Thinking about renting out your apartment? Be warned!

May 21, 2008

People are weird.  Especially people you meet online. And if you’re planning on letting these weird people you meet online rent out your apartment, do yourself a favor and think about it real hard.

I’m planning on going away for a few days and figured I’d try to recoup some of the money I’m spending on my trip by following the lead of a few friends and renting out my apartment when I’m not there.  Basically, the idea is that if you’re going away for a while on vacation, and being you in a tourist hot-spot, there would probably be a bunch of people who’d be willing to rent out your place while they are in town.  Sure, my place might be considered a slight downgrade from the Mandarin Oriental, but it’s a nice apartment in a great location, and not staying in a five-star hotel means that the guest won’t pay five-star prices. I’m just looking for a normal dude who wants a cheap, comfy place to sleep and shower.  Not too much to ask for, right?

OK, the view from the Mandarin is pretty nice… but my fire escape/laundromat view is right up there.OK, the view from a suite at the Mandarin is pretty nice.  I don't mind my fire escape/laundromat view that much though...

Well, it didn’t quite work out that way for me. 

I put an ad on craigslist and only got one response (I posted it kinda late).  I spoke to the woman on the phone and she sounded really polite and sincere.  She was visiting from Florida and her parents were visiting from India, and they have family that lives in the area, but they didn’t want to stay with them (understandably).  We arranged for her parents, who were already in town, to come see the place that night. 

So they get there, and they seem normal enough.  Pretty quiet.  They bring their brother-in-law. He goes into the bathroom and stays there for five minutes.  I’m near the door.  No tinkling sounds.  This dude is totally snooping through my meds…or taking them (was actually hoping he’d take some deodorant, because the dude was stank).  The parents are walking around, not saying much but exchanging a few comments in Hindi.  We start shooting the breeze a bit, and they seem very friendly and interesting.  By now the brother-in-law is laying on my couch, perusing my coffee table books.  Things are going well with the parents, until:

Mother: Your apartment is very nice.

Me: Thank you.

Father: But, uh, can you move some things?

Me: Huh? Oh yea, sure, I’ll clear space on the dresser for you guys to put your things on, no problem.

Father: No, uh, other things. 

Me: What things?

Father: These things (pointing to picture frames littered throughout the room) and those things (pointing to the posters on my wall).

Me: What? You want me to take down my pictures and posters?

Father:  Uhh Yes. Yes.

Me:  Why?  You know this only for a few days, right?

Father: Yes.

Me:  So then…? (giving a wtf are you talking about look)

Father: Maybe someone will come who doesn’t like those posters and these other things.

Me: What? Why not? Who will come?  Are you planning on having guests?

(Father abruptly pulls out a phone and starts talking to someone in Hindi for 3 minutes, then turns back to me)

Father:  (Looking at wife, then me) OK, we will be frank.  Some people will come to see us here.  (pause) And they cannot see these things. (pause) We would not keep these things in our house. (pause..notices my intensifying glare) OK, because, we are going to tell them that we live here.  That this is our apartment.  So we cannot have these pictures. You see now…you know the truth!

Me: But, how would, why would, are you saying that..

Father: Yes YES exactly! You see now! I am a hindu priest, I cannot have these things! Hookah? No I don’t smoke a hookah, you have to hide this.  And these children [in the pictures], they know my daughter, these are not my children. You see now!?

Me: ………..

Mother: You don’t have to take down everything.

Father: No, no. Just this, that one, these things, yes just take them down, those things, yes see it can come down quickly (nearly ripping poster)..

Me: Don’t touch that poster!

Father: Ok you can do that later of course. Ok so here is some money where do I sign?

Me: Um yea I don’t know about this..

Father:  Oh yes dont worry here take the money we have to go now take the deposit call my daughter to arrange dont worry heresthemoneycalldaughter.

(Door closes behind them)

Ok.  WTF just happened?  Telling people they live here?  How many freaking people were they gonna have over? Why would they lie about that? What else are they lying about?  If there weren’t posters that wouldve busted there cover and would have been impossible to discreetly remove, would they have bothered to tell me this? I doubt it.  And I don’t like the idea of them moving all of my pictures, plaques, posters, arab-esque decor and anything else suggesting that this apartment is not usually inhabited by a conservative Hindu Indian couple in their 60s, which would be a whole lot of stuff.  I’m not trying to come home and re-decorate my apartment, or worse, see something missing and have to put a 60 year old Hindu priest in a head-lock.  Not to mention the fact that they seemed ready to have a Diwali party in my apartment (I thought that wouldn’t be a concern with 60+ year old guests)… and if I came home to see the tall, lanky brother-in-law sitting on the couch, wearing my underwear and watching a pay-per-view bollywood movie, I’d have to kick his ass, then just set my apartment on fire and find a new place to live. 

Actually coming home to this Diwali party would be pretty fun… 

Even if none of this actually happened, having these thoughts run through my head is not my idea of peace of mind, and that is something even more valuable than the small amount of money I wouldve gained for the short rental.  How much value it has to you is something you should strongly consider if you’re ever in the same boat.

McCain’s Pastor is Way Crazier than Obama’s

May 14, 2008

They’re all over a web, but here’s a video of McCain’s Pastor, Rod Parsley, on a rant about his view of America’s sacred mission. 

WTF is up with all these crazy pastors?  Obama’s pastor flipped on him and this dude Parsley is straight-up deranged.  There are some key differences, however, between the two Reverends and the candidates they are linked to. 

Obama’s pastor didn’t have a rep for being crazy until he turned on him, and when he started making all these crazy comments, Obama went out and publicly renounced him.  McCain never renounced Parsley despite making comments that were far more hostile and egregiously inflammatory.  On the contrary, He has actually welcomed the support.  Moreover, seeing as this is not a case where there is some kind of feud or rift between the two (as with Obama/Wright), I cannot imagine that Parsley just came up with this crazy shit recently… I’d wager that he’s been “preaching” (more like spewing) this crap from day 1.  I don’t know about you, but the thought of a guy who has a decent shot at becoming the president of the United States sitting down in church (as I would imagine he has, as he brings up religion and spirituality quite often) listening to Parsley say the kinda stuff he said in this video, nodding and hallelujah-ing and going through the motions and coming back the next week, it just makes me a little queasy.  And by a little I mean a lot. Don’t you think that if Rev. Wright never publicly insulted Obama, or even if he actually still supported him, but made the same kind of comments  as Parsley makes regularly, Barack Obama would renounce any ties with him immediately? 

I think he would. 

Who knows, maybe these pastors are just gloryhogs who want their day in the limelight.  But these dudes don’t preach in front of empty seats, so maybe we should look a little closer to find the root of the problem.  It’s a cryin shame that these politicians would probably catch more flack for not having a pastor than they would for having one who is a malicious psycho.

How sad is that?