Thursday, April 30, 2015

Whole 30: Day 4 Kill All The Things!

Day 4 on the Whole 30 and I feel pretty good. I'm still not sleeping perfectly, but I'm rising early (like super early 5:30-6:30) feeling refreshed, which hasn't happened for a long time. And I feel slimmer. Now I may not in a few days according to the program, but for now, I do.

Today is "Kill All The Things Day" for me. So far, I don't feel like killing all the things. Of course, I haven't had my unemployment appeal ye It which takes place in 2 hours. Then we'll see if I want to kill all the things.

Let's talk coffee for a moment. Coffee is totally allowed on the Whole 30. However, anything you'd ever want to put in it is not. My friend Gae Polisner (author of books The Pull of Gravity and The Summer of Letting Go, which you should all buy) told me to try organic coconut oil in the coffee. I did that. It helped with the taste enough to drink it, but of course, there was that oiliness to it that was kind of barfable. I decided to try compliant coconut milk today. It didn't taste as good, but no oily texture. Soooo, I have no idea which I prefer. Probably the oil. I think. I think I'll have another cup and compare.

Even though you're only eating protein, fruits, veggies and fats, you still need to watch your portion size. Here is a guide (as given by the Whole 30, I didn't make this shit up).

Protein = size of your palm
Veggies = after you fill your plate with your protein, fill the rest with veggies
Fruit = I don't remember how exactly they explained it in the book, but pretty much a size you can hold in one hand with with fingers wrapped around it. Does that make sense?
Oils & Butters = Thumb size
Coconut and & Olives  = Handful
Nuts & Seeds = what you an fit in a closed handful.

If I'm explaining that horribly (which I'm pretty sure I am), they have a printout with pictures to show you. They have a lot of helpful printouts actually.

One more thing. I went to my local store to look for LaCroix so I could make the mocktails and my store only had two giant packs, lemon and grapefruit flavored. There is a store nearby that probably has more (I really wanted the coconut), but I was too tired to go there yesterday. I bought Arrowhead Sparkling (AS) instead. There are substitutes, just make sure you read the labels to ensure there are no added sugars.

So anyway, I bought AS in lemon, black cherry, and watermelon, er, I think strawberry (or kiwi, can't remember). I made the mocktail that LaCroix calls Mimi's Mimosa Mocktail.  Of course, instead of the juice, I used fresh squeezed. If you want the Cadillac of citrus juicers, get the Big Boss 8962. It juices oranges in seconds. I put orange slices in as well. It was pretty good. I changed the name of it to Megan's Marvelous Mockmosa. I bought frozen berries, oranges, lemons and limes to add. I also have kiwi and pineapple. I'm going to have a good time with these I think.

I'm going to hit the other store today and see about the other flavors.

So here's the menu from yesterday:

Pork sausage patty
1 egg

Green salad with Tessamae's Balsamic dressing
Avocado (about 1/4)
Topped the salad with leftover grass fed London broil
Red grapes

Roasted sweet potatoes and brussell sprouts
(I couldn't eat it all)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Whole 30: Day 3

I made it this far, but I feel like I can't see straight and that I got hit by a bus. So there's that. I'll
explain that in a bit.

The Whole 30. I didn't really explain it much yesterday, just that I was doing it and why. These are the basics. It's about taking foods out of your diet that have a negative impact on your well being. I'm just going to give you the skinny today. For in-depth commentary, you'll have to visit The Whole 30 website.

  1. Don't eat sugar of any kind, real or artificial.
  2. No alcohol in any form, even for cooking.
  3. Do not eat grains.
  4. Do not eat legumes.
  5. Do not eat dairy.
  6. Do not consume carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites.
  7. Do not try to recreate baked goods, junk foods, or treats with The Whole 30 approved foods. That defeats the purpose.(There are a few exceptions, like you can use fruit juice but you can't drink it, you can only use it to sweeten things. You can use ghee or clarified butter. If you're on your death bed you can consume medication with alcohol in it, though they would want you to try to find a natural remedy first. Others you'll find at their website)
  8. You are not allowed to step on a scale or take measurements during The Whole 30. Yes. Do it before.
  9. You have to do it and be faithful to it for 30 days. If you go off, you start over.
Then there are the first few days. I'm on day 3 and I'm about to explain about my first sentence in this blog.

Day 1: What's the big deal? You're feeling satisfied, it isn't hard. It's a piece of cake. You tell everyone you know about it.
Day 2 & 3: The Hangover. Yes, this is where I am. The pre-Whole 30 food bender of pizza, wine, nachos, margaritas and whatnot is hitting you where it hurts. The amount of bad you feel is proportionate to the amount of bad you ate prior to The Whole 30. Expect headaches, fatigue, and malaise, but don't give up. I took a 2 hours nap and I'm still tired. Drink some water and get through it.
Day 4 & 5: Kill All the Things: For some reason, I'm looking forward to this day. (JK) You are
overcome with the desire to punch people in the face. They have no idea why this happens, but it does. Just warn people in advance and ask forgiveness when it's over. Don't give up.
Day 6 & 7: I Just Want to Nap.  Your body is learning not to rely on those easy access energy sources like sugar and grains. Don't worry, it will learn how to give you fuel in other ways, so don't give up.
Day 8 & 9: For the Love of Gosling, My Pants Are Tighter! The process is still working, your digestion is adjusting. As your body processes this food effectively, you could experience, um, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea. Really, this phase passes quickly, so still, don't give up.
Day 10 & 11: The Hardest Days. Uh, yeah, you thought those previous 9 days were bad, I guess it's going to get worse. You'll get frustrated that the program isn't working it's "magic" yet. You're still establishing your meal routine, you'll start noticing the food you can't have, you'll see what hold food had on you. Find a way to reward yourself that doesn't include food. Yeah, you're intolerable right now, but you're closer. Don't give up.

That's all I'm going to give you. For the rest, visit this page: The Whole 30 Timeline.

So, I was going to mow my law today because I'm sure my neighbors hate me, but I'm not sure I have the energy. I think I'll try anyway.

So yesterday, this is what I ate:

Pork sausage patty
Mushrooms and onions

Chicken thigh
Green salad with tomato, avocado and mushrooms
Topped with Tessamae's Lemon Garlic dressing ( only brand of dressing that's Whole 30 approved, I found it at my local store, but they also have a website. They will also tell you which of their products are Whole 30 approved)
I tried Kombucha, but it tasted like butt, so I gave up.

Balsamic drizzled pan-seared London Broil (OMG I got it on the "old meat" rack. It was cheap)
Roasted sweet potato wedges
Small spinach salad with tomatoes and strawberries
Topped with Tessamae's Balsamic dressing

I also get tired of drinking plain water. Sometimes I drink water with lemon, but that still gets boring. Yesterday I did this thing to the left here. I added strawberries. It was better. THEN I find out AFTER I sip the liquid of ass Kobucha (and if you see how they make it, you'll see why it tastes like ass) I find out that LaCroix bubbly goodness in every flavor is Whole 30 approved. WTF?!?


Going back to the store today to get some and going to try some of their Mocktails Most of them include fruit juice. Just squeeze fresh fruit into your water or use frozen or fresh fruit instead of the fruit juice.

Until tomorrow when I'll feel like KILLING ALL THE THINGS! Which really isn't so different from a normal day for me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Whole 30

I was going to write about the rioting in Baltimore or the Religious Bigotry, I mean Freedom Act, but I started the Whole 30 yesterday and a friend said she hoped I would blog about it. So here I am. I heard about the Whole 30 from a friend last week. She had not done it specifically, but done some Paleo eating and said she had never felt better in her life, plus she looked like she probably dropped some weight.

She used to suffer from Fibromyalgia. She said that after eating Paleo for a while, her fatigue went away and her aches and pains. She said it also helps with many other ailments, including Chronic Fatigue Syndrom (CFS) and other things we just may not like about ourselves.  If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that recently I was diagnosed with CFS. You also know that it took a couple years to diagnose and that I absolutely hate it. When my doctor told me I just had to live with it and learn how to love myself this way, I was like "Hell no!" So when my friend told me how it helped her, I thought I would give it a shot.

Let me say this first and foremost: The Whole 30 is not a "diet." Yes, it will probably help you lose weight, but it's more about your body, mind, and soul. This is a lifestyle change.  This is supposed to improve everything about you and make you realize that you don't need all the extras you eat and make you NOT want to go back to the way you were eating.

Now, I'm just starting, so I have no proof about this, but here is a list of only some of the things the plan can do for you according to the Whole 30:

Inner physical rewards:
  1.  Fewer blemishes
  2. Glowing skin
  3. No more circles under your eyes
  4. Stronger nails
  5. Thicker hair
  6. Fresher breath 
  7. Flatter stomach
  8. Defined muscle tone
  9. Looking younger
Outward physical rewards:
  1. Less stiff and painful joints
  2. Fewer PMS symptoms
  3. Increased libido *cough*
  4. Less gas, bloating, heartburn, acid reflux and all the other nasty stuff that comes with a bad stomach
  5. Fewer illnesses
  6. Fewer allergies
  7.  Less chronic fatigue (YAY!!)
  8. Less chronic pain
  9. Improved blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar
Emotional rewards:

  1. Happier
  2. More patient
  3. Less anxious
  4. Less stressed
  5. Fewer mood swings
  6. Improved depression
  7. Fewer sugar and carb cravings
  8. Better body image
  9. More self esteem
 Brain function improvement:
  1. Improved attention span
  2. Improved work or school performance
  3. Improved memory
  4. Faster reaction time
  5. Fewer ADHD symptoms
  6. Clearer thinking
I'm going to stop there because they tout SO MANY more benefits. Basically on top of all the above, you'll sleep better, have more  energy for EVERYTHING!! You will exercise more, harder and better. You will have a better relationship with food and rid yourself of cravings, emotional eating, using food as a reward, etc.

In a nutshell, you will be awesome.

For me, the physical, emotional and brain rewards are where it's at. If I can improve my energy, lessen my fatigue and allergies, and get a clearer head, I'm good to go.

So, what's involved? I will talk more about that tomorrow because this blog is getting really long. I want to tell you how my first day went.

It went fine except I didn't do proper shopping (which I highly recommend you do. Print out their shopping list and go to town) so I got a little hunger at night, but not until 8 or 9. Here's what I ate:

Palm sized pork sausage patty
I'm pretty sure I had something else, but I can't think of what it might have been.

Chicken thigh (I bought the kind with the bone because I'm going to make some stock out of it which you can use for the program)
Green salad with topped with hot sauce


Grass fed Angus patty
Bed of lettuce, onion, tomato and Avocado
Pineapple (I had to finish the pineapple because it was very close to being bad).

I was fine through dinner. Not hungry at all. Then, like I said...I'm sure it's because I didn't eat any real hearty vegetables. So I'm going to pick some more up today.

I'm not really good at eating veggies. Mostly because by the time I eat I'm starving and I'm not in the mood to clip, cut, wash, etc. Probably why I've been eating popcorn the last few months for dinner. So, to help me fix that, I made these veggie packs for snacks in case I get hungry, or if I do a fail at a meal and still need my veggies. They contain radishes, mushroom, snap peas, carrots and grape tomatoes.

I will say this about yesterday, I was surprised I wasn't more hungry and I felt well rested when I woke up today. Which for me, is very good because I never sleep well, including last night. I tossed and turned a bit, but still felt really good this morning. Woke up at 6 am and stayed up. That hardly ever happens anymore.

Tomorrow I'll talk more about the program, if you want more info before them, you can always visit the Whole 30 online.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Let's talk about Adam Sandler

©  Franz Richter 2009
So, by now everyone knows that Native Americans walked off the set of Adam Sandler's made for Netflix movie, The Ridiculous Six. It's because of the way Native American women are depicted in the western spoof of  The Magnificent Seven. They have ridiculous names, are dressed stereotypically and not authentically, etc, etc.

I think I'm kind of in the murky middle of the what's right and what's wrong about this situation. Don't get me wrong, I think that Native Americans have got a bad rap and taken a lot of crap for many years. And yes, I agree the stereotypes are tired and should probably just go away.

But here's the thing. They're not going to go away. Stereotypes have been and still are used all the time in film and TV. Women, the gay community, blacks, Asians, Hispanics -  they are all still heavily stereotyped, as well as many other cultural groups. From Birth of a Nation, Gone with the Wind and The Mask of Fu Manchu to 16 Candles, The Simpsons, and every Disney movie on the face of the planet, stereotypes have always been there and will always be there.  Does this make it right? Absolutely not. However, I think there is difference between stereotyping in the real world and stereotyping in the entertainment business, especially when it comes to comedy.

This is what brings me to Adam Sandler. This movie, The Ridiculous Six is not drama, is not a documentary, it's satire. This film is in essence, making fun of the old westerns AND the stereotypes they depicted. This is why I'm not really angry with Sandler. He's making fun of how those westerns used to be and how stereotypical they were. I mean, we're talking about Adam Sandler, here. He's made ridiculous, foul, crude movies since he started. Why are we suddenly expecting more out of him?

I personally am a fan of Sandlers, however, I've not liked every movie he's ever made. And this one doesn't sound good to me at all. By now, everyone should know what to expect from Sandler. Now we all know what to expect from this movie. Just like any fim, if it doesn't appeal to you, don't watch it.

This isn't the first movie made with awful stereotypes, and it surely will not be the last. Like, I said, I don't think it makes it right, but it seems like a futile battle. Let's fight the real racism - gender discrimination, bigotry against the LGBT community and all the minorities who are oppressed. Let's end racial profiling. That is where we should be exhausting our impassioned energy. That's where our outrage should lie, not over some silly movie.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Modern feminism and the anti-feminist movement

There is so much hub bub about feminism and anti-feminism and Women Against Feminism I figured I'd better address it because, well, I'm a woman, and I consider myself a feminist.

Why do I consider myself a feminist? Because women
should be given the same consideration as men in all aspects of life. Because I believe a woman should not be told what she can do with her body by the government or religion or anyone else. Because women all over the world should be able to go to school or not cover her face or do whatever she wants to do without horrible consequences. Because we are amazing, beautiful, brilliant, and talented, and we should know it and not let ANYONE make us feel less.

Here's what I don't believe:
This is What Feminism Looks Like
  • Feminism is not a movement that wants women to be superior to men. We just want to be equal. For example, many women still don't make the same money as their male counterparts for doing the same job.
  • Feminism does not equate to misandry. I LOVE men. I could not live without men. Sure, there are probably some men haters in the feminist movement. You can't judge an entire movement by one of it's subcultures.
  • That all feminist ideologies are the same. Maybe some of us push more for equality in the workplace, while others believe and promote a women's right to deciding what's best for her body. Not every feminist is going to have the same ideals, values, or belief system. Why? Because we're human and we're unique and we're not cookie cutter images of each other.
 This is What Feminism Looks Like

© Garry Knight 2011
All this said, I think there is some ignorance involved when women say they are anti, or against feminism. Have you heard of Women Against Feminism? It's  a group of women who post selfies of themselves with handwritten notes stating why they don't need feminism. These sentiments range from actual feminist statements (I don’t need feminism because I believe in equality, not entitlements and supremacy.) to asinine (I don't need feminism because I love masculine men like Christian Grey.)

These women DO need feminism. They just don't KNOW they do. The images of feminism have been skewed and transformed over the years. We are not loud butchy hairy women who are all lesbians and hate men. We are all different, some of us our feminine, strong, big, small, gay, straight, black, white, hispanic...we are not a caricature.

I think we need to stop for a moment and remember why the Suffrage Movement started in the first place.

  • Women were not equal to men.
  • Women did not have access to higher education.
  • Women were excluded from professional occupations.
  • Women could not file legal suits.
  • Women could not manage her own money.
  • Women could not use birth control.
  • Women could not divorce.
  • When women got the right to divorce, they could not have custody of their children.
  • Women could not own property.
  • They were not allowed into political conventions and meetings.
  • Women were not allowed to vote.
  • Women were not allowed to hold public office.
  • There was an ideology called "The Cult of True Womanhood" which stated that a "true" woman was a pious, submissive wife and mother concerned exclusively with home and family.
  •  This is What Feminism Looks Like

    © Warren Leffler 1972
  • Through the 14th Amendment, our constitution extended protection to all citizens. Then defined “citizens” as “male.”

Even through the 80s women didn't have certain rights.
  • Women could not have credit cards.
  • Women could not report sexual harassment at work.
  • Women could not refuse sex to their husband.
The suffragists had subcultures just like today's feminist movement. There were those who had peaceful assemblies and there were others who were more radical and picketed the White House and held hunger strikes. And I'm sure there was a differing degree of reasons why they were fighting for rights and which rights were more important.

 This is What Feminism Looks Like
Yes, we've come a long way, but the plight of women is not over. As long as we are not paid equally for equal work, and as long as religion and government want to tell us what we can and cannot do with our bodies, and as long as women all over the world are still treated like property,  violated, mutilated and hurt, our work is not done.

This is What Feminism Looks Like
© Fibonacci Blue
I don't want to judge the Women Against Feminism. I get it. You don't want to be
lumped in with a group of men hating radicals. That is not the face of feminism. And let me clarify that I use the word "ignorant," not as a stab. I use it because there is a lack of information, understanding and knowledge where feminism is concerned.

Whatever these Women Against Feminism believe, that's fine. That is there prerogative. Like Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti said on Twitter, "#WomenAgainstFeminism shouldn't worry: Even if they don't believe in us, we'll keep on fighting for them."

On a lighter note, this site is hilarious. And it has cats.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

#WorldBookDay: Review an Author

Yes, that hashtag is trending on Twitter's WORLD BOOK DAY!!!  I'm not going to tell you to read a book. If you read my blog, I'm going to assume you are a book reader. Instead, I'm going to appeal to you as a B List writer with a very quiet book. Not only for me, but for all the B Listers out there.

If you like a book, review it on Amazon. That's it. That's my plea. I'm not asking much. You may think, but I don't know HOW to write a book review. You're not a professional critic writing for a prolific rag. You're a consumer, a fan, and other consumers will go to your review for advice no matter who you are. And your review doesn't have to be Pulitzer Prize worthy. It doesn't have to be long. You don't have to sound like the smartest person in the world. It just has to be honest. Heartfelt. It only needs to be a paragraph, or even 2 sentences. I think the minimum amount of words is 20. You know how long 20 words is? Less than the first two sentences of this blog.

People find consumer reviews credible and relevant. They trust people who have already read the book. In Amazon's own words, "Good reviews on Amazon are particularly crucial for books by new authors and for niche books." And I will add again, small B list authors like myself.

These reviews help book sales, not only at Amazon, but everywhere. People go to Amazon for the reviews then buy the book at a local brick and mortar bookstore. 

Let's do a comparison, shall we? My novel, Never Eighteen came out at the same time as The Fault in Our Stars. Both are books about teenagers with cancer. Both are what people call "sick lit" or "weepies." I've had fans tell me they preferred mine to TFIOS (yes, I'm not lying). Never Eighteen has 83 reviews. TFIOS has over 35,000. Yes, I know, but it's John Green. That's the point. John Green doesn't need 35,000 reviews or even 1 review to sell books, but I could use a few more to get the word out about mine.

Take my 2nd book, Dissected. It has 15 reviews. Now, this is partially my fault it has such a low review count because when I released it life stuff kept me from marketing much. But, not the point. So a YA book similar with the same subject matter, cutting, by bigger names have anywhere from 220-400ish reviews. These are by Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson, etc. Don't get me wrong, I am in NO WAY comparing myself to these truly talented ladies. However, I think neither of them probably needs Amazon reviews to sell books.

So what I'm saying, if you truly love a book, or even like it, and it's probable that many people have not heard of it yet, give it a short review. Word of mouth is still the  most powerful form of publicity for writers and by writing a good review, you are essentially telling people, "read this book."

If you don't like a book, go ahead and review it as well if you want.  Authors should be used to bad reviews because everyone gets one and not everyone is going to like your book. Plus, as we say in the biz, no publicity is bad publicity. *cough* When I see a bad review, I like to compare. I like to look at what else the reviewer has read and see if we have the same tastes. For instance, if someone hated Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why, I could go look at their other reviews and see what else they gave 1 or 2 stars. If it were more books that I loved, chances are, I wouldn't find their review relevant to my tastes (BTW, I LOVED 13 Reasons Why, and it was the 1st book I ever reviewed because I found it so amazing). Asher has 2,593 And I hope my review helped a little  I think I was one of the first 100 or so reviews.  This is what I wrote...

"I found out about this book on myspace. I read the synopsis, was intrigued by the premise, so I immediately went out and bought it. I couldn't put it down, finishing it in a day. This haunting and tragic tale about beautiful Hannah and her reasons to end her life will be a must read for teens for a very long time. Thanks Jay."
 HAHA...Myspace. See? Not hard. So seriously, do your favorite authors a favor a give them a review. They will appreciate you for it...

Oh, and just this moment, I decided that in honor of World Book Day, I'm offering Dissected free on Kindle tomorrow and Saturday on Remember, if you download it for free, think about writing it a review. <3 br="">

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

You're weird, planet earth: 20 strange and interesting facts

Seriously,there be strange happenings on our lovely planet. In honor of Earth Day, I will share some with you.

  1. The earth isn't round. Centrifugal  force (and other science crap) gives the earth a "spare tire" at the equator. So even our earth is obese.
  2. If you're standing on the equator, you're spinning through space at 1,000 miles an hour. If you're at either pole, you're standing still.
  3. The earth also works its way around the sun at 67K miles per hour. It's a wonder we're not all puking all the time with all the spinning and hurtling going on.
  4. The largest earthquake to shake our globe occurred in Chili, May 22, 1960. It rocked the world at a magnitude of 9.5.
  5.  El Azizia, Libya, experienced some seriously Hell on Earth. The highest recorded temperature was 136 degrees Fahrenheit on September 12, 1922. Ouch.
  6. On the flip side, the lowest temperature ever recorded on Earth came from
    Russia's Vostok Station. The temp was a numbing -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That's the day I would have moved my ass out of Antarctica. No thanks. I'd like my limbs not to freeze and crack off.
  7. You think Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world? Wrong. The actual tallest mountain is Mauna Kea. Everest may be taller above sea level, but Mauna Kea is taller base to summit measuring in at 56,000 feet.
  8. Back in the day, we possibly had a 2nd moon. That is, until it crashed into our other moon and blew the hell up.  #survivalofthefittestmoon
  9. Apparently again, we have a 2nd moon. But, it's never the same rock, so it's
    more like random acts of orbiting moons. Our earth's pull of gravity traps traveling asteroids in its magnetic field. They stick around for about 3 rotations, or nine months, before going on their merry way where they more than likely meet an untimely demise of being burned up by the sun. (I made that last part up)
  10. I bet you didn't know the world's longest mountain chain is 40,389 miles long.  That's right. It's called the mid-ocean ridge and is comprised of lava spewing from the seafloor.
  11. The world has three deadly lakes, in Cameroon, Rwanda, and the Congo.  Carbon dioxide is releases into the lakes, which can be released into the air in explosions, asphyxiating anyone walking by.
  12. The earth used to be purple. There are some scientific facts as to why, which I don't get, but it has to do with chlorophyll and retinal and crap like that.
  13. A stroke of lightning can heat the air to 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm surprised
    we haven't heard about people melting.
  14. 95% of the planets seas have not been seen or explored. Seriously? WTF?
  15. Every day 100 tons of space dust  sprinkles down onto the earth. It is released from comets vaporizing near the sun. I have nothing more to say about this except "space dust" is a cool term.
  16. The world's most active volcano is the Stromboli Volcano in southern Italy. It has been erupting almost continually for the last 2,000 years.
  17.  The largest volcanic eruption on record took place on April 1815, on Mount Tambora. It ranked 7 out of 8, which makes is a super-colossal blow, on the Volcanic Explosivity Index. It was so loud it was heard more than 1,200 miles away on Sumatra Island. Death toll: 71K. 
  18. We used to have a twin. Her name was Theia and she was about the size of
    About 4.5 billion years ago, Theia crashed into the Earth and was mostly absorbed. The rest, combined with materials from Earth, created our moon.
  19. If you took all the salt from our oceans and spread it over the earth, you would have a 500 foot layer of salt covering everything.
  20. Our atmosphere consists of many layers, but the one that keeps us alive, the troposphere, is the thinnest at 10 miles high. Let's keep that tropo healthy!! I do not want to die a horrible hot and airless death.
Other cool Earth shit.
Strangest Sites on Google Earth
See how strange our earth really is...

Okay, now go plant a tree or something.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I'm tired of poets and news from around the world

Sorry I can't do any more poets. I love poetry, but apparently the rest of the world doesn't because no one is reading my blog this week. But I have no idea what to write because my mind has been overworked as of late. So here's what's happening around the country...

  • The U.S. government is cracking down on female teachers that have sex with students. Last year 800 school employees were prosecuted for sexual assault,almost 1/3 being women. Um...sounds like the government may want to crack down on ALL  school employees who abuse teenagers, not just the women.
  • Oh look, another black man Freddie Gray, has died after being in the custody
    of police (don't quote me on this, but from the pictures, they all looked white). He ran from the police when they made eye contact with him, they arrested him, and sometime between the time they put him in the transport van and arriving at the hospital he had a serious spinal injury that killed him 7 days later. The officers have no idea what happened, but apparently he requested medical attention a few times during the ride before finally being taken to the hospital. File that one under WTF.
  • Having a Baby Ruined My Bikini body. So a woman is bitching about stretch marks after having 3 kids. Join the Just-About-Every-Mom-In-The-World-Club. Why is this news? Moving on...
  • As it turns out, there isn't just one way to be obese, but 6, according to

    research done by the University of Sheffield. You can go check them out, but apparently, this revelation of 6 ways to be obese will help fight obesity as they each need to be treated differently. Let me know how that goes. I need to drop some pounds.
  • Some asshole cut down a tree that was planted as a memorial to Michael
    Brown. The tree was chopped down at the trunk and a plaque placed at the bottom was stolen. #qualitypeople
  • OMG Jessa Duggar is pregnant!! What a shock. Maybe she'll take after her parents and have 35 kids.
  • And Gwyneth Paltrow has filed divorce from Chris Martin. Seriously? I didn't realize they were still married after the "Conscious Uncoupling." I mean shit,
    they've been dating other people and all that crap, so who cares?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

National Poetry Month: Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I know it's probably her most famous, but I've always loved this sonnet, number 43.  I think it's a lovely testament of love.

Sonnet 43 - How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

National Poetry Month: John Muir

I studied about John Muir back in college. He was a naturalist, advocate for the wilderness, and co-founder of the Sierra Club. He spent some time in the Pacific Northwest and wrote about nature. Today is such a beautiful day here at home, I wanted to use one of his poems, which to me, are all beautiful and inspiring.

His legacy remains in the wild, having numerous locations in nature named after him. Among them, here in Washington, if you climb Mount Rainier, you may find refuge at Camp Muir.

If you've never heard of or read about the man, you should. He is a very interesting character, wild at heart.

by John Muir

Here is calm so deep, grasses cease waving.
Everything in wild nature fits into us,
as if truly part and parent of us.
The sun shines not on us but in us.
The rivers flow not past, but through us,
thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell
of the substance of our bodies,
Making them glide and sing.
The trees wave and the flowers bloom
in our bodies as well as our souls,
and every bird song, wind song,
and; tremendous storm song of the rocks
in the heart of the mountains is our song,
our very own, and sings our love.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

National Poetry Month: Maya Angelou

Photo © Alyssa L. Miller
Today I've chosen a poem that speaks to me. It's short but meaningful. I've not slept well for months. This is how I feel, as if sleep taunts me while I struggle to catch it. I can't remember the last day I felt truly rested.

by Maya Angelou

 There are some nights when
sleep plays coy,
aloof and disdainful.
And all the wiles
that I employ to win
its service to my side
are useless as wounded pride,
and much more painful.

Monday, April 13, 2015

National Poetry Month: William Carlos Williams

I have a very good reason for posting this poem by William Carlos Williams. A couple of friends of mine posted a blog that is in response to this poem. It is hilarious. So I will follow the lovely This is Just to Say, with the blog by The Bloggess...Also, that fucker ate all the hot pockets.

This is Just to Say
by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

And here is  Also, that fucker ate all the hot pockets.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

National Poetry Month: Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Photo by Christopher Michel
I had to include at least one beat poet.  Ferlinghetti was one of the San Francisco beat poets. He was the co-founder of City Lights Bookstore, which published poetry books called  the Pocket Poet series. The first in the series consisted of his own poems, then he followed up with the poems of Kenneth Rexroth, Kenneth Patchen, Marie Ponsot, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Kaufman, Denise Levertov, Robert Duncan, William Carlos Williams, and Gregory Corso.

When he published Ginsberg's poem Howl,  Ferlinghetti was arrested for obscenity and had to stand trial. He was acquitted.

This poem is about poets. I really like it. He forms an analogy between a poet and an acrobat.

Constantly Risking Absurdity
by  Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Constantly risking absurdity
and death
whenever he performs
above the heads
of his audience
the poet like an acrobat
climbs on rime
to a high wire of his own making
and balancing on eyebeams
above a sea of faces
paces his way
to the other side of the day
performing entrachats
and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
and all without mistaking
any thing
for what it may not be
For he's the super realist
who must perforce perceive
taut truth
before the taking of each stance or step
in his supposed advance
toward that still higher perch
where Beauty stands and waits
with gravity
to start her death-defying leap
And he
a little charleychaplin man
who may or may not catch
her fair eternal form
spreadeagled in the empty air
of existence

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

National Poetry Months: James L. Dickey

 This is a long one, but well worth the read. My friend Lori, who happens to be a wonderful poet and artist, introduced it to me a couple years back. It's beautiful but also haunting, mostly because it's based on the true story of a stewardess being sucked out of an airplane to her death. It happened in 1962 on an Allegheny Airlines flight after the emergency door randomly opened. 

by James L. Dickey

A 29-year-old stewardess fell ... to her
death tonight when she was swept
through an emergency door that sud-
denly sprang open ... The body ...
was found ... three hours after the

                              —New York Times

The states when they black out and lie there rolling    when they turn
To something transcontinental    move by    drawing moonlight out of the great
One-sided stone hung off the starboard wingtip    some sleeper next to
An engine is groaning for coffee    and there is faintly coming in
Somewhere the vast beast-whistle of space. In the galley with its racks
Of trays    she rummages for a blanket    and moves in her slim tailored
Uniform to pin it over the cry at the top of the door. As though she blew

The door down with a silent blast from her lungs    frozen    she is black
Out finding herself    with the plane nowhere and her body taken by the throat
The undying cry of the void    falling    living    beginning to be something
That no one has ever been and lived through    screaming without enough air
Still neat    lipsticked    stockinged    girdled by regulation    her hat
Still on    her arms and legs in no world    and yet spaced also strangely
With utter placid rightness on thin air    taking her time    she holds it
In many places    and now, still thousands of feet from her death she seems
To slow    she develops interest    she turns in her maneuverable body

To watch it. She is hung high up in the overwhelming middle of things in her
Self    in low body-whistling wrapped intensely    in all her dark dance-weight
Coming down from a marvellous leap    with the delaying, dumfounding ease
Of a dream of being drawn    like endless moonlight to the harvest soil
Of a central state of one’s country    with a great gradual warmth coming
Over her    floating    finding more and more breath in what she has been using
For breath    as the levels become more human    seeing clouds placed honestly
Below her left and right    riding slowly toward them    she clasps it all
To her and can hang her hands and feet in it in peculiar ways    and
Her eyes opened wide by wind, can open her mouth as wide    wider and suck
All the heat from the cornfields    can go down on her back with a feeling
Of stupendous pillows stacked under her    and can turn    turn as to someone
In bed    smile, understood in darkness    can go away    slant    slide
Off tumbling    into the emblem of a bird with its wings half-spread
Or whirl madly on herself    in endless gymnastics in the growing warmth
Of wheatfields rising toward the harvest moon.    There is time to live
In superhuman health    seeing mortal unreachable lights far down seeing
An ultimate highway with one late priceless car probing it    arriving
In a square town    and off her starboard arm the glitter of water catches
The moon by its one shaken side    scaled, roaming silver    My God it is good
And evil    lying in one after another of all the positions for love
Making    dancing    sleeping    and now cloud wisps at her no
Raincoat    no matter    all small towns brokenly brighter from inside
Cloud    she walks over them like rain    bursts out to behold a Greyhound
Bus shooting light through its sides    it is the signal to go straight
Down like a glorious diver    then feet first    her skirt stripped beautifully
Up    her face in fear-scented cloths    her legs deliriously bare    then
Arms out    she slow-rolls over    steadies out    waits for something great
To take control of her    trembles near feathers    planes head-down
The quick movements of bird-necks turning her head    gold eyes the insight-
eyesight of owls blazing into the hencoops    a taste for chicken overwhelming
Her    the long-range vision of hawks enlarging all human lights of cars
Freight trains    looped bridges    enlarging the moon racing slowly
Through all the curves of a river    all the darks of the midwest blazing
From above. A rabbit in a bush turns white    the smothering chickens
Huddle    for over them there is still time for something to live
With the streaming half-idea of a long stoop    a hurtling    a fall
That is controlled    that plummets as it wills    turns gravity
Into a new condition, showing its other side like a moon    shining
New Powers    there is still time to live on a breath made of nothing
But the whole night    time for her to remember to arrange her skirt
Like a diagram of a bat    tightly it guides her    she has this flying-skin
Made of garments    and there are also those sky-divers on tv    sailing
In sunlight    smiling under their goggles    swapping batons back and forth
And He who jumped without a chute and was handed one by a diving
Buddy. She looks for her grinning companion    white teeth    nowhere
She is screaming    singing hymns    her thin human wings spread out
From her neat shoulders    the air beast-crooning to her    warbling
And she can no longer behold the huge partial form of the world    now
She is watching her country lose its evoked master shape    watching it lose
And gain    get back its houses and peoples    watching it bring up
Its local lights    single homes    lamps on barn roofs    if she fell
Into water she might live    like a diver    cleaving    perfect    plunge

Into another    heavy silver    unbreathable    slowing    saving
Element: there is water    there is time to perfect all the fine
Points of diving    feet together    toes pointed    hands shaped right
To insert her into water like a needle    to come out healthily dripping
And be handed a Coca-Cola    there they are    there are the waters
Of life    the moon packed and coiled in a reservoir    so let me begin
To plane across the night air of Kansas    opening my eyes superhumanly
Bright    to the damned moon    opening the natural wings of my jacket
By Don Loper    moving like a hunting owl toward the glitter of water
One cannot just fall    just tumble screaming all that time    one must use
It    she is now through with all    through all    clouds    damp    hair
Straightened    the last wisp of fog pulled apart on her face like wool revealing
New darks    new progressions of headlights along dirt roads from chaos

And night    a gradual warming    a new-made, inevitable world of one’s own
Country    a great stone of light in its waiting waters    hold    hold out
For water: who knows when what correct young woman must take up her body
And fly    and head for the moon-crazed inner eye of midwest imprisoned
Water    stored up for her for years    the arms of her jacket slipping
Air up her sleeves to go    all over her? What final things can be said
Of one who starts her sheerly in her body in the high middle of night
Air    to track down water like a rabbit where it lies like life itself
Off to the right in Kansas? She goes toward    the blazing-bare lake
Her skirts neat    her hands and face warmed more and more by the air
Rising from pastures of beans    and under her    under chenille bedspreads
The farm girls are feeling the goddess in them struggle and rise brooding
On the scratch-shining posts of the bed    dreaming of female signs
Of the moon    male blood like iron    of what is really said by the moan
Of airliners passing over them at dead of midwest midnight    passing
Over brush fires    burning out in silence on little hills    and will wake
To see the woman they should be    struggling on the rooftree to become
Stars: for her the ground is closer    water is nearer    she passes
It    then banks    turns    her sleeves fluttering differently as she rolls
Out to face the east, where the sun shall come up from wheatfields she must
Do something with water    fly to it    fall in it    drink it    rise
From it    but there is none left upon earth    the clouds have drunk it back
The plants have sucked it down    there are standing toward her only
The common fields of death    she comes back from flying to falling
Returns to a powerful cry    the silent scream with which she blew down
The coupled door of the airliner    nearly    nearly losing hold
Of what she has done    remembers    remembers the shape at the heart
Of cloud    fashionably swirling    remembers she still has time to die
Beyond explanation. Let her now take off her hat in summer air the contour
Of cornfields    and have enough time to kick off her one remaining
Shoe with the toes    of the other foot    to unhook her stockings
With calm fingers, noting how fatally easy it is to undress in midair
Near death    when the body will assume without effort any position
Except the one that will sustain it    enable it to rise    live
Not die    nine farms hover close    widen    eight of them separate, leaving
One in the middle    then the fields of that farm do the same    there is no
Way to back off    from her chosen ground    but she sheds the jacket
With its silver sad impotent wings    sheds the bat’s guiding tailpiece
Of her skirt    the lightning-charged clinging of her blouse    the intimate
Inner flying-garment of her slip in which she rides like the holy ghost
Of a virgin    sheds the long windsocks of her stockings    absurd
Brassiere    then feels the girdle required by regulations squirming
Off her: no longer monobuttocked    she feels the girdle flutter    shake
In her hand    and float    upward    her clothes rising off her ascending
Into cloud    and fights away from her head the last sharp dangerous shoe
Like a dumb bird    and now will drop in    soon    now will drop

In like this    the greatest thing that ever came to Kansas    down from all
Heights    all levels of American breath    layered in the lungs from the frail
Chill of space to the loam where extinction slumbers in corn tassels thickly
And breathes like rich farmers counting: will come along them after
Her last superhuman act    the last slow careful passing of her hands
All over her unharmed body    desired by every sleeper in his dream:
Boys finding for the first time their loins filled with heart’s blood
Widowed farmers whose hands float under light covers to find themselves
Arisen at sunrise    the splendid position of blood unearthly drawn
Toward clouds    all feel something    pass over them as she passes
Her palms over her long legs    her small breasts    and deeply between
Her thighs    her hair shot loose from all pins    streaming in the wind
Of her body    let her come openly    trying at the last second to land
On her back    This is it    this
                                                          All those who find her impressed
In the soft loam    gone down    driven well into the image of her body
The furrows for miles flowing in upon her where she lies very deep
In her mortal outline    in the earth as it is in cloud    can tell nothing
But that she is there    inexplicable    unquestionable    and remember
That something broke in them as well    and began to live and die more
When they walked for no reason into their fields to where the whole earth
Caught her    interrupted her maiden flight    told her how to lie she cannot
Turn    go away    cannot move    cannot slide off it and assume another
Position    no sky-diver with any grin could save her    hold her in his arms
Plummet with her    unfold above her his wedding silks    she can no longer
Mark the rain with whirling women that take the place of a dead wife
Or the goddess in Norwegian farm girls    or all the back-breaking whores
Of Wichita. All the known air above her is not giving up quite one
Breath    it is all gone    and yet not dead    not anywhere else
Quite    lying still in the field on her back    sensing the smells
Of incessant growth try to lift her    a little sight left in the corner
Of one eye    fading    seeing something wave    lies believing
That she could have made it    at the best part of her brief goddess
State    to water    gone in headfirst    come out smiling    invulnerable
Girl in a bathing-suit ad    but she is lying like a sunbather at the last
Of moonlight    half-buried in her impact on the earth    not far
From a railroad trestle    a water tank    she could see if she could
Raise her head from her modest hole    with her clothes beginning
To come down all over Kansas    into bushes    on the dewy sixth green
Of a golf course    one shoe    her girdle coming down fantastically
On a clothesline, where it belongs    her blouse on a lightning rod:

Lies in the fields    in this field    on her broken back as though on
A cloud she cannot drop through    while farmers sleepwalk without
Their women from houses    a walk like falling toward the far waters
Of life    in moonlight    toward the dreamed eternal meaning of their farms
Toward the flowering of the harvest in their hands    that tragic cost
Feels herself go    go toward    go outward    breathes at last fully
Not    and tries    less    once    tries    tries    ah, god—

Monday, April 6, 2015

National Poetry Month: T.S. Eliot

Oh, I love me some T.S. Eliot. I especially like this piece I've chosen for today.  I love
the imagery in it. Love the character. I know we have all felt like him before, inadequate, small, second rate...

It seems he is to lead a lonely life as he worries so much about his shortcomings he is never able too act on his emotions.

Without further ado...

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
by T.S. Eliot

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question. . .                               10
Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
Let us go and make our visit.

  In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

  The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,                               20
And seeing that it was a soft October night
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

  And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;                                30
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions
And for a hundred visions and revisions
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

  In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

  And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—                               40
[They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!"]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!"]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

  For I have known them all already, known them all;
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,                       50
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
  So how should I presume?

  And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?                    60
  And how should I presume?

  And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
  And should I then presume?
  And how should I begin?
        .     .     .     .     .

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets              70
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? . . .

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
        .     .     .     .     .

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep . . . tired . . . or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?                  80
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet–and here's no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

  And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,                                             90
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: "I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all"
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
  Should say, "That is not what I meant at all.
  That is not it, at all."

  And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,                                           100
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
  "That is not it at all,
  That is not what I meant, at all."                                          110
        .     .     .     .     .

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

  I grow old . . . I grow old . . .                                              120
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

  Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

  I do not think they will sing to me.

  I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

  We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown               130
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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