Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Goal for the New Year - Slow Food, Good Food

I have watched Food, Inc and read Fast Food Nation. I am on to Michael Pollan's many books as well. And I know another person that is striving to eat "clean." (no634.net). I am making the choice to pay a little more at the store as well as venture out into other places (Mississippi Market, Farmer's markets, local farmers). I do not kid myself, this takes planning, effort, a little more money, and a lot more time. But I am doing it for a number of reasons.

Many moons ago, I was a strict vegan, then a lacto-ovo vegetarian, then I started eating meat again. I LOVE meat. But I don't want to contribute to the factory produced meat market currently around. Even if I didn't weep every time I think of those cows, pigs, and chickens, I wonder why people are not up in arms over the pollution and disease stemming from this style of "farming."

Let's talk about pollution first. The first part is simple. Concentrated animal area = TONS of POOP. TONS of POOP = bad water, bad air. Dooky levels at these places are so high that the air in some areas of the farm can't be safely breathed, too much hydrogen sulfide. Gaseous hydrogen sulfide scars lung tissue and can even cause asphyxiation. Scarred lung tissue leads to further troubles, such as increased exposure to disease including bronchitis, pneumonia, and even lung fungal infections.

Poop in my water, not okay. Poop in really tiny amounts is everywhere. Can't be helped, because as the book says Everybody (or in this case everything) poops. But poop from these farms are stored in lagoons. Yep, they have doo-doo lagoons. Can you see yourself sippin' a Mai Thai on a beach chair next to one of those. EWWWW. And those lagoons do not stay there. Spillage is a frequent occurrence because they are so full the poop actually pushes down the earth embankment. What happens next is usually pretty bad. Fish kills, river and stream contamination, and ground water contamination. Poop in my water.

Now the other pollution. Grain is grown for these animals. Grain uses water and fertilizer, plus other chemicals. Even if you didn't care about water, those other chemicals and fertilizer are mainly washed away. So more stuff in my water. I could go on, but you get the picture.

Now let's tackle disease. Commonly recognized foodborne infections are caused by the bacteria Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. coli O157:H7, and by a group of viruses called calicivirus, also known as the Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses. The bacterial infections cause diarhea and other symptoms. Each can cause death. E. coli is usually considered fairly benign. But this lovely creature releases Shiga toxins that can produce all kinds of problems. Thinking of taking an antibiotic to get rid of it? Not so fast. A quick kill can release ALL the Shiga toxins. In up to 5% of people, it causes hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). This severe complication includes temporary anemia, profuse bleeding, and kidney failure. For more information, check out the CDC. And factory eggs are at a greater risk for Salmonella than organic eggs.

But I am ultimately doing it because I eat crap any more (hamburger is quite literally partly crap). I want to be able to eat something and know exactly where it came from and be able to pronounce all of the ingredients. I also want to live my values.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Crisis at Christmas

My dad had emergency surgery the day before Christmas. He is fine now, but what a way to usher in Christmas. Needless to say, I have done nothing after finals ended last Tuesday. Because of this I am going to have to double-time it next week to get a few things done.

Studying for the PTO - need to get on the ball on this one. The test is scheduled for February 18. Supposedly, I should be studying for at least 15 hours a week, but I lost about 3 weeks for papers, work, etc. So the next 52 days are going to be very, very full. I want to pass the first time around with no trouble. So beginning tomorrow, for three weeks, I am putting in about 35 hours a week on PTO, then 4.5 weeks of at least 20 hours a week. Basically, I need 2 weeks for taking practice exams. Q's are repeated, so that should help A LOT.

Work - I have fallen way behind at work and need to get back on it. Plus I am adding another job, potentially. We are broke and could definitely use the money. And the semester shouldn't be too bad.

Exercise, nutrition - get back on the exercise, nutrition bandwagon.

Have some fun over break, I know I am going to fit some in.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like...FINALS

And I am attempting to muster up some caring. I feel like I should care. I mean, I am paying a huge amount of money to be here, so I should care, right? That's the way many people here look at it. Or the ones that are still under the spell of law, still care for the idea of justice and law.

Me? I am just counting down the days until this is over (at least today I am). I don't care about the theory of law or the grand idea behind it. I just want to get out and start working. I haven't felt this adrift since the last educational foray. I think fall semester is simply like that. Spring semester is close to something. Close to volunteering for the summer (1L), working for a potential job (2L), or graduation. But fall semester feels like there is an eternity between now and my goal. So much time between now and summer. Even so much time between now and taking the Patent Bar in February.

What is it about this time of year? Is it winter? Snow, cold and darkness? Or is it something else? I wish I could be philosophical or even poetic. But right now, this waiting game just sucks. It's not exams, it's the FUTURE. That slow road to completion.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Doing my best to prop up 2L grades

In one week, I will have 2 exams. I have downloaded or begged outlines from folks. And that's the extent of my exam preparation. I would like all 2L's in my classes to send chocolates to my carrel. I am taking a bullet for you guys and hope you truly appreciate the sacrifices I am making. For instance, tonight, instead of spending time studying and outlining, I am watching Hot Fuzz on Comedy Central. One of my favorite movies. Yep, my sacrifices should be rewarded.

So to all 2L's out there, fear not. Most of the 3L's in your classes do not give a crap any more.