Sunday, August 28, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

The reluctant (semi-)vegetarian

In an ideal world, I would be vegetarian, no question.

(while we're at it, in an ideal world I would be married to a vet/retired model, with two adorable adopted kids and a house with a veggie garden. And someone would pay me to write this blog. In chocolate.)

But here in boring old "reality", I have found myself moving further and further away from meat in general, and red meat in particular, for various reasons.

Environmentally, eating meat is one of the worst things you can do for the planet (up there with driving a car and having kids). It's horrendous how much waste goes into that chain of raising animals, feeding them, slaughtering and butchering them, packaging them up and shipping them to supermarkets all over the world.

Ethically, it's not nice to treat sentient creatures so abominably just so that we can enjoy a roast dinner on a Sunday. As the website says, if slaughter-houses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.

Finally, eating meat is kind of gross when you think about it. Eating the cooked flesh of a living creature. Especially with red meat, there is a particular smell it gives off when it's just starting to cook that is stomach-turning.

And yet... human beings were designed to eat meat. We're omnivores. The smell of a sausages frying outside Bunnings is undeniably attractive. It has even been argued that meat was the essential ingredient that allowed us to evolve into the brainy idiots we are today. Closer to home, my mum recently gave me a lecture about getting enough protein when she thought I was looking a bit pale and skinny.

And so my answer for now is, in the emminently sensible words of my Pa (oft repeated by my Mum): "Everything in moderation". I eat a small portion of meat maybe 2-3 times a week, and try to buy meat from animals that are outdoor-raised and free-range. I am aiming to ultimately cut down to "only on special occassions when I really feel like it" meat consumption. I'm not there yet, but I hope to be in the next couple of years.

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For those of you with concerned mothers, good non-meat sources of protein are: potatoes, whole wheat bread, rice, broccoli, spinach, almonds, peas, chickpeas, peanut butter, tofu, soymilk, lentils and kale. Peanut butter, y'all! I'm going out to buy some right now.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I do love a colourful kitchen gadget...

... almost as much as I love a gadget with a backstory! The lovely mug that I stole from a large Generic Financial Corporation (it was lying sadly neglected at the back of a communal cupboard and I love it to bits. Je ne regrette rien!). The ice-cream scoop given to me by my lovely ex-flatmate when she moved out, in commemoration of my voracious ice-cream devouring habit. The retro orange teapot with wicker handle gifted to me by a friend who spotted it at a garage sale. An old-fashioned egg beater that never fails to remind me of my grandma and her elegant hands.

I love being surrounded by colourful, cute and quirky things. My idea of hell is a beige room with white couches, glass coffee table and a black and white print on the wall. *Shudder*

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fantasy Dating: Nerds-Done-Good edition

I'm taking a little break from online dating. The endless cascade of rejections was getting a little disheartening. Seriously, how do people survive this?! You need the skin of a rhino to withstand it, I reckon. It's certainly not for "sensitive young weeds" like myself (and Stephen Fry).

Back to daydreaming, where the men are hot, available and infinitely variable.

Bring on the charming geek-fest!

It's probably best to take your glasses off, Mr. Tempah. You can leave the bow-tie on, though...

Moss from the IT Crowd: the ultimate tech-geek, complete with "reboot" chime.

Um, hello STEVE URKEL?!

Ditto Neville Longbottom.

I wasn't sure about Michael Cera at first - he seemed so weedy in Juno, and like an effeminate Jesse Eisenberg in everything else - but I watched Youth In Revolt last night and I found myself won over by yet another understated dork-at-peace-with-himself performance.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Girls on Bikes (a sporadic series)

The gorgeous Audrey Hepburn (and terrier).

Man I'd love to get a dog. A little basket-sized dog.

The downsides of being self-employed

It occurred to me recently that I should offer a counter-point to my previous post on the joys of working for oneself; detailing the not so great stuff about being self-employed (and the pleasure of referring to oneself as "oneself").

I hereby present to you the downsides.

1. Work dreams (in which your clients refuse to return your calls/you miss an important deadline/your mac dies). Yep, you're involved in your work in a very personal way - it's hard to leave it behind when you're utterly immersed in it.

Speaking of which:

2. It's always there. The work, that is. You find yourself tinkering into the evening, sending emails at all hours and working in spare time at weekends. This doesn't bother me so much, as I tend to have plenty of downtime throughout the week in which to do my laundry/go to zumba/meet friends for coffee.

3. If you don't work, you don't get paid. No sick leave, no holiday leave, no public holiday pay, no super or benefits. Be sure to take this into consideration when setting your rate.

4. You're on your own. This hasn't affected me too much yet, as I've been spending a fair bit of time working with a bunch of lovely people. But I am aware that I could quite happily slide into hermit-ville if I was working from home more often, so I have been making a concerted effort to get out and about in my spare time. Meetup has been a great forum for social events, and the dating has been keeping me busy (if driving me crazy). In fact, my social calendar is more crammed than ever.

Apparently there are places where you can rent some studio space with other freelancers. I haven't looked into this but it's a great option for those more in need of regular social contact than myself.

5. Oh, the irregularity! It's hard to make plans when you don't know what tomorrow is going to look like, let alone next week. You just have to take each week as it comes, and make/change plans on the fly.

6. It's all down to you, baby. I have had moments of mini-panic at the thought that soon, I will be solely responsible for paying a mortgage out of my piecemeal income. It's up to me to find work, keep my clients happy, get paid. There's no back-up or Plan B, it's just one chick at her computer. That's f*cking scary, let me tell you.

I find it's best not to dwell on this one, for reasons involving my sanity.

* * * * *

Taking into account all of the above however, the pros definitely outweigh the cons for me right now.
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