Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

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Entries
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Make my life more important than my job (read all 25 entries…)
Missed Manners

So, returning to our kitchen from an event with one of my event chefs driving the company van… It has been raining on and off almost all day here. Walking along the sidewalk is a woman in a skirt and blouse, no umbrella, trying to get to the parking garage between showers. My event chef, driving the van, says “Watch this!” Then proceeds to edge over so the tires splash a huge sheet of water from the street right onto the woman on the sidewalk! She stops dead in her tracks, soaked and instantly disheveled. He drives away, laughing his ass off.

I’m stunned. I don’t believe it. I launch into a tirade. “What the hell is wrong with you!” I demand. I rant, I rave, I yell. He looks at me, shocked. Then he begins to laugh – at me. He shakes his head and giggles away, “Whatever, man. No big deal.” I explain to him, in the most profanity laced and belittling manner I can devise, what I think of his behavior, his professionalism, his general worth as a man and a fellow human. Still he shakes his head, annoyed with me. “Man, just get over it, already,” he advises me.

We arrive at the kitchen a few minutes later. I march him into my bosses’ office and slam the door. I order him to recount his hilarious antics to them. Our female chef looks at him with eyes that ought to broil his testicles where he stands. The most charitable description I can give to the head chef’s reaction is… disappointment. “Don’t you understand why you can’t go around in a company van doing stuff like that?”

I want him fired. On the spot. No excuses, no probation, no tears. Pack his shit and get gone. No, no. Can’t do that. But a write-up is appropriate. Excuse me? Just so I understand. A…write…up…? How about a suspension?(He’s already scheduled for certain shifts) How about driving privileges revoked?(We don’t have enough guys who can drive as it is). How about he goes upstairs and explains what he did to the owner of the company, and see if a write up is sufficent? (We don’t drag our dirty linens through the whole company) A write up it must be. Fine. I prepare a very thorough document. I read it back to the event chef. He cannot deny a word of it. But as he signs it he continues to shake his head and mutter “this is bullshit”. Not an ounce of remorse, regret, or shame. He leaves, I finish my “discussion” with the head chef regarding why I believe the event chef should be terminated. Now I’m on the outs with my boss, the event chef, and his other buddies who work there. Good. I dare any of them to make it a point of contention with me. A man is defined by who is enemies are.

I will get him. If I have to stay with the company another year, I won’t leave before he does.

But this incident, and this ranting post, patient 43Thingers, has me thinking: Where have our manners gone? I don’t mean excusing ourselves after burping or covering our mouths as we cough. Where are the social graces that were once demanded of us? I desperately wanted to find this woman and apologize for my brute of an employee. But too much time had passed, there was nothing I could offer that would retract her anger, humiliation and astonishment. Issues of potential litigation crossed my mind. And what would I tell her? “Don’t worry Miss, he received a good writing up?”

A junior congressman yells that at the president, calling him a liar. Kanye West interrupts someone elses’ awards acceptance speech to lob a few of his own uninvited, ungracious remarks. Man splashes innocent woman for fun. Everyday I see more and more of what I consider to be manly behavior (including simple manners) eroded away from current culture. I don’t see men hold doors for women (unless the men are 70+, or the guy wants to ogle the woman’s breasts), I don’t hear “ma’am”, I don’t observe a reserved politeness in the presence of ladies. By and large these guys are the same foul mouthed, crotch-scratching, belching, sexcapade-talking neaderthals they are when women aren’t around. Basically, guys don’t have any class.

Not all guys… I know. Don’t rush to respond with anedotal tales of how great your guy is, and what a gentleman. I know. And it isn’t just limited to men. A lot of women seem to have lost the basic set of manners we use to manuever through the day, or maintain the level of class and self-respect that keeps them from being confused with the hard-working women who hang out under the overpasses around 2am. Wether driving, shopping, going to the movies, or just walking in the park, the absence of common civilities is pronounced. Maybe it is a self-defense mechanism for a much coarser world. Maybe it is the evolution of so many lies, so much violence, such isolation and the retreat of compassion.

Do I sound old? Do I sound out of date? Am I a “fuddy-duddy” because I open doors, pull out chairs, allow the woman to order first (unless I order for us both), don’t say “fuck” with every other word in her presence (I do beg the forgiveness and indulgence of all the ladies in this virtual environment), or presume that “Girl, I like those titties!” will be the most charming compliment she has had all day?

I am concerned that as we lose our manners we increase our insensitivity and compassion to the plight of others. More to the point, we lose our own ability to distinquish acceptable behavior from unacceptable behavior. We get mad at what we are told to get mad about, blow off what we are told is unimportant. I’ve got dozens of people everyday worked up and angry about how their football team did over the weekend, not one word about the federal government’s role in national healthcare. We subscribe to a media that spoon-feeds us our outrages.

I’m not the perfect gentleman. To date no one I know refers to me as having class (maybe they don’t know what it would look like anymore). But I still feel like there are some niceties we should observe. Some basic courtesies such as not laughing when someone falls, excusing yourself to get past someone, saying please and thank you, even to the slow-witted cashier at the grocery store who took 21 scans of a barcode to ring up your grapes because she was too lazy to punch in the PLU code. Letting someone over in traffic as opposed to cutting them off. Basically not acting as if you are the most important person on the whole planet and everyone else is just in your way.

Maybe it never has been that way. Maybe, like God and UFOs and Universal Healthcare, it was always a myth we believed because it shielded us from the truth.

Real or imagined, I still miss it.



Celebrate Todd Schoonover's Birthday in Grand 43T Style on 9/15!!!!!
Most Grand and Happy

Birthday wishes to someone who seems omnipresent, omnipositive, and friends with everyone on 43Things! My wish for you this year is that you receive back all the blessings you have bestowed to others, and that your gratitude cup fills up and runs over. And of course, that your continue your squirrelly good nature.



Complete the "21-Day Vegan Kickstart Program" starting Septemer 8th (read all 3 entries…)
One Week In

One third of the Vegan Kickstart Program is down. It wasn’t as hard to make the change from meat and dairy to straight vegan as we assumed it would be. There was a little bit of “it seems like it is missing something, chicken or alfredo or something” and a near miss with eggs for breakfast (how did they even get into the house?). But overall it has been okay. Planning is the key and here I have been weak. I haven’t planned and prepped the way I should so in the evenings I am just throwing things together to make a meal, not really evaluating the relative nutritional value or the diversity of the meals. Kale and zucchini is alright, but not every night.

Tonight I made a stirfry with just about every fresh veg left in the fridge. As we move into week two I have to be better about planning our menus and making sure we have food on hand. I need to spend an evening doing prep, too, so the burden of making dinner after 10-11 hours at work isn’t so bad.

My ambition is to eventually post the menus and entree descriptions here for people to view, learn from and ask questions if they wish. I want to demonstrate that vegan eating can be as interesting, diverse, and nutritious as any other eating habit, and certainly better than our current eating habits (if that is, in fact, what I discover for myself).



Make my life more important than my job (read all 25 entries…)
Tick Tock

It’s 6am. I should have gotten up 15 minutes ago. I should be getting dressed, munching on a breakfast, flipping through the news, checking email and 43T, doing the various things to ease me into the day. But I am not. I haven’t gotten up even though I am awake and staring at the ceiling.

It has finally happened. I hate my job and I don’t want to go to work.

It’s 6:15am. I should have gotten up 30 minutes ago. Let me be clear. I don’t hate my work. I don’t hate what I do. I work in a very exciting, interesting and rewarding field. I am constantly challenged and exposed to new ideas and concepts. There are really great things going on in this industry. And I don’t work for a bad company. It is one of the largest and most respected in the city. It even has an international reputation and is constantly on the edge of what is new and innovative. I am happy to be in this career field.

It’s 6:30am. I am running out of excuse. Even S. is up and about and getting ready for the day. I don’t want to go to work because of the people I have to work with. I don’t want to be exposed anymore to the negativity, anger, frustration, yelling, throwing things, quite frankly the behavior one would expect of a spoiled 6-year old. I don’t want to deal with the constant criticism, the backtracking and excuse making, the blame shifting, the dour sourness and biting remarks. How can three people make what should be such a great place to work so miserable for themselves and everyone else?

6:45am. Damn, now I am running out of time. Now I have to get up, throw on some clothes, run out the door with breakfast in hand. Fight the traffic to get to work to unlock the doors for the staff, accept the first of the day’s orders and hope they were ordered correctly so that we don’t start the day with yelling and arguing. Then on to staff assignments and hope the product is in house or coming, that no one overlooked broccoli or beef. All the while a dead weight in my gut and a sense of overwhelming frustration. I hope this won’t be the day I snap and react rather than respond. Can I keep my eye on the prize a few more weeks? Can I resist provocation just a little longer?

7:00am. Out the door towards what I predict will be a miserable day with the three most miserable people I know.

And that’s pretty much how it played out. Did I invite such negativity by focusing on it, did I draw it to me? Maybe. It seems unavoidable but maybe I can turn it around a view it differently. Maybe I could say to myself “I am grateful for the wonderful things in my life that make me happy and not miserable and negative like these people”. I may need mala beads to count for that affirmation.

The plan has been to stay at this job until we got a house. Last year didn’t pan out because of some old debts. This year has been a loooooong drawn out process for getting a home, but it looks like we are within a few weeks of closing. So my time at this job is definitely drawing to an end.

But now I need a new plan for what comes next. I need to know what my next step will be, and what I want to achieve with my next position. In the grand tradition of 43Things, I guess I’ll make a goal.



Nurture and tend to our foundling squirrel until it reaches squirrely independence (read all 8 entries…)
Maybe "Mr. Wobbles"

Holding up that big head is really a chore for the little guy. He is getting more active everyday, but he can only use his legs for short periods of time. He wobbles and tumbles and flips over all the time. But he is gaining weight, fur, size… and now that he can see where he is going, only a matter of time before he grows in mischief, too.



Nurture and tend to our foundling squirrel until it reaches squirrely independence (read all 8 entries…)
Eyes opened! Naming Ceremony Begins

First the right eye, then the left peeled themselves open on our little foundling squirrel. He still sleeps a lot, but is gaining weight and growing in size. His tail curls over his back and this is a good sign that he is healthy. Now that he can see what’s going on, we have to be more careful about his security. He is a lot more mobile now, when he is awake. He still tumbles and rolls around a lot, but he is starting to get his legs under him.

Since it looks like he will have to be hand fed a few more months, and reared indoors during the winter, we have begun knocking around names. The lead contenders are:

Loki
Twitch
Tumbles
Peanut
Schoonover

43T votes and suggestions are welcome, but I cannot promise they will have an effect on the final choice.



Improve my position at my job (read all 4 entries…)
Captain Awesome Strikes Again...

Captain Awesome has stated that he “does not trust the feel of goal number 6. There is a miasma of roses and decay surrounding it. Perhaps this goal is haunted or a trap set by Captain Awesome’s enemies. He will tread very lightly around this goal and proceed to number 7.”

This goal has become my miasma of roses and decay. Its like squirting perfume on a dogpile and taking a deep whiff. When someone is trying to con me or feed me a line or in someway try to deceive me, one of my typical chef/kitchen responses is “Don’t shit in my soup and tell me its meatballs!” Graphic and crude, I know, but it often has the desired effect, which is to lay bare the feeble attempts of the deceiver.

Now I wonder if I am deceiving myself, or falling into a trap laid by my enemies. I do outstanding work. I am unfailingly reliable, I am profusely complimented for my skills, dedication and abilities to get the job done. I work well with everyone in my company (meatball soup remarks not withstanding). This goal was adopted with two people in mind, and I have come to the conclusion that there is simply no pleasing them. They are so absorbed with their own insecurites, hate, trust issues, honesty issues, character issues, and maturity issues that the very idea of recognizing any of the traits I describe above (which everyone else is my company has shared with me) would be like handing a rosetta stone to a chimp. Since they are my direct supervisors I have felt a need and desire to impress them and make them view me with value. I have come to know that they value nothing but themselves and are not impressed with talent and ambition, only intimidated. And they then seek every means to tear down the people around them. When the leader of your department starts off the weekly meetings with “the dumbest thing I heard someone say this week was”... the goal is not to get better and support the team.

What’s more I find this goal is coming into direct conflict with another of my 43T goals: “Make my life more important than my job”. I don’t mean my career or even my day to day working relationships. I mean I don’t want to spend years being ground under the wheels of a merciless and thankless workplace that compels me to put in 70-80 hours per week (on salary, not hourly, thank you!), makes me hire people I don’t want and fire people I do, seperates me from my wife, friends, family and the opportunities to do the things I want to do (like Dragon.Con).

So, after much soul searching and inspiration from Captain Awesome, I am marking this goal “done”. I believe I have improved my postion at my job, maybe not with the people I was aiming to impress, but I have succeeded. And anyway, do I really want to continue trying to demonstrate loyalty, teamwork, ideas, concepts and support to a pair of people whose only response will be to hinder my improvement?

I smell roses and decay…



Go to Dragon*Con 2009 (read all 6 entries…)
Dragon*Con Rulz!!

10 years in Atlanta and I had never been to Dragon.Con. Now I don’t want to miss another one! It was a great time with a great group of people (about 40,000), and some of the most wild and creative outfits I have ever seen. It was Halloween on a factory scale and I was truly impressed. We wandered around for hours upon hours, checking people out, taking photos, talking with folks, making new friends and even meeting old friends! (Despite the crush of people and our own costumes, we met two young women whom we have crossed paths with at events in Savannah and New Orleans. It was great to see them again and catch up)

We wandered, wondered, shopped, browsed art, talked shop with computer gamers (I totally faked it, they totally knew it), and brushed elbows with celebrities (Malcom McDowell and Bruce Boxleitner are celebrities!). We also decided that next year we are sooooo getting a room downtown. We mixed and socialized until 2 am, only leaving because we just had to get home and let the dog out. We also registered for Frolicon in April. It is a much more adult version of Dragon.Con and also looks to be great fun. It is only in its 5th year (D*C is in its 23rd), and I don’t want to write another entry about how I waited 10 years to do that.

We had so much fun S. wondered aloud how we finally got around to actually doing it. I laid it firmly at the door of “being on my list of 43 Things”.



Go to Dragon*Con 2009 (read all 6 entries…)
Hours to go...

Costume assembles, such as it is. Really going for the fun of it. Plan to take lots of photos and check out the really creative people who make this event so great every year (or so I hear). Depending on how much fun we have, and how crazy it is getting downtown, parking, walking, all the necessary evils of conventions, we may opt for getting rooms right downtown next year.

Photos of costumes to follow.



Wish the wonderful lookingatthestars a birthday of legendary brilliance and beauty on 3rd September
Happy Birthday To You!

May love and light and peace and joy envelope you on your most special day, and may you claim this day and this month as your own. My birthday wish for you is that you have what your spirit most desires this year, that everything you turn your hand and heart to flourishes. May blessings and gifts pile up around your feet, and the mantle of stars smile down on you with their warmest light. And a faithful dog always be at your side.

Happy Birthday.



Complete the "21-Day Vegan Kickstart Program" starting Septemer 8th (read all 3 entries…)
The 21-Day Vegan Kickstart Program

I discovered through one of my email newsletters a site that is focusing awareness on the benefits of a vegan diet, and since I have been exploring this concept on and off all year, I decided to participate in their “kickstart program”. Beginning September 8th thru the 29th, they will email to me (and about 4,000 other people participating with the program)recipes, nutritional and health info, webcasts, and a message board. The idea is to learn how easy it can be to change one’s life and eating habits in just 21 days. Hmmmm… 21 days doesn’t sound very long, until the burger cravings start. Then it could be a very long time.

For me it won’t be as difficult. I have been eating largely raw/vegan/vegetarian meals most of the year anyway. Sure, some beef, chicken and fish here and there, but pretty well in control. But now S. has committed to doing it as well for the three weeks. I think it will be harder for her, once I explained that vegan meant no milk, eggs, shrimp, cheese or butter. The look in her eyes, between horror and regret, was very sad, indeed. But I read to her the benefits of the vegan diet, according to the website, and I cut and paste them here for general consumption:

The Benefits of a Vegan Diet
What you eat can greatly affect your health and well-being. Scientific studies have shown time and again that choosing healthy foods can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.

A healthy diet can help prevent cancer, since up to 60 percent of cancer cases are diet-related. Healthy foods can also help you maintain a healthy weight. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, close to 100 million Americans are overweight or obese. Being obese or overweight substantially increases the risk of morbidity from several conditions, including heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and several types of cancer.

So what type of diet is best for disease prevention and to maintain a healthy weight? The best diet is one that you can stick with for life. A healthy diet is a lifestyle, not a fad that is dangerous or difficult to maintain.

Abundant evidence suggests that the most healthful diets set aside animal products and also reduce fats in general, while including large amounts of vegetables and fruits. Eliminating meat and dairy products from your diet is a powerful step in disease prevention. These products are typically high in saturated fat and cholesterol and completely devoid of fiber. They have also been specifically linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancers. Eating a low-fat, plant-based diet rich in whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables is the best way to prevent disease and increase chances of survival.

One additional diet consideration may be useful for people with diabetes or pre diabetes. Choose foods that have a low glycemic index (or “low GI”), which means the foods that turn to sugar more slowly and cause less of a rise in blood sugar levels. Although you’ll find various lists of the GI values of different foods, there are really only a few foods to be concerned about. Sugar, of course, has a high GI, as do white or wheat bread, most cold cereals, watermelon, pineapple, and baking potatoes. Foods to enjoy that have a low GI are pumpernickel, rye, multigrain or sourdough bread; old-fashioned oatmeal, bran cereals and Grape-Nuts; most fruits; sweet potatoes, pasta, rice, barley, couscous, beans, peas, lentils, and most vegetables.

So, let the challenge begin! Anyone out there willing to join in, go to PCRM 21-Day Vegan Kickstart Program for more information.



Weigh 180 pounds by September 4th (read all 13 entries…)
Not actually done...

but I wasn’t going to let the “personal challenge” column “fail” me, either. Even though I may not achieve this goal in the time frame I had planned, I am doing what I should be doing everyday to eventually get there. That was the real goal after all.



Focus on Exercise: November (read all 10 entries…)
Respectable Progress

Not a bad month for chest exercises. I did tend to overwork my chest a little, but it was more in repetition and conditioning than heavy weight. There were definite improvements. The weights I maxed out with three weeks ago are the weights I start with now, and when S. patted my chest the other day, I do believe her hand lingered.

I also realize that while focusing on one area of the body, I have to make sure to train and strengthen the opposite muscles as well. In this case my back could have benefited from more stretching and exercising. The focus on chest muscles imbalanced my body. With the new month I am going to focus on a new area, but I will continue to strengthen and develop my chest, back, and keep the opposite muscles balanced, too.



make wild, passionate, crazy love (read all 10 entries…)
Birthday Sex Redux

Of course one of the many pluses of being in a relationship is the opportunity to celebrate not only your birthday but your beloved’s, as well. Earlier in the year I was lucky enough to receive, this time I was privileged to give.

So while S. went off to cash in her pedicure and massage gift certificates, I gathered ingredients and prepped for a gourmet three course dinner with wine and candles. She came home to a dining room bathed in yellow candlelight, and the dinner table strewn with dried lavender petals and springs of rosemary (her two favorite scents). Dinner was a great success and perfectly portioned so that neither of us felt too full. The wine did go to our heads a little.

Presents were unwrapped and cooed over with much appreciation. Time to unwrap other, more sensual gifts…

Amidst kisses and caresses I pause to grab one of the digital timers from the kitchen.

“What are you going to do with that?” she asks.

“It’s for you,” I answer. “Select a time, and however long it is, that is how long I will make love to you.”

“Very bold… and confident. Do I get to select minutes, or just seconds?”

“Ha, ha. It has hours, too.”

“Oooh. How many hours?”

“Well,” maybe I’m being too bold. “It only goes up to ninety-nine, soooo….”

In the bedroom she keys in a time, but won’t let me see what it is. It is a hot August night, so we strip the bedspread and top sheet off, open the windows, and hope for rain. No rain, but our favorite love-making CD thrums, hums and drums in the darkness while the kitchen timer secretly counts down. True to my word, if not to the immediacy of my desire, I pace myself, going here, there, down, around… seeking any new embrace that will prolong and extend her pleasure. Somewhere along the way the CD ends and begins to repeat (I take note, since I know it is 54min & 38sec). The ceiling fan and open windows are insufficient to dispel the heat building up, and we are both parched and sweat-soaked. More wine fixes this, both over our lips and over our bodies. Her first two climaxes are selfish, as they should be. These are my gifts to her. I’m there, holding back, coaxing, touching, kissing, loving. Now she wants a mutual release as she begins to come again. Begging me for what she knows I cannot resist, fingernails deep in my back and breath hot and sweet on my throat, I am unable to restrain myself any longer. My universe expands, my consciousness opens, my world focuses to this moment, this instant, this vessel of nirvana. This is what the birth of stars must be like.

Sometime later, exhausted and layered with sweat and wine and kisses we lay sprawled on the bed and the digital timer goes off. I pick it up and peer at the numbers on the display.

“Pretty optimistic, there. Wouldn’t you say?” I asked, throat still dry.

“Well, there’s always next year,” she muses sleepily.

“Well, there’s always later this year…”



Get a massage at least once a month (read all 5 entries…)
Massage #5

I hadn’t been for a massage in quite a while. Frankly, I was feeling pretty loose and relaxed. But lately I have noticed a gathering tension in my back and shoulders and figured my last day of vacation was a good time to get a few knots worked out.

It began raining pretty heavily and the far off roll of thunder along with the meditation music made for a very relaxing start. My masseuse gently scolded me for having taken so long off as she pushed, prodded, elbowed and kneaded the lumps of tight muscles in my back, neck, legs and hips. The more she loosened things up the more I realized how uncomfortably tight I had been. By the time she had flipped me over and massaged my chest, throat, face and scalp I had vowed not to let so much time pass before seeking helpful hands again.



Weigh 180 pounds by September 4th (read all 13 entries…)
Plateau - Oh neau!!

After a week of conscious eating and being good I have hit a plateau. No weight lost this week. Booo! Especially since the deadline for this goal is coming up and S. emphatically states she will stick to the terms of our deal. So close, but I am worried now I won’t make this goal in time. I don’t want to go on water and diuretics, but I hate losing, too.



Nurture and tend to our foundling squirrel until it reaches squirrely independence (read all 8 entries…)
Toofers!

Our little foundling continues his progress. He has started cutting teeth (toofers) and yesterday his little ears suddenly popped out. They had been little bumps on a bumpy head. Fur is getting a little thicker and you should hear the fuss he makes when the food doesn’t come fast enough! His eyes haven’t opened yet (another 2 weeks, we think)but he is sensitive to light. He still sleeps most of the time. He will crawl around a little but is such a squirmy thing it is no mystery he fell out of his nest.

We have a strict “no namiming” policy on critters for the first two weeks, but I think soon we are going to have to contemplate one.



Fast one day a month to acknowledge others who are in need (read all 11 entries…)
Women in Peril

My fast was on Monday, but I didn’t want to post this until I thought it out more clearly, trying to give voice to my emotions on this matter:

This has been on my mind lately…

I dedicated this month’s fast to what I perceive as a rising tidal wave of danger to women. For reasons inexplicable to me there is a culture of violence and disrespect toward women today that is rapidly expanding . With every news day comes another story of an atrocity or the victimization of women. From Jacyee Dugard, to Jasmine Fiore to the local case of Kristi Cornwell, a brutal disregard for the well-being of women is on display. And these are the ones that get coverage. Every day many, many women suffer out of the spotlight and without a sense of hope or support.

Our television is full of crime shows that for “entertainment” delve with pornographic glee into the details of molestation, battery, rape and murder. The objectification of women is a commercial industry standard. Even from the pulpits of many churches, the subjugation of women is preached. Where does all this hate, disrespect, anger and violence come from?

I say it is the fault of men.

Not all men, but enough men who have never grown up and matured enough to be the responsible elements of society they should be. Men who are so intimidated by the strength, passion and wisdom of women that they have no other means of asserting themselves than by attacking that which they don’t understand and fear. Men whose maturity levels never surpassed that of 13-year old boys who have no concept of how to participate in an equal, loving, attentive, responsible relationship. Men who cannot stand not to be the center of attention. Men who view women as objects of sexual convenience and domestic servitude. Men who have evolved concepts of how to treat women based upon Batman movies, internet pornography and how Amber the stripper is always glad to see them. In that context, how boring to have a partner who does laundry, works and gets paid more than he does, gains weight, makes dinner every night, is sometimes sad for no reason, gives birth to and raises his children, won’t let him buy a Sega 3 gamestation because the rent is due…

I am not going to say that women have historically been well treated by civilized society. But there has been a definable shift in the world consciousness over the last century, and the roles of women have definitely changed. They are reclaiming their goddessness (if that is a word) and becoming stronger, more assertive, open, passionate about the world, and capable of handling their lives. The problem is that men have not stepped up in their godhood to match them. If anything men in general have retreated, letting the women in their lives become extended mothers who have to nurture and spoil them as they would their other children. This brings them into inevitable conflict with their most primitive driving forces: to fuck (procreate) and to kill (provide and defend). It is the nature of men to be violent, that is how we kept bears out of the caves and food on the fires 100,000 years ago. But we don’t live in caves now and our aggressiveness needs to find acceptable outlets (sports, WWF, foreign wars for oil). Somewhere in the last few decades, that aggressiveness has turned on the other half of our society in the most horrific and unapologetic ways.

Can we not patron music that debases and denigrates women? Can we not watch TV shows that feature violence against women and children as the center point of entertainment? Can we ban websites that host rape-porno and “fantasy molestation”? Can we not laugh at jokes that degrade roles of women? Can we look them in the face when we speak to them (instead of you know where)? Can we judge women by their spirits first rather than their figures? Can we not slaver over party-doll heiresses and their sexual missteps and instead acknowledge beautiful women who do good works (Eva Longoria, Melissa George, Gillian Anderson, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey… gorgeous women who give liberally to charities, even working hands on in the field)?

At a more immediate level, can we, as men, resume our partnership role in the lives of our women? Can we be good role models to our sons and daughters? Can we be good wage earners and provide equally in the support of our families? Can we tame our vices, not cheat, lie, be slothful or lazy, or inattentive, distant or sexually insensitive? Can we take care of our bodies, eat good food and exercise, so our mates enjoy our bodies, and know we are taking responsibility for our longevity? Can we listen before we answer, think before we react, try and see things from her point of view? Can we take it on the chin and accept that not winning every argument doesn’t diminish our masculinity? Can we be strong and suffer in silence, not complaining about every little bullshit thing that ripples our plane of inconvenience?

Can we be spiritual leaders, teachers, sages, wise men and seekers of knowledge and truth? Can we fill the void of soul between ourselves and our women? Can we offer compliments and be tender and not vulgar, be men of character, gentlemen and lovers?

Can we never, ever, ever, under any pretense or excuse, raise our hands against women we have professed to love, protect, tend to and support. Or against any woman, anywhere? Can we require the same of every man around us, and never dismiss or excuse such action?

Will we… can we … wake up from this brutal global nightmare?

I will be meditating on this during my fast, and for some time afterward. I will do what I can do… how much more can I do?



Make more foods from scratch: Come up with a month's worth of vegan meals/recipes (read all 14 entries…)
Another Vegan Quickie

Fast and easy stir fry with rice noodles, bell peppers, red onions, marinated shittake mushrooms, green beans, squash and zucchini with garlic and fried ginger, fresh cilantro and Sesame Asian Vinaigrette and a pile of sprouts.



Make more foods from scratch: Come up with a month's worth of vegan meals/recipes (read all 14 entries…)
Sprout Harvest

Three days of practical neglect (all you have to do is keep ‘em moist and warm) and I harvested a bowl full of mung bean and alfalfa/broccoli/radish sprouts.

Sprouts are a nice treat to snack on, and also a very healthy food source. The seed contains all the enzymes and nutrients needed to get a sprout going before the job of the roots take over and start feeding the plant via the soil and water. Sprouts are living plants, still full of vital energy. Broccoli sprouts have up to 40X the calcium and vitamin content of a full grown plant, and the flavors are light and delicate.

Growing them at home is super easy and super cheap (compared to buying them at the store at $2-3 a pint). All it takes is a glass jar with a screened lid, seeds for sprouting (make sure they are organic and suited for sprouting. Some seeds have pestacides and anti-mold and fungus protection and are only suitable for planting), water and room on the countertop. Soak the seeds, usually overnight, drain, lay the jar on its side and rinse the seeds and drain two – three times a day. Sprouts usually appear within the first day, and by day three or four sprouts are ready to harvest. Just dump them into a big bowl of cold water and stir, letting the seed husks fall away. Remove the sprouts and drain, then store in the fridge, keeping them moist but not wet. Consume rapidly, because if you start another batch of sprouts right away, they’ll be filling up the fridge in no time.



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