Category Archives: Uncategorized

trader joe’s in kc: it’s about dang time

trader joe’s is finally coming to kansas city, with two stores having their grand openings tomorrow. i’m as excited as everyone else is about this. there will once again be an alternative to whole paycheck, um, i mean whole foods (which was lost when whole foods bought up wild oats), with cheaper prices and of course the infamous ‘two-buck chuck’. i won’t be there this weekend because i’m sure the crowds will be *crazy*, but i plan to make my first of probably many visits sometime in the next couple of weeks.

as happy as i am about them being here, i have to say that although they may have for sale many organic and additive-free food items, they are still a part of the problem as far as the standard american diet (SAD) goes, and not a part of any real solution. just because something is organic doesn’t automatically mean it’s good for you. you can get organic potato chips at trader joe’s.  however, a potato chip is still a potato chip with all its attendant starches and toxins, whether it’s deep fried in soybean oil or canola oil or whatever conventional wisdom says is currently the healthiest oil. organic whole grain flour is still made from wheat, and whole grain or not, wheat is a prime contributor to the ‘diseases of civilization’, plus the gluten in wheat affects people more than we realize. organic packaged and processed foods, while appearing to be a ‘healthy’ alternative to conventional food options, are just a band-aid that doesn’t even begin to solve what’s wrong with the SAD.

what would begin to solve the problem? eating a diet consisting primarily of vegetables and fruits (found in the produce section of the store, not in the canned food aisles or the freezer section – or better yet, start growing your own or at least buy from local farmer’s markets and CSAs), grass-fed (if financially possible) meats, free-range poultry, good fats (such as lard and butter and coconut oil), and fruits. (in other words, a paleo/primal/WAPF based diet.) and obviously these items can be found at tj’s, but most people who shop there are probably going for the packaged goods, because of cost and convenience.

still, those points being said, tj’s in kc is a step in the right direction. i will check it out, and probably shop there regularly myself. but even when shopping in a regular grocery store (like cosentino’s downtown market, where one of the employees once told me they consider whole foods their competition – mmmkay), i usually stick with the produce and meat sections, venturing into other sections from time to time, but really not buying many packaged and processed foods. i do buy some things in glass jars though, like my coconut oil, but have no problem reusing those jars to store spices and other things. anyway, i’m looking forward to being one of many new tj’s customers.

however, if a place like this ever comes to town, i’ll camp out on the sidewalk the night before their grand opening. unpackaged looks like my dream grocery store, at least for buying spices and other staples in bulk.

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dying and living and sleeping and waking

i feel as if my soul is dying a slow painful death and taking my body down with it. or vice versa. either way, i’m dying a slow painful death, or at least it feels that way monday through friday, from approximately 8am to 430pm.

i remember about a year ago, i was so happy to have gotten this position with my current employer. this current position started out paying more than what i earned at the last library i worked at, plus i thought it would build on the foundation i had created at the other job.  and truthfully, in some ways it has. i have learned a lot at this job, especially in areas of web development, and the intricacies of interlibrary loan and copyright law. this knowledge is something i may be able to take with me wherever i go next. (and i am going, somewhere, but that will be the subject of another post.)

and yet, today my work consisted of comparing a printed out list with the contents of a database. basically, this is bullshit work, as far as i’m concerned. much of the work i do in this position is bullshit work. i spend most of my days moving bytes of ‘info’ from one computer to another, in an ‘industry’ i’m feeling less and less respect for with each day that goes by.

there is so much real work to be done in the world, and i’m feeling as though my soul and mind are wasting away. just today i finished reading derrick jensen’s dreams, which is an amazing, amazing book,  and has made one hell of an impression on my psyche. one thing this book has inadvertently done is made glaringly obvious to me all the ways in which my job, and current way of life, are 1. bullshit,  2. pointless, and 3. evil. yes, evil. the building i work in is located next to, and affiliated with, a vivisection lab. plus, there’s this whole morality, or lack of, in the medical-pharmaceutical industry, a morality that revolves around little more than making money. it seems the purpose of the medical-pharmaceutical industry is not to get people healthy, but to keep them sick yet somewhat functional, and dependent on the industry. sadly, the work i do in an academic medical library supports this paradigm.

meanwhile, this country is literally on the verge of financial collapse, and this planet is on the verge of a far worse collapse. if it isn’t too late, i want to do something about the latter, at least in my little corner of the world, but am not doing a damn thing, other than going to and from my little cubicle every day like a good little serf. other than the plants in my cubicle, the closest i am to nature most work days is the contact made with all the paper i waste (although we do recycle – what good little stewards of the planet we are), paper that used to be in a forest somewhere. as of now, i’m still contributing to the problem (if you could call the planet dying simply a ‘problem’), and i want to do something different from that. i want something where i’m giving back instead of calling myself environmentally conscious while working a job that is in conflict with my soul, just so i don’t have to worry so much about keeping a roof over my head and sallie mae off my back. dreams has touched off an awakening in me where i want to work towards what is important and real. and these are all things i’ve thought about before, but jensen’s book about intangibles has shown me what is real and necessary and urgent. i won’t go into all that now because i do plan to write a fitting review of dreams sometime in the next couple of weeks. for now,  i’ll just say that this book is something of a catalyst for me and the upcoming changes i’m planning to make in my life. yes, i’ve known all along that collapse is imminent, and even if it isn’t ‘imminent’, it is going to happen probably in my lifetime (which i guess would make it somewhat imminent), and sooner would be better than later. it’s helped me to realize that maybe now is the time for me to extricate myself from this system, which i am in the slow process of doing. (also, more thoughts on this extrication in future posts.)

are you happy with the work you do (whether it’s paid or unpaid)? are you contributing to the demise of this planet or to the demise of civilization? (those ideas are opposites, believe it or not.) whom do you serve, Life or Death?

the opposite of fear

earlier this evening i had a friend ask if i was afraid of dying. i told him that i’d like to think i’m not. then i paused and said, i’m not afraid of dying; i’m afraid of not having lived.

love note to self: the opposite of fearing (i.e., being afraid) is loving. now do something with this.

j-town

although the so-called rapture didn’t happen over the weekend, as predicted by harold camping, maybe something of a preview of the rapture did occur sunday night. around 6 pm sunday evening, a significant portion of joplin, missouri, the town i lived in for most of 2000 and 2001, was decimated by an f4 (or possibly higher) tornado, forever changing the landscape of this bustling little city.

j-town, as i affectionately call it, was not the place for me ultimately, but it was the place where i grew up, so it will always be a special place to me. i don’t mean grew up in the literal sense, being that i spent all of my life in sedalia until i went away to college at mizzou at the age of 17. no, my growing up at this point was more about actually becoming a grown up, at the age of 35. it was here in j-town that i was drawn away from the fundamentalist christianity i’d been steeped in for the better part of a decade, and began to see that there was life outside of the christian ghetto. it was here that i was first introduced to the ‘radical’ idea that neither christianity nor the other two abrahamic religions were the only game in town when it came to experiencing god. it was also here that i mourned my mother’s long drawn out death, which had finally occurred on christmas day 1999, a couple of months before my move south. it was here that a tumultuous love affair innocently began, even from the beginning knowing that it would end in the way most love affairs do, especially if there are other people involved : very badly (although happily, the two of us are now good friends).

somewhat humorously, calling it j-town seemed quite appropriate, because it seemed like every male i met had a first name that began with the letter j. in particular, i met way too many guys named john. i attributed that to joplin ‘being on the buckle of the bible belt’: ‘what do you think we ought to name the baby?’ ‘well i don’t know; john is in the bible and if it’s good enough for the bible, it’s good enough for our son!’   at one point i had assigned them numbers, but soon found that to be just plain stupid, so i just referred to anyone named john by his first and last name when speaking of him (whichever one he might be). also, there was my relationship with jesus, because even as i got further away from mainstream christianity, i learned more about the human side of jesus. at this point i wasn’t ready to say he was not a historical figure, but i was learning that the bible didn’t tell nearly enough of his story.

so, even though i was there a short time, joplin was a huge milestone in my life, perhaps even a turning point. i knew i couldn’t live there forever though, because, well, i’m not being politically correct here, but it is a redneck cracker-ish town. i used to count the number of people of color i’d see on a daily basis and most days i never got past 5 (although there was the one day i got up to 17, but i had to have counted some twice). there are two kinds of people (generally) who live there, jesus freaks and meth heads (respect to both groups, and to anyone in between). i loved being ‘the library lady’, recognized many places i went in town from working the front desk at jpl, but that’s all i was going to be had i stayed there. so i left, taking experience and friendships and memories with me into the next phase of my life. and that’s what i’m mourning here this evening, those experiences and friendships and memories. oh those things aren’t going anywhere. i’ll always have those things, but what i’m sad about now is that the place where those things, those changes, occurred has itself changed, in a most sudden and devastating way. however, even in the midst of this devastation, as j-town begins to rebuild, i believe what has happened will make joplin a better place in the long term. the pain and heartbreak my fellow joplinites are currently going through – well it hurts me terribly and i’ve been away for going on ten years, so i can only imagine what lifelong joplinites are going through. but all i can do is pray and send a little money to the red cross, and pray some more. going there to help is not an option for me at this time.

i love you, j-town. i know you’ll make it through to the other side.

more f*ckery

(yeah, as far as nablopomo goes, i’m out. i hope i’m not making excuses here, but i sit in front of a computer every day for at least 7+ hours. i don’t want to come home and turn on a computer and be forced to write in the evenings after staring at a screen all day.)

continuing in the spirit of my last post on the word ‘fuck’, i’m going to repost something i wrote back in 2006 on my now defunct blog ‘books music food’ formerly hosted by bloglines. it’s mostly something of a treatise on the use and misuse of the f-word, and how it loses its meaning if it’s continually used (and i guess i’m at the risk of doing something similar here…).

fucking for dummies

I have a friend who has read my blog and made the comment that I am ‘brave’ because I used the ‘f word’ in a public forum where it could be read by anyone.  I’ve thought a lot about his comment (incidentally he made several other comments about my blogging that were quite complementary) and realized that I disagreed with him (on this one comment only).  Saying the word ‘fuck’, or many of its variations, in public is no sign of bravery; indeed the brave thing is to be able to converse with another person without using it.  In my travels throughout a typical day, whether it’s on the city bus, in the grocery store, being around loved ones, or complete strangers, it’s a rare occasion where I can go without hearing the words fuck, fucked, fucking, motherfucker, or a poor excuse for an euphemism, such as freakin’, flippin’, frickin’ (these usually uttered by an adolescent whose parent is somewhere nearby).  Thankfully I’m in a workplace where some sort of professionalism prevails, but otherwise I feel like my poor little virgin ears (sarcasm) are assailed most places I go.

Trust me, I’m not a prude and I can throw about the f-word with the best of them.  In a heated moment (and define heated however you wish), I can and will introduce the word into a given situation as warranted.  A good percentage of the music I listen to and the fiction I read (and the nonfiction for that matter) has a noticeable presence of the word.  However, I truly believe there is a time and place for everything, and that includes profanity.  It seems to me that a definite downside about excessive use of this word is that it loses meaning when heard and used all the time.  I know people who literally will use the word ‘fucking’ at least one time per sentence.  (I’ve heard sentences like, ‘I fuckin’ hope it don’t fuckin’ rain again to-fuckin’-day.)  So how is one to know if you are truly upset about something or need to make a significant point if you are constantly fucking up your sentences with this word?

Also, excessive use of the word shows me that you really don’t have anything worthwhile to say, so you’re just filling up spaces between your meaningless words.  Instead you are making yourself look low-class and just plain trashy, with a minimal education and vocabulary, even if you have an advanced degree.

I do understand the need and place for the word; all I ask is that people only say it when they really mean it.  And if you take issue with anything that’s been said on this topic, please, go fuck yourself.  (Just kidding…)

On a related note, I have another friend who is currently living in Ireland.  She recently told me of a milder version of the word fuck, ‘feck’, that people use in pretty much the same way as fuck, except the meaning is not so intense.  So I’ve been amusing myself and others (getting on other’s nerves is probably more like it) by using it in conversation on occasion.

In completely unrelated stuff, here is what I’m currently reading: Collected Fictions by Jorge Borges, The Middle Mind: Why Americans Can’t Think for Themselves by Curtis White, and still working on The Devil Never Sleeps by Codrescu.  I’m also trying to listen to a 3 cd lecture by writer, activist, and anarchist Derrick Jensen entitled The Other Side of Darkness, where Jensen discusses injustice and what humans are doing to the planet and each other.  The only problem is that these days I don’t have time to listen, but I guess I need to find it somewhere, because he’s incredible.  I would recommend to anyone a couple of books of his, The Culture of Make-Believe (on how Americans are in denial about racism) and A Language Older Than Words (about his experiences with child abuse and how those experiences really are a metaphor for what western civilization is doing to the planet).  He doesn’t really give answers in these books, both of which are rather lengthy, but that’s one problem with Americans; we always seem to look to other people to solve our problems, instead of looking at what we can do to begin to fix things.  (But now I’m digressing…)  On the other hand, according to Jensen, he thinks it’s too late and we’re fucked no matter what we do.  Whether you agree with that or not, I think Jensen gives a much needed dose of reality and would be well worth an investment of time.


it’s f’n day 10 of nablopomo

…and even though i’ve had a lame post here and there this month, i think working on the discipline to write something daily has been a good thing.

anyhoo, last night i saw the funniest video, a talk by the controversial hindu spiritual guru, osho. this talk was about the word ‘fuck’, which happens to be one of my favorite words in the english language. (seriously.) its versatility knows no bounds (just ask george carlin). and in this video, osho gives his listeners some examples of that versatility.

day 1: nablopomo, and i’m already cheating…

my first posting for national blogging post month will be a repost of the very first blog entry i ever posted, on bloglines (which is going away forever as of november 15). (is it really cheating to post something you’ve written somewhere else a long time ago?) i’ve tried to leave the entry as i wrote it on march 14, 2006. however, i did fix a couple of typos and i added in a few links that were not there previously. it’s interesting to see how far i’ve come in the nearly 5 years i’ve been blogging (first at bloglines, then setting up impolite conversation at blogger, and now migrating over to wordpress.com, and i plan to migrate again within a couple of months to a self-hosted wp blog), and how my thought processes have changed and not changed. i have a few other items from the bloglines blog (books music food) that i plan to repost on those days when the muse is settling in for a long winter’s nap. but for now, here’s the one that started it all. (and for the record, my opinions on the role of the devil, mentioned prominently below, have changed somewhat since this original writing. but only somewhat.)

blogging at the end of the world (… or damn, why didn’t i start blogging sooner?)

this is my inaugural foray into the world of blogging.  this may be something i do daily, or once a year, but most likely the frequency will fall somewhere in between the two extremes.  the things that make my heart beat fast are books and music and good food, so those things will probably be the focus of my writings, but i will also delve into religion, politics, sex, relationships, poetry, sports, racial issues, the war in iraq, and anything else that happens to present itself to me. 

so… i am currently obsessed with the writings of andrei codrescu, npr commentator, essayist, novelist, poet, and generally a thought provoking human being.  i love it when my two very favorite topics of religion and sex intersect, and in what i’ve read of his work so far, they not only intersect, they collide.  over the last couple of weeks, i’ve completed the novels wakefield and messiah, and am in the process of reading hail babylon! in search of the american city at the end of the millennium and the devil never sleeps and other essays. i just recently paid attention to him for the first time through an interview on what is enligtenment? magazine’s website. i found him very relatable as far as  some points he made about spirituality and american society, so i thought i’d try one of his novels to begin with. i’m a huge tom robbins fan and when i read robbins’ recommendations on the jackets of these particular novels, i knew that codrescu was someone i needed to take a good look at.  it turned out that both of these books were everything i could ever want in a novel (with the possible exception of the ending of messiah – not entirely happy with the way it ended, but i don’t know how it could have ended any differently).  both books made me laugh out loud, made me cry, made me squeamish, made me horny, but most importantly, made me think.

one of these continually evolving thoughts fed by these particular books is the role of the devil in our lives.  first off, let it be known that i am no big fan of the devil.  i come from a fundamentalist christian history, and while i no longer self-identify with those beliefs, i do believe that the devil is a real and powerful being.  however, he is not an equal with god, as i think many christians believe, and therefore have the tendency to blame him for everything bad that happens in their lives.  he is a creation of god, just as we all are (more on this in a moment).  anyway, in both books, the devil himself plays a central role.  basically in wakefield, the devil is the catalyst for wakefield (the main character, with one name, similar to madonna in that regard) to ‘get a life’.  but more interestingly, in messiah, i see him being portrayed as  being in charge of making life interesting for us here on earth.  he makes the excellent point that if life were all good or all evil, we’d basically be bored to tears. (i used to wonder this about being in heaven for eternity; i mean, being happy all the time, with no dramas or crises, wouldn’t that get boring after a few hundred thousand years?)  ultimately in messiah, the devil is the one who prevents the apocalypse from happening, namely because he likes the way things are here on earth now. (well i guess if you were going to be locked away in a bottomless pit for 1000 years after the apocalypse, you’d like it here on earth currently too.)  (and as for all this control that the devil seems to have in this story, apparently god, after having set things in motion, is just looking in on us and not really interfering unless asked.)

okay, i’m not saying that the devil is this being with our best interests at heart, but i have come to see him as another creation of god, as stated earlier.  as created beings, aren’t we all created in the image of god?  i believe that we are all little localized pieces or aspects of god, so would that not be true of lucifer also?  in other words, i guess i’m saying that god has a dark side that most are just not openly willing to acknowledge.  but how would we know what good is without evil, light without darkness, or sweetness without sourness?  it is the ugly that makes the beautiful worthwhile and transformative to us, and not just another day in paradise.  if god is all-knowing and all-encompassing, then he (and i use that pronoun loosely) knew what he was doing by even creating lucifer in the first place.

i believe this is one of the key messages in messiah, that the bad in life is necessary to appreciate the good, and that what appears to be good (major notz, felicity’s uncle, for example) can be evil, and what looks evil (the shades, a group of unemployed stoners) can be good.  it also illustrates something that i’ve believed for awhile (which i’ll probably touch on in future posts), that people make decisions and do things based on what they know and on their level of consciousness.  this doesn’t dismiss right and wrong (i mean, hitler was obviously horribly wrong with all the horrors he wrought upon the world, but even he was operating from what he knew; his actions did not just happen in a vacuum), but just means that people do what they think they need to do to get by, whether it’s to scratch an itch on the physical level or to satisfy an ego need.

i could go on with thoughts about these two books for a long while.  this means that these meet at least one of the criteria of a good novel, as they have made me think long after i’ve closed the pages.  i’m sure i will bring up other aspects of these stories from time to time, but there are plenty of other things in my world to write about.  i’m off to explore some more of those things now.

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