Monday, January 24, 2011

Returning Lost Treasures

I came across this video when it was posted on facebook last week. It's such a delightful nostalgic kind of story. I love his honesty, sense of humor, and creativity. I love how he has old cross country skis. I love his speculations about the photographers and the stories he tells about the pictures. Such beautiful photographs too! Who uses 35mm anymore? Well I do, but it's certainly rare to find.

The best part however, is the part about the woman who gave him $26 on the street. I feel like that's quintessential New York. You think it's a crazy big bad city, but every time I go back to visit since I left it a year ago, I am struck by how nice people are there. Sure they're in a hurry and moving fast, but I've found that so many go out of their way to be kind.

This brings me to a story I love to tell about an experience I had in my first year living in NYC. It was when I was in school at NYU and it was a morning like many others. I took the train in from Brooklyn and set myself up in the library to study. However, when I went to go buy myself a coffee I realized I didn't have my wallet. I figured I'd just left it at home, which had happened before, until, a little while later, I got a call on my cell. It was a police officer from a Manhattan precinct, and I was thoroughly confused when he said he had my wallet and asked when I could come pick it up! It was a station not far from NYU, in the west village, and when I went to pick it up, I think he was even more surprised than I was that it had been turned in, completely intact, with money, cards, everything. He also handed me a flier for a Chinese restaurant and said that the guy who turned it in was from this place, if I wanted to go and thank him. I could tell he thought I was pretty lucky.

The craziest part was when I walked out of the precinct, the guy who turned it in was there! He must have been waiting for me to come pick it up. He didn't speak English very well, but he was eager to tell me that everything was in the wallet, including even my extra metro card. All I could do was thank him again and again.

I still have the flier from that Chinese restaurant somewhere, I always intended to go eat there. Honestly I'm not completely sure how he got my wallet. I think I must have dropped it getting out of a cab near Chinatown the night before. It's an amazing story, and it reminds of the story of the 35mm film, even if I didn't making a lovely video about it. There really are good people in the world.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ethical Eating

I'm reading The Omnivore's Dilemma. I know, it's about time, huh? I started it this fall, but finally got my own copy last week after a little shopping spree at Half Price Books. I was especially inspired to pick it up again after watching Food, Inc., where the author, Michael Pollen, is interviewed.

I'm still only on Chapter 4 in the first section on corn, but this book already makes me want to shout out loud! Unfortunately right now my audience just consists of my family and anyone who happens to stumble upon this blog (like you!). I certainly gave my mom and brother an earful yesterday, and so, well, prepare yourself, because I gotta get this off my chest.

In The Omnivore's Dilemma, Pollen describes how messed up our food system has become and it infuriates me to read about just how backwards things are. Farming in the form it was originally intended makes sense- you grow crops, then have animals to eat the surplus, these same animals then provide manure which is a natural fertilizer for your crops. What a simple cycle, right? But the American government just can't have it that way. We had leftover dangerous chemicals from warfare in WWII, so what do we decide to use them for? Fertilizers to grow the food we ingest into our bodies. Then there's this huge surplus of food, so the farmers soon have to be subsidized to be able to stay in business. Crops (now mostly corn) become not really food anymore, but just a commodity. And the manure from the animals? Well, nothing's really done with it- it just pollutes land and water. This whole f-ed up process just doesn't make any sense to me! When nature and evolution gives us something that works just fine, we decide to completely go against it. And look at the consequences.

Alright, I'll step down from my rant just a little bit. You can go read the book yourself, if you haven't already. I think what gets me so worked up about this issue is that it's so easy to take action. With problems like, oh, I don't know, World Hunger, or AIDS in Africa, or the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict, making a positive impact just seems so... *daunting*. But with the food system in America, if you are somewhat secure financially (given- I know that's not everyone), you can totally make an impact. Everybody eats and we all have the power to choose what we eat and where we buy our food. We can read labels, shop at Farmer's Markets, join CSAs, frequent particular restaurants. And we are lucky to live in an age with so many choices! Now I recognize that there are people who do not have the financial means to make these choices- food justice is a problem and we need to work to change that too. However, most of us can make a difference with what we eat and buy, and I just don't understand how you can't act!

Thanks for reading. Here's to making healthy ethical choices... :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Would you like some cake?

Today I baked a cake. It's one I've made before, by my favorite food blogger, Molly at Orangette:

It's simple, not too many ingredients, and now that I can bake with a standing mixer, making delicious things is so easy!

There are few things I like more than cake. The texture, the moist softness... the filling substance of it. The sweet batter, the smell as it comes out of the oven. It's my dessert of choice, every time, and it doesn't need to be fancy.

This simple cake does the trick. I'm so happy I could share it with my family this evening.

Monday, January 17, 2011


In honor of today, I want to share two quotes:

"It seems to me that education has a twofold function to perform in the life of man and in society; the one is utility and the other is culture. Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life.
Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking. To think incisively for one's self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half truths, prejudices, and propaganda.
We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education."
The Purpose of Education
By Martin Luther King, Jr.
1948, Morehouse College

The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty. But we must move on.
--Martin Luther King Jr., 1967

A video:

And a song by an awesome musician I know:

In the words of a friend of mine, we still have a lot of work to do.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Days Later

I didn't even last a week with the "blog every day" thing. Ah well. So much for that! It's hard to think of something interesting to write about every day. Maybe a theme would help, a focus to drive each entry, but I just don't want to limit myself. I don't think I could decide on one anyway, I have a hard enough time deciding what to wear every day, or which books I should buy at Half Price Books.
I also worry about what's appropriate to put on a blog. Don't want to be too personal, anyone can read it after all. Don't want it to be too tedious or boring. Ugghh, even this feels tedious and boring.

Might as well just post a video.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I've been particularly unmotivated and frustrated, so what better antidote than some thankfulness.

I'm grateful for:

-The snow falling beautifully outside the window, even if it turns to rain tomorrow.

-The huge amount of incredible, inspiring, talented, compassionate, and thoughtful people in my life, even if I suck at keeping in touch with them.

-My family for loving me, housing me, paying for me to see the doctor when I'm sick and don't have health insurance, among so many other things, even if they drive a little nuts sometimes.

-Living in safety, free of needless violence.

-The multitude of experiences in my life that have taught me so much.

-Socks for keeping my feet warm.

-Feeling full due to delicious healthy food.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Late night silence sounds
like a ringing in my ears
at least they're not plugged

Blogs look better when
filled with links, tags and pictures
mediocre words

Life is really stalled
where are the jumper cables
good food while I wait