Saturday, August 21, 2010

Quotation of the Day

“Facts can be so misleading, where rumors, true or false, are often revealing.”

--Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa, 
Inglourious Basterds

Friday, August 20, 2010

Invasion of the S-T-U-D-E-N-T-S

In a heartbeat, Ithaca changes. From a cozy, quiet small town one moment, to a busy, congested, almost unrecognizable college town. The population explodes (doubles, I think) when Cornell and Ithaca college students arrive. Driving on State Street has been impossible. With the arrival of the students comes noise, crowds, traffic... but our economy (not to mention my job) depends on the students, too.
Welcome Back
Wegmans Welcomes Students
Welcome Back
Bed, Bath, and Beyond Uses the Same Banner as Last Year
I was at the antique store earlier, and a man, obviously from out of town, came in, flustered, and told the proprietor that he needed a place to stay because all the hotels, motels, and B&Bs in town are booked. The owner of the store made apologies, but wasn't surprised since move-in weekend is the busiest weekend in town save graduation, but the assistant had a suggestion - call the Visitors Center. She works there part time and explained they keep a list of B&B cancellations. She didn't want him to get his hopes up, though. The phones had been busy consistently the past few days, and they'd begun sending people to Binghamton hotels.

Despite the burden of students en mass, individual students are shining stars. Seeing my T.A. today for the first time after summer break made my day! They will certainly be the best thing about going back to school next week.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ithaca Made

IthacaMade   Quite by accident, I found the new store, Ithaca Made. It's located at 430 W. State Street, near Mama Goose and in the same storefront as Mimi's Attic.

This is the kind of store I love - unique, local, mostly handmade gifts and accessories, with some clothing and herbal/ aromatherapy products as well. The store has been open only 2 or so weeks, so it's likely new products will be added.

I got this darling pottery pig (made by Frog Hill Pottery). I also picked up some postcards from Spirit and Kitsch. I was going to give this Silk Oak stamp to Grandma (because it has a rabbit), but instead, I thought I'd keep it and stamp all the mail I send her. Normally, I don't accept bags when I go shopping, but this bag with the Silk Oak raven was so amazing, I let the cashier pack my purchases in it.


It is a fun store, and I think it's great for local residents, and perfect for visitors who want something "uniquely Ithacan" to take home. My only complaint - I like the logo graphic, but man, is it ever depressing! I don't need to be reminded of Ithaca's gloomy days of winter!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

One Way

One Way

Aurora and Buffalo

Attention Is Love

Attention is love, what we must give
children, mothers, fathers, pets,
our friends, the news, the woes of others.
What we want to change we curse and then
pick up a tool. Bless whatever you can
with eyes and hands and tongue. If you
can't bless it, get ready to make it new.

Please visit Marge Piecy's site to learn more about her work!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Garbage Moguls on NatGeo

In the spring of 2009, National Geographic ran the pilot of "Garbage Moguls," a show about TerraCycle, in conjunction with Earth Week. This happened right after Tom Szaky visited IC, and I was so excited. Since then, I've become a huge TerraCycle fan, perhaps even slightly obssessed!

I am just as excited now that National Geographic has annouced three new episodes of Garbage Moguls will air this Fall! The episodes air back-to-back this Saturday, 8/21 - (8 p.m. - 11 p.m. EST, but check your local listings to confirm). TerraCycle employees will be tweeting live - use the tag #garbagemoguls to participate. Visit their facebook site for a triva game they're hosting during the show.

Here's a flyer with all the details.

Things I Hate #513 Follow-up

I had to laugh when I started watching The Closer tonight. Buzz walks into the squad room with a stack of pizza boxes, and Flynn started opening them, getting distressed as he got towards the bottom of the pile. Their subsequent conversation went something like this:
Flynn: "Where's my mushroom pizza? There's nothing vegetarian here."
Buzz: "They didn't have mushroom. I got you green pepper."
Flynn: "When have you ever seen me eat something with green peppers?"
Buzz: "Well, they're vegetables!"

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Things I Hate #513


I suppose if you can eat whatever is available, free food is a draw. A good thing. Oh, a reception? Score! A lunch meeting! All right! Now I don't have to figure out what to do for lunch! My reaction is quite the opposite. I have a sinking feeling, more like - oh sh*t. Part of this reaction is that I hate meetings and events like this anyway, and food just lengthens them. A meeting that could last an hour has to be extended if food is involved.

But, these kind of events are worse for me because I am vegan. They are not fun and very stressful. This is how it usually goes: "Is there something here for you to eat?" Me: "No." That would be OK with me - I'd rather have control over my food anyway, and would be happy to leave and acquire my own nourishment, but, because these are working meetings or social events, I'm stuck! And I'm not just vegan, I'm a picky vegan. Just because something is vegan and I can eat it doesn't mean I want to eat it.

Sometimes, people think they are doing me a favor, but they aren't. For example, I understand that having breakfast provided is something most people enjoy, and I realize that organizers would think, hmmm... what to get for our vegan friend? I know, fruit! But, personally, I hate fruit. With the exception of apples, every other fruit makes me want to gag. It's a texture thing. Or, eggplant. Eggplant is often featured in vegan lunches and dinners at conferences, and I detest eggplant. Let's not even talk about my arch nemesis, the onion. Anything with onions is abhorrent to me. So in these cases, yes, there is one thing I could eat, but I hate it, so I'm back to not having anything to eat. I'd rather there be nothing at all vegan, so I'm not expected to eat the repellent dish.

At one conference, we were supposed to eat lunch together to network. The registration form asked about dietary preferences, and I wrote vegan and explained what it means. During the lunch, though, there was one option: hamburgers. Meat hamburgers. Usually, at this point, I choose to leave and find my own food, but everyone at the table was getting involved wondering what was wrong and what they could do to fix it. Then, I was stuck again. I would have rather made an inconspicuous exit, but I was thwarted. I think at that conference, they ended up getting me a plate of french fries, which took forever to prepare. Meanwhile, I was pissed, and everyone else was uncomfortable.

Way back in the late 1990s, when I was vegetarian but not yet vegan, I got corralled into a lunch with a group of people in Duncan, Oklahoma. I knew no one - a buyer sent me with his associate - and I was without my own vehicle. There was nothing vegetarian on the menu, so I ordered a grilled cheese off the children's menu. I explained to the waitress why I was doing this. When the food came out, the owner (or manager) gave me the sandwich and said, in the meanest voice I can imagine, "That is the first and last time you will order off the children's menu in this restaurant." She was correct - I was sure as hell never going to go to that restaurant again! Around that time, I went to a conference where the vegetarian entree was fish. By the time the kitchen prepared a real vegetarian meal for me, everyone else at the table had finished eating.

At the holiday party last year, not only was the only vegan option something I would never eat (something with lots of onions and probably mushrooms and other ickiness), there was a dead pig in the middle of the buffet. It's not something I could ignore. And yes, it did bother me. Not only was I expected to hang out and be jolly, I kept seeing this poor, murdered pig! A similar thing happened, minus the pig, at a goodbye reception. I was told I had to be there in the small time I had between classes to eat, yet there wasn't one thing vegan on the buffet.

I could count on no fingers the food-related events I have enjoyed. When organizers act like they are doing a favor by providing food (especially the vegan food I don't like), I really get irritated. I understand the necessity of food related events, but they have always been and will always be a burden to me. They are not something I appreciate, and they certainly don't make me happy or provide a motivating force.

Now, I've worked myself up, and I want to finish this post, but I am sure that you are wondering, well, so, what could be different? Maybe some of my vegan friends who are not so bitter about dining events can chime in. For me, I'd rather have the time than the food. In an upcoming event, we have an hour for lunch. I would much rather work through that hour and leave earlier. If the networking time is deemed essential, I'd rather be given $8 and bring my own meal so that I'm not stuck either with no vegan food or with vegan food that is disgusting. I suppose a more constructive suggestion is for organizations having food related work functions to get individuals with dietary preferences (or restrictions) involved in ordering the food. If there is one vegan on staff, why not ask the vegan what she could eat from the catering list? If there is one person with celiac disease, why not ask him his lunch preference? It doesn't make sense for someone not in the category to be making the decisions. For people organizing food-related events, I would encourage them to recognize the event has limitations just like any other motivating factor. It won't be universally received, and so expectations that attendees will all enjoy the event are unfair and unwarranted. They should ask themselves: What is the goal of the event? Who are the participants? Could it be achieved in a more equitable, efficient manner? Often, when we are organizing things, we think about what we want - and that is what we do. For parties or weddings, that's perfectly appropriate. In a work setting, different criteria should be employed.
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