Daily Archives: 10/9/2006

office party

sat. michelle and I drove down to philly for their office party. it was on a boat, and I’ll do just about anything that is on a boat. we got a hotel room and planned to make a weekend of it but got a late start on sat. and didn’t sleep much on sunday. anyway, I’m not sure what the highlight of the evening was but it might have been me arm-wrestling with a colleague. it was a tie. and MAN does my arm hurt today! I’ve been talking about arm-wrestling for a long time at work, you know, as a method of conflict resolution, but I’m not so sure anymore. my muscles! they are aching!

soap box sandwich.

so, because I accidentally went to the sock dreams webpage to link to my star socks for the pirate band post, I accidentally became induced to purchase a whole lot of socks. like, 113 bucks worth of socks. um. At least it’s 12 pairs of socks, and I’d say I can wear at least 10 of them to work regularly.

Last week when I was pulling on a pair of knee highs I did stop and ask myself “should a project engineer wear knee highs to work?” and then I put them all the way on, because it was kind of cool outside and heck if I’m going to start wearing nylons to work Every Day. those things are bad for you! and I only own 1 pair of pants! In light of the momentary sock insecurity, I made sure to stock up on a lot of Really Long socks – that will be thigh high length, ergo not knee sock length. That should keep things professional.

[[um. this post is a soap box sandwich b/c it smooshes the soap box post about ecofoods between two fluffy pieces of white bread that are studded with currants, pirates, and socks. see, there’s always a method here, folks. always.]]

(un)sustainable agriculture, e.coli, western water rights, and local food.

there is a whole lot that could be said about the e.coli thing. now that the spinach thing has gone from spinach to also lettuce, I was thinking about maybe saying something. Anyway, this whole situation falls neatly under several of the topics on the “things I feel strongly about” list, so I will try to restrain myself. Jesse over at Corduroy Orange has touched on some of the issues in a couple of posts, as well.

maybe bullets will keep me on-track, ordered, and without too much fist raising prosteltizing.

  • I found out that the strain of e.coli that is responsible for the spinach sickness and deaths is a strain that can withstand high-acid conditions. incidentally, when you factory farm cows you create high acid conditions in their stomachs. cows don’t really eat grain alone very happily – it creates something called “feedlot bloat” which creates excess gas that inflates in the cows rumen and which can press on the cows lungs and suffocate them. this is one of the reasons why it’s GOOD that feedlot cows are slaughtered within a year. The grain also makes a high acid condition in the stomachs, which makes for some happy special evil strain of e.coli.
  • the map that jesse posted says this very clearly, but it’s amazing that we are relying on the salinas valley in california for the majority of our produce. not only is this ridiculous, it’s unsustainable for a number of reasons: 1. we shouldn’t have all of our food eggs in one basket, so to speak. 2. fuel costs have been, until recently, going up superfast. these costs weren’t embedded in the cost of our cheap california produce, but they will be sometime! 3. I hear that the northern groundwater wells (primary source of irrigation for the salinas valley) are experiencing saline intrusion. which means, you know, that we’ve got all these eggs in a basket but it turns out the basket is really just a really big hourglass full of sand, and the sand is dropping out of the bottom of the glass, and the some day the eggs will come shooting out as well.
  • if you haven’t read cadillac desert, you really should. the water rights issues in the west will only become more important as time goes by. and now that farmers are learning that they have to pay attention to the run-off from factory farms I can only see some complicated negotiations in the future.
  • I think there should be a serious dialog about the cost of food in america.
  • and while we’re talking, we might want to look into the ENVIRONMENTAL cost of food in america. I’m not just talking about food miles here, but also the unsustainability of an economy that always comes down to a dependance on oil – usually in the form of petrochemical fertilizers.
  • I also think there should be a serious dialog about homeland security. The spinach situation reminds me a lot of the green onion hepatitis A outbreak when I lived in pittsburgh. we can’t just keep getting all this cheap food from around the world without dealing with the social and environmental consequences. who’s picking your food? are they being paid enough to live well? to be hygenic? to treat their own illnesses or to take time off of work when they’re contagious? if these aren’t issues of homeland security, I don’t know what is.

Anyway! not too bad, no? just a quick hop onto the ol’ soap box! so as not to just wave my hands around without offering any real solutions, how about CSAs? they say the personal is the political, and I see food as an extremely political issue. and with any issue, you have to decide where to start and start slowly. you can’t let the scope of the issue overwhelm you into non-action. I’ve decided to start by eating meat infrequently, trying to eat organic and grass-fed where I can, and by purchasing as much local and/or organic food as I can find and afford.

pirate band

last night I met rob in hoboken to see captain bogg & salty, a pirate rock band. it was awesome fun. they were so rock’n’roll – after the show a feller said to his friend (in a humorously loud voice) “this was the best thing that has ever happened to me!” I bought a CD to share with my nephews and requested a photo with some of the band.

I also told them that my uncle was a pirate in seattle. They said “oh, is he with the so-and-so pirates?” and I said “no, but he took a lot of acid when he was a kid!” and then I relayed the disputed cabbage story. I have been told by one parent that we ate so much cabbage when we were children b/c the other parent was concerned we would get scurvy. the other parent disputes this story and says it was because the initial parent wouldn’t eat any vegetables EXCEPT for cabbage. Based on pure ridiculousness, I prefer to think we ate 1/8 of a head of cabbage every night with dinner as scurvy prevention. It worked, I mean, I grew up to be 5’11” and as strong as an ox.

also, not only was the pirate band super fun, but it afforded an opportunity to wear my star socks. it’s impossible to wear these subtly, so I’m just going with it.



I have been so busy at work that I don’t get much of a chance to post lots of stuff. But I keep thinking: hey, that would be a great blog post. So I’ve started to make a list of posts in my wordpress admin window, and that’s a good start. I just worry that I’ll put up, oh, 10,000 posts on one day and then go for 3 weeks without posting, and that’s no good!

Speaking of work, it’s been going very well. I’ve been working extra hard and have been getting good results. my biggest problem is, I think, my tendency to take things personally. Like having to tell a client about newly discovered contamination at a site – I take that kind of personally. it’s not like I’m carrying around a sack of PCBs and sprinkling it around, but I am overly invested in the issues, maybe, or I just want to make everyone happy.  I’m trying to let go of things like this and it is sort of working… I am not woken in the middle of the night anymore, anyway! but it’s a long struggle to revise the way you approach a problem.