QC-L Version 4.0

Yes, welcome to my lair of evil thoughts and incorrect speech where I don't let go and move on and I talk about whatever I please. On a blog no one ever tells you to shut up. If you don't like what I say, just go elsewhere.

This blog now has a new background and a new theme. It is also using a remotely loaded style sheet. That is a first. It is lush, heavy, and uses a background that has a theme I have never used here before, though I have used it for pressies. Let the show go on! It always does anyway. And yes, we are powered by Blogger.

I am putting a temporary illustration here until I have a logo for this design. Watch this space.

temporary illustration


The Backfile: this blog's archives.

Ajayu, home of my story, The Sneezeweed Chronicles. Yes, I do fiction.

It will have Oneiro, my own little role play.

Unfettered Soul, my flagship site.

The Silk Purse, my play pretend Brainstorms.

Failed Messiah Religious news never sounded so good.

New York Times. Read the news and be smart.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

by Eileen Kramer

Well, I've been working on PETS ALLOWED a bit this weekend. I worked mostly on Friday. I made one more species and would have made more, but my computer froze up and I had stuff to do tonight. I have not installed GIMP and still haven't done any of the tutorials. Go figure. I worked so hard to get those books too.

Georgia State's library is not the easiest to find. Oh well...I've mostly not been online and what is happening online with me right now has to stay silent because this is a public blog.

At least none of the groups I am in is turning Memorial Day which is tomorrow by law in to another 9/11 anniversary. They did this for several years following 2001/2002 but by now it is getting back to sanity. Ironically none of the groups that did this ever turned Armed Forces Day (I know it exists just not when it is) or Flag Day (June 14th folks) in to 9/111 anniversaries. The holiday had to include an official Monday off in order to be interesting. And you all know, 9/11 is NOT a legal holiday. For the first year or so people did commemorations, but even that has died down which is probably all to the best. This year is the fifty anniversary so we will see what people cook up for this "holiday."

Oh well, I am a bit pooped and may just give up on working on PETS ALLOWED tonight. I have Becky's up and running though without illustrations. I also only need three more pets and then I have to start writing the newsletter. I'm not sure I'm ready for that.

Oh well, I have one more day off tomorrow. I guess I can put it to good use.

It has been a busy weekend and a busy week. First, I am now one week caffeine free. My guts feel a lot better most of the time. Monday and Tuesday I was in a world of hurt. I also slept like sleep was the most wonderful thing in the universe. Then something very odd happened.

I stopped thinking like a user and started thinking like an intelligent human being. First, I stopped craving naps though I did sleep in this morning. Second, I started to look at possibilities and act. I did a bit of this while imbibing but no where near as much.

I went to services Friday night. There is a schul on LaVista Road and the place rocked. It was mostly male which happens at Orthodox schuls. That is really not so bad. Men in suits if they have any kind of figure are handsome things to behold. A whole sea of well tailored navy blue and grey backs, many with broad shoulders and slim hips is a gorgeous thing to behold.

Then there is the whole nostalgia thing. Orthodox religious services are an embodiment of a desire to return to the childhood I never had and probably would not have wanted or even chosen at the time. In this world of casual Friday, seeing all those suits often with gorgeous fedoras and Panama hats made me think of the 1950's when men dressed sharp and women dressed like women. The singing reminded me of the Chapter House bar on Stewart Avenue. This is high testosterone Y chromosome stuff but boy is it a pleasure to watch and hear.

And where does a forty-four year old single female fit in with all of this? Well the one very good thing about Orthodox Judaism is it takes the religion seriously. It is something you live not just something you inherit. This means if a single adult shows up at services he or she is there for the prayer and fellowship and that is a great thing. No one in an Orthodox schul would ever say: "Why are you here? You don't have any children." That's the good side right there.

The bad side, particularly with Chabad, is that my experience does not exist. I've taken the wrong forks in the road. Nearly all my forks in the road have been nonmaternal. That is supposed to be either unimportant or bad. That it isn't kind of escapes the rabbi. Of course most of the females down at Chabad house, even those who have yet to start their own families, are pronatal so they sit around discussing stuff that just goes right by me. Sorry, my life just does not involve all that family stuff and there isn't a singles group of any age and not one for mature singles either.

Anyway, after the service on Friday night, B invited me to her house for dinner. I tried to demur but in the end I agreed but I did not stay over. She had forgotten that a female of my tender years still can sweat and stink with the best of them. Wearing a day old shirt is just gross. I also had two cats to feed and check in on. Sorry, I believe HaShem checks to see that the animals are fed every time he hears your prayers.

B and I don't have squat in common. I don't think she is that much older than I am. I'd guess she is ten to fifteen years older but could be wrong. Our life experiences are so different, I can't judge ages very well. She has kids, and grandkids and doesn't have to earn her own living. She is an artist. She makes Judaica and fabric art.

Well, I felt I needed to repay this hospitality in a big way so I just sent B and her hubby flowers. They will arrive Wednesday in time for Shavuot on Thursday night. I'll probably be seeing B again if I can drag myself up Claremont to the schul on Friday night. I am hoping B can introduce me around so I can meet some single working people of either sex.

I also went and bought a salad spinner today. I ended up with sauteed spinach and rutabega medeley on Thursday night because I could not get the spinach dry enough to keep in a salad container. I bought the salad spinner in Dunwoody which has a huge retail complex built way off human scale. I also visited a Petsmart there and ate a disappointing salad in Eatzi's. Hopefully I'll be making my own much better salad soon. My mom gave me Harry and David's fruit for my birthday. The fruit arrived very ripe so it is in the refridgerator. It is pears and apples which are last year's. It is all ready peach season in Georgia and it should be apricot season too since apricots preceed peaches and are June/July fruit in the North.

I won't food shop for a day or two now because of the new fruit in the fridge, though maybe I'll change my mind if I use up the soup. I do want to make corn bread and have blue corn meal for it. I might also try corn spoon bread and corn pone too.

I missed swimming today but got to the pool Saturday afternoon. The reason I did not go today was that I delayed by visiting the cute kitties in Petsmart in Dunwoody and also by going to Wal-Mart to get flip flops. These are a necessity. If your feet are dry, the concrete around the pool up the road is burning hot. No more fried feet for me. I also bought more Pert shampoo since I am running low. I then rode all the way to the airport and bought a new monthly MARTA pass. I got a student discount last month but this month paid full price.

Oh well...such things happen. Anyway, I am good to go Thursday morning when I need to switch passes. That is a big relief. I'd be miserable if I could not ride MARTA. After I bought my MARTA pass, I went in to the airport to use the ATM and then I stuck around the atrium and listened to a gentleman play piano in Houlihan's. His name is Lafayette Johnson. He was there the evening I went shopping after I recovered from diverticulitis last spring (2005). He was there during my job hunt and the atrium has been the place of two job hunts at least. It has been the place where all journeys to all interviews sort of began. That is because I had to take the shuttle in to Atlanta from Columbus to catch planes and to link up wtih local transportation so all trips passed through the airport and all return journeys ended in a haze of tears, exhaustion, and one awful night sleeping under the big glass eye in the ceiling. I know all the spots where I cried. I know where the airport chapel is. I remember each return trip and each bright morning starting out. I remember the travel skirt, the interview suit, grits in Pascal's the long walk through the tunnel back to the atrium when I was weak and exhausted and needed to get the stiffness out of my legs in the worst way.

The air port was also where all the buying trips dropped me off and where I rendezvoused with the shuttle for the dreary trip back to Columbus. These included farmer's market trips where I returned with zucchinis, plutots that I shared wtih the driver, oranges I ate right after I recovered from diverticulitis. There was the trip to the zoo two weeks after Georgia died and the trip to get provisions ten days after I lost my special blue cream girl kitty at the ripe old age of eighteen. I've left my blood and tears all over that stinking airport atrium.

And it is a freak of luck and the one bad part of good luck that my current and still very new job is in the city of journeys and desire. I can go back to that Atrium and relive all of it. It made me cry today. The atrium will be haunted by the ghosts of all my travels. Most of the MARTA train system is haunted that way but the haunting there is more benign. In the airport the pain radiates from the walls. I suppose this will fade with time. This has been my first trip back to the airport since the end of January. I slept the whole way back that time and slept in the shuttle too. Five days later the search committee burned the applicant pool. I knew something was going to go wrong. Sometimes an interview feels too good to be true. When something feels too goos, it usually is.

and I am so glad to be here in Atlanta you will never know. The big city that has everything is wonderful. People look down on the garish new apartments and the big shopping centers. I revel in the prosperity and the big buzzing feeling. I think of Ayn Rand who would have adored at least some of the consumerism until she learned that everyone gets pleased to his or her own tastes which is why a Galt's Gulch would never work. Even successful folks try different things including vegetarianism and health food to cure ills. Oh well... I guess that brings everyone up to date.

I have one more free day before going back to work. I think I will welcome returning to work. I want to see the rose garden at the Fernbank and possibly go up to the Botanical Gardens. I also want to get in a swim. If I use up the soup, I might consider going shopping. I'll see how it all pans out. It is nice not to have any plans some times.

Monday, May 22, 2006

by Eileen Kramer

Rachamme got a pet page of her very own. There is something about Rachamme which had to go first. She is the saddest of my virtual pets and the one who needed to go first. She does not want to be human. She knows she is an animal. She has probably always been a tapir at heart, something unobtrusive and well camouflaged, wild, and uncompromising.

Shanti, my grinibis, is the philosophical one and the one who is actually closest to human. Ephraim thinks he is human and is anthrophilic, but I know his dirty secret and it wasn't the name an original owner gave him long ago. Rosalita likes hard work, good food, and knowledge. She would make an ideal administrator. All and all this is my virtual pet family and a frozen account at Neopets won't keep me from playing with them. In their new incarnations, I like them a lot better any way.

I need to draw at least seven more species and am feeling burnt out. I am also starting to worry about advertising. I have to still create Becky's which I am going to simplify. I am beginning to think that RAOK and LOTH would be good places to advertise, but I am not active in either of these groups now so it's going to look awfully cheesey.

And no Thadea is not the reason. It is more exhaustion. Dealing with a no crit group where I effectively have to speak another language is exhausting. I am also feeling like a lout due to the goings on on one of my mailing lists. A fairly nice lady is having family troubles including being barred from a niece' high school graduation.

What does one say in such a case? "Walk don't run. Get far away. Stay far away." etc... Also this is a great opportunity for play pretend. Setting up either a web site or a diary where one can write well wishes every day is great for self expression and it doesn't risk dealing with people who are better left alone. Also one can go to a graduation that is either sparsely attended or where one knows there is at least one student graduating without family coming to watch. I actually had a boyfriend at one time who graduated all by himself from the University of Rochester. One of his professors made sure to come to the ceremony and be an audience for him. Going where you are wanted and using a person who needs people to see him/her graduate as a substitute is a win-win situation. Why then, do I have trouble explaining the advantageous of play pretend in a situation where it is so obviously a great thing? Go figure. I chalk it up to new job exhaustion.

I think it takes people a long time to see that play pretend really works. Of course I am not using my Third Rail board much these days but I am using this blog again and I'm going to schul so I am getting in some vengance and I ran up the MASTHEAD last night.

Haldis and Thadea survived coup de'tat number four at the Webleagues. They are shrinking from six teams to four. I wish they would just make up their minds. I guess this proves I am vindicated, but I am too tired tonight to call it a VENGANCE VICTORY.

Well I've been forty-eight hours caffeine free and the world of hurt started this morning, let up in the afternoon and came back tonight. It takes about twenty-four to forty-eight hours for anything to reach your large intestine including caffeine though there is an early effect when it hits the nerve endings. The second wave hits a day or two later. Hello little gut brain. Time to get confused. Time to send half contractions and useless urges and urgest that are too strong. Little gut brain is not supposed to be noisey, not my little gut brain.

I am exhausted though I managed to last out most of the day. I don't really need caffeine unless I'm severely sleep deprived which I'm not this early in the week. My body either makes or efficiently reacts so well to its own adrenaline that caffeine does more harm than good. The tired spot is around 4pm this time of year. It is whoomp time, but even whoomp time wasn't so bad today.

My shrink back in Columbus who is very in to behavioral treatments (unlike physicians! He was a clinical psychologist.) says it takes six weeks to fix irritable bowel syndrome with diet. I think you get some results starting between week's one and two. I thought it took six days. Rule one of any good mental health professional is that they know how long things take and it is always longer than you think.

This anticaffeine campaign is a behavioralists' wet dream. It involves a delicious diversionary soda in the morning. I want the calories so diet soda won't do. This is breakfast along with fresh or dried fruit. Yes, it's all sugar, but that will keep me. It also sets well on irritable guts. The diversionary soda keeps me away from QuikTrip. The rest of the day I have herbal tea, a sandwich and fresh and dry fruit at lunch and that is it until I get home and have a home made dinner and herbal tea. With the exception of the new soda and making sure I have herbal and not black tea at work, this is a pretty typical weekday diet.

I am currently low on diversionary soda so will probably get another six pack of Knudsen's Spritzer (The current batch is Mango Fandango. Did I tell you this was good soda? This won't work if I feel deprived.) towards the middle of the week. I also should probably be eating Kavli or Rye Vita crackers instead of chips. Fiber is an issue. I'm supposed to have 25g of it a day.

Today's menu was one Mango Fandango Knudsen's Spritzer, four dried pears (I thik they are half pears), one Nutella sandwich on one hundred percent whole wheat bread, kidney bean vegetable soup on brown rice, carrot salad, and some odds and ends including veggies with mayonaise, a few olives, and herbal tea. It is going to take six weeks of gut friendly food until I am sitting here at night pain free. Little gut brain has a lot of relearning to do.

Meanwhile, I have not figured out what to do about schul. The place is decent enough. The bar was set high enough for a mack truck to drive under so any schul would be decent. I like some of the people, but the rabbi has a way of selectively ignoring people and one of those people is me. I realize as a single adult, I'll never be able to contribute very much money and I want it all to go locally. Chabad/Lubavitch has a lot of internecine fighting and I want the money kept away from that. Second, I can't make a minyan because I lack a Y chromosome. Being persn number ten but not counting is weird. The shabbos food is uninspired, not gut friendly, and there is often no decent noncaffeinated soda to drink. I am debating what to do about schul lunch/kiddush, whether to skip it, just pick at it and go home, or just have the bread and then leave etc... There is some good company at the tables but it is not the rabbi and these people never have contact with me during the week. It is like I live in another world.

Maybe as the week goes along and if I feel better I'll want to protect a week's worth of investment in a good diet. Sorry for all the gut centered blogging. There is more I would like to write about but not tonight.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

by Eileen Kramer

MASTHEAD! It was worth it! It was worth it to get kicked out of Brainstorms. It is worth it to be who I am. It is worth it to do what I do, think what I think, and say what I say. Most of the time I am polite and productive. Avatars force that on one which is all to the good. In fact, I was way too polite with Brainstorms until the end and I told them what for. Yes, it's been two years but I don't believe in letting go and moving on.

I don't believe in making a nuiscence of myself either, but that is the reason for having a blog. I can come here and write what I want in my space. I can make time for it each day and it is my play pretend and vengance time. We all have time for ourselves or should. We are important that way. End of story.

By the way I am only fifty percent of the way out about my avatars on the Web Leagues BoomBoom joined ZC2ZC3 and I had to out myself. It hurt. It was very scarey, but in the end I think I'm pretty much both out and absolved. It is a shame because I particularly like writing Haldis in character. Now I really can't do that much any more. She is due to graduate from Dartmouth in either March or June of 2007 depending on what she does with her D-plan.

IT WAS WORTH IT! It was worth it to lose my Roanna_np Neopets account on January 26, 2006. It was worth it to say what I said and the account was backed up and tapped out. Starting over wasn't that bad and losing the account opened my eyes to what a rotten place Neopets was. Writing about what I want (not pornography) is more important than Neopoints and I had a chance to put my money where my mouth was. Besides, I can still play my pets from my "frozen" account. Any one can if they create public domain identities for them and move them to a new venue. In some ways Roasalita, Shanti, Rachamme, and Ephraim are more alive and real now than when they were Neopian. It is just a matter of wanting to write and they are getting a new world!

Say that one three times fast. Shout it out loud and proud from every roof top around! This is one of those fantastic ideas if I can get the word out about it. Wiki and virtual pets takes care of the database problem and makes a large virtual pet world publicly playable and user created and user centered, not top down hierarchical (not that hierarchies are a bad thing because one knows where one stands with them.) but in the interests of the users who play there. The main selling points of Pets Allowed are power, choice, and free speech. Pets Allowed will soon have more adoptible than Neopets or Powerpets or any other pet world and it already has many many more freely available species/color combinations. The census stands at fifty-three (53) species and thirty (30) base colors. Do the math!

Now if I can only tell the world and not get swamped, I'll have something. I may even get quite famous.

The reason this blog blacks out is WORK. Work is not going badly, but this is a public blog. I have enemies and an employer who can come here and read what I post so even though work may be fantastic or even when work is fantastic, silence is often the best policy.

I need to write about other things and as I can do that, this blog will come back. One of the biproducts of my sojourn through Neopets and especially painting Jalepinio21 and the unfinished Project Straight and Narrow is that I learned how easily I can be had and manipulated and I am an ordinary adult. True, I seem VERY SUSCEPTIBLE to behavioralist tricks, but I think all of us are.

What you have to realize is there are excellent ways to make people do things that have nothing to do with dragging them kicking and screaming. In fact dragging people kicking and screaming is counterproductive not to mention illegal. I'd like to talk about the restaurant industry and how it manipulated me. I am writing in the past tense because I am about to taste the bitter fruits of the last round of being had in the form of severe IBS cramps. Pain has a way of bringing one back to one's senses.

OK, most restaurants that ordinary people patronize and of course most supermarkets with ready to eat delis are chains. The few restaurants that are not chains or local chains imitate the chains because the chains set the pace. Restaurants want to make money. Unfortunately, an old food taboo stood in the way. Back in the bad old days going out to eat was a treat. One does not engage in a treat often or it ceases to be a treat. Somewhere along the line the restaurant industry and the advertisers demolished this taboo by portraying cooking as time intensive labor, useless, something nobody does because we are all too busy etc....If you are alone, why bother to cook for yourself? Who does that? If you have a family and work, you must be too busy and your kids deserve quality time not you stuck in the kitchen etc...

May I blow a hole in this set of lies. First, you make time for what matters. If a wholesome home cooked meal matters, you will cook. Cooking gets faster as you get more efficient with practice. Cooking for one has huge economies of scale that disappear as one goes to two. I'm not sure what happens when there are four people. I've cooked for twenty and noticed the economies of scale return again. A knowledgeable cook makes many different dishes and does not get bored. Home cooked food tends to taste better. You can make exactly what you want. Cooking is a good study break as we called it in college and a good break from the office, and there is always a boom box to put in the kitchen or a small TV so you can cook and enjoy being entertained. Also, isn't it a parent's duty to provide wholesome meals for a child?

Restaurant food is often less wholesome than home cooking. Choices, even in custom places, appear limited, especially if you are used to more old fashioned fare. This is true even to customized salad and sandwich places. Look at the menu and ask what is missing that you wish they served. Look at what is not in the case or on the menu. It's an interesting exercise. Of course if people eat out often enough and eat restaurant food often enough, what is served becomes the norm so this exercise may not work with everybody. Right now though, very few restaurants serve squash, carrot salad, dark colored full flavored noncaffeinated softdrinks, marinated beans, rye crackers, rice snaps... etc... Thousand Island dressing is the latest endangered species. It used to be a salad bar staple, but it has vanished beneath the sea of unfashionability.

All of which brings me back to the cup. I have been eating out too much. I don't eat out because I am too lazy to cook at home. I eat out because I am out of the house and it is too inconvenient to come back and the eating out is part of a day out. Entertainment is the Atlanta metro area is expensive with museums and zoos costing between twelve and twenty-five dollars compared to free in both Columbus and Utica. A meal out costs between five and seven dollars. Eating out combined with a long walk is cheap entertainment.

I've also been patronizing the Quik Trip, a convenience store in the morning. I like the feeling of comaraderie of being with all the working people buying their coffee or cold drinks. The cold drink buyers show up earlier since coke starts off an early day much better than coffee. Yes, soda in the morning is another demolished taboo. The Qucik Trip has a custom fountain. You mix up your drink to your liking and they even have a book of mix your own fountain drink recipes. I like a cherry pepsi or Dr. Pepper sometimes wtih lemon flavor added thoguh of late I wish they had more flavors like raspberry or peach. I've been telling myself its reduced caffeine. My guts are telling me I have been lying to myself.

Quik Trip sells each drink in a reusable container, a nice plastic glass that I can wash out and keep in my office. I now have a collection of over twenty of these. I think I'll just use them for glasses. There must be homes here in Atlanta where everyone drinks out of Quik Trip reusables.

I've also eaten out three times in the last two weeks. One time was at the DeKalb Farmer's Market buffet. They don't use reusables, but Doc Green's and Subway both do. Doc Green's salad was tastey except they don't have Thousand Island dressing which is my favorite for salads with fancy greens. They also encourage you to stick big slabs of meat or fish on your salad which I think is gross. I get the beeans and cheese which are much tastier. They cost me close to nine dollars for a huge salad with chickpeas, crutons, and cheddar cheese. It was a spinach and vegetable salad and had ranch dressing on it. Along with the salad came my first reusable. It came home with me and got washed out.

Subway is the home of the world famous Veggie Delite. The name is trademrked. It is one of the tastiest fast food creasions of all time due to the combination of pickles, salty/seasoned bread, and chipotle sauce. It reminds me of the cheese and salad dressing sandwiches I ate in high school and vegetarian reubens served by Cornell dining. For a dollar more you can make your sandwich a combo and get a big grab (oversized) bag of Lays chips (Does Frito-Lay own Subway?) and a reusable for your soda. The soda comes from the fountain just as it does at Doc Greens and it is all you can drink.

Now let's have a look at those wonderful reusable cups. First, the cups shatter a very old food taboo about portion size. I know this taboo because I saw it erode about twenty years ago. Back in the late 1960's early 1970's, soda came in twelve ounce cans and if you bought a cup of fountain soda (There were no fill it yourself fountains in any restaurants) the nice gentleman or lady behind the counter handed you a ten to twelve ounce cup including ice. It was commonplace for my mother to let me go buy a soda in the pizzaria next to the beauty parlor, in the luncheonette at the shopping center, or out of the machines at Kleins. Thes machines dispensed ten to twelve ounce paper cups of soda. Cans at that point in time required can openers. Soda was served in ten to twelve ounce portions and no one thought that skimpy. That was the proper size and more was either unheard of or excessive. I also don't think that any one thought that a glass of soda was an untoward treat for a small child. I think the adults considered it an appropriate light nonappetite spoiling snack. It was frequently what we ate out rather than a whole meal. If one goes back even further in time, people would stop at drug store soda fountains and buy a drink to eat with a bag lunch. People must have been very thrifty.

Enter the twenty ounce plastic bottle circa the early 1980s and a bit later in Ithaca, New York, and its cousin the reusable cup.The old soda consumption taboos that made it a pleasant accompaniment to a reasonably sized meal or a sweet snack of moderate size are just fond memories. There are all kinds of studies that talk about how people will eat everything that's before them. My thoughts on this is that when someone hands me a cup, I am going to fill it. A cup is a portion and if the restaurant says that thirty-two ounces is a portion of soda, well who am I to remember the old ways of a generation ago.

Needless to say, the reusable cups are well beyond the size considered proper by the old time soda taboo. My cup from Doc Greens is sixteen ounces (which is also the smallest size cup at QuikTrip) while the one from Subway is thirty-two ounces. Yes, I consumed forty-eight ounces of Dr. Pepper last night. I wanted soda to eat with my sandwich and then took some soda with me to linger over while I did my laundry. The soda fountain is now no longer behind the counter. It's help yourself. Your big reusable cup is refillable and best of all, you get to take the cup home. It is sitting on my drainer now, washed out and ready for reuse, all thirty-two ounces worth of it. It will continue to provide advertising for Subway as long as it sits in my kitchen. The same is true of the Doc Green's cup of course.

Last night I got manipulated by Subway. The lure was a very good tasting sandwich and a fantastic value for a huge meal, chips, the sandwich, and all the soda I cared to guzzle. Fountain soda is cheap. Corn syrup and water are cheap and the reward of getting unlimited soda and the opportunity to linger over soda and stretch out a meal into something leisurely is just too good to pass up. Subway was also pleasurable becasue it took the sting over waiting for my laundry to dry at the laundromat.

And yes, I should know better, but temptation is not easy to resist or else it would not be temptation. If I can be tempted, so too can a lot of other people. Fighting is hard. It means setting limits and boundaries yourself and seeing those boundaries constantly disregarded by business interests. Soda comes in twelve ounce portions. Thousand Island is a great salad dressing even if the fancy salad bar places don't serve it. Cabbage is an integral part of any Chinese dish even if the fast food noodle house thinks we the public don't like it. I make my taste and decide what I eat, not some restaurant chain. It also means that eating out is supposed to be a treat, not entertainment, not something one does because one is too lazy to fix a meal or has been told (by people who want to sell you carry out) that cooking is too difficult. Is any of this getting to sound like hard work?

It is going to be, but I have a reason to work hard. My guts have all ready screamed once due to caffeine being one of my irritable bowel triggers. They also screamed most of Friday night and Saturday morning. They will scream some more as this day goes on. I am going to pay for those forty-eight ounces of Dr. Pepper. I'll let all of you know how the straight and narrow course works with regard to food. I wish I weren't that sensitized to the issues of manipulation.

And no this is not a legal issue. It might be nice to have a law that regulates cup size in fast food places with soda fountains, but that's not going to happen. The original soda taboo was not a legal issue but a social one. Without consensus social issues like taboos collapse. Going it alone to restore remembered taboos is going to be hard, but I may as well start here and I'll let all of you know about my progress.