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.