'Shit That I Eat'- The Lost Blog

A while ago I conceived a blog which, in partial response to all those 'wonderful this and wonderful that, look how easy it is to be vegan, here's a new supercomplicated lentil dish' sites, would document daily what circumstance had led me to eat. It would have worked nicely with the Flickr '365 Self-Portraits' excercise, but I was too late in the game.
I would have called it "Shit That I Eat". Now, I was a strict vegetarian for nine straight years, and I still eat about 80% less meat than the average Jill or Joe. But the full discipline fell by the wayside when I decided I wasn't going to die without having gastronomical experiences that vegetarianism forbid, and descended into MacDonaldLand when I spent two years working on the road. So by this point I figured I was a prime example of the average Partially Responsible yet Often Busy Western Male, and that I'd document the realities of this. That, and I've recently developed an increasing propensity to photograph food. So here, free of shame, are lots of the good, and some of the bad.
Here's the first thing I ate this year, hung over on New Year's Day- fish cakes and beans at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia.
A staple when I lived as a bachelor- bean curd, vegetables and noodles in a bowl...
... sometimes augmented with 'Buddha Sauce', a fine peanut sauce I'm sure one could Google easily.
This plate is made up of items from a vegan home delivery service in Halifax- Sweet Potato Salad, some kind of curry- to be honest it was sucky and bland.
Loads of food from The Great Wall, the best Chinese restaurant in Halifax.
Loads of sushi from Kisha Poppo, my favorite Japanese restaurant in Vancouver.
This is the finest burger in Nova Scotia, from The Knot pub in Lunenburg (why they don't call this 'The Lunenburger' is beyond me). Here's a fine example of gastronomy I'd miss as a vegetarian- that's not hamburger in there, but 'Lunenburg Pudding', a strange, sausage-like thing made of mystery meat but entirely delicious.
This grisly atrocity is from Burger King, called the 'Fully Loaded' something-or-other: giant hamburger patty topped with barbecue sauce, deep-fried onions and garlic baked potatoes. All that was missing was the fried egg and rich creamery butter. Needless to say I had incurable, painful heartburn ten minutes after consumption and will never go near one again.

What would I do without my electric wok? Here's some homemade Pad Thai...

... and some cheese pirogies.

And finally, the classic turkey dinner. Except that's chicken.

Bleeding Hearts for the Arts

Over on Facebook many of my Friends currently feature a 'Faceless for the Arts' profile picture. I do not, and feel that free-floating guilt that occurs in an online community when you don't act on an invite and don't say why. So I figured I'd address this here, where the chances are less of getting skewered for my opinion.
Firstly, I live in Canada, and currently live in one of the top three poorest and most Federally neglected provinces, Nova Scotia.

I was a member of the Arts Community here for a decade, a decade in which the provincial Arts Council was shut down, the locks changed, and subsumed into the 'Tourism and Culture' Division. That's the sort of view the local government takes here. There's some fixin' to do. Someday.

The 'Faceless for the Arts' thing is in reference mainly to a Federal Election that's been recently called. I support this fully- Federally. As far as this province goes, however- no way. Our local politicians should be thinking about the Arts, that's for damned sure, but there's more, much, much more to be squared away beforehand. This was a massive moral quandary for me over the last ten years, as I did fight for Art while trying to produce it. Yet at the same time I saw what a state Education, Agriculture, and many more divisions were in, and began to feel more and more guilty, and selfish for demanding the government support my lifestyle choice and line of work.

How are things to continue and evolve if the economic backbone (Agriculture) of this province is as ignored and ghettoized as arts and culture? My mother runs, all by herself, a far-reaching agricultural organization that represents hundreds of farmers, and faces the exact same amount of opposition by politicians that the individually run office of the Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre does, a group which represents the regions' dramatists. They both scramble for money, get threatened with arbitrary closure, and stress themselves into fits annually.

While I'll support PARC continually, in a general sense I cannot condone more spending on art when the rest of the province is in this invisible turmoil. Demand that people go to some $60 play in downtown Halifax while rural Nova Scotia dies? I can't do it. Expect the populace to understand the importance of theatre to a society via a bleeding-heart press release when the majority can't afford the education to instill this sophistication in them naturally? No way.

This is a young, young country. This province is still a frontier in many ways. I give all the grace in the world to those who are bringing the Arts to the forefront of politicians' agendas, and I' m thankful those people exist. Because at this point in Canada & Nova Scotia's history, I can't ethically do it myself.


Begun, for the Eighteenth Time, My School Year Has

I must say, one of the most tedious things about life in the Western World are these endless cycles one has to go through. By this I don't mean the work/home/sleep/work number most of us pull- the very reason I'm back in school is to provide this type of consistency in my life after ten scattershot years of work in the arts. What I mean is that I wish one didn't have to live parallel to the life cycles of others sometimes- right now, in this small city in which every event is unavoidable in your daily life (see: a recent country music superconcert which noise-polluted the city for ten hours and left its public commons looking like a World War I No Man's Land), the 'kids' have taken over. You can't walk ten feet without ducking out of the way of a parade of frosh in uniform t-shirts, having what I'm sure they think is the ultimate time of their lives.
What drives me nuts about this is that I know better- it isn't. Moving into a moldy, flea-ridden, bashed-up flat with ten other people equally low in life skills? Rapidly developing anemia and/or alcoholism? Looking the shittiest you ever will in your life while thinking you look the best? It makes me wonder where all of this 'best years of your life' hooey comes from. It stresses me out, seeing all of those poor souls going through this.
I was lucky enough, in my last year of high school, to have come across my grade ten English teacher late one night at a campground, drunk, high, and relaxed enough to invite us to sit for a while. It was there and then that he gave me maybe the best tidbit of advice I've yet received in my life: Cocking his head and lowering his voice, he said, "It's graduation time, and don't let them tell you that these were the best years of your life. Don't let anyone tell you that in university either. Your thirties and onward; those will be the grandest times."

He was absolutely, positively on the money. I couldn't be more grateful to be back in school in my thirties, with all the tools of life I've developed at my disposal while entering an entirely new avenue of living. I look forward to more grey hairs the way tween boys look forward to the first macho dustings of a mustache. If I'm yet to have children, I'll give them the same advice that teacher gave me. Before I was back in school, I'd lay low for the first ten days of September and ignore the whole thing. After I'm out, I'll do the same. For now I'll just blog these things off my chest and move on.