Friday, July 24, 2009

the respect I owe the farmers

This is the first year ever that I have tried to grow plants outside. At my age I should have attempted it by now. I decided that I wanted to can some salsa. Being college-educated, my first step was to consult with experts and read. Tomatoes and peppers, how hard can that be? And, of course, now that I am some kind of garden officianado having read about plants online, I will throw in some sugar snap peas, just because they are the best veggie ever.

So, my best girl friend and my husband are my consulting team. I hunted the web, planned the calendar, and started growing seeds. Disaster. Seeds indoors suck. Start over. I bought little bitty plants and planted the pea seeds outdoors. I figured 13 pea plants would be 13 woks of food. Wrong. 13 pea plants yielded one sandwich-sized ziploc bag of peas. Disappointing. Apparently for 13 woks of peas, I am going to have to plant about 400 plants. My neighbors might complain with the entire back yard rototilled for 2 months of pea plants. I think that would require a zoning board, perhaps a permit, not sure. I am pretty sure that the city would frown on an agricultural area within a yard in the inner city. I could try to persuade them that snap peas are so amazing that they are worth the variance, but I doubt that would fly.

Now I have determined that this is tons more work than going to the grocery. Thank you Mr Farmer. I have taken you for granted for many many years. I have been forced to watch the weather forecast. I have to monitor rainfall and tie up tomatoes. I had to put up a little fence to keep the oppossum from nibbling. I made a trip to get "hoops". I have had to restake plants, too. I don't really know what I am doing. So, now I have 3 peppers on 4 plants. And I have about a dozen jalapenos on one plant. But there are only green tomatoes. Really hot salsa with no tomatoes. Now what? I think I am going to eat peppers while they are still good, and then when the tomatoes are ready, I am back to the grocery to get expertly-grown peppers. Now the dilemma is... can I claim that the salsa is homegrown? That label could have some really small legal print that talks about salsa, homegrown, sort of.... thanks Mr Farmer for filling in the gaps!

Those of you with a political and philosophical bent that we should all grow our own food and have "zero impact" on the planet, you need to rethink. I have made 85 trips to Lowes. I have inefficiently watered. I am certain that I had a planetary impact just to get that ziploc bag of peas. I know the snap peas are worth it, but perhaps you should rethink your position. There is a reason why we let experts do their expert thing. There is a reason why last year I drove to the store, bought all my veggies, and made salsa in an afternoon. Pass the chips...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

the movie theater

I love Star Trek! I have seen all of the movies. I have watched all of the episodes over and over. I watched the franchises-- The Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space Nine. I waited to see the latest movie for several reasons. One was that I do not like crowds. Two was because I do not like selfish people who compose those crowds. 

The idea of sticky floors bothers me. Where else can you drop half a bag of popcorn and syrupy soda on the floor indoors and walk away? Why? We spend a gazillion dollars a year on ad campaigns and educational initiatives to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Don't litter. Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute. Then when we go to the theater, our feet stick to the floor. What makes that ok? Of course, that bothers me just the same at the state fair, at concerts, and at sporting events. 

At the theater, the tickets cost $8.50. I could have waited a few months and paid for the DVD. Next time I will. I have seen all of the Star Trek movies and Star Wars movies on the big screen. It's a shame that the trend will end for me. I don't think I can do it anymore. I am an auditory person. I usually don't even "watch" a movie. I "hear" a movie. All of the ancillary sounds of the theater are a distraction to me. Even the obnoxiously loud sound track can't cover up the noises that detract from my experience. 

Hey you, loud guy sitting behind me... shut up. Stop talking. I know Spock bleeds green because he's Vulcan. Thanks for catching on to the obvious. You seems so shocked that Spock and Uhura are lovers. Must you repeat your disgust over and over. I can't tell if you don't like that Spock had always appeared to be asexual. Or perhaps you think that a Vulcan would never do that... well, with the exception of Spock's father. Maybe you are a racist, worried about that cross-racial love affair. Who knows? But you distracted me. You took some beautiful and poignant moments and talked over them, interrupting their power.

Hey you, parents who brought your young and severely disabled son. Jeez, I feel bad for the daily life you live, but get a sitter. Cold and callous, I know. I have raised children. I would not bring a young child to an adult movie anyway. I seem to have more common sense than the average parent. But this little boy was agitated, yelling, groaning, making an almost continuous "raspberry sound", and wildly swinging a hanger. Yes, a hanger. In any other situation I would have smiled at him, shown compassion to his parents, even understood that allowances must be made for the disabled. In a movie made for children, I would have completely understood outbursts. Kids have to be taught, and a children's movie is a place where you can teach those things in a context where everyone has been there and can empathize. But later at night in an adult movie, I don't want to deal with kids. Any kids. Sorry if that makes me unaccommodating and mean spirited. 

Hey you, movie theater owners who kept the a/c set on "weak", who cleaned on a macro level only, and who keep broken down chairs, now you know why I will not return. I can see the movie at my house with good picture, good sound, a comfortable chair in a temperature controlled room, and with the silence required for me to enjoy it. Bonus-- at my house, my feet have never stuck to the floor!