Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Throbblefoot Spectre

Due to temporary absence of creativity, yet another lack of pertinent title...

This past Sunday, for the second time, I attended a Quaker meeting at the Putney Friends' Meeting House. Even though I am just a silent spectator for the time being, I am really enjoying the structure (or lack of traditional church structure) at the meetings. A woman sitting close to me stood up and read a passage from a book which expounded on allowing yourself to be flawed, natural, and not have to put up a facade of perfection. The passage spoke of how we were created with our flaws for a reason. It is what makes us human, unique, and more able to give of ourselves. It really spoke to me on a deep level because as of lately I have been striving to live a more straightforward, authentic life. This has included admitting and accepting my flaws. This is not to say that one can't work on improving them, but truth be told I've been holding myself to a borderline impossible standard for years now and it has cost me a lot.

For a long time I have been walking through life trying hard to be precisely what American culture dictates we should be: strong, composed 100% of the time, intelligent, intense, passionate, and perfect in every way. Why is it so wrong to show your weaknesses? We walk around with this heir of false dignity, worrying about what everyone else thinks of us, losing ourselves in complexity (hiding from stigma), while we ignore many of the essential building blocks for true happiness. All for the sake of what? Approval? Popularity? Do the ends justify the means in this case? What do we have to show for all of our social athletics after all is said and done?

I can honestly say that ever since I have started admitting my faults instead of pretending they aren't there, I have better learned to deal with them and simplify my life... things have become clearer and there is an existential richness that I have never experienced before. I am progressing, but I still have a lot of growing to do.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Food Love, Early Autumn Hike

If Peterson Toscano is allowed to form a decidedly unorthodox relationship with food, then I sure as heck can feel comfortable with my own UFAs (Unusual Food Attractions). Thank you Peterson for paving the way to fostering greater understanding between the UFA community and the IFC (Indifferent Food Consumer) community. May we finally learn to live side by side in harmony. I know I will benefit greatly from your pioneering spirit. Now let me tell you people about MY new love: Better Soy Roasted Organic Soy Butter (mfd. by Wonder Natural Foods Corp.). I have tried other soy butters such as the IM Healthy brand, and there is just no comparison. Not only does this spread rock my world way more than any other brand of soy nut butter that I've tried, I can tell you with utmost certainty that it tastes BETTER THAN PEANUT BUTTER!

Picture of my new sweetheart, isn't he adorable???!!!
Alas, I fear that our love is doomed to be a short-lived whirlwind romance. I happened across only 2 jars of it while out on one of my discount food store runs... and they will probably never have it again and as of 20 minutes ago, google searches return only a handful of pertinent results with no information on where I can purchase more of it. Does anybody else have information on where I can find it or is this relationship doomed???


And on to less thorazine-worthy subject matter...

Friday brought me on a nice, long hike in the hills on the south side of town and here are a few pics I took:

One of the fields on the trail out into the woods. Filled with goldenrod, bumblebees, and hundreds of frenetically dancing butterflies.

Monarch Butterfly, Danaus plexippus

New England Purple Aster, Aster novae-angliae - one of my favorite flowers

Often mistakenly called "Indian Paintbrush", I can't find the true name of this one.

... and here is a brief video of the monarch butterfly that I spotted while in one of the upper fields behind the mountain.

I also saw a huge male moose while out hiking, I wish I had been able to draw my camera quick enough to take a shot, but by the time I had it turned on and ready, the only view I got was of the wildly swaying branches & shrubbery in his wake.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Random Pet Pics

My new pet goldfish, hanging in the living room window. Note the hanger... I was home alone and bored one winter day a couple years ago, I found several lengths of S-hook chain lying around, so I made this hanger. The nice thing about a hanging fish bowl is that I can keep an open fish bowl without having to worry about the cats getting into it or knocking it over.

"Spud" my roommate's very cute, very noisy, literally retarded cat....

...who also gives kitty-kisses.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Very Eclectic Day

So yesterday was a heck of an eclectic day... I started out the day by heading down to Putney, VT to attend a meeting at the Putney Meeting House (Quakers)... Truth be told, for the last few years I've been something of a lone practitioner of my Faith (due to the vehement anti-gay attitude, rampant hypocrisy, and poisonous dogma that I've encountered within the church) so I am currently on the market for a church where I feel that the true spirit of God and Christianity resides. The Putney Friends Meeting was a bit unusual within the context of my church experience. I was raised in Baptist/Evangelical circles, so the structure of the meeting/service is very different from what I am used to, but still there is something refreshing about this group. I've been reading a lot about Quakerism lately and thus far, it seems to make far more sense than some of the philosophies I was raised in. They seem like a very grounded group of folks and I am going to attend more meetings, possibly at different locations, before I claim to have any sort of real opinion on this particular religion.

While I was down there, I had a look around a really cool little thrift store. I forgot the name of it, but it was not your typical thrift store fare. There were a lot of new clothes in the mix, some nice antique items, a lot of art, and a nice selection of funky housewares. They were naturally more expensive than a standard thrift store, but the prices were still a decent value for what was offered. I also got a chance to sample a breakfast dish at the Putney Diner and I was very impressed. I think I'll be eating there again after the next meeting.

I got home around mid-afternoon, cleaned house, then I had Dimitri, Pasha, and Ronald over for dinner. Together, we cooked a nice, simple coq au vin, and Dimitri brought a nice pasta salad. Pasha brought some really good (if not slightly odd) appetizers: curried buckwheat pâté and homemade red bean dip. We watched the Dark Side of Oz and had a dessert of Ronald and Pasha's invention known as an "Apple Pie Milkshake". Wow, was the food ever good :). Minor side note: I owe about 80% of what I know about cooking to Pasha, the guy is a heck of a frugal gourmet in his own rite.

As feared, my new landlord has raised the rent, not just a little... he raised it 25%!!!! I went to the property manager to give him my notice that I would be moving out within 2 months and he immediately rescinded his first rent quote. We are now in negotiation over it and I am hoping I can talk him down to something far more reasonable. For those of you who don't know my housing history... the place I am in now was disgusting. My (at the time) partner and I dumped loads of elbow grease and sweat into getting the place fixed up nicely, and I have been enjoying a reasonable rent price because I am a low-maintenance tenant... I tend to do all my own repairs, I keep the heat turned down, and I am good to the neighbors in the building. For this town, $900 a month is a ridiculous price to pay for an apartment unless it is really large or completely furnished with all utilities included. Here's hoping that I don't have to enter the real estate market earlier than expected *fingers crossed*

Back onto a more positive note, the leaves are changing, the sun is shining, and there is more housework to be done, and I am out of here. You all have a good one :)

09/18/06 - Update: The building manager just came to my door and told me that he discussed the issue with the man who purchased my building and he has decided to leave my rent as it is!!! It certainly pays to speak your mind and state your needs in a plain-spoken, polite fashion. Thank Heavens I don't have to start frantically house-shopping!!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Apple Picking

Well, I went up to northwest Vermont to visit with my parents, sister, and grandmother. My parents and I went to one of our favorite apple orchards, Hackett's, located way up on Grand Isle. I picked some nice McIntosh apples (FYI: in case you aren't native to this area and not familiar with the best produce, Macs ONLY taste best when they are fresh off the tree), I also got a few nice pictures while we were there.

A couple shots of the Hackett's farm stand/store, this place is the absolute, refined essence of Vermont. It kinda makes me miss living in this state.

Me with a tragically strange case of hat-head.

Nothing says autumn quite like a grouping of ripe pumpkins.

My mother and father pretending to be Adam & Eve.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


I was recently perusing the comic archives at Perry Bible Fellowship and came across this little gem, just thought I'd share :).

Click on the pic to see it greater detail.