Sunday, September 25, 2011

What I learned this week

I got my Project Management Professional certification about a month back, and one of the things I picked up by the teacher was in regards to "status" meetings or updates. Having update meetings to just tell everyone where your "at" seemed to be a complete waste of time. Everyone should know where you or your project is "at", and if you are telling your team where you are "at", than you aren't effectively communicating to your team. So instead of just presenting where you are at, perhaps it would be better to have everyone on your team discuss something that they learned in the last week or so. What lesson did you learn? Good or bad, right or wrong. What did you learn?

We are always experiencing and learning new things, so it would be doubtful that we could really walk through life and pick up absolutely nothing. So what did you learn? I ask my kids this all the time. What did you learn at school today? I never get an straight answer out of this, and it always takes prodding, but I am going to be adamant at dinner next time, and ask them to tell me one thing they learned in that day. No free passes, you have to answer the question. I expect dinner will be exciting. I had better give them a heads up, so they will remember to not forget what they did at school. My son can recite dialog from Minecraft or Roblox. Tell you the names of all the animators and directors at Studio Ghibli, but I'll be damned if he can remember what he did at school, as we are driving away from it.

So what have I learned since my last blog? Good question. My lesson for this week is "Pareve".

pa·re·ve   [pahr-uh-vuh, pahr-vuh]  Show IPA
adjective Judaism .
having no meat or milk in any form as an ingredient and beingpermissible for use with both meat and dairy meals as stated inthe dietary laws: a pareve bread; pareve soup.

I'm surprised I'd never heard of this term. My only experience with "Kosher" has been pickles. And I admittedly never really knew what that meant. Having spent a good deal of time on the east side of Cleveland, I've been exposed to a large Jewish population, but I didn't know anything about dietary laws. I remember going to a "diner" a few years back (pre vegan) and we went to get cheese burgers, which as I learned were not kosher. Actually, that's where I first realized you could not mix meat and dairy. A cheeseburger is really the ultimate insult to the life of a cow anyways, but then these dietary laws are not about animal rights anyway. Cheese and Burger apparently do not go together.

Also, my nephew has an extreme dairy allergy, and I learned that there were candy stores that would sell dairy free chocolate. This was stuff my mother-in-law had been buying for years. "Alex Safe", is what I heard. In the past year, I've been eating a lot more "Alex Safe" food. This week I heard my first news of the so called vegan M&M. So I found myself browsing through a candy store this week and this term "Pareve" was found on a vast majority of the candy in this place. I first thought it was a brand, but when I asked at the store, I was informed that this tells you that what you are eating is devoid of any milk or meat products, hence, it can be enjoyed with either. No milk or meat... that is damn near vegan. Well fortunately, I took a brief perusal of the ingredients to find that almost all of them were made without eggs as well. I started scooping my "Chocolate Lentils" out of the bin. (Albeit, damn expensive for M&M's)

Not a healthy discovery by any stretch, but a very important one. These are important battles in the daily vegan struggle. Finding new ways to enjoy this way of life, as opposed to just "dealing" with it. 

I only hope I learn as good a lesson next week.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Twitter has killed my blog

To Whom It May Concern,

I took a long hard look at what my blog has become, and I am pretty disappointed in what it has evolved into. The whole point of this blog was to document my transition from a meat eating lifestyle to one of peace, serenity and a plant based diet. It was a pretty big deal. If you knew me, you would have never in a million years have thought I would omit so many things from my lifestyle. I admittedly didn't know why I was doing it, and I had this idea that writing an online journal would somehow be a fun way for me to document things as I discover them about myself. I thought it would be an interesting perspective down the road to understand how I could make such a transition. I wanted to document my ups and downs, successes and failures. I wanted it to really trend my life and help give me a greater perspective on what I have chosen to do. I had a lot of thoughts of what it would become.

Shortly after starting this, I got my first few followers on this blog, and like the addictions I have had, I quickly got the high from people tuning in. So how could I get more people to tune in? I added a Twitter account. (@crabbyvegan if you haven't figured that out by now). I got a feedburner account, and pointed my posts to twitter. This was pretty limiting, since I only had a few followers, so I started following vegans. I searched on the keyword, and started following. I remember the first time someone tweeted to me. Oddly enough, she never followed me, still doesn't. I followed dozens upon dozens, and my follow total started to grow. At this time my follower total on my blog started going up, and comments on my blog took off. I was obsessed with who was following me, and getting people to comment on my blog. I obsessed over blog entries that didn't get as many comments, and it was obvious that I wasn't writing for myself anymore.

It was early into the year when my workload and travel schedule went off the charts that my blogging really slowed down. I had a lot of things to say, but I could never get my entries funny enough, or have an interesting enough story for myself, or find a funny enough picture to go along with what I was writing. So posts went unfinished, and before too long I couldn't remember what I was writing about, so I just deleted the post entirely. I was more interested in telling an entertaining story than just opening up and just letting it pour out. That really was the original point.

Now my twitter feed is a endless stream of liberal rhetoric, recipe blogs, foursquare check-in's, complaints about work, sports updates, and food porn. I will say, that there is a certain positive that has become of this, I've managed to find a handful of people that I am truly interested in hanging out with. I don't plan on deserting them, as they have always stuck with me. Some of whom have noted my absence. I think that's a real sign. When you post a blog and solicit comments, you are bound to get some. But when you are noticed for being absent, you have to think that maybe some people really are interested in what you have to say.

So tonight I had made an abrupt decision to remove my twitter account, and delete my blog. I thought about that for a little while, and realized I was spiting myself with that decision. I tend to do that. Punish myself, instead of trying to really solve the situation. So I took a step back and thought I would first disconnect my blog from my twitter account. If I know a notice is not going out when I post, maybe I'll be a little more liberal with the "Publish" button. So I can post away, and only you sorry few who followed me here, and those following me on Google Reader will get an update in their feed. Feed updates are much less "in your face" than a tweet, so I am OK with that.

I don't anticipate my blog updates will be nearly as entertaining as they have been, but you never know. Sometime I can be my most charming, when I'm not even trying. And I need to stop trying. This blog is for me. Its not a political blog or a recipe blog, and I'm not trying to win any more popularity contests. If you choose to follow me, I thank you deeply. If you choose to un-follow me, I understand entirely (which is another thing I used to obsess entirely too much over).

Next, I need to evaluate my twitter account. I'm not sure what to do with it. I may take the lead of some other of my online friends and simply start another one, and follow my friends, and just keep it cosy. I currently have 1400 twitter followers, and I'd rather have 20 or 30, who are actually interested in what I have for to say.

If you are really following me because they are interested in what I have to say, I thank you. I'm really a fascinating person, if you haven't already determined that.

Warmest Regards,