On What People Think About Vegetarianism

Recently I’ve started this quasi-vegetarian diet, in which I can still have meat, but only if it was harvested in my state or a state touching mine. It’s a carbon-footprint thing.  Preferably (and so far almost exclusively) that meat is either wild game or raised on a small farm.

Being new to this whole quasi-vegetarianism thing, there are a few things that still baffle me a little bit.

“Gross.  This pizza is vegetarian.”

The other day I ordered one vegetarian and one “the works” pizza for a meeting I went to and almost everyone skipped the vegetarian pizza without even opening the box to see what it looked like. It was covered in green and black olives, green peppers, red onions and mushrooms.  It tasted so good.  It looked so good, but because the box said “veg”, no one wanted it.

Don’t get me wrong, I loves me a good meaty pizza, but it makes so little sense to pass up on something because it doesn’t have meat in it.  Like what if I refused to give any dessert a chance unless it involved cake?  Chocolate pudding?  Ew.  Creme brulee?  Gross.  Ice cream?  Wtf.  Cookies?  Hells no, you cannot have a dessert without cake, losers.

Fun side note: at the end of the meeting everyone was grabbing a last slice of pizza and someone made a snarky comment about the vegetarian option.  “I dare you to look at that pizza and tell me it looks gross.”  He rather abashedly admitted that it looked good.  Someone else looked over his shoulder and exclaimed over the green olives he hadn’t noticed.

There is so much delicious food that does not have meat in it.  Similarly, there are plenty of foods that kind of suck even though they have meat in them.  Using the source of protein in a dish as the primary measuring stick for how good it is going to be is childish and, dare I say it, stupid.

Don’t be stupid.

The Vegetarian Menu

It is weirdly difficult to find items on menus without meat in them.

Appetizers:  Plenty of sliders, chicken fingers, tacos filled with meat, etc. And then a veggie spring roll that your host warns you also has a little chicken in it. Or a veggie platter that is only celery and carrots.  Wheeee.
Salads:  Maybe one of them will not have meat sprinkled all over it.
Sandwiches:  One veggie option.  Even if it is a sandwich store.
Burgers:  Again, one veggie option.  I mean seriously, how hard is it to have two options with, like, a different cheese or sauce or combination of toppings on it?  That’s all any other burger is.  Same beef patty with different toppings.  Also, can we please get more portabella burgers everywhere.  Those things are make me drool.
Entrees:  Chicken centered dish.  Pork centered dish.  Steak centered dish.  Seafood centered dish.  Pasta…with your choice of bacon, lobster, steak, chicken, etc.  You want something vegetarian?  Get that one salad that doesn’t have meat on it.
Desserts:  OMG SUDDENLY IT’S NOT IMPOSSIBLE TO MAKE SOMETHING WITHOUT MEAT WHAT HAPPENED SOMEONE TALK TO THE COOK WE HAVE A PROBLEM WHERE IS THE CANDIED BACON.

The Vegetarian Tax

Usually, I don’t mind getting the vegetarian option, but it is frustrating to go to a place, see no vegetarian options, and be told that you can order the same thing as everyone else and just ask them to hold the meat, as though meat is that onion that you don’t like or something.

So you’re telling me that I can order something off of your menu, ask them to take off the most substantial part of that order and pay exactly what everyone else pays.

#thanksobama

“I could never be a vegetarian.  I like meat too much.”

This is the one that really irks me.  Mostly because I’ve used this line plenty of times myself, but now that I’m on the receiving end of it, I realize how little sense it makes.

Before I go any further, let’s take a moment to remember that I’m not a vegetarian.  I’m coming at this argument as someone who also loves and eats meat.

With that in mind, saying that you couldn’t be a vegetarian because you like meat is very much like saying:

“I could never stop drinking.  I like wine too much.”
“I could never stop smoking.  I like cigarettes too much.”
“I could never leave the office as early as 5.  I like working too much.”
“I could never give to charity.  I like spending money on myself too much.”

And yes, these are definitely things that people say.  But we react to them differently because if someone 1)  drinks too much they’re an alcoholic, 2) smokes they’re giving themselves lung cancer, 3) is always in the office they’re destroying their family life, and 4) only ever spends their money on themselves (and has the means to do otherwise) they’re selfish.  Every single one of those excuses is justifiably met with an eye roll.

If I was you right now, my reaction would be this:  “I get what you’re saying, Holly, but you can’t compare things like alcoholism to eating meat.  Alcoholism is a disease.  It destroys relationships and peoples’ bodies.  Eating meat doesn’t hurt anyone but animals and hullo food chain.  It’s falls completely within the natural order of things for animals to eat other animals.  Plus, people can drink and work in moderation and what people do with their money is their own business.  And smoking is gross.  Steak is not gross.”

Since those are my would-be reactions, obviously I agree with you.  Eating meat will not destroy your body or your relationships and every example I gave above (with the possible exception of smoking) can be done in moderation. Just like eating meat.

However, it’s significantly more rare for a person to be concerned their meats’ origin or environmental impact than things like the balance of their work and personal life or how many drinks are consumed in a night.  Which is not surprising.  The effects of drinking too much in a night or not spending enough time with your family are much more obvious than something as obscure as the carbon emitted by the meat industry before your food ever even gets to you, but the statistics are there.

The Carbon Foodprints of Different Diets

This photo is linked to its source, which has more carbon footprint food information.

Just as a friendly reminder:  I eat meat.  I had bacon last weekend (my farmer’s market has THE BEST BACON).  The best Bloody Mary I’ve ever had used beef broth and I was all about that shit.  My favorite dinner is chicken fried with kale OR, like, a giant plate of cheese and prosciutto and sausage and smoked fish with a baguette on the side and a glass of the smokiest red wine you can find.

I am definitely not attacking anyone who eats meat, because I get it, dudes.

However, as intelligent thinking creatures, I think we can agree that it is ridiculous to say “I can’t do *insert good thing here* because I like *insert contrapositional pleasurable thing here* too much?”

Fucking join the club.  Sometimes you don’t get to do the things that you like as much as you’d like because you’re a human and humans are supposedly smart enough to realize that the choices they make have ramifications.

This brings us back full circle to the conclusion of my first point:  do what you do, love what you do, think about what you do and, above all else:

Don’t be stupid.

2014/2015

So we’re a couple days into 2015 now.

Welcome to the New Year, errbody.

I haven’t made any resolutions yet, partially because of that Habit RPG thing I’ve been harping on about.  I’ve already put the things that would normally count as resolutions (start drinking more water!  floss your teeth!  don’t be a slobby slobster all the slobbing time!)  into Habit RPG, so I’m pretty set with the whole self-improvement thing, New Year notwithstanding.  The goals and the methodology for achieving the goals are in their very neat 8-bit place and at this point it’s just a matter of seeing which ones stick and which ones don’t and then deciding if the goals that weren’t so sticky deserve more attention or if they were kind of a waste of energy to begin with.

Like reading poetry, for instance.  Why exactly do I want to read poetry every day?  Is that really necessary?  Or is it just one of those things that sounds good for a minute and is actually kind of stupid?

Anways.

Something that I’ve been meaning to do is the Guillebeau Year End Review.  It’s a great way of looking back at the last year, evaluating what went well and what didn’t, and identifying the areas of your life that you want to put more (or less) energy into. It’s also great at distinguishing between goal setting as opposed to resolutions.

The thing is, though, that right now I’m just super content.

I mean 2014 was exhausting.

For a lot of reasons.

Part of that exhaustion was because of the good stuff.  I traveled to New York and Panama and experienced Chickentown (Sshhh) for the first time and saw some great concerts.  I went to a lot of plays and an opera, discovered some incredible albums and musicians, saw my nieces and nephews play sports and dance and sing.  I ate some really amazing food.  I met some really, really cool people.  I read some great books.  I did some really fun jobs, from managing a hostel to doing social media for a tiny publishing company and working some really fun promos.

Alternatively, I worked erratically and frequently was booked when my friends were getting together.  I lost a couple friends.  I had an ex who had a lot of trouble taking “leave me alone” at face value.  I sometimes had trouble balancing commitments, which made me alternatively feel like a bad aunt, sister, daughter, employee, friend, and girlfriend.

So it hasn’t been perfect.  And I obviously have goals and things that I’d like to be (or am) working towards right now, but life lately is very good.  I’ve been in Minnesota for a little over a year now.  I am surrounded by my family and am slowly by slowly rekindling relationships with old friends.  I’m able to spend time with my nieces and nephews and sisters and brother and mother with relative regularity.  I grab casual dinners with friends instead of catching up with months worth of material every time I swing through town.  I have a job that is very okay that pays better than okay.  I am half of an amazing couple and my partner is a person who I respect and love supermuch.  And the feeling is refreshingly mutual.  Lately I’ve been finding time to hole up in coffee shops and write.  I have started reading the stacks of books that I’ve accumulated over the years and I have the energy to read stuff that has actual content to it instead of the fluff that I’d started to read disproportionately.

2014 was, for lack of a less cliched cliche, a roller coaster.  And my head is kind of spinning and I’m a little out of breath, but I keep catching myself being straight. up. grateful. for where I am at this moment.

For now, instead of looking into 2015 for everything that it has to offer, I’d rather take a moment to appreciate the place that 2014 has deposited me.

Because it’s a good place to be.

Habit RPG

So anyone who has spoken to me in real life in the last week should probably not bother reading this, because it is just going to be me writing about the only thing I’ve said to anyone for the last week.  Although I’m also including pictures, so if you were not just pretending to think that Habit RPG seems sorta cool, READ AWAY.

There is this to-do manager that I backed on Kickstarter almost two years ago called Habit RPG.  As the profoundly nerdy, not-very-good-at-doing-stuff-unless-it’s-fun kind of person that I am, I immediately knew it was something that I needed to back and would use obsessively the moment it came out.

Now, I think we can all agree that one of the most important features of any to-do manager these days is cross-device compatibility.  Unfortunately for me, Habit RPG decided to not prioritize creating an app for Windows phones and since I had one I couldn’t use this app that I had backed and was super excited about for TWO YEARS.  I don’t go on my computer every day.  So Habit RPG fell to the wayside.

Unfortunately, the fact that I’m using it now only means that I got an Android, not that Habit RPG is on Windows yet.  Hopefully they’ll change that itnf, because I HEART WINDOWS PHONES and will probably get another one some day and would hate to have to stop using Habit RPG again when that happens.

ANYWHO.

Habit RPG incentivizes habits, to-dos and goals through the very relatable format of a classic role playing game.  It’s adorably 8-bit and very bare-bones, which I personally really like.  When you start your account you fill in three kinds of tasks: 1) Habits 2) Dailies and 3) To-Dos.

Observe:

Screenshot_2014-12-27-14-26-16

Habits can be assigned positive values for things that you want to do (like flossing), negative values for things you don’t want to do (like biting your nails) or both for the ones that can go either way (eat healthy/eat junk food).  As you get better about your habits, their rewards decrease, which is GENIUS because if your only motivation for doing something is the amount of gold you receive (imaginary or no) your motivation will eventually flag.  Additionally, the penalty for not following through on a habit is negative health points, which is a much more serious penalty than losing some gold.  Much as I like my gold and need it to buy cool new weapons and clothing, my health bar is much more important.

Screenshot_2014-12-27-14-26-28

Dailies are things that you want to do every day (or once every Monday, or every Tuesday and Thursday etc. etc.)  If your daily isn’t assigned for the current day it is grayed out.  At the end of the day every daily that you don’t accomplish counts as negative health points.  So sometimes you wake up to a dead character.  Luckily, this only means a lost level, piece of equipment and less gold.  Unluckily, it’s always a random piece of equipment, so you can lose some pretty cool stuff.  It’s a good incentive to at least check off a few things, even if you can’t do it all.

Screenshot_2014-12-27-14-27-17

To-dos are exactly what they sound like.  You can sort them into different categories (in browser mode, not mobile mode), so you don’t have to be distracted by personal tasks when you’re at work or vice versa.

You’ll notice that there are a lot of different colors going on in the above screen shots.  The base-color for every task is yellow.  If you do it a lot it starts to turn green and then blue.  If something stays on your to-do list for a long time or if you’re really bad about checking off one of your dailies it starts to turn orange and then red.  The more red something gets, the more points you get for accomplishing it, which doesn’t work as motivation for putting stuff off, because you’re rewarded pretty well for checking things off as you do them.  The extra gold does work as a good motivator to do things you’ve been avoiding, though.

 Screenshot_2014-12-27-14-27-33

Rewards are purchased with the gold that you get from accomplishing tasks.  They can be real-world rewards (like watching an episode of a favorite tv show) or in-game rewards (like weapons and new outfits).  I have only used my gold to buy in-game rewards so far.  (You’ll also notice that there are some weird effing things to buy in that screenshot.  Those are linked to a couple challenges that I am a part of.  I just tried buying a free spirit (for the benefit of you, my loyal readers) and nothing happened.  So.  That was a waste of some of the gold coins I was saving up for the Winter-Lit Staff.  Whatever.  An imaginary free spirit was totally worth it. /sarcasm)

I do genuinely find Habit RPG really helpful, though.  It might be a little too bare-bones for the to-do portion (I like to be able to very precisely sort my to-dos), but it is, so far, an incredibly powerful motivator for me to do do dailies and habits.  I’m still feeling out how to differentiate between my habits and dailies, because I think there are a lot of things that could fit in either list.  Different people will probably use those two features in their own unique ways, and I think that the flexibility in those two categories is part of what makes Habit RPG so awesome.

I also love it because I’m waiting for the day when my boss comes in, sees Habit RPG pulled up on my computer and tries to yell at me for playing a game.  THE GAME OF LIFE, FOO.

Aaaaand this is me with my new winter themed mage (you can also be a warrior, healer or rogue) clothes and an albino panda:

aurora me with white panda

If anyone wants to join Habit RPG and be in a guild with me, that would be AWESOME.  I could use a healer and a rogue and a warrior to hang out with.

There is a whole social aspect to Habit RPG that I havent had the chance to explore yet because so far none of my friends think this is nearly as cool as I do.  Look for me.

I’m Hollissima.  I’ll be the one with Holly for hair.  I might be riding a mantis shrimp. Y’know. Like mages do.