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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

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As I mentioned a couple days (weeks?) ago, I spent a day at an organic farm recently. They had a brunch buffet in their barn and then showed everybody around their farm and explained what they do and what it means to be produce organically.

The beautiful pig you see above spends a lovely 7 or 8 months with his family before being…well, slaughtered, and turned into organic meat. Since I’m a vegetarian, it still makes me cringe a little, but it’s good to know that these animals had a good life before their untimely end.

ImagePigs love mud! Take note of the beautiful pig tails on these animals. On conventional pig farms, they are either removed or the other pigs take a bite out of them for lack of space.

Another perk that comes with organic food is that it doesn’t have as many antibiotics. On conventional farms, animals are basically kept barely alive and on heavy medication throughout their very short life span.

The kind of chicken that is raised for meat actually couldn’t even get much older even if it were allowed to do so, because it has been genetically engineered to put on so much weight that it would soon become too much for its bone structure to carry.

THe first time I read about that I thought it was insane. Would the government really allow that? Well, the food industry defends their practices by saying that animals are products (and not creatures.)

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The farm I was on only raises chickens for eggs, and what you see here is part of the outdoor area the birds can access.

They also have some cows for meat and a couple sheep that function as lawn mowers.

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If you’re interested in learning more about meat processing and food processing in general, check out Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals.” It is nicely written and mixes an engrossing personal approach with well-researched facts.

There is also a number of movies from the last decade or so that deal with these issues, like We feed the World, Food Inc., Our Daily Bread, and others.

The information you will get isn’ t always easy to digest, but it’s worthwhile knowing where your food came from.

P.S. If any of you have been sweating as much as I have these last days, let it be known that meat production is the number one cause for environmental problems.

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I picked the picture above for two reasons. One of them is that I really like medieval art and the many creative ways it depicts the brutal, the disgusting, and the abnormal – for the last, Hieronymus Bosch is one of my favorites.

You should really check him and his fantastic creations out. Take a look at this detail from one of his paintings, for example:

via http://www.franzdodel.ch/haiku/haiku_bild/bild_14/bosch%20fisch.htm

He actually made a painting titled “The Temptation of Saint Anthony”, BUT virtuoso that he is, he managed to include an overweight guy riding on a fish with a chick while holding some kind of lantern in his hand. Dude’s got a great hat, too. I mean, what’s not to love? The dadaists could have learned a lot from him. In fact, they probably did.

However, I am losing my train of thought, just like Bosch probably did when he was painting that picture.

The second reason why I picked this picture is that I have to write A LOT of papers during my break and I am seriously in pain being hot and sticky all day in front of my computer. But unfortunately, no artist will ever include me in a bronze relief with lovingly detailed spikes, distorted limbs, and faces crumpled in agony. I complain too much.

The solution is obviously to stop lamenting my dire plight on earth, and adopt a more positive outlook on things. It doesn’t matter that I won’t have a life for 2 months. I should look at my laborious efforts as the path to the sacred temples of knowledge.

 

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In case you’re wondering, the picture below is from the Vatican, best known for having the most functional mail system in Italy. Seriously, postcards mailed from the Vatican State will arrive like two days earlier than those mailed from Rome.

 

 

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It is true, fellow procrastinators: Procrastination can be overcome. It only took me around 25 years to overcome this seemingly insurmountable obstacle once.

I have a presentation due on Tuesday. Since I’m working a full shift on Monday, I decided to try to work ahead a little, and voilà! Here I am, with a beautiful Sunday evening stretching emptily ahead of me.

And I guess I’ll just have to find something else to do on Monday night at 3 am. Maybe something boring and ordinary like sleeping will help me cope with the loss of the adrenaline rush that I usually enjoy at that crucial point of my industrious “preparation.”

Would you like to know how I did it? I guess it was kind of a freak accident. But I also pursued a strategy this time that was different from what I had been practicing the last two years. Over the course of these two years, my procrastination had gotten worse continuously and I kept cutting deadlines closer than the ones before. One of my friends, a psychology student, spoke about “handicapping yourself on purpose”.

Whatever you want to call it, I’ve been trying to do things differently this last month. So, instead of waiting as long as possible and then delving into the job without thinking much, I tried to get more of an overall perspective of the work ahead of me instead:

For articles or essays that were due, I wrote outlines and structured my arguments (basic procedures, I know…). For my presentation, I had to come up with some activities, so I did a little research and then started brainstorming. After that, I structured the job ahead of me into steps. And suddenly, everything fell into place, and everything seemed so simple, and that was when I had my epiphany. My mind is now as serene as the beach on the picture above.

Do you guys have any tipps on how to deal with procrastination?

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