Living in a Tasteless World (OR The Best Diet Plan Ever)

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Nature has presented the best weight-loss program out there: tastelessness.

Seriously. Nothing has taste.

Exhibit A:

The barista at the cafe accidentally added a second shot to my mocha. She said she was so sure it would be too strong; she actually started to take it back for a remake. I made her leave it with me, assuring her that I’d come back if it was unacceptable.

My first sip – a hot, creamy liquid with a hint of what might be coffee.
My friend’s sip – OMFG bitter coffee sludge of doom!

I drank the cup without an issue.

Exhibit B:

Last night, I made honey lime enchiladas for dinner. I have the tastebuds of a three-year-old, so I usually have to eat just two of them under a mound of sour cream.
Instead, I ate three without any toppings.

There was no flavor. It was creamy and stringy, with chewy bits of chicken. But the cheese tasted the same as the tortilla, which tasted the same as the spicy chicken and sauce.

My stomach, however, knew the difference. It was uncomfortable.

Exhibit C:

Today’s lunch was a ham and cheese sandwich with too much mustard and a squirt of mayo.

It tasted the same as the enchiladas.

Exhibit D:

Did you know Kitkats have an unappealing level of powderiness in their texture? I didn’t.

The chocolate has the texture of soft wax. The “cookie” is a dry piece of cardstock, and the sugary stuff between the layers might as well have been sand.

I have never been so disappointed by chocolate before.

Exhibit E:

Ice cream will make you cry.

It’s cold, creamy stuff. That’s all. The blackberry swirls in my special gourmet blend were just added color, and the pieces of pie crust were crumbly bits of dry bread. There was a hint of sweetness.

It was really easy to put back in the freezer.

Conclusion:

It’s really easy to skip meals when nothing tastes good. No flavors mean no biases, and you only feel like eating when you’re actively hungry. In my sedentary life, that’s once in the morning and again in the evening (maybe).

That said, I’d really like to taste food again.

 

 

Note: I’m being silly-but-serious here. My allergies went insane last week without my meds, and I’m still recovering; in the meantime, I haven’t been able to taste food since last Thursday, and one of my ears has been muffled from inner congestion as well. The taste thing is worse, though, because comfort foods are no comfort if they taste like water/air. 

 

Your Digital Footprint

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There’s something cathartic about deleting yourself online.

I just spent two days this weekend deleting various profiles and accounts across the internet, distilling my online presence to the bare necessities.

Some people create accounts and email addresses the same way a grasshopper leaps through a field, with lots of movement and little focus on the bigger picture. Others cultivate an elaborate and tightknit persona online, maintaining their data and accounts with as much focus as a lioness stalking her prey.

I am a lioness.

I’ve only had six email accounts in my life (excluding work). I know what sites I have/had memberships on, largely based on the registration emails I’ve kept since I entered digital space in 2001.

Email #1 (2001 to 2005) - This was my first email account, created in a freshman Spanish class (2001) for a pen pal in Mexico that never wrote back. I used this account to dump questionable websites into, allowing my main email address to remain safe from spam. This account was closed after over a year of disuse.

Email #2 (2001 to 2014) - This was my second email account, created very closely after the first and more in my own image. I groomed this account from 2001 to 2014, filtering out spam religiously and only handing out the email to trusted sites and persons. However, in 2013 Yahoo itself was hacked and my account was compromised; several months (and passwords, security questions, etc.) later, I gave up on the account and consolidated everything to a different service. This account was deleted over the weekend.

Email #3 (2001 to 2003) - This was an email account I created for fun. I used it for a specific messenger, joining a friend on weekends to chat with other geeky kids and roleplay as dragon riders. The account closed itself long ago, after years of disuse.

Email #4 (2004 to 2014) - This was an email account I created to replace #3. I needed access to the same messenger again, this time for certain friends and family after moving overseas. The hope was that my friends would stay in touch, pre-Facebook. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case; this email account became the new dumping ground for spam. The account was deleted this weekend, having last been checked a few months ago.

Email #5 & #6 (2012 to current) - These two are both locked with elaborate passwords, 2-step verifications, and coded security questions. In addition, I’ve filtered out all registration emails and other personal credential information, just in case these email accounts get hacked; no one will get my other logins via email hacking.

I’ve deleted various accounts over the past few years, many deactivated this weekend during my digital purge. I don’t let accounts fade away, because that doesn’t always work; not all websites have a use-it-or-lose-it clause in their terms. One of my friends just discovered this issue, as his personal photos from his teen years (explicit or not) were publicly visible online. He’s now struggling to remember email accounts, let alone login credentials.

Oh, by the way… I’m one of those weirdos who actually reads (or at least skims) the terms and conditions of new websites before accepting them.

Yes, seriously.

I mostly skim for parts about use and storage of my information, as well as what grounds can get my account locked (especially for storage services like Dropbox and Photobucket). I like to know who can access my stuff, how much control I have over it, and how likely it is that I’ll lose my stuff.

I’m also cautious enough to research storage sites before using them. I google their history, looking for previous hacking events and lawsuits; I also check how often they change privacy settings (*cough*Facebook*cough*) and how that affects individual use.

I love the internet and digital life! However, I’m still careful about what I put out there. You can never unshare something online, and you have to be willing to accept the consequences of your choices.

The lioness in my is ever-vigilant. I have a coded password book, and I’ve ensured that important accounts (banking, email, financials) are all locked down with 2-step verification and complicated logins that aren’t listed in my book. I know where I am online and why, and no amount of googling my name will bring up anything I’m ashamed of creating.

What does your digital footprint look like?

Let Us Mourn

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Before you turn the Fort Hood shooting into a political point that fits your personal views on guns, mental health care, or the military, try to remember the people.

People lost their loved ones last night.

Read that again.

People lost their loved ones last night.

I’ve lived in the Killeen/Fort Hood area since 2008, so I’m no stranger to this media disconnect. It’s so easy to focus on the attacker(s) and forget the victims. Reading my Facebook feed pissed me off.

“Oh look, having all those guns around in Texas sure did protect all those soldiers!”

“See, this is why we need better mental health care!”

“Well, that’s why they get for joining the Army. They’re all just a bunch of trained killers.”

Look, you ignorant mouthpieces! You just took a horrific event and made it your game, your way to one-up others over some perceived political point system.

It’s not about gun control. Do you realize how guns are kept on Army bases? They’re locked down. The Armoury is located in a guarded, secure building that only designated personnel can access; soldiers sign out weapons for training exercises and duty shifts only. Soldiers are not allowed to carry around personal weapons, period.

It’s not about mental health care. Do you even know who did the shooting yet? No! How can you assume this person had PTSD or any other mental problem? Maybe the soldier shot peers who had teased him, or maybe he had a bad relationship that fell apart. Maybe he decided to shoot others after he realized he was cornered with a bunch of trained military personnel.

It’s not about the Army. All military branches are taught combat, largely so they can protect you from having to protect yourself. Do you realize how many positions in the military are purely support-based? There are clerical soldiers who run supply rooms and prepare inventories and orders for their base. There are various types of mechanics who keep the military vehicles up and running. There are healthcare specialists in fields ranging from hospital training to sanitation. They all learn how to protect themselves in a war zone, because they have to be ready to go fight your country’s battles. Whether you support the battles or not, soldiers are still fighting them on your behalf.

People lost their loved ones last night.

Your views on these issues, on gun control or mental health or the military, doesn’t undo the loss of lives here in Fort Hood. They don’t prevent bullets from piercing flesh or blood from leaving the body. Your views are a betrayal, salt in the wounds of our community.

Let us mourn before you grandstand over our corpses.

TFiOS and sad songs

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I just finished The Fault in Our Stars (TFiOS), and the song “Broken” by Lindsey Haun came to mind:

When you’re broken
In a million little pieces
And your tryin’
But you can’t hold on any more
Every tear falls down for a reason
Don’t you stop believin’ in your self
When you’re broken

I love having my heart broken by a beautiful song, a sad story, or a poignant plot twist. I love the ache, the feeling of empty-but-fullness that someone else’s creativity can bring into my being. I love imperfect, not-so-happy endings.

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PS: Reading TFiOS, I came to the realization that my first novel might be far different from what I’ve always assumed I would write. I read romance and fantasy, so I always guessed that my own writing would reflect that… but I find the stories in my head that speak the loudest have always been more reality and less imagination. I can’t wait to see what trickles into the digital aether from my fingertips.

Rape Culture at the University of Ottawa

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Larissa Lee:

Because rape culture is wrong. Always. (Reblogged for support)

Originally posted on The Belle Jar:

On February 10th, Anne Marie Roy, president of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, was sent screenshots of a chat that had taken place earlier in the month between two student federation board members and several other students who are either elected to or participate in various faculty associations. The chat had taken place during the student federation elections, and all five men involved were members of a campaign opposing Roy’s (Roy has been president of the student federation since May 2013, and was re-elected this month). The conversation was about Roy, and the portion she was given contained graphic sexual descriptions about what the men wanted to do to her, including a rape joke that could, potentially, be taken as a rape threat.

Below are the screenshots. The participants are as follows:

Bart Tremblay: a non-elected student involved with the association for the Arts faculty

Alexandre Giroux:…

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Rape Culture at UofO: Come at Me, Bros

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Larissa Lee:

Because rape culture is wrong.

Originally posted on Make Me a Sammich:

Trigger warning for discussion of rape and rape culture.

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 2.59.43 PMMy friend Anne Thériault of The Belle Jarwrote a post a few days ago about an incident at University of Ottawa wherein several male members of student leadership gathered to chat about Anne Marie Roy, president of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa. Ms. Roy had apparently beaten a dude for the office, and these dudes were not happy. They went on for several screens talking about how someone should “punish her with their shaft,” speculating about what venereal diseases she might have, and offering to buy beers for a guy who says he’s going to “fuck her in the ass” on someone’s desk. You’ll find the whole disgusting mess over on The Belle Jar. Here’s an excerpt from Anne’s article, which you should go read right now.

Someone punish her with their shaft. Someone punish her with…

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