Living with a meat eater

It seems that I’m the opposite from most of the EtsyVeg group members on this I think. It’s my wife who eats meat. I do prepare most of the meals (except rice… I can’t cook rice for some reason…), and I do prepare meat for her at times. But she’s very accepting and enjoys veggie and vegan meals, so most of our meals can be split evenly without me adding any meat. She does eat seafood (and I try to educate her about more sustainable options when it comes to seafood) and poultry a few times a week, especially when we go out, but I get her to eat veggie the rest of the week. Here are some things she loves that we make:

– We make a stir fry with zuccini and pepper (soy sauce + herbs too) and pour it over white rice (which she has to cook or I burn it) – we started making this last year when we were up to our ears in zukes and now we make it about every other week
– Veggie sushi (avocado, cucumber, pepper… I like it with apples in it, but I like everything with apples…)
– Sloppy Joes – Manwich brand is veggie (not sure if it’s vegan) but other brands Watch Out! (sardines! Yikes!) – make it with Morning Star Farms Crumbles and no one knows the difference!
– Portabella sandwiches – we go to a cafe sometimes that serves a fantastic portabella and roasted pepper panini… yum!
– A homemade version of the tofu lettuce wraps – we found a recipe online, it’s a little tough for us to make (we definitely aren’t chefs) but well worth it, and their better with romaine…

I do grill out many times in the summer, and I always grill fake meat for myself and real meat for everyone else (just remember, real meat on the bottom, fake on the top). I also grill corn on the cob, and everyone fills up on that and usually only wants one burger, except me, but mine don’t hurt cows, so I think it’s alright to have two… or three… And I always slice an apple into full-circle slices and grill some of those slices to eat while I’m grilling or to put on my burgers… have I mentioned that I like everything with apples?


Too Connected?

Some of you know that I teach in a public school. Today’s post comes from a realization today.

Teenagers these days are connected. Most of my students carry a phone, and several use iPhones or Blackberries, and they are constantly attached to them.

Now, at first glance, the teacher thinks Dang, they’re always on these things instead of listening in class. I regularly catch students, 10 or so a day, sneaking to a hidden spot in the hall to chat or, more often, half-hiding their phone and texting away. None of them are particularly good at hiding them. And the school policy is that they can only be used at lunch and after school. I’m supposed to take them away, but most of the time I just shake my head and let it pass or give them a warning (I know, empty warnings mean nothing), because I don’t want to spend my whole day policing phones, and that’s what it would be.

The technologist in me wants to find a way to utilize their connectivity in a good way (and I have used their love of texting to get messages out to large groups of students), or at least to pass it off as an experience that will make them better at handling the massive amounts of input that working adults deal with. My own teenage computer addiction was like this. I think it has really made me a productive adult. But how true is this about their phone habits really?

Good – They do deal with and respond to massive amounts of input daily, a skill they’ll need later.
Bad – They do miss out on regular instruction because their attention is elsewhere.(Though even those without phones hardly pay attention.)

But here’s the real bad – most of the activities on their phones are meaningless. They chat about things that are personal to them, but hardly have much meaning at all.

Typical exchange:
1) whats up?
2) nm what r u up 2?
3) nothing

Now, though my degree is in English, I’m not one of those people who believe IM speak is the devil. I think if students are taught correctly, they will understand that we can move between different modes of communication, and that the way you talk to your friends is not the way you write a research paper.

However, I am bothered by the lack of substance in their dawdlings. Most of the time, they use their phones for something to do other than pay attention to the world around them. Not that formal instruction in schools is so great that I paid attention. You can bet I was a student who doodled and wrote and read novels in class. But what about in their personal lives? I bet they’re not paying much attention there, either. And that’s the real shame. By connecting too much, they’ve disconnected themselves from the world.

A quote for today

From one of my favorite authors, Mr. Douglas Adams, creator of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

Man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much… the wheel, New York, wars, and so one, while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely the dolphin believed themselves to be more intelligent than man for precisely the same reason.

Happy Birthday, Charles

Today (February 12, 2009) is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. Darwin teaches us to observe, to think critically about the world around us, and to find patterns.

I’ve got a series of projects that will go up on Etsy soon that are inspired by the works of Darwin and other naturalists but are a drastic shift from what I’ve been creating. Stay tuned for more about that.

An interesting project is Tom Barbalet’s I Am Darwin project in which individuals have uploaded videos telling what Darwin’s writings and research have meant to them.

Also, check out The Complete Works of Darwin Online.

Solio Solar Charger

So I got my Solio solar charger from… Here’s my review.

The charger comes with a bunch of adaptors, so it’ll work with many of the popular cell phone brands. It comes with a mini-USB adaptor that works with my Motorola Slvr, but the best thing is that it comes with a female USB plug adaptor, which lets you use it to charge anything that can charge from a USB port, like an iPod. So there are my two small electronics, my phone and my iPod. That’s all I have that I would charge from it, and my iPod has gotten most of the use from it. Btw, it also has an attachment that works with my wife’s Samsung phone…

The sky was cloudy the first week that I had it, and it just wouldn’t charge in shade, so I tried out the charge by USB function. I figured, I have a computer running most of the day anyway, so I might as well use it to charge the Solio while I’m at it. It charges pretty quickly with USB. Maybe a bit over an hour. Then it charges my iPod in about the same time.

More recently, I’ve gotten the chance to try it out in the sun. Here’s the big problem: the device comes with a suction cup to attach it to a window, but the suction cup only holds it for about a half hour. So, I had to find a place that it could sit in the sun without needing to be stuck to a window, which is a little tough at my place, and impossible at work (since I don’t have windows, even, let alone sun). It takes much longer to charge up with solar power; all day to get most of the way full, but the sun is free and awesome.

So, overall, I like it. I listen to my iPod almost constantly, and rarely take the time to charge it at the computer (because I’m listening to it when I’m awake and my comp is off when I’m asleep), so I’ve carried a little battery-powered charger for a long time. This will replace that. It’s easy to use, and its rechargable nature is fantastic. It’s a little large, but I can leave it in the sun and not pay for the power it provides… so all in all four stars out of five.

Get yours at

Countdown to Earth Day

Earth Day is April 22nd this year. 71 days from this writing. I’ve started my countdown. I haven’t done anything special for Earth Day in a long time, but this year is going to be different. I don’t know what I’ll do yet. I used to clean up around my college’s campus with my fraternity. There’s lots of green space on the campus that gets trashed by students. But I’m not sure what to do this year. Cleaning up litter? Planting trees? Something else?

What are your plans? Any ideas for what I could do to help the planet this year?

Check out the Earth Day Network at