19 October 2010


I'm starting to make a list of things that I would like to do after I graduate in December. While I don't know what I'll actually do for money I do have an idea of what I want to do instead of homework:

1.) Pleasure reading. While there is hardly enough time to read one single book for pleasure during the semester there are lots of other books I'm reading for something other than pleasure. This would be the act of being responsible. Right now, my book list is about the size of my arm and I'm hoping to accomplish reading some of those books some day. Mostly they are farming/food non-fiction, graphic novels, turn of the century fiction and contemporary international novels. I feel like I have neglected the latter category in an indecent way and I want to rectify that as soon as possible. The majority of my international fiction reading is at least 50+ years old and predominantly Russian and Latin-American (even that is primarily Gabriel Garcia Marquez).

2.) Write/draw a graphic novel. Even if said novel only ends up being the size of a zine and distributed as such I really want to try my hand at this. That or I'll just spend the rest of my life trying to make the best graphic novel ever. (not really)

3.) More big linoleum prints. Card-sized ones are cute but big ones can be much more illustrative.

4.) Photograph underwater. I've been Google searching underwater photography, especially of fashion and I've gotta say, if I ever can make underwater photography happen you better believe I will. This is all to say, that "post graduation" is from December until the day I die. I didn't say I'd be doing any of this stuff soon!

5.) Write substantially. I've been given a lot of encouragement and affirmation regarding my writing recently and I want to do something good with it, beyond just filling out assignments/a thesis and blog posts. I don't know how this will manifest itself but I immensely enjoy writing and don't want to let this fall by the wayside just because no one is grading it or even necessarily reading it.

6.) Figure out the things in life that I really want to do. Where do I want my life to head? Where do we want to live? Joel and I have pondered these questions but haven't come to any good complete conclusions yet.

7.) Spend time exploring. Joel and I do this every once in a while but not as much as we could. I also haven't found much of any mushrooms this year (part of exploring) due to the lack of rain. Apparently the sunshine won't last very long at all and mushrooms should follow soon after that. But I think in the end I'd take sunshine over mushrooms.

While this list has been compiled rather selfishly, they are the things that have been rattling in the back of my brain while I try to study art history or read about the abstracted landscape. And finally having written them out hopefully those specters will quiet their gentle whisperings. And now, back to studying art history.

16 October 2010

Coconut Oil Convert

Tonight Joel and I are going to a potluck tonight and the ride is going to be cold. What could we bring that wouldn't suffer from a cold ten mile bike ride? And what about the vegans (they eat no animal products), how can we include them? What about vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal cookies? Perfect! Since I had to go to the grocery store anyways for the pumpkin I decided I would look for coconut oil. Since I can't use butter and I have moral conflicts with many vegetable (canola and soybean especially) oils I figured I would try something else.

So when I went down the aisle of oils to look at my options, and keeping other options open (not just coconut but what else is saturated besides olive and canola oils) I deliberated over what to get. I wanted to support a small company if possible, coconut oil if possible and there were three companies that had unrefined coconut oil available. Two were big companies that I don't necessarily have problems with but I wanted to support something smaller. And that was when I picked up Hope's Harvest Coconut Oil. After getting home I researched the company and coconut oil.

It turns out a.) Hope's Harvest is a small business started with a Yehu microloan in rural Kenya. And whenever a new employee is hired they plant a coconut tree in their honor as a symbol of their embarking on a "new life." They also use all of the coconuts they harvest, including the meat and the husk, and I highly respect any company that strives to reduce their waste in regards to food (all waste is more or less bad but I am really excited when people keep food waste down).

And b.) Coconut oil is really great for you -- NOT bad like the American Soybean Association would like you to believe. It actually lowers cholesterol and helps you absorb Vitamin E when applied to the skin. Because it is a saturated fat (a stable molecular composition) your body realizes that it is a good thing, as opposed to unsaturated fats which your body does not recognize due to its unstable molecular make up (i.e., canola oil, vegetable oil and soybean oil etc.). For more information I highly recommend this website which, albeit is very preachy but full of good information.

You can use coconut oil anywhere you'd use any other oil, butter or margarine. It's a bit expensive for frying foods in but other than that its totally worth it. And when you don't heat it above 450ºF you won't have the issue of the oil tasting coconut-y. My cookies only baked at 350ºF and I couldn't taste the coconut at all, and for some people (like Joel who isn't a big fan of coconut) this is a great thing. It also has no salt so you're able to regulate the saltiness of whatever you're cooking (granted you could get unsalted butter with the same result).

It also lasts up to 2-3 years and is solid below 76ºF. I'm very excited about using this oil in the near future and I wanted to share the information with the people I love and care about. I apologize if this sounded preachy!

In Other News

School is steadily barreling along to the end of the semester. I will be done 15 December and I'm really looking forward to it. I am also feeling really good about my thesis paper and my thesis work. I've been keeping that under wraps for the most part because I want to make a whole post at the end about my process, what the work is about and what it looks like when it is done. Needless to say is that yes, you will see the work in the end and no, I will not be posting my paper (over 15 pages on a blog just seems ridiculous to me) but if you're interested I'd be more than happy to send my paper to whomever wants to read it.

And Joel and I have been talking about what happens after I graduate. At this point in time there are so many options and ideas that we have been tossing back and forth and none of them are remotely concrete so until we have a clearer idea I'm not going to be posting about those either until we know better.