Friday, July 08, 2011

CC's FAQ on Google Plus

I realize I owe y'all a post on the ethical eating project. But the question I've been asked most often in the last few days and some of the other related questions bear answering.

1. You sent me a google plus invite, what does that mean

I like you and wish to remain connected with you and/or video chat with you at some point in the near future.

2. You didn't send *me* a google plus invite?

Either I didn't think you were into that sort of thing or I didn't feel like I knew you particularly well. If you want one, shoot me a facebook message. If we're not facebook friends, that's a big clue why I didn't think you'd be into that sort of thing.

3. What does google plus do?

It's a social networking site, kinda like Facebook.

4. Well, yes, but what does Google Plus do that Facebook doesn't?

A few things:

First of all, for legal types and other professional folks, being able to keep your work contacts separate from your social contacts is a lovely thing. Google Plus uses "circles" to make that easier. Arguably, if you don't want your parents to see something, you shouldn't be putting it on the internet in the first place, but if you like to keep your family stuff separate, that also is an option.

So far my favorite new feature is the "hangout" where you can announce yourself available to all your friends for video chat. I had a nice chat with a friend from college. Ok, slightly awkward, but nice. I'm really looking forward to using this for meetings in the future. I'm not sure I will keep it open most of the time, because I have stuff to do, but I will be trying it out over the next few weeks.

There's a feature called "sparks" that I haven't really explored yet. Something about sharing interests with other people. I will report when I figure it out.

So far, the most subtly striking feature I've seen is that any time I'm on gmail, I have notification box that lets me know that I've got a new message on plus. Given the number of people who use gmail for work, it is possible that staying off of google plus will rapidly become next to impossible for those of us with short attention spans.

5. How else does it differ from Facebook?

Well, as this XKCD comic indicates having a Facebook-like feel without being Facebook has some real advantages. The two primary things facebook has that google plus thus far lacks are annoying webgames and a willingness to hand out your private information like digital Halloween candy.

Of course, you're giving Google still more information about yourself, but at this point, it isn't like Google doesn't probably know everything about you that they want to. I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.

Anyway, that's what I have to report. If you're on google plus, feel free to friend me. If not, I can't say that I see it as a lifechanging big deal so far.

6. Any implication for online connectivity among religious people so far?*
I've never had time to join a covenant group. I'd be interested in trying one one the "hangout" feature sometime. No, I don't think everybody's covenant group should be online. But I think it is worth a shot.

To me, at least, this video chat felt a little more natural. Goodness knows it is easier to use than most chat programs I've tried.

So that's that for now.


*If you're new to my blog, one of my serious interests is religious faith in a digital world and the way technology can be used to form meaningful connections between people. I realize this is kinda weird if you only know me in a law school context.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

And on the tenth day, theCSO said:

"You look tired. You haven't been sleeping very well. If you're cussed enough to stick this one out I get it and I'll support you, but I think you've proved your point and I think this is starting to impact your performance on bar stuff. Ten days is plenty."

You know how a nuclear power plant has those control rods, and when they drop, the plant shuts down?

Those were the control rods.

He's right. I'm tired. I did the best I could and I stuck it out for almost ten days. But I've eaten a buck and a half's worth of food today, and that isn't enough to study for the bar on.

I do have thoughts, and lessons, and other debriefing stuff. I'll write it later. Suffice to say, were I not studying for the bar, I could do this. If I started over knowing some of the stuff I know now, I could do this. I'm sure if I were a better cook or had more time, I could do this.

But right at this moment, I can't do this.

Sorry, guys.

Suffice to say, I am sure there are people who can do this, who are used to eating ethically on a small budget. But it is a lot to ask.


Ps. I didn't tell theCSO that the moment he said "I notice this is affecting you in a way that could impact bar stuff" I was quitting but that was always the plan.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Ethical eating project: day nine

Sorry for the late update.

Today I had my study group over, so I'm counting what I fed them, too. I skipped breakfast and the lot of us ate a box of quinoa pasta and half a jar of organic spaghetti sauce.

Quinoa ...............................4.39 (The CSO had some, but I'm charging myself for his too.)
Half jar of Organic pasta sauce.......1.48
Cheese bread..........................3.25

I drank skim milk......................47
One of my friends had a coke...........60

The other friend brought her own beverage. They also brought rice crispy treats and strawberries.

Luckily quinoa really sticks to one's ribs, so I just had two ears of corn on the cob and some more milk for dinner:

2 ears corn on the cob @ .50 ..........1.00
2 cups skim milk.......................94

Total for day: 12.13

Remaining money: 25.17

So I entertained and everybody ate pretty well. But I still have several days left and not a lot of money to spend on them.

In the comments a few days back, Dancin' Hippie pointed out that I have been getting a lot of my protein from peanut butter and that a lot of people with kids can't send them to school with peanut butter sandwiches. I thought that was a really good point and wanted to share it.

Also, Heather suggested I eat more eggs as they are a cheap protein. That was a good suggestion and I'm planning to eat more eggs in this final stretch when the money is really tight.


Monday, July 04, 2011

Day eight

Headed out so I figured I would go ahead and track since I'm done eating for the day.

Breakfast and lunch:

Three cups organic cereal @ .46 apiece -- $1.38
Two cups fat free organic skim milk -- .94

Tomato ------------------------------- .80


Cage free eggs, scrambled -- $1.23
Milk in preparation --- $.15

Bread for toast---- $.20

Two more cups of milk $.94

Total for the day--$5.64

Remaining money -- $37.30

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Day seven

Headed to the movies so I will make this quick:

We had a lazy day around the house with more snacking than meals.

I ate two tomatoes, an energy bar, a can of veggie chili, some macaroni, two slices of bread with jam and quark and a veggie corn dog.

I think this is about seven bucks worth. Will do the math after the movie or tomorrow.

Sent from my iPhone

Two organic tomatoes @ .80 ---- 1.60
Veggie chili---------------------2.69
Energy bar------------------------.50
Veggie Corn Dog-------------------1.17
Two slices bread-----------------.40
1/3 small container of quark cheese 1.25
1/3 small container of raspberry jam 1.35

9.71 oops.

Remaining money - 43.94

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Ethical Eating Project--Day Six

Yes, this is going to appear under theCSO's name, mostly because he's logged into blogger on this computer and I'm too lazy to switch over to my name.

We're having a little card party with friends. Before that I went out to dinner, which is impossible to track for food purposes and expensive. But it was nice to eat out. I won't be able to do so again for the rest of this project.

The Farmer's market was an education. I have eaten tomatoes as my primary vegetable all week since organic tomatoes are cheap and relatively plentiful in Virginia in July. Going to the farmer's market, I found that, yes, they are cheap and plentiful there too. It seemed like vegetables were in two categories--relatively cheap and prohibitively expensive. For one example, I bought more corn than I will probably be able to eat this week for two bucks, but a relatively small number of peaches were $6. Lettuce was $5 a bunch. So corn, not peaches or lettuce.

I'd been missing eating something that tasted like dessert, so I got some really excellent local and organic raspberry jam. Also, I would be a bad nerd if I didn't buy the cheese called "Quark" I'm thinking that I will have jam and cheese on a slice of bread a few nights in the coming week.

Also, I drank a quart of relatively expensive local skim milk. I was really thirsty and I started drinking and it was gone. I called that "lunch." So that was the other thing I learned. When outdoor market shopping, take a bottle of water.

I'm having a study get-together on Tuesday and I got some nice bread.

I've stopped tracking calories because I feel like I have the hang of this enough to know that I'm not seriously undereating or seriously overeating. If anyone would seriously like me to go back, I will, but in the absence of that request, I'm not going to bother.


Energy bar .50

Quart of milk 4.00

Pad thai 12.00

Total for the day: 16.50*

Amount left: 53.65

Level of suck: It was great to eat out again, but uncomfortable to spend that kind of money in the middle of my project. Still, a friend was in town and she wanted to go out and well, stuff happens. It makes money tighter for the rest of the week, but I sort of welcome that since this project has probably been a little too easy thus far.

Part 1 analysis: The energy bar and the milk were fine. Don't know about the pad thai, but I kid of doubt it. So this was not my best day for part 1.

Part 2 analysis: Ouch. If this doesn't end up having been my most expensive day, I will have really screwed up.


*This suddenly seems like a truly decadent amount to spend on food in one day

Farmer's Market Haul

More on this tonight.

Friday, July 01, 2011

The Ethical Eating Project - Day Five - FAQ

Ok, have some questions that people have emailed/chatted/facebook messaged to me.

What's the deal with not tracking when you're at a friend's?

Because I don't want to be the person who comes over to your house and says "this is what I eat" unless I have a really good reason. This is a perfectly fine thing to do myself but I don't want to impose it on my friends, husband or dog.* TheCSO, FWIW, thinks this is unreasonably restrictive of me in that lots of people say "this is what I eat." And yeah, I don't care if people say "this is what I eat" for:

(a) Health reasons
(b) Religious Reasons (i.e. Halal or Kosher, less so "my religion is boycotting tomatoes this week.")
(c) Permanent dietary choices (or even people who observe "meatless Mondays.") As long as it is a long term commitment thing. This is not me trying to be a bitch about other people's choices, it is just a massive convenience thing for my friends. For example, FortiesGirl keeps reform kosher. She's one of my best buds, so I keep Kosher food around. When I say "Hey Fortiesgirl, wanna stay for dinner?" I know that means I'm making kosher food for dinner. Similarly, Jana-who-creates is allergic to cinnamon. I've got friends who are in recovery. All of that is A-ok because I know what to expect because all of them are permanent conditions.

If I decided to say, go vegan, I'd just say "I'm a vegan now" and all my friends would know what to feed me. If three months later I was like "Yeah, turns out I like bacon. I eat meat again now," fine.*** But for me to be like "I'm only eating Organic or Local or Fairtrade food unless none is an option and no overfished fish and meat only once a day and you need to keep track of every penny you spend on me so I can put it on the internet" would be well, weird. Can't have that.

So yeah, that's my justification. If you think it sucks, what can I say? Start your own damn ethical eating project. If it helps, I'm having some friends over to study next Tuesday. We're going to eat spaghetti and I'm going to charge myself for everybody's food.

Can your husband buy you food? What about food you already own, do you have to pay for that?

Second question first, if you're taking the bar exam, all I need to tell you is that I'm using cash accounting rather than accrual accounting.


Ok, for the lucky rest of you, that means I charge myself for something when I eat it. Not when I buy it.** Therefore, I am eating the organic peanut butter that we already had. But I called up Trader Joe's and I found how much they charge for it and am billing myself equivalently. If theCSO and I split a large container of soup in roughly equal portions, I'm charging half of what we paid for the soup.

That also answers the first question. Even if theCSO bought the food and put it in the fridge, when I take it out and consume it, I'm charging myself. FWIW, despite the fact that I am eating what people serve me when I go over to friends' houses, I'm not actively trying to beat my own system. That would be silly. So yeah, I'm not going to be like "I ate a steak because my husband bought it for me." That's just straight up cheating.

You're not eating many vegetables.

No, I'm not. Tomorrow is the farmer's market. I've been eating extra cheaply this week because I'd like to add an additional $20 worth of ethically-compliant vegetables to my diet next week. But I will suspect that one of the major hypothoses I will have at the end of this is that one can eat ethically, eat within food stamp requirements or eat healthily, pick at most two.

Why do this so close to the bar?

Honestly, because a few days after the bar, LinguistFriend is moving in with us. I didn't want him to have to put up with these restrictions. TheCSO has been really tolerant. Also, because poor people have busy lives too. If I had tons of extra time to lavish on this project, I wouldn't be doing it justice as a model.

How come it is seven o'clock and you haven't updated?

I eat late and I'm busy. Expect updates at circa ten p.m.

Do you have something planned for the day you finish?

No. I'm fond of those Brazilian steakhouses, but I decided having something food-wise to look forward to that was off the plan was a violation of the spirit of the project.

Poor people who are trying to eat ethically don't have a magical day ten days away when they will get to go to a Brazilian Steakhouse. Why should I?

What I miss most, and this is very sad, are microwave burritos and Lean Cuisine. Bar prep tends to get me home around twoish and I really like coming home and eating lunch five minutes later. That is most easily achieved with sandwiches and I'm tired of them already.

Sermon over, on to today's stats:

Breakfast, as it were: (190 calories each)
Energy bar 2 @ .50 1

Peanut butter sandwich made of:
Two tablespoons organic peanut butter @ .28 (200 calories)
Two tablespoons organic raspberry spread @ .47 (45 calories)
Two slices of organic bread @ .20 each (110 each)

Sloppy Joe leftovers
Vegetarian sloppy joe sauce 3/4 cup 1.00 (120 calories)
Veggie faux meat crumbles 1/3 package 2.00 (200 calories)
Two slices of organic bread @ .20 each (110 each)

Skim Milk: .94 (172 calories)

Tomato soup: 1.59


Total for the day: *7.88
Remaining money: $70.15

Tomorrow: The

*Organic dog food is a thing, but it is not covered by foodstamps.

** Do not treat this as a gospel example of the cash method of accounting. It is more of a metaphor.

*** FWIW, I have a permanent preference not to eat veal or foie gras because they depress me and I make efforts to avoid overfished fish even when I'm just eating regularly. And okra is gross.