Pazartesi, Aralık 31, 2007

Who says tomorrow is the beginnning of a new year?

Don't you think it is a bit weird? Who decided that tomorrow is the official start of a new year? Why do you think that corporate businesses can determine their own financial year calendar if there is already one accepted universally? Anyway, it is a bit artificial and 'made-up' in my opinion.

Regardless of the year we are in and will be in, I wish everyone physical health first. Since without it, nothing really matters! Once you have a healthy body, strong bones, red and chubby cheeks:-), I wish you lots of happiness and wish NOT a success in your career since I do not give so much shit about it and I hate cliche words, but rather wish you lots of strength and determination to deal with your confused, 'messed-up' minds and souls so that you could finally have a certain amount of peace in your lives and spend the remainder of your time in this world as peaceful and content as possible. As Mevlana said: "Bahçe, içten içe yürür gider, yol alır da sana der ki: 'Sen de, içten içe yol al. Sen de içine in, in de canına can gelsin!'"

Who says being and living as a human being is easy? Surely, it is the most advanced form but also the most difficult. Don't you think?

Pazartesi, Aralık 17, 2007

Happy Holidays...

When  I went to my favorite bookstore in DC yesterday, Kramerbooks, I got panicked again when I saw sooo many new books stacked on the book shelves under zillions of categories. New cookbooks, spiritual, political, health books... I grabbed a couple then I realized I could order them through Amazon and I could save some money as well. So, the next day, I ordered these books which will arrive after Christmas:

* Super Natural Cooking: Five Ways To Incorporate Whole and Natural Ingredients into Your Cooking

* Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook

* Eat, Drink & Be Vegan: Everyday Vegan Recipes Worth Celebrating

* The Book of Life: Daily Meditations with Krishnamurti

* Intuition: Knowing Beyond Logic

* As One Is: To Free the Mind from All Conditioning

* The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life

* Turning the Mind Into an Ally

* Istanbul: Memories and the City (as Christmas gift for my friend)

I am so excited and cannot wait for the package to arrive. By the way, I got a very coool Christmas gift this year. It is ZUNE/80GB. This is a great tool to watch movies, listen to music + podcasts and store your pictures. We think it is better than IPOD since it has a huge glass screen (IPODs has plastic small screens) and comes with very nice earphones that fit your ears very comfortably. Another nice addition is that you can personalize your Zune by choosing from a nice collection of laser-engraved artwork designed for Zune. FFI, check out its link. By the way, I am not talking about the old version of Zune. This is the new one that has just come out this month.

We will be heading to North Carolina for Christmas. I will write about our journey when we are back. Till then, I wish you all Merry Christmas and happy New Year!!

Pazartesi, Aralık 10, 2007

Olmeden once...

Flamenco dansini cok iyi bir sekilde dans etmek isterim. Ne kadar tutku ve duygu dolu bir danstir o! Insani alir yerinden ve icine katar, sarsar, terletir, duygu selinin icerisinde savurur, gozlerini, yuregini doldurur...Gectigimiz cumartesi inanilmaz bir sov seyrettik. Benim DC'de varligindan bile haberi olmadigim, cok sirin, icindeki dekordan ve el isciliginden ne kadar eski oldugu anlasilan Gala tiyatrosunda Ispanya'dan gelmis usta danscilar ve sarkicilar esliginde muazzam bir dans gosterisi seyrettik. Biz kapiya gittigimizde bilet kalmamisti. Ancak kapida onca saat bekleyen insanlari bu gosteriden mahrum etmeyip bizleri de, merdivenlerde oturmayi sectigimiz takdirde, iceri aldilar. Iyi ki de aldilar cunku ben Ispanya'da bile bu kadar guzel dans eden danscilar ve flamenco muzigini icra eden sarkicilar gormedim. Isimleri Edwin Aparicio&Company. Edwin'in bio'sunu mutlaka okuyun derim.

Cuma, Aralık 07, 2007

First Snowfall of the Year

The whole east coast of the states has been snowed under and it is very cold here. I need to hibernate! I want to sleep all day and catch up with my sleep since I have been sleepless over the past few days.

This year, I am planning to buy an artificial christmas tree, a small one. I know it is environmentally not a good option. However, my apartment is so small that hardly two people can fit in. It is not possible to bring in a fresh tree into my small cacoon. For the sake of the ambiance of the Christmas, I have to buy a small one this weekend. No plan for the New Year's Eve yet.

I have started to read Elif Safak's 'Siyah Sut' book which I think every woman should read.

Cumartesi, Aralık 01, 2007

Omnivore's Dilemma

These days, I am reading the book, called 'Omnivore's Dilemma' and it is quite eye-opening! To this day, as many other people did, I had the belief that organic food was the healthiest kind and growing organic food was the best way to contribute to the environment, human health as well as the well-being of farms and farm-workers. Well, this book tells that I am wrong! The author of the book tries to show us, to make aware of us about the cruel face of capitalism when it comes to the giant food industry in the US and its dark effects on the health of human beings, especially on Americans, 67 percent of whom, according to the recent polls, are obese! The author touches upon so many issues such as the overproduction of corn in the US and its utilization in almost every single American food today, including dairy products, meat and chicken. How corn could be utilized in so many products and always find its way, in every way it can, to the tables of Americans? Today, in every chicken nugget, hamburger, sodas, condiments, milk shakes, biscuits, cookies, butter, in anything you can imagine, there is Corn. When did Corn, seemingly innocent, hundreds of years old native plant, become the scapegoat of the food industry and start serving the monstrous interests of capitalists?

Another claim in the book is related to the organic food industry which has grown so much, so quick and lost its original mission and purpose. It has found itself "in an most unexpected, uncomfortable, yes, unsustainable position: floating on a sinking sea of petroleum," the book says. Yes, organic food we buy from, for example, the gigantic Whole Foods chain stores (the WF has always been my favorite store, although recently, Trader's Joe has risen in the ranks of my 'shopping places' chart and taken the first place since it sells cheaper by cutting the middlemen) comes a long way, from thousand miles away, tucked in huge trucks and burning tons of diesel fuel (according to the book, the food industry burns nearly a fifth of all the petroleum consumed in the US and the industrial organic farmers often burn up more more diesel fuel than their conventional counterparts) while loads of compost used in organic food soil are being shipped across the country which is a very energy-intensive process!

Here comes another question: Is the organic food better? More nutritious? Not necessarily! Well, there is no pesticides sprayed over them so they fight with pests in their own way which makes their skin thicker, their color brighter, and their water content lesser and their taste sweater. However, other than their 'polished' image (tomatoes with gorgeous red color, bright yellow tangerines with a ravishing smell) and their better taste (although the author claims that "freshly picked conventional produce is bound to taste better than organic produce which has been riding the interstates in a truck for three days"), it is still not scientifically proven that organic food is, for sure, more nutritious and healthier than the conventional one. Furthermore, if you are a meat-eater or you still fool yourself that you could eat eggs with complacency as long as they are so-called 'cage-free', you better know about the facts the book brings to our attention which shatters the "myth of being cage-free" or "being grazed on green pastures as wide as one's eye could see" when it comes to organic meat/dairy/eggs. Apparently, both cows and chickens are confined in pretty tight spaces which look more like "military barracks," sipping from water plates hung from ceilings, eating 'organic' food from elevated trays, with a little door access to backyards of their sheds -since it is necessary by law if it was to be defined as 'organic' or 'cage-free', more than respecting the life-standards of animals! In fact, the author argues, the farm managers are quiet unwilling to see the chickens outside on a grassy yard since the birds are quite vulnerable to infection. Therefore, they are not allowed outside especially in the first five-weeks of their overall seven-weeks life-time, which the author describes as one of ironies of growing organic food on an industrial scale. By the time they are five-weeks old, the chickens have no idea of an outside world, therefore, have no interest in spending their time in the backyard. "Since the birds are slaughtered at seven weeks, free range turns out to be not so much a life-style for these chickens as a two-week vacation option," he says.

One more thing: It is highly advised that rather than buying expensive organic food from a big chain store, try to stop by at a nearby farmer's market and buy SEASONAL veggies and fruits. (Check out this link for help!) Try to carry your own designated shopping bag with you all the time and, if not, please recycle all plastic and paper shopping bags (I had no idea until last year that there are plastic bag recycling bins at Giant and Safeway stores.) And, of course, I highly recommend you read this book before you step into any grocery store to buy anything.