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Showing posts from July, 2011

When society favors the geek

Some say that all narratives ultimately tell only two stories. One: Someone goes on a journey. Two: A stranger comes to town. The summer before my eighth-grade year, when I was 12, I experienced the intersection of both. In other words, I learned how to escape.This was 1979. My mother had been home from the hospital for a few months, and my sister, brother and I were just coming to understand her. Our "new" Mom.The new version of my mother was a changeling. At 38 years old, she had suffered, and barely survived, a ruptured brain aneurysm. The head injury caused her to be mostly paralyzed on her left side. Her brain became scrambled. She limped around the house, couldn't tell time and didn't know the day of the week. Often, she'd make inappropriate remarks, swearing at the slightest provocation or making some lewd joke in front of friends. At times, she scared me."Ethan!" she'd yell from her lair. "Help me get up!" She might be half-dressed…

Young predators, and the greens & beans crowd

It was always something: glossy garnet plums, candy red romas trucked from Mexico in the dead of winter. I wanted to eat a local, seasonal diet, I really did. I liked the idea of buying all my produce at the farmers' market, or joining a CSA, or growing most of our food. But somehow I never got around to joining the CSA, and the weekend crowds at our local farmers' market kept me at bay. We did garden, but Seattle's seasons were not conducive to a high yield: Some years our tomatoes never ripened beyond dark green. In the end, I bought most of our produce at the local grocery store, where I tried to do my best.Our local supermarket was an overpriced yuppie mart with a good selection of local, organic, seasonal produce. I had the opportunity to use my buying dollars to support small local farms, but it was rough to shell out $4 for a bunch of kale. I'd read Michael Pollan's argument: "We [Americans] spend a smaller percentage of our income on food than any othe…