Topic Salad

There are a few different things I wanted to talk about in this blog post, topics I’ve been meaning to cover but forgot about, or couldn’t really be bothered sitting down to write a few paragraphs about, or tried to write about and gave up halfway through. So, consider this blog a kind of topic salad.



So, i’ve hit the one month anniversary of my european adventures, having spent full month living and working in Central Europe.
So how do I feel?
I’ll tell you how I feel. Fucking depressed as all fucking fuck.
Central Europe, I will be a bitch and generalize,  is the most depressing place on the planet. Everything is grey. Everything is dark. It’s constantly cold and wet outside, and those rare moment when the sun does come out it’s sitting so low in the sky that to walk behind a small building will be enough to block it out again.
People don’t smile at each other here. I’m being constantly warned about being out after dark and to watch out for thieves. I fail nominally at winter sports and I am simply not stylish enough a person to be able to pull off constantly wearing a coat and boots.
On top of that, I am stuck here for the next four months, due to my new teaching job. And that’s the cherry on the cake.
I chose english teaching because a) I love the english language, and b) I hate kids, and figuring that hating children isn’t a very healthy way to be, thought maybe this would turn my cold black withered heart around and help me see the light.
Well, in some ways it has. I still hate kids, but it’s less of a general, vague, overall hatred, and has become much more of a very specific, intense, fiery red hot hatred.
I know that’s a horrible thing to say, but kids really suck.
So I’m pissed off. I’m pissed off and cold and my European adventure is just not the soul searching, enlightening, life changing experience I dreamed it would be. I am still a grinch. I am still a cynical cow. Only more so.



Now to follow up my little bitch fest, part 2 is ironically complaining about people bitching.
There are a lot of things in life that you can’t choose. You can’t choose who your family are, you can’t choose your sexual orientation, your gender, what shoe size you are, just for example. But there are some things you absolutely hold power over. Your religion, for example, your lifestyle, and of course, your diet.
I have been a vegetarian for five years now. Five happy meat free years. And what gives me the shits to the nth degree is when I see other vegetarians bitching about being a vegetarian.
“It’s impossible to get a good meal out!” moans one. “Meat substitutes don’t even taste like meat!” whines another. “Nobody respects my choice to be a vegetarian!” cries a chorus of angry veggie heads as they throw their heads back in anguish of the troubles of being morally superior to those bloody meat eaters. They just don’t understand.
Um, yeah, actually you’re just being an idiot.
No one is forcing vegetarianism upon you (generally speaking).  No one has dealt you this incredibly difficult hand. There is no lock in contract, there is no obligation. Well done to you for taking it on, but for gods sake, please just shut the fuck up.
I like it when people have different lifestyles and ways of living, but I really don’t want to hear about it in the form of you complaining. Being vegetarian is a choice, you made the choice to be limited when dining out, you made the choice to have to choose between plain pasta or some vegetables while your friends hoe into a generous restaurant meal. Yes it’s often shite, yes it’s difficult, BUT IT’S YOUR CHOICE and the rest of the world doesn’t need to see you getting up on your high horse and making a fuss about it. If dining out is that big a problem, fucking ring up and order ahead of time. Or better yet, stay at home and cook your own food.
Which brings me to a point I want to make about ‘meat substitutes’.  These are, on the most part, revolting. Over processed tofu or protein or vegetables, crammed full of fat and salt and flogged of as “tofurkey” or “vegetarian bacon”. Most of them taste pretty bad. I choose to avoid. But I get really pissed off when I see vegetarians who do choose to eat this shit and them whine that it doesn’t taste like meat. Would you like to eat something that looks like meat, tastes like meat, and has the nutritional value of meat? THEN EAT SOME MEAT. One of the reasons we are vegetarians is because we don’t want to eat turkey and bacon and hamburgers. So why on earth buy a thinly disguised meat free substitute that is trying to pass itself off as meat? There is so much good vegetarian food out there. What is the point?
I read a blog post from someone complaining that the people who come up with these meat substitutes are trying to trick us. Um, no. Somehow I don’t think that’s there intention. Make money, sure, but fool the vegetarian population into thinking their vegie burger is just the same as a real hamburger? I don’t think so.
And then of course, “NO ONE UNDERSTANDS ME!” My god, it’s so damn hard isn’t it? Suddenly you live in social squander, everyone HATES you for not eating meat, the world and all of your friends and family are all AGAINST you for this lifestyle choice!
No. They’re against you being a prat about it. When I meet someone new, my first topic of conversation is not “I’m a vegetarian and it’s SO HARD.” It usually doesn’t come up until, you know, we end up eating a meal together, or have eaten a few meals together and the other person has observed that I never order animal. No mess, no fuss, and because I don’t make a big deal out of it, no one else does either.
But I have a friend, who in the early days of our meeting explained to me how she was a vegetarian, how difficult it was for her, how her friends would hide meat in her food. Another friend complains constantly on facebook about finding gelatin in various products, and being insulted in restaurants when there are no meat free options on the menu (that he wants to eat).
Why do these guys have it so hard? because they make it hard for themselves. By complaining, by fussing, by being negative, it’s shitsville 24/7. (Again, I see the hypocrisy when you consider this with regards to part one. It’s my blog- I can be as hypocritical as I want. So there.)
Guys, you made the choice. Either quietly live with it, or go get some steak.

Part three is a silver line that breaks through the dense cloud of pessimism and fury.
Kind of.
I’m a person that’s very easy to influence. I have my points of view and opinions, but on the most part, these are founded upon the opinions and ideas of others. Opinions they can justify with logic or compassion, which I can then build upon to grow into something I consider to be, truth.
The people who inspire me are not necessarily famous (although some are) have not necessarily achieved any kind of greatness (although some have), and are from all walks of life. The reasons they inspire me vary from the very shallow, to the very philosophical. And they are as follows.

#1. Joan of Arc.
One of the famous ones. I’ve looked up to this lady for a very long time, ever since I was about 11 years old. Yes she was probably crazy. Yes she was a religious nut case, and yes she died when she was only a little bit older then me. But what Joan of Arc represents for me is willpower, strength of mind and body, the power of resilient women and the very real potential and capability of the young and idealistic. She went against the social norm. She was an individual by every measurable standard, she stuck by her beliefs and has gone down in history for it.

#2. Alex Day
Semi-well known, this guy is a blogger on youtube, an independent musician, and a guy with a very clear cut moral code and life. In my opinion, he’s also kind of an arrogant dick, but I kind of like that. As a blunt person myself, I appreciate bluntness, even when it passes off as arrogance. I like it when people can be so bold, not to mention living your life with an audience watching and judging your every move. If that doesn’t make someone resilient what does? I like how he’s constantly honest and, as far as we know, open.
I also like how he’s clearly a decision maker, a thinker, and a follow through-er.
And again, it’s young people achieving great things. Here is a guy who makes his living by being a personality on the internet. No higher education, no trickery, just business and being a real human being.

Just a side note quickly about Alex Day- as I am person who responds well to the tricky combination of logical and empathetic reasoning, this guy somehow manages to convince me of the strangest things.I don’t agree with him on everything, but certain ideas he suggests just get inside my head and suddenly I catch myself thinking, “Hey, that’s not a bad idea.”
Do you remember The Wardrobe Experiment? Of course not. That was a while ago, but it was the result of Alex Day. I’ve got another experiment starting soon which I shall keep you updated on, and again, I got the idea from watching Alex Day on the internet.
Weird right? I know.

#3. Stephen Fry
Although not so much these days, but still enough to be worth a mention. The reasons Stephen Fry inspires me can be summed up by two points, both of them quite shallow.
Number 1: he’s gay. And I like gay people.
Number 2: he speaks well.
Point number 1 is something I will talk about in my next blog post in which I continue with Part 2 of my guilty pleasures, but number 2 is quite important and deserves a mention now.
There’s a lot to be gained by being well spoken. Number 1, you sound intelligent, even if you’re not. Number 2, people will listen to you, which they are less likely to if you sound like a moron. And number 3, it means you can express yourself so much more completely and clearly.
Stephen Fry is a very well spoken man. As a result he commands respect, displays dignity, and sounds like a highly intelligent human being. Between you and me, I am aware Stephen Fry is just a human, but you will find many who consider him to be a kind of demi-god. Of course, if you actually think about what he says, removed from the pretty way he says it, you see e is quite an ordinary guy. But I like that. Stephen Fry inspires me for being a well spoken man.

#4. Bryarly Bishop
You may not have heard of this lass. If you have, then kudos to you! She’s one of the less well known of people who inspire me, and yet she probably inspires me more so then any of the others.
Because she’s intelligent, funny, sassy, quick, honest, beautiful (again, shallow, shut up). She does in fact, I think, sum up the qualities I admire in others into one person. I want to be like her (not in a creepy stalker way, but in a respectful, I look up to you kind of way).

There are others, following on the theme of thinkers and artists, intellectuals and people who push the barriers and pass themselves off as truly unique. From Tim Burton to Lady Gaga.


There we go. A nice long blog post for you. Wooee!

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