Monday, March 17, 2003

more random thoughts

Just found out that those soft little kitty treats don't taste that great, and don't taste much like turkey either. I had a handful of chocolate chips which I was snacking on, and with the other hand I grabbed a few kitty treats to toss to Koko to see if he'll eat them in midair. (Answer--no. He knows about gravity, and knows its less energy to let them hit the ground before he eats them.) I got a glitch in my mental eat-a-chip, toss-a-treat routine and popped one of the kitty treats in my mouth. The texture's not bad, but the flavor is pretty strong. Not salty, which I would've expected, but a slightly tangy meatiness. I only mention this as a public service. I assume that most cat owners have at least been mildly curious about what their kitty treats taste like, but haven't actually worked up the nerve to try them. So now you have it on good authority that Friskies Turkey Treats aren't godawful, but aren't actually good either. Though a lot of that is mental--I'm sure that if someone mashed up kitty treats and put them on expensive crackers and garnished them with little slivers of bell pepper and served them on a silver tray at some black-tie event, you'd probably have a couple. And just because it's designed around cats' taste buds doesn't say anything about its edibility. After all, I eat a lot of food that the cats won't: Banquet Pot Pies, microwave burritos, and oranges come immediately to mind, and there's probably more.

I'm debating giving up my Palm Pilot IIIxe and going PocketPC instead. Pretty clearly, the leader as of now is the Dell Axim. It outperforms the Compaqs in almost every respect. I like the dual memory cards: a SD card on the side, and a CF slot on the top. They sell an optional long-life battery, and you can charge a spare battery on the cradle at the same time you charge the one in your handheld. About the only thing I'd change would be to make the joypad a 5-way instead of a 4-way (that is, make it a button as well as a joypad). I like my Palm Pilot (I'm writing this on it!), but I'm starting to like all the new things PocketPCs can do. My only real PocketPC issue is battery life. I get around two months' use from two AAA batteries in my Palm, but the best-rated PocketPCs tend to get around 6-8 hours. That's not good. Rechargable is cheaper in the long run, but that's a pretty short battery life, especially since I write on it and my writing tends to consist of huge blocks of time with no actual writing happening....

A while ago at work we hosted a luncheon at which the keynote speaker was Penny Steward. She gave a good talk, mostly about how we as Americans abuse our God-given right to eat nasty crap all the time. She had lots of interesting statistics and was really informative. The best thing I took anything away from her talk, it's this: be aware of how much sugar you eat! Read your labels--there's about eight ways a manufacturer can say sugar without using the word "sugar". High-fructose corn syrup is not your friend. Neither are partially-hydrogenated oils, for that matter, and that would be the second thing I took from her talk. I'm starting to get worried about diabetes, too. I know I don't tend to eat as well as I should, and I'm worried about the fact that I've eaten so poorly, and for so long, that it might start to mess with my body chemistry. If my body chemistry was screwed up enough that I turned green and grew huge muscles when I get grouchy, that'd be cool; somehow, though, I think that insulin-dependence is more likely. Going diabetic is a threshold event, a one-way step. It never goes away once you've got it, so avoiding it is the only cure. Look at the diet they recommend for non-insulin-dependent (Type I) diabetics. If you're not diabetic you don't need to strictly follow it, but it's still a good set of guidelines to plan your eating habits around.

I've always been aware of how bad fast food is for you; I didn't realize how powerful it was until I read Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation. I recommend the book. Also on my post-Christmas reading list are Nickel and Dimed: on Not Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich and Stupid White Men by Michael Moore. For a little lightness, I read Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, a good-for-you book about environmentally-sound manufacturing practices. If everyone read this book, the world would be a better place. But I don't think the authors' ideas are going to be put into practice anytime soon; the principal focus of corporate America is how to maximize profit and stock value TODAY, rather than making a sound investment for the future.

And, I read some trashy vampire novels too. More on that later.