September 19, 2019
I went to China again and visited areas further West, notably Chengdu and Chongqing. I didn’t realize how large Chongqing was until I went there and looked up the population – over 18 million. It must be one of least international megacities in the world. I was stared at on multiple occasions and I am thankful to not have blond hair. Chongqing is built at the intersection of two rivers, like Pittsburgh, but has the hills of San Francisco and a riverfront that seems more seedy and disgusting than New Orleans ever was. The transportation system is spectacular, given how steep the terrain is. It is a city of extremes. On the riverfront, there are ironworks, sweatshops, touch looking guys, prostitutes, cars being painted in the open air, and garbage everywhere. But go up the steep hill to the commercial district and you can buy $300 USD Italian brand T-shirts in luxury malls. The food is delicious. We ate at a restaurant carved into the mountain side at the riverfront. One of the dishes was crab, cooked in garlic and butter with Sichuan spice. The crab was good, and the sauce it was in was the best I’ve ever had – not too hot, but so, so flavorful. The back part of the restaurant carved deeper into the mountainside was closed off because of recent rain, for fear of collapse. We spent about 3 hours during the day riding around in a cabbie getting an impromptu personal tour of the city. The interior of the cab was disgusting; the tour was fascinating; it cost less than $20 USD; and I felt like Serge Gainsbourg in the 80s, who famously spent much time riding around Paris in a cabbie, chatting with the driver. I also made a music video attempt with a boat ride on the Yangtze, which you can watch below.
December 16, 2018
Since I first began to think consciously and act on the environmental impact of my lifestyle and eating habits, I’ve struggled to find the right term to define how I eat. It’s a question that comes up endlessly in various groups and settings. I want to say vegetarian, but that’s not quite right. I’d like to think I’m an environmental activist, but I’m also a practical person living in the real world, so discrepancies arise quickly. On the other hand, it seems impossibly tricky to be *this* activist and have these discussions without escalating the conversation into a void of self-righteousness. I’ve been guilty of lacking integrity as a vegetarian and pointing fingers–the worst of all sides, a pariah in any context. It’s been more difficult for me to confront this problem than it is to not eat meat. However, in general, persistence is among my qualities, so here are two strategies I take to try to reduce my carbon footprint:
1. Avoid meat in most contexts. Beef and pork, particularly, produce a large amount of CO2- per-Calorie in comparison to other foods. Many people I’ve met were not aware of this problem, so >this article< is a start.
2. Live strategically. I live 3 blocks from a MARTA station in Atlanta, which provides a direct route to the airport and the Buford Highway Farmer’s Market for groceries, among other destinations. It’s actually a lot faster than traffic during much of the day. I also live 1 mile from my workplace, so I can bike most days and take the bus when it rains.
October 5, 2018
July 15, 2018
I was hoping to have Robert Hershon read his poem Superbly Situated at my wedding, but various reasons precluded this. So, I took a video of him reading it. I think it’s delightful.