March 14th, 2020


Unhealthy Vegan Meals

Restaurants often oversalt vegan meals.  Some vegan food is just junk.  Fake meat in particular can be downright unhealthy.

If you want to eat more plant foods, fantastic, but aim for whole foods instead of ultraprocessed ones.  Check out these vegan and vegetarian recipes with complete proteins.  There are even a few less-processed convenience foods in this category -- we like the Green Giant Protein Bowls.  You can look in there and see lentils, beans, and identifiable pieces of vegetables.  It's nice if you don't have time to make veggie bowls from scratch.

Reaching Your Customers

This article focuses on cause marketing, but it asks a good question about how to give your customers what they want.

My approach is this: listen for the bitching.  People love to bitch.  They bitch about what they want that they don't have.  They bitch about what they have that isn't good enough.  If you listen, you can identify targets.  That means either making something that few or no competitors are making, doing it better than what's already out there, or both.

One way I do this is by mining fanfic.  I look at what people are writing to identify what they love so much they'll make more of their own, what they wish  writers were writing that they aren't, and where they feel compelled to fix things the canon did wrong.  Then I load the results into my original canons.  It is a goal of mine to write well enough that my fans don't fell compelled to run along behind me fixing the fuckups.  So far, it seems to be working.

Another thing I do is read other people's blogs.  When I see someone complaining that there isn't enough X or all the X sucks, I say, "Come to the Poetry Fishbowl or the Creative Jam, and I'll write you a thingie!"  In fact, just seeing people talking about lack-of-thingie is enough to make me check my records.  Often I have indeed already written at least one thingie, but if I can't find any, it goes on my to-be-written list.

And of course, I get a lot of ideas direct from my audience during the prompt calls.  That's how I have a whole series about autistic characters, and live happy lesbians, and superheroes who deal in problems that can't be solved by hitting.

That's just me, but the same principle applies to all goods and services.  Listen for the bitching.  It highlights market opportunities that you can use.  If you can meet a customer need, they'll buy from you, and everybody wins.

Community Building Tip: Alley Art

For my current set of tips, I'm using the list "101 Small Ways You Can Improve Your City.

15. Make an alley into a public art studio. Back in 2004, Detroit homeowners frustrated by people tagging and vandalizing their property decided if their garages were going to be canvases, they might as well benefit the community. Now, those alley-facing doors have become public galleries thanks to The Alley Project, which works with more than 100 young artists to showcase their work, hold art classes, and beautify the neighborhood.

Destroying the Biosphere

Here's a look at how humanity is destroying the biosphere.  Of course, the Earth has survived worse; it's had ice ages and comet collisions and volcanic outbursts.  Embarrassingly, humanity is in that category of mass extinction drivers. :/

But it's not true that "nobody remembers" the past.  I'm never going to turn into the knife-wind of winter and not scent for mammoth.  I can't read an article about giant sloths without saying, "They were so delicious.  We ate them all."  (If you've had beef tongue, sloth was a lot like that, only all over: rich and sweet and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Because they didn't move unless they had to.)  I remember the prairie like a sea of grass, the waves winking silver-and-green, then suddenly blinding with flowers.  It could be all pink one week and all yellow the next, or sometimes a dozen colors mixed together.  I remember.  People look at a few hundred blackbirds and say "That's a lot of birds."  Not if they aren't blotting out the sun, it's not.

It makes me want to chat up the Druze.  I wonder what they remember.  They stick to a different part of the world, and it's beat to hell.  Do they remember the Cedars of Lebanon?  I bet they do.  It probably makes them homesick like me remembering when Sumer was green and green as far as the eye could see before the fields salted up.

It doesn't matter if we remember.  Nobody believes us.  Nobody listens to us.  We've seen it all before, and it's happening again.

If humanity wipes itself out, I wonder if the rats will remember us. They'll probably think we were gods, and this shithole will be their Eden.  Once, there was food everywhere, and the gods dropped it from the sky so you could just run out and grab it instead of having to work for it.

People-first vs. Identity-First Language

This article looks at the pros and cons of both methods.  The topic starts a lot of arguments.

Here's a basic rule of civility: don't tell other people how to talk.  Free speech is a right.  You decide what words you use, not what other people use.  We need that freedom, because feelings and experiences differ.  What fits you might not fit someone else.

Winter Road Network

Many First Nations in Canada are remote, accessible only by air and/or seasonal roads.   I mention this example because those seasonal roads typically consist of frozen lakes and/or swamps that can only be traveled in deep cold.  Climate change will take out those seasonal roads any time now -- and the poles are warming several times faster than temperate areas.  :/  


Fighting for Health

First Nations constantly fight for health, because their supplies and personnel mostly come from outside sources.

Here's the problem with that: governments want them to die.  It's an ongoing genocide; it's not an accident.  It doesn't matter what you are owed, it only matters what you can get.  You can't force abusers to take good care of you.  They want you to suffer and die so you stop bothering them.  You can either keep trying to wring blood out of a stone, or you can admit they want you to die and go take care of yourselves instead.  The First Nations are not going to get good health care until either they do it themselves, or the governments chance into decent human institutions.  I predict the first of those options is much more plausible and prompt than the second.  It sucks to be cheated out of what you're owed, but relying on abusers is a path to destruction.

Fire Cider

I'm charmed to see fire cider for sale.  This is an old folk remedy crammed with healing herbs.  You can make your own, but that takes several weeks, so having a premade option is useful for emergencies.  Fair warning: most of this stuff tastes terrible to most people.  Just pretend it's Nyquil and chug, don't sip.

Concrete Ceiling

Women are punished for being successful and for not being successful.   They can't win.

Fuck it.  Go do the things anyway.  Some time before the end of the world, people will figure out that women can be as competent as men.  Be yourself, be proud of your accomplishments, and don't pretend to be less than what you are for the sake of pleasing people who can't be pleased by anything feminine.