This felt like a good year on the Irresistibly Fish blog.
Every year WordPress sends out a Year in Review link that gives some of the stats of the year so you can see how you’ve done and this year their opening comment was this: Continue reading
This felt like a good year on the Irresistibly Fish blog.
Every year WordPress sends out a Year in Review link that gives some of the stats of the year so you can see how you’ve done and this year their opening comment was this: Continue reading
If ever a post was going to get me into trouble, this is probably it.
i’m not talking directly about things that i hate or completely judge [although, perhaps some of them] but by and large and firstly things i simply do not understand. Things my brain can’t get around. Things that don’t make sense to me. And maybe they make sense to you and that’s okay – maybe some of them shouldn’t and possibly some of them should make more sense to me – that’s what the comments section is for – healthy friendly engagement and why i am completely ridiculously wrong and how could i say that? But before we rush to that, let’s take a look at 10 Things I Don’t Understand, realising there may be more.
So amongst the many things i do not understand, exist these 10:
# i don’t understand pineapple on pizza. i thought i’d ease you into this list and this is not a moral dilemma in any way, shape or form but simply a preference. Raw, juicy pineapple? Amazing. Cooked pineapple? Not too far behind raiSINs on the ‘Food i really hate’ list [although to be fair i could probably stomach a cooked piece of pineapple if i was trying to be polite, whereas with raiSINs… bleargh!]. i think this may have come from or been enhanced by my gran forcing us to eat stewed fruit as a
punishment dessert when we were growing up. It wasn’t. That was truly awful [stewed peaches and plums and whatever else] and we often hid it in the skins of the gem squash [excellent combo meal!] Moving on…
# i don’t understand litter. All litter, really, but especially smoker’s throwing cigarette butts out of the car wiindow. i don’t know what goes through the mind of a smoker when they do this, but over the years i have developed a hypothesis that i fully believe in my mind to be true, and it’s that they don’t categorise cigarette butts as litter. i honestly believe there are smokers out there who feel pretty strongly about litter and would never drop a paper anywhere and would shout at someone else who dropped something in public. But then, into the car, smoke a cigarette and suddenly i’m done and cigarette out of the window. Totally different thing. That’s what i think is in the minds of some smokers anyways.
And it’s not all smokers [although, to be honest, i don’t understand smokers either – have you not seen those videos?] but it is something i see a lot while i am driving and after being-on-cellphone-while-driving is the thing most likely to inspire me towards road rage. Yes that is me behind you holding down my hooter [horn for the Americanese] and flashing my lights. i was SO PROUD of my friend Megan the time i heard she got out of her car and picked up the cigarette butt and handed it back to the person although i do understand they are not the best of Facebook friends or anything…
So cigarette butts is the chief offender, but really all litter. i really don’t understand it. Especially when i see you drop a paper within a meter of a rubbish bin. [Veins in my head want to pop!] i so much appreciate the people who [often at ridiculously early or late times] work at cleaning our roads and making our cities and suburbs look beautiful. It changes the psyche of the people living there, when the place is relatively clean and tidy. i experienced this in our time in Philly. People who got up every day in a neighbourhood a lot of people didn’t care for, and spent time in the street with their broom and dustpan, cleaning the sidewalk, building dignity and pride in the place they were in.
STOP THROWING YOUR LITTER ON THE FLOOR. Seriously, put it in your pocket if you must until the next time you are near a bin which will be soon. This is one of the ones i am probably a little more judgy about.
# i don’t understand people who don’t know how to use four way stops [and tbV would add Traffic Circles with a cry of “Come on, people!” or something]. Maybe more weirdly, i don’t understand why i do know how to use a four way stop/traffic circle cos some of that ‘secret driving knowledge’ stuff that doesn’t go into the tests [i feel like four way stops are in the tests though, right? And circles?] gets passed on by the parents/teachers who do know it and doesn’t get passed on by those who don’t. Although i think today everyone has to get a certain amount of official driving lessons which we didn’t have to, so maybe over time that will help solve it. But i doubt it because people do not seem to know how to do four way stops and traffic circles. And it makes us have to shout at you in our car where you can’t hear us at all, so please stoppit!
# i don’t understand how Adam Sandler continues to make movies that people watch. This probably falls into the personal preference section as well so half of you may agree and half may not and i can’t imagine anyone getting angry at this one, except maybe Adam Sandler. But i used to really love his stuff like ‘The Wedding Singer’ and ‘Happy Gilmour’ but then somewhere along the line he just got bad, and seemed to get badder and his last few movies [Jack and Jill, That’s My Boy, Blended] i could barely watch the trailers they were so painful. i feel like the same happened with Will Ferrell where i got to the point where i have to actively remind myself when a new movie comes out with him, ‘Don’t watch it!’ because with him at least the trailers tend to be good but the movies are awful. i think it has happened with a lot of Hollywood Funny Guys [which is why maybe it’s been such a great time for the women to have better opportunities like Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig who i think is incredible and others – can’t wait for Female Ghostbusters]. Maybe the writing has just gotten a lot worse or maybe there is a serious case of having lost the funny. Anyone you used to think was funny but has not made a good movie for a while?
# i don’t understand the culture of the joke insult. i really don’t dig it [judgy one, beware] at weddings when people make ‘jokes’ slash digs at marriage as an attempt to be funny. And because it happens so often at weddings it has seemingly become a cultural thing and so everyone does it because everyone else has done it and we laugh because everyone else laughs. On a day when we are celebrating two people we love and the public commitment they are making to each other, into a union like marriage which has so much attacking it [in the media and beyond] that it really needs all the help it can get. But beyond that, i was at a function the other night where at least three people doing speeches took a dig at the person they were celebrating or thanking. And yes, i get it, you think it’s a joke and it’s funny and it’s the culturally done thing so again everyone is laughing [not me, i’m not laughing, you just made me sad, stoppit!]. But if we are truly celebrating this person or thankful for them, how about we keep to positive words and vibes. That whole idea that every joke contains a truth is very real and often there is a bit of a barb or a dig hidden [sometimes quite deeply and sometimes you have to be in on the bigger picture] in the joke and for me it just takes something away from the moment.
# Which segways quite nicely into this one: i do not understand the make-your-best-friend-look-and-feel-like-a-tit bachelor party vibe. i know this will feel to some like a style or preference one and to some extent you may be right, but this is one i feel quite strongly about, especially in some areas and as i have only experienced this as a guy, i’m not sure whether it applies to women in their versions of this party [so maybe someone could comment and let me know]. i have heard absolute horror stories [usually involving paintball] of bachelor parties the night before the wedding where the groom was so bruised and in pain that it can only have detracted from the wedding and honeymoon. i heard a story of a guy who was drunk and put on a train and missed his wedding and while that sounds like an urban myth or an upcoming Adam Sandler/Will Ferrell collaboration [note to self: Don’t watch that movie!] i have heard other true stories that are as vile. A guy who was convinced his arm was broken and had it in a cast for the wedding and his whole honeymoon before realising it was ‘just a joke’. Although not to future grooms – maybe not getting drunk and hanging around with people you can’t trust is a helpful tip.
But even scaling it way back [to maybe where it gets down to preference?] to dressing up the guy embarrassingly [usually in women’s clothing, if much clothing at all] and making him embarrass himself in front of complete strangers [this is where it crosses the line for me when it moves to asking for girls’s phone numbers or kissing strangers or more] and fortunately because of my crowd of friends i have never been at a party where they thought a stripper was great preparation for marriage.
For my bachelor’s a bunch of my mates and i went away for the weekend and played board games and drove quad bikes and watched some big rugby match and shared stories and spoke life into me. It was phenomenal. For a recent wedding i was a groomsman for [in the traditional kilt-wearing way], we played mashie golf and lawn bowls and had a meal together and sang bad kareoke and took some moments to share positive stories and speak life into him and it was phenomenal.
The idea of your best mates spending time with you in a way that lifts you up and makes you feel good and celebrates you and your future wife? That i get. Anything less than that feels, well, less than that. But i imagine you have some thoughts..?
# i don’t understand the difference between ‘Adopted Children’ and ‘Real Children’. Wow, this one has to get me intro trouble. But this is not one i feel judgy about [scroll down to sports stars salaries for that], i just generally don’t get it. With such a need [in South Africa at least, but i think many other places] for children without parents to be adopted, it would seem to me that everyone wanting a child could choose for five to ten years to stop having babies and move towards giving one a home. While i’m not overtly saying that having your own biological child is selfish, i do strongly think that the word ‘selfless’ jumps to mind when it comes to adopting. i love how adopting children seems to be a lot more prevalent these days or maybe it’s just that i know a lot more people who are doing it.
There just seems to be such a strong difference between ‘I want to parent a child’ and ‘I want to parent my child’ although any of my adoptive parent friends i imagine will tell you that they are parenting their child [even the ones that don’t resemble their parents even in skin colour]. i loved how Jesus at one point redefines family. He is told His family are waiting for Him outside and He looks around and motions to His friends and He says, “These are my family – the people around me who do the will of God.” And i believe that every time someone adopts a child they are redefining family, because there new family is nothing less than any other family. And it’s a powerful exciting thing.
Maybe i can’t fully understand because i don’t particularly want children [that should be the next point] but i think i understand enough. it seems to be a traumatic thing when a couple who are wanting a baby are not physically able to have one, but at the same time, how exciting it must be for a child without a family to discover that their is a family wanting them to be a part of it?
# i don’t understand why it is so important to you that i must want to have children. This is a really interesting one, because i really just don’t get it. tbV and i are both not particularly interested in having children. And when we tell people this, the general response is to try and convince us why we should be wanting to have children. Or arrogantly [yes, you!] suggesting to us, with a wink or knowing look in the eye, that it will change. Some people [many it seems] want to have children and some people don’t. There are probably a hundred reasons i could state, some of which would help you understand, some which might just make you angry and some which are probably pure selfishness or survival. Us not wanting to have children is a perfectly normal thing. You being a dick about it, is not. So stop it. Do i try to convince you to melt Top Deck in the microwave or on your car dashboard and eat it with a teaspoon? You really should, by the way. It’s amazing.
# i don’t understand how South Africa has a homeless problem at the same time as it has 1047 Golf courses [according to Golflink.com] – is it just possible that this rich white people sport [i am assuming the stats will back me up on this one] which i myself have enjoyed playing [in Mashie form] is a luxury that needs to go [in the face of water shortages and no room for people to live]
George Carlin does a pretty great [although expletive-filled] piece on the solution to homelessness which you can watch over here.
# Here we go: i do not understand the exhorbitant fees some sports players get paid. Again, read the heading people, these are not the Top Ten Things I Judge In Life. But any time i mention this one people seem to go a little crazy face. Especially my Christian friends, for some reason [almost as if they didn’t read Jesus’ words on the matter… you know, ‘Sell everything and give it to the poor’ and before you point out to me [like an arrogant me would have done a year or two ago] that this is Jesus talking to one person [the rich young ruler] and not providing general teaching for everyone, i was suitably bummed when someone pointed out to me that actually He says it another time, in Luke 12:
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Whoops, it’s plural there and He is talking to the disciples. Hm. What would Ronaldo Do? Actually that doesn’t matter. It’s What Will Brett Do that i need to be concerned about]
Others like to point out it is actors and politicians and business execs and why do i always pick on the sport people as if finding someone else doing it wrong means that the first person is not doing it wrong. i probably also believe that all those people [and more] and being paid way more than is morally defendable in a world where the majority of people are trying to survive on under two dollars a day i think it is.
i don’t think i need to defend my thinking on this – as others have often given me the impression i have to do – what i am declaring here is i don’t understand this, i don’t get it, i don’t think i ever will. Here, you have a million dollars for kicking a ball and buy yourself a luxury mansion and a sports car while a million people die in Africa that the wells that money could have provided water for remain unbuilt. i. do. not. understand. how. that. feels. okay. to. you. Oh well, capitalism.
That’s probably enough for now. What about you? If you had to compile a list like this, what would be the top, or maybe the top three things you would have there? Any of these resonate with you? Any totally make you angry or judgy [of me] or sad? Have your say in the comments…
It is a fairly strange thing for a guy to list ‘Hair’ as one of the 100 highlights of his life, unless you’re David Beckham and have David Bekham type hair i guess?
But for me, it’s been an extension [ha!] of my personality and a way for me to express myself in many various ways and so definitely deserves to be on this list. Continue reading
This one will no doubt surprise and shock a few South Africans, but one of the highlights of my life was being a Spur waiter for five years, back when we didn’t know how offensive the logo potentially was:
i have a good friend called Megan Furniss and we like to make things up.
Megan was responsible for pretty much bringing Improv to Cape Town in the form of TheatreSports [now Improguise: Players of TheatreSports] which quickly became Cape Town’s longest running and much loved show. And best kept secret, it seems at some times, although at the moment we are doing some highly experimental and completely fun shows [different formats every week] at the Galloway Theatre just outside of the Waterfront in town. Mondays at 7.30pm – you should come watch! Especially if you haven’t for a while. We also just recently did our first ever Duet two player show of Improvment and it was SO MUCH FUN we are both [i think] looking forward to the next one…
Megan also has a huge love/hate [or maybe love/frustrate might be a more accurate term] relationship with South Africa and is one of the most proudly South African person i know who is not me, [when it comes to the good stuff] , and one of the most outspoken, incensed, head-shaking, finger-wagging, hair-pulling-out person when it comes to the bad and the ugly.
i, on the other hand [which actually looks remarkably familiar to the first hand] love Improv and the opportunity to be creative in the moment and the freedom of having no script and especially the quick-thinking word-play aspects of it and i have a full-on committed loving relationship with South Africa as can be witnessed here. Just try telling me i am not African. It is in my blood, pale though it be.
Megan and i also have strong thoughts, emotions and feelings towards race-related elephants, i mean issues in our land. i have dedicated a large section of my blog to creating space for conversations around the topic of race and for the most part [as i am not expert] inviting others to share their stories, thoughts and ideas to help us find ways to move forward more productively in South Africa and beyond. Megan has done a lot of Corporate Improv work with middle to senior management of companies and noticed a huge need for conversations of race which are the aforementioned elephant in the room.
Long story short: Megan and i are looking to combine our love of Improv with our heart for South Africa and start making more of a practical difference. We have designed a three hour workshop that looks to use Improv exercises and story-telling aspects to help create a safe space where people can begin the conversations of race that feel so necessary in so many areas of the work-place. And we are hoping to start running them from July when i return to South Africa.
If you would like to know more and think this is something your work should invest in, you can get hold of Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org or myself at email@example.com.
Let’s be honest – a 3 hour workshop is not going to solve the race problems in your workplace… but being the unspoken, unacknowledged, awkward elephant in the room [as it still sadly is in so many places] it is going to be a great way of kickstarting some of the conversations and movement that needs to follow… Help us help you…
10 things vegetarians are sick of hearing / your vegetarian friends want you to know
I became a vegetarian on my ninth birthday. This usually elicits shock and the assumption that I am vegetarian because of my family / culture / religious beliefs. But, no – I was just a child who was interested in where my food came from and when I knew the facts eating meat (read meat, fish, poultry) didn’t make sense to me, even at nine.
Having been a vegetarian for so long the biggest thing I’ve learnt is that you cannot convince someone to change what they eat. It is a personal journey and people will either get there or they won’t. So I will not be doing that. Instead, I’d like to use this opportunity to appeal to my meat-eating friend to think before they say any of the following things to the next vegetarian they meat…I mean meet.
1. Why are you vegetarian?
Firstly, you probably know the answer before you even ask. But I’m not saying don’t ask – I love sharing my beliefs about food with people who are genuinely interested and like many others who have written his week I strongly encourage people to educate themselves about all the food they are eating (meat and otherwise). What I am saying is please don’t ask if your plan is just to argue with me about the answer I give you.
This happens to me all the time…so much so that my first response to this question is usually “do you really want to know or are you just making polite conversation?” Most people think they really want to know. So I explain. And then the “debate” starts, or I get accused of trying to make someone feel guilty, or told that the conversation is “not cool” while people are eating meat. But, um, you asked??
I’m going to start ranting soon so enough said on that point.
2. But how do you get your protein / isn’t that really unhealthy / don’t you have a poor immune system?
Again, do your own research. But I can honestly say I don’t know any vegans or vegetarians who struggle to get enough protein in my diet. We have been brain washed into thinking that protein only comes from meat, when in actual fact it is one of the least healthy sources of protein. I heard a dietician describe it like this once – I have spent my career (of over 20 years) treating patients with cholesterol, gout, kidney problems, etc, conditions that we know are associated with a high-meat diet. But I have never treated a vegetarian or vegan for protein deficiency. Pretty interesting if you ask me.
3. Do you eat fish? And chicken? No meat at all??
Fish = still an animal (and that would make me a Pescetarian)
Chicken = also an animal
Yes, I really meant no meat at all.
4. But BACON
I have a pet-hate of the recent bacon craze that appears to have spread throughout the world. Firstly, pigs are really intelligent, affectionate animals (just youtube search “clever pig” if you don’t believe me) who know when they are being taken to slaughter. They literally scream when they are being killed. Secondly, even if that doesn’t bother you and you make the decision to continue eating pig products, what you are doing by supporting the “bacon-with-everything craze” is celebrating and glorifying the fact that an animal has died so that you can eat it. It is excessive, insensitive and barbaric.
5. Ja, but you eat eggs and cheese – what about the poor chickens and dairy cows
Don’t make your guilt my guilt. By being vegetarian I am not proclaiming that I am perfect and superior to all others. I have a real conflict with the fact that I still eat eggs and cheese and going vegan is something I think about daily. It is something I am trying to rearrange my life towards. But at least I’m doing something.
6. But our bodies are designed to eat meat, and paleo, and banting and stuff
No, they aren’t. Watch this TED talk for some pretty convincing arguments from an Archeological Scientist. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMOjVYgYaG8
7. Vegetarian food is boring
Again, not true and a pretty strange comment coming from a non-vegetarian. Have a look at the wide range of veggie cookbooks out there. I will happily share recipes with anyone who is interested.
8. You don’t know what you’re missing out on
Yes, I do. I get this from my dad all the time – even all these years later he still seems to think I’m a vegetarian because I don’t like the taste of meat. (Although after all these years I probably don’t). I don’t miss or crave meat at all anymore but some vegetarians do and this kind of statement is not very encouraging to them. (For any new struggling vegetarians reading this – it gets easier, I promise!)
9. Sorry for eating this meat in front of you
I think different vegetarians have differing opinions on this, but I personally am not bothered by the sight of someone eating meat. My philosophy is very much – it’s a personal decision – so as long as I don’t have to pay for it or eat it myself you are not offending me. I love enjoying meals with my friends and take pride in the fact that I can braai better than many of the men I know.
10. Yes this dish is vegetarian.
It might seem shocking but I have been told a number of times by friends and family that a dish is meat-free, only to take a bite and taste immediately that there is definitely meat inside. The explanation is usually “Oh well I just used some for flavor”. Please don’t. Just be honest – I’ll be happy bringing my own dish or eating the side dishes.
Why I’m [kind of, mostly] a vegetarian.
Let me start off by saying that I like eating animals. In my early university days, I probably ate a bacon sandwich at least four times a week. This was on top of my regular meat-with-every-meal intake. I come from an Italian family. Growing up in South Africa, these two cultural combinations meant that meat was always very high on the meal priority list. But it has been a while since I last had a bacon sandwich.
Now, I still like eating animals. Yet, I am [kind of, mostly] a vegetarian. I’ll get to [that part] in a bit. Firstly, let me try explain why I, a meat-enthusiast, choose to abstain from this age-old human practice. No, it’s not because I think we shouldn’t eat animals at all, which I’m sure you’ve gathered by now (although there are many who do believe this, for valuable reasons, and I have immense respect for such an ideal). Initially, it was also not because of how our fast-paced, profit and efficiency-driven society tends to treats animals (although, this naturally became a strong cornerstone to my continued no-meat commitment, as I have found it cannot actually be separated from my first reason).
My initial, and foremost reason for quitting meat was this:
* Curbing the world’s huge and increasing appetite for meat is essential to avoid devastating climate change… The global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains and ships combined, but a worldwide survey by Ipsos MORI in the report finds twice as many people think transport is the bigger contributor to global warming. The Guardian
* Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation. Fao.org
* Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction. Richard Oppenlander
I could go on, but I know that it is likely you skimmed over those and rolled your eyes a little. Just like we did when we were first told about global warming, or that the earth was round, or that smoking causes cancer. Its uncomfortable. And it’s certainly not the easiest conversation to have at dinner parties. It’s long-winded and almost always sounds just that little bit pretentious. But, for me especially, it’s undeniable.
It started when I watched Graham Hill’s TED talk, Why I’m a Weekday Vegetarian, back at university. I was deeply compelled by his argument, and, aghast at the very idea of giving up meat altogether, I began with the ever popular ‘Meat-free Mondays’ and ‘Vegan Wednesdays’. However, the more I researched, read, watched, listened and discussed, the more I knew that simply eating less meat was insufficient. Before I start to sound like one of those “annoying environmental hippies” (although I am tempted to break out into an entirely separate argument about everything that is wrong with that statement), I do not lead the perfect ‘green life’. I smoke (ugh). I probably still use way too much plastic. My job requires that I do a lot of traveling. My carbon footprint is, sadly, still very much existent and a work in progress, which often feels quite overwhelming.
Especially when I read about 21 year olds in New York who haven’t made any garbage for two years. But, although not disregarding other ‘green actions’, which are still vitally important, I determined that the biggest impact I could have on reducing my environmental heaviness was through monitoring the food I bought and ate. In fact, quitting meat altogether has a greater impact on reducing one’s carbon footprint over and above anything else. I have seen that this is an action that is becoming increasingly undeniable to many the layman, not just those ‘annoying environmentalists’.
In a lot of my conversations, many people have asked me why my commitment has to extend to chicken or fish. The problem lies with those big lumbering cow things that fart all the time, doesn’t it? If only. Fish are a no-brainer. The depletion of our oceans and the very nature of the fishing industry today are having dramatic consequences for our future planet. And, no, not our far-off future planet, but our immediate one. And chickens? It’s a much larger web of interacting factors. Most chickens are mass-produced in disgusting conditions – whether this offends you or not, this kind of care is not environmentally friendly. Mass production means mass transportation, excessive consumption and waste, and much more. This sadly means curbing my desire for a cheeky Nando’s (which, if I’m honest, has been a stumbling block for me). The hard fact is, if you cut out red meat for environmental or moral reasons – well, chickens and fish pretty much have to follow.
But, why the [kind of, mostly] bit? Well, because I do still like meat. I just have a problem with how it is produced and consumed. And so, when I am able to access meat that is a) entirely organic (I mean really, really organic), b) locally produced, c) has come from an animal well taken care of, and d) as a result of a, b and c, has limited environmental impact, I will happily (if not ecstatically) eat it. But, believe it or not, this is actually a rare opportunity. Woolworths ‘organic’ simply does not cut it. Also, the problem has gotten so bad that in order to make an environmental difference, we need to go back to eating meat like we did many years ago – where it is something special, a treat rather than a regular part of our meals.
I could go on and on about the facts and figures, but I am a firm believer that “bible bashing”, if I may borrow the term, gets you nowhere. People have the right to choose. That being said, there is nothing I struggle with more than people who make uninformed choices. I will respect almost any decision, if it has been backed it up with thought, research and accountability. Mine led me to a certain path. But I also know many amazing individuals who have responded to these findings differently. The point is to respond. How you chose to do so lies with you. But not responding, well that’s a choice too.
* Graham Hill – Why I’m a weekday vegetarian
* Oppenlander, Richard A. Food Choice and Sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work. Minneapolis, MN : Langdon Street, 2013. Print.
Food (in general)…
* Food, Inc (full online documentary here).
* The End of the Line (full online documentary here).
* TED ideas, Interview with Sylvia Earle, Should you stop eating fish?