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July 17, 2006

People, PLEASE!

Let me just recap: Mr. Bastish's web server has been hacked. It is apparently sending people spoof emails asking them to submit bank account information. This is bad. Many of you have commented and I am aware of the problem.

Here's the issue: I CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

As the lowly guest blogger, I don't have Mr. Bastish's server information (no contact email, no telephone number to call, no access to his control panel, NOTHING). I can neither alert the service provider to this problem nor remove the offending link. I can't even contact Mr. Bastish himself and ask him how to proceed, since he's incommunicado, living off the land and probably practicing how to kill a boar in the jungle. I am, in a word, impotent.

So, people, THANK YOU for your diligence in alerting me to the problem. But PLEASE STOP. Unless of course, you can tell me exactly how to proceed to resolve this issue in a way that doesn't require me to know any of the aforementioned pieces of information that I clearly don't know.

It has been suggested that the blog may be blocked, and so if we suddenly go blank you'll know what happened. If that happens, Mr. Bastish is expected back in late August and you can complain directly to him about my poor guest blogging skills.

In the meantime, let's focus on happier things, like pointing out that a search on this blog for the word nude will bring you a whole series of entries where Mr. Bastish wrestles with the challenges of drawing naked old men, gets frustrated with ripped young lady models, practices his nude drawing skills at home with the help of porn, and calls it "ladies night" when he posts pictures of naked women on his blog. Enjoy.

The Trouble with Being Bastish

Dear Reader, I have been awfully remiss in my guest blogging duties. My only excuse is that it's taken me longer than anticipated to get back to normal after last weekend's family health crisis. Between the uncertainty of possible travel, the stress of a parent's fragility, the lack of quality sleep, and the need to catch up with cancelled appointments—well, pretending to be Mr. Bastish just didn't make it on the list of priorities.

Of course, in the past 48 hours I have also managed to squeeze in two dates, a fabulous dinner party, a birthday party, a focus group meeting, a third viewing of oh-so-long The Pirates of the Caribbean, and several loads of laundry. So perhaps it is time get back on the Bastish bandwagon.

I had mentioned in a prior post that my next Bastish-like activity would be a bike ride. Well, between the torrential downpours and the subsequent 90+ degree weather (with associated D.C. summer humidity), it's been hotter than Kuala Lumpur in August. So I've been forced to get more creative. I'm in the process of drawing a step-by-step guide to surviving the D.C. summer. It's no "how to kill a boar" but it's the best I can do with my meager artistic skills. Stay tuned for that treat!

Of course, being Bastish has its problems. Apparently, this site has been hacked (I won't publish the comments because I don't know what's coming directly from the hacker and what's an honest suggestion for improvement) and is now potentially soliciting credit card information from hapless readers. It seems a little absurd to me (like I would EVER give away my bank account info to a site linked to a blog), but here's your warning: do not give away your bank account info to a site linked to this blog. There, I've done what I can do—and when Mr. Bastish gets back in August he can resolve the issue completely. Thankfully (well, not for him), this is not the first time the site has been hacked and so I don't feel like it's my fault. Whew!

So, just to recap: don't provide your personal information over the internet. And if you do, and something goes wrong, don't come crying to me.

July 10, 2006

"30 Days of Bastish" Hiatus

My adventures in the shoes of Mr. Bastish have been put temporarily on hold. Perhaps now would be an excellent time for Ms. Mom-of-Bastish to chime in--I hear that she was also given the secret keys to the blog.

Update: Oops, I forgot that I had to hit the "publish" button. Thankfully, my family crisis has passed and I'm now back on the Bastish-wagon. Stay tuned for more details!!

July 07, 2006

Yoga with a 5-Year Old

After some deep and meaningful thought, I have nothing to add to my previous comments about packaging—other than to say that, well, society should have less packaging. There, I've said it, and now it's up to you, dear reader, to go out and make it happen.

On the other hand, I do have some comments about the benefits of yoga. Mr. Bastish has commented several times over the past few months about how yoga makes him faster, smarter, more relaxed, blah, blah, blah. Take note of some of the following:

My body feels amazing. And not just to the lucky people close enough to rub up against it on the crowded train. It also feels amazing to me - the person lucky enough to be inside it. (My Amazing Body, May 23rd)

For the past two months I have focused on creating a lot of guilt-free free time for myself to work on the dream, and have been taking advantage of it by working out 2-4 hours each day (a little less on weekends), doing yoga, running, weight-training, and biking. I feel great physically, and want to do more. (Making it My Job, June 25th)

Yesterday my regular one-hour run took just over forty-five minutes (same distance), and I was hardly breathing hard. Likewise, during yoga I found that I am suddenly able to stretch things further than I have ever been able to stretch them. Could it be that my childhood dreams of having super-powers were suddenly realized. (Not So Superman, June 29th)

I've long been a proponent of yoga, ever since the "Yoga for Everyone" class every Thursday at noon, during my last "normal work" job. When I went to Sweden, I brought a couple of yoga DVDs with me and even now do the occasional random yoga class at my gym. But while I love it, I'm not exactly manic about it--although I do enjoy the all-over feeling of stretchiness the next day.

Anyway, as part of my 30 Days of Bastish, I thought I would break out the power yoga DVD (with yoga god Rodney Yee) and see if I could find Basish-like super powers somewhere in the following 45 minutes. Dear reader, it was more difficult than I thought--primarily because I was striking the poses directly next to a 5-year old.

First off, let me just say that small children are endowed with a natural flexibility that puts all of us 20-somethings to shame. As I was deep breathing (read: panting) my way through the downward dogs, Ms. Janie was giggling and making faces and instructing me on the "proper" way to do it--based on her "Yoga Kids" video, which includes an animal noise with each pose. Not exactly relaxing to hear dogs growling, snakes hissing, and lions roaring during the routine, ya know?

Secondly, 5-year olds don't exactly have the patience for an hour-long yoga DVD. Somewhere in the middle of our sun salute series, Ms. Janie began peppering me with questions. "What is Warrior Two?" "That man has a funny ponytail!" "He is very handsome." "Who is talking?" Sigh. While I got a good workout, the mental relaxation that usually accompanies the process was somewhat lacking. Thank goodness Janie left halfway through to go show her mother the *right* way to do a mountain pose.

Long story short: once again, the 30 Days of Bastish falls short. Next on the agenda is a bike ride. Now that the torrential downpours of the last two weeks are behind the good people of Washington, D.C., it's time for me to find a good bike path.

July 05, 2006

Not So Bastish

Well, I have to admit that being Bastish has proved harder than I initially thought. Here's a brief recap of my first four days…

First off, this isn't the first time I've tried being vegan. I did it quite faithfully for about a year in 2002. And when I was strict about it, I felt great. I lost 20 pounds without trying, my terrible seasonal allergies made nary an appearance, my asthma diminished to nothing, I fell asleep faster and woke up refreshed, and was generally more superior in every way.

Of course, it did take significantly more time to prepare my food—the downside of getting to eat twice as much food for half the calories is that it takes about an hour to chop up the vegetables each night, and that doesn't even count the time spent searching for non-disgusting vegan recipes, shopping for bizarre ingredients, cooking said bizarre ingredients, and packing up the leftovers for lunch the next day.

But even the extra time was worth it—where I really broke down was dining out. Back in 2002, I was working in an office where we ate out almost every day for lunch. Nothing fancy—just a sandwich or salad from the corner deli. Unfortunately, there was only ONE decent vegetarian option, a veggie burger that contained egg as a binder. I was ready to overlook that tiny bit of egg, but seriously, how many days in a row can you eat veggie burgers? After about 6 months (interspersed with the aforementioned leftovers), I found myself caving into the occasional delights of a turkey and avocado sandwich, or perhaps even the greek salad (mmm, feta). And then, after cheating a little bit for another couple months, the fabulous health benefits vanished and it was all to easy to just go back to a regular diet.

This time around, I've noticed two changes right off the bat. First off, since I'm working from home I don't have the immediate temptation of eating out. Now, I generally meet up with friends at coffee shops, where I'm sure to find a vegan-friendly soy latte to keep me happy. Second, my forays to the grocery stores have surprised me with the wealth of vegan-friendly packaged food options. In my refrigerator right now I have vegan pita pockets, vegan enchiladas, vegan noodle bowls, and vegan ice cream (not as good as the real thing, but quite sufficient when the only other alternative is no dessert).

All of which brings me to my point—even as a vegan, I'm no Bastish.

Mr. Bastish would surely scoff at packaged food in general—preferring instead to grow his own soybeans in the rooftop garden (perhaps writing an ode or two to the insects visiting the garden), build his own time-delay soybean mill, ferment his own tofu, and then use the resulting foodstuff to concoct a mysterious sustainability soup that he would then proclaim needs no refrigeration at all.

On the other hand, I did feel a Bastish-like holy outrage when unpacking my purchases from this weekend. And before you get all uppity about the "un-Bastish-ness" of buying, well, ANYTHING, please note that my purchases were relegated to things like toothpaste. Mr. Bastish doesn't make his own toothpaste, does he? I can actually picture him digging through dumpsters, looking for not-quite-completely-squeezed-tubes and muttering something under his breath about wasteful consumerism. I'll make sure to add that to my list of things to do next week.

But for right now, I'm concentrating my Bastish-like activity to bemoaning the sheer volume of packaging associated with personal care products. Between the toothpaste cardboard carton, the body lotion cardboard carton, the mouthwash plastic wrap, and the various tags and extra buttons associated with my new pair of pajamas (sigh, I admit that wasn't in accordance with my "30 Days of Bastish" promise to you, dear readers)—I had nearly an entire bag of trash. AN ENTIRE BAG OF TRASH.

Oh wait, Mr. Bastish doesn't use capital letters to express his outrage. In fact, does Mr. Bastish ever get outraged? I have to think it happens rather infrequently. Mental note: less outrage, more laid-back introspection.

So here goes: aside from the obvious questions which will plague me tonight as I lie in bed and try to find sleep (like, "How has consumer society so manipulated me that I believe lotion is an acceptable way to spend money that could better be spent on ecologically-friendly bike accessories?"), I have to wonder about the true environmental cost of packaging.

I will ponder that topic, dear reader, and get back to you with some deep and meaningful thoughts tomorrow.

July 03, 2006

A brief history of Mr. Bastish and Ms. Write Again Soon

Hello, dear readers, I am Ms. Write Again Soon. For the next 59 days, I'll be in control here, and I don't want to hear any complaining about how the photos aren't as good, the commentary isn't as thought-provoking, or the spelling isn't as entertaining.

How did this all come about, you ask?

As Mr. Bastish explained last week, he'll be in the wilderness for the next two months--cut off from civilization as he tries to prove that he can, indeed, survive by his wits alone and the occasional mouthful of tree bark. He toyed with the idea of allowing a guest blogger to keep his vast reading audience entertained during his absence. I, of course, jumped at the opportunity.

For those of you who don't know the background, Mr. Bastish and I have an interesting relationship. We met in Sweden in the fall of 2004, two very different people who wanted to learn about sustainability. And I mean DIFFERENT.

-- I am extroverted, he is introverted.

-- I challenge authority, he thinks about issues long and hard before committing himself to one position (I point you to the ongoing struggle Mr. Bastish faces with food here, here, and here).

-- I like deadlines, Mr. Bastish like to miss them, believing that he can always come up with something better with just a little more time.

-- I like structure and cleanliness, he lets cauliflower become a lethal biohazard.

He drives me crazy, but I love him.

-- After all, he does a mean karoke and who doesn't love a man who can belt out "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" and then conclude "I'm all about peace and love and what-not, but for some reason I'm just never in a position where it is called for."

-- And he caught my addiction to a certain television show (I don't think he ever publicly admitted, it but he watched a full three seasons on DVD in the space of a mere few days) and the conclude:

So, here I am, sucking on salty, sugar-free pastilles, watching Alias, wondering how realistic it is. Can a CIA agent really get a graduate degree, learn karate and all the rest of the spy crap she knows in just two years and still have time for a more active private life than I do? Why am I such a looser? I can't even seem to find time to clean my apartment.

-- Plus, he openly mocks me with no regard for the very severe consequences of incurring my wrath. The man has courage, I'll give him that.

-- Perhaps the most endearing is his ability to be bullied into writing little updates just to please me.

In short, I love him. And secretly, I think he likes me a little bit too, even if apparently I talk too loud. In short, I trust him to keep me alive during a kayaking weekend, always have an extra pair of gloves, and consistently lose at poker.

But I digress. Last week when he suggested the possibility of a guest blogging post, we toyed with the idea. Could I write whatever I wanted? Nope--that only leads to trouble and Kevin doesn't want me to shock his reading public with my sinful behavior when they've simply come to read about sustainability and Japan and birds who eat the wallpaper. Should I allow everyone to guest post and just make sure it didn't get out of hand? Nope, too much responsibility. And then, we hit on a solution:

Me: Get thyself on Skype immediately! I have a GREAT idea about guest blogging. Beginning July 1, I will be embarking on a 6 month trial of a vegan diet, one of my 50 Things to Do Before I Die. Anyway, it got me thinking…are you familiar with the TV show 30 Days? Basically, the guy who did Super Size Me (the 30-day all McDonald's diet) tries different things for 30 days…this season he'll be doing 30 days in a maximum security prison, 30 days with illegal immigrants, etc. I was thinking, what if I did a "30 Days of Bastish" where I tried to step into your shoes? I could be vegan, do yoga, take photographs, draw pictures of "how to kill a boar" and "how to make a time-release bird feeder" and then write lengthy explanations about each one. I could opine on important topics of the day, like bird poop and bicycle trips (I promise to do at least one day-ride in the area). I won't buy ANYTHING that isn't a dire necessity, and then when I do I will explain why I'm not killing the earth (and then have public moments of self-doubt about my overt consumerism). And I promise to have at least one eco-friendly item (perhaps even related to my bike) stolen. What do you think?

Him: Holy shit! THat is the best Idea i have ever heard!

Apparently, I need to add "creative spelling, capitalization, and grammar" to the agenda. Let the games begin.

See ya.

green on brick (with a little wood)

So I had planned all weekend to make a really good last-post-before-the-scilence. But as I am just starting this 20 minutes before I have to leave for the airport. I guess I wont be able to.

I had also planned to prepare some photos that my guest bloggers can use (if they dont have any of their own). But I failed at that too.

So, I am signing off now. I *may* post something if I have access to a computer. I will write handwritten blog posts that can later be transcribed as well, and posted while I am out by my mystery guest blogger whom you will meet soon.

Other than that.

See you in a few months. I'm outa here!!!! WHoooo hooooooo!