Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Meatless May!

It's almost a new month (May), which means it's time for a new challenge!

I believe in challenging myself as often as possible, often for extended periods of time. Today, for example, I did not blow dry my hair in the morning. I recently gave up chocolate for 40 days and 40 nights (this happened to coincide with Lent, but was not specifically for Lent). Last summer I tried to wear a dress every single day that it was feasible (not raining, warm weather outside, you know).

I think you can see from these three photos that I successfully accomplished that challenge.

I believe my latest personal challenge will be to give up meat for the month of May. I'm not a big meat eater and I already take vegetarian options quite often so it won't be incredibly hard. I'm also considering POSSIBLY giving up dairy for May, which would be quite likely the hardest thing I could imagine. As you know, I'm an avid cereal consumer, and I also love yogurt, frozen yogurt, cheese, etc. I know there are non-dairy options for all of these things, but relaxing with a glass of almond milk just isn't the same as skim. I recently saw the documentary Food Inc. which has definitely influenced this challenge idea. We'll see if I have the willpower for it.

My other challenge for May is to learn how to do a kip-up. After closely observing Buffy's fighting techniques in my nightly character studies, I noticed that she often does a move where she is on her back on the ground and propels her body upwards by swinging her legs forward. Sounds confusing, huh? I didn't think it would be so hard to discover the name for this move until my gfs and I tried to research it online.

We combined vague key words in attempts to describe the move and received equally vague Google image results. Check out some of the more helpful results we found:

"Buffy swing up move"

"Buffy fighting ground kick"

*Note--I'm totally naming my next dog/cat Buffy.

"Lie on ground and flip up move"

*Note: this will hopefully be the only time Sarah Palin will be featured on my blog.

Finally we wised up and discovered that this particular move is called a "kip-up." If you're still confused, watch this video to see how to do a kip-up.

You can find other kip-up videos, but I liked this guy the best.
I admire his ambition, especially when attempting the no-handed kip-up, which he hasn't quite mastered yet. I will look to him for inspiration this month.

While researching "Buffy kip-up" videos on YouTube, we also discovered this fun gem. This British guy does kip-ups too, but he calls them "the Buffy flip." I might like him more.

My favorite part is when he reenacts Buffy being stabbed and falling to the ground.
And then he stands up and does it one more time for good measure. If I met this guy, I would instantly offer him whatever role he wanted in my Buffy episode, no audition needed.

So there you have it: my challenges for May. I'll keep you updated on the meat (and possibly dairy) free month.

If I master the kip-up, I will post a video of me doing one at the end of the month. If I don't, I will pretend I never said anything about it.

Is anyone else up for a fun challenge in May, like giving up smoking, opening your own business or learning Ancient Greek? I invite you all, at the very least, to join me on my kip-up challenge. What better way to start summer than by lying on our backs and using our feet and core strength to propel us upwards to a standing position and surprise our enemies!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Breakfast and a Boycott

Hello everyone, it's Carla here again! As I promised you, I'm here to share another of my letter adventures. This particular adventure involves one of my favorite food groups: SOUP.

This series of letters took place during what I like to call my "soup phase." I decided to write to the company who makes some of my favorite soups, Imagine Foods, who are run by the Hain Celestrial Group. They make some very delicious organic soups, in all sorts of flavorful flavors. I thought that Imagine Foods would like to hear my idea which will revolutionize the entire soup and morning industry.

Read on to hear my idea! I found two different addresses listed for Imagine Foods, so I sent the same letter to both to make sure my idea reached them.

So there it is: Breakfast soups! What an exciting idea that could really shake up the cereal and oatmeal aisle! Right now the only breakfast soup available is split pea and bacon, which isn't appropriate for all seaons. I thought Imagine Foods would really love to jump on board with this idea, especially with my personal favorite breakfast soup flavor, the Bacon, Egg & Cheese Swirl. It is even more delicious than it sounds.

It will taste like this^^^...........

But look like this! ^^^

But here's where my disappointment begins. On April 8th , 2009, I received this letter back from Hain Celestial. It seems to be a normal letter, but take a close look.

"Thank you for your continued support of Zia Natural Skincare."

That was all the proof I needed to see that this was, in fact, a GENERIC response letter. Not only generic, but also completely incorrect, as if Kathy from Consumer Relations couldn't even take the time to proofread before sending. After stewing in my anger for a few weeks, I knew what I had to do.

Yes, you read that correctly. I called for a BOYCOTT OF IMAGINE FOODS. I knew it would be hard for me because I love their soup so much, but amongst the many causes I feel passionately about, soup and customer service are very high indeed.

If you thought Kathy and the resulting boycott had closed the Imagine Soups chapter in my life, you would be mistaken. While still reeling from Kathy's reply, I received another letter from the Hain Celestial Group.

Well, now this is more like it! James and Kathy both called me a "valued customer," but I can tell that James really means it. James and Kathy also both gave me free coupons, but Kathy probably meant hers to go to Zia Natural Skincare and James can tell that I'm serious about soup. When I read that James said that he is going to send my suggestions straight to the Leadership Team, I was so thrilled that he could recognize the validity and NEED for breakfast soups. I of course wrote back to him.

Though James has not replied to me yet with either his telephone/beeper number or a marketing quote, I just know that he's working hard to bring our breakfast soups to the world. I think that the Chunky Cereal Cornucopia breakfast soup will be a big hit when it hits the shelves!

I also haven't heard back from Kathy, but I'm guessing that she is scared that I am still angry with her. I am, but I've cooled off a little bit since then. I have to admit that I haven't kept my boycott going as strong since James was so nice to me. I only boycott Imagine soups about once a week now.

I would also like to mention that I am in the process of looking into having my breakfast soups copyrighted, so please do not try to steal any of my flavors or ideas. I would also like to strongly suggest that you do not attempt the Blueberry Pancake Blast breakfast soup, as my testers had quite an unfavorable reaction to it.

Your Friend,

Carla K. Thasman

PS--Are any of you readers currently boycotting a food, company or animal? I once met a boy who was boycotting Doritos and I know an old woman who boycotts shorts. How did YOUR boycotts go?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Cut it out, Burlington Teen Tour Band!

Hello again, everyone! I'm very pleased to be back on the blog after a longer-than-expected break (blame it on the weather, as they say!).

I would love to share more of my letters with you. This particular letter series is very dear to me. As some of you may know, there's nothing else I admire more in the world than a marching band. Marching band requires more discipline, raw strength, coordination and peripheral vision than anything else I can think of. I have such respect for these bands that march in public and I dearly wish that I could be part of one.

In December of 2009, I had the pleasure of viewing the Santa Claus Parade in Toronto, Ontario. I enjoyed this parade very much so, not only because parade members threw candy at the audience but also because there were many high school marching bands. It was there that I first saw the Burlington Teen Tour Band (or the BTTB, as I now like to call them!). I was so enraptured by them that I wrote the following letter.

To me, the idea of being an honorary member of the BTTB was so exciting that I barely thought of much else for weeks! I'm sure my cats became annoyed with me, haha! But they understand. However, weeks turned into months with no reply. I know that the BTTB most likely receives a lot of fan mail, and I don't mind waiting long periods for replies, but it soon became clear to me that they either:

a.)did not want me as either a fan OR honorary member, or

b.) were suspicious of my ways and thought I was an undercover scout for a rival band.

I became bitter. On the one-year anniversary of my first letter to the BTTB, I wrote to them again.

My letter may seem a little harsh, but you have to understand the disappointment and humiliation I felt! I just wanted to belong to an outstanding group like the BTTB, to be with fellow people who enjoy wearing wool uniforms with buttons and walking in-sync. It is hard to find people like that, even on the Internet.

On a cold January evening I returned home from the loading docks and found a large package sticking out of my mailbox. Imagine my delight when I found this wonderful letter inside:

Not only did the BTTB send me a personalized letter, they also listened to my (2) requests and sent an autographed picture of the gang! It's signed by every single member of the band (in spirit) and says my name on it.

"To Carla, A Great Band Fan. From: The Members of B.T.T.B."

It's my favorite picture that I have ever received, to say the least. It's now hanging up in my room. I want to request a silly picture of the gang next!

Rob's letter both thrilled and saddened me. He said that I can't be a member of the BTTB because of my age. He says I am too old of a woman. I don't agree with this and I am going to fight it. I would like to start my own marching band for older people or anyone else who wants to be in it. I am going to tell Rob of my plans and see if he has any advice for me or can spare some of his members. Some of those "kids" look like they may be faking their age to me and I would like to suggest drug testing for anti-aging drugs. I'm a firm believer that drugs have no place in marching bands!

I will be sure to keep all of you updated on any news with the BTTB. They are a lovely group and I am so proud to be affiliated with them.

Stay tuned for more letters coming soon, including a list of the worst organizations to write to!

Your Friend,

Carla K. Thasman

PS--If you are interested in being a member of my old person marching band, please let me know.