Day 4/5

Day 4

Today I spent under $10. For breakfast I had a cliff bar. Then I worked till 7pm. I work for a catering company part time so I’m around food a lot. Part of this challenge involves not eating anything you don’t pay for. However, when they supplied us with the staff meal I was so hungry I indulged (I literally felt light headed from the hunger). I wolfed down a sandwich and a large plate of pasta. I could have eaten two sandwiches and two plates of pasta but I showed some restraint I guess.

After work I ate a hamburger at 9pm and called it a night. Again I was starving. I guess I am used to eating a lot. At times I can feel my stomach shrinking (which is good?). Again, not being able to store and prepare food ahead of time has made it extremely difficult to stay on budget.

Day 5

Today I did not spend a single dollar. I had orientation for the basketball company I work for from 9am to 2pm where bagels were supplied. Then from 3pm to 12:30am I catered a wedding where food was supplied. Again, excepting food without paying for it is against the rules but being that I dont have the ability to prepare food I think its alright. Today was easier because being busy made me think less about hunger. The days when I have long stretches of sitting around seem to be the hardest.

Day 2/3

Day 2

The second day was much different from the first. Pasta, pasta, pasta. I ate a steady diet of pasta with pesto all day. I was definitely hungry especially at night and grew increasingly frustrated with my lack of choice in food.

I have noticed something interesting however. My living situation is not stable at the moment and this has made it significantly difficult to shop prepare food, and live a frugal food ingesting lifestyle. Don’t worry I sleep in beds most nights (and on a good amount of couches). The apartment in Cambridge where I have been “living” is owned by my parents and is rented four nights a week to international travelers. This has me moving from place to place by the night. Sometimes I’m in Davis Square with my bandmates, other nights I’m in Kendal Square with a college friends, Allston, Medford, and Washington DC whenever I can manage. Needless to say it has been hard for me to shop, prepare food ahead of time, and keep is sanitary throughout the week.

I have 10 dollars left.

Day 3

Well, I’m over budget. I didn’t eat my first meal until 12pm and being that I had no prepared food had to purchase a sandwich and cliff bar. These lasted me all the way till 8pm when I bought a hamburger. This is really hard. Without the ability to store food I can’t cook large cheap meals ahead of time to sustain me for a week. I have only been eating two meals a day and feel hungry all the time but without a stable kitchen I don’t have a better option.

I feel guilty because I know that I’m not supposed to have the option of paying beyond my means, but hunger is a powerful thing. I am going to attempt to only spend 20 dollars on the next four days. I think this is possible if I eat only pasta, cliff bars, and water. We’ll see. 

This is much more difficult than I imagined.

Day 1

Today has been rough. I made a major mistake right off the bat by not shopping and preparing my meals before hand. I attempted to just “eat less,” a strategy that made me desperate for food not matter the cost. I ended up spending $10.07 on my first meal at 11:30am and $3.00 a breakfast sandwich at 4:30pm. $13!!! This is way over my daily budget of $4.71. Tomorrow I am going to a cheap store to buy pasta, sauce, bread, and MAYBE some cheap form of chicken. I hope to stretch these items for three or four days at least.

My confidence at being able to complete this task “no problem” has been shaken. I am not sure how my remaining budget of under $25 will last 6 days. I’m hypothesizing that eating small quantities frequently will keep my hunger at bay and suppress the urge to buy something I cannot afford. Its still early but I’ve already learned that living off this budget takes planning, strategy and resolve. Until tomorrow.

Jackson

The Food Stamp Challenge

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Hello Snoozers! Its been awhile. I am a first year graduate student at the Simmons School for Social Work. Its early still, but the assignments thus far have been interesting and engaging. Currently I am working on a project involving foodstamps. I am to live off a foodstamp budget for a week ($33) and record my experiences while leading a public awareness campaign. Starting tomorrow I will be recording my thoughts and observations each day for a week. 

The guidelines are as follows:

  1. Each student should only spend a total of $33 on food and beverages during the week. Students who are responsible for purchasing and preparing food for a household may choose to participate in the challenge as an individual or as a household.

  2. All food and beverages purchased and consumed during the challenge week, including fast food and dining out, must be included in the total spending.

  3. During the challenge, only consume food and beverages that you purchased for the project. Do not eat food that you already own (this does not include spices and condiments).

  4. Avoid accepting free food from friends, family, or at work, including at receptions, conferences or meetings.

  5. Please keep track of receipts on food spending and take note of your experiences throughout the week. 

So check in for the next seven days to see how it goes. Thanks.

 

Gun Control

This morning 26 people, including 18 children, were killed at an elementary school in Connecticut.  The details are still coming out. We don’t yet fully know who the shooter is, the extent of everyones injuries, or the reason for the attack. Apparently a 20-something male equipped with a Glock and a Sig Sauer (hand guns) got off around 100 rounds in a classroom before either taking his life or being taken out by police. More details will come out as time goes on.

School shootings and other random senseless acts of violence have been occurring more frequently in the last couple months. Off the top of my head I can think of the Trayvon Martin, the Batman movie premier, the Kansas City Chiefs player who shot his wife 9 times before killing himself, the Virginia Tech shooter, and the high school student in Ohio who killed some of his classmates with a semi-automatic weapon. For a timeline of massive shootings see the link below:

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777958.html).

White House spokesmen Jay Carney has said “while today is not the day to debate gun policy, an assault weapons ban “does remain a commitment” of President Obama.”

Here is my question. When can we debate gun policy and why not today? It seems like every time there is major gun violence in this country people say now is not the time to discuss it. It has been deemed insensitive. How many school shootings and senseless acts of violence is it going to take before we start really talking about more gun control? It needs to happen now.

Trayvon Martin was killed by a self appointmented neighborhood watchman patrolling the streets with guns, James Holmes walked into a movie theatre with a AR-15 military-style semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and a Glock pistol, and shot 70 people. In the previous weeks he had ordered 6,000 rounds of ammunition and multiple magazines over the internet, including a 100-round drum magazine for the rifle. Jovan Belcher shot the mother of his 3 month old child and killed himself. He was 25. The list goes on and on.

Gun control is a serious issue in this country. Always has been. Its a tough subject to broach because there are so many Americans who cling to their right to own. Guns have been a way of life for a long time and many people feel that their right to own one is fundamental. It is has become so engrained in our society that we have created a “culture of guns” in this country and within this culture we have made it too easy to attain them.

Something needs to be done in this country so that 24 year olds can’t order 6,000 rounds of ammunition, non-police officers can’t roam the streets locked and loaded, and 20 somethings can’t wander into elementary schools and shoot 26 people. We should be talking about gun laws in this country and how we can make it safer. Its not politics to do so. We owe it to families and the victims of these crimes.

Conservatives Moving Forward by Jackson

The Republican Party is reeling. Fresh off a harsh campaign and an Obama victory they are left with a long list of questions. Questions that need to be answered if they have any hope of staying in relevant future elections. What seemed like a promising Romney run that everyone said “would come down to the wire,” ended in finality. Obama dominated. The only drama was Romney refusing to concede Ohio (during which time Rachel Maddow had a field day guessing as to why). Republicans everywhere were and still are stunned. I think most of us were surprised at how convincing the final result was. America elected a black, abortion supporting, immigrant welcoming, universal healthcare advocating, gay marriage wanting, community organizing, women’s rights loving, blues singing President. America spoke in resounding fashion. Obama, the President who has endured more disrespect and less bi-partisan support than any President that I have known before him is our guy. How did this happen? How were Republicans so far off? What did they miss?

In order to dissect all the questions and problems in the Republican Party I think it’s important to analyze one question. How did Obama win?

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Demographics. Obama plays much better with Minorities and women in this country. A CBS poll had Obama winning the female vote 55% to 43%, the Latino vote at 69% to 29%, and “young voters” at 60% to 36%. The poll did not include African Americans but Obama polled well with this constituency. Basically, Obama seems to do well with anyone who isn’t an older white male (interesting).

Ideology. Turns out Americans like abortion supporting, immigrant welcoming, universal healthcare advocating, gay marriage wanting, community organizing, women’s rights loving, blues singing Presidents, who are black. A large faction in the Republican Party vehemently disagrees with these ideas and refuses to evolve with the rest of the nation. Romney may not have totally agreed with the “far right wingers” but he felt he had to appease them. This sentiment (anointing Paul Ryan the world’s biggest douche) lost him the vast majority of women, minorities, and young people (Americas future).

Hey Mitt, gay marriage is going to be completely legal one day. Get with the program!!! We legalized weed in two states for Christ’s sake. America is more liberal than you think.

Flip Flopping. It has been said that the Romney of the first Presidential debate could have a spirited debate with the Romney of the third debate. To his credit there is a Romney who I think could have been President. Conversely, there is another Romney who I can see eating dinner with Sarah Palin, Rick Santourum, and Michelle Bachman discussing how close Russia is to Alaska and how women are better suited staying in the kitchen waiting for their husbands to get home. Romney got caught up in saying what he believed and what he felt some people wanted to hear. I guess that’s politics (I guess) but America doesn’t trust someone who “voted for it before he voted against it.” You know what I’m saying?

Conclusion. The Republican Party is an old white mans party. This is the party of morals and tradition. The party that wants things to “go back to the way they used to be.” Take that question a little further. What are we “going back to?” What year? It wasn’t that long ago that black people couldn’t sit in the front of the bus, women couldn’t vote, and gay marriage wasn’t even a reality. What are we going back to? I think its interesting that in an age when America is experiencing rapid growth in minority communities, in terms of population and economic status, and women are becoming just as much a part of the workforce as men in this country, the party made up of primarily white men preaching tradition did not do well in these groups. Ultimately this led to Mitt Romney loosing the election.

Republicans need to fundamentally change what they stand for and modify their message. I believe that Mitt Romney, before he ran for President, was actually a glimpse of what the party could stand for and be successful. He’s smart. We saw it in the first debate. He knows the numbers and has had success balancing budgets (something we need). I thought he was a worthy opponent and it’s too bad that his base did not provide him with a clear platform to run on. It’s hard to win an election when your party is suffering an identity crisis.

Its cliché to say you’re socially liberal but fiscally conservative but that is what it is going to take for the party to stay relevant. Mitt Romney used to be that. Unfortunately, he was held hostage by outdated beliefs and a Republican Party in turmoil.

Conservatives everywhere need to think of a way to deal with the evangelical preaching, gun-toting, gay people hating, tea partying, planned parenthood bashing, 47% living voters in order to come back from this. These people are not as relevant or influential as they used to be. There numbers are dwindling. Good luck, you have four years to figure it out.

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TGIF afternoon! ;)

I’m a little behind.

I know the Olympic Trials are going on. I know Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are…running mates for the 2012 presidential election. Whacky weather around Washington. Tomcat and Katie Holmes split. Which was all part of the SCRIPT and if you don’t realize that you’re living in a fantasy world. Tosh.0 made some bad rape jokes (sorry, I’m gonna have to go with the “never funny” side on this one). Fred Willard found masturbating in adult theater, which is disappointing if you’re a fan of the whacky world of Christopher Guest, but also not especially surprising. In fact, it’s not surprising at all.

The only thing that really matters this week is this.

And apparently since JANUARY, airlines have been pretty chill.

I can’t believe I’m just finding out about this now, but evidently new airline rules have been in effect since January of this year allowing anyone making travel plans more than a week in advance of the trip 24 hours of wiggle-room to cancel, move things around, and even put tickets on hold.

Also, airlines need to notify us immediately of significant delays (30 minutes or more). And no hidden baggage and tax fees allowed.

Wow. Wow! Thank you. Seriously. Though, it seems like a no-brainer: “Hey, let’s not be dicks and ruin everyone’s day,” given the climate of corporate take-over and advertisement-laden everything, at a time when we live in a state of latent paranoia that everyone is trying to take advantage of us, pull a fast one on us, or the rug out from under us, scam us, rip us off, be sheisty jerks, I would be more surprised if navigating monstrous travel hubs were indeed a breeze.

Instead, they’re the most notoriously pain-in-the-ass sterile hell mall on Earth (with slight charms in people watching, reunions, and modernity).

Twenty-five dollars to check a bag? As if I’m not going to check a bag! I’m going on a week long vacation. Of course I’m checking a bag.  Shoes take up a lot of space and I need at least 4 pairs. I need outfit options. You’re punishing me for packing outfit options and too many shoes? Actually, if that were in fact the sentiment behind baggage fees I might be more sympathetic. Instead you’re doing it to spite us, because you hate us, and you’re a big fat white guy in the form of an industry.

I just drove an hour to the airport, and you’re telling me now that my flight is cancelled, and there are no other flights until tomorrow, and I have to pay for it? You won’t even cover my hotel fare tonight, because I have to stay here, since the only other flight is at 6:17 a.m.?  On what planet is that fair? Why does your CEO have a black heart?

So now I’m stressed, I’m angry, frustrated, so exhausted, on the verge of tears, $150 poorer, I’m going to be a bitch to the cashier at Sbarro’s, and I have a night of lonely hotel TV watching to look forward to. I’m going to arrive at my friend’s/sister’s/parent’s/boyfriend’s/vacation late and stressed, angry, frustrated, exhausted, and with a dent in my budget. I’m going to put bad energy into the stratosphere and probably indirectly cause an environmental disaster, hate crime, or car wreck. My trip will have a sour start, and my best bet will be to just try to forget about it. Ughhh.

But maybe not so much anymore.

This is the direction we need to be going in. Screw health care (I don’t mean that), this movement towards transparency by the airline industry is ultimately one that promotes peace, on a most basic level. Flying, and all the lines, stress, bad food, cramped seats, seemingly idiotic personnel, sterile and robotic atmosphere that comes with it, can be pretty goddamn miserable. It brings out the worst in all of us. Truly. The amount of times I’ve cried at the airport out of sheer frustration is pathetic. I know most factors cannot be helped, airports will never be a hassle-free, and the idea of working at one dealing with people during the worst 2 hours of their life (…week) sounds about as appealing as street canvassing for the World Wildlife Fund (WHY did you take that job!? You had to have known what you were getting yourself into! Was it a craigslist ad about changing the world or a bulletin board tear-off?) However, advancements toward accommodating and pleasant customer service and transparency in a corporate mandate are the glimmers of hope we need when someone enters a movie theater on a shooting spree in the middle of smalltown, Colorado, USA, population: all of us. (See how CURRENT I am?!)

-Cassiel Archdeacon