“Politically Correct” Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood

There was once a young person named Red Riding Hood who lived with her mother at the edge of a forest. One day her mother asked her to take a basket of fruit and some mineral water to her grandmother’s house. On the way to Grandma’s house RRH was accosted by a wolf:

1) Wolf: “What do you have in that cute little basket?”

2) RRH: “Some snacks for my grandmother, who is capable of caring for herself.”

3) Wolf: “My dear, it isn’t safe for a little girl to be out walking alone.”

4) RRH: “I find your sexist remark extremely offensive.”
5) RRH: “Now if you’ll excuse me I’ll be on my way.”

Red Riding Hood continued on her way, taking the main path to her grandmother’s house. But the wolf knew a shortcut and got there first. He burst into the house, gagged the grandmother, shoved her into a closet, then he put on her night clothes and crawled into bed. A half hour later Red Riding Hood entered the cottage.

6) RRH: “Grandma, I have brought you some sodium-free snacks to salute you as a wise and nurturing matriarch.”

7) Wolf:: “Come closer, my child, so that I might see you.”

8) RRH: “Oh, Grandma, what big teeth you have.”

The Wolf leaped out of bed and grabbed Red Riding Hood in his claws. She screamed. Her screams were heard by a woodchopper-person, who just happened to be passing by. He ran into the house, approached the wolf and raised his ax to strike.

9) RRH: “And what do you think you’re doing, bursting in here like that?”
10) RRH:.”Sexist! Idiot! Neanderthal! How dare you assume that women and wolves can’t solve their own problems without a man’s help.

Adapted from James Finn Gardner, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories.


8 Reasons to Eat Fermented Foods

A great article by Cheeseslave discussing the health benefits of raw and fermented foods we rarely find in our modern western diet anymore. Fermented foods (pre-pasteurized) are very healthy for our digestion, and scientists are finding more and more how much our health relates to our gut. Traditional diets in cultures around the world (including traditional American foods) integrate fermented foods, such as cultured yogurt and kefir, sauerkraut and pickles, kimchi and chutney, salsa and sourdough bread, even beer and wine.

8 Reasons to Eat Fermented Foods | CHEESESLAVE.

Many of these foods are still consumed in modern America, but most of them are now pasteurized to the point where the enzymes that make it healthy are killed off. Pickles and sauerkraut found in supermarkets are rarely made the way they used to, and thus have fewer of the health benefits. The best way to get these authentic foods at home are to make them yourself. From what I hear, they are not difficult (I shall attempt perhaps over summer vacation). Overseas, many of these healthy foods are still produced and can be typically affordable.

It can be difficult to eat healthy while traveling, but sometimes the food abroad is much healthier than the American diet. While in Russia in 2006, I made a friend and tried to convince her to visit America. She said she refused to go to America of all places because “the American diet is DANGEROUS! Their food is poison!”. Although I thought nothing of her comment at the time, thinking she was brainwashed by propaganda or something, I have since looked back on her comment and questioned its validity. Heart disease is America’s #1 killer. Cancer and diabetes rates are through the roof. We have the lowest life expectancy and highest infant mortality rate than ANY other 1st world nation. A lot of that has to do with our diet (perhaps the overprescription of drugs doesn’t help either). What do you think? Does diet play an active role in your health (for better or worse)? Do you have an easier time or more difficult time eating healthy while traveling? Do you think the western diet is killing us? Harming us? Helping us?


Laundry Pacs

As a college student, I have to lug my laundry down 7 flights of stairs and into another building just to use the machines. As a college student, I typically procrastinate until I have a very full laundry basket, making this very heavy. Yet, the most inconvenient thing of this is that I have to schlep my detergent with me, making a mess in my basket, and then must carry it back, all sticky and moist.

This is where I thought of something to try: the new fad of laundry pods/paks/packs etc. Laundry detergent prepackaged in a dissolvable packet that you just plop into the machine with your clothes. Trouble is, it can be expensive. But imagine: grabbing just a handful of little packs of soap and coming back with nothing! So clean, so neat, so organized… so SIMPLE!

I found a coupon for Purex’s new packs, for a dollar off any size. I also found a Walgreens add showing a sale, plus a 50 cent off coupon! So I ran to Walgreens and found it on sale for $3.49 – $1.00 – $0.50 = $!.99, saving me $4.50 off the original price! SCORE!

At 11 cents per load, I am willing to give it a try. I will have to wait for another load of laundry to see how it works!

Costco Travel Review

I recently booked a cruise to Alaska through Costco! I have never been on a cruise before and have never used Costco for anything other than for buying food. My boyfriend and I got an interior stateroom on a 7-day Princess cruise leaving from Vancouver! It will be a graduation present for both of us, as we will graduate the weekend before our Tuesday departure!

Now, why did we choose to do it through Costco? First off, it was at least $50 less per person than anywhere else I could find, including calling Princess herself! Further, we will receive a Costco gift card and a free photo book when we return home! What a deal! But, what is it like to book a cruise through Costco? The initial purchase was a simple online click. The only trouble was that when we made the purchase, we had to put our names EXACTLY as they are on our passports. Neither of us had our passports handy at the time of purchase. This wouldn’t be a problem for normal names, and we didn’t even think about it, and spelled our names the way we normally do. Unfortunately, on my passport, my last name has a space in it that I never use anymore. My boyfriend has a suffix that is in a different location on his drivers license than his passport. Researching online, I found people saying that if it doesn’t match EXACTLY, they can turn you away from the cruise!

I called Princess right away, but was on hold for 45 minutes. Once I got through, I explained my trouble only to hear that they could do nothing about it since I booked with a ‘travel agent’. Of course, by the time I hung up with her, Costco had closed! The next morning, after breakfast, I called Costco’s travel site. I got through within 3 rings! I told her my situation, and the polite lady on the phone said “sure, no problem! I will email you the new info and you can sign in to the cruise personalizer!” Now, THAT is service! I am really looking forward to this cruise, and have already bought an evening gown and made my boyfriend buy a 3-piece suit for the captain’s dinner! It should be a ball!

Olympic Hopefuls Ride It Out At Del Mar With Celebrities

This past evening was the $100,000 Grand Prix National Horse Show in Del Mar, California. This actually included an olympic observation, analyzing who would make the 2012 Team USA in Show Jumping! I went with my non-horsey boyfriend and two non-horsey friends, none of whom had ever been to any horse show before. This was a great introduction! Before the competition, they had a for-fun charity “celebrity ride and drive” where a team of rider and driver compete for their own charity.

The driver is some sort of celebrity who stands by a car. The rider rides a course of about 3’6″, where at the end they leap off their horse, handing it to a holder, they run full speed in tall boots to the car, hop in while the celebrity races around a trafic cone course. One of the riders was one of the Spielburg kids, so the car had Steven Spielberg in the back seat! Of course, this was so he was conveniently invisible to all. Unfortunately, his girl was the only one who fell off in that competition. No worries for a Spielburg daughter! She was offered a complete do-over! That’s not all. One of the teams had Billy Ray Cyrus as the driver! Best part was he walked around the stadium afterwards, and let us take a picture with him! 


The competition itself was incredible. I have never seen a more beautiful show facilities. They had a screen hovering so you could watch replays and detailed footage! When they had the course walk, a group of toddlers on stick horses were brought out to play over a flower box! Great fun! The national anthem was sung by a semi-famous singer from the celebrity drive, with the Marine Corps color guard displaying the flags on palomino mustangs. Everyone got into the physics and math behind the rides. We got to meet some of the horses and they even had an after party with autograph signings (that we unfortunately were not able to stay for). This was a great day!

Russian Georgian Restaurant Pomegranate

I go to UCSD, so am always looking for fun places to go in San Diego. Also, I had not had anything resembling “Russian Food” since I returned from the Motherland in 2006. That is why I was so excited when my boyfriend found this place. Pomegranate, a Russian-Georgian Restaurant right in San Diego! The place is very cozy, it is not a ‘decorative fancy restaurant’. It is more like a hole-in-the-wall authentic cuisine with heart and soul! I had a serving of Borscht, since I have not been able to taste the sweet delicacy for 6 years now! I also ordered a glass of Samovar-style tea, served with a shot of berry syrup on the side to sweeten to your taste!

My boyfriend got a lamb dish and a Georgian soda. The meat was incredible! The soda was delicious! Funny thing is: we read the ingredients and saw very little sugar. Upon further analysis, I saw a main ingredient was “fragrance”. I tried breathing out while I sipped it and noticed that there was hardly any flavor to it by itself! Our sense of sweetness came from our noses! What a great ‘diet’ technique to avoid fake sweeteners! I wonder the effects of drinking ‘fragrance’.

I HIGHLY recommend this restaurant to anyone in the SD area. There is authentic Russian (and Georgian) charm exuding the entire place! Great place for families, friends, and couples looking for someplace fun and different!

Russian Georgian Restaurant Pomegranate.

How to: Travel Alone (what to bring and what to do!)

What to bring:

  • 3 copies of passport (always cary one copy safely in your pocket)
  • 1+ copy of each credit card
  • credit card (safer than debit)
  • original passport (or whatever ID required for the country)
  • the equivalent of about $50-100 USD cash in a money belt on your person
  • money belt (avoid getting in and out of it in public- it is supposed to be secret!)
  • detailed directions to your destination, including all train stops, bus stops, and ticket shops
  • emergency phone (not absolutely required but a REALLY good idea)
  • local dictionary (not required but useful when asking for directions)
  • walking map for how you get from the train station to your destination

What to do:

  • pack as light as possible
  • do not have any valuables visible
  • blend in (avoid looking like a tourist as much as possible- at least look like a ‘local tourist’)
  • eat in safe places
  • avoid large crowds while carrying luggage
  • do NOT carry anything in your back pocket
  • buy luggage locks and USE THEM!
  • for smaller zippers, use plastic zip ties (use nail cutters to snip them off- just don’t lock those in a pocket you zip-tied)
  • NEVER leave your luggage, even for a minute
  • never carry more than you can easily carry yourself!
  • travel in daylight- avoid arriving at night (if you must, walk straight to your hotel)
  • walk with your eyes ahead (looking down or around or looking nervous makes you a target)
  • get to know the locals and ask advice, but be careful with who you trust
  • dress appropriately (especially in conservative countries… but anywhere, be careful with shorts!)
  • do NOT get drunk when you are alone!
  • keep in touch with someone at home (in case you don’t make it to your destination)
  • register with Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (or equivalent if you are not American www.step.state.gov/step/)
  • trust your instincts! AND HAVE FUN!