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The Meal that Saved Tiger’s Life

9 Nov

Although I am an old cat with a diminishing memory, I can still remember the day my life turned around for the better. I was a two-month old kitten abandoned at the side of the road. Although I was extremely disturbed that someone would just leave me to die, I focused on finding something to nourish my two pound body. I knew that if I did not eat soon, I would not live to see the morning sun. As I had just begun to lose hope and prepare myself to die, I was suddenly lifted by the neck by a strong black cat. I was frightened, but since I was so weak I could do nothing but let him carry me to the unknown destination.

It turns out the cat belonged to the people who are now my owners, and he dragged me into the house thinking I was a rat he could eat. However, after examining me closely, the youngest human, about eight years old, realized that I was a kitten. She quickly grabbed some canned Friskies and put it in a bowl on the ground for me to eat. Although my standards of good food have definitely changed, that can of Friskies was definitely the most memorable meal that I have ever had in my entire ten years of living. I still remember the way the salmon tasted in my famished mouth–absolutely amazing. The humans were astonished to see me gobble down twice my body weight in nearly an instant.

I was so grateful to these people that I never left them. Every day they are graced by my presence, so I would like to believe. I miss the young human. She used to live at home, but one day she just disappeared, and I only see her about once every three weeks. Oh well…as long as I have my Friskies I’ll survive.

Garden Update 10/25/10

25 Oct

I found that I had to water the garden less today because there was still moisture from yesterday’s rain. The radishes are doing especially well, but for some reason the plants on the bottom left of the garden are smaller than the rest of the plants in the garden. Were those the transplanted ones? Another thing I noticed was that the bugs seem to be leaving holes in the leaves. As long as this damage is kept to a minimum, our garden should be fine. I am truly impressed with the way the garden is coming along, especially the radishes. They look like they are ready to be harvested any time soon.

The Power of Reese’s Puffs

19 Oct

I am sure many of us have seen the Reese’s Puffs commercial in which the cereal is presented as the gateway to good fortune. As soon as the boy puts one spoonful in his mouth, his life becomes infinitely better. His parents suddenly treat him as their master and allow him to do anything that his heart desires. After just one bite, he becomes extremely popular and catches the eye of a famous music group. Not only does this advertisement portray Reese’s Puffs cereal as something absolutely fantastic, but it also brainwashes young children to believe that they too can make their dreams come true after eating some. The boy’s sister seems to carry on with her drab life, probably due to the fact that she herself has not yet had a bite of the wondrous cereal. This definitely underscores the fact that it is indeed the Reese’s Puffs that have forever changed his fate. However, the real propaganda tool is the sister, who desperately tries to get her hands on the cereal box. She represents all the young children who are also dying to try just one bite of Reese’s Puffs. By observing her, they truly believe that the cereal is the key component to success.

Similarly, after becoming familiar with Momotaro’s myth, it is rather likely that millet dumplings became extremely popular in Japan because they were associated with effortless victory. People truly believed that if they too were to consume these “magical” dumplings, they would be guaranteed lifelong success in anything they tried to conquer. Almost everyone loves to eat food–what better way is there to distribute the message of Japanese nationalism through patriotic millet dumplings?


Katsuya–a Gateway to Heaven

27 Sep

Tanizaki describes magical food as something that allows you to escape the boundaries of reality. This is paralleled when Count G. “escapes” Japanese food and city life and travels to what seems to be a Chinese gathering in a back alley. Despite the unclean and poverty-stricken atmosphere, the count acts as if he has found a treasure. He then brings back this “luxury item” to his fellow club members, who start to experience foreign sensations as they eat types of food they never dreamed of eating.

Last week, my friend Kat and I were so hungry that it felt like we had not eaten in weeks. However, the thought of eating food from Parkside was not very appealing. We had now been eating there for about a month, and we were ready to try something new. Since we had nothing better to do on a Saturday evening, we decided to take a shuttle to LA Live, the small district near the Staples Center. The sushi restaurant Katsuya caught our eye, and we decided to go in. I honestly didn’t think the sushi was going to be that good, but at that point, I would have eaten almost anything. Boy was I mistaken! That first bite left me absolutely speechless–I had never tasted better sushi in my entire life. The glazed fried shrimp went perfectly with the spicy tuna roll, and for a moment, I thought I was in heaven. I looked over at Kat, who could not believe how good the food was. We kept ordering and ordering, as if the delectable taste of the sushi had hypnotized us into burning holes in our wallets. We finally had to stop because if our parents found out, they would scream at us for wasting that much money for one meal. It was as if a magical force stopped my stomach from filling up. I did not know how this happened, but I did know that I would be back very soon.

26 Sep

I went to the garden today at about 3 PM. It was extremely hot outside, so I knew that the plants needed a lot of water because of the current heat wave. I noticed that the plants in the shade appear to be larger and leafier than the ones in the sun, and we originally believed the plants receiving more sunlight were not growing as well. However, we found out that the plants in the shade are weaker and therefore need to grow more leaves and stretch to receive the same amount of sunlight. Also, like other people mentioned, we should probably space the plants out because some of them appear to be growing too close to each other. Since the next few days are going to be blazing hot, it is important that we water the garden a little bit more than in the previous days.

Garden Day Notes 9/23

26 Sep

On September 23rd, we had a special presentation from our guest artist, Ari Kletsky. He educated us about the unconventional use of traffic islands. Did you know that..

  • …islands were developed before cars? Very ironic, because we think of them today only as traffic dividers.
  • …islands are considered to be the freest place in the American city? There is a twist to this. Although they should be protected by the First Amendment, they have a very peculiar standing in the Constitution. Since islands are a free public space, you would think you could do almost anything on there right? Wrong. In Santa Monica, you can walk or run over a traffic island, but you cannot simply stand there.
  • …the city considers the appearance of traffic islands a trivial issue? This should not be the case. As citizens, it is our duty to make sure we do the best that we can in order to make our neighborhood look nice. Guerilla gardening is not exacly encouraged–get permission from the city first. Be a good citizen and transform your traffic island into a piece of art.

Back to the Garden

It is our turn to be good citizens and care for our little community garden. So far, we have been doing a good job, but Florence Nishida returned and gave us some more tips to ensure that we have the healthiest garden possible.

  • Add organic fertilizer. The soil appears to be drying out because of the hot weather we have been experiencing lately. Remember that aside from water, plants need plenty of nutrients to grow healthily. Also, keep in mind that the fertilizer concentrates in certain spots. It is very likely that the plants growing in areas with more amounts of fertilizer are growing much better. In order to ensure that all of our plants can be healthy, we must make sure the fertilizer is uniform throughout the garden.
  • It is definitely best to maximize our production. Right now, we have our plants growing in separate rectangles, but it’s okay to spread them out in a nonuniform manner. This way, instead of wasting so much space on borders, we can grow as many plants as the space in the garden permits.
  • Tie up plants with long stems. If we leave them hanging, they will shelter smaller plants, thus blocking them from sunlight.
  • Some plants in the sun are dying because they are not receiving an adequate amount of water. when watering, we have to be sure they are getting more water than the plants in the shade because the moisture will evaporate more quickly out in the sun.
  • We have recently been discussing transplanting. Florence has recommended that we wait until the plant’s true leaves have grown. The plants in the sun are at this stage already, but the ones in the shade still have their heart-shaped (seed) leaves. Once the longer set of leaves has grown in, we will know the plant will survive if it is transplanted.
  • When transplanting, selectively pinch the plant with your fingernails or a pair of scissors. Be careful–don’t damage the roots! We already know that without roots, the plant cannot survive because it will starve.
  • Increase space between the plants in case something goes wrong. That way, you won’t have to pry them apart once they are done growing.
  • Although it appears as if the plants in the shade are doing much better, the opposite is true. The plants in the sun are smaller because they are receiving adequate sunlight. If you notice, they do not have as many seed leaves as the plants in the shade. However, the plants in the shade have to stretch in order to receive solar energy, which gives them a larger appearance. So, even though they look a lot healthier, they really aren’t.
  • Be careful when stepping on the garden bed! You don’t want to destroy the environment needed for the plants to grow adequately.
  • You don’t have to wait till the plants are huge. In fact, picking and trimming the leaves will be better for it.

Hope this was helpful!

Garden Update 9/19/10

19 Sep

I went to the garden today at about 3 PM. The sun wasn’t really shining on our plants, but rather the plants on the opposite half of the bed. I also noticed that the plants hugging the edge of the bed are growing much more rapidly than the plants in the middle of the bed.

P.S. I scraped my leg while hopping the fence 🙂