Photo: Squirrel Story

Photo: Squirrel Story

6 photos of a squirrel eating bread on a bench, the last being him running away with a piece of bread across the sidewalk… funny. :)

For editing, I processed the six separate images in Photoshop CS5, resized them to 1000×667 pixels, added a 4-pixel white border and 10-pixel black border around each image, and merged them together in PhotoFiltre Studio.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 28-135mm, 1/160, F5.6, 135mm, ISO100, 2008-10-15T13:37:27-04, 20081015-173727rxt

Location: Daytona State College, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL  32114-2817

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Ripening Plums

Photo: Ripening Plums

Green Japanese plums from our yard, January 2006. I edited this one over, adding contrast and sharpness.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/59, F2.8, 5.8mm, ISO64, 2006-01-22T17:13:08-05, 2006-01-22_17h13m08

Location: Thripp Residence, Ormond Beach, FL  32174-7227

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Friends

Photo: Friends

Back in 2005, I did a whole series of photos of salt and pepper shakers that were basically all the same. This was the first and best of said series. Now I have a question for you: are salt and pepper really friends?

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/2, F2.8, 5.8mm, ISO135, 2005-12-28T00:49:08-05, 2005-12-28_00h49m08

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: In Search of the Shroom

Photo: In Search of the Shroom

Mushrooms are actually closer to animals than plants, because they decompose organic matter for energy just like we do. The difference is they do it outside their bodies. The real action happens underground; the actual mushroom is just for decoration.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/30, F2.8, 5.8mm, ISO100, 2005-10-10T07:39:32-04, 2005-10-10_07h39m32

Location: Thripp Residence, Ormond Beach, FL  32174-7227

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Tomatoes

Photo: Tomatoes

Tomatoes at Publix from September of 2005. This picture had motion blur so I sharpened it a lot.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/22, F2.8, 5.8mm, ISO100, 2005-09-15T09:47:04-04, 2005-09-15_09h47m04

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Apples Baking

Apples Baking

Some apple slices covered in honey baking in the oven. I shot this when I was cooking with friends for the International Food Festival at Daytona State College’s DeLand campus Nov. 2009. I wasn’t there for the festival and we didn’t sell much food, but at least this photo came of it. :smile:

The glass on the front of the oven had a speckled pattern which, combined with the heat, makes the inside of the oven foggy.

For editing, I just added contrast and changed the white balance in Adobe Camera Raw before importing into Photoshop. I didn’t do any spot editing. There’s a lot of grain since this was dark and I shot at ISO800, F2.2 with my 50mm lens. Using a flash wasn’t an option at all since that would have bounced off the glass.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 50mm 1:1.4, 1/50, F2.2, 50mm, ISO800, 2009-11-17T22:18:02-05, 20091118-031802rxt

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Blackberry Jam

Blackberry Jam

A jar of Smucker’s Simply Fruit Blackberry Jam at Wal-Mart, with other jars behind, including some delicious strawberry jelly. I took this with my 50mm lens at F2. The background is very blurry because we are close to the jars and the lens is wide open. At the same aperture, you have a larger depth of field when the focal point is far from the lens, and a smaller depth of field when the focal point is close.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 50mm 1:1.4, 1/100, F2, 50mm, ISO100, 2008-07-13T11:06:48-04, 20080713-150648rxt

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Fruit Salad

Fruit Salad

A bowl of delicious fruit prepared by my Aunt. There’s pineapple, pears, oranges, and kiwi fruit. Very delicious. It was soon eaten after I snapped this shot.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 28-135mm, 1/80, F3.5, 33mm, ISO100, 2009-01-11T13:27:37-05, 20090111-182737rxt

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Credit me as Richard X. Thripp and link here.

Photo: Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism

Sarah (another Sarah) pretending to eat a blue light bulb. No animals were involved in the creation of that light bulb. The light bulb is a perfect vegetarian snack.

You can’t see that the light bulb is blue, because I converted this to black and white. It makes more sense that way.

Sarah has some nice teeth. Eating a light bulb is probably a bad idea, at least as far as her teeth are concerned.

If you want to be more like Sarah, read Becoming a Vegetarian.

Canon Rebel XTi, EF 50mm 1:1.4, 1/160, F3.5, 50mm, ISO100, 2008-10-01T15:55:18-04, 20081001-195518rxt

Location: Daytona State College, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL  32114

Becoming a Vegetarian

2009-12-20 Update: Take this article with a grain of salt as I’ve switched back to eating meat once and am now eating fish to help my brain. The Bible says that animals are here for us to eat. However, we must all recognize the cruelty in the factory farming system. Life is a balance of shades of gray. Animals are nowhere near as important as people.

I decided today that I’m becoming a vegetarian, today.

Actually, I decided yesterday, but I’m pegging the day as October 1 because that will be easier to remember when I’m 102. I won’t be able to remember September 30.

I’ve had a suspicion that I shouldn’t be eating meat for a while. Since the start of the year, at least. Occasionally I’d think of my ideal self, and I wouldn’t see him eating animals, but then I’d dismiss that as dumb. How can’t I refuse to eat meat when it’s so packed full of nutrition and cheap to buy?

Quite easily, of course.

I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to eat meat; it’s a last resort. There are so many plants and vegetables and fruits here, and we have these long arms to reach them, so they must be here for a reason. Also, we’re not designed to eat meat. Dogs and cats and vultures can eat animals raw, but we have to cook them and examine them thoroughly. The meat on a hamburger looks nothing like a cow. If it’s under-cooked, you get sick, because our stomach acids, small intestines, and other digestive processes are against us eating animals. Our acids aren’t acidic enough to digest animals, unless they’re thoroughly ground and cooked.

I don’t care for animals particularly. They’re lives aren’t sacred like human lives. But they are treated pretty badly when we harvest them; have you seen how chickens are stacked together and kept in the darkness while they’re raised? Any suffering like that can’t be good, and is not something I want to contribute to.

If I find myself stuck on an arctic island and my only hope to survive is to start eating seals or penguins, I’ll do that, but I’ll kill them in the most efficient and painless way possible. I can’t think of the last time I was starving to death, much less that I could get out of it by eating meat, so I don’t think this is a big concern.

I have a theory that eating animals makes you tired and unfocused. That’s why you get tired after eating a turkey dinner, or pretty much anything we eat for dinner now. Most people eat 21 meals a week with meat in them, which is quite different from two centuries ago when meat was hard to come by and would be reserved for a weekly feast.

A lot of people seem to stop eating meat by having a going-away party, where they eat several stakes, hamburgers, and other garbage because they’ll be “missing out” the rest of their lives. These are usually the people who quit vegetarianism in two weeks. You don’t quit eating animals reluctantly; you do it because you know how much it’s taking away from your strength and your health. Why would you want to take away even more? Does an alcoholic give up beer by becoming very drunk? Do you smoke 100 cigarettes on your last day of smoking? I don’t think those are any worse for you than this.

I’m not even convinced animals taste so good, so much as it is an acquired taste ingrained from childhood. If you’d grown up eating leafy plants and colorful fruits, wouldn’t a two-patty hamburger seem disgusting? I’m pretty sure that animals taste bad, but they make up for it by packing themselves with unhealthful protein and saturated fat. You can still get this as a vegetarian, by eating cookies or salad dressing or ice cream or white bread all the time. All of which are no better than eating meat.

I can’t say I care for tofu; it tastes like a wannabee meat product. Why do vegetarians start eating tofu burgers and imitation crabs and faux sausages? It’s like saying “I’d really prefer to eat animals, but this will have to do. I’m just sticking with vegetarianism because it’s cool and stylish.” Becoming vegetarian just to imitate a typical meat-eaters diet proves nothing.

I ate a big plate of lettuce and some other dark-green leafy vegetables today. I couldn’t tell what they were. Some of them tasted sweet, others tasted green, some tart. But it was an exciting experience, I can tell you that. I almost wanted to grab my camera and start photographing the folds and patterns on the lettuce. I didn’t, because I was enjoying the taste of lettuce too much. I refuse to continue settling for anything less than exciting food.

Dealing with others

If you switch to vegetarianism, you can be pretty sure that a lot of people will support you, some will come up with limiting or fear-based reasons for you to continue eating meat, and a few won’t care at all and will just label you a nut. Even your friends will fall into the third category. But they’re the ones who will often come around to embracing the green-based diet. If not, stop holding yourself back and find some other friends.

The people who response the most negatively are actually the ones who are jealous of you. They want to stop eating animals too, but they don’t because they think they can’t or shouldn’t for dietary or social reasons (all false). They’re entrenched in limiting beliefs, and it hurts to see someone sail passed the limits.

Arguments against vegetarianism

These are a few arguments against vegetarianism, off the top of my head.

People won’t like you.

I haven’t heard this one directly, but a lot of attitudes about vegetarianism imply this. The idea is: people won’t like you because if you’re going out to dinner or at a party special accommodations (food) will have to be made for you, you won’t be able to connect with people by sharing in eating hot dogs and hamburgers, and people may suspect you have a superiority complex for not eating meat like everyone else.

For the thirty friends and strangers about my diet change so far, I’ve gotten just the opposite. The “worst” responses have been a shocked “why?”, and “if you want to do that, it’s your choice.” But most of the responses have been congratulatory, with a lot of people saying they want to do it too. I don’t know if they’re serious or not–if they want to do it, why don’t the just do it? It may be that most people don’t exercise this sort of willpower.

The people who discourage you from change are often your family, because they may not like to see others around them improving. They want you to stay just the same. But when people say they don’t want you to do something, that often means you should do it. Bounding outside of the social norms is extraordinary stuff. That’s why they’re social norms; because ordinary people follow them. Ordinary people eat garbage.

Becoming a vegetarian isn’t anything extraordinary; it’s hardly even worthy of notice. Millions of Hindus live it every day. Don’t let implicit norms sway you.

You won’t get enough protein.

This is actually false, because we get way to much already. I read that we get twice as much protein as we should, mainly because we eat so much protein-rich meat. That much protein is actually bad, because it stresses your bladder and the urinary system (that’s where the excess protein goes).

There is plenty of protein in dark green vegetables, legumes, eggs, and such. With a good vegetarian diet you’ll get just the right proteins instead of twice as many, and the ones in vegetables are better for you anyway.

You can’t make friends as easily.

This must be because you don’t share common food. Where’s the common ground?

I, for one, think that any friendship built on food is no friendship at all. You’ll make much closer friends by actively breaking rapport and defying expectations, than by settling for superficial commonalities.

If you think you’ll lose friends over food, then your problem isn’t vegetarianism. Your problem is that your entire model of humanity is broken. Fix it, please.

People will beat and bully you.

This is a serious concern if you’re in public school (not college), because public schools are like prisons and there’s a mob mentality. You could also expect to be beaten for carrying a camera on you or wearing mismatched socks… depending on how bad the school you’re in is, of course.

Just hide your vegetarianism. Tell people you know won’t beat you, and do it individually rather than as an announcement in the lunch room. Before you know it, you’ll be done with the nightmare that is public schooling.

You’ll stop growing.

My father brought this up, because I’m 5’10” now and he wants me to grow another inch or two. I was 16 just two months ago, so I could have some more growing to do. My Dad grew an inch at 19.

The bones mainly grow from calcium, but I’m going to continue drinking milk and eating cheese (I’m an octo-ovo vegetarian, meaning I’ll eat animal products but not animals themselves). The only other concern is protein, but I was getting too much of that already, eating hamburgers and fish and such.

I’ll probably grow even faster now.

You won’t be able to eat all the meat in the freezer.

It doesn’t matter. Throw it out. I know it’s not right to waste food, but it’s worse to let your circumstances (the food in your freezer) hold you back.

If you put off vegetarianism because you have to eat what’s in your freezer first, it’ll never happen. Even if you eat up the meat and then become a vegetarian, you’re still stuck. You’ve given up your ideals to worldly concerns. Soon, your grandmother will be convincing you to eat the meat in her fridge because it’s “about to spoil.” People will be forcing meatball-spaghetti on you at the dinner table because it will “go in the garbage” otherwise.

Once you start to eat meat because it’s “going in the garbage,” what have you become? A garbage disposal. Do you want your body to be a garbage can?

You can also think of yourself as a vulture, because you’re eating what other people refuse to eat. What no one else wants. Vultures eat rotten guts and putrid entrails.

Don’t be a vulture, be a man.

Meat-eating is a necessary evil.

This goes along with the protein and dietary arguments. It can’t be true, though. It’s a bastardization of the meaning of evil.

Evil is never necessary, and necessities are never evil. They’re polar opposites. How could something “necessary,” meaning required, be evil? At worst it could be neutral, but it’s probably good, or else it wouldn’t be needed.

How could something bad be required? If something is evil, it can’t be necessary, wanted, required, or good.

Eating animals is neither necessary nor evil. The way it’s done now is evil. We’re not shown how poorly our cattle are raised, because so many people would switch to vegetarianism if they knew.

It disappoints me that vegans spend all their time supporting the “rights” of animals, when we’re supporting the murder of unborn children by the millions (abortion). It’s alright to pick your niche, but campaigning for animals is like worrying about personal development while you’re suffering from a hemorrhagic stroke. Despite what the personal development gurus may tell you, please don’t worry about personal development when you’re bleeding profusely. Try to solve the bigger problem first. You can apply this to all areas of your life. Always go for the big enchilada before the small potatoes. Otherwise, you might never have time for the big stuff.

Vegetarians don’t get cancer

It’s true. You expect me to say that it’s because we have healthier diets overall, but it’s not that at all. You can eat meat all day and still never get cancer.

When you are injured, your body sends trophoblast cells to heal the wound. But sometimes it sends too many, and your body doesn’t have any way to deal with these cells. The healing cells can split very quickly… and they do, crowding out all the others to form a cancerous growth.

But nature has a remedy for this: amygdalin (a.k.a. vitamin B17) is found in the seeds of almost all foods, and it allows the body to break down the protective walls around the cancerous cells, gobbling them up before they become a problem. It also appears in dark green leafy vegetables, grass, and everywhere else. Most people get none of it because they only eat processed foods which have it removed, and that’s why they get cancer.

Vegetarians tend not to get cancer because they tend to eat more Earthly foods, BUT, you can easily avoid cancer by eating foods with vitamin B17 every day. That means you should eat apple, apricot, pumpkin, and watermelon seeds. Citrus seeds don’t do much. In Central Florida we get yellow, plum-shaped loquat fruits a month out of the year, which have big seeds with lots of the cancer-fighting vitamin. My Dad had frozen quite a few of these and I’d been eating them daily, but we’ve run out so I’m back with apple seeds now.

Cancer is a vitamin deficiency like scurvy, meaning that you have to change your diet permanently to avoid it. There is no “cure” so much as there is prevention. People will tell you not to eat seeds because they have cyanide in them, but in fact, the form it’s in does no harm. I ate two apples, complete with seeds, yesterday, and seeds the day before, and the day before that, and more, without ever feeling so much as a stomach ache.

And I will never get cancer, which is quite nice. If you don’t eat seeds, everything is in fact a carcinogen, because anything that causes the body to dispatch healing cells could create cancer. If you get stabbed or shot, cancer might form there. If you bump your head, you’re open for brain cancer. If you smoke, the irritation in your lungs causes too many healing cells to be assigned, which fester as lung cancer. If you stay out in the sun, you get sunburns which result in skin cancer. But when you’re getting the cancer-fighting vitamin, none of these are a concern. Not even radiation. Of course, it’s still bad for you because it damages your cells, just as smoking will merit you emphysema.

There is only one form of cancer with one prevention and cure. The Rise and Fall of Laetrile (laetrile is a purified form of B17) may say otherwise, but the fact is their testing was on people who had already been ravaged by cancer treatment. Their immune systems were spent, and cancer was festering inside them. That’s like saying your brakes don’t work because you can’t go from 60 miles per hour to 0 over a span of 5 feet. It just doesn’t work that way.

If you’ve ever took a dog for a walk, you’ve noticed he eats grass. It’s instinctive. The grass has vitamin B17, and your dog won’t get cancer. But dogs do get cancer, when you lock them up in an apartment all the time and feed them dog food. That’s because they’re being deprived of a weapon against cancer. Animals in the zoo get cancer too, while animals in the wild don’t, all because of this.

I wrote more about this in The Cancer Myth. It’s really nice to know the answer to this, because cancer is a big problem getting even bigger, because people are eating fewer and fewer amygdalin-rich foods.

Are animals equal to humans?

Apparently, if I stop eating eggs and dairy products and the occasional honeycomb, I can’t call myself “vegan” because that means you support equal rights for animals.

I do not. I’ve said it before: I’d kill 1000 cats if it would save my sister’s life. But I wouldn’t kill 1000 cats for food, because other food is readily available and I could barely even get through one cat.

People do kill cats for food. My step-mom is from Vietnam, and she recalls the cats and dogs she lost to hungry thieves. There was no food to go around during the war, so unwatched animals became a family’s meal. Every part was used. It was very efficient, due to the lack of food. But when you get attached to a dog, and then he becomes eaten, efficiency is not much consolation.

Torturing animals isn’t right. It’s not as bad as killing them, but suffering, even that inflicted upon animals, brings us down as people. I suppose that’s a good reason to stop eating animal products too, but I’m happy merely with dropping meat, for now.

Animals just aren’t special like humans. When was the last time you saw a dog dedicate his life to personal development? Never. Dogs are smart and all, but they’ll never hold a candle to us, nor will any other animal.

Animals don’t lack rights because of their dumbness. If that was the case, then we could kill any children under five and any decrepit seniors, because they’re “dumb” next to us. The reason animals lack rights is because they don’t have souls. That sounds religious, but I can feel a connection when I’m around people that I just can’t feel around the squirrels at the park. I don’t need a dogmatic religion to tell me this (organized religions are designed to hold you back). I can do it all with the Richard X. Thripp religion, which isn’t really a religion at all because I don’t even have to think about it. It’s just there. You have your own religion too.

You don’t have to be a Christian to know that people are different from monkeys. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to know that eating animals is wrong. Take a five year old to the slaughterhouse, show him the whole process from cattle to plate, and he’ll tell you right away that it’s wrong. Meaning: eating animals goes against our intrinsic moral code, and we’ve only overcome that through social conditioning and by removing ourselves from the killing process. I don’t think mass subversion of our God-given moral values is something to be proud of.

Being different

I’ve never seen a vegetarianism article like this. Most of them tell us how wonderful animals are and why we’re killing the planet by eating animals rather than grains. I don’t believe in either. My motives for vegetarianism are entirely selfish.

Ironically, selfishness is the most selfless path, because by eating better, I’ll be healthier and live longer, which will give me the strength to reach more people with my photography and insights on life. The profit police try to bleed you dry. Don’t let them. Do good for yourself by eating more healthful, colorful, and interesting foods. It’s the only way you can do more good for others.

Vegetarian bias

The truth is, you can eat just as well with meat as you can without it. But people who have chosen vegetarianism have far more healthful diets. Why is this?

The reason is that the people who choose vegetarianism are the same people who are dedicated to personal growth and improvement in general. While most of the world bathes in fear and stagnation, we choose to bath in the nectar of life.

In less flowery terms, most people who are vegetarians are strong, responsible people. Vegans even more so. These people enjoy websites like mine, because they’re committed to growth throughout life. Personal development can do more good for fearful, irresponsible people, but unfortunately, they’re not likely to accept it at all. More vegetarians will read this article than non-vegetarians, because they’re already interested in this sort of thing. So I focus on raising them and other personally developed people even higher, rather than appealing to the lowest common denominator. This usually involves improving myself, and then writing about it. Real, in-depth stuff that takes thousands of words to cover. My website is no place for shallowness. This is the DEEP zone. Maybe some of the fearfuls will tag along.

Vegetarianism does not make you smart. The reason vegetarians are mostly smart is the reason most people who have high IQ scores are intelligent, most people that drive cars aren’t reckless, most people who are photographers are open-minded and creative, and most musicians enjoy music. You can be a “vegetarian” while eating chocolate and ice cream all day, but then you’re worse off than a normal person.

If someone slips meat into my salad in an attempt to poison me, it’s not the end of the world. I’ll just stop eating it and scold the attacker harshly.

Interestingly, at first I wanted to wait till the first of next year to stop eating meat. “2009-01-01 is more dramatic than 2008-10-01,” I thought. But after some high level thinking, I realized I was being stupid. If becoming a vegetarian is something I should do (and it most certainly is), then I should do it as soon as possible. Waiting helps no one, and only reinforces negative beliefs and practices. What was helpful to me, was to ask myself: would I suggest my action (waiting) to the readers of my website? The answer is most certainly no, so the answer for myself is also no. You can do this yourself. The actions you suggest to your friends are the same actions you should follow yourself. Leading by example is the only way to live.

Don’t think of vegetarianism as a panacea. Don’t become dogmatic. Most of all, keep growing throughout life. If you’re on the wrong path, don’t wait months or years to correct yourself. Do it now.