I am in fact, not dead. I'm sure that y'all have been worried about the possibility, no doubt while dealing with your disappointment at finding no new distractions here to wile away a dull moment, or while sitting anxiously over your google reader wondering why I haven't updated...
I am in fact quite alive, but currently suffering from a condition somewhat like writer's block, but rather more encompassing... something that I'm going to label "life-block." Yes you poor dear, that's exactly how I feel too...
The term is of course not entirely accurate, but at the same time, "life-block" is a pretty apt description of what I've been feeling... It's the same kind of experience of blankness and wordlessness that strikes with writer's block, only it hits when I'm trying to think through my purpose and direction, rather than when I'm in the middle of writing a post or editing a story... though it unfortunately carries over to there too, as my absence here will testify. But it's that exact same "stuck" feeling; the one that comes over you when you don't have any idea what's supposed to come next, or maybe you do, but just aren't sure which direction you need to go to get there, or what words need to be said to clear the whole thing up... but either way, it's the sensation of being trapped in the moment and unable to move forward despite the greatest effort.
Sometimes it's hard to know what triggers life-block, or even to pinpoint the instant when you stopped moving forward with purpose and chose to coast instead. All you know is that you looked up one day, and suddenly realized you didn't recognize the surroundings; that you weren't sure if you were late or on time; or even whether you were coming or going. The hardest part is definitely the struggle to break free once life-block has seized hold of you... think back to physics class, and the idea of the great force required to overcome inertia and start a stalled object moving again. Defying the apathy, and kick-starting the process of purposeful growth and forward motion, requires even more energy and determination.
I've been struggling with the sensation of life-block (mingling it occasionally with its close cousin Depression) off and on for a couple of years now, but only a few days ago did I understand what was going on. For me, the problem of feeling disconnected and unmotivated arises from having lost touch with a lot of what is important to me. I no longer feel connected with a great deal of what used to convict and inspire and excite me, and as a result I am often hugely disoriented inside my own head. Everyone changes as they age and mature, and that's natural and good... but since a lot of my personal growth took place very recently in what felt like a three year series of internal explosions and landslides, my process of finding identity was rather drastic and left a lot of rubble in its wake. In a lot of ways, the different versions of me over the years are quite separate and distinct and, besides the common threads of my family and a few life-long friends, it can be hard to see any continuity between them. This can leave the current Sarah Eliza struggling desperately to remember where the past Sarah was headed five minutes ago, let alone a year ago, or four or five. As you might guess, my ADD doesn't help on this one either, and this chronic amnesia and disorientation makes it hard to progress or grow in any one direction.
To know more clearly where I'm going as a person of purpose and grace, and to find the energy to keep moving persistently in that direction, I think I need to integrate the various versions of myself into some kind of whole. I have been hopeless at discerning my priorities for a good while now, and I'm blaming it on the fact that a lot of things I sincerely value have fallen to the wayside with each growth "explosion," and resulting new version of myself. Even wording it like that is the wrong way of looking at it -- it isn't that a "new version" of Sarah Eliza emerged each time my surroundings changed or I experienced psychological upheaval, rather, a new facet of myself emerged and moved to the forefront.
To stay familiar with who I am, and really know what I want out of life, I have to connect all of the "people" I have been. From the child who read constantly and made up elaborate make-believe worlds with her brother, to the teenager who scribbled away at stories and had a love/hate relationship with the piano, to the college student who rode an emotional roller coaster as she struggled to understand friendship and compassion, to the traveler who felt most alive when lost in a city on the other side of the globe... I have to find the common threads that run through them all if I'm going to be able to see clearly who I am, and where I'm going, and whether that destination is even somewhere I want to end up.
Perhaps it's not. And in that case, I will take stock of the things I value, both old and new, and adjust my course... and keep moving forward! I'll get there eventually. Because the best way to survive an existential crisis is to use it as an impetus to examine what you believe, and be encouraged, and move on. :)
I'm sure it's patently obvious, but the illustration pertains to sailing fearlessly (and purposefully) into the future. That's what it looks like, right?
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I am in fact, not dead. I'm sure that y'all have been worried about the possibility, no doubt while dealing with your disappointment at finding no new distractions here to wile away a dull moment, or while sitting anxiously over your google reader wondering why I haven't updated...
Monday, May 18, 2009
Monday Free MP3 Madness! Alela Diane, Coldplay, Katie Herzig, Carbon Leaf, Tori Amos, and so much more!
Monday Madness this week opens with MP3s from the Atlanta based music and culture magazine Paste...
Currently there are several free downloads from the "up-and-coming" artist Katie Herzig... Compared by Paste to one of my favorite groups, the Weepies, Katie's music is described in their review as "brightly textured acoustic pop." I call it, "fun, intelligent music perfect for a sunny day... or for brightening a cloudy one."
Once you've downloaded the Katie Herzig tracks and clicked around a bit, you might notice the Campaign to Save Paste... the opportunity to help the magazine weather the present hard times and be richly rewarded for your generosity at the same time. In return for a donation of any amount, Paste is opening up their vault of 70+ free (and many of them rare) MP3s from a wide variety of today's best musical figures... including some of my absolute favorites, like Josh Ritter, She & Him, Brandi Carlile, Emmylou Harris, Over the Rhine, Switchfoot, and dozens of others I'm excited for the chance to explore. This is a positive treasure trove... and as Paste pointed out, even a donation of $1 from each of their regular readers would more than ease the strain of the recession season. A worthy cause... that translates into many more than worthy additions to your MP3 collection!
Another impressive thank-you offering currently comes from our old friend Coldplay... the entirety of their live album Right Left Right Left made available for free download. Yeah that's right, you heard me! Enter your email, and be taken to a page with the album offered as a zipfile... and let the Coldplay glow wash over you.
Also currently available on Amazon, stop by for a sampler of seven tracks that will wisk you away on an upbeat whirlwind tour of world music, and Tori Amos' new track Maybe California .
If you haven't been over to Muruch lately, be sure to saunter over there too for a variety of MP3 downloads and two giveaways for the newest CDs from Carbon Leaf and Tiempo Liebre. Both contests end this Friday the 29th, so hurry hurry! And pick up a new Carbon Leaf MP3 while you're at it too...
I'm so excited about this last one... I've struck another vein of gold for y'all! You may be familiar with Daytrotter... a recording studio that offers free-and-legal downloads of sessions with dozens of artists. My current gem (drumroll please!!) is Alela Diane -- a high school friend of Joanna Newsom with a style reminiscent of Dar Williams and Patty Griffith. I found her through the music video of "White as Diamonds" that's currently posted on Relevant TV, a beautiful, lush folk/Celtic combination piece that will tug at your heartstrings and lull you into revere with lines like "I was sifting through the piles, in my hand a tangled thread. Each patient tug upon the snarl, is a glimpse of what has been..." Both her albums are available for download on eMusic, so I'll probably follow up with a full review if my passion for her continues, but you can take advantage of a total of eight live-recording MP3s on Daytrotter, posted here and here. Don't miss "White as Diamonds"! It's still my favorite, and the video is can't-miss too.
That's all for this week, but it should keep you busy for a while! Let the music carry you away
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Lost: God-Dudes, Doppelgangers, Hydrogen Bombs, and oh yea, Dangling Off the Highest Cliff-Hanger EVER!
Writing this post following the Lost season 5 finale is hugely overwhelming and kind of depressing. I'm incredibly irritated that we're going to be kept on hold for 6 months with no idea whether the next season will pick up with our Losties disembarking safely and anonymously at LAX (highly unlikely, btw), or whether they managed to "reset" time, or whether Miles was correct in surmising that the bomb actually might have been the most disastrous component of the "incident." We don't know whether Jacob will come back to life due to the potential "resetting", or even whether Juliet will actually be dead, etc etc. It's all very exasperating, and a huge stretch for the writers to expect us all to believe that the events of five freaking seasons were actually a culmination of manipulations by two god-like dudes who suddenly appear and have a cookout on the beach one day, taking credit for everything and showing off their penchant for handicrafts and speaking in riddles. But of course, by now all the viewers' brains are mush, and so by and large we will accept it and wait on tenterhooks for next season with nary a murmur.
But not me I tell you, I AM MURMURING OVER HERE!! I am downright rebellious in fact, kicking and screaming against these last minute plot additions even as I simultaneously acknowledge that the structure these kind of supernatural, concrete forces provide is exactly what the island has been crying for all along. Yes fine, maybe saying this means that my brain is mush too, but I think that giving Jacob a body, personality, and will was spot-on... I only wish they had done it at the beginning of this season rather than letting us meandering around Dharma-ville for episode after episode getting nowhere. That last part is definitely my bitterness over Sawyer and Juliet's apparent break-up talking -- I feel like it negated all of Sawyer's happy-at-last, part-of-a-community, growth-as-a-person development, and then of course Juliet had to go and fall down a well, agh! But, *spoiler alert* I couldn't stand the thought of her being dead and broke down and cheated... according to Entertainment Weekly, Juliet is "definitely" slated to return in season six, (also Charlotte and Claire are both "possible") so I don't have to give up on her/them yet, hurrah! Also, even if I had a near-empty wallet, I'd bet big money that Jacob is undoubtedly coming back too. The Lost writers are far too savvy and economical in dolling out drama to maximum effect (witness, the love triangle/octagon that just doesn't end) to ever let such a pivotal character be introduced, fleshed out (inadequately) and then disposed of, all in one episode. From what we've seen so far, the character of Jacob would warrant a whole spin-off, to say nothing of a single season; letting him die now would be stupidity beyond measure. So yeah, he'll be back one way or another.
My big questions at this point:
Who the @*#% is Jacob? And his unnamed "No thanks, I've already eaten, oh by the way I really want to kill you" pal too? Is it just the two of them god-dudes chilling on an island, or are there more of them, or do they just hang out on the island sometimes? And is the second dude even still alive, since they seem to be mortal and he seems to be currently running around as a doppelganger? Err, maybe the smoke monster is his ghost...? And is it a clear case of good vs bad when it comes to the two of them, and if so which is which?
There is obviously huge theological implications to the conversation the episode opens with, the two god-dudes having some kind of rivalry (to prove the existence of good?) with human beings as the pawns. Jacob apparently keeps bringing new batches of people to the island, and his frienemy claims that each time there are the same results... "they come, fight, destroy, corrupt. It always ends the same." Jacob claims that, to the contrary, it is not for nothing, that there is progress and he will prove the other dude wrong. He then goes around "touching" people's lives, people who we already know as the Losties... brought to the island for some purpose. But the Locke doppelganger also seems to be using them for his own purposes, so it's cloudy who is actually responsible for what.
We also still don't know which won the day, free will or destiny... Hopefully that issue will be at least somewhat resolved as soon as we see the results of blowing up the bomb. But knowing Lost, they'll string us on with flashbacks or something for two or three episodes next season before we get any straight answers on that one... Also, it's looking like they might be setting up for some pretty impressive Christ-parallels with Jacob as a god figure who is also somehow mortal, and presumably will come back to life (for real this time) after dying. Potentially intriguing!
The biggest reveal in the present day "time zone" was definitely the contents of the Shadowies box. Locke wasn't "resurrected" at all; his corpse was discovered in the hold of the plane and carted it off to show someone (Jacob? Though they only get as far as Richard) how powerful the Locke doppelganger is. We who have been watching and theorizing that Locke was possessed by the smoke monster shouldn't be too surprised here... the reality was just a step further that that, in so much as he had stayed dead all along, and what we were seeing walking about and bossing around the others was a straight-up apparition.
Rose and Bernard have returned!! And supposedly, they've been off building a nice little retirement retreat by the beach, and purposely evading a reunion with their friends this whole time... their previous bickering and backstabbing forgotten in an idyll of contented love, as they hide from the world with only the company of their dog. I appreciated their inclusion in the finale, but personally I felt that it was a extremely weak excuse for their absence... but I also had to agree when Rose was like, "it's always something with you people..." and just shrugged off all the hyperbolic chatter about the end of the world. Unwise, sure, given the actual danger. But also completely understandable given the last five seasons of hectic drama.
A couple of fun items gleaned from the blog Long Live Locke: the statue appears to be that of the Egyptian god Sobek, and interestingly enough the wikipedia article on him mentions that he was an ambiguous figure who repaired damage that had been done rather than acting for good himself.... Also, when Ilana asked Richard the question "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" he apparently responded in Latin, "He who will protect/save us all." Edit: My boyfriend, who took extensive Latin in college, translates it slightly differently, as having more emphasis on the first part -- "The well known/prominent one who will protect us all," but either way, interesting, isn't it??
Conclusion: I'm exhausted, and glad for a break even though I am ridiculously exasperated with the height of the particular cliffhanger we're dangling off of at the moment. I think the last season will be a good one, but hope that we're done with the whole double time-line thing. Just reunite Sun and Jin already, and let's go from there, yes? And if we could all of us (Daniel, Charlotte, Claire, the Losties, the Shadowies, Jacob, everybody!) be knocked back in time to when the statue was whole, that would be great too... What about you, what would be your ideal scenario for next season? And did you pick up on anything huge that I've forgotten to mention or maybe didn't even notice through the course of the finale? Also, stay tuned, I'll be doing write-ups of my newest favorite shows (Bones, Dollhouse, Castle, and Lie to Me, among others) to fill the horrible void post-Lost. Keep breathing people... I know the withdrawals will be hard, but we'll make it!!
PS I tallied up the run-ins with Jacob as I watched the episode, but don't see any clear patterns. I would have said that he appeared in the most pivotal moments of everyone's lives.... but then why show up when Kate is stealing a stupid lunchbox? Hardly the most pivotal moment of her childhood, let alone life. Edit: A good point just brought up by Justin, of Mexican Pizza fame, is that Jacob's aim is probably solely to bring the Losties to the island, adjusting their life-courses as necessary to make that possible. The net result of his interaction with Kate was to save her from the consequences of her actions... Setting her on the path to become the vigilante Kate who kills her father and eventually crashes on the island, right where Jacob wanted her. So Jacob's interactions with the Losties are simply whatever was necessary to bring them to the island, rather than being particularly good, or bad, or even pivotal in and of themselves. Nice huh?
Here's the list just for the fun of it, let me know if you see any trends:
1. Jacob appears to Kate as a child, paying for a lunchbox she had attempted to shoplift and telling her to be a good girl and never steal again.
2. Jacob is the one who provides the pen for Sawyer to write the letter that will accompany him through life for the next 20+ years. That scene also echoes a familiar catchphrase... "What's done is done."
3. Jacob is present at the death of Sayid's beloved Nadia and perhaps even plays a part in setting the stage for the accident/murder, delaying Sayid and causing Nadia to distractedly stop in the middle of the street to call back to him...
4. Ilana is the only one we see who actually seems acquainted with Jacob; he came to visit her after she suffered some kind of awful injury and requests a favor of her... Sayid's capture.
5. Throwing a bone to the Lost book club followers no doubt, Jacob is reading Flannery O'Conner's Everything that Rises Must Converge while waiting for Locke to be thrown from the window of the building by his father. He revives Locke, and tells him that he's sorry this has happened.
6. At Sun and Jin's wedding he gives them a "blessing" and urges them to never take their love for granted.
7. Jacob is also present after the moment that Jack counts to five before completing a very dangerous surgery (we heard this story way back in season one, but minus the petty resentment we see here), handing Jack a candy bar that had gotten lodged in the machine and telling him that sometimes these things just need a little push. *significant look*
8. Hurley's release from prison was actually rigged by Jacob, who was waiting for him in a cab outside of the jail. Hugo assumes that Jacob is another apparition, but is reassured that Jacob is "definitely not dead." Jacob goes on to tell Hurley that the visions aren't a curse or even insanity -- that being able to talk to the people he's loved and lost is a blessing. He tells Hugo the flight to be on to return to the island, and then leaves the mysterious guitar case with him.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Sometime last week one of my twitter-buddies (aka tweeple, aka tweeps, aka tweeters... take your pick) posted a link to this photo:I'm not even sure who/what it is. Is it a legitimate attempt at fashion by some D-list celebrity, or an actual celebrity I would normally recognize but who has deliberately disguised herself thus for unknown and potentially heinous motives? Or is it a practical joke? Unfortunately I doubt it's the latter, but I try to be generous with the whole benefit of the doubt thing... In any case, impressive no? The tweeter who posted the link (@geekbloggers, if you were curious) did so with the comment, "This is what happens when you eat too many marshmellows while high..." however, I don't think drugs were necessarily involved... perhaps she's just on a very stringent diet, and after spending hours fantasizing about sweets could no longer suppress the desire to dress like one. Especially when you take into consideration the hat, I think it's clear the theme she was going for was "When Candy Attacks, Camoflauge." Though from her zombified expression, it appears that her quest to evade the marauding campfire snacks was unsuccessful.
Sidenote pertaining to Twitter... are you one of my tweeps yet?? I collect interesting tweeple, hoarding them like precious gems and refusing to share even when #followfriday comes around, so rest assured that I will cherish your every tweet! Though lately my collection has become so amazing that I've begun to feel horribly selfish for keeping them from the rest of the world -- no doubt I'll change my policy on sharing at some point. I'm a humanitarian like that. In any case, I recently switched from @misseliza123 to @REALsaraheliza, so do make sure you're following the right one of me! As you can tell from my new name, I proudly assert my personal authenticity with every tweet, right along with Hugh Jackman and Shaq! Plus, @saraheliza was already taken, and @devastateboredom was too many characters... so that settled it. I'm currently having a bit of identity crisis though; when I look back and see my tweets as @REALsaraheliza, I don't initially recognize my words as my own... Eeek! Moral support please, STAT!!
But to return to fashion flubs... as y'all may already be aware, if you're looking for humorous photo documentation of the entire spectrum of the amazing, heinous, and ludicrous world of celebrity and fashion today, the go fug yourself blog is where it's at. My personal favorite is when they stage conversations between the people posing in the photos (such as here and here), so you definitely will need to check their site out in person to attain any real depth of understanding of the level of hilarity I'm talking about. However, this gem from earlier this week caught my eye in particular:
That's your dose of Friday Frivolity...! Let me know what random internet oddities have gotten you through the day so far, and hang in there -- the weekend awaits!!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
So, we only thought that Daniel Faraday blew our minds with the last episode of Lost... this episode really blew our minds. First, Richard's declaration to Sun that 30 years ago he watched the Dharma Losties die. Commence delightful, confused surprise!! Accompanied by squealing, writhing, whatever else is necessary to give vent to our feelings. And then, 42 minutes later, Locke's cool statement that he is headed off to kill Jacob. Um, come again? Cue repeat of earlier reaction...
Daniel would indeed appear to be dead. :( All pause for a moment of silence, and to admire Eloise's ruthlessly accurate shooting abilities. (BITCH!)
Richard, the "adviser," doesn't seem to be as all-knowing as we had previously hoped. He seemed almost ignorant of the whole time-travel thing, and... *news flash!!* it turns out that Locke himself orchestrated the events that brought him back to the island. Or rather, the smoke monster manipulating him did. Wouldn't you agree that it's obvious by now that Locke isn't just a normal dude, who oh yeah just happened to be dead once? There indubitably are outside, even supernatural, forces at work with him, because how else would present-Locke even know that that specific moment in time was the one where his past self needed to run into Richard? The whole "the island told me" just doesn't seem as compelling any more for us actually-alive folks.
Dr. Chang isn't the horrible dad / jerk that his son had always had to think him! Hurrah for Miles having a moment of connection with his dad, and closure over what had previously been so much hurt. I was so relieved for him, though really his mother should have known the difference between being evacuated for their safety, and suddenly being dumped by her theretofore doting husband.
I was all primed for happy gloating, a la Sawyer and Juliet are totally going to stay together! ...and then Kate dropped in to that stupid sub and shook everything up. Gah! It was almost enough to shake my new found connection with her, and Juliet looked just about ready to cut that bitch... I know some people are sick of the love triangle (/octogon), but I really think all I'm sick of is Juliet's insecurities. To my mind, it's obvious that Sawyer loves her and is committed to her. He still has feelings for Kate, sure, but in the you-once-meant-a-lot-to-me kind of way, and Juliet's fears that these wistful half-forgotten emotions will screw up the good thing she and Sawyer have going on is just silly. Um, I hope.
What role does Richard play? Is he perpetually a side-kick? Or is he playing innocent on purpose?
Can Jacob really be killed? Does Locke kill him? Would that make Locke the island "god"? (If we're headed to the cabin, can Claire show up soon please?)
Has Jack really gone a little wacko, ripping a page right out of Locke's "destiny" book?
And all of the standing questions still apply too. (What lies in the shadow of the statue, what's in that stupid box the Shadowies have, what will Jack and Eloise do with the hydrogen bomb, will Sun and Jin be reunited, why didn't Sun go back in time with the rest of them, etc, etc, etc)
At this point, my addiction to this show is more fueled by abiding fascination with how the writers are going to untangle everything than actually feeling confident that the answers will be satisfactory... Forgive me, gentle reader and fellow Lost aficionado -- I can't help feeling more than a little cynical by this point. I'm still watching as breathlessly as ever, but I really do think that the writers have piled up just a few too many haphazard plot elements for it to work entirely well any more. I keep going back to something I read somewhere, (and correct me if I'm wrong) that Benjamin Linus was originally only scheduled to be included in a few episodes. If that's true, then the writers are piecing it together as they go and borrowing elements of a million different sci fi sources in their efforts to make sense of the hopeless web they've created. Don't get me wrong, I'm 100% along for the ride! And I'm even still willing to wager that they tie everything into a satisfying conclusion, but I almost feel like that's more because I want them to so badly, than it is having any conviction that they're actually capable of it.
Locke's statement about killing Jacob, for example, entirely alters the role of that character. I had always assumed that Jacob had a sort of god-role -- powerful, invisible, with everyone answering to him and following his directions with awe and fear. Granted, that doesn't seem to fit with the guttural cry for help Locke heard in the cabin, but in general it's how Jacob was built up in the minds of the viewers I think... Now, in a single sentence, Jacob has been reduced to something mortal, capable of being robbed of life and power in a coup. In line with the Egyptian mythology, my boyfriend pointed out the parallels between a pharaoh and (my conception of) the role of Jacob... appearing as a god to the "mere mortals" but just a human in reality, yet handing out orders and commanding allegiance as king. This fits with the whole thing about "you don't just go see Jacob, he calls you..." Another meaty possibility is that he is indeed a human being, but somehow trapped in a liminal space between dimensions, or between death and life, and trying to manipulate events so as to free himself. But even with all of the physics-talk I don't think the writers have touched on alternative realities or extra dimensions at all, so I don't know how likely that one is... Note to writers: totally get on that!
Either way, king or god, if we lose Jacob, what do we have left? Is there a yet-unmentioned force behind the island? If the smoke monster isn't the servant of Jacob, who or what is it serving, per the carving in the temple? When Locke talks about "The Island," do the writers really expect us to believe that the island is somehow self-aware and directing the lives of its inhabitants?
One last note -- I think that Richard's statement that the Dharma Losties died in the 70s certainly indicates that "whatever happened, happened," can't be true. We know that the show isn't about to kill off all it's best-loved characters, so unless Richard lied to Sun then the past he's referring to is going to change. Go go free will!!
Two hour finale to look forward to next Wednesday! And no doubt our current understanding of what it means to have our minds blown will be entirely altered all over again. Can't wait! ;P
Monday, May 4, 2009
"The dirty dozen." Perhaps you're familiar with the term? By the Environmental Working Group's definition, it refers to the twelve types of produce that test with the highest pesticide and chemical residue, even after being rinsed and peeled. In other words, these are the most devious of all fruits and vegetables; little miscreants determined to trick you into ingesting all kind of unpleasant and potentially toxic residues along with your delicious dinner...
My boyfriend has huge issues with the term "organic" -- objections based quite logically on the fact that all material containing carbon molecules are (by Chemistry-class definition anyway) "organic." So when I talk about, say, wanting to buy organic apples, he usually gets completely derailed from the topic at hand onto a rant about the inaccuracies of language, and how misleading it is to pretend that "organic" means "better" when technically it doesn't mean that at all, since everything from Twinkies to pine trees qualifies as "organic." As you might imagine, these conversations go a lot more smoothly when I stay one step ahead by using phrases like, "pesticide free" and "non-chemically treated" instead.
That said, so far in my monthly Green Goals I've tackled the switch to "pesticide free produce" for three different items on the Environmental Working Group's list: spinach, potatoes, and apples. But wouldn't you know... the Dirty Dozen was updated this year, and both of the first two were shuffled right off of the list! That isn't to say they became magically cleaner necessarily, just that they got bumped down to #14 and 15... To my way of thinking, if I take away the items on the DD that I never eat (namely, celery, pears, and collard greens) then spinach and potatoes fall neatly back within my own personalized "Nasty Twelve." ;P This is the official version though:
3. Sweet Bell Peppers
10. Grapes (imported)
The nice thing about keeping track of the Dirty Dozen is that by avoiding those twelve alone (or by switching to their non-chemically treated counterparts), it's possible to reduce your accidental consumption of pesticides by as much as 80%! If you're curious, or haven't seen this year's changes yet, be sure to download the updated pocket guide to the Dirty Dozen (and its opposite list, the Clean Fifteen) at the Environmental Working Group's website. Forget about elaborate detox regimens (lemon juice and cayenne, anyone?)... this is a highly practical method of eliminating certain toxins at the source.