migration

01Sep08

this blog has got people to see, and places that it needs to burn down.
I finally acquired a domain without any alphanumerics in the URL.

Many thanks to the brilliant and talented Violet for helping me make the blogoverse just a bit more beautiful.



Hazelnut cupcakes with raspberry filling and chocolate ganache


Pistachio rosewater cupcakes, left, and chai latte cupcakes, right


Coconut lime cupcakes


Chocolate mocha cupcakes


impatiens

12Aug08


To celebrate the fifth anniversary of my vegan journey, I have created a resource guide for fellow animal-product shunning Denverites. (I’m not including Boulder because if your fail to find vegan food there, you’re not really looking. Seriously.)

give me one small string of good advice
*The word “vegan” should not be pronounced as if it rhymes with “ray gun.” We are not from the star system Vega IV. Do you see any third “e” that would cause the long vowel pronunciation? I didn’t think so.

*People are gonna give you shit. Don’t let this opposition turn into one of those bitter vegans who give the rest of us a bad name. Do I find the factory farm system to be sickening and infuriating? Absolutely. However, bitterness is not going to garner any sympathy for the cause. Whenever some gormless carnivore displays their wit by offering me bacon, I paste on my most authentic facsimile of a smile, as if it doesn’t happen at least once a day, and deal with it.

*When stuck at friends’ grandparents’ dinner parties, or other equally hostile situations, feigning anorexia might be less socially taxing than explaining the real reason why you cannot consume Aunt Barb’s mashed potatoes.

*It is helpful to carry snacks at all times, in case you are stuck eating dinner at Applebees. Side salads which consist solely of iceberg lettuce, carrots, and a few tomato slices tend to be less than satiating.

*It is more effective to claim “allergies” than to try and explain “veganism” to servers. Frustration inevitably ensues when ask I for a veggie sandwich, hold the cheese, and receive a meal with a butter-encrusted bun.

*If you’re in a rush, Amy’s brand stuff always says at the beginning of the label whether or not it is vegan!

*Watch out for soy “cheese” because most of it contains casein, a milk protein. True vegan cheese generally tastes a bit chalky, and most of it wouldn’t even melt in a nuclear war. Generally, I choose to eschew cheese, rather than partake in a substandard alternative. It is possible to concoct “cheezy sauce” from nutritional yeast and spices; it tastes yummy, though lacking in the authentic cow-mucus texture. Other forms of dairy substitution yield far tastier results. Veganaise kicks the shit out of Nayonaise. Better Than Cream Cheese and Better Than Sour Cream are divine. Without opening a new chapter in the Non-Dairy Ice Cream Wars, I want to say that a third faction has emerged. Coconut Milk Ice cream seems poised for a hostile takeover.

*You don’t even have to shop much at (shit)Whole Foods for all of this stuff. King Soopers carries 70-80% of it, so you can just go to WF for specialty items.

*If you’re heavily invested in the American Food paradigm, you may want to branch out a bit. It is much easier to find vegan Indian, Thai, Chinese, and even Mexican food than American.

*You will need to make decisions about how far you want to take your veganism. It is impossible to live as a human being on this planet and avoid oppressing animals somehow, some way. (The same could be said for other human beings, but that’s beside the point.) I’m not trying to make this call for you; I am merely pointing out the impossibility of complete veganism. For example, do you know how many insects and rodents are killed each year harvesting grain?

*The kind of vegans who freak out about “animal derived vitamin D in Cheerios” make veganism look impossible and can effectively cause more animal suffering by acting like martyrs. Do we want a club where we can sit around and debate who wins the Vegan Martyrdom Cup, or do we want a planet devoid of animal suffering? Personally, I’d choose the latter. Balancing idealism with pragmatism is trying at the best of times, but we must be realistic about the A.R. movement’s bad P.R. and do what we can to rectify the situation if we truly want to practice effective activism.

Vegan Outreach has a fabulous ethical test to help elucidate such matters. If a product using animal byproducts (products which are a result of the slaughtering process, but are not the primary products which animals are raised and killed for) does more to help animals than to hurt them, using said products should not be considered a violation of vegan ethics.

For example, film is made from gelatin, which is an animal byproduct. However, many animals have also been saved, and laws changed, as a direct result of photographs depicting the horrific nature of slaughterhouse conditions.

One could also make a distinction between “practical vegans” who choose to avoid products which animals are raised, bred, and slaughtered for and “symbolic vegans” who avoid products that use any animal by-products (such as sugar filtered through bone char). To utilize the previous example, Matt Ball explains:

“The gelatin in film makes many vegans uncomfortable. However, film companies won’t use something more expensive because of this discomfort. As long as animals are slaughtered for their flesh, gelatin will remain a dirt-cheap by-product. This won’t change because of a relatively few symbolic vegans. It will change, however, as the number of practical vegans expands and there isn’t an endless string of animals being slaughtered for food, making a substitute necessary.

Once the demand for primary animal products shrinks and the by-products are no longer so cheap, companies will find new filtering methods, new ways to cure concrete, new means of producing steel and rubber, new blood-test methods, etc. As more people are concerned with animals, farming practices will be altered so fewer animals are harmed and killed during planting and harvesting of vegan food.”

I am going to go out on a limb here and admit that I still possess some leather goods dating from my pre-vegan (pregan?) days. Personally, I find it more wasteful to throw away something an animal suffered and died for, even though I can no longer ethically support such purchases. I’ll wear my leather shoes until they wear out, even though some vegans would point the finger at me for such a transgression.

*If you decide that veganism is no longer for you, please do not go around bad mouthing veganism. Your negative personal experience will discourage other people from being vegan or trying vegan food. There’s already enough stereotypes and misinformation floating around about veganism. C’mon, you must have some sort of left over compassion for animals if you tried being vegan in the first place.

This edict goes double for those who whinge about how they never “felt healthy” without consumption of animal products. How you “feel” is totally subjective, and I’m not convinced that confirmation bias might not be telling you that you won’t feel healthy unless you consume that piece of dead cow. Overall health feelings are also related to the health of said diet, vegan or not, exercise levels, and a variety of other factors. Dietary choices are almost as personal as religion, but if you were only eating salad and french fries, it’s pretty much a given that you were gonna feel like ass. This edict applies especially to those who were only vegan for six months. If your body undergoes major detoxification, you might indeed feel worse while the hormones and antibiotics are filtered out of your system.

*Support local businesses that are vegan-friendly!

There is now a vegan shoe store in Denver! Ahimsa Footwear rocks my socks off. The couple that owns it are super friendly. They have bags, socks, cookbooks, and locally made goods. I may try to convince them to sell some of my crocheted crap, although that is not an ulterior motive for telling you to go check Ahimsa out.

Restaurants

This list is by no means all-inclusive, so if you feel I have left something out, please let me know.

City O’ City is owned by Dan Landes, who also owns the :cough: other vegetarian restaurant in Denver. City O’ has tasty pizzas (all of which can be made vegan, and have actual melty “cheese” on them) salads, wraps, baked goods, coffee, and booze. Whee. To be fair, I’ll warn you that hipsters abound, so if you can’t hang with that, ask for your ‘za to go.

Tokyo Joe’s is a local company with fast, healthy, Japanese-ish food.

Chipotle was owned by McDonald’s last time I checked, so I cannot wholeheartedly endorse them. Q-doba and Illegal Pete’s have a similar approach to fast-casual Mexican.

The Spicy Pickle has the best eight dollar sandwiches this side of this Mississippi.

Swing Thai even labels which dishes are vegan. What’s not to love?

Racine’s is not uber vegan-friendly, they have a couple of things which can be made vegan. Their customer service is outstanding, and servers are generally very accommodating about special requests. Racine’s is great for family dinners and other events that require an uneasy truce between carnivores and veggietarians.

I have a bone to pick (figureatively speaking) with Sushi Den. The Veggie Sushi dinner is only 11$, but it comes with miso soup which is…fish based. Oh, the asininity. The kind of “vegetarians” who eat fish would be eating sashimi, no? Either way, the veggie dinner is cheap enough so plebs can actually afford to eat it, unlike the fishy entrees.

Sputnik has the bestest vegan bar food on the planet! Seriously! Sweet potato fries….mmmmm.

The Shoppe has cereal, coffee, and cupcakes, including several vegan varieties. When I ordered a vegan cupcake, the baristress inquired as to whether I wanted my coffee with soy milk. Needless to say, it made my little heart fill to the brim with cruelty free joy. Even if that last sentence made you want to brush your teeth, you should still go check out the Shoppe, and don’t forget to peruse the Fabric Lab while you’re down there.

Jerusalem’s vegetarian combination is vegan, if you skip the baba ghanoush (it has yoghurt in it.) Furthermore, Jerusalem is open 24 hours: perfect for 3AM drunchie hummus cravings.

I don’t trust Thai Basil, since they told me something fish-based was “vegetarian” so I no longer eat there. (See also: Las Margaritas).

Linkety doo dah

VegWeb
A plethora of recipes, rated for your convenience. The “community” aspect of this website leaves something to be desired.

Vegan Outreach
Succint information on vegan outreach, advocacy, and general nutrition.

Vegan Essentials
Vegan marshmallows, cute cute shoes, shirts, makeup, crapola, blah blah, et cetera.

The Post Punk Kitchen
The women who host this show could beat the snot out of Emeril Lagasse any day of the week.

What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat?
I want to print this URL on business cards and hand them out to everyone who asks me that question.

Cookbooks

Veganomicon
If you ever wanted to understand both sides of the salted v. unsalted eggplant debate, or needed to know the difference between roasting and braising, or have experienced a quinoa emergency, this book will save your ass.

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World!
This book cemented my crush on Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Need I say more?

La Dolce Vegan
This book leans more toward less fussy vegan recipes. The other books in this line (How it All Vegan, the Garden of Vegan) are okay, but the recipes aren’t that good in my opinion.


she lives.

21Jul08

No, I didn’t fall off the face of the blogosphere.

(Why did I say blogosphere? I detest that word. Ack.)

I am taking a photography class, and it is consuming far more of my time than I had anticipated. I have come to appreciate the immediacy of digital photography, although I also feel that something has been lost in translation. Creating images that cannot immediately be viewed is teaching me patience.

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about these:

sparkler play indoors/
midnight brainstorm gone awry /
thinking things through: fail.

stopping smoke alarms /
with unlit sparklers seems, well /
vaguely ironic.

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Last weekend, I tabled for NARAL at the Capital Hill Peoples’ Fair. I don’t mean tabled as in, “stopped considering,” I mean tabled as in, “sat at a table and talked to strangers about reproductive rights.”

Come November, Colorado voters will be asked to decide whether the state constitution should be amended to define “personhood” as starting at conception. In short, the purveyors of this initiative want to grant legal rights to clumps of fetal tissue. Here is the actual text of the proposed Personhood Initiative:

Section 1. Article II of the constitution of the state of Colorado is amended by the addition of a new section to read:
Section 31: Person defined. As used in sections 3, 6, and 25 of Article II of the state constitution, the terms “person” or “persons” shall include any human being from the moment of fertilization.

And just what is “personhood” anyway, according to the lawmakers in this fair square state?

Article II, Section 3. Inalienable Rights. All persons, including any human beings from the moment of fertilization, have certain natural, essential and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; and of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

Acquiring, possessing, and protecting property? Does anybody else find it more than mildy disturbing that material acquisition plays such an integral role in the the legal definition of “personhood?” Pray tell, what sort of “property” would the aforementioned clusters of undifferentiated cells stake their lives and liberties upon?

Article II, Section 6. Equality of Justice. Courts of justice shall be open to every person, including any human being from the moment of fertilization, and a speedy remedy afforded for every injury to person, including any human being from the moment of fertilization, property or character; and right and justice should be administered without sale, denial or delay.

Article II, Section 25. Due Process of Law. No person, including any human being from the moment of fertilization, shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.

If it passes, this amendment will cause numerous negative reprocussions regarding women’s health, as well as setting an alarming precedent. Obviously, abortion would no longer be legal in this state. Birth control would be the next target, since all hormonal forms of birth control (the Pill, the patch, the ring, the shot) as well as intra-uterine devices, prevent fertilized embryos from attaching to the uterine lining. Furthermore, the wording of this initiative leaves the door open for a plethora of ethical conundrums about miscarriages, in vitro fertilization, and women’s liability.

In short, the initiative renders women hapless fetus-incubators, the thought of which makes me shudder.

Even people who fall on the pro-life side of the fence should understand that birth control and education and access prevent abortions. Putting political predilections aside, can’t we all agree that less abortions would be a good thing?

I don’t care for whom you cast your vote in November. Okay, well, that’s kind of a lie, but the point still stands. Even if you don’t give a leaping, flopping, flying fuck about the presidential election, get out and vote against this “Personhood” abomination. Pretty please with a strawberry on top: this is vitally important. Vote, dammit.


Some of you may recall my rant about the two men that asked me out at the library a couple of months ago.

After I turned him down, one of them gave me a packet of poems he wrote, which I promptly set aside and forgot about. I came across them recently, and read them, and wow…I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to

a) laugh
b) cry
c) throw up in my mouth a little, or
d) all of the above.

Perhaps it’s cruel of me to write publicly about this. However, the dude in question showed no qualms about making me feel uncomfortable in front of more than twenty people by asking me out in a public computer lab. He then continued to disregard my boundaries by foisting sexually explicit poetry upon me after I had already given him a firm no (and informed him of my latent gayness, to boot). I’m not providing any identifying details about the man, so I am giving free reign to my righteous feminist scorn.

I’m sure women exist, somewhere, who would find a sheaf of poems entitled “Odes to your Sweet Ass” given to them by a near-stranger to be endearing. However, you may rest assured that I am not one of them.

Poetry is rife with romantic potential, but his approach was the literary equivalent of suggesting we go catch “Debbie Does Dallas” for a first date. Gee, thanks, Smoove B. Even if I was straight, and interested, those poems would have given me the creeps.

Some choice quotes:

“Be not bashful, my dame, in asking to have me bask in ass.”

“Plus post-climax attacks, yeah, slipped her some sap till tooth decay.”

“I feel you’d find this sex comes ocean size for the obliged
You’ve nothing to lose but your mind and time.”

“Here’s an ode to your sweet ass
Written in icing.”

“Platonic
just another word for pending.”

“Do you have to play so hard to get?
As if I didn’t get you wet?”

“Oh how I yearn for you,
For you to learn me,
For your concern for me,
For your hurt for me…”

et cetera. For fourteen effing pages. I hope I wasn’t the sole inspiration for that disturbing miasma.

I’m fully aware that, as Inga Muscio puts it, “for half the population of the planet, my sole purpose for existing on this earth is to make dicks ejaculate, either for recreation or procreation, and no matter how I live my life or what I accomplish, this is not likely to alter significantly in my lifetime.”

I know this, but I tend to forget until I am blindsided by yet another patriarchal cock-knock. I strongly dislike being reminded that, as a woman, it’s pretty much a given that men who know nothing about me whatsoever have constructed graphic sexual fantasies about me. Furthermore, I find it infuriating to the extreme that said men lack reservations about how sharing these fantasies with me might, just might, make me feel uncomfortable or violated. Here’s an ode to your douchenozzlery, written in vomit. I’m going to go take a shower now.