A Toronto vegan blabs on about crafting, food, and her life in general.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Simplifying Project: The Clothes Edition

I figured the Book Edition would be next, but I have a clothing swap to go to tomorrow - so it's the Clothes Edition! I definitely plan to come home with much fewer items than I bring. Much fewer.

The Simplifying Project: Clothes Edition


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How happy am I?

Falafel plate

Very happy. That's right - tonight we are getting take out from the Armenian Kitchen.

That's all I'm going to be thinking about for these last 45 minutes of work.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Ewok on an Imperial Speedster

Ewok on an Imperial Speedster

The boy was slightly concerned about the 8-hour mountain bike race he's doing tomorrow, until he read this on the website:

"If you’re looking for a grueling, lung-bursting ride to the top of Mount Olympus, you won’t get it here! The course at Mansfield, despite the uphill start, is a smooth, flowing course that even the greenest of novices should master like an Ewok on an Imperial Speedster."

Of course we had to collaborate on an illustration of this last part :)

Spreading the news.

Vegan bloggers all over the place are posting about Oprah's 21-Day Cleanse diet, so I thought I'd jump right in and help pass along the story. For 21 days, Oprah is going vegan (and wheat-free, caffeine-free and a buncha other -frees) and is posting about her experiences on her website. Some people are talking about how this is the best thing to happen to veganism - sure, the publicity is great, and the awareness it brings to the health and ethics aspects of veganism is awesome - but I'll wait to see how the next 3 weeks go before getting too excited.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

How do you recycle your teenage years?

Originally uploaded by offshoot

Over the years, I have whittled down my cassette collection. I have tossed all the mixed tapes and kept most of the professionally produced ones. Now, I am ready to move on, but I'm having trouble finding recycling facilities for cassette tapes in Ontario, which means I may have to ship them to the US. I guess eBay is another option for some of these babies, but most really just need to be put out of their misery.

Some of these I have had since I was 12 or 13. My youth is dying every day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Letter From A Vegan World

Found on Animals in the Press, originally posted to the Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary blog. I hope it's okay that I'm reposting. I got choked up while reading it and wanted to spread it around...

Dear Friends and Fellow Activists,

At a time when most animal rights organizations are actively promoting, advocating and rewarding “humane” animal products and farming methods, I am writing to you on behalf of three of the recipients of that mercy.

To the industry, they are known as production units #6, #35, and #67,595. To the “compassionate” consumer, they are known as feel-good labels: “organic dairy”, “rose veal”, “free-range eggs”. To welfare advocates, they are known as “humane alternatives”. To each other, they are known as mother, son, sister, friend. To themselves, they are simply what you and I are to ourselves: a self-aware, self-contained world of subjective experiences, feelings, fears, memories – someone with the absolute certainty that his or her life is worth living.

#6, is a first time mother. She is frantic. Her baby is missing. She is pacing desperately up and down the paddock, bellowing and crying, and calling for her lost boy, fearing the worst, having her fears confirmed. She is one of the thousands of defenseless females born into a quaint, verdant, organic dairy farm. She will spend her entire short life grieving the loss of baby after baby. She will be milked relentlessly through repeated cycles of pregnancies and bereavements. Her only experience of motherhood will be that of a mother’s worst loss. In the prime of her life, her body will give, her spirit will break, her milk “production” will decline, and she will be sent to a horrifying slaughter, along with other grieving, defeated, “spent” mothers like herself.

She is the face of organic milk.

#35 is a two-days old baby, his umbilical chord is still attached, his coat is still slick with birth fluids, his eyes are unfocused, his legs, wobbly. He is crying pitifully for his mother. No one answers. He will live his entire short life an orphan, his only experience of mother love will be one of yearning for it, his only experience of emotional connection, one of absence. Soon, the memory of his mother, her face, her voice, her scent, will fade, but the painful, irrepressible longing for her warmth will still be there. At four months old, he and other orphans like himself will be corralled into trucks and hauled to slaughter. As he will be dragged onto the killing floor, he will still be looking for his mother, still desperately needing her nurturing presence, especially at that dark time when he will be frightened and needing her more than ever in the midst of the terrible sights, and sounds, and scents of death all around him and, in his despair, in his want for a shred of consolation and protection, he, like most baby calves, will try to suckle the fingers of his killers.

He is the face of the “rose” veal we are encouraging “responsible restaurant leaders” to use. #67,595 is one of the 80,000 birds in a family-owned “free-range” egg facility. She has never seen the sun, or felt the grass under her feet, she has never met her mother. Her eyes are burning with the sting of ammonia fumes, her featherless body is covered with bruises and abrasions, her bones are brittle from the constant drain of egg production, her severed beak is throbbing in pain. She is exhausted, depleted and defeated. After a lifetime of social, psychological, emotional, physical deprivation, she copes by pecking neurotically at phantom targets for hours on end. She is two years old and her life is over. Her egg production has declined, and she will be disposed of by the cheapest means possible – she will be gassed along with the other 80,000 birds in her community. It will take three full work days to finish the job. For two long days, she will hear the sounds and breathe the smells of her sisters being killed in the gas drums outside her shed. On the third day, it will be her turn. She will be grabbed by the legs and taken outdoors for the first time in her life and, like every single one of the 80,000 “spent” hens, like every single one of the 50 billion annual victims of our appetite, she will fight to go on living, and she will accept no explanation and no justification for being robbed of her pathetic only life.

She is the face of the “free-range” eggs we are encouraging college campuses, businesses and consumers to use.

These are the “beneficiaries” of the “humane farming practices” that we, the animals’ defenders, are developing, promoting, and publicly rewarding by encouraging “compassionate” consumers to buy the products of what we know to be nothing but misery. “Humane” practices that, if any of us were forced to endure, none of us would experience as humane.

We, the activists, know that there is no such thing as compassionate, responsible or ethical farming on any scale. We know that the only humane and ethical alternative is vegan living.

Why are so few of us telling the truth? Why are we describing “free-range” products as “humane” when we know the horror such practices inflict on their victims? Why are we lying to the public, and ourselves, that “compassionate” animal farming is anything but a myth, a marketing scheme, a deceptive label? Why are so many of us offering up the lives of animals by encouraging the consumption of their flesh, eggs and milk, when our only duty is to fight for their lives as if they were our own? Why are we promoting the practice of consuming animals when we know it to be brutal, inexcusable, unconscionable and completely unnecessary? Why are we rewarding consumers for demanding more of the the very thing we are struggling to eliminate? Why are we strengthening and rewarding the worlds’ entrenched speciesist assumptions, when our job, our only job, as vegan educators and activists, is to challenge and change those assumptions by offering a new model of thinking about nonhuman animals, a new model of interacting with them, a new practice of living, a new way of being in the world?

Many of us justify our endorsement of “humane” animal products and our pursuit of welfare reforms by saying that the world is not ready to change, that it may never go vegan, that the most we can hope to accomplish in the meantime is to reduce the suffering of today’s doomed animals. But this is not true. This is not a fact. It is a fear – a fear of action, a failure of will, a self- defeating attitude and, ultimately, a self-fulfilling prophesy.

The truth is, the world can change. Indeed, the world has changed many times before, and it has changed in ways that seemed impossible at the time. The truth is, the world will change, but only if we work towards creating that change. It will stay the same if we, the self-proclaimed agents of change, encourage it to stay the same. It will change if all of us tell the whole truth that there is no such thing as humane animal farming, or animal use of any kind, the truth that the only humane alternative is vegan living, the truth that animal farming on any scale is an ethical and environmental disaster, the truth that animals are persons like you and me who happen to be nonhuman and who have the same inherent right to life and liberty as you and I. The truth that vegan living is not a “lifestyle choice”, but a moral imperative.

We can do better. Indeed, we have an obligation to do better.

I invite you to see for yourselves how much can be accomplished when a small group of dedicated activists commits all of its time and resources to vegan education that is consistent with, not undermining of, our ultimate goal – Animal Liberation – and when the Go Vegan message is central to every single one of its communications, from online resources, to printed literature, to ads, demos, and billboards, to outreach events, to the in-depth exploration of farmed animal personhood detailed in the individual portraits published on the Prairie Blog.

On a shoestring budget, with an all-volunteer core of vegan educators who are determined to tell the whole truth about meat, dairy and egg production, a small, grassroots organization like Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary has built something that large, wealthy organizations have not only failed to bring forth, but have consistently undermined through years of anti-vegan advocacy: A vibrant vegan world growing in the middle of the nonvegan world, a place where the animal refugees are regarded and represented as the persons they rightly are, a place where the human residents advocate tirelessly for nothing less than total liberation, a Free State in the heart of the human-subjugated world, a place where the principles of abolition are applied in word, thought, and deed. A vegan enclave whose very presence has already changed the world’s physical, political, psychological and spiritual geography.

I invite you to experience it for yourselves. Join us in our struggle to expand its reach. Help us make it borderless.

Joanna Lucas,
Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary

Hell in a handbasket

A woman was stabbed in my neighbourhood last night by a random stranger. Stabbed! In the stomach! Unprovoked! Seriously - wtf? I had walked through this intersection only an hour before the stabbing, too, since I'd taken the subway home from work.

Honestly, in the past year, I have felt the neighbourhood go downhill - shootings a couple of blocks away, robberies in my building, a shooting across the street in the park, and now a stabbing at an intersection I pass through on a regular basis. I love this neighbourhood so much, but I'm also starting to look forward to leaving it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Groundhog day


After work, on my way to the subway, I stood there watching this little guy for a while. Either he didn't hear me, or he didn't feel I was a threat. Maybe I was givin' off the Vegan Vibe :)

Spotted near McCowan Station


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Whew. I won't be forced to wear polar fleece and gore-tex.

H&M is opening a location in Vancouver this week. As consumptive as it is, I do enjoy me some H&M shopping therapy every so often.

A brother is a friend given by Nature. ~ Jean Baptiste Legouve

One of the many people I will miss like crazy when I move to the other side of the country.

Me and mah brother

If you're reading this, Robbie, I'm so happy we found each other.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The boy and I just took a co-worker's brand spankin' new Smart car out for a spin! Damn - this thing makes our tiny Honda Fit look monstrous. But, just like our Fit, you don't feel like you're in a small car when you're in the Smart car - the windows and moonroof are ginormous, making the inside seem much bigger than it is.

The boy drove while I sat in the passenger seat, which, by the way, is actually a bit more comfy and roomy than our car. *cough* He said the pick up and braking are a bit slower and stiffer than our car, but that it still felt peppy. The reality of the car's size hit us when the boy checked his blind spot before changing lanes... silly boy - there is practically no blind spot!

As much as I love the car, it wouldn't have been practical for us to have purchased one. We bought our car specifically so we can go camping and hiking and all that kinda stuff that we need cargo space for. For strictly city people, however, this car is incredible. I may be singing a different tune, though, when and if a 4-seater Smart ever comes to Canada.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Worth a thousand.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cats on a treadmill

well, this sure as hell helped chase away my crabbies for a few minutes...

Damn these sleeves.

I never apologize for my ethics anymore. I finally got over doing that about four years ago. I try not to refer to my veganism as a "pain in the ass" to people who offer to have us over for dinner, and I certainly do not excuse the food I make for people when they come to our home to eat. But there are times when I wish that sometimes – just sometimes – my ethics would not get in the way. Even when the discussion going on around me is one I vehemently oppose, I wish that my veganism and animal rights views could remain tucked away and kept to myself, especially in workplace settings. But, when you wear your heart on your sleeve, remaining quiet or keeping to yourself during those discussions is rare and the discussion always ends up revolved around your beliefs - at least for a short time. And then you're the reluctant centre of attention again, even when all you want is to crawl into a hole and surround yourself with nothing.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Vegan Etsy Ring

The talented Melanie from The Coma Girl Designs has made the Vegan Etsy team a blog ring. See the banner on the right that she designed? Click it and take a look at some of the great things other Vegan Etsy members are doing!

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Simplifying Project

Simplifying Project: Shoe Edition

The Shoe Edition.

I finally have gone through (most of) my shoes and ruthlessly judged them as keepers and tossers. Heh. Three of these are finding their way to a landfill - gah! - and the rest, which are in pretty decent condition, are going into a donation bin nearby.

Next up: The Book Edition.