28 January 2009
I have had horrible allergies all my life. Sometimes I would literally sneeze repeatedly all day long until my nose was bright red. People would constantly ask me if I had a cold. My handbag was perpetually full of used kleenexes and I kept getting fired from waitressing jobs.
I've had my allergies tested in the past and it's been determined that I'm allergic to cats (I have 11) and dust mites (EVERYONE has pet dust mites). I had for a while given up cheese (but was still drinking milk) and found that things had improved a bit but then I went right back to the cheese because I was addicted. But now that I've officially been a Vegan for a month which means giving up all dairy products forever, I can officially report that I can breathe again!!!
I have never in my life gone this long without dairy products and the results are amazing! I had quite literally forgotten what it was like to be able to breathe properly! There is oxygen getting to my brain now! I can leave the house without having to carry my own body weight in tissues just in case.
Yaaaaay!! Why didn't I become a vegan years ago? Why? Why? Why? Think of all the money I could have saved on tissues! Think of all the jobs I could have kept!
14 January 2009
There is an art exhibition going on right now in Brussels at the European Parliament. the piece above was done by a Czech artist, David Cerny. It was meant to be a humorous send up of European stereotypes. And now there's a big kerfuffle over it!!
"The Czech Republic, which took over the rotating presidency of the European Union in January, has landed itself in a cultural debacle. Not only has its flagship artwork - designed to demolish national stereotypes by mocking them - caused diplomatic outrage, it turns out to have been the work of a single Czech artist when it was billed as a collaborative effort from all 27 EU member states." (financialtimes.com)
Apparently Bulgaria isn't too happy with their one which makes fun of their weird toilets:
There was a Bulgarian lady on the news saying, "Look at it! It's ugly! And it's not funny!" and she was hanging out at the exhibition trying to get someone to take it down. Gee, she must be fun at parties!
I'm sorry Bulgaria, but you have funny toilets. I mean you do know about the kind where you can sit, don't you? Look, I'm sorry Bulgaria, but it's funny. All we can think when we look at your toilets is Gee, these people must either have very strong thigh muscles.....or they don't wear underpants. I'm sorry, Bulgaria, I'm just saying what everyone else (including this Czech artist, apparently) are thinking. get over it! Germany has!
They got depicted as a bunch of roads in the vague form of a swastika. Do you hear them complaining? Or how about your neighbors, Romania??
Surely there's more to them than just Vlad the Impaler. But did they kick up a fuss? And what about Luxembourg?
See, Bulgaria? Luxembourg got depicted as a tiny piece of gold that's for sale. Ha ha ha ha ha. Are they threatening a lawsuit? Or Italy:
They got depicted as a one huge football pitch. And in this case the artist didn't even get it right, or he would have shown them all on the floor pretending they had a knee injury. Are they upset? Even Poland seem cool about theirs:
....Showing them as priests hoisting the Gay Pride Flag on a field of potatoes.
And Bulgaria - do we really want to be so judgmental with stuff like this available to see on the internet?
People in glass houses. I'm just sayin'........
Lately they've been running an ad for a mobile phone ringtone song noise thingy called Zingende Hamster (Singing Hamster). They play the bloody ad every 5 minutes. Look at it! IS THAT A HAMSTER????!!!!
Apparently when some guy thought this up, no one at his Advertising Firm thought to question him about it. Or perhaps they did?
"Um......Excuse me Jan? You keep calling that a singing hamster, but it looks like a bear."
"Well it isn't a bear, it's a hamster."
"Are you sure Jan? Because in all our focus groups they've said --"
"Yes I'm sure!! When I was a boy my family was on a camping trip and my father was killed by a giant hamster, so I think I know what a fucking hamster looks like, thank you!"
"Um, OK, Jan.....Well if your father was killed by a.....hamster, then wouldn't you like to choose some other animal for the ad? Something that doesn't bring up so many issues? A bunny rabbit maybe?"
"A bunny rabbit!!?? What are you kidding me??! One of those stabbed my brother!"
05 January 2009
So I’m walking along the very narrow path by the canal yesterday and bicyclists (who aren’t even supposed to be on the path – it’s for pedestrians!) keep speeding up making only a cursory jiggling noise with their bike to get me to move aside at the last minute. Everyone knows pedestrians have the right of way there, but it seems that without a neon sign posted every few meters that some people “forget” and choose to terrorize pedestrians. All us pedestrians would have to do is jut out an elbow at the right moment and those two-wheeled bastards would go flying over the guardrail into the canal. I only wish they would appreciate the enormous restraint we are exercising in not doing so.
Unfortunately, many people engage in annoying behavior simply because no one has bothered to post guidelines telling them not to. So, in the hope that some people prone to annoying behavior might read my blog, I am posting some items which should be obvious, but since they apparently aren’t, definitely need mentioning. When I can get around to painting huge signs and posting them in the appropriate places, I will. Until then, this list will have to suffice.
Item #1: People who wait in a long line at a cashier who don’t bother getting their cash ready to pay until the very end of the transaction at which point they embark on an expedition through their hand bag (yes, it’s usually people of the feminine persuasion) looking for their wallet. Everyone in the line behind them sighs and rolls their eyes and makes angry little noises, but most likely some of those angry people have no idea where their wallets are, either. Get it together, people!
Item #2: People who make you take your shoes off when visiting their homes.
This is one of the most invasive things someone can do when you’ve just been good enough to come and visit them. People who make you remove your shoes at their door rarely provide you with a dignified way to do so. Instead you’re meant to sit on the floor or awkwardly balance on one leg or otherwise fend for yourself. It is my contention that people who demand that you remove your shoes should also offer to wash your feet like they did for visitors in Biblical times. It seems only fair.
The only time that people even somewhat have an excuse for demanding this of you is if they’ve got small children who they feel the need to let crawl all over the floor, but even then my inclination would be to prefer not to have baby spit all over my bare feet, thank you very much.
People who always demand that you take your shoes off when coming over are either A) Far gone hippies; B) Too lazy to use their vacuum cleaner; or C) Sadistic Control Freaks. People are demeaned and vulnerable when they are made to be seen in public in their socks and that’s why these people do this. My advice if you know lots of people who do this is to invest in several sizes of clown shoes, keep them by the door and insist your shoe-removal-in-their-house friends change into them when entering your home. They will either take the hint or stop inviting you over. Either option is acceptable.
Item #3: People who talk during movies.
These offenders can be divided into several sub-categories:
A) The Actor-Spotter: These people are constantly engaged in some sort of Hollywood trivia game no matter how dramatic the action is on the screen. You’ll be watching a moving scene, hanging on every word of dialogue and this will happen:
OFFENDER: ” Hey isn’t that....um....now I can’t think of her name. She was in that movie with Woody Allen years ago but I think she’s changed her hair. She was so funny in that movie. And that other guy he was in something else too. He looks a lot different now, though.”
....During which the more polite people in the room are serially clearing their throats and I’m boiling with rage until I press the pause button and suggest we have a discussion group about the cast.
B) The Advice-Giver: These donuts will make suggestions to the characters on the screen as if their suggestions might be heard and considered. “Don’t go in there!” they’ll say, or “Watch out! He’s behind you!” or “You shouldn’t have opened that door!” – I think back in medieval times these people were probably burned at the stake for entertainment after plays.
C) The Random Conversation Maker: These people will just start conversations as if the movie you’re watching is background music. They’ll ask you where good restaurants are in the neighborhood, or if you’ve heard that they’re building a new shopping mall in town or any other number of things that HAVE NOTHING WHATSOVEVER TO DO WITH THE FILM THAT YOU’RE WATCHING. And inevitably these same people later criticize the film for having not made any sense.
D) The “Shecky”: These people think that they are funnier than everything in the film and they set out to prove it by making sarcastic remarks every 2 minutes. And worse than that, they never seem to have the ability to time their remarks between the dialogue in the film. Instead you miss what’s going on in the film entirely and might as well turn off the sound altogether and just let them run their mouth.
Item #4: Couples Who Share Email Addresses.
The first time I saw this happening I thought that perhaps just that one particular couple were freaks, but then I saw it happening a lot and realized that apparently a lot of people think this is acceptable behavior. If email addresses were expensive then I would understand, but they are free, people! I’ve got 5 of them myself!
There’s a certain innate belligerence in a shared email address – as if the couple is saying, ”Anything you can say to me, you can say to him as well!”. Also I think couples who do this are highly suspicious of each other and probably the kind of people who would insist on reading each other’s emails daily anyway if they didn’t share an address. And now everyone else knows how possessive they are because of their shared email. Creepy, creepy, creepy.
Item #5: People who don’t smile in photos. You can be laughing and having a good time with these people, but the minute you get your camera out they stare back at you with a practiced model-esque pout. It’s SO annoying and it inevitably makes them and you look ridiculous (you by proxy for being seen with them). There is nothing less sexy than trying to look sexy, so just stop doing it!
01 January 2009
Ah, my first blog entry of the new year. And one big New Years Resolution to report: I am now a vegan. I have been a vegetarian for years, but now I am taking that final step into veganhood.
For those of you unclear about the distinctions between all the different “isms” out there: Vegetarianism is eating no meat of any kind, or “nothing with a face” or “nothing that had a mother"; so no meat or fish of any kind. Vegetarians still eat milk, cheese, eggs and honey because they aren’t actual animals (of course if you believe that life begins at conception then you might take issue with the eggs). Veganism is not eating or in any other way consuming anything that had anything to do with animals. So not only no meat or fish, but also no dairy, eggs or honey. You will meet, of course, many people who claim to be vegetarians because they eat “hardly any” meat. I once knew one such “vegetarian” who regularly ordered pork pot stickers at her favorite Chinese restaurant ”because they taste so much better than the vegetable ones”. And yet she insisted to referring to herself as a vegetarian. A pork eating vegetarian. Also she was Jewish (!!). Just as an FYI, eating meat occasionally and yet considering yourself a vegetarian is the same as once in a while gnawing on human flesh and then claiming not to be a cannibal.
For years I would rationalize (as I think many vegetarians do) that the dairy industry is like a day job for a cow. I suppose I had a very cartoonish image of a cow waking up to an alarm clock, having a few slices of toast and some coffee then punching the time clock at the local dairy and going home again after a nice day being milked by handsome farm hands. I had completely airbrushed from this picture the fact that this “day job” also includes being made to produce up to 5 times their normal milk production, having their children forcibly removed from them (then kept immobile in a box and killed before they reach adulthood), and being killed and eaten once the contract on this particular “day job” expired. Consuming dairy products is still buying into a system that exploits, tortures and murders animals and I can no longer remain in denial about it.
I’ve “gone vegan” in the past, but it was always without making a proper transition to other foods and also when I was in weird vegan-hostile places; like the time I was working for a few weeks in Oklahoma and Texas. There, the word “Vegan” or even “Vegetarian” would inevitably illicit a sideways cock to the head and the word “Huh?” if not downright aggresssion.
Once at a restaurant in Texas I pleaded with the waitress for something anything without meat in it. She finally agreed to bring me a bowl of rice. When it arrived it was chock full of chunks of sausage. The waitress’s comeback? "That's not meat, that's pork." (????!!!!). Once I'd explained the intellectual hiccup in her reasoning she came back with, ”There’s just a little meat in it” - as if some poor pig had accidentally cut himself shaving while standing next to the rice vat at Big Tex’s Colon Cloggery. I ended up living the rest of that tour on a diet of beer and fruit juice while I gaped in awe at the overly large bovine appearance of all the heavy meat eaters around me. Women with wrist bones the size of Rugby players, I tell you. And all from all that good old American hormone-packed meat they were consuming in huge quantities three times a day. Yeuuuch.
But even after the Texas Trauma, I fell back into vegetarianism (as opposed to veganism) because of my love of cheese. That’s been the hardest thing to give up. But now with it being New Year’s and all I’m making a clean break. For the fist time I’m grateful to be in a country that has no concept of cheddar.
On that note, I will leave you with the recipe for a no-cheese “Cheeze Ball” (which I got off a fabulous vegan web site, as sourced below) which I served up to (non-vegan!) guests last night who absolutely loved it!
1/2 Cup Blanched, Slivered Almonds
1/2 Cup Dry Roasted Cashews
1/3 14oz Block Firm Tofu, Well Pressed
3 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast Flakes
1/2 Teaspoon Seasoned Salt
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Liquid Smoke
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Teaspoon Light Vegan Butter
1 Teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Table Mustard
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Grated Onion, Well Drained
1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds
Paprika to coat
Place almonds and cashews into a food processor until it’s ground up for about 2 minutes or until clumps start to form.
Place 1/3 of a block of tofu from a 14oz block. It’s important to use firm tofu. Silken or extra firm will not work. An average block of tofu is about 4.5 inches long, so measure 1.5 inches off. Drain tofu in a strainer by smashing and pressing firmly. Using a clean dish towel to soak up some of the water helps too. It’s important to get as much water as you can out.
Now add the tofu to the almond and cashew nut paste that’s already in the food processor along with the nutritional yeast flakes, seasoned salt, sugar, lemon juice, liquid smoke, paprika, vegan butter, olive oil, mustard, garlic powder, onion and blend about 2 minutes.
Spray a bowl and a square of plastic wrap with no stick spray. Pile mixture into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in fridge and Let this chill for at least 5 hours or overnight. It will get firm and can now be shaped into a ball and rolled in sliced almonds and paprika. If you lightly oil your hands it will keep it from sticking to your hands while you roll. Now it’s ready to be served with your favorite crackers.