furkid friday: scenes from a vegan marriage, redux

Friday, May 20th, 2011

2011-05-20 - Lemmy - 0002

Shane: Hey, come look at this! See Lemmy’s new favorite spot? [In the closet, sandwiched into my old monitor stand.]

Me: OMG, that’s ADORABLE! Did you get a picture? You have to take a picture!

Shane: [pause] I’m not gonna be one of those people who shares cat pictures online.

Me: What! I’m one of those people!

Shane: ….

Me: Well, I’m taking a picture then.

I bet he’ll share this post on Facebook.

furkid friday: lemmy (is no longer new, but still kitteh-like)

Friday, April 15th, 2011

2011-04-05 - Lemmy - 0004

Me: Okay, the afternoon sun is shining on your side of the house.
IT’S PICTURE TIME!

2011-04-05 - Lemmy - 0017

Lemmy: Silly human. The only times I recognize are “mealtime” and “playtime” and, since I don’t see any nomz around, YOU WILL ENTERTAIN ME.

(More below the fold…)

furkid friday: stunt kitteh (hope he kept his day job)

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Shane shot this video of the cats Wednesday night. The way that Ozzy and Lemmy were scoping each other out, he anticipated either a bout of playing or fighting (or some combination of the two) – but what came next was much more hilarious:

You can practically hear Ozzy laughing on the inside.

(By the way, that weird sparkly eye effect later in the video? That was just Shane messing around with his camera’s effects. It’s kind of creepy, actually, like Lemmy’s half-anime or something. *shudder*)

Consuming Women, No. 6: blender? He hardly knew her!*

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Trigger warning for violent imagery, some of which involves female nudity, under the jump.**

A subsidiary of the department store Beymen, blender bills itself as a “concept store.” (Caution: meat-loving hipsters ahead!) The “concept” (scare quotes because the whole concept of a concept store is way too fucking pretentious for this thrift store shopper to stand), as you may have already surmised, involves the pairing of fashion with misogyny, the conflation of sex and violence, and the linkage of women and nonhuman animals: consumable objects, unite!

With several locations in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey, blender doesn’t just sell clothing and assorted shiny baubles; oh no! Nor are body dysmorphia and low self-esteem its only wares. Ever the hipster-catering douchebags, each blender store is also home to a butcher shop! Because nothing accents a $500 white angora scarf quite like ghastly blood smear stain. (No, really!)

Curiously, blender attempts to sell its audience on this concept by treating at least half of them like pieces of meat, too!

(More below the fold…)

Oprah’s Favorite Things: Cracker Box Palace ("You get a rescue goat! And you get a rescue goat! EVERYBODY GETS A RESCUE GOAT!!!")*

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

2010-09-18 - Cracker Box Palace (Meesh's Cam) - 0260

So you’ve vicariously tasted the yummy vegan eats at The Owl House as part of veganmofo iv, and last week I introduced you to Ms. Chicktoria. Though it’s now four months after the fact, there’s still one set of vacation photos I’d like to share from my September visit to Rochester. Because they’re from an ANIMAL SANCTUARY and who doesn’t like pictures of SUPER-CUTE RESCUE ANIMALS, hmmmm? Besides, it’s like zero degrees outside and there’s a three-foot snow drift on my patio and I could use a vacation, even if only in my own head.

Initially, my sis and I had our hearts set on visiting Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen – but unfortunately the fall tour hours (weekends only!), coupled with the lengthy drive time and previous commitments, just didn’t fit into our schedule. My mom suggested that we instead visit Cracker Box Palace Farm Animal Haven, a new-ish farmed animal sanctuary located in Alton, NY. (Alton is a short drive from Sodus – which is where I spent the first five years of my life – and Sodus, in turn, is a 45-minute drive from Rochester. In comparison, Watkins Glen is twice as far.)

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According to the group’s website, CBP opened in 2001 on a 50-acre former migrant farm. Originally dedicated to horse rescue and rehab, the sanctuary is now home to geese, ducks, chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, and several breeds of pigs as well. Currently, it’s leasing and attempting to purchase Alasa Farms, a 500-acre historic Shaker farm.

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The weekend we visited, the group was holding a fair to help raise funds for the purchase.

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Before we begin, a bit of a disclaimer: on its website, Cracker Box Palace isn’t particularly forthcoming about its positions on animal rights and veganism/vegetarianism. In some newsletters, for example, the founders allude to the cruelties of factory farming and ask for donations of vegetarian cookbooks for CBP’s gift shop. They also speak approvingly of Farm Sanctuary and credit its courses with teaching them the skills necessary to start and run an animal sanctuary. (While you may disagree with some of Farm Sanctuary’s positions – and I do – the group does include animal rights and veganism in its advocacy.)

(More below the fold…)

Pistachio Pudding Ice Cream

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

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In a New Year’s-inspired bid to clean out my kitchen cabinets, a few weeks back I finally cracked open one of the pistachio instant pudding mixes – Jello brand – that my mom gave me a few years ago. Firstly, I know what you’re thinking: Jello!?! That’s not vegan, woman! It was my first reaction, anyway, and my mom’s too. But as far as I can see, certain Jello pudding mixes are free of animal products. At least, none of the usual suspects – not gelatin, nor milk powder, nor even whey – are present. And the pistachio mix in particular is included in a number of “everyday vegan” lists (and not just PETA’s).

Anyhow, either I messed up the recipe – which would be really, terribly sad – or the mix was just too old, but the batter never did firm up into a pudding-like consistency, not even after an overnighter in the fridge. Stumped, I decided to freeze the batter until I could figure out what to do with it. And then, it finally hit me: if life gives you runny pudding, make frozen ice cream!

As you can see, the dessert shaped up nicely: rich, creamy, and oh-so-pistachio-y! I don’t really have a recipe per se, but you can try this with any instant pudding mix. Just make as you would normally, adding a little extra nondairy milk so that the batter doesn’t thicken too much, chill in the fridge for several hours, and then process according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. This also makes a nice fix if your pudding doesn’t come out quite right, as was my dilemma.

By the by, the ice cream in the photo above is shown nestled in a four-ounce shot glass because I forgot to take a picture prior to eating most of the batch, so delicious was it! Even your nonhuman friends will agree; new arrival Lemmy kept sneaking bites from my glass,

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while Kaylee damn near strained her tongue muscles whilst licking it clean!

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She lives for dirty dishes, I tell you what.

Oh, and did I forget to mention? The night I found Lemmy, I was scarfing down the rest of a quart of vanilla SoDelicious, flavored with maraschino cherry juice; the little scrub tried to stick his head in the container, so I let him have a little lick from my finger. Big mistake. He became more and more excited – pushier, you might say – until he finally started nibbling on my cherry-stained finger. That freak loves ice cream! Popcorn, too.

Errr, not that I’m spoiling him with junk food, mind you. He just happened to catch a few stray kernels from the popcorn machine Friday night. Pinky swear!

Ceiling Cat approves.

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

OMG GAIS I HAS FOUND A KITTEH ON MAI DOORSTEP!

funny pictures of cats with captions

NO SRSLY! DIS B HOW TEH STORY GHOS. *

* BUT WE IS STOP WIT TEH LOLZ SPEEK KAY? I KOOD KEEP DIS UP ALL DEY, BUT I DUNNOWS BOUT U, C. U MAY KNOT B SEW AWESUM!

Okay, so. Here’s the scene: Tuesday, early evening, about 5-ish. The dogs are starting to work themselves into a frothing frenzy in anticipation of dinner, which is usually served at 5:30. As I’m walking through the living room, massaging my throbbing temples – having just spent the afternoon playing stimulating mind games with the cabin feverish dogs, which left me more mentally exhausted than them, a headache of epic proportions was in the works – I hear a meow coming from…somewhere. Somewhere on the “dog side” of the house, where normally the only animal noises one should hear is barking and such.

(Yes, we have a “dog side” and a “cat side”! The rooms in our house are arranged such that you can divide the house in half by closing the office and living room doors. Or gating them; we usually do a combination of the two. And on the rare occasions when we need/want to leave those doors open, Ozzy has his own dedicated room on the “cat side” – the doorway to which is blocked from the dogs by a large wooden box we made specially for the purpose. Ozzy can clear it; the dogs, not so much. Double protection: score! Anyway, it’s AWESOME! We were so lucky to find this place. The only thing it’s missing is a basement…which can be a BIG THING when you live in Tornado Alley. But I digress.)

At first, I thought that Ozzy had slipped through while the dogs and I were playing games on “his” side of the house. It was difficult to tell where the meowing was coming from: not only were the dogs being rather noisy, but sounds tend to bounce off our concrete floors and mostly-empty walls. After herding the dogs into another room, I started searching the house for a wayward cat, which by this time I was fairly certain was not Ozzy. (Hey, a mom can recognize her kid’s meow/bark/chirp, yes?) Closets, cupboard, corners: no cat. Finally, I had the bright idea (cue: duh moment) to check in on Ozzy; yup, napping on his chair, just as he should be. I chalked the mystery meows up to my headache and/or imaginations.

Later on, after feeding the dogs, I plopped down in front of the tv with a snack. (Ice cream, natch.) After not two minutes, I heard the meowing again; this time, over both the din of the television and the dogs. LOUD and INSISTENT. In that moment, it clicked: there must be an animal outside in trouble! Back into the bedroom with the dogs, who were Not. Happy. to be there. (Bark, bark, BARK. Whimper, whine, sniff-scratch-sniff. BARK!)

By this time, it was obvious that the animal was lurking outside the front door. Not really knowing what to expect – should I put my shoes on? coat? will I need to chase the little guy, wrestle him into a carrier maybe? – I opened the door, and..in he walked. Strutted, more like it. Like he already lived here. As though he’d done so a million times before. Meow, meow, meow. “Feed me, mommy!” Freaking. Adorable.

(More below the fold…)

domestic terraist doggehs selebrate crifsmas wit toefoo nog (like duh!)

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

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domestic terraist bear is one of teh kewl girls.
Left to right: Kaylee, Jayne, O-Ren and the pirate-polar-vegan-terrorist criFSMas bear.
——————————

Initially, I’d planned on doing a sort of “domestic terrorist” theme for this year’s holiday (read: criFSMas) cards, using the “domestic terrorist” apron from Green is the New Red as the centerpiece. (Product description: “‘Domestic.’ Terrorist. Get it? There’s nothing funny about the FBI labeling environmental and animal advocates the ‘number one domestic terrorism threat.’ But with the Feds attempting to infiltrate vegan potlucks, why not accessorize? […] Happy ‘terrorizing’! But be careful in the kitchen. Did you know tofu makes you gay?” Vegan chefs are scary, yo! Also: my dog-kids consume a fair amount of tofu. Additionally, they are super-psyched about today’s repeal of DADT. Draw your own conclusions, mkay.)

While my idea was solid, its execution was not: the apron proved way too large for the dogs (which was to be expected, even though it looks super-tiny – not to mention satiny – on the model), so at first I tried putting it on our pirate polar bear.

I think you’ll agree that she looks super-snazzy in it

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but she’s also, well, kind of a big girl. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you; she’s vegan and totes in shape. But it proved next to impossible to fit both her and a dog in the camera frame. And so I re-staged the set, hanging the apron from the tree and surrounding it with fake fruits and veggies and a vase filled with pasta-related kitchen utensils.

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(Ignore the white fur on the black apron. Living with four white dogs and a mostly-white cat, it cannot be helped.)

Better, but once I went back and examined the photos on my computer monitor, I realized that the paddles looked really odd and stupid. Tremendously so. Plus, there was still a lot of floor and wall showing. Dislike.

So on day #2 of shooting, I ditched the setup and instead opted for a sea of book piles, coupled with a vase filled with angel hair pasta, and complemented with a sparkly “peace” ornament and baby flying spaghetti monster. The new theme? Peace and pasta.

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That taste? Perfection!

Not wanting the domestic terrorist photos to go to waste, I decided to make a series of (VEGAN!) lol dogs out of them. And so I give you: domestic terraist doggehs! (And one kitteh, who barely sat still long enough for me to take three pictures of him. His caption is most fitting.)

lol ozzy - is a terror allrite

title: lol ozzy – is a terror allright
caption: “domestic terraist kitteh” is a redundancy
——————————

lol ralphie - thot u said petdown

title: lol ralphie – thot u said petdown
caption: domestic terraist doggeh will take that patdown now, mkay
——————————

lol peedee - go boom

title: lol peedee – go boom
caption: domestic terraist doggeh be a walkin’ thyme bomb
(idea shameless borrowed from a blog of the same name)
——————————

lol rennie - be happy 2 show u her mitts

title: lol rennie – be happy 2 show u her mitts
caption: domestic terraist doggeh be hostin a v-gun potluck next week
(u bring teh loaded taters kay?)
——————————

lol kaylee - kills wit spiceness

title: lol kaylee – kills wit spiceness
caption: domestic terraist doggeh is about 2 es’splode ur taste budz
——————————

lol jayne - is be busted

title: lol jayne – is be busted
caption: domestic terraist doggeh pleads deh lish
(hint: if you don’t get it, sound it out loud!)
——————————

In many ways, I think I like this series better than the “real” card I ended up with (and the outtakes I made for each dog; yes, I’ve been a busy bee). But hey, there’s always next year. Well, not really. I’ve already got plans for 2011, and they involve Kaylee, Jayne and Joss Fucking Whedon. (One hint: SPACE PIRATES!) 2012, perhaps. I’m sure the theme will still be relevant then, unfortunately.

The Season of the Vegan: VeganMoFo, Halloweegan & Birthday Kisses

Saturday, October 9th, 2010
  • If you’re vegan and on the internets, then probably you already know all about the awesomeness that is VeganMoFo. But a reminder never hurts now, does it?

    Vegan MoFo IV logo banner

    VeganMoFo is a month-long celebration of all things vegan food-related, in intertubes carnival form. Throughout the month of November, vegan bloggers the world over pledge to post about the joys of vegan food once a day, with the goal of generating at least 20 posts for the month (weekends are optional!). Topics run the gamut, from original recipes to theme days and photo essays to contests and giveaways. Last year, over 500 bloggers participated, yours truly included. (You can browse an archive of my VeganMoFo contributions here.)

    If you’re interested in being a MoFoer – in blog or in spirit – check out VeganMoFo Headquarters International, where a team of MoFoers will be recapping all the hot, sticky, NOMy vegan action in real time. You can also follow them on Twitter (@veganmofo), where you should totally share your own #veganmofo links – tagged according, natch. For the Flickerites among us, there’s even a VeganMoFo group; join and share, mkay?

    The sign-up deadline to be included in the RSS feed / “official” list of participants is 11/2, but you can jump in at any time! (Sign-up sheet here.)

    Last year, there was a push to garner media coverage for the event; I don’t know whether something similar is planned for 2010, but you should definitely keep an eye on the PPK forums for more. If necessary, last year’s sample press release can easily be reworked for VeganMoFo IV.

  • lol ozzy - cannibalizin

  • Not being a PPK regular, I initially thought that, as in years past, VeganMoFo IV was scheduled for October. But, not so much. Luckily, October is home to its own brand of awesomeness: Halloween!

    Wing-It Vegan is leading the Halloween festivities with a month of Halloweegan treats. (Halloween + vegan = Halloweegan, silly!) Spider Cupcakes, Vampire Cookies and Veggieloaf Coffins, oh my! You can browse an index of her Halloween-themed recipes here; she’s helpfully included links to other vegan creations ’round the interwebs, too. And if you’re on Flickr, join her newly-birthed Halloweegan group so you can get in on the fun.

  • Similarly, the good folks at VegWeb.com have assembled a dedicated Halloween page. Hit ’em up for Halloween-themed recipes, costume and party ideas, leads on yummy vegan Halloween candy and more.
  • Last Thursday was Kaylee and Jayne’s adoption day (four years) and observed birthdays (twelve and six years, respectively). I meant to at least mention it on the 30th, but happily we were too busy celebrating! At nine days past due, you’d think I’d just accept that the moment has passed, and maybe it’s silly, but…I feel a little remiss if I don’t at least give the kids an on-blog shout-out. Guilty, even. I know, I know, I’m such a mom.

    Anyhow, Shane and I drove the girls to nearby Smithville Lake, where we took a leisurely stroll along the water (2.11 miles in 53 minutes!). Kaylee is a naturally slow walker (she doesn’t walk so much as meander); whereas Jayne, possibly owing to abandonment issues, won’t walk more than five feet in front of you without stopping and/or retreating back, presumably to confirm that you haven’t ditched her while she wasn’t looking. It’s rather sad, actually. But it was a beautiful, shiny day and I think we all were happy to get out of the house.

    2010-09-30 - Walking Kaylee & Jayne - 0009

    2010-09-30 - Walking Kaylee & Jayne - 0011

    (More below the fold…)

  • VeganMoFo, Day 31: Ginger Snaps, Vegan Zombies & Hallow-weenies

    Saturday, October 31st, 2009

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    And the consumer becomes the consumed!

    It’s October 31st, folks! You know what that means: Halloween and the end of VeganMoFo. Thirty-one days, thirty-one posts. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted….and totally looking forward to VeganMoFo IV!

    The Mr. and I will spend the day taking in an orgy of Halloween horror movies and vegan junk food, so I don’t have enough time to put together a cohesive post. But that’s okay, because hopefully you don’t have time to read a cohesive post.

    On the schedule for today, movie-wise, is:

    The Alphabet Killer (2008)

    The Alphabet Killer is based on the double initial killings in Rochester, New York in the early 1970s. Eliza Dusku stars as Megan Paige, a police officer who is highly committed to the job. She develops schizophrenia, lasting for more than six months, and includes one month of active symptoms such as illusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior. Megan’s obsession leads her to a breakdown and a violent episode which lands her in the hospital. She eventually loses her fiance, Kenneth (Cary), and her job. Two years later Megan is back working as an advisor, but her more or less normal life goes to hell again when another murder is called in. Her fire rekindled, Megan sets out to find the killer, and this time she plans to get the job done, with or without the department’s assistance.

    Fairly B-grade stuff, but it’s set in my hometown, so it’s a no-brainer. Still waiting on the Arthur Shawcross Lifetime movie-of-the-week.

    Ginger Snaps (2000)

    Is becoming a woman analogous, in some deep psychological way, to becoming a werewolf? Ginger is 16, edgy, tough, and, with her younger sister, into staging and photographing scenes of death. They’ve made a pact about dying together. In early October, on the night she has her first period, which is also the night of a full moon, a werewolf bites Ginger. Within a few days, some serious changes happen to her body and her temperament. Her sister Brigitte, 15, tries to find a cure with the help of Sam, a local doper. As Brigitte races against the clock, Halloween and another full moon approach, Ginger gets scarier, and it isn’t just local dogs that begin to die.

    Feminist horror: yes, please! (See also: Teeth. No, seriously, go watch it. Now!)

    (More below the fold…)

    Scientists, Poets, Changemakers and Heroes (Volunteer Opportunities & Action Alerts)

    Monday, October 26th, 2009

    There are several “actionable items” – not quite action alerts, but rather opportunities for participation, if that makes sense – I’ve been meaning to share, but just haven’t had the time to blog about in depth. Rather than neglect these projects altogether, here’s a handy-dandy roundup. Please scan through each item and help out where you can; these virtual volunteer opportunities are perfect for activists who have more extra time than they do money!

    1. Science

    It really chaps my rotund hide when speciesists claim that animal advocates are “anti-science.” Being all diverse and stuff, I’m sure the animal rights and welfare movements are home to a fair share of science-averse humans, but for the most part, we’re hardly anti-science. On the contrary: many of us harness the power of scientific research to demonstrate that veganism is a healthier alternative to “meat” and dairy consumption; that nonhuman animals can experience complex thoughts and emotions; that our exploitation of nonhumans animals is both unnecessary and harmful; etc., etc., etc. (you get the idea). On the whole, I don’t think we’re any more anti-science than our omni counterparts.

    Personally, I love science; once upon a time, I wanted to be a clinical psychologist, specializing in anthrozoology and world vegan (then vegetarian, but wev) domination. I still peruse research articles and scientific journals (of a social nature) on occasion, just for the fun of it. No, it’s not science per se that I take issue with. Rather, I object to the imprisonment, torture, killing and exploitation of sentient, non-consenting animals, usually for redundant and frivolous research.

    So I’ve become increasingly interested in “vegan” science, particularly in supporting such endeavors whenever possible. For example, I would love to donate my body to science when I die. The thought of spending my “afterlife” rotting away on a body farm somewhere brings a smile to my face; doubly so if my remains can save a nonhuman animal from being birthed, tortured and killed in the name of science. Oooh, Dr. Brennan, pick me, pick me!

    Anyhow, when I saw an ad for research volunteers in the latest issue of Best Friends magazine, I immediately fired off an email to Dr. Frank McMillan to see how I might help. He pointed me to five open surveys, all of which are related to studies he’s conducting at Best Friends (as described here):

    Dr. Franklin McMillan has been the director of well-being studies at Best Friends since October 2007. As director of well-being studies, Dr. Frank assesses and studies the mental health and emotional well-being of animals who have endured hardship, adversity and psychological trauma. Through these studies, he hopes to learn what the effects of trauma are – the psychological injuries and scars – and how best to treat them in order to restore to these animals a life of enjoyment rather than one of fear and emotional distress.

    He is currently conducting such studies on cats from the Great Kitty Rescue in Pahrump, Nevada – an institutionalized hoarding situation – and the fighting dogs taken from the estate of former NFL quarterback Michael Vick.

    (More below the fold…)

    Kinship Circle: Act/ Cop Shoots Deaf, 19-Year-Old Family Cat

    Sunday, October 25th, 2009

    Astute readers may notice that I linked to this particular Kinship Circle alert several weeks ago as part of my weekly link roundup. Even so, since this shooting occurred in Raymore, Missouri – i.e., in my neck of the woods – I formatted and posted the alert in full on the KC Freecycle blog, and figured I may as well repost it here as well.

    This is just one of several animal cruelty cases highlighted by Kinship Circle in the past month; see also:

    10/20/09: Two Dogs Shot At Point Blank Range In New York

    10/13/09: Get Serial Cat Killer Off New York Streets

    If you choose to contact officials in any of these cases, feel free to append this animal abuse reference list to your correspondence.

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Kinship Circle – info [at] kinshipcircle.org
    Date: Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 4:36 PM
    Subject: Act/ Cop Shoots Deaf, 19-Year-Old Family Cat

    KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY / PERMISSION TO CROSSPOST
    10/10/09: Cop Shoots Deaf, 19-Year-Old Family Cat

    Kinship Circle - 2009-10-10 - Cop Shoots Deaf, 19-Year-Old Family Cat

    Tobey the cat who was shot and killed by Raymore, MO police. (source)

    (More below the fold…)

    Kinship Circle: Pass California Declaw Bans, So Other Cities Follow

    Sunday, October 25th, 2009

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Kinship Circle – info [at] kinshipcircle.org
    Date: Thu, Oct 8, 2009 at 3:48 PM
    Subject: Act/ Pass Calif Declaw Bans, So Other Cities Follow

    KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY / PERMISSION TO CROSSPOST

    10/8/09: Pass California Declaw Bans, So Other Cities Follow
    **SEND COMMENTS BEFORE 10/27/09, WHEN SANTA MONICA MAY VOTE ON A BAN**

    Kinship Circle - 2009-10-08 - Pass California Declaw Bans

    EVERYONE SHOULD SEND COMMENTS to Santa Monica and Malibu city officials.
    Opposing lobbies such as the CVMA and SCVMA certainly will. Let’s be louder. Declawing hurts. It’s a “surgery of convenience” for people with no benefit for cats. Every city that bans it sets an example for the next city…

    (More below the fold…)

    VeganMoFo, Day 25: Have a Pumpkin (Not a Cow!) Loaf (for dogs & their peoples)

    Sunday, October 25th, 2009

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    2007-10-18 - Ozzy the Pumpkin - 0006

    Ozzy is not amused by all this talk of pumpkin-flavored dog food.

    The dogs finished off their last batch of homemade food yesterday, so I had to throw something together in a hurry. I decided to try a seasonal Halloween version of the “Have-a-Hearty Hound Loaf,” which basically consists of a base of mashed tofu and/or beans, dressed up with various goodies (Italian Tofu Styley, anyone?).

    This time around, I mixed mashed tofu with pureed pumpkin, black beans, ginger, cinnamon, dried apples and cranberries, and a bit o’ carob chips to give the loaf an orange/candied feel. My initial instinct was to use a sweet potato puree in place of the pumpkin, but little Miss Rennie doesn’t seem to care for sweet potatoes, so I decided against it. (I made a sweet potato soup/gravy for them a few weeks back, and she so disliked it that I had to make an extra dish of mixed veggies and beans just for her. Hmph!) But you can sub in sweet potatoes if you’d rather.

    Also, I was running a little low on pumpkin puree; I thought about mixing in some rolled or quick oats, but didn’t want to dilute the pumpkin flavor too much, so decided against it. Add extra pumpkin and oats if you’ve got ’em – don’t be shy!

    This dish is meant for the dogs, but you can probably play around with the seasonings and spice it up to your own liking. The finished loaf holds up well, retaining its shape and integrity, even though the center is rather moist and crumbly. The dogs sure like it, and as an added bonus, it gives off a very autumnal odor that will linger for hours – until well after you’ve cleaned the dishes and stashed the leftovers in the fridge.

    Have a Pumpkin (Not a Cow!) Loaf

    2009-10-24 - Have a Pumpkin Loaf - 0009

    (More below the fold…)

    VeganMoFo, Day 4: HALP!

    Sunday, October 4th, 2009

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    In what’s shaping up to be an annual tradition, the Mr. and I spent the afternoon tramping through stalks of corn at the Liberty Corn Maze. For today’s VeganMoFo post, I’d hoped to share some lovely autumn-themed photos from the maze and its other attractions; cue images of fat, orange pumpkins; juicy, red apples; Halloween decor; steaming cider; maybe even an apple bobbing contest. While the maze itself was fun, I came up empty on photo ops. You see, the Mr. and I have been going to the maze every fall for a few years now, but this is the first time we veered right towards the adjacent pumpkin patch.

    Well, come to find out, the farmers running the show expect you to pay for the privilege of purchasing a pumpkin from their enchanted lil’ patch. While the corn maze is the main attraction, they have some other activities set up for the kiddos next door; admission for the two is completely separate. And the patch is part of that second attraction! So even if you want to buy a pumpkin – or, I assume, something to eat – you have to pay a surcharge just to go browse. Weak, right? And if that isn’t bad enough, one of the featured activities – you know, for the children – is pig racing. Ugh. As much as I balked at the prospect of being ripped off, sponsoring animal abuse cinched the deal. No pumpkins this weekend!

    So instead, I’m sending out a Very Serious SOS.

    Behold, my miscellaneous kitchen utensil drawer:

    2009-10-04 - Kitchen Drawers - 0003

    It’s a fooking mess. Ladles, whisks, ice cream scoopers, Tofurkey basters, spatulas, sporks, knife sharpeners: all in shambles. If a given implement is located in this fright of a drawer, it’s nigh impossible to find what you need, when you need it. And on the off chance that you are lucky enough to find that which you seek, good luck untangling it from all the other junk inside. Tines cling to wire, spoons become ensnared in banana mashers, tongs intertwine with beaters…oy vey! Seriously, there has got to be a better way.

    By comparison, my eating utensil drawer looks positively dreamy. Sure, the tray might not fit snugly inside, and maybe the knives jiggle to and fro, but at least I can find a spoon on request. I’ve thought about using similar trays to herd the other utensils into some semblance of organized quietude, but that would probably require a drastic expansion in drawer space – and that’s real estate I simply don’t have. Heck, some of the lesser-used utensils are already languishing in storage for lack of space!

    Hey, big time vegan foodie porno blogger peoples – how do y’all store your mishmash of handheld kitchen goodies? Peg boards? Lazy Susans? Toy hammocks? Sustainable-harvested bamboo armoires lined with skeins of crushed red velvet?

    HALP!

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    An American Opera Goes on an American Tour

    Friday, September 4th, 2009

    An American Opera (Poster)

    This past weekend marked the 4th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Four years ago last Saturday, Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, causing untold property damage, environmental destruction and loss of life from Florida through Texas. At least 1,836 humans died, victims of nature, government ineptitude and indifference, and racism and classism. The number of nonhuman animal victims will never be known.

    Though I didn’t observe the occasion here in writing, the anniversary didn’t pass me by unnoticed. The weekend’s birthday celebrations were bittersweet; while spoiling my dog-kids with homemade treats, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the many dogs who perished in the storm and its aftermath – some of them murdered in cold blood, by people who should have been their protectors.

    A year after Katrina, I marked the day with a sort a photo retrospective, which I titled “The Greatness of a Nation,” after the much-loved Mahatma Gandhi quotation. Three years later, I don’t have much to add, so I invite you to go check it out if you haven’t already.
     


     
    The past four years have seen a number of books and films made about Hurricane Katrina; see, for example, Douglas Brinkley’s The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast (2006); Jed Horne’s Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City (2008); and Josh Neufeld’s A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge (2009). Many of these projects have focused on animal rescue efforts: Mike Shiley’s Dark Water Rising: Survival Stories of Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescues (2006); Best Friends’ Not Left Behind: Rescuing the Pets of New Orleans (2006); Cathy Scott’s Pawprints of Katrina: Pets Saved and Lessons Learned (2008); and even children’s books, such as Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival (2008).

    Released in 2007, Tom McPhee’s An American Opera: The Greatest Pet Rescue Ever! is a documentary recounting the spontaneous and titanic efforts undertaken by local and national animal activists to rescue the nonhuman animals caught in Hurricane Katrina’s wake:

    Tom McPhee’s An American Opera: The Greatest Pet Rescue Ever! is a multi-award winning documentary film chronicling what happened during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana when pet owners were forced to evacuate without their pets. An American Opera follows the pets, vets, owners, officials, rescuers, and adopters of animals as they try to remedy the situation, revealing that not everyone had the same goal of saving animals. Tom McPhee directed, narrated, and produced the film with the production companies Man Smiling Moving Pictures and Cave Studio.

    Interviewing leaders of animal organizations and volunteers who went to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, it is revealed that at the beginning, everyone had different ideas about how things should be done, but no one was willing to take charge because the problem was bigger than anyone could have imagined. The film champions the volunteers whose only concern was saving animals, unlike the animal organizations who were more concerned with the chain of command.

    After about a month, the state put the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in charge who told the volunteers to stop rescuing. Anyone not with the LA/SPCA was considered ‘rogue’ and operating outside the authority. Meanwhile, the police in St. Bernard Parish were shooting dogs in what they say was a form of mercy.

    Months after Katrina, many owners are still not reunited with their pets because they do not know where they are and do not have the means to find them. Some people have found that their animals have been adopted out and cannot get them back.

    The film ends with Barkus, a Louisiana pet parade, indicating New Orleans was not washed away with the hurricane.

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    Monday Miscellany

    Monday, August 31st, 2009

    2009-08-13 - Kaylee - 0002

    She may look sweet and innocent here, but as I type this, Kaylee is dancing around my feet, woofing up a storm, for no discernible reason other than that she’s a pushy old broad. Did I mention that it’s getting late and my head hurts?

    It’s been crazy ’round these parts the past few weeks, and as light as posting has been, my blogging will probably wane even more with the high summer temps. Shane and I have a number of outdoor projects we’d like to finish before winter (winter, ack! no want!), and even though we’ve finally admitted defeat and called in the pros to knock out some tasks,

    2009-08-27 - Tree Removal - 0001

    I so hate that I paid someone to cut down trees. Hey, don’t look at me like that. It was euthanasia, not biocide.

    there’s still plenty to do.

    2009-08-30 - Yard, Rock Wall & Paths - 0010

    I wonder what the previous homeowners would say if they knew we removed 50% of the landscaping they constructed?

    If I never have to build a rock wall again, I’ll die a happy vegan.

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    Coming Soon: Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Animal Companion Day!

    Thursday, July 30th, 2009

    2006-09-30 - PM-Kaylee&JayneMake5-0299

    I’m usually one to roll my eyes at pseudo-holidays – National Hot Dog Day, anyone?; and, hell, even some of the “real” holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving – but I’m pleasantly surprised to see that Petfinder has designated August 12 Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day:

    To help senior, special-needs and other often-overlooked pets find homes, We’ve named August 12 Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable- Pet Day. Visit our special section to:

    * Get widgets to help pets find homes
    * Find out which pets have it hardest
    * Read touching adoption stories
    * Learn why “less adoptable” pets rule!

    And help us spread the word: Some pets are “less adoptable,” but they’re just as lovable!

    Which animals have it hardest, you wonder?

    Big black dogs. FIV+ cats. Senior pets. Special-needs pets. To help these and other often-overlooked pets find homes, Petfinder has named August 12 “Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day.”

    We asked our shelter and rescue group members: Which pets are the hardest to place?

    Here’s what they said:

    * 30% senior/older pets
    * 15% pets with medical problems
    * 13% victims of breed prejudice
    * 10% shy pets
    * 10% those who need to be the only pet

    “Pit Bulls are the No. 1 dog put down in our local shelters. There are too many of them, and there is never enough time to get them all adopted.”

    “There’s also a ‘big black cat syndrome’! Hard to believe, but many people are still biased against black cats, especially if they’re big.”

    “Once a dog is past 1-2 years old, people flat-out expect it to be housetrained. They consider the dog too old to be trained if they’re not housetrained by 2.”

    (Links mine.)

    Speciesist language aside (HIM! People expect HIM to be housetrained!), I love the idea of promoting not just adoption, but the adoption of “special needs” animals, who usually fare worse in shelters and rescues alike. (Though, happily, some rescues do specialize in hard-to-place animals, while others provide them permanent sanctuary; Old Dog Haven is a personal favorite!)

    My own family is a mix of “normal” and “special needs” animals.

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    Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 5

    Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

    Sarah Palin - Bear Skin

    It’s been way too long since my last intersectionality roundup. Between work and drugs (settle down, I’m referring to the prescription kind!) I got a little distracted, with little-to-no time for blogging – or blog reading, for that matter. Thus, many of these links are a little older, as in the beginning of July old. No less interesting, just…they’ve probably been around the blocks a time or two. They still need some love and attention though, mkay?

    Striking at the Roots: LGBT Compassion Campaigns for Social Justice

    Mark Hawthorne interviews LGBT Compassion founder Andrew Zollman, touching upon animal rights, LGBTQ issues and the confluence of the two. (Y’all might recall that I wrote about LGBT Compassion in the last edition of ‘Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs.’)

    Animals Rights @ Change .org: Butchers Are Hot. Blood Is Sexy. Killing Is Hip. This Is Not Progress.

    No excerpt or explanation necessary. Expect this one to hit Feministing, since it celebrates women killers as well as their male counterparts.

    Vegansaurus: The Fat Vegan, or OH HELL NO YOU DID NOT.

    Vegan guru/purveyor of meals in a cup Dr. McDougall recently published an article in his newsletter titled “The Fat Vegan.” GREAT. Yet another thing to shame fat people into being embarrassed about their weight but this time from a vegan perspective. […]

    At the SF Pride Parade this year, there was a float from the folks at SF Bay Vegetarians, and it made me so proud to see such a diverse group of vegans, not just the stereotypical sallow honkies. We need people of all sizes, shapes and colors to fight against animal cruelty.

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    Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 4

    Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

    LGBT Compassion - Screenshot

    LGBT Compassion

    One of the newest additions to the “Intersections” category on my blogroll, LGBT Compassion is a

    coalition of San Francisco Bay Area gay animal advocates (and some non-gay friends) working to promote awareness of animal welfare, health, environmental, and civil rights issues within our community – along with any other important social issues that we feel strongly about.

    We feel that the LGBT community, having experienced discrimination, oppression and suffering ourselves, having special health issues, and often having unique bonds with companion animals, should be open to learning and helping others who may not be able to speak up for themselves – whether human or non-human.

    Their motto: Fighting oppression and discrimination for all. Love it.

    I first learned of the group through its investigation into San Francisco’s live animal markets, where chickens are kept and displayed for sale in plastic bags (!). If you haven’t yet, definitely go check ’em out.

    PETA Asia-Pacific: Urge Egypt’s Prime Minister to Stop Cruel Pig Cull

    When I saw that PETA was campaigning against the pig culls in Egypt, I was excited. Last I checked, the WSPA had reached a standstill with the Egyptian government, which was insisting that the culls had ceased, despite evidence to the contrary. Writing about the issue at change.org, I wanted desperately to offers readers an opportunity to take action. But nada – until now.

    When I actually read the sample letter provided by PETA, though, my heart sank. Rather than calling for an end to the culls, PETA asks the government to “Please place a moratorium on the pig cull until guidelines can be put in place to ensure that the killing is as humane as possible.” This despite the fact that the culls are wholly unnecessary – an inefficient way to guard against swine flu. And this comes not from animal advocacy groups, but government experts (such as those at the UN) – who, on the whole, aren’t really known for their animal-friendly views.

    Add to the mix the possibility that the culls might have as much to do with religious discrimination as swine flu paranoia, and PETA really dropped the ball here. Not only has the group failed to defend the pigs from slaughter – it also failed to take the majority Muslim government to task for oppressing the minority Christian farmers. PETA even reinforces the government’s bigotry by pleading for a “humane” pig cull at a later date!

    Oh, with friends like these…

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