Posts filed under ‘Book talk’

Things that are good

There is no format today, I just wanted to share a couple good things with you guys.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it before, but my absolute favorite part of my entire apartment is the built in cabinet in my dining room.

Its just so adorable. It is also where I keep my tea (inside that koala are about 7 boxes worth of tea) and vegan cookbooks. It’s just one of those things in my life that makes me happy.

Another thing that  makes me happy is this camera:
Its a Kodak Duaflex II and I’ve had it for about 3 years (my friend Kate got it for me for my 18th birthday.) I have moved it from philadelphia to chicago to philadelphia to maine and I have never used it. I am sick of not knowing what to do with it, so I’ve decided to figure out how to use it and print some sick photos this summer.

I’ve been reading The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for the past month in my down time and I am in love with it.

I love the atmosphere, the strange short mysteries, but mostly I love the vocabulary. I always knew that the term “Pub” came from the phrase”Public House” but I had never heard that phrase used in context until Sherlock Holmes. It sounds so lovely. I’ll see you, I’m just going down to the public house to engage a man in a round of fisticuffs etc. Love it.


SPRING BREAK IS ONLY A WEEK AWAY. Sweet Jesus thank God praise Allah Sh’ma Yis’ra’el Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad  etc.

Oh how badly I need this break.

Not that I’ll actually have much time for rest as I have projects for all six of my classes due the week after break, but at least I won’t be in classes all day everyday, and Dan and Kate are visiting me! So Excited!


March 6, 2011 at 5:09 am 1 comment

Starter kit for new vegans: Up the Folks style.

Today’s post was inspired by Mama Pea’s Employees Pick post over at Peas and Thank You

I feel like I talk a lot more about veganism than most of my friends and acquaintances would like. This would normally bother me, as I try to live my life in a way that offends as few people as possible. However, with veganism I usually throw caution to the wind, state my opinion, and encourage others to look in to changing their habits in a similar way. It is one of the only things about which I am unabashedly an activist.

I was recently able to see a whole new crop of vegetarian college students come in to being during an english 101 class where we read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. I watched them beginning this journey and I felt old. They were worrying about things like protein and family dinners and all the things that I had to deal with when I first switched to a vegetarian lifestyle at 12 years old. 8 years later,  because of my years of experience, I want to offer a list of the resources, cookbooks, and reading materials that helped me when I was first starting out and have continued to use as I have been living my vegan life. I hope that if you (a theoretical stranger considering veganism) stumble on to this site, this list may help you with this process.

1.) Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

I first read VwaV about 6 months after going vegan (I say read, because I sat down and read it cover to cover like a novel) and even though the recipes are great and I have used them consistently for the last 4 years, they were not the most important thing about this book to my  newly vegan, isolated self. What struck me, and helped me about this book was Isa. Her writing made me feel like this choice I had made was smart and dooable and not something outlandish like most of my family (excluding the 5 people that make up my mother and her family) and all but one of my friends were implying at the time. this book made me feel like I was normal, and more importantly it made me feel like I was super punx.

2.) Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

I’ve talked about this book  ad nauseam, but in case you don’t feel like reading my lengthy review I’ll sum up my feelings about it in one sentence: It made me cry, and gave me hope.

3.) Earthlings
It is informative, terrifying, heartbreaking, and not something to watch if you aren’t completely ready to become a vegan. That is to say, it would be hard for the average human with even the slightest bit of empathy to watch this and not eschew all animal products and systems that allow animal abuse. I know vegans who could not watch this all the way through, but it is important. I leave the decision up to you, but suggest trying to give it a watch.

4.) Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook by Carole Raymond

This book really doesn’t have much to do with the ethics of veganism, but it does have a bunch of really delicious cheap recipes that make enough for 1 or 2 people. This works particularly well for me as a single college student. It uses simple ingredients that most starter vegans can find at a “normal” grocery store, and doesn’t require trips to specialty stores for every recipe.

5.) Vegan a Go-Go by Sarah Kramer

This is another book, much like VwaV, where the recipes are amazing but what really rules are the travel tips and stories that Sarah Kramer shares. I can relate to her stories, and she has an easy way about her writing that makes it seem like she accepts everyone. This is particularly great for new vegans who may be feeling intimidated by people in the community that may appear standoffish or superior. Sarah Kramer is neither of those things, she is awesome.

Please feel free too leave further suggestions for new vegans in the comments!

January 8, 2011 at 9:35 am 2 comments

In which I prove that my attention span is approximately the same as that of a gnat.

Well hello there,

*Giveaway announcement at the end of this  post*

Sooo, The weekly update thing was a nice laugh, but it’s not really working for me.

I believe that this is due to my intensely disorganized thoughts and my unwillingness to order said thoughts in to an easily readable, logical format.

I’ve been working on a project that I cannot show you yet. I can, however, tell you what it is and show you some heavily cropped sneak peaks of the pictures I’m working with. You ready?

Can you tell what it’s going to be?
It’s a calendar full of ATTRACTIVE VEGANS WITH GOATS. Actual title to be announced in the future.

Essentially I’m taking these pictures and making lovely little watercolors (or drawings) of them and turning those in to a 12-month calendar.

now, you may be asking yourself why I’m not just using the pictures, and am instead making them in to watercolors. I am making watercolors (or drawings) for several reasons. They are as follows,

First and most importantly: These are not my photos, and just taking a bunch of other people’s pictures and throwing them together isn’t really a thing. I mean, it’s a thing, but it’s not really a “project.”

Second reason: They are all different sizes and quality, so if I want this to be cohesive at all I’d have to alter it anyway.

Third reason: I love the shit out of watercolor.

Seriously, I love it.

When this is all done and printed, I’m going to sell them and donate all profits made (after printing) to Farm animal sanctuary . I know, I know SO VEGAN.

Unfortunately, I am currently separated from all my art supplies by about 7 hours of driving. Until I return gloriously to the cold dark north I’m just going to sit around and read this book that Jocelyn lent me (okay, in reality it will probably take me a couple hours to finish.)

It’s called The Year of Secret Assignments and it’s one of those books that is often favored by girls between the ages of 10-13. Are we re-living our adolescence? Perhaps. Who cares? Those journal-style young adult books were so great. I personally was a fan of Angus, Thongs, and Full-frontal Snogging.

Jocelyn makes music, and she is awesome. She is working on a CD right now in a real life recording studio, and you guys can expect me to pimp it really hard when she finishes it.

In honor of these horrible short days and to perhaps stave off some of the depression that comes along with the lack of light I’ve decided to do a small giveaway. Nothing too exciting, unless you live somewhere that doesn’t have… CANDY CANE JOJOS

I stole this image from click photo to get to their site.

too enter the giveaway, please write your favorite summer activity in the comments.


See you guys later!

December 29, 2010 at 10:09 pm 3 comments

Eating Animals

This will be the second installment of the new feature where I blather on about books and tell you to read them.

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.

About 9 months ago I went to go see Jonathan Safran Foer give a talk at the free library of philadelphia (as part of their free author lecture series.) I had read Everything is Illuminated and Extremely loud and Incredibly close before. I knew he had written a book called Eating animals, and that my vegan friends were all starting to read it. I however, had not read it but I wanted to see what he had to say and I went. He spent the beginning of the talk explaining why he wrote the book. Then (here is the important part) he spent an entire hour in an open question-answer style dialogue with the audience. Some of whom were not very happy with what he was saying (though I assume they were there because they didn’t like the idea of the book, and had not in fact read the book itself.) I have never heard anyone talk about animal rights in such a non-confrontational and eloquent way before and I left the lecture feeling ecstatic that someone who was rather well known, and not PETA (my dislike for PETA will be another post) was bringing attention to animal rights and food issues.

Knowing that, and my stance on the actual issue of eating animals (vegan), you should probably just accept my bias  towards liking this book. And since I don’t want to bore you to death raving about it for 80 pages, I will just pick out some things that got my attention and reasons I think you should maybe check it out.

1.) JSF starts Eating Animals with a chapter called “storytelling” where he lays out his own personal experiences with eating and the cultural and social aspects of food and eating. He says right out that he has not been a strict vegetarian since he started thinking about the issue of eating animals and that he has occasionally eaten meat. This is important. This is important because the vast majority of people will automatically  assume you feel superior to them if you restrict your intake of animals for ethical reasons and then write a book about it. But what JSF does is make himself exceptionally human to the reader, he allows them to see things he is maybe not so proud of, and that allows readers to let their guard down. He says that he did the research for the book so he could fully understand what he is feeding his child. A struggle that almost everyone who has children can relate to. He also talks about his grandmother and family dynamics and in this chapter and there is an anecdote from his grandmother talking about her experience in the holocaust that I find fascinating and very important:

“The worst it got was near the end. A lot of people died right at the end, and I didn’t know if I could make it another day. A farmer, a Russian, God bless him, he saw my condition, and he went into his house and came out with a piece of meat for me.”

“He saved your life?”

“I didn’t eat it”

“You didn’t eat it?”

“It was pork, I wouldn’t eat pork.”


“What do you mean why?”

“what because it wasn’t kosher?”

“of course.”

“But even to save your life?”

“If nothing matters, there is nothing to save.”

And with that he simply and eloquently puts a point on how our ethics and actions concerning food are a huge part of what shapes us as a person. So much so for his grandmother that she would rather face starvation than compromise her ethical and religious beliefs. Most importantly it puts a subtle point on how our actions are what determine our character.

2.) I learned while reading this book. I am pretty well educated when it comes to matters of animal welfare and advocacy, and still there was information in this book that I did not know. He also looked at the problem from new perspectives, ones that are shied away from in other more one-sided books about animals. This is not a book that one needs to slog through, repeating information that anyone who has ever thought about the politics of meat already knows. That is why I often recommend this book to my vegan friends as well as the omnivores in my life.

3.) The people he talks to are not all of the same opinion as me. Many of them are currently happily employed in the animal killing business. Still, many times they seem to show that there is still the same gut reaction of guilt and empathy in them as there is in many of those of us who abstain from meat. I think that in the way JSF presents these people, he makes it almost impossible for us to make a villain out of  any individual. This is good, this is not so polarizing, this is showing hope for the human spirit as a whole.

“Have you ever wanted to spare one?”

He tells the story of a cow that had recently been brought to him. It had been a pet on a hobby farm, and “the time had come” (No one, it seems, likes to elaborate on such sentences.) As Mario was preparing to kill the cow, it licked his face. Over and over. Maybe it was used to being a companion. Maybe it was pleading. Telling the story, Mario chuckles, conveying- on purpose, I think- his discomfort. “Oh boy,” he says. “Then she pinned me against a wall and leaned against me for about twenty minutes or so before I finally got her down.

Finally, I recommend this book because it made me cry in public. I do not cry in public. It is beautiful and sad and moving and uplifting. Read it.

August 20, 2010 at 10:47 pm 1 comment

New Feature.

I’ve decided to periodically talk about books on this blog. Mostly books I like, a few books I’ve come to hate, and absolutely no books I feel neutral about. I’m probably not going to be very eloquent or analytic. They will probably be more like longwinded recommendations. Oh, and of course I’m going to talk about myself because this IS a blog after all.

Here goes (note: stay tuned or scroll down for recent artz)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Originally published in 1945

(I’m going to stick to the first book and leave the trilogy for another time.)

Douglas Adams is a personal hero of mine. This book is a sarcastic, dry, hilarious romp through space. it stars a consistently befuddled earthling (Arthur Dent) and a humanoid from somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse (Ford Prefect.) It starts with the destruction of earth and both “men” are catapulted through an adventure that involves two-headed smooth-talkers, the third-worst poetry in the known universe, the origin of man, planetary construction, and somewhere along the line it nonchalantly gives them the answer to life the universe and everything. It is absolutely delightful, and entirely aware of its own ridiculousness. Funnily enough, the object for which the book is named (an encyclopedia covering all the knowledge in the known universe. With a cover that reads “Don’t Panic”) is displayed on something that looks about the same as a graphing calculator and functions about the same as a Kindle. The idea of this object in 1945 was ridiculous, but now we would probably view it as outdated. Technological progression is crazy, amiright?
I first read this book when I was 13 and I loved the shit out of it. It held up past that age though, and I enjoyed reading it at least twice since then. It is a quick read, not very difficult to get through. I would wholeheartedly suggest it to anyone who has been wary of science fiction, it is a splendid gateway drug in to that world.

I do, briefly want to mention the movie that was made recently. It was crap. I mean, the movie on its own would probably have been an okay film, but in relation to the book? It butchered a perfectly good story line and ended up with an entirely different feel and message.
I’d have to say that the adaptation that most closely resembles the original book was the BBC miniseries that aired in 1981. The budget is (almost hilariously) low, but it definitely gets the humor and story right. Or at least, more right that the more recent film adaptation.

So, if you’ve got some time on your hands and you don’t want to read anything too taxing, pick this guy up and give it a go.

Now on to current art making.

This is actually less art, and more assignment.
As a transfer student at MECA, I was invited (but not required) to do what they call the “Mail ME” project. They give you an 8×8″ piece of paper and a theme (this year: Place) and you make art that has to do with that theme on the 8×8″ paper and mail it back in. They then display all of them together. I think its a good idea, and I decided to do it even though I wasn’t entirely required (more “encouraged.”)

I apologize ahead of time for the blurriness of these photos, my camera did NOT want to focus (I need to read the manual, I can’t figure out how to get it to give me manual control over the focus.)

and from the top,

Urgh, sorry, these pictures are really atrocious.
I am content with how it came out, but it no longer fits in the envelope they gave us in which to mail it back. I am going to call tomorrow to see if its okay for me to just drop it off at the office since I would have to walk by it to get to the post office anyway.

They are doing a background check on me at the place I interviewed for. I guess thats a good thing? they wouldn’t waste their time if they weren’t at least considering me? (desperate hope?)

Boy am I glad I never committed any crimes.

August 13, 2010 at 10:07 pm 1 comment


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