Friday, November 23, 2007

Giving Thanks

Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving! First and foremost, I am thankful for all the turkeys that were not slaughtered for our collective veg/vegan meals.

It's been a crazy couple of days. Fcat has been out in Los Angeles for the last couple of weeks working on some projects and at the very last minute, I decided to fly out to spend Thanksgiving with him (which meant I purchased my ticket on Sunday evening to leave Wednesday afternoon for a surprisingly decent price!) and to take a little break.

I love L.A.
Sunshine and light and tons of vegan friendly places, how could one not love it here?

My flight was fairly hassle-free for flying on one of the busiest travel days of the year. I prepared myself for a ton of waiting and long lines and perhaps because I was thus prepared, it wasn't bad even with the one hr delay sitting on the runway for takeoff...yes, I know I am a tease but I am saving all the fun and joy that comes with being in vegan paradise that is L.A. and the surrounding area for my next post...

This post, I wanted to share two movie screenings that I had been to recently which acutely reminds me that we should be extremely thankful for all that we have. Bryan Bantry is an agency that represents hair/makeup artists and some models. They also host movie screenings and I happen to have gotten on the screenings list- so I get to see a whole ton of movies in advance. Perhaps they host these screenings to people in the fashion/beauty industry to get a buzz going on? I have no idea, but I truly enjoy it. One year, we happened to see most of the movies that ended up getting Oscar nominations. Though honestly, sometimes I don't make it to a screening when the movie summary does not have actors or a work that I recognize, but oftentimes I do go to these lesser known movies and am pleasantly surprised.

Several weeks ago, I went to the screening of Persepolis. Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Marjane Satrapi, it is an animated movie in black and white in the same quirky style of the book. It tells the atuhor's story of being a young girl growing up in Iran as the Islamic Revolution swept in. Funny and frightening at the same time, it truly gave a sense of what it felt like to lose all the freedom that we so easily take for granted. The movie is in French and won the Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. It opens in the US on December 25, 2007.

Last week was the screening of The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, Julian Schnabel's movie version of Jean-Dominique Bauby's book. Bauby was the editor of French Elle and living the high life when he suffered a massive stroke at the age of 43. The stroke left him with a rare condition called locked-in-syndrome where he was completely mute & paralyzed with the exception of his left eyelid. This movie is incredibly sad, yet inspirational and amazing. Bauby ended up writing his book through learning to communicate with blinking through the alphabet with his left eyelid. The movie is in French and opens in NY & LA on November 30, 2007. I urge all to see it if you get a chance and be inspired by the power of the human spirit.
An absolutely intense movie, I have had days where all I want to do is boohoo into a pillow- this movie will completely banish those days when you want to throw yourself a pity-party. It is an uplifting story shot brilliantly. Go see it.

These two movies were so strong that I have not stopped thinking about them since.
So during this holiday of thanks, I give thanks for the freedom that we take for granted in this country and also for the freedom of physical movement- that the sheer beauty of walking and talking is to be appreciated. Of course, I am always thankful for the love & support of my family and friends, but also for the wonderful world of vegan bloggers!

Lastly, another update on Jack, the little orange stray:
I never heard back from the dilapidated home owners about building a shelter for Jack on their property. However,I finally spotted him last Sunday evening, the temperature had dropped and he was huddled against the threshold of the run-down house that he hangs out in front of- it was so sad. I wanted to just snatch him up & run him home. I approached him with food and he dove into the bushes. I left the food for him in front of the bushes and proceeded down the next block to grandma's.

When I left grandma's, I walked by to check on Jack and saw the woman from house next door to dilapidated house. She was feeding Jack who was patiently waiting off to the side. She had named him, Scruff. I spoke to her about building Jack/Scruff a shelter and she agreed to let me keep it on her porch. Hurray! I was elated, but I had to figure out how to build the shelter and set it up in two days before leaving for Los Angeles. Research on Monday morning led me to someone from Urban Cat League, a rescue group in Forest Hills, Queens. This person builds stray/feral cat shelters for sale and I was praying that he would have one available and he did!

I was able to coordinate the pickup and setup of the shelter with much needed help from a friend. I am grateful for the help- this shelter is a 54 gallon container and bulky, I would have never been able to cart it on the subway alone. We drove out & setup the shelter on Tuesday afternoon. I was so excited that it all worked out that I forgot to take a picture of it. Hopefully, no one steals it and I can get a picture of it when I get back. I wonder if Jack has used it yet, apparently according to the cat rescue group guy- when it's cold, the cats find it and use it. I am thankful that Jack Scruff (his new name) has a warm place to sleep when it is freezing outside.

With much gratitude for all that I have, my next post will be chock full of thanksgiving holiday pics.

Have a great weekend!


the little one said...

Hope you had a great time in LA! So glad to hear that you were able to get Jack Scruff a shelter. Yeah! You rock!

Vivacious Vegan said...

I am very interested in those movies. How exciting you get to go to the premiers! I have added them to my ongoing list.

LA is wonderful. I often wish we still lived there but I know, honestly, that our life is better here. I hope you had a wonderful time and got to try out many vegan restaurants.

Hooray for Jack's shelter. You are such a kind and caring person. If any part of the shelter faces the street, maybe you could put "To purchase a shelter like this, please call ..." Perhaps it will serve as an inspiration for others.

Village Vegan said...

Happy Thanksgiving! Being in LA must have been amazing, weather-wise at any rate! I can't wait to see your pictures...

Oh, you're on the Bryan Bantry film list? Lucky you! Both of those movies sound really interesting. Thanks for reviewing them. I'll have to keep them in mind because I think I'd like to see both of them.

I'm so glad Jack Scruff is still ok. Thank you for everything that you do for him. You're such a conscientious and caring person, and I find that inspiring.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Ooh you ARE a tease!

It's wonderful that you were able to give Jack Scruff (haha, cute new name) a little home. I just wish that every other stray was as lucky. If only more people in the world were like you...

Happy Thanksgiving :o).

stonielove said...

those movies sound very interesting! it's awesome that you got to go to screenings - it's not so often they come to vegas! yay! for the shelter, too!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

I'm interested to hear your LA tales, people from San Francisco hate it there! haha. BTW, I'm sorry I missed that film viewing, darn!
It sounds like Jack Scruff will be nice & warm this winter! You're so great.

Theresa said...

Those movies sound really compelling, but I think your relationship with this stray kitty is even more so.

VeggieGirl said...

what a fabulous post, Vko (as always!!)

I love L.A., but have never been there during the Thanksgiving season - I'm pleasantly shocked that you avoided long lines/delayed flights at the airport!! how lucky!! oh and both of those movies sound quite thought-provoking... thank you for sharing about them!

you have no idea how happy I am to hear that Jack (a.k.a. Jack Scruff - love the new name!) has shelter now. You have such a kind heart, Vko. Happy belated Thanksgiving!! :0)

urban vegan said...

LA....makes me wonder why we live onthe East Coast. (Oh year...earthquakes!)

Glad to hear about your Scruffy Jack....We're trying to catch our stray with the help of a local agency. Omni and I are going to build himher a shelter.

I love Satrapi's irreverence and can't wait to see Persepolis.

Ashasarala said...

That sound like so much fun! My friend is actually in LA right for a semester, interning at Paramount. She said it's truly a vegan paradise out there.

I'm so happy Jack has a warm place to stay. I love how caring you are. You are such a kind, sweet person. The kitty has a chance to live comfortably now. :)

Pink Theory said...

wow, thanks for the movie reviews. those sound really interesting. and its good to hear that Jack's shelter is moving forward...great news!

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