Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Parliament of Owls and a Singular Lunatic

Last week, I realized that I was crazy, as in certifiable.

I've always known that I have some not-of-the-norm tendencies, veering a tiny bit towards OCD (such as quickly scanning the glass of water at a restaurant for foreign particles, fingerprints and residual lip marks or holding my breath when someone sneezes or when feeding Booboo her stew, I remove food from the can, carefully spoon by spoon because I don't want anything to drip or get caught on the tiny lip of the can- the can which will be rinsed & recycled anyway... ).

Well, everyone's got a few quirks here and there, I just happen to have a few more. So let's take my few extra quirks and combine it with my enormous empathy for animals and you have the following situation which I shall relay to you now:

I have been hard at work producing a shoot which will take place in Los Angeles next weekend. There are all sorts of elements that go into setting up a photo shoot: hiring the stylist, hair/makeup artists, setting up catering, renting photo equipment, arranging travel, hotels & transportation, managing logistics & schedule, finding a great location, juggling egos of agents & their talent. This is just a sampling of what goes into a production.

The location element is extremely important to the shoot. The photographer relays what he's looking for and I hire a location scout to scout some suitable areas. One of the places that we had in mind was the Tustin Airfield in California. It's an abandoned military base with two gigantic hangars that is available for photo & film shoots and other rentals. It's an amazing location.

The location scout went out to the base and took pictures of all the angles and nooks & crannies that our photographer would be interested in- (scouts go with a compass, noting exact locations & time of day). The last image in his scout was something he had titled "Local Wildlife". It was a picture of an owl.

Well, it was obvious to all that this owl was not well- what was it doing on the floor, letting someone take a picture? It had to be hurt. I immediately fired off an email to the scout asking about the owl- whether it's wing was broken and if he had told anyone. He answered back that it must have been hurt because it was chomping it's beak at him. In a series of email back and forth, he replied that about 20 owls lived in the hangar and that he was sure the owl would be fine. And no, he didn't want to give me the contact of the hangar because they would not want to be bothered with this.

My concern for the owl was rapidly escalating- it would probably starve to death on the ground with a broken wing. It looked like it next to a pile of poop- probably it's last meal. I began my online research.

First, I tried to find contact information for the Tustin Airfield, but it was only available through the location service. I didn't want to ask the location service because I didn't want to lose the location for the shoot by pissing them off.

I started searching for raptor rescue groups in California, but I had to figure out the zip code & county for Tustin- I know nothing about California. Anyway, once I got all that sorted, I got a list of wildlife groups and picked the one with the same area code as Tustin. My thinking was that a group nearby might be willing to drive out to the airfield. After going through several lists, I came upon The Pacific Wildlife Project. I called them and left a message about an owl at the Tustin Airfield. I realized that this could be a wild goose chase- who would send someone out there when there wasn't even a contact for the base and then how would they find this owl in this vast hangar. And what if the owl didn't have a broken wing or maybe just old and sick? But there was definitely something wrong because it would have flown away if it could instead of squawking at the scout and backing itself against a wall... It probably wouldn't be lying next to a pile of poop if it were well and being the nocturnal creature that it is, probably wouldn't be out during the day on the floor either.

The wildlife organization returned my call rather quickly and left a message with two other numbers to call for injured raptors. I called one of the places which had instructions to call the Orange County Animal Care who would pick up the injured raptor and bring it to the raptor rehabilitator. I started having doubts about whether or not to pursue this because I didn't really have anything concrete to go on except a picture and a location. I still had tons of real work that I needed to get done and decided to leave things be because maybe I was crazy in pursuing this...

The next day, the owl was still on my mind but I know that I wouldn't have much to tell anyone, so I debated some more. Before I let it go, I had to give it one more try.

I called Orange County Animal Care and the operator asked where I was calling from. I told her that I was calling from New York and then I started blabbering about the shoot, the scout & the owl and how crazy it all sounded, but I wanted to do something to help. This is the difference between calling an agency outside of NYC and NYC, I was shocked that she didn't brush me off brusquely and tell me that there's was nothing to do without concrete information. She actually said she would transfer me because maybe someone could drive out there. Wow! I was just grateful that she didn't hang up on me, but to also tell me that there might be a way...

I was on hold for some time. A man finally picked up and I relayed my whole entire crazy story and asked if there was anything that could be done. Again, I was shocked and surprised how he took the time to discuss this. When he realized that he knew the Tustin Airfield, he explained to me how it was offered to their agency as a shelter for the animals, but the expense of upkeep for such an enormous space was too much. He asked me if I knew for sure that the owl could not fly because if I knew for certain, they would go out and find it.Wow.

Unfortunately, I didn't. I did explain to him about the poop & the squawking while it's picture was being taken. He told me that he knew about the owls that lived there. I told him that I knew there were guards because the airfield is gated (I saw the guardhouse in a picture). He said that the guard on the grounds is supposed to report on any injured animals. I then reminded him that the owl was in the hangar and then I asked if he could ask the guard to go check in the hangar. He agreed and said that he would tell his lieutenant (didn't realize that they were officers, even more impressed that this animal cop took all this time to talk to me) about the matter and see what they could do. I thanked him for his time and the work they do in helping the animals. Who knows if he was just blowing me off? I doubt that the conversation would have been that extensive if he was not going to attempt to help. So crazy as it was, I had to at least try and I did.

As for food , the rest of the week consisted of mostly ordering-in due to the stressful work schedule- though earlier on there was talk of BLT's though mine really being BST due to the spinach substitutions...tempeh bacon, nayonaise on spelt- yum!

To go with the BST, a salad which I will simply name, Festive. I had cooked some pinto beans and mixed in canned organic corn, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, olives, hearts of palm, lime & balsamic vinegar.

Had been hankering for that delicious alfredo which Urban Vegan perfected, so there was Capellini (that's all I had) Alfredo via Fettucine Alfredo a la Urban Vegan . Would have turned out great except for the fact that I ran out of unsweetened soy milk and mixed in half with vanilla almond milk. Tasted strangely like dessert, but I can see how it will be perfect next time- the creaminess is amazing and yes, the salt really contributes to the alfredo taste. Have to report: I heated some leftovers the next day and I cooked the sauce down a little more and the sweetness was totally gone. It was delicious!

To go with the capellini, maple-dijon brussel sprouts from Kornfeld's Voluptuous Vegan...
I close with a picture of my newly installed blinds. They are honeycomb blinds and super energy-efficient. They insulate - keeping the draft out and the heat in during the winter and in the summer, will keep the coolness in and the heat out. And they happen to look great!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Abandon All Hope (of meat) Ye Who Enter Here- Candle Cafe and Other Musings

Yes, I paraphrase Dante's Inferno quite liberally. I am not making any kind of analogy whatsoever- it is just a great line that's stuck in my head. In Dante's poem, the phrase is inscribed at the entrance of hell. However, there is nothing hellish about Candle Cafe, if anything I should quote Dante's Paradiso instead. This is a vegan paradise, except for the fact that they only offer one soy cheese which contains casein. Despite the dairy derived snafu, everything else in the place is pure perfection. The food is organic, delicious and well-prepared. The restaurant also buys carbon credits to offset the output of their daily operations. The waitstaff are extremely nice and service-oriented. So, what better way to celebrate recovering from my cold then a Sunday lunch at Candle Cafe!

The entrance is covered with stickers of vegetarian sentiments- my favorite one is inside. It says "Compassion- one meal at a time." From time to time, people enter wearing fur and it makes me sneer at them, but I remind myself to be grateful that they are at least having an animal-free meal.

Seitan definitely rules here. The Cajun Seitan Sandwich is so delicious- spicy pan-seared seitan, steamed greens,caramelized onions & avocado on toasted foccacia with ancho chili aioli & coleslaw.

Fanning the flames of delight with the Barbecue Tempeh Sandwich- this sandwich is all things good- barbequed tempeh, wilted kale, grilled red onion & roasted sweet potato on multigrain bread with shallot sage aioli & mesclun salad.

Alas, the pictures do the food no justice. Everyone will enjoy themselves here- vegan or omni. There are those who associate veganism with asceticism. The concensus is that vegans deny themselves because what is there left to possibly eat if one does not relish flesh or animal secretions? There is a whole other world of indulgence and the food at Candle Cafe is one of the best responses to "but what do you eat?". I love this place and everything it stands for- I will be back to order more delicious things to eat and post again and again...

After a perfect lunch, onto picking up a few necessities- toothpaste, bodywash, facial cleanser and eye-cream...all vegan and only companies on the super-strict no animal testing list of the Coalition for Consumer Info on Cosmetics. The CCIC has the most thorough process, even more so than the Peta list (which is surprising) to ensure that the cosmetics & household products are not tested on animals nor do they pay other companies to test for them. So many companies nowadays like to say that they do not test on animals, but until they register and are researched by the CCIC, any company can make that claim that they don't test, but they can certainly pay another to do so for them. For instance, Bath & Bodyworks products are on Peta's list of no animal testing companies, but I have seen some of their products printed with 'Final Product Not Tested On Animals' which means that of course everything else leading up to it was. Other companies may genuinely not test, but there's no gurantee unless they open their process up to a thorough audit. For my peace of mind, I only buy from brands from THE list.

My vegan beauty necessities: Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap, Juice Beauty's facial cleanser (Juice is great- they use all organic ingredients, don't be fooled by the name and expect it to smell yummy & fruity, it doesn't, but it's a great line nonetheless), Juice green apple eye cream (yes, I should have started on the eye cream long before, but hope springs eternal...), two fun sample pots of Juice green apple full strength peel and Jason's Healthy Mouth- Cinnamon & Tea Tree toothpaste.

We had picked up my Juice Beauty items at Sephora where the boyfriend was given a sample of eye cream from Doctor's Dermatologic Formula (DDF) and was told that it would definitely fix his oncoming deep-set creases. I scrunch my face up and tell him that it's not on the CCIC list. To which he replies that if it can fix his creases, he could try it. To which I then start reminding him about Draize's Tests and how rabbits put in full body restraints for testing are so desperate to get away from the painful test irritants that they have been known to break their backs in the process and then I ask him if that animal's agony & fear is worth it. Being thus thoroughly reminded, he acknowledged how terrible for animals to be subjected to cosmetic testing. So he shall use the sample because we are not wasteful, but he is eager to know more and to live by THE list...

I end with a picture of my little friend, Snickers. Snickers is a rescued dwarf rabbit with sharp blue eyes. Can't imagine any cosmetic or household product worth torturing an animal like Snickers. Snickers had been hired for a shoot that I did last summer. Snickers is from The Sanctuary for Animals a permanent home for animals of all species in upstate NY and they raise some money for the upkeep of their animals through commercials & photo shoots. Snickers had a recurring role on a soap opera!

We should strive to protect and speak for those who do not have a voice in our society.

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."- Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, February 23, 2007

A Week In Review

The morning after being subjected to watching my family devour that piglet's carcass, I needed a purging. Breakfast had to be scrambled tofu (yes, I love scrambled tofu), tempeh bacon, mashed sweet potato with collard greens and spelt toast.

Did I fail to mention that at almost every family gathering, someone always makes a comment regarding my veganism? This time my grandfather's brother, the revered doctor in the family, declared very loudly about whether or not I truly felt healthy with my vegan lifestyle because I seemed pale in comparison to all in the room. Everyone went silent. I was caught off-guard. Recovering quickly, I told him that on the contrary, I felt great and I went to stand between my two aunts, and asked all if I was paler than they were, knowing full well that I wasn't. At that point, my boyfriend is the first and only one to say that I look great because no one else wants to speak against my grand-uncle and though they might not think I look pale, they certainly do not agree with my food choices. They condemn me with their silence. In turn, their meat & dairy consumption may lead them to the 'promised land' of gout, high cholesterol and heart disease...

Well, there may have been an ounce of truth in my granduncle's observation, though his conclusions were unfounded and biased. I had been under an extreme amount of work stress the past couple of days. Stress calls for grilled 'cheese' except there was only one slice left...

Stress also calls for cookie consumption. These are the best vegan cookies from Alternative Baking Company. As you can see, I liked the oatmeal raisin.

The stress led to what I thought were terrible allergies which in actuality was a full-blown cold. I had a huge casting on Thursday where I had to video the casting in order for the clients to see more of the model's personalities & how they moved. Being fairly new to video casting and still trying to juggle another production in Los Angeles, I had tons of anxiety. And on top of it, I felt like total and complete crap.

My terrible cold asked me to make udon noodles & miso soup with wakame & tofu. Ever since I was a child, I loved to put corn in my noodle soups. I was feeling bad and I wanted corn in my soup. I bundled up (mind you it was the warmest day in weeks) and trekked out to get a can of organic corn and other groceries...

I also craved the swiss chard recipe in Myra Kornfeld's The Voluptuous Vegan. Swiss chard, olives, mashed garlic oil & lemon- delicious!

So being properly fortified, I proceeded with my cold remedy: lots of liquids, Emergen C, vitamins, saline warm water nasal rinse & eucalytus/sage steam inhalation- then off to bed. I was praying that I would better by the next day for my pressure-filled casting. I had a sense of peace because I knew that I would at least have yummy cookies to bring with me...the peanut butter/chocolate chip is amazing. I knew since I had scheduled 60 models for callbacks, 8 girls every half hour, three minutes a girl- I would definitely need two cookies for a pick-me-up.

I ended up not sleeping the entire night because I kept getting up to go the bathroom. My bladder must be the world's smallest. I had been keeping myself hydrated to kick the cold, but it resulted in me getting up at least three times in the middle of the night.

Needless to say, I was feeling pretty miserable, but surprisingly the video casting went really well. I meant to take a picture, but there was so much going on. The end of the day finally came around, exhausted and stuffy headed, comfort food was in order. Asian comfort food that is! I made soupy rice- which is exactly as it is named: rice cooked down with water, like a rice stew to which I added baby bok choy, spinach, mushrooms, flaxseed oil, liquid aminos, cilantro & fresh pepper. Soupy rice lends itself to be eaten with salty foods, like pickled vegetables. This is exactly what I needed.

A great accompaniment to soupy rice is chili beancurd which is lovingly referred to as 'stinky tofu'. It is fermented tofu and is extremely flavorful & potent which is why a little bit will do you just fine. It's really strong like a smelly cheese- an acquired taste, but so delicious.

After my comforting meal, I definitely felt better. Funny how when one doesn't feel well, one reverts to childhood meals. Soupy rice was definitely a staple when I was sick as a child, except that it was stewed with meats or eaten with salty fish. I love my modified soupy rice.

Now onto a weekend of rest and possibly just laying in bed and hiding beneath the covers a la Booboo. Ah, feeling better as we speak.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Year of the Pig

It is the Year of the Pig. Saturday evening was Chinese New Year's Eve, which meant that I would go home to grandma's for a big family dinner. I had been dreading this evening for sometime because my grandmother had mentioned about a week ago that the highlight of the dinner would be roasted suckling pig, which she had already put her order in- the Chinese love their whole roasted piglet for the holidays. Thankfully, grandma knows that I do not partake in the flesh and modified some special dishes of her sticky rice with mushrooms & cashews instead of chinese sausage & dried shrimp. I also ordered some smoked seitan and also mango protein nuggets from Gobo's to complete my feast.

Well, see the picture of the poor little creature, flesh roasted to a crisp, sitting on a tray, waiting to be carved up amidst some glutinous chinese sweet cake shaped as ancient chinese gold ingots which represent the prosperity of the coming year. Sadly, there was nothing good for this little pig and thousands of other factory pigs in the new year.

The piglet image is a bit disturbing, especially since the charred skin and flesh seems like it could be human flesh. I wondered if people would still eat pork or meat for that matter if the animal was always served in it's entirety. If you wanted to have that piece of ham or pork medallion and you would have to carve up that fleshy roast with that crisp head staring at you the whole time, would you still gleefully dig in and relish every bite?

If people gave their food a bit more thought and actually recognize what they are eating and what that animal had to suffer through so one could have some roast pork, I think they would choose to go vegan, well- at least vegetarian. Most people compartmentalize their food so they don't have to have a conscience. That's why meat is called meat instead of cooked flesh. As a teenager, I recall having a moment where I began to think about where my hamburger came from, but I was enjoying it so much that I shut off that thinking and turned a blind eye, so I could kept eating. I was a meat- eater for most of my life, so I know what's it's like to have that craving for meat. However, after becoming more educated about factory farmed animals and their suffering, I no longer have cravings for meat. If anything, now I look upon meat with sadness & disgust. Everyone should try to wean themselves off meat and if you must eat meat, at least make sure that it's organic or free-range.

Meat production and the eating of meat should disturb our collective conscience with it's moral implications, but also it should sound an alarm with it's heavy consequences on the environment. Last year there was a UN Report about livestock production contributing to more greenhouse gas emissions then the transportation sector. That's a crazy fact.

Those who care about the environment and consider themselves environmentalists should stop eating meat or at least try with the same intensity they apply to using alternative fuel sources, hybrid cars, fluorescent bulbs, energy efficient appliances and recycling. Going vegan can make a positive difference for all- for your own health, for the animals and for the earth.

I welcome the New Year with the following mantra:
May all beings everywhere be happy and free.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pure Love Pure Food Pure Joy

Yes another crazy week which is why I am only getting around to wishing all a Happy Very Belated V-Day! I should have posted on Tuesday which would have been Happy Pre-V-Day which is when the boyfriend and I celebrate. On principle and on bank account, we dislike the price-gouging that takes over when it comes to flowers and dinner...and also the day before Valentine's Day is the day we had our first date. My good man woke at the crack of dawn to go to the flower market and I woke to the most gorgeous two-toned long stemmed roses, a perfect start to the day! Here's a picture of them in my 'living room'- mind you I live in a miniscule studio...but I do have definitively sectioned 'rooms'.

Well, so moving onto the Pre-V-Day dinner at a place that we have wanted to try for a very long time, Pure Food & Wine. It's an organic gourmet raw food restaurant. We had experienced a great raw food cafe/juicebar sometime ago at Blue Green Juice Cafe and loved the the whole package of the raw food concept- organic, plant-based food heated no more than 118 degrees preserves all those nutritious vitamins and enzymes making it easier on your body to digest and delivering all that vital goodness almost immediately.

Located on picturesque Irving Place, Pure Food & Wine has a modern setting yet, still exudes warmth. The restaurant is all dark wood and deep magenta cushions, mood lighting and nice-looking wait staff. An ideal setting for the purely joyful experience of gourmet live food. Here are my photos though the lighting was less than ideal for photos and I didn't want to disturb everyone else's meal with the you might want to go to their website to see better pictures. Anyway, without further ado...

Napoleon of Black Trumpet Mushrooms & Bosc Pear
herbed cashew cheese, caramelized shallots, apricot riesling sauce- this was so creamy and rich, had a such satisfying mouth feel, gives you that 'can't believe it's raw' reaction.

Jerusalem Artichoke and Cucumber Dolmas
cilantro tahini, preserved lemon oil, fresh mint- this was my absolute favorite, it was so delectable, bursting with flavor and just so damn tasty, I tried to lick the plate...

Chanterelle & Kalamata Olive Ravioli
parsley, pistachio oil & macadamia cream- my pasta connossieur of a boyfriend loved it. It was absolutely delicious.

White Corn Tamales with Raw Cacao Mole
marinated mushrooms, tomatillo cilantro salsa- they were beautifully presented and I liked it, but I would have preferred more salsa to lighten up the tamales. Boyfriend declared the mole sauce extremely complex, smooth & flavoful.

Orchid Trio of Ice Creams
umeboshi lemongrass, chamomile tamarind mangluck, green tea cardamom pistachio- this was okay and very creamy being made from young coconut, the umeboshi was the least favorite flavor. Whatever the mangluck was- it was good (some kind of thai basil/seed). Was also interesting to have some tiny greens with the orchid sauce- that was refreshing. We had wanted the Chocolate Molten Lava Cake but they were all out of it. So maybe we didn't give the ice cream the proper chance because we had been fixed on chocolate cake...but the ice cream was my least favorite of the evening, but it was still good.

The portions were on the smaller side, but I was full- boyfriend could probably have used another entree...but the flavors were wonderful and tasty and they had a full wine & cocktail list. It was lovely evening and we had a great time.

Raw food may not be for the faint of stomach nor for the faint of pocket- suprisingly raw food preparation is extremely time consuming ( I made a raw meal of eggplant manicotti with sauce from Living Cuisine, The Art & Spirit of Raw Foods which was a lot of work but delicious!) and since you should use the best organic produce, it can really add up.

I think back to the days when one might go for fabulous sushi or have caviar & blinis and splurge for a special occasion. Pure Food is our new special treat place and it was money well spent (well, I mean boyfriend's money well-spent because it was his treat!).

We emerged from our little cocooned corner in the restaurant, happily satisfied and vitally renewed- snow was still falling and the world seemed more alive.

Monday, February 12, 2007


This morning, I worked on sourcing some new models for upcoming shoots via phone while placating clients via email, then went to yoga at noon- relaxing my mind while strengthening my body, met my boyfriend for late lunch at Agra- eating for sustainance while sustaining my relationship, then came home and dangled mouse on string for Booboo while dealing with a Hollywood agent who spoke to me in a disparaging manner and dangled me on a string as we finalized plans for my clients & shoot a celeb for a charity project shoot which is really thinly veiled advertising- (oh did I mention that I had to find a celeb to do it for free?), managed my feelings on being peeved by agent and managed to start production for said shoot while managing a paper ball for Booboo to chase, had some leftovers for dinner while catching up on recycled news on CNN, and now writing a post while dreaming about sleep.

Multi-tasking and run-on sentences that was my Monday.

Booboo is also good at multi-tasking. Note the pink thing in the corner of the picture as she grabs the camera cord...Now see the pic below where she has the colorful toy in her mouth with the metal hanging out while still holding onto the camera cord...
Ah yes, we all multi-task in our lives, even the kitties.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Wandering Minds Still Practice Yoga

The work week had been so crazed that I hadn't been to yoga. Instead of being excited to get to class, my week long stress & consequent sloth made strenuous yoga the absolute last thing that I wanted to do in the afternoon.

But, instead of laying on the couch and polishing off Saturday's leftovers- the colcannon (inspired by Vegan Lunchbox, my own version with mashed yukon gold potatoes, almond milk, collard greens, mushrooms- topped with spicy candied almonds- which I also mixed the almonds with popcorn) and my own version of cracker jack minus the prize...

But no stuff my face couch potato afternoon for me...I actually dragged myself to yoga. Shall I tell you how glad I was that I went? No, it wasn't one of those times where you resist doing something, but then end up throughly enjoying it. No, I struggled through the class- it's amazing how stress weakens you.

I also found my mind wandering. Had to keep bringing my mind back to my breath and that's what I love most about ashtanga yoga- each breath corresponds with each movement and oftentimes you need to move faster into these pretzel positions because ideally one breath and next position...anyway, I normally really enjoy it and today, I did not- my mind was going anywhere and nowhere thinking about quinoa and it's high protein content, eggplant as a soluble fiber, peas just being plain yummy- none of these having anything to do with yoga...except wait, let's see if I can spin this one. Quinoa, eggplant, peas- these things which I had considered as food is tied to ashtanga's yama (moral code) and it's first concept of ahimsa - nonviolence. Ah, so there you have it- I was practicing yogic thought!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Managing Expectation

I learned some corporate-speak this week and I marvel how the phrase 'managing expectation' aptly proved itself in several applications during my crazy week. 'Managing expectation' can also be loosely translated into 'covering your ass'.

It was Fashion Week in NYC, but I am not involved in the shows at all. My crazy week did not involve running around the city in the bitter cold, fighting for a taxi, getting attitude from some self-important person with a headset & a clipboard and waiting around in the tents for an hour as shows ran late...Thankfully, I get to avoid Fashion Week in winter where tons of idiots wrap themselves in carcasses to go to the shows. I don't disagree with Peta when they pie someone like Anna Wintour, I think actually during the winter- they should throw ice cream cakes so that it stays nice and cold and creamy- vegan ice cream cake of course.

Anyway back to 'managing expection', had shoots going on every single day and it's just never easy casting when there are so many cooks in the kitchen...everyone from marketing to photographer to the design agency. Everyone has an opinion and everyone has their own idea about how the model should look. Long story short, I needed to find models within the budget that I have been given that would appeal to the ten or so cooks involved and I just found myself pre-empting every conversation about models by stating how difficult it was to find great girls for this budget, with great hair and their own hair ( many of them have extensions), blah blah blah. I was a broken record and I needed to just stop with the insecurity and do the best that I can .

The week went perfectly fine and what I learned was that I should manage my own expectations and not be so hard on myself. All the shoots turned out beautifully and I had to remind myself that I am good at what I do and that I can deliver.

Here's a pic of one of the gorgeous girls that I booked with her own gorgeous hair. Ah yes, we should all have three people working on our hair at the same time and we should always have that dramatic light...and be blessed with some serious cheekbones.

On a more fun note, Brutus came to visit one of the shoots. He's the stylist's bulldog. This is what he thought of the casting & shoot & managing expectation- zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzsnorezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz........At some point during the week, I also realized that I had not blogged at all and I had started off my blog life thinking that I would blog at least every couple of days. Well, let's manage that expectation immediately and shoot for posting twice a week, so now I feel like I've accomplished something instead of feeling badly about not blogging this week at all...

To start a glorious Saturday, after a hard week of work- one deserves a delicious breakfast of scrambled tofu, crispy tempeh bacon, a piece of whipped earth balance slathered baguette & some orange juice.After I polished that off, I am ready to conquer cleaning, organizing my tax stuff & trying to clip those talons that are otherwise known as Booboo's nails...yes, her nails are so long that they are ready to be airbrushed and have those little rhinestones glued to them. Yes, a fun weekend ahead...

Monday, February 5, 2007

Vegan Comfort Food on Sunday Leads to a More Productive Monday

Ah yes, the craving of comfort food! I am a firm believer that if comfort food calls you, you need it. And one can imagine that stuffing's one's face on Sunday would lead to sloth and slovenliness the next day, au contraire, it lead to a much more productive Monday...

I began Sunday with some yummy scrambled tofu that was polished off so quickly, the picture never got taken...and then a few hours later, the philly 'cheese steak' & reuben craving began. So a quick hop and a skip downtown to Sacred Chow for the vegan cheese steak sandwich made from seitan with bell peppers on crusty bread served with spiced potatoes:
Then there was also the super tasty reuben sandwich, made from tempe bacon, sauerkraut, casein-free soy cheddar, and russian-like dressing, served with a side of red cabbage slaw in peanut sauce & a pickle:
Can't seem to get the pictures to do it any justice, but trust me, it was worth braving the frigid frostbite inducing cold for these yummy sandwiches. It was also worth walking a few LONG blocks to get vegan chocolate chip cookies at a non-vegan restaurant, The Corner Shop.
The waitress brought extra cookies because I expressed how much I enjoyed them! Yes those fingers keep going back for more cookies as the boyfriend drinks coffee in silence, wondering how many more cookies I can stuff down my gullet. The answer is all of them! The Corner Shop is great little place with good vegan options. It's really cozy & just plain yummy.

After all that food, I roll home and turn into a couchpotato...and Booboo wonders if I will ever move off the couch, the answer is no! So instead she watches the sunset on a lazy Sunday:
Monday rolls around and thankfully, I'm not too full because I have tons of work to do- contracts, bookings, setting up logistics for all the last minute shoots at the end of the week..
But, a girl's got to break for lunch right? In anticipation of lunch, I marinated some tempe in maple syrup, liquid aminos, apple cider vinegar & red pepper flakes while I was sipping coffee this morning. When it was time for lunch, I put the tempe in a pan with some baby bok choy & onions. Also made a side of mashed japanese sweet potato- mashed with flax seed oil, almond milk, salt, pepper & a pat of earth balance- topped off with cilantro. I love cilantro.After wrapping up a very productive day, I treat myself to a yummy vegan cupcake that my thoughtful boyfriend picked up for me from S'Nice. My omnivore of a boyfriend found this place all by himself when he was craving a vegan cheesesteak sandwich on Saturday in on the westside. Am so proud of him! This cupcake was yummy and chocolate, but I really love love love the cupcake at Sacred Chow.

Fluorescent lighting is better for the environment than for cupcake pictures. The frosting was white, the cake chocolatey, the plate green & the counter also white...

So that has been my last 48hrs of stuffing my face and yes, ladies- you can most certainly guess that it is the time of the month to eat this way...

And that is enough food til I start thinking about dinner....

Friday, February 2, 2007

Isn't There a Moral Obligation to Discriminate Against Stupid Comments?

Models - a species of great height, blessed cheekbones and facial symmetry, I happen to encounter them all the time because they are my business. Contrary to stereotype, most models are fairly intelligent, and in over the ten years of being around them, I can only count on one hand the number of models who are not quite so bright...

The last couple of weeks have been pretty crazy as far as my castings have gone and it was bound to happen: today, I met one of the model sub-species,
modelus idioticus. Now it's been many years since I took Latin in high school, but I believe that is Latin for model who is dumber than a bag of rocks.

Well anyway, the girl shows up at the casting wearing a full length fur coat. I try to stay neutral and avoid looking at that monstrosity ( I mean the coat, really...) because I am keeping the semblance of professionalism and trying to refrain from a making an antifur comment. I present her to the clients. We look through her portfolio. I take some polaroids/digital images of her and we make some small talk- ty
pical and we almost get through this...then she puts on her giant fur and was heading off to the airport for Miami. The client mentions to the model that she won't be needing that coat down there. Modelus idioticus responds that she will at least get to show it off giggle giggle.

Okay, not such a terribly idiotic statement to some, but why would one ever assume that everyone in that room would be impressed by her coat of misery and pain? Actually what impressed me was the idea of how many small creatures were skinned alive or anally electrocuted just for her own vanity. So the moral of this story: Never assume that people are impressed by your coat of carcasses. Just because they are staring- doesn't mean they are coveting your fur, sometimes they are staring because they are disgusted by your selfishness and lack of thought.

I think that I shall never cast that model for a job. I would just rather not put more money in her hands that would most likely end in her buying
more fur. Is that discrimination? Most certainly. Do I care? Nope. Of course I know that I have and will cast other models that wear fur, but just not this particular one with her thoughtless comment. Just as she chooses to wear fur and say something silly, I choose to not pick her...Then there was the time, a girl was so stupid that she didn't realize that she was backhandedly insulting the photographer with her comments, well she never got chosen again either.

It's been an overwhelming week of work but my boyfriend & yoga have kept me grounded...that's not to say I didn't absolutely breakdown once...but for that, there's Booboo. She is pure sunshine & light!
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