Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Nina Planck Boiling Vegan Blood

The op-ed piece by food writer, Nina Planck, titled Death By Veganism from Monday's NY Times made my blood boil. It boiled more as I went on her website to read her write about vegan diets being an aberration in dietary history because they are inadequate. Her facts are inadequate. I consider factory farming, mass slaughterhouses also an aberration in history beginning only in the 1920's and I think the vegan movement is growing in response.

I was going to post about it when I was feeling more level-headed. Urban Vegan posted & urged us all to write letters -150 words or less to the editor at letters@nytimes.com. Write those letters! Here is mine:

Accepting an op-ed by Nina Planck on veganism is comparable to asking Rick Berman’s opinion on anti-smoking, her piece is deliberate misinformation fueled by financial agenda.

Nina Planck is so biased, peddling her book & lobbying for her dairy & meat interests that it’s more than a concerned citizen’s opinion. It is propaganda & advertising and should be labeled as such and placed in the “special advertising” section.

There are definitive positive facts & statistics on veganism not mentioned. Instead, she mentions that she was once a vegan, supposedly giving her more credibility to make dubious remarks?

Tragically, many parents, non-vegan alike, have been held accountable for their babies’deaths through malnourishment. Crown Shakur died of malnutrition, not because his parents were vegan, but because they were ignorant. As ignorant as Nina Planck thinks that the readers of her op-ed piece should be.

VKO-New York, NY

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Being Tagged Forces Me To Post Sooner!

It's Saturday & I have tons of paperwork to sort through, but I just got tagged
by Scottish Vegan to share seven random things about myself. Since I had planned to procrastinate on the paperwork anyway, here goes my seven:

1) At one point in my life, I thought that I might make mosaics for a living.

In the interim of taking a severance package from my corporate job and doing what I do now, I decided to go to Italy to take a mosaics class from the masters in Ravenna. I had always been fascinated by the intricacy & delicate details in mosaics and I had the opportunity to take some time off & pursue my interests. I started harbouring fantasies about coming back from Ravenna with a new career as a mosaics artist and blissfully making mosaics for a living. I had a wonderful trip with my friends, enjoyed the town , food & it's art throughly rich in byzantine history, but I absolutely detested making mosaics.

I was deathly afraid of getting glass/stone shards in my eyes as I used the small hammer & chisel to cut the smalti into tiny tiles. In the beginning, I had no control over the hammer & smashed a few expensive gold-leafed smalti. The cement & lime were caustic and the traditionally seriously strong glue made from rabbits smelled terribly. It was one of the most tedious things I have ever had to do and I couldn't believe that I paid money to do so.

2) I have seen first-hand how the super-rich live.

A model friend of mine's multi-bizillionaire boyfriend, who has now also become a friend, has flown us on his private jet down to his spectacular Palm Beach mansion filled with actual Picassos & all the Impressionists where we drank wine twenty to thirty years older than me. They invited us for some skiing in Aspen and took us out to the Caribbean onto his stupendously sumptuous yacht- our state room was so beautiful, there were photographs by Horst, a billion count Italian sheets, heated towel racks and a bedside computerized panel to control everything from the shades, to the lighting, to music, to drop-down tv screen & selection of movies...all on the water.

It's all so decadent, though certainly not so environmentally friendly. Fcat & I are thrilled to have been privy to such privilege, however, not to sound corny, but each time I have returned from one of those outrageous trips, I am always glad to come home to my little 465sq ft studio to see my most precious treasure, Booboo.

3) I don't have a driver's license because I do not drive.

Born & raised in New York City, I never needed to drive and consequently, never got my license. Subway, buses & my feet get me where I need to go along with the occasional taxi. Ah, so ahead of the pro-environment curve I was at the tender age of eighteen when I should have scheduled my driving test and never did.

4) I have been going to the same dentist since I was three years old.

5) Six years ago, I was a selfish meat eating, fur wearing, label whore.

Before turning vegetarian and way before going vegan, I was a diehard meat-eater. I liked my steak bloody and I relished my lamb chops. I also wore fur with impunity- telling all that I had no qualms nor guilt over the use of any animal. I exceled in the conspicuous consumption of luxury goods & designer labels. It was extremely important to be at the hot parties & the newest, latest & greatest restaurants.

Then two pivotal moments occurred: Booboo came into my life; she was my first companion animal and I read, " Fast Food Nation". Slowly but surely, the tide started to turn. Intially, I stopped eating meat because I was disgusted by what could possibly be in it. Eventually, as I grew to love Booboo- my synpases were on overdrive. I realized that all animals were sentient creatures. I saw a late night anti-fur commercial and I saw Booboo in that mink cage. I had an epiphany and my priorities began to change. The furs were sent off to Coats For Cubs and the cruelty-based designer shoes & bags will be sold on craigslist & ebay where hopefully the proceeds will provide me with a more compassionately chic & sustainable wardrobe.

6) I save orchids from the trash.

People throw out orchids after the flowers drop because they don't realize that orchids flower again or they just don't know how to care for them. I have rescued the saddest looking orchids with one wrinky leaf left and with time & patience, they can grow again. At one point, I was nursing so many sad orchids that Grandma & Fcat insisted that I get rid of them, I persisted. The way I see it, plants are living things and why should they be cast aside just because they no longer look pretty?

7) Four years ago, I started a dog sweater business called Booboo Buttercup.

Grandma & I designed & knitted dog sweaters. My original idea had been dog sweaters with matching people hats & scarves. We sold to a few small stores and got some great feedback, but then I got really busy with casting & production that I no longer had the time to go and hawk our wares to the stores. They were pretty damn cute though. We still have some sweaters left & a ton of yarn. Grandma wants me to sell them on Ebay.

We first tried the sweaters on Booboo because we didn't have a dog. Booboo was fine walking around for two seconds until she decided that she could no longer move with the dreaded thing on her- so she lay down and refused to move until it was taken off.

We have so much yarn left, but it's not vegan. I will knit what we have left as gifts and when all that yarn is finally used up, I look forward to buying vegan/organic yarns like hemp & corn.

Well there you have it, my post of random things about myself. Hmm, let's see who can I tag? I'm sure this has been going around, so excuse me if you've already done this or have neither the time nor the inclination to do so but I tag Vegan Noodle from Walking The Vegan Line and Megan the Vegan. Happy random tags!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Keeping Up With The Bloggers

The last two weeks have gone by at a fast & furious pace.
No time to blog, but wishing I could blog hence at least remembering to whip out my camera & getting a few shots for when I finally could get around to posting...

There were boys beating down my door, for a casting of course...so many boys that even the green tea/chamomile flavored Vitamin Water aptly named Rescue could not pull me out from the mountains of paperwork & photos.

How kind of Fcat to offer to help me at my men's casting! Or maybe just also keeping an eye on me so that I do not get swept off my feet by a brazen young model...not to worry my dear Fcat, I have seen so many models- my eyes are so glazed over that everyone starts looking the same. Though Fcat did assist recently on a beauty shoot (only of her face) where the model decided that she was more comfortable being topless...you can bet Fcat's eyes were not glazed over then!

There were pretty glam girls gone red...

And we pulled together yet another last-minute production for a client, here's Fcat shooting a subject in this super exotic car, a 2007 C8 spyder from Spyker Cars- definitely not environmentally friendly, but even I gasped at how sleek & cool it was!

Makeshift wardrobe racks on location...

One of my favorite things to do at castings- take pics of models & their dogs when they happen to bring them along. I have tons- am thinking that this could be a little book in the making and all proceeds to benefit a charity like the Humane Society (HSUS), though honestly, just another idea I have had for some time that I haven't gotten around to doing.

Anyway, isn't it funny how people & their companion animals resemble one another? Look at the coloring on these two...

And the delicate features & coloring on these two...

And then you have me & Booboo- that I don't get at all. She's really big & I'm petite. Actually, we are very similar in spirit, she can be very sweet at times & looks cuddly but is not at all and she can get moody & pissy with the flick of a tail- ah just like her mommy.

I am curious to know what everyone's blogging routines are like- do you have a set day & time to post? Do you try to post every other day? I need to stick to a blogging routine but most days I'm so exhausted by the end of the day that I push it to the next...then it's a billion days later. Well, am officially going to blog more regularly...I hope.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Mea Maxima Culpa

Mea culpa, mea culpa.
I am so behind with my blogging.
I could start with a list of dog (well in this case, Booboo)-ate-my-homework excuses like:
  • have been dealing with my taxes- hit another tax bracket which is great, but coughing up the money already spent to pay the taxes is not great.
  • have been dealing with my birthday-hit another age bracket which can be shocking and leads to re-evaluating what you are doing with life kind of thing and can lead to mild depression which leads to complete inactivity because it's hard to get anything done when one is feeling really low.
  • in the midst of all this stress, there was much work- thankfully for that because I work for myself and I need to pay above said taxes, so yes, there was emotional distress, financial distress on top of regular work stress.
Luckily all is well now and in place of tired excuses, I offer a birthday day celebration to the angry blog gods.

When I finally emerged from the fog, I discovered that it was a beautiful day- a fine day for a birthday. The trees in the building's courtyard had been blooming all this week and I hadn't even noticed. You'll notice bottom right-Fcat taking a pic of me taking a pic of the trees.

We were heading down to Chinatown to have vegetarian dim sum at where else but, Vegetarian Dim Sum House on Pell St. I love dim sum. It's such an integral part of chinese culture. On the weekends, families get together to go "yum cha" which is cantonese for "drink tea" and that means going to a dim sum place to eat lots of little dishes & to drink lots of tea. Dim sum is traditionally served by waiters pushing carts full of small dishes to each table and you pick what you like. Dim sum can be hard for vegetarians because the chinese love to sneak some pork or dried shrimp into everything, which is why I was thrilled to have dim sum- vegan style.

The place is not that big and Fcat thought it had a romantic feel because it's cozy and located on a small little street that you find through twists and turns. Compare Fcat's stance to the happy buddha on the banner.

And here a sampling of the goodies- char siu bau which is a steamed bun stuffed with sweet & salty roast pork & onions. This used to be a favorite and here's the veggie version. Don't forget to peel the paper off the bottom- hehehe, Fcat got some extra fiber from this dish...

The dim sum feast- starting from the right: a big pot of tea, sticky rice lotus leaves, char siu bau, "shrimp" wrapped in rice flour, seared turnip cake with little bits of mushroom, "meat" wrapped in rice flour, har gow- steamed "shrimp" dumplings & steamed spinach dumplings. Yum.

This is the sticky rice lotus wrap. Normally it is stuffed with chicken, mushrooms & nuts...I like this a lot better!

After our yummy feast, we were going to walk over to Babycakes on the Lower East Side for my birthday cupcakes. On the way over, we caught an polo match! It was playoffs between a NY team and a DC team.

Urban polo is played on bikes. It was really cool.

The NY team distinguished themselves with the Statue of Liberty in their spokes.

Ah, Babycakes...have been wanting to come here for some time now. Sugar-free, wheat-free, gluten-free, vegan bakery- so perfect, well- actually it's expensive, but good.

There's my Fcat ordering two gluten-free cupcakes in carrot & lemon and two spelt in chocolate & yellow cake. See that tiny little brownie cupcake- it was so delicious. I could have eaten the whole cakestand full. They also had cute little hostess cupcake-like cakes.

Here's a pic of my birthday goodies from Fcat- my yummy babycakes & my delicate gift from the jewelry store, Me & Ro.

Missy here thinks it's her birthday again- Booboo's birthday is on April 14th. She turned 5 and 15 days later, I turned 35. Meanwhile, I couldn't get her to pose with her candle on her birthday. Turns out, she loves spelt cupcakes.

And there you have it, birthday in a nutshell.

On another exciting note, Fcat & I put a downpayment on a pre-construction luxury condo in Long Island City, Queens. Yes, I know shocking that I would want to live in Queens after growing up there and couldn't wait to move to Manhattan, but it really is going to be great and so close to the city. I live on the Upper East Side now and soon I will be living on the East East Side as I see it. Won't be ready til the end of the year, giving us some time to scrimp & save & enjoy our time before we make the jump across the bridge.
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