February 21, 2013
…and 3 Reasons I Sort of Am
1) I care a lot
Just like the cloud land in Care Bears.
A hipster once introduced me: “this is Isla, she likes to hike and protest.” I mean. There is much more to me. But these are not exactly approved hipster activities. They involve exertion.
2) I lived through the Degrassi era
For those of us who had already moved on to 501s after forced-watchings of the real Degrassi in HPLS (Health and Personal Life Skills), and who identified ourselves as cool by NOT having mom butts and camel toes, we recognize that going back to high-waisted pants is not ironic, it’s simply regression.
And any kind of padding on the shoulders, unless you’re playing sports, is not needed.
3) I make fun of hipsters
While never admitting to being hipsters, hipsters also don’t usually make fun of hipsters because that would involve acknowledging the breed and they just happen to be this way all on their own.
4) I’m a jock
I like to work out and sweat. This means I’m often in runners and fitwear, out of convenience. Unacceptable.
If your’e going to work out as a hipster, you should have appropriate ironic tees to do that in. And make sure you get to wherever you’re working out on a bike that is not ‘mountain’.
*I also ride one of those because I actually like to ride it IN the mountains.
5) I strive for non-conformity
I was recently telling a hipster friend how a former hipster love interest didn’t consider me hipster enough to date.
She replied: “oh, so you’re more mainstream?”
Since when did the world divide into two categories: hipster and mainstream?
In order to be a hipster, you have to memorize an unwritten bible of dress codes, musical selections, and lingo. You HAVE to.
6) I’m straight edge
I don’t drink, smoke, or drug. Not on purpose, I just stopped getting high one day. No amount of drugs could get me high anymore, so I gave it up.
My drug is fresh air. <Hipster t-shirt
7) I’m FRIENDLY
I introduce myself to pretty much anyone willing. I have a million girlfriends. Ok, I’m usually not that friendly to straight guys, but there’s a good reason for that.
I just want to love you. <Hipster t-shirt
8) I hate major chord composed emo music
Anything that sounds like The Postal Service can kiss my ass.
Give me something nasty. Or at least something extremely depressing.
3 Reasons I (Defeatedly) Am a Hipster
1) I hate labels
If you see me with any type of label on my person, I can assure you I would rather not be wearing it. This means the little hidden ones on buttons and zippers.
I will definitely not wear any kind of logo. No words at all, please. If I have something to say it, I’ll say it.
And I’m definitely not advertising for you for free.
2) I’m cool
I define cool by how willing to be a dork you are.
3) I’m an Art Bitch
You probably haven’t heard of our band, Art Bitch, with @MichaelaLucas. Because we don’t play music.
But seriously, I live for art. And I always find it. No matter how hard I have to look in this dull mass-produced monetary-focused hellhole.
August 23, 2011
June 16, 2011
Wearethey Examines the “They”:
The Link Between Inspiration and Caring what People Think
At times I’m so motivated towards creative projects that I neglect my social life to work on ideas. But WHY am I working towards greatness? To stand back and admire my own work? If that were the case, then I should be perfectly happy to live on a desert island. I like alone time, but dude – that’d suck.
I create art to be recognized. I strive to create greatness that others recognize as great. But who are these ‘others’ whose admiration I hope to gain? Because most of the people in my life, while I admire many of their particular traits and skills, are slightly to severely morally lacking and there are very few people whose full validation I aim to capture. Sorry, friends.
Flakiness is tricky. Some of the people who I consider highly evolved are flaky. By this I mean: most people do not keep their word. They will not return an important text or phone call, they will not show up to important events, they will not remember something important in your life – they will leave you in a bind. And they will not apologize, because if they apologized for flaking once, they’d have to do it all the time. (I do have 1 or 2 people in my life who are reliable right now and they are extremely sexy to me.)
When I tabulate how often people let me down, it unmotivates me. What’s the point? I ask myself. I have nothing in common with these people: I keep my word.
But these same people could very well be saving the world at their own pace. Some of the bravest activists I know: flakes.
Integrity is About more than Keeping your Word
There are other components to integrity besides reliability. Integrity is about more than just doing what you say you’re going to do. Morality entails examining the state of the world and truly stepping up to be a leader. Identifying priorities: eg. taking a cause to the street over color coordinating your dishware (guilty)…the natural world being bulldozed while we hide at home vacuuming perfect putting green stripes into our carpet. Some of the people I know who are the most reliable are lacking in morality, their eyes squeezed shut to the ways they could be applying themselves to live BIGGER. I know – life is stressful. And acting on a larger scale requires taking larger risks. But with these risks comes exhilaration.
When I think of the flaming apathy in so many who I vibe with on a daily basis, and who show up for me, I feel alienated and… unmotivated, once again. If they don’t really care about the big pic, will they care about what I have to offer? Or will they simply feel uncomfortable by it? Like I’m raining on their parade?
The Flasher Was Right
I once had a debate with a friend (…who flaked so bad once that he is now only referred to as “The Flasher” for his episodical vampirical trenchcoat attire) regarding the question: is it better to make art for as many as possible to grasp, or to make art only grasped by a few twisted souls strangely similar enough to you?
Dumbing it down vs elitism.
He was of the school of thought: if you only reach one person…
To quote one an animal rights chant: “We will never compromise.” And yet “the Classics” are universal.
Do It For God
God is dead to me after he flaked on Armageddon, or whatever. Actually I didn’t even hear about that until after because I just joined Facebook 2 days ago. But they say you do whatever it is you’re trying to do better if you do it for and from “The Source”. So go ahead and do it for God, or Santa, or Abraham, or whatever you like to call that patriarchal force in the clouds.
Do It For No One?
Dance like no one’s watching, they say. That would suck if no one was ever watching!
I strongly suggest dancing as though everyone is watching. You’ll keep better rhythm.
Do It For Your Friends. Or Your Enemies
You may have figured out by now that there is not one single ‘opinion’ of you. Everyone’s opinion about you is sightly different and most people care less than you think – this should be liberating, not depressing.
I would be honored to capture the attention of my peers in the animal rights community, the writing community, the attention of the innovators of the new era… whether or not they would strand me on a mountain top or not. Even if my fellow creators are assholes, I still want their attention.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Do It for Fame
Gaga… (She lost the lady title after the meat dress.) What she does, she does directly for attention and to me this is not art. She is willing to be ugly – for fame. Willing to be freaky over sexy – for fame. Whether you love her or hate her, there is a yawn factor to Lady Gaga for those who see through her shtick. The saying: “reeks of effort” comes to mind.
Do it because it’s easy. Not because you must be the FIRST AND BEST AND ONLY. Otherwise, you’ll look desperate and attention seeking and victimized and insecure and played out and lookatmelookatme.
Do It to Lead. Not to win the praise of leaders. (Cough*Obama).
Do It For the Universal Stranger
The more you value humans (human life, human opinion) in whole or in part – the better art you will create. When you create art, you assume that we are more alike than different, and that the part of you who listens as a stranger is also alive in other listening strangers.
One of my favorite authors, Miriam Toews, was a huge motivator for me because her twisted sense of humor was written in a way that I would never have dared to write – too odd, too convoluted, too subtle for others to get, I thought – and yet A Complicated Kindness was a bestseller. I didn’t know that people would get it if I went there with my own writing. She went there, so I knew I could go there, too.
The risk is in being misunderstood. Risk it.
When we write in a genuine voice, we create in others a genuine listening ear.
May 27, 2011
Who’s that girl?
10 Things You May Not Know About Isla
10) Isla once drove a steamroller. She was not good at it.
9) Isla used to wear a rainbow magnet belt everyday as a child – over her bathing suit, nightgown, and rainbow crinoline tutu. She would accessorize the accessory with a rainbow Carebear, otherwise known as Cheerbear.
8) Isla’s legal name is Isla Michelle Lauren Kay, Isla was added because Isla can’t live up to Michelle’s girliness, it means island, and…to be difficult – Sorry Mom & Dad!
(Isla’s go-to make-believe name used to be “Jean” because she thought blue jeans were cool, lame!)
7) Isla has been an imperfect vegan for 2 years and began progressively giving up animal products at the age of 14 following a friend’s lead in becoming a “white meat vegetarian” (no red meat). True vegetarianism began at 18 when forced to choose all meat or no meat during a summer as a counselor at Camp Chief Hector. And vegan cred goes to Glenn Gaetz. Cred for this post idea, too, while we’re on the topic.
6) Isla has never kissed a girl… but she probably would – PM me! ; )
5) Reason for this being that Isla is Boy Crazay-zy. Every time she considers kissing a girl, she gets side tracked by hot men.
4) Isla has been told that her best and worst quality is that she’s a free spirit.
3) When Isla was a child her favourite food was veal : ( : ( She would dine with her parents at a German restaurant named The Black Forest in Invermere and when once told it was a baby cow, her little brain could not make the correlation.
2) Isla is a fuckin’ adult, yo. 30 as of April 27th, 2011.
1) Isla became an animal rights activist due to her true love for her deceased puppy dog, Turbeau – a cuddly bijon frise stuffed animal soul mate doggy.
January 11, 2011
8 Things I Learned about Love in 2010
I’ve met a lot of people this year, used and abused my library card on psych books, and run social experiments on poor unwitting victims – and have learned oodles!
Here are a few highlights…
8) Dangerously good people
The most dangerous types of people, to me, are self-described good people. People who believe they are charitable, doing all they can do. There is no room for growth from this perspective.
Beware the ‘good’ person.
7) The human condition
Committing to love a human being is committing to the human condition. You are loving them as they are, the dirty truth and all.
In the book Re-inventing your Life, recommended to me by a PHD psychologist and former make-believe buddy, there are several lifetraps people fall into in early childhood. Abandonment, Emotional Deprivation, Mistrust/Abuse, Social Exclusion, Entitlement, Unattainable Standards and Defectiveness to name a few. Reading more about these doozies helps to point them out when they’re occurring and also helps in understanding others. And shows you why you’re attracted to certain people – to perpetuate relationships that evoke familiar feelings to you.
I tend to be a very trusting person, so it catches me by surprise me when others aren’t. But, I’m also easily disappointed (part of the emotional deprivation schema). Knowing your sensitivities helps to figure out when you’re being irrational and acting out of habit, rather than logic.
When someone is mad at you, the best way to connect with them (why connect? see 3) is to paraphrase what they’re saying in the form of a question.
eg. Okay, so you’re saying I’m a stupid bitch?
So you’re saying that you’re angry with me?
So you’re saying that I’ve done something to hurt you?
No, you bla bla bla…
Oh, so you feel bla bla blaaa? etc.
I’ve successfully done this with a few irritating people, to the point where they were no longer irritating me, but have I evolved into a great communicator? No. I confess, I did maybe mouth off a few cops and drop a few fuck bombs in confrontation this year.
4) Comedy is the key to my heart
Of all the decent young men that I’ve had the privilege to date this year (okay, so there’s been a few ; ) the one who snagged my heart did it seemingly effortlessly and all because he was willing to make an ass of himself for my pleasure.
I’m basically putty in the hands of anyone who can make me laugh. Call 1-900…
3) Because it feels good is good enough for me.
Love is best served unconditionally but you never have to date/be friends with people unconditionally, (cred: Marianne Williamson). But I didn’t know, or had forgotten, that forgiving people actually transforms them. Okay I guess I did figure out this out once.
Forgiveness – and I don’t claim to be an expert – is a place to feel in your heart that allows you to start anew with anyone. It’s a feeling, which is why it’s so hard to find intellectually. Forgiveness is a gift that you give to others to unload them of their mistakes. It is a power. The more often you use it, the more powerful you become.
Why forgiveness? Why ‘choose connection’? Because it feels good.
2) Cheap grace, meh
Sometimes, when we forgive someone out of convenience we don’t fully let them off the hook. We know in our hearts that they’ve committed a wrong, and maybe they have in the objective lens of the universe, but when we see them, we have our eye on them. We know what they’re capable of.
This is cheap grace. It’s a way of smoothing things over without truly letting them go. (cred: Lana Love)
For example, this girl in high school used to hate me because I was mouthy. Was ; ) She initiated a truce with me after some friends of ours died, and was busted talking badly about me just days later, adding: “oops, I forgot, we’re friends now.”
That’s cheap grace.
So how do you forgive someone who is still in your life or in your mind and still hurting you?
Well each situation is different, but allowing people to be who they are is the bulk of it. And distancing yourself from a person who is not conducive to your growth path is fair game. If this is a daily person, asking for change can show that you believe in the person.
1) The kiss is everything
In Byron Bay, on Belongil Beach, I once kissed an Englishman.
We kissed in the waves and sand and it was like no other kiss I have ever experienced. Ever. It was like a choreographed dance. It was like I was kissing myself (narcissistic much?). Okay, it was so much better than kissing myself. It was a miraculous, cataclysmic spice girl two becomes one.
And he treated me like I was invisible the next day, acknowledging me only by “hi lover” when he’d see me riding my bike into town.
I have no idea what the kiss meant to him or why he was such a dick afterward (because I didn’t give it up..?), but looking back I realize that to me the kiss is everything.
I’ve been looking for it ever since.
September 22, 2010
California Dance Vid
Playing around with some improv and editing…
Sunny California 4evA!
July 31, 2010
Inside the Mind of a Man
Putting the XY back in sexy.
Inspired by Christian Carter
March 2, 2010
January 28, 2010
Daniel Schaull set himself on fire yesterday in Portland, Oregon, outside Ungar Furs in protest of their cruelty to animals.
A man who set himself on fire in downtown Portland earlier today died this evening at Legacy Emanuel Hospital and Health Center, the Portland Fire Bureau reported.
Authorities are trying to figure out why the man, identified as 26-year-old Daniel Shaull, would burn himself in such a terrifying manner. The incident occurred near a fur store that has been the subject of numerous protests.
“It gets to your mind …,” said Mike Cheema, who owns the nearby India Chaat House food cart. Cheema added that people in the area were screaming and scared.
Firefighters responded to a call about 11:10 a.m., Simmons said. They found the man unconscious with serious burns, according to Lt. Damon Simmons, a fire bureau spokesman. .
Cheema said that after setting himself ablaze, the man tried to enter Nicholas Ungar Furs at 1137 S.W. Yamhill St. He said the man also had something in his hands, but could not see what it was.
Cheema said a police officer was at the stoplight at Southwest 12th Street and Yamhill Street when the incident occurred and immediately responded.
By the time firefighters arrived, two police officers and bystanders had already put out the flames, Simmons said.
A short time later, charred materials remained on the ground around the building, including a shoe, but most were unidentifiable. Yellow police tape surrounded the scene.
“People always come every day protesting,” Cheema said. “They’ve done some extreme things.”
Cheema said protesters have thrown red paint and painted the windows of the store.
Matt Rossell, spokesman for In Defense of Animals, said his group has not protested at the store, but he knows others continue to do so.
He said he was unaware of the event, but that “it seems extremely strange.”
Jessica Moody works on the fifth floor of Northwestern Mutual at 1221 S.W. Yamhill St. and said she hadn’t seen any protesters for a couple weeks, though they used to come every day. She was walking back from lunch when she saw the aftermath.
“They’ve never done anything crazy,” she said.
Assuming there is some level of mental illness present in this young man to drive him to such extreme measures, millions back his cause with other extreme behavior. Every Friday in Vancouver, prostesters stand in front of the Fairmont Hotel to express dissent towards Snowflake Furs, and other more daring activists have performed raids on fur farms to set free animals waiting to be anally and vaginally electrocuted, then skinned alive.
As the truth about the bloody fur industry spreads, the fur industry is attempting to fight back with a ludicrous fur campaign entitled: “Fur Is Green”.
But the more accurate: Cruelty Is Not Green explains the opposite:
The latest gimmick of the marketers of fur and fur-trimmed products, is claiming their products of cruelty to be “green”, “ecological”, or “environmental”. Marketers of fur products have always compared the biodegradation of fur to only fake fur. It is important to realize that the alternative to fur is any and every fabric and textile there is. Fur is no better than the many fabrics out there that also decompose easily. The washing, drying, tanning, dyeing, and trimming of fur require extensive chemical treatment. The trapping and removing of millions of wildlife from our environment is disruptive to our eco-system. And there is certainly nothing natural or green about cruelly ripping the skins off the animals’ backs. Wikipedia Encyclopedia defines an “eco-system” quite appropriately as: “The interconnectedness of organisms with each other and their environment”. Further, it wisely points out that “living creatures are a key component of any eco-system”. The fur trade traps a million of Canada’s wildlife every year from our eco-system for neeless fur products, dictated by ever-changing design trends. These animals are not chosen because they are surplus, weak, or diseased. They are killed because they happen to be the 10 or 12 species that have nice, thick fur out of an estimated 140,000 species of animals in Canada. It is becoming widely understood just how vital a role fur-bearing an other animals can play in our eco-system, and how we cannot reasonably expect to be able to continue to deliberately interfere with the intricacies of their population in such significant ways as commercial fur trapping without expecting far-reaching and potentially serious consequences.
January 27, 2010
How to Get What You Really Want
“If a seed is given good soil and plenty of water and sun, it doesn’t have to try to unfold. It doesn’t need self-confidence or self-discipline or perseverance. It just unfolds. As a matter of fact, if can’t help unfolding. If a seed has to grow with a rock on top of it, or in deep shade, or without enough water, it won’t unfold into a healthy full-sized plant. It will try – hard – because the drive to become what you are meant to be is incredibly powerful. But at best it will become a sort of ghost of what it could be: pale, undersized, drooping.
In a way, that’s what most of us are.”
It’s not just your immediate family and friends that affect this stunted growth. Or even your school atmosphere. It’s a large scale smothering based on capitalism – that unless our special traits are lucrative, they are not worth investing time into. Competition, in its very essence, negates our own individuality to an idealism of always placing one at the top as “the best”. This is not the case, but something necessary to acknowledge if we wish to realize our full magical potential.
Wishcraft, written in 1979, is surprisingly pertinent, despite a few comical cultural advancements. The book suggests taking notice of one’s personal style for the first time. Well into the 2000s, we are obsessed with personal style as a self-determinant. The book also mentions women being the pillar of men’s success, trained to be unselfish. This pattern still exists in our society, but at the same time the problem is now just as imbalanced on the other side: men no longer knowing their place in women’s lives. The book also delightfully mentions going to one’s typewriter, but other than this, it offers a lot of helpful “real daydreaming” exercises, which is a branch of the Law of Attraction – visualization as the path to actualization.
Follow Your Bliss
“When you find yourself engulfed in circumstances that cause you to offer a vibration that is far from that of bliss, then reaching for bliss is an impossible thing, for the Law of Attraction does not allow you to make the vibrational jump anymore than you could have tuned your radio receiver to 101 FM and heard a song that was being playing on 630 AM.”
- Ask and It Is Given
This newer 2004 book discusses what to do with our pale, drooping selves in order to attain that higher vibration, which can only be received by us if we first tune ourselves to the proper reception. And so when we are at a low vibration, what we are seeking slight relief from the pressure of the negativity we are experiencing. The book presents the idea of a scale of emotions as an indicator of which emotion you can progress to in order to climb the scale, which explains why it actually feels good to get angry at certain points. Which explains why I enjoyed those fantasies of kicking my ex in the face.
I suggest writing your own scale of emotions and using it as reference.
The key to this exercise would be trying out new thoughts and then doing an internal inventory of how these thoughts affect you.
For example: “I feel stuck in my life.”
A thought which may bring you up a vibrational level on the scale of emotions might be:
a) this is the chance to reassess which direction to step forward in, or
b) I am taking note of a stagnancy in my life and propelling myself in the direction of ______. Or,
c) what is the main event/situation/reality that is generating this “stuck” feeling and how can I overcome it?
January 14, 2010
SEO Secrets Revealed
Of all the interesting things I try to entertain you all with, everyday the search word stats are the same: Ewoks and Ecstasy taking the number 1 and 2 spots!
Now, I’m fond of both these topics, and will even find a way to combine them for you (because I do aim to please), but first let’s talk about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). It’s so convoluted it hurts my brain, but here are some key points.
- ranking is determined by crawlers, which comb web content and look at a number of factors to determine top sites.
- Google represents 75% of all searches
- don’t fuck with Google, or they could remove your site from their listings. And you will lose if you try to sue them.
- buying a bunch of sites that link to each other is one way to up your SEO (like downtownvancouver.com), but is considered a grey hat technique, or – not classy, but they can’t bust you for it.
- a black hat technique is when you do things like hide keywords in the backdrop of your site to maximize traffic. BMW Germany did it and was temporarily shunned by Google.
So why are people so obsessed with Ewoks?
I completely understand. They’re cute, yet creepy.
As for e without the wok…
I find it a great emotional cleansing with the highest epiphany value of any other drug. However, it’s not a recreational drug. I believe it should be used sparingly. And I actually would no longer do “e”, but pure MDMA (in gel caps) because it’s much smoother and cleaner, whereas pressed pills can contain everything from horse tranquilizers to heroine.
Everyone who doesn’t do e, or who has done it and enjoyed it “too” much seems to be terrified of the drug. You occasionally hear about someone dying on e, but there are so many etards out there who do like 7 or 8 pills a night, or more. The government does studies that tell you that e uses up all your happy, then another study in Europe comes out and completely contradicts it.
Before ecstasy was “criminalized”, it was used for therapeutic purposes – to help couples in therapy and to treat depression and anxiety. As scientists and psychotherapists began seeing the drug’s effects and passing it around to their friends (one such pharmacologist, Alexander Shulgin, referring to it as a “low calorie martini”) the bureaucrats got nervous and made is super duper illegal. Why? Because it competes with alcohol? The way that electric cars compete with gas fuelled cars? The way that stevia competes with aspartame?
It’s evident that the world is petrified of love, but second comes change – hence “The Prohibition of Ecstasy.” Quite all-encompassing.
I suggest e to anyone who needs a clearing of the heart chakra.
I also suggest that Ewoks are perpetually on e, and this is why they only have pupils and irises, no scleras.
January 10, 2010
Anyone out there online dating???
Top 10 Online Dating Don’ts:
1) No drama:
This makes you sound like a drama queen. It makes you sound like a victim who expects to be hurt, and insinuates that you believe that you yourself have never broken down or overreacted in the past. And let me guess, you probably have a schlew of crazy ex-gfs/bfs. No drama says: if there is something wrong, don’t bug me about it. If you have an emotion, keep it to yourself. Now, I know there are actual drama-causers who invent problems and make demands and throw tantrums… but a little passion and clarity of emotion is healthy.
2) Please live close:
I don’t want to drive an hour for dates. Oh. So you’d definitely cross the world for me then. The good apples are always at the bottom. Hey, grab one that’s already fallen off the tree. It’s just a little rotten, it’s still good.
3) I don’t know what I’m looking for…:
Then why are you messing with people’s hearts? One guy explains that he doesn’t want to alienate the girls who aren’t what he’s looking for. Um, have some dignity and filter. Reach inside yourself and find what you’re looking for, and then proclaim it. If you’re looking for nobody in particular, then no one in particular will show up.
Dare to dream.
4) I’m bored so I thought I’d give this a try…
If you’re bored, you’re boring.
There is nothing sexier than boring.
5) Pics of you + baby:
It’s great to see your nurturing side, but not in your profile pic (!) Here, date me and this baby. If the kid is yours throw it in, but not in your profile pic, and try not to say some version of: yeah, I have a kid – if that bothers you then fuck off! This does not show your devotion to your child, it shows that you will be entering into a relationship as a judgmental and hostile individual.
6) LeTigre pictures:
You know what I mean. Those shots of you looking longingly into the distance. Man up (ladies 2), clean up, and look straight at the lens. Show up with confidence. That’s confidence, not nudity. If you’ve got a hot bod, don’t use it in your profile pic. The word “overcompensation” should explain why. Make eye contact, stand squarely, and face the camera. And for those who think that it’s all about the picture, the picture just gets you in the door.
7) I’m a pretty laidback guy/girl:
About ninety percent of you claim to be this, but laidback people don’t advertise.
I’m laidback. This means: I’m apathetic, I don’t like to rock the boat, and I’m lazy. If you’re too laidback, you won’t have the stamina to show up for life as your hottest self.
8) Please don’t wear much make up:
Guys… most of you don’t know the wide world of make up and the relationship girls have with it. This is like women speaking on the subject of circumcision – it’s not your territory. Make up is a personal choice. It’s not about how much make up a girl is wearing, it’s about how she applies it. If you want a more Earthy girl, say this. Say you’re looking for a natural, low-maintenance girl (although accept that this might mean she won’t look like a supermodel). Girls who wear make up are just trying to present themselves in their best light and as someone’s mom once said: “they say they don’t like make up, until they see you without it.”
9) I’m kind of a big deal. I have many leather bound books…:
Intelligence translates naturally through your ideas and your writing and your eyes. There are so many types of intelligence that if you just get into the things that drive you, online daters will figure out for themselves what type of intelligent you are.
10) Bonus points if…:
Keeping a score card on your future date based on whether or not he/she knows some obscure fact only limits yourself. Do not make your guy/girl jump through hoops for you. The cute, overused: “bonus points if…” thing at the end of your profile reveals the nature with which you will be reading your replies. A better closing might be a reminder about which qualities you’re open to receiving in a future relationship.
And in closing: don’t hate the player-hater, hate the game.
*Feel free to leave your online dating gripes in the comments section.
December 3, 2009
Betwixt and Between
‘Go watch television,’ eighties children were often told, and by all means setting us in front of the TV was a safe, economical way for our parents to watch us without having to watch too closely. But what came of this daily television watching? An intimate relationship between the child of the eighties and our televisions. TV was our secondary caregiver, providing reliable nurturing as the ‘feel good’ theme reigned in eighties programming. So with the world just a click of the remote away, we watched, and as it turns out our televisions were watching us, too.
Recent blockbuster documentaries such as The Corporation and Supersize Me have brought to light the lucrativeness of marketing to young television watchers. A scene in Supersize Me shows children attempting to identify general trivia on flash cards. The ones that pertained to McDonald’s they knew by heart. If the kids don’t ask, the parents don’t buy. My brother and I were prime examples of hit targets – some of my brother’s first words being: ‘649’, as in Lotto 649 and my Christmas list replete with Barbie and My Little Pony items. In a prepackaged world, we were prepackaged children. In fact, I still remember the face of the woman at McDonald’s who would mop the floor every Sunday while I ate my pancakes off the Styrofoam plate. So, whatever became of these heavily marketed-to children like myself? Well, we grew up, of course, and realized our lives were not movies and that happiness could not be bought… or did we?
Enter the Twixter – a term Time Magazine has coined to describe the schlew of twenty-somethings who are living a perpetual state of teenagedom, based on the Peter Panism “betwixt and between”. Lev Grossman’s article in Time Magazine, Grow Up? Not So Fast, discusses how instead of becoming financially independent from our parents, many Twixters are instead choosing to live at home with nice cars and expensive things. This fear of the adult world, Grossman proposes, may be occurring because it has become too expensive to grow up – twixters have too much to want, too much to buy. Instead of growing up, we are still trying to purchase that eighties feel good rush.
Being raised in a commercial world that was larger than life led us to think that everything exceptional comes from far away. And so feeling powerless, my fellow children of the eighties arm themselves with apathy. ‘Whatever’ the all-encompassing catch word of our generation. But this neutrality we’ve installed in ourselves to drown out the world’s urgency, is it a form of detachment, or irresponsibility? Makes you wonder – if the Twixters have still not snapped out of it – this quest for an unattainable Hollywood heaven – what will become of today’s children who are even more cleverly marketed to (child psychologists standing by to know which part of their brains to pitch to)?
November 25, 2009
A new category on Dawn of a New Era
4 When Life Flows…
These bolts of energy we’ve become
A new vibration to the world
The Age of Electric
They Called Them
Those people. Those years.
Didn’t realize it wasn’t the way,
just a way.
People anxious to not stay out for
Got to get back to their onlives
Not as good as a dream, but at least
A new wavelength
Fame monsters in a rush to
Claim the New World
People are watching us like a movie,
How do you like your beats mixed?
House? Techno? Trance? …Pop?
Because this is who you are.
You are your taste,
Your chosen objects
Distract me, we hope, to technology.
Numbers in this number world.
Placing us in
Columns of people, diagrams of people, flow charts of people, solar systems of people,
Ones and zeros of people.
Each with their
Where do we go when we die?
The Cyber World,
The easiest place to disappear.
November 22, 2009
3 Years of Business, 6 Months of Campaigning,
How Many More Lobes of Foie Gras?
Fuel Restaurant, the location of many recent protests against foie gras, has decided to close, the owners to open a more casual eatery in its place.
Because of the economy?
Because they no longer wanted the negative publicity of being associated with animal cruelty?
We won’t know until their new menu comes out.
Robert Belcham, owner and chef, has threatened to keep the foie gras on the menu:
“Please do not waste your time trying to talk to these fanatical zealots,” Belcham says of the animal rights activists. “They can’t even see past their own propaganda. No one tells me what to put on my menu except my customers. And I can tell you none of these self righteous, single minded drones have ever dined at Fuel. If you all want Foie at the new restaurant, you got it.”
What a guy. He calls those who stand up for those who have no voice self-righteous, while admitting that he’ll do anything for money. He calls video footage, facts, and decisions made by 15 countries worldwide “propaganda”. Open your eyes, Belch. These “fanatical zealots” are standing up against violence and cruelty.
And for the record, foie gras is not an issue you can be fanatical about. You either support it or you don’t. You empathize with the creatures, or you profit from their suffering. There is no grey area. There is no element of “belief” involved. Foie gras IS force feeding.
Here is Fuel’s official teary Oprah goodbye:
Dear Friends and Fans,
Our 3 year anniversary is fast approaching and we have truly enjoyed the time we have had taking care of you all. Our ultimate goal is to see you all more often, and in order to achieve that, we have decided to make a significant change to our landscape here at Fuel.
Sunday November 29th will be our last service as Fuel Restaurant. We will close for two days and re-open for business on December 2nd as a neighborhood restaurant and bar specializing in Casual Northwest Cuisine. Our philosophy towards quality ingredients and impeccable service will remain paramount. We simply want to offer these things to you at a more affordable price.
As you are among our loyal customers, we invite you to come and visit Fuel Restaurant one last time. We would truly love to see you this month. The Whole Hog Menu is still available for booking on November 25th, 26th, and 27th and Fried Chicken Fridays will also be available for lunch until the end of November. From the bottom of our hearts, Robert, Ted, Katharine and I would also like to thank you so much for supporting us over the years. We have truly enjoyed serving you and look forward to seeing you soon.
But why, if Fuel has been so successful, wouldn’t they keep their name and just change their menu?
Name changes are usually synonymous with changes of identity, and we hope that Fuel realizes it’s time to change theirs.
November 18, 2009
Please carefully consider that WTC 7 was not hit by an aircraft on 9-11, was not attacked by terrorists, and only small fires that were not spreading and were contained on only one side of the building on the 12th floor were observed, yet the entire 47 story tall concrete and steel skyscraper building “buckled” in the center, penthouse first, then came straight down very quickly in a mere 6.5 seconds at free fall, not impeded in any manner whatsoever by any of the numerous floors below, imploding from within precisely into it’s own footprints, the concrete pulverized and vaporized into toxic dust and powder, resulting in huge, billowing, pyroclastic clouds, and the massive steel core columns (18) cut and hurled horizontally, a truly perfect, classic example of a building brought down with deliberate purpose, and with a very high degree of advanced professional skills and substantial expert experience in a controlled fashion.
The Twin Towers also came straight down into their own footprints very quickly in less than 12 seconds each in a similar controlled fashion.
Most certainly a scientific investigation is called for to examine the scientific facts surrounding the probable implosion of WTC 7.
Please carefully consider that scientific facts once officially revealed to the nation can free the American people, their Congress, and their President, from the constant fear and terror generated by and since 9-11.
*Stay tuned for an upcoming vlog series: Winterland, featuring Isla and, she doesn’t know it yet, but, CL, and many other wacky characters. The series will document winter life in the Siberian trailer park of Calgary, Alberta.
November 10, 2009
No fat jokes intended. Only phat ones.
The Importance of Protein
Protein is essential to human health. Our bodies—hair, muscles, fingernails, and so on—are made up mostly of protein. As suggested by the differences between our muscles and our fingernails, not all proteins are alike. This is because differing combinations of any number of 20 amino acids may constitute a protein. In much the same way that the 26 letters of our alphabet serve to form millions of different words, the 20 amino acids serve to form different proteins.
Amino acids are a fundamental part of our diet. While half of the 20 can be manufactured by the human body, the other 10 cannot.1 These “essential amino acids” can easily be provided by a balanced vegan diet.
How Much Protein?
As babies, our mothers’ milk provided the protein we needed to grow healthy and strong. Once we start eating solid foods, non-animal sources can easily provide us with all the protein we need. Only 10 percent of the total calories consumed by the average human being need be in the form of protein.2
The Recommended Dietary Daily Allowance for both men and women is 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight.3 People with special needs (such as pregnant women) are advised to get a little more.
Vegans should not worry about getting enough protein; if you eat a reasonably varied diet and ingest sufficient calories, you will undoubtedly get enough protein. Protein deficiency, or “kwashiorkor,” is very rare in the U.S. and is usually diagnosed in people living in countries suffering from famine.4 By contrast, eating too much animal protein has been directly linked to the formation of kidney stones and has been associated with cancer of the colon and liver.5,6 By replacing animal protein with vegetable protein, you can improve your health while enjoying a wide variety of delicious foods.
While just about every vegetarian food contains some protein, the soybean deserves special mention, for it contains all the essential amino acids and surpasses all other food plants in the amount of protein that it can deliver to the human system. In this regard, it is nearly equal to meat. The human body is able to digest 92 percent of the protein found in meat and 91 percent of that found in soybeans.7
The many different and delicious soy products (such as tempeh, soy “hot dogs” and “burgers,” Tofutti brand “ice cream,” soy milk, and tofu) available in health and grocery stores suggest that the soybean, in its many forms, can accommodate a wide range of tastes.
Other rich sources of non-animal protein include legumes, nuts, seeds, yeast, and freshwater algae. Although food yeasts (“nutritional yeast” and “brewer’s yeast”) do not lend themselves to forming the center of one’s diet, they are extremely nutritious additions to most menus (in soups, gravies, breads, casseroles, and dips). Most yeasts get about 50 percent of their calories from protein.8
Here are some examples of vegetarian foods with high sources of plant protein:
PROTEIN IN LEGUMES: Garbanzo beans, Kidney beans, Lentils, Lima beans, Navy beans, Soybeans, Split peas
PROTEIN IN GRAINS: Barley, Brown rice, Buckwheat, Millet, Oatmeal, Quinoa, Rye, Wheat germ, Wheat, hard red, Wild rice
VEGETABLE PROTEIN: Artichokes, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Green peas, Green pepper, Kale, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard green, Onions, Potatoes, Spinach, Tomatoes, Turnip greens, Watercress, Yams, Zucchini
PROTEIN IN FRUITS: Apple, Banana, Cantaloupe, Grape, Grapefruit, Honeydew melon, Orange, Papaya, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Strawberry, Tangerine, Watermelon.
PROTEIN IN NUTS AND SEEDS: Almonds, Cashews, Filberts, Hemp Seeds, Peanuts, Pumpkin seeds, Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds, Walnuts (black)
One excellent ingredient to look for is hemp seed protein. Hemp seed is an nutritious dietary source of easily digestible gluten-free protein. It provides a well-balanced array of all the amino acids, including 34.6 grams of protein for each 100 grams. The fatty acid profile of the hemp seed is extremely beneficial, containing omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a virtually ideal ratio. Other beneficial aspects of hemp seed include a strongly favorable unsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio; a high content of antioxidants; and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.
November 10, 2009
The HSUS uncovers veal calf abuse as newborn babies are put to slaughter.
November 4, 2009
…Factory Farming is a Black Mark on the Human Soul
It would seem that at a very basic level, both meateaters and vegans agree that factory farming is not good for anyone. The churning out of animals as products hits a little too close to The Matrix for people, and even those who cherish their steak and burgers would prefer their dinner came from a happy farm – not a filthy, crowded Cowschwitz.
Whether it’s the development of widespread diseases such as H1N1, the chronic digestive problems caused by consuming animal products full of anti-biotics, the extreme impact that animal waste is having on our environment, or the massive amounts of fossil fuels generated by the animal industry, people of all diets are becoming critical of the current systems we have in place before even looking at the issue of animal suffering.
In Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book, “Eating Animals”, he writes from the perspective of a new father concerned about what he’s feeding his child. Initially a fiction writer, Foer decided to take on the “controversial” subject because the drive was in him to get the information not provided to us by the animal industry in circulation. The following article was written for CNN:
Like most people, I’d given some thought to what meat actually is, but until I became a father and faced the prospect of having to make food choices on someone else’s behalf, there was no urgency to get to the bottom of things.
I’m a novelist and never had it in mind to write nonfiction. Frankly, I doubt I’ll ever do it again. But the subject of animal agriculture, at this moment, is something no one should ignore. As a writer, putting words on the page is how I pay attention.
If the way we raise animals for food isn’t the most important problem in the world right now, it’s arguably the No. 1 cause of global warming: The United Nations reports the livestock business generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined.
It’s the No. 1 cause of animal suffering, a decisive factor in the creation of zoonotic diseases like bird and swine flu, and the list goes on. It is the problem with the most deafening silence surrounding it.
Even the most political people, the most thoughtful and engaged, tend not to “go there.” And for good reason. Going there can be extremely uncomfortable. Food is not just what we put in our mouths to fill up; it is culture and identity. Reason plays some role in our decisions about food, but it’s rarely driving the car.
We need a better way to talk about eating animals, a way that doesn’t ignore or even just shruggingly accept things like habits, cravings, family and history but rather incorporates them into the conversation. The more they are allowed in, the more able we will be to follow our best instincts. And although there are many respectable ways to think about meat, there is not a person on Earth whose best instincts would lead him or her to factory farming.
My book, “Eating Animals,” addresses factory farming from numerous perspectives: animal welfare, the environment, the price paid by rural communities, the economic costs. In two essays, I will share some of what I’ve learned about how the way we raise animals for food affects human health.
What we eat and what we are
Why aren’t more people aware of, and angry about, the rates of avoidable food-borne illness? Perhaps it doesn’t seem obvious that something is amiss simply because anything that happens all the time — like meat, especially poultry, becoming infected by pathogens — tends to fade into the background.
Whatever the case, if you know what to look for, the pathogen problem comes into terrifying focus. For example, the next time a friend has a sudden “flu” — what folks sometimes misdescribe as “the stomach flu” — ask a few questions. Was your friend’s illness one of those “24-hour flus” that come and go quickly: retch or crap, then relief? The diagnosis isn’t quite so simple, but if the answer to this question is yes, your friend probably didn’t have the flu at all.
He or she was probably suffering from one of the 76 million cases of food-borne illness the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated happen in America each year. Your friend didn’t “catch a bug” so much as eat a bug. And in all likelihood, that bug was created by factory farming.
Beyond the sheer number of illnesses linked to factory farming, we know that factory farms are contributing to the growth of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens simply because these farms consume so many antimicrobials.
We have to go to a doctor to obtain antibiotics and other antimicrobials as a public-health measure to limit the number of such drugs being taken by humans. We accept this inconvenience because of its medical importance. Microbes eventually adapt to antimicrobials, and we want to make sure it is the truly sick who benefit from the finite number of uses any antimicrobial will have before the microbes learn how to survive it.
On a typical factory farm, drugs are fed to animals with every meal. In poultry factory farms, they almost have to be. It’s a perfect storm: The animals have been bred to such extremes that sickness is inevitable, and the living conditions promote illness.
Industry saw this problem from the beginning, but rather than accept less-productive animals, it compensated for the animals’ compromised immunity with drugs. As a result, farmed animals are fed antibiotics nontherapeutically: that is, before they get sick.
In the United States, about 3 million pounds of antibiotics are given to humans each year, but a whopping 17.8 million pounds are fed to livestock — at least, that is what the industry claims.
The Union of Concerned Scientists estimated that the industry underreported its antibiotic use by at least 40 percent.
The group calculated that 24.6 million pounds of antibiotics were fed to chickens, pigs and other farmed animals, counting only nontherapeutic uses. And that was in 2001. In other words, for every dose of antibiotics taken by a sick human, eight doses are given to a “healthy” animal.
The implications for creating drug-resistant pathogens are quite straightforward. Study after study has shown that antimicrobial resistance follows quickly on the heels of the introduction of new drugs on factory farms.
For example, in 1995, when the Food and Drug Administration approved fluoroquinolones — such as Cipro — for use in chickens against the protest of the Centers for Disease Control, the percentage of bacteria resistant to this powerful new class of antibiotics rose from almost zero to 18 percent by 2002.
A broader study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed an eightfold increase in antimicrobial resistance from 1992 to 1997 and linked this increase to the use of antimicrobials in farmed chickens. As far back as the late 1960s, scientists have warned against the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in farmed-animal feed.
Today, institutions as diverse as the American Medical Association; the Centers for Disease Control; the Institute of Medicine, a division of the National Academy of Sciences; and the World Health Organization have linked nontherapeutic antibiotic use on factory farms with increased antimicrobial resistance and called for a ban.
Still, the factory farm industry has effectively opposed such a ban in the United States. And, unsurprisingly, the limited bans in other countries are only a limited solution.
There is a glaring reason that the necessary total ban on nontherapeutic use of antibiotics hasn’t happened: The factory farm industry, allied with the pharmaceutical industry, has more power than public-health professionals.
What is the source of the industry’s immense power? We give it to them. We have chosen, unwittingly, to fund this industry on a massive scale by eating factory-farmed animal products. And we do so daily.
The same conditions that lead at least 76 million Americans to become ill from their food annually and that promote antimicrobial resistance also contribute to the risk of a pandemic.
At a remarkable 2004 conference, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) put their tremendous resources together to evaluate the available information on “emerging zoonotic diseases” or those spread by humans-to- animals and animals-to-humans.
At the time of the conference, H5N1 and SARS topped the list of feared emerging zoonotic diseases. Today, the H1N1 swine flu would be the pathogen enemy No. 1.
The scientists distinguished between “primary risk factors” for zoonotic diseases and mere “amplification risk factors,” which affect only the rate at which a disease spreads. Their examples of primary risk factors were “change to an agricultural production system or consumption patterns.” What particular agricultural and consumer changes did they have in mind?
First in a list of four main risk factors was “increasing demand for animal protein,” which is a way of saying that demand for meat, eggs, and dairy is a “primary factor” influencing emerging zoonotic diseases. This demand for animal products, the report continues, leads to “changes in farming practices.” Lest we have any confusion about the “changes” that are relevant, poultry factory farms are singled out.
Similar conclusions were reached by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, which brought together industry experts and experts from the WHO, OIE and USDA. Their 2005 report argued that a major impact of factory farming is “the rapid selection and amplification of pathogens that arise from a virulent ancestor (frequently by subtle mutation), thus there is increasing risk for disease entrance and/or dissemination.”
Breeding genetically uniform and sickness-prone birds in the overcrowded, stressful, feces-infested and artificially lit conditions of factory farms promotes the growth and mutation of pathogens. The “cost of increased efficiency,” the report concludes, is increased global risk for diseases. Our choice is simple: cheap chicken or our health.
Today, the factory farm-pandemic link couldn’t be more lucid. The primary ancestor of the recent H1N1 swine flu outbreak originated at a hog factory farm in America’s most hog-factory-rich state, North Carolina, and then quickly spread throughout the Americas.
It was in these factory farms that scientists saw, for the first time, viruses that combined genetic material from bird, pig and human viruses. Scientists at Columbia and Princeton Universities have actually been able to trace six of the eight genetic segments of the most feared virus in the world directly to U.S. factory farms.
Perhaps in the back of our minds we already understand, without all the science, that something terribly wrong is happening. We know that it cannot possibly be healthy to raise such grotesque animals in such grossly unnatural conditions. We know that if someone offers to show us a film on how our meat is produced, it will be a horror film.
We perhaps know more than we care to admit, keeping it down in the dark places of our memory — disavowed. When we eat factory-farmed meat, we live on tortured flesh. Increasingly, those sick animals are making us sick.
November 2, 2009
The Dead Know All Y’all