Sunday, April 30, 2006

Stereo-typed vegan

Maybe I'm just still moderately bummed out from attending the vegan potluck three hours ago, and feeling like it was one of my worst experiences eating out; or maybe this article is legitimately bad. Seriously though, I was not prepared for the social awkward moment at an event I hadn't even anticipated as being awkward. And maybe that's my problem too; I just need to assume every place that I eat in public is some sort of battle ground where no food is safe. But I really thought it was a friendly, good break from studying event that would not cause me any anxiety (and the need to further procrastinate on my thirty page paper due tomorrow). Not someplace where I would get made fun of for my "obsessiveness" when I looked at the bag the bread originally came in and found out it had honey.

It's not even that I mind that there are things at an event that I can't eat--quite the contrary. I get legitimately excited when I find out there is even one choice that I can eat at a public event, because that means I don't have to go to the back pack for my next meal. I don't expect people to think of every diet that could possibly exist; it's a choice I made, and in no way should it really effect the way the people I associate with choose to live their life. I'm just saying, if you call something vegan--it should actually be that. And I think a group calling itself by that name should really be my best shot at understanding this philosophy; and yet I was so disappointed. I have experience with people insulting my veganism--just not with members of that group, I guess.

Apparently there's some unwritten rule that when you go out to eat, all rules are off; and you should just hope for a vegan meal because you can never be sure what you're going to get. I really don't think it has to be that way at all. I think that you shouldn't just compromise what you believe in because the people sitting around you may look at you funny if you order only a drink, and smile and only participate in the conversation.

Either way it is, my being upset or the article; this blog really hasn't seen me in my "crazy hippy-tree hugging, ingredient checking" vegan mode (that we all just know every vegan has), that I think it's really entitled too. I just hate, and I think a lot of people do, to be tight cast into a role that I don't fit into; but other people think I fit into because they have previous ideas about what a word means. And I really hate negative stereo types for veganism; especially made by people who claim to have all the knowledge, because they tried it once for a couple of weeks; and so therefore, must know everything about the subject.

At first, I was really pretty excited about reading this little blip of an article. Veganism while traveling?? That says me all over. I was strangely drawn into anything that the author had to write about. But my difficulty with what was written, despite my intense want to like it, started fairly early.

One: I seriously raise my eyebrow at anyone trying to tell me how impossible it was to find vegan food in Portland, Oregon. I know for a fact it's one of the top five rated veg cities in the United States. You are doing something wrong if you can't find vegan food there.

Two: An offhand comment of how they were prepared for the worst though, because they had brought an apple and bag of pretzels--which obviously can sustain a family for the entire weekend. Do I pack for "the worst"? No shit. Between my paranoia about other people making my food "behind my back" (aka the scary non-veg friendly kitchen), my traveling every other weekend with being on about a thirty dollar a month food budget, and my general distaste for what a big group of people call good vegan food, which I call moodily, "the gross looking stuff with lots of onions and spicy things that's are going to make my mouth hurt"--packing food is like packing my toothbrush. (Which, as a small foot note, I have recently realized is not all that automatic with people; numerously finding myself in a room where there are three other girls, but everyone is asking me for toothpaste--but just to clear up any misunderstandings--I view toothpaste packing as one of the very first things to be put in the bag. Especially seeing as most travel related trips I go to revolve around a lot of speaking.) But I am entirely realistic in my packing, or so I like to believe, and it is not uncommon for half of my luggage to actually be an assortment of food that meets normal nutritional needs. And while I might not be a nutritionist, I do know that an apple and some pretzels even for one person, is not going to get anyone very far. Talking like it would, is just asinine, and any writer trying to give a perspective of what vegans go through when they're traveling, should not further the stereo-types that veganism is synonymous with eating disorder.

Three: Sort of off the last point, but; the obscene reliance on one food, and that one food being a meat substitute. Let's not even get into the discussion of how gardenburger products aren't vegan--lets pretend it's another product that actually is. (Though personally, I love propping up soy substitutes not actually designed for people who don't include meat in their diet, but for people who have realized that eating seven steaks a week sort of raises your cholesterol; or people who like saying now and then,"hey look everyone--I'm eating a vegetarian meal, like it's some exotic delicacy that they don't eat a third of the time, and just never think about it.) Acting like your vegan life would have ended, had it not been for a pre-packaged Kellogg's product is so ridiculously narrow minded, and has no basis in actual fact- but with how other people think vegans live. Honestly? The only soy substitute I've had all month is tofu and soy milk, and if I didn't have that, I would be cooking with a few more pounds of lentils, beans, nuts, and water and wouldn't even think twice. Fake meat really isn't a big turn on, when I know what it's trying to imitate.

Four: Totally unnecessary comments about how you long for a steak. It doesn't even make sense logically. Who exactly is your target audience? (Damn, probably the same people who buy Morningstar to make themselves feel good). I find it hard to believe many meat eating people saw an article about vegan traveling and thought, "holly shit; this was exactly what I was looking for and want to spend my valuable online time reading!". On the other hand, I think a number of people generally interested in veg*nism might have clicked on it to read it. Making comments like this about how hard it is to be vegan for a month, are worse then not putting out any article on it. Without articles that try and give you the facts they've discovered about something they've essentially stuck their big toe into the ocean with, a lot less negative press would be circulating.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

To nuke or not to nuke?? Apparently it's a question...

I saw some of this circulating yesterday, but I was too much in WTF mode to say anything productive and just vent disparagingly about the newest news update.

"one option still on the table is the use of tactical nuclear weapons to ensure
the destruction of well-protected Iranian nuclear facilities. "

This takes eye for an eye justice to new levels. Shit, they have nuclear facilities; how do we get rid of them? I know-- we'll use our nuclear missiles on them. This sounds so counter intuitive and utterly ridiculous, even for this government, that I have to take it with a little skepticism.

Too many people are coming out and saying that this isn't an option they are pursuing, for me to start adding this to my daily worries. Even if it was something they were considering, they aren't going to be dropping any nukes any time soon with about a million statements saying using them would be, ahem... "nuts" (oh Mr. Straw, you're such a tricky linguist).


"BLITZER: So your sources have concluded basically that the diplomatic
option as it's going forward is not necessarily going to work?
HERSH: That's the fear. The fear is that we're back to the pre-Iraqi invasion game when we went through the U.N. exercise. The fear is that the White House, there's
some people in the White House who aren't really, no matter what happens
diplomatically, they don't believe Iran's going to give up its ambitions."
Ironic that the word fear appears in every sentence of his answer? I think not. I think this a huge part of the problem. On top of the possible threat of nuclear weapons and the histaria that creates, we have the man who has been the front runner of these reports, adding more baggage to the claim. I feel like all he is saying is: In case you didn't get the message--be afraid. Not only is your government contemplating nukes but some of them want to use them.

Obviously I'm anti this administration. To an obscene degree. Even when I try to say to myself, hey it's not that bad; I find myself being proved wrong. But to say that there are people in the White House who want, and who will, use nuclear weapons on Iran regardless of what Iran does is ridiculous. Even the worst person in the administration, has the knowledge of what sort of public backlash using nukes would create, and they would not create this frivously. If for nothing else, nobody wants bad press, and this would be the epitome of that.

I really had a decent amount of respect for Seymour Hersh's writing and reporting abilities, but these types of answers bother me to no end. I don't think it is helpful at all to start making comparisons between past events and what is happening now, similarly to how I don't think it's cool that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is being compared to Hitler ( No two events are the same and when we start mixing the two different events we start changing what is happening presently. There can not be two Hitlers, and we cannot recreate the political environment pre-Iraqi invasion.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Texas, revisited

CEDA nats finished up late Wednesday evening; and by late I mean judging clocked in at about one thirty in the morning, and now the debate season is officially over. I was momentarily depressed by all this, no more cutting relation and Sudan updates; but an e-mail by a kid who has been debating for four years have picked my spirits back up. I realize I have received several e-mails to this effect, but this one really sounded promising.

Texas was great again, though the tournament bailed on providing lunches which made my budget unhappy. I had a few decent veggie stirfrys though, along with a trip to a huge natural food store. This thing was huge (see attached picture) and had things I had never even heard of. I got some tofu spring rolls and peanut sauce, and it seriously was one of the best things I have had in awhile. Even without the peanut sauce-- so that just shows you how good it was. I wish our store was that all encompassing.

The outrounds contained some of the best debates I have ever watched, and I'm glad my flows and I didn't miss a moment of it. I enjoyed hearing some of the best debaters in the nation hash out arguments, and I even enjoyed being beaten by a few of them. Generally, they were really nice about it and didn't try to spread us. We just had good debates. Chuck Norris and zombies ended up taking us down in round seven which was extremely unfortunate; especially because I knew about the zombie DA and still didn't make a block to it. Looking back on it I really could have said some pretty clever things. I just should have attacked game theory though. I wasn't really thinking that straight, with our record and The Jeff swirling about in my mind.

The hotel was awesome and Iskra and I got a room to ourselves, as we were the only womyn who went. Which has to be weighed as an unfortunate thing, even with the coolness of only two people in one room. So many people from Rochester came, but only one female? Iskra put it all to bad timing and coincidences, but I guess I'm more cynical or paranoid, or something along that lines; because I really don't think it can all be written off by that. Even the final judging panel only had two females. Heavy sigh.

I should probably look into doing all the work I missed over the last week....