vegansaurus!

10/19/2011

Hello, Friends! It’s WTF Wednesday—Avenging Hamsters edition!  »


You guys, I need to talk to you about something serious. You know I’m all about fun and games and tormenting Allen for the amusement of others, but today we have to discuss an issue really near and dear to my heart: hamsters.

I get it; I talk about hamsters a lot. Perhaps, some of you may be thinking, I love hamsters a little too much. Perhaps you have never taken a nap with a hamster or involuntarily shared your oatmeal with one. Perhaps you have never given a hamster CPR only to be bitten in the face. Hard.

Fine, I love hamsters too much, but somebody has to. A lot of the time we do not take small animals seriously. You tell someone that a dog or a cat or a horse got tortured and killed and people go into a rage. You hear about someone who tortured and killed a hamster, and a lot of people are all, “Whatever, rodents…” When I took my hamster Bunny (RIP Big Poppa!) in for surgery once even the vet looked at me like I was a crazy person, and asked if I wouldn’t want to spend my money on “something else,” and just have Bunny euthanized.

For me, this was a huge problem, because not only was it insensitive, but Bunny wasn’t a something, she was a someone. She was a rodent, sure, but she also inspired me to stop eating meat—why eat cows when we don’t eat hamsters?—gave me good stories to tell other people, and kept me company while I was doing homework. One time she also bit someone I didn’t like in the face, which was awesome and taught everyone the importance of not putting an animal right up to your face and cooing at them, even if they are small and adorable.

I wasn’t really even thinking about this until this Facebook post started circulating. If you have not seen it, the gist is that some horrible person, who appears to be a female in her 20s, decided to let her orange hamster, Nemo, out into the wild to give him his freedom. Admirable as her intentions may be, this young lady apparently did no research and therefore did not learn that YOU CAN’T JUST FUCKING LET A DOMESTICATED PREY ANIMAL OUT INTO THE FUCKING WOODS!

Her reasoning was pretty romantic: Nemo would fend for himself and become big and strong. He would eat berries that he found in the forest and drink cool, clean water from the brook. He would build himself a fine home made of sugar and gingerbread and he would find another hamster to share his life with. Perhaps, he would return to visit once in a while, maybe bringing his partner around to say hi and nibble a carrot; reminisce about old times, check up on the old places. That would be nice. Too bad that Hamster was probably dead within 24 hours because, again, hamsters are prey animals that don’t know how to love in the wild. They’re not going to find brooks and berries. What they’re going to find are falcons and snakes and seagulls.

True story: I once had a pair of hamsters named Reggie and George (Dead Like Me FTW!) that had been rescued from the home of a disabled person whose main joy in life was breeding her hamsters. These hamsters came from the same families and had not been fed a very good diet; they came to me slow, bloated, and uninterested in anything. Especially the exercise wheel. Wanting to do them the most good and being very naive, I called an organization that prepared animals for the wild and asked what I should do. I was told that first of all, the hamsters would not be returned to me—they would be set free. I was also told not to do this because no matter how much preparation the hamsters had, they wouldn not survive for a long time. So that was the end of that.

Domesticated amsters don’t survive in the wild. Wild hamsters, like in Mongolia, look mean, like they know how to win a fight. Nemo doesn’t: In the pictures this woman took pictures of herself releasing Nemo, he does not look ready for hunting and foraging. He looks confused. And the outcry on this woman’s Facebook is an immediate “Nemo is dead,” which she does not seem to understand because it’s not like she left him on a highway somewhere, she let him go in the woods. With the fucking berries and the cold, cold stream. However, when someone points out that hamsters don’t really do the whole nature thing, her response is not a remorseful “Oh my god, what have I done? How could I have been so stupid?” but “RIP Nemo!” Honestly, where do these people come from?

I want to know how this woman is any different from the young girl who threw the puppies in the river. That girl was told to do it; this woman apparently just decided to release her hamster. She didn’t even try to rehome him to—evidenced by the “I would have taken him if you had told me” comment—and when she was told that Nemo was on his way to a certain and terrifying death, she didn’t show much remorse. Would we be hearing more about this if it had happened to a more “important” animal than a hamster? This makes me sad. And it makes me angry. And that’s not good for anyone, especially Allen, who has to listen to me go off about hamsters for hours on end. You guys should see us.

That’s it for this week! Please send me links for next week and have a Wednesday filled with happy hamsters!

[photo by moriza via Flickr]

10/05/2011

Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »

Last week was tough for me, you guys. Not only did I work 13-hour days and torment Allen more than usual (“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU WON’T TAKE ME OUT TO DINNER???”), but I also stepped into a discarded fish and a puddle of vomit on the same day, one just minutes after the other. I was upset, as you are when you are walking down the street on your way to purchase a delicious lunch at 10 a.m. and step into the lifeless body of a fish that has been discarded in a torn-apart pink shopping bag. Man, was I upset you guys; upset not only because someone had fucked a fish over in this way but also because much of my job consists of taking to people in small, enclosed spaces with locked doors. A job which I would now have to do smelling of dead fish. Then there was my guilt about being mad at the fish on the ground, like it had swum its way out of the ocean and decided to die on a residential street in a quiet neighborhood. Highly irrational, I know, but I doubt any of us would be able to think straight during an incident like this.

I walked back to work feeling really sad about both the fish and my foot, but was only greeted by more unpleasantness. As I wandered down the hallway, I put my other foot (the one not covered in fish) straight into someone’s vomited-up breakfast. Then I had to go I to a small room and sit there on my own for several hours, debating whether it was worse to smell like fish or like vomit, and castigating myself for not looking where I was going.

In a way, I feel very much like the gentleman who robbed a convenience store while a police officer stood right behind him and snickered. He was not looking where he was going, not following the contextual cues. People were openly laughing at him as he attempted to rob the store, and he probably thought he pulled it off, all “Man, I am going to buy so many apple products with this money!” Then the police officer caught him and the only thing he got was the notoriety of being an idiot criminal with an ammmaaaaaaaazing mugshot.

I don’t know how I never posted about this cat before, but you need to know about him, because he takes the bus, which is awesome enough because “let me through! I am on important business!” but he also knows where to get off (fish shop, natch!) and got the awesome nickname Macavity! How awesome would it be if someone actually turned the song from Cats on whenever Macavity got on the bus? How long do you think the other passengers on the bus could stand it before going totally insane? Side note: I used to work at a video store that closed only this weekend (R.I.P. Film Yard) and I would play Cats all the time, to see what other people’s reactions would be. Lots of people would hum along, but one guy rolled in one night, heard the unmistakable melody of “Jellicle Cats,” said “Oh fuck! Oh no!” really loudly, and dashed from the store. I am pretty sure that he had just remembered something completely unrelated, but I like the idea of such a violent reaction to a musical about suicidal cats holding a pageant in a junkyard.

Finally, we have the touching story of Arizona cops shutting down traffic in order to shoo a bunny off the road. You don’t really hear about that a lot. I am really impressed that the officers actively did something to prevent the rabbit’s demise. That makes me feel a little better about life.

That’s all for this week! Send me links for next week and have a vomit-free Wednesday. Or try to.

09/21/2011

Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »

You guys, I was really lonely last weekend. Allen was out of town so I had no one to torment, my parents were out of town so I has no one to fight with, and I was too tired to do anything but sit around at home with the lights on and wait vigilantly for the ghosts to show up and eat me. I am happy to report that none did, although, honestly, I could have used the excitement. On Friday night I tried to latch-hook the Super Mario rug I was making, but threw it across the rom in a fit of pique when the yarn unraveled for the fifteenth hundred time.

You can see how lonely I was. So I decided to adopt a hamster. Look how smart they are. So smart they have to wear glasses. That’s the animal for me!

The first thing I did was text Allen to let him know that I was going to track down a hamster and name hear Jeanine (because that is a name I have always liked). Ten minutes later he texted back in his usual unsupportive style, advising me not to make any rash decisions because he was going to be home in two days. “Also,” Allen wrote, “everything  will smell like hamster pee.” He was right. I have had many hamsters before and while I loved them all very much and cleaned their cages like it was my job I could not shake the feeling that I always smelled like a hamster cage full of urine. My brother and I got into a fight about it once, actually, when he was giving me a ride to work. “Bitch,” he said, “you smell like you’ve been fucking a hamster farm. Get a boyfriend.” We did not speak for a month after that and I had to take the bus everywhere. Recalling these fond memories made me realize that perhaps I was not ready to invite a hamster into my home just yet and would have to think long and hard before I went out and made such a commitment. Allen, probably sensing my despair, sent me another text message. “I have an idea,” he wrote, “why not just look at hamster videos on YouTube?” Allen can be so callous sometimes (this is a sign of psychopathy, by the way. I have been reading The Psychopath Test and am pretty sure Allen’s responses indicate that he is a psychopath fairly clearly), but I decided to look at animal videos anyway. Except I was doing it for a different reason. I wanted to convince myself that I could live without a companion animal at this point in my life. The first video I looked at completely convinced me. Or at least it convinced me that I do not want to mess with turtles. especially because, as a male, I am possessed of a pair of testicles, which apparently turtles have been known to bite the shit straight off. Can you even comprehend the pain of this poor dog? He just nudged a turtle away from him for whatever reason, and that evil monster decides to go straight for the nuts. I immediately felt a pit in my stomach, even though I generally wear clothes and have never had the desire or opportunity to let a turtle crawl around me while naked (I am about to fifteen comments extolling the joys of having a turtle crawl around one’s naked body, aren’t I?) I could not help but feel a certain kinship with the dog in this video and have decided that turtles are not for me. At least penguins are nice, right?

WRONG! Penguins will fuck your shit up! You think a penguin won’t come at you, bro? No, a penguin will bring it the fuck on. And he will bring it so hard that you will try to run backwards and fall and the penguin will waddle towards you as you are laying on your back, frozen in fear and covered in snow. That penguin will come right up to you and kick you straight in the crotch while maintaining unblinking eye contact. And then he will call his friend the ice turtle (may not be a real creature) and they will take turns kicking you in the crotch and biting your withered and frozen genitalia. Penguins, much like Honey Badgers, don’t give a shit. And they give even less of a shit when it’s some Russian douche trying to come at them. Why is it always the Russians, by the way? As a Russian I am concerned that whenever I see a video of an animal being all “Come at me, bro” the person coming at it is some Russian teenager/twenty-something. Get jobs, you guys! You’re making us look bad on the internet!

Dogs get in on the act, too. No longer content to just chill out, sleep and take walks, they’re demanding to be dressed up in eighties fashions and jump rope to set a world record. Sure, you could blame the lady who is having them jump around and dress up like they’re Tiffany on a coke bender, but i like to imagine her as a poor helpless person ganged up on by dogs who just want to have fun (like a young Helen hunt!); dogs that just live to jump rope to the pulsating beats and alluring vocals of Yaz and Men Without Hats. Dogs that can’t be stopped. Dogs that are “teen wolves” and “teen witches” who go to “private school” and are “pretty smart.” and one of them is in a gang called “Foxes” and “she’s out of control.” Top that! 

That’s all for me this week. Send me links for next week and for god’s sakes if your name is Carol Ann, stay away from lights this Wednesday!

09/14/2011

Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »


You guys, Allen is going out of town this week which means that I have to sleep in our apartment all by myself. We’ve lived here for over a year and we both love it, but I cannot help my irrational fear that ghosts will find and eat me as I am sleeping. Anyone else have this kind of anxiety? I end up leaving all the lights on because for some reason I believe that ghosts only eat people in the dark, but then Allen comes home and lectures me about the light bill and power consumption and poor children who do not have the luxury of keeping lights on in order to remain undigested by malevolent spirits.

This brings me to another point about scary things. Last week I posted a clip of a horse doing a Dorothy Hamill and got soundly talked-to in the comments (I read all the comments!). Generally, I do not respond well to these types of things but in this case I really had no idea that it was not only unhealthy but sometimes fatal for horses to do aerial acrobatics, and that isn’t cool. However, once I saw the horse I wanted to see other animals performing amazing feats of grace and flexibility, so I looked for videos in which the animals did not look like they were getting hurt. That’s when I found this cat. Oh my god, what is that? It is climbing up the wall! Then it is just hanging there like it’s no big deal. Who does that? And I am certain the cat is fine, because cats climb shit all the time (trees, scratching posts, your back). I just haven’t seen a cat climb a wall before. To be honest, I would also do anything for a laser pointer. Remember how cool those were in eighth grade? Man, I still regret not purchasing one for grad school and then pointing at random stuff on the screen and looking super-professional. I want a do-over. Not the papers and the classes, just the opportunity to point at stuff and act professorial!

We move on now to an animal that I do not believe I have ever featured here on WTF Wednesday: the amazing Epic Frog! Observe as the frog jumps, jumps, and jumps again. Thrill as the frog falls, and pulls back up! Watch the frog escape vicious predators! Gasp as it performs death-defying feats of froggery! I bet ghosts wouldn’t even try to eat this frog; they’d be too fucking awestruck by its powers!

You know what else would stop ghosts from eating you? A giant inflatable fish that swims through the air to the delight of children and Mark! I can’t even get over how cool these things are. I was never into RC cars or planes when I was a kid, but a radio-controlled flying shark that I can send down hallways and sic on Allen while he is in the bathroom? Priceless! And just think, here I am in the dark, pretzeled into a protective symbol, trying to get to sleep when the ghosts show up. “Aaaaauuuughhhhhhhooo, Mark! we are here to eeeeaaat yooouuu!” they cry, because I imagine ghosts are lacking in both tact and subtlety. “Not a chance, evil spirits!” I cry. Then I hastily release my air shark from its hiding place and it chases the ghosts back to the living room, leaving me both protected and entertained by its antics. Then I get a good night’s sleep!

That’s all for this week! Send me links for next week and have a ghost-free Wednesday!

[photo of Gleeson, Ariz. by Bill Gracey via Flickr]

09/07/2011

Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »


You guys, I started about 5,000 internships last week and they have been a whirlwind of new information and tears. You would think that once one receives an advanced degree one would at least be rewarded with a bucket of cash and a penthouse, but you (and in this case I) would be sorely mistaken. Because what really happens after graduate school is that you work a lot and often for no or very little money. And if you’re me, then you come home grumpy and craft until you’re tired enough to go to bed.

When I’m grumpy, I also like to go on YouTube and look at funny videos of people who believe that they are awesome and that the world needs to see them singing or dancing or reading a dramatic monologue (SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!). This generally makes me feel better and less prone to repetitive stabbing motions.* The video that started me on my trip back to happiness and delight was something that my friend Jason put on his Facebook. Actually, I am currently mad at Jason because as I continue to struggle with my schedule and spend more and more time cursing at a rug I am making, he is going to Japan to be a soloist in some kind of magical Disney symphony extravaganza.

However, once he introduced me to the amazing talents of Miranda, I could not help but giggle. There’s just something about a full-grown woman who has used eyeliner to draw whiskers on her face that makes me happy inside. I am  even happier when that same woman, whiskers on, ears perked proudly, makes a desperate attempt at keeping on rhythm, key, and pitch to “Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats.” She acts like she’s just playing around, but I think it’s obvious to everyone here that she is secretly hoping to be the next Patti Lupone or Bernadette Peters. What she’s really doing, though, is brightening our day.

Sometimes it’s not a person that brightens my day; sometimes it is a horse that thinks it is Nadia Comaneci. First let me stress that the horse appears fine at the end of the video so I feel that it is all right for me to play it on a loop and laugh every time it does its death-defying loop of wonderment. How can you not feel cheered up watching this? Have you ever seen a horse do a somersault before? Can you do a somersault? I can’t! I can’t even do cartwheels without hurting myself despite years of gymnastics my parents paid for. This horse is a hero! I just wish someone would put this video to an amazing Nyan Cat-like soundtrack.

Speaking of Nyan Cat, I know it’s old meme, but have you guys seen the three-and-a-half-hour version that just does not quit? I listened to it for about 30 minutes yesterday as I was working. Then Allen and I had an argument: He insists that the cat is wearing a toaster, like he’s never seen a Pop Tart worn like a sweater before. What is wrong with him? And for that matter, what is wrong with me?

That’s all for this week. Send me links for next week and have a less grumpy Wednesday!

*Please note that loom knitting does not actually require repetitive stabbing motions. This is something I’ve added myself.

[photo by LuLu Witch via Flickr]

08/25/2011

Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday! (on Thursday!)  »


You guys, Allen pulled some kind of back muscle this week and it has been hell here at our house. Allen is always in the living room rubbing himself with some strange green thing called a Thera-cane, or rolling around on an oddly textured orange thing, or engaging in what he says is stretching but looks suspiciously like pony play, hooked up to some rubber band contraption to the door that leads to the kitchen and I cannot eat. If he isn’t moaning around he is sitting on front of the television and calling me from the living room—on the telephone—to tell me that it is time to make him lunch.

Our conversations always go like this:
Me: Hello.
Allen: It is lunch time!
Me: What would you like me to do about this?
Allen: I want lunch.
Me: Make yourself some lunch, then.
Allen: But, my back…
Me: OMG I am reading and also I am so comfortable and I just saw you doing like cartwheels. Make it yourself.
Allen (in the most pitiful voice imaginable): But I hurt sooooooo much! Please help me! Meow meow meow!

At this point I feel bad and go to the kitchen to rustle up something for him to eat. Unfortunately, I cannot find the potato he is asking for (mother of god!), and gently yell into the living room to find out where he might have left a 10-pound bag of potatoes AMD why he was heaving it around if his back hurts so much.

"Allen," I say, in the gentlest way possible. "where are the potatoes?"

"In the lefthand cabinet," he says, suddenly robust and healthy. "And hurry up! I want to eat before my show comes on." And that, officer, is why I murdered my boyfriend in cold blood. It was a crime of passion. Also, I was reading, and he was disturbing me with his physical problems.

Allen trolling me for lunch is like one of these cats who are into water. There are two things I learned about cats when I was a kid: Cats hate dogs; and cats hate water. What the fuck is this, then? Look at these cats just playing in the water like it’s no big thang, just pawing around in the sink. Look at these cats taking luxurious baths! I bet you that this is what cats do when you are not home. You try to give your cat a bath and it claws the shit out of you and leaves your hands looking like they’ve been through a meat grinder. As soon as you leave the house, however, the cat’s all up in your shower, washing itself with the expensive soap your horrible boyfriend doesn’t let you use because it is just for show.

These memories are making me irritated. Allen is going to be home soon and will probably force me make dinner for him because he spent the whole day at work and I spent it in a recliner eating bonbons. I am going to be so mad! I hope you are just as mad at Allen as I am for trolling, but if you’re not, I leave you with this amazing .gif of an ape eating his own boogers while another ape openly disapproves. That’s what relationships look like. Send me links for next week and have a great first day of school!

[photo by s. myers via Flickr]

08/12/2011

Stephan Nance: My new boyfriend goes on a world tour!  »

I would never leave Allen, but if I were going to be all “to the left, to the left,” it would only be for an adorably awkward ginger who loves frozen yogurt, writes songs about how people should be nicer, and reminds me of a less cynical Bo Burnham and an off-Broadway musical about coming out to your mom and hugs. Luckily for Allen, such a dude did not exist to, and he has always responded to my threats with a nonchalant “good luck out there!”


Then I stumbled onto the website of Stephan Nance. OK, I didn’t stumble—why would I make a wholehearted effort at finding a replacement for Allen?—Stephan sent us an email to promote his upcoming tour and I thought I would take this opportunity to support his efforts and also break up with Allen in a really public fashion so he wouldn’t cause a scene. Just like in Jerry Maguire.


I also thought it would be fitting to write about this now because my ex (Allen) just informed me that Wednesday is “Ginger Wednesday” on turntable and we are totally rocking out in a room full of ginger avatars on there. Also, GET OFF THE COUCH, ALLEN! YOU HAVE TO MOVE OUT! Also-also: Stephan’s stuff is on turntable! I especially like “Immunodeficiency” and “Song For Losers.” What? I do my research!

Ok, so about my new boyfriend and his career: Stephan Nance (pronounced Steven but never spelled that way, as per his website) has come up with a genre all his own that he calls “awkwardly charming vegan straight-edge queer alternative piano pop.” Since I have trouble understanding genre in the first place—never mind that there is something called “blue-eyed soul” that is an accepted thing—I am just going to take his word for it. Also, every time I hear piano pop I am all “oh yeah, totally! Tori Amos! I love her!” This seems to annoy a lot of people because apparently Tori Amos is not the only person to play a piano. Prime example: Stephan Nance also plays the piano. And he doesn’t just play the piano; apparently he plays it for a cause. I can’t wrap my head around that either. I can’t even wake up for a cause, let alone write songs and then record myself doing them for one.

From Stephan’s email:
"I’m about to embark on a tour of vegan-friendly frozen yogurt shops (and other frozen treateries and places that happen to have vegan froyo or soft-serve) in Oregon and Northern California, with later dates in Washington and B.C. In part this will be to promote my first full-length album (to be released in September), A Troubled Piece of Fruit. Since the album isn’t quite ready, I’ll be bringing along an EP of five songs, A Piece of the Piece. My larger goal is to challenge the popular interdependence of entertainment and alcohol consumption, and to encourage musicians and all-ages, alcohol-free businesses (e.g., sweet frozen treat parlors) to build relationships that will be beneficial both mutually and for the community as a whole.”

Awesome. Why are you not getting dressed for this already? Oh, right you want to know where he’s playing. OK, here you go. I even noted which fro-yo “treateries” (new boyfriend, you are adorable with your little words!) serve vegan options and which are dubious (because their websites don’t state it).Also, you would probably look pretty silly getting dressed now considering he isn’t playing until next week.

I suggest that you go to Stephan’s website and check out some of his music (which is definitely awkward and charming), and then go out and see him in concert. I also suggest that you purchase his EP and also his full-blown album when it is released. Not just because it is really good, but because as my new boyfriend he is going to have to spend some cash to impress me. In “Song For Losers” he suggests that he would like to take me to the fair and win me a teddy bear. That’s all well and good, but I also need to visit the fun house and the rollercoaster for adventurous three-year-olds. And that is $20 minimum right there. At least this kid doesn’t even have has a “like” page on Facebook.

I also need yarn, Stephan! You need to sell more CDs!

[can’t see the videos? watch them on Vegansaurus.com]

08/10/2011

Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »

You guys, I am so mad at Allen! Last night he left the lock to his gym locker in his car and had to run back and get it while I was changing in the gym. This totally wouldn’t have been a big deal if Allen and I didn’t share a locker when we go to the gym. Unfortunately, we do. So as Allen hustled (I imagine, he could have walked slowly to inflict maximum humiliation) back to the car I was left to watch our stuff. In my swim trunks. for five minutes. You guys see where I’m going with this? Here I am, in a room full of men in various stages of undress and I’m just sitting on a stool in my swim trunks, trying not to make eye contact with anyone so I don’t get reported to the staff for perving out half-naked at the local family gym. When Allen returned, he failed to see how this was an issue in any way. “It’s fine,” he said. “No one even noticed—probably.” And then he did this little giggle thing which made me realize that he probably knew exactly how I felt and not only did not empathize but also found it amusing. It took all of my energy not to drown him as we were Zumba-ing about the pool, but there would have been too many witnesses.

In addition to the above injustices, it appears that Allen also took the delicious cookies I purchased for myself yesterday to work with him. I have no proof of this (because Allen refuses to take my phone calls at work due to an unfortunate incident several months ago when I called to inform him that my Mii beat his Mii at running) but I cannot find my cookies, so I have decided to spent the rest of the afternoon seething and sighing loudly about the great wrongs that have been done to me. If I have enough energy, I will sit in the living room in the dark and when Allen comes home and asks me what is wrong, I will say “nothing” and storm off in a huff. That’ll teach him. Goddamnit, now I really want those cookies!

I am really angry now, and since it is unhealthy to reserve all of my anger for the one person I live with and get kicked by at night (oh, that’s another thing! It’s not a good night unless Allen kicks someone in his sleep!) I am going to project some of it further outwards and onto this one douchebag* who raped a cat and then threw it out a window. Seriously, if I have told you once I have told you a thousand times, stop having sex with animals. They can’t consent, and based on the charming personalities and physical appearances of the people who are trying to get into their (no) pants, I doubt they would be all that into it even if they could agree. Especially if you’re going to try to throw them out the window afterward. God, I bet to this guy throwing a cat out of the window after inserting himself into it was probably the equivalent of closing down all of your internet browsers (or ripping the VHS/DVD out of the machine) after you’ve finished doing what Deenie used to do in the bathtub. Oh wait, I am totally right! He threw a porno out of the window along with the cat. Awesome, so he murdered a cat  because he was feeling guilty. What a horrible human being. I hope he gets a lot of counseling while he spends a potential five years in jail.

Oh, before I go on I need to point out that I found the cookies and have now finished the entire packet. I blame this on Allen because if he had gotten back to me sooner, I would not have been craving them as much and would not have inhaled them with such alarming speed. Now I am on a sugar rush and will certainly have enough energy to sigh and flounce about when he comes home. Man, I am even angrier that i ate those cookies so fast that I didn’t even think to put them into soy milk. He is really going to get it for being so inconsiderate.

Gary the gourami is totally feling me on this one. That fish lived on Kit-Kats for a hella long time and then had to be tricked into eating fruits by having Kit-Kats stuffed into them in order for him to eat. That is for real. That is how I function. Allen is all, “Mark, here is some delicious broccoli!” and I am all, “IS THE BROCCOLI MADE OUT OF CANDY?! NEXT!” And then both Gary and I outgrow our tanks and people have to trick us into eating our fruits and vegetables and then we resent them for it. How big of a problem is it that I feel that if Gary and I were to meet we would totally kick it together and then get into a quickly spiraling co-dependent relationship that would end with lots and lots of tears and melted Kit-Kats? Should I be seeking help for this?

Now I need to take a nap. Please send me links for next week and try to spend the rest of today without trying to throw a party in a subway. Actually, no I’m not done. As someone who takes public transportation EVERYWHERE the idea of some hipsters invading a subway train and “partying” in it fills me with an unspecified amount of vitriol that I would like to spew all over them as my head turns around and around and around. That’s not cool, you guys. People have to go places!

Now I’m done!

*I spent like five minutes trying to come up with a better word, but this one is just so good! What would you have used?

Marin: not a good place to be a vegan inmate  »

Having volunteered in jail and jail-adjacent settings, I have seen some pretty ridiculous things happen, and been bummed out by the treatment some people receive at the hands of those in power. Here’s the thing: our jail system is really broken. I don’t want to go into the details of how and why, because this isn’t “Mark gets on a soap box about mental health and the jail population (if you’re interested, email me!), but if you google “jail” and “mistreatment” you won’t want for examples. One thing I have never heard of or seen, however, is anyone being refused a vegan or vegetarian meal. Because that’s crazy, right? There’s no reason to do something like that. Except, apparently, in Marin (and a whole bunch of other places, but we’re just focusing on Marin today).

In jail you are already stripped of so much. You shower when you’re told to, you have to raise your hand to go to the bathroom, and you have to submit to random searches and do count times and all sorts of other weird administrative things that seem both frustrating and annoying. I get it; it’s important to make sure there’s no crowding in the bathrooms and that no one is fighting. It’s also important to account for all the people that are supposed to be in a pod/wing/ward. What I don’t get is why someone would be denied a vegan meal because they’re not vegan for a religious reason. That just seems so arbitrary and poorly planned that it makes my head spin in several different directions at once.

You think, “They must have a good reason and I’m sure they’ll share it with us.” Then you read the rest of the article and discover that Dave McDonald, the man whose requests were denied, was basically starved because the officers were “following the law.” Not to say that following laws is a bad thing, certainly not in jail, but I’m wondering why no one took a look at the laws governing jails and asked why inmates couldn’t have vegan meals. I also wonder why no one considered that some laws are so outdated that it doesn’t make sense to follow them, especially if not following them doesn’t harm anyone. I wonder how providing a vegan meal could have been harmful to anyone in the jail. They kind of tried to put some stuff together for this guy, but if you’re going so far as to throw the guy a mix of vegetables and bread, why not just give him the vegan meal and be done with it? Why barely feed someone for 99 days (which is how long it took for some tests to be run on alleged controlled substances) and explain your behavior by claiming your hands are tied?

A good result of this debacle is that people are taking notice, and reviewing the laws and policies. Why did it take so long, and why does reading this article make me so sad about the state of social services—jails, especially those that provide programs, classes, and case-management are definitely social services—today?

08/02/2011

Snails are the new cockroaches!  »


You know how people talk about the world ending and the only beings that survive will be Cher and the cockroaches? Well, now they’ve got company, because snails can be digested by birds and come out inexplicably healthy. This shocking and somewhat disgusting  news comes from research being done in Japan, where grad students are studying bird feces. I do not know about you, but this sounds like one of the worst jobs ever to me. I cannot imagine getting up in the morning and knowing that I would spend the day messing around with bird poop for scientific research. not even if I loved science. not even if I loved it enough to marry it, which I don’t.

The point, however, is not how much I dislike bird poop; what is more important is the fact that tiny snails (not the big kind, yo) can apparently grab onto the insides of the birds’ digestive systems and catch a ride back out into the wild, where they emerge healthy and with a kick-ass story to tell. The only issue I have with this is that in order to find out how many snails would survive, the researchers have to feed the birds multitudes of snails and then see how many will come out the other end. I recognize that this is the circle of life and all, but I kind of feel bad for the snails, who were probably not expecting to get ingested in such large numbers with only 15 percent coming back to tell their tale. I also wonder what these results mean and how they could be useful beyond giving Cher a new audience to perform to after the apocalypse. What do you guys think?

[photo by Melissa Maples via flickr]

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