Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Launder my karma.*

So, on Saturday Red and I went to KarmaFest. You probably want to hear all about it, don’t you?

We left early, yoga mats in tow, because it was supposed to rain later in the day and we wanted to take advantage of all the free yoga that was promised. Because we are congenitally unable to be late for anything, no matter how hard we try, we got there as the gates opened. This made us feel lame because nothing ever happens for the first hour or two of a festival anyway, but there we were, early as ever.

We sat at a picnic table, and I took pictures of us. It is my mission in life to de-sensitize Red to having his photo taken.

Aren't we sexy?

Aaaaaaahhhhhh, it's too bright out here!

Doing our best dirty-hippie impressions.

No workshops were happening yet, so we strolled around (it was not a big setup) and browsed the vendor tents and tables. I bought a coin purse from a chill dude who ignored us and probably couldn’t have cared less if we bought anything, which is exactly how I like my vendors. Red was ecstatic because I’ve been walking around with a hole in my wallet for probably a year now, and he’s tired of watching me dig around in my purse for change.

Now, allow me to disclose a prejudice of sorts. As much as I liked being outside in the sunshine and on the grass, KarmaFest weirded me out a bit. I realize that I am kind of a contradiction in terms. I am very much the vegan, natural-living, yoga-practicing, tree-hugging pagan. Shit, I’ll even read tarot cards for you, if I like you. So for me to feel uncomfortable in a crowd of people offering Reiki and angel readings and magic water and shamanic journeys is surprising. I mean, I should feel the love, no? But the problem I have with things often labeled “holistic” or “New Age” is that they tend to attract the flakes: people who are ungrounded, confused, or just plain loopy as all hell. I get enough practice warding off wacky energy on a day-to-day basis, so to feel it in the midst of an otherwise chill place was unexpected. It shouldn’t have been, because I checked the website, but I was trying to be optimistic. Oh well. Bring on the cynical, bitter vegans and crank the Nirvana.

Boomtown Hoops, which was easily the highlight of the whole place.

[Also, oh my God, Crazy Flute Lady was there. I won’t identify her for real because it isn’t her fault that I have such an aversion to her. Crazy Flute Lady, I’m sorry I hate you so much. It’s not you, it’s me. Actually, it’s whoever asked you to play your flute at my friend’s funeral. You were just motherfucking horrible with that half-assed cover-that-wasn’t-really-a-cover of “Amazing Grace.” My friend rocked out to Springsteen and Weezer and Metallica and cool noisy shit like that, not airy-fairy Native American windsongs (or what urban white people think said songs should sound like). For many reasons, not least of all Crazy Flute Lady, that funeral ranks as the most surreal experience of my life.

So, um, needless to say, we left before she took the stage.]

It was almost time for Qi Gong, which neither Red nor I had ever tried before. Finally, we could do something! But first, we had to find the yoga “pavilion.” There was, you’ll surely be shocked to hear, no such place. There were two people at a picnic table, one of whom specialized in the kind of not-all-there vibe I mentioned a paragraph or two ago. He was very happy to see us once I mentioned that we were looking for the workshop, as we were his first students. I mentally stabbed myself in the head because now, he expected us to stay, and it was my fault. I was not at all into the idea of one-on-one instruction with this dude. Luckily, I no longer care about offending people, so I told him we’d be back for a later workshop. We fled back to our picnic table.


During the three or four hours we were there, I saw not one person do yoga. I felt a little cheated.

All hope of Downward Dog abandoned, we turned our attentions to something a little more guaranteed: food. If there’s one thing you can count on a bunch of hippies to deliver, it’s vegan noms. True to form, The Yabba Pot was there, slinging vegan soul food. As we chowed down, we decided that we might as well head on home. On our way out, I snagged a fantastic green smoothie from Under One Sun (please get a real website, because linking to MySpace makes me feel dirty). I hope York, Pennsylvania appreciates them, because it was delicious.

Queen’s Greens and Citrus Soul Ribz

Chick-un Pasta Salad

Smoothie goodness, with bonus flier for the Mother Earth Harvest Fair!

We came home, played with Lucy, then flopped onto the couch and watched The Wrestler. It broke my heart a little, and not only because I’m in mourning for Mickey Rourke’s original face.

Long story short: we started off the day with crunchy-assed granola goodness, and ended it by watching a brawny dude get the shit pounded out of him. And that, dearly beloveds, is the circle of life.

*First person to correctly identify the song gets praise for his or her excellent Googling skills.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Make way for ducklings, hon!

Jesus Christ, Mama Duck. Not only do you have to be obscenely cute with your adorable brood waddling after you, stopping traffic every which way, but you gotta blatantly rip off Make Way for Ducklings while you do it! I know you’re a Baltimore duck, and we’re used to being the bastard stepchild of the East Coast, but show some originality, sister.

And please stop by my house so I can snuggle a fuzzy duck baby’s head.

Photos by Daveed Korup, courtesy of The Baltimore Sun.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Voracious chocolate.

As you all may know, I love me some chocolate. The darker the better, with just a little bit of sweetness. I eat a few squares almost every day at work, and that indulgence helps keep me happy. It surprises the hell out of people to find out that I’m vegan but that I can, miracle of miracles, still eat chocolate! I delight in dispelling the myth of the sad-faced, chocolate-deprived vegan.

When Tasha at Voracious Vegan posted her Chocolate Pots de Crème, I knew that I was in for something amazing. I can’t create a recipe to save my heathen soul, but with the ridiculous number of vegans working their culinary magic and sharing the spoils with the rest of us, I don’t need to! On Sunday, I whipped up the Pots de Crème and set them in the fridge to chill. Seriously, have you looked at that recipe? That’s all the procedure you’re getting from me, because unlike the Smlove, these babies come together in two sassy shakes of your sweet ass.

Five hours to the minute after I’d left them to chill (my husband does not mess around with dessert), we pulled the Pots de Crème out and had a ceremonial tasting. It was a pretty quick ceremony, because this is all that was left to photograph:

Do you like how I tried to arrange the tablecloth to make it look arty? Yeah, me neither.

“It tastes like a Snack Pack!” Red declared, and now you know which one of us got good dessert in elementary school and which one got apple-and-cheese toothpick kebabs. (Thanks for instilling healthy habits from the beginning, Mom.) My memory of Snack Packs and other non-vegan chocolate pudding is dim, but let it be known that I just spent several minutes trying to poetically describe the flavor palette or whatever of the Pots de Crème, and I failed. Everything I wrote sounded like amateur food porn, so I gave up. It was so good that my tongue-brain connection short-circuited. So good…so good that….

It was so good that, if Tasha and I were in the same time zone, I would totally make out with her.

Put that on your spoon and lick it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

In which the Burnout proves she can be diplomatic.

Damn, y’all, I am straight-up proud of myself. Allow me to brag on my awesomeness and powers of diplomacy for a moment.

I had dinner at my parents’ place on Friday. Red was not there because I went straight from work, which is way closer to my parents than our house is, and he would have either had to drive himself or wait for me to drive all the way home so we could both drive up there together. It would have been mindless drama on a Friday evening when the Orioles had a home game, is what I’m saying. So I flew solo. My sister’s boyfriend’s dad and brother (do you need a flow chart yet?) were in town, so I was looking forward to meeting them. They asked polite questions about my veganism and were very interested in the details of vegan alcohol.

I’ll spare you the details of how a cookout turned into “Let’s just put everything under the broiler,” because it doesn’t really matter. I helped my mom make awesome veggie kebabs that were the envy of my flesh-munching tablemates. It was peaceful. I ignored the platter of carcasses. Somehow, the conversation turned to grocery stores. My sister mentioned that she had heard that Wegman’s had had some kind of negative PR regarding abused chickens. I was aware of it; it’s highly Google-able. Jaded bitch that I am, I wasn’t surprised, but I wasn’t going to get into it, either.

Her boyfriend’s dad spoke up. “Well, I don’t really see how they can be abused, if you’re going to kill them anyway.”

To quote The Dude, “This aggression will not STAND, man!” I didn’t sigh, but I wanted to. I leaned over, the better to see Mr. Sister’s Boyfriend’s Dad around the centerpiece of Mother’s Day roses, and said to him, “Ah, you know, you probably don’t want to have this conversation right now. Just saying.”

And, miraculously, that was it. That was motherloving it. He dropped it. I dropped it (not that I had started it, which bears repeating). Dinner continued. Dinner ended. I went home. I regaled Red with the story of my awesome display of tact. He was proud of me.

Don’t worry, beloveds. I’m still ready to fight someone. Just not, for the benefit of everyone involved, Mr. Sister’s Boyfriend’s Dad.

This time.

Yes, Red and I are totally Walter and The Dude.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Your daily moment of vegan-themed humor.

Brought to you by the coworker I bitched out last week, who has redeemed himself.

© MacNelly. By Chris Cassatt, Gary Brookins, & Susie MacNelly.

Friday, May 7, 2010

It’s Friday and this is not a real post.

Dearly beloveds, I’m sorry I’ve been such a flake. Work has been busy (it hasn’t really, but doesn’t it sound better if I say that?) and Mercury’s in a retrograde. Here’s a look at what I’ve been checking out lately:

  • The Humane League of Baltimore/Open the Cages Alliance participated in last weekend’s Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale! I drove my sweet ass down to the Station North Flea Market and bought chocolate-dipped pretzel sticks, chocolate-chip cookies, cherry-cocoa-coconut cookies, and two muffins: strawberry (for Red, who’s never met a strawberry-flavored thing he didn’t like) and blueberry. Thanks, ladies!
  • Michael Vick’s back in Baltimore. (You mean he missed the warm welcome he received at the Ed Block Awards?) With the HSUS in tow, he discussed dogfighting with a bunch of juvenile offenders. Press weren’t allowed in on the talk, which bothers me and ramps up my skepticism. He also copped to attending a dogfight in my fair, broken city, which is sad but unsurprising. As a friend who’s active with B-More Dog pointed out in the comments, it’ll be interesting to see if any indictments come from that revelation. I’d love to see some local heads roll.
  • Sweet, ferocious Tasha of Voracious Vegan has been going hungry this week as part of her Souljourn to illuminate the causes and possible solutions (hint: more meat ain’t it) of the world hunger epidemic that victimizes 1.2 billion people. (Her entries are crossposted at Conducive Chronicle.) I can’t tell you what it’s like to be chronically hungry, but I can tell you that Tasha’s writing has made me think differently about the way I encounter my own incidental, and blessedly temporary, hunger.
Click, read, and pass it on. And be grateful this retrograde ends next week!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Case of the Mondays.

One of my co-workers just teased me about being anemic because I don't eat meat. He's a good-natured guy, and even gave me dark chocolate.

I wasn't having it. I told him to shut up.

Bad, unhelpful vegan.