It actually hailed today. Tiny droplets of ice fell from the sky and almost immediately melted into small pools of water as it hit the ground or whatever else it landed on.

Now, I've spent the last 23 year of my life in Southern California and have never witnessed snowfall or hail, although there were rare instances when it would happen for a few seconds. I've seen snow after it has fallen but not when it is actually falling. I have yet to make snow angels on fresh fluffs of ice powder.

I wonder if it's common in the Bay area. I'd like to catch it again.
Before I begin, I need to stand up and give this Iraqi journalist a big round of applause!


The journalist, later identified as Muntadar al-Zeidi, had done what several million Americans have wanted to do (and much worse probably) to this president of ours.

al-Zeidi first yelled, "This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog!" while throwing his first shoe at Bush. He followed it up with, "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!" Just a few weeks prior to this incident, Iraqis had gathered around Ferdous Square, the same place where the late Saddam Hussein's statue had been taken down, and threw shoes at an effigy of Bush.

Why shoes, you ask? In Iraqi culture, throwing a shoe at someone is supposedly the biggest insult. The shoe is always in contact with the ground and is dirty, and it means that the intended target is even lower than the dirty ground.

The only downside? al-Zeidi missed. He probably will not be able to get another job in journalism unless the company he works for also has a hatred for Bush.

Kudos to al-Zeidi.
"If you are as you have described yourself the king of the animals - it would be better for you to call yourself king of the beasts since you are the greatest of them all! - because you help them only so that they may presently be able to give you their young in order to gratify your palate, for the sake of which you have tried to make yourself a tomb for all the animals. Even more I might say if to speak the entire truth were permitted me.... Now does not nature produce enough simple vegetarian food for you to satisfy yourself?"
Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

It's that time of the year again: the holidays; and it is time for me to be the cynical bitch that I am :D I despise the ornaments and the gaudy decorations, and I despise even more the sales techniques that every retail store employs to lure shoppers into their store. I'm sick of the red, and I'm sick of the lights already - and it's not even December!!

I'm sure at one point in time, the thought of thanksgiving meant just that: to give thanks. But why is it that we need a commercialized, money-making holiday such as this to remind us to give thanks??

Screw that. We *should* be giving thanks every day of our lives. Some of us do... some of us make a conscious effort to carry an attitude of gratefulness, and we attribute it to the blessings we have in our lives, whatever they may be. For those who believe in God or a higher power, they attribute it to Him. But for the most part, some of us, myself included, will take advantage of the people and possessions that we have.

So why do the most of us fail to be truly grateful for the people and things we have in our lives? Why, in perhaps the most privileged nation in the world, do we fail to realize just how much we have?

We sometimes lead hectic lifestyles. Aside from work, commuting to and from work and other places, cooking dinner, tending to children (if you have any), and taking care of other responsibilities, we don't take time to just sit back, take a deep breath, and enjoy the good company of friends or family. We focus our energy on how the hell we're going to get by this month because we have so-and-so bill to pay, when we should just be thankful that we are alive and in good health. I'm not saying that we should just settle, accept the fact that we can't pay it off, and expect a miracle to happen. Instead, I'm saying not to focus on the negative on the situation; keep a positive attitude and find a way to make ends meet. Your optimism will do more for good for you than your negative attitude ever could.

After all: "What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: Our life is the creation of our mind."

Perhaps one of the other reasons we aren't ever content with what we have is the simple fact that we've been suckered into the materialistic, superficial nature that is consumerism. We can, at times, be consumer whores.

*Gasp*! She said "whores"!

The stores realize this, and they prey on it. We want and want and want.

This reminds me of three signs that I see outside of the Emeryville shopping center in, you guessed it, Emeryville. As you're driving out of the main street that is adorned with Gap, Victoria's Secret, and countless other over-priced stores with items that were imported directly from Bangladesh and China sweatshops, you will come upon three propped up signs.

The first one says: "Happy" and has one shopping bag underneath it.
The second says: "Happier" and has three shopping bags underneath it.
The last says: "Happiest" and has about five shopping bags underneath it.

Moral of the story, kids? Consume and you shall be happy.

Reminds me of the signs Roddy "Rowdy" Piper saw when he put on those truth glasses:
"This is your god"; when the glasses are off, it is simply a dollar bill.


This post might seem jumbled up as I jump from one point to the next. Had a good ole' cup of coffee before I typed this out, so I'm on a caffeine high.

Anyway, be grateful. Hug a family member or a friend today.
And have a Happy Thanksgiving :)
It's the day before Thanksgiving, and I volunteered at a homeless shelter in San Francisco today.

It was my first time volunteering - ever. I had always wanted to get more involved ever since I had my first experience in high school at a choir outing. We had visited an elderly home and sang Christmas carols for them. Needless to say, it was super depressing. Some cried openly while others were on the verge of tears. I soon found out that as I tried to concentrate on my words that were slowly becoming incoherent, I was mimicking the latter. I'd like to think that we brought them a moment of joy, but I'm afraid we made them sad instead.

Fast forward 8 or so years, and I still had not sought to do what I had a desire to do. Call it procrastination, laziness, or whatever... the idea of volunteering would always be pushed to the back of my mind, and I would soon forget about it. I realized two weeks ago that my procrastination was going to be put to an end :) I needed to act upon my wants, so I looked up local volunteering opportunities and found an organization that offered housing to the homeless.

How was my first experience? Awesome. Truly awesome. I may sound like Bill or Ted, but there really is no other word to describe it.

Including myself, there were only two volunteers, and a few staff helped distribute the food also. I had the chance to interact with some of the residents, and for the most part, they were very friendly. I distinctly remember handing a plate full to a lady who couldn't hear me very well but was so grateful and had such a kind smile. It helped to keep me in high spirits during the 3-4 hours that I was there. After serving pumpkin pie slices for dessert, we cleaned up and I headed on home.

I know that the residents are grateful that they received so much food, but I feel I am the one who feels rewarded the most. There is something truly great about helping our companions and sharing that moment of friendship. Just like kindred spirits.
It's Saturday morning.

This past week, I feel like I haven't gotten much sleep. I attribute it to the video games I play until 2 or 3 in the morning and the way Monster and Trouble sleep so that I basically have no leg space and can't sleep comfortably. That's a cat for ya... And I had a solicitor knocking on my door at 8 this morning. Persistent lil' bugger.

So needless to say, I was not in the mood to make a fancy schmancy breakfast for me and the kiddo. In fact, I NEVER feel like making a fancy schmancy breakfast, but sometimes I do because someone's gotta do it. I didn't feel like making a tofu scramble with tortillas or toasting waffles... actually, I don't even have syrup because it's really expensive right now so that idea was moot anyway.

I did what I do best: bust out with the Tofurky.When all else fails, I lean on Tofurky to get me through my indecision. I made sandwiches. Using good old Vegenaise, I slathered more than the serving indicated on the nutrition facts label, cut off a piece of lettuce, and placed three pieces of smoked Tofurky slices.

I was so lazy I didn't even use a cutting board to slice up the tomatoes. Yup, I did it on a sheet of paper towel :) Whoo-hoo!!

And the end result? A simple sandwich to satisfy those morning hunger pangs. A bleepin' Tofurky sandwich. The sandwich on the left looks like it's got a green beard...

And now my latest not-even-a-crisis crisis: What the heck am I gonna make for lunch?!!

When one thinks of slandering fast food companies, most people will usually use McDonald's as an example. Why is it that this worldwide fast food chain gets all the bad rap and all the bad publicity, considering that there are a handful of other popular chains (Carl's, KFC, Burger King, etc.) that don't get knocked on as much?

Hmm... like some of the companies in this world today, McD's is a pretty greedy corporation. Aside from the obvious, such as their capitalistic business methods, their insatiable thirst for using up the world's natural resources, and their very unhealthy products, they flat out piss off some vegetarians and vegans everywhere because of their animal-laden products :)

Some of you may have seen this game before, and some of you may have not. It's gotten a good amount of exposure on the net, both controversial and praising. The folks over at Molleindustria created this McDonald's video game a couple of years ago, and it really irritated the big heads at the corporation when it first came out, especially since it exposed their unethical business methods.

The beats of a song that resembles an old school rap anthem plays as you enter the main screen. There are four sections in the game: the agricultural, the feedlot, the actual restaurant, and the headquarters. It is up to you to use your power and methods of brainwa... um, I mean... management to make the big bucks.

Learning curve is moderate. You'll probably have to try and die a few times before you get the hang of it. Wanna play?

And to think that this company and its silly lil' commercial could turn into an unethical multi-billion dollar company... wow!

Seriously, what was up with Ronald McDonald? He had a cup for a nose and a whole flippin' meal on his head and resorted to craptacular dancing that wasn't even in beat with the song.

"Watch for me on TV - we'll have lots of fun!" Um, I don't think so, Ronald. I just don't think so...
G for GAIN

V : Vitality
Heart attacks and strokes are the #1 cause of death in the U.S. High cholesterol is the cause of 99% of all heart attacks and the majority of strokes. There is only one way that you can get cholesterol into our bodies, and that is through the food that you consume. The only food sources that contain cholesterol are animal meats and dairy products. The food you eat should nourish you and give you life, not get you sick and kill you.

E : Eliminate
Get rid of the dead rotting flesh from your body!

G : Gain
You gain a sense of accomplishment when you go vegan because you know you are doing your part to combat animal cruelty. It can be hard to give up foods that you are accustomed to eating your whole life, but you do it anyway for the sake of the animals, your body, and/or the world.

A : Anti-greed
You do not support the greedy meat and dairy industries. For the sake of profit, they pump hormones, steroids, and other drugs into the animals. They don't care that their customers get sick or die in the process. It's all about making that mighty dollar.

N : Natural
Because I truly believe that eating vegan is as natural as it gets. Plenty of whole foods: fruits, veggies, nuts, and grains. Just like nature intended!
When people ask me for a good site for vegetarian and vegan recipes, I always suggest the delicious recipes on vegweb. I particularly like that people can post their opinions, suggestions, and ingredient changes in the comments box below the recipe.

Recommendations, you ask?

Mmmm, there are so many of them, but here are a few to get you started:

General Tao's Tofu: One of the highest rated (if not THE highest rated recipe on the site). I find that the coating-the-tofu-with-cornstarch part can be a bit time-consuming and annoying - hey, I'm an impatient person! - but the end result is well worth it!

Cheesy Lasagna: 100% vegan! This recipe is a fave in our home. I made a few alterations to the recipe - I omitted the spinach and replaced it with a whole 8-10 oz. of sliced mushrooms and about 10 oz. of chopped broccoli. I also didn't use any canned tomato sauce. I tend to use about 1.5 26 oz. jars of arrabiata sauce. Arrabiata is not as boring and plain as marinara - has that extra kick, y'know? But if you like marinara or some other spaghetti sauce, then go for it!

Cheesy Bean & Cheese Enchiladas: Yummmm ::drools:: I add a TON of spicy enchilada sauce to this. I pretty much follow the recipe to the T, and I use flour tortillas instead of corn. Corn tortillas are too small... and I want MORE!!

Got any awesome recipes you'd like to share with me? Leave a comment, and I'll try it out!

Go green.

Commercials on television for automobiles boast this slogan while claiming their vehicles are the most green in the nation. Common household appliances are now being made more energy efficient, helping to reduce the amount of electricity or water it uses. Household cleaning supply companies are using more natural ingredients to make their cleaning solutions friendlier to the environment. In the quest to save the world, a wealth of information is being thrown at us at lightning speeds. Amidst the barrage of recycling, eco-friendly household items, and hybrid vehicles information, there is one way we can conserve water that is not popular. Isn't it funny that vegetarianism is such an unpopular thing??

In 1981, Dr. Georg Borgstrom, a renowned scientist, said at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that approximately 2,500 gallons are used to produce a single pound of beef. He’s not the only one who thinks that. 2,500 may seem like an outrageous number, but it’s easy to see how that much water can go into producing that little amount of food. From the time a calf is born until it is killed at the slaughterhouse, it is obviously fed water everyday to keep it alive. A typical cow consumes about 50 gallons of water per day, 18,250 gallons per year. A beef cow is usually slaughtered when it is 3 to 5 years of age. A 7 to 9-year-old dairy cow is sent to slaughter when its milk production drops off. That 2,500-gallon figure does not seem so big anymore.

Can you believe that it takes up to 15 times more water to grow one pound of animal protein than it takes to grow one pound of plant-based protein? Can you believe that it takes up to 10 pounds of plant protein to produce a single pound of beef? With the numbers I mentioned above, you can see why eating meat is incredibly wasteful to our precious resources.

The underground aquifers that run across the United States are being exhausted by a staggering 13 trillion gallons every year. In addition, more than 70 percent of the grains grown on land in the United States are used to feed farmed animals. It is estimated that the cattle that exist worldwide alone consumes the caloric needs of more than 8 billion people. If grains were grown strictly to supply food for everyone on this planet, there would be no starvation. No one would go hungry. Of course, I think hunger would still exist even if there were enough grain to feed all the inhabitants of this world due to corporatism, greed, and a hunger for money - but that's another story...

Modern factory farms are polluting the environment with the incredible amount of waste that is being disposed from them. The pigs, cows, chickens, and other animals raised, grown, and slaughtered on these farms are producing more than 130 times the amount of waste that people do. Very few people are aware that 7,000 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico are a dead zone because of the toxic waste that is being emitted from these farms.

For some, the thought of changing an omnivorous diet to that of a completely vegetarian diet is unthinkable. After all, we’ve been eating meat our whole life and can’t imagine eating a pot pie without chicken or a stew without beef, but there are more important things to consider than the happiness of our taste buds. Even making the transition from eating meat three times per day, which is very common in the American diet, to just twice a day will make a difference. We can adjust to trying new foods, but the planet cannot. It cannot take anymore abuse.