Tuesday, November 29, 2011

asking for a better veganism

I'm not excessively vocal about it here on Icky Monster, but it's not a secret that I am a vegan. I know some of you guys are veg*n too and I know plenty of people out there are curious about veganism and still others are completely turned off by it. I want to address that last bit real quick. Sometimes, I am completely turned off by veganism, too. Why would a movement I'm so attached to sometimes make me want to hide in a corner? Because sometimes, we don't represent this movement very well. We make ourselves look bad. I have been guilty of this in the past, and I'm only just beginning to realize it. Now you won't catch me slinging the word "vegan" around with claims of its value as a cure-all health diet, or with utopian visions of a perfect vegan future world attached. Though certainly any deviation from the Standard American Diet including less animal products and more vegetables is quite healthy, and reducing reliance on animal agriculture can probably ensure a better future for the 7 billion people on earth, if we run wild with these ideas a few bad things can happen. We start to miss the point of veganism (the animals, duh!), we start to look a little crazy (c'mon, admit it), and we may even suffer physically if we begin to follow silly belief systems and sacrifice healthy eating as a result. There has been a trend lately of vegan bloggers announcing a return to omnivorous diets when vegan diets (typically poorly planned vegan diets, that is) failed them. I think this a sign that we need to make some changes within the movement.

I am constantly reading about food and its relation to animal rights. I don't just read vegan blogs--I read blogs opposed to veganism as well. This has lead me to take a new approach to veganism, and I think more of us should be moving in this direction. If we don't challenge our beliefs now and then, how can we strengthen them? If we aren't honest with ourselves about how to maintain a healthy vegan diet, and we get sick as a result, how does this support the animals? If we get wrapped up in pseudoscience and repeat whacko claims as facts, how can we expect this movement to have longevity and credibility? We don't want to look like a bunch of skinny lemonade-drinking cultists, do we? We ought to strive to represent ourselves as healthy, ethics-driven critical thinkers, because that's would we should be.

To hep out my fellows, I've put together a short list of some of the blogs I've been obsessively reading lately. Maybe this will even help a doubter see we're not all a bunch of crazy fantasists after all.

Carpe Vegan: a group of vegans advocating for "veganish" ideals
Paleo Vegan: a vegan paleontologist providing an abundance of eye-opening scientific insights
Pythagorean Crank: the blog of Dave D, former vegan who still follows a plant based diet, but has left the movement for bigger and better things
Vegan Skeptic: A skeptical approach to veganism
Skeptical Vegan: another skeptical approach
Speciesist Vegan: we love to throw around the word "speciesist", but what are its real implications?

We can do veganism better. For ourselves, and for the animals.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

lately in monsterland

One of the things I love most about blogging is its ability to make memories more concrete. I keep paper journals to remember things and write out my feelings, but I've never been much of a scrapbooker. My blog is at least 1 part digital scrapbook and I'm excited to look back on this years down the road (even if I end up finding some of it cringe-worthy!). I hate when I have long gaps with no posts, but living life gets in the way of recording life sometimes. Luckily, my cell phone knows what I've been up to!

colorful dinner at work // doin' the messy bun thang // Phoenix anticipating her ball being thrown // obligatory mall bathroom mirror picture

Hans bottled his first home brew! // cuddle time // taped wrists for CrossFit // my handsome man on Marta returning home from some ATL event or other

we grew our own delicious mushrooms thanks to Back to the Roots. These were so good!

Of course I'm the most forgetful person when it comes to photographing things I'd like to remember, and this is all I have to show for a handful of eventful weeks. ♦Hans and I visited ICE Atlanta this weekend, a handmade craft show, which was full of great vendors. I met Mary from Mary Rebecca, who was great, and Hans bought me a real pretty bow from her (again, picture fail). ♦I've started doing CrossFit and I am completely addicted. I've always like to work out hard, but nothing I've done previously can touch CrossFit. I already feel stronger than I ever have. ♦We recently won a war against a flea infestation in our house (thanks, Cold Weather, I hate you)--fingers crossed this really was the last battle. ♦School is continuing to kick my ass but I have a blissful few days off to celebrate that most murderous of holidays, Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to a vegan feast with my loved ones. ♦And the most important thing going on in our little house lately? Skyrim We have been playing this game for extremely inappropriate lengths of time, nerd-flags flying high.

Monday, November 14, 2011

ouroboros pit

Hey blog! Remember the wishlist I recently posted? I have successfully obtained the last item listed, and I have a[n incredibly awkward] video to reveal it!

I love the ouroboros symbol (Clive Barker turned me on to it) and decided it would fit perfectly in my armpits. As I said in the video I've been craving armpit tattoos for years! The extra ouch of such a sensitive spot was totally worth it (I usually handle tattoo pain really well, but this had me squirming toward the end). I'm stoked to finally have started this piece, and I can't wait till both my armpits are filled with self-sufficient serpents.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

this time last year...

Winter is a particularly exciting time for Hans and I this year. We celebrated our first anniversary in September, and so for the first time in our relationship we can say, "this time last year..." and recall those happy (but cold!) moments we spent together in 2010. I appreciate this time of year in a new way now. It feels magical, the aromas and tastes and sights all bursting with memories of falling in love. In light of all these happy reminiscences floating around my head, I wanted to share some of my favorite moments spent with Hans in winter 2010.

creep-eyes // the first picture of us together // Hans trying to convince me I'm a Hufflepuff // what is it with me an mustaches? at a Halloween party // kisses on Halloween day // apocalypse war-paint // Hans lookin' handsome in my old apartment // the snowy apocalypse which inspired the warpaint // adventures in the frozen wonderland

I'm really having too much fun with all these memories as we enter our second year together. "Hey--remember how much Silk Pumpkin Spice we drank last year?! Remember how you made me hot chocolate all the time?! Remember how I was poor and afraid to turn the heat on so we froze to death in my apartment all the time?!" Hans may be secretly perturbed at my enthusiasm, but he's at least pretending he's having fun reminiscing, too.

I'm looking forward to another round of holidays shared with him, insane amounts of holiday-themed beverages and desserts, more crunchy hikes through leaves and snow, and hell, even more cold nights spent huddled together under a stack of blankets.

Monday, November 7, 2011


I am feverishly eager to have a few things in my possession right now.

The first thing, obviously, is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

I'll be purchasing the Bluray to experience all its high-def glory. I am going to watch this movie every day for months, I can feel it. Sure, I'll do house chores or homework while I watch, but it will be constantly playing in the background. No shame.

Second, is Tree of Codes, the newest book by Jonathan Safran Foer.

If you haven't, read all of this guy's books (including his non-fiction work Eating Animals). Do it now. I mean it! He's one of my favorite authors and such an inspiration. All of his books will make you cry, but each one is wonderful. Tree of Codes is a funky thing, comprised entirely from words he found in another book, with an architecture and artistry unlike that of any other novel, and has a big price tag as a result. But come pay day, this beautiful book will be mine.

I'm trying not to spoil myself too much on the book's interior, but here's a tiny peak:


Third, tattoos. I've had some crazy tattoos planned for a while now, but I'll save the details on them until after I've gotten them. This should be happening in the next few weeks and I won't lie, I'm kind of really looking forward to people's reactions to my placement choice.

I don't really splurge and buy myself things very often, especially in light of my six month stretch of unemployment which only just recently ended (thank god!), but I'm going to spoil myself with these three things. I've earned it, and it feels good to say so.

halloween recap part two

I think my months-long battle with AT&T is finally over, which means at long last I have unwavering internet access, and I'm stoked to get back into regular blogging. I haven't had this blog very long, but it's already important to me and it's starting to feel like my own little home on the internet.

I have something fun to share with you guys today: Halloween costumes! Hans and I were controversially an roller skating white trash gay couple from the 80s, because that's the sort of travesty that comes about when you wait until last minute to make your costume.


this one is my favorite!

Lamely, we did not get any pictures while we were actually wearing our skates, but you can bet we were rolling around the house like maniacs.

Also, this was the third year in a row I portrayed a man for Halloween. I think next year I'll be a girl. Perhaps even a pretty one.

What were you for Halloween?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

halloween recap part one

Hans and I hosted a little get together in celebration of the spookiest day of the year, but I haven't gotten pictures back from my sister yet so I'll have to post on that later.

Though I failed to get any pictures of my own from the party, I did snap some photos of the decorations around my house. I wanted to share them yesterday but AT&T yet again screwed me over and unjustly knocked us offline for four days. So we'll call this my better-late-than-never Halloween post.

bleeding candles

We thought about buying Phoenix a costume, but we knew she would just eat it

Kenya, on the other hand, is in costume year-round

We handed out candy (and pretzels!) together for the first time. I felt old but also awesome. Other than giving candy, our Halloween was less than festive: While I cooked dinner, Hans fixed the pilot light, which had gone out and left us in a very cold house, and then we watched the Misfits seasons 3 premiere (did anyone else watch? Thoughts?) and then some episodes of Planet Earth and just enjoyed each other's company. It was rather calm in contrast to last year's trip to Atlanta's Zombie Apocalypse haunted house, but it was still a great Halloween.

Now I'm off to continue overdosing on candy and to get ready for work. I hope everybody had a fantastic Halloween!

P.S. For more Halloween goodness, check out my guest post over on Mary Rebecca's blog.

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