Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Not What You Think

I've mentioned before how I have this desire to understand what makes people act the way they do. I like to understand people. I feel like, in a lot of ways, this makes them easier to deal with. If you know why people are the way they are, and what they are thinking and feeling that causes them to behave a certain way, it makes it easier to accept the things they do without getting angry at them.

There is another side to this though that is a bit less helpful. When you understand what makes people act the way they do, you also tend to understand what you really are to those people. I feel like other people have a certain level of blissful ignorance when it comes to what others really feel about them. That's not the case for me. I know who I am to the people around me. I know what makes me valuable (or not valuable) to them.

I think people in general have this tendency to pick out certain aspects of a person and let those things represent the whole person. That's not really how people are though. We are complex creatures and can not be defined by just a few characteristics. I'm not going to get specific here, because I don't want to create any unnecessary conflict, but I think that nearly everyone I know (or ever have know) sees me as something very specific. They see me as whatever role it is that I play in their lives, or whatever trait seems most salient to them, or (sometimes) as a symbol of something that they think I represent.

I mean, I understand why this happens. We try to make sense of the things around us, even people, and I think I probably make even less sense than the average person. Because of this, the people around me just pick and choose what they want to see in me. To them, I am whatever they want me to be, and I usually play along.

Whenever I think about this topic (which is probably more often than it's healthy to think about such things) I generally find myself humming this song.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Illusion of Freedom

So you know how I was trying to buy a trailer? and I just couldn't seem to get anyone to move one for me? Well, I've been thinking about it and I'm thinking that maybe I was going about this the wrong way anyway. I know I'm kind of just rationalizing here, but hear me out. I had talked years ago about living in a camping trailer, then I (sort of) decided against it because I thought it would be too small for me to workout in. Well, I just realized that a regular trailer really wouldn't be all that much roomier. I mean, they're still really narrow and most of them have somewhat low ceilings. So if I'm willing to live in one of those, how much worse could it be to live in a camper? In fact, I feel like it could actually be better in some ways.

See, for a long time I've been kind of torn about the idea of investing any money in a place of my own here. I just keep thinking that someday I will move somewhere else, and then any money and time that I spent on making a place for myself will be wasted because I'll have to leave it behind. The great thing about a camper though, is that it could go anywhere I go. If someday I have an opportunity to leave, I can just do it. Not only would I have the ability to move, but having a camper would actually make it easier. I wouldn't even necessarily have to worry about finding a place to stay when I get to wherever I end up going. There are RV parks all over the place. So wherever I go, I will always have a place to stay. I know this is probably something that will never happen, and I'm just being delusional here. But, you know what? Sometimes delusions are all we have.

Plus, as an added bonus, I wouldn't have to worry about finding a professional to haul it for me. I just have to find a camper close enough that I can go pick it up. Also, as another added bonus, it will automatically be cheaper on heat/electricity/etc. And, to be honest, I just think they're cooler than regular trailers. Somehow I just feel like living in a camper is a personal choice, whereas living in a trailer is something you do because you can't afford to live in a real house.
Yeah.....thanks for that.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

To Be (In Debt) or Not to Be (In Debt)?

You remember when I mentioned that I was thinking about taking a nutrition class? Well, I'm seriously starting to think about doing it. I just feel like I need to do something with my life. I need to find some way to make some sort of progress. I'm still not sure that it's something that will be particularly fulfilling for me but, at the very least, it should give me some useful information. The problem is, it will put me even further in debt. I'm almost, almost, done paying off my first student loan (from massage therapy school) and it just seems kind of stupid to immediately add more debt right back on. So what do you guys think? Worth it?
While (obviously) not the same line, this is David Tennant as Hamlet.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

This Is Why I Don't Have Friends

I went grocery shopping today and twice I realized, too late, that I should have tried to interact with people I encountered. I just do not have whatever it is that allows most people to talk to other people, especially people they don't know. I know, for a fact, that other people meet new people at random places and end up getting to know them. I don't know how to do that. I just don't.

Quick back-story, Kroger has an "in" door, and an "out" door. While both are clearly marked, the "in" door is easily wide enough for two people to pass comfortably, while the "out" door is just barely wide enough for one person. So when someone comes in the "out" door, whoever is trying to get out has to either push them out of the way or wait. Well, I'm trying to leave three people barge in through the "out" door. Naturally, I back up and wait politely for them to get out of the way, while mentally cussing them out. The last guy is taking for-fucking-ever! So, finally, I look up to see why he is walking so very ridiculously slow....and he's staring right at me, and smiling. Now, probably, I should have smiled back and maybe even said something to him. Instead I sort of nodded and ducked around him to get outside.

Honestly, I'm not terribly upset about not talking to the guy at Kroger because, whether he was flirting with me or not, he was being super annoying. This one I am upset about though. I was checking out at Target and the girl running the register says "Did you make your necklace?" I smiled in her general direction (without actually making eye-contact) and said "Yeah, I did." Then she said "I like it." I smiled again (still not really at her) and said "Thank you." Then there was the standard "Have a nice day." "You too." and I left. Afterward, it occurred to me that my necklace says "Vegan" on it. Probably most people wouldn't make a point to say that they liked a necklace that says vegan on it unless they are also vegan. I mean, maybe some people would but I feel like there is a good chance that I spoke to another vegan today and basically blew her off. What is my problem? Why can't I get this whole social interaction thing?

Also, again after I left, I realized that while I was shopping I noticed a copy of the Thug Kitchen cookbook displayed in a very prominent place. When I saw it I was really excited that 1- a vegan cookbook would be in a place like Target at all, and 2- That someone would put it right out in the open, where everyone walking by would be sure to see it. After the whole thing with the necklace I thought "You know what would be a good reason for a vegan cookbook to be displayed like that at Target? If there was a vegan working there, and she put it on that display!" Of course, there is always the possibility that I'm being stupid here, and she wasn't a vegan, and the book was just a coincidence, but I still just feel like I missed yet another opportunity to connect with a like-minded person. Fuck my truly pathetic social skills!

I'm still really happy they have this ^ at Target though.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Ⓥ Discrepancy

I think socializing is more of a challenge for me than it is for most people. I assume this is mostly due to the fact that there are two distinct sides to my personality that often seem to conflict with one another. Because veganism and animal rights are the most important things to me, I'm always trying to connect with other vegans. I just feel like I can't be totally comfortable with non-vegans. It seems like having a shared belief system should automatically gives us a deeper connection.

The problem with this is that, to some extent, some of the stereotypes about vegans tend to hold true. Vegans in general do tend to be rather emotionally sensitive, peaceful, and loving people. This makes perfect sense; obviously those who are more empathetic would be more likely to care about the lives of others, both human and non-human. The thing is though, I'm not like that. I'm not a particularly sensitive person. In fact, I sort of pride myself on being completely unsentimental and unflappable. This makes it very hard for me to communicate with people who I should, logically, have every reason to get along with perfectly.

On the other hand, the people who I have a somewhat easier time talking to are often those who I ultimately have nothing in common with, other than a basic communication style. I like talking to people with dark or twisted senses of humor and a fondness for sarcasm. Unfortunately for me, it seems that there are very few vegans who fit this description.

It's also a problem for me to find other vegans who share any of my interests outside of animal rights. I have a propensity for things that are exciting, dangerous, violent (martial arts and the like), painful, etc. Most vegans don't seem to be interested in those sorts of things. I can totally understand that, it does appear to be a bit of a contradiction. However, I don't see why it has to be. Why do people have to be emotionally sensitive to see the inherent injustice of the way animals are treated in our society? Is there some rule that says that you can't be "tough" and still compassionate? I don't think so. I mean, when you think about it, what's more tough than protecting the innocent? Isn't that pretty much the strongest thing one can do?

It seems to me that even those who are totally okay with other types of violence should still be bothered by violence toward those who have done absolutely nothing to deserve it. Even those who have little tolerance for overly emotional people should have sympathy for the pain of those who are genuinely suffering. I guess I just don't understand why there aren't more angry, sarcastic, thrill-seeking vegans out there.  

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Does anyone else find that they are only good at things when they can manage to not think about them? Pretty much everything I try to do, I do better if I can keep myself from actually focusing on what I'm trying to do. I don't know for sure, but I feel like most people concentrate on doing things when they aren't sure if hey can do them or not. Not me. I can do so much more when I don't think about it than when I do. It's like my brain intentionally tries to fuck me over. No matter what I'm doing, thinking about it makes automatically makes it shitty. I mean, even just speaking becomes difficult when I think too much about what I'm trying to say. I can have a half-way decent conversation if I just talk without thinking about it, but when I'm really trying to make a point I end up sounding like a dumb-ass.

The time when it's must obvious though is when trying to develop a new skill. Lately I've been practicing jumping up and swinging on the rafters in the pig barn. Sometimes I can do it right the first time, other times I miss four or five times in a row. The only difference is whether or not I can stop myself from thinking about what I'm trying to do. Of course, the problem is that knowing that I need to not think about it makes it damn near impossible to not think about it. It's super fucking annoying. I don't know why my brain does this to me!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pig Barn Pull-Ups (Video)

My sister was kind enough to come and film for me, so I could show you guys how I do pull-ups in the pig barn. Sorry the lighting is kind of shitty. Also, please ignore the ridiculous boots.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Stop Me If This Stupid

You know how I was talking the other day about how there is now a tattoo place in Pittsburgh that does vegan tattoos? Well, I really think I am going to try to get an appointment soon (despite the fact that I really can't afford a tattoo right now). I haven't been able to get a new tattoo for so long! and I have all of these ideas for ones that I want to get. Some of them I have been wanting for years. However, I have this new idea that I've been thinking about lately, and I'm pretty excited about it. So I just thought I would get input from you guys before I decide to go through with it. So here's the idea, You know my "vegan" tattoo on my forearm? (If you don't, there's a picture of it in the post I linked to above.) Well, I want to get one on the opposite arm that looks sort of like a reflection of the other one. Instead of "vegan" though, I want this one to say "volatile" and I want the animals to look less cutesy and more.....not scary.... but......maybe sort of threatening. Like, maybe the cow could have horns, and the pig could have tusks, the chicken could have a longer beak and a bigger comb. I'm not really sure what to do with the rabbit though, I don't know how you make a rabbit look threatening? Maybe just make him a little darker and sleeker looking? Anyway, what do you guys think? Dumb idea?
Image by LanWu at Deviant Art

Monday, June 22, 2015

Don't Worry, I'll Get There

You guys remember when I was talking about how I bought a sand bag to use as a weight? Well, I've been wanting to get a heavier one forever, but couldn't find any. I guess most people don't like the idea of picking up a hundred pounds of sand, go figure. Anyway, I finally decided to just "make" a heavier one. So I bought two fifty pound bags and poured them into a pig food bag then taped the shit out of it with duct tape. It was a pretty lengthy and annoying process, but I was really excited about trying it out. I used it for my sit-ups today, and that worked out pretty well. However, when I tried to use it for squats, I realized that I just physically couldn't get it into the necessary position. I was able to pick it up, but I could not hoist it up over my head to get it on my shoulders. It was rather disappointing. I was looking forward to being able to do less squats; I've been doing sixty of them with the fifty pound bag. Instead I still had to do sixty, but I had to do them after I had fucked around with the new bag for like ten minutes, trying to figure out how to get it to work. I guess I'm just going to have to practice picking the damn thing up until I get strong enough to lift it over my head.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

My Own Stuff

You know how I said that I cleaned the kitchen yesterday? Well, I actually got a whole cabinet and a drawer cleaned out for my stuff. That is much more of an accomplishment than it sounds like, by the way. Our kitchen was completely overflowing with random shit that, for the most part, no one has even seen for years. So I now have my own little section of the kitchen with all my own stuff! I've been gradually buying my own dishes and whatnot, and I've finally gotten most of what I need and now I finally have places to put it all. It's almost like having my own kitchen....well....not really, but kind of......I guess.
Hey, Sam! Just because I don't cook doesn't mean I don't need my own kitchen space, okay?

Saturday, June 20, 2015


I'm sure you guys know by now that I have a pretty rigid schedule that I follow every day. You want to know something stupid though? Even if I manage to get all of my stuff done, if I put it ff too long I still feel like a lazy ass. Today I didn't workout until almost 3:00 and I felt almost as bad as if I didn't do it at all. I even had a (kind of) good excuse, I was cleaning the kitchen this morning and it took a long time, then it was time to feed the pigs, and when I got back from feeding them I was starving. Still, by the time I actually made myself do my workout, I really didn't feel like it anymore and I think I did everything kind of half-assed. So yeah, from now on I really need to get my ass in gear and get shit done on time.

I also didn't actually leave the house today, which also makes me feel like a lazy ass. Even though I didn't have anywhere I needed to go, I still just feel like I accomplished more if I go somewhere...anywhere.

I was even too lazy to find a good image today. So I just typed in "lazy" to Google images and picked the first one that I liked at all.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Ⓥ Vegan Tattoos

I know this probably isn't a major concern for most people, but one of the only things that has been a real struggle for me, since going vegan, has been getting tattoos. I love tattoos, I always have. I think I first started talking about getting one when I was around twelve, and I got my first one when I was sixteen. After that I got an average of about one per year. That is, until I learned that tattoo ink is usually not vegan. At that time, the idea that my tattoos might have animal derivatives never even crossed my mind (Of course, I know better now. Pretty much everything has animal derivatives, unless otherwise specified.)

After I found out about the ink, getting a tattoo went from being something exciting and enjoyable to a huge ordeal that required a lot of planning and hassle. Most larger cities seem to have at least one or two vegan tattoo artists, and some even have whole vegan studios. Where I live though, vegan tattoo ink is just not something that people even consider. For my first two tattoos, after learning the truth about the ink, I drove all the way to Columbus Ohio to find a vegan artist. It was a several hour drive, but it was still worth it to me. Unfortunately, the artist ended up moving to Canada, and I was back to square one.

I finally realized that some studios may just not advertise vegan ink, because there are still a lot of people out there who think that veganism is wimpy, and that sort of clashes with the whole tattoo culture. So I started calling around to different studios and asking them if they had any vegan ink. I eventually found one guy in Pittsburgh who did. I managed to get one tattoo from him before he too disappeared. That was several years ago and I had not located another vegan artist anywhere closer to me than New York City, until yesterday. There is now a tattoo studio called, Rogue Tattoo, in Pittsburgh which advertises on it's website that one of the artists does vegan tattoos! It may not make a lot of sense, but this is incredibly exciting for me. Tattoos are a part of who I am, and knowing that I finally have a place I can go to get new ones is a huge relief to me.

By the way, for anyone who is wondering what makes tattoo ink unsuitable for vegans, the base is glycerin which is generally derived from animal fat. Also, many places use "bone black" which, supposedly, provides a deeper black color but is made from bone char.
My tattoo, splattered with chalk at the color festival. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Scarlet Fever

I just thought that I would show you guys exactly what I did to my arm yesterday. In case you can't tell, it basically looks like road rash. I kind of wish it was road rash; then it would at least indicate that I had done something halfway interesting. Instead it just indicates that I'm a dumbass, and my life is stupid. I mean seriously! I've practiced that punch every day for the past several weeks, and not once did I kick through the wall or scrape my arm on the ceiling but, naturally, since I was trying to film it yesterday everything that could possibly go wrong did.
By the way, the post title is a reference to the Supernatural episode "Yellow Fever" in which Dean caught ghost sickness which caused him to develop spontaneous road rash, and be afraid of everything. Since I'm not really afraid of anything, but am pissed off all the time, I decided to go with "scarlet fever" (because yellow=afraid, red=angry)...... too convoluted?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Daredevil Punch (Video)

I finally filmed myself trying to do the punch from Daredevil, that I was practicing when I fucked up my hand. I'm still not that great at it, but I think I would do a hell of a lot better if I had a higher ceiling. I was trying to do the best I could for the camera, and that didn't work out especially well. First my foot went through the wall, which I'm sure my dad is going to love. I mean, that wall was in pretty bad shape to begin with, but still. Then I scraped my whole forearm on the ceiling, awesome. Anyway this is after that, when I was being a little more careful, which is part of the reason it looks kind lame. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Because I'm Crazy

So you guys know how I've been working on doing pull-ups for a long time now. Well, I've finally gotten to the point where I feel like I'm pretty decent at it. When I first started I couldn't do very many at a time (actually, when I started out I couldn't do any at a time), so I started doing several sets within a short period of time, because I thought it would help me progress faster. I think it worked, because I have made quite a lot of progress. I always do them when I go to feed the pigs, and I would do three sets in the mornings and four sets in the evenings (because, for some reason, I can never do as many per set in the evenings). Here's the thing though, now that I can do more of them at a time, I've still been doing that many sets. It's become a pretty huge pain in the ass, and takes a long time to do. 

So finally I decided that I'm going to cut down the sets, just so that I won't have to dread feeding the pigs quite so much. I decided that I'm going to do two sets in the mornings, and one in the evenings, and that's it. The way I see it, now I can just keep increasing the number I do per set (I'm currently at 12) without it taking quite so much time. The problem is, now I'm kind of freaking out about it. I know it's insane, but my brain is like "NO! You can't do that! You'll lose all the progress you've made!" and I'm like "No, Brain, I'm still doing way more than I used to. It'll be fine." and my brain is like "No, I'm telling you. Your arms will turn to mush!" So yeah, I'm now trying to force myself to do less pull-ups and to believe that my brain is wrong. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

I Just Couldn't Wait

You know how I said that my dad and I were planting some Carolina Reapers? Well, they are officially planted, but they haven't come up yet. It was driving me crazy wondering what they tasted like, so I broke down and ordered some dried ones online.

I'm not sure if there will be a major difference between fresh ones and dried ones but, I must say, they weren't as hot as I expected (by the way, I still fully intend to eat a fresh one on camera when we get some). The flavor is quite good though, almost berry-like. Anyway, I just ate a little piece of one to see how hot it was, then I put a whole one in my rice-cooker with my teff. When I tasted the finished teff, I thought "Hmm, should have used two."
Also, I just realized something kind of funny (at least to me). The reaper is the new hottest pepper, replacing the ghost pepper because, just like in Supernatural, reaper trumps ghost. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Comic Women

I know I pretty much always seem to have a slightly different perspective on feminist issues than pretty much anybody else.....well here's another one. I know a lot of people are pissed off about the way women are portrayed in comics (see the Hawkeye Initiative), and I can see where they're coming from. The truth is though, I kind of love it.

Don't get me wrong, some of the poses are pretty over-the-top, but the fact that there is someplace where women who are strong are also seen as sexy seems like a good thing to me. Yeah, they all wear skimpy little outfits (which is kind of ridiculous) but then again, all the guys wear spandex (which is equally ridiculous). They are also very strong though, like as strong as the guys, and (here's my favorite part!) at least in most cases they are actually drawn to look like they are as strong as they are.

I have always thought that "strong" women in movies and TV tend to not look very strong. The problem is that they are subject to Hollywood's beauty standards and therefore are basically required to be thin and feminine looking. As far as I know, comic are the only place where female characters can not only be as strong as male characters but also actually look as strong as the male characters. Plus, the guys in comics are okay with the women being as strong and muscular as they are, which I don't think happens often anywhere else. So yeah, I think a few dumb looking poses are worth it to have strong women be seen as a good thing.  
Typhoid Mary is crazy as fuck, but she's also really tough and muscular and all the guys are really into her, despite the fact that she's always kicking the shit out of them (at least that's the case in the Deadpool comics I've been reading).

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Vegan Super Power; Not Getting Tired

Last night was my last class until August. The New Instructor is leaving for the summer, and apparently they couldn't find anyone to cover the Friday class. I guess I'm just going to have to find some other way to get out my aggression for the next month and a half.

Anyway, it was a good note to end on. It was the most intense class we've had for a while. There were two other guys there, plus the Instructor, and we kept alternating partners so I got a chance to work with him a little on each thing we did. All of the students, myself included, always sort of take it easy on each other, but he doesn't really (I mean, I'm sure he does, but not as much as the rest of us). So I always feel like I get a much better workout with him than with the other students.

We worked on blocking punches for a little while and then spent the rest of the class on kicks. We kept a really fast pace the whole time, so we got a lot more work in than we usually do. At the end, the Instructor joked that he was going to make me keep working because I was the only one who didn't look totally worn out. I was still real fucking sweaty though. I think I get much more of a self-esteem boost from stuff like that than I probably should.

I got some pretty nice bruises too, on both hips from holding pads for kicks and this ^ really weird one on my wrist because I'm a dumbass and left my bracelet on under my gloves while blocking punches.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ⓥ Loss

The majority of my Facebook friends are people I've never met in real life. I have always made a point to connect with like-minded people online, since I have so few opportunities to do so in the real world. I try to seek out other vegans and animal rights activists on Facebook, and other forms of social media, as much as possible just so that I can feel that I have some sort of connection to people who care about the things that I do.

I very seldom actually interact with these people, outside of a mutual sharing and/or "liking" of posts, but I still feel like I know them to some extent. Even if we know nothing about each other, and never actually speak, they make me feel less alone and remind me that there are people out there who care about the fate of non-human animals as much as I do. There really are those who are trying to make the world a better place for all of us.

That being said, today when I checked Facebook, I learned that one of my friends had passed away. It felt like this terrible loss, even though I never really knew her, because I knew that there was now one less person in the world who cared about helping animals. I also regretted the fact that I didn't actually know her. Many of my other friends were commenting and talking about things that they had done with her and I realized that even though I feel like I know all of these amazing people, I really don't. I've never been good at getting to know people, online or in real life. So I just follow other activists posts and learn about them simply from the things that they share publicly. It's far from the same thing as being actual friends with them, but it does help to alleviate some of the isolation of being a vegan in an area where the are (almost) no other vegans.

I guess what I'm really trying to say here is that, at least in my case, there is an automatic bond between animal activists. When one of us is gone, it is a blow to us all. I just want all of the other vegans out there to know that, whether we know each other in real life, or are friends on Facebook, or have never interacted with each other at all, you are very important to me. I know I'm not good at showing it, even on Facebook, but I feel a deep connection to each of you. Just knowing that you are out there makes the world feel a little less cruel and heartless.

And, to my friend who is no longer here, thank you for all that you did for non-human animals. Even though we didn't know each other, I will miss you.
We're all in this together.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Wrong Line of Work

I spent a couple of hours putting up hay, earlier today. It was really fucking hot, and I got really fucking sweaty, and I also got cover head-to-toe with little hay particles, and sort of sunburned. None-the-less, I really don't mind doing that sort of work. I always feel better about myself, and the work I've done when it's 1-something physical, and 2-something with measurable results. I really wish that almost all physical labor type jobs didn't require you to be there ridiculously early. I feel like, if I have to have a job that isn't actually something I want to do, that would be the next best thing. I just can't justify looking for a job that would require me to get up any earlier than I already do (which has been somewhere around 5:00, most days, recently). And skipping my workout (or most of the other things I do in the mornings, for that matter) is out of the question.
I don't share Dean's attitude about this sort of thing. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Consequences (Video)

I, once again, didn't really have much to do for my video this week. So I just thought I might as well showed you guys what I did to my hand the other day, when I knocked it on the ceiling trying to do the Daredevil punch. It doesn't look nearly as gross on film as it does in real life though.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Luck or .......Something Else?

Yesterday, a client was telling me about all of the times he had been in the emergency room. I'm really not sure how we ended up talking about that, but it was a rather interesting conversation. After he had gone through this whole list of different injuries and whatnot, I said that I had never been in the emergency room (in fact, I've never been in the hospital at all). He said "You're really lucky." and I was like "Yeah, I guess I am." but the truth is, I think luck had very little to do with it. I'm fairly certain the fact that I have never been in the hospital is due to a combination of taking excellent care of my health and extreme stubbornness.

As I have mentioned, many times, I don't get sick nearly as often (or nearly as badly) as other people. I also think that, on the rare occasions (or the more frequent occasions from back before I was so concerned with being healthy) that I have been much more calm about it than a lot of people. When I was young, I used to get sore throats a lot, and the doctor wanted me to get my tonsils taken out but my parents and I decided against it, and it worked out just fine. There was also the time, back when I was at WVU, when I had a sinus infection for like months and my mom swears that, at one point, it looked like one of my eyes was bulging out of the socket. Again, it eventually went away. I mean it seems to me that in most cases, people get sick, then they get better, why bother with the hospital?

There have been times in my life though, when the sane thing to do probably would have been to go to the emergency room. I know there are plenty of times when I probably should have gotten stitches. There was that time, when I was a kid, that I stepped on a rusty thumb tack and a couple of days later my foot got all red, and swollen, and hot, and I had red stripes running up my leg. There was the time I drove my car off a bridge; I wasn't actually very injured (aside from the air-bag burn all over my face), but I just feel like most people probably would have gotten checked out anyway. There was the time, not so long ago, when I punched a door and got that huge, bulbous, fluid-filled knot on my hand. It turned out to be fine, but at the time I thought I might have permanently ruined it. Not to mention the big, weird, knobby thing that's always on my hand.

I guess what I'm saying is, I'm not so much "lucky" as I am an exceptionally healthy dumb-ass. Plus........

Monday, June 8, 2015

Don't Fear the (Carolina) Reaper

Have you guys heard about the Carolina Reaper? If you haven't, It is the new hottest pepper in the world. Ever since I first heard about them, I've been dying to try one. Unfortunately, you can't exactly just buy them, so my dad and I recently ordered some seeds so we can grow them ourselves. The people we bought them from (and who originally developed them in the first place) are the same ones who make the official iZombie hot sauce, which I also really want to try! Anyway, assuming we can actually get them to grow, I'm definitely going to film myself eating one for my video blog. Eating the Jolokia (the former hottest pepper) was on my bucket list, so I think this will take it's place. Anyone want to try one with me, so we can embarrass ourselves on the internet together?
Sorry Lowell, the Jolokia is not the hottest anymore! Also, the company that sells the Reaper isn't called Beelzebub's Bum, but it is called Pucker Butt Pepper Company, which is almost as absurd.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Cruel and Unusual

I ran out of time to write yesterday, so I'm doing my Muay Thai class recap today. 

It was me, the New Instructor, his Girlfriend, and a New Guy who was there for the first time. We went over punches again, since the New Guy needed to know that before he could really do much of anything else. We all took turns holding the pads for each other, so I got a chance to work with the New Guy and the Girlfriend. They both seem pretty cool, which is nice. I felt really bad for the New Guy though, because it turns out that he is left handed, which means that all of his punches are backward for the rest of us (his 1, 3, and 5, are our 2, 4, and 6, and vice versa). Trying to keep track of which punch is which is confusing as shit anyway, I still get them wrong sometimes and I've been there for-fucking-ever. So him having to hold pads and call out punches for us just seemed like too much to ask on his first day. Plus I know I fucked up several times when I was holding for him, and I'm guessing the Girlfriend probably did too. I just feel like, unless his brain is a hell of a lot more organized than mine, the poor guy is going to be totally confused for a long time. 

Also, I didn't get any good injuries at class, but I did manage to knock the skin off my knuckles during my workout yesterday. I've been practicing the patented patented Matt Murdock jump-up-and-kick-off-the-wall-spinning-punch, and yesterday I miscalculated and punched the textured ceiling in my workout room.  
I feel like I'm getting better at this, but I'll have to film it to see what it really looks like. If it looks decent, I'll let you guys see it too. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Ⓥ Tips and Tricks Part 2; Non-Food Products

As a follow-up to last week's post, I also wanted to share some of my favorite animal-friendly products and brands. I know how incredibly frustrating it can be to find good products that also fit with your beliefs, so I thought I would offer a few suggestions.

1- Naturally, the first step in buying cruelty-free products, is identifying them. I have found that a lot of people don't realize that unless something specifies right on the label that it isn't tested on animals it almost certainly is tested on animals. The easiest way I have found to identify companies as cruelty-free, or not, is with PETA's list. It's quite extensive and, as far as I know, they keep it pretty up-to-date.

2- As with vegan foods, cruelty-free body care, and beauty products can be expensive and hard to find. So again I will recommend Vitacost and iHerb. For things that can't be found at either of those places, Amazon is usually my go-to.

3- If you still can't afford to buy the fancy vegan products, it is possible get generic cruelty-free
products. Food Lion's store brands are not tested on animals. Though they are not necessarily vegan, this is still a huge step in the right direction, and they offer a wide selection of products, from health and beauty to cleaning supplies.

4- My all-time favorite brand of hair dye is Surya. It is certified vegan and cruelty-free, natural (henna based), and actually good for your hair. Plus it comes in some really beautiful shades. If you try it though, make sure you get the cream, not the powder. I haven't tried this particular brand in powder form, but all of the other henna powders I have used were a huge pain, and the cream is super convenient. Also, you should be aware that the box tells you to leave it on for up to an hour but, since it's actually beneficial for your hair and you get better results the longer you leave it on, I just put it on with a cap over it before I go to bed and leave it overnight. I have yet to find a color that didn't come out amazing with this technique.

5- If you want a more intense hair color, I recommend Manic Panic. They are cruelty-free and at least most of their products are vegan; supposedly there are some that aren't, but I can't seem to find out which ones. I will warn you though, their colors do fade a lot, and they really only work if you bleach your hair first. And, again, the longer you leave the colors on, the better (like overnight). If you want the white-blonde look though, you can't beat Manic Panic's Flash Lightening. I used the 40 volume, and it was much more effective and slightly less harsh than any other bleach I've tried. Also, I found that to keep the blonde white, instead of yellow, mixing a drop or two of Ultraviolet into my conditioner worked really well.

6- I absolutely love Sarawen's perfumes! I have tried quite a few of them and have yet to find one that didn't smell wonderful! My favorite, at the moment is Chocolat Rose, though the Ambrosia Chocolat is a close second (I don't know, I guess I just like smelling like foods that I don't eat). The scents are all vegan and cruelty-free, and she donates some of the proceeds to animal charities. Plus, it's just fun to shop for her perfumes, because most of them are inspired by fictional characters.

7- Speaking of good smells, Crazy Rumors lip balm is absolutely amazing! It comes in tons of great scents, and it works better than any other lip balm I have tried (even before I went vegan). Plus, they are another completely vegan company.

8- I will admit, I'm not as good with makeup as some girls (like my sister) are, so my opinion here may not be worth as much as in other ares, but I really like e.l.f.. They are ridiculously affordable (like nearly everything is between $1 and $3) and, for as much as I can do with makeup, they work as well as any other brand I've tried. They are cruelty-free and, while they are not vegan certified, I did find this correspondence from e.l.f. in response to a question asked by Cruelty Free Kitty "All ingredients used in e.l.f. cosmetics are vegan friendly, safe and meet F.D.A requirements." 

9- As some of you may know, I have had issues with acne my entire life and I have finally gotten it (mostly) under control. I'm sure that a lot of that has to do with my overall lifestyle being so much healthier these days, but I also think that a big part of it has been due to Dr. Woods Shea Vision soap. I have been using it as hand soap, body wash, and face wash for months now and my skin has never been better. Dr. Woods products are all cruelty-free and, as far as I can tell, they are all vegan.

10- Along with my acne issues, I have also always had problems with dry skin (and dry hair). Coconut Oil has all but fixed this problem for me. I use it on my face, body, and hair, and it has made my skin incredibly soft. I have given up any ideas about my hair ever being soft (since it seems to be made of cactus needles) but the coconut oil definitely helps keep it more manageable.

So, there are my favorite products. I hope they make life a little easier for someone out there.
My new hair color, Surya in "mahogany". Also, lots of e.l.f. products. Also, almost everything else on this list.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Now Let's Keep It Rolling

Remember those changes that are supposed to be happening in my life? Well, I started by buying some new hair dye, which hasn't gotten here yet so I'm still not sure if I'll like it or not. I don't know if anyone has noticed, but I've also been (gradually) making some changes around this site too.

1- I've started the process of "labeling" my posts, in the hope that it will make things easier to find. Unfortunately since I have nearly 900 posts now, it's going to be a while before I make it through all of my old ones. I really don't know if it will be worth it, in the end, but I guess I'm going to do it anyway.

2- I've added some new pages to the site. This what my friend, Rachel, was kind enough to help me with a while back and I'm finally starting to actually do it! I'm still not sure how many pages I'm going to add, or what I want them to be. So the current arrangement may still change quite a lot, but at least I'm doing something, right?

3- Here's the really exciting thing though (at least for me)! My sister helped me get it set up so I can sell stuff straight from here! No more fighting with Etsy's rules and policies, or having to pay them even when I'm not selling anything. Just so you know, I actually love Etsy; it's just more of a pain in the ass than it's worth for me, since no one ever actually buys my stuff anyway. So now I can sell my stuff here, and do it however I want. Then if I don't sell anything, oh well.

4- I'm pretty sure I'm going to abandon the name Flying Pigs Jewelry, in favor of Volatile Vegan Vestments. I like this name better because 1- You all know how much I love alliteration, and 2- I just think it sounds cool.
I was torn between posting a picture of someone wearing vestments (fancy ceremonial wear), or some dumb joke about rolling. Thanks to Spottedfire94 at Deviant Art, I have both!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Another Poem Video (Ban-Gaisgedaig)

Here is my new video of my poem, Ban-Gaisgedaig. I really need to find a better place to film these things than on my mom's couch. Also, I got kind of lazy this time and decided to read the thing instead of memorizing it, sorry about that. 

By the way, if anyone actually has any idea how to pronounce that word I would love to know! I found it online so I've never heard it said, and it's Celtic so I know it wouldn't just be pronounced the way it's spelled. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Let's Get the Ball Rolling

Seeing as how I'm supposed to be getting all of these changes in my life, I might as well start with my hair. We all knew this was coming, right? Once I start getting the urge to change something, it's only a matter if time. I've decided I'm going back to my old standard; I've had red hair for most of my life, and I miss it. Honestly, I've been thinking of going back for months now. The biggest reason I haven't done it already is because I've been wearing a lot of green lately and I thought it would look weird with red hair, plus my sister told me I would "look like Christmas". Well, I did an image search for red hair green clothes, and you know what? I think it looks really fucking cool!

Plus, you remember when I said I wanted to look like Liv from iZombie? Well, I tried growing my hair out a little so it would look more like her's, and that looked horrible. So I've been trying the whole faux-hawk thing. Then I (accidentally) got a tan, and it suddenly hit me the other day that I look exactly like Blaine! (He's the bad zombie who runs the butcher shop) and I simply cannot let this continue. So yeah, back to red.....just as soon as my henna gets here.
^Not okay. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Good News

On Saturday, my sister and I went to the Pittsburgh Vegan Festival. It was pretty cool, there were tons of people there (although it's hard to say how many of them were actually vegan, that's still encouraging), and a lot of really great local(ish) vegan vendors! Apparently they're doing another one in the fall, and I think this time I'll try to actually get there early enough to hear some of the speakers and everything. Anyway, there was someone there doing tarot readings, and I just couldn't help myself. 

I know a lot of people think this kind of stuff is complete crap, and maybe it is, but here's how I look at it. When it comes to anything that's outside of or beyond our physical world, I believe that anything is possible but nothing is for sure. Because I wanted to get the most accurate impression of her abilities (or lack thereof) I tried my best not to react to anything she said. I know that is one way that fake psychics con people; they say something vague and then, when you agree, they get more specific. My sister pointed out afterward that this woman actually started out specific, and very accurate, and then sort of backpedaled when I didn't say anything. I mean, it still wasn't anything remarkable but, that said, I thought it was a pretty good reading, and my sister agreed.

The reader started off by telling me that I was very stable, but that my life had potential for much better things. At this point I was kind of like "riiiiight, totally" but as she went on it got more accurate. I have to assume that the stable part was about my behavior, and not my actual mental state. I really am quite good at pretending to have my shit together and behaving as if I do. Even when I'm completely losing it, I still manage to get shit done. Someone I worked with years ago once told me I was "very zen", at the time I just did my best not to laugh. 

Anyway, she then went on to say that I've been wanting to make changes in my life; changing jobs, moving, changes in relationships, etc. She said that I had reached a plateau and that things were going to change dramatically, specifically that "I wouldn't be surprised if I saw you two years from now and your life was completely different". 

She then said that I'd had a lot of struggles in my life and that they had been strengthening my soul for something better. This was one of the times when she sort of tried to back up, when I didn't react. I didn't acknowledge the fact that I was struggling and she looked sort of flustered and said "Or the goods things in your life. It's all been to change you for the better." 

She smiled at me and said that I always do everything in my life with love and compassion and that was why better things were going to come to me. Again I didn't react. I wasn't going to tell her that all I want in my life is to make the world a better place, or that I desperately need to give my life meaning. She kind of shrugged and said "Maybe just with your vegan lifestyle." 

When she turned over the last card, which represents the overall outcome, she got this big smile on her face and said "Oooh, I love it when it's a good card!" It was The Universe (she wasn't using a standard tarot deck, by the way) and she said that this also meant changes for the better. She looked sort of sympathetic though and said "This one means that it will take a while." and explained that changes this big never happen quickly. She finished by saying "Someday, you will have the world the way you want it."  

Honestly, I thought that the way she phrased that last statement was the most impressive part of the reading. I feel like most people would probably want to hear that their own lives would be the way they want them, but she didn't say "life" she said "world." It made it seem as if she knew that I would never be satisfied with just having a good life for myself, as long as the world in general is still so shitty. 

I guess I just thought it was interesting that the whole reading focused entirely on the three things that seem to be the themes of my life; a constant struggle to change things, a commitment to trying to do the right thing, and a desperate need to have a positive impact on the world. I know this still could have applied to lots of different people, especially at a vegan festival, and also that it's a little too good to be true. But hey at least it gives me something to keep me going for a while. After all, that's why people go to psychics anyway, right? 
Plus, I went to a psychic once before, years ago, and she was blatantly full of shit.