Winter 2015

I know it has been a while since I have posted here!  Sorry… Life has really gotten in the way lately.

What I have been up to:

I finished the guitar method I had been working on (and off) for six years, the I Love Music Theory Method for Guitar:

I Love Music Theory Method for Guitar

I Love Music Theory Method for Guitar

Then I finished my parody/spoof of 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight, Shadeylight: Vella the Virgin Vegan Vampire:

Shadeylight: Vella the Virgin Vegan Vampire

Shadeylight: Vella the Virgin Vegan Vampire

Back to what’s important, though… Kiki is doing well. She’s my princess. She still climbs on my shoulder at least once a day, all 17 pounds of her.

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Daily Vegan Lunch for 2 March, 2013: Hot Dog!

hot dog

INGREDIENTS:

1 vegan hot dog, microwaved about 30 seconds. Mine was a Lightlife vegan frank because that is what my husband bought. I forgot to put the onions on in the photo because I had about 30 seconds to eat before I was out the door for work.
A bun

TOPPED WITH:

Sauerkraut (drained)
Onion
Avocado
Ketchup
Mustard
Whatever else you want to put on it, I won’t judge.

Happiness Confidential — Things you can do right this instant to be happy

Ten tips on achieving real, lasting happiness from a former major depressive

1. Develop a profound appreciation for small things
I would estimate that billions of us, not millions, take most of the good things in our lives for granted. It is human nature to focus upon and remember the negative. We’re built to harbor sorrows, which in effect have replaced danger, in our evolution. Provided you are not one of the billion people in our world who goes without clean water every day, when was the last time you appreciated it? How about that fresh fruit you obtained from the grocery store? Ever given a thought to how much easier life is for you every day than it was for someone born in 1700?  Yes, I am saying to truly relish that morning coffee that came to you from Sumatra and to luxuriate in the softness of carpeting under your feet in your warm house, even if it is old and stained.

2. Stop seeking immortality
Face it, you’re going to die. Perhaps you’ll go to heaven or hell; you might just blink out of existence. Start being cool with the possibilities that you won’t live forever, in name or in glory. If you never get famous, the world won’t care. If you do get famous, it will still eat you alive.  If you think having children will make you immortal, just don’t.

3. Get off of ALL drugs.
The term ‘medical doctor’ these days is synonymous with ‘licensed drug pusher’. Drugs are expected to do things they were never intended to do, for instance, constant doses of antibiotics are now used upon farm animals to get them to grow larger, even when the animals are not technically sick. Drug use is so rampant that traces of antidepressants can be found in public water supplies. Except in rare cases of schizophrenia, I do not believe that anyone can medicate himself out of depression. The only weapon “they” seem to have against depression is the serotonin reuptake inhibitor, which tampers with nerve endings to make them more sensitive to a certain chemical in our brain. The consequences of this tampering have largely not been studied, yet having been on them myself (and having known many people on them) I can say that human guinea pigs exhibit these changes while on SSRIs:

  •  inflated ego
  • out of control sex drive
  • bouts of extreme anger
  • antisocial or inappropriate behavior
  • weight gain
  • INCREASED suicidal tendencies

Even innocuous caffeine works horrors upon the human brain and body. In my case, caffeine is a crap shoot. Sometimes I feel a great sense of well-being or creativity while on it. Other times, I sweat profusely and have anxiety attacks.

Drugs are not entirely bad:for instance, surgical anasthesia or medical marijuana. Drugs are great: occasionally used as a last resort.

4. Go complex carbohydrate, whole foods vegan.
You knew I’d bring it back to veganism, right? I don’t see how a person who ingests suffering and death can expect something different for herself. Meat, dairy, and eggs are an addiction. Unless you break the physical and mental addiction irrevocably by excluding all sources of meat, dairy, and eggs from the diet, it is nearly impossible to completely heal from that addiction. Just as an alcoholic can’t go back to drinking a couple of shots with friends every weekend, a former animal foods addict should not expect to go back to dairy chocolate or a fried “free range” egg every now and then. No matter what the health benefits of eating a bunch of greens, fruits, and whole grains in the place of dead brown animal flesh and secretions are, the real benefit is knowing that you’ll never contribute again to the worst crimes a human can commit: the perpetration of an unjust war upon other species for no other reason save “they taste good”.

5. Stop caring so much about what others think of you.
Try this experiment: next time you’re in a crowded grocery store, do an Irish jig down the aisle. Make like you’re Michael Flatley doing a Riverdance. Can you do this without dying of embarrassment? I sure as hell can. I’ll sing “The Irish Washerwoman” at the top of my lungs while doing it too, and I’m not even certain I’m Irish. Because I truly no longer give a shit what anyone thinks of me. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to watch.

Michael Flatley, Irish dancer

Michael Flatley doesn’t care what you think

I hated myself as a shrinking violet, afraid of sticking out or heaven forbid, embarrassing myself. I always assumed people were thinking of me (first wrong assumption) and that what they were thinking was negative (second wrong assumption). Realizing that it wasn’t all about me was one of the most joyful and liberating things I have ever done with my life.

The secret of good performances, whether they be in social situations or more formal ones, like acting or singing, is the ability to get outside oneself.  The hallmark of a bad actor is a person who can never overcome his own self-centeredness enough to become the part he is trying to play.  Truly caring what others think of you is a form of unconscious enslavement — you’re always worried about their perceptions instead of doing what you know in your heart to be right.

6. Read for 20 minutes in sunlight every day.
This is one of those Stupid Human Tricks. We need the sun to produce vitamin D, which in turn affects calcium and magnesium absorption. Magnesium is a strong antidepressant — however, it does much, much more and has roles in everything from metabolism to heart health.

7. Stop dreading getting older.
Our retarded society thinks getting older and *gasp* losing one’s looks is a fate worse than death. Just because everyone is stupid where this is concerned does not mean you have to join them. I’d rather embrace being a 4’8 half-Okinawan crone than transform myself into a Madam-doll muppet freak with anime chipmunk cheek implants and an eye lift so tight I no longer can produce tears.

8. Make the best out of the stuff you have.
Get rid of the TV subscription and turn the TV off. Cancel magazine subscriptions except for Free Inquiry and VegNews. Don’t bother seeing or renting the latest movies. Not only will you save a ton of money, you’ll stop receiving messages of inadequacy as you elect to drop out of vicious consumer culture. If you think you need a new pair of shoes, try repairing the old ones instead.

9. Adopt a shelter pet.
Not only will you fight the evil puppy and kitty mills by adopting, you’ll rescue a being in need of love and care who probably would have been euthanized without your intervention. Life is sweeter shared with a shelter animal!

kiki and kim

Partners in crime with the best life ever!

10. Dismiss that which insults your soul.
There are no rules and there is no cosmic dictator in the sky waiting to punish or reward you after your physical death. You make your life what it is, therefore you can make it better. Push delete on toxic relationships, move where you want to live, and pursue the career you want even if it makes you poor. You don’t owe anyone anything (though conversely, they also don’t owe you anything) and that means you’re the grown up.  No amount of weird, compulsive thoughts will bring magic into your life — it’s like the old Sting tune, Everything You Do is Magic, so you should live the life you want to, with fulfilling people and a feeling of purpose.

Novel and Film Review of Steve Martin’s Shopgirl

Even though it’s got Claire Danes in it, skip the movie and read the book instead.

I saw the film version of Shopgirl first before I found a copy at Half-Price Books, however, it was no less entertaining knowing the ending.

Mirabelle is the shop girl in question. She is under 25 years old and has a cushy yet stultifying job at Neiman Marcus selling fancy evening gloves. Who even knew such a department existed beyond the year 1965, right? Well, the Fancy Glove Department does exist despite the fact nobody buys gossamer high tea-drinking gloves anymore and she works there. Mirabelle is just another talented person who went to art school and then later finds out that there’s zero opportunity in the art world for a non-connected, non-famous, shy young woman for Vermont. Mirabelle’s life isn’t exciting, though she has no idea how to change it. She subconsciously wishes to fall in love while she battles severe depression with an array of new tricyclic drugs. Mirabelle has a disastrous few dates with a slacker loser named Jeremy. To assuage her terrible loneliness and twenty-something horniness, she makes the mistake of sleeping with him, even though he’s a boob that makes her pay for 1/2 their dates.

Paying 1/2 for dates is near impossible in Mirabelle’s highly-indebted state. She has tens of thousands of dollars in college debt and her job at Neiman’s isn’t exactly lucrative. In stark contrast is the L.A. art scene that Mirabelle samples when she goes out with her friends on gallery night and the segment of people rich enough to shop at Neiman Marcus. Steve Martin’s observations on the Wives of Important Men were the first big factor that made Shopgirl the novel far better than Shopgirl the movie. For instance, this line: Without spending, there would be thirty to sixty empty hours per week, to be filled with what? and this one: Along with the desire to spend comes a desire to control what is coming back at them from the mirror. Noses are bobbed into a shape that nature never knew, hair is whipped with air and colored into a metallic tinted meringue, and faces are pulled into death masks. No kidding, right?

She should have stayed home with her cats.

One day at work, an older gentleman named Ray Porter comes into Mirabelle’s department and buys a pair of gloves. A few days later, he sends her the pair of gloves to her in the mail along with a note asking her out to dinner. Since this is the most exciting thing that has happened to Mirabelle in a very long time, she says yes and ignores Jeremy’s entreaties to see her again.

In the interim, we meet a character named Lisa who works in the cosmetic department of Neiman Marcus. Lisa is in her early 30s and hell-bent upon gaining social status via the men she seduces; she even has the breast implants to prove it. She prides herself on being a blow job queen. We gain glimpses into Lisa’s bizarre insecurities and warped self-image as she and Mirabelle run into each other at an artist’s party. Lisa’s character development becomes another reason why the novel is superior to the film. At thirty-two, Lisa does not know about forty, and she is unprepared for the time when she will actually have to know something in order to have people listen to her. That little quip had special significance for me as I watch a bunch of my female contemporaries in Chernobyl-like meltdowns as forty approaches on swift hooves. Much later in the book, Lisa, whose main goal is to join the ranks of the Wives of Important Men, gets her comeuppance in a very funny turn of fate.

Back to Mirabelle and Ray Porter, who hit it off immediately after having dinner at an expensive restaurant. Luckily, Mirabelle does not have to pay this time. She comes away from the date enchanted, as does Ray. Ray is revealed as extremely lonely (possibly even mores than Mirabelle) with an exquisitely organized life. Ray is kind and generous, however, he is an emotional adolescent. He is stoic to the degree that he can barely identify his own feelings, let alone the feelings of women he gets involved with.

Ray keeps Mirabelle at arm’s length after they sleep together, which is very sad because “we” the readers see clearly that he falls in love with her even before they sleep together. Mirabelle falls as well. Much to her despair, Ray is unable to commit to Mirabelle exclusively at makes it perfectly clear even after they become very close.

The rest I won’t give away, except for a bit about Jeremy. Jeremy is a total douche character in the film but not so in the book. Jeremy evolves in the book in a way that the film utterly failed to capture. I hated Jeremy at the end of the film Shopgirl but at the end of the novel Shopgirl, I had a completely different opinion of him. I also felt that Steve Martin probably should not have played the role of Ray Porter in the film Shopgirl. Steve is soft and fatherly but actually, I don’t necessarily see him as Ray Porter and I think most people would agree. Ray is a bit harder at the edges, geekier for certain, whereas Steve just comes off as sweet and kindly.

Shopgirl the novel…highly recommended!!

Carnie Wilson: Please Go Vegan!

Carnie Wilson had stomach-stapling surgery in the 2000's and now she's had lap band surgery to lose weight.

I was dismayed to read that Carnie Wilson had lap-band surgery in January to shed weight.  I don’t know much about Carnie except that she’s a really good singer who was in Wilson Phillips and that her dad was Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.

Both lap-band surgery and bariatric surgery (stomach stapling and removal) are absolute madness in my opinion.  Doctors who perform these horrific removals and re-routes of the stomach are BARBARIANS.  How can poor Carnie and anyone who has had these surgeries ever digest food properly with half a stomach?  Furthermore, how can any doctor who performs this butchery even claim to adhere to the Hippocratic “harm none” oath they all swear to at the end of medical school?  These forms of brutal surgery are the modern equivalent of trepanning, or cutting holes into patient’s skulls in order to let the demons out!

This is the least disgusting pic of trepanning I could find. Here's a suggestion: DO NOT Google trepanning!

Carnie, please, GO WHOLE FOODS VEGAN!  Every person I’ve ever met who went vegan lost weight; some of my Facebook friends even lost to the tune of 200 lbs!  Do it for the animals.  Do it because you’ll be able to eat lots and still lose weight.  This is why:

 

Quantity of food is the problem!!  Not to mention, every chicken, egg, cow-corpse burger, and hunk of cheese are laced with hormones to make the animals grow huge fast . . . sound familiar?

Carnie, set an example!  Fire your doctors and heal yourself by eating what humans were meant to eat, fruit and vegetables.