Monday, June 6, 2011

A Mother's Love

I started writing this immediately after the weekend, but had to put it off due to time constraints (mostly at work; damn work getting in the way more important things like blogging!).

So to put things into perspective, Julie and I went to her parents' cottage from Sunday afternoon to Monday afternoon. The temperature and sunshine lead me to believe it would be a great little weekend get-away; and for the most part it was. Unfortunately, I left from the trip fairly depressed.

I think it started with the insects. While I try to do the least harm possible and adopt a vegan lifestyle, when there are mosquitoes buzzing right in my ear it - literally - drives me crazy. I besically smack my own head to get whatever it is off me. Part of me feels bad, while part of me - probably my more primal self - feels temporary reprieve from their bites, buzzing and and blood-sucking. Maybe other vegans can relate or provide advice?

Another sad incident occurred while we were on an evening constitutional after supper. We saw a Ruffed Grouse on the side of the road and it wouldn't move. Julie's mother, in particular, was quick to judge saying that they are essentially stupid creatures and that's why it's not moving from the road. But on closer inspection, we realised there were two baby Ruffed Grouse that had been hit by a car. So this distraught and grieving mother was standing by her deceased children. I found this absolutely heartwrenching...

Further to sad animal news, while at the cottage (although we do not know whether it was caused by anything there or not) Whisk expressed symptoms of a bladder infection. She pretty much peed non-stop while outside. So $200+ dollars in vet expenses (for something we pretty much diagnosed ourselves) and major discomfort for Whisk is how we ended out stay at the cottage and were greeted in returning home.

Although for the rest of the week I have been in okay spirits. Whisk has seemed to recover, work is slack with more people equalling less calls, and running mellowing me out.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Holidays and Leisurely Activities

I haven't written a blog in a couple months so I thought it is overdue.

As many of you may know we went for our first vacation in the nearly a year since I started working at Atelka. They do not seem to know the meaning of time off and even had to fight to get this week off but managed to secure the vacation pay I am entitled to.

We went to Southwestern Ontario. Mostly to attend our cousin's wedding, but we made a vacation out of it by visiting numerous other relatives as well. We drove pretty much all over Southwestern Ontario visiting people in London, Dutton, Alsa Craig, Hamilton, Toronto, St. Catharines, Grimsby, and even Ottawa. So while it was nice to see everyone it certainly was a whirlwind tour managing to see all the people we did.

The wedding was very nice. They even accomodated to the vegan minority making everything but the meat and gravy vegan friendly. So this was very pleasing to us vegan foodies! And I would have liked to stay at the party later, but since we brought Whisk with us on our vacation, we had to leave early to let her out to do her business. It was nice getting caught up with all our relatives though, and even had numerous opportunities to have candid and open conversations regarding veganism.

That is actually a good segue, as on the return trip home, we passed four slaughterhouse-bound trucks full of pigs. These always greatly upset me. I was driving and had to fight intensely from full-out crying. Why people want to commodify these creatures is beyond me. It reminds me of the holocaust with their shipping of these defenseless animals to their needless deaths.

Just before our vacation, I also ran my first marathon. I exceeded my pre-planned time of four hours. But I must confess, once I started I thought I could get 3 hours, 30 minutes when I did my first half in only an 1:45. But I completed the marathon in 3:42:48. Which - I'm told - is a good first time so I'm pretty happy with that. My next marathon I am aiming for at least one late summer or fall. I would - ideally - like to complete 3-5 this year. Especially since my ultimate goal is to run ultramarathons.

We managed to get a lot of our taxes back this year. I may even qualify for a GST rebate since I made so little last year! I definately want to avoid paying any money to the government as basically everything they spend most of their money on are things I oppose: health care and animal testing, the military, [animal] farming subsidies, industry bail-outs, etc. Plus this will also help us get into our Earthship faster. Which will mean I should no longer be required to work, and only do so if I want to travel or something.

As far as work is concerned though, I have recently been contemplating a career in nutrition, possibly even sports nutrition. With all the literature I figure if I cannot convince people to go vegan for selfless reasons, I can at least persuade people for selfish reasons; like not succumbing to the plethora of degenerative illnesses caused by animal product consumption. Furthermore, when you look at endurance athletes (like Scott Jurek or Brendan Brazier - who are my new idols by the way) they advocate a vegan diet essentially for performance reasons (apparently also environmental as well according to their biographies). And if you haven't read "Born to Run," I strongly recommend it, because they actually discuss in fairly great detail the benefits of a vegan diet.

Anyway, I think that is enough to get off my chest to the world (or whatever weirdos read my blog...Kidding :oP). Stay posted and in a couple months, or sooner, I should write another blog.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Letter to Reader's Digest

(The original article was posting in RD's February 2011 issue on page 158.)

Re: Introducing Your Newborn to Your Pet

While I certainly appreciate the tips this article provides for making
the transition of a baby to one's pets less tumultuous, it's
conclusion rather irked me. Basically Tracey Williams just concludes
that if you cannot get them to get along, just toss your pet out of
the house. How is it fair to an animal you have had quite possibly for
years to throw them away because you chose to have a child? Perhaps
you should have also mentioned - or created - websites like or suggested the local orphanage to throw your baby
away instead. After all, most people had the pet first and the baby
after. Besides, it's unlikely the baby will remember it anyway
whereas the animal will probably have anxiety issues the rest of its

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cob Versus Earthship (Round 1)

So for those of you who follow my blogging and life activities, you would know Julie and I are trying to decide on an environmentally friendly housing situation. So far the issue has pretty much entirely revolved around Cob houses. As of late another contender has come into the running again: the Earthship! Perhaps some of my friends and readers have some insight into either of these two building methods. I'm going to make a pro/con list abut the two techniques and I would very much appreciate additions or corrections where warranted.

- Inexpensive
- Readily available materials (sand, water, straw, clay)
- Sturdy (some have been around for hundreds of years and survived multiple earthquakes)

- Takes a long time to complete
- May not be suited for a colder climate for insulation

- Uses mostly reclaimed or reused materials
- Minimal costs
- Well insulated
- Quick to build

- Seems more costly than Cob
- Some claims of tire off-gassing (most likely untrue but it turned Julie off it for awhile)
- Newer building technique and therefore possible unforeseen complications

Monday, December 13, 2010

Things Are Starting To Look Up

For those of you who keep up to date with the goings-on in my life (and the life of my immediate family), you know things kind of hit a rough spot. It culminated in our next door neighbour, who has been blaring his music on a daily occurrence - and apparently didn't like the fact we complained about this - coming over and threatening us, harassing me in the street, and even cutting our phone line. After the phone line incident we contacted the police for the umpteenth time and left it in their hands while Julie and I went on a vacation to Portland, Maine for a few days. Since our return, things have significantly improved. In the three weeks since our get-away, we have only heard him and/or his music once. This has greatly improved our overall mood while being at home to the point where we don't feel the immediate urge to move.

Speaking of moving, Julie and I have been bouncing around the idea of a more nomadic lifestyle. While we would have a permanent settlement somewhere yet to be determined, we have been contemplating purchasing an R.V.. This would be a staged process, while we would use the R.V. as a temporary home while we built a house of our own (most likely a cob house based on permacultural principles), and could also be a means of vacationing as well. It would also help us live a more minimalistic lifestyle.

In my work-life, things are - hopefully - looking up. My friend, Chris, helped me get an interview at Q1 Labs. This seems like a great place to work. The money seems really good (and not that I'm overly motivated by the money itself, but the "freedom" it can provide), the people there seem to enjoy what they do, and their attrition rate is unheard of at only 5%! I've already had one interview and was told I would be scheduled another early this week so please wish me luck!

As for my running regime, I completed my first half marathon event (The "Not the Honolulu" fun run). I think I did rather while given weather conditions were not the most conducive for speed, and the leisurely nature of the run prompted several conversations throughout the run. While it was not a timed event I estimate I completed the run in approximately two hours. The next stage in my training is a full marathon and I intend to run in the Fredericton Marathon next May.

During the run, I also saw a very large coyote (thankfully not interested in me as a meal) which actually kind of saddened me. I actually took a couple moments to watch the creature and collect my thoughts. The coyote was in an area that had formerly been a forest and was now a gravel pit slated for the construction of some unnecessary building. Seems like there are constant reminders of the slight of "civil"ized humanity against creatures of all types.

I think that about covers all the bases. I would like to wish everyone "season's greetings" and all the best for the upcoming year. I suppose I will have to make another blog stating what my New Year's Resolution is. I'm contemplating either going raw vegan or giving up alcohol (for the year or permanently; I have not decided yet if that is even going to be the resolution), or even something else altogether. I'm nearing the end of my current New Year's resolution with only a couple slips (not climbing a couple trees until after midnight; which to me institutional time is irrelevant, the new day doesn't start until the sun rises!). I should have more reflections on this also. Until next time...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mothman Prophesies...Or Something Like That

So while at work today, contemplating how I was essentially going to tell my employer I wasn't going to take the new "supervisor" position since all it entails is the same money, worse hours and a horrid seating arrangement, I noticed a moth on the wall. My first instinct was to save this creature before any of the other ignoramuses I work with may have killed or harmed it. So I gently coaxed him/her onto my finger so I could release him/her outside.

Upon getting a few weird looks (which essentially confirmed my initial assumption about many of my coworkers) and getting my newly found friend outside, I dropped him/her off far enough away from the door that I felt s/he would be safe from any of the detriments of my place of work. So again I tried to gently coax him/her from my finger. I don't know if it somehow felt attached to me for removing her/him from the hellhole that is my work, but several times s/he simply flew right back onto my finger after I tried to prod her/him away. Which in a way made my day to think perhaps I meant that much to this small creature after such a brief encounter.

The other thing this incident provoked was a decision I have already started contemplating greatly over the past several weeks and months. While being vegan is great, all it simply does is not kill lives (which don't get me wrong is still a wonderful thing!). It doesn't actively save lives per se. Which is why I am trying to make it a personal practice to actively save as many lives from harm/danger as possible. Be they worms on the road, or moths in a building, these creatures clearly have a preference and end up suffering as a result of civilization if somebody doesn't do something. I'm sure many of the people I correspond with will understand this revelation.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Monkey Found, Among Other Deaths...

While I may have mislead readers by the title of this blog entry, this is actually just a general rant against "civilized" government as a whole. I read the following article ( with the same feeling I get when I read about the discovery of any "new" species: absolute fear for the species' safety. Even in the article it mentions that the species is in the hands of a government that barely cares about its own people, let alone the environment or other animals. To any person this leaves little doubt as to the fate of the animal especially when hunted for meat...

Among other depressing news (, several hundred more ducks have met their untimely and horrific deaths in the tailing ponds of Alberta's oilsands. This coming just days after they received a fine for $3,000,000 for 1,600 ducks having died last year! Clearly they have not learned their lesson, and how would they when $3,000,000 is a miniscule fraction of the profits they make on a daily basis.

What further grinds my gears is that the Alberta government (while they issue a lot of strong rhetoric) is completely inept and fails to see the gravity of the situation when all they can think of is their pockets being lined with oil-drenched money. They fail to see that the health of the entire environment is at stake, and focus on more trivial concerns like the health of smokers who control their own fates ( Yet they ignore the suffering of those who have done nothing but been the victims of living in the shithole that is "civilized" society.

Just on a note to end, if people think I'm "angry" then I just have to retort that if they are NOT angry, they clearly aren't looking hard enough or just do not give a damn.