Why do I choose to go vegan?

img_1984

It’s hard being vegan. Even for someone like me. I ate cheese yesterday, but didn’t realise I ordered it, but I ate it anyways, because it was in front of me, and I was weak. I ate feta and cream at brunch today. There is regret. It takes a lot of effort to be yourself in today’s world. I didn’t forget to thank and pray for the cows and goats though. You can only pray so much however and if you aren’t taking any action the praying probably isn’t coming from the heart.

So it’s ‘Veganuary’, as disgusting as that may sound to some… But hey! The Animal Agriculture Industry is the number one contributor to green house gases and human induced Climate Change.  And if, unlike Trump, you hopefully believe that climate change is real, like me and many others, you’ll decide to go vegan, at least a couple times a week, if not everyday.

Choosing to go vegan however hasn’t just been an ethical issue; being vegan has provided a number of quality of life benefits (aside from making me less anxious and more hopeful that Climate Change will slow down if more people go vegan):

-clear skin

-higher energy levels

-lower food bills (in theory, as meat becomes less and less subsidized, and more vegetables and other crops are planted to feed people and not livestock).

But where do you get your protein from?

When people say that plants have feelings too… Plants don’t show the clear feelings of fear and pain that cows, pigs, chicken, and fish do. Plants don’t quite run away. Plants were designed to be harvested. Humans designed ways to hunt and kill, by choice. Have you ever seen or read about a man killing a deer, antelope or cow just with their teeth? Nope humans aren’t lions.

The milk of other animals was meant for the babies of those animals, not for humans! 

And if you think that the dairy industry in Europe is humane, small dairy farms seem to be quickly disappearing

And unless you really know where your eggs came from…  Don’t eat them.

At the end of the day, since all animals and animal products originate from plants, instead of inefficiently going through animals for nutrients, why not just go straight to plants? Well maybe because more land in the USA, for example, is used for Animal Agriculture rather than edible plant agriculture, so fresh veg is generally more expensive than it ought to be…

Anyways less talk, and more action! Go vegan and plant more vegetables.

#TAKETOTHESTREETS

American Citizens to the land of America please continue taking to the streets and continue protesting the backwards electoral college until change happens. Urban streets weren’t just invented for cars. They were built as a free place where people can express themselves.

Don’t just let it pass. Hillary is still winning the popular vote; Trump ironically said himself that the electoral college is a disaster. His family didn’t seem look too happy on stage to announce his said victory; not to mention his son’s expressive faces during Trump’s electoral victory speech.

The constitution is a work in progress. The United States of America is a work in progress. It is the duty of every citizen to contribute to this work, by gracefully expressing our sentiments.

I could not be happier to see thousands of citizens taking to the streets to express their outrage at the electoral system, and its ability to allow a narcissistic product of the media that does not understand that his past public actions throughout only the past year, cannot be erased, and will only enable those who do not have the critical strength to make their own moral compasses, but instead to only be driven by false media. Only two days later we are seeing crimes of bigotry, undeniably enabled; by the electorate college system and the hollow, money-driven, superficial, individual it elected.

As the Miss Universe pageant taught us last year; the first announced ‘winner’ isn’t always.

 

#TAKETOTHESTREETS [with grace]

#DONTSTOP

sf pride 3

Thought Fractals

When you focus on something through your instruments, it expands in ways beyond the initial perception.

When I focus on asparagus, the more I am able to feel its density and texture, etc. Aside from its physical properties, the mind then connects to memories and pulls up the most potent asparagus associations: off-putting odours of urine, images of wine country, and past intimate relationships.

Focused relationships in particular, and their following associations, have taught me many things in our fractal, interconnected world: from knowing to use your ring finger for its gentleness to apply eye cream, to learning a new language.

The next time you have a worthy thought or see something interesting, focus on it, and enjoy where it takes you.

 

 

 

@ The Sentinel Building

coppola building-1

A historic landmark at the foot of San Francisco’s Little Italy neighbourhood- one of my favourite flat iron buildings in the world. Built in 1907 and owned by Albert and Connie Der Family Trust, one of its most prominent tenants is filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, owner of Cafe Zoetrope occupying the majority of the building’s ground floor. Right across from it is another great place to people watch on the sidewalk under the sun, Réveille Coffee Co’s Northbeach branch.

Good morning. You got a 浴衣

yukata kimono look-1

Good morning, you got a yukata. (Thanks for the photo, Laxa). I remember seeing a beautiful woman dressed in kimono on the Muni months ago, and I regret not asking her for her picture. With a significant Japanese community-it doesn’t feel too odd to wear yukata paired with Onitsuka Tiger’s and leather jacket in San Francisco.

japan-things-yukata-post-collage

The Meaning of Life: On Dzhokhar Tsarnaev & The Society of the Spectacle

I am a global citizen, but more formally, as much as I would like to trade my passport for a U.K. one, also a citizen of the United States of America (USA). To be a true citizen however, I must actively take part in fashioning the development of this great nation and what it stands for. America classically stands for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Sure these are lofty ideals, but America and its citizens, many of whom lay dormant, could try a bit harder to act like this is what it stands for.

Dhzhokhar Tsarnaev was born on July 22nd, 1993, in Kyrgyzstan. He’s my age. Escaping potential persecution by ignorance and lack of humanity across the Atlantic, Tsarnaev and his family (his parents, older brother, and two sisters) were granted asylum in the United States. Dhzokhar became a naturalised American citizen uncannily on September 11, 2012.

He lived an interesting and indirectly non-violent life like any other young high school transitioning to college kid, and seemed pretty grateful for his new life in America. He received a scholarship from the City of Cambridge, was on the wrestling team, and enjoyed eating Nutella.

Schermata 2015-05-17 alle 16.09.20

The following month after his tweet about Nutella, on April 15th, 2013, the Boston Marathon Bombing occurred taking the lives of three, including that of a young 8 year old boy, and significantly injured hundreds more. On May 15, 2015, Dzhokhar was found guilty and sentenced to death for being the final agent in orchestrating the Boston Marathon Bombing together with his elder brother, Tamerlan-Tamerlan who Dzhokhar seemed to unintentionally drive over to death in a stolen SUV in attempt to flee a police chase in Boston.

Dzhokhar and his family have repeatedly admitted that he is not guilty of his crimes against humanity. His sister and his mother recently painted by the media as dark and evil burka wearing gypsy witches (simply Google for such evidence or read Newsweek) have also claimed that Dzhokhar was framed by the US government.  Indeed, there is truth in every lie depending on your ability to see.

When you take into account Guy Debord’s theory of The Society of the Spectacle, Dzhokhar was framed by the US government to set-off pressure cooker bombs in Boston on April 15th, 2013. Dhzhokhar probably saw images, online and maybe even first-hand, of the civilian lives overseas the US government orchestrated to kill as collateral damage, often planned and predicted, in order to achieve a particular military objective. Not to mention Drones. On a note found in the boat where he was captured by the police, Dhozkhar wrote, according to CBS news, that ‘the [Boston] bombings were retribution for U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, and called the Boston victims ‘collateral damage’ in the same way Muslims have been in the American-led wars’.

An eye-for-an-eye never works, and it is the practise of this poisonous philosophy that keeps our poor soul spinning on the wheel of life. The courts have ruled Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, guilty. But we are all guilty of his crimes against our humanity. We are Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, we are Hitler. Killing Dzhokhar by lethal injection is not divine justice. It is only collective egotistical justice that would only poison our humanity even more.

We all have our ‘devils’ and our ‘angels’, but really they are both one in the same. We are all one soul. We just need to learn how to be friends with them. It is a great struggle, a struggle of conceptually blending the identity of every living thing into your own. To accomplish this, that is the greatest lesson we have been placed into our bodies for, called Life.

And with a more or less clear understanding of the meaning of life, I graduate from Cornell University, and thank Ithaca and the University environment for being rather conducive for such a necessary personal discovery, now ready, to truly live the life of the hand I have been dealt.

P.S. If you are consumed by The Society of the Spectacle and afraid of women wearing burka’s and head scarves, take a look at a picture of the Virgin Mary.

Schermata 2015-05-17 alle 17.21.55

Dzhokhar’s elder sister, Ailina, at a court hearing in New York. She herself has a number of criminal offenses on American soil.

virgin_maryd

A photo of the Virgin Mary who appears, according to stereotypical ignorant American standards popularised by the media, to have been Muslim according to her attire.

Also, as a fashion maniac this passage from The Thoughtful Dresser by Linda Grant is also very fitting supportive material for this post: ‘The next day was sorrow and anguish-for those who had died, listening to the terrible messages the soon-to-be-dead had left on their loved ones’ answering machines. Deep horror and dread, and then nausea. The skies were quiet and empty. London was unnaturally still. We didn’t go out, we didn’t attend parties, we were certain that we were next.

But what I remember best were the arguments, the shrill condemnation not of the men on the planes, guiding them towards their targets, but of American foreign policy and, as often as not, of Americans. ‘You just have to watch Friends,’ someone said to me, ‘to see that Americans are foolish and shallow people.’

So when I looked at those first post 9/11 editions of Vogue,all I could think was that they didn’t matter. That we had been sleepwalking through life; that we were this grotesquely fortunate generation, born after the war, who would enjoy whole lives of peace and prosperity and boundless good fortune, without fear or threat. Seeing a row of handbags in Fenwick a month later, all I could think of were those women in Afghanistan walking like frightened blue ghosts in their burqas through the pitted streets of Kabul.’

Student Nomads & Cafes: Rendez-vous @ Réveille

rendezvous-a-reveille

For the student nomad, finding one’s ‘happy spot’ in the city of one’s most current temporary residence is of particular significance (‘happy spot’ being the place where the student nomad can study, be supplied with good coffee, and be constantly inspired by the energy of the crowd, amongst other such niceties). Returning to this oasis in the desert of a seemingly hectic life, the student nomad gradually becomes a regular at the cafe, perhaps ordering the same single shot of espresso each day, and begins to feel integrated within the greater city community itself.

For my current stay in San Francisco, the two Réveille cafes have become my happy spots in the city. For the non-francophones, réveille, the third-person singular form of the infinitive réveiller, means ‘to awaken’. One is seated at North Beach, cross walks away from Little Italy and Chinatown, (just across the historic Sentinel, my favourite building in the city). With its ‘V’ shaped layout and large windows, it’s a great morning spot to catch some light and coffee to further awaken oneself.

reveille-north-beach

Réveille-North Beach

 

sfwinterfourteenpou-22

The Sentinel building

Most of the day these days is spent hibernating however in the more woody-sauna Rèveille Castro branch (it has become the ‘happy spot’). Filament light bulbs, unspoilt wood, and geometric black and white tiles, not to mention a map of the world in the washroom, are just a few of the inspiring fixtures of the cafe. They also make it a point to serve San Pellegrino sparkling water with their espresso (++). A whole list of great things about this cafe can be made.

espresso-reveillereveille-lightbulbs-ceiling

reveille-join-me-at-the-table

reveille-fridgeprint-a-reveillereveille-countercarlos-at-reveille

Carlos-who first introduced me to the Castro branch

Working in the company of thoughtful furnishings, coffee, food, music, and people, more often than not helps contribute to the birth of more thoughtful work. If San Francisco is the city of love, the Castro is the city’s centre of love, and this cafe is perhaps at the center of it all.

P.S. On the note of love, a thoughtful poem sent to me by my sister, Laxa, for all hopeful romantics and cafe book readers:

 

hope poem

dog-reveille