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There's a storm in my teacup!

Well, in my dollar store mug.

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Two Cents; Presents.
Mr. Harry Smalldawg Esquire
Someone sent me and Jamie V For Vendetta; it arrived in our mailbox today. I'm presuming someone left a comment saying that they'd do this, but I've not been getting any messages. Either way, Jamie and I are surprised and thankful someone did something like this for us.

And best of all, they ordered this film from a store in Seattle. What better way of finding stores with cheap merchandise, than someone ordering stuff for us from there initially?

However, financially, we miscalculated on how low our finances were going to be. Checks hadn't cleared at the time we expected them to, so we suddenly lost a lot of money we thought was already paid off. So: no more going out to bars or extravagant meals for quite a while. Alas, not even any more 24 for a little while. Still, that's life.

I've been using spare time reading about card games from many centuries ago. For example: Piquet is a game Napoleon used to play. Yesterday, I was trying to work out the structure of the game and how to play it well, while Jamie was reading a chapter on the condition chickens can live in, from a book called Diet For A New America, by Tim Robbins.

The easiest way to imagine how animals are treated is to replace them with a more human form - so envisage something like this:

For one day you have been stuck in a large crowded elevator.
The elevator is crowded enough that unless you bustle a little your limbs are pressed in uncomfortable positions. You cannot turn around.
The floor is slightly slanted so everyone in the elevator is pushed together even tighter.
When food and water arrives, exactly enough to survive on is provided, but is not being rationed amongst people - everyone will have to fight for their nutrition. This nutrition has arsenic in it, but the alternative is starving to death.
There has been a blindingly bright light shining above you for 23 of those hours. It is driving everyone crazy.
People around you have been suffering from claustrophobia from the first second the elevator got stuck, and are screaming wildly and are trying to flail around to get some room to breathe - the screaming is also driving everyone crazy.
Some people are becoming cannibalistic just to get some extra food and room. But because of a lack of space, they can only use their teeth to bite other people to death.
If you are involved in a fight, you may get plucked out of the elevator, your teeth will be pulled out with pliers to ensure you don't bite anyone and you'll be placed back into the elevator. This may hinder your ability to eat or drink, in which case you may starve to death, or may get killed by one of the cannibals that still has teeth.

For some reason, by the time Jamie finished the chapter on these battery hens, I lost concentration on how to play the card game. Sensationalistic as it may be, it's certainly an image that doesn't seem to settle well in my mind. The chapter Jamie will read tonight will be about pigs.

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Australia's pretty good with farming, as far as I know. We have very strict animal laws here and the farmers tend to have good relationships with their animals (not in that way, hopefully). Plus... free range meat tastes better :)

I've been pleasantly surprised by the range and tastes of the vegetarian 'meats' I've been trying out. With a few exceptions, the taste of these foods is similar or better than higher-quality meats, and without that feeling of heavy bloatedness you can get when you eat enough meat to fill you.

The only issue you sometimes get is that the texture is a little different (vegetarian 'meats' taste more dry) which is possibly because there are no animal fats in the food; that greasiness that comes out of a hamburger is what makes it more moist than the veggie burger made of soy protein, I assume.

Veggie meat usually tastes a bit too processed for me. When I eat vegetarian food I like to stick to proper veg and tofu stuff without mock anything. I don't really see the point of eating pretend meat because I don't have that restriction in my diet, plus I love the taste of tofu as it is. I do understand that people switching to vegetarianism need that transition from meat to meat-flavoured tofu though, especially in the early stages. And well, some people just don't like tofu.

That said, Chinese veggie places offering mock meat around here tend to be pretty good :) There's a place up the road from my place that offers vegan burgers - they don't try to make the patty taste remotely like meat and I loved it.

I know certain textures freak me out, and tofu is one of those textures. (Mashed potatoes is the worst.) Maybe I can work on that, because I've not tried tofu in too many circumstances: maybe when it is marinated or cooked in a specific way it'll feel easier to chew on and have more flavour to it.

Jamie took me to some very good vegetarian/vegan restaurants in New York, but they were limited. In Seattle, they're a little easier to find. In Olympia, Washington State's capital city, there's a whole area full of wonderful vegan/vegetarian options. There's one store that makes me salivate just thinking of the sandwiches they make.

Lol, I've never met anyone who's freaked out by mashed potatoes :) There's a Malaysian/Chinese dish that I really like, it's tofu skin stuffed with crispy julienned veggies and chilli sauce. If the soft texture freaks you out the more chewy types of tofu (Chinese "firm" ones, usually fried and then used in braised dishes) will probably be a bit more palatable for you. Now I have a craving for tofu claypot... I think I'll avoid this thread until I get home from work :P

As soon as those hens can form a union to complain about their conditions, I'll listen to any concerns they may have.

Until then, I am going to eat them with gusto so that their valiant sacrifice shall not be in vain.

McDonald's workers have no unions. The closest a set of McDonald's workers got was in Canada, where they ran themselves against a plethora of McExecutives who tried to initially push them away from this idea, and then McLawyers who were ready to argue that the idea that these people deserved a union was ludicrous. McDonald's eventually accepted that these workers would not stop on their quest for decent working conditions, so closed this store under the notion that it was suddenly losing money.

So, if people can't get what they want against a big corporation, why do you feel animals would have any chance if they wanted to? Furthermore, why would animals want to form a union anyway? To do that suggests they enjoy their 'job' and are happy with their level of 'pay' - until they are 'permanently retired without benefits', of course.

To be fair, though, your second sentence echoes the opinion I tried to prescribe to many years ago, when I wanted to get away from the guilt. But the only way that their deaths could be considered a valiant sacrifice is to believe their lives truly were not worth living. The meat industry is the best industry at knowing how to cut corners, precisely because their 'machines' can be injected with enough hormones to ensure 'optimum efficiency' without lawsuits or unions.

I would argue that to ensure their lives are not in vain is to appreciate the animal and respect it and have a heavy conscience after eating their meat, knowing that every bite is part of a life, a soul, in the same way one might mourn the loss of a pet, but moreso because that pet only gave you companionship. We don't survive on companionship. We survive on nutrition.

Have you ever watched the documentary "The Corporation"? There is a chapter where they discuss Fox News' investigation into how cow milk becomes hormone-filled and pus-filled. Consider that this is what one company found on one aspect of how animals are treated. There are many more animals and animal by-products that are consumed, and why do we consider that this issue of cow milk is the worst we have to deal with?

As a counterpoint to myself though, for those who think I'm picking on you: the issue of food produced in a manner that should not be fit for human consumption does not just lie with meats and animal by-products. The whole food industry has ways of cutting corners. The pesticides on grains and vegetables, the flouride in water, all manner of crap ends up in what we eat that really shouldn't, but if it makes a company one cent for every item sold, it makes millions quickly enough.

Meats are the easiest scapegoat on this because the soy and vegetable-based alternatives are considered to have few negative side-effects compared to the issues diseased/undercooked meat produce (e.Coli and salmonella, etc).

Coming soon: breathable air in a can.

Now, read the comic.

Also, Watchmen.

Yeah, that was from me. I told the %$@*%! seller to include a note. Your housewarming gift. Hope you enjoyed it! *blush*

Thank you, we did enjoy it greatly. Generally, we don't watch so many DVDs here, but as soon as that arrived, I wanted to watch it, and we finally got to enjoy it in the evening.

Well then. My work here is done. : )

THANK YOU LAINEY! It is my new favorite film to date. It really touched me.

I'm so glad. It's my new favorite as well. I've watched it like four times and I get more meaning out of it each time. (I also cry every single time when Evey reads Violet's note that says "Please believe that I love you." Don't spread that around....) I'm forcing Tery to watch it the minute she gets home from vacation (we have completely opposite tastes in movies). Like I said in my journal, I think everyone on the planet should see this movie.

(aww shit. VALERIE'S note. I'm not fully awake yet.)

Rather cruelly I made my best friend Emily SWEAR to me on the phone last night that she would never watch the film for her first time until she came out here to visit and watched it with me. I am hoping it may get her out here quicker :)

I can be evil, you see. Actually, I generally am, nevermind.

And you looked at me like I was crazy when we had the initial conversation about me wanting the 2-disc version, despite my never having seen it before.

I knew you'd like it.

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