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I got this from Pioneers Press a while back. I don’t know if it’s still in their catalogue. I’m thinking about putting it up in our bookstore, even though there really isn’t a spare wall to hang it. In doing this, I acknowledge it’ll likely be snuck away by some one at some point during the summer. Our town, having lakes on both the northern and southern ends, framed east and west by rolling vineyards, fills up with all sorts of sneaky sun seeking scoundrels. It felt good to take the time to type it out and mull the sentiment around in my head:

‘Our foreign policy is a fetid glop of belligerent macho and corporate opportunism. Our economic policy is an open giveaway to the same smooth talking carpetbaggers who looted our lands, stripped our industrial legacy, and abandoned our kids. And nothing more than “discretionary” White House policy is left to protect us from a full on police state.

Well then, so be it.

We are walking out. We can sew our own clothes, grow our own food, teach our own kids, make our own music, and even build our own supercomputers however and whenever we feel like it.

Between us we know bike repair and cooking and programming and writing and singing and particle physics and we’re teaching it to each other.

We are building alternatives to all of your plastic crap. Every last bit.

Consider the reworked clothes and piercings and purple hair. You’ve gotten so used to seeing it all, you’ve forgotten that it ever means anything.

It does. It means Screw Your Norms And Your Assumptions. I Do As I Choose.

It was “social misfits” like us who invented modern computers, media, cuisine, and a hell of a lot more and we’ve figured out that we don’t have to play your game.

And now we’re spreading the word.

Greens fuel cars with used grease and construction workers run their tools with solar panels. Yuppie lawyers are moving into intentional communities while suburban housewives buy organic food. People are starting to get it.

So go ahead. Build your Maginot line of  shitty jobs, inflated gas prices, controlled schools and mass media. Throw America in that briar patch.

Where can we live? In strawbale houses and abandoned buildings and big group houses in neighborhoods you don’t even see.

What can we eat? Stuff we grow on rooftops, in backyards, in planters, made of milk crates lined with one dollar shower curtains and wherever else we see wasted space. Along with, of course, stuff from our food coops and your dumpsters.

What can we wear? Your castoffs, stuff we swap among us, stuff we sew and cut down and spiff up and rework a hundred different ways.

How can we spread our knowledge? With skill shares and zines and open source software and music and websites and stuff like this poster. We’re homeschooling our kids and doing teach-ins and creating copyleft educational materials and buying used textbooks for ten cent on the dollar.

What can we do for money? We get by with less, barter between us, sell what we can make, and sell our services to the folks we respect.

How can we get around? By bikes everywhere, by mass transit when we can, with biodiesel care where we must. With skateboards and scooters and plain ol’ walkin’. Long distance? Ride shares, Green Tortoise, and converted panel vans.

What do we do for fun? Music and parties and bands with our friends in them and art and feasts that we’ve made and sex, drugs, and rock and roll we’ve had all along. And no television at all.

And we will live happy and laugh last.’

-Rustin H. Wright, 2006

 

 

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img_20170220_111327First off, I do my best to not support Microcosm Press. I won’t get too much into it here but you can search Microcosm lawsuit and a lot of articles should come up. I also read Alexx Wrek’s Brain Scan zine series, the later issues exploring her break up with Microcosm’s Joe Biel as a partner/business partner and I empathize with her experience. It is the biggest zine publisher and distro going. I came so close to ordering the new Morrissey and Nick Cave vegan cook books but halted when I saw who had published them. Too bad.

I preface this by the fact that my most adored cook book also happens to be published by Microcosm. Many years ago I found Please Don’t Feed the Bears on the bottom shelf at Herbivore. I didn’t notice the iconic bike gear heart emblem on the back and it wasn’t until the lawsuit against Pioneers Press that Joe Biel’s shady history even came on my radar. When I first got the book I showed it to my brother just to say ‘Look at this guy’s impeccable music taste!’ He asked to borrow it and ages passed till I more or less stole it back from him. I pulled it off his shelf, flipped it over and groaned. I clammed up ever recommending it or mentioning it during Vegan MoFo. I didn’t want to draw attention to supporting that publisher. Today I’m going to separate the book from the dealer and appreciate it for what it is: My favorite vegan cook book.

 

img_20170220_111344A send up to French Canadian thrash band Voivod and guitarist Denis D’Amour – RIP Piggy. One flip through and you’ll recognize the homage to the Hippycore Krew’s Soy Not Oi! Bjorn compiles recipes from friends, suggests an album for each recipe, intersperses drawings, quotes, stories; there’s even a Carcass interview. It’s like Soy Not Oi but for metal head horror fans, which in my opinion, makes it far superior to the iconic vegan punk zine.

img_20170220_111259He supports rad-ical organizations and says he donates his author proceeds to benefit people living with AIDS. He also claims the zine as anti-copyright and says do what you will with it. I could scan the whole cook book and put it up here. If I had that much time and patience I would cause I love it all. Instead I picked a hand full of pages dictated by drawings rather than recipes and knowing me, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

img_20170220_110832GROO the WANDERER!!! As kids, my brother was a huge Groo fan. He had the comics and a big poster on our bedroom wall. We loved Conan but also Sergio Aragones epic parody comic.

img_20170220_110857Necrofago – Sao Paulo, Brazilian death metal pairing for one recipe. Ildjarn – Norwegian ambient black metal for the next.

img_20170220_111220 Quote from Howard Phillips Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu and a sketch of Danish singer Kim Bendix Petersen aka King Diamond aka the soundtrack (and reading material) to my early 2000 free wheeling van living northern Rocky Mountain snowboard touring days.

img_20170220_110913For Maud, who I know has this tattoo somewhere on her body.

img_20170220_111118Lori Bravo (!) lead vocalist of Nuclear Death and one of my favorite female death metal vocalist next to thrash singer Sabina Classen of Holy Moses.

img_20170220_111238There are sloths, badgers, otters and skunks, numerous awesome animal drawings throughout but my biases claim this Wolf being tossed a fully loaded sandwich as the winner. The recipes are simple and laid back. I like that. I do enjoy an ingredient and labor intensive recipe every now and then but on the day to day I’d rather have the extra time and money to put towards other things, like donating to the same organizations he does.

img_20170221_121655Earlier in the week my sister’s pit bull Ronin, came over to hang out for the day. I baked him the Dog Biscuits Deluxe. I used my bear shaped cookie cutter. I swapped out blue corn meal cause my yellow smelled off and I tossed it, coconut oil instead of margarine and arrowroot flour as the egg re-placer. Ronin liked them and gingerly accepted each cookie.

I did a pretty basic search to see if I could acquire the three original zines that built this book and found out: A) I couldn’t find any of the zines for purchase or trade but I’m not all that savvy (as in lazy) when it comes to digging around the internet B) Kittee Berns has all three and posted about them back in 2011 because Kittee always knows what’s up! C) He goes by the names Asbjorn Intonsus, Brad Misanthropic and Brad Dumville D) He said he made a lot of cuts and adds for the book that, he thought, made it better than the zines.

My feels on Microcosm are not hot but this book rules. If you love metal and easy vegan recipes find it used (I did at Bound in San Fransisco last spring but decided not to spend the rest of my change on a second copy) and pick it up.

img_20160709_180857Lunch or dinner bell on the porch rings, a cowboy classic forged two foot triangle. Everyone breaks; rehearsal, music, carp & props shop, wardrobe, LX, office, guests. Line up, wash your hands, grab a plate/bowl/mug. Camp cook style circle the island, serve yourself. The vegan option tucked off to the side at the end of the line or else everyone else will help themselves to it before the vegan gets there. That is to say, I am pretty consistently the only vegan on the farm. Sometimes there’s a  handful of vegetarians; who say they also eat eggs or they eat fish and my inside voice goes ‘wtf?’ but I barely voice my opinion on it.

The theatre company I’ve worked for, for a long time is an isolated 80 acre farm way up a mountain outside a small community. Some people live locally and commute but the majority of us travel from all over the country for a one to two month contract in the summer, winter; sometimes spring/fall. There was once a time I was here more than I was at home. Part of the contact is a provision for housing (a cabin or tent spot on the farm) and meals. The two cooks prepare lunch and dinner, do their best to accommodate everyone’s dietary needs.

img_20160709_172110Lucky for me they’re two very close friends of mine. Cooking vegan comes second nature to Kate who spent time in the late 90’s working with Food Not Bombs Montreal. Jason enjoys the challenge flavoring tofu, bbqing portobellos and mastering the vegan pancake which he never seemed satisfied with until I told him about aquafaba; this past summer he proclaimed bean juice made his best vegan pancakes. I agree. I’m also gluten free. I’m not hard to please but not easy to feed.

Left to my own devises I’m the laziest cook – over night oats, chopped raw veggies and cold tofu splashed with apple cider vinegar and Braggs. I don’t think I’ve ever made dressing – shaking a jar? Too much work! I spend more time on pour over coffee than I do dinner. I have tons of cook books. I love following vegan food blogs, reading and sharing recipes, talking about food with other vegans. I use to cook a lot and I dig a project, especially baking but increasingly these days I only have time for quick simple fuel. These two, however, are pros. They think about flavors and meal planning all day long. They’re meticulous and fussy and critical of their own work. They’re artists the way they work in the kitchen.

img_20160705_182638 After all these years this is the only meal I have ever managed to photograph. I took it to send to Darby to say ‘Damn, you’d like this!’ I always mean to keep a log of their meals but I’ll have eaten half of it by the time I remember. This is sweet chili tofu & mushrooms with roasted cauliflower, green onions and kale salad buried beneath. It’s one of the best bowls I’ve eaten in the mudroom. Every Sunday is taco night and I constantly tell Jason if he did it every night I’d be happy. I skip the taco and just fill a bowl with his cumin spiced beans, roasted lime sweet potato cubes, fresh salsa & guacamole and Kate’s pickled red onions. It’s so good. It’s my absolutely favorite kind of meal.

img_20161228_130107Buddy checking out the gluten free vegan strawberry coconut cake Jason is eating, that he made for my birthday. Me: looking like I haven’t showered or slept in a few days. Accurate.

The mudroom is off the kitchen. Most of the company eats in the main room or outside on picnic tables. Over the years I’ve grown tired of sitting with everyone else eating animals and commenting on how much they enjoy being carnivores. I don’t believe they’re intentionally pointing it out to me, though some have made a joke about what I’m ‘missing’ and again I don’t voice my opinion. If they want it, I’ll oblige but I’ve fallen into the trap of saying what I really think and casting a gloom over the gathering. I choose the path of gentle guidance. With the internet and growing awareness of animal cruelty people can find any number of resource if they’re curious and I’m more than happy to suggest documentaries, websites or books. In fact I might get a little over enthusiastic when asked. I just try my best to lead by example and show that vegans thrive. In the mudroom, I sit with a small crew of my favorite people. They respect my veganism, even though none of them, the cooks included, choose this lifestyle they’ll often will say the vegan option I’m eating is better than the non vegan option.

img_20161217_115555Plus, dogs were banned from the main room during meal times (wtf?) but we mischief-makers in the mudroom said: Fuck that rule, dogs are welcome!

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It doesn’t feel right to use pictures of Luka as my muse anymore. My tone is going to shift and wander so in the spirit of moving forward I’m digging through my draft folder, ideally looking for something that will make me laugh. My mode in this current climate generally alternates between sad or blisteringly angry.

A rare picture of me, with filthy scarred legs because I’m at the farm. My family and friends know they have to be quick and they have to be sneaky regarding photos of me. Given the opportunity I will step out of the frame, look away or cover my face. Alex caught me off guard. What is funny about this picture is not that I am smiling while the dearly beloveds on either side of me are looking away, or on with faint disgust. It’s what you can’t see that has caught my fancy and captures my essence.

It was cabaret night at the outdoor theatre I’ve been working for for nearly 15 years. Cabaret night is an in-house party where anything goes. We celebrate the Fool. Someone in the company volunteers to MC. There are skits and music and rituals; dressing in drag is part of the tradition, and heartily embraced by local cowboys. A regular act performed by our resident 76 year old qween involves him screaming at us, his rapt audience, as he invariably strips nude while showering the crowd with beads, all purpose flour and shaving cream. It is as equally transgressive as it is poignant.

An introvert and a stage manager, I opt out of performing. I take my station in the shadows on one of the kitchen counters not far from the make shift stage set up in the cook shack; our multi-use gathering place and kitchen where we hang out and eat together. From this vantage point I feel safe with my back to a wall, a close exit through the mud room if I feel panic; also I know at some point shit is going to get thrown at everyone and this is far enough away from the firing line. Individuals can come and converse, or just sit with me and observe rather than mingling through the scene. Even among a crowd of friends, I just don’t fair well in these situations. Advice my brother gave me years ago on handling large gatherings was: Find the other introvert in the room and support each other.

My smile. There were two actresses on stage dressed in full chicken costumes wearing large diapers. One had a ukulele and the other a violin. I can’t remember the song they were singing. I think it was about the spot around the backside of the cookshack we call Cafe Poubelle. At sunset a group of us would sit there and relax after dinner, out of sight of the audience as they arrived for our summer show. It has a vista of the sloping pasture that rises into the forest on the neighbors property. It is also next to the compost so depending on which way the breeze is blowing it can be pretty rotten, hence Cafe Trash Bin.

At the climax of the song the ukulele player pulled off the violin player’s diaper to reveal she’d laid chocolate eggs, except to their surprise the eggs had melted and smeared. Ever professional and for sake of not breaking the fourth wall, they proceeded to scrape the chocolate out of the diaper and eat it. My face confirms it was wonderfully played.

My smile. This picture reminds me that subversive transgression against the ever archaic and abhorrent status quo always appeals to me. Yesterday I was playing an interview with a Mexican-American horror writer who musing on the near future predicts we’re going to see a revival in horror, punk and metal. As a life long fan of these genres that observation, listened to through my iPod, made me happy to consider as I trudged and squinted my way home through a blizzard but the fascist root cause of this necessary revival makes me rile deeply with dread.

Humph… it seems impossible to keep my thoughts inherently ebullient. Maybe next time I’ll talk about my experience being the only vegan in the theatres village, that sounds like fun doesn’t it? Find and support one another. Head up, heart open. Peace.

lukaTwo weeks after my last post my best friend, Luka, passed off this temporal plane. Seven months later, I can’t even start this sentence without breaking down into sobs. Grimacing, heaving, saliva lap soaking, sobs. I can’t look at pictures of her without crying so I left this blog alone as she was, well, what it was all about. A vegan wolf. My shadow. Still, I figure it’s got to be cathartic to write about it. I do need to give some sort of closure to this space because I’d sure as hell like to not be a wreck right now while trying to type this. I’d like to stop waking up in tears. I’d like to stop sitting and staring blankly at the ground, waiting like she’s going to come back. I want to get to a place of peace with her being gone. Maybe it taps into deeper fears of death I didn’t realize I had. I’ve never been this torn up over loss. We have her ashes. I haven’t been able to pick it up and look at the box she is in. We plan to spread them in the forest up the mountain where we can return and visit her.

We adopted her six years ago on Valentines Day from the SPCA, the day wasn’t significant just a coincidence but it was a metaphor for everything she gave our lives and anyone that knew her. She was seven years old and only had one person before us. They don’t give out much information at the shelter but said she was given up because the previous person had to move and couldn’t take her. She had been in the kennel for a month even though she was a well adjusted dog, she was considered a senior and most people want younger dogs. She was also large, tall and intimidating looking but when we put a leash on her to take her for a trial walk there was no doubt in our minds we were adopting her. The name she had then was ‘Lucky’ and I couldn’t abide by that. I suggested ‘Luka’ like Luca Turilli, the Italian power metal guitarist and within a week the name stuck. We celebrated her birthday as the day we adopted her so this coming Valentines Day it would make sense to spread her ashes.

IMG_2108This picture was my screen saver for years. She loved the water and loved catching sticks.

Even though it’s common for dogs her size to only live up to twelve, we still hoped she’d be one of those 17 year old dogs. She’d stopped being able to jump or use stairs. Her hearing had gone and her sight was fading. X-rays showed that much of her spinal column had calcified and fused which explained her difficulty getting up after she’d been lying down. It was evident she needed to leave her body but god damn it, I didn’t want her to. It’s incredible how much I wanted to hold on. I guess it’s that tension still inside of me slowly unraveling. I’ve found it much easier to lose myself in work, or running & biking, or reading than actually take the time I need to face my grief. Most of all, I completely quit writing, subconsciously knowing it would snag this tightly woven part of me I’ve been trying to ignore.

I’d like to start tracing my thoughts and pictures here again. It saves friends from getting my epic long emails or letters when I can just direct them here to keep in touch without feeling the pressure of responding in kind. I’m sure I’ll talk about Luka more at other times but for right now I feel a little better crossing this bridge.

R.I.P Luka Dog, you were the best they make.

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