Zuma Beach

Zuma Beach
Zuma Beach in Malibu, CA

Saturday, August 29, 2015

An act of hate

As I was thinking of this post, and of acts of hate, I realized that based on the title I could have an entire list of acts of hate just from the past week.

It seems that hate is embedded in our culture.

It's so easy to be kind to others. Yet some find that difficult, foreign and even unnecessary.

One night this week a friend was on her way home after a celebration. She stopped to get some groceries and was attacked, assaulted and spit on by a man who did not like trans women. I found out soon after the attack and have not been able to stop thinking of her since.

This happened in Glendale, CA, about 20 minutes from where we live.

I have been where she is. I can hide. I can make the decision, for safety reasons, to stop holding Mike's hand.

Imagine having to be afraid to go the store. Imagine having to live in a world where at any second some hate-filled creature could come  out of nowhere and attack you.

In this country, nineteen trans women of color have been murdered this year. I am grateful my friend wasn't number 20.

For those of us who are filled with love and kindness, for those of us who work for liberation for all people and for animals, for those of us who work tirelessly to make this world a better and safer place for all living beings, we must speak out against hate and violence.

We must make acts of hate so unacceptable that the cowards who perpetuate violence are stopped.

We have the power.

Thanks for reading.




Saturday, August 22, 2015

Living in Los Angeles

Seven weeks.

It's hard to believe that we are already living here, already settled in, and already working our new jobs.

We had the dream, we took the risk, and we are loving it.

I remember telling people we were moving from Colorado to Los Angeles and getting the look. The look like "are you crazy?". Then all of the negative comments about how terrible traffic is in LA, how crowded it it, etc.

The traffic is definitely terrible and it sure is crowded. It doesn't take long to learn to deal with that, and even embrace it at least in regards to it being crowded. 

There is so much that we already love: the diversity, the people, the closeness to the beach, the urban and mountain beauty, the food, the markets, etc. Almost every day there is something else to add to the list.

If you are vegan and a foodie, LA is one of the most incredible cities ever. Wherever I am for a work appointment, I can plug the word "vegan" into Yelp and find so many options for a meal it's crazy. And I mean good vegan options. The other day I wanted to take one of my team out for lunch and found a place called Un Solo Sol, a local Mexican place. Oh my. Delicious food and gracious hospitality. Review to come for sure. This is just one example.

As I was sitting in traffic last night on the way home from work, I looked up at the palm trees and smiled.

We live here.

Thanks for reading.




Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Let's just attack each other.

A lion was stalked and killed.

A trans woman was beaten to death.

A four year old boy was killed by a stray bullet.

Supporters of #BlackLivesMatter met in Cleveland to discuss strategy.

These are the news items I paid particular attention to in the last week or so. Not in any particular order.

The story that hit me the hardest was a couple of weeks ago, and that is the story of Sandra Bland being pulled over in Texas for not using a turn signal. She was jailed and died in her cell three days later. She had been unable to pay the $5,000 bond to get out of jail. For not using a turn signal (and for what I think, knowing her rights).

Each of these news items touched off debate, conversation, and unfortunately, judgment.

Before I could get to my second coffee, people in different groups were attacking others for not seeing things as they see things, not taking the correct kind of action, or condemning people who could not possibly help or relate.

Oh my.

My activism is not neatly boxed into one issue. I give a shit about many issues and I try to use my voice to make the world a better place for all living beings. I have been a fighter of injustice since I was a kid.

Yes, a white gay guy living in privilege who gives a shit about others, and I'm not alone. I'm not into fighting and being told I don't belong. There are definitely discussions I stay out of when I think it's not my place, but there are so many issues where my voice can be powerful. I don't write that just because I think my voice is stronger than yours. I write it because I believe everyone's voice can be powerful.

When we use it.

I Periscoped earlier this week with the title "Talking about Sandra Bland" and most folks were not interested, a couple had no idea who she is is, and one said it was funny seeing someone living in white privilege talking about Sandra Bland. Yep.

It is so easy for activists, or humans, to attack other activists rather than asking questions, having a conversation or opening one's mind to learn something about an issue that is equally as powerful as yours, but one you might not know much about.

But it's not impossible.

Thanks for reading.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Crappy vegan food is bad for veganism

I have always loved this line. I heard it when in a session at Vida Vegan Con II in Portland, Oregon two years ago. I was in a session to learn about writing restaurant reviews given by Grant Butler, a columnist with The Oregonian.

It has stayed with me ever since and I consider it every time I write a restaurant review.

I have thought of it a lot since moving to the Los Angeles area while we experience so many new vegan opportunities. Having been to LA many times, we've known that this is a vegan food mecca. Living here is different, as new experiences pop up almost every day.

There have been some eating experiences that have blown us away, where we find us like at each other going "oh my goodness!".

And then there have been experiences that were not so mind blowing. 

On the top of my list was a dessert Mike and I saw. We both instantly drooled. Anticipation was very high as the server brought it to our table. Then utter disappointment. It was dry and not very tasty.

We have had several moments like this. We read reviews, we get excited, we drive way out of our way to try a restaurant and then we are presented with food that is average, and in some cases not good on any level.

How can this change? I'm starting with this post. At the restaurant where the dessert was a huge disappointment, I took the server aside and gave very honest feedback. I wouldn't do a restaurant review based on just one experience.

I think it is vastly important that we let restaurants know when their food is sub-par. Of course food is very personal, but if you get something that is totally off base, let the folks know.

I think about someone who wants to try a vegan meal and gets crappy food, and how that affects not only veganism but the animals as well.

Thanks for reading!