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 Post subject: notes from the underground
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 12:24 pm 
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Gorilla
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I really enjoy this section of the forum, so I thought I'd finally post my own ramblings. Follow the links to the blog section on my website for a few recent musings...

http://www.veganunderground.com/debrief.html

From Fri. Nov 24th:
un ban on bottom trawling?
___

Nope.

Thanks to opposition to the UN-sanctioned moratorium on bottom trawling from Iceland and Canada, their efforts have failed. There will be no ban on one of the most destructive commercial fishing methods used today. The moratorium would have affected international waters, where bottom trawling fleets operate.

Canada’s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Loyola Hearn has been an outspoken opponent of the moratorium since its inception, saying that it would be unenforceable.

Canadian fish companies have opposed the moratorium because they’re worried they’d face similar restrictions inside their 200-mile economic exclusion zones. The Canadian fishing industry employs bottom trawling on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Loyola Hearn is just another commercial fishing-lobby puppet. He effuses rhetoric at every public opportunity, saying things like, “We have the opportunity now collectively to clean up what’s been going on in the oceans for a number of years.” But nothing will change. He just helped quash a major opportunity to clean up fishing practices. He’s acting in the interests of the factory fishing corps that line his pockets. Remember, this man also vigorously supports the Canadian seal hunt, which employs out-of-work-due-to-collapsed-fisheries fishermen. He places the blame for the demise of the cod fishery on the harp seal. Visit this site for more about the seal hunt.

So what is being done? The countries involved in the talks agreed to more closely monitor their own fishing fleets and “restrict activities found to be damaging sensitive marine areas.” I am sure they won’t “find” that bottom trawling is damaging, because that wouldn’t be in their best interests. For the fishing industry, bottom trawling is only about bottom line, not sustainability.

Jennifer Lash, executive director of Living Oceans Society, said in reaction, “Canada didn’t kill the deal, but they were definitely an accomplice... You’ve got the worst offenders now monitoring their own ships. Where is the incentive for them to change?”

This is why the failed ban is such a blow to ocean conservation. If it had been imposed in international waters, the spotlight would have next shone on regional fisheries, like those in Canada. This would have pressured the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans to impose more sustainable fishing practices on the multinational fishing corporations that rape and pillage our waters. The same process would hopefully have occurred in other fishing nations. Thiswon’t happen now. These corporations have successfully defended their balance sheets once again.

The failure of the ban has nothing to do with enforceability. That’s just bullshit made to sound like political tough-talk. Whether the UN can actually enforce the ban is not as important as taking a step in the right direction. The member nations could have banded together, stood as nations rather than corporate shelters and done something to save the imploding ocean ecosystems. It is shameful that Canada played such a big part in this, although business as usual for the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans. They’re not known as “the mafia” for nothing afterall.

posted by veganunderground # 4:30 PM

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Last edited by Trev on Thu Dec 14, 2006 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 1:16 pm 
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In your avatar, is the tofurky being held in your hands, or has it replaced your head?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 1:18 pm 
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:lol:

Richard wrote:
In your avatar, is the tofurky being held in your hands, or has it replaced your head?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 2:48 pm 
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Gorilla
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No, Richard I'm holding it! It's just intentionally bad photoshopping. Altho, I keep going to the freezer and looking at it, so maybe it is replacing my head! :shock:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2006 3:35 pm 
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Gorilla
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From tuesday, Nov. 28th:
vancouver aquarium to help conservation by telling people which fish to eat... what?
___

In addition to a controversial expansion, the Vancouver Aquarium has developed a program to help consumers make “environmentally friendly seafood choices” . It’s called Ocean Wise and participating restaurants must clean up their fishy menus by removing one unsustainable fish dish at a time. Does this seem appropriate for an aquarium? I guess it does, given that the Vancouver Aquarium is an entertainment venue with captive whales.

A similar program, SeaChoice, has a searchable database and handy, wallet-sized cards that highlight which species on which to dine. Trouble is, fish stores, supermarkets and even restaurants are unlikely to have a clue how their fish was caught.

On the surface these “awareness” programs might seem good. Helps siphon support away from factory fishing, right? Wrong. These are just handy, wallet-sized ways for fish eaters to assuage their guilt and keep happily consuming. They’re likely to quickly forget their plasticized convictions in the name of convenience, or price. It boils down to another marketing gimmick to keep the fish industry above water. Whether it’s hook-and-line or drift net, a fish is still killed so the fish-eater can satisfy their own selfish desires.

posted by veganunderground # 8:50 PM

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 1:56 am 
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Gorilla
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yule blog
___

That’s an appropriately ugly name for what is, for vegans, a potentially ugly holiday. Yule blog. Sounds like something from the Kingdom of Gozer, Zuul’s sinister little brother.

Enter the Tofurky.

The Key Master and Gate Keeper to a merry christmas, with or without the cheer. While preparing the Tofurky, which resembles a bomb more than a fake bird, I had visions of Rick Moranis hosting a vegan christmas party...

LOUIS (played by Moranis)
That's Tofurky. The real thing. It costs
$24.95 but really $12.48, just not at Whole
Foods. I'm writing this whole party off as a
promotional expense for vegan_accounting.com.
That's why I invited clients instead of friends.
Try the yam fries, they’re dynamite at room
temperature. Maybe I should turn the heat
up a bit ...

A VEGAN WOMAN wearing a “do it raw” button moves up to Louis.

WOMAN #2
C'mon Louis, maybe if we eat some
of the fruit other people will start.

They start to devour melon balls.

The doorbell rings. Louis bolts for the door hoping it's John Robbins. It's another couple. Louis escorts them in and takes their coats.

LOUIS
Everybody, this is Ted and Annette Fleming.
Ted has a dairy allergy, and Annette is writing a
hemp cookbook using a deferred bonus from two years
ago and the house has $15,000 left at eight
percent.

He goes to the bedroom door with their coats and opens it.

INT. BEDROOM -- NIGHT

On the bed, standing up on all four legs, is a bristling, panting, live meat-eater. Too preoccupied to notice it, Louis reflexively tosses the coats onto the bed. They both land on the meat eater's head.

INT. LIVING ROOM -- NIGHT

Louis comes out of the bedroom and closes the door. Then from within there issues forth a tremendous roar that rattles the christmas tree.

LOUIS
Okay. Who brought the dog?


Despite the potential for humour and ridicule, we enjoyed our Tofurky totally unquestioned. We had roasted it at home and brought it to our conventional-food-eating relatives’ house. Once carved into slices, it actually resembled turkey and stuffing. With the help of a crantini or three it could probably go a few bites unnoticed by the unsuspecting carnivore. But it was far too precious to waste on silly pranks.

This was our little christmas miracle – a real dinner. It went well with a glass of wine, and a side of mashed maple yams. More importantly, it included us in the family tradition, guilt-free. Yes, the rest of the family ate a turkey body, bird carcass, carrion, however you want to think of it. Neither of us enjoyed seeing it on the table. It was actually quite a weird feeling to see it, and think that just one year ago, we’d have eaten it. Yech!

But this was not a battlefield. This was not a forum for espousing the virtues of veganism, or for picketing the christmas table. We were thankful for our own convictions, and reminded ourselves that patience and being healthy examples of human beings were the best way to deal with holidays. We just politely averted our eyes and got down to what christmas gatherings are really for – drinking, er, visiting!

posted by veganunderground # 10:37 PM

who ya gonna call? :wink:

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 5:32 pm 
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Gorilla
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Location: North Vancouver, BC
Holidays are almost over... Ate not too badly, all things considered, but my body is less and less forgiving of cooked food. The last restaurant meal I had nearly turned my stomach inside out. I managed to train a fair bit. The kickboxing gym was closed a lot, but I trained at home. I'm up to 80 good push-ups consecutively now on most days. I'm going to start doing more difficult variations. I'm doing lots more ab and core excercises, because I don't wanna get my ribs broken again. I'll hopefully be sparring full contact again soon. I've been hitting the heavy bag a lot and I feel pretty good. Went for a 1.5 mile run this morning over rough terrain (not a big distance, I know, but I haven't run in 3 months and I worked out heavy yesterday). Still I felt I could've gone a bit farther. Next week will be very intensive for training as I'm back to work on Thursday. I'm going to have to try pretty hard to get enough excercise in over the next 5 months. The show I'm doing (Whistler, the series, season 2) isn't too physically demanding, but I do work 14 hours a day minimum. I'll have to work out at lunch - which won't be too hard on studio days. My weekends are going to be spent entirely at the gym. On top of this, I have to be working on my real career and get my books finished. If I'm not on the forum much over the next few months, you know why. 8)

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 6:15 pm 
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I'll eat your share of cooked food then. ;)

I hope your training is going well then.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 3:35 pm 
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Gorilla
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I forgot to post this blog from my website, so it's a little past its best-before date...

those were not the salad days afterall
___

Every so often I get something in the mail, or hear from an old aquaintance, that reminds me just how sweeping all the changes I’ve made in my life over the last 9 months have been. I guess I’m too busy, or just haven’t noticed all of them. Today, I got two reminders – a call from an old aquaintance and a magazine in the mail.

The call was not terribly significant, just somebody I haven’t worked with, or talked to, since before I went all vegan/buddhist/enivro/activist. He accused me of avoiding him. I guess I did fail to return some calls. I tried to tell him why, but I just couldn’t say it succinctly enough to be appropriate for a hurried, static-y cel phone call. No matter, I’ll be able to tell him in person soon enough. Better start working on the speech.

The magazine I received was the publication of the Performance Drivers Club, of which I am still, but not for long, a member. It’s the last magazine I’ll get from them because my membership runs out on December 31st. I won’t be renewing.

I flipped through the magazine, glanced at the articles, gazed half-heartedly at all the exotic cars that had shown up at the last few track days. I couldn’t force myself to read the articles, and I wasn’t drooling over the Elises and Caymans. What was wrong with me? I closed the magazine, knowing that I was closing the book forever on that chapter of my life. Then I picked up a local recycling guide to read about what my municipality was doing about its garbage.

A little personal history is required, I suppose. I was a “car guy”. I had been for a long time. I haven’t owned many nice, or fast cars. I’ve driven lots of them. Fast. Before and during university, I was a valet in a few different major hotels, which shall not be identified here, and I fashioned myself a bit of an automotive journalist-in-training. Okay, and a racing driver-in-training too. I drove many an exotic, and everything else too. My love of cars began much earlier than that though. My dad was a muscle car and hot rod hobbyist when I was growing up and we had a few classic cars. I almost went to the Jim Russell School of Racing instead of university. I was wisely discouraged by my parents and grandfather. I was also a Formula 1 and MotoGP fan from the age of ten. All my heroes were racecar drivers or Kevin Schwantz (moto GP multi-world champion). Actually, there was one childhood hero of mine who wasn’t a motorsports god and that was Captain Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd, but I’ll get back to that.

After I finished school, got married and embarked on my first career, I had a few sporty cars which culminated, finally in a real sports car. I bought a 2002 Mazda Miata Sport Package with no heavy stuff like leather interior, A/C or fancy stereo. Black on black cloth, no ABS – just the good stuff: close ratio 6 speed, limited slip diff, Bilsteins, sport springs and bigger brakes. It was a fantastic sports car and it taught me a great deal about driving quickly.

Of course, before long I started modifying it. I think it was right after the pilgrimage to Laguna Seca for the Monterey Historics in 2002. I put lower, heavier springs in it, stiff adjustable shocks, an intake and exhaust, race wires, a 4 point roll bar, new lighter wheels and Falken Azenis RT615 tires (street-legal near-slicks). I belonged to a local Miata club and we embarked on many a spirited back road drive. I soon tired of driving quickly on the street. Spurred on by the increasing attention sports cars were getting because of street racing (something I never engaged in), I decided to “take it to the track”. I joined the Performance Drivers Club, and decided to see if I really had what it took to be quick, and to see what my fairly heavily modded, and not really street driveable car could do.

Turns out I was pretty fast. The car was quick too. My little Miata embarrassed a few Porsches and Skylines in its day. But were all the wasted high octane fuel, burnt rubber and scorched brake pads worth it? I had rationalized it and justified it, but all the while, tied up and duct taped in the back of my mind, the environmentalist in me, the one who idolized Paul Watson at the age of 8, was mmmmph-ing.

When I got back into martial arts, went vegan, and became a starter-Buddhist in the spring of this year, I ripped off the duct tape gag and 25 years worth of true feelings poured out. I renounced cable TV first, which was a big step, because I hadn’t missed an F1 race in a decade. And it was mid-season. In fact, we removed the TV from the living room entirely and replaced it with a smaller one in our office.

I denied the inevitable as long as I could, but winter was looming, and my wife needed a car to get to her new job. I meditated and it became clear. The Miata had to go. I resigned to the fact that we’d fallen out of love, and that it was too much of a burden on my conscience. I traded it in... on a 2006 smart fortwo CDI, which now zips back and forth to the non-profit where my wife works, rain, shine or snow.

How could I, an active member of several online car communities, and a staunch supporter of sportscardom, trade a real car for half a car, with less than a third the horsepower?

Because the smart gets nearly three times the fuel mileage, takes up half the space on the road and makes a hundred times more of a statement.

There is a lot about the smart fortwo that makes sense for us now. It is probably the most environmentally friendly car on the road, from its manufacturing process to its fuel economy to its low emissions. Next to becoming vegan, this was the best thing we could do to reduce our ecological footprint.

And you know, it’s not so bad. I’m not known by my work associates as a “car guy” anymore. I don’t have to scrimp and save for, then justify, the new turbo, or the track-only brake pads. I have a car with tires that’ll last more than one year. I’ve hung up my helmet and nomex gloves and I feel good.

The veganunderground.com patrol car is a black smart fortwo. You may have seen it during the Vegan Roadtrip 2006 in Seattle, Portland or San Francisco. It can often be spotted zipping around the greater Vancouver area, burning very little fuel and changing many minds.

posted by veganunderground # 5:49 PM

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:09 am 
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Gorilla
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Location: "...is there balm in Gilead?"
Nice entry :)

Trev wrote:
... and I wasn’t drooling over the Elises and Caymans. What was wrong with me?


It's called, growing up :D

Can't post on your blog, why not? Did you change it? Or was it always like that? I could have sworn I commented there...


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 12:16 pm 
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Gorilla
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Location: North Vancouver, BC
No, it's always been that way on my website. I guess since the blog is only one part of the site, I kept it closed. It's also kinda' why I've been posting the blogs here. I may change the blog page. It's not that I don't welcome comments.

My website's grown to the point where I need to create more pages and reorganize. Maybe I'll open the blog to outside posts then. In truth, I don't even like calling it a blog - it's more like opinion/interest articles than a log of my activities. It's just that blogs are popular and people are more likely to read them than "articles" or "essays". I will post reactionary emails I get thru the site - I've only had a few so far.

Anyway, thanks for reading, _raVen_! And thanks for checking out www.veganunderground.com - I'll try to keep the content coming! 8)

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