Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Strip of Stardom

I got featured in the Totally Not Vegan! comic strip. Wheeeeee!!!!!!!

I'm totally bowled over and flattered. I love it! xD

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


The following is a story found in Neil Gaiman's anthology, "Smoke and Mirrors." I was reminded of it when I was listening to VF Podcast #53, and the part on a baby dressed as a turkey...and before I go on and on, just read the piece already ;)

Babycakes by Neil Gaiman

A few years back all the animals went away.

We woke up one morning, and they just weren't there anymore.
They didn't leave us a note, or say good-bye. We never figured out quite where they'd gone.

We missed them.

Some of us thought that the world had ended, but it hadn't. There just weren't any more animals. No cats or rabbits, no dogs or whales, no fish in the seas, no bird in the skies.

We were all alone.

We didn't know what to do.

We wandered around lost, for a time, and then someone pointed out that just because we didn't have animals anymore, that was no reason to change our lives. No reason to change our diets or to cease testing products that might cause us harm.

After all, there were still babies.

Babies can't talk. They can hardly move. A baby is not a rational, thinking creature.

We made babies.

And we used them.

Some of them we ate. Baby flesh is tender and succulent.

We flayed their skin and decorated ourselves in it. Baby leather is soft and comfortable.

Some of them we tested.

We taped open their eyes, dripped detergents and shampoos in, a drop at a time.

We scarred them and scalded them. We burnt them. We clamped them and planted electrodes into their brains. We grafted, and we froze, and we irradiated.

The babies breathed our smoke, and the babies' veins flowed with our medicines and drugs, until they stopped breathing or until their blood ceased to flow.

It was hard, of course, but it was necessary.

No one could deny that.

With the animals gone, what else could we do?

Some people complained, of course. But then, they always do.

And everything went back to normal.


Yesterday, all the babies were gone.

We don't know where they went. We didn't even see them go.

We don't know what we're going to do without them.

But we'll think of something. Humans are smart. It's what makes us superior to the animals and the babies.

We'll figure something out.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Path Next Taken

Apart from hormones (it's no joke on the 1st day of the Crimson Eddy), I guess I reacted the way I did to my parents because I felt (rather irrationally) that they wanted me to give up my dreams. But as I reflected, that wasn't the case. Plus there are more than the "tried-and-true" jobs to earn a living (blue chip trading not included!)

A friend encouraged me to try bookshops, and I wanted to bop myself: why didn't I think of this before! So I tried that--as well as an inquiry into freelance writing. I also inquired on vegan baking courses, or similar courses, as long as they're animal product-free. Then Mom, who was cold to me the whole morning ('coz I withdrew from them and was stony in front of them and crying behind their backs--I'm just not comfortable with revealing my own emotions, confrontational-wise), when I told her that I'm trying for these jobs and looking for workshops/classes, she encouraged me, then told me, "You know, Ta, we're not telling you to give up your dream. We just want you to do something productive besides staying here all day!" She then said to look into writing workshops, or even art classes, as long as I learn something.

So here I am, still looking, but also still staying home. I guess I've just been too ensconced in my safe haven, in the secure and comfortable. But I can't do it forever, I know: I need to get out there sooner or later. And in doing so, I might find out that my dreams may change, as well--and it has to be a risk I'll take.

For now, though, it's to be a Holistic/Natural Vegan Chef and a Bikram yoga teacher. I've always ascribed to the alternative, organic lifestyle, preferring to heal naturally rather than chemically. One friend pointed out that the market for the above job aims may not be as high as say in the US. But I think it'll work out fine here. I believe in this natural ideology, and that already paves half of the way for success. Things I was told to look into: colloidal silver and bentonite clay and how to depilate short hair, darn it. But I digress.

Why be a Natural Chef? I believe that what we put in our bodies must be beneficial to us and not detrimental. In this light, I want to prepare food that is nutritious but also delicious, and entirely plant-based, a lesser cruelty to the earth and her inhabitants. In connection to this, I also believe fitness must be both of mind and body. I have only achieved this inner peace but self-awareness at the same time from yoga. Then in light of my desire to be certified in teaching Bikram yoga, my teacher F barked at me, "Yoga has to be your boyfriend! Yoga is forever!" At my startled look, he demanded, "Why; did you think otherwise?" And only then did I remember, and realize he's right. Because I still have a LOT to learn. Teacher-friend T is right also in that I haven't committed to one practice and I am already eager to try others. I should focus on one above anything else, and Bikram yoga, in its spartan simplicity, seems perfect to me. As F had said before, he believes that we each have reason to be in Bikram yoga. And indeed, despite Bikram's only having 26 poses/asanas, it is a lifelong lesson: each day having a different lesson, a different and new adventure. In certainty there is uncertainty, a living in the present ONLY, as opposed to most Western planning for the future, etc. A different day's practice can be better or worse. But always, always, do it RIGHT: this is what I am re-learning now. "You are too flexible; you need to build your strength," F tells me constantly. And indeed it is true: leave our egos outside the door. Enter with an open mind, an open heart. Leave all expectations outside. And along this, be prepared for a drill sergeant-like teaching. Some may hate it, but I love it: I love Bikram yoga's unyielding demand on its students, but in reality, just students' desires voicing themselves, their need to be pushed, concretized through Bikram yoga. That plus as much as there is mystery in the everyday practice, there is certainty: certainty in the 26 asanas, but certainty also in the proper alignment and execution of the asanas, and doing them only so far as they are correct. Egos outside the door, indeed.

Thus a healing from within to out. I'm into this because I believe in it. I hope it works out for me, and others will believe in it, me, as well. For now, I keep my fingers crossed, and hope all will go well. But as much as this is so, I will wait and see where the wind blows. May it be towards my favor.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Book Lover: a reaction

The following is my take on the term "book lover:" What are my loves in the literary world, etc. I invite you to do the same. =)

Of the moment, my favorite authors are Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Neil Gaiman, Isabel Allende, Sark, Miguel Ruiz, Clive Barker, Garth Nix, Bob and Jenna Torres, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Posie Graeme-Evans, and Christopher Paolini. I am currently reading Audrey Niffenegger's "The Time Traveller's Wife" and enjoying it, besides reading Gabo's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" Iyengar's "Tree of Yoga" and Craig Sams' "The Little Food Book."

Seeing my preferred authors, one would see my interest in Third World issues, feminism, animal rights, fantasy, self-actualization, spirituality, and some slight history/periodizations (romantic sub-plots a plus for brain-relaxation: a carry-over from smut like works of Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught!)

I like Third World issues as exemplified by Latin American Garcia Marquez because they closely mirror our own national problems: the loss of history (dating back to the pre-colonial era), and the consequences of loss in identity. This then relates to the feminine in reaction the masculine, as illustrated by Allende: how the feminine shapes her own identity from nothing--then how she succeeds, in doing so, making something completely unique (as shown by Sark). This "making of memory," and in doing so, "identity," can be relatively related to the fantastic worlds of Nix's, Barker's and Paolini's plots.

In cognizance of my belief in equality and respect for all (formally started by Ruiz's "The Four Agreements"), I am vegan. But in being such, I needed to understand how "lesser beings" were being mistreated in the face of a burgeoning global population--reactions to feed the populace as seen in farmed animals. Hence my foray into animal rights, and my favorite authors on this topic, Bob and Jenna Torres, because they give a fresh and candid take on it.

However, being vegan for me doesn't only mean saving the animals: it also invites reflection into the earth's situation, as can be seen in Gore's documentary film, "An Inconvenient Truth." And in connection, it begs the connection of a holistic and complementary saving and healing: a symbiosis of sorts. Being vegan also means cooking your own meals more often than not, hence my favorite food author, Isa Chandra Moskowitz (who has a similar vibe to the Torreses'), but also nutritional advice, as in Vesanto Melina's works. Believing in peace also translates to my fitness: I am a yogini, as well, eagerly reading Yoga Journal issues as fast as they come, besides other yoga-related books, as well as attending yoga classes as much as I can.

As can be seen, I truly have a passion for books. Perhaps this suits the term "book lover" to a point, but as every book lover knows, it can never be "enough," never be extinguished. And even if the books dwindle, we will soldier on.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Stay Fab.

I liked the story below a lot. It's Pam Pastor's story on her non-issues on her weight. I felt empowered reading it, even if it is by Dove, which is under Unilever. My cousin is there, too, but I won't tell who she is there. I'd say I'd be put to shame, but then, that won't be a self-empowering thing to say. So let's leave it at that. =)

Link here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bootcamp Yoga Muhnela

Had a (Bikram) yoga class this morning. I like it in the morning because I feel more energized: I am likelier to see "black" in the evening, hence I prefer morning sessions. Anyway, so yesterday, my teacher, F, was advised by another teacher-friend, T, that I'm very keen on taking teacher training. Then today, F pushed me, like, SUPER hard--in half-tortoise, and standing bow. OhmyGOD, I got so overwhelmed, so much so that I felt like crying: I didn't know what to do, and I felt so useless, and frustrated, and plain wrong, though weirdly, I also wanted to know how I could be better, but after feeling all the above!--F told me to take it easy, whoops. Afterwards, he corrected my postures again, especially standing bow, where he told me I was doing it ALL WRONG! :( That plus standing head to knee, where he said my raised knee MUST be perpendicular, while the other hip must remain down and its accompanying knee LOCKED. He said, "You have such a beautiful backbend; use it!" (for standing bow) Ack. I was hemming and hawing, then F admonished me, "You can't be like that in teacher training! You MUST build your strength; you're still too weak." Then I told T about it, and he said, "...You need to be tougher than many." Holy cow. Gottagottagotta.

Indeed. After he told F yesterday (that I'm keen on taking training), T kept on drilling into me, "You HAVE to be sure; it's a vocation!" And I understand that. I totally ascribe to what I know of the yogi philosophy, though I think I have to increase my awareness, so I'm reading B.K. Iyengar's Tree of Yoga. I'm thinking Bikram yoga is the way to go. F said something today, that "...people who attend Bikram yoga are also those who need it: that tough stance, etc." (after I remarked that his class is like bootcamp, but in a good, "challenge you 'til you croak" way) Perhaps he's right--though as to what dimension I need it, or he needs it, and how others need it, only our innermost beings can answer to.