Downtime

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Sorry for the massive (almost 36 hours, by my calculations) downtime. Big hosting issues yesterday, it seems.

Things look to be back to normal now.

Veg Blog Speaking Event: Why Isn’t Everybody Vegan?

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You may remember a post I wrote last year titled “10 Ways to be a Kick-Ass Vegan.”  Number nine on that list was “Give a talk,” something about which I said: “Here’s one I’ve been meaning to work up the nerve to do for a while now.  Ideally, I’d like to find a group of young or beginning vegetarians to talk to about veganism, like a high school or college animal rights group.”  Well, I’m finally taking that step and doing my first AR-themed talk.

The talk will be titled, “Why Isn’t Everybody Vegan?” and will focus on the multitude of reasons that people use for not changing their diet and lifestyle, even if it may be completely in line with their ethical beliefs.  It’s part of Animal Rights Week at the University of Mary Washington (Fredericksburg, VA), which is an ambitious week of outreach by a new and small (but dedicated) Animal Rights Club at UMW.

It just so happens that UMW is my alma mater and being the talk will be in my major’s building, so this talk should be extra fun.  Here are the details:

Why Isn’t Everybody Vegan?

When you make the transition to veganism, it’s hard not to be
enthusiastic about it.  It all seems so right and obvious and you
begin to wonder why everyone else isn’t making the same connection.
This talk will look at the reasons people aren’t vegan (“It’s too
extreme,” “I love cheese too much,” etc.) and how to counter those arguments in others (or yourself).

Where: University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA (Trinkle Hall Monroe Hall, room TBA)

When: Wednesday April 9, 2008; 6pm

What else?: There’ll be food.  So come, eat something, and listen to me blabber on about why veganism is the greatest thing since sliced (vegan) bread.

More info: The event’s Facebook page

If you’re in the area, come on by and say hi.  I’ll be the nervous one at the front of the room.

Exercising Censorship

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This site, like any site that takes a decidedly anti-mainstream view on a topic, receives its fair share of nut job commenters. Over the years, I’ve taken different approaches toward the drive-by stupidity:

  1. Try to counter their every comment. At first, I opted to pick apart every bit of their always weak arguments. Since they tended to post with lots of anger and with little in the way of actual facts, this was pretty easy. But before too long, I realized I was countering the same unsubstantiated, regurgitated “plants have feelings” and “we were meant to eat meat” tirades over and over again. So, then I took to a different tactic…
  2. Let them make themselves look stupid. I’d say that 95% of the anti-veg comments that come into the site were borderline incomprehensible. For a while, I decided that perhaps it was best to let these people expose themselves for what they were: dummies simply out for a fight.

Then, a couple of days ago I got an e-mail from a reader:

Ryan, I just wanted to ask why you allow posts on your site from closed-minded, non-veg people? Allowing them a space to post about matters which they ‘really’ know nothing about, clearly evident with the same uneducated ramblings and arguments, is disgraceful. Give veganism the respect is deserves and monitor your postings! Just a polite plea from another veggie pal.

I thought about the note for the rest of the day and then noticed a comment that had recently come in:

Any of u Vegetarians and Vegans who think people are not ment to eat meat need to pull your heads out of your asses! I’m not going to get into evolution vs creation or hundreds of other factual data that indicate a need for humans to consume meat. I will simply leave you “enlightened Vegetarians/Vegans” with this…. if we were not ment to eat meat, then why in the hell do you think humans have “K9” teeth? You think they are used to masticate berries and lettuce? (GET A CLUE CHRISTY TAYLOR, 11 Nov. 2004)

I hovered over the keyboard for a moment, almost reverting back to approach #1 and asking the person to let me know the next time they tore into the raw flesh of an animal they killed with their bare hands. Then I backed away and considered leaving the comment in place, taking approach #2. A moment later, I took a deep breath and hit “delete.”

So, it’s time to add a third approach, one which I’ll be following from here on out:

  1. Delete stupid, antagonistic comments. This is not to say that I’m not going to allow comments that I may not agree with, but anyone that comes on and posts something similar to the nonsense above is going to get canned.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the future of this site and the direction I want to take (hence a lot of silence recently), and one thing is for sure: I’m done wasting time on the blowhards. They’re not the people I want coming back. You, the people nodding and thinking, “Jeez, it’s about time!”… you’re my people. You’re the ones I want to stick around.

Recipes Back Online

Hey folks… sorry it’s been a quiet December around these parts. Things should pick up in the new year.

Even though I haven’t been writing much, I have been doing some work on the site. For one, the recipes are back online. These are recipes that were posted on the previous version of the site, but didn’t make it over when I switched to WordPress. A few people had written in asking for old recipes, specifically the hot chocolate and the khong nuoc mam recipes, so I thought I’d finally get them on the new site. The URLs are different, but I’ll set up some redirects eventually.

Site update

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If you’re actually visiting the site and not seeing this in an RSS reader, you’ll notice that the look and feel of the site has changed again.  I was never totally pleased with the earlier version and when I came across this theme yesterday, I decided it was finally time to switch it over.  Ideally, I would have designed my own, but with how tight time is these days, I figured it’s better to devote attention to content rather than the appearance.  So, I’ll be using this theme for the foreseeable future and making small tweaks to it over time.

Let me know if you stumble into anything that looks really awkward or goofy.