high-minded drivel

high-minded (adjective) - refined; cultured; particularly civilized. drivel (noun) - senseless talk; nonsense.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

KILL THE SQUID!!!! (but don't eat it)

This evening represents the closing moments of Vegan Challenge 2010.  Just moments ago the chair of the Vegan Challenge Committee issued his standard call to the children of the world to gather together again for the next Vegan Challenge, and now we are in the midst of an odd, choreographed, colorful ceremony featuring multi-cultural actors and actresses dressed up in what appears to be Tofurky costumes.  I feel that I'm missing the subtle (but important) messages of brotherhood contained within the interpretive dance currently on display, so it seems like an appropriate time to make a post with my own closing thoughts (take-aways, if you will), from VC 2010.

First, eating vegan doesn't really create some overwhelming longing for meat.  It's just hard because you have significantly less options at restaurants, and you have to do more planning to create a menu of "acceptable" meals.  Yesterday Sayak and I were out and about, and we decided to stop in at Bob Evans for a quick breakfast, primarily because it was the only restaurant in the immediate vicinity.  After conducting an in-depth study of the menu, we both settled on (that is, we were both forced to the default option of) toast and potatoes.  Needless to say, I don't think there are many vegans "down on the farm."

Second, veganism is a good conversation topic.  People generally seem rather interested when you make such a "lifestyle change" as deciding to eat vegan.  It prompts questions such as "How's the veganism going?" and "What are you eating?" and "Just how hungry are you?"  I expect the interest dies off quickly though, and novelty becomes nuisance.  You know, like when people want to go for lunch, and you're like "Sure!" and then people are like "Oh gawd, Jay's coming.  Looks like we're going to Asparagus Modern Bistro again.  Eff.  I was really feeling a Homestead Breakfast at Bob Evans with extra sausage patties."

Thirdly.......well......I guess I don't really have anything else to say.  I pretty much summed it up already.

The only time over the two weeks when there was really a temptation to "cheat" was tonight.  Getting close to the finish line, wanting to go to a coffee shop to blog, but being a real American fat-ass and wanting a cookie to enjoy while blogging, and realizing that the coffee places nearby had nothing vegan, I almost had a moment of weakness.  I knew that some places were still open that served Pattycake Bakery items (which are clutch when you're a vegan, by the way), but it would require driving to get to them, which didn't jive with my desire to walk.  It was this dilemma: Do I break down and have a non-vegan cookie for the sake of getting exercise and not polluting the environment by driving, or do I drive and maintain my integrity as a two-week vegan, even if it is almost over?"  Two lifestyle choices that seem to go together were suddenly at odds.  In the end it seemed better to maintain vegan integrity, realizing that these are the types of challenges vegans must face every day, and to have the full experience as a vegan I too needed to experience these challenges.  Fortunately, just in time I remembered a place that served Pattycake items that was also within walking distance.  Triumph!  Jubilant, with my old faded backpack slung over my shoulder, I began walking (barefoot, naturally) to the coffee shop to get my vegan cookie.  To complete the image I quickly attached some dreadlock hair extensions and lit up a nice fatty for the walk.

This morning, after the rain had stopped, I decided to take my car for a wash.  Luck was with me in that I stopped at a car wash I hadn't been to before and discovered that they gave four minutes for only $1.25!  All others that I've been to give only three minutes for $1.50, so this was clearly a monumental find.  The sudsy brush was a bit sub-par, but it still did the job (seriously, how much differentiation can there be between big brushes that spew soapy foam?).  At these do-it-yourself car washes I've only ever used the pre-soak, foaming brush, and rinse options.  The other possibilities remain in a shroud of mystery.  In fact, I couldn't even tell you what all the other settings are, because they are completely ignored.  I think they include things like wax, tire cleaner, spot-free rinse, shampoo, cologne, shave, and close shave.  I don't know.  The point is this: I don't use the other settings, so I don't need them.  What I would like to see is different options for what you actually hold in your hands.  Every car wash just has the sprayer and the foaming brush.  Why?  Because they satisfy all car washing needs?  Pshaw.  Fact: The car wash would be far more fun if you had the option of hoisting a bazooka attachment onto your shoulder or climbing behind one of these babies:

So there's still a lot of room for innovation in the do-it-yourself car wash.  Stay-in-your-car washes, on the other hand, are an entirely different animal, with entirely different methods for cleaning your vehicle.  In these types of washes, it seems that the primary method for removing dirt is to repeatedly slap your car with strips of rubber.  I've never quite figured out how this is effective, and I actually suspect that it's just for show.  You know, the initial rinse gets most of the dirt off, and obviously the dryers get the water off at the end, but car wash makers knew that people wouldn't feel like they were getting their money's worth if they left it at that, so they inserted the slapping rubber strips in the middle of the process to jazz things up a bit.  I'm not complaining though, because the slapping rubber strips have a special place in my memory.  As a child I remember going to a friend's house, and his mom was driving us around and decided to stop to get the car washed.  Being kids, and apparently familiar with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at that point, we pretended that the slapping rubber strips were a giant octopus trying to stop our Ford Nautilus.  It was quite an experience, and we barely made it.  Even to this day, when going through a stay-in-your-car wash I find myself whispering softly, "Nemo.....Nemo....."

Speaking of cleaning things, last week I determined that my dress pants could do with a brush up, so I dropped them off at the local dry cleaner.  If you hate doing laundry as much as I do, there is something immensely satisfying about dropping off your clothes at the dry cleaner and picking them up a few days later.  When asked what they would do if they won the lottery, many people say that they'd get a boat, or a house, or something like that.  Not me.  I'd just dry clean all my clothes, every week.  You may say "Why not just hire someone to clean your clothes in your house, moron?"  To which I say "Because if I did that then I couldn't get my valued customer card punched every time, earning me a free cleaning after every 10 items."  The one thing I don't like about the dry cleaner's is that they give you new hangers for your clothes every time.  They don't want you to bring your own hangers, probably because it's easier for them to just use new ones, and this aspect of the process seems wasteful to me.  But who am I to argue about their process?  To be honest, the whole concept of "dry cleaning" doesn't make a lot of sense to me anyway.  You know, how can you clean something but keep it dry?  Crazy.  I'll have to do some research on this topic to educate myself.  I wouldn't be surprised at all to find that slapping rubber strips are a key element of the process.    


Early promotional photo for Asparagus Modern Bistro

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