Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Things I've Done Since Going Vegan

Today marks the anniversary of my decision to go vegan. I was really nervous about it before I did it. The idea had been percolating in my head since a coworker & her partner talked to me about being vegan, but since I have Crohn's disease & anxiety, changes to my diet usually freak me out.

I had driven home to Milwaukee for my niece's 2nd birthday, and on my drive back to Columbus, I stopped at a gas station to pick up some dinner on the road. I grabbed a pre-made ham sandwich & some Funyuns and took a bite of my sandwich as I pulled back onto the freeway. As I was chewing, I looked at the vehicle in front of me and realized it was a truck full of pigs (a pretty small truck, with a see through fence as the back railing). I started to gag on my sandwich and spit it out & wasn't able to finish it. I guiltily stashed it in the passenger seat until my next stop, where I threw it out at the next stop without looking at it again.

Within two days, I had declared myself vegan.

Of course, this sounds like it was purely an emotional response, and I just like cute little piggies and that's why I gave up meat. Not quite. I am a vegan for ethical reasons, but they aren't just related to animals.

I could go on and on about the reasons why people (atheists, especially) should be vegan, but if you really want to know, I think is a great place to get information. Articles like this are also great (the fact that "A global vegan diet (of conventional crops) would reduce dietary emissions by 87 percent, compared to a token 8 percent for 'sustainable' meat and dairy." really stuck with me).

But this post isn't to give you every reason to go vegan. It's to show you the awesome things I've done since go vegan so you can see that vegans lead really cool lives.

Since I went vegan, I've...

-Volunteered at Camp Quest (complete with vegan s'mores!)


-Went to Las Vegas for TAM (as a Surly Grant Winner), hung out with awesome people, acted like a shark (?), hung out with my Best Sarah Forever (BSF)

-Bowled for Abortion Access (which I'm doing again, and you can support!) and got a mug that says "Ask Me About the Abortion I Paid For" (which is super rad, obviously)

-Went to DC to be in a documentary, hung out at a fountain with some ducks


-Attended Skepticamp Columbus, hung out with @Delyseious and Hemant Mehta, lead the Legion of Sarahs (it's possible that this legion was only made up of two Sarahs)


-Raised $2,000 for the Secular Student Alliance and had to shave my hair into a mohawk on a livestream

-Had an appropriate amount of American Pride

-Attended the largest conference the SSA has ever had! 

-Dressed up as the one and only Freddie Mercury for Halloween


-Had surgery and proposed when I woke up, looking flyyyyyyyy (and was good at texting)


-Designed a badass wedding ring, made of recycled silver and synthetic emeralds and diamonds from Green Karat

-Joined the board of directors of Go Vegan! Go! and went to a fundraiser at Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace for Sunrise Sanctuary. Delicious vegan hot dogs. :)

-Ate burritos and tacos, always and forever

-Ate a lot of cereal & felt like that dog with the birthday cake 

-Bought sweet swag from my friend Sarah's store

-Had my best friend from Wisconsin visit

-Got married & had awesome vegan food & cake (catering provided by Inner Circle, cake by Pattycake Bakery)

There's been quite a bit more, but finding where pictures of stuff is has been difficult, so I'll leave you with that. :) In any case, I'm very happy with my decision to go vegan. I'd encourage everyone to check it out. Even if you can't go fully vegan right now (or ever), I think reducing your consumption of animal products is an admirable goal, especially since it may be the only way to save the planet ("Please eat less meat," asks the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). 

Interested? Check out:

Vegan Starter Kit:

Thirty Day Vegan Challenge:

You can watch Vegucated and Forks Over Knives on Netflix Instant or Earthlings online.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

"lol reproductive rights"

I imagine that's what most anti-choice legislators would tweet if they could. I have a feeling a lot of them don't quite grasp the concept of Twitter, though. (Too bad they didn't read my handy intro to Twitter, they'd be a lot closer to getting it!)

Anyway, unfortunately for us, there are lots of people who get twitter, and I wish they didn't. Like Jill Stanek, for example. If you aren't familiar with Jill Stanek, she's just an awful anti-choicer. She thinks if you murder a doctor who performs abortions, it's wrong, but not so wrong that you deserve to be sent to PRISON! That's for like, bad people, and stuff! (What you can glean from the last link: 1. The man who murdered Dr. Tiller "[did] not get [his] fair day in court." 2. The death penalty is okay and should be applied to doctors who perform abortions.)

I mention Jill Stanek because one day I was talking on twitter about how expensive my health care is & how it is a very real and constant source of stress and worry for me. A few of my friends replied "Oh, I don't have to worry about that in my country!" Which is really great for them, but made me feel a lot worse (because of course I'm pushing for universal healthcare in the US).

Some of my comments got retweeted, and what do you know, Jill Stanek felt the need to chime in!


How sweet of her! This woman with a national presence and loads of money felt it necessary to make fun of a 23 year old with a severe chronic illness who care barely afford to pay for her bills. How compassionate! That's some True Christian Love (TM) for you. (This is how I feel about it.)

Now that I'm married & on my partner's insurance, my medical bills are more under control (hooray meeting your deductible by February!), but I can't even imagine what it'd be like to be someone who doesn't have insurance, but needs birth control or an abortion (or even to have insurance, but it's not covered). I remember when I was in college, I had to go without birth control for a while because the stuff I needed cost $70/month--even with my parents' insurance.

Our society isn't great at making sure no one falls through the cracks of our societal safety net. I have dozens of friends who are adults and have degrees who can't afford basic healthcare needs. If you can't afford to get your car fixed if it breaks down, you can't really afford a kid. This may shock anti-choicers, but funnily enough, most people know when they can't afford a child! Three-fourths of the people who received abortions gave not being able to afford a child as a reason for needing their abortion. They don't want to be "welfare moochers" or whatever horrible name the right wing has been using lately for people who receive government benefits.

Anyway, the Hyde Amendment bans federal dollars from going toward abortions. So, people who need help covering the cost of an abortion need to look elsewhere. That's where the National Network of Abortion Funds comes in! Every year they do a Bowl-a-thon to get people to raise money to help people who need abortions. You can learn more about why we need abortion funds here.

I participated last year and had a lot of fun. Then again, my team was called "Coup de Twat," so I'm not sure how I could have NOT had fun.

I'm participating again this year, and I hope you can support me. I'm competing against my friend @MissCherryPi this year though! If she raises more money than me, she gets to redecorate my Twitter page for a week, and I have to send her local treats/swag. However, if I raise more money than her, I get to redecorate her Twitter page and she has to send me treats. So, obviously, there are important stakes here (I mean, have you looked at my twitter background? No, seriously, go look at it. It's pretty bad ass.) (If you didn't go look, it's my head on the t-rex from Jurassic Park. I told you, bad ass.)

So, if you want to help support abortion access for all, please consider making a donation to my bowl-a-thon page. (or to Elizabeth's page.) 

Thanks for supporting everyone's right to reproductive control. :)

(I tried to use gender neutral language in this post, because I realize not all people who need abortions or birth control identify as women. If I made any errors, I'm sorry and please let me know in the comments.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How to Use Twitter

So, a lot of people seem really confused about twitter. I've been on twitter for longer than most of you have been alive, so I'm going to explain some things to you.

Keep in mind, while some of these things are true facts, a lot of this is just my subjective experience with the site. My policy is generally to not tell people what to do or say with their lives, but there's gonna be a lot of judgment here, so read with a few grains of salt. 

What is Twitter? The definition on Wikipedia is "an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as 'tweets'." Obviously, that's really cut and dry. The way I hear most people describe it is "It's like Facebook, but only status updates." That is a terrible definition. 

Twitter is really what you make of it. To me, it is a social media website that is heavily focused on the news. If you only follow friends who tweet rarely, it's going to be a dead website. If you only follow comedians (like @robdelaney, @mindykaling, 
@meganamram, @kristenschaaled), it'll be just a bunch of short jokes. If you only follow news sites (like @BreakingNews, @AP, @BBCBreaking, @nytimes), it'll be a way to stay up on the news. You can follow whoever or whatever you like! I suggest a mix of people to follow, but obviously it's up to you.

What are the features/things to know?

  • Hashtags: A word that is preceded by a pound sign (#). You can use a hashtag to describe a common topic of interest (e.g. "I really love this #vegan cheesecake" or "Trying a new medicine soon. Any tips? #Crohns"), because people can search for hashtags (if you click on a hashtag, you'll see lots of other tweets that have been hashtagged with the same word). You can also use a hashtag as a joke (especially as the punchline). Such as, "My husband is cooking dinner for me. #misandry" or "I'm eating cookies and ice cream for dinner. #adulthood." You can't put any punctuation in hashtags, so if you want to include more than one word in a hashtag, just don't use punctuation. For example, "This is an example of a tweet. #ImReallyBoringRightNow" Hashtags are often used to live tweet events. Like during the Superbowl, you could tweet something with the hashtag #SB49 or #BeyonceBowl, depending on what you were into.
  • Retweets: If you agree with a tweet, or think it's funny, or just want other people to see it, you can retweet it. There's a button on the bottom of a tweet that says "Retweet." Click that. Done. RT before a tweet means retweet, MT before a tweet means Modified Tweet (meaning you changed or shortened it for clarity or space). Don't copy and paste an RT unless you're 800 years old, OR if you want to add a comment to the beginning of it. Such as: "@Fish_nr: Thanks, Obama. RT @Mowgli3 There's only decaf coffee here!!!" LITTLE KNOWN TWITTER FACT: If you like someone's tweets but think they RT too often, you can go to their profile and click the little person symbol next to "following" and click "Turn off retweets." 
  • The "@" symbol: The @ symbol indicates who you are talking to. If you want to say something to Joe Biden, find his twitter handle (@JoeBiden) and tweet at him. Like "@JoeBiden Please drop another F bomb on TV." LITTLE KNOWN TWITTER FACT: If you begin a tweet with @someone, only people who follow both you and that other person will see it on their timeline. If you want to publicly talk to someone else, either put their @name not at the beginning (for example, "I really liked this blog post by @GretaChristina") or add a period before the @ (for example, ".@GretaChristina I really liked your last blog post!")
  • Favorite: On facebook, you can "like" a post. Twitter has a similar feature called the "favorite" button. Click it if you liked someone's post or just want to save it for later (since you can go to your own page and look at things you've favorited). You can see your "most favorited" tweets on, and you can even pay them to let you give out trophies to people for the "best tweet of the day," but mostly this is 21st century masturbation (to steal a phrase from @Crommunist). 
  • Follow Friday: On Friday, it's common to recommend other people to follow. Some people do it like this: "#FF          " Then, inevitably, throughout the day, somebody will reply to everyone on that list with a "Thank you!" or "TY!" Both of these things are obnoxious and to be avoided (even though all the people on that list are pretty cool and worth following, IMO). The way to do a Follow Friday is by either picking a category and putting 2-4 people on it (like "#FF Vegans: @CarriePoppyYES  @JamieKilstein) or doing one person at a time and mentioning why. "#FF @clairemc because she is the funniest Senator on twitter." Do a few of these. If you overload people, they won't care.
  • Blocking: If someone is irritating you and you don't want to see their tweets anymore...block them! LITTLE KNOWN TWITTER FACT: Someone blocking you actually isn't taking away your free speech, it just means they don't want to see or read you. 
  • Report for Spam: Sometimes you'll be excited to see you got a new follower, only to find out it's @Sexxxxxy42961 who "loves to get down and dirty." As excited as you may be, this person is a fake. Report them for spam, you're doing everyone else a favor. Also, people who tweet at you with great offers like "Selling ipads for $10!!!! <link>" are also spammers. Report them as well.
So, those are the basics of twitter. I was going to include more information on how to not suck at twitter, but I'm tired and bored and so this will do for now. If you have any other twitter tricks, leave them in the comments. Good luck, and tweetspeed.

(Oh, and if you're my husband and your twitter handle is @livinginfits, you should start using twitter more often, because you're hilarious and I want other people to see that. Also because I don't talk to you often enough as it is now, we need another platform for communication.)