Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Wednesday Factoid: Vegan

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Are you or would you ever be vegan?

Veganism! Okay, so here's what I think about that.

I personally would be very unlikely to ever go vegan, even though I am vegetarian and have been happily so for over 20 years. Weirdly, I actually think it's a bigger step to go from vegetarian to vegan than it is to go from meat-eating to vegetarian.

I have two reasons for why I wouldn't go vegan.

One: When I was in college, I took a course on nutrition. Based on what I studied, it is relatively difficult to get proper nutrition when you're vegan. Let me emphasize that it is far, far from impossible! If you know what you're doing and pay close attention, you can be an extremely healthy, nutritionally fulfilled vegan.

However, it requires a lot of attention and knowledge, and also since different bodies have different needs, there's no plan that works for everyone. And as a personal choice, I'm unwilling to put in that effort. I eat vegan sometimes because I like a lot of vegan food, but I am not willing to take on the commitment that is required when one wants to be both vegan and fully nourished.

Two: Unfortunately, a LOT of the focus in veganism is on whether you're consuming something with eggs, dairy, etc. instead of "is this from an ethical source?"

People can get really fixated on whether they personally are consuming a forbidden substance, and instead of choosing to patronize companies and products that support ethical consumption (within reason) as much as possible, they'll still go to a place that doesn't, say, get their milk and eggs from cruelty-free sources as long as they are personally not eating it. That's really not much of a help if the goal is responsible consumption and anti-cruelty.

Obviously there are some people who are more focused on the nutrition aspect of it, and just don't personally want to consume any animal products (especially since some of them can get sick if they do!), but even though that's legit, it's actually really hard to find any vegans out there who don't purport to care about humane treatment of animals. It's possible to be vegan and not personally buy any products that were directly created from exploited or tortured animals while still supporting companies that do those things. It's not suddenly better for the animals if you personally don't consume it when you won't examine whether the businesses you give your money to may be contributing to inhumane treatment anyway.

So anyway, I can make ethical choices about where I shop and who gets my money and still make a difference with what I'm doing. For instance, I buy more expensive eggs that come from cage-free vegetarian fed chickens. I also give to animal charities. I don't believe all meat, cheese, and eggs have to come from sources that are unethical, though some DO and we have to be mindful of it.

Also, the need to be all or nothing on things like this sometimes discourages people. Every time you choose a less cruel or cruelty-free option for your food, it's better than throwing up your hands and saying you can't adopt it as a lifestyle.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Personal Digest Saturday (but posted on MONDAY!!): July 6 – July 12

Life news this week:
  • Saturday I got up pretty early and made my ukulele video featuring all the songs from Steven Universe season one played back to back! And I got it uploaded! Great practice. I then updated some collector stuff online before my friend Kari showed up to hang out, eat pizza, and watch cartoons. We didn't have that much time for cartoons since we had so much chatting to do! It was lovely to see her. We watched up to the musical episode of Steven Universe, which she hadn't seen. I spent the evening after she left playing ukulele and blogging.
  • Sunday it was too rainy to sit at the table outside! Again! Got my karaoke and laundry done and spent a bunch of time organizing my prizes for the upcoming Steven Universe panel I would be running at Metrocon! (I planned to give prizes to people for their participation.) I also practiced ukulele a lot and got all the songs of season 2 crammed into a video. Wow!
  • Monday I was a tad late because I decided not to be hugely lazy. I had to work on a proposal package for the office but other than that it was a slow day for a Monday. When I got home I did my cosplay test for my Stevonnie costume and finished making my card prompts for my panel. I also tried to practice uke but I was having a hard time with the Season 3 songs. My sister sent me photos of my book for sale in a bookstore in Japan! She bought one.
  • Tuesday I had to send the proposal package in after we finalized it. It was also an exciting day in Steven Universe news because a movie poster came up revealing that the movie is taking place two years after the last episode, putting Steven at age 16. Wow! Cool! Oh and also a villain, I guess. Hah. In the evening I worked on my ukulele playing but Season 3 was still giving me a lot of trouble. Also the results of the interview I went to a few weeks ago came out . . . but we were not the winners. :(
  • Wednesday I worked on a transcript for the office guys. I also argued with someone online about sexist stuff. I put up my locker posters in the sheet protector that came in the mail and I think it looks nice. Jeaux came over and we ate at Beef O'Brady's and went shopping for a couple aspects of his costume. And we watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine. After he left I posted my Season 3 video! So many songs!
  • Thursday I finished the interview transcript and cleaned out my phone a little bit. At home I played the ukulele until Victor called. And I drew my webcomic and posted it after we hung up.
  • Friday I took the day off so I could go to my nerdy convention. Metrocon! I dressed up as Stevonnie and went to the con via Lyft after I had lunch. I got to hang out there by myself for about six hours (awesome!). I wandered around taking photos and being in photos, attended a panel on figure drawing people in cosplay, and went to the Steven Universe Summer Singalong (and made a singing buddy friend who was dressed like Rose Quartz). There were a lot of cosplayers who like the same cartoon! When Jeaux arrived, we looked at costumes, attended a panel about social difficulties in anime, and ate some food at IHOP late at night. It was a good time.

New reviews of my book:

Interviews, Articles, Mentions:
Diet progress:

Check out my nutrition readout. It's kinda inconsistent but I'm not worried about it.

Reading progress:
  • Finished this week: Nothing this week!
  • Currently reading: The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene.
    New singing performances:

    This week's karaoke song is "Learning to Fly" by Tom Petty.

    Stuff Drawn:

    Some sketches I did in a cosplay figure drawing panel:

    Webcomic Negative One Issue 0739: "Desk Meeting."

    New videos:

    I did THREE ukulele compilation videos this week! You can enjoy my covers of the Steven Universe songs from Season 1, Season 2, and Season 3 now. I don't have Seasons 4 or 5 down yet. :o


    New photos:

    Okay, so the photos were epic and that's why I couldn't get my blogging done until two days later. :P

    I made an entire Metrocon 2019 Gallery, but here are the photos from this week that were my favorites ending at Friday.

    Testing out my Garnet costume:

    My new locker posters got framed:

    Jeaux being cute working on his costume:

    And my fave Metrocon pictures, where I was Stevonnie for the day:

    Stevonnie Costume
    Bow & Adora
    Stevonnie & Connie
    Stevonnie & Steven
    Rainbow Quartz & Stevonnie
    Marge & Mermista
    Pines family
    Blue Diamond & Stevonnie
    Pink Diamond & Stevonnie
    Lapis Lazuli
    Cookie Cat & Stevonnie
    Sexy No Face
    Steven & Tiger Millionaire

    Social Media Counts:

    YouTube subscribers: 5,254 for swankivy (lost 1), 681 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 976 for swankivy (2 new), 1,341 for JulieSondra (1 new). Facebook: 293 friends (no change) and 206 followers (no change) for swankivy, 646 likes for JulieSondra (lost 2), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 159 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,515 (lost 2). Instagram followers: 181 (1 new).

    Saturday, July 6, 2019

    Personal Digest Saturday: June 29 – July 5

    Life news this week:
    • Saturday was packed full of activities--can't get a break these days, haha! I started the day with Victor having slept over the night before. We made our Universal Yums snack box video and it was pretty great. Then he left and my friend Steve came over. We hung out, ate veggie burgers, talked a lot, and watched Steven Universe (episodes 41 through 53). Now he's seen the whole first season! After he left, I was originally supposed to see my friend Kari but she got sick so she cancelled. Instead, I ended up getting a call that my mom needed some supplies she didn't want to ask her roomie for, so I biked to the store and took a Lyft to her house so I wouldn't have to pay for two Lyfts. My garage door got stuck open while I was taking my bike out so I had to handle that crisis before seeing my mom. When I got there it was later than we expected. I spent a couple hours just chilling with her and having a nice time. Managed to finally get blogging done when I got home.
    • Sunday was the last day of the month and I hadn't done a video or a So You Write comic so I scrambled around to get both done by the end of the day. I didn't sit at my table because it rained, but I got laundry and trash done. Made my Letters to an Asexual video, coded subtitles for it, and drew the writing comic. I also did some online shopping for convention supplies. :D
    • Monday I was late because I had to go to the post office. I did some training and everyday work stuff, and then after work I tried to do some costume mods but didn't have the right supplies. I played with my trading cards and went to bed early.
    • Tuesday was low-key. I did some printing for a co-worker and bought more supplies online. After work I did a costume test for my Stevonnie costume, one of the two costumes I'll be wearing at the convention. Awesome.
    • Wednesday was another low-key day. Everyone seems otherwise involved because it's a holiday week. I did more training. Later I played with some prompt cards for the convention. I picked up a comic book for Jeaux and very narrowly caught the bus on time. Jeaux met me at my house and we ate at Burger Monger. Shopped at Publix, watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and I went to bed early again.
    • Thursday I didn't have to work because of Independence Day. Didn't do a whole heck of a lot besides draw my comic and practice ukulele, trying to get prepared to be able to play songs for next week at the convention! Took a walk and texted with my sister and friends. Victor called later in the evening and I finished my comic and redid my decorations for the summer!
    • Friday I narrowly missed the bus, checked my bus app and it said a new bus wouldn't be by for 22 minutes, so I walked to the post office and caught a Lyft. The next bus came while I was waiting for the Lyft, so the app is a liar! Went to work and made reports, did timesheets, and I got Thai food with the bookkeeper. Did some forms for an upcoming package and did some more training for the data entry job I'm going to be doing. Walking home, I got rained on. Boo! I posted my comic and practiced ukulele. I made a video with my songs from Steven Universe season 1, but I decided to re-record it later because I wasn't satisfied with it.
    Diet progress:

    Check out my nutrition readout. Surprisingly, I went back down to my lowest weight since starting a vague attempt to eat healthier and drop some weight. Maybe stress?

    Reading progress:
    • Finished this week: Nothing this week!
    • Currently reading: The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene.
      New singing performances:

      This week's karaoke song is "The End of the Innocence" by Don Henley.

      Stuff Drawn:

      Webcomic So You Write Issue 97: "Still Works."

      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0738: "What's Best for You."

      New videos:

      Letters to an Asexual #69 is out. It covers the popular perception that asexual people would have a certain personality type and would never make sex jokes, etc.

      New photos:

      Universal Yums Colombia
      Stevonnie Selfie
      Stevonnie Costume

      Social Media Counts:

      YouTube subscribers: 5,255 for swankivy (lost 2), 681 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 974 for swankivy (4 new), 1,340 for JulieSondra (no change). Facebook: 293 friends (no change) and 206 followers (1 new) for swankivy, 648 likes for JulieSondra (2 new), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 159 likes for So You Write (8 new). Tumblr followers: 2,517 (1 new). Instagram followers: 180 (no change).

      Wednesday, July 3, 2019

      Wednesday Factoid: Driver's License

      When and how did you get your driver's license?

      Well this is a question that doesn't apply to me! I don't have a driver's license.

      Technically I guess my learner's permit counts as a driver's license. I signed up for the required drug-related course when I was still in high school and I took it over the summer--it was just one long, very boring seminar type thing where I had to attend and I think take an assessment, but I'm not sure--it sure was a long time ago. What I do remember is that my friend Jenna was unexpectedly in the class and I felt like screwing around with her during class is what saved my sanity. It was really, really boring.

      Then I went to the DMV and got my photo taken and got my restricted license. I was about 15 and a half, I think. I then proceeded to not really learn anything about driving. I did not take driver's ed and I was pretty unenthusiastic whenever one of my parents offered to let me drive. My mom kinda pushed me a little and then I felt like she was REALLY critical sometimes, which felt alarming rather than helpful, so I was kind of scared to do anything wrong or make a mistake. It's not her fault that I wasn't into it, though. I never even liked to drive the golf cart or play driving video games.

      My Learner's License photo at 15

      My friends were all at least a year older than me and most of them were eligible to get their licenses before I could, so going out with my friends was possible without me having to get a license. I just leaned on that while I was in high school, and my little sister learned to drive ahead of me, and I went to college without learning how. I rode a bike and the bus for ten years in my college town, and then when I came back to Tampa, I still didn't get a license. I couldn't have afforded a car at that point anyway.

      Years later, after ten more years with my job, the office shut down and I was cut loose to find new work. I took some driving lessons, which was possible because I continued to keep my learner's license up to date (Florida is one of the only places you can do that without renewing it every year and re-doing certain classes and stuff!), but I still never did go get some practice in and get the license.

      Maybe I'll have to answer this question again if I ever do it. :D

      Saturday, June 29, 2019

      Personal Digest Saturday: June 22 – June 28

      Life news this week:
      • Saturday began another week that was just as busy as the previous week for some reason! I hung out with Meghan and we didn't really have an agenda, which was nice to do for once. She and I ate at Burger Monger (I had a Beyond Burger!) and had artichokes for dinner. We also watched some animatics from the Steven Universe DVD and just enjoyed each other's company.
      • Sunday Meghan and I hung out in the morning and then she left to go home. I spent the afternoon chilling at my table, doing laundry, and doing a bunch of preparation for the upcoming team interview with my co-workers, as well as writing my speech for my upcoming USF talk. It was pretty intense work but I did all the research I needed for work and got the talk written as well. I did karaoke and then got a transcript done for work, but couldn't finish the other transcript that had been assigned to me.
      • Monday was very busy at the office. I had a long letter to edit (and it was more of a pain than usual fitting it into the page requirement), plus I had to finish the other transcript, order lunch for the interview practice group, and rehearse with the team. I've never been to an interview before, not in 13 years of supporting engineers! I had to be ready in case they asked a utility question because I'm the utility coordinator. Unfortunately the air conditioning also died so we were very uncomfortable. When I got home I finished the transcript and transferred my USF talk to index cards. I went to sleep early.
      • Tuesday I got to work early, ate donuts, suffered in the heat because of no air conditioning, and rehearsed one more time with the group. There was a mini-crisis because of spilled water that got all over our map that we had to bring. We had to make another one. We made it over to the DOT and had our interview. We DID have to answer a utilities question! I'm glad I was prepared! After that, I had some research to do back at the office, but I was able to go home early and get a little rest before the USF talk. I practiced the talk one time and it was short enough to fit in the time slot. I took a Lyft over to the USF Library and met with the organizer, Eric, who was very accommodating and pleasant. The talk went well and the members of the group were attentive and engaged. I spoke on traditional publication and some Pitch Wars stuff. After, Eric and I went out to eat Thai food and talk about publishing and science fiction. It was nice! After it was over, I crashed.
      • Wednesday I got up early and read a Steven Universe comic online before going to work. When I got in, the copy machine AND the AC were broken. What a day! I wrangled repair options and didn't have that much stuff to do beyond that, though I found plenty to keep me busy. Did an errand and picked up the physical copies of my comics. After work, I met Jeaux at my house because he no longer gets off at a time that is convenient to pick me up. We ate at Moe's and shopped at Publix, watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and had some adventures with a flipped breaker and a giant frog in my bathroom. I can't get a break--stuff is always exciting and tiring.
      • Thursday it was cooler because of the previous night's rain. The copy machine got fixed but the air conditioning keeps not being fixed. I did some catch-up work and then after I got home I built a bizarre Pile of Food from a Steven Universe episode. I ate what I could of it and fell asleep early.
      • Friday was another hot day. The air conditioning was better but still not fixed. I did some drawing and silly stuff, tried to organize my login info for an upcoming data entry job I'll be doing, and after work I had to work on my comic. Victor came over and I finished my comic while he was here. Then we ate burritos and watched a silly sketch comedy television show.

      New reviews of my book:

      Diet progress:

      Check out my nutrition readout. There was too much social stuff and weird eating to really see any progress. I'm making the screencaps smaller to avoid it being so ugly on the blog.

      Reading progress:
      • Finished this week: Haven't finished the current book, but I read #29 of the ongoing Steven Universe comic book series and I gave it a five-star review.
      • Currently reading: The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene.
        New singing performances:

        This week's karaoke song is "Wrong Impression" by Natalie Imbruglia.

        Stuff Drawn:

        Webcomic Negative One Issue 0737: "Wrong Before."

        New videos:

        None, but working on it!

        New photos:

        Meghan and me waiting for our food at Burger Monger
        My Beyond Burger!

        Gals with their artichokes
        What I wore to the office interview
        PILE OF FOOD based on a cartoon
        Victor helping me eat the Piles of Food

        Social Media Counts:

        YouTube subscribers: 5,257 for swankivy (2 new), 681 for JulieSondra (1 new). Twitter followers: 970 for swankivy (lost 1), 1,340 for JulieSondra (1 new). Facebook: 293 friends (1 new, but it's actually just the new account of someone who was already friends with me) and 205 followers (lost 2) for swankivy, 646 likes for JulieSondra (lost 1), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 151 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,516 (no change). Instagram followers: 180 (no change).

        Wednesday, June 26, 2019

        Wednesday Factoid: Exotic Pets

        Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Have you ever had, do you currently have, or would you want to have an exotic pet?

        No, definitely not.

        My family once had an iguana! I did not take care of it or interact with it. (I think we named it Phydeaux.)

        Eventually our pest control lady ended up adopting our iguana because she loved iguanas and had some, and the people in my house didn't really know the best care for them.

        I also was given a hermit crab when I was a child, but apparently it died before it was given to me because I tried to gently pick it up by the shell and it fell out of the shell motionless. It was pretty awful.

        Uh, and my sister had betta fish, parakeets, and a newt?

        But I never had any of these animals. 

        I'm not into pets (not even typical ones) and definitely wouldn't want the extra responsibility of taking care of "exotic" creatures.

        Saturday, June 22, 2019

        Personal Digest Saturday: June 15 – June 21

        Life news this week:
        • Saturday was a bit of a slow day at first, and then I cleaned up the kitchen and made some funny Steven Universe—inspired cereal and baby food. I made a post about it on the Amino and it was picked for a front-page feature, which always amuses me. I had some problems with my oven and my new coffeemaker didn't work, so that was sad. Also got some nice compliments on Reddit and made plans with my friend Steve. I made some blondies for the next day's barbecue. And I found out I got approved to do a panel at Metrocon! I'm going to run a panel about Steven Universe. Yay.
        • Sunday was Father's Day and Day 1 of Social Madness. I had a coffee breakfast and brought veggie dogs to a barbecue at my sister's in-laws' house, and I hung out with my dad and sister. I had some delicious grilled food (veggie dog and a veggie burger!) and then after the event, I did my usual Sunday laundry and karaoke.
        • Monday I got buried under business letters to submit and shared some leftover blondies with my co-workers. It was a really busy day. And our team got on the shortlist for a project so that's awesome. It was raining when work ended and Steve picked me up. We ate at the Thai restaurant Sawatdee and I had pad thai. We caught up and chatted for the entire rest of the evening, which was terrific, and then he left and I went to bed early.
        • Tuesday was also busy. I did a bunch of editing and after work I went out with my friends Yasmin and Arthur. We also had Thai food and I ordered pad thai, but at a different Thai restaurant called Singha (which also serves Viet food). Afterwards, we chilled at my place singing karaoke and playing with cartoons and talking. I got sick after and had to spend the evening in bed, but I recovered quickly.
        • Wednesday I was late to work because I had to go to the post office to mail a co-worker's shirts. Got in and missed part of a meeting but it was okay. My boss was back from his international trip and he had brought us sweets from India! Yay! I did some more editing and interview preparation, because I'm supposed to go with the team to an interview next week. I did some transcripts and some research. Then after work I ate at Which Wich? with Jeaux and we shopped at Publix and caught up on Night Vale.
        • Thursday morning was like the hottest walk to the bus stop ever. I worked and did more editing and interview prep. So much to do! Also had some computer difficulties. Argh. Thursday was the only day this week I didn't have social plans! But I still talked to Victor and drew my comic while talking to him. Updated a couple websites and posted funny pictures.
        • Friday was another VERY busy day at the office--meetings and timesheets and reports galore. Then after work I scrambled to get my comic posted so I could hang out with Meghan. My Steven Universe trading cards came in! So exciting! So Jeaux came by and we all sat around opening trading card packs and recording it for the Internet. We ate Boston Market food and had a good time. It is great to see Meg again.

        New reviews of my book:

        Diet progress:

        Check out my nutrition readout. Nothing special.

        Reading progress:
          New singing performances:

          This week's karaoke song is "Superman" by Five for Fighting.

          Stuff Drawn:

          Webcomic Negative One Issue 0736: "The Same Age."

          New videos:

          Just made a video about unboxing my trading cards!

          New photos:

          The "Tasty" cereal and mushed-up carrots I made based on SU food this weekend
          Mushed-up carrots are good.
          Me with a large Garnet.
          Father's Day with Lindsay and Dad!
          First photo with new friend Steve!
          Quilt made for me by Connie in my favorite colors, pink and black!
          With Yasmin and Arthur in the Thai restaurant
          Arthur singing karaoke
          Yasmin sings karaoke
          Jeaux is in my kitchen for no reason.
          Me in my new Pearl dress!
          My collection of six SU dresses!
          A complete set of the base card set!

          Social Media Counts:

          YouTube subscribers: 5,255 for swankivy (lost 4), 680 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Twitter followers: 971 for swankivy (2 new), 1,339 for JulieSondra (3 new). Facebook: 292 friends (no change, but someone unfriended me, not sure who, and I friended a new person who's into trading cards) and 207 followers (no change) for swankivy, 647 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 151 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,516 (lost 2). Instagram followers: 180 (1 new).