May 27, 2012

Movie: A Delicate Balance

The movie A Delicate Balance explores the effects of diet on personal health.  It has been scientifically proven that decreasing your consumption of animal protein reduces your risk of cancer, diabetes and high cholesterol.  You can watch the trailer below.  The full film is available to watch, free, on their website.

It shows exactly how animal proteins (meat, milk, eggs) affect the human body and shows the relationship between animal protein consumption and increased risk of disease.  It also shows how you can get the same amount of protein from plant sources, which also give you various nutrients and minerals as part of the package.

Not only does it cover the health impact of animal protein, it also covers the environmental degradation that is caused and explains how it is linked to poverty and starvation in non-Western countries.

I found it to be an informative movie with simple information described well.  The graphics used may leave a little to be desired but you can just listen to it as an audio file and get the same amount of information out of it.  It reminded me a bit of Food Matters.

May 24, 2012

Mushroom Risotto

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cubes veggie stock
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 3 cups mushroom (or less, depends on how much you love mushroom really - we used Portabello and Button)
  • 1 tbsp Nuttelex
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion finely chopped (we used red as that's all we had)
  • pinch salt and pepper

  1. Fry mushrooms, onion and garlic in butter.
  2. Cook brown rice in water with veggie stock, until just cooked.  I used about 2 cups of water and it turned out okay.  We put the parsley, salt and pepper in this.  All up, the rice took about half an hour to cook.  It depends on the type of rice you use.
  3. Add mushrooms to rice, along with nutritional yeast.

Makes about 2 serves.

May 21, 2012

Learning to Make Shrinkies

I've decided to blog about my failure with shrinkies (I will attempt some more variations!) just to help anyone out there who might think they just can't do it right or something.  Failures happen, but you just have to learn from them and try again!  For me, crafting is about having fun while experimenting :).

Attempt Number 1 with a large chip packet:

I preheated the oven to 250C and placed the packet on one sheet of baking paper on a tray, with another sheet of baking paper on top and another tray on top of that to hold it flat.   I lef it for 3 minutes, then checked it.  It looked like it was about 20cm long and only 6cm wide.  So the proportions had changed quite a bit, but I wanted it to be smaller than that so I popped it back in.

I left it in there for another 3 minutes, then pulled it out to check on it.  I couldn't see it but it didn't seem to have shrunk any further.  I tried to pull the baking paper off but the chip packet was still all melted, so I decided to leave it to cool while I tried attempt number 2.

Orginal size:  33.5cm tall and 21cm wide.
Final size:  18cm tall and 5.5cm wide.  (I'm thinking that these are maybe bookmark or choker size?)

What I learned: Only leave them in for about 2 minutes at this temperature, it's way too hot.

Attempt Number 2 with mi goreng packets:

The oven was preheated to 250C.  This time I just placed the mi goreng packets in a piece of baking paper, which I folded around them individually.  I left them in for only 2 minutes, then checked on them.  They were little blobs of melted plastic.

What I learned:  The fact that these are made just out of plastic, with no foil on the inside, means that they 'cook' faster than the chip packets.

Attempt number 3 with a mi goreng packet:

The oven was left to cool to 180C for 10 minutes.   I folded up a mi goreng packet in baking paper again.  I left it in there for 2 minutes. It had only shrunk a little bit so I left it in for another minute.  The end result looks like the edges shrank at a different rate to the middle, so perhaps 180C is too cool.

Conclusion:  Higher temperature for a shorter period of time, mashed between the two trays to keep it flat.

I think that this is all I shall attempt for today.  I only have two more chip packets left from my partner, so will wait until they've pigged out a bit more ;).

If anyone knows of some ways to improve my technique, I'd be much obliged as the online tutorials don't seem to be working for me (but I am narrowing down how to do it I think - a few more trials and I shall have it, I'm sure!).

May 19, 2012

My SlutWalk 2012 Experience in Brisbane

Warning: This post mentions rape and sexual assault, so if these are sensitive topics for you, please feel free to not read this post.

What is SlutWalk?
SlutWalk originated in 2011 in Toronto after a police officer told women to stop dressing like sluts if they didn't want to get raped.  This then became a global movement against blaming victims, shaming people for their sexuality and rape cultureSlutWalk started in Australia last year with rallies in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide.

Why did I go to SlutWalk?
I have been on the receiving end of gropes, leers and comments about my body since I hit puberty at age 12.  That's just my personal experience.  I didn't just attend SlutWalk for myself.  I also attended SlutWalk because of the number of my friends who have been sexually assaulted, raped, feared for their bodies, groped, all simply because their bodies were deemed to be public property by others.  Not just for them, but for all people who have been raped, or experienced verbal and physical abuse or harrassment for what they wear or the way that they express their sexuality.

I walked in the hopes that it would help to create a dialogue about consensual sex, healthy sexual relationships, asexuality, the failings of sexual education in schools around Australia, the rights of people to wear what they want and act how they want without fearing assault.

Mitch, Lia, Blair and I.  Photo by Lisa B.

No one should be harrassed or abused or raped for what they wear, or because they are refusing to have sex with someone, or because their sexuality needs to be 'fixed'.  Most rapes that occur are perpetrated by people close to the victim and it often has nothing to do with what they are wearingLearn more about the official statistics.

Making Signs
I had prepared my signs for this day at 1am that morning before heading to bed.  My sign ended up with the slogan "Still not asking for it; no one asks to be raped" on one side and "I am a person, not a sex toy; I require consent, not batteries" on the other.  I was hoping to make something a little more witty and I regret not covering something along the lines of 'ask before touching' as this is a topic that is close to my heart.

The Speakers
I turned up just on one and almost had a panic attack the whole trip there as I was freaking out about someone talking to me about it or getting confrontational.  Once I got there and saw my friends though, I managed to calm down and then the speakers started. I missed out on the introductory speech as I was still handling my anxiety (poorly), which I am a bit sad about.

A representative from Respect Inc (sex worker rights organisation) talked about how there is a lot of violence in sex work, which is usually written off by society as something that they should 'expect' as part of their work.  This is not right; people should never expect to be abused or assaulted because of their job.

Someone from the Brisbane Rape and Incest Survivors Support Centre (BRISSC) stood up and talked about how great it was to see so many people there.  They talked about how many of the survivors often blame themselves, and that the speaker would be taking back this support, the support shown today, to show the survivors that they are not alone, that there are people out their fighting for them and fighting against a culture that makes victims feel this way.

Andrea Silva was up last and her speech was really good.  She talked about the mechanisms of slut shaming and how they are used to control people who are open about their sex lives, or who dress differently.  How people can be alienated, lose their jobs, be abused and more just because they are sexual or dress in certain ways.  There was some talk about the BDSM community and how there had been some controversy about her coming to speak.  As she said, there are negative behaviours in any community.  These negative behaviours are what need to be fought against, not consensual sex between adults.

Photo by Lisa B

The March
We walked around one block in Brisbane with about three or four policepeople on motorbikes, while following one red police car.  We drew a lot of attention and there were a lot of photos taken.  It was over within half an hour as there were only a couple hundred of us.  I hope that next year there will be a greater turn out as people become more aware of the issues that SlutWalk is fighting against.

The chants that were yelled as we went around the block are listed below (please forgive me if I have remembered some of them incorrectly).
  • 2, 4, 6, 8, stop the violence, stop the hate.
  • Hey hey, ho ho, sexual violence has got to go.
  • Yes means yes, no means no, however we dress, wherever we go.
  • There are no bad whores, just bad laws.

Photo by Lisa B.
In Conclusion...
It was nice to have so many people there supporting this movement and standing up against rape culture, mysogyny, victim blaming and slut shaming.  I felt more sure of myself and I felt stronger for going.  I know that I am not alone in my views or in my efforts.  I also got to talk to someone who was a rape survivor; they told me how thankful they were for this walk, how we all had to stick together and that hopefully one day attitudes would change.  I truly believe that together, through events like this, we will be able to create positive discourses about sex and create a community were victims are able to seek help without fear of persecution by friends and the media.  Thank you to the organisers for putting this all together.

May 17, 2012

Fact Sheet: Writing to Animal Rights Prisoners

I have been thinking a lot lately about more action that I can take in the animal rights movement.  While I may or may not agree with the actions taken by these individuals, I do believe that it is their human right to have some support so that they don't get lonely, depressed or despondent.

'Writing' by J. Paxon Reye
I ended up finding the list of prisoners by the Animal Liberation Front, and another by Bite Back.  They both seem to be updated regularly and focus mainly on the UK and US.  There seem to be no lists for Australia (although that could change with the meat industries here pushing for the same laws as the US has).

I then found a few places where I could buy cards to send to them (funds are donated to charity and the pictures are of animals):
There are some great guides all over the net, with my favourites being by Striking At the Roots (very thorough) and How to do Animal Rights.
The main points to take from their articles are:
  • your mail will be read before it gets to the prisoner
  • don't talk about the case
  • don't include any stickers or items that are not a letter, postcard or card
  • don't be too bummed if you don't get a reply
  • stick to one or two activists who you can talk to regularly
If you have any more information that I can add, please let me know so that I can keep this updated.

May 15, 2012

Charity: New Farm Neighbourhood Centre

The charity that I will be raising funds for for the month of May is New Farm Neighbourhood Centre (NFNC).  I found out about them after looking at jobs on Seek that I would maybe like to do once I have graduated.

NFNC is located on Brunswick Street, near New Farm Park.  They have been working within the community for over 25 years, providing a myriad of services including:
  • help people who are homeless
  • help people access housing
  • create events that are accessible to all people to encourage community
  • maintaining a community garden
  • a craft group for women every Thursday
They use various means to raise funds, such as tennis court and venue hire.  If you are interested in volunteering with them, please contact them as I am sure they would appreciate any help that they can get.  If not, maybe consider them as a place to hold your next meeting or event.

I truly believe that they are doing something wonderful and they cannot do this without the community being involved.

May 13, 2012

Vegan French Toast

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2/3 cup nondairy milk
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • bread

  1. Mix together bananas, milk, cinnamon and vanilla.
  2. Soak bread in mixture on both sides.
  3. Fry in pan at medium heat with a bit of butter or oil.

Makes: 4-5 slices of bread

May 12, 2012

Equal Marriage Rally Brisbane

Today in Brisbane hundreds of people came together for one reason: to demand marriage equality.  Currently, Australia does not allow anyone to get married except heterosexual cis-people.  People of other gender identities and sexual orientations are excluded under the current legislation, so they and their allies came together to rally in Queens Park to show the people of Brisbane that they would not be quiet, would not back down and would not give up until there is full marriage equality.

I unfortunately turned up late and missed all the talks, but was in time for the march itself, which I attended with a few friends.

I marched until my boots fell apart and I had to leave to buy some sneakers.

All in all I had a good time and I hope that marriage will be something for everyone who is in love and wishes to be married.  You can watch a channel 7 video of the rally and join the Equal Love Brisbane group on facebook.

May 4, 2012

Sausage, Spinach and Onion Quiche

You may have seen my previous attempt at making a quiche here.  This is my latest attempt which, I must admit, is a lot yummier and just better all round haha.

*1 onion, chopped  
*2 cloves garlic
*4 vegan sausages, chopped
*2 blocks silken tofu (300g each)
*1/4 cup nondairy milk
*~50g fresh spinach, chopped 
*2 tsp basil
*1/2 tsp thyme

*1 tsp turmeric
*1/2 tsp paprika
*1/2 cup nutritional yeast

*salt and pepper to taste
*1 sheet of puff pastry

1.  Fry onion, chopped sausages and garlic in a little oil until the onion is translucent.
2.  Blend tofu (crumble first, might be easier) and nondairy milk.
3.  Put in bowl and mix in nutritional yeast, finely chopped spinach, onions, sausages, garlic, herbs and spices.
4.  Place puff pastry in bottom of a pan and heat in oven for ten minutes
5.  Pour the mix on top and put back in the oven.
6.  Bake at 180C for 20 minutes or until middle has set.

(I forgot to pre-cook the pastry and just cooked the whole lot for 25 minutes, leaving the pastry at the bottom a little undercooked - d'oh!)
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