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Bellaboo vs. Mr. IT


So today proved to be a very interesting day.  The virus protection software on my work laptop was not running properly (lots of fun, screaming error messages) so I have been working with my IT department for the past week trying to get it fixed. 

Last Thursday, Mr. IT (which I am defining as Incompetent Twit) told me to log off my laptop and he would do his magic and then would call me when it was safe to log back on.  An hour later, I still had not heard from Mr. IT.   I used a friend's laptop to check my email.  Mr. IT had emailed me half an hour before and told me that he was having problems and I may as well just log back on.  Really?  Was he kidding?  Oh Mr. IT, how was I to receive the email you sent me instructing me to turn my laptop back on when you had instructed me to turn my laptop off?  I don't have ESP.  I cannot read the messages that come into my laptop when I have it turned off.  This is funny as I specifically asked Mr. IT to call me when he was done so I would know when it was safe to log back on.   Mr. IT apologized for not calling me and said that they were having a busy day.  I will forgive you for your stupidity and transgression,  Mr. IT.  After all, we all have off days. 

Mr. IT emailed me this morning and said that he would have time to work on my laptop.  We arranged that I would log off at 9:30 and then Mr. IT would call me (remember I can't read incoming emails when my laptop is turned off) and let me know when he was done.  10:00 rolls around, no word.  10:30 rolls around, still no word.  I tried calling Mr. IT's extension, it was bogus.  That must be how Mr. IT avoids talking to other people who also think he is an idiot.  Finally, I checked my email on someone else's laptop and to my bewilderment, Mr. IT had emailed me at 10:04 saying he was having problems and he would try again later.

This was just too much for me.  I could not sit back and allow this nonsense to continue.  Is Mr. IT really that daft?  I called Mr. IT and explained the situation.  I asked Mr. IT point blank how I could have received his email telling me to log back on when he had asked me to log off.  I reminded Mr. IT that we had agreed that he would call me when he was done.  SILENCE.  Not one word from Mr. IT.  I said I understand that Mr. IT's team was busy.  I told Mr. IT that if he didn't have time for this now, that's fine, but I shouldn't have to sit around waiting for a phone call that is substituted with an email (that I can't access) telling me I can use my laptop again.  How did Mr. IT respond?  "Well, I'll let you know when I can try later."  I was beside myself. 

Two minutes later I receive an email from Mr. IT.  Mr. IT wrote that he would be surprised if my laptop turned back on as it crashed while he was uninstalling the software.  At that point, I just slammed my head on my desk and went out to get some air..

In an article in the New York Times today, "Keeping Their Eggs in Their Backyard Nests", William Neuman reports on how struggling Americans have taken to raising their own egg-laying hens in their back yards. 

As someone who loves chickens (as animals, not food) I'm not opposed to individuals keeping a few chickens in their back yard, provided they are given the proper food, care, housing and protection from predators.  Naturally, chickens will continue to lay eggs.  Would I eat them?  No, but I can't condemn someone who does.  After all, this is much better than individuals purchasing factory-farmed eggs or even "free-range" eggs, which just means that the chickens are kept in a large shed and if they're lucky, they can access a door to a small outdoor area.

Anyway, the article discusses how this is a great year for the hatcheries that ship day-old chicks to consumers and local feed stores.  It stated that the hatcheries "could barely keep up with the demand".  The article mentions that the chicks are shipped by the U.S. Postal Service, but there is never any question as to the consequences of that. 

Many of these day-old chicks will never make it to their destination.  They will fall victim to starvation, dehydration, suffocation or crushing.  This is not the type of industry that people should be supporting.  It was only about a year ago that approximately 800 chicks, being shipped through the U.S. Postal Service, were confiscated by Animal Control in Oakland.  Many of the chicks were dead at the time they arrived at the Post Office and those that weren't dead were not in much better shape.

The article also discusses how there has been an increase in the purchase of guns and feed.  Great!  So in addition to receiving chicks by mail, people are also raising and killing chickens in their backyards????  I understand that times are tough, but I can't believe this.  Let me get this straight, you raise an animal from the time it's a little baby chick, care for it, feed it, perhaps, dare I say, develop an attachment to it and then you go and shoot it when it's "fat enough"? These people would be better off planting an organic vegetable garden.  It's a better investment for their wallets, their families, the environment and the animals.

I think while these people may have good intentions, their logic is seriously flawed.  Shame on the New York Times for not doing their full research.

Here's the link to the NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/04/business/04chickens.html?em.

An Ode to Vegan Ice Cream

Since I'm a vegan and a foodie, I've pretty much determined that this will be a vegan foodie blog.  Today's
 topic: Vegan Ice Cream.

Vegan ice cream is going mainstream.  If you go to your local Safeway, you can find at least a variety or two of vegan ice cream.  The local markets in my neighborhood sell some of my favorite varieties, but I'll get to that in a moment.

Today, I went to Three Twins Ice Cream in the Lower Haight.  Three Twins is a cute little shop on Fillmore just past Haight Street.  They had about 8 varieties (I said it was small).  All of their ice creams are organic and they always have two vegan options: one sorbet and one non-dairy milk variety (either soy or rice based).  I tried the Rice Milk Mint Confetti (a mint chip) and was blown away.  I remember when I first went vegan and tried a Rice Dream ice cream.  It was so bad, I vowed I would never eat vegan ice cream again.  Surprise, surprise, that only lasted so long.  The cones at Three Twins are also vegan.  I had a nice conversation with the two people working in the shop.  I ordered a single cone, which was HUGE, and it was only $3.25.  Not bad for fresh scooped, organic vegan ice cream.

In Bernal Heights, Maggie Mudd also has quite a few vegan varieties (either soy or coconut based) and they make tasty sundaes and milkshakes.  Unfortunately, they're not organic.  However, they are worth supporting as a local SF business that provides many vegan options.  They sell their vegan ice creams in local stores under the Mudslinger Freestyle label.  My favorite is the Dubliner.  A creamy coconut based ice cream flavored with coffee, almonds and fudge.  There's nothing better than their shakes on a hot day, which are few and far between in San Francisco, but it does happen.

When it comes to coconut milk ice creams, Larry & Luna's Coconut Bliss can't be beat.  All of their varieties are organic and vegan.  They use fair trade coffee, chocolate and vanilla.  I'm especially fond of their Cherry Amaretto and Cappuccino varieties.  Coconut Bliss is based out of Eugene, Oregon.  Their pints can be purchased at most health food stores or local markets.

Ah, vegan ice cream....mmmmmm.

An Ode to Vegan Mac and Cheese

When I was a kid, there was nothing that I loved more than Macaroni & Cheese.  Yes, Kraft Mac and Cheese that came in that little blue box with a powdery cheese-ish substance that turned into gooey mac and cheese.  I loved when we would have mac and cheese night at home.  It was one of the few vegetarian meals that my mother served.

When I first when vegan over three years ago, the hardest thing for me to give up was cheese.  At that time, all the great soy and nut cheeses that we have today were unknown to me (and many did not exist).  I had not discovered the wonder that is nutritional yeast flakes.

The first vegan mac and cheese that I had was in a box, similar to the Kraft variety, but it was disgusting.  It was nothing like the mac and cheese that I remembered and it put me off mac and cheese for about two years.  Then, I found a recipe in the Farm Cookbook for a macaroni and cheese casserole.  I was blown away.  It was creamy, cheesy, goodness.  Friends, vegan and non-vegan, were amazed. 

For a while, the Farm's mac and cheese was the one for me.  Then, Souley Vegan, a vegan soul food restaurant, opened up in Oakland and again, I was blown away.  This mac and cheese had a kick to it.  Their special blend of spices gave this mac and cheese bite.    Which led to me taking many bites.

But about two weeks ago, I had a vegan mac and cheese that blew them all away.  I was attending a birthday party at Mua in Oakland.  A gem of a bar/restaurant.  On the menu, they listed a mac and cheese made with a squash-based sauce.  I thought, there's no way this can be good.  Was I wrong.  It was unbelievable.  My boyfriend and I scarfed the bowl down in about 2 minutes.  The sauce was like a "good" version of Velveta cheese.  But one that was not laden in fat, cholesterol and chemicals.  Words cannot describe how good it was.  All I can say is mmmmmmmm.

I'll continue making my Farm mac and cheese until I can figure out the secret of the squash sauce.