I am NOT a militant vegan

Welcome one and all to my new feature chews-day….see what I did there? Because it is Tuesday….never mind.

So I have been wanting to expand the blog to be more of a catch all journal for my thoughts for a while and wanted to find a way to write more posts. Enter chews-day. Every Tuesday that I post will be a food related blog of sorts. It will go alongside Writing Wednesday and then you know…I will have to think of other ones.

So without any more ado let me talk to you about veganism.

First of all I would like to make the pre-qualifying statement that throughout my life, while not disagreeing with veganism, I have generally disliked or hated every single Vegan I have met or known. (Sorry if you are reading this and are one of those people who were subject to my hate). The reason for this hatred is down to the weird militant view and outspoken nature of many vegans. Vegetarians were never quite so hoity and neither are omnivores, but vegans, they were always a testy bunch.

That being said I decided to make a change, and around about two weeks ago I went vegan. So far I haven’t struggled and I for the most part (barring one tragic evening meal) have enjoyed very good food indeed.

I have always been fairly handy in the kitchen, I can bake bread, I can cook basic meals and I have always enjoyed a broad selection of vegetables when compared to many others. So eating vegetables is hardly a new thing for me but alas, having to check if there are any animal related products in everything…is hard work and definitely makes you think a lot more about what you are eating and buying.

So why, you might be asking yourself, have I one vegan when I say I hate them so much? Well most vegans have always really, really annoyed me, but that doesn’t mean I hate animals. The fact of the matter is that I have toyed with the idea a few times in my life because it seems unnecessary to kill all these animals when we don’t have to.

I have always been into my fitness and indeed I got myself qualified as a gym instructor and then a personal trainer around five years ago but never really broke into the market. Not long ago I went back to the Paleo diet, something I have in the past advocated for weight loss. Why? Because in my experience it works wonders, it was the leanest I have ever been and the best I ever felt. That being said I experienced a very different effect this time around. I still lost weight, revealed more of my abs and felt more energetic BUT there was more. Consuming meat for three meals a day made me become very conscious of just how much death was on my hands. I was eating beef, chicken and venison like they were going out of style. For some reason unknown to me, when I tried to eat like that this time around, my mind couldn’t help but think about all the animals being killed.

Thus a new vegan was born, it is indeed very early and I am sure many people fall off the wagon a long time after two weeks but I intend to stick to this.

I know this post has been little more than a rant and may not be to most peoples tastes but I felt the need to write about it. If you have stuck with me to this point I will leave you with one thought.

In this day and age we know enough about nutritional science, vitamins and supplements and agriculture that there is NO NEED to eat meat or animal products. It has been proven that people can be very healthy on a vegan diet. The choice to eat animal products may masquerade as health concerns but really it comes down to this, we eat it because we like it. It is easy to not have to check, it is easy to eat whatever you want, and it is easy to forget that it was ever an animal when it is packaged in a supermarket. If there is no requirement for human health to kill animals for our food…then why are we still doing it? As a species shouldn’t we be a little too morally evolved for that?

Ja Ne.

The Dark Tower’s Gunslinger is Eli?

Is it just me folks? Or?

Well let’s come back to that thought a little later in the article shall we? What a way to start, with a question, how horrendous of me. Assuming that you, the reader, would want to answer my questions. Anyway, on with the show as they say.

I have just started reading the dark tower series by Stephen King. I have never read any King before which shocks a lot of people, since it shook me too, and this is supposed to be his Opus…I thought why the hell not start here.

So far, I am thoroughly enjoying it, I am about half way and it is traveling along at a rip-roaring pace. Lots of blood and guts and shooting. Also a healthy dose of implied sex or at least implied sexiness. Why is this a big thing for me? Well not because I am a blazing pervert but because of a documentary I watched many years ago.

When I was knee high to a grasshopper I used to play a lot of video games, I wasn’t very good, but I used to play them. One of my personal all time favourite horror games was Silent Hill 2, and I happened to have the collectors edition with all the making of and the such, well my brother did…it was his console after all.

So I sat down and watched the making of and they talked about horror and how there are two things every human is always thinking about. Sex and death, if you mix the two together that creates terror, that is where real horror comes from. Stirring you deeply emotionally in the pit of your soul. Some call Stephen King the (wait for it) king of horror, this sexy death mix hints to me that maybe he is.

So what was I talking about at the beginning of this article then anyway? Is it just me folks…or is the gunslinger very reminiscent of Eli from ‘The Book of Eli’. Technically of course it is the other way around as the film I have mentioned was made a long, long time after the first Dark Tower book was released.

Now maybe this is just a coincidence, or maybe it is a sincere form of flattery but I found it interesting enough to put my thoughts down here. So in the book of Eli he uses knives more than guns but the general persona of the character and the back drop of the sort of wild west dessert that it is set in…rings a little similar.

This is in no way an insult to either, I am enjoying the book and I really love that film, but there you go. What do you think? Any similarity or is it just me? Answers on a postcard…or at least a comment at the end of this post.

Ja Ne. You will never catch the man in black

1984…need I say more?

Good afternoon good chaps and chappets,

Today I have come to tell you that I have read, for the first time in my reading life, something that most people would call a classic. Jane Austen it may not be but few if any could argue that George Orwell’s 1984 isn’t a classic.

The general notion of the book and its over arching ideas have been known to me, as I suppose they have to most people not living under rocks, for a very long time. It has been something that I always thought I should want to read…but never went out and actually read, that is, until now.

It took me just over a week to work my way through and by gosh did I enjoy it. It may seem an odd thing to provide a book review to 1984 now. So many years after it has been released and read by millions, but very few books make you want to stand on a rooftop and shout about how good they were, so when I found out that this was one such book, this is the nearest I own to a rooftop to shout from.

1984 (for those of you who do live under rocks) tells the story of Winston, a man deeply disatisfied with his existence. He lives in a dystopian version of the world where Big Brother makes most dictatorships in the real world look like a walk in the park with candy floss.

‘Thoughtcrime’ is the only crime, daring to think that Big Brother isn’t great or isn’t all powerful or really just having any thought which isn’t what Big Brother would want you to think. If you are found guilty of this then you will be taken and ‘vaporised’ which essentially means written out of history, considered never to have existed at all.

I won’t delve deeper into the story here in the event that anyone who hasn’t read it will go and do just that after reading this.

So, why did I like this book so much? First and foremost it must be said that the calibre of writing in this book is nothing short of exceptional. There are many schools of thought about the way novellists used to all be from well-to-do families and have Oxford or Cambridge degrees. I certainly don’t want to go on record and say I think we should go back to this way of picking writers (not least because I am an uneducated man from a working class background) but there is something to be said of it in regards to this book. The writing along with whatever editing was done is nothing short of phenomenal, in my opinion, which makes for a fantastically fluid read.

The story telling is also exemplary. The world is clearly very well thought out and comes across with perfect uniformity in all descriptions given. There is never a lapse in character or an event or description which seems jarring. Once you start reading you are IN Big Brother’s Oceania and you do not leave it until the book is done.

In todays day and age with politics stumbling over itself as awfully as it is the book may well enjoy a resurgence of popularity as against a changing political backdrop it really is just the ticket.

My only complaint, and this is also a warning, and a note of encouragement. Is that towards the end of Part 2 of the book there is a long chapter. When I say long I mean LONG, far longer than any other chapter in the book and it follows Winston reading a book. Thus, you are reading a very long chapter about another person reading a very long chapter. For me that was the only part of the book I struggled with, I didn’t enjoy reading it, I didn’t really feel it was necesary to have been included and for me, without it, I would have probably supported the book even more. Please do read on however as the ending is really some of the most tense writing I have ever read. You would regret not finishing this book.

Still, it remains to be said that 1984 has quite possibly become my new ‘greatest book ever read’ toppling the previous one that sat there.

What else can I say? Go and read this book, well that and, I suppose I should finish with: I loved Big Brother.