Thursday, September 26, 2019

Vegan Overload


Niche op-ed, initiated...for Vegans and...our Allies!

Veganism is a growing movement and millions of people everywhere are embracing this movement for a variety of hopeful reasons.

Plant-based health vegans devour gargantuan, nutrition rich, leafy-green salads daily. Abolitionist vegans march for the trillions of sentient animals forgotten. Environmental vegans minimize their carbon footprint with zeal. Rational vegans extol the ethics of compassionate reason. New age vegans glowingly build the collective soul of Gaia. Gustatory vegans celebrate the variety of delicious veggie cuisine. Animal-lover vegans cuddle with creatures big and small. Conservationist vegans reclaim habitat wildlands. Humanist vegans support developing country needs by encouraging plant agriculture.

The list goes on and on, yet so often we vegans in our attempt to live better lives and influence others to choose a better path can often manifest an arrogant righteousness that harms caring human relationships, our inner spirit, the vegan movement, and ultimately the very world we're attempting to improve.

Veganism alone is not the solution to everything, but it can be a major component to creating a sustainable, beautiful planet for humans and all of Earth's living things. Were vegans a tad more tolerant, a tad more eloquent and empathic toward non-vegans, and generally a tad more thick skinned, our efforts could be even more effective.

Most of us have transitioned from the carnist culture, an should contemplate how long it took for each of us to make the change.  Yes, it's human to be impatient when other resist even looking at the harm carnist culture does, but we must work for long term solutions alongside immediate ones. No we don't have to give up our ideals, let's just take a deep breath and work on the path that is both effective and compassionate. Some of our energy will need to be put toward forgiveness of others if only to nurture our own self to permit perseverance as we contribute to changing the world positively.

Figure out a joyful way to plant vegan seeds! Cook a meal weekly for your family, share an apple with a homeless person, make a plant-based contribution to a soup kitchen, volunteer at a nature preserve, share a vegan recipe book with a friend or a stranger, start a blog or youtube channel, just keep the joyful change rolling!

With that I'll simply harken:

"Joyful Vegans Unite!"

"Loving Humans Consider!"

"Living Earthlings Thrive!"

"

Thursday, September 19, 2019

.endpoints.



the Beginning i cannot recall
yet for some reason i accept
a beginning must (?) exist

i (!) breathe in the insubstantial
without full Knowledge i thrive, i suffer
i exhale the substance of experience

the Ending i cannot fathom
and yet (.)


Thursday, September 5, 2019

States of Change: Chapter 22: Yellowhammer (Alabama)


States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction.
The speculative story-line seeks to inspire thought on ethics, culture and our planet's future.

The year is 2076, decades after Oosa's defederalization. 
Fifty independent States have forged their societies from revolutionary technology and ideology.
Prominently, The Augment, a real-time, virtual overlay of sensory data 
has become widely available for personal use throughout many of the post-fed nation-states.







"Ready Gina?"

"Let's do this, my love."

On the e-room settee, Leo gives Gina a kiss on her cheek and then taps the Yellowhammer citizen e-patch on his wrist. His wife does the same.

Wireless protocols bind to their VisARs allowing them to navigate spindown menus within their augmented reality interfaces. Each negotiates through the rotating forest of configuration options. Spiraling past State Alerts, Personal Schedules, Information Access, and Database Storage they access Body Security. Drilling down through Enforced Policies and Paired Transactions they open their separate but linked Personal Relationship configuration pages.

Slipping off his stylish Emerald City glasses, Leo smirks.

"Okay, the rest of the process we have to do in Full Real with proximity-sync, since this will be a major relationship protocol change."

Gina shakes her head while chuckling.

"So silly the State doesn't trust its own scorching blockchain security in Aay Arr."

"I think it's more about giving Alabama citizens the confidence that their rights are real and not just a virtual abstraction."

"If you say so. Let's get this over with. Having my VisAR overlays down makes me feel agoraphobic."

"Sure thing, Cinnamon Scroll."

Gina smirks at the use of her pet name, then shifts her golden brown wrist holding Leo's freckled forearm to align the Yellowhammer sensors. Both patches radiate the bright lettering of nanoLED body ink bestowed to each citizen at age twenty-five.

"There. See, our consensual sex protocols are in full sync with the monogamy option invoked in August of seventy-one. Wow has it really been five years?"

"Christ in a crypt Leo, you know that's the minimum time lag before State Conception Permits are approvable."

"Yeah, I know Gee, it just gets me how five years with you has sped by at joyful light-speed."

Gina huffs softly and shakes her head, then with a follow-on sigh she runs her fingers through his long strawberry blonde hair.

"Yes, yes, my sweet Agave Leaf, for me too, but it's also been like walking on Hawaiian brimstone since day one. You know I've wanted to get pregnant since our trial marriage status got upgraded."

"Shen ji, Gee," chuckles Leo self-aware of his wordplay. "I'm looking forward to being a parent too, but you know as well as I do Alabama's procreation policy has been damn effective at preventing unwanted births. I can hardly believe back in Oosa times, abortion was even a thing. Fucking Six Nines contraception tech is the most Christian development since the communion wafer."

"Will you shut up with the politics and religion and sync with me. I want your cock in me...light-speed, doing what God created it to do."

Leo snort-laughs as if he'd taken a hit of nitrous oxide.

"You still catch me off guard every now and again, Gee!"

He holds his e-patch, still glowing the yellow of interim status, up to Gina's. With an archaic beep, emphasizing the conception permit's authorization, both e-patches turn dayglo green and scroll identical outputs.

[Transaction AL6&BT*X2 Registered]

[Consensual Sex Contract AL5Y!UR^R4 for Sexual Procreation Between Regina Alderan Honshu (RAH324) and Leonardo Davinci Johnston (LDJ987) Approved ]

[Permit Active for Ten Months. Two Renewals Remaining]

[Validated in AL State Blockchain Record 30.08.2076]

"Formalities complete, no glitches. Of course, it'll take a week for our implants to ramp down contraceptive hormone levels. I should research whether..."

Before he could get in another word, she spins onto his lap, straddling him, and buries a victorious, silencing smile into his.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Taming the Sadness Within



Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be professional advice. If you are experiencing extreme sadness or other challenging emotions, please reach out to professional psychological or emotional support hotline services. Ever have a deep empty feeling inside dragging you down? You're not alone. I've been there myself many times. How do you even begin to describe the weight of emotional despair. Perhaps you lost someone close to you and are unable to cope. Maybe a relationship just went sour and loneliness and hopelessness are all that you can see. Or maybe something seemingly small has consumed you. Whatever the reasons, dreary sadness now devours every attempt for you to experience joyfulness, to have a satisfying connection, or to just return to a life of normalcy. In my experience, we all have our own natural biorhythms of lows and highs. Since each of us is a unique individual to a fair degree only we can truly assess the feelings at odds within. To that end, the foundational challenge is to have an understanding of ourselves. By knowing our personal cycles of emotion and past responses we've had, we can at least create an expectation of how we will respond to the latest mini-crisis. Then we can apply coping mechanisms that have worked in the past or try new paths to improve past results. For me, I grew up religious, and there used to be a comfort in having a higher power as a fall back support mechanism. This may still be something you can call upon, though I personally have rejected supernatural beliefs in my life. Regardless, you might find temporary solace in your faith, or perhaps like me just recognizing we all are part of a larger whole, a world with numerous communities can be empowering. Yes, some of these communities may at times be unsupportive and dark, yet some can provide light and hope, enabling us to find a place to start recovery from sadness. Being part of caring, joyful communities can be a boon in a moment of sadness. Reaching out to someone in your network of close friends might provide the listening ear you need. A family member you trust with your despair might share similar feelings, allowing you to commiserate. Maybe a colleague or acquaintance in one of your other circles can aid you in how to approach a setback in your life goals. The very act of sharing itself may provide a venting of the icky inner feelings inside and lead to relief. By sound-boarding not only the challenges, but potential solution paths one can actively begin healing and step back on a path toward satisfying, heartfelt accomplishment, even if in small steps. Sometimes, we may feel like there is no one close enough to talk to, or perhaps close friends and family members may be involved at the core of the stressful situation underway. In this case the neutrality of a professional psychologist or a support hotline may be the best action to pursue. Then again, sometimes you may just need some downtime alone, to recharge, and reassess. This is where knowing yourself comes in handy, knowing that a yoga class or outdoor hike is just what you need to replenish your verve. Maybe sensing that your favorite music playlist or adventure novel will give you the temporary escape you require. Or perhaps, cuddling with your pet in a quiet easy chair is what will help you get through the moment. The answer to coping will always be an individual solution involving one or several of the examples I've noted, and certainly others I have not.

Life is sprinkled with challenges, like raindrops that simply cannot be avoided. Sometimes confronting those raindrops head on will lead us to tiny rainbows of hope. Other times we will get wet and muddy along the way. Nevertheless, by invoking patience, a variety of community support mechanisms and our inner power, a positive path forward frequently can be found!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Chocolate Truffles for the Human Spirit #3

This short story was published as part of Tellables' July 2019 Box of Chocolates stories centered on miracles, or as I spin it, questioning miracles. Box of Chocolates is an Alexa skill you can install to sample monthly short stories narrated by digital, story-telling chocolatiers . If you have an Alexa device, I recommend you give the Box of Chocolates skill a try.

And if you like the idea of writing delicious, super-short stories (100-400 words) by all means check out the Tellables website for story submission guidelines. 



One Stroke Wonder

My father was the son of a confectioner trained in Germany. Indeed, I was inspired to pursue my career in chocolate craft by my grandfather in spirit and my mother in practice. Still, it was my father who inspired me to be a joyful human being. He was a hands down sports nut and even though I was a bit more artsy fartsy we would watch occasional Eagles and Phillies games together. He would whoop and roar like no tomorrow at each touchdown and run scored for the home team. Yet it was when we played a round of golf that we really bonded as father and son.

The golf outing I remember most vividly was a Spring morning at a nine hole golf course called Woody's just outside Philadelphia. We were celebrating my dad's seventieth birthday with our typical one dollar per hole bet. My dad and I may have been just a couple of hackers, but we took very seriously that potential nine dollar windfall. I was up three dollars when the miracle shot occurred.

The miracle drive happened on hole number eight. It was a gorgeous two hundred yard hole blending nature and landscaping. A sparkling pond jutted halfway across the fairway and the tee itself was elevated, providing a fine view of the rolling hillside. It was on this hole my dad would hit a hole-in-one. Having lost sight of his drive in the sun, we combed through the rough and sand traps for his ball for what seemed like an hour. Pulling my head from a bush I heard my dad guffawing at having found his ball in the hole itself. I stood mouth gaping as he danced like a medicine man around a campfire exclaiming "hole-in-one" like a true believer. We would toast that "miracle hole-in-one" over post golf beers for years to come.

Today, once again, it's my dad's birthday and I stand at that very same hole, hole number eight. With stealth that I've possessed since youth I had snuck onto the course from the adjacent neighborhood, having lost my desire to actually play the game once Dad had passed. Still, for the past seven years it's been my personal ritual to come out at dawn to the miracle green at Woody's. With a grin and a chuckle, I drop a ball into the hole, and remember my father's joyous dancing. Odds are good that today someone else will have a miracle shot at hole number eight.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Chocolate Truffles for the Human Spirit #4

This short story was published as part of Tellables' August 2019 Box of Chocolates stories centered on celebrating women. Box of Chocolates is an Alexa skill you can install to sample monthly short stories narrated by digital, story-telling chocolatiers . If you have an Alexa device, I recommend you give the Box of Chocolates skill a try.

And if you like the idea of writing delicious, super-short stories (100-400 words) by all means check out the Tellables website for story submission guidelines. 


Slainte' Sis!

I know many people choose role models that are famous like Sally Ride or Harriet Tubman, but my role model is my sister, Molly Jenkins. And she kicks ass!

Frankly, all women who find themselves on the single-mother route need to become real-life superheroes. In comparison, Wonder Woman had it easy being born into Amazonian wealth. Even with her weaponized wardrobe she wouldn't last a day working in a rural diner. Like many single-mothers my sister holds two jobs in addition to child-rearing, which is a career unto itself. Still, she somehow manages to keep up with payments on her small, fabricated home in a trailer park in Fort Myers.

To say she is a superhero in my book is an understatement, but after Hurricane Irma hit in 2017, she became a goddess in my mind.

Hurricane Irma hit Fort Myers on a Sunday morning a couple years back. Sis had her hurricane kit ready and prepared to wait it out with Aurora, her toddler daughter. She considered evacuating, cause everyone knows a trailer park is a bowling alley just waiting for the weather gods to throw their tantrums at.

Then the hurricane was downgraded late in the week.  So at worst Molly was expecting to lose electricity for a couple days. In the end she opted to wait it out mainly so she wouldn't miss her shift at the Waffle House Monday morning.

Alas, Irma strengthened to Category Four Sunday morning, and the trailer park began to flood. The winds whistled outside as Molly kept an eye on Aurora playing with K'nex inside their double-wide. A shattering crash startled them both and Molly rushed to the door.

Six inches of water slid past the front stoop as Molly gingerly stepped down to assess the situation. The flooding threatened to turn her redneck neighborhood into a flotilla of wannabe arks. A flotsam of recyclables swirled everywhere. Then she spotted her grill knocked over sideways beginning to float away. Molly shook her head then leaped onto her AC unit and managed to lasso the black beast with some clothes-line and secure it to her stoop railing. It was then she noticed the shattered fish tank hung up behind her AC unit. Looking down, she saw her neighbor's red-banded pit viper slither around her ankles.

Never mind that my sister is a superhero and animal lover; she is almost as afraid of snakes as much as I am. As the pit viper wound its way around her sandals, Molly could only stand frozen as wind driven rain whipped by. As the venomous creature climbed her leg in a spiral ascent, she realized it was clearly looking for safety as much as anyone else in this hurricane. Molly held her breath, heart paused at mid-beat, and simply unable to move. Then she heard Aurora behind at the open door call out, Mommy is everything okay?

The thought of her daughter's vulnerability sent a breath into her. Molly willed herself to lean sideways, pushing the trailer door shut to safeguard Aurora and causing her body to deliberately fall into the flowing maelstrom below.

In what seemed like slow motion she fell while reaching down to her thigh and grabbed the viper right behind its neck. Before it had a chance to hiss they both splashed headlong into the swirling, muddy rainwater. The chill shocked her system, but also cooled down the snake's temperature rendering it quite harmless.

Today, my kid sister and fully certified goddess, lives with her daughter in a modest home on the east coast of Florida where she runs her up-and-coming pet care service. In a serpentine helix the words "Nature is cruel, but we don't have to be" now spirals around her arm in wode-blue ink.  As for the pit viper, she donated it to the local nature center where it is cared for to this day. They named it Irma, of course.
















Friday, July 19, 2019

Chocolate Truffles for the Human Spirit #2

This short story was published as part of Tellables' June 2019 Box of Chocolates stories centered on summer romance inspired tales. Box of Chocolates is an Alexa skill you can install to sample monthly short stories narrated by digital, story-telling chocolatiers . If you have an Alexa device, I recommend you give the Box of Chocolates skill a try.

And if you like the idea of writing delicious, super-short stories (100-400 words) by all means check out the Tellables website for story submission guidelines. 



Window Shopping

I was arranging chocolate animal minis when I noticed her window shopping. Her graying, curly hair peaked out from beneath a knitted cap. The curiosity of her demeanor bubbled with youth as she inspected my June display of chocolates. When the half moons of her eyes hove into view with a sweet pinch of a smile, I did a double take.

The year was 1990 and I was in London. Jenevieve was her name, though she went by Vivvy. We were friends in the sixth form a year apart and we had one lukewarm date. By total coincidence, we met again at a King's College cricket match just before my graduation. The summer that followed was all that a young romance could be. We hiked in parks, cooked meals together, read poems to each other, and embraced the sexuality of youth with simmering fervor. I for one had fallen in love.

One conversation on the blower in particular returned to me. It concerned cats. Long before Facebook took feline photos viral we discussed in delicious detail their loving and mysterious, yet scheming natures. I think we talked about nothing else for hours.

Sure enough, though, summer’s end came all too soon and Vivvy returned to university to complete her final year. I heard she moved stateside and never heard from her again.

Until now.

Waking from my reverie I saw the display window was now empty. I went to the door and looked around for the woman I was certain was Vivvy. Alas, no one lingered outside the shop anywhere. Then on the window I saw inscribed in violet lipstick the word “Meow” followed by what I assumed was her number.

With an exhale somewhere between a sigh and a chuckle, I wiped the window clean. Memories of youth held little temptation for a happily married man.