Today, I just realized, is the fifth anniversary of one of the best decisions I’ve ever made: becoming a vegetarian (I tried in high school, but failed due to incompetence and weak will).
There are so many better alternatives for nutrition, dudes.
Since I stopped eating meat, I’ve become significantly happier and healthier. I became a vegetarian for environmental reasons, but as the years have gone on I’ve come to an understanding of how blinded to the plight of animals I was when I was chomping their flesh. In the age of fast food, it’s easy to be disassociated from the process of factory farming and slaughter and that disassociation is incredibly important if you’re buying your meat from conventional sources. But now that they can count me as one of their friends and defenders, my relationships with the animals in my life have become much richer. I think they know.
I used to love meat. Right before I stopped eating it, I was in a years-long relationship with a vegetarian and even though I was learning how to prepare and enjoy vegetarian food the whole time I also vehemently defended my eating of animals. Sorry Drew; that was lame. But the lessons I learned sunk in, and perhaps my resistance to vegetarian was more of a resistance to our relationship than anything else. In any event, I became a vegetarian not long after we broke up and it shockingly easy. It seems incredibly foolish that I was once afraid of living without eating animal carcasses.
The final straw was in May of 2009 when my roommate Rand, a wonderful man who comes from New Orleans, had a crawfish boil at our house. Rand had pounds upon pounds of crawfish shipped from New Orleans, a trip that took a couple of days. And while they were packed with ice or whatever, it was inevitable that some of them would die in the journey. When they arrived, I watched my friends sorting through the crawfish and tossing aside the bodies of the ones that didn’t survive the trip… My mind made a juxtaposition; I thought about the slave trade and how that was the first thing that slavers had to do when their ships made it to America — toss aside the bodies of the ones that didn’t make it. What’s the difference?
I thought I’d need to transition slowly, but no. The next time I ate meat it grossed me out and that was that.
Filed under: Human Interest, anniversaries, good decisions, the smiths, vegetarianism
Our second PTP, March 2007
Part Time Punks has a storied history, one that has been significant to me. The club started operating, every Sunday night at the Echo, right around the time that the New Motherfuckers (who became Pizza!) moved into a house on Alvarado Street in Echo Park together. In the early stages of being a band, we would see the club’s ubiquitous black-and-white posters around the neighborhood and talk about how much we wanted to play it. Eventually we worked up the nerve to bring DJs Michael Stock and Benny Shambles a copy of a 5-song demo we’d made, and they invited us to play. When we performed at Part Time Punks for the first time, in October of 2006, we felt like we were beginning to actually do something as a band.
Even though I don’t go to PTP as frequently now as I did in the past, I’ve continued to cherish it. Last year, I got to see the Raincoats thanks to Michael’s excellently curated PTP fest, and I ended up getting to write a review of my heroes as my first published work in LA Record. I’ve also had the honor of playing with Pizza! on Michael’s radio show, and have fond memories of spending long hours hanging out with Ben (who now lives away from Los Angeles, unfortunately) in the kitchen of Tiny Creatures and talking about our mutual love of James’ mid-eighties Village Fire EP. Part Time Punks was also the location of my very worst episode of bad gas: while attending a (terrible) Ariel Pink show in commemoration of PTP’s second anniversary, I was struck by sulfuric farts that rumbled in my belly and pushed out with a vengeance that completely disgusted everyone around me. I fart a lot, so the fact that those farts still stand out in my mind suggests that they were, indeed, epic.
On Sunday, Part Time Punks celebrates its fifth anniversary.
In 2007, Drew and I conducted interviews with Michael and Ben for Tiny Creatures Magazine. Print copies of that thing are probably long gone by now, but I dug up the interviews on my computer and I’m publishing them here:
Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: Events, Features, Human Interest, ariel pink, ben white, benny shambles, echo park, james, michael stock, part time punks, pizza!, punky reggae party, the echo, the new motherfuckers, the raincoats, the smiths, tiny creatures