Dragons, Vegans, and Monsters, oh my!

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(Image above: Vegan A Go-Go from Amazon.com)

Read This: Vegan A Go-Go, Arsenal Pulp Press, 2008

I admit to being a closet cookbook collector. They fill my cupboards and spill out of my pantry, but I can’t help it! That’s one of the reasons I was so impressed with Sarah Kramer‘s latest book, Vegan A Go-Go: A Cookbook and Survival Manual for Vegans on the Road. Tiny enough to slip into your purse, passport holder or back pocket, this portable, durable reference book was designed specifically for taking up as little room as possible! Don’t be fooled by it’s small stature, however – it’s chock full of helpful travel tips for the world-weary vegan, or the carnivore who wants to travel healthy. This mini-sized resource has 150 recipes, all easy to prepare and full of nutrients that will keep you healthy while on the road.  I can’t wait to try the Punk-Kin Pasta or Tomato Soup Spice Cake! Kramer gives some great advice pertinent to vegan travelers, including how to deconstruct a restaurant menu to what food items are best suited to carry around with you. She even tells you how to say “I’m vegan” in various languages!

Where are the monsters and dragons? Keep reading!

But what if you’re not a vegan? I can hear you asking, but let me assure you – although directed towards a vegan audience, this spunky tome is as entertaining as it is meatless. Kramer’s writing style is witty and perky, so it’s an enjoyable read. She’s also keen on design, so the graphics are edgy and punk-chic. Another great reason to pick up this book is Kramer’s fashion sense! ModCloth lovers will appreciate her distinct retro style, and her focus on vintage, 50’s inspired Rockabilly and pin-up dresses, skirts, scarves and accessories. One day, I’d love to talk to her about her wardrobe …there’s a reason she was named ‘The World’s Coolest Vegan’ by Herbivore Magazine!

My only complaint about this book as travel resource is that Kramer fails to list vegan eateries. She does, however, direct the reader to some veggie websites like the awesome HappyCow.net, which will assist the strict herbivore in finding an appropriate restaurant in any part of the globe.

Vegan A Go-Go is the perfect companion to Sarah’s other cookbooks. She is the author of La Dolce Vegan and co-author of How It All Vegan and The Garden of Vegan, which have sold a combined total of over two hundred thousand copies! (And it’s no wonder – they are all filled with Sarah’s enthusiasm and flavorful recipes!) If you’re not one of her devoted followers yet, this is the perfect stepping stone into the animal-friendly Kingdom of Kramer. So, pack your bags, grab your copy of Vegan A Go-Go, and have a tasty trip.

-Molly

(Image above: The Dragon chase from Expresso.com)

This morning, I fought about 20 dragons. Some were red, some blue, and some were big, disgusting silver ones. I was in my little go-cart, racing around the sand dunes, grabbing magic coins and exploding floating reptiles with my awesome powers. Was I dreaming? Nope. I was at the gym. Expresso Fitness has found a way to wed video games with my exercise bike, and it is truly impressive. Their slogan is ‘Cardio Systems that Engage Your Mind,’ and they are not kidding. Yesterday, I biked 11 miles, and I was having so much fun that didn’t even realize it!

You may have already seen those exer-cycles with built-in TV screens that let you pretend to bike through the streets of Paris or the foothills of the Alps. Expresso bikes are different – they actually react. You are part of the action, a character within the scene that can affect the situation you see on the screen. For example, in my dragon chase game, I actually move more quickly towards the dragons when I pedal faster. If the topography gets higher, it instantly becomes harder for me to pedal. I can steer with the interactive handlebars, towards or away from whatever I want! All of this is adjustable, of course, to meet your specific workout-related goals. It’s not just dragons, either. If you like drag racing, dirt biking, outer space, or unicorn-infested fantasy lands, there is a scenario for you. You can create an account, log into the network before you start to ride, and actually compete against other ‘players.’ You could actually be fighting dragons with the guy sweating beside you. This is a new way to exercise, and I’m totally hooked.

If you want to give it a try, Expresso locates the nearest bike to you based on your zip code. I dare you. The dragons dare you.

-M

[Image Above from SonyPictures.com]

Watch This:

Pineapple Express

I know I’m incredibly late on this, but I just saw Pineapple Express for the first time a few nights ago, and it blew me away a little bit. I was expecting it to be pretty funny because Judd Apatow produced it and Seth Rogen stars in it, and Seth Rogen has been unfailingly hilarious, charming, and the apple of my eye since Freaks and Geeks, but it’s one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in years! The movie follows Dale Denton (Rogen), the undercover spy of process servers, who travels with a car full of elaborate costumes to serve his subpoenas. On one of his jobs, he witnesses a murder and makes himself obvious when he hits two cars fleeing the scene and then throws some incriminating evidence out the window. He meets up with Saul (James Franco), and the rest of the film follows the two stoners as they try to evade the drug dealers who want to kill them, and of course, they become best buds along the way!

This movie made me really want to see some of the old 80s buddy comedies that it took its inspiration from, like Midnight Run, 48 Hours, and Running Scared, (especially Midnight Run; I need my Charles Grodin fix!) It also raised this question for me, which I now posit to the Hollywood powers that be: When are we going to see the female take on the buddy comedy? I think the closest we have is Thelma and Louise, but that’s hardly comedic. Maybe something with Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch?

~Alicia

[Image above from Art Capacity-The Art of Theo Ellsworth]

Read This:

Capacity by Theo Ellsworth

I’ve stood idly by for years as friends raved about graphic novels, but I’ve stuck by my stodgy and limiting ideas of what I think I’ll like in literature and continued to prefer my Saul Bellows and Ernest Hemingways to Alan Moores and Art Spiegelmens.  I finally broke my prejudice and took a leap into graphic novel territory with a recommendation from a friend to read Capacity.

Early in the book, Ellsworth tells the story of how he made a promise to himself to complete a comic series of seven issues titled Capacity. These seven stories comprise the novel Capacity, but he also chronicles the struggle that went into completing his goal.  Ellsworth says that “taking what’s inside of me and putting it where I can see it is what will always make my day,” but he also recognizes that this is not always easy.  For everybody out there that does something artistic, I’m sure you sympathize. You want to make time to create every day, but things come up– you decide to watch Lost or go out rather than commit yourself to, in my case, writing. And then you’ve stopped doing it so long, you’re afraid that when you do start again, you’ll face the terrifying realization that you have nothing to say. Ellsworth confronts and disproves this fear consistently  throughout his book by documenting the struggle inherent in the creative process, and he ultimately proves– through the existence of the beautiful book itself–that a little discipline and faith in yourself goes a long way.

In one story, he questions where his unfinished ideas go, and he imagines them living on without him or sitting in some gloomy limbo waiting for someone to finish their story. But for Ellsworth, Capacity is evidence that there is so much finished, a universe of dream-like landscapes and strange creatures–all made alive through his captivating illustrations. I’m not a very visual person, but I found myself stuck for minutes on some pages, examining every bird or star.

He says”I feel like my art is supposed to be able to unlock me and make me free” and this book reminded me that creation grants us the freedom to make the world and ourselves into whatever we want them to be. In Capacity, Ellsworth conquered his own inner monsters, put them on the page, and created a lovely universe that I’ll definitely keep going back to for inspiration!

P.S. I’d love any great graphic novel recommendations! I’m hooked!

(A)

6 Responses to Dragons, Vegans, and Monsters, oh my!

  1. Natalie 03/06/2009 at 4:00 pm #

    As for graphic novels, you should read Blankets if you haven’t yet.

  2. Kate 03/06/2009 at 6:33 pm #

    Ooh, in terms of graphic novels, read Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.

  3. sarah 03/06/2009 at 10:23 pm #

    Thanks for the shout out!! I’m thrilled to hear you are enjoying the book.
    I just wanted to mention, I do list my top 5 restaurants on page 35 of the book. :)

    It would have been impossible to list all the fabulous vegan eatery’s across the world. Firstly, because the book would be bigger and heavier then the bible. And secondly because restaurants come and go so quickly … that’s why I direct the reader to HappyCow.net or VegDining.com for up to date listings.

    Thanks for all the love!
    SMOOCHES!
    xoxo
    SARAH

  4. Kate 03/07/2009 at 2:40 pm #

    Ooh, in terms of graphic novels, read Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.
    PS: Forgot to say good post!

  5. Christine 03/07/2009 at 4:43 pm #

    I’m sure you’ve probably heard the buzz, but Watchmen has been long considered the greatest graphic novel of all time. And trust me, it deserves the title! I would suggest reading it before you see the movie, though. And really, anything by Alan Moore is good. You should read him!

  6. Holly 03/08/2009 at 1:45 pm #

    I like Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

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