Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Cookiemas, Diamond Dogs

I make a lot of cookies. Like, a lot of cookies. It's one of the few things about the "Christmas season" that I accept scowl-free and with open arms. Cookies every day. Cookies for you. Cookies for me. Especially cookies for me.

my beeeeeeeest everrrrrrrr vegan chocolate cookies, and now you can make them too

I decided to do something nice and relinquish my amazing vegan chewy chocolate cookie recipe. If you've known me in person for longer than a few months, you've probably had them: dark, rich, chewy, banana-y. I've been making these since 2006, when I discovered them one afternoon with my then-boyfriend's sister. They are crazy-good and actually quite easy to make. Click here for the recipe and instructional photos! I hope you love them!

Christmas snowball cookies with chocolate chips

I tried a new recipe last week, slightly modified from here (warning: that site is somewhat...saccharin). I used Earth Balance instead of butter, of course, and omitted the nuts. I hate nuts in cookies, but to be honest, I think these cookies might benefit from them (and/or maybe a drop of almond extract?) They are quite good, though. The cookie itself is not sweet, so the balance of the powdered sugar dusting on the tongue is very nice.

Album of the evening: I recommend playing David Bowie's Diamond Dogs while you bake the cookies from this entry. Did you know that the original back cover art was censored because it depicted David Bowie's lower dog half as having realistic genitalia? Only a few copies with the original art were released. I have the album on vinyl, but with the censored cover. :3

Sunday, December 18, 2011

On Boundaries, Respecting Them, and Generally Not Being an Asshole at Parties

A few years ago, I was at a party where many of the guests decided to play with spray cans of whipped cream—that is, spraying it on each other, licking it off, etc. Since I'm allergic to dairy products, I figured it would be best if my skin did not come into contact with said whipped cream, and very clearly said so. Apparently when I said, "Hey, I'm allergic to milk, so please don't spray any of that on me," one of the guests thought that it would be highly amusing if he did exactly the opposite of what I had just said. In what seemed like slow motion, I watched him reach over to my exposed leg, poised with a can of what is essentially a toxic substance to me. Naturally, I flipped out. When he recoiled, he sneered that he was "just joking", implying that I was overly sensitive and, now, "mean" for yelling at him.

More recently, I was at a party where someone (who annoyed me for multiple reasons, but I'm just going to focus on this incident) was carrying around a craniometer. (Because...that's cute?) I was sitting on a bar stool talking with some friends when this person decided to show off the device and talk about how much ze enjoyed poking people with it. I started very clearly that I did not wish to be poked. Hir immediately reaction was to point the device directly towards my knee. Again, I flipped out, and reiterated that I did not respond well to being poked (especially by strangers, and especially with an old, rusty piece of metal that is probably filthy.)

Most of you know that I spend the majority of my time, energy, and money managing my disease. Weeks (or months) of things going well can be instantly negated by one small thing going wrong—notably, exposure to an allergen or unanticipated injury or stress to my skin. I'd never get mad at someone for accidentally injuring me, and I am certainly not adverse to receiving a variety of physical sensations (with someone I trust, who knows what they're doing) or even occasionally eating something that might give me a slight reaction. The main difference here is that in these cases the damage is done at my own decision, on my own terms, when I have carefully weighed the risks and benefits.

The fact that in both of these examples the offending people irritated me for many, many other reasons is probably not pure coincidence, but their behavior is indicative of a mindset that I fear is too common: "someone told me specifically not to do something, but they can't be serious, so I'm going to do it anyway." In other words, "no doesn't really mean no, and I should do whatever I want all the time." This (along with the usual reaction of "well, I was just joking, you're being mean") is utterly baffling to me. The fact that I have a disease that hangs in careful balance is actually inconsequential to the greater issue here: you need to respect other people's boundaries at all times, no matter how insignificant they may seem to you.

Make it your policy to always ask permission to touch anyone, for any reason, and if you make a mistake (we all do sometimes), do not act like the other person is mean or "no fun" for reinforcing their boundaries. It doesn't matter if I'm splayed out on a rack being prodded by 17 people. If you walk up, you ask before initiating contact, and when you have received your answer—positive or negative—respond in an appropriate fashion. Someone else's boundaries are their own, and notifying you of them is in no way an attack on your character. I firmly believe that this is one of the most basic levels of maturity one must display before interacting with other humans (especially me.)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

5 Magical Unicorn Products

Unicorns. Everyone loves them, right? It seems like everywhere I turn there's a unicorn plastered onto something, usually expelling rainbows from one or more of its orifices. There's nothing at all wrong with that, but like anything popular, one must wade through a sea of crap before one finds quality products featuring said popular thing. Tonight, I braved that sea to bring you these 5 hand-picked unicorn product recommendations, presented in no particular order.

Tezuka Moderno Labo Unico Figurine

The Tezuka Moderno Labo line features extra-cute, slightly chibi-fied versions of Osamu Tezuka's timeless characters. I have the Phoenix from this set, and they're really great quality figures. Who could resist the adorable Unico?

Unicorn Scarf by devoutdolls

Everything about this scarf is adorable. The cute chibi pink unicorn, the rainbow lining, and the unique way its worn. It looks really warm, too!

Unicorn Earmuffs by Zygomatics

As I implied earlier, there's a lot of unicorn junk on Etsy. Most of it is either a rip-off of Tokidoki's unicorn character or something that looks like it was cobbled together by stoned elves, so I was pretty excited/relieved to find this design that is both original and well-made. Kudos to you, Zygomatics!

6%DOKIDOKI Unicorn Earring

I am sorry for showing this to you, I really am. Because, you want it, don't you? Don't try to deny it; I heard your "HNNNNGGGH" from across the internet. Well, you will probably never have it. It's sold out everywhere, and 6%DOKIDOKI doesn't ship outside of Japan anyway. I've never even seen any attempt at a replica (please correct me if I'm wrong?) In the meantime, may I suggest these adorable pink and mint glitter unicorn earrings by StarlightDecoDream to tide you over?

ThinkGeek Unicorn Chopsticks

ThinkGeek carries a lot of interesting unicorn products, but these are by far my favorite. The fact that they stand up straight is really cool. As a side note, why must every Western product photo of chopsticks show them next to a plate of sushi, something you really ought to be eating with your fingers?