AR2006 day 4: sunday

i received a voicemail early sunday morning from an adorably
chipper jen. “hi, it’s 7.55am and i’m just wondering where everyone is!” i
almost died from the cuteness. i missed her call, but eventually i hooked up
with her after i got to the hotel. yay jen! 

before heading to the conference for the day, though, anne
wanted to take me to the farmer’s market dealie near her house. i am totally
spacing on the name… perhaps the eastern market? in any case, the whole fam
headed over there (i ate a sticky fingers chocolate chip cookie on the way) and
it was a lot of fun! i tried my first actual (non-yogurt, non-smoothie) peach,
which was pretty exciting for me. i had two pieces of regular ol’ peach, and
then one piece of a white peach, and then since i was feeling so terribly
brave, i also tried a nectarine, which i REALLY liked. yay! i’m a big girl! the
market is really big—there’s art and music and jewelry and all kinds of great
stuff in addition to produce and flowers—so we spent some time just browsing
around. i bought a gorgeous necklace; a charm of a pressed leaf in between glass. after we were done there, my sweetest hosts evah trucked me over
to the hotel again. 

as soon as i got there, i set about finding isa (again) and
jen. isa originally said she was hoping to spend the night saturday and be at
the conference sunday, so i kept my fingers crossed. i wandered into the
exhibit hall, and i found jen almost right away—score! we were both kind of hungry,
so we decided to get some lunch and head outside to eat on the grass. what did
we get? all together now… grilled chreese sandwiches! heh. we sat and talked
for awhile on the lawn, and it was just wonderful. all of the people i met from
VRF were like old friends! jen and i both had panels we wanted to attend at
1.30pm, so we finished up our conversation and headed back in. somewhere in
there, we bumped into josh and i asked him about isa. he said, “oh! she was
here last night looking for you! and she was here this morning too, looking for
you again, but she left.” i was all “crap!!” and he was all, “eh, she wasn’t at
her best anyway.” heh. i was really sad to have missed isa, but i suppose
there’s always a next time. 

before i went to the afternoon panels, i had to swing by the
sticky fingers table to buy a treat i hadn’t had room for on saturday: a little
devil
. holy cow, was that ever worth it! the cake, the filling, and the icing
were all perfect, and it was so enormous i had to squish it down to eat it, as
if it were a giant sandwich. YUM. 

at 1.30pm i attended a panel on effective tactics for
agriculture, which was a nice overview of ideas for ending abuse of animals
used for food. it strayed a little off-topic at times (that is to say, i wish
it had been a little more “applied” in its focus), but it was great to see
elliot katz, bruce friedrich, and richard schwartz speak. richard schwartz
shared his idea to set a goal and a timetable—his is to create a more
vegan-conscious world by 2010—in order to keep us focused and on track at all
times. i like his idea, and i think it would be neat to see lots of
organizations get on board with it. having a specific goal is always helpful
when your task seems overwhelming and daunting, isn’t it? 

i stayed in the same room for the next panel, “what price
animal liberation?” this was a rap session facilitated by cat clyne, and it was
really great. there were lots of good points, lots of great discussion, and i
wish it could have gone on longer than an hour. we (well, they) talked about
when we should sacrifce; how much we should sacrifice; when we might actually
be acting in counter-productive ways; etc. i was particularly impressed by lawrence
carter-long (satya) and jenny brown (woodstock farm animal sanctuary), but in
general this was just a great session. during this panel i also realized i was
in the same room with gary (of animal writings), which made me very excited. i’ve been dying to meet him,
but i waited until afterward to pester him. oh, and after this panel was over
(in between this and the next one, which i also stayed for), a small discussion
started up near me involving a few strangers and gary. i noticed that one
person who came over to listen (but never spoke) was jerry vlasak. i consider
him to be kind of “famous,” so that was interesting/exicting. i’m kind of a
gawker that way.

the next panel in that room was called “which movement
priorities?” and was another rap session, this time facilitated by karen dawn.
i was pretty psyched to see her speak, too, because i get emails from her every
day. i think she’s really amazing, and she was great in this panel too. lawrence carter-long
stuck around for this panel, and bruce friedrich and sean day both showed up
for it too. there were lots of topics covered during the hour: welfare vs.
abolition, which animals do we prioritize?, aggressive vs. mild tactics, and so
on. we (they) talked about PeTA giving an award for a humane mouse trap, and
the animal welfare act, and property destruction, and all kinds of stuff. as
with the plenary on friday evening, i was quite interested in (and impressed
by) the debate on welfare vs. abolition. bruce and sean reprised their roles,
but there was “audience participation” this time, too. as bruce put it,
ignoring welfare in favor of abolition almost seems like “selling out” the
current animals who ARE being abused and killed in order to work for a
hypothetical future situation. as they were on friday, bruce and sean were
incredibly polite, repsectful, and professional, even though they were also
quite passionate. it was refreshing to see, and i truly relished the
opportunity to witness this civility when the online wars about this have often
been anything but. as you may have figured out by now, this was yet another
panel that i really wished could have been longer than one hour—and karen did
an awesome job of facilitating, with so many topics of interest on the table.

after this panel i got a chance to talk to gary, which was great, and as it turned out,
he was planning to meet some people from the veganfreak forums, so i
accompanied him to meet them too. yay! it was just so wonderful to meet people
who i only “knew” online before; and they all turned out to be great people. we
all wandered together to the exhibit hall and harrassed josh some more (poor kid!),
and then after awhile i found katelin and jen so we could take a picture
together outside (gary served as photographer, although now i’m smacking my
head because i never got a picture with him! i was terribly disorganized about
pictures the entire weekend; it’s a wonder i got any at all. hmph.). we chatted
some more, until everyone had to get a move on and head for home. gary and i
hung on for awhile, because he was planning to go to that evening’s closing
plenary and awards ceremony. it was really nice to get a chance to hang out
with him; i admire and respect him a great deal.

i hadn’t paid to go to that evening’s banquet, so i called
anne and told her i was ready whenever she was. we decided we’d just pick up
some dinner on the way home and she said she was on her way. i decided to be a
total celebrity dork once again, and i went downstairs to see if i might run
across moby in the hallway (he was being honored at the awards ceremony). heh.
when i got outside the room the banquet was in, i found myself basically
staring right at the back of his head, and i got the giggles. at the last
moment i remembered my camera and decided i’d take a picture. i am such a
moron, honestly. but hey, it’s proof! i saw moby! when anne picked me up i
showed her the picture and she agreed; even though you can’t see his face, it
is undeniably moby. awesome. 

as i was heading out to wait in the parking lot, i bumped
into josh once more, which was great. we hung out and joked around and made BFF
memories and all that mushy stuff. anne arrived and we went to cosi on the way
home (it was my first visit to cosi, but I really liked the hummus sammich and
smoothie that i bought), then sat around all night chatting. i loved being with
her; it was the perfect complement to my conferencing. she’s such a sympathetic
and wonderful friend. :hearty hearts for anne: 

i feel like i’ve missed important things here and there in
these recaps, but hopefully i’ve given the gist of everything. i absolutely
LOVED meeting my “online friends” in person—it was so fabulous—and the panels i
went to were really good the exhibition hall was really great, too, and i
didn’t spend all that much time talking about it… but it was a fantastic
opportunity to learn about various organizations and chat with all kinds of
people you wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to meet. oh! that reminds me. i
mentioned in an earlier post that there would be more about dan piraro later. i
suppose now is the time, although i’ll say in advance that i totally embarrassed
myself. 

i was visiting the woodstock
farm animal sanctuary
table on sunday afternoon because i really wanted to
support them by buying a t-shirt. i had heard jenny brown’s interview on the
veganfreak podcast awhile back, and she just seems so wonderful. then i saw her
speak at a couple of different panels at the conference, and she’s really
great. dan piraro is on the board of directors for her sanctuary, so he was
selling his book at their table, and on this particular afternoon they were both
at the table when i came by to get my t-shirt. well, because i had limited cash
on me (and i wanted to buy everything i saw, practically), i was always asking
about whether various organizations were equipped to take credit cards. when i
asked jenny, she said that the table next to them had offered use of their
machine, but cash was probably easiest… at which point dan jumped in and said
that they would accept bartering. at which point i offered makeouts. yes, you
heard me. makeouts. sometimes i just can’t help myself. i’m an idiot. one of
them asked me which of the two of them would be the recipient of said makeouts,
and i compounded the embarrassment by saying that they were both pretty
adorable, so. 

i can’t even believe i’m admitting i did that. consider it a
gift. 

ANYWAY (hey look over there!) i really loved the conference.
i’d totally go again (it’s in LA next year), and i’d love to round up more and
more friends to go with me. translation: start saving now, people! hee. but in
all seriousness (i said this in an earlier post but it bears repeating), i
can’t even describe how amazing it was to be among hundreds of people who think
like i do. it was so relaxing and uplifting to know that i’m not alone, because
i do feel kind of “alone” in this respect during most of my day-to-day life. it
can be a little–i don’t know, exhausting?–to be vegan among a social network of omnivores,
even if they’re polite and sympathetic omnivores. i can spend a good amount of
time feeling confused (or even sad) that people don’t “get it” or “get me” or
whatever, and there was none of that during the four days i spent at the
conference. it was really rejuvenating and it was quite apparent that we can
make a difference. i recommend going to a conference like this no matter what,
but especially if you don’t really have an “in-person” vegan support network.
it gave me lots of warm fuzzies.

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14 comments

  1. I can’t believe you’ve never had a peach OR a nectarine before. I read that sentence over and over again, expecting to find out that I had misread it. Well, I’m glad you finally got to eat them, because they are killer!

  2. I’ve really enjoyed reading your experience at AR2006. Better late than never, right? Made me smile a lot!
    So, where are all the pictures you took? Let’s see ’em!

  3. sarah–i know, it’s crazy. you’re not the first person to be totally baffled… there’s a posting on here somewhere about yogurt where i first came out of the non-peach closet. heh.
    eric–i’m glad you enjoyed it! you were my inspiration after all. 😉 all the pictures i took. hmmm, let’s see. well, i suck, so i took a grand total of four pictures at the conference. here they are, hang on to your hat!
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/veganchai/tags/ar2006/

  4. wow! this was so long i don’t know where to start! um, let’s see.
    1. yes, hearty hearts for anne!
    2. glad you finally had peaches and nectarines! aren’t they loverly? a farmer’s market was a good place for your first tasting. 🙂
    3. i want a sticky fingers strawberry shortcake so bad!
    4. so you never found isa? 😦
    5. makeouts! ha! you’re so bold!
    6. do you have a pic of your new flower necklace?

  5. great blog series. i’ll meet you in LA in 2007, if not sooner (like Thanksgiving in Chico????).
    i don’t think an LA event will offer quite the range of desserts as the DC event, though, unless the bakers do their bakin’ in an LA kitchen. I don’t think there are any dedicated vegan bakers in LA. Plenty of dedicated restaurateurs, but no dessert specialists.

  6. bird–ever since the farmer’s market, peaches and nectarines have been included in practically every smoothie we’ve made. YUMMY. and no, i never found isa. evidently she was there only during the “i left early for once, and i arrived late for once” timeslot. crappers. i don’t have a picture of the new necklace yet, but when i do i will flickr it.
    quagga–sounds good! i’d love to make something happen next year… and i still have my fingers crossed for thanksgiving!
    K–thanks so much. 🙂

  7. To all the vegan chai fans: It was my privilege and honor to meet girl least likely to (GLLT). She’s just how she is in print: unpretentious, down home, the real deal. And with a good dose of self-depricating wit.
    But perhaps this better illustrates her character: As we were talking after the main conference sessions (it felt like we were catching up on old times even though we had never met!), we saw a bird near us who was walking slowly but not flying. GLLT showed concern for the bird and talked to her gently, expressing a desire that the bird was all right. Then and there the bird rose up in flight, and made a graceful arc across the lake in back of the hotel, as if to reassure GLLT, and to show appreciation.
    The bird speaks for me, too. It is such a pleasure to know someone so genuine and caring. I hope I’ll have other chances to meet her in the future. (Yes, I’m saving up.)

  8. I just confirmed that the bread at Cosi still isn’t vegan… Here’s the ingredient list that Cosi sent me…
    Below are the ingredients for our bread
    Flour – Wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, potassium
    bromate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid
    Spice – Salt, nonfat dry milk, active dry yeast, soybean oil
    Mixed Grains – rye flakes, wheat flakes, oat flakes, flax seeds, millet, sesame seeds
    The nonfat dry milk (a spice?) kills this for me. Ugh.

  9. I just confirmed that the bread at Cosi still isn’t vegan… Here’s the ingredient list that Cosi sent me…
    Below are the ingredients for our bread
    Flour – Wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, potassium
    bromate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid
    Spice – Salt, nonfat dry milk, active dry yeast, soybean oil
    Mixed Grains – rye flakes, wheat flakes, oat flakes, flax seeds, millet, sesame seeds
    The nonfat dry milk (a spice?) kills this for me. Ugh.

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