Free electronics recycling Jan 10 (plus cardboard and Christmas trees)

Mulch your dead Christmas tree, recycle your cardboard, and get rid of old electronics without sending them to the landfill or paying someone to take them on January 10 from 10-2 at four Indianapolis parks: Broad Ripple, Ellenberger, Garfield, and Krannert. As usual this is poorly advertised but if you happen to be on the right email lists you find out about these things. The event did make it in electric bills but for some reason is not advertised on the city government website that is sponsoring it… good job SustainIndy! There is a lovely flyer about the event here, complete with typos.

Note that some electronics (like computers and cell phones) can be recycled at ToxDrop/eCycle on all their scheduled days (every week). I get the sense that this park event will allow other electronics, or at least I hope so since the vampire microwave needs a place to go. TVs up to 27″ will be accepted at this event.

Seitan done right

I got this awesome deal through Restaurant.com that gave me $70 worth of restaurant gift cards for about $3.50. The place we tried to go with a gift certificate was closed today, so Plan B was to try Sesame Chinese restaurant. I had read on a local blog or comments or something that they had good veggie options, and since Chinese food has been boring since I went veg (it’s often hard to talk to servers about what’s actually in the dishes, so I mostly get fried rice), I was looking forward to trying this place.

It looked like a hole in the wall and not any more special than a Chinese joint on our side of town. The menu didn’t seem very different either. But since I knew to ask about other options from the reviews I’d seen online, I ended up with broccoli & beef made with seitan instead and it was great!! Our only experience with seitan at home was a disaster, but this had great texture, was cut to be the same as the beef you might get in the normal dish, and tasted just like the Chinese food I had been missing the past couple of years. Not only that, but the vegetable roll and pot stickers were the best I’d ever had, and the service was great. David had a spicy garlic eggplant dish which was also very good, but still was squishy enough (the curse of eggplant) that I was glad I chose something else.

sesame

I scanned their takeout menu for y’all. Any of the beef dishes can be made vegetarian like I had it! There’s also a nice selection of other veggie dishes (plus all the normal stuff you omnis want). Check out Sesame at 86th & Ditch in Indy.
Sesame Chinese restaurant menu

Amazon hates the earth?

I wrote this almost a month ago and never finished it:

Note to Amazon: did you REALLY need that much packaging for a kitchen utensil?

And then this week we received:
bigbox
We actually received an empty computer tower in its own box, which was then packed in this giant box with all that paper, but this approximates the size of the contents. Why can’t Amazon slap a label on the box the product already came in?! There’s no need for a second box big enough to mail my collie. (She wouldn’t pose, btw.)

Then I tried to recycle the giant box. It’s too big to put in our curbside container (95 gallons!) without a lot of boxcutting, so I flattened it and stopped by the public dropoff:
recyclingbins
Alas, no room at the inn. At first I was mad at my fellow citizens for leaving all the extra boxes outside the full bins (and note the extra bags in the background at the green glass/plastic/metal recycling bins), causing them to become trash, but then I realized that some people are actually trying to recycle and this stupid city just can’t get its act together to allow us to do it. I can’t tell you how many times I have made multiple trips to this dropoff site because it was full. That’s why I now PAY for curbside recycling.

Back to Amazon. I’ve mentioned this problem before. Not that I expect anyone to read all of these, but if you’re interested, others have my same complaint and similar pictures:

http://www.adamreeve.com/2007/09/14/amazon-packaging-is-nuts/

http://gruntdoc.com/2008/03/great-moments-in-amazon-packaging.html

http://www.goodexperience.com/tib/archives/2007/04/amazon_packagin.html

http://www.amazon.com/gp/forum/cd/discussion.html?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx20DX5GEB7TUX8&cdThread=Tx3BW1ZDW8NRT69

http://www.mattazuma.com/2008/11/amazon-packaging-excesses.html

http://blogs.forbes.com/digitaldownload/2008/09/amazon-packagin.html

http://pinstripebindi.wordpress.com/2008/09/23/amazon-packaging-fail/

http://getsatisfaction.com/amazon/topics/why_does_amazon_use_so_much_packaging

http://www.sustainableisgood.com/blog/2008/08/amazon2.html

But wait! Is there hope?
http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/11/20/amazon-debuts-frustration-free-packaging/

I guess our computer case and strainer are not among the 19 whole products that don’t get double-boxed.

Vegetarian haggis

Well, I had to try it just because it was there. I’ve never had real haggis so I don’t know how it compares, but it was very seasoned and very comfort food-y. You can try your own (or the real version) at MacNiven’s on Mass Ave in Indy. Sorry for the dim camera phone picture. Unlike a European establishment, they WILL kick you out when you finish eating and other people want a table.

Vegetarian Haggis, Neeps & Tatties
Kidney beans, lentils, mushrooms, onions, neeps, peanuts, almonds, walnuts & oats make up this version, served with mashed potatoes & sweet neeps.

They don’t seem to have a real web page with menu (and prices are dated based on what I paid) but if you want to go to their myspace page with annoying autoplay music, be my guest.

This week I also tried the new Siam Square in Fountain Square. They have lots of veggie options! We had spring rolls, veggie tempura, eggplant chicken (but w/tofu), red curry, and coconut chicken soup (again subbing tofu). The appetizers were just good but the soup and main dishes were worth coming back. The ambiance was weird since we were in the overflow upstairs seating, but overall it’s a hip casual vibe and it was crowded on a Saturday evening. The downer for me was when the server guy threw a glass beer bottle in the trash. It’s not like those are hard to recycle.


One wonders if these guys really have no Ns when they obviously have three Vs.

Coming soon: I saw the BEST giant sign typo tonight! I have to go back for a picture later. I know you’re on the edge of your office chairs.

Also: It’s COLD!
Hey, how cold is it?
It’s so cold we had dinner with a bunch of Canadians tonight and THEY thought it was way too cold!
Meanwhile I didn’t know they said pasta as (living-in-the-)pas-tuh.

Dollars and lives

Some news recently in the world of pets, both from pet stores and shelters.

Petco announced they will no longer sell rabbits! This is great news, especially for those of us working hard to clean up the messes the impulse buys in pet stores often cause. IHRS as an organization effectively stopped the sale of baby rabbits in nine Indiana Petco stores in the last few years by instituting an adoption program instead, but now the entire chain is going purpose-bred-bunny-free and doing adoptions instead. Thanks, Petco!

Meanwhile the Humane Society of the United States exposed Petland as the nation’s largest retail supporter of puppy mills after an eight month investigation. Yep, we have one of their chain stores right up the road in Carmel. What appalled me more is Petland’s response: We have high standards and you shouldn’t listen to the HSUS because they are extremist. No promise to look into it, no proof that puppy care is good, just refusing to discuss the issue because they don’t like the messenger. Of course that initial response no longer appears to be on their website, but what they put up instead just digs into HSUS again, touts their own “charity programs,” and still doesn’t promise to do anything about the issue. Bottom line: why would you shop with a retailer who sells dogs when there are so many dying in shelters?

In what seems like good news for the Humane Society of Indianapolis (not affiliated with HSUS mentioned above), their new director of ops has a background with some really good local animal welfare organizations like SNSI and they’re talking low cost spay neuter. THAT’S what we need! Let’s see how it all plays out.

Dear HSI Friends,

I’m pleased to let you know about the newest addition to the Humane Society of Indianapolis team, Christine Jeschke. Christine will soon join HSI as director of operations. She will oversee all operations of the shelter, including the wellness center, and will help HSI jumpstart our foray into low-cost spay/neuter services.

Christine joins us as both an accomplished professional and a highly respected member of the animal-welfare community. She’s currently vice president of human resources at Indiana-based Liquid Transport Corp. She also serves as president of Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana, Inc., a nonprofit that sponsors low-cost spay/neuter programs. Prior to becoming president, she served as the group’s treasurer for four years.

[picture] Christine has volunteered in many capacities for Indianapolis-based animal-welfare groups Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership, Move to Act, and Indy Pit Crew. She’s the proud pet parent of four dogs and four cats, all adopted or rescued. (That’s Christine with Otis, rescued from Animal Care and Control/ARPO, and Chaucer, adopted from HSI as a puppy.)

Christine’s knowledge of and passion for animal welfare is invaluable to us, and I hope you share my enthusiasm when I say I could not be more excited to have her on the team.

Best regards,
John Aleshire, Executive Director
Humane Society of Indianapolis

(from an email I received this week)

This seems like a healthy response to the many in the community who have been disappointed with HSI’s operations in the last few months and years. I hope to be working positively with them again soon!

A fine line between crazy and whatever else it is

This summer while walking the dogs, a neighbor down the block came out of her house to ask about Casper’s breed. She then went on and on in one of those inextricable conversations that covered everything from her dogs (there’s quite an assortment of them, but they seem well-behaved and well cared for) to her sister who grooms dogs to her art studio in the basement to her boyfriend RJ, their relationship self-described as “on and off.” We also heard all about the time she went to Wishard (local hospital generally known for taking in all the riffraff and uninsured cases) and they thought she was nuts and put her in the mental ward and about the police screwing her in some investigation and a bunch of other stuff that you normally might only share with your best friend, not neighbors you met for the first time. She also had the most enormous, un-contained breasts imaginable, and while this isn’t a feature that normally draws my attention, the bralessness made it unavoidable.

So we pretty much call her Crazy Big Boob Susan, which isn’t the nicest thing ever, but I’m probably known as the Crazy Rabbit Girl so maybe it’s even. Living on small lots in the older part of the city has been pretty entertaining.

A few times we’ve gone by Susan’s house and seen painted signs of rants about something RJ’s done. She’ll put her grievances in art and prop them up in the driveway or on a vehicle. A few days ago there were police cars in the vicinity, and yesterday we found a new batch of signs, these just hand-written, taped to the exterior of a car. Today the signs have been moved inside the car but are still there. The one in the windshield is something about RJ Stole My Phone and Took My Money, and you can peruse the others here.

Some of the fine print includes “Hero, In Jail,” a heart with “Steve Fred Love RJ,” and “Not Bipolar / Not Suicidal / Just Hate Men.” It’s all very bizarre. Since the police are already involved I’m not worried that I should be calling someone about her immediate safety, but I’m not sure what the signs are supposed to do.

I guess we’ll have to ask the nosy neighbor across the street for the scoop.

Thinking of others in the holiday season

As a diary of sorts, I feel I should be able to rant on discuss any topic of interest to me, but I’m also sensitive to how my opinions (however strongly held) may differ from readers’, and that my opinions do evolve. I’m going to talk briefly about turkeys at Thanksgiving because it’s not something I’ve ever heard about until I went looking for the information, and while this may only be my third Thanksgiving NOT eating turkey flesh, it’s nonetheless important to me and I hope will not be taken as a strictly holier-than-thou entry (which I don’t intend any of them to be, but I’m not sure I’m successful in getting that across sometimes).

This year I decided to adopt a turkey, sort of in an effort to atone for the turkeys that would be purchased to eat at the work and family functions I will attend, and because it makes me feel good to donate to causes that make life better for animals. This is Apollo, who lives at Farm Sanctuary in New York:

Lacking the facilities to physically adopt animals saved from factory farming, I am really just sponsoring him. Maybe someday I will be able to do more, but the foster rabbits will have to do for now. I did get to meet some cool turkeys during a rabbit rescue last year.

While I was at Farm Sanctuary’s website, I found these (all pictures/italicized captions belong to them):


Bred to grow unnaturally quickly, factory-farmed turkeys suffer crippling leg injuries and often die stuck in the excrement that covers the warehouse floor.


Hanging upside down and shackled by their feet, turkeys enter the slaughterhouse.
(The Humane Slaughter Act does not apply to poultry or rabbits, which means they do not have to be rendered unconscious before killing them.)


(Celebration FOR the Turkeys at Farm Sanctuary)

I wish I didn’t feel like I had to apologize for being vegetarian, but an awful lot of people go on the defensive when they find out I am. Or they demand to know if I consume dairy/eggs, somehow looking for a loophole in my sincerity that excuses them from having to think about their own hypocrisy. Nope, I’m not perfect. I still have some leather shoes and I still buy a few eggs (I go out of my way to find free range eggs, but there are plenty of reasons why that’s “not enough”). On the other hand, once I thought about my reasons for eating meat, I decided it wasn’t acceptable for a being to have to die for my lunch. It just didn’t make sense to me. So that’s when I started figuring out where to draw my new line, and it still moves a little as I consider more data (no, it does not move such that I eat any meat or other foods that require someone to die).

Honestly, I haven’t watched the horrible videos that are supposedly out there about slaughterhouses and factory farms. I already know it’s terrible and would make me cry. But I have read enough and seen a few pictures; they make me look for alternatives, whether that’s me eating a fake turkey product at Thanksgiving, or encouraging a meat-eater to find a humanely-raised and slaughtered turkey for themselves. Did you know Californians just passed Proposition 2? It wasn’t just a bunch of vegetarians voting for this:

This law phases out some of the most restrictive confinement systems used by factory farms – gestation crates for breeding pigs, veal crates for calves and battery cages for egg laying hens – affecting 20 million farm animals in the state by simply granting them space to stand up, stretch their limbs, turn around and lie down comfortably

That’s AWESOME. I would like to have an audience that can share in those victories with me, even if we don’t practice the same eating habits. Perhaps they will make small changes in their shopping habits. One step at a time, people… just switching from regular eggs to ones marked “cage free” may not be all fun and games for the hens, but you won’t be supporting battery cage use, and that’s an EASY change at your same grocery store.

On the same day I sponsored Apollo, I also gave to Critter Corral guinea pig rescue, Wheeler Mission (which is uncharacteristically churchy of me, but they are doing great work with the homeless and hungry in our city), and Gleaners Food Bank, which runs nine food banks that distribute food products to 400 central Indiana hunger charities. I tend to identify with animal needs more, perhaps because they really have no voice except the one we provide on their behalf, but I am saddened by my neighbors not having enough to eat. I think I lack the constitution to make myself face the situation in a shelter (though I hope to “evolve” here too), so I choose to donate money instead. The downturn in the economy only means more trouble for those struggling in poverty in the first place.

Give where your heart is this season!

Now I hate them too

Day Off #2, and I had plans to paint the porch trim, but a few errands cropped up first.

After the pup and I took a ride to pick up my bike at the shop, I got a call from a bunny friend who was fostering a sick rabbit for a southern Indiana shelter. The rabbit has some lameness in one leg, drains in the other leg, sore hocks, and who knows what all, requiring an easy-entry special kind of litterbox I happened to have and not need. So, I took the litterbox to my friend, and picked up some hay and a dog crate while I was there.

My friend lives near a health food store that carries a few weird items I can’t find elsewhere, so to make the trip to the NW side even more efficient, I decided to go there. I’ve been to Georgetown Market at least ten times but for some reason I couldn’t find it today. My travels spiraled downward from there so I drew you a helpful map.

Red line: I traveled west/north to my friend’s house, where you see the red bunny. Note the attempted accuracy at using the correct exit ramps in my travel line.

Pink line: I try to drive from the bunny to the market, represented by a Quorn Turk’y Roast, which I bought for my Thanksgiving dinner. Remind me to tell you later about the turkey I adopted. Anyway, the Jeep now has hay in it, so I used Google images to find a representative picture by searching “jeep hay.” I got a picture of Hilary and Haylie Duff and their floofy dog doing some contest that Jeep sponsored, so that’s why you see them on I-65.

While I was unsure of how to find Georgetown Market from this direction, it is helpfully named after THE ROAD IT’S ON, so I turn left on Georgetown Road. I had a sense this was the wrong direction but to the right is a mall and no more road, so left it was. You will then see where I turned around at a liquor store because I could tell this was NOT the right way. I even checked my map at the liquor store but it also showed Georgetown ending at the mall. The map only cares about the part that goes to the Motor Speedway, I guess (note blue arrow pointing to the IMS, next to Danica Patrick making the sport respectable for other female drivers).

Light blue line: Now I’m heading back north (sorry that I’ve obscured the map’s “Georgetown Road” label with my pink and blue lines, but trust me, it’s the right road), and I decide to turn left on Lafayette, where you see the pink/blue/brown lines cross. I realize right about this time that there is a yummy Indian restaurant straight ahead (noted by the samosa) and it’s lunchtime, but I’m in the wrong lane. Surely I can stop back later, right?

The light blue line now stops at Rick James, because I notice there is an AT&T wireless store next to the market (yes, I’ve found it! Georgetown Road picks up again up here) and my cell battery likes to die after about ten minutes of conversation. I tell myself I’ll just price check here since cell stores tend to be a ripoff, and I chat with David on the dying phone about my plan. He says, “I hate cellular stores.” After signing a list in the store and after all the people ahead of me on the list have been helped, a salesperson gets to me.
Me: I need a battery for an LG CU500.
Her: We don’t carry those phones.
Me: I bought it from you.
Her: We haven’t had those in at least two years.
Note I haven’t had my phone nearly that long, but I do get a nice tip about a Batteries Plus store. I desperately ask for directions given my earlier problem finding the market, and find out it’s on Lafayette near WalMart, which I know is nearby, but she couldn’t tell me where to turn out of the store, so I will have to wing it. Then I call David and say, “Now I hate them too.”
(Regarding Rick James: That came up when I Googled for “AT&T b*tch”)

I walk next door to Georgetown Market where I buy things like organic carrots with the tops (the bunnies and piggies love those), no-beef-beef-bouillon, the aforementioned Turk’y Roast, rice noodles, etc. They don’t have harissa, which is in a recipe my magazine swears is easy to find at places like this. I’m still not quite sure what harissa is but it will probably involve a trip to the International Market, shown by the pretty bird. I put that in my head for another day because finding anything at the International Market requires a tour guide who speaks seven languages. I at least need to know what part of the world harissa comes from, and while I thought it might be Egyptian, this was not the day to get lost over there. Besides, I know there’s an Egyptian market nearby too! (See the camel.)

While at Georgetown Market I also have curried roasted vegetables from their hot bar, and it’s so good I’m going to find a recipe for it. It would be great with the turk’y!

Green line: Now I’m on a mission to find Batteries Plus. Watch the green line where I turn completely the wrong way, north, and end up on 56th Street, then come back down Lafayette. I see WalMart and figure the battery place might be in the outlot shops, but after driving around (see the circle around the second Hillary’s head), I discover it’s not here.

Now heading back down Lafayette, there it is! Except it’s not accessible due to a median. So I turn at the next possible spot, which is, oh, right in front of Georgetown Market at a furniture rental/clearance place. See the office chair made from a B-52 ejector seat. I decide to stop in and look for a used office chair, and the only ones that meet my ergonomic needs are used $600 Herman Miller chairs. Chairless, I get back in the car.

Blue line (not the Danica one): I finally get to Batteries Plus, where I pay $37 for an off-brand battery.

Brown line: Thanks to the median again, I have to turn around somewhere weird where I see a Mike-n-Ike car. Note WalMart in the background. I guess Hillary’s head is obscured by that utility pole.

In the interest of map accuracy, WalMart Hillary and the giant battery are actually on the east side of that street, but I ran out of room on my map where the ejector seat is. You probably shouldn’t get directions from me anyway.

I follow the brown line home, where I find an off-brand cell battery at Amazon.com for less than $9 with shipping. Along the way I call my mom to complain about her generation’s music because “Yummy yummy yummy I’ve got love in my tummy” comes on the radio, but she doesn’t answer.

Lessons learned: If I had an iPhone, I could have looked up Google Maps in the car and saved all that time and fuel. Better urban planning would have helped too. Heck, with an iPhone I wouldn’t need to go to the cell store because I could look online for the prices, get the phone number for Batteries Plus, find out what harissa is, etc. Meanwhile this entry took so long my wireless mouse’s batteries died in the middle.

I did get an hour of painting in before dark!

Eastside pub crawl

This weekend we attended a Halloween pub crawl on East Washington Street to benefit NESCO, an org to promote/preserve history for the east side of Indy (we live in Irvington, a historic district about a block from their eastern boundary, but we share an interest in east side happenings). Our friend George organized it and has been part of the event for several years. We went to Zonie’s, Golden Ace, the Liederkranz, Butler Inn, and the Catalina; there were two staggered groups and a bus transported us to each bar. It was a lot of fun, but the Catalina had some seriously creepy locals. We had to circle the wagons a few times, and while I haven’t been out to dive bars in awhile, my women’s college training kicked in quickly and we kept track of each other closely during bathroom trips and such. The only semi-creepy guy on our bus was Indiana Jones, so we helped our single friends avoid his boob grabbing and (sometimes successful) attempts at making out with others on the bus. At the end of the night we went back to Zonie’s where we stayed for part of the drag show.


Boarding the bus, just like elementary school!


Goth girl helps Ashley Todd reapply the B scratched in her face. (Ashley/George organized our trip)


Choir at the Liederkranz, a German-language singing club. This place reminded me of going to Belgian Club with Dad when I was a kid. They served us dinner, and while our organizer helpfully arranged for them to have a non-meat soup available for me, everyone else had eaten it before I got to the serving line! I had a hotdog bun, coffee cake, and bundt cake for dinner. (We hit Steak-n-Shake after it was all over to supplement my remaining alcoholic dinner.)


Ms. Star Trek borrowed someone’s pimp hat


Mr. Star Trek, the Joker, and a runner guy at Butler Inn. I think the guy at the jukebox was some kind of hipster. He noted that his Hot Topic pants were awfully tight.


Joe the Plumber opens beer at the Catalina with her hat-mounted opener


I went with Father Thyme, who was going to be Father Time but didn’t have an hourglass (I suggested a wall clock around his neck but the idea wasn’t supposed to get too Flava-Flav). He also considered being Jason Priest-ly, pairing the clerical collar with a Jason hockey mask (and probably fake sideburns) but we figured it would be hard to drink beer through a hockey mask. Also, he was trying to do all this an hour before we had to leave.


80s Rocker Guy (we were calling him Richie Sambora, couldn’t think of a better match) dug my costume, which at this point included Bud Light bottlecap earrings I won on the bus raffle. He wore black and white tiger-striped tights and by the end of the night couldn’t stand them any more, switching to jeans at the drag show.


Joe the Plumber, Mike TV, and a shrouded-skeletony-guy drinking crappy beer