Friday, August 6, 2010

I Am So Proud of You: working with rescued animals in British Columbia PT. 2

7/31 - 8/6

A lots been happening this week and I haven't had much time for updates, so I'll sum up everything the best I can. I may talk about things out of chronological order and I apologize if it's confusing. This is just how my brain works most of the time.

Been spending some time with the animals on the farm, getting to know all of them and connecting with Stanley, the ex-racehorse, in particular. Stanley was kept out of races because of his crooked legs and was rescued by Chuck a few years ago. Since then he's been living on the farm with the other two horses, Timber and Romeo, and terrorizing the neighbor horses in the next yard. Apparently he would climb up their fence, grab one of the show horses from next door by their jackets, and lift them up off the ground bum first. So funny! The neighbors had a fit about it and eventually installed an electric fence to keep him away. He's such a badass.
Anyway, recently I wrote a song about Stanley... I have yet to record it but I'll post the lyrics here so you can check it out:

"the first horse i'd ever had the chance to get to know
you are gentle, you are strong and you are brave
and even if your scars are cut so deep they always show
you're a warrior, my friend, and now you're safe

stanley, stanley
you deserved a better life, it's true
stanley, stanley
I can't believe the things they did to you

they burned 6 numbers in your skin
and those numbers still remain
how could animals ever trust us again?
they would have run you to your death
a forced march till your dying day
humyns must look like nazis to them

stanley, stanley
the racetrack burned a number in your neck
stanley, stanley
a symbol that we'll never forget

sadistic gambling perverts, drunk and screaming in their seats
the scum of the earth in my eyes
horses forced to run until their heart ceases to beat
but it's all just torture in disguise

our anger begs for action
though I know you never would
we're just thankful that you are ok
we love to see you happy
there's every reason that we should
your presence just brightens our day

stanley, stanley
you deserved a better life, it's true
stanley stanley
we are all so very proud of you
yes, we are all so very proud of you"

On Justin and Shawna's last day with us we went to a flea market where Chuck was sexually harassed by an older guy asking her if she wanted to play "doctor and nurse". Fuck that fool. After Chuck embarrassed him in front of a bunch of his customers he complained to one of them that he "had no trouble with the lasses" when he was a "young lad". Yeah, maybe if you had some fucking respect for other people they would show you an equal amount. Either way, Chuck is a maniac and would have knocked him out. For some reason a lot of liberal/left-ish people in the US glorify Canada and paint this picture of a tolerant, respectful, open-minded place with socialized healthcare and low murder rates. After nearly 2 weeks here I've almost got into 3 fist fights with people for calling them out on their shitty behavior, so pardon me for not agreeing with that sentiment. One of the times was at Chuck's bar when a drunk asshole was making racist and homophobic comments. He was upset that I wasn't laughing along with him when he talked about how satisfying it was to have "a little black guy making you drinks" on the beach in the Caribbean. Our conversation:

"So, uh, what DO YOU think is funny then, eh?"
"Um, jokes that aren't racist and homophobic"
"whoa whoa, I'm not homophobic! what about comedians? they say racist and homophobic things all the time and you laugh at them!"
"I don't fucking laugh at racist jokes!"
"Well I know a lot of gay guys that make homophobic jokes all the time and I don't see you yelling at them!"
"Maybe they have the right to laugh about it because they have to deal with homophobia on a daily basis!"

and from there the yelling became so incoherent on his end that I eventually gave up and just sat there quietly. A womyn he was with tried to get him to apologize to me on his way out the door, and I just stared at him and didn't react. So he threw his hands up in the air and yelled that he didn't have to be friends with everyone and stormed out. This entire time Chuck standing behind the bar with the most awkward look on her face. Sorry homie. Comically, another patron commented that they must be American; and that would explain their behavior. Chuck shot me a look and I snickered. Sorry to break it to everyone: racism, sexism, heterosexism and specieism are everywhere. Challenge it every chance you get!

A couple days later, Chuck and I got to work big time on clearing everything out of her old room on the farm and moving it out to the new cabin a few miles away. The process was painstaking, labor intensive, and it was pretty freakin hot out that day but we got it all done in pretty decent time. Her new place is absolutely unbelievable, a tiny one room log cabin overlooking the ocean set in a small, quiet community. It looked totally wrecked when we first started moving all her stuff in, but now it's super quaint and cozy - wood burning stove and all. (I'm staying with Chuck now full time here instead of at the farm which has been seriously amazing!) The only downside to this house is that the tap water is absolutely DISGUSTING! NO EXAGGERATION! The water comes from a local well, and apparently this is the worst time of year for it because the water is so low that it smells horribly of sulfur. Literally EVERY TIME we turn on the tap it stinks up the whole cabin! I refuse to shower in it; the ocean is a 5 minute walk away. enough said.

Did some chores for one of Chuck's neighbors to make some extra money while I'm here, and got to spend some time with her listening to music and chatting. Listened to her stories about how she rescued her dog from a beach in Mexico and loving her undying hatred for the police. According to her, she gives them the finger every time she heads into town. I published a zine about my tour across Europe recently and I gave her one of those, I think she liked it. Well, I hope she liked it.

Initially I was only going to stay in Canada till mid/late August, but things have been going so well here for me that I want to extend my trip as long as I can. For those of you that don't know, I was arrested at an animal rights demo a few weeks ago and our first court date is in September. I had to have special permission from the court to come to Canada, and they allowed me to stay for a month. As I was preparing to call them I was becoming increasingly nervous about what I was going to say, how I would say it and their answer. This was my conversation with the release officer:

"Hey, this is Michael ****. I originally requested a month's stay in Canada? Anyway I wanted to stay longer because I've been offered a ride down and I won't have to do a bike tour back to Portland and.....
"Whoa, whoa, does it conflict with your court dates?"
"No, it doesn't"
"Then I don't care"

Score one for Mike!

Yesterday Chuck hid me in the back of her pickup so I wouldn't have to pay for the ferry across to Vancouver, BC. I laid huddled in the backseat with a blanket draped over me while we went through the gates. There was an incredibly hilarious story to follow (ask me about it sometime!) that I'm a little too embarrassed to write about here... but I assure you it's a good one, haha. Later that day we attended a demonstration against a fur shop, leafletted, and then had a delicious meal at an all Vegan Buddhist Chinese restaurant here in town. It was super super good, but some of the names of the dishes made my stomach turn. In fact, Chuck ordered me "Crispy Baby Pig" that had no indication that it was Vegan other than it was being served in a Vegan restaurant. Little bit gross, not gunna lie.

Ran some errands today and tried to relax as much as I could. A bunch of people went down south to a benefit for Sea Shepherd ( so I'm kicking it by myself tonight at a friend's place here on the mainland. Heading back to the island tomorrow and have some awesome plans that include: video montages of the farm animals, first-time-since-in-Canada movie watching, and Thai food. Tomorrows going to be a good day!

Love always,
Mike XVX

P.S. this morning I had the best tofu scramble OF MY LIFE! Check out my friend Tara's website and food blog:

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