Change the world $25 at a time

I’ve been a member of an online micro loan community called Kiva for a while now. The idea is very simple: Entrepreneurs worldwide, who may not have access to ‘normal’ modes of funding, ask for a loan on Those who want to help out can lend them all or just part of the loan (minimum $25). They invest the money, reap the benefits, then repay the loan you made in full, leaving you with your original stake which you can then re-invest.

I’ve got $75 in there at the moment (soon to be $100) which I have been able to use to help 7 small businesses all over the world. 4 of them have paid me back in full. The other 3, my most recent loans, are in the process of paying me back. It’s quick and easy to do, there’s no hidden costs, and they’ve got a 98.95% repayment rate, which is better than any high street bank. That’s because the people they help are just like you and me. All they want is a chance to make their lives better.

If you need any more inspiration watch this TED video from Kiva’s co-founder Jessica Jackley. It’s a very warm and touching presentation that I found incredibly moving.

Please give some serious consideration to investing $25 and maybe changing someone’s life. It’s a meal to us, but it could be a new beginning for them. Thank you.

Apropos o’ nuthin’…

For some reason I’ve suddenly started getting an inordinate amount of dirt spam in my inbox. You know the kind of thing, e-mails from “frasco horner” entitled “kat pigtail toying inflatable drunk” (no kidding, that’s one of them word for word!).

It was really starting to get on my tits, ’til I decided to have some fun with it. So I took the first word of each e-mail (31 so far this week) and made a poem out of them. I was trying to make something beautiful out of the unsolicited filth, but inevitably it ended up a bit dirty too. Still, I like to think I injected a bit of romance in there along the way. See what you think.

Giant group, serious bedroom friends.
Have room. Knock obediently, until…

Cheyenne, petite Mexican, dance way beautiful.
Tiffany, leggy sweetie, good hands.

Haley, rubber cougar: Swallow,
while she pounds ball. Sexy cat!



Tide Tables Cafe

Not one for doing restaurant reviews on here normally, but I was so chuffed with finding this place that I had to give them a bit of a write up.

tide tables cafe

It’s the Tide Tables Cafe in Richmond. We went in there just for a cuppa after walking along the river, but when I spotted the “vegan menu” board up on the wall we had to have something!

I opted for the Winter Warmer Soup, while Sarah went for the Baked Potato with Veggie Chilli (I was very tempted by that too, but I always end up having a baked potato when I’m out and about most places, so I thought I’d go for something different this time). Have to say they were both really nice, especially after such a long walk. Really filled us up and gave us a nice glow inside.

Will definitely be heading back there again. It’s a really nice little place to eat (in one of the arches underneath the bridge) and they have a great selection of stuff to try. Reckon it’ll be a while before I get bored of going in there.

*Read this updated report as well!*

Mocktails and Cheesecake

Went round to my friend Amanda’s last night. Haven’t seen her in ages. We planned it last week but it turned out to be a wee celebration of her being all babbied up, which is great news. She’ll make a great mum.

cheesecake and pina colada mocktail

Not only is she tolerant of my veganism but she actually makes an effort to find and cook vegan meals for me, which is really special, plus which she seems to derive great amusement from it too. As she said last night, “You go to the supermarket, buy all this stuff, and you end up with a massive load of shopping for a tenner!” Amen sister. Eating vegan is pretty cost effective stuff.

We had a kind of veggie tagine, made in her authentic Moroccan tagine maker thingy, with cous cous, and since she made the main I brung dessert.

I made a lemon tofu cheesecake from a recipe I found online. It came out a lot flatter than I was expecting. Tasted great (more almondy than lemony though) but I think next time I’ll do double the mixture. Sometimes you need a bit of depth.

And what with her being pregnant and me not drinking I found a recipe for Pina Colada mocktails which was pretty nice too. As you can see from the picture, pudding went down a treat, so much so we had to have seconds. An excellent accompaniment to a brilliant meal. Thanks Twink.

Week 42

Well, I stand by my original statement from last week; working for a living sucks. It’s also a pain in the neck… literally!

I did two shifts last week and not only did it cause a muscle spasm that hasn’t gone away, but that’s has translated into a persistent pain in my left shoulder. More and more I think it’s time I gave up this unhealthy job of mine and moved on to something more interesting. I need to do some more writing.

Speaking of ‘work’ the script’s still ticking over. Haven’t done a whole heck of a lot these past few days what with work and being busy at the weekend, but I have been having a fiddle, and over the next couple of days I plan on doing a whole lot more.

Speaking of plans I’ve got a few that I’m mulling over at the moment. One is to start Brendan Brazier’s Thrive Diet next week and see what that’s like. It’s a 12 week programme of healthy eating, so I dunno if I’d be able to do the whole thing (what with Christmas coming up etc.) but I’m not going to decide that now. If I like it I’ll keep at it. I also want to meditate every day, for at least 20 minutes, and exercise more. Basically a whole load of physical health stuff to do for November whilst I’m working on my screenplay.

Think I’ll end there for now. Was going to go on about this crappy meal I had at the weekend (the Portuguese cannot cook veggie) and my experiences trying to buy a car, but why bang on about the negative, it helps no one, especially myself. I just need to consider it good practice and they drift away on the wind. Perpetuating my anger only hurts me. Practicing Loving Kindness benefits everybody. 🙂

Week 41 : Working For A Living Sucks!

Working for a living sucks!

I know this won’t come as much of a revelation to most of you (hello my generally mute and fairly non-existent audience) but after having a week off I can unequivocally say that not having to go to work is markedly better than having to go to work.

I spent the first few days just tidying up. Y’know, washing, dusting, hoovering, all those things you can’t be arsed doing after a day at work (and don’t want to do on your days off). Then I watched some really rubbish movies. Why are films so God damned boring these days? Seriously, it’s really starting to get on my tits now. Dull, badly paced, crap characters, woefully functional dialogue, it’s getting impossible to find something with a bit of interest and originality in it. And I weep for the future. With people like Christopher Nolan (Dark Knight, Inception) and Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) getting all the big franchises to muck about with (Superman, Wolverine) even the films that are meant to be no brainer entertainment are set to go the boring, over-worked, who-gives-a-damn route.

But there is an upside. All this crap I’ve injected into my head has inspired me to get on with writing my own stuff again. I was working on a new book, which I still am, but the freedom of that has released some kind of block in my head. I sat down the other night, started on this script I haven’t done anything on in months, and suddenly it just started pouring out. I couldn’t stop almost. Next thing I know it’s 2 in the morning and I’d knocked out 5 or 6 scenes. Same the next night, not as much but still a good chunk of work. And again the night after. And it’s good stuff too. Plus the most exciting bit is there’s more waiting to get out. I know how the rest of the film is going to go now, I just need to get it down on paper. It’s just a matter of time. Unfortunately I go back to work tomorrow for a couple of night shifts. They always wipe me out, so by Friday who knows if I’ll have the energy to keep writing or if I’ll just sit there watching The Big Bang Theory on DVD. Let’s hope not eh?

I’ve bought my Christmas cards already, can you believe it? I feel a little embarrassed. I was just going to buy one to send to my brother in Australia, but then Waterstones had a 3-for-2 on so it was only £8 for 24 cards, and it was for charity, and, and, and… and it’s not right is it? Shops shouldn’t be allowed to advertise Christmas until after Halloween at the earliest. One pagan holiday at a time fellas. There’s no rush.

I sat down to meditate the other day and sat for 35 minutes, which is the longest I’ve ever done. Not that I intended to that is. I set my alarm for 20 minutes, but I couldn’t do that (or so I thought). I opened my eyes, a little confused, to find that I’d actually set it for 20 hours (damn you digital displays). What a numpty. Still, nice to see I can go for a lot longer than I thought I could. Not that I actually ‘meditated’ for all that time, but at least I tried.

Saw a mouse in the flat last night. Been hearing them for a while now but this was the first time I’ve spotted a dark figure scuttling across the floor. Now I have to buy some utterly ineffective humane traps to get rid of them. Have to say, this is where being a vegan Buddhist sucks. Poison may be nasty stuff, but it gets the job done.

And coz long posts are boring without a pic or two check out my latest bit of baking.

chocolate chocolate chip cookies

They look nasty but they taste pretty good. Lots of winging it and substitutions going on, hence their splatty nature, but they can’t all be winners eh?

Week 40

Hello Peops.

Been a while. Well, probably not, but it feels like it anyway. Had a short break from t’internet after the 30 Days thing and the moustache thing. Just needed a bit of time off. Plus was doing 2 weeks of night shifts so my brain no function too good either.

Got a week off work next week. Gonna spend some time teaching, and some time looking at cars, but mostly I want to get on with the new writing project I’ve been working on, so I’ve decided to take a short online hiatus (like I did earlier in the year).

So, no e-mail, no Flickr, no blogging, no games. I’ll still be using the computer (not planning on writing long hand y’know, I’m not a Luddite!), and watching the odd DVD (after work), but outside of that I’ll be somewhat incommunicado.

So catch you next week. For now let me just point you at this clip from the Big Bang Theory (no embeds allowed, boo!) for all you vegans out there who can take a joke.

Hey, if you can’t laugh at yourself… 😉

Handing over the big comedy cheque

Well, after 2 months of fund raising and moustache growing I finally handed over the big comedy cheque to the London Tropical Zoo on Friday.

handing over the comedy cheque

The lovely fella I’m shaking hands with is Tony, whose family owns and operates the zoo. I didn’t catch the name of the snake, though he did whisper it in my ear (as you can see).

I was well chuffed with the cheque. I made it myself with a lot of free-hand type and designing on the fly. Came out pretty nice in the end I reckon.

big comedy cheque

I raised a total of £377 cash (which in real terms becomes £473:46 after they claim the tax back). Not bad for a bit of facial hair and loads of support from a lovely bunch of people (and by that I mean YOU).

Thank you everyone who made a donation. I was honestly amazed to not only reach but surpass my target, and that’s all thanks to my friends and family for supporting me so generously. You’re the best.

Winner of the cookies was Steve Arnold, one of my Tai Chi compadres, and the prize for the largest donation went to the lovely Rikki Hale who lives in Phoenix, Arizona (how international is that!). She’s received her goodie pack along with my heartfelt thanks and I’m happy to say she seems to like it all. What Steve thinks of his cookies remains to be seen. 😉

Gracias amigos, for all your help. It’s been a good laugh. 🙂

Moustachioed Shenanigans pt 2

Well, I’ve been promising these for a while, and now they’re finally here. So, for all you folks out there, here’s some moustachieod shenanigans for you to enjoy, by way of a thank you for all your help with my fund raising efforts.

I decided to recreate images of my top 3 Men of Moustache, by means of dress up and top notch computer wizardry. Special thanks to my friend Sabera for all her help in making this possible. I couldn’t have done it without her!

So here they are, in ascending numerical order:

3. The Bandit

Smokey and The Bandit

Burt doing what he does best, show off. It’s a hard life eh? What a job, what a car, and what a moustache!

2. Magnum PI

Magnum PI

If you’re going to be a private investigator make sure you drive a Ferrari, live on Hawaii, and have a good moustache. You know it makes sense.

1. Earl Hickey

My Name Is Earl

Karma gets you in the end, but a good ‘stache will see you through anything. Randy!

So there you go, top shenanigans I’m sure you’ll agree. 😛 Was a good laugh doing the pics. The wig was a bit creepy to wear, and we got a few funny looks in Crystal Palace park with it on, but it was well worth it. I’m especially proud of the wall behind ‘Earl’. All old school free-hand typography and cut and stick. Oh yeah, I’ve still got it baby. 😉