"Every planet has its own weird customs. About a year before we met, I spent six weeks on a moon where the principal form of recreation was juggling geese. My hand to God. Baby geese - goslings! They were juggled."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Patience? Losing it. And more volunteer photography

It's been two weeks since Placement contacted me, and a week since I sent in my second experience update to them. Meanwhile, applicants are getting invites for January, February, and now even March - even on the weekend. It's making me feel less than ok. Who knows, though, it could be because I'm nominated for protected areas management and I haven't met another in that field yet. Please let me know what's going on, PC!

On Saturday, I nearly missed the train getting to Chicago for an "interview." I quote that, because it was more like a meetup and information hand over. No interview-like questions, aside from when I can work and what I'd be best at doing.

After that, hopped the L for the first time alone and went northwest to Division. By that time of day, it was about 86*. This is 9 October, and middle-of-summer weather is not exactly common in Chicago this time of year. Just 10 minutes from the stop, hundreds of vegans and vegan enthusiasts were streaming in and out of the Pulaski Field House. Rows of bicyclists sat chained up to the fencing. Oh yes, I had found my event.

It was Chicago VeganMania, a remarkably large event that celebrates the vegan lifestyle on all creative fronts. The large hall on the ground floor was dedicated to the performing arts and featured belly dancers, DJs, and various mix groups. Around the corner was the food hall, a tiny tiny room stuffed with Chinese food vendors, Indian food vendors, a faux meat company, and two deserts tables. Even further was the chef demonstration room, filled with about 70+ chairs usually packed pretty solidly despite the blazing heat.

Back to the main hall and into another smaller room were the products vendors - a very broad term for everyone selling anything from organic cotton t-shirts, to recycled tarp bags, to books sold to benefit Haiti, to faux marshmallows and nacho cheese, to cosmetics, and a lot in between. Upstairs was a calmer room filled with working artists - a splat painter, a brush painter, a stamp block painter, and several other assorted booths. The building seemed to defy physics as I climbed higher in the building to cooler temperatures. The speakers were tucked away in a small hall but the room was routinely well-attended.

Aha, and there was a ground-level side hall absolutely packed with more vendors and people.

So yes, obviously this was a huge event and it was very populated. I was so impressed with how many people arrived, thinking maybe there's hope for the cruelty-free lifestyle to catch on. This movement is 'in' now - on the way over I saw so many apartment buildings advertising themselves as 'green'. It could just be fad following, or it could be out of genuine concern, but either way it's exciting to see.

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