26 July 2023

2023 June Roundup

It's another hot and sunny summer day as I sit in my garden floor studio, Metallica playing on my PC speakers, an electric fan bathing my legs in cool air. It's Friday, and I feel ready for the weekend. I have to admit it's hard to focus on my work! But the more I type now, the sooner I can share my June roundup with you 😎 Here's what I was up to last month.

Patreon Rewards

I sent two rounds of rewards last month. The first was a design featuring my 2023 Chibi Kiki drawing. The second was a digitally colored version of my Botany Inktober52 drawing.

Right now, my members have all opted to receive postcards--either one with a message from me printed on it or a set of three blank ones ready to be filled out and sent--but there is also a print tier, and a print & postcard tier, and a digital rewards tier 😄 If you'd like to support my artmaking and get these rewards in your mailbox every month, click here to sign up!


I'm getting closer to caught up posting my work to dA! Everything up to this April is now posted, which means I'm less than three months behind 😆 The piece I'm featuring here is my most recent upload, adorable chibi Aoife!

Click here to view, fave, and comment on deviantART!


Things are going well on Twitch! In June, I got several Inktober52 drawings and Lucky Dip pieces done, but the result I'm sharing here took three Chibi Fridays to complete. It's a birthday gift for my younger sister: chibi Cliff Burton!

I stream Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 15:30 US Mountain Time. Click here to see my schedule in your local time zone and follow me to get notifications when I go live!

Charity Fundraising

I use my unique viewer count on Twitch every month to calculate a donation to my featured charity. My formula is $0.10 USD per unique viewer, with a minimum of $10 and a maximum of $100.

In June, I had 18 unique viewers which meant a $10 donation to Animal Outlook! I also checked the box to cover processing fees so that the max amount of money would go to helping animals 😎

July's charity is Food For Life Global. Come join my livestreams and bring your friends! It's an easy way to do good that doesn't cost you anything except time spent with yours truly ❤️

Mika's Monthly...

Here I'd like to share my recommendations from June! I'm not being compensated to promote any of these things. They helped me get through the month happy and healthy, and I hope you'll try and see if they do the same for you!

...Workout 🐕 We walk our dogs several times a week. Ever since it got hot we walk them in the mornings on weekends. Aoife and Chappie are still in training, so it's not just a chance for all of us to get some gentle exercise outside, it's a mental workout for everyone, too!

If you have dogs, you probably already walk them, but if you don't, why not see if your friends or family would let you walk their dogs? Or you could volunteer at your local animal shelter! Or heck, go pro and walk dogs to earn money!

...Vegan Victuals 🍪 In June, I received my second ever VeganCuts box! It's a monthly subscription box that comes packed with vegan snacks 🤤 It's so exciting when the box arrives, so fun to try all the new items, and so delicious, too! Every box also donates a portion of proceeds to a selected animal sanctuary, so it's like I get to help animals twice!

...Book 📕 This month's recommendation is Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog? by Gary Francione. It's a more serious book than I've ever featured here but it deeply affected me, and helped me become a better person to my fellow sentient beings, so I want to share in hopes it will help others the same way! Here's my review from StoryGraph:

challenging dark informative inspiring sad tense slow-paced

5.0 ⭐

I've been putting off reviewing this book for months, not because I didn't want to review it nor because I didn't like it, but because it had such a huge (and ongoing) impact on me that I didn't know where to start. But I think humanity would become more aware, compassionate, and truly protective of animals if more people read this book, so here is my attempt to give a fair and heartfelt review!

First, TL;DR: This book is difficult--academically, conceptually, and emotionally--but it's worth your time if you care about improving conditions for the trillions of animals (annually) whose lives are affected and controlled by humanity.

I'd like to start by talking about the main argument this book makes, but it is so well set up and followed through that it almost feels spoilery to do so. Still, the book's inflammatory title might deter some readers who would otherwise agree with the conclusions it makes, so I think it's worthwhile to explain it.

The book starts by introducing examples of how things stand for animals today (while the book was first published 20+ years ago, things have unfortunately not improved much overall) including a heavy focus on animal rights philosophers and existing legal "protections". Much of the material is infuriating and heartbreaking, not because of the book, but because much of it is conveniently kept out of the public eye by the perpetrators. Before this book, I was just like most people, thinking things like, "Well, at least the animals live a nice life being taken care of, without a worry in the world, before they're killed," or "Well, at least animals in the zoo are safe from wild dangers like predators, illness, injury, etc." I bought into the propaganda of animal exploitation institutions. Since this book has a firm grounding in academia and comes from a professor of law, it's easy to verify the information it presents (there is a huge notes section at the end, including all the sources used, which you can then check for yourself). Knowing the information is solid makes it easy to agree with the arguments it makes in favor of true animal rights (i.e. the right to not be treated as property).

So what's the main argument? The book's subtitle and cover set it up. The scene is a house, burning ferociously, and you're watching from the outside. It's impossible to save more than one being, and you know your child and a dog are inside. Who do you save? The assumption may be, this is a vegan book, so it's going to tell me to save the dog, or that I should save whomever I find first, because animals should be treated like humans. I admit I had a similar expectation, and I was wrong! The book actually suggests that saving your child is not only the natural thing to do, but perhaps the morally correct decision. It completely allows for choosing a human over an animal. I was truly surprised by this and I couldn't help but agree. The argument here is just as fair and sound as throughout the rest of the book.

And by the end it gets REALLY interesting.

That burning house, with human and dog inside? That's the story animal exploiters feed us every day. It makes it very easy to say, Yeah, it sucks that we have to do things this way, but it's only natural and correct to take care of our own first.

What the animal exploiters don't tell you is that they're the ones who dragged your child and the dog inside the house before setting it ablaze.

And until now, I never even thought to ask, metaphorically of course, Wait, why is my child and that dog in that house? Why is the house on fire?

That's the core argument of this book. That individuals are being duped by those who exploit animals. That (even if we're not suffering as extremely) humans like you and I are just as much victims of animal exploitation. It's a mindblowing revelation that changed my life forever. The book makes other arguments as well, all of which are well reasoned and frankly unassailable. I recommend it to anyone who cares about animals!

That said, it is a book that requires fortitude from its reader. For one, there are graphic descriptions and harrowing photos included. One photo of a cow screaming for help on its way to slaughter haunts me every day. I think about how that cow never got help, and is long dead, and how millions like it face the same grim fate every year, thousands every day. But it also reminds me why I do what I do. Why I choose a vegan lifestyle, why I donate to reputable animal charities, why I focus my career on furthering animal welfare. I am extremely sensitive to graphic material, so this may be a difficult hurdle for some readers. I recommend the book anyway. Don't let yourself continue to be hoodwinked. You deserve to know the truth. The animals deserve to have their situation known.

Another difficult point in this book is its academic nature. This is not armchair nonfiction. It requires attention and deep thought and maybe even research to properly understand. Anyone with a college-level understanding of English should be able to follow it, but be prepared to invest time in reading and digesting what it has to say. Please don't let the time commitment deter you. Again, if you care about helping animals, it will be worth your while!

If you're able to overcome these hurdles, not only will you see the infallible validity of the book's abolitionist standpoint, you will be given guidance on how to move the world in the right direction. It's not just a book about law or philosophy, it's a map toward a truly compassionate future. The main points I took from it include:

  • Laws do not effectively protect animals. Culture has to change first.
  • Person = personality = animals are people.
  • It doesn't matter how kindly you treat animals if they're still nothing more than property.

And, to wrap up, some powerful quotes:

In many ways, our prevailing ways of thinking about animals should make us skeptical of our claim that it is our rationality that distinguishes us from them.
Labels such as "natural" and "traditional" are just that: labels. They are not reasons. If people defend the imposition of pain and suffering on an animal based on what is natural or traditional, it usually means they cannot otherwise justify their conduct.
The argument for animal rights does not decrease respect for human life; it increases respect for all life.

...Show 🏴‍☠️ Whew, that book review was pretty intense. My next recommendation is much lighter! Recently, my husband and I watched all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. While I like them all, more or less, for me nothing is so good as the third one 🤩💖💕 Of course, you have to watch the first two for it to really make sense, but the climax and payoff in At World's End is just sooo satisfying. I can never get enough!

After watching all the PotC movies one after another like this, I realized this series is not really about the characters and their adventures, per se. Instead, the adventures are telling the story of how the seas were truly tamed, explaining why we don't have cool stuff like cursed gold and krakens anymore. Don't you think? 🤔

...Game 🎮 I've featured it previously, but in June I finally 100%'d Olympia Soirée and I 💖LOVED💕 it, so I just have to share it again! It's an otome visual novel (an illustrated novel game with a female protagonist who goes on adventures and falls in love with one of several male love interests) based heavily on Japanese history, culture, and religion but with an overall otherworldly fantasy vibe. It somehow manages to examine real world questions about class, caste, race, sex, etc. without weighing down the story in philosophy. The artwork and music are fabulous as well, so it's a really well-rounded experience!

...Music 🎧 To go along with my game recommendation, I'm sharing my Olympia Soirée playlist on YouTube music! Because the background music was never released as a purchasable soundtrack, even in Japan, this is the only way to stream both the opening/ending themes and the BGM, in order. I listened to this playlist obsessively all June 😍 The music is beautiful on its own, but add my memories of the game to it, and it's impossible to get enough!

Bonus Cute Pet Pics

Finally, as I was going through my photos to choose which I would use in this post, I couldn't help wanting to share some of the cute ones featuring my pets 🥰 The only pet who didn't get a cute photo was Sora, probably because she mostly just sat on her eggs all month 😅

Aoife blep on the pizza pillow~
Princely Kumo enjoying the sights ✨
Kiki and Chappie, pizza girls 🐱🍕🐶🍕

That's all for June's roundup! Thank you for reading all the way until the end, I hope you enjoyed it 💖 Until next time, stay happy, healthy, and safe~!!