It's that time of year again. When CONvergence has come and gone, all that remains is memories. But, like 16 years worth in my case. In the past I have hosted parties at CONvergence. They are huge, expensive, amazing undertakings. I took the year off this time around and tried to just enjoy being an attendee. The last couple of years of parties had coincided with the release of my Sci-Fi Novels. I didn't release a full length novel this year but I did put out a little short ebook about some of my previous CON adventures which you can find here: Adventures in Science Fiction Reality
It's the story of a girl who without meaning to be so, is sort of an idiot. By accident.
Please have a read, laugh at my misery.
There are so many things to see and do at CON, I can never keep up. I visited all the parties, attended some panels, art show, dealer's room, Vilification Tennis (always amazing), went to the dance, visited the Space Lounge. And I get nowhere near doing everything.
Here are some of my snaps this year!
Today in my third part of How to Order Vegan we’re going to cover some but likely not all, Indian food. There are so many types of Indian food that I doubt I could get it all. I mean the country does have a billion people in it so, probably they’ve created more types of food than my tiny brain can comprehend.
However, I am going to try to give you some advice for ordering in Indian restaurants or Indian fusion restaurants. The great part of this is that a large part of the population of India is vegetarian. It is part of their largest religion to honor animals and not to consume them. This usually means it’s not too hard to find vegetarian and vegan food in Indian places.
*All the delicious things at Namaste Cafe.
That said there are a few things to look for:
-Indian breads such as roti & naan are amazing. Many of them are made with butter. If you ask you can generally find out easy enough and they can be made with oil instead. Some also contain milk products so you’ll want to check on that as well.
-Ghee is a clarified butter commonly used in Indian cooking. Many vegetarian dishes contain Ghee so make sure to check that your dish is free of butter.
-Paneer is a word for types of cheese used in Indian cooking. It is a popular vegetarian dish but if you’re looking for something vegan you'll want to steer clear.
-Most curries and Chana type dishes, Chana Aloo and Chana Masala, are based in coconut milk. Which is delicious, healthy and accents spices. So if your dish looks creamy and you are told it’s coconut milk, you are in the clear.
*Chana Saag from Gorkha Palace.
-There are many ways to garnish Indian dishes. Chutneys are remarkable mixtures to dress up food. You will want to look out for yogurt based ones. A lot of them are made with coconut milk but if it’s creamy, I’d double check.
*Tremendous pile of food from New India in Austin, Texas.
*Side note: Indian food can be HOT as HELL if you want it to be. If you’re more on the mild side, be warned when asked about spice level. Hotter can be VERY HOT. I love it but I know not everyone wants to melt their face off.
*Art by The Playful Indian.
-If you can get it vegan, you should have Dal soup. It is wonderful. It can be hard to come by vegan as the lentils are often cooked in ghee beforehand.
-I don't feel that I need to get into the "avoid meat part" of this too much. I think you know that is the first step. The last bit I can suggest is that appetizers are one of the best parts of Indian food. Getting to stuff your face with pakoras and samosas is about as wonderful as appetizers can get. I have never had this happen personally, but I have been told that on occasion the breading is made with diary or chicken stock. If you have have any questions about this, ask your server. They will either know or will go find out for you.
With that, I heartily encourage you to explore Indian food. It is unmatched for aromatic magic as far as I am concerned.
I went to this year’s Art in Bloom and of course, love being surrounded by the art and flowers.
But it also sparked a curiosity as to where gardening came from and how it started. So I did a little poking around and found a few interesting bits.
Gardening was first used for food and later moved to growing plants for medicinal purposes. The first known being called Forest Gardening. Generally near water sources. Hazardous plants, shrubs and vines would be identified and removed by whoever was tending to the area.
Moving into places like Ancient Egypt, gardens were built to honor gods and please deities.
Wealthy Egyptians also planted gardens to create shade around themselves and their homes.
Indoor planting began to take place as a way to clean the air of spirits. Filling temples with flowers and plants to please the gods and goddesses.
Growing vines became popular to create wine for the wealthy leisure class of Egyptians.
Assyrians were well-known for their magnificent gardens in ancient times as well.
The Black Death is responsible for the rise of gardening in the 13th century as so many people died more land became available for gardening.
The biggest difference between gardening and farming tends to be that gardening is done for beauty as opposed to purpose.
Some pictures from Art in Bloom at the M.I.A.
I collect female action figures. This all really started when I couldn’t find Eowyn from the Lord of the Rings movies. I was more than a little miffed that there was finally going to be a sword wielding ass kicker in one of the biggest movies ever made and I could not find her anywhere.
Over 20 years ago now, I bought myself my first action figures. It was an X-Files set that I still own. I loved Agent Scully and her unending skepticism no matter what she witnessed. Growing up I had Barbies. Lots of them. My mother loved Barbies and my brother had G.I. Joe and plenty of other superhero type guys. My mom was all about gender oriented toys. I don’t believe this was intentional, I think she was simply a product of her generation of women. My sisters and I never even considered that we also couldn’t let our toys have superhero powers, constantly making up elaborate story lines and having absolutely no problem with being able to kick the crap out of any villain, male or female. Our giant Barbies would date tiny G.I. Joes whenever Ken wasn’t available. But as I got older and started to read more and more, I started to realize that Barbie was not going to cut it anymore. I didn’t relate to her corvette, dream house and endless desire to be a cheerleader. I had Jem for a while, but as someone who has never felt the need to be a rock-star, I lost interest in her pretty quickly.
That’s when I met She-Ra. My mother started buying me She-Ra story books in grade school and when I made the honor roll, the action figures. I loved them and let me tell you, I wish I still had them. She-Ra had a sword, rode a flying unicorn, and could match her brother He-Man blow to blow with the bad guys. Around the same time my aunt started to send me Star Wars stuff and I dressed as Princess Leia for Halloween more than once. A friend’s mother would put my hair up for every holiday in her trademark braided buns. She was the ultimate Princess to me. She was the boss, resourceful, and got to wear a spectacular space dress when she felt like it. I will say I never really got her attraction to Han Solo as a kid. Then you grow up and realize that we can idiotically be attracted to “Bad Boys.” Whatever. Leia put Han in his place when he needed it, and I thought she was all the more awesome for it.
Fast forward a decade, Agent Scully comes into my life and then I start to realize there’s really something important here. A toy that represents something that wasn’t known to me as child. That I could be a smart, capable career woman of some kind. That’s why these toys matter. Because if you don’t know you could be a doctor or a hero of some sort you won’t ever consider it. For the longest time, and even now, it’s hard to find toys for females that cover the endless possibilities of growing up. No one ever doubts a male can be a hero but a female? Maybe not. Maybe she should only be in well-defined traditional roles? Well, if that’s what she wants then so be it. But all the options should be offered to everyone. And that includes in toys.
I don’t have a huge collection of female action figures. Maybe 30 or 35. But they all mean something to me. I noticed recently that I knew where they all came from, what stories they were from, or in some cases (like my Cleopatra figure) what time in history. What I didn’t know was anything about the history of the action figure toy itself. So I did a little research. And where it’s easy to find out what the first attempt at a female action figure was, it’s pretty hard to find much about it after that. I’m still looking into it. I have a lot of questions, including things like what was the first African-American Female Action Figure?
Here’s a little information for you to start:
-1959 Barbie is released by Mattel
-1964 Hasbro creates the phrase “Action Figure” and releases G.I. Joe
-1967 Hasbro releases what is thought to be the first action figure for females and is the first female G.I. Joe. Action Nurse. She is a complete failure. Girls don’t want to play with G.I. Joes and boys don’t want to play with dolls.
-1975 Marvel creates Storm and she is the first African-American Female in a feature role in a comic.
-1978 First Princess Leia action figure released by Kenner
-1997 G. I. Joe releases a second female action figure, a helicopter pilot.
-A friend of mine randomly found Eowyn for me in a Target she stopped at on a road trip some 10 years ago.
href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19418277-the-girl-with-all-the-gifts">The Girl With All the Gifts: Extended Free Preview by M.R. Carey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've read World War Z (I did like this), Zombie Survival Guide, a crap ton of Walking Dead, Marvel Zombies, Pride Prejudice and Zombies, Graveminder-the point is-I've tried and I just don't get into zombie stuff.
Walking Dead drove me nuts because I can only read/watch people making bad choices for so long. I know zombies are biologically impossible. Half my family is in the medical profession and they always treat the CDC in these stories as if they are the dumbest people in the world as opposed to what they actually are: the most intelligent. I get that it's a statement on the human condition but one only needs to read the news to also grow exhausted reading about it for amusement.
The dumb part is, I like vampire books. I've read so many vampire books, I made my friends intervene (no joke). Perhaps it's like classic rock: you can like the Rolling Stones or the Beatles but you can't truly love both.
My friend did not tell me what this book was about, giving it to me because I love Lucifer, which is also written by M.R. Carey. I have to be genuinely surprised by a book these days to be completely impressed by it. I know, I am a snot.
This book blew me away with its unique rendering of a brave new world after the zombie apocalypse. It didn't presume people were stupid, it didn't presume they were without heart or only possessed with dysfunctional decision making skills. It walks the thin line of horror based in reality successfully. Something that I find more unsettling than all out gore. Telling a story that blurs the lines as to who gets to be deemed living or not living. And what it really means to be a civilized human being.
View all my reviews
A fair number of the last few superhero movies have a left a bad mark on my love for the genre. The rampant sexism is not helping. Even with Wonder Woman finally appearing in DC's latest disaster they couldn't help the "I thought she came with you" comment.
And as much as I enjoy the Avengers movies I am close to finding them tiresome. Too much CGI, too many big stars who are themselves and not the characters-yawn, yawn, yawn.
So, I went to see Midnight Special last night. It is wonderful. It is quiet, thoughtful sci-fi and strangely possessed of moments that feel as though they are happening in real life. It's a small budget movie and as it often seems for that reason more gets poured into it from the people working on it. It's nice to see something that is not a franchise nor just a remake of something that didn't need resurrection in the first place.
Last Thursday I stopped into the Casket Arts building in Minneapolis. I had not been there before. It's super cool. Filled with artist's studios and unique spaces.
They were hosting a Unicorn Art show. The second one to happen there apparently. I am sad to say I missed the first one but this second one full of sparkles and glorious manes was magic(of course).
I need to get better at keeping my eyes open for art invites. I love going to see art but since I'm not an art "insider" as it were it's not always something I know about happening. There is a huge art scene here. It's something I like a great deal about the Twin Cities but it's also something that is hard for me to be apart of. I nearly always find some gems at these shows. If only I had endless money and space...
My 5 year ETSY anniversary is coming up on April 11th.
To celebrate I am offering 25% off in my shop with coupon code: HOORAY25
It runs until April 16th.
Visit my shop here: GirlyGeekChic!