Gluten-free grub

While I very rarely post about my personal life, I think it’s pretty clear I love to travel. When I can, I travel with my husband, who has a bunch of food allergies, gluten-intolerance topping the list. Having just come back from two weeks in two very different countries, I wanted to post about some of the best gluten-free restaurants we encountered on our trips.

We also rented apartments when we were away, which allowed us to do a fair bit of cooking at home too, which is indispensable on those days when you just can’t be bothered to trek to the couple of places you know won’t make you ill and are too tired to attempt translating your various food needs.

Paris

We found a lot of advice online before we traveled, and it’s always a good idea to have a celiac travel card with you. David Lebovitz has lots of info about eating in Paris, and has highlighted some great GF places. We didn’t end up at any of the places recomended on the Celiac Chics blog, but the general info there was really good. We did end up at some of the places pictured on Gluten Free Mom.

The conference was held at the University of London Institute in Paris, which is amongst the consulates near the Army Museum. Because of its location, we ended up having dinner at Aux Ducs de Bourgogne twice. You do need to mention being gluten-free, but any of the galettes can be made sans-gluten. The owner was charming and very sweet.

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We also popped into Saveurs Végét’Halles, which was AMAZING. I had the best seitan steak with mushroom sauce. They even had more gluten-free beers than normal ones. Their menue was very clearly marked, and the food was super-fresh. I can’t recommend them enough. I didn’t see them listed in as many places, so I definitely wanted to give them a shout out.

We did hear a lot about NoGlu, and were not disappointed. Thankfully, they take reservations by email, as I get stressed about speaking a language I’m not very good at on the phone, and they get super busy, so reservations are a must! Their menu changes daily, but they do seem to always have vegi-friendly options, and everything they sell is gluten-free. We sat at the bar and could see the chefs preparing everything. Personally, I loved all the details and little touches, like paper thin radish slices and drizzles of olive oil. Stoo loved just being able to fully relax and have a gourmet meal. We were beyond stuffed when we left, but it was worth it!

Iceland

Most places in Iceland were at least aware of gluten and what it may be in. We were most nervous about attending the music festival, since we wouldn’t be allowed to bring in food. In the end, it was fine, as one of the sushi places that was recommended to us had a stall at the festival, and many of the other vendors were knowledgable as well. The Celiac Plate had a restaurant guide, which was really useful as a starting point.

Our first dinner out was at Sake Barinn, which also had a stall at ATP. Unsurprisingly, it was super fresh and had some great flavour combos.

We also had some of the Lobster Hut‘s amazing lobster soup at ATP, but I have no photos of this.

I also have no photos of the marvelous tapas we had at Tapas Barinn, but I have one of the mojitos we started with! We got the lobster tails, salmon, Icelandic foal with chorizo sauce, patatas bravas, steak teriyaki skewer, beef bourguignon, and mushrooms with warm goat cream and burnt leak sauce. So. Damn. Good.

Enough about food though. Back to your regularly scheduled posters and comics!

Completely random thought

Which may have no use ever, but may, so I am recording it, because what else is a blog for?

This morning my husband and I were discussing reading plays. He is dyslexic, and I have an interest in how he and his wonderful brain approach reading, as it is entirely differently from me. I know his eyes dart around the page and have a tendency to skip ahead without his brain registering it, making it hard for him to back up and find his place.

This seemed to tie into two concepts I have read about recently, one being the use of visual memory in reading, as mentioned by Christian Vandendorpe in his chapter ‘Reading on Screen: The New Media Sphere’ in the A Companion to Digital Literary Studies. Vandendorpe is talking about visual memory of loci within a codex book, and how remediating the text to a digital device removes the ability to associate a physical location in the book with a piece of the text, but I wondered if a similar concept of visual memory was at work with my husband’s brain and reading.

I was also reminded of ‘Is There a Text on This Screen? Reading in an Era of Hypertextuality’ by Bertrand Gervais, in the same book, in which Gervais speaks of how there are certain generic markers we perceive in text and that informs our brain on how we approach the words we then interact with. We consume newspaper articles differently than novels, for example.

Which brought me to typography. We do not set large sections of type in all caps because the eye perceives words in all caps as monolithic blocks, whereas words that contain lowercase letters have perceptible shapes, which allow our eyes to discern the letter-forms even without perhaps literally reading every single letter contained therein.

Do the specifics of formatting a play for codex book reading give the left-hand rag a series of anchors for my husband’s visual memory that large blocks of prose text does not? Are dense prose paragraphs the equivalent of all caps to his brain, whereas the jagged indents of a play allow for his mind to recall its spot more readily? It’s just a thought, and I should probably do more reading of Proust and the Squid to find out more about dyslexic brains, but I couldn’t help but draw those comparisons…

Laydeez Do Comics talk round-up

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who attended the Inaugural Laydeez Do Comics Glasgow event, it was a lot of fun. I met some lovely people, a couple of whom I had never met properly, although I vaguely knew them/of them from general comics-ness. Fittingly, for a comics forum, there was some drawn documentation of the night, which I have to preserve for posterity:

First there is the official LDC guest-bloger, Heather Middleton’s

ldc-glasgow-feb-2014-p-3-of-3

And attendee Jules Valera also live sketched on the night!

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I’m very much looking forward to the next event in May, especially the part where I get to stay in the audience!

New Team Girl Comics!

Volume 8 of  Team Girl Comic is out now! You can order it online. The carnival-themed launch party was fantastic. You should check out the pics on FB, or just click for a wee Instagram teaser. TGC has been running some previews online, and here’s a preview of my comic, ‘Model Family’.

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ALSO, the second of my Daily Routines memory series is up on Team Girl Comics’ webpage today. Here’s the link: http://teamgirlcomic.com/webcomic15/!  (I wrote a bit about the conept behind these comics here)

TGC Webcomic-Daily 2013v08

This is my attempt at remembering something I did daily just 5 years ago, when I was 25. All I could think of was my drive to work and getting my Dunkin’ Donuts on the way.

On my 25th birthday I made a decision to try to live healthier all around. I ended a relationship that had gone on past when we should have called it quits, I traded my pickup truck in for a Prius, and I started eating more ‘real’ food, or at least trying to. I still have my vices though, and when I’m back in the States, I still have my Dunks, but part of this thought behind this one is to show the change in the past 5 years.

Like the last one, I wanted to convey some of the content in other formats. I’ve not yet vined this, but I do have an Instagram photo essay version!

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Very quick thoughts about Grant Morrison’s Keynote at ‘Scotland & the Birth of Comics Conference’

This thought is slightly too long for twitter, so I’m posting it here.

Grant Morrison mentioned today about how superheroes these days don’t go about saving other people, but are more concerned about having to “save their own ass”. Some super villain is always on the lookout to try to destroy everything that the superhero holds dear. He talked about consumers (specifically US consumers) wanting superheroes to be more “relatable”: how superheroes have become so dark, with very little redemption, they they’re loosing the swagger that makes them appealing. I wonder if this isn’t down to a generational and cultural shift. As someone born into a Regan US, I was brought up thinking that “welfare state” was a slur. Coming from the liberal east coast, I never understood that 100%, but thought that universally, welfare was thought of as a bad thing. When I moved to Scotland 3 years ago I found that this was not the case, and the Scottish are, generally, quite proud of the UK for taking care of all its citizens, in good times and bad. I wonder if the US hasn’t moved in the last 3o years, towards a culture that is less concerned about saving other people, and more concerned about saving their own ass. Morrison is Scottish, even if he’d like to escape, and that colors his view. His heroes catch the train full of people even if it means the villain gets away, where perhaps many other Americans in my generation would not be able to relate to the that.

Pop!South poster

Now that our first 3 gigs have all been firmed up, I present to you, the first Pop!South poster!

Pop-South July 13-web

If you’re local, you really won’t want to miss these gigs, as they will be ace!

We start with a bang: Ballboy (acoustic), Arts & Leisure and Yakuri Cable (who you know my feelings about)—FB event with ticket details here.

Then we have a more noisy event: Tunabunny, The Spook School and Woog Riot—Here’s the FB event for #2

And last, but certainly not least, we’ve got a couple of bands who haven’t played in Glasgow in a few years: The Ballet, and The Felt Tips, with the lovely Making Marks making up the bill—And the FB link

And we will have badges!!

Pop!South Badge

Free Pop!South badges

Yakuri Cable badges

And Yakuri Cable badges will be on sale for 50p each, or all 3 for £1!

Hope to see lots of folk there!

Boston thoughts

Given the recent news, I wanted to say a little bit about my personal experience of the Boston Marathon. I’ve had some friends here in Scotland who were surprised a marathon would be attacked, so I wanted to explain why this one is different. It’s been such a part of my life and growing up in Eastern MA that I need to explain why this hits so hard.

The Boston Marathon, and the pride we have in it is as much a part of being “from Boston” and loving the Red Sox and hating the Yankees. [I put “from Boston” in quotes because, strictly speaking, I’m from Framingham, a suburb some 20 miles to the west, but I identify as being “from Boston” as I think many Massachusetts natives do.] When I was little, I loved getting Marathon Monday, as it’s locally known, off of school. I knew kids in other states didn’t get the day off, and  we would always have the marathon on the TV in the background for the whole day. I was born a couple years after Bill Rodgers won his last Boston Marathon, but those were the days that local folks still won, or at least did quite well. Names like Rodgers, Johny Kelly, Rosie Ruiz, and team Hoyt (a father who has been pushing his son, who has cerebral palsy, in the Boston Marathon since 1981) were common knowledge in my household, and most in MA. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties and saw the Honolulu Marathon, that I realized that all marathons didn’t have nearly 30,000 runners and hundreds of bandits each year. It’s just how the marathon is in MA and I didn’t know it was that strange.

When I was a little older, my best friend lived on a street just off the route. I would go over either really early in the morning, before they closed the streets, or sleep over the night before. We’d go out and cheer for hours for all the runners. We’d clap especially hard for the mobility impaired runners who came first, like the blind runners who have guides with them, spend hours clapping non-stop through the two big waves of the pack and then wander about after the roads were re-opened, whooping and cheering for those bandit (or non-official) runners who were determined to do the route, even if it took them all day and night.

Folk do all kinds of crazy things to get people to cheer for them. It really helps to hear the crowds cheering, and they light up if you cheer their name. I can get why you might need some encouragement to run 26 miles! Lots of people write their names on their t-shirts, have pictures of the folk they’re running for, or write team names on themselves. But some folk really go all out and run in costume! Framingham has the 10K marker, so it’s pretty early on in the race. Often these people shed their costumes by the time they cross the finish line, but where we watched, they usually were still fully suited up. I’ve seen a few Abe Lincolns, countless superheroes, and even a guy running in a bunny suit. That year my best friend and I actually made “Run, Rabbit, Run” signs to take out, the only time I have *ever* made a sign for a sporting event.

In high school, I did the Walk for Hunger twice, and part of the 20 mile route follows the marathon route. I remember thinking it was so cool having folk cheering me on like I cheered on the runners, and also getting a better understanding of why it’s called Heartbreak Hill… And I was only walking!

I didn’t get to pay it too much attention during the 4 years I was in uni, because I almost always worked that day, but there was still a buzz about it and it was certainly a topic of conversation. Then I started working for a local video production company. Turns out that they/we did a lot of the videos for the Boston Athletic Association (who run the race) and worked on the day, manning camera points at every check point for a company called My Marathon. I learned a lot more about the marathon in my years there.

Every official runner gets a chip that they tie to their shoelaces. When they pass each checkpoint, it beeps. (Yes, this can get a bit annoying, but you get used to it). This records their bib number and time. You an track runners on the BAA website (which came very much in handy yesterday) and My Marathon synched this to their cameras and would make a personalized DVD of your run for you. We also recorded race highlights and footage along the route, and cut together the main highlights for the BAA. During those years I got up around 5am to get everything loaded up and to my checkpoint before they closed the roads. I snagged the 10K, because it was just down the street from where I used to watch as a kid. I was right back, clapping for hours for everyone who passed. I hated the early call, but enjoyed the day. Except maybe for the time it was pissing down with rain, but if they were running in it, I was going to be out clapping in it.

I got to know the route better too. Up until then, I mostly knew the bit from the start to Framingham, and then the last 5K. The middle bit was kind of a blur. But having co-workers along the different parts of the route made it much more concrete. I learned about the girls of Wellesly College whose cheers can be heard half a mile away, and the chaos at Kenmore when the Red Sox game lets out. We actually stopped covering that checkpoint because we had such a hard time keeping folks away from the cameras. I got to know the stories of some of the most famous runners better. Our editor worked on a documentary about the Hoyts, and we cut footage together to celebrate Johny Kelly; he got to cross the finish line and break the tape one last time before he died. I even got a few of those Boston Marathon jackets that runners and volunteers get.

Once I moved to Scotland, I still always knew when it was Marathon Monday. I knew folks running in it, and working on it, and saw pictures posted from the race route. It’s just part of being from Boston and I have nothing but fond memories of it and the people who run it, run in it, and are a part of it. I’ve been making maps of my daily routines for my research work, and I’m going to make one about my memories of the marathon. I’m submitting the other comics for Team Girl Comic’s webcomic, but will post this one here, for expediency’s sake.

Obsessive crafting—themed links

Kim Rugg via Cool Hunting

“Some people like taking their time,” says Kim Rugg, whose artistic achievements are measured in millimeters, spent X-ACTO blades and picas. We spent the afternoon with Rugg in her London home and studio talking about her work re-imagining newspapers, comics, stamps and cereal boxes using their existing form while rearranging their content. Kim finds inspiration from the mundane and common objects around us. Her wicked knife skills and tenacious attention to detail have create a body of work that is as impressive as it is curious.

Marian Bantjes

http://deviate-ny.com/blog/2009/05/11/marian-bantjes/

Rob Ryan

Artist: Rob Ryan

Egg Shell Cutting

http://www.notcot.org/post/9505/

Other Paper Cutting

http://makedo-and-mend.blogspot.com/2008/08/inspiration-paper-cuttings.html

http://www.toxel.com/inspiration/2009/03/22/beautiful-and-creative-art-of-paper-cutting/

Paper animation (Amazing, detailed papercraft animation)

Paper Cut with rear projection (Really good, interesting use of rear-projection. Mixing cut paper, projection and animation)

http://monsieurbandit.blogspot.com/2011/02/ice-book.html

Storm in a teacup (Literally fantastic)

http://www.yatzer.com/feed_2255_row,_row,_row_your_boat,_gently_down_the_tea!

I was originally intending this blog to be an extension of the critical reflective journal I had to keep for my Master’s of Communication Design. But it didn’t pan out that way. I would like to archive some of the links and images I was interested in over the past 2 years and I thought it might be helpful to post some of the work I did during my course here though.

Term 1 Summary

The first term set me adrift. I was trying to find my footing in a new country, as well as a whole new educational environment. Without clients, briefs or deadlines, I floundered a bit.

In order to try to apply craft techniques to digital making and vice versa, as was my original intention, I would have to pick up skills in mediums I had not previously worked in. I dabbled in letterpress, screen printing, stencils and even began to draw again for the first time in years.

I picked up visual inspiration like a magpie, not settling on a common theme, simply finding what struck me at the time. Disparate elements engaged me equally and I simply didn’t have a path through it all. What interested me more: subverting technology, crafting objects or maybe even the concept of play? While I was developing interest in narrative, I hadn’t found my thread to bind everything together yet.

The vastness of what was available to me left me immobilized by choice. My tutors gave me several methods to try to allow myself to impose some rules, but I still felt like I was hitting a wall. Grappling with shedding the traditional modes and methods I had used in my corporate work over the years was also quite difficult.

Eventually, I took Ira Glass’ advice to beginners and just started making. The things I ended up with might not be where I want to finish, but by the end of the term, I was finally starting to realize that this is a journey and that I needed to learn about what fails to make the next thing work.

Here’s a small sample of those things.