baratron: (cn tower)
Home from travelling. Actually, I got in somewhere around 1 pm yesterday and proceeded to pass out for many hours. Woke up at 1 am and (much to my surprise) have been awake ever since. Husband has been snuggled. Boyfriend has been talked to on Skype. He looks very sad, poor thing, but it remains against the laws of physics for me to be in two places at once. Hoping we can have him visit in late June/early July for my birthday.

Super weirdly, I have been physically energetic enough to have emptied the laundry rack, folded the dry laundry, sorted all of the dirty laundry in my suitcase, put on a load of laundry, emptied the clean stuff out of the dishwasher and refilled it. I hope that I will not pay for this tomorrow, though I have A Theory. A theory which involves, of all things, vegan bacon and my ability to get it.

(Gods, I knew that Yves Veggie Bacon wasn't very fatty, but I didn't realise that 3 rashers had only 0.5 g of fat between the lot of them, along with 14 g of protein. Short of actually, y'know, BAKING my own tofu, I am unsure where to get tasty textured fake meat products which are low fat and high protein. Nasty-tasting, weird textured but low fat, I can do. Nice-tasting, well-textured and full of fat, I can do).

Continue to be Unimpressed with Aer Lingus. Will relate the full story later when spoons exist.
baratron: (richard)
Yesterday was my 4th wedding anniversary with Richard and our 18th anniversary of being together. Richard bravely staggered out of bed where he was busy dying of the man-flu, and we put on fancy clothes and went out to the Secret Surprise I had booked. This being vegan afternoon tea at La Suite West hotel, which is near Bayswater/Queensway.

Pictures! )
baratron: (aibo)
Today I am feeling depressed and panicky. The problem with sleeping in hotel rooms is the damned air conditioning. Firstly, it's impossible to control the temperature of the room the way we'd do it at home by throwing open a window, since the windows are sealed. The hotel room defaults to 22 deg C, which is too hot for comfortable sleeping - especially with the two duvets they've given us! I prefer the room somewhere around 17-18 deg C while I'm trying to fall asleep.

Secondly, a single heavy duvet (we removed the second one because it was ridiculous) is improper temperature control for me. At home, I sleep with a thin duvet and a selection of thin blankets, which I throw onto or off the bed depending on my body temperature. It is entirely normal for me to go to sleep in pyjamas and socks under four layers of bedding, and wake up half-naked under two. Here, with one big duvet, I only have the choice of "clothes on" or "clothes off", which is not enough gradation.

Thirdly, the air is too dry. So I have trouble getting to sleep in the first place because my mouth is too dry (three or four of my medications all have 'dry mouth' as a side-effect), leading to a cycle of drinking water and needing to pee which goes on for a while before sleep occurs. Then while I'm asleep my nose swells up inside, and I end up breathing through my mouth, which leads to bizarre, usually horrible dreams. I have a lot of nightmares anyway, but there's nothing quite like waking up having a full-blown anxiety attack simply because of not breaking properly. Blargh.

Saline spray is wonderful, but it only works to rehydrate my nose when I'm awake enough to do the spraying. In cheap hotels, you can lay wet towels across the air conditioner, and that helps to keep the air moist, but this is a fancy-ass hotel and the air conditioning is a vent high on the wall. I remember the time I shared a room at an alt.polycon - can't remember which one - with Cally Soukup, who brought a portable humidifier to combat the air conditioning, and it was the Best Thing Ever. I wonder how she's doing? She was one of my few alt.poly friends who didn't make it over to livejournal. Say hi to her from me if you see her at a convention.

Whine whine whine.

Apart from hotel air conditioning, Montréal continues to be amazing. If [livejournal.com profile] papersky ever invites you to the Jean-Talon Market, and you have any interest whatsoever in food, then go. Apparently it is only a quarter of its summer size right now, since the weather means that only the indoor parts were open, but we found vegan-friendly Turkish delight, and sorbet that tasted just like the fruit it was made from, and a tea shop with some very interesting blends. I could have bought many things there, since they had at least six varieties of white tea, which is my favourite, but settled for the Peach Blossom blend which smelled the best.

I had a buckwheat crêpe which was vegan, but rather boring since the stall owner only had butter as a possible fat to fry it in, so it was extremely dry. I should have opted for an apple crêpe with maple syrup, or cinnamon, sugar and lemon, rather than getting excited by the one labelled as "végétalienne". Well, you live and learn.

There was also an entire shop of sheep butter, cheese, lanolin, yarn etc (which [livejournal.com profile] nitoda would love); a chocolate shop whose dark chocolate was dairy-free; a spice shop which had more dried chillis than I've ever seen together in one place, as well as an insanely large collection of different types of peppercorn; an organic hippy nonsense shop with vegan chocolate chip cookies (and vegan onion crackers?!); a great deal of charcuterie and seafood; and fruit and vegetables sold by the actual farmers who produce it. That's something which is entirely missing from my most local market in Kingston-upon-Thames: traceability. Anonymous stalls sell barely-fresh fruit and vegetables which could be from anywhere in the world. At least when I go to the supermarket, everything British-produced has a label on to tell me the name and location of the farm it came from.

I have been jealous of [livejournal.com profile] mongoose_bite's tales of his local farmers' market for some months now, but having experienced a market like that in person, I now really need to find something like it in or near London. There must be one.

Might go out shopping for clothes or books later if I can face moving. A lot of shops here are oddly open until 9pm Monday to Friday, but only until 5 or 6pm on Saturdays (and Sundays). I understand closing early on Sundays, but it seems odd to be open until 9pm on slow nights like Monday and Tuesday, and then closing so early on a Saturday. It's not how central London works, anyway. I was wondering if it was because a lot of Catholics go to church on Saturday night ("to get it out the way") instead of Sunday morning, but I'm not sure how religious the city still is, despite all the churches around the place.

I've seen a couple of shops which claim to be for "sizes 14+", Addition-Elle and another one I've forgotten the name of which looked like mostly office wear. I wonder if either of them have jeans I can wear? Torrid in the US is great for finding me jeans, but they don't have branches here.
baratron: (what's this?)
Re: part 2 of this, I have had a discussion with several different people which may achieve mutual satisfactory resolution. More about that later. However, I am still stressed out of my little brain.

What is an appropriate method for someone who doesn't drink alcohol to achieve the feeling of "going to get very drunk"? Best I can think of so far is going to eat a large quantity of chocolate ice cream or mousse, but that doesn't feel special enough for the amount of stress that I need to dump. Especially as there isn't any REALLY GOOD vegan ice cream available here. (If I were in the US, I'd go to get one of those pots of Purely Delicious vegan gluten-free Cookie Dough and eat it until I no longer wanted to eat it - but here there really isn't anything that I don't have as dessert on a regular basis.)
baratron: (Default)
So tired today. Have various things to talk about but very little energy with which to do it. This is a perpetual problem at the moment, though.

Richard was away in Paris doing paintball things over the weekend, so I had a visiting [livejournal.com profile] fluffymormegil and [livejournal.com profile] rowan_leigh. They were very useful for helping me, especially on Friday when Rowan took me shopping without any prior introduction to the wheelchair from hell and Kingston's stupidly-sloped pavements! Somehow I managed to wake up a bit after noon several days in a row.

Then when Richard got back on Monday, we went up to London. I dropped into College briefly, gave in the doctor's letter that I should have given in months ago, returned some library books, and saw both my supervisors. Then we went to Vx, where I bought some protein bars and cakes, including a mille feuille that fell into the "If I wasn't eating this in a vegan shop I wouldn't believe it could be vegan" category! (OM NOM NOM). Then we went to Foyles, to see the piranha and buy chemistry books. And finally to Chutney's where I had what I always have: thali number 3, vegan.

Then on Tuesday I slept, haha. Until the College Disability people phoned me, and suddenly decided that I need to get NEW Medical Evidence NOW so I can get more help next term. I don't feel well enough to deal with paperwork, and I'm not even certain that I'll be well enough to go back next term (at the beginning of May); but if I don't go back then I can't go back until September, which I think would be too long. Argh. Too tired. They're right - with all the many bank holidays I need to get the paperwork going a.s.a.p., but I don't have enough brain. Will try to make a start on it tomorrow.
baratron: (boots)
Back home now. Haven't exactly been keeping up either with livejournal or the real-world news. (American news is full of people I've never heard of and very little about the world outside the US).

Tuesday night dinner was at Blockheads, a typical American Tex-Mex, but one that knew what vegans are. I get Mexican food when I'm in Seattle at the lovely Taco Del Mar, but they do vegan by simply leaving out the dairy. Blockheads do vegan by substituting tofu sour cream and vegan soy cheese. Food was rich, but tasty: OM NOM NOM NOM NOM! I also appreciated their minimalist approach to onions - none visible in the black beans or rice, only a couple of small soft pieces in the salsa, which was otherwise full of plump tomato flesh. Why does salsa at so many places mean tomato skin and onion? I don't understand how anyone would want to eat that.

Literature report got emailed about 2.30am on Tuesday, which was Late according to my deadline, but there really wasn't anything I could do about it. Got back from dinner ready to finish it off, but there's an annoying bug in Mac OpenOffice whereby if you try copy & pasting from a PDF that doesn't let you copy & paste for copyright reasons, you get a massive object in the middle of the document that then crashes OpenOffice. Due to excessive panic, my brain fell out of my head when this happened at 11.50pm, and I hit "save"... meaning that I corrupted the file. Normally I have compulsive backups of everything but for some reason (as I got more panicked about getting it done) I forgot to keep resaving with new names, and my more recent backup was apparently 6 hours old... argh! We had to download the newest version of Windows OpenOffice over the hotel network (which took over an hour!), install it on Richard's PC, put the corrupted file on a USB stick and open it on the PC to clean it up so I could finish formatting the references. Ewww. Haven't completely finished the lit report - I sent what I had so that something got submitted. Will finish it off over the next few days.

We went to bed about 3am on Tuesday and got up again about 11 in time to pack our bags and check out of the hotel. We went for lunch at Fresh & Co which had vegan soup, pasta and falafel sandwiches, as well as the New York-style baked cheesecake that my Mum had spent three days moaning about the lack of. Spent the afternoon shopping, which was what I'd planned to do this trip anyway. Just... I'd planned to do MORE of it than I got to do. Bought everything I wanted from the Hot Topic in Queens Center, not that there was very much there :/ (I'm sure it used to be in a bigger shop within the mall). Haven't bought anything for the few people that I am buying Christmas presents for, yet. Principally because I have no money, and I can't borrow money from Richard for his own Christmas present! I need to claim back my money from Student Finance England, and hope that my two old students who bugged me with phone calls while I was away want to have lots of lessons. But not so many that they get in the way of finishing my literature report. Ugh.

Trip back was uneventful. Watched Harry Potter 6, which is awesome, the first two episodes of Glee, and the pilot of My Name is Earl - all good inflight, brain-isn't-working entertainment. Richard and I failed to get any sleep at all, my mum managed about an hour. Got back about 12 noon today and promptly crashed out the whole day. Woke up about 1.30am and now wondering how on earth to get myself back onto UK time. Also desperate for a holiday. We'll be going to Boston at the end of the month, but not for very long, and I'm wondering if I can rearrange my flight home so I can get a bit more time in the US. Anyone want a visiting h-l? Of course, I don't actually have any money right now, so this may be completely impossible.

Things I need to write about: travelling whilst disabled, and the approaches of various airlines and airports to "special" meals. Might leave that until after my trip to Boston, depending on spoons and how much else I need to say.
baratron: (boots)
Dear gods, I am going insane. Whose stupid idea was it to bring myself to New York even though I haven't finished my coursework, on the basis that I can do my work anywhere? ARGH!

Moaning about my dear family, feel free to skip. )

I am so glad that we didn't try to go anywhere exciting for dinner last night and just went to Better Burger. Because anything done twice is tradition, and I'm now on my fifth trip to New York and... seventh? eighth? tenth? trip to Better Burger. Last night I had a soy burger, smashed potatoes, fruit smoothie and vegan brownie. Fast food that is actually food. Om nom nom.

Okay, I think I've got all the moaning out of my system. Better try to get on with some work.
baratron: (lego)
Also, because I was feeling so wretched and lonely, we actually went out on New Year's Eve! This is a big thing if you consider that a) I don't celebrate new year at this time of year, b) the horrendous train journey we had 3 years ago.

I wanted to go out for dinner to my favourite vegan (indeed, *favourite*) restaurant, 222, for several reasons - not least of all that they're within easy reach of Clapham Junction station (train takes 8 minutes) and both of the parties I was aware of are also reached via CLJ. But 222 turned out to be closed. Or at least not answering the phone on several occasions, which given that they usually pick up within 4 rings rather implied closure... So I came up with plan B to go to my second-favourite vegan restaurant, inSpiral, where they do lasagna to die for! But although they were open, they were turning into a loud hippy-music disco at 10pm, and it was just before 8 when we left the house. We then got stuck at Wimbledon for half an hour due to "a fight" on the train where "blood had been spilled" and "police were in attendance". By the time we got to Waterloo, it was 8.52pm and the likelihood of getting up to Camden in time for food seemed slim to none. So we ended up going with plan C, which was our favourite Indian vegetarian restaurant, Chutney's, near Euston. We had potato bonda (mashed potato fried in chickpea flour), aloo tikki chat without yogurt (fried potato on chickpea curry), vegan thali C (a mixed platter of vegetable curries with lentil dhal, rice and breads) and some sort of dosa (didn't pay attention as I wasn't eating it). Om nom nom.

Then we went to [livejournal.com profile] hatter & [livejournal.com profile] bfo's party, which was relatively quiet with only a few guests. We got there just in time for the fireworks, for which I was equipped with earplugs (to block out noise) and a scarf (to block out smoke), and by standing well upwind and further away than everyone else I almost enjoyed them! We didn't really know any of the other people there, but had met one of them a few times before, and everyone was nice except one guy who was obnoxiously drunk. He went to sleep on the floor fairly early on, so after that it was fine. Also one guy called Mike seemed to be a clone of [livejournal.com profile] mjl - had the same sort of nose, face and voice, and the same sense of humour. It was scary! The night bus home was actually fairly pleasant (!) - no one talking loudly, fighting or exuding bodily fluids. So that was good, and my social bar is no longer bleeding red (joke only makes sense to people who play The Sims).

And today we went to 222 and had the meal we would have had on New Year's Eve had they been open. Today it was asparagus soup, garlic bread, carrot tart with roast potatoes, broccoli and tomato sauce (for me), tofu medallion spaghetti (for Richard), apricot and almond cake (for me) and apple crumble (for Richard). Om nom nom, again.
baratron: (grinning)
Saw Tim & Peter tonight for pizza & polar bear exchange. (We co-parent a small plushy polar bear called Knut, who came from Iceland yet is a replica of Knut from Berlin Zoo when he was a fluffy baaaaaby rather than a Godless Killing Machine. If this doesn't make sense to you, don't ask.) Pizza was beyond excellent as it always is in Italian Graffitti, polar bear was naughty, surreal conversation occurred. I love them dearly, especially for the huge amount of help they've given me with my recent crisis.

I do not love that Tim gave me an earworm of the Philippe song, a.k.a. Freezepop's most silly song EVER, about Philippe the otter from Achewood. I may need to surgically extract my brain to get rid of it. Meanwhile, Richard was so discombobulated that he accidentally left a 115% tip by entering the amount he meant to pay in the tip box. Oops. If that's what happens on one glass of red wine, it's just as well he didn't have any Limoncello liqueur.

HUGS!
baratron: (cn tower)
So Richard got us takeaway from Pizza Express tonight and there were NINE dough balls in the box. Count 'em - NINE. And they were huge. All of them were bigger than dino's head, and three of them were bigger than Paploo's paws. And the dough was really fresh and fluffy. See what you're missing? Meanwhile, there you are, stuck in New York, where I'm sure they don't know anything about pizza...

Not that I'm jealous or anything.
baratron: (bi_pride)
[livejournal.com profile] barakta said something that I thought was rather interesting and has made me all Inspired. For a while I've been wondering what sort of workshop I'd like to run at BiCon, and trying to work out what's missing from the current list that I'd like to see. I haven't been able to think of any Good Ideas that either a) aren't already being provided by someone or b) haven't already been run multiple times before.

Anyway, apparently quite a lot of people are stressed out by the fairly basic kitchen facilities at this year's BiCon. So I think my contribution this year will be formally volunteering to provide a vegan hot meal on one or both nights. I'll be in one of the ensuite flats which has a "large kitchen (ideal for parties)" with an "electric cooker with 4 rings, grill and oven", and hopefully on the ground floor. The boy & I already own a 3 litre saucepan from Ikea and a massive 10 litre one, so I could do pasta with a choice of tomato & pepper sauce and/or vegan pesto on one night, and something like fried rice with peas, carrots and peppers or tomato rice with chickpeas on another night. (These are my absolutely bog standard recipes that I can make in my sleep and that can easily be scaled up - I've made the tomato rice with chickpeas for 40 or so people before.) I might have to buy a second 10 litre pan - but oh, having to obtain more kitchen hardware? The hardship! *hand-staple-forehead* ;) There might even be dessert if I am sufficiently organised in the week before BiCon.

Obviously there is a limit to the amount of food that I could make, but if people could pre-register their desires for a meal (with priority given to people with access needs or low incomes, and people doing important jobs that night), it could work. It would also be relatively cheap, though I can't say how much without a bit more research. I can't guarantee that the food at the bottom of the pan wouldn't be burned, but I have never given anyone food poisoning in my life. I don't have one of those food hygiene certificate thingies though - would that be a problem? It would also have to be Bring Your Own Plate And Cutlery, as a) I don't have 30 or 40 plates, b) I don't want to wash up 30 or 40 plates as well as the humungous pans, c) disposable is Bad For The Environment.

Does this sound like a good idea? If so, I'll type up a menu and post it on the BiCon community. Some people will probably bitch even then, or moan that they are allergic to some fundamental ingredient in the recipe. (At least it's easy enough to do separate gluten-free pasta in Yet Another pan if someone gives me clear instructions about the type of gluten-free they can eat and how the hell you cook it. The sauce consists of tomatoes, peppers, garlic olive oil and black pepper, so is naturally gluten-free already.)

I wonder if I could get Ocado or Sainsbury's to deliver food straight to BiCon so I wouldn't need to lug it all the way from here? Hmmm.
baratron: (richard again)
Richard is a very silly wuzzie. Conversation from Saturday:

R: If they invent a Roomba that will vacuum stairs, I'm buying one. Don't care how much it costs.
HL: You don't care about its environmental effects or how much electricity it consumes?
R: No, it can be assembled by starving Indonesian children, sewing it together by hand, covered in lead paint, and be powered by a caesium generator. If it does stairs, I'll take it!

Tonight I made hummous and roasted vegetables for dinner, served with toasted pitta bread. The hummous is from a recipe I've used before but with the feeble 2 cloves of garlic replaced with a more realistic 5 cloves, and roasted red pepper, courgette/zucchini and carrots, which don't need a recipe (preheat oven to 200 degrees C, make up stock using one stock cube + 200 ml of boiling water, pour stock over chopped vegetables, drizzle with a little garlic olive oil, cook for 30-40 minutes). Richard declared that the hummous was "the best hummous ever" and formally thanked me for making it. I'm quite flattered, but I've made it three or four times before, just not for a couple of years. Amazingly, the tahini was a) not past its use-by date yet and b) still fresh. Although oil is a good preservative, most nuts, seeds or spreads made from them are only good for 18 months or so past opening. I guess putting it in the fridge helped.

Things we got done on Saturday, for my reference:Read more... )
baratron: (gaming)
Argh. After using Happycow for over 5 years, I finally registered so that I could tell the American who was complaining about smoking inside Eat and Two Veg that if he went there after 1st July 2007 and there was smoking inside, the owners were breaking the law and he should report it. Then I got so obsessed with writing vegetarian restaurant reviews (which I almost typoed as "vegetable restaurant" reviews) that it got too late for us to go out for dinner :/ I have, however, finally found an Indian restaurant in London that explicitly says what on the menu is vegan, so I hope that I'll be able to avoid random poisoning by stealth dairy in the future.

It's funny how in some restaurant circumstances I'm able to be extremely outspoken about my dietary needs, but in others I can't be. In particular, there is some... mentality that I get into in South Asian places where I get intimidated. I think it's because they are always staffed entirely by men. I can't actually think of an "Indian" restaurant that I've been to that has any female staff at all. And I guess it pushes the part of my brain that is indoctrinated in South Asian culture. Which is particularly weird, because I'm famous for being feminist and refusing to obey indoctrination about A Woman's Place. Huh. This requires some poking.

Lately I have been not online much due to an extreme shortage of spoons. Still not really "over" the virus I had, but pretty sure this is post-viral exhaustion & snottiness due to asthma and pre-existing chronic fatigue problem, rather than still being ill with something infectious. Have been playing a whole load of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (on the DS). Apart from the fact you have to walk using the stylus (rather than the D-pad), its control system is totally intuitive. And I've been AMAZED to discover that it has a variable difficulty level built in. In the boss stages, if you die and hit Continue, the boss becomes visibly easier. There was some aspect of me getting better at it, but in addition the bosses slow down and don't attack as often, and you get more hearts to heal you as it happens. Which is something that Insomniac built right into the Ratchet and Clank games, and it's even in the Spyro games that weren't produced by them - but in general is very lacking from the video gaming experience. I like it.

You see, I love playing video games but am actually not very good at them. Any hand-eye co-ordination that exists in my body has been painfully trained in through years of being bad at video games. I can do puzzle-solving, no problem - I have a brain! But I have virtually no co-ordination, and SUCK at fighting. With most games, when it gets to a major fight sequence, I'm used to dying over and over and having to give the game to someone else to get past that part. For example, I never actually finished the Minish Cap, because I did the very final boss of the whole game something like 12 times on 3 separate occasions, and simply COULD NOT get past it, even doing exactly what the FAQ said I should do. (My problem in games is almost never figuring out what to do.) So it's really rather pleasant to find the game making itself easier for me so I don't have to give up.

Also, some of the dungeons in Phantom Hourglass have been tricky, but they've been almost entirely brain-taxing rather than physical ability-taxing. Again, this is unusual. I'm so used to sitting here looking at games going "well, I need to jump on this moving platform and then jump off just before it gets to the top so I get onto that other little ledge rather than falling down into the gaping chasm", and then spending half a freaking hour on that one part before luck strikes and I manage the timing. Whereas here, I've been having to draw all over the in-game map, and write myself notes, and deal with weird little hints. Even to do something as basic as open a chest, you might have to work out the timing of hitting the switch and getting through the spikes before the timer stops - but there will be a way to do it easily using one of your tools, and the brain part is in figuring out where to stand. I just did a part where you had to talk to 6 characters in the game and work out which of them was lying before you could unlock the next part of the plot. That rocked! There have been quite a lot of logic puzzles, and not too many incidents of me falling into gaping chasms.

So... yes. Will be back when spoons exist again and the game has stopped eating my life :)
baratron: (bi_pride)
Today I went to Brighton to take part in a Brighton BiFest committee meeting. I am the Webmonkeymistress & Cake Wrangler. I have posted a poll all about cake on the [livejournal.com profile] bifest community and those of you who are going to Brighton BiFest should fill it in!

Also, I realised I haven't actually posted the date of BiFest here, so: it's Saturday 9th February 2008. Please come!
baratron: (Luka)
We have a metric buttload of Wagamama vouchers that have to be used by this Wednesday, 23rd January. Unfortunately, they are only good for eat-in, not for takeaway. There are several sets of buy 1 get 1 free main meals, side dishes, and juice or soft drink. Does anybody want them?

If so, comment in the screened part of this with your address & I'll put them in the post today. Edit: Vouchers all allocated now - will be sending to [livejournal.com profile] taimatsu, [livejournal.com profile] alexmc & [livejournal.com profile] ailbhe.

Also, so this post isn't completely useless, In pictures: From edible to incredible. Photographer Carl Warner has painstakingly captured all kinds of food in a series of still lifes. I think numbers 1 & 3 are my favourites. Forest of broccoli trees!
baratron: (octopus!)
irc transcript from #soc.bi, a few minutes ago:
<Beetlebau> IA! IA! CTHULHU CITRUS FHTAGN!
<astra> ?!
* Beetlebau found out about Buddha's Hand.
<Beetlebau> A type of citrus fruit that looks like a cross between a lemon and Cthulhu.
<astra> does this exist in reality?
<Beetlebau> Well, yeah!
<fluffymormegil> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddha%27s_hand
<fluffymormegil> freaky!
<Beetlebau> We found some at Jungle Jim's Sunday. Kind of regret not buying one.
<astra> that really DOES look like Cthulhu!
baratron: (cn tower)
I have been busy uploading & tagging photos from various trips - some almost a year old.

dino Trip 7 - Modern Art in Manchester, 2006-09-22. If any Mancunians could tell me what the saxophones, Moon, bat wings & bees statue is called, or who it's by, or even what street it's on, I'd be most grateful.

Me, [livejournal.com profile] alexa_robinson, [livejournal.com profile] rowan_leigh, [livejournal.com profile] fluffymormegil (friends-only), at BiFest, 2006-09-23. (Tell me if it's ok to make this public.)

Various "new" photos of me & Richard, from 2006-12-28 to 2007-03-12. Features naked [livejournal.com profile] wuzzie-chest, if you feel you need warning of that.

dino Trip 8a - Minneapolis & the Mall of America, 2007-03-29 & 30. Features an iPod vending machine, Lego stegosaurus & giant octopus, and wedding chapel - in the Mall of America.

dino Trip 8b - Lost in New York, 2007-04-03 & 04. Features the Empire State Building, giant topiary bunny, a hideous golden statue outside the Rockefeller Center, and the Nintendo World store. And this rather nice picture of ancient & modern NYC. 95%-written post about New York just needs a quick edit & post.

Check out all his majesty. 2007-06-08

Why tricycles are better than bicycles, 2007-06-09.

My birthday party, 2007-06-21. Photos edited so it looks like the plushies went to the restaurant without us :) Delicious vegan food porn from 222.

Toronto Zoo photos, all uploaded & tagged. 75%-written post about the Zoo to follow. 2007-06-29

Photos of actual humans from alt.polycon 15 and from [livejournal.com profile] hoopycat & [livejournal.com profile] veryfineredwine's wedding will follow. They're the ones which take the most effort, as technically I'm supposed to contact other people before putting their photos online. What I'll most likely do is upload them all friends-only & get people to say if it's ok to make them public.
baratron: (wolfy)
I am sitting in a bread and soup shop called Panera who get my vote. Not only do they have a quick-check list of all products with common allergens, they even have a thick file with complete ingredients lists for everything. It even marks food as vegetarian or vegan (yes, they know what a vegan is!). I am very impressed.

So I have a large, steaming bowl of hot black bean soup, which is tasty without being burning chilli, french bread and freshly-squeezed orange juice. And I'm sitting here knowing they have free wi-fi and it's just fine for me to sit at the table tapping away at my PDA.

I am greatly enjoying being in the same country as Silk Very Vanilla soy milk :) The chocolate is also pretty good. And I went to Target ('cos I'm super-sprøde) and bought more Luna and Clif bars than you could possibly believe. High protein, complex carbs, vitamins, lots of sugar and chocolate all in one handy vegan bar. Perfect con food. Sadly full of soy protein, so no good for [livejournal.com profile] ailbhe or Ludys.

I was also impressed with the hotel restaurant last night. Ruth Anne, who is c(o)eliac, and I were trying to find a local restaurant she could eat at. In the end we gave up and joined most of the rest of apc in the hotel, where we proceeded to order meals totally off-menu from the ingredients we could see listed. They coped admirably - we both got edible meals, on time, and neither of us became ill as a result.

I continue to be thoroughly unimpressed with the hotel wi-fi which has cut out 3 times while I've been writing this *rolleyes*.
baratron: (dino)
Tonight for dinner I had falafel and hummous with grilled vegetables and salad, and I want to rant about "no dressing on my salad" and how difficult a request it seems to be for people to fulfill. Too tired for ranting, though. Richard ended up taking my salad downstairs and washing it in the sink to get rid of all the ick. I think what I need to do is make it clear when I order that if the salad comes with dressing on, I will send it back, and keep sending it back until it's right. It's difficult to do that when you're bloody hungry, though, and I can only do it when both of a) I have sufficient energy to argue and b) the salad dressing will actively make me ill are true.

I was craving red peppers and chickpeas and tomato sauce, so we could either have made pasta with those things or got food from elsewhere with them in. The grilled vegetable salad is red pepper, courgette/zucchini and aubergine/eggplant, with a mixture of interesting leaves such as rocket and lollo rosso. My body is quite good at craving what it needs. I find if I rely on one protein source for too long, my body craves all the other kinds I can have. Lately, I've been eating a lot of nuts and soya, so today I was craving chickpeas. I don't know about the red peppers and tomatoes. Maybe my body decided i needed red food to make up for having a period soon? Not that either of those will be any good for haemoglobin production! but there's iron in the green leafy parts of the salad, I 'spose.

In other news, today I managed to impress the woman in the travel agents by knowing the official cross-airline code for a vegan meal (it's VGML). Well, when you are horribly lactose intolerant and tend to get travelsick at the best of times, the idea of spending your entire flight & first day in a country locked in the bathroom doesn't appeal! I'm trying to remember which airline it was who managed to give me a dairy yogurt that contained gelatine for breakfast, something which could only have become less vegan by including meat (mmmm, delicious beef yogurt!). I seem to remember that was after some other passenger "stole" my prebooked vegan meal, though.

I've actually had some fairly decent food on some airlines. Vegan chocolate chip cookies have featured on Northwest and United airline menus. The main meal on one Northwest flight was a little too "nuts and berries" for my liking, but all the others have been good. BA's main meal was ok but they really struggled to find puddingy things. They did the absolutely agonising thing of equating vegan with "healthy eating", and served a pudding with icing, cream and custard to the omnivores, while giving me a fruit salad. Argh! Fruit is nice, and good for hydration - but if you're serving something gooey and rich in calories to everyone else, give me something interesting too, please! (Even a fruit coulis to go with the fruit salad is better than nothing - and a sorbet is excellent). Also, the "non-dairy creamer" that BA gave me for coffee had lactose as an ingredient! (I was going to write and complain, but it was in the middle of one of my depressed phases and I just couldn't get round to it.) In general, I find the American airlines are *much* better than the European ones - they buy in vegan cakes and cookies from small bakeries. The European airlines panic and give you fruit. Meh.
baratron: (wolfy)
OK, explain this to me: I was going to eat for dinner leftovers of two curries, aloo gobi and chana masala. Both are curries I eat and enjoy. So why did it disturb me to open the lid marked "aloo gobi" and find it was chana masala? If it had been chicken dhansak, I could understand it being disturbing, as I don't eat chicken. But I was planning to eat the chana masala anyway! Just I was expecting it to be in a box labelled "chana masala", not one labelled "aloo gobi"!

* baratron boggles at self quietly

Also I am getting ridiculously excited about the food possibilities in Minneapolis. I followed links from the alt.polycon website and found a cafe where everything can be vegan and a multitude of vegan pizzas. Eeee! I'm getting excited and hungry just looking at the menus!

Some parts of the US are terrible for finding food I can eat - I survived Colorado Springs only because I could still eat cheese at that time (with vast quantities of lactase enzyme). But other parts, like Seattle and New York, are heaven. Some of these cities are so good I end up coming home and feeling disappointed with the mere 5 vegan restaurants in my city. Richard says I'm a food tourist - I go to places to eat new food. Well, yeah! What other reason for travelling could there be? :P OK, I travel to see friends that I don't get to see otherwise, and to see places - but mostly, I travel for food. I don't know why anyone, knowing me, could find that surprising.

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