August 14th, 2008


happy new baby and applied physics

Today I went shopping for a birthday card for my Mum, and found the best Congratulations to the New Parents From A Childfree Person card ever. It manages to combine the messages of "Congratulations on successfully achieving a baby" with "(Though I'm not sure why you wanted one. Good luck anyway!)" without offending either group of people's sensibilities. This is quite impressive.

I suffer from extreme greeting card dilemma in general, because I can only send cards with words that I actually mean, and I don't have enough time in my life to make my own. Normally the problem is limited to trying to find appropriate cards for my partners that don't say "To the One I Love", which seems like a ridiculous sentiment even for most people with only one romantic partner. Most human beings love more than one other person, like their best friends or parent/s or children or pets. I'd be lonely if I only loved one other person in the whole world!

But the difficulty gets doubled or tripled when it comes to New Baby, because I can't manage to send cards about 10 ickle cutesy toesies without wanting to vomit. While the standard "Wow! It's a Boy!" blue card or "Awesome, You Achieved A Girl!" pink cards bother my queer feminist brain with thoughts like "Why the hell does the biological sex of a newborn matter anyway?" and "Who knows which of the many genders the child will grow up to be?". So finding a card that is non-nauseating and will amuse both Richard and me and the new parents is a very cool thing. So cool, that I did in fact buy three of them. Then realised I actually know four pregnant women. Oops.

I have also been both experiencing and suffering from Newton's Third Law today. I spent several hours helping my mum load heavy boxes onto a trolley that had no brakes, and she kept moaning about it running away as we put the loads on. I tried to explain why it happened, but to no avail. Then, coming home, I tried to take the step stool down from the trike, and one of my bungie cords flew up and hit me in the nose. I know those things are a) vicious and b) can store a lot of elastic potential energy, but honestly! It hurt like mad and I now have a visible and scary-looking bruise. And it had to be one of the long 1m cables that has never tried to attack me before rather than the shorter 60cm one that bites me all the time (to the point where I expect it and am prepared for it). Bah.

My Grand Plan for BiCon?

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.