Tuesday, 30 December 2014

New Year's Party Food

EATING GEEKY ON NEW YEAR'S EVE
By Sandi Moser

New Year’s Eve is fast approaching. If you’re planning a party, you may be starting to think of the food and drinks you want to serve. If you’re like my husband and me, you’re also starting to plan how best to present those tasty treats to partygoers. Taste is certainly the most import consideration, but presentation comes in at a very close second.
Whether you’re planning a themed party or a mishmash of things you love, there is great inspiration to be found through a few quick internet searches. Here are a few ideas and recipes that may come in handy at your next party:
  • If you want your New Year’s Eve party to be “magical”, you could consider a few items with a Harry Potter theme. I started with a search for a butterbeer recipe and was surprised at how many were available. Obedient Ingredients does a good job researching some of the recipes for you. To round out the theme, liquor bottles can be relabeled for potions class and veggie trays can be themed from herbology class. Of course, a Harry Potter theme is not complete without a big bowl of jelly beans.
  • One of my favourite video games growing up was the Legend of Zelda. If I could throw any kind of nostalgic themed party for myself, this would be it. Heart-shaped red cookies, punch bowls filled with red, green and blue potions, and bowls of deku nuts (pistachios) would be scattered through the house. If you sing me the right song, I may also be convinced to get you a carafe of milk.
  • Settlers of Catan fans can easily make a party setting simply by display foods in hexagonal shaped dishes. By artfully arranging said dishes and filling with a variety of foods (i.e., veggies, chips, pretzels and dips), it’s easy to recreate a Settlers board. Alternatively, for a sweet treat, a similar effect can be achieved with cupcakes (taking care to shape the icing as hexagonally as possible) or hexagonal cookies decorated with coloured icings. 
  • If you’ll have a lot of kids in attendance, Minecraft seems to offer some of the easiest ideas for food presentation. It takes a bit of imagination, but it can be fun thinking of food ideas that can be used to represent various resources: pretzels for sticks, red licorice for TNT, blueberries for diamonds, honeydew melon balls as slime balls. You can also use food colouring with rice cereal squares to make blocks of sand, dirt, coal, etc.

In searching for your next party favour food, here are a few other websites beyond Pinterest you may find helpful:
Wishing you and yours a safe and Happy New Year!


Sandi is a 30-something environmental engineer and mother of two from the metropolis of Stittsville, Ontario. Writing for Capital Geek Girls is a new adventure for her, with previous writing experience limited to technical documents, briefing notes and Facebook updates. In her spare time, Sandi enjoys playing board games and video games, reading books, watching movies, and crocheting. She looks forward to sharing her geeky endeavours with you, as well as reporting on the next generation’s response to those endeavours.


Saturday, 20 December 2014

Geek Christmas Crafts

DIY CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS WITH A GEEKY FLAIR
by Sandi Moser
For as much as I like to craft, my d├ęcor at home is not really conducive to showing it off 11 months of the year. At Christmas, however, decorating ideals go out the door and my house fills with a variety of homemade items. One of our pieces of modern art is replaced by a reindeer painting by my daughter. Our mantle is adorned with a snow globe featuring my son’s toddler fingers as snowmen.
One of my favourite places for homemade crafts is the Christmas tree. My usual clean line, modern (but homey) living room features a tree adorned with handmade ornaments that go as far back as my own childhood. For as much as I like the look of a themed Christmas tree, nothing gets me more excited for the holidays as a popsicle stick snowman with an uneven smile (hanging near the back of the tree so the people outside can appreciate it). 
In preparation for the season, and to find something to do with the kids leading into Christmas vacation, I went hunting for ideas to make a few new ornaments. Here are some of my favourite finds:
  • Ninja Turtles: This one is first, because it gave me the idea to write this article in the first place. In the kid-friendly (read: easy) version, glue an appropriately coloured ribbon around a green Christmas ball and add googly eyes. Voila, the ninja turtle of your choice. Those with more artistic flair can get out the paint and hand draw bandanas and eyes. Either way, you have a turtle for your tree.
  • Minions: As a variation of the Ninja Turtle ornament, use a yellow Christmas ball with black ribbon and one or two eyeballs (again, googly eyes, or maybe felt). Feel free to add a mouth and hair with a black marker or paint.
  • The Golden Snitch: What I liked about this one is that it’s not overtly “geeky”. It’s actually quite a pretty ornament, using a gold Christmas ball and attaching some wings. Harry Potter fans may recognize it, but it could likely hide in a tree without much notice.
  • Lego Death Star: With a 5-year-old in ‘da house, we have more than our share of Star Wars-themed Lego. What do I like most about this craft? We can put it together and take it apart every Christmas!
  • Dalek: OK, here is where I have to admit my pop culture blind spot – Dr. Who. I’ve never watched an episode, but I know there are a lot of fans out there. I came across this ornament for the more advanced crafters. The instructions are pretty involved, but the result is pretty cool, even for someone who doesn’t know a Dalek from a cylon.
I hope you’ve found some inspiration for bringing a bit of homemade to your own Christmas tree. Happy Holidays!


Sandi is a 30-something environmental engineer and mother of two from the metropolis of Stittsville, Ontario. Writing for Capital Geek Girls is a new adventure for her, with previous writing experience limited to technical documents, briefing notes and Facebook updates. In her spare time, Sandi enjoys playing board games and video games, reading books, watching movies, and crocheting. She looks forward to sharing her geeky endeavours with you, as well as reporting on the next generation’s response to those endeavours.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Five Webcomics from Female Creators You Should Totally Be Reading

FIVE WEBCOMICS FROM FEMALE CREATORS YOU SHOULD TOTALLY BE READING
By Marie Victoria Robertson

I often sigh about how I wish I could draw. Thing is, I have an intense respect for comic artists, and webcomic artists in particular; using the versatility of a visual medium to tell a good story seems like a beautiful challenge to me. The comic book industry seems like a tough market to get into, particularly for female artists, and the big-name companies are often stuck catering to fanbases. On the flip side, webcomic artists strike out on their own, with the power to write, draw, and produce their own content on their terms. There is often little to no money involved in webcomics, meaning artists are putting their work out there, for free, for people to read and share and enjoy, purely for the love of their art.  

So, respect. Lots of it. 

Some amazing and talented women are responsible for some of the best webcomics out there and they deserve all the attention they can get. Below is a short list of webcomics I love, and you probably will too. 

1. Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton

Chances are you’re already reading this one. If you’re not, I strongly advise you to sit down with a cup of tea and go through the archive. Kate Beaton is a master at crafting jokes based on history, literature, and occasionally pop culture. Her “strong female characters” are not to be missed. 

2. Oglaf (WARNING: Not Safe For Work) by Trudy Cooper (co-authored by Doug Bayne)

DO NOT click on that link if you are at work. Or if dear old aunt Gertrude is reading over your shoulder. From the same author as Platinum Grit, Oglaf tends to bounce between being a medieval fantasy-parody strip with liberal sex and nudity, and being an outright pornographic comic with token fantasy elements. It can be incredibly funny, however, and scathing in its deconstruction of fantasy tropes. Be warned that it can be VERY Not Safe For Work as sex is a huge element of this webcomic, though readers will enjoy seeing same-sex and interracial couplings, and women (of varying shapes and sizes) in interesting positions of power. 

3. Lackadaisy by Tracy J. Butler

This comic is about the titular speakeasy struggling to stay in business in prohibition-era Missouri, amid shifting loyalties, secrets from the past, and rum-running adventures. The story is so intricately written and the art is so exquisite that you almost stop noticing how the entire cast is comprised of anthropomorphic cats. While updates are not frequent, it’s worth going through the archives and bonus gallery over and over again, especially for history geeks. To say that the artist has done her research on the 1920’s is an understatement.  

4. Girls with Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto

GWS is another strip you’re probably reading already, but I couldn’t create a list of my favourite webcomics without including this one, especially since I may or may not have a crush on the character Jamie. For the uninitiated, GWS is a long-running series about a group of friends dealing with life events such as relationships, unemployment, and sexuality. And there might be a talking cactus involved too. It’s been running since 2004 so if you’re new to GWS, there is a lot to catch up on, but it’s a wonderfully funny ride. 

5. Junior Scientist Power Hour by Abby Howard

The first JSPH strip I read was this one and I was hooked. The once-a-week gags cover everything from Abby’s personal life to elements of pop culture to (of course) cats, with a healthy and hilarious dose of surrealism and a cool art style likely inspired by Jhonen Vasquez. Also be sure to check out Abby’s ongoing story, “The Last Halloween”, a comedy-horror story.

Which favourites would you have put on the list?



Marie Victoria Robertson is a published speculative fiction writer and playwright, as well as the board president of Jer’s Vision: Canada’s Youth Diversity Initiative (www.jersvision.org). When all the other girls wanted to marry Johnny Depp, she wanted to run away with Worf on the Enterprise. She enjoys giant robots, time-travel paradoxes, and dressing up her kids like Ninja Turtles.

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