Monday 25 February 2013

When To Boycott a Book: The Aftermath

Last week, I did a post about The Comic Book Shoppe on Bank Street and the famous author Orson Scott Card--namely, that Shoppe owner Rob Spittall had taken a loud and public stand in boycotting Card's works since the discovery that Card is a big homophobe with ties to anti-gay organizations. (See the first post here.) The story got big fast, with traditional media sources also picking up the story. Rob was surprised by the outpouring of support, but also by some of the criticism he faced, as well.

When To Boycott a Book: The Aftermath

We headed down to the Shoppe and spoke with Rob directly; here's our interview (which is long, but there's an outtake treat at the end if you wait for it):

Watch the interview with Rob Spittall from The Comic Book Shoppe
Kisses and hugs to Rob Dupuis, our cameraman and videographer. 

Some folks have accused him of censorship, which he wasn't expecting...namely, because it's inaccurate. The book is still available for order at the Shoppe, just not available on the shelf. The Shoppe's decision not to use their own shelf space to promote the works of an hate-mongering artist is, in my opinion, a good balance. It allows individuals to still purchase if they feel compelled, but it allows the retailer to avoid endorsing a hater with their own community influence.

Despite hate mail and unfriending by people on Facebook, Rob has stayed true to his convictions and continues to stand behind his decision. I was happy to interview him in the aftermath and allow him a chance to respond to both the positive and negative reaction he received.

Rob keeps remarking that he's surprised this has turned into such a big news story. I think it's kind of adorable that he doesn't realize just how much his decision means to the GLBT and Straight Allies around him. The reality is, it's still a big deal when a straight person stands up for the non-straight people. I hope that Rob's example leads to more hetero allies making their support vocally known.

Dairy Free Ham Muffins: week 1 of my dairy fast


Once upon a time, milk and I were best friends.

I ate ice cream, I loved cheese, and I lived on yogurt.  And then one day, rather suddenly, milk turned on me. They called it lactose intolerance; I called it the most epic betrayal of all time. As a person who doesn’t cook meat (though I’ll eat it), I had become quite reliant on dairy products as a source of protein. Something had to be done.

So I spoke with my nutritionist, Jodi Turner, at Jodi Turner Nutrition. Jodi and her former business partner, Heather Moxley, have been  the fairy godmothers of my digestive system. They’ve helped me out with my lack of a gall bladder and many other woes, and Jodi had a recommendation for this lactose nonsense, too: go 2-8 weeks absolutely dairy-free, and then try to introduce it back into my life.

So dairy and I are taking a break from each other.


I started preparing for the fast by making muffins at home. I added a bunch of potential recipes to my Dairy Free Pinterest Board. I can't live without a morning muffin, so this was very, very important. I found a ham & cheese muffin recipe that looked good and made two small changes to make it dairy-free. Here it is:


All you need to make 'buttermilk'
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk (dairy-free: coconut or other 'milk', with a tablespoon of vinegar mixed in to sour it)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (dairy-free: Daiya 'cheese' derived from tapioca. Best when melted into something.)
  • 1 cup ham, chopped fine


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the first 5 dry ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, oil and maple syrup and stir to combine.
  4. Add the buttermilk to the egg mixture and stir.
  5. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour and stir until just combined.
  6. Fold in the cheese and ham.
  7. Scoop the batter 2/3 of the way up into greased muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes (15 minutes if using mini muffin cups).
  8. Cool on a wire rack and serve.
 I threw these in the freezer and heat them up for 35-40 seconds to make them hot and melty in the morning. My only complaint: I wish I'd made them twice as big because somehow my homemade muffins are always tiny. Also, next time I would add in spices and seasoning to flavour the batter itself a bit more. But I recommend giving it a try; it's a nice break from the usual sweet muffins, and healthier for you than an ham and egg english muffin from your local drive-thru.

So basically, I'm working hard to keep this diet up without feeling like I'm losing out big time. Thank god for good fake cheese.

Mr Darcy doesn't care if it's dairy-free or not;
he just wants some.


Friday 22 February 2013

Hope and Marriage: a teenage wedding


It was an odd situation. The groom’s dad was frantically searching for a second witness, desperate because the judge was booked and the ceremony was only an hour away; so when the dad showed up begging for help, I couldn’t see how we could turn him down. My coworkers balked at the idea, and that meant the only person left to do the deed…was me.

Because of where I work I often walk past many civil ceremonies on my lunch break, but I’ve never been asked to participate before. Since my separation occurred, I’ve generally avoided going too close to the judge’s chambers; I find myself rolling my eyes at the happy looks of the brides and grooms, and I also have a perverse feeling that if I get too close with my bad marriage juju, I will jinx their chances at future happiness. But my Good Samaritan nature meant that, when my help was needed, I swallowed my ire and stepped up to the plate.

It was cute, actually. They were so young, these two, with the boy in the military and the girl (I am pretty sure) expecting. The boy wore winter boots, jeans, and a button-down shirt. The girl wore a blue sundress and tights. The boy’s dad was gruff with emotion, and the girl stared up into the eyes of her sweetheart with all the joy and giddy happiness that comes with being in love for the first time. That first time, you know, where the love just pours out of a heart that has never been broken. No thick skin to hide the feelings, no mistrust to darken the eyes…just simple, joyous love. The boy was so nervous that at the end of the ceremony, he had to double-check with the judge that they were really truly married.

They’re doomed, I thought.

But hey, I was twenty-nine when I got hitched; I waited and planned, judged and weighed, doubted and tested things until I was really sure. And it didn’t work out. So who am I to say these two besotted fools can’t make a marriage work.


Musing on their moonpie faces up at the altar, something changed inside me. It felt like a dark, waxy shell was melting off my heart. My chest ached, not in the sour way it usually did when I passed by the weddings down here; it ached with compassion, with empathy, and with hope. Hope for the couple.

Hope for me.

Okay. So maybe I was hasty when I swore (loudly, vehemently, and with all seriousness) that I would never, ever marry again. Maybe. I don’t know yet.

I started a Pinterest board, and it’s been noticed. It’s called ‘Pretty Things’, and I started it months ago for two reasons:

a) You cannot go on Pinterest without seeing wedding stuff and some of it is gorgeous.
b) It made me feel better: sometimes because it was a way to wallow in self-pity, and sometimes because I would think, maybe…maybe one day I’ll need this.

Watching the starry-eyed kids get married seemed to pour fuel over those hopeful flames.

So I keep the Pinboard going. I keep it going because everyone deserves beautiful things, even on Round Two. I keep it going because maybe one day this black waxy shell will finally melt away and underneath I’ll be ready to trust in love again. I keep it going because of regrets and hopes that are all mixed together in a way I can’t really write out yet.

And I wanted a lace dress more than anything the first time. Maybe next time, I’ll have one.

You know. Maybe.


Wednesday 20 February 2013

Geek News: When to Boycott a Book


I love Orson Scott Card. Or rather, I should say I love his books. My dad gave me Ender's Game to read  when I was twelve years old, and I must have read it twenty times since then. In fact, in my third reincarnation as a derby girl, I changed my derby name to Ender, so I'd say I'm a pretty big fan. 

Recently, however, I discovered something rather heartbreaking about Orson Scott Card, and as much as I wanted to ignore it and pretend I never heard it, I couldn't. Turns out, Card is a homophobe--and not just a run-of-the-mill, doesn't-let-his-guy-friends-hug-him kinda homophobe: he's a card-carrying member of the National Organization for Marriage, an organization that steadfastly opposes the equal rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people.


Why am I bringing this up, and what does it have to do with geekdom exactly? Well, the Comic Book Shoppe on Bank Street--the official Ottawa headquarters of Capital Geek Girls, and a generally progressive, safe space to shop--has announced recently that they will not be displaying copies of Card's newest graphic novel, Adventures of Superman, because of his very public and active role in the anti-gay work being done by the National Organization for Marriage. As is expected, the Shoppe is getting some serious flak from people who think the Shoppe is just as biased as Card himself because they're not carrying the book*.

The truth of the matter is, when I first heard Card was homophobic, it didn't really worry me. I don't believe that a celebrity or successful person must be an exemplary role model in every single aspect of his life in order for his work to be appreciated. I don't condone drug use, yet I still listen to Whitney Houston in the shower; I don't condone domestic violence, but I've watched and appreciated many Joan Crawford movies. The truth is, it's not realistic to think that a person with a particular talent is going to be a role model in every aspect of their lives. It's a slippery slope to start expecting that we have a right to pry into every lifestyle decision made by a celebrity; I fear the day that we start passing judgement on whether a presidential candidate deserves our vote because he didn't spay his cat, or whether a Governor General should be forced to resign because she kept her grandmother's old mink coat. 

But there's a not-so-fine line in the sand, once a person goes out of their way to promote their personal agenda to the world. Orson Scott Card crossed that line when he joined the National Organization for Marriage (read: "straight marriage only") and started publicly taking steps to impose his own views on others, including the publication of articles and essays on the subject. Do I think we should follow every celebrity into their homes and make sure they're using only eco-friendly kitchen cleaners? No. But when the celebrity goes out and uses his clout to promote that toxic kitchen cleaner, I'd say it's now fair game to retract my support from his career. 

We are none of us perfect. We all come with biases and prejudices, and we all have a dark side. I'm not condoning censorship, people; and I do think we need to really watch how much we expect from our celebrities in terms of acting as role models in every aspect of life. I would even go so far as to say that Orson Scott Card has a right to put his time and money into whatever cause he likes, no matter how stupid or antiquated. I just also think I have the right not to contribute my dollars to his agenda.


I applaud the Comic Book Shoppe on Bank Street for standing behind their own safe-space values by refusing to display Card's book. The Shoppe would lose honour, in my eyes, if they continued to promote the works of a man who publicly promotes an attitude of hate towards the GLBTTQ community, when the Shoppe has promoted an attitude of GLBTTQ acceptance. I consider it a matter of ethical consumption for people like myself to choose whether we buy the book or not; but it's an even larger matter of importance for a business like the Shoppe to show ethical cultural stewardship by refusing to promote works created by those who hate and actively promote that hatred. In this era of recessions and hardships, it takes courage to maintain the power of one's convictions even if it means losing out on sales. The Shoppe has shown that there are some things more important that the bottom line.

Ethical consumption is about more than just biodegradability or eco sustainability; it's about choosing to shop from the business that makes the right choices in many other ways, too. The Comic Book Shoppe on Bank Street gets a huge thumbs-up from me today for taking a stand and weathering the backlash. I am prouder than ever that Capital Geek Girls makes our home at the Shoppe.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Wonder Geeks Activate! Local art show promises geeky fun.


Look out, Ottawa: there’s a nifty, nerdy new art show on the scene that is most definitely not your gramma’s art show. No water colour sunrises and oil paintings of sunflowers, folks; the Wonder Geeks Activate! show promises to be a very cool event to interact with some highly talented young artists. 

Girl, Crafted chatted with Adam Tupper, artist and organizer of the Wonder Geeks Activate! art show, to learn a bit more about what you can expect to see on February 25th ’13, at Zaphod Beeblebrox in Ottawa’s Byward Market. Here’s what Adam shared with us about the show and himself.


Cheetara by Adam Tupper
GC: What is your name?                         
AT: Adam Tupper. There are two middle names too, but I'm not telling. A man has to have some secrets.

GC: What do you do? (Your art, not your day job)
AT: My art is a mixture of four main styles: Super-Women (which is attractive model pinup ladies dressed as superheroes - done in a very realistic style); Fusion Art (combining characters that were never supposed to be together in both costume and art style); Say...Hello Project (Hello Kitty meets everything and anything); and horror (pretty self explanatory - monsters and blood).

GC: How long have you been doing it?
AT: Art in general? Since as long as I can remember. Art as a profession? Since Aug. 2010.

GC: Tell us about your art show: what's it called, where is it, what's it all about?
AT: Wonder Geeks Activate! is an art/music show aimed at geeks and nerds. It happens on February 25th at Zaphod Beeblebrox, 27 York Street in the Market. It's basically just an excuse to get like-minded people together and celebrate geek culture while drinking alcohol.

Curtis Tiegs
GC: Who will be in the show?
AT: Only some of the best local artists around!
Edith Chartier (AKA Silver Lotus - costuming queen and maker of a huge variety of arts and crafts)
Morgan Dunbar (AKA Geek Charming - she of t-shirts, accessories and creator of our logo)
Cherry Valance (local artist/model/awesome person)
Staja Artists Collective (Buttons, art, MAGIC!)
Curtis Tiegs (Artist, man who works with famous people on comic books)
Mirror Comics (Local comic book company, kings of industry)
Darren Bird (Creator of art, owner of awesome hair)
Lissa Huddlestone (New Artist, very eager)
Jordan Richer (Artist/Photographer/Evil Genius)
Choleena DiTullio (Mixed media artist, loves paper).
Oh and me [Adam Tupper]. I'm there too. Probably in a vest.

GC: Why did you want to put this show on?
AT:  I wanted to do an art show with my friends and other members of the geek and nerd community because I think there's a lot of talented people here who aren't getting the attention they deserve. We focus so much on so-called "high art" here in the city that it's important to showcase all artists working in all genres. I also wanted to do something for the local genre community which is just massive. There should be more local geeky/nerdy events in Ottawa and I'm hoping people get behind this event so we can do them with greater frequency.
Edith Chartier/Silver Lotus

GC: What kind of stuff do you think we'll see at the show? What'll the price range be like?
AT: I've worked with most of these artists before so you're going to see quite a wide variety of work. We have comic book style art, cartooning, hyper-realism, pixel art, paper art, mashup art, photography, jewellery, buttons, actual comics for sale, small prints, big prints, originals,'s really a mix of everything. Prices should range from $1-$2 for small items all the way into the hundreds for original artwork. All the artists will have items for sale that are in and around $5-$10 so attendees will have no problem finding some fantastic affordable art.

GC: Is there anything else happening during the show? (performances, drinks, etc)
AT: We'll be having some live videogaming happening with some professional players button-mashing on some old-school systems. We should also have cartoons and anime playing on some of the TVs at Zaphods. Maybe if we're all lucky we'll also have some costumed guests show up.

Geek Charming
GC: Where can people go to learn more?
AT: Our Facebook page:

Friday 8 February 2013

Chocolate Mousse by Amateurs: Make Stuff & Eat Stuff


So last week was Alan’s birthday, and my best friend MJ agreed to help me make him a special dessert. Rather than the usual cake, we made his favourite: chocolate mousse. A mousse, not made into a cake or other baked good, is hard to find in the city—trust me, I looked before deciding to try making one. The recipe seemed simple, so I begged MJ to help me and she agreed.

Note here: MJ is a former Executive Chef, headed back to pasty school in the fall. So when I said, “This should be easy!”, and she agreed to help, it was partially because she’s already familiar with complex recipes. I was unprepared for what we were attempting to do.


We used a recipe based on Julia Child’s, found on The EndlessMeal blog. I figured Julia knew what she was doing, and I never thought to go find the original. I’m grateful to The Endless Meal for providing therecipe, but I do have some criticism…

First off, it took way longer than the 15 minutes they suggested. I’d guess we spent 2 hours on it. So don’t be fooled; you’re gonna need lots of time.

Secondly, for a rookie chef, the instructions were confusing and vague. “Beat egg yolks…until mixture…fall back upon itself forming a slowly dissolving ribbon.” If you’ve never beaten anything more complicated than packaged cake mix, you will NOT know what this means.

Lucky for you, we took a video of what egg yolk/sugar ribbons should be:

(Maybe slightly over-blended. But you get the idea.)

The worst part about this recipe was the endless, endless blending. Each step requires blending…in fact, nearly each ingredient requires its own blending. Even MJ, a virtual kitchen chemist who loves to make all sorts of things, was bored. 

I think we had some trouble regulating our heat for the part where the eggs were over top of the hot water (double boiler style). We had to improvise a setup, and I think the tempered glass bowl we used maybe diffused the heat too much. Maybe with a metal bowl, this would have all worked out faster.

We also found that the sugar in the mixture stayed granular right up until serving time, when it seemed to magically disappear. I don’t know if that’s supposed to be part of the plan or not, but I was just really happy when it smoothed itself out.

The recipe involves raw eggs, which was a bit unnerving. A nutritionist friend of mine told me to never use raw egg in a recipe unless I was using organic free-range eggs, but we didn’t have any so we went ahead anyway. No one got sick, so I guess it was worry for nothing.

It was delicious, and it was fun to spend time with MJ in the kitchen. My favourite quote of the day was when I had her sniff the orange liqueur before I tossed it in and she made a puckered face and said, “Ugh, smells like high school!”

Oh, and Alan was thrilled. So the result was worth the effort. But man alive, I never want to see another egg beater again. 

Here's the recipe again, in case you're a brave soul!

Post Script: our friends at foodiePrints have recommended we try this simpler-looking, egg-free nutella mousse next time. As Alan is allergic to all nuts, this one might just be for ME. :)

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Blog News, Snowballs, and Other Misadventures

Just a few random events I thought you might enjoy hearing recounted.


A couple weeks ago, I was walking downtown after a meeting about my blog, feeling pretty excited about what's coming in the next while, and feeling good about my house, my crafts, and even my stinky old dog. I thought about how I'd been a human afghan, draped across my bed in misery just a few months ago when my separation first started, and then I caught a glimpse of myself looking super cosmo in the glass of a store window. I actually thought, "F*** yeah, I'm the Martha Stewart of divorce!" And just as I thought that, a huge bucketful of snow fell off a hydro pole and hit me in the face. 

My inner voice laughs at me a lot.


I am currently lining up a bunch of cool crafters, artisans, and businesses to spotlight on the blog. Because 'DIY' doesn't just mean *I* make many of you make nifty things, or run nifty businesses, or even coordinate nifty events. The GIRL, CRAFTED motto is, "Life's better when you DIY it", and this applies to everyone. And this blog talks about not just making stuff (or 'made' stuff) but also food, adventure, and general 'I love this!' stuff. Anyway, if you're interested in being interviewed and talked about on GIRL, CRAFTED, send me an email. And if you're interested in supporting my continued writing and world domination via this blog, check out sponsor opportunities and then email me, too


Last Friday I was supposed to accompany Alan and his kids, Blueberry and Max, to a kids play place called Cosmic Adventures. I've heard of this place for years but I've never been, lacking the children that would make my visit legitimate. I've envisioned many times just pretending that some stranger's kid was mine, like just occasionally calling out, "Emma! Careful up there!" so I could justify climbing around in the giant jungle gym. But that scenario always ends in my head with the police escorting me out for being terribly creepy. 

Anyway, I was all excited to go but at the last minute I got a touch of food poisoning and ended up not wanting to really climb around in a jungle gym. Which sucked. Because all week I'd talked about going, and every single person I'd talked to who is an aunt, uncle, parent, or grandparent, had said the same thing to me: "Ooooh...Cosmic Adventures? Oh my." Their tones were a mix of reverent and fearful. I gave the first few a raised eyebrow--what was there to be so afraid of?--but by the fourth or fifth person, I started getting nervous. Because I had to stay home, I still have no idea what happens at this Cosmic Adventures place, and that's annoying the hell outta me.

Behold, my lovely ring
and red, dry hands.


It's my birthday this month, and I seem to have a new tradition of buying myself from Magpie Jewellery every birthday. (Magpie is a local jewellery store that I absolutely adore. Maybe one day I'll do a post on them.) There was this ring there that I'd looked at when I first took off my wedding band, because the first few weeks without a ring on that finger were hell. I had this terrible cycle going where I'd startle myself because I would realize I didn't have my ring on, then I'd think I lost it, then the painful recollection of my separation would smack me in the face. This repeated over and over. 

Anyway, I found this little ring at Magpie, that was absurdly inexpensive, that was black and sparkly. It had reminded me of what the charred remains of a wedding band would look like after a terrible catastrophe, like a nuclear bomb explosion. I had wanted to get it as a placeholder, but it was too small. Anyway, I was in yesterday and they had it in my size, and I got it...but this time for different reasons. See, as I've healed and gotten better, I don't feel so sour anymore, but I do often think about that post I did about pyriscence--that certain seeds can only flourish after a fire. I bought the ring because it reminds me that out from ashes can grow new beginnings.

Monday 4 February 2013

Roses and Coincidences

So I’m dating a man.

I wasn’t going to necessarily announce it just yet. I have been enjoying the quiet, I suppose; the absence of prying questions and teasing and speculation. All that all came to an end yesterday, however, with a rather resounding bang. But I’ll get to that in a second.

I have known Alan for over a decade. We are old friends, and I have always loved and esteemed this man. I told my mother we were dating and asked her what she thought; she said,
“You know those romance movies where two people love each other but something happens and they marry other people, and then one day their spouses die on the same day and they reunite at the funeral, and then they get together and the audience says, “Finally!”? That’s you two.”
I  have no idea what twisted romance movie she's been watching, but I took that as a vote in favour.


How’s it going so far? How can I best answer that question so you’ll understand just how shiningly happy I’m feeling…here, let me share yesterday’s story with you.

Yesterday I decided to visit Alan on my lunch. He works not far from my own day job, so I’ll often make the trek down to say hello and grab a sandwich nearby. I had decided that today, I would stop along the way and buy him a flower. We haven’t given each other flowers yet, so I felt this was an important moment: what kind of flower would I get him? Did I go with a massive bunch, or something simple and sweet? I stood in front of the choices for fifteen minutes, debating. I knew that his favourite flower was a rose, but I didn’t want to give him something so predictable the very first time. I spied some incredible lilies, but those are my favourite, not his. I opted instead for a giant white spider chrysanthemum, because they’re incredible to look at. One single, perfect bloom, one brief handwritten note, and I was off.

I met up with Alan and gave him his flower, which seemed to astound him more than really made sense. But we continued with lunch, and he walked me back to work. I said my goodbyes, and headed back up to my office.

As I stepped in the door, my jaw dropped and I stopped dead. There, on my desk, was the biggest, brightest, most lovely bouquet of flowers I had ever seen. I have received flowers in the past, but nothing—nothing—has come close to this in terms of grandeur or elegance. I found myself struggling for words, asking my supervisor who had brought these? She smiled and said she didn’t know—check the card! For a brief moment, I thought perhaps my boss had got them for me (the day before was Community Manager Appreciation Day) but he came out of his office and demanded to know where they’d come from, too. My shaking hands fought with the envelope and finally I managed to read the name signed at the bottom. Alan.

Teasing and prodding continued as I struggled to regain my composure. I dodged the questions and good-natured ribbing, but there was no real way out of it. I muttered that I was seeing someone.

Just then, a big boss lady from another department came in the door. She has a very commanding presence, and a no-nonsense attitude. Like Dame Judy Dench. Boss Lady Dench saw the flowers and asked what they were for; my boss said I had a suitor. She looked the bouquet up and down, and then said,

“Well, he clearly has exquisite taste. What does he do?”

I told her. (This gave away who my sweetheart was, much to the mirth of my boss man.)

“Where are the flowers from?”

I told her.

“Well, he’s got great taste and he’s doing well for himself,” she said, and left.

I loved that Alan and I got flowers for each other for the first time, on the same day. I loved that his were a mix of roses and lilies…just as I had been considering. I loved that I had shown up with a flower for him at the same moment his must have been delivered to my desk. And what I loved most of all was that I discovered Alan had actually planned to get me flowers the Thursday before, but he’d run out of time.

Why did I love that? Because last Thursday, I’d also tried to get him flowers, and had also run out of time. The exact same day, we’d had the exact same idea. Twice.

I guess the word of the day was synchronicity.
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