Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Weekend Adventures

This weekend we went to a magic convention in Chicago. Some of the highlights ...

Invisible Threads Clothing makes magic-themed T-shirts along with very vivid fuzzy throw blankets of classic magic posters.

Erin Rose Designs brought the Sleight of Hand(made) Collection of jewelry made from playing cards. Some was distinctive, with bicycles or skulls; some was more subtle with just abstract swirls. If you're a card fan and you like cufflinks or bracelets, give it a look. Some of this would look great on goths or butches. Multiple currencies are supported via buttons on the left side of the website.

Magic, Inc. is a favorite magic company that sells tricks, books, and other cool stuff. We picked up a new card trick there.

Martin Mercy of Mercy Me Magic had lovely book boxes with a number of different themes. He used his to carry props for walk-around magic. Scroll down the shopping page and look for Merlin's Book of Spells. These things really look like old books, and in fact, the older they get the more real they look -- his was beat up and looked like something dragged out of a used-book store. They're beautiful as storage boxes, but if you keep a lot of old books, you could use this as a book-safe. Also worth noting: Martin is the second person to delight me with a trick that I knew exactly how he did it, the charm was all in the creative application. And when I described the first occasion, he knew that guy, too! :D

The food was the highlight of the weekend for me. Sadly, I forgot to grab a business card from the first place we stopped, a Mediterranean/Greek restaurant with a unique variation on baklava: it was soft and pillowy, almost like custard inside. One of my favorites ever, and I am a baklava fan; but it hardly seems fair to compare this with the usual because they're so different. (If you're not used to it, baklava usually has a crispy-flaky crust and crunchy-sticky nut filling.)

N.O.K. is a Persian restaurant that serves zabiha halal meat. (We were in Skokie, a Jewish community, but it was full of Muslims and Hindus too. Thank the gods that SOME part of America is still in working order.) So anyway, they have clusters of food types with variations: wraps, skewers, platters, and so on. I got the joujeh plate (chicken) and Doug got the koubideh plate (beef) which arrived with two kinds of rice, a leaf salad, and a roasted tomato. Very interesting rice: half of it was the usual saffron rice, half a Persian rice done with dill and cilantro. N.O.K. describes itself as fast casual, serves excellent quality food, and costs only a little more than our typical cheap lunch for quite a lot more food.

Mod Pizza offers some standard pizzas, but mostly it's a pizza bar where you build your own from base sauce, cheeses, dressings, vegetables, meats, and finishes. None of this charging you an arm and a leg for each ingredient -- you pay by the size, and put whatever the hell you want on it. \o/ I used white sauce, asiago cheese, fresh basil, mushrooms, bacon bits, and Italian sausage with a little dried oregano, salt, and pepper. It turned out quite well. Be advised their red sauce is spicier than average. I actually didn't care for most of their exotic options like different kinds of peppers, but I had no trouble finding plenty to put on my pizza. It's thin crust, which is not my favorite, but I was happy enough to eat two slices. Definitely a win if you like thin crust, worth a try even if you don't.

A warning regarding public events: This is the second time I've gone to one where the chairs were placed touching each other. Given that a majority of people are now oversize, this is a serious problem. I fit on one of those chairs. But most people do not. That means they're sitting on their own chair plus part of the adjacent chairs, and there is nothing they can do to stop that. I imagine this is embarrassing to them; it is annoying and uncomfortable to me. It means either I sit on other people or get sat upon, depending who arrives first; I cannot get a full seat of my own. The first time this happened, I was stuck with it; this time, I was able to move around to minimize the problem, but I did skip most of the sessions due to the inappropriate seating. (Also the chair backs were knobbly torture devices, but I got around that by padding the back with sweaters, and someone else brought themselves a comforter, so it wasn't just me.) Someone needs to emphasize to event planners that just because you can cram in more chairs by putting them closer together, doesn't mean you can cram in more asses on those chairs. Forcing people to sit on each other means that some types of people will be unwilling or unable to attend events, off the top of my head including but not limited to: women, people with sensory issues, anyone with a recent injury or surgery, neurovariant folks, and the whole range of chronic problems that leave some or all body parts painful when touched. For everyone's safety and sanity, chairs need to be placed several inches apart and the rows far enough apart for people to navigate them easily without pressing their personal parts into the faces of already-seated attendees. We should not be having to amend the seating for our comfort to make up for someone else's professional failures.
Tags: event, illinois, personal, review
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