Last updated: August 5, 2012
By day, Manda (full name Manda, a.k.a. Talzhemir) is a 3D and traditional media artist, a designer of computer games, and a writer. She's the co-creator of "Furcadia", (the oldest continuously-running largescale multiplayer online game-- and it's FREE too!). She is also the co-designer of the tabletop roleplaying games "Pocket Universe" and "Quicksilver" (available from RPGnow.com).
By night, Manda is an avid recycler and scrounger, willing to pull large pieces of cardboard out of the recycling bin behind the mini-mall or saw a thick bamboo pole from a feral stand growing by the side of the road. In the tradition of the tea masters, she makes her own scoops, which she uses to gently drag tea leaves out of the little Gong Fu teapot.
At the age of 11, Manda began her career in institutional cooking, helping prepare the meals at Camp Blodgett in Michigan for 400. She attended Michigan State University where she worked in the cafeteria of Holmes Hall (a dorm so huge it's a voting district). Her latest culinary project is promoting the new local farmer's market with fun new recipes that aren't hard to make.
Manda also loves to share arts and crafts with others. She diligently cleans and cards a little alpaca fiber every day, or spins it with a drop spindle that she made herself. She's especially fascinated by "lost" arts and crafts such as Nalbinding, which she wants to preserve.
About solar cooking, Manda has this to say: "Up until now, solar cooking has had this image of science fair experiment, boy/girl scout project, or something you do if you're a refugee in Darfur. There's this air of alien-ness about it that needs to go away. So, I want you to show people that it isn't rocket science that inevitably goes horribly awry. We're going to dispel the idea that it's just a novelty you wouldn't really use to cook (like starting a fire with two sticks). We're going to banish the fear that an appliance you made yourself for free isn't as effective as that fancy store-bought $50 slowcooker. Everybody who uses a solar cooker today is helping to make a solar cooker as friendly and familiar as cutting board, skillet, toaster and fridge."
...All the scrap cardboard, woodshavings, carrot tops, onion skins, and failed culinary experiments go into Manda's beloved worm bin, which she's kept in the house for 8 years without any fuss. (The resulting compost is incredible.)
Manda was the creator and sponsor of the 2007 Solar Cooker Web Site Contest
She is now the author of several roleplaying game books, including "Quicksilver" and "Cavemaster" for the company Unigames.