(no subject)

Aug. 17th, 2017 09:43 pm
ludy: a painting i did looking in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] ludy
I have a new laptop (huge thanks to the wonderful [personal profile] oilrig for sorting it after my old emergency one stopped usefully working (which was somehow more annoying than the previous one actually stopping working because it wasn't taunting me by seeming like it should be usable). So there will prolly be more posts that need a keyboard and/or dictation software here soon.
But not today because i misjudged how far along in my convalesce i actually am and tried to do too much and need to go splat now...

Getting stuff done

Aug. 17th, 2017 09:17 pm
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
I've had a better week this week anyway, but it's also been a busier one.

Monday and Tuesday I got a lot of stuff done around the house: caught up with everything that I let slide over the weekend while I was away and the week or so before when my mental health had been too bad. We're at only normal levels of disorganized and cluttered now, and while it's kind of sad that feels like an achievement, at least it's an achievement.

Tuesday I got a key and directions for feeding a friend's cats while she was away for a couple of days. She kindly paid me very generously for this, which was completely unexpected but so nice. I was worried I'd forget but I didn't! Even managed to feed them at about their usual times, except it was a bit later this morning because I slept badly last night.

Yesterday I had a meeting of the VI steering group I'm no longer running. The team manager who gets paid for it is sorting out the meeting dates and telling everyone about them, which honestly I think works better anyway. I feel bad I'm not doing it, especially since I'm interested in other volunteering things -- at this meeting I met someone from the Disabled People's Access Group who says I'd be good to join in some other stuff she does that did sound interesting to me.

On my bus ride there, I got to hear the finished product of a great fanfic audio story that I did one of the voices for. I wasn't too cringeworthy and the story turned out great. I really hope there are more stories in the series, partly because it'd be fun to play my one again, partly just because I want to see what happens.

Yesterday Andrew also got further in applying me for this university course; he actually talked to the clearing people. They asked for a scan of my high school diploma, which since it's at my parents' I was worried would be quite a challenge, but my dad's e-mailed it over this evening and said it was easy. Well done, clever parents!

This morning I had another meeting about a totally different volunteer thing. It's at Manchester Museum, involves some really cool technology and senior people who are very keen to get the expertise of visually impaired people. I am super excited. That probably won't start for a month at least, so at exactly the same time as Lib Dem Conf and this uni course if I get on it and so I am sure that will be fine. No really, I will make it all work.

And this afternoon my friend Mary was in town, which I hadn't known about until a couple of days ago. She's usually near Norwich so this is quite remarkable. I hadn't seen her in more than a year, since the weekend of falling in the river in Oxford (sadly you can't see the pictures right now; I still need to figure out how to get them off Photobucket and to somewhere useful). A train derailment (not hers!) meant she got in a bit later than planned but we still had time to rush around finding somewhere still open where she could buy euros for her trip to Ireland tomorrow and have dinner in a pub. Battered halloumi and chips for both of us (but I swapped my chips for sweet potato fries because sweet potatoes are great and regular potatoes are not). She'd never had halloumi like that before! We bitched about politics and she taught me some Irish words (I will probably forget them again, like I did last time, except not the one for "penis" because it has a joke as a mneomic device).

Saturday is the "Bi Takeover for Pride" event at the LGBT Foundation, which honestly I am treating like another bit of BiCon, down to going along to see people I know who are going as much as I'm there for any of the workshops. So that should be nice.

So yeah. Good week. Glad to know they're still possible.

Vienna: Tiergarten Schoenbrunn

Aug. 16th, 2017 01:27 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
Fish
Keiki squats down to look at the fish in the polar bear enclosure at the Vienna Tiergarten.

The Schoenbrunn should definitely make the top ten of every visitor attraction list of Vienna, if not the top three. It’s the gigantic former summer palace of the Hapsburgs, and the grounds alone merit at least a half-day stroll to explore fully. There are gardens, fountains, hidden playgrounds, an enormous glasshouse full of palm trees, and even a zoo.

Despite having visited the Schoenbrunn grounds many times, I’d never been to the zoo, which is allegedly the oldest in the Western world (founded in 1752). Now, with two small children, one of whom is animal-obsessed, I had good reason to go. The children and I set out early one morning to travel via the Viennese underground to the palace.

Humuhumu was keen to learn how to navigate the transport system. She got very good at spotting the way to the correct train lines, and proudly announced when the next train would be arriving after we got to the platforms.

It took us 45 minutes to get from our temporary abode to the Schoenbrunn and, conveniently, it was just about Cake O’clock when we arrived. We detoured around the palace entrance and stopped off at an Aida Konditorei, a chain of inexplicably pink cafés that serve extremely nice cakes, coffees and hot chocolates (apart from the one near the opera house – avoid that one; everyone who works there is sick of tourists and very grumpy).

We walked into the Aida and chorused “Guten Morgen” at the round-faced, unsmiling woman behind the counter. She broke into a beaming grin and showed us to the table next to a tiny play area containing toys and books, which the children pounced upon. (Throughout the trip, I encouraged the children to greet everyone we met in German, to say please and thank you in German, to order their food using the German words and, when I felt confident in my knowledge of the right phrases, I coached them to make requests in German. I was astonished at the abundance of goodwill toward us that this produced.) Humuhumu ordered her hot chocolate and cake in German, and was rewarded with an additional pink meringue, which she received with an unprompted “Danke schoen”. When we left, Keiki crowing “Wiedersehen” over my shoulder with his dimpliest smile, the server came out from round the counter and gave each of the children an extra biscuit, which, to be honest, they didn’t really need after all that sugar!

Full of energy, we bounded into the grounds of the Schoenbrunn and raced around whilst waiting for the grandparents to join us at the entrance to the Tiergarten (Zoo). As vast as the Schoenbrunn grounds are, they are not big enough to house a comprehensive collection of the world’s animals, so cleverly the Tiergarten is focused on a limited number of species and provided them with luxurious accommodation.

Keiki and Humuhumu loved the place, particularly Keiki. Once he spotted the meerkat enclosure, we couldn’t get him to finish his lunch. Neither could we readily tear him away from the penguins. In fact, Granddad had a bit of a job keeping Keiki from clambering into their pond to join them. We communed with the seals. We watched a polar bear chewing meditatively on a traffic cone. And, of course, Humuhumu found a climbing wall and had to try everything.

It was a wonderful place to spend a sunny afternoon, and we will certainly return to the Tiergarten on our next trip to Vienna.

Further photos beneath the cut.
+++ )

Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum

Aug. 15th, 2017 01:26 pm
nanila: (me: art)
[personal profile] nanila
In early July, the bloke & I went to Amsterdam for a couple of days for my (very) belated birthday celebrations. His parents kindly looked after the children so we could have our first holiday alone together since they were born.

One of the things we did was go to an art museum and wander around for a couple of hours. This is not a thing you can do with small children, unless you have imprisoned them in a pram, and then there would (not unreasonably) be screaming.

I’d previously been to both the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. The bloke had never been to the latter, but as it was the height of summer, it was not a good time to go. The place cannot cope with the number of visitors it receives, and unless you book days in advance, you can’t get in. When you do, you still have to queue, and you end up shuffling in a slow-moving crush of people past all of the artwork. It’s not a great experience. We opted, therefore, to go to one we’d never been in: the Stedelijk Museum, which is dedicated to modern art.

I really enjoyed the collection. It was well curated and I now have a little list of new (to me) artists to keep my eyes peeled for in the London exhibitions.

Photographer Zanele Muholi takes photos of LGBTQ+ community members in Africa. I definitely want a book of her work. It was a little irritating to find, at the end of our visit, that of all the special exhibitions on display, hers was the only one without a corresponding product available in the shop. No books, no postcards, nothing. Hmph.

20170711_123055
From her “Brave Beauties” series.

+++ )

My BiCon Meme

Aug. 15th, 2017 01:03 pm
ludy: a painting i did looking in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] ludy
This was an unusual BiCon for me - I was mostly floomping because of teh ill and had very limited spoons to do BiConic things. But I made it there, managed to do a bit and very importantly didn't require medical attention!

Sessions run:
None.
I had felt bad about missing the sessions deadline but it turned out to be a good thing considering my health.
I did (kind of) assist with a couple of workshops - taking photos during the peripatetic Cover Bis and helping with the set up of Just A Bisexual Minute while [personal profile] softfruit stole participants from another workshop!

Sessions attended:

Communication Games (mostly making paper planes), Dreamwidth (yay!), The Activist Toolshed (an excellent workshop but I was feeling pretty passive!), the aforementioned homeless Cover Bi's (we got thrown out of our room by another, more popular workshop and then found the suggested replacement rooms were also in use so we ended up in doing it in the middle of the field!) and Just a Bisexual Minute

Sleep achieved:
A lot. My body didn't give me any choice about that. But it was at rather random times. Being in a Family-friendly flat meant some early awakenings!
I was impressed by the accommodation and by the beds - they weren't perfect, specially if you are used to fancy mattresses but they were some of the best beds we've had at a BiCon. And the sheets were a huge improvement on last year's horrors!

People snogged:
None. Eww! Spit is icky

People I did Rude Things with:
None. It just wouldn't have been physically possible even if I had had offers!

People I would have liked to do more sex-type things with but didn't:
Several.
What I would also have liked - and would have been potentially more capable of was a bit of snuggling but the people I would have liked to do that with were either busy or just not interested...

Hugs achieved:
Quite a lot. Which were lovely.
I'm kind of skittish about hugs - sometimes I just can't cope with physical contact and sometimes I really crave deep physical pressure from known/safe humans. If you ever give me a hug and I say something along the lines if "you smell like you" that is one of the highest compliments I can pay you because it means that sensorily you feel like home to me.
Several of the Smalls in our flat eventually warmed up to this strange grown-up-shaped-but-autistically-childlike person with freaky glasses and started asking me for hugs as the Con went on which was lovely (particularly as teh ill has meant I haven't had much time with our Smalls lately)

Songs danced to:
None. I didn't have the spoons. I was particularly sad to miss the children's disco because I do love not-to-loud cheesy pop...

Parties attended:
None.
I didn't actually hear of any (before they happened) which I hope was due to people being tactful about my spoonage rather than not wanting me around!

Games played:
None.
But I did get given the Patchwork game as a birthday present and look forward to playing that somewhen. I'm assured it is ludy-proof (most games that BiCon people love remind me of the exercises an Ed Psych inflicts on you to diagnose SpLD rather than something that you'd want to do for fun!)

Strange food and drinks consumed when offered to me:
I mostly ate ludy-food which I think most readers would consider to be not-really-food.
I was given a very pleasant mint chop chip cookie (with excellent allergy labelling - yay!) after the final photo and enjoyed that.
And having an ice cream van at a BiCon was pretty strange and awesome! I've never had stripy ice cream in a cone with a flake before - it was good.

Number of children I was responsible for:
I unilaterally took responsibility for a young adult during the Fire Alarm while their actual adults were otherwise engaged. But they are a perfectly sensible person who didn't actually need any looking after - just a known adult to evacuate and stand in the crowd with.
I wasn't responsible for any of the many Smalls in our flat but there was a lot of interesting interaction (and occasionally grabbing them when they got to close to hot-burny parts of the kitchen/slamming doors)

Food eaten:
Enough. (Well as noted above I call it food and it works for me)
There were a whole series of FAILs in getting coffee with the extremely unpredictable opening hours of the nice coffee counter in the Food Hall and 3 separate coffee machines stopping working when I went near them!

People I meant to talk to, or meant to talk to more, but didn't:
Loads and loads. Basically almost everyone. Please do chat to me here instead.
I did get to have decent-length talks with [personal profile] karen2205 and [personal profile] haggis but they are such interesting and lovely people they still fall in the category of "would have liked to to talk to more"

Alcohol consumed:
None as ever.

Other recreational drugs taken:
Do you count painkillers and ventolin?

Times I fell over:
I went physically and emotionally Splat multiple times. Which is rubbish for a BiCon but everyone was so lovely about it and i'm actually impressed with myself for doing as much as I did.
Particular thanks to [personal profile] haggis, [personal profile] softfruit, [personal profile] oilrig[personal profile] sanjerina,[personal profile] skibbley and other E-who-isn't-on-here (in spite of being an otherwise sensible person!) for looking after a distressed and/or achey ludy

Injuries sustained:
None I didn't already come with.
I'm particularly pleased that the other-group having what looked like a very pleasant barbecue on the Achre only resulted in minor respiratory discomfort and not a full-on asthma attack

Perseids spotted:
None. I wasn't able to stay up

People spotted in the train station on Sunday afternoon:
I went part way home in [personal profile] oilrig's car (and is was definitly not BiCon anymore by the time I was in a train the next day). But we Cunningly stopped off on the way to visit someone who often attends BiCon but hadn't made it this year to extend the ConBubble

Best non-Bicon thing about the weekend:
The cat!

Volunteering done (can be anything even small thing like picking up litter or buying organisers a drink):
Not enough - which I feel guilty about.
But I did do the minor workshop assisting mentioned above and lent my camera for the big group photo (and even though I would trust [personal profile] softfruit with my life it still makes me horribly anxious to have her leaning out of a window with what is prolly my most expensive possession!)

Short Fiction Recs

Aug. 14th, 2017 01:02 pm
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
[personal profile] forestofglory
"That Lingering Sweetness"
by Tony Pi
I knew this story was off to a good start when it opened with a tea house. I enjoyed this take on Chinese Zodiac animals. Apparently this story is just the most recent in a series so I'm going to have to go back an read the rest.

"Waiting on a Bright Moon' by JY Yang (content note: queer characters with queer tragedy in their pasts)This such an interesting world! There is magic and space travel. The main character is an ansible who uses magic to connect her planet with the home planet. I like how this story addresses the complex and messy nature of revolution. Yang has two novellas due out latter this year which I believe are also set in this same world. I'm looking forward to them.

"Packing" by T. Kingfisher This story begins "Today is not the day I wanted to do this, but we aren’t always given choices. It’s time to pack for the new seasons." It made me cry. If you are an environmentalist it might make you cry too.

I'm about to go on a trip so I've loaded my ereader up with a fair number of novellas including Bujold's latest, and Rose Lemberg's most recent Birdverse offering. So I will hopefully have some novella recs to share when I return.
sfred: (faun)
[personal profile] sfred
If there's anything you want to say to me after BiCon, feel free to do so here. Comments are screened and will remain so.

weekend

Aug. 14th, 2017 01:45 pm
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
I"m settling into a pattern of weeks with very little to do and very low mood, and then being very busy and mostly happier on the weekends. This is really bad for me and no fun but I don't feel able to get myself unstuck yet.

Adventures in Babysitting )

I was staying over so quickly installed myself in the spare room, with the comfy bed, the robot alarm clock and the lamp with colorful airplanes on its shade. It was pretty great.

I was there because next morning Simon and I were driving to Leeds for BiCon and it made no sense to get me home late at night just to go pick me up again the next day.

BiCon )

The Home Office at BiCon )

So I was quite glad that my plans had changed such that I could go to Brighouse that night. I was tired and a little emotionally wrung-out with one thing and another. It didn't help a lot though as after a blessed day off Twitter I was catching up on Charlottesville. I spent way too much time reading what it felt like I couldn't look away from but also couldn't fix. But I was heartened to see a lot of white people talking about how unhelpful attitudes like #ThisIsNotUs were, ignoring that this is what America has always been so we can feel better about ourselves.

Andrew came over to Brighouse too yesterday, for Sunday dinner and terrible films. It was really nice having all the best people around.

Now I'm home where all the cleaning and laundry have been neglected for quite a while even before I was away because my mental health has been so bad. I've done a load of laundry I'm about to go hang up and put another one in. It'd be nice if I could clean some things. And I have to write down volunteering admin and stuff I need to do before it all falls out of my head. Better go and do all of that, then!

Here's hoping this week is better than the last two.

(no subject)

Aug. 14th, 2017 02:19 pm
ludy: a painting i did looking in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] ludy
I am currently at [personal profile] oilrig's being floompy (and being fed caffeine, hugs and ludy-safe food) so technically my BiCon has not yet ended. I'll try to do a write up in the next few days.
My physical health is still not-great but I managed to have a reasonably pleasantly low-spoon BiCon even though I couldn't manage a lot of things I would have liked to do. Many thanks to all the people who were lovely and helpful and who did low-imoact socialising with me. (And apologises to the many lovely people I didn't get to catch up with).

If you are trying to match DreamWidth identities to actual BiCon attendees I am actually called Ludy (i'm not great at cryptic!), I have pink glasses and usually a headwrap - and am often in the company if a small but stompy stuffy-bunny...

Meanwhile here is my kind-of-traditional say anything you want to to me post. Comments are screened (so if you want a response please say how is best to be in touch with you) and anonymity is allowed (though does pretty much guarantee you won't get a response because I won't know who to respond to!)

News from Worldcon

Aug. 12th, 2017 02:04 pm
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin blowing up a large blue ballon (ballon)
[personal profile] forestofglory
So the World Science Fiction convention is currently going on in Helsinki. I couldn't be there but am following events from afar.

You may remember that I was part of the YA award committee to help create a YA award voted on and given out with the Hugos. Well I'm pleased to the report that the award was ratified and tentatively named The Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book. The award will be given for the 1st time next year at San Jose. I plan to be there in the audience to see it.

In other great news my friends at Lady Business where awarded the Hugo for best fanzine! They've put together an excellent blog that frequently makes me think as well as helping keep my to-read list nice and long. I'm so pleased and proud. Keep up the great work!

It R Caturday

Aug. 12th, 2017 09:04 pm
nanila: me (Default)
[personal profile] nanila
Telstar
Handsome tuxie sticks his tongue out at you from his sunny perch atop the wood shed.

Friday Five: Fashionista

Aug. 11th, 2017 12:08 pm
nanila: me (Default)
[personal profile] nanila
  1. What is the most outrageous style you've ever rocked?
    Probably this one:

    (That's me in 2003, wearing a green vest, black trousers & boots, sunglasses and very long dreadlocks. I'm carrying the tiny metal box that functioned as my handbag in those days.)

  2. As a teen, were you an emo, goth, punk, grunger, or prep?
    As a young teen, I was trending toward goth, but I didn't go full rivethead until I was at university.

  3. Have you ever had a crazy hairstyle/colour?
    I have worn unnatural shades of hair colour: green, blue and purple. I don't really think of dreadlocks as "crazy".

  4. Do you think we ever really grow out of our teen selves?
    Um, yes, definitely. Thank GOODNESS.

  5. Is there any fashion style you wish you could wear but maybe don't have the confidence?
    I would definitely love to be a bit more goth/rivet still. It's not that I lack the confidence, it's that I don't have the time, the money or the energy to maintain the look. I spend what resources I do have on my kids' wardrobes, not my own. Also, it would be pretty incongruous at my work, which is small-c conservative.


Questions are from the [community profile] thefridayfive community.

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