Dear Femslashex Creator Letter

Aug. 22nd, 2017 12:31 pm
selenay: (ace 2 (with gun))
[personal profile] selenay
Placeholder! I swear there will be a letter here by August 26th, but for now, I've only just got back from a big trip and I'm scrambling to get my sign-up done before it closes so *not yet*.

But soon.

The Blood is the Life for 20-08-2017

Aug. 20th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Marks and Spencer and the National Autistic Society have launched a school uniform range aimed at the parents of autistic children. Note that I say aimed at the parents of autistic children, rather than aimed at autistic children. All the blurb is to do with how easy it is to put on, and how hardwearing it is. The subtext is that it's designed for kids who can't dress themselves. This is clearly aimed at parents.

The other way you can tell that actually autistic people were not involved in this is that if you ask any autistic person what is most important for them in clothing they will tell you it's the fabric it's made of. Many autistic people have comorbid eczema, and a lot of those that don't have sensory issues, which mean that fabric and texture are hugely important in clothing. Something that is in contact with your skin all day needs to be made of something non-irritating; that almost always means 100% natural fibres. Cotton, or bamboo, or silk, or modal. Sometimes wool, but sometimes not. NEVER SODDING POLYESTER. And some of the clothes in that M&S range are 65% polyester. And of course it's very wearying that the only clothing specifically designed to be worn by autistic people is school uniform, because nobody of above school age is autistic, and no autistic child ever wears non-uniform clothing. AND they've "removed pockets for comfort". I have never known an autistic person who didn't want MORE pockets, as long as they are made from 100% natural fibre too.

So what would clothing for autistic people actually look like? Well, from the conversation on twitter today:
  1. Clear, obvious fabric labelling on the rack/shelf. While most of us just want everything 100% cotton, some of us prefer other natural fabrics like linen, and some actively prefer viscose or modal. Some of us can cope with silk or wool, some can't. Every single one of us, though, would like to see fabrics clearly, obviously labelled on the rack, without having to go hunting through the clothes for a tiny illegible care label.

  2. No polyester. Not even a little bit. Not ever. No, not even in linings.

  3. Linings are important! Linings are the bit that is actually in contact with your skin, so they need to be all natural fibres too. Note, though, that this does not mean you can take a garment made out of something horrible and line it with cotton and it will be OK - outer fabrics need to be touchable too.

  4. Care labels to be made of the same fabric as the clothing, not scratchy plastic.

  5. Elastic to be covered with the fabric the clothes are made of, not left to be in contact with your skin.

  6. Flat seams! Or even NO seams!

  7. For Cthulhu's sake, SOMEBODY make some bras we can wear! It is really, really, incredibly difficult to get hold of cotton bras, to the extent that I have considered making my own. And even if/when you DO find them, they are covered in non-cotton frills and lace and fripperies. And have stupid care labels made of plastic right in the middle of your back.

  8. Comfort and fit are much much more important than being on trend. I saw an article the other day that low slung waist trousers are coming back into fashion and actually cried.

  9. Moar pockets, on everything, especially women's clothes - but again, made of the same fabric as the actual clothing

  10. Stop saying things are "cotton touch" or "cotton feel" or "cotton rich". All this does is bugger up searching for cotton things. And actually, make your website searchable by fabric. That would be amazing.
And a clothing store for autistic people?
  1. Would be lit sensibly, not with migraine-inducing lighting.

  2. Would have the afore-mentioned obvious, clear clothing labels on the shelf/rack.

  3. Would sort by size and colour as well as style.

  4. Would have assistants that wait to be approached rather than badgering you the second you enter the shop.

  5. Would not have music at all (many many autistic people love music, but find music that they don't like intensely irritating; whatever music you play some of us will like and some won't) and would ideally have sound baffling so that other people's conversations are not intrusive.

  6. Would open from (say) 12 till 8, rather than 9 to 5. Autistic people are more likely than others to have odd sleep patterns and/or working hours.
Now, if some kind banker or venture capitalist would like to give me a wad of cash to make this a reality... And to M&S and the NAS... I do appreciate that you're trying, and I don't wish to appear ungrateful, but if you consulted any actually autistic people in fomulating that clothing range it's not immediately obvious. Please, please, bear in mind the priorities of actually autistic people, not the parents of autistic children, when making clothing that the autistic people are actually meant to wear. Remember the phrase: nothing about us without us. Thank you.

The Blood is the Life for 18-08-2017

Aug. 18th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

Farewell to Finland

Aug. 17th, 2017 08:56 am
luckykaa: (Travel)
[personal profile] luckykaa
So I wrap up the holiday. Flight was at 4pm, so that gave me a morning to explore the rest of Helsinki.

Took  more snaps of the station. the ticket hall was open, and they have a lovely model of a Pacific locomotive in a glass case.

Went to the Moomin shop. I was hoping to buy socks for Flickums, but apparently Finns do not have Euro size 38 feet.

Ambled around some more. They have vintage tram rides on Saturdays and Sundays, but it was Wednesday.

Decided to go into the city museum. It's free. They had a nice history of the city since the 1930's. This included various recreations of rooms and things in the city, and a VR "time machine" that allowed you to switch between VR views of today and the past.

Had a look at the Penrose Tile paving on Keskuskatu. Uses a fixed set of tiles but has no translational symmetry.

So that was Helsinki. Train back to the airport was uneventful. There was a strike for the previous 2 days but that had ended by this point. Flight flew without incident. Landed about 3 hours later.

I certainly liked Helsinki. The day trip to Tallinn was also very much worth it.

I consider this holiday a success!

The Blood is the Life for 17-08-2017

Aug. 17th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

The Blood is the Life for 16-08-2017

Aug. 16th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

Rock, sea, air.

Aug. 15th, 2017 08:42 pm
luckykaa: (Travel)
[personal profile] luckykaa
There's more than a day's worth of stuff to do in Helsinki in the summer. I just did the highlights. Essential stop was Suomenlinna. Another UNESCO world heritage site, and like all the others, well worth the visit. 

The regular Helsinki travel pass is accepted on the ferry. Since I have a 2 day pass, that made it free. There's also no charge for entry to the island, so it's possible to see most of the actual fortress for free. They charge for the museums, and there are several to choose from, so I felt I should look at the military museum. Quite small, but interesting. Also had some army clothes people were encouraged to try on. I grabbed a passing tourist to take my picture. The ticket also allowed entry to the submarine. So cramped. Must have been horrible servings in one.

Got to the end of the recommended route, and, since this was by the sea, took my shoes off and dipped my toes in. It's pretty cold, but I imagine it's swimmable-in.

Returning, I looked at online guides and was told to look at the cathedral (the Lutheran one), the other cathedral (the Orthodox one), but only really wanted to take a couple of snaps. Cathedrals don't interest me hugely. The "Rock Church" was a lot more interesting. Built in 1968, and carved right out of the bedrock. Inside, the walls are rough rock. Water trickling through is directed to special ducts. Light comes in through a skylight (part of the structure, including part of the roof is concrete). Rather than bells, a recording is played. The place is really quite tranquil.

Met the chap who joined us on the trip to Tallinn as I left. I shall refer to him henceforth as Uncle Jim. I told him I was going to an overpriced bar with a good view of the city. He felt it sounded interesting, so I invited him along. 

The Ateljee bar is on the top floor of the Torni hotel. The hotel itself is lovely, with an art deco style to the lobby. The lift took us up to the 12th floor, and then a narrow winding staircase took us to the bar. Was a little worried that Uncle Jim might struggle (he's no spring chicken, and had mentioned minor leg complaints), but he didn't seem to have a problem.  

The view is indeed wonderful. Helsinki is not a high rise city. Most of the taller buildings are 6 stories or so, so a 13th floor observation deck allows views right across the city. The beer was expensive, but since I've paid a lot more just to visit an observation tower before, I'm not complaining. And the view was worth it.

Ended the day with an island tour and dinner. There is a selection of tour boats with restaurants. So there's a tour around the island and decent food. I found sitting in the back section of the boat meant I couldn't hear the commentary over the engine noise, so after a while I shifted to the front. Honestly, the commentary seemed a little abstract. The tour was Imperial Russia themed, so focussed on the period where Finland was ruled by Russia, but it didn't seem all that connected to what we were seeing for the most part. 

We did pull aside another boat from the same line at one point It seemed they'd run out of beer. After a failed attempt, the other boat went round again, and the resupply mission completed, we carried on.

The boat arrived back at dock, and I left. Wandered around a little more. Wanted to see the station and admire it's late Jugend architecture.

Flight back tomorrow. Not sure if I have time to see more. 

Tallinn or bust

Aug. 14th, 2017 09:24 pm
luckykaa: (Travel)
[personal profile] luckykaa
One of the many nice things about Helsinki is how well connected it is to it neighbours. A day trip to Tallinn, Estonia is easily achievable. I found two friends to join me, and they found another.

We set sail on a somewhat packed ferry, but one with enough space to sit, and to mill around, get food if so desired.

Tallinn old city is a walled city with a whole mishmash of history going back 1000 years, with independence movements, invasions, wars and a whole shebang of other upsets. The walls, however, remain standing, and the city itself is very pretty. Like a lot of these places, the old city within the walls is really quite small. A 10 minute walk from one side to the other. 

Since we only had a day, we spent most of our time just looking at places and admiring how pretty it was. I went my own way at one point and find that there was a good view of the city and a pleasant walk past what was the moat - now a lake - through a park, before climbing all the way back up to the top of the hill the city was built on. The effort is rewarded by the most amazing view across the harbour. And there's a nice bar not far away that does local craft beer.

A lovely city, and the gorgeous sunny weather really brought out the best of the place.

Wandered back and had a look at a large concrete construction. Huge, ugly, and inaccessible, although possible to walk over since it has steps over the top. Turns out this was Linnahall. Soviet Era (obviously, given the brutalist architecture) sport and concert venue. Looks ugly as sin, but photos of it make it look less unpleasant when it was open. One thing I do like is it seems to be hangout area for teenagers where they can go and not disturb anyone. One guy was meditating. A few people were playing music. Plenty were just hanging out. 

We could only spend so much time there though, as we had to catch a ferry back. A faster service, but it's a catermeran, with crummy airline style seeing, next to no outside deck space, except an "observation deck", which was a small square area from which the outside was visible, just, but not a pleasant place to sit and relax as the sea flies by. More like a prison exercise yard.

Still, not to worry. It got us back to Helsinki. 

Last full day tomorrow. Time to see the city itself.

Day 5: Con ends here.

Aug. 13th, 2017 10:11 pm
luckykaa: (Default)
[personal profile] luckykaa
Last day started with a game of "Goth Court". A lightweight roleplay game where players take the party of plaintiffs, defendants and court for  small claim actions in court. One character was horrified that her hairdresser had dyed her hair black as a midnight forest, when she wanted black as a raven's wings. Another was a vampire (played by me) who took a Vampire The Masquerade LARP a little too seriously. I really had good fun. And people liked my vampire, which was nice. Especially when I was complimented by a lady who was really good at character stuff.

After this was the masquerade show and tell, and that was followed by the being unable to get into the panel, then the unexpectedly moved to an earlier slot panel. A little disappointing. 

Did listen to a bit of the European Comics panel, but it was a little tricky to get much out of it given it was mostly a floor discussion and I don't know a lot about the subject.

The convention ended with the closing ceremony, as is traditional, and I headed to the Dead Dog Party (the traditional post con chill out and chat session)

More queues. 

Once again, they underestimated how popular thus would be.

Decided instead to head to the pub crawl. A much more easy going affair. Venue#1 was a pub with a fantastic selection of international beers. Venue #2 was a microbrewery. Venue #3 was a decent Finnish bar. I decided to retire after that. I was suitably merry and wanted to poke my head into the Dead Dog Party. Had calmed down by this point.

And as ever, I get to the end of the con, and want more time there.

I think I'll go to the con in Dublin. They can be frustrating arty tines, but I do seem to enjoy Worldcons.

luckykaa: (Default)
[personal profile] luckykaa
This was a day of fan meetings. The first was the Star Trek meet, where we sat in a big circle and introduced ourselves because we're Star Trek fans and believe in strength through unity.

Later on was a B5 fan meet where we split into smaller groups because B5 is all about factions.

More talks. The Star Wars one was ludicrously over-attended. But I did hear about Kjell Lindgren's experience on the International Space Station, and attended a talk on meaningful choices in interactive fiction. 

Masquerade was in the evening. Am impressive number of entries, some were very good. There was a brilliant Cylon Centurion, Skeletor, Bicycle Repair Man, Doctor Strange, Kirk and Spock, and a whole lot more. And an opportunity to take photos after. The fan photo session is very well run, but I really wish they were clearer about where and when this happens. They did have a director to direct people with suggested poses.  

Decided not to stick around for judging. That takes forever. After all, really I don't care who wins. I know what I liked, and really, all of them were pretty good.

The Blood is the Life for 12-08-2017

Aug. 12th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
luckykaa: (Default)
[personal profile] luckykaa
Worldcon finds some spare space! It was hidden under the convention centre all along.

The new rooms were suitably vast. Two new rooms, with easily enough space for 500 people (although fairly close to full at that). Didn't have any problem getting in to anything I wanted.

Went to see some demo scene stuff, and learned that people are still developing Amiga and even C64 demos. Some pretty funky stuff, including a very nice Ray traced demo (which I think was in the 4k category), and an Amiga demo - although that one was on an '060. No doubt there are some demos that run on a stock A500.

Someone was denigrating a VR fly through of their novel setting. Basically a rollercoaster ride in VR which can be a bit disconcerting with the desire to  lean into curves.

Day ended with the Hugo Awards. I think this is one if the least comfortable auditoriums I've seen. It was a pretty good show. Some nice acceptance speeches. Ursula Vernon told us about whale fall in one of the most bizarre but fascinating acceptance speeches for any award ever. I do have mixed opinions about the Hugos. While it's fun to watch, I have a slight sense of the serious fans and writers seeing the Hugo Awards as their thing, and being a bit cliquey about it. I think they all went to their own party after the awards.

Chin had picked up what with having all the extra space. Look forward to day 4

Friday Five

Aug. 11th, 2017 03:35 pm
miss_s_b: (Self: Profile)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
(questions via [community profile] thefridayfive)

1) What is the most outrageous style you've ever rocked?

When I was a young 'un, there was that brief period when shell suits were incredibly fashionable, but before they had been discovered to be ridiculously dangerously flammable, and we had a non-uniform day at school. Every single other person in my class came in a shell suit. Some of them had those colour change t-shirts that showed your armpit sweat even worse than grey marl does. I wore cut-off denim hot pants, fishnet tights, an Alice Cooper t-shirt and a leather biker jacket.

I think that tells you everything you need to know about my attitude to fashion.

2) As a teen, were you an emo, goth, punk, grunger, or prep?

Um. I never could be bothered with the make-up requirements for goth, but I suspect I tended more that way in other respects, with bits of punk and grunger too. I mean, I never did do the blue stonewash jeans classic rocker look, I always wore black and purple.

3) Have you ever had a crazy hairstyle/colour?

Ever since I was 18 right up until the present. I'm normally one or more of blue, purple, or pink, but I've been other colours too. Went jet black once; didn't like it.

4) Do you think we ever really grow out of our teen selves?

I certainly haven't. But then I was quite elderly in outlook from about the age of 18 months, so... (this is possibly down to the autism, which obvs was undiagnosed when I was a young 'un.

5) Is there any fashion style you wish you could wear but maybe don't have the confidence?

It's not the confidence, it's the tolerance for pain. I wish I could wear halter neck tops, but my boobs are so heavy that they give me horrific neck ache within seconds of putting them on.

The Blood is the Life for 11-08-2017

Aug. 11th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

Day 2: queue con.

Aug. 10th, 2017 10:23 pm
luckykaa: (Default)
[personal profile] luckykaa
The illustrated hardback edition of A Game Of Thrones is pretty heavy. I know this because I was lugging it around all morning just so I could get it autographed for [personal profile] flickums . 

Since nothing was happening the session before, I decided to join the queue early. It had already starting to get quite long. I'd actually stopped by at about 10:30 (signing starts at 2pm) and there were already a dozen or so people waiting, but no matter how much I adore Flickums, I'm not waiting that long.

So eventually the signing started, I got to the front if the line, and George R R Martin said nice thinks about Flickums' book (it is very nice). He signed the book. Sent a photo to Flickums. Flickums seemed happy.

Actually got into some panels this time. One on cosplay history, one on geocaching, and one on rpgs. Although I did need to queue for a couple of them. 

More parties. More queuing. This time for drinks. The Chinese science fiction group had a nice party though. Rather professionally done. Milled around and chatted a bit but my heart wasn't in it. Did chat to a nice local fan on the way home though.

My feet are tired from standing in queues all day. I think I'll need to spend more time sitting around.