Aug. 9th, 2017 07:55 pm
baratron: (Warning: Sick!)
I have woken up with the plague, which frankly is not a surprise given the amount of stress I've been under lately. Given that I've been coughing and sneezing since Sunday but blaming it on hay fever, I've likely been fighting this virus for a while already. So I've called Virgin and rearranged my travel from Thursday afternoon to Saturday morning, in the hope I should be better by then. Or at least, not actively woozy and feverish.

I have emailed BiCon Bookings to tell them that I will not be arriving on Thursday due to lurgy, but will be there on Saturday.

I'm sure I'm doing something wrong here. Aren't you supposed to catch the BiCon crud at BiCon?
baratron: (bi_pride)
I have been very, very exhausted since Grant went home. I'm hoping this is situational rather than a relapse of chronic fatigue, since I'm in the process of trying to go back to university after two years off! (Honestly, the amount of crap and paperwork that I have had to wade through since March would daunt the most indefatigable of people. We're now aiming for me to have everything sorted out for 1st September ready for the new term which begins on 2nd October. I had been aiming for the summer term beginning in April, or at least to be ready to return in July. I really am completely sick of it.)

Due to the fatigue, I have left all my BiCon planning to the last minute. I just booked my trains. They are costing far too much money, but that would be the sick person tax. One of these days, I will simply book my train so very early that it costs under £20 for the return and just eat that cost if I am too ill to travel, because it is actually cheaper in the long run than booking my trains once I'm certain if I'm well enough to go. Sigh.

Since it seems that most BiCon discussion is done on Facebook and I don't have one of those, I'm not sure who is going other than [personal profile] skibbley, and [personal profile] ludy if well enough. Therefore I would appreciate it if you would please let me know if you are going or not?

I have arranged dinner on Thursday and lunch/dinner on Sunday with local friends, but I'm really concerned about how I'm going to feed myself for two days without a carer to cook for me, or how I'm going to carry food with me up to the place. There are probably people doing Ocado orders and suchlike, please let me know if I can go in with you on one. I have PayPal and/or can do bank transfers so that you get paid up front.

One of these days I will get around to updating you on things that have been going on lately. If you don't hear anything, assume that I am spending my days doing battle with bureaucracy and my nights doing battle with non-player characters in Elder Scrolls Online :)
baratron: (bi_pride)
Who is going? And who wants to share a flat with me?

Proviso: I need an accessible room/bathroom which may reduce the number of humans that can be accommodated within the flat.


May. 5th, 2016 03:39 pm
baratron: (dino)
I did not get around to booking for BiCon. The closing date for accommodation was just too early considering that I have no idea what my health will be doing in July. If I am not much better than I am now, I will be going splat and having to go to bed in the middle of the afternoon, at unpredictable times, and it seems fairly pointless to pay money to go away in that scenario.

Which means you might be questioning how come I can go to Boston next week, but that will be easier since I will have the husband and the boyfriend, both of whom are entirely competent carers for me. If we're out and about and I feel too wobbly to carry on, I can trust either or both of them to get me back to the place where we're staying and/or get food into me. Neither of them want to go to BiCon (they are both way too introverted), and I don't have anyone else who is familiar enough with my current limitations to act as a carer. (I know people who would be happy to ensure I got fed, but I wouldn't want to ask any of them to give up what they want to do at BiCon unless I was paying them, which is a whole other kettle of fish and... yeah.)

I still need to talk to my university, because I was supposed to be going back when term started on 18th April, and I am clearly nowhere near well enough to go back for at least a few more weeks. It's likely that I'll actually go back next term instead, as long as they aren't going to give me grief about the fact you're only "supposed" to have a maximum of 2 years (6 terms) "off" on breaks of study during a PhD course. I'd love to be back, but it would be a waste of everyone's time and my money, since I just about have enough energy to get downstairs on average once a day. The increased thyroxine and vitamin D are helping up to a point, but I am not magically better and dancing around full of the joys of spring.

Today is however a glorious day and I went out to vote for the Mayor of London and London Assembly. No prizes for guessing which party won my first choice, and even my second choice is pretty easy to guess. (Hint: I didn't vote for anyone in favour of leaving the European Union). Politics lately are stressing me out: the London Assembly election today, the referendum on leaving the EU in a few weeks, and the horrible, hateful candidate up for election as President of the USA. Honestly, if it weren't for that nice Mr Trudeau, I'd be hiding under a rock.

Also today I washed my dinosaur. Yay! for clean dinos.
baratron: (bi_pride)
So, apparently there was a bisexual man who couldn't come to BiCon this year even though it was in Leeds, where he lives, and even though he has mental health problems and would have really benefited from our supportive, disability-friendly community. That's because the Home Office has thrown him into a detention centre and are in the process of trying to deport him back to Jamaica, where he originates from. Even though his mother, partner, and baby are all here and sending him away from them denies his basic human right to a family life.

Apparently the judge in the court case doesn't believe he's bisexual, because his partner is a woman.

Y'know what? The partner I live with is a man. I'm still fucking bisexual. I would still be in fucking danger if I were to end up in a country that doesn't like queers.

I don't know if Jamaica is dangerous (although the comments on this Jamaican newspaper article are quite telling), and that's not the part that makes me angry. It's the fact that the judge has decided bisexuality isn't real, that if someone's long-term partner is of the opposite gender to themselves then they must be lying about having same-sex attractions.

That is just not right. Bisexuality is as real as any other sexual orientation. I happen to have a long-term relationship with a man, but I also very much like women and genderqueer people and non-binary gendered people. My partners and ex-partners and potential new partners are of a variety of genders and biological sexes, and that's just how I'm wired. If you look at me as a woman married to a man and declare that I must be straight, then you're eroding a big part of my history and my future. That would make me angry.

But you know what? Go ahead and do it if you want to, it won't actually harm me. My life isn't in danger, because I was born in the UK and have British citizenship. This poor sod's life is, because he wasn't, and our supposedly so-tolerant country can't accept that bisexuals are actually a thing.

I shall be writing to Theresa May as soon as I have acquired sufficient spoons. In the meantime, please sign this petition in support of Orashia Edwards, and if you can afford it, send some money in support of his legal costs.


Aug. 1st, 2014 08:25 am
baratron: (london)
Guess who managed to sleep through two alarms and now has to rush across London?

Sigh. And I'm still tired enough to feel nauseated.
baratron: (bi_pride)
The bits of BiCon that were Bisexual, Spending Time with Friends, and Edinburgh were all awesome. I had really good food (not least of all [ profile] nitoda lemon cake!), lots of time with people I love and don't see enough, awesome gaming, some very useful activist discussions, and a few interesting workshops. Only a few because my chronic fatigue played up something chronic (ha ha) and I spent most of the mornings and some of the afternoons asleep. Of course, as is typical with these things, there were some people I really like who I said little more than "Hello" to, but that always happens. Next time.

The bits of BiCon that were Sharing the Venue with Other People were crap. Bad enough that the team ended up calling the police to report repeated instances of hate crime from other groups on site. That is all I am saying in public, not least of all because 95% of the stories are not mine to tell.

The weather in Edinburgh was glorious - mid 20s, quite dry, and light until almost 10pm. I have returned to London to find it over 33 degrees C (94.3 deg F). THIRTY-THREE. This may be a normal temperature for some parts of the world in summer, but it is nothing short of freakish for here. It's so hot that I can't wear the wrist supports that I'm needing right now, because they make me sweat so much that the skin under my wrists simply peels off. Ouch. And I really miss that extra hour of daylight. Ah well.
baratron: (eye)
An hour after I wrote my last post, I was happily squashed between two big-bosomed women in the Decision-Making Plenary, having previously met [ profile] fluffymormegil for lunch. That's BiCon. You pass through hours of feeling insanely lonely and miserable even though you're surrounded by 300 other people, and hours of having a great time with friends.

Hooray for modern technology, is all I can say, because I do remember my first few BiCons, feeling horrible and lonely and not knowing how to contact anyone. Whereas now I can send out a mass text about feeling crap, and get 5 replies within 15 minutes.

BiCon ends in 9.5 hours, which is slightly scary considering I need to fit in sleeping and at least one meal between now and then. Could do with washing my hair too, since it's reached the "ready to escape from my head" stage of dirty.

Proper review once I'm at home and have recovered enough spoons to do so.
baratron: (introspection)
I've always loved this song (where "always" is a function of when the song was released, since it only came out a couple of months ago), but suddenly it seems really appropriate for my mood.
So many people wearin' beautiful things
So many voices shouting under the music
There's no reaction to the party within
The ghosts dancin' silhouette on the white light

My back sweats in the heat of the crowd
the rhythm talks, but I can't hear it
Don't think I ever heard the music so loud
Don't think I ever been so eager to leave
It's gettin' harder to believe

On my own
It appears that the party's over
On my own
By myself (I'm on my own again)

At least I finally found my earplugs, so I might be able to spend more than 2 minutes in the evening social space tonight :/
baratron: (aibo)
I'm at BiCon, and so are my allergies! Woke up 4 times in the night wheezing & feel like death. I blame the one, very thin pillow, which is still too low even after having some clothes shoved under it, & too smelly despite having been double-wrapped in a spare pillowcase I brought from home. I also blame the duvet of doom which must contain all the dustmites in the world, and the ridiculously thin sheet separating me from the mattress & who knows how many years' worth of student secretions?

Currently trying to decide whether to get up for the 11.30am session or go back to bed until the 2.30pm slot, & whether I'm going to the accommodation office here to see if they can give me another pillow, or just into town to BUY a new, clean one!

My poor lungs. My poor itchy eyes. My poor sinuses & itchy nose :(
baratron: (boots)

So is anyone else arriving at Bradford station around 4.30pm tomorrow & want to either share a cab, or negotiate buses together?

baratron: (Warning: Sick!)
Oh gods. I've been knocked out with horrendous sleep patterns from hell and non-restorative sleep for over a week now. Couldn't tell if it was chronic fatigue or depression or both, or something else. I've also had a profoundly unhappy belly since Friday night. (Bad enough on Saturday morning that I almost phoned our Saturday evening visitors to tell them not to bother coming, due to the high possibility of TMI - but then it cleared up a bit). Being me, I couldn't be sure if any of this was an illness or if it was some sort of new, "exciting", additional symptom of my existing chronic stuff. (I have been, quite honestly, going through everything I've eaten and checking to make sure nothing's changed in the formulation, and worrying that I might have developed a New Food Intolerance).

However, in the last half-hour I've acquired a fever, sore throat, and swollen glands - which is oddly cheering, since if I have to be ill, I much prefer being ill with an infection that will go away given time, than with vague nebulous symptoms of doom. Unfortunately, it's also desperately bad timing, with BiCon starting on Friday and my train ticket fixed for Thursday lunchtime. Given the type of fare I bought, I dread to think how much it'll cost to change it to go up later.

I'm hoping that whatever this is started early enough that I'll just have a few days of vileness now, and then it'll clear up, and I'll be free from infection come BiCon. But judging by how I feel right now, there's really no guarantee that I'll make it at all.

I'll, er, keep you informed.
baratron: (introspection)
There is a lot of debate on my friends list relating to an incident at ReaderCon. Details and many people's opinions can be found in the links in BC's post. The most salient part is that the con has a so-called "zero tolerance" sexual harassment policy, which a few years ago caused a "smelly", extremely creepy man to become banned for life, yet this year caused a well-known fan to be banned for only a couple of years, for what I assume was similar behaviour. As ever, I like [ profile] xiphias's analysis.

Now, I wasn't at ReaderCon, and am unlikely to be at any science fiction conventions in the near future, but I did wonder what exactly the anti-harassment policy said. So I went to their website, and the best I could find was this:
Readercon has always had a zero-tolerance harassment policy.

Harassment of any kind — including physical assault, battery, deliberate intimidation, stalking, or unwelcome physical attentions — will not be tolerated at Readercon and will result in permanent suspension of membership.

As always, Readercon reserves the right to strip membership at its discretion.

Do you see the problem with that? I sure do. Especially when it's compared to the BiCon Code of Conduct (here's 2012's):
No Means No.

No-one at BiCon should be put under any pressure to join in with things they do not want to do.

This includes:
* any sexual behaviour
* hugs or touching
* taking part in a activity
* disclosing information
* or even having a chat.

It is fine to ask someone once if they would like to do something. For example, “Would you like a hug?”. If they refuse, continuing to ask is pestering them and will be viewed as harassment. If someone asks you to leave them alone, do so.

In public, “no”, “stop”, “don’t do that” or similar words and phrases will be taken at face value by the BiCon organisers and volunteers regardless of context.

The BiCon policy goes further, also defining what sort of behaviour is acceptable in public, respecting differences (with specific details about gender and race), confidentiality, and how the team intend to deal with any complaints.

What's the difference? Well, the ReaderCon policy assumes that everyone is on the same page and at the same level of cluefulness. It only includes what one might call "obvious" and deliberate harassment - things that are done intentionally to harm another. Indeed, the official ReaderCon Board of Directors statement even states "When we wrote our zero-tolerance policy in 2008 (in response to a previous incident), we were operating under the assumption that violators were either intent on their specific behaviors, clueless, or both." Whereas the BiCon policy explains, in simple English, how something you might intend in a friendly manner could come across as intimidating or scary to the person you're interacting with. It helps people who are nervous around other people, and/or have weaker social skills understand what exactly counts as acceptable behaviour (and perhaps offers pointers for how to chat someone up without freaking them out?).

This sort of detailed, yet easy to understand, policy is something I'd expect to see in place well before any discussion of "zero-tolerance". And I would urge all conventions to move towards a policy of this kind - something clear enough that there's no wiggle room of "I didn't mean it".
baratron: (goggles)
If there is anything you wanted to say to me at BiCon and didn't, you can do so here. Comments are screened unless you give permission to unscreen.

Also, I will be paranoid that no one likes me if I get no comments. So feel free just to post "hello" or "this is my livejournal identity" or other little questions & comments.
baratron: (bi_pride)
I just added someone to my friends list, and I noticed a brand new (to me) option in the add friend page:
Read entries by tags

[info]your friend's name uses N tag(s). All entries can be read by default or you can personalize your feed to include/exclude posts tagged with specific words or phrases.

How long's that been there? Sounds incredibly useful, as long as your friend is good about tagging (and doesn't overuse certain tags).

Oh yes - it's 7.06 am, I'm at BiCon, and I haven't managed to get to sleep yet. HELLO MY LOVELY BODY CLOCK! I kinda want to get to a workshop at 11.30am, but I don't honestly think that's going to happen.


Aug. 31st, 2011 06:46 pm
baratron: (Warning: Sick!)
Dear Immune System,

I would quite like to have stopped sneezing by the time I arrive at BiCon tomorrow. Please be sorting this out.

No love,

Dear Rest of You,

If I arrive at BiCon pre-lurgified, do I have to wear a bell round my neck with a sign saying "Unclean!"? I hope not, as that Is Not My Kink.

h-l   x

More seriously, I would like to pre-arrange to have dinner with some of you - my spoon levels aren't up to cooking for myself every night, even without a cold. I would especially be interested in getting off-campus at least one night (to an Indian restaurant that knows what vegans are, perhaps?). Any volunteers? There are three nights: Thursday, Friday & Saturday.

Re: BiCon

Apr. 3rd, 2011 03:45 am
baratron: (bi_pride)
Oooh. I've had an idea for a BiCon session that has never been run before!

Only I need 3-4 co-conspirators to make it happen. But I have 2 potential people in mind already.

This is basically here as a note to self because I have no brain at the moment.
baratron: (goggles)
Not in a terribly good mood. Have - hopefully! - sorted out my sleep patterns via a rather uncomfortable weekend. Now incredibly anxious about BiCon. As far as I'm aware, I'm the only person not on the team who's dreading it.

I always find BiCon immensely stressful. Not like alt.polycon, which I desperately wish was still happening, where I drop in and instantly feel at home. BiCon is too big, too crowded, too many people I don't know, too many people I don't want to shame myself in front of.

Mostly what gets me is panicking about having to provide up to three meals a day for myself by cooking. I... haven't been well enough to do that for a long time. Actually, I haven't even been able to cook one meal a day for myself for ages. I can do pasta with fake cheese or emergency chocolate cake (the 5 minute mug cake that you cook in the microwave), but that's it. Most of the time, we eat out or Richard brings home food after work, because I can't manage to cook and he doesn't have enough spare time to. God knows how I'd survive if I didn't live with someone who earns decent money.

And I'm having my usual panic about food intolerances. I accidentally ate some noodles-with-egg-in a couple of weekends ago, and the resulting 24 hours of digestive explosion (could go into details here - know that you'll prefer it if I don't) was enough to prove once again, if I ever needed reminding, that straying outside veganism is a VERY bad idea for h-ls. And the more stressed I get, oddly, the pickier I get about food. It may be London, but it's the other bloody side of London, where I don't know anywhere to get takeaway food that I can eat. And I don't know how to cope for up to four days without Costa (can handle Caffe Nero at a pinch - know for certain that no other coffee chains can provide hot chocolate uncontaminated by dairy. Nor can Costa outlets. Only the actual franchised stores).

So I'm working on the basis that I'll take my stuff over there on Friday at some stage, don't know how, and stay for as long as I can bear it. Maybe I'll calm down and have a good time. Maybe I won't. Maybe I'll stay there during the day and come home at night. Maybe I'll stay there some nights. Don't know. Being totally avoidant about the whole thing right now.

Really don't want Geek Answer Syndrome right now. It doesn't mix well with bad brain chemistry.
baratron: (rainbow chemistry geek)
I have a massive backlog of photos that I need to get online. At the moment this appears to include:
* Ryan & Dawn's wedding - June 2007 (!!)
* alt.polycon in Las Vegas - Feb 2008
* Blackpool - May 2008
* Iceland - June 2008
* BiCon 2008 - August 2008
* Wildhearts - September 2008
* [ profile] marnanel's visit - September 2008
* NY/Boston - July 2009

Well, I've fixed two of those. BiCon 2008 is now online (photos friends-only, people referred to by real first name only, bystanders pixellated). Also Marnanel's visit is online (photos registered users only).

If you are in any of the photos and are happy for them to be made public, please comment here. Also if you would prefer for your name to be changed to livejournal username, or if you want both real and livejournal names included, comment here. If you can't currently see the photos due to not being on my trusted people list, errr... I'll have to work something out involving email :)

Update: A photo in which I look like an adult!
baratron: (face only)
Whatever did we do in the days before internet connections in university halls of residence were standard? *lol*

Am very, very tired. Didn't get as much sleep last night as I would have wanted, for no particular reason. Just strange, extremely narrow bed (are they really only 2'6" instead of 3'?), without a super-tight tucked in sheet. Also, there was an insect in bed with me which I could not identify; but removed anyway on the basis it was about a quarter of an inch long and bright red, and that I recently read an article about the return of bedbugs. (The newspaper article I read said they are about a quarter of an inch long and normally brown, but bright red after they eat your blood.) This morning I have three new bites on my arms. On the basis they are not particularly itchy and don't have white centres, I guess it probably wasn't a bedbug.

Today I went to two workshops: the Pre-Decision Making Plenary (where we make decisions on what we're going to talk about at the Decision Making Plenary, of course), and Self-Harm: How We Cope With Stress. They were interesting - but in the first case, I can't be bothered to type it up (minutes of the actual Plenary will go online at some point), while in the second case I'd be violating people's privacy if I did.

Also, something which has never happened before happened today. As [ profile] softfruit and I were leaving the Pre-Decision Making Plenary, we saw [ profile] artremis arriving to do Stitch and Bitch, so a two-part Ludy sandwich occurred. Then we noticed that [ profile] oilrig and [ profile] conflux were also in the same room! omg, all of Ludy's partners in the same room at the same time!! So then it became a four-way Ludy squash (which probably sounds much more obscene than it actually was, oh well).

And [ profile] fluffymormegil & I made dinner happen for 30 people, most of whom seemed to enjoy it :)

People I Have Seen At BiCon So Far: Read more... )


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