This is going to be a long post, all about me! feel free to skip it! :)
BiCon 2010, the 28th annual bisexual conference/convention took place from August 26th – 30th at the University of East London, Docklands campus. It was combined with the 10th International Conference on Bisexuality, and the first international Bisexual Research Conference. About 450 people attended, from 28 countries!
I got up ridiculously early on Thursday 26th August in order to take the coach from Winchester to London leaving at 06:30. The journey was smooth and I was at UEL by 10am, in time to check in and drop off my suitcase in my accommodation.
The research conference was utterly brilliant, full credit to Meg Barker and Christina Richards for running it. Most of the talks were of exceptional quality, and i feel i learnt a lot. I enjoyed hearing about Helen Bowes-Catton’s research into how people perceive and visualise bisexual spaces. Kaye McLelland spoke about bisexuality in the works of Shakespeare, and i marvelled at how well my English teachers at school managed to hide it all from us!
I was thoroughly inspired by a keynote talk from Robyn Ochs, a public speaker, writer, and long-standing bisexual activist. Robyn spoke of the importance of the impact that we make when we create space for people to be comfortably bisexual. I was touched by Robyn’s description of the reward when somebody tells us that we make a difference for them. I felt so proud at that moment that I helped to found Bi Wessex in Winchester: proud that people come along and gain something from the group, and that some of the members were there at BiCon.
On Friday i bought Robyn’s book, Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World and attended the workshop where we heard from ten of the people who contributed to the book. They stood up and told us something about themselves and read an excerpt from the book. It gave such meaning to hear them speak personally, and when i reach their stories in the book, i will remember them. Their contributions will be particularly meaningful for me. I asked several of the contributors to write in my book, which they gladly did.
I enjoyed hearing Heidi Bruins Green and Dr. Nicholas Payne speak about the results of a workplace survey on bisexuality. It was very interesting to hear the results analysed and validated from a mathematical perspective. Their results showed that bisexuality is not a phase on the way to something else, but a valid destination point, as are many other sexual orientations. They had some interesting data to show that happiness at work is directly correlated with LGBT support groups in the workplace, and anti-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
Saturday’s discussion about words and phrases for bisexuality in other languages was intriguing. I shared my Esperanto knowledge about the etymology of the word ambaŭseksema and the positive phrase borrowed from shipping terminology navigi per vaporo aŭ velo (to navigate by steam or sail). We learned phrases, both positive and negative in German, Dutch, Danish, Spanish, Italian, Sri Lankan, Welsh and Hebrew. Everybody contributed something, and the results will be published … somewhere.
I knitted a bi pride bracelet in the amazing craft room, and then on saturday afternoon i took some time out to visit Central London. I went to Covent Garden to visit the new Apple store (the biggest in the world) and enjoyed spending time by myself.
Saturday evening was the BiCon ceilidh which i enjoyed immensely. When it comes to dancing, i really like being told what to do! :) I made a new friend that night, somebody who i feel could become a very good friend. We danced together a lot and had some lovely conversations. Later on the music became too loud but i joined the Corridor Club upstairs where it was quieter and i enjoyed chatting to more people. We were actually the last to leave because we didn’t realise when the music had stopped and everyone downstairs had left!
Sunday was the disastrous “Bisexuality in Science-Fiction & The Future” workshop. It was marred by the speaker being late, a church group being in the room we were supposed to use, the laptop being broken, the projector refusing to work, and the speaker’s corny sense of humour which did not go down particularly well at 10am. I gave up and left after about ten minutes of technology fail, and went and joined the church, which i actually really enjoyed! Those who stayed said it only got worse, and by half way through several of them had started their own alternative science-fiction workshop out in the atrium!
The highlight of Sunday was “Smutty Storytelling” which was very well attended, and the storytellers did not disappoint! The stories were well written, and delivered with humour and enthusiasm! There were cheers and a standing ovation by the end! I sat with my new-found friend and mentioned that I had “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” on DVD, which we watched later that evening.
Monday morning seemed to go quite slowly. Things were winding down but there were still a few workshops left. I went to one on sensual play, which was well facilitated, and led to discussions of how we might turn the results into an amusing website! Later i went to have my photo taken professionally, so that hopefully i will appear again on the front cover of Bi Community News and maybe in other publications about bisexuality.
Before i knew it, it was closing plenary. Awards and thanks were given, we celebrated the success of this BiCon, and met the team of BiCon 2011 which will be in Leicester from September 1st – 4th. Registration is already open!
The bi community is amazing. So totally inclusive and unquestioning. I am so happy that i went, I am sad that it’s over, but writing this is my therapy: recording my happy memories and celebrating the joys of the last few days.
Thanks so very much to the BiCon 2010 organising team – you did an incredible job!
So my epic holiday is nearly over … i go back to work tomorrow after more than 3 weeks away. I actually can’t wait to get back! I so enjoy the work that i do, and i appreciate the structure of knowing what is going to happen each day.
Here is my holiday summary:
- A few days at home relaxing and getting ready
- Four days in Germany
- A week in De Panne, on the North coast of Belgium over Christmas
- Back home and time with family and friends
- Dealing with horrible damp mouldy walls that got really bad when we were away
For more details and photographs, read on … but beware of the mould pictures if they might squick you out!
I’m home again, safe and sound. Today has been ein schöne Reisetag – we spent most of the day travelling, but it was nice weather. I will make a holiday picture post later, but for now i’m just delighted to be back on the Internet!
I fixed the MyChores problem in a matter of minutes. Fortunately i had backed up the user-uploaded pictures not too long ago, so in the end we only lost 32 pictures. I’ve also had some help from William, the owner of HostingRails who came up with a few suggestions as to what might have happened and how i can ensure that it won’t happen again.
I saw my dad and stepmum briefly this evening, and my lovely sibling Felix is staying over tonight. We will probably all be going to Harvest Church tomorrow, which both delights and excites me! We’re also having a big family get-together at my grandparents’ house tomorrow! Yay! :)
I have had a nice meal, done the washing up, wiped the kitchen surfaces, tweeted on Twitter, and i’m slowly getting through 10 days worth of emails. Feeling a lovely sense of normality returning.
Remember i said my CouchDB on Rails series was being translated into Portuguese? It’s done, courtesy of Leonardo. Here are the links to the separate instalments: Tradução: CouchDB on Rails by Aimee. Awesome job, Leonardo!
Tomorrow we travel to Belgium, so tonight is my last chance to connect to the Internet, unless my trusty netbook can happen upon somebody’s unsecured wireless when we’re away. In a fishing cottage on the north coast of Belgium, i should say chances will be slim.
We’ve had a great time here in Germany. We visited a friend in Cologne yesterday and had a good look at the Christmas market there. Today we made some delicious mince pies.
MyChores is missing all its user-uploaded pictures and there is nothing i can do about it until i get back home. This makes me sad. HostingRails are being supremely unhelpful and i am regretting entering a 2-year arrangement with them. I think they were the best at the time, but a lot has changed this year, and i am sure that when the time is up there will be lots of better options for me to pursue.
Somebody is translating one of my CouchDB articles into Portuguese for Brazil. I feel honoured! :)
Since FireStats tells me that most people come to my blog searching for Caturday, have a cat for tomorrow! :)
Happy solstice, Chanukah, Christmas and new year.
Today i have posted Christmas cards, been to church, had a lovely lunch at church, read about Iterator and Mediator in Design Patterns, had a little nap, gone out with my sweetie to the final day of the Christmas market, gone shopping for a few things for when we come back from holiday … and now i am back in my bed trying to relax a little before it’s time to make dinner! A friend is going to phone me soon, i think.
Tomorrow i need to finish reading Design Patterns, wrap Christmas presents, pack my suitcase, and generally prepare myself for the holiday. On Tuesday we travel to Germany for a few days. I’m very much looking forward to seeing a good German Christmas market because it’s been a few years since i went to one.
After a short stay in Germany we’ll be going to De Panne in Belgium, for a nice peaceful Christmas in a cottage by the sea. Should be absolutely wonderful! I will most certainly be taking my netbook with me. I’ve got a socket adapter so i can keep it charged up. Even if i can’t get Internet access, i certainly hope to do a bit of work on MyChores over the holiday.
This may be my last post of the year, so … happy holidays to everybody! I wish you all love, peace and happiness, and very best wishes for a wonderful year 2009.
For my birthday, my wonderful partner made me a little voucher. It said:
Birthday Voucher for ONE MYSTERY EXPERIENCE DAY OUT
It was all beautifully decorated and everything. So today i redeemed my voucher! :)
We went on the train to Portchester (i somehow had a feeling we’d be going to Portchester because i love castles and i’ve always said i’d like to see Portchester Castle). My partner made a big deal of teasing me, making me think we were getting off at Fareham …! Also, when we got to Portchester, we went entirely the opposite way from the castle, up the hill. It was a fairly steep climb, but it meant we got to see this view of Portsmouth Harbour:
Later on we joined a walk organised by the English Heritage – a guided tour of the old buildings in Castle Street leading up to Portchester Castle. There are some really interesting and beautiful cottages:
The castle is really lovely, and the grounds are so peaceful inside the castle walls.
We also had a tour of St Mary’s Priory, which is situated in the castle grounds and is nearly 900 years old.
Here i am, just outside the castle walls, on the shore of Portsmouth Harbour. I’m showing off my new Songbird tshirt! :)
Thank you so much to my beloved, for a wonderful mystery experience day out! :D
We had a nice weekend away with goodarcher: a bit of gardening, a bit of de-cluttering, lots of chatting and socialising, a bit of Torchwood, and a wonderful trip out to Bosham and elsewhere around and about West Sussex today. It was absolutely lovely. Met some nice new friends and had a very peaceful time. Came home in time for me to squeeze in a few chores, heheh! :)
The clock change is annoying me like it usually does. What’s the point, anyway? Everything feels wrong to me today and the time seems to be passing incredibly slowly. Except it’s now supposedly dinner time and yet it still feels like late afternoon. Why do we have to go through this annoyance twice a year anyway?! I generally try to ignore British Summer Time as much as possible – i shift my working hours to 9-5 during the Summer as opposed to 8-4 during the Winter. As far as my body clock is concerned i am working the same hours; it’s everyone else who has changed!
I reinstalled Debian again the latter part of last week, and i think i now know exactly how to install Ruby on Rails (and more importantly, how not to). I’ll write a post about it later. The good thing is, i am now updating MyChores to be Rails 2.0.2 compatible, so we can start to use the speed enhancements and API options of Rails 2.
Next week i am on a C# course in London. I am looking forward to it because i like learning, and it’ll be good to understand exactly what this C# thing is that i’ve been programming in! I am pretty good at feeling my way with programming languages, but i’m sure i’ll be hugely better at it once i know all the tricks and tips! :)
I also get to spend a night with nyecamden which will be fun! :)
I am in a distinctly holiday mood! Once i leave work today i am off for five days until Tuesday! :)
Not doing anything special, just taking some time to relax. I will try to avoid Winchester city centre if at all possible whilst people are re-enacting the murder of Jesus. That sounds rather gruesome to me.
I just saw this interview with Grace Hopper, one of the first ever computer programmers, and developer of the first compiler. What a fantastic role model.
- “So how did you know so much about computers?”
- “I didn’t! It was the first one!”
LOL, i want a ‘nanosecond’ too!!
I had a lovely Shabbat experience with my partner. It was a couples retreat workshop in a hotel, with meals included, activities, opportunities to think about what is important to us as a couple. We met some lovely people there, and had a very good time. The meals were excellent, plus we pigged out on kosher Oreos (yum!) and we had a red wine that i actually like!! It is from Israel, really sweet! We were fortunate to be able to bring some home with us! :)
The whole thing was very spiritual, and symbolic. I enjoyed participating in the traditions, and i especially liked singing in Hebrew. There was a guitar player among us who made the songs very lively and everyone enjoyed singing. It’s great to sing psalms in Hebrew because you find out they actually rhyme!
I can say one thing really well now – almost every prayer begins with it!
Baruch Atah Adonai, Elohaynu Melech Ha’olam
Praised are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe
I think we have made at least one new friend that we will keep in touch with … probably more via Facebook. We are also intending to observe Shabbat as a weekly ritual at home together. This means no Internet from Friday evening to Saturday evening – and on the plus side – no chores either!! I think it will be really good for us both, to take a break and spend some special time together once a week.
* * *
Yesterday, as we still had the car, we went for a nice drive out into Wiltshire, doing some family history research. In a church cemetery we met a friendly couple doing the exact same thing, and they invited us into their holiday motor home for a cup of coffee and cake! :D On the way back we passed Stonehenge, and went through Wherwell, which is a beautiful village that i have loved since childhood.
We had an exciting journey back because we actually ran out of fuel! It’s amazing how far you can drive in Hampshire and not find a filling station!! By some miracle we managed to get home although the gauge was reading zero for at least 10 miles!