Saturday, 31 August 2013


Well now, I haven't really managed to write very much here this month have I?
August has seemed to be a much busier month than I expected it to be. Even though I haven't been working at all its been a packed month.I've been away for a couple of long weekends, taken part in a triathlon, volunteered at a festival, done rather a lot of DIY, completed my crocheted blanket, met up with lots of friends, visited many museums, pitched several tents, been karaokeing  and done a lot of creative sewing.
My summer is not quite finished yet either as I'm off for an impromptu trip to Israel, Palestine and Jordan  for a week starting on Monday. I have done absolutely no planning for the trip as I'm meeting a friend over there, so I'm just hoping for the best.

I've got a lot I'd like to share, including some fantastic pictures of our Worthing Birdman jump, I'm hoping I'll get time to schedule some posts for while I'm away.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Behind the scenes at Worthing Birdman

On Sunday my friend Kathleen and I took part in Worthing Birdman. I'm going to split up the pictures I've got because there are quite a lot!
We got to the pier just after half ten on Sunday. It did not look like a promising start to the day, there were a couple of brief but heavy showers, the sky was dark and made the water look uninviting.
Other competitors arrived throughout the day, it was so much fun to see everyone's costumes! There are three categories of flyers, home made aircrafts, fun flyers(us) and serious competitors with modified hangliders. For our category the judging was based on costumes, platform routine and distance.
There was a lot of camaraderie with the other flyers, almost everyone was nervous so there was much discussion of technique, what was the best way to enter the water, were you taking your craft with you etc.

 Most other entrants in our category were raising money for charities too so there was also discussions about that and why they'd chosen their costumes. The pair dressed as Dastardly and Mutley were rasing money for Canine Support Animals , the girls dressed as giant boobs were raising for Breast Cancer care. We were fundraising as Aladdin and Jasmine as Aladdin was a street child just like those whom Retrak supports.
There were also two entrants from an Australian children's tv show. This gent here in his bowler hat and the girl near the top in cricket whites are making a programme where they travel around the world entering bizarre competitions, there's a chance Kathleen and I will feature on Rookies on the Run on ABC at some point! 
This amazing, steam punk inspired flying machine was made largely of recycled materials and was very impressive. Mike the guy in the blue overalls had made it using a BMX and lots of jumk and spray paint. I'd love to have a go at making something like this!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Worthing Birdman preparations!

This Sunday, the 11th, with my friend Kathleen and I will be taking part in Worthing Birdman competition where contestants dress in funny costumes and jump off the end of Worthing Pier and try to fly.
Now, while Kathleen and I do like to have peculiar adventures, this one is a big leap for both of us, particularly as I'm really rather scared of heights! The reason we'll be doing this and why we've spent weeks sewing costumes, preparing our "craft" and honing our dance routine is to raise money for Retrak, the charity that Kathleen works for.Retrak works with street children in 4 African countries and tries to rehabilitate children as young as 5 who find themselves without homes or families to care for them.

I'd love it if you were able to support me in raising money for Retrak you can do so online here;
There's also a rumour that the competition will be live streamed so when I find out about that I'll update
PS. can you guess who we're going to be?

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Things from the internet

Its been absolutely ages since I did a post like this about different things I've been reading and thinking about around the internet.

This gorgeous lettering and sentiment is by Mary Kate McDevitt, there are a lot of other beautiful pieces on her website too.

I've been having discussions about gender and masculinity/ femininity with several different friends recently.
An acquaintance wrote this article for the New Statesman about being a male feminist, which I rather like but the comments are a bit rubbish.
I loved this piece on Vagenda about the importance of people's stories and their role in forming the way we think about society and our shared histories

I'm currently in training for Salford Triathlon which I'm doing as part of a relay, so I'm only doing the swimming bit. I love this shot of swimmers doing an Ironman triathlon by Wayne Levain
I also love this picture of swimming in the rain that I can't find a source for anywhere even after doing that google image thing so if you know where it's from I'd love to know.
I think Marielle at Magical Day Dream does some absolutely beautiful and creative things that engage people in art and thought. I really loved reading about her giving away 1000 paper cranes to strangers and people's responses to her. So interesting

Finally, I've been intrigued to read about different ways of learning and pursuing knowledge and understanding outside the realms of traditional academia. Two scholars have been filming different systems around the world and hope to make a documentary
This post about one woman's own unschooling in her free time to learn more and find out more about the wider world has made me think about the ways we can use free resources to engage more fully with learning.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Ripple blanket; nearly there!

I'm nearly finished with my ripple blanket! I've been working on it here and there since before October! I haven't written about the blanket since January though, it's a lot bigger than that now! It comfortably covers a single bed and is still getting bigger.
I've been going round and round for the edging this week, I've still got a few more rows I'd like to do but it's so close to being finished! I'm so pleased it's all coming together and looking like a proper attic24 type blanket.

I'm really loving all the bright colours together, so cheery!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Male Cheerleaders; childhood experiences of crossdressing

This troupe of mostly male cheerleaders are the Billerettes. They've been a traditional feature of every local carnival and parade I've been to since I was a wee thing. They march in the parades, dance around and raise a lot of money for local charities
I love them a lot, they're bright, jolly, campy fun which is one of my favourite combinations.

 I mentioned that I was excited about seeing them at my town's carnival to my friend who also had  fond memories of seeing them while she was growing up. We were thinking about the fact that seeing these guys, especially the leader Bill, who has been performing with them for 37 years, was one of the first times that as children we saw men dressing as women. This group and also pantomimes where dames are played by men and leading boys are often girls let me know that sometimes female roles might be played by male actors and likewise sometimes male characters are really women when they're not acting. I'm not sure I have a point to these reflections. The Billerettes performance is obviously a jokey thing and doesn't contain the angst and soul searching that many transgendered people feel but I think there was some benefit in seeing people having fun in non gender traditional roles. On the other hand I could imagine that, for people who are trying to live their everyday lives outside gender "normal" lines, novelty acts such as these would be the opposite of helpful.