chebe: (AsciiC)
I'd like to share with you a series of talks by Yahoo architect Douglas Crockford from last year. There are six in all, and you can either download or watch them online. They're not short, ranging between one hour fifteen minutes to two hours long each, but I'm finding them highly enjoyable. Personal highlights are Volume One: The Early Years which takes a tour of computing from punch-cards, through hardware, software, and language evolution, to JavaScript. And Episode IV: The Metamorphosis of Ajax which looks at the development and evolution of the internet, taking in the browser wars, CSS and HTML5. Some of his views are a bit surprising, but that just makes them all the more entertaining!
chebe: (BeautyQueen)
I'm going to ask you for a little indulgence here as I talk about something quite outside my normal topics; make-up. It's okay if you tune out now, don't worry, this is most likely a one-time thing.

Shall we adjorn to the powder-room? )
chebe: (GoldenMask)
Hello again my fellow dreamers, and assorted other readers. It's been a busy month. Enjoyable, but tiring. And now it's over, and in this country at least, Winter has begun.

Halloween was yesterday, but the season began last Friday. I went to a friend's party, and brought cupcakes. What's so scary about cupcakes? Well, you should take a look at Lily Vanilli's 'A Zombie Ate My Cupcake' book. Gruesomely delicious.



I made the graveyard cupcakes, and the red velvet cupcakes which use two bottles of food colouring for a batch of twelve and are possibly more fun to make than eat. It does require two sets of beaters, but quickly begins to look like blood, and be warned it will stain everything! I did find her icings way too rich for my stomach so I've swapped them out for a cocoa-icing that I really like, but the gingerbread is her recipe, and was also a big hit.

Saturday and Sunday then were Gaelcon, and I had more fun than I'd expected. I am not a gamer, but there was still plenty of shiny to grab my attention. I picked up a couple more pieces from Ula (you have to check out her Cthulhus and steampunk-cufflinks), discovered that there was a second version of Deathnote (?!!), and picked up Arkham Horror and Chez Goth (my first games ever).


Then yesterday, Monday, was a Bank Holiday, so I sat home and watched way too many movies. Halloween is still the best holiday all year.

Post Octocon thoughts

2011-Oct-16, Sunday 09:46 pm
chebe: (StormyThoughts)
This year was Octocons 21st. But it's the first that I have actually managed to attend. It's a Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror convention (with a great representation from the comics world) and I had a really good time. There was a wide range of things that I wanted to attend, even allowing for the inevitable problem of sometimes wanting to be in two places at once. (Why was there another panel on at the same time as the awards ceremony? That was just cruel. ... Can anyone tell me who won?*) And although I did actually run a workshop, for most of the time I got to sit back and enjoy as a regular attendee.

Something that was pointed out to me, was the almost complete lack of any actual science-fiction. I happily lapped up all the horror talks, was glad to see diverse topics like YA fiction, the issue of ebooks and piracy, and the rather meta panel on whether female-focused panels at cons are actually helping. But where was the sci-fi? I suspect this problem is far more wide-spread as I look around local and virtual bookshelves and see endless heaps of paranormal romance, but no new sci-fi. Where is it?

Also, this was a con at which the majority of the panelists were authors. Published, successful authors in a range of fiction, talking about what makes a gripping story, what makes a good character, what elements can be included and what pushes the suspension of belief too far. Yet none of the people I know who aspire to be published authors were there. Not one. Why?

Nonetheless, I had a great time. The staff and organisers were helpful, the event was well run, very organised, and only the last couple of time-slots on the last day ran over (because they wanted to squeeze in a couple of extra shorts, and some people have run-away, if entertaining, mouths). Speaking of which, I feel the film shorts (entrants for the Golden Blaster award), the Vault of Terror (commentated sections of a really bad film), and the Fandom Challenge (university challenge style quiz) were refreshing changes of pace that added to the roundness of the whole event. I made it all the way from Opening Ceremony to Closing Ceremony and am currently very tired, but in a happy way. I'm left with a head swimming with ideas, book recommendations, and a renewed interest in the entire range of speculative fiction. I'm even already looking forward to next year. Yep, definitely a good time.

*Oh twitter, you do fill in all the gaps: Blasters and script award winners.
chebe: (GirlDayDreaming)
Woah. Don't you hate it when time gets away from you, for weeks on end? After last you heard from me I was at Electric Picnic (running electro-craft workshops with the amazing Cat and tog), after which I found myself in Rome (for what I thought was a holiday but featured more walking than I'd anticipated). I attended my first Freshmeat training session (and then my second just yesterday *ouch*), and have come down with a head-cold/sinus-infection which I am attacking with a vast quantity of medicines. I had been holding off on posting here until I got some photos to add, but I kept forgetting to copy the Rome photos from J and the tog websites are in the process of moving hosts, so alas I have no pictures. (Maybe that's a good thing, I was indoctrinated at a young age in the ways of my parents holiday slides... carousel after carousel of slides...)

But, I figured I've been silent too long, so you get some waffle instead. At the moment I'm reading two books that I'm enjoying immensely.

Books )

In other news, my Colette patterns; Jasmine and Clover have arrived, and so enthused me that I think I've gotten the sewing bug back! But first things first; have to finish that Crepe! I've decided (inspired by the aforementioned two books) that I'm going to go with the last set of darts I'd tried (removing them didn't work out as well as I'd hoped) even though everything in all the sewing books say that darts shouldn't extend above the apex. It simply comes down to the fact that that's the shaping my body needs, so that's what I'm going to do. No more mock-ups, next stop, cutting the real fabric!

[Next steps: (1) Underlining & cutting out fabric, (2) Stabilising neck and arms, (3) Final pre-sew checklist. Check have enough underlining fabric is prewashed, and have fusible interfacing.]

*waves*

2011-Aug-22, Monday 06:15 pm
chebe: (Default)
Em. Hi! So I haven't been around much, and I am terribly sorry, I just lacked the time and energy to make anything new, or write anything up (still have some three or four old projects to mention). But, I'm back now. And with news!

This week is Irish Hackerspaces Week. Check out the list and pop over if something catches your eye. I'll be at the Craft Night tomorrow (Tuesday) working on some project ideas.

September 3rd and 4th a bunch of us from tog will be running drop-in workshops at Electric Picnic! For those not in the know, it's a large outdoor music festival with a strong cultural focus and many non-music activities. We will be running soldering, origami, and electro-craft (yep, that one is me) workshops. Still sorting out the finer details, will let you know when I do.

October 15th and 16th I will hopefully be at Octocon, which is a sci-fi, fantasy, and horror convention! Running more electro-craft workshops, but I reckon this one could be more fun and I am on the look out for sufficiently sci-fi-themed project ideas.

On a more personal note, I've been getting back to skating, and have signed up for roller derby freshmeat training with the DRG. I just hope I don't break anything!

So yeah. Busy, but so much fun :) And simply because it seems all the cool kids have them, I'm getting moo mini-cards printed up; very nice, and good value little cards. I'll be back with the regular project updates soon. Thank you for sticking around.
chebe: (Cyberish eyes)
Hey you lot... still reading? I'm honoured. Sorry it's been so quiet around here. I've been busy with my college project, part of which is keeping a blog. Turns out three blogs is one too many for me. I've also started back to work, so my time is really in short supply. Whenever I do get a few minutes I've found myself reading Sandman and Transmetropolitan (both for the first time). I do have a few little projects done that I haven't posted about yet, I hope to get around to writing them up soonish. In the meantime, have you read those comics? I think they're really good. Do you have any others you'd recommend?
chebe: (Default)
It seems to me that we often have a problem simply finding out about the cool things happening in our own backyard. I would like to open up a call to all in Ireland, Dublin especially, to come and tell me about the great alternative (recurring) things that happen here. Not just for the people who live here, but also as a resource for people who might only be visiting for a short time and are looking for something a bit more adventurous than a good pint and decent meal. Let me know your ideas and suggestions in the comments below!

But please note; these are not endorsements, nor a guarantee of greatness.


Arts and Crafts:
Dr Sketchys. Life-drawing sessions, with alternative models, and a burlesque flair, set to a typically excellent custom soundtrack. Fun, games, and plenty of other entertainment thrown in for good measure too!

Irish Knitting and other crafts. There is a lot going on in this sphere that I can't keep track, but this website goes a really good job of it.

Craft in Ireland. 2011 is the Year of Craft. Check out this website for workshops and talks the country over.


Spaces:
Makerspaces, or hackerspaces. Community based and driven spaces where people deconstruct and improve anything that takes their fancy. Technology, computers, crafts, art, music, even meditation, are fair game. With many events, talks, workshops, or simply open evenings to drop by and check it out, I may be biased, but I think you'll enjoy it.
  • TOG, the Dublin space.

  • 091 labs, the Galway space.

  • miLK labs, the Limerick space.

  • The Knitting Club, the Clare space (with surprisingly little knitting).

  • There are other spaces starting (or setting up websites) all the time, so check out hackerspaces.org for more details.


  • Exchange Dublin. I'm not sure how to describe the Exchange, it's like the above spaces, but more professionally organised and run. It's a venue provided for use of the local community. They host showcases, talks, a Stitch&Bitch group, and anything anyone wants to run. Bonus, you can always just drop in for a cup of tea.

    The Science Gallery. They hold interactive exhibits based on different scientific topics, which are always fascinating, as well as really big talks, often with really big speakers. They also play host to great groups and events like the Irish Robotics Club, Ignite Dublin, and TEDxDublin!


    Entertainment and Relaxation:
    Tea Garden. Not your typical cuppa, and defintely no coffee. Try exotic types and blends of tea as you hang out and relax.

    Fibbers. A kind of hard-rock/metal place with live bands and DJs. Actually two venues now, 'old' Fibbers with multiple floors and a dancefloor, and 'new' Fibbers on the quays that I affectionately refer to as an 'old metallers' pub. It would be fair to say that it doesn't have the best of reputations, but personally I usually have a good time, and they've fixed the plumbing!

    Dominion. A kind of goth/industrial club night, usually every Saturday. It has been known to move venues, but is currently back in it's original home, just around the corner from Fibbers. Smoke-machines, light shows, regularly rotating DJs, it's a good night if it's your thing.

    Brief musings

    2011-Mar-31, Thursday 10:32 pm
    chebe: (Daria_grad)
    I passed my driving test recently. The world of driving alone is a strange one. It's much quieter for one. So I've started playing my music, loudly. But, then I realised I had to get a charger for my music player. I managed to get one, for about €20, that is completely modular. It's kinda awesome. You've the bit that fits in the lighter slot, and ends in a female USB port. Then on a doubly retractable cable is the male USB port on one end, and a different male port on the other. This last one connects into eight different connectors! More than even I need. I lost the charger for my phone a while back, now I have a connector so I can charge the phone in the car, or from a laptop! It also came with a micro USB (which I couldn't find anywhere else), that I can use to charge the Fabrickit rechargeable coin-cell battery, that for some reason is micro USB from SparkFun, but shown as mini USB on the FabricKit site. Such a cheap, cheerful, and ultimately helpful little device, that only crossed my path because I passed my driving test. It's a funny old world.

    Good things

    2011-Mar-19, Saturday 10:17 pm
    chebe: (HandAgainstGlass)
    Limor "Ladyada" Fried; of ladyada.net, on the cover of WIRED magazine. Limor's general awesomeness being recognised shows that things are changing, and all you have to do is tirelessly pursue your interests, and be brilliant. Makezine article.

    Leigh Honeywell; co-founder and president HackLab.to; gives a keynote talk on hackerspaces at SCALE. Uploaded here. Leigh's keynote is full of enthusiasm, and I'm struck by how easy it seems to get involved with projects at hacklab.to. She acknowledges that not everyone will fit your group, that having other spaces and groups is a good thing; increasing the chance of there being a place for everyone. And of the good things that can happen when you're open to greater diversity.

    Mitch Altman; co-founder of Noisebridge (man has his own wikipedia page) gave a talk on hackerspaces at MakerFaire UK.

    It started with Mitch's talk. He does this really awesome thing; at the end of the talk he offered keys to Noisebridge. A symbol of the openness of the space. (It is an actual key, that works, but there is another door on the space that is locked when no-one else is there, and rightfully so.) He talked about diversity, and being welcoming, and open. There's that word again.

    It turns out I'm not the right person to point out where things could be better, what doesn't work, or to debate on the direction of things. So I'm just going to leave it here; Openness. We need more of it.

    *edit* And here's one fantastic way we can start: http://www.jpichon.net/blog/2011/03/dexy-documentation-workshop-tog/
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