cuttlefish

Revelation's campaign is in its final hours!

If you're thinking of contributing to the IndieGoGo campaign, now is the time to do it. It only has 34 hours left!

Bras of the right size are almost impossible to find in the United States, so I'm doing something to change that.

Revelation will carry a full range of sizes, 28 - 46 A - KK (UK) from Panache, Freya, Curvy Kate, The Little Bra Company, Ewa Michalak, and Avocado.

Since my background is corsetmaking, I understand the importance of a good and comfortable fit. When I measure you, I'll measure you properly, without adding inches, and I'll take into account your shape as well as your size.

I'm also going to include a mini-museum that showcases the history of bras. I'll start with Victorian corsets, move on to bust improvers, and show examples of bras through the decades.

Revelation is opening in April at 3974 Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. Please come by and say hello!
cuttlefish

I'm opening a shop!

I am about to open a brick and mortar lingerie shop in Oakland!

Revelation will have a full range of sizes, 28 - 46 A - KK (UK) from Panache, Curvy Kate, Avocado, The Little Bra Company, Ewa Michalak, and Freya. I'm especially excited about Avocado and Ewa Michalak, who are Polish companies and, as far as I know, aren't sold anywhere else in the US.

I have a business loan, and I'm running an IndieGoGo campaign to help raise funds to open the shop. I have lots of great perks available, including a private after-hours fitting party. Please contribute if you can, and share it with anyone you can think of who is interested in beautiful, well-fitting bras.
cuttlefish

Claiming one's space

So I went lindy hopping the other night, which was fun and I should do it more often. There was a Jack and Jill dance contest that night, which I watched from the sidelines.

One guy, who I'd danced with earlier, sat next to me and we chatted a bit about the contest. He also exhibited Male Leg Syndrome - you know, that thing where guys sit with their legs as wide as possible, I guess to air out their enormous testicles. The chairs were narrow, so his doing this meant I had to sit with my legs crossed and turned away if I wanted any of my own space. I considered moving one chair down, but discarded that idea as too obviously rude, and really, why should I be the one who has to move?

After a few minutes of this, I said lightly, "I know guys like to sit with their legs spread, but you're in my space." He made a joke of it, not without some bad grace (I could have done without the mincing), and he kept his damn legs in his own space for the rest of the contest. He was obviously a little put out, but you know what? I don't care and it doesn't matter. It's not my job to make him feel comfortable or apologize for asking for my own space. Women are socialized to soothe egos and make sure everyone feels comfortable, and I certainly felt the urge to rekindle the conversation in order to smooth over the moment of awkwardness. I'm rejecting those urges. I get to have my own space, and I don't need to apologize for it.
cuttlefish

Comedy from Victoria's Secret.

This weekend, I accompanied my friend while she went bra shopping at Victoria's Secret and Macy's. Miraculously, she found two in her size (32DD) that were on sale. Score!

They offered to measure me, too. Sure, I said politely, I've never been measured here. The associate first measured around my armpits, across the top of my chest. (This is an incredibly dumb measurement. You'll notice that most women do not, in fact, wear their bras across the top of the chest.) Then she measured my full bust. I could see her counting under her breath, and she looked alarmed when she clearly went past VS's available sizes. Still, she proclaimed me "a 36DDD" and handed me one to try on.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA no. My actual size is 32HH. That's two band sizes too big and four cup volumes too small. (The volume of 36DDD = 34FF = 32G.) I tried the bra for the sake of the experiment, and it fit exactly like you'd expect. The band rode up badly in the back, I was quadboobing out of it, and the center front stood out a good three inches.

To her credit, she didn't try to convince me that it fit, although when she checked on me, I already looked pretty skeptical and the fit was REALLY bad, so I think she knew it was a lost cause. I said gently, "Usually when I measure, I measure at the underbust. I normally wear 32HH." "I bet that fits a lot better." "Yeah, it does." She then asked if I worked in the industry, and I said no, I'm a corsetmaker. "Oh, that makes sense!" she replied.

Afterwards, we went to a specialty bra boutique (Ma Cherie et Moi in Santa Rosa) that sold Belgian and German bras. I tried on one that was labeled 32I, the largest cup size they had. European sizing is different from the UK system, and the saleslady, even after five years at this store, could not explain to me how the sizing worked, so I'm not sure what the UK equivalent to an I cup is. Of course it was much too small, and she suggested I go up a band size. I pointed out that the reason the band looked too small was because the cup was far too small, and going up a band size would just make the band ride up. She brushed that aside, clearly not believing me that a too-small cup can make a correctly sized band appear too small.

...I really just need to open my own shop. This is a tractable, solvable problem! The bras exist; they just aren't being properly distributed, and most "professional" fitters have no idea what they're doing.
cuttlefish

Fuck the TSA.

Here's what happened at the Honolulu Airport on my way home.

I was directed to the invasive bodyscanning machine, so I chose to opt out. They called me back and asked me to point out which bins in the x-ray were my things. The agent who picked up my bins stacked them on top of each other, and totally ignored me when I said hey, one of the bags has a fragile item, please don't stack them. I tried to get her attention, but she just kept walking and would not listen. She put my stuff down, told me not to touch it, and then asked if I wanted to be searched in a private room. I said no, because this is a violation of rights and I want it public. She rolled her eyes and gave me a brief spiel about the patdown: that she would use the front of her hands to search me, the back for sensitive parts, and did I have any sensitive areas or medical conditions? I said no, and she had me turn around to begin the search. That was the last thing she said until I protested.

She flung my hair out of the way and ran her hands down my back. She was rough, so I flinched and arched away. She pulled up my shirt in back with no warning and yanked on my waistband, which was not something she mentioned in her initial warning spiel. I was obviously not comfortable, but she went ahead and ran her hand up my leg and hit my groin. At that point, I said, "HEY!" and turned around, and asked her to please warn me when she was going to touch a sensitive area.

She said "I'm not required to do that."
I said, "I'm just asking for a simple thing, can you please tell me when you are about to touch sensitive areas?"
"I'm not required to do that. We have a procedure and I am not changing the procedure. We don't change it for anyone."
"Every other agent I've worked with has given me warnings and let me know. That's all I'm asking for."
"I'm not required to do that."

At this point she got the attention of the private security guard who was standing nearby, plus another TSA agent. She said I needed to submit to the search if I was going to opt out. She mentioned a private room again. I kept asking for warnings, she kept saying that she wasn't required to do that, and eventually they started leading me away. I thought at first that they were going to take me to a private room, which I was not OK with, but then they walked me to the security exit point. I said to all of them in turn, "Please tell me what is going on. What are you doing?" None of them answered. The private security guard kept asking to see my boarding pass, and he would not answer my questions until I gave it to him. While he was looking at it and making notes in his pad, I turned to the original agent and said, "Look, I'm not asking you to change your procedure. I just want warnings. Every other agent I've worked with has narrated the pat-down. Please look at me when I'm talking to you." She had her head turned and was ignoring me. When I asked her to look at me, she did and said, "We don't change our procedures." I said her procedure didn't match my experience, and she said, "That's not true," and looked away again.

They made me step to the other side of the exit because security is a "sterile area." The private security guard kept making notes, but wouldn't let me see them or tell me what he was writing. The other TSA agent said to the guard, "We won't let her through again. Make sure she doesn't come through." They said this before telling me directly that I had to leave security. Meanwhile, I can't see where Starchy is (he also opted out), and I'm getting upset because nobody is telling me anything. I tried talking to the other TSA agent and telling her what happened, but she just said, "I don't know, I wasn't there," and walked away. By this time, the first agent who was rough with me had walked away. I never saw her again after that point. I asked the guard if I could speak to her supervisor, and he said no, she IS a supervisor.

The guard told me to file a complaint. I called Starchy at this point to tell him they'd kicked me out, but only got voice mail. I don't remember the exact conversations at this point, but the guard and TSA agents who were still standing around me basically told me that I wouldn't be able to go through security again, too bad, so sad, and that it had been my choice because I refused the search. Which is complete bullshit; at no point did they say to me that if I didn't submit I would be escorted out; they just put me through the exit and told me afterwards that I'd made that choice. They never gave me the option to go through the scanner or get another agent to search me. Never. The speed at which they kicked me out was dizzying - as soon as I put up any kind of protest, however minor, I was considered trouble. Nobody made any effort to negotiate with me or try to get me through security after the initial problem.

By this time Starchy had figured out that I hadn't gotten through security, and he came through the exit to find me. He can corroborate and fill in details after this point.

At some point the guard asked if I wanted to take this to the next level. I asked what that meant, and he said talking to the supervisor's supervisor. Of course I said yes immediately. The supervisor came over, handed me a paper complaint form, and said "Is there anything else?" I said yes, I want to tell you what happened, and told him about the rough patdown. He didn't really respond to that. He said asked if I was willing to go through security. I said yes, but not the scanner. He said, "It's not an x-ray or a millimeter wave. It just scans under your clothing." (This was his first noticeable lie.) I said I was absolutely willing to go through the metal detector, and he said that would be fine, and then he gave me his number and told me to call him when I was ready to go through. (I wouldn't have been able to go through security without him since I was banned by the earlier agents.) I was pretty upset at this point, so Starchy and I went to sit down for a while.

Perhaps 20 minutes later I called Cain, and he met me at the security entrance. He took us to the head of the line, then disappeared as soon as we got to the first agent who checks IDs. I was confused about why he left, and the agent pointed me to the scanner. I said no, the supervisor had given me permission to go through the metal detector, and the agent just shook his head. I couldn't see Cain anywhere at this point, so I had no choice but to say I was opting out again. This was Cain's second lie: he'd promised me earlier that I could go through the metal detector, but I was forced into another pat-down.

They led me through the gate to the search area, and there Cain was, watching. A new TSA agent was there to search me. She turned out to be much better than the original one. Before the search, I asked her to please narrate the search and tell me what she was doing. She did it exactly right: she gave me the introductory spiel, and then said "Ok, turn around, put your hands out... I'm going to pick up your hair... now I'm checking your back... now I'm checking your waistband... now I'm going to run my hands up your leg until I feel resistance..." et cetera. She was polite and respecful, inasmuch as someone can be while still doing something that shouldn't be happening at all. She also didn't run her hand into my groin the way the first one did; I barely felt her hand there.

When the search was done, I asked Cain for the first agent's name, which is Stso. Parker. (He wouldn't tell me what "Stso." stood for; he just said "it means she's a supervisor." The private guard came up to me and asked for my driver's license so he could take down the number. I gave it to him and asked why, and he said for his report. I asked what was in the report and if I could see it, and he said, "Oh, it's just for the airport's records." Of course this totally creeped me out, but I wasn't really in a position to do anything about it. I would like to see that report. I am sure it is full of inaccuracies and elisions.

In summary: The TSA kicked me out for demonstrating discomfort at a rough pat-down.

Other people have had such worse things happen to them, like medical devices removed and other awful, invasive things. On the scale of it, my violation was relatively minor. (Thankfully I have never been the victim of a sexual assault, so it didn't trigger horrible memories. I said to Angel Ponce, the private security guard, "The search was really invasive. What if I had been a rape victim?", and he said, "You would still have to submit to the search.") The degree of violation and the response makes it awful. I mean, the protest I made was so tiny, and the smackdown was so swift and uncompromising. Looking back, I think it's clear they had been trained on how to deal with "troublemakers" like me: get them out of security before they know what's going on, don't answer questions, make them scared and upset, make them meek so they don't make further trouble, engage them as little as possible. Make it look like they are really going to throw you out of security and strand you.
  • Current Mood
    angry angry
cuttlefish

Good thing I'm not going to Dragon*Con

Dragon*Con has made an official statement telling the Back Up Ribbon Project to fuck off.

This is incredibly poor form on their part, not to mention stupid. There's a problem with harassment at conventions, and reducing the avenues people have to deal with harassment is completely backwards. This boogeyman they bring up, of some shady character misusing the ribbons, is pure fantasy, as far as I can tell. The ribbon project is a small effort to make convention spaces just a little safer; taking away the ribbons will help nothing. Telling people to depend on badge and key checks and increased security presence is ridiculous, since much of the harassment at cons comes from attendees, not random people, and police are not known for their fantastic ability to deal with complaints of harassment. Also, many instances of harassment are not illegal, and therefore are below the purview of the police, so telling people to just report it to the police is nonsensical.
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed
cuttlefish

Mama bat rays!

Today was my second day at the aquarium. You don't get a blog post for the first day, because I am lazy.

We started the day with food prep, which is easily the most disgusting thing I've ever done. There's a kitchen with a walk-in freezer that stores all the food for the fish, which is mostly krill, shrimp, sardines, market squid, anchovies, and salmon steaks (for the sevengill sharks). It also has ginormous refrigerators for the food to thaw. The food is in trays, and you have to transfer it to big feed buckets. By hand.

The little krill wasn't so bad; it was so small that a big handful of it just feels like mush. It's smelly, but still cold so not horrifically bad, and transferring this is easy peasy. There's a ton of it so it takes a while and you have to rinse it, then press it through the net to get the excess water out, a bit like pressing watery cheese through a cheesecloth. No, the next step up is when it gets gross. This krill is larger, several inches long, and when you pick up a giant handful, you can feel all the legs. Every single one. Fortunately, the krill was still cold, so my fingers went a bit numb and I stopped being able to feel all the legs.

Next was the market squid, which were in a big metal bucket, sitting in their own juicy greyish brown soup. These were fine at first - hey, no legs! - but after the first couple of handfuls, I felt something... sharp. I thought it was a squid beak at first and had to step away for a minute or two and do something else (I weighed the other food buckets) before I was ready to reach in again. It turned out not to be the beaks that were sharp, but the squid ends. They feel like soft thorns, which is not at all what I was expecting.

Food prep done (yay!), I went upstairs to set up my gear. I brought my own BCD this week because I really don't like the ones the aquarium supplies, which are generic BCs that require weight belts, which turns out to be really uncomfortable for me because I am short, and the BC fights with the weight belt for placement and makes it hard to bend. I <3 my BC; it's made to fit women, it zips up instead of buckling, it's back-inflate, and it has trim weight pockets. SO MUCH BETTER. I do like the aquarium's wetsuits; they are semi-dry and in good shape. They're too long, of course, so they bunch at the knees and elbows, but all wetsuits do that on me.

Before we could get in the tanks, the vets had to perform ultrasounds on three of the bat rays, who were suspected of being pregnant. Two people got into the quarantine tank, which is waist-deep, and cornered the rays with a hammock-like net, inasmuch as you can corner anything in a perfectly round tank. The first ray took this treatment and the ultrasound with surprising equanimity. She didn't start protesting until she'd been in the examining net for quite a while. The next two were harder to catch, and flapped their wings in protest. I don't know exactly how big they were, but bat rays can get to a wingspan of 6'. They are not small, so the flapping caused a good deal of splashing. Once the second one was out, she insistently spy-hopped by the net.

I couldn't really read the ultrasound, but it sure looked like there was a baby bat ray in the first one. (The topside of the aquarium is loud, so it was hard to hear what the vets were saying.) The next couple ones were less clear, and I was setting up my gear nearby, so I didn't pay close attention.

In the tanks! We started with T2, which has the big fish and the sharks. We vacuumed the bottom (HUGE PAIN OMG VACUUMING UNDERWATER IS HARD), scrubbed the acrylic tunnels, and did an underwater broadcast feed of the squid to the bat rays, skates, and shovelnose guitarfish*. During the vacuum, Riah found two mermaid purses (skate eggs).

Lenny, the six foot blind sturgeon, is a pest. He was right at my elbow as soon as I got in the water with the bucket of chum, and he turned upside down and made nomming motions with his mouth. That's clearly learned behavior, as he's fed by hand. Someone shakes a rattle underwater and lowers a target, and he bops the target with his nose, turns upside down, and receives his food from above. Later, when Riah and I were on the bottom with our buckets in the narrowest part of the tunnel, between the acrylic and the protruding rock work with barely enough room for us, Lenny chose that moment to swim right between us. I had to put out my hand to make sure he didn't thwack me with his tail on the way out.

The bat rays, especially the big females, are like puppies. Once we got further down the tank, they surrounded us, wanting to be fed. The skates and guitarfish were too shy to be fed by hand, but the rays were happy to take food directly. I nearly put my knee on one eager ray.

Oh yeah, that tank? That's the one with the sevengill sharks. The biggest one is nine feet long.

*I am not making up that name.
  • Current Mood
    tired tired