Thursday, January 10, 2019

Point Point, Hands-Free Rideshares & Clothing with Pockets

Weekly Update 2019-02: Upbeat yet melancholy electronica from Paris' Point Point, voice-based interfaces that give rideshares that true bus-feel and the quiet revolution of adding pockets to women's clothing.

Music: Point Point
Paris-based four-piece Point Point prove that France electronica is more than just Daft Punk and Justice. Made up of Aazar, LH4L, Nömak, and DVTGD, Point Point has been making a name for themselves with their Filet Mignon compilation series. I like their music because it's upbeat and melancholy, hard and somehow soft at the same time. Point Point passes my litmus test of being good music to cycle to, which I consider quite high praise.

They don't have a ton of music on Spotify yet, so start anywhere.

Last Saturday marked another in the books for my craft day with my sister and our friend Ruth-Ann. We hot glued lots of buttons and bottlecaps onto mannequin forms and made a Wendy Kou-inspired big cookie.

That pull tho.

I also hosted the most recent meeting of my Feminist Book Club - we read Bad Feminist Essays by Roxane Gay. I appreciated Gay's take on how it's the responsibility of the media to reflect the proper treatment of women in popular culture, and how we as consumers should demand that the media do so. We discussed the portrayal of women in our favourite television and movies, as well as intersectionality and feminism. It's always a good group of people to be around. I can't wait for the next one.

I met up with Britney, my teaching assistant for the next semester of BrainStation. I'm getting excited for class to start again, especially since I'm still able to bike over there from work for the time being.

I attended my first BrainStation Instructor Onboarding yesterday evening. I suppose I had missed the last one due to being added to the team on short notice, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Honestly I found it quite inspired and appreciated the care that went into planning such an event. All the part-time instructors were invited to have dinner, network and have a mini "class" on teaching, complete with a presentation and workshop component. We were also given personalized name cards (did they pick a strategic seating arrangement?) and everyone got a personal shoutout in the slide presentation. Instructors with one or more years of experience were labeled as such, as well as the top instructor with 41 cohorts under his belt. I honestly cannot even fathom fitting that all into the amount of years BrainStation has even been running. Anywho, the exercise was useful for my class and I felt that the company really values me. The brainwashing worked.

My second cohort of Brainstation starts next week. I'll be going through my notes from last semester and making sure I read through the student profiles before class.

I have some free time this weekend and definitely stuck in the crafting way so maybe I'll finally do the cross-stitching kit I bought a couple years ago. I strongly believe that winter is for hibernation and that's what I intend to do.

Random Thought: Hands-Free Rideshare
On the morning of a snowy January 3rd, I was greeted by a friendly notification from Lyft that I had $5 off my next ten rides. Now, the bike ride to work is not too far or dangerous, but there are downhill parts that present their own special challenge. And if I can take a Shared Lyft to work for literally 10 cents more than TTC, I'm gonna do it. It's basically a bus, anyway.

During that ride and the subsequent few I have used with the discount, I always notice the same thing. The drivers use phone holders that attach to the dashboard, but are still using their phones in a non-handsfree manner and taking their eyes off the road to do this.

In the same vein as food bike couriers being dangerous and daring cyclists, I am disappointed in the system that forces its employees to make these unsafe choices. Yes, everyone has free will to make their own decisions (like swerving through heavy traffic to deliver one more meal or concentrating on one's phone instead of the road to pick up one more passenger), but this is the perfect situation for good design and technology to remove the aspect of danger and improve the experience for everyone.

If voice interfaces are the future, this seems like the perfect application for it. Not only would the driver no longer need to be distracted by their phone screen, but everyone in the car would have automatic updates about what's going on - just like a bus. That's what I want, anyway.

Inspiration: Clothing With Pockets
In a world that is slowly but surely moving toward non-binary gender norms, I hope we also manage to do away with the ridiculous features found in women's clothing that are somehow exempt from most men's clothing.

To me, the most frustrating "feature" is the lack of pockets on most women's clothing. I rarely deign to carry a purse around because I find it cumbersome and don't bother to carry around more than would fit in a normal set of jeans pockets, but it's true that most women's clothing does not feature pockets. Even on jeans and jeans-like pants, some pockets are fake and sewn together for the look, which is even more angersome.

It's such a normalized thing that I even see it in myself: pockets are a superpower. Whenever someone compliments my outfit, I MUST inform them that it has pockets. It's newsworthy. According to this meme I found in a Dungeons & Dragons group, a dress with pockets has magical powers.

As I mentioned before, we are in a time of great political change, and some people are breaking the norm. One such example is the dress line of American clothing designer Svaha. All of the dresses have pockets, and manage to make a flattering form of a dress at the same time. It's really not that difficult of a concept to grasp. 

I also really like that Svaha's website navigation isn't organized by gender norms (i.e. dresses are not under a "women" category), which is to say that all of their clothing is for humans. I honestly just find the idea of gendered clothing so boring - wear whatever is most comfortable/makes you the most happy. 

Some might argue that we need the gender labels on clothing in order to locate the fits that meet our body types, but I think the current labels are not doing our figures enough justice. In order to find clothing that truly fits, why stop at a binary of men's/women's? Why not apply some logic and science, and use measurements? Heck, we could even find non-gendered terms to generalize how about small, medium, large?

Anyway, while labels do matter, the thing I want most in all clothing is POCKETS. They are the great equalizer.

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