luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
Good grief, how the time does fly....

So I have had a couple of great weekends in a row.

Saturday, May 27: Daytripped to Balticon in downtown Baltimore. Second year that the con has been held in the city where one must pay to park. That wasn't the only reason why I limited my con attendance to Saturday, though (more on that in a bit). I enjoyed the things I wanted to enjoy: the medieval dance, Maugorn's concert, and the masquerade. I saw some folks I don't get to see too often, although I did miss CZ and Alex/Phoenix. Moving the con suite from the 12th floor to the fifth-floor common level was a HUGE improvement.

Sunday, May 28: I really wanted to attend church in the morning, because that was our first glimpse of the ministerial candidate. She made a very big positive impression right from the get-go. After the service, there was a pizza luncheon and the candidate stayed to answer our questions. She has an interesting life story -- she worked as a civil engineer for many years before feeling called to the ministry. She and her husband have three grown sons.

Afterward, it was kind of a drizzly day, so the boy toy and I went on a drive through Anne Arundel County and ended up at an idiosyncratic joint called Crabtowne USA. Hey, the fish tacos were good.

Monday, May 29: The "money committees" of the church met with the ministerial candidate for a couple of hours. More positive impressions. Afterward, the boy toy cooked up shrimp and scallops at home.

Saturday, June 3: Storvik Novice Tourney, our barony's signature event. Once again we held it at the College Park Knights of Columbus, which has plenty of room, though no camping. That's OK -- it's the next town over from me, so why would I need to camp? I taught a "heraldry 101" class, although a couple of heralds who know much more than I do sat in and geeked out. Many, many of my friends received well-deserved awards from Their Majesties and Their Excellencies. Exposure to bright sunlight all day long made my brain go into "instant sleep" mode after sunset, so I went to bed a couple of hours earlier than I usually do.

Sunday, June 4: Another excellent service by our ministerial candidate, followed by our annual congregational meeting, at which we voted to call her as our settled minister with 98 percent of the vote. Yay! We finally have a permanent minister again! After the meeting, we had a brief party with champagne and cake, and there was much rejoicing.

We shall see whether this coming weekend's Baltimore Lithuanian Festival will live up to its outstanding predecessors.

And oh, yeah, after midnight it will be June 9 and the FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY of my high school graduation. It's a couple of weeks before the boy toy's 40th. Birthday, not anniversary. Why do you *think* I call him the "boy toy" here??
luscious_purple: Julia, the Maine Coon Cat (Julia)
Nope, I didn't post over the weekend because I was having too much fun at Philcon. Despite the sardine-like conditions for three adults crammed into the back seat of a Prius, my friends made the car rides pleasant. H. made me a necklace and a bracelet out of beautiful cobalt blue beads. I certainly wasn't expecting a nice gift!

F. spent a lot of time at the con in the gaming areas. I think Spider was very attracted to the art show and art-related panels, including a roundtable discussion on how to price your art. Now she's talking about exhibiting some of her artwork at Lunacon next spring. Hm, maybe this is the spark that will give her some purpose....

H. and F. also got a chance to talk with some folks from New England whom they had not seen in, literally, more than a quarter-century. Since before Spider was born. So, yeah, another good thing.

I also finished Rebecca over the weekend. Now, I'm not going to put these comments under a cut, because the book was published in 1938. But my first reaction to the "big reveal" about Rebecca was: Eewww, how can the narrator still love her husband once she knows he KILLED HIS OWN FIRST WIFE??? And got away with it? Second reaction: Why wasn't Mr. de Winter at least a member of the House of Lords, if not some higher peerage? Third reaction: Maybe the whole thing was some kind of assisted suicide?
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
What, only one guess? (That was on Dreamwidth, not LJ.)

Anyhow ... I am going to Philcon. To try to help out the next generation.

There's this couple, F. and H., whom I've known since they were newlyweds in the late 1980s. They moved from Massachusetts to the San Diego area for eight or nine years and then ended up in northern Virginia. By then I myself had moved to Maryland. R. knows them too. "Salt of the Earth," he calls them.

F. and H. have two kids, an older daughter and a younger son. Both were always whip-smart with outstanding vocabularies even in elementary school. The young man's in college now and his sister graduated a few years ago from one of the Seven Sisters colleges that is still all-female.

I last saw F. in September for the big NASA Goddard open house (H. had gone to visit their son in college that weekend). F. was telling R. and me that he's worried about his daughter, whom I'll call Spider.

Since graduating from college (she majored in classics, with a minor in studio art, I think), Spider has basically lived at home without doing any of the usual get-your-career-started type of stuff. She doesn't even have a driver's license -- I know that learning how to drive is less common for millennials than for previous generations, but still, there are some places worth visiting that are not on public transportation. She doesn't work, except for occasional cat-sitting at neighbors' houses. She had been taking some art classes since she graduated from college, but she hasn't lately. She doesn't even really go out to museums and such without her mother.

Her father, F., really started to think about her behavior when she turned 26 in September, because, yeah, there's that whole Affordable Care Act thing about no longer staying on her parents' health insurance. F. was wondering whether Spider's depressed, whether she should be seeing a therapist, or whether he and her mother should just start applying some good old parental pressure to get out the door and get a job. F. says that H. is not so worried about Spider's lack of direction. Now, H. has been a SAHM all along -- I think she even quit working before Spider was born -- but then again, she has been married to an environmental engineer pulling down a halfway decent salary. If Spider never goes out and socializes with folks, she's not going to get married to anybody -- and her parents won't be around forever. (H. has already had a double mastectomy for breast cancer.)

My take? I can't tell if Spider is depressed -- I haven't seen her in person since last December, IIRC. As she has grown up she has seemed to become more shy and soft-spoken, at least to my eyes, but I don't see her that often, either. I know she's really smart, wrote some surprisingly good fantasy stories when she was a teenager, and can draw well. R. thinks that going to a small (that is, not overwhelmingly large like a Comic-Con), fan-run SF convention could draw Spider out of her shell and put her in touch with her creative peers. I agree with him to an extent, but I also suspect that a little adult pressure (from her parents or others) might nudge her toward at least getting a driver's license and some sort of job outside the house. Even if she *did* graduate from a prestigious college, at some point people are going to start judging her on what she's done post-college, and "nothing of substance" is going to start to look pretty bad.

So the five of us (F., H., Spider, R., and yours truly) will carpool together to Philcon on Friday. Obviously I want to have fun, but I'll also be keeping an eye on Spider to see whether she is truly having interactive fun with other people or whether she is just sitting by herself, sketching in a corner.
luscious_purple: Ganked from many people (damn not given)
Several weekends every year, I feel torn because I have multiple events demanding my attention. They're all good choices ... so it's hard to choose. Often, these weekends occur around a holiday.

So ... guess what... this weekend I have no less than four things I could attend:
Those events aren't always on the same weekend. In some years, Philcon and the church auction have been held on the second Saturday of November. I'm also fairly new to Toastmasters, just starting my second year, so that hasn't been a factor in the past.

But when there's a conflict, it's just so hard to choose. I'm sentimental about Philcon because it was my "first" SF con back in the '80s when I was so much younger. Even though I can't afford to buy expensive stuff, I still enjoy shopping at Holiday Faire and socializing with folks from all over northern Atlantia. My congregation is my spiritual home and the auction is its second biggest fundraiser of the year (only the annual pledge drive is bigger, naturally). I've never been to a Toastmasters conference before.

So, which one did I choose this year, and why? Please feel free to guess in the comments. Answer tomorrow....

luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
Last night's news from Paris was certainly horrific. I changed the photo on the top of my Facebook page to an image of an old-fashioned postcard showing the American and French flags with the slogan "They Wave for Liberty." It looks like something printed up for World War I. I got it from a Facebook group called "French Canadian Descendants" (yes, I am in a whole lotta FB groups, just as I joined a bazillion LJ communities back in the day, even though almost all of them are dead now).

Today I got away from the sad news for a while and did something I've been wanting to do for more than a month: the boy toy and I went to see The Martian at our local multiplex. What a wonderful movie! Not only was it the kind of hard SF I like the best, but it was just so refreshing to watch a science fiction movie that was all about problem-solving instead of blowing up and shooting up "the others." Awesome!!! Now, of course, I really want to read the original book. (I also have a lot of respect for how the author, Andy Weir, crowdsourced the science while he was writing the book. Gotta think about how to do something like that in other contexts.)

(And, of course, I do have a few nits to pick about the plot, but in general it was one of the most "realistic" SF movies I've seen. And I've seen some awful stuff -- see, for example, Spacecamp. Bleah!)

Tonight I munched on homemade popcorn (the movie-theater stuff is way too expensive) while watching an hour-long YouTube video of Andy Weir, Adam Savage, and Chris Hadfield talking about The Martian. Now I'm listening to the Democratic debate while the boy toy watches Doctor Who in the other room. I'm following two live blogging/tweeting websites: Media Nation and Slate. Certainly Bernie Sanders is firing off some zingers....
luscious_purple: Stop SOPA and PIPA (No SOPA)
Still trying to keep my Facebook page Trump-free. REALLY tempted to brush up on histories of demagogues and dictators and how they came to power.

Today's major accomplishment was switching out the Verizon FiOS Internet router to a newer model. The previous one would occasionally drop the wireless signal -- sometimes multiple times a day, sometimes not at all during the day. Here's hoping that the new one lasts for another couple of years.

While searching iTunes for steampunk-related podcasts, the boy toy found a podcast called Brass Needles that is about the combination of SF, knitting, and steampunk. He pointed it out to me and I subscribed in my iTunes account. I don't think I'm going to download all past 185 episodes, but I'll check out a couple of the recent ones.

That reminds me ... I need to get another fiber project going in my life. :-)
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
Been meaning to post this link:

Dunno how true that is, but something to think about.

Awesome Con is happening this weekend, but I'm not going to it, because I went to Balticon just *last* weekend and I have lots and lots of other stuff to do. I do have a few more comments to make about Balticon, but I will do so later in a f-locked post.

Oh, and something else that's cool: ideas for a Harry Potter party!
luscious_purple: Ganked from many people (damn not given)
So I've been reading various blog posts, and Facebook links to blog posts, about the Sad/Rabid Puppies slates and how they gamed the Hugo Awards nomination process this year. I hate to start posting links, because I'm sure I'll miss some, and frankly I don't have time. If you don't already know what I'm talking about, Google something like "sad puppies hugo" and wade through the results.

However, I just had a thought: This whole fiasco, on the heels of GamerGate, makes me really glad I don't define myself through science fiction fandom. I don't depend on fandom for my friends and my social networks.

Yes, I like reading science fiction, though not a steady diet of it, and I like watching some SF/F movies, though not all. But I don't define who I am through it, and most of my core friends of associates have other interests in common with me, even if we met through SF or have attended cons together.

"But what about the SCA?" you say. "It's got loads of politics too!" Well, yeah. Every human organization of more than two people has politics. Hell, two-person couples have power struggles that can turn mighty damned vicious too. Been there, done that, got the restraining order to prove it. (Don't panic, folks, that was long ago.)

But I can't recall that the SCA has ever, in its history, gamed its own system in a *national* or *international* way in the manner of the Sad Puppies. And certainly I've never heard of SCA members pulling "swatting" or "doxxing" stunts on their so-called enemies. Anyone who *tried* such things on other members would be thrown out of the organization before you could say "membership revoked."

Also ... it's hard to put this into words, but as science fiction has gotten more mainstream and WAY more commercial, the SCA has not. Yeah, there are a few folks on the periphery who got into the SCA because of Tolkien or other high fantasy, but once they figure out that we don't want them to wear elf ears or satyr horns at our events or to call themselves Tauriel Skywalker, they either get with the historical aspects of the program or go find themselves a LARP.

And we don't have stars from Hollywood blockbuster movies and TV shows, and we don't have huge, multinational entertainment companies controlling our intellectual property. We're small-time artisans and craftspeople, we mostly trust each other, and we like it that way, thank you very much.

So, yeah, I'll continue to enjoy science fiction and fantasy on my own terms, and will occasionally attend a con or two. But to get all emotionally involved in fandom politics? Naaah.

Jay Lake

Jun. 2nd, 2014 12:10 am
luscious_purple: Paint Branch UU Chalice (Paint Branch Chalice)
For those who haven't already heard or read, Jay Lake has died (for real; the rumors of his passing a few days ago were probably due to the elegiac tributes that folks were already starting to appear on his Facebook page).

I never met the guy, and so far I haven't read any of his fiction. But some of my friends mentioned his blog, in which he detailed his battle against his cancer, and I started following it just about every day. Bit voyeuristic of me, I'll admit ... but if I was living with a terminal illness, I could only hope to write with a tenth of the honesty and grace under pressure that he displayed.

So I will put his books on my "to be obtained" list, and I thank him for opening our eyes to a world that none of us wants to visit.

Additional links:
luscious_purple: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
What 2014 might look like, according to Isaac Asimov in 1964.

I saw Asimov once. It was in the 1980s at a small SF con in NYC. I had gone on this road trip simply because my friend Bill R., who used to sell posters and stuff at cons, was vending his wares at this one. I remember his bristly mutton-chops, of course.

Ah, and next year makes the 50th anniversary of the New York World's Fair. My parents did not take me to it, because all their friends warned them that it would be a horrible place to take a small child. So they left me with an older family friend named Bernie, who took good care of me. But my parents missed me terribly and vowed never to go on vacation without me again.

Funny thing is: even though my parents came home with a bagful of World's Fair souvenirs for me, for years afterward I thought my parents had been delegates to the 1964 Democratic National Convention (which actually happened six or seven weeks *after* my parents' NYC trip). I think I was well into my teens before I figured out the truth. I don't think my parents lied to me ... I think I just conflated events in my head somehow.

Speaking of my parents ... it's always hard to get up on August 29th.
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
I didn't mean to vanish as soon as I picked up some new friends! Just busy with Balticon. I need to get to church, and later back to the con. Will probably write more tomorrow.
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
I actually enjoyed Lunacon more than I had anticipated I would. Probably because I had already figured it was going to be a small con, so I wasn't expecting a slew of parties and familiar faces (although I certainly did see some).

R. and I took the Amtrak train from Union Station in DC to Penn Station in NYC. We then took one subway line one stop uptown to Times Square, then got on a special subway shuttle that apparently goes back and forth just between Times Square and Grand Central Station, nowhere else. I don't ever recall being inside Grand Central Station before, so I took a few minutes to gape in awe at the ceiling and chandeliers before we got on a Metro North commuter train to Port Chester, N.Y. Bill got into town about the same time we did, so he picked us up in his minivan and got us to the hotel.

The Escher Hilton, as it is frequently nicknamed, is undergoing renovation from the dated-looking "country Early American" style to the "modern retro with dark wood and light avocado" look. At least this time around the renovation work didn't interfere with our use of the indoor space.

I took things easy -- went to a few Saturday panels, bought some beads from Fabric Dragon, and saw the art show -- Carol S. is transitioning her jewelry-making style from Native American to steampunk. R. had his usual up-and-down moods. Sometimes I think he would be happier if the con consisted of no one else but the handful of people he is already friends with. Both nights, he begged out of the parties early and I eventually found him stretched out on the bed in his room, still with his clothes on, as if he meant to get up and go out again or something.

The open parties were extremely lightly attended, but it wasn't difficult to figure out that you didn't really need an invitation to go to the "NYC science high schools alumni party," which had plenty of high-test booze. Yep, that's where the people were really hanging out. I actually met a guy called "Eric in the Elevator" who knows [profile] didjiman from Baycon. Cool.

[personal profile] cz_unit wrote quite a bit about the Lunacon party scene. Some other interesting posts I found through Google Blog Search:

Lunacon was permeated with warnings that this might be the last Lunacon if people don't cough up some more cash and volunteer help. From the con's home page:

As you may have noticed, membership in Lunacon has been shrinking over the last few years; last year membership was down by approximately 200 paying members. Unfortunately, Lunacon’s bills have not been shrinking as much as our membership, and we are in need of an infusion of cash. In order to help make up the shortfall, we are having a charity auction for the benefit of Lunacon. Items will be on display in the art show, bidding will use the same rules as the art show. If you would like to donate anything to the charity auction, please bring it to the art show and see Andrea.

Cash donations will also be accepted. Every donation of $5.00 or more will receive a special “Friend of Lunacon” ribbon.

And there was a long spiel about needing volunteers on the back of each Lunacon badge. I won't retype it into this entry because it's getting late.

I suspect that the membership was not as far down as last year (when I didn't attend, either) and I read that the masquerade was actually bigger than last year's (15 entries, as opposed to 6 -- still pretty low, but not QUITE as pathetic). The essay on the back of the con badge said that volunteers are REALLY needed for pre-convention tasks that can be done over the Internet. I felt a bit of a pull, but in the cold light of reality, I don't know what my situation is going to be like by this time next year -- whether I'll be working, whether I will have money and/or time to travel, etc. The last thing I need is to promise something that I can't deliver on.
luscious_purple: Julia, the Maine Coon Cat (Julia)
Despite day-tripping to save money, I had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend at Darkover. Saw lots of friends, and missed the ones who didn't attend this year. I brought my instruments, but there was no open musical jam this year, and I didn't feel like sitting in on the Regency ball, if there was live music there after all. Instead, I just happened to feel like listening to other musical artists and knitting the hat I promised the boy toy I'd make for him.

I learned a few more things about steampunk, and, thanks to Amber Bunny's silent auction to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I picked up a Reconstructing History gift certificate and a handmade fascinator, which I affixed to my black wool hat. Why, yes, I did make a tiny attempt to look vaguely Victorian. The black wool hat was the plain brimmed model I wear in the SCA when I think it's going to rain. I also donned a black-and-white-striped blouse that I used to wear to work when I actually had a job, plus a heavy black cotton skirt that I bought for SCA use but is really too long to walk in unless I pull the waistband up to Empire-waist level (and I did that). So, no gears, but it was a start.

The boy toy had wanted me to pick up a particular RH pattern for him, but RH wasn't at Darkover, for unknown reasons. (Personally, I think he ought to scour the thrift stores for a double-breasted men's vest before attempting to make one for himself, but that's his problem.) Oh, well. Maybe I can order the pattern for him and get one for the SCA for myself.

Don't worry, I'm NOT going to abandon the SCA for steampunk. But I could dabble in it a bit. I think it might be something for the boy toy and me to explore together, and to get him out of the house more and making more friends (as long as I don't have to subsidize him on this). And it is getting more and more popular -- longtime Darkover attendees have said there were a lot more steampunk/Victorian outfits this year than at previous cons, and rumor has it that there was even an uptick in attendance, which hasn't been the case with all fan-run cons lately. So, yeah, that's where I'm coming from on this.

Finally, I bought some tablet-woven trim to use for my early-period outfit for the upcoming SCA demos at the National Geographic. Gotta try to be as authentic as possible ... after all, the NatGeo crowd could range in sophistication from the casual Renn-faire goer to the Ph.D. in European history. Whew.
luscious_purple: Ganked from many people (damn not given)
With Darkover looming on the horizon, it's time to admit something I've been trying to deny to myself for years.

Hi, my name is Patty and I'm an alto.

I sorted myself into the soprano column back in seventh grade when I joined the junior high school chorus. Likewise, when I was in high school I sat with the sopranos, but when the sopranos split up into high and low, I would choose "soprano 2" because I couldn't hit the highest notes.

I guess my reasoning was that if my speaking voice is high and squeaky, I must be a soprano. Right?

Well, over the years, I have done less singing, save for congregational hymns and campfire songs that really don't challenge anybody's vocal range. So my ability to hit the high notes of the soprano parts has diminished. After all, one's vocal cords are muscles, and if you don't exercise your muscles, they become flabby.

For the last couple of Darkovers, I've been mouthing quite a bit of the soprano part of the Hallelujah Chorus. I always sang the soprano line in high school, except for the one high A. And, granted, Handel used the human voice as if it were a mechanical instrument (to paraphrase something the high school music teacher once said). But it seems silly to mouth more and more of the high notes as the years go by.

So I have printed out the score and am going to practice it with my keyboard. Maybe I'll make an MP3 recording of the alto line on my keyboard and play it back to myself while I'm driving to and from the con. Maybe by Saturday night I'll have started to learn the alto part. It will be hard to keep from switching to soprano, of course, since I have the soprano part stored in long-term memory. But my vocal cords will thank me for attempting to be the alto that I really am.
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
Last weekend I was at the 75th-anniversary Philcon. R. was subsidizing me by buying me an Amtrak ticket and not asking me to pay for my share of the hotel room, at least until I have a job. (It was a three-way split, as our mutual friend Bill came down from Massachusetts and sacked out on the floor.) I bought my own NJ Transit tickets and some food.

I think I've finally made my peace with the fact that Philcon is just destined to be forever smaller than the "Land of Endless Parties" of the late 1980s. So I actually had a decent time there. I enjoyed catching up with friends from Massachusetts. Carol the expert costumer now exhibits jewelry in convention art shows, and she has branched out from her earlier beaded necklaces into steampunk-looking stuff with gears and rosettes. She sold quite a few pieces, too -- good for her!

I attended two or three panel discussions on steampunk stuff, mainly for the benefit of the boy toy, who wants to make himself a steampunk outfit. I also am starting to feel the gentle tug of that genre. Maybe I'll try something for Darkover this coming weekend -- I could wear the long black skirt I bought for the SCA but don't wear there, plus a black-and-white blouse from the "career" part of my closet and my black wool hat and a bit of jewelry. It won't be much, but everyone has to start somewhere.

But back to Philcon. Again, I basically did what I wanted to do all weekend, and it was relaxing. Heard some good music -- bought one CD, from a group called Tricky Pixie, which included the musical guest of honor. The group performed during the masquerade intermission (and the entire masquerade took only half an hour, so I think the concert was longer than the masquerade).

Rumor has it that this year's attendance was at least 100 higher than last year's (which I didn't go to, either), so things must have been REALLY dead in 2010. And the Cherry Hill (N.J.) hotel has already booked up its ballrooms with weddings for the third weekend in November 2012, so the Philcon folks will have to search for yet another venue. During the optimistically titled "Next 75 Years of Philcon" panel, one guy (Hugh Casey, I think) said that any hotel can make more money from an afternoon wedding than from a full-weekend convention. Of course, I could go on about whether regional SF cons that are organized by non-profit groups should emulate the SCA model of holding events at venues that are less expensive than hotels ... but it's getting late now.

I do hope Philcon keeps running in future years, although I obviously cannot guarantee that I'll attend every year. The con definitely needs new blood. I see the same faces I've seen for 20 years or more, and a lot of them aren't aging well. I know that fandom tends to be more accepting than the general public, but still, younger fans don't want to hang out with a bunch of decrepit old fogies falling asleep in the corner of the con suite.

One last thing: At Philcon I heard that Arisia has grown to have about 3000 attendees, and the next one might hit the 3500 mark! Dang, I wish I could get up there sometime.
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
... is over at this location on LiveJournal. Sorry, but it just had too many "lj users" in it to bother with the DW/LJ coding changes. The LJ post should be open to all, so enjoy!
luscious_purple: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
This morning I woke up with a minor sore throat, and my throat still feels a bit scratchy, so I'm not sure if I'm coming down with a cold. Geez, I really hope NOT. It's like summer out there in terms of heat and humidity, and we're coming up on a holiday weekend. I want to have fun, not feel like dog feces.

I have been planning on going to Balticon for Saturday only, and then spending Sunday and Monday at home, pecking away on the decluttering project. At least I will catch CZ's party on Saturday night, and Patches' medieval dance lessons, and (I hope) some other programming.

I thought of the "Saturday only" strategy to save money. If I make three round trips between home and Hunt Valley, that's 300 miles total, or a tank of expensive gasoline. Plus, that's a lot of time on the road. OTOH, registration for Saturday only is still $43 versus $62 for the whole con. Geez, the next time people tell me how expensive SCA events are, I'm going to start screaming or something.

I don't know what to do -- if I am truly sick by Saturday morning, I wonder whether I should bother to go at all, as I don't want to give the cold virus to everyone else. But I want to spend at least one day of the weekend with friends. Blah.
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
I guess [personal profile] silmaril would call these "bitties." :-)

1. Apparently the boy toy saw a few snowflakes overnight because he stays up really late, but any "snow" was gone by 9 a.m. when I looked out the window. Snow falling on cherry blossoms is very beautiful, but also very wrong.

2. Last weekend was Lunacon, and I didn't go. Afterward I did the usual blog search and found comments and descriptions like this one. "Distinct lack of energy in the air" is a telling phrase. It's just as well I didn't go.

3. Tonight the boy toy made onion soup with Guinness beer. Not too bad, actually.

4. Noticed the NCAA Elite Eight proceedings with some detachment. After all, none of *my* alma maters is involved (unlike some folks on my Facebook f-list). Interesting that Coach Cal (Kentucky) will face Coach Calhoun (UConn) in the semifinal round. Their teams played each other when Coach Cal was at UMass and, sadly, UConn always beat us.

5. Five things make a post....
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
I went to Holiday Faire and came home with a bunch of loot for not much money!

Let me explain. First of all, I didn't go to Philcon this year. Many of you realize my sentimental attachment to that con, dating back to 1987, but this year I didn't want to spend the cash (and I *did* spend a lot of cash on Philcon 2009). Out of the past 30 days I've spent eight nights in hotels, and I've both flown and ridden Amtrak, so I'm not exactly hankering for a getaway the way R. was (he went to Philcon, of course). Actually, R. did offer to subsidize me, but I told him -- graciously, I hope -- that I'd rather he reserve his help for sometime when I really need his help, like a car repair or something. I know that's a lot less fun than a con, but still....

Anyhow, back to Holiday Faire. I didn't post in this journal on Friday because I was busy making a turkey for the A&S competition. Yes, a turkey. The A&S competition had a turkey theme, and since this was part of the year-long House Corvus A&S Decameron, I really wanted to enter it.

Flashback to a few weeks ago, when the boy toy and I were shopping at the local farmers' market, I couldn't help noticing that a lot of the small ornamental gourds that are sold at this time of year are shaped like birds (well, bird heads/bodies/beaks, anyway). So I decided to make one of them into a turkey for the A&S competition. I encased the whole gourd in Viking wire knitting (also called trichinopoly), made some legs with heavier-gauge wire, attached two black glass beads for eyes and stuck a bunch of craft-store feathers into the wire stitches to make the wattle, wings and tail. I was up pretty late on Friday night finishing all this up. Then, on Saturday morning, I had to write some rush documentation, because while documentation wasn't "required," I knew darn well it would be expected.

So I got a slightly later start to my day trip than I had planned. Fortunately, the night before I had programmed "Lady Magellan" with the site address. I was expecting the GPS to lead me over the same route I'd taken to the Metalsmiths' Symposium at the same site two months ago, so I was a bit nonplussed when Lady Magellan told me to get off I-66 about 11 miles before I thought I was supposed to exit. There were times along the way when I couldn't help thinking, "What the hell...? Where is this thing taking me?" But ultimately I trusted the GPS and it got me to the site via a route about nine miles shorter than the route published in the Acorn, but with more stop lights and traffic, so it was only a little bit faster.

Anyhow, I got to the event just in time to enter my cute lil' turkey in the A&S competition. Then I bought a lunch and sat down to eat. First I found three of my Pennsic campmates from Southwind, who had just finished eating, so I got to chat with them a bit. Then I saw Maugie, Patches and Melinda, plus some other Stierbach folks. The local herald was suffering knee pain, so I offered to help him with a few announcements.

More later -- time to go to sleep.

September 2017

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