• To write at least three hours a week. More is awesome. An hour a day is superlative. But three hours a week averages out to a half hour a day, six days a week, and even I can manage that. I think. Maybe.
  • To read at least one hundred books this year, not counting rereads but counting individually published short stories and possibly picture books I read with my kids.
  • To read (amongst the one hundred) at least twelve debut authors this year. Most of these will probably be YA, because that's mostly what I read.
  • To clean and purge my house in preparation for eventual moving. I know I say this all the time, but it really needs to be done. My life is a huge, cluttered mess and my house being the same makes everything seem worse.

Reading Challenges:
I found a nifty YA debut author reading challenge here and will be taking part in it - a fair number of these books, just the ones slated for January, sound all kinds of awesome. The twelve debuts will fit in nicely with my 2012 one hundred book challenge on GoodReads, as will any ARCs Penguin Teen happens to send my way. If anyone knows of a challenge similar to the YA debuts (there's also one for YA sophomore releases, I think on the same site) for adult fiction, that'd be awesome.

I intend to do more of both this year, starting with finishing the stockings and tree skirt I started for a friend of mine back in the beginning of December. Teachers' end of the year gifts will likely fall into this category, as may quite a few birthday presents. Ideally as I gain confidence in the basics I'll get better at costuming for both cons and SCA things, yay! I need more garb. And I want to wear costumes at the cons, really I do! I just never make things, or think to go shopping enough ahead of time.  Maybe that'll change this year, though probably not in time for ConFusion, alas!  Being a superhero or villain for the masquerade would have been cool.

And . . . that's about it, really.  I just haven't posted in a long time and felt like maybe I should.

What: World Steam Expo
Where: Hyatt Regency Dearborn
When: Memorial Day Weekend, 2010

We got there Friday, kind of late by the time everyone was home from school and work and the two littler kids were off to Camp Grandparents for the weekend - I had a vision distorting, head splitting migraine, and so forgot a few things.  Important things, like booze (but not so important as clean underwear) and books for when I was in the room letting Morgen take a rest.  There were lots of really cool costumes - in fact, our little family were some of the few without, which was okay because this was a learning experience!  What I know about steampunk, I know from anime, for the most part, or literature.  I'm rather fond of the aesthetic, much as I am of the medieval aesthetic, but that's about all I know!

Friday night, after my husband and oldest daughter were in bed (which was after a mediocre dinner at the hotel restaurant, during which we met Phil and Kaja Foglio of Girl Genius fame and their children), I went wandering and ended up in a Penny Dreadfuls panel about steampunk on a budget, which was fun and informative and gave me lots of ideas.  I also saw Tartanic's teaser show after that panel, and dear lord, it was balm to my marching band geek's soul - so many drums!  And bagpipes!  (Granted, we never had any bagpipes in marching band, but still.  There were times I couldn't help marking time, and I noticed that one of the performers was as well.)  Sofia and Jill, the dancers, were amazing with their blend of ballet, Irish step dance and belly dancing and the energy they had as a group was amazing.  They seemed happy to be there, and it made me happy to be there too.  Not long after that, I ended up heading to bed - between the fatigue brought on by the earlier migraine and the lack of obvious room parties, there wasn't much point to staying up unless I wanted to find the movie room.  Even the gaming rooms, both tabletop and video, closed pretty early, which was somewhat disappointing.  I'm not used to getting even a reasonable amount of sleep at a con, though Friday night, I did!

Saturday started with 'Bridesmaid Redux', which was about turning hideous bridemaid (or prom, or . . .) dresses into steampunk loveliness.  I went to this with Morgen (who, for those of you who don't know, is eight years old), and we both enjoyed it greatly - she got some ideas for things to do with old dress-up dresses of hers, which is always fun.  Unfortunately, she grows like a weed, so while harvesting an old dress would be great?  There are few that would fit her long enough to bother.  After that, Morgen wanted to go to the dance lesson but understandably, no unattended minors were allowed.  Instead, we went to 'Steampunk Archetypes' which turned out to be less about that and more about Repo's story, which was interesting but not what I went for - so I cornered Mr. G.D. Falksen (who is younger than I by a couple years and a successful, published author and thus insanely intimidating) and asked him the questions I had that pertained to the billed topic of the panel.  This was way more interesting than the rest of the panel, quite frankly (and I love Repo! as much as the next girl), and I wish it had lasted longer, but people had places to be, including me.  There was shopping and getting books signed (one of which is a surprise for someone, and I can't wait to send it so it can get there and there can be squeeing) before heading up to listen to Phil Foglio read from the Girl Genius novelization with Morgen and one of the Foglio children (the two of them were hard to keep apart, let me tell you!  Morgen's decided that she wishes the Foglios lived here), after which we went up to the hotel room to hang out in relative quiet relaxation for a half hour or so before heading back down.  Morgen was handed off to her dad so that I could go to the Tartanic/Bawdy Boys/Abney Park show, which was loads of fun, especially the Bawdy Boys and Tartanic.  I love Abney Park's music, but I read someone else saying that it seemed like they just weren't that much into being there, and I tend to agree with that assessment - they had moments, of course, but the energy just wasn't the same.  From there it was random wandering around until time for the midnight carnival which wasn't as entertaining as the name promised (though it could be because it made me think of The Forbidden Game by L.J. Smith, and was not anywhere near what I wanted it to be).  I ended up in bed around 2am or so - not as reasonable as Friday night, but still, better than most con-nights.  And still no room parties, which made me sad.

Sunday was composed mostly of wandering around - there was the mad science fair which was pretty awesome, more shopping, some swimming with Morgen and the Foglio girl-child (I hesitate to put her name online without permission), up until time for the concert.  Again, Tartanic was great, as were The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing.  Again, Abney Park seemed lukewarm about being there; I'd love to see a show that they were really into.  During this show, Adrian from Tartanic hijacked my camera and took some video, which was hilarious, and during Abney Park's set, Morgen ended up on stage (twice!) in her dress inspired by [ profile] yuki_onna 's Fairyland - or rather, the main character therein.  Afterward, she asked The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing's bassist (I think), Marc something, if he was a droog, which made me laugh.  A lot.  Then there were pictures with the entirety of Abney Park, and with just Nathaniel, who is my favorite member of the band.  Then, Jerry took Morgen off to the gaming room (video, tabletop, I don't remember) and I went to the Repo shadowcast.  My feeling on this is that it should be done often, and possibly with forensics rules.  Morgen and Jerry went to bed at some point, and there was more wandering for me until I ended up watching Doctor Who (the latest British episode) with a bunch of staff and guests (meaning band members, mostly), which was all kinds of awesome, and I finally made it to bed at around four, which is more what I'm used to.

Monday was sparse - the tiny top hat panel that Morgen was interested in but bored with quickly when she realized she didn't actually get to make a tiny top hat, and then another Tartanic show with Morgen and the Foglio girl-child.

All in all, I had a great time - a lot of things, especially the concert, were way off schedule (like, an hour or more), and panels that were supposed to be never were while others that weren't on the schedule cropped up all over the place, which made it difficult to do all the things I wanted to do.  I also thought the programming was pretty minimal and that for a con built around a very DIY community, there wasn't much doing.  It was a good con, but not great - I think it has the potential to be much better, for all that I enjoyed myself.

And look!  It's a review written.  Now to do one of the others I have fluttering around in my head.

courtcat: (Adventure)
( Jan. 26th, 2010 03:14 pm)
So, last Saturday I went to ConFusion with my eldest and youngest girl-children (I say as if I have any other kind of child).  We went for a couple reasons, even though it was only for the day (and only half of it at that - I'm still sad that Morgen missed KidFilk).  We went to see Cat Valente, who I think is made of awesome and win.  And Jim Hines, who is the same.  And a few friends I've made over the handful of cons I've been to since my geekitude reached this sort of enormity.  We also went because Peter S. Beagle was the author GoH, and I've loved The Last Unicorn since I was a very small child, and my small children love the movie now, though Morgen's only just old enough to start reading the book.  And because SJ Tucker was the music GoH.

Now, I was first introduced to SJ Tucker about the same time as I was introduced to Cat Valente and formally inducted into the delicious smelling cult that is BPAL.  By the same people, in fact.  I can thank Amal and Jess for many of my new-ish obsessions, I must say, which is another thing entirely!  So, anyway.  I've listened to Blessings and Girl in the Garden through some pretty rough times.  Same with reading various works of Cat's.  And RPing with Amal and Jess, for that matter, though RPing is a far older obsession than my acquaintance with either of them.  But all of that pales when I think about standing in that particular circle of people at Con.  (And of Morgen and Sheryl's kid taking to each other almost immediately.  That was pretty awesome, too.)  I'm not . . . a very open person.  This will surprise those of you who only know me online, no doubt!  I've gotten considerably worse about this as I got older.  I used to be able to walk up and join almost any conversation seamlessly, but now I stand back and watch more often than I take part.  Not so, standing there with Cat, Sooj, Sheryl, K, D, and everyone else.  I don't often feel like I'm part of things, and that was a completely different thing. Cat talks about her tribe a lot, and I figure we all have them, somewhere.  I stood there, talking and laughing, and listening to Morgen talk to Sheryl and Cat and everyone, and having Sooj talk about and make faces at the very stripey baby on my hip, and it felt amazing.  Like, I'm still aglow!  I miss experiences like that; I need to surround myself with people who are conducive to producing them more often.

It was awesome watching Morgen in the space talk with the science GoH and having both kids let me sit through a couple of panels that had nothing to do with music, even.  This ConFusion may have been my best con yet, and I really kind of can't wait to bring kids to PenguiCon even though there isn't dedicated children's programing there.  We didn't take much advantage of it at ConFusion, anyway, and if Morgen's in kid stuff the whole time, it'll be harder for her to pimp Fairyland the way she wants to!

In other news, Jerry finally has a job again.  He started yesterday and it's only a short-term contract, but it's better than nothing.  Finding a job anywhere is just about impossible right now, I know!  But this seems to be especially true in the metro Detroit area, where everything is tied to the auto industry and companies are going out of business left and right.  I don't know how long it'll last, but it's nice to breathe a bit easier for a little while, at least.

Brownies is going well - I can't believe it's almost February already.  I remember doing fundraisers for things like that when I was in school - not just cookies, but other stuff.  Though I think it was in junior high, so I guess it wouldn't have been Girl Scouts any more.  Music had long since eaten my life by then.  Um . . . I don't think there's anything else that interesting that's been going on, not that most of this is to anyone but me.  So, I'll stop writing now and come up with something better to write next time!





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