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Showing posts from May, 2009

My First Con

Instead of camping with my family this weekend, I went to Madison, Wisconsin. The 33rd annual WisCon conference was held there over the holiday. It started Thursday night and ended sometime Monday afternoon. There were workshops, panels, art shows, vendors, and parties. As an added bonus, there was also good food and chai tea within walking distance.

The worst part, as expected, was the ride there and back. I'm not a huge fan of hours long road trips. If I'm not driving, I usually read, but since I was a tag-along passenger, I thought I'd try to be sociable. I think I managed for the most part.

But I bet you're more interested in the Con itself.

I found it interesting, entertaining, and exhausting. There were many times when I wanted to voice an opposing opinion, but wisely kept my mouth shut. Well, for the most part. There were a few times I felt compelled to interject my viewpoint or experiences into the conversations. I probably sounded like an idiot, bu…

What a day!

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We had a lot of fun at our friend's party Saturday night. We certainly stayed a lot longer than we had intended - I guess that's a sign of a great host and hostess! However, as we're experimenting with this whole "you're old enough to be the babysitter" idea, we were a bit anxious to get home. Of course our trust in the oldest boy was well-founded. He did awesome!!

This morning we rolled out of bed around 9 and hubby cooked up some french toast. After that it was a beeline for the shower. We had lots of chores we wanted to do today, so I threw on an old pair of jeans and a sweatshirt. Hair in ponytail, we were off to the local greenhouse to buy more flowers than anyone should buy in one visit. But it worked for us. Our busy schedules don't lend themselves to days of leisure very often, so tackling all five flowerbeds at once was more of a necessity than an option.

While the hubby used the mantis to till up the soil, my youngest and I planted and p…

Uh Oh.

I can't believe I forgot. I mean really, how could I? I've been looking forward to my first ever writing conference for the better part of the last four months. I even managed to submit my packet for the Writers' Workshop on time. Got approved for a scholarship to help pay for it. Have been asking inane questions about what to wear, what to bring, and what to expect.

Now for the Fail. I haven't critiqued a single manuscript yet! I have three hefty packets I need to read, comment on, and write a page or two about. Oh, dear. Between writing final papers, reading short stories and novels for class, and the craziness that comes with two children, I just plain forgot!

As you can imagine, whatever spare time I can find this weekend is going to be spent on manuscripts! I just need to fit them in somewhere between dishes, laundry, a birthday party, mopping my floor, finishing the Great Gatsby, and research on the French Riviera in the 1920s. No problem.

As Promised.

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Our Lives This Week

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The day-by-day breakdown:

Sunday:
Mother's Day meant a visit to the in-laws (I saw my mom on Saturday to avoid the two houses on the same day nonsense). I took my camera with me and got some great shots of the wildlife and other pretties surrounding their house. Here are a couple of my favorites.







Of course, after I took the picture of the Bleeding Hearts above, my youngest son had to show me that there really are hearts inside them. He quickly plucked one off the plant and peeled away the pink outer layer to reveal this:



After spending a couple hours there, the kids and I headed for home while the hubby stayed and tried to get the new bathroom faucet installed. While he was laboring away in perhaps the world's most poorly structured home, we lounged around in our jammies and watched movies.

Monday:
After work the hubby and I each grabbed a kid and went our separate ways. The youngest had an away game a few towns over, so the hubby dashed off in that direction. The oldest had a…

The Lives of Rich People Bore Me

After reading several short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald, I have come to the realization that I can only handle so much "woe is me" from the obscenely rich. The first few stories in this collection were amusing. They were, dare I say it, cute. However, after reading pretty much the same sub-context in the next four or five stories, I became rather weary of Fitzgerald's obsessive fascination with crossing the boundary from rich to filthy rich.

I think the problem for me is that I don't care about the characters because they don't resonate with me. With the exception of one short story, there is nothing in them that I can point to and say, even on a very fundamental level, "I get that". The sole exception here was in Bernice Bobs Her Hair and I believe that's because of the gender dynamics he explored. The interactions between the girls could have really happened. The reaction of the boys at the dances and after the climatic haircut seemed…

I Heart Faces Week 18 Entry - Laughter

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We had a lovely time at the tea house on Saturday. After eating threescrumptiouscourses and drinking a variety of teas, we decided to try on a fewhats. There were also gloves, tiaras, boas, and fur stoles. It was fun being a little girl again, even for a few minutes. We giggled and we laughed, which made this shot possible:





I Heart Faces Constructive Feedback

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Never done this before. Hoping for sound advice on how to get a group of people into focus. The original can found on my Flickr account here. As you can see before I photoshopped it I had some real issues with white balance and focus. I don't think the photoshopping helped all that much, but it was fun experimenting!

Here are the SOOC photo stats that might be relevant:

Camera: Nikon D40
Aperture: F/5.8
Flash: None
ISO Speed: 400
Focal Length: 18.3
AF Area Mode: Dynamic Area, Closest Subject
AF Point: Center
AF Points in Focus: Center
Light Source: Natural
Exposure Mode: Auto
White Balance: Auto

For Full Details: Check the Flickr metadata page.


Photoshop CS3
Sharpen Edges (duplicate layer with Mask to erase overly sharpened sections)
Adjusted Curves
Added burnt edges.

Fire away, ladies & gents! I really want to get group photography down and focus seems to be the biggest challenge. I'd love to hear what settings everyone else uses and whether or not they use manual focus (something …

No Limits by Alison Kent

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So a few weeks ago I was gifted with a copy of Alison Kent's No Limits. At the time I was finishing up a final project for class and, even though I would have loved to, I didn't really have time to sit down and indulge.

Until last week.

Faced with my ever growing TBR (to-be-read) pile, I could have picked up anything to read. A week or two before my name had been drawn for another book giveaway and had received Larissa Ione'sPassion Unleashed in the mail. However, there were two factors working in Alison Kent's favor. First, I knew her book was getting ready to hit the shelves. Since she had been kind enough to send me a copy (thank you Twitter for giving her a platform to hold that little e-mail contest!), I wanted to get a review up for her as soon as possible. Second, look at that cover. Visually appealing? I'd say so!

Now this is the first Alison Kent book I've read, but let me assure you my first exposure will not be my last. I enjoyed Kent's v…

My Evenings

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American Idol last night bummed me out a bit. I really like Allison Araheta and was sad to see her go. Still, the girl went out with style. And I'm sure we'll be seeing her again. She's too good not to get offered a deal.

As predicted, I've also been reading. Surprisingly, I'm still able to squeeze in some No Limits along side the Fitzgerald short stories. This is a good thing because No Limits is a fun, fast read. More on that later!

One of the most time consuming things I'm involved in right now is baseball. (The hubby is also tied up with Soccer practice, but I'm in class on those nights and, therefore, don't feel the strain of the second sport). The kidlet has games twice a week. Here's a few pictures from last night's game.









Lots of Reading to Do

There will not be any writing updates in the near future. I am officially "in school" once more and what few free hours there are between work and children's sports will now be consumed by Fitzgerald and Hemingway.

As a matter of fact, I'm cutting this short so I can finish my lunch with my nose in a book! Later, gators!

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Ken and I took the boys to the movies this afternoon to watch X-Men Origins: Wolverine. We met our best friends and their two boys at the theater, where we all indulged in a bit of popcorn and over-sized sodas. Then we settled in for a couple hours worth of big screen entertainment.

I liked the movie. Quite a bit, actually, when I think of it in terms of character development. I'll certainly be looking at the first three X-Men movies with a slightly different perspective. Given the context of the Origins movie I think his need to keep himself detached from everyone will take on new significance and the loss of his lady love in The Last Stand will resonate a bit more.

I realize the movie probably strayed quite a bit from the comic books, but I'm okay with that, mainly because I've never read any of them. Not coming to the film with any preconceived notions of how and what should happen can sometimes have its benefits.

The Next Season Begins

While the oldest may be out of commission thanks to his broken foot, the youngest is going to keep us hopping this spring. Soccer started a few weeks later than normal, which has pushed it right into baseball season. We had our first practice tonight and will be at the field again tomorrow. Monday is his first baseball game.

The first soccer game was supposed to be tomorrow morning, but it got pushed back to next Saturday so we get a bit of a reprieve. This worked out great because I have my first race tomorrow! No soccer means the hubby can come take pictures of me, my sister, and my sister-in-law.