I hate titles.

Blog titles.

Book titles.

I hate coming up with them.  Mostly because I'm not very good at it.

But, now that I have you here, I thought I'd share a little bit of what's been happening over here. It's really all the usual stuff.  Work. Sports.  School.  Too much television.  A book here and there.

Then there's the fear that I'm going to go prematurely gray because of this child right here...

I know he's not the only middle school student out there struggling with his grades.  I know this because parents talk.  I hear the stories.  I watch kids getting benched for being on academic probation.  Of course, none of that makes my hubby or me feel any better.  We're not worried about those other kids, we're worried about our own.  If he could succeed by our will alone, he'd be golden.  Unfortunately, doing well in school requires that he turns in his completed homework on time and that he pay attention to detail.  Two things he really doesn't do  well.

He has five weeks to get his grades to more acceptable levels.  He can do it.  In fact, I have no doubt that he will do it.  I just wish he'd put as much effort into the first half of the marking period as he does the last half.

Now, all that being said, I should mention that his grades have not gotten him benched.  Not yet.  Although I sometimes wonder if that would be the magic cure.  Would getting benched do what mom and dad yelling has yet to accomplish?  I think it might.  When I look at his grades, I don't believe it's a coincidence that he has a B in his basketball coach's History class.

And, at the risk of sounding like a bad parent, I have to admit I'm glad his grades haven't prevented him from playing.  It's a lot of fun watching him and his teammates battle it out on the basketball court.

Leaping to block the throw.

Of course, we have more than one basketball player in the house this year.  Instead of wrestling as he has done for the last few years, our youngest decided to to follow in his big brother's footsteps.  I thought he did very well.

Dribbling down the court. 

Oh, and I've got to say, gymnasium pictures are the worst!  I can't tell you how frustrating I find the lighting to be.  Not that it stops me from trying to capture the moments that make the kids look like superstars.  I fiddle with the settings throughout each game, trying this and trying that.  Some combinations of shutter speed and exposure work better than others at freezing the motion, but that means I don't always get the shot I want.  Sometimes, the shutter releases right after the moment occurs.

I guess that's enough rambling for one day.  Later!

Epic ConFusion

I don't get a chance to attend many conferences, but my sister and I did manage to make it to this year's Epic ConFusion in Troy, Michigan.  (If you click on that link, you'll likely discover their website is under construction.  At least, that's what I find when I click on it...)

We couldn't attend the Friday panels, but we arrived nice and early Saturday morning.  Since we couldn't get checked into our hotel room until later that afternoon, we decided to start our day off with breakfast at the Marriott (holy hells expensive!), attend a panel, and then browse the dealer's room. Although our breakfast was very good, we quickly agreed that the next morning we'd venture away from the hotel in search of either a McDonald's or a Starbucks.

Our first panel was on the topic of comic books.  Even though I've had limited exposure to comic books or graphic novels, my sister is a huge fan of the comic book hero or heroine.  My exposure is limited to Saturday morning cartoons from my youth and more recent movie adaptations.  After attending the panel, I'm beginning to suspect a lot is lost in translation. I think I'd like to check out either Fables or Sandman.

After our panel we decided to check out the dealer's room.  Oh, how I love the dealer's room.  There are just so many wonderful and quirky things to look at.  Not to mention there are always, always, books on sale.  I'm not sure how I managed to resist buying anything that first day, but I did.  Not that it mattered because the next day I spent way too much money on books and a Firefly t-shirt.

The rest of the conference was a blur of panel discussions.  Topics covered included steampunk, young adult books, minorities in comics & graphic novels, non-medieval fantasy settings, and other interesting topics.

We also visited the party floors where I may have indulged in a drink or two before heading down to the Masquerade and, eventually, the dance.

While we were sleeping that night, someone else was entertaining themselves by writing messages in the snow.  If you look closely at that last image, you'll see what I mean.