More Bullet-Points

  • Since I’ve been more than a bit remiss in posting . . .
  • Robin passed the difficult 2/3 of his CDL test two weeks ago. I supplied fundage for couple more hours of driving practice, and this morning he re-took the road driving portion and passed. Yay!
  • MuseCon is dead. I have feelings about this. They’re complicated.
  • There are still brush piles in the backyard, but the still-growing stuff (some of which is grass, most of which is . . . not) has been trimmed to a reasonable level. I think I’m just going to buy a fire ring after all.
  • Still playing both versions of “My Singing Monsters” despite getting repeatedly annoyed at the sequel. Ron suggests the annoyances are what keeps me coming back. He might be right.
  • Done some Otter Necessities stuff. More about that in the usual place.
  • After thrashing herself out of her enclosure and falling to the floor while attacking her food two weeks in a row, I have successfully learned how to feed Aurora the corn snake without so much excitement. She still gets excited and thrashes around, but I open the door enough to admit the rat and tongs, so she doesn’t have space to fall out. This is particularly silly as she doesn’t get live food.
  • Robin took the air conditioners out of the windows a couple weeks ago. There were many, many shield/stink bugs.
  • Robin and I investigated the new (as in moved) Schaumburg Dick Blick store. I had a not-too-large fail, and also got Robin some additional sketching supplies to take with him during training.
  • Ron has started woodcarving, as he needed a truck-friendly hobby for his downtime. Chainmail is too itty-bitty if when rings are dropped.
  • I now have a set of tube watercolor paints, some test bits of basswood, and two dwarf/gnome-ish figures to paint.
  • I left my iPod in a skirt pocket and it went through the wash. RIP iPod. And Apple has discontinued the Nano, now all they have is the phone-size Touch with a bunch of features I don’t want/need.
  • OTOH, I’ve determined that I can use my iPad to play music from my portable hard drive through my portable speaker, which accomplishes what I used my iPod for, without stuffing the memory on my phone or iPad with music. I found Ron’s old iPod and Xap found a cable for it, and then Robin handed me his green iPod Nano, which he doesn’t use any more. So, options, I has them!
  • I downloaded recent-ish purchases from iTunes to the desktop computer, and keep forgetting to update the music on my hard drive, and/or replace some of the music Robin likes on the green iPod with what I like. D’oh!
  • My new-ish co-worker is loud, and I don’t always want to have my door closed, which only does so much good anyway unless I shut it tight.
  • At least I promptly quashed the use of speakerphone in his open cubicle. Speakerphones are only for use in conference rooms or offices with DOORS, which should be SHUT when using speakerphone, dammit.
  • Last Tuesday morning at oh-dark-thirty Gimli insisted that he really needed out. He caught a rabbit. There’s a reason I keep my wellies in the dining room. He was reasonably good about giving it up, both the initial confiscation and after we played tug with it.
  • I got back to bed about 4 am. Then I had to try to settle a wound-up Tommy, who had missed most of the excitement by being on his cable and/or in the house.
  • I kinda slept in. Then I gave up and stayed home.
  • Since Robin was home and mostly-unoccupied last weekend, the weather wasn’t stupid hot, and it was a bonus long weekend for me, we made pasties.
  • Lots and lots of pasties. 90 of them. The freezer is not quite full.
  • This weekend I made something like onion soup with lots of meat and Italian-ish seasoning, put it over French rolls in foil loaf pans, topped with provolone cheese, then froze it, so Ron and Robin have very wet Italian-ish beef sandwiches to take with them on the road. I was restrained and the batch was only a six-count.
  • We also made a usual stupid-big batch of chicken macaroni salad.
  • This morning Ron left with pasties, chicken macaroni salad, and I’m assuming at least one beef sandwich brick, in addition to the usual supply of canned or otherwise shelf-stable food.
  • I think Robin has decided to go to work for Werner. No schedule for training, etc. yet.

MuseCon Report

Looks like I last posted on Tuesday of last week.

I’d been on the MuseCon Board for about two years. If you recall a previous post, we had an un-planned ConCom meeting back on July 1 to deal with some bumps in the road. Over the last couple months I’d come to the decision that it was about time for me to be done, with changes at home and whatnot. More than once Ron convinced me that I should stick out the last bit of my term, until elections in September.

On Wednesday, dealing with things directly or indirectly related to said bumps in the road made it clear that my I’d developed too many differences of opinion to other board members to make my continued tenure useful. So I resigned. And if you see my Facebook posts, completely ran out of fucks.

Anyway, Thursday I finished up MuseCon signage and sent it to be printed, finished up Otter Necessities stuff, getting all the merchandise I planned to take into the Point of Sale (PoS) inventory and tagged (except I couldn’t find my tiny safety pins to tag doll clothes, so the tags were just tucked inside kosode).

Friday morning Robin helped me stuff the dogs into a truck, I dropped them off of the vet’s for boarding, stopped at JoAnn to get a dress form-shaped pincushion to display doll clothes on, forgot little safety pins, stopped at Kinko’s for signage, Then to the hotel. By then I was slightly less devoid of fucks. I got signage either put up or distributed, talked to some people, ordered dinner, and was very happy to see Ron when he finally arrived – he went from Iron Mountain to L’Anse where he swapped trailers, stopped at a drop yard south of Milwaukee to swap trailers, then home, without running out of 11 hours of drive-time in 14 hours of on-duty time.

Saturday Ron and Robin both helped me set up two tables and a triangle of gridwall in the vendor’s room, and I theoretically supervised the room. Since there were 5 vendors in total, it wasn’t a very hard job. Sales weren’t bad, but I’m not used to doing such a small event any more (I think attendance was in the 200-225 neighborhood).

Yesterday we packed up, checked out, Ron and I headed toward home had breakfast, did some grocery shopping, picked up the dogs, were glad to see Robin eventually get home, started dehydrating vegetables, and marinated skirt steak for jerky. Dogs were very happy to see us, and we were very happy to see them.

Today we did even less: Dehydrated the jerky, ran to JoAnn to pick up an American Girl doll clone I’d ordered on-line for store pickup, and Robin and I took stuff back to the storage locker.

I’ve reserved space for Otter at the Fremd HS holiday craft fair at the beginning of December, and will probably also get space at the Palatine HS version the Saturday before Windycon. Fremd is the other HS in Palatine, and both are one-day events. I plan on taking no more than I can cope with myself – purses, satchels, buckled belts, doll clothes, books, and maybe potion bottles.

MuseCon Prep

I last posted the week before last, after being released from the hospital after having my gall bladder evicted. Ron went back on duty Friday morning, but I had Robin so I wasn’t too worried, as I said previously.

Robin took care of me and the dogs. I spent most of that weekend on a binge of cutting out doll kosode, then doing all the machine sewing on them, then starting on the hand-sewing. IIRC I cut out 22, which is 11 coordinating sets. That’s a lot of doll clothes. OTOH, cutting out and sewing primarily involved sitting on by backside on the couch with a table in front of me to work on. And not, it seems, having to think too much, since I never got around to starting on MuseCon signage, which would have required more application of thinky bits.

I also stayed home Monday and Tuesday of last week, and went to work Wednesday through Friday. In hindsight, I should have just stayed home all week.

This immediately-past weekend I mostly did MuseCon prep. Saturday morning Robin and I went to the lockup to fetch home the coolers, bus bins, etc. we loan to Con Suite; gridwall hardware and shelves for the Salon; and and the bin of lace-knitting patters, alpaca yarn, and knitting needles for me to try to sell in the Emporium. After a stop at the grocery store on the way home, we went spelunking in the trailer for leatherworking kits, tools, and hardware to put up for sale. Robin did the work, I poked through Max, the Grinch, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 and decided what Robin was to schlep.

Then I proceeded inside to work on MuseCon signage. While I was sorting through images, Robin brought the pile of stuff that had landed in the kitchen for MuseCon to a slightly less chaotic pile of stuff in front of the back door. And I worked on bringing some more order to the pile later in the day. And around dinner time, a bowl of stir-fry appeared by my side while I was working on signage! Neat!

Yesterday I did more work on signage, plus more attempts at bringing order to the merchandise I’ll have for sale. Since I lost, essentially, two weeks to my gall bladder, getting ready for MuseCon is a rather daunting task. The stringy stuff had been removed from the Point of Sale (PoS) application inventory, and I have a pile of other merchandise – hardware, books I’ve bound, and doll clothes – that need tags and entering into the PoS app. In the past, I figured costs and prices, and typed descriptions or dictated them to Ron, who entered the data into spreadsheets, and then did some kind of voodoo to get it into the PoS app, and some other voodoo to print stickers to put on price tags.

Unfortunately, Ron won’t be home until Friday evening. When I was talking to Ron on the phone, he confirmed my suspicion that trying to talk me through both kinds of voodoo was probably going to be a lot more frustrating and less efficient than just typing the inventory into the PoS app and hand-writing tags, if not entirely unsuccessful.

Fortunately, the stringy bits are already tagged, so the main job there was data-entry. So far I’ve gotten the stringy bits and books entered, books tagged, and have made progress on number-crunching on the hardware. I’ve also been getting things packed up better. And tonight, while looking for the blank tags, I found the conchos and concho display, and extracted them, and the tags, from the dining room.

Fortunately, I realized today that I’m taking Thursday off, in addition to Friday and next Monday. Which gives me some more time to get things done. Or flail. Whatever.

Friday Again

Ok, this is real-Friday not virtual Friday.

Been a busy evening. Stopped at Ace on the way home for a dimmer switch, then through the Wendy’s drive-through for dinner. Got home, let the dogs loose, ate my dinner, then fed the dogs. Then I changed one of the bulbs in the outside fixture,  which meant standing on a step-stool which was at the edge of the porch by the steps. Fun if you’re a klutz and know it, but accomplished.

Did dishes and made dinner for tomorrow (pork pot roast). Put the dimmer on the new snake cage heat lamp. Handled all four of my snakes, plus Haku. Took pictures of the baby snakes in a light bulb box, and posted them to

Packed up an Etsy order. Posted a short event report to the Otter Necessities blog. Ordered more padded envelopes and shipping labels. And now I’m blogging here. And about to go sit in the tub, since this is actually one of the last things I’m writing.  🙂

The gaming convention last weekend was slow. It wasn’t a loss, but it was duulllll.

On Saturday afternoon at the convention I was taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi (College of DuPage student center), and looked for Vietnamese Blue Beauty (VBB) rat snake breeders. I found one person who didn’t seem to be breeding VBBs, but looked like might be able to point me to someone who would.  Then I found another breeder, who is breeding VBBs.

And is not far away. Indiana, IIRC. Zerkle Reptile Co. – very minimal webpage, but pictures, etc. on facebook.

And will be at the reptile show this weekend.

And is bringing VBBs.

E-mails passed back and forth. A deposit has been put down for a baby VBB.

I have purchased tickets on-line for the show.

The plan is to be there as close to opening tomorrow as possible, and proceed straight to their booth.

After that, we’ll do the rest of the show.  🙂

Anyway, rolling back to last weekend, I then started poking around on-line looking at/for cages. Reptile Rapture had one the next size up from Smaug’s original, which is/was housing Yingarna, at a decent price. I took Monday off as a recovery day, so the plan was to get my nails done when the nail place opened at 9, then to head Madison-ward and be at the store close to opening time at noon.


First, I napped until 8:30 (I can’t really say I slept in, since I woke up when Ron got up, when Robin came in to get his clean laundry that was actually in the dryer, and when the dogs barked at him leaving for work), and then didn’t get moving quickly, so I didn’t get to the nail place until almost 10, and they were busy, so it was past 11 when I got out.

Then there were more plan-changes, in the form of Ron going too, and meeting at Xap’s, but Xap not able to go because annoying utility screw-ups.

Shopping was accomplished. We got a cage, some decor and bedding, and admired snakes, but did NOT bring any new critters home.

Back to Xap’s to pick up our other vehicle, and then a stop for gas, and I thought I was headed home.

Except I ended up stopping at the library to reserve meeting rooms for MuseCon.

And then a stop to pick up dinner (which Robin ordered while I was at the library), while Ron went to a meeting.

IIRC instead of getting home in the early afternoon, it was more like 7:00-7:30.

Tuesday Ron set up the new cage, and we transferred Yin over to it. Both cages are 24″ tall, the older one is 18″ x 18″, the new one is 18″ x 24″. Last night we got some artificial viney things, and tonight I stopped at Ace for a dimmer cord/switch, since the heat lamp was making the new cage warmer than the VBB will need.  Here’s the new cages, and a closer view of Yingarna (click to embiggen):

Arboreal_Cages Yingarna_Perching

She’s not easy to get pictures of. She’s still flighty and nippy, and her ledge is slightly above my eye level. I’ll have to have Ron take some pictures while I’m holding her.

On the other hand, here’s Wonambi climbing a spray bottle last week – get up onto the sloped shoulder, constrict to get to the ridge, and then stretch up to the top.

Climb_1 Climb_2 Climb_3 Climb_4 Climb_5

Taking pictures of Wonambi can sometimes be challenging, because she wants to investigate the camera/phone/tablet.  And she moves deceptively quickly.

Wonambi is definitely my favorite of my snakes. Even though she’s little, she’s brave and curious, but a little bit calmer than Scatha – I think it’s a python thing. Scatha and Wonambi also move differently, but I’m not sure how to describe the difference. I’m really hoping Yin settles down and is as nice as Wonambi – Bredlis (Yin is a Morelia Bredli) are supposed to have a good temperament, similar to the spotted pythons. At the moment I do not trust Yin near my face, whereas I get nose boops from Wonambi pretty much every time I have her out (because she wants to climb up on top of my head and hide in my hair).


Reptiles and other Ramblings

Yes, this post will include more reptilian ramblings, with pictures. But just of cages, no reptiles to be seen.

At the moment I’m sitting at the desktop, with Gimli under my chair, playing with Pippin. Happily, they seem to be avoiding nipping me while aiming at each other.

Saturday evening was annoying. A couple neighbors had planned a block party, but looking at predicted thunderstorms, had cancelled it on Friday. So when I took the dogs out around 7:00 what was the weather like? Cooled off to actually pleasant temperatures, including a light breeze, a few scattered non-threatening high clouds, and not even mosquitos. WeatherBug predicted no rain at for the next 12+ hours. Perfect outdoor-party weather, in other words. How aggravating! The aggravation was topped off by missing mango sorbet. I’m sure I saw it in Friday’s PeaPod order, and Robin remembers putting it away (probably hiding because he thinks he left in a bag with something else, and I haven’t looked for it again since asking him about it on Sunday). I made do with guava paste and cream cheeze on ritz crackers, which is not at all a bad dessert, but not what I wanted, dammit.

I think Tommy being a noisy brat over the weekend might have been because Ron wasn’t home – I’m wondering if Tommy had declared himself protector of the house in Ron’s absence. Which is pretty silly, since he was “protecting” us from the neighbor dogs and a visiting terrier that was maybe half his size. When Ron got home I was in the living room with Tommy on a leash, so the other dogs could go in and out, and I could still keep Tommy under control. I my believe my first words to Ron were something about being . . . annoyed with Tommy.

Saturday night I sat up with the lights out to watch for Scatha. Eventually I realized that that spot in some of the greenery was her head, she was lurking and watching. After a while I realized that she was going to win a contest of patience and went to bed. But Sunday morning when I got up I found Smaug out pretending to be a branch. And one early morning this week Ron got up to take the dogs out and found Scatha roosting in some of her greenery. Because tiny snake can do that. I think she approves of the greenery – more hiding places, and it screens the openings on the larger hides.

Ron liked Scatha’s greenery, so he picked up some for Smaug’s cage on Monday. And when Ron got Smaug out that evening to be weighed pre-feeding, we noticed that his eyes were cloudy (looks like a sudden case of cataracts) – a sign of impending shedding. He took a little extra zombie-mouse-dancing before he decided to strike, most likely due to not being able to see as well as normal. Some snakes won’t eat during the shedding process, so a slight delay before deciding is no big deal.

If I’d been paying more attention on Saturday, I might have noticed subtle skin/color changes. It was probably also why he wouldn’t un-curl out of the ball python-ball when I was holding him – they get extra shy during shedding. OTOH, he was out Sunday morning, so maybe not. By last night his eyes had cleared, which means the actual shedding is coming closer. Probably before we leave before MuseCon, which is good – we can make sure he sheds completely. This morning when Ron peeked under the hide he thinks Smaug hissed at him, which is in line with the shyness-during-shedding thing.

Neither Ron nor I made music lessons last night, for Reasons. I did get some mango-carrot Italian ice at Daisy’s, the new-ish ice cream shop that’s opened up where Ben & Jerry’s used to be. IIRC they said the carrot is there for sweetness, not flavor, and I can’t taste it as carrot. Their Italian ice is really really creamy, not a dairy-free poor relation to “real” ice cream at all.

Because I am an absolute nerd, I have a set of spreadsheets for figuring out future cage sizes for the snakes – most of the books and websites make suggestions based various sizes of fish tanks, in gallons, with various modifiers like “long”, “breeder” (similar to long), and “high”. However, I’ve been looking at cages that can stack, are opaque on 3 sides (more privacy/ insulation), with front openings, and which are not measured in gallons.

I started out with making a list of suggested sizes from various sources, for both ball pythons and kingsnakes.

Then I found a website that has dimensions for various aquariums (,

how convenient), and created a spreadsheet which has what type of tank, dimensions, and calculates square footage of the floor and total volume in both square inches and square feet. The square footage is the important information, since neither Smaug nor Scatha are arboreal species that need tall cages for climbing space.

Then, for each type of snake, I have a table that lists the source of the recommendation, size suggestion, square footage, and volume (in feet). I’d included the volume before thinking more about it and realizing that it’s a less important number, and haven’t bothered deleting that column. Each list is sorted by square footage.

Turns out for both ball pythons and kingsnakes, most of the tank suggestions are either 2.5 square feet (30″ x 12″), or 4.5 square feet (36″ x 18″). One of the place I was looking at cages makes a 5 square foot model, which at 30″ x 24″ isn’t too much bigger than the footprint of Smaug’s current home (18″ x 18″ -ish on a 20-mumble inch square table), so it would be easiest to fit in the house. But we’ve got time, both snakes have some growing out to do before they need bigger homes.

Wandering back from snakes to MuseCon, via Smaug shedding, MuseCon is rapidly approaching. I believe the plan for tomorrow night is to go to the storage locker with the trailer, take the two Things, Max, and the Grinch in, unload one of the Things and return it to the trailer empty. Then either Saturday or Sunday Robin can take the trailer to pick up blinkie stuff, and we’ll pack all of our stuff into the Thing. And this weekend we really, really need to trim the gridwall down that we got at ACen and want to shorten – some of the pieces are mildly banged up, so those are the ones to be modified. Also need to remember to get the zip-ties, zip-tie guns, and clippers out of Max or the Grinch to assemble gridwall at Muse.

Robin’s been working on making banana bread for the Con Suite. The process is slightly hampered by the “yellow” bananas I got from PeaPod on Friday being more green than yellow, and the fact that the big oven was pronounced dead on the 4th of July, so he’s baking one loaf at a time in the toaster oven. Which on the plus side heats up the kitchen a lot less than the big oven.

This year I’ll be Room Mom for the workshop room again, and doing the Turkish Braid knitting as an open build. I may bring along doll clothes stuff to keep my hands busy, too. Or maybe knitting. Or both. We’ll see. The dogs are boarding at the vet’s. I have adamantly refused to wrangle all three dogs by myself for that trip, not sure who’s helping with that rodeo. Ron has walked all three by himself, I’m not that insane.

To finish up, I got pictures of both snake cages in their current configurations with greenery. Click to embiggen.

Snake_Cages-20150726-001 Snake_Cages-20150726-002 Snake_Cages-20150726-003 Snake_Cages-20150726-004 Snake_Cages-20150727-005 Snake_Cages-20150727-006

Scatha, Smaug, and Dogs

Warning, this is a picture-heavy post.  I’ll put a cut-tag in before them.

I worked on the MuseCon program book, finished it on Thursday night, and uploaded it to the printer. Ron has lower-resolution copies of the book and the single-sheet grid to post on the MuseCon website, not sure if he’s had a chance to or not.

Pippin’s face and ears are much better, after a week of cleaning and applying ointment twice a day. Still giving him antibiotics, but that’s minor, just an extra pill at pill time. Need to clean everybody’s ears today.

My earaches continued on and off, although not as bad as last Sunday. I was at the doctor’s Friday to follow-up on anti-depressant dosage, and my were diagnosed as likely due to sinus pressure, no sign of infection. She suggested sudafed to relieve the pressure and prescribed a prescription antihistimine. They seem to be helping.

I suspect it’s a bad year for allergies, Pippin hasn’t broken out like he did in past years, and I don’t usually get earaches like I have/had been (sinus pain, yes). Eowyn and I used to have bad allergies on the same days, maybe Pippin and I are also allergic to (some of) the same things.

Sunday evening we gave Smaug a couple hides – inverted tool bins. Much better than trying to hide behind the fountain.

The original plan for Friday night was to go see The Tooles at an Irish festival in Arlington Heights, but the weather was toooooo disgusting in terms of heat/humidity, even without thunderstorms. Instead we got dinner and went to a movie – “Minions” started first, so that won (vs. “Ant-Man” and “Mr. Holmes”). It was a lot of fun. After that we stopped at Menard’s and got a new hot glue gun, as our old one has disappeared.

More snakey natter and pictures below the cut.

Continue reading →

Another Bullet-Point Update

I really don’t mean to keep forgetting to blog, but here we go again.  Since the last post, on January 22nd:

  • I have obtained a backpack for future short trips.  The next expected one is the floodplain managers’ conference in March, which will be two nights, in Bloomington, to which I am taking Amtrak again.
  • MuseCon grid build on the 24th was not going to happen, so I stayed home and worked on things for Military History Fest. Also did not attend the follow-up on the 8th.
  • Military History Fest was the 30th through the 1st, at Pheasant Run. Yes, the weekend of the big snowstorm. In 20/20 hindsight we should have packed up Saturday night, and taken the trailer, etc. home then. But we didn’t, see the Otter Blog if you want more natter about that.
  • Biffed a curb Sunday morning of that weekend with the Kia on the way to Pheasant Run, couple days later noticed a shimmy in the steering wheel and slight pull to the left.
  • Spent the 7th baking for the Capricon Cafe. IIRC it was 3 ginormous (4x) batches of bacon-cheddar scones, and 2 ginormous batches of Heath Bar scones.
  • For future reference, that’s the basic King Arthur Flour scone recipe, using sour cream for the dairy, and 1/2 of a big GFS bag of Heath Bar chips – 5-6 cups. Bake the at the same temp as the bacon-cheddar scones, for 25 minutes (5 less than bacon-cheddar). Total: 5-6 dozen scones
  • Heath Bar scones are really really good.
  • Robin made a triple batch of banana bread (5 loaves).
  • That took 5 pounds of margarine, a stupid-size tub of sour cream, and about 4 dozen eggs, about half of a 25-pound bag of pastry flour, a big bag of bacon pieces, most of a bag of shredded cheese,  and a big hand of bananas.
  • On Sunday we moved Elrond’s crate to the living room, since he’d stopped coming upstairs, and was getting more and more fussy if he couldn’t sit on the couch.
  • He only had to be shown where his crate was once, and remembered.
  • He still prefers the couch, but now has somewhere to go when he can’t have it.
  • Wednesday I dropped the Kia off at John & Scott’s (see above).
  • One rim bent, front tires worn to wear bars, one rear tire suffering belt slippage, so since they can’t match the other rear tire, that’s 4 new tires and a new rim. I’d probably have had them replace the 4th tire anyway.
  • Also need to replace (front) ball joint, and yes, need an alignment job.
  • And the oil change I requested.
  • They won’t get the rim until Monday, which is OK, since I have Monday off.
  • Ouch. I was pretty much expecting to need new front tires, but was hoping for just those, alignment, and an oil change. I expect the bill to be $850-ish.
  • Because of a scheduling issue on the part of the hotel, I helped set up the Cafe Thursday, since I had the day off.
  • Because of time off issues as a result of the ‘flu in December, I’m not taking any time off for Cap.
  • Last time we boarded Elrond, the dropping-off process was stressful, so not taking time off means the dogs can stay at home with me.
  • The scones, both flavors, seem to have survived freezing and subsequent thawing fine.
  • I had to work yesterday.
  • Today and tomorrow I’m working on the program book for the floodplain managers’ conference.
  • Last night I got an e-mail that I’m taking to mean that the conference chair had gone into labor. This was not unexpected, and AFAIK not an emergency. Hopefully labor is done and baby and mother are happy and healthy.
  • Will be taking a break tomorrow to pick up Ron, since I took the truck after helping with Cafe setup, and Robin will be going with Dave to help unload all the A/V equipment into Dave’s locker, which Ron would rather skip.
  • On the way home Thursday I stopped at Fresh Fields, at the corner of Dundee and Milwaukee.
  • I was expecting a Whole Paycheck-style store.
  • Nope, more like Eurofresh on steroids.
  • Escaped with just pork for stir-fry, polish sausage, and thin-sliced short ribs.
  • Made rice pilaf with the pork (because there were no reasonably-sized packages of chicken thighs) Thursday night.
  • Had the polish sausage last night, and some of the leftovers diced up in an omelet this morning (2 really big sausages – about 4 average-sized sausage equivalent).
  • Short ribs are marinating, to be something like Korean-style. Which I’ve never had, thus “something like”.
  • This morning Duckon announced on Facebook that there will be no Duckon this year, but working on 2016.
  • I have my doubts they will pull off a convention in 2016, but I wish them luck. Really. I’m sad/sorry that Duck has been having problems.
  • The dogs have taken control of the couch, and are sound asleep. Unless/until I move toward the kitchen, of course.
  • And now, I think it’s time to get back to the program book.


Catching Up, Again

Since its been almost a month since I last posted, let’s revisit some of the topics from last time.

Ron’s still fighting insomnia. Visited our family physician yesterday to discuss options. We’ll see how those work out.

The Tree of Damocles (an American Elm) is scheduled for removal the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, along with another little elm and a branch coming over from the back neighbors’ yard. We could take care of the little elm and the branch ourselves, but the minor cost increase is definitely worth letting the professionals take them out/down, and dispose of the remains. Emphasis on the disposal part.

Banjo and guitar lessons still going well.  And Ron got me a wonderful new guitar-like thing, an “Inuk” by Godin Guitars, which is based on an Oud (middle-eastern-ish). It has 11 strings – the highest-pitched 10 are tuned in pairs, same tuning as a guitar. The lowest string is a single. All sets of strings are wound, usually the three highest guitar strings (on metal-strung guitars) are smooth. And the strings fan out as they go (each pair stays parallel). It does have frets (Godin also makes an oud, which does not have frets). It has its own unique sound. And I need to fret it differently than my regular guitars. Short audio/video clip of somebody that knows what they’re doing with it here.

No progress on Bollywood films.

Got a vest made for Robin (the black and silver), which came out well. Got another made for Ron, without the collar of damnation, which came out ok. I thought I could fix the wrinkling on the neckline by adjusting the shoulder seam, but more investigation while Ron was wearing it makes me think the real fix involves alterations to the body.

14 - 1

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 Got a new outfit made for myself. Dark brown skirt, made like hakama, dark red shirt, and a gold brocade jacket, cut along the lines of a kosode, with burgundy trim. The jacket went together as planned, although the very fussy details I committed made it take a while. The shirt, from a Simplicity pattern, turned out well, once I added gussets down the side and underarm. The pattern is set up for different bust sizes, and fits pretty well. I’ll be modifying my gussets (so they play nicely together) and making another couple. I also plan on re-drafting the sleeves, which are fine if you never want to get your elbows away from your sides, but make the shirt ride up funny otherwise.

Teslacon was interesting. I don’t know how to just attend a convention. There were some (IMO) issues – a schedule that was in micro-print, didn’t include the dealer’s room or entertainers, and which left off the hotel map (that was in the PDF version on-line), and opening the dealer’s room an hour early on Sunday without telling the dealers.

Ron got two corset/vests at Teslacon. He looks very very snazzy in them. Also a couple ascot ties. I got a cowl (hood) that matches my new outfit fairly well, a couple big scarves/shawls, a pile of books, and a cuttlefish.

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 Robin got a hat and mask from Blonde Swan. I will post a picture of Ron in one of his corsets and me in my new outfit once I get it from Ron. I also got extremely drunk on Friday night. Ron assures me I was not an annoying drunk. I remember the general gist of everything I said, which was pretty much lacking any brain-mouth filter.  I do remember torquey-torquey-turkey (I was wearing one of Ron’s torques), and that my drinky was smiling at me.  Which it totally was (pumpkin martini).

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Took a vacation/recovery day yesterday, have today off for Veteran’s Day.

And now the cleaning fairies are here, so I’m going to get out of their way…


MuseCon Report

Looks like my last post was the “Titanic” report. After TtM finished we had one free-ish weekend, then last weekend was MuseCon.
 I’d planned to take the Thursday before MuseCon off, requested it, and even had enough leave time to do so. Then I forgot I had, and had enough work piled up from all the time off I took in July that I worked Thursday. Which meant I had to go back and do corrected paperwork yesterday, but there are worse mistakes to make than working when not expected to.
 The dogs were out late enough in the afternoon Thursday that I went to the hotel after work and had dinner with Ron, Xap, and Robin, and hung out for a bit before doing errands on the way home, finishing up athe last bits of signage and handouts, and sent them off for printing.
 Friday morning I packed up the last odds and ends (almost everything went in the trailer, in one of the Otter Necessities Things), picked up Marmaduke, dropped the dogs off, another errand, and then to the hotel.
 Put up signage, hand-wound yarn into balls (silly person didn’t think to bring it in from the car and use her ball-winder), and kept an eye on the Open Build (including blinkies) room setup. Eventually I got my stuff for my Japanese-style doll clothing and Turkish braid knitting open builds and settled in to be room coordinator.
 It was a MuseCon. Didn’t have some issues we dealt with last year, a repeat or two, and a couple others came up, nothing horrible.
 Our panel talking about Japanese-style clothing for Cosplay went well. I’ve been asked about repeating it Maneki Neko Con, which I can do, as long as I get a dummy or two to dress up, since Ron and Xap will be busy with our vendor booth. Making doll clothes was not such a success, only had one person, although a second person was interested but our mutual timing was incompatible.
 Only had 4-6 people for my Turkish braid knitting hands-on demo, but that was ok. If I’d been willing to dig in the stash it would have cost me nothing (I was lazy and picked up yarn and needles). I forgot to make up a little handout, but the process is simple enough that once you’ve done it once any directions you find on-line should be enough of a reminder.
 Dramatic Readings of Poetry was a definite success. With Marmaduke’s help, we got the audience involved. Pieces I did included “If I Were a Rich Man” in a southern drawl (worked really well), a song about the Titanic (not from the musical) in a happy cheerful perky voice, and the “Mississippi Squirrel Revival” in a sad and tragic manner.
 I think the letterpress overview/intro went well.
 Worked on lots of doll clothing, finished a couple things, and now I’m working on the samples I had gotten to various stages of completion.
 Packing up Sunday went pretty well. We left the trailer at the hotel and sent Robin and Marmaduke home with the truck (really need to teach Robin to drive stick shift, so he can also use the car); and Ron and I spent the night.
 After dinner Sunday (at the hotel restaurant, as Happy Elephant is closed Sundays, alas), we went up to the Necro-Muse post-con music party, and performed really-solo in public for the first time.
 Ron started out with “Puff the Magic Dragon”, with some flailing. I tried accompanying myself on ukulele (chords) for the “Mingulay Boat Song”, but ended up doing it a capella. Next round I tried “3 Jolly Coachmen”, with just hitting the chords on the changes and an intermediate word or two, and that went much better. Probably the best thing I did. Did three verses of “Ronald, Where’s Your Trousers?”, dropping the uke out again. It would have been better if Ron had been wearing a kilt, of course. The last thing I did was “Rivers of Texas”, where I flailed on when to play the chords.
 Overall, it wasn’t too bad. It would help I’d actually, y’know, practiced more. I think “3 Jolly Coachmen” was the best in part because it is first line twice, second line three times, then the last line, and the verses and chorus all have the same rhythm/chords.
 Sunday afternoon I’d looked to see how bad the guitar chords would be for some of the songs I plat on ukulele, and discovered that while the F chord on uke is an easy 2-finger one, on guitar it’s an ugly barre-chord 4-finger thing. And lots of the songs I know for uke use it. And also I couldn’t pick up the other chords fast enough to play anything on guitar that evening.
 Which reminds me, a week ago Ron and I started lessons at The Music Room, our local music store. I was waffling, and then decided that the opening with a guitar instructor at the same day/time as Ron’s banjo lesson was a sign. I’m doing classical-ish guitar, because I’m hoping learning single notes first will help with the flexibility of my weird left ring finger. -Ish, because classical guitar is properly done on a nylon-strung guitar, and mine is steel, and I’m not limiting myself to strictly classical music. My instructor is good with those caveats, and suggested fingerpicks (which classical purists don’t use) before I brought the question up (steel strings are harder on fingernails).
 Not sure if I’ll make it to my lesson tonight, as I’m writing this from the juror’s waiting room at the Daley Center, in the loop. The summons says plan to be here until at least 4:30, and my lesson is at 5:30. OTOH, the other times I’ve been summoned I haven’t been here past midday. So I’m waiting until lunchtime to decide on re-scheduling (when I checked the calendar this morning my instructor had an open slot tomorrow evening).
 Monday morning I picked up the dogs while Ron dropped off the refrigerator con suite used, and the blinkie supplies and Mr. Slushie. Partially unloaded our belongings, and brought a few more in last night.
 Robin went to a session at MusCon on Friday (IIRC) on drawing Celtic knotwork, and enjoyed it. So he spent much of the weekend drawing knots, and other general sketching. As the head of and one half of the staff of Logistics he worked his butt off, so Monday evening I took him to Dick Blick, and got him a couple drawing pads and some colored pencils (he already has some other pencils and supplies). I also said I’d dig out the book I learned to draw knotwork from, so he can see the method I use.
 Running around Monday evening also included getting Robin black shoes for his new job at Little Caesar’s (first shift is Friday, had orientation/paperwork-filling before MuseCon), and finding a replacement for the pseudo-milk care I keep,patterns in. It fell apart over Robin’s head, after over 20 years of use, so it lasted pretty well. I replaced it with three smaller metal mesh file thingies, which will be lighter, and let me sort things more.
 – Posted using software from hardware

Downtime Week Natter

Wednesday was Part One of our anniversary (we had separate legal and ceremonial bits), so Ron took me out to dinner at Siri Thai. Pot stickers, cucumber salad, and the house fried chicken, which is strips of boneless/skinless white meat with a tempura-like batter. Very yummy.
 After dinner we went home and read. It was nice to be a vegetable for a change.
 Last night I took the MuseCon grid Excel spreadsheet and made it into a handout for the WisCon party tonight. As I mentioned about this time last year, the plan was that Someone(s) Else would be in charge of the MuseCon party at WisCon, as ACen and WisCon back-to-back exceed my capacity for socialization.
 It was a good plan, and it was proceeding along smoothly, until the person who’d volunteered to be in charge of the party had a work-related monkeywrench happen. A good one, fortunately, but it took that person out of the picture. Someone else stepped up, but there were still insufficient bodies volunteering.
 The result is/was that Ron and Xap headed up about lunchtime to get day badges and help with the party. Bleah. I’m trying not to be cranky about it, but not entirely succeeding, since that means Ron probably won’t be home until late morning or mid-day tomorrow.
 Yesterday I started attacking the pile of clean laundry that’s been accumulating for a week or so. I’d gotten it down to a manageable size this morning, we’ll see if Robin made it bigger over the course of the day. I know he was baking this morning for the party, so he may not have done laundry today.
 Getting fed up with the mess in the living room, which is better now that Max has moved out to the trailer, but is still suffering from the pre-ACen chaos. Had Robin make a start yesterday, I’ll probably attack it more this weekend, especially since the Cleaning Fairies come Tuesday morning.
 Still waiting to hear about the result of my “Titanic” audition. I used a contact form on the theatre group’s website this morning to ask what kind time frame I should expect, with the excuse that I forgot to ask at the audition. First rehearsal/read-through is Tuesday evening, so presumably they need to let people know Real Soon Now.
 The network fascists at work have locked down internet access fairly tight, which is in keeping with the internet use policies, but that seems to include almost completely disabling anything but IE. The stated reasoning for the lockdown is to prevent malware infections, so by that logic they should be killing off IE and encouraging use of Opera or Firefox, not the bass-ackwards way they’ve implemented. Which is about par for the course for CMS. Grumble.
 – Posted using software from hardware