Archive for the ‘Other Creative Things’ Category

Why I’m Learning Watercolor

So, as you know, Bob (sorry, writer joke), my word for 2020 is education, and part of that is taking a different art-related class on Skillshare each month.

(Except my membership runs out in August and then I shall have to fend for myself. Or, most likely, work my way through the drawing books I own.)

As far as art goes, I’ve been drawing forever. Mostly I sketch things out in pencil and then ink over them. You guys have been seeing examples of that technique since the blog began.

(Sometimes I just draw in ink and risk doom. It’s fine. Everything’s fine.)

But I’ve always run into an issue, and that’s with coloring. Despite my best efforts over the years, I just don’t really understand shading. I mean, I understand the theory of it. Somewhere, there is a light source, and depending on where you are in the drawing, some areas get light and others don’t, and the ones that don’t are darker than the ones that do.

It just never comes out looking quite right.

When I was younger, I tended to just use markers, which work out okay as long as you’re careful, but I still wasn’t shading. Just doing color block. And the same thing digitally, which was really frustrating, because invariably I had line art I liked which was then ruined by being colored.

(Which is why I did it digitally actually, rather than risking ruining the actual paper drawing.)

I have taken some classes on shading, and it has helped, but I still don’t feel particularly comfortable with it.

ANYWAY, long story short (too late), I decided to try out watercolors. Watercolors are kind of weirdly ethereal, and shading doesn’t seem to matter that much, since the colors are naturally variable based on the amount of pigment and water, etc.

And I actually really like them. I started a sketch journal at the beginning of the year and have been using an ink/watercolor combination, and the pictures have come out really well. Plus it’s WAY faster to color something with watercolors over colored pencils or markers.

This month I took two, shorter watercolor only classes. Previous classes I’ve taken have been watercolor/ink combos, but I thought it might be good to have a better understanding of the medium on its own.

The first project was to make a pattern, so I, of course, chose alpacas:

Alpaca pattern, because why not

(There is ink on that one, because otherwise they were just blobs. Also the dark brown was a mistake.)

Next we were supposed to paint something around us.

Tea kettle and vase (not pictured: coffee mug)

The teacher ended up with a really pretty flower bouquet but we work with what we have.

And the third project for that class was to paint the room, which went okay. I went out and bought real paint brushes, including a 1-inch flat one which makes it way easier to make a uniform color in an area. I don’t have a picture of that one, though.

The second class actually made me practice shading, the horror.

The ubiquitous sphere shading exercise

I mean, it’s not horrible. But I’m not going to pretend it’s good either.

And then we were supposed to use all the different techniques from the class to make a picture (including masking fluid, which I don’t own, white highlights, salt, etc.) but I am lazy and painted a pool.

The smaller, mobile one was disappointed that I did not include the cartoon fish on the bottom

Am I getting better? Hm, dunno! Probably a bit. All the art teachers on Skillshare talk about finding your own style and whatnot, and thus far my watercolor-only style seems to be a bit messy, but I don’t mind it. As I said above, I kind of expect watercolors to be that way. If I want something to have more structure, well, that’s what the ink is for.

The drawing/painting is also a nice stress reliever, and I’ve found it’s easier to work on this year than the writing has been, probably partially because I’m mostly doing it for fun, and probably partially because I don’t typically have to think too hard about it.

(Perspective! That’s another issue I have with watercolors. Everything kind of ends up caddywhompus but perhaps that adds to the charm. Or so I will tell myself.)

Anyway, that’s how this month has been going, art-wise. Know anything about watercolors? Thoughts about painting or drawing in general?

I’ll see you next week, squiders, hopefully with a library book sale find review, but reading’s gone soooooo slow this month, so we’ll see.

May is Going the Way of March

In that it feels like it’s taking a million years.

It’s the last week of school for the small, mobile ones, which is going very emotionally since they’re not getting to say goodbye in person. That’s been hard, especially since the smaller, mobile one will be going to a different school next year and may never see her school friends again.

Anyway, that’s been rough, and it’ll probably get worse before it gets better.

As part of our home curriculum, we’ve been watching Mythbusters (for Science!). Hulu has seasons 11-20 available for streaming, which is fun because the small, mobile ones really enjoy it, and because I must have stopped watching the show regularly before that, so most of the myths are new to me as well. There’s also a Mythbusters Jr. show which came out in 2019. We started with that one, and it was actually really great. But there’s only 10 episodes, so we got through that pretty dang quick.

The smaller, mobile one is also doing my drawing class with me this month. A lot of the focus of the class this month is on not being critical of yourself, and of just drawing to draw without worrying about everything being a work of art. We’re supposed to use normal paper and a pen, and she wants you to do confident lines as opposed to more sketchy lines.

It’s surprisingly hard. But fun! I have drawn some really awful things. And a couple of pretty good ones. Today we were supposed to practice drawing small things. I made the mistake of picking earphones to try and draw. The smaller, mobile one drew a bunch of adorable bees.

So, Eurovision is not happening this year, sadly, because life is cancelled, but they did put up all the songs that were in the running for the year, and have been putting up related programming on their YouTube channel (including contest shows from previous years). I was mostly underwhelmed this year (there are a lot of pretty songs, but nothing that really stood out) with the exception of what is, by far, the best Eurovision song of 2020:

Uno by Little Big, representing Russia

It is ridiculous and I love everything about it. They were robbed.

(Why is a Russian band singing in Spanish? Also, there is absolutely no substance to the song and I do not care.)

Aside from small, mobile one school drama, my month is going pretty well. I don’t have a lot of complaints thus far.

How is your May going, squiders? Is it lasting forever for you too? Did you watch the Eurovision songs for this year? Favorite?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day (and a Landsquid)

This is such a weird holiday. What did it even start out being? A feast day to St. Patrick? Well, I mean, yes, but why do we celebrate it here in the States?

(Obviously it came over with Irish immigrants. I am aware I am doing a bad job of articulating what I mean.)

(The Internet tells me that it became a big deal in the mid-19th century after the influx of immigrants after the potato famine.)

(The Internet also tells me that the associated color with St. Patrick was blue until the Irish Rebellion, when the Irish soldiers wore green to offset the British red. And that the whole wearing green pop culture thing is because of Chicago in 1962.)

(And the drinking thing came from a marketing push by Budweiser in the ’80s. Man, that’s not that old at all.)

Well, thank you, stream of consciousness blog post, I’ve learned something here today.

Anyway, I drew you a thematically-appropriate Landsquid. His eyes are dead because he has, too, realized that the holiday we know is only about 40 years old.

Plans for the holiday? (I have rainbow knee-high socks with gold shamrocks.) Interesting holiday-related tidbits?

How Goes the Education?

If you guys remember, my word for the year is education.

We’re three months in, now, so how’s it going?

Ha. Haha.

No, actually, it’s going decently. It may be the only thing making any real progress, thanks to the medical issues with my husband and other issues going on around these parts.

Except the programming. I have more or less given up on the programming. I don’t have time, it frustrates me, and the more I poke at it, the more I think that it’s not a good fit. (Which isn’t a huge surprise–it’s never really been my forte. In college, I’d write a program, it wouldn’t work, I’d borrow a classmate’s program, compare, and they would be identical, except theirs would work and mine wouldn’t.) I am good at adjusting programs–I can make changes in a test environment, or modify Fortran to do what’s necessary–but writing code from scratch sucks.

And to be honest, I don’t want to program so much as it feels like I should know how to program, if that makes sense. I need to take a closer look at the jobs I’m considering and see if that’s actually a necessary skill or not.

(Also, part of it is that programming classes are very open-ended. This skill here, this skill there, with no clear indication how some of it would be used in a practical manner. I’m quite good at picking up specifics for a particular task, but the open-endedness here is throwing me off.)

I may look more at other types of classes–software test, or UX/UI–later in the year, when/if things stabilize a bit.

The writing books…go. I was a little afraid this would happen when I set the goal of one of month. They’re hard to get through quickly, since I’m trying to focus and absorb. I’m still working on February’s. To off-set that, I’ve watched one of the tutorial videos I purchased from Writer’s Digest whenever they had that big sale. It was a good course, about the foundations of a good plot. It was short, so I’ve watched it twice to try and absorb the information as much as possible.

Not sure that worked, but eeeehhh.

The art classes are going great. I’ve really enjoyed the three classes I’ve done so far (art journaling, figure drawing, and I’m working on faces this month) though I don’t know if I’m actually getting any better. But practice makes perfect, right?

(I’m certainly accumulating art supplies, whoops.)

The prompts are going well too. It’s freeing, to write without trying to do anything with it (which is probably good, because I suspect none of them thus far are any good). I don’t think I actually explained the concept to you guys.

I’ve been accumulating pins on Pinterest for years: characters, scenery, prompts, etc. But I hardly ever do anything with them (especially these boards, since I tend to draw off my Inspiration board or my separate Writing Prompts board when looking for story ideas). So each month I’m taking the oldest pin from each board (character, scenery, prompt) and writing a short story on them. There have been some…odd combinations.

This month’s are:
Character: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/331718328795863331/
Setting: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/331718328796303296/
Prompt: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/331718328795821985/

The cozy mystery idea isn’t going anywhere, since I’d like to finish up some drafts before I start new ones.

Those were my main areas of focus, so yay, I guess? Things are going, I’m enjoying myself mostly (except for programming), and there’s still plenty of year to go.

How are you doing on your goals?

Show Aftermath

I’m freeeeeeee ahahahahaha

No, I had a great time. All the shows went really well, I had fun, I love everyone, and all that jazz.

Here’s a picture of me in my Act 2 costume (after joy has been brought into our lives):

(Half the braid is not my hair, har. Never done a show with a dedicated hair person before.)

(Also, the costume room/green room/hair & make-up room happens to be the preschool downstairs.)

Rumor says the fall production will be a play, or at least more of a play than the musical reviews we’ve done the last three years (two years of Christmas on Broadway, and then Forbidden Broadway last year which I noped out on), so fingers crossed.

Completing a show is kind of like completing a novel.

I feel like I’ve talked about this before, but I can’t find it, so we’re here again. I’ll explain.

A novel takes a ton of work. It’s several tens of thousands of words. It’s mentally taxing. It’s emotionally draining. It takes a lot of time.

And when it’s over there’s a bit of a period of…depression, almost. Like something huge is missing from your life, especially if it was something you’d been working on for a long time or had unexpected difficulties. And it can be hard to move to the next project, or to get out of your funk.

I’ve found shows are like that too. It’s not as bad with the current theater company, since we only rehearse a few times a week until the end (that last week of rehearsal/shows I spent 45 hours working on the show), but especially back in high school and college, when rehearsal was often every day for at least a few hours, usually for three months, the show ending was very, very jarring.

(And it does depend on novels, too. I’ve found that if I’m working on multiple things, there’s less of a weird period when I finish something up. Or if the writing was fairly smooth, in the great scheme of things.)

What do you think, squiders? Is it hard when you finish up something big? Or is it a relief to be able to move on to new things?

(As an added complication, my husband was in the hospital all weekend unexpectedly, so I split my time between the hospital and the show. It’s honestly mostly a relief to have that all over.)

Ugh, this month. Almost March, though. Just another week.

Brain Dump

Ye gods, squiders, I am exhausted. I am drinking coffee but it is doing nothing.

Opening night tonight, hooray! I took a really great selfie of myself in costume the other night, but our director said something about wanting to keep the costumes a surprise (my spouse has suggested asking if I can keep said costume after the show, actually, so it is pretty awesome) so it’s just sitting on my phone, doing nothing. But maybe I’ll post it next week.

(Also, I am now in charge of moving a window during a scene change. It’s very exciting.)

Four shows this weekend, strike and cast party on Sunday, and then I can sleep. Hooray!

I found a BookCrossing book on Saturday! Do you guys know about BookCrossing? I remember being really into it, like, 12 years ago. It was everywhere then. I remember I found a manga collection at a con once and it was the most exciting thing ever. But the basic idea is that you leave a book somewhere, someone finds the book and checks it in, and you can watch it travel.

I hadn’t thought about it in years, but then in December the kids found a copy of The Night Before Christmas in a bush (I can’t remember if that one was a BookCrossing book or a related idea), and now I’ve found a romance novel in the theater bar. Madness. Crazy to think it’s still going after all this time, because it always seems like a lot of the stuff I really liked from that time period no longer exist.

Actually, speaking of that time in my life, I was at my local coffee shop/gameporium/comic shop this morning, and they had a volume of Bleach on sale for half off. Have I talked about Bleach here before? After checking my archives, apparently not. Predates the blog, probably, which is insane, because it will be 10 YEARS OLD THIS AUGUST (not unlike Hidden Worlds, har har. I was busy in 2010.).

ANYWAY, I was obsessed with Bleach. Hands down one of my very favorite manga/anime series (the live action was okay). I used to download the new chapter each week once it came out in Japan, once some lovely person went through and translated it into English. It was probably the last fandom-related backdrop I put on a computer. I read the manga, I watched the anime (even the terrible Bount arc), I cosplayed it. I had LJ icons. I have a poster signed by Tito Kube (the manga artist) from San Diego Comic-con 2008, where I sat through three panels just to make sure I got a spot in the room and could see him.

But Bleach is one of those series that goes on forever, and after, I don’t know, 500 manga chapters or something, I got burnt out on the cyclical plot arcs (which boil down to: A bad guy shows up, Ichigo gets his butt kicked and then works to get stronger, his friends and associates also get stronger through association with him, they triumph–and then a new, bigger bad guy shows up) and was starting to lose track of the characters (each new bad guy comes with a dozen or so new characters, at least). So I never finished the series (I should now, since it’s complete).

The coffee shop has Volume 73. Now, remember, I read the chapters directly through the Internet as they were released, so I was like, hey, I wonder where this falls in the series, and if it’s before or after where I left off. But it’s definitely after, cuz I had no idea what was going on, and also there are yet more new characters.

But now it’s back in my head, so maybe I’ll pick it back up.

Once the musical is over.

I’m reading Fixing Your Plot and Story Structure Problems by Janice Hardy for my writing book for the month (it was a birthday present from my spouse back in October, so I haven’t been sitting on it for years like some of the other ones). I think I must have been confused when I put it on my wishlist. In my head, I suspect I thought it was an in-depth look at plotting and structure, but what it is in reality is a bunch of exercises to use when you’re revising your novel.

Which, I mean, great! But I’m actually really good at fixing plot/structure during revision because I’m not great at plot/structure while I’m drafting. So I’m not finding a lot of new information. But it’s my own fault, because it’s not like the book description is unclear. I suspect what happened, since I follow Ms. Hardy’s blog (Fiction University), is that she had an ad for this particular book at the end of an article that was more plot/structure drafting than revision, and I just looked at the title and said yes, that is something I could probably use.

Anyway, I think I’ve blathered enough. I hope your week is going well, squiders. Hang on for another week, and we’ll be out of February.

Musical Interlude (Literally)

Hey-o, squiders, happy Tuesday. (Except my back is killing me, aauuugh.) How are you?

I’m in the midst of pre-show jitters, because the musical I’ve been working on is this weekend!

(I did tell you about the musical, right? We’re doing Music Man.)

The pre-show jitters are bull, because my part is so ridiculously easy I could honestly do it in my sleep. Most of the songs are in unison, there’s very little dancing (on my part), I’ve got no lines. Easy peasy lemon squeeze-y.

I’ve found that nerves rarely listen to logic, however. If they did, I wouldn’t blow my auditions all the time.

(It’s really aggravating, because it doesn’t matter how much I practice my audition song beforehand. I could spend months on it–and have–and still manage to forget the words, or screw up the rhythm, or be horribly off tune. And I can tell I am, and yet can’t seem to do anything about it.)

(And yet, performing is fine. I have never screwed up a song during a performance, even if it’s a solo. Brains are stupid.)

I tell you this, because it does mean I may miss my Thursday update. Not on purpose. But because I may be exhausted. Tech week sucks, and rehearsal runs late because we do it after the normal workday. I’m not worried about the show itself–we’re in a really good place to be ready to open on Friday–but it’s just a lot of time.

And also because this show has really made me think about what I’m doing with this particular theater company. (I suspect I’ve said that before, about previous shows. I probably forget in between shows or something.)

But I am especially thinking because the company is trying to move in a new direction, one that I suspect will make it even harder to get anywhere than it already is, if not impossible.

I like this company because I adore the people who are in the cast, and it’s convenient (it’s based at my church, so it’s close and familiar), and because they tend to do large ensemble shows that allow lots of different people to participate. (Lots of potential new friends and old favorites.)

But I don’t like it because it almost always does musicals, which are not my preference or strong point (God, I would kill to do some Shakespeare). And I don’t like it because I have no opportunity to show off my training, so I’m always relegated to the ensemble. And I don’t like it because the same people always get the leads, and there’s no opportunities for other people to advance.

I should look at other local theater companies, and see what their rehearsal schedules are/where they operate out of. It may be that none are doable at the moment, and may not be until the small, mobile ones are more independent. Ah well. I had my chance to go into theater more seriously when I was younger and I chose to do other things, and you reap what you sow.

And, I mean, it is fun, most of the time. Not terribly high stress. And the people are lovely. I’d just like to actually get to do something now and then.

But hey! Show this weekend! Should be a great time. 🙂

What are you up to, squiders? Thoughts on community theater?

(ETA: After I posted this yesterday, I went to look around to see if there were other local alternatives, and I found one doing Macbeth in July! Hurray, Shakespeare! And I’ve done Macbeth–or the Scottish Play, as it’s often referred to, since legend says saying the name of the play in a theater is bad luck–before. I played Macduff. We gender-reversed the parts because, like many theater groups, we had a surplus of women and a handful of men. I got a sword. It was awesome. I kept Macbeth’s “head” for several years after the show and it took three tries to finally throw it out. Before that I’d throw it out and it would show back up, but it hasn’t again…that I know of.

Yeah, that show is definitely cursed.

But, alas, I don’t think I can do the show, if they’d even have me. Auditions are on a day I can’t do, and with the spouse’s ongoing medical needs, doing a show over the summer is a bad choice.)

Picking a Theme Going Forward

It’s that time of year when everyone gives up on the current year and starts looking at the next one. (Which I totally get. I’ve got four days til Winter Break and then all Hell breaks loose.) So, of course, there’s been emails and blog posts and whatnot, all about how best to select your goals and make 2020 your best year, and all sorts of niceties.

But I did read one that I found interesting. It was over at Writer Unboxed, and the idea was that, instead of making resolutions and whatnot, you choose a one-word theme for the year, and have your goals stem off of that.

It’s an interesting idea, certainly. And while I hesitate to start doing my year-end wrap-up and move onto 2020 (though I will admit that I have made my active project list for 2020 already), I found that a theme popped into my head almost immediately.

Education.

Admittedly, I am often taking classes and trying to expand my skills, but there’s a lot I want to focus on in that direction in the near future.

  • I plan to read the writing books I’ve been accumulating and take a few online courses in areas I feel less confident in.
  • There’s the programming and, if it feels like that’s not going to work in the long run, UX/UI classes. (Or both, I suppose, to see which is a better fit.)
  • I’d like to focus on improving my art skills, especially if the picture book thing gets rolling for real. I’ve been accumulating new supplies that I need to learn how to and practice using.
  • I would really love to write some cozy mysteries. Outside of scifi/fantasy, they’re my favorite thing to read. Mysteries have always felt so…out of reach, but I would like to give them a try.

There’s probably other things that I’m not remembering right now. But those are the main ones, anyway.

I guess, now that I’ve identified my theme, the idea is that goals will kind of automatically flow from it, once I get there. (I am not there yet. I feel like, if I make my goals for January or 2020 as a whole now, I’m going to mentally write off the rest of December, which I’m not prepared to do yet. We’ll see how we feel come Friday and Winter Break.)

What do you think about identifying a yearly theme, squiders? Do you have one you’ve selected for 2020?

Trying To Keep With It

Last week I laid out my tentative plans for the month. As we discussed, December’s always a bit of a pit for me, creatively-speaking. Too much other things to focus on, burnout from November in one way or another, a new year and new possibilities looming…

…and yet, I always try. Maybe one year I’ll take the month off and just…watch Christmas romances on Netflix or something.

(I’ve actually read two Christmas romances in the last few weeks, so…)

As a reminder, here are my goals for the month:

  • Write an additional 15K on my Nano story. Historically it has been hard to keep going on the Nano story post-Nano, but every time I hold out hope that this is the year that it actually happens.
  • Put out my fourth nonfiction book (this one is on writing consistently) and its associated workbook.
  • Finally finish updating my email list and its automations.
  • Start drawing now–don’t wait til January.
  • Read 4 additional books, which will get me to my yearly 50-book goal.
  • Outline next SkillShare class.
  • Start programming again.

We’re a week and a half in, so how are things going?

  • I’ve written maybe 300 words on my Nano story. I mean, the month is young, 15K is ten days of 1500 words, but…well, we’ll see.
  • The pre-order for the fourth nonfiction book is up (here) and I’ve made the cover and gone through my beta comments for both it and the workbook. Next step is to do the final edit on both and write the book descriptions.
  • I finished updating my list! My automations are going, I’ve fixed a few bugs, I’ve managed my audiences, and frankly, made more progress in the last week than the other two years I’ve had the list. (If you’re interested yourself–I’ve got the list streamlined by different books, with free short stories for each–click “get updates” in the header up above.)
  • I started drawing! I took a class on making any animal cute, and am currently working on a coloring class.
  • I’ve read five books. And I’ve got more than half the month to go! This might explain why writing’s not really happening.
  • I’ve picked a topic for the next SkillShare class–planning writing time into your schedule–but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.
  • I did a practice exercise in Python, but the test program kept rejecting it. Finally looked at the solution, and for the life of me, I don’t see the difference between my program and the solution. Which is about how programming typically goes for me, which is perhaps an indication that I’m barking up the wrong tree.

I bought some watercolor pencils off of Amazon on Black Friday, but I don’t think they actually are. Watercolor pencils, I mean. I used them to color the tiger and the squid, and then I tried to activate them on the tiger, which, as you can see, did not happen. (It mostly smeared things about.) So now I’m just using them as normal colored pencils, and my mother gave me a set of watercolor pencils she’s not using at the moment.

(I tested them and they work as expected. Lesson here is to not fall for Amazon’s lightning deals, though I needed colored pencils so it’s not a complete loss.)

(I mean, they came with a paintbrush and everything, they just don’t work. I don’t know.)

I’ll force December to be productive yet! How’s your month going? I’m actually fairly on top of holiday things too, which almost never happens.

MileHiCon Aftermath (and More Pictures)

Woo, sorry about missing the second update last week, Squiders. It turns out that the combination of the spouse’s surgery and Fall Break was a bit of a mess.

But the con went really well! I had a great time.

Friday was my FTL travel panel, which went okay. Myself and the rest of the panelists had all come to the same conclusion with our research, in that it will probably be achieved via manipulating spacetime (warp bubbles, wormholes, etc.) yet the audience kept asking questions about accelerating matter past the speed of light, no matter how much we emphasized that that continued to be impossible. So! That was a thing.

Otherwise Friday was pretty chill, just getting the lay of the land, chatting with friends, checking out the dealers’ room and the art show. (If I had unlimited money to spend, the art show would be a dream.) I also wrote a thousand words on a scifi horror novella I’ve been working on and drew a picture for a story/art exchange I signed up for.

Saturday was pretty fun. Based on the costume dry-run, I bought re-wetting eye drops to go with the contacts, which made a world of difference. I wore the contacts for an hour and a half last Tuesday, and my eyes hurt for, like, 12 hours afterwards. But I wore them for eight hours on Saturday and was fine.

The costume turned out well, but was apparently not obviously a costume (though I got a lot of double-takes after people made eye contact with me, which was kind of fun). I was chatting with a friend when someone came up, stated they were taking pictures of all the cosplayers, asked for and took a picture of my friend, and then meandered off.

(My husband says that it looks like I’m dressed up for a presentation. Ha! Matches Book!Crowley, I suppose.)

Saturday morning I had a fandom panel, which are honestly my favorite, because we can all happily geek out together. Same friend from above was on the panel with me, and we discovered that we went to the same university, at the same time, and hung out with the same people, and yet had somehow never met at that point in time. (We met at a writing group about five-ish years ago.) Life is weird.

Mid-day Saturday I had a spot at the selling/signing table, and sold a decent amount of books and had good interest in general, which is always very lovely. Also, the other authors I was there with were great, and we talked marketing techniques and what was working and not. That’s really part of why I come back to this con year after year–the people who run it are lovely, and the other authors are just so great, and everyone’s willing to chat and network and share.

My friend Christy (the Aziraphale to my Crowley) showed up near the end of that. She couldn’t stay very long, unfortunately, but we had fun while she was there. And it turns out if you have both an Aziraphale and a Crowley, it becomes obvious you are cosplaying and people say nice things.

Near the end of Christy being there was the mass author signing, during which we discovered another Aziraphale and Crowley, played by Carrie Vaughn and her friend Wendy (whom I didn’t get to talk to for very long, but I liked immensely). So that was also fun.

Pictures, as promised (though the lighting is a little off, on which I blame the con):

Doppelgangers! Oh noes!

After the signing I had a panel on identity vs. memory, which was pretty interesting when I was doing research on it, and the panel itself was interesting (someone complimented me on in the bathroom afterwards), but I felt kind of useless, because half the panel was a psychologist and someone experienced in traumatic head injuries. Ah well. Can’t win them all.

Sunday I decided to bring the bigger, mobile one along because I realized he would totally be into the Critter Crunch, which is a robotic fighting competition ala Battle Bots. (Although, I learned this weekend, it turns out that the MileHiCon Critter Crunch is actually the FIRST combat robot competition, starting in 1987.)

So we spent Sunday morning watching the 2 lb. competition (BMO’s favorite was Sister Christian, one of those punching nun puppets that had been modified to shoot fire out of her mouth) and then the later afternoon watching the 20 lb. competition. The three hours in between we made rockets with the other kids and had some quiet time, where BMO designed cities on his tablet, and I wrote another 1000 words and drew some more pictures.

I wanted to show you guys the all-robot melee at the end of the competition, but it wouldn’t upload, so instead you get Toast vs. SOL. (Toast was advertised as being fully autonomous, and SOL stands for exactly what you think):

Of course, now the BMO wants to build a robot for next year, so that’s a thing. Mechanically I’m sound, but me and electronics have never gotten along so well (and I have the soldering scars to prove it). But hey! It’s a possibility.

So that was the con this year! It was lovely, I only got a little sick afterwards, and I have next year to look forward to.

How was your weekend, squiders?