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Coming up for air

Taking a big break was a very good idea. Very. I am *easing* back into things, rather than tumbling willy-nilly, this time. Lots of domestic things have had attention the last couple of weeks, and the very, very long list of things needing my attention is growing smaller. We survived the fall holidays (weird not having our own sukkah this year, though...), the apartment becomes more liveable by the day, and the contractors' work in NC is complete (roof and all!).

I've done a lot of thinking about priorities and goals, and still have some thinking to do. Here's what I know so far:

-- BPAL is addictive. That is all. It's your fault, darnit.

-- Writercon 06 will happen, probably near end of July (hey -- someone in a state where school starts insano early: when do teachers have to go back next year?). There are a bunch of cities on the 'short list' (couple in the midwest, couple in the southeast), and we'll make a selection in the next couple of weeks based on the lowest overall expense, including attendee travel, food/rec costs, hotel room, and con-related charges. We may end up conflicting with Comicon. That would be regrettable, but may be unavoidable. I hope you guys will forgive. Watch for announcements in the next couple of weeks (I'm still partly under water here, but surfaced enough to update you guys. My email backlog is immense). We are planning to recruit a *lot* of you guys to help with the con this time -- hang tight til we get a location/date, and we'll get a list of the committees and positions up there for y'all to take a look at.

-- I'm going to adopt out the Sandlot. I haven't had the time or energy to do much of anything with it in a very, very long time, and it deserves a less neglectful parent than I. But more than that, I need to hand it over lock, stock, and barrel to someone else so that it stops being a psychological albatross.

-- I've decided firmly to take only PT or consulting employment. Right now, and for the forseeable future, my family and I need the time far more than we need the money. I plan to do Nanowrimo in November, and have submitted some bids on project management gigs that are part time. If I can get the consulting gigs going smoothly, I ought to be able to sustain PT work indefinitely while creating time and space to do the things I really want to do, and without sacrificing home-building dreams.

--I am in the final-draft stages of a short story that I'm entering in a local contest. Wish me luck! I don't actually think I've created a winner, but it's more about the act of doing it than winning.

--Finally, I need some advice on two counts from you guys:

1. The biggest has to do with buying a new computer, ostensibly for son #1. In looking around, we've seen packages with this Windows OS called "Media Center XP" or something like it. It appears to be an OS on a box with video and audio components that enable you to connect the 'puter up to the TV and use it like a DVR for tv shows. Does anyone know how these things work, have any advice on what to beware of, or think we'd do better to just get the insanely overpriced DVR option from the cable co? I really love the idea of being able to "record" shows and then easily burn to portable DVDs, and these "media package" puters seem like a pretty good investment on the surface. But I am skeptical. Somebody point me! (sockkpuppett, I'm looking at you!)

2. Son #1 has discovered fandom. He's been writing his own fic(Pokemon, Yu Gi Oh, Harry Potter, etc.) for a couple of years now, but he's just discovered online stuff. He's also discovered the "rpg" concept. What I am in desperate need of is to locate an rpg, mud, or some such that's Harry Potter-based and that's mostly *kids* using it. Son is 11 yrs old, and fairly mature, but he'll get squicked out in a big hurry if it's mostly shippy stuff. We're cool on finding the fanfic he'll enjoy, but I'm at a loss where online gaming and role plays are concerned. Anybody know where he ought to go?

Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
aadler
Oct. 25th, 2005 04:54 pm (UTC)

I’m following the news about the next WriterCon with deep interest. And, yes, I did reply (right here) to the greeting/comment you left on my LJ.

I can only offer encouragement rather than advice on finding fan-based material suitable for your kids. Time was when Buffy was what I picked to share with mine. Now they’re grown up, and I’m still working on it.

At any rate, glad to see you back!

chrisjournal
Oct. 26th, 2005 06:29 pm (UTC)
It was so wonderful to see you there when I came back from a hiatus! I'm hot on the trail of HP fandom for the younger set now -- J. is the sort of child who will really benefit from a community of likeminded folks. Online activity wasn't an option when I was his age, but we played Dungeons and Dragons like there was no tomorrow...
ljs
Oct. 25th, 2005 05:09 pm (UTC)
Hurrah for your writing! And your wise sense of what you need and can handle.

[sends chocolate]
chrisjournal
Oct. 26th, 2005 06:27 pm (UTC)
Mmmm. Chocolate. I am trying very hard to avoid the overcommitment syndrome that always plagues me -- this year has been a real object lesson in that.

[loves you]
fenchurche
Oct. 25th, 2005 05:16 pm (UTC)
Welcome back!! And it sounds like you've been busy!

As for #1... we're running a MediaPC in our kitchen, hooked up to our satellite receiver in the living room. It's been great for watching television while cooking, and for IMing whoever is downstairs that it's time for dinner (yes, we are geeks), and also doing some websurfing (at this point, it's mostly meant a lot of either IMDb or foodtv.com).

Since rackham works for the Great Satan, we actually picked up the MediaPC software back when it was in Beta. The recording functions seems to work really well, though we don't use it much (we've got a DVR on our satellite receiver), it's something I've been meaning to tinker with, since there are a number of things I want to have saved to the computer.

If you have any questions, go ahead and email me (fen at eatough dot net), and if nothing else I can try out the feature in question and let you know how well it works. It's about time I fiddled around with that thing more, and this would give me a great excuse.
chrisjournal
Oct. 26th, 2005 06:27 pm (UTC)
Oooh. I may take you up on that. I'd hate to buy the thing and get it here only to find that we didn't get the right configuration!
soundingsea
Oct. 25th, 2005 05:28 pm (UTC)
There are a bunch of cities on the 'short list' (couple in the midwest, couple in the southeast), and we'll make a selection in the next couple of weeks based on the lowest overall expense, including attendee travel, food/rec costs, hotel room, and con-related charges.

Midwest! Minneapolis?:)

For 'puter-buying, I skew Mac.

So glad to see you getting your priorities settled and figuring out what you can handle. *hugs*
chrisjournal
Oct. 26th, 2005 06:26 pm (UTC)
Midwest--Chicago. Minneapolis was on the long-short list, but the airfares from a lot of places attendees came from last time are sky-high. In future years, though, Minn. is certainly an option. I'd love to hit something mid-country/north next time, and maybe by the third go round we'll have hit on some grant funding or fundraising method that will allow us to subsidize airfare for a greater # of folks.
wackinessensues
Oct. 25th, 2005 06:17 pm (UTC)
Might I just say...SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE to Writercon '06. I have needed a weekend with my girls something wicked, and by July I'll be a whole new me and even more ready to see you all again.

Such fabulous news! As always, let me know what I can do to help.
chrisjournal
Oct. 26th, 2005 06:24 pm (UTC)
As always, let me know what I can do to help.

Count on it!! We know enough now about how to do this thing to spread the work far and wide ;-)
paratti
Oct. 25th, 2005 06:36 pm (UTC)
(((Hugs)))
chrisjournal
Oct. 26th, 2005 06:24 pm (UTC)
::hugs back::
petzipellepingo
Oct. 25th, 2005 07:25 pm (UTC)
chrisjournal
Oct. 26th, 2005 06:23 pm (UTC)
Oooooooooooooh! THANK YOU!!

I can check these out and hopefully find one that's young/male.
stateless82
Oct. 25th, 2005 07:48 pm (UTC)
Good Luck with the story!!!

((hugs))
chrisjournal
Oct. 26th, 2005 06:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you, ma'am!

::hugs back::
freixenet
Oct. 25th, 2005 09:18 pm (UTC)
Chris!! ::hugs you:: I have nothing useful to share with you, only hugs. but here's some more of them: (((((((((((hugs))))))))))))
chrisjournal
Oct. 26th, 2005 06:22 pm (UTC)
Hugs are good.

::hugs back::
(Deleted comment)
chrisjournal
Oct. 26th, 2005 06:22 pm (UTC)
Weather is a consideration, yes. But the survey indicates that the majority of folks have a higher priority on cost of travel, hotel room, etc. than weather. We intend to try to alternate things geographic-region wise, but some year maybe a CA Writercon will happen. Don't despair the date thing, yet. There are multiple dates/cities we're trying to sort out.
chenanceou
Oct. 26th, 2005 01:19 am (UTC)
Just came by to say hello. It's been a while :)
chrisjournal
Oct. 26th, 2005 06:19 pm (UTC)
::tackle hugs::

Next tour of the US you make, visit Atlanta, okay?
missmurchison
Oct. 26th, 2005 02:25 am (UTC)
I'm glad the break was a good one. It sounds like you've made a lot of good decisions. And yay! to Writercon. I'm hoping for the Midwest of course, but if it's southwest I might be able to squeeze in a visit with family if I can get the time off.

I wish I could help you with your son's interests in RPG. My younger daughter wound up starting a forum with some friends a while back, but they're into Anime and a bit older than he is. (Which means lots of G rated stories about kissing that would gross him out big time.)
chrisjournal
Oct. 26th, 2005 06:18 pm (UTC)
Looks like Petzi took care of that one for me, above. It's pretty cool stuff :-) I think you're right that the romance would turn him off a good bit, but thank you for the invitation nonetheless. The notion of starting a forum hadn't occurred to me, but it's a good one to keep in my back pocket. ::hugs::
(no subject) - missmurchison - Oct. 26th, 2005 08:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
scarlettgirl
Oct. 26th, 2005 06:32 pm (UTC)
Writercon!

::dances::

Count me in on the volunteer squad.

And very best wishes on the writing - sounds like exciting things are happening.
chrisjournal
Oct. 26th, 2005 06:34 pm (UTC)
Woohoo! ::dances with you:: We will *definitely* need you, oh goddess of serenity and organizational flair.

As for the writing -- I'm kind of doing this in denial. Sort of squinting at it out of the corner of my eye rather than facing it head on. More than anything right now, I just need to get back on the horse. And for some ungodly reason, the size of the horse seems to have doubled in my absence.
sweet_ali
Oct. 27th, 2005 11:43 pm (UTC)
Very glad that your break was good for you. I definitely think you needed some you time.

--Yay for Writercon 06! I really hope i can go this time around.

--Good of you to adopt out the Sandlot. That way people can still enjoy it and the pressure is off of you.

--I think that is also an excellent decision about work as well. Thingsd have been so up in the air for the last couple of months with your family, better to devote the attention there. That's time you won't ever regret.

--Lovely to hear you are writing. Good luck with that contest!

--And I wish i had advice on both regards for your son, but i'm without a clues. Sorry!

*hugs*
chrisjournal
Oct. 28th, 2005 12:05 am (UTC)
You, my dear, are at the very tip-top of my wanna meet list. I might just have to come cart you off myself to get you there...

Thanks for the sweet words and just for being out there. ::hugs::
enclaved
Oct. 28th, 2005 05:42 am (UTC)
www.apple.com

chrisjournal
Oct. 28th, 2005 01:11 pm (UTC)
LOL. I actually agree with you and soundingsea, but the hub has, er, issues. And the boy wants to match up with what's in his classroom. So, I'm outgunned. Apple's been doing the cool video stuff way longer than Windoze, but I'm stuck.
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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