October 25th, 2005


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?