Category Archives: Uncategorized

Diversity Panels I’d Like To See

Annalee has come up with such great suggestions for con panels that I just had to share!

The Bias

Generic “diversity panels” are boring.

I get it: you schedule “Women in Gaming” and “Disability in Genre Fiction” with the best of intentions. You know these are hot topics of discussion in the fandom community right now, and you want your con to add to the conversation.

But these generic panels don’t so much add to the conversation as recap it. It’s impossible to go into a subject as broad as “Race In Science Fiction” in any depth in a one-hour slot, and without knowing how well the audience has educated themselves on the topic, the panelists generally just end up summarizing the background reading.

What makes this worse for panelists is that, as members of underrepresented groups, we’re in high demand for this kind of “diversity homework.” We get scheduled for these panels instead of panels on subjects related to our actual expertise or current projects. While folks with…

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Happy Tour de Farms Season!

A past team picture – the Power Pedallers

June 27 and 28, 2015—I can hardly wait for this year’s Tour de Farms ride in DeKalb!

The lovely people in various chapters of the MS Society run terrific bike rides all over the country, and in order to ride in one of them, you need to do a little fundraising to help people with MS.

The MS Society has helped our family a lot. BK has MS. He was diagnosed with it in the mid 1980s. He’s doing pretty well, considering. He sometimes has issues with discomfort, lack of coordination and fatigue, but he’s able to get around, work, and even have some fun occasionally. Usually it’s guitar-playing fun rather than bike-riding fun, but it all counts, right?

We have other friends with MS, too. It’s not that uncommon. Anyway, multiply our family by thousands and you have an idea how much good the MS Society does. The Greater Illinois Chapter says this about their work:

Our staff and volunteers are dedicated to achieving a world free of MS. Through our chapter’s support services and educational programs for people living with MS and their families and friends, we help connect people in our local communities who want to do something about MS now.

We offer many programs — including professional counseling and peer facilitated support groups, educational programs and seminars, referrals to neurologists and healthcare professionals, national teleconferences and internet programs, services for the homebound, and social and recreational programs to assist people with MS and their families in leading productive and fulfilling lives.

And that’s just my local chapter. The national society does all that and more, driving research to help end MS.

I’m still short of my goal. About $420 short, as of the day I’m posting this.  If anyone reading this wants to support the MS Society (either through a donation or by joining the ride), I’d love if you could do it by visiting the link to my personal fundraising page.

If you’d rather contribute a different way, please comment below or message me separately. Thanks so much for your support!

Bart and I (and the MS Society!)  appreciate the people who have already contributed to make my ride possible. Many, many thanks to:

  • Sara G.
  • my cousin Steve
  • my cousin Ann
  • Praful P.
  • Kurt L.
  • Tim and Nan
  • Katherine L.
  • the Tom M. family
  • Katie W.
  • Steve and Lorie R.
  • Mickey and Janet
  • Lori

Run, don’t walk!

Illuminations at Morton Arboretum

In early December, Bro was in town for his second annual holiday visit. Just like last year, we visited multiple Chicago tourist venues.

There were a couple I especially want to mention ASAP, because if you don’t get to them by January 4, you will have missed your chance.

at the Chicago History Museum

Recreation of a 1968 living room*

I wanted to see the limited-run 1968 exhibit ever since I found out it was happening. We finally made it there in early December. Wasn’t sure what to expect. There would definitely be something about the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and probably about the protests that marked the year in general.

DNC welcome sign*

I figured I’d like it. I liked it about three times more than I expected to—maybe ten times more. If you lived through the era, or even if you have an interest in it, you will not be disappointed. It was a total immersion in the politics, music, decor, pop culture—everything you could think of that would saturate you in the era. The exhibit went month by month through a turbulent year and brought it to life via photos, a military helicopter, films, broadcasts, recordings, clothing, furniture, housewares, and other objects.

1968 fashion*

Loved, loved, loved it.  I desperately want to get back before it’s over. If you have even a mild interest, and can get there by January 4, do it. DO IT!

David Bowie Is
at the Museum of Contemporary Art

Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane, 1973
Design: Brian Duffy and Celia Philo; make up: Pierre La Roche
Photo: Brian Duffy
Photo: Duffy © Duffy Archive and the David Bowie Archive

This special exhibition, a retrospective of David Bowie’s amazing career runs from September 23, 2014–January 4, 2015. I was not a huge fan of Davie Bowie before this exhibit, but I just may be now. I was amazed at the range of his talent. What struck me most about him as an artist is the combination of his fearlessness and his hard work.

The show includes 60 costumes, storyboards, handwritten set lists and lyrics, and some of Bowie’s own sketches, musical scores, and diary entries. Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art is the only planned U.S. venue for the exhibition, which was organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

More Holiday Fun

We enjoyed several other time-sensitive events, like the Holiday Express at Chicago Botanic Garden and Illuminations at the Morton Arboretum and the Neapolitan Creche and Holiday-decorated Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute. However, those are annual holiday traditions, so they’ll be around next year if you miss them this year.

If you have only limited time, get to David Bowie Is or 1968 first.

Next post will be about one of the best Chicago tourist days in recorded history. Bro gave it a grade of 98%.

*Photos by Bro


It’s still November, and I’m still noveling, but my friend Sara is still blogging like crazy (as well as noveling). Here’s a recent post from her blog, Medusa’s Library.

Medusa's Library

shadesFirst, I just want to remind everyone that I’m running a giveaway. The prizes are a copy of Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal, Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, or London Falling by Paul Cornell. The giveaway runs until November 17!


I wanted to talk very briefly about productivity today. I’m terrible at getting things done. I’m interested in so many things (reading, writing, jewelry making, acting, sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery, costuming, letter writing, video games) that there is always something else I could be doing at any given moment. And that’s before you factor in spending time with other actual people.
So, I occasionally have to trick myself into getting the appropriate work done. When there are dozens of things you could be doing it can be hard to sort out what you actually need to be doing.

The two things…

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Keeping My Hand In

The writing hasn’t been going so well lately. Maybe the Mojo has left the building.

However, I gave up on writing once before and it took me many, many years to get back to it. I would rather not do that again, at least not yet. So I’m doing things tangentially related to writing, just to keep my hand in. I’m still writing my 750 words a day, but most of that writing is like pulling teeth. It’s not pretty; it’s also not fiction or in any other way marketable.

I’m also still posting on my blog and planning my Million Word Party. Yes, you’re invited. It’s on August 2nd. Other details will be posted soon.

In the meantime, I promised more vacation pictures from the Ladies Weekend I spent with Sis and some of the cousins. Part of it was in Monterey and part of it was in the central coast area/Paso Robles.

While in Paso Robles we visited wineries, of course, but the best part of being there was simply relaxing at the house my cousin Cecelia found for us called (I kid you not) Rancho Deeluxe. Here are a few Paso Robles pictures for you.

Rancho Deeluxe – a gorgeous log home, with views

We spent as much time as possible on the deck featured above, drinking coffee in the morning and wine at night, and looking at the surrounding countryside.

A view from the east deck

There were hummingbirds. I see them occasionally in Illinois, but I’d never seen any like the ones who visited the trees and flowers around Rancho Deeluxe. I wish I could have taken a picture that would do this little guy justice, but he was a fast little sucker!

Hummingbird – probably an Anna’s

I woke in the mornings to what sounded like a golf cart. The nearest neighbor made his rounds of the vineyard in the evenings and in the mornings, often with a small child in the passenger seat and a big black dog scouting ahead.

View from my bedroom window

Naturally, I wanted to note my impressions of my glorious vacation surroundings. We hardly ever used the den, so I made it my writing area. I described every sensation I could, but much of my writing time was spent pondering what a great writing retreat one could have at Rancho Deeluxe.

Where I sat to write, mornings

Rancho Deeluxe will sleep up to 15 people. I’d go back in a heartbeat, and sharing with a bajillion people would make it more affordable. So. Who’s up for a writing retreat?

Tour de Farms – June 21 & 22, 2014

My Bike MS event packet

I’m too excited and preoccupied to write about anything else, so today’s post is about Tour de Farms, a Bike MS event in Dekalb, Illinois. Cookie and I are leaving this afternoon to ride in it.

A number of people have contributed to the National MS Society and to sponsor my ride. Many, many thanks to: Lorie & Steve, Bart, Kurt, Cousin Steve, Mickey & Janet, Katherine, Tom, Praful, Sara, and Quentin & Family for your generous donations this year.

If anyone still wishes to donate to the National MS Society, you can do it at any time by searching on National MS Society. On behalf of BK, as well as other friends we know with MS—and people we don’t know—I really appreciate it. If you want your donation to count towards the Bike MS 2014 total, you can donate (by July 31, 2014) to anyone on our team, the Power Pedallers, at this link, or to sponsor my ride directly at this link.

Finally, if you’ve ever wanted to do something like this, I can unreservedly recommend the Bike MS Tour de Farms event for your future planning. The atmosphere is great, the people are wonderful, and you have many ride choice lengths, from 15 to 125 miles. Maybe Cookie and I will see you next year!