Destination: 100 Books

pexels-photo-300412As sort of a quasi-resolution, I set a goal to read 100 books this year. (A goal I hope to surpass!) I’ve always been a reader, but never bothered to keep track; so I thought it might be fun. And a way to recharge the mental batteries. It’s just as important to read as it is to write–something else I’d been neglecting with my busy schedule. So, here’s my list for 2017 so far:

 

  1.  Crows by Candace Savage
  2. Gifts of the Crow by John Murzluff and Tony Angell
  3. The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
  4. Not As We Know It by Tom Avery
  5. Draykon by Charlotte E. English
  6. Lokant ” ”
  7. Orlind ” ”
  8. Llandry ” ”
  9. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
  10. Monster by A. Lee Martinez
  11. Angelology by Danielle Trussoni
  12. Angelopolis ” ”
  13. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  14. A Flight of Angels by Holly Black and more
  15. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
  16. The City’s Son by Tom Pollock
  17. Firegirl by Tony Abbott
  18. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
  19. The Last Wild by Piers Torday
  20. Vegas Knights by Matt Forbeck
  21. The Glass Republic by Tom Pollock
  22. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
  23. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
  24. Wool by Hugh Howey
  25. Written in Red by Anne Bishop*
  26. Murder of Crows ” ”
  27. Vision in Silver ” ”
  28. Marked in Flesh ” ”
  29. Etched in Bone ” ”
  30. In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
  31. The Cry of the Crow by Jean Craighead George

*This series hit my reading craving at the time so perfectly, I re-read all five books! And super thanks to my friend Edith for the recommendation.

Howdy, Folks! It’s State Fair time again.

Ah, the State Fair. An event that manages to combine three of my least favorite things–big crowds, loud noise and greasy food–with the bonus of getting to pay for the experience. This year was only my second ever visit for a reason.

It wasn’t bad, though. We had some fun time as a family, managed to avoid much of the food (by eating out on the way) and the noise, if not the crowds. And we avoided much of the cost by sticking to the free attractions. The (free) bird show, the only part I really enjoy, did not happen this year unfortunately. My youngest daughter’s favorite, the (free) petting zoo, did return with a fairly decent sampling of Noah’s cargo.

Here's my daughter petting a zebra.
Here’s my daughter petting a zebra.

My oldest daughter bought a henna tattoo, which, as with everything in the fair, seemed a bit pricey for what she got. But she chose wisely from the less expensive designs–something I’ve noticed she’s very good at when forced to use her own money for things. And when we got thirsty after sampling the free ice cream, we split a $3 bottle of Dr. Pepper among the four of us. (The term you’re looking for is frugal not cheap 😉 !)

After wandering the sale tents for a while (where I was sorely tempted to toss my budget into the bin and set it afire), we made our way to the Ferris wheel. Now, I have a great head for heights, love them actually, but I’ve never cared for Ferris wheels. Probably because I’ve only ever ridden the tiny specimens of dubious structural integrity that inhabit traveling carnivals and set off my internal caution alarms. I love heights, but I’m not under even the slightest impression that a fall from one would lead to anything but a very unpleasant end.

The State Fair’s Ferris wheel, though, didn’t bother me. The cart didn’t move much and I felt securely enclosed. And the view was spectacular. Say what you will about Dallas, but it does present a unique and lovely skyline.

Dallas Skyline 2015
Dallas Skyline 2015

If it weren’t for the cost of the tickets, I might have agreed with my youngest daughter’s request to stay until dark to ride again and see the lights.*

All in all, it was worth braving a few of my least favorite things to hang out with my husband and kids and enjoy the good weather.

*Interesting fact: where I grew up in the country about thirty minutes east of Dallas, we could see the top of the green-lighted building on a clear night without the aid of any lens. I think today the light pollution from the booming suburbs between here and Dallas makes that impossible.

FenCon XII

FenCon weekend is over once again, unless a blue box and time lord pop in. I found this one:

And this portal!
And this portal!
It's bigger on the inside!
It’s bigger on the inside!

But the weekend is still over until next year. I had a blast, though. The panels I attended were interesting, and some downright hilarious, like Yard Dog’s Road Show. I enjoyed Triskelion in concert. Linda, Juli and Julia belly danced.

Yard Dog Road Show
Yard Dog Road Show
Belly Dance at the FenCon Cabaret
Belly Dance at the FenCon Cabaret
Triskelion
Triskelion

And for the first time, I really attended the room parties. Visiting, mingling, not just standing on the wall for a little before retreating to my room. It really helps to have a social friend who knows everyone to go with and break the ice. I’m a little sad and exhausted to have to head back to work tomorrow, but as always, I feel inspired and artistically renewed after  hanging out with other writers and artists and true fans of the genre. Ready to dive back into my own writing and finish up some of the projects that have been neglected due to real life.

A big thanks to all the FenCon staff and volunteers who worked so hard to make this another great convention. Already can’t wait for next year.

Solar System Set

I recently ordered a beautiful set of glasses designed to represent the solar system, Sun and Pluto included. The set comes from ThinkGeek.com, one of the greatest online stores for people who love everything Geek, sci-fi, fantasy. The order arrived promptly and in perfect condition, and as unique novelty the shipping box is decorated with robot parts so you can build your own box bot.

Seeing as I don’t host dinner parties, I wanted to display mine on a shelf.

Planetary Glass Set
Planetary Glass Set

Then I got the idea to stick LED lights inside the glasses.

Lighted glasses
Lighted glasses

The effect is just as neat as I’d hoped, and not too bad price-wise. The glass set was about fifty and the LEDs about twenty at Michael’s. I think they had a cheaper set, but nothing cheaper was available the day I went. Of course, I can’t leave them on all the time–they run on batteries, expensive batteries, but for the rare special occasion it’s worth it.