mckitterick: The ale tasting at the 2009 Kansas City Renaissance Festival. (RenFaire Chris)
( Sep. 6th, 2012 12:30 pm)
I did not end up going to WorldCon this year, despite initially having planned to do so; the educational track didn't come together as hoped, so I saved my pennies and simplified the start of the semester by not heading to Chicago for the weekend. Which is too bad, because on Sunday night new KU creative-writing prof Kij Johnson won the Hugo Award for best novella for "The Man Who Bridged the Mist"! This is the same story that also recently won the Nebula Award. That's what I call starting one's teaching career with a bang.

Instead, I had a real vacation weekend. This included writing, of course (further progress on The Adventures of Jack and Stella), tinkering with the vehicles, reading (right now it's the first book of the Harry Potter series and something called, Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes On the Cosmos), hanging out with friends, and two more events.

The first, on Saturday, was this year's Greaserama. For the first time at this punk-car-culture event (and its second car-show ever), I drove the hot-rod Newport. Friends Matt and AJ drove over with me. Here we are at the show:



Lots of photos from the show on my website (let me know if you have issues with the gallery - experimenting). At nightfall, we watched a double feature at the Boulevard Drive-in theater where the event is held: "Boulevard Nights" followed by "The Warriors," both circa 1979. Just as the first movie was about to start, everyone fired up their rods' engines and made as much noise as possible. It's not just parental pride when I say it was the loudest bastard out there on Saturday. How do I know? Because not only did Matt and AJ have to back away while I revved the hell out of it, but the roar was actually painful enough that it forced me to cover my ears, and afterward I could hear nothing but a muffled hum for a while: 747s on takeoff have nothing on this beast! Also, one of the car-club members who runs the event, "Weirdo Harold," fell in love with it and invited us to park in their row.

A beautiful (after the rain broke) day out with good friends, awesome cars and bikes, turkey legs and corn dogs, delicious tequila at a double feature in an old-school drive-in... happy-making.

On Sunday, after getting a bunch of work done, I got together with a bunch of friends to celebrate a birthday. Said friends then headed over to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival on Monday, where we practiced archery (only Matt hit the bullseye in 7 shots):



And tested our Mjolnir skills (I rang the bell!):



Then we went to everyone's favorite event at Faire: The Royal Smoker, where ten bucks gets you two drinks, a cigar (or soda), finger-food, and entertainment ranging from baudy humor and music to belly-dance (courtesy Chernobylred). Super-fun weekend!

Yesterday saw another cluster of meetings at work plus class, and same for today. This weekend? I'm going to get SO MUCH WRITING DONE on The Adventures of Jack and Stella, I tell you what!

What'd you do on Labor Day weekend?

Chris
Right now, a dragon half the radius of the Sun is creeping across its surface:


Click the image to see the NASA site.

Okay, it's not REALLY a dragon; rather, a cloud of plasma. But this "cloud" above the Sun is way different than a cloud in the Earth's skies. The long feature on the left of this photo is actually a solar filament made of charged hydrogen gas held aloft by the Sun's magnetic field. This filament was photographed on the Sun about two weeks ago near the active region on the right - see the sunspots. Filaments typically last for a few days to a week, but a long filament like this might hover over the Sun's surface for a month or more. Some filaments can trigger large Hyder flares when they collapse back onto the Sun. Boy oh boy do I wish that I had already gotten myself a proper Hydrogen-alpha solar telescope....

Bonus photo: After turning in final grades for summer, I took a short camping trip with some friends out to Clinton Lake. Here we are:


Dan, Alex, Anthony, Matt, and me.

On Friday night, the Perseids were pre-peak, but we still saw a few. Sadly, Saturday night (the peak), clouds rolled in, so we only caught a streak through the occasional break. Others had better luck:


Click the image to see the photographer's site (in German).

Fall semester has begun, so I'm off to meetings and my second class session!

Later,
Chris
Today, to celebrate Hadley Rille Books' 5-year anniversary - and his own birthday! - Eric T Reynolds ([livejournal.com profile] ericreynolds) is writing 50,000 words. IN ONE DAY.

So far: about 5000 words in two hours. You can track his progress on his Facebook account. Go wish him luck!

Also in celebration of this wonderful publishing house's anniversary, Eric is giving away a Kindle 3G! You get one free registration, and the more books you buy, the more entries you get. Help Hadley Rille sell 5000 books by December 31! I hear they have this science fiction novel entitled Transcendence (at a nice discount directly from the publisher), which would make a lovely present ;-)


Best,
Chris
Having friends over tonight, carving pumpkins, sipping Irish coffee, playing Starcraft II. It's a good life ;-)

Here's what we've done so far!

After two days of Halloweenie parties, here's the final collection of pumpkins on my front porch:



Artists, starting at the top left: me, Matt M.; bottom left: Dan, Miles, Megan, Court. Note: Two days later, and they're looking pretty ragged. Apparently, squirrels like pumpkin....

Hope you had a grand weekend.

Best,
Chris
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Quick update for friends of [livejournal.com profile] kijjohnson: She's out of surgery for the torn ligament and is in recovery now. (If you haven't been following the drama-of-the-ankle, see her LJ for details on what happened.) The doc says all went swimmingly and she'll be out and about soon. [livejournal.com profile] weaselmom is taking care of her tonight. I'm sure she'll be climbing again by summer, whether or not she's supposed to ;-)

If you want to send her a card and need her address, drop me an email.

Chris
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mckitterick: Yes, this is one of my actual scooter helmets. RESPECT THE EMPIRE. (Default)
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