At the movies: Hugo


This movie seems to be of two minds.  The first half is a kids' adventure movie in a train station and the second half is a documentary on film history.  The 3-D effects are, when they don't really mess with your eyesight, not worth the extra money.  They don't add to the basic movie.  They snowflakes were horrible.

My wife, when Ben Kingsley was on screen, couldn't think of anything but "The House of Sand and Fog" and so was not really in to his parts of the movie.

If I could see the movie without the 3-D, I'd give it a 3.

Weekend update


Got home from work and spent the next 8 hours baking pies and a cheesecake


Was up at 5:30 starting to bake breads for the turkey day gathering
Went to mom's for the turkey day gathering
Watched the A&M-tu football game


In the shop taking some pictures of new items
Went in to town to see "Hugo" with my sister and niece


Up early to go pick up my niece for a day at the very wet and rainy Texas Renaissance Festival
Came home and fell asleep for 14 hours


Up in time for a 3 hour nap
Baked banana bread

Aikido Friday Afternoon - 11/25/2011

Aikido players: Trey, and Dan


Full set

The Walk:



I uke'd for Trey and then we both uke'd for Dan.  We spent a good part of the afternoon working with Dan, picking apart the releases.


We managed to get some work done on 1-3 of Ju Nana Han Kata.


None of note.


Aikido Saturday Afternoon - 11/19/2011

Aikido players: Tim, Trey, Marvin, and Gail


Full set

The Walk:



I worked with Marvin.  He did pretty well.


I worked with Marvin on Shomen-ate and Aigamae-ate.  He's coming along on them

After that, Trey and I worked on some Yon Kata stuff for me and some San Kata stuff for him.  We were pretty crappy.  We moved down a bit and worked on Kata Otoshi in order to pare things down to just timing.  Really, for the higher kata stuff, if your timing sucks, work on Kata Otoshi, then move up to the garumas and then on to whatever you were having problems with.

It's a bitch, but it helps.


None of note.

Aikido Friday Night - 11/18/2011

Aikido players: Tim, Trey, Dan, Marvin, Gail, and Roderick


Full set

The Walk:

Twice, and then I spent the evening working with Roderick on all of the stones.


Not tonight


None tonight.


None of note.

Aikido Thursday Night - 11/17/2011

Aikido players: Sal


Full set of falls

The Walk:

Not on Thursdays


We had number of issues tonight.


Tonight was spent working on Ude-hineri on the right side.  We spent a lot of time on the footwork.


None of note.


Volleyball, 3-0

We played against one of the teams in the league that has not won any games this season, so we got the result we expected. 

We've got two more matches before the playoffs.  How we do in those matches will determine if we make the playoffs or not.  We'll play the teams in 2nd and 3rd place in the league and we're currently in 4th.  They should be good matches.  We've played one of the teams already and lost to them 0-3.

We need to win at least 3 games over the next two matches to make the playoffs.


CyberMonday sale coming

I'm going to have a one day sale in my shop on artfire on Cyber Monday, November 28, 2011.  Drop by my shop now to look over everything I've got in the shop and plan on taking advantage of 25% all items in the shop after Turkey Day.  It will be the last sale for the year.

I hope to add a couple of items into my shop between now and then.  I've got some pictures to take and edit in order to do that, though.

OryCon 33 trip report aka weekend update

K. and I flew up to Portland, Or. this past weekend to help out promoting LoneStarCon 3, the 2013 WorldCon.  We had a decent time, but did not see much of the convention.

Friday morning we got up at 4:40 a.m. and made it to the airport around 5:40 a.m.  The line for the invasion of privacy was the longest I've ever seen it at Hobby but, once the 6 a.m. shift came on, the line moved fairly well.  I actually did not get physically frisked this time.  I do usually attract the attention of the screeners for some reason.

We made our flight with plenty of time, made our connection in Denver and landed in Portland without issue.  We caught the Redline Max into town and got off at the DoubleTree.  After checking, we wandered around to find the LSC3 table and found Kimm already prepping the table for the weekend.  So, K. and I got in line for our badges.

Registration was a bit of a mess.  K. bought an at-the-door membership and it took her about an hour to get through the line.  There were 9 people in the line ahead of her.  It also appeared they had not printed out all of the pre-registered badges so the "troubleshooting" line was quite long.  thank goodness my badge had been printed.  It only took me a couple of minutes to get my badge.

Kimm recommended we go get something to eat, so we wandered over to the nearby mall and ate at the "diner" in the food court.  The food was ok.

Returning from lunch, we settled in to the table and tried to get folks to buy memberships for LSC3.

We shut the table down and went to eat int he hotel restaurant (K., myself, Kimm and Grant).  I was underwhelmed by the Fettucine Bolognese.

Since we weren't hosting a party Friday night, we went on to bed.

Up early Saturday (still on Houston time) we wandered downtown and ate at Milo's Central Cafe.  Very good food.  From there we wandered around and found our way to VooDoo Donuts Too around 12th and Davis.  On the way, we passed Franz's Bread company.  The smell was just fantastic.

Back to the hotel to sit at the table to accost more passersby.  K. and I took the opportunity provided by the con to donate blood.  I was unhappy with all of the information I had to give them and so probably won't be donating again.

We met up with my niece Betsy and her husband Zach and they took us around town for a driving tour and for lunch at Nicholas', a Lebanese/Mediterranean restaurant.  It was a wonderful meal and a great time.

Back to the table and no success.

Dinner was unnecessary Saturday night, so we crashed early.

Up at Houston hours on Sunday and off to the Village Inn for breakfast.  Back to the hotel to pack and catch the Redline for the airport.  The last flight for Houston left a little after noon, so we could not stick around the con.

Back home around 9:30 p.m. after an overbooked Denver to Houston leg.

OryCon pros: Good art in the art show, a fabulous array of Hall Costumes

OryCon cons: registration snafus, no list of programming participants on the web site, too much unused space in the art show, requiring folks who want to wander through the art show and dealers' room to by a full day membership.

Volleyball, 0-3

We played one of the top two teams last week and did not do well at all even though we had a full team and they only had 5.  My serves were not very effective and I did not get many chances.  I also had few opportunities for spikes.

This week we play a team that has not won any games, so I hope we do well.


Con Report - IlluxCon 4

I took a trip last weekend out to the wilds of Pennsylvania for IlluxCon 4.  This convention bills itself as a symposium on Fantastic Art and I think it lived up to the billing.

Thursday K. dropped me off at Hobby bright and early for a Southwest flight through Chicago to Pittsburgh.  I did not manage to get an exit row seat for either of the legs, but I survived the flights anyway.  Upon landing in the airport, I picked up a rental car and drove East to Pittsburgh (the airport is about 30 minutes from the city proper).

I then spent the next hour or so driving around the city trying to find a restaurant from "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives".  I was trying to find Nadine's and spent most of the time on the North side of the river when I should have been on the South side.  Once I figured that out, finding the place was not too tough.

Opening the door, I was met with a wave of cigarette smoke as the place was a bar with a bit of a food menu.  If I had not spent as long as I had looking for the place, I would have turned around and left.  It was obvious that the folks in the place were all regulars and that Guy Fieri's recommendation does not bring in tons of extra business on a Thursday afternoon.

I took a look at the menu, and Guy's comments on the poster of him that hangs in the place and chose the Roast Beef sandwich with gravy fries.  Matt, the barkeep, quickly got to work on my order.  My neighbor at the bar commented that he would order the gravy fries by themselves when he's in the mood for food.  It didn't take too long for my order to be ready and be placed in front of me.

I ended up being disappointed in the meal.  It was ok, but not anything special.  If I'd found the place more quickly, it might rank higher, but given the smoke and the hour search, it was not worth it.

Leaving Nadine's, I caught 376 and then 22 into Altoona.  Most of the time I just had to assume I was on the right route.  There was no indication that the road led to Altoona until I was 22 miles out form the town.  Given how much luck I'd had with Nadine's, I was quite concerned that my navigation skills were still on the plane somewhere far behind me.

I got settled at the Ramada and then attempted to find the headquarters for the con.  My navigation skills were still missing, and it took me a while.  After finding the place, I got my badge and other paraphernalia and wandered around.

I was amazed.  The number of outstanding artists was just amazing.  A comparison with the usual World Fantasy Art Show would probably have the WFC coming in second place.

I ran into Vincent Villafranca, said hi, and promptly decided that his table would be my base of operation for the weekend.

From there I went back to the hotel and crashed.

Up in the morning for breakfast at the hotel and then on to the con.

I spent the day wandering around, handing out business cards and trying to encourage the artists to come to WorldCon in 2013, attending some of the panels, and drooling over the art work.

I also made some decisions as to which pieces were coming home with me:  a Micheal C. Hayes, a Daren Bader, a John Jude Palencar and a Bob Eggleton.  The Eggleton was a watercolor.  The rest were inks or sketches.  I almost came home with an Eric Velhagen, but it was out of my price range for the con.  I hope to acquire it after the tax refund comes in.

I met up with Janey (sp?) and Andrea, folks I'd met at cons earlier this year and joined them for dinner.  Us three and the Weinsteins went to dinner at Aldo's Italian restaurant just east of Altoona.  It was quite a nice meal.  I had the cheese stuff shells with meat sauce and tiramisu for dessert.

From there we all returned to the hotel for the evening Showcase.  This expo was an additional 40 or so artists set up as they would be in the main show.  So, I spent a bit of time wandering around this handing out my business cards and promoting Lone Star Con 3.

The next morning was breakfast at Cracker Barrel and then on to the show.  This was a repeat of Friday with more glad handing.  Dinner was at Jethro's with the Zipsers, Janey, and Andrea.  Jethro's was just an ok place.

Sunday morning I woke up and went into downtown Altoon to eat at Tom and Joe's diner.  This was pretty good stuff.  Better than Cracker Barrel.

From there, back to the hotel to pack and check out.  Then on to the show for a final bit of glad handing and then off to the airport.

I managed to get an emergency row seat for the leg from Chicago to Houston.  That made it quite pleasant.

I'm trying to decide whether to go to IlluxCon 5.  I know I won't be going to Illuxcon 6 as it will be too soon after WorldCon.


Volleyball 3-0

We had a good, tough match last night. 

We got to the gym 30 minutes before the game to warm up and then had 40 additional minutes to warm up.  (We started 40 minutes late because the ref was that late getting to the gym.)  I was pretty worn out before the match even started, but we managed to win the first game 21-19 or so.  The second game was similar and the third game was 15-10.

It's the closest match I can remember in which we won all 3 games in some time.