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Come to my experimental SF performance tonight! Kieran's in downtown Mpls, doors at 8 PM, I'm performing after 9 PM.

Inspiration: chance operations, love and loss, many worlds hypothesis, alternate timelines, wave function collapse, and choice strategies.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (park)
Last week was the end of my "catching up on email and socializing and house-cleaning" two week break after finishing a huge project. I dealt with some critical and overdue emails, I definitely got out of the house and saw people, and Phil claims the house looks better even though I can't see a difference, so I guess I'll call it a success. Time to write novels again, which is somewhat intimidating since I've been working on other projects for the last few months. Back to the grind!

Other good things...

I did the second Women in Sci-Fi and Writing Female Characters panel. There was pretty art (it took place in an art gallery in Lowertown) and cupcakes! I said some things that I hope sounded smart, sold two copies of my book, collected a couple of new email addresses for my newsletter, and was gifted with a batcat hat (okay, fine, it's a pussy hat, but I dislike that term even though I understand the reasoning) made by my dear Alis. I thought the event went pretty well.

New microwave! This one doesn't turn itself on and off at random intervals, so I am less worried that an electrical fault will make it burst into flames in the middle of the night when we are all sleeping. It displays actual numbers in the timer instead of weird dancing bars that look like the countdown on a Predator bomb. And it's black and silver, which Cassius thought was really awesome.

I realized that I had missed a deadline (a month ago!) and instead of giving up and being sad because I couldn't do a thing, I emailed people and asked if I could apply late, and they said yes! So I did!

I went to a living room concert and listened to awesome steampunk music, played with my camera and took photos, caught up with friends, made new acquaintances, and heard new jokes. It was good times. And seeing people appreciate my photos later is a nice egoboo.

Diabolical Plots (by David Steffen of the Submission Grinder) included my story in his recommendations for Hugo/Nebulas this year. Eeeee! I've never had someone recommend one of my stories for an award before, so this is a pretty exciting first.

Phil's award bonus from work came through, so I gave him a full grocery list without worrying about whether we had enough to cover the cost. Sometimes it's the small things.

Learned about bubble paragraphs and skipping stone backstory intro scene structure stuff. (Yup, Ginger, your name-coining has stuck!)

I cooked tater tot hotdish for the first time because Steph was posting looking for recipes and gave me a craving. It was delicious gloppy comfort food even if I'm the only one in the house who likes that kind of thing. Also, something about the tater tots makes my brain think it's acceptable eating for breakfast too. Ooookay, silly brain.

I have sparkly red fingernails, and they make me very happy. I don't have a lot of time for frivolous self-care stuff, so this is a special treat.


Bonus good things from the previous week, which I didn't post on time:

Making origami flowers and paper "rain" for Theia, and seeing how much she enjoyed playing gardener. (She was a gardener and I was the botanist telling her how flowers grow in this scenario, apparently.)

Insisting on taking the boy to see a healthcare professional, and having it be the right parental decision. This is not a good thing because he has strep (boo!), but because I never feel confident making this kind of call, so I'm glad I didn't waste our time and money.

Chatting with the spouse about publishing industry stuff, specifically novellas and how the markets for them are changing and why.

Writing a quick piece of micro-fic and submitting it minutes later. Fifteen words long!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (park)
Four Twin Cities authors discuss being women in science fiction and writing female protagonists, along with a brief reading!

Facebook event:
Magers & Quinn event page:

About the panelists:
Victorya Chase is a writer and educator living in the the Midwest where she works in medical education teaching the importance of narrative competency and understanding the various cultural and personal stories at play in the exam room. Her writing has appeared in Cemetery Dance, Lamplight, and The Unlikely Journal of Entomology. She is the author of Marta Martinez Saves the World.

Kelly Barnhill writes novels for children and short stories for adults and poetry that she whispers in the dark when no one is listening. Her first novel, The Mostly True Story of Jack, received four-starred reviews, and her second, Iron Hearted Violet, received a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Her most recent novel is The Witch’s Boy. Kelly lives on a city street in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with a field and a creek behind her house. A coyote runs by every morning at six a.m. and a heron flies over her yard just before the sun sets on slow summer evenings. Kelly is a fast runner and a steady hiker and a good camper. She also makes delicious pie. She has received grants and awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, Intermedia Arts, and the Loft. She has three very smart kids and one very smart husband and a dog who she believes might be one thousand years old. No one can say for sure. (The dog, incidentally, is very smart too.)

Abra Staffin-Wiebe has sold stories to publications including Jim Baen's Universe and She specializes in optimistic dystopian SF, modern fairy tales, cheerful horror, liquid state steampunk, dark humor, and heartwarming grotesqueries. She spent several years living abroad in India and Africa before marrying a mad scientist and settling down to live and write in Minneapolis. Discover more of her fiction at her website,, or find her on the social media site of your choice.

Lyda Morehouse writes about what gets most people in trouble: religion and politics. Her first novel Archangel Protocol, a cyberpunk hard-boiled detective novel with a romantic twist, won the 2001 Shamus for best paperback original (a mystery award given by the Private Eye Writers of America), the Barnes & Noble Maiden Voyage Award for best debut science fiction, and was nominated for the Romantic Times Critic's Choice Award. She followed up Archangel Protocol with three more books in the AngeLINK universe: Fallen Host (Roc, 2002), Messiah Node (Roc, 2003), and Apocalypse Array (Roc, 2004). Apocalypse Array made the short list for the Philip K. Dick award. She lives in Saint Paul with her partner of twenty years and their amazingly adorable son, Mason.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (crazy)

Phil is not having a party for his birthday. Instead, he is holding court this Saturday, April 25th, from noon to after midnight. People should feel free to drop in, pay their respects, and stay for an hour or two or the whole time, as they'd prefer. Libations, offerings of food, and other tokens of respect and fealty are welcomed. The events of the day will vary according to Phil's whim, but may include burnt offerings.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 07:46 The urge to hibernate was particularly strong this morning.
  • 10:11 Because I am super-efficient, I have finished all the work at the on-site, and now have that magical thing known as "downtime." Yay!
  • 10:42 My name is too long to search on Facebook and find me. I am
  • 10:47 Translated Eastern Bloc LOLcats:
  • 14:02 Dear Do *not* post an article rhapsodizing over Chinese-American cashew chicken and fail to include a recipe! ::is hungry::
  • 14:20 Barley and roasted tomato risotto sounds delicious: (Mayo Clinic)
  • 14:50 Failed my willpower roll vs. blueberry cheese danish.
  • 14:58 Underground art/dinner parties sounds amazing! Wish I could afford it. (Citypages)
  • 15:02 Grooming my Pandora music station. They are clearly lacking the "circus music" tag.
  • 15:17 Free ebook of deLint's Spirit Walk (out of print): (Tor)
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  • 09:06 Other bus rider has put black tape over the "Vegan" logo on his bag. Wonder if he's gone back to dairy?
  • 14:48 Found Nuclear War under my coffee table. Wonder where it came from? (Yes, it's a card.)
  • 15:50 Know what the *only* definition for "tea-leaf" in Webster's Unabridged is? "Brit. slang: a thief."
  • 16:45 Bellydancing, burlesque, & magic? Kinda want to see this show:
  • 17:40 Right now my Sunday schedule is church, then tea party, then burlesque show. ::is amused::
  • 19:24 Being stalked by spam again. 'Reynold' has sent me an email saying, "You are like the sunshine so warm." #spam
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Why, yes, CONvergence was quite some time ago! And yes, I am only just now getting around to writing up my notes! When it comes to event blog posts, I'm like the tortoise; I may be slow, but I get there eventually.

Note: Unlike most, I do not a) namecheck, or b) provide blow-by-blow accounts/transcriptions of panels. I just note the interesting/useful for future reference.

It was a shock going from 4th Street Fantasy Convention to CONvergence. Way more people, way more people there only for the partying, and a higher percentage of idiots (at times, I include myself in that category). On the other hand, it had people in costumes, alcohol, entertainment that did not require brainwork, and copious food, all free with the price of admission. My body behaved in an entirely atypical fashion, allowing me to stay up all night drinking and meandering, then waking me up early to swim and attend panels all day. The party rooms were fun, but I discovered I'm a bit jaded--free alcohol's great and all, but I actually was a bit bored, despite the best efforts of Romulan strippers (no Con report would be complete without mention of Romulan strippers). I saw many people, but didn't actually hang out much with anybody. This was probably an error, as I'm inclined to feel disconnected at the best of times. I had fun playing card games with people. I also missed the panel part of one day on the 4th of July, because I had to make it back for the 4th of July party we were hosting--the only "panel" I made it to was the facepainting and hairbraiding one, where I was adorned for the 4th of July.

More. Much, much more. )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (upintotheblue)
Ah, I finally get around to writing up the Bush Artist retreat highlights, from the perspective of the fly on the wall. The 2008 Bush Artist Fellows are an impressive (and photogenic) bunch. Follow that link to learn more about them and their award-winning art. As I said in my earlier post, everybody was witty and charming and talented, the orientation events were educational, the reception was fabulous, and the Fellows deserved their wins.

Cheese and tomato skewers
Did I mention the reception was fabulous?

Notes from the educational presentations. )

Now I've finished getting the photos ready and writing up the retreat just in time to take a deep breath and dive into my next major event. That would be the Fourth Street Fantasy conference, which I'm attending this weekend. It's my first writer's conference. I hope they'll be gentle.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 09:26 For 2 hrs this morning, a squirrel chattered madly outside our window. Later we discovered a cat had been waiting below all the time. #
  • 21:50 Spam subject line of the week: "challenge the dark knight when you are ready." #
  • 21:52 Meandered around the Stone Arch art festival this PM. Mostly commercial arts & crafts, but some were good. ++Sweepstakes & free stuff. #
  • 22:04 Downloaded sci-fi fiction podcasts from Escape Pod ( and e-audiobooks through Mpls public library. Set for the week. #
  • 23:07 CSA cookin': pea vine, salad greens, radish, & feta salad with cumin/dill dressing was not great. Not awful, but not great. #
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Today was Day 2 of the Bush Artist Fellows Orientation during the day, with the reception event in the evening. I took hundreds more photographs. I'm a little worried about the photographs taken in the low-light, no-windows area, but I've already seen enough good ones from Day 1 that I'm not too worried. The key to taking good event photos seems to be focusing on a combination of candid portraits, participant interactions with each other, laughter, and sweeping hand gestures.

Last year, I photographed the orientation events in my role as part-time program assistant. I was startled when they hired me back this year to do the photos again. Startled and quite pleased. I like following what the Bush Foundation is doing, and I really appreciate being able to sit in on the orientation events; a lot of the advice given to the new Fellows applies to what I'm trying to do in my creative endeavors, albeit on a smaller scale.

I'm still mulling over the presentations for this year.

I'm too tired right now to do a proper job of noting all the details that I want to, so I'll just say that everybody was witty and charming and talented, the orientation events were educational, the reception was fabulous, and the Fellows deserved their wins. I do have notes and links and comments and resultant goals, but that will have to wait for a post in the next couple of days. When I need a break from sorting and cleaning up photos.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)

DIY ornaments made from photographs
. Sometimes I think the best thing I could do in my study when I eventually get around to actually painting/decorating it would be to just mount a massive cork board to the ceiling to allow me to stick things to it. Like, say, hundreds of swirling photo ornaments.

I should try to go to the Rice Park Winter Wonderland in St. Paul before it closes on January 1st. I've really enjoyed wandering around and photographing the ice sculptures in the past. Of course, it did rain this afternoon, and there's no snow on the ground, so that takes a bit of the fun out of it. I used to live right around the corner from this, and I'd walk past the ice sculptures every day on my way home from work.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
The Film Chronicles

This October, The Friends' Film Chronicles presents Monsters, Marriage, Machines and Men, a film exploration of the life, work and influence of James Whale, the director of Frankenstein.

Hosted in the new Pohlad Hall at the Central Library, each Film Chronicles screening will feature an introduction and an optional post-film talk with film buff and series curator Luke Erickson. Admission is free with open seating to the public. Free movie refreshments will be provided by Whole Foods Market.


October 16; 7:00 PM
Frankenstein © Universal Pictures, Director James Whale, 1931
Arguably the most memorable monster in movie history about a mute, misunderstood brute, who has the brain of a madman.

October 23; 7:00 PM
Bride of Frankenstein © Universal Pictures, Director James Whale, 1935
This remarkable sequel explores the darker possibilities of science: "To a new world of gods and monsters!"

October 30; 7:00 PM
Young Frankenstein © 20th Century Fox, Director Mel Brooks, 1974
The scariest comedy of all time! Dr. Frankenstein's grandson, after years of living down the family reputation, inherits granddad's castle and repeats the experiments.

November 6; 7:00 PM
Gods and Monsters © Lions Gate Films, Director Bill Condon, 1998
A keen glimpse of Hollywood's past, a loving tribute to James Whale, and a richly moving, delicately balanced drama about loneliness, memory, and the passions that keep us alive.

THE EXTRAS: Click here to learn about the related exhibit in Cargill Hall, Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature, a Mary Shelley performance at the library.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
This sounds like fun. I'm pretty sad that the ones I'd be primarily interested in ("Bio-ethics: Moral Challenges in a Biotech Era" and "Framing the World: Photography as Art") are on days that conflict with Tae Soo Do. Debating going to "Underground Minneapolis: Archaeology in the Mill City" or "A Year of Discovery: Understanding the Latest Space Science Result."

The Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library
and Marquette Financial Companies
- present-
The People's University @ the Minneapolis Public Library

Have you ever wanted to go back to college or try a college course for the first time? What if there were no texts, classes only met three times, and the tuition and materials were free? Well, here's your chance... attend The People's University at the Minneapolis Public Library.

* African-American Women Poets: From Rise to Shine
* Severe Weather in Minnesota: Is It Changing?
* Bio-ethics: Moral Challenges in a Biotech Era
* Upper Mississippi Shakedown: Anatomy of a Scene
* Framing the World: Photography as Art
* The Great Immigration Debate: Facts and Myths about Immigration
* Underground Minneapolis: Archaeology in the Mill City
* A Year of Discovery: Understanding the Latest Space Science Result

More detailed description )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
In my endless quest to balance my life, I've decided that Tuesday and Thursday night Tae Soo Do classes are more important than social engagements, but Friday and Saturday classes are not, or at least, not all the time. A corollary to that is that if I've stayed up only until two the previous night, making Saturday class is reasonable and something I should be able to do...but if later than that, no. Because, yes, I'm old and tired.

Which explains why I slept until 1 p.m. today. Poker tournament last night went well--I left with five times more money than I brought! I scraped by on the first table to to make it to the second, where I briefly ran the table until three players went out at once on the same hand, and it was just me and [ profile] discoflamingo left, going after the pot. For that tiny space of time, I felt like I knew exactly what I was doing.

And then there were two players instead of five, and all my statistics were screwed up, and I started sucking. I've decided that six to four players is the range I'm most comfortable in. I need to work on my endgame. I mean, c'mon, I usually make it to the final table, and frequently to the final three players, but I don't think I've actually ever won first place.

And although there is a saucier potluck tonight, we will not be going, for we are insecure in our sauciness. Sniff. Why can't I just have a chef to do all this stuff? Corollary: Why wasn't I smart enough to either get a guy who cooks really well or to motivate him to learn to cook really well back when I had the ability to motivate him at all?

It amuses me, but I find it vaguely odd that our former real estate agent ends emails with, "Please, let me know how I may serve you."
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
"Mystery Camel: it looks like a squirrel but moves like a cat." (misheard and repeated by Uriah - originally "mystery creature")

Sequel: "I just wrote a program in Python to do that." - Doc
"What?" - Us
"Mystery camel." - Doc
"How?" - Us
"I forgot. I'm smarter when I'm drunk, though. My mind makes amazing leaps of logic." - Doc
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[ profile] nemoren is having a party to celebrate her being back in town. Oddly enough, as she has no place of her own here, this party will be held at our house. Friday, beginning 7-8ish. If you know her, show up, eh?

I gave her our information to pass out to her friends in town, but I'm not sure if I should call anyone else who knows her. So I'm just posting this here.

Because I'm lazy.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Oog. Feel like zombies ate my brain. Party last night went well, I think. People started really showing up after nine (silly people), and the ones who weren't crashing here left around 3:30. I think there were about thirty people. People played Spades. People drank a lot, cheap beer and champagne alike. People smoked and talked and told tall tales while sitting out in our backyard. There's apparently a new dent in our kitchen ceiling. I was looking for Fame and Fortune all night, but I don't think I found them. People showed up en masse and then invited other people I didn't know over, which is, I think, one of the indicators of a good party. We didn't run out of anything except orange juice, and my house is not even remotely trashed. In fact, it looks better than it did yesterday morning before we commenced cleaning. Even if all the counter space in the kitchen is taken up with empty bottles. Yeah.

Thank you all for coming over!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (water)
I'm having a birthday party to celebrate my birthday. Beginning around 7 p.m. You are invited. Bring your own lovely selves and something to share, preferably alcoholic but not necessarily, as our supplies are limited (remember...poor).

Spread the word to those who won't have heard it.

Hope to see you here! Call if you need more info.


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Abra Staffin-Wiebe

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