Melina Gunnett

November 1, 2012

Of Resets and Research

Filed under: Odd Thoughts — Tags: , , , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 3:51 PM

 

Somehow it always seems like everything hits at once. I stopped burning the candle at both ends a couple of weeks ago. It just seemed a lot easier to toss the whole thing in the fireplace at once and go for a complete melt down. By the end of last week I was certainly feeling like a melted pile of wax.

Half the point of start the new job was to have something to focus my schedule around so that I could be more productive. (The other half is that I simply love working with Mad Science – doing birthday parties and teaching the kids after school.) The last several weeks have been centred around getting my science back on – training, starting classes, working out my schedule – and with all the winter movies coming out, there have been a ton of screenings to attended in the evening.

Fortunately, between Halloween and a teacher work day, my schedule caught a break this week and I’ve had a bit of time to catch up on some much needed sleep. This is good. I was in desperate need of a chance to reset my world, figure out a schedule and re-gear my life around it. I’ve even be threatening to do my laundry and sort through my mail.

Aside form catching up on some of the household tasks I’ve also been working on research for a couple of upcoming stories. Normally I enjoy research, and the research I’ve been doing on the Green Man mythos has been a lot of fun, but the research of the other story has had me pulling my hair out.

The second story I’m working on involves a legal trial. That means digging into law books and trying to make enough sense out of the patch work of laws to figure out what legally defines a person as a person. Strangely, there is a law on the books defining what a monster is, but none defining what a human being is.

In many ways the law hasn’t caught up with some of the stuff science can already do (even if it isn’t ethical), I don’t actually expect there to be laws and precedents for what I’m looking for. If there was, it wouldn’t be speculative fiction, it would be non-fiction. I had been counting, especially on there being a bit more to work with though. There have been several cases defining when companies can be considered persons, and with all the legal cases surrounding abortion, I thought there would be something, somewhere about real people.

There was one – but it was overturned as unconstitutional a few years ago. There is probably something out there somewhere. I just need to find it. At least I finally hunted down a decent legal dictionary. I can’t say I’m entirely looking forward to doing more research, mostly because I feel like I’m out of my depth. Maybe I should hunt around for a nice geeky law student willing to explain to me how anyone ever finds the precedents they are looking for among our mess of legal red tape.

Hmmm… red tape doesn’t seem right. It’s more like masking tape – after it has been thrown, piece by piece, into a room full of cats.

At least this weekend is Orycon. I have an excuse to lay low on the research and enjoy myself at the convention. Next week my schedule clock resets and it will be back into a fairly regular schedule. Get up, take care of errands and tasks, teach a class, do some writing. Well, that’s the plan any way…

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November 15, 2011

OryCon

Filed under: Odd Thoughts — Tags: , , , , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 12:39 AM

I attend my first convention on the West coast this weekend. All in all, it was a good weekend. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I walked through the doors at OryCon. On the East coast, while I don’t know everyone, I have been attending conventions out there for years and there is someone around I know.

It was strange at first. I found myself looking around for familiar faces. I knew they wouldn’t be there, but as a group, fen have a distinct style and it felt like I should be recognizing people. Not knowing people did have a couple of advantages though. For one thing, no one stopped me in the halls between panels.

Yep, I actually made it to most of my panels on time, despite the fact that they were inevitable scheduled on the far side of the convention from wherever the previous one was. This convention was similar in size to LunaCon out east and while the hotels layout wasn’t quite as convoluted, the locations of the meeting rooms were just as spread out.

There were some new topics, which was nice. Even the panels that were very similar to ones I have attended many times took on a new flavor though, because all the panelists were different.

I expected that I would end up a bit homesick for all my friends back East before the weekend was over. I held out surprisingly well though. For the most part I just hung back and enjoyed listening to the conversations and presentations. When I did finally get homesick it came from a completely different direction than I had expected.

What finally to got me was when one of the panelists mentioned a story based on her cat. While I had never met her before, one of my former co-workers knows her and used to tell me stories about her cat.
I bet those of you who know me thought I was going to say it got me thinking about my cats. It didn’t, but writing that last sentence did. Drat, now I’m missing the little fur beasts. Anyway – back to the con.

I always enjoy the art shows at conventions. I was looking forward to this one because there would a lot of artists I hadn’t seen before. I was surprised at how little over lap there was between the artists that showed at OryCon and those that usually show back east. I can think of half a dozen artists from the West coast that ship art to the East coast conventions – I expected to see more of them showing out here.

The only familiar artist was Mark Roland. That didn’t mean that there was a lack of good artwork though. There were a lot of very good pieces and not only were the artists out here different, some of the techniques they used were too. Some of my favorite pieces used paint over metal to good effect. There was also one artist who did some amazing work with wood cut prints.

The dealers room, at least, left me on familiar ground. The names of the booths and the people running them were different, but the products were much the same. There weren’t quite as many book deals and more costume related booths that what I am used to but there was a nice assortment just the same – jewelry, artwork, clothing, music, small presses, book dealers, metal work, leather work, etc.

About the only thing the con was missing was a con suite. In the end it turned out that they did have one, I had just been unable to find it until Sunday. They call it a “Hospitality Suite” out here. They did have one labeled on the map, but apparently moved it from the 5th floor to the 14th. If there were signs, I never found them.

Overall, it was a good experience. It would have been nice to have known more people, but I was starting to recognize a few faces by the end of the weekend. There was a time when I didn’t know people out east either. It just means that I will need to reach out and make new friends.

I’m looking forward to ARISIA and seeing everyone out East, but I think I am going to fit in fine out here.

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