Origins Game Fair…Fair Warning

What day is it? What day is it?!!?!

All kinds of people are coming to the fair metropolis of Columbus this weekend to enjoy Origins Game Fair with us. Kith and Kin you might say.

(We did this last year too, if you remember a few photos…)

Yours truly was climbing the walls already this morning at work, and got herself evicted from the circulation desk by her co-workers. So! Let’s begin!

I’ll be posting photos of games and costumes over the weekend, ok?


Tying the Knot

By David Belt copyright 2014

A few years prior to the turn of the century I purchased for myself this beautiful silk runner, which now adorns my office.  At the time, I felt I paid quite a healthy sum for this two by eight foot scrap of carpet, but it captured my eye and arrested my wallet from my heart.  I was in Turkey for the first time, and I felt I deserved an artifact of local culture.  The Turkish knot is slightly different than the Persian knot, so while Persian and Turkish carpets may look similar, to an artist, they are not.  Thus, there is only one place in the world one can acquire a genuine, handmade Turkish rug.

I have long loved my Turkish treasure as a work of unique fiber art, but I received a new appreciation for this work on my most recent trip to Turkey when I got the chance to visit a modern Turkish rug factory.  The word “factory” isn’t quite right as there is very little automation involved in the process of making the rugs.




First, start with the cocoon of the silk worm…





Soften in room temperature water for 30-45 minutes and spin into silken threads.  Once the treads are dyed and spooled in the appropriate colors, the magic can begin…






One knot at a time…

I feel so connected to this brand of fiber art as it is very similar in structure to my own preference of chainmaille.  I fell in love with my rug all over again and nearly purchased a second, until I realized just how much my treasure had grown in value over the years, and rightly so.  I marvel at the skill and patience required to labor for months on a single rug.  I could sit and gaze at this artist for hours as she weaves her craft, knowing I could never reward her enough for the gift she gives to the world.

ConCarolinas 2014, Part 1

Copyright 2014 by Paula S. Jordan

I’m starting off a pair of posts on ConCarolinas with photos and brief peaks at some of this year’s outstanding guests, performers, and panelists:

25 - George R. R. Martin 2George R.R. Martin signed autographs, discussed his Wild Card series, read from his new novel Winds of Winter and answered 77 - David Weber 3questions for what often seemed like mile-long lines of patient devotees, and occasionally held court in the hotel’s University Cafe.  David Webber also signed and read for large numbers of fans, discussed his famed Honor Harrington series, and contributed comments, answers, insights, and stories on warfare and the military.

07 - Danny Birt Filk Concert 3Danny Birt provided informal evening filk singing as well as concerts and panel appearances on musical matters.  Jonah Knight performed his own musical brand of creepy and/or steam punk and/or fantasy sub-genres in concerts throughout the weekend.

31 - Jonah Knight 3






Panels discussed a wide variety of SF/F/science/writing and related topics, including this one titled “Breakfast and Books” with, with Samule Montgomery-Blinn, Tera Fulbright, Janine K. Spendlove, Stuart Jaffe and Amy H. Sturgis.

48 - Breakfast and Books 4

In a few days,  ConCarolinas 2014 Part 2, much more on fascinating tidbits of science, writing, and genre interest heard in panels and other discussions over the weekend. Plus a full report om Balticon 2014.

Photography courtesy of Judith W. Ross.

Mouse Guards through OhioLINK

I’m supposed to be studying Windows Operating Systems and the seven layers of… something… networking… something. Blah blah.

But Jambolaya and I are taking a break to re-read Mouse Guards. (Re-Read Central!)

I’ve been meaning to tell you about OhioLINK, and Mouse Guards gives me an opportunity to do so. Ohio is this huge super center of librarians who come up with genius ideas like, oh, the Dewey Decimal System (it’s patented?!) and WorldCat. I think it’s because one of the few schools who offer a certified Master of Information and Library Science is in Ohio. Someone has this spark “oh hey this would be nice if…” And they also have the capacity and leadership to follow it through.

Living here in the lap of library luxury, I’ve requested Mouse Guards 1152 through OhioLINK. This is a network of ohio academic library catalogs linked together loaning materials to all the libraries on the network.


Part of the daily routine at the morning job is to process: send out and accept these OhioLINK materials. They come in daily on a truck serviced by a third party delivery service. It’s quite the elegant system, updating our catalog instantly when someone across the state requests one of our books.

Being effectively one library, any of our patrons can get almost anything- but not quite. There are some materials which are in special collections or on course reserve or other special status. For example? No one has a copy of Elizabeth Bear’s
Hammered. How rude. Or Barbara Hambly’s Time of the Dark. hrmph.

Being academic libraries, the rabbit holes are frequent and deep, and I end up requesting a lot of books that I simply scan and think “gee whilikers, those medieval Arabs in Spain were amazing poets!”

I currently have borrowed, um, over twenty books from different libraries all over the state. *wince* but I’m actually reading this one. :)

Home Coming



Seven months and three days ago, the USS Carney set forth upon a naval deployment to the Arabian Gulf. Today, she returned to Mayport, Florida bearing myself and over three hundred of my shipmates.

For me, it is a bitter sweet homecoming, as this has been the final deployment of my naval career. Never again shall I sail into harms way, not know when or if I shall return.

To many, this may not sound like such a bad idea, but to one such as I, the release of this burden is heart wrenching. To date, I have lived more days in service to my country then not; it has consumed almost my entire adulthood.

I cannot explain my reasons for dedicating my life to service. It is simply who I am. I do what I do, because I can. The sword is weighty in my hand, but even more so in my heart. As many have paraphrased George Orwell to say, “Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” Orwell’s actually quote was a bit more crass, but his meaning was clear.

I still have many tales to tell from times abroad, but those stories will have to wait for another day. Today, I’m home.



St Crispin’s Day Speech

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.”
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages.

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.


David Petersen at COMiPALOOZA, Houston TX.

Much of the art of Mouse Guards is watercolor-esque, or portrays handcraft. He tells me the likes to imagine what the mice themselves might craft. He has the craftsman skills to produce his art in the original intended format, like stained glass, but his digital skills are so strong that he can fool a lifelong embroiderer:


As if I wasn’t impressed enough. Sniffle.

New Words: Fula

” ‘It seems they do. Amadou’s mother was born into a princely Fula heritage. His father’s father was also of noble Fula birth. They are bankers, too, hugely wealthy.’ “
Cold Magic, Kate Elliott

Fu•la: (n) the Benue-Congo language of the Fulani people, spoken as a first language by about 10 million people and widely used in West Africa as a lingua Franca.

Particle Fever

copyright 2014 by Paula S. Jordan

As babies, we face a bewilderment of questions.

Who is holding me, feeding me? What is it that I hear, touch, see?

‘When’ and ‘where’ will come later, but among our earliest, and likely the first we actually vocalize, is that gold-standard of questions, ‘why!’

The minute any of us little humans latch onto that one, our whole world becomes a place of mystery and challenge, where every answer generates more questions that must have answers of their own. And we begin to drive our parents mad.

Some of our questions have no answer at all, and we discover as we grow that those are the very best. They can tease and intrigue us for the rest of our lives, each small discovery bringing its gifts of knowledge and satisfaction.Particle Fever2.

Many of us find a profession in technology or history or (ahem) writing, any source of ongoing challenge that gratifies that ardor in us. Others seem to redirect or rephrase or, sadly, even quash the drive. Still others, perhaps the most blessed and cursed of us all, follow its lure to a lifetime of experiment and study, and perhaps to newfound truths about the universe.

Our history, our ongoing, stair-step advancement as intelligent beings, is way-marked by such paradigm-shifting discoveries. And yet the greatest of them, particularly in today’s sciences, leave so many of us cold.

The Higgs Boson, the most important discovery of recent times, was also one of the most dramatic, coming at an early stage in what was expected to be a search of many years, if indeed it could be found at all. Yet it flew by most of us in a day.

As with other ‘whys,’ the reasons for such disinterest are many. But for the Higgs, at least, there is a solution.

Go and find, somehow, somewhere, a video documentary called “Particle Fever.” Forty-plus scientists, actually working on the Large Hadron Collider, will explain their work to you, show you live videos of various construction and testing phases, and share their jubilant celebration at their success.

It will electrify you.

More information is here (Facebook page) and here, the trailer is here and a background video here.