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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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happy hallowe'en!

Update 2 pm EST: For those of you who haven't heard, Mary Ellen and Ed's baby was born October 19th. Jacob Arthur Corwin Stauff, 3:20am 10/19/01, 7lbs11oz, 5.5 hrs of labor total, no complications or interventions, everyone's healthy.

So today starts my first official full day as a freelance writer since Inkspot was shut down by Xlibris. My home office is in chaos, mainly because I've been away so much during the past months, and partly because I've never been particularly organized when it comes to my office space. :-) One of my goals today is to start getting my office into a semblance of working order.

Another is to establish a formal work schedule. I'd be very curious to hear from you other freelancers: how to organize your work day? I already have assignments and e-mail accumulating, some due in a few weeks. My goal is to figure out a rough schedule that keeps me on track, but not so anal that I have to have lunch from 11:53 to 12:22.

A Thank You To Filk Concoms

The focus of today's Blathering is on concoms, particularly planning committees for fannish conventions whose goals are mainly to provide a venue for people to have fun rather than a focus on profit. Filk conventions are a good example.

I've been attending filk conventions for a number of years; I was at the first OVFF and the first FilKOntario. I enjoyed some more than others, and some were better organized than others. Overall, however, it became more and more clear to me how much work was put into planning these events.

Concoms (nickname for "convention committees") are a sorely under-appreciated group in general. Sure, they get to make speeches and get attention at the convention itself, but 99% of a concom's work is done before the convention, behind the scenes and out of the limelight. Concoms bear the brunt of the politics in a filk community, have to deal with artist egos, have to learn to be tactful and polite in all kinds of awkward circumstances as well as dealing with high-pressure crises while trying to insulate those attending conventions from internal workings. It takes an enormous amount of time to plan a good convention.

Concoms tend to hear more complaints than praise. People take well-run conventions for granted. And if anything does goes wrong, some people tend to forget to look at things in context. Whenever I start to get my nose out of joint by some quirk in convention programming or concom activity, I remind myself that these people are volunteers, and that I wouldn't have to privilege of being able to attend these venues without them. And I also ask myself: Would I be willing to do what they're doing?

A challenge to all of you who attend filk conventions: Sometime during the next year, why not make it a point to *thank* a concom for their efforts? Perhaps in person, by e-mail, a thank you card by snailmail...anything to show these generous folks that we do appreciate what they're doing.

(For those interested, I've posted a full version of the above in my Dandelion Report article).

Some Links:

- Garcia Family website: Find out what Alisa, Luis, Hailey and Tommy are up to. :-) I've added Alisa's online journal to my links page.

- Lovetron 5000 (link courtesy Andrew P.): Ask a robot from the future questions about your love life.


- Sara and Annie in their Hallowe'en costumes. Sara is Arwen (as portrayed in the most recent Lord of the Rings movie trailer) and Annie is Ariel.

- Frank's surprise gift to me (see his recent posting in Blatherchat).

- Steve Simmons at OVFF.

- Mike Stein at OVFF. Mike was the first person I ever recorded anything with in a filk venue...I added flute to a piece of his for a very early OVFF convention tape.

Today's Poll: (Courtesy David Alway)

How many folks with cameras have a digital camera (yes) vs. a photochemical camera (no). If you have both, answer 'yes' -- if none, don't answer.

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