Help!  I’m losing my geekiness…

Question posted on Facebook:

I have been playing video games since the late 70’s and a month ago I threw my Xbox 360 away. I’m not interested in watching Star Trek like I use too. I’m not sure what to do if anything. Does anyone else feel like they’re losing their geekiness? 

My Answer:

​Have you been listening to people who say “it’s good you’re finally growing out of that phase?”  

Resist them. It may simply be that you need a new fandom.  I’ll confess that I like a lot of fandoms but I would never win a trivia contest in any of them.  Sometimes we have to “do adulting” which limits our free time, it doesn’t make us any less geeky.  It’s just a matter of taking care of life and new priorities.

Look around you right now.  Who are the top 5 people you hang out with?  Are any of them geeky?  If not, did you outgrow your geeky friends? What are the things those 5 like to do?  Have those things become your new interests? Do you like the new you that hanging with these people is creating?  I phrase it this way because we tend to act like the top 5 people we spend the most time with.  If none of your top 5 has a geekdom, well that may be a contributing factor. 

Another thought, if you aren’t playing video games or watching Star Trek – what are you doing? Does it make you happy? Is it productive? If it’s making you a better person, then it may be that the geekiness is just on hiatus until you accomplish this growth spurt.  If it isn’t making you happy, then why are you doing it? 

I don’t have any real answers for you, only questions to ask yourself.  But if you answer these and still don’t have any clues to where the geekiness went, either PM me on facebook or leave a comment here and we’ll continue the conversation.  If they do help, well then Live Long and Prosper.

A month of Being

What would a month of just being look like to you?
Just so you know, several things have converged and given me some ideas which are crystallizing.  I started a Year to Clear and have been following the facebook group, someone mentioned that since they started clearing and just focusing on being good things have been happening such as finding a flat in their price range in a seaside town where they always dreamed of living.  

Another thing is that Paul Blanchard offered an incredible deal on the Og Mandino group Power coaching sessions which I signed up for and I re-read Greatest Salesman and Greatest Miracle again. 

I volunteered at DevOps days and gave a workshop on the power of using Kanban with WIP limits to accomplish projects and I finally read The Phoenix Project. Like others on the DevOps board, it rocked my world and the paradigm has shifted.

Through the ComicCon Fitness Challenge, I met Dr. Sarah and was introduced to Geek Parenting Podcast. 

If you don’t see the relation of these items, it’s okay.  I see it, but it’s brought me to a realization.  I need to take a month and just BE.  No grand plans, no actions, no anticipation.  I need to evaluate and focus on the state of me and learn to BE. To focus on the moment. To reflect and not act. 

 

Thought for today 

So the universe is not quite what you thought it was. You’d better rearrange your beliefs then, because you certainly can’t rearrange the universe. –Isaac Asimov

That post Con blues

There was something a little different hanging up the badge after FanX 2017.

For some reason this time brought back a flood of memory.  I was taken back to the first year when I first started hearing about a ComicCon in Salt Lake City. I knew I had to be a part of it.  Who knew if this would ever happen again.  I looked at my budget and realized the only way I could go was to be a volunteer. The volunteer page asked for a resume.  The last events I worked along these lines were  ConDuit and the first year of Life, the Universe and Everything.  So I sent them the resume I used to get the Business Analyst job I had just landed.  It showed my MBA and work in financial services and sales.

The only thing I knew was Emily Farr emailed me and told me I would be working with William Kircher. I was excited since I loved Lord of the Rings.  The day of the Con arrived and I arrived for the team meeting and training.  I found out that someone else would be working with Mr. Kircher and I didn’t have an assignment.  Those of us without assignments walked down celebrity row with Emily and peeled off as we reached booths that interested us.  I saw the banner for Simon Fisher-Becker and went to peel off since these were my Fandoms – Dr. Who and Harry Potter. Emily told me that she thought someone was already with Simon and then decided it might be a good idea to have 2 people work the booth.  I met Tammy and we worked that Con. Saturday was amazing.  My daughter was drafted Friday for line control when Tammy put her volunteer badge on L and told her to keep the line wrapped and moving.  My husband was drafted Saturday when it was clear we didn’t have enough volunteers returning. He handled Walter Jones and was told how money bags grow legs on the last day, so he should just sit on the bag. The other big issue was change.  We ran out of fives and tens quickly and the Con had no way to make change.  We were next to Lou Ferrigno and he had plenty of change. So everytime I needed change I asked Lou’s volunteer for it.  The first time he wasn’t sure and asked Lou about it. Lou came over put the hundred in his wallet and told them to give me 20 fives.  We repeated this several times.

On the last day of Con, I knew I would have some down time before the hall opened and so I was working on my Dr. Who quilt.  Simon arrived while I was still working on it. We staged some pictures and during one, he autographed the Tardis block. 

And thus was the autographed Who quilt born…
The next request for volunteers which I applied for was the George Takei event at The Leonardo.

We were all assigned to line control.  After the signature on the Whovian Quilt, I thought about doing a Star Trek quilt and found a fun pattern using the com badges.  I had traced it onto a piece of fabric and was hoping to have time to buy an autograph.  Instead, my daughter’s roommate’s sister was in line and found out that meet and greets would be a maybe at the very end. She offered to get the autograph for me so she would have a better chance to meet George (he didn’t sign inside the lines).  At the end of the evening, all the volunteers were able to have Mr. Takei sign their badges.

And then came the first FanX – I worried, would working it be as fun as ComicCon had been?  I shouldn’t have worried.  Not only did I get to spend two fantastic days with Jonathan Frakes.  I spent a fun day with Tom Kane and Roger Jackson.  They came before Salt Lake really demonstrated their love for voice actors.  I would love to see those two on Twisted Toonz. Jeremy Bulloch signed the Whovian Quilt and I missed the Star Trek Experience looking for Gates McFadden’s glasses.  The volunteer at the infobooth on Saturday knew we were looking for Gates glasses and brought them to John (I was up in the green room with Jonathan Frakes – yes, back then we joined the guests in the green room if they requested). John had her take them to Gates who came up to the green room so excited to have recovered them. Thelma was the hero of con! I had my first ever fangirl moment when Sir Patrick Stewart took my hand and I could not remember how to shake hands or speak.  He told me “Thank you for directing our director, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.”

Then came FantasyCon – Not sponsored by Dan Farr productions – but Dan and Bryan Brandenburg encouraged the Salt Lake ComicCon volunteers to volunteer for FantasyCon. I learned more about cash out and guarantees during that event.  And Tinsel Korey taught me the secret to stillettos on the Salt Palace floor.

ComicCon 2014 – Is when Cary Elwes leaned out of his booth to see what Stephen Amell and John Barrowman were doing to make so much noise.  In doing so he accidentally sent Colin Baker’s pictures to the floor. He wanted to clean them up but I assured him I had it. Paul McGann’s handler was a great friend and the two of us sold lots of double table photos.  And there were lots more signatures on the Who Quilt.  Stephen Amell winked at me when I accidentally made eye contact. I was looking for Colin who had escaped again.

I almost lost the Whovian quilt at FanX 2015.  I had Karen Gillian on the first day and her agent told me I could have a free autograph at the end of the next day before she left. He also lectured me about never letting other agents talk to his guests.  I was assigned to photo ops the next day and had next to no time for a break since I was taking a long break at the end of day to use my ticket for the Who panel. The volunteer working Karen’s booth said he would get it signed and get it back to me.  I checked before I left for the Who panel and the volunteer told me Karen hadn’t signed it yet.  I knew him and trusted him but knew things got busy so I asked my daughter to check on it in about 15 minutes when Karen would leave for the panel.  My daughter was 2 booths down and saw Karen signing the quilt.  It took her a few minutes to finish up with a customer and excuse herself to go get it.  She got to the booth just as the agent was about to put the quilt into Karen’s suitcase.  The volunteer had left with Karen and left the quilt behind.  My daughter assured the agent it was not a gift but was mine.  He remembered me and gave it back to my daughter.  A few minutes more and it would have been gone.  What was even better was the next day, during my break, Billie Pyper had no line and I was able to get her autograph and she told me it was a beautiful patchwork.

My favorite story of that con was the cosplayer who arrived about 15 minutes before the end of photo sales for the celebrity she wanted only to find that her wallet had fallen out of her bag (it had a hole in it).  The crowd got her the money through vouchers and small donations.  Another person had the same photo op and promised after they got their photos they would go looking for her wallet together. It was so great to see the crowd come together.

Prior to ComicCon 2015, I put together a slide show for volunteer training.  I had a ton of fun gathering pictures for the training slides.  So remember the agent from FanX?  I was working for him and rotated among his people.  Friday morning was Dean O’Gorman then Jenna-Louise Coleman.

We were done by 3 pm and that’s when I learned that I can’t just be an attendee – 45 minutes later (and after I had met Jim Butcher without any of my books on me) I was begging to be put back to work.  I ended up with Jess Harnell – and I had a blast.  It was also the ComicCon where Kayla and Julie outdid themselves with the guest requests.  Dean got dancing dwarves, Felicia Day got a pony, and another actress got a pony with ribbons in it’s hair and poodles to keep them company.  The ponies were My Little Pony stuffed toys from one of the vendors and the poodles were comfort animals from a service animal group with a booth.  I can also guarantee that Chris Evans tasted Fry Sauce since my youngest was the runner who brought him fries from Crown Burger.  Oh, working for Jess Harnell on Saturday, I used the knowledge that Tinsel taught me about heels on the Salt Palace Floor.

Last year for FanX one of my stitching friends flew out because Matt Smith was going to be there and I was part of team classic Who.  Sylvester McCoy has a reputation for being a free spirit so I was prepared for trouble.  I only lost him once but that wasn’t my fault, he escaped from photo ops.  This was also the FanX where I had a padawan, and she learned quickly.  I also got to take Peter Davison on a tour of Salt Lake City.  The two highlights were when Alex Kingston put “Hello Sweetie” on the heart of the Whovian quilt and Jess Harnell told his crowd that I was his ex-girlfriend.  Sylvester brought me to the Who panel which was fantastic – Sylvester and Alex stole the show.

In the fall, I got to be a captain over voice row. Where I made a mistake in not putting Soldier 76 on Fred Tatasciore’s promotion sign.  I think we would have sold more if I had done that. As a captain, I get a radio and the best thing I heard all weekend was Volunteer voice:  I have Lou Ferrigno and John Cena in photo ops but I don’t have anything on the schedule, why are they here?  Emily’s voice: They are there because they are John Cena and Lou Ferrigno – take the picture and send them back to their desks. We also got tickets to the ComicCon Bash where we witnessed the sweetest interchange with Manu Bennett and his wife.  Talk about a cute couple who are definitely in love…  Soldier 76 bought me a cranberry juice with club soda.  Finally, on Saturday, I brought a belly dance costume to wear for an actor who had been urged to to ask for a belly dancer but management decided that we were done with over the top requests…  So I settled for wearing heels all Saturday instead.  I loved working with the voice actors.  They are so easy to work with and as one told me – SLCC treats us like we are real celebrities.

And that brings me up to the current FanX where I spent Friday selling autographs and selfies with Bonnie Wright.

Saturday was spent attached to Christopher Lambert. I was either at his desk or walking to scheduled places with his arm around me “So I don’t lose you.”  I feel like this con was the one where I’ve worked the hardest.  I was focused on what needed to be done.  So focused that one of my non-con co-workers was at the booth next to me, within 3 feet and I didn’t hear or see him.

Oh, remember that agent who told me to never let other agents talk to his guests?  He asked me if he could talk to Mr. Lambert, I told him no ( in a tone of voice that hopefully conveyed, I can’t believe you asked me). He smiled and nodded, so I think he understood I was doing what he taught me.

This is also the first con where I bought photo ops.  I planned to have a picture with Stan Lee and when he cancelled switched it out for Zachary Levi and the Highlander combo and discovered it’s more fun being behind the camera, counting the number of clicks for an agent and watching others get their pictures, than standing in front of the camera. But I did get my Zachary Levi hug and the donation is in the picture.

Thanks for wading through all the nostalgia.  Next up is DevOps days, then Gamer Con and September will be here before you know it.  I can’t wait to add another memory and tag.

1st Wipocalypse post for 2017

Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year!

Introduce yourself – I’m a woman who lives with 2 beagles and a husband.  2 of 3 children are out of the home, the middle one is attending school and will be living here for some time (2 years left of undergrad and 4 years of grad school).  I work as a product owner for a company which focuses on making banking easier for you through software improvements to the ATM and transforming how the branch is structured.  I just got my ScrumMaster certification and I’m looking for opportunities to move into a ScrumMaster position.  My hobbies are fiber arts, which includes stitching, quilting, weaving and needlepoint. My other hobby is volunteering for organizations I love such as the symphony, Salt Lake Comic Con, This is the Place Historic park and STEM organizations.

Introduce my projects – I currently have 31 WIPs across my hobbies.  I took the step of declaring 2 projects as UFOs this year.  They were 2 quilt tops from my grandmothers house that I haven’t actually touched since I got them. Since I haven’t actually put in any work, I’m going to move them to my kitted but not started list.  I have 13 cross-stitch projects.  I’m participating in Soulful Stitchings Year of WIPs and in the Stitch from Stash SAL 2017a and having an agile mindset, I’ve done some capacity planning and realized that I’m not going to be able to finish everything this year. So in order here are my cross-stitch WIPS, designer and year started, and status.

  1. Autumn Queen – Mirabilia – 2004 – I should finish this during the first week of January
  2. Ecology –  – 2016 – I’m doing this as an auction piece for my daughter’s boss.
  3. Fruit Bellpull – Teresa Wentzler – 1997 – Working on plum block, 2 blocks left, this is on my Year of Wips list
  4. Dragon Ride – Teresa Wentzler – 2000 – Capacity planning says I could finish this during this year
  5. Summer Carousel Horse – Teresa Wentzler – 2011 
  6. Spring Carousel Horse – Teresa Wentzler – 2011
  7. Fall Carousel Horse – Teresa Wentzler – 2010
  8. Fortunate Traveller – Teresa Wentzler – 2003
  9. Main Street: Crafter’s Paradise – Marie Barber (Just CrossStitch)- 2011
  10. Sentinel – Fire Wing Designs – 2013
  11. Anniversary Rose Sampler – Lauren Sauer – 2015
  12. Ristipisto Jouluha Kit – Ekelund and Esspe – 2016
  13. Wanted: Santa – Lizzie Kate – 2017 – This is my new year new start and I hope to complete it in January

I have 3 Embroidery WIPs, 4 Needlepoint canvases, one quilt up on a stand for quilting, and 15 quilt tops to be finished.

Goals for the  year –  Since I’m participating in the Year of WIPs SAL and it only includes cross-stitch, I’m not planning on working on my quilting WIPs at all this year. Based on the number of stitches that I completed during the last 2 years, I average about 3000 stitches per month.  That means, I can reasonably complete #1-4 and #13 during this year.  I do want to complete more of the TW’s so that I only have one TW WIP in my list.  My husband would like me to narrow down from 13 to 3 on my WIP list. 

Longer term Goals – I’m trying to work through several kitted projects.  One of the legacies I want to leave my children is I would like each to have a seasonal set of designs.  The TW Carousel horses, Mirabilia’s Queens and Joan Elliott Fairies are the 3 seasonal sets I’m doing.  The other trilogy I would like to do is a 3 Carousel set – one for each child: these are Patricia Allison’s Dragon Carousel, TW’s Carousel and Fire Wing Designs Wild Hunt. I have several other pieces that I want to stitch for me that are kitted and ready to go like Nora Corbett’s Tiger Lily, Mirabilia’s Raven Queen, TW’s Peaceable Kingdom, Mirabilia’s Mother’s Arms and 2 other shelves of kitted pieces.  In order to finish everything I want to do in the next decade, I need to increase the amount of time I spend stitching.  In 2016 I only spent 136.82 recorded hours.  I didn’t record my time for the first 4 months of the year so I’m only averaging about 17 hours stitching per month which is about 4.25 hours per week.  There is no reason I shouldn’t be able to double that during this year, especially if I cut down the time I spend playing computer games. I could use some tips on finding more stitching time this year. 

What time management techniques do you use to help you find stitching time? 


james-cemetery

My son is in the back, this was the day he found 11 previously unknown civil war era graves.

Great time meeting people tonight

This is Liberty Park in Salt Lake City at 10 pm on a Saturday night.  We’re all playing Pokémon Go.  I’m not in the target demographic for this game.  However, I downloaded it since my kids were having some much fun.  My favorite things are the people I’m meeting and the pictures I’m getting.  

Doesn’t this look like the Growlith is a family pet?

This guy was just checking his email but we had a great talk about the game and how it’s bringing people together.

Seth created a Facebook group for PokémonGo and set up a meetup tonight at City Creek. There was a herd of Ponyta.

This was just a fun shot which I posted on Instagram with the caption “none shall pass.”

This is my favorite photos so far! Makes one wonder what is on the other side of the fence which is so incredibly interesting that they ignore the Ratata.

Play safe though people and remember the only colors that matter are Red (Valor), Blue (Mystic) and Yellow (Instinct).

Help stop the screaming….Pick a new start for me

I am about to finish a second WIP which means I get a new start – two finishes = 1 new start until I get down to 15 WIPs which is more manageable than 36.  I had planned to start Summer Queen by Mirabilia but until I find a better way to hold the scroll bars, I’m not that motivated to work on her or the other 3 queens.  Just so you know, I pulled my kitted projects and these are my choices –

Three Carousels – I’ve explained in my first flosstube that I have 3 kids so I tend to stitch things in threes so they each get one.  I have Carousel by Teresa Wentzler, Dragon Carousel by Patricia Allison and Wild Hunt by Fire Wing Designs.  Wild Hunt looks enough like a Carousel that it counts as one.

Goblin Market by Counted Illuminations – Based on the poem by Christina Rosetti, this cute Goblin man is offering his fruit to unsuspecting girls.

Tiger Lily by Nora Corbett – with Jo Mason’s help, she’s been converted to silk and I have all the supplies except the purple pony beads but they should be at 123Stitch for pickup on Tuesday afternoon.

Ristipisto kit from Finland – My father sent me a Christmas scene from Finland which would be a fun addition to my holiday decorations

New Year’s Fairy by Mirabilia – Have had the kit for ages, still deciding on Kiwi Illusions Cloudburst or Silkweaver snowstorm for the fabric.

DysFunctional – Sue Hillis – I’m probably going to stitch this one 3 times, maybe 4 if I give one to my parents.

Sleepy Hollow by Glendon Place – I’ve kitted this one up with Sullivans floss.  I haven’t used Sullivan floss before.

Toil and Trouble by La-D-Da – This is the 3rd in the Halloween series I’ve stitched for the kids.  The Raven was finished last year, I’m working on Something Wicked and this one will get modified to eliminate the nose and have a cauldron instead.

Please vote for which project you think I should start first.  The poll will be active for one week.

Usually when I’m coaching and people do things like this, I ask them what do you hope wins?  I can honestly say I’ve already eliminated the fully kitted pieces I don’t want to win (Fredrick the Literate, Iwo Jima, Sabrina, Elizabeth, Raven Queen, Emi Bishop’s Christmas Tree and 2 Just Nan patterns).

Stitch May-nia results as of May 22

There is still one week of my May-nia left for this year but This is what I’ve accomplished: AutumnQueen2016
Mirabilia’s Autumn Queen 4.5 hours close to 1000 stitches
Overdyed Dragon
OverDyed Dragon by Dragon Dreams 2.75 hours
DrWho
Dr. Who Quilt 1.5 hours
FruitBellpull
Fruit Bellpull by Theresa Wentzler 1.5 hours
SomethingWicked
Something Wicked by La-D-Da
FortunateTraveller
Fortunate Traveller by Theresa Wenztler 1.25 hours stitching 1 hour sorting pattern
Tidepools
Reflections of TidePools by Ro Pace – 2 hours
Fall Carousel
Fall Carousel Horse by Theresa Wentzler 1 hour
Not pictured
Anniversary Roses by Lauren Sauer
Bucilla Purse Kit from 1943
Final picture –
Mardi Gras Quilt I’m working on…20160522_194808

For more information on my new stitching process – check out my new blog – Agile Crafter

 

Bringing Agile to my hobby….

I’ve been reading and implementing Scrum/Agile practices at work. I am advocating it to my team as a quicker way to work.  We use scrum boards at work and as I was updating my Excel spreadsheet which I use for my stitching, it hit me all these projects are my current backlog.  I have even more projects which are kitted and not started so those might be my roadmap.  The two filing cabinets of patterns are my ungroomed funnel.
It really hit home when I looked at the calendar I’m using for my plan for Stitch May-nia – It’s a planned sprint.

So some things I’m missing.

  • What is my definition of done?
  • What is the acceptance criteria for the stories?
  • What is the theme of this sprint?

As I’m typing the questions, the answers are coming.

  • The theme of this sprint is re-acquainting myself with the projects.
  • The acceptance criteria is 2 days of stitching and track the progress (so I have a starting metric).
  • The definition of the project done is displayed or gifted.

My husband has started to worry as the kids move out that I will continue to start projects and buy new patterns without finishing them.  He has asked that I cut my WIP list from 35 to under 10.  I can agree with this.  However, the thought of working on one piece at a time without any new starts makes me queasy and following his plan, I would end up with 2 large pieces at the end before doing any new starts.

I enjoy rotating pieces and I feel I make progress but the 10 hour block I’ve been using hasn’t been working for me. When I get to a stopping point, I want to stop and sometimes I want to keep going when I hit the end of the time slot.

I’m thinking instead, I’m going to start creating stitching stories for the projects in the rotation.  Things like a set number of stitches or a page or a segment of the design.  Then I’m going to story point them based on relative size. This way, I can start getting a cadence and a velocity.  I find if I have too much on my plate, I freeze up and don’t stitch or quilt or do anything except play games on my tablet.  Having things pointed and knowing what is achievable each sprint could help keep the anxiety from hitting.   And if things come up, I shouldn’t be afraid to call the sprint.

I’ve been thinking about monthly FlossTube videos so that could be both my demo and planning.  If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find something to use for my Kanban board.