Some of how I've spent my time (by Anne K Gray)
Please note, I have an online journal at LiveJournal (Netmouse). That's the best place to keep regular tabs on me. But here's some assorted news and plans, most current on top. If you want to see more pictures, check out my Flickr photostream.
- In February of 2010 I had appendicitis while 9 weeks pregnant, and Brian and I decided it was time for me to move back to Ann Arbor. I quit my job at Klein Associates and we moved me back to Michigan (mostly into storage) in March, just before our TAFF trip. Since then we have been preparing for the imminent birth of our baby daughter, who is due in late August. Up until July we were living in an apartment shared with friends - we have just moved into our own place, which is truly exciting. We are living on the West side of Ann Arbor, just off Liberty between Maple and Wagner in a place called Woodchase Apartments. I'm not working at the moment, aside from occassional freelance work. Future plans for "a job" for me will wait until we find out where Brian's career path takes us once he finishes his PhD in microbiology and immunology. We foresee being in Ann Arbor at least through May of 2011.
Oh yes, and on May 22 Brian and I were married in a lovely riverside ceremony with a small group of friends and family. We did not register for gifts for the wedding but we are registered for baby stuff. More details and our current address are here. I have changed my name to match Brian's, so I am now Anne Kimberly Gray. :)
Most fanac is on hold right now, but I am on the committee of Renovation - the World Science Fiction convention in Reno, Nevada, in 2011. I will be coordinating Art Night there on Thursday night of the convention. I'm also still editing MidFanzine.
- In October of 2009 Brian and I announced that we were running for TAFF - the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund. Voting closed December 22nd and if selected we were to be sent to Eastercon in London in April of 2010. I campaigned rather vigorously at Windycon, including gather a few items to auction as a fundraiser. People donated really nifty things, which was fun, and we raised $190. Our fellow candidate, Frank Wu, and I arranged for an EBay auction for TAFF as well. Altogether we raised more than $4000 during the campaign. And... We won! We had a wonderful trip from Corflu to Eastercon, about which we will be reporting in various fanzines and a cummulative trip report to be published within the next year or two (we promise!).
In 2009 I also restarted Midfan and published the first issue of MidFanzine to come out in a few years, and I announced I was starting a general fanzine as well, which I am calling Wellspring. I failed to get that issue out before the end of the year, however, because I got Pregnant (!) in November, and suddenly I was exausted and vaguely nauseous all the time. Unfortunately Wellspring 1 is still on the back burner.
- The first big event of the fall in 2009 was the Blues Festival in Yellow Springs, which I helped run. It was a real pleasure getting involved with the group of people who run that, the Afro-American Cross-Cultural Council. I met them at a potluck they hosted during the summer, and I got recruited. They organize events all year 'round.
The second big event of the fall was Chilicon, a fall social event hosted at the home of Guy and Becca, two delightful members of the Cincinnati Fantasy Group (CFG). I'd actually met several CFG folks over the course of my fannish involvement, and they have welcomed by Brian and I most warmly to the area; We've seen them at Millenicon, Midwestcon (which they host), and a couple of their monthly CFG meetings. We had fun cooking Chili and camping over in Guy and Becca's yard after going to see Stephen Leigh's band play at a nearby bar, and got up Saturday morning to make Pumpkin Walnut (and regular) Belgian Waffles as part of breakfast for the assembled cooking and cleaning crew. Brian also helped prepare the yard and cut bonfire firewood for the Saturday night party. Many friends came in from out of town, including some from Ann Arbor, and I was very glad I'd recovered from the flu, which I got after the Blues Festival, and was able to attend.
- The summer was punctuated by two main events - Fourth of July weekend and Anticipation (the World Science Fiction Convention). I met my friend Rikhei in Indianna to start off the Fourth of July weekend with a quiet celebration of her birthday, then bought some fireworks to take to a slightly more boisterous affair on the lakeshore in Cement City, Michigan. Brian and Alex brought a homemade water balloon slingshot to lob balloons at passing boats, and a bunch of us flashed back to our childhoods by taking cannonball leaps off the dock. Good times.
Anticipation was busy but rewarding. I was serving as Neil Gaiman's Guest of Honor Liaison, which had me running around as usual. I wrote up a short report here. Later in August Brian and I went together to a new Michigan relaxicon called Construct (for Construct-a-Con). That was silly and also good. We capped off the summer with a trip up to my uncle's place on Traverse Bay with my family for Labor Day weekend.
- Brian came down to Yellow Springs to see me in the spring and we helped clear invasive species out of the lovely Glen Helen park. We also enjoyed biking on the trails created by the Rails to Trails program, which originate in a nearby town and run from Cincinnati, south of us, to Springfield to the north, and also into Dayton. We also we to Philadephia together in May the weekend before a conference at which Brian was presenting. Much to our delight, friends drove up from Baltimore to dine with us, and we were also able to visit friends who were more local.
- Diversions in the first half of the year also included several science fiction conventions: Millenicon, Penguicon, Wiscon, Midwestcon. I went to Wiscon as a follow-up to a huge online discussion (which turned into a screaming mess, but also included lots of thoughtful and thought-provoking comments) that came to be called RaceFail '09 and generally concerned questions of racism in science fiction and questions of why the sf "fan" community doesn't include more minorites than it does. I'm still reading and still processing lessons coming out of this interaction.
- As optional, non-work travel, I managed to fit in a three-day weekend in New York City with my sister Sarah in April. I'd never spent a substantial ammount of time in New York before. We stayed a night in upper Manhattan, took in a show, had lots of good food, and spent an entire day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Unfortunately we got to the Guggenheim too late in the day to get inside, but Sarah got some great shots of the outside and I had fun taking pictures of her being a photographer. Central Park was very different from what I had imagined. I'm glad I got to see it, and time spent wandering around downtown was time well spent, as well.
- 2009 started out very busy and didn't really let up. I travelled a lot for work and also went up to Michigan frequently to see friends and family. Work trips took me to San Diego, Baltimore, and a number of military bases in the spring. I was helping collect requirements for a DARPA project called Ultra-Vis. Another division in ARA is leading this competitive project to develop a multi-modal interface for dismounted troups working in small groups in urban terrain. It incorporates gesture recognition and augmented reality as well as speech recognition, and the purpose is to improve soldier communication and command, including providing visual awareness of the locations of friendly forces - the other members of the small unit team - through a heads-up display. It's a very interesting project.
- 2008 was a very transitional year. After working freelance (mostly as an editor and proofreader for Subterranean Press) throughout the fall, in November I accepted a position as a staff researcher with Klein Associates, a division of Applied Research Associates (ARA) to begin in January 2009. Taking advantage of the break between jobs, I went on a two-week trip in December to Portland, Seattle, and Hawaii with my boyfriend, Brian Gray. We had a lovely time and exited the trip slightly tanned and formally engaged (no date is set). I moved to Yellow Springs, Ohio, started the new job, sold my house in Ann Arbor and Chaired ConFusion during the month of January. Brian stayed in Ann Arbor to finish his PhD.
The summer of 2008 went by very quickly. In May I went with a merry band of pirates to Marcon (see pictures). I had a wonderful time at Apollocon, where they gave me a pretty busy schedule and I accomplished various missions including a Reno in 2011 bid appreciation of Brad Foster. It was great to meet everybody there, and also get some time with old friends. In July I attended the Science Fiction Research Association meeting and Campbell awards in Kansas, and registered my new company as Netmouse, LLC. In August I went to California to attend Scifoo, a science non-conference of 200 invitees hosted by Google, Nature Magazine, and O'Reilly publishing, and (with much help from friends and family) replaced the roof on the back porch.
- In April of 2008 Bill and I completed the legal divorce process. That same month I started doing freelance technical writing for a start-up company called Boomdash. I started reaching out to my network since my main project at EDA wrapped in June and after that I have been spending some time on a completely freelance basis, editing for Subterranean and also working on a start-up of my own, on a new business idea that some friends and I entered in the Great Lakes Entrepreneur's Quest (GLEQ) contest. I went to a Startup Weekend to learn about how to put a startup together and I'm very excited. April also marked the month I started filing quarterly income taxes (yay!).
- Having gained sole ownership of my car near the end of 2007, in 2008 I proceeded to buy his share of my house from my ex and get that much closer to financial separation (and fiscal panic, but I'm trying to fight that down). I was pleased to attend ConFusion in January as the Guest of Honor liaison for Scott Westerfeld and Justine Larbalestier, and also to meet authors Doselle Young and Patrick Rothfuss, who are both beautiful people I hope to get to know more later. At ConFusion I accepted a request for my services at Anticipation, the Worldcon in Montreal in 2009; I will be Neil Gaiman's GoH liaison there. I was planning to help out with Denvention but I was invited to attend Google's Science Foo camp the same weekend and decided to do that instead. In 2008 so far I attended Penguicon and Marcon, and at Apollocon I will be the Fan Guest of Honor. I am also the ConChair for next year's ConFusion, so let me know if you'd like to get involved.
- In late 2007 I went to the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society's annual meeting the first week of October in Baltimore, and also to Smofcon in Boston in December. The weather was warmer in October but the reception among friends was warmer at Smofcon, on the whole. Plus it was good to see more of Boston. I continued to dance, and to work both as a human factors engineer (say what?) for Soar Technology and as a science fiction proofreader and reviewer for Subterranean Press, and also added on being a part time plasma physicist for ElectroDynamic Applications, up through the end of December when Soar Technology laid me off and I started to spend more time at EDA. I also started taking Ballet in addition to Modern and Jazz/lyrical for the winter term, which has been an exciting challenge.
- I had a good time at Penguicon in April of 2007 despite the fact that my grandmother was in the process of dying that week. Everyone's support has been greatly appreciated. Over the course of the year I saw more of my relatives on dad's side of the family than I had any year previous that I could remember. It was especially nice seeing my aunt and uncle who live in Hawaii and who only make it to the mainland once every three years, normally, but who came twice in 2007, staying at my house the second time for four days. I like hosting visitors.
- 2007 was a year of renewed fitness for me. I joined a Co-ed soccer team, the Red Devils, playing at WideWorld Sports - an indoor league that's went off for the summer and that I failed to join again in in the fall. I also joined the Ann Arbor YMCA and I'm generally working on getting back in shape and improving my general health. Between December and May I lost 20 lbs. I've been watching my diet and also taking daily vitamins and supplements, of which fish oil and chromium picolinate seem to help keep my hypoglycemia symptoms down, and L-Lysine seems to prevent recurrences of the herpes I've had since 1995. I wish I'd started taking all of those a lot earlier in my life, but I'm enjoying the health stability of taking them now. I ran in the Dexter-Ann Arbor 5K Run on June 3rd, and in the Big Heart Big House run in September, and I started taking dance classes at the Dance Gallery Studio here in Ann Arbor. Pilates has also been a great core strengther for me since August of 2006.
It has been a very busy year. Among other things, I learned how to ride a motorcycle and got licensed to do so. Here is me on a friend's bike in July:
I was on the AASFA Board of directors most of 2006 but stepped down in January of 2007. I'm still the President of the SFOHA board of directors and I was elected to serve as the Stilyagi social director for 2007. Proofing Emerald City ended when Cheryl retired the 'zine in September of 2006. I am both proofing and writing book reviews for Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press as a sideline in addition to my job as a Human Factors Engineer at Soar Technology. I traveled a lot in October, both for work (to the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Meeting and the Augmented Cognition and Army Science Conferences) and as a participant in the SF community (to Mike Ford's memorial and the World Fantasy Convention).
In August and September I had a couple visits with my husband Bill out at the Appalachian Trail, which he re-started hiking southbound (SoBo) in June after a stress fracture in his foot healed. He finished doing the entire trail SoBo (repeating the part of the trail he'd done northbound in March and April) as of December 13. He came home a few days later with an itch to get a cat, so he got a 1-year-old female calico. I enjoyed having her around between then and when Bill and the cat moved to Chicago in March, 2007.
- I was in the comedy troupe Monkey Rampant from April through September, but that group went on hiatus while the director adjusted to having a baby in his life (his son was born in January, 2007). We are starting up again: our revival performance will be at the Dreamland Theater in Ypsilant, MI on August 31, 2007.
- I attended Balticon 40 over Memorial Day weekend as an at-con assistant for Neil Gaiman and truly enjoyed the opportunity to meet Peter S. Beagle and Lisa Snellings. In June I attended a couple conventions for work in Traverse City and San Diego, and the Locus Awards weekend in Seattle where I again assisted Neil at the Locus Awards and the Science Fiction Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Science Fiction Museum. I got to meet David Marusek and hang out with Adam and Betsy Stemple and David G. Hartwell, which was nice, as was seeing Liza Trombi and Charles M Brown of Locus and laughing along with Connie Willis and Gardner Dozois. The other point of being in Seattle was that I got to see Caro and Eric and their new baby Samantha, and see Blade and Eleri and Miri. That was wonderful. Caro is one of my bestest friends and I wish we lived closer though we never have.
- 2006 started out well. Bill decided to hike the appalachian trail and I supported his decision to do so. Our friend Laura moved in with us just before Bill headed out onto the trail, so the place had more of a boarding house/college dorm feel for a while (she moved out again in July). I went down to Aggiecon in March and had a nice time with friends Steven Brust and Reesa Brown. ConFusion and Penguicon both seemed like successful cons.
- Well, last summer after we decided not to go to Interaction (worldcon) I briefly enjoyed not being on any convention committees. That lasted a fair while, but I was eventually recruited for two. I built a new web site for Synthetic ConFusion and MC-ed the roast of ConFusion's fan GoH, Chuck Firment, and I was the Guest Liaison Wrangler and the Liaison to Chris DiBona for Penguicon 4.0, where I also performed again onstage as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I also attended Windycon in November of 2005 and had a great time, though I came home with a coughing laryngitis that stayed with me for months. I'm a huge Bill Holbrook fan, and he was their artist GoH, so I was geeked about meeting him. If you've never read it, you should check out his comic strip Kevin & Kell.
- In summer of 2005 I also took a bunch of non-convention-related trips. I went to Vegas for HCII and visited with my friend Steven Brust. Later in the fall I caught up with Steven again in Minneapolis, where I enjoyed the ren fest, and then went on to Chicago to see Neil Gaiman at his reading and signing. I also got a chance to visit with our friend Laura Hewitt, which was really overdue. In between those two trips, Bill and I took a much-needed long weekend trip to Bar Harbor, Maine. I haven't got all the pictures up yet, but here are a few in Acadia National Park. My favorite one of me and Bill is this one:
- I attended Minicon in March 2005 and had a great time. It was good to go back. I was Cory Doctorow's guest liaison at Penguicon 3.0 in April, where I also performed as Buffy in a live shadowbox performance of "Once More With Feeling", the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That was also a terrific weekend. The weekend after that I went to Chicago to be Neil Gaiman's guest liaison for the Nebulas. I'm sure you can imagine what a dreadful chore that was (not). Then at the end of May I went to Wiscon, following a trip to Arizona to attend a workshop (Human Factors of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, if you were curious). I extended that trip to a week so I could visit my brother David and his family and other relatives and friends. I feel like I've had my fill of travel for a while.
- I got a new job! I am now working as a Human Factors Engineer at Soar Technology. Not only am I doing work directly related to my master's degree (Systems Design Engineering), I'm also working at a place where a fairly large contingent of the employees are fannish. I started January 31, 2005 and I'm still very optimistic that this is a good fit for me.
- January 20-23, 2005 I was the Chair of 31 Flavors of ConFusion. It went really well! I was pleased. I have been Chair two years in a row and am now stepping down to avoid burnout. Thank you to everyone who helped make this year a wonderful convention. If you haven't seen it yet, check out our one-hour one-shot fanzine, 59 Minutes of ConFusion.
- I bought a new car! It's a spice red 2004 Volkswagon Jetta GL 4-door. I've had it since late December and am so far very pleased.
- In November of 2004 we went to Chicago and I assisted Neil Gaiman at the Chicago Humanities Festival. Lucy Litteral took a nice picture of us, so I thought I'd share:
- Bill and I went to Noreascon Four in Boston for Labor Day weekend. It was terrific fun. (I was again acting as Neil Gaiman's assistant. We also helped run lots of SFOHA activities. And Emerald City, which I proofread, won the Hugo award for best Fanzine!)
After the convention I wrote up some Notes on Neil-Handling as a reference for other people who take on that task.
- July 31 to August 2nd, I was Neil Gaiman's liaison at Mythcon 35, here in Ann Arbor. I had the privilege of introducing Neil at the Banquet on Sunday.
- Bill and I traveled south to Jacksonville, Florida at the end of June 2004 to visit my sister Sarah. Here's us in Savannah, GA:
And here are more pictures (site still under construction).
You can find my realspace and other virtual space contact info here.
The email address I most commonly use is a gmail account with the username of akg.netmouse.