Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

My SoonerCon Schedule

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Hey, boys and girls! SoonerCon is this weekend. We're really excited to be back this year.

I'm in the Art Show again, so if you're there, bid early and bid often! If my work isn't your cup of tea, there are plenty of fine artists to support. And if my work is and you still have budget, there are plenty of fine artists to support. 

I have a busy weekend as usual. That's how I like it. I enjoy hanging out with people (and I'll have plenty of time to do that), but I also like to "pay my way" with programming. 

Here's the schedule:

Friday: 4:00 PM, Sooner A: Remote Creative Work: Getting It Done

The hybrid work model is here! An open-panel discussion on making it work
while working from home. Can you find inspiration and keep personal and
professional boundaries, while creating space for social interaction in remote
work environments? Bonus points for cool home office/studio ideas.

My fellow panelists are Tim Chessmore (moderator), Charles Dane Clark, Tyrell Gephardt, Elizabeth Leggett, and Mimic Rae.

Friday, 7:00 PM, Atrium: Literary Beers! (Why yes, the exclamation point is mine. Why do you ask?) I'm moderating, and 23 other people are slated to show up. This is a chance to chat with the panelists in a casual atmosphere. And have beer. Or the beverage of your choice. Did I mention beer?

Saturday, 10:00 AM, Oklahoma A1: Circuits for Kids

This is a free workshop for kids. We're limited to 12 kids, and each needs to bring an adult to help them out. 

Saturday, 1:00 PM, Bedlam 2 Ballroom: Light Up your Costumes: A Gemma Wearable Processor How-To.

A lot of people have been asking for something like this, and I'm pleased SoonerCon is giving me this opportunity. This is a two-hour workshop. There's a $15 fee, but it covers the Gemma, a connection cable, and other materials. BYO laptop. This runs two hours.

Saturday, 5:00 PM, Sooner B: Radio Play Open Casting and Rehearsal

This is your chance to be a radio star! We'll be performing during the intermission of the Costume Contest. The only requirement is that you NOT be in the contest, because otherwise you would need a Time Turner, and we can't supply that.

Saturday, 9:15 PM, University C: We take the stage and perform!

Sunday, 10:00 AM, Boomer B: I will NEVER Make That Again

#neveragain: Artists, costumers, crafters and makers share ugly truths about the toughest creation they've ever made, and how it shaped their work going forward. Pics or it didn't happen!

Sunday, 11 AM, Noble: Making Your Audiobook a Reality

I'm moderating and my fellow panelists Ethan Nathé and Rie Sheridan Rose will be sharing all the goodies about producing your own audio book.

Whew! That's quite the weekend. If you see me, please say "hi." If I'm rushing from one panel to another I may not have time to talk, but I'll at least say "hi" back.

Filed under: Conventions   SoonerCon         
6/22/2022 9:20:43 PM

The Week of Education

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Just a reminder (not that I post here as often as I should) that I'm taking my Spring Week of Education and will be generally unavailable.

How am I spending the week?

Both Paul and I are attending the Microsoft Build Conference, virtually. It doesn't start for a bit today as they're on Pacific Time. 

Before the conference started yesterday, we went out for His and Hers booster shots. How romantic. In sickness and health, indeed. I have some vaccine fog today, so please forgive typos and the like.

I'm catching up on some other educational things in between sessions.

I'm prepping for SoonerCon next month, where I'll be doing a workshop for kids on soft circuits, and one for the adults on CircuitPython for lights in props and costumes. There's a fee for that one, but you get to take home your very own Gemma processor and some other goodies. We're also doing the radio play. That's all in addition to any other panels they want to put me on. Should be a fun weekend!

We're still trying to catch up on work around the house. Those of you who follow me on Facebook know what's been going on. For the rest of you, here's the story:

We discovered we needed a new roof. (Leaks are no fun. Ask Me How I Know!) In the process of getting estimates we discovered that we couldn't get a decent warranty unless we fixed the foundation. Of course, that needed to be done before the roof repairs. 

The foundation work was extensive. I live in North Texas, where the soil is shiftier than your average politician, which gives the term "moving house" a whole new meaning. This involved much excavation and jackhammering, including four spots indoors. So we'll need to replace some flooring. But wait! There's a warranty, and it will be void if there are plumbing issues in the foundation. Guess what the plumbing test found? We're trying to book a second opinion on that. In the meantime, we have area rugs and the like covering the places where the carpet was torn up.

The roofing people were ready to go, except the shingles had to be ordered and might take a month. I think they date they gave us on that is tomorrow, but I could be wrong. The roofers are also putting in rain gutters as that's required by the warranty. 

We've been dealing with this since about the middle of March, and it's getting very tiring. 

But hey, now you have the lowdown on what's going on here. 

Filed under: Life            
5/25/2022 9:39:21 AM


Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

The answer is about 20.1 MPH. 
Filed under: Stuff            
4/25/2022 3:25:19 PM

Back to Blogging?

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

I've been meaning to revive the blog, and maybe it's time. The latest news of Elon Musk buying Twitter makes me want to consolidate back to my home turf. This isn't about Musk per se, mind you. I'm just more and more frustrated with all the crap going on with social media.

But what do you do? My Facebook and YouTube channels are how I connect with potential customers, and potential income. I've made some good friends via Twitter, so I guess I'm not ready to give it up. I am thinking more about keeping my opinion pieces and the like here, though.

And yeah, I signed up for counter.social today. Same username as Twitter, if you follow me. Will I stick around? I dunno. I left Twitter for a long time, and when they started to block more of the bots that made it a cesspool I returned. 

Here's the thing: I'm not against differing opinions. I am against bots spraying out opinions - different or not - in a firehouse in an attempt to influence public opinion. That's not authentic. I want to follow people because I find them interesting, and I don't need bots telling me what I need to think.

Feel free to disagree.

And yes, I do have a comment section, and it's currently turned off for retooling. It's not that I don't want comments, but when you post a comment you don't want to see an error message.

Filed under: Housekeeping            
4/25/2022 3:19:33 PM

It's The Big Year-End Wrap-Up!

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Well, 2021 was a year. 

Oh, you want more, do you?

This will very likely be the first business year that I have not turned a profit. We're talking 30+ years, so on one hand, it's a good track record. On the other, I can't help but be disappointed. I know. I shouldn't be. It's a let-down at the very least, considering how hard I've been pushing to make a go of things.

But 2021 was an odd year in so many respects.

In the end, I'm just exhausted. And yet, I have so far managed to escape COVID or other serious illness. The worst I felt this year was the few days after my booster shot. And hey, that meant all my little nanobots in my system were busy producing antibodies. (Why yes, I *am* joking about the nanobots.) I've even managed to drop a few pounds.

And speaking of escapes, we bought a new car. This is a long story involving a red light-runner, supply chain issues, and an amazingly decent insurance payout. We now have a 2021 Escape hybrid. It's a nice car and gets good mileage. I hope it's something we can hold on to for a long time, which had been the plan for the previous car.

Of course, the accident happened right at the most stressful time of the year for me, the time leading up to FenCon. That was my only in-person con, and since I'm on the committee and we had some staff back out for mostly health-related reasons, it put a lot of work on just a few of us. The con was a success, though, and not a spreader event. Yay for that.

I sent some stuff to ArmadilloCon's Art Show. I'd love to go down there sometime when I'm not vending and can hang out. 

But the stress this year was horrible, which is one reason I'm a little more sanguine about the business loss. It's not a lot. 

I'm working on some things for 2021, and I hope to grow my YouTube channel and see if I can find alternative sources of revenue. We'll see what happens there.

If you've followed me through this year, thank you! See you on the other side. 

Happy New Year!

Filed under: Year End            
12/30/2021 5:27:21 PM

Meowy Catmas!

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

At last! The Catmas Card!

You can find all of our cards at the link above.

Filed under: Cats   Catmas   Pictures      
12/16/2021 12:10:29 PM

Today's Experiment

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

I'm planning to spend the rest of the year learning some new techniques. Today I played around with cyanotypes.

This is my first print! I'm fairly happy with it. I think tomorrow there might be a bit more definition in the print. We shall see. 

This was a challenge because the sky was clouding over. I should have made a test print, but I didn't bother because of the variable sun levels. With that in mind, I'm really happy with this.

I hope to experiment with negatives tomorrow.


Filed under: Pictures   Cyanotypes         
10/20/2021 10:01:11 PM

Monday Mumblings Has a Sinus Explosion

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

It's a no-pollen day here, but my sinuses are calling fake news. 

You read the first part right. A zero pollen day in North Texas. There's still a fairly significant fungus count, which is probably the thing that's making the sinuses go crazy. I shall spare you the description of the crazy. You're welcome.

Had a good - if kind of crazy - weekend. Paul took Friday off (so no entry here) and we took Daenerys to the vet for a med checkup. She's probably going to be on allergy meds for the rest of her life. Expensive allergy meds, so we get them from a mail order pharmacy. The vet wanted to see her before he renewed the prescription. Never mind that she was in for her annual over the summer. They had to do a blood draw, and I guess that was a messy experience all around. We just know she was brought back wet (they had to clean her up) and she shed enough hair to give the employee who did the draw a nice coat. It was hard to tell her scrub was blue. I guess the cat really threw a fit. We were told she lived up to her name.

Went out for Tex-Mex at our favorite place. Yum!

Spent a bunch of time trolling Archive.org for documents relating to a couple of projects. Yes, I know about the lawsuit, but this was the New York Public Library collection they host, and everything was out of copyright. Fair game.

I have family business tomorrow, so I'll probably not be posting.

Time go to dynamite my sinuses again.

Filed under: Monday Mumblings   Life         
10/18/2021 3:10:16 PM

Threading the Domestic 153 Sewing Machine

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

I have this beast of a post-war sewing machine that used to belong to Paul's mother. The Domestic 153 is made of cast iron and sews like a dream. It's pretty much my "go-to" machine for heavy duty sewing. It's not so easy to thread, though.

Today I put together a video on how to thread it. It's not what we're used to doing with modern machines, but once you get the hang of it, it's not so bad:

Enjoy. And please like and subscribe if you find my content useful.

Filed under: Video            
10/12/2021 2:34:34 PM

This Would Kill Me

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Cats are such contortionists.


Filed under: Pictures   Cats         
10/9/2021 5:24:47 PM


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