Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Strange finds on the Internet and at home

Two finds to talk about today. One makes me crazy, one makes me hopeful.

Crazy first. Here goes:

If you want to be shocked, take a look at this Amazon page and check out the price differential between "new" and "used"

As I've mentioned before, my first book, Artistic License, was first published in hardcover in 2004, and then released in paperback. It's out of print now, but it's apparently still being sold. I noticed the prices on that link today. Seriously? Over $100 for a copy of Artistic License? Those sellers have got to be kidding. But then again, asking price isn't selling price. I have to admit I hope no one is buying copies at those inflated prices. Especially since the story is available as an ebook on BN.com and Amazon and Smashwords for $3.99. Full delivered price. Same story, same adventure. Different method of delivery.

Those prices made me crazy and I just had to vent.

Now... for the find that makes me hopeful.

My husband and I did some cleaning and purging this weekend. Lots of "stuff" we forgot we had. One of the boxes we started through was labeled "Pictures of people we don't know." It's exactly that. My grandparents kept lots and lots of photos - great, old-fashioned portraits of weddings and other milestone events. I'm sure they knew all these people. Some years back I asked an aunt and uncle if they recognized these folks and we were able to put names to some of the faces. But there still remain a lot of photos of people we just don't know.

I've decided to post a few here and hope that in this wonderful connected world called the Internet, somebody may recognize a friend or family member from way back. If we can make a match, I would be more than happy to return a photo to its surviving family members.

Look at the wedding photo above. The poor bride looks bored out of her mind, doesn't she? Not particularly happy, either. The flowers are amazing, though. I'm assuming she had four bridesmaids and the photographer scattered them about to add interest to the picture. 

The photographer, if you can't make it out, is Gatkowski Studio, 1946 West 21st Street, Chicago. "Near Robey" whatever that means. 

Some hints: I'd bet that most, if not all, these people lived in the Chicago area in the early part of the 20th century. I'd also bet most were of Polish descent. I'll put a couple up here today and see where it goes (if anywhere).

The family portrait to the left was taken by Smit & Young, 9035 Commercial, South Chicago.

For those of you not from the area, these two studios - both on the south side - are pretty far apart.

Oh, and I have PLENTY more where these came from.

(Click on photos to see them close up)

Monday, October 03, 2011

Before and After Pictures

Regular readers of this blog already know that I'm a closet ST fan (well, maybe not so closet-y) and that my first professional sale was a Star Trek short story for a Pocket anthology. But, for those of you new to this site, here goes:

Our youngest daughter, Biz, and I got our geek on this weekend and attended the Star Trek Convention in Chicago, near O'Hare. We came away with some fun photos and even better memories. What struck me most about our interactions with Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, and John deLancie was the energy with which they tackled what had to be an incredibly grueling weekend. These gentlemen were amazing.

Kudos to them all, especially Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner. The lines for their photo-ops were beyond belief. When Biz and I got in line (forgoing a portion of the Klingon Christmas Carol to do so) there were hundreds of people ahead of us. The line, about three deep, stretched at least two football fields in length. That's where we started. When we exited after our turn the line had stretched out again -- just as long -- after us. Wow. And the two stars' autograph lines (Biz and I don't do autographs) were neverending. All weekend.

**Let me just admit right here, that if MY signing lines were half as long, I would be over the moon.**

Despite the constant... and I do mean constant pressure from fans, they remained charming, funny, and warm. I was completely impressed.

What I wanted most from this weekend was for Biz to have a good time. You know how it is. No matter how old they get, you don't want your kids to be disappointed when they're counting on an event, or a person, to come through. I can say, without hesitation, that John deLancie, Jonathan Frakes, and Brent Spiner (her particular favorite because he said she was so cute) made the weekend for her. And for that I am grateful.

Now... you'll notice the pictures here. Yeah, we splurged and I popped for photo-ops with these guys. The thing is, although it's cool to attend a Star Trek convention with your mom, it isn't so cool to post pictures of the event with mom that your friends might see. Biz and I agreed that I get to be in the pictures and she gets to crop me out.

I got to spend a fun weekend with my daughter. Cropped out or not, somehow, I think I still win.

PS - I met the writer of one of my favorite TNG episodes there. When we talked and I told him about the WHChef series, he seemed interested. Turns out he's had some success bringing books to the small screen. Will this go anywhere? Who knows? But it was really cool meeting him.

PS-2 - You know how all three of these stars are handsome on screen? Well, I can assure you they're even more handsome in person. Just FYI