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August 8th, 2013
Lonestarcon has released an agenda for the business meeting. http://www.lonestarcon3.org/wsfs/wsfs-bm-2013.shtml
Interesting collection of proposed amendments.
First: "no cheap voting". Prohibits any Worldcon committee from selling cheap Hugo-vote-only memberships. Basically aimed at keeping people like me, who aren't interested in attending Worldcons or collecting the associated publications, but who would be interested in voting on the Hugos from doing so. Even though the amendment is pretty much aimed straight at me, I understand the problem. I agree Hugo voters ought to be the fans who have shown a commitment over time to the community. Requiring paying for Worldcon attendance or paying for supporting membership that includes publications is certainly a way of demonstrating that commitment. I'd prefer a model more like that of other associations where one pays a fee for belonging, gets a vote, and gets a discount for attending the annual convention. The trouble is that would require a continuing WSFS organization outside the seated Worldcon committees; I don't see any chance we could come up with such a thing. If I were going to Lonestarcon, I would vote against this amendment, since I'm the sort of person it's aimed at keeping from voting.
Second: "Best Dramatic Presentation (fan)" Actually *two* new Hugos, short form and long form. Pretty obvious this is stupid; come up with ten likely nominees (five short, five long) for each of the last few years and you might change my mind. Again, I would vote no.
Third: "Delete best fan writer, best fanzine, best fan artist" Apparently the argument is that some people think that recent winners in these categories were not worthy and by abolishing the categories we can stop annoying those folk.. Uh, I can think of a lot of fiction nominees and winners I don't think were worthy. I don't think just because I'm annoyed means we should stop trying.
Fourth: "WSFS Accountabity Act blah blah". I couldn't even bring myself to read to the end. Really, people; a post-Worldcon committee is only doing anything based on the good will of the people on the committee; how can putting a bunch of requirements on them help? If they have all gafiated, they've all gafiated. Words in the Constitution won't fix that. If they are still around, and you'd like to know something about how they did or paid for something, just ask them.
February 21st, 2013
Meme, and thanks to jane_dennis for lots of the right answers.
|Tickled my fancy. Maybe I'll be back on LJ a bit more. No promises, though.
1. What’s your favorite candle scent?
2. What female celebrity do you wish was your sister?
3. What male celebrity do you wish was your brother?
4. How old do you think you’ll be when you get married?
Did that once at 22, seems to have stuck
5. Do you know a hoarder?
6. Can you do a split?
7. How old were you when you learned how to ride a bike?
5 years old.
8. How many oceans have you swam in?
Is ""Swam"" the right verb form? Anyway, both.
9. How many countries have you been to?
20 or so, depending on how you count
10. Is anyone in your family in the army?
11. What would you name your daughter if you had one?
12. What would you name your son if you had one?
13. What’s the worst grade you got on a test?
14. What was your favorite TV show when you were a child?
What's a child? Either Star Trek or Ed Sullivan, depending...
15. What did you dress up as on Halloween when you were eight?
16. Have you read any of the Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Twilight series?
17. Would you rather have an American accent or a British accent?
Happy with the American I have
18. Did your mother go to college?
19. Are your grandparents still married?
All dead. Dead before anybody much though about getting divorced.
20. Have you ever taken karate lessons?
21. Do you know who Kermit the frog is?
22. What’s the first amusement park you’ve been to?
Six Flags Georgia
23. What language, besides your native language, would you like to be fluent in?
24. Do you spell the color as grey or gray?
Is Was your father bald?
No, but then he was dead before he got to 40.
26. Do you know triplets?
27. Do you prefer Titanic or The Notebook?
28. Have you ever had Indian food?
Yeah. Pretty hard to avoid having it in India.
29. What’s the name of your favorite restaurant?
Restaurants can't be put on a linear scale. But let's put down 3 seasons palo alto.
30. Have you ever been to Olive Garden?
31. Do you belong to any warehouse stores (Costco, BJ’s, etc.)?
Costco. Joined when it was Price Club.
32. What would your parents have named you if you were the opposite gender?
I have no idea.
33. If you have a nickname, what is it?
34. Who’s your favorite person in the world?
35. Would you rather live in a rural area or in the suburbs?
Uh, what about urban? Happy where I am, fwiw.
36. Can you whistle?
37. Do you sleep with a nightlight?
38. Do you eat breakfast every morning?
Well, since "breakfast" is "the first meal after arising", sure.
9. Do you take any pills or medication daily?
Yep. See below.
40. What medical conditions do you have?
A bit of high bp.
41. How many times have you been to the hospital?
42. Have you ever seen Finding Nemo?
43. Where do you buy your jeans?
44. What’s the last compliment you got?
Was thought strong and smart at friends of the library...
45. Do you usually remember your dreams in the morning?
Well, how could I tell?
46. What flavor tea do you enjoy?
Tiger Tea (they call it Bengal Spice) from Celestial Seasonings
47. How many pairs of shoes do you currently own?
48. What religion will you raise your children to practice?
No kids, would not inflict a faith on them if I did
49. How old were you when you found out that Santa wasn’t real?
Hmmm. Seven, I think. The shock, it was not there, however.
50. Why do you have a tumblr?
Erm, I don't?
September 24th, 2012
Kitchen gadget meme
Picked up from akirlu. Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year, italicize the ones you have and don't use, strike through the ones you have had but got rid of. As suggested by both of them, there are additions.
I wonder how many pasta machines,
breadmakers, juicers, blenders, deep fat fryers, egg boilers, melon ballers, sandwich makers, pastry brushes, cheese knives, electric woks, miniature salad spinners, griddle pans, jam funnels, meat thermometers, filleting knives, egg poachers, cake stands, garlic crushers, martini glasses, tea strainers, bamboo steamers, pizza stones, coffee grinders, milk frothers, piping bags, banana stands, fluted pastry wheels, tagine dishes, conical strainers, rice cookers, steam cookers, pressure cookers, slow cookers, spaetzle makers, cookie presses, gravy strainers, double boilers (bains marie), sukiyaki stoves, ice cream makers, fondue sets, healthy-grills, home smokers, tempura sets, tortilla presses, electric whisks, cherry stoners, sugar thermometers, food processors, bacon presses, mouli mills, cake testers languish dustily at the back of the nation's cupboards.
We didn't replace the breadmaker when it died; its spot is now occupied by the food processor. If we had a slightly larger kitchen I'd get another breadmaker. Assuming a "jam funnel" is the widemouth funnel used to fill home canning jars. How can one live without a rice cooker? Assuming the whisk attachments for the hand mixer and stick blender count as "electric whisks". Assuming the electronic candy/fry thermometer counts as a "sugar thermometer." I had to Google up "mouli mill", turns out it's what I call a "food mill" and couldn't make chili without it...
(Later: hey, no italic "have it but don't use it"! I'm proud. We did only dump the last tea strainer a couple months ago..)
August 17th, 2009
I suppose I should be happy this doesn't happen any more than it does. On the way back from the local Mexican grocery store, Lin and I got to the intersection two blocks down from the house, saw an SUV turning off the arterial two blocks right, and strolled across the street. The guy in the SUV coasted up to the intersection and *honked*. We glared at him and continued on. He decided he needed to educate us and yelled "you should *look* before you crossed the street!" I informed him (perhaps a bit profanely) that yes, we had looked; he had plenty of time to stop (obviously, since he in fact had stopped without any fuss) and we had the right of way.
Now that I've had a bit of time to reflect, I think he was probably just a recent immigrant; while every state does admit that pedestrians in a crosswalk have the right of way, California is the only place I've lived where pedestrians actually expect to get it...
Current Music: Neil Young but only in my head
July 3rd, 2009
We're at Westercon. We drove down, taking two days and somewhat unconventional route avoiding freeways. From the Bay Area, out CA 120 to Yosimite and over Tioga Pass, stopping at Tuolumne Meadows for a picnic lunch. Pretty, of course, but the bugs were biting and the altitude too high to do much walking around without spending a night acclimating. Then continued CA 120 around south of Mono Lake, stopping at a cute historical display at the other end of the Bodie Railway (built to bring timber to Bodie, now a famous ghost town, which we visited earlier this year.) East to US 6 to Tonopah, with a diversion to visit another ghost town, Candelaria. (Metallic City, the "sin" suburb of Candeleria, was not recognizable.)
Stayed overnight in Tonopah in a entirely adequate Best Western, ate at what was supposed to be the best restaurant in town, a not-very-good Mexican. Tonopah does look like it's headed for ghost town status pretty quickly, and was generally uncharming. I'd recommend Austin if you're looking for a nice out-of-the-way Nevada town. Left Tonopah bright-and-early taking US 95 south through Las Vegas; generally pretty country but empty, empty; after LV took US 93 across Hoover Dam.
Lots of construction around the dam, building a new bridge across the Colorado just south of the dam. The bridge is a good idea; it's really kind of silly to route all the traffic across the dam, but I'm glad I got to do it before the road is rerouted. Given the amount of pedestrian traffic touring the dam, I expect they'll stop allowing vehicle traffic across the top.
Another long, lonely run on route 93 to Kingman, surprisingly running through several thunderstorms along the way. Stopped in Kingman for a much better Mexican lunch at El Palacios in downtown Kingman, and lin_mcallister
even found a knitting/spinning shop a few doors down and bought a new "Navajo" style floor spindle, in hopes Jirel is calming down from kittenhood enough to make spinning possible in the house again. So Kingman was a much more pleasant stop than Tonopah.
Left Kingman on I-40, this being the one spot we couldn't avoid freeways, but shortly turned southeast on US 93 again, a surprisingly good road without much traffic; much more of it was divided 4-lane highway than shown on our reasonably-recent AAA map. 93 ended at US 60 in the extremely boring town of Wickenburg; then US 60 into the Phoenix freeway system Spent more time on 60 than we should have, driving through SURPRISE! and Sun City when we should have taken 303 south to 10. However 303 didn't exist when I first learned my way around the Phoenix freeways so I didn't think of it.
Arrived a the hotel and had even more trouble parking than we had when World Fantasy was in the same hotel; there were many spots closed off for construction, etc. Finally parked and unloaded, finding out at hotel registration that valet parking was included; that will make it easier if we decide to move the truck again.
About all we had the energy for was having a beer and finding dinner. We were sorely disappointed that of the three restaurants and pubs we remembered fondly from World Fantasy, all three were out of business. Restaurants have a short half-life, but three for three was worse than I expected. We ended up walking in to Caffe Boa, an Italian "bistro/wine bar" just across Mill from the west exit of the hotel. Wasn't expecting much, but we were extremely pleased. There were lots of high-priced bottles on the wine list, but picking through the specials yielded an interesting sounding Austrian Pinot Noir at a reasonable price, which turned out to be light and fruity, very nice for the hot steamy weather. I had a cold-cut plate with sopressata, brasaole, and cotto; the sopressata was equivalent to what I'm used to in the Bay Area, but the brasaole (which is basically beef cured like ham) was as good as I had in Florence and the cotto was the best I remember. Then I had ravioli stuffed with artichoke and cheese, served with two sauces, a red and a white. The ravioli were great, obviously fresh pasta and light-but-creamy stuffing. The white sauce was very good but not outstanding, but the red sauce contained a secret ingredient: lots of very good olive oil. Lin had an arugula salad and mushroom risotto, both of which she liked; the risotto was much lighter than what we had in Milan, and contained lots of morels which is always going to please Lin.
After dinner, Lin was too tired to do much; I managed to make it to the San Jose party for an hour or so but was out of energy by 10:30 or so.
Phoenix is apparently experiencing an early season version of the Arizona "monsoon"; it's not only terribly hot as one expect of Phoenix in July, it's humid. Even the locals are complaining.
April 22nd, 2009
Occultation of Venus
I got up at 4:30 this morning to see the moon slide in front of Venus. I hadn't realized just how low in the sky the moon would be; I ended up walking downtown and getting up on top of a 5-story parking ramp in order to see the start. By 6:00 when Venus reappeared, they were up high enough to see from the front yard. The reappearance was more striking, since Venus reappeared off the dark side of the moon; during the disappearance it was hard to judge the exact instant of Venus being obscured instead of just lost in the glare from the moon.
April 19th, 2009
Stratus clouds in the morning; great temp for a bike ride at 10-11 am; too warm in the afternoon so we have a nap. Yah, that's summer.
Current Music: oh bla de oh bla da
March 10th, 2009
Kindle and DRM
I decided to take the plunge and buy a Kindle, since we're doing an overseas trip soon and it would be nice to carry a selection of books without having to lug the weight. I have some old e-books in DRM-protected Mobipocket format that I read on my Palm. Kindle basically uses the Mobipocket format(Amazon bought Mobipocket.) I'm somewhat bemused to find that it's easier to simply strip the DRM completely off than it is to get the old Mobipocket software to give me a copy with the Kindle's serial number.
The Kindle 2 display is very nice, it's about 80% of the way to ink-on-paper; contrast is still a little low. It is kind of like the old Tektronix storage tubes in that turning pages requires a complete erase; the display goes black for an instant, which is better than the Tek bright green flash, and at least there isn't the terrifying high-voltage pop that accompanied storage tube erasures.
According to my scale, it masses 290 grams. A handy 390-page mass market size paperback is 192. The hardback I'm currently reading is 982.
January 11th, 2009
Lin and I were talking over dinner about how hard it must be to be a freshman college English teacher. Come up with 4 novels each quarter than you are sure are worth the time it takes to read them, and which lead to interesting discussions in class; that requires them to be thematically linked. Here's what we came up with:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Beloved, Toni Morrison
Catch 22, Joseph Heller
War and Peace, Leon Tolstoy
Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane
The Lord of the Rings, J R R Tolkien
The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert A. Heinlein
The Dispossessed, Ursula K. Le Guin
December 26th, 2008
-- places away from home stayed overnight, starred if more than one night.
South Wales, NY *
South Kohala, Hawai'i County, HI*
South Lake Tahoe, CA
near Bishop, CA