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Kevin Standlee: Fandom Is My Way of Life
 
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Kevin Standlee's LiveJournal:

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Monday, August 22nd, 2016
10:38 pm
2016 Worldcon Road Trip Day 7: Kansas City MO to Pratt KS
We slept in a couple of hours this morning (and needed it, and it wasn't enough), then got up and spent a couple of hours packing the room and moving everything back to the minivan. We have more stuff than when we started, partially because we agreed to bring back some Worldcon 76 San José material and also because I now have the Ballot Box of WSFS with the Box of Westercon/NASFiC nested inside it. Lisa managed to make it all fit.

There's no step-free access to the garage. We brought our gear down on a cart to the top of the six or seven steps, then started to carry the bits over to the minivan. This wasn't a long distance, as we'd parked pretty close (arriving early helps). A hotel employee showed up and helped us lump the boxes and stuff over to the minivan and took the cart back for us as well, which was a help. And he wasn't even part of the bell staff.

When we tried to exit the garage, we hit a snag. There was no attendant, and the automated system at the gate didn't work. I pushed the call button as other vehicles began to queue up behind us. An attendant came running. When she couldn't get the box to release the ticket, she waved an override key over it and let us go without paying. That's seven days of free parking at $12/day, so hooray for malfunctioning automated gates!

I drove us out of the garage and to the front of the hotel, ran inside and checked out, and Lisa took over the driving, which she plans to do for most of this trip if possible. We later determined that as far as we can tell, when we rounded the block to circle around to head for I-35, the minvan achieved its current Farthest East — that is, it's the farthest east we've ever driven the vehicle. It was about Noon on Monday, and we were heading home.

Restart the Clock on the Road TripCollapse )

During the drive to Pratt, we called ahead to where we're staying tomorrow night. I confirmed that, despite the way the IHG web site describes the rooms there, they do have bathtubs, not just shower stalls. Because of that, we changed our plans to stay two nights at Pueblo CO and cancelled our reservation at Colorado Springs (savings $25) rather than having to shift hotels a relatively short distance. It means a little bit of back-tracking after our first train trip on Wednesday, but it's surely going to be worth it by saving us a day of moving in and out of hotels.

I'd hoped for an early night tonight, and still may get it, but doing the laundry and trying to catch up on e-mail and accounting is taking a lot of time.

Current Mood: tired
Sunday, August 21st, 2016
11:58 pm
Worldcon 2016 Day 5: And So It Ends
I love Worldcon, I really do. But with a couple of exceptions, by the time we get to Day 5, I've had about all I can take and I'm ready to wrap it up. This year was one of those years.

Closing TimeCollapse )

The final meeting did the following things:
  • Gave first passage to "3 Stage Voting," which, if ratified at Helsinki next year, will oblige San José and future Worldcons to include an additional Qualifying Round after the initial nominations, where the members of the current Worldcon only (not the previous/following years' members) will vote to accept or reject each of the top 15 nominees

  • Ratified "E Pluribus Hugo", the attempt to deal with slate voting tactics with voting mathematics. This becomes part of the WSFS Constitution and first affects next year's Worldcon.

  • Ratified "5 & 6" (originally 4 & 6), a proposal that originally would have limited voters to four (changed to five just before the final vote) nominations per category and expending the number of finalist positions on the ballot from five to six. The amendment to change "4" to "5" was a "lesser change" (and thus the proposal doesn't need to be re-ratified) because the current Constitution is effectively 5 & 5 and thus anything between or including the proposed new values of 4 & 6 and the original values would be a lesser change

  • Gave first passage to "EPH+", a "patch job" on the original proposal ratified today intended to improve its behavior based on how historical data behaved when run through the original model.


The items given first passage move on to Helsinki for adoption. As one of the co-sponsors of 3 Stage Voting, I'll have to recuse myself from presiding over it.



The Sunday Business Meeting videos (16 segments of roughly ten minutes each) start with this one.

The Business Meeting adjourned sine die about 12:45.

But Wait, There"s More!Collapse )

As the MPC met, the Tech Team started tearing down all of the audio-visual tech. Lisa packed up the video camera. All that was left was my computers, as I couldn't do video uploads while running the MPC meeting. As quickly as I could, I finished the uploads (that's why Part 13 was initially private and part 15 was initially mislabeled), tore down the computers, and took them back to the hotel.

Stowing our gear in the minivan, we returned to the convention center as fast as our abused feet could carry us, claimed our groats (volunteer vouchers), and dashed off to redeem them for lunch at the convention food services. Except that the only one left was the hamburger stand, which was out of burgers and hot dogs and had only a few weak sandwiches. The pizza and BBQ stands were done. We redeemed the vouchers for what we could get — we had to eat now! — and made the best of it.

Tearing It DownCollapse )

I took a bunch more photos, and would like to write about them, but it's late and we're checking out in the morning to start driving west. If time permits tomorrow, I'll write the postscript of the post-closing ceremony part of the final day of the 2016 Worldcon.

I am knackered. Lisa and I spent six hours a day, four of the days of Worldcon, and then put in a full day (and full evening into late night) each day. It's no wonder that we wish we had scheduled an extra day here in Kansas City just to sleep.

Current Mood: exhausted
Saturday, August 20th, 2016
11:59 pm
Worldcon 2016 Day 4: From Hugos to Hugos
The WSFS Business Meeting ran the full three hours scheduled, and would have run longer if possible.

Getting Ready to Argue Hugo RulesCollapse )

We adjourned for the day just before 1 PM, leaving a whole lot of stuff left to argue on Sunday. For the second year in a row, we have a Sunday Business Meeting. After the 1 PM adjournment we rearranged the room for the Worldcon Chairs Photo Shoot.



Lisa video taped the chairs after the still photos were taken. I'll post still photos to Flickr later.

After getting the Business Meeting videos uploaded and the gear packed, we locked up the room, trudged to the hotel, stored our gear, then went back to the convention center to have lunch and spend the roughly three hours we had "free" today.

In The Exhibit HallCollapse )

After a too-short time in the convention hall, I went back to the hotel while Lisa stayed with her friend pcornelius. Knowing that I would get no dinner tonight, I grabbed a pulled pork sandwich from the food trucks lined up outside the convention center and inhaled it while getting dressed for the Hugo Awards Ceremony. I then returned to the Convention Center and the Grand Ballroom Pat Cadigan Theatre.

Stressful Hugo Awards CoverageCollapse )

I'd really like to write more including an analysis of the Hugo Awards results, but I'm exhausted and have to be up again at 6 AM for the fourth and final WSFS Business Meeting, plus a WSFS MPC meeting after that. I sort of wish we were staying Monday night as well as Sunday because then we could sleep in Monday morning rather than having to push on toward home.

Current Mood: exhausted
1:16 am
Did You Hear This? (Nothing)
Lisa yesterday had a brief abatement of the tinnitus that has been bedeviling her for years. Today, it left her alone entirely. We don't know why, but I can confirm that Lisa is vastly better off when not having to deal with the constant noise in her ears. We can only hope that it will continue to leave her alone.

Current Mood: optimistic
1:13 am
It's Unofficial: San Jose Wins 2018 Worldcon
I made it to my Site Selection voting shift on time for 5 PM. There was a steady stream of last-minute voters, but no long queue when the nearby "volcano" erupted as scheduled at 6 PM.

On to the Ballot CountCollapse )

The results won't be official until after the Business Meeting on Saturday receives the results, but San José outpolled New Orleans 675-594. It was slightly closer than it appears, because due to write-ins and such, the winner needed 651 to get a majority.

Meanwhile, next door, it proved to be the year of the Sans, as San Juan, Puerto Rico won over Valley Forge, Pennsylvania to host the 2017 NASFIC.

After the VoteCollapse )

I spent a bit more than an hour over at the parties, including doing the happy dance a few times over winning the 2018 bid, but we eventually pulled ourselves away and returned to the hotel. Sunday looks to be a long day for me, starting with the Business Meeting setup from 8 AM and ending with the Hugo Awards coverage from just before 8 PM. I wonder if I could possibly get a nap tomorrow afternoon?

Current Mood: tired
Friday, August 19th, 2016
11:55 pm
Barbeque and Trains
After the Business Meeting ended and while we were packing up, garyomaha arrived. As part of a long-ago bet between me and him over the World Series between the Giants and Royals, he and his husband Michael were taking Lisa and me to lunch, in this case at Jack Stack's BBQ. It was an excellent meal of "burnt ends" (a BBQ term with which I was unfamiliar), although my blood sugar shot up to about 230. Perhaps I should have walked back to the hotel.

Visiting Union StationCollapse )

Lisa and I enjoyed our off site afternoon with Gary and Michael a great deal and we are grateful to them taking us to the restaurant and the train station (which I otherwise probably wouldn't have had a chance to see), but duty called me back to the Convention Center, where I was scheduled to work the "closing shift" at Site Selection from 5 to 6 PM, and then to help as part of the San José in 2018 bid's counting team. But that's yet another story.

Current Mood: happy
11:50 pm
Worldcon 2016 Day 3: Giving Us the Business Meeting
Today was the First Main WSFS Business Meeting. Whereas yesterday was about arguing over debate time limits and trying to kill unpopular proposals, today's meeting was substantive business.

The View from the Videography DeskCollapse )

I thought today's meeting went much more smoothly than yesterday, although that is in part the nature of the Preliminary versus the Main Business Meeting.

Business SummaryCollapse )

The first of Friday's WSFS Business Meeting videos was online about halfway through the meeting. The last posted perhaps 30 minutes or so after adjournment.

Later that afternoon I got e-mail from Jared Dashoff asking me to get the room locked up. I wrote back that I'd do so once I got back from lunch, which was off-site, and is another story.

Current Mood: accomplished
Thursday, August 18th, 2016
11:49 pm
Worldcon 2016 Day 2: Busy with Business and Site Selection
Today at Worldcon I was tangled up in Business Meeting work a good chunk of the day, and with Site Selection the rest of the time.

Finishing the Day at Site SelectionCollapse )

It was an early morning for us, but at least the view was nice out the hotel window.

Morning (and Early Afternoon) at the WSFS Preliminary Business MeetingCollapse )

Once the meeting started, there was no time for photographs. I had to concentrate on not only business (some of which involved me), but also getting Business Meeting videos online whenever Lisa could do a cartridge swap to give me files.



Above is the beginning of the 2016 WSFS Business Meeting playlist on YouTube. I was puzzled by the individual segments seeming to be only half the length of last year's meeting. Eventually, I figured this out: Lisa is recording at twice the resolution of last year's recordings. The low-res files come off the proxy card, which is programmed with an upper file-size limit, not a time limit. With twice the resolution, the segments shrink to half the previous length in order to maintain the same maximum size. Thus no segment is more than just under ten minutes long.

Due to another issue with the time-stamps on the segment files, I ended up uploading four of the sixteen files in the wrong order. I have since corrected this, but it took some hours after it was pointed out on Twitter because I simply didn't have enough time to work on it; not if I wanted to eat or carry out my other commitments like that to SJ in 2018.

The Preliminary Business Meeting was long (it used up pretty much all of the scheduled three-hour slot). It mostly consisted of establishing time limits for the debate that will happen at the subsequent meetings and determining the order of the agenda. This meeting can also kill new proposals, and one proposal met the axe: Additional Finalists. Lisa expected this. It was closer than the 81-36 vote suggests, because it takes two-thirds to postpone indefinitely; had six more people voted in favor of consideration, the proposal would have made it to the Main Meeting. However, if anyone pops up again saying "WSFS needs a Strong Man to Give Orders and Disqualify Finalists," we're going to point at what happened today and say, "WSFS refused to even allow the Administrators to add a couple of extra finalists when they think it was necessary; it seems very unlikely that they'll pass rules that allow the Administrators to pick and choose which nominees they consider worthy to be on the ballot. In other words, WSFS just sent a message that it's up to the members to sort out who should be on the ballot. You're not going to get a Strong Man any time soon.

I do wish that people wouldn't take such obvious delight in suggesting lots of different debate time limits. We spent more time voting on debate time limits than we saved by limiting debate!

Despite the huge agenda, we managed to (barely) establish debate limits for every piece of business and adjourned just before 1 PM. It took me most of the next hour to get the remaining video segments online and then get the equipment ready to go back to the minivan and the hotel room. We hope things will go smoothly on Friday, now that the equipment is in place.

Congratulations to Jared Dashoff for his first full day as a Business Meeting chair. He did a good job.

We met up with Linda Deneroff for lunch in the Exhibit hall. I had more stuff to do for the Hugo Awards web site. Cheryl Morgan had helped as well, getting photos of the Hugo Award trophies shared with us up on the Hugo Awards web site. However, I simply didn't have enough time to get things done quickly.

After my shift at Site Selection, Lisa and I went out to dinner with Linda. I had a proper steak dinner for the first time since we got here.

After dinner, Lisa and I went back to the hotel room rather than to the convention. I spend the rest of the evening getting the Hugo Award trophy announcements online. By then, the 1946 Retro-Hugos were complete, and I got the announcement for that online as well. (We weren't covering the Retro-Hugos live.)

I hope things are a little less frantic tomorrow. On the other hand, I'm part of the SJ in 2018 ballot counting team, so I'll be on the 4-6 shift again tomorrow plus counting time. Regrettably, this means I'll miss another chance to perform in Girl Genius Radio Theatre. But Duty Calls.

Current Mood: accomplished
Wednesday, August 17th, 2016
11:59 pm
Worldcon 2016 Day 1: Open to the Public
Today was, relatively speaking, the least-scheduled of our five days of Worldcon. After the CanSMOF Board Meeting, I came back to the room, and instead of my WSFS Captain's uniform, got into my Colonel Chinstrap outfit, and Lisa and travelswithkuma (Lt. Hayes and Pvt. Bear) and I set forth as the Imperial Airship Corps command team. Regrettably, I forgot to get anyone to take a picture of the three of us with my camera, although many other people did take our pictures. It was very entertaining. Lisa had a telegraph key strapped to her wrist that would make click-clack sounds from the relay on her belt, so she would send dispatches from the Colonel. Maybe we'll have a chance to get dressed up again sometime this weekend.

Opening DayCollapse )

After the Opening Ceremonies, the WSFS Mark Protection Committee had a short meeting to confirm that there was nothing more than what is in our written report that we submitted to the Business Meeting. Linda Deneroff and I then went and found Lisa and we headed off to dinner, and ran into Andrew Adams and Emeeli Aro who were also looking for dinner. We set out to use the free streetcar to take us uptown, where we ate at the Homestead Cafe. I had a nice blackened catfish. It's nice to get out for dinner. I'll be surprised if we do that very often. We walked back to the hotels and convention center.

Wednesday Night in the Fan FairCollapse )

Earlier than we would have liked, we headed back to the hotel. Lisa and I got an early look at the room where the Business Meeting will be held, but the tech setup will not start until tomorrow morning. We have to be over there at 8 AM to get set up for a 10 AM start. Other days may be easier, but Thursday is likely to be a little frantic. And we're not the only people working hard on this. I left Business Meeting Chair Jared Dashoff and Secretary Linda Deneroff dealing with the copying of hundreds of copies of WSFS agendas. Everyone is working hard to make this event a success.

Current Mood: nervous
10:57 am
Easing Into Worldcon
My plans of sleeping in this morning were torpedoed by an e-mail received shortly after my last post reminding me that the CanSMOF (Montreal) board of directors was meeting this morning. I met up with my fellow board members, we went to breakfast, and dealt with accumulated business.

On the way back to the hotel, where Lisa was able to sleep in, I took a picture of the banners on the streets around the convention center that welcome MidAmeriCon II to Kansas City.

Kansas City Welcomes WorldconCollapse )

After some of the lightning-fast internet connections at the IHG hotels along our route of travel here this past week, the trickle of bandwidth we have here in Kansas City (upload/download speeds of <1 MBPS) is disappointing. It also means we may not be able to upload the high-definition versions of the Business Meeting videos after all, or at least not until we get somewhere with enough bandwidth to be able to do the job.

Today, if possible, Lisa and I need to go confirm that the room designated for this year's WSFS meetings is set up correctly for the video recording. Also, after the Opening Ceremonies is the WSFS Mark Protection Committee Meeting. The MPC meeting has been put in a room vastly larger than it needs to be, but that's because the room in question is sitting idle at 6 PM today and the convention has no small board rooms available for 15-person gatherings, so we'll make do.

I anticipate donning my WSFS captain's uniform sometime this afternoon, Opening Ceremonies being a "formal occasion" and all that.

Current Mood: relaxed
Tuesday, August 16th, 2016
11:53 pm
2016 Worldcon Road Trip Day 6: York NE to Kansas City MO
We have made it to Kansas City and have picked up our badges for MidAmericon II, the 2016 World Science Fiction Convention. Today's trip was mostly routine, with a side helping of unwanted misadventures. It was a four state day, which is pretty unusual for us, and only three of the four states were planned.

Kansas City, Here We AreCollapse )

I misread the directions and accidentally sent us on a detour into Kansas, where we had to get off at the first exit and reverse direction, but eventually we made it to the hotel. We unloaded one bell cart worth of stuff, Lisa went inside the hotel to wait for me, and I found my way into the parking garage across the street from the Holiday Inn Aladdin. It took me a while to park as I was trying to figure out where the underground entrance to the hotel was. After joining Lisa in the lobby, we took the cart up to our room and unloaded it, then made two more trips to the minivan to carry more stuff up to the room. Unfortunately, the underground connection includes six steps between the hotel basement and the garage, and thus is not suitable for carts. However, on the bright side, we were able to get what is possibly the closest space in the garage to the underground entrance, and thanks to the geometry of the connections to the convention center, we may be able to use the minivan for "forward storage" of some gear for the Business Meeting.

After unpacking most of our stuff for a weeklong stay in the hotel (and bemoaning how small these hotel room are; there are naturally no upgrades available with the heavy occupancy, and this is a downtown boutique hotel, not a suburban one), we headed over to the Convention Center, where registration went routinely (helped by the fact that most of the people working on Registration knew us). I also had two items to deliver: the Ballot Box of Westercon (temporarily re-purposed for NASFiC this year), and an item I had that Exhibits had requested for one of those displays. Fortunately, we ran into Kate Secor of Site Selection and was able to give her the box, and then I popped up to the Exhibits office to deliver the other item. The other things I have are site selection ballots that I am hand-carrying for others, and they can't be delivered until tomorrow.

San Jose in 2018 SetupCollapse )

Initially Lisa and I hoped to get to bed early, but we enjoyed our dinner at BRGR so much that before we knew it it was after 10 PM, we'd missed being able to get to the downtown grocery store before it closed, and we really needed to get back to our hotel to finish unpacking and try to get some sleep.

Tomorrow we don't have any early morning commitments (unlike the remaining four days of the convention). We're slightly fortunate in that the Business Meeting is in the function room closest to the hotel, and accessible through the underground walkway. Tomorrow, however, we are not setting the alarm. It's the last time we'll be able to sleep in until Labor Day weekend, I think.

Thus ends the 6th day of our Worldcon Road Trip. The count now stops while we actually do the Worldcon, and will restart when we leave Kansas City for the drive home next Monday.

Current Mood: accomplished
Monday, August 15th, 2016
11:59 pm
2016 Worldcon Road Trip Day 5: North Platte to York NE
In one sense, Lisa and I have been taking a two week vacation in two phases, interrupted by a Worldcon in the middle of it. Today was the last day of the first phase of that vacation. As with the other posts in this series, there are many more photos on Flickr than what I'm posting here: click through to see the others.

We started in North Platte, where after loading out from the hotel, our first stop (after a brief visit to a convenient Walgreen's to pick up some necessary supplies) was the Golden Spike Observation Tower at Union Pacific's Bailey Yard, the largest railroad yard in the world.

They Need a Taller TowerCollapse )

After the Golden Spike Tower, we went to Cody Park, where there is a small but impressive train display.

The Cody Park ChallengerCollapse )

We left a $5 donation with the volunteer staffing the small station within the park. I wish we could have stayed longer, but while we had deliberately cut back our trip legs to do things like this, we still had a couple hundred miles to travel today. Had we realized how interesting the rail-related things here in North Platte would be, we might have considered trying to stay two nights, spending an entire day doing local tourism, and pushing all the way to Kansas City tomorrow.

Driven Off the FreewayCollapse )

Just after 7 PM, we pulled in to the Holiday Inn Express at York. While unpacking the car, Lisa discovered that the charger cable that recharges the batteries on her radio had broken. This is not good. Lisa uses her radios to generate static to mask the severe tinnitus in her left ear. (This is why she usually is seen with an earplug in one ear.) She carries multiple batteries, and one of them had already broken. Fortunately, Lisa had come prepared.

That Steampunk Stuff Isn"t Just for ShowCollapse )

After dealing with the repairs, it was time for the mundane: we needed to do laundry now so that we don't have to do so during Worldcon. Although apparently there is a guest laundry facility at the Holiday Inn Aladdin in Kansas City, we really do not want to spend any part of Worldcon hanging around a coin laundry. There are much better ways of spending our time there.

Tomorrow we put aside the tourism and head to Kansas City. Many of our friends are already there working on the set-up. We hope to get into KC in the mid-afternoon, not too early to check in to our hotel and not too late to pick up our credentials and possibly help with set-up in some way.

Current Mood: tired
Sunday, August 14th, 2016
11:59 pm
2016 Worldcon Road Trip Day 4: Cheyenne WY to North Platte NE
Today's planned journey was only about 250 miles, but we seriously took our time doing it, because there was so much to see. When we checked in to the Cheyenne Holiday Inn Express last night, I told the front desk agent that we'd be driving to North Platte, Nebraska today and he said, "Well, you'll be very bored." Boy, was he wrong.

As with the other entries in this series, click through to Flickr to see more photos. I hope some of you are doing so. I've been cataloging and tagging them all.

Wyoming Transportation MuseumCollapse )

We had budgeted two hours for the museum. It wasn't enough. At least three would have been better. As it was, I felt I was rushing, because I like to read displays and look at things.

In the gift shop, Lisa bought me a big thick two-volume history of the Union Pacific railroad as a birthday present. (My birthday is August 27.) We then set off to leave Cheyenne and pick up a couple of "targets of opportunity" on the way out of town.

Cheyenne"s Big Boy and the Merci TrainCollapse )

After refueling (wow, gasoline for less than $2/gallon!) on the outskirts of Cheyenne, we got onto I-80 and sped east toward Nebraska. We pulled off at the Welcome Center at Kimball, collected maps, and got away from the freeway, as it was our plan to try and stay on US-30 and follow the railroad today.

Museums We Couldn"t Visit, and a Detour into ColoradoCollapse )

Thanks to our circuitous route and moving into the Central Time Zone after Paxton, we did not get to the Holiday Inn Express in North Platte until nearly 10 PM local time. Tomorrow we backtrack slightly to go over to the Golden Spike Tower overlooking UP's Bailey Yard. Lisa has been studying maps of the yard to get an idea of what we'll be looking at tomorrow.

Current Mood: tired
Saturday, August 13th, 2016
11:59 pm
2016 Worldcon Road Trip Day 3: Rock Springs to Cheyenne WY
Today's trip was from Rock Springs to Cheyenne, Wyoming, a relatively short trip as things go, and had we simply powered across Wyoming on I-80, we would have been there around 3 PM. However, our relaxed schedule allowed us to make lots of side trips to look at things that took our fancy.

I added more than fifty new photos and videos to my Flickr account today. Click through any of the photos below to see the other related photos.

Where We Ended UpCollapse )

Although we finished the day with a trip to look at a railroad pyramid, it took a lot of traveling to get there.

Some People Think Wyoming is Boring. We Don"t AgreeCollapse )

Although our emphasis was on trains, there were other things to see.

More than TrainsCollapse )

After Wagonhound, I suggested that we stop in Laramie and have lunch there as we did eight years ago on our trip to the Denver Worldcon, and Lisa readily agreed.

Returning to the Railroad ThemeCollapse )

I suggested that we leave the Interstate for a while and follow the UP tracks a bit south and east, working off of the state highway map and our railroad timetables. Lisa agreed, and I tried to navigate us to where we wanted to go.

Laramie to Cheyenne, via Hermosa (with Bonus Antelope)Collapse )

We had one last stop before heading to the hotel in Cheyenne.

The Highest (and Smallest) Town on Interstate 80Collapse )

Around 8 PM, with hours of sight-seeing behind us, we pulled in to the Holiday Inn Express in west Cheyenne. This hotel wasn't quite as nice as the one in Rock Springs, but the room had a bathtub, which Lisa appreciated after a long day in the saddle driving us east.

Tomorrow we start out by checking out the Cheyenne Railroad Depot, after which we plan to make the relatively short run to North Platte, Nebraska, probably taking US-30 (and following the railroad) as much as it is practical to do so.

Current Mood: tired
Friday, August 12th, 2016
11:59 pm
2016 Worldcon Road Trip Day 2: Wendover NV to Rock Springs WY
Today's travel mostly repeated an equivalent day on our 2008 trip to Denver for Worldcon, although we didn't have the unwanted auto repair adventure in Wells. (We hope the difficulty with the blower motor earlier this week was sufficient sacrifice to the minivan.)

Last night, while unpacking at the Rainbow Hotel in Wendover, I realized that I'd left my electric razor back home in Fernley. This is particularly galling because I specifically remember getting the razor (a second one that I'd bought so I'd have one in the Rolling Stone all the time) packed and ready to go. Apparently, I set the bag aside and forgot to actually put it in my luggage. I made do with my backup blade razor, but this was not going to be a viable long-term solution because I have really sensitive skin. Still, there was nothing to be done about it immediately, so we got breakfast, packed the van, and set out east. Lisa continued to drive us, leaving me free to take photos from time to time.

There are many photos behind the cuts here. There are even more on my Flickr account; click through any photo to go see the others if you are interested.

Across the Salt Flats to SLCCollapse )

In Salt Lake City, we stopped at a Target store to look for an electric razor for me. I feared that I was going to have to buy a model that had more bells and whistles than I wanted just to get the features that I did want. Fortunately, we found a model that was almost perfect, other than not being the same as my current two razors (so the parts can't be shared between them). On the other hand, this one might become my new preferred model for road trips, because it doesn't require a drop-in charger; the charger just plugs directly into the base of the razor. In any event, Worldcon is spared my "fashionable stubble" look this year.

Salt Lake City to Echo CanyonCollapse )

Not far beyond Echo Canyon, I-80 enters Wyoming. I was amused that the Wyoming port of entry (truck inspection station) is so close to the border that the exit is numbered using the Utah sequence.

Western WyomingCollapse )

We had been getting steadily farther behind schedule as the day wore on, but that's okay, as we had lots of time to spare. Passing through Green River, Lisa decided to go look at the railroad there, and that turned out to be a really good decision.

Green River YardCollapse )

We continued on to Rock Springs, where tonight we are staying in the Holiday Inn, where we stayed on August 3, 2008. Today's trip was under far more pleasant circumstances than eight years ago, although we still had to do a room shuffle to find a room with a bathtub (not just a shower stall) in it.

Bus TagCollapse )

We're very happy to have given ourselves time today to stop and sightsee. Tomorrow is similarly planned so that if we find stuff we want to look at, we don't have to skip it due to an iron timetable.

Current Mood: happy
9:41 pm
Blast From The Past: 2015 WSFS Business Meeting Video
Wizard's Tower Press is sponsoring the software needed to convert the higher-quality WSFS Business Meeting videos to a usable (i.e. YouTube-compatible) format. The ability to get the lower-quality-but-much-easier-to-upload proxy files was underwritten by a grant from Detcon II, the 2014 NASFiC in Detroit, for which we give our continued thanks.

In order to get my head around how to make Adobe Premiere work, earlier this month I started working on converting the 2015 Business Meeting video for Saturday's meeting to one continuous file in the higher quality format. I got that done, but the file is huge, and my home internet upload speed is such that it would have taken all day and all night to upload the files. However, the hotel in which I'm staying tonight has very good wired internet connectivity with a sufficiently high speed that I could actually upload the file. Therefore: presented for your amusement is the 2015 WSFS Business Meeting Saturday (Site Selection) Business Meeting recorded in Spokane.

During MidAmeriCon II, the plan is for me to upload the lower-resolution "proxy" files as soon as they come off the camera. (These are maximum 20 minute segments, and upload relatively quickly). As time permits (and I have a second computer for this purpose), I will also take the camera's native MXF format files and convert them to higher-quality video and upload those files when I can.

Note that the audio on both files is the same. It's only the video quality that is different. If you are curious about the difference, have a look at the files in the following two YouTube playlists:

2015 WSFS Business Meeting (Lower Quality): These are the lower-quality "proxy" files uploaded as individual segments relatively quickly. Many of these files were online while the later parts of the same meeting were still happening.

2015 WSFS Business Meeting (Higher Quality): These are higher-quality video files generated from the camera's native MXF format files. pcornelius did the first two days during Sasquan, but we didn't get the other two days done while in Spokane, and uploading the resulting files is cumbersome due to their size.

When my time permits (probably sometime later this year), I plan to finally convert the 2015 Sunday meeting and upload it when I get access to sufficient bandwidth to do so.

Current Mood: accomplished
Thursday, August 11th, 2016
11:59 pm
2016 Worldcon Road Trip Day 1: Fernley to Wendover NV
Thanks to a generous co-worker taking over from me early, we were able to leave Fernley at 1:45 this afternoon, a bit more than an hour earlier than I originally planned. Lisa had been packing the minivan throughout the morning, so when I got the word that I could leave, all I had to do was shut down and pack away my computer, run through the secure-the-property checklist with Lisa, and we could go.

On the Road AgainCollapse )

It's just as well that we started early, because we lose an hour coming to Wendover, inasmuch as they are on Mountain Time, sensibly enough, given that their clientele is mostly coming from the east. Fortunately, tomorrow's trip is shorter than today's, and so we can afford to start a bit late if necessary.

Current Mood: tired
11:09 am
Staging for Worldcon
Yesterday while I was working, Lisa went and washed the Astro and started the process of cleaning it out in preparation for packing for Kansas City. After work, we refueled the minivan and picked up last-minute items from Walgreen's, where I finally cashed in the pile of points I'd accumulated with them for $50 in store credit, which is useful given how much money I've been spending lately.

Because of uncertainty over whether we'd really be able to leave on Thursday, I couldn't make hotel reservations along the way until last night. Particularly tricky is our first stop in Wendover NV, where it's Speed Week at the nearby Bonneville Salt Flats, constraining hotel capacity. Fortunately, because we can leave Thursday, that means we're actually allowed to book a hotel room tonight — most of the hotels are either full or requiring two-night stays if you want to be there on Friday or Saturday.

Taking It In StagesCollapse )

We'll be staying at the Holiday Inn Aladdin while in Kansas City. An annoyance of the property is that it apparently has no self parking at all — it's valet only. There appear to be parking garages in the area. We don't like using valet parking, even when it's free, which it is not here. Access to our vehicle during the trip without having to wait for a valet is important to us, even if we don't plan on driving anywhere. (Locals familiar with downtown Kansas City are welcome to make parking suggestions.)

We were spoiled last year at Spokane staying in the Doubletree, with the Spokane Convention Center wrapped around the hotel, and with easy access to both our vehicle (parked about as close to the room where the Business Meeting was held as was legally possible) and our hotel room. The Aladdin is a couple of blocks from the KC Convention Center, and we're not looking forward to trudging back and forth with all of our camera and computer gear.

The Return TripCollapse )

In a few hours, I'll be able to hand over my work to a co-worker and Lisa and I can finish packing the minivan, travelswithkuma can take his place in the Command Seat (center back seat in the car seat Lisa built for him), and hit the road. I'm anxious to get going.

Current Mood: excited
Wednesday, August 10th, 2016
7:34 am
So Far, So Cold
Lisa and I drove to Reno last night for the final shopping (and a trip to AAA for maps of all of the states along our route of travel — yes, we still use paper maps) before the Worldcon trip, which starts on Thursday afternoon as soon as I can get off work. This was an initial road trip for the repairs Lisa made to the blower motor. Everything seems to be holding. The blower produces plenty of air to keep us comfortable, and the motor didn't burn out for lack of cooling air to itself. Fingers remain crossed that it will hold together for this trip.

Current Mood: hopeful
Tuesday, August 9th, 2016
3:19 pm
Not Enough Luck for Kuma Bear
travelswithkuma, AKA Keno Bear, was the hero for winning 6/7 on our keno ticket on Sunday night, but he was disappointed because we've promised to buy him his own fish tank full of fish if we ever get the 7/7 winner.

Current Mood: amused
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