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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    Saturday, May 23rd, 2015
    9:04 pm
    Bonus Saturday at BayCon
    Thanks to getting the minivan back this morning, I was actually able to get down to BayCon today. However, because I also needed to get an oil change, by the time I got there, the only panel I really was deeply interested in attending (discussing the current Hugo Controversy) was mostly ending. I spent most of the day behind the Sasquan table, although I did get an opportunity to walk through the Art Show and buy books in the Dealer's Room. I also had my blood pressure riled up mightily by a puppy apologist who has bought completely into the story that the Hugo Awards for the past decade have been dominated by a secret slate of works decreed by Tor Book and voted upon by the large number of Tor employees who have all been funded and ordered to vote by the Sekrit Slate. Still, aside from that one person, who proves that not all Puppies are short-term, never-been-part-of-Worldcon-fandom fans, it was a pretty good day. I want to thank all of the people who have been following my writing here and elsewhere and who have come by to say nice things about the work I've been doing. It's reassuring, really.

    There wasn't a lot I wanted to do in evening programming, and I'm too stressed and tired to do the evening parties (and the party floor at BayCon has been pretty dire ever since they moved to the Santa Clara property anyway), so I decided to head back to the hotel in Newark and eat the last of my groceries here for dinner, and maybe turn in early. I won't be going back to BayCon tomorrow, but will instead head home by way of Sacramento and visiting my sister.

    One minor worry: while driving into the parking garage in Santa Clara, the Service Engine Soon light briefly flashed on. It hasn't come back on, but I'm still concerned. The van needs to be ready for a long road trip.

    When I got back to the hotel, I had a message from Lisa, who went to the Nevada State Railroad Museum for the official roll-out of the restored locomotive Glenbrook. She had a great time and I'm sure I would have enjoyed it. Can't be in two places at once, however.

    Current Mood: optimistic
    10:16 am
    Some Simplification, I Hope
    The rental car had to be back at 9 AM this morning or else I'd incur another $84 even if I dropped it tomorrow morning, because Enterprise Fremont is closed Sunday and Memorial Day and the "meter" runs until they're open again. They were backed up with people picking up cars, so I dropped the contract and keys, saying I'd be back later (I expected needing them to take me back to the motel). I walked over to Fremont Wheel & Brake, and saw that while the shop was closed, my mechanic was working on my van. I knocked, but he couldn't hear me. I waited a while until he happened to be looking toward the window and he called out, "I'll be with you in a minute!" He did a few more things, opened the door, and said, "I'll be right back; I need to take your van for a spin around the block, and I think I can give it back to you now." Elated, I stood watch over his shop while he did the short test drive.

    I Have the Minivan Back!Collapse )

    Here's hoping everything works now. And once again, if you are in the Fremont CA area and want an excellent general mechanic who will charge you fairly and do excellent work, go talk to Cory at Fremont Wheel & Brake, because I cannot say enough good things about him.

    Current Mood: relieved
    Friday, May 22nd, 2015
    10:09 pm
    Life Getting Complicated
    My mechanic has fixed the problem whereby the van would die when the engine idle dropped below a certain point, but now there's not enough high-end power. He worked on it all day today and into the evening without a solution, and he's going to come in tomorrow to work on it because I'm a good customer and he's a good guy, but he doesn't know if he can fix it. How I'm going to proceed after that I do not know. I've extended my hotel stay another night (through Saturday), but the rental car is due back by 9 AM Saturday, and if I can't return it by then, I'm effectively going to be charged through Tuesday morning because Enterprise rent-a-car isn't open on Sunday or holidays.

    I'm thinking I may go ahead and go to BayCon tomorrow morning and leave either when my mechanic calls or 2 PM, which ever is earlier. But then what do I do if I can't get the van back? The current idea is that I would need to get Enterprise to take me back to the hotel, and then have a taxi take me to the train station on Sunday morning very early to catch a train that I hope will get me back to Reno on Sunday. I need to check availability. Logistics are complicated. And expensive.

    I went down to BayCon for a few hours this afternoon and evening, which I enjoyed, but after the Meet the Guests and the call from my mechanic, I simply got too stressed out to enjoy the rest of the evening and decided to come back to the hotel room and try to rest. The Memorial Day Weekend is not looking like much of a holiday.

    Lisa is now working on versions of Plan B: getting the RV ready to go as the vehicle to which we will travel to Spokane/Portland/Seaside. Expensive as all get-out, but at least we do have the plan in reserve.

    Current Mood: worried
    11:28 am
    What a Mess
    It's a good thing that I didn't have a first-thing-this-morning meeting, because I was delayed getting to Day Jobbe on account of having difficulty getting away from where I've been staying this week.

    Messy Accident in NewarkCollapse )

    As I gingerly pulled out of the motel's parking lot, dodging incoming tow trucks, I cast an eye toward that KTVU camera. I couldn't see the specific model, but I could see that it was a Panasonic P2 series, which means it's in the same class as the camera that Lisa bought for our Business Meeting coverage. Now I sort of wish I'd wandered up to check out exactly which model of P2 they were using.

    Because of the street closure, I had to go the long way around, several miles out of my way, to get to work, but there was no harm done to me. It's probably just as well that I wasn't in a hurry to get going this morning, because there seems to be a non-zero chance that I might have found myself in the middle of that crack-up had I been leaving a couple of hours earlier.

    Current Mood: relieved
    Thursday, May 21st, 2015
    4:04 pm
    My Minivan Ate My BayCon
    My mechanic tells me that he thinks he'll be able to get my minivan running again (air-idle control valve or something like that; I was driving and couldn't write it down), but I can't get it back until late on Friday. This sort of scrambles up a bunch of my travel logistics, and on top of it all I have a bunch of extra auto expenses to pay including $41/day worth of rental car. So I've had to cancel my hotel reservation for BayCon in favor of staying just one more night (Friday) in the Roach Motel in Newark. I hope to be at BayCon for a while on Friday evening and Saturday morning, but I reckon I need to go home Saturday afternoon to try offset at least some of the extra expenses I've run up. This is particularly irritating with the long road trip to Spokane/Portland/Seaside coming up next week.

    I guess I'm glad I wasn't actually booked into doing any specific things for anyone at BayCon this weekend. I apologize if anyone was counting on me for anything; I won't be around much, save parts of Friday evening and Saturday morning.

    Current Mood: annoyed
    Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
    1:27 pm
    Didn't Just Fall Off the Turnip Truck
    From some of the suggestions and questions I'm getting, I think there are people who must think this is the first WSFS Business Meeting over which I've presided (even when those people have attended and participated in meetings over which I presided). I also think there are people who think that those of us organizing the Business Meeting haven't heard anything at all about this Puppygate stuff, and feel the need to explain to me all about it. I suppose they're all well-meaning, but it does get wearing after a while. Presumably this is what it feels like to be Mansplained to.

    Current Mood: annoyed
    Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
    9:01 am
    By The Bay
    I was too tired after getting back from last night's BASFA meeting to fire up the computer and post anything, but there wasn't much to say from me anyway. I got down to the Bay Area on Sunday night, and Sunday morning nursed my minivan to my mechanic's shop and walked over to Enterprise rent-a-car, collected my rental, and drove to my dentist for a periodic cleaning and check-up. My dentist recommends that the next time I'm in his office (November), we also replace two very old fillings on one side of my mouth, then do the other two old fillings on the other side the following spring. This preventive maintenance seems like a good idea and also fits within the annual dental benefits on my healthcare coverage.

    Because I didn't drive the RV, I'm staying in a (cheap by Bay Area standards) motel not too far from my office. Nevertheless, this will be a very expensive week. How expensive overall depends on what my mechanic finds wrong with the Astro.

    Current Mood: working
    Sunday, May 17th, 2015
    7:17 am
    By the Book
    In my mailbox on Friday was a package containing this book, which I was unable to buy in person at any bookstore in Reno/Sparks that I checked.

    The Latest EditionCollapse )

    RONR 11, as the book is abbreviated, is 669 pages of main text not counting the index, a 50-page introduction on the history and development of parliamentary law, and a 48-page procedural supplement. I'm now in the process of re-reading the whole thing cover-to-cover, which I have not done in some years.

    Current Mood: busy
    Saturday, May 16th, 2015
    10:21 am
    Worldcon Site Selection
    This year's Worldcon has a Site Selection Frequently Asked Questions, but it's apparently still ambiguous to some people based on a recent Twitter exchange. I'm going to try and explain it again, for the benefit of people who possibly have never voted on a Worldcon Site Selection before. Bias Alert: I am a director of the Montreal in 2017 bid committee's parent non-profit corporation and am listed as one of their committee on the ballot.

    Skip This If You Don"t Care About Worldcon Site SelectionCollapse )

    I think Site Selection nearly always sounds confusing to people first coming to the process. The process is primarily designed for the convenience of the people who vote every year. If you vote in every Site Selection election, then in any given year, you're only paying for the membership in the two-years-hence Worldcon because you paid for your membership to this year's Worldcon two years ago. If a site you plan to attend wins, you then immediately convert to an Attending membership (at the lowest possible rate); if you don't plan on attending the winning site, you don't convert, but you already have a Supporting membership in that convention, so you're all paid up and will be able to participate in the two-years-hence Worldcon as a Supporting member, including the Hugo voting that year and (upon payment of another ASM) the election of the Worldcon site two years after that.

    ETA: Apparently at least one person thought that the two conditions were OR instead of AND, so I've clarified that you must be a member of both the current Worldcon and of the 2017 Worldcon by paying the ASM. It's both, not either.

    Current Mood: thoughtful
    9:50 am
    It Takes a Village to Raise a Hugo
    I realized when asked for a citation to the story below that I'd never posted it to my LJ, which is my "journal of record" as compared to things like Facebook.

    I went a little long on a reply from someone insisting that the Solution to Puppygate was for the Worldcon to show proper Executive Leadership by ignoring those tedious written rules and taking unilateral (and unauthorized) action like Real Corporate Leaders. Here's a version of what I wrote:

    Worldcon is Like a Small TownCollapse )

    I don't have a problem with Executives or Big Business. I work for a large corporation and know the president of my 5000-plus employee company decently well from the days when he was a director and I was a junior analyst. What I do have a problem with is people who try to apply Big Business Dictatorship solutions to Small Town Democracy problems.

    Current Mood: thoughtful
    Friday, May 15th, 2015
    10:28 am
    Mr. Chairman!
    Having spent most of my twenty years with my current employer at the company's corporate headquarters, I've been through several office moves. At each one, there has been a purge of older office furniture, and I've usually made the most of it. This means my home office is furnished with cast-offs from corporate. Usually these have been serviceable-but-beat-up chairs and the like, and they've lasted a long time. However, I'm a big guy, and hard on chairs. One of the two chairs I got from the last purge failed some months ago, and lately the other one (same design) started to give way. Lisa salvaged parts from the first chair to keep the second one alive, but it was clear that time was short and I needed a new chair. We looked at what was in the big box stores, but they seemed overpriced and under-capacity. Most of them had 225 pound or less capacity, and I weigh 300 pounds.

    Yesterday, after collecting the RV from the shop, we went to an office furniture warehouse near Reno airport. Looking around, we found a good, solid chair with a 350 pound capacity, high back, adjustable armrests, and a metal frame (not the plastic frame that the two now-failing older chairs had). The price was pretty good, too, as it was a former showroom display model. For less than the cost of most of the chairs at the OfficeBoxes, I got a better quality chair that feels stronger. Getting it into the RV was a bit of a challenge (for all that the RV is big, it doesn't have much cargo space), but we managed.

    The Bear TestCollapse )

    The only fault I've found so far is that the new chair has less lumbar support, and inasmuch as I am in the chair ten hours a day, that could be an issue. I'll probably get a lumbar-support pillow. Otherwise, it's very comfortable and I'm glad we bought it.

    Current Mood: comfortable
    10:10 am
    Stabilizer Finally Fixed
    Back in December, the steering stabilizer fell off of the RV, and the original fix was done wrong, resulting in the RV acting like it was always in a slight crosswind because it only corrected one direction. The shop had difficulty getting the parts they actually needed, and then there was some missed communication between them and me. Yesterday, everything finally came together. Lisa and I drove the Rolling Stone to Reno and left it at Safari RV, then walked to the Atlantis for lunch. (As usual, as long as the Atlantis does 2-for-1 lunches on Thursday, we try to make Thursday our day to do errands if I can get away from work long enough to do so.) Upon our return, the repairs were done.

    That"s More Like ItCollapse )

    The RV drove much better going home. On a straight stretch of road, you can release the wheel and it will track completely straight, which makes the drive a lot less stressful than fighting a tendency to pull to one side for 300 miles.

    Somewhat ironically, I won't need the RV for more than a month, because I am driving the minivan to the Bay Area for next week's work trip (I want to take it to my favored mechanic before the Spokane trip at the end of this month) and then I won't be in the Bay Area again for many weeks. On the other hand, if the repairs to the Astro don't go as planned, the Rolling Stone is our back-up vehicle for the Spokane-Portland-Seaside trip at the end of May. (It's expensive to drive at only 9 miles per gallon, but a comfortable ride.)

    Current Mood: pleased
    Thursday, May 14th, 2015
    8:23 am
    2015 WSFS Business Meeting Agenda
    There is now a page on the Sasquan web site listing the items of new business submitted to the 2015 WSFS Business Meeting. This only covers things that have actually been submitted to us, not the many different things people are talking about. We'll update this page as we receive new submissions.

    Before we even get to New Business, this year's meeting will consider the Business Passed On (warning: PDF) from last year. The only changes to the WSFS Constitution that can affect next year's Worldcon are the items on the Business Passed On. No, you cannot "suspend the Bylaws" and pass "emergency changes" to the Hugo Award rules that take effect immediately. The WSFS Constitution is deliberately designed to prevent people from rushing headlong into making changes like that, and there's no way around it. (If you think that's bad and there should be some way to Change Everything Immediately, consider what any particular group of bad actors who wanted to wreck everything could do in a single year.)

    Before submitting business, read the Main Business Meeting page which includes the submission address and also the Guide to Business Meetings page with more in-depth material. You'll save yourself quite a bit of time if you read this before you go haring off with assumptions about how things work or what the rules are.

    I seem to spend a lot of time telling people variations of, "You know, if you actually read the rule in question [reference here], you'd know that it doesn't work like you're speculating it does."

    Current Mood: thoughful
    Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
    10:35 am
    Fandom is a Pot-Luck Dinner
    Long time readers will have seen this before, but I was prompted by something I read on Making Light about so-called "Puppy" authors who perceive themselves to being no longer invited to SF conventions because of their disruptive behavior with this year's Hugo Awards, and the apparent statements of, "But that will hurt your conventions' attendance!" from those people. The short answer to such statements is "why should we care?" Here's the longer version, based on what I posted to ML.

    Fandom is not a For-Profit BusinessCollapse )

    One of the cultural disconnects of "winning the culture war," as Moshe Feder once put it, and of SF/F becoming so much a part of popular culture, is that you have a lot of people attempting to apply the commercial model to a fundamentally non-commercial venture. When you point out to these people that "This isn't our business; it's our hobby, and we're not in it to make a profit," they look at you blankly, because they can't conceive of anyone ever doing that much work unless they were Getting Paid.

    Current Mood: thoughtful
    Monday, May 11th, 2015
    9:52 am
    Match Game at Worldcon: Game Back On
    I'm pleased to announce that it looks like we'll be able to do one show of Match Game SF at this year's Worldcon in Spokane after all.

    Behind the ScenesCollapse )

    I thank those of you who sent messages saying they were disappointed that they wouldn't get to see our show in Spokane. That was a contributing factor toward our seeing if there was any way we could make it work while still living up to our primary commitments to WSFS.

    Current Mood: happy
    Sunday, May 10th, 2015
    10:19 am
    Museum Day
    When we renewed our membership in the Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum, we learned that it includes admission not just to the NSRM, but to six other state museums, only one of which (the East Ely museum) we visited recently. So on Saturday, we drove over to Carson City to visit the one we'd been to many years ago, the Nevada State Museum at Carson City. The museum is located in the former Carson City Mint, and not surprisingly there is a good portion of the museum dedicated to the former mint operations. We thought of pcornelius and Lisa said, "Take a picture!" when we got to the coin/mint operations section.

    Watch Your FingersCollapse )

    The nice thing about having a free admission to a museum near where you live is that you don't feel pressured to look at everything and read everything. We'll go back another day to look at the exhibits we missed yesterday. We also will make a point of going to the Reno museum, and probably someday the Las Vegas one, and of course we must find time to to the NSRM Boulder City as well, although unfortunately our next trip that direction is likely to be when they are not operating.

    Current Mood: cheerful
    Saturday, May 9th, 2015
    8:54 am
    Missed a Pitch
    Having logged more than 40 hours of work at Day Jobbe by late Thursday night, I was in a position to leave early Friday, at least after I dealt with a few last-minute brush fires supporting one of our European offices at the end of their day. (Which was something of an advantage, coming in at 6 AM Pacific Time.) So I got out of town at 10:30 AM and set off for home via Altamont Pass.

    Don"t Take Me Out to the Ball GameCollapse )

    Despite the time I spent working on the road at Lodi Junction and with Kelli in Sacramento, I still got out of the Sacramento area before the worst of the Friday afternoon traffic formed, and it was a relatively routine drive home. Of course the days are much longer now, but I surprised Lisa by getting home before sunset.

    Current Mood: cheerful
    8:38 am
    It Shouldn't Get Any Worse
    As some of you may recall, we had a water main break this past month. It's fixed how, and this month's water bill came: 7000 gallons. The previous month was 4000. Given our usage patterns here, we have a hard time believing that we were using 4K gallons, so our theory continues to be that there was a leak all along, and that last month it just got bad enough that we noticed and had it fixed. We'll see next month where the level goes.

    Current Mood: tired
    Friday, May 8th, 2015
    7:29 am
    Match Game at Westercon: Call for Questions
    Okay, folks, we've been scheduled to do three shows of Match Game SF at Westercon 68, and while I can and will recycle questions from past shows, I always prefer to use as many new questions as possible, so once again I turn to the readers to submit fill-in-the-blank questions for our next show.

    What Makes a Good Match Game QuestionCollapse )

    You can send your questions to me by using my LJ handle @livejournal.com (this gets forwarded to me), or to kastandlee [at] gmail.com. I'll turn on comment moderation for this LJ post as well, so if you prefer to make it as a comment to this post, the questions won't be spoiled for everyone else.

    Questions should preferably have something to do with SF/F/Fandom. References to Westercon and Worldcon and other conventions are good too.

    Current Mood: hopeful
    Thursday, May 7th, 2015
    7:12 am
    More About Worldcon Supporting Memberships
    This material is adapted from a post I made at Making Light to refute the assertion that this year's Worldcon is Rolling in Dough from all of those extra Worldcon supporting memberships, presumably being made by people who think that the cost incurred by the Worldcon to service each supporting membership is Zero, and therefore the $40 revenue is "pure profit." This assumption is wrong, and I went back through the data I have to show how wrong it might be.

    Supporting Memberships Aren"t Free MoneyCollapse )

    So the analysis suggests that there is roughly $70,000 in additional usable surplus (after paying the costs of servicing the additional memberships) for Sasquan from all current supporting memberships. While this is obviously welcome enough, also isn't nearly as much money as you might think it is. A modern Worldcon is going to cost on the order of $1 million, and thus this amounts to about 7% of the Worldcon's total budget in extra money. It's good, but it's not the Mountain of Cash that some people seem to think it is.

    Again, it's not that Sasquan is unhappy at getting more money. (When you have a convention center that charges $1/day/chair to rent the chairs in the function rooms and similar nickle-and-dime charges, you need all the money you can bring in.) It's just that people have been assuming that there's a lot more money available to spend than there really is likely to be.

    Current Mood: thoughful
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