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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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Saturday, April 29th, 2017
7:58 am
Good Day For Travel
My train is running roughly an hour late, so I won't be able to get breakfast on board; however, that meant I did have time to walk to the Wigwam Restaurant and have breakfast there. (And also win it back on a free-play slot coupon.) On the way home, I was taken by how clear the weather was today.

Literally Not a Cloud in the SkyCollapse )

It was only just above freezing, but it did not feel that cold due to all of the sunshine and no wind.

According to the Amtrak web site, my train is now just passing the US-95 grade crossing south of I-80, so it's about time for me to shut down and finish packing so Lisa can take me to Reno.

Current Mood: cheerful
Friday, April 28th, 2017
8:03 pm
No Sleeping In
As of this evening, the train that I'll be catching at Reno tomorrow morning around 8:30 AM was through Green River UT on time, so I'll need to be up tomorrow as if it were a usual work day for me. But that's okay. If I get tired, I can sleep on the train. I've confirmed with my mechanic that I'll be able to collect the Astro from him. I haven't picked a hotel yet because it will depend on when I actually get to Fremont. When the Zephyr hits everything right, there's a negative connection at Emeryville (i.e. I can connect to at train that leaves before the Zephyr's scheduled arrival at EMY, because that includes almost an hour of "recovery time."), and if that happens, I can go farther tomorrow night before laying over.

Current Mood: optimistic
Thursday, April 27th, 2017
8:09 pm
Enjoying That Time Sink
I've been enjoying walking down to the bowling center and playing pinball the last few weeks since I discovered they had a copy of Medieval Madness, and I've been doing pretty well on it. In fact, I have all of the high scores. It's getting harder, though, because as it detects better players (i.e. me) it starts ratcheting up the points needed for a free game. When I first started, it was 10 million. It's now 24, and whenever you win a free game, it bumps it up another 12 million for the next game, and so on.

For all that the people at the Frontier Fun Center have taken to calling me "Tommy," there's a lot more to master on that game. I'm really only about halfway through all of the challenges. But I'm having a good time, and it doesn't cost too much, either.

Current Mood: happy
Wednesday, April 26th, 2017
5:42 pm
Train Time Ahead
I confirmed with my mechanic in Fremont the arrangements for me reclaiming the Astro this weekend. It's a good thing I didn't try to go on Saturday when he had gone away on a trip; it was parked trapped behind other vehicles in his yard. I have therefore purchased a one-way ticket Reno-Emeryville-Fremont for this Saturday. I'll collect the minivan and stay in a hotel somewhere between Fremont and Sacramento, visit my sister on Sunday, and drive home. Theoretically I could just drive home on Saturday, but I don't want to risk it. Unlike the RV, I can't just easily pull over and take a nap. (I did once stop for the night at the Gold Run rest area on I-80 when driving home in the Rolling Stone because I'd gotten away from work so late that day.)

I'm looking forward to the train ride through the Sierra with all of the snow they've had up there. The drive home is less fun, of course. I'm glad that I don't have to make the trips as often as I used to do.

Current Mood: optimistic
Tuesday, April 25th, 2017
4:24 pm
Bonus Train
Early this morning (I'm still working Central Zone hours), I heard on the radio scanner the Union Pacific dispatcher telling a train near us (at Darwin siding, about ten miles east) that they'd been put in the siting because of a "hot passenger train." That seemed odd to me, because Amtrak wasn't due for a couple more hours. A bit later, the dispatcher told the "Fernley Flyer" that they could go down to the east end of Fernley siding and wait for the "hot passenger train" to go by.

I got an idea of what other kind of passenger train UP might be running, and a took a short break from work to go look. My timing was good.

Special Coming Through!Collapse )

Trains like this have very high priority (they usually have important railroad officials on board), so the dispatcher was clearing everything into sidings to make room for it.

Current Mood: cheerful
Monday, April 24th, 2017
8:33 pm
Spring Lizards
Yesterday started off gloomy and overcast, but the sun came out and it warmed to a comfortable temperature. I kitted up in my coveralls, Lisa got out the electric chainsaw, and she cut branches from the small cottonwood trees along the west fence line. I raked brush into a pile, and used hand clippers to get rid of the smaller growth, then fed the branches as Lisa cut them into burnable-sized pieces. When we were done, we had somewhat reduced the fire hazard on the fence line, and had a wheelbarrow-load of cottonwood, which we hope will dry out over the summer and provide for a day or possibly two of heat next autumn.

Later in the day, Lisa called me outside to have a look at something. "George is back!" she said.

Hello, George!Collapse )

Today, in contract to the warm, sunny conditions yesterday afternoon, was cold and blustery. I ended up kindling a fire in the fireplace for the first time in a week. Apparently it was snowing up in the Sierra Nevada, but it didn't even rain here. However, it felt particularly cold when you got out into the wind. I assume the lizards retreated, waiting for sunnier days.

Current Mood: cheerful
Sunday, April 23rd, 2017
12:55 pm
YA Award Proposal Naming: Rethinking Scope of Change
Some months ago, I gave a prospective opinion regarding whether the WSFS Business Meeting in Helsinki this year would be able to apply a name to the proposed YA Award (not a Hugo Award) without having to go through the re-ratification process. At that time, I said that attempting to apply a name to the award would increase the scope of the constitutional amendment and require re-ratification. Since then, I have given the issue more thought, studied the wording of the constitutional amendment, and discussed it with the other members of the WSFS Nitpicking and Flyspecking Committee, and I have come to a new conclusion. I have changed my mind, but only in a limited way.

I now currently intend to rule that the WSFS Business Meeting in Helsinki can apply a name to the YA Award, but only if it does so after ratifying the pending proposal, and not before voting on ratification.

Here's the ReasoningCollapse )

I advise the proponents of this proposal, should they wish to propose a name for the proposed YA Award, to submit any naming resolution as a new constitutional amendment, with a provision that it only be considered after the YA Award ratification is voted upon, and of course only if the YA Award is ratified.

As I said, I've discussed this with the other members of the WSFS Nitpicking & Flyspecking Committee, and all of the members who expressed an opinion agree with my reasoning. Of course, this is still likely to be controversial, and (like the original proposed ruling), I anticipate that it will be appealed, so ultimately, a majority of the members present and voting in Helsinki will decide. As with my original opinion, I think it's sufficiently important that I'm getting this announcement out here now rather than dropping it out of the blue in Helsinki.

Current Mood: thoughtful
Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
8:57 pm
Shopping Saturday
Because we called off the originally planned trip to the Bay Area by train today (it's just as well; the train was three hours late), we instead went and did a fair bit of shopping. travelswithkuma and I got to hang around a bit.

Hanging Out With Kuma BearCollapse )

By the time we finished all of the grocery shopping, we were getting hungry, so we went to the Sparks Nugget and had a very late lunch or early dinner at the Oyster Bar. The food is as good as usual there. How well the resort is doing overall is another story. They're doing a big renovation. It sort of looks like the Gilley's "cowboy" nightclub they put into the space where Trader Dick's Polynesian restaurant used to be is closed down. Whether that's permanent or not, I haven't heard. Not that I was ever going to go to Gilley's. I wouldn't ride the mechanical bull even before I hurt my back a few years ago playing "whirlyball" at a company outing in Chicago, and the music there was both too loud and not to my taste. The Nugget just hasn't been the same since the Ascuagas sold it (and then the new owners resold it not long thereafter). But we'll keep going back to the Oyster Bar as long as it's there.

Current Mood: awake
Friday, April 21st, 2017
6:36 pm
Thinking about Helsinki
Expect to see something from me in the next few days about how I plan to handle a proposal coming before this year's WSFS Business Meeting. No, I'm not saying anything else today, because I'm too tired to write about it tonight.

Current Mood: thoughtful
Thursday, April 20th, 2017
7:26 pm
Trip Scratch
I don't actually have to be in the Bay Area next week, so we were working on ways to get the Astro back that don't require Lisa having to make a 600-mile trip in one day. The best plan seemed to be for me to take the train down on Saturday, collect the minivan, and either drive home the same day or go part-way and stay in a hotel, then come home Sunday. The challenge is getting my spare keys back from my mechanic. (I can pay him by phone.) But it turns out that he's on vacation today and tomorrow anyway, and thus I decided it would be better to not even try this weekend. He might have parked my van in a place on his lot where I can't get it out. Furthermore, my National Association of Railroad Passengers discount on Amtrak tickets requires a three-day advance purchase. So I'll talk to him early next week and make plans.

Current Mood: relaxed
Wednesday, April 19th, 2017
10:48 am
They Never Learn (Nor Do They Want To)
As part of my Hugo Award web site tasks, I see a lot of pings against stuff we post to the Hugo Awards site. Today I saw one (no, I won't link to it; they don't deserve the traffic, and there's no way to reply anyway) complaining about how the Hugo "voting committee" gave out No Award to a bunch of things. The fact that there is is no "voting committee" in the form of a tiny, select, probably secret cabal doesn't even cross this poster's mind. Presumably the fact that every member of WSFS — thousands of them, and not difficult to join — can vote, and a huge (relative to previous turnout) proportion of them did so, doesn't mean anything to the poster.

The most generous thing I can think of with willfully ignorant posts like that is such people's minds can't even process the possibility of an award like the Hugo Award being open to vote of anyone who wants to join WSFS. It's a blind spot to them. They assume that of course a tiny group of Bad People make all of the decisions, because of course that's how Things Really Work. In fact, I reckon that this says a lot about how they would run things if you put them in charge.

The really sad and even dangerous thing is that this probably reflects the opinions of a lot of people in a more general sense. Participating in politics is irrelevant. Voting is irrelevant. All decisions are made in secret, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. We just need Strong Man to save us from Bad People. Oh, and Strong Man will never hurt me, because I am Good People.

Current Mood: annoyed
Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
3:22 pm
Bear's Journey to DW
travelswithkuma is now migrated to Dreamwidth, with the same user ID. Posts there are now set up to automatically cross-post to his LJ. New posts should be at Dreamwidth.

I will soon pull the trigger on migrating my own LJ. I'll post here on LJ before I do so, because based on the DW backlog, I'll probably be offline for several days while DW tries to digest my journal.

Current Mood: accomplished
Sunday, April 16th, 2017
8:31 pm
Brushy Stuff
Not a terribly exciting day today, which is fine. After breakfast at the Wigwam followed by pinball at the Frontier Fun Center, I went home and dealt with some Worldcon 76 San Jose business. Then I bit the bullet and got out the garden tools to start trying to cut out and drag away the brush and tumbleweeds that have accumulated on the opposite side of the west fence in the vacant lot next door. Although it's not our property, I feel that without anyone actually managing the property, I have to get that brush away from the fence, on account of it's a fire hazard that would endanger the house if it ever caught fire. After an hour or two of cutting and raking the brush into a pile in the middle of the lot (well away from our fence), a storm started to blow in. The clouds looked suspiciously thunderstorm-like to me. Carrying a metal rake on a vacant lot in a thunderstorm is not an activity that I encourage, so I called it a day with about one-third of our 150 feet of fence cleared.

Current Mood: accomplished
Saturday, April 15th, 2017
9:26 pm
An Evening With the President
On Friday evening, Lisa and I went down to Fernley High School, where we had ticket for an evening with the President.

No, Not the Current One (Thank Goodness)Collapse )

Friday's performance of The Teddy Roosevelt Show, was a benefit for Fernley High School and the Friends of the Historic Truckee Canal, and that's appropriate, because the Truckee Canal and Derby Dam on the Truckee River, which feeds the canal, were the very first project of the Newlands Reclamation Act, authored by Representative (later Senator) Francis G. Newlands of Nevada and signed by President Roosevelt. He (I'll continue to refer to him in character) discussed the act, pointing out that he was able to work in a bi-partisan manner with the other party, and expressed his wish the parties today could return to a spirit of cooperation for the good of the country.

(Aside: Newlands was not a particularly admirable person in other areas, including being an avowed white supremacist who advocated for the repeal of the 15th Amendment; however, the Newlands Reclamation Act made the area where I live habitable.)

We were treated to approximately 90 minutes of a discussion of President Roosevelt's life. He was very good about the anachronisms, starting off with saying, "Spoiler alert: I died in 1919" and, while discussing his repeated attempts to convince the woman who later became is first wife after she told him no, "Today, you'd probably call it 'stalking.'" Also, he was much better at handling the microphone than the people who opened the event and introduced him; that's what Lisa was talking to him about after the show.

He took questions after the show, and I regretted that he ended it before I got a chance to give him a leading question about the formation of the Forest Service so he could tell the story about how he and Gifford Pinchot designated a bunch of national forests just before the law taking away the President's right to do so took effect. I told him about that after the show and he gave me a short precis of the story (with more information than I had hear from growing up on USFS bases) and gave me his card and asked me to write to him about it.

During the show, he talked of how he took a long vacation as President and toured the country, and cracked, "I never played a single round of golf!" While I and a minority of the audience laughed and applauded, a whole lot of other people frowned and/or looked uncomfortable. Fernley voted about 75% Republican in the last election, and I expect a lot of people around here still are heavily supporting the current occupant of the White House.

I had a great time, and today as I looked at the show's exhausting tour schedule, I have even more respect for the man doing it. I said to last night's guest of honor, "Mr. Roosevelt, you are the kind of Republican that I would be happy to vote for today," and I meant it. And I personally suspect that the man who entertained us last night here in Fernley would make a better President than our current one. But I admit that is setting the bar pretty low.

Current Mood: happy
Friday, April 14th, 2017
4:33 pm
Beware the Thumper
A couple of evenings ago, I was returning home from a post-dinner walk (I eat relatively early because of the Central Zone time I need to keep for the Day Jobbe at the moment) and saw that "Big BN," the through BNSF freight, was in the Fernley "House Track" (the small 2-track yard they use in Fernley).

3 Not of a KindCollapse )

Was was actually unusual was that the locomotives were all the way into the House Track. Normally they just switch cars in and out, then collect the rest of their train that they left on the main line, then continue on their way. But as I walked by, I could see that the conductor was in the process of tying down the train, setting the hand brakes, throwing switches, setting derails (devices that will deliberately derail any cars that might otherwise roll onto the main line before they can foul the main), and in particular setting the mainline switch that connects to the house track "for normal movement." (That is, trains on the main will stay on the main.) This is a manual switch, but is connected to the system electrically so that the dispatcher knows when the switch is open and doesn't try to route a train down the main.

What was also highly noticeable was the noise. I don't mean the normal sound of an idling diesel locomotive. I mean the sound of what I think was a sick one. The lead unit of these three was making a loud THUMPA-THUMPA-THUMPA sound, almost like a old single-cylinder vintage engine like those we've seen at the Great Oregon Steam-Up in Brooks. That locomotive sounded like it was in bad shape.

Going inside, I could hear on the radio the crew talking with the dispatcher. The crew was about to do go "dead on the law," meaning that they were at their maximum 12 hours of service, after which time they must stop work immediately, upon pain of losing their licenses. The dispatcher asked if they had parked their train on the main, and they explained that they were so short on time that they had done their set-out and pick-up at Fernley, but then parked the train within the House Tracks. Fortunately, they were relatively short today and there wasn't much waiting in the House Tracks, so there was actually room to squeeze them in there. This made things easier on the dispatcher, because otherwise the Fernley Main would be out of service and trains would have to be routed through the siding, which slows down everything.

A little while later, the crew van came to take the BNSF crew to Sparks. But the lumping locomotive continues. Now Lisa and I like trains, and we're used to train noise, but this was pretty bad. We speculate that one reason why Big BN ran out of hours is that the Thumper wasn't putting out much power, which slowed down their train, and made it so they couldn't complete their work at Fernley and continue on to Sparks without running out of hours.

I had to go to bed, which I did manage despite the Thumper. Lisa says that later that evening, a crew van brought a relief crew to rescue the stranded train. The Thumper finally shut down, or possibly died a final death, just before the relief crew arrived. But problems were not over yet. Apparently the mainline switch got stuck, meaning that the crew had to get permission from the dispatcher to break a seal and operate the interlocking manually, which they did, and which allowed them to leave, but also meant that a track maintainer had to be dispatched to fix the switch and interlocking that protects it. You really don't want an unprotected mainline switch there, not with trains coming through at 60 miles per hour — being unexpectedly turned into the 10 mph House Tracks would ruin your day as well as ours here at Fernley House.

As I say, we like trains, but we were not sad to see (and hear) the BNSF Thumper leave town.

Current Mood: cheerful
Thursday, April 13th, 2017
4:06 pm
Give Blood: Play Pinball
A couple of evenings ago, I walked down to the Frontier Fun Center to play pinball. I've been enjoying playing Medieval Madness, and the machine has been responding by upping the minimum score needed for a free game. (It was 9 million when I first encountered it. It now starts at 12 million.) There are certain shots on the machine that I've learned require putting a bit of "English" on the machine, being careful not to tilt it. At one point, the right flipper felt a bit sticky, and I initially figured that someone had been playing the machine after eating candy. At the end of the ball, I looked more closely, and found that my hand and part of the machine were covered in blood. My blood. I'd nicked my finger on the metal trim of the machine while encouraging the ball to go where I wanted rather than where it was heading, and the cut had been bleeding rather freely, although it did not hurt that I noticed.

I felt fortunate that there were not a bunch of people hanging around the machine waiting to pounce on games left on it. I trotted over to the restroom, washed the blood off my hand and wrapped a paper towel around it, and then went back and cleaned off the affected part of the machine as well. After a while, I could continue playing. Fortunately, no harm was done.

Current Mood: relieved
Wednesday, April 12th, 2017
10:37 am
No Comment
Comments are still queued for travelswithkuma as DreamWidth continues to be hammered with LiveJournal refugees. Let's hope an influx of Paid members keeps DW running for a while.

Current Mood: optimistic
Tuesday, April 11th, 2017
3:29 pm
Bearly There
travelswithkuma's LiveJournal has made it to DreamWidth, but the comments are still queued up. Once that's finished, I will work on linking it back to LJ. After that, it will be time to take the big plunge and migrate my LJ. Since it took Kuma's LJ more than two days to move, mine will probably take a month.

Current Mood: pessimistic
Monday, April 10th, 2017
3:37 pm
Surprising There Were That Many LJ Users Left
We're still waiting for travelswithkuma's journal and comments to make the transfer from LJ to DreamWidth. I'm not going to trigger my own transfer (and set up the link back to LJ from DW) until I've seen Kuma's journal, which is much smaller than mine, moved. If I'm reading the status correctly, there are over 1500 users queued up waiting to have their journals imported to DW.

My own journal is much larger. I may go dark for a few days when I choose to make the jump to DW.

Current Mood: optimistic
Sunday, April 9th, 2017
4:46 pm
Probably Moving
It seems that the revised terms of service for LiveJournal do not technically apply to Permanent and Paid accounts. I have the former, and travelswithkuma has the latter. Nevertheless, it may be that The Time Has Finally Come. I guess I can't say that I didn't get my money's worth with the Permanent account. As I recall, it amounted to seven years of at-that-time annual cost, and I've been posting since August 27, 2005.

After family discussion, we're migrating Kuma's LJ over to DreamWidth first. It's much smaller than mine, so we're using it to get the hang of how to do the migration and setup. His account will be https://travelswithkuma.dreamwidth.org/. The import is currently queued. There's no surprise that there continues to be a long queue of users migrating material into DW from LJ.

I do not currently intend to delete my LiveJournal account. As a permanent member, I don't see why I should. Even if by some chance I manage to do something to run afoul of Russian law, I don't anticipate ever visiting Russia (despite the idea of taking the Trans-Siberian Railroad being intriguing), so I'm not sure how anything could happen other than my journal being deleted.

Current Mood: depressed
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