Kevin Standlee: Fandom Is My Way of Life|
[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
Kevin Standlee's LiveJournal:
[ << Previous 20 ]
[ << Previous 20 ]
|Friday, March 7th, 2014|
|Shuffling Off to Union City
One of the goals of the IHG promotion I need to complete is "stay in four different IHG" brands. Holiday Inn and HI Express are easy. I need two more. So tomorrow I go up to Union City and spend one night at the Crowne Plaza there. This evening after work, I settled my laundry and got stuff packed that I didn't need tonight.
It would be logistically easier to not switch hotels twice in the middle of these stays, but the likely payoff from doing so (and not spending a whole lot more than I would have anyway on hotel rooms) is to pay for most of the London stay on points. Given that Loncon 3 doesn't have to fret over making a hotel block or worry about attrition the way most US-based Worldcons do, if I can put all of my nights there on points, it really is a Big Win (that being the name of the promotion). Current Mood: optimistic
|Wednesday, March 5th, 2014|
|Eye Yai Yai
This afternoon was my annual diabetic eye exam, which means dilated pupils and a lost afternoon because my close-in vision is ruined for hours when they do that. Fortunately, my prescription sunglasses more or less kept me able to see enough to drive around. I was conveniently located to return a piece of IKEA kit I'd purchased on my last trip that turns out to be the wrong size for what we wanted. The return went smoothly, and I headed back to the hotel to lie down in a dark room and wait for my vision to come back.
BTW, there are no problems with my vision other than being tired from spending way too many hours staring at computer screens, including the extra time I'll have to be doing so tomorrow to make up for taking the afternoon off to go to the doctor. I'd originally hoped to group this with my regular medical exam (next week), but the schedules wouldn't work out; fortunately, my ordinary physical doesn't leave me half-blind for hours. Current Mood: tired
|Tuesday, March 4th, 2014|
Being at BASFA until the Bitter End (because of the Hugo Discussion nights) plus being up at 5 AM to be at work for another ten-hour day is a bad combination. Accordingly, I have little to say tonight as visions of data structures dog me while I try to get ready to bed.
Thanks to the folks at BASFA for their support. I'll get the club's 2014 Hugo recommendations posted by this weekend. The 1939 Retro-Hugo recommendations (for works published in 1938) will take one more week because we have one more Monday (next week) for discussions. Current Mood: exhausted
|Monday, March 3rd, 2014|
|Sunday, March 2nd, 2014|
|Back to San Jose
I headed out from Fernley this morning and got over the pass before the slushy light snow at the summit turned into more serious snow. West of there, and for most of the rest of the drive I had to deal with light to torrential rain. I'm not complaining; we desperately need more rain (and snow up higher; I want snow amounts like what stranded the City of San Francisco
back in 1952). But unlike the maniacs out there who think that heavy rain means "go faster," I slow down in the snow and rain, and that means it took longer than my already relatively sedate pace to get to San Jose. I left Fernley about 9:30 AM and arrived at my hotel in San Jose, 300 miles later at 6:30 PM, having stopped for lunch at the Black Bear Diner in Auburn, and having made several other stops along the way as well.
Now I need to get unpacked and deal with some things I put off all of last week and now have no more time to delay on account of I need them by tomorrow night at the BASFA meeting. Current Mood: tired
|Saturday, March 1st, 2014|
|You'd Think I'd Learn
...that trying to go grocery shopping on the first day of the month, particularly when that falls on a weekend, is a bad idea, considering that we did the same thing a month ago. But forget we did, and once again we balked when we got to Winco and found the store so full that there were no shopping carts. We'd done some shopping earlier at Whole Foods Market and Grocery Outlet, and Lisa says she has more than enough to keep her going for the next two weeks, so not to worry.
This morning we went to the El Dorado for their brunch, which was better than I thought it would be, and reasonably priced, too.
And the Internet exploded over Loncon 3's choice (and later that same day, the withdrawal) of a host for their Hugo Awards ceremony. It's interesting to me that a whole lot of Americans said, "Who?" when they heard the name. I am deeply conflicted over what happened, given my own history as a former Worldcon chair and as a past Worldcon Events Division head.
One side point: In the many, many electrons spilled over this mess, someone wrote (approximately), "The Hugo Awards ceremony doesn't need to be two hours long. It wasn't that long in 2005." Well, while I don't have the exact timings (which I did do, obsessive as I was about it at the time), I don't think we were quite that breathlessly quick. I responded, "The Hugo ceremony in Glasgow in 2005 did run more than two hours; however, it probably didn't feel that long because, unlike most such events, we actually started on time." And we did, to the extent that there were people who turned up at 8:20 because "these things always start at least a half hour late" and who were cheesed off that we'd started on time.
("How dare you have the 5:20 express train actually leave at 5:20!" was a cry of annoyed commuters when the Rock Island resolved to clean up their chronically delayed commuter rail service. Commuters had gotten so used to the trains' late performance that they'd adjusted, to be dismayed by trains that actually ran to schedule.) Current Mood: thoughtful
|Friday, February 28th, 2014|
This morning, a pain started developing in my the muscles in my back around my right shoulder, and it got worse as the morning progressed. By noon, it was getting really bad. I informed my co-workers that, having logged 48 hours by lunchtime today this week, they should not expect to hear from me the rest of the day.
Lisa put on rubber gloves and rubbed capsicum ointment on my back (she's very sensitive to the ointment herself which is why she needs to wear gloves to apply it). I tried to lay on my stomach and actually managed to nap for half an hour or so, and felt a little better, but it's still bugging me. Too much time at the keyboard and mouse, I think. Current Mood: pained
|Wednesday, February 26th, 2014|
|Train vs. Truck: Everyone Loses
Just as Lisa and I were getting ready to drive over to the grocery store this evening, the radio scanner lit up as a Union Pacific train crew radioed the dispatcher and said, "We just hit a truck at milepost 273.5."( Tying up the mainline the hard wayCollapse )
While this was disruptive for the railroad, disturbing for the crew, and of course devastating for the owner of the now-ex-pickup truck, all in all everyone got lucky. There could easily have been three dead people on the tracks, victims of their own stupidity in trying to drive over a railroad track without benefit of a grade crossing, and a derailed train and injured or killed crew. As it was, there was only property damage, delay, and inconvenience, and an expensive lesson for a foolish pickup truck driver. Current Mood: contemplative
|Tuesday, February 25th, 2014|
In this case, I'm talking about a railroad frog
, specifically the one in the switch off the Union Pacific mainline in front of our house that leads into the switching leads that form a miniature yard where BNSF switches cars nearly every day.( A Tale of Two Switch-FrogsCollapse )
I wish I could have watched more of how the work was going out there, but (a) there's no good view out the front of the house (because it's dominated by the fireplace) and (b) I'm very busy with Day Jobbe, working 10 hour days to try and meet a client deadline, so I simply can't take gobs of time to watch other people work, no matter how fascinating it is. Current Mood: tired
|Monday, February 24th, 2014|
|Wood We Do
Sunday afternoon, Lisa hitched the utility trailer to the Big Orange Van and pulled the trailer with a pallet of Douglas fir alongside the fence so we could unload it. We filled the wood box back up, then put the overage onto a pallet alongside the wood box and covered it with plastic in case we do get some rain.
The wooden sides of the utility trailer consist of eight-foot-long 2x10s, and they are worn out. While in Mehama, Lisa had managed to replace some of the 2x10s, but the upper ones are failing quickly. After lunch, we drove the trailer over to Lowe's, intending to buy some pressure-treated 2x10s. The ones Lisa did in Oregon she treated herself with wood preservative, but it was so much hassle that we wanted to go ahead and buy pre-treated wood and be done with it. Except that Lowe's doesn't sell pressure-treated wood in that size, only 2x8 and 2x12. So rather than buy untreated boards, we balked entirely. (If it turns out we can't find 2x10s that we want, we might have to buy untreated 2x10s and paint them. In this climate, the anti-rot wood-preservative treatment is less important than it was in Oregon.)
After putting the utility trailer and Big Orange Van away, we drove (in my van, which is more comfortable) over to Big R in Fallon, where we bought nine more paving stones, which should complete the project to cover the dirt area between the sidewalk and the wood box so that we don't have to walk in the dirt (or sometimes mud) when getting wood for the fire.
On the way home, Lisa suggested we stop for dinner at Fernley's newest restaurant: Denny's. A Denny's opened in the new Terrible's Truck Stop-Casino that opened a few months ago near the old Truck Inn. (The Truck Inn closed before we moved to Fernley and was demolished. All that's left is its distinctive sign
visible from the freeway.) We had a coupon good for a dinner discount, so we went, and also checked out our town's newest casino.
They have one of the multi-player blackjack machines that I'd only seen in Las Vegas before. After signing up for their slot club (not that we'll likely ever gamble enough to make it worthwhile), Lisa sat down to play. We played the first few hands using basic strategy and lost them all. Lisa then decided to play things her way. She was dealt a hard 17 versus a dealer 6. She doubled down. I wailed, "What! No!" The double-down card came: a 2! She won the hand and ended up breaking even on blackjack and cashing out. My head spun. Or maybe it was just the fatigue catching up with me as we headed home after a generally productive day. Current Mood: tired
|Sunday, February 23rd, 2014|
|Circle Trip to Trains
Because we did our weekly grocery shopping in Reno after the ill-fated dentist appointment on Thursday, this weekend we had no specific commitments. It was a rare weekend when I was home and we didn't have something we had
to do. Furthermore, the weather was lovely and springlike (which is unfortunate for the long term, but when it's raining soup, grab a bucket). So Lisa suggested a bit of a joy ride. We first drove to Reno, then headed south just to check out the I-580/US-395 extension we'd watched being built for years, over which we'd never driven before. We continued south to Carson City, had lunch at the Nugget across from the Capitol, and went to the Nevada State Railroad Museum
. We've visited the NSRM a number of times, and this visit originally was intended to only be trip to the gift store.( But we stayed a bit longerCollapse )
After our longer-than-planned stop at the museum, we stopped for Jamba Juice, then headed home, but not by the route we'd come there. We looped back by way of US-50 and then US-50A, turning north at Silver Springs.
I don't get enough days "off" like that. I hope to get more of them in the future. There are other day trips we plan to make, such as a visit to Fort Churchill State Park
and the Western Pacific Railroad Museum
in Portola. Current Mood: cheerful
|Saturday, February 22nd, 2014|
Along the front fence of this house there is a verge set off by bricks, where previous owners planted trees and other plants. I have decided upon a small experiment. Given how well our two rose bushes have reacted to being watered with coffee squeezings (and the water from cooking pasta), I've dug a shallow trench in the verge and will be putting the coffee grounds in it and covering it back up with dirt. Later this year I may try to plant some flowers (maybe some California poppies) and see if they like the caffeinated soil. Lisa saw me doing this and said, "You'll never get a coffee tree to grow in this climate, you know." Current Mood: amused
|Friday, February 21st, 2014|
|Into the Crawlspace
This afternoon, Lisa got kitted up (old clothes, coveralls, dust mask) and climbed under the house to explore the prospect of running an additional 220V electrical circuit from the master box (which has room for one and only one more such connection) under the house to the forward bathroom. If she can run the wire, we can hire our preferred plumbing company to put in an electric hot water heater and to restore much of the ground floor plumbing, which would go a long way toward making the house more habitable.
There are many other electrical projects we want to do, but they are all on hold until we can talk to the contractor with whom we've previously worked (they replaced the cracked floor joists) to discuss them digging a conduit under Front Street in front of our house (which of course involves getting the necessary permits from the city) preparatory to undergrounding a new utility drop from NV Energy to our box, which will then allow an electrical contractor to replace our underpowered 100A box with a proper 200A box with plenty of room for new circuits. After all, pinball machines need dedicated power circuits; they draw a lot of juice.
Lisa concludes that the project is feasible, although there are tricky elements (not a whole lot of room in the existing electrical conduit for another wire, for starters). This weekend we need to measure more closely to determine how much wire we'll need to buy to do the job. She'd prefer 8 gauge wire to give some leeway, but probably will have to use the somewhat thinner 10 gauge if the calculations show that it is sufficient for the circuit she wants to install.
While she was down there, she reacted with great annoyance to the large amounts of scrap pipe and old busted heating conduit laying about under the house, and she made an effort to pass some of the junk out the access port to me. Various workers over the years doing repairs and upgrades have simply left junk down there rather than cleaning up when they were through, and she doesn't like it, as it makes it hard to crawl around there to get work done. Current Mood: optimistic
|Wednesday, February 19th, 2014|
|2016 Worldcon Site Selection Bidders
The deadline for filing a bid to host the 2016 Worldcon has passed, and there are two bidders
: The expected bid from Kansas City, and the out-of-left-field bid for Beijing.
For those people who I call the "Yellow Peril Protestors," I wouldn't worry, if the Beijing bid filing is any indication of their competence. Their cover letter is from one organization, their organizational papers are a cut-and-paste of Spokane's parent corporation (and therefore contain Washington-state-specific references), and their facilities agreement is with a third name, apparently a social media company in China called Guokr. But in any event, the chance of this being an Official Chinese Government Project to Buy Worldcon seems highly unlikely. I'm not expecting Loncon to suddenly see a huge inrush of supporting members of Good Party Members all with an address of a post office box in Hong Kong or something like that. Current Mood: thoughtful
|Tuesday, February 18th, 2014|
In a meeting today, when asked if I had a particular piece of information, I said, "Well, I don't have 27 eight by ten color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one...." and not one other person in the meeting got the reference at all. That was when I noticed that I was the oldest person in the room, and Alice's Restaurant
was really more of my mother's generation than my own anyway. (I was two years old when the album was first released, and first remember hearing it at age 10.) Current Mood: amused
|Monday, February 17th, 2014|
|Boxes and Desks
This afternoon, Lisa came in to my office (that is, our living room) looking very winded. She'd unloaded my minvan and put all of the boxes away, except those that were to come into the house. Among those were a piece of IKEA kit; an extension for my pair of desks that I someday hope to use in the upstairs office when we get it habitable (water, heat, air conditioning) again. But without even opening the boxes, we could see that the extension (which we'd intended to use to join the pair of desks) is too large. It's the only size they make for that type of desk, but it isn't going to work. Fortunately, the boxes haven't even been opened, and so I should be able to return them with no difficulty (other than getting up to Palo Alto) when I next go to the Bay Area.
Lisa says that that the garage's storage capacity is approaching, given that we want to still be able to park one vehicle (the Small Orange Pickup) in there. We'll have to do some serious thinking before I bring another load of boxes home. Unfortunately, there are at least one or two van-loads of boxes left in the locker. It is at least possible that we might end up renting a smaller locker in Fernley for stuff that won't fit anywhere in the house. Current Mood: tired
|Sunday, February 16th, 2014|
Lisa drove us in the Big Orange Van to Reno/Sparks today to do a large-scale shopping restock. She hadn't been into Reno since our last trip (where we balked on grocery shopping due to a multiple-convergent madness) and the larder, while not bare, needed refilling. We started with the Atlantis bunch, which prevented us from over-purchasing groceries. We got pretty lucky again, queue-wise. When we arrived, there were only three groups ahead of us. By the time we left, the queue stretched well back into the casino. If we had just arrived, we would have balked.
We made our usual stops an Cost Plus, Whole Foods, Grocery Outlet, and Winco before heading home. No excitement. The wind storms are gone for now, and the weather is very spring-like. (Boo, hiss, we need snow and rain!) Aside from needing to clean out the dust (Lisa has been using the leaf blower to try and clear away the accumlations), we plan to try and spend the rest of the day doing very little. I need the rest. Current Mood: sleepy
|Saturday, February 15th, 2014|
|Fog, Rain, Snow, and Wind
The title of this message includes all the different inclement weather conditions I encountered today on my drive home to Fernley from the Bay Area.( Tumbleweeds the Size of SheepCollapse )
I got back home to Fernley just after sundown, stopping to pick up a few groceries along the way. Lisa has had a very disordered sleep schedule these past few days and had warned me that she'd probably be asleep in the trailer when I got home (she was) and that it would be best to leave her be (I did). She's been busy in the house, putting up a new light fixture in the living room that throws a whole lot more light on what has been a dreadfully dark room.
Not that I would have unpacked the van in the dark anyhow, but I'm happy to leave it sitting there weighed down with 30 or 40 boxes of books. The way this wind is blowing (dust storm warnings are up), I might find the van blown halfway to Fallon tomorrow morning otherwise. Current Mood: tired
|Friday, February 14th, 2014|
|Restraining Myself Slightly
I'm feeling particularly snarky today, but I'll restrain myself just a little bit from responding to people whose own sense of entitlement trumps all. But I have a strong feeling that I'm following a group of Oblivious Slow Moving People who are walking four abreast blocking a hallway right now, and who will react with Great Offense if I ask them to move aside long enough to let me pass them. Current Mood: grumpy
|Monday, February 10th, 2014|