Kevin Standlee: Fandom Is My Way of Life|
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|Sunday, December 4th, 2016|
|SMOFCon Day 3: And So It Ends
SMOFCon 34 ended a little bit earlier than one might normally expect because they had to be completely out of the wonderful Con Suite space this afternoon because it was booked for a different big event this evening, but it was still a good final day of the convention.( Personal Highlights and Thoughts About the Fannish InquisitionCollapse )
The final item was the Feedback & Closing, the picture of which I took was out of focus so I'm not going to post it. After that, people who had flights left for the airport, although the weather today apparently kept many of them them there for many hours waiting for their flights.( Snow We GoCollapse )
Many people staying over tonight headed out to dinner, but I stayed in the hotel with others. I wasn't up to it. The convention has caught up to me, and I am losing my voice. Right now I sound like Andy Devine
The Dead Dog Party opened in a suite two floors below my room around 8 PM, and I went and spent about 90 minutes there before concluding that having had less than four hours sleep last night (thanks to the P&S Seminar and uploading Fannish Inquisition videos) plus the usual SMOFCon stuff has been too much for me. Besides, I need to pack stuff away for the trip home tomorrow. It's going to be tricky, as I have more with me now than with which I started, so I'm going to have to be very careful to not exceed my luggage weight allowance, and I'll probably have to wear my winter jacket onto the flight instead of putting it in my checked luggage.
Despite having talked my voice away and exhausted myself, I've enjoyed SMOFCon a great deal. I bought my membership to SMOFCon 35
this afternoon. They apparently have more than 50 members already. Save money and buy your membership at the opening $50 price. Next year in Boston! Current Mood: sick
|Saturday, December 3rd, 2016|
|SMOFCon Day 2: Everyone Expected It
I was on two panels today at SMOFCon, but most of my energy was invested in recording the two sessions of the Fannish Inquisition. In the afternoon, the seated NASFiC and Worldcons gave presentations and answered questions. In the evening, it was time for SMOFCon bids, the selection of the site of next year's SMOFCon (Boston), and presentations from and questions for future Worldcon bids.
I am uploading Fannish Inquisition videos to this playlist. As I write this LJ message, not all of the videos have been uploaded, but they should eventually all get there.
One of the interesting parts of this year's Inquisition was the joint participation from SMOFCon South in New Zealand, including a presentations from the New Zealand in 2020 bid via Skype video call.
People were pretty well behaved this year at the Inquisition, and consequently we were done by 10:20. This meant we were able to get the Probability & Statistics Seminar started before 11 PM. 21 people signed up. However, one thing we did not understand was that the Con Suite closing time of 2 PM meant that the hotel actually wanted to lock up the Lounge entirely. We still had the Final Table to play when Hotel Security came to kick us out of the back room where we were playing. They relented a bit and gave us a little extra time, and fortunately the action was so fast at that point that we did manage to get to the point where the final two agreed to "chop." Marah Searle-Kovacevic, as the Top Stack at that point, is allowed to claim the title of Champion of the SMOF Series of Poker for 2016.
It's been a lot of fun here at SMOFCon. Regrettably, it all ends tomorrow, and earlier than we would like, as the Con Suite has to be cleared in the early afternoon. If there is any Sunday evening SMOFCon Dead Dog Party, I have not yet heard of it.
Given how late the Probability & Statistics Seminar went, I'm very glad that I don't have to check out of the hotel on Sunday, and can thus spend Sunday night doing most of my packing. I've kept the Do Not Disturb sign up all weekend so I haven't had to tidy up the room enough for Housekeeping. Current Mood: tired
|Friday, December 2nd, 2016|
|SMOFCon Day 1: Let's Play the Feud!
It was the first official day of SMOFCon 34, with programming in the afternoon and the official opening ceremonies in the evening, followed by socializing and fun, which in this case included a game show.( No, Not Match Game SF, but CloseCollapse )
There's a fairly extensive program going on. I'm on two items tomorrow afternoon, followed by my filming the seated NASFiC and Worldcons' Fannish Inquisition in the afternoon and the Bids in the evening. After the Inquisition is the Probability & Statistics Seminar. This afternoon we discovered that whoever took charge of the gaming chips (which I handed off at SMOFCon 33 in Fort Worth) never got them to Chicago, which threatened to scupper the tournament. However, Dave McCarty has offered to supply his personal chips, which we'll have tomorrow afternoon, and so the day is saved. Nevertheless, we need to find out what happened to the chips handed off in Texas last year, because they actually belong to SMOFCon, inasmuch as San Jose bought two boxes of the things for ongoing use.
On the fannish productivity side, I have filled two area head positions in my division (WSFS) for Worldcon 76 SJ (announcements later once we've filled them in the official staff list). Donald Eastlake III has agreed to be my deputy WSFS Business Meeting chair in Helsinki. That leaves me only one job left for Helsinki for which I need someone, and that's Sergeant-at-Arms. Current Mood: happy
|Thursday, December 1st, 2016|
|SMOFCon Day 0: Flight Delays and Getting There
When I woke up at 4 AM this morning in Sunnyvale, I had an e-mail from United Airlines asking me to call them because of an overbooking condition on my early-morning flight. I called and they explained that due to an equipment change (sounds like a 777 morphed into a 737), there were a lot of people they were trying to get to take a later flight. In exchange for a flight voucher, I let myself be rebooked onto a 10:45 flight, which meant I did not have to rush this morning. I was already up, however, so I finished my morning and got to the airport, beating most of the traffic, and having plenty of time for breakfast at SFO.
I boarded the 777 for my later flight. Because of the issue with the morning flight, this flight was completely full, but we seemed to have loaded pretty much on time. And then we sat. And sat. And sat some more. Apparently the issue was that SFO ground staff wouldn't come and take the trash off the plane from the inbound flight. After an interminable delay, the on-board crew ended up dragging bags of trash down the aisle and tossing them into the jetway so that we could actually leave, albeit about 90 minutes late.
The flight to Chicago was routine, although crowded. I'm glad I got an aisle seat. (I'd asked on the rebooking if I could get Economy Plus, but the only way I could have an E+ seat would have been to move to a center, so I stuck to my aisle seat.) When we got to Chicago, I joined David W. Clark (he had been seated up in E+) and after we claimed our bags, we made our way to the shuttle center and caught a ride over to the Crowne Plaza Rosemont.
Going on down the street (and sharing hotel space with us) is Midwest FurFest
. We SF/F conrunners are so old and boring by comparison.
I registered in the con suite and spent the next few hours hanging around the con suite, what else, smoffing, which is of course the whole point of this event. About 10:30, I realized that I'd not had dinner. As everyone else around had already eaten, I walked over to the hotel restaurant and bought a to-go dinner that I brought back to the con suite (which is a converted former restaurant space in the hotel) so that I didn't have to eat alone.
Friday is lightly programmed, but I do have a 10 AM meeting of the CanSMOF (Montréal Worldcon) board of directors (this and Worldcon are usually the only time we can ever get a quorum), so now I must try to get some sleep. I wish I'd known in advance that my hotel room had a mini-fridge; I would have tried to hunt down a mini-market in the area and get some small supplies. Current Mood: excited
|Wednesday, November 30th, 2016|
|Off to SMOFCon
Tomorrow morning at much too early an hour (but not quite as awful when you account for the time difference), I'm off to SFO to fly to Chicago for SMOFCon 34
, the annual convention about organizing SF/F genre conventions. I'll be on two panels on Saturday and will be recording the Fannish Inquisition, which has been mercifully been split into "seated Worldcons/NASFiC" (afternoon) and "bids for SMOFCon and NASFiC" (evening).
Lisa is not coming, and has sent with me the smaller camera and lighter tripod. The small camera has only a built-in microphone, not the external connections that the professional P2 camera has. We've used it before, but we know the sound is not as good. On the bright side, it generates files directly into MP4 format, so as my time and bandwidth allow it, I will be able to upload the files without having to do any editing on them.
Do not expect uploads immediately after the events. I'm helping run (and playing in) the Probability & Statistics Seminar on Saturday following the Inquisition. Saturday is going to be very busy, and I suspect that I won't be in tip-top condition on Sunday. I will be very surprised if I get anything uploaded until next week when I'm back in the Bay Area. I fly back on Monday mid-day. It's possible (but I make no promises) that I'll be at BASFA next Monday night as well. Current Mood: excited
|Sunday, November 27th, 2016|
|Just In Time
The decision to leave Saturday morning was the right one. Weather from Fernley to Colfax was fine and fair, and based on the updated weather forecast, I even had time to stop for breakfast at the Gold Ranch on the Nevada-California border. At Colfax, I stopped for coffee and could see the ominous clouds rolling overhead, and as I left Colfax, the heavens opened up and I was driving through nearly constant rain, sometimes very heavy, the rest of the day. However, rain I can handle (just slow down, to the dismay of the people who seem to think that rain is an excuse to speed up, but they're welcome to go around me), while snow (which resulted in chain controls being imposed not long after I passed through) is too much for me.
I stopped in Sacramento and visited my sister for a long time, with no time pressure. I'd hoped to make it to the Bay Area before dark, but it does appear that a whole lot of other people saw the same weather forecasts I did, and from Stockton to Fremont I was in nearly-continuous heavy going-home traffic. Still, I was nothing I couldn't handle.
This is my first stint in the Bay Area since the weather turned colder, and I made a typical-for-me mistake of forgetting to open the propane bottle on the RV before buttoning up for the night. The valve is outside. When driving, I keep the valve closed for safety, of course. It doesn't matter during the summer, but in the colder weather, it gets cold enough that I'd like to be able to turn on the RV's furnace for a few minutes in the morning. That's pointless when it only blows cold air. But unlike home, it's only cold, not freezing, and this morning, I simply slept in under the relatively warm blankets. Tomorrow, of course, it's back to work. Current Mood: accomplished
|Saturday, November 26th, 2016|
|Ahead of the Snow
The weather forecasts on Friday afternoon have forced my hand. I very nearly set out last night, but with the latest forecast calling for the snow to hold off over the top until Noon Saturday, I could plug in the Rolling Stone
to ground power (to make sure the batteries were fully charged), start packing yesterday afternoon, and sleep in my own bed last night. However, it's still a two-hour drive to the summit, with another hour or so before I'm out of the snow zone, so I was up just after 5 AM and will be leaving Fernley soon. At least I should have a chance to visit my sister in Sacramento without much time pressure, given that I'm a full day ahead of schedule. Current Mood: anxious
|Friday, November 25th, 2016|
|Fernley House Thanksgiving
Since my grandfather passed away some years ago, and with my sister essentially permanently disabled and confined to a nursing home, my family has stopped gathering for Thanksgiving. Thus Lisa and I have been having what we now consider our traditional meal on Thanksgiving.( Long Time Readers Will Have Seen This BeforeCollapse )
After setting the dishes to clean in the dishwasher, a long walk was indicated before we could eat the pumpkin pie that Lisa had baked. While we'd been eating, we heard booming sounds that had me asking, "Who's jumping on our roof?" It turned out that our neighbors, who are regular attendees of Burning Man, had invited many friends, and had set up a Flame Turkey (a metal sculpture of a turkey with flames fed by a small propane tank), and the booming we were hearing was a propane cannon built into the thing. We walked by and they set it off a couple of times. I would have taken pictures, but I don't think my camera phone would have resolved it properly in the dark.
Today the weather has dawned bright and sunny, but cold. I wish this was Sunday's weather! The latest forecast suggests that if Caltrans can work their usual magic over the summit that I may be able to sneak through mid-day on Sunday, but if not, I may not be able to get to the Bay Area until Tuesday night. I keep checking the forecast and re-evaluating my plans accordingly.
In general, we had no plans for engaging in Mass Consumerism Friday; however, Big R down the road is doing a one-day sale that would include a number of things we've been considering getting anyway, so we'll probably break down and go have a look. Current Mood: peaceful
|Thursday, November 24th, 2016|
|Perhaps We Should Be Grateful
It's remarkable that so many people who insist, loudly and often, that the Hugo Awards are dead and have been for many years, spend so much effort trying to convince other people (but not themselves because they can't be bothered to buy a WSFS membership in order to vote) to participate in them. There are echos of the "Worldcon is doomed, doomed I tell you!" conversations that were old hat before I even found the convention in 1984.
Why don't these people who are so completely certain (or so they say) that the Hugo Awards are washed up, finished, dead, pushing up daisies, etc. concentrate on the awards that they so confidently insisted would overwhelm the entire field and be the One True Awards That Real Fans Give for Real Good Stuff So There Will Be No Need For Any Other Awards Ever Again? They seem pretty unhappy that the members of WSFS continue to hold their convention and present their awards just like they have been doing for many years, including arguing over the rules (which, for those who have been paying attention, was a running theme long before the Puppies showed up).
"Sad" is a good description for people for whom, as far as I can tell, think that the amount of happiness in the world is a finite quantity, so that the only way they can be happy is to make other people unhappy. Current Mood: bemused
|Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016|
We have somewhere between ten and twenty trains per day passing Fernley. Some of them are oddballs. I knew there was a maintenance-of-way train in the area because I'd heard the dispatcher talking to and about it, but I didn't see it until this morning. I was going out to take a short walk around the block when I saw it coming through. Unfortunately, it took longer than I would have liked to activate my camera, so I only got a going-away picture.( MOW TrainCollapse )
This train was sounding its horn freely as it rolled by because there was a track maintainer in a high-rail truck on the siding. After the MOW train passed, the maintainer headed west on his business. Maintainers don't actually get holidays, it seems. They're always on call because railroading is a round-the-clock job, and broken rails or malfunctioning signals don't care if it's Thanksgiving or not. Current Mood: pleased
|Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016|
Lisa and I made a quick trip in to Reno this evening in order to buy a miniature spruce "living Christmas tree." In past years, we've put this off so late that we don't get a good selection, but this time we found one that looked pretty good. The challenge is repotting it after the holiday and trying to get it to stay alive for another year. It's tricky, given that Fernley isn't really the best climate for such trees.
After the errand, we stopped for dinner at the Manhattan Deli at the Atlantis Hotel. We are now sufficient regulars that we know to buy the smaller portions. Their half-sandwiches are bigger than most places' full-sized ones. Current Mood: optimistic
|Monday, November 21st, 2016|
I'm getting increasingly nervous about the weather over Thanksgiving weekend. I need to take the Rolling Stone
back to the Bay Area and work down there for two weeks, with my trip to SMOFCon sandwiched into the middle weekend. However, a series of storms are coming this way, and it could be snowing over Donner Summit every day of the holiday. At the moment, the best prospects may be for me to be able to get across mid-day Saturday, much as I hate having to leave early.
On the bright side, as long as I can squeeze into the Fremont/Centerville "train users" parking lot, I should be able to get back home by taking the train back to Nevada if I can get down there in the first place.
Lisa reminds me that there's a possibility that I might have to leave the RV in the Bay Area for quite a while when I take it down this time, so I should pack accordingly. She has vacuumed it out and made sure the propane furnace will light off, and the water tank (which is full of mostly RV anti-freeze solution) has enough for my sanitary needs, so I should be okay. Current Mood: nervous
|Sunday, November 20th, 2016|
|On Procedural Showdowns
Notwithstanding that I've been the instigator of more than one floor fight at WSFS on procedural issues, I actually would prefer to avoid them whenever possible. We have so little time for substantive in-person debate during the few hours of the WSFS Business Meeting that I'd like to reserve more of it for discussion of substantive issues. And I've been known to avoid such issues myself.( An Example of Evading the IssueCollapse )
As I said in a comment to my discussion of the YA Hugo Name issue, I've decided that what the KC Business Meeting did was attempt to write a blank check to the following year's Business Meeting, in contravention of a constitutional provision. Even had the KC meeting adopted the proposal unanimously (which it did not), blank checks are not permitted, because without a specific provision otherwise, you cannot suspend your own constitution. Current Mood: thoughful
|Saturday, November 19th, 2016|
Today dawned bright and sunny, and was the warmest day this week, peaking at about 18°C; I, however, saw little of it except for when I walked to the Wigwam for breakfast (and won $13 of my $14 breakfast back from the machines using free-play coupons before deciding that it was time to go). That's because today was Meeting Day. In the morning was the SFSFC Board of Directors meeting, which went very efficiently as such things go, taking less than two hours while dissolving one committee (the San José in 2018 Worldcon Bid, whose remaining affairs are folded into the separate Worldcon 76 San José Committee) and creating two new ones, including a bid to hold the 2018 SMOFCon in Santa Rosa, north of San Francisco.
After the meeting, I had a couple of hours to get all of the corporate business done (updating the SFSFC web site, generating minutes, etc.) before a meeting of the Worldcon 76 San José Executive Committee, which also took a couple of hours as we worked out initial organizational issues. I've not done a lot with WC76SJ (I'm the WSFS division manager) since Kansas City, but that's because I've been holding off making some decisions until I get a chance to talk with certain people at SMOFCon in a couple of weeks.
By the time my last meeting was over, the sunshine had gone and clouds were rolling in (it looks like it may rain tonight), but Lisa and I did have time to deal with some periodic maintenance on the travel trailer that is better done with two people than one. Lisa was very nice yesterday afternoon (which was also clear and not too cold) and vacuumed out the Rolling Stone
as we work on preparing it for the next trip to the Bay Area.
The cold is possibly fading. The medication I'm taking is doing what it's supposed to do, breaking up the chest congestion and letting me clear my lungs. I hope to be back to full strength by Thanksgiving. Current Mood: accomplished
|Friday, November 18th, 2016|
|Still Not Well
Lots of coughing here as the cold is getting its claws into me. We went to Walgreen's this afternoon to buy some cough/expectorant medication, as all of the medicines of that sort in the house are well past their expiration dates. (I need to pay attention to one of the "turn in old medicine" days so we can safely dispose of all that junk.)
Tomorrow, SFSFC has a board meeting in the Bay Area. I'll be participating via Skype, and thus not infecting anyone. Current Mood: sick
|Thursday, November 17th, 2016|
|Just As Well We're Not at OryCon
The slight cold I picked up somewhere along the line is moving into my chest, and Lisa is showing signs of coming down with it as well. So we have done a public service by not coming up to Portland for OryCon. I only hope this things clears up before I fly to SMOFCon on the first weekend of December. Unfortunately, chest colds with me have a tendency to want to stick around for a while. Current Mood: sick
|Wednesday, November 16th, 2016|
|What Wood Lisa Do?
While I was away in the Bay Area working and on the trip to Eurocon, Lisa was moving wood from the Mountain of Wood dumped in our front yard.( Lisa Moved a Lot of WoodCollapse )
It is now cold enough to start using the wood stove. Our first picks of wood are off of the small pile in the front yard. Today while we were walking to the post office after lunch, it started to sleet, so we were very happy to get home into our warm living room and throw a couple of more logs on the fire, all the more so because I'm still wrestling with some sort of cold that I fear is about to head down into my chest to set up housekeeping for a while. Current Mood: sick
|Tuesday, November 15th, 2016|
Last night was clear and calm, so we were able to get a good look at the "Supermoon." Not that my camera-phone was able to take good pictures.( Night and DayCollapse ) Current Mood: pleased
|Monday, November 14th, 2016|
|YA Award Proposal Naming: Scope of Change
One of the items that has been forwarded to Worldcon 75 Helsinki for ratification is the Young Adult Award proposal, which adds a WSFS-sanctioned "Campbell-like" non-Hugo Award to the awards that would appear on the Hugo Award ballot. If ratified, the first Worldcon that would present this award is Worldcon 76 San José in 2018. The name of this award (which is not a Hugo Award) was left blank. There have been many electrons spilled over whether actually naming the award would be a "greater change" to the proposal, and thus require an additional year of ratification. As Chair of the 2017 WSFS Business Meeting, it will fall to me to make the initial ruling on whether such a change is a "greater change."I currently intend to rule that filling the blank in the proposal increases the scope of change of the proposal, and therefore would require an additional year of ratification.( Further Discussion of the reasoningCollapse )
Of course, the Helsinki Business Meeting could overturn my ruling, but now you have some idea of how I stand on the subject and can plan accordingly. Current Mood: thoughtful
|Sunday, November 13th, 2016|
|Formula For Recovery
Sleeping in my own bed and going to bed early (but not too early) last night seems to have helped me get a little closer to where I want to be. Aside from waking up around Midnight thinking "time to get up" after six hours of sleep and then going back to sleep when I realized the actual time, I had a very restful night's sleep, waking up on my own at 6 AM (which is fine, as that's what I want to do during the work week). I got up and after getting cleaned up, walked down to the Wigwam for a good breakfast, then used my free-play coupons and got lucky, turning $0 into $25 (less the $14 cost of the breakfast). When I got back home, the Formula 1 race in Brazil was just starting, and I got to watch a very wet, sloppy race that they somehow actually managed to complete despite two red flags, multiple safety cars, and sundry other messes on the track. In fact, the final lap was going to be the final lap no matter what, because they'd hit the time limit anyway. But anyway, I did get to see it.
Around Noon, Lisa and I went into Reno/Sparks and did our large-scale grocery shopping, of which there was a lot because I'd been away for two weeks. Neither of us was that hungry, so for a change we didn't have lunch or dinner in town, but instead just came home. Really a very domesticated weekend, but I need to rest up because I've got another trip in a few weeks. I used to do lots of different conventions, including one six week stretch where I did five different conventions (some were only one day comic shows), but that was 25 years ago. I'm not up to that anymore. Current Mood: relaxed