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

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Monday, February 19th, 2018
3:40 pm
Snow Day
The forecast was for a light dusting of snow, but the weather had other plans, dropping about 5 cm here. This morning, with the forecast being for no more snow today, it started snowing again. The revised forecast admitted that lake effect snow (in our case off of Pyramid Lake) is notoriously difficult to predict. But 5 cm isn't difficult to handle. Lisa got the heavy push broom and snow shovel out and we scraped off the sidewalks and applied ice-melt to the iced-over areas.

This afternoon, Lisa helped me move the last of the seasoned cord-wood from the "dog run" concrete pad behind the house. We are starting to run a bit low on wood, and need to go get more, but we should be able to get by until the weather improves enough to get the utility trailer road-worthy again and go buy another pallet of fire logs from Big R.

Current Mood: sleepy
Sunday, February 18th, 2018
2:53 pm
Coffee with the Chief
Yesterday morning, we attended "Coffee with the Chief," a series of public meetings hosted by North Lyon County Fire Protection District Chief Scott Huntley, where he talks about how the district is doing and where things are headed. We contributed to the conversation by prompting him to explain on a map of the fire district (which is substantially, but not exactly, the city of Fernley; there is a slight difference) why something like half of the district is a checkerboard of land owned by the Bureau of Land Management. As I pointed out, that goes back to the original Pacific Rail Act in the 1860s; it's the legacy of the every-alternate-section for 20 miles along the right of way of the Central Pacific (later Southern Pacific, now Union Pacific) right-of-way being conveyed to the railroad, while the others were retained by the government. In most cases, the government later sold off those other sections. (A section is one square mile.) However, much of Nevada's government land was never sold. This complicates fire fighting because of course fires don't respect political boundaries. The district has an arrangement where BLM crews are stationed in the district's second fire station during high season. (The district doesn't have enough resources to pay for crews to fully staff the other station.) This means BLM crews don't have to come from Carson City or Winnemucca, and they and the local district cooperate on fighting range fires, which are serious business when much of the district is open range like it is.

I continue to consider running for the fire district board of directors, if I can figure out how to do so. The county clerk's web site doesn't seem to be very helpful. I'm going to have to call them. I hope I don't have to drive to Yerrington to file, but I'll do so if I must.

Current Mood: thoughtful
Saturday, February 17th, 2018
9:10 pm
Day Trip to Sacramento
I've been meaning to go visit my sister in the nursing home in Sacramento, and the weather forecast (snow tomorrow and probably next weekend) meant that if I was doing to do it in February, it had to be done today. Lisa and I had an event we wanted to attend this morning (about which I'll write tomorrow), so we consequently did not get on the road for Sacramento until after Noon. Neither of us had gotten as much sleep last night as we wanted, but Lisa was more alert than me, so she drove most of the way over the top until the Gold Run rest area on I-80, where I took over. Before going to the nursing home, we had a couple of shopping trips in Roseville.

Shopping for a Good CauseCollapse )

After the successful trip to Lush, we went to Fry's for several things, absolutely none of which we could find. Six strikes and you're out with this wasted trip. Things they used to carry (like, for example, a replacement head for my electric razor that I bought from Fry's in the first place) aren't there anymore. We proceeded on to Sacramento.

We actually only spend a bit more than 30 minutes with my sister, but she was glad to see us, and we were glad to see her up and around and with a bit more life in her (and more flesh on her bones) than has been the case over the past few months. We gave her a couple of boxes of cookies that we know she likes, and encouraged her to eat all she wanted. I hope to see her again next month when I head down to the Bay Area for a two-week stint.

The drive home was not a lot of fun. Both of us were tired, but even if we had brought overnight kits (which we did not), with the forecast calling for snow on Sunday morning (since revised to afternoon, but we didn't know it at the time), it would have been unwise to tarry on the west side of the mountains. Lisa got a bit of a second wind from Colfax and drove as far as Verdi, and I took us the rest of the way home. Lisa went straight to bed. I have to deal with all of the caffeine I drank to stay awake on the drive before I can call it a night.

To my surprise, there were still enough coals in the fireplace even after us being gone for more than eight hours that I was able to get the fire rekindled without starting from scratch. The house held the heat surprisingly well, too. In a little while, I'm going to be able to get to bed and not think about when I have to wake up again tomorrow.

Current Mood: sleepy
Friday, February 16th, 2018
8:28 pm
Frozen Pipes
This morning, Lisa discovered that the main drainage line from the travel trailer had frozen overnight. After waiting a couple of hours after sunrise and determining that it was still frozen (the area doesn't get that much direct sun, and the temperature was only just above freezing), she got out the large kerosene heater. This is a high-output (325,000 BTU) heater for outdoor and shop use. (You can't use it indoors; it would gas you to death.) It looks and sounds like a jet engine. Now this is not an open flame (we're not idiots who try and thaw out plastic pipes with propane torch), but something that Lisa calls an "industrial-strength hand dryer." We haven't used it for several years, but after the last time we used it, we completely refilled the kerosene tank. Lisa was very pleased that it lit off the first time when she turned it on. In less than ten minutes, the lines had thawed and all was well.

This afternoon after work, we ran into Reno looking for multiple things for me and her, and finding none of them, which was very disappointing. We then went to the Peppermill Buffet at Kuma Bear's insistence because it was Friday Fish/Seafood Night. We rarely go there on Friday/Saturday because it costs more and is usually too busy, but this evening wasn't too crowded; we even were able to get our regular table. After all I ate, I expected to grow fins. We were so stuffed that we abandoned thoughts of grocery shopping and headed home. Besides, by our current body clocks, 8 PM is really late, and we have things to do tomorrow.

Current Mood: pleased
Thursday, February 15th, 2018
5:34 pm
This afternoon when I got back from a walk after lunch, I found myself massively tired. I ended up falling asleep for two hours. Fortunately, there were no urgent jobs at work; everything I had on my plate could be done after I woke up. I'm not sure what came over me, but whatever it was hit me hard.

Current Mood: tired
Wednesday, February 14th, 2018
5:49 pm
BASFA Hugo Recommendations 2018
I'm not making any Hugo Award recommendations this year. As one of the members of this year's Hugo Awards Administration Subcommittee, I don't want my own personal preferences being seen as trying to influence anything. But BASFA continues with its practice of meeting to discuss works/people they think are Award-worthy. I don't get to many meetings anymore because I don't have to go to the Bay Area that often, but member Diane Osborne collated this year's recommendations for the 2018 Hugo Award/YA Award/Campbell Award and the 1943 Retrospective Hugo Awards and sent them to me because I'm the club's (more or less) webmaster. Therefore, if you go to BASFA's web site, you should see a link to this year's recommendations. Or you can just download the 2018 BASFA Hugo recommendations PDF directly.

Other than formatting and sorting the lists, I generally took no editorial actions with them; however, I did strike my own name from the Best Fan Writer recommendations, because as one of this year's Hugo Administrators, I'm one of the handful of people who are explicitly ineligible this year. I am, however, flattered by the kind thoughts, even as I tell people not to waste their nominations on an ineligible writer.

Current Mood: accomplished
Tuesday, February 13th, 2018
3:13 pm
Brain, Brain, What is Brain
I have thought enough for today. Let's see if I can actually get to bed early and make up for lost sleep.

Current Mood: tired
Monday, February 12th, 2018
5:11 pm
Winter Returns
Somewhat unexpectedly, we got a light dusting of snow overnight. It all melted shortly after sunrise, but there were periods when a few flakes drifted out of the sky, including when I went down to Hanneman Service to get one of our propane bottles refilled after lunch.

With the snow comes cold, and thus instead of just barely nursing the fireplace along so it doesn't go out, I've had to keep it stoked up a bit. We're down to half a pallet of fire logs, so sometime this week we'll need to go get another pallet from Big R, assuming the utility trailer (whose tires are tired) can handle it.

Current Mood: relaxed
Sunday, February 11th, 2018
6:13 pm
Missed a Chance
We had two different free-play offers from the Fernley Nugget Casino, so we had dinner at the Black Bear Diner attached to the Nugget last night, which activated one offer (eat the BBD, get $10 free play), then used the other offer ($20 free play for $10 cash). This last one was also supposed to be an entry for a drawing on February 10 for a free meal for two once a week for a year at the BBD, which would have been very nice. However, when I tried to register for that, they told me that there was a "typo" on the mailer and that the drawing had actually been last night. That's disappointing. If I'd made that kind of typo, I would have honored the later date. But never mind.

We had a decent conversion rate on the free-play, winning $31 from the $10 "investment," which paid for roughly half our dinner. And dinner was good, so it was time well spent.

Today I took it very easy, having breakfast at the Wigwam (spending money I won yesterday) and going bowling after breakfast. I laid low today. There aren't that many weekends I can spend doing so little, so I took advantage of it.

It was cooler and cloudier than the weather forecast originally said. I told Lisa this morning, "If the forecast hadn't said there was no precipitation coming, I would have said we're about to get snow. Late today, the forecast shifted to a 40% chance of snow tonight. I'm not complaining, but I'm also very glad I didn't have to travel tonight.

Current Mood: relaxed
Saturday, February 10th, 2018
6:33 pm
It Can Be Done
Today was a Worldcon 76 San Jose division heads meeting by conference call. Many of us (not me) had commitments that required the meeting to be done no later than 6:30 PM PT. This time, the tech worked, most people were there before the 5 PM start time, nearly everyone turned in reports in advance to allow everyone to read them, and even with a lot of divisions, we actually got it all done in about 70 minutes. It's not easy, but it is possible. Kudos to everyone who participated and resisted the urge so head off into the weeds.

Personally, as WSFS division manager, when I started documenting all of the touch points for what is usually the smallest division of the convention (the three areas that differentiate Worldcon from just another large SF/F genre convention), I was a little surprised. I take them for granted, but writing them all down so that everyone else (particularly those people who are not WSFS junkies like me and thus may not be aware of all the connections) could see them was instructive.

Current Mood: accomplished
Friday, February 9th, 2018
11:06 am
Nothing to See Here
I like the Olympics. I like the Winter Olympics more than the Summer games. So this should be my high time to use all of my spare time watching all of the winter sports I can take, including curling, which I enjoy watching. Alas, I don't have a cable/satellite TV subscription, and thus do not have access to what NBC Sports is carrying. Overall, I just don't watch enough TV online to justify the cost of a cable subscription. So I guess I'm out of luck.

Current Mood: sad
Tuesday, February 6th, 2018
6:15 pm
One or the Other
Either the unseasonably warm weather is causing trees to start producing pollen early, or else I have caught a cold. The latter seems difficult, given how little we've been out and about lately, but I surely feel like it. Early bedtimes (even earlier than usual) are indicated.

Current Mood: sick
Monday, February 5th, 2018
3:09 pm
Boxing Day
On a past trip to the Bay Area, Lisa and I picked up from Weird Stuff Warehouse a surplus first aid cabinet (empty) cheaply. This past weekend, Lisa mounted it on the wall in one of our bathrooms.

What Else Would You Put in a First Aid CabinetCollapse )

This was a small project, but it was good to get another improvement done.

Current Mood: accomplished
Sunday, February 4th, 2018
7:29 pm
Multitasking: Hugos and Football
Somewhat to my surprise, and despite what the FAQ said, I was in fact able to watch the Super Bowl® online despite not having a cable subscription. To my surprise, it was an entertaining game. I had no dog in the fight so I could watch it relatively dispassionately. I did enjoy the trick plays, particularly the direct snap-reverse-pass-to-the-QB that the Eagles pulled.

During the second half, some relatively urgent requests came in for the Worldcon 76 web site Hugo Awards® page. As you may have heard, the nominating period for the 2018 Hugo Awards (and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the inaugural Award for Best Young Adult Book) and the 1943 Retrospective Hugo Awards is now open. This weekend, e-mails have been going out to the thousands of eligible members of the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Worldcons giving them instructions for voting.

During the fourth quarter of The Game, I was writing web site requests and trading e-mails with other members of the Hugo Administration team at Worldcon 76. I hope that I haven't make any glaring mistakes with the material I provided the web team. I'm also relieved that I went no farther from home this weekend than the Frontier Fun Center to bowl a few games after breakfast this morning, and therefore could stay here monitoring my e-mail while watching the football.

Current Mood: accomplished
Saturday, February 3rd, 2018
10:53 am
Frequently Answered Questions at WSFS
As part of the WSFS Web Site Team, it falls to me to answer most of the questions posted to the info@ and contact forms at WSFS.org, Worldcon.org, NASFiC.org, and TheHugoAwards.org. Flat-out spam including "pay us money to boost your search rankings" and "let's trade links" gets deleted. But we do seem to get a lot of inquiries that fall into the categories below. I've grown sufficiently tired of answering them that I just updated the contact page at WSFS.org in an attempt to discourage people from wasting their time and ours.

  • You can't join WSFS directly. For some reason, we've been getting a lot of queries lately in the form of "How do I join your organization?" The answer is, "You can't; you have to join the current Worldcon." I've updated the site's front page to explicitly call out the Membership/How To Join page, which explains this further.

  • You do not need to be a member of WSFS to be nominated for, shortlisted for, or to win a Hugo Award. I am not sure how this got started, but we have seen a few recent messages whose senders think that they have to be WSFS members in order to win the Hugo Award, which of course is not true and never has been. A variation of this has been that they think that if they join WSFS, they can "nominate" their works, which they seem to think puts them on the ballot. To be as generous as I can be with this misconception, they may be confusing WSFS with SFWA. There certainly seems to be a group of people who are convinced that WSFS, the World Science Fiction Society, is the same entity as SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Some of these people are misinformed, while others, even when they have the difference pointed out to them, persist in thinking the two organizations are the same. Somehow having three letters in common (not even in same order) makes the groups identical.

  • WSFS is not your publicity agent. We will not send out announcements about your book or event to our members. Even if we wanted to do so, there's no mechanism for it. WSFS doesn't have access to the membership lists of the individual Worldcons. Each Worldcon is a legally separate entity. The legal requirements of some of the countries that have hosted Worldcons sometimes makes it complicated to share data between Worldcon committees even for purposes explicitly defined in the WSFS Constitution, let alone to spam our members with advertising. (This has been a significant challenge in getting Hugo Award nominations open this year. The data sharing among three Worldcon committees from three separate countries, each with different data-protection requirements, is non-trivial. And no matter what you think, local law is superior to the organization's bylaws.)

  • WSFS don't sell advertising. We don't sell advertising space on the WSFS web sites, nor do we "trade links." Worldcons do sell advertising, but you have to contact them directly.

I don't know if this will actually cut down on the number of questions of this sort, because I have some suspicion that some of these queries are actually bots, but at least for good-faith queries from people who actually read, it might make a difference.

Current Mood: thoughtful
Friday, February 2nd, 2018
2:13 pm
Can't Come Soon Enough
I'm very glad the work week is ending. I need to spend some time not staring at a computer screen. Today I've been straining to see the screen, with my eyes twitching from fatigue. Perhaps with the spring-like weather we're having I'll be able to get out and about tomorrow rather than spending 10 hours/day in front of the computer.

Current Mood: exhausted
Thursday, February 1st, 2018
2:05 pm
Why We Can't Have Nice Things
A business a couple of blocks from our house put up one of those Free Library kiosks. While most of the books in it were not to my taste, I did take one once (and took it back when I finished reading it), and I also have contributed a few books to it. Last night, I found that it was closed.

No More BooksCollapse )

I wonder what motivates someone to vandalize a free library. Sheer cussedness, I guess.

Current Mood: sad
Wednesday, January 31st, 2018
7:36 pm
One good thing about my working hours was that I was up at an hour suitable for watching today's total lunar eclipse. Lisa saw more than I did, as she didn't get any sleep last night and was up and about when it started. I could only get some brief looks, because my work day was starting when totality hit, but I did manage to get to see it at totality, about halfway past totality, and near the end just before the moon set and the sun rose. I didn't embed any of the photos because frankly they aren't very good. The camera phone is not at all suited for these kinds of pictures. Possibly if we'd had the Sony out there on a tripod and played with the settings we could get something worth sharing. Still, this "super blue blood moon" was nice to watch. Clouds that had obscured the start of the eclipse had mostly cleared by the time I was there, so unlike our last lunar eclipse, we actually got to see it.

After the moon set and the eclipse ended, Lisa, who had been up all night, went to bed and I got back to work. At the moment, Lisa and I have deeply out-of-synch hours, seeing each other at "shift change."

Current Mood: satisfied
Tuesday, January 30th, 2018
3:42 pm
Cracking Up
One of the bits of stuff I got for co-chairing the 2002 Worldcon in San Jose was a pair of large mugs from the San Jose Convention Center. I broke one while living in Fremont, but I've been using the other one as my "standard mug" for many hot drinks. Not any more: after finishing a hot drink, I made the mistake of putting in cold water almost immediately. I heard a crack and upon examination, saw that the base of the mug had cracked nearly all the way around. It was only the last bit that failed to crack that kept the bottom from falling out on the spot. That's the end of my San Jose mugs, but I guess that fifteen-plus years is a plenty good run. Time to break out the WSFS Armadillo mugs from the 2005 Worldcon in Glasgow, I reckon.

Current Mood: disappointed
Monday, January 29th, 2018
4:01 pm
Recovery Day
I had plans for this afternoon after work, but having not gotten to bed until after 11 PM after a long weekend of meeting and smoffing and driving, going to bed early sounds quite attractive to me today.

It seems hard to believe that I was making that 300 mile round trip every weekend for a while during the first year we had Fernley House, and that was only about six years ago.

Current Mood: sleepy
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