Tonopah Westercon

Westercon 74 Merchandise

In preparation for yesterday's Westercon 74 meeting, I realized that while I long ago created a Zazzle storefront for Westercon 74 merchandise (and then changed it when the dates changed), and then I mentioned it on the convention's Facebook and Twitter feeds, I never put anything on the convention web site about it! There is now a page touting our official Westercon 74 merchandise, with pointers to the Zazzle store. I personally have the t-shirt, polo shirt, can cooler, mouse pad, and cloth face mask.

In answer to a question raised at the meeting yesterday: the cloth masks are double-layered, but do not have a pocket in them. You could, however, modify them by carefully slicing the inner layer to make a pocket between the two layers, between which you could put additional filter matter. Personally, I wear mine over an N95 mask per the double-masking recommendations.
Tonopah Westercon

Meeting About Meetings

Today we had a meeting of the Westercon 74 committee to discuss current plans and recent Westercon developments. One of the things that came out of the meeting is that we're going to see about planning an in-person meeting in Tonopah on the weekend of July 10, for those of us who are fully vaccinated and who can make the trip. We'll do it in "hybrid" form, and I hope to do it in the same room in which we'll be doing the single room of "hybrid" programming during Westercon 74 in 2022, so we can test out the equipment and confirm that the convention center's network is up to the task.

The only reason we can do this is due to the unfortunately shutdown of the Westercon 73 committee, which frees up space on our calendars. Lisa and I are sufficiently eager to have a look at the newly opened Belvada Hotel, not to mention to get an unexpected opportunity to see what Tonopah is like on the 4th of July weekend, that we may go to Tonopah the previous weekend as well. We'll decide once we get a better handle on various arrangements that have to be made.

If you're not yet part of the Westercon 74 team and are interested, please let me know. We're still looking for more people to help us run this show. There are quite a few thing that still need to be done for which we don't have people to run them. Have a look at the Westercon 74 committee/staff page and the Volunteers page, and contact us if you're interested in helping us make a Westercon that's memorable for all of the right reasons.
Kevin and Lisa

Home Cooking, Episode 16: Burger Time

One advantage to rarely going out to eat is that Lisa has been attempting to improve the variety of our meals. After we got out first Pfizer vaccinations on Thursday, we did some grocery shopping at Raley's, including getting relatively good quality ground beef. This evening, she mixed that meat with a seasoning mix we found at Cost Plus World Market and made hamburgers, cooking them in olive oil and Worcestershire sauce, and served on Dave's Killer Bread buns. Those were some of the best hamburgers we've ever had! They were nearly up to the standard of the fantastic high-end burger place at which we ate in Eagle, Colorado on the way back from the Kansas City Worldcon. (Alas, Expert Burger is now gone, so we won't be planning any trips to put us in Eagle for lunch to eat there.) I told Lisa they were great, and she allowed as she'd done well.
Kreegah Bundalo

Reactions

When I first woke up this morning, I thought, "Wow, that first Pfizer dose hit me harder than I thought it would," but after a little while, I realized that's mostly how I feel most Friday mornings, and after an hour or so I was more or less normal. The shoulder where the injection went in hurts (so does Lisa), but I get that with flu shots as well, so I'm not that concerned.

I haven't written about it much lately, but my right leg still isn't back to normal. The rash is mostly gone, but the site of the bite still is a bit sore, and I'm still getting fluid build-up in the leg, albeit nowhere near as much as shortly after the original bite and infection. One of the problems of getting older, of course, is that things take progressively longer to heal, and presumably my diabetes doesn't help.
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Kevin and Lisa

One Down, One to Go

Lisa and I went in to Sparks today to get our first Pfizer vaccination. Everything went smoothly. the Safeway pharmacy did a pretty good job of distancing people, and there was no problem with doing Lisa and my shots at the same time even though we were scheduled 45 minutes apart because of the way their scheduler worked.

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Neither Lisa nor I had any adverse reaction during the waiting period, and we had no problems going shopping after being released from the waiting area, then driving home. I feel that same way I did yesterday about this time, which is to say very tired due to the extra load on the Day Jobbe right now. We'll see what things are like tomorrow. I have another more or less day off scheduled tomorrow due to my forced-PTO use-it-or-lose it schedule, so that's maybe just as well.

There was also no problem with scheduling our second doses for May 5 (the date the system said we should come back), and this time I was able to schedule us both into the same time slot as well. I pick the latest slot in the day that's allowed, which means not having to disrupt my Day Jobbe schedule.
Tonopah Westercon

Tonopah Stands Alone

While cleaning up the Westercon history page and adding the necessary new footnotes to explain what happened to Westercon 73 Seattle and how it will be folded into Loscon 47, I was hit by a revelation: Westercon 74 will be the first standalone Westercon in eight years. Every Westercon from 2014 through 2021 (there was no convention last year, of course) was/will be combined with some other convention. Now sometimes the combination was Westercon with something larger, like with the 2019 NASFiC, and sometimes the combination went the other way with Westercon hosting other conventions like ConChord. But from Westercons 67 through 73, it was always a combined convention. Westercon 74 in Tonopah will not be combined with anything else. We stand on our own. I hope we get the 200-400 people to join us that we're planning for.
Hugo Logo

Hugo Finalist Day

Fortunately for me, I was able to squeeze an hour away from work from 8-9 AM this morning, which I spent formatting the 2021 Hugo Awards Finalists Announcement and adding the finalists to the 2021 Hugo Awards page. This always makes me nervous because while I did have an embargoed copy of the finalists, I wasn't supposed to post them before 11:30 AM EDT. I'm always afraid that I'm going to accidentally hit the publish button while I'm trying to format these things. Also, I do try to format things more or less the way we did the previous year (something most people don't have to worry about as they're not the long-term archive site), and that doesn't generally match the formatting of what we get, and besides, we're generally converting something like a Word document into HTML by cutting and pasting and then adding the various formatting, including trying to watch out for characters for which we should substitute an HTML equivalent like ä.

I think we got it mostly right this year, and I thank Cheryl Morgan for going in and cleaning up formatting in places where I'd made a mistake and also fixing some of the small corrections that were sent out shortly after DisCon III first issued the announcements.

We did get a question shortly after the results were posted asking why DC3's slides and graphics used their own Hugo award trophy cartoon instead of the actual official Hugo Award logo. The answer is, "We don't know." The logo is freely available for download from the Hugo Awards web site and you don't need permission to use it to describe the Hugo Awards, and even if you did, Worldcon committees are obviously licensed to use WSFS's service marks. You'd have to ask DC3 about their design decisions.
Tonopah Westercon

Westercon Wildness

As many of you may have already heard, the Seattle Westercon 73 committee today announced that they are no longer able to put on the convention and that they are shutting down. For the summary of what happened and a copy of the full statement from the Seattle committee see this post on the Westercon web site that is just one of a whole lot of things I wrote on web sites and social media today. Because I am the lead maintainer for both westercon.org and westercon74.org, everything I did for one site I had to do for the other, with slightly different tone for each announcement/posting. The same goes for the Twitter feeds and Westercon 74's Facebook page. I'm rather surprised that throughout all of that, I only seem to have mis-numbered a convention once, and that's since been corrected.

Let me stress that this does not directly affect Westercon 74. Westercons, like Worldcons, are independently operated. Westercon 73 was a committee of SWOC, just as Westercon 74 is a committee of SFSFC, and our two groups are legally and financially firewalled from each other. Westercon 74 in Tonopah will continue as Westercon 74 on our revised July 1-4, 2022 dates.

While the separate Westercon 73 in Seattle is now defunct, there will still be a Westercon 73, at least nominally. As LASFS is the "court of last resort" for Westercon (they own the service mark), they also are responsible for it should a committee fail. They've exercised that authority to transfer the technical aspects of the 2021 Westercon from the Seattle committee to Loscon 47, scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend in Los Angeles. Thus Loscon 47 will also be Westercon 73 in name. That also means that the 2021 Westercon Business Meeting (which I hope won't be complicated) and the election to choose the site of the 2023 Westercon (Westercon 75) will be held at Loscon, with all of Loscon's members eligible to participate. LASFS has also agreed to honor the memberships from Seattle's Westercon except for such people who request refunds from the Seattle committee. How this will actually work in practice is still being discussed between SWOC/Seattle and LASFS/Loscon. Fortunately, we have several months to work it out.

There is only one filed bid for Westercon 75 (2021): Tempe. Unlike Worldcon, the filing deadline for Westercon bids to be on the ballot is hard-coded in the Westercon Bylaws as April 15, so that does mean that the election is going to be longer (but not especially more energetic) than usual. It may take more time than usual to work out all of the specifics on how to run this election, but we do have time to do so. OTOH, it does mean the Westercon and Worldcon are only going to be three weeks apart from each other this year. This combined with Lisa and my plans to make the trip to Worldcon in DC by train, is why we've had to cancel our plans to attend SMOFCon in Portugal as I mentioned recently.

More than twenty years ago (I can't find the exact date because the Westercon records are less good than I wish they were), Bruce Pelz asked me to write a rule that was incorporated into the Westercon Bylaws as Section 1.9 that outlines what happens in case of a committee failure. (This was similar to a rule in the WSFS Constitution, but somewhat simpler to write because the name "Westercon" is owned by an ongoing legal entity, the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society.) There's never been a Section 1.9 failure before, but because of Bruce's foresight, we had a rule to turn to when it was necessary.

To be honest, I was expecting today's announcement for about a week now. Because of my Westercon rules knowledge and because I had the relevant contact information, I put the leadership of Seattle's committee in contact with the member of the LASFS Board of Directors most concerned with Westercon (in this case Christian McGuire), and between the time they talked and the official announcement today, they were able to work out what might be called the "Heads of Agreement" that were announced today, with more to be determined later. I had to try and stay in the middle of this not so much because I'm chairing next year's Westercon but because as the Westercon.org webmaster, I needed to know what to tell people once Seattle formally pulled the plug.

It's been a busy day here with me trying to balance a bunch of Westercon stuff and get all of the different announcements out to affected people and groups. It hasn't gone completely perfectly, but it did go overall better than I feared it might.
SMOF License

Tire Experiment Success

Inasmuch as we needed to torque the lug nuts on the tire from yesterday's flat tire adventure, we decided to also determine whether the bay under the rear compartment of the minivan could hold a full-size spare by jacking up the car, removing the tire we put back on yesterday, removing the mini-spare, and trying to crank the full-sized tire into the storage bay. To our relief, the full-size tire fits just fine. That means that instead of having to find a replacement tire for the 35-year-old emergency spare, we can just buy a new wheel and four new tires, then have the left rear tire (the only one that hasn't recently gone flat) mounted on the new wheel and then stow it in place of the emergency spare. (We'd do that because we'll just get a serviceable-but-not-necessarily-matching wheel for the new spare, so for aesthetic reasons we'll put the new wheel in the spare bay.) Yes, this means we'll be carrying a bit more weight, but Lisa points out that because we almost never have the rear seat installed (we'd rather have the cargo capacity), putting a bit more weight on the rear wheels isn't a bad thing anyway.