Kevin Standlee: Fandom Is My Way of Life|
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|Saturday, August 18th, 2018|
|Worldcon 76 Day 2: After the Meeting
After the Business Meeting on Friday, we got everything packed up and an old friend of mine appeared.( Friends Since CollegeCollapse )
After lunch, I had to do some more work supporting the WSFS division, helping Site Selection and getting some other things done. But then I was sort of on my own, which is good, because I had some books to sell on behalf of Wizard's Tower Press. I spent a chunk of the afternoon distributing copies of The Green Man's Heir
from WTP to various booksellers around the Dealer's Room.
Lisa and I tried to go out to dinner with Scott Sanford, but the first few restaurants we tried were backed up solidly, so we went back to the convention and Callahan's Place and ate snack bar food, but that was really not so bad, as we ended up with a number of friends joining us, and I think it was for the best.
After dinner, we tried to hit the social events in the Fairmont, but most of them were so crowded we couldn't get in to them, and besides I had video work to do trying to convert the video Lisa shot to higher-quality files. The lower-quality "proxy" files that Scott got off the camera are online already, but the camera's native format requires a bunch of work in Adobe Premiere to turn into nicer-qualify files. So we headed back early, after picking up a few groceries from Safeway.
Alas, it has been a while since used Premiere, and it's taken me a couple of hours to get to the point where I could set the computer to grinding out the higher-quality files. I'll know in the morning whether my settings are correct. The goal is to get the higher-quality files uploaded tomorrow as well, thanks to the Wicked Fast Internet access in the convention center (that's the actual name of their network). So tonight I will get much less sleep than last night. Current Mood: tired
|Friday, August 17th, 2018|
|Worldcon 76 Day 2: Preliminary Business Meeting
I woke up almost an hour before my alarm, and Lisa and I ended up going down to room 230 where the Business Meeting is happening very early. That was for the best, because it gave us extra time to get everything set up for the first Business Meeting.( Small Meeting, Big RoomCollapse )
This year's Business was a lot less contentious than the last few years, and a lot fewer people showed up to discuss it. And as usual, there's a mistaken impression that because the first meeting is called "Preliminary" that it can be skipped without missing anything important. That's not the case, because the Preliminary Business Meeting can kill new proposals (but not constitutional amendments awaiting ratification) outright, mostly by using the motion to "Postpone Indefinitely," which in practical terms knocks proposals off the agenda.( Business Meeting SummaryCollapse )
The Preliminary Business Meeting took only about two hours. We have some hope that we can get everything done by the time we have to adjourn on Sunday (12:15) for the Worldcon Chairs Photo Session. Fingers crossed that we don't have to go in "overtime" this year and I can sleep in for an hour on Monday morning. Current Mood: accomplished
|Thursday, August 16th, 2018|
|Worldcon 76 Day 1: Captain On Deck
It was a very busy day today on the first day of Worldcon 76, and I just don't have time enough or energy enough to write about it all, not if I want to get sleep tonight.( In Search of RibbonsCollapse )
After delivering ribbons, it was off to the WSFS Mark Protection Committee meeting at 2 PM. I then managed to sneak in a few minutes to grab some lunch from the concession stand, then head back to the hotel room where I changed into my WSFS captain's uniform.( It's OfficialCollapse )
After the Opening Ceremonies, there was only a brief break before the Red Carpet rolled out prior to the 1943 Retrospective Hugo Awards. There people walked the Red Carpet and got their photos taken. If you'd like to see the photos, start here
and work your way through my Flickr photostream.
On the spur of the moment, I elected to live-tweet the Retro-Hugo results on the Hugo Awards Twitter feed, and I'm glad I did. The results are posted at The Hugo Awards site
. I took some trophy photos that I hope we'll have posted real soon now.( The Happy Trophy DesignerCollapse )
No parties for me tonight. After saying good night to Kevin and Andy, I headed back to the hotel room in order to get the Retro-Hugo results posted and today's photos online.
It was a bit frantic at times today running back and forth making sure everything in WSFS was where it belonged, but it looks like everything worked out. Tomorrow we move on to the Preliminary WSFS Business Meeting. I've had a look in Room 230 where the meeting will be held. There are still some loose ends that I hope we can get tied off before the meeting starts at 10 AM Friday. Current Mood: accomplished
|Wednesday, August 15th, 2018|
|Worldcon 76 Day -1: Preparing for Launch
So today was the first day that public-facing elements of the convention, in the form of Registation, opened, while those of us working MIMO (Move In/Move Out) functions were all over the convention center dealing with our myriad jobs. Me, I got to be a middle manager. That is, I had to work with the area heads below me, the chair above me, and other division managers adjacent to me, to deal with some matters that came up and needed to be resolved. Some of them were challenging, and at times nerves were a bit frazzled, but I think we got it done.
Back in 2002, this equivalent day saw me and Lisa hauling the makings of Hugo Award trophies up to the third floor (no elevators) of the Civic Auditorium, where Lisa ended up stuck in a hot, stuffy room assembling Hugo Award trophies and unable to leave because I'd forgotten to tell her that the Events office down the hall had the key to lock up the secure storeroom. Things were much better this time around. The Hugo Awards Ceremony will be in the new Grand Ballroom of the convention center (not across the street in what is now know as the City National Civic Auditorium.) There is a secure office (in an air-conditioned area) where Hugo Administrator Dave McCarty had the makings of both the 2018 and 1943 Hugo Awards and was assembling them. Lisa volunteered to help, and her help was gladly accepted. So she got to do almost exactly the same job as 16 years ago, including fun stuff like using a tap-and-die set to chase out the threads of balky Hugo rockets.( Hugo Awards in the Larval FormCollapse )
In order to deal with one particular item that needed my own boss to resolve it, I had to go into the Exhibit hall, where he can been working on the San Jose Light Tower.( The Tower RisesCollapse )
Around 2 PM I was seriously starting to fade out, having not eaten since I had a cup of instant oatmeal for breakfast in the hotel room around 8 AM. Lisa and I went for lunch at the Indian restaurant across from the Fairmont. Unfortunately, even their mild meal was too hot and spicy for Lisa. Fortunately, she later met up with Scott Sanford (who arrived today by train) and they were able to get dinner while I was engaged with my other responsibilities.
Turning to another one of the areas in my division, Site Selection had a required function that had to be done today. Representatives of the bids (both for the 2019 NASFiC and 2020 Worldcon) gathered in a Sekrit Location (mainly because the room isn't on the convention's floor plan, so we had to sort of guide them in) to validate the site selection ballots cast by paper and electronic mail.( Gluttons for PunishmentCollapse )
Following the advance ballot validation, SFSFC, parent corporation of Worldcon 76, had a brief board of directors meeting, called by arrangement during our last regular meeting. While we don't expect to need it, the purpose of this meeting was to administratively allow the Board to be convened on very short notice by the Chair (without the normal notice requirements) in case of an emergency. We did this in 1993 and 2002, and the President didn't have to call that meeting, but it's reassuring to have the ability to do so if necessary.
Having had lunch so late, I wasn't that hungry, so after the Board meeting, I wandered over to the Fairmont and briefly dropped in on the only party I knew of on this Twas-the-night-before-Worldcon: The Boston in Christmas 2020 party. I did not stay long, however, and even leaving early to head back to the Hilton, I didn't get back until late, since I kept running into people with whom I wanted to talk.
Worldcon Setup Day is generally really stressful, and this was no exception. I was reminded of how much I dislike being a middle manager, notwithstanding that I was the right person for this particular job. I'm really grateful that all of the people with whom I'm working both in the WSFS division and in the adjacent divisions and areas have been good about working through the process, even when we didn't all completely agree on the specific actions that needed to be taken. This convention is shaping up nicely, and I really am looking forward to the Worldcon opening for real tomorrow morning. Current Mood: excited
|Tuesday, August 14th, 2018|
|Worldcon 76 Day -2: Arrival
We lingered over breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express this morning. I see that HIX is remodeling their breakfasts and partnering with Cinnabon, replacing their signature cinnamon rolls. (Not that I could have much of either, with my diabetes and all.) We left the hotel at 9:45 AM, made a brief shopping stop at Walgreen's, then dropped in for a very brief visit with my sister at the nursing home. Kelli was looking pretty good, and we were happy to see that one of her friends were coming to see her as Lisa and I left. After one last stop to buy a USB thumb drive at Fry's, we left Sacramento for the Bay Area, with but one more stop (gas at the truck stop at Lodi Junction). For a change, our travel plans went exactly to form, with us threading the needle between the end of Sacramento's commute and the beginning of the Bay Area high traffic. We got to the hotel just before 2 PM, and the Hilton let us check in right away. We even got what I consider the second-best parking space in the entire hotel, due to its proximity to the convention center doors.( What a Load of... StuffCollapse )
While Lisa washed her hair, I went down to the convention center, where set-up was moving right along. Dave McCarty, the lead Hugo Award Administrator, and I went to the Hugo Office, where we worked on the finalist certificates. While not required, many Worldcons give finalists certificates recognizing them making the final ballot. One of the specific things we were putting on this year's certificates are gold-foil labels embossed with the corporate seal of SFSFC, Worldcon 76's non-profit parent organization. SFSFC bought an embosser and 1000 seals back in 1993 after ConFrancisco, and we used the seals on the 2002 certificates as well. I'm the corporate secretary of SFSFC, but I've never felt comfortable removing the corporation's seal from the state where the corporation lives, so I've left it with the deputy Secretary, who got it to Dave today. I embossed a couple hundred seals (there are quite a few finalists when you total it up), and Dave and I applied them to the certificates. That's a good job done.
I noted that the Hugo Office for this Worldcon is a lot more comfortable than the one we had in 2002, when the ceremony (and the office) were in the un-air-conditioned Civic Auditorium across the street. Poor Lisa had to spend an afternoon up on the top floor assembling (and in one case having to re-tap with the tap-and-die set she had in her truck because that's the kind of person she is) Hugo trophies in the heat until someone came to relieve her and lock up the office.( Registration AwaitsCollapse )
I met up with Linda Deneroff (coming off her Seattle-to-San Jose road trip with Joni Dashoff) and Linda, Lisa Deutsch Harrigan, my wife Lisa, and I went to Ozo Sushi for dinner. It was nice to not have to rush. I don't expect a lot of unhurried meals for the next ten days. LDH had a movie to see at 3Below, but Linda stayed with my Lisa and the three of us went over to Flames to make a reservation for a breakfast meeting I'm hosting for the WSFS Division leadership on Thursday, and then we went by Safeway for some groceries.
There's a pretty good-sized mini-fridge in our hotel room, so I got yogurt and milk and Lisa got some grape juice. Unfortunately, as my tote bag was full of SFSFC corporate seal, I had to buy a bag at the grocery store, and even more annoyingly, I discovered when we got back that while I was charged for all four yogurts, only three of them got into the bag. I decided it wasn't worth the walk back to Safeway and wrote it off. Oh well.
Things are coming together here in San Jose. I'm really glad to be here. Current Mood: accomplished
|Monday, August 13th, 2018|
|On the Road to Worldcon 76
We are finally on our way to Worldcon 76. The auto shop in Reno called mid-morning to tell me that they'd finished the work on the minivan's air conditioning. I was hip-deep in Day Jobbe, though. Murphy's Law made it so that work that normally happens at the start of my day (5:30 AM PT) wasn't even ready to look at until about the time the call came from the shop in Reno. I got it done, though, and around Noon Lisa and I took the Rolling Stone
into Reno, I paid a cool (ahem) $1400 for the repairs, and Lisa drove the Astro home behind me.( Taking a Shine to WorldconCollapse )
Between the 2-plus hour trip into Reno to collect the minivan and lots of Day Jobbe, it was quite late in the day before I could even start packing my personal luggage. Lisa, however, spent much of the afternoon loading the Astro with the Pile O' Stuff
we'd been staging for the past few days. After I finally got my luggage packed and loaded, we buttoned up the property using the check-list we keep for this reason. (Having a written check-list leads to peace of mind because it reduces the number of forgotten things.)
Just before 6 PM, we left Fernley on our abbreviated Worldcon trip. Unlike most of our past few years' trips, this isn't a long one. In fact, I suggested it was more like a "ten-day weekend" than anything else.
We stopped in Sparks at the Iron Skillet for dinner, then headed for Sacramento. Lisa drove as we concluded our plans for where to spend tonight. I have an IHG offer for one night anywhere in the chain, and usually I try to use that on a higher-end property. However, the coupon is use-it-or-lose-it, and the "lose it" date is approaching, so we decided to spend tonight at the Holiday Inn Express in Sacramento where we've stayed before when visiting my sister. This proved to be a bit more challenging than I expected because when I'd first checked the room on the IHG app, it showed availability for the free night offer, but when I went back to book it, the app wouldn't let me actually book the room even though it said it was available. So I had to actually call IHG, and they sorted it out.
Somewhat to my surprise given that it's a free night, they upgraded our "standard room" to a mini-suite. Lisa said (and I agree) that she wishes we could have a room this nice for Worldcon. But aside from the one-bedroom apartment I had at the Place Louis Riel at ConAdian in 1994, getting a room this big and spacious at a Worldcon is not generally in my cards. Both of us wish that we'd been able to get away earlier so we could spend more time in the nice room.
There's no point in getting away early tomorrow morning because the daily commute into the Bay Area is hopelessly crowded. We're now in a good position tomorrow to go buy a few bits we left at home and (I hope) skirt the worst traffic to get to San Jose by mid afternoon tomorrow. Current Mood: sleepy
|Sunday, August 12th, 2018|
|The Pile Grows
We don't have the minivan back yet. We've been spending this weekend packing.( The Mountain of StuffCollapse )
I really hope the shop has the Astro ready by mid-day tomorrow so we can go get it at lunchtime. We're doing laundry today and tonight, and will do our final clothes packing tomorrow. Because we're driving (and not carrying Match Game SF
), we have room to carry extra stuff, but that of course means that stuff expands to fill available space.
We'd better find time to wear all of the costumes we're bringing! I'm planning on wearing my WSFS captain's uniform for Opening Ceremonies and the Retro-Hugo night festivities, for example.
The current plan gets us in to San Jose on Tuesday afternoon. If we can time it right, we'll avoid the worst of the traffic, save possible in Reno.
|Spot the Bunny
The rabbits around here are chowing down on the many, many weeds that grow around our house.( Om Nom NomCollapse )
There is lots of food for rabbits here. They barely make a dent in all of these weeds. While the ground-hugging growth does keep the dust down a bit, it also produces likes of vicious caltrop-shaped seeds that make it a hazard to walk around here. Current Mood: amused
|Saturday, August 11th, 2018|
|Scanners Don't Live in Vain
I have just spend a goodly chunk of this afternoon scanning every title document related to my grandparents' house in Challenge, which documents the chain of title from 1946 to the person who sold it to my grandparents in 1960 (for a nominal $10 if you go by the exact words on the document, although the actual amount appears to have been more like $1500 from the related deed of trust; I think the $10 was a token down payment and the loan was underwritten by the town postmaster, for whom my grandmother was the postal clerk in a two-person post office), to when my grandmother died in 1996 and the joint tenancy reverted to single tenancy to my grandfather, to his death in 2011 when he willed it to my mother (who didn't really want it), to her re-conveying the title to me in 2018 so that I can sell it to a willing buyer. Here's hoping the title company will be satisfied by this chain of documents and agree to issue title insurance.
I'm amused that one of the documents in that chain was recorded in 1962 in the Yuba County Recorder's office "at the request of Mary Reynolds," who was my grandfather's brother's wife. Aunt Mary was not at all coincidentally deputy county clerk of Yuba County. Current Mood: accomplished
We had hoped to go retrieve the minivan from the air conditioning shop on Friday, but at 4:30 they called to tell me that it was not coming together as quickly as they expected. I didn't want to do it, but said that Monday would work, albeit that it would be very inconvenient. They were massively relieved.
Lisa and I went to Reno anyway because there was pre-Worldcon shopping we needed to do. We first stopped at the Alamo struck stop in Sparks to have dinner at the Iron Skillet, which has a reasonably priced seafood buffet on Friday. It's Hot August Nights in the Reno/Sparks area, so one will see all sorts of odd vehicles in town.( This one, for exampleCollapse )
After dinner, we did the various shopping trips for things we want for Worldcon. Normally we stay out of Reno/Sparks during Hot August Nights because the traffic is so bad, but it wasn't too awful last night.
This weekend we get to pack, except we don't have a vehicle yet in which to pack things. Monday night/Tuesday morning is apt to be a bit hectic. Our original plan to drive part-way to San Jose and use my free-night-anywhere-in-IHG offer to say somewhere along the way is pretty much scrapped now. Current Mood: aggravated
|Friday, August 10th, 2018|
|Smoke Gets In Your Nose -- Or Not
Today I replaced the filter on my CPAP unit. It was interesting seeing how much smoke the machine was preventing me from breathing.( New and Old FilterCollapse )
Places like Gardnerville have had serious air quality warnings, whereas Fernley is only "moderate." Current Mood: thoughtful
|Thursday, August 9th, 2018|
The hours I've been working on Day Jobbe plus Worldcon prep caught up with me today. As soon as I could today (about 3 PM) I logged out, had a slight snack in place of dinner, and fell into bed and slept for several hours. I woke up around 9 PM, but will be heading back to bed after dealing with (what else) more Worldcon business. Current Mood: tired
|Wednesday, August 8th, 2018|
|Bathtime for Bears
Today was the Day of Reckoning for Kuma Bear: his annual bath.( Bare BearCollapse )
After spending much of today sitting outside drying off, Kuma was mostly dry by dinnertime. Lisa says he's still grumpy. Current Mood: amused
|Tuesday, August 7th, 2018|
I've made an appointment to deal with some business related to my grandfather's estate that has been hanging fire for months now. Actually, the estate itself is finally settled and the last part of it, that being the house in Challenge, is in my name, but we're trying to sell the house, and that requires convincing a title company that I have good title to actually sell the house. Fortunately, my mother saved everything, so we should be able to prove the chain of title back to at least 1940. But it requires me to be in Marysville on a weekday. So I'll add another day on the end of my Worldcon "vacation" and instead of driving straight home after the convention (we leave Wednesday morning), we'll spend a night up by Marsyville so I can meet with the title company on Thursday, then drive home. And then go back to work on Friday. Thus my "two week" vacation only uses eight PTO days. I have to preserve those days; next year I have multiple long trips. Current Mood: busy
|Monday, August 6th, 2018|
The BNSF Local job that serves Fernley sometimes leaves their locomotives here in Fernley's little two-track yard. This is also where "Big BN" exchanges cars, and sometimes locomotives. A few days ago we got a couple of units for the local that I've never seen here before.( Loaner UnitsCollapse )
I guess BNSF was short of lightweight units for the local job and had to get some loaners while the regular units went in for their periodic inspections, which I reckon have to be done at either Stockton or maybe all the way in Denver. Current Mood: calm
|Sunday, August 5th, 2018|
|What a Difference a Day Makes
I did not rush this morning, and left the hotel around 10 AM or so. I have had some worry that the rear fuel tank on the Rolling Stone
is leaking (again), based on how fast the gauge seems to be going down, but I can't smell fuel the way I could the last time this happened, nor were there any drip marks; however, I was keeping a close eye on it and I topped the tank off at Rocklin just in case.
Yesterday was a nice if somewhat hectic afternoon spent with my sister. I hope to do that again sometime when I don't have to rush off to a meeting.
I posted this photo
yesterday of the heavy, thick smoke filling the valley of Donner Lake near Truckee. Things were different today.( Changing Smoke PatternsCollapse )
As I was checking out of my room this morning, I noticed the sign near the elevator on my floor talking about their quiet zone.( There Must be a Story Behind ThisCollapse )
Because I wasn't certain about how long my rear fuel tank would hold out, I stopped in west Reno to fill the forward tank. With gas almost fifty cents a gallon cheaper in Fernley than in Reno, this was a roughly $7.50 extra charge for peace of mind driving home, because I really didn't want to run out of gas just before I got home. As it happens, I really did get back to Fernley with five gallons to spare in the rear tank, which is about the usual 9 mpg. Better safe than sorry, though. Current Mood: relieved
|Saturday, August 4th, 2018|
|Through the Smoke to Sacramento
This morning, I packed my overnight bag and set off for Sacramento.( The Hat ManCollapse )
The (mostly) clear skies at Fernley were not to last.( Should Have Brought my Face MaskCollapse )
It got worse as I drove into the mountains.( Lost in the SmokeCollapse )
Heading down the other side didn't get much better.( Noxious at NyackCollapse )
For most of the trip, my eyes burned and I could taste the smoke, even with the RV air conditioning going full blast. Of course it's vastly harder for those people fighting the fires. I have plenty of respect for them. My mild asthma was more noticeable with all this smoke in the air.
I got to Sacramento and went to the nursing home and spent several hours with my sister, who celebrated her 50th birthday today. I gave her a card from me, Kelli, and Kuma Bear, and also four boxes of the chocolates she likes. We also got some business done that really needed to be done today. I would have stayed longer, but there was Worldcon business to do.
My hotel for this trip is the Crowne Plaza, which (despite being nominally higher in the chain than a Holiday Inn Express) cost less than an Express room, is closer to the skilled nursing facility, and besides, the Express was sold out, even for a Platinum member like me. My status did get me upgraded from one of their "economy" rooms (undersized rooms with small beds) to a king room. I wish I'd remembered my swimsuit, though, because this hotel, unlike the nearby Express, has a hot tub, and I could use something to deal with some muscle aches.
This afternoon was the final pre-con meeting of the San Jose Worldcon 76 division managers. We're only a few days away from the convention. My current plans have us leaving Fernley a week from Monday after work and getting to San Jose on Tuesday. I just hope that I'll have the Astro, because it has the best cargo-carrying capacity. Fingers crossed that the shop gets the repairs done in time.
The meeting went pretty well. In the scheduled two hours, we went through the remaining issues to discuss at the divisional level. Now we go in to the final turn before the convention itself. Although we've had some rough spots, it does seem like the plan is coming together.
I'm happy to be spending the night in a heavily air-conditioned hotel room and that I don't have to be up too early tomorrow morning for the drive home. Current Mood: hopeful
|Friday, August 3rd, 2018|
|Close Shave for the Stone
The RV was overdue for an oil change, but I hadn't taken any action on account of not needing to drive it anywhere. That changed when the Astro went into the shop for the major air conditioning work. (Still no update on whether they'll have it back in our hands by next Friday so we can use it to get to Worldcon. Alternative plans are being worked on, but none of them make us happy.) Anyway, I still need to go see my sister for her birthday tomorrow, and the Rolling Stone
is my backup vehicle. So today after work, Lisa and I drove to Sparks to Jiffy Lube. They looked a bit askance at the vehicle and were not sure it would fit. I was sure it had been through Jiffy Lube before, but upon further reflection realized that it was only the location in Newark, which has higher doors and less stuff hanging from the ceiling. The folks in Sparks eased it through the bay, and it cleared with less than 10 cm leeway. Whew! Current Mood: relieved
|Thursday, August 2nd, 2018|
Today is the final day to submit new business to the 2018 WSFS Business Meeting. The Secretary, who makes the agenda, is now on the road, so it will probably be at least one day before whatever new business arrives today makes it into the published agenda. But after today, if you still want to propose new items, you have to deal with making your own copies, and you have to either convince the Chair (Tim Illingworth, not me) to let you propose it, or else get two-thirds of the people at the Business Meeting to Suspend the Rules to allow the introduction of your late business.
Personally, I have some hope that we might manage to get through the entire agenda by the end of the day on Sunday (12:30, in order to make time for the Worldcon Chairs Photo Session) and not have to use the "overflow" session on Monday. Until 2015, we hadn't hadn't gone to overtime since 1992, but since then, we've done so every year. Maybe we'll get lucky this year and not make people get up early on Monday a fourth meeting. Current Mood: hopeful
Most of the smoke has cleared from Fernley, although you can still see the smoke plume from the Perry Fire
. That's actually an improvement because before the smoke was so heavy that you couldn't see the actual plume from the fire itself.
I've completed writing up the legal documents my sister wanted me to prepare for her. Tomorrow I have to make sure the Rolling Stone
is ready to go to Sacramento on Saturday. I won't be living out of it tomorrow, just using it to drive down there and then back the next day. Current Mood: relaxed