Giants Fanatic

End of the Run

It would have been a storybook ending, at least of a chapter, if the San Francisco Giants had been able to defeat the LA Dodgers last night to win their National League division series and move on, but the Giants' bats just weren't hot enough, and the Dodgers won the game 2-1 and the series 3-2.

I now find myself in the position of wanting all four of the remaining teams in the playoffs to lose. Oh well, that's the way of a fan sometimes.

Mucking Out the Swamp (Cooler)

As I mentioned earlier, we took down the small swamp cooler that served as supplemental cooling for the travel trailer. Although Lisa did tape extra filters over the intakes due to the smoke and dust this summer, we found just how much got past the filters when we took off the outside cover.

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Lisa and I will clean this out soon before putting the cooler away for the winter.
Kevin and Lisa

Anniversary Picnic Redux

The plans for Lisa and my 25th wedding anniversary started very large (New Zealand trip to replace the cancelled CoNZealand trip), shrunk to middling (take a few days off and drive to Ely, spending a few nights there and riding the Nevada Northern Railway), and then came back to small. Day Jobbe wouldn't have allowed me to take more than a half-day off from work at the moment anyway, so that's what I did, and we repeated what we did a year ago today: a drive to Fort Churchill State Historic Park south of Silver Springs.

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It was an excellent lunch, although slightly chilly whenever the sun went behind a cloud. After we ate, cleaned up our trash, and put things away in the van, we knew we needed to go for a walk because we were both very full. Fortunately, Fort Churchill is a good place to go walking.

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We walked up to the trail that loops around the Fort Churchill ruins, but there were some other people on the trail coming the other way, so we reversed course and headed around a different trail, the Buckland Loop, which eventually leads back to the Railroad Trail and then the Nature Trail that runs back to the picnic area. By my pedometer, we must have hiked around 5 km or so, which was good, but we felt it in our legs.

It was certainly time to go when we got back to the van, as I don't like driving the highway from Silver Springs to Fernley at night. We got home just before sunset, tired but happy enough with our half-day vacation. It doesn't mean we don't want to go places and see things, but it will have to wait until we feel safer doing so.
Snow Day

Fire One

As I said yesterday, it's a good thing we had the fireplace and chimney cleaned on Sunday, because it got cold really fast. Not only did we have snow, but bitter north winds that sucked the heat right out of the house. So it was time to do something about that.

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I am so bogged down with Day Jobbe (and a Tonopah Westercon project about which more later) that I'm not getting out much. However, I did manage a walk around the block, which gave me an opportunity to admire and photograph the snow-touched mountains to the west.

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The more snow we get in the mountains this winter, the happier I will be.
Snow Day

October Surprise

This morning, I woke up to hear hard rain blowing against the window, but didn't thing much about it. We do get some rain here, after all, just not much of it. I got to work, and a few hours later when i took a short break, I realized that it wasn't raining anymore.

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The snow didn't last, and didn't accumulate on paved surfaces at all. Later in the morning it was already melting when I swept the remnants off the porch, just in case the temperature went below freezing, to minimize ice build up.

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Looks like we had our chimney swept just in time.

Chimney Cleaning Time

Steve-the-Plumber, who also does chimney sweeping as a side job, called us this week to see if we wanted him to do our chimney again this year, which we did. As it happens, it was exactly one year ago today that he was last here.

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After working on the chimney from above, he came inside and removed the sheets he had over the fireplace to prevent soot from shooting out into the living room. He then pulled the fireplace insert out of the chimney and vacuumed behind and inside it. I helped him shift the insert (which is very heavy) in and out as needed.

After getting everything set back in place and the tools put away, Steve cleaned up and then Lisa, Steve, and I chatted for a while. We haven't had any plumbing issues (aside from small things Lisa can handle) this year, so we haven't had to call on him for plumbing.

Steve is semi-retired now, but still does chimney sweeping in the autumn. We're happy that he keeps coming back and cleaning our chimney. It's very cheap insurance against a chimney fire, especially given how the wood fire is our primary source of heat in the house. For the moment, the small electric oil heater is enough to keep the living room comfortable, but it likely will only be a couple of weeks at most before we'll have to start burning wood.

Change of Season

With warm weather turning cold, the auxiliary swamp cooler that Lisa fitted to the travel trailer during the summer can be removed and secured. That also means removing the disposable filters she taped over the built-in filters to catch the smoke from the wildfires.

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The wildfires are still not gone. The largest of them, the Caldor fire to the southwest of Lake Tahoe, is approaching 98% containment, but there are still other fires burning that may continue to burn until we get some serious rain.

On the encouraging side, an early snowstorm dropped some snow on the Sierra Nevada, including more than 25 cm at Mt. Rose (the ski mountain that overlooks Reno). Here's hoping for lots of snow this year. We need all we can get.

Worldcon is Bigger Than Anyone

I seem to recall a discussion long ago, possibly online, possible at SMOFCon, or maybe at another convention, where someone (maybe me) made a point about being interested in Worldcon's future so that the institution continues after I'm gone. I do recall someone then saying that they were not interested in that and hoped that Worldcon would die when they did. I didn't argue it at the time, but I thought that a terribly nihilistic approach to life. While I won't be there to enjoy it, the idea that the institutions that I have devoted much of my life and energy (and no small amount of money) will continue after I'm gone makes me feel good. If I knew that my own death would also cause the destruction of WSFS and Worldcon, I'd feel very sad about that.

Not that the Worldcons of the future will be the same as those happening now, just as the current Worldcons are not the same as those I first attended starting in 1984. The institution evolves over time. What the future of the convention will be, I don't know. Continued and measured evolution (which is not the same thing as exponential growth) is in my opinion the way forward, and as long as I am able, I see myself continuing to contribute to that.

Still Working

Not much to talk about today, thanks to long hours at the Day Jobbe draining away most of my brain cells. It slows down all of my other projects, because after 9-10 hours/day concentrating on it, I don't have the capacity to think that much about anything else.
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Tonopah Westercon

Surprise Guests of Honor

One of the ways in which the Tonopah Westercon bid was different was that we said from the start that we did not intend to have guests of honor. For the relatively low-budget convention we intended to hold, we would not be able to afford them, and we wanted to keep costs down so we could sell relatively inexpensive memberships. Even though we said this while we were bidding, people who hadn't paid attention were surprised when we confirmed this after we won.

We would have continued without guests of honor, but we were presented with something of a windfall when the Utah Fandom Organization, parent non-profit corporation of Spikecon/Westercon 72, gave us a grant that, relative to our rather small budget, was very substantial. After looking at ways we could improve the convention, we decided that the grant could be used to fund two guests of honor. We discussed this with our committee and evaluated a number of possibilities. In the end, we choose two people, one from Reno and one from Las Vegas, one an author and one a bookseller, and yesterday we announced that Kevin Andrew Murphy and Myrna Donato would be Westercon 74's guests of honor.

I had to apologize to both of them for a longer-than-I-expected time between confirming their invitations and making a public announcement, but finally this past weekend I got everything set up. If you had been looking at just the right time (and it was only for a few minutes), you might have been able to notice that the first place where the guests were posted was on the website, followed by the site, followed by the news post on, then Twitter, then the convention's Facebook page, and then by e-mails sent to selected mailing lists and news sources. I always think that news announcements should first be placed on a convention's web site before being announced elsewhere, so that the announcements can always direct people to the website. But doing so can be a bit tricky, and I admit to being somewhat nervous when making big announcements, lest a technical failure gum up the works.

We would have made the announcement on Monday, but due to the Great Facebook Failure, I decided that we'd waited several months and could wait one more day.

At one point I'd planned for us to roll this and some other news into a single progress report, but given that most people (not all, I know) get their news about such things online, I decided that we'd do this announcement now. There will be more news between now at Westercon 73/Loscon 47. I'd rather have things right than have them quickly.