February 12th, 2006

Manga Kevin

A Long-Delayed Party

Instead of vegetating out watching Olympic coverage all day today, I went up to WonderCon in San Francisco, now located in the relatively new Moscone West expansion of the convention center. As usual, I can't go into convention centers without sizing them up as potential convention sites. Moscone West looks like it's about the right size for a Worldcon, although I may be underestimating things. The ground floor was completely taken up with the vast dealer's hall. As I didn't get there until about 4:30, I hardly had time for more than a quick pass, where I saw a few people I know. I talked with Phil Foglio and pointed out to him that as the last episode of the "Sleepy Clank" storyline of Girl Genius Radio Theatre was performed in 2005, the production was eligible for the Short Form Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo Award.

The main reason I went up to the city was to come to Raven O'Neill's birthday party, which was a meal gathering in Mel's Restaurant around the corner from the convention center. Besides, I had two hugs to deliver, one of which was from Lisa, who had told me to hug Raven for her and wish her happy birthday.

Collapse )

Update, Sunday Feb 12 1:21 PM: Went back and put in the link to WonderCon's web site.
Olympic Logo

Ice Skating Drama (Of Course)

One sort of advantage to having got home so late last night from WonderCon was that I was still awake when the live press conference was convened for Michelle Kwan to talk about having to withdraw from the Olympic team because of the injury she sustained the previous day. Despite my concern about the ice skating judging system (which I'm cautiously optimistic about after having seen some of the pairs skating), I couldn't help being sympathetic for Kwan, who seems to have had a lot of hard luck when it comes to the Olympics, despite her sucess otherwise. I also have to give her a lot of credit for being respectful enough of the team and the avowed spirit of the Games to withdraw and allow someone with a better chance to compete. Class act, Michelle.
Olympic Logo

Livening Up Cross Country

This afternoon I watched the coverage of the Women's and Men's Cross-Country Pursuit. This is a race that combines the two styles of cross-country skiing, the "classical" and "freestyle" methods. They race half the distance in "classic" style (racing in a sort of track, pushing off with poles), then the second half "freestyle" (a sort of skating style). Apparently you use very different skis and poles for the two different styles.

In the past, this was a two-day affair, with the time set in the first half used to set the starting order and lead time of the second day. To liven things up, they've combined the two halves in a single race, with a "pit stop" midway where the racers have a specified area where they change skis and poles with the clock running. I like this idea.

The men's race was further enlivened by a pile up at the start, with a bunch of racers going down in a heap, and one of them breaking his ski and having to change to a fresh one. He somehow managed to come back and finish second to take the silver medal. Longer story here.

They've managed to make cross country skiing more like an auto race. Clever of them.