July 15th, 2007

Pensive Kevin

The Wages of Sloth...

...and eating too much for dinner: A 213 blood sugar reading. Not good at all. I did ten minutes on the stair-step machine, but an hour later, it was still a too-high 170.

I have conflicting issues: I need to keep weight off my feet to let my left foot heal up from the plantar fasciitis, but if I don't exercise, my blood sugar goes up, and my most common and easiest form of exercise is walking.

Worldcon Site Selection Politics

I am concerned about rumblings over the current Worldcon site selection election. Specifically, I've heard people say that if Kansas City doesn't win, it proves that the relatively new "no-zone" site selection system is broken and needs changing. For heaven's sake, it's only been in full operation for the last three election cycles (the previous three years were a transition period). It takes a lot longer than that to figure out whether a system is working or not. We did three-year lead time for almost twenty years before going back to two years.

The same complaints inform me that the center of the continent will be completely frozen out under "no-zone," and that Denver certainly isn't "Central" (although it looks that way from here in California), but neither is Chicago! That is, Denver is "West" and Chicago is "East." And when I asked about Texas, they told me that it's "South." That means "Central" consists of a pretty small area: Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Oh, and possibly western Illinois and Wisconsin, but not Chicago and not Milwaukee.

Some have pointed to the lack of a Minneapolis Worldcon as further evidence of bias against the center. Minneapolis, for instance, is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the US & Canada to not yet host a Worldcon. But like the old joke about Murray and God, you have to buy a lottery ticket in order to win the lottery, and aside from Minneapolis in '73, there are have been no serious bids from Minneapolis. (Which is a shame, really, because it's a nice city with a good looking convention center and relatively close downtown hotels.)

Frankly, I expect "no-zone" will lead to slightly fewer Worldcons in what was the old Central zone (which did include Chicago and Texas; sorry about that, folks), because Worldcons are now more likely to follow general population demographics, and the edges of the continent have more people living there than the center. But accusations that the con will bounce back and forth between Boston and Anaheim are just silly.

Edit, 11:35: Fixed geographic typo pointed out in comments.

Dispatches From FinnCon #7

This is a big one. I go away to run some errands for a few hours and suddenly con reports start flying into my e-mailbox. They must have had the Internet Pedal Trolls working overtime for this one.
The con is now over, and has been a great success. Because Finncon is free, it is hard to judge numbers, but all of the 5,000 program books that were printed have been taken by someone. The guests have been talking about coming back as attendees next year.

I had a light load of panels today. I listened to Liz Hand's GoH interview and then we went for lunch at the Mexican-Asian-Italian restaurant (which is across the road from the sex shop). After that Liz did a Kaffeklatsch in the pub and I pottered around doing bits and pieces until it was time for the final panel.

It has rained quite a bit, which was sad because the anime hordes got their costumes soggy. It also discouraged nice folks standing outside the convention center with signs saying "free hugs".

In the UK the fans drink the bar dry of real ale. In Finland the teenage cat girls eat the convention out of chocolate.

It looks like Chris Bell will make it home. Rumors that she was applying for political asylum in Finland are untrue. But she did need a lot of work done on the car before it would have been safe to head back through Europe.

This year's wrap panel was called "The Heinlein Legacy". I told the Finns lots of interesting things about Heinlein that they did not previously know. Thankfully they didn't take any of my bits seriously, but listened mostly to Clute, Jonathan Clements and Joe Haldeman instead. (Heinlein was responsible for the fashion for giant fighting robots in Japan - who knew?)

And then, finally, it was time to go back in the sauna. This being Finncon, all of the beer at the dead dog had been donated by a sponsor. If only they could get someone to sponsor heating up the lake it would be perfect.

Oh, and the chipotle vodka went down very well. No one died.
Whimsical Kevin


Incidental to the discussion about the Fan Writer Hugo, Tom Veal also had kind words about "Who's On The Ballot." I'd be happy to perform it some more, if johnnyeponymous and I could spare the time to polish the act and if there were other conventions that wanted to hear it. It plays better at Westercon, given that there are specific Westercon in-jokes.