December 16th, 2007


What a Difference a SMOF (or 40) Makes

The immediate result of me mentioning the Semiprozine Hugo Poll here and on the SMOFS e-mail list was that "Scrap the Category" shot way out in front of all the other options. This is rather important, as the people on the SMOFS list are more likely than the average fan to actually attend the WSFS Business Meeting and vote, so while it's a biased sample, it's a biased sample that may well reflect how a proposal to strike out Semiprozine would fare before the WSFS Business Meeting.

I've heard several notable SMOFS say they're just about ready to launch a proposal to strike out Semiprozine. Furthermore, people who seem to think there is a Law of Conservation of Hugo Number might be more likely to vote in favor of creating a new category (pick what you want) if an existing category were to go away at the same time.
Business Meeting

Timing Is Everything

Note that some people thinking of serious changes to the WSFS Constitution were holding off last year because they didn't want to be accused of trying to sneak something through at a relatively lightly-attended meeting in Japan. Moreover, with the 2010 Worldcon being in Australia, and Australian Worldcons being significantly smaller than North American and European ones, this year is the one where thoughtful people should be submitting their proposals for change. Remember that changes have to pass in two consecutive years, so you need to start the ball rolling at Denver for ratification in Montreal.

The entire purpose of the two-year ratification scheme is to prevent changes from being railroaded through at a single Worldcon. However, you tend to lack some legitimacy if you are perceived as trying tricky things at relatively lightly-attended Worldcons. Mind you, we had a pretty good crowd at Aussiecon Three to debate the Best Dramatic Presentation split. However, in Japan attendance was very light. I didn't count, but the room itself probably only seated about fifty people, and there were lots of seats available. The video of the meetings looked a little bit like those shots on C-SPAN of representatives lecturing to an empty hall, although in fact it wasn't quite that bad -- people just don't like sitting in the front row or in the line of sight of the camera.

Which gets me thinking about room layout. Given the choice, I'd rather that the entrance door to the room in which the Business Meeting was being held be at the rear of the room rather than at one side. That's because if the door is on one side, then the side of the room nearest the door fills up and the other side stays mostly empty, on account of people are reluctant to walk across the front of the room when the meeting is in session. When the door is in the rear, the tends to fill more evenly from side to side, although the front is usually last to fill. Personally, I prefer a seat near the front on one side or the other, so that when I'm addressing the meeting, I don't have to turn my back on either the meeting or the head table.
Conrunner Kevin

Ah, Luxury...

Last night, after a decent and affordable if not spectacular dinner at a Japanese seafood buffet restaurant in Marysville (I noted that it's in the same building where Blue Shield of California had a Medicare claims processing office back when I worked for them as an analyst -- I've been to that office), we went back to the hotel to take advantage of the facilities. We first went for a walk to try and work off part of the big meal, then went to the mini-gym, where I walked some more and Cheryl rode the exercise bicycle because the other treadmill was broken. My blood sugar reading an hour later suggests that this exercise did what it was supposed to do.

Having worked, we could then relax in the hot tub for a while and hatch fiendish SMOFfish plots. (No, we won't tell you what they are; they're secret, after all.) It was a cold (by local standards) and foggy evening, and the hot tub is outdoors, so going into the adjacent sauna was nice, too, although of course you can't stay in that near-200-F room for very long. After a couple of doses of the sauna (which incidentally dried off most of the water from the hot tub), walking back to the hotel room, steaming in our swimsuits, did not seem so bad. I reckon it takes a few minutes for all of the heat to leak out.

We brought along the back massager that Cheryl bought for us last weekend in Boston, and I left it grind away at my back muscles for a while. Then, feeling very decadent, it was time for a long night's undisturbed sleep. This morning, the only reason we had to be up before 9 AM was so we could get our included breakfast. The hotel is sufficiently slow today that I don't see them being in a rush to get us out of here on the stroke of the 11 AM check-out, so we're taking our time getting cleaned up and packed. No hurries, no worries.

The Holiday Inn Express is not a luxury hotel. However, the only time I stay at luxury hotels, I'm generally working or attending a convention, rushing around, getting too little sleep, and never having any time to use the nice facilities. That makes nights like last night all that more welcome. Besides, the rooms here are the size of mini-suites at many "luxury" hotels.
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    relaxed relaxed
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Echos of SMOFCon

I find myself being cited again as a source for SMOFCon reports, this time in Tom Veal's Stromata Blog, where he rightfully points out the teething pains of the first Worldcon in almost twenty years that has not had the luxury of being able to thrash around for a year after they won their bid.
Conrunner Kevin

Best Laid Plans

After leaving Yuba City a little later than we planned thanks mainly to fiddling about on-line, and after a short (and fruitless) errand to Marysville, we headed back toward the Bay Area. We stopped at the shopping center built on the ruins of the Nut Tree and looked around. They've rebuilt an amusement park, and they have a train again. I didn't check to see if the train still provides intermodal connections from the shopping center to the Nut Tree Solano County Airport. After buying some books at Borders -- it would have been a shame to let the 40% off this weekend only coupon we had go to waste -- we had lunch and tried to use the wi-fi at Panera Bread to check traffic conditions and e-mail. The response speed was hopeless, but the sandwiches and soup were pretty good.

After lunch, we thought a short walk around the Vacaville Premium Outlets across the freeway would work off a bit of the food, so we popped over the freeway for a short walk. About three hours later, laden with plenty of bags of stuff purchased on our "short walk," we finally made it back to the car. And this is not just a hapless male being led astray by a shopping-crazed woman. (Although I will say that Cheryl did manage to bag a splendid dress at a bargain price, as she reports.) Cheryl and I were both equally to blame for committing Shopping this afternoon. Whew.

Fortunately for us, traffic was a breeze getting the rest of the way home. We must have missed the pulses of coming-home-from-Tahoe traffic. Still, we had a lot less time at home Sunday that we'd expected, and still have bags of stuff strewn about.
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    amused amused