June 24th, 2008


Wedding Time

I've been to a few weddings in my life, some in odd places. My own, for instance, which was on board a chartered Portland Vintage Trolley rolling along Portland, Oregon's light rail system. Last night at the BASFA meeting, we had a completely packed house -- literally standing room only -- to witness kproche and bovil be legally married in California. This was one of the fastest wedding ceremonies you're likely to ever see -- less than one minute long, expedited by johnnyeponymous.

Thinking ahead, I remembered to bring the camera and the unipod, the latter being necessary if I wanted to shoot non-shaky video. I wish I'd had more of an opportunity to experiment with the settings and zoom, because then I would have realized that I needed to stay zoomed in slightly to avoid half-blinding the camera with the room lights.

I've posted video and links to photos in basfa.
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    pleased pleased
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Manga Kevin

With Friends Like These...

There is now a seattle_2011 community to discuss the Seattle in 2011 Worldcon bid. There have been extensive comments in the community's kick-off message that are highly critical of this committee.

While bidding the Bay Area in 2002 bid versus Seattle up until very late in the process when Seattle had to drop out, people kept trying to bait me and other members of the BA2002 committee into criticizing our opposition, and vice versa, in a process called, "Let's You and Him Fight." For the most part, both of our committees avoided this particular trap, and tried to concentrate on our own positives rather than our opponent's negatives. In fact, at one Worldcon during a fairly quiet spell where the groups were getting bored, the people staffing our respective tables (facing each other across a hallway) swapped sides and for a while induced dizziness in various SMOF types (including me, when I came back from a break) by giving each others' sales pitch.

Sometimes bids have to be careful of who their friends are. We're seeing that in the US presidential election, where candidates are being embarrassed by their own supporters. I suggest that people who think that the 2011 Worldcon should not be in Seattle should concentrate on the reasons why voters should vote for another site rather than against Seattle. In my eyes, "Vote for [Site] because [Other Site] is worse" is one of the least persuasive arguments I've ever heard.

(By no means should this be construed as a criticism of renoin2011, whose leadership I know to be relentlessly positive.)
High Speed Train

Who'd've Thunk It?

Thanks to Mark Evanier, I have now read a speech by the former CEO of American Airlines, Bob Crandall, where he not only calls for some limited re-regulation of aviation in the USA, but also calls for increased emphasis on rail for the shorter-haul corridors. Here's an excerpt:
Given the high level of congestion at our major airports and our desire to operate a more energy efficient transportation complex, I am similarly mystified as to why we have heard little or nothing about the development of alternative surface transportation systems for short haul journeys. At our major airports, a significant percentage of flights are to destinations less than 300 miles distant, which could readily be replaced by the modern high speed rail systems found in many countries around the world. Similarly, we could increase long haul aviation capacity to and from our major cities by linking near by airports to those cities with high speed rail links.
This is a former airline executive, not some crazy foamer railfan, saying this.

And in the meantime, our current administration has continued to try and destroy what little passenger rail we have, and the Republican candidate-presumptive is an implacable foe of Amtrak who would, it seems, be delighted to make all of the trains go away. And you still hear people saying how awful it is that we subsidize rail transportation, without apparently considering the subsidies, direct and indirect, paid for other modes of transportation.

I wonder when the government will ever get the message. Considering how long it takes to build a good solid rail system, we should have started thirty years ago.
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We Got Rid of That 9-Year Cycle A While Ago

In order to, I hope, try and pour cold water on a rumor before it spreads any further, I would like to assure anyone who cares that SFSFC is not bidding for a Worldcon at this time. And that "at this time" phrase doesn't conceal any dark plans of launching a sprint to the finish for 2011 or anything like that. It just means we won't rule out bidding someday for some year -- but not soon.

I don't think I'm giving away an important secret when I say that future Bay Area Worldcon plans do come up from time to time at our meetings. We're conrunners; smoffing comes as naturally as breathing -- maybe moreso right now with all of the smoke in the air in the Bay Area. But we are no longer locked into the "nine-year cycle" that the old three-zone system imposed upon us.

In sheer practical terms, fannish ethics and conflict-of-interest concerns would tend to preclude Worldcon bids for the near future. One SFSFC director is running 2011 Worldcon Site Selection, and another (me) is Chairman of the 2009 Worldcon Business Meeting with general oversight (not direct management control) of the WSFS functions for Anticipation. And I'm also a director of CanSMOF, Anticipation's parent non-profit corporation.

Besides, SFSFC has a lot on its plate coming up in the next couple of years, most notably running the 2009 World Fantasy Convention.

Edit, 17:00: Fixed time-traveling typo.
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Match Game SF

I Guess I Can Go Home Now

Tonight was the first of two work sessions for me for Match Game SF. This was the relatively easy one, where I printed the banners (time-consuming but not difficult) and some of the behind-the-scenes paperwork for the game. I may have to redo it if conditions change, which they may. We don't actually have the entire panel finalized or a confirmed announcer, but I now know when we're "on the air"

Friday, July 4, 1 PM, Grand Ballroom A
Sunday, July 6, 1 PM, Grand Ballroom A

Our current plan is to play four rounds in each of the two games. Nothing has been scheduled after us, so we're allowed to go a little long if necessary, because we have enough time to clean up after each show. (Set-up for the first show is going to be a bit cramped because the Westercon Business Meeting is in the slot 90 minutes before the Friday show. I wish it were Saturday!)

I continue to look for more sponsors to donate prizes. If you happen to be reading this and want to donate a prize in return for a commercial and other promotional consideration, please let me know. I do like being able to give contestants some prize, even if it's a small one like a $10 gift certificate from one of the dealers. One nice thing about donating prizes is that there is a decent chance of you getting the promotional opportunity without having to actually deliver the prize.

If we end up with fewer than eight prizes in inventory, I have a backup plan that will work assuming at least two contestants do not win the Bonus Round. Details if we get there.

The really hard part is still to come: getting the question packs together. I have some new questions in inventory, but not 36 of them, so I need to try and figure out what questions I can reuse or dredge from the history without boring either our panel or the audience.