NOKC

Apr. 16th, 2016 10:00 am
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
I've decided not to go to the Kansas City Worldcon. It would be extremely convenient - just a hop across Missouri - and I'd love a taste of their famous BBQ, but I really need to get the Taxonomy of Polygons papers (which may be metastasizing) written up and out the door, and I suspect I'll need all summer for that.

I will be buying a Supporting Membership, though, so I'll be able to vote on the Hugos.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Thursday, August 20... I'm having a little trouble figuring out my notes. I marked a number of events that I wanted to attend, but did not, and I can't remember what-all I did instead. So, just a few highlights instead of a full recap.

1) I went to the Dealers Room again, and this time I bought some stuff - eight books. Some were things I had read, but had lost or never owned: LeGuin's The Dispossessed, Balmer and Wylie's When Worlds Collide, Silverberg's Hawksbill Station, MacAvoy's Tea with the Black Dragon; others were classics I'd never gotten to: LeGuin again (The Word for World Is Forest), Wilhelm (Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang), White (Mistress Masham's Repose); and one was a Jack Vance (The Blue World) I'd never even heard of - but you know what you're getting, when you get a Vance. I'll probably give brief reviews, or at least commentaries, on them once I finish them all. I was to make one more shopping trip, on Saturday.

2) Music! There were a lot of half-hour filk concerts; some were local talent, others were big names on tour. On Thursday I went to two of them, by local Kathleen Sloan and by Roberta Rogow, whom I'd seen at Archon in - was it 2006? Sloan's performance included: "They're Made out of Meat" (based on a story by Terry Bisson; an alien exploration team, invisibly investigating the possibility of life and intelligence in this star system, make a startling discovery: they're made out of meat! After much discussion, the aliens decide no one back home will believe it, so they purge the records and leave.); "Do You Wanna Build an Iron Man" (a Frozen pastiche, of course, doing homage to the Marvel Cinematic Universe); and "Take It Back" ("it" being singing and dancing, to be taken back from the pros and returned to everybody). The first was hilarious, as the science officer tries to explain how these peculiar beings think, communicate, and reproduce; the second was cute; and the third put me in mind of a talk Sally Childs-Helton gave, also at Archon, on the peculiar position of music in modern society. Music is ours, dammit! (Sara Bareilles hits the same sort of theme in "Brave", which is one reason I love that song.) Rogow's performance included "It's a Strange World" (a song about ex-planet Pluto, to the obvious tune); a song about Schindler's famous list, and one about working women in space; and "Fact and Fiction", ttto "Both Sides Now" - "It's science fiction we recall, we don't know ### at all". All delightful, of course.

3) I spent a little time at the Business Meeting, watching the parliamentary duel between supporters and opponents of the E Pluribus Hugo amendment; I voted in support a couple of times. (EPH was eventually approved on Sunday, after I'd left; it needs to be passed again at next year's Worldcon, in Kansas City, to take effect. If it works as intended, Hugo voting from 2017 on will be somewhat more resistant to slate voting, such as marred the ballot this year.)

4) Panels. Let's see, I went to one panel on "Steampunk and Colonialism". I enjoy steampunk; I have several of James Blaylock's books, which helped kick off that movement, and I'm a loyal reader of Girl Genius online. I do recognize the problematic ties of steampunk to a glamorized Victorian era, with all the ugly overseas stuff sanitized out of existence. The panelists discussed, among other things, steampunk based in non-European milieus; I believe one of them was writing, or had written, an Asante-based steampunk story, which sounded very interesting, but I didn't get the title. One panelist mentioned Marx's discussion of the consequences of free movement of capital together with constrained movement of labor - something which is apropos today, let alone in the Victorian era! I also attended a panel on the prospect of pandemics in the future; there was considerable denigration of the depiction of pandemics in SF - too-swift devastation, the inverse relation between virulence and transmissibility, immunity, institutional response, and so on. Most of the focus was on flu and flu derivatives; I think there was a little discussion of the appearance and spread of multi-resistant diseases like MRSA. There was also a panel on medieval science and technology that I really wanted to attend, but the room was far too small for the demand. (This happened several times, especially in the science-related events - poor planning on the organizers' part, say I.)

5) I also went to a reading by Connie Willis of her next novel, about a sort of artificial telepathy which people could sign up for; the young adult narrator signs up, and, naturally (this is Willis, after all) hilarity ensues. Now, Connie Willis is a delightful person, and she's written some absolutely brilliant novels and short works, but :wince: she really doesn't have the hang of reading aloud. She wasn't monotone, exactly, but there wasn't enough variability in her voice to bring the excerpt to life. It does sound like a fun read, though.

6) Late in the day, Filthy Pierre led a campfire-style sing-along; the "campfire" was constructed of colored strips of crepe paper attached to a fan, positioned to blow upward. It was kind of fun, but too many of the songs were to tunes I wasn't familiar with and couldn't learn fast enough. I did finally hear "Banned from Argo"....

And that was Day 6 of my vacation.
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
Wednesday, August 19, was the first day of the convention. My notes have me attending six events; I also paid a visit to the Dealer's Room, but apparently didn't buy anything. (Since I got my Kindle, the vast majority of my F/SF purchases have been in electronic form; only a handful of authors - Bujold, Willis, Powers, Butcher, Pratchett, Cherryh - get dead-tree treatment.) The events were:

1) A panel on "Comfort Reading", including among others Jo Walton and Lawrence Schoen. I have neither notes nor memories concerning this one; I will mention that this was the first time I'd seen or heard Jo Walton in the flesh; I've been reading and enjoying her reviews on tor.com for several years now. Even when I disagree with her tastes, she usually has something interesting to say.

2) A panel on "Headology and Boffo - Character and Cunning on the Discworld". This was the first of a number of events celebrating the writings of Terry Pratchett, who died earlier this year; the panelists were, as far as I can tell, members of the Pratchett Society. The topic covered the methods of psychological manipulation employed by such characters as Granny Weatherwax, the Patrician, and Carrot. I remember it as being fun, but don't recall much else.

3) The opening ceremonies. A good deal of this was taken up by a Native American storyteller, who shared songs and stories of the Pacific Northwest. (As it happens, his people were from the Seattle area, not from Spokane, but you do what you can.) I only remember one story, concerning Raven (the local version of the Trickster), and what happened when the people decided to get rid of him. Needless to say, it didn't end well for them....

4) "Ook!", which was more or less the official kickoff of the Pratchett celebrations. (The title is a reference to The Librarian, one of the most beloved Discworld characters; he was accidentally turned into an orangutan in the second book of the series, and adamantly rejected any offers to turn him back afterward.) It was more or less a guide to all the events that were scheduled in honor of Pterry, most of which information was already in the convention guide.

5) A pair of episodes of Girl Genius Radio Theater, presented by the Foglios and a handful of volunteers: "Six of One" (involving a clash between Agatha's crew and a mad, time-traveling clockmaker) and "Half a Dozen of the Othar" (in which they had to deal with a sixfold reduplication of the Gentleman Adventurer, while simultaneously settling a political crisis in the Underworld). It was pretty funny; Phil Foglio in particular is an excellent (hammy) showman.

6) The real highlight of Day One for me: the Sagan Lecture, given by Br. Guy Consolmagno, who was just appointed director of the Vatican Observatory. One of the requirements of the Sagan Prize is the giving of a public lecture on astronomy; Br. Guy asked for, and received, permission to give the talk at Worldcon. The subject was "Great Errors in Astronomy". Much of the first part of the talk covered the changeover from the geocentric model of the solar system to the heliocentric model. That subject is one of the big set-pieces in my History of Math class, and I enjoyed Br. Guy's take on it. He went on to talk about Bode's Law and the collapse of our models of planetary development in the light of the last decade or so of exoplanet discoveries; about the unfortunate Giovanni Schiaparelli, whose brilliant observations of Mars and Mercury were marred by technological aberrations and numerical coincidences; and about his own doctoral research on Europa, where he was just about the only scholar to explicitly reject the possibility of complex organics in that moon's oceans. (I'm not sure whether it's humility or the reverse, to include one's own mistakes in a list of Great Errors.)

And that was the first day.

Note: Usually when I go to cons, I sample the local restaurants, but this time around I pretty much stuck to grazing the concession stands. (I did eat a good breakfast at the hotel each day, though.) I probably should have made more of an effort, but I didn't have much contact with any of my friends, which would have made it easier to eat out. (Also, [personal profile] filkferengi wasn't there; things tend to happen when she's around. We missed you, Jerrie!)
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
August 18th was pretty much uneventful; I flew up to Spokane, checked in to my hotel, got my convention ID at the convention center, and had a big, tasty bowl of black bean soup at a local Mexican restaurant. But there are a couple of minor items I'd like to mention.

First: I like a good ginger ale; it's second on my personal ranking behind root beer, and well ahead of any of the colas. (I love Vernor's in particular, but for some reason that brand is hard to find.) When I fly, when the attendants come down the aisle with the drinks cart, I almost always ask for a ginger ale - it has less aftertaste than other soft drinks, and it helps keep my stomach happy. Now, most of the time I fly American, which is, after all, the big dog at St. Louis airport. American serves Canada Dry, which is not one of the better ginger ales; it's OK in one of those little plastic cups, but it just doesn't work, being drunk from a mug alongside a meal. On this three-legged flight, though, I wound up flying United - and United serves Schweppes, which, it turns out, is one of the better ginger ales. I was pleased enough by this that, after I returned home, I looked for it at Shop'n'Save; they do sell it, and it has joined Diet A&W on the soft-drinks rotation chez Stoutfellow.

Second: this year's Worldcon set an attendance record. My flight into Spokane (and, I assume, many other flights that day and the next) disgorged a large number of con-goers. Unfortunately, Spokane "International" Airport only has four airport taxis, and it's half an hour's drive to downtown, so much waiting was in the cards. A taxi came by and announced that he could take up to four people, but when I told him which hotel I wanted, he said that would be out of his way, given the destinations of the other riders, and suggested (rather firmly) that I wait for the next one. I wandered back to the knot of fans and asked (using my classroom voice) if anyone else was going to my hotel. Only one other person answered. After some discussion, we decided to try to hijack one of the shuttles to a hotel nearby ours. When the desired shuttle appeared, we made our request, and he kindly consented. Both of us tipped him when we got off. (He was reluctant to accept my proffer, since the other fan had already given him something, but... well, I prefer to pay my own debts.)

The next day, the convention opened for business. That post, and the ones to follow, will be a skosh longer than this one.

Sasquan

Apr. 19th, 2015 01:04 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I just bought my Sasquan membership. Unfortunately, their home page, though it offers links to things like "Hotels" and "Schedule", seems to give me nothing but 404s.

Whatever. I'm looking forward to the trip, and the chance to see some longtime friends and acquaintances (some of whom I've never met in person).

Anyone else going?
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
So, it looks as though the Melancholy Sons of Bitches got their wish: this year's Hugos ballot is crammed with their slate. Three (out of five) of the nominees for Best Novella are by the same author, and a fourth is from the same stable. The Holy Syphilis is on both Best Editor categories. Three (at least) of the nominees for Best Related Work come out of that swamp.

I'm still planning on going to Sasquan, but my ballot is going to have "No Award" pretty high in most categories.

If you feel like defending the MSoBs, save it. Any such comments will be deleted immediately. Those bastards have done serious damage to what is supposed to be one of the highlights of the SFnal year, and I'm not interested in any apologias.

(I will admit that Skin Game probably does deserve a slot on the ballot, despite being on the MSoB slate.)

(Tangentially, I wish I were qualified to bear the honorable title of SJW. And these people think it's an insult!)

Spokane

Mar. 1st, 2015 01:55 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I just noticed that the Spokane Worldcon this year ends the day before Fall Semester classes begin here. I haven't been to a con since RenoVation in 2011.

Think maybe I'll buy me a membership this year.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
For some reason, my notes for Saturday are very sketchy. I went to Biscotti's for breakfast - a frittata, very tasty - and then wandered over to the convention center, where I sipped a mocha and finished reading Quest Crosstime.

The first panel of the day was on physics errors - the ones that SF books and TV have propagated, and leave genuine physicists tearing their hair. Unfortunately, this soon wandered off track; there was an interesting discussion of the difficulties of energy storage, but not much else of note. A panel on "The Real Middle Ages" was more interesting, as the panelists - historians, professional and amateur - defended the period against the canards of popular thought. Not much of what they said was new to me, unfortunately. I went to another linguistics panel, this one on constructing believable languages, whether for fiction or for fun. (I think I goofed in the last post; it was this panel that mentioned the typology of constructed languages.)

The panel on steampunk vs. alternate history was kind of unfocused, but there was an interesting discussion of the tendency of alt-historians to focus on the political and military, at the expense of social or economic changes. The latter, of course, are harder to handle, since it's difficult to identify a specific turning point. I suggested that one possibly-interesting economic turning point might involve accelerating or delaying the discovery of silver in Bohemia in the early Middle Ages, which was critical in reviving the European economy. One panelist pointed out that this would probably not meet with favor from a publisher (true, but beside the point, to my mind); another ranted about the idea that specie had to be gold or silver as being a Western obsession, and that they could have done equally well by choosing some other basis for their currency. (I tried to point out that the reason for the need for specie was the trade imbalance with the East: it was the Arabs, Persians, Indians and Chinese who were demanding it. I don't know if I got that across. Dammit, I've looked into this topic!)

Somewhere around there I began reading Tactics of Mistake.

Another panel featured a Poul Anderson retrospective; his widow and daughter were among the panelists. The discussion focused more on the man than on his works, which was kind of disappointing to me; on the other hand, I hadn't known that Anderson was an active filkwriter. (Must look up "Bouncing Potatoes"....) I also hadn't known that Mrs. Anderson was Poul's historical beta-reader, and that she had often had to correct historical errors on his part. A bit of clay in those feet, I guess.

The last panel had to do with supplying anthropological/archaeological backstory in SF/fantasy. I don't recall much of the discussion, but it's notable that LMB received praise for her handing of social issues in the Vorkosigan saga.

The final event of the day - and the final event of the con proper, for me - was the Hugo awards ceremony. On the whole, it was entertaining; others have chronicled the Garcia Moment, which was indeed moving. The Foglios' acceptance of their Graphic Work Hugo, and their announcement that they were withdrawing from consideration for next year, was another highlight. As for the rest of the awards, I was pleased that "The Life Cycle of Software Objects" and "The Emperor of Mars" won their categories, and absolutely stunned (and not in a good way) by Connie Willis' victory in the Novel category. (Connie is a delightful person, and she's written some wonderful novels, but Blackout/All Clear wasn't one of them. I had ranked it fifth of five on my ballot. It is small consolation to know that Feed - to my mind, the rightful winner - placed second.)

That was Saturday.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Having mostly exhausted the books I brought with me, I began reading books I had just bought. First up was Norton's Quest Crosstime, which was (way back when) my introduction to the concept of alternate history. (A good part of the story takes place in a timeline in which Cortez was killed during the first retreat from Tenochtitlan - which I remembered - and, also, Richard III was victorious at Bosworth Field - which I didn't remember.) Not a bad story, although my WSOD was upset by scenes taking place in a timeline where life never evolved on Earth - but which still had a breathable amount of free oxygen in the atmosphere. Uh, no.

After a waffle breakfast, I headed over to the convention center. I had no intention of buying any more books, but I did have a hankering for some CDs - specifically, Mary Crowell and Tricky Pixie. So, I foolishly returned, one last time, to the Dealers' Room. I found no CDs. I did, however, blunder into the vicinity of the NESFA table, which sucked me in, not releasing me until I'd bought a volume of Murray Leinster, two volumes of Chad Oliver, Zenna Henderson's Ingathering, and an old copy of Avram Davidson's The Phoenix and the Mirror (which I think I read, long long ago, at the instigation of Lin Carter). I also spotted Howard Tayler's table, and went over to extend my collection of Schlock Mercenary. I picked up three volumes, but, oddly, not Massively Parallel, which was in the running for the Graphic Story Hugo. I also, on a whim, bought a metal water-bottle (with one of Tagon's rules on it). This was to have consequences a couple of days later....

The first, and best, event of the day was a reading by LMB from the in-progress Ivan book. It was hilarious; Ivan has never seemed more Threepwood-like to me. Lois projects another year, year and a half before it can come out even in hardcover, alas. In the aftermath, there was a listie cluster, in which plans for the evening were finalized. I spent some time drinking coffee and chatting with a small group, including CatMtn, James, Pat Mathews, and Karen Black. (There were at least two others, but my notes don't name them and I can't cudgel them from my memory.)

Panels for the day discussed horses, SF in this solar system, Victorian scientific romances, and linguistics. The panelists for the first were Ellen Asher and Melinda Snodgrass, and they waxed indignant over the unrealistic treatment of horses in fantasy (and in mainstream fiction, for that matter); questions of equine physiology, psychology, and economics were much-discussed. I found myself trying to match up what they were saying with Temple Grandin's discussion in Animals in Translation - different expertises, but they should be consistent with one another (and for the most part were).

The discussion of SF in the solar system, for the most part, focused on the accelerating rate at which we're learning how wrong we've been. Mercury and the asteroids drew a lot of attention. One amusing point: a while back, someone tried to put together an anthology of original or recent stories set on or around each of the planets, and had great difficulty coming up with a story about Uranus. The inner worlds, sure; the big gas giants, no problem; even Neptune - but not their cockeyed cousin.

In between panels, I went to Tim Powers' Guest of Honor speech. It was hilarious; I'll mention only the conclusion, in which he described some neighbors of his who had build a giant electric Ouija board, which attracted ghosts like a stadium light draws moths.
"Do they ever say anything?"
"Oh, yeah, they's always wantin' to tell us what numbers are gonna win the lottery."
"Do you take the numbers down?"
"They lyin'! They don't know what numbers gonna win!"


The panel on Victorian scientific romance spent much of its time trying to determine the boundaries, eventually laying claim to everything from Mary Shelley to Edgar Rice Burroughs. There was also some discussion of the prefiguring of the old hard SF/soft SF dispute in the annoyance of Verne (hard) with Wells (soft). They also pointed out that there was a lot of such material which has been largely forgotten, with San Francisco as one of the hotbeds. (I found it necessary to mention Bellamy's Looking Backward; no one else had brought up his name! The panelists agreed, and pointed out that a number of other authors were directly inspired by Bellamy, although with much less interesting results.)

The panel on linguistics was kind of meh, from my point of view, although one panelist offered an interesting typology of constructed languages: "philosophical", aimed at fostering a particular point of view; "engineering", pushing the envelope by giving a language unusual or extreme characteristics; and "naturalistic", trying to capture the semi-organized chaos of natural language.

After that, a bunch of listies - seventeen or so - gathered and, with Lois in tow, went over to Foley's Irish Bar for dinner. There were too many people for full-group conversation; I wound up off in a corner with Stellan and Frank Kempe. We talked about the con, baseball (I whined about the Padres), and various other topics, over a meal of (in my case) shepherd's pie and Guinness.

The final event of the evening was the Masquerade, which was quite a bit of fun. There were several costumes which were just gorgeous, including an Undine and a reproduction of the aliens from "Avatar"; there was a Medusa skit, performed to the tune of ELO's "Turn to Stone" (of course); and a variety of others. The presentation was marred somewhat when the judges inadvertantly announced the wrong team as winner of a Best in Class award. It took several minutes to get that one straightened out, and I was sorry for the unfortunate team (who, sad to say, did not win any other award either). After the contestants had all presented, while the judges were conferring, the audience was diverted by a sort of game show, "Just a Minute", in which contestants were required to speak for one minute, impromptu, on a topic given by the moderator, without digressing, pausing, or repeating themselves. (This last was strictly enforced; you could repeat words from the topic title, but repetition of any other content word - even saying "over and over" - caused a forfeit.) Seanan McGuire put on a bravura performance, and wound up winning.

That was Friday.

Finances

Aug. 28th, 2011 03:49 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I have finally entered all of my expenses from Renovation into my financial records. I have discovered that I was overcharged fairly substantially at least twice (my own fault for not looking at prices and receipts more carefully), and that I can't account for $4.00 of petty cash.

I'll survive.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I seem to have come home with a mild but persistent case of Con Crud - a touch of a sore throat, not much more than that.

On the Second Day )
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Under the cut.

Day One )
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Preparing for my flight to Reno, I packed a few books into my tote, which I would be carrying aboard: Neil Gaiman's Stardust (which I had already begun reading), Tim Flannery's Throwim Way Leg, Michael Bishop's Brittle Innings (which I had decided to reread, prompted by its mention in one of Jo Walton's Hugo retrospectives), and H.S.M. Coxeter's Projective Geometry (which I'll be using in a readings course with one of my students this fall). "By the time I got to Phoenix" I'd finished Stardust, and blitzed through Throwim Way Leg at the airport and en route to Reno. On the latter flight were a couple of other convention-goers, a pair of sixtyish brothers. One, a wiry fellow, proved extremely talkative. (I was to see him at quite a few panels later, but did not re-engage....) There was a fair-sized fire south of Reno; we flew through a billow of smoke as we approached the city. I heard nothing more of the fire in the following days, but I'll admit I was otherwise occupied.

After retrieving my luggage at the Reno airport, I piled into a taxi and told him to take me to the Peppermill Resort. (The convention proper took place at the city convention center; room for attendees had been arranged at the Atlantis, a block or so away, and at the Peppermill, another three blocks off.) In the ensuing conversation, I admitted I was there for the convention. This may have confused the driver; I have no other explanation for the fact that he dropped me at the wrong hotel.

I felt something "off" as I was getting out, especially since, where I was, there was no visible indication of the name of the hotel. Still, I shrugged and went on in. The desk clerk was puzzled by her inability to find my name on the reservation list - as was I, until I finally noticed the "Atlantis" tag on her shirt. After we sorted that out, I asked for directions to the Peppermill. I asked again, after walking about a block, and eventually found my way to the Resort. My trials were not over; I did not see any entrance to the hotel. To the restaurant, yes; to the casino, yes; to the hotel, no. After circling three-quarters of the way around the building, I asked another passerby, who was kind enough to lead me through the casino to the check-in desk.

By this time, I was hot and sweaty from the walk and the heat. (The altitude didn't help either.) In any case, it was too late to get over to the convention center and register, so I simply took a shower and wandered downstairs to get a bite to eat. Of course, in between non-gambling Point A and non-gambling Point B were what seemed to be miles of casino. (I should perhaps mention that slot machines infest every corner of the Reno airport as well....) I eventually found my target, the cheapest of the half-dozen restaurants in the building; there, I had a tasty if expensive BLT, before hacking my way back through the casino jungle to the elevators, my room, and the welcoming bed. (I got turned around and slightly lost at least five times that evening, despite the multiple direction-giving signs and the map of the building the desk clerk had given me. Yes, a map.)

As an aside, I soon managed to block the casino from my attention, though I did find myself making occasional notes of oddities. For example, though music was omnipresent, which music changed as you moved across the casino, each segment having its own soundtrack. I only noticed this when, listening to Leeann Womack warble "Stronger Than I Am", I suddenly - between one line and the next, one stride and the next - found myself in the midst of a completely different song. :headshake:
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Well, I'm back from Reno.

I will have much to say.

But not today.

:zzzzzz:

Varia

Aug. 15th, 2011 05:37 pm
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
A few notes before I take off for Reno...

I've done most of the necessary pre-trip things. I haven't packed yet, but my flight doesn't leave until 2:00 PM tomorrow, so there's time.

I just finished Barfield's The Perilous Frontier. An absolutely fascinating book; I should probably go back and reread my copy of A History of Chinese Civilization, now that I've got a framework to pin things to. I'll review the book after I get back from the con.

I also finished rereading Middlemarch. It's been thirty or so years, and I'm counting it as effectively a new read. (Of the four major plotlines, I remembered a fair part of one, fragments of a second, the barest skeleton of a third, and nothing at all of the fourth.) (FWIW: in order, Dorothea/Casaubon/Ladislaw, the Lydgates, Bulstrode, and Fred Vincy/Mary Garth.) Eliot retains her high position in my mental pantheon.

Classes start the day after I return from the convention. Fortunately, I only have one class on Monday, and it doesn't start until 2:00, so I'll have a little time to recover.

Apropos of nothing, but something I find absurdly pleasing: sometimes, when I'm petting Buster's chest, he'll hug my arm with his forepaws.

I haven't done anything about the prisms paper in several weeks; nor have I gotten any further with the more general prisms problem. I have, however, been working on spiffing up a joint paper with my former Masters' student CK; there are three more major results (out of eight or so) that I have to clean up. I hope to get this one and the first prisms paper out the door before the end of the year.

Websnark is back! I'd almost given up on them.

Looking forward to seeing... well, some of you... at Renovation!
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
There are two Best Editor Hugos, for short form and long form.

I have absolutely no idea how to evaluate those.

You are allowed to abstain in particular categories, aren't you?
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
All five nominees for Best Graphic Novel this year are a bit problematic. All of them (I can say definitely in two cases, almost certainly in two more, probably in the last) are part of series. Much as I love Girl Genius and Schlock Mercenary, I seriously doubt a novice, confronted with either volume, would be able to make head or tail of it. For the other three, I was that novice, and found myself at least slightly confused by all of them. Grandville Mon Amour seemed to stand alone best; unfortunately, the story wasn't all that entertaining (to me, at least), and the in-jokes (e.g., a bulldog named Drummond) seemed pointless. Unwritten: Inside Man seems like it's part of a powerful series, but there were too many pieces missing for me to follow clearly. Fables: Witches was likewise not particularly self-contained, but it came closer than Inside Man, and it was less unrelievedly gloomy (the battle with Baba Yaga was pretty funny), so I think that's the one that will get my vote.

Weekend

Jul. 23rd, 2011 02:41 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
One week left in summer semester. I promised my topology students I'd have their take-home final for them on Monday (three days ahead of schedule). This will be a tad difficult to carry through on, but I'll take care of it.

The e-mail program used by the university - which I use on campus, but not at home - has the most bizarre spell-check routine I've ever run into. If I type "I'll", it objects to "ll". Most recently, I wrote a message to a colleague first-named "Tammy"; spell-check objected, and suggested "Sammy". :eyeroll:

I took Gracie in for follow-up yesterday. (This time I wised up, and got a ride from W.) All signs are green; I should complete the course of antibiotics, and that'll finish the job.

I finally got around to booking my flight to Reno next month, and I found someone to dog-sit while I'm away. So that's taken care of. I'm racing to finish looking over the remaining Hugo nominees - Graphic Novel, currently - in time to vote by the 28th.

Other than that, I'm just staying indoors, trying to beat the heat.

Download

May. 23rd, 2011 07:21 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
So, a few days ago, I was notified that my Hugo ballot packet was available for download. This is a good thing, since I've read three of the Best Novel nominees and nothing else. Today, I'm downloading...

It's gone fairly well for the most part. The problem is going to be the Best Graphic Story nominees, three of which are 100MB+. I've tried downloading Fables: Witches (200MB) twice now. Unfortunately, in the midst of the lengthy process, the area's been hit with a microblackout. Twice. Which for some reason kills my DSL hookup. I have to reconnect, go back to the RenoVation page, log in again, and start the whole process over again.

I've decided to get all the rest of the stuff first, then come back for those three.

RenoVation

Mar. 20th, 2011 10:41 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Well, I just bought my membership and booked my hotel for the Reno WorldCon in August. Who else is going?

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