Corflu 34

Jan. 15th, 2017 07:36 am
randy_byers: (shiffman)
I've purchased a membership to Corflu 34 in LA. I'm curious what kinds of pre-convention plans people have.
randy_byers: (cap)
During the Worldcon published a story called "Magic Sofas at Sasquan"by Leigh Strother-Vien. This is an ode to the comfortable sofas and chairs in the area "near Site Selection & Exhibits." That just happened to by the Lost World Fanzine Lounge, which was run by a gang of hardy fanzine fans with yours truly as bedraggled figurehead. Leigh was apparently completely unaware that the area had a name, despite the large banner that said Lost World Fanzine Lounge. Or maybe it was immaterial to her. That's the way fan/fanzine lounges are supposed to work, after all. They're a place to take a load off as you wander around exhibits.

So let me just praise Ulrika O'Brien for designing such a comfy fanzine lounge and pushing hard for lots of comfy chairs, ottomans (!), and carpet. It really made for a great space to collapse and yak with friends and strangers. Thanks also to Randy Smith, Sarah Goodman, and Chip Hitchcock for making Ulrika's ideas enter the real world.

For those looking for more than a magic sofa, we also had some great exhibits of fan art and fanzines, and I was very pleased to see many people coming by to look at the exhibits. The work of putting art on foam core (and foam core on pegboard) was done by Ulrika, Andy Hooper, Carrie Root, carl juarez, Scott Kreidermacher, Jerry Kaufman, Suzle Tompkins, and Tom Becker. They did an absolutely fantastic job, and it was great to see folks stopping by to slowly work their way from panel to panel. We had covers from nine of Art Widner's fanzines of the '40s, we had dinosaur posters by Brad Foster, Stu Shiffman, Steve Stiles, Espana Sheriff, and Marc Schirmeister, we had a massive display of Stu's artwork, we had smaller displays of artwork by Sue Mason, Steve Stiles, and Ulrika, and we had every cover for Chunga, with artwork by at least fifteen different artists, including most of those mentioned above.

One small gratification, in what was a complex array of gratifications and disappointments, came when John Hertz stopped by on the last day of the convention to say that we had bailed him out, in a way. John always puts together a display of artwork by the Rotsler Award winning artists, but this year he couldn't find the file of artwork he created for the purpose. He was able print out a few lo-res pieces from the internet to display, but he was also able to point people to our exhibit. I had been a little concerned that we would step on his toes with our display, but in the event we actually filled a gap.

I'll no doubt have more to say about Sasquan in the coming weeks, although I'm not sure how much will get posted here. I'm planning to write about it for the next issue of Chunga. Short version: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. But thanks to the great work of many good friends, the Lost World Fanzine Lounge pretty much totally rocked. And it had magic sofas too.


Jul. 13th, 2015 09:44 am
randy_byers: (shiffman)
Plans are proceeding apace for two conventions in August: Prolog(ue): A Pre-Worldcon Relaxacon, which is being held in the Seattle area August 14-16, and Sasquan: A Post-Relaxacon Worldcon, which is being held in Spokane August 19-23. I am area head for the fan/fanzine lounge at Sasquan, and I'm more or less just a useful idiot for Prolog(ue), which is being chaired by Ulrika O'Brien.

We're just a month away from the beginning of these festivities, and so this would be what they call crunchtime. I fell like I'm working almost non-stop on various organizing efforts, although probably the reality is that I'm mostly thinking about it non-stop. I've got a lot on my mind. Still, it's not all mental activity. On Saturday, for instance, I wrangled two large pieces of artwork to two different shops in an attempt to get them scanned. I'm still not sure that the scans I managed to have made at my second stop will be sufficient for the purpose, which is to have those pieces of artwork (and three others that I already had digital files for) printed as posters to decorate the Lost World Fanzine Lounge. All of the artwork is dinosaur related, because the Lost World Fanzine Lounge is where the dinosaurs of fanzine production still roam.

Also on Saturday I joined Ulrika, Scott, and carl at Gallaghers' Where-U-Brew in Edmonds to bottle the beer we had previously brewed two weeks ago. This beer is an imperial stout that we'll be serving at both Proglog(ue) and Sasquan. My contribution to the effort on Saturday was to put caps on bottles. It's a nice beer, too, although not weak!

These two activities were on top of lots of email correspondence, as well as other non-convention work I had on my agenda, including picking the last of my raspberries and writing a couple of blog posts. But it wasn't all work on Saturday. I also went to Julie McGuff's 50th birthday party at Andy and Carrie's, which was great fun, even though I pooped out around 8:00 and crawled home to unload the cases of beer from my car and into the basement.

On Sunday, more correspondence in the morning, and then in the afternoon I headed up to Andi Shechter's place to consult about the exhibition of Stu Shiffman's art that we'll be doing in the fanzine lounge. Andi has been going through boxes and boxes of fanzines and old notebooks looking for Stu's artwork and having a friend scan it all. These scans will feed into various projects Andi has in mind, and we're taking advantage of it for Sasquan. There will also be a memorial for Stu at Sasquan, but Andi still hasn't made up her mind whether she wants to face the potential emotional turmoil of attending the convention.

After that I was too wiped to see straight, so I went home and did a little bit more program wrangling for Sasquan before plopping myself in front of the TV to watch a movie. The To Do List seems hardly dented, and I'm sure the next few weekends will be just as busy, even if most of the business is in my brain. I'm getting to the point where I'm telling myself that it's okay if I don't get everything on the To Do List done. Everything's going to be fine, even if all the plans and ideas don't come to fruition. Whew!
randy_byers: (cap)
Last weekend was the All Hands meeting for Sasquan, which is the World Science Fiction Convention being held in Spokane in August. Ulrika O'Brien and I went as part of the fanzine lounge team (I'm the area head), and we were joined at the last minute by Suzle, who had been asked if she could help wrangle the function space in various hotels.

On the way to Spokane on Friday we took U.S. Route 2, which meanders through a beautiful section of the Cascades where you also find little mountain towns like Gold Bar and the Bavarian-kitsch village of Leavenworth. I had never taken this drive, and it was just as picturesque as advertised. It takes longer than just bombing out to Spokane on Interstate 90, but it's worth the time, if you have it. However, you might give the Wallace Falls Cafe in Gold Bar a miss.


Friday night was a Division Heads meeting in which we got progress reports from various divisions. Saturday morning and afternoon were walk-throughs of the convention center, the Doubletree hotel, and the Davenport hotel. I'd been through all of them before in February, but I went through the convention center and Davenport (which is the party hotel where we hope to have a suite for the evening fanzine lounge) again just to let it sink in a bit more. It was particularly helpful to go through the convention center again, and I started getting images in my head of what it was going to be like when it was full of, well, the Worldcon and all that goes on there. I could begin to envision the 11-ring circus that is to come.

Suzle needed to go through the Doubletree, because some of her responsibilities will be there (function space in the Doubletree includes the consuite, gaming, and filking), but Ulrika and I hove off to eat lunch at the Post Street Ale House and then to revisit the NoLi Brewery when it turned out that nearby Ramblin' Road Brewery (which we hadn't made it to in February) wasn't actually open at their advertised opening hour. Still, the NoLi beer was mighty fine, and we had a good time arguing about who was the better Dogberry, Michael Keaton (sez Ulrika) or Nathan Fillion (sez me).

I drink beer while Ulrika hits Google to prove me wrong. Again.

After the Davenport walk-through, the three of us had dinner with Sean McCoy at Italia Trattoria, which is a marvelous restaurant in a funky little mostly-residential neighborhood. Sean is Facilities Division Head and an old friend of Ulrika's, and he was one of the people heavily recruiting Suzle. While they talked business, I medicated myself with a lovely cocktail called a negroni, which blended campari, gin, vermouth, and a garnish of lemon peel. The lamb chops were also superb.

Medication was necessary, because after dinner was two hours of discussion of the budget led ably by Ben Yalow. Thanks to the great influx of supporting memberships, Sasquan is actually in fine shape financially, but there's still a lot of work to do on the final budget. I need to work over the numbers for the fanzine lounge by next Saturday, for example. Oh joy!

Sunday morning was a continuation of the Division Head meeting, including a progress report from our Division Head, Randy Smith. (Which is to say that the fanzine lounge is under Exhibits this year.) Fortunately I wasn't asked to say much, although I did manage to mumble out a joke about why we were calling ourselves the Lost World Fanzine Lounge. ("Because it's where the dinosaurs of fanzine publication still roam.") Then we spent two hours working on the timeline. By the lunch break we had gotten a skeleton of Monday through Wednesday done. (The convention starts on Wednesday, not the usual Thursday, this year.) The three of us headed home after that, although we had lunch at the Post Street Ale House first and ran into Ruth Sachter and John Lorentz there.

Division Head meeting

As I've said before, this is the first Worldcon that I've ever worked on in an official capacity, and thus it's the first time I've seen behind the curtain, as it were. I am receiving an eye-opening education in the elaborate organizational structure and sheer amount of work that goes into running a modern Worldcon. There's still a lot of work to do in the next couple of months, but everything seems to be coming together nicely. We haven't finalized everything for the fanzine lounge, but we at least know where the daytime fanzine lounge is going to be and got a look at the space in the convention center. We'll be right next to the bar, which is called Guinan's. I was also very pleased to learn that Randy Smith has arranged for the bar to serve some of the excellent beer and cider brewed in Spokane.

As for what we'll be doing in the fanzine lounge, well, that's starting to come together too. We'll have posters, exhibits, and displays (Tom Whitmore has offered to lend us some prime fanzines from the '40s, and Guest of Honor Leslie Turek will be lending us all her zines as well), we'll have a reception for TAFF delegate Nina Horvath, we'll have memorials for Art Widner, Stu Shiffman, and Peggy Rae Sapienza, we'll have a discussion of Susan Wood that Tom Becker is organizing, we'll have the WOOF collation led by Andy Hooper, and there's been some discussion of using the fanzine lounge as a stop in a fannish scavenger hunt. No doubt there will be more as we develop our ideas. Feel free me to send me yours, and if you come to Sasquan please stop by the Lost World Fanzine Lounge. We'll have ourselves a time.

And that's not even mentioning the potential pleasures of this year's Hugo Ceremony and WSFS Business Meeting!

Spotted outside the auditorium where the Hugos will be presented

Potlatch 24

Feb. 9th, 2015 11:18 am
randy_byers: (cap)
I had intended to spend Friday evening at Potlatch, but I was so emotionally drained by a personnel crisis at work that exploded on Wednesday that I decided to bag it. Then I got an email from Spike asking if I wanted to meet her and Tom Becker for beer and dinner, and that sounded good. We met at the Big Time, and it turned out that Scott Kreidermacher, Ulrika O'Brien, and Jack William Bell (GeekWire's Geek of the Week) joined us as well. After a couple of beers we headed to the Shalimar for some curry. It was a welcome break from the work drama, but I was still feeling so wiped out that I went home afterward.

The next day I felt refreshed enough to face the horde, and I made it to the Deca Hotel, where the convention was held, just in time to join Tom, Glenn Glazer, Julie McGalliard, Janna Silverstein, a friend of hers whose name I lost, and Jerry & Suzle for lunch at a new restaurant called Seoul Tofu House & Korean BBQ. My spicy squid was good, and the conversation was a blast, ranging from an anthropological analysis of puns (including Julie's take that puns in fandom are a kind of mating display) to a discussion of military SF as written by women and whether, for example, the increasing role of American women in combat will change the kinds of military SF stories American women write. On the way back to the hotel Janna told me what an excellent, intelligent science fiction movie Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was up until the bog standard action finale that destroyed character continuity and derailed the whole thing for her.

Back at the convention I went to three panels. The first was the second half of "Living in a Fantasy World: The 21st Century Appeal of Fantasy Fiction," with Tom Whitmore moderating (as if!) Ellen Klages, David Bratman, and Nisi Shawl. The main focus of the panel was the evolution of fantasy as a publishing category, although the discussion frequently got into the roots of the genre as well. I believe one of the contentions hovering over the panel was that genre fantasy (perhaps roughly defined as fiction about magic) has overtaken science fiction in popularity, both in terms of what's on the shelves and what's winning awards. Perhaps lurking behind that contention is the idea that this is caused by the increasing number of women who both read and write fantastic fiction.

Next up was "Women Destroy Science Fiction: Not Again!", which was about the book of honor. Panelists were Kate Schaefer, Eileen Gunn, and Debbie Notkin. Debbie wondered whether it still made sense to be putting out women-only anthologies, or whether that was becoming a form of ghettoization. Eileen argued that she is marginalized by articles like her entry in The SF Encyclopedia that portray her as not really a science fiction writer. (" Much of Gunn's work, which is not copious, could not be described as sf.") Kate talked about how Gordon Van Gelder, who has been the editor and publisher at The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction for a number of years, was publishing only 20% stories written by women. She also compared the Lightspeed anthology to Pamela Sargent's 1974 anthology, Women of Wonder, and commented that the tone of the stories in the Sargent was angrier and those in Lightspeed more celebratory. In one of those moments that make Potlatch and SF conventions so wonderful, Vonda McIntyre spoke up from the crowd to tell the story of how Women of Wonder in part resulted from an angry letter she wrote to the publisher of a Best SF anthology that only included stories by three women out of a total of something like forty stories. When the publisher wrote back to ask Vonda if she'd like to put together an anthology of women writers, she connected them with Sargent, who she knew was shopping Women of Wonder.

The third panel I went to was "The Culture, Remembered," with Andy Hooper, Jane Hawkins, Chip Morningstar, and John D. Berry talking about Iain Banks' Culture novels. Jane probably put her finger on the core concern of the series when she said she doubted that an artificial intelligence (which in the Culture are called Minds) would have any motivation or reason to do anything. She also talked about how technology in the Culture has allowed everybody to be sane (unless they choose to be not-sane), and she tied that to her own struggles with depression and (getting back to her point about the Minds) the attendant inability to motivate herself. There was also a discussion of how Banks' stand-alone space operas, Against a Dark Background and The Algebraist, might take place in the same universe as the Culture without anyone knowing. Andy said he hopes to set up another panel about the Culture for Sasquan in August.

After that I headed up to the consuite to sample some of the beer that I had helped to acquire earlier in the week. Various dinner parties formed, but I wasn't feeling very hungry, so I hung out talking to Misha Williams and others who wandered in and out. Unusually for me (and no doubt only because Misha was there and isn't as introverted as I am) I ended up talking to a few people I didn't know, and that was good fun. Early on a woman whose name was something like Jessie joined us for a discussion about Sondheim's Into the Woods. When she mentioned that she'd stage managed a production of it, she and Misha bonded over how stage managing can ruin a beloved play for you. But eventually friends returned from dinner and I mostly went back to talking to people I knew. Then again, it was room full of people I knew, some of whom I don't see very often, so I talked to a lot of people! There was much talk of beer, and also a fair amount of talk about the revolution at Wiscon. Chris Wrdnrd invited me to sample some sake, and I joined a circle with her boy Andy, Luke and Julie McGuff, and Rich McAllister. Eventually, Scott, carl, and I headed down to Jack's room to sample single malts, and before I knew it I was staring at 1:30 in the AM and a long, drunken walk home.

Well, it was all a lot of fun, by grab. I chatted with Paul Wrigley and Debbie Cross in the dealer's room (mostly about beer), but the only book I bought (and not from them) was The Stone Boatmen by Sarah Tolmie, which was urgently recommended by Tom Becker. On the exhibit side I was deeply moved by the display of Stu Shiffman's artwork that Jerry and Suzle put together as a memorial. I hope we can do something similar at Sasquan. I got a lot of egoboo for the beer, other than one minor complaint about the relative paucity of stout. The book of honor provided a great framework for the weekend, and Ulrika O'Brien did a great job of building a program around it. Potlatch can sometimes leave me feeling a little alienated, maybe because I'm envious of all the writers and wannabe writers involved, and it's true that even this time I didn't spend a whole lot of time there. But in the time I did spend there what I saw was the gathered tribes voicing their enthusiasms and grievances in smart, engaged, thoughtful, feeling, funny, scathing ways, and it seemed to me that I was part of something that's still growing and evolving into strange and compelling forms. If women are destroying science fiction, it's only to create it anew.
randy_byers: (cap)

Loncon 3 was my eighth World Science Fiction Convention, and by this time they are beginning to seem a bit familiar. A bit been-there-done-that. Of course this could have something to do with the fact that in my first 25 years of going to conventions, I made it to only three Worldcons, while in the past nine years I've been to five. Maybe I need to go less frequently if I want to maintain the thrill. Familiarity breeds contempt, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and 3/25ths is clearly greater than 5/9ths. Then again, my two absolute favorite Worldcons were 2005 and 2009, which were both part of the recent burst, but the fun of those two was the result of purely personal factors that really had little to do with the conventions themselves.

I guess part of what I'm trying to say up front here is that I anticipated that a London Worldcon would be something pretty special, because of the location in one of the world's great cities, and while from an objective or empirical viewpoint it *was* something pretty special (c.f. over ten thousand total members, which is the most ever for a Worldcon), my personal experience of it was comparable to, say, the Reno Worldcon in 2011, which was the last Worldcon I'd been to. I had a good time, but I really didn't have anything resembling desperate fun. Well, maybe I came pretty close to desperate fun a time or two. Let's see how the story unfolds.

Desperately seeking fun ... )
randy_byers: (cap)
Spokane-Clock Tower
View from the convention center

I spent the weekend in Spokane with [ profile] akirlu attending a facilities walk-through and planning meetings for Sasquan, the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention, and also just poking around the city, which I had never visited before. [ profile] akirlu and I (as well as other of the usual suspects amongst Seattle fanzine fandom) are running the fanzine lounge in 2015, and she thought it would be a good idea for us to meet the committee and especially to talk to Randy Smith, who is head of the Exhibits division, which is handling the fanzine lounge. Indeed, of the roughly twenty people who came for the weekend, I had met only five before, so it was probably good to make ourselves known to more of them.

These were the first Worldcon planning meetings that I've ever observed, and it confirmed my feeling that it's not something I'd want to do very much of, while at the same time being fascinating and educational in a variety of ways, from people to process to politics. There were a lot of jokes about Worldcon sausage being made, and the jokes seemed appropriate. It was great to spend some time with Randy Smith (one of four Randys I encountered over the weekend), who is very interested in the fanzine lounge even though it's only one small corner of what he's dealing with. It was also a pleasure to meet and start to get acquainted with various other folks, including the Chair, Sally Woehrle. A lot of folks were from out of state, but there were also a number of us from the Seattle area and a contingent of locals. The politics of outreach to the locals, and the different convention-running cultures on each side of the mountains, was one of the more interesting topics of the weekend. All in all, I was impressed with the people running the show.

Alongside all that was the exploration of Spokane itself, and I came away impressed with that as well. First off, there's something like seven micro-breweries, which is a good way to win my heart. We visited two of them, NoLi Brewhouse and 12 Strings Brewing Company, and I liked them both. The NoLi also has a pretty good food menu that included poutine. (I had the steak salad.) A group of us had lunch at the Saranac Public House, which has a good selection of beers from around the West Coast and a nice food menu as well. That's just the tip of the beer iceberg. [ profile] akirlu and I also had dinner at Wild Sage Bistro, which was a little spendy but utterly fantastic. The flash fried calamari, which had been soaked in buttermilk over night and was served on a bed of shredded home made kimchee and pepperocinis, was to die for. We twice ate breakfast at Frank's Diner, which has great food and is located in an ornate old railway car. In general I got a strong impression that there's a good foodie thing going on in Spokane.

The downtown area is pretty interesting, with some cool old office buildings and a couple of architecturally impressive churches. The Davenport Hotel, which will be the party hotel, is just as spectacular and elegant as advertised. Some of the ballrooms, which the convention may or may not be able to use (they are still negotiating), are truly astonishing. The convention center is set right on the river across from a lovely city park. There seem to be a lot of restaurants and bars in the area, as well as some interesting looking shops.

Well, as I say, I was impressed. I know that there's been a fair amount of skepticism about this convention, but I hope folks will give it another look. Aside from everything else going on, we are going to do our best to make the fanzine lounge a happening place for birds of our feather and any and all folks looking for a port in the Worldcon storm. I honestly think we could have a total blast out there in Spokane, which was the earliest European settlement in Washington State (circa 1810, so not long after the Lewis and Clark Expedition) and feels like a place with real, live history. There's gold in them thar hills, I do believe.

Spokane-Davenport Ballroom
Viewing the Marie Antoinette Ballroom in the Davenport Hotel


Mar. 1st, 2014 02:38 pm
randy_byers: (2009-05-10)
Over the past few years I've sort of lost interest in Potlatch -- the small, literary science fiction convention founded to, amongst other things, support Clarion West. For that matter, even at times when I was more interested I only went to one of them in California. (Potlatch has traditionally alternated years between Seattle and the Bay Area, with two or three stops in Oregon as well. I went to the one in Eugene.) In recent years it has seemed that the convention was on its last legs, but so far someone has always stepped up at the last moment to keep it going. This year, for the 23rd in the series, it was Tom Becker and a band of hearty, hard-bitten Bay Area veterans. I wasn't going to go, but then Spike told me that the Fishlifters would be there. Well, shit. I couldn't pass up a chance to see the Fishlifters! So a week ago Thursday I flew to San Jose, and I'm so glad I did. In fact, this was as much fun as I've had at a Potlatch since I can't remember when.

Hither and not far from yon )
randy_byers: (cap)
It was an uncanny feeling which was to haunt him through all his hours here -- the knowledge that what he looked upon was unreal, the wonder as to what was actually taking place behind the mask of humanity that only he could see. (CL Moore, "The Bright Illusion")

Due to a booking error by my secretary (yes, that would be me) I arrived in Sacramento at 11pm on July 4th rather than at 11am as intended. Thus I missed the Opening Ceremonies of Westercon 66, but did make it in time for the power outage that struck the hotel and its immediate environs. This was widely deemed the Best Blackout at a Westercon Ever, but I fell asleep in the middle of it. What can I say, it was very dark. Ah well, many thanks to Kat Templeton for picking me up at the airport!

Why Westercon? )
randy_byers: (Default)
Anne of the Indies
Aftermath of the London in 2014 party at Westercon 65
randy_byers: (shiffman)

I spent most of the weekend at Westercon 65 in a hotel out by the airport. I can't remember the last Westercon I went to, but I think the last one I spent significant time at was Westercon 54 in Portland, where I hung out the whole time in the bar with Lucius Shepard.

Anyway, I went to this one because [ profile] spikeiowa asked me to help out with the London in 2014 party. On Friday I picked up a couple of 1/6th barrel kegs of beer from Uber Tavern, then picked Spike up at Harborview Medical Center, where she'd visited Stu Shiffman. We ate lunch in Belltown, then headed to the convention hotel and began the process for setting up for that night's party. [ profile] kproche and [ profile] bovil were co-hosting the party as part of their campaign for next year's Westercon in Sacramento. The party went very well, I thought. I was the bartender, and I had a really good time pouring beer and wine, hiding out in my little bartender cubbyhole (the bathroom pictured above) but still seeing just about everybody who came to the event. The party was relatively small, and I didn't have to work my ass off like the London in 2014 bartenders at Renovation did.

We didn't finish off even those small kegs, and Kevin and Andy asked me if I'd pour the rest of the beer and wine at the This Is an Ordinary Hotel Room party for Westercon 66 the next night in the same suite. Sure thing. I was helped by [ profile] voidampersand, but most of the action was out by Kevin's Thin-bot -- a robot he built to mix cocktails. It's an amazing device that is of course fascinating to geeks. A huge hit with the crowd. Therefore we *still* did not kill either keg, although we got close on the amber ale. (The other beer was an IPA.) On the other hand, because I was Crew, Kevin let me run the Thin-bot myself, using the touch screen interface that he'd also written himself. Very cool!

Other than the two parties, I visited the dealers room and the art show and occasionally manned the London in 2014 table. I talked a lot with John Hertz, and visited with my homeys, Jerry and Suzle. It was a very low key convention for me, except for the parties, and it was nice to spend a lot of time with Spike and Tom and Kevin and Andy and John, chewing the fat and smoffing. I hope to make it to Sacramento next year, just because Kevin and Andy should put on a good show. Two Westercons in a row? It's hard to imagine, but it actually sounds like fun. I've already bought my membership.

Kevin and Thin-bot
Kevin and the Thin-bot


Jul. 4th, 2012 11:08 am
randy_byers: (shiffman)
I'll be at Westercon on Friday and Saturday. Friday night I'm helping out with the London in 2014 party (co-hosted by Westercon 66), and otherwise I'll just be hanging out. Hope to see some of you there!
randy_byers: (2010-08-15)
Well, it looks as though I'll be going to Novacon again this year.


Feb. 24th, 2012 08:06 am
randy_byers: (cap)
I'll be at Potlatch this evening. Rumor has it that there will be a wine-tasting for London in 2014 and that I'll be helping out with it. Hope to see some of you there.
randy_byers: (shiffman)
It's good to get outside your comfort zone now and again, right? [ profile] stevegreen has somehow talked me into being a guest on his chatshow on Friday night at Novacon. The prospect of it is excruciating, but he pointed out that I'm an exotic foreign visitor, that we can use it to promote TAFF (the next westward race is being launched that very weekend), and besides it only lasts twenty minutes. If I pass out from anxiety, they can just haul Graham Charnock out of the audience bar and chat with him instead. Even more besides, maybe I'll learn a few things from Steve about interviewing methods that I can make use of when I interview [ profile] gerisullivan at SFContario the following weekend. Another thing I'm sweating bullets over right now.

Maybe I'll just stay in Belgium for the rest of my life instead. I mean, Steve's *other* guest on the chatshow is Iain Motherfucking Banks. I feel more than a little out-classed!

Okay, where did I put that valium?
randy_byers: (shiffman)
It appears that I'll be conducting a live interview with FGOH [ profile] gerisullivan at SFContario in November. I'm not much of a public speaker and try to avoid the stage, but this is a chance to make Geri talk. I like to listen to Geri. However, I've never conducted an interview before. I'm sure some of you have. What do I need to know? What do I need to do? Teach me! Also, what questions should I ask Geri? What stories would you want to hear? (Geri can decide whether those stories are for public consumption or not!)
randy_byers: (2009-05-10)
Okay, it's on! I've been given the time off in November, so I'll be attending Novacon 40 in Nottingham on 12-14 November and SFContario in Toronto the weekend after. I hope to fit in a beer-drinking expedition in Belgium before Novacon. Not sure how much other traveling I'll be doing in the UK, although I'm hoping to spend time in London at least.

I'm so stoked! Time to make the plan real!


Mar. 8th, 2010 08:56 am
randy_byers: (2009-05-10)
I ended up feeling pretty wiped out this weekend. I don't know why. Might just be part of the emotional cycle I'm going through. I ended up bailing on the Rat City Rollergirls on Saturday, because I just didn't have the energy.

I did spend a few hours at Potlatch both Friday and Saturday nights. It was good to chew the fat with various folks such as [ profile] calimac, [ profile] voidampersand, [ profile] spikeiowa (who sort of complained that all I write about here is movies), [ profile] k6rfm, and [ profile] n6tqs (sporting a lovely new tattoo, and very close, apparently, to qualifying as an able-bodied seaman), along with local friends such as [ profile] juliebata, [ profile] nisi_la, [ profile] jackwilliambell (who stroked my hair, the pervert), [ profile] mcjulie, [ profile] janeehawkins, [ profile] kate_schaefer (who brought glad tidings of Full Sail's Imperial Porter Aged in Bourbon Barrels being on tap at the hotel bar, mach schnell), and even one or two non-LJ friends such as my co-editors, Scott K, Victor G, Craig S, and Bryan Barrett, who is recovering from losing his foot recently to complications from diabetes. As zoned as I was feeling, it still seemed to me that the convention was going very well and that people were really enjoying themselves. The auction raised a fair amount of money for Clarion West, and when I left around midnight on Saturday I saw Ellen Klages being shorn of her hair, which she had auctioned off. Congrats to the concom for a successful convention.

Other than that, I worked on proofing the British fanthology that will be distributed at Corflu Cobalt. It's a corker, if I do say so myself. And last night I watched Miyazaki's Porco Rosso. I'm slowly getting caught up on Miyazaki, and this is one I'd never seen before. It's brilliant, just like everything of his I've seen so far. The setting is Italy after WWI, but it's a fantasy Italy of sky pirates and bounty hunters. Our hero is a bounty hunter who was once a handsome young military pilot but who is now a pig due to a spell cast on him. One of the things I love about Miyazaki is the deep sense of mystery in all his films. He doesn't explain everything about the background. It enhances the magical feel. And nobody does flying like Miyazaki. I'm not sure how he does it. Maybe it's the way he gets right down on the landscape, and gives us the sense of rushing across it. Oh, and to enhance the strangeness of it all, I listened to the French dub, which I've read somewhere that Miyazaki prefers to the Japanese dub. Italians speaking French in a Japanese anime? Magic!

(Sorry, Spike! But at least I didn't watch the Oscars. But hooray for Kathryn Bigelow!)


Jan. 24th, 2010 11:40 am
randy_byers: (beer)
It may be taken as read -- and indeed as an essential aspect of Eastercon heritage -- that the real beer runs out, to be replaced by hastily negotiated and progressively less real substitutes. England, my England.

-- Dave Langford, "Six Day Warp," from Attitude #11, July 1997

(I'm reminded that when the real ale ran out at the 2003 Eastercon, one of the substitutes was bottles of Bishops Finger. "You never know where it's been." Or was it, "You never know who it's been in"?)


randy_byers: (Default)

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