scarlettina: (Angel)
I wonder this every time the months change: How did it get to be February, March, April? Simple answer: one day at a time.

And what have I been doing as the days fly by? Let's see:

Norwescon: I attended Norwescon as a fan this year, a novel experience. I got to attend panels I wasn't on, which almost never happens, and in each case brought its own rewards. I was especially taken with the panel on characters bearing witness to tragedy or bad things in general. Good discussion, invaluable food for thought for character building. I came home with two new pieces of art and a lovely, handthrown pot with Gallifreyan heiroglyphs on it for the renovated bathroom. I also got to do some figure drawing, which I haven't done in years. It felt good. Best treats of the weekend: getting to see [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine, in costume, rap-filk about his forthcoming novel (by way of a Hamilton filk) (but generally seeing DD is always good for me), seeing BK and meeting his wife KK, having excellent meals with friends. It's all about the people; it always is.

Work: The day job continues alternately interesting and frustrating. It helps that I like my coworkers. They're generally smart, capable people, and they're what make the frustration bearable. I'm trying to find ways to demonstrate the value I add, as well as leadership qualities and a strategic approach in the hopes that someone will figure out that I'm more than just a knowledgable pair of hands for building web pages. I've gotten to do some writing and editing lately, which has helped, and got to do some problem cracking as we deployed some new code earlier this week. There's got to be more, though.

Bathroom renovation: I finally have a start date for the bathroom renovation. It's not until next month, but it's finally scheduled. I can't wait.

State of me: Weirdly, I seem to be becoming an introvert, spending a lot of time by myself and missing all of my friends. I don't like it, not a bit. I have spoken to my doctor about adjusting my depression medication, because I find myself watching TV more and creating less (no writing, little jewelry making, little photography--it's bad). I can't even find it in me to make plans for movies or theater or anything. We've made a change but it has yet to kick in. We'll see. I'm trying to be more mindful about food and hydration, and trying to walk a bit more. I turn on my happy light when I remember to. The sun's slow return is definitely helping.

Midnight Special: I did manage to make one plan this week, which was to see this film at The Egyptian last night with [livejournal.com profile] oldmangrumpus. It's a quiet, understated, well-made movie about an extraordinary child and the efforts of his parents to get him back to where he belongs. The script is minimal, allowing actors to do what they do best, and they all bring it. Recommended.
scarlettina: (UFO)
So, basics first. If you know about the Hugos and the Sad Puppies, skip this bit )

The awards ceremony
The hosts for the evening were David Gerrold (as previously noted) and Tananarive Due. Tananarive paid tribute to Nichelle Nichols by cosplaying Lt. Uhura; she wore the red mini-dress very well indeed. David paid tribute to the last three Doctors Who by wearing Chucks, a jacket and a bowtie. The evening started with the handing out of fan awards; this year's TAFF award winner did the honors in a charming Austrian accent. Guest speakers during the evening included Connie Willis, because you can't have a Hugo Awards ceremony without her (she was funny and pointed all at once) and Robert Silverberg, who has attended every single Hugo Awards ceremony since the first, whose call for calm was quirky and entertaining (and still a cause for some unhappiness in small corners of fandom :: sigh :: ).

The first award that caused contention (and, I should note, contention that I wasn't aware of until later) was the Best Fan Writer Award. It went to Laura J. Mixon, who did an impressive, extensive investigative report on a blogger calling herself Requires Hate (among other noms de guerre), who had been targeting many writers for pretty significant abuse online. This award caused upset because some fans felt that because Mixon isn't a fan writer in the traditional sense--writing for fanzines and participating in other fan-ac--but a professional fiction writer, she didn't qualify for the category. Mixon gave a stirring acceptance speech, the best of the evening by far, and one that spoke not just to the issue she tackled in her article but to the larger drama that enveloped the Hugos this year as well.

You could feel the tension in the air once the pro awards began to be announced. I think the first No Award of the evening was given in the category of Best Editor, Long Form Best Related Work. The applause was like a crack of thunder, loud and long and enthusiastic. Now, as I noted earlier in this post, there were a LOT of fans who felt that bloc voting violates the spirit of the Hugo Awards; I am among them. When "No Award" was announced in this category, I knew that the applause was in support of this idea. It wasn't because the Puppies didn't win. It was because people believe that bloc voting for the Hugos isn't what the awards are about. Every vote for No Award wasn't against the people who were nominated. It wasn't nearly as much against a particular group of people who nominated but, more importantly, how they went about their nominating process.

As it turned out, No Award was given in four more categories as the evening progressed--a total of five in all, more than in any other year. More than ever in the accumulated history of the Hugo Awards. In the end, it should also be noted, Best Novel, Best Novelette, and the John W. Cambell Award for Best New Writer all went to people of color. For the first time in the award's history, Best Novel went to a novel translated into English. It was, in many ways, a historic year for Hugo.

What I thought about the Hugos and the whole Puppy thing
Predictably, I have some thoughts about this. They are not as deep or involved as the many others who have written on this subject. They are mine. Here they are:

1) I think that bloc voting and advocacy for same violate the spirit of the Hugos. I don't care who the bloc voting is advocating for; I think it's wrong, whether it's a slate dictated by one /V/o/x/ voice insisting that this is the list, the only list, to vote for, or a group of people doing it. Hugo voting should be a matter of personal taste and your vote should be your own, no matter what anyone else says.

2) There is a difference between advocating for a specific list of writers to be voted on in a specific way in specific categories, and recommending a bunch of works that you think people ought to read and consider when filling out a ballot. I agree with the second method; I abhor the first.

3) The world is changing, therefore science fiction and fantasy are changing. Voices from other cultures and upcoming generations are rising and providing different perspectives, telling different stories and raising different issues than the genre has seen before. This is a good thing. Change is what science fiction is about. Our fiction can and should reflect that change.

4) If work by a new voice is good enough to provoke discussion, if the writing is of remarkable quality, if it's entertaining, it should be recognized. Similarly, if a story comes out of science fiction's traditional veins and tells a remarkable story with remarkable quality and it's entertaining, it too should be recognized. But the work, whether by new voices or from SF's older traditions, must be remarkable in some way, whether that's a matter of ground-breaking ideas or brilliant prose. It should knock our socks off. We should have fun with it. It should be making us think in new ways. It should, as Adam-Troy Castro says, blow our minds so completely that we can't think about NOT giving it an award. I like and respect a number of the people who were nominated on the Puppy slates, but much of their work didn't do that for me, and so they didn't get my vote. The works that did--those works got my votes. That's how it should be.

5) Racism sucks. Sexism sucks. Exclusion sucks. None of these things should be part of our Hugo discussions, ever, unless they are part of the ideas in the works being discussed. Discussions about books and Hugo Awards should be about their quality, their ideas, their innovation, their ability to shine new light into old places, their ability to amuse us. The hurling of racial or sexist epithets at individuals or classes of people should not be part of the conversation. The idea that some SF is real and some is fake, the idea that some voices should be heard and others shouldn't be is despicable. Once such epithets appear in conversation, those who throw them are persona non-grata. They should be. The days when such language, such attitudes were acceptable is long past.

6) Read what you dig. Nominate what you dig. Don't judge what anyone else digs. If you disagree about a book's quality, disagree civilly. Discuss civilly. Perhaps even attempt to persuade--but civilly. And if you don't have anything nice to say about another person--remember what your mama said--don't say anything at all.


* George devoted a tag to his Hugo posts; you can go back months to read them all.
scarlettina: (Geek Crossing)
Saturday started with breakfast back at Sante--so good we had to do it twice. This time, [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine and I got there earlier and enjoyed our meal with rather better service. The company was different; we met AS (with whom I used to work at Bantam, lo these many years ago) and her husband DKM, their son, and a friend of theirs, and [livejournal.com profile] bjcooper. It's only within the last year or so that I'm back in touch with AS and DKM; they are delightful people who have had a very rough time over the last decade for personal reasons I won't get into here. Suffice it to say that those days are over and I'm so happy that they're returning to conventions and a wider social circle. Our breakfast was scheduled earlier both because there was another beading event I wanted to attempt to attend, and because other folks had programming on which they were scheduled to appear.

I made it back to the convention center with time to spare. I wanted to attend a program called the Beadwork Stitch & Bitch--but if you read the description in the program more closely, it was actually a lesson in Lakota lazy stitch or lane stitch beadwork. I was delighted to find [livejournal.com profile] madrobins in attendance. I'll pass over the challenges of the workshop (particular attendees were not congenial to the environment) and say instead that the instructor, Mir Plemmons, was very good indeed, sharing cultural context for the style of beadwork she was teaching and then teaching it very well. An hour was not nearly long enough; I ended up staying a little longer. I very much want to get back and try this technique again. I've seen its results before and it produces beautiful things that take hours and hours and hours to create.

Lunch was with [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine and [livejournal.com profile] madrobins, all in all a much better opportunity for us to talk a bit. A lot of what we talked about was getting lost in historical research connected to fiction writing. I regret not taking a picture of us all together; ah well, there will be other opportunities!

After lunch, I took my penny-smashing kit and my camera off across the river to Riverside Park. The weather was beautiful in the wake of Friday's terrible air, the sky blue and clear. The contrast was marked. Look at how lovely--and contrast it to my previous WorldCon post picture of the sky!

View from the convention center to Riverside Park | Click to embiggen
View from the convention center to Riverside Park

I got my pennies--eight coins, four each from different machines--and strolled around just enjoying the quiet (the convention center was very noisy) and the relative lack of people (I was kind of peopled out).

When I went back to the convention center, I ran into [livejournal.com profile] oldmangrumpus and some friends in the dealer's room. I learned from them that tickets for assigned seating were going to be required for the Hugo Awards ceremony. This was news to me and, as it turned out, news to a great many folks. Apparently, the previous night, the convention had set up a ticketing system for the masquerade, mainly to keep people from standing out in the terrible air waiting to get into the main auditorium. It worked very well indeed and they decided to institute it for the Hugos as well. I took it upon myself to text almost everyone I knew attending the con who might want to go to let them know about this, and then ran to get changed.

Once I got changed, I got into the rather impressive line. The wait was no more than 20 minutes.

Line for Hugo tickets

Tickets acquired, I met David and Betsy for dinner at Luigi's, the huge Italian restaurant near the convention center. I had the chicken marsala, which was very good indeed. We shared garlic bread and salads, too.

The virtue of the assigned-seating ticketing was that once tickets were in hand, we could get in at any time before the ceremony and be assured of seating. As it turned out, this was a blessing. It allowed us to have a pretty leisurely meal (even though I started out feeling panicked about having enough time to at), and to take our time about getting seated when the time came.

And when the time came, we went to the auditorium lobby, met some friends there, admired everyone's bling, and then went to get seated.

I'm going to talk about the Hugos, the Hugo Loser's Party and my thoughts about this year's whole Puppy debacle in the next post. There's too much to say and I want to address it all discretely. In the meanwhile, here's a pic of me and my seatmates, pre-awards-ceremony, with David and Betsy, and me in the middle.

scarlettina: (Geek Crossing)
Friday at WorldCon started with a delicious, if belated, breakfast at a place called Sante just a couple of blocks from the convention center. A group of us ([livejournal.com profile] davidlevine, [livejournal.com profile] suricattus, her twinling and the twinling's daughter) walked over as early as we reasonably could. The air smelled of woodsmoke and the sky seemed overcast. It was a harbinger of things to come. The place was lovely, really, with a kind of country French feel to the decor--spare but elegant. I had a delicious meal--pancakes with fluffy raspberry foule (sp?). The conversation was fun. [livejournal.com profile] suricattus asked for discussion ideas for her upcoming panel; I asked for ideas for mine. Twinling's daughter showed off some of her artwork. [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine showed off the cover art for his upcoming novel from Tor. We talked about the return of the autograph book. Apparently, with the advent of ebooks, people have started keeping autograph books again. I signed one myself at my first panel, as had others at the table. Interesting phenomenon.

Somehow, though the food and company were both quite fine, I never managed to find particularly good humor. The server took a very long time coming to take our order; I was sugar crashing pretty hard; the air was taking its toll; and I very much wanted to get to a 10 AM beading workshop. With the meal coming so late, I wasn't able to leave until 10:10ish, and by the time I got to the convention center, though I hoofed it as hard as I could, the workshop was full and the door was shut.

Disappointed and frustrated, I looked at the pocket program to see what else I might drop in on. There was a panel on aging that interested me, so I sat in there and listened to three authors and neuroscientist discuss the science of aging, the research on same, and our preferences with regard to what kind of heroes we like to read about. Interesting discussion.

After it was over, I wandered around the convention center for a while when a friend stopped me and asked me if I was OK, saying that I didn't look well. At that point, I realized that I felt like a zombie. I stopped by program ops, told them I wouldn't make my 1 PM panel, went back to the room and slept until nearly 2 PM.

One of the high points of the day was my late lunch engagement. I met the delightful [livejournal.com profile] desperance, the always entertaining [livejournal.com profile] markjferrari, and the ever pleasant [livejournal.com profile] calendula_witch at Spencer's, the hotel's steak house. I believe we talked about Mark's latest escapades in the world of publishing. Chaz wrangled an invitation to my home (he had to twist my arm; really, there was violence). It was all very silly and exactly perfect. I believe that I owe Mark at least a meal, or possibly a bottle of good wine. I think we probably went until 3 or 3:30ish. My meal compatriots had to be off.

I don't actually remember what I did after lunch. Strolled the con a bit more? Attended more programming? No freaking' idea. What I do remember is that eventually it was time to go to [livejournal.com profile] bedii's memorial, to be held outside by a large Japanese sculpture at one end of the convention center. The air had gotten nearly toxic outside. All the smoke from the Okanogan and Upper Skagit Complex fires was taking its toll. The sky was yellow/brown, the sun a peachy-red ball, the air full of grit and mustiness. The convention (or the convention center, I'm not sure which) had put up warning signs about the air hazard. I was surprised, actually, that we were still going to do this out of doors, but the choice wasn't mine to make and so I went with it.

Apocalyptic Spokane: so smoky that the sky was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. Click to embiggen.
Smoky Spokane: a view from behind the convention center out over the park

We all met by the sculpture, a group of maybe 12 of us, and told stories about [livejournal.com profile] bedii, just remembering. It was a good thing and I'm glad I was there. At the same time, I couldn't stay there too long; the air began to really take a toll, and we headed inside after about 30-45 minutes. At that point, we all went our separate ways.

[livejournal.com profile] davidlevine and I headed over to the Book View Cafe party. David does key work with BVC and awesome people are involved with said effort, so being there was important. Awesome people included [livejournal.com profile] madrobins, [livejournal.com profile] suricattus and a bunch of names already mentioned above, plus a whole other crowd of lovely people. Mad made a three-tiered cake in honor of Vonda McIntyre featuring a sweet mermaid made of fondant. The cake was a delicious thing.

Our second stop was the Fairwood Press party with many more wonderful people in attendance. [livejournal.com profile] bjcooper was celebrating the release of her new collection of short stories, among others. Patrick Swenson always throws a good bash. I met a couple of people whose names I've known but never met in person. A good time.

In all the years I've known [livejournal.com profile] bjcooper, we've never taken a picture together. Voila! Problem solved.
Brenda and Janna

As happens at these things, you don't realize that you're hitting the wall until you hit the wall. We met some friends and headed out, getting a lift back to the hotel at exactly the right moment. I didn't realize it until later, but my pink denim jacket came away smelling like smoke.
scarlettina: (Angel)
We arrived in Spokane on Thursday afternoon. I dropped BM off at her hotel and headed to mine. Time was of the essence. I had to check in. I wanted to take a little decompression time in the wake of all the driving. I had to find dinner of some kind and get ready for one of the two panels on which I was to appear. I actually did pretty well, with enough time to get registered, get my guest packet, do a turn through half of the dealer's room, and buy myself a beautiful new ring with three semi-precious stones in it. I had an . . . adequate sandwich at the convention center snack bar before my first panel.

So dinner was a Thing. See, when you hang around conventions and fandom long enough, you get to know the names of the BNFs (big name fans) and you begin to recognize people who surely won't recognize you. I was sitting at a table where two older women were seated, mainly because all the other tables were full. They were chatting in clearly New York accents about filk and about people they knew. And one oft them, for some reason, seemed familiar. There was something about her that I seemed to know though I couldn't place her. I looked at her name badge, and she turned out to be Roberta Rogow, a well-known fan writer and filker whose work I'd known back when I was active in New York and media fandom. That was a kind of nice surprise. We chatted a little bit. She talked about her self-published book. And then we went our separate ways.

I was off to my first panel, on using role-playing games as a writer's tool. It was not a satisfying experience. I understand why I was put on the panel, but I had my doubts about it from the start. Mostly two particular people talked a lot; getting a word in was challenging. And while I've edited game-related works, my experience as an RPG player is limited. Most of what I had to say was more about writing than gaming, and another editor on the panel pretty much took care of that material. By the end of the panel I felt a little frustrated and, I admit, a little irritated and outgunned. I got out of the room as soon as I could.

The rest of the evening proved much more satisfying. Earlier in the day, I was invited to a private party and spent the better part of the evening there, catching up with friends and basking in the sort of convention energy I just love. What became clear, though, by about 10 PM was that after a six-hour drive and a lot of excitement, I was wiped and it was time to retire.

This is a terrible picture of me, but it's a great picture with friends at the party.

Me, Daniel Keyes Moran, David Gerrold, and Amy Stout
scarlettina: (Angel)
It was an interesting experience, WorldCon, this year. In hindsight, it feel like I was there and I wasn't, all at once. For me, it started off with a date SNAFU. The plan was that my friend BM was going to fly in from New York and we were going to drive across the state together. I thought she was arriving Tuesday night for a Wednesday morning departure. It turned out that she was arriving Wednesday night for a Thursday morning departure. That right there threw me. Now, here's the thing: I don't remember a conversation we clearly had about this timing, because when I double-checked, my hotel room reservation started on Thursday, not Wednesday. But I'd envisioned the convention start to finish, and I'd made plans as if I were arriving on Wednesday. All of this meant that I made plans that I had to cancel, which was disheartening. But I couldn't leave her stranded with no way to get across the state. So, from my perspective, the trip started late and weirdly.

We road-trip well together, BM and I, and it was a good traverse. There are those who say that Washington state, east of the mountains, is a whole lotta nuthin', but it's a constantly changing landscape with its own sere beauty and I enjoy the journey. I always enjoy stopping to see "Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies," also called Wild Horse Monument. The view at the link is different than the view that most folks (including me) generally get--from below and away, where you look up and see the ponies high on a bluff against the sky. It's beautiful regardless of your perspective and a lovely stop for viewing and a stretch of the legs. You also get a beautiful view of the Columbia River from above, and the striated rock walls on the other side of the water.

Click the pics to embiggen.
Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies

Columbia River from above

We also stopped in George, Washington (yes, really) for lunch. We ate at a food truck where the Mexican food was plentiful and delicious. We met a couple who have spent the last two years living out of a blue-and-white Shasta trailer, a tiny thing that they've used to travel the country. They were headed in the opposite direction, off to Seattle. I gave them advice on a couple of things to see in town (they wanted to see Pike Place Market and the Space Needle; I told them about the Ballard Locks and the food trucks in Westlake Center).

Betsy and Janet by the Shasta trailer

After lunch, it was on to Spokane. See the next rock for details (to be posted later today sometime).
scarlettina: (Geek Crossing)
Here are the two panels I've been scheduled for at Sasquan, this year's WorldCon in Spokane. I'm fairly sure how I ended up on one of these panels--I'm not so sure about how I ended up on the other. I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to figure out which is which. Here's the scoop:

Role Playing Games as an Author's Tool
Thursday 19:00 - 19:45, 401C (CC)

The First Dragonlance novels were retellings of part of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dragonlance modules. The Wild Cards shared universe traces its origins to super-hero RPG campaigns involving George R.R. Martin and his friends.

Can playing and running Role Playing Games be a good place for an author to try out ideas? Should you write up your campaign for your next novel, or just borrow the characters? Or should authors avoid these games (or at least ignore them when writing)?

Panelists: Jennifer Brozek, Ken Burnside, Frog Jones, Janna Silverstein

Bad Science on TV
Friday 13:00 - 13:45, 300C (CC)

Science is a hot topic in TV entertainment: from CSI to Orphan Black to The Big Bang Theory to Person of Interest. Some of it is good, but much of it is bad. The panel will bash the bad science and clue you in to those shows that seem like the science is good, but not really.

Panelists: Deb Geisler (M), Julie McGalliard, Janna Silverstein, Cordelia Willis

Potlatch

Wed, Feb. 11th, 2015 07:52 am
scarlettina: (Geek Crossing)
So this past weekend was Potlatch. It was also the 10th Annual Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Film Festival. Being the sort that likes having her cake and eating it, too, I arranged to attend the convention on Friday evening and Saturday, and then the festival recap on Sunday.

JB was in town visiting, and I had to work, so I cut out of the day job at about 4 PM and we headed over to the hotel just in time to catch folks departing for dinner. Our party consisted of myself, JB, Vonda McIntyre and Amy Thomson. I haven't seen either Vonda or Amy in quite some time, so this was a lovely way to catch up. Vonda talked about the making of the movie based on her novel The Moon and the Sun. We had delicious Greek food at Costas, a University District institution. Afterward, we went back to the hotel and retired to the con suite for the duration. Discussion included the underestimation of Stephen King as a writer and The Hunger Games as media satire. I met Wendy Wagner, one of the editors at Lightspeed, who was just delightful and whom I hope to maintain as a friend. I was also reminded that youth is the sort of thing one is eventually cured of but, while in its grip, the young are just going to be, well, young. And that's all I'll say about that.

Saturday we got a late start and didn't get to the hotel until lunchtime. We caught a group that included [livejournal.com profile] mcjulie, [livejournal.com profile] randy_byers, Jerry & Suzle (they are forever ampersanded), Glenn Glazer and a couple of other people whose names I missed, and headed over to a new Korean place on the Ave. (Randy reports that it's called Seoul Tofu House & Korean BBQ.) I had the beef with broccoli, which was . . . acceptable for U District fast food. The company was much better. Getting to listen to Jerry talk about the bands he saw in NYC in the 1970s was a blast. He's history on the hoof in this respect, having seen some pretty major groups before they really hit. On the way back, Julie was talking about Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which got me going on to Randy about how it was a terrific film until the big battle toward the end. I've already written about that so I won't repeat it here, but I realized that I may need to do more writing about it because there's no doubt that the proliferation of epic cinematic battles colors my perceptions and expectations of movies now in a pretty significant way.

We got back from lunch a little late, past 1 PM, and so came in late for the panel, Living in a Fantasy World: The 21 Century Appeal of Fantasy Fiction, which I admit, at this point, I don't remember much about. I do remember feeling a little as though whole chunks of conversation about the topic were being missed in favor of the panelists' biases; I know that [livejournal.com profile] suricattus had Opinions about the discussion. The next panel, Women Destroy Science Fiction: Not Again! left a greater impression on me because Eileen Gunn was furious that we were still even having this conversation (and rightly so, I think). Vonda chimed in from the audience with relevant historical discussions of women's work in the genre. Debbie Notkin and Kate Schaeffer, the other panelists, both brought good and interesting perspectives.

I skipped the 3 PM panel in favor of a little dealer's room shopping.

At 4 PM, I was on the panel What Dreams Need Come: A Task List for Visionaries, which was supposed to use Ursula K. LeGuin's National Book Awards acceptance speech as a jumping off point to discuss the kinds of SF and fantasy we need in the current, toxic political and business climate. Instead, the moderator decided to make it a discussion about self publishing versus Big Publishing, which I found enormously frustrating. As the only publishing pro on the panel, I found myself in the position of speaking about the business with people who had Opinions but not much in the way of practical knowledge. When I quoted directly from the program book description of the panel's intended direction and asked the moderator his thoughts about it, he clammed up and said nothing. I couldn't tell if he was baffled, embarrassed, or just not interested in actually having the programmed discussion. (Later, someone suggested that he may not actually have read the description beforehand, though I saw that he had prepared notes.) Someone in the audience tried to relate the discussion to the weekend's Book of Honor; that attempt at redirecting the discussion in a relevant direction also failed, though not for lack of support from me. I surrendered to the inevitable, carried on with the conversation that the mod wanted to have and let it go. I suppose I ought not to have challenged him; on the other hand, I'm too much of a top, I suppose, to have let it pass. Given what prep I did for the programmed discussion, I was pretty frustrated with the panel. I did the best I could, which is about all I could have done.

Dinner was in the hotel bar in the company of Nisi Shawl, and Mary Kay and Jordin Kare, and a fine and congenial meal it was (except for the burned dessert, which we kvetched about enough that the waiter gave it plus another to us for free).

After dinner, I attended the Trivia and Chocolate Fling, from which I emerged with plenty of chocolate in proof of my movie trivia prowess. From the auction I emerged with a beautiful African painting of an elephant and birds, which will be framed for hanging in my home sometime within the next couple of weeks. It's bright and beautiful and has great humor.

JB departed the con around 4 PM to see some friends perform in a band; he hadn't seen them in years and wanted to take the opportunity. So after the auction, I spent the balance of the evening ain the con suite. By the time he returned, I'd heard EE and RH jamming, playing hammer dulcimer and fiddle respectively. I'd been deep in a discussion about the efficacy of speech versus visual symbology as a communication method. And I'd avoided another awkward encounter with Youth Flying Its Flag. We stayed at the con until somewhere around 11:30ish and then headed out.

Sunday was SFFSFF, about which more in another post.

All in all, it was a good couple of days at the con.
scarlettina: (Book love)
If you're in the Seattle area and have an interest in speculative fiction, you ought to stop by the Deca Hotel this weekend for Potlatch. It's a small, literary speculative fiction convention that offers a single track of programming, and its annual auction helps to support the Clarion West Writers Workshop.

If you come, please look for me and say hello. I'll be there on Friday and Saturday, and I'll be on one programming item on Saturday afternoon:

SATURDAY 4PM
What Dreams Need Come: A Task List for Visionaries
At the National Book Awards, Ursula K. Le Guin issued a call to auctorial arms (video | transcript). She warns of hard times coming, charges us to dream alternatives to the ways we live now, in the sway of fear, obsessive technologies, and corporate profiteers. What stars should we navigate by to take up her call? What existential threats to society, to freedom, to the makers and making of indispensable dreams, loom largest? We’ll try to map the shoals together.
scarlettina: (Happy Sun)
So my birthday was on Thursday. I decided that what I wanted was a long leisurely weekend for myself, so I worked on Thursday and then took Friday off.

Friday, [livejournal.com profile] varina8 and I went to Olympus Women's Spa, there to be pampered to our heart's content. I got a body wrap and a massage. For the wrap, they slather nutritious mud all over you--it smelled like dog biscuits to me--and then wrap you in several layers of insulation, then lay you on a heated table to bake. I felt a little bit like a baked potato--but my skin felt terrific when we were done. The massage was excellent; the woman who worked on me gave me some excellent tips for maintaining the positive effects of the massage over the next couple of weeks. I plan to take her instructions seriously.

Yesterday morning, I participated in a panel discussion--Writers in Fantasy--at the EMP's Myth & Magic Faire. Besides me, the roster included Greg Bear, Robin Hobb and J.A. Pitts (our own [livejournal.com profile] bravado111). WE had a good, fairly wide-ranging discussion. Greg was our moderator, which meant that we got into the historical roots of the genre as well as its earlier incarnations in the 1920s and 30s. The audience was pretty responsive; they stayed and were interested so I think we were pretty successful. The marketer in me kept thinking that our discussion ought to be a little more pop-culturey than it was, given that we weren't talking to a convention crowd; it was more mainstream fans. But I still think it went well. We had lunch at the Armory, and then I had to take off a) because the meter on my car was running out and because b) I had a date with EB for some tidepooling.

Yesterday was one of the low-tide days here, when the tidepooling provides wonderful glimpses of sea life. I drove out to West Seattle, and then E and I went to Constellation Park, where I've never been before. It's a shingle beach beyond the end of Alki Point. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, though the tide was low, a lot of the beach was dried out because it was so hot and sunny (and beautiful--really, Seattle is incomparable in summer time). In the end, there wasn't much to see except rocks shrouded by drying seaweed. We ended up walking back to Alki, getting cold drinks, sitting on the beach and chatting. We ultimately went back to her place, sat under the awning in the backyard and just talked for a while. It was a glorious afternoon of being lazy and pleasant with a friend.

This morning, I'm Task Girl. I have Tasks to do and I'm checking them off my list one by one. And this was one of my tasks: to catch up on LJ and keep my presence, well, present.

Happy Summer Day, everyone! Go out and enjoy!
scarlettina: (Movie tix)
Well, it was really Locus Awards Day for me, given that I didn't attend the Friday night party, but it's always touted as a weekend so there you are. I went to the theater on Friday night instead, so that's where I'll begin.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay at Book-It Repertory )

As for the Locus Awards, I arrived in time for the 11 AM panel, "Adventures in Transrealism: Mixing It Up with Speculative Fiction Based on Personal Narrative," with Christopher Barzak, Terry Bisson, James Patrick Kelly, Nisi Shawl, and Gary K. Wolfe moderating very well indeed. It was a good, but far too brief discussion of the subject. I took some notes and the conversation provoked some interesting ideas. Quote of the panel: Nisi Shawl, talking about research: "To learn about serial killers, I did some online dating." We all nearly fell out of our chairs at that one.

The banquet got under way after the autograph session (I picked up a copy of Karen Joy Fowler's "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves," at the recommendation of Astrid Bear). The food was actually rather delicious and the company excellent (I shared a table with [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine, [livejournal.com profile] kateyule, [livejournal.com profile] claireeddy, Liz Argall, Curtis Chen and others). Connie Willis, acting as M.C., was very funny--as usual--and kept things moving, for which we were all grateful. After her monologue, the traditional Hawai'ian shirt shaming, and the trivia contest, the inductees to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame were announced (Brackett! Frazetta! Miyazaki! Kubrick! Stapledon!), and then the Locus Awards were bestowed with much ceremony and delight. Quite a bit of fun.

I spent the rest of the afternoon running around Seattle with Claire and Kate showing them the thrift store treasures of Seattle. Shopping was done, city sites were seen, dinner was had (at The Hi-Life--always a goodness). I collapsed at the end of the day with great satisfaction.
scarlettina: (Geek Crossing)
Norwescon: Noise, crowds, friends, parties, the masquerade, panels, a game show, business conversations, general madness.

Here's my modest Flickr set from the weekend.

At this point, what I remember in detail is sharing quality time with my roommate, conversations about the current Sekrit Project, about the future Sekrit Project, conversations about crowd anxiety and job PTSD, the history of fan fiction, epic fantasy, weddings and future travel (as in, where I'm going, not where technology is going), and more. I think the main issue is that I was very, very tightly scheduled on Saturday which, in the wake of two pretty stressful weeks at work, exacerbated every anxiety, every stressor in the arsenal. So while it was a good weekend, it tripped a number of switches that I was unprepared for. I did a lot of dodging of crowds and a lot of single-minded walking from hither to yon with limited social interaction.

I didn't like this feeling. Conventions are usually a time for visiting with friends I don't often see, for having the occasional business conversation, and for indulging the geek side of my personal Force. The weekend flew by, feeling like it was over before it began. I had to sort of survey the art show rather than strolling through to enjoy it; I made sure I saw art posted by friends and acquaintances, tried to see stuff by artists with whom I was unfamiliar, but it was a pretty quick jaunt. I spent minimal time in the dealer's room and purchased nothing. (One book dealer was out of the one book I was actually interested in, a collection of Marge Piercy short stories.)

I did have quality time with some key folks, including Peggy Rae Sapienza, in from the East Coast, flogging the DC in 2017 WorldCon bid (I presupported, but I'm going to have to presupport Helsinki in 2017, too, because -- HELSINKI!). I also got to visit with [livejournal.com profile] calendula_witch, [livejournal.com profile] markferrari, [livejournal.com profile] the_monkey_king, [livejournal.com profile] joycemocha, [livejournal.com profile] mistymarshall (in from Europe!), Janet Freeman-Daily, Craig English, and to chat with Clint Boomer, Jeff Grubb, Diana Pharaoh Francis, and a number of writers I'm currently working with on the Sekrit Project.

I did get to a couple of panels (one on giving good alien, and one on putting gods into fantasy fiction). I attended the Masquerade and participated in the half-time show, a game show called Just a Minute; I was buttonholed later in the weekend by someone who said they enjoyed my performance--gratifying, unexpected. Though I came in second by one single point, I walked away with the prize because the winner, one [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine, wouldn't be around to use it. The prize was a membership to Crypticon, a horror-media convention over Memorial Day weekend. I may go for a day.

And my panel conversations were good ones. Putting the Epic in Epic Fantasy went very well, I thought, with Bradley Beaulieu as the moderator asking smart and specific questions. And the panel about the history of fan fiction was fun. I was able to share copies of zines from the 1980s, as did another panelist (who brought many more, some of which I own). It was fun to see kids who hadn't been born yet paging through my artifacts. And I learned about some current fanfic resources that I was previously unaware of.

I didn't get a single glimpse of the weekend's guest of honor, Michael Moorcock, which was rather disappointing. He did some signings and some panels, all of which I just missed.

So while it was a good weekend in many ways, it was something of a mixed bag. Next year's GOHs are Boris Vallejo and George R. R. Martin. It will be a madhouse and I'm already trying to decide if I'm going to go or if I'm going to skip, given the trouble I had with the crowds this year. We'll see.
scarlettina: (Geek Crossing)
Norwescon is this weekend and I'll most definitely be there! I'm scheduled starting Thursday night, so I'll definitely be around the hotel. Although I've attended both Orycon and Foolscap over the last few months, I feel like it's been ages since I attended a convention. I'm looking forward to it--in a quiet, contemplative way. Here's my schedule; hope I'll see you there!

Thursday 8:00pm-9:00pm
The "Panel" Panel

Cascade 3&4
Tips and tricks on being a good moderator, pro, or panelist at a convention. What's your job, really, when your name appears after a panel description in a program book? How do you keep it on-topic and interesting for the audience? And what do you do when some blowhard in the back row thinks they know more than you?

Fri 3:00pm-4:00pm
You and Me (But Mostly Me)

Cascade 6
Working with a developmental editor can be a dream come true or a nightmare. Learn the ins and outs of collaborative storytelling, and hold onto your vision while (gasp) sharing creative control.

Sat 10:00am-11:00am
Putting the Epic in Epic Fantasy

Cascade 7&8
Epic fantasy is different - but why? What makes it epic? Is it the immersion in a new world, or just the sheer weight of the book? Come join us as we talk about this massive subgenre of fantasy and what makes it tick.

Sun 10:00am-11:00am
The History of Fanfiction

Cascade 6
One might think that fanfiction is something that came into being sometime around the 1960s, born out of a passionate love of Star Trek and other shows of the time... but one would be wrong! The idea of fanfiction has been around for a long, loooooooong time, it just wasn't given that name until fairly recently, historically speaking. Come and learn about the long and entertaining history of fanfiction over time and throughout the years and check out a few "relics".
scarlettina: (Snowflake 2)
1) Vague-booking about social drama: The phrase "I thought this was a safe space" is often--not always, but often--deployed as a guilt trip when someone says something or does something inappropriate and is called on it. That shit just makes me crazy. And it makes me crazier when it's used by someone whom I thought was either more straightforward or less manipulative than their use of the phrase indicates they really are.

2) Weather: The entire rest of the country is being challenging by extreme weather. In Seattle we've got sub-freezing temperatures, which is pretty extreme for this part of the nation, but it's been dry and clear. The fact is we're getting off pretty easy compared to, for example, New York, Pennsylvania, and so on. This doesn't lessen the fact that it's freaking cold and I'm wearing more layers than I would prefer.

3) Cat-sitting: My cat-sitter has sent out a card announcing that she's retiring at the end of June. I knew it would come--she's an older woman--but I'm really sad. She's been a fixture of my time in Seattle, and though our relationship has mostly consisted of phone calls, I'll miss her. I've contacted her about two more kitty visits before she retires, and I've put into motion the obtaining of what I hope will be an appropriate farewell gift for her.

4) Making things: I recently picked up a knitting loom and am nearly done with my first scarf, a stretch of brown and pink wool that I'm looking forward to wearing. I don't know whether or not I'll keep up with this, but it's been a fun project, and I expect to finish it this weekend. We'll see what happens from here.

5) Foolscap: The convention was last weekend. It marks a year since my last car accident and the start of my experiment in carless living. We know how the experiment turned out. It was a fun weekend, but the convention came up so quickly, with so little fanfare from the concom, that it was an unexpected occupation of my time and I'm behind on a number of projects as a result. This weekend, also crazy busy--but at least planned busy-ness, will be partly spent catching up. But I'm going to be behind in stuff for a while yet.
scarlettina: (Portlandia)
It's busy days here at Chez [livejournal.com profile] scarlettina: hairy deadlines at work, desires for a life at home. In the midst of work craziness, I decided that now would be a good time to throw caution to the wind and head off for an overnight at Orycon, Portland's regional SF convention. I haven't been to an Orycon in, probably, at least a decade, so my curiosity was high, and the anticipation of seeing friends was delicious.

And see friends I did--many of the usual Portland suspects, some of the usual Seattle suspects--good folks all. Because I made the decision to go at the last minute (and still managed to get a hotel room for less than the convention rate), I wasn't on programming. I've only done that a couple of times over the years. On the one hand, it felt odd to be at a convention and not rushing off to sit on a panel and be Authoritative. On the other hand, it was nice not to have such obligations; I could just be at the con and enjoy the company, the programming and the time to chill--which I did. At the same time, I purchased a book (Brenda Cooper's The Creative Fire), a new ring (a delicate thing with garnet and citrine stones from AngelWear), and a tiny piece of lovely art by Patricia McCracken that will be a companion to the beautiful print that I brought home from Japan years ago.

It was also the first road trip in the new car, and the vehicle performed as expected. I tried using the Sync system with my iPod, but found that through some quirk I didn't understand, I could only get the thing to play "Don't Fear the Reaper" and an episode of "This American Life". While the first is an excellent song, I don't need that much cowbell. The second I hadn't listened to for a while, so it helped pass my last hour between Seattle and Portland on the way down. I'll need to find the guide to using Sync online so I can take advantage of this feature in the car.

The hardest thing about the whole trip was the drive back. Though I made sure I was (and stayed) caffeinated and took breaks to keep myself fresh (picked up a lovely winter skirt at the Centralia outlets), I was hopelessly sleepy the whole time. I left the con early--2ish--so I could drive home with daylight, but I fought heavy lids the whole way back. It was actually pretty hard, especially given my bad luck with vehicles the last couple of years. I arrived home safe and in one piece, but the intensely focused driving added to my fatigue. I really need to examine what I can do to be sure I don't have such difficulty on long road trips like that again. It made for an uncomfortable and challenging trip.

We're on another hard deadline at work, so now I'm going to log off and try to finish the work I should have done this weekend (wifi at the hotel was terrible and I couldn't get and keep a connection long enough to get anything done). We'll see how it goes.
scarlettina: (Geek Crossing)
1) Norwescon was great. As usual I spent time with a lot of awesome people, old friends and new, and didn't have nearly enough time with any of them. I did two panels, three critiques, and finished a short story that I've been bashing away at for a month (on which more in another LJ post, I suspect). I attended two panels, the Fannish Fetish Fashion Show, and the Molly Lewis/Tony & Vixy concert. I had some good meals and great conversations. I am crispy, but I'm still here.

2) Congratulations to all the Hugo nominees, especially [livejournal.com profile] kijjohnson, [livejournal.com profile] jaylake, [livejournal.com profile] maryrobinette, and [livejournal.com profile] grrm. And congratulations all the editors nominated for awards, as well as all the editors whose authors are nominated, because every time an editor is acknowledged for his or her work, the importance of that work is emphasized, and in this new self-publishing world of "crowd-sourced editing," quality that results from the application of training and experience cannot be over-praised.

3) At some point this week, I want to write a post about invisibility vs visibility as it relates to weight. My mileage will almost certainly vary from others', but I had some fascinating experiences this weekend that I really want to unpack and talk about.

4) I came home with three new books, two of which I got at the Baen party as freebies, one of which was the new edition of [livejournal.com profile] papersky's novel Farthing, which I've never read and very much want to. I also came home with a hard copy of a magazine--Mike Resnick's new invitation-only, bimonthly magazine Galaxy's Edge. (Hardcopy. How old-skool of me.) The line-up in the premier edition is impressive and I look forward to reading it.

5) It is April 1. With the exception of this post (because I suspect I emptied my credibility store with my stunt several years back), I strongly urge skepticism toward anything you read online today.

Post-script item: I missed the premieres of Doctor Who and Game of Thrones. I pout in poutiness about it.
scarlettina: (Geek Crossing)
Norwescon is this coming weekend, starting Thursday specifically. If you wish to find me, it's likely I'll be easily discovered in the Green Room or the bar. But you'll also find me on programming, specifically:

Friday 11:00am-Noon: Dream Team
Cascade 5
Working with an editor can be a dream come true or a nightmare. Learn the ins and outs of collaborative storytelling, and hold onto your vision while sharing creative control.
Diana Copland, Gregory A. Wilson, Janna Silverstein, Jean Johnson

Sunday 10:00am-11:00am: The Art of Critique
Cascade 12
A writer must learn to critique both her own work and the work of peers. What makes a good critique? How do you critique yourself and how do you critique someone else?
Marta Murvosh, Christopher Bodan, Darragh Metzger, Janna Silverstein, S. A. Bolich

I'm also critiquing for the Fairwood Writers Workshop on Saturday from 3 PM to 5 PM, but those are closed sessions, so I won't be findable at that point. Because I'm critiquing for Fairwood, I'll also be attending their workshop reception on Saturday, 1:30pm until 3:30pm in the Presidential Suite.
scarlettina: (Geek Crossing)
Yesterday was both my last day at Microsoft and my first day at Foolscap/Potlatch. I wrote a little bit of reflection about work on Thursday night, but before I get into the convention report, I want to write a little more about the last day of work.

Sentimental about work )

And then I was off to Redmond Town Center for Foolscap/Potlatch. I have said for years that when I go to a convention, I can't walk ten steps into the hotel without seeing someone I know. That was true yesterday. Ten steps in, who do I see but PRS, an East Coast friend whom I had no idea would be attending. I was delighted to see her. We set up dinner, and then went our separate ways.

I attended readings by Vonda McIntyre and Mark Ferrari. Vonda read three short pieces of fiction, one of which was published in Nature, a bleak, dystopian future piece about a post-natural world. The second was a story about the future of pet cloning that was both funny and true. The third was a partial, the first thousand words of a new story about extreme body modification that had a sense of humor about it amidst the macabre descriptions. Mark read a chapter from his new novel. I've heard other bits from this book. Someone needs to buy and publish this thing now. Between the two readings, I had drinks with Vonda, Eileen Gunn, John Berry, Folly Blaine, and a couple of other people. A group of us--PRS and her friend Dawn, [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine, [livejournal.com profile] kateyule, [livejournal.com profile] calendula_witch, and [livejournal.com profile] markferrari--went to dinner at a very new restaurant in Redmond called Hugo's, where the menu is organic, gluten-free, whole foods, and all delicious. I had the chicken marsala--very flavorful. PRS had the mac-and-cheese, which had a tinge of smoky mesquite to it that was fascinating. Other folks reported that the pork scallopini was delicious. Must go back again . . . whenever it is that I'm in Redmond again.

We returned to the hotel for the annual chocolate social, where I got to meet and chat with Nancy Pearl. She remembered me from our meeting when she interviewed [livejournal.com profile] papersky at the University Bookstore. We all attended the briefest of brief opening ceremonies, and then adjourned to the evening's panel. It was me, Nancy, Tom Whitmore, and [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine discussing "Where Lieth the Line Between Science Fiction and Fantasy?" The conversation was wide-ranging and quite dynamic. Whitmore's perspective is always fascinating; he's got an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre and its history, and was both erudite and entertaining on the subject. He and David bounced off of each other about history, and David talked about what such lines meant to him from a writer's perspective. Nancy talked about what such differences meant to recommending books to readers. I talked about my experience as a college student taking a class on same, and about the question from a business perspective a bit. I think it was a well-balanced discussion and people did seem to enjoy it. I certainly did.

At that point it was 10 PM and I had to hit the road. I'm not staying at the hotel and, with its impeccable timing, the city of Seattle has chosen this weekend to close one of the two main bridges between Seattle and the Eastside for the weekend at 11 PM, so I wanted to travel before that happened. The bridge is now closed for the duration, which means I'll be commuting the Long Way to the convention today and tomorrow. It was that, or spend more than $200 on lodging at a time when I'm ever-so-briefly between jobs and just returned from a trip. The gas and energy for commuting are cheaper than a hotel room so driving is my solution for the weekend. As for sleep, well, I'll sleep when I'm dead.

Other brief notes:
--The Freddie Baer Potlatch T-shirt is gorgeous this year. I wasn't a fan of last year's design, but this year? Oh yeah.
--I may be reading poetry tonight as part of Eileen Gunn's poetry program at the convention. Guess I oughtta print out some stuff to take with me.
--Zeke's chosen form of destruction last night was to disrupt my sleep every two hours or so. What a delight it is to have a kitten. ::sigh::
scarlettina: (Geek Crossing)
At long last, just in time for the conventions, Foolscap and Potlatch have posted their schedules so I know what panels I'm on and what panels I want to attend. If you want to know where to find me (assuming I'm not dragged off to the bar, or for a meal, or for shopping), this is it.

Programming I'm on (both Foolscap panels):

Friday
9pm — Where Lieth the Line between SF & Fantasy? - Salon III
“It’s a marketing distinction.” “I know what I like.” How does the label affect the way we approach a work?
Panelists: Janna Silverstein, David Levine, Tom Whitmore, Nancy Pearl
[livejournal.com profile] scarlettina's notes: I have Opinions. I will share them. And they may not be what you expect. You're going to hear me throwing around a lot of terminology out of my information architecture experience as well as my marketing background.

Saturday
8pm — What Do My Words Look Like? Salon III
Translating the written word to visual arts — including covers, graphic novels, and the visual feel of a convention.
Panelists: Janna Silverstein, Mark J. Ferrari, Twilight2000, Michel Gagné
[livejournal.com profile] scarlettina's notes: I'm excited about this because I get to be the editor amongst the artists. It's going to be fun talking about the editor's side of the discussion.

Panels I'd like to attend (these are all Potlatch panels and didn't list rooms, which worries me, but I'm sure it'll all be clear when I get there--at least, I hope so):

Friday
5:00 PM to 6:00 PM The Space Opera Boom

There has been a recent resurgence of Space Opera stories. What makes a story "Space Opera"? How do the recent spate of Space Opera novels differ from their older cousins? Who is writing them and who is reading them? (And what is it with the whole Scottish, Socialist, Space Opera thing anyway?)
Moderator: Nick Fraser

Saturday
3:30 PM to 4:30 PM Exploring Among Others

Our panelists explore the themes, discuss the style, overview the imagery, and analyze the structure of Among Others. They will also talk about the impact the book had on them, and whether Mor's experiences of discovering other sf readers and fandom reflects their own. Along the way they will ask (and hopefully answer) the most important question:did this book deserve to be an award winner and Potlatch Book of Honor?
Moderator: Karen Anderson
[livejournal.com profile] scarlettina's notes: I'm genuinely sorry that I didn't fill out the Potlatch programming survey. I really wanted to be part of this discussion, but I misplaced the survey and by the time I found it, it was too late. Maybe I'll talk to Karen and see if there's room on the panel anyway.

9:00 PM to 10:00 PM Poetry at the Clarion West Café
Cats and kitties, brothers and sisters, fans and fen. Imagine a dimly lit Greenwich Village cafe: tiny tables, a hip crowd, a laid-back bongo player who looks like Maynard G. Krebs. A chalk-board hangs on the bare-brick wall. "Tonight only: Neile Graham, Nisi Shawl, JT Stewart." Can you dig it?
MC: Eileen Gunn
[livejournal.com profile] scarlettina's notes: I'll try to find my beret and I'll be sure to snap whenever I hear something awesome. :-)

Sunday
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM Potlatch: Withered or Whence?

We've been keeping Potlatch alive for a couple of years past what some people felt was its natural expiration date. Is there still a place for Potlatch in the fannish calendar? Is Potlatch an important and useful Karass? Who will carry it into the future if the answer to those questions is "yes"?
Moderator: Tom Whitmore
scarlettina: (Sleepy)
Woke at 6:07 AM. Bleh.

1) I had a night full of hideous anxiety dreams. I'm still upset about missing the bus to the airport for my trip (and watching it pull away from the curb) because I forgot to pack something.

2) [livejournal.com profile] rosefox has made a really thoughtful GenreVille blog post about harassment at conventions. Well worth the read.

3) [livejournal.com profile] suricattus talks about the evolution of taste through changing one's diet and habits. Specifically she gets into her evolving distaste for poor-quality chocolate and for salty snack foods. I've experienced this. But I've also experienced the reversal of this effect, which is interesting. I don't put up with crappy chocolate nearly as much as I used to, but I still enjoy a Milky Way mini-bite candy every now and then. Doing a whole bar? God no! I guess my tolerance has changed: I can enjoy a bite but more than that is an offense to my senses. Ultimately, this is a good thing.

4) I haven't commented on the Democratic National Convention, partly because I've been too busy and partly because I didn't have much argument with anything I heard. I did come away with the following thoughts, though: Michelle Obama really knows how to write and deliver a speech. She's so smart; I'm so proud to have her as First Lady. Bill Clinton should be named Explainer-in-Chief and I'd vote for him again in a heartbeat. Barack Obama is the only candidate I'd even consider voting for in this election, and if we don't reelect him, this country is going to be in deep, deep trouble.

5) I have a mountain of freelance work to do this weekend. I ought to get down to that. ::sigh::

BONUS! 6) [livejournal.com profile] kateyule's post about the books she's been reading put me in mind of a story I heard on NPR recently. They did a piece on a study about the relative happiness expressed in popular music over the last sixty years and found that it has been decreasing steadily since . . . the mid-late 1960s. And all I could think about was how "Eleanor Rigby" (1966) would have struck a listener in 1955 as a really peculiar, possibly slightly repellent piece of music. But then everything seemed to change with Revolver, which included more complex orchestration than most pop music at the time, more complex subject matter, and less reliance on love songs. Fascinating stuff.

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