Monthly Archives: June 2011

Westercon “Route 66” Bid

Announcing a new bid for Westercon in 2013:

Westercon on √66

Along Historic Route 66

Where: A still to be determined hotel in Needles California along historic Route 66.  (Candidate Hotels)

When: July 4-7, 2013.  Average High a refreshing 109.1ºF (48.43ºC)

Party: Friday July 1, 2011 at 6:60pm – 8:30pm.  Room Still to be determined

Help us out:

  • Pre Support: $0.66.
  • Pre Oppose: $6.66 (An evil amount)
  • Friend of the Bid: $66.00.  Friends of the bid who vote in site selection will receive an attending membership in Westercon 66, regardless of where it is held.

Memberships will be available at the party


Busy Week

This has been a busy week – and I’m understandably tired from it.  On top of being tired, I think in part the business led to me getting another cold/sinus infection that took me out on Thursday for much or most of the day (I did get out a bit in the evening).  But to make at least tired understandable I need to share my week; and mostly the evenings as days have been mostly normal (except for biking to the bus station on Monday which I already posted about).

Monday night I had a SanSFiS board meeting.  The meeting itself went well.  However, after the meeting was an informal discussion (which I’ll keep confidential for now at least in broadly available locations) that I ended up involved with due to reasons of both knowledge, opinion and interest.  As a result it was after 10 when I got home.

Tuesday evening was supposed to be one of my two evenings to laze around the house/get stuff done around the house/catch up on stuff on the DVR.  However, when I got to the bus station, my car had a low tire warning.  Figuring that it was the normal slightly low, I went ahead and backed out, noticing that the car didn’t drive or sound quite right.  I stopped and looked – sure enough my left front tire was flat.

I guess I covered the details on Wednesday in my quickies post, so I won’t go into more details.  It was after nine when I got home.

Wednesday night was the Albuquerque Boy Choir concert in Encinitias.  Alas, both Tara and The Kid had to get to bed, so I was the only one who made the concert.  I’m pretty sure that with all the years my brother-in-law has been the Artistic Director (and the director of the younger group before that), I think this is actually the first time I’ve been able to see them in concert.  So, I definitely enjoyed it.

The selections were a mix of classical, pop and other works, including a choral work from the soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (“Into the West”).  Additionally, my younger nephew and one of his friends did “The Sound of Silence” as a solo – they had also done this earlier in the spring as part of a youth arts event.

But, it was again after nine when I got home.  At least I remembered to let the dog out before going to bed – unlike the two previous nights.

Thursday, as I mentioned, I ended up taking the day off sick.  I was able to get some needed extra sleep.  By evening I was feeling good enough to get a much needed haircut.

Friday (yesterday), I had a doctor’s appointment so I drove to work – but would have anyway.  So I stayed at work late working on some stuff, joined my team at “Building K” (a.k.a. The Karl Strauss Brewery Beer Garden Restaurant in Sorento Valley) for a bit of happy hour – where I just had some tea and some of the appetizers.

About six-thirty I left and headed down to Old Town where I caught a trolley downtown.  I then walked to the Hard Rock Cafe where I was meeting the Boy Choir for what I occasionally described as an “exchange of hostages,” but a rather unequal one.  I was handing off my old Alto Saxophone – which I haven’t played in more than 10 years – to go back to New Mexico with the choir, where it will eventually find a much more useful home at Hummingbird Music Camp.  But I was also picking up my older nephew, Nathan, who is spending a few days with us.

Dinner was scheduled for 7:30, but the choir was a bit late coming from Sea World and figuring out where to park a bus downtown – and then getting thirty-some boys and chaperones from near Seventh and Market to the Hard Rock on Fourth at F (Market takes the place of H).  And only when it was close to arrival did they even start setting up the room, so dinner was late.  I did join for dinner since it gave me a bit of a chance to talk to my sister and brother-in-law (although they did have some choir and general supervisor duties as well), but I was a bit of an outsider at a dinner of mostly friends (I did pay for my meal).  But there was at least one other outsider (and aunt who I think was also picking up a kid to keep for a while), so it wasn’t too awkward.

The head waiter (waitress) assigned to the group clearly had a good clue about dealing with large groups of mostly kids on the set menu.  Instead of trying to take everyone’s orders, she just had people raise their hands for what they wanted  (She did ask the identifiable adults if we wanted something different to drink).  This worked out pretty well – even though there was a bit of trouble with making sure kids remembered what they had ordered.  But even with this efficiency it was after nine when we got done eating.

After dinner, I walked back to the bus with my nephew to get his bags and put the sax on the bus.  There I did a bit of checking on the map on my phone and decided that it would be easier and I’d be more confident of the area if I headed back to Fifth and down to the Gaslamp trolley station – even with Petco park in the area and the baseball game ending (it was the top of the 8th when I checked before leaving the restaurant).

The walk to the trolley station wasn’t too bad – but navigating Fifth Avenue in The Gaslamp on a Friday night with a suitcase and a seventeen-year-old who doesn’t know the area was a bit of a trick.  While it wasn’t as busy as it is during Comic-Con, it was a whole lot busier with both foot and vehicle traffic then on the weekday afternoons I’ve been down there.

We got to the station and I bought the needed ticket (I can use the trolley on my bus pass) and went onto the platform.  This is the first time I’ve actually seen them checking tickets before people get on the platform (it is probably too busy at Comic Con and not worth it at other times), so there were plenty of Transit Cops around.  I suspect the less-than-sober state of many of the people coming from the baseball game may have added to the decision to have plenty of cops there as well.

The first train that came into the station was the regular “Orange” line train.  This train doesn’t serve Old Town, so Nathan and I didn’t get on that train.  But another group of fairly young people who’d been at the game asked if that train connected to The Coaster.  I did try to tell them if they took that they’d have to walk – but they didn’t hear or pay attention.

However, with this group was a girl who had nearly passed out on one of the benches.  Her boy friend kept trying to get her on the train and was holding its departure up.  Finally he asked one of the transit cops to hold it so he could get her.  But then he made a mistake.  Instead of trying to wake her or otherwise get her up, he grabbed her fairly violently and ended up pulling her onto her face on the ground.  Knowing, thanks to my jury service, the jury’s description of “battery,” I’d probably consider it battery.  That was also the judgement of the transit cops, who proceeded to start to arrest him.  This was complicated by the victim trying to get them to leave her boyfriend alone (not acting like anything wrong happened to her, which did not match her initial reaction).  But I figured that there was no need for me to get involved (other than posting the briefest summary to Facebook).

The next train was the correct one, but it sat in the station for a long time – which may or may not have had anything to do with the previous incident.

On the train I did notice someone that I would have to conclude was for all intents and purposes “baseball cosplay.”  There was someone who was wearing a 1978 (+- 1 year) Padres’ uniform jersey, in itself not that different from a lot of the other baseball fans.  But he also had on the nickers and long socks.  But what pushed it over the top into something close to cosplay was the fact that he’d put the eye-black under his eyes, which I cannot explain for any other reason when attending a night game in the stands.  (OK, there could have been some event at the game last night that he was participating in that required the more accurate costuming, but I wouldn’t know that – I only knew that there was a home game after checking to warn my sister when she first shared plans for dinner in that area).

It was after 11 when we got home.

This morning, all four of us (Tara, The Kid, Nathan and I) headed to the San Diego County Fair.  While Tara and I have enjoyed going multiple times each of the last two years, The Kid was already in Illinois, or leaving for Illinois, when the fair opened.  So this was his first time (the three of us may go back next weekend).  As it turns out we were actually all on the any/every day passes, since the advanced cost for those through Qualcomm was the same as for one day at the door.

I think we all enjoyed ourselves – even if I was the only one with much interest in the animal exhibits, and much less than some weekends since the small animals were pigeons.  We did have too much bad food (a fried pork tenderloin sandwich and a piece if Navajo Fry Bread with strawberries and a cheesecake-like topping for me).   We caught the tail end of the FIRST competition, which we all enjoyed, and spent time in the craft exhibits (including Tara getting information about showing/competing in the collections category one of these years).  We also spent some time in the gems and minerals and in with the woodworking.  Nathan took lots of pictures of the woodworking to share with his family – especially his father who will appreciate it.  But he also thought that his brother who plays guitars would appreciate the hand-made guitars – especially the one 12-string that we all thought looked very good (and I presume sounds as good, or almost as good, as it looks – which would make it well worth its $1,200 price).  (OK, most of the woodworking is for sale, and the prices are actually reasonable when you consider the work – but are beyond what I’d be able to, or even want to, spend with my current income).

We are back home, and tired.  I’ve got a Conjecture meeting tomorrow after church (and as chair, I cannot blow it off).  I’m sure the rest of the family will find something to do – but not go back to the fair, I don’t think they’ll talk Tara into it.

This coming week may not get much quieter.  On Tuesday Tara and the boys will go up to Legoland (hopefully I’ll be able to take advantage of the 2nd day of Nathan’s ticket – if they aren’t too tight on the sharing security – at some point).  On Wednesday morning I need to get Nathan to the airport early.  And then the next Tuesday we have to get The Kid to the airport for his visit to Illinois.  But beyond that we don’t have as many set plans as this week.

Assorted Quickies

1: It has been pointed out to me in comments to two different copies of my post yesterday (one on Live Journal and one on Facebook) that there have been previous English language translations of Solaris.  But they were not direct translations from the Polish, but passed through a second language.  This makes it fairly unlikely that it will be accepted for Best Novel next year.  The BDP debate could still happen, alas.

2: For those in the San Diego area who might not have seen the couple of times I’ve shared the Facebook event, The Albuquerque Boy Choir will be in concert tonight (Wednesday June 8, 2011) at 7:00 PM in Encinitas.

They will be performing at:

Bethlehem Lutheran Church
925 Balour Dr
Encinitas, CA

3: Last night was not what I’d planned.  I had planned on coming home and having a quiet evening of catching up on shows on the DVR or Netflix.  But, when started my car at the bus station, I noticed the low tire pressure warning.  I partially dismissed this (figuring I could wait until I got home and could use the working tire pressure gauge and fill up the low tire), until I started to back out.  Something didn’t feel or sound right.  Sure enough my left-front tire was quite flat.

I started to change the tire. I dug out the (doughnut) spare, tire iron and jack from the compartment hidden under the back end {where I found some things I’ve been missing and the tool that has been rolling around since I had work done in 2008}.  I then got the owner’s manual to find the jack point.  But when I got to the first step (loosen the lug nuts), my strength wasn’t up to the task.  So, I relented and called AAA.

I had to wait for a bout 30 minutes for AAA.  When they arrived I was glad to see that they didn’t have to send a full tow-truck for a tire change.  Instead the towing company has a truck equipped to handle tire changes and dead batteries.

After I got the spare on (OK, I let the professional do it), I headed home to eat then turned around and headed to Costco for new tires.  After ordering and paying for the tires, I got a call from Costco – they could not reuse the tire stems which have the pressure sensor, and that shop (Carmel Mountain Ranch) didn’t have any in stock.  So I had to get a refund and then head down to the Poway Costco to get the work done.  It was nearly the 8:30 closing when I got to the second Costco, so I ended up sitting in the waiting area instead of browsing (less interesting, but less costly as well – as evidenced by one of the verses in The Roper’s “Apology”).  It was also well after nine when I got home – i.e. bed time.

4: For my friends in (nearly the all of) the rest of the country – I really and hardily apologize for our weather.   I just hope that this isn’t turning into a repeat of last summer when we were unseasonably cool all summer, and everyone else was unseasonably hot.  (OK, this is a bit of a back-handed gloat; but it is one of the reasons that some P.R. person in the past labeled this as “America’s Finest City.”)


Looking in a Crystal Ball

I foresee sometime next winter, on the SMOFs list and possibly elsewhere, a great debate about what Hugo category a particular work belongs.

You see, sent me an e-mail (I’ve been a customer/subscriber of theirs for years) announcing “…Audible presents the first Polish-to-English translation of Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris, endorsed by the author’s estate, and available only in digital audio.” {bold face  mine for emphasis}

Therefore, next year during Hugo Award nomination season, there will be great debate  whether this qualifies for “Best Novel” or “Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.”  Some will argue that since it is an audio book it is inherently a dramatic presentation and must be nominated in that category.  Others will argue either (1) that the fact that it is (first) presented in an audio format is not withstanding and the writing should be nominated or (2) that as a dramatic presentation it is not one of the best of the year.

While I know where I’d likely land – at least having not yet read the book/listened to the audio – I’m not going to share that here.

Of course, if there was an abridged or unauthorized translation earlier, then it might not be eligible for novel since that would probably make it not qualify for the “first time in English” {approximate quote}, which would make at least one argument moot.


Another Poor (Conditioning) Experience on my Bike

This morning, Tara is off work (which is good and bad in its own rights) so she could take The Kid to school.  This allowed me to experiment with riding my bike to the bus station (Rancho Bernardo Transit Center).

My planned route was to head out from the house to the nearby main road (Rancho Bernardo and Matinal) – which I knew would be a tough hill climb in my current condition (I didn’t get a GPS track running on my phone, and the Google terrain map doesn’t have a clear indication of the grade – but it is steep for two- or three-hundred yards).  I then rode down the hill about half-way and turned at Via Tazon thinking, incorrectly, that it would be a flatter ride than staying on RB road.

Of course if I’d been thinking about it, I’d have remembered that the parking lot behind our church is cut into a hill.  And since our church (Green Valley Church) sits at the intersection of RB Road and Via Tazon, I should have realized that there was a hill there.

Unfortunately, I had to walk the bike up about half of the short, steep hill to get to RB road, and then for most of the hill along Via Tazon and West Bernardo Court.  Even with having walked the bike at least half of the way, I was still winded.  In fact I was winded until I’d been on the bus about half-way to work.

I also had a bit of trouble getting the bike under the bus.  The bus on the route I use is more like a Greyhound Bus than most of the non-express city buses, and the bikes go in what would otherwise be the luggage compartment.  I had some help from the other person putting a bike in.

When I got to work, I managed to get the bike out, but didn’t get the compartment door latched (until I noticed the bus stopping a bit further down the road).

I’ve pretty much decided I’ll walk to the bus station at least until I’m in better shape.  But now I’m left with the choice of what to do with my bike – which is sitting in my office at the moment (one advantage of a real office – I don’t have to find a bike rack in a location that mostly has bike lockers).  I could take it back home today, riding and walking it.  Or I could wait until Friday when I’ll have to drive (Doctor’s Appointment), and take it home then.  The drawback with Friday is that I’ll have to head to Old Town after work so I can take the trolley down to The Gaslamp to pick up my nephew at the end of the Boy Choir Tour – he’s staying with us for a few days while the rest of the choir including his parents and brother return to Albuquerque.  Having my bike in the car will leave less space for luggage.

I’ve also concluded – at least if I can trust Google’s terrain information – that I’d be better off taking RB Road all the way to West Bernardo Drive (not Court, they are different roads).  The 600′ contour line crosses that route more times, but it doesn’t top out any higher.  For returning home, I can actually cut into my neighborhood in a way that should keep me at or near the 600′ line for even more of the ride (or walk).  (Similarly, if their information is accurate, the highest point of my route this morning was not at RB and Matinal like I’d thought, but along West Bernardo Court – probably near the almost hidden Radison hotel.