Monthly Archives: October 2011

WFC Adendum

I may agree to work prog ops at another WFC if, and only if, it is in easy reach of me (i.e. southern California) and I’m asked – or at least informed. I probably won’t go to any others otherwise. It doesn’t fill my needs of a place to spend time with friends and maybe go to some interesting panels, concerts, etc.

A Few Quick WFC 2011 Thoughts

Arrived at World Fantasy on Friday afternoon after picking up The Kid from school – about 4:00.  Quickly found reg, checked into hotel, found con suite (a.k.a. Tara) and loaded the room.  During this time, everyone I passed and recognized was working for the convention in some capacity or other – and this wasn’t just the local and near local people.

Friday my main duty was serving a door guard and then rover at the Cattle Call Mass Signing Open Autographing Session. About half an hour after I was relieved, I was talking with my replacement, and the replacement on the other, adjacent, door. I looked at them and said “It looks like I’m under-qualified for this job.” On the door were Todd Dashoff and Bill Parker – Chair of the 2001 Worldcon and co-chair of the 2013 Worldcon.

Saturday, I staffed Programming Ops. all day. Only issue – while waiting for the first panel changeover, I got buttonholed by an individual (name on badge “The Collector,” from Plainfield Illinois) who complained that we were supposed to put the authors in alphabetical order during the Open Autograph Session (even after I said that we were explicitly told to do it this way by the powers that be), and claimed that he was pulled out of the line for Neil Gaiman on his second trip after waiting another hour to let some people who were on their first trip through.  Later, I realized that this was the same individual who buttonholed me at one of the last two DucKon’s I worked registration to complain that we’d had an author present but not publicized it so he couldn’t bring his books to get signed.  At that point I concluded that this individual (1) is only interested in autographing books as it may increase their monetary value and (2) he believes that the world should cater exclusively to him.

The Con Suite staff, following on with the theme of “Sailing the Seas of Imagination” adopted the 15th and 16th century English naval custom of press ganging people.  If you sat long enough in the prep room, you were put to work.

Today, my main official duties were managing the line for the late planned 2nd Neil Gaiman signing.  I was the floater and supervisor.  Things ran smoothly, everyone who wanted got their 2 items signed, and we were able to close up about 5 minutes early (except for the person who showed up right at closing that I sent around to the exit to see if she could still get her autographs.

I’m tired, Tara is even more tired.  The dog is happy to see us.  The cat is expressing his joy at seeing me by pushing my keyboard around while I try to type.

Slight Character Redemption

I’m approaching the end of A Clash of Kings, the second book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.  One character just – slightly – redeemed himself in my eyes.  However, I’m not sure if I’m mad at GRRM or not over this.

Without spoilers, the character in question was a notable non-PoV character in A Game of Thrones who became a PoV character in the second book, and quickly changed into a character I had some respect for into a character I was starting to hate.  (This is personally, not that I dread his sections).  However, over the last several chapters it was becoming clear that he, apparently, did something seriously despicable to another couple of characters, one a PoV character.

After this, and especially during this character’s point of view, I was getting to the point that part of me wanted to find a way into the pages to eliminate him. {Not really, since I’ve read Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next books, I know the problems with doing that – not to mention that I don’t think that there really is a way in}

But, at the very end of the chapter I finished shortly before reaching work this morning – a chapter from the point of view of this character – we learn that while he had done the despicable act, he had actually done it to two different people (who had never been on page).

GRRM as the author aggravated this by drawing the suspense out, which is why I might be mad at him.  On the other hand this is a good author trick, so I should probably just respect him for it.

Now, I am just going to patiently wait to see if we hear what really happened from the other character’s point of view.  More incentive to keep reading (listening).

{Aside: it may be a good thing George R.R. Martin isn’t going to be at WFC this weekend – and I’m not just talking as someone who will probably be working at the “cattle call” autographing session either.  If he was here, I’d probably be tempted to buy all of the current books in print just to get them signed – and possibly let him know how I felt through this section.}

Observations From Watching Old TV Episodes

Over the last few days, I’ve watched two – and part of a third – episode of the original Hawaii Five-O.  About six months ago, I watched many episodes of Mission: Impossible mostly from the 1st and 2nd season.   Reflecting on these, I’ve been struck by some of the socitial and cultural differences since the era of those shows (Late 1960s for the episodes of Mission: Impossible and 1968 & 1975 for Hawaii Five-O).

First thing I noticed was the casual way smoking was treated.  In nearly every first season episode of Mission: Impossible one or more of the main characters was smoking.  According to one site (I’m not sure the link) only the character of Willy Amratage was never depicted as smoking on screen.  In fact, in a couple of episodes, sm0king was a significant part of the plot.  Similarly on the 1st season episode of Hawaii Five-O – actually the first regular episode – it was clear that someone was smoking in one of the briefings in McGarett’s office, but it wasn’t clear who since they never actually took a smoke on screen.

The next thing I noticed was the casual use of seat belts.  Now in both the episodes of Mission: Impossible and the first season episode of Hawaii Five-O, it wasn’t easy to tell who had on lap belts and who didn’t.  But in the 1975 episode of Hawaii Five-O there were many scenes where the characters clearly did not have on their shoulder belts.

I also noticed a few other things from the 1975 episode of Hawaii Five-O I watched yesterday.  First, in an early scene, the character of Danny “Dano” Williams (James MacArthur) picked up his Aunt Clara (played by MacArthur’s real-life adopted mother Helen Hayes) at the airport.  They offered the gentleman who was her seat-mate on the flight from L.A. to Honolulu a ride to his hotel.  During this ride, all three shared the front seat of Danny’s car, comfortably.  Now there are very few cars – and not even that many pickup trucks – that even have a middle front seat, and in those that do, the middle seat is rarely comfortable for an adult, even an adult as small as Aunt Clara/Helen Hayes.

Later, not wanting to waste an actor of Hayes caliber on a borderline cameo appearance, Aunt Clara was placed undercover at a retirement home to help sting the people involved in the murder of the seat mate.  In this role, it was necessary that she stay in a wheel chair.   In one scene, she was being rolled out of a state office building by her nurse (who was later reveled to be a HPD officer), and the nurse had to roll her down the stairs.  Now, there would have to be a ramp.

Also, in the 1968 episode of Hawaii Five-O the fact that it was still reasonable for people to travel to Hawaii from San Francisco  by passenger boat, and the trip was key to the plot.  Even by the 1975 episode, it seemed to be expected that flying was the only way to go.  I could also see some differences between 1968 and 1975.  In the 1968 episode people were shown flying from Honolulu on a Boeing 707 (I presume), and getting into the plane by walking up the stairs, yet in 1975 people got off of a Boeing 747 through a jetway.

While the memories are vague, I can attest that in 1975 one took a 747 – which was nearly empty – from LA to Hilo, and I’m 90% sure that even in Hilo a jetway was used.  By 1981, you couldn’t even get from the mainland to Hilo directly, and we had to fly through Honolulu, but did use stairs at the inter-island terminal of the Honolulu airport (a place that probably contributes to my less-than-great impressions of Honolulu, even if the inter-island terminal has been greatly improved in the 30 years since I was last in Hawaii)

For what it is worth, while I did notice all of these things, I still enjoyed watching these shows that were both part of my childhood.  And, I can attest that they still hold up pretty well.

This Could be Really Useful…

… when reading The Song of Ice and Fire, Turtledove’s 10 book series of series that follows after How Few Remain, and other similarly epic works: a big map of the setting, with movable flags that show where the major characters are.

With both of the aforementioned series, I’ve had times where I’ve either thought “where is So-and-so,” or only partway into a new scene remembered “oh yeah, So-and-so moved there.”

But such a map would be a bit of a pain for me, since I do most of my “reading” by listening to audio books while commuting or while in the bathroom at the end of the day.

Mea Cupla

Apparently the image of the cartoon I included earlier requires a Daily Ink log in to see. I’ll attempt to describe it later.

A Couple Good Perspectives on Worship

Recently, I’ve had two different humorous reflections on Worship.  {In this case I’m using the term “Worship” to refer to the act of corporate singing during a church – specifically a Christian church – service}

I’ll put a cut-tag (at least in WordPress and LiveJournal) for those who don’t wish to continue to read something with explicit Christian content and topics.

Continue reading

A Realization About my Music Collection

My iPod is labeled on the back with “RonO’s Very Eclectic Music Collection.”  However, this morning I realized that in one category my selection doesn’t seem all that eclectic.

When thinking about the major works of classical music of which I have recordings {major meaning suites, symphonies, and other works for more than one part; and classical referring to non-jazz, non-pop, instrumental compositions written primarily for performance as opposed to dramatic underscore}, my selection seems a bit less eclectic than some.

Off the top of my head I have works by Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Mussorgsky, Stravinsky, Polunec, Orff, Holst, and Emerson. Nearly all of them are 19th or 20th century composers, and most of them are Russian.

(Actually, I’m doubting that I have either of my recordings of the Carmina Burana ripped from CD and loaded into iTunes)

One other area in which I’m a bit limited – I think most or all of these are recordings released by Telarc, even the ones that I purchased as digital downloads.

Recent Deaths of Note

Word has reached me over the last week or so of three people who I’ve never – or at least probably never – met who passed on.  However, all three have had at least some impact on me, who I am, and what I do.

Chronologically, the first one was Steve Jobs, who has probably had the least impact on my life.  While I am typing this on a mac, and carry an iPhone and iPod with me, Jobs is only part of the reasons.  Frankly, Microsoft’s OS’s continuing problems with stability, long term performance degradation and lack of security probably have more to do with my owning a mac than Apple or Steve Jobs.  The other two I got because they were the product in the category that best met my needs.  On the other hand, I do have respect for Jobs as a computer pioneer, salesman and corporate executive.

Next to die was Robert Galvin, who had more impact on my life.  Galvin was the President and CEO of Motorola when I started working there fresh out of college.  The corporate culture that he promoted  accounted in part for me remaining at Motorola longer than most of my other friends – and to actually come back after I left the first time.  It was increasingly clear after Galvin and his son Chris were no longer in charge – I think Chris was basically forced out – that the culture of the company rapidly changed.  By the time I left for the second time in 2008, Motorola was no longer the company I started with, and was much less a company I wanted to work for.

Most recently was Dennis Ritchie, who clearly had a lot of impact on my life.  He was key in two developments that I use, or in the past have used, daily.  About the only extensive periods since entering college that I wasn’t using some sort of Unix or Unix derivation operating system was the 14 months I worked at Sony in 1998 and 1999, and my first couple of years at Qualcomm.  Similarly, I’ve used C or another programming language that was based on C as my primary programming language since college.   And that doesn’t take into account all of the other things I use daily or regularly that have either C, Unix or both at their core.

While I didn’t know any of these men personally, and with the possible exception of Galvin, I don’t think I met them either.  But I will remain grateful for what they did and the impact they’ve had on my life and my society.

Faux Thanksgiving Official RSVP

Last night I got the official RSVP page for the San Diego Faux Thanksgiving on November 19 up.  You can find it at http://www.ron-oakes.us/rsvp/index.php.

Please RSVP there if you plan on joining us there.  RSVPs to other places (facebook, Google+, LiveJournal, this blog) won’t be counted when we are purchasing our share of the food – and I expect others to also base food on the counts on that page – and setting up the house.  Basically, if you’ve not told us there that you are coming, we won’t be expecting you.