Flat Cat

Jul. 26th, 2017 11:51 pm
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Katie has now been introduced to Fuzzy Britches, the flat cat in The Rolling Stones. She insisted that I read into the next chapter so that she would find out how the youngest child would take to the flat cat. (Well, as you might remember.)

Little does she know what is going to happen soon...

Moss-Free

Jul. 17th, 2017 10:56 pm
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We are now through four chapters of Heinlein's The Rolling Stones. Katie is finding it greatly amusing, although she is occasionally annoyed at Heinlein "picking on" things like automobiles.

I am waiting until she finds out about the flat cats. :)
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Earlier this week, Gretchen and I pulled up "Singing in the Rain" on the DVR when we were looking for something entertaining to tide us over to the start of the new TV season. At one point or another, I noticed that Debbie Reynolds seemed to have a bit of a southern accent, so I pulled up a browser on my phone and discovered that she was born in El Paso, Texas, which I took as explaining the drawl.

Having pulled up the article, I kept on reading it. I had been musing that Debbie Reynolds was pretty cute back then. And then I read that she had been just eighteen when the movie was filmed, which was in the pretty frighteningly young category. As in way too young to be musing about the cuteness of. :)

And then I noticed her birth date. Which was in the early 1930s. Which makes her about the same age as my deceased mother.

My brain hurts.

There's a Heinlein novel in there somewhere... :)
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Argument by analogy will always have some inherent flaws. No two situations are exactly the same.

However, it strikes me that I've seen many of the arguments about the current state of the Hugo Awards before.

And if I say anything more than that, it will only result in people yelling at me.

Maybe I should just go back to bed now. If I do, maybe this post will let me sleep better. :)

On Awards

Apr. 5th, 2015 04:30 pm
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I see folks are talking about awards. So let's start from the smaller end of the spectrum and work up toward the larger one and see where I get to.

I'm a filker. I've won three Pegasus Awards (although I've always credited my joint win with Clif far more to him than to me; I was simply swimming in his wake) and been nominated a number of times. And I appreciate every one of them and I thank everyone who has ever nominated and voted for me over the years. I find that -- and I suspect this is no different from most people -- the affirmation is always a positive thing, win or lose. So thank you all again.

Of course, the Pegasus Awards are nominated by a small, self-selecting pool of people. There's no fee required to nominate, although the committee does try to make sure that the nominations are restricted to members of the filk community, because it would take very little for a small, outside group to massively skew the nominations. (Sound familiar?)

And I know there are various log-rolling efforts that have occurred over the years. I've pushed Juanita Coulson and her song, Chess, for a long time, because I consider it one of the seminal filk works that broke out of the more usual mode of filk a long time ago. And I was gratified when Juanita won a Pegasus Award for Best Writer/Composer a few years ago, as she'd never won one for anything over the years.

On a different note, I consider it a crime that Barry Childs-Helton has never won the Best Writer/Composer Pegasus. I could go on at length, but would you just listen to his body of work? Heck, just check out Dream of a Far Light. Consider that log pushed down the slope again. :)

Of course, the level of log-rolling above is pretty minor. (In my opinion. :) ) There've been more coordinated log-rolling campaigns, some that I've heard of, no doubt some others that I haven't. These things happen.

And all of this occurs for the Pegasus Awards, in an area where a "career" being affected by winning is a pretty unlikely concept.

So it pretty much has to be worse for the Hugo Awards.

Understand that the Hugo Awards don't have much truck with filkers. I still remember back when whatever Worldcon committee that it was decreed a category for the Watchmen Hugo so that they could get it the heck out of the Best Novel category. Of course, they had to find some other things that might in theory populate the category, so they declared that filksongs were eligible there too.

In the year that they were first performed. Not in the year that they were actually set in tangible media so that a larger group could hear them, but when they were first sung in a circle.

Thanks loads, guys. Well, at least they made their intentions pretty clear. A song that might have been heard by 50 people got to compete against publications with runs in the hundreds of thousands. I mean, you couldn't have expected the playing field to be level, but this one was pretty much vertical.

But I digress.

I do not have a lot of time to read SF lately. I'm lucky to read a half a dozen books in a year. I used to read every issue of Analog when it arrived at my home. But that was a long time ago.

And the SF field is much larger now. I'd have a great deal of trouble trying to keep up with what's out there even if I had the time to make the effort.

So I don't nominate for the Hugos since I dropped off the Worldcon circuit. I barely nominated in the years before I dropped off and a fair number of those were for people who suggested to me privately that maybe I could nominate their work.

(And no, I am not going to name any names. The names are not important. Please, please, please do not assume that any particular individual was engaging in this sort of private log-rolling because of my statement, because you are entirely likely to be wrong. Just take it as a fact that it happened -- and remember that I'm not exactly the most politically connected guy out there in fandom. :) )

How are people going to find things to nominate in a world with so much SF and fantasy out there that we can't consume the entire stream from the fire hose? Well, sometimes people make recommendations. Depending on who they are, their recommendations are going to carry more or less clout. That's not a great surprise either.

And sometimes, a group decides they don't like the mass of things that are on the Hugo ballot and that they need to make some recommendations of their own. And they're pretty aggressive about it. (In relative terms.)

And you get Sad Puppies.

Now my first opinion about this year's results is pretty straightforward -- I refuse to believe that one individual wrote three of the best five stories in a particular category in a particular year. Or at least I find it pretty unlikely.

Of course, I also found it unlikely that Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form should be dominated by Doctor Who episodes. And that went on for years.

So if you ask me what the first thing to do to fix the process is, I'd say that you should limit nominations for an author or a TV series to one per category.

But the second thing that I think is that the Sad Puppies have actually created a useful working model.

The SF fire hose is too big for almost all of us to consume.

In the world that we live in, a recommended and well-publicized set of nomination suggestions from people whose opinion you trust is invaluable in telling you what to go read and consider nominating. Whether you call them Sad Puppies, or slate-makers, or curators, or reviewers, this sort of slate can perform a valuable function.

In fact, it's even useful if you disagree with the opinion of the people who put together the slate. As Spider Robinson long ago observed, a book reviewer who you disagree with 100% of the time performs a valuable service for you. If he likes it, you don't want to read it. :)

So it may be that the best way forward for the Hugo Awards is for there to be a lot of trusted slate-makers out there giving you their recommendations -- because if they don't, you just end up drowning in the fire hose and you don't find the stuff that you like so that you can nominate it on a timely basis.

I could be wrong about this, of course.
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Our girls have yet to serve up the phrase, "Make it didn't happen!", but it's one that you frequently hear of having come up in a moment of childish distress. It's not just a confusion of tenses, I think, but more of the wish that you could simply undo something that had gone wrong.

Some things can be fixed, but undoing something is another matter altogether. And the whole thing comes to mind, because it comes up in songs with fair frequency. "Even knowing the unhappy ending to my story, I would have done it anyway, because it was worth it," says the narrator in one poetic form or another. If you'd like a concrete example, take Michael Longcor's very fine Pegasus-winning song, Shooting Star.

And I just can't accept that. I can easily imagine that there are circumstances where it is absolutely necessary to sacrifice your life for something, but I can't imagine that you'd do that if you knew enough about the situation in advance to avoid the whole set of circumstances in the first place. If you knew that the shuttle's external tank was going to drop a chunk of icy foam onto the thermal tiles and shatter them, you wouldn't say, "Well, there are risks and it's all been worthwhile, shame that I'm going to die now." You would figure out how to fix the damned problem -- given sufficient warning, of course.

I think that this is part of the attraction of Bill Murray's Groundhog Day. The hero gets to try to solve his problem over and over and over again, until he finally gets it right. (Some problems, such as the dying bum, remain insoluble in the course of a single day. Not enough warning to get it fixed.)

I don't know if this need to fix things is just a guy thing (as my wife, [livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise, has suggested) or if it's just a me thing. There are so many things in this world that could have been fixed by a little bit of foreknowledge -- assuming, for the moment, that any attempt to use such foreknowledge isn't automatically doomed to fail, because that's just depressing. (Even for me!) The fact that these things have still happened suggests that time travel into the past is one of those "not-allowed" features of the universe we're living in.

Either that, or our time travelers shot their wad preventing the nuclear exchange between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. back around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. After all, that never happened, right?

Or maybe someone just finally figured out how to fix it.
billroper: (Default)
Our girls have yet to serve up the phrase, "Make it didn't happen!", but it's one that you frequently hear of having come up in a moment of childish distress. It's not just a confusion of tenses, I think, but more of the wish that you could simply undo something that had gone wrong.

Some things can be fixed, but undoing something is another matter altogether. And the whole thing comes to mind, because it comes up in songs with fair frequency. "Even knowing the unhappy ending to my story, I would have done it anyway, because it was worth it," says the narrator in one poetic form or another. If you'd like a concrete example, take Michael Longcor's very fine Pegasus-winning song, Shooting Star.

And I just can't accept that. I can easily imagine that there are circumstances where it is absolutely necessary to sacrifice your life for something, but I can't imagine that you'd do that if you knew enough about the situation in advance to avoid the whole set of circumstances in the first place. If you knew that the shuttle's external tank was going to drop a chunk of icy foam onto the thermal tiles and shatter them, you wouldn't say, "Well, there are risks and it's all been worthwhile, shame that I'm going to die now." You would figure out how to fix the damned problem -- given sufficient warning, of course.

I think that this is part of the attraction of Bill Murray's Groundhog Day. The hero gets to try to solve his problem over and over and over again, until he finally gets it right. (Some problems, such as the dying bum, remain insoluble in the course of a single day. Not enough warning to get it fixed.)

I don't know if this need to fix things is just a guy thing (as my wife, [livejournal.com profile] daisy_knotwise, has suggested) or if it's just a me thing. There are so many things in this world that could have been fixed by a little bit of foreknowledge -- assuming, for the moment, that any attempt to use such foreknowledge isn't automatically doomed to fail, because that's just depressing. (Even for me!) The fact that these things have still happened suggests that time travel into the past is one of those "not-allowed" features of the universe we're living in.

Either that, or our time travelers shot their wad preventing the nuclear exchange between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. back around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. After all, that never happened, right?

Or maybe someone just finally figured out how to fix it.
billroper: (Default)
Via Instapundit, ten Star Trek episodes that we're glad they never filmed.

Well, I assume that you're glad they never filmed them. I am...
billroper: (Default)
Via Instapundit, ten Star Trek episodes that we're glad they never filmed.

Well, I assume that you're glad they never filmed them. I am...
billroper: (Default)
Via Instapundit, the explanation for why the auctioneers that you see at Midwest SF conventions and at Interfilk auctions work so hard at making sure that the audience is having a good time.

We make more money that way, because you're relaxed. :)
billroper: (Default)
Via Instapundit, the explanation for why the auctioneers that you see at Midwest SF conventions and at Interfilk auctions work so hard at making sure that the audience is having a good time.

We make more money that way, because you're relaxed. :)
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Every so often, I find a link to something like this:

An illustrated discussion of corridors in SF movies.

The author says this may be the geekiest thing he's written. He's probably right, but who am I to talk? :)
billroper: (Default)
Every so often, I find a link to something like this:

An illustrated discussion of corridors in SF movies.

The author says this may be the geekiest thing he's written. He's probably right, but who am I to talk? :)
billroper: (Default)
Ok, not exactly, but I was certainly amused when Instapundit linked to an article on QE2 and included a reference to the Charles Stross series that I'm currently reading.

I've said for a while that I thought that our weak dollar policy was a bad idea. I'm hoping it's not nearly as bad as the Stross reference would imply. :)
billroper: (Default)
Ok, not exactly, but I was certainly amused when Instapundit linked to an article on QE2 and included a reference to the Charles Stross series that I'm currently reading.

I've said for a while that I thought that our weak dollar policy was a bad idea. I'm hoping it's not nearly as bad as the Stross reference would imply. :)
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By way of Instapundit, how we might stop a vampire epidemic. Because I know that there are folks on my friends list who want to know. :)
billroper: (Default)
By way of Instapundit, how we might stop a vampire epidemic. Because I know that there are folks on my friends list who want to know. :)

Eric Webb

May. 25th, 2009 10:30 pm
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A number of you will remember Eric Webb from SF fandom and the SCA. I just got e-mail from a friend of mine letting me know that Eric's son had passed along the info that Eric is gravely ill with cancer.

I have contact info for him for his friends who would like to get hold of him. Drop me an e-mail or reply to this message with yours in some format and I'll send you the phone number and e-mail address. From the sound of it, phone is the better path to take.

This may be part of getting older, but I really don't like it. *sigh*

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