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The Road to Hana, site of a recent Zayn Malik / One Direction fangirl moment

The Road to Hana, site of a recent Zayn Malik / One Direction fangirl moment.

I have a little One Direction story. Earlier this month, we rented a car on Maui and drove on the Road to Hana. There are a lot of roadside stands there, people selling home-made goods. We stopped at one where the radio was playing. As I waited for my grown-in-Hawaii coffee, I started singing to “What Makes You Beautiful.”

The woman behind the counter did a doubletake. I’m an unapologetic lover of pop music, and I gauged from her reaction that she’d been made fun of for liking the song. (She was a bit older than the stereotypical 1D fan.) Eventually, she started singing along with me.

Another car pulls up, and a woman older than my mother gets out. The woman behind the counter stops singing again, but then the older woman starts humming along. So the younger one does too.

Three generations of women who just happen to like the song, sharing a moment.

As much as the song is overplayed, I think it’s a really important song. Teenage women (in particular) don’t have a lot of messages that they’re beautiful without makeup, that they’re beautiful for who they are. Instead, they’re assaulted by constant messages that what they look like is never enough, the clothes they have are never enough, their weight is never right, etc.

Zayn Malik’s Departure

Zayn Malik

People burn out from time to time (I burned out as a software engineer twice before leaving in 2013). Zayn’s leaving, and a lot of fans are taking the news badly. I don’t even need to tell you what the #cut4zayn hashtag is for. Or that some people are making fun of them.

Preach it, sisters.

All I want to say to the mourning 1D fans: you are beautiful. Don’t forget that.

Also, Zayn may be leaving 1D now, but that’s not necessarily a permanent choice. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that people do come and go, and bands get back together. It’s never guaranteed, of course.

He’s still alive, he’s still young, and there’s still time.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

deirdre: (Default)

Eric P. Scott was a bay area fan and open source enthusiast who died recently, apparently related to his ongoing heart problems.

One of the peculiarities of Eric P. Scott is the frequency that we’d wind up on the same plane with him. It didn’t matter if we were heading to Calgary or Seattle or some other random convention—he’d wind up on the same flight.

True, we usually fly out of SFO, as did he. True, we often fly United, as did he. He became a United million miler when it was far easier to do, then health problems (more the financial complications of same) limited his ability to travel. Still, there were usually enough flights that we could easily have picked different ones from each other. We just didn’t happen to.

He’d sometimes show up at our house on a Cabal night, talking about Linux with whomever else happened to show up.

We’d see him at random Linux and open source events, too.

For me, he was always a mixed bag: some days, I’d have incredibly long, cool conversations with him, and other days he would be so frustrating I wanted to scream. Even though those days happened, I always looked forward to seeing him.

It’s very weird thinking I’ll never get that privilege again.

See also: File 770 and Chaz Boston Baden. His own LJ is here.

Graphics Credits

I’d been meaning to design a banner graphic for memorials. I’d recently gotten a bunch of layer styles, and used the Frozen style from here. I altered the outer glow to be a little darker and half as thick. Somehow, using a text style associated with an sf/f film seems fitting for eps.

Font is Desire from Borges Lettering, corners from Make Media, and the glitter layer on the corners is also from Make Media.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

deirdre: (Default)

(excerpted from a longer piece)

Ken said there was a science fiction convention coming up over Easter weekend. There would be gaming, which I was looking forward to. He was volunteering and said I should too. So I did, claiming that I was in fact over 18—required for volunteers at that con at that time—when I was still 17. Ken vouched for me, so I was trusted with tasks not ordinarily trusted a newbie.

It was 1977.  Science fiction and fantasy films had been so awful since 2001 that I was severely underwhelmed. At that point, there had been only one Star Trek series. Star Wars wasn’t out yet. There hadn’t been a truly great science fiction film since 2001.

I hadn’t seen many fantasy films that hadn’t embarrassed the hell out of me to even have been in the theatre with them. Well, except for Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which was a movie that I actually disliked the first few times I was dragged to it by friends. Eventually, I grew to love it. There were well-intended box office successes like The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, but I remember it being cringeworthy, even apart from the Ray Harryhausen animation I never warmed to. The Rankin-Bass version of The Hobbit and the Bakshi film Wizards weren’t out yet. Nothing had touched what I felt was possible in books.

If you’d asked me in Easter 1977 what my favorite science fiction or fantasy film of the seventies had been thus far, I’d probably have answered Woody Allen’s Sleeper. For science fiction films, we’d had Silent Running, which at least was interesting despite being too slow. Then there was Zardoz, which regularly makes worst-of lists. Some of the choices were differently compelling, like Rollerball. I didn’t like it at the time, but came to appreciate it many years later. One could argue that The Rocky Horror Picture Show was a science fiction film in that it involved aliens. There was a bunch of crap like At the Earth’s Core and Journey to the Center of the Earth and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.

What there weren’t, however, were good space-based science fiction films. It just hadn’t been done since 2001.

When I arrived at my first science fiction convention, I wasn’t at all drawn by the media-related opportunities, of which there were many, including airings of some relatively recent science fiction and fantasy films.

So naturally, being young, personable and female, I was assigned to escort media guests around, to manage the situation if they were overwhelmed by fans, and to help them get anything they needed. Most of them got a few polite expressions of fannishness, but nothing that actually needed a escort. Still, it made them feel valuable, and it was interesting enough.

Many of the convention’s VIPs were guest actors from Star Trek episodes, and many of those actors were truly great people. Some were from even older shows, like Kirk Alyn, the first actor to play Superman. Over the times I volunteered at the con, I enjoyed being Kirk’s VIP guide the most. I remember him being charming and generous with his time.

This first time, though, I was assigned to accompany an actor whose big film was coming out later that year. He was quite the comic fan (where I was not), and I just remember that he was completely unremarkable to me as a person. I spent a lot of time standing next to him as he geeked out with various comic vendors about things coming out and favorite issues in common. Even though I read comics at the time, I genuinely didn’t understand his deep interest in the subject, and we had no favorite comics in common. Back then, I read Spiderman and Nova mostly, occasionally dipping into other books.

The next morning, I sat alone in the hotel restaurant eating breakfast while I listened to people describe said actor as dreamy. Oh, he was decent enough looking, blond and somewhat geeky, which normally was my thing. Just—not this time. Thus, I found the interest in him fascinating.

It wasn’t until the fifth time I saw Star Wars that it hit me that I’d spent my day accompanying Mark Hamill around the con. You know. Luke Skywalker.

Hamill is now older than Alec Guinness was when the filming of Star Wars began.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

deirdre: (Default)

Okay, I’m being obnoxious with the post title. Granted. And I will concede that there are many good reasons to vote for a particular site over another, one of which is that you think that a given committee will deliver a better convention.

I’m not talking about those reasons.

I know I’m an experienced traveler (and known for same), so I tended to hear people’s travel-related objections to the various proposed Worldcon sites more than other people did.

Here are some of the actual objections I heard about the Finland 2015 Worldcon bid:

I don’t like the TSA

Well, then you should actually only vote for Worldcons outside the US because when you travel there, you’ll only have to deal with the TSA half as much, assuming that your last flight is an international flight. (Example: Helsinki-Frankfurt-San Francisco rather than Helsinki-NYC-San Francisco)

If you don’t have to connect to a domestic flight in the US, then you only have to deal with the TSA on your outbound flight.

Or you could move to San Francisco; we don’t have the TSA there (we have CAS).

I hate the hassles of airport security

So apply for TSA Pre-√. (This assumes Southwest is not your carrier of choice.) For US Citizens and permanent residents, I recommend applying through Global Entry, which also gets you quick immigration. Other programs like NEXUS (Canada) and SENTRI (Mexico) can participate.

And, bonus, Global Entry also means you get the fast immigration line into New Zealand, so you’ll be all set for 2020.

What does Pre-√ get you? The front of the line, even at airports with no Pre-√. The short line (I’ve never seen it more than 4 people long) at airports that do. No taking shoes off. No porno scanner. No unpacking into six bins (I seriously am not exaggerating here, I’ve actually needed six bins more than once). Most people will not need to unpack anything.

On the way back, you can skip the long immigration and customs lines. Stand at the kiosk, answer the questions, look at camera, fingerprint scan, take the receipt, you’re done. It has saved me over 20 minutes at times, though the minimum it’s saved is about a minute and a half.

Recent report from a travel friend, arriving back in the US from Rio:

At IAH (Houston). Sprinted to USCIS (US Customs and Immigration Service) because I’m a noncitizen and I had to beat the São Paulo flight that arrived at the same time as us. Managed to be first in line at immigration, and jetsetr still beat me through using Global Entry after sauntering down from the aircraft.

English isn’t Finland’s first language

English isn’t the first language of aliens, either, but we supposedly love them and crave first contact.

There have been four Worldcons in countries/regions where English was not the first language: Heidelberg (1970), The Hague (1990), Yokohama (2007), and Montreal (2009).

I’d argue that average Finnish command of English easily exceeds that of the average in Montreal. Like the Netherlands, English is very commonly spoken. In fact, I’d argue that the average Finn speaks English at least as well as the average American.

But transit … in a foreign country

Look. I’ve been to a lot of airports in a lot of countries. I think I can safely say that if I can find my way around airports in countries where the non-Roman alphabet makes no sense to me, so can you.

Much as English is the international language of aircraft controllers, almost every sign in almost every airport in the world is in whatever the country’s native language is — and also in English.

Every flight readerboard I’ve ever seen is also in English. Every ATM I’ve seen has English as an option, even in countries that don’t get a lot of American tourists (e.g., Myanmar).

But I’d rather drive/train/bicycle

Fuck Isaac Asimov.

You can have your NASFiC wherever. Let the Worldcon location be freer.

Even Asimov knew how to take a ship. (Hint: Cunard still offers the same transatlantic service it did in Asimov’s days, just less frequent. If you want to go to Europe and don’t want to fly from North America, that (or another line) should be part of your plans.

(For those who don’t know, Asimov never drove or flew. Ever.)

But I need a CPAP on my flight

Get a travel battery. Call the airline, tell them your CPAP’s model number. They will have their medical department clear you. Call to re-confirm 72 hours prior to flight.

It’s not rocket science.

I will admit to having screwed this up once. I’d had a ticket glitch on a United award ticket (during the merger last year) and my clearance got disconnected from the reservation when my ticket blipped out of existence. I’d called to reconfirm one ticket but forgot to check the second. The Swiss airline captain had to call to ground to get clearance. Fortunately, there was documentation on my other non-glitchy reservation. It is possible to get it cleared in flight like that, but I wouldn’t recommend it — it’s awfully embarrassing.

From a perspective of someone who flies a lot — a 10-11 hour flight, like one to Europe, really is the best length. Shorter flights break up sleep habits too much.

I have another medical condition that makes travel difficult

You know what? It happens. Maybe this particular Worldcon isn’t meant to be for you. None of us know for sure we’ll be able to do anything two years hence, so why hold up other people’s fun? Vote “No Preference.”

I know of people who’ve been to Worldcon under some pretty gruesome medical situations — mid-radiation, mid-chemo, and, in the case of a friend, post-terminal diagnosis.

Some conditions are showstoppers for travel, some aren’t. You’d be surprised at what people can travel with, though. I’ve heard stories about extreme medical tourism to Thailand in particular (and if you’ve been to Suvarnabhumi airport and seen the ads, you’ll understand).

Finland’s too expensive

I once heard the Hugos disparagingly described as an award ceremony held by “people who can afford a thousand dollar weekend.” He wasn’t wrong.

San Francisco to Spokane is $546 for next summer. San Francisco to Helsinki’s $1079. Spokane’s room night rate was $139. Helsinki was $80.

For one person, a flight and five nights would therefore wind up being $1251 for Spokane and $1479 for Helsinki. True, Helsinki’s higher, but it’s not as much higher as you might think.

Yeah, but I’m not traveling alone, you say. Fine, for two people sharing a room, Spokane would be $1787 ($894 pp) and Helsinki $2558 ($1279 pp), or $385 more per person.

Or, put another way, from San Francisco, one person going alone to Spokane is pretty much a wash, cost-per-person-wise, with shared accommodation in Helsinki.

Now, I’m not saying the costs aren’t real, or that they’re insignificant. I’m just saying that people were probably not looking at the whole picture or considering that they have two years between now and then.

I’m also going to say: consider the inverse case. Consider how many foreigners would come if it weren’t for the TSA, if costs weren’t so daunting, and if there weren’t language barriers.

I, for one, would like to hear more from the rest of the world, and that means holding Worldcons there.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.


Jul. 29th, 2013 11:04 am
deirdre: (Default)
Photo by Howard Tayler

Photo by Howard Tayler

Rick’s on the right in the loud Hawaiian shirt and Panama hat. I’m on Rick’s left, but not really visible in the pic.

For those of you who don’t know what JayWake is about, Jay Lake got his terminal cancer diagnosis recently and decided to hold a wake while he was still able to attend. Here’s his blog post about the event.

I’m not big on writing con reports generally, but I’ve certainly attended smaller conventions than JayWake turned out to be (attendance was around 200 people).

Before the formal event started, Jay said he’d planned to donate his body to medical school and had considered getting a tattoo that said, “Hello, I’ll be your cadaver this semester.”

As one might expect, Jay entered the event in a coffin, then popped out.

Kelly Buehler and Daniel Spector prepared a video from New Zealand, and the ending was a rickroll. I said to Rick, “You know, that’s actually the first time I’ve been rickrolled in a non-professional context.” Job hazard.

The rest of the quotes are mostly hilariously out of context:

“Would all the women who haven’t slept with Jay please raise your hands?” (surveys raised hands) “Well, Jay, you can’t die yet.”

About Jay’s polyamory: “Jay’s seen more holes than two families of gophers.”

About cancer — and Joan of Arc (!) — “They’re all dead, but they had hope.”

When asked the true story of how he knew Jay, one response included the following: “Now, ordinarily you wouldn’t read a book in a brothel….”

There was actually a funnier line that followed this, but my limited prose buffer only kept: “The morning after his surgery, he tried to break out of the hospital like a ninja. As you do.”

“He’s kinda like a corpulent, emo, Jiminy Cricket.”

“He’s famous for being a tumor-ridden love machine.”

About Jay’s “ass cancer” winding up in the wrong places in his body: “How about for your next fundraiser, we get your cancer a fucking GPS?”

In his wrapup, Jay said: “I have become medically interesting in two different ways, which is not really something you should aspire to.”

This could have become a maudlin hand-wringing event. This is the kind of event that relies — a ton — on not only the honored guest, but also his or her friends. Everyone kept it interesting and different. And it was interesting and different, even the parts that were painful.

Anyhow, it turned out to be a lot of fun, though emotionally exhausting. I spent most of Sunday sleeping it off, but that’s probably also partly residual jet lag.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

deirdre: (Default)
I've been to see Chasing Mavericks twice. It's a biopic coming-of-age teen-romance big-wave-surf movie, which means it hits most of Deirdre's hot spots. It also has an awesome soundtrack.

Those of you who knew Gerard Butler was filming a surf movie in my county and didn't tell me? You're all fired.

"Some will fall in love with life
And drink it from a fountain
That is pouring like an avalanche
Coming down the mountain"

From the film (some of the surf footage was shot on Oahu's north shore):

Actual Mavericks photo:

deirdre: (Default)

The Hugo Awards

Those of you who haven’t been paying attention may not have known about the recent uproar about the the semi-prozine Hugo category.

Essentially, for many years, the nominee list had become so stagnant that the sentiment among many SMOFs was to do away with the category entirely.

In 2009, Weird Tales won the Hugo in the category. In 2010, Clarkesworld won. These two wins were the second and third wins for fiction ‘zines ever in this category. Some saw new winners and nominees as signs of life in the semi-prozine category. Rather than axe the category entirely, a committee studied the issue and made a proposed constitutional amendment, which was voted on Friday.

One SMOF I spoke with before said vote occurred wasn’t convinced there were enough eligible ‘zines to warrant a category. I hauled out my iPad, fired up Safari, and performed a search on Duotrope: 126 markets (including those currently temporarily closed to submissions) paying semi-pro rates for science fiction alone. 74 markets if you exclude those temporarily closed. This convinced the SMOF that there were valid entries for even the narrower category.

Now, granted, not all of them may qualify under the other rule constraints (e.g., frequency of publication), and it’s also true that even “for the love” markets that offer token payment will qualify payment-wise under the proposed Hugo rules.

The changes in the constitution voted on Friday (which will need to be ratified next year) would mean that four out of the five nominees this year — all but Interzone — would be ineligible after next year.

What does that mean for the average sf/f writer, though?

With all the heavyweights out of the semi-pro weight class, there will be a lot more room for a lot of great ‘zines that have been overlooked in this category. Sure, we’ll still have some glossy ‘zines like the New York Review of Science Fiction, but the semi-pros will no longer be competing against Locus.

The secondary effect of this is that there will be more recognition of some very good semi-pro markets, and this may lead to more recognition of the writers submitting to them, too. Of course, there’s room for more non-fiction ‘zines, too.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

deirdre: (Default)

I've got no real life
I live on Tattooine
Working for Watto
He just flaps like a buzzing bee....
deirdre: (Default)
Am I the only one who wants to see an Inception-themed Cirque du Soleil show? I thought not.
deirdre: (Default)
I know some of you will be at Silicon in San Jose this weekend.

For those of you fiber fiends, there's a Ravelry BoF from 4-5 on Saturday. I have a class at Common Ground in Palo Alto that runs until 4:30, so I can't be there until just after 5.

Which is a long way of pleading: don't make me knit alone! :)


Sep. 16th, 2009 01:05 am
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Tonight, a bunch of us gathered in San Jose to see Spamalot for [ profile] kproche's birthday. I'm tired, so don't ask me to get all the LJ people together, but the flickr photo set is here.

Kevin's idea was that we go as the Knights of the Log table. Not being a costume person, I simply wore a silly hat I'd bought on the way home from Clarion years ago.

Here we all are with several of the cast members:

The Knights of the Log Table + Cast

Here, King Kevin (with the crown) speaks to King Arthur (dressed in streetwear):

King Kevin Speaks With King Arthur (Christopher Gurr)

[ profile] kevin_standlee's review is here.
deirdre: (Default)
Missed the fracas at the business meeting.
Saw Paul Krugman do his panel on economics and talk about diverse things like recessions, container ships, and baby-sitting co-ops.
Talked to people.
Met [ profile] kehrli in person.
Met another of my LJ friends, and I'll find you on the list, promise. Updated: aha! It's [ profile] eiriene. Nice to meet you!
Talked with Spring about Malteasers (and malt generally), vintacon, and other fun things like Montreal's Biodome.
Caught up with Emily, and we talked about Clarion instructors past and present.
Talked with [ profile] justeps about lots of things technological.
Google maps led me astray, and my leg went numb trying to get to the right place, which had just closed when I got there.
Wanted to take Rick to Schwartz's Deli, but his flight was delayed so that's out for today.

There was more, I'm just too tired to remember it.

Update: Rick's arrived and fed and all that good stuff.

Sleep soon.
deirdre: (octopus)
Edit: we've found an alternate flight schedule that's compatible with Rick's radiation schedule, so we're now both going. Yay.
deirdre: (Default)
Update first: He's apparently unharmed.

Update second: Summit says, "Robert Pattinson is fine. The reports are exaggerated, and the accident was not caused by fans. Production continues."

Story here.

Why is it that people think they can do this?

Don't people realize how creepy some of this is?

I'm an unapologetic RPattz fan, but sheesh.

When they were filming (Remember Me) earlier this week at NYU, a mob kept forming around his trailer. While trying to get from the trailer to the set, he was mobbed.

They did step up security the following day, but obviously they weren't able to do enough.

I'm just pissed off about this. I hope he'll be okay. I can't imagine trying to work on camera through all this crap.
deirdre: (Default)
I heart [ profile] rm for writing this post, but am sad that it needed to be said.

In addition to "Do not mock other people's religious garb," I offer, "Just because you think it's a costume doesn't mean it's not religious garb."
deirdre: (Default)
I note that two of the Campbell nominees, Aliette de Bodard ([ profile] aliettedb) and Toni Pi ([ profile] wistling), have both been published in Abyss & Apex.
deirdre: (Default)
The long version is here, but Rose ([ profile] grayrose76) and I have been trying to help Vera save her house. Even as she was in desperate straits, she implored other people to help save someone else. That's the kind and generous person Vera is.

So Rose had an idea, and we put togther a plan.

Small amounts do help, and since this went up this morning, quite a few people have contributed money, from amounts as small as $2 to amounts as large as $250, with a total of over $1,000 so far.


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