Monday, March 30, 2009

Ad Astra 2009 Report

As usual, I met up with Tony Pi, this year's nominee for the Campbell award for best new writer. Said hello to other writers including Dough Smith, 3x Aurora nominee, and Robert Sawyer, Aurora nominee who will hopefully have his TV series based on his book Flashforward picked up for the fall season. Also met with Suzanne Church, Carolyn Clink and Rob St. Martin among others. Made some new friends and as usual, managed to rub others the wrong way. (Note to self: Don't slag Joss Whedon at a con). Attended a couple of panels and author readings then headed home.

The same for Saturday. Attended a number of panels and author readings. Amusing conversation overheard in the Dealers room (which was a bit sparse this year IMHO). Ed Greenwood is looking over some D&D miniatures at a gaming stall.

Guy Behind the counter: So, do you play D&D?

Ed Greenwood: Actually, I design them.

Guy behind the counter: Oh, which ones?

Ed plucks out the Forgotten Realms Game Manual he created. His name is embossed across the bottom: This is me.

Guy behind the counter blinks. Blinks again. You can actually hear the silent swearing in his head. He tries to save face: Ed Greenwood!!! You know, I've met you before.

I wonder about this because unless you have some serious short-term memory, Ed Greenwood is a fairly recognizable person once you've seen him.

And Ed Greenwood, ever gracious, lets him off the hook and talks with the poor guy for a while.

Minutes later I see Ed Greenwood, and grin: I love overhearing stuff like that.

Ed Greenwood grins back: I know. Me too.

I'm going to file that one away.

Went to Julie Czerneda's annual newsgroup Pizza Party. Afterword, hung out with Tony Pi killing time till his next panel with James Alan Gardner. I intended just to listen but Jim, asked if I wanted to attend since they were short a panelist, and idiot opportunist that I am, I said sure. The topic, Virtual Reality and holodeck-type simulations. Yikes! And let me tell you, those audience members knew way more than I did. Thank God for Jim and Tony, who pulled most of the weight. Still, I think I held my own, changing things up by taking the con side, pointing out why such things cannot truly exist. Oh well, bullshit baffles brains.

Sunday and I finally had my own scheduled panels, Dueling Openings and Parodies. I got smoked again on dueling openings, where you read the first sentence of published stories. It was fun, and in both panels I actually sounded like I knew what I was talking about.

Also attended Ages of Wonder book launch where I won a copy of Julie Czernada's Reap the Wild Wind and later a reading by my nemesis, Tony Pi.

This brought the con to a successful conclusion. I did miss certain faces, like Stephen Kotowych and Jim Hines, even though I knew he wouldn't be there. There was a lack of puzzle games associated with book launches. They always add an element of fun to the con and help fill the dead periods between panels.


My wife tells me the roof is leaking. And water has soaked into the bedrooms. And there are shingles missing. And she can't find the warranty for the roof.


Life goes on.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ad Astra

If you're going to look for me at Ad Astra, and I know you will, I have a short schedule this year. Two panels on Sunday, Dueling Openings 12:00 - 1:00, and Parodies 1:00 - 2:00. I will also be at Julie Czerneda's pizza party Saturday night.

Short movie review. Batman: The Dark Knight. Heartwarming drama for the entire family. A real tear-jerker. And oh, yeah, lots and lots of laughs. Let's put a smile on that face.

Short TV Review. Dollhouse. I am not a Joss Whedon fanatic. I liked Buffy, thought Serenity was okay, and only saw ten minutes of Firefly without wanting to see more. Whedon is a master of dialogue, but snappy lines isn't always enough. Especially if you're doing Sci-Fi. You need story, you need the effects and the ability to use them. IMHO that is where Serenity fails. I mean, strapping dead people to the hull of your space ship is a nice and gruesome effect, but somehow I just don't think the corpses would remain in place after launch.

Still, I gave Dollhouse a shot and I'm beginning to wonder about Joss Whedon. I appreciate a strong kick-ass female character, BUT--

Buffy, a pretty girl who gets beat up on a nightly basis.

Serenity. River is a pretty girl who is hunted for her special abilities.

Dollhouse. Echo is a pretty girl put into dangerous situations and is physically abused by violent men before she slaps them into Sillyville.

Is there a recurring theme here?

Makes me wonder what he wanted to do with the Wonder Woman movie before he got yanked of for, ahem, creative differences.

Well, she does have that lasso of hers.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Darwin's Evolutions Evolved

Just got an email from Darwin Garrison. Looks like the roller coaster ride of demise has finally ended and his magazine, "Darwin's Evolutions" has morphed into a blogzine. Other than the format nothing much has changed, great stories, articles and reviews of speculative fiction. And it's all free. So, go to Darwin's Evolutions and check out what's what.


On the subject of 'Happy Birthday."

Note to self:

When singing 'Happy Birthday' to your significant other whose nickname happens to be Kat, it is unwise to present the candle-lit cake, while simultaneously stepping on the family pet and reaching the critical naming segment of the song, to comment with, "stupid cat." So you have, . . . Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birrrrrttttthhhhhdaaaaaayyyy deeeaar, stupid cat, Happy Birthday to you.


Luckily, my wife has a sense of humor, and after eleven years of marriage, she's used to my, uh, idiocy.