Westcon Update #1

We’ve arrived at Westercon in Phoenix adn I’ve started forming opinons. Sadly these are no good opinions. The organazation of the convention is as though it was put together by epileptic monkeys working a jizsaw puzzle that was missing a few pieces while aboard a storm-tossed steamship.
We checked into the hotel, and then went to registration to pick up our badges. Ha! That’s what we thought we were going to do. We paid for our memberships on line (Paypal) more than a week ago, but they had no listing for us in the membership roles. It was a clusterfuck getting them to recognize we had membership and issuing them.
The program grid does not match up with the Programming booklet so good luck on finding the panels. The programming booklet lists the panels by TRACK. So you have all the Lit stuff together, all the Media Stuff together, but it’s only partially arranged by alphabet.
The size is the convention is small. Sort of like a suped up ConDor or a downgraded LosCon.
I’ve attended a few interesting panels and there’s lots of places to eat.

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WesterCon

I will be spending the 4th of July weekend at the Westercon SF convention in Tempe Arizona. If you;re there stop by and say hi!

If there is internet access I’ll check in and up date from there, otherwise see you next week.

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Political Round-up

So here are a few of the stories popping about in the political realms and my thoughts on them…

San Diego Sheriff’s Office Responds to Political Fundraiser with multiple cars and a Helicopter.
This is a fun one. Some reports have as many as eight squad cars, and a helicopter used when someone called in a noise complaint about a fundraiser going on in an upper-scale area of San Diego County in the later afternoon early evening. Reports are that some of the Democratic fund raisers were pepper-sprayed and treated roughly by the deputies.

From a fund raising email after the events.

It’s the 11th hour to show that you have the courage and the commitment to stand with me
against the strong forces that are gathering against us. It’s also the 11th hour for you to join
with over 650 supporters to help me reach my goal of raising $200,000 by tomorrow. Don’t rely
on others to do this. I need YOUR support to show that we have what it takes to fight and
win. I am asking you to please go to now, before
Tuesday’s deadline expires.

I don’t agree that this represents ‘gathering forces.’ I don’t doubt that the original call was motivated by politics, but I think what the upper-political classes have tasted here is the usual police powers over-reach. I don’t think the Deputies though “Hey, Let’s bust up a Democratic Fund raiser!” but rather expected to find young and noisy kids and college students whom they are used to pushing around. The police in our country still get away with far too much abuse of their powers and positions.

The Democrats move up to 60 seats in the Senate. Al Franken has now officially won his Senate seat. This would have normally made him the 59th Democratic Senator in the current Senate. (The Democrats lost the Georgia seat they needed for a clear sixty.) Thanks to Pat Toomey and the Club For Growth though the Democrats were gifted their sixty seat filibuster-proof margin when Arlen Specter was chased out of the Republican Party and into the Democratic Party to survive. Have no illusion about this, Specter did this to stay in the Senate, he doesn’t want to be looking for work in this recession. Having abased himself by switching parties purely to survive, Specter now appears to be doing whatever it takes to make the Democrats happy. So with Cap-and-trade coming up and Health care and all sorts of other big issues, the republican Base has proved itself the Democratic Party’s best friend.

A Magazine Profile of Sarah Palin ignites a crap storm in the blogosphere.
Vanity Fair published a profile on John McCain’s ex-running mate, Sarah Palin and it was not a flattering one. If you were inclined to not like Palin this article is likely to confirm what you though about her, if you are a fan of the Governor you;re likely to to find fault particularly with a lot of un-named sourcing. What the article has stirred up is all the bad blood between faction of the GOP who love her and who hate her. Personally I think she was not ready for the national stage and she is one of the reasons I simply could not vote for McCain. She was a bridge too far for me and I have never regretted that call. Still she has her supporters I know I have gotten the dirty looks for voice my opinions on her.

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Sci-Fi thought of the day

So I was watching an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, the episode in particular was The Menagerie: Part I . I was watching it on blu-ray with the updated digital effects and the bonus material turned on. During a break in the bonus material one line came through from the Commodore asking Kirk hows does he know that Spock hasn’t gone mad?
That got me thinking. What would insanity look like in a Vulcan? Of course the easy answer is that he starts getting all emotional and such, but I think there is a more intriguing answer to the question.
Vulcan are all about logic, but logic is only as good as your premises. If you have a false premise you will reach a faulty answer by logic. (this may be part of the Vulcan tradition of foregoing lies. A false premise is a very dangerous thing.) What is one form of insanity for Vulcan is being unable to determine what is a false premise and what is not? That would lead a Vulcan who thinks he is pursuing a very logical course to be doing almost anything.

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Sunday Night Movie: White Heat

annex-cagney-james-white-heat_01Okay, so technically this is not my Sunday Night Movie but rather my Sunday Morning Movie. I watched this little gem on DVD in the morning and that was good because by the time the evening had rolled around I was far too tired for any movie night.
White Heat(1949) represented James Cagney returning to the genre that made him a superstar, The Warner Brothers’ Gangster Movie. While other stars return to the launching genres usually out of the hopes of reviving a fading career, Cagney made White Heat well before any decline in his career. It was the movie he wanted to make and he got to play a character he wanted to play.
Continue reading Sunday Night Movie: White Heat

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Movie Review :MOON

moon_poster_sam_rockwellThe set-up for the story in the film Moon is rather straight forward. Clean fusion power is available on Earth due to perfecting a fusion process using Helium-3. The He-3 is mined on the moon by automated harvesters which are monitored on station by a single astronaut. Sam Rockwell plays astronaut Sam Bell who is just completing his contract defined three-year tour of duty on the lunar mining station.
Sam’s situation is complexed by a long malfunctioning communications satellite that requires are message traffic to go to Earth via Jupiter so he can have no real-time conversations with anyone other than the base’s AI computer, Gerty. (Voice by another talented actor Kevin Spacey.) Sam’s marriage is sinking due to his long absence and now with his tour nearly over Sam has begun to see things.
If you watch the preview then you already know that things take a turn for the stranger after Sam Has an accident and wakes up in the base hospital with an extra Sam Bell running around the place.
The film is essentially a one-person character study and while the science of the film has a few holes it gets a lot more right in the science-department than 95% of SF films. Of course this isn’t an action SF film and is a much slower movie, more on the line of Solaris than Star Trek.
The movie only partially worked for me and it worked primarily because Sam Rockwell is such a talent and diverse actor. The central mystery of the plot was poorly handled though I cannot speak to that here without presenting spoilers.
Over all It really wasn’t worth full price of admission and I would suggest if you want to see this film in the theaters do not pay more than a bargain price or better yet wait for Home Video.

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Reason being unreasonable

REASON If you look at the political links and blogs along the right hand side of my site you’ll see that there is representation of the Right and The Left. I read from both sides of the isle because I like to be informed when I make a decision and I do not feel either side has a lock-downed perfect version of what works.
If I had to select a political philosophy that most matched my own it would be libertarianism. I have a passionate belief in individual rights and treating all persons equally. Sadly the Libertarians can go too far in the their quest for a pure philosophy and pursue ideas that simply are unworkable in the real world.
Continue reading Reason being unreasonable

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The Obligatory Michael Jackson Post

As everyone on planet Earth has heard. Singing sensation Michael Jackson as died of a cardiac arrest.
I was not a fan of his singing, though a few songs did work for me. I didn’t hate it either it was something that made me reach for the skip button on my iPod when one of his songs popped up on my 80’s play lists.

For his fans you have my condolences.

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When the Right is right

So you’ve seen me bash the right and the GOP here, but when they get something right, I’ll owe up to that as well.

Here’s writer Michael Goldfarb on the Democratic idea and bill for Cap and Trade carbon pollution.

Basically, cap and trade strikes me as the Iraq war of the Democratic domestic policy agenda. It’s the overreach moment. It’s a massive program that, unlike health care reform, no one is demanding, no one understands, and no one can explain. Cap and trade may be the only thing that can save the Republican party from eight years in the wilderness.

I do think he’s got a very valid point on this. This is a choice not something we are forced into doing. This is a policy that we really can’t know the final outcome on. I’m reminded of what Gen. Patraeus said at the start if the Iraqi War “Tell me how this ends.”
We didn’t have a clue about what was going to happen after we defeated the Iraqi military. Our poor planning was criminal in that regard. I don;t think the democrats have fully thought this out either. I think it is vast overreach and something that can really bite them on the ass.
Sadly if it does help the Republicans come back from the wilderness that is not necessarily a good thing. It does not mean that the republican have learned anything in the wilderness just that Democrats will have pissed off a lot of voters. We need smarter parties not just an angry electorate.

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A bleg

The number of submission I have at the same time hsa been rising lately and I need a good way to keep track of all of them.
A friend once suggested a database where I could track submission, sale status, payout and when and even re-sales and payouts there.
Being as clueless as an Eskimo with a Camel I need assistance and trying to find a database suitable for my needs.
I run all my stuff on an Apple running OS 10.5 and it should be a really simple prgram as I can not afford to pay pro-rate for DB design.

Any suggestions?

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Literary Saboteur

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