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Thursday, January 29, 2004

Dante's Inferno Test - Impurity, Sin, and Damnation

Here is an amusing test to take, based upon the 1300's vision of Hell by Dante.
While this is NOT canonical, it does provide a fascinating look at the shift in mores over the past 700 years.

SHUCKS, the shift in the past 40 years!

Hey Grrltechie...does THIS count?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Herein lies the trouble with RESOLUTIONS: make one and Hell and Earth all conspire to get in your way!

I don't know if it's the FLU, or some anonymous virus trying to make a name for itself, but boy, I've been hit hard. The arm is all better, though. I've not had the oomph to sit and keyboard any coherent thoughts. Of course, incoherent raving does offer some entertainment value!

The good news is that having the epizoodic frees me to do what I love...to read a book at one sitting. I read Michael Crichton's PREY. Really enjoyed it, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was reading...A SCREENPLAY!. (well, DUH) I begin to suspect the I ching method of writing: you throw the sticks, and then write what they say. One character in particular was screaming "Nedry, NEDRY!!!" as I read. Mr. Crichton, Wayne Knight has lost weight. Let's move on to another techie stereotype.
Despite this, I found it to be a good read. The screenplay feeling reasserts itself as you read descriptions of the different phenomena the protagonists are seeing. I can almost hear the keystrokes of scores of CGI programmers as they create
the filmic images which Crichton evokes. The concept of nanobiotic devices is masterfully handled, and believably so.
I personally grow weary of "F-bombs" as a mechanism for portraying gritty realism, though.

Long story short: re-read The Andromeda Strain.

Oh, the resolution? Just to write 5 postings a week.


Sunday, January 18, 2004


Busy, busy, busy! What an amazing, PAINFUL week. Monday was good, but HUGELY busy. Tuesday, our new Real Screenprinter's Conveyor Dryer came. Crate was too big to fit through the door. We uncrated it, and three of us turned it on its side to carry it inside. I was the odd man (!) in the middle, supporting the boxy heating chamber. To move it in, I had to step across the pallet it shipped upon. As I did, I took a mis-step, and shifted my attention to my feet, instead of paying attention to the weight I was carrying. As the other two continued to move across the pallet, my right arm continued moving with them. AS I over-extended my reach, my bicep went >TWANG<, a sensation which I profoundly pray I never feel again. It felt like a bungee cord writhing and unravelling in my upper arm. Gamegod MADE me go to the doc, who gave me pills, a sling, and orders to take it easy,and rest the arm. Fine.

WEDNESDAY---I got an email from ChattaCon: "We have dealer tables for this weekend!" ACK!!! Gotta print shirts for the week-end, and me with a busted wing. I was a good boy. I didn't do anything with my arm...I COULDN'T, it hurt too much..
Gamegod and my son Noel printed. It worked. Huzzah!
More to come..........

Sunday, January 11, 2004

I swanee, despite my best efforts, I can't help but have SOME anticipation of the "Thunderbirds" movie next summer.
(Maybe the same dread anticipation of what you KNOW you'll see as you pass a head-on collision, but you rubberneck anyway.) This Aardvark has been a MAJOR fan of All Things Anderson since I was a li'l 'vark of 4-or-5. What kind of fan,
you ask? You know the funny way the marionettes walked? I do...er, DID that. How about that arms-hanging-at-the-end-of-wires movement when the puppets did stuff with their hands? Guilty. Of course, I have NORMAL things I do, like collecting the music, humming the music, collecting the DVDs, playing the DVDs, collecting the toys, playing with the...but I digress.

Jonathan Frakes is at the helm of the movie. That's OK. But the man NEVER SAW THE SHOW!
Gerry Anderson was not consulted until LATE in the process, and by that time was in a sufficient snit to desire to have nothing to do with the movie. All things to give one pause. But I've seen the trailer. IT IS GORGEOUS! I really want to see this movie. There will be more on this later. >clever ending pending<

Thursday, January 08, 2004

There is a risk here. To wit: turning this into a kvetch-fest, or a practise-session at being crotchety-and I don't EVEN look like Andy Rooney. The point of the first entry derives from the unprofessional way convention BUSINESS is run. Make NO mistake: running a SF con IS a business. Cons are fun, as are toy stores, amusement parks, and comics shops, but they are all businesses with the working and the paying and the buying and the glavin...
The hateful part is that as fun as the "D&D Tournament Model" appears to be, these young guys and gals are borrowing way more trouble than the fun is worth. "How?" my gentle readers cry! Because the REAL businesses will run far away: sponsors, and dealers like me. It can be argued that the Dealers' Room (or huckster room for the older vets) is the backbone of a convention. We dealers pay confiscatory prices for table or booth space, so that the con-goers can clutch, touch, rummage, thumb through, and ultimately BUY our wares, goodies which may not readily be had at Wally World or BigfatKmart, to the satisfaction of all. Many cons pick up extra bucks by selling Dealer Room Only passes to the Great Unwashed, from whom we, too, may extract some credits.
Why would we run? Because WE are running businesses, too. If the Con leadership is lackadaisical about little things like advertising, or having enough gopher help, or even bothering to answer email queries, then THIS little vertabra will see you at a con that takes it SERIOUSLY. If I'm not there, then MY dollars won't be either.
>HUMPH< Darn kids and their music...

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Allrightythen! The Aardvark is online. Welcome to the Plumbline. Here is a mission statement: to hold our 21st Century culture up to the Standard, Canon, or Plumbline of TRUTH (and have fun doing it.) But, as that two-bit pseudo-intellectual Pontius Pilate asked, "What is Truth?".We shall explore that, as well.
Of course, this does not preclude the inevitable rants, the wallowings in vanity that fuel blogging universally: that hubris which assumes that anything I have to say is worthy of others' time and attention. Herein lies the key to Blogging: When I want your opinion, I'll give it!

I am a screenprinter by trade, a garment embellisher. One of our company's areas of expertise is 4-color process science fiction convention shirts. Con-sequently, I go to a LOT of SF cons. My wife and I have been attending them since Philcon 80. A horrible realisation has dawned, though. Sci Fi cons have gone downhill, catastrophically pelting down the slippery slope of mediocrity. They have become mass-media fora, where members trade their favorite parts of TV shows and movies:
"Remember when he..."
"Yeah, it was AWESOME when she said..."
"I thought it really blew when the creature..."
"I really HATE the theme song to..."
All the same movies, shows, quotes, costumes and backstories, served endlessly, smorgasbord-style.

(Unless you count the latest Star Wars epic, and the re-releases of classics as movie tie-ins.)

SF cons started as gathering places for authors and fans to meet and revel in the Bohemian nature of their mutual love for the fantastic, the maybe, and the ought-to. They were generally put on by professionals: lawyers, doctors, teachers, people with a measure of organisational and business acumen. The cons used to be run in a businesslike fashion, by men and women of maturity.
Now, "Welcome to the WORLLLLD of Tomorrow!". The Cons have gotten older, but the con-goers have gotten progressively younger. This is good for the membership numbers, bad for leadership. One southeastern con of which I am quite fond has had a wholesale jumping of ship by the >ahem< more experienced board members. They were too busy and too tired from Real Life to expend any more energy working at running a Not-For-Profit. The board is now peopled by a bunch of callow yout's, comparatively speaking. Running Sci Fi Conventions has moved from the Business Model to the D&D Tournament Model. "Who's bringin' the pizza?"
Here's the Truth part. The Olders need to show the Youngers how to do it. The Youngers need to be open to what the Olders can teach 'em. Here endeth the lesson. I've gotta go shake my cane at some kids on my lawn.