I got to ConFusion. I thought I could afford it, and ended up on the cheap thanks to Matt Duhan for the ride AND turning up a guy who wanted half a room, so I only ended up paying for one room night. And the Registration desk did a reasonable job of digging out the name of a Fan GoH whom no one there had ever seen. Cleavage is in fashion [good]; perv is in fashion [meh]; screaming drunks are WAY too in fashion [double-plus ungood]. I ended up MC'ing the Fan GoH introduction and induction, and that went well. (i.e., no one wrestled me to the ground to get the figurative microphone away from me.) The list is so long it ran a little overtime, but that was no surprise, and it segued into the scheduled memorial for Mike Glicksohn . . . and Rusty Hevelin, and Elessar Tetramariner . . . and the late addition of Bob "Mr. Moose" Lovell. There seemed to be more programming about anime and cartooning than any one other thing. There wasn't a single thing I wanted to get to. I came up with a new metaphor. One-time sidelights like filk or anime or costuming have spun themselves off with their own con circuits, celebrities and so forth . . . It's like Gordy Dickson's Splinter Cultures. They're really only fragments of the rounded fannish world.
So I did a little mental arithmetic. The first ConFusion is almost precisely as long ago now as the first Worldcon was at the first ConFusion.
Note for those born less than fifty years ago — In “The Sixties”, one of the great arguments was between the Politicals and the Life-Stylers, whether to smash the system or simply to walk away from it In 1968, there was this Bohemian writer visiting New York. Not bohemian as in chosen lifestyle, but from Bohemia. When he went home, he brought a stack of the latest records, groups like The Velvet Underground and The Mothers of Invention. Then the Russian tanks rolled in . . . Not long after, some eccentrics decided to become a rock and roll band. (talk about timing!) Being influenced by those very records, they named themselves The Plastic People of the Universe. Their performances were genuine underground events, in abandoned factories and the like. In time, of course, a couple of them were sent to prison. East Europe taking its artists much more seriously than "America" does, there was agitation to let them out. Eventually, the efforts succeeded, and then the people involved said to themselves, now what? And originated "Charter 77", the premier human rights organization of East Europe in the'80's. Then came the Velvet Revolution. The (then) Czechoslovakians were very proud that not a single life was lost in their ridding themselves of the Russians. That same writer wrote the Russians politely asking them to leave, and they did!! So he was elected President. Václav Havel made Frank Zappa "Special Ambassador to the West on Trade, Culture and Tourism", and when he visited the United States as the first freely elected President of Czechoslovakia in half a century, he kept a day open in his schedule to hang with Lou Reed.
My sexual self-image is "vanilla het", which leaves quite a wide gap between what I'm inclined toward and what I might object to. I've never made a systematic survey, but I have friends and acquaintances of a wide range of preferences/tastes.
Famously, there are categories of situation where prior negotiation is a Best Practice. It occurred to me that the more unusual a preference, the more negotiation. So, roughly, the odder the taste (statistically), the more exactly the person knows what they've gotten themselves in for . . . So the further out of the statistical mainstream, the fuller and more explicit the discussion, and the less the surprising incompatibilities or expectations.
Is that a rough rule of thumb? Is it something well-known other places, and I'm re-inventing a wheelrack Procrustean bed?
When I ran into the first-hand twitter account of the raid that took out Osama bin Laden, I figured it was a cute joke and moved on. It seems it’s real. Now, the news (BBC via NPR) mentions that the guy selling American flags at Ground Zero for $25 was an Afghan refugee. God Bless America. I wish I knew what tone of voice to use for that.
This post has been composed and sitting in my memory for a couple of weeks. I'm doing ok this winter, not extra depressed enough to notice, but I checked the excessively finicky sunrise-sunset-day length website in my bookmarks, and between February 1 and February 28, daylight increases by 70 minutes. Over an hour. So I was all set to say, We've made it through the dark. The cold isn't over yet, but we have made it through the dark.
Which is still true, though the context has changed. Chicago has mostly come out ahead on climate change. It got cold earlier than usual this year, but aside from that, the winter has not been remarkable to natives. Until yesterday, of course. It's unusual to hear thunder in a blizzard. Chicago's max snow seems to be a little more than 20″. This one just edged out the previous third place ever by less than an inch.
The not-downside was a full two days warning. The difference it makes is enormous. The real downside was the wind. Tuesday evening, I was worried about stepping onto a patch of ice on the sidewalk, and sailing away. At least one person seems to have been blown into the lake, though what he was doing out there close enough for it to happen I co not know.
From NASA's Earth Observatory Image of the Day page. I know at least a few people who will enjoy this, and some of them will see it here, so this is intended to propagate it. . . . I need a good little word for something like "narrowcast meme" or "viral in a narrow target demographic". That's one of the things I seem to use lj&fb for the most.