November 2nd, 2009


November's Flood Gates Open For Christmas

It's November Now

Another successful transition (finally) to Standard Time from Daylight Saving Time. As for Halloween, we didn't get any treat-or-treaters again this year. Mrs. Dr. Phil figures that the pine trees have grown too high to see our lights on easily from the road. Plus we're the weird neighbors that don't mow their lawn.

I thought we'd get one set of customers, as I saw headlights drive up. But it was just Mrs. Dr. Phil pulling the Bravada back into the garage and shutting us down for the year. Ah well. Which brings me to...

It's Going To Be A Long Xmas Season

Today's Sunday paper was chock full of Christmas ads. The Meijer's insert had red ornament graphics with all the prices. The Best Buy insert had festive red bows on everything, including a page 1 HP complete system with a Mini, desktop, laptop and WiFi system for like $1199. TV and radio spots from K-Mart have for some weeks been reminding us about layaway. And, I kid you not, a friend of mine got an email from Sears proclaiming that last Friday was the "new Black Friday".

Uh no. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S. where millions of shoppers think nothing of lining up for a few special bargain prices at 5am, or of jamming up the malls for hours all day. We generally go out to the movies on Thanksgiving and do our turkey on Friday. And we stay the hell away from the malls on that day -- and nearly ever other day of the year, too.

However I predict that this year will be worse -- Christmas II of the Recession That Ate Our Retirement Funds. Just as I was remarking about the bad economy driving Halloween bigger, there will be those trying to do the same thing with Christmas. It's unfortunate that the holiday shopping spree has been made to account for such a large number of businesses' entire annual profits. The pressure of Christmas is going to be HUGE this year.

Case in point: This Friday, 6 November 2009, will mark the launch of the Jim Carey/Disney animated 3-D version of A Christmas Carol, even showing it in 3-D IMAX. At the beginning of November? Whatever for? Well, I thought it was just being greedy and graspy for money, but today I figured out there was a "real" reason: because James Cameron's 3-D IMAX feature Avatar opens on Friday 18 December 2009 and IMAX theatres only have one screen. And since many Christmases, our IMAX trots out the lovely The Polar Express in 3-D IMAX, A Christmas Carol is getting squeezed out of near-Christmas viewing times. If they're going to make any money, they have to start early.

But You've Heard This All Before

Sure, it's an annual rant of mine -- a plea to be more rational and maybe an old fuddy-dud's wistful wish to return to the "good ol' days" when the Christmas season officially kicked off with Santa Claus arriving at Macy's on Thanksgiving Day. But this is all too early. Stores were breaking down their Halloween displays even on Halloween Day itself. There's always the stores whose Christmas stuff starts showing up in September. And there was distinctly a Christmas song playing on Star 105 around noon last Saturday, 24 October 2009 as I scanned the radio channels looking to see who was covering college football...

So is Dr. Phil really a Bah-Humbug Scrooge? No. I just don't want to see everyone going so overboard about the holiday so early -- and then burning out and being miserable and stressed out.

Merry Humshit, indeed. (grin)

Dr. Phil

WFC 36 - Halloween 2010 - Ohio

This Past Weekend In San Jose CA

So many of my friends -- online, Clarion, WOTF, BNAs, etc. -- were at World Fantasy Con 35 in San Jose this past weekend. And they all seemed to have a marvelous time. I've been meaning to get to a Science Fiction WorldCon, but haven't made it yet. Passed up WFCs in other places, like Madison WI, in other years.

Next Year In Columbus?

But next year WFC 36 is in Columbus OH Thursday 28 October 2010 to Sunday 31 October 2010. That's not so far from West Michigan. And yes, I checked: Ohio State is playing Minnesota IN Minnesota on Saturday 30 October 2010, so Columbus will be deserted. (whew)

I may mainly write SF, but I have a few crossover pieces I'm working on, and even some fantasy. But the real draw would be whether some of my friends might make it. Of course with my luck everyone will say Ohio? Who cares about Ohio? And not come. (grin) But somehow I doubt that it would be everyone. (double-down-grin)

Act Now and Save!

The first deadline for registration is coming up on Sunday 15 November 2010. (Sunday? For US Mail? Really?) Before the 15th attending membership is $100 -- goes up to $125 after that. So my question is, do I want to be cheap for now? Or cheap for later? Though they don't give refunds, you can transfer memberships. So if I buy in now and decide not to go next year, I can recoup some/all of my money, especially if I buy now at the cheaper rate. (triple-witching-hour-grin)

Anyway, something to consider. So far my SF/F con schedule for 2010 would likely include ConFusion (Troy MI) in January, Penguicon (Troy MI) in May, NASFiC (Raleigh NC) in August, WindyCon (Lombard IL) in November. Highly unlikely that I will go to WorldCon in Australia. So WFC (Columbus OH) in October is gilding the schedule a bit, and causing something of a traffic jam if I'm teaching in Fall 2010, but it's doable.

Dr. Phil