March 8th, 2014


The Spring And Break Of It

Yesterday was so very beautiful. Crisp and in the 20s in the morning, ultimately one of our thermometers late in the day made it up to 48°F. Gas, of course, jumped from $3.60.9/gal to $3.79.9/gal. No doubt because OMG PUTIN IS HITLER AND IT'S WW II ALL OVER AGAIN SO WE HAVE TO RAISE THE PRICE ON ALREADY REFINED GASOLINE RIGHT NOW. Ahem.

Not sure it dropped below freezing last night. Today it's 35°F late in the afternoon -- the melt continues on at a civilized pace. Even on the back roads, the pavement is mainly dry, with only an occasional dribble of water. Just now the driveway's mat was squishy and there was water in the tread marks as the Bravada had made its way -- I had been on a run of my own in the Blazer and to both our surprise we got home at the same time. There are traces of a back yard.

Of course being on break all week makes you kind of crazy. I kept thinking yesterday was Saturday and so tomorrow would be class, but that's off by a day.

Thursday and Friday the birds were all atwitter, even on the morning when it was still 10°F. The Spring bird migrations must be all confused between 2013 and 2014. It'll be some time before any plants get uncovered and we're not out of the woods with respect to winter. But the daylight hours have gotten longer, though that's about to get fucked over by DST2007.


It's been mostly a pleasant week. Lot's of little projects done, not much writing. But I'll take it.

Dr. Phil

Professional Things

In the category of things that needed to be done but I didn't know would be this week -- electronic paperwork for some of the 2014 conferences.

Friday was the deadline for nominations for Detcon 1's groundbreaking-take-that-Hugos YA fiction awards. My reading of 2013 titles was limited last year, but it occurred to me that Allegiant, which I had just reviewed, was a 2013 imprint date. So last evening I trotted onto the Detcon 1 website.

To make a nomination you need to be registered and have a PIN. I requested a PIN and was told one had been sent to me. Okay. I remember getting an email about the YA award, but since I already knew about it, I probably tossed it. No problem, click on Recover PIN. But I never got an email with the PIN. In case it was a weirdness with the Silk browser on the Kindle Fire HD, I switched to SUMMER and Firefox 25.0.1 under XP Pro SP2. Same thing.

Finally sent an email to the web manager. This morning I got nice emails from several people apologizing for the error and promising that they'd printed a paper ballot for me and recorded my nomination.

Also from Detcon 1 were emails about music programming -- strange until I realized I had probably talked about movie soundtracks and writing music -- and invited to regular programming panels. Hopefully I'll do enough panels AND sufficient of you come to Detroit in July that I can make my reimbursement. (grin) My income for 2013 took a big hit with that whole hospital thing.

You can still register for Detcon 1, get hotel rooms and get on panels, if you haven't been moved to do so yet.

But before Detcon 1, there's WisCon 38 in Madison WI the end of May. Their deadlines for volunteering for panels and request a reading are, I believe, 17 and 16 March 2014 respectively.

As usual, WisCon is very organised. They've lots of panels described and there are radio buttons for level of interest to be on the panel and check boxes if you want to moderate or just attend the panel. The latter is so WisCon can judge interest and try to reduce scheduling conflicts.

Frankly I can pretty much attend any session, but managed to nurture my enthusiasm to a reasonable number of choices. Much like the Iron Chef Flash Fiction at Chicon 7 in 2012, they have a panel with suggestions for a plot to come up with in ninety seconds -- sounds like fun. After all, I lost only to 2013 Campbell tiara winner Mur Lafferty. (double-grin) Maybe I can get on that one.

Readings are batched with multiple authors in 75 minute blocks. Introductions and four readings, budgeted at fifteen minutes each -- basically 10 minutes of actual reading. Short, but grouped readings are fun. And much more likely to get some audience.

Then there's WindyCon 41 Grimm Tales on 14-16 November 2014. Haven't decided about that one yet, but the most excellent Westin Lombard Yorktown Center hotel reservations are open -- $109/night and the best steakhouse I've been in. I might make a reservation and wait on registration. If I go and Mrs. Dr. Phil doesn't go, it's possible I might need a roommate to help get my AFO brace and shoes on, if nothing happens between now and November.

Anyway, up to lots of professional noodling around. Come join us.

Dr. Phil

Things Remembered, Things To Come

Two weeks ago the 2014 Winter Olympic Games ended in Сочи, Россия. It was a spectacular Olympics. Sure, there were issues with snow, but there always are. There were issues with American speed skating uniforms. How many times has the American team promised total victory and fallen flat? Come on, this is the Olympics -- all the other competitors are there to compete, too. It's bad enough I have to put up with rah-rah homerism by NBC rather than revel in the international once-in-four-years...

Oh poop -- I am not going to go all frothy about the Olympics.

It is so refreshing to see all this competition with minimal invasiveness by commercial concerns. Sure, equipment is plastered with names and logos. But the venues are clean. You can watch kilometers of cross-country skiing and see only Olympic rings, Сочи and Sochi 2014, and pastel colored wraps -- in the future you'll be able to instantly distinguish Sochi footage from Vancouver, Torino, Albertville, etc.

And everyone pushes so hard. Latvian bobsledders never won a medal under the Latvian flag? Take that white four-man missile down the ice. Canada takes hockey and curling gold... four times? (G)O Canada. Forty-one year old Noriaki Kasai of Japan pulls a silver medal out of the air in ski jumping, twenty years after his last medal? He will be back in four years. The home town Russians got some spectacular victories in skating, cross-country, etc. Though the venues were not all full, the crowds were Olympic crowds -- we personally saw this in Atlanta in 1996 -- you applaud all the efforts.

We ended up not watching much of the Closing Ceremonies. I later saw a photo showing that the Russians were good sports and played homage to the poor 4½ Olympic Rings of the Opening. I'm sure the audience roared with amused appreciation.

I love the Olympics -- Winter, Summer, doesn't matter. It was a glorious two weeks.


And then...

Look, the world does not stop for the Olympics, as lovely as an ideal that sounds. Never has, never will.

So things will happen during the Olympics. Venezuela, Kiev...

But really. Beating Pussy Riot with Cossacks wielding horse whips in Sochi? "Invading" Ukraine?

I mean, there were already comparisons to Putin/Hitler doing Russia/Soviet Union/Germany and your response is to fast forward from 1936 to 1938-39 in days?

What were you thinking? Putin, you've just got a lock on 2014 Jerk of the Year and you have embarrassed Russia and hurt Ukraine for no good reason.



And we are back today in Сочи, Россия for the Paralympics Games. NBCsports is giving limited coverage, but I caught the end of the women's biathlon. Amazing. I think we get slide hockey at 1am.

Don't ruin the moment, Putin.

Dr. Phil