Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2116th Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3564, December 1, 2005.
Golden State Colonial Convalescent Hospital, 10830 Oxnard Street, North Hollywood, California 91606-5098.
Telephone: hospital(818) 763-8247; personal (818) 506-3159 * eMail:email@example.com
|L.A.con IV in 2006!||Nippon 2007 in 2007!||Salamander Press #2599|
Loscon 32 was the usual good-times blast. Michael Burlake picked me up at the Golden State Hospital every morning at 11:00 a.m. and we got to the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel about noon. Michael had to set me up at the hotel's main entrance where I waited about 15 minutes for him to find a parking space and walk back for me, since all the hotel's handicapped parking spaces were filled, every day. I appreciate extremely Michael pushing me in my wheelchair all day, especially since he said pushing my wheelchair on the hotel's carpets gave him sore hands by the end of the day. (This is why hospitals have smooth linoleum floors.)
On Friday we went first to the Green Room to check in and get our registration stuff, including my Speaker ribbon. The Program Book looked good, though I am unhappy that the Brief History of the LASFS was not updated instead of just adding a line at the bottom saying that it was written by me in 2004. The only updating required was to say that the LASFS is 71 years old this year instead of 70. At least the Awards lists were updated to 2005. People began giving me additional ribbons as soon as we got out into the halls. I ended up with six more ribbons (I Remember Michael, Past Loscon Chair, Past Evans-Freehafer Winner; and non-con ribbons for Anime L.A., Shake Hands Fan, and Left Intentionally Blank); a good haul but by no means a record. We cruised through the Dealers' Room and the Art Show. I had been afraid that I would be frustrated by finding lots of stuff I wanted that I could not afford to buy, but I was surprised to actually find nothing that I wanted. All of the new hardcovers that I want to read are in the public library and Kay Shapero is checking them out for me, and nobody was selling the new original paperbacks that I was looking for - although I got some egoboo seeing that the Book Universe table had my Watching Anime, Reading Manga. Michael bought lots of books, though.
At 2:30 p.m. we attended the "Heinlein 101 - An Introduction to the Writings of Heinlein" panel, which I thought should have been called "Heinlein 301" because the panelists (Robert James, Bridget Landry, someone I forget, and Bill Patterson filling in for Jerry Pournelle who was presumably at the competing Writers of the Future event) spent most of their time giving obscure background information like the reason Heinlein's second wife Leslyn's (yes, she was his second wife, not the first like most people think) alcoholism destroyed their marriage, and how this affected his writing - well, this was interesting to me as a big Heinlein fan, but for those in the audience who were not familiar with his books and just wanted basic information about them, it was pretty heavy going. The panel did recommend that neophytes begin with the Heinlein juveniles and novels of the 1950s like Double Star, but in the most recent editions that Heinlein had restored to his original manuscripts, without the editorial changes in the first editions. I imagine the most recent editions may be easier to find today unless libraries still have the first editions to be checked out, but I am not sure Heinlein's own unedited versions are "better" than those that his editors thought would be more popular with the public, and which established his reputation in the first place.
After this panel we returned to the Dealers' Room and just cruised around, stopping for many conversations. Vanessa Van Wagner gave me the previous evening's Apa L. We made a brief visit to the 18th floor Con Suite just before dinner; I was happy to find that it was wheelchair-accessible this year. We had a little trouble finding dinner, because of my paralysis; most of the hotel's eateries were serving only dinner menus, and I did not want to order anything that Michael would have to cut up for me. We finally ended up in the Champions Sports Bar which had an adequate bowl of chili that I could feed myself - and the hamburger that Michael got was $3.00 cheaper than it would have been in the hotel's gourmet restaurant (there was no cheap "coffee shop"). After dinner we waited for the 7:30 Opening Ceremonies & Ice Cream Social (green tea and ginger ice creams; yum!), which segued into the Lux Traveling Theater's Western-themed "Shindig!". Unfortunately, we had to leave in the middle of "Shindig!" to get me back to the hospital for its 10:00 p.m. curfew, which we barely made. I regretted not being able to attend any of Friday night's parties, but most did not start until 9:00 p.m. so we would not have had time for them anyway before having to leave to get me back to North Hollywood by 10:00.
On Saturday we went through the same arrival procedure. We attended the 1:00 p.m. "Kid Lit - Why Are So Many Adults Enthralled by Stories Written for Children and Young Adults?" panel where Bill Patterson and June Moffatt were the only two panelists who showed up. There was a lively discussion that both Michael and I joined in. Patterson had been one of the dominant panelists at Friday's "Heinlein 101", so of course the Heinlein juvenile novels got brought up again, as well as the Harry Potter books; but the discussion ranged from Horatio Alger to Oz and Tarzan to whether one generation's adult books could become the next generation's children's books, and much more. Lord of the Flies was criticized as an adult novel despite its juvenile characters, and inappropriate for required reading in schools without more background information than teachers usually give to students. The consensus was that Good Stories are worth reading to intelligent readers of any age. It was a very lively panel.
So was my first panel of the con, "Fannish Amateur Publishing - Who Writes For Them & Who Reads Them?" at 2:30, though here we had six panelists (moderator Chris Garcia, Lee Gold, Milt Stevens, both Moffatts & me) and only about four audience at any one time. They were interested, though, and we covered the history of fanzines & apas, the differences between genzines, personal zines & letterzines, the differences between & merits of paper & electronic zines, whether it was better to start your own zine or find someone else's to write for, how to join an apa, etc. It did not look at the beginning as though there was enough audience to fill out the panel's hour running time, but we could have gone on much longer. Garcia gave out copies of his fanzine to all attendees.
Michael & I went back through the Dealers' Room & Art Show (well, everyone had to go through the Dealers' Room to get to the Art Show) to see some new art that had not been hanging on Friday. We were mainly looking for Terrie Smith's art, but there was other new art worth looking at. John Hertz said that Tim Kirk was giving docent's tours of the Art Show and he wanted to see me, but we never managed to connect. I did get into long conversations with other fans whom I had not seen since my stroke, mainly Roz Gibson and Lex Nakashima, that filled Saturday afternoon. Gibson brought several recent Furry books to loan me if I had not read them yet, and I did borrow two of them. Kay Shapero delivered five more books from the L.A. Public Library for me. There was also a constant group of Furry fans around the FENEC/CaliFur table manned by Rod O'Riley, so there were plenty of conversations there. There was a particularly good electronic carousel of Furry art on display there.
Michael & I were both unimpressed with the hotel's eateries, so we left for dinner to the nearby Denny's where the breakfast menu was served 24 hours and I could get a large omelette that I could easily cut & eat myself. The food and the service were both fine, but the atmosphere was unpleasant due to the audible constant bickering between the waitresses and the manager, including who was supposed to serve us. One waitress took our order immediately, several minutes before the arrival of another waitress who complained that she had been assigned to cover our table, and seemed worried that she might be reprimanded for not getting our order as she was supposed to. We agreed that although the rivalry may have benefited us in faster service, the atmosphere was not pleasant enough to be worth coming back to.
We returned to the hotel just in time to get into the line developing to wait for the Masquerade. By 7:45, however, the Masquerade had not started yet, so we went up to the 17th party floor for the Furry Party which opened at 8:00 p.m. David Bliss had told me earlier that there would be a bottle of ginger beer waiting for me, which I was delighted to get. We stayed at the Furry Party until 8:45, then tried to make a hasty tour of other parties before we had to leave at 9:00 to return to the hospital. Unfortunately, the only other party that started before 9:00 p.m. was the Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Party, which was in a suite with a sunken floor and steps that my wheelchair could not get down. We got into the L.A.con IV party which opened at 9:00 just long enough for me to fill a paper dish with cheese, crackers & lox to take with me to eat during our drive back to the hospital.
Getting back to the hotel on Sunday at noon did not leave much of the Loscon left since it ended at 4:00. (Whose idea was it to schedule the Closing Ceremonies against six other panels as early as 2:30 p.m.?) Michael & I went to the Fanzine/Loscon History Lounge where I wanted to show him the publications & photos from Loscon XIV, which I chaired. Unfortunately, the Lounge contained the scrapbooks for Loscons 1-12 and 16-31 only; 13-15 were missing. At 1:00 p.m. we went to the "An Alien Walks Into a Bar: Is There Room for Humor in Science Fiction?" panel, with Julie Sczeseny (moderator), Larry Niven, Moira Stern, Milt Stevens and Jim Young. The panelists thought that they were supposed to be funny as well as talking about humorous s-f; fortunately, they did a good job of it. The movie Galaxy Quest got mentioned a lot. S-f humorists recommended ranged from the classicists like Henry Kuttner and Fredric Brown through Robert Sheckley to modernists like Terry Pratchett and Charles Stross.
At 2:30 p.m. I went to my second panel of the Loscon, opposite the Closing Ceremonies and five other panels: "Early Science Fiction Film: From George Meliles [a misspelling] to George Pal", with Charles Lee Jackson, II (moderator), Tom Khamis, Sharon King, Jim Young & me. We barely got to Pal; we got too bogged down in the s-f films of the (don't call it the) Silent Era (I reported that the first Japanese movie, in 1910, was s-f about a super-battleship that could submerge and fly) and the early 1930s, and had to race at the end of the hour to finish the '30s and get to the early '40s. The panel was well attended, and it looked like several people were interested enough to come to CLJII's movie class at the LASFS in January.
Loscon 32 was over by the time this panel ended. I was told that the preliminary attendance estimate was about 1,180 warm bodies, which is not bad but does not show any growth beyond the usual 1,200 average. It seems like the LASFS still needs to reach out to more potential attendees since Los Angeles has such a large population. Michael & I chatted with people packing up to leave, including Robbie Bourget whom I had not seen earlier during the con. We went up to the Dead Dog Party in the Con Suite and nibbled on cheese & crackers for another hour-plus, while looking for any dinner groups; but everyone seemed to be heading directly home after three days of conventioneering. So we studied the con's guide of nearby eateries, and went by ourselves to Jino's Pizza Italian Restaurant/Pars Persian Cuisine, a recommended Italian-Iranian restaurant on Manchester at Airport. The restaurant's décor was 100% Persian, but we got an excellent (and reasonably priced) Italian lasagna dinner and superb service. We will certainly remember Jino's for next year. By the time we finished it was going on 7:30 p.m., and Michael took me back to the hospital. I got a good night's sleep, with my seven-ribbon Loscon 32 badge mounted over my bed as a wall decoration.
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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:
Vanamonde #654 - (Hertz) I believe that Valero or Valerio is the modern Spanish version of the Roman name Valerius. The English male equivalent is Valiant, which I never heard anyone named outside of the Prince Valiant comic strip, although the female Valerie seems to be fairly popular. ## There are certainly lots of animators in nations that do not have ASIFA chapters, and probably should. I have been mystified by the existence of an ASIFA-Mongolia chapter that never seems to do anything.
Luny Tunes #1 - (Castora) I know that you gave your reason for your title changes, but I will miss Merrie Maladies. ## Yes, Coventry did get nasty. I got hate mail which I'm still unsure as to whether it was serious or deliberately exaggerated; but I was still living with my parents and grandmother, and it worried my grandmother who read everyone's mail. ## Jayne certainly seemed to take her Coventranian role seriously. Possibly she was miffed by other players making fun of her megacolossal castle which she clearly had put much work into designing; but if she was deliberately ignoring the laws of reality, she should have explained that instead of simply storming out of the gaming session. ## I am not sure who technically owns the LASFS Gestetner, but both the LASFS and Apa L use it, and probably SCIFI does, too. ## I think that I have said this before, but my parents encouraged me to read by letting me read any books & magazines around our home including my mother's murder mysteries. I was reading Perry Mason before I was reading Dick & Jane in school. I thought that Dick & Jane was better written. But I loved the Nero Wolfe and Philo Vance mysteries. ## ASIFA and anime fandom are definitely not synonymous, although there is a greater overlap today than there was twenty years ago when the Japanese animators had not yet started the Hiroshima International Animation Festival, the anime style was not yet so popular in America, and ASIFA-Hollywood was dominated by professional animators who denounced anime as foreign competition. One of the few serious feuds I have ever been in was with Bill Scott, who said that Japanese animation was not worth watching because it was so cheaply produced. I accused him of blatant hypocrisy since, while Rocky and Bullwinkle may have been brilliant, it was because of his & their other writers' scripts and the voice acting (Scott voiced Bullwinkle himself), not for the quality of the animation which was by one of the cheapest studios in Mexico City they could find. I suspect that many ASIFA members still today will object to being considered "fans"; they are serious cinematic artists and knowledgeable connoisseurs of animation.
De Jueves #1454 - (Moffatt) My hearing is degrading, too. At the Estrogen Zone screening of the Firefly TV episodes, I requested that the English subtitles/closed captioning be turned on in addition to the English dialogue, because I was missing too much of the spoken dialogue. ## One of the reasons that Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit was generally preferable to Corpse Bride was in the way the villain was presented. It was immediately obvious to the audience of Corpse Bride that Barkis Bittern was a villain but none of the characters recognized this. It was immediately obvious to both the audience and characters in Were-Rabbit that Victor Quartermaine was very arrogant, ruthless & cruel, but he was clever enough to make these seem like necessary virtues during the Were-Rabbit Menace and to disguise his actual villainy from the characters. ## Some birds have a sense of humor. When I was in my teens in the 1950s, there was a pelican in the San Francisco Zoo that loved to lure people close to its cage so it could splash water on them. There was a sign warning people that the pelican was a practical joker, and not to be fooled into getting too close to its cage unless they were willing to get wet to see the bird amuse itself.
Godzillla Verses #64 - (DeChancie) Dave McDaniel created what THRUSH stood for (as Phil Castora explains in detail) since there was no official meaning for the acronym (or apparently a clear statement that it was an acronym rather than just a name) in the Man from U.N.C.L.E. writers' bible. He used it in his U.N.C.L.E. novels with Ace Books' editor Terry Carr's approval, and it was adopted by fandom, but I cannot remember if it was ever officially accepted by the TV producers and if any other writers for the TV series or the authorized novels ever used his definition.
Fish Out of Water #146 - (Helgesen) To me, fezzes look much less stable perched on men's heads than Western-style hats with brims that fit partially over the head; but I understand that there are no real problems with them falling or blowing off even without chin-straps. I never heard of having to tie a turban on a head, unless you refer to wrapping it properly so it does not fall apart.
I Train Kittiwakes - (Gold) Did you notice that I wore the new dark pants with the zipper that you bought for me at the Loscon? ## The Golden State Hospital nurses have not said anything one way or the other about me getting wet or keeping dry during a rainstorm. It is my own feeling that it would be difficult if not impossible to keep me dry while taking me out of the hospital and transferring me into a vehicle (a slow process) in a rainstorm, and that it would be at least very uncomfortable if not unhealthy to stay in wet clothing for the next few hours. An umbrella would probably be useless unless there is a third person to hold it over me while I & my driver are getting me into his vehicle, which takes his two & my one hand. It is also a two-handed job for my driver to load my wheelchair into his vehicle, so he would get soaked aside from the fact that it would not matter much if the wheelchair gets wet.