Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2117th Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3565, 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:firstname.lastname@example.org
|L.A.con IV in 2006!||Nippon 2007 in 2007!||Salamander Press #2600|
Michael Burlake took me to last week's LASFS meeting, where we took advantage of the Alderson parking space which Kay Shapero donated to me for December. The meeting was pretty much devoted to discussions of Loscon 32. Everyone agreed that it had been a big success. Bill Ellern was re-congratulated for winning the Evans-Freehafer Award. Those who said that the Loscon was so much fun that it had ended too soon were advised to join L.A.con IV immediately.
On Saturday Rob Powell took me to the Estrogen Zone meeting. December's theme was Working Women, but the program started an hour early to squeeze in Madagascar and the Loscon 32 Virtual Masquerade video. I had asked for Madagascar to be put on the program because I had received a DVD screener of it from DreamWorks (for my award-voting consideration) and I had no convenient way to watch it at my hospital. To my embarrassment, my DVD was stolen (I suspect by one of the night nurses) before I could bring it to the EZ meeting. Fortunately, Rob had bought the commercial DVD of it, so he brought that instead. This was especially fortunate since this enabled us to also show the short A Christmas Caper with the Madagascar Penguins, which is a bonus extra on the commercial DVD, while the screener that DreamWorks sent me had Madagascar only without any extras. I am very glad that EZ gave me the opportunity to see Madagascar, which is very witty; although I thought that the character designs of the four main animals was a bit too stylized/grotesque (much more so than the other "cute" animals). I still think that Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is the best animated feature of 2005 with the English-language release of Howl's Moving Castle second, but I will vote for Madagascar ahead of Steamboy, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride or Chicken Little. (I did not see Valiant, but it has not escaped my attention that its producers are not bothering with trying to lobby for any awards; and I have heard only bad things about Hoodwinked, the remaining theatrical animated feature expected this year.) After the Loscon 32 Virtual Masquerade, the two Working Women features shown before I left were What a Way to Go! (I was amazed to see that Shirley MacLaine's mother was played by Margaret Dumont; I was not aware that she had any acting career outside of the much earlier Marx Brothers comedies) and Nine to Five.
On Monday I got a telephone call from Dan Persons, a New York television producer who is preparing a documentary for the Independent Film Channel on the growth of anime in America. He wanted to video-interview me about the beginnings of anime fandom in the 1970s, fandom's influence on anime's eventual commercial success, the aspects of anime that set it apart from traditional American animation, etc., during his business trip to L.A. next week. We made an appointment for him to conduct an on-camera interview with me at my hospital next Thursday, the 15th, at 2:00 p.m. More news as it happens.
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Last week I received yet another invitation (my third) from Disney to a free screening for Me & My Family of Chicken Little, this time at the Disney Studios screening room itself. Disney surely wants to get some awards for it, to match its high box office (it grossed over $100,000,000 by its third weekend) and prove that all the negative reviews were wrong (its rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website is still only 37% favorable reviews of 122 reviews analyzed). I still think Chicken Little has Disney's stupidest story since The Aristocats, including movies like Brother Bear and Home On The Range which did not do nearly as well financially. Surely not everyone can be going to Chicken Little just to see the CGI animation!? Well, the first Scooby-Doo theatrical feature was also a smash hit despite strongly scathing reviews.
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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:
Oh, All Right!!! - (Lembke) Thanks for the detailed Loscon 32 report including Steven Brust's feedback, especially the exact membership/attendance statistics. I still am moderately concerned that the Loscon seems to have reached a plateau in the 1980s and is not growing, but most fans do not seem to worry about this. ## You say that Loscon had "1222 full attending members". Does nobody buy supporting memberships in cons any more? ## If Committee communication was a problem. It sounds like you went back to the Bad Way of planning the con that I insisted on avoiding when I was the Chair of Loscon XIV. I insisted on all Committee heads or high-ranking representatives attend all major Committee meetings so everyone would be aware of everything happening, whether it was in their direct specialty or not. That was to ensure that there would not be two different committees working at cross purposes, or something that needed to be done which was not being done because everyone assumed it had been assigned to someone else's committee.
Fish Out of Water #147 - (Helgesen) I would have to guess why the Man from U.N.C.L.E. producers specified that Napoleon Solo was divorced, rather than that he had never been married. Maybe there were early plans to use his ex-wife in an episode which got cancelled. Maybe it was just to keep anyone from specifying that he had never been married. Can anyone who is more familiar with the production of TV programs than I am comment on whether it is unusual for a program's bible to include details about characters' backgrounds which are never used in any of the episodes?
I Unleash Leopards - (Gold) Cheetahs would be safer. ## Your mention of Martinelli's cider bottles reminds me of a criticism of Loscon 32. Empty Martinelli's bottles were used as decorations in the Con Suite, giving a misleading impression that the cider was available there. Assuming that the bottles started out full rather than that they were dummies all along, they should have been discarded when the cider ran out to avoid disappointing those who continued to ask for it. ## At least you showed up for the beginning of the fanzine panel you were scheduled on. Did this Loscon have a greater number than usual of missing panelists? ## The Loscon 33 full-page advertisement in the Loscon 32 Program Book prominently lists "Author Guest of Honor: William Tenn / Fan Guest of Honor: Fred Patten", so it seems about as official as it can be. In fact, considering the Program Book's press deadline, Loscon 33 must have decided to keep me as Fan GoH before Scott Beckstead asked me to confirm that I was still willing despite my stroke. Yes, go ahead and list it on my webpage. ## Khazars and Khazaks? That sounds as confusing as the distinction between Turkey and Turkestan. ## No, I have no idea how the CGI animation of skin in DreamWorks' Shrek differs from the CGI animation of skin by other studios. Most other studios have adopted a more cartoony look for their humans, such as Pixar in Finding Nemo and The Incredibles (and DreamWorks itself in Madagascar - well, DreamWorks' CGI features like Madagascar are actually produced by its Pacific Data Images studio), so they do not have to create convincing-looking skin. The only movies that I am aware of that tried to create absolutely realistic skin by computer graphics were the now-defunct Square USA studio's Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and the "The Final Flight of the Osiris" segment of The Animatrix; and everybody agrees that the latter was superior to the former because the studio took advantage of all the CGI improvements it had developed while producing the former. I cannot recall whether you said if you have seen "The Final Flight of the Osiris"? I thought that the humans in The Polar Express had a grayish skin tone that made them all look rather like zombies, although that is not an inherent problem with the motion-capture CGI process that was used for The Polar Express.
Godzillla Verses #65 - (DeChancie) George Scithers does have what I consider a more formal(?) dignified(?) public demeanor than the average fan which might have made him harder to approach, although I have never thought of him as "prickly". If you are not doing anything else with your out-of-print Castle novels, it would be interesting to find out if Wildside Press considers them worth reprinting. ## I read Twain's comments on Fenimore Cooper's writing in college, but I have forgotten most of it except for Twain's sarcasm on the improbability of finding a clear moccasin footprint on the bottom of a running stream. I do not recall that Twain found Cooper's writing horrible-but-gripping; I thought it was more of a "why did anybody ever consider Cooper worth reading?" dismissal. I guess I ought to reread Twain. ## Weren't you on the Loscon program? Program participants got validated parking. ## For gratuitous Bush-bashing, check Mark Evanier's weblog for Thursday, December 1st. Evanier reported the U.S. Post Office's announcement that it will release a set of DC comic-book costumed hero stamps during 2006, and added his own phony image of a Mad Alfred E. Neuman stamp. (I am sorry that I cannot copy the images here. Evanier also has a phony stamp for Herbie Popnecker that I hope someone will notify Elst Weinstein about.) According to Evanier, the unsolicited response to his phony stamps has been strongly to identify Neuman with Bush. Here is one of the comments that he got: "I don't think we'll see the Alfred E. stamp for at least three years. George W. Bush will quash it, thinking that someone is making fun of him..."
W*O*N*D*E*R*L*U*S*T - (anonymous) (Yes, I know it's Nola, but if she wants to be anonymous, that's how I'll list her.) I do not know if all the program moderators at the Loscon needed to be writers, but every panel certainly should have had a moderator clearly appointed instead of letting the panelists decide which of them would be moderator - or ending up without a moderator. Others may have had an official moderator, but the person did not moderate at all, as you point out. Loscon Con Committees ought to do a better job of both appointing panel moderators and notifying the moderators of what efficient moderating consists of.
Leftover Turkey - (Cantor) The LASFS Gestetner certainly seems to be essential enough to the club, not to mention to Apa L and to SCIFI, that a Print Machine Fund seems not just desirable but, well, essential. ## Since Michael Burlake works for the Union Pacific, we seriously considered coming to the Gaming Room on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. just to find out what the Union Pacific game was. But we felt it was more important to eat dinner in time for the Masquerade. (But due to the Masquerade starting late, we did not see it, either.) Now that we know that you know about Union Pacific, we can ask you what the game is like at a LASFS meeting.
De Jueves #1455 - (Moffatt) The Sound and the Furry contains all of the Anderson & Dickson Hoka stories; ten short stories/novelettes and one novel. If you have Earthman's Burden and Hokas Pokas!, you are missing two of the stories that were in the 1998 Hoka! Hoka! Hoka! collection; I think the two where the Hokas discover baseball and Agatha Christie's murder mysteries.
Vanamonde #655 - (Hertz) Thank you for pointing out all of the Jewish references in The Man in the High Castle. I had never known about them. Maybe The Man in the High Castle needs an annotated edition.