Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2144th Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3592, June 15, 2006.
Golden State Colonial Convalescent Hospital, 10830 Oxnard Street, North Hollywood, California 91606-5098.
Telephone: hospital(818) 763-8247; personal (818) 506-3159 * eMail:fredpatten@earthlink.net
L.A.con IV in 2006! Nippon 2007 in 2007! Salamander Press #2627


Michael Burlake brought me to last week's LASFS meeting, which was dominated by the elections for procedural officers for the last half of 2006. Despite all the time that the elections took, I got to vote for all except the Treasurer before we had to return me to the convalescent hospital. There were plenty of pastry and candy bribes for votes, plus a big memorial chocolate cake for John Arruda. There was also a plastic bottle of Jarritos, so I was able to get my first taste of this Mexican soft drink. Excellent, although I suspect that I would like a flavor like pineapple or strawberry more than tamarind. Still, it was very good. The fizz did not taste like American soft drinks; either it was stronger carbon dioxide or it was something besides carbon dioxide. Since it comes in plastic bottles like U.S. soft drinks, this should remove the objections to having it at s-f conventions because of the danger of broken glass bottles.

On Saturday, Rob Powell took me to the June Cinema Anime meeting. Brad Achorn began the meeting, until Brett arrived about an hour later to take it over. Brett brought a fresh load of fan subs, including the first episode of Ouran High School Host Club, which seems to take anime to new levels of weirdness. It reminded me of an adolescent animated version of the old comedy, Gold Diggers of 1935, which was set in a hotel so ritzy that the staff paid the management to work there because the guests were all exhibitionistic millionaires who tossed $500 and $1,000 tips to the maids, waiters, bellhops, etc. Ouran High School is attended by the children of the richest, most upper-class people in the world. The boys are all beautiful homosexuals, and the girls are all determined to seduce them. The only exception is the shy protagonist, Haruhi Fujioka, who won a scholarship because he is so brilliant. The other students are divided into those who scorn Haruhi because he is a commoner, and those who are fascinated to meet a real, live commoner at last. The sequence where Haruhi demonstrates instant coffee to them ("like the commoners drink, who don't have servants who can spend ten minutes to brew each cup for you") is hilarious, if it doesn't make you want to support Communism. Haruhi is drafted into the boys' exclusive Host Club, where he is made their dogsbody/servant until he wins the support of one of their most popular members who champions Haruhi because he is "soo CUTE!" - until it turns out that Haruhi is really a cross-dressing girl. Stay tuned for episode 2 next month. This is my latest candidate for "they'll never show this one on American TV" (all my past candidates have promptly been shown on American TV, I think). Brett also showed the first episode of one of the later Galaxy Angel series, although I am not sure whether it was Galaxy Angel AA or X - something past Z, anyway. The "feature" was the final four episodes of Planetes, which may be the best hard-science s-f TV series or movie ever made. This should practically be required viewing at any s-f club where the stories and novels of Ben Bova, Vernor Vinge, and Joe Haldeman are popular. The conclusion, about a coalition of political and eco-terrorists trying to sabotage the first manned expedition to the Jovian system, is worthy of the series.

On Sunday afternoon, Michael Burlake took me to a belated publicity screening for ASIFA-Hollywood members of Ice Age: The Meltdown, at the Harmony Gold screening theater on Sunset Boulevard. The movie was followed by an interview and question-&-answer session with the movie's Director Carlos Saldanha & Producer Lori Forte from the Blue Sky studio that made it for 20th-Century Fox, and a reception with refreshments so lavish that we did not need to eat dinner that evening. I enjoyed this Ice Age even more than the original one, but I got the strong impression that the studio is clueless as to why this movie is so good while their previous movie, Robots, was such a loser. (Meltdown has a much stronger story, which is not so screamingly obviously unoriginal, and more likeable characters.) They did not explain why this publicity screening was three months after the movie's release, or what movie Blue Sky is working on next. During the reception I chatted with Jerry Beck, for whom I co-wrote parts of two animation books just before my stroke. He saw my interview in Variety about a week ago. He had an article about the top ten "turning points" features in animation history in the same issue, and Variety did not send him a contributor's copy, either; he had to buy it at the newsstand. He had just been invited by Craig Miller to participate in some animation programming for L.A.con IV, which he may be able to do since the Worldcon is earlier than Labor Day this year. (He always attends the CineCon Classic Film Festival in Hollywood over the Labor Day weekend.) He & other ASIFA members agreed that Cars is a must-see, but nobody felt that it was better than The Incredibles, making this the first time that the latest Pixar feature has not been rated "their best yet". Hopefully ASIFA-Hollywood will get a belated free publicity screening of Cars soon.

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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:

Vanamonde #682 - (Hertz) I should probably reread a couple of Heyer's Regency novels to refresh my memories of her writing style, but Gold's in Volle seems quite good to me. Furry fantasies always seem imperfect in one way or another as to their anthropomorphization; I recognize that Regency dress over thick fur would doubtlessly be almost fatally stifling.

Godzilla Verses #91 - (DeChancie) I, also, used to put soft drinks in my freezer to super-cool them during Summer, but I always poured them into a glass first to eliminate any danger of exploding containers; and I drank the glass just before it froze solid, when there was no more than a thin crust of frozen drink on the top. Contrariwise, during cold Winter days or when I had a bad cold, a glass of almost-boiling Dr. Pepper was tastier than hot tea, even if the boiling did cook all of the carbonation out of it.

De Jueves #1482 - (Moffatt) When I entered elementary school, I was frequently asked by teachers if I had moved to L.A. from the South. I assume that I had picked up some Southern accent from my mother and grandmother who raised me, since they were from New Orleans. ## Rob Powell took me for two breaks of about ten minutes each two hours apart during the Cinema Anime meeting, to the rear stairs of the front building so I could stand up and do leg exercises. ## Pigeons are bullies to anything smaller than themselves. I have seen a pigeon try to drive sparrows (which are so nimble they were not worried) away from food, and a mouse that attacked the pigeon back. Pigeons are exceptionally stupid even for birds, yes.

What's My Zine? #1 - (Castora) The "no pizza in the 1930's" reference is to Don Bluth's All Dogs Go To Heaven. At a publicity screening just before its release in 1989, co-director Gary Goldman made a big point about how it was set during the 1930's, and they had researched the period so thoroughly to make sure that all the costumes, automobiles, slang, pop-culture references, etc., were absolutely authentic to the '30s. Someone in the audience pointed out that in the movie Charlie the dog phones out for pizza, and they did not have take-out pizza in the 1930's. Goldman promptly went into, "oh, it's only a cartoon; kids won't notice little details like that; the story is fantasy anyway," and so on. So much for absolute authenticity. (That movie's story has much more serious problems than historical anachronisms.)

Fish Out of Water #174 - (Helgesen) It has been over three decades since I saw The Last Child, but as I recall, examples of what bad s-f it was included dialogue about how horribly overpopulated America was in outdoor sets that were almost deserted; a plot that had the protagonists talk about the importance of supporting society and its laws, except for those that they did not want to obey (against having children), in which case it became their duty to ignore those laws in the name of Freedom & Individual Liberty, which reeked more of self-justified selfishness than a true moral stand ... I guess those are the only examples that I remember, although I am pretty sure that other fans made other complaints at the time.

Nightmare, Postponed - (Gold) I might be able to climb the rear steps into the LASFS' front building, but I don't think there would be room for my wheelchair in the building even if people did carry it in. Also, it might take me several minutes to climb the steps, which would make them inaccessible to other fans wanting to go in & out of the building. ## I said that that summary of Volle was oversimplified. Volle is posing as a lost heir, who grew up as a farm boy and was only discovered recently to be the natural son of the last Lord Vinton, who was killed in battle twenty years earlier; so it is reasonable that he is not yet familiar with the details of upper-class dress. (In my opinion, it is a plot flaw that the kingdom would have let the Vinton estate go unclaimed for twenty years while looking for a direct heir that nobody could be sure existed.) ## I thought that referring to Cantors in the Panbestian Church, and to that Church being divided into Orthodox and Reformed faiths, sounded Judaic, while the references to English- and Latin-titled hymns sounded Catholic/Protestant; an attempt by the author to make the religion seem like a familiar Furry counterpart to the religions of most of the novel's likely readers.

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