¡Rábanos Radiactivos!
... es no. 2220

Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2220th Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3668, November 29,2007.
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

Denvention 3 in 2008! Anticipation in 2009! Salamander Press #2703


It has been a busy week for me!

Last Wednesday was vote-for-my-movie day. I got one of Disney's special free DVDs of Ratatouille, with the usual burn-before-watching warnings: "This DVD is for your personal use for awards consideration only - it is not to be shared or loaned to anyone else - it contains an individual tracking number so it can be identified if it is found being used in an unauthorized manner", etc. All of the awards that it is eligible for are highlighted. I will certainly vote for Ratatouille for Best Animated Theatrical Feature of 2007 for ASIFA-Hollywood's Annie Awards. Also for the Furry fandom's Ursa Major Awards, although I assume that Disney could not care less about that one.

I also got a e.mailed invitation to an ASIFA-Hollywood/Warner Bros./Imagi Animation Studios for-awards-consideration screening of TMNT at a Burbank theater on December 1, which I will pass up because it is at 9:30 a.m. and there is no way my nurses will get me up & dressed in time to go out that early. The screening is especially promoted by Hong Kong (executive offices)/Los Angeles (production studio) Imagi, although considering the animated competition this year (DreamWorks Animation/Pacific Data Images' Bee Movie and Shrek the Third, besides Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille), I cannot imagine which awards they hope TMNT might actually win. Did any LASFen see this one? TMNT got reasonably good reviews for its computer imagery but horrible reviews for its plot/story. Well, there are worse CGI features out there - Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters and, according to pre-release gossip, the coming-for-Xmas Alvin and the Chipmunks, for example.

Last Thursday, my sister Sherrill picked me up from the hospital about 3:30 p.m. We spent a couple of hours at her apartment getting ready for Loscon 34, then went to have dinner at Solley's in Sherman Oaks (a big Reuben sandwich for me; I had a Thanksgiving turkey luncheon at the hospital) followed by the LASFS meeting. It was presided over by Joe Zeff as the ranking club officer present, with Ky Moffat seated beside him in the president's usual chair. She & I reviewed Timothy Zahn's Night Train to Rigel (which she just finished) and its sequel, The Third Lynx (which I was halfway through), which devolved into a general discussion on the merits & demerits of pulp-style space opera.

Friday morning, Sherry arrived at the hospital about 10:15 a.m. to take me to Loscon 34. We got to the LAX Marriott hotel about 11:45, just as Glen Wooten and my caregiver from Care Plus Nursing Services were arriving; Edwin Barcinas, a Filipino medical orderly. Wooten had just returned from Chicago's annual Furry convention, Midwest FurFest, the previous week, and he brought me a copy of its Program Book. Wooten arranged for us to get one of the hotel's handicapped-accessible rooms, 928, and for Sherry to get a Friday membership badge. After getting settled into our room, we all had lunch at the hotel's Latitude 33 coffee shop (which was the only place Edwin & I ate at during the con; I think the hotel's steak restaurant's prices started around $40), and then went down to the convention floor to check in. I was given two or three ribbons to add to my badge before I even got to the Green Room to get my badge and Program Book. I checked to make sure that the LASFS history and other parts that I had written for it were okay. Aside from someone having gone through and adding a period after the J in Forrest J Ackerman in most of it, adding a theme to Loscon 17 which did not have one (according to its Chairperson, Robbie Cantor, who should know), removing the dedication of Loscon XXIV to William Rotsler, and changing Loscon XXXV from a three-day to a four-day convention, it was fine.

I was not on any events on Friday, so this was the day I did most of my sightseeing of the con's exhibits plus the Art show and Dealers' Room. Sherry accompanied us to the latter two; she was most interested in shopping for "unusual Christmas presents" for family & friends. She left the con after a couple of hours to spend the weekend at our mother's house in Mission Viejo. I was disappointed that none of the very few new book dealers at the con had the new s-f that I had been waiting to buy, although I should be able to find them easily enough the next time I visit a Barnes & Noble or a Borders'. I was pleased that one dealer, Cargo Cult Books, was carrying my Furry! anthology. I am still primarily a fan who gets a thrill when I see one of my books in a bookstore. Enough fans gave me more ribbons for my badge that it stretched down below my knees. Edwin was wearing a large wrist TV that got a lot of attention.

We met Michael Burlake, whom I had not seen since he moved upstate to Roseville at the end of August. He had just arrived after a six-hour drive. He had been at Midwest FurFest, too, and he was looking for Glen Wooten who had brought back the artwork that Burlake had bought there. I invited him to join us for dinner. Edwin & I went back to the lobby level at 5:00 p.m. to meet the nurse who came to give me my afternoon medications, Jenny Clemente, whom Care Plus had arranged for from a Santa Monica hospital. Then Edwin & I went to Latitude 33. Burlake told us during dinner that Midwest FurFest had finally outgrown its traditional hotel and was moving to a larger venue next year. After dinner, Edwin & I went to wait in line for the ice cream excavation where we spent some time with Ken Pick, who was at the con promoting the Catholic s-f anthology he has a story in; Infinite Space, Infinite God, published by Twilight Times Books. He said that the publisher is unsure whether to promote the book in mainstream & s-f specialty bookstores or religious bookstores for best sales, and could not be convinced that "both" is the right answer. Pick wore his "archaeologist hall costume" of a pith helmet and East German Army boots throughout the con. (Pick was one of several fen who stocked up on East German military boots in 1992 after the country merged with West Germany; he says they are incredibly durable & comfortable.)

After the ice cream social we hurried up to the Herbangelist Wine & Cheese Party where Keith Kato was serving his homemade chili. I had some of his hot chili, which was too hot for even Michael Burlake. All I can say is: YUM!! I forget which parties we went to after that except for the Las Vegas Westercon party, but I had a good time. I was tired, though, so Edwin & I returned to our room and went to sleep early.

Saturday was my busy day at Loscon 34. Edwin & I woke up earlier than expected, so we dressed and went downstairs to the breakfast buffet instead of waiting in my room for my morning medications. Edwin phoned the nurse to have her meet us in Latitude 33 instead. After breakfast, we were rolling aimlessly through the convention level just before things opened at 10:00 a.m. when I heard a "Pssst!" from a corner. It was Roz Gibson, who had promised to loan me some books & fanzines during the con but had decided that she did not want to buy a membership; so she had been hoping to meet me before anyone noticed she did not have a badge. We exchanged materials (I had brought one of her books to return to her), and we (and a few other Furry fans who wandered by) chatted for a while before Roz went home.

Edwin & I went back to Room 928 to stash Roz's stuff, and then went up to the Con Suite on the 18th floor to relax for about an hour. Most of the fans in the Con Suite were in one corner looking at the smoke from the fires in Malibu instead of watching the planes taking off & landing at the adjacent airport.

My first panel was at 12:30 p.m. on "The Worst SF Novel Ever", with Kathryn Daugherty moderating and Karen Anderson and Arlene Satin as the other panelists (who showed up). I mentioned Kenneth Eng's novels and The Eye of Argon and The Exploits of Esplanidan, but the others felt that the topic should be about novels that had been published in the regular s-f genre and had been highly promoted, such as Dhalgren by Samuel Delany or all the Dune sequels or, yes, Monteleone's Seeds of Change. I nominated The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, which the others agreed was a worthy contender. Somebody wanted A Canticle for Leibowitz added, which most of us liked. We also discussed stories rewritten by their authors who felt their earlier versions were juvenile embarrassments although some readers preferred the original versions, such as Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword and Fritz Leiber's first Fafrd & the Grey Mouser story.

My next panel was right after that at 2:00, in the same room, on "American Manga", moderated by Buzz Dixon and with Marv Wolfman and Tadao Tomomatsu. I had printed out my review from The Flipbook website of Dramacon by Svetlana Chmakova, to pass around. All of my panels were well attended, I should note. I felt that we spent more time discussing Japanese manga and their new American editions, and the explosion of the manga market in America, than American imitations of manga. The others agreed that Dramacon is one of the best. Dixon is the big kahuna of semi-manga series produced by Realbuzz Studios for publication by Thomas Nelson for the Christian teen market, and after the panel he gave me the first four volumes of Goofyfoot Gurl, about megarich multiracial bored teen surfers, mostly in English with some French and Yiddish. It's ... different.

We went to the Green Room to relax for a half-hour, then to the hotel lobby to meet Clemente with my evening medicine, then to the Houston Room for my final panel of the day at 5:00 p.m. on "Pulp Fiction", moderated by Marty Massoglia with James Killus and Len Moffatt as the other panelists. I tried to talk about modern s-f in the pulp fiction/space opera style, such as Timothy Zahn's Night Train to Rigel and The Third Lynx, but the others wanted to concentrate on the history of the actual pulps from the 19th century to 1955, and the stories in them. I started buying s-f magazines just too late to get any of the pulps as new magazines, but I bought armloads in the used magazine shops of the late '50s for 5¢ or 10¢ each and read most of the s-f pulps of the 1930s & 1940s.

Edwin & I had dinner at Latitude 33 with Michael Burlake and Ken Pick. I do not care for Masquerades, so Edwin & I went up after dinner to the party floor. I was lucky that the Furry/CaliFur IV Party started early, and had lots of cheese nibblements and Strawberry Crush to drink. I stayed there most of the evening catching up on Furry fandom gossip. The major topic of discussion was a brand-new commercial on Québec TV that was described as incredibly lewd, at least by U.S. TV standards, for an orange soft drink that launches a Furry orgy starring a bear-man and a doe-girl that do not quite commit bestiality on-camera; almost enough to make you want to move to Québec to watch TV commercials. The only other party I got to was the Galaxy Press Writers/Artists of the Future ice cream party, where I got a huge bowl of chocolate ice cream.

Sunday morning was pack-up time. The nurse came for the last time to give me my morning medicines. After the buffet breakfast, we checked out of our room. My last panel was not until 3:30 p.m., so we toured the Dealers' Room again and spent some time chatting with Julie Ree and the others at the table for the Eaton Collection of S-f, Fantasy & Horror at the UCRiverside Library. We all hoped that I could visit there during December.

Edwin & I went back to the Green Room, where I complained about the lack of news about the Evans-Freehafer Award winner (Tony Benoun) in the daily newszine despite its having room to announce the Rotsler Award winner twice. Then we went back up to the Con Suite to relax and watch the planes for a couple of hours. Edwin got so fascinated by the metal puzzles on the tables that he bought three of them. My final panel was "Galactic Consumer Co-ops", moderated by Jacqueline Lichtenberg and with Carol Ann Alves and Laura Frankos as the other panelists. None of us could figure out what the topic was supposed to be about, so we talked about s-f about interstellar trading empires rather than galactic political empires.

Michael Burlake arrived just before this panel ended. He, Edwin & I hurried to the Convention Feedback session that was fortunately still going on. As we entered, someone was complaining about panel titles that were so vague that nobody knew what they were about. I asked if there were any preliminary attendance total yet; Dr. Susan said 1,221, give or take about 20 which would be narrowed down in the next few weeks.

At that point we moved up to the hotel lobby to await my sister. Glen Wooten signed off on Edwin's time card; he was an admirable caregiver. When Sherry arrived we invited Burlake to join us for dinner at the nearby Jino's Pizza Restaurant/Pars Persian Cuisine at Airport & Manchester. We drove Michael back to the hotel after that (he was staying until Monday), and then Sherry drove me back to Golden State Convalescent Hospital. I had a great Loscon 34, and I am already looking forward to Loscon 35 next year.

I reported back in ˇRR! #2215 that there are now advertising agency websites that specialize in documenting TV commercials. As soon as I got back to my laptop, I went looking for that Québec mid-November TV commercial for the aphrodisiac orange soft drink. It is "Naturally Juicy" for Orangina, and the complete 1:45 minute commercial can be seen on "Adland: the Commercial Archive". It is actually a commercial for French TV that has both French and English versions for Québec TV. The commercial's director, Todd Mueller of the Psyop studio, says, "I guess it goes without saying that when you get the opportunity to spray Orangina all over the chest of a sexy bunny girl, you go for it. That was basically the motivation and creative charge throughout the production; raunchy naughty furriness. The agency FFL were amazing to work with and just kept pushing us to get furrier and naughtier." "Naturally Juicy" probably has the best use of motion capture graphics to turn human actors into anthropomorphized animals since Happy Feet, and with a lot more variety than just penguins.

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A couple of months ago, around Apa L #2209 and #2210, there was discussion of The Blight in Alan Dean Foster's Pip and Flinx series; specifically whether this area of complete emptiness approaching our galaxy encompassed the annihilation of life alone or of all matter in space that it engulfed. The L.A. Public Library has just sent me Patrimony, Foster's latest Pip and Flinx adventure, which answers the question on page 145:

"It was closer now, Flinx saw. Vaster and faster, enveloping and obliterating everything in its path. Organic life-forms that barely had time to cry out before they were annihilated, cold uninhabited rocky worlds and riotous seething gas giants, suns primeval and suns aborning - all gone as if they had never been; wiped out, eradicated, swept from reality like grains of sand from a shore. The dark evil that had extinguished them surged onward. Mindless but mindful; uncaring, sinister, and unstoppable.

His galaxy would be next. Millions of stars would vanish together with their companion worlds and nebulae. [...]"

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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:

Cover - (Jackson) Gobble, gobble! Speak for yourself; my favorite holiday is National Gorilla Suit Day. ## This may be an appropriate point to report that a serious objection has been lodged against celebrating National Gorilla Suit Day. It was created by Mad magazine cartoonist Don Martin (1931-2000) in 1964. Its observance has been intended partly as a tribute to Martin since his death, and partly as an effort to keep a really hilarious cartoon (or series of cartoons) from being forgotten. But it seems that Martin's widow considers the holiday to be an exploitation of Martin's work without paying royalties to his estate, and she wants it to be cancelled, ignored, and otherwise not celebrated from now on. Dawk!!

De Jueves #1558 - (Moffatts) The kittens outside my window at the hospital disappeared after a day or two. I do not know if the mother cat moved them elsewhere, or what. ## Columbus insisted until his death that he had sailed around the world to the Indies, although whether he really believed this or he felt he could not afford to admit that he had been wrong (which might have required giving up honors, titles, and awards) has been questioned.

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More books that I have read lately.

Coyote Season by Michael Bergey
Darkwing by Kenneth Oppel
Patrimony by Alan Dean Foster
All Shots by Susan Conant
The Third Lynx by Timothy Zahn
Dramacon, Volume 1 by Svetlana Chmakova

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