dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2009)
October is waning. Many years I have gone to WindyCon in November, but since this cold thing has run its course over most of two weeks, I feel like I am behind too much. Too many evenings and weekends where I haven't gotten stuff, including writing, done. I had contemplated doing a day trip to Chicago -- or even an overnight, though I wouldn't be able to get my shoes on and off -- but I think I'll just have to pass on WindyCon this year. (sigh)

But... we're in the active planning phase for the 42nd iteration of ConFusion, the wonderful January con in Michigan.
The answer is 42. That's right, ConFusion is celebrating its 42nd year of science fiction and fantasy fandom. Join us at our new hotel January 21-24th, 2016. We have some amazing people joining us this year. Don't miss it while we discover the meaning of life, the universe, and ConFusion!
Pre-registration runs through 15 December 2015 -- adult rate is "$42". Then it'll cost you more.

This is the fourth hotel ConFusion has been in since I started going around 2003. The Doubletree in Dearborn the last couple of years was okay, but I really miss the Marriott in Troy MI.
We’re at a new hotel this year, the Novi Sheraton in Novi, Michigan.
The hotel is now booking reservations for the weekend.
$109/Night -- 2 night minimum, must book before Jan 1st, 2016
There was a notice on Facebook the other day that rooms in the ConFusion block were filling up fast, so Monday I jumped on it. You can make room reservations here. Not only did the Sheraton have a choice of accessible rooms in king or two double beds, but this is the FIRST con hotel I've dealt with where there's a pull-down menu for checkout time... including LATE checkout! Normal checkout is Noon, but I signed us up for a 2pm checkout. I typically try to do panels through about Noon or 1pm on Sunday, and it's nice not to have to be all packed and loaded before you even start the day, especially in the winter.

All this flurry of activity was partly driven by the Programming people, who are working on setting up panels and stuff NOW. If you are thinking of going to ConFusion and be on a panel, you need to get your badge name and hop onto the Programming tab and make sure the good people running ConFusion know what you're interested in.

Haven't heard back yet about Readings. The last several years there have been joint Readings, which often works out well. Last year I had a very early Sunday morning reading (DW) (LJ), which didn't get me a lot of feedback, as I read from Book 1 of my YA series. This time, I hope to be reading from the beginning of Book 2... We'll see. (grin)

For future reference, the floor plans for the Sheraton Novi and its meeting rooms:



Hope to see some of you there!

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2009)
After a year, another year passes...

Last year about this time, I posted about a possible day trip to Penguicon (DW) (LJ).

Since I did the Proof of Concept last year and just went to East Lansing for MIAAPT the other weekend, then I think another Saturday day trip to Penguicon 2015 is in order. This would be Penguicon 13 by my accounting, which falls on 24-26 April 2015.

Last year I was out the door at 0610 hours and made it to Penguicon by 0919. Left by about 1730 hours. That's a good day and a fine lunch.
What is Penguicon?

Penguicon is a three-day event where we all learn from each other (as well as from our Guests of Honor) about hacking, building sci-fi universes, soldering, painting miniatures, gaming, coding, music, incredible costumes, and more.

Our two pillars are Science Fiction and Open Source, but we cover as many diverse nerdy interests as possible. We have a consuite with free soda, coffee, munchies and other real food, which makes it easier on your budget. You can find all kinds of original artwork and non-commodity crafts in our enormous Maker Market.

Over 1,300 nerds, geeks, and fans attend Penguicon every year to celebrate and share in what we all love. We are an all-volunteer, not-for-profit convention which brings together every kind of geek – software developers, moviemakers, authors and their fans, hackers, foodies – for a weekend of sharing in panels, workshops, and parties.
You can see all my posts and photos about Penguicon here (DW). (LJ)

I have to remember to pack my copy of Flex, because Ferrett Steinmetz said he'd be signing copies at Penguicon. And THIS year, I have a cell phone which does text messages, so I'll text Al Bogdan and see if he's around. And maybe, just maybe, someone will be able to join me for lunch in the hotel restaurant at the Westin in Southfield MI, maybe at 1300 hours? (I haven't spent a lot of time checking the Programming schedule yet.)

See ya!

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2015)
I had high hopes of getting some feedback on the progress of my YA triology, by reading the first chapter-and-a-half at Back to the Confusion this weekend. Alas, I knew it was going to be an exceedingly tough sell when I was scheduled to share a 10am Sunday reading slot. The readings were in the small meeting rooms, like Warren, a bit off the track from most of other sessions. I've been here before, where my WindyCon 39 reading in 2012 was to an empty room (DW). This time, there was me, eventually the other author who left to try to find some audience for his part of the reading, one person who actually had missed the reading he thought this session was. So I had to go first. By this time it was already 10:10 and since this was a shared reading, I had to cut some parts on the fly. Steve Buchheit stopped by after I started, so it was no doubt somewhat confusing. Al Bogdan came in after I finished, so his string of attending nearly all of my readings continues to get tarnished. (grin)

So, alas, I didn't get much in the way of feedback. Again. (grin)

But... Saturday night I did briefly talk to a YA editor from Tor. We got as far as agreeing that the genre for The Lost Kingdom is best described as a "secret history fantasy". And I got her card.

Slowly we make progress in a brave new world of novel writing -- and then trying to get it published.

New Researches include: The seaport of King's Lynn in England. Aftenposten is Norway's largest newspaper. Ålborg, Denmark. Häagen-Dazs is not Danish -- there is no umlaut in the language -- but was made up to sound Danish in Brooklyn. The rescue of the Danish Jews in WW II. The myth of the Danes and the yellow stars. Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. Muhammedkrisen and the Jyllands-Posten cartoons controversy. In humans, dwarfism is sometimes defined as an adult height of less than 4 feet 10 inches (58 in; 147 cm). The plural "dwarves" was conceived of by author J.R.R. Tolkien. Sønderborg, Denmark. The Eurovision Song Contest. Polarsirkelen (Norwegian) vs polarcirklen (Danish). Bodø to Tromsø is about 550 km or 8½ hours driving on the E8.

The Shiny counters now stand at:

The Lost Kingdom Project YA Trilogy Version 1.07 (01-18-15 Su)


The Lost Kingdom Fourth-Fifth Novels Version 1.07


*** Note3: Decided to go ahead and insert/split a book between Books 3 and 4, so the extra file is technically now Books 4-5. We’ll see if I keep this configuration. The extra file version number was jumped from 1.03 to 1.07 to stay current with the main trilogy efforts. The percentage completion has been halved, due to adding in another 80,000 words goal to the total.

And no, I am not planning to wait to try to sell the novel(s) until after writing some 400,000 words. My goal is to have the first two books completed in the next couple of months and then move onward.

At any rate, I am still having fun.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2012)
Final Updates!

This weekend.. Back to the ConFusion -- Friday 16 January to Sunday 18 January 2015. The Doubletree Hotel Detroit/Dearborn, 5801 Southfield Road, Detroit, MI 48228, is hosting for the third year.
Back to the ConFusion, the 41st ConFusion by name and 42nd annual January gathering (starting with the AA Realx-I-Con in 1974), is a go! 2015 looks to be an exciting year--it will be the year that Marty McFly really traveled to in Back to the Future II, whatever that Facebook meme says, so look out for those hoverboards, they must be right around the corner. (No, seriously, look out!) We're anticipating another excellent con, with the first-time appearance of author Karen Lord, researcher Dr. Cynthia Chestek, and gaming gurus Monte Cook & Shanna Germain. We'll also welcome back Heather Dale, now performing as our Music Guest of Honor. And then there's Aaron Thul, longtime fan and conrunner, returning after two years away as our Fan Guest of Honor. Please do join us, and we hope to see you there in January!
For some previews, ConFusion has a cool Tumblr.

Plus Detcon1 -- last summer's NASFiC in Detroit -- is holding a party Friday night. See below.

The full Program is now available as a PDF.

Six panels, moderating one -- and a reading! Now with panelists and rooms!

ConFusion Schedule for Dr. Phil Kaldon

Friday 6pm: Dearborn
Every Creature (Real and Fantastical) Poops
You may have read the book Everyone Poops, but it's 
so human-centric. What about mermaids, centaurs, 
and other fantastical creatures? Let's see if we can 
analogize from real species to arrive at a theory of 
fantastical pooping. (Caution: conversation may stray 
into food, sex and gestation.)
Rowena Cherry, Cindy Spencer Pape, Lucy Kennedy, 
Dr. Phil Kaldon

(Friday 7pm: Michigan - Big Top
Opening Ceremonies)

Friday 8pm: Warren
Ghosts of SyFy Past
Come reminisce about the actual science fiction SyFy
used to show, and talk about the network's plans to
get back to its science fiction roots.
Julie Winningham, Philip Kaldon, Aset, Steve Drew'

(Friday 9pm: Erie
Detcon1 Thank You Party)
Life seems so empty now that we're not running a NASFiC 
anymore. So we're going to throw one last party this weekend 
at MI Official ConFusion to say thank you to everyone who 
supported us. We'll have ribbons and shirts and some other 
surprises to give away, food and drink, plus a DJ Scalzi-inspired 
playlist and a slideshow of our favorite pictures from the con. 
Join us in the Erie Room Friday night!

Saturday 10am: Dearborn 
Building a Better Dragon
No two writers imagine the same dragon. How would
yours be different? Flying, fire, temperament,
teeth: what makes a good dragon?
Christian Klaver, Philip Kaldon, Cinda Williams Chima, 
Steve Buchheit

Saturday 11am: Southfield 
Time Travel Devices, Doors, and Deus Ex Machinas
How to travel through time (in literature and media)	
Philip Kaldon, Ferrett Steinmetz, Andrew Zimmerman Jones, 
Laura Resnick
 
Saturday 4pm: Dearborn 
Time Travel (im)Possibilities
Would 1.21 gigawatts get the job done, or would
the flux capacitor even work? Time for our panelists
and audience to debunk our favorite time travel
devices in literature and popular media.
Bill Higgins, Philip Kaldon, Ron Collins, 
Andrew Zimmerman Jones 

Sunday 10am: Warren 
Tomlinson/Kaldon reading
Patrick S. Tomlinson and Philip Kaldon read from their works.
This will be the first public reading from
the opening chapters of The Lost Kingdom YA project
I am working on.  I had planned to read this at
WindyCon, but alas the weather kept us away from
Chicago in mid-November.  Their loss is your gain.

Sunday 11am: Erie 
Science or Science Fiction?
Science fiction novels continue to impress with
amazing technological advances in so many areas.
What's more impressive, though? That some of them
are reality! Come talk about some of the things
you see on the news today that you first read
about years ago in a book.
Philip Kaldon, Jason Sanford, Andrew Zimmerman Jones, 
Patrick S. Tomlinson, Brent Seth 



Note: Room map is from 2013. (Click on map for larger.)

Anyway, these are all fun panels to be on and I am very excited about my reading.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2012)
Now with Updated Almost-The- Final-Schedules and Room Maps!

Not this coming weekend, but the next. Back to the ConFusion -- Friday 16 January to Sunday 18 January 2015. The Doubletree Hotel Detroit/Dearborn?, 5801 Southfield Road, Detroit, MI 48228, is hosting for the third year.
Back to the ConFusion, the 41st ConFusion by name and 42nd annual January gathering (starting with the AA Realx-I-Con in 1974), is a go! 2015 looks to be an exciting year--it will be the year that Marty McFly really traveled to in Back to the Future II, whatever that Facebook meme says, so look out for those hoverboards, they must be right around the corner. (No, seriously, look out!) We're anticipating another excellent con, with the first-time appearance of author Karen Lord, researcher Dr. Cynthia Chestek, and gaming gurus Monte Cook & Shanna Germain. We'll also welcome back Heather Dale, now performing as our Music Guest of Honor. And then there's Aaron Thul, longtime fan and conrunner, returning after two years away as our Fan Guest of Honor. Please do join us, and we hope to see you there in January!
For some previews, I just discovered ConFusion has a cool Tumblr.

Six panels, moderating one -- and a reading! Now with panelists and rooms!

ConFusion Schedule for Dr. Phil Kaldon

Friday 6pm: Dearborn
Every Creature (Real and Fantastical) Poops
You may have read the book Everyone Poops, but it's 
so human-centric. What about mermaids, centaurs, 
and other fantastical creatures? Let's see if we can 
analogize from real species to arrive at a theory of 
fantastical pooping. (Caution: conversation may stray 
into food, sex and gestation.)
Rowena Cherry, Cindy Spencer Pape, Lucy Kennedy, 
Dr. Phil Kaldon

(Friday 7pm: Michigan - Big Top
Opening Ceremonies)

Friday 8pm: Warren
Ghosts of SyFy Past
Come reminisce about the actual science fiction SyFy
used to show, and talk about the network's plans to
get back to its science fiction roots.
Julie Winningham, Philip Kaldon, Aset, Steve Drew'

Saturday 10am: Dearborn 
Building a Better Dragon
No two writers imagine the same dragon. How would
yours be different? Flying, fire, temperament,
teeth: what makes a good dragon?
Christian Klaver, Philip Kaldon, Cinda Williams Chima, 
Steve Buchheit

Saturday 11am: Southfield 
Time Travel Devices, Doors, and Deus Ex Machinas
How to travel through time (in literature and media)	
Philip Kaldon, Ferrett Steinmetz, Andrew Zimmerman Jones, 
Laura Resnick
 
Saturday 4pm: Dearborn 
Time Travel (im)Possibilities
Would 1.21 gigawatts get the job done, or would
the flux capacitor even work? Time for our panelists
and audience to debunk our favorite time travel
devices in literature and popular media.
Bill Higgins, Philip Kaldon, Ron Collins, 
Andrew Zimmerman Jones 

Sunday 10am: Warren 
Tomlinson/Kaldon reading
Patrick S. Tomlinson and Philip Kaldon read from their works.
This will be the first public reading from
the opening chapters of The Lost Kingdom YA project
I am working on.  I had planned to read this at
WindyCon, but alas the weather kept us away from
Chicago in mid-November.  Their loss is your gain.

Sunday 11am: Erie 
Science or Science Fiction?
Science fiction novels continue to impress with
amazing technological advances in so many areas.
What's more impressive, though? That some of them
are reality! Come talk about some of the things
you see on the news today that you first read
about years ago in a book.
Philip Kaldon, Jason Sanford, Andrew Zimmerman Jones, 
Patrick S. Tomlinson, Brent Seth 



Note: Room map is from 2013. (Click on map for larger.)

Anyway, these are all fun panels to be on and I am very excited about my reading.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2009)
Not this coming weekend, but the next. Back to the ConFusion -- Friday 16 January to Sunday 18 January 2015. The Doubletree Hotel Detroit/Dearborn‎, 5801 Southfield Road, Detroit, MI 48228, is hosting for the third year.
Back to the ConFusion, the 41st ConFusion by name and 42nd annual January gathering (starting with the AA Realx-I-Con in 1974), is a go! 2015 looks to be an exciting year--it will be the year that Marty McFly really traveled to in Back to the Future II, whatever that Facebook meme says, so look out for those hoverboards, they must be right around the corner. (No, seriously, look out!) We're anticipating another excellent con, with the first-time appearance of author Karen Lord, researcher Dr. Cynthia Chestek, and gaming gurus Monte Cook & Shanna Germain. We'll also welcome back Heather Dale, now performing as our Music Guest of Honor. And then there's Aaron Thul, longtime fan and conrunner, returning after two years away as our Fan Guest of Honor. Please do join us, and we hope to see you there in January!
I had four panels and a reading, but they've given me two more panels, from Friday evening to Sunday noon. Including an important reveal -- see below...

Preliminary Schedule for Dr. Phil Kaldon


Friday 6pm: Every Creature (Real and Fantastical) Poops
You may have read the book Everyone Poops, but it's 
so human-centric. What about mermaids, centaurs, and 
other fantastical creatures? Let's see if we can 
analogize from real species to arrive at a theory 
of fantastical pooping. (Caution: conversation may 
stray into food, sex and gestation.)
Rowena Cherry, Cindy Spencer Pape, Lucy Kennedy, 
Dr. Phil Kaldon

(Friday 7pm: Opening Ceremonies)

Friday 8pm: Ghosts of SyFy Past
Come reminisce about the actual science fiction SyFy
used to show, and talk about the network's plans to
get back to its science fiction roots.
Update 12-19-2014: I asked and no, this 8pm panel
does NOT conflict with the Opening Ceremonies, which
are scheduled for 7pm. So you have no excuse not to
come to the so-called SyFy Channel fish fry... (grin)

Saturday 10am: Building a Better Dragon
No two writers imagine the same dragon. How would
yours be different? Flying, fire, temperament,
teeth: what makes a good dragon?

Saturday 11am: Time Travel Devices, Doors, 
and Deus Ex Machinas
How to travel through time (in literature and media)	
Ferrett Steinmetz, Andrew Zimmerman Jones, 
Laura Resnick, Dr. Phil Kaldon

(Saturday 3pm: Mass Autograph Session)

Saturday 4pm: Time Travel (im)Possibilities
Would 1.21 gigawatts get the job done, or would
the flux capacitor even work? Time for our panelists
and audience to debunk our favorite time travel
devices in literature and popular media.

Sunday 10am: Tomlinson/Kaldon reading
This will be the first public reading from
the opening chapters of The Lost Kingdom YA project
I am working on.  I had planned to read this at
WindyCon, but alas the weather kept us away from
Chicago in mid-November.  Their loss is your gain.

Sunday 11am: Science or Science Fiction?
Science fiction novels continue to impress with
amazing technological advances in so many areas.
What's more impressive, though? That some of them
are reality! Come talk about some of the things
you see on the news today that you first read
about years ago in a book.
No room assignments yet -- hopefully it won't be a LONG walk/roll from adjacent events. Anyway, these are all fun panels to be on and I am very excited about my reading.

I've said it before -- ConFusion is one of my favorite weekends of the year and I was gypped out of it last year. So if you can, please come on over!

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (dr-mrs-dr-phil-detcon-2014)
Thursday 17 July 2014

8pm Ambassador Salon 1


I like Opening Ceremonies because, (1) they introduce the major players in this cast of characters, some of whom I know and some of them I've never met or even seen before, and (2) I almost never get to Closing Ceremonies and have yet to make it to a Dead Dog Party at a con.

But that's me. My first impression is why don't more people attend, but of course that's the case and anyway, they usually put the Opening Ceremonies in a big space.


Our intrepid Toastmaster, Michigan author Jim C. Hines. Complete with his Impressive Author Leather Jacket and Magnificent Pimp Jim Hines purple hat with Flamboyant Feather action feature. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

No pictures of Jim's nemesis, Tom Smith. The angles were all wrong and all I could get in the viewfinder was the top hat...


Detcon1 Con Chair Tammy Coxen who is either relieved that it's all going to happen Right Now or is resigned to dealing with a train wreck. (grin) No, Tammy did an awesome job and helped me out with several matters. I think she's happy we're happy to be there. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Revealing the first ever Detcon1 Award for YA and Middle Grade Speculative Fiction. While WorldCon in London gets the Hugos and the Hugos debate whether YA is worthy of having an award. So there, ph-bbbbt! (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Jim graciously offering to hold and safeguard the YA Award. Funny, John Scalzi tried the same trick as Toastmaster at Chicon 7 with the Hugo two years ago... Not sure Tammy is buying it. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Guest of Honor Nnedi Okarafor. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Author GoH Steven Barnes channeling a Rodney Dangerfield joke -- no really! (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


A moment of levity with Science GoH Helen Greiner. I really like this picture, but worry that it's too demure, so... (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


...if you think that's not properly respectful for the CEO of iRobot, makers of the Roomba and many more exciting Real Life Robots, here's a more serious, more traditional and (sigh) more boring shot. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Video Game Special Guest Jon Davis, who hasn't burned out in the industry and has one helluva resume -- and I don't even play video games! (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Musical Guests of Honor Brenda Sutton... (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


... and Bill Sutton. Because each needs to be featured in a good light. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


A perfectly dreadful picture of Artist GoH John Picacio, who was talking so passionately about his expansive new work Loteria. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

There were several other Guests of Honor of note, but they were all presented on the main floor and were frankly not high enough for me to get anything decent. So soon to the start of Detcon and after a drive across the state and a "long" walk to get the wheelchair, I resisted the urge to stand up and get better angles. For the good of my foot.

So I leave you with:

Toastmaster Jim C. Hines shooting a selfie with Detcon1. See? We're all waving. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


We're over there on the right, about an inch or so to the right of the border. See, I told you that awesome hat was purple.
©2014 Jim C. Hines (All Rights Reserved)

And now I had to head back up to 3814 to start writing my story for my Friday noon reading.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: Dr Phil Confusion 2013 (dr-phil-confusion-2013)
WisCon 38, May 23-26, 2014 / SFRA Conference, May 22-24, 2014.
Madison Concourse Hotel, Madison WI.
Memorial Day weekend.

I'll be attending my third WisCon this year, after a nine year absence. WisCon is the world's first feminist science fiction con and features panels and discussions you just don't always see.

I am on three panels and a reading:
Saturday 24 May 2014
8:30-9:30
SPONTANEOUS WRITING CONTEST


4. The 1st 8 people on the list who are physically present at the WisCon (not the hotel's) registration desk (2nd floor of the Concourse Hotel) at 8:30 AM on Saturday morning (for example, #s 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 11, and 12) will be the contestants.

5. Each contestant will get a USB flash drive which contains a single RTF (rich-text format) document. That document will contain a few lines of dialog. Your task is to load the document onto your computer, construct a story that incorporates the supplied dialog, save it back to the flash drive, also as an RTF document, and turn it in within 60 minutes. We'll take care of printing them out.

Food, Glorious Food
1:00-2:15 pm Caucus

Catherine Krahe(M), Matt Austern, Penny Hill, Philip Edward Kaldon, Rich McAllister
In our lived lives food of our cultural background, or our ancestors, plays a significant part of our sense of home and cultural identity. Who are the writers who integrate details of food with an eye toward cultural specificity and diversity in their speculative fiction? What is the significance of food in stories? What is its function? How does this inclusion affect the world/setting of the story?

Sunday 25 May 2014
The Corporation as Character in Science Fiction
8:30-9:45 am Senate A

Marguerite Reed (M), Alex Gurevich, Chip Hitchcock, Philip Edward Kaldon, Catherine Lundoff
Science fiction, particularly in films, is full of corporations with evil or morally ambiguous intent: Yoyodyne, Terrell Corp, Umbrella Corp, the list is nearly endless. They may be represented by a single villainous character or by numerous faceless functionaries, but what the viewer remembers / is presented with is the corporation itself as the villain. Is that enough to make the corporation an entity, a "person," in their own right? Are corporations inherently evil? Or simply amoral? How has the depiction of the corporation changed in SF? Is it different in anime or manga, comics, written SF vs media SF? Where do we see that image of the corporation going in the near future?

Fashions of the Future
2:30–3:45 pm Conference 5

Jenny Sessions (M), Lucy Adlington, Philip Edward Kaldon, Rebecca Maines, Heather McDougal
Would there be humans in space without zippers and Velcro? Captain Picard wore a spandex corset under his Enterprise uniform because Gene Roddenberry decreed there should be no unseemly bulges in space. How do sci-fi clothes reflect contemporary fashions and social prejudices? Shiny jumpsuits, micro-mini dresses, tribal robes and spacesuits… let's explore how gender/race/status/exoticism are shown through the clothes and uniforms of sci-fi past and present, from 19th century images of "deep-sea diver" spacewear to NASA-inspired outfits, plus more fantastical sci-fantasy creations. Are we seeing inventive or derivative clothes in sci-fi films/TV shows? Is there still a routine overt sexualisation of female spacewear? How might emerging textile technologies affect future human space travel and off-Earth colonisation?

Monday 26 May 2014
Twists and Turns (Readings)
10:00-11:15 am Conference 2

Carrie L. Ferguson, Philip Edward Kaldon, Lucas James Pralle, Zora M. Quynh
Four authors of diverse genres. Life, death, after death, multiverse, getting a date on a starship and the stories we tell children. The only common theme? Some of the stories have protagonists named Lily. Come for the melange, stay for the stories.
The full schedule is here.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-in-person)
So after the 4pm panel, I took a seat next to the walkway to another tower. Fired up the Kindle and sent some emails. Saw a Facebook message from Al Bogdan saying he was at Penguicon. Alas, he hadn't kept up with my posts and didn't know I was coming. Too late now.

On the way out...

The Gaming Room was set up in the airy, bright lobby lounge. What a great idea. Almost made me wish I had time to find a game of Cards Against Humanity or something fun. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


One last, fond look at Penguicon -- or at least that Delorean. (grin) (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


And then into the sunshine and out on the open road. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

You can only be at one session at a time. And I wasn't doing the whole weekend this year. So I missed some things. Funny to think I was at a Linux/SF con and never made it to any Linux sessions, though I did get to a VR technology session and 1½ sessions on metallurgy.

One last comment. There were a couple of transgender and LGBTQ sessions, which alas conflicted with other things I wanted to see. But I felt like there was a welcoming atmosphere at Penguicon. I know, I know, don't judge books by covers and don't assume you know what others are experiencing. But at the two Penguicons I've been to, it's been a diverse crowd. Not just hackers and Linuxheads, not just the usual SF/F suspects -- there's a strong artistic bent, too, and a really wide range of people and dress and costumes. There was an older guy in a Tron suit -- lit up blue lines and everything. Older guy, someone's father, with a mustache. And another woman, who -- forgive me -- I swear was a cross-dressing man. What got me was that everyone was having a good time and no one cared.

Whether it's progress or not, I think it says something about 2014, the SF/F/Linux community and the unique annual madness that is Penguicon. Now if the 2015 con isn't during Grading Week...

Dr. Phil

WisCon

Saturday, 10 May 2014 00:08
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2009)
WisCon 38, May 23-26, 2014 / SFRA Conference, May 22-24, 2014. Madison WI. Memorial Day weekend.

I'll be attending my third WisCon this year, after a nine year absence. WisCon is the world's first feminist science fiction con and features panels and discussions you just don't always see.

I am on three panels and a reading -- I'll update with a schedule Real Soon Now.

But in the WisCon eCube Vol. 38 No. 8 status report, there was a fun item:
SPONTANEOUS WRITING CONTEST

4. The 1st 8 people on the list who are physically present at the WisCon (not the hotel's) registration desk at 8:30 AM on Saturday morning (for example, #s 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 11, and 12) will be the contestants.

5. Each contestant will get a USB flash drive which contains a single RTF (rich-text format) document. That document will contain a few lines of dialog. Your task is to load the document onto your computer, construct a story that incorporates the supplied dialog, save it back to the flash drive, also as an RTF document, and turn it in within 60 minutes. We'll take care of printing them out.
What fun! My first panel on Saturday is after noon, so I can spend an hour writing in the morning. I love these sorts of things. Some of you may remember that I was on the Iron Chef flash fiction panel at Chicon 7, the 2012 WorldCon. Came in second, behind an award nominated author. (wry-grin)

Anyway, I registered for the contest. Got #1. An omen? Perchance, perhaps.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-in-person)
Worst part about maneuvering through the throngs of people was the edge between tile and carpeted floor. It was thick enough that the lead wheel on the walker mostly missed the jump up. Annoying, as the edge was curved in an arc and had to be traversed several times to get through people.

I didn't try bellowing RAMMING SPEED! to see who got out of the way.

1400 How Did We Get Cool? The SFF Explosion on Screen Windover
Ernie Cline, Sean M. Davis, Michael Cieslak, Nicole Castle, Jim Leach, John Scalzi
--In a world where some of the most watched shows deal with SFF themes or have been adapted from SFF material (Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, The Avengers et. al.) where does the "mainstream" line get drawn? Why is it suddenly acceptable for the SFF genre to be viewed? Has this translated over to the written word? Side question: why has mystery always been more or less accepted but SFF is a more recent explosion?

I came back into Windover just about 2pm. Alas, the obvious parking places for a bulky Dr. Phil and his widebody 777 of walkers were taken. So I wheeled up front, hoping to adjust a chair in the second row when someone graciously insisted I take the right side first row seat, where I could put my walker in front of me, out of the way.

Previously I had found that people were generous with space to a man with a cane. A walker? Man, you could write your ticket if you were a jerk -- I was just grateful. And happy to be able to be there at all.


Scalzi is an amusing host and an effective, if a bit hyper moderator. Pretty much ran a tight ship, trying to give everyone on a large panel time and reining in the talkative Ernie Cline. (grin) For a man who in the past has been obsessed with Coke Zero, what WAS in that green bottle with the label removed? Diet Dew? Well, it IS a LINUX Open Source con in part, and Mountain Dew IS the programmer's choice. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


A shared moment of levity. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Nichole Castle is an English professor. She's about to teach a course in the fall where the reading list is The Hunger Games and The Handmaid's Tale. Oooh COOL! Which is, I suppose, the point of this panel. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Jim Leach pointed out he has a philosophy degree to counter Nichole's English degree. Here he pleads his case on a point to Scalzi, who I should point out was a philosophy major at The University of Chicago, so can hold his own, when not being amusing or charming. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Ernie Cline excitedly talking about everything. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

1500 Why Do We Love The 80s? Windover
Ernie Cline, Ferrett Steinmetz, Angie Rush
--Our GoH Ernie Cline discusses the Greatest Decade Ever, its role in his creative work, and why we still have a soft spot for it, 30 years later.


Ernie made it back in time (grin), having run out just before the panel because of some pictures with his Delorean. (double-grin) I wonder if I could even FIT in the driver seat of a Delorean. Anyway, the author of Ready Player One was talking about his growing up in the 80s, ages 7-17, and how he thought only people from the 80s would love his book. Instead, kids today read it as an ebook with a browser open to pick up all the references. Ah, living in the future. And Ernie talks with his hands. (double-handed-grin) (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


I hadn't taken any audience shots, partly, as you could see here, I was still fighting the lighting. Partly because with my mobility issues, hard to turn around. All the panels I went to were well attended. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

1600 What About The Happily Ever After? Hamlin
Jim Leach, Ferrett Steinmetz
--There was an insane Internet reaction to the Red Wedding from those who were watching Game of Thrones but hadn't read it (to the reader's delight). Is this indicative of an expectation among television and movie audiences that established characters survive? Has Hollywood created the expectation of a happy ending, even in the harshest of fictional environments? Is it more acceptable to kill off a character in print? How do these expectations differ amongst genre fiction?

Up to the second floor for the last session of the day for me -- I figured 5-ish was a good starting time for the drive home. Keep it mostly in daylight.

So... Game of Thrones Red Wedding episode on HBO, ending Season 3 as I understand things, was the Wedding Guests From Hell. Sort of like the evil emperor in Heavy Metal, "The boy dies, the girl dies, everybody dies. Die, die, die." Or something like that.

Do we need happily ever after? (I am NOT going to say, "Do we need happy endings?" Nope. Not going there.)


Small room, Jim Leach and Ferrett Steinmetz sitting comfortably apart, kicking back and having a great late afternoon panel. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Though the panel wasn't all about Game of Thrones, the majority of the audience was familiar with books, show, both -- or in my case, much of the buzz and at that point, half of book one. (grin) Ferrett warned that there'd be spoilers abound -- we had been warned.


Ferrett making a point, while munching a cookie, looked like. He asked two questions at different times. First, how many were upset that Joffrey bought it in the Purple Wedding at the opening of Season 4? No hands raised. Uh-huh. Second, how many people think George RR Martin is going to neatly finish the series -- books or TV? Zero. Oh, interesting. (Click on photo for larger***.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

And then it was time to hit the bathroom, then the road. After hours in dark rooms, the sun was pouring into the west glass wall of the front of the Westin.

Dr. Phil

*** Ferrett had posted that his pretty princess nails for Penguicon were awesome -- they were Spiderman. And they were. Enlarged grainy/noisy B&W doesn't do them justice. (grin)
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-in-person)
Other than driving to work, which isn't trivial in my case, especially with THIS winter, the day trip to Southfield MI was my first long solo drive and my first con in over a year. Thing is, I have the typical-photographer's lament -- never any pictures of me -- so one goal I had was to publish a Proof of Life photo.

My usual photographer, 2004 Clarion and 2008 WOTF friend Al Bogdan, wasn't around. Turned out later he WAS at Penguicon, but he apparently didn't bother to read my blog saying I was planning to come and I'd asked if he was. And we never spotted each other. Thwarted.

So before I left the Cory Doctorow reading, I asked the guy nearest to me if he'd mind taking my picture.


It's always tough to hand a camera off to a random stranger and hope the settings and automation can handle it. I've mentioned the harsh lighting conditions and there were ceiling spot lights over my row and I was all the way up to 1/100th of a second, so you have this wide dynamic range, an early professional DSLR ramped up two stops beyond the highest normal ISO setting. The result clearly shows Dr. Phil, but it's a little harsh. I tried to tilt up the hat so as to not mask my eyes, but I couldn't NOT have a hat on at a con! Back in the day of wet photography, I'd be masking and dodging -- I'm not trying to do that in Ulead PhotoImpact. (grin) (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

One thing I didn't see in either the lovely main program or the compact session and grid schedules was any mention of hotel WiFi. I had thought of powering up haiku on Friday, our Verizon pay-as-you-go credit card sized 3G hot spot, but decided against it. And I couldn't remember if the Westin Southfield's website had said free WiFi or not. And of course, checking the webpage was out... (grin)

I'd thrown the Kindle Fire HD into my messenger bag, leaving it in airplane mode. So in between morning sessions, I'd turned on the WiFi, selected the Westin site -- and the signal indicator still had an X in it. Must be a paid WiFi. Sigh.

So after Cory's reading and wresting with the stiff spring on the door to the restroom with two handicapped stalls -- I am learning SO much about how "good" ADA compliance is -- I decided to stop by Ops and ask about the WiFi situation. Nick at Ops was super on top of things.

If I hadn't been on the WiFi settings screen, I might have realized that the hotel just had the usual sort of Terms of Use gateway page. Just hadn't been out in public with the Kindle much. (grin)


Nick went for the dramatic pose and up tight on him at 24mm (35mm FX equivalent), the wide angle made for a decent image. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

I had two more questions for Nick. Do you always wear a suit? Yes. I wasn't trying to insult him, but at most cons I've been to, someone in a neat suit coat works for the hotel -- it was very chic and professional in appearance. Second, is that a Burning Man lapel pin? YES.

Turns out Nick runs the Burning Man Post Office. Come the end of August, you can send mail to Burning Man at ZIP+4 Code 89412-0149. Really. How cool is that? I promised to send him a postcard.

Anyway, armed with new information, I sought lunch. Now when I came in I passed a bar set up in the front walkway connecting the lobby with the first floor conference rooms. At 1:15pm it was getting busy. A small sheet in front of one unit said it was a Bar and Grille, then listed a few items like hot dogs. With prices in Tickets.

Now I can understand that in the chaos of uneven demand loads, not handling money is clever, especially considering how dirty money is. But folks, if you're going to charge tickets, you need to make it obvious where you're going to BUY tickets. And in the crush of people, navigating with the wide body 777 of walkers, I couldn't see said money exchange point, nor any signs directing me to same and I wasn't going to randomly wander.

Next up -- I did see a kiosk with a sign proclaiming they served Starbucks coffee and Boar's Head Meat sandwiches. Now we're talking. The sign out front said a roast beef sandwich with avocado was $4.95 or so. Great. Except on Saturday they weren't doing sandwich service. I guess they were being smart, by not competing with the grille right outside the door. But would it hurt to put up a sign saying No Sandwich Service today? Hell, for all I know, maybe the person behind the counter who said no sandwiches today sold Tickets. (evil-grin)

So, third attempt at lunch -- the hotel restaurant. Now there were signs pointing out that Gaming and Paint-and-Take, or something like that, had swapped space and the latter was now in the restaurant. Hopefully that was just PART of the restaurant. (hungry-grin) Anyway, the restaurant was open and it was pretty slammed. And here I was with a walker and wanting a table for one.

I pointed out a free table for two in the middle along an angled wall to the step-up level, with enough open space that me and my walker could be reasonably out of the way. From the posted menu outside, I already knew what I wanted -- the cheeseburger, no onions, Coke and fries with sea salt. Not cheap, but comfortable and out of the lobby chaos.

Opened up the Kindle Fire HD to send Mrs. Dr. Phil an email saying I'd arrived safely and all. Decided to send a Proof of Life photo from the Kindle:

This is where the previously posted picture of Dr. Phil and the antennaed hostess come in -- shot on my Kindle Fire HD.
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

And by the time lunch was done, it was time to scurry off to the 2pm session.

The restaurant staff was slammed and cheerful, and the food was great. I left them a nice tip. Always want to encourage the con hotel. (satisfied-grin)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-in-person)
One complaint I would have with Penguicon, was that there were differences between the online spreadsheet schedule and the printed schedule. And the session descriptions weren't keyed to the schedule. In other words, the Linux open source and SF con didn't update their server.

But... my prelabs from home had enough in common to get me started. Having pulled in at 9:19am, got out the walker, the shorter four-point cane with the hooked handle that stays put on the roll bar better, grabbed camera bag, day bag, keys, etc. Once inside, the registration line was short and I was on my way.

0900 Adventures in Metallurgy Algonquin D
Ron Demerino
--What does the CIA have in common with dinosaur extinction? They have a great metallurgical story behind them! Come hear some great stories from Professor Ron, followed by Q&A.
1000 Harrowing Tales in Metallurgy Algonquin D
--Christmas Interruptus? Narcs on a bus? (Nope! They are engineers) Professor Ron relates more great tales from his career, followed by Q&A.


Ron Demerino holding Metallurgy class - "If you were in my class you'd know..." (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

In both sessions, there were (a) a number of Michigan Tech grads, as was Ron, and (b) a bunch of his former students. Of course, I did grad school at Tech, but many of you don't know that when I started grad school there wasn't yet a PhD in Applied Physics, so I did take courses and flunked the PhD qual exam for the PhD in Metallurgy (Physics of Solids option).


2nd session had great stories. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

One of his stories involved the overtorquing of bolts. He explained why tire irons are so short and whether anyone ever used the right tool. I, of course, raised my hand. When I bought the Suburban in 1979, the manual said tire lug nuts needed to be torqued to 100 ft-lbs, so I bought a Sears Craftsman Digitorq socket wrench. Really impressed Ron. Even more so, I told the tale of the breaker bar that I saw a mechanic use on an oil filter wrench. Torque = Force × radius. Lesson taught, lesson learned.

Ah, these are my people... (grin)

1100 Virtual Reality: Fact vs Fiction Windover
Ernie Cline, Ed Mason
--With the Oculus Rift being bought by media giant Facebook, the cautionary tales of science fiction seem closer than ever to reality. Join authors Ernie Cline and John Scalzi, and Android VR creator Gameface Labs, as they talk about where our communal virtual fantasy is headed.

One of the first books I read in the hospital after I was ready to concentrate on books, was Ready Player One by Ernie Cline. I knew he was a GoH at Penguicon and this was his first talk.


Ed and Ernie squaring off. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Lest you think the computer end of VR was neglected, Ed Mason of Gameface held up his end with (1) a charming British accent and (2) hardware to show off.

There was a lot of discussion of the history of video games and how VR setups would change how we see movies. Not sure I care about those uses, but VR is coming and it's cool tech.


They passed around the Gameface set twice -- once with a CGI scene and another with a vista over a parking lot crowd at an event. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Move your head, side to side, up and down, and the view changes. This new VR helmet/goggles is wireless, which really makes the lightweight thing work pretty good.


One big obstacle is GLASSES. It's not enough to have a diopter adjustment -- my astigmatism means that circles aren't circular without correction and I HATE THAT in graphics. You can also see the awful lighting conditions I was shooting under. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Afterwards, Ed Mason was quite a hit -- he showed that the one thing on the front wasn't a button, but a peephole cover. Someone said there should be two -- Ed said coming. They are looking at a release in September 2014 at a $500 price point. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

1200 A Special Reading By Cory Doctorow Windover
--A sneak peek at an untitled, in-progress novel for adults, that is something of a prequel to Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, in the vein of Makers. You’ll be the first people apart from Cory himself to come into contact with this material!

I have not read Down and Out, but the reading from the first chapter of a new novel, a century or so before, is delightful. Such words! Such images painted. It's called Utopia, and he's been writing a thousand words/day over the last month. Never been read aloud or even reread by Cory.

Penguicon runs a bit looser on time than other cons, so Cory wanted to wait a bit before reading, so did Q&A before and after. I got the first question -- a continuation of a question I asked Cory at a kaffeklatch at another con a few years ago. What's the status of Cory's xkcd balloon? Randall has never created any fantasy bigger than the thought of Cory blogging from a balloon. He's terrified of heights, pinned against the wall on the open air observation deck of the Empire State Building -- and a wicker basket under a balloon is nothing but the ledge over a great height. (double-jeopardy-grin)


Also here.


Q&A: Are you a plotter or a panster? I'm a heuristic writer. Need the rush. Once wrote 80,000 words into /bin/usr/god (the perfect titles for a Linux/SF con) and got stuck. Tried to write more scaffolding by outlining -- couldn't get back on to it. Only project never finished. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Once video cameras were used to shoot video. Now increasingly people are shooting video with DSLR and other digital still cameras. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

And then it was 1pm -- time to wander.

Dr. Phil

Penguicon 12.0

Monday, 5 May 2014 02:10
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-in-person)
And as promised... some pictures.

So, Saturday I drove across the width of Michigan to get to Penguicon 12 for a day. Just over three hours there and just under three hours back -- I gassed in the morning at "the usual" gas station, BP in Portland at Exit 77 on I-96. For some reason, i.e. I don't know Detroit as well as I'd like, I keep thinking Southfield should be on the south side, by Dearborn or Detroit Metro Airport. Instead, it's an easy drive, I-96 to I-696 to M-10 to 10 Mile Road. The last time I was on the M-10, it was all bombed out. Now it's beautiful, new concrete. Smooth and 70 mph. That's a relief since they're usuing M-10 as a detour around a major section of I-96 they're ripping apart and rebuilding this summer.

Off the highway, cross over, make a funky pair of RIGHT turns around a triangular intersection to make a LEFT turn, and we're there.

The Westin Southfield was the con hotel. I could see it nestled between some tall buildings. The handicapped spots directly by the main entrance were full, but from the Google satellite view, I knew there were more a little further on. No problem -- except there wasn't a great ramp to get the walker up the curb.

How did I know I was at the right hotel? Easy, there's a familiar stainless steel silhouette parked out front...

Ernie Cline's Ghostbusters Back to the Future Delorean. I think there's some Buckaroo Bonzai thrown in there, too. Ernie is the author of Ready Player One. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

I eventually sent Mrs. Dr. Phil an email, as I sat down to lunch. So I decided to include a picture. It's easy to snap yourself with the Kindle Fire HD and upload to Gmail. Just as I was about to snap the picture, there was a flash of light purple behind me. The restaurant's hostess had fuzzy antennae -- I called her back and she happily joined my picture.


I am always amused that the screen can flash bright white for a flash in dim lighting. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

And the lighting WAS dim. The Westin Southfield was the darkest, most unevenly lit con hotel I've ever been in. I normally shoot the Nikon D1H with the 24-120mm f3.5-5.6G VR AF-NIKKOR at ISO 1600 in B&W mode at cons. The results are grainy, but in a way that looks like the old 35mm 1600 ASA Kodak 2475 High Speed Recording Film. But that wasn't enough. I had to boost two more stops to the HI-2 custom setting -- reminds me of the UO Unsafe Optimization setting on the FTN FORTRAN compiler for the CDC-6600 back at Northwestern -- which makes horrible color photos. Thankfully, I'm shooting black & white, and so ISO 6400 can be made to work.


Cory Doctorow waiting for his computer to boot before his noon reading. Shot wide open at 120mm f5.6 (180mm FX equivalent) and STILL I could only get 1/25th of a second shutter speed. Thankfully the D1H is stable and heavy, and the Nikon VR Vibration Reduction is pretty amazing. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

And then it was time to go home.

Backed down to ISO 200. Cline drives his Delorean all over -- note the Texas plates. I asked him if it was an original or one of the "new" ones built from leftover parts. It's an original. How does it drive? Surprisingly well. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

On the way in, the rains were pretty much gone -- 2 or 3 times I had to put the delay wipers on the lowest setting, and I had to use the washer a couple of times since the rain wasn't heavy enough to wash off the dust from newly plowed fields.

Westbound it was windy and in the 50s, but the big puffy clouds blocked the bright sun most of the time. Clear roads, little traffic.

This is about twenty minutes into the drive, so it's probably I-96 not I-696. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2014 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

I had no troubles driving and it felt good. Heck, I didn't even put on the radio all day. I am so glad I made it to Penguicon this year, even if it wasn't even for a whole day.

More anon...

Dr. Phil

Live From Penguicon

Saturday, 3 May 2014 13:40
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-in-person)
The Plan worked. Out the door at 0610 hours and made it to Penguicon by 0919.

Got here no problem. About to have lunch -- the lady with the fuzzy colored antennae is the hostess -- I will post pictures later. (grin)

Cory Doctorow's reading was superb. The Ready Player One author is a HOOT. His Ghostbusters Delorean -- I have pictures -- is parked outside the hotel's main entrance.

Ferrett and Scalzi this afternoon.

Later!

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: Dr Phil Confusion 2013 (dr-phil-confusion-2013)
As the Spring 2014 semester runs down -- Final was given yesterday, Final handed off to grader today, the last quiz I had to grade myself just entered into the spreadsheet, the Check-Out form data entered this morning, just down to grading the Topic 1 papers at home and the Topic 2 worksheets at the office on Friday and Monday -- and the weather being pretty outside, I am impatiently champing at the bit for summer to arrive.

While I can't do everything, and I won't overdo it, I do intend to make up for the Year Without A Summer and do some driving and take some photographs, clean up some piles around the house and Do Some Writing! And along the way, something popped up on the radar.

Way back in 2012, I was invited to be a Nifty Guest by the Science Track at Penguicon -- what has to be the only SF and Open Source con in the world (grin) -- as well as invited to do panels on the Literary Track. Alas, Penguicon that year was over Grading Weekend, when all hell breaks loose at my house. So, couldn't do it.

I've been around since Penguicon began. It was at my first or second ConFusion, way back at the old-old hotel, that people were putting Penguicon 1 together. Must have been 2003, unless there was a gap in their run. But it was scheduled for February and ConFusion was in January and I couldn't see chancing driving across the state twice in one winter. A shame really.

John Scalzi wrote about the Forever (War) Tea Party panel as a Nifty Guest at Penguicon 4 back in April 2006, where they managed to move the con from darkest, coldest, dangerous February to Grading Weekend. Again, I couldn't go.

But I did make it to Penguicon 7 in May 2009, when like this year, it came the first weekend in May and not the last weekend in April. I did a couple of panels, took some pictures -- and apparently never got around to blogging about it. Hmmm... I shall have to rectify that. This was the con where I famously arranged NOT to be on a panel with Wil Wheaton. (double-edged-grin)

So Penguicon 2014, which would be Penguicon 12 by my accounting, falls on 2-4 May 2014. And while I cannot yet reliably wrestle a shoe onto my AFO by myself, and I don't quite think Mrs. Dr. Phil is up for another con so early in the "summer" which means no wild hotel weekend for me, it IS possible to do a daytrip to the Westin in Southfield MI. I have been doing up to three hours of driving a day all semester, but will have to do longer trips to Madison, Indianapolis and Detroit this summer, so consider this a prelab experience. In the "old days" I did daytrips to MIAAPT conferences on the east side of the state twice a year, so it is doable. And given my early rise-to-road Saturday just the other week for this year's MIAAPT meeting at WMU, it is even more doable, methinks.

In other words -- I am planning to make it to the Saturday 3 May 2014 day of Penguicon 2014. I first hatched this plan a while ago, but decided not to push things and try to get on panels. That can come another year. There's a reading by Cory Doctorow at noon, no doubt it will be swamped, but maybe they'll let in a poor feeble old man with a walker and a four-footed cane... (grin)

Anyone else planning to go to Penguicon? Al? Ferrett? Beuhler?

Love to meet up with anybody.

I am back in the world, after all.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: Dr Phil Confusion 2013 (dr-phil-confusion-2013)
Friday 18 January 2013
8:00p
Michigan


After my 7pm panel upon arriving and checking into ConFusion, I did a quick run through Registration -- and then on to the Opening Ceremonies.


Con Chair Lucy Kennedy. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


And Programming Chair Dave Klecha, helping out with introductions, up until the introductees started taking over. (grin) (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Guest of Honor Mary Robinette Kowal and Science Guest of Honor Jennifer Ouellette. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Mary was invited as SF/F writer and professional puppeteer, and then there was no time for doing puppetry. Dave Klecha said he invited her just to have her tell the story of The Worst Puppet Show Ever, which she did. And required the rocket to her Hugo award as a prize -- that Hugo rocket got a lot of workouts at ConFusion!


Guest of Honor Charlie Stross -- with Hugo demonstrator Mary. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Subterranean Press Guests Maria Dahvana Headley and Kat Howard whooping it up at the fun of being invited. And asking for and getting... (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


... their escorts. Security maybe? (multiple-grins) (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Then I went by Ops and got my name plate sign for my panels -- it turned out it was hidden inside another sign which was why it wasn't at Registration -- hit up the ConSuite for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Then up to the room to work.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: Dr Phil Confusion 2013 (dr-phil-confusion-2013)
No Ferrett at ConFusion 2013

Some of you may know author Ferrett Steinmetz. I've run into him at cons for a couple of years and have been reading his blog and some of his stories for a while. Neat person, comments on all sorts of things. Last year I shared a reading with Ferrett (DW) which was a lot of fun.

And then about a week ago, Ferrett posted that he hadn't felt well and headed off to the ER. Heart attack -- triple bypass.

At my reading with Mary Turzillo this year, Mary brought a bag of various nail polishes. Ferrett had posted that people do "pretty princess nails" and send him pictures. No, I didn't do it -- I have a phobia about ink/paint/stains on me. But Steve Buchheit looked over the scarlet red polish, but finally decided to do a couple of nails in gold glitter, a coating of which Mary had done, too.

So naturally I took pictures -- in black & white. (grin)


Steve Buchheit showing off his efforts. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


Mary's sparkly nails. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Elsewhere At ConFusion

Have a slice of pi, Ferrett. (irrational-grin)

I'm assuming that this was an art installation on the wood frame around the raised central lobby bar area -- lovely calligraphy of Pi and hand written... (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


... for 20 or 30 feet! (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Then there was Al Bogdan's photo shoot for Jim Hine's charity fundraiser, involving Jim, John Scalzi, Mary Robinette Kowal, Patrick Rothfuss and Charles Stross trying to recreate a real book cover with impossible poses:

Here's the photo.


And the mocked up cover. (Click on photo for larger.)


Of course the big reveal was scheduled for 3pm -- RIGHT DURING MY READING. So when Jim Hines came to the 4pm panel we were on, he came bearing one of the signed prints, which I had him model for me. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

So this page is for Ferrett. Enjoy the fun.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: Dr Phil Confusion 2013 (dr-phil-confusion-2013)
Al Bogdan

Al and I keep doing dueling photographs at various places. As we sat in the corridor outside the ConSuite -- I was heading back to the room and the corridor, ConSuite and bank of three elevators all form a sort of chokepoint in the Doubletree -- I squeezed off a couple of shots. Though Vibration Reduction has greatly increased the odds of me getting pictures in all these low-light, available-light situations, autofocus efficiency is low and besides, with slow lenses and dim light you can't always keep track of whether you've got a nice facial expression.

Al was griping about the latter. Something about it being too easy to turn such multiple shots into animation. So I assured him, that if that was the case, I'd create an animated GIF for him. And the rest of the world.


Al Animated -- just because I can...
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

But here's a little reunion of the 2004 Clarion gang -- me behind the camera, Al and Sarah Gibbons.

Sarah and Al sitting in corridor chokepoint outside the ConSuite. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Sarah Gibbons

Sarah was our "copy girl". A grad student who slaved over the Clarion copier at MSU and turning our 115 stories and 385,562 words of deathless SF/F prose into reams of copies for the 18 writers, staff, archives and all the instructors. A very thankless and necessary task.


I kept running into, and running by, Sarah Gibbons -- so I finally stopped to get a picture, so I could mention that I saw her here at ConFusion. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


After Sunday's "SF Radio" performance, Patrick Rothfuss signs one of Sarah's books. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2012)
The Long Day

Four of my five panels, plus my reading, were all today. Pretty much only did my sessions, plus meeting people. Very satisfying day -- I mean, somebody has to help provide the content for all the people here. Passing the Registration desk today, I asked and found that we're over 800 here at Immortal ConFusion 2013.

Still not impressed with the new hotel, but I'll save it all for a good rant afterwards.

Saturday 19 January 2013
11:00a
Dearborn
Doing It Wrong... On Purpose
Story trumps all; sometimes research takes a backseat, anachronism becomes expedience, and logic needs to curl up next to physics and cry. What have authors deliberately done wrong to further the story? Do they have favorite examples of such? How does one do something "wrong" right? (Dr. Phil Kaldon, Holly McDowell, James Davis Nicoll (M), Laurie Gailunas, Ron Collins)

Lively discussion on the things we have to do for story. So are you "allowed" one impossible thing in a story before you lose your readers? Two? (grin) (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)


The room wasn't completely full, so technically it wasn't Standing Room Only, but there was some crowding over by the door. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

And... A Balloon T.A.R.D.I.S. and a Dalek? (Yesterday someone had put a folded paper crane on the Dalek's plunger arm -- hee-hee.)

The balloon artist was funded by ConFusion -- as was the grant to build the Dalek the other year and require the builders to bring the Dalek for a couple of years. The laptop by the T.A.R.D.I.S. shows the balloon artist building it in Fast Forward. A little annoyed that I must've been fooled by the leaning T.A.R.D.I.S., so the picture isn't quite level. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

More coming.

Dr. Phil

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