Stone of Remembrance

February 28, 2007

Chicago 2012?

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 14:30

Worldcon sites are determined by the votes of fans and other members of the sf/f community. Last year’s selection of Denver for the 2008 Worldcon caught a lot of folks by surprise, especially the committee for the presumptive favorite, Chicago.

After the vote in Los Angeles the Chicago folks were a bit depressed; encountering them over the last several months at various cons, they looked nothing if not exhausted (and not at all envious of the folks from Kansas City and Montréal, who are competing for the 2009 bid (to be decided by attendees in Japan and by mail and e-mail this summer).

As a presupporter of the Chicago bid, I of course received nothing (though the Denver committee will receive help from the losing bids). Still, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a “valentine” postcard from the Chicago 2008 Committee:

Greetings, Chicago Worldcon supporter!

We just wanted to let you know how much we love you.

As you may have heard, by the slimmest margin in Wordcon history, Denver was selected over Chicago as the site of the 2008 Worldcon . . . We’re saddened that we won’t be able to host you in 2008, but you made our journey fun and something we’ll never forget.

. . . As with many great stories, endings also bring new beginning. While this notice to you is the final act of our bid for the 2008 Worldcon, we also bring you news of the future. . . We have decided to launch a new bid and will be campaigning to bring the 2012 Worldcon home.

Fandom marches on. So best of luck to the Chicago folks: I ate a lot of Chi-town hot dogs, met a lot of great people, and hope to attend a Chicago Worldcon sometime in the future.

xkcd Revisited

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 10:08

I read a few different web comics, including xkcd, which its author Randall Munroe describes as “a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language.” It’s on my blogroll.

As most of you have probably forgotten, I blame Eric Raymond for having pulled me into the blogosphere most of a year ago. He’s not posted much to his own blog for awhile, but I’ve been laboring away. This morning I was looking at xkcd and came across this beaut, which takes a little poke at ESR.

This comic is funny sometimes and sometimes not, though folks without the geek gene don’t seem to get it at all. Still, the idea of Richard Stallman with a samurai sword waiting for Microsoft ninjas is pretty funny . . .

If you read the comic, make sure to hover your mouse over the image – there’s always an extra message there. This one reads, “Later we’ll dress up as oil thugs and jump Ralph Nader.”

Vita brevis, ars longa. As they say.

February 25, 2007

Watch Deval

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 10:03

The Governor’s Pimped-out Ride

A few months ago we managed to elect Deval Patrick as our Governor here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I confess that I did not choose Mr. Patrick to lead us – though I wasn’t a big fan, I cast my vote for Kerry Healey, Mitt Romney’s Lieutenant-Governor. Our new executive won in a 21-point landslide: Massachusetts’ first Afro-American governor was swept into office on a tide of optimism with the slogan “Yes We Can.”

So, great. Once he’d been elected, I didn’t make plans to leave the state – he was our choice, and that’s fine. His inauguration was a wonderful spectacle.

The problem is that we’re getting the governor we deserve. On the other hand, there are folks who are watching him in action. Conclusion: some of the excesses of the first month aren’t things he’s embarrassed to have done – just to have been caught at doing. These folks are keeping an eye out too.

We get what we voted for. Or what we voted against, as the case may be.

February 13, 2007

True True Crime

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 21:03

Good crime writers learn by getting the story from the folks who have been there. It’s off my beat at the moment, but if I wanted to learn about actual police work, I’d ask the actual policemen over at Semper Fi. “Richie” is an old friend, and I’ve heard some of his police stories before.

It’s a strange, alien world out there, one most of us never get to see. Probably a good thing. Check it out – it’s on the blogroll now.

Shirley-Eustis House

Filed under: Commentary, Writing — admin @ 19:10

This morning I was given a private tour of the Shirley-Eustis House, originally built for William Shirley, colonial governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony.

It is “one of only four remaining Royal Colonial Governors’ mansions in the country and the only one actually built by a Royal Colonial Governor . . . One of a handful of Boston’s national landmarks that pre-date 1750, the House represents an unusually long continuum in American history, serving as the home of two distinguished Governors – one Royal and one Federal (William Eustis).”

Due to the extensive changes to the structure over the years as Roxbury grew up around it, the house has a mix of styles – some Georgian, some French Empire era, some Federal – and renovations are ongoing. Fortunately, the one room I use for a scene in my current writing project – the first scene, in fact – is intact, and looks very much like it would have in 1754, not long after the house was built.

Visiting the house gave me several pieces of information that will have to be incorporated into the scene, and which would have been overlooked had I not made the visit. While the period (pre-Revolutionary Massachusetts) and the setting (Governor Shirley’s mansion) are completely unknown to almost every potential reader, I want to get the details right, holding myself to the same standards I would apply to anything I read.

There aren’t too many landmarks like this that have survived two-and-a-half centuries. This one shows signs of hard use, but has a certain charm to it. The cupola is still standing, and from it you can view Dorchester Heights and all of the surrounding neighborhood. The commander of the Massachusetts 6th Regiment stood where I was this morning, and could see the British fleet in South Bay . . . and the gun batteries that General Washington had moved to where they commanded the landward approach to the town of Boston in 1775.

More evidence of my thesis that history actually, ultimately, is about people.

Fashion For Nerds

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 18:58

One can only wonder how my friend Slet spends his day . . . but at least I can be confident that he knows about wearing pants.

More nerd fashion advice at the main page. Tip o’ the . . . well, you get the idea.

February 7, 2007

2006 In Review, Part 3: October-December

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 10:30

This post continues where the second one left off. Where appropriate, I’ve provided the current or updated status of the item here. The rush of the holidays and other committments certainly took their toll; this is far shorter than its predecessors. I’ve been busy early in 2007, though.


Crossing Paths

Filed under: Commentary, Games — admin @ 09:44

One meets many interesting people and then lets them fall out of touch. For example, when Unity Games was just getting started several years ago I encountered Andrew Watson, a fascinating, personable fellow who played Eurogames. I even got down to his gaming group a few times.

Well, years pass and people go their own way. He hasn’t been to a UG game event in some time and we haven’t actually sat around a game table for even longer; but through a series of internet links I came across his blog. As always, reading someone else’s interests is revealing. Of course, that only leads to reading someone else’s:

I’m for AD, myself.

Anyway, glad to find e-Andrew online. When you cross paths with someone you really get on with, it’s often the case that you can pick up where you left off – even if it’s been some time. Andrew taught me Through the Desert; now it’s one of my daughter’s favorite games. Talk about crossing paths . . .

Well met at the oasis. . .

February 6, 2007

Games For Regular Joes

Filed under: Games — admin @ 21:20

A few posts back I mentioned that I’d linked to our game collection on BoardgameGeek and the output from their widget appears on the blogroll to the right. When I was existentially blathering about my concerns over the merit of blogging a few posts ago, my old wargaming buddy Frank let go this little gem:

. . . discuss games people might actually play; not just cute little games that 6 people know about; and that are otherwise available only as special imports. Thats great for those 6 people; but, well, let’s just say Maine is a backwater; we just got a checker board up here last week and we’re learning to play that. Of course; I’d love to wax prolific as to why GDW’s “Drang Nach Osten” was so much better than SPI’s “War in the East” . . . anyone remember those beauties ?

Sure. And they’re baaack . . . as he pointed out to me by e-mail. Last month, rumor has it, GRD released Total War, the most current turn on the Europa system covering Drang Nach Osten (or, if you prefer, Fire in the East) and Unentschieden (or, if you prefer, Scorched Earth).

The problem with Frank’s argument is that if you look at my BGG results, you’ll see Ticket to Ride, which is now sold at places like Toys BackwardsR Us. (And Power Grid is listed there too, by the way.) You won’t be seeing Total War on their shelves anytime soon.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Memoir ‘44 isn’t DNO, and never will be, but hundreds of thousands more people will ever play it than will ever play any version of Europa.

Still, my answer to Frank, still without further response, was: if you buy it, I’ll schedule a weekend to come up and play it. Especially if Dennis Moore can still escape through the Pripet Marshes. (Non sequitur left as an exercise for the reader.)

February 4, 2007

Everything Has A Website

Filed under: Commentary — admin @ 21:33

Even the Slowskys, the talking commercial turtles. The ad campaign is based on this turtle couple that prefer a slow DSL connection to a highspeed one.

The most amusing – or amazing – thing about this is that there’s all kinds of content on this site, including a blog for Karolyn, the wife (the “Sudoku Maniac”). At least you have a chance to remember the product, since the subject matter has something to do with what’s being sold.

Here’s what I want to know. The material on this site – the blog postings, for example – are not terribly different from the soup so common to the net mainstream. Generating it seems dead easy; anyone could do it, even me. How can I sign up for that gig and get paid for it?

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