On the Run

So, this post is horribly late, mostly because I slept through three alarms, and then had to make it to place with access. I shall post then go back home to pack/clean/other fun stuff.

It’s been a very tiring process, I’m dying to sit down and write, but every time I sit down I fall asleep.

Anyway – for those hoping to see me at Cosine, I won’t be there. It’s not that I didn’t want to go – I did. It got me out of lifting heavy things, even if I might go to sleep on some panels – but we must get this house ready for sale before I go have surgery on the 16th, and we’re dealing with 12 years of not very rational accumulation.

(Is accumulation ever rational? Yes. Most of our book collection, for ex. Is rational. The problem is when we moved to this house Dan was suffering from untreated apnea, and I couldn’t sleep because of the noise (I can’t use earplugs. I have very short ear canals. I also can’t sleep without him in bed. You see my dilemma?) so we packed in a zombified state. (It could be argued we bought the house in a zombified state, since it was clear from the first it didn’t fit what we need to do in it. Like having an area for my office that worked.) So we moved a LOT of er… carp. A lot of it. After we moved I got tired of opening boxes and staring at contents that made no sense, not only in association but in having been brought over at all. I finally either gave up and stored the boxes, or the stuff got unpacked and randomly distributed (which is worse.) On top of that, the fact the house never fit us means that there are bizarre things in places that LOGICALLY they have no business in, like manuscripts in my embroidery area, or craft books in my research shelves. There’s also the fact the last 12 years have been very busy and full of change. When we moved here the boys were pre-teens. Their interests have changed immensely. Ours too, if not as fast. There are things picked up to try a hobby I never had time to try out; there’s stuff picked up for the kids that should have been discarded years ago, but we were busy so it ended up in basement or attic. It’s a mess.)

We’ve made arrangements not to be here when we work. (I’m not being coy. All will be explained eventually. There are reasons not to be too explicit. Trust me.) This is so the house can be shown without interrupting my work/kids studying, etc. This is where I’m remoting from. Meanwhile there is stuff (work related) to be moved there. Stuff to be stored. House to be cleaned, painted, polished.

Don’t ask if I’m overdoing it. If I don’t overdo it, it won’t get done. I intend to sleep for two weeks after surgery.)

So, I hoped to make it to at least two or three panels, but Dan says no, because he can’t take me over and besides we need the car. (Hey we all wanted to start an exercise program, right?)

Back to cons – I hoped to go, but the truth is the panels I was in were rather a puzzle.

Look, I’m not going to diss con organizers. They do hard work, unpaid. I organized a con (not sf/f) once and it can drive you nuts.

The problem is this: because of my issues with moving/staging and health and writing, I am the worst of guests. I never answer the “do you have ideas?” and “what panels would you like to be on?”

I used to, I did, before life got so crazy. And I grant you that trying to dig out of the last two years of nothing makes my life particularly crazy, but at this point con organizers should assume that if you are a working/professional writer you’re not going to have time, on a random Tuesday, to go peruse their list of panels and tell them what you want on. We’re most of us, at this point, dual writers, with writing only a part of our duties and all of them time consuming. At any rate, if it’s a largish con, you won’t have any idea if your editor will want to take you out and when.

I understand but despise the tendency of con panel organizers to favor those authors who are Johnny on the spot with answers to “What panels do you want to be on” and “which panels would you like to see?”

This is probably because I end up most of the time, in the panel on coffee on alternate worlds, straight across from the masquerade, but there is a point to it, nonetheless. As in, if you favor the authors who answer fast, you’re going to favor a lot of the newbies and never has beens, because those are the only people who have the time to answer.

OTOH even as it annoys me, I realize there is no reason for con organizers even locally to have my bio by heart (none of the local huns organize cons) and to realize how ridiculous it is NOT to put me on the panel on invented languages. If you’ve never heard me (i.e. if you’re new) you will have no idea Sarah Hoyt isn’t white bread middle class American with perhaps an English degree. You certainly won’t know all my early training was in linguistics.

The problem though is that the result are poorly staffed panels that end up giving a poor experience to the watcher. One of the worst blunders is putting an old pro in with six rank newbies. Either the pro takes over of the newbies decide to prove their better and shut the pro down. Both are a bad show. Then there’s putting someone who broke in 15 years ago in the “how to break in panel.” (No, not this con. This con’s choices were … odd, not bad, precisely. And no, that’s not why I’m not attending.) The industry changes so fast it’s not actually any use for the person to be there. Or say the fact that for ten years after my Shakespeare books were out of print I was ONLY put in the Shakespeare panel. (It’s not that I don’t like Shakespeare. It’s that when I was writing mostly urban fantasy and mystery, this was bloody useless to me.)

My ‘favorite’ panel, however, (and a panel on panel disasters should be a perennial at every con, because it’s ever new) was when I went to my second (?) mile hi as a pro and asked to be put on the dragon panel. I was after all writing Draw One In The Dark and I have a “thing” for dragons anyway.

So… the panel starts, and I keep trying to pull it to fiction, because the other people want to talk about “real dragon sightings” and the cover up on the existence of dragons, and I was supposed to moderate. Ten minutes in, I realize to my horror not only do these people believe dragons are real but SO DO THE AUDIENCE. I shut up. Went to my mental happy place. Had a little nap.

This was an example of doing everything right (I’d picked that panel, so had the other people) and it all going South.

I’ve been giving all this some thought while carrying boxes, so pardon me if the following is irrational or at least has sore arm muscles… I mean… well…

First, what are cons for? For the organizers, a successful con attracts a lot of fans who have great fun and get to interact with their favorite writers. Therefore writers are a necessary evil, and you certainly don’t have time to carefully read and parse their biographies, much less look up their oeuvre.

For writers, cons are for publicity. No. That’s about it. It used to be about interacting with fans, but now we have the internet. Which also helps with publicity. Getting face to face with favored fans is fun, but not essential.

Now if the balancing act of “fun con” and “publicity” is right then it’s worth for the author to burn writing time to go, and it’s worth for the con to have the writer there.

But this should be done with minimal effort.

Lunacon when I attended had a guest questionnaire. (Okay, they also wanted you to choose panels, but it was okay, as they had a checklist on line and didn’t require me to deal with PDF which my machine is apparently allergic to.)

It occurs to me that a well-designed guest questionnaire could save both sides grief and – to boot—make it a more fun con.

Thus a guest questionnaire would go something like this:


What are you? (Author/artist/fan.)

How long have you been (whatever.)

(That part is important, because even if the stupid writer asks to be on the dragon panel, if all the other panelists are cryptozoologists, this probably won’t end well. At least you can go back and say “the situation is this. Are you sure?”)

Then an area for writers:

What is your education background, if any?

What do you write, mostly?

What work would you particularly like to promote? What genre/subgenre/setting?

What are your hobbies?

Favorite writers-

Best friends in field-

People you’d rather not be on a panel with? You don’t have to tell us why and we won’t tell.

Topics you’ll cut us if we put you on?

Do you wish to be on funny panels or not?

Do you have any panel suggestions?

What panels are you sick and tired of being on?


Those questions will allow you to distribute panelists the best you can. Again, this con was not that bad, and it’s a good thing the topics were a little off, since I’d have to not go anyway, but to me (because I know me. They don’t) it was bizarre that I was put on a “reading classics” panel (my classics are different from everyone else) but not on the invented language panels before it. It was even odder that neither Dan nor I were on the epublishing panel, but Dan was on a panel on female main characters (not that he has anything against them. He often writes them, even. Just not in novels.) A questionnaire like the one above would make things easier. Con organizers, just remember, all writers are lazy and flakey, so make the questionnaire interactive online. If we have to open things and save things on our computers it will all go paws up.

Okay, and now it’s back to the salt boxing, cleaning, fixing mines. YAY. Not.

Ya’ll be good and continue NOT painting the blog purple. Your restraint is appreciated.


229 responses to “On the Run

  1. Don’t worry it won’t be all purple. We’ve got the Hello Kitty wallpaper on order which is more pink and white

  2. Can we paint it green?

    • I see a red door and I want it painted black.

      • Yeah but, what’s behind that green door over there?

        • Dude, never look behind door number three. It’s um…ugly. No, I’m not going to tell you what unspeakable horror is back there. Just trust me.

        • One night, a young man got lost in the woods while out hunting. As he walked to and fro to find a familiar landmark, he stumbled upon a very old and dreary looking building. He banged at the wooden double doors and called out, “Help please! I am lost! Could you help me?”

          The door opened with an eerie creaking sound, and a hooded man whose face could not be seen peeked out, “Are you alone?”

          The young man nodded, positively creeped out but desperate nonetheless. “I am John and I got lost in the woods. Do you have a phone I could use to call for help?”

          The hooded man responded, “We do not have a phone in the monastery, but you may stay here if you like and leave in the morning.”

          Hesitating for a bit, John resigned himself to the situation. “Yes,” he finally said, “that would be helpful. Thank you.”

          The hooded man let John in, and he was surprised to see the interior of the monastery to be well-lit and cheerful looking, as opposed to the dreary exterior. The hooded man, raising his hood for a bit, was an elderly monk, or so he said, and the monastery housed about fifty of them. The monk led the young man to the kitchen, where another hooded monk was cooking dinner.

          John joined with the entire monk congregation and ate with them. The elderly monk who met him at the door, whose name was Philip, introduced him to the others. After dinner, Philip ushered John to the second floor quarters, where he could stay at a vacant room.

          Along the way, Philip encountered a room whose door was different from the rest. It was ornate, carved with various designs that looked like waves, and he could resist to ask, “Why is this room different from the rest?”

          Philip responded, “That room houses the monastery’s secret. It is something we have kept hidden and only the monks of this monastery may know of it.”

          They have reached the room and John was under the blankets in no time, being tired and all from his long walks. In the middle of the night, he was suddenly brought awake by a very strange scraping sound coming from the other room. As he was a hunter and keen of hearing, he judged that the sound came from about three rooms far; precisely where the secret room was. He decided to let it go, when he was awoken yet again by it after some time. When the sound repeated for three more times, he decided to ask the monk what it was in the morning.

          Come morning, John immediately asked Philip about the room. Philip replied, “It is something only the monks of this monastery may know of. I cannot tell you more.”

          Possessed of a very sudden curiosity, Philip asked, “How could I be a monk in this monastery?”

          At length and to much amusement, Philip explained the process to John. After sometime and having finished, Philip asked John, “Do you understand?”

          Thinking for a few minutes, John finally decided, “Yes, I would like to be a monk.”

          What followed was three-month’s worth of disciplined training, daily devotion and everything else that was required to be a monk in the monastery. Yet, after the three months, there were a lot of other requirements, such as prolonged fasting, readings, and more disciplined training. In sum, over a year has passed, and finally, John was ordained a monk of the monastery. In all of this time, John’s curiosity has not waned, and he was convinced that his unusual curiosity was because of the secret of the monastery, hidden in the unusual room.

          Now that he was a monk, after the ordaining ceremony, he was led to the second floor, in front of the ornately carved door. It was Philip who accompanied him, and the elderly monk started, “Do not be surprised at what you will see inside this room. Be prepared; we have gone to great lengths to keep it and preserve it. Keep the secret to yourself, as long as you live, as would all our brothers here in the monastery.”

          With that, Philip opened the doors, and a blinding flash of light startled John. When he saw what was in the room, he was absolutely befuddled.

          But I cannot tell you what it is, for you are not a monk of the monastery.

          • ROFL. That’s just mean.

          • This is one of the classics. I remember telling the story in camp: I told it as it it was a neighbor the story’d happened to, described the noise as “a cross between an elephant trumpeting and a car back-firing”, and just stopped telling the story when my neighbor got to the source of the noise. Took the kids a minute to realize I wasn’t telling anymore so they asked what was causing the noise. “My neighbor said he couldn’t tell me because I wasn’t a monk of that order.” ‹shrug›

            My frankfurters tasted extra delicious to the sound of frustration. 😈

          • Hey! I was getting complaints because the Aldrich story had that kind of ending!

      • Professor Badness

        Don’t repaint the doors. I haven’t completed my map of this place, (first time I’ve had too make a four dimensional map) and changing the color scheme would throw off my calculations.
        It’s hard enough trying to get home between the spray painted elves, a coffee machine that seems to run on the improbability drive and random glitter fights.
        I need to finish that map!

        • Eamon J. Cole

          You do realize that all the sections you’ve mapped have moved, right?

          The only constants in here are the two primary points of rotation. One of them is the bottle of Devil’s Cut in the bar. And then there’s the other one.

          About those two points everything glides.

          Oh, also, there’s a quantum state perception question:
          How many doors did you count in the main room?
          Yeah, that’s not what I got.

          • Professor Badness

            I was trying to compensate by making the map four dimensional. But my laptop was killed by EMP from one of the doors, (I’m not sure which one).
            So I’ve been doing it on paper, but I’ve just wound up with a complicated origami Transformer.
            Did you know this place is sometimes shaped just like a giant frog?
            I’d call it a tesseract, but I’ve never seen the outside.

            • Eamon J. Cole

              Don’t — uh, please don’t go look at the outside. We had a fella insist on doing that.

              The giggles about killed him.

              Ah, so we’re in frog-phase again. Nice. Good cross-ventilation in frog-phase, unlike porcupine. Lotta swirls in porcupine.

              *wanders off to open a window*

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              My dear Professor Badness, all that making a map does is to inform the Mind of this place that it needs to make more changes to this place.

              If the Mind likes you, you’ll always get where you want to be.

              If the Mind dislikes you, you’ll always get where it wants you to be.

              Oh, hopefully you won’t find out where it will send you if the Mind is annoyed with you. [Very Big Grin]

              • I’ve found that closing my eyes to the barest sliver of a squint, holding out my hands, and stumbling forward while saying “cooofffeeeee” inevitably gets me to the coffeemaker.

                Though sometimes, I get handed coffee instead. Or close enough to coffee. That’s when it’s handy to keep your eyes in a mostly closed squint.

              • I don’t know. You find interesting places when it’s annoyed with you. For certain values of interesting…

        • Four dimensional maps are useless ’round here. This place, you make an n-dimensional map, it’ll extend across across n+1 dimensions just to spite you. What you want in here is a Log Pose and a lot of luck.

  3. I imagine that you would be missed, but lets face it, life is more important and deadlines are deadlines.

  4. the panel on coffee on alternate worlds

    That actually sounds interesting… klah on Pern, for example. What innovations will humans come up with to maintain their little ritual habits as they move to other worlds, out of a desire for comfortable familiarity in a new environment?

    Plus, coffee.

    • Chokofee. Makes the Eastern Empire function. A GMO [aiiieeeee!!!!] crossing coffee and chocolate, sort of mocha on a tree. ColPlat LTD’s most popular neo-botanical colonization species, for reasons the bureaucrats cannot understand.

      • Oooh. I’ll have some with my golden rice pudding, if you can just get the biologists Right On That Now, Thank You.

        I am grumpy that I can’t find a supplier for golden rice locally. It sounds awesome, and I want to cook with it. I mean, rice you don’t have to add saffron to in order to get the lovely color? And vitamins? Yay! I’ll take 50 pounds, thanks.

      • Professor Badness

        I was reminded of Soy-caff from the Shadowrun series. It always sounded vaguely disgusting.

        • I never understood why you’d make it from soybeans when chicory is native to the US and you can’t kill it.

          • Professor Badness

            The stories had a lot of Japanese elements to it, so the creators probably just decided to go with soy.
            OTOH, it also had a lot of Native American elements, so chicory would not be unheard of.

            • I think that’s it… the corporate-controlled areas would never want to use a natural product when you can make money off of soy-caff.

              Chicory would probably be a luxury item in the cities, restricted to Mr. Johnson (or above).

          • I’d wondered, after moving to an area where coffee shops were popular, if it was a riff off “soy caff venti latte” and other random things you hear people order at coffee shops.

          • Maybe it’s the implications of chicory? I don’t know how wide spread it is, but the “setting” that it would’ve suggested in the 80s is more like what you’d get from mentioning hemp jewelry now; soy is all futuristic an’ stuff.

            • No idea. To me chicory means my Louisiana relatives and my Cajun grandfather’s strong-enough-to-float-an-anvil coffee.

              • To me and my wife, chicory is the ingredient to watch out for in all the “calming” and “caffeine-free” herbal teas out there.

      • Eamon J. Cole

        Can I get that in a handy bar form? Every now and then you need a little nibble to kick your day into gear.

  5. Real life comes first Sarah. Handle your business. We’ll still be here when you’re ready.

  6. About Dragons – I am thinking they are an ancestral memory from the days of dinosaurs. 😉 So yea, we see them in museums all the time as fossils.

    • Have you read Adrienne Mayor’s books about Roman and American Indian paleontology? And then there’s _The Griffin and the Dinosaur_.

      • Nope – 😉 We had paleontologists all around our area (Vernal, Utah) when I was growing up there. We got lectured a lot about it. I would look at the fossils and not see what they were telling me was there. I had my own theories. Then I was more interested in computers than paleontology after that… so what is the difference between Roman and American Indian paleontology compared to the normal stuff?

        • It’s about how they found bones and what they thought of them, the different legends that developed from the bones. Nebraska is especially rich in fossil mammals {cue TMBG “Mammal Song”} and the Pawnee IIRC had tales about thunder horses and other strange creatures.

          • And then you have Nebraska Man. If I remember correctly, it was a big news item during the Scopes trial, then rapidly forgotten afterwards.

            • Or the related recent to-do about how– gasp!– it’s looking like a whole bunch of the different non-modern human groups interbred just fine, which would account for a lot of the traditions of Not-Our-Kind even better than an exaggerated tribalism without requiring fully isolation functional breeding populations of every blessed group.

          • I’ll have to look into it – grumble… damn I wish I had more money… *sigh

      • Ooh, you evil person… *adds to listing*

    • There was a special on the History Channel about this type of thing at one point. They went over all kinds of things like Chinese “dragon bones” being dinosaur bones and a mastodon skull being mistaken for a one-eyed giant skull, thus creating the Cyclops myth, etc. It was pretty interesting.

      • I remember seeing that – but I had my theory in my mind long before I saw that documentary (I think in the early 90s… thereabouts). Before that it was a niggling… but I was too busy to think it through.

      • Feather Blade

        That’s one thing that bugs me about dragon vs dinosaurs.

        I mean, if someone told you about a massive creature, many times the size of a human being, and said that it has scales and large teeth, and eats smaller creatures, and some have wings and hind legs, while others have four legs… what comes to mind first?

        Besides which, IIRC, the only reason we modern humans think dinos were lizards anyway is because the Victorian chap who set out to study them declared them to be so…

        • Yep and what they KNEW about dinosaurs in the 60s and 70s (when I saw my first dig) is now completely on its head… now. lol

        • TINS: In Klagenfurt Austria there’s a medieval statue of the Lindwurm, a dragon that terrorized the area. The bones of the worm were found, and used as the model for the statue, then put in the local version of what became the regional museum mumbledy-hundred years later. The bones are . . . from a prehistoric rhino. Which explains why the dragon looks nothing like any other medieval dragon you’ll see. http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/19604115.jpg

        • There is also the ‘poor Sven’ explanation for dragons. There is evidence that the Vikings got to Egypt. Insert viking getting eaten by a crocodile then his compatriots explaining why a LIZARD got him. “But it was THIS BIG and BREATHED FIRE and it swallowed Sven WHOLE!”

          Probably not a complete explanation, but it likely didn’t hurt the legends.

  7. I don’t know. I think I’d pay to see you on a panel ala Kate’s Con books. *grin*
    or see video of it anyway.

  8. William O. B'Livion


    Pay the upfront cost and use it for a month or two. I used these on trips in AU where they were cheaper and you could buy bandwidth by the byte.

    I’d lend you the one I have, but it belongs to my employer.

  9. If you haven’t already made arrangements for stuff you don’t need access to, Pods are awesome. If you don’t have another discount option, try USAA– not dishonest, since if they didn’t have that discount I probably wouldn’t be recommending them to you. In our area it’s basically having a 16 foot long container dropped off to be packed, and then stored for about what a storage rental costs– but without needing to drive over to load it.

    • It depends a bit on where you happen to be. We looked at moving/storing the 35-year accumulation of stuff when we sold our home in central CA to move to MN last summer.

      Easy, reasonable cost, convenient a the CA end. The nearest spot to store the pod at the other end was almost two hours away, on a good day. And far enough out that when we needed the contents, we’d have had to unpack the pod, pack up a truck or three, and use them to haul things to our new place (which won’t be built for another year or two, depending, anyway).

      If you’re not too far out, it’s a good deal, though.

      • They don’t service my folks’ area, either– but then, neither does anybody else.

        I’m sure that sucked horribly, but it’s a safe storage place you only had to pack up once, instead of renting a truck, going to the storage area, putting it away, renting another truck, moving it to the MN end, putting it away at a rental until the house is built….
        (Good luck to you on the place, though!)

      • William O. B'Livion

        In that case, if you’ve got the cash just buy a multimode container and stuff it full. Then have it shipped where you’re going and dropped off. You can live out of it until the house is built 🙂

  10. Mark Twain is supposed to have said that two moves equal one fire.

    Then, later, Spider Robinson proposed that this tells you when yiu need to move. You look around and think “what this place needs is half a fire”.

    • The more we moved the more we’ve needed a fire. So no, I think not. It would be best to stop moving before you look around and say “Why couldn’t the wildfire have come this way instead of the other?”

      • Professor Badness

        Coming from a family that has moved an average of once every other year for more than thirty years, you start to figure out what you really want to keep.
        It’s the thousands of books that make it really hard, (emotionally) to get rid of stuff.

        • William O. B'Livion

          Having moved an average of once every two years since 1984, no I never learned what I really wanted to keep.

          Mostly it’s “everything”.

  11. As someone who assists with a local con, I shall be passing your suggestions along. (I am Minion In Chief to the Person In Charge of Panels, and she’s been wondering how to best structure things for inviting writing guests and the like.) Good information. 🙂

    • *SIGH*

      Is it just me, or is Fuscia a feminine color? Guys? Aren’t there only like 10-15 colors total?

      I mean, think about it. Pumpkin is a fruit. Brick is used for building houses. Aqua is an adjective describing things to do with the water. I’m pretty well convinced that Mauve is an old TV show. What is this fuscia you speak of?

  12. What puzzles me is that any professional SF author interested in cons does not have a one page c.v. with basic background and answers to most if not all the questions on your list.
    In your case, foist the job off on one of the boys. Do a final check of course (trust but verify, don’t you know) then send it along when you contact the con committee about attending, even ones such as Liberty as you may encounter a newbie, or some details may have changed since years prior. Simple little things like sadly being unable to sit panels with anyone who’s initials are J.M.
    Update as needed, probably no more than yearly.

    • Uncle Lar, you are a wise, wise man. I’ll go mock one of these up for Peter this weekend. Not that we have any plans for cons beyond LibertyCon right now, but that’s an excellent thing to have in reserve.

      • William O. B'Livion

        There’s this newfangled thing called a “website” where people post stuff about stuff.

        Just sayin’.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          Get one on Geocities. I hear they’re the coming thing.

          • I tried going to one once, but it took forever to draw the page. Maybe I should see if AOL has one of those new 33.6k modem numbers in my area.

            • Christopher M. Chupik

              I love the dial-up sound of my modem when it craps out for the fifth time that day.

              • Yeah, but you really don’t know what fun is until you’ve done tech support over 300 baud acoustic. Character mode, but still……

                Best part was that random noise in the customer location would add all sorts of interesting character combinations to what you were typing and the response you got back…..

          • Ah well. My Coke was going flat and I needed a new keyboard anyway…

        • Sure, giving out a link to your site is easier than e-mailing that data sheet to the con committee. Thing is, they will read or at least scan that e-mail. In the rush of putting together a con who will chase a link? In the world of information transfer you have push and you have pull. Push just works better for some things.

  13. On the bright and shiny side, this is an excellent diet plan for the new year, what with “too busy to eat” and “lots of exercise”. 😛

    When we last moved, I learned that not only was I allergic to the dust in that house, but the longer I was out of that dust, the more severe the allergic reaction every time I came over to get “one last load”, or when handling dusty items packed in the storage unit. May your culling be thorough so you don’t have the lingering issues I do!

  14. Hey, Sarah, I think I found the crate with the Colt potato diggers in it … do you know where the machine gun belts are?

    • No idea. I think I last saw Jeff and, ah, Eamon using the gun with DU rounds trying to pick off the mountain goats on Pikes Peak, with Christopher C. spotting. But that was before the cats had the peoplechase across the back 40, so the belts may have been moved since then.

      • Professor Badness

        Oh my gosh! The mental picture of a goat looking up quizzically at the strange whistling sound, then suddenly exploding in guts and potato bits.
        That’s hilarious…and disgusting.
        (Insert maniacal laughter here.)

      • Eamon J. Cole

        This is my innocent face.

        There are no pictures and I have no idea of what you speak. Besides, Jeff and I declared a draw and Christopher is suitably bribed…

        And, um, somebody might check the 3rd spot down on the skew-wise shelf in the second annex to the shop storage room. Just in case.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          I dunno. My idea of a suitable bribe is pretty high. These principles don’t come cheap, you know.

          • Eamon J. Cole

            In addition to previously agreed upon inducements:

            I’ve got 3/4’s of an elk and a (not fresh) deer carcass…

            • And barbecue sauce. Not the cheap, store bought kind either.

              See, there was this kettle and a bet was involved and “whole carcass barbecue” was mentioned, and this led to the challenge being made…

              And now we have 3/4 of a (metric) ton of barbecue sauce. *shrug* Contestants, possibly drunken bettors, onlookers, and lookey-loos seem to have wandered off, so I don’t think they’d mind. *grin*

              • Are you sure that’s the right measurement? Did you add the Carolinas and Louisiana variations in with the West Texas and Kansas variations? (I know, I know, someone always skews the inventory. Look under “near-BBQ sauce” and “heretical variations of BBQ sauce” to get the tru[er] figures.

                • 3/4 ton is what I could find that was *left.* Mostly vinegar base and tomato base, the Texas seems to go fast (I think I saw a dragon flying off with the last of the Kansas last night).

                  It’s never inventoried right because *someone* always wants just one more bottle for themselves. Seriously, we need to just keep a stock in the industrial vats in the South by Southwest Wing. And the Texas goes *great* with mammoth meat (penetrates very well), so it’d be nice to always have extra on hand…

                • You forgot the TN variants aka Memphis Sweet.

              • I’ve got some bottles on order, figure we can sell some to the orcs. They really took to the last batch.

                ‘Course, with the stuff they’ve been eating, I’d sauce it up to.

    • Colt potato diggers?

      *Snorts and starts searching for the bar*

      And where is it today anyway?

  15. You will be pleased to know: The most-recent SMoFcon had a panel on “which panels should never ever ever be programmed again, and why”.

    They also cover most of your points addressed as to how to get the Right People on the Right Panels.

    As to Moderating — put it this way: I was able to run a panel at the 2012 Worldcon on the Victorian Era which discussed the ingrained bigotry of the Victorians, and *NOT* have it devolve into a screaming match — not least because I was in full-throttle “FUCK WITH ME, I *DARE* YOU” mode, and people who have seen me in that particular Mode do not quickly forget…. >:)

  16. Josh Kruschke


  17. Hey, has anyone heard anything from Shadowdancer lately? She hasn’t posted in a while. I hope she and the proto-Hunling are doing okay.

  18. Just to make you feel a little better ref: THE MOVE.
    In 2000 I took a job with the US Dept. of State. I got my orders to go overseas. The packers got our stuff in about 30 boxes of different sizes and off we went. We, my wife and I, got to the new apt(3500sqft+) in Abu Dhabi and ended up using one bedroom to store stuff that we didn’t need. We transferred to Amman a couple of years later and needed a few more boxes but no big deal. Same again, bedroom(3mX4m) used for storage.

    We got transferred back to the states in 2005. The pack-out from Jordan for our “stuff” took 181 (I can still remember that number)boxes loaded into a 20 foot ConEx.

    When I retired five years ago and moved back to my HOR most of the boxes from the overseas return still hadn’t been unpacked. And a lot of them still haven’t been unpacked.

    When I have time, I go upstairs open one, laugh, and sometimes find stuff we had completely forgotten we had.(Anybody need a set of ME tea/coffee service? Turns out the wife REALLY liked them – to the tune of five or six sets.)

  19. And for Dorothy, we do hydro-printing down here. Any color or color combination and just about any pattern. Look up http://www.hydroprinting.com(I think). And it’s hard when it dries.

  20. Crap – that’s hydroprintservices.com. And we specialize in boomsticks and sharp pointy things.

    • Is that a dive tank in purple paisley? Oooooooooh.

      I wonder if I could get an FAA inspector to have an aneurysm by having a supplemental oxygen tank in a pattern like that? If they’re going to ramp-check me, I might as well make it worth their time…

    • There’s a degree of incredible in there. A high degree.

      Walk-in cooler, beer taps… Shipping for $3.58.

      Tractor not included, but yours for just a bit more.


  21. Yep. You should see the pink and purple rattlesnake Glock we did for a female friend. She wanted it to match her workout sweats… it is/was to cringe.
    Oh, yeah and the glow-in-the-dark skulls in grey-over-black. Perfect for zombie huntin’.