This, That, The Other

Last day at comicon.  I’m going in for only 4 or 5 hours, (which means I’ll actually get home around 2 if that.  Traffic is interesting) because it’s our first week sort of in the new house, and there’s tons of little stuff to do.  (Mostly unpack, but also unpack, and also minor repairs and adaptations.)

Some things about comicon, first: despite claims these aren’t “our kind of people” by older, more established cons, the fact is that on that very first day, approaching the con (and circling.  And circling.  Slower than a slow walk.  No, seriously) there was a line around two blocks, and my son (who was looking for a place to drop me off) and I looked at it and said “our people.”

It wasn’t the costumes.  In fact, about half the costumes are for things my son recognizes but I don’t.  My affinity with dinos comes from the fact I’m one.  For fun, I read, write, and if push comes to shove, go build furniture or crochet of of course go look at dinos in a museum.  I DO NOT RPG, watch tv, play computer games, read comics…  Which means I miss a lot of the fandom.  My loss, but I yam what I yam.  (Okay, lie, I read comics, but it’s Disney and no one counts those.)

It was the way of standing, the way of moving, the way people look (yeah, some of us try very hard to pass and it would be nice if the hormone adjustment weren’t packing more pounds on me than… well, than I’ve ever had) but still, there’s often something… odd about us.  Or as Kate says, our bodies match our minds.  It’s also the way we dress.  Pratchett caught that mood exactly when he has the pigwitch wear forks in her hair.  I mean if chopsticks, why not forks.

And of course, this was our people, letting their hair down, not our people at the office on Wednesday, so they were letting the Odd flag fly.  Take one lady who came to our booth, wearing a dragon ear sleeve, dragon contact lenses, and a dress that was a wild assemblage of flying bits of cloth. I was kind of at the back, looking at her features.  She was pretty enough.  Regular features, good bones.  BUT in a sort of unremarkable sort of way.  And in front of those dragon eye lenses, she wore tortoise-shell glasses.  Wipe away the make up, put her in a suit and I bet she melts into the business meeting tomorrow.  She’s “That lady in research who always know the answer and is incredibly correct and polite” I bet.  Unless she’s among their kind and safe.

Now is everyone there a science ficiton reader?  More than I’d expect.  We’ll say that.  You get a lot of parents who are convinced SF/F is for kids and though they don’t read it themselves are walking around leading progeny and asking every booth “Do you have stuff for children.”   Some of them insist on buying my shifters.  I GUESS they could do worse?

Another point is that age, ethnicity or Spanish accent and halting construction of sentences do not denote a reader or non reader.  The last might sound like kettle calling the pot accented, but come on, I don’t have a problem building English sentences. OTOH he asked the right questions and spoke clearly about the past of the field, so he’s definitely a reader.  Heck, most engineers hesitate in their own language, why not in their second language.

Oh, and several of you — okay, several instapundit readers, but there’s overlap — came to see me yesterday and asked about putting fictional hits on some of my colleagues who have annoyed them.  My. What a murderous lot you are.

And now I’ll go.  There will be more about comicon, including the fact that the warning voice from the ceiling does this “The public is coming, the public is coming” for half an hour before they open to the public.  You know “The doors will open to the public in half an hour/twenty minutes/ten minutes” and then just “The public is coming.”

Next year I shall have a camera and a willing fan, and we will do a “running with the fans: version of running with the bulls in pamplona.  A lot of us writers running in front of a horde of fan who try to pry books/autographs from us.  It will be glorious!

147 thoughts on “This, That, The Other

  1. I went to a small, local ComicCon yesterday and I was impressed by the turnout, both the size and the demographics. These folks hadn’t gotten the memo that Science Fiction is dying and that it’s only for old white men.

    1. Amarillo now has two Cons, one a family Con that the library started and another more adult-oriented Con. Borger (small city to the north and east) also had a Con this year, focusing on steampunk and organized by the library. As you say, people are not getting the memo about sci fi and fantasy being deceaséd

      1. I’m trying to wrap my head around the fact that Borger has enough fans for a con………..

        1. Apparently there’s a strong Weird West/Steampunk fandom in the area. And anime is pretty popular too. *shrug* We’re strange.

    2. The attacks of cgnitive dissonance caused by the simultaneous occurence of “Our local Con attendance is still dropping – it must be a trend in the general population!” and “The local comicon just topped 100,000 attendance, with people driving from 400 miles away!” must be a true beauty to behold.

        1. It’ll be like a lot of people say about me and goth. I’m a poser because I don’t wear all black all the time anymore (or whatever) according to people who couldn’t tell you who Bauhaus was much less Fahrenheit 451 or Rosetta Stone. That I know due to two stints on community radio spinning goth industrial, the longer for over 3 years at 3 hours once a week, proves nothing.

          If that is being a poser then I’m happy to be a poser. More fun than being a “Tru-whatever” like them.

            1. Not to quibble but a minor technical question: Shouldn’t that have been:

              “Rosetta Stone was one of the pseudonyms used by Theodor Seuss Geisel.”?

              Or even:
              “Rosetta Stone was one of the pseudonyms used by Theodor Seuss Geisel in addition to Dr. Suess.”?

              1. Nah, it’s like saying “Mark Twain wrote under the name ___”– or when I tell my sister that Snape is the villain in Quiggly Down Under. ID folks by how they’re best known for your audience.

  2. Another point is that age, ethnicity or Spanish accent and halting construction of sentences do not denote a reader or non reader.

    Oh, heavens, yes. Geeks seem to be way over-represented in the “I’m talking and then either the record skips or the CD has a scratch in it” department.

    1. For me from the inside it’s all those darn thoughts popping up. “OK, I just started a sentence, but should I say this other thing instead of what I thought I was going to say? Wait, why are they looking at me…Oh, right, I’m stopped in the middle of that sentence. OK, press on, McDuff – just say something. What was I saying again?”

  3. Hesitant speech … Many of we odd lot have this trait, and two reasons particularly occur. First, many of us suffer from processors which are not well-matched to our output devices, especially speech. By the time out “printer” has gotten half way through a sentence the processor has moved several sentences further along and sometimes will skip ntermediary words in an effort to get brai and mouth back in synch.

    Second,we are constantly having to monitor vocabulary (in fullest sense: words and concepts) to suit it to our audience, so that we often come across as if speaking to a slow child or semi-bright pet. One pleasure of cons is we are frequently able to minimize this self-editing function and just let ideas flow without concern over fleeing angry pitchforks and flaming brands.

    Well, we used to be able to — now, when a word as innocuous as “Ladies” can incite the Wrath of Con it is becoming a much less safe space for those of us constitutionally incapable of not thinking. It is the goal of SJWs to have us constantly looking over our shoulders, glancing about for the unfriendly ear, self-censoring lest we revisit the joys of being targeted by bullies.

    1. It’s because talking is sooooo slooooowwww. I mean, sure, reading out loud is fun. And everybody likes being read to. And thought-ideas don’t always match up to words, and the former is almost always more neatly contained and matches up with the web of thought more precisely, where you are referencing 4th century Latin to the American Revolution and matching that with SF…

      1. It’s because talking is sooooo slooooowwww.

        In high school debate class my teacher remarked that I had problems because my brain was going too fast for my mouth to keep up.

    2. Hesitant speech is also caused by having personality types that eschew obfuscation. It is important to choose the precise word that transmits the though clearly. Unfortunately, I often receive as a first reply; “Don, none of us have any idea of what you are saying.”

      1. It ain’t just that we have to eschew obfuscation; it’s that we have to take the time to think about our audience, and pick and choose which words to use in talking to them. It’s especially hard when talking to people we don’t spend a lot of time around, and who we’re new to.

        I’ve got a vocabulary that has, in the past, left English graduate students scrambling for dictionaries with looks of confusion. I used to work for a young man who theoretically had an English degree; nine months into our working relationship, we’re in the middle of a conversation about something, and he suddenly looks like a light has come on behind his eyes, and drops what we’re discussing to go get a dictionary. Comes out of his office about ten minutes later with this look on his face like he’s been poleaxed–Turns out, for the last nine months, he’s been thinking I have some kind of learning disability, and have been making up words to “sound smart” like that character on “In Living Color”. He finally recognized something I said as being something he heard in college, and went to go look it up. The reaction was like someone who suddenly recognized human speech in what they assumed was random barking by a dog. Spent the next half-hour or so with him going through the dictionary and looking crap up that I’d used with him before, and which he hadn’t a.) realized were real words, and b.) ever heard used in conversation before. I’d made the mistake of thinking he was someone I could speak normally with, and hadn’t turned on my internal censor I usually used around my peers. Big mistake.

        See, I’d never felt the need to censor myself around officers, before that. Afterwards? Well, that was about the time I really started to question the value of a modern university education. When you’ve got to explain references to Sisyphus to someone who has a degree from a prestigious institution, you start to really wonder. I knew who Sisyphus was before I left 8th grade; this poor guy hadn’t ever heard the name in his life, despite having an English degree from a university we’d all recognize. Greek mythology? Roman? Latin and/or Greek, as key contributors to the English language? Not a damn clue–Earliest he had was Chaucer and Beowulf, and then a metric ton of modern crap from the usual suspects.

        Nine-tenths of the time, I can’t let it all hang out, because 90% of the people won’t understand what I’m saying, and take offense at my use of “big words”. You can only spend so much time adapting to that sort of thing before you become a little hesitant and slow of speech, because you have to monitor and gauge what you’re saying in order to get your point across, and still seem like “one of the guys”.

        So, you wind up speaking slowly and hesitantly, and using one-syllable words like you’re talking to a small child–Which comes across exactly how you might think, when those same people encounter you talking with other people who you gauge to have larger vocabularies. You’re literally damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. Towards the end of my career, I just said to hell with it, and told people that if they had a problem with the way I talked, consider it being part of my campaign against illiteracy, and to get the dictionary out, because they were going to have to get used to my “five new words a day” habit they all accused me of having.

        1. Well, that was about the time I really started to question the value of a modern university education.

          “Modern university education” is an oxymoron, employed to disguise the fact that modern universities indoctrinate, not educate.

          I found it easiest to defuse the “you’re just showing off” vocabulary issue by noting I used to frequently do crossword puzzles, something which offers a benign nonthreatening basis for the habit.

          1. “Modern university education” is an oxymoron, employed to disguise the fact that modern universities indoctrinate, not educate.

            Since WordPress likes to hide the “Like” button, have a “Quoted for Truth” badge instead.

            1. Oh, it;’s still there. Except now instead of *just* going into WordPress’s reader function and finding the little star, you have to “View earlier replies” (bottom of Sarah’s main post), then “View 7 more replies” (7 in this case so far), *then* you can see the posts you want to star. Err, like.

              If one ever wondered why “WordPress delenda est” was a thing….

            2. All that, and still no edit button. Really. I can’t have three hundred seconds to say “oops! I forgot to close a link tag!” And fix it? Where’s a legion when you need one, says I. Just save the libraries this time, eh?

        2. Shortly after John Ringo’s “Road To Damascus” came out, I commented in Ringo’s Tavern that the title gave the plot away.

          It was amazing the people who didn’t know what a “Road to Damascus experience” was.

          Now, let’s see how many here don’t know what I’m talking about. 👿

            1. Yah –

              Sadly, they it originates with Hank Williams, if they even know who he was.

              Nor do they automatically associate it with the finest steel for swords, much less automatically run through multiple possible puns along the lines of “Teacher always calls on idiots who haven’t a clue; I wish she’d damascus.”

              1. Or at least to the ground. Does it say anywhere he fell off his mount? But since I’m kind of visual what I remember best are paintings.

                1. Now I’ll have to go reread it, I always pictured him walking and falling to the ground. But considering his status, riding a horse would have probably been more likely.

                    1. I dunno — lots of people have been known to pray when placed atop a horse.

                      Given the times, it would very possibly have been a mule or an ass rather than a horse.

                    2. A very punny, rude version could be done….remember the story where the ass sees the angel and talks about it? 😀 Write it so it alludes to that story….

                2. Acts 9:4 (New King James Version) says that Saul “fell to the ground” and then men led him by the hand to Damascus. But in all the art I’ve seen, he’s shown as having fallen off a horse. So I think the answer is “Yes. It depends.”

          1. That’s a religious teaching flaw– the whole Saul thing is a little too complicated and hey, cutting the whole thing out to replace with Love Love Love gets the point across, doesn’t it?

            I did have mention that Paul had “opposed” the Church before he was swayed over, but the…um… details were a bit missing.

            I think part of it may also be the whole issue of who he was working for, and the ugliness in the 40s making even vague similarities to it something no decent person would wish.

          2. It’s a certain age, I think, Drak. Anyone much more than a decade younger than I am – one or both of us need a translator.

            I was not raised as any kind of Christian (any kind of anything religious, actually). I only began actually reading “holy” books as an adult, for insights into culture and history. Yet – I knew what “Road To Damascus” meant from a very early age.

            OTOH – my “millenial” children (quotes because they really don’t fit the stereotype) – have to translate many things to me. Or even people not all that much older than themselves.

            1. Several years ago I was at the big fine art museum in KC (MO) looking at the paintings, and ended up having to explain to two college art students the religious imagery in a painting of St. John the Baptist and a lamb. These guys were in their mid 20s, possibly older, and didn’t know the basics, which made me wonder what their art history prof had told/shown/given them for background reading.

              1. Heck – I was in a museum in Spain around about 1993 with the spouse of a neighbor (married to a chaplain!) and I was explaining the religious iconography in the paintings to our grade-school-age children, when I noticed that she (the spouse) was paying particular attention to my comments to the children … and it seemed that what I was saying to the kids — was all news to her. And I was just going on what I had learned through general art history classes, and from careful attention to various publications that my parents subscribed to.

                That was when I really began to realize that college students weren’t learning much about Western art and history …

                1. No. Dad wasn’t comfortable with navigating KCMO in a balky rental car, and we had limited time before getting back for Sib-in-Law’s grad-school graduation.

              2. Sigh. Look at the Yale student protest demanding an end to require English majors from having to learn about pre-1800/1900 poets. Apparently “Yale’s English Department has become very ‘forward-looking’ and recognizes that the field can no longer just be Euro-centric”.

                Yeah, English majors probably need to spend more time studying the perspectives of 17th Century transgendered Chinese and Amerindian poets — that’s the ticket to getting a grasp of English. What kind of insight could a bunch of DWEMs like Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, John Donne, John Milton, Alexander Pope, William Wordsworth, and T. S. Eliot offer today’s English major. It ain’t as if they’ve influenced anybody.

          3. Making Christian references is hurtful to Muslims and causes them to kill gays and puppies so you’re evil for wanting to teach it.

        3. Heck, and one unit I was at (serving as the video production librarian) the other troops used to come into the library saying, “Hey – what does this word mean?” And I would tell them, and they would get out the dictionary – and yes, I would be right.
          Our supply sergeant kept pleading for me to try out to be on Jeopardy; he’d act as my agent, for fifteen percent of my winnings. (Life in the military as the walking encyclopedia … good times, good times.)

          1. I used to play Trivial Pursuit with a buddy of mine as a partner. He was a walking sports and movie encyclopedia, so between the two of us…? Yeah. You weren’t winning a game we were in. We got banned from playing as partners, and then banned completely after one of the guys we played with a lot spent a Charge of Quarters run working through all the cards with us in every edition of the game we had available at the time. Between the two of us, we answered something like 98 point something percent of the questions correctly, and usually off the top of our heads. That was the end of either of us playing that game in that unit, ever again.

            I’m not a very smart person, but once I read something or hear it, it’s mine. I probably won’t be able to tell you where I heard it or read it, but I’ll know it. If the source was correct, and I heard/read it correctly, then I’ll be able to simply open mouth and dump info on you until your eyes glaze. Biggest problem I’ve had, over the years, was getting the right information–There’s a lot of BS out there, and it’s worse with the Internet. The rise of the Internet was like someone running piped hot and cold crack into a crack addict’s house, for me. I’ll get insomnia of a night, spend it running down stuff I find linked to completely unrelated stuff, and, boom… I’ll know a subject, yet won’t be able to tell you how or where I ran that line of inquiry out to. Yet, the bare information will be there for me to access, if asked.

            1. Worse over the internet? That’s a load of codswallop! You can believe everything you read on the internet; I know because I read it online.

            2. Ditto the collection of encyclopedic knowledge. But one of the delights of the Internet is being able to research BS and badquotes more easily, so you can find out what swamp of creepiness birthed them. Also easier to find out exactly where Aristotle said such and such.

              There’s a really nice IT guy named Roger Pearse over in England, who has a blog and a couple of websites full of good info. He mostly puts public domain patristics stuff up on the Web, but he also busts urban myths about Mithras, collects pictures of Roman monuments that no longer exist, and finds the origin of common quotes. He also links to a lot of good stuff like punctuation marks and chapter headings in ancient manuscripts.

              It is just so good to find out why and how we have these things, you know?

              1. If he is busting Mithras myths I’ll have to go see if he is taking on that stupid “Ishtar = Easter” meme.

            3. I’m not the best at Trivial Pursuit. Insufficient sports knowledge, mostly, although I have shortcomings in the other subject areas. However, when the game first came out, my youngest brother and I saw it on display in a game store, and he pulled out a card and started asking me the questions on it.

              After I correctly answered every question on the first three or so cards he pulled out, he told me he never wanted to play against me.

              1. I did academic trivia in high school and later ran into one of my former teammates with my boyfriend. Mentioned that said boyfriend routinely beat me at Trivial Pursuit. Teammate’s eyes got very big. It was fun.

                Vulnerable categories are my big problem… Sports and movies… but as that’s how he keeps beating me, we’d probably be good at team play. Come to think of it we may have once been preemptively banned from team play….

              2. I’ve played Trivial Pursuit a few times. In most categories, I was useless; someone else on the team knew the answer but I had no clue. But come the really obscure questions in whatever category that nobody on either team knew the answer to? Yeah, those I got.

      2. At a rough guess, based on no evidence other than anecdotal/personal observation, I would be surprised if the average Hun (or, if you prefer, SF/F fan) employs a vocabulary at least 25% greater than the average American … and that is after you factor out such terms as phaser, dilithium, ent, orc, kreega bundolo, Barsoom, variable knife, vorpal sword, eldritch and event horizon.

        We also likely tote about multiple additional meanings for words we use, such as gnomic.

        1. …And unless personally averse to the Roddenberry Canon, also knows the meta-fandom subtext of the phrase, made up of purely real world words, “run a tachyon burst through the main deflector array” as a conversational element.

        2. I’d modify that to readers in general from Hun as opposed to SF/F fan. That part of fandom that spends most of its energy on TV is probably not as strong in vocabulary as the average detective fan (or more generally mystery fan).

          I think that is also true for literary allusions. Detective certainly seems to carry a high concentration of Biblical allusions, for example. Not to mention classic titles like The Thief Who Read Kipling whose plot is a lot less interesting if you know nothing about Kipling.

    3. “One pleasure of cons is we are frequently able to minimize this self-editing function and just let ideas flow without concern over fleeing angry pitchforks and flaming brands.”

      Still can. The only reason the SJWs seem to have power is that you allow them to. If they start shrieking at you, just laugh at them. Not being taken seriously is their greatest fear.

      1. And we’re starting to see that, with South Park and Dilbert taking shots at SJWs. They’ll be in full panic mode soon, I think. 🙂

      2. You could do that….. the problem is that they are quite capable of calling hotel management / con staff / or even cops and just flat making shit up — and the legal / tort system has given them sufficient tools that most of those people will take their side just to avoid the hassle and potential lawsuits,

        They haven’t yet managed to shut up either the Dilbert or South Park guys… but those less famous they can lawfare to death.

        1. For laughing at them? Let them try. You can only be intimidated if you allow it.

          1. Eh, they’ll say that you pigeonholed them in a stairwell or something and threatened them. The hotel/con is probably going to ask you to leave rather than risk a lawsuit from the SJW.

              1. Maybe, but you’re relying on the con/hotel to take the effort to determine the truth rather than just refunding you your money and telling you that you’re no longer welcome.

                1. No argument – I was thinking about the “called the local PD and said I…” case, and the subsequent joy of the “filing false report” when your cam shows other than what they said, but by then you’d still be out of the Con.

                2. Learn to point accusingly and shout, “That perv just grabbed my ass!”

                  Or, just, y’know, avid being anywhere in the con without friendly witnesses of your own.

                  Handy phrases:
                  The Bichon Fris set me up!

                  You’re just accusing me because I’m Black! (Actually being Black not necessary.) Black fans matter!

                  Sorry – something I ate in the Con Suite caused me to become disoriented and confused. I think there must be something wrong with the dip! Ohmigod I need to throw up! (Actual vomit optional, but practice your retching beforehand.)

            1. And I’ll say that I didn’t, and that they’ve been harassing me for disagreeing with them for the whole convention. The hotel/con can then drop the whole he said/she said thing or face a lawsuit from me. Their choice.

    4. There’s also the point that many of us are introverts and talking to other people, particularly people we don’t know well, is…well, let’s just say not behavior that comes naturally to us.

      1. I’m not an introvert! There’ve been days when I willingly talked to two, three people. Four if you count the voice at the drive-through where they chuck your lunch out a window to you.

        1. Dude! Lots of places, you can just text your order and avoid all that “human interaction” stuff…

          1. Well, sure — except I disdain texting as too impersonal. I prefer the challenge of decoding what the voice through the speaker is saying; life is short, live it on the edge.

        2. I’ve foudn I get antasy if I don’t talk to a person a day.

          Saying Hi to a person as I go for a walk is fine.

            1. LOL… No, but I do carry a knife and am prone to bouts of depression interspersed with high, mad laughter and extreme violence. So, I could be a Finn, for a certain given value of “Finn”. Although, by actual ancestry, it’s mostly Scots-Irish and a Heinz 57 wonderland of ethnic/national confusion. Conceivably, I could claim anything from African to Northern Europe with equal facility. Asian? Probably not without going back to the caves…

                1. If that’s all it takes…? I’m a probably a Finn.

                  I once picked up an axe and went after a guy who deliberately spilled my coffee one morning in the field. Had the little bastard not been a.) unburdened by web gear, as I was, and b.) not been a much faster runner than I was uncaffienated, there would have been a headline in the local Korean paper to the effect of “Innocent KATUSA Brutally Slain by American NCO”. As it was, when the ROKA staff NCO heard about his act of blatant coffee abuse, that young man probably wished he had let me catch him, instead of complaining to the guy I introduced to field espresso…

                  In the annals of US Army/ROKA relations, that was probably a high point of mutual appreciation for the finer points of civilizing young barbarian twits, and instilling respect for their elders in them. I think that little idiot spent the rest of his term with us as the demonstration dummy for the ROKA Sergeant Major’s Tae Kwon Do classes. And, yes, I smiled every time they hauled him off to the clinic, after class. Lese Majestie may not actually a crime in the ROKA regulations, but it is a well-understood concept. And, rich little boys shouldn’t complain to their very old-school senior NCO cadre about mistreatment after acting like a punk.

                  So, yeah, don’t screw around with my coffee in the wee hours of the morning before stand-to. I won’t react well.

            1. I’ll smile at somebody’s right ear all day. I’ve been told it’s a bit disconcerting if I do it for too long, though, so I make a point to blink and break away.

        3. The difference between an introvert engineer and a extrovert engineer is that the extrovert looks at your shoes instead of his own while talking to you.
          Retired engineer

    5. Sometimes words just vanish out of my brain for no reason. Like the other day, at the end of a hectic shift, the guy who was taking over my duties at toast-n-bake brought over a tray of frozen biscuits to put in the que-er. I wanted to tell him, “Don’t worry about that, I already have biscuits in the oven.” What came out was more like, “No, no, biscuits!”

    6. I find that I tend to launch into a sentence, and then suddenly stop because I see the need to backfill some information. And even if I try to start with that kind of information (“You know that one NCR we had to stop working on yesterday…”) I still end up doing it. It’s the verbal equivalent of thinking parenthetically.

      1. I know. And when you finally get to a place where you don’t have to do it, it’s a kind of revelation. I remember being in such a place years ago, where I had just been presented with a gag gift (a big jar of pickled pig’s feet). I was sitting next to a guy named Nick Trotter; I reached down, grabbed his ankle and hoisted it as high as I could, proclaiming, “Prosthetic!” At least half the people there got it, which amazes me now that I think back about how many layers of knowledge they had to have to get the joke.

        1. My favorite Christmas gift was a shirt that has two large, black birds and the phrase: “Attempted Murder.”

          I’ve had a pleasant number of people who got it, two “I love your shirt!”s, and a worrying number of folks’ eyes going wide.

          One of the guys I know is a geek did a head tilt and “I don’t get it?”
          I think part of being a geek is being able to detect that there IS a joke, there, even if you don’t understand it– and often being willing to ask.

              1. Which one?

                The “attempted murder” thing refers to the collective noun for a group of crows, which is a “murder of crows”.

                The “hola, soy milk” thing is a bi-lingual pun: In Spanish, “soy milk” is “I am milk”, while in English, that’s milk made from soybeans… Soooo… “Hola, soy milk” would be the carton of milk saying “Hi, I’m milk…”.

              2. If I were introducing myself in Spanish, I’d say “soy Foxfier.”

                “Soy milk” is a substitute milk kind of like almond milk, made with the same plant as Japanese edamame and tofu.

          1. Mom has one that reads “Free the Bound Periodicals!” Its a great way to find librarians and academics.

    7. Making words was very hard for me when I was younger. Now I become fixed on making my point; without that drive I would have given up on communication.

      Writing is slow. I can talk much faster, but I quickly lose any organization beyond the half dozen main points, and the dozen incidental points I want to share. I do not understand and have trouble managing the factors that sometimes make writing easy, if slow, and at other times make it impossible.

      Sometimes I disappear from here. Most often that is because making words has become much harder.

      Being unable to talk or write much isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. Being also unable to read is.

      Apparently I have fairly slow processing speed.

      Obsessed with truth, yes. Don’t monitor vocabulary very well. Perhaps extremely introverted.

      When listening or reading, can identify issues very fast. Takes time to get the issues sorted out in my head, and can take hours to years to be able to present them as words.

      1. Sounds like someone who needs to get all of the pieces into the jigsaw puzzle before you stand back and really see the picture.

        Not always a bad thing, IMHO.

    8. Hesitant speech. I do fine in writing, but that’s because there’s an edit function and I have time to remember the damn word I can’t think of. In person I sound like a moron.

      This appears to be a pretty common issue among the Con crowd. I was at Toronto Comic-Con and the Niagara one, lots of very excited kids that can’t string a sentence together for sour apples.

    9. Yep. I dumb down my speech a lot in order to be understood. The first time I can remember being asked was at a zoo, when I heard a bunch of bird noises in one direction and said, “Hey, let’s go to the aviary. Sounds like it’s that way!” (and pointed.) And everyone in the group stared at me and one asked, “The what?” I answered, “The aviary.” And a second or two later with everyone staring at me said, “The birdhouse.” Followed by, “Well why didn’t you say so?” And I thought “I did.” but didn’t speak it.

      My wife and I never (as in never) talked baby talk to our kids. They all suffer the same vocabulary problem. They have one. And moan and complain about their fellow workers/students, whatever, because they have to dumb down their talk to be understood. When the words you want to use often are more clear about what you mean. If you know them, that is.

  4. I think the title should be “This, That, The Odder”, but I may be part of the “odder”. 😉

  5. Hope you are some day able to come to Houston and visit the Natural Science Museum here. Just a few years ago, a new addition (4000 sq ft, I believe) was built be completely dedicated to a VERY large collection of paleontology, starting from the Pre-Cambrian to the Pleistocene. Its a HUGE hall with gorgeous specimens, including three Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Triceratops and quite a number of specimens that were found in Texas. My favorite is the Quetzalcoatlus northropii. The skeletons look like dragons to me.

      1. Yeah, I was reading it to another author friend over the phone and we were both chuckling over some of them, and wondering if somebody needed to sneak over to TN and grab a seat now for the Black Tide Rising panel.

        1. *chuckle* I’ll be *in* TN the week before… but in the wrong end of the state, alas. Looks like somebody is going to be doodling “small horde” on the attendance sheet in advance again…

    1. Nemonster, Steve and I will all be at LibertyCon. Nemo will be primped and prepared for his presentation to Hoyt Society.

      1. I’ll be there too. I’m running an RPG at 1 PM Saturday that’s (I hope) particularly tailored for writers, wannabe writers, and storytellers in general. The rule system requires players to tell stories, as there really aren’t any rules to do elsewise. Even your character is generated from the lies, anecdotes, and stories others tell about you.

  6. “Oh, and several of you — okay, several instapundit readers, but there’s overlap — came to see me yesterday and asked about putting fictional hits on some of my colleagues who have annoyed them. My. What a murderous lot you are.”

    Hah. (Or perhaps I should say “Heh…”) No, people who really annoy me get put into my books as characters, usually as obnoxious and/or laughable characters. I put Ethan the cocoa-sipping pajama-boy into Lone Star Sons. A persistent resident troll at Chicagoboyz is in Luna City 2, and the character of the movie director is based on Quentin Tarantino and John Landis – whom I have held a grudge against ever since he managed to kill Vic Morrow for realsies while shooting the Twilight Zone movie.

    1. I’d sort of wondered what happened to him. I’ll always think of him as Sheriff Roy in “The California Kid.” (my favorite movie of all time)

      1. It was all over the news when it happened, and the trials went on for years, Landis was eventually acquitted – but he was the director, the man in charge giving orders.

        1. I could never quite make up my mind who was more at fault, there–Landis, for his direction, or the stunt coordinator, who should have prevented it from happening in the first place by telling Landis “No.”.

          1. We are all at fault for not banning the pointless hazard of Big Film.

              1. Hollywood is beyond what the founding fathers imagined when the approved the first amendment.

              2. Nobody needs 3D glasses to see a movie! We need to ban Assault Films and institute a three-day waiting period before you can buy a ticket.

                Jared Lee Loughner never could have shot so many people if the theatre hadn’t had the lights out! ALL Movies must be watched in brightly lit theatres!

          2. Geeze, thanks for the reminder that I want to rewatch The Stunt Man, starring the only Oscar-nominated actor whose name consists of two slang terms for a male organ.

  7. Why does that last sentence make me picture a “running of the authors?” :-0
    I grew up 30 miles South of Cape Canaveral/Kennedy, and was part of a “Model Rocket” group, as a teenager. On a trip to “The Space Center/launch pads” a “guide” said. If you throw a brick into a group of people here, you are guaranteed to hit an SF/Fantasy fan. A comment echoed later about engineers.

    1. I once read an article about serial killers. It was about similarities between their background and early lives, etc. But what I found most interesting was that most of them were serious Star Trek fans…

      While startling, I guess there’s a fair chance any given Odd will be at least a modest Trek fan. At least until they grow up and move on to Babylon 5.

  8. Portland, OR’s Kumoricon anime convention has an extensive costuming component.

    Someone showed up last year as _Top Gear_’s The Stig….

    1. I was really disappointed to hear you weren’t planning to do a third party run for President. Now I’m stuck trying to choose one of SMOD and Cthulhu.

      1. Cthulu/SMOD ’16. Why choose a lesser evil? SMOD doesn’t care he’s taking second ticket. Cthulu gets a world, SMOD gets to SMOD. We’re all along for the ride.

    2. Are you sure it wasn’t the Stig himself? Some say that he’s a huge SF fan.

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