LTUE Report

Um… it was a long trip and I’m sleepy, but it was fun.  A lot of fun.

I’m not well enough, yet, to actually socialize all the time, but a lot of my fans were there, as well as people like Law Dog and his lady and Dorothy and Peter Grant, so pretty much every time we stepped out, we ended up taking an extra hour to get back to the room.

There were fascinating and interesting panels, but again, I was not yet up to attending most of them.  Still, I’ve done a lot of cons, and this one seemed to have the most useful panels.

Under “inexplicable” I was in a panel on writing children.  NOT quite inexplicable, as the program director is a fan of Dyce, but of course the panel morphed into writing FOR children.  I kept getting asked how to vote for middle-schoolers.  Er…. I don’t know.

I got to hang out with Brad and Larry (and of course Bridget.)  And Larry and I talked Guardian.  It was fun.

More when I’m more coherent.

Am going back next year if I have money, time, and they let me. 🙂

80 thoughts on “LTUE Report

  1. “Time and Money” are something to be concerned about.

    However, “they let me” isn’t something to be concerned about.

    Because if they don’t “want you”, that’s their Big Mistake. 😉

    1. Oh, we want her back! And wouldn’t mind a few of you others on panels too 😉 And in my defense, I wasn’t responsible for the writing track panels, so I’m not sure how the children’s books panel got Sarah on it.

      1. I proposed a traveling panel called “North vs South: Which is better?” but the idea was rejected. They said it would be too polarizing.

        This year, if I am permitted a little more latitude, my “East vs West” panel will be approved…

            1. Sometimes I pass through Hannibal when I take a Western trip, and the bridge carrying I-72 over the Mississippi bears Twain’s name. Going through Hannibal is part of the quieter alternative to I-70 for the Indianapolis to Kansas or Nebraska part of the trip.

              1. I went through Hannibal on one of my trips east. I thought it was what my Dad used to call a tourist trap, and I didn’t have excess money to spend. Besides getting to throwing a rock in the Mississippi River, I wasn’t much impressed.

  2. The writing children could have gone farther awry, although from what you’ve said about Robert and Marshall’s early compositional efforts you would have still been able to usefully contribute.

    BTW – you could have saved this until morning and claimed it Monday’s post. Still can, of course …

      1. As Monday is Presidents’ Day, maybe a discussion of who were the best and worst presidents prior to Nixon? (Date determined by the old rule that everything within the last fifty years ain’t History, it’s Current Events.) Use the post to set the standards for evaluation and then let the Huns argue why those standards are not valid the presidential ratings according to those standards?

        Or we could simply discuss what ought be proper standards; I think all here concur that the standards usually applied on this topic by Historians are utter hogwash. They often tend to score presidents higher according to their violation of Constitutional standards while Huns are more likely to rate according to adherence to the Constitution.

        Which suggests an easy topic could be made of the abuses of Historians. (To be precise, the abuses effected by Historians; causes and methods for abusing Historians is probably a good second day topic.)

            1. He was the best of presidents, he was the worst of presidents, it was an administration of wisdom, it was an administration foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

        1. Washington

          I can’t argue with Draven’s reply. Brilliant in his own right, but so very many bad precedents.

          1. The story goes that, after he had left the White House, Silent Cal was enjoying a meal in a restaurant when a woman walked up to him and said “Mr. President, I have bet my friends that I can get you to say at least three words to me.”

            Coolidge looked at her and said “You lose.”

          2. Coolidge is one of the most underappreciated, in my opinion. The president of “No” likely did more good and perpetrated less bad than each of those who later held office.

            1. That was Kevin McCarthy when he was in the Calif state legislature — that he voted NO on everything involving spending money had become a standing joke!

        2. Buchanan. Lincoln and Wilson are down there, but Buchanan had opportunities, saw trouble coming, and passed the buck so fast it went supersonic.

          1. I will say, in Lincoln’s behalf, that his term was in unique circumstances, making the analysis of his policies problematic.

            I am surprised there’s no “love” for FDR, whose court-packing and establishment of Social Security (as well as his spurning of the tradition of limited terms wreaked short and long term havoc.

            My vote would likely be for JFK, thanks primarily to his executive order allowing (mandating) unionization of Civil Service employees, thus establishing the basis for the Administrative State problems afflicting us these last few decades and making him the only president to establish a Fourth Body of Government, one even less accountable t The People than the Courts.

            1. One might argue that LBJ’s “Great Society” (with welfare and immigration for all) did more immediate and direct damage and led to the mass dysfunctionality we see today, tho it probably wouldn’t have been possible absent the string of aforementioned candidates.

        3. For the worst, my vote is Wilson. Others have been bad, but I don’t know that anyone else has been quite so anti-American as Wilson was (and I do not use that pejorative lightly).

          1. The worst has to go to Buchanan, and I don’t think anyone can over take him, unless they help set up Civil War MkII.
            (And by set up, I mean groups of Americans shooting at each other in organized groups.)

            1. Being Mormon, I’m already prejudiced against him because of the Utah War. After sending an army out to suppress an imaginary rebellion against federal authority, he did next to nothing about the real one.

  3. I know very little about writing for middle schoolers, but from what I remember of BEING a middle schooler who occasionally read things written for my age group, the number one rule is to remember that middle schoolers are not idiots. They do not need their hands held through every plot point, they will notice if your world building has more holes than swiss cheese, and they won’t accept a plot or character points that make no sense just because you say so. In short, don’t write a bad book and try to excuse its stupidity on the grounds that “it’s for children.”

    1. This. I despised condescending books. This crap continues into high school, particular the “easy reader” category. If you like, do it like the old cartoons and write it on several levels, from juvenile through adult. The biggest thing should be no graphic violence, romance but no sex, and watch the language. Second to condescending books were those who “thought” they were being edgy. Trust me: as someone who’s wife says he was a “hoodlum” at that age, it’s not. It’s embarrassing, doesn’t fit, and the kids who want to learn foul language and such already know where to find it, and it’s not in books for middle schoolers.

      1. If I recall correctly, Rebert Heinlein’s rule for writing juveniles was “write stories that would be interesting for adults, but simple enough that children could understand”.

        1. I apologize for accidentally putting that comment in moderation: Due to weird mobile phone formatting quirks, I mistakenly doubled my name.

      2. I’d also put in that category topics that are of interest to adults but not to kids. For instance, there’s absolutely nothing objectionable to Jane Austen’s work, but the particular love of language and reading in between the lines that’s key to enjoying her come a bit later than middle school, so you’d want to throw Heyer at them first. (Jane Austen was satirizing the mores of her time, so people knew them; Heyer was writing out of her time period, so had to make some conventions obvious to her readers.)

        1. Though I will admit that there are good visual adaptations to Austen’s works, so if you showed those first, so the kids could visualize the humor, they could read to get the details later. (I had to watch an early version of P&P before it really clicked for me.)

  4. Indeed.

    And, if it’s not too painful to recount, perhaps a recap of the DL debacle for those who do not twit or follow the book of visages.

            1. As soon as you get a new driver’s license, the old one will appear.

              Of course, St. Anthony of Padua/Lisbon knows my address and so does Murphy, so maybe that’s just me.

  5. When I did program planning for SF cons, I used to come up with a list of 50% more panels than I had time and rooms for, and send it out to every guests, asking them to rate topics as No, Yes, or Yes Please. Then I would schedule the panels that enough people wanted, and assign people only to panels they picked. It worked really well, and I’ve been baffled when I’ve encountered conventions that seemingly just assign people to whatever panels they need to fill, or at most give a list of broad topics like Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Writing. I was assured once by a young woman who had the same role on her con that Everybody Does It That Way.

    1. I can confirm that not everyone does it that way… The convention I worked on for years did it a bit differently from you and from them. We had a few specific things we’d ask people to bring back because they were popular. Our Names typically had acts they liked to do (Anime convention, so the voice actors would often do schtick of various sorts.) All of our panels were suggested by the Panelists. (And we had a policy for no-show panelists and a few other things.) That tended to cut down on a fair amount of the confusion. On the other hand we were a small convention and I’m not sure how Guest Relations handled the Names and their topics/panels.

    2. That is about how we do it. Some minor differences but sometimes, you can’t help it when the moderator takes it away from it’s original purpose. I’m suspecting that is what happened to the writing children panel. That is where the after reports come in handy. We can evaluate who kept things on topic and who lost control of panelists or topic or time.

  6. So, we’re back to virtual hugs! *hugs*

    I was so looking forward to showing you how much better physically I’d gotten since Libertycon (Look, Sarah! No cane!), and now that I can breathe and think again, very sad that my lungs betrayed me. Not quite sure how to exercise those in advance into being able to handle LTUE.

    Maybe next year I’ll join the scattered cosplayers, with a silvery space suit like on pulp magazine covers, and tucking the discrete little oxygen bottle on the back like it belongs to the costume. As long as no one notices the medical tubing, I’ll be fine!

    Peter didn’t get to that many panels, either, but among those he did, some random off-the-cuff panelist comment flashed bright in his universe and he came away with a “Oh! THAT’S what the current book needs!” So he’s back to writing happily away.

    1. I didn’t see many cosplayers; this was more for writers than fans (not that those two groups are mutually exclusive). I met a pair of steampunkers and a saw a few more like them, and there was a black dragon wandering the hall one day.

      1. True, there were almost no cosplayers, as that’s not the focus of the symposium. But if I’m going to have to lug around a bottle and mask, why not make it stylish and awesome?

        1. Re: lungs, have you considered voice lessons?

          Actually, I don’t think you really need the voice lessons, per se. Even jazz-style singing is good lungs aerobics, as is talking.

          However… the classical breath exercise, which is also kinda amusing, is trying to sing in front of a lit candle. When you can sing without making the flame tremble, you are singing correctly. Obviously this is not easy to achieve, so there is plenty of room for working on proper singing.

          (Don’t hold the candle while singing. Just sit down at a table.)

          The point of it is that, although sound is produced on an exhaled breath, the best resonance is produced when your vocal folds are most closed. So ideally, you’re exhaling really slowly, almost not at all, for a very long time; and then you inhale quickly and deeply. So your lungs are working two different ways.

          The other point is that, by focusing on singing correctly, in a very relaxed way (and not on “breath control”), your involuntary muscles work better. Then your diaphragm, lungs, tongue, and vocal folds all work together as a system. (The candle is just visual feedback.) This probably doesn’t matter much if you’re not trying to be a singer, public speaker, or drill instructor; but it is a good thing.

          So what happens is that your entire respiratory system and the muscles supporting it get a bit of a workout, and yet you don’t have to move much. (Which is why unfamous opera singers tend to get chunky but live forever.)

          Summary: Obviously you still need to do whatever else your doctors and weightlifting guys say, but you might get some lung help from singing or talking exercises. If you don’t like singing, you can always declaim poetry.

    2. Not sure about the elevation issue; we moved from sea level to 4400 feet with no problems, but know others who have had mild issues here. Would acclimation help you? (Stay a couple of days in Amarillo, mayhaps?)

      I see that air travel with an oxygen bottle is possible, but you need mucho advanced warning with the airline (48 hours min, and a Gummint site says 2 weeks is ideal). The cosplay effect wouldn’t be as cool with an oxygen concentrator, but I suspect they’d be easier to get on an airplane.

      1. Acclimatization does help; when I take two days to reach the flatter parts of Colorado, it only makes me winded, weary, and mildly ashthmatic. Unfortunately, we didn’t want to drive in snowy mountain passes, so we took an airline that dumped me straight from Dallas to Salt Lake City, quite efficiently.

        And therein lay all the difference…

        I suspect I would source an oxygen bottle locally, as I wouldn’t need it after leaving. More research forthwith.

  7. It was highly useful to me. Partly because of Sarah’s constant encouragement to make things in the world better by writing better stories, I’m about five chapters into one. A comment over on Mad Genius Club gave me an *Idea* that’s working, unlike my previous intermittent attempts.

    There was a panel on “Feeding an army” which solved a couple of major problems for me: I know what my hero is going to do next before he kills the dragon, one presenter on medieval weapons and armor which informs me what he will be wearing when he does it, and one on “social mobility in feudal society” which clarifies the “now what?” afterwards.

    And I did get to meet Sarah in person, rather more briefly than I would have liked, but we were both busy. I also didn’t want to be too obnoxiously a hanger-on and pest.

    1. The medieval weapons guy has been joined by a gun guy (many weapons from early days, matchlocks, flintlocks, pistols, etc) and we found out a little too late for him to bring weapons that we now have a blacksmithing sword expert panelist.

    2. Yeah, you have to do something with the dead dragon, or those ungrateful villagers will complain.

      Salt dragon, dried dragon, jerked dragon, honey dragon, canned dragon, dragon-on-a-stick…

      “Hi, we’re from the Highway Department. Someone called about a dead dragon stinking the place up?”

      1. “I hate this, Jim.”
        “Shut up and get that rope around the fourth leg.”
        “I mean, I don’t mind opossums. I don’t really like skunks, but since I got that spare coverall and the mask they aren’t that bad.”
        *much grunting*
        “You complain too much.”
        “But, seriously, dragons? What the hell did this guy hit to end up roadkill? And we have to wait on the flatbed.”

  8. Beware the dragon chili.

    More importantly, beware the person who eats the dragon chili. (Especially during the twenty-four to forty-eight hours after the eating.)

Comments are closed.