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Much to my annoyance, this song is not saved to my hard drive or my external drive, and I'm not sure I own the CD.

Started the app a little after 2100 after grabbing more breakfast-like foods at Jack In The Box using my BOGO coupon, and proceeded to spend about 45 minutes in the airport staging lot before getting my first rider. This was a foreshadowing of how the night was going to go. There were long stretches of the night (by which I mean up to 30 minutes) where I had no calls. So it wasn't too surprising that I ended the night with only 13 rides for $76; I tacked on another five rides between 0400-0600 but they were all short runs adding up to a mere $20. I did make $28 in tips, though, and the babe count was a respectable 13. All this brings me up to $180 for the weekend.

Couldn't find a flat-head screwdriver, but my NRA knife was sufficient to reset the child-proof locks.

Going to have some yogurt and hopefully get relaxed enough to fall asleep shortly. Hopefully Sunday night will get me over $250, but I'm not going to hold my breath.


Woke up around 1100. Weight and BG both lower today; BG in fact was back under 200. Celebrated with eggs and sausage and ham and cheese for breakfast. Fooled around a little bit with the original Bioshock, since Bioshock Remastered is worth every penny I didn't pay for it. The museum of unused ideas in Remasteredwas a pretty interesting conceit, or it would have been if I'd been able to control the trackball better. As for the game itself, I never got past the screen where our protagonist is trying not to drown - it just whitescreened and went back to the main menu. Feh.

Did Rule 5 Sunday more or less on time. Thought about going out for a burger or something, but in the end I stayed in and had a salami & cheese wrap instead.

Tomorrow I'm going to call the credit union about arranging for new wheels, and hopefully they can get me back on the road soonest.

Anime Detour 2017 AAR

well, I was going to post this a week ago Wednesday night, but then I got distracted by filthy, filthy lewdsRule 5 stuff on Twitter...
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All in all, it was a good weekend. Got to see more of my friends on staff than I have in past years, got the usual pats on the back for starting this mess, and that was good. Not so good is seeing the convention start to suffer some of the staffing problems I expected it would when it got to be this size. I am doing what little I can to help.

*In fact, I did no Ingressing whatsoever over the weekend.
**I got the map later on.

So about last night..

I was having a pretty good night doing the Uber thing until about 2:40 this morning, when some asshole slammed into the back of my Hyundai while I was waiting for the light at Tropicana and Ocean. Said asshole hit me hard enough that I blacked out for a second; when I came to, I shut the engine off and was trying to figure out where my glasses went when the guy comes up to me and asks "What are you doing sitting in the intersection?" and "Are you okay?" My response was less than temperate - no, I was not okay, why the f*** did you hit me? He suggested we move our cars to the right lane of Tropicana and I told him I wasn't going anywhere until I found my glasses, which it took me a couple minutes to do. Once the vehicles were moved, he came over again and asked if I was okay (I wasn't) and then he just left.

I called 911 and then reported the accident to Uber; after about ten minutes a motorcycle cop arrived, took my statement, took pictures, talked to the Tropicana security guard who'd seen everything, and gave me a copy of the accident report. He asked me if I wanted an ambulance and/or a tow truck, and I stupidly said no. He told me I was free to drive at my own risk, so I motored on up the '15 to the VA hospital, because I wasn't sure what kind of hassles I was going to have with the civilian hospitals, especially on a Friday night. When i got out of my car in the ER parking lot, I was accosted by a Nevada Highway Patrol sergeant, who had a number of unkind things to say regarding my brains, common sense, etc., before getting around to delegating writing me up* to a regular NHP trooper. The VA policeman who joined the small mob of police on scene walked me to the triage desk, which is more than those fuckers from the NHP even offered to do.

While lying on a gurney at the ER, Uber called me to follow up and I gave them the accident report number, which I hadn't had at the time I filed the initial accident report with them. Doctor came by shortly thereafter and checked me out; he didn't see any need for a CAT scan and released me with some painkillers and muscle relaxants, which I am going to take right after I post this. I thought about taking an Uber home but decided the DVX bus was a better option, or at least cheaper. Changed buses downtown (and did breakfast at the Golden Nugget since I hadn't eaten anything but a bag of almonds since 9 PM last night) and took the SDX home.

What a shitty start to the off-season. The Hyundai is safe at the VA until at least Monday; I need to make arrangements with the credit union to get it fixed -or replaced, if it's too trashed to fix. But that's for Monday.

*for driving an unsafe vehicle. Court date's in July.

The Heinlein Standard

Moe Lane asked,

As in: love or hate JRR Tolkien as you please, but you may not ignore him when it comes to the fantasy genre. Venerate or despise HP Lovecraft for any number of reasons, but when we talk about horror we are ultimately using concepts and conceits that he defined and developed.  But if there’s a single figure of the science fiction field that similarly towers over the landscape, I do not know his or her name.  Bob Heinlein comes close. So does John Campbell, although that would have been more true thirty years ago.

*cue arguments in the comments and on Twitter*

Moe seems to have skipped right over the obvious candidate right there. I'm a big fan of John W. Campbell, Jr., as the editor of ASF who defined the SF genre and particularly the "hard SF" occasionally sneered at as "engineer porn", but as an author, JWC belongs in the Golden Age of Pulp along with his contemporaries Doc Smith and Edmond Hamilton. Nobody today, or even in the last fifty years, compares themselves to Campbell.

Uncle Bob, though...the man has been dead for almost thirty years, but the mere mention of the author or his works can still set supposed adults to frothing with rage. I have lived long enough to see authors in two separate generations have their best-known works compared to Heinlein, and likewise to see his critics flame out and disappear into obscurity. Whether one likes it or not, anyone writing military SF stories that deal with elite infantry is going to find those stories compared to Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Conservative and libertarian SF writers hold up Heinlein as an icon, a touchstone, an inspiration; leftists, on the other hand, have reviled him for the last sixty years for leaving the Socialist Democrats of Upton Sinclair and becoming a fervent nationalist. They complain that Heinlein's portrayal of women was offensive and denigrating, when it's well known that he modeled a lot of those characters on his wife Virginia, an accomplished woman in her own right as an engineer and quite a babe besides.

There are a lot of other SF writers who had an impact on the field; there are others who were as popular as Heinlein. You seldom see people compared to Ray Bradbury, Arthur Clarke, or Harlan Ellison, though. That's because for better or for worse, the Dean of Science Fiction is also its gold standard, the towering figure against whom all others are measured. I could probably make the argument that his impact on SF has been greater than Lovecraft's on horror and Tolkien's on fantasy, but that's not my point. It is comparable, and that is enough.

Oh, hello there. Been a while.

I see that it's been five and a half years since I last logged in here at Dreamwidth, and there have been a few changes. For those of you that haven't been following my misadventures on LiveJournal, here's a short summary.

2012: Failed the CPA exam, got evicted from my apartment in Foxchase, and after a temporary stay in Crystal City for a month, I wound up renting a bedroom out in Springfield.

2013-2014: Nothing much happened. I collected disability from Social Security, worked for Block during the tax season, attended Balticon and Anime Detour and sometimes Katsucon.

2015: I got pushed into declaring bankruptcy, which I managed with some help from my friends, and eventually packed up a bunch of my stuff (after giving away several pickup truck loads to people who could use the charitable contribution deduction better than I could) before driving to Las Vegas immediately after Balticon by way of Louisiana, Houston, Albuquerque, and various points in between -like Chattanooga, Wichita Falls, Tucumcari, and Kingman- before settling into the Plaza Hotel for a couple days until I got my apartment lease done. Friends helped me fix my truck and get my stuff out of hock as well. It's very good to have friends, and I have been especially blessed.

2016: After a disappointing tax season, I started driving for Uber in May. This was fun and profitable, if occasionally annoying. Went to Anime Detour and Balticon and the Salt Lake City Ingress Anomaly, which was disappointing. Got back in touch with an old friend from Civil Air Patrol days.

This entry was originally posted at http://wombat-socho.dreamwidth.org/1095086.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

By any meme necessary

1. Was 2016 a good year for you?
It had its ups and downs, but mostly yes.

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Didn't see that coming

Woke up before noon and couldn't get back to sleep; weight was up but BG was down. Did breakfast, cycled a couple of loads through the laundry, and then headed over to Sahara Square to take my Senior Tax Specialist exam. That was going pretty well until I got to the Blockworks part, at which point I discovered Blockworks wouldn't load for 2015 or 2016, which meant I couldn't do either of the shell return exercises that made up the last third of the test. So I packed up all my stuff and went off to take advantage of Taco Tuesday.

Having finished the tacos, I spent some time on Left 4 Dead and got to the waterworks before having to quit. Slowly getting better at the game.

Refueled at Sam's on Pecos ($2.229, ugh) and got a rider from the airport as I pulled into the staging area. That took me south of Blue Diamond and west of Durango, then I got sent on a wild goose chase by UberEats, and finally picked up a rider from south of Cactus who was going to just the other side of the 95. I was having real problems staying awake, so I punched out and went home. Made $29 between the two trips, which brings me up to $102 for the week. No tips, but babe count was two (okay). I'll try it again tomorrow night after I get done stuffing my face at Fogo, assuming I can even move.

Read Creatures of Light and Darkness last night before falling asleep; might do the same with Lord of Light tonight, although I think the chances of me just passing right out when I hit the pillow are better.
Since I am once again on staff, I need to preface this post with the reminder that I am not speaking on behalf of Anime Detour, have no standing to do so, and if you think what I am about to say is in any way, shape, or form the official opinion of Anime Detour, you should set your computer on fire, because you are too dumb to be using the Internet. It's MY opinion and mine alone, okay?

Having said that, I do have some perspective on the complaints posted in the Anime Detour 20XX Facebook group lately, because I was in at the beginning of this thing. For those of you that don't know me, I was one of the founding members of Anime Twin Cities and served as its VP and Treasurer for the first few years before working as ATC's Secretary for a couple years before moving back to the Washington area in 2007. I was Vice-Chairman for the first convention in 2004, Chairman in 2005 and 2006, and Head of Registration in 2007. I've attended most of the following Detours as a regular otaku and sometimes as a volunteer, so I've seen most of the changes that have been made under my successors. Not gonna lie, I'm not happy about all those changes, because...well, I'll deal with that as we deal with the complaints.

Some of them are very familiar. People have complained about SecuritySafety since 2005: they didn't like Security's attitude, they didn't like being told what to do or being yelled at if they didn't listen and do what they were told the first time...yeah. There's nothing really new here, except for the unfortunate business with the cosplayer's weapon, and I would submit that was more a case of poor communication and bullheaded behavior on the part of one staff member than anything else. As Napoleon once said, "Never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence", and unfortunately, Safety has never (ever) had enough people to fill its shifts, and this means people operate without enough sleep, and as we all know, lack of sleep makes people stupid. Another factor here is that Safety, like Security before it, attracts the kind of people who like telling other people what to do. This is unfortunately a necessary thing; you can't staff Safety with introverts, you need people who will not hesitate to tell convention members that they need to go back to their rooms and sleep it off, they need to come up to Ops and get a ruling on whether their costume shows too much sideboob or cod, or to clear the halls because the paramedics are coming through. They don't always have the time to stop and explain these things, and naturally people get irritated. Welp. You can't please everyone, and I think you're a fool to try. Still, the change from a Security department running under our original unofficial motto of "Brutal honesty. Heavy on the brutal." to a kinder, gentler Safety department doesn't seem to have cut down on the complaints, though I think rinnytintinny and Matt have done their best to improve things in that department. I would encourage people to follow the Safety folks around sometime (especially on a Saturday night) and see what they put up with. It might damage your faith in your fellow otaku, it may damage your calm as well, but I think you'll have a better idea of the stresses involved. It's not as easy as it sometimes looks from the outside.

As for the other complaints, many of them revolve around the Size Issue, which is something that's been argued about in staff meetings since it became obvious we weren't going to implode and fail, and dejana made the most pertinent comment: if we move into the Convention Center, our expenses will increase hugely, and a lot of the stuff we currently do (a consuite, for example) is flat out not going to be possible, even if we could afford it.

The bottom line is that if you want the convention to change, you need to get involved. You don't have to be a staff member to show up at staff meetings and make the staff aware of how you feel about things. Show up and speak up. If you want to get involved in meta issues like policy (for example, the Size Issue) you do need to join staff so that you can become a board member or officer of ATC. But anyone can volunteer to do programming. Get some friends together, agree on a topic, and submit it to Programming.

I had a couple more paragraphs of stuff, but it's getting late in the morning and I have to sleep sometime. Many of the reasons things at Detour (and at ATC) are the way they are can be found in the following LJ posts, which are all public, and I hope you find them edifying.

Thoughts Of The Former Chief Wombat
Anime Detour Philosophy



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