August 2011 Newsletter
First a quickie review of SpoCon 2011, one of my three favorite ongoing science fiction conventions.
SpoCon is Spokane Washington’s annual science fiction convention. Which I attended this year through the courtesy of the convention committee, and of Ohio’s David Heit, who’d kindly volunteered to serve as my Geezer Wrangler. (To travel by air, I’m required to have an escort to  handle my oxygen equipment—oxygen concentrator, three heavy brick-like batteries, and two battery chargers, AC and DC),  keep me from getting lost, and  keep me on schedule. The concentrator is R2O2, a small younger cousin of R2D2,of Star Wars fame.) It was David’s first science fiction convention. The convention covered our costs, treating us as untitled GOHs.
Thank you, guys; thank you all.
Dave, Oh-Two, and I flew to Spokane WA, via Las Vegas, on Thursday, August 10th. We were met at Spokane Airport by Paula Geane Grenvik at the wheel of a large white Cadillac. Oh-Two was especially excited; he’d never ridden in a Caddy before. He was more than excited by riding with Fan Guest of Honor Dragon Dronet, who’d played in a movie with Oh-Two’s Uncle, R2D2. Dragon had arrived on the same flight from Vegas, with his co-worker Chad, whose surname escapes me. (Chad, e-mail me your surname, if you will, via my website.)
This year SpoCon was held not at Gonzaga University, as in the previous three years, but downtown at the Double Tree Hilton Hotel. If everyone registered weighed one pound, they’d have totaled somewhat more than half a ton. Not bad, eh? Best-selling fantasy author Patricia Briggs was the author GOH; illustrator Dan Dos Passos the artist GOH (we’re seeing a lot of his work these days); and Dragon Dronet was fan GOH. Dead Gentlemen Productions and John Dalmas were presented as "Special Guests." Spokane resident author Carolyn (C.J.) Cherryh didn’t wear a title, she’s been a leading literary star for more than three decades. Here, with GOH Patty, she led a considerable list of established pros.
As for after hours? There were so many room parties, I didn’t run into William Warren at even one of them! And he was there; I saw him! As best I recall, this is the first con for years that I didn’t, um, imbibe with Bill. We weren’t even on a panel together! The programming was well-balanced, well-attended, and well-received. I missed the masquerade though; my old bod desperately needed sleep.) Nap now, party later.
All too soon, the Closing Ceremony arrived, with more entertainment and good fellowship, including videos by Dragon’s Renegade Productions.
And on the day after (Monday, August 15th), we were taken to the airport in a white limo about fifty feet long! (Would you believe twenty?) Had we wished, we could have played cards in back: there was a place for a table, with seats on three sides! David and I arrived in Columbus, via Phoenix AZ, at about 11 pm, picked up David’s van at the shuttle lot, and we went straight to my place. Then Dave took off for the 70-mile drive to home and family.
I’ve been having arthritis in my neck that hampers my ability to hold my head up and look around. It seemed my head was migrating to my chest. So off to therapy for you, John! A handful of exercises was begun, with good and quick results, which I took with me to SpoCon. Folks I’d seen at MisCon at the end of May, commented on the change.
The cardiovascular/strength workouts I’ve been doing since I moved into The Sanctuary also resulted comments, which amounted to "you’re not looking so frail.” It helps, of course, that I sleep well, and fall asleep easily. (Which reminds me, it’s bedtime.)
Now, back to Health— I no longer follow extended directions well. (It’s not willful; it just happens.) So I cope and adjust. Today I discovered papers I should have signed and mailed 16 months ago—and had thought I had. I discovered this when searching for the reply I hadn’t gotten because I’d neglected my part of the transaction. Bummer. I must now go into repair mode.
I remain slow in all things. Goes with the turf. It is particularly evident in typing and repairing.
I still reserve time for reading. Time was I seldom started to read a new book until I finished what I’d already started (except for spates of reading the Bible at bedtime). Currently though, I’m reading (or rereading) Huston Smith’s superb The World’s Religions; Stephen Hawking’s and Leonard Mlodinow’s version of where theoretical physics now stands, in The Grand Design; an essay by biologist Rupert Sheldrake on "Morphic Resonance,” which addresses a gap in theoretical biology that has bothered me for a long time. (I’ll likely write up my take on it when I finish my current reread.) Also Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics, which is interesting and enlightening not only for what he says but for what he so far hasn’t said. (I’m only about 40% of the way through it though.) And Carolyn Cherryh’s novel Conspirator, which, as I get more deeply into it, is taking over my pre-10 pm reading time. (I generally stick to nonfiction for bed-time reading.)
And finally Shepherd Hoodwin’s Enlightenment for Nitwits, a light-hearted spoof for,and on, us folks with New-Age interests. (You wouldn’t imagine who provided him with cover blurbs.) http://enlightenmentfornitwits.com
I keep plugging along, but progress is slow. Basically for several reasons: I think more slowly. I type more slowly. I make more typos that require fixing. And I sometimes forget what I’ve done—and what I should have done but lost track of before I finished it. (Here I see I’ve repeated myself, but repetition adds emphasis.)
As I’ve probably said before, Baen reverted the rights to THE SECOND COMING. I’ve done some touching up, and it is now off to an eBook publisher, who’d asked to see it. That is good. No news yet on ARMFELT. I continue to work at getting marketing comments from Academia, but academics tend to be seriously busy people with overflowing in-boxes, and have never heard of me. I’m working on that, too. (Thank you, Ulla.)
As for TEA RIVER TALES—I’ve hardly touched it this month. I intend to complete the first draft in September. We’ll see.
And that’s it for this time.
Love to you all,