NASFIC day 2

When I booked this hotel for NASFIC, I chose it based on the simplest of decision criteria: it was the only hotel left in Collinsville. I did see the note on the con’s website that it was a half-mile away and that “you probably don’t want to walk,” but I expected to ignore that advice. We like to walk, and I didn’t think that the heat and humidity would be sufficient to discourage us.

Then we got here, and I discovered that the advice was well-founded. There are no sidewalks on this side of the highway; there is evidence that people have walked enough to trample down the grass at the side of the road, but it sure doesn’t seem like a good idea. So we’ve been driving.

And that has discouraged us from making too many trips between hotel and con — and so we’re not at the party tonight (Kansas City in 2009); we got back from dinner too soon to go directly to the party, and once we were back at the hotel, inertia took over. Tomorrow, we’ll try harder. I think.

Today’s programming was pretty good; we hit a second panel on alternate histories, a panel on language and SF (sadly, the word “grok” was misspelled in the title!), a panel on humor in SF, a panel on Firefly, and a panel on upcoming probably bad movies; Diane and Jeff went to one on aliens in popular culture while I attended a panel on future gadgets. The con is getting its money’s worth from the panelists — we keep seeing the same people on multiple panels. And I do wish they’d been able to arrange for amplification — we’ve taken to sitting in the front row to have the best chance of hearing the panel.

I also made a few trips to the huckster room; it hasn’t been as much of a danger to my wallet as I’d hoped, and so I’ve also been going online and buying books from Amazon (these have, of course, been books mentioned during the panels. I’d rather buy from a dealer here if I can, but if I can’t….). There was even one story mentioned during the “gadget” panel which sounded vaguely familiar — the panelist knew the title (“Tools of the Trade”) and gave a plot summary (starship has engine problems; lands on a world which is pre-hyperdrive; the captain has to push them through several generations of development to fix the engine, because he has to get them to the point that they can make the tools to make the tools to make the tools to fix the engine). It took me nearly ten minutes of hunting to track that one down (it would have been a lot easier with a full-sized keyboard and display than it was on the iPhone), but thanks to the Contento Index, I found the story: it’s by Raymond F. Jones, writing as Joe Williams, published in the November, 1950 issue of Astounding and reprinted in “Space, Space, Space”, which I’m pretty sure I read as a kid. And, to my surprise, the San Jose Library has a copy (actually, it’s in the San Jose State Library collection), and I should have it in my hands early next week. I would have had the copy reserved before the panel was over if I’d had my library card with me, but it was back in the hotel room, and so I had to wait. Life is tough sometimes.

Lewis and Clark and NASFIC

We spent the morning at the Lewis and Clark National Trail Site One. I took a few photos with the iPhone and others with the real camera…those haven’t made it off the camera yet!

We also went hunting a geocache, but it was on the other side of a canal, and by the time that was clear, we were too hot and bothered to bother going for it. Fortunately, the interpretive center was well air-conditioned (other than the reconstruction of Camp Dubois, anyway).

Lunch was at Bandana’s BBQ near the convention center; it was perfectly OK. We have noticed a strong bias towards Pepsi products at restaurants here (we have yet to see Coke other than in cans), and that has forced Jeff into drinking water, which, imho, is a good thing. I rarely drink soda any more, so the Coke/Pepsi issue is immaterial to me.

Dessert was a chocolate frozen custard at Culver’s — quite tasty, and welcome on a hot day. So welcome, in fact, that we went back after dinner at Imo’s Pizza; I’d seen their ad in the hotel book and wondered what “St. Louis Style” pizza was. It’s pizza on an incredibly thin and crispy crust — interesting, but not as filling as I’m used to, hence the need for a second dessert in the same day (and yes, I am rationalizing).

Between meals, we hit three program items at the NASFIC and made a few runs through the huckster room. This is my first NASFIC; it’s clearly not a Worldcon, but it’s fun anyway.

I feel scattered

For many years, my only deliberate web outlet was here (or the predecessor site, which I migrated here as best as I could when it came time to leave EditThisPage). But now I’m using Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Xing, and Flickr, and I feel rather scattered — if I’ve updated my status on Twitter or Facebook, I feel less of a need to write a blog posting here; similarly, if I post a photo on Flickr, why repeat the effort here? (Ignore the fact that I post to Flickr directly from my iPhone, and so the pictures aren’t edited…)

So if you really want to know everything I’m doing (and I can’t figure out why you would!), you’ll have to find me on at least three other places. But this is where I’ll be posting more “finished” thoughts and pictures. Or so I claim today.


While waiting for the plane this morning, I read Ed’s blog posting about WalkScore. So as soon as I took my seat, I punched in my address and was shocked to find it only rated a 35, despite having three groceries within a mile (and we walk to one of them on a regular basis – unfortunately, it’s not the one we like to shop at). Diane’s childhood house in Valley Stream did somewhat better, at 45 (it was only one block off the main drag). My childhood home in Richmond did amazingly well, at 74 — having two or three major shopping centers within a mile must affect the score significantly (there was only one there when I was growing up).

The hotel I’m currently inhabiting, in Collinsville, Illinois, gets a 37. But there aren’t even any sidewalks!

I like the concept, but I’m not sure I buy the results.