kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
Day 2 included the first (preliminary) WSFS Business Meeting, which meant a lot of work and stress for both Lisa and me. But fortunately, the worst case scenarios did not come to pass, and we (barely) managed to complete the business we had to get done, although not everything that we would have preferred to get done.

Our biggest fear going in to today's meeting was that we would have more people wanting to attend than the room capacity of 240 seats. Unlike every other item at this convention, where you can turn people way, the WSFS Business Meeting cannot refuse admission to any attending member who wants to attend. Had we overflowed the room, a contingency plan with Programming would have been activated that would have allowed every member who wished to participate a chance to do so, but would have been massively disruptive and expensive. I think we were very fortunate that only around 100 people attended, so there was plenty of room. I fielded a complaint from someone griping that we were using a room that was too big for such a small turnout, and when I tried to explain that we have to try to use rooms that are "too large" due to not being able to turn people way, he just looked sort of blankly at me. Most people just don't get that the WSFS BM is really the only required program item at the entire convention, and that every member is guaranteed attendance, and that you can never really tell how many people are going to show up.

I don't know the exact attendance count. The total of the one counted vote we did won't tell you that, because not everyone votes on such things, and calling for abstentions is meaningless. (Because people who don't answer when you call for abstentions have abstained just as much as those who do answer.) I'm pretty sure it was more than 100 but less than 150. We'll know later when the sign-in sheets are tallied.

Business Meeting Team )

As has been our practice since 2015, we started by showing the WSFS Business Meeting Basics video. But before I called the meeting to order, Lisa wanted to make an announcement and presentation.

Springing a Surprise on the Chairman )

I was very surprised and flattered at the gift and the applause from the meeting.

I wrote earlier today about a summary of how the Business Meeting went. I had the time to do this because immediately following the Business Meeting and in the same room was the Fannish Inquisition, which Lisa was also recording. I was sitting over to one side writing that report while bids for future Worldcons talked about their plans. Lisa logged several more hours than I did today, and when we went back to the hotel room after the Inquisition ended just before 15:00, she sent me out to get some lunch while she got some rest and made lunch out of some of the supplies we had cached in the hotel room.

After sitting with Ron Oakes and Mike Willmoth in the food court for lunch, I walked with Cheryl over to the Green Room, where she and I prepared for our respective panels. At 17:00 I was on a panel about different SF/F genre awards around the world. Unlike many of the panels here, this one was not over-subscribed and nobody was turned away from the discussion. We had panelists from Germany, Japan, Australia/New Zealand, and me. It went pretty well, and the audience seemed to like it.

Even though it was early, I knew I wouldn't have the time or energy to go off-site, and the food court restaurants close too early. (In some cases because they're running out of food as we're eating and drinking them out of stock.) Cheryl (who I met as she came out of her panel) and I got food, and we were joined by Susan de Guardiola, who will be the third member of the Hugo Awards Web Site CoverItLive coverage team tomorrow night as we bring you live coverage of the 2017 Hugo Awards Ceremony.

After dinner, I headed up to my room for a little while to cool off for a bit. Lisa had gone on to have dinner with Chris Carson and his friends (making use of their convention-supplied transit passes to go downtown on the train). I then put on my San Jose "bowling shirt" (many San Jose committee members are wearing matching bowling-league-style shirts this weekend to show a "brand identity" for Worldcon 76) and went down to the Winter Garden to help our convention set up our party.

Worldcon 76 at Worldcon 75 )

I may end up with my picture in Locus because they took a group photo of all of us who were there in our San Jose team shirts.

A Present from Kansas City )

I spent a lot of time talking with many people at the party about a lot of things, although admittedly much of it was WSFS Business, but around 23:00, Lisa and I headed back to the hotel room. We still have to be up early to be at the Business Meeting room for 9:00, but we now have much less worry about overflowing that room.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
Here's a relatively quick summary of what happened at today's Preliminary Business Meeting. You'll need to refer to the 2017 WSFS Business Meeting Agenda to understand what's happening.

Standing Rule Changes:

A.1. No Candidate Regions: PASSED, takes effect immediately
A.2. No Vanishing Business: REFERRED TO COMMITTEE to report tomorrow due to a dispute over wording
A.3. Debate Time Streamlining: PASSED, takes effect immediately (and thank goodness it passed, because we never would have been able to complete the base agenda otherwise)
A.4. Electronic Documents are a Thing: REJECTED
A.5. Butt Out (officially bans smoking): PASSED

Note that "smoking" is undefined. Whether it includes e-cigarettes would be up to the individual meeting. However, in practice, all facilities prohibit smoking anyway. This rule would only apply in the unlikely event that the venue permitted it.

Resolutions:

B.1. Eligibility: your name: PASSED, extending the work's Hugo Eligibility for one year
B.2. Hugo Award Study Committee: Alternative version B.2.1. PASSED. Vincent Docherty to chair.
B.3. Provision of Convention Publications to Members: Alternative version B.3.1 PASSED.

Constitutional Amendments and Business Passed On
This is mostly setting debate time limits.

C.1. Best Series. Debate Time 10 min. Amendment C.1.1 Debate time 4 min in addition to the 10 min
C.2. December is Good Enough: Debate time 8 min.
C.3. Two Years is Enough: Debate time 8 min.
C.4. Three Stage Voting (3SV): Debate time 20 min.
C.5. Motion to Suspend E Pluribus Hugo for one year: Debate time 10 min. POSTPONED to Saturday.
C.6. EPH+. Debate time 20 min. (Amendment C.6.1 debate time 5 min allocated from the 20 min.)
C.7. Defining North America. Debate time 4 min.
C.8. Retrospective Improvement Pt. 1. Debate time 8 min.
C.9. Retrospective Improvement Pt. 2. Debate time 8 min.
C.10. Universal Suffrage. Debate time 8 min.
C.11. Young Adult Award. Debate time 20 min. Amendment C.11.1 Clean up amendment. Debate time 4 min in addition to the 20 min.
C.12. Motion to suspend 5 and 6 for one year. Debate time 10 min. POSTPONED to Saturday.

New Constitutional Amendments

D.1. What Our Marks Really Are. Debate time 4 min.
D.2. The Reasonable Amendment. Debate time 4 min.
D.3. Make Room! Make Room! Debate time 6 min.
D.4. Name That Award (Naming the YA Award). Debate time 16 min. SCHEDULED to come up after C.11 and only if C.11 ratified, with the assumption that nominations for the name will come up then, with voting on the proposals the next day.
D.5. Requiring Electronic Payments. KILLED by postpone indefinitely.
D.6/D.7/D.8 (Hugo Category Change proposals). REFERRED to Hugo Award Study Committee. HASC to report to Friday meeting with a recommendation. Expect HASC to recommend that the proposals all be sent back to HASC for further study.

No Committee Reports were received. We ran completely out of time. Nominations were received for the WSFS Mark Protection Committee; election for the 3 positions (4 candidates) will be at the start of the Friday meeting. Committee reports are included in the agenda.
kevin_standlee: (Worldcon 75)
Worldcon 75 is up and running at a flat-out run. There are thousands of members on site already. I was surprised at how well the registration queues ran, but also worried about the huge queues in the halls of people trying to get into programming rooms. There is nowhere near enough programming space for the number of people wanting to attend panels.

Welcome to Worldcon )

After breakfast, Lisa and I and Don Eastlake (WSFS Deputy Chair) went to check out Room 208 where the WSFS Business Meeting was to be. The room was... suboptimal.

Room Reset )

My biggest worry is not having enough room. There are by my count just over 230 seats in this room. The rated capacity is 280 people, which means we have a bit of standing room possible. But we can't exceed that, and we can't turn people away. Every attending WSFS member has to have the right to attend. If we get over capacity, we'll have to suspend the meeting, work with Programming, and make enormous and expensive changes. I have to hope that we don't go into overflow, because it's going to be a real mess otherwise.

Opening Ceremony )

After the Opening Ceremony, I chased down the Gavel of WSFS, which I need for my WSFS functions, then went off to the panel and meeting on which I was scheduled. That was a panel about getting the most out of the Business Meeting. I've been on this panel and variants of it for years. We had more people at this one than at the last four combined, most of whom had never attended it. I had a lot of fun demonstrating how bits of the Business Meeting worked.

After the panel, I swam through the packed hallways to the WSFS Mark Protection Committee meeting. There are 15 MPC members, and we were lucky that 8 members made it to the meeting so we actually had a quorum. The meeting was, however, relatively short before we adjourned so that Linda Deneroff could head off to the Ghost Tour for which she'd signed up.

Errands and a bit of tram-spotting )

Lisa was still feeling ill and had gone to bed early when I got back to the hotel. I went off to find dinner. Coming across Linda Deneroff, who also wanted dinner, we first checked out the locations in the convention center, but they were all closed, and all of the functions were shutting down. The hotel restaurant was overloaded. I suggested we try downtown Helsinki, so we headed there. Having the transit passes helps. Frequent trains and a five-minute train ride make this even easier. Linda and I had a pasta dinner, and I brought leftovers back to the hotel room in case Lisa wanted to have anything, but she was asleep, so I put it in the 'fridge, which is now full.

I went back downstairs to see if there was anything interesting. There is almost no way of doing convention parties in the way we're accustomed to doing in North America, and there wasn't enven a "Fan Village" like London did. There was one large space in the hotel where New Zealand in 2020 was hosting a party at one end with Finnish Fandom hosting at the other end. I did not stay long. I have to be up early enough to be at Room 208 for 9 AM to make sure everything is set up properly.

As I said, the convention already has huge attendance. Goodness knows what's going to happen tomorrow.
kevin_standlee: (Default)
Lisa went on the Nuclear Power Plant tour today, so I was on my own. I ended up doing a lot more wandering around than I originally expected. (I logged more than 25K steps!) I had a great time, and I thank Cheryl Morgan (who has been here numerous times) for showing me some of the better places to go and see. I got full use of my transit pass, riding back and forth between downtown and the hotel on the trains and also getting some tram rides.

Come about 17:00, I returned to the hotel and changed into my business suit to attend a reception being hosted in the Worldcon members' honor at City Hall. They invited selected members of the convention (weighted apparently based on our participation in the convention as staff or programming participants) and hosted us in a large room in the city hall, which was originally a hotel during the imperial Russian period.

Feeling Welcomed )

After the reception, I returned to the hotel, where it was at last possible for pre-registered members to collect our credentials. Thanks to being personally recognized by Eemili Aro, I was able to collect not only my badge, but also Lisa's (she hadn't returned from the tour yet), and that's a relief. With more than 5,000 attending members already pre-registered, I didn't want to be in the queues on Wednesday.

Lisa got back late, and we made an effort to go downtown for dinner, but found nothing that both suited us and was open, so instead we bought some groceries and took them back to the hotel. The Holiday Inn helpfully had emptied the mini-bar so we could use it to store perishables.

Tomorrow, when the convention starts, we have no early commitments (unlike the other days of the convention), so we'll probably pay for the hotel breakfast buffet (not included in our free-with-points room). The other days, we won't have time for that. We're still considering our options.
kevin_standlee: (Go By Train)
This evening, we made plans to take Chris Carson out to dinner for his birthday. We were to meet at Japanese restaurant northwest of Helsinki Central train station. The most straightforward way to reach it would have been a bus ride from the convention center, but Lisa and I, having already purchased a day pass on the system, decided to ride the train downtown, then walk to the restaurant.

Spot the Bear )

After dinner, we once again could have taken a bus, but we preferred tram (Line 4) to Central Station. Line 7, which would have taken us straight to the convention center, is replaced by the 7x bus due to construction of Pasila Station. We'll take buses if we must, but we prefer rail transit even if it's not the shortest journey.

A Couple of Train Station Photos )

Four minutes after departure, we got off at Pasila. We'll be on the trains again tomorrow. We wish we'd done a bit more research over the cost of transit passes. A 1-day pass (which you can buy on board the trams and buses) is €9. A 2-day pass (which you must get from a ticket machine at a station) is €13.50 and is obviously a much better value. All Worldcon members will receive transit passes good for the convention days, but that does us no good on the "shoulder" days like today and tomorrow.

The restaurant? Well, I can't say as I recommend Umeshu. I've had much better. It wasn't bad, but I don't think it was all that great, either. But we enjoyed the company.

Between the past two days, I've logged more than 20K steps, but 3/4 of them were today, because of the semi-enforced idleness on board ship. My feet already hurt, and we're only at Worldcon day -2.

Now I hope I can get some sleep because we have to be up early to get Lisa back downtown for the 8 AM departure of the tour to the nuclear power plant.
kevin_standlee: (FinnCon)
Possibly because I had a nap yesterday afternoon, I woke up around 3 AM and dozed fitfully thereafter before giving up around 5 AM, showering, and going up to the deserted lounge where I got a tiny bit of online work done. I'm surprised that Finnlines doesn't open their cafe at 6 AM on the final morning at sea. Lisa and I were among the first in the queue for the "Sea Breakfast" (a somewhat cut-down but still generous buffet) in the main restaurant that opened at 7:30 AM as the ship approached Helsinki.

Approaching Our Destination )

We arrived about fifteen minutes early, and around 9:15, walk-on (i.e. without vehicles) passengers like us were allowed to disembark. Courtesy vans shuttled us to the terminal. Cheryl Morgan was there to meet us, with her friend Otto, who had kindly agreed to collect us and drive us to the hotel, saving us having to negotiate bus-metro-train connections with eight pieces of luggage. Cheryl also had helpfully obtained for me a SIM card for the mobile phone I had in 2014 at Loncon.

At the hotel, we were very early, but the front desk was very helpful and told us that the previous occupant had checked out and that housekeeping would do our room next. We waited in the lobby and Cheryl helped me activate my mobile phone. I now have a Finnish (+358) telephone number usable for the duration of our stay here. (Write to me directly if you need the number for some reason.) We bade Cheryl and Otto goodbye, and shortly thereafter, our room was ready for us.

Settling In )

We are pleased with the hotel room. I am very pleased with the internet connection. Not only do I get upgraded premium wi-fi, but there is a wired connection in the hotel room (and I brought a cable). The speed is 12-15 mbps both download and upload, which bodes well for us getting the official Business Meeting recordings online relatively quickly.

Today is not only move-in day, but also a "maintenance" day. Our plans called for us to get some laundry done. In addition, Lisa was looking for a hardware store because along the way, a screw had worked itself out of one of her pieces of luggage and she hoped to repair it. It turns out that we could get several errands done simultaneously.

While we were moving in, so was rain, and it was raining heavily by the time we had our laundry bagged up and ready to go. The hotel, however, helpfully provided us with loaner umbrellas! The #9 tram stops directly across from the hotel, and because it's a terminal loop, you don't have to worry about direction: all trams are going toward downtown. We bought a pair of day passes (€9 each) and rode the tram to Fleminginkatu. That put us at the S-Market (grocery store) which has a 24 Pasula coin laundry inside.

One Stop Shop: Laundry, Shopping, Hardware )

After completing our errands, we returned to the hotel, where Lisa attacked her luggage and power cords to affect repairs and alterations, while I painted my fingernails. I had vowed that this would be the first Worldcon in about ten where I didn't crack a fingernail, so I used the kit I'd packed in the hold luggage (lest I be tempted to try hijacking the airplane with a nail file), trimmed my nails, and coated them with clear nail-hardening solution.

So we're mostly settled in for the long haul through Worldcon and beyond. Tonight Lisa and I will be taking her friend Chris out to dinner for his birthday. Tomorrow Chris and Lisa head off to the Nuclear Power Plant tour, while I see what can be done on day -1 of Worldcon.
kevin_standlee: (FinnCon)
This trip on the Finnstar has been very nice. Comfortable bed in a cabin that is more efficiently arranged than our hotel room in Hamburg, good food — and I say this as someone who partakes of quality hotel buffets in Reno regularly — and good company with our fellow fans. It's been quite restful. Internet connectivity has been somewhat spotty (we knew that would be an issue), and consequently I haven't had bandwidth to put all of our photos so far online or to annotate them. I hope I manage to get that done, but experience shows that this is doubtful.

We're scheduled to arrive Helsinki tomorrow morning, disembarking about 9:30 AM. Our final meal at sea starts serving early due to the early arrival, so I anticipate getting to bed soon. Lisa and are both very happy that we arranged the trip this way. A couple of days of relatively enforced rest has been good for us. Like a vacation, even.
kevin_standlee: (FinnCon)
No time to really write about it now, and I hope I'll be able to get the photos online tomorrow while the ferry is at sea, but we had a good time in Hamburg for our one day here. We did have a miserable train trip from Hamburg to Lubeck and a complete waste of a first-class fare for which I'm going to ask DB for a partial refund, but we made it. Indeed, we got here 4 hours early, which is a bit of a waste, but we had dinner in the ferry terminal cafeteria and were there which Chris Carson and his traveling companion joined us. Soon thereafter, we had a bit of a mini-pre-Worldcon party going on with the people on their way to Worldcon, which continues as I type this in the lounge on board the Finnstar. (We have to wait for the cabins to be cleaned and prepared for us before we can go to them.)

I have wi-fi on the lounge deck of the ship, but probably not in our cabin. Don't know how much I'll be online during the trip yet. Tomorrow looks like a good day to rest. The ship's meal schedule is very civilized. Due the 0400 sailing, breakfast doesn't even start until 0930.
kevin_standlee: (FinnCon)
Today was the longest day. We got up about 7:30 AM on Thursday, August 3 in Millbrae and I'm going to bed in Hamburg around 7:30 PM on Friday, August 4 (about 10:30 AM Pacific Time) with no intervening sleep. But while there were negatives (like not getting any sleep), it was otherwise a pretty good trip, and we're now safely in Hamburg for our "flying visit."

SFO Security Theatre )

The Alaska flight up to PDX was no fun at all. Fully loaded, and I was in the middle seat. But it was less than two hours, and the flight was on time. As we came in, the flight attendant made an announcement for those of us going on the Reykjavik on IcelandAir, noting that there were 17 of us on the plane. As it happens, I only recognized two others besides me who were going to Worldcon: Charlie Jane Anders and Annalee Newitz, who we spoke to briefly in the departure lounge at PDX before the flight boarded.

Upgrade Jackpot )

We landed in Iceland, where we found that the airport is under significant construction, but fortunately, it wasn't raining.

Upgrade Part Two )

While on this last leg of the flight I could have possibly slept, I decided that it would be a bad idea to do so if I wanted to get onto the correct time zone, so I drank coffee to stay awake into Hamburg. We landed at Hamburg and spent a while trying to find a working DB ATM (because they are partners with Bank of America and thus I wouldn't be hit with an extra fee). We got it eventually and unlike the Barcelona trip, the ATM processed the request with no incident. That is good, because as we found, cash is still king here in Germany. Also, my credit card is US-style and doesn't have a PIN, which makes it impossible to use on automated terminals like at the train stations. I was worried that we'd dawdled on our errands, but as it happens, luggage was just starting to roll out when we got to baggage claim. We picked up our bags and cleared customs (a single bored-looking guard), then found our way to the train station.

Training into Hamburg )

When we checked in to the Holiday Inn Express Hamburg, we had a surprise.

That New Hotel Smell )

After getting moved in, doing some unpacking, and confirming that I could raise the wi-fi on my phone and computer, we set out to find some dinner. We knew that we needed to stay awake until early evening in order to have a chance to stave off jet-lag. We headed off a different way than we came, and almost got caught in a rain shower, but fortunately Lisa spotted a model train store, where we popped in until the rain cleared. Unlike Tokyo and Osaka in 2007, where we had to buy an extra piece of luggage to carry all of the gear she bought at the Kato Model Trains factory outlet stores, Lisa restrained herself to a single car: I nice N scale fire truck.

Something Fishy This Way Comes )

It was after 7 PM local time when we got back to the hotel. Lisa got ready for bed as soon as she could. Once I get this posted (which hasn't been proofread well, so I may end up having to make a lot of edits later), I'm going to bed as well. Tomorrow, the included breakfast runs until 11 AM, which is a great thing because it means we don't have to be up early to get fed. We have one day of looking around more of Hamburg before we head for Lübeck and Travemünde.

I'm very tired, but happy to be here.

Casting Off

Aug. 3rd, 2017 08:57 am
kevin_standlee: (FinnCon)
The shuttle to the airport (which picks up right outside of our room) leaves in about an hour. We're about to pack the stuff we don't need on the trip into the back of the minivan and leave the keys with the hotel, which will park the vehicle off-site and bring it back for when we return.

In response to someone who pointed out less expensive parking options: Yes, if we were just parking, we can do better. But we have a 300 mi/500 km drive on both ends of the trip, and knew we needed a hotel night on each end of the trip. Therefore, what we're doing makes more sense to us, because it's not likely we could have had a less-expensive total package (hotel+parking) otherwise. Twenty years ago we might have been up to getting up at midnight, driving 500 km to SFO, then flying 15 hours to Europe, but we're older now (and frankly, better off financially).

If you say, "Why aren't you flying out of Reno," the answer is "We couldn't put together a routing that worked with IcelandAir and using frequent-flyer points to fly home in first class." So we add some inconvenience and expense in some places in return for a nicer flight experience.

I do not expect to be online much until we get to Hamburg sometime tomorrow, and maybe not much even then. After all, we're supposed to be enjoying ourselves on the one day we have in Germany while also trying to adjust to a new time zone, not huddling over a computer.
kevin_standlee: (WSFS Logo)
The traditional gathering of past, present, and future Worldcon chairs will take place at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki at 10:30, during the Site Selection WSFS Business Meeting, in Room 208. (It's possible the actual photo will be taken just outside of Room 208, where I'm told there is a suitable space.)

Saturday's WSFS meeting is in a 4-hour block. (the previous two days are 3 hours.) This means that the Business Meeting will convene on Saturday at 10:00 to take up Site Selection business, which will be the announcement of the official results and the initial presentation from the 2019 Worldcon, followed by Question Time for the 2018 Worldcon. If there is time (and there may not be), there will be a short Question Time for bidders for 2020. We plan to recess then until 11:00 for the Worldcon Chairs Photo Shoot.

Substantive business other than Site Selection will commence when the meeting reconvenes at 11:00, and will run until 13:45 (or sooner if we somehow manage to finish everything, which I doubt). There is a final session scheduled on Sunday from 10:00 to 15:00.

If you are coming to the Business Meeting in Helsinki and have no interest in either Site Selection or the Worldcon Chairs Photo Shoot, you can sleep in an extra hour on Saturday morning.
kevin_standlee: (Default)
Things at Day Jobbe went well this morning (and I did extra stuff on Monday and Tuesday), so I was able to log out at Noon today, and because we'd been doing packing and planning for days, and because we've developed a checklist for securing the house, we managed to get away before 1 PM. We stopped to grab some burgers at Sparks and headed west. That's Lisa's last solid meal until we are air-side tomorrow, because chewing exacerbates her tinnitus and she has to spend time without her white-noise blocker thanks to our oh-so-wonderful TSA and Security Theater. So she's on smoothies until then, and so we stopped at Jamba Juice in Rocklin. Normally I would stop to see my sister, but I did send her a card for her birthday (which is Friday) telling her we'd stop by on our way home, and I really wanted to get down to Millbrae. We made pretty good time, getting to the hotel before 8 PM. Compared to the 40°C weather in Fernley and the hotter-and-stickier temps in the Central Valley, Millbrae was lovely and cool. Lisa and I luxuriated in the comfortable weather.

I nipped out and got Lisa another smoothie for her dinner, then got myself something more solid while she took a bath. By the time I was back, she was already asleep.

The hotel we're staying in is on a "park and fly" deal. Because we're staying here on the night we get back to SFO, parking for the entire time we're gone is included. In effect, we're paying $20/day for long-term parking with two hotel nights included.

Tomorrow is likely to be the worst day of the trip, because it's flights SFO-PDX (Alaska), then PDX-KEF-HAM (IcelandAir), for roughly 15 hours of travel, and I think it will be about 0300 on our body clocks when we get to Germany. I hope we get some sleep on the flights.

Inevitably, we forget something on these trips. Around Sacramento, I recalled that I'd forgotten to pack my Bose noise-canceling headphones, which is a pity because they make these long airplane flights much easier. However, if that's the most significant thing we forgot, I will count ourselves lucky.
kevin_standlee: (FinnCon)
Although our flights back from Helsinki will be in IcelandAir Saga (business/first) class thanks to Alaska Airlines frequent-flyer miles, the outbound trip we purchased in Economy. IcelandAir has an offer where you get to "bid" on an upgraded Saga or Economy Comfort seat. (Economy Comfort is three seats for two people, with the middle seat blocked out.) A few days ago I put in bids and yesterday I learned the news: I hadn't bid enough for Saga, but both legs of the trip got upgrades to Economy Comfort. Now this roughly doubled the cost of the outbound trip, but it's still less than the E+ seats would have originally cost to purchase, so that seems to be a win to us. We pointed out to Kuma Bear that we more or less paid as much for his "seat" as for Lisa and me put together.

I called IcelandAir this afternoon to check on our seat assignments and to make sure that we were on the left side of the plane. (Because of Lisa's bad left ear, she prefers to sit with her left ear against the outside of the plane so she can hear me without having to turn her head.) I checked the assignments against what SeatGuru says the cabin arrangements are for our two flights (PDX-KEF and KEF-HAM), and I'm a bit puzzled, because according to those, we might actually be in Saga class seats. Not that I'd complain about that, of course. However, SeatGuru's maps may be out of date. Another nice thing sabout the EC seats is that they have power outlets, too.

The opening leg is SFO-PDX to get to the IcelandAir gateway, and that's a 737 that's showing packed, with me and Lisa in 30AB. That's not going to be fun, but I've done the flight a lot of times and I'll survive. Glad I've been continuing to lose weight.

Packing tonight. We're trying to not over-pack if we can avoid it, but it's a challenge, since we have to do things like fit the medium tripod in with my stuff, for instance. We'd like to leave room to carry things back. OTOH, since the return trip is in Saga class (with an extra checked bag each), if we must do so, we can buy some more luggage in Finland and carry the extras back that way. We did that on the Japan trip, and got a surprisingly good piece of luggage in a back street in Tokyo on the way to the Kato model train factory outlet store.

One more day at home. We leave tomorrow as soon after Noon as I can manage with the Day Jobbe.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
As I write this, it hasn't yet posted, but a new revision of the WSFS Business Meeting agenda has been submitted to the Worldcon 75 webmaster by Linda Deneroff (most of the work) and I (last eyeballs and some light editing). When it's posted at the WSFS Business Meeting page, I have some hope that we've reached the nearly final version of the agenda.

There are a few more changes coming down the pipeline for posting (probably by tomorrow sometime), but no more Hugo Category changes or other large-scale changes. There are some things on the agenda that I hope will give us the ability to cover everything within the amount of time we have allocated.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
I only had a few things to get done today with Worldcon trip prep. I'd love to start packing, but it's too soon. Because I won't be able to rely on my smartphone (no way I'm going to set myself up for $$$$ in roaming charges), I've been printing out maps and directions to things we plan to do in Hamburg and Helsinki, and details about getting in between places like the train from Hamburg to Lubeck and the bus to Travemunde to catch the ferry. It's rather astonishing to realize how many trains there are between the cities, and how there are three different bus route with useful frequencies from Lubeck over to the ferry terminal. I'm just too used to working with train and bus schedules that are inconvenient and sparse, I guess. I expect that we'll show up earlier than we really need to do, if only to reduce stress should we miss a train or a bus along the way and have to wait for the next one.

Now I have to concentrate on working on the Day Jobbe for the next three days before we leave for San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
We've been having thunderstorms in the area lately, which unfortunately means also getting brushfires set by the lightning that comes with it. Still, when we get some rain, we sometimes get things like this.

Double Rainbow )

The rain hasn't actually cooled things down all that much, although the clouds cutting the direct sunlight, and that helps a lot.

Today, Lisa and I ran into Reno for the last set of errands and grocery shopping before we head off on the trip to Worldcon. Not a lot, but we did need to get some things done.

Kuma Bear complained about the heat. We told him that it should be cooler in Finland and Iceland.
kevin_standlee: (Pinball)
"Walk-up music" refers to music played on a public address system when a baseball player comes to bat. I've discovered that I now have my own walk-up music.

Yesterday afternoon after work, I found myself with a little bit of spare time, and decided to walk down and play some pinball. The people working there saw me coming. As I headed for the machine, they put "Pinball Wizard" on the music system. Loud.

The thing is, while my first game was excellent (three extra balls and a free game), I then lost my touch, and played the remaining five games in quick and low-scoring succession. So I'm like the slugger who comes up and hits a home run on his first at bat but then strikes out every other time he comes to the plate in that game.

But if I ever am in a position to need walk-up music, I hope I'll remember to ask for "Pinball Wizard."
kevin_standlee: (FinnCon)
A week from today as I write this, Lisa and I should be in Portland changing planes for our flight to Reykjavík and then on to Hamburg. A week from yesterday we leave for the Bay Area, because the trip starts from there. I dropped off the vacation form with the local Sheriff's department today to schedule extra home checks. Lists of things to finish before we can leave are getting checked off. I alternatively want to hurry up and get going and am terrified that there's not enough time to finish everything. But I must say that I'm looking forward to only having to worry about travel logistics and Worldcon stuff for three weeks.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
We had another band of thunderstorms roll through today. It did not rain that much and did not reduce the temperatures a great deal, but it did apparently start a fire north of here.

Fire to the North )

As I started to compose this message, I thought I'd get an updated picture of the fire and got a small surprise when I went out onto the porch.

Hello, Bunny )

After all of the wildfires that we've had around here, it's almost hard to believe there was much more left the burn, but there's clearly a lot more dry brush out there, even with hailstorms and thundershowers flattening things.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
It does appear that as the deadline for submitting new business for this year's Worldcon (14 days before the first Business Meeting on August 10) nears, people are continuing to send in new proposals. By my count, there are currently 25 proposals in our hopper, and there are new ones that either just arrived today or are promised to arrive by Deadline day.

We have meetings scheduled thus:

Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 3 hours each
Sunday: 5 hours

Note further than those first three meetings really need to be adjourn 15 minutes before the scheduled slot end in order to clear the room for the following items.

Thus we have somewhere between 10 and 13 hours to cover all of this business. I am starting to think that we may not cover it all, even running for many hours on Sunday!

Personally, I'm thinking of submitting a proposal for next year's meeting (where I'm not presiding) to advance the deadline for submitting new business from 14 to 30 days prior to the first Business Meeting. If the workload continues to increase, and if, as seems likely, the members want to make the Secretary responsible for doing all of the logistics of printing and distributing the agendas for them, they need to give the Secretary more time do get it arranged. Furthermore, it's unreasonable to effectively insist that the Secretary sit at home at their computer until the day before the Worldcon in order to deal with this flood of business.

This year's Secretary has already started her European trip (and I see elsewhere that her travels have already gone awry). I know that she'll manage to get all of this late business sorted, but I was prepared to rule that anyone who didn't submit before she left for Europe would be required to abide by the default rule and make their own copies and deliver them personally to the meeting.

August 2017

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