Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Is it odd

that I want to replace all tech items with newer, better versions as soon as those new releases are available, but I feel betrayed by the fact that a bathing suit I bought in 1995 and have used since then recently split entirely in half?

I don't think so.  Clothing should last forever.

I have learned, however, that not everyone agrees with me.  In fact, some apparently consider my attitude downright odd.

I, obviously, do not.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Every time I read the news

I try to control my anger, and in the process I often think of the immortal words of Elvis Costello:

Oh, I used to be disgusted
But now I try to be amused

It's not working, and at core I believe disgust and rage are appropriate, but sometimes I aim for amused.

Monday, October 16, 2017

When an Internet outage turns surreal

After dinner last night in Toronto, I returned to my room and settled down to do all the work that had accumulated.  I couldn't handle my email, however, because I could not get an Internet connection from the hotel's Wi-Fi service.  After verifying the problem occurred on multiple devices, I called the hotel.  They immediately transferred me to "technical support."

After about ten minutes of tedious muzak and reminders that they would service those of us in the queue in the order in which we entered it, a tech came on the line and asked what my problem was.

I explained that the Internet service was out at my hotel. 

She made me provide the hotel name (fair enough), my name, my room number, and whether I was in the room.

I did.  I asked why she needed all of that information--some made sense, some did not, at least to me--and she said, "Security."

I asked about the problem, and she said, "Yes, there is a minor problem with the hotel's Internet service."

"So," I said, "you'll fix it soon; is that right?"

"It's been escalated to our highest-level tech support team," she said.

"So it's not a minor problem?"

"It's a minor problem."

"So you'll fix it soon?"

"It's been escalated to our highest-level tech support team."

"Can you tell me what the problem is?"




"Can you tell me when you'll fix it?"




"I'm trying to figure out if I need to leave the hotel to find a place to work.  I don't want to do that if you will be fixing it soon.  Can you at least tell me if you're likely to fix it soon?"

"It's a minor problem."

"I understand.  Can you at least give me a timeframe in which you expect to fix it?"

"No."  Long pause.  "For security reasons."

"Seriously?" I said.  "You're really going to stick to that story?"

"It's for security," she said.

I gave up. 

Maybe this Internet connection company and the people who protect my allergy serum from terrorist attacks could combine to broaden their security empire. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017


is a new (to me) Cirque show that by happy coincidence is running in Toronto right now and that I got to see today.  I'm happy to report that Cirque continues to be in fine form:  the show was magical, mesmerizing, and a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours on a rainy gray afternoon.

The story began a bit heavy-handed, but it quickly picked up speed and turned into a touching tale of accepting your differences and finding your own path with them.  The acts ranged from acrobatics to stunt bike-riding, and getting to see them up close was very cool.

As always, I can't recommend Cirque shows enough.  I feel privileged to have seen the one's I've had the chance to enjoy.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A Bouchercon idea SF cons should steal

Though a typical Bouchercon probably has a couple thousand attendees (I don't know the exact figures, so that is a guess), these cons don't seem as determined to have a ton of programming tracks as SF cons do.  Regardless of how many tracks there are, though, every Bouchercon I've attended has followed the same practice:  as soon as panels end, all the participants head to the book room and sit at tables, where they are available for discussion and book signings.

I love this idea.  You listen to a panel, hear some writers you like, and want to know more.  That's common enough.  At a typical SF con, you might never see those writers again.  At a Bouchercon, you can go to the book room, pick up one of their books, and get them to sign it.

The plan works.  Here's a shot of this Bouchercon's book room as it is beginning to fill up a few minutes after the end of a slate of panels.

Click the image to see a larger version.

A few minutes later, the room was thronged, people were buying books at nearly every dealer table, and writers and fans were chatting away at the far end of the space (not visible above).

I don't know if the concept would play as well at SF cons, but I'd love to try the experiment a few times.

Friday, October 13, 2017

You can't tell the books from the writer--or the writer from the books

I'm always surprised by the number of times at cons that I hear something along the lines of, "She doesn't look at all like I expected."  Even ignoring the fact that you can Google pretty much any writer these days and find pics of them, it's always a bad idea to assume that a writer's appearance and their work will have anything in common.  In addition, over time many writers change the types of books they write, so any one association would make no sense at all.

Enjoy the books, enjoy the writer, and don't expect them to look at all alike.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Two things I particularly like about Bouchercons

First and foremost, everyone I've ever met at a Bouchercon loves to read.  I'm as much a media fan as most folks, so I also appreciate the many media aspects of SF cons, but it's also great to go to a con at which everyone loves to read books. 

Unsurprisingly, at a typical Bouchercon, such as this one, the dealers' room--which Bouchercons tend to call "the book room"--contains either exclusively or nearly exclusively books.  I love wandering aisles of booksellers and seeing what's on offer. 

Again, don't take this as meaning I don't like the many other types of dealers at SF conventions; I have no problem with any of them and quite like some of them.  It's just great to be in a room so filled with booksellers.

The closest analog in the SF world is the World Fantasy Convention, which I also very much enjoy.  Because I read heavily in both SF and mystery, though, coming to Bouchercon is a special treat. 


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