Friday, February 29, 2008


The Geek Vote

I can't believe for a second that it would actually happen, but I'd be very amused if Barack Obama made an appearance at the San Diego Comics Convention.

One of my strangest memories mixing politics and fandom was meeting Senator Paul Wellstone in the hallways of the Sheraton after a CONvergence planning meeting. We gave him a brief description of what we were doing -- though I regret not going into the non-profit side of MISFITS a bit more.

While I look at the convention and fandom as a whole as being a bit of fun and a recreational activity, I also think it's a good way for us to do good as well. And one thing I've also realized is that some of the skills that you get out of this sort of organization running transfer over into other realms as well.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008


On Day Passes for SF Conventions

As I'll probably be getting day passes for Marscon - provided I get over this virus I've been fighting for the last couple of days -- I thought it was interesting to think about the reasons to have or not have day passes for your science fiction convention.

Day Passes make sense for some conventions and don't make sense for others. I think you lose some of the community aspect of a convention if you have people drop in for only one day. One of the appealing parts of a convention is that community aspect -- and day passes are more appropriate for the "show" events where people get tickets to see a celebrity, as opposed to the user-generated content of my favorite fan run conventions and the attendees are members and active participants.

I'd generally be against day passes for a convention like CONvergence -- if you have a large enough attendance that you don't need the additional people to make your budget, or if you were in a position where you need to cap membership (like Anime Detour) -- Day Passes make much less sense.

I can see where Day Passes would be useful for other conventions -- especially if you're looking to get as many people as possible. I can see it as being sensible if you've got certain sorts of entertainment guests -- this is why I think it makes more sense for Marscon, because they tend to have more celebrity actors, and their Dementia music track has a "show" quality that may have an appeal for day people.

The interesting thing is that Day Passes aren't really just an economic decision -- but one that can end up reflecting the kind of convention that you put on.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Still Alive Rock Band

Jonathan Coulton performs "Still Alive" in Rock Band from Joy Stiq on Vimeo.

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He was one of those people that you really only get to know because of your time in fandom. As I remember him, he was larger than life. When he dressed up as Swamp Thing - as you can see on Len Wein's wikipedia page - it was exactly the sort of thing that you expect from him. I'll remember him being thrilled to come up to Len as Swamp Thing's "Daddy" in that outfit -- and it was one of those moments that really made me enjoy this little community that we all build.

Jeremy of Fantasy Flight has some good memories as well.

We'll all miss him greatly. He was one of a kind. Like everyone is.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008


Where's My Cell Phone?

I know that sometimes it is easy to misplace your cell phone -- and I know that more than once I've looked for another phone so I can call my cell phone. Another way to do this is to go through this website -- which means you don't even have to find another phone.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008


First of May

I'm very psyched to see that Jonathan Coulton is planning a return trip to Minneapolis on May 1st.

And since he's got a song called First of May -- which doesn't have work safe lyrics -- it's a particularly good day for the show.

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Star Trek Pushed To May 2009

I didn't expect this -- apparently, they've pushed back Star Trek until May 2009 -- a whole half year later than we originally thought we would see it.

On one side, I'm sad to wait a little longer -- but at the same time, I think that the longer without Star Trek the better -- it's out of the public eye.

I suppose it's not a surprise that the end of the writer's strike would have these sorts of things come up. They say it's not because of the script -- and I believe that -- but it's probably because of how the whole movie market place changes with a quarter of no script activity.

And it'll make it even more eagerly awaited, I think...

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Monday, February 11, 2008


louder and more dissonant

The sign of a real phenomena is when the parodies start in such a short period...


Saturday, February 09, 2008


Good Pizza

One of the things that I've been tempted to do is go to all of the pizza restaurants in the Twin Cities area and review them all.

One of the better pizza restaurants I've been to in the Twin Cities is Sammy's Pizza & Restaurant in Coon Rapids. It's one of the best pizza crusts that I've ever had, nice and crispy. And they've had good, unique kinds -- I've had Taco pizzas before, but they also had an excellent Gyro pizza.

Very very tasty.

Pizza is one of those things that has a lot of the delivery chains that have become really common -- and some of those chains are even pretty decent -- but the best pizza isn't the big chains, but the unique ones.

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It is really disturbing to see how some of these scary bugs operate. I mean, they're really really messed up.

Now I remember why I like living in a cold climate -- the scary bugs and reptiles don't tend to survive here!

Friday, February 08, 2008


A Thought About Google Ads on My Blog

I put a little bit of advertising on my blog -- I don't (and haven't) expect to make any more money except to offset some of my costs for having a domain. And the internet is something where you never know when you hit the internet lottery for one thing or another, and it seems to be smart to have a way to capture that if you do. And I figure it is also one direct way to get experience with the Google ad system, as I never know when having that experience might be useful for its own reasons.

But one of the interesting things has been that now that we are in a political season, and because of that I'm doing a bit more discussion about political issues, I'm getting political ads both from candidates and organizations I might like, and also candidates and organizations that I don't. And I'm ok with that.

I'm very fond of how the internet can impact the political system -- it is a chance for us all to have our own little letters to the editor, and political candidates have a chance to put out as much information in an unfiltered way as possible. And I think making it easier for smaller donors to help participate in fund raising is really good.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008


Lost is back

Excellent episode of Lost tonight -- I won't get into spoiler territory, but it's as good as it ever is, and it looks like now that we're in the latter half of the series, we're getting more and more hints about what is really going on. We aren't getting a lot of answers yet -- but we're being led to them for sure.

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Ok, still Barack Time

At this point the only influence we still have in Minnesota is to donate money or tell your friends now that the caucuses are over here. But this was a very nice and interesting video about the advantages of Obama by Lawrence Lessig.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Primary and Caucus

I was quoted in an article that just went up in the Star Tribune about my frustrations about my caucus experience.

I've been thinking about it some more today. I don't really want to reject all of the advantages of the caucus system. I like that we had the chance to get some face to face interaction with our local political leaders, and it was very hands-on democracy.

I know that a lot of people were frustrated that they couldn't really participate in what candidate the DFL will endorse for Senate this year. It's not just me -- I've overheard other people that felt frustrated that they weren't really able to be a part of that decision.

What I think might work is something that has both -- a primary for the state wide races like President, Senate, House of Representatives, and Governor. The caucus works as a chance to meet your neighbors, discuss the issues, and feed resolutions to the party at a grassroots level.

I don't really know the best solution -- and as you'd expect from a newspaper article you've got one main sentence pulled out of a couple of minute conversation that supported the story that he wanted to write, but I certainly think there is a better way.

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Fantasy Flight

Twin Cities geeks would find an article about local game company Fantasy Flight very interesting -- it's good to see how much success they've had, and it looks like they've got some interesting new game licenses, including Battlestar Galactica.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Caucus Frustration

In theory, caucuses make some sense -- they're true citizen participation. But they're very, very frustrating. While we had a poll for the Presidential candidates, I'd like to have a straw poll that let you choose Senate candidate as well -- while we had Al Franken visit our caucus room, they only way that we could really "vote" for him is if we moved on to the March district caucus. And if you can't make that amount of commitment, you're effectively disenfranchised. And given the number of other people that were frustrated that they weren't able to express their opinion on the senate race tonight, I don't think I was alone.

It was extremely crowded -- the room was overflowing, and we left before the end, because I knew that I couldn't go on to the next level of caucusing.

I think the caucusing works relatively well for putting together party platforms and suggestions -- yes, you're going to have crazy or impractical resolutions, but if you let people have their say, you're going to get those. But for candidates for higher office -- I'm not so sure. I think it's too difficult to get a real representative choice there, and I'd rather see the primary have more say in this sort of situation.

I'm not quite sure the best way to fix that -- obviously, you'd have to change how the party makes decisions. And that would require getting it through the people that have the most interest in the current system.

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Monday, February 04, 2008


Spaced on Region 1 DVD! I hope!

One of my favorite TV shows of all time is Spaced, a TV show by the people that later produced Hott Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. I'm glad to hear reports that this excellent series may be finally get a Region 1 release. It's awesome, and I think it should have a greater exposure in the US.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008


Obama Rally Pictures

I get into a bit more of a political spin during this time of year, I suppose.

It was one of the longest lines I've ever seen:

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But it's always exciting to see one of the best speakers out there

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(pictures by Alicia LaMunion)

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Yes We Can

Spotted on You Tube

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CONvergence spotting

I noticed that there's a picture of the Dalek from the Torchwood room party at CONvergence as part of the banner in

Pretty cool!

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