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July 8, 2004

An unexpected award
Posted by Teresa at 09:08 PM * 23 comments

It appears that on the already-memorable day the water heater flooded our basement full of boxes, Making Light received the 2004 Wooden Rocket Award (“for online excellence in science fiction and fantasy”) in the Best Fan Home Web Site category. I had previously been inadequately aware of the Wooden Rocket Awards, but of course I now have a much higher opinion of them.

Seriously, this is swell. Thank you, voters. I’m a little startled by the numbers; according to the Wooden Rocket website,
At final count on July 1st 2004, 12,381 verified voters had made 68,725 valid nominations for various web sites.
Which is not all that boggling compared to (say) BoingBoing’s traffic on a slow day; but it’d swamp the Hugo ballot. I suppose I’m showing my age by being startled by non-rinkydink numbers in connection with the SF communityl

The Best Fan Home Web Site category is for “Any SFF site created and maintained by an individual, focusing on their life and fandom activities. Including Blogs.” That sounded a lot like the online equivalent of Best Fanzine, so I looked up last year’s winner. That turned out to be a site I had previously been inadequately aware of, Lost Car Park. Currently, LCP’s lead news story is an announcement of this year’s TAFF winner, and it links to things like the James White Award and Ansible; so I’d say I wound up in the right place.

Comments on An unexpected award:
#1 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2004, 10:31 PM:

It appears that on the already-memorable day the water heater flooded our basement full of boxes

Aggggh! Like an arrow of ice right to the heart. Geeks keep stuff in boxes! Like books and papers. And books and papers.

Congratulations on the Wooden Rocket, and best of luck sorting out your basement. Or making short work of all the hard liquor in a three-block radius. Or both.

#2 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2004, 10:35 PM:

At least the award should float if the basement floods again. ;)

Congrats on the award!

#3 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2004, 10:51 PM:

Congrats! I see Tor also received a Wooden Rocket. :)

#4 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2004, 01:03 AM:

Is it fair to re-post this congratulation from Open Thread 24, two days ago, and expect someone to get my in-joke about the real meaning of "Wooden Rocket"?

Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) :::
July 06, 2004, 05:14 PM:

Ditto on congrats to Teresa! That's a hypercompetitive award, already becoming a classic. Beating Bruce Sterling's site is no mean feat. Does the statuette measure 3 inches in length, and is it crewed by unicellular beings with partly human DNA?

My site is not quite in any category, as "The Ultimate Science Fiction Web Page" is so much broader in scope than any site for any particular author, film, publisher, or TV series. I'm glad NOT to be competing against Making Light!

I, Robot, Am a Camera
Serio-comedy remake of the 1955 film, adapted from the John Van Druten/Christopher Isherwood novel, that was the basis for "Cabaret." Stars Julie Harris, Laurence Harvey, and Will Smith as robot singers and writers in 1920s Berlin living a life of pleasure and ignoring the signs of encroaching tyranny. Co-stars Shelley Winters and Patrick McGoohan. 99 min. Director: Henry Cornelius and Jerry Cornelius;
Cast: Anton Diffring, Julie Harris, Laurence Harvey, Patrick McGoohan, Ron Randell, Shelley Winters, Will Smith, Harlan Ellison; uncredited scene with Governor Arnold Swartzenegger;
Rated: NR B&W
The original "I am a Camera" famously received the 2-word review: "No Leica."

As to another topic, Westercon 57 was slightly light on authors, as it did not include the Locus Awards event. Further, there is the upcoming CopperCon in the same greater Phoenix, which is specifically Literary.

#5 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2004, 09:45 AM:

Congratulations! Glad to hear you're getting some good news to offset the horror of moving. (It looks like an interesting site, too; I've added their RSS feed to my LJ aggregator.)

#6 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2004, 11:27 AM:

This is a little Present from the Gods, after the strife of the last couple of weeks.

Do you get an actual Object that you can put up on your mantel (assuming the new place has a mantel) for the admiration of the Crowd?

#7 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2004, 01:15 PM:

Plastic boxes!

Waterproof plastic boxes!

Waterproof plastic boxes with lids!

Waterproof plastic boxes with lids stored on top of high shelves!

(Where do I continue from here ...?)

Waterproof plastic boxes with lids stored on top of high shelves to keep your awards in ...

#8 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2004, 01:16 PM:

Sorry, suffering from a caffeine overflow today.

#9 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2004, 01:48 PM:

Charlie Stross:

Well, it worked for Honore de Balzac, until he died of chronic caffeine poisoning...

By synchronicity, within minutes of your posting
"Sorry, suffering from a caffeine overflow today," my son and I watched the Futurama episode where World President Nixon's-head-in-a-bottle gives a rebate of $300 per citizen, and they find wacky ways to spend it. Fry buys 100 cups of coffee, and we see him drinking at various venues, intercut with other scenes.

He becomes more and more jittery, irritable, and bizarre. But when he drinks cup #100, a bell goes off. He shifts into The Flash or Matrix overdrive, and rushes about blurringly fast, saving all the rich guests from the museum fire where the Starship-Troopers-ish arachnoid's web art has caught fire from Bender's cigar hand-rolled by Queen Elizabeth (in her "wild days") in an original U.S. Constitution...

Awwww, it is hard to describe with a shred of the humor.

Song lyric suggested:

runnin' around my spleen.

#10 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2004, 02:54 PM:

It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the beans of java that thoughts acquire speed.
The hands acquire shaking,
the shaking becomes a warning.
It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
Congratulations, Teresa!
I have many, many waterproof boxes. Someday, it is all I will have. Cardboard is evil.
Someday, I will also find a way to have plastic notebooks. This is vital when the only copy of your worldbuilding notes is directly under the leak in the ceiling.
I salvaged the notebook in question.
Done now.

#11 ::: Sal ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2004, 03:05 PM:

My mind sees "which is not all that boggling compared to (say) BoingBoing’s traffic" as "is not all that bloggling compared to" ...

Heigh ho, Heigh ho. A-bloggling we'll go. ...

Congrats, TNH. At a recent family gathering, my twenty-something son made reference to something he'd read on Making Light and I responded. We both stopped talking and -looked- at each other.


#12 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2004, 04:35 PM:

My basement door has a drain outside of it which regularly fills up with tree spooge - and up until I finally bought a wet/dry vac, could manage to overflow and flood part of the basement in about as much time as a cat takes to vanish when you want it in a carrier.

Having the correct tool [or maybe just being past the correct season] seems to have worked as a preventative.

#13 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2004, 06:21 PM:

Nalgene do a range of waterproof notebooks with plastic "paper". I know them from lab catalogues, but you can find them in camping shops and the like. Anyone who's paranoid and/or living in a swamp might want to google on PolyPaper.

#14 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2004, 01:46 AM:

Julia, wow, that's neat! Thanks for the pointer!

After both a ceiling link and a toilet flood this year, I have become paranoid, see...

#15 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2004, 01:47 AM:

leak. LEAK. The worst thing is, I spotted the typo even as I was pressing 'submit'.

I also almost typed that as 'spooted'. I believe I am somewhat tired.

#16 ::: Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2004, 05:54 AM:

Lost Car Park is James Shields, sort of of this parish, Irish fan. I'm pretty sure he was at Novacon last year. As well as the main LCP site, it's also the home for the websites of James Bacon's series of small cons (Damn Fine Con, Aliens Stole My Handbag, They Came and Shaved Us) and Tobes' TAFF website.

#17 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2004, 06:40 AM:

I sympathize. I've had my sewer line overflow, and I've had both a leaking water heater and then had the new water heater boil over (while I was out of town), leaving a basement with a wet floor and full of steam. Thankfully it wasn't a dry basement to begin with, and no valuable papers were stored there.
Cardboard boxes shouldn't be stored directly on concrete basement floors, besides flood issues, the cold floor will condense water which will slowly infiltrate the boxes. Used wooden pallets will raise them six inches. Plastic bin boxes cost money, but lining a cardboard box with a plastic bag works well, but make sure the books are dry first.
Tina: Waterproof notebooks and paper are also available from Rite in the Rain. Their treated paper has a bit more tooth than the Nalgene plastic. They have a great trial pack with a spacepen and two different pocket notebooks for $10.

#18 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2004, 09:00 AM:

Congratulations! You were due some good news.

#19 ::: els ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2004, 04:03 PM:


#20 ::: Nancy C. Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2004, 04:47 PM:

Congratulations! Mazel tov! If you don't get a real wooden rocket on a pedestal, I know a bunch of people who would make a spiffy one for you to display. Just say the word.

Re basements.

Ours is, of course, a dirt floor (except for the small cement portion, on which rests things like the bottom rung of the steps [so they won't rot] and the well pump and holding tank). Dirt means most of the time the water, which tends to flow in at odd times of the year, and whenever it rains, just seeps slowly back into the aquifer from which it came. Then there is the sump pump, which kicks in when the water doesn't seep in quite fast enough.

Then there was the day it rained so hard and so long that I thought: "Hmmm. I don't hear the sump pump running." So I went downstairs to check on it. No sound. I hit the bottom step (or what I thought was the bottom step: it was actually about three steps up). I hit water. Kept on walking. Water up to my thighs. COLD water. "Hmm. This water is so cold my bare feet are tingling a bit." I didn't think further than that (lack of coffee that day?). Made my way around the furnace, which had water lapping up to the edge of the fire box ("Not a good sign."), and over to the sump pump. It wasn't running, indeed. I reached over to it.

Next thing I knew, I was underwater, on my butt, sitting on the dirt floor about four feet away from the pump. Got to my feet, spit out a bunch of water, shook my head, and thought, "Damn! That was weird." Then I realized I was tingling all over.

The sump pump had shorted out and the water was conducting the charge.

Yeah, I needed someone with thick rubber thigh-high boots to disconnect the sump pump. I immediately thought of the local fire department, which brought me great guys who laughed a bit, but were very nice and didn't make fun of the fact that I tried to do this maneuver in bare feet and just jeans and a t-shirt.

They disconnected it, we all had coffee, and I called the plumber to get a new pump.

The water only took a week to seep back through the dirt floor.

I rarely go in the basement anymore. Even though it's a new sump pump, I still think it's out to get me.

#21 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2004, 12:46 AM:

National Geographic makes something they call Adventure Paper, for use in inkjet printers. It's $20 for 10 sheets, but is quite waterproof (I've seen one on display inside a water bottle as proof of this - no running or sign of wear).

There are also notebooks and sketchbooks filled with waterproof paper. I haven't seen those put up to any tests so far, though, and can't remember the manufacturer off the top of my head.

Ah, the things you run across working for a camping supply store.

#22 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2004, 05:47 AM:

Both my parents were hoarders (mother still is, father's possible current hoarding behaviour is in another plane). They live in the top flat of a three-storey walkup, built in 1958 when they moved in. After I left home ~25 years ago they filled up my old bedroom with assorted stuff.
A few years back, I was so ill I had to move back "temporarily", but couldn't stay in it. Mother by then was very deaf, father's hearing at 82 was going.
The first time it rained (<sigh>, it's been so long since we've had good rain here) after I was well enough to move out of bed, I tracked down a funny noise to a drip that had actually worn a hole right through the plaster & horsehair ceiling, and had been dripping on the cardboard boxes and mattress for, perhaps, years.
Much of my childhood was in them, had been soaked through & dried many times & grown forests of colourful mould. Nearly all was unrecoverable & had to be wrapped & thrown out carefully to stop the mould infecting all the rest of the house, our lungs, neighbours, etc., followed by disinfecting, cleaning & so forth. Luckily my partner was still alive then to help.

After all the work you'd done, it must have been a nasty blow, so, like others, it was good to hear of something nice like the award - even if it has a slightly oddly humourous name.

#23 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2004, 01:33 PM:

A "minor" roof leak during the El Nino year of '97, supposedly fixed by the landlord (but not really, it seems) ended up coating the walls behind our huge number of bookshelves with black mold. We were unaware of it till we started packing the books, getting ready to move to AZ, but our whole library still smells foul even after four years in this bone-dry state. It isn't as drastic as flooding (sympathies, Teresa and other sufferers!), but it's still a pain. Ah, the miseries of us poor bookaholics....

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