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August 1, 2004

Recent history
Posted by Teresa at 08:55 PM * 88 comments

There’s the need to move, prompted by an unexpected sixty-day eviction notice served fifteen days after its issuance. Did I mention the statistical improbability of having four out of four NYC apartment buildings sold out from under us?

Then there’s the move itself. That was hairy. It took up every waking hour, and more energy than we actually possessed, for a couple of weeks, and ate up a lot of hours and energy in the weeks on either side of its passage.

Then there’s unpacking. And “settling in”, which has a strong resemblance to “building a lot of stuff.” I’m reasonably good at that. I”m better at it than the next nearest blogger, naming no names. Not that there’s any lack of parity; he’s far better at putting things in order than I am. It’s just that what I’m good at tends to be heavily called-for in the vicinity of moves.

Did I mention the flood in the basement that hit when all our boxes were still stacked there? Right.

So, anyway, as soon as things are starting to creep back toward normal, there’s the matter of all that professional work that got inadequately attended to during the move. Book A is urgent! I work on Book A. No, Book B has suddenly become a problem case, and needs to be read and edited in a fraction of the time I usually take! Aaaaaargh. I lay everything aside and attend to Book B, at top speed. But hold it! Book C is now become a Time-Constrained Issue! I deal with Book C. I finish and get back to Book B, which is still running on a tight deadline that wasn’t extended when Book C became a problem. I’m working my way back to Book A. Which is still urgent.

(O Author, I will not tell you whether your book is A, B, C, or Other.)

Anyway. I watched the Democratic National Convention while doing some woodwork repair and reassembling a lamp. Good convention. I deeply envied the bloggers onsite. If I weren’t obliged by my political beliefs to blame everything on George Bush (I learned that from a copy of the [i]Post[/i] I was using to wrap glassware), I’d blame my absence from it on my former landlord.

Why does the impending worldcon look like the headlight of an oncoming train?

Comments on Recent history:
#1 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2004, 09:27 PM:

We are also moving this month. We have a house full of stuff, two kids and three cats.

Ah feel yore pane.



#2 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2004, 09:32 PM:

I would offer to feed you Real Chocolate at Worldcon, but I suspect that my supply of Real Chocolate will not in fact last through the road trip from Oregon to Boston that is the reason for going to Worldcon - said road trip is happening because a friend is moving, and I am helping with the packing, travelling with cat, and unpacking before we reward ourselves with Worldcon...

#3 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2004, 09:55 PM:

The Mikado has just the song.

If I were
Fortune--which I'm not--
B should enjoy A's happy lot,
And A should die in miserie--
That is, assuming I am B

#4 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2004, 09:59 PM:

What is the current P&T-Space definition of Real Chocolate? Green & Black's and a limited variety of Scharffen Berger are easy (across the street at the organical co-op). More SB is a little further off (at, oddly enough, the kitchen-gadget emporium). And then there are the two local chocolatoria, Abdallah and B. T. McElrath. BTMcE might be the best option. They tend to cleverly pack their stuff in small boxes, allowing the occasional moment to draw back from the abyss.

If "real" means "homebrew," there's probably not time for that.

#5 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2004, 10:36 PM:

Andy, that's my favorite song in Mikado. And when we did it at CNU, it was the song they cut.

Funny how having piles of cardboard boxes with books in them will tempt a room to flood. Flashback to 1985. The wet boxes give way and the whole pile comes down. Take that, original Cerebus page!

The whole A, B, and C business sounds like my work sometimes. "This is most important. This is also most important. This one is less important, but it has to be done first." Recently my boss left for a week and she gave me a week's worth of stuff to do. It all had to be done the second day, though, and after that it was kind of slow for a couple of days.

#6 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2004, 11:01 PM:

Is there anything you need that an Elise might bring you? Any strange Minneapolitan trinkets you might need?

#7 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2004, 11:06 PM:

If people offer you B.T. McElrath chocolates you should take them. Even though one of the brothers involved in it was in my highschool class. I've gotten bits of it for Christmas the last few years (not from the brother, from my family people) and can give it a pretty darned good review.

#8 ::: Randall P. ::: (view all by) ::: August 01, 2004, 11:08 PM:

Oh, toughen up, woman! What about us? What about the poor people who keep coming back here, day after day, looking for interesting discourse and finding nothing? I didn't come here to hear you whine! I came here to...wait...why did I come here? I'm so confused.

Don't let you work interfere with your day job. You know, good and well, that you're supposed to come here daily to supply us with fodder for conversation and when we don't get that, we feel ill. Oh, so very ill. Stop wasting your time on those "books". Nobody reads nowadays anyway. You're just wasting valuable time.

#9 ::: Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 12:25 AM:

They have Dagoba chocolate back east yet? That's the stuff: there's the New Moon and Eclipse dark chocolates (Eclipse cranks it up to 87%, which approaches masochism); there's the Rosmary and Mint, the Lime, and the Lavender; there's the Xocolatl bar, which has vanilla and nutmeg and various dried chili peppers.

I'm just sayin', is all.

#10 ::: Michelle Sagara ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 01:13 AM:

Why does the impending worldcon look like the headlight of an oncoming train?

Raising a hand from Toronto to ask you to send -me- the answer when you get one you can print <wry g>. I thought I was coming back home on Monday evening, but apparently I'm coming back home on Monday morning, which would necessitate my leaving the convention before either of the two panels I'm scheduled for that day :/.

I'm looking forward to seeing you on the Alien Genres panel, though.

And I'm right beside Other Bloggers who won't be mentioned by name when it comes to building things. People who can actually construct useful household objects are akin to otherwordly beings to me.

#11 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 01:42 AM:

If I make it to Worldcon, what ScharffenBurger would you like? I mean, they're in Berkeley where I spend most days (and more this month, I expect, moving boxes into storage).

#12 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 02:22 AM:

Dagoba chocolate?

Isn't that the thing Yoda pulled out of Luke's X-Wing Carry-On and chewed on, when he was doing his Little Green Rube act?

"Not for those who prefer the Milk side of the Force."

Curious how we have so quickly and completely moved from mortal travail to chocolate. I'm sure Thomas Aquinas would have something to say about this, if he weren't down the cloister going through his eighth box of Ding Dongs.

#13 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 02:48 AM:

Trader Joes have Single Estate chocolate from specific growers that are really good and far cheaper than most good chocolate here.
Having said that, I am completely hooked on Peets' Major Dickason's bars, which cost more than a triple Latte, and are dense rich chocolate packed with really good coffee.

#14 ::: jane ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 03:06 AM:

I have mucho chocolates here in Scotland, but you will have to come here to get them as I will NOT be going to the Boston con.

Make your reservations for Glasgow precon at Wayside early.


#15 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 04:30 AM:

I learned that from a copy of the [i]Post[/i] I was using to wrap glassware

You've obviously been spending too much time on message boards, because you've forgotten your proper HTML. :)

#16 ::: Feòrag ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 05:37 AM:

Jane, just give the chocolate to me. It will reach Boston, honest.

#17 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 08:29 AM:

I like the chocolates from Richart--they have these nyummy flavours like sage praline and curry. It sounds a little strange, I know, but they are SO GOOD. I hunted them down on the internet, since originally we were given a taste as part of a Christmas basket.

(BTW, panicked on your behalf for a second, as I thought that you were being forced to move yet again. I would have curled up and cried if I had to move so soon after moving. Fortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case. Hope things are finally settling for you.)

#18 ::: Mris ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 09:00 AM:

WorldCon: nobody present is dead, nobody present expects me to wear heels and make-up and have my hair done "up" and smile for innumerable pictures, and nobody present will snipe at me for daring to use my own name professionally. (And if they do, I am permitted to bite their heads off and eat them that I may grow bigger and more powerful.) (I may not, however, be permitted to read any more Jo Walton novels, as their influence seems to be lasting and not entirely positive.)

Compared to the rest of my summer, this looks positively restful. But then, I am officially nobody at WorldCon, which is a great relief.

#19 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 10:15 AM:

If I can help at all with the Tor party or anything else at Worldcon, please don't hesitate to ask.

Best wishes for getting out from under it.

#20 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 10:50 AM:

Dagoba chocolate is available at Sobsey's (the place to go for produce when you want the best and money is no object) in Hoboken (that's in New Jersey (East Coast US) for our transoceanic friends).

#21 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 11:08 AM:

Can I offer a bit of advice?

Don't go.

Seriously. This isn't because I think N4 has a serious cranio-rectal intersection issue (which I do,) it's because I'd worry about you collapsing and dying. You've been running at convention level energy and stress for who knows ho long, adding a Worldcon is just going to make it worse.

I made a discovery last year. I was forced to not go to Torcon by money issues. For the first time in nearly two decades, I was going into Labor Day without either a worldcon or a large music festival eating my time. To top that off, it rained like mad the entire weekend.

It was great. I slept. I relaxed. I spent a day with friends. And I came back from the Labor Day holiday not exhausted. I couldn't remember *when* that had occured before. I would either be half deaf and sore from moving gear and mixing all weekend, or exhausted to the core from the con.

I'm trying to find the good side of the large space, multi-multi track, high tech Worldcon, and, to be honest, I really can't. I'll miss seeing some people, but, thinking about it, I probably really wouldn't have seen them if I was there, as everyone runs like mad to keep up.

#22 ::: Sam Dodsworth ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 11:13 AM:

I recommend Rococo for chocolate, myself. They do Valrhona single-bean estate and some good flavoured bars - the milk chocolate with sea salt is particularly good. They even do online ordering - but the cost of shipping to the US is insanely high, alas.

(Or if you prefer chocolates, then L'Artisan du Chocolat is the place. Except that they barely do mail order at all.)

#23 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 11:15 AM:

Ah, but team Nielsen Hayden is/are, at work anyway, two stops on the train from the LiLacs at the Grand Central Station marketplace and four stops on the PATH from the flagship store on Christopher, so what real chocolate needs could they have?

#24 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 11:30 AM:

There's a Whole Foods (which carries ScharffenBerger and Green&Black and more) a short distance to the southwest, and a Trader Joe's just to the north, of the Worldcon venue.

Boston does not currently have a shortage of Dementor antidote, in other words. We also have really good ice cream (Christina's, Toscanini's, Herrell's....)

#25 ::: Columbine ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 12:04 PM:

The best chocolate for the money in the NYC area (and possibly on the entire eastern seaboard) is at Jacques Torres in the area-of-Brooklyn-I-refuse-to-call-DUMBO, anyway, so I think if I were recovering from a move in that part of the universe, that's where I'd go. But I'm curious if this move thing is endemic to the area - I have several other sets of Brooklyn friends and they all seem to suffer from the same tendency to be involuntarily migratory.

M'ris, strangely, being officially nobody at a WorldCon is one of the things that makes me edgy about the whole thing. I have envy issues.

#26 ::: Charles Dodgson ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 12:42 PM:

While in Boston, there's also the Teuscher's on Newbury Street, a few blocks from the conference venue. But I've met connoisseurs disdainful enough of them (Belgian is where it's at, I'm told, not Swiss; I report, you decide) that I hesitate even to mention the "chocolate" vendors -- cough, cough, Godiva, cough -- in the malls adjoining the venue itself...

#27 ::: Mris ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 12:50 PM:

Columbine, I've seen enough people try to convince everyone around them of how much they're somebody that I'm perfectly happy to be officially nobody. It freaked me out at ConJose (my last WorldCon) when people I'd never met in person recognized me. It freaked me out even more when people I'd met briefly in person remembered me. I was aiming for "cheerful, friendly, and nobody you know."

Now I've met too many people to freak out when someone remembers me -- statistics -- but I'd much rather be "Hey, don't I know you?" than "I have no idea why she was on that panel; she had nothing interesting to say."

#28 ::: Tim Kyger ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 01:16 PM:

Geez. You'd think *you'd* know better.

*ALL* WorldCons look like the light from an on-coming train, before they happen.

And then they happen, and the world moves on.

Oh, yes, sometimes they're not very well done, and fuggheaditry happens. Sometimes fuggheaditry is even in charge. And yet, the next time around, the following year, it happens again.

To quote Terry Gilliam, "It's only a model."

#29 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 01:24 PM:

I was so traumatized by the first WorldCon I attended that I haven't been to one since.

Okay, I'm being overdramatic. The real reason I haven't gone has principally been that with so many things to do, I end up doing nothing. I didn't even go to ConJose, which was a whopping 5 miles from my apartment, because if I wanted to sit around and smoke and talk to strangers, I could do it for free.

Anyhow... I would actually tend to agree that this may be the year that skipping Worldcon would not suck. There is only so much energy one can expend. But if obligations require you to attend, just make sure you only do the things you really, honestly have to do, and don't get roped into doing other things.

*pauses for laughter*

No, er. Really. It is actually possible to attend a con and not get volunteered.

*pauses for more laughter*

Well. It's possible for me. I stopped volunteering over 5 years ago...

In which time I've attended, er, 3 cons...

Well. Okay. It's possible if you just don't go.

#30 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 01:38 PM:

The case can be made that Making Light, with its award-winning status, advertising revenue stream, and moderately hight blog traffid, does NOT need to be a highest-priority task for Our Gracious Hostess. The "Power Law" is already on the side of Making Light, albeit at a lower level than, say, Instapundit. The scientists even speak of the trendy new color, Monkey-Do. I cite:

The formula for 'success'

Pardon my exponents, writes John Allen Paulos, but mathematical laws that describe web links can also work for other complex systems

Thursday July 22, 2004
The Guardian

"Might a discovery about the connectivity of the internet have relevance to power and wealth disparities in the world? A couple of years ago, Albert-Laszló Barabasi, a physicist at Notre Dame University, and two associates published a paper maintaining that websites link together in a way that accounts for the existence of relatively few very popular mega-sites and progressively more sites with fewer links. The 'monkey-see-monkey-do' effect of many sites pointing to popular addresses leading proportionally more sites to do the same thing results in a so-called mathematical power law."

"Barabasi showed, if you'll pardon my exponents, that the likelihood of a site having links to k other sites is roughly proportional to 1/k^3 - or inversely proportional to the third power of k. This means there are approximately one-eighth as many sites with 10 links as there are sites with five links since 1/10^3 is one-eighth of 1/5^3. In general, the number of sites with k links declines quickly as k increases. (The number is not described by the normal bell-shaped distribution which would result in even fewer sites with many links.)...."

"... stark inequalities seem to reign throughout the world. The UN issued a report a few years ago saying the net worth of the world's three richest families - the Gateses, the Sultan of Brunei and the Waltons, of Wal-Mart - exceeded the GDP of the 43 poorest nations. The pattern holds within countries too. The ratio of remuneration of a US firm's chief to that of the average employee is at an all-time high of about 500. Not only is there a strong tendency for the rich to get richer, but also for the healthy to get healthier...."

#31 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 01:51 PM:

Some commenters appear to be unaware that WorldCon isn't exactly optional for our Hostess. It's not a vacation; it's a work duty.

Teresa, I will be at Worldcon. I volunteer to help you destress whenever you need; this includes footrubs and reiki as well as more mundane forms of assistance.

We'll just put a sign on the door that says "Damsel in Destress."

(Needless to say, this offer extends to Patrick as well.)

#32 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 02:36 PM:

Worldcon is the mind-killer.
Worldcon is the little death ...
I will face Worldcon
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path ...

(With apologies to Herbert, who may have thought loneliness should be one of the tests for being human, his admirers, & beer-drinkers everywhere.)

#33 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 04:25 PM:

Erik, you hearten me. I've been feeling guilty about not planning to attend N4 which, let's face it being from Boston, is the ONLY worldcon I get to go to every 15 years or so. But I'm losing my day job and need to find a new one; have a Sept. 2 deadline for the Sundance festival and a documentary I'm trying to get done in time; I have a book due to my editor come January which ain't that far away; and Labor Day is that magical time ( I should say Hurricane time)--once a year--when the surf down at Scituate is not to be missed. Family come from all over to hang out and risk body-surfing themselves onto a pile of rocks....

#34 ::: L.N. Hammer ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 05:00 PM:

I thought Aquinas proved, in a mind-numbing proof of 14 points, that Ho-Hos were superior to Ding Dongs.


#35 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 05:43 PM:

Whenever we go to WisCon, Spike makes a pilgrimage to the Candinas chocolate factory and gets me a box. They are the best chocolates I've had since Cocolat went out of my life. But chocolate is very personal. I hope that whatever chocolate you love the most will come to you. In the meantime, meditating on chocolate seems to have many of the positive effects as eating it.

#36 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 05:58 PM:

Comparing Ho-Hos to Ding-Dongs seems odd . . . wouldn't it be more helpful to compare Ho-Hos to Yodels, and Ding Dongs (aka King Dons) to Ring Dings?

Those going to WorldCon may wish to host a double-blind comparison.

#37 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 06:31 PM:

"Worldcon is the little death..."

If it had that effect, far fewer people would be conflicted about going (word used advisedly). Later, they might have second thoughts. And they'd -never- call the committee.

#38 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 07:38 PM:

Every Noreascon I've been to has been an amazingly positive experience (and I've been to all three). Recto-cranial inversion or not, Eric, they have been parties that I'm proud to have been part of. Prouder even than for ConJose', which did much more to support what fandom is (IMO) than I thought it could at 6 months out. YMMV, my friend, on how it works: but I expect N4 to be a positive event for Fandom-in-the-large. And I hope that I'll see you there, helping make it be positive (as I know you will if you're there!).

#39 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 07:41 PM:

Feorag: Jane, just give the chocolate to me. It will reach Boston, honest.

"Och aye, Jock, I'll sairtainly pour thich flask of single malt ower your grave. But do ye mind if I sthrain it through me kidneys fairst?"

#40 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 08:03 PM:

Ha.ahahahahaha! I have discovered the secret of moving! Leave everything behind except, of course, the computers, 'cause they're already set up right. Makes for heavy suitcases.

We have "completed" our move to Puerto Rico. The secret: don't sell the old house, just get friends to live there for a while, fixing it up in return for cheap rent. And have them mail you whatever you end up missing. Ha.

And the brilliant part: NO MOLD. My son is off his Zyrtec for the first time in two years, and nary a bit of congestion to be seen. Phase 1 of plan: complete.

Now to pay for all the unexpected expenses. Like deciding to ship the Dodge Caravan over after all, after finding out that a lease on a compact car here runs to over $1000 a month. (Urk.) Bet we're the only people in Ponce with Indiana license plates, though.

#41 ::: LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 08:06 PM:

ah, le petit mort; I'll exercise my mentat powers, and restrain myself going on about letting things pass through oneself.


#42 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 08:47 PM:

I thought Aquinas proved, in a mind-numbing proof of 14 points, that Ho-Hos were superior to Ding Dongs.

Actually, in one of his lesser known works, the Summa Laganae, the Angelic Doctor quite completely reviewed all that Plato, Aristotle, and both the Greek and Latin fathers had to say about pastry and sweets. This work is divided into three parts:

The first part, or Prima Pars covers the existence and nature of sweet foods, covering the essential differences between cakes and pastry, candy, and sweet drinks. His examination of each kind of sweet thing includes examination of the topics of existence, essence, operations, power, origin, will, ingredients, and basic recipies.

The first section of the second part (Prima Secundĉ Partis) covers human enjoyment of sweet foods and the causes, both intrinsic and extrinsinc, of that enjoyment. It is in this section that he discusses that Aristotle would have preferred Ho-Ho's (in the section Does man choose snacks of necessity or freely?), which may be what L. was referring to. The second section (Secunda Secundĉ Partis) examines the nature of proper and improper acts of enjoyment of sweets. For example, there is the question Why does chocolate go with almonds but not with albacore?.

The incomplete Tertia Pars concentrates on chocolate itself. Aquinas did finish his examination of dark chocolate, but the final sections on milk chocolate, as well as the proper ingredients to be combined with chocolate, were collated after his death from his other works and published as the Supplement.

#43 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 09:00 PM:

Oh, also good--if you're ever in Calgary--Callebaut Chocolate. The man makes a chocolate mousse to die for.

#44 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 09:12 PM:

I am hoping to get to Noreascon.

If I don't it will be bloody inconvenient, as I've already booked the (non-transferrable, non-refundable) intercontinental flights and the hotel accomodation and so on and so forth.

Unfortunately, yesterday my father (who is 80) got carted off to hospital in an ambulance. And this afternoon he had a second stroke.

If I am at Noreascon either my father will be stable and recovering (and I will be a happy bunny, because I kind of like him), or he will be dead (in which case I will be a grieving bunny: but at least it'll be over with and our worst fear -- a parent in a persistent vegetative state/on life support/critically ill -- will be out of the picture).

If I am not at Noreascon, it will be because I'm having a much more stressful experience.

(Sorry, needed to vent.)

#45 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 09:15 PM:

Incidentally, the dad-getting-desperately-ill business just happened to coincide with me beginning to think about moving.

Now I'm clutching my rabbit's foot and keeping a wary weather eye open for thunderbolts ...

#46 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 09:26 PM:

Wasn't there some question about the true authorship of the Supplement? Certainly parts of it were written by Aquinas himself, but Murray et al argue that the sections on nougat and marzipan were the work of a promising disciple.

Beware of the person of one Hershey Kiss.-- St. Thomas Aquinas

#47 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 09:55 PM:

Quite so, with many identifying Fr. Reginald de Piperno, his secretary, as a likely candidate. But I think that the friary cook would be more likely.

#48 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 10:19 PM:

Chocolate is ... good.

I am very sleepy.

Erik, I have duties. Gotta go.

Have you ever considered taking on one of those committee positions where you loll around watching other people get stuff done?

Tina, the worldcon Tim Kyger was referring to was my first worldcon. I was Mg. Ed./Publications, Asst. to the Head of Programming, overseer of the fan lounge and daily newsletter, and committee chauffeur. Tim was Chair. I think he was twenty-three that year. The Head of Programming, one Patrick Hayden, was nineteen. Sometimes I think the only thing that saved us was not understanding how impossible it all was.

Ever seen that button that says "Friends Don't Let Friends Run Worldcons"? We needed those.

I'm going to go fall over now.

#49 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 11:24 PM:

Yeah, I've got that button somewhere, or did...

Which is mostly because I was on a Worldcon bid. No, I don't know why either.

I hope you can manage this one with fewer duties. You need a break.

#50 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 11:55 PM:

Worldcon... IS coming upon us like an inexorable freight train. My only consolation is that we've finally found a good cat-sitter (last year the cat-sitter issue went horribly wrong.... I can only say no one (cats or people) died, but we got home to sick cats and a cat-sitter who'd been on her own planet for ten days.... (GRRR)).

So it's better than it seems, at least from my minor corner....

#51 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 12:13 AM:

Cocolat...sigh...I miss their truffles. They were better than my mom's, and that's saying something.

Charlie, best wishes.

#52 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 04:34 AM:

12 hours later and he's stable. I'm beginning to notice that everyone else is still alive ...

What's the name of that chocolate shop in the mall attached to the Hynes Center in Boston? I have a feeling I'll be hitting it as soon as I arrive.

#53 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 06:44 AM:

I think WorldCon looks that way because it really is the headlight of an oncoming train.

#54 ::: Rivka ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 07:23 AM:

Naively, I have been looking forward to Worldcon. (It will be my first.) Now y'all are scaring me.

#55 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 08:30 AM:

"What is the current P&T-Space definition of Real Chocolate?"

See, I read this, and I thought Penn & Teller. Which maps very oddly to the topic hosts. Patrick's not that tall, and Teresa isn't that quiet.

#56 ::: Charles Dodgson ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 08:48 AM:

@Charlie Stross:

I was (avoiding) referring to the Godiva shop in the Copley Place mall adjoining the Marriott. That hotel also has a sweet shop called "Truffles", I think, on the second floor near the footbridge to another mall, and thence to the convention venue itself. Truffles features Lindt and other imports, but beware -- some of it's been on the shelves for a while... it's probably worth the (short) walk to Teuscher's.

#57 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 10:09 AM:

Rivka, I know people who go every year and who love it (and who manage to not get roped into working it unless it's local). It's just too many people packed into a space and way, way, way too many events for me to choose from for me.

#58 ::: Alexander Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 10:27 AM:

Cambridge has some fine chocolatiers as well: Cardullo's in Harvard Square, Fresh Sweets on Church Street, and L.A. Burdick's on Brattle Street, which makes their own world-class stuff. I am particularly fond of their chocolate mice.

#59 ::: Priscilla Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 10:44 AM:

Thanks for the kind words, Tom.

Teresa, from where I'm sitting (unscrambling program), the Worldcon train has pretty much run over me....

#60 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 10:44 AM:


There's a chocolate truffle maker, Dante's Confections, located three miles north of me, and it has a store front (it's in the Treble Cove strip mall on route 3A aka Boston Road in North Billerica, just south of the interchange with route 129, a mile or so east of US 3), open business hours Monday through Saturday.

There are still a couple chocolate makers left around Boston--the Charleston Chew factory long since stopped being the site of Charleston Chew manufacture, even the New England Confectionary Company (NECCO) moved out of the art deco or some such building it had been in in Cambridge for decades is gone, the chocolate mill building in Dorchester [Baker's Chocolate, was it originally?] long since got converted into house--but there are still some here and there.

I suppose that Boston and environs got into that business from Boston being an international port city. There used to be a sugar industry here, too. Sugarcane was the basis of rum, and part of the horrific triangle trade, but I don't remember that rum got made here--sugar, get, I think that Domino's might originally have been around here. There was certainly molasses processing into sugar being done--what other city has the infamy of a lethal molasses explosion and flood in its history?!

Hmm, confectionary makers, from making sugar for baking and candy, going into chocolate candy making is a natural progression. "White chocolate" was invented by Hebert's in Shrewsbury. Some of the supermarkets in the area carry Hebert's chocolate and Hebert's fudge, Hebert's Candy Mansions are located more in cental Massachusetts.

Whole Earth Foods (I think that's the name), which took over Bread & Circus, has some South American chocolate with high chocolate content. I don't know where the store nearest the convention center is, though, being someone out in what some folks call "Edge City" [though it's not exactly that] where mass transit is a joke, making a car a necessity, and thereby making getting to and around in Boston a PITA (no I am NOT interested in driving 15 minutes to the North Woburn train station through one of the most heavily trafficked intersections in the state, parking for $10, spending an hour on a train to get into Boston and $4.00 or whatever it is for trainfare and changing in North Station when North Station is open to the subway, and having to reverse the procedure, when it takes me much less time and effort and cost to get to more stores with longer hours outside of route 128... the nearest Whole Earth takes me about 15 minutes to get to, by car, and it's a larger store than most of the ones in the chain--the one in Framingham might be larger, but there, too, it's out in the car-bound region, would take me about 40 minutes to get to it. The nearest Trader Joes are in different directions about 25 minutes away.]


Regarding Worldcons --

Worldcons are made up of lots of different subuniverses. One can go to a Worldcon and spend the entire convention with a subset of people--there are the costumers, the artists and art show, the filkers, the people who spend the convention in the bar, the people who are running bid parties, the fanzine lounge, the gaming area, the film room and/or video room, sit in the program the entire time, there are single author fandoms with suites such as the Liaden Lounge or the group focused on George RR Martin's footbreaker novels; there is behind-the-scenes-working-on-the-convention in Treasury, in the conventions offices, etc.

It's possible to plan one's presence at the convention seeing very few people other than when registering--pick program items such as readings by published small fry who don't persuade their friends to come to their reading to fill the room, go to the art show in the morning when it opens for the day and go to the morning program items, avoid bid parties and thrown invitational parties inviting a handful of people, etc.

Noreascon has some prelimary program schedule material up already, off the programming link at The art show hours and such are posted, off relevant linked pages.

Thousands of people go to Worldcons, and each one has a different convention they've gone to. The Hynes Convention Center is -not- a small place. It's smaller than the ConJose Convention Center is, smaller than the convention center that MilPhil was in, etc., but it's still not -small-. The Sheraton's north wall is the Hyne's south wall and there are direct pass-throughs in that wall, in addition to them both having entrances opening into the northwest corner of the Prudential mall. (The Hynes' north entrance is on Boylston Street, and directly across the street is the Trader Joe's door.)

Anyway, for the most part the Hynes venue is -not- likely to feel crowded. 6000 or so people in it, are not any kind of stress on the facility. It might feel more cramped in the function rooms in the Sheraton, the hotel was new 40 years ago and built to the corridor sizes than common [but it's not as cramped at the Park Plaza which Arisia is in, which is a much older hotel...].

There are one-day admissions available, being sold on-line, even, the first one got sold on-line Sunday, for those who don't have the time/money to go to the convention for the entire duration. I hope that John Farrell will at least show for one day at the convention....

#61 ::: L.N. Hammer ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 10:52 AM:

Claude — that's the section I was thinking of. Just memory of struggling through it is enough to conquer all but the worst bouts of insomnia. (For those, I must resort to Plato's Republic.)


#62 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 11:02 AM:

Charlie, sorry about your dad. Hope he gets lots better. For him, for you, and lastly (selfishly) for me, because I'm looking forward to actually meeting you!

#63 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 11:04 AM:

Charlie: best wishes for continued good news.

Rivka: It's my first and I'm looking forward to it too, so we can be excited about it together.

#64 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 12:37 PM:

WorldCon is like the world, you can't experience all of it. What you can do is meet people with common interests, see some amazing things, and have a good time. A really good way to connect with the WorldCon is to volunteer. You will get to see how the WorldCon works behind the scenes, and you will get to know some of the coolest people at the con.

I will be volunteering, and generally running around, but you might want to check by the fan lounge and see if I am hanging out there.

Good luck Charlie. I hope you can make it, and if not, we'll be thinking of you.

My body is a temple, and the kidneys are the altars.

#65 ::: Tim Kyger ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 01:01 PM:

To all the MCFI/Norescon Four folks ---

Good luck, and thank you. It's a thankless bidness, and geez, you've now gotten at least *one* thank.

Teresa, I was 22; I turned 23 two months after Iggy.

And to Charles Stross, I have what *may* be something that will amuse him. And that is that the Pentagon Library has a copy of Singularity Sky...

I just checked it out, too. It was prominently displayed in their New Books display.

I should be working, but I'm now on page 167.

Hope your dad does well. The very best of luck to the both of you.

#66 ::: Tim Kyger ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 01:06 PM:

OK, one more thing.

My very first con of *any* sort was Noreascon I. FWIW. And I was at #2, and #3. Only money is keeping me from attending #4.

Moving -- We moved from Alexandria VA to north of Philadelphia, driving two self-packed trucks. I then had to unload the trucks, and then drive one of them back to Alexandria, then drive our car back to Horsham PA. All during an ice storm.

Then we moved to Fort Worth, driving this time only one self-packed truck. Unload at the end was also just me.

Then we moved back to Virginia. This time, we had people pack us, move us, and unload us. Your tax dollars at work; thanks all!

But I'm now told by the owner of our rental that when the lease is up in February, that he's selling the place, and we'll have to move.

Yes, that's plenty of warning. Alas, it was given *after* i'd unpacked everything and thrown all the boxes away. (Recycled, actually, but I digress...)

Two moves is equal to one battle, or so Marcus Aurelius said. I think.

#67 ::: Catie Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 01:51 PM:

Good thoughts for your dad, Charlie.

#68 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 02:14 PM:

Charlie: Hoping for the best -- even if the best possible is only a swift and soft passing.

Tom: I do hope you enjoy yourself, and s/c/k/, please.

Priscilla: If you look and feel any worse than you did at Midwestcon, you could serve as a poster child as to one of the great wrongs of Worldcons.

I liked Worldcons. Confederation probably had the most magical fanspace ever. N3 was an amazing con.

But I look at what they do to people. And, if that's enough, one question. Is MCFI ready to start bidding N5?

TNH: I know you have responsibilities. But one of those is, I think, surviving. You know, far better than I, what a Worldcon takes. You've ranted right there with me on the stupidity of giving blood at a Worldcon.

The question for you: Are you going to make it? If the answer might be no, please, choose discretion over valor. Death damn well does release you, and there are a number of us who'd miss you badly.

#69 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 03:45 PM:

Much thanks to those here who are part of the Noreascon committee. I think it's going to be super. For once I'm not volunteered for much, so am going to do my best to just enjoy myself, meet people, etc. Jim and Jeff are very excited about First Night and Jim is looking forward to the Literary Beers.

MidAmericon ('76) was my VERY FIRST real SF convention (I'd been part of a group that put on a Star Trek dealer convention at the U. Miami SF club (Coral Gables). Jim and I had our honeymooon at Iguanacon, just two weeks after we had gotten married. Gee.... we celebrated our 25th anniversary last year! Where did the time go so fast!

#70 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 03:52 PM:

Poor Priscilla! Better you than me, if only because the task you're doing right now is one you're better at.

BTW, if you need a body to patch a hole, just this morning Liz Gorinsky was lamenting that she'd gotten in her forms after the basic program had already been broken out. She's good on skiffy, comics, publishing, and geek culture.

Erik, I promise I'll take good care of myself. We're even leaving the city early so as to avoid the RNC, proximity to which is hard on one's bile, spleen, and choler.

Charlie, I'm glad the news is the better sort. When I see you, shall I offer to buy you a drink?

Tim, thanks for reminding me that this time around, I didn't have to move your cinder blocks.

#71 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 04:32 PM:

I promise I'll take good care of myself.

Having seen you at these things, I'll refrain from a "yeah, whatever" and just warn you -- you die at this thing, and I'll kill you. :)

#72 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 04:44 PM:

For me, Worldcons are like the Mall of America: Too much walking and too many people.

#73 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 06:24 PM:
Ha.ahahahahaha! I have discovered the secret of moving! Leave everything behind except, of course, the computers, 'cause they're already set up right. Makes for heavy suitcases.

But that means... leaving the books. Surely sacrilege.

(Also, books are easy to get working when you get to the other end. The computers have probably malfunctioned in some catastrophic and expensive way en route.)

#74 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 10:12 PM:

OK, miscellaneous comments on comments (on comments)...

Charlie: Best wishes and good thoughts to you & yours.

Alexander Cohen: Cardullo's, ecch. Overpriced and not worth the reputation in terms of selection. As someone who grew up in the Tacoma area and sold Almond Roca to raise money for school activities, seeing their pricing on the stuff (which I do love) makes me feel ill.

Paula Lieberman:
Necco is in Revere now, still T accessible AFAIK though I have not tried. I miss the outlet store being walkable distance. Junior Mints are still made in Cambridge not far from the old Necco factory (which is now Novartis's research facility).

The nearest Whole Foods (formerly Bread & Circus, around here) to the con is the "Symphony" store, at Mass Ave and Huntington Ave, near Symphony Hall. Very very close to the convention, a couple blocks of walking once you get outside (depending on where you leave the Prudential/Sheraton end of the arcology).

Kate, Rivka: it's my second. I'm looking forward to it, and not just because memory has faded since 1989.

#75 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 11:16 PM:

I will be bringing truffles made from Sara's recipe for the blogger/LJ party. Yesterday I was at Zingerman's in Ann Arbor and bought some odd truffles. I didn't eat the first one until I was waiting to change planes in Chicago. I was Fleur de Sal caramels dipped in dark chocolate and topped with the merest sprinkling of more Fleur de Sal. I have never tasted such a wonderful piece of candy in my life. If I can arrange it, I hope to have some there. I can hardly wait to try the curry, balsamic vinergar, and sesame truflles I bought at the same time. I'm waiting because I'm so exhausted I can't think.


#76 ::: Rivka ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 11:28 PM:

Kate - you're on! Hopefully we'll meet at Mary Kay's blogger/LJ party on Thursday night.

#77 ::: Berni ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2004, 11:46 PM:

We plan to have a quiet Labor Day weekend this year. We've neither the time or money to go to WorldCon.

Mercy Center in Burlingame (CA) has an outdoor labyrinth. I've been to Mercy Center for short retreats and a course on centering prayer, but never had the time to just spend walking the labyrinth, taking my time. I'm going to do this some time Labor Day weekend -- maybe take a lunch and wander the grounds and walk the labyrinth. The hubby said he might join me.

When we were in Alaska in June, we went out to the shrine to St. Therese Martin outside Juneau. There was a labyrinth outside there, and walking it was a wonderful meditative experience for both of us.

So we'll try to remember, walking the labyrinth at Mercy, to think of you at Noreascon and send a prayer your way.

#78 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 12:31 AM:

Christopher, my stepmother buys me "value packs" of Almond Roca at Walmart. She found out it's one of my favorite candies (we could buy them at the Bon in Seattle) so now she gives me one every year.

When we first got transferred to the east coast, you couldn't get Almond Roca here, so it was a big treat.

#79 ::: Allen Baum ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 06:09 PM:

It looks like I'm a little late, and arguably off-topic, talking about chocolate, but if you're into dark chocolates (as opposed to the adulerated kind) you might like to look at

There are detailed "objective" reviews of each listed. I'm not quite sure of where the full database went.

We did a blind tasting last year, and I could pick out "Marche' du Monde" dark over Sharffenberger, Valrhona, and a few others. It's vailable at Cost Plus in the bay area, along with several other unusual ones (Russian dark, anyone?)

#80 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 02:04 PM:

I can vouch for Liz Gorinsky as a fire-and-forget solution for event management. I still don't understand how she did her three years with us shiftless no-goods as her only resource.

#81 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2004, 09:07 PM:

She's a terrific assistant, and I'm lucky to have her. Priscilla: what Teresa said about Liz.

#82 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2004, 09:59 AM:

Patrick, I wouldn't associate a good assistant with "Fire and Forget." Better, I think, would be "Promote and Weep."

#83 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2004, 06:37 PM:

Erik, "fire and forget" means the weapon is so good you only need to fire, you don't need to follow-up.

#84 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: August 08, 2004, 01:57 AM:

Ah, military jargon can be so useful. I haven't had to refer to any co-workers as REMFs lately though.

#85 ::: Lisa Padol ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 10:19 PM:

Books A, B, and C remind me of projects A, B, and C where I work. Is this priority dance normal in publishing? Normal in, well, the workplace as a whole?

#86 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 01:00 PM:

Lisa, I don't think I've ever had a job where shifting priorities like that *didn't* happen at least sometimes. I'm not in publishing, but there are some (slight) similarities to software development.

#87 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 01:21 PM:

Good morning, fellow members of the Prioritization Committee of ABCD Enterprises.

The first item on our agenda is to vote on whether or not to reorder the items on our agenda. According to Robert's Rules of Order, the procedure for this is...

[interrupts] "Point of order, Mr. Chairman. The question of wther a motion is a substantive motion or a procedural motion is itself a substantive motion."

We'll decide later if we want to deal that or not...

Who was it who asked why there was only one British Antimonopoly Commission?

#88 ::: Spam deleted ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 01:53 PM:

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