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July 6, 2008

Clarion West, crisis and response
Posted by Patrick at 12:23 PM *

Tor employee and Clarion West attendee Theresa Delucci phoned me with this the night before last: the news, now spread all over the skiffy blogosphere, that someone had burglarized the student residence and stolen four of the students’ laptops, among other essential workshop supplies, and that Clarion West management was appealing for donations to quickly get the affected students back up and running.

I’ve taught Clarion West a couple of times; it’s a great workshop. Six weeks of SF-writer boot camp in the heart of Seattle’s University district. And it’s tightly scheduled; you don’t want anyone to lose even two or three days of writing time. Of course, I promised to publicize the appeal on Making Light.

Which I then promptly failed to do, first because I made a stupid error that caused me to have to spend several hours on Saturday rebuilding our household network, and subsequently because of a prior social engagement. Now it’s Sunday morning and due to the quick work of bloggers a lot more together than me, and the generosity of a whole bunch of helpful people, all the stolen equipment has been replaced. Go, skiffy blogosphere! I suck, but yay us anyway.

Comments on Clarion West, crisis and response:
#1 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2008, 12:50 PM:

Over on BoingBoing, I said that it's less a general-audience call for help-- "Here is a worthy cause everyone should know about!"-- than the community of SFF writers spreading the word to more writers and writer-supporters-- "Here is a sucky thing that happened to people in our community-- let's help them out, because that's what community does!"

I've been liking people a lot lately. This helps.

#2 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2008, 04:38 PM:

Responses like this (rallying round to help) renew some belief in the goodness of humans.

Responses like the first comment on the BoingBoing piece make me despair - as indicated in "Got it in one", it does seen that some people just cannot comment on anything Cory Doctorow posts without finding something negative to say about it.

#3 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2008, 05:29 PM:

One thing I do is email work to myself, so it's sitting at Google.

There's probably other tricks.

The idea of the U3 drive seems to have vanished, Nobody wants to chance random strangers autorunning software on a USB drive. But that way you do get a pocketable software+data package.

#4 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2008, 05:43 PM:

I'm glad they've replaced the laptops so quickly. Now, I hope that they didn't lose too much work and what they did lose they can recreate as quickly or quicker.

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2008, 07:12 PM:

dcb (2), you're right. Some of the comments at Boing Boing were pointless and gratuitously nasty.

Note use of past tense. Thank you for pointing them out.

#6 ::: Eileen Gunn ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2008, 07:57 PM:

The response in the blogosphere has been amazingly fast and extraordinarily generous. Much thanks to everyone who spread the word, sent a donation, or had good intentions but were aced out by the lightning response. As I write this, the students are replacing their stolen laptops.

Thanks, everyone!

Eileen Gunn
Clarion West

#7 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2008, 08:04 PM:

Patrick, that's one of the beauties of the internet - it is very good about routing around delays and problems. And not just at the packet level. Social node PatrickNielsenHayden was unavailable to service the request for help, but social node BoingBoing was chugging right along, and handled the request.

#8 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2008, 03:22 PM:


And I realise that what came later was even worse! I'm glad I don't have your job.

But the kitties video you linked to was fun!

#9 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2008, 05:43 PM:

Nasty knock for the students that must've been. Glad it's fixed, so far as equipment goes, and hope the interruption doesn't throw them too badly.

#10 ::: Christopher Reynaga ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2008, 08:27 PM:

Thank you so much for your support, Teresa and Patrick. Everyone here in the Clarion West class of 08 appreciated it profoundly. =)

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