dxmachina: (Snow02)
I am so done with winter...

I've had to deal with two full and one partial snow days in the last week and a half. One of the full ones and the partial (they shut down classes at 4:00 on a day when I teach from 3:05 to 4:20) happened to my course at Central, one that already had four credits worth of material jammed into a three credit course. I lost yesterday from my MCC schedule, but at least that course has more places where I can make up the difference. I normally tack on some non-syllabus material on the last day anyway. Both of the full days landed on the final lecture before an exam, so I've had to postpone the exams a day, which is probably harder on the students than it is me.

Boskone kicks off today, and I'll head up there for the evening in a little while. Had the Subaru maintained* this morning, so there should be no problems with the drive. I would dearly love to be able to take the train up from Wickford, but while it would get me there today, service stops before I want to leave tonight, and there's no service at all on the weekend. Bother.

* I've already put 10,000 miles on the Sub since I got it less than six months ago. It has been very handy having AWD for the snowy days, especially the drive out to and back from New Britain on that partial snow day.


dxmachina: (curse you)
We finally got some real winter weather over the last two weekends, mixing snow and sleet and gale force winds at various times and in various combinations. And just to rub it in, both yesterday and today the sun popped out to give a taste of spring, but only once it was too late in the day to get a ride in. Sigh.

---
There was one good weekend for riding a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn't take advantage because I was up in Boston for Boskone. Boskone was sort of up and down. I was able to find an reasonably interesting panel to attend most hours there, so that was good, but I didn't take a lot of notes, so I guess I didn't find much of it noteworthy. Still, there was a good panel on writing genius characters which included an observation by Charlie Stross that writing is a somewhat like doing stop-motion animation in it takes about an hour to write three minutes worth of reading material*. There were some other good panels and talks, including one by Guy Consolmagno, who works at the Vatican Observatory, on astronomers through the centuries who had the right data, but then leapt to totally wrong conclusions. Poor Schiaparelli did it on three separate occasions**.

* Or considerably longer if'n you're me.

** The most famous of these was his drawings showing the
canali on Mars, which Consolmagno attributed to the tendency of the human mind to apply an unsharp mask to blurry objects.

Anyway, I enjoyed myself there, and had a couple of great meals at Tennesee's BBQ in Braintree, so not a bad weekend.

---
The good news for the week is that it looks like I won't be going to Brazil after all, which is fine by me. This may yet change, because it has already changed several times a few times over the last few weeks, and we are now on victim designated traveler #3, but at present I am considered too indispensable on my current project to go anywhere but my office for the next month or so. Meanwhile, one of our other technical people is making arrangements for the awe-inspiring robust vaccination regimen required for the trip***. So it goes.

*** Which, like the whole visa situation, was not even thought about by the higher ups until designated traveler #2 happened to mention the trip to a friend, who, in turn, then mentioned the bit about all the needles...

Cranky...

Feb. 20th, 2011 10:11 pm
dxmachina: (Snow)
I'm sitting here staring at the notes I took at Boskone this weekend and not working up much enthusiasm for typing up a con report. I'm pretty meh about this year's edition, which is odd because Charlie Stross was GoH, and I find both him and his work very entertaining*. There just weren't many panels that I was enthusiastic about attending, and some of the few that I was interested in were scheduled opposite each other. Plus I was cranky before I even got to con, so that didn't help matters. I will write it up at some point, just not now.

* Early on he was walking around carrying a stuffed Cthulhu which was wearing a knitted Cthulhu ski mask.

---
Crankiness... )

---
There was one thing that made me less cranky. I seem to have developed a knack for stumbling across good barbecue joints while at SF cons. It may not be much of a super power, but it'll do. This time it found a place called Tennessee's BBQ just up the street from the hotel. Very tasty.

---
While at the con, I finished Stross's The Jennifer Morgue which is part of his Laundry series of Lovecraftian spy thrillers. It's a very funny book, and I liked it quite a bit.

Boskone 47

Feb. 20th, 2010 10:50 am
dxmachina: (Spaceman Spiff)
How I spent last weekend...

Friday Panels )

---
Saturday Panels )

---
Sunday Panels )

---
Odds and Ends )

These were most of the panels I attended. There were a couple of others I went to mostly as time fillers, and even those I found engaging, although not enough to write about them.

Boskone 46

Feb. 18th, 2009 04:33 pm
dxmachina: (Marvin01)
I often complain about not being able to find enough decent panels to attend, or that there are too many scheduled concurrently when I'm at a con, but this year's Boskone was just right. There was something to pique my interest pretty much every session, and I rarely had to choose between two equally appealing panels. The con was held in a different section of the hotel this year, and it seemed a much better arrangement. All the panel sessions were on the same floor, and while the con suite area was downstairs, it was huge.

---
Saturday... )

---
Sunday )

---
So that was it. I took a last walk through the hucksters area, then headed for home. Learned some science stuff and some writing stuff, and enjoyed myself quite a bit this year.
dxmachina: (Snow)
It's snowing again. At least the temperature is back up in the twenties.

Sunk costs: costs that cannot be recovered once they have been incurred.

Note to self: Never pre-register for a con until you get a look at the program, no matter what the discount is.  )

---
Speaking of sunk cost, the Dodgers released Andruw Jones last week, despite still owing him $22M. I have never seen a player fall off a cliff as badly as Andruw did last year. Most of the pitchers had better years with the bat than Andruw did. It is really bad when you tell a guy that, yeah, we still owe you a dumptruck full of money, but you have so little value as a ballplayer that we don't even want you on the bench.
dxmachina: (Writing)
Sunday:
Had better luck with panel scheduling today, and was able to find a decent one for each of the first four sessions.

Sunday panels... )
dxmachina: (Marvin01)
Saturday:
Journeyed into Boston for the first time in a long while for Boskone. I passed on taking the commuter train from Attleboro, because it doesn't run often enough on weekends to be convenient, and took the Red Line in from Quincy instead. The site of the con has changed since the last time I went. Now it's down by the waterfront, so I got to take my first trip on the Silver Line. The Silver Line is sort of like the Green Line, but without the tracks. I was a bit worried about it going in, because the MBTA site shows a gap in the line between South Station and the rest of the line that I thought might be some sort of transfer situation. In the event, though, the route went directly from South Station to the World Trade Center without any fuss or bother.

Saturday panels... )
dxmachina: (Books 03)
Show, don't tell. That's what they always say to do, and Glen Cook is a believer. His The Dragon Never Sleeps contains nary a bit of exposition until right near the end. The learning curve is steep. It was fifty or sixty pages in before I started feeling like I had a clue as to what was going on and who was opposing who. If it hadn't been Cook writing it, I may have set the book aside.

I didn't realize that Cook had written any science fiction until Chad Orzel gave this long out of print book a glowing recommendation at a Boskone panel on space opera. I'm a huge fan of Cook's Garrett series of fantasy detective novels, and I knew about his other fantasy stuff, but his SF stuff was new to me. (I notice that in my notes from Boskone, it was mentioned in another panel that Cook is an example of a guy who writes very good SF, but writes far more fantasy, because apparently that's what his fans will buy. Kind of an interesting trap.)

Where's Captain Exposition When You Need Him... )
 

Boskone 43

Feb. 20th, 2006 02:59 pm
dxmachina: (Books)
So, Boskone. I came. I saw. It kicked my ass...

Saturday... )

---
Sunday... )

---
I had a good time, and yet I'm beginning to wonder how useful cons are to me. I'm too much of an introvert for the social aspect to be much of a draw. The acquaintances I do have tend to be looking for very different things in SF books than I am, so I just sort of shut up and listen (by which I mean I have nothing to add to the conversation other than occasional trivia). Panels are so hit or miss, and are too easily derailed. Of course, the fact that my headache is still with me may be coloring my perceptions just now. I know that for the most part, I enjoyed last year more. There were more panels that interested me. This time, there were a couple of times when I couldn't find anything I really wanted to sit in on.
dxmachina: (Calvin)
So, when I checked my e-mail first this morning, there was an anonymous LJ comment in my inbox. I marked it as read (I prefer reading comments in context), and clicked over to my most recent post on LJ to read the comment. Except there were no new comments in my most recent post. I checked all my other recent posts, and there were no new comments in any of them, either.

Went back to the message in my inbox, and read it. It was for a post I'd written back in July, and the new comment was from a total stranger, mentioning that she was also a mad scientist. Huh? I sat there for a second wondering at how a random stranger had come across that particular post. If she had selected "search random," she'd have gotten the most recent stuff. My head started to hurt, so I went off to take my shower.

I was in the shower when I remembered something [livejournal.com profile] alterjess posted at b.org yesterday. Google now has a blog search function. In my LJ settings, I've checked the little box that says "Block Robots/Spiders from indexing your journal," but there is a disclaimer that says some robots may ignore it anyway. Google never indexed my journal, having pledged to do no evil, but maybe the new function did.

After I toweled off and got dressed, I went to Google Blog Search, and entered "mad scientist" into the box. Sure enough, there was my post of July 5th, fourteenth on the list. Apparently, Google Blog Search is not as polite or ethical as far as its indexing goes as its older cousin. Pillocks...

As a side note, I tried entering "dxmachina mad scientist" into the main Google search box, and only got a handful of results, none of them from my LJ. It was an odd group of links. One was to an old Buffistas thread over on WX. A couple were about the two imposter DXMachinas on the net. I also discovered a third, who has managed to snag the domain dxmachina.com, which used to belong to a French manufacturing company. Rats. I wanted that domain, but I never figured it to come back on the market. (Note to self, see if dxmachina.org is available.)

The oddest cite was the last.

☞ landscaping - care plant take
... can spread quickly when pushed by power-mad men. ... was really cold out), I ran into dxmachina, who was ... viral-marketing game about a nonexistent scientist for the ...


Clicking on the link takes you to a links page for folks interested in landscaping. None of the text cited in the search appears on the page. I checked the cached version, and it doesn't show any of the cited text, either. The thing is, I recognized the middle sentence of the text. It came from [livejournal.com profile] veejane's recap of Boskone last February. The "viral-marketing" sentence comes from the same post. The line about "power-mad men" doesn't, though. Very strange. I can only conclude that Google's database is corrupt. As are their blog indexers.
 
dxmachina: (Hangover)
It's snowing like crazy outside this morning. There was already about four inches on the ground when I left for work, and still more has fallen since. Bother.

The sudden return of winter over the weekend kind of took me by surprise (even though I should know better). It was warmish most of last week, and it was bright and sunny Saturday morning when I set off for Boskone wearing a light jacket, only to discover that it was only about 15°F outside. This turned out to be a bigger issue than I expected when I just missed the train at the Quincy Adams T station (due to the world's slowest parking garage elevator), and had to huddle for twenty minutes at the top of the stairwell leading up to the windy platform while waiting for the next train. I also just managed to miss my connection to the Green Line due to my unfamiliarity with the way things are done at Park Street Station, so I wound up missing most of the day's first session.

You always remember your first con... )

In the time it's taken me to type all this stuff in it's now mid-afternoon, and the snow has turned to rain, so the roads are now full of slush. Oh... Joy...

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