Friday, June 25, 2004

Web Comix

I have been spending way too much time reading the entire runs (three or four years' worth) of the brilliant web comics Something Positive and SinFest.

O brave new medium!

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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Lovely Pie Charts

For instance this one, this one, and this one, can be found here.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Boys Shooting

We are always trying to pry details of her time at playgroup out of Aviva.

She hates it when the boys shoot at her with imaginary pistols.

Jonathan -- the prime culprit -- also was poking her a bunch. She would crawl under the table to escape and he would pursue her. She was quite upset about this.

I suggested various approaches. "Did you ask him to stop?" "Did you tell Miss Halima?"

Aviva greeted these with "Yes", and a tolerant, sad expression that said that, of course, one cannot expect adults to provide anything really useful, or help at all, and one must have compassion for their ineptitude.

"Okay," I said, "Shall I teach you karate?"

I don't think she knew the word, but her expression changed instantly -- she could somehow tell at once that this was a real answer, as opposed to crapola.

Now, I'm not nuts. I'm not going to teach Aviva strikes. She is not above using them.

Blocks, however, are fair game. So we've been practicing circular "wax on, wax off" blocks against poking. She's pretty good at them. I tried to work on her stance, but that just confused her, so I stopped.

We haven't heard any more about Jonathan poking her, though.

However, he still shoots at her, and she hates that.

Apparently Camran sometimes shoots at her, too, but he's also nice; when she was upset about her bread being broken, he came over and said, "look, my bread is broken too," which has endeared him to Aviva forever.

Anyone have any ideas? What can Aviva do about the boys shooting?

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Software Beauty

"Beauty is more important in computing than anywhere else in technology because beauty is so complicated.

Beauty is the ultimate defense against complexity."

-- David Gelernter, quoted in The Economist 6/10/2004, in an article on Dennis Ritchie and the birth of Unix and C, two astoundingly beautiful and long-lived creations.

Interesting tidbit: without a 1958 antitrust court case that ordered AT&T to make all its non-telephone-related inventions available to the public, there would never have been a culture of free software or open source. I'm thinking we geeks should find out the date of that decision and celebrate it... :-)

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Wednesday, June 9, 2004


Amusingly, I have been nominated for a Slashy...

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Tuesday, June 8, 2004

WisCon Report, part 1

I spent Memorial Day Weekend at WisCon, "The World's Only Feminist Science Fiction Convention".

That I went to WisCon is a result primarily of Karen Meisner's use of the classic marketing strategy of repetition. I already was intrigued by the idea of a feminist science fiction convention. I already knew many cool people were going there -- it's Strange Horizons' home convention and a major hub of literary, stylistically innovative, and politically engaged science fiction and fantasy. I already knew I would have a lot of fun there.

But this is not how the human brain works. Knowing something is a good idea is usually insufficient motivation to do it.

At the World Fantasy Convention, every five minutes that we were in the same room, Karen and I would have a conversation that went like this:

Me: "Gee, this sure is fun."
Karen: "Come to WisCon"


Me: "Ha, how cute. Your son sounds like a great kid."
Karen: "Come to WisCon."


Me: "Hmm, the tuna melt looks pretty good."
Karen: "Come to WisCon."

So I did.

So why do I go to these things?

Here are some people I hung out with at WisCon. Okay, one or two I just waved at. But I got to have real conversations with most of them. I got to dance and sing (Karaoke at the brilliant Ratbastards party, impromptu showtunes in the hallway with Nisi and Andrea and Sheree and some unknown people whose names I forgot, including those whom I will call Amazing Jazz Voice Woman and Boisterous Show Tune Man) with many of them. I got books by some of them. I signed books for others of them. I was on panels with some of them. But mainly we talked; mainly I had long, impassioned conversations of the kind ordinary life somehow provides too little time for. ..

Alan De Niro, Andrea D. Hairston, Aynjel Kaye, Barth Anderson, Caroline Stevermer, Celia Marsh, Cheryl Morgan, Chris Barzak , Christopher Rowe, Daniel Starr, David G. Hartwell, David Moles , David Schwartz, Diana Sherman, Eileen Gunn, Elad Haber, Ellen Klages, Gavin Grant , Grace Dugan, Greg van Eekhout , Gwenda Bond , Hannah Wolf Bowen, Heather Shaw , Heidi Waterhouse, Hilary Moon Murphy, Cassie, and Duncan, Janet Choi , Jason Lundberg , Jay Lake, Jed Hartman , Jenn Reese , Jennifer Lackey and husband, Jim Munroe , John Kessel, Justine Larbalestier , Karen Meisner, Par, and Jeremiah, Kat Beyer, Kathryn Ann Sullivan, Katya Reimann, Kelly Link, Kristin Livdahl, Lena De Tar, Leslie What, Lettie Prell, Mary Anne Mohanraj (here are her photos), Matt Austern, Nancy Jane Moore, Nancy Proctor and her wonderful friends whose names I have forgotten and family thereof, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Nisi Shawl, Rich McAllister, Rob Gates, Sarah Micklem, Sarah Prineas , Scott Westerfield, Sheree Thomas, Susan Marie Groppi and her boy Matt, Ted Chiang, Tempest Bradford , Tim Pratt , Trey (most links are to con reports)

And there are others whose names my sleep-deprived brain did not store.

It was way too much fun.

I was on some panels. I shall attempt to summarize some of their conclusions soon. In the meantime, AndrewN gives a thorough summary of one, the "Happy Writers & Fast Writers" panel (I am happy, though not, by any means, fast).

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