Category Archives: Science Fiction

Something Familiar Here…

At the CAF SoCal hangar we have a gazillion pieces of a P-47 that we’re starting to restore.

Two of those pieces caught my eye today. To me they look surprisingly like a certain Gungan Senator from Naboo who’s universally despised…

Is that sort of like reverse anthropomorphism? Or xenopomorphism?

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I Always Wanted To Visit Startfleet HQ

Who knew I’ve been there already?

Got sucked into an old “Voyager” episode tonight where they keep showing what supposed to be the grounds of Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco.

It’s the Japanese Gardens at the water & sewage plant over behind Sepulveda Dam in Encino. I’ve spent many a lunch hour roaming around there back in my previous job.

I guess I was just there about 400 years too soon!

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Scalzi & Doctrow

If you have a favorite author and they’re doing a book tour, take the opportunity to go see them.

Tonight at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena we saw John Scalzi (center) with Cory Doctrow (right), hosted by Amber Benson (left).

The Long-Suffering Wife waiting to get her copy of Cory Doctrow’s new book, “Walkaway,” signed.

She got to spend a few minutes talking to him, while I waited to get my copy of Scalzi’s new “The Collapsing Empire” signed.

Go see your favorite author on tour. They rarely bite, are (mostly) housebroken, and it really, really does give them some good, positive feedback on their work after all of the hours, days, weeks, and months spent in isolation writing that favorite book that you just put away in two days.

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Filed under Photography, Science Fiction, Writing

Foolish April

Some years have great April Fool’s jokes, some not so great.

This year seemed a bit thin to me, but that could be a perception on my part since I was up early, busting my butt to take care of a deadline item, then spent over twelve hours at the hangar trying to get caught up after my “week off” to go to Consonance last weekend.

I guess it’s time to go check out the ThinkGeek page and see what they came up with. You know you’ve got a great fake gift item when people start demanding that it actually get made. There’s an example of a classic April Fool’s gag – the Tauntaun sleeping bag. 100% tasteless while being 100% hilarious, while also (once you step back and think about it) being something that could actually be made.

And I thought this year smelled bad on the outside!

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At Consonance 2017

Too busy listening to concerts & chatting with friends I see far too rarely to write much. But (of course) there are pictures!

For Interfilk Guest Leslie Hudson’s concert there was plenty of help.

The Guest of Honor concert was the main event tonight. From left to right are Leslie Hudson, Mary Crowell, Betsy Tinney (amazing cello!), and GOHs Bill & Brenda Sutton.
For those I haven’t indoctrinated into SF true fandom, when I’m done having fun I’ll explain those terms.

For now, it’s the open filk:

With luck, we’ll be up way, way too late doing this!

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Filed under Fandom, Music, Science Fiction, Travel

What I Really Need Is A Good AI Assistant

I’ve always been fascinated by human/machine interfaces. It might come from my days as a programmer, writing accounting, database, and office automation systems for small businesses. We’re talking 8″ double-sided double-density floppy disks days here, but it still taught me a lot about how people and computers interact, and how they should interact. The interfaces on GPS systems is a great example these days, but that’s a discussion for a different day.

Being a propeller beanie wearing, SF-reading, card carrying geek since before it was chic, I’ve seen my share of cool computer and AI concepts. While I would kill for a BrainPal from John Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” universe, what I really lust for are the sentient ship’s computers/pilots of Robert Heinlein’s “Time Enough For Love.” There’s a reason that I often refer to my computers as “Dora.”

But we don’t have that yet. IBM’s Watson is getting there, but still needs a building to hold all of the processors and hard disk arrays and a small army to keep feeding data into it. When they have that, or at least direct and constant access to that, via a neural link of some sort, I’ll be more than happy to be a guinea pig to test it.

I occasionally play with Siri on my phone or iPad. I’m often disappointed, although I do like some of the more clever Easter eggs buried in the software. But they’re just tricks. Occasionally I’ll ask a question and actually get the answer I’m looking for, but most of the time I’ll get, at best, a “here’s what I found on the web” answer. Which is sort of useless if I’m driving and can’t read it. Like, duh, that’s the reason I was asking Siri instead of using Google, right?

Google’s better simply because you can type out your question and keep honing the exact question to get the results you’re looking for. But it’s not a great mobile interface.

No, I’m going to wait for Dora. Or my BrainPal.

Do you remember what John Perry named his BrainPal?

Want to guess what I’ll name mine?

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Filed under Computers, Science Fiction

Joining The Circus

Some days you just need to fantasize about running away to join the circus in order to make it through the grind.

But now the circuses are closing down, so I may have missed my window of opportunity.

Next best thing – reading Heinlein’s “Starman Jones,” where Max runs away to be the astrogator on a starship. If my body missed it’s chance, my brain can still go.

And if I still want to join a circus when I’m done reading, I can always become a politician and run for office.

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