Samuel Conway's Journal|
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|Sunday, November 17th, 2013|
|Monday, November 4th, 2013|
|A new job, a new home, a new life
It's true. I am no longer a resident of Pennsylvania. I am living now in the great state of North Carolina. The move came immediately after Anthrocon 2013. Essentially, I returned to Philadelphia to drop off the equipment that is stored there, then made a right turn and headed south. ( Curious? Read on...Collapse )
|Tuesday, June 25th, 2013|
|Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013|
|Tuesday, April 16th, 2013|
|Boston, April 15, 2013
In the midst of the chaos and carnage, bystanders spotted a man who appeared to be Middle Eastern and who was running from the scene. He was seized, taken to a hospital for treatment of a leg wound, and questioned at length. News feeds everywhere along with the Twitterverse echoed with "Saudi man being questioned about explosions!"
Then we heard:
"Law enforcement officials questioned an injured Saudi national at a local hospital, but news stories indicated that the individual appears to have no connection to the case. The Boston Globe reported that he was simply a frightened spectator who had tried to flee but was tackled and restrained by bystanders."
In other words, "Look! An Arab! It must have been him! Get him!"
It made me sick to my stomach. How horrible for this unknown person or persons to try to make a statement by murdering innocent people, but almost as horrible to me was what the incident revealed about the people affected. In that moment of terror and fury, they dropped all pretense and revealed their true selves.
So, who was behind it? Islamic extremists? Christian extremists? Anti-abortion activists? Pro-choice activists? Gun-control supporters? Gun-rights supporters? We'll find out soon enough -- once all of the facts are in and the angry speculations that only echo our personal prejudices settle down.
|Monday, March 18th, 2013|
|Uncle Kage's Story Hour 2012
I actually got the raw file weeks ago, but every time I looked at how old and flabby I've gotten I got depressed. I could only edit it a few minutes at a time.
People call me the "Face of Furry Fandom." Jeezus, with a face like that, no wonder the Fandom's got such a ghastly reputation.
|Wednesday, January 16th, 2013|
|Twelve random things
In the last week, I have three times had people who have known me for years say, "Really! I never knew that about you!" It never occurred to me that someone would say that, considering that I am always rattling on about this and that and the other thing. So, purely for the hell of it and purely because I have about 15 minutes to kill before the coffee finishes brewing (no coffee, no workee, that is the law), here are twelve useless facts about Uncle Kage that you may or may not have known, but now do.( Read more...Collapse )
|Wednesday, December 19th, 2012|
|New story in print
It starts like this:
Poor old Appollonios! His happy, wine-soaked dreams gave way to an awful pounding in his head, as though some very large bird were pecking at his temple, peck peck peck! He awoke from the fog to discover that, indeed, a very large bird was pecking at his temple. With a grunt, he flapped his arm to shoo it away, but the bird was back in an instant, peck peck peck.
“Oh, go away!” Appollonios cried. “Stop bothering me.”
But the bird would not go away. It flittered away from his hand only to return right away, its huge black beak pounding at the poor old man’s head. Angry now, Appollonios summoned the Fire within him. He did not mean to harm the bird, of course, only to frighten it off, but much to his surprise the bird threw up its wings and a gust of wind rose that parted the flames to either side.
“Aha!” the bird croaked. “So you do have Fire within you!”
It's available in Elemental Magic
, which can be purchased from Amazon in paperback
edition. Page 23.
This story follows what seems to be a recurring theme in my mass-market publications: "Birds can be dicks."
|Thursday, November 8th, 2012|
, which was my first convention and one of the world's oldest (these two facts being unrelated), has very graciously invited me to take part in some panels at this year's gathering which starts...tomorrow, actually.
Here is the schedule that they gave me:
Fri 11:00 PM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)
THE FALLACY OF A GEEK HIERARCHY
Sat 2:00 PM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)
RE-IMAGINING THE FAIRY TALE FOR ADULTS
Sat 9:00 PM in Plaza VI (Six) (1 hour)
INSIDE OTHER MINDS: CAN WE EVER REALLY IMAGINE AN ALIEN PSYCHOLOGY?
Sat 10:00 PM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)
50 SHADES OF ALIEN GREYS - SEX IN SF
If anyone is in the area and would like to stop by and provide a drink to a suffering soul who is dying of thirst, I might be able to round one of those souls up for you.
|Tuesday, November 6th, 2012|
|Election: an experiment in the Issues of the Day
I would like to take a poll. You may feel free to post anonymously; as long as you follow the rules, I will unscreen your comment so everyone can see it.
1) Please state who you support in the presidential election. It may be either a party or a specific candidate for President.
2) State which specific issues have led you to your decision.
3) You may NOT mention any opposition candidate, nor may you make any reference at all to any positions other than those of your candidate or party. Any entries that include "I don't want to vote for XXX because..." will be deleted.
My support is behind President Obama for the following reasons:
1) I believe that the ultra-rich should be taxed at an appropriate scale, just like everyone else.
2) I think that gay people should have the same rights as any other American, and that includes the right to marry and to indulge in the benefits of marriage.
3) I believe that women should be granted more say in what happens to their bodies, both before, during, and after pregnancy. I do not believe in the use of abortion for casual birth control, and in fact I oppose that on personal moral grounds; however, I do not want the law of the land written based entirely off of my personal morals.
4) Having experienced (repeatedly) a healthcare system in which one who does not have enough money is forced to do without healthcare, I think that it is time we had a system that allowed anyone to receive medical care without having to worry about selling the house to pay for it.
5) I think that Mr. Obama, given the chance, will follow through on his promise to discourage outsourcing and encourage job growth here in this country.
6) I strongly believe that education of our children is underfunded and needs to be strengthened.
7) If we do not want our bridges to fall down and our roads to crumble any more than they are, someone has to pay for it. That someone is us. "Tax and spend" is how the government works. I would like to see more oversight of the process to reduce waste and fraud, but that is something that must be pursued no matter who is elected. Sure, I would love to pay less in taxes, but not if someone else is going to suffer for it.
8) I am very supportive of the Environmental Protection Agency and would like to see its powers extended to ensure that we do not have a return to the brown, petroleum-stinking rivers of my youth.It is my personal belief that Mr. Obama is the candidate with the greatest likelihood of success in ensuring that these issues are settled in a fashion that is in keeping with my view of a better America.
|Monday, October 29th, 2012|
|Remember this, while you're cleaning up storm damage
And keep it in mind when you're on your way to the polls next week.
Governor Mitt Romney, on Larry King Live
, June 13, 2011.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot…
KING: Including disaster relief
ROMNEY: We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.
|Saturday, October 27th, 2012|
plowed across Pennsylvania when I was barely seven years old. I remember being terrified and crying as it started up and my mother having to comfort me to get me to go to sleep. Late in the night my sisters woke me up and said, "Come and see the hurricane." We sat in the living room of our little house and watched trees whipping more violently than I had ever seen before (and have rarely seen since). My fear turned to fascination, and then to a rather bizarre sense of hubris. Outside the window was a very savage storm and there were heavy objects flying through the air, but here we were safe and dry inside.
I remember thinking something like the child's equivalent of, "Oh, yeah! Uh-huh! That all you got, Bee-yatch? Bring it on!"
Afterward there was no power and we had to get water from a tank truck parked at the end of the road for a few days. The rivers had all overflowed their banks and the front page of the Evening Bulletin
had pictures of coffins floating in people's front yards from cemeteries that had been deluged, but we ourselves were fairly unscathed. My cousin's house had been flooded and everything within washed away. My mother told me, "Renee doesn't have any toys now," so I gathered up some of my Tonka trucks and wooden Little People to give to her. That really was the greatest impact on me personally, and it just added to my sense of, "Nature, yo' a pussy!"
Thereafter I tended to look at storms as something to be challenged. It was almost a personal thing: me against the lightning. My chums and I used to run around in thunderstorms holding long lengths of copper pipe over our heads -- in retrospect, perhaps not the most evolutionarily sensible behavior, but it was our way of showing defiance. When not out getting soaked, I would sit inside and watch the lightning with the sort of air a cat has when it's sitting on the side of the window that the snarling dog is not.
I think that's why I found myself gravitating toward disaster recovery services. Sure, I like to help people and I do my best whenever I can, but I believe that I still feel a sort of deep-down satisfaction with helping someone back on their feet when Nature knocks them down. It's the smug little boy peering out the window at the lashing rain and saying, "Neener-neener! We're still here!"
|Friday, October 26th, 2012|
I hate this job.
I am in emergency management. We are asked to predict the future. If we say, "It's going to suck" and it doesn't suck, we get laughed at and nobody listens to us ever again. If we say "It's going to be fine" and it's not fine, we are pilloried and can never show our faces in public again.
Hurricane Sandy is on its way to the Mid-Atlantic. Nobody knows for sure where it is going to make landfall, but that doesn't matter. This mofo is 2000 miles across. Wherever you are between Virginia and Connecticut, it is
going to suck.
If you're anywhere on the Eastern seaboard, please prepare yourself for at least 3 days without basic necessities. No running water, no electricity, no internet, no phones, no lights, no motor cars, not a single luxury.
How? Simple. Make sure you've got at least 3 gallons of clean water for every person in your household. Further, keep additional water (a bigass barrel or garbage can in your bathtub works good) so you can flush the toilet now and then.
Have lots of batteries on hand for light. For God's sake, don't light a candle if the power goes out. I can't tell you how many burned-out homes I've crawled through after storms.
Food. Non-perishable. Screw the milk and bread. Why the hell do people stock up on that? Get stuff that'll keep. Canned food. Protein bars. Bottled water. Your refrigerator is going to be as useless as teats on a bull after 12 hours.
Books. Remember those? You're going to get damned bored without your FurryMuck and your Twitter and your Second Life and your FurAffinity.
Don't forget your neighbors. You're not the only person in the world. Look after one another -- it's what we're here for.
Be ready. Have food, water, batteries, medicine, pet supplies, gasoline, clean clothes, an escape plan if need be.
And if I'm wrong? If this turns out to be a dud? Well, har-dee-har-har. Look how silly I am. Now you've got a bunch of water to drink and a bunch of protein bars to go through. And maybe you'll get to those books one of these days.
If I'm right...well, I hate being right. But I'll be here to help when the wind dies down. It's my job.
|Wednesday, October 24th, 2012|
|Why is it always Republicans who say these things?
I am genuinely curious to know if there are any Democratic lawmakers/candidates who have made such statements on the topic of abortion:
"I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen." Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, Oct. 23, 2012
"It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, [pregnancy resulting from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Todd Akin, Republican U.S. Representative, Missouri, August 19, 2012
"With modern technology and science, you can't find one instance [of a woman's health being endangered from a pregnancy]. There is no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing. With advances in science and technology — health of the mother has become a tool for abortion for any time under any reason." William "Joe" Walsh, Republican U.S. Representative, Illinois, October 18, 2012
"Rape and incest was used as a reason to oppose this. I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape" Chuck Winder, Republican Senator, Idaho, March 20, 2012
"...I've always, you know, I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created -- in the sense of rape -- but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you. As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can't think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation." Rick Santorum, Republican presidential candidate, January 20, 2012
"Ethel Waters, for example, was the result of a forcible rape. I used to work for James Robison back in the 1970s, he leads a large Christian organization. He, himself, was the result of a forcible rape. And so I know it happens, and yet even from those horrible, horrible tragedies of rape, which are inexcusable and indefensible, life has come and sometimes, you know, those people are able to do extraordinary things." Mike Huckabee, Republican presidential candidate and former Governor of Arkansas, August 20, 2012
If you know of any such quotes from Democrats, please post them here.
|Wednesday, September 26th, 2012|
I usually try to avoid open discussions of politics, but I feel I need to point something out simply because I seem to be the only one in America who has noticed a very disturbing change in the American political process.
I keep hearing folks say, "It's always been this way." No, it hasn't. You just haven't been paying attention. In the past when there was a hotly-contested bill in Congress, a vote would be taken and a decision would be made. The president would then sign or veto that bill. If Congress voted to approve it and the president opted to sign it, the losing side would fold their arms and sulk, but they would deal with it. We called this the "democratic process" or something like that, and were very proud of how "American" it was.
A bill is argued in Congress. It passes, and the president signs it. The losing side -- of late, primarily but not exclusively Republicans -- then takes up a campaign of fillibusters and delays and funding-denials and repeated "we need to repeal this NOW" votes that they openly admit are not likely to pass*. They do it anyway, though, tying up valuable floor-time in Congress with needless whining and tantrums. Why? They lost the vote, and now they refuse to allow Congress to proceed unless that vote gets overturned. The majority no longer rules in this "democratic process." The folks who lose refuse to accept defeat under any circumstances until they get what they want, and if they have to completely shut down the country or destroy the economy to get their way, by golly, that's what they'll do.
It hasn't always been this way. This is not the "American" system I grew up with.*To wit, the more than thirty Republican-led votes to repeal the Health Care Reform Law, which was debated, voted upon, passed and signed into law by a perfectly valid democratic process.
|Saturday, August 25th, 2012|
|Sunday, June 24th, 2012|
|Three cheers for Allegheny County's finest!
I've been chatting with Deputy Bill Kisner. You probably saw him in the Westin's lobby where he hangs out just to keep an eye on things and make sure everyone is being safe. He's the African American gentleman with the big smile and the biceps that are bigger around than my waist. A lot of us have gotten to know him and I am pretty sure that many share my very high opinion of him.
I asked Deputy Kisner if there was anything extra we could do to thank him (maybe a beer, but every time I see him he's in uniform, so that wouldn't work), and he noted that a nice letter or two from our attendees that got put into his personnel file would come in handy when the annual reviews come around.
You know, that's a fine idea. For all the hard work, all the times we've called for help or medical assistance and he's been right at our sides, let's see if we can't get Bill a nice raise! If you've got something particularly praiseworthy to mention, please drop an email
to Allegheny Sheriff William P. Mullen [Wmullen(at)court.allegheny.pa.us] and tell him how much we like Deputy William Kisner.
Here's how he closed his last email to me when I told him how much he rocked:
> You all bring friendship and millions of dollars to this city and it has
> changed us all for the better! Thanks Again for your kind words
> concerning me and what I do for a living!
> . Your Friend Always
> . And Proud To Serve Anthrocon
> . Deputy William I. Kisner
|Tuesday, June 19th, 2012|
|Anthrocon 2012 redux
Anthrocon 2012 has come and gone. As usual I am both exhausted and elated. I think that in all the years that I have been chairman, this has been just about the best convention we have ever put on. A few glitches here and there that made my blood pressure go up but that is part of the job. For the most part things went smoothly, and there were plenty of "Squee!" moments for me.( The SQUEE momentsCollapse )( The GlitchesCollapse )
And there you have it. All in all, one of the best conventions my staff has ever pulled off. My thanks to everyone, staff and volunteers, especially the STUFF crew who is standing over my shoulder right now with their arms folded, and to you, the attendees. We love you all to pieces, and look forward to seeing you July 4-7, 2013, for The Fast and the Furrious!
|Monday, May 28th, 2012|
|Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012|