Went to my first Toronto convention (more below), hosted a WorldCon bid party (loadsa fun), turned thirty, had a birthday party at my house, took the week off, entertained Lesley Reece for a week or so, had my ear pierced (left, of course), went back to work and scalded my hand, blisters and minor (but interesting) scarring, fell in love, worked 10 days straight (some shifts 12 hours), hosted the latest first Thursday night at the Foxes Den, failed to publish TW until now and haven't written to anyone until today.
And, er, how are you?"
So yeah, life has taken one of those turns it does occasionally. Normally this involves the death of a loved one, the death of the love of someone or a near fatal accident that makes you rethink your life. I'm afraid that my own little epiphany was something a little more prosaic and, although he doesn't know it yet, Mike Glicksohn is to blame. Ain't he always, though..?
You see there was this convention, Ad Astra, where despite all attempts to the contrary, I still managed to attend. There was my bosses at work who had, against all my protestations, scheduled me to work over the weekend. Then there was an old friend I met on the bus to the airport hotel, who I was this close to doing something stupid with, and have been for a while. There was also a new friend I met at the Con in whose company I dallianced away a whole night and most of a morning (not actually at the con) and just about everyone else I bumped into conspiring to keep me away.
Ad Astra is known for its costume fans and large concentration of both fans and media programming but I was there for more prosaic reasons - I was on the fanzine panel. At 10 am on a Sunday I WAS the fanzine panel but that is the story of another page.
I was also there to help run the Toronto in '03 WorldCon bid party - I just slip those subtle references in every chance I get. This was on Saturday night in Raymond Alexander's room (a saint and a sinner if ever there was one) and Lloyd and Yvonne Penney's room next door. It started around 9pm with me in full Allen's regalia, proto-fascist waiter outfit (black trousers and tie, white shirt) and an Allen's apron and bar cloth adorning my trews. I served drinks to all and sundry, in fact to too many sundry as it turned out, but that is a horse of a different colour. There was also this tall, beautiful brunette there, who briefly shook my hand before moving off.
The party went down a storm and I had the pleasure of finally making Guy Kay's acquaintance. I've long admired his ability to tell a story and his Finnovar Tapestry was a series of books that helped get me through my final exams at college. As was David Eddings, but don't let the company he keeps on my book shelf fool you. It's not bad stuff.
Of course we had dinner first - but before that there was lunch in the hotel dining room. I sat a a table full of really important people, and Robert Sawyer, who I know were really important because they told me so. I should point out at this stage I had just arrived at the con, had only one drink, and was still in the "Omigod-what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-here?" stage of my initial con experience. So to be greeted at the table and introduced to all and sundry by Larry Hancock, with full resumes attached to names and faces I'd already forgotten, except Robert Sawyer, was another shock to my system that only a Beck's Bier could help assail. I had lunch and amused myself by seeing who could actually understand what I was saying and who was simply nodding as if they knew exactly what I was saying, watching a tall, beautiful brunette walk idly pass and listening to Robert Sawyer of course.
Weird story. I saw Robert's photograph, briefly, at a second Saturday party months ago when I was totally pissed. A few weeks before the con I got off work and went next door to the Old Nick for a quick shifty before heading down to The James Joyce. I saw Robert Sawyer there, across a crowded room and knew it was him. Knew intuitively that that was Robert Sawyer: Hugo, Nebula etc nominee type person. I asked Greg what was going on and he said it was the Canadian Mystery Writers annual gig. As I've said before, you can't keep a good man down. Or Robert Sawyer.
Dinner was a much more interesting, and drunken affair. Mike Glicksohn, Jody and Larry Hancock, and one other, whose name still eludes me, headed off to the Keg. This is a Steak and ribs place, a chain of middle range restaurants like Angus Steakhouses in the UK. It turned out to be a good bit of chicken and ribs though, of course, the steak that the others had looked a lot better. We talked of old British TV series and I found out that Larry Hancock is an avid collector of these things - much to my horror. Then there was all those childhood cartoons and other conversations people have when they've a good dinner and not enough to drink. A thoroughly enjoyable experience and the Keg must get full marks for effort, if not decor - nice for a couple but I didn't like my fellow dinners THAT much.
Then back to the hotel for some more of the exquisite dark ale that brewmaster extraordinary had served up for the con. A tall, beautiful brunette swept past me with nary a look as I made my way to the party - in room number 123, just way too clever to be the result of any human hand. I suspected the hotel reservation computer. At 12.30 I thought my duty was well and truly done - apart from that I'd served most of the alcohol that we had. So I took it upon myself, with a few bottles of Upper Canada Dark Ale that somehow eluded the masses, to wander the con. Lo and behold, taking my customary giggle at the convention disco, I bumped into her. Yes, the tall, beautiful brunette. We chatted, and heavens forbid, we danced, then we chatted some more and next thing I knew I was in a taxi back into TO. This is not what is sounds like but just to explain anyway, the public transport system on Sundays doesn't open to 6.30 am.
Back at the con at 8.30 I started to get ready for the fanzine panel at 10am. This involved a couple of quick espressos in the Green room, both in the same cup. A quick candy fix, and embarrassed look at the dishevelled person facing me in the mirror and a jaunty saunter off to the room. If the audience was less than the panel members that was it, I was offski and back into the real world to get ready for real work. As it tuned out the panel was only two members and the audience four (maybe five) and the discussion went very well, thank you very much.
"The Internet will kill fanzines," was a major theme throughout the discussion. The point I made is that nothing will kill fanzines. The Internet, and distinctions were made: web sites, simple EMail and BBS/News group activities, is merely a tool. An extremely useful, increasingly widely used and damn cheap tool for the purposes of communication. Fanzines are about more than just communication. They are about the effort of editing, the skills that takes, the layout and presentation the physical form of the fanzine itself; the time and expense spent in posting them off and the joy and discussion that LOCs bring.
All of this is part and parcel of being a fanzine fan and the Internet is never ever going to come close to supplanting. that. Here endeth the lecture.
Murray Moore was one of the audience members and asked far too many sensible questions which left me, at times, contradicting myself. Nothing new there, but that guy is far too swift to rattle off a LOC not to take offence at. BTW he later turned up at the birthday bash and had loads of fun by all accounts.
Sunday's coffee didn't help and I was in no condition to work. I was visibly quaking from exhaustion, too much beer and not enough (any) sleep and would have been as useful as tits on bull at work. Yeah, I phoned in sick. No one was surprised. I'm still not feeling guilty.
Oh, the Glicksohn epiphany - occurred in the consuite, watching Air
Canada 747s taking off and buggered if I know what it was. Ask him, I'm
sure he doesn't remember either...
Now this little snippet form one of my foreign correspondents. An
interesting little puzzle that I hope will make you sit up and pay
attention - and, maybe, even respond...
I have inflicted the following story with a riddle end on just about everyone I know (and through e-mail) to people whom I will never see or hear of and, having finally inflicted it on the gang in the Monico, it is time to break into the bright lights of TommyWorld and see how all your correspondents answer it. It is from a medieval Sanskrit tale which I have simplified, including making up easier names than those of the characters in the original story.
There once was a girl (let's call her Sita) who grew up to be the most beautiful woman in the world. Three brahmins came to win her hand and continually fought over her and promised that if she consented to marry any of the others, the other two would kill themselves. Her father, not wanting to have his daughter be the cause of the death of two Brahmins, would not let her marry any of them. After a short while, a terrible plague swept through the area and Sita contracted the disease and died. The three brahmins arranged her funeral - she was burnt on a funeral pyre - and the brahmins were distraught The first of them (Ramu) erected a hut over the ashes of the funeral pyre and vowed to live out his life, mourning her and living by begging. The second (Tamu) collected her bones and bore them away that they might be washed in the sacred rivers of the Ganges. The third (Zamu) became a wandering beggar and set out for other lands.
One day Zamu came to the house of another brahmin where he was put up for the night. While sitting at the dinner table, he saw that one of the children of the brahmin (let's call him Fintan) wouldn't shut up and so his mother, in exasperation, picked the child up and threw him into the blazing fire place. Zamu was outraged and was on the point of leaving when his host told him that he would set things right. He took a page of parchment from which he chanted a magic spell over some dust and then he threw the dust onto the burnt bones of the child who immediately came back to life, fully restored. That night, Zamu stole the parchment and headed back to the funeral pyre. When he finally arrived, Tamu was also returning from the Ganges. Zamu wakened Ramu as well. Then he had the hut knocked down and he recited the magic spell and Sita came back to life again, even more beautiful. The three brahmins then began arguing over her once again, each claiming that he was the most proper person to be her husband.
Zamu said that he should be the chosen one since he had resurrected her from the dead with his spell.
Tamu said that he should be the husband because he said she was reborn through the power of the Ganges.
Ramu said he should be chosen because he had guarded her ashes and mourned her most.
Now to pick up the literal text of the tale: "To whom does the girl properly belong as wife? Your head will burst asunder if you know it and fail to speak. "
So I ask you to consider the tale as an ethical question and tell me which one of the three ('none of the above' will get you absolutely nowhere) should be declared the husband. Give it some thought and e-mail it back to TommyWorld and the answer as well as the poll so far will be provided (Tommy-willing).
Jim Mallory (firstname.lastname@example.org)
((-This sounds like fun. In actual fact it sounds like the silly nonsense that we used to get up to every fortnight at The Monico meeting and, it would appear, still do. So please send all your answers care of me, I'll liase with Jim and we'll see what happens. Jim, btw, is a professor of Archaeology at Queen's University, Belfast and probably knows a bit or two about this - so don't be smart arse.... -))
And now, you...
Dropped in on your web pages, which might have been a serious mistake as I then followed the 'links' page to Pam Well's and then to Nigel Richardson's 'grinder' . Umm - bit of an impressive site that (not that yours isn't neat, but NER's day by day diary countdown is a serious [well, not so serious perhaps] piece of web engineering. And seriously boggled at the "giant women" fetish page (No - was just curious... honest) Take care Steve J ((- Yeah, about the only good thing on my web site is the links. I haven't updated it in at least a month and the layout and organisation is very scrappy. I'm currently messing around with FrontPage (finally Eugene...) to get the thing into a better shape but have yet to get a manual or how-to book on FrontPage so it is a protracted affair. And so much life keeps happening to me. Nigel on the other hand is just way too cool to be allowed to live... -))
From: Cath Jackel "In spite of being so technologically underwhelmed, I was able to download text versions of TommyWorld from your web page, although none of the graphic stuff came through. Here follows an official LOC - my first in about 5 years. This is bringing back memories of my youth, when I'd walk over to the ESFACAS (Edmonton Science Fiction and Comic Arts Society) meeting every Thursday night, and read a couple of dozen from the towering pile of fanzines sitting on the coffee table. We traded our clubzine with about 50 other publications, and although I rarely LOCed anything, I very much enjoyed reading them. (Sort of a print version of lurking.) ((- Nice to know that I'm helping to drag out some of the older farts of Canadian fandom... snigger, snigger -))
#2. The con write-up certainly conveyed the party flavour of the weekend nicely. Re: Mike's comment on your accent, moi aussi, I consider it quite sexy. #3. I was in grade 7 when the first movie was released, and somewhat slow to pick up what all the fuss was about. A group of kids in my fine arts class was making a strange construction out of paper mache, sort of like a fat bullet on 3 legs. I quietly asked my art teacher what it was supposed to be, and she explained it was R2D2. I hadn't seen the film yet, and my response was "Huh?" #4. Another name from the past: Colin Hinz! Living out in the wilds of Saskatchewan had obviously driven the poor boy slightly strange, at least so we deduced from the zines he sent us. (Seriously, they were always...um... intriguing.) If you run into him again, please say "hi."
#5 The alcohol piece had me flinching a few times in empathy. I'm fortunate, I guess, that I can't go on binges because I get physically sick before I can imbibe too much. But I've let it too much into my life in the past, as a crutch to get talking to people I'm too shy to talk to sober. #6. I've seen the re-released SW, and TESB, but have no particular desire to see Jedi. I suppose I'll get around to it sooner or later. Of course you've heard the explanation for how those horrible teddy-bears were named...it's the noise they make when they're pitched out of a tree: Eeeeeee-whock! #7. We don't have a large enough Irish population to take over Edmonton on St. Pats. Liked the "stupid customer stories." I think every service job has them. Our standard at the bookstore is "I want the book I heard about on the radio last week. I can't remember the title or the author, but the cover is blue..." Running out of time here, so more anon. I'm going out tonight to see Samsaria, an east Indian reworking of Hamlet. I've seen the lead actor in a couple of other plays, and he's gorgeous. Even if the play sucks, the visuals should be good. TTYL ((- Thanks for taking the time to reply to all the issues - I hope this pops a few memories for some people as well who've entered this melange a bit later. Still will welcome anyone on board, though I do not intend to send TW to all and sundry on the web. there is a door policy, but your friends are my friends. -))
Hope Leibowitz "Thanks for
all the TommyWorlds. I still have trouble reading them though. Is there a
better way than going to DOS and typing "type filename | more" ? Once I
logged off and totally forgot I had a file to read. I didn't even know
you had moved. Good thing I saw that or I'd have gone to the wrong
address!! Damn, lately it seems that everything is conflicting with
everything else. Hope ((- Hey Hope, ain't that the
From: Jerry Kaufman "I was just thinking of sending you a note to say that, despite the silence from this address, we have been faithfully printing out and reading TW, and enjoying it. Thanks for keeping us on the list. (Of course, there's always the possibility that it's more work to take us off than to keep us on.) Jerry ((- Well there is that. Netscape is easy enough to use, but all that hassle. Yeah, you're right. More in a couple of days, should get the EMail flying back and forth.... -))