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Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Saturday 26 July 2003.

To Southwest Senior Center, my local FARE for All host site, for this month's food pack. (FARE for All is a program which provides food for a small amount of money and a few hours of volunteer work.)

The food isn't always what I'd buy for myself. Sometimes that's good -- for example, fresh vegetables which are relatively expensive at supermarkets. Sometimes it's okay; chicken breasts rather than the dark meat I prefer. Sometimes it's food I don't want to eat; I give that away.

I got the Light Pack, with only one meat item. The Regular Pack has more meat items than I got around to eating. And seafood, which I don't usually eat.

The Light Pack takes up two shopping bags.

I also got the Family Pack, which is larger and has a higher percentage of canned and packaged food. The Family Pack comes in a large cardboard box.

I signed up for next month's Lite Pack. No Family Pack, because I don't use it up in a month.

Into the Net: news.google.com's content is chosen and chunked together by a computer program. It's the best English-language news source on the web, but the computer can make odd decisions about which stories belong together:

Local news all the time
San Francisco Chronicle - 1 hour ago
A suspected Berkeley bank robber died Friday after being shot by three East Bay police officers. According to Officer Mary Kusmiss, police received a call around 10 am reporting an armed robbery at a Wells Fargo bank branch at 2959 College Ave., near ...
Owner of stolen 'sex.com' can sue VeriSign-court Forbes
Sex.com Prevails in Domain Suit Wired News
BusinessWeek - Kansas City Star - Hindustan Times - San Jose Mercury News - and 51 related

http://news.google.com. At the bottom of the page are links to English-language versions centered on the UK, India, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; and a German-language version centered on Germany.

To Steeple People Thrift Store. Their space has been reduced, and they've been giving discounts of up to 75 percent on various merchandise. Not on what I'd come to buy; but I found some useful things in the free box. And I bought a magazine rack for two dollars; I suspect it would've been at least $5 if they'd had more space left.

Across the street to the Wedge Co-op Grocery. I put nonperishables I didn't want in the collection barrel for the Joyce Food Shelf.

Into the Net: the flap about the Odyssey writing writing workshop had spread.


Rough summary: Gene Wolfe, who was an instructor, left early. A student had given Wolfe a letter of complaint about his teaching style, in which he apparently spoke on behalf of the other students without their having authorized him to do so. (The letter's text hasn't surfaced yet.) Wolfe got the impression that the entire class was in agreement with that letter, and left.

Gene Wolfe sent a letter of explanation to Locus; it's available at http://locusmag.com. Several people have sent letters supporting Wolfe.

For the latest news, see http://www.write-hemisphere.com (currently the fastest source of news on the sf/fantasy/supernatural horror/etc. field[s]). There are links to the letters in Locus; to the weblogs of two of the students; to discussions in several newsgroups at http://sff.net; and a few others.

So far, the comments I've seen are mostly sympathetic to Wolfe and unsympathetic to the offended students. A few say that some of Wolfe's comments could/should have been expressed more politely -- but they aren't sympathetic to the students.

I suspect writers of the most condemning posts would react badly if someone said their stories were less than perfect. (For one of them, I know that to be true.)

And then there's the "six-week writing workshops are a terminally stupid idea" posts. (Mostly seen in a forum which hasn't been outed yet, by people who I'm not going to name unless they say they want to be.)

I expect at least one good result will come from this: Some people who think workshops are nicey-nice will read Harlan Ellison's first letter to Locus on this, and will be disillusioned.

My opinions? For me, a six-week writing workshop on the Clarion model wouldn't be worth the time and money. Some people benefit from that kind of stress; I don't. If someone paid all my expenses for Clarion West (Seattle) or Clarion South (Queensland, Australia) I might go -- but only because those are places I'd like to visit.
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