Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Friday August 8, 2003. In March, a bus crashed into one of the two corner stores where I live. Sam's Market was closed for repairs, and for a while I saw things being done. Then came a long period in which nothing happened.

This morning, I saw workmen putting on new stucco.

To Diversicon -- the local sf/fantasy con with the greatest emphasis on written sf.

Last year, Diversicon was at the Holiday Inn at Bandana Square in St. Paul. Bandana Square was intended to revitalize the neighborhood; like several other such business centers in the Twin Cities, it's mostly been a failure. Also, I understand that the Holiday Inn didn't really want us any longer. This year, Diversicon was at the Days Inn near Mall of America. Easier to reach by bus, and definitely a better place.

The dealer's room had someone selling what the program book said were "science fiction items from Russia." What I saw was Soviet military memorabilia (including vodka flasks), figurines, and some model cars. Nothing particularly science-fictional.

Neither of the two Twin Cities sf bookstores had tables. Diversicon is small, and they probably didn't think the sales would be worthwhile.

Panel: Be Creative. What I remember best is "the rule of three" -- which includes, among other things, having three major characters. (It occurs to me that this rule may not work for standard romance novels.)

There were other program items, but I didn't attend them. I hung around the consuite, mostly. And I left fairly early. Which was my pattern for the rest of the con.

Saturday August 9. I knew Minneapolis had a dog bakery. Today, I saw it out of the window of a bus.

Interview with Guest of Honor Melissa Scott. She comes from Little Rock, Arkansas and lives in New Hampshire. I gathered that New Hampshire often arouses her Sense of Wonder.

She mentioned that New Hampshire's constitution explicitly includes the right of armed rebellion.

She did not sound Southern. I know there are parts of the South where people don't -- for example, Starkville Mississippi. (Conversely, people in Carbondale Illinois definitely sound Southern.) But Little Rock is not one of those places.

After the interview, I asked her. She explained that she'd trained herself out of sounding Southern during her first year at Harvard. -"They don't take you seriously if you sound like Bill Clinton."-

Going home, the way to the Mall of America's bus station, I passed the Walking Store

On my way home, inside the Mall I passed the Walking Store. I decided to go in and look around. I ended up buying a new belt pouch. It had features I needed, and gave me a feeling of greater control over my life.

Sunday August 10. Back to Diversicon.

Panel on aging in the sf community. "As SF writers age how does this affect their writing?As the SF audience ages how does this affect what authors write?"

I was at the official end-of-con party for perhaps half an hour.

Browsed in the Walking Store. I noticed they had lefthanded walking sticks, which I'd never heard of before. (The handle is shaped differently.)

I had a good convention. That might sound odd -- I attended very few program items, and did only a bit of partying. But I spent three days out of my usual routine; I learned some things worth learning; and I got much more walking exercise than I'd been getting. (If you want to walk more, I recommend getting lost in the Mall of America.)

And somewhere in there, my ability to relax my musles improved markedly.

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