August 22nd, 2007

top hat

My Worldcon schedule

Thu 1300 The Future of Computers
Participants: Chris COOPER, David D. LEVINE, Jack William BELL, Mark L. VAN NAME
Computers are getting lighter and more capable every year. (The latest innovation: tie two or more onto the same piece of silicon). Is there an end in sight? Or does it only end at some point in the so called "Singularity?"

Thu 1600 Evil Leaders
Participants: Dave LUCKETT, David D. LEVINE, Esther FRIESNER
Evil leaders in history and literature are fascinating. What makes them evil, and why do they interest us? What is evil? Can an evil leader benefit his people? Does writing about evil help us understand the reality? Should a writer feel obligated to say something profound, or just have fun?

Fri 1200 Kaffeeklatsche
Participants: David D. LEVINE

Sat 1200 Location,Location,Location: How Setting Influences and Structures the Story
Participants: David D. LEVINE, Delia SHERMAN, Lillian CSERNICA, Stanley SCHMIDT
How do the arc of the Ringworld, the hills of the Shire, the plazas of Trantor shape their stories' characters and events? Does local color bewitch or bore the reader? (Does it matter? -- why?) Are real places easier to evoke than imaginary ones? Which genre settings can't you forget?

Sat 1600 Sex and Technology
Participants: David D. LEVINE, Dr Andrew A. ADAMS, Patricia MACEWEN
The automobile.....the movie......the Internet......then? How has modern technology affected sex? What lies ahead - virtual reality harems? Computer-enhanced marital aids? The orgasmatron? What can we look forward to? (and is this all a Good Thing?)

Sun 1700 Miss Piggy and Godzilla
Participants: Amy THOMSON, David D. LEVINE, Tom GALLOWAY
We have fun and speculate on some interesting dates. Poor Godzilla.

Mon 1000 The Singularity: How to Write About It
Participants: Charles STROSS, Gregory BENFORD, David D. LEVINE, Jack William BELL
The singularity may be the most interesting idea to come out of SF, yet may pose a challenge which may be insurmountable — how to set a story in a world which is, by definition, incomprehensible? If a singularity lurks about a hundred years after the invention of the computer: does this mean that hard SF is a contradiction in terms once it gets outside the near future? Can SF stories cope? Or should writers just ignore it and move on?

After the con we'll be touring to Matsumoto (Sep 4-5), Hida-Furakawa (Sep 6), Takayama (Sep 7-8), Kanazawa (Sep 9-10), and Tokyo (Sep 11-16).

8/22/07: Like a moth to a flame that burns at both ends

Word count: 59580 | Since last entry: 0 | Days until retirement: 40

There are times when you have to steal time from work because of urgent personal business. There are times when you have to work late, stealing time from personal business, for work. And there are times like the one I've been in for, fundamentally, most of this year, when work and personal life are both desperate to steal time from each other. So you balance them, and steal time from something else. Like sleep.

We've been to Austin and Phoenix in the last two weeks (highlight of the A&C weekend for me was a long, energetic Challenge tip with Saundra Bryant calling to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" -- now that's dancing!) , and we leave for Japan on Sunday. I have a gi-normous list of things I really want to get done before we leave. I'm plugging away at it bit by bit. Tonight: hepatitis booster shot, and new pants. The thrills just keep comin'.

At work, my main project is winding up (we'll have a Release Candidate this week, if all goes well) and I'm supposed to be 100% on another project, although the main project isn't quite dead yet and there are two or three other projects that would sure like to have an hour or two a day. I'm managing all these things reasonably well -- not everything is going to get done, but the most important things will.

And then there are the other things. Like, I haven't been to the gym in the last month except when I had an appointment with my trainer (who, by the way, is quitting at almost exactly the same time as I retire, so I don't have to worry about her -- I'll get a new trainer at the gym closer to home). Like, I haven't written a word of fiction in a month (though we did do Bento, which is back from the printer and will be mailed after we return from Japan). Like sleep, and groceries, and doing the dishes. All of those I promise I will get back to after Japan. And/or after I retire. Which is two weeks after we return from Japan.

You know how, when you have a new baby or a new relationship, life is full of firsts? First steps, first words, first kiss, first movie together? When someone dies or a relationship ends, there are lasts -- last walk in the park together, last kiss, last movie together -- but those are usually only visible in retrospect. In this case I am leaving work on a known date in the future and I can see the lasts as they go by. Some of them are sweet, like "last time I'll have to leave a convention on Sunday afternoon to get back to work on Monday" and "last 8am meeting". Some are more bittersweet.

Today I had a meeting where it was very clear to everyone, especially me, just how much I understand about this product, why it is the way it is, and where it can plausibly go from here, and how all of that is in my head and can't easily be beamed to someone else. Also today I sent out a mass email to the whole building announcing my retirement. I left as quickly as I could after sending it so I wouldn't have to talk to anyone. Why is this so hard?