Friday, September 22nd, 2017 10:26 am
Someone on eBay UK is selling sets of 52mm UV filter, polarizer, and lens cap - for 99p! I always need 52mm skylights/UVs and caps for the lenses I sell so I just bought a few which arrived today, and they appear to be exactly as described. Probably not up to the highest quality standards, but I'll be honest, I can't tell the difference at all, and they'll certainly keep the dust out. Annoyingly they don't have any other size at anything like this price.

Probably not worth it outside the UK
Thursday, September 21st, 2017 10:53 pm
Haven't been around long enough for an adult to reference the technology as something around when they were kids. That's just crazy talk -- 16 years ago, you say?
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 06:56 pm
This morning I left work at 11 AM to drive to Redwood Shores for my semi-annual dental check-up. (No problems.) This gave me the opportunity to have lunch at my favorite taqueria: El Metate in Belmont. (Good burritos at a fair price, and really great tortilla chips and salsa.) From there it was on to Fremont, where I finally paid my mechanic for the work he did on the Astro back in June. (He only got around to calling me with the final bill — $1200! — last week.) Then I went by Suju's Coffee in Fremont to buy a couple of pounds of whole-bean Columbian from them. (I don't come down to the Bay Area that often anymore, so I need to stock up when I'm here. Suju's was across the street from where I used to live in Fremont, and I like their coffee.) Then I refilled the forward tank on the Rolling Stone at one of the less-expensive gas stations in south Fremont. I'd intended to spend the rest of the afternoon at my employer's Fremont warehouse, but I had an in-person meeting scheduled for 4:30 PM back over in Sunnyvale. I was dismayed to hear on the radio of an accident on westbound CA-237. Fortunately, it had mostly cleared by the time I got back over there, and I managed to make it back with less than 30 minutes to spare. Whew! And that was driving in "off peak" and "counter commute" directions.

I hope to be able to get away before Noon on Friday, if work permits. I've put in enough hours that I can do so, but it requires that the urgent stuff gets done. If I don't get away before Noon, it's almost inevitable that I won't get home that night and will be obliged to lay up somewhere along the way, thanks to the never-ending traffic in the Bay Area and Sacramento.
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 11:26 pm
I'm a great fan of the works of H. Rider Haggard and some year ago I picked up at a con a very battered edition of Moon of Israel, not one of his better know books. It turns out to be a retelling of the story of Exodus from an Egyptian viewpoint.

So, I'm reading a scene where the pharaoh is telling Moses that the Israelites must make more bricks, only with no more straw, and I had a flashback to a story doing the rounds at my school in the north of England in the sixties. And such is the wonder of the internet, just googling the phrase "Joshua and his wellies" got me this:
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 02:55 pm

Tonight at sundown marks the start of the Rosh Hashanah and the year 5778. May all of you reading this be inscribed in the Book of Life for a happy, healthy, and prosperous year ahead.

לשנה טובה
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 11:04 am
For the third time since turning sixty, I've received an NHS bowel cancer home screening kit through the post. I presume they send them out about every two years.

Part of the kit is a set of cardboard sticks with which you are required to scrape bits of the sample and spread it over the test card.

It has only just occurred to me that they ought to call these poo sticks.
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 01:07 am
Cast a 1980s New Teen Titans film....
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 12:22 am
It occurs to me I haven't looked at the Heavy Gear rules in a long time....
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 06:05 pm
Yesterday, I had called to my attention the list of what we would today call the finalists for the 1956 Hugo Awards. The historical listing on The Hugo Awards web site did not include finalists because we did not have a list of them, nor did any of the other historical archives on which we based our initial load of finalists/winners. So I spent some time between the end of work and heading off to BASFA entering the data. (And for the most part it appears faithfully reproducing typos in the original, some of which I've now corrected.) So we now have the 1956 Hugo Awards page updated with finalist information.

It's important to realize that 1956 was only the third time the Hugo Awards had been presented. The 1954 Worldcon didn't present them after 1953 ran them. The Awards could easily have been a "one-off" thing had 1955 not decided to present them again, and 1956 continued them. However, in those far-off days, there wasn't a long document listing the rules for the Awards. The members didn't make the rules through the Business Meeting. It was all made up on the fly by the individual Worldcon committees, who as far as I can see could do as they pleased subject only to their own scruples and how they thought they'd be treated by their fellow fans. Thus you end up with variable-length finalist lists (and no indication of how a work/person made the short list), write-in votes, first-past-the-post voting, and (if rumors I recall reading can be trusted), cases where "close enough" was enough to generate a "tie." I don't know if that tie in Best Fanzine is "real" or not, and it's quite possible that we'll never know for sure.

As time has gone on, Worldcon's model for running the Hugo Awards has evolved considerable, to the model today where the rules are specified by the members through the WSFS Business Meeting, and the Administrators are expected to release just about every piece of information other than the raw ballots themselves. This is pretty consistent with an assumption that runs throughout the structure of WSFS, which is "I trust nobody but thee and me — and I'm none too sure of thee." We cede the bare minimum necessary to keep the organization running, and deeply distrust all central authority. This structure seems crazy to many people, and yet it has lasted for more than 75 years.
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 04:34 pm
The sound of a younger cat eating her special food.
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 07:52 pm
This was a little disappointing, possibly because it was a very dull day, also because I realise now that I'd left the camera set on 400 ASA, but I didn't feel that the results were much better than my big zoom, which I wouldn't have expected from a prime lens. I ditched about a third of the pictures, what I'm left with is a lot of the same subjects as last time, plus more of the Albert Memorial and a bit more on that black sculpture of the horse, including a plaque with info on the sculptor etc.

My feeling now is that I'll keep the big zoom, really don't use the wider end of the 18-55 enough to justify keeping it, and will probably replace the 18-55 and the 35mm with a good 50mm lens, it's more the sort of focal length I like to work with, and my experiments with the Yonguo lens on the Canon showed that I was getting some reasonable results. Needless to say the Nikon-fit 50mm lenses are hugely more expensive than the Canon-fit Yonguo. There is no urgency about any of this, of course, so the master plan is to get a good 50mm first (or possibly a 60mm Micro-Nikkor if one comes my way) and worry about the rest of it later.
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 08:12 am
Hope the day is bright in Seattle.
Monday, September 18th, 2017 05:26 pm
Having finally reached a high enough bandwidth connection to do so, I have now posted the four official 2017 WSFS Business Meeting videos to the Worldcon Events channel. These are the recordings taken by the WSFS videographer (Lisa Hayes), supplemented in a couple of places by cuts from the live-streaming video that Worldcon 75 shot when there were gaps in the official recording. These official recordings also omit everything outside of the meeting, skipping over recesses and other non-meeting time.

I would have pushed this out sooner, but since the Worldcon 75 live stream video was available, I elected to take my time getting the official recording edited together and making sure everything was in place. is also now similarly updated.