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You lose track of time...

Yes, it’s been a strange week! But thanks to the Mr. Door Tree and his nice posting of Basil Wolverton classics, I think I’ve got my brain back in place.

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New Sketches for Art Show 2010

Having fun preparing for this year’s Boskone Art Show. Of course it’s crazy to hang my crummy sketches alongside the great artists you will see there, but hey let’s face it, I’m not going to be quit

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21st Century Bag of Tricks

The modern day shaman — the serial start-up entrepreneur — carries around a fascinating collection of baubles and tools. The old school shrunken heads, shark’s teeth, eagle feathers, ointm

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Arisia 2010: The Editor Writer Relationship

This panel featured Jeanne Cavelos , Joy Marchand , David Nurenberg , Allan Steele and GOH Gardner Dozois , who discussed the relationship between writer and editor in the SF field and how the situation has changed. In their opening remarks, Cavelos related her experience as a senior editor in New York, where she found that the interest editors take in nurturing new authors from unknowns into big names has fallen victim to the push for blockbusters. Today, if an editor is not advocating for a bestseller to the senior editors, to her peers, to the sales division, to the assistant editors and designers she’ll be out of a job. Allen Steele pointed out that short fiction editors still manage to read the submissions they find interesting, and they’ll take the time to send comments back to the author or ask for changes. “Short fiction editors still edit,” said Dozois, “ but at the major publishing houses, who’s in charge? In fact, it’s the sales people who end up canceling book deals.” Nurenberg emphasized how incredibly valuable the feedback he received from games publisher White Wolf was to his career, “like water to a drowning man…“ As that analogy didn’t make much sense, he said, “I mean to a thirsty.” Somehow the object of the verb got lost, but we get the idea!

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Arisia 2010 con report: Barefoot Techno-Fantasy Fest, in a Kilt

[photo by Sean Molloy] At my first Arisia, I found myself weaving through crowds of strangely-coiffed pirates, rocketeers, and gamers; wondering at what point my own personality would intersect with one of those cliques and, at the same time, idly speculating as to which clique it would be. Twisting, turning, and meandering, I wondered if there was any cipher concealed for me in my conversations with Freemasons, swordsmen, and zombies, or a secret buried somewhere in the depths of a prominent decolletage. In the end I was left with an exhilarating sense that something interesting had transpired, and though I could list any number of particulars of the fun things I did, I wasn’t quite sure how it all added up. This year, at my second Arisia, I was more accustomed to the casual ebb and flow, the meaningless randomness of who one might meet at any given moment, and I was more attuned to simply enjoy the dance. Indeed, some of the most startling appearances in 2009 — the stilt-walking woman in tights and razor claws, the body-gloved Harley Quin, and the immaculately nuanced Steampunk ensembles — returned. They were all conspicuously different from last year, but instead of novelty they radiated a pleasant warmth of familiarity. Oh that mischievous stilt-woman! Always scratching and snarling at the Muggles as they float up behind the glass of the atrium elevator! And Harley, the little minx, does one ever tire of contemplating the poses she strikes while strapped into that saucy leather corset, black boots and ragged stockings? [photos by Sean Molloy - http://www.flickr.com/photos/falconn67/] It was equally reassuring to see pieces of last year’s favorites, if not ramped up to full energy, at least lying about here and there like fragments left over from an archaeological dig. The skull-bracketed rocket pack that was flamboyantly posing with a team of rocketeers in ‘09, was this year merely glimpsed abandoned on a table, straps dangling idly alongside. It certainly would have been fun if somebody rushed out of the con-suite, strapped on the skull-pack, and flamed up across the atrium space to a party upstairs! And yes, there were pirates, there were faeries, and furries, and a few storm trooper types. You could say that it was the same rich stew of individuals at Arisia 2010, but there were definitely higher concentrations of bare feet, of blood-drenched nurses, blue-green body paint (though only a few of them Navi, as fas as I could tell), and really pervasive wearing of kilts. Sure, some people I expect to see wearing a kilt (since that’s pretty common around the office…okay, it is Cambridge!), but it seemed like every time I turned around there was another utilikilt wrapped around some smiling, bearded dude. Which means that this year’s Arisia (officially sub-titled “the future and the past”) has been informally dubbed by Yunchtime as the “barefoot techno-fantasy fest, in a kilt.”

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Get Used to it, Lady...

Happy New Year, and welcome to the same old story… At least in the comic pages sixty years ago, the standards of line art were fantastic, such as the panel above in Alex Raymond’s Rip Kirby. Now

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Absolute Elsewhere by R. T. Gault Lives On!

As the new year arrives, I found that the fascinating annotated bibliography for truth-seekers, compiled by the late R. T. Gault has vanished from the web. Therefore, as both tribute to compiler an

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Another Hydra - how to install multisite Drupal

The excellent description on secure multi-site Drupal installation by Justin Hileman worked like a charm. However, for my own records, it’s a good idea to save the exact procedure that I used on my Centos 5.3 system. Hopefully it might help someone else who wants a complete rundown. So, if you dare to unleash another hydra-headed monster on your website, here you go, Nick! Scenario: using one database instance, I wanted to run multiple Drupal sites by using the same core modules and the same contributed modules. The plan was to first install Drupal core, and then to use CVS to get contributed modules, allowing for fairly simple CVS updates of new contributed modules. (Of course, you could do the same to obtain Drupal core, if you want.) Each Drupal site would live in its own folder below the webroot, while the actual core installation and multisites existed above the webroot in an area secure from casual intruders.

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Do It At The Beach

If only we could… but the beach is either thousands of miles, or many months away right now. Pretending the subway is a beach just doesn’t do it for me. In Japan, maybe this subway maneuver work