Somewhat niche personal pet peeve: The little “special features may not be captioned/subtitled” on home media releases. Why do studios seem to operate under the assumption that only people with perfect hearing will be interested in the behind-the-scenes goodies (or that even people with perfect hearing will never be in a situation where they want to pop subtitles on for some reason)?

If I could make a comfortable living off of it (or if I was independently wealthy and could do what I want), I’d love to have a subtitling/captioning business making sure that all parts of a home media release, including all special features (featurettes, specials, trailers, commentaries…it’s particularly nice when commentary tracks are subtitled, so that it’s possible to watch a movie with the original audio but with the commentary subtitles, or vice versa) had subtitle/caption options.

📚 20/2021: You Died: An Anthology of the Afterlife ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A really strong collection of short comics about death, the afterlife, and how we cope with it – from either side of the experience. A few of these got me a little misty-eyed. Excellent selections all around.

📚 19/2021: _Patience & Esther_ by S.W. Searle ⭐️⭐️⭐️

A sweet and nicely non-stressful (as in, no major drama or conflict) romance between two lower-class women in Edwardian England. Many nice historical details about the time…and oh, yeah, occasional explicit sex scenes.

This photo is both not exciting at all and one of the most exciting photos I’ve taken in months.

The corner of a room with bare walls.

This is our basement without the carpet pulled back, carpet pad removed, and large chunks of wall cut away to expose the concrete foundation wall that was leaking and soaking the floor in that corner of our basement.

Instead, this is our basement with the leak repaired, the walls patched, mudded, sanded, textured, and painted, and the carpet pad replaced and carpet re-laid down and put into place.

  • In late January, we discovered the wet patch of carpet in the basement corner.
  • In early February, we frantically moved everything out of this room so that the first round of contractors could start looking at the issue to figure out what needed to be done; everything that was in this room got piled into the other half of the basement. With the piles of stuff everywhere making the dry half of the basement unusable, and with our own desire to isolate the part of the house that would have people coming in and out of it in the midst of a pandemic and at a time when vaccines were just starting to become available to the most needy, at this point we declared our basement off limits, and resigned ourselves to only having 2/3 of our living space available to us. Prairie moved her workspace up into the living room.
  • Because this was an external problem affecting the interior, the bulk of the repairs were handled by the property management company through our HOA. While our HOA is generally pretty good and doesn’t lend itself to the horror stories I’ve heard from other HOAs, the simple fact of having extra administrative levels (us ↔︎ HOA ↔︎ property management ↔︎ contractors) meant that through February, March, and April, we had short periods of things actually happening, and long periods of anger and frustration as we waited to hear back from the property management company about when the next step would happen.
  • In late April, when the exterior work was done, we finally decided that we were tired of the back-and-forth, and told the HOA we’d handle the rest. Two weeks later, we’re finally done with the reconstruction work. It’s amazing how much faster things go without those extra steps in the middle!
  • Now, we take the next week to re-assemble the room (on a much more relaxed time scale than the frantic, one day “throw everything in boxes and stack them wherever we can” process of disassembling the room) and move Prairie out of the living room and back into her office space, and by sometime this weekend, we’ll finally have a fully useable home again, without us constantly tripping over each other or the workarounds we’ve had in place to make the living room workable as a temporary office for her.

If you’re ever tempted, I do not recommend chopping out 1/3 of your living space for three months in the midst of a pandemic when you’re not leaving the house. Just so’s you know.

Since today (finally) starts the reconstruction work on our basement, and we have some sheetrock to be replaced, I picked up a silly little plastic skeleton to entomb behind the wall, and added a little (empty) wine bottle with a label I printed.

Who knows how many years it will be before it’s uncovered, and I hope it gives whoever finds it a laugh.

Small skeleton in wall gap

Small skeleton in wall gap

Small skeleton in wall gap

Alligator House Amontillado

📚 16/2021: The Ringworld Throne by Larry Niven ⭐️⭐️

After the excellent first Ringworld book and a good sequel, this third entry takes a sudden detour into drudge and mediocrity. Boring sludge—large portions are essentially people describing what they see on monitors.

So, when serving on the Norwescon Executive Team, team members can serve in any one position for a maximum of four years before turning the position over to someone else (Norwescon bylaws, Article 3, § 5).

Update: It’s been pointed out to me that I slightly misread the bylaws, and only elected positions are term limited; invited positions do not have that limitation. Even so, I’ll plan to stick to the four year term for this round, and I can come back later if invited. Now, back to the original post….

I’ve been thinking over the past few days that as weird as all of this has been over the past couple years, I’m glad my term of service as Secretary is covering the four years that it is (and this is making a bit of an assumption that I’ll be asked back as Secretary for NWC44; it’s not a given, but I’m hopeful).

  • Year one: NWC42. A normal year.
  • Year two: NWC43 (2020). We had to deal with canceling the convention due to a global pandemic.
  • Year three: NWC43 (2021). We had to figure out how to run an all virtual convention, with everyone involved, from Execs to guests/pros/exhibitors to members, doing all planning and eventual participating from their homes. And we did one heck of a job of it, if I do say so myself.
  • Year four (presumptive): NWC44. We hope and expect to be back in person at the hotel (🤞), and I’m absolutely fascinated by the possibilities and am looking forward to seeing how we adapt what we’ve learned this year into our plans for an in-person convention.

I’m sure there will lots to figure out. We’ll do our best. We won’t completely satisfy everyone, but we’ll come as close as we can, as we always do. But I’m really looking forward to NWC44, not just because of how much will be “like it used to be/should be”, but how much will have changed based on this year’s experiences, learning, and growth.

And in writing terms, that’s a far more satisfying story arc than if my term had ended at another point (so, please, next Exec Team, bring me back!).

📚 15/2021: Quiet Pine Trees by T.R. Darling ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Over five hundred microfiction sci-fi/fantasy/horror/weird stories. Funny, creepy, thoughtful, occasionally demanding that you put it down and let them sit in your brain for a bit before the next one. Wonderful.