Monday, February 17, 2003

Greetings from Snowkone!

Yes, Boskone happened in Boston for the first time since 1987. There were either one or two fire alarms, but the hotel didn't take them personally... ;-> The con went pretty well, and Sharon Sbarsky now holds the record of running the world's longest Boskone.

This morning, to the surprise of absolutely no one, flights out of Boston were cancelled due to the closure of airports due to the Presidents Day Blizzard. At about 9am, it finally started to snow here. Then, after more than 12 hours, we had more than a foot of snow in downtown Boston.

This has turned Boskone into Snowkone, since there are about 50 of us at the Sheraton who couldn't leave Boston today. We have a con suite (Sharon's room), a flyer (in progress), possible badges, a day-long program in the bar, et.c. We might have some photos as Del Cotter, John Lorenz and Bill Jensen all had cameras.

Monday, February 03, 2003

New Line Cinema - What Were They Thinking?

I've been to see The Two Towers four times (so far). It's a glorious movie, but in order to see the movie, you have to see way too many bad trailers. This tendency to preload potentially popular movies with bad trailers is so bad that audiences have been known to start yelling at the screen after a few minutes (in fact, Jim reported a full half hour of commercials and trailers before the premiere showing of The Two Towers).

What were they thinking? How can the same company with the vision to bankroll Peter Jackson's dream to the tune of nearly 1/3rd of a billion dollars (and still make money at it), be the same company to make:

Final Destination 2

When Harry Met Lloyd (Dumb vs. Dumber II)

A Man Apart (the next Vin Diesel flick)

And I thought they were also responsible for the outrageously stupid concept movie, The Core (since I've been subjected to this preview every time I've gone to see The Two Towers), but it turns out that Paramount is to blame for what looks to be the most ludicrous waste of a studio's money since Battlefield Earth.

Now it turns out that New Line Cinema did produce one other recently-released and fairly well-reviewed movie, namely About Schmidt. But it seems like everything else New Line is at all involved with (except for The Lord of the Rings movies) are pointless concept movies aimed at 14-year-old boys. Yes, I know they buy the most tickets, but if the huge success of the LOTR movies shows anything it's that kids will pay to see films with a thoughtful story and good acting.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Bad Day...

I always remember where I was when I hear really awful news.

I was watching TV a January night in the '60s when the news broke in with a special report that three astronauts had died in a fire during a training mission.

I was returning from a quick post office trip at lunch that January day in 1986, when a man on the radio said "The Challenger seems to have exploded."

I was walking into work a brilliant late summer morning, went into the vending machine area to get a soda, and a total stranger said to me, "Oh, it's a terrible day, a plane hit the World Trade Center."

I was watching Comedy Central this morning, laughing at Bill Murray in Scrooged when I just happen to check SFF Net newsgroups on my laptop. Adam Troy Castro titled a bleak message at 9:34 in sff.discuss.obituaries with "Not Again"

Terrorism, I thought. Oh shit.

Then I read the message.

"It's beginning to look like we've lost the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia..."

Shit! I grabbed the channel changer and immediately switched to NBC. And cried for about 10 minutes.

I have been a huge fan of spaceflight. I don't remember the Shepard or Grissom flights, but Glenn flew just after my fifth birthday and I remember that vividly. Space travel is an act of supreme confidence in the future - it meant we were living in the future.

I find any death related to the space program to be doubly-heartbreaking. It's sad when any person dies in the course of their work; but every death related to space travel seems to drive a nail in the coffin of NASA.

Life has risks. I just hope we don't mothball the program for another two and a half years due to this tragedy. Astronauts know that it's risky. Most Americans know that it's risky. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be done.

If everyone was so risk-averse, we'd still be little monkeys living on a beach in Africa.