Thursday, March 29, 2007

2007 Hugo Nominations

Best Novel

Eifelheim by Michael F. Flynn (Tor)
His Majecty's Dragon/Temeraire by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Glasshouse by Charles Stross (Ace)
Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge (Tor)
Blindsight by Peter Watts (Tor)

Best Novella

"The Walls of the Universe" by Paul Melko (Asimov's, April/May 2006)
"A Billion Eves" by Robert Reed (Asimov's, October/November 2006)
"Inclination" by William Shunn (Asimov's April/May 2006)
"Lord Weary's Empire" by Michael Swanwick (Asimov's December 2006)
"Julian" by Robert Charles Wilson (PS Publishing)

Best Novelette

"Yellow Card Man" by Paolo Bacigalupi (Asimov's December 2006)
"Dawn, and Sunset, and the Colours of the Earth" by Michael F. Flynn (Asimov's December 2006)
"The Djinn's Wife" by Ian McDonald (Asimov's July 2006)
"All the Things You Are" by Mike Resnick (Jim Baen's Universe October 2006)
"Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter" by Geoff Ryman (F&SF October/November 2006)

Best Short Story

"How to Talk to Girls at Parties" by Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things)
"Kin" by Bruce McAllister (Asimov's February 2006)
"Impossible Dreams" by Timothy Pratt (Asimov's July 2006)
"Eight Episodes" by Robert Reed (Asimov's June 2006)
"The House Beyond Your Sky" by Benjamin Rosenbaum (Strange Horizons September 2006)

Best Related Book

About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, and Five Interviews by Samuel R. Delany (Wesleyan University Press)
Heinlein's Children: The Juveniles by Joseph T. Major (Advent)
James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon edited by Julie Phillips (St. Martin's Press)
Cover Story: The Art of John Picacio by John Picacio (MonkeyBrain Books )
Worldcon Guest of Honor Speeches by Mike Resnick and Joe Siclari (ISFiC Press)

Best Dramatic Presentation

Children of Men (Universal Pictures)
Pan's Labyrinth (Picturehouse)
The Prestige (Warner Brothers/Touchstone Pictures)
A Scanner Darkly (Warner Independent Pictures)
V for Vendetta (Warner Brothers)

Note: Due to a file corruption during electronic tabulation of the nominees, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest appeared on the initial Hugo ballot. A subsequent audit revealed that this was an error; Pirates was removed and Pan's Labyrinth was added to the final Hugo ballot.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Battlestar Galactica, "Downloaded"
Doctor Who, "Army of Ghosts" and "Doomsday"
Doctor Who, "Girl in the Fireplace"
Doctor Who, "School Reunion"
Stargate SG-1, "200"

Best Professional Editor, Long Form

Lou Anders
James Patrick Baen
Ginjer Buchanan
David G. Hartwell
Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Best Professional Editor, Short Form

Gardner Dozois
David G. Hartwell
Stanley Schmidt
Gordon Van Gelder
Sheila Williams

Best Professional Artist

Bob Eggleton
Donato Giancola
Stephan Martiniere
John Jude Palencar
John Picacio

Best Semiprozine

Ansible, edited by Dave Langford
Interzone, edited by Andy Cox
Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, edited by Gavin J. Grant
Locus, edited by Charles N. Brown, Kirsten Gong-Wong, & Liza Groen Trombi
The New York Review of Science Fiction, edited by Kathryn Cramer, David Hartwell & Kevin J. Maroney

Best Fanzine

Banana Wings ed. by Claire Brialey & Mark Plummer
Challenger edited by Guy Lillian, III
The Drink Tank edited by Christopher J. Garcia
Plokta edited by Alison Scott, Steve Davies & Mike Scott
Science Fiction Five-yearly edited by Lee Hoffman, Geri Sullivan & Randy Byers

Best Fan Writer

Chris Garcia
John Hertz
Dave Langford
John Scalzi
Steven H Silver

Best Fan Artist

Brad W. Foster
Teddy Harvia
Sue Mason
Steve Stiles
Frank Wu

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Sponsored by Dell Magazines

Scott Lynch
Sarah Monette
Naomi Novik
Brandon Sanderson
Lawrence M. Schoen

Monday, March 26, 2007

Monday Garden Blogging - 3/26/07

Over time, I've seen Friday cat blogging, kid blogging, et.c. But there doesn't seem Monday Garden Blogging. For employed people, it's a way to show off what you did over the weekend. For those of us unemployed (or underemployed or retired), it's just a day to go out and take some pictures. If you plan put up periodic photos showing how your garden grows, drop me a line and I'll add you to a list of garden bloggers.

As a baseline for my gardening photos, here's the front of my house
on 2/3/2007:

House, 2/3/07

And here it is today, 3/26/07:

House, 3/26/07

As you can tell from the photo, spring is finally hitting Western Pennsylvania. Things we planted last year are starting to grow, and I planted a few new items:

By the Mailbox, 3/26/07

Side of House, 3/26/07

The plant at the bottom is heather. I think it's particularly pretty. I was going to plant it up by the little patio in the front, but the Lowe's garden center clerk warned me that heather attracts bees, so you don't want to sit beside it.

The red flower at the top is another perennial, the fire star dianthus.

I planted a few "ready to go" annuals this morning. I think the larger flowers are begonias (they were simply labeled "annuals" at the store) and the smaller ones are definitely pansies.

Patio, 3/26/07

Finally, here's the spot will the deck will go in a few weeks:

Spot for the Deck, 3/26/07

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bocktown Beer: At Long Last, a Non-smoking Bar!!

When we moved out to the metro West area last summer, one small plus was being close to another Rotelli Pizza (in the Target Plaza at the Pointe, North Fayette), as we were big fans.

Not big enough, apparently, as Rotelli closed almost as soon as we finished unpacking.

Sometime late last year, a new restaurant took over the space, called Bocktown Beer. "Oh great, another smoky bar," we assumed, so we never stopped in.

About a month ago, I did stop in, and quickly regretted not stopping in before.

Bocktown Beer has a huge bottled beer selection (around 400(!) types of beer), very good food, and, most important is non-smoking!.

Don't get me wrong. I have always liked Fat Heads and Sharp Edge and Pipers. I like a place with a varied beer selection and good food. But I can't love a bar that allows smoking as being around smoking gives me migraines. A non-smoking area in a bar is still usually too smoky to be really pleasant (though both Sharp Edge's have relatively smoke-free restaurant areas). I'd like to be able to sit at a bar and have a beer and maybe some pretzels without having to run out for fresh air after a half hour. When I travel to Massachusetts or California, I spend more time in bars there because they're non-smoking (and doing good business, frankly).

While the menu at Bocktown isn't huge, they do fine bar food and sandwiches. There are new specials everyday. And the French fries alone are worth the trip. They do beer tastings every Wednesday
evening, and I think there's live music once or twice a week.

I have three minor complaints about Bocktown:

  • the bottled beer can be a little expensive. I guess I've
    been spoiled by The Beer Store over in Moon, where
    the cost of bottled beer for take-out isn't too bad at all.
    On the other hand, the bar under The Beer Store is so
    smoky I've never even had a drink in there.

  • if only it could be a little larger. There's an empty
    storefront beside Bocktown, and I wish they'd lease it now!

  • I know guys frequent the bar more than women, but there are
    TV channels other than ESPN...

Those minor complaints aside, we're now pretty regular customers. So if you're looking for a non-smoking bar with a great beer selection and good food, Bocktown Beer is for you.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Stunning Performances by the Pittsburgh Symphony and Violinist Julia Fischer

Jim and I try to go to the Pittsburgh Symphony once or twice a year. We bought tickets to four concerts this season and have really lucked out with our selections.

Last night, we heard the sublime violinist Julia Fischer perform the Beethoven Violin Concerto.

We're frankly not up on the current crop of classical performers. We had no idea who Julia Fischer was. We know now. To say she and the symphony were superb last night do neither of them justice.

The Beethoven Violin Concerto is the sort of classical piece we've all heard snippets of. It is a fairly long and challenging piece, for the orchestra as well as the violinist. They were all beyond wonderful last night.

I know that the Brahms piece in the second part of the concert was recorded; I wonder if the violin concerto was because I'd run out and buy that without hesitation once it is released.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Ann Coulter: Why Does the National Media Pay Attention to Trolls?

From Wikipedia (as of 3/4/07)

In Internet terminology, a troll is a person who enters an established community such as an online discussion forum and intentionally tries to cause disruption, often in the form of posting messages that are inflammatory, insulting, incorrect, inaccurate, absurd, or off-topic, with the intent of provoking a reaction from others.

In 1996, in the early days of the popularization of the Internet, I attended a journalism conference in Pittsburgh. At the time, I said I thought the lack of editorial control on the Internet was a strength and not a weakness. Let the people do their own content creation and their own filtering.

However, the irrationality of some areas of the Web have been embraced by mass media. If anything, some people now considered part of mass media are nothing more than trolls.

In particular, Ann Coulter.

This woman has had nothing useful or rational to add to public discourse. Yet, she is considered a media celebrity, and when she says something, people pay attention.


The only way to raise the level of public discourse is to ignore the people who only want to shout inanities. If we want a rational, reasoned discourse on the issues, we should ignore the Ann Coulters, the Bill O'Reillys, the Al Sharptons, the Kenneth Engs of the world, and only pay attention to people who can back up their opinions with facts.

Trolls are people who should be ignored in the public discourse. They should not be leading the public discourse. They only want to stir up controversy, not enlighten issues in any way.

As we've said on the Internet for many years: Do not feed the energy beasts. These people are nothing, nothing but energy beasts. Ignore them.