dc: (Satellite 2)
I seem to have been pretty much hibernating since the end of Satellite 2. The Dead Dog ended when we left after 1am on Monday morning, I got back and slept for a while, waking up at some point (there was daylight) to snaffle some food and then crawled back into bed. Yesterday, woke up early, got up and had breakfast then crawled back into bed... Bit of a pattern there. While having breakfast, I watched the Lugosi Dracula, a secondhand DVD I got from At the Sign of the Dragon, the dealer we had at the con. (I have a small passion for the Universal horror films of the Thirties/Forties.) Its pacing was ideal for my tired brain; I wasn't too tired, though, to appreciate that Lugosi was actually rather impressive in the role, allowing for the different style of acting of the time. It has been quite some time since I last saw the film, and I had forgotten the way Browning makes it look as though Lugosi has walked through a web without disturbing it: simply done, but very effective. However, I would really like to get my hands on a copy of the simultaneously filmed Spanish version: the actor playing Dracula may be less skilled than Lugosi, but from the clips on the disc's extras, the direction is much superior.

Anyway, not really what I set out to write about. After all my banging on about it to everyone I met for the better part of eighteen months, we finally got Satellite 2 to the launch pad on Saturday morning. There was an odd moment when I looked at the registration desk — laden with leaflets and booklets — and thought, Oh, shit! I haven't brought any Satellite 2 flyers! And then I remembered this was actually it...

The opening ceremony started with a film of Apollo 11 launching to the accompaniment of Also Sprach Zarathustra[*]; then a big pink foot came down and the Python theme started[**], which is when we walked in and took our places. The Python bit seemed to go down very well, as did the choice of a white waistcoat to mark the DCM: a fair number of people got that.

And then we were into the con, with a programme which seemed to be well-liked. Certainly there were times when it was hard to get gophers because everyone wanted to go a programme item, and Ken MacLeod commented on how much of the programme he wanted to see. Iain M. Banks was a superb guest of honour, approachable and enthusuastically taking part. (With him and Ken at Satellite 1, we have been very lucky with our guests of honour.) The oddest comment about the con I have heard came from someone who did not come to it. I am told that someone was attempting to persuade a media fan to come along and got the response that it was a space advocacy convention masquerading as a science fiction convention. Um, no, I don't think so. Yes, there were some items in the science stream which could fairly be described as space advocacy (and I don't see a problem with that at an SF con), but it wasn't by any means a majority of the programme. Of the programme items I saw (either whole or in part), the ones which were highlights for me were Inadvisable Rocket Science[***] and Iain Banks's Room 101. I particularly loved his diatribe against Michael O'Leary, the boss of Ryanair. He referred to one of the ships in Matter, The Hundredth Idiot: the source of the name is a quotation. ‘100 idiots make idiotic plans, and carry them out. All but one justly fail. The hundredth idiot, whose plans succeeded through pure luck, is immediately convinced he’s a genius.’

When I read Matter, Michael O'Leary was exactly the sort of person I thought of at that point.

I'm not quite sure exactly how the balance falls between scary and gratifying, but there were quite a few people asking about a Satellite 3.... Gulp.

I feel like going back to bed... I lasted quite well through the con, despite that awful bout of neck pain last week (it really buggered things up, although I got a lot of rest I was trying to catch up from quite a spoon deficit because of that). Admittedly, I had to use some Red Bull, but I lasted the con. Flopping at the Dead Dog was needed, though. I am hoping that by tomorrow I will be back to something like a normal sleep/wake ratio. Friday morning, of course, I need to get my father to the Beatson. (He's eating much better, by the way: the stent has really helped.)

Oh, while I remember: if you have any con reports from Satellite 2 (or see any), could you point me to them? (No, I haven't caught up with DW/LJ. Don't be silly.)

[* Which brought back memories: the BBC used it as the theme for their Apollo 11 coverage.]

[** This year is also the 40th anniversary of the first broadcast of Monty Python's Flying Circus, if you didn't know.]

[*** A nuclear ramjet, planned to fly at low altitude at Mach 3 with an unshielded nuclear reactor spewing a radioactive trail behind it? As Phil Wellings said, the capacity to delivery nuclear bombs would have been almost redundant.]

More stuff

May. 26th, 2009 02:28 pm
dc: Me, in a pub.  (sandwiches!)
One thing I mean to say yesterday and forgot was, unusually, that the Kirk had got it right. Glad I didn't, because they've gone and got it wrong again. As [personal profile] pickwick said the other day, the CofS is the least irritating, bigoted and authoritarian of the churches I know — but there's still a lot of bigots in there. :(

In politics, many want to see a fairer electoral system. Not (unsurpriisingly) David Cameron, who says, Proportional representation takes power away from the man and woman in the street and hands it to the political elites. — what, you mean we would lose the sensitive reflection of the popular we have in the current system? The system where if you don't live in a marginal seat your vote is pretty much irrelevant. Chicken Yoghourt hits the nail on the head: always be suspicious of someone talking disparagingly about ‘political elites’ when they’re a member of the political elite themselves.

More off-the-wall (well, bridge, really) news from China. A suicidal man in Beijing was holding up traffic (for hours), causing much irritation, so an angry passer-by pushed him off. (He didn't die.)

This made me smile: there are only two people in the world who know the secret, and they never travel on the same aeroplane.

Life is still a bit taxing at the moment. Today, up early again to get my father to the hospital. I believe he is having endoscopy about now, and later in the week there should be scans. On Friday, my parents are getting a stairlift installed, which will be a lot of help for my mother. Meanwhile, I am going to be getting ready for my holiday — this is pretty much the first proper holiday I have had in years. Two or three weeks away.... Nice. I am really looking forward to it. I wish this neck/shoulder pain would bugger off, though.

Pah. Yesterday was the 25th May, and I didn't notice. (Mentally, I am still thinking it's April, even though I know it isn't.) Well, I had no lilac. I had a reasonably priced egg, I suppose.

I may have said this before: I've been re-reading some of Iain M. Banks's stuff, and it is so much better on a second reading... which, given how good it is on first reading, is saying quite a lot.

dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
Iain M. Banks's forthcoming book, Transition, which is due to be published on September 3rd, will be previewed at [livejournal.com profile] satellite_2 in July, where he will be reading from it. First chance to get a glimpse of this new book!

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