Yesterday I was scheduled to give my talk on the Pre-History of Robotics. As per yesterday’s report, it had to be moved because I’d been put in a room with no screen or projector. I ended up in York 2 in the 5:30pm program slot.
This was progress in that I knew that room did have the necessary kit, but that’s only half the problem. Should I be sending my slides to someone, or could I use my own laptop? And what about the online part of the convention? I figured I should check the room out early. It turned out that the tech kit in the room was an Apple laptop that didn’t have PowerPoint, so I’d have to use my own machine. To do that I needed to be able to log in to Zoom as a panelist. I should have an email with a link, right? Er, no.
Apparently the links for the day were not send out until 1:00pm. Once I had the email, it all went fairly smoothly at my end. Sadly the same was not true for the online participants who had problems with the sound throughout. I don’t blame the tech guy in the room for this. Like many of the con staff, he was a very late recruit. And having to do set-up on a different machine for each program item is far from ideal, especially with only 15 minutes between panels. The Eastercon system of allowing 30 minutes between panels because the tech for a hybrid con needs that much time is sounding more and more sensible.
Anyway, I had a reasonable-sized audience and they seemed to enjoy the talk. My apologies again to the online audience.
The rest of my day was taken up with being photographed. There’s a Bay Area fan photographer called Richard Man who has a project to take high quality photos of prominent people in the field using a lovely old camera. It is one of those things where you have to slide a plate in for each shot, which puts a tremendous amount of pressure on getting each take right. My official photo was taken by Lou Abercrombie using a digital camera and she must have taken at least 300 shots. Richard told me he can only afford two per subject.
As it turned out, I ended up being done twice. Richard, having not been involved with Bay Area fandom when I lived there, hadn’t been entirely sure who I was. After the initial shot he did a bit more research as asked me if I’d come back for a photo using a Hugo trophy. There are three on display in the Exhibits area, one of which is Kevin’s which he got for being co-chair of ConJosé so there was no problem borrowing one.
It will be a while before I see the results as the plates need to be developed, but you can see some of Richard’s work here, and there is more available in this year’s Hugo packet as he is a finalist for Best Fan Artist. Y’all should vote for him ‘cos he’s lovely.
My final post from Virtual Canada is a set of photos from inside the Royal British Colombia Museum. The light wasn’t great for my poor photography skills, but in one way it enhances the incredible art on display. As with the Inuit, I think that the native peoples of Vancouver Island speak for themselves through their art and craft.
Surprisingly I can’t find a lot of photos of Toronto, but I do have a lot from my visit to the Museum of Inuit Art. It is one of the best art galleries I have ever seen. I’ve not bothered to try to comment on the images. The craft and artistry speak for themselves.
My final set of photos from Finland is from my favourite restaurant, Harald. It is a very silly place, but the food is excellent. Besides, they are making fun of the Swedes, which is a very Finnish thing to do.
Here are some photos from the trip that Kevin and I made following the World Science Fiction Convention in 1999. First up we have the Puffing Billy Railway, which made Kevin very happy.
And second, one of the best ways to get up close and personal with Australian wildlife, Healesville Sanctuary. (Sadly digital cameras back then had little in the way of zoom so these are the only good shots I have.)
As usual, click on any photo for a bigger image and slide show.
Is it time for some tourism? I think so. Back in 2017 I was extremely fortunate to be invited to give a paper at a conference organised by the University of Bologna. Obviously I was looking forward to visiting the home of that famous pasta dish, but it turned out even better because the university’s conference facilities were in a small village well south of the city. That got me into contact with Italy’s violent history of roving gangs of mercenaries (condottieri) and with one of the world’s most famous writers.
My thanks again to Raffaella Baccolini and everyone else involved in the conference. There is now a book of the proceedings. And now, here are some photos (click on one for a slide show and comments).
Today is St. Stephen’s Day, and therefore the perfect day to put up some of my pictures of Vienna, given that their main cathedral is named after him. Google has comprehensively broken their photo system, which means that the system I used to work for displaying photos here no longer works. I’m testing a new system. Fingers crossed.
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There is outrageous architecture everywhere. This is an hotel.
To be fair, it has been happening for a couple of weeks now. Daryn, Freddie and the rest of the crew have done an amazing job putting on a whole festival of LGBT+ goodness. However, this weekend was the culmination of all that, and it all began on Friday night with the city’s first ever official Black Pride event at City Hall. The photo above shows some of the organizers, along with the Guest of Honour, Lady Phyll Opoku-Gyimah.
The event also saw contributions from the Deputy Mayor, Asher Craig (Labour), and the Lord Mayor, Cleo Lake (Green). Cleo (shown above) got totally into the spirit of things with some amazing hair.
The big concern about Saturday was that there would be some sort of attempt by anti-trans extremists to disrupt the march, as happened in London the previous weekend. Daryn and the LGBT+ Group of Avon & Somerset Police worked hard to make sure that we would be prepared in the event of an attack, and they kindly kept me informed throughout the process. Thankfully everything went quietly, or at least as quietly as any Pride event can be. The March was led by the folks in the picture above. That’s the Elected Mayor, Marvin Rees (Labour); the Independent Police & Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens; Asher Craig and Cleo Lake. They carried the front of the enormous flag though the whole parade. Here we are temporarily halted while the police cleared some buses from the road ahead.
And finally, durign the afternoon the big screen in Millennium Square provided the first public showings of the Talking LGBT+ Bristol film produced by Bristol 24/7. The film is now available online, so you can all watch. My thanks to Caragh, Connie, James, the folks at Tusko Films, the Heritage Lottery Fund and all who made this possible. My OutStories Bristol colleagues, Charlie and Robert, are superb in this.
On the first Friday evening of each month proud car owners in Helsinki bring their beloved vehicles to the harbor where they can be admired by others. Otto and I took a trip to see the show. Here are some pictures.