Travel Travel Travel

Currently loitering in the Austin airport, heading toward to Maryland and Capclave, where I am the author Guest of Honor. This is what it looks like at the moment. Yes, Austin is actually monochromatic! It’s something they don’t tell you until you get here. Good barbeque, however.

The GDC Online presentation went well; you can see two articles on the presentation here and here. This was my first gaming conference, and I thought it was pretty interesting — a different mood and flavor than you would get at a science fiction convention, to be sure, but still populated with geeks. Geeks, man. They’re everywhere.

How is your day going?

35 Comments on “Travel Travel Travel”

  1. Yeah, there’s a lot to be said for being able to move between Salt Lick brisket tacos and Amy’s Ice Cream while waiting for a plane to arrive. And it’s not really a large enough airport to get lost in, which is always nice.

  2. Are you getting rain up the way? It’s pouring 90 miles south of you. At least you’re not out in it.

    Got to work early to get a good bit of stuff done that has to be ready by friday and this stupid computer crapped out on me, just got it back running. So what do I do? Get on the internet. Heck it’s almost lunchtime, anyway (11:30).

  3. Hi, John. Do you know when they plan on announcing specifics about the game? Do you know if they are planning an early or late 2013 release? I’m very interested to find out what you’ve been working on. :)

  4. It came to me the other day that the perfect double feature for you is “Dazed and Confused” with “Primer.” Both are set in Austin, Texas. “Dazed and Confused” (1993, Writer-Director: Richard Linklater, Starring: Jason London, Wiley Wiggins, and Matthew McConaughey) is about the stoners and “populars” of incoming high school and junior high classes on the last day of school, in May of 1976. “Primer” (2004, Writer-Director: Shane Carruth, Starring Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, and Casey Gooden) is about four nerd/geek friends and fledgling entrepreneurs, disacovering that there’s something vastly bigger and more paradigm-shifting than the different error-checking devices they’ve built, wrestling over their new invention, and using time travel to make an intricate interplay of multiple paths through the same plot events. Together, the two films show the same city, but from the major demographic categories of high school and college kids (“Primer having been partly shot on the UT campus). “Primer” was, dollar for dollar, the greatest Science Fiction film ever shot, though to understand it, one must see it several times, and read some blogs. Together, thy hit several of the high points of your own skill-set: plausible human characters, unlikely assumptions rigorously followed to surprising conclusions, believable dialogue (the stoner sound stoned, the geeks talk like real science students, with real equations, and business majors with real VC lingo), and sociological insights. Oh, and wasn’t [Michael] Michael Bruce Sterling born in Austin?

  5. Oh, you asked about MY day. My dog insisted vigorously that it was time for breakfast at 5:17. The sun was not yet up. She got fed (boiled chicken on a bed of two kinds of kibble), and the L.A. Times was in the driveway, and this time not unreachably under my wife’s car. I checked my email (something from Roger Malina, editor of Leonardo, on my novella “Qian Xuesen Meets Wernher von Braun” that dealt with his father, JPL co-founder Frank Malina, whose 100th anniversary of birth was this month), posted some comments and chapter 103.0 “Addicted to Surprise” of Batshit Crazy, then went back to bed. But NPR informed me that the Nobel Prize in Literature had been announced, so I got up again, and posted about that. Hope to watch more baseball on TV, and the Veep Versus Veep-wannabee. And need to write 4,000 words today, because a full-day of final Tax Year 2011 emails to and from my CPA, plus playoff games, blocked me from yesterday’s quota of 2,000 words/day of fiction writing. Same old, same old. Be sure to sample the BBQ at several Austin landmarks.

  6. Well, I had this brilliant plan to drop the kiddo off at preschool and go work out at the UNM gym, but I was foiled by something silly called Fall Break. Stupid university.
    Then I was going to go do some vigilante tree-trimming of some branches that mostly mask a street sign I use as a cue, but I was foiled by the branches being out of reach of my long-handled clippers. Street name signs are actually way up there! Silly signs.

    So I came home and did an aerobic workout in my own living room (not distracted by picking up toys! Really! — incorporated it by making myself do a full bend over and stand for each block I picked up.) And now that the living room is clean I am going to vacuum.

    I know, I know. my life is thrilling. :P

    Have fun at Capclave!

  7. Geeks, man. They’re everywhere.

    Age of the geek, baby.

    My day is going to be quiet, catching up with paying work and perhaps a bit of bowling before bed.

  8. If you need something interesting to do, there are usually some grackle nests in some trees located just outside the windows in the background of your picture. How many opportunities do you get to observe birds in their nests from above?

  9. Awakened by Buster barking ‘way too early. Went to the dentist and had a tooth hacked out. At least he gave me nice medicine to help me get through it — I don’t remember a thing. The rest of the day has *got* to be better. Keep Austin weird, man.

  10. Apropos of nothing, I was mildly annoyed to see that the ebook version of OMW has no cover. I know that’s out of your control and it’s not really important, but it kind of annoyed me. Curious if it was a rights issue or just some policy they have (especially given other book in the humble bundle have their covers intact). I know I’ve read some books from the library with the same odd choice…don’t know if they were tor books, though. I don’t think they were.

  11. @ M Barrett

    Given the local University color (most burnt-est orange), monochromatic would be an improvement. :P

    Hey! I made my window-dressings out of burnt-orange cloth – not quite the same hue as our school colors, mind you, and gauzy to go with my southwest-style desert motif, but still, there are worse colors. At least our mascot isn’t as bad as my undergraduate alma mater, Tommy Trojan. It could’ve been The Spirit of Troy, but nooo, that name had to go to the friggin’ marching band, so now our mascot sounds like a walking condom!

  12. Have a good time at Capclave – I’ve been trying to go for years, but life keeps getting in the way. It’s supposed to be a great little con. If your schedule allows, try and catch Jonah Knight – great music!

  13. would not be surprised if it was extremely crowded with all the bands coming in for the ACL Festival. Life is good the music starts tonight with Laura Marling then on to three days of the festival.

  14. Were you on your way to Capclave from someplace west of the Rockies? Otherwise, that sounds like a helluva detour from SW Ohio en route to Maryland.

  15. I just hope the airport Salt Lick wasn’t the only BBQ you sampled, because IMO Salt Lick has gone downhill over the years. Next time through, definitely check out County Line.

  16. Bruce Diamond – Flyover Land on the teeming Mississippi River – Despicably proud old man. Text-extruding asshole (thank you, John Scalzi) with a skewed vision on life, pop culture, writing and general assholiness. Not a scholar, not a gentleman, not Martin or Lewis. But still trying to make life fun and funny.
    Bruce Diamond

    Just having my latest “I’m still unemployed” panic attack, thanks.

  17. Pretentious Git,
    We live just south of Gaithersburg so Capclave is literally 10 minutes from my house. I had planned to sign up but accelerated the process when I saw you were the GOH. Really looking forward to your visit along with over 300 fellow registered attendees.

  18. Good day so far. Work is progressing nicely on the re-build of our back porch/addition. The second insurance check for this project arrived yesterday, which will keep the contractor happy. Spousal unit is on vacation for the next week & is happily watching ball games for the rest of the day. I’ve splurged on some Peak Organic Nut Brown Ale to go with the games.

  19. I came home from talking to a garden club about herbs and found my front yard full of “trees”. I first thought of the last act of MacBeth and then realized that it was Dayton Power and Light protecting us from power outages from our neighbors “trash trees.” Lavender wands will not cause this problem…

  20. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, now with more Klebin 3000

    Day is going good. New security windows, new alarm system and new exterior flood lights. Who knew a yoga studio would need so much security?

  21. Sat on my ass surfing the internet. Petted a kitty. Read some pretentious literary critique just to remind me why I don’t read lit-crit. Resolved to stick with the SF and mystery.

  22. I think remember you saying at the Houston Redshirts tour stop that it was your first time in Texas–and now you’re all over the state! I see you’ve learned that it grows steadily more desaturated the farther west you go.

    (and I didn’t flub any of my lines in rehearsal, so my day was pretty good.)

  23. As a former Austinite, I feel I should clarify: Austin is NOT actually monochrome. It’s just that the Texas humidity is so dense that it has a desaturating effect, like the inverse of a rainbow.

  24. I was working, taking consulting calls and preparing for my seminar trip next week. Speaking of which, I’ll be in your neck of the woods John. Seminar Tuesday in Ft Wayne, then Thursday in Cincinnati and Friday in Columbus. Can you, or anyone out there, recommend a good (not fast food) place for lunch in the Dayton area? I’ll be driving from Ft Wayne to Cincinnati on Wednesday and should be in the Dayton area around lunch time.

  25. It was great to see you talk at GDC online. I didn’t read the talk description closely and was shocked when I realized you were on stage and just started clapping loudly. Sorry about that. Can’t wait to play your and Alex’s game.

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