A PUBLICATION OF THE WASHINGTON SCIENCE FICTION ASSOCIATION INC, WASHINGTON, DC
The regular First Friday in July meeting came to order at 9:20, 5 July 1991. Many members were attending CastleCon rather than being here. <The fools.>
President Tom Schaad quickly reclaimed the Throne after last meeting's coup d'etat by Secretary Lee Strong. See the July issue of The WSFA Journal for details.
Tom asked Lee to read the minutes of the last meeting. Lee pulled out a copy of the Journal and began reading. Mike Zipser quickly moved that the club wave the minutes at the Secretary, and it was so ordered.
Lee also asked that people who wish to appear on the WSFA First Contact List fill out a yellow card with name, address, telephone number, and other information fit for publication. Tom demonstrated how easy the process was.
Treasurer Bob MacIntosh reported $4962.12 in the club Treasury. Someone suggested a party but this idea failed for lack of a second. Susan Cohen suggested an audit of the books. John Pomeranz quickly interrupted, demanding that any audit be postponed until after he was out of town.
Entertainment Committee Vice Chairfan Alexis Gilliland said we just had a Fourth of July Party; it's too soon for a WSFA meeting, much less entertainment. John stated that we were going for quality versus quantity. Alexis pronounced himself "void of inspiration". Tom opined this that was a historic moment which we would long remember because Alexis is almost always inspiring.
Disclave Past Chairfan Peggy Rae Pavlat asked everyone to send your bills to Disclave Treasurer Steve Smith. The con will shortly give WSFA some more money. Robyn Rissell suggested we buy a clubhouse. John Pomeranz tactfully stomped down hard on Robyn's foot. There was a suggestion that we buy a club sandwich instead.
Covert Beach asked everyone to talk to Dan Hoey about honoraria.
Disclave Future Chairfan Mike Walsh announced that his con had a meeting last meeting. (I'm not making this up, folks.) Covert listed a number of appointments, all of which will be changed by con time. To practice for his planned absence from Disclave 1992, the Chairfan announced that he would be out of town for 2 weeks, and people should call Covert.
Mike also invited John Pomeranz and Kathi Overton to drop by his hotel room on Memorial Day weekend 1992 to celebrate Disclave West.
Fine Arts Chairfan Lance Oszko reported that he will visit the ASFA meeting at Chicon in order to buttonhole the ASFAns.
Joe Mayhew, WSFA Archivist and historian, reported that he had the Sturdy Woman Cabinet. He is assembling an official club historical collection, including WSFA Journals and con program books. He is looking for copies of some of the Rachel Russell Journals and copies of all of the Lee Strong Journals.
John Pomeranz, Chairfan of the Committee With An Incredibly Long And Silly Name That I'm Not Going To Have To Worry About Any More, rose to deliver his final report. Covert Beach asked if John wanted the club and/or Committee to pay for Law School? Proving that he is already a lawyer, John took 56 words to say Yes. Mike Zipser pointed out that WSFA only had $4962.12 in the Treasury. He asked what John would do to pay for the second week of law school. John answered that he was really interested in how much money Peggy Rae made from Disclave.
Erica Van Dommelen asked if President Schaad should appoint a successor to the Committee. Tom said that it was time to retire the Committee. John screamed, "Not until I can cut the check!" Tom ruthlessly rammed the motion thru the club. Frustrated, John attempted to assassinate our beloved President, but failed. Flushed with victory, Tom laughed, stating, "You'll make a parliamentarian out of me yet!"
Joe Mayhew suggested that we entomb the Committee in a full sized pyramid built out of WSFA's secret cache of pegboard. Lee asked Tom if there was any particular spin that he wanted put on the last five minutes. Shaking his head, Tom replied, "Anything I could say will pale compared to what you will do without instruction." (Moi?)
John Sapienza asked if we were going to put a spin on a pyramid. Joe remarked that a spin would make the pyramid go in easier. John Pomeranz stated that the victim of a pyramidal insert would really walk like an Egyptian. He then gave a demonstration <which was indistinguishable from his usual waddle>.
With yet another coup attempt crushed, Tom moved confidentially onward to the New Tradition. Since he remembered the First New Tradition, he violated the Second New Tradition. Jen Smerloe and Rick "Fred" Blanklook are attending their first WSFA meeting. Jen loves science fiction and recently moved to the University of Maryland from State College, Pennsylvania. On the advice of John Pomeranz, Rick respectfully refused to answer on the grounds that it might tend to incriminate himself. Alexis Unknown is attending his 2nd WSFA meeting this week. No one was attending their third meeting.
John Pomeranz and Kathi Overton joined the parade of those attending their last WSFA meeting. The club gave an Aaah of sorrow. Joe asked if they would introduce themselves. John introduced himself to Kathi and Kathi introduced herself to John. Rowdie Yates remarked that they must be Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Susan Cohen corrected him, stating that the pair were Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber.
Old Business: The Third Friday meeting in July will be held at Peggy Rae's Place. However, the host will be Dan Hoey. Please pass the word around. John Pomeranz suggested that people requiring directions could call Erica on Friday before the meeting. Erica replied people could IF they wanted to sacrifice a few nonessential organs thru electric surgery.
The Third Friday in August meeting will be at the Bloom/Morman house.
Tom mentioned a few of our options, including finding a central site for future Third Friday meetings, or finding multiple locations. Matt Leger suggested we look for a Maryland location. Dan stated that we might have to take what we can get. The idea of meeting in Washington was quickly shouted down. We orbit Washington; we don't land in it.
Joe suggested possibly renting a place. Tom asked Joe to look into the idea. Peggy Rae pointed out that location rent could eat up a big chunk of the WSFA Treasury really quick. Susan suggested that an apartment complex social room is a possibility.
The issue of a regular Third Friday location was not resolved. Tom requested that we continue to think about the issue because we need a solution. Abner Mintz suggested a site in central Pennsylvania. After all, he commutes to WSFA from there; so, why not the reverse? Tom went Oouuggh, and changed the subject.
Under New Business, Alexis offered 3 pounds of kosher franks for $6, proceeds to benefit WSFA.
Peggy Rae then proposed that the club have a tribute for the Bloom/Morman family for having meetings at their place for 7 years. John Pomeranz asked if NOT having meetings at their place wasn't tribute enough. Susan and Erica suggested we send flowers to Kent & Mary's new house. Peggy Rae thought buying them dinner might be more appropriate. Tom suggested an American Express gift certificate for dinner would be good. Joe moved the club buy a $50 gift certificate but amended the amount to $100 on the suggestion of Mike Walsh and Bob MacIntosh.
The question was raised Did the club give the Oliver or the Gilliland families similar tributes? Joe suggested taking up a collection for flowers instead. Matt expressed concern about draining the Treasury if we gave everyone who worked hard a tribute.
Joe then moved that the whole issue of giving and what to give be referred to the Executive Board [the officers, Trustees, and Disclave Future Chairfan]. After some debate, this motion passed many to one. Tom stated that the Board would decide between food or flowers. <Split the difference: give them a bag of flour!>
Also under New Business, Beth Zipser suggested that the financing of the annual WSFA Press book, produced in conjunction with Disclave, be transfered from the Disclave account to the WSFA account. The DisChair would continue to select the author and control the various publication details, but checks would be written by the club Treasurer rather than the con Treasurer. At this time, this concept is for discussion only. Beth did not put it into the form of a motion.
Alexis suggested that Beth put her idea into a letter to The WSFA Journal so that people could read it and think about it. Beth groaned at the thought of writing something. She expressed concern that Roger MacBride Allen would grade it. (No, Beth. Roger worked for the previous Editor.) Lee stated a contribution to the Journal did not have to be in letter form. Disclave ideas and discussions are of sufficient importance to merit their own section in the Journal. See "My Life as a Badger" in this issue.
The Secretary announced something or other about accuracy in the media being important. <Obviously, he's never read The WSFA Journal!>
John Pomeranz announced the Fabulous Bungalow Tag Sale 13-14 July 1991. Assisted by his lovely assistants, Kathi Overton and Robyn Rissel, John displayed several of the strange and wonderful bargains to be had: a grabbie from Larry Niven's Known Space suitable for removing nonessential organs mechanically; a ceramic Opus the Penguin telephone; the actual Disclave 1992 Chairfan prior to Mike Walsh; a moneysucking bud from the star of Little Shop of Horrors, Audrey III; a rubber squid for those who need extra suction; an East European roller duck -- wind it up and it quacks up; and a Cyalume light stick -- it glows in the dark so you can see what you're getting into. The audience applauded the tease.
Joe Mayhew has books for sale at $1 per virgin.
Susan Cohen announced that Traincon II is dead, Jim. While 15 people expressed interest, only 5 checks did.
Matt Leger is looking for a Chicon membership. See him offline.
Bob Oliver announced that the Commander in Chief of the Military Airlift Command congratulated Bob's reserve unit for single handedly winning Operation Desert Storm.
Chuck dIvIn submitted to a Texas Art Show. His effort won the Best Amateur award.
Chuck also found a group stranger than sc*nc* f*ct**n fans: actors! He made his stage debut recently.
Lance Oszko announced that he has a machine that converts furrin tapes into Amurricans. See his advertisement in the back of The WSFA Journal.
Mike Walsh announced that he had no books to sell. The club gasped.
However, he had couple of movie reviews. Terminator 2 is pretty good. (See review on page 8 of this issue.) Aliens 3 will be released on Earth in 1992. The working advertising slogan is: "On Earth, everyone can hear you scream."
o [Inserted] Lee Strong announces that he got a pseudo-promotion at work. No extra pay but he gets to sit in his boss' office and do her work as well as his own. Being the boss for a couple of weeks will look good on the old resume, tho.
Erica Van Dommelen moved that we adjourn. The club adjourned unanimously at 10:12.
...* * *...
The WSFA Journal is the off line newsletter of the Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA), Inc.
Publisher ....................................... Tom Schaad
Editor-in-Chief ................................. Lee Strong
Muse .................................... Erica Van Dommelen
Ace Reporter .................................. Digger Downs
Star Reporter .............................. Alf A. Centauri
Junior Reporters ...
Red Allover, Medea Bias, T. J. Crosser, I. Dotter,
Justy Faxx, Hector Freely, Byron Line, Flip Pant, Brandy
Snifter, Paige Turner, Blake N. White
Legal Reporter ............................ Parry Ann Thrust
Military Reporters ............ Norman Horde, Patton Leather
Money Reporter ................................ Bill Melatur
Photographers ... Peter Parker, Wilhelm Roentgen, Vicki Vale
Proofreadurs ...... Biil Smith, Terry Thommas, Jill Willyams
Door Guards ...................... Melvin Maneuver, Jack Uzi
Should "badgers" join the "gophers" as permanent con fixtures? Based on my experiences at Disclave 1991, the answer is Yes.
Con security is a perennial problem due to the continued presence of chiseling freeriders and menacing "cyberpunkers". I think that Matt Leger and the volunteer badge checkers deserve WSFA's thanks for helping make con security 1991 a success. This year's con was noticeably quieter, less stressful and generally nicer than even the good cons of the past.
It should be noted that the overwhelming majority of fans support good con security. The average fan feels threatened by leather and metal, and feels ripped off by chiselers. Good security compliments fannish hospitality rather than opposing it.
Badge checking was generally performed at key choke points. These included the entrance to the con suite, the entrance to the art show/programming area, and the entrance to the dealer's room. The "common area" in the hotel lobby was generally left to the hotel staff altho badgers passing back and forth provided quiet reminders for a few.
This policy proved extremely successful for several reasons.
First, checking at obvious entrances to con turf avoided arguments about authority. If a person is obviously trying to enter a con area, he cannot argue -- as some did last year -- that he is "really" just hanging out near the con rather than trying to get into the con.
Second, passive checking kept security "out of people's faces". No con security person that I know wants to hassle anyone. By putting limits on ourselves, we avoided the problem of a suspicious security force questioning an innocent person. Fans are not immune to overreacting to people based on their looks! Especially since many attendees dress in order to provoke a reaction.
In this regard, I suggest that we continue to examine "cyberpunkers" closely for possible weapons policy violations. While most are just fans who want an awesome look, some costume accessories are potentially dangerous. The report about one wannabe attendee wearing X-acto knives strapped to his arm proved true.
Closely related to good con security itself is the DisCave (tm) policy of not allowing food out of the con suite. This contributed to overall neatness because people were not dumping food and/or containers all over the hotel grounds. From a security standpoint, this prevented crowds of freeriders from collecting: one person could not buy a badge and then carry food out to feed a dozen friends. This policy should definitely be continued next year.
Another suggestion that I would make is that con security 1992 consider closely checking badges with stickers over the names. While this was used for role playing this year, the potential for multiple people using one badge is obvious. I suggest that badgers ask for a covered badge, peel off the sticker and ask the person what name is on the badge. If the wearer doesn't know or match his/her alleged name, the badge should be confiscated until a better explanation is forthcoming. However, badgers should be careful to ask for the name on the badge as some people sign themselves "Bruce Wayne" or "Diana Prince".
Dual guards should be used when possible at certain critical points during peak hours. These points include the entrance to the dance area during the dance, and the entrance to the con suite, especially at night. Traffic is especially heavy during these times, and a single guard is often not sufficient to question every badgeless person in the crowd. Con suite door guards should face in opposite directions. One should eyeball for freeriders trying to crash while the other eyeballs suite visitors trying to take stuff out. Con staff might make arrangement with the guards for food & drink runs as required.
Good security is well supervised security. The badgers should know when and where to grab a "higher authority". The timely appearance of a fannish "authority figure" can solve many problems with hotel and guests alike.
Another important factor in maintaining good con security is continuity and consistency. We want the word to get out that our Disclave is Not ABUSER Friendly! If potential troublemakers know that they will be turned away, they will be less likely to come at all.
Above all, badgers should be both confident and courteous! Badgers are supporting hospitality, not hostility.
To summarize, let me recount the story of "Mr. Devil" and the Badgers, which illustrates several features of good badge checking.
Saturday afternoon, I was working the Information Desk when a fan hurried up to report that an attendee was wearing X-acto knives strapped to his arm. She approached me since I was wearing my checker badge even "off duty". I got the facts about the costume and last known location. Finding him sitting peacefully in the hotel bar, I did NOT approach but located Committee member Covert Beach for a quick reality check. We agreed that "Mr. Devil" was just hanging out and did not pose an immediate threat to the con. Accordingly, we left him in the bar, and I returned to Information.
"Mr. Devil" then showed up at Registration with an entourage, inquiring about day passes. The registrars said no day passes, and the entire crew turned to leave. However, they paraded out via the Dealers' Room rather than the Open Area door. So I jumped up and followed along until I was sure that "Mr. Devil" found the nearest exit. With the help of the Dealer's Room badger, he did, and that was the last we saw of him during Disclave 1991.
We avoided both confrontation with and overreaction to a hotel guest. But, we were right on the spot to prevent trouble before it happened. That's what badgers are for.
In conclusion, badge checking is a necessary evil if we want to continue real fannish hospitality. And again, a big WELL DONE to Matt and the Badgers of 1991.
Write a review? No problemo!
The Return of Arnie is well worth watching. Lots of weapons play and emotional violence can not disguise a superior film.
Like all good sequels, it is not a simple repeat of the original. Arnie's Terminator 101 is considerably more subtle than the original series' 600 series model. By contrast, Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor has trouble finding her balance in this one, oscillating from Warrant Officer Ripley, Jr. to preachy mouthpiece and back. Appropriately, T1's relentless juggernaut advance is replaced by some well drawn character development and the interaction among the various people. Some of them have calcium bones, some have metal, but all are people.
Many viewers will object to the frequent gunfire and explosions. They're here, no doubt, but more subtly done than in many films. Young John Connor invents a version of the First Law of Robotics to restrain Arnie. The results are amusing, altho, admittedly, on a horrific level. I found Sarah's pontificating on the obvious less logical and more annoying.
The final battle between the rival terminators is extraordinarily well done. The robots fight at robot speed, literally blurring before human eyes. Yet, through skillful camerawork, the critical moments and flow of the battle are made clear to the viewer. A technical tour de force for which both director and camerahumans deserve kudos.
I rate Terminator 2: Judgment Day as Superior. Hasta la vista, baby. --LS
It occurred to me while I was watching our excellent heroes that it's been a while since I actually saw a totally low budget SF movie. This is not a low budget effort, but it has the feel of one.
The heroes of the previous Excellent Adventure return to confront the problems of more-or-less adulthood with their mixture of innocence and determination. However, their nemesis from the 27th Century sends a couple of evil robot twins back in time to polish off the heroes before they can bring peace and happiness to the world thru rock'n'roll. The robots succeed, sending our lovable goofs on a grand tour of the afterlife, including ghosthood, the New Age, Hell and Heaven.
This is fairly well done. The outrageous situations compensate for the chaotic plot and limited character development. The music and sound effects are pretty good as well. But the real strong point is skillful -- if limited -- handling of fairly outre scenes. Many have wondered what Heaven is like. Bill & Ted learn that even a christianoid Heaven is a real party.
One interesting note is the extensive use of time travel and some of its paradoxes. This is handled better than some films as the heroes and villain try to out-trump each other in the final showdown. The energy and adroit silliness soar where the intricate but pompous Millennium dragged.
Despite the temptation to rate this film "excellent", I can only rate Bogus Journey as Above Average. --LS
(All letters reprinted from the July 1991 Sky & Telescope.)
In the June, 1990, issue Alan MacRobert remarks that he has never seen the companion to Antares in a 6-inch telescope (page 604). I have seen it through a 4½-inch f/8 Newtonian reflector.
I was observing Antares with a friend who had his 8-inch f/7 Newtonian trained on it as well. I was using a 10-millimeter Plössl eyepiece for a magnification of 92x, and I believe my friend was using a 16-mm König for 91x. The sky was very dark and transparent.
At first neither of us could see the companion. But as the seeing improved and Antares approached the meridian, my friend glimpsed the 5.4-magnitude secondary in his scope. I then tried using a green filter, which cut down Antares' light to a surprising degree, and eventually saw the companion in my scope.
The problem is that the companion is buried right inside Antares' first diffraction ring in my scope. So the trick was knowing where to look and waiting for those rare moments when the seeing deteriorated just enough to break this ring without destroying the image of the fainter star.
Pineville, La. 71360
Thank you for the excellent article on Albert Ingalls and Russell Porter (February issue, page 140). It has long concerned me that far too many of the younger generation probably do not know who the real pioneer "telescope nuts" were that founded our hobby in North America.
I never met either man in person, but I corresponded with Unk Ingalls back in the early 1950's, mostly on the mathematics of scope design. At that time I was living in McAllen, Texas, the area where Ingalls served in the military in 1916 along the Mexican border. As the article indicates, his correspondence often deviated from telescope making, and in my case it frequently digressed to his wartime experiences. As an indication of the accuracy of his memory, he sketched the county courthouse that he hadn't seen in some 35 years -- it looked like the original.
It might interest others to read his recollections of military service, including excerpts from his diary. I have these in my
The star 40 Eridani has a regular spot cycle like the Sun's, as revealed by long-term monitoring. On this scale the Sun's surface magnetism at sunspot minimum is 1.0. Illustration courtesy Sallie Baliunas.
This year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the launch of two important enterprises. One is the HK Project at Mount Wilson Observatory, where astronomers have been monitoring surface magnetic activity on 100 solar-type stars to understand our own Sun's magnetic history. The other is the starship Enterprise on the television series "Star Trek." Surprisingly, the two have more in common than their silver anniversaries.
One of the TV show's main characters, Mr. Spock, hails from the planet Vulcan. The star around which Vulcan orbits was never identified in the original series or in any of the feature films based on it and so has never been officially established. But two candidates have been suggested in related literature, and both stars have been studied by the HK Project.
Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in the original "Star Trek" series. Copyright 1978 by Paramount Pictures Corp.
Star Trek 2 by James Blish (Bantam, 1968) and Star Trek Maps by Jeff Maynard and others (Bantam, 1980) name the star 40 Eridani as Vulcan's sun. The Star Trek Spaceflight Chronology by Stan and Fred Goldstein (Pocket, 1980) cite Epsilon Eridani instead.
We prefer the identification of 40 Eridani as Vulcan's sun because of what we have learned about both stars at Mount Wilson. The HK Project takes its name from the violet H and K lines of calcium, both sensitive tracers of stellar magnetism. It turns out that the average level of magnetic activity inferred from the H and K absorptions relates to a star's age; young stars tend to be more active than old ones (S&T: December, 1990, page 589). The HK observations suggest that 40 Eridani is 4 billion years old, about the same age as the Sun. In contrast, Epsilon Eridani is barely 1 billion years old.
Based on the history of life on Earth, life on any planet around Epsilon Eridani would not have had time to evolve beyond the level of bacteria. On the other hand, an intelligent civilization could have evolved over the aeons on a planet circling 40 Eridani. So the latter is the more likely Vulcan sun.
In that case, Mr. Spock's daytime star is a 4.4-magnitude multiple system about 16 light-years from Earth. Presumably Vulcan orbits the primary star, an orange main-sequence dwarf of spectral type K1. Data from the HK Project reveal that it has a starspot cycle of roughly 11 years, just like the Sun (see the diagram above).
Two companion stars -- a 9th-magnitude white dwarf and an 11th magnitude red dwarf -- orbit each other about 400 astronomical units from the primary They would gleam brilliantly in the Vulcan sky with apparent magnitudes -8 and -6, respectively.
and GEORGE NASSIOPOULOS
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Cambridge, Mass. 02138
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Los Angeles, Calif. 90038
Please tell 'em in the WSFA Journal
We'll be there on or about August 8, 1991
P.S. Can we get the Journal mailed to the above address?
(We'll pay postage)