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Podcasts from Pasadena

So I’m back from Pasadena where I was a Guest of Honor at a small science-fiction convention called Westercon.

I was busy as an idol with twelve hands at the con, they had me give a lot of talks…more than I’d expected. One talk was on Transrealism, starting with a reading of my brief 1983 “Transrealist Manifesto”. The other talk on “New Futures in SF.” I’d outlined what I planned to say in this talk and posted it on my blog last week. But my actual talk was somewhat different. To hear my two talks, click the button below to go to Rudy Rucker Podcasts.

I’d forgotten my handy digital mini-recorder. Instead I borrowed a big microphone from the Westercon a/v guy, plugged it into my computer, and used the free Audacity software to turn my computer into a tape-recorder. Audacity rocks.

I took quite a few photos in Pasadena. When all else fails in terms of subject matter, I often take a photo of my bare foot. A human foot is, if you let its familiarity drain away, really quite odd-looking. We’re gnarlier than we realize.

One of the fans at the con was wearing an interesting hat which suggests an infinite regress, an endlessly branching binary tree. Or if the horns were to try and grab each other, you’d get something called Alexander’s Horned Sphere.

Here’s a picture of the Horned Sphere that I remember from a math textbook in college. Was the book by Kelly maybe? Here’s a video of it, too.

Speaking of interesting shapes, my wife and I spent some time in the Huntington botanical gardens near Pasadena, looking at the extensive succulent holdings. We were with Ernesto Hogan and his wife Emily Devenport (a.k.a Maggy Thomas a.k.a. Lee Hogan), all of these personae being writers. Ernesto is a cool guy, I’ve known him via letters and email for years.

This little row of cacti reminds me of a crowd of people. Maybe they’re gathered to listen to the cut-off bit of cactus in front.

I hung some prints of my paintings in the art-show at the con, and sold three of them, which was satisfying. Note that you can buy prints at anytime online from Sell it, Ru!

We had two kinds of views out of our hotel window. Looking in the middle distance we could see a very cool Christian Science church against a backdrop of these amazingly dramatic and steep mountains.

Looking closer, we could see this immense and insanely noisy roof fan connected to the HVAC system of the hotel. When did it become acceptable to put such noisy fans everywhere?

Sylvia and I made it down to the Pasadena Rose Bowl on the eve of Independence Day to see the “largest fireworks show on the West Coast.” It was an awesome spectacle, about half an hour of blasts, with a number of intricate rockets that were new to me. Crackling cascades of spark dust. Wriggly twirlers. It was cool being in such a huge, diverse crowd of SoCal people. The traffic was such that we had to walk the two or three miles back to the hotel.

One complaint is that it seems to have become de rigueur to play hideous, loud, corny, “patriotic” music at unheard of volumes at fireworks shows, thus saturating the audiences’ sensory inputs so much that it’s difficult to even perceive the fireworks themselves. I think the worst song they played was called, “Let Freedom Ring,” (but not the version I linked to here). When they stuck to Ray Charles or Bruce Springsteen it wasn’t so bad. I think they showed a video of Reagan too. But no picture of Obama.

Going around Pasadena, we made our way into somewhat louche restaurants, like a combined sushi-place and bar. They had a great red staircase to the restrooms.

Back at the con, I ran into the kilt-wearing Klingon, Sqottie MacKlingon. Somehow he and I had gotten into a debate about my opinion that the US military draws its members disproportionately from low-income and disadvantaged citizens, and Sqottie now produced a link to an article on the conservative Heritage Foundation site that seems to show that I could be wrong in my belief.

Statistics are a jungle. In any case, I’m better at talking about escape literature than debating political points. Getting deeper into the subdimensions or some other kind of new SF future.

4 Responses to “Podcasts from Pasadena”

  1. COOP Says:

    Shoot, if I had known you were in the area, I’d have dropped by to take you for a spin in the Model A!

  2. Rudy Says:

    COOP, I’d hoped to take some time and visit with you on Monday, but had to go back earlier than expected. But, yeah, should have thought of the potential spin in the car! Next time…

  3. geebert Says:

    “When did it become acceptable to put such noisy fans everywhere?”
    love the pics dude – great! cali beckons, as always.

  4. failrate Says:

    Re: recruitment pools.
    It varies depending on the personnel requirements. During times of relative peace, the requirements are stiffer (high school graduates or GEDs only, no felons). In more warlike times, the restrictions are loosened (for example, during WWII, people facing felony charges would often be given the option to enlist instead of doing jail time).
    I used to be a phone operator that did 1-800-GO-ARMY briefly, and I gotta tell you that every time one of those Army recruitment commercials would come on, we’d be inundated with calls from some of the most desperate young people. My heart really bled for them, especially considering that so many were ineligible because of their lack of a diploma or their possession of a felony conviction.

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