Monday, May 11, 2015

Random miscellanea

I'm sorry there haven't been any posts recently.  Life has been busy and then I was out of town for a bit.  So below are some random thoughts and events from the past few days.


First on the British election, boy howdy did everyone screw that up!  Talk about your Shy Tory effect in the polling.  When the BBC exit poll came out showing the Conservatives gaining seats, I like everyone else was convinced it was completely wrong since it flew in the face of all of the final polling.  But as I sat there watching the results coming in and it looked like they were right I just couldn't believe it.  And even the Beeb's prediction that there was still going to be a hung parliament turned out to be wrong.

There are a lot of pollsters in the UK with egg on their faces still.  It will be interesting to read the most mortems on that subject over the next few weeks.  Polling is not an exact science but for so many operations to miss by that much is stunning.

At any rate I would like to offer my condolences on the next five years to my friends in the UK.  Chins up, guys.  It will get better eventually.


One of the reasons I hadn't posted is that I took a long weekend and went to visit friends in the Bay Area.  I needed a change of scene and I needed to be in a real city.  So I went and hung out with my friend Elaine in Oakland and we had a chill weekend playing games.  We went into San Francisco do some shopping.  She wanted some new lingerie for a trip this week and I was there to offer my advice.  I know, it's a dirty job but someone has to do it.

We stopped in at an independent bookstore (yes, there are still a few left) and I bought myself a copy of The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft.  On the long drive back into Oakland (traffic was worse than usual for SF) Elaine asked me to explain who HPL was and after explaining that he was the father of modern horror I came to the realization that it is really hard to explain the attraction of his work to the non-fan.  Between his hyper-materialist worldview, his racism and anti-semitism and his incredibly verbose style of writing he doesn't sound all that appealing to the non-fan.  I need to work on a better explanation.


On Sunday, after leaving Oakland I stopped in Sacramento to have lunch with my friend Jen and her fiance, Matt.  This was something like the first time in 20 years I had seen her and it was so nice to catch up with her.  It was even more nice to see that not only had we both grown up over the past two decades but also that we were both still the very same twisted people underneath.


Lastly I'm going to sign off with a few Hugo related links.  Consider yourself duly warned.

The first is a post from John Scalzi on just why the Hugos are not actually being destroyed.  Basically Scalzi echos my argument that they found a flaw and exploited it but now that it's been exposed it can be fixed.  There may be a couple years of pain in the mean time but in the end the Hugos will come out stronger.  Of course since Scalzi is an excellent writer he says it better and with more wit than I could ever muster.

The second is a post from Jim C. Hines about how the Sad Puppy campaigns have broken a recent trend towards gender balance in Hugo nominations and that calls into question the whole puppy premise of promoting "good stories" rather than defending a white, male preserve.  As someone who is a statistician I think the Ns are too small to draw a really effective conclusion but he makes a good argument on the face of it.


  1. I prefer to think that rather than having grown up, we've grown more into the people we've always been but weren't always able, due to circumstances, able to be. If anything we've developed the knack for avoiding those circumstances (and people) that have hindered our manifestation. :)