June 27th, 2007

yeff yahoo avatar

at the end of the day in Portland

Done with second day of meetings in Portland. Now what remains is some organizing of stuff, going to the airport, buying gifts for C/E/A, and waiting for the late night flight back to Sacramento.

Work meeting went well - the team has a sense of what the architectural issues are that we'll be facing in FY2008, and what we'd like to be able to enable within the system. There was much discussion about needs and roles and what we all want out of the effort, and this was good.

The Fireside Coffee Lounge was packed when I arrived at 7:30 PM. I didn't recognize anyone there, so I went and hung out in a small room to the side. I worked on a full review of "The Game of Chase", where I read through the story on paper like I'm critiquing it. I thought there were some good items in the story, and that it has a good core, but I'm not too happy with it. I think it's a bit clumsy and expositional. I'm going to do a revision of the story over the next couple days then take Bruce Taylor up on his offer to read something (which hopefully still stands). I'll have to finish by Friday to make sure I can get it in the mail.

At about 8:45 or so, I went to get some tea and David Levine came over and said hello. He had arrived a little bit before. It turned out that most of the usual writing folks did not attend that night (it must have been me - ha ha!) and that the large crowd was some other groups that met occasionally. There was one more person there, Karen, and to my shame I do not remember her last name.

We hung out for a bit and chatted about work and writing. David pointed me towards some good sites with information about the markets: Broad Universe, run by Ralan, which covers markets and his response time experiences, and Black Hole at Critters, which lists response times as submitted by many people. Both are very useful.

David and Karen had to take off about 9:30 PM. I stayed around for another hour, drank my tea, and worked on "Witness". I made it through some tweaks on the first scene (in the bar) and wrote the second scene (Chang and the parole officer). It's going okay, we'll see if I can carry it through to the end (currently planned as more scenes).

So, all in all a decent night. I'm not tremendously happy with the two stories, but I can see they both have possibilities. I'm trying to use "Witness" to break out of some of my habits (a main character just like me; a lot of "business" narrative like "he looked" and "he said"; a more gritty and unpolished setting) and I'm feeling okay about that.

The response time information was a bit of a reality check, as it means that the 10 weeks I've waited for a response from Asimov's on "Apologies All Around" is fairly typical and means nothing (and in fact too soon to assume anything, based on the recent data). So, it's back to waiting. Waiting and writing. As David said, "This business takes a tremendous amount of patience. Just keep on writing."
yeff yahoo avatar

"The airplane requires some servicing"

These are words that strike fear into the heart of every traveler. Sitting here in the Portland airport, I have heard that phrase four times in the last hour. All four planes were Alaska/Horizon planes. The last time, it was was my plane. It's now delayed by at least 25 minutes.

This is after, on the way here, the following occurred: we pulled away from the gate; sat for a bit; the pilot announced "we have a quick maintenance issue"; we sat for a while; the pilot announced "there's a light on and we need to check it out"; we sat a bit longer; the pilot announced "we're going to pull back to the gate and reboot the plane"; we did so; the pilot said "ok, we're good to go." The delay ended up being about 40 minutes.

Overall I like Alaska/Horizon, but I think maybe it's time for them to get some new planes.

UPDATE: A new announcement that "The plane should be ready to go at 9:45 PM" (original departure time was 8:55 PM). I stand by my recommendation of new planes.

UPDATE 2: We finally left at around 10:00 PM, arriving in Sacramento at 11:40 PM. The plane managed to make it all the way there.