Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Freedom Summit, Sunday, 10 Oct.

I guess I'd better finish this tale before I grow old and forget my experiences of that day.

After breakfast I took a quick tour of the vendors' tables. I ended up at Claire Wolfe's table, at which I bought a few of her books, as I mentioned earlier. We had a conversation about her website and her blog. I got a quick look at L Neil Smith's "The Probability Broach," the new graphic version of Smith's 1980 novel, illustrated by Scott Beiser. Illustrated very well, I noticed--characters looking much as I imagined they might look. Ms Wolfe also informed me that Mr Smith was in the house--look for him this afternoon.

Barry Hess called the ball with a few announcements, then introduced the young lady whose name I can't recall (dammit), who spoke about the Free State Project. FSP has had a vote and decided that the Free State will be New Hampshire. "Twas not my choice, but I'm willing to listen. Ms FSP described the state, went over the relevent state laws re taxes, RKBA, work and business regs, etc. She actually did make the place sound pretty good, if you can deal with serious winter.

Next came Alan Bock. Mr Bock is a senior editorial writer for the Orange County (Calif) Register, and has a couple of books to his credit. I bought one of his books from him, "Showdown at Ruby Ridge," which he signed for me. We talked a bit abouyt the Register and his work there.

After lunch, as I headed back to the conference room, I spotted El Neil with a small group seated around the swimming pool wet bar. Of course, I went over there and introduced myself. He was with Scott Beiser and a few others. We talked about the new graphic novel, a copy of which he let me peruse further. We spoke about guns, his upcoming projects and a little about the screenplay I wrote for TPB. Others came and went, and before I knew it, I'd missed the rest of the speakers. There was a Women's Panel discussion and a humorist named Ken Schoolland. It's unfortunate that I missed this part of the Summit, but I've been hoping to meet El Neil for years, and regard it an equitable trade-off.

I spent the evening relaxing and reading, then hit the road in the morning for a pleasant, but uneventful drive home.

I'll recommend to anyone that the next Freedom Summit will be time and money well spent. Should Marc and Amy Victor, and Ernie and Donna Hancock, or any of the others involved in setting up the Freedom Summit read this, thanks a million!

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, January 07, 2005

The Shopping Mall

I avoid the malls between Thanksgiving and about the fifth of January each year. Today, I went to Barnes and Noble to find a couple of calendars. You know, the ones I didn't get because I avoided the malls. Everything went well except that I didn't find a good classic car calendar. I did buy a couple of books to make up for it.

One thing that's always bugged me, and I noticed it once again today.

Why do people stand on escalators? You can observe in any mall (the other ten months of the year), people walking briskly this way and that, from store to store, buying their stuff, etc. Then they come to an escalator. They pause, look for just the right treadle, and step deliberately onto it, looking like they don't know quite what to expect.

They stand rigid as a store mannequin all the way down (or up), obviously planning their escape at the end of the ride. Tension rules. They haven't concentrated this intensely since finals in their senior year. They stand transfixed by the approaching bottom (or top). Get ready. Don't want to get sucked down under the floor. Even worse, they don't want to stumble or look awkward to nearby observers or (shudder) their friends!

Have you ever been in an airport that has a slidewalk? You can walk alongside of it at normal walking speed (and take all day to get to your gate) or you can step (ever so gingerly) onto the slidewalk and stand there and move along a little faster than walking speed, and get to the gate a bit faster. Or you can casually walk onto the slidewalk, keep on walking along on it (there are usually signs (stand on the right, walk on the left, or suchlike), smoothly, without breaking stride and get to the gate much faster. The fat schlubs and the first time fliers from the bacckwoods, who in other countries would have their chickens with them, stand to the right. Those of us who want to get somewhere fly by 'em like a Barchetta past a school bus.

Anyway, the same thing goes with escalators. Walk right down (or up) 'em as if they were stationary stairs. Breeze right past the paralyzed standees as if they're displays of umbrellas. Step off the bottom like Gene Kelly off the curb.

Or take the elevator.....

Warmest regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California