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					         I thought a lot about what I should do for     for the fact that it’s 1/4 of the
my 250th issue. I thought, at first, that I should do   way to 1000, an issue where I’ll
a long special issue about something like wres-         get articles that are all 1000
tling or those 5 Old Guys who have been since           words long! That’s a bit of for-
a major influence on my fanac. Instead, I figured       ward planning, since that’s at
that I’d do the most typical Drink Tank ever: that      least 15 years away if I manage
is to say one that resembles other Drink Tanks          to keep working at this pace.
at least a little.                                              This issue features
         And how can you say an issue of The            another awesome Mo Starkey
Drink Tank resembles the other issues of the            cover, plus words from my pal
Drink Tank? That’s a hard question. I think first       and current European TAFF
it has to have the sense that there’s no continu-       administrator. There’s word
ity to it, that it exists completely seperate of all    from New Zealand and our
the others. It holds itself as itself. Inconsistency,   pal Dan Spector. There’s Taral
that’s the new consistency!                             Wayne, a look at Chili, a look
         I love the Drink Tank. I always have. At       at the latest Stephen Baxter
one point or another, everything in my life has         novel, and so much more.
taken a backseat to it for some brief period of                  By the way, I’m looking
time. There are things I don’t like about it, like      for folks to join me in my at-
the fact that it’s so very poorly edited, but I also    tempt to do an issue dedicated
love how minty fresh much of the material is            to Mr. Baxter, so if you’ve read
because we come out so often. I think I plateued        any of his stuff, drop me a line
a long time ago and only when I bring in James          and I’ll drag you into me per-
or someone else to help out does it significantly       sonal Hell! I want to get at least one article on    who I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with
improve. For that, I have to thank James Bacon,         every one of his novels and some on his various      more than once over the years, including at
and I should also note Taral Wayne and Brad             short stories. He’s got a seriously varied body of   teh 2002 WorldCon in San Jose. We did an oral
Foster and Mo and Genevieve and Steve Stiles            work, with Hard SF, some fun Steampunk, some         history with him at the Museum and he had al-
and Steve Green and Frank and Brianna and               great alternate history and YA and on and on         ready sent me back the questionaire which I’ve
Derek McCaw and Eric Mayer and Steven Silver            and on. I’m really hoping I can read at least 5      been sending to a bunch of science types and a
and John Pucell and Claire Brialey and my cousin        more of his books.                                   bunch of fans. It’s gotten a few great responses.
Claire and the Lovely & Talented Linda and Lloyd                 So, what else does this issue hold? A few           Mitch Kapor is one of the most influen-
Penney and all the rest for all their help. It          articles from me on topics ranging from Chili        tial people in the history of Personal Comput-
would really be impossible without y’all!               to Video Game Music to Con Newsletters.              ing. Lotus 1-2-3 would be enough, but if you
         And of course, as always, there’s the          There’s Taral Wayne and there’s Steve Green          factor in his co-founding of the EFF, you’ve got a
ever-present spectre of my Pops. I’m so glad he         and there’s Steve Wozniak and there’s Mitch          majorly important individual.
got to see at least the first 75 or so issues.          Kapor.                                                       So, this one’s got some good stuff going
         So, this issue isn’t anything special, save            Wait... Steve Wozniak?                       on!
                                                                Yes, Steve Wozniak. He’s a good guy
The Right Way
Christopher J Garcia
        There is actually a right way to run a
newsletter at a con. There is a wrong way, actu-
ally a dozen wrong ways, I imagine, but the right
way I’ve only seen once.
        The first thing you need is someplace
to do it. I have headquartered Newsletters in
Fanzine Lounges (worked to a degree), ConOps
(did not work at all!), and in Internet Lounges
(which I’d say was pretty sucessful). Having a
dedicated office is usually the best idea. It gives
a place for folks to concentrate and folks will
know where to go with news.
        Next, a serious staff. That doesn’t mean
you need serious journalist types, but you need
folks who are willing to be a part of a newsletter.
You need at least 4 people to write for you and
one person to layout each issue. It’s probably a      high-speed priner that can be relied on to go for     couple that had photo editors and all of them
good idea to have at least one person who is          at least a thousand copies in an hour would be        had Microsoft Office, I think. In addition, most of
reasonably good at proof-reading to look over         ideal. Two would be even better. A photocopier        the members of the team had their own com-
each issue. It’s smarter to have more, but that’s     can also work just fine. Printers give you better     puters, including me. That allowed us to work
the minimum, really.                                  quality, for the most part.                           outside the newsletter office. We had a guy who
        Now, there’s a list of material you’ll need            There is only one problem with having        was a photographer, and also an amazing guy! Bo
that’s pretty substantial. You’ve got to have at      printers in the office: people will want to use       was his name and I think he was one of the best
least one computer with a lay-out program, a          them. There will, inevitably be no other available    things about the newsletter.
photo-editing program, a word processor and,          printer at the hotel, so folks will come. Saying no           Now, Wilf had two other editors. They
preferably, the Internet. Multiple computers          can be a good idea, or setting hours when only        each took one daily edition of the newsletter to
are also a very good idea, and that means you         Newsletter Printing can happen. On the other          act as lay-out and editorial. It was a smart idea.
need some way to get files between machines,          hand, you can gain serious points with some divi-     Wilf had thought that having each editor have
even though you could just use eMail, but             sions by allowing them some printing time.            their own team was a good idea, but I think that
thumbdrives/flash cards and so on are even fast-               The best newsletter I ever worked on         having a larger pool working on all issues was an
er and easier to use, for the most part. Cameras      was the one at the 2010 Eastercon. Wilf, the          even better idea. It allowed for those of us who
are a good get too., as are scanners. A printer       dude who put the newsletter team together,            wanted to write a lot to write a lot and those
is nearly essential, though I’ve done newsletters     had a great idea. He got several computers, I         who only wanted to write one or two things a
without having on-site printing capabilities. A       think 4, that all had Microsoft Publisher, and a      day to do that too. it made it much easier.
         The flow went well. If there was a need       every computer is the Newsletter page. That’s a         help. The cost of a print newsletter is getting
for extra content, we had all sorts of photos. If      good way.                                               steeper, and that’s not good at all.
we had too much, we could just float stuff over                Of course, there’s a new technique that                 So, Newsletters are tricky. I’ve now done
to the next editor. They did 3 issues that came        I’ve used once or twice. You can put out an all-        four of them as a writer and 3 of them as some
out between 8 am and 8 pm. That’s one issue            electronic version. You make a PDF, and have            form of editor (inclduing the 2008 Westercon
every 4 hours. I was very pleased to work on           stations where people can pull them onto their          where it was a staff of 3 or 4 total) and it’s never
that schedule. I enjoyed the hell out of the con       devices. it’s a fun way to do it! It might not be the   easy, but once in a while, it’s really great fun1
because the newsletter schedule was so smartly         time to make that the regular, but it can certainly
put together.
         The BayCon Newsletter was slightly
chaotic. The original editor didn’t show. That
meant I had to do the layout, which was rough as
I also had a fan table to run. I did the first three
issues on my laptop. Michael Siladi acted as the
editor, and he was also Sign Shop, so he could
print the issues we would end up photocopying.
It worked pretty well and I thought we man-
aged to do a decent little newsletter, especially
considering the number of folks we had. We had
good art, some nice writing and 2 really good
photographers. If I do it again next year, I’d to-
tally like to have the Newsletter Office in among
the Fan Tables. There are two rooms right there
that could totally be used, and it would make it
easier for folks around the con to come in, pick
up stuff and submit things. It’d also help with get-
ting reporters out to events as it’s more in the
line with where the regular attendees are.
         There are other tricks. You really should
try to get the newsletters on to the webste
so folks can check them on-line or with their
phones. I think that’s a good call, though no
question that more folks will grab them to read
them off a hard copy at the con than will spend
their time looking up the latest newsletter on
the computer. Another idea is to have the In-
ternet Lounge set-up so that the homepage for
                                                                         sacs, the bags may build        sack. And another for each of my winter coats.
                                                                         up into archeological           And… no… I guess that will do for now.
                                                                         strata. At top, the current              I got the idea from my reading glasses,
                                                                         era. Below that, the            actually. They were only a buck a pair, so I
                                                                         Pizziferous Age. The            bought one for anything I might leave the
                                                                         Paleoburger Period. The         house dressed in. That way, I was never in
                                                                         Chowmein Era… And so            the embarrassing position of having to ask
                                                                         on, until you reach pre-        someone else to read the fine print on the back
                                                                         Plasticene pavement.            of something I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy.
                                                                                  On the surface,                 But banning the bag altogether? What
                                                                         putting a price on single-      will I use for garbage? Clearly, I’m not the only
                                                                         use, plastic shopping bags      one who uses redundant plastic bags to line
                                                                         may seem like a good            the kitchen garbage pail? It’s so much easier
                                                                         idea. But for some it isn’t     than carrying the can to the chute to empty it
                                                                         going-Green enough. Oh,         – and cleaner, too! Then too, what would I do
                                                                         no…. Nothing less than          whenever a friend asked me for a bag to carry
                                                                         banning the bag altogether      home a loan of books or movies? What would
                                                                         will do. No throw-away          I use to dispose of dirty cat litter? Will I have
                                                                         bags at all – not for a         to buy a supply of plastic bags for the many re-
                                                                         nickel, not for a dollar, not   uses a “single-use” bag is put to?
                                                                         nohow.                                   It doesn’t end there, either. There
                                                                                  It must be said        have been calls to ban plastic containers for
                                                                         that the public has taken       fast food, plastic trays in grocery stores and
         Earlier this year, the city of Toronto    well to the campaign to keep discarded bags           styrofoam cups for take-out coffee as well. All
enacted a by-law that required all retailers to    off our streets so far. A nickel is not so much       packaging might well be in danger! One can
sell the plastic bags we have come to regard       that it hurts when you must buy a bag, but it         easily imagine where this might end.
as a birthright whenever we make a purchase.       does give one incentive to come prepared.                      Let’s imagine it’s a beautiful July
Will you need a bag with that, sir? That’s five    Sales of re-usable cloth, raffia, paper and hemp      afternoon, and I’ve decided on a stroll. As usual,
cents, please.                                     bags have risen like the price of gold after the      I’ve decided to walk up to the neighborhood
        There was reason in this madness.          Wall Street Crash of 2008. Although it is a           mall and see what’s on sale at the Wall-Mart
Anyone who has taken a walk within a mile of       bit of a nuisance when you forget your bags           and Toys-R-Us. I’d have a coffee and donut at
an urban center knows that plastered against       and then have to pay good money because               Tim Hortons, then pick up a few groceries at
every bush, every fence, every wall, every         you did remember to bring home milk at the            the No-Frills to carry home. In the old days,
parked car, and every senior citizen with a        last minute, the change has not been too hard         all I needed was my pants and wallet, basically.
walker, will be at least one discarded plastic     to adapt to. I simply bought a cloth bag for          But we’re Green now, and that demands a little
bag that has taken up permanent residence.         every pair of pants I own, and another for            forethought.
In corners that are especially efficient cul-de-   my backpack and one more for my shoulder                       Suppose I were to just leave the house
as in the old days? What would happen? First        Machete? You’re all set to go now, whether to     plastic ones, and would end up using them for
thing, I’d have to consider whether or not I        the corner store or to climb the summit of Mt.    my banana peels, burrito wrappers, carrot ends
could carry home under my arm a die-cast            Kilamanjaro.                                      and empty cans. The only difference would be
Chevy Nomad Station Wagon, an 8-inch figure                 *Sigh.* Fashion will never be the same.   that I’d be paying $1 or more for garbage bags
of Betty Boop, a pack of rechargeable batteries             At least that would solve my problem      instead of getting them free.
and the Red Dwarf Edition Etch-A-Sketch.            with finding garbage bags. There’s no doubt               The benefits of going Green are indeed
After I had reluctantly abandoned the Boop          that after a while I’d have as many cloth bags    many.
or the batteries, I’d remember that the cup of      under the kitchen sink as I used to have of the
coffee I was looking forward to would have to
be sipped from my cupped hands… because
I brought nothing to pour it into. I brought
no napkins for my donut, either. At least the
boiling hot coffee would be perfect for washing
my hands the sticky sugar off my hands. Good
thing that I wasn’t in the mood for soup!
Worse is to come, though, if I expect to bring
home two pounds of lean ground hamburger.
I’ll have to stuff it in my pockets! Discretion
being the better part of valour, it would
probably be for the best to leave ice-cream
until the next trip.
         Unless, that is, I broke down and just
bought myself another couple of reusable cloth
         What is the alternative? It seems to
me that we would be forced to carry with
us, at all times, everything we might possibly
need. Our shirts and jackets, pants and jeans
would be festooned with pockets, large and
small. Going out? Check to see you have your
collapsible cup and bowls, as well as knife, fork
and spoon. Be sure you have a container that
seals, several Zip-Loc bags, a large shopping
bag and a couple of bungee cords – you never
know when you’ll need ‘em. Pack a few napkins.
Better still, a towel you can launder. Soap may
not be a bad idea, either. Matches? Compass?
On the Philosophy of Chili                             it’s chili, but the ones I don’t finish are obviously
                                                                                                               various different concepts for a chili powder
                                                                                                               to add to various chilis. I like to have no more
                                                                 The thing is, Chili is often a part of        than 7 ingredients for my own chili powders. I
         To be honest, chili is not a dish. It is not
                                                       something bigger than itself. It’s either an            like to have them in several different balances,
a single recipe, or even a group of recipes. It is
                                                       ingredient in another dish, or it’s a part of a         some heavier on the sweet or the hot than on
a philosophy that has roots back in the earliest
                                                       party or some other event. It’s an interesting          the smoky. My typical seven spices and herbs
days of recorded history. There is a school of
                                                       thing, and I shall now deconstruct chili.               – New Mexico Chili Powder, Smoked or Hot
thought that a chili-like stew was the basis of all
                                                                                                               Paprika, Cumin, Cinnamon, Garlic Powder,
the cuisine of the Maya and Pueblo peoples. This
                                                       The Ingredients                                         Mexican Oregano and Mace. There are times
would make sense, especially when you consider
                                                                 There is a lot of debate over what            when I’ll ditch the Mace or Paprika, and replace
the fact that all the elements of chili were readily
                                                       should and should not go into a chili. Meat, chilis,    it with Cayenne Pepper. Sometimes I’ll replace
available. There was also a dish that dates back
                                                       chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and onions are        the Garlic Powder with White Pepper or Cocoa
to ancient Babylon that is also pretty much chili.
                                                       probably the most frequent things that go in,           Powder. Never more than seven, though. Never
There have been hundreds of different examples
                                                       followed by garlic, tomatoes, and beans. There          more than seven.
of stews that are pretty much Chili.
                                                       are schools of thought that make beans the
         My Pop’s side of the family includes
                                                       equivalent of adding (or not adding) a jive-talking     The Chili You Eat On Its Own
Ohlone, and there’s a dish that I came across
                                                       robot to Casablanca. There are other who say                   OK, so chili for dinner. You want
at a Pow Wow when I was a kid that is more or
                                                       the same thing about tomatoes. I disagree. I love       three things: flavor, heat and mass. Flavor and
less chili. It featured venison, a lot of spices and
                                                       beans and I love tomatoes. I think they make for        heat because those are always the two most
onions. It was pretty close to the modern Texas
                                                       a richer chili.                                         important components, but mass is very big in
chilis that I’ve had.
                                                                 There is a rule: for every flavor, an equal   this one. If you’re going to be eating the chili as
         There are several chili capitals of the
                                                       and opposite counter-
USA. San Antonio is one that comes to mind. It’s
                                                       flavor. For example, if
the home of the Chili Queens, girls who would
                                                       you go with a bunch
go to a square and sell their chilis as the men
                                                       of hot peppers, you
were coming home for the night. Cincinnati is
                                                       need to come up with
another, and even has a form of chili named after
                                                       a twinge of sweet.
it. Chicago was the site of introduction of chili to
                                                       Lots of heavy umami
the Midwest at the 1893 Exposition. There are
                                                       flavors? You need a
others, Dallas, New Mexico, Arizona and so on.
                                                       brightness, maybe a bit
         For ages, I’ve wanted to write a chili issue,
                                                       of bitterness. You’ve got
and it seems like it won’t happen for a while, so
                                                       to balance.
I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you
what I’ve discovered since I started trying ot
                                                       A Wise Powder
make my own chilis. I like to say I’m batting .500
                                                                 You want to
when it comes to chili. I cook them, I eat them
                                                       create a chili powder
and I never complain, but I only finish about half
                                                       that you can use with
of them. I eat part of all of them, because hey,
its own meal, it needs mass. Chunks                                                                                   powder, oregano, and black pepper.
of meat, large-ish pieces of produce,                                                                                 Heat over medium heat with stirring
beans and more. The key here is to                                                                                    for 12 minutes.
make sure that it’s hearty, and the                                                                                           Pour in the beef broth, pinto
start for that is large-ish cubes of                                                                                  beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce,
stew meat. Either beef or pork, or                                                                                    tomato paste, cider vinegar and
even chicken. You’ve got to have                                                                                      chipotle peppers. Stir to mix well.
something substantial to eat as a                                                                                     Reduce heat to low and simmer for
part of the chili.Almost as important                                                                                 at least 2 hours before serving or
as the meat is the produce. Onions                                                                                    refrigerating.
are important, and these need to be
not tiny diced pieces that could get
lost in among the meat, but seriously                                                                                  Chili for a Bread Bowl
big chunks of onion. If you’re so                                                                                              The Chili-in-a-Bread Bowl
inclined, add some chunks of carrot,                                                                                   concept is a relatively new old
or perhaps corn, mushrooms or                                                                                          concept. Eating food out of bread
potatoes. Chili as the entirety of a                                                                                   bowls is ancient. One of the uses
meal requires a hearty stance.                         3 tablespoons ancho chile powder                     of bread in the Middle Ages was to serve as a
         Beans are very helpful in this one. There     3 tablespoons pasilla chile powder                   container with people hollowing out the bread
are several types of beans that can work. Pintos       1 tablespoon sugar                                   and the crusty crust was used as a bowl, often
are the classic, as are red kidney and black           3 tablespoons cumin, ground                          for soup or stew. The soft bread was then
beans. Me? I like black-eyed peas and kidneys. It      1 teaspoon dried thyme                               dipped into the soup or stew. Bread Bowls for
stretches the fillingness of the chili.                1 teaspoon dried oregano                             Clam Chowder have been around since at least
         This isn’t the best chili for entertaining,   1 teaspoon black pepper, ground                      the 1950s, which was when using bread bowls
or for economy. It’s an indulgence, but it’s worth     1 teaspoon cayenne pepper                            for sour cream-based dips really took off.
it.                                                    4 chipotle peppers, seeded and chopped in                    There is a concept behind this one it you
                                                       adobo sauce                                          need a thick base, but one that can penetrate the
3 pounds Beef Stew Meat                                         In a large pot, heat the brown the ground   bread. This one needs smaller chunks, fewer bits,
3 tablespoons vegetable oil                            beef, making sure to continuously break up large     and a flanvor that combines well with bread.
3 cups beef broth                                      pieces with a spoon or spatula. Once browned
1 15 oz can pinto beans                                drain fat off of ground beef. Return the ground      1 pound ground beef
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (do not drain)              beef to the pot.                                     1 16 ounce can of tomato sauce or whole
1 15 oz can tomato sauce                                        Add onions and green bell pepper to         canned tomatoes
1 6 oz can tomato paste                                the ground beef and cook over medium heat            1 can beef broth
1 tablespoon cider vinegar                             with stirring until the onions are soft and          1 medium white onion, diced
2 large onions, diced finely                           translucent.                                         4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large green bell pepper, diced finely                         Add the garlic, ancho chile powder,         1 small can kidney or red pinto beans, drained
6 cloves garlic, minced                                pasilla chile powder, cumin, sugar, thyme, cayenne   4 – 8 Tbsp. Chili Powder mixture
         Brown ground beef in a large, heavy        combination of chili, bread and left-over pigrecipe makes enough for 10 or so dogs. Top
skillet, adding onions in half-way through the                                                   with shredded cheese (I like Pepper Jack or very
                                                    parts. There are a couple of schools of chili dog,
process. Drain the excess fat, add the garlic and                                                Sharp Cheddar) and chopped raw onions.
                                                    one of which says that the only real way to go
2 Tbsp. of the Chili powder to the mixture. Add     about Chili Dogs is to use canned Hormel Chili.        An Alternative
the tomatoes, and about half the broth with         I disagree, though there are pointers that can be      Do Not add the chocolate, Instead, add a
another Tbsp. of the powder. Bring to a boil,                                                    wooden spoon full of peanut butter to the chili
                                                    taken from those canned chilis. First off, beans.
then drop to low for two hours, adding a bit of     Second off, thickness. Third off, small meat.and stir until it is completely integrated. Then
the chili powder to the mix every half-hour to                                                   add a handful or two of raw, shelled peanuts
                                               1 pound ground sirloin
taste.As the moisture level drops, add a bit more                                                to the mix. The combination gives a lovely sort
                                               1 12 ounce can of crushed tomatoes or Tomato of crunch and an alterate flavor that is really
of the beef broth.After two hours, add the beans
and simmer for at least another 3 minutes.     Sauce                                             satisfying.
         Hollow out a bread bowl, saving the   1 habanero or jalapeno pepper, seeded, deveined,
interior of the bread. Ladle the chili into theand diced fine                                    It’s Not Quite Poutine, But It’s Close
cavity of the bread, serving with the removed  1 medium onions, diced fine                                 Chili Cheese Fries are awesome. There
soft interior.                                 2 cloves garlic, crushed and diced                are a dozen or so really strong variations, but
                                               1 12 ounce can of Kidney or Red Beans             the one that I love features a very strong chili
Chili Dogs!!!!!!                               A bit of Olive Oil                                that is HUGE. It’s not nearly as traditional as
       Ah yes, the Chili Dog. It’s the perfect 2 segments Hershey’s Chocolate                    many would like, but it works so well with the
                                                          3 Tbsp. Chili Powder (with extra held fries that you’ll never notice.
                                                          over)                                            The thing here is that you need a chili
                                                                   Brown the sirloin in a large that is thick and won’t make the fries too soggy
                                                          skillet with touch of oil, making while also giving it a density to the meal. Making
                                                          sure to get it into pieces as small as sure that the fries you use are pretty think so
                                                          possible. Add the onions about three some of the flavor of the fries stands up to the
                                                          minutes in, followed by the garlic two chili. I tend to make way more chili than will be
                                                          minutes after that and the pepper a needed because it’s one of the best chilis I’ve
                                                          minute or so later. A minute later, ever made.
                                                          add the tomatoes and Chili Powder.
                                                          Stir and then bring to a boil, then 2 pounds ground beef -or- 2 pounds stew meat,
                                                          drop the heat right down to low and cut into 1⁄4 inch cubes
                                                          simmer for at least an hour, then add 1 pound ground pork
                                                          the beans. Taste and add chili powder 1 pound Hot Italian Sausage
                                                          if needed. Add the chocolate and 1 large White Onion, chopped
                                                          simmer together for at least another 5 – 7 cloves of Garlic, crushed and diced
                                                          hot.                                   1 large can of Crushed or Stewed Tomatoes
                                                                   Make a butch of hot dogs 2 1⁄2 cups Beef Broth
                                                          and warm one bun per dog. This 1⁄2 can of Dark Beer -or- Dr. Pepper
1 16 ounce can Pinto beans, drained                  Tbsp. of the Chili Powder to the mix and then         large pan with the water, vinegar, garlic and cook
1 8 ounce can of Black-Eyed Peas                     add the masa, stirring to combine, then let cook      over medium heat for 10 minutes, breaking up
1⁄2 cup Masa                                         for another 2 hours, then add the beans and           large chunks. Add allspice, cinnamon, cumin,
1 jalapeno, seeded, deveined and cut into 1⁄4 inch   finish off with Chili Powder to taste.                cayenne pepper, salt, chocolate, tomato sauce,
rounds                                                       Cook a total of 4 hours.                      Worcestershire sauce. Reduce heat to low and
5-7 Tbsp. Chili Powder                                                                                     simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours. Remove from
        This should be made in a Crock Pot.          Chili 7 Ways                                          heat.
        Start by adding the tomatoes, jalapeno,              Cincinnati is famous for Chili Multi-Ways.            Cook spaghetti according to package
2 cups of the beef broth, 2 Tbsp. of the chili       This is Chili added as a part of a bigger dish to     directions and transfer onto individual serving
powder and the Beer or Dr. Pepper. Then start        make it more filling. I had never encountered         plates (small oval plates are traditional).
the browning of the meats, draining them and         this until I went to Ed Debevic’s while I was Fan             Ladle chili over spaghetti and serve with
then adding a bit of the chili powder to each.       Guest of Honor at Windycon last year. It was          toppings of your choice. Shredded cheddar
Add them to the Crock Pot.                           delightful.                                           cheese, oyster crackers, chopped raw onions
        Simmer for an hour, then add another                 The key here is to be able to work with       and kidney beans make a five way.
                                                     the various other additives in the 2, 3, 4, 5, or
                                                     whatever way bowls that it will produce. Largely,     The Weird Stuff
                                                     these tend to be at least slightly looser with far             Let’s face it, one of the things that’s great
                                                     fewer chunks. This chili isn’t really for eating on   about chili is the weird ways you can work with
                                                     its own, as the pasta, cheese, beans, etc. help it    it. I’ve had a dozen chilis that somewhat bend
                                                     grow into a meal.                                     the mind. I’ve sat around thinking of weird chilis
                                                     1 large onion chopped                                 and then I’d try them. About 1⁄2 of them have
                                                     1 pound extra-lean ground beef                        worked beautifully, the other half…well, I’m still
                                                     1 clove garlic, minced                                here, aren’t I?
                                                     1 tablespoon chili powder
                                                     1 teaspoon ground allspice                            Deep Thai Chili
                                                     1 teaspoon ground cinnamon                            1 pound lean ground beef
                                                     1 teaspoon ground cumin                               1 pound pork stew meat
                                                     1/2 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper                     1 pound beef stew meat cut into 1⁄2 inch cubes
                                                     1/2 teaspoon salt                                     1 16 ounce can stewed tomatoes
                                                     1/2 ounce grated unsweetened chocolate                3 Tbsp. Thai Red Curry Paste
                                                     1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce                         1 16 ounce can Whole Tomatoes in Juice
                                                     1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce                     2 habaneros, cut half way through 3 or 4 times,
                                                     1 tablespoon cider vinegar                            but left together
                                                     1/2 cup water                                         1 cup Red Wine (I like Shiraz)
                                                     1 (16-ounce) package uncooked dried spaghetti         1 cup rice wine vinegar
                                                             In a food processor, dump the beef in         1 large yellow onion
                                                     and pulse several times. Place ground beef in a       2 cloves of garlic, crushed and diced
1 ounce ginger, diced fine                          Add all non-ground meats and brown for a few        1 tsp. all spice
1/4 cup grated coconut, unsweetened                 minutes. Remove and set aside. Then do ground       1 tsp Cayenne pepper
        The night before making the dish, toss      meats, adding the diced onions, garlic and 1⁄2 of   1 tsp white pepper
the meat, 1 Tbsp. Red Curry Paste, vinegar, 1       the chili powder. Stir and then remove. Deglaze     1 bottle dark beer (I say Newcastle, personally)
habanero and wine into a zip-lock bag and toss      the pan with white wine and then add tomatoes.      2 cans of Beef Broth
it around, making sure everything gets coated at    Stir for five to seven minutes, then add cider,     2 16 ounce Pinto beans
least a little. Leave in the fridge over-night.     mushrooms, the rest of the chili powder, the        2 16 ounce cans Kidney beans
         Brown the meat and DO NOT DRAIN            chipotles and adobe, broth and masa. Stir to        1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
THE FAT!!! add the onion and sauté, adding the      thicken, then add the meat in and lower heat        1 Tbsp. honey
garlic about two minutes later. Add tomatoes,       to low. Simmer for an hour and a half, adding       1 small can tomato paste
the other pepper and the rest of the ingredients.   some cider if it gets too dry. After 90 minutes,             In a pan, brown beef, drain the excess fat,
         Simmer about 3 hours.                      add mushrooms and beans and then simmer             the add the allspice and black pepper. Add that
                                                    another 45 minutes, stirring every five minutes     to a large metal turkey roasting pan.Then brown
The Heavy One                                       and adding cider if it gets too dry.                the turkey, add the cumin and the white pepper.
3 pounds beef stew meat –or- 2 pounds venison,                                                          Then the pork or veal, adding the cayenne and
cut into 1 inch cubes                               The Sweet Jesus Chili                               the diced onions. Brown the rest of the meats,
2 pounds ground buffalo meat                        1 pound of ground sirloin                           adding a bit of the chili powder each time.
1 pound lamb sausage                                1 pound of ground veal or ground pork                        Deglaze the pan with some of the beer,
1 pound pork sausage, uncased                       1 pound of ground lamb                              scraping the bits off the bottom, then add to
Two large white onion- one diced fine, one          1 pound of ground turkey                            the pan, along with all the other ingredients
roughly chopped                                     1 pound of ground buffalo                           save for the chocolate. Mix it all together and
8 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced              1 pound of Andouille Sausage, sliced into           then place it across two burners on low. Let
1 8 ounce can of corn                               rounds                                              it simmer for several hours, then 45 minutes
1 16 ounce can of pinto beans                       1 large white onion, diced fine                     before you’re gonna eat, add the chocolate. This
1 16 ounce can of black eyed peas                   1 large red onion, chopped                          is a powerful chili, so plan on adding some sour
1 16 ounce can of kidney beans                      1 cup green onions, chopped                         cream or cheese to flatten it out a little in the
2 chipotle peppers, diced, with 2 Tbsp. adobe       7 – 10 cloves of garlic, crushed and diced fine
sauce                                               2 habaneros, deveined, seeded and diced fine
1 can Beef broth                                    2 scotch bonnet peppers, seeded, deveined and
1 cup white wine                                    diced fine
1 cup apple cider + save some extra                 2 jalapenos, deveined, seeded and cut into
1 pound cherry tomatoes, cut in half                rounds
1 basket mushrooms, cut thin                        2 chipotle peppers, cut into pieces with 2 Tbsp.
1⁄2 cup chili powder                                adobe sauce
1 cup masa                                          1⁄2 cup Chili powder
        Start with a large metal Turkey roasting    1 tsp. Cumin
pan laid across two burners on medium heat.         1 tsp. black pepper
Ain’t it Rich?
                                                     $1,000 lost is a $1,000 lost. The episode, tinged
                                                     as it was with sadness over his father’s death, left
                                                     a very sour taste in his mouth.
Taral Wayne                                                   Steven couldn’t resist telling a good
                                                     story, though, and he told it to me.
                                                             I found all this interesting in the extreme,
        One of my friends is named Steven, and       and I didn’t waste much time looking the bills
is a useful source of stories that I can steal for   up to see for myself what they were worth.
my writing.                                          They are listed in the American Numismatic
        About a year after Steven’s father died,     Association catalog as being worth about
he told me that he had found an envelope             seventy cents each – for their collector’s value
among his father’s things in a drawer. The plain     only. I called up Steven to tell him what I’d found,
envelope held five 2,000-Peso banknotes left         and he said that if they were worth as much as
over from a vacation taken quite some years          that then I was welcome to them.
before. This brought back sad memories, but,                  So that is how I came to be 10,000 Pesos
rather than just stuff the Pesos back in the         richer than before.
envelope and preserve them as keepsakes,                      Mexican currency is wealthy with stories,
Steven thought he had better cash them at the        actually. The one and only time I was South of
bank.                                                the Border – or rather South of Two Borders,
        The teller consulted her computer for a      from my perspective as a Canadian – I exchanged
moment and announced the 10,000 Pesos were           $1 US for its Mexican equivalent in Tijuana. I
worth roughly $1,000 in Canadian funds. Steven       was astonished to receive 184.50 in Pesos
deposited the $1,000 in his account and left.        – big 50 Peso and 20 Peso coins, and a handful
        A few days later, he received an             of smaller denominations that all together
unexpected call from the bank. The teller had        weighed about half a pound. Indeed, I still have
made an error, it seemed. While 10,000 Pesos         them in my collection, although they are only a
in today’s currency was indeed worth nearly          worn and scarred assortment of commonplace
$1,000 Canadian, the bills Steven gave the teller    coinage. Their value, even as collector’s items,
were a 1987 issue. They had been printed two         must almost tilt into negative value. They are
or three revaluations ago, and the 1987 bills        keepsakes.
were worth approximately… nothing.                            Unlike Steven’s father’s keepsakes,
        Steven had to make the trip back to his      though, they were fortunately never worth
bank, to retrieve the useless scrip and have his     more than a single buck.
bank book updated. Goodbye, $1000! Had                        Mexican currency has not always been
his Dad exchanged the Pesos shortly after his        that worthless. A hundred years ago, Mexico’s
return home, no doubt the money would have           silver coins were so fine that the Mexico City
been long ago spent by now. All the same, a          mint proudly inscribed each one with its weight
and percentage of silver! At 92%, Mexican            expressions “quarter” and “four bits” from this      preserved. Struck in the decade 1540 to 1550,
money was as good as anyone’s – the Dollar, the      practice. Spanish coins were in circulation all up   it was twice countermarked in its long history,
Pound Sterling or the Swiss Franc. By the 1920s      and down the Thirteen Colonies during the 18th       giving it the official imprimatur to be re-used.
the fineness had fallen to 72%, but that was         century, reaching as far as Upper Canada. It was     Called in by the Jamaican governor, it was struck
still as good as the British Pound or American       said that you could tell a colonist’s pants from     over with an anchor. At a still later date, my
Dollar. Unfortunately, Mexican coins were scrap      the holes in his pockets, worn by the pointy ends    coin was re-struck with a key, giving it legitimacy
metal by the ‘50s. What happened? Typical Latin      of a pocketful of bits.                              in Cuba. Coins with two countermarks are
American corruption, inefficiency and repression             The very oldest coin thought to have         rather rare, and the dealer who had sold it
of the lower classes by the upper, I suppose. I      been minted in North America was struck at           congratulated me. If he had noticed, it would
never have understood Mexican history.               the Mexico City mint by the Spanish sometime         have cost me much more dearly.
         One curious side issue is “pirate” money.   before 1540. It is
“Pirate” money wasn’t Mexican, of course. It         extremely        rare,
was Spanish, struck by various Colonial mints        and no collector
in Spanish possessions in the New World. The         who       is      not
Golden Age of the era of the skull & crossbones      prepared to invest
was over by the time revolution created the          heavily can expect
Mexican Republic in 1824. But coins of the           to acquire one
Spanish Main, wherever they were struck, are         for his collection.
avidly collected by numismatists, and the price      The second-oldest
for any such piece of silver is… well… piracy.       coin known to
I have never been able to afford the genuine         have been struck
thing. As close as I’ve come to it is a very worn    in the New World
1780 Mexican 1⁄2-Real (pronounced Ray-Yal)           is the 4 Maravedis
piece that is smaller than a dime. I have a silver   copper. It is thin,
1799 2-Reales (Ray-Yal-Ay) piece as well, but        dished      like    a
it was holed a long time ago for someone to          shallow bowl, and
wear around her neck. These have something           about the size of
of the flavour of “real” pirate money, and are       a modern quarter.
authentically pre-revolutionary. But nothing will    I was lucky enough
satisfy me in the long run except an irregularly     to buy one on-line
shaped, hammer-struck Piece-of-Eight raised          for $35. It was
from a sunken wreck in the Caribbean.                covered with green
         Pieces-of-Eight were routinely quartered    verdigris that I had
by users into slivers worth 2-Reales, each one       to work diligently
called a “bit.” Sometimes the job was done           to remove, but the
officially and stamped “2” on one side, and a mint   underlying       coin
mark impressed on the other. We get both the         was quite well
        Some very fine silver coins. Mind you,     duplicate the famous “Walking Liberty” half-        so much as even touch these coins, lest their
they are not for circulation. They are sold as a   dollar design of the 1920s; and one British two-    mirror-like surfaces tarnish in ten year’s time
form of bullion. Quite a number of countries,      Pound coin showing Britannia on its reverse.        from the oil on your fingers. For the most part,
including the United States, issue these 1-ounce   My collection also includes three Canadian          I don’t collect such things. They belong in safe-
pure silver coins. They are more expensive         pure silver Dollars with our emblematic Maple       deposit boxes, not in a collection where they
than 1 oz. bars, but their beauty and design       Leaf. These are all exquisite coins. If bought in   can be appreciated. They lack the scuffing and
fetches a premium over their value as bullion. I   the year of their issue, they are not punitively    wear of long handling, and don’t have the dirty
have a 1 ounce Mexican Peso with a gorgeous        expensive, either.                                  fingerprints of history on them.
bare-breasted goddess of Liberty on one side               But such coins are not really money. You            Better to own that old silver Real
and the Mexican eagle on the other. I also         would be a fool to spend them as a Dollar or        once worn as a necklace, or those 2,000 Peso
have an identical version in a 1/10 of an ounce    a Peso, because they cost twenty or a hundred       banknotes that ain’t worth a dime.
denomination . My collection contains three        times as much. And no-one would give you
of the U.S. 1-ounce pure silver Dollars that       that much for them over a counter. You don’t
I AM HISTORY!                                                                                               wrestling and are most interested in the
         It may not surprise you to hear, but                                                               stories, not in the deeper meanings of the
I’m not exactly the most respected guy in                                                                   characters and how they represent the
my field. I’ve been working in the area of                                                                  general interests and fears of the populace.
the history of computing for more than a                                                                    In reality, all that means almost nothing.
decade, and there are many who question                                                                              I was actually interviewed for a paper
my academic rigor. They’ve got a point, I                                                                   that a guy is doing about rockabilly culture
don’t approach things like an academic. I am                                                                and they were way into the socio-political
far more interested in what folks do than                                                                   aspects, which I admit is kinda cool (it costs
the technology or psychology of computers.                                                                  a lot of money to look that working class!)
I really think of them in terms that are pretty                                                             He did miss the point that the music is a
simple: computers are cool. That sounds                                                                     much bigger part than the dressing, which
cheap, but really, it’s the most important                                                                  is exactly like the debate that goes on in
statement you can look at as the end of                                                                     Steampunk.
the line from the 1950s when Computers                                                                              Video Games are, and probably
were Scary or Fascinating, to the 1960s when       it becomes boring is turned into a game.            always will be, cool.They’ve gone from the mind-
Computers were powerful and Fascinating, to        Telephone games of chess became popular             blowing (in the 1990s, Doom and a few other
the 1980s, when Computers were ubiquitous,         less than five years after the introduction of      games were legitimately almost indistinguishable
to today, when they’re just cool. We’ve gotten     residential phone service. When computers ran       from magic) to simply regularly amazing. People
some of the wonder from the 1950s back with        out of real work to do, folks programmed games      still love them, because they’re still cool. That’s
all the things we’ve done with the PC, and we’re   and other pastimes onto them. It’s not that we      the key to it all.
still finding new things that make computers       are designed to be the players of games – we’re              One of the areas of the Timeline
cool. It’s gone from the point where computers     determined to not let ourselves get bored! It’s     exhibit we’re working on that I’m curatorially
were something to ignore to the point where        as simple as that.                                  responsible for is the Computer Graphics, Art &
you don’t want to ignore them because they’re              So, the academics, especially those who     Music. I had to choose a few pieces of computer
so cool again. It’s a weird sort of turn around.   work in the area of games as accelerators of        art to use in the gallery, and I rather quickly
         I’ve had a couple of thoroughly polite    technology, tend to think my approach trivializes   put together a list. In less than two hours, I had
dust-ups with folks over my views on video         their life’s work while I think that the over-      about ten pieces that I knew would be important
games. I’ve heard the phrase Homo Ludens,          intellectualization of said areas actually does     enough to include. I had my art history training,
Man the Gameplayer, very often over the last       far more harm than good because it misses           a bit of Google time and a name or two that I
decade and I still have absolutely no respect      the point that ultimately, there’s not a lot of     knew were respected. Once I put it all together,
for that approach to history. To me, it’s Homo     intellectualizin’ goin’ on! If you want to see      I had a lot of questions as to how I went about
Entertainme, Man Constantly in Pursuit of          people who take their high-brow study very          choosing.
Entertainment. Man is not made to play games,      seriously, look towards those who are dedicated              “I think you’ll find that they’re the right
creating games isn’t an essential function of      to the study of low-brow pursuits.                  ones.” I said, in some fashion or another.
human endeavor, it’s what we do to stave off               I’ve encountered serious students of                 There were folks who still thought that
boredom. Almost every technology when              pro wrestling who don’t get that people love        I might not have done my due diligence, but I
stood my ground. When Linda and I went to            files of fan-made game music recreations. It was    I had about 11 on my list. Some of them were
the V&A earlier this year, I noticed they had an     fast, but I think it was a great list.              gimmes, like Super Mario Brothers, The Legend
exhibit of computer art. I went through it and I              There’s a thing called Video Games         of Zelda, and Castlevania, but there were also
noticed that there were about a dozen pieces of      Live. It’s an audio-video experience where an       games like Final Fantasy VII where there could
art. Looking them over, about 7 of them were         orchestra and a rock band play the music of a       have been some debate. I was pleased to see I
ones I’d chosen for the exhibit I’d put together     great many video games. They’ve been touring        got it at least partly right.
and all of the pieces they had were from artists I   and doing really well, selling out big houses and           Expect some sort of regular report on
had on my list. I was totally vindicated!            what not.They did a PBS special and I managed to    the project, either here or in some new zine I
         Recently, my friend Heather and I started   catch it on Monday while I was watching Evelyn.     create for it. I think a journal for this project is
a project. We’re working with Video Game             The funny thing is, they chose to do orchestral     most appropriate!
Music. It’s an area that is a hot topic right now    versions of about 15 game songs, and of the 15,
and there’s no real singular
effort to put together a
comprehensive        collection.
So, Heather pitched the
idea, I came on-board as
the curator and that’s that.
We sat down and made a
list of the first games we
were going after. I basically
made the list off the top of
my head for one system per
console generation (in this
case, the NES, the Genesis,
the PlayStation, the XBox
and the Wii) as well as
console and arcade games.
We came up with a strategy
for the preferred methods
of collection and that was
that. There seemed to be
a little question as to the
list, specifically how I came
up with it. Basically, it was
the stuff that I remembered
and a few that were from a
website that collected MIDI
The Best Album of the 1980s                        risk investments to semi-qualified investors.         was only that high because I was in the moral
by                                                 Sure, I was on the top floor of a fancy building      high-ground of indy punk rock, a bizarre tale
Daniel Spector                                     in the Finanical District of San Francisco, but it    which needs no further detailing here.
                                                   was just a walnut and brass lined boiler room.                In any case, Herr Garcia has asked me
        The 1980’s were, for me, the decade                Gordon Gecko eat your heart out.              to write about me favorite album of the 1980’s,
encompassing most of high school, all of                   I lasted a few months before I                which is a tough task- the 80-’s were MAD with
University an array of jobs in record shops        discovered that I had a fairly staunch ethical        expansive creativity. The serious manistream
and radio stations and the start of my first-two   core, one which just wouldn’t let me continue         embrace of hip-hop, metal, Michael, Madonna,
first-real-careers.                                in that game.                                         Rap, Electronica, New Wave, New Romance,
        The first-real-first career was as a               Remember folks: Brokers exist for             Video... all this happening when I was a wide-
Series 3 licensed futures and options broker.      one reason and one reason only: To make you           ranging music-holic.
Very well and expensively sales trained            broker.                                                       We had amazing albums by Prince, Was
capitalist exploitationist scum out to sell high           So, ethically repulsed from finance, I        (Not Was), R.E.M., X, Eurythmics, Bowie, Iggy,
                                                   went and sought refuge in the industry of my          Dead Kennedys, Springsteen, Los Lobos, ZZ
                                                                               first love: Music.        Top, Bauhaus, Joe Jackson, Yes, The Plimsouls,
                                                                                       Yes- I fled to    Stray Cats, Violent Femmes, Talking Heads,
                                                                               the music industry        Elvis Costello... and those were just a mere
                                                                               seeking a higher          sprinkling of 1983!
                                                                               ethical      standard             Taking the decade more linearly, we
                                                                               than I found in the       start 1980 with Blizzard of Ozz or perhaps
                                                                               investments trade.        Adam & the Ants Kings of the Wild Frontier,
                                                                                                         traipse through Brothers in Arms and Meat is
                                                                                      While I admit      Murder in 1985 and end somewhere around
                                                                              that the music biz in      1989’s Pretty Hate Machine or the still clilling,
                                                                              LA is a horrifying         stunning, brilliantly produced final album from
                                                                              cesspool              of   Roy Orbison (who died in 1988 with his solo
                                                                              wannabe slimemold          album and the epic Travelling Wilburys’ Vol 1
                                                                              ever     trying      to    both in the top 5- talk about going out at the
                                                                              sleaze their way to        top of your game).
                                                                              the top, there are a       Sorry Chris- screw the my favorite album
                                                                              few good eggs. On          of the 1980’s concept. Too limiting. Too may
                                                                              a percentage basis,        spec-freaking-tacular albums across too many
                                                                              certainly more than        genres to pick.
                                                                              I ever encountered                 Besides, it was Michael Jackson’s
                                                                              in investing.              Thriller- everyone knows that!
                                                                                      Call it 5%...
                                                                                      Of course, it
Ark by Stephen Baxter                                                                                         to the Universe our ideals. It’s rather astounding
                                                                                                              that this wasn’t written by an American as it per-
         You can look at Stephen Baxter’s Ark                                                                 fectly presents American Heritage values! This is
three ways. I started off thinking of it as a simple                                                          an American story in every sense of the word.
story of a wagon train. The second way to look                                                                        The arguments that happen in the book
at it is as the Hard SF version of Harry Potter.                                                              when choices have to be made about going on
The third way is the hardest to push in on. It’s                                                              or stopping their journey are exactly the same
the story of Manifest Destiny.                                                                                that you can read about in the days of the early
         Let us start with the wagon train con-                                                               1800s settling. It’s interesting if you read the sto-
cept. This is the most obvious. The world is                                                                  ries of the Mormon missionaries and how they
flooding as the sea levels raise as the ice caps                                                              chose where to go and how to deal with their
melt and large amounts of underground water                                                                   adversities. You can completely see that thinking
seep upwards. I understand that part of that is                                                               in here, though I’m betting that Mr. Baxter hadn’t
based on some measurements that seem to sug-                                                                  looked into them.
gest that there was far more ice during the peak                                                                      The book floats reall well. There were
ice age than is represented in the ice caps or the                                                            periods where I couldn’t stop reading. This is
oceans. It’s an interesting, and incredibly argu-                                                             significant when you think that it’s more-or-
able point, but more important is that Baxyer                                                                 less Hard SF and that’s like Kryptonite to me
makes it seem so very plausible. It’s a wonder-                                                               typically. The trips aren’t over-covered, but they
ful piece of armageddon. The Earth has to send                                                                show the highlights, moments that change the
some people off to the stars as their hope for                                                                narative of the trip, and thus, the future of man-
survival.                                                                                                     kind. We sadly miss a couple of things, including
         In this view, they’re traveling the stars in                                                         the destiny of one of the groups that peals off
a two wagon train facing troubles of all sorts                                                                after takign to the stars, but we see some great
and facing shortages and major interpersonal                                                                  events and Baxter knows how to play with the
troubles. The major thing in a wagon train story        you get to see what happens when Harry and            pacing to make everything catch our attention.
is the interaction between the leaders of the           co. are sent off after their school years. What I              I really enjoyed the book, though I wish
train and those that follow. That story plays out       wouldn’t give to get the look at what happened        there was more. I wish we got more of those
beautifully in Ark.                                     after Harry and friends left Hogwart, but you see     moments of the trip, that we had glimpses be-
         The second way is a lot of fun. The story      that in this one, and you get to see the growth.      yond what we were given, that we had some
of the training is a traditional school year story,             The final one is the Manifest Destiny         moments of character development for many of
which Harry Potter was as well, but more im-            concept. Stay with me. The nation that sends off      those characters that I felt were slightly stunted
portantly, there is a somwhat Potter-like char-         the ship to the stars is America. U-S-A! U-S-A!       but who play a major role. I also wish that the
acter who always seemed to magically have the           America trains and sends its best and brightest       ultimate question I have would be answered,
right answer.There’s a Hermione, though there’s         to the stars. That is our destiny, to be the nation   though maybe that’s asking too much.
really no Ron. There’s even a Dumbledore! The           that seeds the potential survival of our species.              I mean, it is only the second book in the
thing that I loved looking at it this way is that       We are the Chosen Ones and we have to spread          series.
I Want Answers                                          If you could be 1 cubic centimeter of any          Founder Apple Computers, Designer of the Apple 1
                                                        element, which element would it be?                and Apple ][ and other awesomeness.
        Sometimes, I need answers. It’s a                      I’d chose to be hydrogen, because that’s
thing about science that I need to know                 what Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen would             What¹s the single Greatest Book you¹ve
about. I’m happy to say that when I came                choose, for its simplicity.                        ever read, and what¹s the greatest book
up with a list of questions, I got a bunch                                                                 you¹ve never read?
and I put them out to a bunch of folks                  Would you say that you’ve wasted a fair                    Maybe Lord of the Rings, for one I’ve
around the world of letters and science and,            portion of your life on video games?               read.
of course, to various fen.                                      The few hundred hours spent on                     The greatest book I’ve never read
        So, here are the first three answers I          Civilization: not wasted, but gave deep insights   is possibly Zen and the Art of Motorcycle
got to a bunch of the questions from three              into the nature of human history. The few          Maintenance.
people I really think are amazing. I’ll have            hundred hours spent on Doom, Quake, Half-
a bunch more of these over hte next few                 Life, etc.: wasted according to my wife, but I     What shape do you think the Universe is?
weeks, because I’ve sent it around to all               could probably rationalize them somehow.           No idea...distances are different depending on
sorts of people.                                        Steve Wozniak - Rock Star of Computing, Co-        which math you use and whether gravity affects
       There are serious questions, and                                                           it could be any shape. Is it finite? I
there are funny questions and there are                                                                    won’t even buy into arguments that it’s finite.
questions that are designed to solve bets.
I’ve got more of these, and some of them                                                                   If you make a sandwich and then you
are hilarious!                                                                                             cut it in half, do you have one or two
        And yes, they’re really from the folks                                                             sandwiches? Are there situations where
I say they’re from!                                                                                        the answer would be different?
                                                                                                                    It’s a matter of perception or use. It’s ok
Geoffrey Miller, evolutionary psychologist, author of                                                      to call it either, if you have any basis. Just about
The Mating Mind and Spent                                                                                  nobody would argue.

What’s the single Greatest Book you’ve                                                                     If you could be 1 cubic centimeter of any
ever read, and what’s the greatest book                                                                    element, which element would it be?
you’ve never read?                                                                                                Mercury.
       Greatest book read: ‘Excession’ by Iain
M. Banks.                                                                                                  Would you say that you¹ve wasted a fair
       Greatest book never read: ‘The golden                                                               portion of your life on video games?
bowl’ by Henry James                                                                                               Yes.
                                                                                                                    I would also say that I’ve gotten a lot of
What shape do you think the Universe is?                                                                   life from video games.
     The universe is shaped like an intelligent                                                                    The same answers would be for many
woman’s multiple orgasm.                                                                                   things in life, including education.
                                                   Mitch Kapor - Designer of Lotus 1-2-3, co-founder          I’m definitely a morning person.
What time of day do you feel most                  of Lotus Development Corporation and the
creative?                                          Electronic Frontier Foundation                      Can we build a robot intelligence that
        Morning these days.                        What’s the single Greatest Book you’ve              will not eventually turn against its maker?
        It used to be all day.                     ever read, and what’s the greatest book
        Now I come up with a fresh joke most                                                                    This presumes we can build a robot
                                                   you’ve never read?                                  intelligence capable of turning on its maker,
mornings shortly after awakening. It becomes
today’s joke or today’s thought and is often              Greatest book ever read: Goodnight           whether it does so or not. I’m not on board
very profound.                                     Moon, as read to my children                        with that presumption.
                                                          Greatest book never read: The New
Can we build a robot intelligence that             Testament. Also the Old Testament                   What technology do you think
will not eventually turn against its maker?                                                            computers have unfairly destroyed?
       Of course, since we are the builder.         What shape do you think the Universe                      Independent book stores. Not exactly
Accidents don’t count.                             is?                                                 a technology, and not exactly unfairly destroyed,
                                                           One I cannot possibly visualize. For all    but the Internet and computers are killing
 What technology do you think                                                                          them.
computers have unfairly destroyed? What            practical purposes, infinite.
frivolous technology do you think has
done the most damage?                              If you make a sandwich and then you                 What event in your life made you most
        Music. MP3’s are a sacrifice in quality.   cut it in half, do you have one or two              wish you had a permanent video record
Digital music doesn’t sound genuine (my            sandwiches?                                         of that you currently do not?
definition).                                              One.                                                 I wish I had a record of the
                                                                                                       collaboration between myself and Jonathan
What event in your life made you most                                                                  Sachs in creating the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet.
                                                   Are there situations where the answer
wish you had a permanent video record
                                                   would be different?
of that you currently do not?
       My plane crash. What happened? What                Not that I can think of.
caused it?
                                                   If you could be 1 cubic centimeter of any
You have one question of any one person.           element, which element would it be?
Who do you ask, what¹s the question and                   Unobtainium.
what¹s the answer you most want.
      Would you do it again, always, forever?      Would you say that you’ve wasted a fair
My wife. Answer would be “yes.”                    portion of your life on video games?
                                                         Definitely not.

                                                   What time of day do you feel most
November 2009: (Mid)Night at the replica of Babbage’s Difference Engine                  The mysterious fire which allegedly
Museum                                      and through an anonymous locked door         destroyed all records of his birth, the
                                            into what I realised to my surprise was a    preternaturally swift rise to prominence
     The car park was deserted by the concealed elevator. The last one of those          in the science fiction press, that wild
time the taxi swung in front of San Jose’s I’d used had been in the back of a tailor’s   hair…”
Museum of Computer History.                 shop in Manhattan.                              She produced a noise which might
     My contact from the Office of             The shaft opened onto a dimly-lit         conceivably have been a stifled laugh.
Scientific Intelligence was standing in the void, but I just make out two long, wide     “Yes, especially the beard. The techies
shadows to the side of the main entrance. rows of crates stretching into the gloom.      reckon it’s a result of the static electricity
“You took your time,” she growled. I I wonder if this is where they store the            the original Garcia passed through on his
shrugged, watched her key the security Ark of the Covenant, I thought, but               journey back to 1975.”
code and then we were inside.               wisely kept my mouth shut. I’d spent too        Before I had a chance to voice my
     “I’ve seen both of those Ben Stiller long chasing the mystery of Christopher        immediate confusion, a folder was thrust
movies,” I quipped. “So, do the computers Jophan Garcia to wreck my chances this         into my hands, the label Project Aspertame
come alive at night, plotting the late in the game.                                      borderline-legible in the glow from the
extermination of mankind?”                                                               elevator.
     She turned towards me with a look fit                                                  “The top photograph was taken in
to shatter granite. “I thought you wanted      “Congratulations.” My guide’s tone        Los Angeles, at the very first NASFiC.We
to know the truth about Garcia. The real was as chilled as an Illinois spring. “You’re   estimate his age there at nine months.
truth. Don’t blame me if you can’t handle the first to get this far. What tipped you     The next photograph is of the capsule he
it.”                                        off?”                                        arrived in.”
     We walked across the foyer, past the      “Too many coincidences, for a start.         “And the guy holding the baby is
Johnny Garcia, the OSI operative who           OSI developed bionics back in the 1970s       No reputable magazine, even a scuzzy
adopted him?”                                  and designed a rudimentary android            tabloid, would publish a story this
    “Once we understood the gravity of         in 1987. This was a major step up, but        ludicrous.
the situation -- that in the future, science   preserving fandom is a national priority.”       Good thing I still had the e-mail
fiction fanzines were a dying form, and           Suddenly, light filled the room and        address for Locus…
that this infant was being sent back           I could see that what I’d mistaken for
through time to keep them alive -- we          crates were in fact oblong booths, open
had no choice but to enlist one of our         at the front -- and each containing an
own who, luckily, had already infiltrated      identical version of Chris Garcia.
Californian fandom. The next fourteen
years were spent schooling the visitor in         “According to the guys in the lab,
the ways of our century, before he could       there’s no problem reproducing his
reappear at the 1989 Timecon.”                 brain, but that beard is a nightmare. They
    “So why wait until 2005 to release his     end up weaving them out of wire wool,
first fanzine?”                                then using a paint spray developed for
    “The technology had to catch up.           Ukrainian fire engines in the 1950s.”
Electronic ‘zines were the future, and the        “But…” I couldn’t believe I was lost for
only way he could feasibly distribute so       words, but I’d stumbled into unexpected
much material on such a tight schedule.”       territory. “Why so many?”
    I allowed myself a smile. “Which was          “It’s not just the fanzines, although at
your first big mistake. Even someone           least a dozen Garcias are deployed on
with Howard Hughes’ social life and            keyboard duty at any one time, but we
permanent insomnia couldn’t match that         have to support all those convention and
output: more than two hundred issues of        party appearances. We needed three just
The Drink Tank, nearly one hundred issues      to wander around the Montreal worldcon
of Science Fiction / San Francisco with Jean   wearing the TAFF scarf.”
Martin, that massive TAFF report he               “So where’s the original?”
released the moment he got back from              “He’s fan guest of honour at Windycon
the UK. There had to be some kind of           this weekend. Goldman believes it’s
production team helping out.”                  crucial to the timeline.”
    This time her laugh broke free and
loud. “You don’t know the half of it. The        This was way bigger than I’d realised.

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