Masters Obi & Qui by Thalia

Zine, Vid Show, Programming, Random Thoughts

Posting for Sian -- might be best to join the DW community and respond there, if you can.

With regard to this year's zine. Is anyone other than Katbear doing work for it? If there aren't at least 3 more of you doing fic or art or something for the zine, I may have to scrub it. (I can't even guarantee my own story will be finished in time). Thoughts? Comments?

If anyone is vidding for the show, please let me know, so I can plan appropriately.

I definitely need panel ideas. What do you folks want to talk about?

If you haven't made your hotel reservation yet, please do so right away. With the new GM et al, the con rate guarantee ends a little earlier than in past years.

If you haven't bought your badge yet (or if you are coming, but want to pay at the con), please consider doing so soon -- or at least let me know you're coming. I have four shows between now and Con*Strict, plus I leave the Monday after Con*Strict for San Diego ComicCon, so my time to put Con*Strict together is more limited this year. While RL isn't quite so traumatic this year, I don't want to shortchange all of you because I get caught up in other things.
Fraser thinking cap

question for 2018 con attendees

2018 is going to be my first Con*Strict and I am trying to decide whether to check out from the con hotel on the Monday after the con or the Tuesday after the con (July 16 or July 17). I have heard that there has been a Monday-after picnic in the past and a Monday-after trip to Hoover Dam in the past. I'll stay 'til Tuesday if any con attendees are planning any kind of organized Monday-after thing. LMK.
SW-Apology Accepted LJ by valliegurl

Con*Strict 2017

Posting for Sian (who is, I believe, tired of LJ's fuckery).  If you haven't already, I recommend joining the Yahoo group (info at the bottom)

Con*Strict 2017
July 14 - 16

Comfort Inn
475 Marks St
Henderson, NV
(702) 387-6500

There will be a block of rooms reserved through June 30th - king singles and double queens for $84 per night, and king suites for $94 per night.

The rate is good from the 10th through the 18th if you wanted to spend more time in Vegas.

When you call the hotel, please make sure to let them know that you are with the Con*Strict group.

Here is a direct link to make your hotel reservation online:


Membership Rates:
$80 through June 30th

Art/Orphan/Auction Items:
15% commission taken on all items sold

Payment Options:
• Send Check/Money Order to:
8908 Big Plantation Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89143
• Pay online via Paypal to:
Early Check-In -- Thursday
Because so many folks come in early, Registration will be open in the Hospitality Suite (most likely in one of the Suites in building two) late afternoon. One or more group dinners, offsite, are likely to happen too.
Meet & Greet Reception, Party Games and Vid Show -- Friday
Make new friends, get reacquainted with old friends, sneer at your rivals. Most of you are used to this by now; the reception is simply set as an opportunity to socialize in a non structured setting and enjoy pizza (probably) and cake (likely) before leading into the Vid Show which is usually tailored to the specific interests of the attendees with new offerings from con-goers along with some of the best vids on the web.
Saturday Night at the Movies

Panel programming all three days

Commemorative Zine:
This year's (#17) theme is Con*Strict’s Seventeenth birthday. Meanings to go with  the number 17 include:
Overcoming the Enemy, Total Victory, Wishes that Come, True Hope.  A Haiku poem has 17 syllables (5/7/5 in three lines)   I’d also say it’s time for a little fusion fic and crossovers.   Poems, drabbles, stories, art, podfic: it’s all welcome and wanted. Warnings will be included where appropriate.

Zine contributions need to be submitted by June 15th

Inquiries and suggestions

Can be made privately to ConStrict (constrict at randomadventures dot com) or publicly through our Yahoo group:

Movement Away

As some of you may or may not know, LJ is owned by a Russian news organization. In the last few months, all of LJ's servers have been moved within Russian borders. As a result of the risk of censorship or a Twit(ter) fit of pique causing availability issues, Quasar and I have relocated our blogs to Dreamwidth. We've enabled cross-posting, so everything we post there will appear here with backlinks. I'll continue reading my friends list here, she hasn't posted on her blog in over a year, so who knows what she'll do. ;-)

We were able to keep our LJ names, so here's our blogs:

The transfer process from LJ to DW is quite painless and pretty fast: create and verify your account, click on Help/Support, and the first entry was on importing from LJ to DW. You provide your name and password, select all the options, and it starts the transfer. Your LJ account is left intact: nothing is deleted. Both of our accounts are ten years old, I had almost 4,000 entries. It didn't take too long to finish. All comments came across with user names altered to show they were from LJ. I was quite happy with the end result. Apparently DW can also import from InsaneJournal, I've never blogged there, I assume the process is the same. The three platforms are based on the same code.

To enable cross-posting from DW to LJ, go to your Account Settings, Other Sites, and add your LJ information. You may want to set the Footer to Always to show people where you normally post from, you may or may not want to set the disable comments option. Personally I did not, though I did turn on the footer. I don't see any way to cross-post from LJ to DW.

There you have it. We'll hopefully see you in the summer!

Zine Stories

For those of you who provided a story for this year's zine, feel free to post them wherever you desire, And thank you again for writing one for the zine and allowing our folk the opportunity to read them first.

Don't forget I'd love to have a zine for 2017 attendees too -- any type of fanwork would be lovely; the theme suggestions are listed on the final page of 2016's, but you are not bound to any of them if you have something you'd like to offer that are different.

-- S

Better Angels of Our Nature - book rec

This book got a mention in the Social Responsibilities panel, and I said I'd post my review. (I'll post it on yahoogroups once I actually join.)

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
Steven Pinker
(Non-fiction: social science/psychology/history/philosophy/everything)

Never before has optimism been so scientific. Or so mired in horror and gore.

This book is magnificent. So broad, so deep, so multi-angled. It's the history of human civilisation, as told through homicide, torture, war, oppression of women, duelling, cruelty to animals, religious atrocities, slavery, infanticide, capital punishment, slavery, genocide and a multitude of other cruelties.

All - every single one of which - has markedly declined from millennia ago, centuries ago, decades ago.

It's a melding of history, scientific methods of gathering historical data and measuring trends (how do you compare murder rates in today's bureaucratic culture to rates in pre-literate hunter-gatherer societies?), cognitive psychology, group psychology, evolutionary psychology, philosophy... And it ties all this together without becoming overly heavy.

A random sampling of questions and ideas which are considered:
Why does the US South have far higher rates of homicide than the North, while the North has figures closer to Europe?
Has the spread of democracy or capitalism been more influential in the decline of war?
Has religion played a significant role in the decline of violence?
How do ordinary citizens get swept up in government-driven genocide?

It meanders through how in both the US and Britain, the humane societies for animals led people to think we should maybe be nice to kids, too. Through the role literature has played in the emancipation of women and children. How good table manners were a cornerstone in developing human trust. How the path from entertainment to illegal to taboo to absurdity has eliminated many past cruelties from society.

This is the first audiobook I've ever listened to, and I recommend it in audio because it's enormous, and if I had to put down slash and to pick up this great tome, I'd still be on page 80, like I am Guns, Germs & Steel. On my iPod while shovelling and painting and cleaning, I breezed through, utterly rivetted. But on the down side, audiobook isn't so great for underlining or post-it noting, and this definitely deserves both. Though then this review would 80 pages. Also, it's packed with graphs, so maybe you just want both.

Arrival Schedule

Here is the times I got from folks.  If someone has confirmed they are picking you up, or someone is willing to do pick ups at specific times, we had best confirm it (if you can confirm on one of the posts, then I can figure out who *I* need to pick up). Same if you are willing/planning to wait for someone else's arrival after your own to go together.

Airport Arrival Schedule Thursday 12:50 Terri 1:40 Elayna 2:00 Wyomingnot 2:50 Clever Manka 4:20 Alex 5:05 Karita 5:15 Laura* 7:00 Colleen 11:00 Saklani 11:08 Emu 11:30 Glass Houses* Driving in -- earliest would likely be noon: Franzeska* 3:30 Katbear* 6:00 Wayne/Russet 6:15 Kadymae* 7:00 Barbana/Marie* 11:00 Gloriana* * People With Cars



I will be bringing, barring a horrible oven incident, two batches of cookies. Both chocolate chip oatmeal, one with macadamia nuts and one without. NO RAISINS. If you have a nut allergy, I cannot guarantee the ones without nuts: you are on your own. We'll be happy to spot for you, and you can hand an Epipen to Quasar: she trained to be a paramedic.

If I can, I'll also be making and bringing madelines, two favors: lemon and orange. I was thinking about dipping them in chocolate, but I don't think that's going to happen.

Weather, Traffic, Gambling, et al

Temps will be ranging from 106 (tomorrow) to 11 on Friday back down to 106 on Monday in Henderson near our hotel. Night lows will be in the low 80s.  It will be breezy, with the winds picking up Thursday and Friday; generally the wind comes up in the afternoon, though if it's a becomes a major thing, it could be windy all the time. The humidity should stay in the 8-15% range, so the Heat Index is more like 100 degrees to 106. It's a couple degrees cooler up on the Strip/Airport than our location.

For those of you going to Mt. Charleston on Monday, temps there are expected in the low 70s.

You should still bring a light sweater or long sleeves for the function space, shopping and restaurants, as the AC will be active everywhere.  SPF 30 if you're going to be out in direct sun -- even if you're just in a car if it's 30 minutes or more. And water, take water with you if you go out. Dehydration, especially with this kind of humidity is rampant.

If you plan to swim, Vegas pools rely only on the sun to heat, so they will be cold.

Traffic and Crowds.
No major conventions or concerts this weekend, but there is an international one starting Sat (7000 attendees expected), so there may be an uptick at the airport as you are coming in. Lots of tourists, of course, and McCarran is the 9th busiest in the country. We've not had the TSA line nightmares some of the other airports have, but they do still recommend getting there at least 2 hours ahead of your flight.

Being at the height of our tourist season, travel on the Strip sucks.  If you are driving, find the route that puts you on Las Vegas BLVD the shortest amount of time. Figure that you cannot turn right off the blvd anywhere along the Strip (Tropicana to Sahara), as even when the light is green, there will then be pedestrians crossing the street and keeping you from your turn. If you plan to take in the lights of the casino, don't do it at peak hours (9-midnight), or make sure your driver doesn't care and maintains focuses vigilance on the other vehicles and pedestrians. Hitting pedestrians -- even the ones asking for it -- is a no no.

If you are walking the Strip, be alert for any and everything. Crime is usually a target of opportunity, so don't be one. Don't walk even around our hotel at night alone (after midnight), and don't have bags, purses or anything else easy to grab. Don't walk near the curb and definitely not on the street unless the cops have directed you there (or the street is closed). The police presence is heightened weekend end evenings along the Strip.

A few dos and don'ts. Yes, many slot machines are now penny slots, but there is still usually at least a 40 cent minimum play. Yes, you can still play pennys and get free drinks (they will be cheap brands and watered down). Most slots do not accept coins, and most casinos no longer take coin for bills. They do take ATM cards in their kiosks, but be aware that many charge fees from $4-6 per transaction. If you going to gamble and you take a purse/bag, do not put it by it's strap along the back of your chair (same with restaurants). Keep it between your feet so you can feel it, or on your lap. Again, and easy target of opportunity.  If you play any of the table games, keep your chips in front of you, basically between your arms. People standing/sitting next to you could be good enough to swipe a couple from the end of a stack. If you win a reasonable amount and need to cash in (ticket or chips), try to find a kiosk (if ticket) that doesn't have much of a line or crowd nearby -- basically you don't want someone else figuring out you've just pocketed a bunch of $100 bills. Do not get on an elevator alone after cashing, or go out to the parking garage alone if someone else has witnessed your win and makes a big deal out of it. (I don't really recommend going in and out of casinos alone, especially late at night) just as a rule.  (Late night here is after 1a). If you win over $1200 from a single payout (generally this would happen at a max play slot machine), you've just earned yourself a 1099 form that gets forwarded to the IRS. You can have the casino take the taxes directly out of your winnings, but you will still need to file. (If you gambling even semi-regularly, and have a casino card for here or elsewhere in the country, you can get an win/loss earnings statement from the casino you have a card for, and any losses listed there can be used to offset your 1099 winnings, so I never have them take the taxes out myself, and just deal with it on my 1040.) You can cash out over $1200 with multiple tickets and not have to worry about the income being reported, it's just on a "single spin" (which could be a spin that gets you free games and the aggregate of those free games totals over $1200 that's still considered the single spin).  It's also actually $119X dollars that kicks in the reporting, but I don't remember the actual amount.

The area our hotel in is nice, upscale and generally considered safe. But violent crime is on an uptick here, armed robberies of convenience stores and the like, or arguments that end in shootings, so just be very careful, especially if you are out after midnight. As far as protests and activists, our demonstrations have basically been peaceful, but Hillary and Trump do call out the loonies (Hillary is due back the 19th); right now more people are turning out for bringing the Raiders to Vegas rallies than Black Lives Matter, but we have been having some marches. All of them (occasional union protest) are usually on or near the Strip or downtown, not down in Henderson near us.

If anyone has any specific questions about Vegas, the hotel or the area, please email me directly, or go ahead and post to the list. If I don't know the answer, one of the other locals might.