Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Friday, July 06, 2007

  Quote, overheard

"I was sitting on my front porch, Heinlein had just died, the space shuttle wasn't flying, and I was watching Mir go overhead. And I decided to DO something about that."

I was just passing by in the hall when I heard this, and stopped dead, trying to trace the speaker... but I never found out what she'd decided to do, or how successful she was.

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  Why Heinlein?

"Have Spacesuit, will travel" was the first book of Heinlein's I remember reading.

I don't think it was the first science fiction book I'd ever read, but it was close to the first.

The storyline was preposterous but the characterizations of Kip and Peewee and especially the "Mother thing" wrapped themselves around my heart. Many character quirks were delightful (the lead character's father files his tax returns with an occupation of "spy" - I've been sore tempted file as "Smuggler") and so many scenes, like the contest to win the spacesuit using tag lines for soap, all caught my early attention. I must have read that book dozens of times.

I read "Stranger in a Strange Land" at far too early an age (14?), and spent much of the following years trying to sort out the truth from the fiction in that book. I was utterly confused about women. Tenative conclusion: (most) Women are wired differently. More news on that whenever I figure out more, or from my deathbed, from which I can theorize without consequences.

Only recently have I delved deeply into some of the background behind that book, in reading up on the life and times of the early Mormons. (I have a few recomendations here, more when I remember the titles).

It was "Moon is a Harsh Mistress" that caused me to read the rest of Heinlein's canon.

I was, oh, 11, I think, when I read that book, and emphasized with the main character ("Mycroft", a thinking computer) because we had the same name - so much that eventually I went into the computer field myself. There was a lot of that sort of weird autistic empathy in my impressionable years - Michael Valentine Smith, Mike Callahan - sometimes I think if I'd had a different first name I'd have turned out vastly different, and maybe happier.

Moon is a Harsh Mistress's retelling of the American revolution, written in a powerful russian/english patois is riveting! I loved all the characters in that book, even the warden. I vividly remember the book cover - which had a white one armed hero. Midway in the book, it turned out he was black, and I truly understood then that color didn't matter to me, but it apparently did to some people). The concept of line marriage and the revolutionary cell system, are concepts that have all stuck with me to this day.

Why am I at the centennial? I got invited to perform by one of the speakers here - she's giving 3 talks, including one enthusiastically entitled: "Sex!". Um, well, I got invited to perform... some music....

Evan is hopefully doing a song based on a passage of that book, entitled, "home". It's a heart tugger....

At the moment I'm in a session being given by the enthusiastic FAA administrator.

"The space program is speeding up, not slowing down" - she says.

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  Heinlein Centennial #1

In Nicaragua all June, in Santa Cruz (for july 4th), in Kansas City today for the Heinlein centennial...

... although I have an enormous backlog of blogs to post and dozens of recordings to edit, I have a jillion things to do this morning, and despite slamming back a pot of coffee, I mostly just want to crawl back into bed.

Tenatively I'm headed down to the garden terrace for a while, then Chouteau A where the filksing is going to be and Barsoom is at 10, then the Century C from 12-3 for Mike Griffin's talk (yea, Griffin, Chief Administrator of NASA - I look forward to asking my favorite question), then the Atlanta for "So, you want to write like Heinlein", then after that I don't know...

(I wish my cell phone rang somewhere other than Nicaragua)

Somewhere in there, I gotta find the con committee to see if I can record the proceedings with my handy dandy zoom h4 audio recorder... and see if we have a PA and mics and maybe even a piano, 'cause I'm in the Rhysling filk sing at 8PM tonight in Chouteau A with a bunch of great filkers (I'm NOT WORTHY)...

oh, yea, I also need to get my laundry from Nicaragua done. But I have to change rooms at 11, to room with evan who isn't here til 6.

My gf is still not returning my calls, which makes for about 8 weeks of just talking to her voice mail. I'm beginning to get an inkling that just maybe she's mad at me.

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David Täht writes about politics, space, copyright, the internet, audio software, operating systems and surfing.


Resume,Songs,
My new blog, NeX-6, My facebook page
Orgs I like
The EFF - keeping free speech in the world
Musical stuff I like
Jeff, Rick, Ardour, Jack
Prior Rants - Wireless and Wifi in 2015 - not what I dreamed of Saving wifi! Fixing Bufferbloat! Fighting the vend... Virgin Media - Fixing the epidemic of bufferbloat ... 49... and trying to find my navel Wheels down on mars! Tracking the landing of Curiosity, from Seattle spotting NEOs from around venus's orbit Asteroids as lunar orbit resources SOPA is bad news Departing France for England, then 'home'.
Best of the blog:
Uncle Bill's Helicopter - A speech I gave to ITT Tech - Chicken soup for engineers
Beating the Brand - A pathological exploration of how branding makes it hard to think straight
Inside the Internet Mind - trying to map the weather within the global supercomputer that consists of humans and google
Sex In Politics - If politicians spent more time pounding the flesh rather than pressing it, it would be a better world
Getting resources from space - An alternative to blowing money on mars using NEAs.
On the Columbia - Why I care about space
Authors I like:
Doc Searls
Where's Cherie?
UrbanAgora
Jerry Pournelle
The Cubic Dog
Evan Hunt
The Bay Area is talking
Brizzled
Zimnoiac Emanations
Eric Raymond
Unlocking The Air
Bob Mage
BroadBand & Me
SpaceCraft
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Callahans
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If you really want to, you can poke through the below links as well.

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