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The Thrilling Adventures of Stephen
 
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in saintonge's LiveJournal:

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    Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
    12:38 am
    Irony strikes
            As a member of the "Sad Puppies 3" campaign, I nominated for the Hugos.  When George R. R. Martin weighed in, with a post entitled Me and the Hugos, I left a comment.  It read:

    ==============
    Re: Should I attend Sasquan?
            Ya know, Mr. Martin, I detect a certain cognitive dissonance here.

            'The Hugos belong to Worldcon fen', and we of the Sad Puppies movement aren't part of it is the message I got from your post.  But we should attend Worldcon.  Why?  So that we can be insulted.  So we can be spat upon (as poster Gatorsama says happened to him, here)?

            I won't be at Worldcon this year, lacking time and money, and having health issues, but I was seriously considering going next year.  I attended Worldcons in the past, and other cons, and every one I went to, I felt welcome.  But now, I'm getting a 'We don't want your kind around here' vibe.

            Really, I don't see why you're inviting me and my fellow Puppies to come to Worldcon, when at the same time you seem to wish we'd all go away.
    =============

            Mr. Martin replied with a post of his own, which said:

    ++++++++++++++++++


            I would need some verifiable proof before I would believe that anyone got spat upon at worldcon.  That smells like a lie to me.

            There's no cognitive dissonance at all.  If you want to decide who worldcon gives its award to, you should be part of worldcon.  You say that you have attended worldcons before and always felt welcome.  That certainly matches my experience more than tales about people being spat on.  Fandom is very welcoming.

            I don't understand why you would believe the story of some stranger on the internet who calls himself "Gatorsama" when it is directly contradicted BY YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES?

            I think any Puppies who attend worldcon with an open-minded friendly attitude will be welcomed.  Mind you, if SP come swaggering in with a chip on their shoulder, trying to disrupt the con, that could be a different matter...

            Acceptance begats acceptance. Hostility begats hostility.

    ++++++++++++++++++

            So I decided to reply, and wrote:

    _______________________________

            Well actually, "Worldcon" doesn't give out any awards.  The World Science Fiction Society does, and it has provided for members of the Society who do not attend to participate in that process since the beginning of the Hugos.  You could look it up.

            Why am I inclined to believe the guy who says he was spat upon?  In the first place, my experiences at Worldcon were a long time ago.  I haven't been to a con in decades, for reasons mostly of money and time.  But at the cons I went to, I was noting a growing hostility to members of various groups, such as costumers and gamers.

            Secondly, I keep hearing people say roughly the same thing: they attend cons, and they get insulted and harassed, not because they did anything, but because of who they are.  'I walked into the room, and several people saw me and immediately walked out' sort of tales.

            I note a certain approved prejudice and discrimination in accounts of cons I read about nowadays.  Used to be, the only 'segregation' was smokers and non-smokers, and that was based on current activity.  Today I hear about "safe spaces," where members of Group X won't have to encounter non-X people.  Refusing to have anything to do with people because of their physical characteristics used to be considered reprehensible among fen.

            And of course, in recent days, I notice a certain distinct hostility to we of the Sad Puppies campaign, by people who've never met us.  This does not bode well for pleasant encounters at Worldcon.

            You know, back in the 1950s and '60s, there were many white Southerners who insisted that they never harrassed black people, that the tales of random attacks, gratuitous insult, and general harassment were lies told by troublemakers.  And of course, there were huge numbers of people who could say they been treated just marvelously in the South.  Overwhelmingly, though, those latter people were white.  I'd say the weight of history is that the black people who told those stories were largely accurate.  Instead of assuming that people who say they were spat upon are lying, perhaps you might try independent inquiry, and work at making sure that everyone knows rudeness will not be tolerated?
    _______________________________

            It turns out Mr. Martin has frozen the thread, so that we can no longer comment.  Ask a question, don't allow an answer.  Somehow, not what I'd consider "welcoming."
    Saturday, March 7th, 2015
    10:40 pm
    How often do I go downtown?
            My wife asked if something had happened to "the Hump", aka the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.  It turns out that it was demolished last year.
    Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
    11:34 am
    Huge excitement in my life!
            What's it like, being an old fart?  Today, I decided I might want to read a new book, and went to my library to reserve it.  I'm the first request!  When they get it processed, I'll be able to read it without waiting!

            Now, if it would just warm up, I'd be in paradise.

    Current Mood: accomplished
    Monday, January 12th, 2015
    4:17 am
    Saturday, November 30th, 2013
    3:02 pm
    A Thrilling Vermin Adventure
            Recently, we were hearing strange noises in the house.  And then, one day, a really strange noise, a metronome in the basement.  It was an old, battery-powered thing that had somehow been turned on.  Conclusion: we had an uninvited visitor.

            I would have called an exterminator, but my wife, K., is ultra-softhearted.  So we went looking for live-traps.  Finally got one at Ace hardware.  I spent several days on procrastination careful strategic planning, and finally pinky swore to K. I'd do it that day decided my plans were mature.  Then I made my mistake.  I opened the box.

            I had a hint of my mistake when I opened the box and saw the instructions were inside the trap, and found that I couldn't get it open.  This was a clue to stop and think.  But I just bulled on ahead, and managed to break it.

            Eventually, I figured out how to get it open, at which point it turned out that repair instructions were not included.  The next hour or so are best passed over with muttered and loudly voiced obscenities.  After breaking it further (which was necessary to get at certain parts), and a couple of false starts, I finally figured out how it was supposed to work, and got it back together.  It even worked, sort of.  Expecting nothing, I took it downstairs, baited it, and left.

            Sonofabitch, the damned thing functioned fine.  I feel just slightly guilty that I didn't check it till evening, because there was a large gray squirrel inside the trap, probably without water for half a day.  So I got dressed, took Throckmorton G. Squirrel and his container to the car, and set off for Dakota County.  As Dakota County is both twenty or so miles away, and on the other side of a fairly wide river, I figured this ought to discourage a return to Casa Messy.

            Throckmorton tolerated his ride fairly well, and listened politely as I explained that he was lucky, as I wasn't going to kill him.  He took off like a rocket when I opened the door.  I returned home.  With luck, there are no further varmints down there to bother us.

            Sometimes, I wonder if all this high-pressure living isn't too much for an old fart like me, but so far, I tolerate it.

            P. S.: It turned out that instructions for opening the trap were on the outside of the box.  It never occurred to me to look there.
    Saturday, October 8th, 2011
    2:26 am
    Writer's Block: Love hurts
    What’s the best way to mend a broken heart?
    When you're heart breaks, you are injured, just as if you'd broken a bone. In both cases there is no remedy except time. Eventually, you heal.
    Sunday, September 25th, 2011
    2:19 am
    Where's my damned satellite disaster?
    It reentered the atmosphere and vanished? WHAT A CHEAT1
    Sunday, September 18th, 2011
    9:03 pm
    Where's Global Warming When You Need It?
    It's not even fall yet, officially, and suddenly Minneapolis is in the 50s.
    Sunday, August 28th, 2011
    2:49 am
    A Nice Time
    I went over to Uncle Hugo's 'today' (yesterday by the calendar), for the book signing by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. I had a nice time at the store, at "It's Greek to Me" after the signing, and at local fan Scott Raun's house after the meal. Lee and Miller are very charming in person, and lots of fun to chat with.

    Warning: Sharon Lee is TALL! She may be the tallest woman I ever met, and is certainly in the top five. I'm six-one, and she is only an inch or two shorter than me. She and Steve mentioned going out for walks, with her dressed in men's clothes (which were more comfortable for her), and getting mistaken for a pair of gays ('Hey, don't you go insulting my wife by calling her a fag'-Miller, quote approx.)

    And if you ever meet Steve M., ask him to tell you about Harlan Ellison, Clarion, and the great curmudgeon's spontaneous kindness to a young lady who very much needed help.

    Current Mood: happy
    Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
    9:43 pm
    New automobile
            The '98 Subaru wagon died at 158,000 miles, effectively speaking (it needed the second major repair within a year). K.'s Honda Fit was too small for me, because the short people's conspiracy made sure the seat wouldn't slide back far enough. K. is retired.

            Decision: new Subaru Imprezza wagon. The Sport model, because it has windshield wiper and outside mirror de-icers. Picked it up Thurs, 20110818.

            So far, we like.
    9:26 pm
    Thursday, May 1st, 2008
    11:45 pm
    Today's Adventure
            Left my car at a body shop, to have the bumper re-attached.  You see, a while back I backed into my garage, and went too near the phone pole.  The bumper popped right off.  I used K.'s car for a while, but now I want my own back, as I'll have a temporary job starting Monday.



            Oh, I also bought a windbreaker at the Burlington Coat Factory, since the weather is too warm to need my winter coat now.



            And K. and I just watched both Lost and Burn Notice.  Good shows.



            Now, if the sheer excitement of all this doesn't kill me. . .

    Current Mood: cheerful
    Wednesday, April 30th, 2008
    1:03 am
    Invormation Wanted on Weird, Rare Astronomical Event
            The weather was very strange today.  Instead of it's normal gray color, and a normal spring temperature about the same as the inside of my refrigerator, the sky was (I'm not joking) a bright blue color.  Also, instead of the light coming from all directions at once, there was this bright object in the sky that not only gave off light, but heat.  In fact, the air temperature may have gotten above 40 degrees Farenheit!

            I seem to recall hearing of these phenomena, and I believe have names and explanations. If any of you know anything about this, please leave a comment telling me what was going on.

            While on the subject of information I need: I heard this odd phrase the other day, "global warming."  (And yes, I checked, it wasn't 'global warping,' or 'global warning').  If anyone has any idea what this means, I'd appreciate your sharing the knowledge.

    Stephen
    Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007
    2:32 pm
    Bad Amazon Customer Service Improves Just Slightly
            Well, someone finally paid attention to my ten days of complaints, re-opened my wife's account, and called up to talk to me.

            So, I went into the wife's account to look at her records, and, SURPRISE!, there are no records.  Apparently everything has been wiped.

            But I have managed to figure out what the alleged problem is, and I've got a call in with Chase about the proper account.  It's one where we had a possible fraudulent charge issue last year.  Amazon confused that account with a different account, and told us there was a dispute on the second account.  That explains why, when I called Chase, they didn't find anything being disputed.

            So, maybe I will finally get this completely resolved.  Not that I'm holding my breath or betting big on it.

    Current Mood: exhausted
    Wednesday, April 25th, 2007
    10:20 am
    More Nonsense From Amazon
            They continue to amaze us with their stupidity.

            My wife K. got an e-mail, asking if they had satisfactorily answered her question.  Her question was 'Why did you cancel my account, and why are you disputing an order from 2006?'  The answer customer service gave was 'We can't tell you.  To tell you, we'd have to be able to access your account, and we can't since it's cancelled.  Only a special department can do that, and we can't transfer you to them.'  In our opinion, this has to count as a 'No, you didn't answer our question.'

            So, an e-mail was sent, putting this point across, perhaps a bit more forcefully.  And what happened?  They rubbed salt in the wound. They dumped her to a screen reminding her that if she has any questions, she can answer most of them by logging into her account.  You know, the account that's been cancelled, and thus can no longer be logged into -- and no, Amazon customer 'service' can't help us with that either.

            We have to wonder, here at Casa Messy, just how out of touch you have to be to think you're making people feel better with this automatic, insincere, pointless, perversely unhelpful fluff?

            By now, seeing how long they can continue to fail to even address our problem, and how much angrier they can make us, has become strangely enjoyable.  If nothing else, it gives me the chance to post things like this.

    Current Mood: cranky
    2:44 am
    Amazon Does the Unbelievable: It Makes It's Customer Service Worse
            Yes, though I thought they'd hit bedrock, Amazon has now dug an even deeper pit.

            K. really, REALLY wanted the book we'd ordered through Amazon, used.  The seller had been nice, and it was the low price.  So, I re-ordered the book under my own name.

            Silly me, I used the same credit card, since it was the default on the account.  AMAZON CANCELLED THAT ORDER TOO.  Since the card number had been used in connection with a "fraudulent" order, they won't process any orders using that card.  Of course, they hadn't bothered to delete the card from my account.  It's still there, so I can make other orders they won't fill.

            I wouldn't have believed any company could be this stupid and clownish, but Amazon has reached this nadir of customer treatment.
    Tuesday, April 24th, 2007
    10:30 am
    Amazon's Lousy Customer Service Continues
            The idiots at Amazon e-mailed my wife this morning, saying that the reason they closed her account was because the bank was disputing a charge on the credit card -- a charge made in May of 2006.  (Yes, that's right, an order nearly three years old).  I called the bank issuing the card (Chase), and they told me that there are no disputed charges on the card, and never have been.

            Meanwhile, Amazon sent me an e-mail, saying that they had closed her account because she used my credit card to open her account with.  The fact her name is on the card's account, that she has a copy of the card with her name on it, that is apparently beside the point.  If the account was valid, said the e-mail, click on this link, and tell us.  Clicking on the link sends you to the Amazon home page.

            I also talked with someone at Amazon, again, who said the problem is that the billing address info on file with the bank doesn't match the billing address info she provided them, which is a lie.  I talked to someone at the bank, and confirmed that the billing address info is identical in both cases.

            Meanwhile, what really gets me, is that Amazon's web pages keep talking about how they want to delight you with their great customer service -- but there is no way to call up an account specialist and actually talk with one, and the account specialists are the only ones who can fix the screw ups.  With luck, one of them will get in touch with me by the end of the week.

            Amazon.com's operational philosophy: 'Drop dead, you're too stupid to treat right, it's easier to just lie to you.'

    Current Mood: angry
    Monday, April 23rd, 2007
    11:01 am
    I'm so mad I could bite nails in two.
            Amazon.com has just shown what happens when you let the accounts take over your firm, and we will not be dealing with them again.

            It started with K. submitting an order.  She got an e-mail saying the order had been accepted, and giving shipping dates.  Today, we tried to check on the order.  We can't get into her account.

      So I try to get them to send a password so we can get into her account.  That tells us their is no such account this despite the e-mail confirming the order.

            Finally, I call them.  It turns out they've messed her account up somehow.  They won't tell what the problem is, they won't ship the order, they won't put someone on the line that can deal with the problem immediately, we should wait for them to get in contact with us in a week or so.

            Fuck that noise.  We'll do business with people who don't think we should wait on their convenience in order to be allowed to give them money.

    Current Mood: angry
    Friday, March 2nd, 2007
    9:36 pm
    Snow, Snow, Snow
            Comparing weeks to the same dates, we've had more snow in the last week than in the last 25 years.

            It started on my birthday, last Sunday, God's little birthday present to me (that Deity, such a kidder).  I shoveled that three times.Then came March 1st.It started snowing in the morning, and it was still snowing when I woke up today.

            Last I looked out the window, it was still coming down, although lightly.

            Someone remind me why I live here?

            Btw, I've measured this week's fall at over nineteen inches at my house.  How much more is hard to say, because the snow on top was light and fluffy, while that at the bottom was heavy and compressed.  But it was definitely too much.
    Monday, February 12th, 2007
    12:00 pm
    Today's Big Exciting News
            My car needs a new battery.

            How do I stand this apocalyptic existence?
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