My work has its retirement plan through Wells Fargo. Our VP of HR invited us to play “Retirement City” which is an edutainment game to encourage people to save more for retirement by playing a game with questions, random events, and the like.
So I got to playing it a bit. And the social messaging started to rankle. The “You should save 10% of your pretax income” is smart advice. But the game deducted me more points for buying a used car than buying a bike, and deducted me more points for not having a wedding with the County Courthouse.
And then there was the question of kids. It asked how many kids our family was going to have. Now clued into the game’s social messaging, I chose “No Kids for us”:
You can see that you gain points for having NO children and and you lose more points for selecting to have kids. Period, end of story. Sure, Kids are expensive–but to suggest its more responsible not to have kids so you can save for retirement better?? I am not convinced of the efficacy, or the quality of this social message–and I say this as someone unmarried, without children.
A writer friend on twitter wanted to donate and vote for me for DUFF, the Down Under Fan Fund. The voting page, however, could be clearer.
In the interest of getting votes and donations, I will provide clarity.
To donate and vote for DUFF, the simplest method.
1. Paypal a minimum $5 donation to one of the two DUFF administrators. (choose the option to send money to friends and family)
1a. Indicate in the notes that you are voting for DUFF and indicate your choice. In the notes list your choices (its ranked choice voting like the Hugos)
I am voting for DUFF as follows:
1. Paul Weimer
2. Hold over Fan Funds
3. No Preference
The DUFF Administrator email addresses are (use either one!)
AUSTRALASIA: Clare McDonald-Sims, email@example.com
NORTH AMERICA: Lucy Huntzinger (acting NA admin) firstname.lastname@example.org
Simple, right? Now help me get to Australia! Voting ends on March 10th
The entirety of the Book of the New Sun, its essence, boils down to one single beautiful paragraph.
What struck me on the beach–and it struck me indeed, so that I staggered as at a blow–was that if the Eternal Principle had rested in that curved thorn I had carried about my neck across so many leagues, and if it now rested in the new thorn (perhaps the same thorn) I had only now put there, then it might rest in everything, in every thorn in every bush, in every drop of water in the sea. The thorn was a sacred Claw because all thorns were sacred Claws; the sand in my boots was sacred sand because it came from a beach of sacred sand. The cenobites treasured up the relics of the sannyasins because the sannyasins had approached the Pancreator. But everything had approached and even touched the Pancreator, because everything had dropped from his hand. Everything was a relic. All the world was a relic. I drew off my boots, that had traveled with me so far, and threw them into the waves that I might not walk shod on holy ground.
— Gene Wolfe, The Book of the New Sun
(The Citadel of the Autarch, chapter 31)
I kind of felt this, when I wandered the streets of Rome, and everything, everything felt Holy, and ancient, and new, and forever, and to touch and walk there was an act like none other.
Outside of Castle Clinton, on the tip of Manhattan, is a sculpture called “The Immigrants”
I thought today of all days, with Trump’s Executive Order regarding refugees, that it was time to share it.
DUFF, the Down Under Fan Fund, was created by John Foyster in 1970 as a means of increasing the face-to-face communication between science fiction fans in Australia and New Zealand, and North America. It was based on an earlier fan fund called TAFF which did the same for fans in Europe and North America. Other fan funds have spun off from these two, all in the name of promoting a better understanding of worldwide fandom.
So every year, either an Australian delegate comes up to North America, or an American goes “Down Under”. They switch back and forth year to year.
2017, its North America to Australia, and I have declared myself a candidate.
If you are a fan in Science Fiction, you can vote for me:
Anyone may vote who has been active in fandom on or before January 1, 2017. “Active in fandom” is defined as being involved in fannish pursuits such as fanzine writing or reading, convention running or attending, amateur film, video or podcast production and/or club participation. Only natural persons may vote and may vote only once.
Your vote has to be accompanied by a donation to the Down Under Fan Fund.
And you can vote HERE:
Help me get to Australia!
2016 SF Total 47
2016 Fantasy Total 61
2016 Non Fiction total 22
2016 Fiction total 2
Paper book 64
Audio book 38
Total books 132
Philip K Dick gets the most by one author win, with 13 books by him.
I DO need to read more by women. Too much sausage in my diet. I noticed that I would get into “Streaks” of just reading women. I need to be more consistent.
My Award Eligbility for the year 2016
Sadly, I had no eligible fiction posted
I had *plenty* to nominate me for Best Fan Writer:
My reviews and columns at Skiffy and Fanty
My reviews and columns at Tor.com
My reviews and interviews at BN Sci Fi
Two podcasts I frequent the most are eligible for Best Fancast
I am eligible for the Skiffy and Fanty Podcast
I am also eligible for the SFF Audio Podcast
I would be most honored if you would nominate me.
“The General? She’ll always be royalty to me.”
There is an afterlife. There are many of them, but that is not germane to this story.
In the lounge of the afterlife reserved for those who lead states and nations, Ramesses II, former Pharaoh of Egypt, sat at the bar, alone. The television was not turned to a dead channel, rather, it was, as always , showing the doing of current world leaders. Ramesses has watched his successors, Roman Emperors, Chinese rulers, Mongol Khans and more have paraded over the gigantic screen.
After all, it pays to know who will be joining you in that afterlife one day. No one admitted who created the thing, but it was older than him.
On screen today was Donald J Trump, President Elect of the United States (and what was that, electing their rulers? Weren’t they tired of that yet?) spouting lies and half truths. Part of the screen showed his running twitter feed. That was full of lies and half truths, too.
“Amateur!” Ramesses muttered into his beer. Hopefully Jadwiga would be up and about soon. She owed him a game of chess.
“The results of Simulation 857b are in, ma’am.”
“And? Spit it out.”
“The simulation ended on Julian Day 2458126. Nuclear War.”
“The Election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States and the invention of Twitter.”