Category Archives: General

Rest in Peace, Scott Olson

One of my two best friends, Scott Olson, passed away on Sunday after a long and hard bout with double pneumonia.
Friend, Husband, father. Roleplayer. Wargamer. Traveler. He taught me so much, it will be hard to explicate what he has meant to me.
And in a very real way, Scott Olson (along with his wife, Felicia) saved my life. Seriously.
Rest in Peace, Scott.

Ten things I have done that you probably haven’t

I live a boring life compared to,say, John Scalzi, and I’ve done this before but here goes:
1. Had my photography featured on their website by a local National Public Radio affiliate.
2. Been to the Headwaters of both the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers.
3. Stood on a Glacier (Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park)
4. Had a Professor whose experiment (in aquaculture) wound up on a space shuttle mission
5. Ridden every line of the NYC Subway at least one stop, and many to full length.
6. Worn a kilt at a Scottish Renaissance Faire
7. Played laser tag in a cemetery
8. Hit a tombstone with a car
9. Been to a *triple* Continental Divide (at a spot on US 53 near Hibbing, Minnesota)
10. Been tuckerized into a book (The Exiled Blade by Jon C. Grimwood features a “Captain Weimer”)

Gone Photographing–Vacation

Hi all.
AS some of you know, I am taking a long trip, starting on 5/24, that will take me to Colorado for the better part of two weeks.
As a result, I’ve been shy in taking requests for book reviews and interviews (yes, you in the back, people do approach me for such things).
When I get back, the second week of June, my usual schedule will resume–and I will hopefully have a boatload of pictures to share!

Update on Car, Camera and Catastrophes

Hi all.
Well, my Labor Day visit to Iowa went pear-shaped 5 miles from my friends’ house, when the car started to act wonky and the check engine light came on.
Labor Day weekend is not the best weekend for this to occur. Initial codes from the car suggested transmission (eek!), but the final diagnosis and repair on Tuesday was a Engine Crankshaft sensor. So, hundreds of dollars instead of thousands. Plus, a lost day at work, and a very moody weekend.
So I missed SF Signal’s Hugo win, and a lot of other things.
This outlay, though, has pushed back my camera replacement, and has bollixed my hopes for a vacation in Colorado this October.
Bad Luck seems to follow me everywhere, huh?

The Story of my camera–and you can help

Well, the news on my broken camera is bad.
Very bad.
I had thought it was a loose wire, or something that caused my camera several weeks ago to simply stop working. Sending it in for warranty, I received notice from Canon yesterday that the failure was non warrantable. According to them, the failure was due to “liquid damage to internal parts”.
Their estimate to repair the camera is practically the cost of just buying a new camera. $900.00
Unfortunately, I cannot afford to do either. I scrimped and saved for the last one, so I am looking at months and months
to do it again.
In talking with some fine folks, it has been suggested I put out a shingle and ask for donations, and perhaps sell prints and photo albums of my work in a fundraising capacity via something like Indiegogo.
Part of me wants nothing to do with this idea. There are far more worthy causes out there worth your money than giving me money so that I can take photographs again. But, then, again, if I do not ask…
If you wanted to donate money directly to me via, say, Paypal, my email address is jvstin [at]
But if I were to do a “sell prints and photo albums fundraiser”, that would require me to have a pool of images to choose from. I have thousands of pictures on Flickr, and many of you have seen what I share.
What do you like? What sorts of pictures (or if you have bookmarked a favorite, even better) would interest you in buying a print or a photo album of? Send me email at jvstin [at] and let me know.
Best Regards,
Paul Weimer

Sic Transit Borders

I’ve always liked Borders.
One of my favorite bookstores, before it was destroyed, was the Borders at the base of the World Trade Center in NYC. I remember back in the 80’s when I wanted my cousin, who was taking us to the top of the WTC at the time, to let me buy a book there…
When I lived in California, the nearest bookstore to me was the Borders at a shopping mall a short bus ride away. With a movie theater and restaurants there, going to that mall for book shopping, movie watching and a meal was a lot of fun…
In Minnesota, I began to watch the slide and fall of Borders with sadness. I slowly transferred my affections to B&N as the Borders visibly and irrevocably lost their quality. I resisted for a long time, because of the goodwill that Borders had built up over the years.
And now it is all gone. And we will all be poorer for it.
Rest in Peace, Borders. You will be missed.

Psychology of the day.

No matter how nice you think you are, or even are, there are going to be people who won’t like you and would rather not have you around. This is true, whether or not you are talking about a personal face to face relationship, a job, or even participating in a role playing game.
My problem, and it is MY problem and not the problem of the people who dislike me is this. Faced with that, my reaction is to immediately conclude that I am a piece of sh!t. It’s my fault, its my shortcoming, its my failure. My failure at the cave. An psychologically underdeveloped part of me thinks that if I just fix something, those people will like me. I’m not a bad person, I’m a good person. If only they will see.
Its rubbish, of course. People are not guaranteed to like you, no matter how good of a person you are. It’s not because you aren’t a good person, and its not because you are a piece of sh!t. It just is.
I wish I could internalize this. It would save me a lot of internal psychological tsuris.

Dream: The Magical Family

In this dream, I was not the family friend of My Friends the Olsons™, but instead a magically talented family who lived in a large Victorian house. The dream started in medias res ,with us trying to get to the nursery. Queen Mab (from Faerie) was trying to steal their baby, and had warded the usual routes to the nursery while she worked on the abduction. The patriarch of the family, his wife and I managed to get there by cutting holes in a window (which was magically locked by Mab) and crawling along a ledge to get into the Nursery and save the baby.
Once that was done, I headed downstairs to meet a Harold Bloom/Daniel Pinkwater sort of character. He was cooling his heels waiting for an interview, and wanted “3 books” to read while he waited. I finally took him into the depths of the house to interview my friends, and we passed by a bookcase. Inside that bookcase were all manner of (to our world) imaginary books, which stunned and surprised the literary expert. “The Complete Magical works of Shakespeare” was but one of the volumes that he lusted after, in the locked glass case. We also noticed that somehow, inside of the sealed case, water was dripping on the books, suggesting yet another attack, and so I was off again to warn my friends…
And then I woke up.