For ANZAPA Mailing #186, April ’99

By Karen Johnson

NOTE: You'll just have to imagine the graphics, layout and decoration - they don't transfer well to a Webpage :-(

A Moving Tale (or maybe not)

About a month ago, my father came home from work and dropped a bombshell on us. His boss had asked him whether he’d like to go to Adelaide to work? My first response was ‘How long?’ (actually, it was ‘WHAT!!!!’) and my next was ‘Not until after Aussiecon!’. Actually, I thought it was a joke. Lionel’s been sent to Adelaide, Sydney and Canberra several times in the past to take over from one of the other engineers, but it’s only been for a few weeks to a month at a time.
Anyway, it turns out that he was serious. The engineer in Adelaide has been having on ongoing serious dispute with the company. The powers that be would like to sack him, and they’ve decided that it’s easier to send Lionel over there than to hire someone local and train them etc. That’s what they think this week, anyway. It may all fade away like the morning dew, probably as soon as we get serious about the move.
You might wonder why the prospect of my parents moving affects me. Firstly, I live with them so if they move to Adelaide I have two choices – move with them, or move anyway and find somewhere of my own to live. While that second option has some appeal, practicality (no car, no money, nowhere to go) says that it won’t wash. Secondly, Heather said that while she doesn’t mind moving herself, she won’t go if it means turfing us (Greg and me) out on our ears when we’re not ready to go.
At first I REALLY didn’t want to go, but thinking about it over the last few days I’ve decided it’s not a bad idea. Adelaide’s a nice place, judging by the couple of visits I’ve made there anyway. It’s small enough to be friendly; the climate’s good, if a bit warm for our tastes (but that’s why they invented air conditioning); there’s almost no smog; Heather’s sister Nola and her family seem to be very happy there etc.
Finding work in Adelaide could be a bit of a hassle, because I’d have to compile a new list of Primary Schools (Elementary schools for the US contingent) and go through my annual school notification ritual again (“I’m here, I’m trained, I’m available, and I’ll teach anything.”) Then I’d have to sit back and wait until some of them took me up on it. On the other hand I’m sure they need Emergency Teachers in Adelaide almost as often as they do here, so the work should be out there…
One big plus is that Nola told us that in South Australia you can get a driver’s licence without having a Driving Inspector peering over your shoulder while you take a practical test. The only reason I didn’t get my licence 6 years ago was that I got so terribly nervous that I failed the test twice, and then couldn’t bear to put myself through that ordeal for a third time. If I could have just had lessons every week for a certain length of time and filled out a logbook as I went, or been tested by my Driving teacher, then I wouldn’t have had a problem.
Adelaide water is pretty awful, but lately the water coming out of our tap hasn’t been anything to write home about either. Often it comes out BROWN and murky, or alternatively loaded with so much chlorine that it smells like a swimming pool. At that stage, it tastes just as bad as it smells, (though it’s probably not toxic – that’s what they tell us, anyway) so we’ve had to resort to keeping an emergency supply of the bottled stuff in the fridge.
There’s only one real drawback with the whole Adelaide idea – while there’s a large and active fannish community in Melbourne, I don’t know of any fannish activity in Adelaide at all. While a large part of my fannish activity is carried out by mail (and could carry on as normal once everyone knew my new address), I would really miss the face-to-face interaction (and the large free library) I’m getting by going to the MSFC each Friday night, and to the various other club days, conventions etc. Still, you can get from there to here in a day (or a day and a half if you’re Heather – she hates to drive long distances) so I can always come back when I get really convention-hungry. There’s a daily train too, so I don’t even have to wait until I’ve got a car.
So what should we do? There are plusses, minuses and in-betweens… Heather and Lionel’s decision will take some time, and depend on the housing market etc. (though it will still be made long before you read this), but I’ve already cast my vote – if it’s up to me then Adelaide, here we come. After all, if I don’t like it, I can always move back…

Moving Update: When Lionel told his boss that ‘yes, we’d be willing to move, but they had to pay the associated costs (Removalists fees, Real Estate agent’s fees, Stamp Duty etc.) which would be about $10,000, he blanched and told us to find out more details. Since further investigation has shown us that the costs are more likely to be $20,000 than 10, I don’t think it’s very likely that he’ll be willing to pay up… Still, all things are possible.

I’ve got them Old-time Editing-too-many-fanzines-at-once Blues

Most of you probably know that I am (or was) quite heavily into Star Trek at one stage, when The Next Generation was still an exciting and new phenomenon. Good Grieg (whoops – I don’t think we’re talking Romantic Composers here – Good Grief), I just realised that that was almost TEN YEARS AGO, as I started liking Star Trek long before I joined a club devoted to it. I still enjoy Trek, and always will, but now I have a greater appreciation of its many weaknesses and strengths. Three years ago I took my interest in Star Trek along to an AUSTREK meeting and joined the group, and for the last 12 months I’ve been assistant editor for the club magazine. Our Annual General Meeting was held on Easter Saturday, and now I’m Club Secretary plus sole editor for the Captain’s Log as of the June issue. Not that I’m too thrilled about the latter. It’s ironic –12 months ago I was champing at the bit to take over. Rose Mitchell had been planning to quit very soon after I started helping, but then she changed her mind. ‘Oh well’, I thought, ‘Now I’ve got time to do a zine project of my own.’ Then I joined ANZAPA, and started to write Out of the Kaje, and discovered just how much time writing/editing actually takes up. At one stage I actually said to her ‘I’m glad you decided not to quit…’ Now she has, citing her responsibilities as Aussiecon Treasurer as her reason (valid enough, but severely inconvenient for me – I’ve been acquiring Aussiecon responsibilities too, if not nearly as major as hers – tell you about them later) and I’m left holding the baby.
While I’m not going to drop anything, I’m obviously going to have to rationalize (boy do I hate that word) my fanning. While I wanted to produce a Kaje every three months, I’m obviously not going to be able to, as I’ve got a responsibility to the club members to get the Log out ON TIME in June, Sept., December, and so on. They’ve paid for the service, after all, so I’ve got to provide it. Next priorities after the Log are my ANZAPA and FAPA contributions Anzapans Only and Pink Koala. Again, I’ll have to do less than I’d like – while in an ideal world I’d have a lengthy contribution (including complete mailing comments) in each mailing, for the foreseeable future I’ll probably be pushed to manage the minimum page count to retain my membership, (and Mailing Comments will be largely out because they take me a very long time to produce.) Sorry guys. After the APAs comes Out of the Kaje (probably down to 2 or 3 issues per year), and some distance after that trail in the LoCs I’ve been trying to write in response to the many zines I’ve been collecting. Again, sorry to all those people who won’t be hearing from me. I’ll do my best, but I can only manage so much. All in all, it’s going to be a busy year, and a busy foreseeable future. Here’s where I get to find out just how much one still-neo-fan can manage to achieve before the dreaded Burn Out strikes. Hopefully that’s a long way away.

A Little Late Mail: A few more MCs on ANZAPA Dec 98

Intermittent Wandering: Bucconeer
Joyce Scrivner

Thanks for the interesting report on your Worldcon. It sounds terribly busy, terribly confusing, and terribly exciting. Is this a typical experience? I ask because at the moment I’m looking forward to Aussiecon with keen anticipation. I have however, a horrible feeling that I’ve seriously over-committed myself in terms of volunteering (when I filled out the volunteer database form I knew absolutely nothing, and ticked boxes more or less at random.) Three people took me up on my offers of assistance, and two of the ‘minor assistance’ roles I thought I was offering to do (Childcare & Children’s programming) have turned out to be major jobs. In my innocence I thought I was offering to help look after the kids for an hour or so, when what they really needed was someone to organise the whole show! I’m not doing the children’s programming all by myself, but at the moment I can see myself and Sue Burtzynski spending the entire Con week running around like chooks with their heads chopped off. We’re planning to run up to 5 hours of kid’s programming each day, and as yet we have a severe dearth of volunteers. Anyone know anyone who’s good with kids, who’ll be at Aussiecon, and who might be willing to give us an hour or so of their time? We’re getting desperate!
It’ll be worth it though (says she through bared teeth) After all, judging by our past track record it’ll be AT LEAST another 15 years before anyone’s willing to do it again.  *  By the way, what’s with the ‘ribbons’? Do you tie them in your hair, or around your wrist, or what? What do they signify? The other word I’ve seen/heard mentioned in the same breath as ‘ribbons’ is ‘stickers’. What do you do to earn them? Please explain.

Alan Stewart

You mention the Casino. [LONG ANECDOTE ALERT] I’d never been near the place, so I popped in there for a look around that day we went on the Site Inspection at the Aussiecon site. I can’t say I was impressed. I’ve never seen so much tacky décor in my life! I also found all the flashing, twinkling, blinking lights incredibly disorienting when combined with the mirrored pillars and the dark carpet decorated with little gold planets. I know they don’t want you to know how much time you’re wasting in there, but their ‘confuse the customer so they’ll spend more money’ scheme fell flat on its face with me (and I almost fell flat on my face as well.) I literally didn’t know which way was up, and started to feel quite ill from the disorientation (there goes my inner ear again). Needless to say, I wasn’t the slightest bit tempted to linger. I got out of there as fast as I could, but not before bumping into no less than three of the mirrored pillars because I couldn’t see them. The security guard who’d smiled at me on the way in (‘Oh goody, another mug punter’) looked at me rather oddly when I staggered out again so quickly, but I didn’t care. I wanted out, as quickly as possible. Once out in the daylight and fresh air, I revived rapidly. I still hadn’t eaten, so I went to the food court and handed over large sums of money for a plate of Asian chicken and fried rice. (at $8 the plate, luckily it was delicious.) Then I sat out on the riverbank and shared my dinner with a large flock of sparrows and seagulls. It started out innocently enough – I sat down to eat, and a lone seagull wandered by, so I tossed it a scrap of stringy celery. The seagull gave a brief squawk and bolted it down, but that was enough to alert its friends, neighbors and countrymen. Seagulls converged, and just stood there, staring at me with their beady little eyes. I couldn’t take the pressure – I tossed them another scrap. Squawk, squabble, it was gone. More seagulls arrived. Oh no! By the time I’d finished the plate, there were at least 100 gulls standing around waiting for their share. And the sparrows? They perched on the chair next to me eating stray grains of rice until I realised that that wasn’t a very good idea (one jumped onto the table and started eyeing my plate like it was about to go straight to the source) and shooed them away. And the moral of this little story? If you go and sit on the river bank to eat, DON’T FEED THE BIRDS, no matter HOW hungry they look. [LONG ANECDOTE NOW OVER.]  ?  You obviously watch a lot of television. I do too, but I don’t keep track of it, which probably means I watch a lot more than I think I do.

Interstellar Ramjet Scoop
Bill Wright

I did read Children of the Lens once upon a time, just not recently. His treatment of incest must have been so subtle that I missed it altogether (either that or it went over my head entirely – I was only 12 after all…) I’ll have to read it again with my eyes open. I just got the whole set of Lensman books, minus one, from KPG in return for a suitable donation to the Ian Gunn Memorial Fund. *  RYCT Lucy, I didn’t know Marc was an expert on filk. I’d never heard of the stuff until recently, but back before Christmas I wrote my first filk carols for AUSTREK’s Christmas concert. Most of them were extraordinarily feeble, but there was one I was rather pleased with (and it was well received, so maybe it really was an adequate effort.) Although I used a Christmas tune (Jingle Bells) it’s not a christmassy song, so I’ll probably shove it into one of my zines next time I’ve got a space to fill. *  You asked about the Narnia telemovies. I don’t remember whether there were four or five, but I know they omitted The Magician’s Nephew – too hard to manage the special effects on a BBC budget. The only time I saw them was when ABC screened them in one of their weekend ‘family’ timeslots a few years ago, but they’re a very creditable effort, and I’ve often been tempted to hand over the money to get them at the ABC shop. They’re worth watching, but if you don’t want to spend the money, take a wander through the ‘family’ section of your nearest video library and you’ll probably find them.  *  What incredibly itsy bitsy print in your comments to Bruce!  *  I didn’t realise you’d done the chicken jokes bit so recently, or I probably would have left it for a while. I’m a sucker for punishment though, so I’d love to see yours. Fire away at your leisure.

Wombat in your bed
Cath Ortlieb

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Ian. I have to say I find myself able to read them with more equanimity now than I could in December. It’s funny how some people are able to inspire a depth of feeling in others, regardless of whether or not (or how well) they know them. Ian was special that way. But I won’t go on now. I’ve said my piece elsewhere.

Mimezine Flashback
Terry Frost

Musical Porno??? I’m getting this horrible vision of the participants suddenly stopping in mid-grapple to belt out ‘Hey, look me over’ – “and I’ll be Up like a rosebud”, ‘Climb every mountain’ or other such classics.  *  Thanks for the first installment of your trip report.

Whew! Pause for breath and wipe brow. Now I’ve finally gotten all of the December mailing under control, it’s time to tackle the next round. I forgot to include the date anywhere near the start of this issue – I’m not nearly as on time as I was last time. As I write this it’s 11pm on the 9th April, which means that I’ve got until Wednesday to get this finished, photocopied and in the mail.
If you’re wondering where all the fonts and graphics I’m playing with this issue have come from, I’ve got a new art CD and I’m trying it out. Although I know it’s anathema to many fanwriters, I like to fiddle around with clip art and I use quite a lot in my publications. Unfortunately, all the clipart that came with Microsoft Office had a distinctly American bent, and I wanted some Australian images (koalas, kangaroos etc.) After much searching of computer shops for a super-cheap package (and wincing at the kind of prices they charge) I saw a bargain basement CD in the supermarket. It didn’t have any price on it that I could see, so I took it to the checkout. After all, how much could it be? It only cost $20, so I bought it. When I got home and tried it out, it turned out to contain a full version of a little program called ‘Draw’, a test version of the updated version ‘Express’, a large clip library, and a font manager called ‘Boss’ with about 600 TTF fonts.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t make head or tail out of ‘Draw’ or ‘Express’. They both appear to have been designed for either morons or kids who don’t actually want to draw anything. Fortunately, before I took the whole package back to the shop in disgust, I tried the font manager, which was just what I wanted, and also found that I could access all the WMF format clipart on the CD directly from Word. I couldn’t use ‘Express Testdrive’, for anything useful, as it turned out to be full version, but with all saving/copying features overridden (eg. If I’d wanted to, I could look at the clip art to my hearts content, but I couldn’t use the handy clip-export ability, or even use the clipboard to grab an image.) At first I was totally stumped, but I eventually found a sort of way around the problem. As I said earlier, I installed all of the WMF format clips straight into Microsoft Clip Gallery so I can I can use them in Word or PageMaker as long as I’ve got the CD in the drive. But not all the clips on the CD are WMF format, though I didn’t realise this for a while. I just wondered why I could see a koala in the program, but couldn’t find it on the CD. That was because a whole lot of clips are saved in some sort of proprietary format. My work-around for this little problem was to load them into Draw, (which doesn’t have the export bar) and then to copy them onto my hard drive as WMFs. It’s going to take a long time to copy and install them, but if I really need them I’ll be able to get virtually the lot.

Postie’s here: MCs on ANZAPA 186 Feb 99

Mighty Wurlitzer
Marc Ortlieb

Methinks maybe no one ran against you for Official Editor because you said you wanted the job until after Aussiecon? Or maybe everyone knows what a great job you’ve been doing and doesn’t think they can live up to it?

Anzapans Only

What was that I said about never going out and leaving a computer on? Guess what I did just the other day? We’ve just reshuffled all the computer equipment so there’s a machine in every corner of the house, and we’re not quite used to it yet. Last week I printed off my FAPAzine and then wandered off to the copy shop and post office, leaving the computer in the study humming merrily away to itself. Whoops.  *  RMCT Leanne – the froggy has come back twice since I wrote about it. I think it’s the same frog, anyway. It hops up onto the window once a month, but we never see nor hear it in between times. I wonder if it’s actually a were-frog? *  I know I said that my E-mail address was going to be a very ephemeral thing, but so far it’s been extremely useful. I’ve also managed to take care of my e-mail at least once a week (receiving and sending, as some of you have probably noticed), and it hasn’t piled up too fast (except for when I made a dreadful error of judgement and asked a bulletin-board site to notify me whenever it changed… After 100 messages in the first week, I was out of there! At some stage in the reasonably near future we might even get access from home, which will make my life much easier.

1998 Notes/Kingdom of the Bland
Eric Lindsay

The printed background made this a bit hard to read, but it’s obvious you had a very busy year! *  It’s a shame that you can’t manage to get Gegenschein copied/posted from up there. It sounds like you should try to enlist an agent in more civilized parts to do your bulk copying for you. (Any place that doesn’t have a cheap copy-shop isn’t civilized in my book and you won’t catch me moving there! I think I must be one of the Croydon Copy Spot’s best customers, & I’ll be an even better one once I start taking the Captain’s Log there in June. Why mess around with expensive printers on the other side of the city when you can get a virtually identical photocopy for 10c a sheet? The only difference is A4 needs staples.)  *  Christmas Country and Western music. Dear God, please no!  *  RYCT Alan, I’ve heard that the US doesn’t use Seamail anymore. I think that’s why it’s taking so long to get parcels from there to here – it takes a long time for the poor postie to walk up through Alaska, over the pack ice near the pole, down through Russia and Asia… and then the poor sod’s got to keep practicing until he manages to walk on water to make that last crossing! Seriously, that makes as much sense as the way they actually do do it – things just sit around until it’s convenient for them to shove them on a plane. That’s why we have a ‘normal’ airmail rate and an ‘economy airmail’ rate which is only a few cents cheaper but takes three weeks to get off the ground.

Jean Weber

The Star Trek Experience always sounds like it would be a great ‘experience’ to have, but I agree with you about the desirability of having the right people to share it with. It sounds like your group was a pain in the behind, and I have to wonder just why the middle-aged smart alecks were taking the tour? I would have thought that it was something that only kids and Trekkers would be interested in. I’m glad they didn’t spoil it for you – there’s nothing worse than forking out some of your hard-earned for a group experience that other people try to ruin.  *  I hope your eyes stay good for a long time to come. I’ve got to go back to the Eye specialist myself on Monday morning for another glaucoma test, so I’ll put an addendum on the end of this zine telling how it went. My fingers are firmly crossed.

Lyn McConchie

Giggles all round here as we read your Headlines to start the weekend. You’re right – Someone who could really draw could get some GREAT cartoons out of these. “Beanstalk News – ‘Kids make nutritious snacks’”, etc. I’ve got the images, but alas not the talent.  *  Gough Whitlam. Wasn’t he a famous cricketer? Only kidding. Even I’ve heard of the Dismissal. (Is that the event I’m supposed to be remembering?) As for people getting younger and younger, I’m always being surprised by the basic social/historical events that Primary school kids think happened before Noah built the Ark (if they’ve ever heard of them at all) but I remember clearly. Just a few examples are Azaria Chamberlain & the Dingo(?!), the Challenger disaster, Chernobyl, Australia II winning the America’s Cup etc. etc.  *  RYCT me, consider me thoroughly rebuked. Sorry! The kids don’t know much about history, and I don’t know much about New Zealand.

Anything but Average
Richard Hryckiewicz

I’ve started collecting older zines, and I’ve seen more than a few which have been ‘typoed’. Anyone who says that computers have downgraded the quality of fan writing should be tied up and forced to read a few dozen typed-on-the-stencil productions. At least with a computer you can go back and correct your mistakes before you print.  *  What’s the point of having a ‘waveless’ waterbed? I understand that the fibre mat stops the water sloshing around and making the occupant seasick, but doesn’t it also make the bed firm?

Land of 10,000 Loons
Jeanne Mealy

Smoked turkey is a very peculiar product, isn’t it? We bought a smoked turkey breast once when it was reduced after Christmas. I’m not sure what we expected, but it sure didn’t taste like turkey.  *  I hope the kits are both well, and done with scaring you like that. I hope too that you’ve managed to solve the employment problem.  *  RYCT me – I had to get 5 different designs of Chrissie card because the stall didn’t have enough. They were all the same size & shape though. It’s still one of life’s mysteries where the peacock came from. All I know is that we’ve never seen or heard it again. I hope it moved on and didn’t get turned into road kill. This year we’ve had various other mysterious bird appearances instead – ducks swimming in our next-door neighbour’s pool (ignoring their dog’s frantic barks), and a vast flock of lorikeets descending on the street when the flowering gums were in bloom. I don’t think I can remember the lorikeets ever coming around before, but for almost three weeks there were hundreds of them flying around the street.  *  Your cat cartoon reminded me of another that I just saw, so I scanned it in for you.

John Newman

Apparently, dried pigs ears are a true doggy delicacy. I dunno, they sound pretty disgusting to me. Still, dogs are pretty disgusting creatures all round, and especially in what they’ll eat, so it shouldn’t be surprising that they love the things.  *  I hope you’re not working TOO hard. Remember, all work and no play etc.

Reality Module
Michael Green

This is an admirably intelligent production, as usual. Thank you for sharing it with us.  *  We’ve had at least one computer in the house for more than 10 years, which means that we’ve confronted the ‘dead’ data problem more than once as we’ve upgraded our software. A few things have been important enough to convert appropriately, but a lot of data has just been let die. The latest data conversion job was a huge one, and took me at least a week’s work. While we were still using WordPerfect, Heather typed her entire recipe collection (about 500 recipes) onto the computer. When we changed to Word a couple of years ago, I converted them all, which involved going into word, opening each file individually, reformatting the text and page layout, and then saving in Word 6 format. My other major data upgrade occurred when we started using Windows 95. It supports long file names, so I used Norton File Manager to go through my entire file collection previewing each file (so I could be sure what it was) and then replacing the old 8-character, no spaces file name with something appropriately descriptive. *  Darkness is a tale to make you think. You’ve achieved a lot in a very few words – an example I should probably learn from. Only one quibble – the bald statement at the end ‘I am too badly injured to be moved. There is nothing that Gorfo can do to heal me. Already the mist envelopes my mind for the final time.’ clashes with the rest of the story, because it seems to require knowledge that the Princess doesn’t have.

Pink Drainpipe
Marc Ortlieb

RYCT Leanne. Leeches don’t live purely in Slade Pt. If you really want to avoid the horrible slimy little critters, you’ll have to steer clear of all nice damp rainforest-type environments, not just the ones in Qld. They’re tough – they’ll live anywhere as long as it’s wet, even Tasmania. Disgusting, I know.  *  RYCT Bill. Michael Hailstone is still publishing, or rather re-publishing, as he doesn’t seem to be doing anything new, but he’s repackaging his sagas. Last MH production bar one included a passage from Robinson Crusoe rewritten in 9 different ‘reformed spelling’ methods. Personally, I found them all utterly unreadable.  *  RYCT Leanne (again) I hereby announce that my next AO will consist of two pages of random typing done while wearing a blindfold and with one hand tied behind my back. My next issue after that will be an encore performance. Nah, probably not – I’ll save that for when my six pages are due and I’m up to my eyebrows in deadlines.  *  Thanks for offering to lend me The Cat who walks through Walls – we don’t need to borrow it now, as a) it’s in the MSFC library, and b) we bought a copy in Merv Binns’ latest sale. By the way, Greg is an Excellent looker-after-books. It’s me you need to look out for. (I try to take care of them, but it often takes me several weeks of carting a book around in my bag before I finish it, by which time the book is sometimes finished as well.)  *  RYCT Gerald & Womble re performance reviews, why bother to rewrite them each year? Why not just photocopy the old one, changing the date as required?  *  RYCT Michael, I haven’t seen the soft drink commercial you refer to, but I love the sequel – the leopard is sitting in a cabana by the water when a jetskiier (my spell-checker wants to change that to jester!) roars past. He gets sprayed with water, so he sics the crocodile onto him, and the last thing we see is a splash of foam & a dying shriek.  *  Whew! What a way to finish up! Love it, but I bet your spellchecker had apoplexy at the thought of a column-long run-on sentence (or don’t you have to suffer at the mercies of a built-in spell/grammar checker?)

From your little girl
Sinister Pedestrians

I was going to do this now, but it’s 11pm (I know I said it was 11pm ages ago, but that was yesterday), I’m more than halfway through the mailing, and one tie-on-strap from my cushion obviously wasn’t sewn on very well, so when I slid forward on the seat a moment ago, the stitching broke. Now I’ll have to sew it back together again. Oh well, that’s the way the tie-on rips. See you tomorrow.

12 April

I’m back. Now where was I? Oh yes, the Sinister Pedestrians. ‘Things’ on Buffy change all right. Characters, motivations, relationships, time slots… GRR! Bloody TV stations. I’ve got two Buffy novels sitting here waiting for review, but I can’t read them until Channel 7 at least finishes the 2nd season, because they’re jam-packed with spoilers. GRR again!  *  My blood runs cold at the thought of a station screening random Dr Who episodes – a truly sadistic thing for them to do. Maybe they just wanted to see whether anyone was actually watching?  *  I find the idea of a true RPG you can participate in over the Net, such as Ultima Online, to be absolutely fascinating. I wish had the finances and time to have a go, but I have a feeling I’d end up either a) terribly disappointed because it wasn’t nearly as good as I’d hoped, or b) addicted and totally broke (oh, I’m virtually broke already…)  *  I didn’t know Genevieve was into modern poetry… A truly talented child.

Mike O’Brien

It’s amazing how many incipient lawsuits are resolved just moments before it comes to the crunch. You don’t say whether your sister’s was resolved satisfactorily or not?  *  Re your ‘unprecedented three day electrical storm’ Was that really one storm which lasted for three solid days, or a three-day string of smaller ones? If I had to live through something like that, by the end of it I’d either be a quivering heap in the corner, or cured of that particular phobia.

Wombat in your bed
Cath Ortlieb

Like you, we’re starting to think that we should have at least one mobile phone for emergency contacts, but unlike you, we haven’t gone out and bought one yet. Heather’s one of the slowest adopters-of-new-technological-progress in the country. Whenever people start buying some newfangled device – microwave ovens, VCRS, pushbutton phones, doorbells… - she doesn’t want one. Eventually, someone else takes the plunge and brings one into the house, at which stage she grumbles away quietly to herself for a while, then cautiously tries it out. Six months later, none of us (including her) can remember how we survived without it. [NOTE FROM HEATHER:  It’s not that I am afraid of new technology – I  just don’t see the need to clutter life with ever more gadgets, all of which then become necessities which have to be regularly replaced as they wear out.] *  This may be heresy, but what is/was ‘A for Andromeda’ and how did it cause you to suffer a quivering fear of front-loading washing machines? On the TV front, the best Doctor Who is the one you saw the first/the most first-run episodes for, in my case Tom Baker. Woolly scarves for ever!  ?  RYC on my mysterious cream, after reading those puzzling instructions I looked it up in a book to see whether someone had made a terrible mistake. It turns out to be what you could call a ‘general anti-inflammatory’...  *  Love that second Leunig cartoon. There’s another one for you at the end of this zine.

Everyday Practical Desperation
David Cummer

Good luck with your new apartment. I hope you’re all settled in nice and comfy by now.  *  Re your query to me – close enough. *  RYCT Lyn, a ‘bet’s’ something you make when you go to the races, isn’t it?  *  I had a similar experience with black-out prevention as Giovanna. My stereo has electronic tuning, but no battery back-up. Every time I got all the stations programmed in, the power went off, or there was a thunderstorm so we had to unplug things, with the result that my stereo got amnesia. Reprogramming the stations takes about 30 minutes, so eventually I got sick of doing it all the time and only put in the one station that I listen to the most. Since then, there hasn’t been another black-out.  *  No, glace cherries and candied fruit are NOT the same thing (at least I hope they’re not.) Glace cherries are fresh cherries cooked in sugar syrup and soaked in it for however long it takes, and you buy them from the shop in nice little plastic packets. You can glace other fruit as well, but the only way to make sure they are really nice is to do it yourself. Once when I was a kid Heather made a huge batch of glace apricots with brandy. They were supposed to be a two year supply, but they were all gone inside two months. Yum!  *  RYCT Leanne, I know that carpal tunnel syndrome is a huge problem for people who move and flex their hands for a living (typists, conductors, musicians, etc.) but I hadn’t thought of sign language interpreters being affected. I played the flute seriously when I was in high school, and at one stage (after a minor fall) my hand started hurting abominably whenever I tried to do anything with it. The doctor thought it might be carpal tunnel syndrome, as nothing showed up on an X-ray. Nothing was conclusive however, so he gave me two choices – give up playing for at least a year, or live with the pain and see what happened. As I was in the middle of preparing for a major exam I chose the second option, and luckily nothing bad came of it. Over the next 12 months whatever was wrong with my hand healed itself and the pain gradually went away. Not something you forget in a hurry though… My aunt was also a serious flute player, and something similar happened to her during her final year of high school. Unlike me, she decided that she couldn’t handle the pain, gave up playing, and eventually gave up school altogether because writing was too difficult.

Les Chats Parti
Sally Yeoland

I’m very glad that you resisted the temptation to get involved in a pyramid selling scheme – the only people that sort of thing ever worked for were the ones who talked the Pharoahs out of the idea of marking their graves with a nice little patio. Seriously, while Amway is a totally legal scheme, I know of 6 people who have tried it, and they all got their fingers badly burnt. I’m glad you avoided their clutches. The ‘Concorde’ scheme is a blatant rip-off, and I’m surprised that there is anyone still trying the scam, or anyone gullible enough to sign up, especially since the authorities were warning people about it last year. You might as well throw your $2000 (I’ve also heard of the scheme being worked on a smaller scale, with a $200, $500 or $1000 investment) down the toilet. Just think about it – you hand someone your money, basically for nothing, and expect it to grow by itself?! Even I’m not that gullible. (If you’re interested, Dale Speirs was talking about chain letters, including the Concorde scam, in his zine Opuntia about 3 or 4 months ago.)  *  Did I read you right? Timebinders delivered 654 messages in ONE WEEK! If that’s the normal level of information flow, how on earth does anyone keep up? I only log on once every week (or even less often. I haven’t been able to get access since Easter Monday, for example) so I’m glad I avoided them. I had my own overload to deal with, when I decided to take advantage of a Poetry Bulletin Board’s ‘Tell me when someone posts’ offer. One week later there were 150 messages in my mailbox, but nothing of any substance on the board when I went to look, so I unsubscribed on the spot.

Oz SF Fan
Lucy Schmeidler

What an awful pun on that first badge! I like the second one though.  *  Re your comments, ‘often sit down to read them immediately, even though I’m not planning to write my next zine (and mailing comments) for another month.’ What other way is there to do it? Once a new envelope of zines comes in, it’s GOT to be looked at at once (the replies can wait, but it’s got to be read ASAP) I always read my zines immediately, and then go back and read them again when it’s time to do my mailing comments. So far there’s only been one exception to this rule – my first three FAPA bundles arrived on the same day, and if I’d sat down to read them all I’d never have gotten anything done! Of course, the result of this is that 2 months later I’ve only read 1½ bundles…  *  Heather’s computer has now been moved to a special purpose-built desk in her study, and it’s a big enough space that if I want to use the graphics table I can slide the keyboard over behind the mouse pad (which Heather keeps on the left) and put the graphics tablet directly in front of me. What luxury!  *  RYCT Alan, ‘Comments’? ‘Revise’? All of a sudden you’re speaking a foreign language…  *  A very interesting essay on language-use. I really don’t know enough about the USA to notice even such blatant writing errors as putting (place of your choice) next to (second place of your choice, preferably one from the opposite side of the continent) as if it was an easy day’s drive to get there. What I DO notice is when a writer from foreign climes mentions/uses Australia in some way, and makes a hideous mistake. This probably doesn’t happen nearly as much as it might otherwise, as our country doesn’t normally rate a mention. The latest blatant error I came across was in an eco-thriller called ‘Ice Fire’, which dealt with environmental sabotage in Antarctica causing global flooding. Amid the devastation, ‘Sidney’ is obliterated, as is much of the continent (everything ‘south of Brisbane’) I spent a good half an hour studying the included map to try to see how this could have happened. Eventually I concluded that they knew nada about Australian geography, and they probably meant everything south of Sydney, or the bits that the Blue Mountains, the Great Dividing Range etc. didn’t protect…

Interstellar Ramjet Scoop
Bill Wright

Another delightful collection of pages. I should really comment in detail on each aspect that I enjoyed, but that would take all night. Besides it’s 11pm (again) and I’ve got to finish this tonight so I can proofread it tomorrow (yes, despite all appearances to the contrary, I DO proofread my material, and then Heather gives it a final check for spelling etc.) and then get it off to Marc on Wednesday. Aren’t I organised? I guess not, because if I was then I would have written these MCs about a month ago, not left them till the last minute like I always do. Oh, I’m babbling…  * Thank you for the delightful compliment on my contributions, and I’m glad you found the replacement zine useful. I couldn’t bear the thought of someone being forced to keep an incomplete mailing when it would take so little trouble to complete it.  ?  RYCT Gerald, when I read that riddle, the query that springs to mind is ‘how do you get the umbrella round the bend at the bottom of the downpipe?’ All the pipes I’ve seen have either had a 90-degree bend at the top (and the bottom) or been connected to a nice neat little drain. Last time I looked, umbrellas didn’t bend.

  I just tried to insert another graphic here, but the bloody computer decided that it didn’t want to play along, and it’s much too late to fight it (and I’m too tired). Much earlier in this zine I said that I’d add an addendum to report on my visit to the eye specialist. I went along for my appointment this morning, endured another field test (Dear God, those things are a nightmare experience! I thought this time it would be easier to do than it was six months ago, because I knew what to expect, but it was actually much harder, especially since there was a family group sitting outside in the corridor waiting to see the specialist, and the kids were chattering away like magpies. I never would have thought that three young voices could make it so hard to concentrate) and then found out that the results were the same as last time. The pressure’s pretty much the same too, but still what the Doctor describes as ‘borderline’ – a verdict delivered accompanied by much clucking ‘too young, too young.’ Dr Chia doesn’t know what to do with me, so I’ve been referred up the food chain. I’ve got to go and see a Glaucoma specialist (funny, I thought Dr Chia was a specialist – this new guy must be the specialist’s specialist) in the city at the end of May, and then I’ll go back to Dr Chia for another field test in October. Hopefully, somewhere along the line they’ll decide what, if anything, to do about my eyes, and start doing it. All these eye specialist visits and tests are starting to drain my finances, and no one knows anything more than they did 15 months ago. I’m not at all happy about the thought of having to use a medication for the rest of my life, but I’m getting tired of being stuck in limbo. I’ll finish up with the Leunig cartoon I promised Cath, as I don’t think I could come up with a column-filler as original as Marc’s.

Top / Back  Main Index / Karenji / Kaje / Karen / E-mail Me