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Some Notes On Programming For The LASFS

by Kay Shapero

June 21, 2013

Intended for the discussion of programming on Facebook, but overlong for a comment, so I'm just placing it on my own site and pointing to it instead. Hello, everybody!

OK, last night was unusual - we'd had a longtime member of the club die and a bit of memorializing was called for. But even when something like that hasn't happened, I think our biggest problem at the moment is that we've gone from talking about the future to spending what seems like most of our meetings talking about the past. Before the meeting it's serials from the early days of the movies, the meeting starts with a report on whatever figure in the past of sfdom has died, then there's the minutes of last week's meeting, followed by the honoring of whatever saints' day it is which gets tricky as many are long gone (dead or moved) and not remembered very well if at all by all but a few people. By the time we actually get onto current events, movie/book reports, the occasional Moment of Science and so forth, many a member has given up and decamped to the other room.

This is not what I joined the club for back in the mid '70s. But then, much of the socializing with fellow fen goes on on the net (as does fanpub/apahacking), I can go look at whatever NASA has done lately on the net as well, and so forth. However there are still a lot of things we COULD be doing that would be a lot more interesting.

I had a nice discussion with Victoria on our way over to the Coral Cafe, and a lot of this is inspired by her comments. I've not covered it all by any means; I shall try to drag her into this discussion when she has the time because I think she's got a lot of useful things to say.

We're IN the future, let's USE it! For example, I have nothing against Zorro's Fighting Legion, but sites like Vimeo have a wealth of short subjects of the 5 or so minute variety, easily available via the net. Download them and bring them in, or if our web connection is fast and stable enough, hook up to the net and show them that way. I don't know how fast our web connection is, but Vimeo is very good at buffering, and you have but to wait less than a minute for the whole of a 6 minute video to download and be ready to go. Hook up the computer to display on the monitor or the large screen and you're set for a look at cool stuff being done now, by student filmmakers and the like. If we've got more time, even recent movies, long as we're not charging to see them (and by showing them before the meeting, technically we're not). But just a few short subjects mixed in with the serials would start things off nicely. For that matter IF it's practical to open earlier (and given that we meet on worknights, I wouldn't be surprised to find it's not), folks could come in before the meeting and socialize, watch films, play games, and things like that there.

During the meeting - let's try and keep the dry stuff short. What I've always enjoyed about the LASFS has been things like the less restrained version of the auctions, where anything that resolved to a number might serve as a bid, or the elections (which are still a bright spot - whoever decided to create a 'dead ballot' by drawing a zombie on it has my applause). Shenanigans, the occasional rain of puns (and pun fines), non-destructive rannygazoo of all sorts. Show the occasional movie most of us know and play MST3K. (Which is something Victoria and her friends do routinely, I gather.) Given that I'm probably not the only one of our group whose hearing isn't what it used to be, we should use the closed caption system or something like that, but it should still be possible.

OK, programming. What NASA is up to now, we can mostly read about on the net, but what about programs under discussion, or programs planned for the future? Get someone out to speak on that. Upcoming stfnal movies/shows/novels/whatever under development (Bruce Boxleitner's presentation about Lantern City was quite entertaining). Presentations or panel discussions about things like the 3D printer and what we're likely to be doing with it ten years from now (I think we're headed for something rather like the matter duplicator of tales like Ralph Williams' "Business As Usual During Alterations", though presumably instead of undifferentiated mass, we'll need to have supplies of each material desired in the final result, be it a computer, a dinner plate, or a human organ - we can already do bladders...) Let's start having fun with the future again, both the part we're in now and in what might be about to show up on our doorstep.