Anaheim - Friday, August 30, 1996

Another fun filled day at LA Con IV. Today I chose to concentrate on some of the different panel discussions that were taking place.

First up was about overrated and overlooked [science fiction and horror] movies with a few movie critics for some magazines. I thought that a few of the things they had to say were quite interesting. The reason I attended this talk (and others in the past) was to get an idea of what films are out there that I should be watching instead of the regular releases. It is amazing the amount of depth they get out of movies and their knowledge of the industry is astounding. I have a list of movies that will last me a LONG time.

From there I switched to legal systems of the future in which the 3 lawyer and two law-related individuals discussed the possible future of the law and legal system. It was interesting to hear how much they are in favour of the jury system, “the human touch”. They all seemed optimistic about the future. Again, the complaint I heard at this talk was similar to sentiments from yesterday with the policing panel, that more effective means of communication are required. I think that people, with the great popularity the Internet is currently enjoying are re-evaluating how these various professions operate and are realizing that they could really benefit from improved communications. The ability to look up cases of law for precedents from any number of sources would be very valuable to them. It truly is becoming a more connected, and efficient world. A long-standing truth I have found is that the biggest problem in the world today is the lack of communication. With improved communication leads to better understanding (did I say that previously?).

After this discussion, I proceeded once again to the dealer's room (where books and the like are sold) this time to pick up some information and merchandise for Victor that he asked for last night. I chickened out on some of the more expensive stuff, opting instead to get a business card. I -did pick up a movie poster for the new Star Trek film being released in November (I have one of the first ever printed). I also picked up a video that I saw being advertised at one of the booths. Now, this was an interesting situation. I guess I should explain: In the US and Canada, it is very difficult to get certain video tapes as they are only distributed either in other countries (exclusively) or they are distributed in an incompatible format (in England, they use the PAL system while we in North America use the NTSC system for television receivers). As such, there are copies of this material available here however they are copies of the originals (in whatever format converted to North American). Technically, it is not really infringing on anyone's distribution channel as they are simply not available so there is no retail market. Well, the tape I got was one such tape (actually, much to my surprise, I paid for the real thing). I am not complaining, but I don't know if I will keep the tape, or destroy the tape and purchase when they are actually released here.

Another interesting aspect to all of this is the Japanese animation, the thing is that it is not distributed at all in North America but a few fan groups have subtitled them and distributed the videotapes themselves for FREE. The groups in Japan have indicated that this is perfectly acceptable to them as it makes their product more popular and is creating a market for when they do wish to sell here.

Another thing I did at the fan room was to get the autographs of a few authors that I am big fans of and I got the opportunity to talk to each one about their work. Very interesting people, actually quite a few characters…

After this was a discussion on how to be an independent bookseller. Karin made a joke recently about me opening a bookstore as I seem to like books and reading so much, and this has been sort of sticking in the back of my mind so I thought I would attend to see what is involved, quite a lot of horror stories but it was intriguing to note that the most harried of the speakers said “It is the worst job on earth – But I wouldn't do anything else” (paraphrased). They also expressed the view that improved communications has (and will) increase their business. I will note that all of the speakers were owners of Science Fiction speciality stores.

Next up was a discussion on the future of medicine that was quite interesting. Unilaterally they agreed that improving accessibility to expertise was paramount. They also discussed some of the specific technologies involved. It was also agreed that the up and coming technologies would most likely cost more in the future so some method of keeping costs down is required, the medical engineer on the panel indicated that this is their main focus right now. This is a big problem in the United States and it is threatening Canada, some of the stories they told were unbelievable about some of the costs involved. It was suggested that wellness training could also be used to cut down long term heath care costs (preventative maintenance).

Well, after this discussion I felt I should take a break for the evening. I headed off to a local comic store to see if I could find anything for Victor (no luck). After which I headed back to the Laser Disk store to pick up some supplies I forgot about before. Having accomplished those two tasks I figured I would head to the beach (there are lots of them here)- and have a swim. It was getting dark but the surf was up so the water was very refreshing and fun to swim in. I must admit I have never really swam in the ocean (I don't know who does with waves like that!) so I found that drinking the stuff was not nice and caused me to gag for a little while, I also found my eyes stinging. That water is really salty. Around this area there are a lot of oil drilling platforms so it was interesting to see them on the horizon as I was puttering around. Had a very relaxing time, a bit of time to think about life but I did not think too hard…

I tried out a local Mexican place tonight, that is one thing about this area – lots of authentic Mexican restaurants, I am in heaven as I just love the stuff. After stuffing myself, I set to tidying up my room including a bit of advance packing, it looks like I will not have enough room for everything (the books and clothes fit but not the Laser Disks, what if I left some clothes? (GRIN)).

The news tonight was full of the forest fires in the northern part of Los Angeles, no one killed thank goodness but a lot of fires and people being evacuated. This is only the third night that I have actually watched the news. It tends to be full of local stuff (like the election) that I don't know too much about nor have too much stake in.

Karin called tonight, asking about getting a pet (Chinchilla). I don't know what is going through her mind, I had to tell her that I did not think it was a good idea (she indicated that she would not get one without my approval) as I am hoping to be moving soon. This did not seem to be a good answer as she was not terribly happy with me. I feel really bad about it but she asked in opinion and I gave it to her. I do love her but I also think she y could be doing so much with her life. She just got a promotion at work at McDonald's with her hairdressing degree I think she should be concentrating on getting a hairdresser job instead of at a fast-food chain job which leads – no where. Mother and I both agree that we have sheltered her too much as she does not seem to have a firm grasp on reality and what is required to survive. I am slowly trying to edge her into it. She teased me tonight about my not getting a job either (even though I am not happy where I am). I answered her that I would like to free myself of any big burdens that I currently have, namely, the house. But, she does have a point, I have only been looking half-heartedly, I guess that is because I don't know what direction I should go, there are so many … I don't want to chose wrongly. But then, as others have suggested, “So what?”.

⇒ Continue to Anaheim - Saturday, August 31, 1996