Monday, September 26, 2005

Fine News From FenCon II

Hello everyone,
Good news, the 3 fans that were in danger found good shelter and are all right. We didn't need to make the run.

I am happy to say that FenCon II in Dallas was excellent, and we were able to raise and give the Salvation Army hurricane relief fund $3,500.

Also, BenBella Books brought two boxes of books and galley prints, and three fans brought boxes and bags of books, DVDs, CDs and stuffed animals to get to Gulf Coast fans and their families. The system's rockin'!

Attaboys to everyone who was so tremendously generous this weekend! And welcome to everyone who has written during the past week and volunteered work and items for the cause. You're angels to me, and even better to the folks in need.

Proper job!

Friday, September 23, 2005

In Texas...

Hello all,

We got word this morning (Thursday morning actually) that 3 fans were stuck in Rita's way. These are guys who were blasted out of New Orleans, and escaped to Houston. Aiee. Anyway, we got a couple of plans together to get them out. Luckily they were able to find shelter to wait it out.

Paul Fisher is with me as comms & nav, and I've brought my rescue gear, roof & rear cargo pods, light bars and strobes & gas cans & supplies. And Paul is a champ! He'll be making sure I, errh, eat, and sleep, and stuff. If I let him. *hee* We may be able to do a relay to pull them out after Rita passes---and I have an EMS contact near them as well. Not known right now if we'll get called in to help with the mess that Rita will leave, but we are on a to-call list from EMS down there.

Being Oklahoman, I can't help but feel parallels between the Dust Bowl and this massive evacuation---homeless, jobless refugees spreading in all directions.

So... The Show Must Go On. We've got fans who've paid good money to be at FenCon and we're doing a Salvation Army benefit here. I've brought 4 framed 24 x 36 prints---cost about 60 bucks each just to print---and they'll be going into the charaity auction along with the manuscript for the new Valdemar short story "Transmutation," and jewelry made by Mercedes Lackey. So, I'll be doing my Art GoH thing as expected---but everyone knows this is with the caveat that I may be swooping out of here at any time, if a Help! call comes in.

You all be strong for each other, and I say again, any "little" thing you have for your fellow fans isn't so little. I've been sending out boxes all week long of DVD TV show copies, old issues of Asimov's and F&SF, comics, music demos, anything that I find out they like. A surprising number of fans have laptop computers with them. TiVo + DVD recorder = entertainment for people stuck and bored. And believe me, boredom has been a terrible thing for a lot of people... without their kinds of entertainment, they dwell on what has been lost and the despair is just awful. Just as a suggestion, especially if you're in small towns with those neat little dusty places, you may want to skim the thrift stores and used book stores for every old fantasy and scifi paperback you can nab. Mercedes and I are trimming our own libraries by around a third to send fans books.

Time to get some sleep...

Be good to yourselves my friends!


Monday, September 19, 2005

Handing Off

I've been working too hard on this to keep up physically. This gryphon ain't as young as he used to be and these wings are getting tired, so for a while, I am handing off things to Deb Wil over at Mail Drop.

Don't underestimate this gal by any means---she can run a fantastic operation & has a solid crew backing her up. Anything you'd want to send to SciFi, Fantasy and Gamers Hurricane Relief Effort, go on ahead and send to her outfit. I vouch personally.

And, well, if anyone wants a job as my personal assistant, please let me know. You'll have what I've got to offer. Housekeeper, handyman, cook, mailout handler... Misty and I are just pushing ourselves too hard, to take care of these things on our own. Gay/bi/kink/whatever friendly, it's all good; no stoners or boozers; must be cheerful, proactive, compassionate. GMs/gamers esp. welcome. I'm not at all too proud to ask for help. Too focussed, intense, busy, exhausted, or stupid, sure, but not too proud. Spirit's willing, flesh is weak, resolve is strong, brain is squishy. :)

I will be Art GoH at FenCon in Dallas this weekend, and will hopefully do some good there. I'll be selling some things I normally wouldn't, to help with the Salvation Army fundraiser there.

And thank you so very, very much for being concerned and supportive.

A Micro View of a Macro Problem

When I talk about someone losing everything, this is the kind of stuff I am talking about. I just received these pictures from one of the gamer/fans we are helping out.

This is what's left of the home he & his wife spent many years buying & fixing up.

You can see by the mildew & algae blooms what is happening there---everything is soaked and decaying, and getting worse by the day. Everything you see---books to pillows to electronics---may as well be burned to ash---it's just as unsalvagable. The house will be totalled.

So when we say these fellow fans and gamers need even the least of what you can spare, we're not bullshitting. This is what they've got now.

We can talk, in platitudes, about how what they've lost are just "things," and how life and family and what really matters is what counts---and that's fine, and true, sure, and sometimes it can make someone feel better. But don't forget that every "thing" that we have in our lives has a memory attached to it. We remember what we did when we bought it, who we were with, the smiles when that gift was given, the wonder we felt touching that photo or painting, the feel of the sun and wind on our skin on the trip we bought that t-shirt on. A part of us gets demolished with every "thing" we see ruined---a part of that memory is gone from our lives.

It pisses me off. Personally. I lost my studio to fire in the 1990s. 80 percent of my life's work, 100 percent of my materials. I remember with horrible clarity walking through the charred and steaming ruins of what had been my most beloved place. The acrid stench of the slagged plastic and the popping of the remaining glass as it contracted from cooling filled my senses, and I remember the tiny wisps of flaked, blackened paper that used to be my whole career's lovingly crafted artwork, drifting all around me like demonic snow flurries.

Within weeks I became a volunteer firefighter to not just fight fire, but go out myself and kill the sumbitch. I did not want ANYone else to go through what I'd felt.

Now, look at this. These are my people, dammit. Our people. And this kind of loss pisses me off. The man's wife was---and is---an excellent sculptor. In the wreckage you see here is the wife's artwork and materials---utterly destroyed. Gone. And I know exactly how that feels.

So the box is being packed now, and goes out tomorrow---books. Sculpting tools. Polymer clays, jewelry findings, paint, primers, finishing glazes, rotary grinder, adhesives, vinyl gloves, grinding bits, drill, armature wire. Her work will not be allowed to perish from this earth.

The misery will end. Together we're going to find where it preys upon our fellow fans and friends, we are going to hunt it down, and we are going to kill it, by bringing our people the indomitable joy that no despair can bear to endure.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

My Favorite Photos of the Year

The smiles that make every moment of it worth it! Here's around half of the supplies unloaded---generator, most of the lights & tools, medical kits etc are still in the vehicle---into the house in Baton Rouge that became the fan center. Most of the people came by for the goodies one or two at a time most of the night. (BTW that is Maxy Pertuit in the blue)

There's Loni---aka Very Helpful Loni---and me loading the vehicle further through the rear window after the roof and tailgate cargo pods were filled up. Big praise for Spacebags! Probably got in 3 to 4 times the amount of clothes and bedding that we would have without them. After these shots, another 3 hours of loading & prep and then I was on the road.

Have A Look

Hello everyone! Well, I HAVE been trying to take it easy, I promise. But I really needed a good aikido session tonight. Now I am enjoying a Friday night with ibuprofen, ice packs, heating pad, Maalox and TiVo. Fair enough.
Got pictures from the Louisiana supply run to the fans.
The first few show the goods---a fairly heavy loadout of everything from Atkins Bars/Powerbars to baby formula. You can probably see the gas cans and tools, tarps, blankets and so forth. The generator & heavy gear are already in the vehicle.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Trying to find...

We're trying to find Peggy Ranson. She's still unaccounted for. Anyone got contact with her yet? Be sure and let me know any contact data you've got... thanks.

This just in---

Disregard, she's been located in Memphis with her brother. Cheers!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Oh and a geek reminder---

Remember, it's September 13th! On this day in 1999, the moon was blasted out of orbit, sending Moonbase Alpha, its personnel, and its seemingly endless supply of Eagle spacecraft into what turned out to be occasionally deep space.

Ahhh life's balances.

It's something that's plagued me all my life---the more I actually DO, the less time there is to do much ABOUT it. Dig it: I only have enough concentration, inspiration, physical stamina and ability to either do new artwork, market the artwork, or find new art jobs. Pick one of the three.
Here I am in the same situation.
I'm on the phone doin' stuff, I'm coordinatin' top speed, and still trying to make my book contract deadlines... which leaves me doing a lot, but not with a lot of time to do these updates. And people want the updates! What's to be done?
I'm exhausted but it's been worth it.
Never needed an assistant, secretary or apprentice more in my life though.
I did take a little time off early last night (yeah only 12 hrs on it!). Took the cockatoos with me to the bedroom, where they let me have some of my Lunchables. Read comic books and fell asleep a couple of hours earlier than I have been, waking to find a cockatoo standing on my head. They do that sometimes.
I was out today mailing out care packages to some of the fans & their families who have stationary addresses, and at the UPS drop I met a woman who escaped Katrina, driving nonstop with her husband & medical-companion dog until they reached Claremore Oklahoma. Why? Her grandfather used to live here and she remembered it had friendly people.
I gave her my watch after I saw her check her wrist and mutter, "My watch is on the nightstand in Metairie..."
They're staying the Days Inn nearby & don't have a lot, so I'll fix'em up with a buncha stuff tomorrow.
Fans & their families are getting sorted out pretty well. Got word from the good folks up at the Kansas City Renfaire that they've got six bags of good clothes & all, and are doing a benefit show soonish. Susi Matthews and Queens Gambit are doing a sterling job & will be dropping the stuff off with us.
At this point, I have had no less than sixteen friends & loved ones tell me I am pushing myself too hard, so I am going to throttle back and let the intercoolers chill the mix. I shall now fix a Coke Classic over crushed ice in my well-known battered old steel mug with the Lotus Motorcars logo on it, eat massive amounts of roast beef and garlic potatos, watch a bit of TV, then work on the Superman prestige essay due Monday.
More news when it comes in.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Operation Mail Drop

Deborah Wil is kickin' butt an' takin' names--- More specifically, kickin' the butt of misery and takin' names of who can get their lives fixed up 'right well.

Here's good stuff to consider, y'all!

Hi Larry,
Things are happening very fast now. Help of all kinds are flowing in from the fan network - my God, people are so creative, generous and so eager to help. Here's what's happening.
Steve Bennett: is collecting toys and kids clothing.
Davy Beauchamp: Is working on an anthology book proceeds to go the survivors of Katrina in fandom.
Diane Galloway: Is updating the survivor list daily.
Bob Rosenberg; Is donating his time and efforts to keep the Operation Mail Drop site updated (Daily) and the submission forms working smoothly.
Uncle Timmy from Liberty Con, Who does a weekly online newsletter has added the Operation Mail Drop letter to his Newsletter and is publishing the survivors list.
Romance Writers of America (Members 300,000 strong) has published the OMD letter and many are sending care packages.
Romance Writers of America Paranormal Club: Published the letter on their e-mail chat list.
MobiCon is publishing the OMD letter as well.

These folks have their op wired tight. They're competent, effective, and efficient!

So head on over to and scope out what they're doing. My little effort here's a peashooter compared to their Mighty Cannon of Generosity! (man, I love talking like The Tick)

Book Driven

This in from Khadagan---

Walden Books is collecting books to re-build the libraries in Biloxi and the other areas affected by Katrina. It hasn't been publicized much, but my roommate saw a flier at the local college and we called to confirm.
Took four laundry baskets of books over there today and they were thrilled to have them. I asked, and the clerk told me that all Walden Books are supposed to be participating. You might want to check with your local store, though, as some of them may not have room to do much collecting and storing. The collection is supposed to be going on for at least the next couple of weeks.

Coolsville, Daddy-O.

Get Thee To A Cattery

Just got a note to Poppy about 20 minutes ago. She's a gas alright. Trouble is she needs not only a place to stay but room for 14-some cats and a snake. Problematic, that---but not impossible to fulfill. She's thinking a small house in southern Louisiana, even dumpy and cheap, would do for now.

It's tricky but not wholly impossible.

Got another pair of gamers in the same bind that have 12 cats. Hmm. Wonder if they'd bunk up and have a kazillion cats all together....

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Best Line Of The Day

Bob & Ann Neagle, of Crescent City Con, are OK. Got an instant message to them, and got this back:

*** Auto-response from BobNeagle: I'M OK BUT MY HOUSE IS UP TO IT'S ASS IN ALLIGATORS...REALLY.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

All Your Database Are Belong To Us

Loni Zanca is over from Cushing OK and is here in the studio making my, errrh, well let's be charitable and call it my database into something much better structured.

This will make it much easier to get the latest info to the other efforts 'round in a more, well, understandable format than my tangled-post-it-notes sort of order. It worked, but this will work better.

Hooray for Loni!

Phone machine is full up, and I'm behind on thirty two more emails... yoiks. No peace for the wicked....

Funny Donation

So, there I am, watching coverage of the relief efforts. The camera pans across vast arrangements of shoes, sorted by size, set out in great tight rectangles like they're soldiers on Officer's Review.

I pause the Tivo and look again.

Someone's donated a set of bright red ankle high five inch spike heels.

Now, who donates bright red ankle high five inch spike heels to a hurricane relief charity? Is it out of concern for the displaced dominatrix population of New Orleans?

"I got out with my birth certificate, my family photos and my Jeanette Heartwood flogger...."

Victory In Texas

A big attaboy for artist Victory down in Texas, who is volunteering aid down there and also helping with a "here we are" website for reuniting people.
Good work to Vic and the crew on that.

About Baton Rouge

So, here's the short form of the supply run to Louisiana.
Maxy Pertuit and several members of the concom core of New Orleans (Crescent City Con and others) made it to Baton Rouge and were staying more or less in contact with each other. As soon as I had a solid address and picked out a safe route on the nav software, we here at High Flight put together a loadout. Loni came over from Cushing OK and Paul and Torrin pitched in on sorting the $4,000+ in supplies, clothes, food etc. that I'd bought and stacked, so we could fulfill the specific needs that Maxy & Co. had asked for.
Word was also that diapers & baby formula were scarce there, so every bit of spare room (not a lot) I packed with those, just to give away to whoever might need them. I used a rooftop pod & SpaceBags to carry the clothes, and a bumper mounted cargo pod to carry gas cans---both for their vehicles and for the generator I took them---and other gear such as tools, rescue rope, tarps and so forth.
After halting for one thundershower and a couple of short naps---I'd been working on just a few hours of sleep a night at that point---we had the vehicle pretty heavily laden, but roadworthy. Six hundred-some Powerbars and Atkins bars, hundred-some canned goods, sixty pounds of pasta & rice, feminine needs, hygiene & grooming goods, sauces, spices, utensils, cooking gear, airbeds, sheets, blankets, tools, luggage, and so on.
The trip there was not too bad. I drove as far as I safely could between short naps "in the saddle" at truck stops. Weather was surprisingly clear and there were few traffic slowdowns. Into Baton Rouge itself, though, that's where things got pretty congested.
Fandom holding true, a household became a center of activity---it took us a couple of hours to offload all the material, and then fans showed up one or two at a time over the following hours and nabbed what they needed. We were all able to swap jokes and hugs. We estimate that we got supplies to between 12 and 22 fans & their families & friends that way.
I then got word that someone I knew in Oklahoma had just been picked up by ambulance, apparently due to heart attack, so I dashed out from Baton Rouge just a few hours after arriving.
I stopped at Natchidotches for a brief rest & got word that she was OK, and then checked in with other contacts to see who if anyone I needed to pick up and transfer. Literally while turning around to pick a couple up, I got a call they'd gotten accomodations.
The trip back was, pretty much, uneventful. But it sure felt good to sleep in a bed when I got back.

Letter, we get Letters (and an attaboy)

More email coming in all the time, offerring things from spare shoes to guest cottages. I am trying to reply to every one personally, but I am dancing as fast as I can. To hear how some people are talking about me in these notes you'd think I needed to leave some spare time for pushing stray asteroids out of the way of the Earth and perfecting cold fusion. I'm just being a clerk y'all! :)

Some of the SCA folks are doing a terrific job coming up with Stuff Lists of things they can spare. It is even longer that their list of Things We'd Like To Hit With Rattan Sticks.

It's About Bob (and Poppy)

Bob Asprin that is. Lots of folks have been asking about Bob, and to the best of my knowledge he is safe and sound in North Carolina now. He had an Adventure and wound up being airlifted there.

Also have news that Poppy Z Brite is OK, though understandably distressed that not all of her cats are accounted for. She is probably going to need a place to stay.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Alright... Back from the road

Hello everyone, I am finally back & somewhat rested from getting supplies, medicine, bedding and goods to the fans in Louisiana that needed it. Or, at least, the ones I could reach. So, that mission is done.

I know a lot of you have been curious about updates. I am crap at anything code-related (I know I know, stop laughing you tech-heads), and despite best efforts didn't get the website freshened up til now.

I can keep you updated on what's happening from our end of the fandom relief universe with this weblog though.

So, here we go!