Friday, February 27, 2009

Geeks Who Care volunteerism blog

While this is not science fiction related I am sure that there are plenty of fans out there interested in geek volunteerism that I decided to use this opportunity to promote a new project I have stated called "Geeks Who Care"

If you are a geek, techie, nerd, or whatever, and you want to help others then take a look at the blog and if you have any ideas or suggestion just then drop me a note via the email link in the blog's "About" section.

While the actual group is based on Linkedin, you don't have to be a Linkedin member to participate. There also happens to be a similarily named group on FaceBook who is also looking for members so if you're on FB, then join that group. Maybe the two groups will eventually link up.

Hopefully by helping others we can help ourselves, and make the world a better place.


Jim Cox

Monday, February 23, 2009

Stockpiling Star Wars Tickets

Sorry for the short notice, but EMP|SFM has made available to NWSFS 20 tickets for tonight's Stockpiling Star Wars event. I am still trying to sort out the details, but I believe the tickets will be held at will call, and NWSFS ID will be required.

Here is a link about the event.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Steampunk University Press Release

Steampunk University is a one day workshop focusing on helping people understand steampunk and beginning to "gear up" for Steamcon, our steampunk convention happening later this year. Proceeds will go towards helping us make Steamcon great! Steampunk University will be held on March 22nd at Sunset Hill Community Center - 3003 NW 66th Street, Seattle, Washington 98117. There will be eight classes lasting fifty minutes each, complete with complimentary informational handouts. The classroom capacity is 100 people, so the attendance will be limited to 99 pupils. If advanced tickets sell out, no more will be available at the door. If available, tickets will be $20 at the door.

Advanced tickets are available here:

Tentative Class List:
9:00 AM – Registration/Sign In
10:00 AM - Introduction to Steampunk – Diana Vick
11:00 AM - Steampunk Thrifting – Annah Sophia Summers
12:00 PM - Steampunk Media Discussion (Brown Bag) – R. "Martin" Armstrong
1:00 PM - Women's Clothing – Claire Hummel
2:00 PM - Men's Clothing – Marshall Hunter
3:00 PM - Steampunk Music – Jordn Block
4:00 PM - Guns and Props – Anthony Hicks
5:00 PM - Art and Photography – Libby Bulloff

There will also be a Vendor's Hall with steampunk wares. Admission to the Vendor's Hall is included in your class registration. Separate admission for just the Vendor's Hall will be a $2.00 donation. Hours for the Hall are 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM

A silent auction of unique and interesting steampunk items will be conducted during the day in the Vendor's Hall. Proceeds from this auction will benefit Steamcon.

This event has no parking lot of its own. Please use common sense when parking on the street and do not block anyone's drive way. Park as far away from the venue as you feel comfortable to accommodate those who are less able to do so. We thank you in advance.

If you choose to stay for the 12:00 PM brown bag steampunk media discussion, you may bring a brown bag lunch. There is no food available in walking distance from the venue.

Questions may be emailed to:

Update 03/01/09 - Here's the URL for Steampunk University

Monday, February 16, 2009

Take your optimistic sf in small doses

Tired of living life after the apocalypse or enduring dystopia? A new wave of optimistic science fiction may be rising or at least forthcoming in the optimistic, near future sf Shine Anthology from Solaris Books, edited by Jetse de Vries. The anthology starts accepting unsolicited submissions May 1 and, meanwhile, the Web site serves as place to discuss the idea of optimistic sf: Can we envision a positive future in fiction and still have plenty of rock 'em sock 'em conflict? The anthology sparked some discussion over at Futurismic: Should sf should be more optimistic?

A good deal of philosophical discussion about optimistic sf
bounced around in 2008. Here were a few contributions:

• Writer and former Interzone co-editor (2004-2008) de Vries asked the question, Optimism in SF: Is it Dead?, in the plane of the ecliptic and included a repost of his Jan. 2007 column, "Let's face the future with a smile," originally written for the British Science Fiction Association magazine, Focus.

• At writer Jason Stoddard introduced his manifesto, Stranger and Happier: A Positive Science Fiction Platform, and wrote about optimistic sf in the posts Strange and Happy and More Strange, More Happy.

• Writer Paolo Bacigalupi added to the discussion at his in a post on Optimistic CO2 Sci-Fi.

But what about the books? De Vries gives some examples of optimistic sf in an an interview for The BookSpot Beat. They include Bruce Sterling’s Holy Fire, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy, and Jason Stoddard’s Winning Mars. An Asimov's forum compiles more suggestions in a call to create a canon of optimistic sf.

Not sure you are optimistic? It does take awhile to adjust to the light. Acclimate in micro doses at the Twitterzine Outshine in 140 characters or less. Like the Tweets, but drawn to the dark side? You can also get blips on sf, fantasy and horror from Nathan E. Lilly's, Thaumatrope.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Boxcar Astronaut - Boxcar Astronaut #101

Boxcar Astronaut

Greetings, Fellow Astronauts! As you all know by now, Ben has always had his sights set on the fantastic world of outer space. This week, however, our starry eyed dreamer takes a moment to recognize the amazing wonder that can be found right here on Earth. It's a nice, peaceful look at life in the backyard in this week's All New Boxcar Astronaut!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Boxcar Astronaut - The 100th Boxcar Astronaut strip!

Boxcar Astronaut

Greetings, Fellow Astronauts! This week over at Boxcar, we bring you a milestone, the 100th Boxcar Astronaut strip! And what do we have in store for this momentous occasion? Why a look at the boys in their younger days. Ben finds an old picture of himself and Devin and the boys take a moment to realize how far they've come, as only children can do. Check it out the comic as well as some other special treats for this week's 100th All New Boxcar Astronaut!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Feb MFR - Old Spaghetti Factory

February NWSFS's My Favorite Restaurant

Please join NWSFS on Wednesday February 11th at 7:00 PM for one of Bill Boyde's favorite Restaurants, The Old Spaghetti Factory in Lynnwood. Good food, and not too pricey

"All of our entrees come with hot fresh baked bread, soup, or a crisp green salad with a choice of dressing; coffee, hot tea, iced tea or milk; and our signature spumoni ice cream (or vanilla) for dessert."

The Restaurant is at 2509 196th St SW, Lynnwood, WA

The phone number is 425-672-7006. You can also get details on their website at:

Please RSVP to the hotline at 360-438-0871. We'd prefer to get your RSVP by early evening of February 9th, but any attempt to RSVP will help us plan for you.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Steamcon Meeting this Sunday!

The next Steamcon organizational meeting is Sunday, February 8th at 3:00 P.M. at the Capitol Hill branch of the Seattle Public Library:

425 Harvard Ave. E. Seattle WA

The parking in the library garage is free, but it does fill up.

For future reference, the next meetings will be :

  • March 8th (usual time and place)
  • April 5th (usual time and place)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

News of Jeff Carlson's short story "Long Eyes"

The good folks at Starship Sofa ( have just released a free podcast of Jeff Carlson's short story "Long Eyes," narrated by the cool, poised British voice of Amy Sturgis. "Long Eyes" was originally published in the FAST FORWARD 2 anthology, which is currently shortlisted for the Philip K. Dick Award.

Interestingly, Carlson is also on the PKD shortlist for his latest novel, PLAGUE WAR. He will also be part of the programming at Norwescon in Seattle this April. Readers can find free fiction, videos, blog, and a mind-croggling sci fi trivia contest at Carlson's web site at

Batleth used in Colorado Springs robberies!

OK!, I don't know if this article can qualify as being fan related or not, but it's just too strange to pass up. Apparently someone used a Batleth to rob two Colorado Springs 7-11's in the same night.

Here's the article from Masked Man Robs Convenience Stores With Klingon Sword

What I find really interesting is that according to the article both of the 7-11 clerks who were robbed described the weapon as a "Batleth". Either they were fans, or their knowing what a Batleth is shows how prevelent Star Trek is in our society.

If you happen to know more about this incident, please send me an email, and I will update the article. Cheers! ~ Jim

UPDATE 02/05/09:  Accrding to this site, the weapon used in the robbery was not a Batleth, but instead a Kit Rae's Special Edition "Valdris which looks quite similar to a Batleth.  

Monday, February 2, 2009

Eyeborg, transhumanism and Eye, Tanya

Would you replace one of your eyes with a laser? A camera? What if you were already down one eye? Would you upgrade your prosthesis? What if you envisioned using your new enhanced eye to create art? Then, you might join the World Transhumanist Association and its 5,300 members who just want technology to make us better. Why not?

These hypotheticals are the stuff of science fiction or the topic of your blog, if you're Tanya Vlach or Rob "Eyeborg" Spence. Vlach (who has been stylin in an eyepatch like Angelina Jolie in
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow or Darryl Hannah in Kill Bill) and Spence (who resembles George Orwell) both put out the call to engineers to help them turn the loss of an eye into an asset they can use to enhance their art.

San Francisco artist Vlach, who lost an eye in a car accident in 2005 on her way to Burning Man, is chronicling her quest for a camera eye at Eye, Tanya. Toronta filmmaker Spence lost his eye as a result of a childhood gun accident in Ireland. At Eyeborg Blog, Spence posts about his work with Steve Mann, a University of Toronto professor and wearable computing and cyborg specialist, to insert a wireless video camera into his prosthetic eye.

You may have read about them in the news:
The eye of a dream beheld: A crash victim's hope and a techie response
—The Washington Post
Humans hope high tech can improve their bodies — The San Francisco Chronicle
Eye spy: Filmmaker plans to Install camera in his eye socket — Wired

Join the transhumanists. If not a camera, what would you replace an eye with? If not an eye, what body part would you replace?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Boxcar Astronaut - Drawing on the Sidewalk!

Boxcar Astronaut

Greetings, Fellow Astronauts! It's an art show for the backyard gang this week as they move from behind the fence to out by the street to show off their drawing skills. Everyone with thumbs is out on the sidewalk making drawings with chalk. It makes for quite the eclectic display as each drawing reflects the artist's personality. Witness the fun in an All New Boxcar Astronaut!

From ‘Star Trek’ fan to sci-fi filmmaker

The Tacoma New Tribune has a story today about a Tacoma area Star Trek fan has grown up to be a science fiction film maker.