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Lloyd Penney
1706-24 Eva Rd.
Etobicoke, ON

September 5, 2009

Dear Petréa:

Hello! Wonderful to finally meet you at the fanzine lounge in Montréal! It's taken me a little while to get things put away, some tasks taken care of, and everything settled down, including myself, but I finally can get to respond to the newest Picofarad, issue 18.

I see few movies, and often, I don't get around to seeing the ones I do want to see. I wanted to see Up, but never did. Same goes for The Time Traveler's Wife. I figure that if I don't see it in the theatres, I'll buy it when it comes out on DVD. Last DVDs we bought were Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (won the Hugo!) and Steamboy.

Yvonne's the big Harry Potter fan in this household, and in the space of a few years, tore through all seven books, so associated books and all the movies to date. We're both amused by the weak attempts to cash in on Joanne Rowling's amazing success, and if I was a lawyer, I'd like to be hers...I'll always be busy and assured of future work.

I tried to get into Schlock Mercenary, but just couldn't. Howard Tayler was a guest a couple of years ago in Toronto, too. When it comes to webcomics, my favorites these days are Namir Deiter, Wapsi Square, Girl Genius (also won the Hugo!), Zortic and Arthur, King of Time and Space. Nice eclectic group there.

I haven't actually created a zine in a while, so other than the odd photocopy here and there, having to publish a zine hasn't come up. I would go to a place like Kinko's only because they are open at late hours, and have a wide variety of colours and patterned paper. There have been zine fairs in Toronto, but they are little magazines, full of teen angst, and they look down as us sci-fi geeks with our little fanzines. They are totally unaware that us sci-fi geeks actually started the idea of a fanzine, but they won't listen, and I won't return to their little fairs.

Chris won't have to worry about there being a sequel to Up...that's against Pixar policy. If it wasn't, there would be sequels to Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo and Wall-E, and I'd see all of them. Pixar's movies are full of messages, and Wall-E was chock-a-bloc with them. Some people even got those messages, but whether they'll learn anything from them is another thing.

A convention website should have its basic information right up front on the main page...kinda like a flyer! But, too many con webmasters want to show off their webbuilding skills, and make the website oh so artistic, which often makes it oh so unusable for the people trying to get the information about the convention. As I type, the North American Discworld Convention is on as well. We wanted to go to Con*cept in Montréal in October, but money just doesn't allow for more than one more con for the year, and that con is Astronomicon 2009 in Rochester, New York. That convention will have a Steampunk component to it, and it should be a good time.

We're unexpectedly polite about Picofarad? The website format may not be what those of us who like paperzines or .pdfs might like, but at least you have set up the site in a linear fashion so that we know the whole site can be read in sequence, the natural way we read a magazine or book. Most of us understand the financial considerations behind producing a fanzine and mailing it out, so what you're doing is the next best thing.

Right now, as I type, the annual Canadian National Exhibition is on in Toronto, and right now is the annual airshow, dedicated to the centennial of powered flight in Canada. That's why I keep hearing all those planes going past.

Right now, as I type (what, again?), Dragon*Con is carrying on, and I am told via Facebook that the Steampunk component to the convention is amazingly large. Long line-ups are part of the Dragon*Con experience, but the line-ups for Steampunk events are longer than most. Hundreds are there in their steamy best, and that is giving me cause to reconsider a trip to Atlanta.

How was your Anticipation? Besides the fanzine lounge, which seemed to be quite the success, our experience was quite unique. We attended the Aurora Awards banquet (I was a nominee, but did not win), I got to voice act in a radio-style play in one panel, and Yvonne and I got to hand out a Hugo award, for Best Fan Writer. (I found out some time ago that I was one nomination away from being on the Hugo ballot for Best Fan Writer. One of these days, I hope...) One of the best Worldcons we'd been to.

I think I am done for the moment. I will save it, send it off to you, and preserve it in electrons on my LiveJournal. Again, great to see you in Montréal, and it looks like our next Worldcon will be in Reno. Maybe see you then?

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

Great to meet you too, Mr. Penney! And, as I say in my trip report, I liked your idea of putting the fanzine lounge in the exhibit hall during the day and moving it to near the parties by night, I just wish the program book could have been clearer.

The flier is exactly what to think of when designing a Web site-by the time someone visits, they're already interested in your convention, so it should concentrate on giving them information to help them make the final decision to visit, and how to go about that.

Pixar does allow sequels-- witness Toy Story 2. What it has a policy against is crappy direct-to-video sequels designed only to pry a few more bucks out of everyone's pockets, such as Michael Eisner was fond of when he was running Disney. (The franchising of the famous chef as shown in Ratatouille is believed to be intended as a comment on that.)

I most certainly intend to be in Reno. As I finish up this issue, I'm typing this at Orycon, where I'm scheduled to be on a panel with three Reno committee members on Sunday, and not betting that I'll make it out of this convention without making some kind of commitment.

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