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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Busy Saturday

Spend yesterday afternoon helping to stuff registration packages for the anime con. Previously we've done this the night before the con starts, but as the con has gotten bigger this has turned into such a hassle (plus last year it ate badly into set-up time) that we decided to try to do it the weekend before. Besides the program book we had a lot of odds and ends donated from companies this year. No one ever looks at this stuff, but the companies in question have shipped us some good prizes and the like, so it's necessary to include it all. We had a great turn-out (offered dinner and a first look at this year's music video contest as bribes) and managed to pack 3800 bags by 4 PM. This is going to save us so much time on Thursday. Thanks again to everyone who came.

Also that day was my friend Jason's birthday. He celebrates each year with the Reading of Single Pages. People bring an armload of their favorite books to the party, and at the start dice are rolled to come up with a number between 1 and 200. You then take turns reading aloud that page and that page only from your books. It's quite the event.

The rules were changed slightly this year because of year's of bad numbers. In 1999 it was 185, so many short books (poetry, chapbooks, children's) didn't go that high. Year after that it was 167 which was better, but not great. Then it was 11, and last year 2! Check your books. For more than you'd think 11 lands you in the table of contents, introductions, and prefaces. 2 is much worse, almost unusable, which is awful when you've broken your back bringing twenty books in order to make sure you've got some good ones. And no, we can't reroll because that would be cheating. This year it was decided that a number between 12 and 111 would be chosen, and we landed on 96, which worked out well.

The big theme of the evening turned out to be the lack of Zen. Three books on Zen were brought, and on each of them page 96 was blank! The Universe must be trying to tell us something.