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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Playing catch up, yet again

Wow, it's been a while since I've written anything. I seem to post like mad for a few days, then fall into a lull. Well, here's some posting.

Last weekend was the Space Summit, a get together for several of the Ontario space groups. It went well all told. Turnout wasn't bad (could have been higher, but we'll have to advertise more and earlier next year) and there were some very good talks from people who are actually developing space technology. In the workshop sessions in the afternoon, we discussed how we can most effectively lobby the government to increase the base budget of the Canadian Space Agency, and several people are going to put together a briefing book on meeting with your MP.

Rob Sawyer had a "Yay! I won the Hugo!" party the same day, and I've never seen his place so crowded. I figure he must have ordered about half a hectare of pizza that evening.

Saw American Splendor, the movie about Harvey Pekar, author of the comic of the same name. Two thumbs way up. Go see it right now while you can.

Dr. Elizabeth Miller, Dracula expert, spoke at the Merril Collection last week about Bram Stoker's working notes for Dracula. First, his handwriting is terrible. Dr. Miller says about 10% of the pages are completely unreadable, which is a big stumbling block in publishing them.

There's a very interesting list of characters, including some who in the end never made it into the book. Dracula's original name was Count Wampyer, which Stoker fortunately changed as it was pretty stupid. Also, it's just about certain that Stoker didn't know anything about Vlad the Impaler besides the fact that his nickname was Dracula (as he notes in a reference to one of the books he drew historical information from). All the so-called connections between the real tyrant and the fictional vampire being made much later.

Midway thru the talk a fly landed on the overhead projector and started walking around on it, prompting cries of "Renfield!" from the audience.