Eric P. Scott was a bay area fan and open source enthusiast who died recently, apparently related to his ongoing heart problems.
One of the peculiarities of Eric P. Scott is the frequency that we’d wind up on the same plane with him. It didn’t matter if we were heading to Calgary or Seattle or some other random convention—he’d wind up on the same flight.
True, we usually fly out of SFO, as did he. True, we often fly United, as did he. He became a United million miler when it was far easier to do, then health problems (more the financial complications of same) limited his ability to travel. Still, there were usually enough flights that we could easily have picked different ones from each other. We just didn’t happen to.
He’d sometimes show up at our house on a Cabal night, talking about Linux with whomever else happened to show up.
We’d see him at random Linux and open source events, too.
For me, he was always a mixed bag: some days, I’d have incredibly long, cool conversations with him, and other days he would be so frustrating I wanted to scream. Even though those days happened, I always looked forward to seeing him.
It’s very weird thinking I’ll never get that privilege again.
See also: File 770 and Chaz Boston Baden. His own LJ is here.
I’d been meaning to design a banner graphic for memorials. I’d recently gotten a bunch of layer styles, and used the Frozen style from here. I altered the outer glow to be a little darker and half as thick. Somehow, using a text style associated with an sf/f film seems fitting for eps.
Font is Desire from Borges Lettering, corners from Make Media, and the glitter layer on the corners is also from Make Media.
(excerpted from a longer piece)
Ken said there was a science fiction convention coming up over Easter weekend. There would be gaming, which I was looking forward to. He was volunteering and said I should too. So I did, claiming that I was in fact over 18—required for volunteers at that con at that time—when I was still 17. Ken vouched for me, so I was trusted with tasks not ordinarily trusted a newbie.
It was 1977. Science fiction and fantasy films had been so awful since 2001 that I was severely underwhelmed. At that point, there had been only one Star Trek series. Star Wars wasn’t out yet. There hadn’t been a truly great science fiction film since 2001.
I hadn’t seen many fantasy films that hadn’t embarrassed the hell out of me to even have been in the theatre with them. Well, except for Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which was a movie that I actually disliked the first few times I was dragged to it by friends. Eventually, I grew to love it. There were well-intended box office successes like The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, but I remember it being cringeworthy, even apart from the Ray Harryhausen animation I never warmed to. The Rankin-Bass version of The Hobbit and the Bakshi film Wizards weren’t out yet. Nothing had touched what I felt was possible in books.
If you’d asked me in Easter 1977 what my favorite science fiction or fantasy film of the seventies had been thus far, I’d probably have answered Woody Allen’s Sleeper. For science fiction films, we’d had Silent Running, which at least was interesting despite being too slow. Then there was Zardoz, which regularly makes worst-of lists. Some of the choices were differently compelling, like Rollerball. I didn’t like it at the time, but came to appreciate it many years later. One could argue that The Rocky Horror Picture Show was a science fiction film in that it involved aliens. There was a bunch of crap like At the Earth’s Core and Journey to the Center of the Earth and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.
What there weren’t, however, were good space-based science fiction films. It just hadn’t been done since 2001.
When I arrived at my first science fiction convention, I wasn’t at all drawn by the media-related opportunities, of which there were many, including airings of some relatively recent science fiction and fantasy films.
So naturally, being young, personable and female, I was assigned to escort media guests around, to manage the situation if they were overwhelmed by fans, and to help them get anything they needed. Most of them got a few polite expressions of fannishness, but nothing that actually needed a escort. Still, it made them feel valuable, and it was interesting enough.
Many of the convention’s VIPs were guest actors from Star Trek episodes, and many of those actors were truly great people. Some were from even older shows, like Kirk Alyn, the first actor to play Superman. Over the times I volunteered at the con, I enjoyed being Kirk’s VIP guide the most. I remember him being charming and generous with his time.
This first time, though, I was assigned to accompany an actor whose big film was coming out later that year. He was quite the comic fan (where I was not), and I just remember that he was completely unremarkable to me as a person. I spent a lot of time standing next to him as he geeked out with various comic vendors about things coming out and favorite issues in common. Even though I read comics at the time, I genuinely didn’t understand his deep interest in the subject, and we had no favorite comics in common. Back then, I read Spiderman and Nova mostly, occasionally dipping into other books.
The next morning, I sat alone in the hotel restaurant eating breakfast while I listened to people describe said actor as dreamy. Oh, he was decent enough looking, blond and somewhat geeky, which normally was my thing. Just—not this time. Thus, I found the interest in him fascinating.
It wasn’t until the fifth time I saw Star Wars that it hit me that I’d spent my day accompanying Mark Hamill around the con. You know. Luke Skywalker.
Hamill is now older than Alec Guinness was when the filming of Star Wars began.
Rick’s on the right in the loud Hawaiian shirt and Panama hat. I’m on Rick’s left, but not really visible in the pic.
For those of you who don’t know what JayWake is about, Jay Lake got his terminal cancer diagnosis recently and decided to hold a wake while he was still able to attend. Here’s his blog post about the event.
I’m not big on writing con reports generally, but I’ve certainly attended smaller conventions than JayWake turned out to be (attendance was around 200 people).
Before the formal event started, Jay said he’d planned to donate his body to medical school and had considered getting a tattoo that said, “Hello, I’ll be your cadaver this semester.”
As one might expect, Jay entered the event in a coffin, then popped out.
Kelly Buehler and Daniel Spector prepared a video from New Zealand, and the ending was a rickroll. I said to Rick, “You know, that’s actually the first time I’ve been rickrolled in a non-professional context.” Job hazard.
The rest of the quotes are mostly hilariously out of context:
“Would all the women who haven’t slept with Jay please raise your hands?” (surveys raised hands) “Well, Jay, you can’t die yet.”
About Jay’s polyamory: “Jay’s seen more holes than two families of gophers.”
About cancer — and Joan of Arc (!) — “They’re all dead, but they had hope.”
When asked the true story of how he knew Jay, one response included the following: “Now, ordinarily you wouldn’t read a book in a brothel….”
There was actually a funnier line that followed this, but my limited prose buffer only kept: “The morning after his surgery, he tried to break out of the hospital like a ninja. As you do.”
“He’s kinda like a corpulent, emo, Jiminy Cricket.”
“He’s famous for being a tumor-ridden love machine.”
About Jay’s “ass cancer” winding up in the wrong places in his body: “How about for your next fundraiser, we get your cancer a fucking GPS?”
In his wrapup, Jay said: “I have become medically interesting in two different ways, which is not really something you should aspire to.”
This could have become a maudlin hand-wringing event. This is the kind of event that relies — a ton — on not only the honored guest, but also his or her friends. Everyone kept it interesting and different. And it was interesting and different, even the parts that were painful.
Anyhow, it turned out to be a lot of fun, though emotionally exhausting. I spent most of Sunday sleeping it off, but that’s probably also partly residual jet lag.