Notes from the Underground

November 2007

Table of Contents

Meeting Announcements

The September meeting will be held at Jamie Ritchey’s house (Map of 4729 Kinglet, Houston TX 77035). There is no Video Party in November due to Thanksgiving.

November Birthdays


Club News

Prez Mez November 2007 - Dee Beetem

Greetings Several!

We aren’t scheduling a Video Party this month due to the Thanksgiving holiday. But, it’s time to start thinking about Jennifer’s party and Dickens on the Strand. We’ll find out at the meeting who wants to go to Dickens—if you can’t attend but are still interested, contact Margaret McNickle. (Erika and I will be out of town for Thanksgiving week.)

We had to cancel the proposed Halloween Ghost Walk. Erika waited too long to get responses and by the time she called they’d sold out. Next time we’ll have to set a hard deadline for signup and stick to it. Erika, Tom Wells, Sanjay and Parul did go to see Arsenic & Old Lace. Since I’m actually writing this ahead of time, I can’t review it.Please do tell me or Margaret whenever you run across an upcoming event that the Several might be interested in. I know that several fantasy movies are opening around Christmas!

Greetings from the V.P.! - Margaret McNickle

Renaissance Festival ends November 24th. We have small groups going the next two weekends, so let’s talk about it at the meeting.

Dickens on the Strand is coming up the first weekend in December. I’ll look for other things to do. If you hear of anything, let me know!

TV Shows Call-Out!

What TV shows tickle your fancy this season? Are they new kids on the block, or old reliables? Send in the names of your favorites so we can compile a list of what the Several is watching (and recording!) Submitting a review of the show to the newsletter would be nice, too.

Don’t forget the Yahoo Group for Several Unlimited!

If you find something interesting to do or talk about, you don’t have to wait for the newsletter or a meeting. Post it on the Several Unlimited Yahoo Group at

If you’re not a member of the group, it’s free to join, and you get to select how you want the messages delivered to you!

News and Reviews

OniCon Review
by Erika Frensley

OniCon is Houston’s largest convention – the figures I heard ranged around 10, 000 to 12, 000 for the weekend. It certainly looked like it – the George Brown Convention Center was filled with anime fans of all types. The costumes were fantastic (like a dummy, I forgot my camera).We only stayed for the day, but did listen to a few panels.

FullMetal Alchemist panel: The voice actors of FMA talked about the show and their plans. The actors all love to goof around, and there was a lot of teasing of Aaron Dismuke, who’s grown into a gangly teenager (he was eleven when he voiced Alphonse Elric).

Greg Ayres and Anime Downloading: The anime licensing company Geneon is now out of business, and anime downloading has been cited as one of the main factors. Greg Ayres spearheaded this panel to explain the problems that anime piracy causes. I didn’t know that a great deal of the money for anime companies come from the US – and that US companies bailed out many Japanese anime companies not very long ago. Shinichi “Nabeshin” Watanabe, creator of the Excel Saga, Nerima Daikon Brothers and The Wallflower, had some comments (video here:

MileHiCon 39 Review
By Dee Beetem (with inserts by Erika Frensley)


Who was there?

Frank Wu (Artist GoH) My new favorite fan artist! Erika and I met him before the con—my sister Rose (MHC programming chair) took us all to see the Denver Art Museum’s special Louvre exhibit. He’s really nice, and funny too. He showed his short animation ‘Guidolon’ at the con—it’s about a giant monster chicken who wants to be a movie star. His art was on the program book cover; Erika bought a print at the art show.

Figure 1 Chelsea Quinn Yarbro looks on as Frank Wu delivers his speech. Ed Bryant looks on...

Erika- Frank had all of his pieces priced at $1.00 for minimum bid, and explained in a letter: 1) love and appreciation for the fans, 2) appreciation and gratitude for MileHiCon, 3) art should be available to everyone (the Louvre exhibit made a huge impact on him as he saw the beautiful pieces of art for the nobility only).

The Opening Ceremonies explained the theme for the con – Zombies as a “celebration” of the 10 th anniversary of DonnerCon. Ed Bryant dressed as a zombie, and Frank Wu (in zombie mode) gave his opening speech:
Brains, brains, brains. BRAINS! Brains, brains, brains, brains. Brains? Ah, brains. Brains, braaaiiiins…. Ha, Ha, Brains!

David Hedison (Special Guest) He showed up with posters from ‘The Fly’ and ‘Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.’ (He also has a website.) I never went up to meet him but he looks to be in wonderful shape for a man in his 80s. I think he’d be great as a ‘wise scientific mentor’ in a sci-fi movie! (Hey, if Chris Lee can do action…)

David Weber (Writer GoH) Author of the Honor Harrington series, and was giving away copies of a non-Honor SF war novel. But it was a fat hardback and I didn’t have suitcase space. Unfortunately he is allergic to squash and the hotel restaurant kept sneaking zucchini into the cuisine.

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (GOH) – Author of the Saint Germain vampire series. Quiet, studious, you’d never think that she started out as a fan, but Ed Bryant reminded us of that in the opening ceremonies.

Erika –David is a fun and energetic speaker, and he was a terror at the charity auction… If his wife said she wanted it, that was it – not very many people brave enough to bid against David! And Ms. Yarbro even forgave me when I commented after she confessed that she sends out her vampires to make money for her, “Does that mean you’re a pimp for your vampires!?”


It turned out that the speaker for the ‘Anthropology of LOTR’ didn’t turn up. Rose, the programming chair, asked for LOTR-knowledgeable volunteers from the audience—and I raised my hand! So I, my friend Gail, and another fan formed an impromptu panel on LOTR anthropology. We knew more than enough to fill an hour about the technology of Middle Earth, the history of the Second Age, and the background of Tolkien. I didn’t even have to employ my backup topic, ‘Elf Sex.”

Courtney Willis (aka ‘Doctor Science’) did a funny slide presentation on the now-defunct supermarket rag, ‘World Weekly News.’ Goodbye to Bigfoot, Elvis sightings, and the Bat Boy!

Raising the Level of Suspense was interesting, and the authors’ tips were pretty inspirational. It’s always nice to see a writing panel that doesn’t focus on ‘how to shop your story’.

Erika – The Turkey SF readings were absolutely hysterical – amazing how some of these things got published!


Kids’ Programming: MHC had a strong “Harry Potter” track for the kids that was run by Avestrum (?) Rose recommended that the program include blocks of “Muggle Studies” that would send the kids out to see what was happening in the rest of the con. See, that way we get new fans…

The DonnerCon movie: About ten years ago, a group of fans filmed a movie during the snowbound MHC. It had a plot and everything! Although the performances were noticeably amateur and the props makeshift, the result was interesting—a dramatization of “The Ancient One”, a fantasy story in which a magical teddy bear protects the young children of a family under a curse.

End Ceremonies: It’s a MHC tradition that Ed Bryant (toastmaster) remembers the SF fans and professionals who passed during the past year. It’s like an All Souls Day custom, and it was a comfort to me the year that Mom died.

Upcoming Events

Artist Talk: Leonard Nimoy on The Full Body Project

Saturday, Nov 10, 2007 2:00 PM, and Sunday, Nov 11, 2007 4:00 PM
at the Brown Auditorium Theatre
The Caroline Wiess Law Building
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
1001 Bissonnet , 713:6397300

Admission is free and open to the public. Seating is limited.

I am an incurable romantic/I believe in hope, dreams and decency.
Leonard Nimoy

In his provocative new book of nude studies, The Full Body Project, photographer and actor Leonard Nimoy presents pictures of full-bodied women who defy media images of the ideal female figure. "The average America woman," Nimoy writes in his preface to the book, "weighs 25 percent more than the models selling their clothes. There is a huge industry built around selling women ways to get their bodies closer to the fantasy ideal. The message is: you don´t look right. If you buy our product, you can get there."

In The Full Body Project, Nimoy questions this media message by photographing women who accept the fullness of their figures and who clearly enjoy being together as dancers and working together with Nimoy to make these pictures that are often inspired by famous works of art.

The Full Body Project is available in the MFAH retail shop and will be available for sale during the reception that follows each program. Mr. Nimoy will only sign copies purchased at the MFAH.

Websites of the Month

Tin Man/Infinite OZ for the Infinite OZ for show information

Tin Man, a Sci Fi Channel miniseries based on the Wizard of Oz, starts in December. Their site has lots of beautiful pictures, but the Zoom Quilt technology is slow to load on dial up. Look for the speed/direction control in the upper left corner of your screen as you fly through one scene after another. It’s a little strange, but then, this is a strange version of OZ.

The miniseries Tin Man airs December 2, on the Sci Fi Channel.

Plausible Futures

Most of the predictions of the future have been done by science fiction writers, Hollywood screen writers, and social critics, who either paint a blissful, Gee-whiz future when obedient robot maids and butlers cater to our every whim, or a gruesome, dark dystopia when the machines take over and humanity is enslaved.

But what do the scientists themselves say? What are the views of the people who are actually doing the yeoman’s work of inventing the future in their laboratory?


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