August 8th, 2006

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Cruise

I'm all booked and paid up on a cruise for September. I'll get to see lovely Nanaimo and Prince Rupert. Anyone have any guesses as to how many books I'll get read in the 4 nights? I'm guessing a lot.

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Favorite Novels

For no real reason, here are my top novels that I've read.
The Sweet Hereafter, Russell Banks
The Scar, China Miéville
The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell
Death of a Red Heroine, Qiu Xiaolong
Santiago, Mike Resnick
Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
1984, George Orwell
The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
The Milagro Beanfield War, John Nichols

and of course

King Rat, James Clavell

There's a predominance of SF there, though I tend to read less of it these days. But for folks who claim that SF stories aren't relevant, I point out Fahrenheit 451, 1984, and The Handmaid's Tale (yes I know Atwood claims not to write SF).

I debated putting The Grapes of Wrath there, because I remember really enjoying the book, but it's been 20 years since I read it and I barely remember its contents anymore. Perhaps it's time to re-read it.
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Second Darfur event planning meeting

Still frustrating, but still thrilled to be doing something. Frustrating because there is supposed to be a late October event. They want bands and speakers and whatnot. But there is no one goal for the event. No top priority for it. Which to me makes it difficult to plan for. Is it a fundraiser? Is it to inform? Not only that but the speaker they are building this around hasn't committed to a date, so getting additional bands/speakers or even a venue can't be done yet. In my mind you need the purpose of the event first, and then you build around that. They also seem to think that the speaker, John Prendergast, will draw rock star crowds by himself. While I'm sure he will draw a decent crowd, he's going to draw primarily people who are already interested in Darfur. You should have seen him at the D.C. Darfur event, he was like a rock star! He'll draw! No one seemed to get that if you are trying to draw in people who don't know jack about Darfur, he's not the draw. So the other groups/bands/speakers on the bill need to be the draw for the event if you are trying to draw in non-informed people. And therein lies the question, what's the purpose? In any case, I don't want to get too tied in knots over this. If it bombs, it bombs. If it is just another event it's just another event. Having the perfect event isn't going to matter in 10 years, so I'd rather be happy than right.

However, the plans for the September religious event are firming up. They've scaled back the plans somewhat, mostly because they couldn't get a big church to host it. The church hosting it will fit 150-200 people. On the other hand, the other group that was doing outreach to churches hasn't done so yet, so I can't start follow-up calls. However, the outreach group has decided to send letters to only 5 churches within each denomination. So for a broader reach, I will be compiling a contact list of churches and then will be asking each of them to lend their name to the event, whether they participate directly or not. In the official program for the event, we can put each congregation/synagogue/mosque/whatever on the back page. Hopefully we can get an impressive list of religious groups to lend their name to emphasize the universality of concern over Darfur.