Worldcon 76

After years of prep, and some very frantic work through July and early August, we finally got to the day:  August 16th, Worldcon 76 in San Jose.

Worldcon 76 logo on the marquis at the San Jose Convention Center

We left home to travel 3 miles to the Fairmont hotel, our base during the convention, on Wednesday.  Everyone spent Wednesday setting up things like Program Operations (ProgOps), getting signs in place, and opening Registration for those who were pre-registered.

Despite our best efforts, a few signs were missing and we were making things on the fly.  And once we saw how the crowds were moving and the rooms they kept asking us how to find, we made a few more directional ones.  One of the SJCC staff thought our idea for one was so good he was taking it back to management!

Thursday afternoon the registration line was so long that I was walking the line to find my program participants so that they could get to their panels on time.  And I ran into my in-laws.  It was their first Worldcon, and we gave them their memberships for Christmas two years ago!

The biggest problem when you’re running the convention is that you don’t get much of a chance to actually participate in the convention.  But there were a few highlights:

  • having a chance to meet and work with all of the MexicanX Initiative participants.  They were universally friendly, professional, and willing to dive in wherever needed.
  • watching my husband create his own Masquerade entry and enter his first Masquerade competition.  He’s now gotten the bug and understands why most costumers are still working on things until the very last minute.
  • seeing N.K. Jemisin make history, winning her third consecutive Best Novel Hugo award, for The Stone Sky.

Now that it’s all done (well, almost, still a few loose ends to wrap up), we’re back to normal at home, working on the next set of Dueling DeadlinesTM.

Whirlpool Gladiator “Freezerator”

We got a Whirlpool Gladiator series garage fridge/freezer, the “Freezerator,” after the remodel.  It looks like a typical fridge/freezer with a smaller top section than bottom — except that the bottom is the freezer, and the top is either refrigerator or freezer.

Over the years, we have had ongoing problems with ice buildup in the freezer section.  And it became clear that it was water running down from the upper section.  We had defrosted it, to the point of being able to get the obvious ice dealt with, every couple of years. Earlier this year, we got a pair of TempSticks, which let us check on the temperature and humidity in both compartments.  The humidity always seemed a bit high, but there was no information in the user manual or on the web about what should be “normal” in either a fridge or freezer.

I did some searching on the web, and found this video by Dion Hock about his solution:  I remember having a standard freezer-over-fridge that did something similar years ago, so the whole concept of taking off the back of the upper unit was not foreign to me.

This is what I saw once I finally got the back off:


The entire back area was frozen solid, and this was 2 hours after I pulled the plug and started to let the freezer defrost!




Once I got the next layer off, I could see the drainage area.  The entire thing was full of ice still, and the actual drainage channel was a solid plug of ice.  That drain tube goes all the way down to the bottom of the device, to drain into the evaporation pan which is under the freezer compartment.

The basic defrost was done in about 2 hours, but it took over 6 hours and the application of some hot water using a turkey baster and straw directly into the top of the channel to get the ice to melt and the water to drain.

Now to see how long it takes before it gets iced over again.


Stockholm and the ABBA Museum

Stockholm is a city made up of many small islands with bridges and inlets and ferries.  We had two things we absolutely wanted to do in Stockholm — see the Vasa, and go to the ABBA museum.

To get there from our hotel, we needed to either walk “up and over” a portion of the harbor, or take the ferry across.  We opted to take the ferry over and walk back.  We walked across a small bridge to Skeppholmen, to see a sign with a QR code for a mobile guide.  We went past the af Chapman, around the Moderna Museet, to the ferry — we went across the harbor to Slussen and then back across to Djurgården.  We got to see the rides at the amusement park Gröna Lund while on the ferry.  One of them looked pretty gnarly — it’s apparently called Insane and is one of a handful of “4-D” coasters around the world.

We walked around the corner from the ferry to the ABBA Museum.  As we got our tickets, they asked if we wanted the audio tour as well, and then handed us a device about the size of a banana which played back audio clips when we held it over an indicator in various places in the exhibits.  Most of the audio was one of the four band members talking about a specific part of the exhibit and their history.  They also had different interactive stations where you swiped your ticket to later review your “audition” as a 5th member of the band, your sound mixing, or your on-stage performance.  Needless to say, I was taking close looks at all of their costumes and took lots of detail pictures.   We were told that one of the reasons they wore such wild outfits had to do with taxes, and if they weren’t something you would wear on the street, they weren’t taxed.   I’m sure we will find an excuse to make a set at some point – maybe the kimono-inspired ones.  The exhibits also included a section of Eurovision costumes, although Verka Serduchka’s wild silver outfit wasn’t there.