First of all, my internet still works. Well, sort of, at any rate. For at the moment I can only access the Internet via my laptop and netbook and not via my dsktop PC. That requires a fix that will be bought tomorrow.
More from the department of things that don’t work as advertised, there will be a state election in Lower Saxony, where I live, at the end of January. Now I never know who to vote for in Lower Saxony state elections, because Lower Saxony seems to have some of the worst politicians of the country, regardless of party affiliation. However, I still want to exercise my right to vote, which is why I was a little alarmed that I still hadn’t received my voter card yet and neither had my neighbours. And since I seem to be having an issue with missing or late mail (including a parcel which took an inordinarily long time to arrive and an Amazon royalty cheque), I decided to call the townhall. The lady there was very apologetic and told me that there had been a problem with many voter cards not reaching their destination and that they had printed and sent out new cards to all voters in our district. Maybe they shouldn’t hire obscure private firms to mail out voter cards next time.
Talking of the Lower Saxony state elections, I just ran the respective Wahl-O-Mat, an online tool which offers you a number of points, asks you if you agree or disagree or don’t care, and then tells you how close your choices are to the various parties on offer. It was initially designed to give first time voters a quick overview and I often recommend it to my students for that purpose. Go ahead and give it a whirl, even if you’re neither German nor from Lower Saxony. If nothing else, it will give you some insight on where you’d stand in German politics. I always find it interesting to do this for other countries, e.g. my ideal US presidential candidates are usually oddballs I’ve never heard of and the British equivalent once suggested that the best fit for me was the Scottish National Party.
I mostly find that Wahl-O-Mat surprisingly accurately predicts which party I will end up voting for. In the few cases it was off, the reason was largely dislike for a particular party or candidate. In Lower Saxony case, my two top results were also the two parties I was considering voting for anyway. Of course, neither has a particularly good chance of making the five percent hurdle, but if I were to stick only to parties certain to make it into the state parliament, I’d be limited to only three choices, neither of which I like.
And now for some SF-nal Links:
At the Chronicle of Higher Education, Camille Paglia argues that George Lucas is the greatest artist of our time. Even as a lifelong Star Wars fan, I don’t agree with her, but she does make some interesting points, particularly by pointing out that Lucas’ artistry lies mainly in the visual and sensual aspects of filmmaking.
At Locus Online, Cory Doctorow has an interesting theory about what happens when fictional characters come to life in the minds of writers and readers/viewers. He also manages to come up with an explanation for the drive to write fanfiction, while he’s at it.
At the SFWA blog, Athena Andreadis offer a list of great classic (i.e. older than twenty years) SF that provides an alternative to the same old, same old (see the results of the Locus poll I discussed yesterday) and includes a lot more women and writers of colour.