I’ve been pretty bad about updating pictures and other anecdotes of my various adventures here (and elsewhere). This is going to be the last set of reports posted en bloc; I’ll be switching to individual trip comments after this.
Below the fold, here’s some stuff from the first four months of 2017.
Amendments to the City Council Regular Meeting Calendar: Strike the “tentative” language for March 5 and change December 17 to December 10.
Additional appointments to external IGR agencies: Councilmember Smith to the Grand Boulevard Initiative Task Force, Alternate; Councilmember Hendricks to the El Camino Real Rapid Transit Policy Advisory Board (PAB).
Additional appointment made by an outside agency: Councilmember Smith to the Santa Clara County Recycling and Waste Reduction Commission.
I didn’t have a particularly productive year in terms of county highpointing in 2018. The biggest reason for this is simple distance. With a couple access-related exceptions, I’ve now climbed every county high point that can be done in a single day from my home. The other problem is time and energy. I did San Gorgonio Mountain and Mt. Eddy, this year’s two ultras, as full-weekend trips, but that does require spending pretty much the entire weekend away from home, and with the usual schedule of “hike Sunday morning and then drive back” that means going pretty much right from a long drive to bed to work.
The other issue I ran into was that having a narrow vacation window is a good way to be vulnerable to weather problems. My vacation plan this year was to spend the first half of a week or so near the Nevada–California border and claim successively higher high points, then head back home and go to the Worldcon. Unfortunately, the week in question was plagued with atmospheric instability that led to two of three hikes having to be aborted early; I didn’t even bother attempting White Mountain Peak given the low likelihood of pre-thunderstorm success and car-camping fatigue.
I’m not sure what lessons to take away from the above. I don’t really have a way to try to reschedule vacations on short notice based on the forecast. The best plan would have probably been to go somewhere else, although in this particular case the need to get advance permission from the Army for Mt. Grant would have made that difficult as well. Still, worth noting for future years.
In 2019, I am planning on hiking Thurston Peak, high point of Davis and Morgan Counties in Utah, at some point over Independence Day weekend in conjunction with Westercon. (There will be ribbons.) Apart from that, I’m not really sure what county high points are on the docket for next year, as I will be using most of my vacation time on a trip to Ireland for the Dublin Worldcon. (As I do not expect to have a car there, sadly neither Carrauntoohil or Kippure are likely.) I might look at using some or all of Labor Day Weekend to tackle Hat/Eagle or Salmon/Bear. Depending on snow levels, it might also be possible to leverage Memorial Day Weekend into a couple county high points. I’d still really like to get White Mountain Peak done, but I’m not quite sure how to acclimate sensibly over the necessarily short amount of time I’d have.
In the mean time, there are still plenty of other peaks to ascend. I have twenty-five peaks remaining on the SF Bay Nifty Ninety list, and hope to finish them off in the first half of next year. The biggest limiting factors here are Brushy Peak, which can only be legally accessed via a $40+ tour that you have to sign up for, and the peaks in Henry Coe that are best accessed via the seasonally-closed Dowdy Ranch entrance.
There are also plenty of unclimbed peaks (e.g. Konocti) relatively nearby with 2000 feet of prominence, are the most prominent point in their county, or are otherwise of interest (e.g. South Chalone Peak, the Pinnacles Wilderness high point). If nothing else, Tahoe is still fairly close and has plenty of interesting mountains that are not county high points. Hopefully 2019 will see less fire and smoke.
Here at Acrophilia, I’m hoping to keep the posts about peaks climbed in the last couple years coming at noon on Fridays until I’m caught up. No guarantees, but that’s the schedule I’m working towards.
2018 year-end statistics:
New county high points: 6 (54 total)
Home glob: 46 counties (+7), 123,603 square miles (+37,211)
New 2000′ prominence peaks: 5
New SF Bay Nifty Ninety peaks: 34
Highest and most prominent peak climbed: San Gorgonio Mountain (11,499′)
Highest point reached: the side of Boundary Peak at about 12,480′
I’ve been pretty bad about updating pictures and other anecdotes of my various adventures here (and elsewhere). I’m probably not going to get up-to-date by the end of the year. But I’ll see what I can do.
I should probably disclose up front that I’m not particularly interested in seeing the new Fantastic Beasts movie. I read and enjoyed the Harry Potter series when growing up like many my age but I know a lot of people that care a lot more about it than I do. (Playing real-life quidditch for six years will help with that.) But I do find one aspect of the many criticisms of this movie (see, e.g. this (spoiler-filled) article) fascinating: the continuity problems.
The question I’d like to step back and think about is: what specifically are the Fantastic Beasts movies in continuity with?
The most obvious problem is that the original Harry Potter movies and the books aren’t the same. While the books themselves are only in continuity with each other (unlike Arthur C. Clarke’s 2010: Odyssey Two, which is a sequel to the 2001 movie rather than the book), the movies are in a somewhat more complex state of being in loose continuity with both themselves and the books—I’ve seen criticisms that they are difficult to follow if one is not familiar with the source material. (A full discussion of their differences would likely be a full essay in and of itself, and frankly one that many other fans are more qualified to write.) The Harry Potter series is also notable for being one where the movie adaptations started coming out before the books finished, so a lot of readers’ interpretations of later books were necessarily skewed by movie interpretations of the earlier books. Most references in media to Harry Potter rely on the movies, as does the Orlando theme park.
Now, the flip side of arguing “movies are only in continuity with other movies” is J. K. Rowling’s statement that the movies are canonical because she’s writing them. While I’d argue that this is overly simplistic on its face (movies are inherently collaborative in ways that novels are not), the more interesting question is what weight we, as fans, should even place on this statement, and whether Harry Potter canon should even be considered open. Rowling has become notorious for dropping additional information that reinterprets the original novel series years after their publication. It is of course her right as the author to want Harry Potter to conform to her vision. But the reader has a right to what they get out of a novel’s text, too. Reacting to a book after you read it is just as valid as reacting to a story after reading the wiki and getting more information that wasn’t in the books. And it’s well-documented that an author’s intent can change post-publication: look at Fahrenheit 451, which Ray Bradbury described in 1956 as being primarily about censorship but later claimed that it was in fact a criticism of mass media.
And of course there’s the niggling little problem of defining the authoritative text of the books. I read the first American editions, which infamously make nontrivial and inconsistent changes to the British texts; the substitution of “Sorcerer’s Stone” for “Philosopher’s Stone” is the most prominent, but I will always have a special place in my heart for the Year 2 password to Dumbledore’s office changing from “lemon drop” in Chamber of Secrets to “sherbert lemon” in Goblet of Fire. The Harry Potter Lexicon lists the changes between the U.K. and U.S. editions and also mentions revisions made to the text in 2004 to fix continuity issues. Ultimately I’d think the “author’s preferred text” would be that found in revised British editions, which isn’t the text I’ve actually read.
The other and more insidious problem with allowing the powers that be to define the canon is that they have a financial incentive to tell you “yes, this is canon to the thing you love and therefore you must watch it”. There can be value in larger franchises in avoiding confusion as to what is and is not in continuity, but the only real risk of confusion here is where you stand as a fan. We’re not going to have a Great Assembly or Ecumenical Council of Fandom to decide what’s in and what’s out (and fandom needs no excuse to schism). If you’re having a conversation where the exact scope of continuity matters, it’s good to state your opinion upfront to avoid misunderstandings, but other than that, it’s your right to read and enjoy what you want.
Ultimately the original Harry Potter series told a story. It was a good story. It ended. The Fantastic Beasts movies are also telling a story. Whether or not you believe it to be another section of the Harry Potter canon or mere apocrypha is up to you.