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Some Trip Follow-Up Thoughts - RonO's Ramblings — LiveJournal

Jul. 6th, 2009 05:00 pm Some Trip Follow-Up Thoughts

1: Double checking that The Black Bear Cafe in Goodyear would have been part of the same chain as where I at in Redmond last summer, I discovered that that location must have closed -- it doesn't show up on their list anymore.

2: robot_grrl and I were a bit disturbed to see how much water was being wasted in the Palm Springs area. For example, along the entire run of CA-111 through Indian Wells, there is lush grass in the parkway along the side of the road. There were stretches of CA-74 that were similar. Then, in both cases, we saw water running into the road and sprinklers operating in the heat (dry heat!) of the day.

I'm somewhat sure that the Palm Springs area has its own ground water source (thus the springs in Palm Springs and the wells in Indian Wells). But I doubt that there is really enough water there to support the water needs without being supplemented from the same sources as San Diego, LA, etc. Imperial valley didn't bother us as much since we at least know people eat what they use the water for (or at least animals do)

3: I'm beginning to wonder if Tara and I have actually made a noticeable increase in the fraction of San Diego area fen who travel outside of easy driving range for "major" conventions? By my count, there were only 8 people I can clearly identify as San Diego area fen at Westercon. And I know of at least 3 from Chicago, one from Boston and one from (I don't recall which) either Boston or New York, on top of quite a few from the greater LA area and the Bay Area. Of course, if you take into account that someone can be a $region fan while not actually living in $region (or just consider a fan to belong to a different region based on their fanac) then perhaps there were only 6 San Diego fans and 5 from Chicago.

4: Wondering about the number of people within specific travel times of some locations I did a quick search but could not find anything. Of course the major obstacle would be to get the zip codes within a specific travel time of a given point, since once zip codes are available then population is available from the US census (at least until you cross an international boundary). I suspect that Google maps could be hacked to get the list of zip codes -- by brute force at least: iterate over all zip codes, route to the set location, if travel time is less than limit, add zip code to final list. But I don't have the time or energy to work up such a hack.

What, of course, I'm really wondering about is how many people are within about 90 (or perhaps 120) minutes drive of the hotels hosting various cons just to compare that to their actual attendance to see which ones are likely drawing most or all of their area's fen or potential fen (which would, of course, presume that the fen are evenly distributed within the US population -- a false presumption I'm sure)

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Date:July 7th, 2009 01:24 am (UTC)
Based on limited evidence from Detroit area cons, unless you're a member of a solid sub-group (e.g. Dorsai, filking fandom), you don't travel out of the area for cons. I'm not sure how this applies to other metro areas.
Date:July 7th, 2009 02:14 am (UTC)
I think that there is a regional component to it. One only needs to look at the map of where Worldcon members come from to notice that California, Illinois and Massachusetts are disproportionately well represented given their overall population, and even their fannish population.
Date:July 7th, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
The last time Westercon was in Arizona was 2004. There were a lot more San Diegians at that con. I think it is mostly the economy that prevented people from attending. I remember when Westercons were a lot bigger, approximately 1500 to 1800 members attending. Gary, who was running the filk track, mentioned that a large number of Phoenix area filkers did not attend the con.
Date:July 7th, 2009 02:10 am (UTC)
I know it is a lot smaller than the last Westercon we were at (1998 -- the last time I lived in the San Diego area).

Over the weekend, I wondered which factor or factors might have shrunk the con:
- The increase over the last 15-20 years of local conventions
- The increased ease of travel to Worldcon causing fen who cannot go to both to go to Worldcon no matter where it is
- The lack of desire to spend time in the Valley of the Sun in July
- The economic trouble impacting a lot of travel.

I suspect that all may have some impact, but it is the first two that run the risk of killing Westercon. I suspect that Deep South Con may be somewhat protected since it is usually (as near as I can tell) hosted by a standing con.

Who knows, if Pasadena ends up winning the NASFiC election, maybe more people will rediscover Westercon and revive it a bit.
Date:July 7th, 2009 07:50 am (UTC)
Lisa is offended by the huge wastes of water here around Tempe as well. There are way too many people here in the Valley of the Sun.
Date:July 7th, 2009 07:21 pm (UTC)
Ron and I stayed with my cousin while attending Westercon. I noticed while we were leaving that the sprinkler in his yard was going and watering a large rock and some pebbles. Not a good use of H2O. I have to shot him an e-mail to turn it off.
Date:July 7th, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
By my count, you're missing at least one SD fan, but the point holds. Some of it is the combination of the weather and the economy, I think -- I can think of a few people who are doing less travel for financial reasons.