Brian and Anne

TAFF 2012 Race Seeking Candidates

The Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund is looking for candidates for the 2012 Eastbound TAFF trip. Candidates must be nominated by 5 SF fans known to the current TAFF administrators, John Coxon, Anne Gray, and Brian Gray. Three of those nominators must be resident in North America and two resident in Europe. In addition to their nominations, prospective candidates have to submit a written platform (not exceeding 101 words), a deposit of $20, and a pledge to take the TAFF trip in 2012 if they win. TAFF will send the winning delegate(s) to attend the 2012 Eastercon, Olympus, in London April 6 to April 9 ( TAFF delegates are also expected to write a trip report and administer TAFF for two years. The fan fund will pay for the trip and related expenses, as well as the publication of the completed trip report. Candidates will be voted on by interested fans from all over the world.

For more information, see The North American TAFF administrators are Anne and Brian Gray; send nominations and other materials to them at 5006 Royene Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110, USA or European nominators should send materials to John Coxon, either on or by mail to 14 Chapel Lane, Peterborough, PE4 6RS, United Kingdom.

If you would like to take us up on this fantastic opportunity please find people to nominate you and let us know, since the deadline for nominations is September 30th! If you have any questions about what's required of you or how to acquire nominations, please feel free to get in touch with any of us and ask. We hope to see you running for TAFF soon!
Brian and Anne

The 2011 TAFF Race is ongoing!

We administrators have collected a fair number of votes for TAFF but I feel I have not been keeping up my end of things by promoting the race. Brian and Steve have been carrying all the load of record-keeping as people vote, so I figure I should try to get out and ring some bells. Here's me trying!

In the meantime, if you're reading this and haven't voted, Please Vote for TAFF!

Ballot on the TAFF website (and note you can also vote and donate through paypal).

The voting deadline is midnight GMT on 26 April 2011 (7pm EST; 4pm PST).

Brian and Anne


The 3rd Taffling has arrived! Often referred to as Taffling 2.5 during the trip, Rosalind Jane Gray was born August 18. Pictures can be found in Anne and Brian's flickr photo collections, along with our sets of TAFF trip photos, here and here.

Brian and Anne are finding our footing as new parents and managing to do a few other things, though just a few. Among them, we have delivered the first installment of the TAFF trip report to Steven Silver for Argentus.

In other news, we (well, mainly Steve) have set a schedule for the westbound race:

    The 2011 TAFF race (Europe > North America) will open for nominations on 12 November (the first day of Novacon 40). The nomination process will be closed on 18 December and candidates announced no later than 20 December. The race itself will run until 12 March 2011, with the winner attending Renovation, the 69th World SF Convention, in Reno, Nevada, 17-21 August 2011.

    Anyone interested in standing should contact Steve Green via e-mail:

Brian and Anne

Bye, Bye, Eastercon

Morning has broken; Eastercon's over. We've had a great time, from the first day.
We've made some good friends we'll stay in touch with. That makes it easier, to go away (or, to flee the country in exhaustion - B).

Honestly, we have had a wonderful weekend, and a terrific trip, and I have to say that the strategy of starting with Corflu and traveling around *before* Eastercon worked really well for providing a group of familiar friendly faces here to have as touchstones and help introduce us to other folks, but I wish we also had *another week* in which to take advantage of the generous, friendly offers to show us other places and put us up that we've received from folks we just met this weekend.

We'll simply have to come back. :)

To answer a question we've been asked often this trip, yes, we have started working on our trip report. Brian got us these wonderful London moleskine notebooks before the trip that we've been using to keep copious notes, and I'm working on a side article about bathroom technology and another about British perceptions of race and RaceFail. We've received offers to carry parts of the trip report in Argentus, Banana Wings, and The Drink Tank that we will surely take the editors up on, and of course links will be provided on the TAFF website.

We didn't do as much blogging along the way as we had meant to, partly because of spotty internet access when we had the time and too much other stuff to do when we had internet access, but also because Brian spent a considerable bit of his computer time before Eastercon putting the final touches on the Allergy presentation he gave here on Friday, including hand-outs. I was worried, it being Friday and the first day of a con, that he might have put in all that work and gotten a very small audience, but as it was he had a standing-only room of at least 40 people and got a standing ovation and many personal thanks, so it seemed well worth it. We did record some videos along the trip, but we will have to post them after we get home instead of in a real-time vlogging sort of context.

During Eastercon we were not really on *that* much programming, so Brian also joined the weekend-long Battlestar Atlantia live role playing game, and I joined the choral workshop in performing the 1989 M McGonagle arrangement of the Heinlein/Bernstein song "The Green Hills of Earth" at the Cabaret. Clearly the Battlestar game was chock full of action and silliness and it was great fun for me to listen to Brian and his mates discuss the wrap-up and such last night in the bar/atrium.

We also enjoyed a quiet dinner with John Coxon, who is planning to run for westbound TAFF, telling him all about peculiarities of the United States he should come visit, and we hope that other such worthy candidates join the field and make it a strong TAFF race again this year. Right now it seems *unlikely* that we will be in attendance at the NASFiC in Raleigh August 5-8 this summer (people have asked), but we'll see. That's only three weeks before my due date for our third TAFF delegate, so it would only be possible if we drove, and Raleigh's a long way from Ann Arbor, but it's a long time between now and then and I feel rather inspired by Tamar, who is due any day and attended Eastercon anyway in all her full term splendor.

In any case, we do plan to be at Renovation to welcome the next TAFF winner the way Steve Green and Chris Garcia were so happily able to be here this weekend along with some 9 or 10 other former TAFF winners.
Brian and Anne

Travels with Tafflings

Because I lost February to a couple illnesses and a couple visits to the hospital, and then moved house from Ohio to Michigan before the trip, Bri and I did not have a firm itinerary before starting our TAFF trip, aside from three things:

1) we were attending Corflu
2) we were taking the overnight train from London to Edinburgh Wed. night, March 24 (we had reserved a sleeper car)
3) we were attending Eastercon

In truth, by a few days before we left, I had mocked up a rough itinerary, and we've since hammered down the dates; it looks like this:

March 17 Overnight plane to London
March 18 head to Winchester by evening, get dinner with someone interesting (this turned out to be Janet Carrington & Jim Caughran)
March 19 catch the 2:30 walking tour with Tony Keen; Corflu begins
March 20-21 Corflu. I was on the Grumpy Young Women program item at 12:15 on Saturday. The Buffet on Sunday and getting together a photo of the TAFF types before then were our only other official goals, though we also attending programming and each tried to take time in the virtual consuite.
March 21 (evening)-March 23 (mid-day) in Poole visiting my friend Jamie and his partner. Sunday night's conversation with Jamie and Paul was actually the first extensive discussion about science fiction and fantasy books of the trip.
March 23 go to Cambridge. Stay with Bridget Bradshaw and have dinner with some other Cambridge Fen
March 24 tour Cambridge. Return to London for BSFA meeting. Catch 11:50 overnight to Edinburgh
March 25 7 am arrive in Edinburgh. Drop bags at hotel and have breakfast, then tour around. Catch up with Charlie Stross at some point to see recommended sights. That night hit the Dagda pub with Steve Glover and meet more sf types
March 26 generally to ourselves. Weather predicted heavy rain, but we now understand weather predictions here on a coastal island are less dependable than in the Midwest U.S.
March 27 (were going to go to Glascow, decided that's too much) Take afternoon train to Birmingham
March 28-29 Stay with Anne and Stan Nicholls in Birmingham. (Anne and I share our former name, Anne Gay, and have been corresponding for years.)
March 29-April 1 return to London area. See places and fans. Stay with Alison Scott and Steve Cain mostly.
March 30 Walking tour of London used bookstores and comic shops with James Bacon and Chris Garcia.
March 31 Evening gathering at Alison and Steve's
April 1 1st Thursday pub night in London
April 2 - April 5 Eastercon: Odyssey
April 6 head home.

Sorry we haven't posted here much. We've posted a little to our individual flinx and netmouse accounts, and I've been tweeting under zer_netmouse, partly to take advantage of broadcast devices in place that take those tweets to google reader and LJ and facebook.

We're also posting our pictures as we go to photo sets on flickr. Here's Brian's and mine. There's a delay before posting them since we edit and review them before posting.
Brian and Anne

Our Odyssey Program Schedules!

If you'll be at Eastercon, please come say "hi." Here's where we'll be.


Friday 2pm 40 (Wentworth)
Allergies - an Introduction to Our Current Understanding
Why are the most interesting people in the world, fans, so afflicted with allergies? Alas, I don't know either. But, as a fellow sufferer and immunologist, I can help you understand this vexatious plague. My talk will cover the various forms of atopy, testing for allergies, and modes of treatment.

Saturday 9:30 pm Royal C+D (Edwd/Vic)
Auction - League of Fan Funds
Raising money for TAFF, GUFF and other fannish causes. Come along and see what's for sale.

Sunday 3pm 40 (Wentworth)
Junior Science - Question Time
Why is the sky blue? Why do things fall down instead of up? What is it like to go into space? Why do birds sing? Can you stump our panel of scientists...? (Adults welcome, but children's questions get priority!)

Sunday 5pm Connaught
The Genius of Alan Moore
What is the secret of the appeal of Alan Moore's works? Why does it attract such a wide audience?


Saturday 1pm Connaught
Comic Songs: Exploring the Genre
Comic songs come in many styles: from Gilbert and Sullivan to Mitch Benn, through filk, folk and cabaret. Our panel take a relaxed look at who these songs are written for, how they have changed over time and what makes them funny.

Saturday 4pm 18 (Aintree)
Write a Doctor Who Song
Let our experts help you write a Doctor Who song to the tune of your choice. You bring the ideas, they'll help you write the song.

Saturday 9:30 pm Royal C+D (Edwd/Vic)
Auction - League of Fan Funds
Raising money for TAFF, GUFF and other fannish causes. Come along and see what's for sale.

Sunday 8pm 41 (Winchester)
Stainless Steel Rats and Rogues - Why Do We Love Them?
From Robin Hood to Han Solo, via Slippery Jim diGriz and countless others, we will always have a place in our hearts for the lovable rogue. Why are characters with a code of honour but a complete disrespect for the law so enchanting?

Monday 6pm 12 (Tetworth)
Alien Invasions - How Would They Attack? How Do We Defend?
Suppose the aliens really did invade... What would be the most effective way for them to attack? What could Earth practically do to defend itself? What can we do in advance to make Earth more secure?
Brian and Anne

We can haz tickets!

Planning for our TAFF trip got slightly derailed in February due to my having had appendicitis (while 9 weeks pregnant, in case you didn't see the mention in Ansible) and then, luckily after the scars from getting rid of my appendix had a week to heal, getting viral gastroenteritis, which put me back in the hospital for a day with vertigo and dehydration. Since then I had another week out from work sick and recovering, had a bunch of follow-up appointments, and went back to work, and then formally resigned from my job so I can move back up to Michigan to be with Brian when the baby is born, and went through my last week at work (Last day was this past Friday). Brian was with me for each hospital stay and generally supportive throughout.

So, it's been a bit of a month.

I am happy to report, however, that we did get the tickets for our flights last week, so we now know that we are departing for London on March 17, arriving in London the morning of the 18th, traveling from there to the Corflu hotel in Winchester by that Thursday night, and spending the weekend at Corflu, then two weeks visiting fen in England and Scotland. Then we will be at Odyssey (Eastercon) Friday April 2 through Monday April 5, and we head home Tuesday, April 6. (And, thanks to the magic of time zones, arrive home the same day, though for us it will be a rather long day, one must admit.)

Hopefully we will fit that all in our budget, but we already have a number of lovely offers from folks to put us up for visits here and there, so I am optimistic it will work out. We decided not to try to fit World Horror in both due to budget and just not having enough time to work everything else in around it. But in the meantime we are all registered and set for hotel bookings at Corflu and Odyssey, and on the program as well.

If we manage to make everything mesh, we do hope to hit the monthly London meeting of the British Science Fiction Association on Wednesday, March 24th, and also the 'First Thursday' London Circle pub meeting on Thursday April 1st right before Eastercon. Aside from that we're still chatting with folks and doing research. I will definitely post here when our itinerary settles out some more.
Brian and Anne

Hello, yes!

Brian and I have sent in our Corflu registrations via paypal and are waiting for confirmation that we're signed up there. According to the website, that confirmation will give us the secret group code so we can reserve a room at the hotel. Whee!

As I understand it, btw, the main hotel for Eastercon, the Radisson Edwardian at Heathrow, was fully booked back in October, before we found out the results for TAFF. So! If you have any leads on someone not wanting a room they have booked, please let us know!

We have also been thinking of attending the World Horror convention, but I note that the two primary hotels for *that* convention are also sold out of rooms in the block. Plus the room rates are not posted on the web site, so I have no way of figuring out if we can fit it in our budget apart from making an inquiry. Aha! no, I am silly. The one hotel they have left, I can actually click through to the hotel booking form, which tells me the rate is £82 per night. This is roughly $133.36 per night. Similar to Corflu.

I am putting together an overall budget now and we will make our determination very soon!