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Lloyd's Locs Box - Fanzine letters of comment Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Lloyd Penney" journal:

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May 25th, 2016
03:41 pm


Loc on The Zine Dump 37 (Guy H. Lillian III, ed.)
Dear Guy:

Got another Lillianzine, and this one is The Zine Dump 37. Time for another loc, and let’s see how I do with this one.

Well, the FAAn Awards have come and gone, and I think we both did well. I don’t win the Warner Award like I used to, but I still do well in it, and that’s the main thing. I hope there will be enough interest in them to keep them going for years yet, although some have said that its time has passed, again.

I’ve liked Al Bouchard’s revived zine; I don’t remember when the previous version was, so I don’t think I ever received it then. Glad I’m receiving it now! Anything new is always good.

Many zines have marked the passing of famous people, like Bowie, Prince and so many more. 2016 is a dangerous year. Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, so at least we have a little warning, but so many Canadians are in mourning for The Hip…they’ve announced what will be their final tour, so Gord’s going out doing what he loves, entertaining the masses.

At least I can say that I have been to the LASFS clubhouse, be it some years ago. Nearly every day, I think about our experiences at Loscon years ago now, and wish we could return. Perhaps one day, we will, and enjoy another long weekend with LA fandom. I’d like that a lot.

I haven’t seen a copy of For The Clerisy in some time now. They were coming fast and furious for a while. I’ve never seen Michelle Zellich’s zine, and I’d like to, but I still have more than enough fanzines to deal with on a regular basis, and right now, I’m good.

You’ve read Rodney’s fanzines, and probably wondering the same things I am…why is he feeling this way, why is he considering suicide, living in rural Nova Scotia. I haven’t heard anything more from him, or from Chuck Connor…Chuck may know, but any silence from Rodney may mean the worst. I hope not.

Vanamonde is a zine I miss. John doesn’t send out the regular five-packs of zines any more, and with the price of postage these days, I can’t blame him. Still, even if they arrived in a .pdf format, it would still be great to receive them, and respond to them.

More Puppy messes for the Hugos this year. In many ways, I miss participating in them, but with what’s happening these days, I don’t. The Puppy groups seem able to convince so many people to nominate according to their slates…the Worldcons benefit with record numbers of people participating and buying memberships, but when the nomination and voting processes are hijacked, the benefits are mixed.

Done for the moment…this weekend is a big anime convention in Toronto, Anime North, and we will be selling our steampunk goods there, so wish us luck, and big sales, too. See you with the next one.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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May 23rd, 2016
11:23 am


Loc on fugghead 1 & 2 (Dan Steffan, ed.)
Dear Dan:

Hello from Toronto! Thanks for the first two issues of fugghead, and I will try my best to whip up some comments on what’s there. Stranger things have happened, so let’s see what I can do.

1…We’re lucky enough to live high up enough in our building that if there are cockroaches there, they haven’t rise to our altitude yet. However, we do have the odd bug, usually silverfishes, and the odd spider. Little bug control boxes, and a tissue, are usually enough to clean them up. Ah, if only you could wield a can at them, they all screamed “RAID!”, and then disappeared in a puff of smoke… I didn’t know Art as well as most, but we had a few chats, and at his age, I thought he might actually live forever. I’d like to think it was the fannish fun and travel that kept him young.

John Foyster sounds like he’s had some radio experience in the past. Lucky him…I have had some radio and television experience in the past, but it has been too old to get me anywhere in Canadian radio and TV. I’ve been in the downtown main CBC building dozens of times, and some of them were about jobs, but no luck so far. Acer? As in computer monitors? As in one of the monitors on my desk? My own postscript here…I read for the head of radio drama at the CBC some years ago, and she seemed to like what I could do, and she said I should get myself an agent. Easier said than done, and not long afterwards, radio drama was phased out at the CBC as something no one wanted to hear.

Fanzinish smofs are actually masters of Fong-Wa? Sounds like a martial art. At heart, we are all insecure in what we do in our own communities, and we’d like a little praise here and there, just to reinforce our own opinions of ourselves, and our feats. Perhaps Fong-Wa is what is at the heart of every fan, the very sources of fannishness. However, I may be idling on past glories, so I suspect that embracing Fong-Wa may not be for me. I should ask my doctor…

Hey, if these articles were leftovers, they’ve stayed pretty fresh. It will be some time before they reach their best before date. Pretty good so far, so let’s go to…

2…This is particularly fannish, too…talking about sex, rather than having it. I suppose those I’ve met here who might do the same aren’t usually anyone who might attract anyone of the fair sex, especially after they’ve spent most convention weekends in the hotel basement gaming, and they smelled like the bottom layer of a gymnasium change room. They seemed resigned to talking about sex, for actual research was beyond their means. If ever they had any female company, it was either accidental, or she was as desperate for some experience as he.

The first hotel room party ever held at a convention? I can see the end of them coming…more fan-run conventions are being forced to the suburbs and beyond, mostly because their prices are more than what the committee can afford, and more than they can justify in charging for memberships. I think cons will wind up in church basements again, and I really hope I’m wrong. I can also see fans giving up on running their own cons, in favour of the huge pro cons. Ick…when that happens, I expect to be fully gafiated. Fandom’s been going straight to hell for decades, and some fans are the travel agents, booking our flights.

I met Sharon McCrumb some years ago…one of her books, can’t remember which one, had a Canadian fan as its main character, a Walter Diefenbaker. I used to get to a lot more cons than I used to, so I had to ask her if I was Walter Diefenbaker, and the answer I got was no answer at all. So, it is possible. If nothing else, it’s allowed me to tell some interesting stories over the intervening decades.

Done for now, and I hope there’s more issues coming up. Is there a (compost) heap of fanarkles out there, just begging to be printed? Hope so, and see you the next time when you dig a few more out of the heap.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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May 20th, 2016
03:52 pm


Loc on NASFA Shuttle Vol. 36 No. 5 (Mike Kennedy, ed.)
Dear NASFen:

I’m getting caught up on a lot of things, and today, fanzines are it. I have the May Shuttle, so let’s get it done a little early today.

I have seen that once again, the various messy Puppies have made a mess of the Hugo ballot. I hope people will vote on merit, and not because a Puppy put them on a slate, willingly or unwillingly. Vote wisely, folks!

The FAAn Awards, once again, I did fairly well, coming in fourth in the Best Letterhack list. A shame about SF Signal (some of the contributors were from Toronto), but I’m afraid it was a site I was rarely on. Time demands is something that I’m surprised doesn’t take more of us away from fandom and fannish pursuits.

Ah, there I am on the calendar, still turning 57. Another important date for us is May 28, when we will celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary. Perhaps apropos is the fact that during our wedding anniversary, we will be vending at Anime North, our annual gigantic anime convention.

Once again, lots and lots of awards. I nominate and vote in the FAAn and Aurora Awards, but they are changing, in much the same way as the Hugos have. That’s probably a personal observation more than anything else.

My letters (three of them?)…I’m afraid we lost interest in the Magicians television series, and never saw anything beyond the fourth episode. Oh, well, the books were still excellent. Planning for our trip to England continues apace, and Yvonne is getting us ready for The Asylum with more costumes and costume pieces. Looks like the Harry Potter play in London is sold out, and the tickets were quite expensive. That’s okay, we will still have lots to do. Indeed, the politics with the Hugos continues, and probably will until further notice. Got our income tax refunds, and put them towards our trip to England. Wolf von Witting will have our support should he decide to go for TAFF, third time lucky.

Done for now…we have a few errands to run tonight, and then in the morning, we are off to Ottawa for the wedding of the daughter of some friends. It’s a long weekend, so we will rush home on Sunday, and get back on preps for England. Take care, and see you the next time.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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12:35 pm


Loc on The Art of Garthness 13 (Garth Spencer, ed.)
Dear Garth:

You’re putting out The Art of Garthness fairly frequently; I can barely keep up. That’s part of the challenge. Here come some comments on this most recent issue. (It’s FRIDAY again!)

Setting priorities is fairly vague. Priorities for what? Your life, your future, your career? Setting down what you want to do is something we should have done while we were much younger. I don’t especially want a house to live in, but I also know that I will never own one. That’s a financial reality check. Priorities and goals also have to be edited down with a good dose of reality. Only a 6/49 win is going to secure for me and Yvonne the future I want, so I suspect that when I hit 65, retirement will not be an option for me. We will have to see what luck I have with income, and how my health continues.

Yes, I spend too much time on Facebook, too. Civilized countries…do they look after all their citizens? No exceptions? They help their citizens with health, upbringing, education and aspirations? I suspect I could count those countries on the fingers of one hand.

Mother Nature, or whatever you want to call it, seems determined to keep our numbers as low as it can by throwing up against us new diseases, many with increased resistance to our current range of antibiotics, plus things like AIDS…however, we’re relatively smart, which means we can figure out ways past these barriers to higher numbers. I figure the only thing that will eventually kill us as a society is mass starvation because there’s simply too many of us.

I still don’t know how to get a good night’s sleep, either. I am like my mother in that I have trouble falling asleep. Unfortunately, melatonin is my friend, and I probably take too much of it. I have had my share of Daugherty projects, but sometimes, life is such a project.

Sex education in public school is being watered down a little in Ontario, especially for conservative parents from Asian and Muslim families who do not agree with the Wynne government’s decision to inform children of the birds and bees as early as possible. I can’t help but feel that there is an age that this should be taught, but it’s a different age for each child. Some parents feel that ignorance at that age was good enough for them, and it’s good enough for their children.

Many of the websites you list for job hunting, I’m on them, too. Indeed.ca seems to be the best for me. I also do surveys for Angus Reid, but it’s the only company that truly pays for your opinions. I’ve already gotten $50 from them, and I think I have another $15 on account.

Time for some lunch, and I am at the end of the zine and the page. Before it goes, Yvonne and I are off to Ottawa this weekend. Randy Barnhart and Barb Corbett’s daughter Valerie is getting married, so we will head off early Saturday morning, get our hotel room, go to the ceremony, and head back to Toronto Sunday morning. We can still have half a long weekend at home. See you next issue.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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10:30 am


Loc on Missives From Gre'thor 17 (Joe Casey, ed.)
Dear Joe:

I have Missives From Gre’thor 17 here, and I am getting on with all the fanzines I get, and I get a lot of them. Yours is up next, hope it’s in time for the next issue.

I think it’s a symptom of my age, and the fact that many of us have transgendered friends…I really don’t care about Caitlyn Jenner. She comes from a group of people (Jenners/Kardashians) who have laid bare their private lives to reality television for money, so she has that visibility most of us wouldn’t want. I think those transgendered friends we have wouldn’t want that kind of visibility, anyway.

Warning! Peanuts may contain nuts! Milk products may contain milk!, and soya products may contain soya! Well, they’d better contain what it says on the label, or I want my money back! Just a bunch of manufacturers covering their asses in a legal way, protecting themselves from enormously stupid and litigious consumers.

Another actor on Sue Thomas F.B.Eye is Ted Atherton…he’s Canadian, and appeared on a Murdoch Mysteries episode some years ago. Canada Post needs an infusion of cash to survive, so the government should authorize Canada Post to become a banking institution, just like the PO is in many European countries. I remember postal money orders from long ago, so perhaps it’s time for those to return.

I think Kevin O’Leary knows how people feel and think about him, so his announcing his intention to run for the leadership of a party (he mentioned both Conservatives and Liberals). Publicity for him, consternation for both parties, chaos, panic and disorder, his job was done. Like Don Cherry, O’Leary has a public persona to uphold. I suspect both are pretty decent human beings.

What did you think of Elbowgate? The media made sure this non-issue was overblown, the NDP hyper-reacted, and Justin’s just too nice a guy to stand up for himself. I let the CBC know that Parliament should not engage in such schoolyard pranks, and they should not give so much airtime to a non-story. I agree with you, Wynne’s government is a disaster, but given how many people in this province see Horvath’s negativity, and remember Hudak’s promise to eliminate so many jobs, I think the Liberals will be re-elected, although with a minority government. It would be an idea to find a new leader, too, given so many see Grandma making mistake after mistake.

None of the Canadian MHL teams made it to the playoffs, the Raptors are in over their heads, and the Jays are struggling. Not a good spring for sports, but that’s okay, the hot weather starts next week, so shorts weather is here, and we can hit the parks and beaches for some early summer fun.

Made the page. We are actually coming up to Ottawa this weekend for a short time…Randy Barnhart’s and Barb Corbett’s daughter Valerie is getting married, so we are heading up Saturday morning, and coming back home Sunday morning. Take it easy, we will see you with the next issue.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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May 19th, 2016
10:23 pm


Loc on Sporadic 35 & 36 (Bill Plott, ed.)
Dear Bill:

I got both Sporadic 35 and 36 off eFanzines.com, and they’ve been sitting long enough, so it’s time to get some comments to you on each issue.

35…I know of a lot of people here who will watch the Super Bowl, and any of the assorted Bowl games around New Year’s, and that’s fine for them. We have our own Canadian Football League, and a lot of people will watch the Grey Cup game. All these games have always been party excuses in my mind, and I usually have something else to do, or something else to watch, when those games are on.

We certainly enjoy Boxing Day after Christmas; in fact, here and in England, it’s a statutory holiday. We all need a day to recover from the joyous overeating most of us do. I didn’t know it was a thing in Alabama, but perhaps your family celebrates it as a post-Christmas rest.

Ah, Weird Tales…I never collected them, but I did purchase several copies of the first revival issue some years ago. The artwork on it was pretty bad…I hope it’s increased in value, but if not, I am sure there’s a collector or two who might like it for their own collections. I might be convinced to part with them…

My letter…we did see the ShowCase version on Childhood’s End, and we enjoyed it, but it was nothing we wanted to see again. As always it seems, the book is the best.

You have chickens? A friend of ours supplies us on occasion with extra-large free range eggs, with dark orange yolks, and they are delicious. Her hens are four years old, and she says they shouldn’t still be laying, but they are, and we will take more of their eggs any day. We can also see many Britcoms on local television, on public television on both sides of the border, and sometimes on the odd occasion  when a BBC channel is available here.

“Until that moment [when you are hired], job hunting will remain the worst job you ever had.” Completely, utterly correct, and I have, and still have, first-hand experience. You never work so hard to get nearly nowhere.

36…The artwork looks like a cross between a cell phone and a cell dividing into two, while Yvonne thought it was a cell phone left in a very hot car.

The newest beers up here are Modelo, a Mexican beer that is being bottled and then shipped here, plus Belgian Moon, a chimay-type beer brewed here. I don’t drink the stuff, I just see what’s coming up in the ads. All those years of running con suites means I had to see what fannish tastes were like, and most fans seemed to like dark ales.

Electobabble, indeed. You got it there, and we got it here. There are times I get so tired of it, I don’t want to watch the evening news, which puts me in very good company, I think. The candidates talk so much, so often, they really stretch for new things to say, and like politicians, they talk so much, they are often photographed with their mouths open.

Well, I guess I don’t say anything new about fandom, and its slow go-away, but at least we all know that it seems to be happening all over North America. In Europe, fandom still seems quite busy, but language keeps many of the groups apart. That’s why there’s now so many European Worldcon bids.

The Doonesbury cartoon illustrates why so many people are puzzled by the appeal of Donald Trump. He is the anti-Christian, and yet appeals to those who say they are Christian, but wish they didn’t have to do all those sucky Christian things, like doing onto others, and loving one another. Yet, Christians support him, probably because of their innate hatred of the black man in the Oval Office, and the possibility of a woman there soon.

Two issues, page and a half, not bad at all. Well, I’ve done worse. Thanks for these, and I hope there’ll be more soon. See you then.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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11:24 am


Loc on Spartacus 14 (Guy Lillian III, ed.)
Dear Guy:

Thank you for Spartacus 14, and I will attempt what I attempt every time, with varying results, a letter of comment worthy of print. Here goes.

I knew little of the Manson crimes as I grew up, seeing I was 10 years old when they happened, but later, I had to wonder how they did these things, and I figured it was simply charisma that got her into Manson’s group, and charisma that still makes her someone you wanted to meet and interview and write about. Forty-five years of imprisonment…is that sufficient punishment? I think so, and I hope she can find some measure of life before she passes.

I have to wonder…who are all these people who the Puppies know and are willing to buy expensive Worldcon memberships just to stuff a ballot box? Who’s paying for all those memberships? This is worth an investigation to see how a particular group can overwhelm the regular voters, and skew what appears on the final ballot. They will continue to do this as long as they can get away with it, so I think it’s worth investigating to see what’s happening.

I believe the number of Syrian refugees in Canada has gone above 25,000, and may be extended to 10,000 more. I haven’t heard much about that lately, as conduct in our Parliament recently descended to the schoolyard level, and that teacup tempest has pushed real news off the front page and lead report on the evening news.

I certainly agree on retiring elephant acts, but still, having an elephant at the zoo shows the younger set what these animals are all about. The Toronto Zoo had several elephants, but thanks to the meddling of self-styled animal welfare expert Bob Barker, our elephants are now in California at a retirement farm there. I haven’t seen Joy Moreau in many years, but then, we rarely cross the border now.

I understand when you’re coming from re skipping cons…that’s one reason we rarely cross the border. I haven’t had work since October, and finding work at my age is more than just difficult. However, mostly through Yvonne’s saving, we are going to England in August, to enjoy London, and have some Harry Potter and steampunk fun. After that, I just don’t know. I have a savings account to live on until some kind of job comes along.

I’m heading to the mall this afternoon to get my hair cut and to buy some anniversary cards. On May 28, Yvonne and I mark 33 years of marriage. I’ve not had much success in my life, but I hope I can say that I was successful, based on a very happy marriage. I’m signing off, saying thanks, and bidding you adieu until the next Lillianzine arrives.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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May 18th, 2016
09:34 pm


Loc on Vibrator 2.0.26 & 2.0.27 (Graham Charnock, ed.)

Dear Graham:

Well, done gone done it again. I missed an issue somewhere, and didn’t realize it until the next issue came along. So, that means that I have issues 2.0.26 and 2.0.27 of Vibrator here, and you’re going to get another double loc. Henceforth…

2.0.26…Yeah, squeaky clean Vibrator. Doesn’t mean to say it’s never been used… A number of my first loves were in high school, and were very unrequited. If they ever found out how I felt, they were usually revolted by the prospect. I met my first girlfriend in Victoria, British Columbia while I was taking a series of university transfer courses at the local community college, and let’s say that was mostly unrequited, too. When I eventually got to Toronto to go to university here, I met up with local fandom, and met Yvonne Robert. And, we will be married 33 years as of May 28.

Just recently, I took my Windows 7-laden CPU in to our regular computer guru for a good cleaning, and an updating to Windows 10, for it looked like we were going to have to do it, anyway. It took two weeks to get it into shape, but we have the computer back. It was tweaked at the guru’s shop, and tweaked again by our ISP, Bell Canada, but even with that, the computer is much slower than it was, and I seem to have less bandwidth, being unable to run more than two programmes, or even have more than two windows up at any given time. I cannot play videos, or operate internet radio, like the BBC. I am not sure what to do about this, but I guess I have to blame Windows 10 about it, and a message to the offices of Microsoft Canada has gone unanswered at this time. (And just for the record, driverless cars will be tested in Toronto within the next month or so. From what I’ve seen Robert Heinlein may have been overly optimistic when he wrote that the roads must roll.)

I remember that I was in Scotland with my mother and one brother, visiting her parents, in Ayr in 1968. We also visited her brother John in Kilmarnock, and while we were ushered in to meet John and his wife Ann, she ushered me and my brother right back out again into the front garden, where we spent the rest of the visit. I remember a glimpse of their front room…everything covered in plastic sheet, and in some places, the plastic sheet covered in more plastic sheet. I always figured that living rooms were covered in plastic to prevent dust and dirt from settling, and to keep family out of the room. I thought we were company, but turns out we were family, and out we went. My mother was not happy with what Ann had done, and I don’t recall if they ever spoke again.

Congrats to Paul Skelton on this year’s Harry Warner Best Letterhack award! Accrue it over six months, Paul. The CERN captain might say to the Higgs bosun that the beam was leaning to port, and to compensate. Definitely, he who dies with the most money wins, even if it starts to get up into the billions of $ or £ or € or ? or whatever. Overall, a most splendid lettercol.

2.0.27…The front cover is an image that’ll take a while to fade. Excellent artwork. Steve, and I have to think that it reminds me of some of the girls I went to high school with…all their beauty was on the outside, and inside, they were pretty nasty. If I’d had the Hugo vote, Steve, it would have gone to you. I didn’t have the vote, but I did look at the ballot, and I recognized few of the nominees, and almost none of the titles.

Earl Kemp! Hello! It has been a long time, and good to see you here. I’ve had my own dalliances with the publishing world, and while it is only too easy to fall out of it, it is nearly impossible to get back into it. I have made some living over the years as a proofreader, but right now, finding such a job is tough, and any job that does appear will get hundreds of resumes.

The locol…on our local telly, we have Space, which is a science fiction channel, plus any number of specialty channels who run SF series on a regular basis. Plus, there lots of channels I could subscribe to which could provide me with all the SF programming I could ever want to watch. And, I watch none of it, and these days, rarely read any of the myriad SF books left unread on my shelves. My, I have changed. Might have been part of my personal mid-life crisis, dunno…

I get lots of calls from customer service in India. However, it’s hilarious when they try affect an accent not their own, and give me a call to have my eavestrough cleaned out. I live in an apartment… And sometimes, a mysterious customer service man will call to tell me there’s something wrong with my computer, and he’d be willing to have a look at it. Nope…

Ta for all of this, it’s been great. And, best of all, I am caught up with the two issues outstanding, and I think you are currently preparing 2.0.28. We will see you when it arrives.

     Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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01:19 pm


Loc on Ethel the Aardvark 179 (Ed McArdle, ed.)
Dear MSFCers:

Thanks to you all for issue 179 of Ethel, the February-March edition. Hope I am not too late to get a fast letter of comment in.

The pictures from the Burgundy Street Fair look great. What is the reaction of people on the street when they see you in various SF costumes? Here, it’s not always positive, and most people won’t treat you like an adult if they don’t see you dressed as one.

My letter…indeed, the spring is here, it is slowly warming up, and the conventions where we are taking a table to sell steampunk jewelry and other items will be here soon. At the end of May is Anime North, one of the biggest anime conventions in North America, and we will have a table in their secondary dealers’ room called the Crafters’ Corner. We always do well there. When it gets to mid-August, Yvonne and I will be off to England for two weeks, our first overseas trip in 25 years. We plan to see some of the sight of London, plus go up to Watford to see the Harry Potter studios and exhibits, and then for the August bank holiday long weekend, we will take the train up to Lincoln for The Asylum, the biggest steampunk event in the world, and enjoy ourselves with about 3-4,000 others.

Street fairs are always fun. We hope to be a part of one this fall in Hamilton, just down the highway from us. The Locke Street Festival is always enormous, and we’ve had fun there, so we have expressed our hope to participate…hope they remember us!

My job hunt continues apace…not many nibbles, I am afraid, and my benefits will run out shortly. Writing for fanzines keeps me busy, and keeps my mind off things. Take care, everyone, and see you next Ethel.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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May 17th, 2016
04:40 pm


Loc on The National Fantasy Fan Vol. 75 No. 4 (George Phillies, ed.)
Dear Neffers:

Thank you for The National Fantasy Fan, Vol. 75 No. 4, and once again, let try to write up something of sense for the next issue after that. I might be a little sense-challenged here, but you never know, I might just surprise us all, including me.

I knew some things about fandom in Russia, but I did not know about Roscon, and the fact it is financially supported by sponsors every year. It just shows that fandom is indeed different wherever you go. I also didn’t know about a Russian steampunk group…I should try to find them on Facebook.

It truly is a shame about Jack Robins’ passing, but his articles have added even more to all the articles I’ve read about the early days of fandom. It does show that even all the early fans we may have idolized weren’t the nicest people…good to see that some of them were, too.

In about ten days, as I write, this year’s Anime North will take place in Toronto. And, as I said in my previous loc, we have a sales table there, in what they call their Crafters’ Corner area. It’s kind of a dealers’ area for smaller vendors. We were at Ad Astra at the end of April, but sales were quite poor. Hopes are high for a lucrative Anime North, plus the other conventions and similar events held in around Toronto and area.

As the afternoon goes on, I must wrap this, as dinner time approaches. Many thanks for this issue, and I will monitor eFanzines.com and my e-mail for more of them.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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03:27 pm


Loc on Fornax 8 (Charles Rector, ed.)
Dear Charles:

Thank you for Fornax 8. Time to see if I can write something of value, or just blether on with no point in the rhetoric. One is as likely as the other, but let’s see if I can buck the odds.

I get so tired of politics, seeing either was looks logical, especially if the sources are particularly illogical. I guess rather than get angry, you just have to take the entertainment value out of it, although at least one candidate does look especially scary. I’m just happy I’m on the other side of the border.

I watch so few movies, so I doubt I’d ever be on any of the movie rating websites you list. The last movie I saw was Episode 7 of the Star Wars series, and I suspect the next movie I see will be Alice Through the Looking Glass. We really enjoyed the original, so now to see what they do in the sequel.

American males are seen as bull elephants? I’d call that an insult to the elephants. At least, the elephants exhibit intelligence and forethought, are protective to their children and the herd. The more I see the news, the less I think of American males.

My letter…anything that comes out of Hollywood about Canada can be taken with a 100-pound bag of salt. I am reminded that it is entertainment, and not documentary, but still the errors and simply made-up stuff were ridiculous. It made me wonder long ago if some Americans could only comprehend non-Americans through foolish stereotypes. Sergeant Preston was pure stereotype, and pure nonsense. Many of the criminals the NWMP dealt with were Americans on the loose in northern Canada, often on the run from American lawmen. The Wild, Wild West could qualify as steampunk, both the series and the movie, but as you might expect, there’s so much more than that.

I’d agree to some extent with R-Laurraine Tutihasi…I am sure the news shows could report on the news to a much great extent, with analysis, but the average viewer would fall asleep from boredom, or change the channel. There are many sources of news, but they all have their detractors, and both left and right are loud and angry…the news shows dumb themselves to maximize their ratings, and they begin to resemble entertainment shows. I’m an old journalism student, and I can see why the average person is chased away from news shows. I still think that much of popular culture, as it is portrayed these days, is meant to distract us from the reality of the news, and the corruption of our elected officials.

Time to go, and fire it off in your general direction. Thanks for this, and I will look for the next.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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May 16th, 2016
03:38 pm


Loc on Warp 94 (Cathy Palmer-Lister, ed.)
Dear MonSFFen:

Thank you all, especially Cathy, for a copy of Warp 94. I am told issue 95 is already in the assembly stages, so I’d better get with it in writing a letter of comment.

I wasn’t sure I would be able to do this…the computer has been in and out of the repair shop a total of two weeks, and only today was Bell able to fine-tune my connection to make it as fast as it can under Windows 10 on the computer. Doesn’t help when you are on the job hunt, too. Still, the computer is up and doing the things I need it to do, except make my coffee. Maybe MS will make a W10 patch for that.

My previous letter…seeing it was so long ago, you’d think it would be warm now, but we are still having frost warnings at night. I am still on my EI claim, although it will be ending very shortly. The resumes stream out, but these days, I know my age is working against me. I did say that the way I was treated by my previous employer was illegal; I have since found that while it was illegal in the past, it is legal now, and I don’t know when that changed…might have been buried in an omnibus bill in parliament with the previous government. All of the conventions listed in the loc are come and gone… Our first convention of 2016 was the Kitchener Comic Con for a steampunk table, and of course, we were at Ad Astra with two tables (good to see you, Cathy and Yolande). Future conventions for us include Anime North (a table in the Crafters’ Corner area),Mississauga Fandom Fest (if they can come up with a location to have it in), Mississauga Steam, a steampunk event held in the south of Mississauga (got a table there), and the Coldwater Steampunk Festival, where we will be selling outdoors outside the village’s museum.

As soon as the event in Coldwater is done, we are off to England! We haven’t been overseas in 25 years, so it’s about time. We will spend a few days being touristy in London, go up to Watford to see the Harry Potter exhibits, and then take the train up to Lincoln for The Asylum, the biggest steampunk event in the world, for the August bank holiday weekend, and then home. We hope to do some more travelling the year after that, but my employment situation makes that a little iffy.

It’s always good to be aware of your history, to know where you’ve been so you have some idea of where you’re going. I also receive issues of Ethel the Aardvark from the club in Melbourne, Australia, and they are now celebrating their 64th birthday, so you can see what happens when you help out at your local club…an organization for the ages, and friends for the rest of your life. It’s a good investment of time and effort.

(Cathy, I see I should send you my latest convention list…many cons are now releasing or advertising the fact they will be staged in the late summer and fall.)

End of the issue, and end of the page. I hope this will fill the bill nicely for the upcoming issue. We will see you then! (Anyone coming to Anime North? If so, see you there!)

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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May 15th, 2016
09:44 pm


Loc on Alexiad 86 (Joseph Major, ed.)
Dear Joseph:

Thank you for Alexiad 86. It’s been a good weekend, but I know the week starts tomorrow, and the job hunt starts yet again. We’re still in good shape here, but my employment benefits will run out very soon. I keep getting told that I shouldn’t expect much more for someone who’s going to turn 57 in a couple of weeks. I understand your second paragraph only too well. Experience doesn’t seem to count for anything any more. I wish us both well in job hunting, and one thing that keeps my mind off such things is responding to fanzines, like yours.

There’s conspiracists, anti-conspiracists, etc. The biggest casualty in all of this is the truth. So few seem interested in it, and so many try to make their own opinions and angles the truth, with loud voices and threats, and weaselwords meant to convince and confuse. I fear for our civilization sometimes.

I had met Cliff Amos once, but had never met Peggy Ranson. Just more bad news, and I know more will arrive soon. 2016 has been a deadly year for the famous, and I’ve lost more than my share of friends over the last few years, too.

Worldcon bids…I suspect that Valley Forge will have the 2017 NASFiC, mostly because of costs of getting to Puerto Rico, and new reports about the Zika virus being in Latin America. The rest of the bids…well, let’s just say I doubt I’ll be going to them any more. I’m just pleased that someone still cares enough to bid for Worldcon.

I believe the Nebulas were handed out today, as were the World Horror Convention awards. The only winner I’d read about was Uprooted by Naomi Novik.

The locol…Sheryl, what my past employer did to me, let me go without reason given, was illegal at one time in this province. And now, it is quite legal. I don’t know when the change was made, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was hidden away as a rider to a piece of federal legislation. I am still looking, and I feel like I am spinning my tires. Indeed, we are part of a dying breed that would rather participate at a convention rather than just passively consume.

Some level of participation might come about through Dragon*Con’s Dragon Awards, but I expect some measure of prestige will  rub off them to the winners, and then comes the campaigning and undercover stuff, and instead of political machinations affecting one set of awards (only one?), there will be two sets. I am sure that for some, gafiation is looking better all the time.

At the end of the zine, and near the end of the page, so it’s time to tie it up tight. Many thanks for this, commiserations galore, and something’s got to happen soon. Best of luck to each of us, and let’s report back the next time. See you then.

                                                                                               Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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05:06 pm


Loc on Opuntia 338 - 340 (Dale Speirs, ed.)
Dear Dale:

I’ve had our computer in the shop twice, taken two weeks out of a busy schedule, and with Windows 10 in it, it is slower than before, and has a difficult time loading graphics-heavy websites, like some social media. So, I am almost there, almost back to normal with the computer, and I have a lot of catching up to do, and that’s why I have three issues of Opuntia here to respond to. Here goes…

338…You’ve had some very warm, if not hot, weather lately, but you’ve cooled down again. That’s benefitted Fort McMurray in its horrible misfortunes. Meanwhile, Hamilton to the southwest and Bradford to the north has snow and hail today. Spring can be a harsh mistress, especially when you can hardly wait to go out to the park, and maybe have a picnic.

My letter of comment…Yvonne is making more costumes pieces, so my job, in between sending out resumes, is to make meals and do the dishes, and do anything else around the apartment so that Yvonne will have the maximum amount of time to make vests and other costume pieces. I thought at my last loc that winter would be finally done here. Current temperature outside is about 5C.

339…I am glad that Naheed Nenshi is still visible and audible, and still offering opinions, or setting standards. Rob Ford died from his cancer not long ago, and is quickly forgotten, given his surfeit of bluster, and lack of actually getting anything done. John Tory has made sure that Toronto is represented at Mayors’ meetings, something Ford refused to do.

My interest in OTR is there, even though I haven’t listened to it in some time. I had some hopes for radio, but like most things I’ve been interested in, I was late to the party, and it faded as I joined in.

340…Ah, the return of Teddy Harvia. Good to see your work again, David! I can only imagine what all the spectators of the costumers’ parade thought of those in costume, and I can come up with a good guess. The big pro cons in Toronto don’t do that, mostly because traffic wouldn’t stand for it, and I would expect that reaction of the public towards what they’d call the nerds’ parade would range from a smirk to laughter, to outright physical attacks on people they see as less than human. Besides the cup of coffee, most costumers would do well to remember that their shoes should match their costumes. Colonial warriors probably don’t wear Nikes. I’ve done some costuming like that in the past, but I always wore costumes with facemasks or helmets.

The Star Trek stamps look impressive, with three of the five stamps showing Canadian actors. Wait until you see the Canadian Mint coins…

I have seen many pictures of Fort McMurray and area, and the desolation is simply amazing. 200,000 hectares burned at last report. Much of Fort McMurray was saved, and I gather that the fire will soon be under control. Yet, about 100,000 were evacuated. I hope repairs can be made soon, but for many this fire will leave permanent scars.

Just over to the second page, but I am done for now. Wish me luck this week as the job hunt still continues. Something got to give, and I hope it isn’t me. Take care, and see you with the next Opuntia.

                                                                                              Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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11:06 am


Loc on SF Commentary 91 (Bruce Gillespie, ed.)
Dear Bruce:

Thank you for sending me a .pdf of SF Commentary 91. Marshall McLuhan notwithstanding, the medium is not as important as the message, or the zine within. I will try to compose something that will add to the next issue.

The Stiles cover is great. Not his usual style, and good colour added in. I wonder that many artists might have difficulty creating an SFnal piece of art with a mind to the future, given how dystopian a present we have. I prefer something more utopian myself, but that doesn't seem fashionable these days.

I wouldn't worry about missing a schedule. We're happy when an issue does arrive, whenever that might be. I understand your financial situation perfectly. I have been out of work since October 2015, and I have had few interviews. The resumes continue to stream out. Yvonne retires in less than two years, so I have to find something to sustain us both. I have some freelance editorial work, but mostly, anything I bring in these days comes from doing voicework. I hope something comes to me soon.

I have read very little of Lovecraft’s work; I am not into horror or dark fantasy. (And it’s the weekend of the World Horror Convention in Las Vegas! Horrors!) I can’t help but feel that his books are more of an exploration of his own psyche than any attempt to describe and explore dark alien lands, amateur psychologist that I am…

Yvonne and I see very few movies, but one I am glad to have seen, even if it was only on DVD, was The Grand Budapest Hotel. Fresh and original, indeed. Every head concierge in a different coloured suit, and Bill Murray was a fresh surprise in this one, too. Ralph Fiennes got his nose back (Harry Potter reference), and he was perfect.

Being Canadian, seeing Leonard Cohen have the career he’s had is more of a curiosity all the time. A long-honoured poet, to be sure, but his gravelly monotone has won him more awards than I, or he, can figure out how. He’s beaten out younger and clearer voices for major national awards, and no one is more mystified by all this than he is.

Television…I have not seen the later seasons of Poirot; I saw much of the earlier seasons on public television stations in Toronto and Buffalo, New York, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the later seasons are now too expensive to show. David Suchet, IMHO, has cemented himself as THE Poirot, no slight intended to Peter Ustinov. Sherlock, on the other hand…I am sure it is shown on local television somewhere, possibly on a channel I’d need to pay a premium price for. I am not inclined to do so. (I am a stick in the mud…I’d happily watch all the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes episodes, again and again.) However, our own favorite show, Murdoch Mysteries, has just been announced for a tenth season, and we eagerly await it. Production on it has already started, and some of us are quite convinced that it will be the last season. We very much enjoyed Ian McKellen’s Mr. Holmes, and I particularly liked the subterfuge of Watson, telling the masses that they lived at 221B Baker Street, while Holmes and Watson actually lived across the road.

I am finding I am one of many who has not seen any of Game of Thrones. Like so much today, it just doesn’t attract me, and even if it did, I simply wouldn’t have the time for it. Still, like a lot of today’s modern pop culture, one needn’t see it to know something about it. Why isn’t George R.R. Martin on Twitter anymore? Because he killed all 120 characters…that still raises a smile.

And with that, I believe I am done. So much more I could say, but it would border on the mundane, and for one topic I did not cover, it would border on the slanderous, so I won’t go there. It is Sunday, the World Fantasy Awards are given out, and I believe the Nebulas are, too. This used to be important news for me; not so much now. Still, the awards trudge on, the Hugos are once again spun by messy Puppies, and my fandom has lost its lustre. We carry on with newer interests to keep ourselves busy. After five years of saving, and not being able to go to the London Worldcon a couple of years ago, we now have enough money saved to go on what we expect to be our last overseas trip, to England the last two weeks of August. We will see some of the sights of London, go to Watford to see the Harry Potter exhibits, and then up to Lincoln to spend the August bank holiday weekend at The Asylum, the biggest steampunk event in the world, with 3000 to 4000 fellow steampunks, and then fly off home. Thank you for SFC 91, and we wish you and Elaine a warm autumn and pleasant winter.

                                                                       Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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May 14th, 2016
06:57 pm


Loc on X-Rayer 115 (Ray Palmer, ed.)
Dear Ray:

I am having a few computer problems, so I do not know if I have the newest issue of X-Rayer, but I do have issue 115, so I will go with that. I am typing this up on an old laptop, with the big computer in the shop.

Bell & Howell is an old trade name, but I see if on other kinds of  photographic equipment, and non-photo stuff, too. It’s just like I see the trade name Betty Crocker, but not just on cake mixes, but also on kitchen appliances. I guess these old trademarks are quite recognizable, and therefore salable to other companies to use.

Alien abductions, alien sex…sometimes, we suspend our disbelieve further than we should. If only something would happen that would say yea or nay to this… To be honest, I hate to be a skeptic. Strange stories often come from personal observations.

The job hunt continues to continue, and there’s been few nibbles. The only think that might save me now is a lottery win. Fingers crossed something good happens soon.

With that, I must sign off, and get this to you asap. Take care, see you with the next one.

                                                                      Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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04:56 pm


Loc on Fadeaway 48 (Robert Jennings, ed.)
Dear Robert:

Sorry this loc is a little late; it’s never a good time for a computer breakdown, so I will write a loc on Fadeaway 48 on our unconnected laptop at home, and get it in the e-mail when the computer returns. (And now, the computer is back, with a good cleaning, clean-out, and Windows 10 installed, it’s working more or less.)

I guess not having my big computer with me as I write is an unexpected change. It certainly tells me how much of what I do is done on a computer, and I truly feel disconnected, even with a tablet giving me some online access. Good news about Robert Cepeda getting out of jail, and finding a job fast. Good on him; wish I could find a job as fast. I am still looking.

2016 seems to be a very deadly year for the famous, especially famous in the eyes of those who enjoy popular culture. Many fans are dying, and I think we’ve all lost our share of friends. Add to that so many new faces in fandom, and I am trying my best not to be in a group in which I know no one. Sounds very lonely.

I have never seen the appeal of war comics, either. I never saw any adventure in it, but only death and destruction. My Canadian upbringing, I suspect. I had to wonder about those who did like those comics, too. Yet, I remember seeing those comics on the shelf, and they never seemed to be bought by anyone I knew.

Great article about fans and pros from Indiana; we could use more articles like this from other states, and other countries, too. For some, it might be a revelation, and certainly an education.

I fully understand about the costs of publishing fanzines, and especially understand about higher postage rates to Canada. (Postage rates here are higher for sending a letter to the US.) Instead of Word files, could you start sending me .pdf files? Many thanks.

It’s good to see Jack Robins’ articles in more than one fanzine, may he rest in peace. I hope there will be more books on fannish history where his valuable articles can be reprinted, and timebound. I think the Hugo Awards must be saved, to ensure that whatever awards Dragoncon may come up with will not take over, and push the silver rockets out of the way.

Just two weekends ago was Don Hutchison’s 20th annual Toronto Pulp Show, a single-day event that arose out of a one-day event Yvonne and I staged…20 years ago. A friend of our asked Yvonne to make him a Shadow coat, and she did. He provided the hat, scarf and nose. And, he wore the costume to the pulp event, to the delight of many.

Just made it to the second page…the computer is back, and boy, am I behind with responding to zines with locs. Many thanks for this issue, and I look forward to the next.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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May 13th, 2016
03:18 pm


Loc on A Meara for Observers 21 (Mike Meara, ed.)
Dear Mike:

Thank you for both an electronic and a paper copy of A Meara for Observers 21, and I promise to write a happier letter this time around. Getting mail, especially paper fanzines, make me smile.

(I hate it when the computer needs attention, and when it returns, there’s more problems with downloads, and back to the shop, and when it returns again, there are lots of re-installs, and the computer’s slow, and it’s not the way it used to be. That’s what’s happened to me, and with some luck, the computer will become useable again…soon…)

The cover…why tear down all those great willow trees?, unless those in the houses wanted a better view out their front windows. Diseased trees? Then I’d understand. There’s plenty of willow trees in our own neighbourhood, and every tree in Toronto is protected. But, it looks like the trees were removed without due process.

As a Canadian, I’ve gone through referendums, or never-end-dums, and I think most people find that in this difficult time, we are better off together than apart. With that in mind, I’d say stay with the EU. More can be done with them than without them.

I will not be at Chiflu, but in some months, I will be in England. We are planning to do touristy things in London and Lincoln in the second half of August. It has taken us halfway to forever to save for all of this, and I suspect that given the tight money supply, this will be our final overseas trip.

I have some hopes for the FAAn Awards, and I keep hoping more will take part in the process. However, perhaps age is creeping in to the decision to vote or not; I almost didn’t because I may get a lot of zines, but don’t much grade them according to cover or article. I’m just happy to receive them.

Mmmm, Cointreau…Yvonne used to work at Diageo Canada, just up the street from us, and she used to bring home some yummy stuff. I have a Samsung tablet, and I find the software uneven, and difficult to use. There’s no tabs on their Word!

My loc…my apologies to you, Mike…it has been tough to stay positive in my so-far fruitless job hunt, and it does get to me on occasion. I have no business being that negative towards anyone. With some luck, my downer outlook will improve, and I can get back to work. If I stay negative, you are hereby authorized to borrow Claire’s big spiky boots, and stomp me. The stomping will continue until morale improves.

End of the letter end of the letter end of the letter end of the letter end of the letter end of

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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April 28th, 2016
02:27 pm


Loc on Spartacus 13 (Guy H. Lillian III, ed.)
Dear Guy:

Thank you for Spartacus 13. This might have to be a fast loc, as starting tomorrow is our local SF literary convention, Ad Astra 35, and we are vending there! Actually, we check in tonight, and have to bring a station wagon load of stuff, so fast loc it is! Who knows, I might actually have something intelligent to say.

I am regularly astonished at the horrific insanities that are coming out of the mouths of Republican candidates, and it just gets worse. Just about any of their policies would violate international laws and the morals of most intelligent people, yet the make their announcements almost blind to what most people would say about it. They have a lot of support, which says so much about a sizable chunk of the American electorate. I think I can safely say that the rest of the world is fearful about what the electorate will do, and who they will elect. I am sure I have already said all this elsewhere, but it is hard to believe that the Republican Party has attracted so many people with such vile ideas, attitudes and policies. (I must wonder about some Republican voters, who do not like Democrat policies, but are hard-pressed to vote for anyone under the Republican banner. What do they do? Hold their nose, or simply not vote?)

Any time there’s a report about Trump’s latest horror-show tactics, we’ve gotten to the point we mute the sound on the TV. Anything he does and says is beyond disgusting, but he’s now polished himself up to follow set speeches to make him sound even somewhat presidential. America, fascism creeps in with a smiling face, or in Trump’s case, a smug grin.

I knew of andrew offutt, but did not know him personally; not sure I ever met him. But then, I expected that; I don’t go to many American conventions, and actually haven’t been at one since Loscon 39 in 2012. Exchange rate, change in fannish interests, and just plain happy to be on this side of the border.

This weekend, not only are we going to our annual home convention to see our goods, but we are also taking the main computer at home to our regular computer guru Raymond in Mississauga for general clean up, and for a new video card so we can look up two monitors. Also, we are splitting a room with our good friend Cindi from the Windsor-Essex area (across from Detroit), so I just hope we are able to do everything we want to do! Going to be a crazy weekend; hope we survive it.

Thanks for this issue, and bring on some more.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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April 26th, 2016
03:41 pm


Loc on BCSFAzine 513 (Felicity Walker, ed.)
Dear BCSFen:

BCSFAzine 513 is here, and it seems the faster I write locs, the sooner the issues come out. So, here’s me doing my part for the zine. Here’s what’s to say…

The American election, with apologies to American friends, is simply a disgrace. I won’t say the Democrats are innocent, but the poor excuses for humanity that are running for the Republican nomination…well, they should be grateful that “None of the Above” won’t be on the ballot.

I read about Graeme’s disappointments when it comes to retirement benefits. Based on what he said, I shouldn’t expect much, given how many times I’ve been unemployed. Yvonne retires in less than a year, so I must find something good and long-lasting soon.

My letter…we did go to the Toronto ComicCon to have a look at the dealers’ room (interesting), and to meet up with Jason Isaacs. Yvonne got her picture taken with him, and we even had a little chat. His wife is from the Toronto area. Kitchener Comic Con was enjoyable, and sales were good, and as I write, Ad Astra 2016/35 starts in a few days.

Thanks to John Purcell…the resumes flood out, but there are times I think it’s all lies and nonsense, and the jobs don’t actually exist. We are also looking at craft shows and garden fairs as other places to see our goods. Right now, cons are all we’ve got, but we are looking at events in Hamilton, and in the east end of Toronto.

Earlier today, the Hugo Awards final ballot was released…already, there are people unhappy with the results. I regret not having the ability to nominate or vote, but when I see how others react, I don’t feel so bad.

Right now, I am getting all our boxes of merchandise, plus boxes of support items (bags, pens, paperwork, etc.), plus interesting furnishings, ready for Ad Astra, and I will be checking in to the hotel in Richmond Hill Thursday night so I can get downstairs as early as possible to get set up in plenty of time. Yvonne will have a regular working day, so as soon as she can, she will come out to the convention to join me and help with sales. As soon as this convention is done, we will start preps for Anime North in Toronto, just a month afterwards.

Thanks for this, take care, see you the next time.

Yours, Lloyd Penney.

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