SOTA 1 May 2015

Hi All,

It appears that spring has finally arrived — and not one minute too soon in my book!

Not much news in SOTAland this time, but I DID want to mention the banquet. Given the diversity of this crowd in terms of eating preferences — carnivores, vegetarians, vegans, gluten-frees, and just plain fussy eaters, the banquet is always something of a challenge. I am told that you can’t please everybody — but we’re trying. That’s why banquets are more expensive this year. And that’s why, in part, the cost of SOTA 2015 is higher than the cost of SOTA 2014.

We are working very hard to offer you a bigger, better, buffet with more variety and lots of good things to eat. While my dining at the hotel has been minimal so far (but I’ll vouch for the fish and chips, the tuna pita, and the steak) I am told by locals that the Millennium is a popular spot for weddings and banquets — in part because the food is good. That bodes well. And portions are generous, which doesn’t hurt.

I am hoping to have the banquet menu set some time in July and as soon as it is, you will hear about it. Suffice to say that there will be offerings for both carnivores and vegetarians — and vegans too, once Demetrius gets done with the menu — as well as a cash bar and the usual entertainment from Franco and friends. The friends vary from year to year, but I keep hearing a rumor that one person who will play a prominent role in the merriment will be Samuel Reynolds. I’m sure there will be others as well.

And we will of course have our usual fabulous fifty/fifty draw. Generally the winner of the draw comes away with $90-$100; some years it’s more. So that in itself is a good reason to go to the banquet. You can only win if you’re there, and you can only be there if you’re attending the banquet. Sometimes there are other draws as well; this year that remains to be seen. The goal, however, is to offer good food, good entertainment, and good people to converse and laugh with. So please consider joining us!

We are hoping that the banquet will be followed by some good old-fashioned AFAN hospitality too, So there’s a definite option to make it a late night if you’re so inclined.

Also in terms of the hotel, I had a question about 4 people who wanted to share a room. You can do this, but if you’re a woman, I don’t advise it. Counter space in the bathroom is limited and the closet has space for about a dozen hangers. If you don’t wear make-up and live in jeans, you can do it; if not, it’s a stretch. Better to get connecting rooms or adjoining rooms. Yes, it will be more expensive, but the extra space will be worth it. Four to a bathroom is never fun…


…OK, let’s look at speakers again. As you know, we try very hard to offer a mix of new-to-SOTA speakers and returning speakers. The returning speakers are invariably asked back because you liked them and requested their return. One such speaker is Kelly Surtees. Kelly is originally from Australia and still divides her time between Australia and Canada. And as far as I’m concerned, we’re lucky to have her! She is a superb teacher with a wealth of knowledge. This year, her topic is Planets: Passions and Problems. Have a look:

Planets: Passions + Problems

Your passions and problems can be revealed by your strong and weak planets. Discover how to work out which planets are working for you and which planets may cause problems. We’ll review traditional approaches to determine favourable and difficult planets, as well as discuss strategies for managing them.

One thing I like about this lecture is that it’s not just about “strong” and “weak” and “good” and “bad”. There are some management strategies here too. And that’s good — because there’s nothing worse than discovering you have a problem planet (if you don’t know that already) and then being left hanging without a clue what to do with it. Kelly is not a “So sorry for your luck” presenter. She’s a teacher. And while she’s not afraid to mention problematical potentials, she’s upbeat and option oriented. So quit sulking about your Saturn and see what Kelly has to say about it in this lecture.

OK, I’m rapidly running out of time and there’s a steak with my name on it waiting for me. More next time. Meanwhile, please share this with your friends — and don’t forget to register if you haven’t already done so.