RIP: Judie A. C. Cilcain

Indian Pipe
On July 20, 1982, I attended a Minn-StF meeting hosted by Judie Cilcain. She spelled her name Judy back in those days. They were long enough ago that I no longer remember if I'd met her before attending that meeting or not. I don't think so. But we were surely friends shortly thereafter, and that Moon Day Minn-StF meeting was the beginning of that. The next year, when Jan Appelbaum and I bought Toad Hall, we named Judie as Badger to go along with Jan as Ratty, me as Mole, and Karen Johnson as Toad.

Also in 1983, a few months before Jan and I bought Toad Hall, Karen Johnson and I set a date for Karen to teach me how to make chocolate mousse and me to teach her how to make baked Alaska. Don Bailey overheard our discussion and asked if he could come along and taste the results. Sure thing. Judie and David Cargo came, too, David freshly home from his first-ever business trip. IIRC, Judie brought a moist loaf of orange cake. Judie, David, Don, Karen, Jan, and I quickly discovered that three desserts are too many for six people, especially when seconds are involved. The next March, I hosted the another dessert party, and the annual tradition continued through the rest of the 1980s. Judie was the first to sign the Friends of Toad Hall Register on March 9, 1984, and her daughter, Kashia Curney, was the second.

Judie and David were at 10 of the first 15 events in the Toad Hall Register, and many, many more in the years that followed. We celebrated Judie's birthday at the Minneapa #184 collation in 1984; they came to Toad Hall Christmas, Minn-StF meetings, music parties, Minn-StF by-laws BBQs, Idea collations, dessert parties, and oh, so much more. We colored eggs together in the Leamington Hotel one Easter weekend, helped each other move, and saw each other through many major life events. Mostly, we just plain enjoyed each other's company, though not nearly enough in recent years. Even before I moved to Toad Woods, Judie sent me her StippleApa 'zines in thanks for Idea, and continued doing so long after Idea ceased being anything approaching a fanzine one expected to see another issue of. Because connection. Because friendship.

These few paragraphs contain only a few hints about Judie herself and say nothing about her warm heart, her spirituality, or her many talents. Readers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press Bulletin Board will recall numerous gems contributed by Sergeant Bilko over the years. That was Judie. Just last week, Bulletin Board included a photo of 11-month-old Judie on a pony, taken 70 years ago.

Monday's email included the following grievous news from David:

It is with a heavy heart that I borrow my wife's computer and e-mail agent to send an announcement and invitation.

After a hard struggle with pancreatic cancer, Judie Cilcain passed away at 4:45 PM on Sunday, Sept. 21, attended by Kashia Curney, her daughter, and David S. Cargo, me, her husband.

October 5 would have been our 18th wedding anniversary.

As befits such a unique person, we are having a requiem Eucharist at the Church of Saint Francis on Sunday, Sept. 28, at 10 a.m. The church is at 3201 Pleasant Ave. South in Minneapolis, near the intersection of Lake and Lyndale (not far from I-35W).

This will be followed by a vegetarian potluck in the church parlors after the service. We intend this to be a boisterous and rousing party in her memory.

Please feel free to share this announcement with any of your friend who were also friends of Judie. The more, the merrier.

Warm regards,

David S. Cargo

RIP, Judie. Your friendship was a blessing.
Geri 2014
The Guardian does a fine job of reporting on the Ig Nobel Prize that has me pumping my fist while exclaiming yes each and every time I see reference to it. I've had favorites before, but never has there been a prize that I claim as mine.

"And what prize might that be, Geri?"

The PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE [AUSTRALIA, UK, USA]: Peter K. Jonason, Amy Jones, and Minna Lyons, for amassing evidence that people who habitually stay up late are, on average, more self-admiring, more manipulative, and more psychopathic than people who habitually arise early in the morning.

REFERENCE: Creatures of the Night: Chronotypes and the Dark Triad Traits, Peter K. Jonason, Amy Jones, and Minna Lyons, Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 55, no. 5, 2013, pp. 538-541.

Heck, even the comments made so far on the Guardian site are good, especially this series at the beginning:

wiganwill 19 September 2014 12:40am

First time I have ever been around at the right time to make the opening comment and it turns out this suggests I am a psychopath. Great.

richardmuu wiganwill 19 September 2014 1:20am

Go to bed. Now.

chutzzpah wiganwill 19 September 2014 1:32am

It's not late.

Proper Psychopaths stay up till at least 3am.
Maybe you're just a Narcissist with Insomnia ;)


Okay. Gotta work now. And collapse. Excellent times in Sanders Theatre have me rather on the wiped side.

All of this year's winners are online at Improbable Research, and in worldwide media coverage.

Today, in the Boston Globe...

Improbable Research Stinker
In the Food section, Peggy Hernandez writes about The Ig Nobel Cookbook.

Now available from the Harvard Book Store and Amazon. Also available from Amazon in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. A radio interview with Marc Abrahams and Corky White is scheduled to run on Public Radio International's The World today. The interview with PRI's Clark Boyd is at the same cafe where Corky first came up with the idea to do an Ig Nobel cookbook.

Yes, it's Ig week. The cookbook celebrates this year's theme: Food. I had a blast doing the layout and learning just what a remarkable future we live in vis a vis POD publishing.

n6tqs is my assistant helping run the slides for the show. That's something of a last-minute thing that's working out very well. Likewise, James Donald stepped into the job of slide show producer just a couple of weeks ago and has quickly put together by far the best set of slides we've ever had. Win.

As usual, there's a Live Webcast starting at 5:40 pm US Eastern Time) on Thursday, September 18th for all who, for whatever reason, can't join us in Sanders Theatre. The ceremony starts at 6 and typically runs about 1.5 hours. Miss Sweetie Poo helps us keep on schedule.

There's also the NSA Courtesy Feed (a second, parallel video feed run as a courtesy to the world's security agencies) James Harkin (QI's head elf) and Polina Harkin will be live-tweeting from the stage at @ImprobResearch. Audience members will be live tweeting with hashtag #IgNobel.

So. Much. Fun.

Typography QOTD

Geri 2014
"I think the typeface is awesome. It sacrifices utility for artistic integrity." – jerwin

Posted in the BoingBoing discussion about the Pantone bheer labels design concept from Txaber, a designer in Spain.

With a tip o'the link hat to benveniste.

One of *those* nights

What the Fluke?
The Panix mail server is down. Has been for nearly 5 hours now, which is unprecedented in my experience with them. It's the third consecutive night they've had problems, and this is by far the longest service interruption.

Review documents for 5 projects are sitting in my Eudora Out box, waiting for Panix to be back up and running. The client for most of them is surely asleep, but the colleague needing to review another is in Australia and it would be truly useful to get it into her hands while she's awake.

I have the option of using Gmail, well, I would if the hard drive on the desktop computer weren't showing up as bright red in the Disk Utility window and showing the "This drive is failing and unrepairable" S.M.A.R.T message. The only part of this that's news is the actual error message; the drive has clearly been on the edge for long enough that fivemack advised me on it an entire month ago.

Anyway, I'm up to date on Time Machine, but online reading tonight tells me it's not bootable. SuperDuper is, but sometime back I stopped it's regular updates from that computer for some reason I don't remember now. My hindbrain is telling me there's some sort of error with it, perhaps related to the failing drive, but I'm at least giving it a shot at making a current backup tonight. So I'm leaving the ailing computer alone to do whatever it can in that regard.

Ordinarily, a smart thing to do under these circumstances would be to simply go to bed and tackle everything again after some more sleep than I've had of late.

But tonight I'm staying up not only because of the 13 PROmote projects currently on my plate, some of them extremely time sensitive, I'm staying up to see if the bat comes flying about indoors again. email...actively dying hard drive...and a bat. A pretty bat, and one that may well have flown out on its own when I gave it the opportunity for about 90 minutes 7 hours ago. batwrangler was ever so helpful on the phone, and with some email follow-up before Panix went down. It's only the second time I've had a bat in the house, and the last time was a good 5 years ago, I think. Long enough ago for me to have forgotten the basics beyond "don't panic."

So, yeah. One of those nights. Still not panicking. But, yeah, still on Eudora despite all of my various good intentions and determination to move to Mac Mail so as to start using more modern Mac operating systems.

Then again, pieces of Creative Suite aren't working on the newer laptop, either.

Just call me doomed.

Doomed and too experienced in all things computer to think anything other than the fact that this will all work out.

And while I know better than to be certain, I think it's most likely the bat has taken its leave, too.


The 2014 Hugo Awards Ceremony...

Geri 2014 about to begin. For those following along from home:

The Finalists.

CoverItLive text coverage.

UStream live feed.

Twitter #HugoAwards and #Hugos (and probably more)

David Tennant is reportedly among the finalists in the hall.

Goin' to Kansas City...

MidAmeriCon II
It's official. Site Selection voting results were reported this morning to the WSFS Business Meeting in London.

MidAmeriCon II, the 74th World Science Fiction Convention, will be held August 17-21, 2016, in Kansas City, Missouri.

As is usual, the reveal at the Business Meeting included the announcement of the convention's guests:

Guests of Honor:
Kinuko Y. Craft
Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Tamora Pierce
Michael Swanwick

Pat Cadigan

Yowser! As all who know me will already know, I'm thrilled that Patrick & Teresa are among the Guests of Honor. Do go read Patrick's post on Making Light. MidAmeriCon II will mark the 40th anniversary of Patrick's first Worldcon; 2016 will bring the 30th anniversary of my meeting P&T at my first Corflu. Just a few months later, the Wimpy Zone Fan Fund brought them to Minneapolis for Not-A-D-Con on Memorial Day weekend, where they first met, oh, a few other people....

I hope to never forget the experience of sitting at the SOP (Standard Operating Perkins) listening to coffeeem and Teresa in conversation. It was marvelous.

So, yes, here we are, decades later, in what Patrick so appropriately calls "the endlessly strange future." Only this little piece of it isn't endlessly strange to me: it's utterly fitting. I'm looking forward with pleasure to honoring Patrick & Teresa along with Kuniko Y. Craft, Tamora Piece, & Michael Swanwick at MidAmericon II. I look forward to toasting them along with Pat Cadigan; that's sure to be a hoot. And I hope bunches of you reading this will join me in the fun...and the lamb ribs at Jack Stack BBQ!

My long-distance Loncon 3

Geri 2014
I watched the Retro-Hugo Awards ceremony. The livecast was plagued with technical difficulties -- no sound for most of an hour, then super-muddy, underwater sound. I trust those in the audience heard things more clearly than those following along at home.

It's hard. Watching anything from the Worldcon has helped ease the frustration of not being there for years now. Yet live video coverage of the Hugos (and now, the Retro-Hugos) has been problematic often enough that it's now hard to remember those times it worked. And if it's not going to work after repeated attempts over a period of years, it doesn't actually matter whether or not it's a different problem each time. I don't want Worldcons to stop trying, but that might well be the wise thing to do.

Other quick highlights: yesterday's In praise of science fiction fandom in the Guardian. Including links to Jo Walton's Among Others and Making Light. Sweet.

Loncon 3 is continuing to update their live demographics page. Current total membership count there: 10,336. That includes 7,435 whose memberships and admissions include being present on site. Not all of us are, of course. But most....

Note: I don't know whether the demographics page includes memberships being bought at-the-door. It might, or it might just reflect online purchases at this point.


Geri 2014
That's the current total membership in Loncon 3.

Well, it was current a moment ago. I was going to wait until it topped 10,000, but how could this Minneapolis in ’73 femmefan resist?

Besides, drplokta mentioned about 50 hall passes were sold separately. Counting those, they hit the 10,000 mark several hours ago.

Congratulations, Loncon 3! I'm happy to be among the 10,000 and only sorry I won't be there in person for the experience.

Hey. It held at 9,973 long enough for me to write this post. :-)

9,866 and counting...

Geri 2014
Numbers aren't everything, especially when it comes to what makes for a good convention. (Though making one's numbers in terms of the budget is vital to a convention's ongoing good health.) But that doesn't stop this information junkie from looking at numbers as well as an abundance of other data about any given convention I'm interested in. And goshwowboyoboy, am I interested in this year's Worldcon.

Loncon 3 has the bestest demographics page ever. It's updated in real time, showing membership and admissions by category and by country. There's also a "Memberships Over Time" chart with monthly totals making it easy to track the growth from the 1,825 members it had after it became a seated Worldcon at Chicon 7.

I've been checking in on the page every so often, right up until the end of July when the total membership was 9,479 (including a throughly-croggling 2,893 supporting members). Now I'm checking it several times a day, watching as it becomes more and more likely that total membership will top 10,000 before the Worldcon opens on Thursday. If not before, that day for sure, but before seems the most likely outcome at this point. Since August 1st, Loncon 3 has sold 134 attending memberships and 255 day admissions and hall passes. (Two of those attending memberships are upgrades from supporting, which just goes to show how much of a data geek I can be.)

In other numbers-driving Loncon 3 news, the convention received a record-breaking 3,587 valid ballots for the Hugo Awards. This is 71% higher than the previous record of 2,100 ballots set at Renovation in 2011. The percentage of eligible voters looks to be up a bit from Renovation; compared to total membership numbers, 34% of Renovation's members voted. At Loncon 3, at the end of July it was 38%. There's arm-waving to go with these numbers; it's nearly 41% of Loncon 3's eligible voters but I can't determine how many of Renovation's total members were eligible to vote. (Day admissions don't have voting rights nor do any memberships sold after Hugo voting closes in terms of Hugo participation.)

There were 1,307 valid ballots for the Retro Hugos.

Loncon 3 plans to stream both the Hugo and Retro Hugo Awards ceremonies live on Ustream. The Hugo cermony will also have text-based coverage via CoverItLive on the Hugo Awards website.

Seeing as my lottery tickets came up zip for zip, I plan to watch both ceremonies online Thursday and Sunday nights while also read the CoverItLive text come Sunday. It's far from the first Worldcon I've enjoyed from a distance and it's unlikely to be my last. But it certainly looks like it will be the largest.

I hope everyone already in London and those traveling there in the days ahead have a splendid time! I look forward to your posts, tweets, pictures, and more.

Progress...well, some...

Geri 2014
The desktop iMac is running noticeably faster. I don't think it's just that I cleared off 100 GB worth of files; the biggest improvement came in the first 30 GB which also happened to represent lots (and lots and lots) of little files.

It still wanders off into its own version of Never-Never Land from time to time, but when it's not doing that, the responsiveness is downright zippy. Alas, the wandering off seems most prone to happening when searching for a file, which means I'm right back where I started 7 or so hours ago: trying to find a font I'm certain I purchased this past Spring, one that I need to use for one of the two pressing projects.

Fun fun, joy joy. Not.

Tidying up

Geri 2014
My elderly 27" iMac desktop computer has been showing its age and then some of late. I've endured the waiting, waiting, waiting spinning disk for a few months now and finally reached my "okay, I simply must try to do something about this" breaking point this afternoon. Yes, I need rather strongly to be working on two other significant projects, but 1 click followed by 2 minutes of waiting isn't working, it's futile.

After unmounting all of the attached devices and confirming that the problem's with the computer rather than its interface with one of them, I've been using my laptop to search various Apple support and other forums for ideas. While I'm not down to 10% disk availability, the 1T internal drive is holding onto considerably more than it should need to. So I'm working on that.

The super-sluggish computer just took about 1.5 hours to uninstall Adobe CS3. To keep from going utterly mad while it worked as best it could, I turned my attention to the kitchen. After dealing with the dishes, I moved onto another source of ongoing annoyance: the drawer of plastic containers.

You see, yesterday's impulse purchase at Costco was a new 30-piece set of Rubbermaid containers. Enough with the constantly reaching into the drawer for a container then trying to find a matching lid, and the ever-challenging problem of the drawer over-filling with more and more different sizes and brands of containers. So now all is tidy once more, with space for things to get jumbled...for a few months, at least.

The former residents of the drawer have been removed. I'll store containers with lids that fit in the fan room party kit for future convention use, and discard the orphans. Unnecessary documentation belowCollapse )

Twelve pieces of non-recyclable plastic, mostly lids, are now in the trash. The matched containers are now stacked in a tidy, organized fashion and stored in the box the new containers came in. And the high-quality, Rubbermaid round lid? It's going back in the drawer where it will no doubt breed the next drawer-full of chaos.

Resetting the SMC (System Management Controller) appeared to have some benefit as demonstrated by speedy (i.e., normal) responsiveness from the finder upon restart. But I'm back to super-slow copying of files off to an external hard drive as an extra safety archive before deleting them. (They're already on Time Machine & my other regular back-up drive.)

Time to start a load of laundry, and to continue doing other things that take me away from watching the slow loris of a computer make its way through the rest of the 16.62 GB of data it's currently dealing with.


Going to Loncon3?

Geri 2014
Make time for a trip to the Tower of London to see Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.

The installation of 888,246 red ceramic poppies, each one representing a WW1 British or Colonial Military fatality, is underway. It already creates an image...a series of images...I hope I'll never forget. I'd love to hear and read the reactions of friends who see it in person.

The installation will be formally unveiled on August 5. It's 100 years "since the first full day of Britain's involvement in the war. The final poppy will be placed ("planted") on November 11.

They're going to sell the poppies for £25 each, with 10% plus all net proceeds being shared between six service charities.

The photos are amazing. Kudos to ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper, who wrote back at the beginning of June, "This could end up being epic." Why, yes, yes it could. Yes, it already is.
Geri 2014
Joel Zakem helped me count; I have at least 38 bheers brewed in Michigan for Thursday night's bheer tasting in the Slan Shack. Thirty-eight bheers with alcohol, that is, plus a couple of Michigan root bheers. And bheer chips. The latter are from Minnesota, another M-state. Michiganders in the Costco -- completely unaffiliated and unaware of Detcon1 -- encouraged me to say they were from Hazel Park, MI.

Not only will we have bheer and bheer chips, thanks to Bill & Brenda Sutton, we'll have bheer songs. Should be fun....

Croggled. And oh, so happy.

Geri 2014
I love road trips. The good ones are magical and Monday's was remarkably comfortable topped with a gallon and more of awesome sauce. I'll forego the 4-part harmony on that as I'm taking another one in just under 8 hours and need to get real sleep before then.

Monday afternoon while driving across Ohio, I received a thoroughly surprising phone call from Rich Coad. Shortly after that (and directly following from it), Rob Jackson posted the following to the fmzfen email list and elsewhere:

As Corflu Fifty administrators, Rich Coad and I are delighted to announce that Geri Sullivan has accepted the group’s nomination to travel to Tynecon III: The Corflu in Newcastle in March next year. (She not only said yes, but Rich says she said "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, oh my god, yes!”) The con committee have already decided she will be given free membership of the convention, but other details will be announced later.

Corflu Fifty members are invited to support the fund in the usual way – $25 or £15, or whatever extra you would like to give - and those who are not members of the Corflu Fifty are cordially invited either to join (so you can help choose future nominees, of course), or to contribute to support Geri’s trip this coming year. If you would like to join or contribute, please get in touch with Rich or me for details.

Mail checks made out to Rich Coad, at 2132 Berkeley Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95401; or PayPal to richcoad at gmail dot com>. (I think if you say it's a gift and personal there is no fee).

For UK contributions, either by old-fashioned cheque posted to me at Chinthay, Nightingale Lane, Hambrook, Chichester, West Sussex PO18 8UH, or by PayPal to jacksonshambrook at uwclub dot net, (friends and family, I think you call it).

Past Corflu Fifty recipients include Steve & Elaine Stiles, Curt Phillips, Earl Kemp, Dave Hicks, Shelby Vick, Rob Hansen,and Dan & Lynn Steffan. I delighted and charmed to be in their company.

Much burbling to follow. Burbling, plots, and plans. Because Corflu. In the UK.


Okay, this is now on my list

Geri 2014
Noted here as a place to find it since I'm not ordering it yet:

Along Those Lines: The Boundaries that Create Our World by Peter Cashwell.

"A delightful and curious book about borders, boundaries, fences, and lines." Complete with bird-watching.

Talking about first world problems....

Geri 2014
The brand name "Samsung" is at the top of the screen on my new phone. It's on the bottom on my old phone. I am not counting, so there's no use running a lottery for how many times I'm going to orient it upside down before I learn not to.

In a similar vein, the "OK" button to unlock my screen is on the left side of the way I do my unlocking code. Yep, on the old phone, using the exact same unlocking method, the "OK" button was on the right.

Bills are paid. (Early, so I don't have to worry about any while I'm at Detcon1, or right after I return.)

I need a nap.


Geri 2014
My mobile phone number is the same as it's always been. (Same as it ever was.) Only the service has been improved.

As a result, I now have a reasonable expectation of being able to make and receive phone calls using my mobile phone when I am home in the Zeppelin Hangar at Toad Woods. Early evidence suggests there's cause for my callers to have that expectation, too.

Happy dance.

beamjockey will be reassured and perhaps amused to know that I've confirmed my camera settings are set where I want them to be, and I know how to change them as desired.

As for the rest, well, there's a lot to learn. I stayed with the Samsung Galaxy model line. Reasons include but are far from limited to the supposedly easier learning curve given my 3 years of experience with the Samsung Epic 4G (a Galaxy S phone, 1st generation, I think).

Jay Lake memorial issue of The Drink Tank now on eFanzines

Indian Pipe
Bill Burns just put The Drink Tank 377 online on The Drink Tank page of It's full of good stories and warm tributes.

(First link goes to the pdf; eFanzine link goes to The Drink Tank page there.)

Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony tickets...

Improbable Research Stinker
...go on sale at noon US eastern time today!

See the Ig page on the Improbable Research website for details for the 24th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony on September 18th.

There will be a live webcast for the enjoyment of Ig fans around the world who can't be in Sanders Theatre that night. But I encourage all whose lives and location mean they can be there to get tickets ASAP. They tend to go quickly. Then start working on your paper airplane designs....

Also recommended: the Ig Informal Lectures at MIT on Saturday, September 20th. They're free, informative, funny, and more.

Doug, in his natural habitat

Geri 2014

The OLIVER HAZARD PERRY won't look this gigantic once she's back in the water, but she'll be even taller once the masts are raised. As Capt. Bailey said Sunday, there's still a lot to be done. But, wow, what a gorgeous tall ship she already is. She's going to be stunning once she's afloat and fulfilling her purpose as an education ship.


n6tqs in the engine room aboard MYSTIC. There's another shot with a gleeful expression, to be found in my fledgling Tall Ships album. More of the 102 photos I shot Sunday will be showing up there eventually. For my next trick, I'll learn how to post video so you can hear the engine room with the generators running and immediately understand why anyone entering it wears ear protection.

In short, I had a fabulously fine time Sunday thanks to Doug's fine company and guided tours of two (count 'em, 2) tall ships. Even discovered the wonders of a delicious breakfast served in a Massachusetts restaurant at Uncle Jay's Twisted Fork in Cherry Valley.(Minneapolis groks real restaurants serving breakfast. Massachusetts, not so much, so the Twisted Fork is a true win.)

Toad Woods Way Station, Day 1

Geri 2014
So, there's this box at Hubbard House, and, I believe there are similar boxes at other houses at Smith College. It's the Free Box. It's where students put clothes they don't want any more, and where their housemates often find new pieces for their wardrobes.

Gavi has had amazing Opitz-fu since her high school years. Opitz is a Minneapolis designer fashion outlet and Gavi's wardrobe is filled with stunning clothes that fit her beautifully and cost, oh, $1, or $3, or sometimes even as much as $15. It helps that Mrs. fredcritter is a seamstress with a knack for repairing the sort of damage that lands high-end designer items probably worn once on a runway in the most deeply-discounted Opitz sales. And, as Gavi has come to believe over the years, there must be a specific, surprisingly short model with Gavi's exact build because she regularly finds ornately-tailored garments on those discount racks that fit her perfectly.

Life at Smith repeatedly demonstrates that Gavi's wardrobe-fu isn't limited to Opitz. First, there was a black evening dress she found in a free box on the streets of Northampton. That was followed by various attractive tops and dresses from the free box at Hubbard. And this, her most recent find, this dress, which I first saw when I picked her up today:

GavI_FreeBoxDress_2014-07-04 23.20.22

Apologies for the picture quality combined with the fact that I'm clearly not a fashion photographer. There's a rectangular cut-out in the back, which shows a bit behind the cut and looks stunning when she's walking. Okay, I'll put at least one of these photos behind a cut-tag. No, wait, I'll put two there.Collapse )

Thursday morning, pegkerr mentioned "the form-fitting sheathes popular in most of the stores are made for twenty-year old pretty young things. Um, like Fiona." Her comment came to mind the moment I saw Gavi a few hours later. Ah, yup. Indeed.

To back up to the subject line, Gavi's here tonight because we're getting up in the morning and heading down to New York. But we'll go a bit east to Worcester first and snag n6tqs, who's here in New England for a few months. Our destination? Fanhihall, where more fine company, a cookout, and a swimming pool await. The very same swimming pool where Moshe Feder snapped this picture of Susan Palermo and me 4 years ago.

Geri & Susan, August 14, 2010

We'll drop Gavi back off at Smith on our way home to Toad Woods, then on Sunday, I'll take Doug back down to Newport. The return bus schedule wasn't nearly as convenient as the one getting him to Worcester. No complaints here; I love driving and am looking forward to watching the Cardis turn over 195,000 miles as we bop around these small states up here.

So, yeah, Toad Woods is a way station this holiday weekend. Complete with gelato.

Good times behind; good times ahead. Happy Birthday, America!
Geri 2014
There's nothing quite like putting the ink cartridges in upside down to slow the process of installing a new printer. Funny how doing so jams up the carriage path, too.

The printed user documentation was of no help at all, but one of HP's online support videos soon set me right.

The printer has printed an alignment page and is now doing all sorts of interesting things via the web installation process.

[Time passes. Not enough for it to be many moons, or for buffalo to cross the great prairie, but, yes, insert a few minutes reading user agreements, a PC magazine review of HP ePrint services, finding a suitable test file, and responding to an unrelated email message confirming the giveaway of back issues of AIR to members of Detcon1...]

Okay. Color me impressed. Before printing so much as a single document sent directly from my computer, my HP Officejet 7610 wirelessly received email and printed a pdf of the suite I'll be running as the Slan Shack, all in under 5 minutes. It was so fast, I didn't even pay attention to how long it took between sending the email and having a printed page appear behind my back.

I love living in the future. Now to see how it does with the posters for this year's Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony. Tickets for the September 18th festivities go on sale this coming Tuesday, July 8th.

I've lived here 10 years...

Geri 2014 could I not have known that some of weeds running rampant are Stinging Nettle?

I can report it comes by its name honestly.

For the record, I was wearing gloves. Alas, they didn't protect my left forearm, or my left leg...through the cotton cargo capris.

Hmmm...surely I must have some aloe around here somewhere. Or some baking soda. I'm unconvinced that the washing and generic Benedryl cream are doing the trick.


Geri 2014
...wishful thinking works. A few days ago, I mowed about half the yard then the mower wouldn't restart shortly after I took a break. I just recently had it serviced* and even used the recommended fuel stabilizer, so my usual habit of small engine abuse shouldn't have been to blame.

It was late, hot, and buggy. I rolled the mower into the garage, hoping and wishing that it would start the next time I tried with nothing more than a few days of rest to make a difference.

Today was that day. The mower started right up, first pull, just like it did fresh from One Pull Lawnmower Shop. If you'd seen what I'd put it through since picking it up a few weeks ago, you'd be as impressed as I am. As shopowner & repair guy James Kennedy's website says, "We have the mad skills to fix whatever is wrong with your mower." And to keep it running, too. Win.

* This marked the first time in my entire life I've had a lawn mower serviced. I'm turning 60 next month. It's either a matter that I'm still demonstrating learning behavior, of which I am proud, or a further example that my habit of small engine abuse really is lifelong, which is the opposite of a reason for pride. When I bought it new...last year, I think...maybe 2 years ago, I foolishly chose a mower without a primer button. It totally refused to start this year, hence the service visit. It was too new to just replace.


Geri 2014
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