gerisullivan: (Default)
Looks like it's going to take me awhile to figure out what to do with photos.

Many thanks to all who are giving me read access and the like. I'll try to catch up with you soon.

gerisullivan: (Santa Monkey)
[ profile] replyhazy works at a place that has an ugly Christmas sweater party. She has decided to go "bigger and more horrible" this year. Earlier today, she wrote: "I have a hot glue gun. Don't try to stop me. The one thing that won't be attached to this sweater is good taste."

I love her attitude and hope she posts pictures!
gerisullivan: (Geri 2014)
Film #13.39 from the Transtemporal Institute for Fannish Studies: Know the Hotel Staff

Filmed in the months before MidAmeriCon, the 1976 Worldcon. Featuring Dean Gahlon, Denny Lien, Jim Young, and a kazoo orchestra best left unnamed.

Kudos to David Dyer-Bennet and to Joe Siclari and Edie Stern for getting this and other tapes from the Scott Imes Video Archive online!

Other videos recently added to the FANAC Fan History channel include Joe Haldeman singing Stan Long and other videos from MidAmeriCon, Noreascon 2 and 3, Aussiecon, the Hugo Ceremony from Suncon (Attn: [ profile] kaffyr!), and more. So far, the only two I was present at when filmed were Outworlds Live! at Corflu IV (1987) and Ted White interviewing Walt Willis at MagiCon (1992).

One event totally blew me away: Science Fiction's 50th Anniversary Family Reunion at Noreascon 3 in 1989. It was brilliantly conceived and staged by Ellen Franklin. And, hey, [ profile] coffeeem you're in it! (Starting at 1:03:40.)

As is SFWA's newest Grandmaster, Jane Yolen, back when she was "one of the middle-aged dinosaurs" (30:34-33:00). Highly recommended.
gerisullivan: (Geri 2014)
I've been in email hell for the past month and am just starting to emerge from it. Hey, I can send mail from my domains again, and read mail in the Dread Mac Mail rather than just through the Panix webmail interface. Win. Let's not talk about the astonishingly tedious project of merging and organizing all of the pre-March 9, 2016 mail into the as-yet-incomplete mailbox structure that Mail created when downloading the last month's messages from the server Monday night. Like I said, email hell.

It's not like I've been working on the problem the entire month, or even most of it. More than the usual number and sorts of other priorities kept me limping along with web mail: hospital & related health stuff, life, death, and All That Jazz.... So no one will be surprised to read I've fallen rather far behind.

Which is how I came to read this truly fine email from Sweetwater's a full 12 days after they sent it:

Sweetwater's Donut Mill goes for Guinness World Record Donut

(Kalamazoo, MI) Greg Garner, general manager of Sweetwater's Donut Mill, says, "We need your help!"

The local donut shop has set its sights on obtaining the Guinness World Record for "The Largest Donut Ever Made." Garner says plans call for a glazed donut that will be 15 feet in diameter. He adds, "With a fifteen-foot donut in the record book, it will be a record that will surely stand for decades in that it pushes the boundaries of what is possible to even cook."

Sweetwater's has discussed this with its vendors and has secured appropriate amounts of flour, salt, sugar and yeast. That was relatively easy to do. The real challenge was a way to mix the dough. Working with a local cement factory, plans are set to mix the dough in a cement truck which will be specially cleaned and sterilized for the project. Once mixed, the dough will be dropped in a circular ring onto a specially-crafted plastic liner at the cooking site and covered with a tent to rise under temperature and humidity controlled monitoring. Garner projects it may take up to five days for the dough to rise.

Here is what members of the community can do to help Sweetwater's achieve this goal: Garner says, "We are looking for someone with a large in-ground swimming pool they no longer plan to use where we can cook this donut." Ten days before the dough is prepared, the pool will be chlorinated (to kill bacteria) and drained. A set of stainless steel pipes will be installed to the bottom and connected to a military-size portable gas burner that the U.S. Army Reserve in Battle Creek will loan for the project; it generates more than 36,000 BTUs of flame! The pool will be filled (by commercial tanker truck) with vegetable oil. The oil will be heated for approximately six and a half days at full power until it reaches 375 degrees. A&V Construction, a commercial construction company in Kalamazoo, has generously donated the use of a huge commercial crane to carefully carry the donut held on the plastic lining over the home and then gently lower it into the pool. The crane will stay in place to turn the donut with special chain rigging pre-positioned in the pool to flip the donut after 8 hours cooking and then to extract the fully-cooked donut once it is done to a platform in the volunteer backyard. Immediately, glaze will be applied by power hoses stationed in six strategic locations surrounding the donut.

"So," Garner says, "All we need now is one civic-minded family to donate the use of their family pool to make this happen!"

If you are interested, please contact Greg Garner at Sweetwater's Donut Mill and send along a photo of your pool along with dimensions. The project will also require about 3,000 square feet of additional yard space for set up. And, since it will take a crew about two full days to attend to frying the donut, Garner hopes the family will also be willing to host the cooking crew for two days.

Finally, Sweetwater's is working with the local media for the big event. As soon as this world-record donut is done and recorded for history, the public will be invited to the cooking site to have a taste. It will be cut into three-pound slabs that people can pick up and take home. "It's the only way we can figure how to dispose of it," Garner says, "but, that's part of the fun since thousands of community members will have a chance to share in the fun." Each three-pound donut piece will cost $9.95-a real bargain since it's the equivalent of about a dozen donuts (depending on variety). Left over crumbs will be taken to Milham Park to feed the ducks by pre-school groups.

Each member of the family who donated the use of their pool will receive a "We did it!" t-shirt with the Sweetwater's logo.

Garner says, "We haven't been this excited about a project in a long time. This is going to be great! He adds, "In this case, 'It takes a village to make a donut!'"

Oh, by the way, Happy April Fool's Day from Sweetwater's Donut Mill!"

Open 7 Days a Week 24 Hours a Day!
Sweetwater's Donut Mill
3333 Stadium Drive * Kalamazoo
2138 Sprinkle Road * Kalamazoo
I-94 at Capital Exit * Battle Creek

Sweetwater's sure beat anything I read or heard about on April 1st!

(Note: I corrected a surprising number minor typos in the email, enough that I'm certain I didn't catch them all.)
gerisullivan: (Cowslips Close-up)
This post is primarily for residents of the Town of Wales who want to review past business and discussions that took place at Board of Selectmen (BOS) meetings regarding the 5 Main Street property and 5 Main Street Committee. I downloaded minutes from the Town website from August 8, 2014 through December 1, 2015 and extracted the sections pertaining to the property. Most of the boldface and other formatting did not survive the copying process. Any errors or omissions are inadvertent; the complete sets of minutes are available online. I found it interesting to read the minutes about the Old Stafford Road property sale and other BOS business from the last year and more.

BOS Meeting Minutes about 5 Main Street )
gerisullivan: (Twinzy Doctor Duck)
Last Friday, even though she was out of the office, my doctor has her staff move my April 6th follow-up and physical appointment to Monday in light of the pneumonia diagnosis. I was okay with that, especially given how rotten I felt that day. The good news is that Friday turned out the worst. Saturday morning brought a surprisingly large improvement, and each day since has been modestly better.

The doctor's appointment went well. I'm clearly on the mend. She ordered a couple more lab tests, and we'll confirm that the newly-discovered thyroid nodule looks benign, as 95% of them are. She confirmed that my plan to take it easy through the end of the antibiotics is a good one even if I start feeling fabulous before Thursday morning. Right now, fabulous feels farther away than that.

I *was* pleasantly surprised to not be thoroughly wiped by the appointment...and still very grateful Elaine drove me to it. Yet I came home and napped for hours on the sofa after more yummy soup for lunch. And I'm feeling very tired; a week without CPAP is probably catching up with me. But I'm still not going to risk shoving anything remaining down into my lungs; that's the last thing I need.

The narrative that makes the most sense at this point is the one my doctor put forth: a lung infection of some sort caused the initial symptoms that landed me in the ER Sunday night. The pneumonia diagnosis made after the lateral lung x-rays was likely spot on, with the IV antibiotics getting enough of a head start on it that it didn't show on the CT scan 16+ hours later. They also did the job well enough that I started feeling oh, so much better Monday evening. My doctor said the antibiotics stay in the system 24-48 hours, which matches the timing of my getting home and suddenly feeling hit by a brick a few hours later.

I can't blame the hospital for trusting the CT results; it's a better diagnostic tool for pneumonia than the xrays, and I didn't have any of the coughing that so often accompanies the disease. Well, not until Thursday night, that is....

gerisullivan: (Geri 2014)
This past Tuesday afternoon, Andy Duncan returned a phone call from David Hartwell. After concluding their business, the conversation, as Andy put it, "roamed free." I am so very, very thankful that Andy shared the meat of that conversation with the rest of us.
gerisullivan: (Geri 2014)
No shit, here I was. Much Mac neepery & a bit of Samsung madness ahead )

The external SSD is astonishingly, ridiculously small and light. 2.09" x 2.8" x 0.36" tall at its widest point. The 4" USB cable weighs at least twice what the drive weighs.

Reading further in the User Guide, I note are only 3 bullets under the "Keep Away from Children, Infants, and Pets" safety warning. The last one is especially worth noting. After noting that there is a choking risk due to small parts, and advising that if a child is using the product to instruct said child on how to use the product correctly (and to monitor correct usage), the final bullet states:

• Do not stab any part of the body such as eyes or ears with the product, and do not put the product in the mouth.

And on that note, I'm going to post go to bed. Without stabbing anything or anybody. Not deliberately, at least.

gerisullivan: (Geri 2014)
Travel bumped back up last year after bottoming out at a mere 43 nights gone in 2014). The generosity of the Corflu Fifty carriend me across the Pond for the first time since 2002. Escaping the horrors of last year's winter for 19 days in March and early April would have been splendid under any circumstances, but to spend those days with friends all over England was utterly divine. Thank you all so much.

A mad dash around the Midwest in July found me staying overnight in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan. I passed through ten states, stayed in eight cities, was gone for 12 nights, and drove over 3,000 miles. Eep. Fun, though. Then December found me on another road trip, this time south to Virginia, delivering 14 boxes of video tapes from the Scott Imes Video Archive to be digitized before MidAmeriCon II this summer. Once I was there, I headed further south to North Carolina for an utterly lovely working mini-vacation on North Carolina's Outer Banks. I lived in North Carolina from 1974-76 and have been wanting to visit it again ever since I moved east in 2004.

In all, I was gone from Toad Woods 66 nights, or 18% of 2015, which means I was home 82% of the year. The second digits in each number flipped compared to 2014 when I was gone 12% and home 88%. But that was the low point over the 5 years I've been keeping track. As long as I'm home at least 75% of the time, I'm happy to be traveling more.

Fourteen human visitors and one canine were here for a total of 32 nights. That was grand!

FYI, I spent a few hours in the Toronto airport in both March and April as part of my Corflu Fifty travels, but neither was an overnight stay.

2015 Overnights Away From Toad Woods Details behind the cut )

Science-fiction Conventions Chatter about 2015 realities and 2016 hopes behind the cut )

Overnight Visitors at Toad Woods Friends from IL, MI, MN, NH,& NY )

Hope you'll all come back soon, and often, too. It's sheer delight sharing the Zeppelin Hangar with you!

Links to past meme reports
gerisullivan: (Santa Monkey)
Teresa Nielsen Hayden and I tossed around several possibilities and came up with a recipe using the cooked mussel meat I'd found at the grocery store. It went over very well when I served it on Christmas Day.

All quantities are estimates, well, except for the number of hard-boiled eggs I used. I'm confident that the recipe is very forgiving when it comes to the amounts of the ingredients.


Egg & Mussel Salad
by Teresa Nielsen Hayden & Geri Sullivan

4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped up as if for egg salad

2.5-3 oz cooked mussel meat (unseasoned) – lightly chop mussels (halved or quartered at most; you can easily leave some whole)

About 1/3 cup homemade mayonnaise (I used Alton Brown's recipe, and also pasteurized the eggs — see below for links to both)

Penzey's Singapore seasoning blend to taste – I probably used 1.5–2 teaspoons

1-2 teaspoons capers, or to taste – lightly chopped (halved, not minced)

About 2 oz pitted black olives to taste, roughly chopped up

1 Shallot, thinly sliced and chopped

Ground pepper, to taste (I used Trader Joe's Rainbow Peppercorns)

Add Singapore Seasoning blend to mayonnaise. Stir in thoroughly.

Mix everything together using a large spoon or spatula. If time permits, refrigerate for a few hours so flavors can blend.

I served it as an appetizer along with baguette slices and cucumber slices cut thickly enough to serve as the base (about 1/8" thick). Cocktail rye and crackers would likely also work well.


Homemade Mayonnaise by Alton Brown.

(GeriNote: I double the recipe and use a KitchenAid mixer for all of the whisking.)


How to Pasteurize Eggs
gerisullivan: (Geri 2014)
Needed: the right and proper spelling & capitalization of Hippotopher/Hippotifer/you get the idea.

I've just had the delight of watching a couple of minutes of video with Jim Young interviewing Jon Singer, Bob Vardeman, and a small hippotifer at MidAmeriCon. Jon's interviewed as the head of the Bozos, Beaners, and Boogies Union, and the entire thing is charmingly bizarre, just as it should be.

So when DD-B or someone else makes a video snippet we can show, I want to make sure we spell all of the names correctly in the titles. :-)
gerisullivan: (Geri 2014)
I believe [ profile] minnehaha K. was the first person to sing the praises of homemade mayonnaise and the simplicity of making it. I certainly learned how to make homemade croutons from her and don't think I've bought packaged croutons since.

Tonight, thanks to the raksallad (shrimp salad) I'm taking to a Scandinavian potluck tomorrow, I've finally made my own mayo for the first time ever. Yep, pretty durned tasty stuff.

Alton Brown recipe, modified by using sunflower oil rather than safflower (’cause I forgot which one I had in my cupboard while shopping, and the only olive oil I have on hand is extra virgin. Something like 3 bottles of it, but there you go). Preparation modified thanks to the Kitchenaid mixer [ profile] debgeisler gave me when she upgraded. I don't have an immersion mixer, and if I have a blender, it's been so long since I used it that I stopped looking after 3 likely cupboards because I'm just not sure there's one to be found. I do have a hand-me-down 1970s food processor that's been amazing the couple of times I've used it over the last 7 years or so, but I don't really have the hang of it yet.

Anyway, I picked the Alton Brown recipe both because I trust him and it called for hand whisking. But I read enough comments on various recipes and doubted not only that my wrist and arm was up to the task, but was also pretty doubtful that I could coordinate the whole thin stream of oil while whisking thing.

So I turned to the Kitchenaid, and it did a spiff job.

Now to chop the shrimp, and mix it with the Créme fraiche, freshly-made may, Dijon mustard, ketchup (really?!) and paprika. I'm going with Penzey's smoked paprikia, ’cause that just seeem right.

The recipe came from after printing out several different shrimp salad recipes all alleging to be Scandinavian. (Every family's grandmothers have their favorites, no doubt.) But a close read of it doesn't show the mayo ever being added! I'm betting that's a error of omission rather than an error of listing an extra ingredient, especially after reading other recipes.

I'm going to serve the raksallad as an appetizer with cocktail rye, crackers, and cucumber slices as choices for carrier devices.

One of the recipes I'm not using specifically said that the mayo didn't have to be homemade, which only served to put the idea in my head. And the rest of the recipe is just too darned easy. I like these potlucks not only because they're leading me to regularly make things I've never made before, but also to learn new cooking techniques in the process. Hence, the homemade mayo.


Hope your weekend is as much fun as mine looks to be!
gerisullivan: (Geri 2014)
Happy 87th birthday to the wonderfully incomparable [ profile] don_fitch! As we begin this month of giving thanks, I send thanks and glee to the universe and fandom for bringing you into my life a few decades back, and to you for adding so much delight to it through your friendship, sensibilities, and skills with a slip-sheeter. And so much more, oh, so much more.

Know that your 88th year spinning ’round the sun starts with as much love as I can possibly send through the electrons, with equal measures of respect and admiration accompanying it.
gerisullivan: (Geri 2014)
The 2015 Hugo Awards ceremony is up and running on the website.

It's in 4 segments and includes the pre-show and post-show.

I've seen several comments about the UStream feed over the past few days. At this time, I don't know whether the video will eventually be posted there or not.
gerisullivan: (Geri 2014)
AKA: They'll let anybody own a house, whether they're fit to or not

Sunday evening: water flowing from hot water tap is first sorta warmish, then distinctly lacking in anything resembling heat.

Background: my boiler heats my water; I don't have a separate water heater.

I do various things: try another tap; go downstairs and peer at the silent boiler; shine a light and notice it appears to be seeping water onto the floor an a somewhat increased rate; turn the thermostat to heat and crank the temp up to 86 in an attempt to get the boiler to start up (*click* *click* *nothing*); and eventually go to bed, thanking the stars and calendar that it's August and who needs hot water anyway.

Monday: Call Boiler Guy. "This number is temporarily disconnected." Hmmm....that, combined with the fact that they didn't return repeated calls for a cleaning throughout the last utterly horrid heating season leads me to suspect they may be out of business.

Call place that delivers my oil, remembering a letter mentioning that they do cleanings now. Beside, it's Squier Oil. Of my Squiers. So, hey. Talk with Ed, the guy who worked with me to coordinate deliveries during aforementioned horrid heating season, when it was impossible to shovel a path to the fill cap. Mention need for cleaning, water on floor, furnace that won't come on. Arrange for Wednesday visit. Learn why a bit of seeping is better left alone. State that I think I'm beyond a bit of seeping. Learn a thing to try with the water valves, 'cause minerals sometimes build up and stop the auto-fill for the water.

Still no boiler action; still no hot water.

Leave for a couple of days. Stay with friendly cat in a lovely, comfortable home. It's good to have friends, especially friends who give you house keys for decades at a time. Answer phone call to schedule time for Wednesday visit; talk about some of the details with the scheduler. Shower. Ah, warm water is nice, especially in a house with central air. Make contingency plans about possibly needing to return.

Come home. Work. Clear out storage bins near boiler so new Boiler Guy(s) will be able to work. Attempt to sweep cobwebs from rafters. Tidy upstairs, well, at least somewhat. Faff around on FB and other, usual net destinations. Write and send funding request for Scott Imes Video Archive digitizing project.

Answer phone call confirming 10:30am appointment for boiler cleaning. Scheduler asks (in a confirming sort of tone), "And it doesn't come on when you push the reset button, right?"

Geri Sullivan, Girl Homeowner responds with a query of her own: "There's a reset button?"


Get off phone, go downstairs and stare at boiler. Notice little red button and the instruction next to it: "Push to Reset."

Well, okay. Push button. Boiler fires right up.

Something like 10-15 minutes later, it turns off. I go to kitchen tap, set it to hot, and let the water run. It takes a bit longer than usual, but hot (not just warmish, *hot*) water is soon running from the tap.

They're still coming at 10:30. The boiler rather desperately needs cleaning and there's still all that seeping water on the floor. But I have hot water. And I'll probably remember that my boiler has an easy-to-find, easy-to-use reset button.

They'll let anybody own a house. There aren't any qualifying tests demonstrating competencies for living in it, using the appliances correctly, or repairing anything.

Just like they'll let anybody join Facebook, whether or not they know if long, chatty posts are appropriate there. Apologies to friends seeing this in both places.*


*Yes, I joined Facebook. Really. After all these years of adamantly staying away it and everything. But I'm damned if I'm going to put the app on my phone. Not while they demand access to my frigging call history to install it. And other things....

Okay, okay, we all know I'm damned anyway. I'm on Facebook.
gerisullivan: (Geri 2014)
My Worldcon Site Selection ballot went in the mail last week, with DC17 in first place. Many factors went into my vote, but the bottom line for me came down to the committee. The DC17 bid committee is gob-smackingly large, but that’s because it’s composed of bunches of next generation convention runners working with experienced oldpharts. I imprinted on a multi-generational fandom, developing close friendships with Walt Willis, Chuch Harris, James White, Vin¢ Clarke, and others when they were in their 60s and 70s and I was in my 30s and 40s. Now that I’m in my 60s, I love that my circle of friends has grown to include fans in their 20s and 30s as well as those in my age group and older.

That’s the personal side of it. From a fannish perspective, I’m glad (and relieved) to see the younger fans on the DC committee -- and those I’m working with on MidAmeriCon II -- eagerly learning about fannish traditions and sensibilities, and carrying the things I love about fandom forward into the future. And I'm glad to see the depth of experience present as well.
gerisullivan: (Geri 2014)
I have a few minor nits, but the Wall Street Journal mostly got this article about convention naming terminology and practices right.

The article even mentions Fancyclopedia, and links to it on

Other terminology I never expected to see in the Wall Street Journal, let alone pretty much correctly used? "Relaxacons." I especially like the article's close:

"No matter the size of the gathering, con-goers are sure to find a convivial convergence of confederates."

Kudos to Ben Zimmer and his "Word on the Street" column.
gerisullivan: (Geri 2014)
Thanks to [ profile] benveniste, I've just digitized 320 slides including the 4 below. What a fun trip down memory lane.

(Clicking through takes you to a larger image. [ profile] kaffyr, I'll give you the full res versions when I'm in Chicago next month. Oh, yeah, I ought to tell you, I'm hoping to celebrate #61 with you, [ profile] dr_whuh, and that carnyjack guy who is no longer on LJ.)

Minicon 20, 1985. Bob Berlien & the White Women, Musician GoHs



gerisullivan: (Frog on Rock)
Toad Words, by Ursula Vernon.


With a tip o'the link hat to ULTRAGOTHA on File 770.


gerisullivan: (Default)

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