Albacon Afternoon

What we’re going to be doing Sunday afternoon:

Madhouse Manor

AlbaconAlbacon (one of our favorite cons) has been postponed due to Corona Virus.  But do not despair!   The nice folks who run Albacon are hosting Albacon Afternoon this Sunday from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.  Doyle and I will do a reading, and maybe a bit of discussion.

Alas, the Ice Cream Social will have to be on an individual at-home basis, so lay in some ice cream and toppings, and come to the Zoom-based mini-con.

Register for Albacon Afternoon.

Sunday, August 30, 1:00-3:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time.

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My New Favorite Movie

Madhouse Manor

A while back I had some computer problems.  As in Black Screen of Death computer problems.  As in Called-MicroSoft and the Level-One-tech-couldn’t-help-me problems.  So that is how I wound up on the phone with a Level Two tech, a nice young man who lives in Mumbai.  The process took quite a while, what with downloading and installing stuff.  And during all this we talked on the phone.

The conversations went hither and yon, with us showing each other pictures of our home towns (he’s from up north, in the mountains where there’s snow, but there are no jobs up there, which is why he’s in the city).  And we talked about films.  His first James Bond film was with Pierce Brosnan in the role, but we agreed that Sean Connery is the iconic Bond.  And … he mentioned his favorite movie.  Since I love movies, I had to go find…

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It Really Shouldn’t Be Necessary to Say This.

In a just and perfect world, it shouldn’t be necessary to point out that purposefully kneeling on someone’s neck until they’re dead is a bad thing, and that the person doing it is most emphatically not one of the world’s good people.

But this isn’t a just and perfect world, however much we would like it to be. So: Purposefully kneeling on someone’s neck until they’re dead is a bad thing, and the person doing it is not one of the world’s good people.

I don’t know if we’ll ever make this into a just and perfect world — but surely, if we try, we can make it at least a bit more just and a little closer to perfection.

(I swear, it’s like housekeeping. Some days you manage to accomplish a massive feat of organization and improvement, and on other days it takes all the work you’ve got in you just to keep the whole place from backsliding again into chaos.)

Seasonal Yumminess, and Support for a Local Restaurant

I didn’t cook an Easter dinner this year – the traditional meat is either ham or lamb, and I do ham at other times, whenever the local grocery has a sale on spiral-sliced ham. And the only lamb we get up here in the wilderness of far northern New England is either boneless leg of lamb, which is . . . okay, if you like lamb, and the occasional lamb chop, about which I can only say, if I’m going to spend that much money on a piece of meat, I want something a bit larger than your average lollipop.

Also, all of my festive impressive-piece-of-meat dinners (the roast turkey, the crown roast of pork, that sort of thing) were developed back in the days when we had five or six people in residence, several of them bottomless pits teenagers, instead of two or at most three regular adults. It’s one thing to orchestrate a meal like that when you’ve got one kid who can do gravy and a fancy dessert, and another kid who can help you with all the pies, and another couple of kids who can slice and stir and keep an eye on things, and all you need to do by your own self is make the white sauce for the creamed onions and maybe wrangle the meat (unless my husband and co-author has decided to deep-fry it for a change.) It’s another thing altogether to manage it mostly on your own.

So this year we let somebody else cook it. Under normal conditions, we’d have made reservations somewhere nice; this year, we ordered the Take and Bake Easter Dinner for four from the Common Man restaurant in Ashland NH, and brought the various components back to the house in a large paper tote. It all looked good; some of it was meant to cook in the oven and some of it on the stovetop and some of it in the microwave, and there was a lot of it — sliced ham, glazed roasted brussels sprouts, seasonal vegetables with thyme and garlic, scalloped potatoes, mascarpone mashed potatoes (an extra side, just because we could), maple mashed sweet potatoes, cheesecake with raspberry compote, and dinner rolls with seasoned butter — for what was in fact a quite reasonable price.

And indeed, it was all good — at least two meals’ worth, and maybe more. Jim Macdonald had a good time synchronizing all of the cooking directions so that the oven stuff, the stovetop stuff, and the microwave stuff all came out and onto the table together. For my part, I had a good time leaving him to it.

Kudos to the Common Man Restaurant in Ashland, the purveyors of the feast!

A Good Thing in a Bad Time

GS CookiesBecause of the pandemic, the Girl Scouts are suspending in-person and cookie-booth sales.  But fear not!  You can now buy your Thin Mints and Trefoils on-line at Girl Scout Cookie Care.

The site also includes an option for buying cookies to donate to first responders, volunteers, and local causes in need.

I just now bought two boxes of Thin Mints, a box of Trefoils (my original and all-time favorite!) and a box of Samoas (because they go so well dunked in coffee or tea.)

So here’s a chance to both get your cookie fix and help out at the same time.  Also, Girl Scout cookies freeze well, so you can buy extra and stock up. Or buy extra and eat them all right now — who am I to judge?

(Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout.  I have a fond memory of sitting in the bar at a Lunacon, years ago when there were still Lunacons, singing “Make New Friends, But Keep the Old” with two other writers and an editor, all of us not-so-former-as-we’d-thought Girl Scouts.)

COVID Near You

Over at his web log, Jim Macdonald posts a useful link to something you can do at home:

Madhouse Manor

Modeled on Flu Near You, this is a crowd-sourcing site for COVID-19 infections.  Sponsored by Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, it seems like a good idea.  The more people who participate the more useful it will be.

vidnearyou.org/#!/”>https://covidnearyou.org/#!/

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In Light of Current Events…

…Jim Macdonald and I have, in a spirit of reluctant responsibility, abandoned our tentative plans to attend this year’s Heliosphere convention, since we had so much fun at the last one. We hadn’t yet bought memberships or gotten a hotel room (we’d been planning to stay at a cheap offsite hotel for economy’s sake), which means at least we aren’t out any money. But the Tarrytown Doubletree is uncomfortably close to the hot spot in New Rochelle, and we don’t want to be the folks who bring the virus home with us to Colebrook, so there it is.