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Deb Geisler
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So, if the monsters do wake up because of the shouting and try to crash the party, suddenly everybody forgets their animosity?

But some remember.

Worldcon 75’s shameful public accusations against one of their former volunteers – accusations without legal standing or proof, by an organization with a position of power over the regulation of volunteers – are a hideous breach of their responsibility as the World Science Fiction Convention.

As a former Worldcon chairman, I am completely, utterly, shockingly appalled that the convention's leadership would choose to publicly attack this volunteer they fired. If the convention felt it had made a legally and fannishly justifiable action in firing this volunteer, it should have remained silent.

That the convention has chosen this particular tactic of public vilification indicates to me, at least, that it wants to so damage this former volunteer’s reputation that nothing he says will be believed and so that he can no longer engage in the activities he so enjoyed in fandom.

Choosing to use the bully pulpit to shred our fannish volunteers in social media is a cowardly, stupid, and fannishly reprehensible action. (Oh, and hey, good work on not letting him reply on your page in his own defense.)

I hereby state that under no conditions will I attend the 2017 World Science Fiction Convention. Further, I will sell my membership in the convention to the first person (who is not affiliated with the committee of Worldcon 75) who offers me $1. Drop me a private message, and it’s yours.

[Edit, 9:58 a.m., 9 October: the membership has been "sold." The purchaser is making a donation to the SFWA medical fund in lieu of payment. I'm really pleased about that.]

In 1990, the World Science Fiction Convention was in Den Haag (The Hague), Netherlands, and a lot of my friends (and Mike and I) didn't go to it. International travel was more difficult (I'd never been outside of North America, then, nor did I have a passport yet) and took a larger wodge of our financial resources. Our friend Leslie Turek had been nominated for a Hugo Award that year (which she won...yay, Leslie!), and our friends the Olsons decided we needed to have a party during the Hugo Ceremony to cheer Leslie on, since she couldn't go either.

There was, of course, no streaming of the ceremony. No Instagram. No Facebook. No World Wide Web. Some of us were on the NSFNet or Bitnet, but most people today would not recognized those, with their text-only interfaces. And there were no portables to take into the Ceremony for blogging. Instead, we had to wait for a phone call from Leslie's acceptor (I don't remember who). So the best thing to do was nibble on Dutch food whilst we waited. It was tastier and more nutritious than fingernails.

My aunt, Margaret [Shannon] Snoeren, married a Dutch man (you might be able to tell that from the last name) she met while serving in the Peace Corps in Nigeria in the 1960s. Marge is a pretty great cook, and she developed a collection of Dutch recipes over the years. So, when Priscilla Olson said the theme was "Dutch/Indonesian Rijsttafel (Rice Table)," in honor of the first Dutch Worldcon, I called Aunt Marge.

The recipe she gave me that day was a major hit. Moreover, it is a recipe Mike and I have made dozens of times, because we love it. (Thank you, Aunt Marge!!!) This is an Indonesian-styled Satay recipe, probably as modified by the Indonesian immigrants in the Netherlands. The marinade is important for the meat (which is beef or pork), and the peanut sauce that accompanies it is the best, most interesting variant I've ever had. It is zippy and not, as so many are from the Thai or other traditions, overly sweet. We *do* serve it with a Thai cucumber "sauce" or salad, because we love the stuff. Sometimes, we make it as a main course for ourselves, add the cucumber salad, make up some rice, and call it supper. Yum.

Marge’s Indonesian Dutch Satay with PindasausCollapse )

Since we cook sometimes for a soup kitchen, we cook for them like we cook for ourselves or our friends: same food; same ingredients. We've made a lot of interesting dishes for them in the past, and Mike suggested we do this for our contribution this Saturday.

"We'll have to make enough for us to save some out for ourselves," I said, after drooling while re-reading the recipe.

"Of course we will," said Mike.

We'll probably triple or quadruple the recipes. :-)

Not long ago, I had an epiphany of sorts, while trying to understand grief and how I continue to feel about my mother's death. The epiphany was an awareness that the childhood me...no longer existed. She was gone and dead, just as Mom was gone. There was no one else left who remembered me from day to day as I grew up. My siblings remember snapshots, but they are also all younger than I am. My aunts remember snippets, but those are even more few and far between.

It's hard, this giving up of self. Each time we lose someone, we lose the shared memories that no one else was privy to. The closer they were, the more private moments...and the more they remember us from a different perspective than anyone else.

I wonder, then, if my grieving is for Mom (who, after all, was ready to go and honestly at peace) or, in a very selfish way, it is for the me of yesteryear.

Today, I stumbled on this quote, never having read the work, and this hit me all over again:

“The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we'd done were less real and important than they had been hours before.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Yeah. That, too. There is no looking at Mom and saying "Do you remember?" So the memory itself is a feather, easily blown away.

When I want to feel better (and am I lying to myself in saying this?), it is to ponder that my remembering means Mom still exists...the Mom of my childhood, "Deb's Mom," is not really gone.

Eleven years ago, we started a count-down to the World Science Fiction Convention in Boston. A week before the convention started, we were putting together displays, laughing, packing many, many boxes, laughing, eating take-out together at the NESFA clubhouse, laughing...

It was exhausting, but rewarding. We were building something special for fandom, and our ego-boo was in seeing it all laid out and running. Not running perfectly...but hell, we didn't do this professionally, we had to do it on the cheap, we did it in our spare time. We wanted it to be perfect, but we settled for 90-95%, most of the time. That was damned good.

Today, there is a group of people who are starting their own week-long count-down to the World Science Fiction Convention. This one is in Spokane, Washington. Their convention has been fraught with difficulties. Many of their people are not laughing. They're not even grinning.

They are still trying to build something special for fandom. They're often not getting much satisfaction. In fact, some are sitting around right now, wishing they were somewhere else, dealing with something else. Perhaps at a villa in Tuscany...perhaps in Port-aux-Français (since that's as far away as one can get from the Spokane Convention Center and still be on land) in the Kerguelen Islands (also known as the Desolation Islands - you can get to the irony of that on your own).

Perhaps any Worldcon that lost its co-chair two weeks after winning the right to host the convention would be taxed. Certainly, it was a devastating blow. This Worldcon has also borne the brunt of attacks on fandom's prized Hugo Awards and, as a result, some of the most difficult and disruptive public scrutiny ever for the convention.

I'm not going to point fingers at anyone here. Not one person. I'm attending the convention and taking part in its program, but none of my sweat has gone into making this year's "fannish family reunion." (Yes, I'll listen when my friends need a shoulder...no, that's not the same thing as sweat equity.)

What I will say is this: If you are going to the convention, say something nice to the people you meet with a "committee" or "staff" or "volunteer/gopher" ribbon. You don't need to compliment them on things. Just say something nice. Or maybe something that will make them laugh. Or smile at them and say nothing at all. (This last works particularly well when you don't much like them.)

For those of us who have slogged this slog, sometimes a smile from someone is better than a paycheck. Hell, it *IS* the paycheck.

It began with Dad.Collapse )

I'm not going to completely duplicate this recipe here...instead, I'll just pop the link in here, and you can look at it at your leisure. The picture on that site of a sweetroll is about 17" across.

There are two filled (almond and apricot) in the oven right now.

Since I am not Italian (and my brother did not meet his wife Denise until he was a grownup...ish), these cookies were not a feature of my childhood. But I shared with my mother a love of licorice. She and I would do battle over the black jelly beans, and we both loved anise as a spice. While the cookie recipe below originally called for all vanilla, that made a wicked bland cookie. I've changed that up to lemon, almond, and anise in the past, and the anise works out the best.These are not Italian cookies of the sort my sister-in-law makes, so I post the recipe with no shame.Collapse )

*And Geisler-Benveniste, in this case...

This is the original "Chex Mix" recipe. It is not what you will find today, and we called it "Scrabble" growing up. Can't tell you, 57+ years on, if it was called "Scrabble" because of some joint marketing effort between Ralston Purina and Parker Brothers...or if it started as a snack mix created by someone else...or if the family just ate a lot of it whilst playing the eponymous game (and trying to beat my maternal grandfather, Lewis R. Shannon,* who used to include names of archaic farm implements and other things). We ate a lot of it, later, playing pinochle. Many, many games of pinochle. Here is additional background and the very yummy recipe.Collapse )

So, this is the recipe we ended up developing, based on what Mike wanted to craft. It is mighty fine...lightly smokey, a titch warm (but mild enough for most people), looser and soupier than our usual (but, again, I like it that way). Here"s the recipe. It"s easy to cut in half, as long as you don"t chop the pot in 2.Collapse )

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