chris_gerrib: (Default)
The Magic of Rotary

I have been spending the afternoons here at the Rotary Convention in Atlanta doing tourist-y stuff. Today’s outing was to the Georgia Aquarium. The trip is worth it, although I was a bit distracted because my iPhone decided to completely die. It had plenty of power but just locked up. As this would be highly inconvenient to say the least, I decided to find an Apple Store and get it fixed.

When I exited the Aquarium, I asked a cab driver to take me to one. $25 later, we pull up to a mall well outside of walking distance to my hotel. This was a tactical error on my part – I should have gone to the hotel and had them at least check for a closer store. But here’s where the magic of Rotary came into being. While I’m in line waiting for a tech to look at the phone, I see a guy wearing a Rotary hat. I say hi, and I discover he’s from Nigeria. I also discover that he’s been taking MARTA (Atlanta’s version of the EL) to the con, and there’s a MARTA station at the mall. Money saved!

Even nicer, when I get to the MARTA station, I’m approached by a couple wearing Rotary gear and, in German-accented English, they ask me where the mall was. (It was behind an office building, and not immediately visible.) So I helped them out. That’s what Rotarians do.

Other Good News

In other good news, it appears that I will be on programming at Worldcon. They’ve sent me a draft schedule which they’ve asked us not to share so I won’t, but that does suggest I’ll get something. Go me!
chris_gerrib: (Default)
Over the weekend, I reviewed my European travel plans. After checking with the travel people that any flight out of Hamburg after 2 PM on the day the cruise ship arrives should be safe, I found a 5 PM Lufthansa flight to Lithuania. I still don't get to Lithuania until nearly midnight, but that's better than my previous arrival time of 4:30 Sunday afternoon. Since I have to fly into Kaunas, as Vilnius airport will be closed, I went ahead and booked myself for 2 nights in Kaunas. That gives me 2 days to do other explorations.

My next stop is the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture for some research. Hopefully I can get some clue as to where the old Gerrib stomping grounds are. Right now I'm flying to Finland on Wednesday, although if I get some useful information I may make that Thursday instead. The preliminary business meeting at Worldcon will have to do without me. Frankly, other than being a minor member of the Best Series committee, I really don't have any business for the Business Meeting.

Also over the weekend, on Sunday my Rotary club volunteered for the Darien Dash, our annual 5K and 10K run. The weather forecast said mostly cloudy, so I left my hat in the car, then the skies turned blue for a good two hours, so I'm red-faced today. Oh well.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
With apologies to the very good movie of the same name.

The Good

My Rotary club's annual fundraiser is in the bag bank. It appears like we made significantly more money than last year. I hesitate to say more as we're still waiting for final numbers.

The Bad

On CNN in the lobby this morning, I see that Trump had the entire US Senate over to the White House for a briefing on North Korea. One presumes they were told that the Norks were This Close to building atomic bombs. Interested parties should read this well-written piece on that other budding nuclear power, Iraq: Operation Desert Snipe Hunt.

The Ugly

Also on CNN and various other sources, the GOP is taking another stab at repealing Obamacare. Notable is that they exempt themselves from some of the deleterious side effects.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
I've written before of flying cars. Over at File 770, they have a nice little roundup of various current attempts to crack the problem. It's beginning to look like the mechanical problems are solvable. The issues of turbulence and traffic are lagging behind.

In other news, my Rotary club's annual fundraiser is tomorrow. You can go here to participate from anywhere in the world.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Upcoming Events

1) Tonight (Friday February 24) at 5 PM CST - Speculative Fiction Cantina podcast!

2) Friday March 10 from 8 to 11 AM CST - Area Technology Experts Discuss Tomorrow’s IT Workforce March 10 at COD’s Tech Talk Live.

3) On Sunday March 19, I will be at the Indian Prairie Public Library for the Local Authors Fair.

4) On Tuesday April 25, my Rotary club will be hosting their Taste of Route 66 fundraiser and restaurant sampling. You can bid without attending, including on a chance to be a character in my novel!

Links of Note

My high school classmate, Mary Maskel-Szymonik, owns a Harley Davidson. She rides same, including in a fundraising drive for Little Angels home for disabled children. I gave and encourage you to give too.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Last night, the Rotary Club of Darien held a Volunteer Appreciation Night at Miskatonic Brewing in Darien IL. The Darien club's signature project is "Food for Kids" which is a program to provide supplemental nutrition to 195 grade school children in Darien and Burr Ridge.

In this program, the club buys kid-friendly food (such as individual cereal boxes) in bulk. The club, working with area volunteers, break down the bulk items into one child, one weekend packets, which are discreetly distributed to needy children by the school. The Darien club wanted to recognize volunteers who went above and beyond to assist.

The following volunteers were recognized:

(Not able to attend) Nick Schanker

(L to R) Maryann Kerrins, Tom Kerrins, Rotary club coordinator Joan Wayman



(L to R) Megan Dooley, Beth Dooley, Joan Wayman



The club also announced that Megan Dooley, an incoming freshman at Hinsdale South HS, will be attending Rotary Youth Leadership Activity.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
The day got away from me, largely due to a series of meetings. A good chunk of what time I did have got lost in phone-mail hell dealing with AT & T. My home phone has not worked since Thursday, and I finally got hold of a human today. She told me that a CO had flooded out, thus my lack of dial tone. I'm promised dial tone on Tuesday.

Over the weekend, I reviewed my vacation plans, and decided on the Redneck Riviera, namely Gulf Shores Plantation in lovely Gulf Shores Alabama. I'm going in early December, which should be warm but not hot, and flying in via Pensacola. There's historical stuff to see in both Pensacola and Mobile, so I should be okay for things to do.

Tomorrow, my Rotary club is having an evening meeting at Miskatonic Brewing, starting at 6:30 PM. Anybody who can read this is welcome to attend.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I mentioned on Friday that I was planning to be out of pocket. I was, because I was taking a ride in a Beechcraft Bonanza (the S-35 model, built in 1963) owned by a Rotarian friend of mine. At our charity auction in March, he sold a "$100 hamburger" event. For those not clicking through, "$100 hamburger" is aviation slang for flying to a nearby airport, having lunch, and flying back.

Our flight was from Brookeridge, a fly-in community in Darien. My pilot had a hanger in the backyard of his house where he kept the plane, and an alley / taxiway to the runway. The weather was warm, with spotty low clouds, which yielded a bumpy ride. We went right over Midway Airport (at ATC's direction), flew a loop around downtown, then west of Midway he gave me the controls. I did a pair of turns and a few minutes of straight and level stick time, then our pilot landed at Pilot Pete's, a restaurant at Schaumburg Airport.

After lunch, we took back off and headed south, buzzing my house before landing. It was an interesting way to spend a couple of hours.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Yesterday's radio silence was brought to you by my Rotary club's annual fundraiser, A Taste of Route 66. it was held last night at Carriage Greens Country Club in Darien. We're still counting the cash and collecting expenses, but preliminary numbers are looking good.

The event was a lot of work, of course, but for the first time in a decade I wasn't in charge. It was nice not having that burden. I did help at checkout, a job I finished by 9:30. I was invited by the committee to join them at a side bar for a drink, which turned into several, so I didn't get home until midnight. As a result, my tail is dragging a bit today.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I seem to have fixed one of my rants from yesterday, namely activating my Bank of America credit card. It merely took another 15 minutes of insipid hold music. We'll see if I fixed rant #2 about Walgreens.

In other news, John Scalzi is on fire about the current Presidential primaries. I voted in the Democratic primary here, as we had a contested Senate race. Although I'm not in Cook County, I note with some pleasure that Anita Alvarez, the incumbent State's Attorney, will be out of a job come November.

Lastly, we're getting fast and furious in trying to book people for my club's annual fundraiser, A Taste of Route 66. Interested parties can bid without attending, including such items as making Yours Truly cook for them or becoming a character in one of my books. Bid early, bid often.

chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
A few weeks ago, the science fiction editor David Hartwell died suddenly. I may have said hi to Hartwell at a con, but certainly no meeting of substance. In any event, Hartwell's wife, Kathryn Cramer, posted a request that, in lieu of flowers, people send money to the rural hospital Hartwell died in to buy the hospital a ventilator. (They didn't have one, although the lack of one was not medically significant in Hartwell's case.) Feeling generous, I sent a few bucks.

Over the weekend I got a letter from the hospital. Turns out that the reason the hospital doesn't have a ventilator is staffing, not cash to buy the machine. The hospital talked to Cramer and all of these donations are now going to support the emergency room.

In Rotary, when we do an international grant, we insist that somebody do a community needs assessment before we write the check. This sometimes feels awkward, in that the typical Third World town frequently "needs" everything. However, it's important to determine what the community needs and more importantly what they can (and will) use.

Cramer's request sits as a case in point. Fortunately, everything worked out in the end.

Fundraising

Feb. 1st, 2016 09:51 am
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
As mentioned previously, my Rotary club is gearing up for our annual fundraising event, to be held April 5th. Right now we're trying to line up big-ticket items, mostly experiential. Tours, vacations, dinners - the kind of stuff you can't buy at Wal-Mart.

At any fundraising event, their are three groups of people. One group consists of "true believers" who are invested in the cause and need little excuse to give. A second group consists of friends - people who are friends of true believers. They need some excuse to give. The third group is people who are there for the food.

That sounds harsh, and maybe it is, but what I mean are people who are attending because their company wants to support the cause (or be seen supporting it). This can also include people just looking for something to do that night, or really anybody not invested in the cause or the organizers. To get these people to spend money (or at least more money than a raffle ticket) you need stuff they can't buy at Wal-Mart.

Thus endeth the lesson.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Herewith, some thoughts on various subjects.

Writing

Elizabeth Bear, a prolific writer, is wise on finding your voice in writing and in life.

Doing Things

For the past decade, I was Fundraising Czar for my Rotary club. The slightly humorous title aside, that meant I was responsible for raising the $25,000 to $35,000 a year our club spent on various charitable projects. This year, I handed that title off to another person. I'm still on his committee, so I get to see how he handles things, which is very differently then I did. There really is more than one way to skin a cat.

Computer Users

As an IT professional, I get irritated when people get errors on their system which they don't read. My irritation is that, having not read the error, they then call me because their system doesn't work. The picture below explains things from the end-user's perspective.

chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Yesterday was a busy day. I started out by handing out dictionaries to 3rd graders as part of the Darien Rotary Club's literacy project. Then I actually had a Rotary meeting, at which I was the guest speaker, presenting on the Rotary Foundation. After a bit of day jobbery, I went to the gym and had a writer's workshop.

The writer's workshop was good, and my revised-for-the-upteenth-time Chapter 1 of One of our Spaceships is Missing received general acclaim and mild tweaking. Go me! We, the writers, also decided to go with a twice-a-month schedule. I'm a bit concerned about actually getting stuff ready on that tight a schedule, but we'll see.

After that, I got to drive home from St. Charles in the fog - a fog that hadn't lifted when I drove in to work today. Now, Daye Jobbe calleth.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Today is the calm before the storm. At work, things will get busy next week with meetings and a branch closing. This weekend, I'm working a festival for Rotary, and Tuesday night we have our first food for kids packing session. Somewhere in all of this I need to pick up a costume and pack for my cruise.

ETA: Have Two Links

1) Thoughts on 9/11. Money quote: A few sad teenagers have committed far, far more domestic terror attacks than all the Islamic militants in the world over the past decade, and that is an outcome I think very few would have predicted, myself included, in the aftermath of 9/11. I’m sure the Rudy Guiliani set would love to take credit for the lack of attacks, but I think any serious expert on stopping domestic terrorism attacks would agree that the only way to bat as close to 1000 as we have is if your enemy is fictional.

2) Once again, there is no 'war on cops'. Money quote: So far, 2015 is on pace to see 35 felonious killings of police officers. If that pace holds, this year would end with the second lowest number of murdered cops in decades.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Last night, I handed over the reins of power* of my Rotary Club to the new president, JoAnne Ragona. We had a nice dinner and drinks at Bobak's Signature Events in Woodridge. So now I'm (again) a Past President.

In other news, edits for the re-issue of The Mars Run hit my in-box last night.




* being President of a Rotary club is like being chief herder of cats. Rotary clubs by design have many chiefs and no indians.

Yippee!

Mar. 25th, 2015 10:30 am
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
So, yesterday was my Rotary club's annual fundraiser, our second annual "Taste of Route 66." I spent most of the day running around getting set up for it, then acting as Master of Ceremonies at the event. The setup went much smoother than prior years, and so that part got done early. We had a minor glitch in that the auctioneer was late, and I discovered that if you have your credit card Square plugged into your phone it won't work as a phone.

That's the bad news. The good news that, based on a back-of-the-envelope calculation, we made almost twice as much as last year! Yeah team!
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
It's officially the 4th day of spring, but here in Chicago it's snowing to beat the band, so I'm not really feeling spring-like. Traffic is a bit slow, which confuses me since the snow is not sticking to any road more trafficked than a driveway, but then many things confuse me.

At any event, have a few links:

A) A reminder, my Rotary Club's fundraiser is tomorrow. You can attend or participate online. I'm offering a special prize - a steak and wine dinner cooked by me.

B) I've never been abused, but this abuser's hustle looks shockingly like what I see Internet trolls do.

C) So, while looking for something else, I came across "the box of truth." Two gun owners, both retired and with access to a range with a liberal policy, test various guns and gun myths. You'll see a couple more posts from them, but for today:

what really happens if you shoot rock salt from a shotgun

buckshot patterns from a shotgun (hint - get closer)

shooting off a padlock ain't like you see in the movies
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Three things make a post, or so they say.

Thing #1

An interesting story - American man goes to German hospital for possible heart attack, and is told "no insurance accepted." He's concerned, until he's give the all-clear and the bill - $180.

Thing #2

A long and sad article about child endangerment. The tl;dr version? Bible-thumping State representative uses clout to adopt three troubled kids, despite being told repeatedly that he's not capable of handling them. His exorcism doesn't work (surprise, surprise, says Gomer Pyle) so he pawns the kids off to another family. One of the kids gets raped (again) by the pawn-ee. A man has got to know his limitations.

Thing #3

On a more positive note, my Rotary club is running a raffle to raise funds to feed kids here in Darien. Tickets can be purchased online here.

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