Mike Levy’s Memorial—A Few More Words

May 1, 2017 in Uncategorized

My friend Mike Levy died a few weeks ago and his memorial was this weekend. I spoke at the funeral and this is what I said.

Hello,

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Kelly McCullough and Mike was one of my closest friends. My designated job today is to try to lighten the mood a bit, because we all know Mike would have wanted there to be smiles and laughter here along with the tears and the mourning. Wherever Mike went he carried his wit and wisdom and a profound sense of silliness. He was a man who brought light into dark places—a sort of human phial of Galadriel if you will allow me the reference.

That is the thing I would like us all to carry away from this celebration of his life today, light, wit, silly joy. I can’t imagine anything that would make him happier than to hear his friends and loved ones laughing as they remember him. Over the sixteen years I knew Mike he was a frequent presence at the small gatherings we often have on Friday evenings, and he was always a merry one. Even when he was feeling terrible, and that was too often over the last few years, he was always quick with a joke or a smile and he always wanted to be in the circle where merriment was happening.

There are two pictures of Mike on my social media that I loved more than any others. In one he is standing in my living room with one of my cats on his shoulder and a huge smile on his face. For me it’s the perfect image of happy, kind, Mike, taking joy in communing with a silly little cat. In the second, he and our friend Jonny are both in my kitchen wearing stuffed turkey hats with their arms thrown wide, greeting each other like they were brothers in the International Order of the Turkey—silly Mike in all his goofy glory.

He could be serious too, of course. A scholar, a reviewer, a teacher, a man of words and deep thought who was loved by so many for very good reason. I want to touch on that too, if more briefly. Mike and I have had a number of good natured debates over the years. One of them involves my work.

For the last decade when Mike taught his yearly science fiction course, one of the assigned books was always my WebMage. Every time he taught it he would invite me in to speak with his class about the work, which was invariably a pleasure. Now, I think of myself as a commercial writer first and foremost and that is how I generally talk about my work at places like Mike’s class. But it’s not something he was ever willing to let pass unchallenged. When he spoke about my work he would argue for me having a great passion for politics and ethics in my writing, a tendency to slip deeper topics into light books, and even my literary merit. He always took my work more seriously than I do, and believed in it in ways that I am not generally willing to. My gratitude for that is boundless.

On another matter, though, I have a minor bone to pick with him. I am a fitness buff. I lift weights, run, and do various other things to keep in shape. As I’ve grown older, Mike was quite vigorous in warning me that I need to learn to be gentler with myself, or that one of these days something was going to go pop and stop working. I, on the other hand, have maintained that I know exactly what I’m doing. It’s been a gentle tug of war with no resolution until quite recently. Coincidentally, the same week that he went into the hospital for the last time, I was doing pull-ups when, sure enough, something went pop in my shoulder and stopped working. As was too often the case in arguments with Mike—as I’m sure you all know—it turns out that he was right. It vexes me deeply that he didn’t get the chance to give me that sly smile and gently and kindly say I told you so in a way that made me laugh at myself.

He was a good man and a funny one and I will miss the laughs most of all.

Friday Catoati Blogging

January 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

I iz cat, blog me!

That was NOT a cat!

We totally iz!

See, we do cat stuffs, like dig in trash.

Srsly?

Yeah, we iz trash kings! And we share wit friends. Totally cat!

Oh, hell no.

Wiktory!

 

Camper Instructions

February 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

Camper set up and take down instructions

1) Park on a level surface. Unhook safety chains and lift ball hitch lever. Lower front stand cranking shaft by flipping lever. Reset lever. Crank down front wheel until ball pops free. Move car. Crank front wheel until trailer is mostly level.

 

2) Open trailer door and pull the tubs out, and the bed shelf supports. Find the level in the buckets and finish leveling the trailer—note: roof of trailer is not flat and cannot be used to level the trailer.

 

3) Put all (four) trailer feet down by pulling them out horizontally and turning them down. To adjust heights, put your foot on the lever and the the trailer foot will release.

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4) Walk around the trailer and unlatch all four corner latches.

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5) Find the crank in the buckets and insert into the slot to the left of the trailer door. Start cranking clockwise(?)–it will require a bit of oomph to get it started moving. Keep cranking until it is all the way up.

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6) The bed shelf supports slide into slots on the lower frame, then a right angle piece slots into the upper trailer frame.

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7) Pull the beds out by the handle near the center of the bed edge. You may need to pull up a little bit to get them out. The bed supports will then slide into pressure slots under the bed. These are stiff and may require a tap with a mallet to get them in.

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8) Set the trailer step by pulling up and out. Make sure it is properly seated before stepping on it!

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We usually put the floor mats out too, to avoid getting too much dirt inside the trailer. Go inside the trailer and pull out the stove (skip this as stove is not currently in trailer).

9) Flip the kitchen counter upright.

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10) Pull the cushions off the seats and remove the table (set it on one of the beds). Flip the seat backs up (if the beds aren’t all the way pushed out you can give them a little shove) and replace the cushions. Set the table on one of the seats or out of the way. Under the bed mattresses are the canvas over-the-bed supports.

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11) The bed shelf tent support will slot onto the angled frame and you can use the support to push the angled frame up and away from you. The other side of the support fits into a circular slot on the ceiling with a button to keep it in place. You may need to push hard to get it to fit in. This should set up the frame for the beds. Repeat with the other bed.

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11A) To set up the door, close the lower portion of the door. Reach up to the ceiling of the trailer and unlock (turn) the clips holding the door up.

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11B) The door will swing down. Try not to hit yourself.

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11C) Mate the lower and upper door halves. There is a hinged portion at the top of the door to give you some flexibility in inserting the top of the door into the lower portion.

11D) Once the two door sides are mated, push the door firmly towards the outside of the trailer until it snaps straight. Turn all the latches to hold the door in place.

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11E )Lock the two halves of the door together with the steel latch.

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11F) Connect the Velcro on the outside of the door to be snug all around the door frame.

12)  On the outside of the trailer, go around and cover the four telescoping main supports with the canvas using the Velcro tabs.

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13) Under each bed platform  there are a series of buttons to hook elastic loops onto. Secure all buttons

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14) Make sure all the zippers are down as far as they go. Plug any small gaps with a bit of cloth.

15) Double check footings, door connections, that bed shelves are locked in place.

16) You’re done.

To take camper down reverse the process, make sure to do ALL the steps.

Friday Cat Blogging Missing Meglet December Hiatus

December 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

Hi Folks,

I think I’m going to take December off from cat blogging because I don’t have it in me right now. I just need more time to recover from losing Meg. I will return sometime in January.

Thanks for your patience,

Kelly

Authorial Constructs

March 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

Friday Cat Blogging

February 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

Sometimes you climb the bear.

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Somtimes bear climbs you.

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I do not believe in the bear. I will not believe in the bear. The bear does not see me.

The bear passes me without notice. I will not believe in the bear…

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I AM the bear.

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Screw bears. The laptop is MY nemesis.

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Friday Cat Blogging

June 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

I think I like sitting on the bald monkey’s shoulder’s better…ptui!

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Oh mighty Sun, thou art my one true love!

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Wait, aren’t we supposed to have a theme? Get it together guys! I was thinking jedi cat…

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Now assuming crash position.

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And, one and two, and kick, and two…

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This storyline brought to you by feline committee. Feline committees work really well…

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Friday Cat Blogging

May 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

Ennui cat is bored with this game, thumb-monkey.
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But how could you ever get bored with a BRAID!?!

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I will kill the braid with my mind.

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Ennui…that sounds like so much work.

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Ennui schmennui, I’m watching him put me on the internets, and I am AWESOME!

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Friday Cat Blogging

July 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

I will make you pay for this indignity, thumb-monkey! You’ll rue the day!

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How will you manage that?

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By using this* when the thumb-monkeys buy it for me.

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That could work.

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Let me know when it gets here, I have some eeeebil I mean kind thoughts on uses.

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I can’t get past rue the day. Who talks like that?

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*image courtesy of Matt Kuchta channeling the feline id.

More GF Desserts

March 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

Gluten-free 5 minute chocolate cake for 2:

From our local co-op newsletter, this recipe. I don’t care for chocolate all that much but I really enjoyed this. Of course, its advantages are also its disadvantages (5 minutes! 2 servings!)

Mix together:
4 Tbsp. rice flour (I used all purpose GF flour)
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. xantham gum
2 Tbsp. baking cocoa
1/4 tsp. baking powder

In separate bowl, mix:
1 egg
3 Tbsp. milk
3 Tbsp. oil
splash GF vanilla extract

Combine both mixtures in a large microwave safe mug. Toss in 3 Tbsp. chocolate chips, if desired.

Microwave for 2.5 – 3 minutes. The cake will rise over the top of the mug; don’t be alarmed. Allow to cool and tip out onto a plate. (I ate it hot, not waiting for it to cool.)

English Sticky Toffee Pudding (a Pamela’s Products recipe)

Yield: 8-10 servings

Ingredients:

    • 1 cup boiling water
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 10 oz pitted dates
    • 1-1/2 cups Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • pinch of salt
    • 8 oz soft butter (1 stick)
    • 5 tbsp sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla
Toffee Sauce:
  • 1/2 pint whipping cream
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 oz butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350º.

Pour boiling water on dates and baking soda let sit for 5 minutes.

Grease and line a round pan with wax paper. Beat sugar and butter until airy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat again until well mixed. Stir in Pamela’s Baking ; Pancake Mix and salt with a spatula until well mixed. Add date mixture. Pour into pan. Bake 30 minutes in center oven.

Let cool 5 minutes then invert onto a serving plate.

For the sauce, melt butter and sugar together then add cream and simmer while stirring for 3 minutes. Pour on the cake and serve with fresh whipped cream.

Whipping cream to serve.