Today I’m thankful to be a part of an amazing, small, spontaneously-formed online community called the UCF. It stands for, variously, Union of Collaborating Founders, Us Cool Folks, or United Cranky F***ers, depending on the day.
Some history… A few years ago, prominent SF author John Scalzi started a discussion board on his popular, heavily commented blog. A small group of us hit it off in that environment, primarily around a hilarious, long-running thread about the Future Emperor of the Universe. Many were unhappy with the lack of moderation and left when the trolls took over the playground, and the original forum eventually faded away. Our small group stayed together. We gradually migrated to each others’ blogs, pulling a few others into our orbit as we coalesced, and then to an email list and our own community forum.
Today there are about 20 of us, give or take, who have become fast friends over the years. We are far from like-minded, but do have a few things in common:
- All of us are avid readers.
- Most of us are SF fans, but not all… some prefer horror or fantasy.
- Many of us have blogs, but not all, and we’ve peer-pressured a couple of folks into starting blogs along the way.
- Some of us write creatively and enjoy each others’ support with that, but many others have no interest.
- Most of us are fairly politically and/or socially liberal, but not all – there are conservatives, libertarians and independents among us.
- I think all of us are huge fans of science, but only some of us are avid followers of politics.
- Most of us are fairly well educated but others have chosen different paths to success.
- Our ages range from late 20s to late 50s – some married, some single, some with children and some child-free.
- Many of us facebook, tweet, text and snail mail each other, but some choose not to.
- Most of us have met one or more other UCF members in real life, and some have met several – myself included.
- And, finally, all of us are articulate, outspoken communicators who are caring and supportive of each other.
We have no goal, no mission, no leadership, no rules (in spite of the future emperor being among our ranks). We have described ourselves as an online secret society devoted to threadjacking, debunking bad science and practicing covert espionage around the world. And yet we’ve supported each other emotionally and practically, through divorce, death in the family, loss of a home, loss of a job, going back to college, child crises and more. (In fact, we can all agree, I think, that 2010 has been a cursed year for most.)
These amazing people (many linked on the blogroll to the right), discovered through the most unlikely of scenarios, are my family of choice. I am intensely grateful for their love and companionship.
Posted on Tuesday, December 14th, 2010 by Jeri
Under: gratitude, ucf | 9 Comments »
This last week I was in Denver on business. The wide open skies and fabulous sunshine were awesome, as were my excellent hosts, Hot Chick JanieceTM, her Smart Man, and their giant, sweet schnauzer Boogie. They took excellent care of me – thank you for everything!
Boogie, Janiece and the perennially cheerful (and anonymous) Smart Man.
I took some time off for fun on Thursday and Friday, and much fun was had by everyone. The Incomparable AnneTM and the Organized StaceyTM joined us for massages, shopping and pedicures, and Stacey’s husband JR jumped on board for dinner at local Asian restaurant Junz.
Stacey and Janiece. This was taken at dinner, after a Lemon Drop or two.
Anne, Jeri & JR (Stacey’s husband). Terry and JR were highly entertained by our company.
Jeri, Anne and Janiece at PF Changs, where we ate lunch in honor of our friend John.
Posted on Saturday, May 22nd, 2010 by Jeri
Under: friends, ucf | 4 Comments »
I’m finally done editing and posting Trollopalooza 2009 photos. It was a fabulous time – Janiece and her smart man are gracious and thoughtful hosts and Anne, Michelle and Michael were tremendous fun as well. I’m as always very grateful for the blessing of the awesome friends I share my life with.
I was greeted at the airport by laughing women bearing “Drunken Trollops” signs.
Jeri, Anne & Michelle at our fabulous sushi/Asian cuisine dinner the first night.
We pose in front of the Garden of the God(desse)s sign.
The three trollops, not unlike the three stooges, pose for a mug shot.
On the way out of Colorado springs, we stop for a brief field trip. Those of you who know us well understand the irony of this picture.
On the final night, Michelle and Anne baked for us! Yum, home-baked Oreos!
It was sad leaving these ladies and returning home to my mundane life. Thankfully, there’s twitter, Facebook, IM and everything else – because they are made of awesome. Thanks for the fabulous weekend – and again, thanks to my excellent hostess Janiece!
Posted on Friday, July 31st, 2009 by Jeri
Under: friends, ucf | 1 Comment »
Today is national limerick day. Both Nathan and Vince have made contributions – neither are entirely safe for work.
After ten minutes of noodling about, I can safely say that this is not my thing. I can approximate the meter but am completely lacking the humor part of the form.
There once was a game geek named Zach
Whose screen turned surprisingly black
But then he restarted
His crash was outsmarted
And now he continues to hack
A singer and actor named Ben
Auditioned for All the Kings’ Men
He dressed to the nines
and remembered his lines
He’s opening Friday at ten
There once were two dogs who stood guard
Both Panda and Murphy barked hard
Then they slept in
Missed all their bacon
And now they dig holes in the yard
Posted on Tuesday, May 12th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: humor, ucf | 5 Comments »
I got to get together with Neurondoc in person today! She is every bit as charming, funny and wise in person as she is online.
This really poor quality pic from my Blackberry is the evidence – my apologies. I am the jolly green giant, she is the tiny one who is actually in focus.
We had a wonderful seafood dinner on the waterfront (Elliott’s Oyster House), with oysters (for me), calamari, crab and scallops. Yes, John, they were raw oysters. Then, as planned, we did the monster truck rally, ultimate fighting championship, strip clubs, and hit the Pioneer Square nightclubs until dawn. (I lie. A lot. I was home by 9:30 and that’s with a half hour wait for the ferry.)
I look forward to getting together with her again later this week!
Posted on Saturday, April 25th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: friends, ucf | 15 Comments »