Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.


 Contact me at yetanotherjournal (at) mindspring (dot) com

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» Saturday, April 12, 2014
And So To Bed...

...or putting new sheets on it, anyway.

Not much of a day. We went to Publix for twofers before James left for his club meeting. I did some tweaking of the zipper pulls on our backpacks (I now have each of the large compartments marked on both of them) and hung them up in the closet, wrote out some Easter cards, emptied the dishwasher, and ended up watching about half of The Courtship of Andy Hardy and, a little later, the second half of the first part of MGM: When the Lion Roared.

When James came home we went to Fresh2Order for supper. I love their creamy chicken vegetable soup, it's almost like a stew, but it has some very strong herbs in it and it's one of those days when no matter what I eat, if it's got more than the taste of a piece of bread, it makes me sick. James didn't look so well after dinner, either; he said his chicken tortilla soup was very salty. We weren't even halfway through Costco when he said he felt sick, so I finished the shopping quickly (we only needed a few things, and we got the latest Hobbit saga, since we never saw it in the theatre) and we headed home. He didn't feel better until later in the evening. This is the second day in a row that Mexican food has made him ill.

So instead of checking out Michaels we sat at home watching this week's "fix" of Peter and Dave (a.k.a. Flipping Boston) and Too Cute. Going to have to watch episode 859 of This Old House online; last week they said it was episode 859 but showed episode 858 over. It was on again this week, but the channel went off and we got a half-hour of a solid yellow screen. Grrr! Also watched the end of The Misfits and finally Yukon Vet.

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Flourish

» Friday, April 11, 2014
Thank God It's Friday

Sleeping late is the best reward. :-)

So next there was breakfast with Snowy, and it wasn't until 10:30 that I finally got out the door. I tried going the "scenic route," but sadly there was a very...slow...train going through Vinings, so I turned around and just went through West Paces Ferry Road. The early blossoms—Bradford pears, plum flowers, daffodils, and forsythia—are gone and both the pink and the white dogwoods are in full riot, and the azaleas with flowers so bright; juicy red and pale purple, bright coral, peppermint pink, and icy white are everywhere. Violet phlox dots the edges of lawns and multicolor tulips bob in rows and pansies smile from plum and saffron faces.

Stopped at the Buckhead Barnes & Noble for a nice browse. They had the March "Best of British" and I got the 30th anniversary issue of "Country Sampler" as well. Picked up the first book in a mystery series about a Los Angeles bicycle cop. I don't usually like police procedurals, but I was intrigued by the feminine lead, who is of mixed white and Japanese ancestry. Still debating about a mystery series set in Vermont. I do want to get a copy of Your Inner Fish, though.

Drove down Peachtree Road to Richard's Variety Store. I love wandering through here; it's the closest I'll ever get again to an old Woolworths or Kresges. They have a lot more books than they used to, and I love their children's area, which is full of old classics like Blueberries for Sal, Lois Lenski's "Small" books, Dr. Seuss (I was really tempted by a copy of The 500 Hats of Bartholemew Cubbins, my first Seuss), The Five Chinese Brothers, and others of that ilk.

Headed home but was growing quite peckish, as it was 2:30 by that time, so I detoured after passing Cumberland Mall and went to Panera to have a cup of soup. When I handed the cashier my card, he said, "You have a free bowl of soup coming. Do you want to use it?" Why, yes! Sat sipping soup and reading 1913, and then arrived home to check out this week's episode of The New Lassie and read the "Country Sampler" until James came home. He was feeling a bit under the weather, so we ordered in. I just had some chicken wings.

Later in the evening we watched the news, and I watched the Dateline about the Boston Marathon bombing last year, and then we both watched Hawaii Five-0.

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» Sunday, April 06, 2014
And Finally, the Falls...

So James went off to work this morning, and I was soon up again myself. Turned the television on for Snowy, and headed cross-town, with breakfast second-verse-same-as-first, except I sat alone today and there weren't any bagels. I had bread and butter instead.

And since there was only one Doctor Who panel at this convention, you can bet I was at it. What does the good Doctor have to do with Sherlock Holmes? Well, several people who have played the Doctor have also played Sherlock, including movie Doctor Peter Cushing as well as Tom Baker (who also donned a Sherlock-ish costume in "The Talons of Weng-Chiang."). Plus Mark Gatiss does Sherlock as well as Doctor Who)...and besides, who cares—it's Doctor Who. We talked about the original series and the long gap filled by Big Finish audio productions and then the new series, panelists named their favorite Doctors, folks used to the new series asked for old series' episode suggestions, and all sorts of good Who goodness.

And since I never met a Watson I didn't like (even when Gareth David Lloyd runs into dinosaurs), the next panel had to be "Watsons Through Time," wherein we went from no Watson at all (the silents and William Gillette, because nobody else in the cast could be as important as...William Gillette) to avuncular and absurd Watson (poor Nigel Bruce, of course, who was a better actor than Watson's lines gave him credit for) and to the competent Watson of today. Lots more talk about the Russian series. Must look that up on YouTube.

Next came a panel I had been looking forward to, about the various illustrators of the Sherlock Holmes' stories when they first appeared, from the classic ones by Sydney Paget (sadly, Paget later died a painful death). His brother Walter, whom they originally wanted to illustrate the stories, did one issue, and then the illustrations were turned over to Frank Wiles and even Charles Dana Gibson (creator of the Gibson Girl), and several others. I was quite taken by an illustration of Sherlock Holmes among his books. [Looked it up after I got home and posted it on my Facebook page.]

Next, another fanfiction panel, and I did ask if and where the gen stuff was, and they said it was out there. Must do more digging. This was more about mechanics as well: finding time to write, improving your writing, beta readers, etc.

So now there was a choice. There was an Elizabeth Peters' memorial panel going on, but I found myself wandering toward the room where they were having the trivia contest. Remember the fellow who was on the radio panel, asking the difficult trivia questions? He was running trivia. But I did see Ken Spivey and his daughter Aubrey in the room, and mom Alice had said we ought to team up on the trivia contest. Oh, well, it's just a game.

They were making groups of five, and just as I was coming in, Aubrey asked two young ladies, Abby and Shannon, if they would join her and her dad. Yep, here comes me, the fifth wheel. Soon about six or seven other groups of five were formed, and off we went on a bewildering jumble of facts from canon, radio, films, television, and just about any Sherlockania that struck the "chairman," as the Brits would call him, down to Garfield donning a deerstalker. Luckily, it was multiple choice. Unluckily the scoring was just the way it was when we played trivia at Rockfords, six rounds, bet your high points on the sure answers and save the lower points for ones you weren't sure of. We found out Raymond Massey was Jeremy Brett's father-in-law and that Brett chose his stage surname from the label in one of his first suits, that of Peter Capaldi, Nicholas Briggs, Tom Baker and Colin Baker, only Colin Baker had never played both the Doctor and Holmes, and other such minutia. We held our own the first couple of rounds, had a bad third (or was it fourth?) round, and ended up...

...amazingly, winning! This was due to Abby knowing a bunch of Brett facts and Ken knowing the bonus question, which was about a short, silent spoof of Sherlock Holmes called "The Curse of the Leaping Fish" that had the star, Douglas Fairbanks, stoned on cocaine!

There was one more facet to the contest: the members of the winning team did a "Family Feud" game, and whomever got the most points got the grand prize, a clever jointed marionette that looked like Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch. The other prizes were colored pencil sketches of Jeremy Brett, David Burke and Edward Hardwicke (Brett's two Watsons), and Peter Cushing. Abby got the most points, but she had eyes for nothing but the Brett portrait, so Aubrey, who came in second, got the Cumberbatch prize. I was third and picked the Burke because he was such a good-looking Watson. :-)

And then it was it...the final panel, the "what did we do right/wrong" panel, which was packed. I was squeezed in the back next to New York Lady, and we could hardly hear most of the questions and half of the answers, so I slipped out after about 35 minutes since we were expected at Ken's birthday party and I hadn't wrapped his gift yet!

James had our steaks marinating and had gotten some watermelon to share, so I just had to wrap the gift and we were off. It was a nice party, but I was glad to get home and rest.

And so tomorrow work is afoot...

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» Saturday, April 05, 2014
Deductive Day

[Since anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I'm writing this post and Sunday's post "after the fact," I'll note here that the final panel I attended at 221B was the wrap-up where they ask your likes and dislikes. Several people besides Teri Sears, New York Lady [never saw her name tag], and I complained that there were no panelists' names with the panels. This was explained that it was because several people didn't want to use their real names on the panel. ??????? The only thing I could think of was because if some of the fanfiction writers' real names got out in connection with their fic (perhaps someone who is a teacher at a conservative school is outed as someone who writes "Johnlock" or even just explicit "Sherlolly," for instance) there might be problems. Can't they just use their pseudonyms? And if it's that problematic for their real names to get out, should they even be appearing at the convention in person? The way Facebook/Instagram posts get around, isn't there always a chance someone will pass on a shocked message: "Look, isn't this Sister Scholastica...OMG she writes porn!"

Anyway, on my blog posts this is why I can't properly acknowledge a lot of people, like the women who did the Paget (etc) panel, except for Louis Robinson, Jana Oliver, and Sacha Dzuba, who I know on sight.]

So I was off to the second day of 221B Con. Felt a bit bad, as James was supposed to have lunch with the old hobby shop gang and have a "guy day." But the guys were all in Anniston for a model show. So he went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and Trader Joe's and did other errands and I zipped off to the Perimeter Marriott. The hotel had a breakfast buffet for eight dollars, which for a big hotel (especially this hotel; the food is expensive!) is great, so I ate breakfast there: oatmeal, fruit, three slices of bacon, a bagel, cereal, and a couple of slices of turkey in a slice of bread that I wrapped up in some foil I had. I had a chicken sandwich for lunch (not to mention some goldfish crackers, peanuts, peanut butter and crackers, and an orange cup), so this meant I didn't have to scrounge for supper.

My first panel was Brett vs. Rathbone, but I don't think we really "decided" anything. :-) I don't think the way the writers wrote Nigel Bruce's Watson should reflect on Basil Rathbone's Holmes, so I thought that argument against Rathbone by the woman on the panel was a bit unfair. The gentleman on the panel, an historian from Nova Scotia, made good points about Rathbone. He thought Jeremy Brett's portrayal was too restless. I can't judge, because I've seen one Brett (don't judge me!) and only one Rathbone recently, but the latter did have what I think of as the Holmes "look."

Next panel: "Canon 101," for those who hadn't read the stories/novels, or just wanted things clarified. I asked the one I'd always been puzzled by...is it The Sign of Four or The Sign of the Four? Well, both. It was published one time one way, one time another. I don't remember anything amazingly unique about this panel, but I enjoyed it immensely just to be talking about books. One of the things they did point out was that much of how we envision Holmes and Watson comes from the illustrations to the original stories (to be covered in another panel).

"Holmes Through the Years" was an appropriate follow-up of media portrayals of Holmes, from the first three-minute Sherlock Holmes Baffled (a very early silent film) to the current various incarnations (Downey, Cumberbatch, and Miller), with stops, of course, at the classics: William Gillette, who did the first Holmes play with the blessing of Conan Doyle, everyone's favorite Nazi fighter Basil Rathbone, perennial favorite Peter Cushing (for both a movie and a television series), early British movie favorite Arthur Wontner, BBC 60s favorite Douglas Wilmer, and of course Jeremy Brett. One notable exception: Ronald Howard (son of Leslie Howard) in the 1950s series was not mentioned. Of interest this year is a new Russian adaptation of the stories, in which Holmes comes off as a rather Bolshevik type!

Of course had to go to the Cabin Pressure panel! This is a goofy sitcom on BBC radio about a one-plane airline, MJN Air (the initials stand for "my jet now," as the owner got the plane in her divorce settlement) and its owner and employees. Carolyn Knapp-Shappey is the crusty owner, and Arthur Shappey is her dimwitted son, who acts as the steward on the flights. The pilots are Martin Creiff, younger and barely competent, and Douglas Richardson, older but having been fired from his former job for smuggling. Each week the crew takes on odd charters and goes to odd corners of the world, like Qikiqtarjuaq. Why is this being discussed at a Sherlock Holmes convention? Well, because Benedict Cumberbatch plays Martin, of course. About halfway through the panel, one of the panelists started texting John Finnemore (the creator and writer of the series, who also plays Arthur), and he started texting answers to questions back!

Next on schedule was the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company's two productions. One was a Dr. Geoffrey Stanhope adventure taking place at Loch Ness, "The Dweller in the Depths," in which a military man's fishing trip is rudely interrupted by a party of scientists looking for a creature in the lake. The other story was Rudyard Kipling's "The Mark of the Beast," a supernatural tale of what happens after a drunken Englishman defiles a native temple. Perhaps not totally Sherlockian, but totally period to Holmes. The Kipling is particularly chilling.

To fill in the rest of the hour, I went to the Douglas Wilmer panel. Wilmer played Holmes in a black-and-white television series made by the BBC in the mid-1960s, with Nigel Stock as his Watson. As I understand, these are no great shakes, but not a bad interpretation, and some people he looks the most like Holmes. His Watson was halfway between the bumbling Nigel Bruce type and the competent Watson of the present; for his Holmes he was an aide-de-camp. I left this panel a bit early to take the opportunity to finally stroll through the dealer's room. This was mostly jewelry, buttons, and artwork, all very nice but nothing I really wanted. I did go back and buy a couple of bookmarks for James and Clay, and I also bought myself a cute, small print called "All Holmes...All The Time." It has the classic Sherlock, Cumberbatch's Sherlock with his cell phone, Elementary's Sherlock with his turtle, and Robert Downey Jr's Sherlock with his smoked glasses all in a group before 221B.

The fanfiction panel was next. I'll admit I turned the wifi on and checked out a bunch of the stories they talked about, but– Look, I've got no quibble with adult fanfiction...I've written it. But is that all the fanfic there is anymore? Is no one writing a straight mystery or hurt-comfort or survival stories? Nevertheless, it was a quick hour, with the writers talking about how they had to write one story or a particular scene and people in the audience telling them how much their stories were enjoyed.

I went next to a panel about the film Young Sherlock Holmes. This was one of my favorite films of the 1980s and the only thing I watched on AMC after they cancelled Remember WENN. One of the things they discussed in this panel was the similarities to this film and the Harry Potter films, which I'd never though of before. But then so many British school stories have the same tropes!

At seven was one of the panels I had been looking forward to, the Scotland Yard panel with Jana Oliver and Louis Robinson. Louis' father and uncle had been policemen so he had some knowledge of the procedures there. This also traced the history of the metropolitan London police from watchmen to the Bow Street Runners to the "bobbies" nicknamed after Sir Robert Peel, who established the metropolitan force. There's a certain mystique about "Scotland Yard"—I'll always remember that Get Smart episode where Max infiltrated a KAOS gang and it turned out all of them were infiltrators, too, and when the last man introduces himself as being from Scotland Yard, Max, 99, the CIA guy, the FBI man, and the Naval Intelligence agent all crowd around him in admiration!

And yet another panel I'd been waiting for, the panel on Elementary. Like most of the rest of the once skeptical audience, I'd been very wary about this series. A modern-day Sherlock Holmes in New York and Dr. Watson played by a woman who was his "minder" after his emergence from drug addiction? And wasn't this just like that BBC modern version? Amazingly, it turned out into so much more, and Watson went from "minder" to fellow consulting detective. Panel and participants were all enthused about the characters, although there are still some quibbles about this version's Moriarty. I had to say that one of my favorite things is a very small thing: they actually have weather on this series, rather than your usual television story where it's sunny all the time except during funerals, when it rains, and at Christmas, when it snows. :-) It's all part of making you feel like this is a real world. (I also like Sherlock's house, too, because it's not perfectly groomed!)

And then because I love me a good Watson, I went to the Jude Law as Dr. Watson panel. Frankly, most of the reason that I like the Downey films is that Jude Law makes a smashing Watson. This guy was a doctor and was an Army surgeon who'd survived the war in Afghanistan; he couldn't be an idiot after all.

And finally, even though it was late (it was ten o'clock), I had to go to the "Sherlock Holmes and Dinosaurs" panel. In case you are unfamiliar with this "brilliant" film, here's what I wrote about it back in 2012:

...I put on a 2010 movie called Sherlock Holmes—not the one you are thinking of! This movie stars Gareth David-Lloyd of Torchwood as Dr. Watson and Ben Syder as Sherlock Holmes. James sat down to watch with me. My gosh, what a howler! I can't even list all the howlers...take the one scene where Watson goes for a morning constitutional and Holmes accompanies him. Within short walking distance from 221B Baker Street, in the very center of crowded, cobbled metropolitan London, apparently there is an extensive overgrown—and I mean overgrown!—wood with some deserted outbuildings! The film also involves a sea serpent, a dinosaur, and what looks like a copper robot, plus a clockwork human and Sherlock Holmes' older brother (not Mycroft Holmes) who is a former police detective. Not to mention that the actor who played Holmes was shorter than everyone else in the cast (Doyle's Holmes is quite tall) and played the role in such a colorless manner that he pretty much faded into the woodwork! Was this because the more well-known Torchwood actor was playing Watson?

When it was finished, James said "Well, there's over an hour of my life I'll never get back." LOL.

The most entertaining factor was that, even with his heavy moustache and thick curly hair, Gareth David-Lloyd was almost a dead ringer for Robert Sean Leonard as Dr. Wilson on House (who is, of course, based on Dr. Watson).


Like many bad movies, this one has its "flop film" fans. Four people sat in the front row with dinosaur hats on, and the panel was raucous and funny, a splendid way to end the day.

Then I hurried home and found everything dark, as James had covered up little Snowy and headed to bed (he has to work tomorrow). He was reading in bed when I tiptoed in to take my shower and head under the covers myself. I guess I'll have to give Snowy a kiss tomorrow!

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Flourish

» Friday, April 04, 2014
Elementary Afternoon

Business to take care of before of pleasure this morning: since James was going to be busy tomorrow, I just went out and did some shopping: Publix and then Kroger. It was spattering rain at this point, but by the time I finished the sun was trying to peek through. We eventually never got the rain they had been predicting all week.

Kept a weather eye out on the traffic. It was still green eastbound when I left about two. After stopping at the ATM, I headed for the hotel where 221B Con was being held. The parking lot didn't look overwhelmed, so I drove up to Barnes & Noble and killed an hour there. By that time it was 3:30 and I was going to have to think about dinner, since I was pretty much blocked for panels from five to eight. So I drove a little further up the road and picked up a cup of soup, a half a tuna salad sandwich on honey wheat, and a bagel with cream cheese at Panera.

There was quite a lengthy line already formed at four when I got back into the hotel, so I just took a bathroom break. Registration opened at four so the line had already moved once I emerged. Got in line behind two people, one dressed as Molly from Sherlock (there are a lot of Mollys here, also a lot of Irene Adlers from the same series, several with "riding crops"), and listened to the babble around me and hoped I'd get my badge before my soup got too cold!

Registration took twenty minutes all told, and then I retreated to a little nook at the end of one corridor where there were two armchairs and a table to eat my soup and peruse the con booklet and the pocket program. Then I took a turn around the hotel to see where things were. Where panel rooms were at Anachrocon were the dealer's room here, and what had been the dealer's room was the tea, which will be panel rooms tomorrow. Here I stopped to talk to Anthony Taylor for a few minutes. All my panels tonight were in the side corridor near the pool; actually all of them were in one room, Polk.

The first panel was "Minorities in Elementary," which was entertaining but eventually wavered into discussion about Irene Adler's character and why people felt no adaptation ever gets close to her real character. The moderator was very opinionated! (Not necessarily a bad thing, but slightly off-putting.) Detective Bell has a lot of fans. :-) They also discussed non-traditional teamings of Holmes/Watson on the web.

The next panel was about Sherlock Holmes as featured in radio series. This was talk about both British and American productions, as well as adaptations from companies like Big Finish. One of the gentlemen on the panel had something like 500 recordings of Sherlock Holmes radio shows! (He asked some trivia questions; this is the person who will be setting the questions for the trivia contest. Yikes! These were hard! Do you know the first television Sherlock was not Ronald Howard?) A few excerpts were played, including a funny sketch from what sounded like a Command Performance radio show during World War II era, in which Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce switched roles (Rathbone was supposed to be Watson and Bruce Holmes, but it got a bit mixed up at the end, and Dick Powell even showed up), and a special treat from Big Finish at Christmastime, in which Holmes stays up to catch Father Christmas.

Louis Robinson was sitting in on that panel, and during the break between the radio panel and the next, he asked me if we had enjoyed the performance at UUMAN two weeks ago. I told him we had and he said that the pianist (Brian) had been a last-minute substitution and they had come up with all the things I loved, like "Pennies from Heaven" and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" at the last moment. Well, you really couldn't have told that at all.

The last panel was "British Panel Shows." Louis was on this panel as well as he used to work for "Auntie Beeb" and he gave us some idea how these "unscripted shows" were scripted. The panel show was something we used to have here—What's My Line, for instance, and I've Got a Secret—but faded out, which were a pity, because those shows are classic. I hadn't heard of several of the panel shows discussed; they were both on television and on the radio, with most of the conversation concentrated on QI, which you can find online and which is really a very funny series with Stephen Fry as the perfect host. I've seen some of the radio ones which they mentioned on the BBC schedule but have never listened to them; I must try them. I also didn't know there was an unexpurgated version of QI. I'm sure that gets very rowdy!

Well, I'd toyed with going to the Canon 101 panel at nine, but after wandering around a bit, peeking into the dealer's room, which I never did get into, and taking a picture of a super TARDIS they had in the middle of the floor, and talking to Caran Wilbanks, I figured I would just head for home. I have a full day tomorrow and it would be nice to have a couple of hours with James.

But I had to laugh when I headed out to the parking lot; the lights around the hotel and the close lot were so bright that the birds were still shouting from tree to tree and it was nearly dark! I stopped under one tree where a mockingbird was beating out one song after the other and started to imitate him. You really piss off mockingbirds this way. :-) Anyway, traffic was normal as it usually is by this time, and James played Tom Bodett (he left the light on for me &lt:g>).

So we talked and Snowy sang and we watched the "viewer-built" episode of Hawaii Five-0 and I cooled off and watched the weather report with horror because now it's going to pour on Monday. Just what I need...grrrrr!

And I have no idea what happened to my glasses; I took them off at some point when I got home and now can't find them. Where's good ol' Sherlock when you need him? Good thing I have a spare pair!

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Flourish

» Sunday, March 30, 2014
Just One More Store

Of course, since we did all the shopping Friday so as to have a free day, what did we do? Yeah, go shopping.

But first we slept late, and then took our time over breakfast. James was so tired yesterday evening I wanted to blow off the BJs trip, but I needed Chex mix for my lunches, and it was some place to walk around. We listened to "The Splendid Table" up and back, and I got lucky and found some SmartPop popcorn there as well.

We also checked out the new outlet mall two exits up from BJs; it opened in the fall and we've been avoiding it ever since. At this point it looks like we can avoid it permanently, since it appears to be, except for a Ghiradelli store, all clothing and shoes. We didn't walk through because the place was mobbed.

Made certain all my Sunday preparations were completed, and then we had supper: grilled lamb shanks, the potato and onion pirogis we purchased at BJs, and a cucumber salad. As we ate, we watched Father Brown (a mystery involving a murder at an asylum), and later the opening episode of the third series of Call the Midwife, and finally the new series of Mr. Selfridge.

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Flourish

» Friday, March 28, 2014
Backing It All Up

Not only didn't want to get up this morning, but proved it by sleeping through my alarm saying "Time to get up, sir!" for forty-five minutes. And then I took three ibuprofin and went back under the covers for fifteen minutes.

My morning after breakfast was taken up shopping for twofers at Publix, and then I put only the perishables away before leaving to go up to Town Center before traffic got bad. Nothing in CD Warehouse (I should know better to expect a miracle and find a copy of Frozen, although I found Saving Mr. Banks last week), and then went to Barnes & Noble next door. Argh! March "Best of British" still not out. Bought two cross-stitch magazines instead, and then found a mystery set in gilded-age Newport. (The writer actually knows Rhode Island, too, unlike other writers I could name.) I also stopped at the Publix behind the B&N to snag some more oatmeal (the one near our house only had two left). I have to stock up because they don't do buy-one get-one on oatmeal during the summer (don't they think people eat oatmeal in summer?) and I have to make sure I have enough before then.

Finally I stopped at Office Max with a coupon to get some Post It tags for work, more bookends to sort out the library, and another little passport drive for a backup for my computer files. I keep forgetting to back up the videos I've been sent.

Tried to get through a few more surveys when I got home. These are so absurd sometimes, asking you if the brand made you feel "more important" or if you use a certain brand so that other people think well of you. What sort of sad person makes a "brand" represent them?

When James got home from work, we had supper at Panera, then went shopping for "exotic" groceries at the Cobb International Farmer's Market on Spring Road, which, back when we were in the apartment, was our old Winn Dixie. They have many Hispanic and Asian foods there, and we needed some black sauce, sweet soy, and sesame oil. The black sauce had done a bunk, but we found the rest.

And then that's what we went home to do: rest and whittle down a few things off the DVR.

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» Monday, March 24, 2014
Not Myself
I've been feeling pretty dispirited since Willow died, but it's a hard slog to fight it off. Friday was perhaps a nadir in the whole post-euthanasia depression: I had an order that had to get out on  Friday and ended up getting out at 5:15 rather than 3:30 because I hadn't done a follow-up e-mail yesterday. I didn't mind for my own part—you make a mistake, you have to correct it—but someone else had to stay late on my account and that wasn't fair. Not to mention the poor car had to chug its way through 80 minutes of traffic rather than 40. James brought home chicken wings from Zaxby's for supper, which helped a lot.

Saturday we drank up sleep the way a thirsty man tosses back a beer. In the afternoon we went to JoAnn with a coupon, stopping to have brunch at Golden Corral. Interesting: this former "steak house" doesn't serve steak at lunch any longer, just hamburgers. I had bourbon chicken, pork ribs, and pot roast instead, with a nice side of peaches and mandarin oranges and some popcorn shrimp, and an amazingly delicious low-sugar blueberry pie. We picked up a few things in JoAnn, and also used some coupons at Michael's, and then I sat in the car reading while James ran into Hobbytown looking for "Sport Rocketry." Alas, no March "Best of British" yet at Barnes & Noble, and I used a coupon on Mary Roach's new book Gulp in paperback.

We came home for a light supper before driving up to Roswell to UUMAN, the Unitarian Universalist Metro Atlanta North church. Louis Robinson and some other musicians were appearing at their coffee house. I did have to laugh when Louis looked out over the audience and commented on how many people he saw from concerts in other places; he looked straight at us and said "My time travelers are even here!" (Because we always see him at panels at Timegate. He then proceeded to promote 221B Con...twice!) It was a lovely night. The sanctuary had great acoustics and the musicians did a nice variety of different styles: 30s-40s standards, blues, and at the end, rock, which James liked the best. I liked the old-fashioned things, of course, including "Pennies from Heaven," "Ain't Misbehavin'," and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," which, perhaps oddly, perhaps not, brought Willow to mind and I had to fight down the tears.

Sunday was another sleep-in day, the usual Sunday chores of getting ready for Monday, and the usual trips to Publix and Kroger. We'd talked about going to the Home Show at the Galleria, but I woke up thinking I didn't want to go, and James voiced the same though a bit later. We didn't really need anything and he was afraid he'd be tempted into buying the pressure cooker we've seen previously. We don't have room for it and a big one such as he wants would be expensive. Instead we drove out to Hiram and strolled around their larger Michaels and also around Five Below. Petsmart, next door to Michaels, was doing adoptions, but it was cats only. On the way homeward we hopped from Walmart to Walmart until we found one with James' favorite deodorant, which we can find only at Wallyworld, and got BreatheRights at CVS before arriving home. We  had chicken and sesame teriyaki noodles, and there was Cosmos to end the night.

As always Sunday night was a pain. I had four hours sleep and paid accordingly at work, sleeplessness usually engendering other problems. Nevertheless, I got a satisfactory amount of work done. I'm guessing my allergy kicked in after lunch, with a perfect storm of sneezes and coughing. Really, tell me why I'm supposed to look forward to spring!

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» Sunday, March 16, 2014
Rain on Sunday

Apparently all the rain fell while we were asleep. I wouldn't know, because by bedtime I had a sinus headache that felt like someone was drilling through the right side of my nose. It's amazing how lonnnnng little actions like covering the birdie, shutting the lights and computer, using the toilet, and taking a shower last when you're in pain. At least when I lay down the ibuprofin kicked in and I don't remember anything until it got light and was damp and warm enough for me to stick my arms out of the bedclothes to get them cool.

We'd listened to weather reports and it was supposed to pour rain all day, but while it was cloudy and gloomy I don't think we encountered any actual rain at all, but then we didn't go out until after three. First we had chores to get through. James got the ladder out and replaced both air intake filters. We covered up Snowy before doing the vent upstairs, but uncovered him before bringing the ladder downstairs so we could show him the ladder and he could see me climb on it. I want to show him that strange things will not always hurt him. James also replaced the blown-out bulb in the kitchen overhead light before taking the ladder downstairs, and got the dishwasher loaded.

I finished taking down the winter decorations (the porch and china cabinet were already cleared), packed them away, and put up the spring decorations. Then I sat down, pulled out all the receipts, and did the taxes, which took about an hour. I don't even bother itemizing things anymore, since our itemized deductions haven't been larger than the standard deduction for years.

Once I was done with that, we went out to Michaels, since there was a special coupon this afternoon: 20 percent off your entire purchase including sale items. I filled up with gasoline first, then we stopped at the QT for a newspaper, and then we finally ended up at our intended location. I picked up some items on sale and on clearance, and found a really great clearance item: a metal rack that has dividers in it to hold pens, paint brushes, glitter containers, etc. with two levels, about the size of a toaster. They had two and I bought two, not sure what I would do with the second.  [When I got home, I noticed that you can remove the dividers. With them out, one of these makes a cool book rack for the hall bath.]

On the way home we stopped at a place we've noted a couple of times, Going Gear on Concord Road. This is a camping store that also has emergency gear. Small but impressively stocked store. Need to stop by at some point and get emergency blankets for the car.

Had steak and home-made fried rice for supper with a cucumber salad. We'd been talking about old bloopers we enjoyed, so I put on two blooper specials I recorded in the early 1980s, More TV's Censored Bloopers and TV's Censored Bloopers #3. Most of these still leave me roaring with laughter, especially the old news bloopers. There's Ron Howard's "never leave a car in drive!" and Tim Conway telling the elephant story (this is on YouTube) and Chad Everett muffing his lines with "luffingsnarf" every five minutes. Now watching the second part of the new Cosmos.

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» Saturday, March 15, 2014
Friends on Saturday

Hard to get up this morning!

We stopped at the Farmer's Market briefly this morning to get James some chicken salad and buy a dessert. The Capra Gia folks had two little white kids with them. They sniffed at hands and even tried to suck on fingers; they must be just weaned. Finally little Blue Collar was bored and lay down to sleep. Little Orange Collar didn't like this and kept pawing him to get up. Blue Collar held out for a good five minutes before just giving in and getting back to his feet. We had ample time to watch them because a train came ambling through town, separating us from the truck. It did speed up after a while, but it definitely was not highballing its way anywhere.

Then a pleasant ride through Villa Rica Road to the Butlers for a pleasant morning of conversation. Juanita was there, looking pale but on her feet (her C-Diff had recurred). We got an update on Lin's eye problem. John and Oreta brought shepherd's pie for lunch. And I had my spring hair trim.

We had to stop at Kroger on the way home (for the stuff we forgot last night) and then bring the stuff home to put away, and then we had a couple of hours to do something fun.

Well, we went to the bookstore, of course. No chance of finding a March "Best of British" yet, but James did get a "Good Food." I was actually looking for a magazine that the BBC was putting out called "Britain 1914," hoping Barnes & Noble might have it, but no luck on that. However, just perusing the "literature and essays" shelves, I found a book I had to have, coupon or no coupon: Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World. Then I went to sit with James in the cafe for a while and enjoyed the jazz they were playing.

We had potlucks for supper and watched two specials on GPB, one about Britcoms and one about  British costume drama. Not even one flash of a scene from Flambards. Booooo! Then we watched programs stacked up on the DVR: Too Cute with miniature poodle, Samoyed, and Chessy puppies; Flipping Boston, and This Old House with someone from Deadliest Catch on. Now watching The Incredible Dr. Pol.

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» Friday, March 14, 2014
Errands on Friday

Remember all those naps you didn't want to take as a kid? Me, too. I want to recall them. I liked the eight hours of sleep this morning.

After breakfast I mailed a package at the post office and then went through the covered bridge neighborhood. All the trees and bushes are in wild bloom: white Bradford pears like giant snowballs, pink cherries and plums, pink and white waxy magnolia blossoms, bright yellow forsythia spikes, waving daffodils in both yellow and white, and even touches of purple phlox at the edge of concrete walls. This trip there weren't any 7 1/2 foot tall trucks going through seven foot clearance.

There was no putting off the Walmart trip today. I needed shorts for hanging around the house in the summer, since my old ones were literally fraying, on my right leg where I pull them down to use the mouse. Lucked out and they already had shorts out. Also had to get the rug for the foyer: check! And more wild bird food—yay, they had finch food! The birds hate the Pennington "classic" mixture with the big coarse seeds. A couple of small things and I was outta there. While I was out I also detoured to Office Max and bought two sets of bookends.

Came home and took the winter decorations off the porch (::sigh::) and replaced them with the spring/summer things: grapevine wreath with purple flowers and a goldfinch and nest and bees, the basket with purple and blue flowers, and all the farm critters (cows and sheep). Put up the spring flag and that was done. Had started taking down the winter decorations in the dining room earlier and at least got everything down and put the year-round fall things back, and the St. Joseph's altar on the china cabinet. Replaced all the apple/cow decor in the kitchen as well.

Watched The New Lassie during lunch and did things here and there until James got home. We had supper at Ken's, picked up a new cylinder for the Soda Stream, stopped for James to use a coupon at World Market, and picked up a couple of things at Michaels before heading home, so I was able to add a "lime" to my St. Joseph's altar, and put a couple of artificial butterflies on the porch wreath and bouquet. Finally, since we were making a fruit salad for Hair Day, we went to Kroger and finished the shopping for the weekend. It's supposed to pour all day Sunday; sure don't want to do the grocery shopping in that.

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» Sunday, March 09, 2014
Spring is Icumen In

Always feel disoriented that first morning of Daylight Saving Time. It didn't help this morning that the sun was quite bright. I thought of the line from Auntie Mame: "Darling, how do you see with all that light?"

We both grabbed a quick bite and then went about mixing pleasure with business: we decided to check out that Barnes & Noble at the Mall of Georgia. It was a bright blue day with the temperature rising rapidly; we wore windbreakers on the outbound leg and discarded them by the time we found the mall (turned out the GPS was directing us to "Mall of Georgia Chrysler-Jeep," which was in the opposite direction). Listened to an edition of "The Splendid Table" on the way there.

The first thing we did was have lunch at the food court at something called "Fresh Market," which was really a glorified Chinese restaurant. I had charbroiled chicken strips with potatoes and cucumber/tomato salad; the chicken was rather greasy and a tad peppery. I ate it anyway. Then we went upstairs to check out a store that the app PointInside was here (a bakery) but it was gone and yet another clothing store was in its place. We strolled through Godiva Chocolate, but, as always, the prices made us flinch.

The Barnes & Noble is across from the food court in an area of stores and restaurants gathered about a brick courtyard that has a fountain and a concert venue. There was a nice strong breeze still blowing outside, and I think I could stand summer if it never got warmer than 70°F and that breeze was always going! (Of course in a few weeks it will be 70, but we won't be able to keep the windows open because the pine pollen will be so thick!) The bookstore actually shares a building with a Mexican place and P.F. Chang's, so it isn't as big as it looks, and their magazine maintenance is abysmal; there's still a November "Best of British" there. In fact, I prefer the B&N in Chattanooga for anything "close" by; if nothing else, their travel section blows any travel section in the metro area away. I did get a book about deals for the retired and If These Walls Could Talk, a history of the home.

And then we headed home to continue the business portion of the day: picking up Willow's ashes at the vet. She was sent to the crematorium near my old apartment; we used to pass it all the time. Her ashes are in a pretty little square tin, like a candle tin, with flowers on it, and that came in a box with a card with a prayer for animals by Dr. Albert Schweitzer. Not sure what to do with it, but it's on the dining room windowsill right now, just over where her crate used to be.

And of course we had to make the inevitable stop at Kroger for bread, bananas, and other weekly fol-de-rol.

Watched HGTV or DIY network until it was time for the new Cosmos with Neil de Grasse Tyson. Think I like the original series' re-enactors more than the new series' cartoons, but the graphics are spectacular. I had tears in my eyes when Tyson talked about Carl Sagan inviting him to visit when Tyson was seventeen years old.

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» Saturday, March 08, 2014
A Warm Saturday

We eschewed the Farmer's Market this morning for sleep, but finally did have to get up at ten. James' club meeting was today, and he was also going to lunch with the guys and picking up a friend who is disabled, so he had to leave early. I had breakfast and then swept and washed the kitchen floor. Before I left, I treated the last three spots on the carpet and left them to "simmer."

I went back to the book sale for a little while, but the pickings were pretty slim this year and only got a few more things. One was a birthday gift and one was for James, so I didn't feel too guilty.

Took a slight detour to get some cash, then I went off to Aldi to pick up some milk and the low-calorie chocolate they sell. I found some nice side dishes: three kinds of flavored spaetzle, and three Asian noodle mixes that can be used as side or you can add meat and make it a main course. Plus I got a loaf of bread because I was jonesing for toast again. I had two slices for lunch plus a cold chicken leg, and watched Elementary, and scrubbed the spots on the carpet and finished reading Sherlock Holmes FAQ.

We went out again just to pick up supper at Dragon, and came home to eat and watch Flipping Boston and then Hawaii Five-O, finally finishing with Too Cute with kittens.

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» Friday, March 07, 2014
Completely Booked Again

I took leave today to go to the Cobb County Library book sale. Didn't exactly want to go out in the rain with books, so instead of the usual reusable grocery bags, I brought along the nice Life of Pi bags Cost Plus World Market gave away on Black Friday of 2012. We used these to carry gifts at Christmastime and I was delighted to find the pretty beaded bracelet I got from the Boulers for Christmas inside one of them. It went missing after the gift exchange and I thought I had lost it.

The rain, thankfully, was very light as I got there on the dot of nine; they were just going inside as I parked the car. I started at the children's books, then crossed to the other building to check out the Christmas books, the history books, the biographies, the nature books, the travel books, and finally some of the fiction, which I usually don't check out. The tally is here.

From the sale I turned onto the side street from Calloway Road and stopped at the pound to drop off the dog food and treats we had unopened. Of course I walked through to look at the dogs. There weren't any real "puppies" in the puppy room, and the only small dogs were seniors, a Yorkie literally with "tusks" sticking out on either side of his mouth, and the oddest looking poodle ever. The rest of the dogs were mostly pit bull mixes; some of them practically would have climbed in my lap if I let them, others were shy or wary. But they were all huge. I think the smallest dog there was 49 pounds.

I made the mistake of driving through downtown Marietta on my way to Barnes & Noble at Town Center: it didn't take forever, but traffic was a mess because there was a children's consignment sale at the church across the street from the parking lot where we usually park on Farmer's Market Saturdays; they even had police directing traffic. I made it to the store and picked up the newest "Best of British" as well as Jennifer Roberson's first Tiger and Del novel in years, Sword-Bound.

Got home about two and finally finished cleaning up the garage! We had put all the trash bags we filled last weekend out with the trash last night and they were blessedly gone this morning. I popped an old plant table and a foam cooler without a lid in the trash barrel, moved a box and a bag of water bottles, and moved the old convection microwave to near the door because James wanted a "table" to put things down on when needed. It's in front of the ladder, but that can still be gotten out easily from the side, and it's at least useful until we can get rid of it.

Ate a sketchy lunch, watched the episode of The New Lassie that recorded yesterday, and the "Stamp Album" episode of the original series, and soon James was home. We had supper at Shane's Barbecue—we hadn't been there in a dog's age—and went to the Barnes & Noble at West Cobb. James got a couple of magazines, but I didn't have my other coupon and didn't buy anything. When we got home I finally copied off the files Jack had sent to me and watched the original broadcast of An Adventure in Space and Time with the William Hartnell tribute at the end. This is really an extraordinary movie. We all know Doctor Who "made it" as a series, but there really is a sense of suspense: will Verity Lambert and Waris Hussein ever get this show off the ground? And David Bradley is heartbreaking as Bill Hartnell, who knows there is something wrong with himself, but will not give in to it.

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