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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» Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Time After Time After Time After Time...
Monday was a usual workday that ended annoyingly: there was an accident on the ramp I use to get on the freeway. It was twenty minutes of five before I even got on I-85 north to get on I-285 westbound. It took me 70 minutes to get home. James had gotten in late and was looking weary. Good thing dinner was simple: chicken and dumplings from Sprouts, plus a cucumber and tomato salad. Watched Police Surgeon at its new time, and the usual Monday stuff.

At bedtime I put Snowy in the bedroom and covered him up, and Willow had been put into his crate. When I came out of the spare room James was sitting on his computer chair with a peculiar look on his face. He had told me before that, since he began having the lung problems, he sometimes gets a tightness across his chest. He usually takes some Naproxen and it goes away. But tonight he had the pain, plus a radiating pain in his jaw, and heartburn, and the Naproxen hadn't worked.

Well, we had to go. At 11:30 a.m. we found ourselves in the Wellstar emergency room. When they found out he had chest pain, they immediately took an EKG. The last time this had happened, they had us in the back with James all hooked up to monitors; I don't know what the EKG showed, but this time we were just stuck out there in the waiting room. Waiting. And waiting. About 3 a.m. we were starving, and shared a bag of Doritos. (Why are there no healthy snacks in hospital waiting rooms? No juice, just soda, and a snack machine full of chips and cookies.)

Since we were just sitting there, I did ask if they had found something or not. I mean, if he was having a heart attack, wouldn't he be in the back room all wired up? Anyway, finally they called us back after three a.m. (yes, we're into Tuesday morning now) for the blood test. Then we went back to the waiting room. The emergency folks didn't seem to be all that concerned!

At 4:30, they finally brought him into the back. They said his tests looked normal, but there was something the attending was not sure of and they wanted to admit him. It took them another 90 minutes to reach Kaiser, who of course said they couldn't admit him at Wellstar because it's not their hospital; they would have an ambulance take us to Northside Hospital. At this point we had both been up for 24 hours straight and were exhausted, and tired of repeating the story about the hypersensitivity pneumonitis and the pains to everyone who wandered in. The registered nurse who was taking care of James, Ben, offered me a sandwich because we were both hungry, but James couldn't have anything, not even a juice, in case they had to give him a test. I ate it but was so upset by that time I almost threw it back up. Plus I was having my usual "I'm-in-a-stressful-situation" problem: multiple trips to the bathroom.

At 7 a.m. the ambulance finally showed up. Ben waited to go off shift until we left, which was nice, and the two ambulance people were funny. I took everything we'd brought with us, and went home to wake up Snowy and put the television on for him, then take Tucker for a walk. I had some oatmeal, yogurt, and milk. By that time it was rush hour and I don't do I-285 until after nine o'clock. I put Tucker out on the deck and sacked out next to Snowy for an hour; then let Tucker back in because the sun was getting strong on the deck and slept another half hour. Then I got up, got James a change of clothes, the charger for his phone and his tablet, and a few other things, and I also packed  up my laptop in case he was going to have to stay overnight. I could work on my story or we could watch a movie on Netflix. Once Tucker was back in his crate, I was off.

Parked in the garage at Northside, then had to find James. I followed the directions on the garage elevator and went to the eighth floor visitor center, then somehow started talking to a very nice Indian lady whose name I have now forgotten. She led me through a long walk at the side of the hospital, into a hallway, and then got me to the fourth floor elevators, but when I told someone on the fourth floor I was looking for the cardiac recovery unit, they sent me down to the first floor (I'm so glad I used the luggage carrier for the bag of James' things and the laptop). There in the cardiac center, Sandy the receptionist made a few phone calls and found James—back on the fourth floor. All I had to do when I was up on four was to turn left; what a rabbit warren that place is. I figured I'd have to use a sherpa guide, a GPS, and a seeing eye dog to get back to the garage.

James was in one of those little cubbies they give to you when you actually don't have a room yet but they are testing you, with a bed, a chair, and a television. He had already had a CT scan with dye and they took some more blood. He hadn't had a meal, but his nurse, Holly, who was an absolute doll, had let him have some graham crackers and some juice. I had a peanut butter-and-honey sandwich and a plum with me which I ate over the course of the afternoon.

In the afternoon, he had an interesting test. First they made him swallow a very low-level radioactive isotope and drink water to get it through his system. They then took a CT scan of his heart with the radioactive isotope running through it as a resting phase. Then he had to wait a bit, and they gave him a stress test. Because he can't walk well enough to do the treadmill test, they used a drug to artificially stress his heart. They warned him that he might feel all sorts of things, like a bad hot flash, or other symptoms of a racing heart, but he said all he did was "feel odd," like he knew his heart was being stressed. This was the only part of the test I didn't see; I even got to sit there for the first CT scan. After the stress test was over, they finally gave him some food: three small meatballs in chicken broth, and a bag of chips and some soda.

Then we had to wait to take one last scan, and they did it about three times because the picture wasn't coming out the way they needed it. Finally we went back to Holly and the little room and sat and waited. She had ordered supper for him, and he shared with me; some roast beef and rice pilaf and a bowl of peaches and tiny little containers of juice.

About four thirty, the doctor came in and said they could find nothing at all wrong with his heart. No signs of a heart attack, or an obstruction, or anything. The doctor said the pain was probably from the lung problem. She told him to take Tylenol instead of Naproxen if it hurt again. We were free! And finally, too, because we'd both been without sleep for 35 hours (except for the short respite I had in the morning and the nap he took before bedtime on Monday night). He got his release papers, and when I told Holly where I was parked, she knew a way to get us to the door closest to the garage exit. We were looking forward to getting home, having a small meal, and getting some sleep.

Holly stayed with James while I headed off to get the car. As I was walking across the little round area between the garage and the buildings, my heart gave a little jump. This happens sometimes when I get very hungry.

Except it kept jumping. I could feel it start to race and was appalled. I've been exercising more lately—I'm doing a mile just walking the dog; that doesn't count the other walking I do—and I haven't had heart palpitations since 2009! All I could think of was get to the car and take my pill, which is what the doctor told me to do if it happened, and what has always worked. I went up in the elevator, found the car, took the pill and sat there for a few minutes feeling my heart dance around in my chest. It takes a while for the pill to kick in.

But I knew what I had to do. I drove the car down to where James and Holly were waiting, and asked her if she could take my pulse. She did and agreed with me that it was racing. I sat down on the bench while she went inside and called someone; a couple of nurses came running out and circled me, asking all sorts of questions. I explained this had happened before and I had medication I took for it, and I'd taken that. Someone showed up with one of the heart/pulse monitor machines and my heart rate was bouncing back from 178 to 87 to 158 and then settled out at 185. All I could do was groan. Why now? It was five p.m. and we had almost made it home.

So one nurse wheeled James, and one wheeled me, and back we went to the emergency room. Now I was the one with the monitor, and the IV, and getting my blood taken. Of course, by the time we got there, the pill had done its job and kicked in. My pulse went to 85 for a while, and then went back down to 75-77 as we sat there and got hungrier and hungrier and more and more tired. A doctor came in after about an hour, and I explained for about the third time about the first time it had happened in 2002 and then again one other time, and then in 2009 and it hadn't happened since then. I was pretty sure it was a combination of stress and hunger and sheer tiredness. The room they put us in was like an oven, and I had to sit there on the gurney and watch poor James try to not collapse under the weight of his slowly drooping eyelids.

Finally we got sprung around nine o'clock. I guess they didn't find anything wrong in the blood test, but I have no idea because I know I signed the release papers and when we left the room I was assigned to I didn't see anything left behind, but the papers never left with us.

We had one last minor bobble. Holly called someone to make sure my car didn't get towed, but the nurses in the emergency room were only allowed to wheelchair both of us to the doors of the emergency room, and that wasn't where we were parked. Someone called security and they took us to the car.

James actually drove the car but we were both on the lookout on the way home because we were so tired. We stopped at Wendy's to get small hamburgers each (I would have preferred soup, but Wendy's was the closest place to home), and, despite wanting to go to bed, sat up watching Doctor Who so we could at least digest our food a little before sleep. At least that was the plan. After "Happiness Patrol" ended, James disappeared. I had put Tucker in his crate while watching the first part of "Silver Nemesis," and then went to check on him. I figured he was taking a shower. No, he had stretched out on the comforter and was already asleep. When I poked him and asked, "Don't you want to take a shower?" he murmured. "No! I'm asleep!" and that was that.

Oh, well. What the hell. I can wash the bedclothes all out on Thursday, since I'm off work. I crawled on top of the bedclothes with one of the fleece blankets from the spare room and was out like a light.

So today we slept until 10:30 (11 1/2 hours), then got dressed and went to Panera for lunch (chicken soup and a grilled cheese sandwich; mmmmnnnn), picked up the medicine for James' lungs, then came home, took showers, and went back to bed until about five. Sat outside in a rainstorm breathing the nice cool air. Watched Police Surgeon and the game shows, and then Planes: Fire and Rescue, which was just what we needed. The short which comes with it is hilarious!

And oh, yay, it's bedtime again. I love that word. A superb word.


Oh, James' results came back from the blood test they took to see what caused the hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Everything was negative including the bird test.



» Sunday, June 28, 2015
The Calm Before the Storm

It was a quiet day. We slept in and had a quick breakfast, because some things had been forgotten at Kroger (wish I hadn't gotten the milk at Publix now) and of course a paper. I went in on my own. Brought them home and I put the perishables up while James stayed in the truck, and then we went to Microcenter. Just because. To do something different. We met Jerry Lawson in the store and chatted for a while, then strolled around. Found a new belt case for James' phone (his is getting raggy) and he bought a gadget that might help the next time he has to work at home; I bought a spare "red dot" for Tucker (you might as well buy another laser pointer; it will cost you that much to replace the batteries in it). Then we came home, since between the ride and talking to Jerry James was already exhausted.

James talked me through cooking some thick pork chops I had found; seared them first, then braised them in apple juice and plum slices, with some black cherry balsamic vinegar on it. Didn't taste particularly of plum or cherry, but it was good.

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» Saturday, June 27, 2015
Fuss and Feathers

Another work day for James; at least he could sleep in until eight. Being supplied with halfway pleasant dreams—one of them with Sam Groom—I slept until ten, only to discover that Northwest had shown up and didn't ring the doorbell. And of course they didn't get into the back yard, which is the essential part, as we don't want ants in the kitchen. Gah.

I took Tucker for a walk and ate breakfast, then started cleaning out the area around the bird cage. I'd cleaned this out after Schuyler died, but it was still pretty clotted with feathers and seed shucks. I tossed out some things, like those awful plastic millet clips, and when all the dust was gone, polished the area down with Pledge and also cleaned off the secretary. Everything was thoroughly vacuumed in front and behind and on top, and I put things in gallon bags, like the cuttlebone and the perches.

Once that was all clean I vacuumed the dining and living rooms, occasionally stopping to talk to Snowy.

I had a coupon for 20 percent off Petco, so I called up Unleashed, the nearest Petco outlet, to see if they had the Purina Pro Plan shredded Tucker likes. They told me they had two flavors, chicken and lamb, so I decided to go there instead of trucking all the way out to Akers Mill. When I got to the shopping center, first I visited the ATM at my bank, then went into Publix for twofers. When I went past the yogurt, it was such a good price I got a bunch, and then figured, okay, I'll get milk, even though Publix's prices on milk are highway robbery. It's worth anything to stay out of Kroger. Also got some ice creams for dessert. I put these and the milk into the insulated bag and sprinted across the parking lot to Unleashed, only to find they only had chicken flavor, and none of the little "sauces" I put on Tucker's food at night. I walked out in disgust and brought the groceries home.

It was four by then, but I didn't feel like eating the lunches I brought home from Publix—they finally had chicken and wild rice; I've been looking for it for weeks—so I cut a slice of the bread I bought at Sprouts and spooned a little of the soup (it's really thick) on top of a split slice. With a chaser of cherries and a glass of milk I made a nice lunch of that, and then settled down to watch Island of the Lost.

Does anyone remember Off to See the Wizard? It was an anthology series that aired in 1967-1968, with cartoon versions of Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and the Wizard introducing family films from the MGM library. They showed Zebra in the Kitchen with Jay North and, one I loved, Captain Sindbad with Guy Williams. The movie made especially for Off to See the Wizard was Island of the Lost, a pretty standard family film for the time. Richard Greene (Robin Hood!) plays Josh McRae, an anthropologist with a theory about lost islands in the South Pacific. He puts up all his money and sets sail in a schooner called The Quest with his two daughters, college-age Sharon and pre-teen Liz, teenage son Stu (played by Luke Halpin of Flipper), and two graduate students, Gabe Larsen and Judy Hawllani (plus a pet sea lion); ends up on the island with a young native boy named Tupuna undergoing a maturity ritual. On the island: "wolves" (German Shepherds) with fangs, ostriches with horns, ruffed crocodiles, volcanic action, and headhunters! And instead of Flipper rescuing them at one point, Dip the sea lion does. It's really weird because George Bruns did the music for this, so it's an Ivan Tors film with Disney music. Harmless, but I liked it more when I was twelve. :-) If you're interested in seeing it, it's on Amazon Prime.

Incidentally, I didn't realize that it was for a documentary for Off to See the Wizard that Eric Fleming from Rawhide died.

Anyway, six o'clock rolled around, I walked Tucker, and then James arrived home. I still had those Petco coupons, so we went to Tin Drum for dinner and then I picked up dog food, puree, and millet at Petco before we came home, where I finished Island of the Lost and am now watching Corwin.

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» Friday, June 26, 2015
Time Travel Trips
I've been toying upon this idea since the new year, but have wanted to get all the background info set up before I went live with it. I still wish I'd started it in January, because this isn't how I wanted to present it, but if you care to read as I intended, you might want to begin with the January posts and work forward in the year. I'm hoping to include some of Mom's stories in here, and a few of Dad's, a budgie story or two, family memories, things like that, to go along with the old photos I've been posting on Facebook.

Mementos from the Attic

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» Sunday, June 21, 2015

Well, it's been a very blah weekend for both of us, but especially for James who coughs every time he takes a deep breath. He wanted to go to his club meeting on Saturday, but he couldn't even make it down the stairs Friday without losing his breath. So we slept in Saturday morning and I walked Tucker, and then about noon we left in time so that we could have a quick lunch at Panera. Wow, the Chipotle next door is always crowded, with a line nearly out the door.

Then I dropped him off at Hobbytown and went to Hobby Lobby. My wrists are starting to ache again from all the typing at work, and I can't find either of my support gloves. I was rooting around for the one at work on Wednesday, and it wasn't there. I couldn't find the one at home, either. So I used this week's coupon to get myself a new set. They have several aisles of fall out already and I barely restrained myself from hugging the garlands. In the back they are starting to stock the papercrafting items for Christmas; some of it is so beautiful I want to buy it, but what will I do with it? There are vintage looking tags, and beautiful old-fashioned scrapbook papers. So lovely!

I was able to pick up something on clearance to use as a gift, too; that was a plus.

The rest of the time he was at the meeting I was at Barnes & Noble. I had another coupon and got lucky; they had put Grapes of Math out early (it's not due out until Tuesday). Wandered around the store and noticed they have greatly cut down on their mystery books; took out at least two, maybe three sets of shelves. Bothersome. This must be why they don't have the next Henry Thoreau murder mystery out; no room!

I got a severe thunderstorm alert on my phone, and it thundered while I was in the bookstore, but it never did rain, but at least brought up the clouds to get rid of that annoying sun and make a breeze.

I had set out back to Hobbytown just as James called to come pick him up. He emerged feeling bad and exhausted. I still had soup left from Sprouts, but he stopped at Wendy's to get a plain cheeseburger and a Frosty, and could not finish the former. Then he went to lay down for a while, but he couldn't sleep. We basically sat and watched Doctor Simon Locke all night.

Got up this morning intending to run to Kroger and then walk Tucker,, it would be too hot when I got back. So I chivvied the poor dog through his walk so I could beat the Baptists to the grocery store. Bought gasoline, got the necessities of life (milk, yogurt, bread for sandwiches, Those Damn Bananas, etc.), and came home, broiling hot just from walking into the store and back to the car. But I put things away and went to Publix anyway; there were a couple of twofers I needed, and I found a nice portion of lamb steak and bought a baguette.

James was cooking lamb stew in the crock pot when I got home. We had some neck bones to which he added broth, carrots and celery. Once it's done, he's going to cook it with potatoes and make it a proper stew. It smells lovely, but he looks so tired. He said he thought he was breathing a little easier this morning, but by afternoon he was coughing again and looking very tired and drawn.

Been reading this afternoon after paying some bills and checking off the bills James has paid. Chicken and salad for supper tonight, with a Mrs. Smith mini-chocolate silk pie for a special Father's Day dessert, and watched the three-part This Old House where they built a house for a double amputee (arms) veteran, and The Last Alaskans. Still hungry, and not much of a good day for James.

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» Friday, June 19, 2015
Glitches in Time

It's been that kind of a day, but then it's been that kind of a week.

James started having problems with shortness of breath again on Sunday. He stayed home from work and called the doctor on Monday, got an appointment on Tuesday and was told not to drive. I teleworked for about three hours Tuesday morning, then took him to Kaiser. We were there pretty much all day. Took us a while to see the doctor, who then sent us downstairs to the lab and x-ray. They went to lunch at 1:30, but we got there at 1:10, plenty of time. Nope. They took James' blood and then at 1:20 everyone vanished and we had to sit there for an hour waiting for folks to come back. I've no objection to any worker getting lunch. But why all at once? Can't one person stay and one person go, and then swap? Stupid. We hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast, and neither the drinks machine or the snack machine would take bills although they said they did. I finally used James' change and got a bag of potato chips out of it. That's what we had for "lunch," half a bag of potato chips each. Then, finally, back upstairs for more of the doctor. We got home at 4:15, whereupon I immediately started cooking supper. You betcha.

So James went back to work Wednesday and Thursday, came home exhausted and short of breath both days. Thursday night he fell asleep from eight to ten; not sure why he even got back up since by then it was almost bedtime!

Anyway, the doctor gave James a referral to the pulmonary department, but he couldn't call until this morning. According to him, James' heart is fine, no reason for it to affect his breathing. His white count was normal and the x-ray showed no signs of the pneumonia. However, the radiologist was concerned about "reticulations" in his lungs, and when I mentioned how often the C-PAP is hissing, the doctor wondered if he needs a different kind of mask and, if perhaps the sleep apnea is not being treated properly, that may be causing the shortness of breath. So he's got an appointment next Wednesday. In the meantime he has to wheeze his way through. Sheesh.

He had today off because he worked last Saturday, I was on my compressed day. I had nothing planned for today except a trip to Walmart for a couple of new tank tops and a pair of shorts. Well, we went, but later than I would usually go on my own, and it was already hot as freakin' hell. October, hell. I want it January. January right now! Bloody bastard summer—how I hate it.

James scraped a big silver-dollar patch on his left arm raw getting off the power chair lift and we had to wander through Walmart with him pressing a napkin against the wound to stanch the bleeding. Had to buy green shorts, the only ones in my size. All the black ones were huge. There were tank tops everywhere, but I could barely find the shorts. For a minute it was like walking through Target. Also got James some diabetic socks and bought him a little side pack and a bicycle bell for his power chair.

We'd talked about going to Hobby Lobby, but the heat was already a menace and he needed the wound cleaned up, so we came home. By then it had stopped bleeding, and it was washed, smeared liberally with Neosporin, and covered up.

Have spent the afternoon watching stuff: Star Talk off the DVR, and then I made my way over to so we could watch the episode of Astronaut Wives Club (the premiere) that we missed last night. Well, I'm so sorry I hit the "upgrade" on the television this morning; they have completely upgraded the "recently viewed" bar at the bottom of the television menu and erased all my preset broadcast channels to make it easier to access YouTube and a bunch of crap games. Really pissed about that. Then I get to and have to go through a song-and-dance because of the brain-damaged browser on the television. The first thing it did was pop a banner message at the top of the screen that says "it looks like your browser is not set up to accept cookies; click help and see how to fix this." Well, this browser is so primitive you can't even do that; apparently expects you to be on something intelligent like Firefox or Chrome. So we were stuck with that for the 3/4 of the episode we got to see on the television, and then, because the stupid browser locked up at the last commercial, we had to watch the last few scenes on the laptop. God, what a piece of junk. Right now we're watching The New Screen Savers from a few weeks back.

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» Sunday, June 14, 2015
One Hot Weekend in June...

...starting Friday evening when we went to West Cobb Diner for dinner. Who did we see just leaving but the Butlers and Charles Rutledge, who said they had come in just as the Spiveys and the Gibsons were in the middle of their dinner. Looks like the bunch of us are making sure the place stays in business. Hey, they have the best turkey-and-dressing dinner next to the Colonnade, after all! Of course, just a few years ago we'd bump into each other at Borders (::sob::) instead.

James went off to work on Saturday, while I ran by Publix to stock up on a couple of twofers and more "spots" (Band-Aids) for my nose. Bought bananas there, too, since you never know when Kroger's banana selection will be a wilderness of green. I brought all that home and then, James having asked if I could find an ultrafine light blue marker or paint pen for him (he needs it for the windows on the Quest jet), I took a coupon and went to Michael's, where I got him a Sharpie and a couple of clearance items for use as a Christmas project. Gawd, the shopping center was mobbed. If I hadn't needed to go out, I wouldn't have stepped out the door. It's like an oven outside.

Then I went over to Barnes & Noble and traded my Nook tablet in for a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. The old one was a Nook with tablet functions attached, this is a Samsung tablet with a Nook function attached. They were giving a $50 trade-in, and the new one was smaller. Their covers are overpriced, though, so I ordered one from Amazon when I got home at about a 75 percent savings. Spent the afternoon watching the Doctor Simon Locke episodes I was able to record and charging and setting up the tablet. The one thing it doesn't do well? The Nook app! Apparently there is some flaw in it that, even if you don't have accessibility options on, when you open a book and try to turn the page, a stupid woman starts reading to you. If you bookmark a page (or unbookmark a page), she tells you. I finally figured out the swipe combination to keep this from happening.

We ate in; James had his leftover turkey and veggies and I had the rest of my Italian wedding soup; we had ice cream bars for dessert. He went down to the man cave until one o'clock and I watched more Locke. Wish I had those other five episodes I missed (and a decent second part to "Two Points of a Pitchfork").

Today we slept in, then, about noon, drove out to Books-a-Million, where we got a couple of magazines and a gift for Daniel Kiernan, whose birthday it was yesterday and who is retiring (lucky dog!). It's a Batman bank. On the way home we stopped at Kroger for milk and other necessities of life. By the time we got home, I had an hour to walk the dog, stuff the dishwasher, wrap Daniel's gift, sign the cards, and wash and refill four water bottles. We were both wiped out just by being out in the sun loading the chair in the driveway, loading and unloading the chair at the bookstore, and loading and unloading it at Kroger. God, I hate summer. It was about 93°F.

We had a nice time at Daniel's dinner despite sun weariness. This was at Joe's Crab Shack and I had snow crab legs for the first time in years. I adore crab, but now many years back we used to go to a Chinese buffet that had snow crab legs on the bar. It was great until the night we went and the crab was a bit "off." I've had bits of crab cake since then, but no crab legs. Had this with white potatoes and an ear of corn steamed. Bill and Caran came in just as dinner was over and regaled us with stories about their trip to Paris and to Normandy. Oh, I'd love to see Normandy and Brittany! However, this was a splurge we shall not indulge in again. That's why we skipped going out last night.

Oh, Clair showed us her new car, an avocado-green Kia Soul. Well, the Lawsons love theirs!

We got home at 9:30, completely wiped out, and I still had to walk the dog and throw out the trash before I could sit down.

As for tomorrow: I owe, I owe, so it's off to work I go...

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» Sunday, June 07, 2015
Tucker Sets the Record

We went to bed a little earlier than we usually do on Saturday, since there was no one on chat. We still slept in this morning, and when I couldn't sleep in anymore, I took Chasing Secrets into the spare room and finished it while James slept some more. He said he wasn't breathing well last night, so I wanted him to rest.

So it was after noon before we got out of the house. First we stopped at CVS because we had a 30 percent off coupon, and that makes BreatheRight strips cheaper than Walmart with a coupon, and then to Kroger for bits and pieces, and found some nice new sausage (bacon and pineapple) and the usual stuff (burritos and buns for my sandwich). We'd bought ice cream, so we came home to put it away before we went up to Sam's for gasoline, stopping by Wendy's to get a hamburger for each of us. Finally we came home by Barnes & Noble, but just looked around.

Back at home I copied off those last two Doctor Simon Locke episodes and finalized the disk. Now I have to see what RetroTV does with the schedule to see if I'll have a chance to re-do the missing episodes and a couple of duds. In the meantime, Tucker set a new record—I bought him a dog toy and within ten minutes he had bitten a hole in it and was merrily shedding stuffing everywhere after neatly excising the squeaker.

We had Asian chicken salad for supper and watched the last disk in Season 7 of Murdoch Mysteries. Oh, nice ending—another cliffhanger!

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» Saturday, June 06, 2015
Three Are Better Than One

First up: eight hours sleep. Very important. Unfortunately, I was very restless last night, tormented with dreams of things left undone, and, conversely, things done, ones that lay the foundations for other things.

Well, that's suitably cryptic. Let's get on to the day: awakened, walked the dog, grabbed a Belvita bar for breakfast. It was supposed to be 88°F today and I wanted to get to Sam's Club early. But first, took three Xerox paper boxes full of "stuff" to Goodwill: slippers that won't fit, two old antennas, a pillow for James that didn't work, ending with Mom's old television along with its converter box.

At Sam's we looked at sound bars, but didn't buy. Our 20 (?—maybe older) year old receiver is about to die—if we watch some movie, for example, and the music reaches a big crescendo, or if there's an explosion, the receiver will just turn itself off—and we're looking at a replacement, but in a rather desultory fashion. We were actually there for milk, $2.29/gallon, and a bag of Skinny Pop; also nabbed ibuprofin and omeprazole, and a couple of other items.

Then we came home for the afternoon. I copied off all but two episodes of Locke and vacuumed out the now cleared-of-junk spare room (except for the Christmas gifts that are slowly piling up in corners). I couldn't get the remainder done because the vet had called James yesterday and said Tucker needed his shots. I was flabbergasted; I thought he'd gotten all his shots in March when we boarded him and Snowy for Atomicon. Anyway, we got there, waited for a while and Tucker schmoozed with an elderly lady. Then we cooled our heels in the exam room while they took samples and gave shots, and then Dr. Mike came in and chatted with us for a while. He said there was no medical reason for Tucker's recent sexual interest in his blanket. Okay. Then we either stop him when he does it or just look the other way.

Since we were just on the other side of a building from the Dunwoody Sprouts, guess where we went to get supper. I got a large container of chicken noodle soup, two chocolate chip muffins for dessert, some apple wheatberry couscous, and about a quarter pound, if that much, of the dark chocolate covered honeycomb candy. Next Wednesday we get our Sprouts! Next Thursday I want Italian wedding soup for supper!

And, then, unbelievably, as we savor our soup:

First Triple Crown winner in 37 years! American Pharoah has joined Secretariat, War Admiral, Whirlaway, and their compatriots in having won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. It was a beautiful run: pre-race the horse looked relaxed and interested, his ears flicked forward to the track, and during the race, his jockey held him just ahead of the next fastest horse until they started to emerge from the last curve, and then he had his head and ran like an angel. He barely looked winded as they walked him back.

Spending the rest of the evening watching Tucker sleep (just exhausted from investigating the vet's office and "getting shot") and The Big Picture With Kal Penn. (Maybe Star Talk afterwards.)

A funny: when I took Tucker out an hour ago, he went into hysterics over something on the street. It turns out that the grey-and-white cat that hangs around the neighborhood has become a mother: I counted three grey-and-white kittens. Triple Crown and three kittens.

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» Friday, June 05, 2015
Let's Get This Straight...

Really, after getting a good night's sleep, what I want to do is straighten out. I'm tired of all this junk! And I'm tired of the stairs with bits of leaf and shed feathers and bits of cut grass on them. So I vacuumed them. Finally. And I did a good vacuuming of just the dining and living room. I had to empty the vacuum cannister three times. It was filled with dog hair.

Between vacuuming and setting up a shelf in the master bath, I copied off Doctor Simon Locke episodes. I have a chance to get a complete—well, complete as it can be, since RetroTV, is missing three episodes—set from someone, but I still want to accumulate what I've been able to record, pixelated corners and all. Of the 23 existent on Retro, I have eighteen. Retro's showing them in mostly broadcast order, but broadcast order was all wonked up anyway; all the episode guides showed that at least three of the earliest stories (where the citizens of Dixon Mills are still accepting Simon) were shown near the end of the run. I put them all on one disk. Maybe if they'd shown this in order it would have been accepted a bit better!

Had dinner at Hibachi Grill, and then went to Publix for twofers. They had green salads on twofer, so we're having Asian chicken salad Sunday night. Also found boneless pork loin on buy one, get one! Dinner for next week; check!

Then home for Doctor Who (Colin Baker's least favorite, "Timelash," with Paul Darrow looking like Richard III) and the final two Locke episodes, unless RetroTV pulls a rabbit out of a hat on Monday. Beats me why episodes are "missing." SFM Entertainment says they own "109 episodes" under the blanket title Police Surgeon (which is a good trick because according to every single episode guide I've seen there are only 104) and they should have all been sold to Retro.

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» Sunday, May 31, 2015
To Race the Thunder

We weren't in bed until almost three, so it wasn't surprising we slept until eleven. I took Tucker out for a quick walk, then we went up to Bed, Bath & Beyond at Town Center, only to find that their computers were down and they were processing transactions by hand. I left; the lines were extremely long, especially to just buy a beach towel.

Then we had a pleasant hour or so at Barnes & Noble, fueled by coupons. I found the next book of the Gilden Age mysteries and debated a bit and did buy the new book The Great Detective, a history of the Sherlock Holmes character as well as of the stories and Conan Doyle's career. James bought a new Michael Z. Williamson book and a memoir about a British man of Indian descent who moves to the United States and discovers its character by eating its food. Looks cool.

We noticed as we came out of the bookstore that the big, fluffy cumulus clouds were getting bigger and fluffier, but did not yet look ominous, so we took the freeway to Akers Mill Road and I picked up the beach towel at this Bed, Bath & Beyond. This is to put on the seat of his power chair and is colorfully striped in blues with some white. Noticed with delight that it also has anchors at either end!

Once I got done at Bed, Bath & Beyond, we gave the sky another look. It was definitely looking heavy and black southbound as well as westbound. So we took the power chair home, and used my car, which needed gasoline anyway, to go to Kroger. By the time we arrived, black clouds were creeping upward in the sky from all directions. We bought milk and some meat, completely forgetting not only the newspaper, but some ant baits—there are ants in the cab of the truck! I sat in the passenger seat trying to make myself as small as possible and did not allow the book bag to touch the floor. James is off tomorrow so I hope he will go buy some ant baits and put them under the seats!

We managed to make it out of the store with the sky still glowering blackly all around us, and the rain only started when we got home. Finished washing the jackets to put them away for the summer, washed my work clothes because they are so soaked with sweat from it being 80°F in my office, watched two episodes of Time Traveling with Brian Unger and the last of The Big Picture With Kal Penn, then had Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on for a while before watching the RV show. The last of the gravy and pork with ziti tonight for supper, with a Hostess cupcake each for dessert.

The television/satellite box gave us a scare earlier—just after the storm broke the power blipped three times. When the box came back on, there was no sound, although there was sound on "real" TV. I decided to run the satellite signal through the DVD recorder to see if it were the HDMI cord or the box. Eeek! It wouldn't recognize the recorder! So I unplugged the box and the TV for a few minutes and that reset everything, including the sound. You need to be an electronics whiz to get these gadgets to work today!

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» Saturday, May 30, 2015
Working While You Work

Alas, James was off to work (again) this morning. I used the opportunity to sleep until about 9:30, then gulped some milk and walked the dog. After that, I had work to do. I finally brought the box of Easter decorations downstairs and put up the storage boxes that kept the regular decorations safe while the holiday decorations were up, and brought the shopping bags we used last night at Publix back downstairs. We had a big cardboard box in the downstairs hall and I put that in the garage to collect things for free electronics recycling day. I intend on having a lot of junk in there this year!

Next I swept and scrubbed the kitchen floor, and then did the same to the master bath. The hall bath would have followed, but by the time I finished all that I had a blinding, throbbing sinus headache that would kill a horse, so I took three ibuprofin and laid down for an hour in the dark. When I woke up in slightly less pain I did wash the floor in the hall bath. While waiting for that to dry, I started cleaning in the master bath. It's so cluttered, so I tossed a bunch of stuff and decided to make some use of the empty wall that's just over one end of the jacuzzi tub (yes, the one we've never used). I had some Command hooks and, using them, hung up two narrow baskets for holding pill bottles and other small toiletries. I put up a hook for what was supposed to be the "luxury bath towel" (again, which has never been used), and dusted off the shelf that holds the space heater and the clock. Also hung up the lint remover, and then, with that all sorted, could finally scrub the counters around the two sinks. Looks spiffy now with a lot less stuff to clean up around.

I also made room for the old floor towels on a shelf in the chifforobe. In between I had checked out some self-stick Command shelves on Amazon, and I may order at least one for the bathroom. I want something to go on those blank walls, but unless we use wall anchors they won't stay up because both the bulkhead wall (where the heater is on top of) and the wall that protects the toilet from the swing of the door and provides privacy are basically hollow, no studs in them. I'd rather just use something sticky.

I also redid the calendar on the refrigerator, let Tucker go out on the deck for a while, put up some of the rest of the groceries we bought last night, got rid of a big box that's been taking up room in my craft room, sewed a button on a pair of James' pants, patched his pocket on a pair of jeans, put the germy bedclothes James used while he was sick in the washer, and then followed them later tonight with all the jackets, hats, and gloves, so I can put them up until October.

Oh, and a funny, although I wasn't laughing last night. Last night WANN (which broadcasts a bunch of side-channels which include Moxie, Oldie Goldie, and the station in question, Retro TV) completely died about 5:30. I don't mean the signal skipped, I mean died. So I missed "Mark of the Rani" on Doctor Who and "The Man Who Hunted Hunters" and "Cuckoo in the Nest" on Doctor Simon Locke. I was really pissed about Locke because I'm trying to record them all. This show meant a lot to me. Anyway, I finished up all my work—except, again, for not vacuuming the stairs, dammit—and was making the bed, and I found WANN's number online and I called it and asked, "Hi, I'm a viewer and I wondered if you were aware that your channel has been off the air for over 24 hours!" (I wanted to ask them if they'd forgotten to pay their electric bill, but I was nice.) I'm not sayin' I was responsible, but when we got home tonight WANN (and Retro) were back on the air.

Anyway, I've been corresponding with a fellow Locke fan and he's recording the show and we're going to arrange a trade. Fine with me. This is driving me nuts!

So James came home and we had supper at Panera, then did some store-hopping. I replaced the hooks I used and bought some wood pieces for a project at Michael's, and at JoAnn I bought some extra Command tape and James bought a razor holder. We put off going to Bed, Bath & Beyond for a towel seat cover for the power chair until tomorrow or whenever (the coupon runs out in June) and came home by Baskin-Robbins (another coupon). Anyway, I finished drying the bedclothes and the jackets, etc. have been washed and are drying. Tucker had a nice game of fetch and of "red dot," and James is in the man cave working on a model, and I was watching Time Traveling With Brian Unger again.

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» Monday, May 25, 2015
A Day of Rest and Gratitude

We took it easy today: slept late, then used some coupons to get a breakfast sandwich (James) and bagel (me) plus a doughnut at Dunkin Donuts. Gave the iced coffee coupon away. Felt so bad for the employees; the doors were wide open because they had no air conditioning! It was like an oven inside. The lady who was working the ovens got a fan; that's all. We sat outside in the shade and contemplated how fast the weekend had gone by.

Then we went up to Akers Mill and I ran into Petco to get Tucker some new "poopy bags." They had them "buy two, get one free," and I thought I'd gotten a good deal until I saw the prices on the poop bags at Bed, Bath & Beyond, our next stop, to get James a new carbinator for his Soda Stream. The Petco bags are bigger and a bit thicker, but as long as they keep my hands away from the poop, I don't care about the thickness, and he ain't a big pooper. Phooey.

Then we had a nice hour or so at Barnes & Noble. I got a remainder book (Simon Winchester's The Men Who United the States) with my coupon, and James some magazines and a book about aircraft dogfights. Made a note of some books to buy with the 20 percent off coupons we have that expire in June.

We came home exhausted from the sun. James was feeling under the weather again, so he retreated to the bedroom and took a long nap. Bothers me, but the doctor did say it would take him some time to heal. I watched two episodes of The New Lassie, then found over an hour to go left on A Day for Thanks on Waltons Mountain, one of the three followup movies to The Waltons that were broadcast on NBC. They couldn't use the theme song, but I find I am still fond of the theme song used for these three films. The followup CBS films had Richard Thomas and got to use the familiar theme, but they messed up the timeline so badly that I've always been less fond of them.

James made a nice steak for supper, with onions and mushrooms, with baby Yukon Golds for a side. For dessert we had a doughnut.

Well, around suppertime a rainstorm came roaring through. Whap, off went Retro TV no matter what I did. I completely missed the first two parts of "The Twin Dilemma" (Colin Baker's first story) on Doctor Who, and was in despair of seeing Doctor Simon Locke (again) when I went into the spare room and found Retro was coming in nearly perfectly there! So I portaged the digital decoder back there and recorded the episodes. There were a few drop-outs, but not like the first time I watched the episodes in April, and it was quite understandable. Odd that 30 feet makes such a difference in the signal!

* * * * *

Today I had the freedom to rise when I wanted, shop where I liked, watch any television program I wished. Those freedoms were bought for me by the men and women of our Armed Forces. Today, on Memorial Day, I thank those who gave their lives to keep us free.

God bless you and hold you in the palm of His hands.

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» Sunday, May 24, 2015
Traveling in Time(gate)

Wow, what a weekend!

It began inauspiciously on Friday, with James at the doctor and me at Kroger doing the weekly shopping. He was already home when I got back. The doctor says there was no use taking another X-ray because his lungs won't be well for ages yet. He needs to go back in a couple of weeks for it. So I made some sandwiches for lunch for Saturday and Sunday and pulled out snacks to put into our backpacks, let Tucker have his fill of the deck, talked to Snowy, and did some other chores. We left the house at three and still got caught in traffic heading down to "the House of Mouse" on I-75 south (but all the other routes were even longer; Fridays of a holiday are deadly anywhere). Happily, we got an excellent parking space, and ended up being first in line for check-in.

Had supper at the hotel restaurant. I wish it wasn't so expensive! But I have to admit the food is good. Had a steak dip sandwich and James had chicken and waffle (sounds odd but apparently is a traditional Marriott dish from their Hot Shoppe days). Saw Anne and Clay in the registration line and they came over and talked and had some key lime pie.

Then it was time for Opening Ceremonies, and we got our first look at Katy Manning. Katy played Jo Grant, companion to the Third Doctor, a pint-sized waif who made up with gumption what she didn't have otherwise. According to Katy's bio, she's 68. You couldn't tell it by the way she moves! She came flying in, all smiles, fun, and hugs and proceeded to enchant the entire audience. I couldn't wait for her panels!

My first panel was a retrospective of the first season of the new series of Doctor Who. I think we all had the same reaction: when we saw the opening scenes and heard the theme song, it was as if we had gone home. Oh, there were some oddities, like the farting Slitheen, but the consensus was that Christopher Eccleston nailed it, and some of his episodes, like "Dalek" and "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances" are some of the best.

Next was "A Sense of Wonder," a panel asking if British writers did "a sense of wonder" in the science fiction field more than Americans, and which Americans still had "the touch" and did British writers are still continuing to have it. It was decided that there were not as many modern authors with the "sense of wonder," British or American. All I know is I am flat sick of dystopia!

Our final panel on Friday was a tribute to the 50th anniversary of Lost in Space, which did turn into complaints about "The Great Vegetable Rebellion," as all Lost in Space panels eventually do. But despite that coloring everyone's opinion, we have to admit there were some fine episodes from first season, including the pilot and first few episodes, and later in the season "The Keeper" and my personal favorite, "My Friend, Mr. Nobody," which was about Penny, and that after a rather uneven second season, more good episodes appeared in third season: "Antimatter Man," "Hunter's Moon" (a takeoff of The Most Dangerous Game), "Condemned in Space," and "The Haunted Lightship." We also talked briefly about Bill Mumy's graphic novel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Soul, which brought a conclusion to the story.

We headed home to walk Tucker, and I was chagrined to find that, although I had had success hitching the digital converter to the DVD recorder, I'd forgotten to shut off the recorder for timer recording, so I missed the next two episodes of Doctor Simon Locke after having no success at recording the first one in the spare room because the signal had become so pissy after three days of perfect signals.

The hotel does a killer breakfast buffet, but to save money we had breakfast from Chick-Fil-A on Saturday morning: nice wholemeal oatmeal and a fruit cup and some milk for me. We were at the hotel in plenty of time for our first panels, which for me was "Mr. Selfridge Calls the Midwife from Paradise," otherwise the British track panel for costume dramas. Some were recommended, like the original Upstairs, Downstairs, and the period murder mysteries count, too! However, my heart belongs forever to Flambards. ♥ ☺

And then it was time for Michele Gomez' first panel. This was quite a coup for Timegate, since Michele has never been to a convention anywhere before, and "Missy" (the newest incarnation of Doctor Who's "Moriarty" to the Doctor's Holmes) and she's just here for Saturday. She's Glaswegian by birth and apparently of Mexican heritage, and has a lovely rolling "R" Scots accent. However, she has lived in the United States for the past eight years, four in Los Angeles and now in Brooklyn. She was charming and friendly and occasionally devilish as she talked about being the newest incarnation of the Master and working with Peter Capaldi, sitting cross-legged on her chair for most of the questions. She also talked about wanting to play some of the classic roles, like Medea.

I took the opportunity after that panel to have a stroll around the Dealer's Room for a few minutes. Thought about buying a TARDIS key from the Pertwee era, but didn't. Did see a gentleman outside the Room with some Supermarionation videos and a book that looked a treat for James. He had a Parker (Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward's chauffeur) marionette on the table; I wondered if it was an original! Anyway, it was lovely; Parker was always my favorite Thunderbirds character. Then I ducked into the panel about the evolution of female characters in science fiction and fantasy. Apparently even some of the new superhero movies aren't doing justice to their female characters. Much chat about The Bechdel Test (applied against a movie, it must contain just one thing——a scene in which two or more named female characters have a conversation——that is, back and forth dialogue——about anything at all besides men) and the Smurfette Principle.

James was doing three panels at this convention, including one at Saturday at one o'clock, but I went to the Retro TV panel instead. This was all about Doctor Who, so I wasn't expecting any Police Surgeon chatter, but I wish I'd had the guts to ask! Apparently Who has helped Retro expand its stations, and it sounded as if they are planning to move it to ten o'clock. Well, rats...what will happen when Locke rolls around again?

And then it was time for Katy Manning. Once again she came bursting on stage full of energy. This woman is the most difficult person ever to photograph; she just moves every single minute! With a bright scarf, lots of jewelry, and perpetual motion, she's like some brilliant bird come down from the sky to make friends. She bounced from subject to subject at joyful will: how sad it was to leave the series but how it was the right time, taking "the pointing picture" with Peter Capaldi, who asked to see her when he found out she was filming on the very next set, her terrible short-sightedness, her philosophy on aging, which is basically to enjoy every day and stop looking back. Near the end of the Q&A, a little girl got up to ask a question, and Katy had her come close and share her mike and answer her question about if she liked working on Doctor Who. Gosh, I wish I could bleed off some of this wonderful woman's energy.

At three o'clock I went to a panel reviewing the latest season of Doctor Who. I think the consensus appears to be that "Flatline" was the best episode. I agree! it was the closest new Who to a classic episodes that I've seen in the past ten years. Also discussion pro- and anti-Clara (Lee Martindale was definitely on the anti- side) and whether the Brigadier "rising again" was a good tribute or a travesty.

I went back to Michele Gomez' second panel because—well, who knows if I'll ever see her again? Besides, she was just as enjoyable the second time around. Someone asked how she would decorate the inside of her TARDIS if she had a choice. She held up a fancy leather purse and purred "Prada!" She also told the story of how she took her nearly six-year-old son on the Doctor Who set with her. She was afraid he'd be a bother, but she discovered the makeup artists covering him in tiger stripes and his only comment about her filming was "Mummy, there was a really big BANG!" Someone also asked her to deliver a Roger Delgado (the original Master) line, which she did with fine ruefulness.

At five I met James at the restaurant. I remembered having the chicken soup at Anachrocon, and when that was still the Saturday soup, we both got that, and an order of potstickers. It's a wonderful soup, thick with spaetzle-like noodles, carrots, celery, and onions. Much yum. And then, because Alan had talked about it so much at opening ceremonies, we shared the secret desert, fried pound cake. It comes with strawberry compote, real strawberries, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I had to admit, with the strawberries it was good (James can keep the vanilla ice cream; I despise vanilla), but I would have been just as happy with the nice light pound cake with the strawberries, and you can leave off the batter.

So it was back to the panel whirl for Saturday night. I attended the Sherlock panel with Louis Robinson, Kim Holec, Kathryn Sullivan, and a lady whose name I have completely forgotten. Well, it was tagged as a Sherlock panel, and we did discuss the BBC show, but we also talked about Jeremy Brett, and Benedict Cumberbatch's other projects, and why no one ever talks about Elementary, and the gentleman who was at 221B dressed as Jeremy Brett, and all sorts of other Holmes-related matters.

I had to go to the Good Reads panel: Alice, her daughter Aubrey, and Sue were all on it. So we talked about...what else? Good books to read, and how to find them (like Book Bub) and if bookstores are dying (not yet, but...they're running scared if all those Barnes & Noble coupons are any indication), and the one question we really couldn't answer: how do we turn children on to reading something besides their hated textbooks? (Oh, Aubrey, who's in college, had a surprising revelation: the classmates she knows do not read e-books. School textbooks as e-books, yes, but real books, ones to read for pleasure? They want them in traditional format. I wonder if the booksellers know that!)

Following this panel, it was time for the cabaret. Okay, I have to admit, I was a tiny bit disappointed by the cabaret this year because it didn't have the variety of performers that they usually have. Oh, it was good, but I missed Louis doing a piece and Professor Satyre. The show was opened by "Lt. Moxie Ann Magnus, chief cosmetologist on the USS Enterprise under James T. Kirk," a fixture at Timegate. In her tall blonde beehive hairdo and her tall, tall high heels, dressed in brilliant blue, Moxie had had an aborted visit to the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones and arrived on stage with her toaster gift, which she planned to recycle. She then introduced Courtland Lewis, who wrote Doctor Who and Philosophy, who did two rock Doctor Who-themed songs. Next, Moxie interviewed Katy Manning, who had a hilarious time on stage telling an it's-funny-now story about her nearsightedness, which involved lip gloss, no mirrors in a bathroom, a perplexed woman coming face-to-face with Katy while trying to eat her dinner, and finally a prawn up Katy's nose. Finally, Moxie had Jevocas Green, who plays "the Forgotten Doctor" in a series of online videos, play her straight man (he said with a serious face, "well, that will be a first," bringing down the house) for a vaudeville act involving every single science pun known to man (or woman, for that part). A raffle finished out the festivities, and, although Gallifrey Game Night sounded like fun, letting Tucker out of durance vile and giving him a walk sounded more humane. So endeth our Saturday night.

Sunday morning was hard. I did have a moment walking Tucker; we were passing Dave and Linda's grey-and-white house (with some black highlights) when I heard a "chip-chip-chip" and looked up. There, against the relative monochrome of the grey/white/black and flat pale blue of a summer sky, was a cardinal, flame red as he perched above. Lovely!

We ate at the restaurant this morning and my wallet merely screamed. Anne and Clay had breakfast with us, and I have to admit there's a good choice and there's even a omelet station. But the Marriott at Perimeter has just as good a breakfast without the omelet station and it's only $9 at 221B Con. Wishing for better prices...

First panel for Sunday was "Books We Would Like to See As Films." I'm starting to be cynical about this subject. Oh, every once in a while you get a film like To Kill a Mockingbird, and Gone With the Wind came out well, too, but mainly you get crap like the adaptation of A Ring of Endless Light. There are more bad movies made out of good books than good movies made from the same. But several books were mentioned as possibilities for either movies or television miniseries. Aubrey made a point for Cinder, a new book with a female cyborg protagonist. Some others mentioned were the Belgariad, the Retief books by Keith Laumer, Bester's The Stars My Destination, and the Harper Hall books. (The Dragonrider books were mentioned, but as Anne commented, the dragons would just be burning each other.) I'd like to see a nice retro version of Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, myself, but with my luck they'd give Kip a six-pack and a love interest. Yeeech.

Next it was take two for Katy Manning, and she was no less "up" than yesterday. Today she regaled us with stories of knowing Liza Minelli...except she had no idea who Judy Garland was. To her Liza was just her good friend and Judy was just Liza's nice mummy. She told a funny story of riding in the back seat of Judy and husband Sid Luft's car with Liza at fourteen and they were just giggling like mad and he asked crankily, "Why are they giggling?" and Judy snapped back, "Because they're 14 years old!" Years later, she was going somewhere with Liza, but this time they were traveling in a limo. Katy was wearing a skirt with an elastic waistband, and it got caught in the car seat as she slid to get out of the limo seat. So finally she ended up tripping into the street because the elastic let go and she and Liza sat there giggling madly and Liza said, "I can hear Momma now—"why are they laughing?" "because they're 45 years old!"

I went to the British history panel next. It was a little disorganized, but then it's a big subject! Maybe we should have discussed periods of history as they related to Doctor Who (although we did mention Blackadder Goes Forth and how it looked like it was making fun of the tragedy of World War I—until the last few minutes of the final episode). We chatted about Richard III, bad press, Shakespeare's play, and Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time, plus car parks of course, Henry VIII, the Reformation, the everlasting rivalry between England and France, Scottish independence, and even a slight trip back in time to the Celts.

Then there was a small but interested crowd at a tribute to Leonard Nimoy. Eric Watts had a very funny story about his inner reaction (all fanboy) vs. his outer reaction (calmly shaking hands) to meeting and introducing Leonard Nimoy to the audience some years ago at DragonCon. We also looked at a couple of clips from The Wrath of Khan.

It was back to Katy Manning one last time, and I was sitting with Caran Wilbanks again as I had during her earlier panel. This was Katy, Alan Siler, and Louis Robinson, who had done part of the film editing for the story, talking about the serial "The Daemons," which was infamous in Britain for talking about Satanism, and even worse Satanism happening in an Anglican parish, and a scene where the church is blown up—it was so real looking that some people protested them blowing up an actual church! They only showed the last part, which features the Brigadier uttering his most famous line, directing a rifleman toward a living gargoyle: "Chap with wings: five rounds rapid!" and Jo Grant defeating the Pan-like alien of the piece by offering to sacrifice her life for the Doctor's. Louis made everyone laugh when he told the story about the BBC calling him, saying they needed additional editors for that episode: would he like to do it? Oh, throw me in that briar patch, B'rer Fox!

Thought I'd bump into James at the history of geeks in pop culture panel, but sat with Matt and Kelley instead. Lots of dislike for Big Bang Theory here; we didn't like it at first, either, and, like Dawn commented, it's a sitcom: blondes are dumb, men are man-boys or stupid fathers, kids crack wise. And sorry to say, although I didn't say it in the panel, I have seen or read about a lot of fans who are like the guys on Big Bang. One panelist commented that her sister didn't want to be seen in public with her if she had fannish things on! What a sad, sad person.

And then it was time for the final panel, the future of science fiction in America. Thank you, so much—more people who are flat-out tired of dystopia. Let's get out of this rut and see more space opera and readable space epics.

That's it then, everything over but the shouting...and that was done at the Wrap-Up Panel, where kudos were passed around, thanks were given, and all were appreciated. People were quite complimentary about the restaurant, especially the servers. I guess next year we will have to conserve our pennies and just grin and bear it (but Saturday breakfast from Chick-Fil-A worked out just fine). We never did check out the con suite, either.

As we were walking out toward the car, I saw Lee Martindale sitting outside having a smoke. She has to use a power chair, and I wondered if she might give us some tips on air travel. I didn't even know how they did it. Did they seat you in your chair? Does it go as baggage? (Yes, to the latter.) She was quite nice and said if we were ever seriously considering a trip to e-mail her and she would send a checklist to help us. So maybe we can fly some time in the future after all.

Well, we were exhausted by the time we got home. I took Tucker for a walk and then barely had the energy to open up a can of soup. Bed felt very good tonight!

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