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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» Sunday, June 26, 2016
Reading and Raining

James had promised to telework today, from ten to two, which means he was up around nine to eat and then log on. I was a slugabed and lounged until 9:30 when I was chivvied out of bed by both calls of nature and calls of sensibility: needed to be at Kroger before the crowds got there. So I got up, dressed, walked Tucker—it had been 82°F when we went to bed and it was still 82 at ten o'clock, except the sun was out. Nasty thing.

Swallowed some milk, then drove to the Kroger at Battle Ridge because I don't like the way the Smyrna store makes the white sandwich buns I need to work. So I get there at eleven o'clock and they are "out" of white sandwich buns. Out? At eleven in the morning? What, did a horde of wild picnickers come through? Got some other bread, then had to ask for milk. There was no skim milk out at all. Is there some kind of problem with skim milk? This is the third time in a month I've gone to Kroger and not found any skim milk out, and twice they didn't have any at all. Weird. Anyway, picked up other junk, came home. (Had stopped at Dollar Tree before Kroger to pick up some plastic baskets for work—therefore nothing important.)

Had a sandwich instead of breakfast and puttered around the house while James did his four hours. I think he only had two calls, and none for the last hour and a half. Read the paper and pulled out the coupons, while outside the clouds built up and it got darker, and darker. Two o'clock came, James signed off, and then thunder rumbled and the heavens opened up. It was Georgia Monsoon Season again. We took the car and went to Trader Joe's anyway, and by the time we got to Powers Ferry Road it had rained itself out, at least over east Marietta.

We had two stops to make before we "caught up with Joe." We had a five-dollar-off Petco coupon which we were determined to use because Tucker's Pro Plan food is so expensive. The folks we adopted him from, Misfit Haven, were just packing up to leave. Lots of chihuahua crosses.

They had also opened a Half-Price Books just across the way in the shopping center with the Fresh Market and we hadn't yet checked it out. A lot bigger store than I expected, and with a nice variety of stock. I bought two "Reminisce" compilations, one about the 1920s and another about the 1930s, and a double pack of The Mammoth Book of Historical Whodunits and The Mammoth Book of Historical Detectives (with stories about Brother Cadfael, Sister Fidelma, etc.). James got a book from the clearance section and two games.,204,203,200_.jpgAt Trader Joe's we bought more miso broth, chicken with apple sausage, and a few other goodies before heading home, sharing a turkey wrap. Came home to read more of Martha's Vineyard: Isle of Dreams and a bit later had dinner (Sprouts' chicken soup, warmed-up leftover breadsticks from Olive Garden which we hadn't even touched yesterday, and, for dessert, a dark-chocolate "speculoos" (Biscoff cracker butter) candy bar split between the two of us. The cashier was right: the bittersweet chocolate perfectly offset the gingery filling.

Spent the evening watching the Smithsonian channel and I finished Isle of Dreams with a big smile on my face.

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» Saturday, June 25, 2016
Almost Like Christmas, But Too Damn Hot!

So here it is, "Leon Day," six months until Christmas, and it is hot, hot, hot. The poor air conditioner is straining to keep up. Even at 9:30, the sun is already burning my skin as I walk the dog.

Well, this was the day I'd been waiting for since May 3, when Susan Branch's new book Martha's Vineyard: Isle of Dreams, the sequel to the first book in her biographical trilogy, was released. I didn't purchase it then because FoxTale Book Shoppe, a little independent store up in Woodstock, GA, was hosting Branch on her book tour in June (and if you think it was hard to wait for that book, you're soooo right). Today, in fact.

James went off to Hair Day with macaroni and cheese as a side dish. I had breakfast and got dressed, and then headed north about 10:30. Since I had time I wanted to stop at BJs because we needed ibuprofin. I also got more naproxen, ginger, and black pepper, then walked by the books and DVDs. Last week at Costco, we had seen a package of the complete Star Trek (the original series, remastered and digitized) for only $50. I was still thinking about it. Well, look here. BJs had it for $40. :-D

Filled up with gasoline, then continued on to Woodstock and the bookstore. I hadn't been to "downtown" Woodstock before, and it has a restored shopping area (gift shops and restaurants in the old businesses, and, as is pretty common in small Southern towns, a small railroad depot now used for something else). Fox Tales is a tiny place in a shopping center off a street partially blocked by construction. I went in to look around. It's a darling little store with a small but solid inventory, but I think we have more books in our library. :-) Next door appears to be a store that sells flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

I thought it was a little quiet for a store that was going to have an event, and when two more women entered, it turned out I was right. There had been so many people signed up they changed the venue to Magnolia Hall on the next street. I lucked out and found a parking space at the new venue that did not say "restaurant parking only" (although I suspect the restaurant only opens at night). By the time I got there the line was out the door, but it worked through easily as the helpers checked off each person and gave them their book. Then we sat down and waited.

I was pretty far in the back and ended up talking to two ladies, one named Karen Hall from Warner Robins. In fact, Karen and I basically talked for the entire time I was there, except when Susan herself was talking. Karen's husband was Air Force and will be retiring soon, and he's been walking the Appalachian Trail in segments. He is going to go up to New Hampshire soon to do the final leg, from there to Mount Katahdin in Maine. They are going to New England in the fall and I was tossing suggestions to her right and left. We both probably talked too much!

There was someone there with a beautiful quilt that appeared to be made with a Susan Branch or Susan Branch-type print of cloth. It was lovely!

First Susan answered some questions, like if she made a meal for her best friend what would it be, or what the pigeons in England sounded like. (She is going back to Great Britain again; I'm so envious!) I asked how she had first read Gladys Taber, because I'd been reading Stillmeadow books since I was in junior high. Turns out there was a Stillmeadow book left in the the first house she bought in Martha's Vineyard! After a half hour, it was time to queue up for autographs. The line didn't move very quickly because of people filling in from each of the rows, so it was over an hour before I reached the front. The lady from FoxTale was taking photographs for people, so I have pictures of myself getting the autograph as well as a photo taken with Susan. Her "best guy" Joe was there with her (they have been driving from book publicity session to session in the specially-painted van advertising Susan's book about England, A Fine Romance) and talking to people in the line. He even autographed a couple of books.

I was so thirsty by the time I got out of line I pretty much just took a couple more photos, some of the van and some of the venue, used the ladies' room, and then left. I was very dehydrated—I was pretty much perspiring all afternoon, to the point where I was soaked from my collar to my ankles—and arrived at home with a headache. Drank two glasses of milk before we went out to Olive Garden for dinner: we had a coupon and a gift card, so we had an appetizer (pepperoni and sausage flatbread, which was quite yummy) plus a dessert. We both brought half of our entrees home.

Ended up the night watching the first Star Trek disk ("Man Trap," ""Charlie X," and "Where No Man Has Gone Before"), which has a neat featurette at the end showing how they restored the films and the music, and then how they redid the special effects. Pretty keen.

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» Friday, June 24, 2016
The Living Daylights
Well, it was A Week. Got into my now "old office" on Monday morning to find some kind person (Katie) had taken care of my computer things for me, so there was nothing for me to do there (the monitor, dock, and laptop had needed to be labeled; that wasn't made clear in the instructions and I had run out of labels anyway). It was still moderately cool (well, as cool as it has been in the mornings, in the upper 70s, which isn't "cool" by anyone's definition), so I went to what was my "old" building (the original building I was in, Colgate) to hunt up my new cubicle. As I suspected, it was on the side of the building I had been once been in a cubicle for about a month, before they moved me to the cubicle I was in before they started this whole move-people-into-other-buildings-so-remodeling-can-happen business three years ago (yes, I moved from Colgate to Williams in March 2013 and then from Willams to Stanford late in 2013—keeping track of this still? oh, and no remodeling ever took place—we now rent the entire building but the equivalent of almost one whole floor is not being used). I am seated between two contract specialists both named Eric, and there is a honkin' three-fluorescent light setup right over my desk. After all these years, I know too well what happens if I am under fluorescents too long and I asked Katie to get someone from maintenance to unscrew one of the bulbs overhead and another in the three-light fixture at the entrance to the cubicle (that's six fluorescent tubes in a six by eight space). The guy came within an hour, which was nice.

Since it was still fairly "cool" I thought I would bring my own boxes (the ones with my calendar, James' pic, my flowers, my blotters, etc) before it became any hotter. I was lucky to be able to hunt up a cart (nicely lent to me by the lady supervising the Grants file room) and complete the procedure in only two trips, and finally I could unpack my HotShot and boil water so I could make my oatmeal and eat breakfast. I put my pantry stuff away and a few other things.

In the meantime, I had no computer until it got delivered between buildings, so I sat down with my little netbook and worked on a story until the delivery guys showed up and I could start arranging office things on my desk. No one came to set up my computer until lunchtime, so it wasn't until after lunch I could answer some e-mails and print out a purchase order that was awarded last week.

I thought I could bear up with the two fluorescents if I wore my visor, but by the time I left I was in terrible pain. I walked the dog when I got home and then took four ibuprofin and huddled up in the dark in the spare room until the pain went away.

However, I felt I had to give the lights a chance and worked under them all day Wednesday. I got a modification done as well as a purchase order and sent them off to Will for signature. My eyes were burning by lunchtime and I was glad to have my nap. By the time the day was over the letters on the computer screen were starting to dance and blur in front of my eyes, and I drove home with my eyes itching and painful again, so much that I couldn't even watch TV without hurting.

So this morning I contacted Katie immediately and asked if she could please have someone come unscrew the other two bulbs. This didn't happen until after lunch, so when I went outside for my nap my eyes were burning like crazy. It was much better when I got back and the whole fixture was off. I thought I would need a light at my desk, but there is so much reflected light coming from the two bulbs left behind me that I really didn't need any more illumination. I did put on one of the under-the-cabinet lights when I discovered it had a yellowish tint instead of one of those awful "natural light" bulbs that are supposed to be "better" for you but that still glare.

Oh, and someone came to install a new telephone this morning. These new phones now shunt through our computers so we can log on to Lync and Skype. It also means that if the network is down, we have no phone service. Right. Like that will be useful in an emergency. [eyeroll] (The new telephone base has a reflective portion in its mid-portion, and before lunch the lights were shining directly into that shiny area. I can't tell you how much that hurt!)

Anyway, by today I had everything set up in my cubicle, except I do not have my files put away. The file cabinet that was supposed to be mine is filled—lateral filing cabinet, at least 36 inches wide, with four drawers!—with one contract belonging to one of the Erics. Eric-on-the-right emptied out one of the drawers, but that won't be enough. And I've been talking with people I pretty much haven't seen in three years: Ed, my old supervisor; Jeff, who used to sign my purchase orders; Lisa, who I used to ask technical questions of; and a whole bunch of others. "Homecoming" wouldn't be bad except for the damn lights and the simply awful equipment. They are still using the same old scanners and copiers that they had when I left the building three years ago; the scanner jammed on me three times trying to scan a nine-page purchase order and the quality is terrible. I fiddled with it and found out that they had it set at only 200 dpi. Are you kidding me? No wonder it looks like a 1970s Xerox copy. Eric-on-the-left showed me another scanner at the other end of the building, but it doesn't seem to be connected to the internet. [eyeroll]

I do plan to put a small lamp on my desk; I still have one that I used in my old Colgate cubicle and it was in the trunk of my car. But it was 95°F outside and I wasn't going to walk back out to the car to get it. Between the lights this morning and the heat this afternoon, I was beat again when I got home. Once again I walked the dog, took some ibuprofin, and laid down.

It was too hot to go out again so we had supper delivered: wings for me and something spicy Chinese for James. I was so warm I turned down wonton soup.

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» Sunday, June 19, 2016
The Calm Between the Storms

So about ten days ago they uttered the dreaded "how many boxes do you need?" question. Yes, indeed, although this is the very end of third quarter and work is ramping up, and in less than two weeks it will be fourth quarter, and although the temperature soared into the 90s this week, they have decided to move us. Back to the same building they moved us out of three years ago because it was going to be remodeled. Here's a hint: they ain't done it yet.

Let's say I wasn't really happy when the boxes showed up last Monday. Already suffering from bouts of...well, you don't want to know, but it happens when the temps are too hot, I packed supplies and stuff in one big plastic tub, and then asked if someone could help me with the rest. Lisa nicely volunteered and she came over Wednesday afternoon to help me, after I had a crisis: the doors in this building don't have keys that are given to the individual office holders. The property people have them only. One lady got locked out of her office one day and it took them four or five hours to find the master key. I had a plastic over-the-door coat hanger on my door to prevent my door closing. But, guess what—Wednesday morning I packed it up. So when I started to go to lunch on Wednesday, I swung the door, intending to leave it just a bit ajar. But the hinge was very lubricated and it slammed shut instead. I would have just gone off to lunch and called later, but I remembered how long it took last time. I had to finish packing and my wallet was in there; I couldn't even go anywhere even if I'd planned to. Luckily it only took an hour for Katie to get someone come open my door for me. Bye-bye lunch.

I'd packed up all my personal stuff either Monday at lunch or Wednesday morning before it got hot, so all I had to do was pack the final few things before I left, and then take my fan and my lamp and without those, it was time to leave, because there was no living in there without them. They're all sitting in my car so it looks like some type of bizarre bazaar, with two photocopy paper boxes, two lamps, a fan, and a Christmas tree in a bag in the back of the car (the rest is hidden under the hatch).

So I was ready for a nice long sleep in on Friday and I took it! Woke at eight, said to myself "One more half hour," and I was out like a light until 9:30. It was supposed to be in the 90s again and I wanted to do any errands early, so I rather grumbled because by the time I ate breakfast and walked the dog, it was after eleven. So I stopped at Barnes & Noble for just a few minutes (since I knew we would go again over the weekend since James had another 20 percent off coupon left) and bought Warlock Holmes with the fifteen percenter they sent in e-mail. Then I went on the real errand, past the big Publix behind the mall to indulge in BOGO madness, since the Publix near our house never has Entemann chocolate loaf cakes (for several days of desserts next week). I bought strawberries and shortcake bowls, too, and cherries for me. Came directly home because one of the twofers was chicken legs or thighs. I got one of each.

I was hoping to get some things done that afternoon, but I ended up doing only a few because I dozed off on the sofa for an hour after having some chicken broth for lunch and watching Lassie. (Oh, and I had to call Kaiser because they billed us for James' sleep study because he "didn't have a referral." He did so have one, thankyouverymuch. The woman who helped me on the phone found it in his file. She's resubmitting it.) It turned out that I got home just in time, because I was just eating my soup when it got very dark, thundered, the weather radio went off, and it started to pour. The actual rain didn't last long, but before the storm it was 91°F, afterwards it was 75 with a nice breeze! And it stayed that way! It was a pleasure to take Tucker outside.

James got home to find me putting the finishing touches on cleaning out the master bath tub (which we never use) and the sink area. For supper we went to Tin Drum and were able to eat outside it was so cool. Afterwards I ran into Bed, Bath & Beyond to pick up a new cylinder for his Soda Stream and a folding stepstool. Finally we stopped in Barnes & Noble to really peruse the books. I looked around at a lot, then bought Kareem Abdul Jabaar's book Mycroft Holmes.

On the way home, we stopped at Baskin-Robbins for dessert and were treated as well to a spectacular sunset, layers of orange and pink and purple and lilac which eventually faded to maroons and violet-grey. A brilliant end to the day.

Walking Tucker Friday night and Saturday morning was a dream. If summer never got up over 75°F with a breeze I wouldn't mind it. After breakfast James headed off to his club meeting. I didn't want to be shopping all day, so I headed out immediately, too, and in fact caught up to him on Bells Ferry Road, although he went left and I went straight. I was headed to the Hallmark store at Town Center, where I had seen something I wanted to buy as a gift. Alas, it was gone. I'll look around some more. I have these two wonderful Hallmark coupons that I do not intend to waste!

By the time they finished calling around to other stores for me, I had a distinct call of nature, so I crossed the parking lot to Barnes & Noble. This one has the best cross-stitch magazine selection, so I took a look, only to find all the cross-stitch stuff squirreled on the bottom shelf to make room for the coloring magazines. The fads always get the bonus spots. Didn't find any books here, but did get a nice Christmas CD of hammered dulcimer music at CD Warehouse next door. Then went on to Michael's to use a half-off coupon (sepia drawing pens) and up the hill to Costco, where gas was an incredible 2.029. Nor was the line long. Score.

Thought about stopping at 2nd and Charles, but missed the turn and just drove to the Publix at Dallas Highway instead; it was 1:30 and I was starving. I got some clam chowder, a Chicago roll, and some Cheetoes and when I got home had that for lunch (and milk, of course). Spent some of the afternoon watching things off the DVR: a show called The Story Trek in a segment that was filmed in Rhode Island (the host interviews people he "picks off a map"), Brain Games, and a documentary about finding and identifying Richard III's skeleton, etc. Did some chores, emptied the dishwasher, stuff like that, until James got home.

We had supper at Fresh2Order. Last time we were there the food was so salty we said something to the manager and she had given James some coupons. So we used those and were able to have supper for $3! Sadly, my favorite, the creamy chicken vegetable soup, which is closer to a stew, is still very salty. James didn't say anything negative about the panini.

We had shopping to do at Costco after eating, and had just finished leisurely perusing the DVDs and books and were picking up the milk when an employee hurried in and chivvied us on; the store had closed at 7 p.m. (Who closes a big store at 7 p.m. on a Saturday night?) So we had to rush through the store picking up the rest: toilet paper, Jamaican meat patties, Skinny Pop, pepper, Omeprazole, and the one thing we really needed, Claritin.

Spent a pleasing evening watching Rosemary & Thyme and the Britcoms.

Today we slept in and had a pleasant day doing some small items that Really Needed Doing. While it was still cool this morning, we put out the new hose and nozzle I bought months ago, installed new windshield wipers (again, bought months ago) on both car and truck, put little flashers (bought ditto) on the power chair with zip ties, put in two LED bulbs in the kitchen (since one bulb was burned out), and hung two pieces of artwork we got for Christmas in the stairwell "art gallery." (That is pretty much full now; we have one space left, but we can't reach it with a ladder, so it's lost space.) (Oh, yeah, and we got all the bills reconciled.)

Later I hung up a pop light in the downstairs bathroom until we get around to replacing the light bulb (it's over the tub, which is filled with emergency water bottles), brought six cans of chicken broth upstairs, cleaned up a shelf in the refrigerator that really needed it, put two more flashers (discovered in the laundry room) on James' power chair, made the bed, and started a small craft project. And watched a special about L. Frank Baum to boot.

Leftover chicken for supper with spaetzle, and now time to relax and watch TV.

Tomorrow it's back to the storm...

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» Sunday, June 12, 2016
What We Can Accept and Where We are Accepted

Woke up with a backache and itchy, runny eyes about nine, so took some ibuprofin and went back to bed until a bit after ten. Things had eased and we dressed. No breakfast; it was too late. We had to get to the grocery stores before it got too warm.

Took the car, forgot the handicapped sticker and—guess what, today there were handicapped spaces. Figures. Got through Kroger. Got through Publix. Got home and put the cold things away and turned on the computer and my jaw dropped the moment I logged on Facebook. Some nutcase homophobe who apparently supports ISIS (or ISIL, whatever the degenerates are calling themselves now) shot up a gay club in Orlando and killed fifty people and injured fifty plus more. What in the FUCK, people? Sorry for the language, but who are these .... these ... God, there are no words for anyone who does this.

James put up the new shower head we bought and I scrubbed out the bottom of the shower stall, and I treated his sink drain with baking soda and vinegar to help it drain better. Then read the paper, cut out coupons, watched more Lassie to make the afternoon go as slowly as possible. The only excitement (thankfully) was having to rush outside after a clap of thunder to give Tucker his walk. Soon after, we got dressed and got to go to a much happier occasion: the party Mel and Phyllis Boros were throwing for their fiftieth anniversary. This was being held at Pasta Bella; we took over the patio, which was liberally strewn with fans to keep us cool. We still had to move out of the sun twice as it shifted down in the sky. It was so hot even Alice was hot, and Alice never gets hot!

It was a grand, grand time. We had a green salad, a buffet supper, and several delicious desserts, but the best part was seeing everyone. Shari had come in from Birmingham and Robb Boros and his family from Iowa, Alex was home from the Bronx (he had been forced to work in place of the striking Verizon workers, even though he is an accountant, climbing telephone poles!), and Claudia was even there. We haven't seen Claudia in years, since she moved to South Carolina to take over her mother's house. She sold it awhile back and now is back at her old house in Douglasville where we used to go out and fly rockets in the pasture. She said maybe we can do it again, but I think perhaps in the fall when it's cooler (and that might not even be October—I remember the Hallowe'en launch where we lost the "Ghostbuster" rocket and it was high 80s that day); I don't think we could stand the heat anymore. The last time I remember going, it was almost 100 degrees and the minute James and I got home, we were so heatsick we fell asleep for a couple of hours.

Left about 7:30 and got home to find the Tony Awards on, so that's how we finished out the night.

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» Saturday, June 11, 2016
Long Day's Journey into a Journey

Thought we might sleep until 8:30 this morning, but yet another alas. So we were on the road by nine o'clock, having stopped at Chick-Fil-A for breakfast. Oatmeal and a fruit cup with a milk chaser hit the spot.

We were headed down to Warner Robins on a twofold mission: (1) meet up with James' mom to get her birthday and Mother's Day gifts to her and (2) go to the model club's annual show at the Museum of Aviation. We used to go down quite regularly, but haven't in the past few years because the traffic has been so horrendous.

Well, apparently nothing has changed.

The weather alone was horrendous; it wasn't so bad when I walked Tucker, but even heading out after stopping for breakfast the sun was headed up to the zenith with a cloak of heat trailing in its wake. James and I usually get sunburned driving anywhere long distance in the summer, so I made sure we had our hats and we each wore one of his long-sleeve dress shirts. (Despite the hats and the shirts we still arrived home with red cheeks and irritated skin.) Then we reached the part of the road where I-675 splits to the east. They have been fixing and widening this part of I-75 southbound for what seems like eons, and sure enough, traffic stopped dead and started inching along. And this went on for about fifteen miles. Now, certainly if the traffic was funneled down to one or two lanes you would certainly expect a holdup. But three lanes were open the entire route, and when the construction was finally over, there were still three lanes—but the traffic vanished! I mean, poof! One minute everything was backed up, a second later everyone was zipping up to 75 m.p.h. again.

Anyway, we got on the road at nine and arrived just a few minutes after noon for what should be a hundred-minute drive. When we shut off the engine and opened the truck doors it was like stepping into the desert. Heat was radiating off the pavement as if out of a toaster. We offloaded the power chair and went into the new hangar, where they had tables set out for the models and some others for model dealers.

Now, I'd thought about taking the truck and maybe going back down to Books-a-Million, but I didn't want to stir back out in that heat, not even to go to the main building and get some lunch! So I took a few pictures of the models, including a funny "cow abduction by aliens," went over to say hi to James Corley at his sales table, then took a couple of photographs of the planes in the hangar (including the drone that looks like a whale with wings), and then walked back out in the foyer and extracted the "Mouse" (the little Nextbook Walmart was selling so inexpensively last year). Archived some magazines on Zinio, read a little of my newest "Reader's Digest" on Nook, and then took everything over to a nearby table and hitched up the keyboard.

Of course James appeared just as I'd pulled up a manuscript. He called his Mom and arranged for us to meet her and Candy at Applebee's for lunch. Then we had to go out in that inferno to get to the truck. I pointed to some greyish clouds and wondered if it was going to rain. James didn't think so, so we left the power chair on the back of the truck flagged with the red bandanna from the emergency box so people would notice it was there and not run into it.

So about twenty minutes later James looked outside and said, "Oh, my God, it's raining!"

I don't remember even getting out the door; I was off like a shot and already had the cover almost on the chair as James limped up behind me. We tied the tarp down, and, you guessed it, by the time we got back inside and sat down, it had stopped raining. It rained again in a bit, but we waited it out and by the time we left it was dry. In the meantime, we had lunch, which Candy sweetly paid for, and gave Mom her gifts (a series of books set in north Georgia) and her card.

We left about 4 p.m. after getting gasoline (25 cents a gallon cheaper down there; damn right we filled up). I-75 northbound was delayed forty minutes between Locust Grove and Jonesboro, so we got off the freeway at Route 16, drove a few miles east, then north, and then west again—after seeing an extraordinarily awful accident at the intersection of Route 23 north, where a car had gone nose first into one of those drainage ditches—before going north paralleling the freeway. We saw the little main street of Locust Grove and bopped along the country road until we got to downtown McDonough and turned northwest on Jonesboro Road. When we finally got to the freeway we had skipped the entire mess, but it still took us 2 1/2 hours to get 100 miles. Ugh.

James was wiped out after driving both legs and pretty much fell asleep in his chair the moment we got home. I sat watching Lassie because Grit TV is finally showing something besides the 200 episodes Angel2 keeps repeating and repeating and repeating. I think "Lightning" and a couple of other episodes have aired once a week for the past year. They're actually showing season 12, and I discovered just how much Jed Allan and Jack DeMave were a letdown after Robert Bray. Damn that "old demon rum" and its hideous hold on some people.

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» Sunday, June 05, 2016
Gotta Start Somewhere

Even sleeping until ten doesn't feel like enough sleep. Of course we did go to bed at two...

Instead of enjoying breakfast, James had juice and I had milk and then we went to Kroger. The weather report called for rain on and off all day. When I walked Tucker it was spitting, and it spit more as we used the car to go to Kroger. Picked up milk and bread and only a few other things.

I have a nifty app called "Flipp" that lets you look at the ad papers from the newspaper. So before we'd ever put the groceries up, I had looked through several of the ads. When James works at home, he uses the same desk I use when I telework (he bought it originally), plus a "side tray" that is supposed to be used with sofas and other living room furniture, but it is really too short; he has to crouch over it. In the Staples flyer we saw something similar that was labeled "laptop desk." I wondered if it was taller than the side trays.

There was only one way to find out. After we had the milk put up, we headed for Dallas Highway. It was still cloudy, but no longer spitting.

Alas, Staples was closed due to "technical difficulties" (probably no computers or no air conditioning). There's a Krystal next door, so we got a bite to eat, and then I turned the car's head toward Acworth—we were only twelve minutes away—for the store there.

Alas, the "laptop desk" was just as short as the "side table." However, we found a small square desk called a "laptop pedestal," on a tripod of legs, and that tripod had an adjustable center column. Problem solved. It wasn't on sale, but it did work, so, alas, "alas" is at an end.

Since we were next door to Books-a-Million, we stopped in for a frozen hot chocolate. On the way home we stopped at Michaels so I could get some paintbrushes.

Once home, we assembled the little pedestal. It's not tremendously strong, but it holds a laptop well. James also was able to log on with his work laptop after having password problems the last time he tried to telework.

For the rest of the afternoon we worked on a small decluttering project: between the two of us we had three small, very old "netbook" type computers that had not been used for years (one was eleven years old). One by one they were brought out of hiding and we factory reset them and they are in a box to donate (since they still work), although Goodwill will probably throw them away.

We had Italian wedding soup for supper and watched Aerial America for the evening. As we worked on our computer projects, it rained, clouded, sunned, clouded, rained again (including one explosive downpour right around dinnertime), clouded and cleared, and when I took Tucker out at 8:30, the sky was mostly clear and the awful stifling heat that made me so sick yesterday had cleared for a bit. Fireflies were already bumping around, and down near the retaining pond, a frog was croaking.

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» Saturday, June 04, 2016
Olde Fartes

James and I had breakfast this morning and drove out to Gwinnett County—the "Infinite Energy Center," if you can believe that moniker!—where they were having a "Generations" expo today. We renamed it "Olde Farte Con." Basically, that's what it was, where "boomers" and seniors could get information pertinent to getting older. A lot of the info was pertinent to people who live in Gwinnett, but there were about half "generic" booths as well. We had our grips tested, gathered innumerable pens, notepads, and other little branded gadgets, got some vacation flyers, picked up some literature on "I've fallen and I can't get up" monitoring and stair lifts, and generally wandered about from booth to booth, two of which included mortuary information. It was a little depressing, even as you know in your heart that you have to face these things.

I noticed there were a great number of fannish-looking people around as well, and it turned out there was a gaming gathering in the next assembly hall. There's a combination for you. Bet their giveaways were more happy.

When we'd arrived the sun was strong and hot, and we had to hike a bit; both shows drew a big crowd and the lot was full. As we were coming out, conversely, it was starting to rain, big fat wet drops. James put the chair into a higher speed and I followed as quickly as possible and we got the chair up on the lift and covered up with the tarp—in time for it to quit raining. Figured.

We drove back to Cobb County and had lunch at Tin Drum, and then made our way down to Bed, Bath & Beyond with three coupons expiring on Monday. We got a new shower head, which we direly need, and some Greenies for the dog, and then a bag of popcorn for a treat. But putting down the chair in the sun for James when we got to Tin Drum did me in. By the time we got home, I was sick to my stomach and had to retreat to the bathroom and then the spare room in turn.

Clay and Maggi were in town—Clay is at a training class that spans the weekend, and she had come up to join him—so they came over and we went to dinner at Giovanni's. I ate slowly and I feel a little better, but the best medicine has been getting into my lightest clothes and getting cool. The heat has just acerbated the depression, and thinking about moving offices—again!—at work is making me ill. Sometimes I just want to cry.

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» Friday, June 03, 2016
Standing on My Own Three Legs

So I slept until nine, had fairly nice dreams, and am still stiff and tired when I get up. Can't be the bed; it's so comfy I don't want to get up. Must be Simply Sixties.

By the time I walked the dog and ate some oatmeal it was much too late to "beat the heat" as I planned, but I went out anyway. I picked up a nice paintbox at Michael's, and then went to Best Buy to look at a tripod they had on sale. It was actually too expensive and I was seeing if they had anything less expensive. I did find one. Of course I had to traipse the store to find the cameras and the tripods. During the search I found a nice-looking stove that I would love to buy for James. It's half black enamel and half stainless steel and had a convection oven. In the stove area I also found these neat stoves with double ovens, but not a type I've seen before. They are called Flex Duo, and instead of having two doors and two small ovens, it has one large oven divided by a removable metal partition. You can either open the small top area with a special latch on the oven door, or not use the latch and open the full oven. If you have the partition in, both ovens have their own convection fan. Alas, the cheapest of them was $1,300.00. But it's sure a cool idea; if you are only baking chicken legs or lamb shanks you can just use the top.

Needed to use the bathroom, so went over to Barnes & Noble. Looked around and bought Girl Waits With Gun that one of the folks on my regular blogroll really enjoyed. Stopped at the mall to see if Cumberland's Tokyo Express has the $1.49 "skewers." Alas, no, but the samples I garnered held me over so I could go to Publix. They had the Post "Great Grains" cereal on BOGO this week, so I bought more crunchy pecan. Amazingly, got out of Publix having only spent $22. I ate one of the Chicago rolls I bought for lunch and went to Sprouts.

I love Sprouts' stuff, but they continually flummox me with some of their services. Today they had Italian wedding soup, so I wanted to get a big container for Sunday supper. They were out of large containers. They were out of medium containers. I asked at the deli if there were more large containers. They said no. "But," I said, "I wanted a large container." They looked at me like I had two heads. Is it completely inexplicable that I might want a large container of soup? Isn't that why they make it, to sell it? In the end, I had to fill four of the small containers and tell them at checkout so I could get the large container price.

But they had cherries! Lovely, lovely cherries! And I actually found a bag that did not look like pie cherries and the cherries tasted decent.

And then when I got home the internet was down. Or, rather, the router was throwing one of its fits. I have to reboot it while pressing this button on top over and over. The strange thing is, when I look up what the function of this button is, it has nothing to do with the router asking for a password, which is what the router does if I don't press the button in rhythmic progression when I reboot it. Strange.

Walked the dog. At this point it was 93°F. Even when I retreated to the shade of the trees around the retaining pond it wasn't any cooler. Came in to watch a couple of Lassie episodes, since they're finally not showing the same fifty or so episodes over and over any more, but having some Corey Stuart stories, and by then James was home.

This time it's James taking me to Panera, because he's really fallen for the Chinese Cashew salad. I had it, too, and it's still yummy, but it came up on me all evening. We had a brief retreat after I left my hat there, but then we went to Barnes & Noble so James could look around. He found a magazine with a big article on F104s, but nothing else, as there's a book he wants to save our via-mail coupons for that is being released next week. I was tempted by Social Security for Dummies, but found out a new version is coming out next week, so I'll probably save a coupon for that.

When I walked Tucker at nearly ten o'clock it was still 83! Lord, I hate summer!

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» Monday, May 30, 2016
Taking It Easy

That makes me so mad. Two nights in a row, I slept like a rock, but had to be awakened before I could get eight hours sleep because we needed to be up for the convention. Last night and this morning, when I had many hours I could sleep? You guessed it! First I seem to have gotten Clay's complaint, then I was too warm, then I had to go back to the bathroom...grrrr! So we were up a lot later than we expected.

First we stopped at CVS, with a great 30 percent off everything coupon. James got saline solution, BreatheRights, and Flonase.

James had really taken a shine to that Chinese Cashew salad, so next we went back to Panera for lunch and we both had a "pick two" with chicken noodle soup and the salad. I didn't quite love it the way he did (I'd prefer it without pineapple), but it really is good, with lots of crunchings, slices of chicken, and a nice dressing. I certainly wouldn't complain if I had to eat it again!

Following was a stop at Barnes & Noble. Right off the bat I found a hardback Longmire novel on the remainder cart. Then, with my coupon, I got Eye of the Beholder: Johannes Vermeer, Antoni van Leeuwenoek, and the Reinvention of Seeing because it really sounds interesting—especially the bridge between painter and scientist. James got a few magazines, Glenn Beck's Dreamers and Deceivers from the remainder pile, and a book about how to fix everything with his coupon.

Our last stop was Kroger, for the missing milk. We went to the Vinings Kroger, and they still didn't have any gallons of skim milk. Thankfully the half gallons were of equivalent price, so we got four and headed home. Unfortunately, four half gallons do not fit in the space of two gallons, and we had to find a place for the fourth jug.

James grilled a yummy steak we had found on the managers special shelf for supper, and we had ice cream for dessert. Fireworks started popping outside, but luckily they were over with by the time I had to take Tucker outside, or I would have had to drag him down the stairs.

For hundreds of years, men and women have given their lives so we could live our own lives in peace, so we could grumble at the market and rejoice at the bookstore and eat whatever we please. Our thanks, ladies and gentlemen, for the gift of freedom. Thank you today and every day.

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» Sunday, May 29, 2016
So Much to Do, So Few Selves

This morning was the same as yesterday: up early, prep, and out the door. We told the fids we'd be home earlier. Not much, but we were.

I'd popped in the dealer's room for several short periods, but this morning had a chance to peruse more slowly. There is a nice variety of vendors this year, including The Corner Shop from downtown Marietta, and lots of CDs from Big Finish. I did buy James some Thunderbirds pins and he bought himself a SHADO one, and he bought me a Prydonian pendant. James also got a Starfury patch for his backpack and I bought Twilight a magnet that says "bigger on the inside."

I sure could have used something to split me into parts today. I missed "Literary Comfort Food" and "Ask a British Person!" and "How to Ruin Your Franchise," plus panels on Indiana Jones and Gerry Anderson, among others, to see the panels I did. That's the trouble with Timegate—[sarcasm alert!] just too many things going on!

Anyway, I went once more to the Big Finish Q&A because I just like listening to Nick Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery. Briggs is excited to be able to do an audio season of The Prisoner to add new stories to the canon, although I wonder if Patrick McGoohan would feel the same way, as that was always his baby.

Next, James was moderating (along with Scott Vigiue) a panel on Time Travel. We discussed time travel methods (machines, magic, disassociation with modern times) and the problems of traveling in time, where changing one tiny thing (as in the Bradbury story) changes the entire course of history. Not to mention what happens if you meet yourself in the past, or why you would want to time travel. (I don't want to change anything; I just want to see what it looked like really: the Library at Alexandria, ancient Rome and Greece, if there truly was a King Arthur, Washington crossing the Delaware, real pioneers crossing the plains, Perry in Japan, etc.)

Then it was on to see Paul McGann once more. On this panel he talked about some of the movies he had done, including one about the Irish potato famine in which he appeared with all three of his brothers. He said they all love each other, get along, and work well together, but by the time the shoot was over, they were no longer living close to each other! Also, his brother Mark was the first of the brothers to act, although he was going to RADA at the time. (His father knew nothing about acting, and when his mother told him "Paul's is going to RADA," Dad thought he had some sort of disease!) He also talked about being from Liverpool at the time of the Beatles, and how his mother would dress the brothers up as the Beatles and people would get a big kick out of it.

Terry Molloy came on next, and I got the opportunity to ask him about The Scarifyers, which most of the audience had never heard of. He talked about the episode that followed Nicholas Courtney's death and how they made the changeover to David Warner, with the help of an actor who sounded so much like Courtney that it made his eyes fill with tears.

I had a free hour, so I first went back to the restaurant where James was having a late lunch with Clay and Maggi, and Sue Phillips had joined them. Sat down to talk (but was a little pissed that the waitress came by several times and never once asked me if I wanted anything—I think if she had asked I would have ordered some potstickers, but she never did, so they lost that sale). Then Sue went back "on duty" for the Lit track and Clay and Maggi hit the road (they are planning to be back next weekend, so we might get to do dinner or something). I bought memberships for next year as well.

The final big panel was "The Worlds of Doctor Who" with all the guests (except for Louis Robinson, who left early). The panel was "thrown open" to any question, so there were some funny ones as well as serious ones about what types of stories they'd like to do on CD in the future. An unexpected guest turned up as well: a young man named John Moore who has done prosthetics and makeup on the new series and who is here in Atlanta working on Guardians of the Galaxy II. He'd seen the notice of the convention and called Alan to see if he could appear as it will help him get a green card to work here in the US.

We thought about seeing the wrapup panel in the British Pub track, but instead we stayed behind to see the Felt Nerdy Puppet Show, just for a lark. These are puppets in the Muppet sense, and the scenes alternated between Daleks telling bad jokes and a humorous continuing sequence where "Rose" wished for the Doctor to be more serious, only to have him turn into Mr. Spock and driving her crazy with his logic and sobriety. She was much happier with her good old Doctor in the end! After the show, the puppeteers came out and showed us how they worked and what they were made of, and introduced the puppets to the children.

Finally, it was time for the wrap-up panel, talking more about the change of name to WHOlanta and the change of weekend before "giving credit where it was due," to the track organizers, the con suite people, the panelists, and the guests, and then asking questions about how things went. We did complain about the restaurant rates!

And then it was seven o'clock and time to leave Paradise and go back to the world. On the way home we stopped for supper at Panera: I just had soup, but James had a pick two and fell in love with their new Chinese Cashew salad. It looks really good.

Then a dog walk and finally a chance to rest! Can't wait to sleep late tomorrow!

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» Saturday, May 28, 2016
Panels Every Hour on the Hour

Let's say 7:45 came too quickly, but at least I slept well. Good thing, because it was a flurry of a morning: dog walking, backpack stocking, and then zipping off on the freeway to get to the hotel in time for breakfast. It's a great buffet, but oi, the price! $41 for the two of us. So we eat as much as we can and tuck away some for later.

My first panel was "The Wonderful and Ever Expanding World of Disney." I was delighted to find Zootopia fans here, including author Debbie Viguie (I ran into her later near the dealer's room and we talked Judy and Nick for five minutes)! We also talked about the "sequelitis" that plagued Disney for a while and if any of them were any good (personally, I liked Bambi II and Patch's London Adventure). There was a bit of chat of how beautifully Brave was animated, but how the plot vacillated. Surprised no one mentioned Jungle Book.

The following panel was about the current season of Doctor Who, with much discussion about Peter Capaldi's tour-de-force in "Heaven Sent." Like others on the panel, I'd been skeptical of 40 minutes of nothing but the Doctor, and remember how astonished I was that the 40 minutes were over so quickly.

I returned to James (and Clay and Maggi) in "Remembering the Classics" in the literature track. As well as speaking about Heinlein and Asimov and all the rest, going back to H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, we tried to define a classic and what made it classic, and what made it worth reading vs. "required reading." What works for one, we all know, doesn't work for others, and mention was made of Asimov's Foundation series. My best friend read this in high school and loved it, and gave me a set for Christmas. I read three pages and never could manage the rest.

Next was a great panel given in the British Pub track: "British History, the World Wars." Mark Heffernan said he originally wanted the panel to be about the Battle of the Somme, since it is the hundredth anniversary, but this was a more general chat about both wars, and how the first led to the second. We even talked about things that were kept secret about World War II for many years, like the facts about Bletchley Park. Louis Robinson revealed he once met Albert Speer in the BBC studios!

And finally, time for Paul McGann! After seeing people like Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, McGann seems quite reserved. He does talk with his hands, though! [girly reaction warning!] Goodness, his eyes are so blue! [that's it :-) ] It turns out he appeared in a film called Withnail and I, in which he played opposite Richard E. Grant, who has also played the Doctor. The majority of the discussion was about the television movie, but not many details "behind the scenes" were revealed. He did love working with Sylvester McCoy and loved the TARDIS design: that was a real set, and not CGI as it would have been today.

Next, a panel devoted to this year's NewYear's Sherlock special, "The Abominable Bride." Some folks wished it had been an actual, standalone Victorian mystery as opposed to a fantasy happening in Sherlock's mind as he tried to solve a mystery. Most of what everyone liked was the in jokes, and the homages to the Holmes canon.

Nicholas Briggs, Jason Haigh-Ellery, Terry Molloy, and Paul McGann joined forces for "The BIG Big Finish Panel," in which all things audio drama were on topic. McGann's lengthy tenure as the Doctor in audio was discussed, of course, and how thrilling it was to have all his audio companions mentioned in the seven-minute video "The Night of the Doctor," but the different alternative adventures were also in evidence: the use of classic Doctors in new adventures, the companion stories, the tales set on Gallifrey. (Colin Baker, whose tenure was cut by a strike and then dismissal, also has had his sixth Doctor career extended via Big Finish, and the seventh Doctor and Ace had more adventures as well.) I only have a few of their CDs; I just can't afford them. And I never will catch up now! But I'd love to hear more. Their 50th anniversay special, "The Light at the End" was fabulous.

James had a panel at five, which I went to, a Book Club discussion based on the novel Ready Player One. He bought it just to read for this panel, but he said he enjoyed it because of the videogame theme. It sounds like it's sort of a Hunger Games riff, with an evil corporation and people trying to win a big prize by playing 1980s video games. The many 80s references in the story are due to the fact that the author is a 1980s junkie. Sue Phillips, who was conducting the panel, liked the story less, but admitted she was not fond of video games and could not relate to the character. However, at least once person in the audience said he identified with the protagonist and really loved the book.

"I Feel...Young: Star Trek at 50" was the next port of call, where Alice was in the front row. She has been a Trek fan since the series began. But we didn't discuss just the original series; we talked about Next Generation and the rest of the spinoffs (and how Enterprise was just getting good when they cancelled it). They clued us in to a interesting-looking set of books: These Are the Voyages, one book for each season! (Just FYI: they're cheaper at Barnes & Noble.)

Our final panel was "Why Fandom?" Well, because people of like interests have always gotten together. But, if because of those interests, people were thought of as outcasts, why then do fans fight against fans? So part of the discussion was about tribalism and exclusivity. Basically, even in fandom there are people who wish to be exclusive, but each fan should just accept everyone's interests so long as they do not hurt others or interfere with others' enjoyment.

I'd slipped out to use the bathroom about 7:45 and discovered the cabaret line forming outside the door. There was quite a long line for the cabaret, and people buying tickets up to the last minute, and soon we joined the queue.

The cabaret was hosted, as always, by the flamboyant Lt. Moxie Magnus, "Chief Cosmetology Officer on the USS Enterprise. The first performance was a very funny skit by the folks at, wherein a writer had been asked to come up with a play for the convention. But she "didn't know" it was a Doctor Who convention, so Who characters suggested by the audience, Davros and Amy, were substituted for the author's "original characters, the Terminator and Keanu Reeves." There followed hilarious hijinks as Davros and Amy followed a plot made for someone else.

Next Louis Robinson sang two songs, followed by him joining Courtland Lewis and Alan Siler to do two David Bowie tribute songs, including "Ground Control to Major Tom." (Louis also played a duet with Moxie and her ukelele.) Finally Terry Molloy came on with his ukelele and played a very funny folk song about typical 1950s housewives attending satanic services while their husbands are shooting snooker at the pub! He also took a turn with Moxie.

Finally the traditional cabaret ending, a raffle giveaway, commenced. James won a spiffy poster and others received Who figurines, a stuffed TARDIS, a Who Yahtzee game, etc.

There was a "Gallifrey Game Night" and a Prince/Bowie singalong following, but we had to head home to our puppy, and pretty much straight to bed one more time. I miss the "pet friendly" hotel.

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» Friday, May 27, 2016
Long Day's Journey Into Time Travel

Who knew when we woke up this morning that by this evening we would learn we would be attending the final...

Wait, wait—as Father Mouse says in Twas the Night Before Christmas, when you're attacking a piece of cheese, best to start from the top!

We had slept in until nine, and then had a quick breakfast. James' service engine light, which means he needs an oil change, came on last weekend, and he also wanted to finally get the cab of the truck vacuumed out. So we emptied the contents into two Xerox paper boxes and went off to Mr. Clean Carwash where you can get both. They had to hand wash the car because of the chair lift on the back, and I wasn't really happy with the vacuum job (there are still crumbs in the footwells), but anyway it was cleaned out and the oil got changed. This took a while, and then we had to go home and get the essentials, like the GPS and the water bottles, back in the cab, and then we had to go to Kroger, too, to get sandwich fixings because the restaurant at the Timegate hotel is very expensive (if you order enough appetizers to make a meal, it costs as much as a meal; the cheapest entree is $18!). So we decided to do all the shopping so we didn't have to make another trip on Monday. This also went very quickly as shopping trips go, but it turned out they had no skim milk at all. WTF?

So by the time we got home, I got Tucker walked (a long walk because we wouldn't be home until at least 11:30), I topped off Snowy's seed and got him watching television, we got the sandwiches done and packed the ones we ordered at Kroger and other things in the backpack, we had no time for a sit-down lunch. Instead we grabbed burgers and had to take surface streets to the hotel because rush hour was in full, crazy swing.

We shuffled through the line while I fired off a text to Clay, who said he and Maggi were aiming to be here by four. Unfortunately Clay had been sick this morning, so they were just getting off the freeway. We got our badges and other items, then I walked down to the Timegate Store (being greeted by Mike on the way there) to buy tickets for the cabaret, then waited for them to work through the line. And then because they hadn't eaten, we ended up at the restaurant anyway. I just had potstickers, which are very good. About halfway through our meal, Alice, Ken, and Aubrey came to sit with us and chat.

As we were eating, Paul McGann walked by!

I am achieving a personal goal this year. Once I see McGann speak, I will have seen "live, in person!" (as they so stridently trumpet) all of the original Doctors (except for William Hartnell, who died before I even knew what Doctor Who was). We saw Patrick Troughton at Magnum Opus Con (unfortunately, he passed away the next day); Jon Pertwee here in Atlanta, I saw Tom Baker in Boston the fall before I moved to Georgia, I saw Peter Davison at Omnicon in 1983 and then later here at Dixie Trek, we saw Colin Baker at Timegate in 2013, and we saw Sylvester McCoy the day after he was chosen for the role of the Doctor at the Exhibition they were doing here in Atlanta, and at several subsequent conventions.

Once we'd finished supper I was off to my first panel, "The Best Who," basically a chat about favorite doctors, companions, and antagonists, and the classic series as opposed to the new series (or "the Welsh series" as I've heard it called). For those who've only seen the new series, what old series episodes would you recommend? Nice to see everyone after a few months; haven't seen Alan since Anachrocon and Kathy Sullivan since last year. Next we went to opening ceremonies, where we learned to our surprise that this is the last Timegate!

But not to fear; it's just regenerating! Since there are no longer Stargate panels (which is the "gate" component), the convention will henceforth be named Wholanta. The weekend is also moving because Momocon is going to be downtown on Memorial Day weekend from now on, and there is a new convention in Florida on this weekend (which is why Ken Spivey isn't here). Gosh, what are we going to do on this weekend now?

Next the guests were introduced: Jason Haigh-Ellery from Big Finish Productions, who do audio drama (mostly Doctor Who, also Torchwood, Dark Shadows, and The Prisoner) that number into the hundreds now; Nicholas Briggs, who performs Dalek voices on Doctor Who and on Big Finish tapes and who works on BBC Radio 4 Extra; the previously mentioned Paul McGann (who actually has more audio adventures than the other Doctors have broadcast ones); and Terry Molloy, a mostly-voice actor who is the modern voice of Davros and who also played in a radio series called The Scarifyers opposite Nicholas Courtney (Doctor Who's Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart). Terry came on in a kilt (his outfit for the entire weekend, carrying a teddy bear—more about him in another entry)! James is wearing his this weekend, too.

Aubrey Spivey was one of the panelists in "Young Adult, Old Adult" to try to answer the question of why many adults read young adult fiction. Some of the answers were that young adult problems are more black and white, or that it addresses problems that are softened rather than the brutality of adult fiction. My answer: I read anything that's good! I don't care who it's written for. I just finished Sweet Home Alaska about Depression-era pioneers in Alaska. It was a great read, so who cares if it's grade 4-6? They were also thinking that the dystopian kick was finally drying up. Oh, God, I hope so. How depressing.

James was on the panel of "How Hard is It?" at ten, about "hard" (a.k.a. scientific) science fiction, defining what it is, and why some people prefer it. There is a Russian gentleman who has been coming to conventions here for a couple of years now, and we learned just this weekend his name is "Yan." He has a unique viewpoint of SF that is fascinating. Maybe someday he can do some panels.

Once this panel was over, we had to hurry home: basically we got in and I walked Tucker, and then we were off to bed! Up at 7:45 tomorrow!

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» Sunday, May 22, 2016
Tick Off that List

James was supposed to telework today, but when he tried to log on last night with his new computer, it asked him for the VPN password. This was already on his old laptop, but not on the new unit and there was no one he could call on the weekend. So he had to get up and go to work this morning.

I don't know what was the matter, but I could not sleep last night. My left leg was jerking and twitching and I could not get comfortable. At 3 a.m. I was already exasperated about being sleepless. Only after James left, which was around seven, did I finally fall asleep to make up what I lost overnight. Except it was almost eleven when I got up and I had stuff to do.

I stripped the bed and stuffed the bedclothes in the washer, then took Tucker, his soap, a towel, and a plastic bag full of plastic bags and hustled him out in the car. He sat on the towel, as always mesmerized by the world going by in the window, his forepaws on the door armrest, and I stopped a moment to drop the recycling off at Publix, and then I took him to the dog wash. Another woman was scrubbing a big greyish floppy-eared dog in the opposite tub and we chatted to each other or talked to our respective dogs through the wash.

He practically towed me out the door when we were finished. :-)

I brought him home, put fresh bedding in his crate (finding more shredded napkins and a souvenir I brought home from Quonset Point in November and which was perfectly okay on Thursday night...grrrr), gave him his breakfast and put up the gate, and sadly, had to go out again: we had two coupons for Bed, Bath & Beyond that were expiring tomorrow. We needed Plinks and I bought more "doggie doo" bags, and, finally, a new glass for the hall bath. I have always hated that glass in there; you can't get your hand down it to scrub it properly.

Was planning to get gas at Costco, but the saving was so minimal I just skipped it. I did get some money for the week, and stopped by Panera intending to have some soup. It was so crowded I just bought two rolls instead and brought them home to have one with butter. I figured we'd be having dinner soon anyway, it was so late.

I spent the rest of the afternoon changing the bed and washing the bedclothes, cleaning out under the bed (apparently on his last foray through the unclosed gate he not only got my Quonset souvenir, but raided the wastebasket in the bathroom and shreded his bounty under the bed), washing Tucker's bedding, and re-making the bed. By then James was home. We had chicken and salad for supper while watching old black-and-white game shows on Buzzr.

And then it was time for the season finale of Call The Midwife. Needless to say, both of us were in tears, what with the death of Sister Evangelina (after she had held a baby one more time despite her paralyzed arm) and the revelation about the thalidomide. I didn't realize they still used a coach and horses for funerals back in 1961! A fitting sendoff for a formidable woman.

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