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 18, 2017
Just Another Weekend...Sort Of

It's been a quiet weekend: nothing much going on, but not much to write about. We slept in Saturday morning, after staying up late to watch more Star Blazers on Friday night. James walked Tucker, and then after breakfast went to his club meeting. I decided to go check out something at Home Depot, but on the way, dumped a Xerox paper box full of working, useful, but unwanted odds and ends I wanted out of the house (timers, a Christmas card holder, etc.) and the books we couldn't get rid of at McKay's last year at Goodwill. (I was amused to note our neighbor Dave was ahead of me in line.) I also stopped at Big Lots and got a cheap bookcase to replace the old microwave cart downstairs that is an auxiliary pantry. The cart is too wide for the narrow hallway and I want it gone.

I appeared to have arrived at Home Depot at the same time everyone else did. Seriously, it was like a convention. I didn't find what I was looking for there, and went on to Barnes & Noble with an eye to spending one last coupon, but I didn't see anything, and the books I was looking at were just making me depressed. I went home feeling low, and pretty much ruined the rest of the afternoon by forgetting myself and biting down too hard on my bad tooth while I ate lunch. I didn't see stars, I saw planets, asteroids, and a couple of galaxies. I had to run in the bathroom and put on some Ambesol in a hurry, and eventually took some ibuprofin and lay down. Luckily James called on his way home and was willing to detour to Dragon 168. The fried rice was easy on my tooth, and it really didn't hurt for the rest of the night...well...

It didn't hurt in the evening. We finished up watching Star Blazers and then I put on Watership Down, which I hadn't watched in years. Still mesmerizing and exquisite, especially the beautiful watercolor backgrounds. James wandered downstairs to work in the man cave for a while (he's watching Man in the High Castle) and I finished up with Hazel, Fiver and company and watched A Dog of Flanders. I had bought the newly-released DVD when it came out, but had not yet seen it. This was not only the first time this 1959 film had been on DVD, but the first time I was getting to see it in its original aspect ratio. I've only previously seen pan-and-scan version; this was a popular movie that usually ran on TV during Christmas vacation or during other school holidays. I have to say I was pleased! It's not only a sweet, leisurely film about a boy, his dog, and the boy's artistic ambitions, but it was filmed on location in Belgium and Holland, so it has a real European look that looks fabulous in widescreen. David Ladd is very solemn and earnest as young Nello, and the "dog of Flanders" is played by "Spike," who was Old Yeller in Disney's film.

I had quit using the mint rinse the dentist gave me over a week ago because the cinnamon oil in it burned the dickens out of my tongue. Now that my tongue was healed I planned to go back to it but use it for fifteen seconds instead of thirty. Not only was fifteen seconds still too long–it burned my tongue the minute it hit my mouth–but my teeth were fine until I used it. Once I got into bed the bad tooth and the two next to it started to burn and hurt. I had to drag out of bed and put on Ambesol and take some ibuprofin. Let's say I wasn't very alert in the morning.

We were up a little earlier this morning so we could go to Costco. The place was mobbed even though we got there only twenty minutes after opening. Picked up milk, popcorn, and a few other things, and were able to escape reasonably fast. We just dropped what we bought off at home and swapped vehicles; I needed gasoline and decent bread for lunches, so the only solution was going to Kroger on Dallas Highway. We went there for bread, almonds, and a large pill container, and as always, ended up with a bit more.

That was it. We came home and put everything up, I put away the spare filter for the air conditioner and tidied up a few other things, then put on some quiet music to sit and read to. At five we watched Colour Confidential successfully, had chicken breast in mixed greens/oranges/almonds oriental salad, and resigned ourselves to the news and Guy's Grocery Games. However, have found Aerial New Zealand. An escape from network television.

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» Friday, June 16, 2017
All the Maintenance in a Row

Well, it was a busy week around here (and that didn't count work). The exterminator showed up on Tuesday to hopefully keep the ants at bay this year, and the filters for the air conditioner which were expected on Tuesday had already come on Sunday (the A/C tech told me bluntly when we had the new HVAC system installed that it would be cheaper if we bought our filters online than having them supply it), and then Thursday the HVAC system got inspected (the hypoallergenic filters cost $138 for two on Amazon; they would have charged us $100 to replace the one). The tech turned down the humidity as low as he could; he said it would make it feel cooler and should be better for the system. Way later on the repairman from AT&T turned up (finally, after they'd sent me a text saying they weren't coming) and we have a dial tone on the landline again. It's been gone for two weeks as far as we know; since the DSL never dropped out we didn't realize until I picked up a receiver one day. There was a short in the box outside.

So I was perfectly ready to sleep in this morning. The alarm went off at 8:30 and I told Alexa to shut off the alarm, and then the bed reached its soft blankety arms around me and I conked out for another half hour.

After breakfast and perambulation of the pooch, I went into Buckhead to visit the Barnes & Noble there. I have one more 20 percent off coupon and wanted to see if there was anything good to use it on. Didn't find anything for it, but did get an odd looking paperback cozy mystery about a family with a skeleton in their house (literally; it's sentient) that helps solve its own murder (I know; it sounded so wild I had to read it) and a new issue of "Best of British."

Picked up lunch at Tin Drum on the way home. Called James while I was eating; he had an appointment at Hanger (his orthopedic shoe place) at two-thirty and I wanted him to swing by to pick me up. We got to Hanger without incident and the technician agreed that James' shoes should not have so much wear on them after only a month (and he really only walks the dog in them). Both of the toe areas are fraying and there is already a hole in the left one. The shoes are still under warranty and they are ordering another pair for him, with hard sides instead of soft ones.

When we got done there James picked up a burger at Martin's (he hadn't had lunch and it was nearly three) and then we went on to Publix. Once all the groceries were put up it was already time to head up to Town Center for supper.

We ate at Fried Tomato Buffet again because it's about the cheapest supper we can get and on Friday night they have shrimp. Their fried shrimp have a very nice, light, crunchy coating. Plus I had cucumber salad and olives. But we saw the darn rudest thing when we came out: someone had gone in one of the stores and bought a vacuum cleaner and what looked like an air purifier or portable air conditioner. Evidently the boxes didn't fit in their car, because they had emptied out the boxes and left them behind the car next to them and gone on their way!

I had a Michael's coupon, so James sat in the truck and I ran in. I didn't find what I was looking for, but I wasn't about to waste a coupon, so I bought another watercolor pad. James wanted to check out the new Hobby Lobby—beats me why they abandoned a perfectly good new building near the JoAnn and the Michaels to move a mile or so away into a newer building—so we did. I used their coupon to buy a larger set of watercolor pencils (they're Sargents, though; not sure how good they are), some water pens to use with them, and blending pencils. We walked the whole store, though, and we saw signs of Christmas being put out: wreaths, big bows, ribbons, some picks, some craft parts (they have stickers of dogs in Santa suits; one of them is a collie—I must get one set), ornaments. And new aisles of fall! I hugged garlands to make me feel better about summer.

Spent the evening watching Star Blazers again.

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» Sunday, June 11, 2017
Discount Mavens

We were up last night so late watching the exploits of Mark Venture—LOL, sorry, Star Blazers—that we didn't get up until almost eleven. Accordingly we got dressed and just skipped breakfast. We had to finish the shopping and I wanted to use some coupons at JoAnn.

For food we went by Wendy's for a burger each and then headed up to Town Center. James needed gasoline for the truck before anything, and our jaws dropped when we detoured to Costco and found almost no one in line for gas. Usually the Costco gas lines are backed up six ways to Sunday. Then we went to JoAnn. With half price coupons I am always after things for the house and we bought Command stuff with it: two things to organize the bathroom, some cable holders, and a razor holder to use for a remote control.

Then we had about an hour for fun and went to Barnes & Noble. James got Cary Elwes' book about the making of The Princess Bride and I bought Their Finest, a British World War II novel about the propaganda office (Dani recommended it on her blog) and Pioneer Girl Perspectives, essays about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Still got one coupon left each! Annoying, the clouds that had made this morning so nice had vanished and that nasty old sun was back. The only good thing about this was that the sky was full of lovely, pillowy clouds white as snow against sky blue.

Finally it was Kroger time. We went by the list, which was stuff on sale, and didn't have to stay long.

At home I settled in for a Sunday relax while James solved a couple of thorny problems. He ordered a book from Amazon which was supposed to arrive on the 6th, but has never come. The tracking number online only said that it had left the distribution center on May 31, and that's where it ended. So after trying to trace it through the post office led to a dead end, he just called Amazon, and they have dispatched a new book. The other one was a little funny: I mentioned he bought a new desk chair last night. Well, what showed up on Flipp this morning in the Office Max flyer? They now had it on sale as a Sunday doorbuster for $53 less! He called them up and they said they would price match. So we ran over there and got his $53 back. Very much worth the time, even if I did miss a Colour Confidential.

James has been having fun with the grill burner on the new stove, and we've already had lamb steaks and pork chops on it; one night when my tooth was hurting badly he grilled me a turkey burger. Tonight he tried grilling the pork rib bits we bought at Nam Dae Mun. They came out good, but not best. I think they could have used a marinade to make them a little more moist. I'm looking forward to more grill experiments! Maybe we will also have griddle experiments? Buckwheat pancakes anyone? 😀

Finishing out the evening by watching the Tony Awards. Richard Thomas was nominated for a Tony! He didn't win, but he was at the ceremony looking quite attractive in a beard. Scott Bakula still looking quite nice these days! Kevin Spacey did a really fun opening number, and the musical Come From Away (about the residents of Gander, Newfoundland, who took in the stranded airline passengers after 9/11) looks really cool. Ruben Santiago-Hudson, who was Captain Montgomery on Castle, was also nominated in a directing role. How great for him he was doing something worthwhile during that final miserable season.

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» Saturday, June 10, 2017
Feeling the Burn—and the Blaze

Friday reminded me of the lyrics from Annie's "Together at Last": "Yesterday was plain awful." "You can say that again." I started out with multiple bathroom visits, chills, and nausea. This being gone by afternoon, my headache kicked in instead, and I was having another, more odd problem: you know how when you eat something too hot and burn your tongue? The first day it feels terrible, the next day it's a little better, and after that it's gone? Well, my tongue has been feeling like the first day burn since Tuesday, but I hadn't eaten anything too hot to make my tongue get burned. Nor is the pain diminishing by day. The tip of my tongue burns and hurts when you touch it with anything (teeth, toothbrush, fingers). I can taste what I eat, but it burns, too, and makes my mouth all dry. I kept drinking all afternoon to cool it off.

When I was done with work (which ran late because I was receiving proposals; I got twenty three!), I just lay down until James got home; we went to Hibachi Grill for dinner. My tongue hurt and my tooth is still painful, so eating wasn't much fun. We still have Barnes & Noble coupons, so we stopped there for a little while, but I was too miserable to enjoy it, and we skipped going to Publix. The only other thing I did was take Tucker out. James came with us and we admired the mini-moon.

A good night's sleep does a lot, and while my tongue still hurts, I woke up feeling better. It was James who was feeling odd this morning. He'd already eaten breakfast, but it must have been low blood sugar, because as we got going, the odd feeling disappeared. We dropped off the old stereo speakers at Goodwill, then went on to Nam De Mun, because James needed ginger tea. Well, we found it, and we also found cherries, scallions, celery, lamb steaks, pork ribs, a really nice looking steak, and more low-sodium teriyaki sauce. Needless to say, we had to go home and put up the meat before heading out on our real errand of the day: looking for a new office chair for James.

On the way to Staples, we stopped at Freddy's for lunch, which is more than fast food, but not really a restaurant. They have "steakburgers," hot dogs, one lone chicken burger, and frozen custard. The steakburgers are neat; they have little crispy edges. And the fries are like the shoestring potatoes you get in cans. Nothing special, but not a bad place to have lunch.

After eating, we checked out the chairs at Staples, and had decided on one, but they didn't have it in stock. They would have ordered one for us and had it shipped at no charge, but I thought we would go to Office Max and see what they had first. Well, we found a nice Serta chair. It was a little more expensive than the chair at Staples, but James has been having so much trouble with his back and legs in the old chair that the additional support will be helpful. The old chair is probably seven or eight years old.

(I also finished up my Flair collection with a set of the "candy pop" colors. These are hard to find and hideously expensive. Office Max had them on sale.)

We had to "decant" the chair in parts out of the box to get it in, then just left it to sit while we had dinner at O'Charley's (we had a coupon). We both had 6-ounce sirloins and healthy sides.

And then on the way home we made up the missing Publix trip.

Finally home, James put the chair together and I put on an old favorite, Star Blazers. The other night we had found a link to a completely new version of this series, which was a cleaned up and English-dubbed version of the Japanese anime Space Battleship Yamato. It looks super, but the DVDs are hideously expensive. I'd love to see it: they have pretty much done the original story over, but with computer animation and HD, and there are now more women "in on the action" including a fighter pilot, a ship's psychologist, and even a disc jockey. (The original series showed women on the ship, but the only woman ever involved in the action was Yuki—known in the Star Blazers universe as Nova.) My best friend Sherrye turned me on to the original series when it ran on good old WSBK-TV38 in Boston in the late 1970s.

Space Battleship Yamato 2199

(I still like Mark Venture best! 😁 )

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» Sunday, June 04, 2017
No Pressure

We were up wayyyy late last night, so we slept in this morning. James took Tucker out and we had breakfast. We had no plans for today, but after checking the weather report, James thought he might want to go get his laptop since it looks like it may rain all day tomorrow. So once the rain that was falling this morning slacked off, we went over to his work to fetch it; it drizzled on and off, but never did pour. It was nice and cool for driving, but sticky as glue once you stopped.

We got all the broken things taken in the garage recycling box and then sat to give the sound bar a real test: Twister. For the first time in a long time I could hear all the dialog and the thunder rumbled and the tornado roared quite nicely in the background.

We had bought a nice roast at Sam's, and James decided to test out the pressure cooker. It has a voice that instructs you what to do. He didn't put it in until three, right before we started the movie, and by six it was still "setting pressure." So I guess whomever sold it to "Grandma's Attic," the thrift shop we bought it from, sold off something that didn't work. How rude. We will put it in the box with the electronics recycling. 😒

All the broadcast stations were coming in so well this morning that I ran the scan of the channels again. I had already done this last week, hoping we could get Ion Life in better (and we did; it is no longer dropping out during Colour Confidential) and lo and behold, in came RetroTV! We haven't gotten Retro since they moved from channel 32.7. Still no GPB, which irritates me no end; why does WPBA (Atlanta PBS) have a strong enough signal and not Georgia PBS? Found a couple of new channels, but still mostly Christian, Spanish, and shopping, so while I found 84 over-the-air channels, I only kept 35, and one was QVC, because they'll be doing Christmas in July. Still no METV, still no Hero & Icons. We are supposed to get them over the air, but apparently not on this side of town. If you live in another area of Atlanta, you get it. Bizarre.

Of course, I expect when Doctor Simon Locke rolls back around on Tuesday, Retro will suddenly vanish...

Tested out using the Aux feed on the speaker to play a little of a "Travel with Rick Steves" and also tried it on Tune-In Radio to play music. Splendid. Wondering if I need to invest in a portable CD/cassette player so I can play my cassettes at Christmastime. I have a portable CD player that I bought about ten years ago to play MP3 radio shows, but I notice it's been skipping when playing CDs and it doesn't play cassettes.

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» Saturday, June 03, 2017
Crossing the Bar

We slept in this morning, and James walked Tucker while I snoozed, then we had breakfast and got to work on the only errand we had to do today: go to the Walmart up near the Big Chicken (Cobb Parkway and Roswell Road). He had reserved two pairs of pants there.

First I had him take me by the Dollar General to see if it's just the store close to us that doesn't sell scrubs anymore or if Dollar General has dropped them. It looks like the latter, as there were none to be seen. This was the store close to the old hobby shop and we got there by the usual way, down Frey's Gin Road. This has been all rebuilt since the last time we came through here, and the corner where the dentist's office was is gone. The dentist had paid to have a plaque on the building commemorating the lynching of Leo Frank for the murder of a mill girl at this location in 1915. I had heard that they were going to place a permanent historical marker at the site; I wonder if they still intend to do it.

It was already slammed at Walmart when we arrived, but we got lucky and found someone leaving a handicapped space in front. We returned the pair of pants that didn't fit him from last week and retrieved the two we'd reserved, plus I found two pairs of scrubs pants there. I like these to wear around the house or out in the summer. One of them will become my dog-walking pants because the waistband on the present pair is worn out.

Since we were now next door to Sam's Club, we stopped there for milk and mushrooms. We also bought a likely looking roast of beef to be crock potted or pressure cooked, some Skinny Pop...

...and a sound bar.

We've been looking at sound bars or sound stands for a while. Way back in the old house (which makes it at least twelve years ago, but probably longer) we had ditched James' old receiver from the 1980s and bought one with five speakers and a subwoofer for a home theatre system. It worked fine at the old house, but it went a little squirrelly when we moved: instead of the sound going from 0 to 50 (quiet to loud), it started going backwards (50 being no sound, 0 being the loudest). In the last two years, we haven't been able to use it because if there is a loud sound in any movie (an explosion, a burst of music, someone screaming, etc.) it shuts itself off.

Thus the soundbar. This came with a small subwoofer and two "satellites" that are used for surround sound. We basically got home from the stores and spent the rest of the afternoon setting the silly thing up. The hardest part was getting the old stuff pulled out and out of the way: the receiver, all the speakers, and the tape player, which doesn't really work anymore, and has nowhere to plug in on the sound bar because it's so old. Of course it was all dusty on the TV stand despite periodic maintenance and had to be cleaned and polished. We found wires back there that were no longer connected to anything, and a glut of RCA cables because originally each of the players were set up to feed individually into the receiver. We also swapped out an old surge suppressor with a new one, so basically the first thing I did was re-set up everything left (DVD player, the Hopper, etc.) and make sure that still worked, and then add in the sound bar. While it didn't connect automatically to the television as the manual said it would, we finally got it to work and even the subwoofer and the little speakers. I finished up by twist-tying overly long cords and even putting some Command hooks on the back of the television to hold up extraneous wires.

This took us till 6:30, and I almost didn't want to go out afterwards, but we got dressed and went to Fried Tomato Buffet for supper (it's barbecue ribs/chicken and dumpling night, after all) and then dropped in on Barnes & Noble with coupons. I used the one that came in e-mail on a book of supernatural mysteries and one of the 20 percent offs from the mail on The Royal Nanny, which is a fictionalized account of Charlotte Bill, the beloved "Lala" who took care of the children of King George V and Queen Mary, especially the youngest, Johnnie, who was epileptic and possibly autistic. (His story is also told in the television miniseries The Lost Prince.)

We came home and finished the project officially by putting a board (a Billy shelf we bought at IKEA years ago which was the wrong size but was never returned) under the television to boost it up. Otherwise the top of the sound bar covered about 1/2 inch at the bottom of the screen. It works really well! Then I vacuumed around the television and put the subwoofer and one satellite behind the rocker and the other satellite behind James' chair. (We tested this out later by watching Jaws and all the background sound is coming through fine. Tucker keeps staring into the corner with a perplexed look on his face. When we first tested the subwoofer he jumped and then ran over to stare at it accusingly.)

Tomorrow we have to dump the receiver and tape player in the garage. I suppose the speakers and the speaker wire can go to Goodwill; they are still good. The one thing left to do is get the old subwoofer out from under the window; we use it to hold the telephone! We'll need to replace it with the little teak table from the hallway and I will have to find a new place for Sherwood the stuffed fox, who sits on it now.

Spent the rest of the evening watching this and that on "real TV" (Room to Grow on Ion Life, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, the news) before trying out the speakers on Jaws. Need to test it with something with really cool sound, like Twister. 😀

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» Friday, June 02, 2017
All the Projects in a Row

Well, the dentist trip yesterday was both a success and a bust. Did make it through the dentist, but did not get the whole deep cleaning of my left side done. The x-rays alone took a while. The "deep cleaning" was nothing. I lay there and grunted occasionally as nasty calc was removed from my teeth as Julie the dental hygienist chipped at it and then used the sonic gadget that sprays water. My big problem was the painkiller. I had told them I'd never had novocaine so they used gel. It worked great. Too great. Some of it got down my throat and I felt like I couldn't swallow (and by extension, couldn't breathe) and I had a nice little panic attack there for about ten-fifteen minutes.

So Julie couldn't do my top left quadrant, only the bottom, and even then she had run 15 minutes over into the next appointment. Oh, and they warned me this gel tasted disgusting, and boy were they right! It was worse than Beverly, and that is a singularly nasty taste experience. If you've ever used Ambesol and thought that tasted bad, this makes Ambesol taste like dessert. It's got lidocaine in it and is it bitter!

(It's like I imagined Baytril would taste when the vet told us about it. Back when we had Merlin, he got very sick and I had to medicate him through an eyedropper with this animal antibiotic called Baytril. The vet said to add something sweet to it--I used lemon-lime Kool Aid because Merlin loved it--because it was very bitter. I said jokingly "How do you know," and the vet said that in veterinary school they had to taste every single oral medication they gave to animals so they would have an idea how the animal might react when given it! You haven't seen anything until you've seen a budgie spitting up what you just gave him with a black look in his eye. 😀 )

So came home from the appointment disappointed, but at the same time still glad I made myself sit down and have the bottom left teeth cleaned. She offered me an out three times, but no time would be any better, and I already had my lower jaw numb. And, as I said, her cleaning down there didn't bother me. I might have fallen asleep if it went on much longer.

Unfortunately I still can't chew right. And the next appointment they had was July!

Worked before and after the appointment and had soup for supper and was quite prepared for a nice long sleep this morning. I got up before nine, though. Did a bit of cleanup in the kitchen while I boiled water for oatmeal, had breakfast, walked the dog, brought paper towels upstairs. And then I worked on A Project, relating to a post a week ago talking about the lights formerly on our deck ("My idea was to take a string of big bulb (C-9) clear Christmas lights (bought at Hobby Lobby after the holidays at a discount) and hang them between the uprights on the deck, so it will light the deck and the back yard as well."). I basically took the new string of lights, the timer we got at Lowes, a wire cutter, and a reel of gold floral wire, and went outside and put them up, under the top rail and between every other baluster. Every fifth bulb I put one colored light to give it a little pizzazz. I also swept off the deck, and then went down to the yard to clean up the birdseed bags and other junk I had thrown down (this wasn't me being hyperclean; I had to do it, as I dropped my cutting plier off the top rail ).

Spent the afternoon reviewing books and watching "This Week in Tech." James actually got out on time and we had supper at Tin Drum. (I ate a very small lunch of toast and butter to save my "chewing" for a teriyaki bowl. Luckily the beef was very tender.) Then we went across the street to Barnes & Noble where (yay!) the new "Breathe" and "Bella Grace" were out. James also found me the cutest thing: a nanoblock budgie!

Our last stop was Publix, and by the time we got home it was full dark and I flipped the switch and told him to turn around. Voìla—or "viola," as Snagglepuss used to say—and the porch was lit.

On Facebook today we had been discussing the semi-documentary Men Into Space 1950s television series, and we found that on YouTube and watched the first two episodes. Very slow-moving, almost reverential series that tried to get the science as true as possible. Although we had to giggle about the crew getting to the moon and back in two days. As this played, I assembled the budgie. Dropped tiny parts twice—these are like mini-Legos—but finally got the little guy built. He looks like this. There's also a blue one and a yellow one.

Lastly I found the first episode of My Favorite Martian on YouTube. I don't think I'd ever seen it.

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» Monday, May 29, 2017
Quiet Monday

So it was a quiet Memorial Day. We got eight hours sleep, then had breakfast and went to Walmart, where we finally returned James' pants. They didn't have his size in the George pants, so we tried another brand and they didn't fit. I got some shorts for wearing in the house, and we bought some sugar-free candy, and James picked up some cole slaw and bean sprouts for a different kind of burrito (szuchuan style), and I bought wild bird seed. As we drove home, we noticed the clouds were building up from the west.

So once we got the groceries put up and I refilled the bird feeders, Tucker and I went down to the dog wash at Petco and he got all nice and shiny and soft again. There were no other customers and Tucker was very good while I soaped and rinsed and brushed (I got two currycombs of hair off him). The clouds were thicker when we left, and it had already rained a little when we got home although it wasn't raining at that time.

SundanceTV was having a M*A*S*H marathon and we basically watched that for the rest of the afternoon and evening. We had chicken and wild rice for supper and a slice of chocolate loaf cake for dessert.

Major trouble getting Tucker to go out tonight, because people are popping fireworks outside since dusk started to fall. He stood pathetically at the top of the stairs with his ears back, his left forepaw up, and his eyes big, dark and liquid, and I had to coax him outside. He stopped and looked every time he heard a pop, and tried to turn back a couple of times, but I praised him when he went on and coaxed when he didn't, and we got around, and he even "helped" me take out the trash. Must get those calming pills at Petco before the Fourth. The cashier says they do work; the poor woman lives near the Monstrosity and they do fireworks after the ball games and her dog goes crazy. They have chamomile and other soothing herbs in them.

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» Sunday, May 28, 2017
Another Point of View

We were going to a cookout tonight, but this morning we decided we would go out to Books-a-Million today for our frozen hot chocolate treat, as there was more of a chance of rain tomorrow. We still slept in (with a great rage of thunder booming out sometime during the night; I asked James blurrily about 8 o'clock: "Was I dreaming last night or was that real thunder?"), and had breakfast, and headed out before noon.

Between his fall down the stairs (twice) and the degenerative arthritis in his feet, knees, and hips, James has several nerve problems, and one is a bad case of sciatica, which affects his right leg. However, in the last couple months, he's been having problems with his right foot going numb when he drives. Now, the truck is twelve years old and the seats have gotten saggy in the years since February 2005. He was complaining about feeling like he was sinking down, so during the winter I bought him a seat cushion for the car with the sciatic gap at the rear, and I think it helped for a while. Still, this foot thing was happening. Just recently he got out of the truck and he couldn't feet the foot and was practically walking on his ankle. I was horrified because he looked like he was going to break it.

Today that started up after we got on the road for Acworth. It was so bad that he pulled over to the cutout for the entrance to a housing development to let me drive. I used the seat cushion as a backrest, and my driving pillow, sat down firmly in the seat and...what the hell?

Apparently the 12-year-old springs on the left side of the seat have given out. When you sit driving you are higher on the right than on the left, and I noticed immediately that when I drove that my right leg started aching trying to keep myself level in the seat. And think of him with the sciatica compensating for that. No wonder his right leg is cramping up and the foot going numb! He said the moment he sat in the passenger seat, the cramp eased, and while the sciatic pain didn't go away completely, he had no problem with a cramp or any more numbness.

(Before we drove home, I took one of the old towels that we keep in the middle of the front seat for Tucker to ride on, and folded it up several times and put it on that left side. With the cushion on top, James said it was much better and thanked me for figuring it out. Sometimes you just need someone to look at something in a new way.)

Anyway, we looked around Books-a-Million, enjoyed the frozen hot chocolate; James bought a "Cooks Country" magazine and I got a book about the slow food movement and eating better by eating locally. We got home around three, I walked Tucker and put up the flag, and relaxed until it was time to leave for the cookout at the Spiveys.

Had a great time. Everyone brought something to grill and Ken cooked; there were three pies and various veggies and fruit trays. The Butlers brought vegetarian baked beans, we brought cookies and nuts (well, besides ourselves), there were short, a perfect cookout, and we sat and yakked for a couple of hours. The one fly in the ointment was that my tooth was hurting again and even though my steak was cut into small pieces I had to eat them one by one a few shreds at a time.

Came home to watch a couple of eps of Make Room for Daddy and then the different military programs they showed on our local PBS station today, including a couple documentaries on "Easy Company" of Band of Brothers fame. Someone was popping fireworks outside and Tucker unhappily attached himself to the sofa as if its bulk would protect him. When it eased off around 10:30 I took him out. It looks like they sold the house down the street; the sign is gone, there's a car in the driveway, and I could see some things in the windows.

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» Saturday, May 27, 2017
Hunting the Elusive Timer

I so much love not being a slave to the alarm clock. It was exquisite being able to sleep until we woke up this morning, and then have leisure to eat breakfast and not hurry.

When we did go out, we at first made a brief stop at Hobby Lobby. I was thinking of buying another water reservoir for use with my watercolor pencils, since the one I bought has vanished, but bought eraser pencils instead. I'm managing with a plain old paintbrush. Looked thoughtfully at a collection of 50 watercolor pencils (my set is only 24), but didn't buy it.

Then we went to Lowes. I wanted some small nails (not brads; I'm up to my eyeballs in brads, I want nails with heads), a new banner flag (our formerly pretty spring flag with the birds and flowers is shredding from the Georgia sun), and an outdoor timer. The finding the last was a lot harder than it looked. We have floodlights on the side of the house at the back, but they're aimed at the side yard and at one obscure corner of the back yard. The remainder of the yard is as dark as pitch at night. My idea was to take a string of big bulb (C-9) clear Christmas lights (bought at Hobby Lobby after the holidays at a discount) and hang them between the uprights on the deck, so it will light the deck and the back yard as well. We tried this previously, back when James used to take Willow out in the yard at night, but I had gotten lazy and just hung the lights in swags on two sides of the deck using floral wire. It was surprisingly bright (175 watts for all 25 lights) and it made enough light for James to see quite well. We had, during Christmas, bought a switch to plug the lights in that operated on a remote. But the remote was tiny and we kept losing it, and finally the lights wouldn't come on. We thought it was the string, replaced it, and it worked for a while, and then it quit working again. Once the stupid squirrel chewed it in half, that was the end of it.

Last year I brought a new string of lights. Friday I stripped the old string down, and plugged the new one in directly to the plug. And it didn't work. Turns out the ground-fault interrupter had popped. Once I did, they lit fine. But the timer didn't seem to work, so I went online and found out that Lowes had one that operated either on/off, or for set hours, or dusk to dawn. I looked up what aisle it was in at our closest store.

And it wasn't there. We finally had to get an employee (who didn't seem to understand the concept of "outdoor timer" and "remote control") to track it down; it was located in a box at the very top of the shelves two aisles away from where the website said it was. Will have to hitch it up soon to see how it works. Anyway, got the nails, and two more 3-foot extension cords (we never seem to have enough), but the banner search was a bust. I'll have to look online. [I ordered one off Amazon with a lighthouse and a sailboat on it.]

We were going to come home by Sprouts and Publix, but I found chicken and dumplings in Sprouts and at that point it was after three and we were hungry. So we went home to eat the chicken and dumplings, then went out about five to visit both Publix and Kroger to finish up the shopping, including a steak to grill at the Spiveys tomorrow.

Finally supper at Uncle Maddio's and finally home, where I walked Tucker (the night, after the heat of the day, was actually quite pleasant, so I walked longer than usual, to Tucker's dismay, since someone is popping fireworks in the distance) and finally could sit down to relax. Put on Wild Britain With Ray Mears and saw lovely things: the Cairngorms in Scotland and the Flow north of them (bogland), and out in Norfolk and Suffolk, and also islands off the coast of Wales. Lots of birds—hen harriers, barn owls, gannets, swans and cygnets, plovers, ptarmigan, golden eagles, plus the adorable puffins who look like rubber ducks as they bob in the ocean—plus a water vole which looks like a beaver without the flat tail, a Chinese water deer that has fangs instead of antlers, a spider that lives on the water, and a rabbit just changing from his winter white coat. Oh, and hazelnuts buried in peat from thousands of years ago.

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» Friday, May 26, 2017
O Happy, Happy Weekend!

It's been a fat bitch of a week at work, with nothing much going right with any of my orders. I simply loathe writing price justifications. I'd rather clean out filthy toilets. At least when I got done they would be clean and not still hanging around like vultures.

So when the powers above gave us 59 minutes leave and then a further 59 minutes, I happily signed off (after getting at least one order done–but not, sadly, the price justification) at 2:02, and sat down and watched Sunday's "The Tech Guy," to Snowy's utter delight (he sang through the entire show) and did some book reviews. Then I took a nap until James got home (about an hour). Remember when you were three and never wanted a nap? How you would have gaped back then to know someday you would crave it!

I woke up with my stomach growling. We had supper at Fried Tomato Buffet because you can eat as many shrimp as you like. (Unfortunately they're fried; I'd prefer grilled, but you have to pay beaucoup bucks for that sort of meal.) Plus one hush puppy, a cup of black olive slices, and a cup of tomato and cucumber salad.

On the way home we made a brief stop at 2nd and Charles in the vain hope that they might have some of the Robert Ryan Dr. Watson thrillers. I'm reading the first one and love it, and now want the rest. No dice. I got a funny book called Humbug! about Christmas grumps for $2.

And then we had ice cream at Baskin-Robbins and came home and watched Star Wars. We still have the old DVD set that came out for the first time in widescreen, that had the films after George Lucas went in and meddled with them (adding Jabba and Biggs, and appending A New Hope onto the first film), but the set also came with the films as originally seen in the theatres (letterboxed rather than anamorphic). We watched that to celebrate the 40th anniversary yesterday. Quality is rather bad after watching the remastered and then Blu-Ray versions, but nice to see Han shoot first!

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» Sunday, May 21, 2017
The Teeth of the Matter (and a Green Gables Digression)

If I've been absent, it's because I've kind of been in an emotional abyss.

We had Hair Day last Saturday and when I bit into the sandwich I made (mixed cold-cut sandwiches were the meal du jour), my left upper first molar felt uncomfortable. I'd been chewing on that side of my mouth all along, and the discomfort was unsettling. So when we got home and James set off to his club meeting, I took some ibuprofin and lay down—and after forty minutes not only did my upper jaw still hurt, but so did my lower jaw. It felt like the whole thing was on fire. I smeared Ambesol liberally on it, but the last time I used it was Christmas of 2014 and the tincture was weak.

At this point this is where most people roll their eyes and go "oh, crap, dentist visit—probably have a cavity; there's more money out the wazoo." Maybe a little "God, I hate novocaine" or "another morning of work missed." My dental phobia goes wayyyyyyy beyond this. And what might be the strange part about it is that it's not the dentist rummaging around in my mouth that bothers me (I ended up with two dentists rummaging around in my mouth on Wednesday, both of them with sharp tools, and I just lay there and commented). It's the fact that I have to have some sort of anesthesia to get the work done, and I don't like having it because I am terrified of not being in control.

I'm not sure where this fear goes back to, but I think it's when I had my tonsils out. I look at the sweet little commercial they have for one of the hospitals where a little girl is taken by her dad to the hospital and she's greeted by a smiling woman who gently takes handover and think it's ridiculous that the kid isn't wailing and thrashing. I pretty much remember every bit of my tonsil and adenoid extraction: I was put in a playroom with a bunch of other kids. Every so many minutes a nurse would come along and take one of the kids away and they'd never come back. It was like a horror movie. Finally there was just a little boy and me, and we hid under a gurney in the corner that had a sheet over it before the nurse came back in. I'm not sure if the nurse dragged me out or what, but the next thing I remember was lying flat on the operating table with the black, smothering ether mask coming down on my face and the nauseatingly sweet smell of the either and rubber.

(Even the post-surgical reward was a bummer. Back in those days the standard parent/doctor sweetener for getting your tonsils out was "you can eat all the ice cream you want." And then they brought me vanilla. Gross. They had to keep encouraging me to eat the ice cream to soothe my sore throat and I kept asking for chocolate or coffee, but all they had was disgusting vanilla.)

In any case, now masks bring out my lizard brain, or indeed anything that goes over my face (even those innocuous clear nasal canulas), or anything that actually "puts me to sleep." I've had friends that have had cataracts out, this surgery done, that surgery done, and they said "no problem; they gave me the good drugs." I don't want the good drugs; I'm always afraid I'll never wake up. Paranoia runs deep.

Anyway, over last weekend I went out and dumped 25 bucks on Sensodyne and two kinds of Ambesol (Orajel doesn't do the trick). The bathroom became littered with orangy-tipped Q-tips as I kept swabbing between the first and second molar with Ambesol after brushing my teeth. Monday at work I managed by carrying the gel and the Sensodyne with me, but it was a hard slog because the pain was quite intense, centered between the two molars. (The place next to it, where my second biscupid broke off years ago, was minimally affected, but that wasn't where the intense pain was coming from.) While I have years of experience with intense pain due to cramps that were so bad they made me vomit, teeth are another matter. The pain just doesn't go away, and it's a sign of something bad. And I know dental infections often get into your bloodstream.

So Tuesday I girded up my loins, logged on to Delta Dental (my insurance from work, which is very basic) and found something called Gentle Care Dentistry. I had a long talk with them over the phone, told them I'm a flake (it's the only word for it; other people do this every day—maybe they don't like it, but they don't have panic attacks over it), and they made an appointment for me on Wednesday. Tuesday night James said he thought his dental insurance might cover more than basics (a cleaning and a set of x-rays is all mine covers) and we looked up that info.

So went there, James' insurance was indeed better, talked their ears off while they got me comfortable, nice folks, and went through fifteen minutes and 4 plates to get a decent x-ray of the affected area (my previous dentist told me I have a very small jaw). Surprise: no cavity shows up! With the amount of pain I've been having, they expected to see a big whopper, but nary a sign. You would think this was a relief. One of the causes of my apprehension in going to the dentist is that I've never had a cavity, so never had to have a filling. I have no experience with novocaine or drills. I've had my wisdom teeth out, and that was a pretty bad experience, and I've had my teeth checked and cleaned which was no sweat. I liked both Dr. Sepe in Rhode Island and Dr. Holcomb in Georgia.

After much discussion and Janice the dental hygienist poking at my teeth with sharp tools, it was decided I just might have something going on under the gum line that wasn't a cavity. But because they couldn't see up to the roots of the teeth because my stupid sinuses are so low (they block the view) and couldn't see any trouble there,  they were worried about doing a deep clean of my teeth because I might need to have a "flap." This means I would have to see a periodontist to have it done and my insurance wouldn't cover it twice. So they suggested I see their periodontist (also covered by James' insurance) and I was able to get in right after my appointment. Dr. Rudd noted on my referral that I was very anxious, so they treated me very gently, but, even after Dr. Tomaselli poked around in my mouth with one of those big long dental tools with a wicked wire hook on the end, he couldn't identify a cavity, either. He did find, however, a part of my first molar that caught the end of the hook portion of the tool, and I could feel it pull on the tooth, but no real severe pain like I'd been having.

The periodontist said the level of cleaning my teeth needed was not something he needed to do, but he gave me some special super flouride toothpaste that I'm supposed to use twice a day without rinsing afterwards, in the hope it may "build up" my teeth in the interim. Then I went back to the dentist and they gave me a herbal rinse that is supposed to get rid of germs, and I take that until they do the deep cleaning on the left side and then I have to come back for the right side. Yeah, what fun. This is what happens when you don't have dental insurance for years.

So in the meantime the pain has been off and on. It definitely centers on the left side of that first molar. It's very distinct. The gum where the tooth broke (next to it) is irritated, but doesn't hurt. And if I'm careful how I eat (let's say chewing hard is not an option now), I can keep the Ambesol off it. Thursday afternoon (after the dentist closed, of course, and they're not open on Friday) the pain got really bad with a combination of a bad headache. When I finished work I had to retreat to the bedroom with two extra strength Tylenol. It worked well enough that I could sort of eat: James made me a turkey patty and he also made me a frappe (milkshake, whatever).

Friday was my compressed day, and I slept in, and then spent early afternoon watching the documentary I found about Rocky Point amusement park. (I wasn't intending to go out at all, but I needed to get prescriptions refilled and since I had to go out anyway, I figured I might as well do something I liked, too, and stopped at Barnes & Noble.) I didn't use Ambesol all day, and we could go to Shane's barbecue for supper, since pulled pork is like something partially chewed anyway, and we even got to Publix without any screaming pain kicking in. Saturday morning I had a setback: despite eating only on the right side the oatmeal and yogurt zapped me and I had to resort to chemical means. But we got to Costco for milk and all the trimmings, and later on we supped at Fried Tomato Buffet where I could manage the rib meat and the chicken and dumplings.

Today I've had no Ambesol, but it's sore. I'm in a blue funk because I watched three episodes of the new Anne of Green Gables adaptation on Netflix last night, Anne With an E. The writer said that Anne's dismal childhood must have made more impact on her than has been acknowledged and promised a "grittier" Anne. I was of two minds about this as I began to watch: Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James, and R.H. Thomson look as if they could have come out of the book, and even the actors who play Rachel Lynde, Gilbert, Diana, and even Mr. Phillips have a certain authenticity. This looks VERY good; Green Gables is a little less idealized, and while the vistas are splendid it's a National Geographic splendor, not a Conde Nast Traveler splendor—it isn't an advertisement for PEI tourism as the Sullivan version is. And the idea of making it a little grittier? Well, Montgomery wrote the book back when plucky orphan tales were popular and she would not have dwelt upon the more sordid portions of Anne's life because it just wasn't done then. But it makes sense that the physical and emotional abuse Anne underwent would affect her much more deeply than is ever touched on by the book or the 1985 story. So when the story line from the book is made a bit grittier, that Anne might have nightmares about her past, that her first days in the community might not have been very sunny, I would be in favor of that.

But creating situations out of whole cloth to make it more traumatic? To embroider new situations just to add to the drama and to make a statement about today's society? Could that not be done within the confines of the story? But we get Anne sent back to the orphanage and Matthew racing headlong after her and being injured, an absurd bit of drama that appeared nowhere in the novel? To have Anne talk about sex (inadvertently) at school? To have Prissy Andrews' brother try to beat Anne up on her walk to school and have her schoolmates bark like a dog at her at the church picnic? To have the Barrys (and the rest of the church picnic) either act snobby to her or call her names? To have Anne get her period? To have her ignore Gilbert (who in this version saves her from Prissy's brother before she does the slate bit) just to fit in with the girls, or have her treat Jerry [the chore boy] in a shabby way? To have robbers invade Green Gables? To have Anne take the Cuthberts' name in a totally ridiculous scene that Marilla Cuthbert of the book would not have endured? To have Gilbert's father die?

Wasn't it bad enough when Kevin Sullivan had to make up horrible stories after his initial excellent effort and then well-made sequel that nevertheless contained imaginary Anne events although they were culled from later books? The writer claims that this adaptation will make Anne's resilience shine all the more; it seems more like she is some gross bullying tormentor who wishes to make Anne's already miserable life continue on and on without the loving support that the Anne gained in the novel: of good friends (except for Josie Pye) and good acquaintances like the minister's wife and Diana. Anne of Green Gables is a hopeful book: the story of an abused child finally blossoming in loving circumstances. Anne With an E continues to abuse the poor child once she believes she's arrived at her new home. If you told me writer Moira Walley-Beckett secretly liked to pull the wings off butterflies and trip small children in parks to make them cry I would not be a bit surprised based on the torture she heaps upon Anne in what should be her new life and more happy future. If she wanted to show the horror of child institutional and orphan abuse in the late 19th century why not write her own Dickensian original and leave poor Anne alone? What's next, 13 Reasons Why: The Anne Shirley Edition? In this version do we see Anne try to slash her wrists or use the strychnine Rachel Lynde was always blathering about on herself? That sure would be "grittier."

In the end, a waste of a brilliant cast and the parts that were true to the novel which were very effective. The first three parts were dark enough that I had nightmares all night about Anne being accused of a crime (stealing a big book that was meant as a gift) and I woke up wanting to watch something more cheerful. Like Rogue One, Silence of the Lambs, or a documentary about the Scott polar expedition.

Even the dentist is better than Anne With an E.

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» Sunday, May 07, 2017
Farewell to WHOlanta

The dog did not bark last night. I guess I slept better. But I still need a nice sleep in, which I won't be getting until next Sunday. ::groan:: That's the worst thing about WHOlanta not being on Memorial Day weekend: we don't get tomorrow to sleep in.

So this morning was the same as yesterday: get ready, get set, drive, and then have breakfast at the hotel buffet. No French toast and no breakfast company this morning, and we didn't have to rush because neither of us had a ten o'clock panel we had to go to. I decided to skip Disney live-action because it was probably all about the new stuff. I'm still not interested in Beauty and the Beast and would prefer to talk about the classic stuff that no one remembers anymore.

Instead after breakfast we registered for next year, then took another turn around the dealer's room, and checked out all the vendors and writer's tables outside. Still not seeing anything that's floating my boat. James bought books and I didn't! All I was doing was seeing cute Who themed charms and thinking "Where can I get those so I can make my own stuff?"

Our first panel was "Ask a British Person." This was a hilarious panel! I asked about Marmite; not what it is, but why they would eat it! We talked a lot about what the British think about Americans (and other members of the EU) and the most annoying thing they are asked as a British person, and of course about Brexit. Oddly, not a lot of Britishisms were mentioned, even when the biscuits (in the British sense) were passed around. The digestives with dark chocolate coating were quite yummy.

James went off to the Star Trek panel and I attended "The Women of Doctor Who" with Nicola Bryant and Camille Couduri, who spent a lot of time egging each other on. (Caran came to sit next to me; goodness it was cold in that room!) They talked about their first experience watching the series, and Nicola recounted a long story about how she got the part of Peri, by basically auditioning with an American accent because they were only looking for an American for the part. Her agent said "We will tell them if you get the part." Then he said, "Well, you got the part, but we'll tell them after you sign the contract." And then she was set to be interviewed on a BBC breakfast show about being chosen. "Now we tell them?" They never did. She said she married two Americans and has lived in America, so she hoped it counted. Camille seems really sweet. I think she has a picture in her closet! Anyway, as the panel was ending, Nicola was recounting all the terrible things that had happened to Peri—with Camille commiserating—and then declared boldly "But I survived!" in a super-loud voice just as Colin Baker walked in the door, whereupon he turned on his heel and fled!

Colin's "Greatest Hits" panel was next. Alan was supposed to show some clips of his different roles and ask Colin about them, but he'd forgotten to load them on his laptop. So they just talked about the roles instead: his first role with Helen Mirren, in which they were supposed to be making love; he asked for a flesh colored undie, but she walked in stark naked and began talking to the crew unconcernedly, while they all studiously stared at her eyes and nothing else. He also talked about his role in The Brothers, which got him voted "The Most Hated Man in England." They got off the topic a bit, talking about Big Finish, so when they asked for questions, my hand shot up and I asked about his role on Blake's 7. Colin said that was a fun role because he was so bombastic and he thought Paul Darrow got his nose out of joint because Bayban was badder than he was. 😁

Next to warm up a bit in the Gallifrey room with a panel that's been promoted all weekend with funny posters (Peter Davison, dressed as the Doctor, with the legend "Wanted for impersonation of a veterinarian"; Peter Capaldi for having "attack eyebrows," the Valeyard for practicing law without a license, etc.), a discussion about the Time Lords and what was it about them that spawned so many nonconformists (and evil ones at that, except for the Doctor and Susan, like the Valeyard and the Master and the Rani and the Meddling Monk). Basically it boiled down to hubris and restrictiveness.

Said goodbye to Maggi and Clay here, as they were going to lunch and then heading back home to Warner Robins, and then it was a quick skip to the "British Pub" room for "British Myths and Legends," mostly talking about King Arthur, with a quick skim at Robin Hood. A lot of the conversation revolved about how the myths change to reflect what we want them to say (the French throwing all the courtly love in with Lancelot and Guinevere, for instance, when the "real" Arthur would have lived in AD 500, not AD 1500 as portrayed in the films) and how even real people become mythological (Kennedy and the "Camelot" legend, the adoration of Princess Diana, etc.). Lee Martindale talked a little about the background of the Arthur legend, but I missed that because I stepped in late; it was mostly Welsh. We talked briefly about our favorite Arthur book and movie and also a little about our favorite Robin Hood.

I had a choice here: Doctor Who or Sherlock. Since I went to 221B, I chose the former. This was a discussion about who might play the next Doctor. The usual suspects were discussed, the bookies' favorite Kris Marshall, of course, and a few other suggestions (I'd still love Sean Pertwee, or since they've proven the Doctor can pick his face, can't we have McGann back?), and then if they would cast a woman at this time, and who you would want. Olivia Coleman seemed to lead the pack here, but definitely not a pop tart type woman, someone older. And would she get a male companion? We also discussed some good companion ideas. They were running a slide show above the panelists' heads the whole weekend with Who/Sarah Jane Adventure photos, and when Rani and Clyde popped up, I thought, well, how about Rani? She's old enough now. And someone did suggest that at the end of the panel.

And then it was time for the very last proper panel, "The Great Big Doctor Who panel," with Colin, Nicola, Camille, Jamie Mathieson (Who scriptwriter and author of one of my favorite Capaldi episodes, "Flatline"), and Louis Robinson. Alan asked them all sorts of funny things, like to sing the song of their favorite television series when they were a kid (Colin sang the Robin Hood song, and at the end all five sang the jingle to Muffin the Mule with Louis). The actors were asked about their first acting role, so we got to hear the naked Helen Mirren story again, and Nicola said hers was appearing on the BBC breakfast show as an American! Camille's first role was at 21, and she played a prostitute in a movie (A Prayer for the Dying) that had quite a stellar cast, including Mickey Rourke, Bob Hoskins, and Alan Bates. At the end they thanked us and gave the con committee a standing ovation. Colin said he would love to come back again.

It was a good thing we had such a good laugh, because the closing ceremonies were a welter of sadness and congratulations for jobs well done. Everyone was thanked, from guests to staff, and prizes were given out (Moxie drew the numbers, of course, and also did the last of her "Moxie Minutes" from the con on Facebook Live) and then the tech support was motioning to Alan and it was time for a last bathroom break and on to home. I used my Tin Drum app to order dinner for us (James was not impressed with the orange chicken, sorry to say) and we came home, changed, and watched Call the Midwife and Thursday's MasterChef, which we'd forgotten about in con preparations. We still have to watch Big Bang Theory, though.

Oh, and Fox5 Atlanta had a 30-second report from the convention. Looks like they filmed around the time Ken and Audrey Spivey were performing.

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» Saturday, May 06, 2017
Just Knock on That Panel!

Hark, hark, the dog must bark! After the lights go out. At three a.m. For God's sake, shut up!

Needless to say, not a lot of sleep last night, and had to get up at 7:30. But we did look after the fids and get packed up and on the road in time to make breakfast at nine, so we could make a panel at ten.

James went to the RetroTV panel just to ask when the heck they were going to be back in Atlanta. They're in Gainesville now, which definitely cannot be said to be in the Atlanta area (nor can it be viewed here). It's like saying Westerly, RI, is in Providence. I went to the Disney/Pixar panel where we talked about the animated features: which were good, which were bad enough to go straight to DVD (Mulan II got a lot of hate, and for heaven's sake why was the sequel to Hunchback geared at small children), as well as if they have to do sequels, what would you like to see (other characters in an already established world, like Moana's). Also the merits of 2D animation versus CGI. Of course I had to mention Piper before it was over, because Piper is brilliant. 😊

Next went to "Chicks Write Time Lords," about women writers on Doctor Who. This included writers for Big Finish and for the books that kept the show alive during "the wilderness years," like Kate Orman. We even had time for a little fanfiction.

After that, a sit-down at "American Young Adult Literature," where we discussed...well, you know. Talked about age-appropriateness being determined by how an individual child reads, not just by the ratings put upon them by the booksellers (except for 13 Reasons Why, which should not be given to teens struggling with depression, per someone who's read it). Parents should read questionable books first (me: not protest them). Dystopian fiction seems to be waning, but sadly also the short spate of science fiction. Since all the panel was older adults except for Aubrey Spivey, they talked about how to get themselves back in a teen mindset (they ask people that age to vet their writing.)

Remained in the same room for "Research: You Gotta Do It." I'm a research junkie; I could research forever. But the time comes where you have to end the research and write the story. So the authors on the panel talked about doing research while you're writing (pretty much a no-no because research is the world's worse timesink) or do you just put a note in your text to look something up and research later? Scrivener was recommended again. Hmmn. A fun question was "what was the worst mistake you ever made in a story because you didn't research enough?" For example, Jana Oliver said that in one of her time travel stories, taking place in 1888, she looked up everything, even tide tables for the Thames, then wrote that there was a crossword puzzle in a newspaper. (Crosswords are from the 1920s; there were word puzzles in newspapers then, but not crosswords.) Ooops. Lee Martindale was very funny talking about having to ask a question about male anatomy of a guy.

Then, of course, had to make a trip to main programming to see Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant do their panel. They are good friends and have been since they played the Doctor ("Sixie" as Colin calls him) and Peri so long ago, and it showed. They laughed and bantered together as they talked about their earliest Doctor Who memories (the original premiere for Colin and a Patrick Troughton episode for Nicola), and then Nicola talking about how she got the role of Peri and realized she was going to be in a regeneration episode (jackpot!), and how Peter Davison pranked her by telling he Colin Baker was difficult to work with. Also some memories from "The Two Doctors" as poor Nicola and Patrick Troughton were outdone by Fraser Hines and Colin corpsing around all the time. It was a great but very short hour!

I thought of staying for the "Things We Learned from Doctor Who" panel next, but opted to check out the dealer's room. There are a lot of cute little things, but not anything I really want, if you know what I mean. However, there's an artist outside the dealer's room with some smashing prints of Doctor Who subjects. I also did a pit stop and briefly went up to the con suite for a cracker with cheese spread, a handful of M&Ms, and five or six tortilla chips. I ate my perfectly healthy lunch during the research panel (chicken cacciatore in a cibatta roll, mandarin oranges, and a juice box) and still feel ravenous.

Back in Panel Mode, I attended the panel about science fiction/fantasy films at thirty: Princess Bride, Spaceballs, Predator, Robocop, and more. Bumped into James there; he'd talked with Lee Martindale for a while, went to a Next Gen and a Star Wars panel. On tap: memories, favorite lines, how in the hell did Mel Brooks get away with that, things these films predicted that came true (ravaged Detroit, anyone?), what else was hot that year (Three Men and a Baby, directed by Leonard Nimoy, and Dirty Dancing), etc.

And finally, the Victoria panel, because I've quite enjoyed the series and that's my period anyway. We chatted about how some historical accuracy was sacrificed for drama, other British royalty and their bearing on Queen Victoria, how she married her children to all the other (mostly Germanic) nations in Europe, how Prince Albert was underrated, and commiseration for Rufus Sewell, loser at love in British historical drama. And, of course, what we might expect in the next season.

Would have liked to have stayed for The Crown panel, but it was suppertime! We had the dinner buffet, which turned out to be roast chicken (made as a cacciatore, of all things) and meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, and baby greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and baby corn for salad. It was much cheaper than breakfast, which totaled at $41! Maggi and Clay turned up and we all had dinner together. Clay tried some whiskey that turned out to be $15 for about two or three ounces! It had a nice potent scent all the way where I was sitting. Interesting: Clay told us the hotel doesn't want to hold science fiction conventions anymore: they hate the people in costume, the registration in the lobby, and the con suite. So even WHOlanta will have to find a new home next year. (Please,  please, please pick a pet friendly hotel!)

Sadly, this companionable hour ended too quickly and we had to get seats for the cabaret, but it started late anyway. I noticed it was rather sparsely attended this year. Not sure if people were gearing up for the mass viewing of tonight's new Doctor Who or were getting dressed for the 30's themed dance tonight. (See why we want a pet-friendly hotel...) But it began just after James showed up after his "pit stop." Lieutenant Moxie Magnus was again the host(ess?) and did a ukelele duet with Angela Pritchett, who has done a Who cookbook, then Melinda Botterbusch sang a filksong about Martha Jones, Courtland Lewis dueted with Moxie on "I'm a Little Bit Country, You're a Little Bit Rock'n'Roll" and another piece, Florida musician Ken Spivey and his new wife Audrey (sorry Ken Spivey fanclub, he's taken now) did a short number, Louis Robinson sang a sweet love song about an older couple and then the theme song to Sharpe, and finally Moxie finished off on ukelele with 21 songs done in seven minutes. Half the time we were singing along: "Supercalifragilistic" and other Disney tunes blending into old rock and emerging as old folk tunes.

In the middle of the cabaret they took a break for a masquerade. Only four entries this year: a woman in Gallifreyan battle armor, a little boy as a white Dalek, a ninth Doctor wearing his TARDIS, and a woman in a gorgeous hand-made TARDIS kimono. They all won and we all applauded, especially for the little boy and the kimono lady (it was really lovely).

And then, alas, it was over, and since this is not a pet-friendly hotel, we had to forego the pleasures of watching "Knock Knock" and then the dance (or going to Sacha's memorial service) in favor of going home and "relieving" Tucker (literally). He was so glad to see us and kept jumping up on me and staring.

I found my BBC-copy of this week's Doctor Who episode waiting in e-mail, downloaded it while perambulating the pooch, and we just finished watching it a little while ago.  Really creepy "haunted house" story with David Suchet (who plays Hercule Poirot so well) as the guest star. I do wish they hadn't removed the reference to the young guy Harry being Harry Sullivan's grandson. Apparently they were told "no one" would understand a 40-year old reference. Seriously. Do you suits really not understand fans at all? (Don't answer that!) And what's going on in that vault? Whomever's in it, the Doctor brought them Mexican food...

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