Yet Another Journal

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


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

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» Saturday, February 28, 2015
Anachrocon, Part 2

We were up early this morning so I could give Tucker a nice long walk before we left for the day, then James played with him while I used the the bathroom and got ready.

We reached the hotel in time to enjoy the breakfast buffet. Pretty expensive but lots of good food. I had cereal, French toast, some bacon, a bagel and cream cheese, some toast, and some cantaloupe; I saved the bagel for later. James got a homemade omelet.

I was right on time for my first panel, "The Little Ice Age—Could It Happen Again?" Two scientists and an engineer discussed climate change and if we were in a natural warming period and how much human carbon emissions are affecting the warming trend and the problem of sunspots (or rather the lack of same). We discussed continental drift, ice ages, the great warming, and ocean currents. I would have loved to have had science classes like these. I was crazy about geology and anthropology, fossils and early man from when I got into double digits. We had one year of "earth science" in junior high; everything else was biology, chemistry, or physics...frankly, ugh. College didn't serve up anything much better.

As I headed to the next panel room...woot! There are the 221B people selling memberships at $25, just like last year. I was hoping they'd show up. Five minutes later I had a weekend in April lined up. :-)

Following was a fun Doctor Who panel called "You Can't Change History—Or Can You?" There has been an ever fluctuating policy during the series about changing and not changing history, from one of the first stories, "The Aztecs," when Barbara tries to stop human sacrifice as a custom and the Doctor tells her she cannot. Later the idea of "Fixed Points in Time" was instituted—and then pretty much ignored, except to see off Amy and Rory. Of course, the moment the Doctor and his companion show up, right then don't they change history? People see them who didn't before, and perhaps that changes them and their own destiny.

Next came the panel I was looking forward to, "Tricorn Punk." This was coined by D.B. Jackson while talking about his new book Thieftaker (a Colonial-era fantasy that includes magic practitioners). The Patriot Witch series, which I have begun but never finished, is also considered Tricorn punk, as well as Katherine Kurtz's Two Crowns for America and another book called The Two Georges. Of course, the television series Sleepy Hollow falls into that category, so we had an enjoyable quarter of a hour nattering about that as well.

On to the anniversary panel devoted to Lost in Space! We laughed over the bad episodes involving space Vikings, space hippies, hoteliers, dueling robots, and of course human vegetables as well as considering some of the good ones, like "The Keeper," "My Friend, Mr. Nobody," "The Anti-Matter Man," "Hunter's Moon," "The Haunted Lightship," as well as the opening episodes, which were darker than the eventual rest of the series. We also discussed the movie a little, and if it's time for a reboot.

I slipped into the next room for "Ten Years of New Doctor Who." It's hard to believe it's been ten years already! I remember when the news first broke about the new series, and then having to wait while the new episodes were broadcast in Britain, and then finally seeing the first episode at Daniel and Clair's house. When the theme song began I started to cry; it was so good to hear it again! Again, likes, dislikes, companions, special effects, and the whole beautiful package.

It was three o'clock and since I didn't have a panel planned, I had an [overpriced] delicious bowl of chicken noodle soup and a glass of water in the restaurant. It hit the spot, but I went upstairs to the con suite anyway and brought back some cucumbers and carrots as well as a turkey sandwich (and it was real turkey!) and some cheese balls. James was in the lobby when I came down, but he'd already eaten earlier and had a bit or two of sandwich and some carrots and cheese balls before I went on to my next panel.

And here I was back in the Doctor Who room for a panel about the 50th anniversary celebrations. They had "Day of the Doctor" running in the background and every so often the panel and the audience would quiet, mesmerized by what was onscreen, whether it was Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, Osgood, and especially the three Doctors quarreling with each other: Ten, Eleven, and the War Doctor, the latter who's exasperated with both of them. And of course they turned up the sound during the infamous "Twelve Doctors!" "No, Thirteen!" and we first saw Peter Capaldi's eyebrows. Of course we chatted about "Night of the Doctor" (okay, how many people squealed "It's Paul McGann!" when he appeared?) and the hilarious Five-ish Doctors Reboot. (Sylvester name-dropping The Hobbit at every chance! Colin forcing people to watch his episodes! And the John Barrowman CD joke! And Georgia giving birth!) And of course the incomparable Adventure in Space and Time.

James was there for "Colonial Ingrates," otherwise the British side of the Revolutionary War. Not to mention that not every Colonist was for "independency." How even the Continental Congress originally wanted peace. How the British taxes were worse than when they wanted the colonies to pay. Interesting panel except for one historical error: Samuel Adams was not John Adams' brother.

My final panel for the day was about time travel in Doctor Who and other series/movies, so we discussed not only Who but Time Tunnel, Sliders, Voyagers!, Life on Mars, The Time Machine, Time After Time, Somewhere in Time, down to Time Bandits and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, and the mechanism for the time travel, whether scientific or metaphysical, and about the repercussions of such time travel, and if people could actually change things. Well, I'd love to go back and see how things really were, but I don't want to live there; like James I've gotten used to flush toilets, good hygiene, and penicillin! Not to mention clean water. If I had to drink beer like they did in previous centuries, I'd die of dehydration. How do you drink anything that smells that bad?

When I got out of the panel, frankly I thought it was later than it was, so when James asked if I wanted to go home, I said yet. Neither of us had any more panels planned, and Tucker had been locked in his crate all day, just like when we are at work, so we did head home. A surprising amount of traffic for a Saturday night!

After perambulating the puppy we settled down to watch about four episodes of Murphy Brown, including the three-parter where Murphy learns she is pregnant. We also watched the end of The Trouble With Angels, and started to watch the sequel, Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows, which I'd heard about but never seen. After twenty minutes we turned it off; it's truly dreadful, and offensively 1960s. I love Rosalind Russell, but even she couldn't save this turkey.

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» Friday, February 27, 2015
Anachroconning, Part 1

But first, yeah, we slept late. As all the memes say, remember when you were a kid and hated to take naps, and now you'd pay good money for one?

I took the dog out to discover that TruGreen had shown up while we were getting dressed and did not ring the doorbell. This is getting really old, guys. Now I have to call them back to do the back yard. Plus I had to wash Tucker's feet when we got back in because Mr. Unknowing just strolled across the lawn.

We ate a minimal breakfast because we were going to have lunch on the dot of noon and then raced to Kroger to do the shopping. Two of us covered the store pretty quickly, and I got my prescriptions turned in finally. I had coupons and they had lots of chocolate yogurt whips, so I now have lots of yogurt. (I would have gotten more but there's no room in the fridge!) We got home in time to eat the leftover soup from the other night, which was a filling and tasty meal (James said we got the soup mix at World Market; we should get more—it tastes wonderful with cooked chicken thigh and it has a nice rich base), and then were off to the Marriott Century Center for Anachrocon.

On the way there we turned on the radio and the first thing on the news was the death of Leonard Nimoy. Wow. There's a big chunk out of my childhood. I was never a big Spock fan (Dr. McCoy was my guy), but McCoy played so many times against Spock that that "pointy-eared Vulcan" was always in the picture somewhere. And now he really is on his way to the stars. Godspeed, sir!

We attended conventions at this hotel wayyyyy back when it was...James said it was a Sheraton. I just remember a big barn of convention area, very sterile and impersonal. I'm pretty sure we saw Jonathan Frakes there, just after he had grown his beard for the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, so you know how long ago that was. Someone else was there from the cast as well—maybe LeVar Burton? Whatever. Now it has a little cafè on the way in (but the silly thing closes in mid-afternoon; how stupid is that?) and a restaurant (expensive like all hotel restaurants, whose guests are usually on expense accounts), but also a nice little warren of meeting rooms which have been amply labeled by the convention. We got registered in a trice and then faced the biggest obstacle of the day: James was on a "building an airship" panel with John Campbell and the room was up a flight of stairs! There was a wheelchair lift, but it wasn't working. When the hotel employee and the mechanic couldn't get it to work, the former just escorted James outside and around the side of the hotel where there was an entrance door at the top of the stairs.

The rest of the day was free of problems and full of panels. I had intended on going to the Ben Franklin panel, but ended up at the "Rococo Punk" literature panel just because I wondered what it was about: well, think the Musketeer/French salons era with some early steampunk thrown in. Apparently there are Rococo punk costumes, but they were theorizing about literature that could be written about that theme. Surprisingly, although I wasn't really interested in the subject, I had a great time.

I took a quick turn around the dealer's room—either steampunk clothing or lovely handcrafted things I can't afford—and then went to the Doctor Who panel "Original vs. New Series." I think we reached the conclusion that, had the old series continued, perhaps it would have turned out looking just like the new series. The seeds were there with Ace in the final season. Also that the original series was plot driven, the new series character driven, and had the old series been like the new series we might have had some better insight on companions who had experienced tragedy, especially Nyssa.

Walked with James to his next panel, which was about the history of naval warfare, and then curiously went to see what "Creating Historical and Alternative History Characters" was all about. It turned out to be mislabeled and was actually a panel with a family of World War II reinactors. They showed us all their kit, some of which was actual war surplus and some which was reproduction for going to events. They showed some footage of battle re-enactments that were scripted, filmed up at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I didn't get a chance to grab the list of re-enactment events he had. These events are enormously popular in Great Britain; every issue of BBC History Magazine I read has some sort of three or four page ad for different events. Best of British used to do picture essays on them. Anyway, I couldn't resist pulling up the photos of my dad and showing them.

Finally at five, I went to "The Uses of History: Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Alternate History." We discussed all three, and which of them each of the writer panelists gravitated toward—yes, of course we mentioned Harry Turtledove!—and which era the panelists would not like to write in.

We both had a free hour, so we had supper at the restaurant. As I said, hotel food for people on expense accounts. James had a bowl of soup and a hamburger with fries and a pickle, which was $20 all by itself. I had a potsticker appetizer (excellent dipping sauce!), filched some of the fries, had half the pickle, and the ends of the bacon from the burger. Filled me up enough, but, goodness! For $31 we can both get a steak dinner at Longhorn!!!

Final panel of the day for me was one about books involving the Regency period and magic, like Sorcery and Cecelia and its sequels, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell (which I have but haven't read), and a book called Shades of Milk and Honey, which I haven't heard of. I'd just finished the last SAC sequel and was ripe for this panel. :-) Each of the panelists had a different favorite Regency fantasy, which was fun because all of them could be discussed and their use of magic compared to each other.

After the panel was over, I went looking for James and discovered him in the hallway outside the dealer's room talking with Robert Teague. Robert and his wife Marilyn had just recently lost their son (Marilyn's son, Robert's stepson) to several illnesses. Chris used to come to the Terminus TARDIS meetings at White Hall at Emory University from when he was young; he was a sweet kid and young adult, and the way he suffered in his last few years was so sad. It's hard to think of him being gone. Maybe somewhere Chris is talking with Leonard Nimoy. Or I'd like to think so. Some other folks from the Brittrack group gathered around to say hello and express condolences, then we all went our separate ways.

So we got home, and I walked Tucker, and we both played fetch with him for a while, and now it's getting to be bedtime.

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» Monday, February 23, 2015
Doctor, Doctor...
I worked three hours today, then zipped off to Kaiser to see the doctor so I could get my prescriptions refilled. He was an hour behind, and then I ended up waiting in the pharmacy needlessly and didn't get out of my eleven o'clock appointment until almost 1:30.

Then I went over to the mall to look at glasses. I saw some at Sears that were okay, then made the mistake of going down to Visionworks. Met the salesman who could sell ice to Aleutians. I ended up buying a pair of the most expensive glasses ever. They are "HD," progressive over the whole field of vision rather than just straight ahead, and also thinner than what I have now, which I hope will alleviate the terrible pain I've been having with my nose. It feels as if someone is driving a sixpenny nail through the bridge of my nose by the end of the day. Yesterday, catching up on all those Hawaii Five-0's and then watching TV afterwards sent me to bed with a headache so bad I could barely see. My frames will be a little squarer and a little bit larger. But I had to wait to have the eye appointment, which, thankfully, came out clear—I always have the cataract test and the additional test where they show you the wavy lines, because it's an early indicator of a lot of eye problems. That long under fluorescent lights, though, really made my eyes hurt! I was thankful to get home by 4:30 to walk Tucker and get back to real light bulbs.

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» Sunday, February 22, 2015
Once Upon a Weekend Drizzly...

The Weather Channel and its ilk were trumpeting winter warnings for North Georgia again, so as I worked on Friday I kept a weather eye [pun intended] on the radar. There had been a truly spectacular sunrise earlier and of course the words "Red sky at morning, sailor take warning" were duly noted. But it stayed clear until afternoon commute. I arrived home, dragged the garbage can back next to the house, as they were so late this morning even James wasn't there to pull it in, and as I approached the front walk, a single, perfectly-formed snowflake drifted by my eyes to land in the bushes. Other little snowflake stars were drifting down as I took Tucker for his walk, and the weather was doing a number on my sinuses, so I took some ibuprofin and laid down until James got home.

It was sleeting as we left the house with the power chair in tow, but we made it to Fresh2Order with no trouble; there is nothing better on a winter night than their chicken vegetable soup, which is thick enough to be called a stew. The sleet had completely stopped and the sky was even clearing when we finished. Having nothing else we wanted to do, we went home and watched Space Battleship Yamato, which I ordered a few days ago. Very snazzy special effects, and I enjoyed how they made Yuki a crack fighter pilot and the new look of the Gamilas people and even how Analyzer was worked in (although I did say facitiously "Awww, his iPod sacrified itself for him.") I like the little tributes to the animated series, like Dr. Sato's cat...and the doctor is a woman in this version! Since this was based on the original movie and not the television series, the ending was very traditionally Japanese.

Saturday morning we slept so late it there was barely time for James to have a small bit to eat before he headed out for lunch with the guys and his club meeting. It was a warmish (low 50s) day, but very grey, so I just scrubbed the bathroom floor and did some tidying in the bedroom, but mostly I sat and tried to catch up on my "Country Living" magazines—I had gotten way behind on my digital reading—and watched a cute Christmas special that was still on the DVR, Mr. Stink. It was the story of Chloe, who is bullied in school as well as by her mother at home. Her mom is an up-and-coming conservative who wants to stand for Parliament while her overachieving little sister is always going to classes. The family's last name is "Crumb," but mum insists on pronouncing it as "Croome," alà Hyacinth Bucket. Meanwhile her nebbish dad has been sacked but is too afraid to tell the mother. Chloe befriends a very smelly tramp who calls himself "Mr. Stink" and his little dog Duchess, and the story is set in motion when Chloe invites him to stay overnight in their garden shed due to the cold. It was kind of sweet and cute, and not filled with squeaky-voiced characters like American children's specials.

Incidentally, mum was played by Sheridan Smith, who is the voice of Lucy Miller in the Paul McGann Big Finish Doctor Who audio stories.

I also set up the DVR to record Murphy Brown and Night Court, since I always forget they're on, and noticed that another channel shows Barney Miller, and that the Ovation channel has reached episodes of Murdoch Mysteries that we haven't seen yet and that Netflix doesn't have. So I've set them to record, too.

We had supper at Hibachi Grill and then walked around Barnes & Noble for a while. Nothing I wanted, just enjoy being among the books. Later I chatted some with Emma.

Today we slept in again, had a breakfast that was closer to lunch, then went to Petsmart and Publix and Aldi. For the rest of the afternoon, almost caught up on Hawaii Five-0, ate supper, and then went on to Alaska, the Last Frontier. It was a grey day again and I've spent most of it with a headache; I must get new glasses—these are hurting like crazy more and more.

* * * * *

It is one year ago today we had to have Willow put to sleep. We miss you, little girl.

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» Monday, February 16, 2015
Will It Or Won't It?

James went off to work in the damp, with a dicey forecast for the rest of the day: rain, but possibly freezing to the roads later and perhaps sleet or freezing rain. Not the best of forecasts. Me, I celebrated the presidents by sleeping eight hours. After breakfast and Tucker's walk, I had an errand to run: James was out of chips for his lunch, he needed BreatheRights, and we'd had Worcestershire sauce on the grocery list for weeks and had not bought it. So I went over to WallyWorld and picked those up, plus some of his antiperspirant because I had coupons that were expiring. Picked up some long-lasting hot pads for the emergency kits as well, along with some little icepacks for James' lunch.

Boy, the chips are a ripoff! James has the baked chips, so I got two SunChips (cheddar and salsa), baked crispy Cheetos, and then the spicy ones since he likes the zing. $12 for 28 ounces of chips! They just fill over half of his chip container. Gah.

Costco had the cheapest gas, 25 cents a gallon less than anyone else, so I went there to fill up the car, and it was so damp, and now raining, that I just went home. I wanted to rearrange the to-be-read stacks of books in the bedroom and pull some of the books I had previously bought for $1-$3 from remainder bins, like Andy Williams bio, "just because" and put them in a box and away for some time when I might not be able to afford new books to read. And I had a stack of books under the window that I didn't want there because the window is always open from when it gets cold (read "under 58°F at night") to when the pine pollen starts. Sure enough, three of the hardbacks had water damage. Oddly, none of the paperbacks in the same pile did. I think the moisture might have collected in the "L" shape made by the pages and the book cover and done the damage that way.

Finally I vacuumed, and just as I finished, James arrived home. Between the President's Day holiday and the snowstorms up north, they were getting minimum calls. So he surfed the net while I did a marathon watch of Elementary; I had five stacked up in a holding pattern. I like the resolution to the Kitty Winter storyline—her final solution was chilling, but so appropriate—but felt the wrapup with Watson/Elena was pretty deus ex machina. Pity Andrew took the brunt of the feud. Interesting story with the quaggas. I understand they are trying to recreate the species.

Other folks east of us were talking about icing of trees, but it stayed raining here all night. The weather is crazy. On Thursday it's not going to get over 36. On Saturday it will be 57.

I know the people in New England want the snow gone—damn well I would if I had to shovel and drive in it!—but down here as far as I'm concerned, the longer spring takes to come, the better. Daffodils are starting to bloom in some yards; are they in for a surprise! Not looking forward to 95 and sweltering and over $200 electricity bills.

We had turkey thighs cooked in wine with elbow macaroni for supper and watched the 139th Westminster Dog Show for the rest of the night.

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» Sunday, February 15, 2015
A Successful Mission

So, yeah, we got up late, but we didn't go to bed until after 2.

After having breakfast (or what was probably lunch at that point), we took our Ollie's Outlet coupon and went back for one more try at making it through the entire store, and we managed it successfully this time (the first time it was too crowded and the second time their bathroom wasn't working). Most of the rear part of the store is rugs, sheets, and towels; I did buy a towel. I'm thinking if Tucker will insist on lying in my lap, I'll buy a towel for him to do it on. This way he will get a minimum of allergens on my clothes. We also picked up some dark chocolate, a DVD as a gift, some new bungee cords for the power chair, dog biscuits, and a few odds and ends.

James needed gasoline and we wanted a Sunday paper; since our route home, Floyd Road, is lined with grocery stores (Kroger, Publix, Food Depot, and Aldi), we just stopped at Kroger, where I was able to make up the yogurt deficit from yesterday, picked up some turkey thighs for tomorrow's supper and a nice package of sale pork chops, and James stocked up on burritos. I bumped into Phyllis in the dairy section, and then she ended up behind us in line, so we had a good chat while waiting.

In the meantime we've been keeping an eye on the weather report. Depending on which report you hear, it may rain tomorrow, or snow, or sleet; there may be ice, there may be ice late, there may be black ice; it's only going to be up north, it might be here. It may start in the morning, or it may start in the afternoon. It's like being on the end of a yo-yo. So after getting the groceries put away, the suet and the thistle sock out and the bird feeders refilled, and trying to take some photos of the birds at the feeders (I set up my tripod, but it didn't help much), we decided to go over to James' office and pick up his laptop. If worst comes to worst, we have it; if not, he just takes it back to work tomorrow.

Tucker was getting antsy, so we took him with us, all togged out in his "trouble maker" sweater because it's been fripping cold out all day. It was only in the 30s, and the wind wasn't blowing that hard, but there was a bitter edge to the cold. While James went inside to fetch the laptop, I walked Tucker up and down in front of the building. He walked like a Manchester terrier, up one side and down the other, throwing his forelegs out like he owned the place. I could see a lady inside looking at him and laughing; he saw her too but couldn't figure out how to get through those big glass windows. By the time James got back outside (and he didn't take but ten minutes), I was chilled to the bone.

As soon as we got home, James warmed up the Italian wedding soup. We both had a bowl, and he had a little more (still some left over for lunch!), and we had our muffins for dessert and watched the America's Funniest Home Videos anniversary show. Kinda boring with the actors on it; why couldn't it just be all clips? They didn't even show the infamous cat-falling-off-the-TV blooper that opened the show for so many years.

Now we are watching  the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special. Pretty funny, but still skits going on forever and ever. Still don't "get" some stuff like "Stefan" and the people in the embroidered yellow vests (were they supposed to be Torvill and Dean?). The "Weekend Update" retrospective was funny, though.

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» Saturday, February 14, 2015
A Valentine of Friends

Yeah, we regretted the late night this morning. After I walked Tucker, we exchanged Valentine cards and gifts: he got the "Pilot's Lounge" metal sign with Snoopy on it and he bought me Huck Finn's America, which I've been wanting since I read the reviews.

Good heavens! Now the weather reports are talking about the "S" word! Perhaps even three inches. Since one inch throws the city of Atlanta into unreasoning panic, I had James stop on the way to Ron and Lin's house and I ran in and did the shopping: milk, my bread for lunch, bread to go with supper tomorrow, Those Damn Bananas, a cucumber, some Skinny Pop, and enough yogurt to get through the week (that's all they had). It was chilly most of the morning and the milk and yogurt were fine in the back of the truck while we were at the Butlers for Hair Day.

We had a killer lunch: Juanita made pot roast with au jus. We brought corn. The Boros came with mixed veggies, Ron made scalloped potatoes, there were some noodles, Terica made banana pudding, Oreta made lace cookies, Alex and Pat came with a spinach dip and Italian bread, and Charles brought Klondike bars for dessert. Great to see Juanita on her feet so soon after her foot surgery! (She did major damage to her foot years ago when she stepped on a piece of rebar. Eventually they had to put two rods in her ankle. Recently one of the rods started working through her leg, so she had to have them removed.)

We left about two, brought the groceries home, picked up the power chair, and went to Barnes & Noble so James could pick out something to use his coupon on. He didn't find anything, so I bought the first two Nicolas Lenoir mysteries (looks like 18th century with magic) and "Cape Cod Life" magazine, as they were doing a retrospective of old Cape Cod with vintage photos.

We came home by Dragon 168 to pick up Chinese for dinner. James usually enjoys their sa-cha beef, but he ended up going to lie down for a while. We did watch the next two This Old House segments as well as Ask This Old House. Finally, James retreated to the Man Cave while Tucker fell asleep in his chair and I watched Saturday Night Live because it was a real one, with Chevy Chase and John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd and Laraine Newman and Gilda Radner, etc., and George Carlin as the guest host. Much more funny than today's show; the old writers knew how to keep a skit short and punchy!

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» Friday, February 13, 2015
Soup Sagas and Other Friday Adventures

As much as I would have liked to, I did not sleep late this morning. I had the dishwasher to load and I wanted to get the Christmas gifts off the hearth. Well, our Christmas gifts, anyway. We still have three gifts that haven't been distributed. Hoping to catch up with their owners at Anachrocon in two weeks.

I had Today on for Snowy and noticed how cold it's supposed to be this weekend: down to 19°F on Sunday night, which is Arctic for Georgia. The best remedy for cold is hot soup, so—yeah, I drove out to Sprouts for Italian wedding soup (plus two muffins for dessert, some beef bits, and Inka corn). I remember last time James wanted another serving, so I got two of the 32-ounce containers instead of one.

Once I had the soup seat-belted in (long story which involves how the cashiers stacked the containers), I crossed the intersection to the Prado and went to Barnes & Noble. I had a coupon and wanted to pick up Death Comes to London, the sequel to Death Comes to the Village, which I finished last week. I paged the newest Derrick Storm book; you know, the ones that are supposedly written by "Richard Castle." I've got some of the Nikki Heat books, because I know they're just Castle stories in disguise, but I've skipped the Storms because I'm not interested in spy stories. Still, I had to laugh looking through it, because there are still multiple Castle mentions: a military man named Captain Roy Montgomery, an orphan named Katya Beckotva (or something like that), a reference to an Espi gadget, and his dad is even a spy.

Then I brought the food home, set out to walk Tucker—and there was James, home early. We decided to go out for Valentine's Day tonight, to "avoid the Christmas rush," so to speak. We went to Atkins Park, whose food we've only eaten during Taste of Smyrna. They're pretty expensive, but we figured we'd have a treat. We had the "drunken pork," which is small, tender pork medallions with a luscious sauce containing bourbon, which comes with cheese grits that are more the consistency of mashed potatoes. With the sauce the grits are edible. :-) It's a nice place; we sat in the main dining room, with the wood paneling, and a crackling fireplace, and enjoyed our meal. We both had enough left over to have a little lunch for next week. Glad we didn't come this weekend because they are having an Oysterfest, complete with blaring music.

James was feeling tired, so we went straight home. I decided to put on Addie and the King of Hearts, which was just officially released to DVD (I had a copy I got off iOffer a couple of years ago) along with The Easter Promise. I love The House Without a Christmas Tree and The Thanksgiving Treasure, and The Easter Promise is pretty good, but every time I watch King of Hearts I am disappointed that the series of stories ended on such a low note. Everything in the story is by-the-numbers: Addie's jealousy, her crush, James' involvement with a woman totally unlike his first wife, the handsome teacher who encourages Addie but turns out to be engaged. No one seems to have his/her heart in the performance, especially Jason Robards, who was so magnificent as the grieving man of the first story. This touches on a lot of emotional issues with Addie reacting to her dad paying attention to another woman after thirteen years and her very real and eventually hurtful crush on her substitute teacher, but none of the emotions seem real. Ladd's performance is the most lively, but slightly overdone. I wish they had used the story the way the book arranged it, except for including Irene's story of her past from the television version, and recast Cora Sue and Billy Wild (especially since Addie seemed at a loss without a best friend to bounce her emotions off). And the sets look cheap; if you notice, the door to the living room is always half-closed because they never rebuilt the actual room, and even the school cloakroom lacks the richness of the one in the first story. Not the best send-off for an otherwise excellent set of films.

Then we finished off by staying up too late; my fault, as I was revising a graphic I want to use for a story I haven't written yet.

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» Thursday, February 12, 2015
Celebration Post!
This just in:

The Librarians go for season 2!

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» Monday, February 09, 2015
"Wren I'm Calling Youuuuuuuu...."
or "Strangers in a Strange Land"

It was all so innocent.

After a relatively warmish day, it began to get chilly. We had supper and I watched last week's episode of Sleepy Hollow. Tonight's Doctor Who was one of my favorites: "The Sun Makers," writer Robert Holmes' satire on the British tax system, a story that features one of my favorite actors, Michael Keating, who was chosen to play the role of Vila on Blake's 7 based on the part of Goudry in this episode.

Then Sleepy Hollow came on. About three-quarters of the way through it, Tucker needed to go out. James isn't hooked on SH like me, and went to take him. James was coated, the dog was leashed, James opened the door...and then he shouted, "Oh, no! A bird just flew in the house!"

Actually, it wasn't one bird, but two, as one came fluttering into the living room while a second zoomed on into the dining room. When I got over being flabbergasted, I had a chance to observe our little visitors. They were two little Carolina wrens, very astonished over where they had ended up, and very confused in trying to figure out how to get out of this brightly-lit trap. They kept fluttering up to the ceiling and bumping. Snowy gave them a big-eyed glance, but never let out a chirp, and Tucker came charging up the stairs to chase these appealingly fluttering morsels. We literally collared him and locked him in his crate as we watched the wrens either trying to hide in a tall spot or flutter away toward the ceiling.

Eventually I ended up covering Snowy, so he wouldn't get a draft, turning off the television—thank God for DVRs!—and most of the lights, then putting on the lights on both the deck and the front porch and opening those doors wide open. I hated to do it and frighten the poor wrens even more, but I got the broom and tried to steer them toward one door or the other. James picked up the brush that went with the tall dustpan and tried to direct them when they got off course.

Finally one of the two zoomed out the back door, but the second wren was persistent, lighting from the kitchen to the china cabinet to the top of the ceiling fan. Once he fell behind the curtains in the living room. Finally he fluttered into the foyer, at first blending in with the berry wreath on the coat hooks, and then beating his wings at the wall facing the street. This tired him enough that he fluttered down low enough to pass the top of the door frame and straight through the open front door. We shut the front door with some relief and then had to laugh because it all seemed preposterous and bizarre!

James figured they had been taking shelter from the freshened wind in the winter wreath on the door and when he opened the door they were startled and flew in. I hope the little guys found each other again!

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» Sunday, February 08, 2015
Saturday Supplies and Sunday Satisfaction

Friday afternoon I asked James about his status of asking for the Friday of Anachrocon off. He said it was taken care of.

Sadly, he also said he found out he was scheduled to work Sunday. Sigh.

So we had a nice supper Friday night at Giovanni's (although the service was almighty slow and they initially brought me the wrong order) and then Saturday spent as much time as we could doing something fun. Of course this began with sleeping late. :-) This was followed by puppy perambulation and lunch at Longhorn on Dallas Highway.

We had a nice assortment of craft coupons, so that's what we did for the afternoon at Town Center, since there's a Michael's, a JoAnn, a Hobby Lobby, and Hobbytown all so close to each other you could practically spit at each of them—sadly, however, a distance too long to walk. It was so warm I wore my chickadee winter sweatshirt and took my pashmina, and I didn't even use the latter half the time. We also took the power chair with us, and if that wasn't boring enough: lower the chair, raise the platform, lower the platform, raise the chair, four entire times. Zzzzzz... But it enabled James to get to go through each of the stores. I got new spring/summer flowers for the grapevine wreath on the front door, and we bought a couple of things for Christmas gifts at Michael's/JoAnn. When we got to Hobby Lobby, James fell in love with one of the metal signs: Snoopy in his WWI flying ace outfit against pilot's wings that say "Pilot's Lounge." So I bought it for him for Valentine's Day.

I let him go in Hobbytown on his own. There's not much I like there except the puzzles and the Breyer horses and the Schliege (?) animals. So I sat in the car reading "BBC History Magazine" as James motored around the store.

We scrounged for supper and later watched Casablanca on GPB...a story that never grows old, especially with that classic cast.

Sunday morning James went off to work and I burrowed under my blankets for a while, but I had a special mission for today: bathing one small terrier. After Tucker's walk and our breakfasts, I popped him in the car and took him to Unleashed—not the same one as last time, but one close to where James works, on the East-West Connector. When we arrived, a woman was at the next tub bathing two pugs. Tucker definitely did not like the whole procedure, but he was especially pitiful once I started the blow dryer. He just sat there, tail between his legs, head down, making himself the smallest of small, an abject picture of misery like a starving stray out in the rain. I don't expect I can blame him; if the dryer sound is terrible for me, I can't imagine what it sounds like to his sensitive ears. I try covering them with my hands, but I'm sure that's a minor stopgap.

In any case, the next time he gets bathed it should be warm enough that we don't have to bother with the dryer.

By the time we left the store he was hyperactive and happy again, and boy, did he have a case of static electricity! He looked as if he'd put a paw in a light socket.

James was at lunch, so we drove the couple of miles to Highland Parkway. I'd like to say Tucker threw himself all over "his daddy" in rapture, but he was so excited to be at a New Place With New Smells, he barely paid attention to either of us! It was a warm day, with temps in the low 60s; to me this is the upper edge of my comfort zone. I am not looking forward to anything over 65°F!

We got back to the house, where I did a few chores, ate my own lunch, and then started to whittle down my collection of Sleepy Hollow episodes. Three weeks ago I wasn't paying total attention during the episode about the painting, and while I knew the basic plot, I'd missed the nuances. So I watched that one and the next, then James arrived home early, so I left the last for the next day.

After that it was just a nice quiet Sunday night.

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» Thursday, February 05, 2015
Thursday in the Truck With James
I took leave to be with James on his off day. The first thing we did last night was shut off the alarm clocks and had a wonderful sleep from midnight to nine thirty—and even then I was reluctant to get up, the bed was so warm and comfy.

"Soft mattress, warm mattress,
Cozy slab of foam.
Sleepy Linda, happy Linda,
Home, home, home."

(With apologies to Sheldon Cooper...LOL) 

We had intended as one of the things to do today to take the truck to the mobility place to get the lift checked out, something that should have been done back at the beginning of December. However, James never had time to call for the appointment. However, I did do something I've been planning to do this winter: finish cutting the low tree branches in the back yard. I started last summer but got driven off by the mosquitoes, and it's easier to do with the bare branches. So James let Tucker loose in the yard to patrol the corners and mark his territory, and I used the lopper on the branches. Some of them were quite thick and I will pay for it in the morning! He had to cut one particularly thick one for me.

Once that was done, we got dressed to go out and had lunch at Firehouse Subs on Cherokee Street, since James wanted to check on the status of his orthopedic shoes, which he'd ordered over a month ago, and that was on Canton Road just up a ways from Firehouse. When we got there it turned out the shoes were ready, so the technician made sure they were correct before we left and James left newly shod.

Finally we drove out to Sprouts in Dunwoody, which is the closest store right now. We bought some chicken and dumplings for supper, along with a tomato to go with our cucumber for a salad, and a chocolate muffin each for dessert, plus some sweet soy finishing sauce, a few pumpkin seeds, a baguette, some small fruit bars, and boneless/skinless chicken thighs as makings for some stir-fry suppers.

I spent the entire afternoon enjoying the nice chill day (high 40s with a brisk wind, but sunny and fair) and breathing in the wonderful cool air, trying to immunize myself against the superheated summer to come. It's going to be cold tonight, bringing the promise of yet another good night's sleep.

And then just a normal evening: supper, Jeopardy, Doctor Who, and then we'll watch Big Bang off the DVR.

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» Sunday, February 01, 2015
The 72-Hour Sprint

Will you tell me how a three-day weekend goes by faster than one day at work? Yeah, I haven't figured it out either.

I always set the alarm for eight hours after bedtime when I have a compressed day off; no use in wasting time sleeping! This is why I had my head under a pillow for 45 minutes on Friday morning trying to ignore the alarm. :-)

After the usual breakfast and dog walk, it was errand time. Got in the car to discover that somewhere on the way home yesterday (probably on I-285 westbound), Twilight's odometer went over 100,000 miles. (This isn't rare in the company I keep. James' truck is already over 100,000, and I know Ron's Honda hit way over 200,000, and Lin's van, too. Jessie's car just went over 160,000.)

Tucker's old bone doesn't have its bounce anymore (it got wet), so I went from Target to Walmart in an effort to find one. Nope. Stopped at Barnes & Noble at the Avenue at West Cobb since I had a coupon, but nothing jumped out at me except for the "Muzak," which was a men's chorus singing "Let It Go." This song, guys—can't we just let it go????

Since I was across the street from the Dallas Highway Kroger, I went over and did the shopping, including picking up some chicken thighs for Sunday supper. They didn't have a bone either. I have a feeling Hartz has quit making them. I also gassed up the car and briefly stopped in one more Target. No bone. I bought him another toy, a rubber cylinder that has a similar a bounce to the bone. [It's an unpredictable bounce, though; it usually goes backward instead of tumbling end over end. But he seemed to like it.]

When I got home, I had a nice surprise on the computer: my copy of Pioneer Girl is on its way! Back before Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the "Little House" novels, her daughter encouraged her to write down her memories of homesteading. Unlike the novels, which are neatened up for children and sometimes changed ages and names of people (for instance, when the Ingalls family lived in Kansas on the prairie, Laura was only two years old and most of the book is written from the recollections of her mother's stories), this handwritten-on-school-tablets manuscript, called Pioneer Girl, was everything Laura remembered about her journeys, even the frightening thing: the brother of a woman she was nursing almost assaulting her, a woman who tried to adopt her when the Ingalls family was having hard times, passing by a house in which all the occupants had been murdered, and more). Later she mined the manuscript for her children's books. However, a lot of fans were still interested in that manuscript, and you used to be able to order a photocopy of it from the South Dakota historical society. Finally they published it in December with copious historical notes. I forgot to order it for my birthday and when I checked the other day, Amazon was out of it, Barnes & Noble was out of it—in fact, the publisher was out of it. They've done two print runs of 30,000 copies total, and now they're about to do a third. I figured I would have to wait until I found a copy available through Books-a-Million. Or not. First they told me they were having trouble getting it. And then this e-mail when I got home. Neat.

I did some chores and had some Christmas music on until James came home. After trying fruitlessly to log in to TuneIn Radio on the television with my phone account, I just created a new one and found a nice quiet station to read magazines to. We had dinner at West Cobb Diner. Both of us were too tired to do anything else, so we came home and watched Blackadder Goes Forth, which is leaving Netflix tomorrow.

On Saturday James went off to work. This time I did get up at 8:30, did breakfast and the dog walk, vacuuming while Tucker enjoyed himself on the deck keeping an eye on the squirrels. I also refilled the birdseed can and filled the bird feeders; at this rate I'm not going to have any birds to watch during the bird count. Then I sat down to watch An Adventure in Space and Time, the movie about the creation of Doctor Who. This film still astonishes me; even though I know Doctor Who got on the air, the first half is like a suspense film: will lone female producer Verity Lambert and lone Indian director Waris Hussein conquer the Good-Old-Boys club at the BBC and get the show produced? David Bradley also puts in a touching performance as William Hartnell, who realizes his memory is becoming faulty and fights against his fate as hard as possible.

Unfortunately I was developing a sinus headache from the incoming rainstorm forecast for tomorrow and finally had to go lie down for an hour. When I got up I went outside to check the mail and found my box from Hamilton Books outside. I did a big order just as the blizzard started up in New England and was surprised that it shipped so soon and arrived so quickly. Most of the shipment was to be put away for Christmas gifts, so I was just starting an inventory of what I had in the boxes and assigning gifts to people when James arrived home early. I stowed his books away before he'd climbed the stairs. I did get a couple of books for me that I have always wanted, a book of photographs and family documents collected by William Anderson in Laura's Album (ever want to see what the real Nellie Oleson looked like?), and The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook, which comes from collections kept by the SOM kids and their parents.

We went to a little pizza parlour on Spring Road, DaVinci's. It looks like a little place you might find in Brooklyn, a few tables and that's it. The pizza is excellent, but it's a lot more economical at SteviB's. We also went to the Barnes & Noble at Aker's Mill, but neither James and I saw anything we wanted. So it was home again to faithful terrier and singing bird, and later on I chatted with Mike.

Today we slept in, had breakfast, and, because nothing else was going on, decided to go into Buckhead to see what their Barnes & Noble had to offer. We stopped at Publix first to pick up a couple of twofers I had coupons for and some eggs, and at Nam Dae Mun, the mostly Asian-and-Hispanic farmer's market in the old Winn Dixie store on Spring Road to pick up some black sauce and roasted garlic teriyaki sauce. We also picked up some wafer thin pork chops and some nice looking lamb shoulder. They had whole lambs and whole goats in the freezer section, and something called "burned goats head" which was exactly as described. I wonder whose delicacy this is. Why do you burn it first, I wonder?

Finally did find something in Buckhead, the paperback version of Making Masterpiece, by the executive producer of Masterpiece Theatre, plus some tissue paper and holiday things in the clearance bin. On the way home we were both hungry (it was after two and we hadn't had lunch), so stopped at Panera. I had my usual, but James had one of the new broth bowls, the soba noodles with chicken. The broth was very gingery, but I could see where it would be good if you had a cold and were really congested.

We watched the Puppy Bowl—I got a kick out of the little goats that were "cheerleaders" as well as the kittens "taking over" the control room instead of doing the halftime show—then had chicken for supper and watched AFV and Alaska State Troopers. Darn. It's the last season for Alaska State Troopers.

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» Sunday, January 25, 2015
From Blah to Bonny

To me, when I don't have my Friday off, the weekend starts on Friday night, and frankly this weekend had a rotten start. It was one of those cold, damp, drizzly, grey days where people say ferverently "At least it isn't snow!" without realizing that if it was snow it would at least feel warmer! This type of cold just creeps down your neck (even with a scarf) and gets into your bones. It was so chilly out that I was able to work all day in long sleeves, which I usually can't do because it's always 80°F in my office. It was a perfect night to hibernate, so that's what we did: James picked up dinner at Dragon 168 on his way home and we sat in front of the 21st century hearth, the HDTV, and had hot wonton soup. It felt lovely. He had a sa-cha beef combo (spicy) and I had the usual pork fried rice (yes, Ivan, the good kind without peas and carrots). It was so cozy we almost ended up going to bed early, but finally hit the hay about midnight.

Saturday the clouds parted in time for the morning dog-walk; as the remainder of the clouds drifted away the blue sky was revealed. If you looked up "blue" in the dictionary, this blue would have been there. We took our time eating breakfast, which was good because we were on the run for the rest of the day.

It was off to Walmart first for wild bird food. I'm not going to do much backyard bird counting if I don't get some seed in the feeders. Walmart is already full of bathing suits and warm-weather clothing that fills me with dread, and the main food aisle is crowded with items for Valentine's Day baking. Got the seed, plus some odd groceries like sugar-free candy and my yogurt. Then we needed dog food, and we had a 20 percent off coupon from Petco. The closest Petco was all the way at Akers Mill shopping center, but it was cold enough to just toss the yogurt in the back of the truck and go on.

Well, since we were going to Akers Mill anyway, might as well stop at Barnes & Noble. (I am unrepentant.) Hurrah! Winter issues of "Landlove" and "Landscape" in! I found an alternate history book for James, too: V-S Day, about a World War II where the Nazis and the Americans develop space platforms. By then we were a bit peckish, but we got the Petco trip over first: two bags of dog food, a new antler for serious canine gnawing, and some puree to liven up Tucker's meals (hey, if you've got a 20 percent off coupon, you stock up).

For lunch we went to "Grub," which is a custom burger place. James got a traditional burger with some great onion rings, but I got a "Moroccan," a big lamb burger with a mint Greek yogurt sauce on grilled flatbread, with some taboulleh on the side. The burger was delicious and juicy and filling, but the place is much too expensive to go to all the time. We could have gone to Longhorn and had a lunch sirloin for what the burgers cost us! Plus the music is Too Loud. Don't they expect people who go there to want to talk? If you don't mind the price or the noise, it's got some good food.

(Not to mention I tasted the lemon juice and the cucumber in the tabbouleh till late in the evening, but then that wasn't Grub's fault.)

Our final stop was Publix, to pick up some twofers and a few other things, and our grocery shopping was done for the weekend, unless we forgot something. We needed to get it all home and put away, then eat something before we were on our way for the evening, which we spent at UUMAN, the Unitarian Universalist Metro Atlanta North, which has their "Common Grounds" coffee house once a month. Our friend Louis Robinson was performing, plus they were doing a salute to the 1960s. We had a good time, although James wished more of the songs had been cheerful! Still, we heard "Sunny" and "Daydream Believer" and "What You Do to Me," with selections from the Beatles, the Lovin' Spoonful, the Monkees, Jimi Hendrix, etc. Louis sang "Those Were the Days," which I remember singing along with my parents. I didn't realize it was originally written in the 1920s and was a Russian song. But come to think of it, it sounds Russian.

It was a long dark ride home from Roswell and a long day, which explains why we were on our way to bed by midnight. I was too tired to even sign on to chat, and we had to be up at 8:30.

Today we went to the Atlanta Exposition Center South for the annual RV show. We left early enough to get breakfast at Burger King, but James wanted to try this new QT kitchen thing he saw on TV. Unfortunately the QT we stopped at didn't have it. I looked for a chicken or tuna salad sandwich on white or wheat (everything else had cheese on it), but the only chicken salad was in a wrap. A green wrap. The green wasn't so bad, and neither was the chicken salad, but it was more lettuce than anything else and came up on me all afternoon.

We know we can't afford anything at the RV show, and we'd have to buy a bigger truck to be able to pull anything worth fitting into anyway (and with the power chair, we'd have to get a "toy hauler" so it would have a ramp), but it's fun to look in the different things, especially the big buslike motor homes, which we refer to as "Disneyland." One was $622,000 with a wood interior and leather seating and fancy lighting. Amazing! We saw the cutest little retro trailer that looked like it came out of the 1950s, and finally one of the larger teardrop trailers; usually they only bring the small ones. Also saw a couple of the A-frame ones with screen popouts; it makes them less claustrophobic. There were some vendors there selling campsites, of course, and a line of vendors selling "gadgets." For Valentine's Day, James bought us both a cute little gadget about the size of a small flashlight which charges your phone, plus doubles as a speaker, plus is large enough to use as a phone stand.

When they all started looking alike, we quit and came home after a brief stop at Kroger for gasoline and something we forgot (of course).

James made the lamb shank we picked up at Publix last night for supper with mushroom rice (it goes with everything). Yummy and enough left for a sandwich for lunch tomorrow. Next, AFV and Alaska: the Last Frontier.

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