Yet Another Journal

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


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

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» Wednesday, June 30, 2004
What Kind of Book Person Are You?
James found this survey.

I posted the answers in Cozy Nook since it's a book blog.

Flourish

Just Another Day in Paradise
I don't usually do diary entries here, but today was a pip.

Things to know first: I work something called a compressed schedule; in two weeks I work eight nine-hour days, an eight hour day, and get one off. Friday (payday) is my day off. That was coming up day after tomorrow.

The operative word is "was" for this week.

So I get up as usual, lunch is made by James night before (thanks, sweetie) and I go into one of the freestanding cupboards to get my two granola bars.

Surprise! We have little visitors again! Talk about "same time, next year."

Royally pissed, I start killing the marching line of ants and lifting up containers and boxes to see what the little bastards are after this time. Great. They found the one single unopened package (crackers) in the entire cupboard. Sigh. Out it went, along with a box of oatmeal that was possibly compromised.

Next I put on an old long-sleeved shirt so the mosquitoes in the back yard don't kill me and go out with my trusty jug of Ortho Home Defense to spray the sliding glass doors under which the marching marauders are coming. As I spray, I look upwards and what I see is not a happy sight. In the meantime I have run out of Ortho since the jug was almost empty and am a little uncertain about how to attach the detached spray head of the new jug.
Flashback: Last year. We have ants in the same cupboard, on the sink, in both upstairs bathroom. Cause: dogwood tree branches touching roof over bathrooms. Ants have climbed up and made a nest in leftover fall leaves on the roof over the kitchen, which is next to roof over bathrooms. I was flabbergasted; grew up in house without any trees nearby and didn't know ants scaled houses and formed thriving communities on rooftops. Anyway, leaves got knocked off roof, James sprayed, no more ants.

Now, back in March this year, before it got hot (read: over 70°F), James and I dutifully went out into the yard and cut back all the tree branches we thought might touch the roof as they grew. We did about a two-hour pruning job on both the live oak and the dogwood, and also the privet bush which is now a small tree. There were, I noted, some more leftover autumn leaves on the roof, but since the branches were gone, James didn't consider them a danger.

So as I look up from my empty jug of Ortho I see Mr. Dogwood Tree has had a summer growth spurt despite all that pruning we did and there is now a branch again right over the roof. You guessing what I'm guessing?

James worked Saturday and had today off. I'm sure he was looking forward to sleeping late when I came in the bedroom and told him I needed some help with the jug of Ortho. He got that set up, I sprayed behind the cupboard and then, just in case, around the kitchen window.

At this point, it was seven o'clock, I was already late, and I should have gone off to work. But my brain was in turmoil. I was pretty sure where those ants were coming from and I didn't want them staying up there. I talked to James, who groaned, but agreed, and then I called in to work asking if it were okay for me to swap today for Friday (no one called back so I guess it was). I was looking forward to sleeping late and mailing something to my mom, but ... well, a homeowner's gotta do what a homeowner's gotta do.

So between James and I and the extendable tree pruner, we trimmed back the dogwood, a little of the live oak, and a little of the privet bush (just in case). But it was James who went up on the shed roof to cut the majority of the branches, and up on the kitchen roof to run a rake over the small pile of dead leaves and...

...yep, another ant colony: mature adults, hundreds of white grubs, the works. He tossed it all off the roof and I raked it back into the yard and sprayed it. While he was up there, he cleaned out the gutters, too, which were clogged, even after cleaning last July, with what looked like about three year's worth of pine straw.

When we were done with the holy mess, he said, "We deserve a treat. Let's go to IHOP for breakfast." So we showered, left our muddy, grubby clothes in the washer to soak, and did. It was more of a treat than he'd dreamed: I paid. I mean, I had to do something after awaking him on his day off to carry on the Ant Crusade.

Anyway, on the way home, we stopped at a target range called Hot Shots. James wanted to see what their hourly rates were; we saw the sign that said "Wednesday Ladies' Day: Women Shoot Free."
Quickie flashback: My dad confiscated a German officer's pistol in World War II. After he died my mom, who was always terrified of the thing, gave it to me via James. He cleaned it up and had shot it, but I hadn't.

So we went shooting for an hour. Oddly, this pistol, which uses 25mm bullets, is small enough for my hand, isn't comfortable for me to shoot. I understand now why when you see films with ladies in the early part of the 20th century shooting small pistols, they are wearing gloves. The darn thing pinches the skin between my thumb and forefinger, and also pinches my trigger finger.

I did better with James' late father's two guns, a Ruger Bull Barrel Mark II and a Ruger "Single Six" revolver that looks like "a cowboy gun," which shoots .22s, and consistently got close to the target. Ironically I shot better with them than James did, with all his experience and my dicey eyesight; he did better with his own Glock.

My best round was the last one. I squinted at the bright orange target and not only got very close on all shots, but I hit the bullseye once.

That round I imagined the target as an ant. :-)

Flourish

» Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Tuesday Twosome

Independence Day - USA

1. Are you celebrating the Fourth of July or treating it like any other Sunday?


We're going to a cookout. The problem is...which one. :-)

2. What top two things do you do to celebrate the Fourth of July?

We only have one thing now: we watch 1776. We used to watch the Boston Pops concert coverage on A&E. Last year the coverage got sold to a different station and also CBS. Instead of the Pops, they concentrated on stupid Leeann Rimes singing and their fireworks coverage stank. (Let me clue you, guys: when we watch a fireworks exhibition, we don't want to see shots of the crowd.)

3. What two things best describes this day for you?

Relaxation and pride in my country, if not always in my leaders.

4. Are you going to light fireworks and/or watch a fireworks display?

Possibly, but usually the parking's a bear.

5. What two things do you most look forward to about this day?

The thought of freedom for myself and my family.

And more selfishly, freedom from a day away from work. :-)

Flourish

An E-mail from Disney
Re the Dr. Syn being pulled from the release schedule.

They apologized and said they would try to set a new release date soon. Well, we've heard that song before. I can only hope that means they're making it better. I had heard from several sources that Amazon.com was rather surprised by the number of preorders they had for it.

I would like to see a real "Vault Disney" release for this film: the complete movie (129 minutes), the Wonderful World of Color Walt Disney intros, maybe something about the song, which people remember 30 years later, some type of commentary. Perhaps they could talk to Sean Scully, who played the boy character, John--I remember him as being oooohed and aaaahed over by the teenage girls of the "Tiger Beat" persuasion (he also did two other films for Disney, the Vienna Boys Choir story Almost Angels and Twain's The Prince and the Pauper). George Cole, who played Mipps, is apparently still working in the industry as well.

Of course the plum thing to have would be an interview with Patrick McGoohan, but I suppose that would be wishing for the moon...

At least Three Lives of Thomasina is out next week.

Flourish

» Monday, June 28, 2004
Cool Air Again
The air conditioner is fixed again. Turns out the guy who installed the motor put it in upside down. He also left two bare wires (which probably accounted for the spark and smoke James saw).

Um, next time when you "outsource," guys, how about doing a quality control check first?

Flourish

Monday Madness

1. Bed & Breakfast or hotel?

Never stayed at a B&B. They're kind of expensive, and I'd be afraid of disturbing the host going in and out. (Also, most of the B&Bs I've read about try to serve this gourmet food to their clients, like fresh feta cheese sprinkled with Greek olives over spinach. Ughhhhhh....)

2. What determines where you stay?(i.e. price, accommodations, transportation, travel package)

Price, mostly, although real dumps are out. I don't go on vacation to endure insects, dirty surroundings, or noisy hourly quickies in the room next door.

3. When determining where to stay, do you ever consider the establishment's history? (i.e. it might be haunted, location of high profile crime)

Well, crime, yeah. Who wants to stay somewhere Mr. Don Capo got murdered at? But haunted? There are haunted Motel 6's?

4. Would such considerations sway your decision?

Yep.

5. Do you try and read the local paper for where you're visiting, to get an idea of what the area's like?

That's always good, but I'd do research first, too; maybe a book from the library or buy one about the region, or get a tourbook from the AAA.

Flourish

» Sunday, June 27, 2004
From James' Blog
The 100 Top-Grossing Movies You've Seen

Like James', mine are in bold.

1. Titanic (1997) $600,779,824 [I saw the first hour and the last hour when it was on network TV; does that count? This was the movie my friend Dana referred to as "mall rats in 1912." The ship sank; get over it.]
2. Star Wars (1977) $460,935,665
3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) $434,949,459
4. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) $431,065,444
5. Spider-Man (2002) $403,706,375
6. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, (2003) $377,019,252
7. Passion of the Christ, The (2004) $370,025,697
8. Jurassic Park (1993) $356,784,000 [19 times in the theatre. What can I say? I like Sam Neill.]
9. Shrek 2 (2004) $356,211,000
10. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002) $340,478,898
11. Finding Nemo (2003) $339,714,367
12. Forrest Gump (1994) $329,691,196
13. Lion King, The (1994) $328,423,001
14. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) $317,557,891
15. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001) $313,837,577
16. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) $310,675,583
17. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) $309,125,409 [Oh, yeah. Mom and I were one of the first in line for the first showing at noon on opening day at the Swansea Showcase Cinema...]
18. Independence Day (1996) $306,124,059
19. Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) $305,411,224
20. Sixth Sense, The (1999) $293,501,675
21. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) $290,158,751
22. Home Alone (1990) $285,761,243
23. Matrix Reloaded, The (2003) $281,492,479
24. Shrek (2001) $267,652,016
25. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) $261,970,615
26. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) $260,031,035
27. Jaws (1975) $260,000,000
28. Monsters, Inc. (2001) $255,870,172
29. Batman (1989) $251,188,924
30. Men in Black (1997) $250,147,615
31. Toy Story 2 (1999) $245,823,397
32. Bruce Almighty (2003) $242,589,580
33. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) $242,374,454
34. Twister (1996) $241,700,000
35. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) $241,437,427
36. Ghost Busters (1984) $238,600,000
37. Beverly Hills Cop (1984) $234,760,500
38. Cast Away (2000) $233,630,478
39. Lost World: Jurassic Park, The (1997) $229,074,524
40. Signs (2002) $227,965,690
41. Rush Hour 2 (2001) $226,138,454
42. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) $219,200,000
43. Ghost (1990) $217,631,306
44. Aladdin (1992) $217,350,219
45. Saving Private Ryan (1998) $216,119,491
46. Mission: Impossible II (2000) $215,397,307
47. X2 (2003) $214,948,780
48. Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) $213,079,163
49. Back to the Future (1985) $210,609,762
50. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) $205,399,422
51. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) $204,843,350
52. Exorcist, The (1973) $204,565,000
53. Mummy Returns, The (2001) $202,007,640
54. Armageddon (1998) $201,573,391
55. Gone with the Wind (1939) $198,655,278 [How could I miss this one? It's my mom's favorite movie!]
56. Pearl Harbor (2001) $198,539,855 [Most of this movie is so ludicrous I laughed or cringed. When they changed FDR's speech I screamed.]
57. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) $197,171,806
58. Toy Story (1995) $191,800,000
59. Men in Black II (2002) $190,418,803
60. Gladiator (2000) $187,670,866
61. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) $184,925,485
62. Dances with Wolves (1990) $184,208,848
63. Batman Forever (1995) $184,031,112
64. Fugitive, The (1993) $183,875,760
65. Ocean's Eleven (2001) $183,405,771
66. What Women Want (2000) $182,805,123
67. Perfect Storm, The (2000) $182,618,434
68. Liar Liar (1997) $181,395,380
69. Grease (1978) $181,360,000
70. Jurassic Park III (2001) $181,166,115
71. Mission: Impossible (1996) $180,965,237
72. Planet of the Apes (2001) $180,011,740
73. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) $179,870,271
74. Pretty Woman (1990) $178,406,268
75. Tootsie (1982) $177,200,000
76. Top Gun (1986) $176,781,728
77. There's Something About Mary (1998) $176,483,808
78. Ice Age (2002) $176,387,405
79. Crocodile Dundee (1986) $174,635,000
80. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) $173,585,516
81. Elf (2003) $173,381,405
82. Air Force One (1997) $172,888,056
83. Rain Man (1988) $172,825,435
84. Apollo 13 (1995) $172,071,312
85. Matrix, The (1999) $171,383,253
86. Beauty and the Beast (1991) $171,301,428
87. Tarzan (1999) $171,085,177
88. Beautiful Mind, A (2001) $170,708,996
89. Chicago (2002) $170,684,505
90. Three Men and a Baby (1987) $167,780,960
91. Meet the Parents (2000) $166,225,040
92. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) $165,500,000 [but I liked Robin Hood: Men in Tights better...]
93. Hannibal (2001) $165,091,464
94. Catch Me If You Can (2002) $164,435,221
95. Big Daddy (1999) $163,479,795
96. Sound of Music, The (1965) $163,214,286 [At the Warwick Cinema...RIP.]
97. Batman Returns (1992) $162,831,698
98. Bug's Life, A (1998) $162,792,677
99. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) $161,963,000
100. Waterboy, The (1998) $161,487,25

Flourish

» Saturday, June 26, 2004
THOSE IDIOTS!
Dr. Syn Alias the Scarecrow has been pulled from the Disney release schedule! Great, we get crap like Lizzie McGuire and all that goopy Princess Diary and Disney Princesses crud that shows little girls that's it's important to be pretty and wear nice clothes, but they decided not to release what was probably one of the most popular Disney live-action stories ever.

Nice going, guys. Walt must be up to 300 rpm by now.


Flourish

» Friday, June 25, 2004
The [New] Friday Five

1. What is the creepiest everyday object you know?

Ants.

2. What's the most useful everyday item?

My glasses. I tend to bump into walls without them.

3. What's the most useless everday item?

The carpet. It's hard to clean.

4. If the power was out for 24 hours, what would you do?

In this weather? Die of heat prostration. (How did you know our A/C was dead again?)

5. If you had to have one item you use everyday surgically attached to you, what would it be, and why?

I should say my glasses. I hope they can surgically attach 'em without them pinching my nose. Why? Because I like to be able to see...and drive...and read signs...


Flourish

And Of Course They Can't Come Out Till Monday...
Man, what kind of service are their "non-maintenance agreement" customers getting?

Flourish

» Thursday, June 24, 2004
The Damned Air Conditioner is Broken Again
Noticed it was a bit warm at bedtime and that the air coming out of the vents was coolish, but not cold. Opened bathroom window. Compressor is not on. James goes out to look at unit. Tells me to turn off A/C. Wait a few minutes. Turn A/C back on. James hears pop, but nothing happens, and blower doesn't come back on. Go downstairs. Breaker for compressor has popped. Switch it back on. Switch A/C back on. James sees pop, spark, and smoke come out of fan motor. RIP. This one lasted 34 days.

How nice. R.S. Andrews "emergency number" doesn't work. After the message tells you to speak after the beep, it recursively returns to hold music, then the main voicemail menu. I try to send them a "convenient" service e-mail. The mail server is down.

Oh, I can see this is gonna be fun...

Flourish

'Hello, My Baby..."
Looney Tunes - Golden Collection Volume 2 finally coming?

Flourish

Cascading Style Bleats
I can write HTML code in my sleep. (Sometimes I think I actually do; I've had dreams about doing web pages.)

But right now CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) still look a bit like Spanish to me.

I say Spanish because I know a little bit of Italian and often the words are similar. "Thank you" in Italian is "grazie" and in Spanish "gracias." In a similar manner, I can go into the template for my blog or James' blog, for instance, and change colors and fonts and underlines. I pretty much can change what I'm looking for, but I haven't attempted to write it myself the way I did with HTML almost immediately.

To that end, I bought Osborne's Cascading Style Sheets: A Beginner's Guide from the bargain book shelf at MicroCenter on Sunday. I have other books with CSS in them, including my favorite general reference, Elizabeth Castro's HTML For the World Wide Web with CSS and XML (fifth edition), but I thought a book strictly for CSS might help.

Unfortunately I'm still staring askance at the list of reasons why one should use CSS instead of HTML. One of them is "CSS allows for precise positioning." Be nice if it was true. One of the problems with HTML is that it shows up differently on different browsers. If you leave a table tag off, sometimes IE can cope with it, but Netscape will hiccup. Material that is nicely spaced in Netscape looks double spaced in IE. It's a pain in the neck. CSS is therefore touted as something that will make this problem go away.

Well, so they say. James has a friend at work with a blog. He chose his template from Blogger's assortment. I would think this would mean Blogger had tested each of these things cross-platform (aren't I nice to be so optimistic?). Evidently not. Since he knowsJames called me yesterday and said, "Could you look at the template in Harry's blog? The sidebar is suddenly pushed all the way to the bottom."

So I pulled up Harry's blog. Surprise! Looked fine in Firefox, which I'm using as my default browser now. Looks good in Mozilla, too. But in IE (which of course they use at work), bad news. The sidebar which should have been on the left of the page was under the text! Nice going, guys. So much for CSS's touted cross-browser compatibility.

Not to mention that most of my pages, with their nostalgic subject matter, might appeal to older people who don't have up-to-date computers or browsers. Most CSS pages look like hash on older browsers, even something as "recent" as Netscape 4.78. Right. There's something I really want to do: present people with a web page that looks like the dog's breakfast.

Ah, well, even with the simplest tools there seems to be technological problems. Why should I be surprised? :-)

Flourish

Thursday Threesome

::Capricious: Governed or characterized by impulse or whim, lacking rational basis or likely to change suddenly::

Onesome: Characterized by impulse--Do you you consider yourself impulsive or do you tend to think everything through before you make a move?

Depends on the "thing." I like to think I look over important things before I do them, such as buying something that costs a great deal of money, like a piece of electronics or a car. We did look around before we bought the HDTV and found the best value for what we could afford. On the other hand, my car was an impulse buy--but I knew I was going to need a new car because of an increased commute and knew what I wanted, and visiting the Carmax lot in August instead of in the fall tossed one right in my lap.

Books tend to be more impulse buys.

Twosome: lacking rational basis--If you are impulsive, do you rationalize and justify your actions? Like, since that item you bought on a whim was on sale, you really saved money by buying it?

Most of the time, no. Again, the car was like that; they made me a good deal a couple of months before I'd intended to buy one. Mostly I just look at the store receipts afterwards and sigh that I've spent too much money that weekend.

Threesome: or likely to change suddenly-- When you make up your mind, does it stay made up or do you tend to change your mind at the last minute? ...or do you waffle back and forth until you're forced to decide?

LOL. Again, this depends on what it is. James tends to look at me and say "All right, Charlie Brown..." when I waffle. I do usually wake up the next morning after I've made an expensive purchase (even though it was necessary) depressed and moaning "Oh, God, what have I done?"

Flourish

» Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Okay, So Where Is It?
So Dear to My Heart (1949)

It was supposed to be out this year sometime and now it's on the back burner.

Ultimate Disney, a great site, keeps up with what Disney stuff is being released now and scheduled to be released.

My Wish List (revised--hey, you didn't think I'd stop wanting after Thomasina and Dr. Syn, did you?):
  • Johnny Tremain
  • In Search of the Castaways (widescreen)
  • Summer Magic (ditto)
  • Moon-Spinners (a good, widescreen version; the one out now is very badly done)
  • That Darn Cat! (the original)
  • The Horse Without a Head
  • High-Flying Spy
  • Boomerang, Dog of Many Talents
  • Emil and the Detectives

    Plus things from the television series:

    A set called, perhaps, "Disney's Dog Tales"
  • "Little Shepherd Dog of Catalina"
  • "Legend of the Two Gypsy Dogs" ("They were two, they were two, and their friendship was strong, and as wild and as deep as the Danube is long...")
  • "Little Dog Lost"
  • "Pablo and the Dancing Chihuahua"
  • "Greta the Misfit Greyhound"
  • "Three on the Run"
  • "The Hound Who Thought He was a Raccoon"
  • "Atta Girl, Kelly!"
    etc.

    A set called, perhaps, "Disney Horse Tales"
  • "Run, Appaloosa, Run!"
  • "Stormy, the Thoroughbred"
  • "The Horse With the Flying Tail"
  • "The Tattooed Police Horse"
  • "El Blanco, Legend of the White Stallion"
  • "The Horse of the West"
  • "The Horsemasters"
    etc.

    A set called, perhaps, "Disney's Wildlife Tales"
  • "Run, Light Buck, Run"
  • "Flash the Teenage Otter"
  • "The Yellowstone Cubs"
  • "The Wahoo Bobcat"
  • "The Legend of the Boy and the Eagle"
  • "Chico, the Misunderstood Coyote"
  • "Ida the Offbeat Eagle"
  • "One Day at Teton Marsh"
  • "Joker the Amiable Ocelot"
    etc.

    And last but definitely not least:
  • Gallegher
  • The Further Adventures of Gallegher
  • Gallegher Goes West
  • The Mystery of Edward Sims

    Wistful wishful thinking adds things like the Alvin Fernald stories (The Whiz Kid and the Mystery at Riverton) and all those other cool "bunch of kids" adventures like For the Love of Willadean, Michael O'Hara the Fourth, The Secret of the Pirate's Inn, and things like that. Maybe even stuff like Elfego Baca and The Swamp Fox.

    Don't I wish I were in charge of the Disney DVD department!

  • Flourish

    Tuesday Twosome

    When on vacation, I prefer:

    1. "Flying by plane" or "Riding in a car"


    If I have the time, car by far. :-) Flying is a pain in the butt these days. Besides, if we take the car, we can take stuff we couldn't take on the plane--not to mention not having to board the doggie.

    2. "Staying with friends/relatives" or "Hotel, hotel, hotel"

    Friends or family if we can, since our budget should be in the three-figure range.

    On the other hand, we've become quite enamoured of the Drury Inn...they have a great breakfast. And recliners, Willow asks me to remind you. :-)

    3. "Packaged tour" or "Plan it on my own"

    Depends on the place. Did a couple of packaged bus tours once. They were fun. But, of course, you have to be willing to stay on a schedule.

    4. "I want to get as far away from home as possible" or "Not more than a day drive away"

    When I say I want to get "out of town" I mean it!

    5. "A week or more is a true vacation" or "I want to be home within a week"

    Honey, if I had as much time as I wanted...let's put it this way, as a child I would always cry on the last day of vacation.


    Flourish

    » Monday, June 21, 2004
    Monday Madness

    Do you prefer....
    1. Long hair or Short hair


    Long, which is why I keep it that way. My mom kept my hair in a "pixie cut" when I was a kid so my hair would be easier to wash, since even Johnson's "No More Tears" Baby Shampoo irritates my eyes. I've had long hair ever since I started taking showers.

    2. Contacts or Glasses

    Ugh. The tiniest "sleeper" makes my eyes itch. The thought of putting a wafer of glass or plastic in my eyes makes me squirm. I rub my eyes too much to do that anyway.

    3. Spring or Autumn

    Autumn! Fall, fall, fall. Spring is pretty but it makes me sneeze and it means another sucky summer is coming.

    4. Mittens or Gloves

    Mittens are warmer, but I like being dexterious, thanks.

    5. Car or Truck/SUV

    Car. SUVs are too big; I want something I can park easily. We have a small truck. It's very useful for carrying furniture home!

    6. Mac or Windows

    Actually, I have never tried a Mac. People swear by 'em, especially for graphics work. If it runs WordPerfect, I like it. :-)

    7. Cats or Dogs

    Dogs. I love cats, but they make me sneeze. (I'm allergic to dogs and birds, too, but it's not as bad.)

    8. Rock or Jazz

    Jazz.

    9. Pen or Pencil

    Oh, pen. Unless I'm drawing. :-)

    10. DVD's or VHS's

    DVDs for quality. VHS for ease of recording.

    Flourish

    » Sunday, June 20, 2004
    Your Favorite Fictional Characters
    James had this in his blog, a question about your 25 fictional characters.

    I couldn't do it. I had to split 'em down between media (television, movies, and radio) and books. I simply have too many "friends" in books and in the media...

    They're in no particular order, except for number one on the media list. :-)

    MEDIA
    1. Lassie
    2. Dr. Leonard McCoy (Star Trek)
    3. Maxwell Smart (Get Smart)
    4. Scott Sherwood (Remember WENN)
    5. Oliver Lindenbrook (Journey to the Center of the Earth)
    6. Vila Restal (Blake's 7)
    7. Cpl. Walter "Radar" O'Reilly (M*A*S*H)
    8. Michael Garibaldi (Babylon 5)
    9. Gallegher (the newsboy on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color)
    10. Dr. Christopher Syn (Scarecrow of Romney Marsh)
    11. John Monroe (My World and Welcome to It)
    12. Addie Mills (The House Without a Christmas Tree)
    13. Adrian Monk (Monk)
    14. Admiral Al Calavicci (Quantum Leap)
    15. The Doctor (Doctor Who)
    16. Fibber McGee (Fibber McGee and Molly)
    17. Lamont Cranston (The Shadow radio series)
    18. Ellery Queen (the Jim Hutton version)
    19. Dr. Benton Quest (Jonny Quest)
    20. Artemus Gordon (The Wild Wild West)
    21. John Walton Jr. (The Waltons)
    22. Barbara Good (Good Neighbors/The Good Life)
    23. Dr. Andrew Sellers (Dr. Simon Locke)
    24. Ambrose Peabody ("Peevy") (The Rocketeer)
    25. Mark Venture (Star Blazers)

    BOOKS
    1. Lord Peter Wimsey (Dorothy Sayers books)
    2. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter books)
    3. Sir Adam Sinclair (Kurtz/Harris Adept books)
    4. Mary Lennox (The Secret Garden)
    5. Bess Preston ("Gran") (The Open Gate)
    6. Mame Dennis (Auntie Mame)
    7. Christina Parsons (Flambards)
    8. Addie Pray (Addie Pray)
    9. Jo March (Little Women)
    10. February Callendar (Friday's Tunnel and February's Road)
    11. Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables)
    12. Myrddin Emrys ("Merlin," the Mary Stewart version)
    13. Harry Dresden (Jim Butcher books)
    14. Josh Arnold (Red Sky at Morning)
    15. Meredith Brown (National Velvet)
    16. Buck (Call of the Wild)
    17. Beautiful Joe (Beautiful Joe)
    18. Levi Zendt (Centennial)
    19. Huckleberry Finn (Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
    20. Clifford "Kip" Russell (Have Spacesuit, Will Travel)
    21. Rudolf Rassendyll (The Prisoner of Zenda)
    22. Lucinda Wyman (Roller Skates)
    23. Jean Louise "Scout" Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)
    24. Francie Nolan (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
    25. Trixie Belden

    Flourish

    » Saturday, June 19, 2004
    Soy, That's Good
    Well, I'm crossing my fingers. The soy isoflavones I'm taking twice a day may be helping with the hot flashes. I seem to have been sleeping a little better in the last week. It's remembering to take it that's a bear.

    Flourish

    » Thursday, June 17, 2004
    Thursday Threesome

    Onesome: Things that go- What's the strangest contraption you've ever had to use to get from point A to point B?

    Darn. I don't think I've ever been lucky enough to ride on any "strange contraptions." I've ridden in planes, cars, bicycles, pickup trucks, trains, and buses. Perhaps it was the old trolley cars at the Shore Line Trolley Museum last year. Unlike other trolley museums, this one was built on a once-extant trolley line and you can still take the trolley to get to a small beach to picnic and swim rather than the trolley just being a "ride." But it wasn't really "strange," either--just like a nice big wooden bus with woven seats. It was pretty comfy for something people used to commute to work in!

    Twosome: Bump- Have you ever hurt yourself doing something you weren't supposed to be doing?

    I probably shouldn't have been learning to roller skate in my thirties. I simply could not keep my balance, ended up with big dinner-plate size bruises on my backside and my arms got swollen from having caught myself on my hands so many times. It turned out later that I had a hairline fracture of my left elbow from catching myself like that.

    Threesome: In the night- Do you believe in things that go bump in the night or anything supernatural?

    I think there's something out there that I don't understand, but I'm not sure if it's ghosties or ghoulies or what. Most "unexplained things" are actually tricks, but there are some baffling occurrences that don't get explained. So I suppose I do, but not in a blanket way.

    Flourish

    » Wednesday, June 16, 2004
    25,000 Crashes a Year Due to Road Debris

    "A hunk of tread off a tire. A bag of garbage. A chunk of scrap metal...garbage from waste haulers; lumber and construction materials; gravel, soil and tree limbs; mufflers and exhaust parts."


    Here in the "big A" we also have the ladder in the road. This is such a common occurence that one of the traffic reporters used to refer to them as "the ubiquitious ladder in the road." It almost sounded like a trademark-able name: Ubiquitiousladderintheroad™.

    Not to mention nails, screws, and other sharp objects to do an number on one of your tires. Dirt and rocks that fly out of lawn service trailers that crack windshields.

    Much less dangerous but pretty annoying: one of those plastic grocery bags that get loose. James had one, many years ago when he still had his Eclipse, go under the car and get caught on the muffler. It melted to the metal with the heat and for about four months, the smell every time you ran the car was god-awful.

    Still, thankfully, it didn't kill anyone. It's a pity there's no way to routinely. prosecute these careless boobs that don't secure more dangerous materials that, loose, cause someone's injury or death.

    Flourish

    » Tuesday, June 15, 2004
    Tuesday Twosome

    Let's go swimming...

    1. "Beach, Baby!" or "Pool, please"?


    A pool always. I've been to the beach. Sand stuck all over you, coating your body in layers, stuck between your toes, while you get tangled in seaweed and avoid the jellyfish. Up on the sand you have pigs who leave trash behind and use the beach as a giant ashtray.

    I like the shore better when it gets cool: sit on the sea wall or the rocks or in a folding chair and watch the surf come in without being surrounded by tourists.

    2. "Check me out!" or "Does anyone have a tent I can wear?"

    Tent it is--although I'd prefer an air conditioned cabana.

    3. "Deep end of the pool" or "Floaties are my friend"

    I can't swim. You figure it out. :-)

    4. "SPF 45, hat and glasses, please" or "Tan, tan, tan"

    James and I both take medicine that makes us sensitive to the sun, plus since having the radioactive iodine treatments, I sunburn in less than a half hour. So Coppertone SPF 45 is my game. And still wherever I've been exposed to the sun my skin gets pebbly and itchy afterwards...

    5. "I like to people watch" or "Hand me a book and leave me alone."

    I like to watch the ocean and the seabirds and the ships and boats. Again, best to do when it's colder and the tourists go bye-bye.

    Flourish

    » Monday, June 14, 2004
    Beating the Ads
    Could there be any more ads on Fox News' newly designed website? It looks like CNN Headline News...

    Flourish

    » Saturday, June 12, 2004
    That's Mine, Please...
    I haven't had all that much experience with dogs, but James has. Even to him, Willow is a hoot sometimes.

    He says he's never seen a dog with such a sense of "mine." Yesterday, for instance, I bathed her. I took her collar and choke chain off and laid it on the shelf we use for magazines in the bathroom. After the bath I toweled her dry and she air-dried.

    Finally it was time for James to come home and I went back upstairs. Willow followed me up. She nosed at her collar, then looked at me. Nosed the collar, wagged her tail.

    "Willow, do you want your collar back?" Frantic wag.

    She does the same thing when I wash the bedding in her crate. She's frantic when I take it away and runs possessively inside when I put it back. For a small dog she has a big sense of what is hers!

    Flourish

    » Friday, June 11, 2004
    Ronald Reagan, February 6, 1911 - June 5, 2004
    Good-bye, sir. And thank you.

    Flourish

    Do Yourself a Favor...
    ...run over to James' blog and follow the link here to read "Harry Potter in 15 Minutes."

    Take his advice. Don't read it while drinking. :-)

    Flourish

    Firefly Days
    One can barely breathe outside right now. It's a quarter to ten at night, it's still 89° and it's very humid. The air is like a warm blanket and it's hard to draw a deep refreshing breath.

    But the lightning bugs are awash in delight. It must be perfect weather for fireflies because we saw many dozens of them tonight, flashing merrily in the twilight gloom in the grass and the bushes at the side of the road. They're cruising our front lawn and the weedy creek bank across the street.

    I remember the first time I saw fireflies--I don't ever remember seeing them at home, even in the weeds. Maybe the climate in that part of New England just wasn't right for them. But one summer we took a bus tour to the Pennsylvania Dutch country. We went to Straussburg [sp?], Pennsylvania, and saw all sorts of delightful things, including "Roadside America," a huge miniature train layout with about a dozen trains running through an old-fashioned neighborhood, cityscape, mountain village, circus grounds, lumber camp, wilderness, lake area, etc., ate our very first piece of shoo-fly pie (wow--just like eating the contents of a sugar bowl!), and went to the Hershey factory (of course).

    The tourguide was a young fellow, probably about only ten years older than the five of us teenagers on the tour. I was the eldest of the kids at eighteen, I think the others were fourteen through sixteen. The hotel we stayed at was in the middle of fields of corn. They provided bicycles free of charge to the guests and our guide took the five of us, with our parents' permission, on a bike ride after supper. (We got back long after dark and our parents chewed out the poor guy.)

    It was a great ride. We never went near any heavy traffic, just in the back through the roads past the cornfields. There was a place there called the "Straussburg Railroad" which had some old-fashioned cars and a steam engine on it. We found out this is where they had filmed the railroad train scene in Funny Girl.

    Anyway, there were hundreds of little fireflies all over the cornfields. I was absolutely delighted (no pun intended). I'd read about kids catching fireflies for years, but never seen a "lightning bug" in person. When we got back to the hotel room and my folks were over their fright, I joked that "God was out taking pictures tonight with little flashcubes."

    Flourish

    » Thursday, June 10, 2004
    Well, This Doesn't Surprise Me
    Study Finds Dogs Understand Language

    Willow has many words she knows, and not just obedience commands like "Sit, Stay, Down, Sit Up" and "Up" (and, of course, "No!") Her favorite word is "cookie," which sends her dashing to the shelf over her crate, staring at the dog biscuit jar. She also knows "food" (she'll look around for it) and "hungry." When we get home from eating out on weekends we always bring her a bit of something, fat from the meat, an oatmeal cookie, a bit of cornbread. We put it up on something in the den and tell her to "find the hunting." If we don't bring anything home we say "No hunting" and she's disappointed.

    If you say "Daddy's home," she runs to the door to check for James. "Where's the cat?" sends her barreling for the door. (If you meow or hiss she runs to the door, too.) If she needs food she dances near the container with her dog food in it. If she needs water she shoves her water dish around and then jumps up and down in front of the sink when you come to see what the noise is (she knows the water comes from the faucet).

    If you say, "Do you want to go for a ride in the truck?" she gets hysterical and starts jumping and whining. When you take her out she runs right for the door of the cab and jumps at it.

    And if she's done something naughty you say "Go to your box," and she slinks into her crate for a time out. "Bad dog!" and she will roll over on her back. "Bedtime" means she also goes into her crate.

    And if you run the water in the bathtub and say "Come on, Willow"--she tries to hide. :-)

    Flourish

    Thursday Threesome

    Onesome: School-- Since the school year seems to be over (your mileage may vary: some of you are already in summer sessions!): what was your favorite year in school? Yeah, the one you had the best time in or learned something special or had that learning breakthrough?

    Ninth grade. Ninth grade was great. We were going to high school next year, we were the "big kids" in school, we had an absolutely terrific English teacher (Hi, Mr. Abosamra!).

    I always hear people talking about their senior year of high school as being so great. Urgh. Senior year was boring, and it wasn't because I missed the last quarter because of having surgery. We had government and economics classes--government was fairly interesting, but economics was booooooring. I didn't want to take physics or calculus because I knew my math skills weren't up to it, so since they had no alternative classes, like business math (you could only take business math if you were in the business course), I had to take a review math course which was dull. At least I had study hall instead of physics, but an "Earth science" course like I had in junior high would have been fun. I loved geology and archaology.

    Oh, and there were about twelve of us who had taken all the English courses the school had to offer. They had no "AP" or "honors" classes at that time, so the dozen of us got stuck with a very doddery teacher who was about to retire. She was in her 70s and had us doing phonics during the week and an essay on Fridays. She drove me crazy. I would hand in what I thought was an inventive essay and she'd give me a B on it. I handed in the most cliche'd bit of tripe you've ever read and I would get an A.

    I remember the horrible one she gave me an A+ on. It was about a girl riding on a bus to visit her brother. As she rode the bus, she thought about how nice her brother had always been to her: helped her learn to ride her bike, defended her from bullies, etc. She has a bouquet of flowers she's going to give to him during this visit. Finally the bus stops...

    ...at a cemetery. Her brother was killed in Vietnam. Ugh. Cliched bit of tripe indeed!

    Twosome: Bus-- Hey, how did you get to school in the early years? Walk? Bike? Mommy van? Bus? ...and for those still attending, how are you getting to and fro these days?

    My elementary school was 10 minutes walk away, and my junior high was up one block and across the street. To make up for all this easy commuting for nine years, my high school was a mile and 3/8's away. To take the bus you had to live a mile and a half away. The first year I walked; it took a half hour. The other two years, on nice days I took my bike and then parked it on the porch of my best friend's house and we walked the rest of the 10 minutes together.

    Threesome: Stop-- ...and when did you stop going to school? ...or did you? Are you still at it? Amy plans to go back for those who are out of the system?

    1977, but then I went back for a year 1981-1982 for a business course. I've thought about going back to school, but the thought of those fluorescent lights another 2-3 hours a day makes me reconsider. I have bad enough headaches when I come home at night from those wretched things. I can't imagine piling on a couple more hours with them.

    Flourish

    » Tuesday, June 08, 2004
    Tuesday Twosome

    What are the first two things you do:

    1. When you are lied to?


    Get angry...and possibly cry.

    2. When you make a mistake?

    Feel stupid. Try to fix it (then beat myself over the head about it later).

    3. When you embarrass yourself in public?

    Look stupid. And blush.

    4. When you see someone make a fool of themselves?

    Feel sorry for them. Possibly try to help.

    5. When you realize you have hurt someone (emotionally)?

    Apologize. (Unless it's someone I don't like.) See if there's something I can do to make amends.

    Flourish

    » Monday, June 07, 2004
    Monday Madness

    1. In your opinion, what is the perfect temperature?

    If I'm wearing a sweatshirt, and I have my fleece jacket over it, but I can keep it open, it's the perfect temperature. (50's maybe?)

    2. If you have a garden, what do you plant in it? If not, what would you plant in it?

    I hate gardening. There are bugs and worms involved. If I had a garden, I would grow lilacs.

    3. What is your favorite summertime beverage?

    Same as in winter: milk. Lime Kool-Aid is nice, too.

    4. How many times a year do you rearrange your living room?

    Rearrange it? I just got it looking like I wanted it to look!

    5. How fast do you drive in a '55 mile-an-hour' zone?

    As fast as the guy behind me is tailgating me, which is usually about 75 mph. (I can see you've never driven in Atlanta traffic before...)

    6. How many minutes per day do you usually talk on the phone?

    Fifteen, to my mom.

    7. What is your favorite software program?

    It's a tie. Word Perfect (Microsoft Word sucks! Microsoft Word sucks! Microsoft Word sucks! Microsoft Word sucks!) and HTML Assistant Pro 2000.

    8. How many music cd's do you own?

    Um. About 150. Somewhat over a quarter of those are Christmas music.

    9. How many memes do you participate in on a regular basis?

    Three. Used to be four. Sniff! Miss Friday Five...

    10. Name 3 blogs that you have on your 'blogroll' list. (any 3.)

    My husband's, my sister-in-law's, and Daniel Taylor's.

    Flourish

    » Sunday, June 06, 2004
    Oh, Well--I Blew It
    I've had one of those Waldenbooks Preferred Reader cards since they'd offered them.

    WB isn't the best of bookstores. Their Cumberland Mall store was always annoying; they had a lot of bestsellers, but not the less popular things I was interested in. However, they did have most of the new mysteries or SF books when they came in, and what they didn't have I could order--and the store was on the way home from work, so I could stop in for a goody without going out of the way. The Town Center Mall store was better on stock; a lot of times when a new book came out I would go up there instead of to Cumberland to make sure they had the book.

    Occasionally the ordering thing gets dicey, too; about a year ago I asked them to order a book and they said they couldn't because it wasn't in their warehouse. The clerk told me to go to Barnes & Noble instead--which just about made my jaw drop because Waldenbooks and Borders are owned by the same company; the clerk was sending someone to the competitor!

    Anyway, the deal with the WB card is that I get 1 point for every dollar spent at Waldenbooks. When I get 100 points, I get a $5 off coupon.

    Later, they had a Waldenbooks credit card, which I did get. The APR was good and for every $5 spent I got a point toward a book coupon.

    When we refinanced the house, we also rolled a very small amount of credit card debit into it. Afterwards I made a rule that I would pay off my credit card every month, which I've been doing. The small amount which I charged each month added to my points toward books.

    Just before I went into the hospital, I got a note from the Waldenbooks credit card people. The card was now going to be a Borders/Waldenbooks credit card. They, I believe (I can't find the letter, although I saved it) also said that it would now be 1 point for each two dollars spent. Okay. That sounded cool.

    It was then I though of something. Maybe instead of just paying things out of my bank account, I should charge them on the credit card and rack up points. Then the money I would have put toward buying these things out of my bank account I would pay to the credit card company. Since I had electronic bill pay, this would be easy. So I tried this for a while, including paying the home maintenance policy and the termite prevention service for the year. That should have totaled up a goodly amount of points!

    Strangely, I never received any compensation--i.e. store coupons--for all that money. I was a bit ticked and was going to call them to see why, but they had taken the telephone number off the card.

    Yesterday I got the credit card payment bill. Usually I check the bill to make sure everything on it is my charge, make sure the due date is what I had on my electronic payment, and then tear up the thing and toss it. This time I opened it fully.

    There at the bottom of the bill was a $5 store rewards certificate.

    Oh, nuts. There was apparently something I missed on the letter from the credit card company. I bet--but since I didn't open the last bill all the way I still don't know--that now any credit racked up on the card is not going to arrive separately in the mail any longer; it's going to be with the credit card bill.

    That means last month I probably tossed $20 worth of credit without knowing it. Ah, well, live and learn.

    But dammit...

    Flourish

    Held Prisoner by Harry Potter
    Well, for 136 minutes yesterday, at least! Enjoyed the movie immensely, with only a few complaints: the film did not explain the "Moony, Prongs, Padfoot, and Wormtail" signature on the Marauder's Map. And I sorta missed the "Harry tells Uncle Vernon his godfather is a convicted murderer" ending. As always there was never enough of Professor McGonagall, who I'd like to be "when I grow up." :-)

    (They also cut out Pigwidgeon, who's a favorite of mine simply because he's an owl with the personality of a budgie, but I can understand him being cut from the story; he doesn't really add to the plot. You know, anyone who's a Harry Potter fan would sit through a Lord of the Rings-length film! Why keep editing these down? I hoped the edited scenes appear on the DVD!)

    David Thewlis was terrific as Remus Lupin. I had only seen him as Jerry Barker in Black Beauty, but my memory of his body build was similar to my envisioning of the Lupin character. His scenes with Harry talking about James and Lily were particularly good.

    I also liked the new "layout" of Hogwarts under the new director. Everything in Chris Columbus' version was about what I imagined, but it seemed so close and flat. The landscape was a lot more like the wilder Hogwarts that I'd imagined.

    Anyway, while searching around for Harry Potter reviews last night, I came upon this quote from J.K. Rowling about the new film:

    "Alfonso has very good intuition about what would and wouldn't work," she said. "He's put things in the film that--without knowing it--foreshadow things that are going to happen in the two final books. So I really got goosebumps when I saw those two things."

    I don't know about you, but I'd sure like to know what those two were!!!!!

    Flourish

    » Thursday, June 03, 2004
    An Older, Darker Harry Potter

    Apparently, according to the special we saw last night, Rowling is pleased with the turn Alfonso Cuaron took with the story, so it should be pretty good.

    I'm still wondering what they're doing with Goblet of Fire since it is such a long story. Will we get a Lord of the Rings length movie or are they doing it in two parts, as was bandied about a year or so ago?

    More Harry:

    Marion Star Review

    Times of India Review
    (Hey! Where do they get off calling Ron dim-witted?)


    MLive.com (Kalamazoo Gazette)



    Roger Ebert’s Review


    Louisville Courier

    Harry Potter Parties (Miami Herald)

    And

    Oh, heck, I could be here all afternoon. just go to Google News and search on “harry potter”...

    Flourish

    Thursday Threesome

    "When you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do." -- Walt Disney

    Onesome: When you're curious- Is there a specific subject you're especially curious about? A person? A region of the world? An animal? A field of study?

    American and British history, late Victorian through the beginning of World War I. When all the cool inventions came out.

    Twosome: you find lots of interesting- What do you consider your most interesting trait/ feature?

    I consider myself irretrevably bland, sorry.

    Threesome: things to do- What's on your list of things to do everyday, whether you want to or not? Filing, phone calls, homework, chasing around after kiddos, cooking, cleaning, etc.

    Oh, golly: keeping the clutter in check (which means sorting the mail over the wastebasket), making sure the dog is walked, tidying up things, cleaning what needs to be cleaned, checking e-mail, stuff like that.

    Flourish

    » Tuesday, June 01, 2004
    Tuesday Twosome

    The first two things you do...

    1. When you wake up:


    Shut off the alarm and moan due to how early it is.

    2. When you get out of the shower:

    Depends on whether I wash my hair or not. If I do, I wrap my hair in a "hair towel" that's hung next to the tub, then get my bath towel. If I don't wash my hair, it's get the bath towel and dry off and then visit "pottyland" one more time before bed.

    3. When you get to work/school:

    When I actually get there? Shut the engine of the car off! and then put up my sunshade on my windshield in the summer, grab my lunch and handbag in the winter.

    4. When you get into the car:

    Start the engine. If it's hot I put on the A/C and then put on my seatbelt. When it's not I skip the A/C and go right for the belt.

    5. When you get home:

    Sigh in relief that I'm finally out of traffic, then shut the car off.

    Or do you mean when I actually get in the house? Hang up my keys and put my bag down. The lunchbox I carry upstairs to the kitchen when I let the dog out.

    Flourish