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, September 30, 2006
A Perfect Early Fall Day
I can't tell you how nice sleeping was last night. It went down to 45°F, and without the fans on (except the ones in the bedroom) the interior house temp went down to 66. I could sleep under the comforter and it was soooo nice. The day today was 70s and breezy except for very late in the afternoon when it went into the low 80s; I took the opportunity to use the new push broom we bought at Ace Hardware this morning (we had a $10 off coupon and got the broom and a tarp to cover the A/C compressor during the winter) to sweep out the garage.

I bought the new Yankee last night and one of the ads reminded me of Edward Hamilton Books (erhbooks.com) which sells remaindered volumes. I found a couple of things I thought James might like for Christmas, a Jo Verso cross-stitch book I had never heard of, a cultural history of Hallowe'en, and one of the Davey and Goliath DVDs, the one with the Christmas episode on it, which I remember fondly. None of these cost over $6.

Speaking of DVDs, we stopped at a local discount store called Fred's and they had "remastered" (there's that word again) DVDs in paper sleeves, two for $1. I got a disc of black and white Christmas shows (including a version of Fulton Ousler's "A String of Blue Beads" which I did not realize had been filmed) and what said it was two episodes of Kimba the White Lion. I wondered if this was the "remake" done in the early 90s, which I heard was hideous, and sure enough it was: the show had been completely re-edited, with new music (the majestic Japanese score had been replaced with typical "funny" cartoon music) and new voices. Man, the latter are pathetic: the person who originally did the English voice of Kimba was a young woman, but could make her voice sound like that of a young boy to represent a young male lion; it is painfully obvious in the redubbed version that Kimba is a girl!!! Ugh.

James had his monthly club meeting today, so I went off to Michael's and to Border's. Able to ride with the windows and the sunroof wide open and listen to the 40s music channel on XM. Ah, fall!

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» Friday, September 29, 2006
Images from the Past
I just looked at my Borders Holiday Rewards total—wow, I have nearly enough money to buy another Taaschen "All-American Ads" book! Mike and Rodney on chat talked about these books so much I had to take a look and I decided I wanted the early ones. With a judicious combination of Preferred Reader Coupons and percentage off coupons from the store itself, I got these two for very little money:

All-American Ads 1900-1919

All-American Ads 1920s

And still want these two:

All-American Ads 1930s

All-American Ads 1940s

The first two are fascinating; you really need to sit down and read the ads because many of them were very text-heavy back then. It gives you a real look at what things advertisers thought people 100 years ago would desire in a product—luxury cars with velvet upholstery, for example, and of course enclosed motorcars so you did not get cold in the winter—and the artwork is sometimes stunning: elegant turn of the century lettering, scalloping, curtained frames, aristocratic people in the dress clothing of the time. These little snapshots of the time are so compelling that you can almost hear the cough of the new "horseless carriages" overtaking the elegant broughams and victorias of the time, smell the hair cream of the bright young men with their slicked down and center-parted hair, and see the glow of those revolutionary Edison "Mazda" lamps (in those days a "Mazda" was a light bulb, not a car) and the curled hair and the bright clothing of the flappers.

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Friday Five

1) What TV show(s) do you find yourself watching the most?

The show we watch the most is Jeopardy! since it's on every night. :-) Also House, Monk, History Detectives, Mythbusters, the various animal cops shows on Animal Planet (Animal Precinct has been new all this week, so we've made a point to watch), and occasionally Meerkat Manor. And Doctor Who starts up again tonight on Sci-Fi! Squeeeee!

2) What, if any, TV shows do you own on DVD?

You want me to name them all????? I'll try to get most of them: House, first two seasons of Monk, M*A*S*H (all that's out except for tenth season), first three seasons of Hogan's Heroes, whatever Lassie episodes Classic Media has seen fit to dole out to us, Littlest Hobo, Babylon 5 and Crusade, the first three seasons of All Creatures Great and Small, all of The Good Life (Good Neighbors), Alistair Cooke's America, the four eps of Fury that are in release, some George Burns and Gracie Allen episodes, Reilly: Ace of Spies, what's out of Wild Wild West, Sledge Hammer, Flambards, Kolchack, one volume of Wild Kingdom...there are several more but I can't remember them all now.

3) Can you name your favorite TV show theme song (I would encourage you to make a phone post and sing it to us)?

Nooooo, I don't think I'll sing it. I don't know if I have a "favorite" TV theme song. I can sing most of the old ones, though, including the theme to My Mother the Car.

4) Have you ever been on TV and if so for what?

Yep. James and I (and most of our friends) could be seen behind George Wearn and the other former employees at WGTV helping out with fundraising back when Georgia Public Television showed Doctor Who. I also was asked, way back when on the night it opened, what I thought of the Dick Tracy movie and it was on the news.

5) What is your favorite YouTube video (feel free to post a link)?

Gosh, I haven't seen many YouTubes...I guess it's the clip of Dana Hersey from We Don't Knock. (I wish I'd had my mom tape those for me, but she was already nice enough to record Ask the Manager for me every week...)

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» Thursday, September 28, 2006
True Experiences
WW2 People's War: An Archive of World War Two Memories -- Written by the Public

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My Love-Hate Relationship with Disney
The good news: All of Disney's "True Life Adventures" plus any wildlife shorts made for the theatre/television show and the "True Life Fantasy" Perri will be released on four 2-disc DVD sets in December. Yay!

The bad news: The release of 101 Dalmatians, scheduled for March, has been pushed back a year so they can promote the new Tinkerbell movie as well as the Disney "Fairies" series with a new release of Peter Pan. I've seen the "Fairies" books pushed promenently in Borders all summer. Pan was just released in a special edition only four years ago while 101 Dalmatians was given only a limited DVD release in 1999. Boooooooo!

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" Plenty Comes to the Boat on Michael's Day..."
...articles and lore about Michaelmas in Holiday Harbour.

Per the article, "...it is traditional to eat ginger on Michaelmas," it reminds me we are getting into gingerbread season. Nothing more yummy on a cool fall day than a small square of gingerbread with a glass of milk.

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Thursday Threesome

From the Environmental Page

::Clean Air Act::

Onesome: Clean-- as a whistle? Can you whistle? When did you learn? ...and with pursed lips or with that finger thing?

Yes, I've been whistling since I was a kid. Dunno how old I was. Elementary school age, fairly young. Probably imitating the Lassie theme. Never been able to do "that finger thing."

Twosome: Air-- quality: an issue where you live or not? ...enough to move?

LOL. Can't afford to give up my job. But yeah, the smog situation here in the summer is pretty sad. We have smog alerts if the temps go over 90°F and during the summer downtown Atlanta is always covered by this kind of brown scum and the horizon is always dirty-looking. That's one of the reasons the cool fall air is so welcome; it sweeps all that crud out.

Threesome: Act-- Hey, do you 'act your age'? Sure, that's subjective, but what do you think? ...or better yet: what do your friends think <g>?

I guess I do, unless there's a party and I get silly. Thank God I don't drink; I'd giggle myself into next week.

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» Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Zip... (Short Subjects)
September's just zipped by, it seems, probably because we had things to do every weekend. I can't believe Dragoncon was almost a month ago.

I found a Get Smart group on Yahoo today; they are in touch with the people who are doing the DVD sets and have lots of extra info about the extras. Just found out Barbara Feldon and Buck Henry will be doing commentary on "99 Loses CONTROL," which is my second-favorite episode. Today we would say that ep was for "'shippers." :-)

Arrrgh! No more House until Hallowe'en! That will be a treat—but the rest of October with baseball is a pretty poor trick!

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» Monday, September 25, 2006
Seeking Boredom...
I had a struggle this morning not going home from work; I was extremely queasy and visiting the bathroom frequently. However, some Pepto Bismol and also ibuprofin for the headache that developed about the same time helped a lot. The lunch nap was quite welcome.

I was almost chipper by the time I got home since it had been a pleasant ride home under beautiful blue skies and sweet breeze, walked the dog, finished the laundry, and put America on. I was just sitting down to the computer to finish some business when Pidge flew by me and landed next to Willow. He's moulting and that often happens. He pattered back toward me, jumped on my hand, and then I noticed...

...on with the socks, shoes, and bra, Pidgie bundled in his carrybox, and off to the emergency vet. Yes, he had another broken blood feather. I wish I knew what was causing this.

It didn't bleed as badly as last time, partially because he bit it at the wrong end of the feather and partially because I caught it sooner and also was able to ID it and put a little pressure on it until Pidge struggled away from me. We were there and back in a little over an hour. He was very curious and wary on the way home because when we are in the car I am usually carrying him or it's daylight, so I put on one of the overhead lights and turned on the XM OTR channel.

I have him half covered now and he is complaining mightily.

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Toot-Toot! No Fruit!
It's that time of life for me when I need to start thinking about osteoporosis, or rather prevention of same. I've always guzzled milk up to the point of a half gallon a day and usually we have sugar-free ice cream bars for dessert, but I decided to up the ante a little as well as put some positive bacteria in my gut.

Yes, I've gone the yogurt trail. I can't stand most of the regular kinds, especially those with sweet fruits in them. When I eat sweet fruits I want to do so naturally and not have this artificial sugar sweetness added to it. I've tasted various types of berry yogurts—you might as well be licking out the sugar bowl along with this weird aftertaste.

However, Dannon makes something called "Whips!" which are low-fat, have active cultures, and actually don't taste so bad if you avoid stuff like raspberry and strawberry. They have a chocolate mousse which is quite good and a key lime that is nice and sour (there's a lemon, but I haven't tried it).

I got quite excited a couple of weeks ago when I found chocolate mousse mint, but all for naught: it's not bad, but there's no appreciable difference in taste between the plain chocolate mousse and the chocolate mint. They need to load it with a lot more mint oil or even crushed mint leaves before you can even tell.

Last week I hit a jackpot: there's a new Whips! flavor called "Creamy Latte." Ohboy, coffee-flavored yogurt! Yum—Nirvana in a Dannon cup! (Wonder what it would taste like if you mixed the chocolate mousse with the creamy latte? Mnnnnn....)

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Weekend Tales: "Drive Ins," Books, and Clouds
We had a busy weekend; Borders Rewards had 30 percent off coupons, so we took advantage of it to buy some books. James even got the book by Dick Winters, from Band of Brothers.

Saturday night was spent at the "drive in." Or maybe it should be called a "sit in." :-) Our friends the Kiernans have a projection DVD player and an inflatable screen (it looks like an Aero bed set on its side), and occasionally they invite folks over for a movie after dark, the outfit set up on the driveway with us behind it, and the screen against the garage door. The last time we went to one of these it was very cold, so we didn't have to worry about mosquitoes. This time we hadn't as much arrived and partaken of the hot dogs and chips supplied when the blood-suckers landed on my hands. Ouch! Good thing Off! was to be had or I would have come home looking like a braille reader.

The enjoyable bill was truly old-fashioned: a cartoon, a short subject, and the movie. All we needed was the newsreel. We saw "What's Opera, Doc?" followed by the Wallace and Gromit short "A Close Shave" and finally The Incredibles.

Yesterday while we were bopping around (JoAnn, Borders, Walmart, Hobbytown), we had occasion to observe the most beautiful cloud formations overhead most of the day as the cold front approached. These were pale grey shading all the way to steel grey in towering billows, mesas, and precipices. The contrast was sharply defined and the shapes and the colors very arresting.

The front itself didn't come through until about five o'clock when the skies exploded. The wind shifted from the southwest (our hot winds) and veered to out of the northwest, making it very pleasant this morning. The extraordinary shapes were gone, but the cloud cover stayed overhead like a grey cap until just a few minutes ago, with a bright blue edge all around the horizon. The sky is now washed clean.

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Monday Madness

1. From jstar: Holiday in Europe or Asia?

There are some cool things in Asia I'd like to see, but I think I'd prefer Europe. I'd want to see all of Great Britain and Ireland, and also Italy (especially the island of Ischia where my mom's folks were born and also attend the Palio) and Switzerland, Belgium (especially Antwerp) and the Netherlands. I would like to go to Germany at Christmastime to see the Christkindlmarts. Oh, yes, and maybe get some santons in France.

2. From sherle: How do you try to change a behavior pattern you don't like about yourself... whether it's chewing fingernails, overeating, smoking, or picking your nose?

Distract myself.

3. From tricia: Have you ever successfully completed a Sudoku puzzle?

[Linda backs up very quickly from Sudoku puzzles, making a cross with her two forefingers. Ewwww. Numbers. Go away!]

4. From caylynn: What website do you visit the most often?

The Weather Channel.

5. From michael morgan: What was your favorite thing about high school or college?

The library. Frankly, I didn't like either. Junior high was much better than high school; the teachers were, in general, more interesting and challenging. And the library was better in junior high. And that's where I learned to type.

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» Sunday, September 24, 2006
All Systems Go
We moved the television today and corrected all the problems. When the Dish guy came to install our HD receiver and satellite dish, he had to use one of our two component video connections for it. Component 1 is the DVD recorder/VHS and now Component 2 is HD. We had our inexpensive little Cyberhome, hacked for Region 2 on 2, so he disconnected it. We switched it back to S-Video and then set it up to work on the Video 1 option. We also switched over the cable on the DVD/VHS combo because we could only see the DVD output. Now I can watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and The House Without a Christmas Tree (not to mention Ford Family Christmas and all the other things I don't have on DVD) again. And with the Cyberhome going again, I can finally watch all of my America set.

James also set the surround-sound speakers where they are supposed to be, around the room rather than bunched up near the television, and I hung up the great Harry Potter "Hogwarts, Year 3" poster I bought several years ago. I liked this one because it didn't make any references to the movies, although it used the movie actors; it's all in oranges and blacks and browns, which match the autumn theme.

Something's still a bit "off"—any time there is a low bass it sounds weird. I must have messed up one of the settings on the surround-sound receiver But it pretty much works.

We celebrated by watching three episodes of The Good Life (a.k.a. Good Neighbors) and then part one of From the Earth to the Moon.

And had pumpkin bread for dessert as well!

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Bumble-ing Along
New Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer figures: check out Holiday Harbour.

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» Friday, September 22, 2006
Waiting on Fall
It's back to the Stygian darkness for a while, as the weather goes back up into the 80s. Actually, it's not the problem—it's the temps at night, over 60°F. Upstairs it's just too warm to sleep. So the shades and the drapes are closed and the A/C back on.

I've decided this is a good time to wash the jackets, hats, and scarves, so they are now all clanking—well, the little plastic tips of the drawstrings on the jackets are clanking—away in the washer.

Meanwhile, bought the October issue of Country Living, with pumpkin recipes and cozy homes and flea market finds, and also this year's Ideals Thanksgiving.

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Friday Five

# Given a choice, and imagining that money and time were no object, would you rather cook dinner, eat out or order in?

Oh, man, I'm goin' out: Olive Garden, Longhorn, Red Lobster...

# What is the most elaborate meal you've ever prepared yourself or purchased at a restaurant?

Me? Prepare? Myself? [collapses in hysterical laughter] As for purchased, I don't even remember.

# What food do you find yourself making and/or eating way too much?

Chicken soup with rice. I just like it. Sometimes I eat it twice a week.

Some time ago I would have said Rice'a'Roni. I used to go through these carb-freak things when I lived alone and once ate an entire box of fried rice Rice'a'Roni on my own.

# What was your most disastrous cooking/eating out experience?

That would probably be the time James and I went to Lettuce Souprise You at Cumberland Mall (it's not there anymore for a reason) and then he went home (he was still living in Warner Robins at the time) and the next day we got the most horrendous food poisoning ever: severe cramps, the usual bowel distress, vomiting, the works.

# Would you rather cook for someone else or have them cook for you?

Honey, I hate to cook. Baking cookies at Christmas is okay, but cooking...barf. I was way skinnier when I lived on my own because all I ate was canned vegetable soup and chicken broth with rice and a frozen dinner every laundry Thursday.

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» Thursday, September 21, 2006
Thursday Threesome

Party time?

::Ice Cream Social::

Onesome: Ice-- skating? Yes? No? Rinks? Ponds? No way?

I have never ice skated or roller skated. My dad was very overprotective and worried, especially with roller skating, that I would go into the street and get hit by a car, since we were on the corner of a very busy street. I didn't learn to ice skate because we didn't have the money to buy skates or pay the fee at the rink. About 20 years ago I went with some friends to the roller rink and tried to learn to skate. All I did was fall backwards and catch myself on my hands; I finally hairline fractured one of my elbows and my forearms swelled up so badly I couldn't type for three days.

I've never known anyone who skated on a pond, at least of my age. Do they still skate on ponds, like in Little Women and The Bishop's Wife and The Tuckers: The Cottage Holiday? I'm always fascinated at hearing about these towns in the early 1900s that set out such things around the ponds, including lights and food stands, so people could go skating. They would raise a red ball or red flag to show the ice was safe. I think a black ball or flag meant the ice was unsafe.

Twosome: Cream-- soda? The work of evil scientists or a true pleasure in life <g>?

I don't like soda. My pediatrician told my mom it was bad for me, so I never got a taste for it. The only time I could drink soda was if we went to the beach in the summer and the refreshment stand didn't have milk or juice. The only soda I ever got even a little liking for was Warwick Club Lemon Lime and even that made me burp so much I'd get sick.

Threesome: Social-- Are you considered to be a social person? ...or are you more likely to not be comfortable with a bunch of people around you? ...and wait a moment: how about in a classroom situation? Is that different for you?

I'm comfortable in social situations with my friends. You mean classroom as in being a student? That was okay. I was the one studying, though, most of the time, rather than horsing around. The only time I remember doing that in class was one day in eleventh grade English when Ira Bloom, Mark Winkler and I were flying paper planes around the classroom before Miss Lorenzo walked in.

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» Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Gift From the Past
Skeleton Sheds Light on Ape-Man Species.

I haven't read Lucy in a long time. Anthropology books used to be one of my delights. I'm still sorry I didn't buy the thick gift volume they had at BJ's some time ago; it was filled with fascinating photos of relics.

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Breathe All About It
It was quite nice when I went out for lunch, about 66°F and the sky a bright blue with a few clouds drifting here and there and a nice breeze. I took a short walk before settling into the car. With the nice cool air I was out like that proverbial light. My mom always did say that even as a baby I slept best outside in fresh, cool air; she'd shade me from the sun and I conked right out. It was at night I wanted to be awake—no news there!

This is that awkward time of the year; it will be cool-ish again tomorrow and then back into the 80s (and, more importantly, back up over 60 at night which means back to the A/C) for a few days and then reportedly back down to the mid-70s. The dogwoods and younger trees seem convinced there will be an early winter; I'll root with them.

[Oooh, cool. I just got a neat coupon in the mail; either a 1GB "thumb drive" or 1GB SD card, free!]

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Not Separated at Birth, But--
I found this blog while searching for something else. We're not exactly alike, but this lady and I could be sisters in some of the things that we like and do—like taking or not taking pills and forgetting which (like I did the other night).

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Preset on XM
I'm continuing to enjoy my "XM experience." Station preferences have wobbled a bit and the presets changed accordingly. My RoadyXT unit has 30 presets: three directories, A, B, and C and then buttons 1 through 0.

A1 is reserved for the Atlanta traffic/weather. I think their traffic is more accurate than Sirius and between that and the Georgia Navigator map online, I usually manage well. You can tell the traffic announcers aren't local, though: they mispronounce the funniest things, like "Doraville" and "Chamblee" and frequently stick the "L" into "DeKalb."

A2 is for old-time radio, which (surprisingly) I don't listen to all that much during commutes because by the time I get into the car I'm joining a story in progress, and with things like mysteries and Suspense and The Shadow, you miss the setup. However, I do turn to it when traffic comes to a standstill, to occupy my mind which is already home doing things. :-) I enjoy Gunsmoke, Frontier Gentleman, Dragnet, and Casey, Crime Photographer (and of course, The Shadow!), but am not crazy about The Great Gildersleeve and will change the channel if Abbott and Costello come on (although I liked them in the movies). Will always stop for Fibber McGee and Molly and Jack Benny!

(Gunsmoke on the radio is a whole different animal than the television series, which did tackle ethics and issues like mob violence, but the radio series is grittier and many of the shows don't have happy endings.)

A3 is set for their standards channel. They play too much Frank Sinatra for my taste (yeah, I know, it is called "Frank's Place," but really...). I think when Sirius had a separate Standards channel it had a better selection, but this isn't bad. I'd still like more Bing Crosby and Perry Como (and how about some Jerry Vale and Al Martino and Connie Francis?). A4 is "Watercolors," basically what Sirius calls "Jazz Cafe," smooth jazz. I usually put this on to chill out.

A5 is "Escape," the beautiful music channel. When I first got XM, "Sunny" was the beautiful music channel and "Escape" played contemporary easy listening artists, like Sarah McLachlan and Enya, plus people and bands like the Eagles, Peabo Bryson, etc. Then "Sunny," which is Clear Channel programmed, got commercials and basically the two switched formats. "Escape" now plays pieces reminiscent of the old WLKW station up in Providence, mostly instrumentals, good stuff like Percy Faith and Henry Mancini and Mantovani and someone named Frank Chaksfield, plus vocals from Andy Williams, Tony Bennett, John Denver, Barry Manilow, and Neil Diamond. It's a good chill-out channel. The announcer even has a low soothing voice like the one on WLKW used to. (The only "clinker" I've found on "Escape" is Vincent somebody's arrangement of the Airport love theme with what sounds like big popping bubbles in it. He should have his fingers whacked with a hot ruler for cruelty to listeners.) "Sunny" has now dropped down to B2.

If XM does the same thing as Sirius does and has Christmas music take over one of their regular channels in December, I hope it's "Escape" and they play the same sorts of things WLKW used to: mmm...Johnny Mathis, Nana Mouskuri, the Golddiggers, Percy Faith...

A6 is the 40s channel (a.k.a. "The Savoy Express"). I think it has a much wider variety of Forties music than the old standalone Sirius channel did. Sirius used to play all the 40s hit standards—"Chattanooga Choo-Choo," "String of Pearls," "Take the A Train," "Sentimental Journey," etc.—and not much else. XM playes those and more and even some novelty songs, including Phil Harris singing about a "thing" he brought home that nobody else likes. Several times a day, the 40s channel also has news broadcasts from that day from a year in 1940; always cool to listen to. On June 6, they interrupted the music for bulletins about D-Day at the same time listeners would have heard it back in 1944 (and the previous evening they played FDR's speech about the landing, again at the same time it would have happened).

A7 is "Audio Visions," the New Age channel. Although I occasionally find them playing what sounds like heavy breathing filtered through a didgeridoo, they also feature George Winston and other Windham Hill artists.

A8, 9, and 10 are all the comedy channels. I love listening to "Laugh Attack," which is a Canadian channel; have heard some very funny Canadian and British artists on it.

B1 is "Cinemagic," the movie soundtrack channel (Sirius has a Broadway tracks channel, but not a movie music channel). They do something I think is cool: they usually play several different cuts from each film and between the cuts will have bits of dialog.

B3 and 4 are for the other two jazz channels, traditional and modern. B5 is music from Broadway and B6 marks "Fine Tuning." XM's description for this channel is "eclectic/free form." Almost anything that isn't categorized elsewhere is here. Main attraction: they play Celtic music, including the Chieftains.

B7 and 8 are two of the three classical stations, one philharmonic selections and the other more devoted to "pops." B9 is the 60s channel, which includes some guy named Terry who tries to emulate the old 60s DJs, and B10 the 50s channel.

C1: Weather Channel
C2: XM Public Radio, which seems to be mostly Bob Edwards. They do run "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" on Saturdays.
C3: Fox News
C4: CNN
C5: BBC World Service

I had C6 reserved for a Southeastern news/talk channel that never materialized and C7 is "Take Five," the women's talk and lifestyle channel, which is occasionally fun to listen to. C8 is the special concert channel, C9 "Sonic Theatre" which is books on tape along with dramatizations and "new-time" radio series like Harry Nile, Twilight Zone stories, Sherlock Holmes, etc.

C10 is the emergency channel, appropriately numbered "247." I put it where I could find it in a hurry.

Since the Southeastern channel never made it and it's really silly to keep the special concert channel bookmarked (since it is only "on" at specific times and the channel number is 200, easy to remember), I'm probably going to re-arrange the last tier and mark a couple of channels for James instead so he can have something to play when we take my car and he drives.: the "Deep Tracks" classic rock channel and "Top Tracks" for early classic rock. (Yeah, our music tastes diverge wildly at many points. <g>)

I can honestly say the only two things I miss about Sirius are the Discovery Channel station (wish there was a similar XM channel) and Cousin Brucie on Saturday night on the 60s channel. I sure don't miss their lousy traffic reports!

Wish list: Dedicated Celtic and Irish/Scots music channel and Discovery-type channel (National Geographic maybe?). And I know it's silly, but I wish they had a year-round Christmas music channel like Live365 does online. Sometimes when you're depressed or when it's rainy, dark and/or 40 degrees you just need Christmas music, even if it's June...

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Make Way for Autumn...
in Holiday Harbour.

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» Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Breezy, Party Cloudy...
...low tonight 52°! Ohboy, I'm going to open the windows when I get home!

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A Bit Grisly
Fate of TV Host's Cadaver Raises Questions About Tissue Industry

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A Hairless Tale
I hadn't mentioned the funny thing that happened yesterday as I walked into the building. There's a trash can out there, one of those square ones with a flat top that has an opening on all four sides to toss the trash into.

On the side facing me as I walked up, there was a long hairless tail dangling from the opening. For a moment I thought it was a big rat, then noticed that the fur above the tail was rather pale for a rat. So I tiptoed past the receptacle, then tilted my head down to look into the opening on the opposite side.

Sure enough, there was an opossum blinking back at me!

They had Animal Control come pick up the guy (I'm surprised we haven't seen more of them, since the Koger office park borders on a wetlands and you often can hear geese honking in the early morning) before lunchtime, but I can't forget that funny, fuzzy face staring out at me.

In the meantime I got fed up with looking at those Damn Flowers that have been up all summer in my cubicle and replaced them with fall decorations. Now everything is yellow, orange and red leaves with a peep of green and pinecones.

C'mon cold front!

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Tuesday Twosome

List two...

1. Items in your purse/wallet:


Tube of Blistex and my alarm clock.

2. Food items you crave the most:

Dark chocolate and Italian bread.

3. Books you could read over and over again:

Only two???? Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy and The Open Gate.

4. Events in the past 14 days that have made you laugh and/or cry:

Well, finally saw Finding Nemo last night; that made me cry at the end. And what happened yesterday on the way into work made me laugh.

5. People you are missing a lot a this very moment:

My mom...

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» Monday, September 18, 2006
Monday Madness

1. How do you eat an oreo cookie? (from tricia)

I eat one chocolate cookie, then the "creme" and finally the other cookie. (Frankly, if I could ditch the "creme," I would, except in the chocolate-filled ones, if they are still making them.)

2. How long does it take you to eat lunch?

Er, I dunno, since I eat my sandwich at my desk. The time I get for lunch I go out in the car and take a nap since the fluorescent lights do a number on my eyes. Whe I come in from that I have my banana.

3. Caffeine or decaf?

Can't have caffeine; gives me heart palpitations. Hate cola, so don't drink decaf and decaf coffee gives me heartburn (yes, even with the Prilosec; so does barbecue and vinegar-based salad dressings).

4. Chicken or beef?

Hard one, since I try to eat beef only once a week. But I think I prefer beef if it's a steak. If it's pot roast, meatloaf or hamburger, I'd rather have chicken (unless it's chicken breast or fried chicken).

5. Pen or pencil?

Typewriter! :-) Pen, please.

6. Autumn or spring?

Autumn, autumn, autumn. Spring is pretty but the flowers make me sneeze and spring means wretched summer is coming.

7. Baseball or basketball?

Ugh. Neither. Dog agility or Flyball. Horse jumping. Something interesting.

8. 'Survivor' or 'The Amazing Race?'

Don't like reality-based contests. If I watch reality shows I want documentaries or the stuff on HGTV or Animal Precinct and its ilk.

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» Sunday, September 17, 2006
What a Ripoff
In case you aren't SF-inclined and hadn't heard the news, Paramount was going back to restore and enhance episodes of Star Trek in honor of the show's 40th anniversary. They restored the picture, re-recorded the theme, made the soundtrack stereo and updated the special effects, planets, ships, etc. with CGI animation. The preview looked very intriguing, and the theme song sounded great with full orchestration, although some of the fans were in a swivet that the show would somehow be "changed."

The channel showing the first of the "new" episodes here in Atlanta was WSB and they showed it at 2:35 a.m. on Sunday. So I recorded it and we just watched it.

Everything looked quite nice: the picture was bright and clean, the effects enhanced but not overly-so; the ships looked quite good.

But the frappin' thing was still edited. Just for the heck of it I used the trim feature on the DVD recorder and cut out all the commercials and the episode clocked in at 43.49. A Trek episode in 1966 probably would have had a preview, so let's say that one clocked in at 45.00 (although 60s previews probably didn't go over 30 seconds). Television shows in the 1960s clocked in at 51-52 minutes; I checked out one of my uncut episodes of Wild Wild West.

So what's the use of restoring something if we still get five to seven minutes of story cut out? Grumble. (Unless Channel 2 did it, which I wouldn't put past them; heaven forbid they should have to edit their repeat of Entertainment Tonight...)

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A Day at the (Af)fair and Other Happy Encounters
We did a quick grocery shopping "in the forenoon" as the old books say and then were off to A Blue Ribbon Affair at Jim Miller Park. We were there about two hours, having lunch, then wandering among the craft booths. It was still small as it was last year, but some solid vendors and we bought a couple of Christmas gifts, some art prints, and I bought another dip crock for parties. Unfortunately they had stopped making the seasonal ones, so I couldn't get the pretty fall design they had last year.

We also bought the last of our fudge for the year and then James indulged in some boiled peanuts—I guess it's an acquired taste, because the first time I had some I grimaced and wouldn't touch another—and I had some roasted ones.

We picked up a flyer for the North Georgia State Fair, which starts next Thursday and runs through October 1. Usually it's so warm that we shy off going, and last year when there was a cool day we had something else planned. I'd love to go, though; they have something called the "Extreme Canaines Stunt Dog Show," which is comprised completely of rescued dogs. The idea reminds me of the last part of Walt Disney's Kilroy, where Kilroy brings the dogs from the pound about to be destroyed to an elderly pair of vaudevillians living outside of town and they train them as a dog act. We'll see.

We had to make a trip to Kroger afterwards, but decided not to go to the usual store, but to the Kroger we used to go to when we first moved into the old house, the one on Whitlock Avenue, because they have a gas station (gas was $2.189 with the Kroger card). As we walked toward the store a blonde lady who was wheeling her carriage out called out "Is it the Youngs?" OhmyGod, it was Diane who used to live next door to us!!!! I gave her a hug and we stood and talked for ten minutes; it was so funny because we had just mentioned her dog Huey last night—he was the only dog Willow ever felt comfortable enough with to play with (and not run away from). Too cool! (The first thing she said when I said we'd moved was "I'm so glad you got out of there! I remember watching the drug deals going on across the street from my living room.")

We both belong to Borders Rewards, and on your birthday they give you a coupon for a free dessert at their coffee shop. Well, wouldn't you know that every single one of the Cobb County Borders coffee shops have been closed to put in a new coffee bar that sells Seattle's Best Coffees. However, at the Parkway Pointe Borders last night, they told us the Buckhead coffee shop was still open, so since we were done before 2:30, we decided to go. This gave us an opportunity to peek at all the new "McMansions" going up on West Paces Ferry Road (still a pretty drive; miss going that way to work) and the high rises in Buckhead itself ($300,000 to $1 million! For a condo! My GOD!).

I still had another 25 percent off coupon and had intended to buy something else, but right up front I stopped dead in my tracks: hurrah! another Imponderables book!

Also, Ken Jennings has a book out. He'll be signing them at the Buckhead Borders on the 26th.

So it was a super-nice afternoon. Off to read the paper...

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» Saturday, September 16, 2006
Great Timing!
Get Smart will be released on DVD three days before Max and 99's anniversary.

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Hamlet's Father's Ghost
Or something like that...don't know what ails Willow lately and wish I could understand.

Last night she barked for an hour despite our coming out to see what was wrong. We checked to see if there was a fire, or the stove left on, or something dangerous, then as I was about to open a window to see if something outside was bothering her, I saw one of those wretched palmetto bugs running around the floor. I screamed (like always) and usually she pounces on them, but this time she seemed disinterested, so I killed it myself.

She always chased them and killed them at the old house. Too weird.

Just now she was eating and suddenly came dashing out of the kitchen like a skinned rabbit, staring behind her. Fearing another insect invasion—probably it climbed up the deck posts and came under the door—I checked her bowl, but it's okay. But she'll only eat with me there. Otherwise she sits and stares at the archway to the kitchen with a suspicious look on her face.

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» Friday, September 15, 2006
Friday Five

1. What's your favorite line from a movie, and why?

"Live, live, live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" (Mame Dennis from Auntie Mame) Because it's true.

2. Who's your favorite villain from a movie, and why?

Wow. I usually don't "like" villains, except to wish them offed. Probably David Jenkins in Memoirs of an Invisible Man—I spent the entire movie thinking up ways to kill the SOB.

3. Name one movie everyone else loves that you hate.

The Princess Bride. The only thing good about that movie is Mandy Patinkin.

4. Name one movie everyone else hates that you love.

Erm...I don't know if there is one that I definitely know everyone hates. Maybe Fever, which is truly a dreadful little movie, but Sam Neill is in it...

5. What's your favorite Pixar film, and why?

Actually, I don't think I have a favorite Pixar film. I've seen a couple and the artistry is quite good, but I'm already tired of these computer generated things. Wish they'd go back to good old-fashioned drawings. I miss them. I do like Ice Age.

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"Would You Believe?" YESSSSSS!
Get Smart - Complete Series Up for Ordering

OH-MY-GOD!!!!

Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Ivan!

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You've Got to Be Kidding
CNN.com - Posh Dorms, Amenities Becoming the "Norm" at College

Plasma televisions? Limosines? Granite countertops?

Used to be a time when college was just for the rich.

Looks like it's back that way again.

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» Thursday, September 14, 2006
Thursday Threesome

::Common Household Products::

Onesome: Common-- Quick and easy: the most common name you can think of! Okay, let's make it a first (given) name...

Jane. Or John. It's the same name, just differently gendered.

Twosome: Household-- cleaners? What is your "go to" cleanser when you have to clean the place up? Are you a Lysol Junkie, an Orange Blossom Special or maybe a Bleach it to Death type? Come on, come clean <g>!

Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, which will clean most of the mess. Soft Scrub for the shower and toilets. Swiffer Wet Cloths for the floors. And a plain old Swiffer duster for the...dust.

Threesome: Products-- come and products go. What's on your list as a "wanna' have" for this Fall (no, not for Christmas; we'll save that for later).

Er, bookcases from Ikea, to finish the bedroom and eventually the library.

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Spinning in Her Grave
This is some very funny commentary (warning: some rude language) about the Little House on the Prairie television series.

Dwanollah - BLATHER!: PAGE ONE

I did watch this show, although I was rather convulsed over many of the same things Dwanollah comments about; enjoyed it while taking it with lots of grains of salt, although the last seasons were pretty painful. (Can anyone forget Almanzo going through 1970s angst over being confined to a wheelchair and suddenly getting inspiration from Laura's geranium? I always referred to that scene as "And a little plant shall lead them.")

One of my favorite Christmas stories is Little House's "Christmas at Plum Creek," although I was amused by the Ingalls family having a Christmas tree. The real Laura Ingalls didn't see a Christmas tree until she was a teenager, and then it was at a church function; only German people and the wealthy followed the Christmas tree tradition in their homes at that time—and then only tabletop trees; the floor-to-ceiling household Christmas tree was an American convention from the turn of the century and the Little House episode took place in 1876.

At least they got the gifts correct: wrapped in brown paper and tied with string when wrapped at all. A few years later, Ingalls time (1880s), in two different Christmas episodes, "A Christmas They Never Forgot" and "Bless All the Dear Children," people are shown giving Christmas gifts with modern printed wrapping paper designs and modern bows. (Er...where'd the "Scotch tape" to fasten the paper come from?) Worse, several of these gift scenes were flashbacks to the 1850s and 1860s, like the one from Caroline's childhood! Patterned wrapping paper was first used post-1900 by this fellow from Kansas City named Joyce Hall...remember him—made greeting cards, too? Most gifts, which were for children, were left in stockings; Laura and Mary Ingalls always had stockings as children. When gifts were involved in a tree setting, they were usually not wrapped, but hung on the tree branches (hence the line in the song "I'll Be Home for Christmas": "Please have snow and mistletoe and presents on the tree") or placed under the tree. Wrapped gifts were usually in white or brown paper tied up with red or white string.

Heck, wrapping paper and cellophane tape were costly for many years; well into the 1940s people still wrapped Christmas presents in white or red tissue paper held closed with gummed, colorful stickers (made by Dennison, who became famous for their Christmas stickers and wraps) and tied with string.

Did the set decorators figure viewers wouldn't know they were Christmas gifts if they didn't have Santa-Claus-patterned paper and bows? Or did they just not do their homework?

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» Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Fall Preview
The weather has been giving us a preview of the season-to-come today. It hasn't yet touched 70°F and has been raining most of the day, although it seems to have stopped; not a summer cloudburst, but a slow soaking rain. I'm sure the grass is just gulping it up. It was a pleasure to go out at lunchtime and not be struck all over by heat.

Alas, it's going back up into the 80s soon.

Speaking of fall previews, I remember as a kid looking forward to the Fall Preview TV Guide, walking over a mile to the nearest store that got it early: Food Town and later Thall's Drugs. Thall's was also where they sold my favorite composition books to write stories in.

No TVG like that any longer, but I did watch a new fall series last night. I don't know if I'm interested enough to record it if I'm going to miss it, but it was kind of cute, if a bit depressing at the beginning. It's called Men in Trees and is about a successful "relationship coach" (think Dr. Phil) named Marin who's on top of the world: her second book was just released with a third in progress, her book tour takes her from city to city, and she's about to be married to Graham, the greatest guy in the world.

Yeah, it figured: it couldn't last. Marin's agent Jane books her at an appearance at a small town named Elmo in Alaska; on the plane she realizes she has Graham's laptop instead of her own and she finds Graham's slideshow—of himself and her friend Kiki. Marin crumbles, finds the nearest bar to get drunk in, and tries to pull herself together.

If the venue sounds a little like Cicely, Alaska, well, maybe. I never watched Northern Exposure much. The people seem a bit more normal than the oddballs who wandered in and out of Joel's life: the barkeep and his estranged wife, the town "hostess" who's supporting a child after hubby ran off "to the lower 48," an African-American pilot who moved to Alaska after prejudice kept him from flying for a major airline, a Fish and Game hunk who has to extract a raccoon from Marin's room at the inn, and the owner of the inn himself, who also runs the town radio station. (The raccoon, by the way, is a regular and is played by a real raccoon named Elvis.) At one point Marin does get a ride with a Native American type who spouts the usual native homilies that get stuck in these types of characters' mouths. And there's a young woman named Annie, Marin's fangeek, who follows her to Alaska and seems to be hitting it off with innkeeper/DJ Patrick.

But there was something rather appealing about the Marin character when she started taking an interest in the landscape around her and, realizing she hasn't really ever been out on her own, decided to change that. So maybe I'll check back and see where they take the character. We'll see.

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» Tuesday, September 12, 2006
"How May I Help You...Help You...Help You..."
I had a unique experience last night: I interacted with an automated voice.

Had a message on the machine to call up Kaiser Permanente at a number I hadn't used before. When I called I thought I'd get a message saying to call back during business hours. Instead I spoke with an automated voice, which responded to my answers, discussing the importance of mammograms. (The concept is a bit bizarre: talking to an automated "woman" about living flesh.)

I did find it ironic that Kaiser is all tech-y with this new electronic concept while they do not have my last mammogram on record: the voice told me rather chidingly (how they manage that?) that according to their records I had my last one "quite a while ago." Er, it was August 11, exactly a month ago. And I already received a letter saying everything was fine. This one rates a big fat "Duh!", guys.

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Why?
This is just too sad:

High Price for Back-Door Beauty

People should keep themselves healthy, but there's no need to do things like this. It's hackneyed, but true: beauty comes from the inside, not from the outside.

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Yesterday...
I wanted to write something, but couldn't. It stayed bottled up while I played my new CD as poor consolation. Sunday night we started to watch an overview of the events of September 11 but after a few minutes of watching the World Trade Center towers stand tall and pristine in the sunlight I had to change the channel.

Funny because I always considered the WTC as ugly as sin and rather resented the attention it drew away from the Empire State Building. I suppose had the terrorists managed to hit when there was no one in the buildings (but that would have been an impossibility since there's a nighttime cleaning crew) or in the surrounding area, and no one was killed, I would have been angry at the destruction but not really cared about the buildings. It's only steel and concrete, not bodies and souls.

Thinking about the people inside the different buildings is bad enough, but what always makes me tremble is the thought of those people in the aircraft, knowing they are hurtling toward death and powerless to stop it. It has kept me awake many a night.

The thermometer says it's 78°F but I'm cold...

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» Monday, September 11, 2006
Monday Madness

1. How long have you been blogging?

Since January of 2002. I had torn the ligaments in my right foot and needed something to do.

2. How many times have you taken a break from blogging?

A real break? Never. I did post intermittently the first few months because I wasn't used to it.

3. How long is the longest you've gone, so far, without posting on your blog?

Again, that would be early on. I don't know. A couple of weeks maybe?

4. How many fellow bloggers do you keep in touch with, through your blogs, on a regular basis?

Do you mean speak with/e-mail or just commenting on their blog? I dunno, the latter's about half a dozen.

5. Have you ever met, in person, a blogger on your blogroll?

Well, um, yeah, since one of them is my husband. (And another is my sister-in-law, and another is my husband's neice, and another is my cousin, and several of them are friends who live nearby.)

6. How often do you update/change the 'extra' stuff on your blog?

Only when I find another person for the blogroll.

7. Do you think you'll be blogging for years to come?

I hope so! I love to write.

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» Sunday, September 10, 2006
Whole Lotta Shakin'
So they say, anyway. Earthquake tremors were felt today at 10:56 a.m. by many people.

We were walking down the "A" trail at Stone Mountain about that time and didn't feel anything.

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"After Today, I've Decided One Thing...
...human beings were not meant to be exposed to long amounts of sunlight." :-)

We went to the Yellow Daisy Festival and it was sunny and hot. Thankfully, neither of us was sunburned, but we were dripping and sleepy by the time it was over.

No miracle occurred; the Furniture-Guy-from-Alabama was not there. Maybe he's retired. The man who used to sell the German Pyramids at a reasonable price wasn't there, either.

I'd also intended to buy one of those decorative plastic bag holders. Last year there were several booths that had them; these are made of different patterns of fabrics and made to hang up, with a drawstring at the bottom so you can take out a bag if you need one. We save our bags for various uses, but they usually pile up and when the present plastic container gets stuffed full, we take them to recycle. I wanted something a bit more attractive, in an apple or fall leaf pattern, both which I'd seen before. Ah well, none this year.

We did get a new doormat. There is a gentleman there who makes rugged rubber doormats recycled from old tires. He was short of red dividers, but we had him make us a custom one with yellow, orange and brown dividers to place at the front door to match the fall motif. The present mat, which has the grey dividers, will go on the deck. Eventually we will have stairs added to the deck and will have need to wipe our shoes off when we come inside from walking the dog.

We also bought enough barbecue sauce to last till next year (it was cheaper to buy six bottles than to buy four [wry g]), some wonderful preserves (lemon marmalade, pumpkin butter and the most delicious mint jelly which has bits of real mint leaves in it), and our yearly fudge treat from Ginny's Fudge and Nuts. We buy a sampler of eight 2-inch squares and will each have a half square for dessert until it's gone; we'll get another sampler next week at A Blue Ribbon Affair and will eat that after the original batch, and that's our fudge for the year.

I also bought a CD of Christmas music done in harp and woodwind and a 40 ml bottle of fancy maple syrup in a bottle shaped like a leaf. We prefer the heartier flavor of the medium and dark grades of maple syrup, but this will taste good on biscuits when James starts making them again in the fall, and then the bottle can be used for decoration. At the rate we use maple syrup, the bottle could last till next spring! We still have the full bottle of the darker stuff that my cousin Donna brought us back from Vermont last year.

And of course we treated ourselves to a big ear of roasted corn each. Yum! Almost better than chocolate.

As always there were lots of things I would have bought, but couldn't justify the expense, mostly lovely art prints: chickadees with Christmas motifs, real eggshell ornaments with wonderful motifs (one of them even had a budgie on it), Nativities of different forms, and the Sky Chairs. We figure we shouldn't buy the latter until we have an easier way to get to the back yard, since we would hang them under the deck.

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Sigh...
I'll ask the same question I asked a couple of months ago, about people having parties: why is it necessary for them to have the music on so loud that the bass beat of the music is audible across the street in a well-insulated home with the windows closed? Is there something against the rules about being able to TALK to other people at your party without screaming over the music? And why is loud music somehow "fun"?

It sounds like someone has a very fast heartbeat and is thumping its way into my brain.

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» Saturday, September 09, 2006
The Parade of Life
Eventful day.

We stopped by Borders because we had coupons and I discovered a real find, albeit incomplete: it's a huge, two-volume history of World War I (well, the first two volumes of a 13-volume set) for only $5. The kicker is that it's a reprint: it was written during the war! The photographs alone are priceless; actual battlefield photos, photos of the troops, photos of the leaders of the time, including Winston Churchill as a young man and Lord Kitchener and the Kaiser. Fascinating.

This afternoon I picked up my new glasses. I didn't think the prescription changed much, but I've been getting used to them all afternoon. I can read fine but the new strength in the distance almost makes my eyes cross. I didn't mention it, but the glasses I liked best had sort of a pale purple splotching on the frames (they say it's "mauve") and I was a bit reluctant to get the "pink," but I guess it's not too bad. The temples are also a pinky-lilac-mauve—but on the sunglasses, they made the temples in grey to match the tint of the glasses. Looks cool.

We just got back from the neighborhood meet and greet. The neighborhood is almost complete: one person is moving in this week, another on the 22nd, and there are two homes left for sale. One they think they have a contract on and if they do, those people will be moving in on the 22nd.

We are a United Nations of nationalities here, and from all parts of the US. We have refugees from Katrina and couples from Florida, students at Life College and even a pair of retirees. One of the families in the neighborhood is Turkish and there are a couple of Asian families as well. The Spanish family across the street from us didn't come to the party because they were having their own; looked like a little girl's birthday. Looking at the children just at the block party, not to mention the birthday party, I figure we're going to have a pretty lively Halloween. Well, we've got our candy all ready; it's in the spare room keeping chilled!

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"I Love Tummy Rubs!"
One more photo tonight:

Willow gets a tummy rub

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» Friday, September 08, 2006
Looking More Like Fall
Some pics in Autumn Hollow.

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Last week's Friday Five

1) This is the 1st of September, what do you want to accomplish by the 31st?

::cough:: Get the cables for the DVD players to the television fixed. Also have the garbage disposal working again; it quit suddenly last weekend. Get my new glasses (I can pick them up tomorrow.)

And be cooler!

2) What does September make you think about or feel?

Summer's leaving! Summer's leaving! Let's party!

3) September is the ninth month; can you name nine memories so far from this year?

  • Moving.
  • Packing to move.
  • The nice people that helped us move.
  • Washing all Mom's china and finally displaying it.
  • Decorating the house in a fall motif.
  • DragonCon.
  • Pidgie's blood feather episode (not a good memory, but "good" wasn't indicated).
  • Getting my XM radio and enjoying the new stations.
  • Atomicon.
4) What does September have in common with three other months and can you name them?

Great things to do! So that's October (leaves start to change), November (Thanksgiving and leaves changing), and December (Christmas! and my birthday).

5) The first weekend in September signals the end of summer for many even though it doesn’t really end for weeks. When does summer end for you?

September 21, or whenever we get to turn the A/C off and open the windows!


This week's:

1. If you could pick your own theme song, what would it be?

Rupert Holmes' "The Old School."

2. Now be honest...if others had to pick a song that described you, what would they choose?

Gosh, what's a song about just living day to day and nothing spectacular?

3. What song would be/was the first dance at your wedding?

"Flying Dreams" from The Secret of NIMH. That's how our APAzine and later our web site got its name.

4. What song gets stuck in your head most often?

Whatever it is, it's probably something endlessly played on a commercial. Urgh.

5. What song would you want played at your funeral?

Why would I care? [wry grin] My favorite song: "The Impossible Dream."

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» Thursday, September 07, 2006
Thursday Threesome

Just askin':

::How High is Up?::

Onesome: How-- many Apples in your orchard? Didn't we just ask this one? Are you a Mac-o-phile, a Windows user, or one of those penguin people (Linux users)?

No, we keep the Apples in our kitchen and dining room. :-) I've had many people tell me that Macs are swell, especially a friend who does video editing. I hear they're super for that type of thing. And I suppose there is WordPerfect for the Mac (if not, I wouldn't own one). But they're expensive, I'm not doing video editing, and this one does what I want at least most of the time. (And it runs WordPerfect. What could be better? ::wink::)

Twosome: High is-- what in height for your family? Are you a tall group? ...a short stack? ...or a mixed lot?

Neither of my parents were tall: Mom was 5'2" before the rheumatoid arthritis got to her and Dad was 5'8". Most Italians from the old country didn't run tall, so none of my grandparents were tall, or my aunts and uncles from either side.

Threesome: Up-- ...and down and all around: Labor Day marked the end of Summer for those of us in the US (regardless of how the plants felt what with the temperatures out West and hurricanes in the East). How about you: what signals the change of seasons this time of year for you?

The leaves are starting to change. The dogwoods always go first, and most of them now have that subtle red tint on at least a dozen of their leaves; I've actually seen several with large patches of slight color. Several of the weeds growing under the trees in our yard also have scarlet edges or patches. Also, the oaks near the building I work in are dropping their acorns.

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» Wednesday, September 06, 2006
It's the Little Things...
I can't tell you how good it is to hear them say "TV-38" again instead of "UPN-38." It won't bring back Ask the Manager, but it's very satisfying all the same. (In fact, they are using their old slogan, "Entertaining Boston," again. It's like stepping into a time machine. Miss the old logo, though.

And Ask the Manager...)

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» Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Monday Madness

1. Which holidays (if any) do you consider more as a day off from work, than anything else?

They're all important, in their own way, but I'd say Columbus Day and Labor Day and Presidents' Day.

2. Which 3 holidays are most celebrated in your family?

Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Independence Day. Also Twelfth Night since we have an annual party.

3. Do you have an organized filing system at home?

Er, for what? We do have important papers in an expanding file folder with a pocket for different subjects (the house, the warranty, material on last year's car accident, etc.) I keep the bills in a little holder on my desk and they get tossed when the bank says the payment has cleared.

4. Do you clip coupons for groceries? If so, do you remember to use them? If not, why?

Yes. Used to put them in categories like the coupon holders have them, but forgot to use them. Now I sort them by expiration date and we go to the store by the end of the month and use them.

5. How many magazines do you subscribe to?

One: Reminisce.

6. Do you play any computer games on a regular basis? If so, which is your favorite, and why?

I have several on the computer, including something called "The Last Express" which I've never played; it's one of those first-person player things. What I usually end up playing most is an old game called "Jumpman." 2D. Very primitive. Still fun.

7. Have you watched any movies worth recommending, lately?

Er, no, but there are several documentaries I could recommend. History Channel's Violent Earth: Killer Hurrican about 1938 was quite good.

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Urrrph...
It's been interesting again; I was up all night in the bathroom (and that's about as in detail as I will go). Only thing good about being up all night: finishing the His Dark Materials commentary book. Otherwise I'm queasy and have a headache and even after eating I can still taste Pepto-Bismol.

James had some problems this morning as well. Wonder if it was the steak at the IHOP?

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» Monday, September 04, 2006
DragonCon, Day 4
It was an...interesting night. I had to take some quantites of Pepto Bismol last night before bed and therefore couldn't take my Claritin. Usually when I forget to take it I simply wake up with a stuffy nose. Not this morning; it was like Niagara had let go. Luckily I woke up about 90 minutes before I really had to, took the Claritin and went back to bed. While I wasn't quite sterling when arising, most of it wore off as the day progressed, although I am still massively stuffy, especially outside where it is warm.

We were going in early for another 10 a.m. panel and upon turning on the radio heard the news of Steve Irwin's ("the Crocodile Hunter") death. It's ironic that he approached so many charging alligators, crocodiles, and snakes and was never severely injured, and then died innocently investigating a stingray. So many parodies have been done of Steve—even "DragonCon*TV," the collection of bumpers, skits and other funny business that runs between the panels in each meeting room has a Steve Irwin spoof called "The Alien Hunter"—and it's sad to know he won't be there to laugh at them any longer.

Today I got to partake in the final Mythbusters panel and did have a good time; they had another blooper reel that they had censored yesterday, and did a Q&A about future projects, things they would have liked to have seen had they not been convention guests—Grant is a big Firefly fan—talk about when Grant and Jamie were both participants in the old BattleBots series, etc. James said they seemed a bit bemused about the success of what is basically an instructional science series with lots of crazy stunts and explosions. Everyone stood up and applauded when the moderator asked if they would come back next year.

The build team takes their last bow:

Grant, Kari and Tory

We had our "free period" then and first registered for next year's convention (it's cheaper that way), and then wandered back in the direction of the Dealer's Room looking for the Art Show (it's usually upstairs opposite the Exhibitor's Hall). Surprise! It was downstairs in the Hyatt where we had been. So we went back into the Dealer's Room because James remembered we'd seen something there that we thought would make a perfect Christmas gift for a friend. Alas, we should have bought it Friday; it was already gone. But the lady gave me her e-mail address and asked me to contact her; that perhaps they could get another one.

I also found a stuffed animal dealer who had a stuffed terrier with wings; I couldn't resist it. It's a Welsh terrier, I think, not a Willow-looking dog, but it gets the idea across (although the idea of Willow with wings is terrifying).

When we went past the Benbella booth again—a.k.a. "Smart Pop" books—I noticed a book with essays about Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy (Pullman's trilogy was the reason I didn't initially get into Harry Potter; I was too busy waiting for the next book in Pullman's epic!), so purchased that, and James got a series of essays by SF writer Spider Robinson.

At this point it was getting time for me to head back for the 1 p.m. panel on Hugh Laurie. James didn't want to go: he was afraid it would be full of the estrogen brigade drooling over Dr. House. So I wandered back toward the Hyatt and, having about fifteen minutes, nipped into the Art Show. Neither of us have been really enthused about Art Shows in the past few years. While we have seen a moving away from the late 80s/early 90s trend of what James calls "intestinal art," monsters and vampires and lots of innards of people and animals being torn apart, most of the art today is fantasy-based, with a slight nip of character profiles from media and cartoons, and not science fiction. And the art we are seeing is, in general (NOTE: there are exceptions), rather inferior to that of ten, fifteen, twenty years ago. We had commented just last night that we rarely saw spacescapes or rocketships and other spacecraft.

Well, I didn't see many. But I did see a couple and bought one for James for his birthday today. It's a small but beautiful piece of Mars rising over one of its moons.

I also managed to find a piece in the print shop that was fall-themed and fantasy-themed and involves small birds as well! It's a picture of a tree branch dotted with autumn leaves, and sitting on the branch are three plump bluebirds with a little purple dragon sitting between them.

James missed a good panel. Two of the moderators were men (one was writer Keith R.A. Candido, below) and the crowd was evenly split between men and women, so it wasn't an estrogen-fest. We mostly talked about Hugh Laurie as Gregory House and all the fascinating characters and situations during the series, but also touched on Blackadder, Jeeves and Wooster, and A Bit of Fry and Laurie, and also a movie I have never seen, Peter's Friends. They say there are some Fry and Laurie clips on YouTube, so I'll have to check them out.

Keith R.A. DeCandido

Back upstairs, James was waiting for me in Regency 6-7 for the Mighty Rassilon Art Players' (MRAP) performance of "The Brotherhood of Damn Sassy Mutants," a bunch of hapless X-Men types who run afoul of the Splicemeister, a baddie whom they capture and send to prison. Two years later, released from prison, the Splicemeister exacts a strange revenge on one of the Mutants—he's changed into a woman! In the meantime, one of the other members dates a bipolar dish and consults his uncle and his young ward (and faithful retainer), and we meet various oddballs like Multiple Girl, a mutant dog who's now a physician, and the infamous Wormhole Jackson. Too bizarre and very funny, although personally I wish the pacing had been a bit faster.

We had planned to see a final Babylon 5 panel scheduled, but it was cancelled due to only one person being on it and she wanted to stay on the Walk of Fame. So regretfully we turned for home (ah, yes, good old fashioned post convention depression). Stopped at Michael's with 50 percent off coupons, bought milk and other necessities for the week at Food Depot, then went out for dinner at the IHOP. We can't say it was inspiring. Had we wanted an excellent steak, we could have gone to Longhorn, but we simply wanted an affordable steak, and we had coupons at IHOP and we'd had steak there before. Never again; it's not even worth it at half the price. It was the least inspiring T-bone I've ever eaten, and I adore T-bones; it was pretty flavorless—I think they're using the water-injected steaks from WalMart. Not bad, just blah.

So now we're home watching History Detectives...

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» Sunday, September 03, 2006
DragonCon, Day 3
Up early this morning to attend a 10 a.m. panel about re-reading books (why we do it when we know how they come out)—the consensus boiled down to characters and comfort, and also enjoyment of language and certain passages. One of James' offerings was "the Heinlein juveniles," which was greeted by several people as being "dated" because the science was so old-fashioned. Goodness, that's never bothered either of us! I read them like storybooks, not for technical details! Non-SF was mentioned, like the "Little House" and "Anne" books, although one lady in the audience admitted she never could get into the Montgomery books because she disliked Anne Shirley so!

James went off to a Supermarionation panel and met an old friend from Warner Robins there, and also bought a just-published book by the man who made the models for all the Gerry Anderson series. I managed to make it into the Buffy/Angel panel room to at least see a little of Nicholas Brendon, although I was so far to the right of the stage I watched most of the presentation on the projection screen. James Leary (Clem the floppy-eared demon), Anthony Cistaro (several demons), Clare Kramer (Glory), Andy Hallet (Lorne), and another actor whose name I didn't catch were the rest of the panel. It was very entertaining (especially Nick Brendon's wildly colored hat, which was from London and very expensive), but I don't particularly remember anything especially memorable. They did have a good time together, though!

Buffy and Angel cast

Nick Brendon, courtesy the projection TV:

Nicholas Brendon

Following this panel I went to one of the writing panels, called "How Not to Get Published." Usually these are very funny, with editors talking about some of the odd things people do to get attention to their manuscripts. We also heard tales about writers thinking they were too good for editing, clueless ones, and the usual folks who don't read the specs and send romance stories to SF magazines, etc. The latter usually come accompanied by a letter that says "I know you don't take this genre of stories, but if you read it, I'm sure you'll love it. My whole family and all my friends love it!"

My next panel was right down the hall, a British Science Fiction panel. There was a fair crowd and we talked about and recommended everything from The Tomorrow People and Blake's 7 to the newest crop appearing on BBC America, like Hex and Life on Mars. They particularly liked the latter; it's about a 2003 policeman who is in a car crash and is suddenly back in 1973 as a cop. Apparently you don't know if he really time traveled or if he is in a coma imagining the entire thing. We also chatted about SF released in different regions and obtaining region-free DVD players to watch them. Apparently I should not hold my breath waiting for Region 1 Blake's 7 releases. Sigh.

It was time to rejoin James for the Mickey Rooney panel, and I headed back upstairs to meet him outside Centennial III where he had just had a hugely entertaining time watching the Mythbusters panel (everyone there this time). They showed a blooper reel, told about myths that the Discovery Channel wouldn't let them do (like if a match next to someone farting will burst into flame; apparently you can't even say "fart" on the Discovery Channel—let me get this straight, during Shark Week they can show sharks chomping people's legs off, but you can't say "fart"?), and frankly admitted they liked doing the show so they could blow things up! LOL. It took me a good ten minutes to get downstairs to him because the crowds were so bad they had hotel security only allowing a few people down to the main floor at a time when the panels were getting out.

The "build crew" from Mythbusters, Grant, Kari and Tori with their "Mad Scientist award":

Mythbusters crew

We both had misgivings about the Mickey Rooney panel, because one of the panel moderators had told us he had spoken to Rooney and he seemed to drift a lot. But we went anyway because—hell, it's Mickey Rooney and he's 85 years old and been working since he was a toddler and, well, he's Mickey Rooney, dammit! The panel was pleasantly surprising, because although Mr. Rooney did seem to wander quite a bit into old memories and never did really answer any questions fully, he did talk wistfully about Hollywood in the old days and did mention some things about the classic stars, things like Marlene Deitrich was a real homebody and liked to bake and clean and take care of children, and sang a terribly sad song about Judy Garland, and reminded us to be grateful for home and family. His wife Jan teased him a lot during the panel when he would get off track. It was a very special panel.

Mickey Rooney

James then wandered off for more adventures on his own and I trotted downstairs to where I'd been two hours earlier for the Jim Butcher panel. Butcher has just started a new fantasy book series, but this panel was about his ongoing urban fantasy series about Harry Dresden, a noir-ish tale about Chicago's only practicing wizard, who occasionally helps the police on odd cases, but usually Harry can find enough trouble without getting involved with the police, due to rival courts of warring vampires and other magical denizens of the area. DragonCon grossly underestimated the appeal of Butcher/Dresden and placed the panel in two small ajoining conference rooms that were packed tight with people standing, sitting, squatting and leaning all for a chance to ask Butcher about the Dresden books and the new television movie-followed-by-series that is supposed to start on the Sci-Fi Channel in mid-January.

Jim Butcher signs autographs and enjoys a laugh:

Jim Butcher

Finally I moved one door to the "left" for "The New Who Review," a panel about the Christopher Eccleston and now David Tennant Doctor Who episodes. One of the panelists actually works on the series but was not allowed to say anything about the production due to contractual obligations. As much as we wheedled, he could tell us nothing, so we basically discussed spoilers given by people who have already seen the newest season (set to start on Sci-Fi later in the month) via trips to England, torrents, large satellite dishes, and Region 2 DVD sets. Needless to say, I can't wait to see the newest season! Also discussed were possibile old enemies returning, whether the Master might return (or indeed any of the Time Lords), the new spinoff Torchwood and how it might tie in with its parent series, Captain Jack returning to Who, and myriad other absorbing items.

It was rather ironic, I thought, having listened to the comments of the lady in our first panel today who did not like Anne of Green Gables, that, in my last panel of the day, ended up sitting next to a gentleman who had visited all the Anne sites on Prince Edward Island and was telling about it!

James and I met up on the bar level, which is also the level you cross to get to the connection to the food court/mall area and thus out to the parking garage via what we've always referred to as "the Luke Skywalk." I'd been spoiling for a bad headache for over an hour and finally swallowed several Advil before we left the building and tried to rest my throbbing head on the way home. It finally subsided after ten minutes in the dark in the spare room and a bowl of soup, but now the soup has made me feel bloated and queasy. I can't win.

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» Saturday, September 02, 2006
DragonCon, Day 2
We had a more leisurely start this morning, only stopping for breakfast and at the bank. My stomach was being rather annoying all day; although I'd had both my Prilosec nothing quite seemed to assuage it, so I spent all day feeling queasy.

James went to another panel, but I decided to see Denise Crosby as my first panel of the day. She was personable and quite funny, although I found it sad when she talked about her grandfather having cut himself off from his first family after starting a second; there was no singing "White Christmas" around the fire with Bing for the older Crosby grandchildren. She told a hilarious story about an early-morning call with Jonathan Frakes, bathrobes, and an earthquake after which Patrick Stewart, unused to California's jittery landscape, declared he was going to return his new Jaguar because it "shook so much." He was apparently very shocked to find out it had been an earthquake, not the Jag!

Denise Crosby

Another fact she mentioned that I didn't know was that the characters had initially been written a bit differently and she was supposed to play Counselor Troi and Marina Sirtis was sleighted to play Tasha Yar. The original Troi was written as more of a coldly logical character, like Spock.

She said one of the things she rememembered most about the first year of the Star Trek: the Next Generation set was that the Craft Services director (Craft Services is a fancy name for the caterer who supplies the cast with food) never fed them very well. Sometimes they would subsist on crackers because he kept all the food locked up so the crew wouldn't eat it. Plus they had very nasty old trailers for dressing rooms which smelled of cat urine and were dirty, so they raided the props department and decorated the trailers with anything pretty (and sometimes bizarre) they could find. After the show became a success, though, things improved.

James was then off to finally attend the Mythbusters panel—ironically only one of the three cast members scheduled was there; their plane had broken down and had been turned back to the airport—and I had planned to see Nicholas Brendan from Buffy the Vampire Slayer until I tried to find the end of the line forming for the panel! I decided it wasn't worth it and went to see Mark Goddard and Marta Kristen from Lost in Space instead. I had seen them at DragonCon last year, but they are both fun in their own way and I didn't mind listening to their stories again. Kristen is a funny, sweet lady who is raising her granddaughter and still doing community theatre, and Goddard teaches at a school for abused and neglected boys. Mark Goddard is also what my mom would have termed "a hot sketch." He's irreverent and extroverted and tells a funny story. He didn't tell the classic one from last year about he and Bill Mumy dropping peanut shells on the stage from up on a catwalk, but he did tell several hilarious stories about Irwin Allen, one about his legendary parsimony and another about him rushing in and chewing out both Guy Williams and himself in rather ripe language.

Since I was already sitting in the International North Ballroom I was in a perfect position to save a seat for James at the Babylon 5 cast panel, which was comprised of Peter Jurasik, Julie Caitlin Brown,

Peter Jurasik and Julie Caitlin Brown

Mira Furlan, and Stephen Furst.

Mira Furlan and Stephen Furst

This was one of those panels where the time just flew. They spoke about what they are doing now—Jurasik is teaching drama in North Carolina, Brown is an agent and teaches motivational speaking, Furlan has done several episodes of Lost, and Furst has gone into producing and occasionally directing, with a new SF/fantasy film coming in October on the Sci-Fi Channel, Basilisk. They all spoke regretfully of Andreas Katsulas, who passed away just recently, and also of Richard Biggs, who died some time ago, but told us about a new project Joe Straczynski is working on called Babylon 5: the Lost Tales. Apparently he just sold a successful screenplay which will be produced by Ron Howard and he has talked the studio into doing some half-hour stories set in the B5 universe. The first few will be about the humans and then will continue with some alien stories.

James and I split up again afterwards; he was going to a space battles panel (which he found dull and eventually left when they started doing Powerpoint presentations, the kiss of death). I stayed on to see an improvisational sketch done by Dean Haglund, "Ringo" Langly of The X-Files and The Lone Gunmen, and his partner in crime, Gary Jones from Stargate SG-1. Haglund, in pointed ears, was Spock, and Jones played Kirk; they picked one gentleman from the audience to do "sound effects," but the guy was so convulsed with what was going on that he kept forgetting to make them, as Haglund and Jones ribbed him about walking through the ship with not a door having to open for them. Later they picked a very tall gentleman out of the audience to play Doctor McCoy,

Dean Haglund as Spock, Gary Jones as Kirk, and an audience member as McCoy

who later got to intone "She's dead, Jim," as the hapless red-shirted ensign plucked from the audience was killed on the Planet of the Cattle Prods. (Yes, these were all audience suggestions. Don't ask...) Another audience member became the Hypno-toad Queen who paralyzed Kirk and Spock and forced them to fight each other until she broke the spell by taking another photo of Spock's butt. Yes, it was all very silly. Yes, it was so funny I laughed so hard I gave myself a headache.

I joined James outside and we went back for another grand tour of the Dealer's Room. I visited the Benbella Books booth and bought Mapping the World of Harry Potter, edited by Mercedes Lackey and Boarding the Enterprise, edited by David Gerrold and Robert J. Sawyer. These are essays about different aspects of those universes. And that ends my planned purchases for this convention, since I suspect James bought me the Pocket Dragon I was describing yesterday, but I won't see that till our anniversary. Although there's a stuffed fox that's very tempting.

We also went across the street to see the second exhibitor's hall and also the actors on the Walk of Fame. Having missed Nicholas Brendan twice now, I could at least see him chatting with his fans! We did pass a bookseller in the second exhibitor's hall who was practically giving away remaindered books; I got an oversized, softcover, 375 glossy paged book on the history of animation from pre-Windsor McKay to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim for only $10.

Our final stop of the night was at the American Sci-Fi Panel room where Mark Goddard and Marta Kristen had said they were going to do live commentary on one of the Lost in Space episodes. At the afternoon panel they had indicated the ep would be "A Visit to Hades," one of my favorites, but Goddard really wanted to do commentary on what is considered the worst Lost in Space episode ever made, "The Great Vegetable Rebellion," with the Robinsons, Don West and Dr. Smith facing a killer carrot played by Stanley Adams ("Cyrano Jones" from "The Trouble With Tribbles"). Well, this bad episode is simply a hysterical riot when commented on by Mark Goddard. He kept pointing out the scenes where he had to turn his head away because he was laughing so hard and most of the rest of the cast were fighting hard to keep straight faces. This is an episode I have managed to miss since the first few times I saw it and I had completely forgotten they were throwing a birthday party for the Robot (!!!!!!!!!!) when the story opened, complete with party hats, crepe paper streamers, and the fixings for a birthday cake and punch, evidently the type of things space explorers would take with them upon a mission to colonize Alpha Centauri!!!! From there the story goes completely downhill.

Afterwards Goddard and Kristen answered some questions from an audience out of breath from laughing so hard.

Mark Goddard and Marta Kristen

And then we were on our way home to a singing budgie, a clinging terrier, and properly-working air conditioning.

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Flourish

» Friday, September 01, 2006
DragonCon, Day 1
Our day started early; before we started to the convention we stopped for cash, at Walgreen's for more Prilosec, and at Linens'n'Things to use a couple of coupons; needed more Klinks (they go in the garbage disposal to keep it fresh) and a storage box. We also nipped next door to Borders—riches! more fall magazines: the September Yankee and the autumn issues of Adirondak Life and Georgia Backroads.

Once downtown and having found our way to registration, we embarked on the DragonCon Exercise Program, a.k.a. Registration: they have the queue in great snaking back-and-forth lines, just like at Disney. We were lucky and almost nobody was there, but we still had to go snaking through the entire switchback line system and arrived at the counter dripping wet since it's so humid.

James was ready to attend the first Mythbusters panel (the "build team" is here, not the stars), but I had wandered over to the Regency ballroom to see Erin Moran, Anson Williams, and Don Most from Happy Days. Have never been a particular fan of HD, but I wanted to ask Erin Moran her time on the Daktari series, which she did when she was only six.

James arrived in the Regency room soon afterward, having learned, as I had just read in "The Daily Dragon," the update sheet, that the Mythbusters panel had been cancelled. We were early for the HD panel, so we ate our lunch (we always carry lunch to DCon: roll-up sandwiches with roast beef, juice boxes, Sun chips, granola bars, since I'd rather spend my money on books than on food) and then waited and waited. And waited, while the track chairman tried to fill time.

The HD folks arrived 50 minutes late because they hadn't been told about the panel, so basically we had only about 20 minutes of questions. They were all quite entertaining. I did ask Erin Moran about Daktari and she said Judy the chimp had gotten very attached to her, treating her like her baby; in fact, if someone tried to take Erin from Judy's company suddenly, Judy would get very upset and scream. She is now doing theatre (LOL, Erin's doing theatre, not Judy the chimp). Anson Williams is directing and Don Most appearing in independent films.

Anson Williams, Erin Moran, and Don Most

When the panel was over we strolled the Dealer's Room as well as the main Exhibitor's Hall, which is basically just another glorified Dealer's Room. Not interested in most of the trading cards, comics, or things, but do believe I have my Pocket Dragon picked out for the year. For some reason I've gotten into the habit of buying a Pocket Dragon every year; the one I like is jumping forepaws first on a panic button. There's also a cute one wearing a bib that says "FEED ME." I nudged James. "Look, it's Willow!"

There was also a new small press publisher there, with several media essay books. One book on Star Trek looked promising, also a Harry Potter book. We got one of their catalogs and the CSI book looks interesting as well. I may end up buying them because—egads! I can't make my annual purchase from McFarland Books because THEY ARE NOT THERE. I am aghast. They always give a discount at the convention and I always find something I want there, from media criticism to sociological study.

I left James to go to the Land of the Lost panel—he did a tour of the other exhibitor room and then took a ride in the rocket simulator—and before going into the panel room nipped into the ladies' room. While I was waiting for a stall I observed a well-dressed older woman washing her hands and talking to another well-dressed woman, shorter, with dark hair. I thought they might be with some other hotel group, maybe one of those executive retreats, until the shorter lady asked the taller one, "Don't you have another daughter, Lee?" and I recognized the older woman's face. It was Yvonne Craig and Lee Meriwether!

The Land of the Lost panel was a blast. Kathleen (Kathy) Coleman, who played Holly, was quite nice and funny, but Walker Edmiston, who played Enik, was a riot. He's a elfin elderly man with a razor-sharp sense of humor. He ran through his various voice characters and made funny remarks when they showed Kathleen's favorite episode, "Elsewhen," where Holly meets her future self.

Here they are, posing afterwards.

Walker Edmiston and Kathleen Coleman

I rejoined James in the British SF track room for panel called "Crossing the Pond," about visiting Britain on a budget, where to stay, where to go. Much expected advice—don't stay in city proper and don't go to "name" luxury hotels, investigate bed and breakfasts, BritRail passes, underground passes—and some fascinating stories about the neat walking tours they have in London. The panel moderator, for instance, has stayed near Liverpool and also in Camden, and three weeks ago he was in Cardiff, Wales, where they were filming the new Doctor Who spin-off, Torchwood.

Then it was time for opening ceremonies followed by the only Atlanta Radio Theatre Presentation at the convention. It opened with Rory Rammer, Space Marshall, which is a parody of the 1950s science fiction kids' adventures. Here Rory (foreground, played by David Benedict) and his sidekick Skip Sagan (Colin Butler, in the rear), capture smuggler Rex Gorbachev (played by Brad Strickland).

David Benedict, Brad Strickland and Colin Butler

The main presentation was H.P. Lovecraft's The Color Out of Space, which is the spooky tale of the effect a meteorite landing has on a lush New England farm. I don't know what drugs Lovecraft was on when he wrote his stuff, but I think he was having a really bad trip. :-) (Actually, being from Rhode Island, I think he probably saw into the future via some type of scrying glass, saw the present political situation, and went quite mad.) Here Daniel Taylor (foreground, as young Ammi Pierce) speaks to a terrified Clair Kiernan (rear, as Abigail Gardner), as an older Ammi (played by Alton Leonard) narrates the story of the grim fate of the Gardner family.

Daniel Taylor, Alton Leonard, and Clair Kiernan

After the play we went to a SF Literary Track panel called "What Books Should You Be Reading?" The small panel room was packed—it was like sitting in coach—as people bantered back and forth about recommended titles.

Finally we returned home to fids and roomier chairs. :-)

P.S. Yikes! I was writing so quickly that I forgot to mention that the Thomas E. Fuller Award for this year was presented to Brad Strickland and Brad Linaweaver (or "the Good Brad and the Bad Brad," as they are more fondly known).

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