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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» Thursday, November 30, 2006
Thursday Threesome

From the Music and Food Center

::Sweet Baby James::

Onesome: Sweet-- or sour? What type of sauces do you like on your dishes when you 'do Chinese'?

Soy and teriyaki sauce. James likes duck sauce which he mixes with Chinese mustard to make a dip.

Twosome: Baby-- back ribs? ...or steak? Tofu? Chicken? It's your choice; what would you like for your next meal "out"?

No one except the expensive places have T-bones any longer (well, and the IHOP and I ain't havin' steak there anymore). Baby back ribs do sound good right now. Not sure the indigestion would be worth it, though. Even the Prilosec doesn't help with salad dressing and barbecue sauce.

Threesome: James-- town flood? What do flood your mashed potatoes with, gravy or butter? ...or do you like them plain?

With butter. James...funny you should say that...likes gravy on his potatoes.

Actually, I'd prefer a baked potato to mashed.

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The End of the "Katy" Saga
For those of you who have asked me about this, here are links to Susan Coolidge's Clover and In the High Valley.

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» Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Last Night's Supper
James made something cool from a cookbook he found at JoAnn in the dollar bin. You mix lean ground pork with a few spices (he left out the pepper but added curry powder) and crunchy peanut butter, then you brown it. While it browns you make little cup shapes from phillo dough (since the phillo dough wasn't thawed enough, James used wonton wrappers instead) and then place a little of the pork mixture in each cup. Then you put it in the oven until the dough is brown.

He also made some that looked like little apple tarts. Very delicious!

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Heat, Heat, Go Away
I can't wait for this warm spell to end. It's not that it's warm in the daytime so much but that it makes my joints ache so badly that it's hard to sleep. When this happens in the spring when it gets warm, the doctor tells me it's allergens, which can cause symptoms similar to arthritis pain. What goes now? There are flowers still blooming, but they didn't bother me when it was cold.

Sleeping last night was hard. I hurt and it was too warm, even with the fan aimed directly on me. Sheesh.

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» Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Revolutions
Oh. Dear. God.

Apparently this is the script that is in consideration for the Get Smart movie.

Don Adams must be whirling in his grave so fast he could supply the entire city of New York with electricity for the next millenium...

(Warning [if you care]: All is spoiled.)

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Hollyberry Memories
Monday Madness has wandered over to Holiday Harbour, since it's questions about holidays. Warning: I'm waxing nostalgic again and doing a thorough Harlow Wilcox job. :-)

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» Monday, November 27, 2006
Would You Believe...
...it's finally here?

I'd peeked out on the porch between medication bouts and not seen a box; that's because, as I discovered when Willow persuaded me she needed to go out, the mailman left it on the driveway next to the garbage can!

Get Smart had arrived. (Well, there's two of my three "series-on-DVD" "Grade A" wants. I already have America. Now where are season sets of Lassie, Classic Media?)

The set is done in a clever box in which you have to open a couple of "doors" before getting to the "phone booth" and the individual season packs. They are decorated in "mod" 1960s colors and decor and each set has a bunch of extras on it, like clips of Don Adams on The Bill Dana Show or bloopers or special featurettes done for the set.

I had time for only two episodes before having to deal with my part of dinner, so of course I chose my favorites: "Island of the Darned" (the Most Dangerous Game spoof) and "99 Loses CONTROL." I always loved "Island" because it had more dramatic moments than most GS episodes and back as a kid I had fantasies of Max as action hero, not bumbling boob. After seeing "Island" I always wished Don Adams had done some dramatic turns. Would have been cool to see him in a dramatic role in one of the Quinn Martin dramas of the early 70s, like Cannon or Barnaby Jones. Or maybe on 1975's Ellery Queen, which featured so many classic television actors.

The "99 Loses CONTROL" episode would today be called "a 'shipper story" by the fans. It certainly made the fans of Max getting together with 99 grin, especially the opening scene, where Max's hurt feelings are played straight and very palpable. Great stuff.

Back in 1965 when the series premiered, I knew Adams mostly as the voice of Tennessee Tuxedo, although my parents watched The Bill Dana Show on which he played Byron Glick, the house detective (and did several Max-like routines). I was nine years old at the time and my getting to watch Get Smart was not without its obstacles.

My parents bowled on Saturday nights and I was always taken along. I could bowl if I liked, but I was never very good at it, even though it was duckpins and I could easily lift the small bowling balls. I could either throw hard with bad aim or aim well and not throw the ball with force enough to knock down more than a couple of pins. Usually what I did was either sit at the tables behind the alleys writing or illustrating a story I had written (if the place wasn't crowded I would go in the ladies' room and act out one of the stories I'd written) or see what was on the television that was behind the counter. We usually went to Garden City Lanes, which is long gone and now replaced with a strip shopping center. This was the largest bowling alley in Rhode Island, 36 lanes, and owned by "the Zarella boys," Tommy and Ray, who had also owned the Speedway Lanes within walking distance of our house. (This was the new Garden City building, not the old one, which I vaguely remember because the waitress at the snack bar, Cecilia, could always be counted on to give me a glass of milk, which was supposed to be reserved for the coffee.)

Dad was great friends with Tom and Ray and eventually they knew me, too, so they usually would comply when I walked shyly up to the counter and asked if they could change the channel to Get Smart; the other employees, which included Bobby, Vinnie, and Teddy (the latter who later became a state trooper), also granted me this privilege. So I watched most of the first three seasons of Get Smart leaning over the counter of the front desk of Garden City Lanes watching a black and white portable television.

Well, except when there was a Providence College Friars basketball game. I learned to hate basketball at an early age. :-) (I had constant problems with basketball. Because of the Boston Celtics, I missed a lot of Dr. Simon Locke episodes, too. Phooey.)

Of course there was the time we went to Legion Bowladrome instead and I settled down to watch part two of "Ship of Spies," only to have an older man come over to change the channel to The Lawrence Welk Show! Arrrgh!

It was a little better when Get Smart moved to 8 p.m. with The Ghost and Mrs. Muir following, and easier still when the show moved to CBS and Fridays.

Despite the basketball games and the fact that my dad had his car stolen from in front of Garden City Lanes, I still remember those Saturday nights at the bowling alley—and that clunky old television on which I watched my first episodes of Get Smart—with great affection. It was fun, guys...

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A History of Trimming the Tree...
...in Holiday Harbour.

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Undone
Sleep was crowded with bad dreams last night: a house with entrances I didn't know about (and water flooding them) and a bizarre sequence where someone dripped iodine (yes, iodine) on my left thumb and it shrank to the size of a baby's, with a point on top. Very strange. Woke up headachy and with my throat raspy, but dutifully got dressed and checked on Pidgie. He blinked at me like the owl he's named after. I was still worried.

My solution was to go back to bed. If he was okay still while James puttered around getting ready for work, I'd go in late.

Except when I got up again the headache was worse, I was becoming "better acquainted with" the hall bathroom, and worst of all, I couldn't get warm. The house temp was steady at 67°F and I was ice cold and shaking uncontrollably, which was really weird after constant hot flashes.

So Pidge returned last night's care by singing to me most of the day while I huddled on the sofa trying to keep warm, even as it went up into the low 70s this afternoon. I slept most of the afternoon between bouts of ibuprofin (from the new bottle of caplets from BJs; the pills are fluorescent orange—yow!).

I wish I knew what happened. All I can thing of is what with it being warm the past few days and my wretched hot flashes and the windows being wide open, he got a draft on Friday or Saturday and it finally hit him. Budgies can take a bit of cold but drafts hurt them.

I'm still a bit headachy but at least the "Little Room" visits and sore throat are gone.

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» Sunday, November 26, 2006
Something Odd...
Pidge was a little quiet when I got him up this morning, but we'd had a late night last night and I figured he was still tired. He took a few bites of seed and stared out eagerly at me as I ate some oatmeal; pretty normal.

We had the shopping to do today and also stopped at Lowe's and Target. When we'd finally put the milk up, it was about three o'clock. Pidge was ensconced near his mirror and looking sleepy, which is his wont in the afternoon; it's when he usually has his nap.

We ran to Michael's and checked out the new Costco, then came home. I was immediately concerned because Pidge usually perks up the minute we get in and he didn't. I was planning to wash clothes, but instead I took him out of his cage along with his little toy, "Girlfriend." Instead of pecking at it like he usually does, he gave it a halfhearted nudge and then jumped on my shoulder. Uh-oh. Pidgie is not a snuggly bird like Bandit was. He wants to be doing stuff or in his cage, except when he sits on James' shoulder and makes pleats in his shirts with his beak. He only snuggles when he isn't feeling well.

I even sent James to get dressed when suddenly he began gagging and then raising his wings—he seemed to be having some problems breathing, although he wasn't gasping. It was an hour before our vet closed, so I called them, but they told me the vet had already left. Pidge had settled down by then and the advice nurse told me it might be better to keep an eye on him and take him to the emergency vet if necessary.

So I settled down with him on my finger. He was very lethargic and only occasionally pecked at "Girlfriend." James made me some oatmeal, which I tried to feed to him, but he didn't want more than a bite. So I sat with him there while I ate my dinner. I knew he wasn't feeling well because he didn't try to share it.

The best thing to do with birds when they get sick is to keep them warm, so I cleaned out his little carry box, set "Girlfriend" in it, and him with it and half covered the box with the heating pad on medium. I have a little thermometer that told me the temp was about 80°F. He sat there, eyes half closed and ignoring everything except me checking the thermometer occasionally. Every once in a while he'd try a bite of seed or peck at the mirror, but his heart wasn't in it.

So there we sat, through a load of clothes and all of the Molly movie, probably a little over two hours.

Then all of a sudden he perked up, started bouncing around, and didn't want to stay in the box anymore. I lowered the heating pad temp gradually, then took it off, then let him out because he was bouncing around so. He flew back to his cage and promptly tossed one of his toys off the top.

He's back in there now, having eaten prodigious amounts of seed (I gave him completely new seed) and fruit pellets (new too) and several drinks of water, and now he's singing like he would have when we came home had he felt good.

I have no idea what just happened.

I just hope it's not a sucker hole...

(A sucker hole is when it clears up briefly in the middle of a storm, like the eye of a hurricane.)

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» Saturday, November 25, 2006
The Early Bird Catches...
...the big electric bill?

We went to an open house held by the sister of a friend of ours tonight and came home through an alternate route spotting all the homes already decorated for Christmas. While I was out at Hallmark today I saw a father and son stringing lighted garland along their fencing. Nothing spectacular yet. :-)

Food Network repeated the wonderful special from last year about the Italian foods, starting with torrone and working through the seven fishes on Christmas Eve. Hard to keep from salivating. :-) Afterwards Raven Symon hosted a special about food at Walt Disney World, primarily about edible decorations. My question is: if these decorations are edible, after Christmas does anyone eat this stuff? And if not, why on earth do they make it? All those eggs, sugar, chocolate, honey, ginger...used to be thrown away afterward? Talk about wasteful!

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» Friday, November 24, 2006
The Black Friday Report...
...Holiday Harbour.

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» Thursday, November 23, 2006
Thanksgiving Day "Snapshots"
A sunny day...up to get a newspaper...as always, had to go to two or three places to actually find one...what the heck? No Michael's flyer?...Macy's parade...balloons are flying...not much parade left any longer...mostly acts...rainy; almost looks like snow...gets warmer outside...as James starts cooking open more windows...a quick vacuum...clothes in the washer...rack we bought doesn't fit in the turkey roaster!...James brined the turkey last night, now it emerges from the brining bag into the roaster...basted with merlot...heavenly scent comes from the kitchen...birds darting at the feeder: woodpeckers, the nuthatches of both varieties...rain seems to let up a little in New York...here's Santa Claus...Pidgie is singing...Willow wants to know What's Going On?...here's the dog show...terriers are first!...perusing the sale flyers...turkey's out of the oven, perfectly browned...James makes a killer gravy...here's his mom, sister, and niece...Nicki has a new laptop...the nickel tour...table is set...James finishes dinner...we sit down to eat...using Mom's china at least for the main course...it was up in the attic for 51 years and needs to see the world...I have a wing; yum!...talk over the table and watching the birds eat their Thanksgiving dinner, too: the woodpeckers again, "Greedy Guts" the white-breasted nuthatch (since he chases the other birds away), the brown-headed nuthatches, something that I think is a female goldfinch, a sparrow, and the little chickadees trilling "dee-dee-dee"...Pidgie entertains the family...Willow cleans plates...turn on the fire and chat...dessert: apple pie and pumpkin bread with cream...finally a family picture and they're off...cleanup...bye-bye fire...Lighting of the Great Tree at Lenox Mall...cool star; changes colors...This Old House in East Boston continues...perusing the sale papers again...complication: one sugar-free candy and one sugar-free slice of apple pie equals unhappy elimination system; urgh—paging Pepto Bismol...tryptophan effect during Ask This Old House; even slept through "What is This?"...close the windows again...only thing on now is CSI (still liked Petersen better with the beard)...Pidgie's on my head...

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Happy Thanksgiving

More photos in Autumn Hollow.

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» Wednesday, November 22, 2006
"We Gather Together..."
...in song in Holiday Harbour (with a twist of Tom Lehrer).

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Farewell to Spot
I hadn't mentioned it previously, but since I did mention Leia in the "Tame Fire" post, I should add that we lost a member of the family last week.

When I moved up to Atlanta in 1988, James moved in with our friends Ann and Clay, who had a black cat named Buttercup. A week after Leia was born, Buttercup had a litter of kittens: two black, a tabby-pointed Siamese, and a grey tabby. (I mention this only because when Buttercup managed to have another litter before the needed visit to the vet, she had exactly the same color combination: two black, a tabby-pointed Siamese, and a grey tabby, which led to the comment, "That's not a cat, it's a Xerox machine.") James brought Leia home six weeks later and she grew up with the kittens. For a long time she thought she was a cat and was very confused when she got too big to disappear under the sofa with them!

Both James and Leia got very attached to the little striped grey tabby. Because she was striped James called her "Spot" (or "Spotte" as Ann has always spelled it). So when the time came to give away the kittens, only the black ones found new homes (Mackie went to Sue Phillips and the other kitten to Kay Teems.) The tabby-pointed Siamese was named Camber and stayed with Ann and Clay while Spot was officially James' (or maybe she was Leia's) cat. He said it was the funniest thing when Spot would come up to Leia and bump her head. Leia would obligingly drop open her lower jaw to "her sister" and Spot would scratch her head on one of Leia's canine teeth.

Amusingly, Spot's stripes, which won her her antonymic name, eventually broke up into mottled spots. Ann used to call her the "tweed kitty."

Unfortunately I am super-allergic to cats, had a bird, and James' allergy was doing none too well itself with constant cat exposure. So when we were married and he moved to Atlanta, we left Spot behind "in fosterage." She broke in a succession of dogs, but none was ever her buddy the way Leia was. And Leia looked all her life for "her cat." We surprised a big grey tabby one night during a walk around the apartment; a delighted Leia was sniffing him before he knew she was there. He looked terrified but was about to defend himself when Leia, after a quick sniff, had the expression, "That's not my cat" and trotted off, leaving the strange tabby bewildered.

Well, Miss Spot died at age 18 last week, having had a long happy cat life. I like to think of her somewhere at Rainbow Bridge, finally rubbing her head on Leia's teeth again, and Leia happy because she's finally found her own cat at last.

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[doing Snoopy dance]
The Get Smart set was shipped yesterday! I haven't seen these things intact since the first syndication run in 1971. (These days they chop 'em up right off the bad, but back then the first rerun cycle was always uncut.) Forsythe in the decoding room will be back! The final gag in "99 Loses Control" won't be cut off! We'll see what Hans Hunter intends for Max! And the extras sound marvelous.

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» Tuesday, November 21, 2006
For Prairie Home Companion Fans
Here's an archive of old shows.

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» Monday, November 20, 2006
The "Tame Fire" Story
Well, we are finally with gas log. We got the last flexible connection that the Home Depot near us had (this one set up to bend properly) and connected it, checked it for leaks, then spread the crackling ash and "glowing embers," added the grate and the "logs," and turned it on. It crackles and spits quite nicely. I have another bag of glowing embers and need to add them around the edges where I'm still seeing blue gas flame.

We had a gas log in the old place courtesy a sale at Home Depot Expo Center and a well-timed housewarming gift card. We had trouble installing that one as well because John and Juanita, who'd had the house before us, liked real fires and had used the gas starter. After dozens of fires, the pipes were pretty well melded together. Having installed his own gas log, Jerry came over to help us with this one. It basically had to be cut out of the fireplace with the blade of a mototool.

The first thing he had to do was take the metal plates off the sides of the firebox to work in there. Our dog at the time, Leia, was at once suspicious. You could read this dog's face like a book. She watched Jerry in bewilderment, then looked at James. "Daddy, why is that man taking our house apart?"

But if that was puzzling for her, the look of astonishment on her face the first time Jerry lit the flame was priceless. She kept looking from Jerry to James to me with this wide-eyed stare. "Daddy—that's a fire. I know what that is and it's a fire. Is there supposed to be a fire in the house?"

To reassure her I petted her and told her soothingly but jokingly "It's okay, Leia. It's a tame fire." (This later became a running gag.)

Finally everything was reassembled, the ash and embers and logs on the grate, and the fire crackling merrily. Doglike, Leia noticed it was also warm there and settled down in front of the hearth.

Part of what makes the gas log resemble a real fire is the presence of crackling ash or little pumice stones that lay over the gas jets. They pop and crackle and sometimes one will get hot enough to pop out of the fireplace. One did and plunked Leia right on the flank. It didn't burn her, but the sting added insult to injury. She never lay down in front of the fire again.

I'll tidy up in front of the fireplace tomorrow, so for now Willow can't lie on her bed in front of it. So we don't know yet whether she'll like the "tame fire" or not.

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Pilgrims' Pride...
...Desperate Crossing and Thanksgiving history in Holiday Harbour.

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Callahans at Christmas...
... in Holiday Harbour.

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A Typical November Day
Which means, of course, that it is cloudy and cold with a fairly good breeze scudding the leaves around (they are not flying about like they were this Sunday and last, however—I can't be in a "veritable whirlwind of [golden leaves]" any longer without thinking of Miss Emily Baldwin and Ashley Longworth!). I am working through various orders and peeking out the window in envy; it would be a nice day to work on the nook in the back yard. By the weekend it is supposed to be warm again—WSB was even saying yucky <g> things last night like 70°F for Thanksgiving (Weather Channel is only saying 65°). Ah, well, I risk sounding like Phoebe (but that's a post for Cozy Nook).

After dinner tonight (and hurrah, James is back on his old schedule; the only thing better would be to have made it starting one hour earlier) we are supposed to go to Lowe's to see if we can easily salvage the fireplace project. The hard salvage will be if we have to call the company up to get the part. No fun.

I have a project for Christmas that James is going to help me with that I'm particularly interested in starting, but I won't mention it until it's done. :-)

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Monday Madness

1. In order to protect my computer from viruses, I use AVG Virus Protection from Grisoft . Which is free at free.grisoft.com. This is recommended by the computer guy who writes for our newspaper. It's so funny because every week he gets a letter saying "I went to 'www.grisoft.com' and I don't see a link for any free software!" and every week he repeats that it's "free.grisoft.com." Of course if you go to the main site they're going to try to sell you the paid version!

2. I also use Ad-Aware for protection from spyware.

Which reminds me I haven't run it in a while.

3. I don't spend nearly enough time sleeping .

4. The first person I usually talk to in the morning is Pidge, even though his cage is still covered .

Oh, you mean a human? Varies. Sometimes I just wave at the security guard and show him my badge, so it could be anyone coming my way as I walk into the office.

5. It takes me about 20 minutes to get ready in the morning.

I take a shower before bed, have my clothes all laid out, don't do anything fancy to my hair but brush it out, wash my face, get my lunch (it's packed the night before by James when he packs his own lunch), check the traffic and the weather and then shut the computer off, and go.

(Okay. This morning it took a little longer because I had to get my coat out of the downstairs closet. It was downright nippy for Georgia this morning, thirty-something with the windchill making it feel like high twenties.

It's the first time I haven't had to put my fan on in my cubicle since last winter.)

6. I keep all my appointments in/on my PDA .

Including the nice alarm that goes off when I have to take my heart pill.

7. It takes me about to fall asleep at night.

Talk about an "it depends." Weekends when we go to bed late and I am actually sleepy, it can be just after my head hits the pillow. Weeknights are bad because I'm just not sleepy at 11 p.m. Even after a nice hot shower and reading for 15 minutes, it sometimes takes me up to a half hour to fall asleep, longer on Sunday nights.

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» Sunday, November 19, 2006
Well, Bother...
We picked up the last of the food for Thanksgiving this afternoon, stopped at Borders, and also went to Home Depot to pick up a gas log. We had hoped to have it installed for Thanksgiving Day, when James' mom, sister and niece come for dinner.

He had trouble from the start. When the house was built, they pre-installed a gas starter. We asked them not to, but it never got put into writing, so they didn't know not to do it. James got the starter itself off okay, but the pipe leading from the starter into the wall had an S-bend (I guess that's what they call it) and there was no way to unscrew it. If you turned it more than 180°, it would hit the bricks and not turn the rest of the way. (I have no idea how they screwed it on!!!)

James got his mototool and cut it off, and then was able to unscrew the rest of the pipe.

So far, so good. I had pre-assembled the burner and the pan and James used the joint compound included to attach the joint to this part, and again to attach the valve to the gas pipe from the wall.

To connect the burner and the pipe in the wall is a flexible pipe which has to be bent gently in order that it won't kink and block the gas flow. The video that comes with the gas log showed the man doing the demo bending it easily. Like us, he had to bend it in a complete circle to fit it into the space in the fireplace.

James worked it as gently as he could, but it was tougher to turn than it looked on the DVD. Eventually it kinked in the middle. When he tried to unkink it, it kinked on the opposite side.

So we need another pipe, dammit. If we try to unbend the one now, it looks like it might break.

The DVD said it should take about an hour to install. Hah!

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Well, How Interesting
James turned the television on this morning and lo and behold, the Component 2 feed was coming in as well as ever. Yes, we did have the television off for some time yesterday (during most of the party), so it wasn't as if we hadn't tried that. I wonder if it were the HD feed after all.

On the other hand, I think Rodney was right last night: the Cyberhome is shot. Still showing a vertical blue line this morning.

I think I'll unplug it all and try the one from the spare bedroom there and see if that works.

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» Saturday, November 18, 2006
Electronic Weirdness
Incidentally, we have something weird going on at the entertainment center, but we're not sure what it is.

Quick setup explanation:

Channel 3 is the television tuner input; it receives the satellite input, but is not in HD. We have had some trouble with it lately; the picture gets snowy. If you jostle the television slightly, the picture gets clear again. We figure something in the tuner is loose and need to call Circuit City before the warranty runs out.

Component 1 filters the satellite signal through the DVD recorder/VCR.

Component 2 is the direct HD signal from the satellite box.

Video 1 is the input we have set up with the Cyberhome, our Region 2 DVD player.

We were watching television through 1 a.m. this morning on Component 2. Before James came home from work, I had watched two British DVDs on Video 1. Everything played fine. When we went to bed, as always unless I am recording something during the night, I switched off the satellite box, the television, and the DVD machines.

This morning when I turned the television on the picture was ... bizarre. The only two colors really showing were red and green. I tried turning the television and the satellite box on and off, but it was still like that. It reminded me of the old color Christmas story I described watching a few nights ago, which had faded so much all you saw was red and green.

I was very upset, and even more intrigued when I switched the video inputs.

The color to Channel 3 comes in fine. So does the color signal in Component 1. It's just Component 2 that looked bad. So I wondered if something had gone wrong with the HD feed.

However, tonight, on a wild hair, I turned on Video 1 and the Cyberhome player. Usually you get a big blue screen with the Cyberhome logo on it. Instead there was just a blue bar to the right of the screen. I put a DVD in the player and it started to load, but the logo at the beginning of the DVD was scrambled against a black screen. And oddly, a black shadow at the lower left part of the screen kept moving up and down to obscure part of the logo. I opened the player, then closed it again. This time either the disk didn't load at all or we had lost the picture completely.

So it can't be the HD feed, can it? Can the Component 2 cable and the Video 1 cable have both suddenly gone bad (one is a component cable and one is an S-video cable)? Or have the Component 2 electronics and the Video 1 gone west at the same time? Both of them? At once? Very strange.

Anyone got any ideas what's gone wrong here? Rodney? Jerry? And if it is the television, what do I tell Circuit City when I call them? Any idea what to call the situation?

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In the Bosom of Friends
We had "Hair Day" this morning—mass hair trims and lunch (a wonderful chicken stew made by Phyllis) at the Butlers—then off to BJs for the fixings for Thanksgiving as well as the mover's party tonight. We have a nice 12-pound turkey thawing in the fridge, makings for sweet potato casserole and a side of carrots, and bought honey barbecue chicken wings and Swedish meatballs for the party.

The house was filled with talk and laughter for four lovely hours.

Thanks again to everyone who helped us move—we enjoyed having you over!

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» Friday, November 17, 2006
Getting Ready for ... Everything
We're finally having the mover's party tomorrow night, so it's been a busy day doing both the usual weekly housework, doing some Christmas shopping, and making sure things are prepared for both the party and our Thanksgiving guests next week.

Feel free to skip list of where I went today (I'll make it brief):
Walgreen's (Brawny on sale)
Target (looking at Christmas trees on sale, but just bought a welcome sign for the front yard with a jinglebell on it)
Books-a-Million (Country Extra with wonderful fall photos, two Christmas Good Old Days, and—O frabjous day!—a crosspatch puzzle book!!!; plus a book on remainder I've been wanting to read and a book of Christmas short stories)
Home Depot (looking for Christmas village houses; bought a set of trees and some figures instead)
Michael's (some boxes for crafting, poster tape, and—grrr!—more floral wire, plus two village buildings, the grocery and a house)
CVS (small Christmas tree on sale which I want for the front porch; it has the most wretched plastic ornaments on it you've ever seen, but that doesn't matter since I'm going to cut them off, because the tree itself is actually nice)
Hallmark (just to look)
Borders (just to look since the November issue of the British Country Living isn't out yet)
Costco (to "feed the car" and then "have lunch" on the samples at the store; I bought lobster spread for Hair Day tomorrow and a copy of the new Lassie movie)
Cost Plus World Market (I had a coupon and was going to spend it on a special dessert for Thanksgiving—and then I saw some small things that reminded me I had a rather tough Christmas gift that I needed to buy, so like Mary Clancy in The Trouble With Angels, I had a "scathingly brilliant idea" and assembled the contents for the gift—yay!)
Hobbytown (final fillip for aforementioned gift)
Sears (they had their villages on sale; I bought a post office building and some figures)
Garden Ridge (to look at their villages; I like one of the churches, but they have a movie theatre that's kinda keen, too; I'm planning to put this on the mantel and I don't think more than four buildings will fit)

And by then I was pooped and swung by Dragon 168 for pork fried rice for supper. Since I'd been Christmas shopping and listening to "Holly," I was in a Yuletide mood and put on "Silly, But It's Fun" (the Good Life Christmas episode) and "Merry Gentlemen" (the All Creatures Great and Small episode).

If it sounds like I spent a ton, I didn't. Ain't coupons and half-price sales wonderful?

What I'm planning to do with the village stuff is make a 1940s era village. There are some 1940s figures at Lowe's (I thought it was Home Depot, and I did get 1940s figures from Home Depot last week, but James swears it was Lowe's) and it gave me the idea to try it. I'm looking for small copies of WWII posters online and will print them out and put them on appropriate buildings (like "Do With Less So They'll Have Enough" with a soldier on it for the grocery store and a "Buy War Bonds" poster for the post office).

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Friday Five

Oh Internet, how we crave thee...

1. How much time do you spend on the Internet daily?


A lot, because I have to use the Internet as part of my job. I e-mail all my request for quotations, I have to look vendors up in the excluded vendor list and in the CCR (Central Contractor Registration), I have to look on GSA Advantage to find vendors, etc.

2. What are your favorite 3 websites?

Amazon.com, e-Bay, and Yahoo Groups.

3. Do you eat at your computer?

Yes, at work, and when I'm constructing a new web page.

4. Pick one and why - Reading the news online or in a newspaper?

Er, that's a tossup. I prefer reading the news online, but the newspaper is good because you get all those interesting feature articles that never turn up on news websites.

5. How many people are on your instant messenger buddy list?

Over a dozen, but none of them are really in use anymore. I haven't IM'd anyone in ... wow, it's probably been a year. I IM'd Laura and that was in the old house.

Last week's was about travel; how funny!

1) If you had to move 100 miles or more to the north, east, west, or south, which would you choose, where would you end up, and what's so great about there?

Oh, I always head north. East would be nice because of the ocean, but at this latitude it's too humid by the ocean. Too hot south or west.

2) Do you have a favorite stretch of highway or byway for driving, touring, or wandering?

I'm mighty fond of the route up to Helen, GA. My favorite route of all time was this one point on I-80 in Pennsylvania. I'm not certain where it was, although I can tell you it wasn't as far west as Pittsburgh, where the land starts to get flat. At this point on the freeway, you have nothing but the side of the mountain at your left and trees on your right, and then you round a corner and there is a big beautiful valley in front of you and to your right. Last time I was through there (1978) it was full of lovely farmland. Probably all houses now.

When God was giving out scenery, that part of Pennsylvania got in line twice. :-)

3) Are you happier to start a trip or return home?

Oh, starting it, definitely. I always go into a post trip depression on the way home.

4) Plane, train, automobile, bicycle, or foot?

Flying is nice if you have money, or you're going a long distance in a short time. I like to fly, but the airport is horror city these days. I used to love taking the train to New York. I'd considered the train on several occasions, but it's so expensive.

But I confess my first love is car trips. Loved 'em as a kid and still do. Reminds me of Mom and Dad and summer vacation and Lake George...

5) Do you overplan or underplan your travels? (Assume that "no" is not a valid answer.)

I always overplan what we will need after a day doing things. I don't know why I bring books since we always end up going somewhere where we buy them anyway! This time I brought my cross-stitch and Scrabble Scramble in case time held heavy at night (since the Smithsonian closes at 5:30), but by the time we ate and I updated my blog and looked through new books, I never needed them.

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» Thursday, November 16, 2006
Rhode Island Mystery
Foul Play Suspected In a Death Once Ruled a Suicide

Ya think?

Seriously—is this gentleman related to the DeFuscos who have/had (?) the bakery on Federal Hill? Donna, is it the same folks?

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Thursday Threesome

From the Weather Service

::A Day in the Rain::

Onesome: A Day--or so ago? Oops, wrong meme. Wait, that might be cool... "A Day or So Ago, I saw......." You fill it in <g>!

Christmas lights! We saw them riding home on Saturday night. Yesterday when I drove past the house they didn't have the lights on, but they did have the tree lighted. It was quite cheery on such a dismal rainy day.

Twosome: in-- case of rain, do you carry an umbrella? ...or do you just hoof it in a hat?

I have an umbrella, but I usually forget it. I can't tell you how many free umbrellas I treated RIPTA (the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority) buses to!

Threesome: the Rain-- in Spain? Nah, how about locally: has the rainy season kicked in for you yet? Snow? Nothing? Come on, it's almost Thanksgiving here in the States!

No snow, just rain. Of course, given the amount of rain we had yesterday, if we'd had snow I wouldn't be at work today. The entire city of Atlanta would have come to a stop with two feet of snow. (Heck, two inches of snow bogs it down.)

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» Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Thank God for Holly!
"It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them. The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already -- it had not been light all day: and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air... [m]eanwhile the fog and darkness thickened so, that people ran about with flaring links, proffering their services to go before horses in carriages, and conduct them on their way."
I thought of these lines from A Christmas Carol as I was driving home tonight.

We had a day of complete rain, light this morning, heavy this afternoon, a taste of what the poor folks in Washington state and Oregon have been going through for the past couple of weeks. It wasn't very cold—it stood about mid-50s all afternoon—but made up for it by being damp, drear and miserable. By three o'clock, as in imitation of Dickens' prose, it was as dark as twilight and I drove home in a steady gloom that darkened after an hour. The streets were quite awash and even at slower speed I frequently raised great gouts of "propwash" to either side of me. Mabry Street and Windsor Parkway, with their beautiful homes and lovely trees, respectively, were even dismal, although a few bright trees, flame tipped or ruddy, managed to still command attention. (So many homes didn't have lights lit; they looked so lonely! I'm glad I have Mama's lamp lit in the foyer to greet us in the evening!) The others so engaged in traffic navigation in this mess clotted intersections, including the one at Mount Paran and Cobb Parkway, which is usually okay. On Cobb Parkway, Borders' big sign lit up its area like a warm literary mecca, but I continued home.

I put XM's "Holly" station on and slogged through the 90 minutes on an even keel of mistletoe, snow, and red berries. A great lift on a sodden day.

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Winding Down a Beloved Comic Strip
Lynn Johnston talks about ending her strip in "Better, Worse" Creator Ready For Last Laughs.

Glad to know that had she gone on April would become a vet.

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» Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Wha?
People have been waiting in line in front of stores for over four days to get a Playstation 3? For a game system? Man, and they talk about science fiction fans not having a life...

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1950s Christmas Television...
...viewed and reviewed in Holiday Harbour.

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Not A Good Day
Had a "crash and burn" today, having woken up with the beginnings of a migraine. I took some medication, intending to wake up in a hour and go to work.

I slept through not only my alarm, but James' as well. Slept for about half a day as well and kept it easy on the tummy with oatmeal and bread and milk.

Not much else to say. Still sleepy...

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Christmas Music...
...is on the air in Holiday Harbour.

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» Monday, November 13, 2006
Monday Madness

1. From ch'i:
If you could only read one blog every day- which one blog would be on your daily list?


Er. Probably James Lileks. I love the way he writes.

2. From kat:
What do you do to de-stress from a hectic day?


Play "retrieve 'Girlfriend'" with Pidgie.

3. From paxil princess:
What is your favorite piece of clothing to wear in the winter?


Ah, nice, warm snuggly sweatshirts. So perfect to snuggle into.

4. From sherle:
Do you prefer discussing problems with a sibling, a parent, a significant other, a psychologist, or a total stranger?


My husband. Mom isn't there to share with anymore, though.

5. From trista:
How long have you been blogging?


Since January of 2002, when I tore the ligaments in my right foot. There wasn't much else I could do.

6. From lisa e:
Which side of the bed?


As you look at it, left. From my POV, right.

7. From elton:
How often do you pig out when you eat?


Not often. I don't even do that at buffets.

8. From karen:
Do you watch the space shuttle launches?


Yes, I've been watching space launches since John Glenn. I remember Ed White's spacewalk and the "angry alligator" and the Apollo 1 fire.

9. From dawn:
What's your favorite leisure-time activity?


Reading!

10. From sherle:
When is the last time you said, 'I love you' and to whom? What about hugs? Who is the last person you hugged?


Last night, to James. Unless we're really tired, we always say "I love you" before going to sleep. I hugged James while he was fixing dinner tonight.

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» Sunday, November 12, 2006
Routine Is Good
Couldn't stay awake last night and crawled into bed around 12:30. Woke once with a disorientation nightmare and once with a call of nature; otherwise was in bed 10 hours. It's wonderful how much energy you have when you get enough sleep! We got the suitcases put up and the rest of the clothes in the washer, then went to BJ's for the necessities of life, including more milk! I kept wandering around last night thinking I would feel better if I had some milk, but that would have involved getting dressed and, even worse, getting in the car again. Ugh! :-)

When we had the groceries put away we drove out to Lithia Springs High School for Christmas in Lithia. Regrettably small like last year, and again, no "cow lady." ::sigh:: I did get a cute ceramic turkey and a leaf plate, also some inexpensive novelty Christmas ornaments and one of those wooden reindeer; I've always wanted one, but we never had a good place to put one. This has antlers that detach from the head and a head that detaches from the body and is finished on both sides, so you can have the reindeer face right or left.

I looked rather regretfully at quilts, especially a beautiful autumn-themed one in a log cabin pattern. But no...$240...need other things.

Came home to relax—and drink more milk!

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Aieee!
BTW, guess what we saw driving home last night, about five minutes from home.

A house decorated for Christmas already!

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» Saturday, November 11, 2006
Tired, Hungry, and Queasy
Gad, what a day. It was pretty through Virginia, with mare's tails all over a pale blue sky, but it was hellishly hot for November, in the mid-70s. The drive was fine, but Willow threw up twice and it was quite messy (and that's all the details I will impart). I've just finished bathing her and am headachy and a bit dizzy from getting up at 6:30 a.m., although we didn't leave until 8:30. Part of the headache is from getting both sunburned and windburned. (Sunburned and windburned in November. Gah.) The wind picked up quite a clip as we were passing through the pretty valley just north of the North Carolina line. By the time we hit the South Carolina welcome center (which was already closed, which tells you what time we got there) it was clouding over, and it was raining in earnest when we reached the Georgia welcome center and changed drivers from me to James.

But once we got close to the metro center it wasn't raining and it hadn't rained here at home at all.

A load of clothes has just finished. Need to wash a second one. Need to eat something besides dry K cereal (since there is no milk). I'm sick to my stomach because we stopped in Commerce and I had two plain pups (small hot dogs). Urgh. Maybe oatmeal.

We stopped at the Russell Stover outlet in Hickory, NC, for James to get some sugarless candy and he found out they made a maple cream equivalent of their maple cream Easter eggs for Hallowe'en; it's called a Buzzard's Egg. So now I have enough to have a once-a-week treat.

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Ark Awaiting
Packing to leave now. It was a quick vacation as always, despite the hotel problems.

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» Friday, November 10, 2006
The Last Day
It was a quiet one. We visited a well-reviewed hobby shop near the hotel we had been in last time. It didn't open until eleven, so we went into a small newstand until it was time. This had an excellent cross-stitch sampler book about 60 percent off the original price, so I grabbed it. While James was in the hobby shop, I went into the used bookstore next door. A bit pricey, but I did find an old Ideals Christmas album that had some stories I hadn't read.

The rest of the day we spent with Rodney. He treated us to lunch at Bertucci's on account of our anniversary (THANK YOU AGAIN, RODNEY!)—excellent, excellent meal, with great bread!—and we also stopped at a book warehouse called Daedalus Books. Found several goodies including what I think is the newest William Safire linguistic book and also the second season Joey Bishop Show DVD set for only $10!

Then we enjoyed Rodney's media room, watching three Doctor Who Confidential programs which we don't see over here, plus the episode showing on Sci-Fi tonight, "The Idiot's Lantern." Unfortunately it was getting late, so we had to pass on the first episode of Torchwood to get back to the hotel and start to pack.

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BTW...
...Happy Anniversary to us! It's sixteen years today.

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Tree'd
We were up this morning in time to see the Christmas tree arrive at Rockefeller Center on Today. They had a funny story about the couple who owned the property on which the tree was found; the man was, as Mom would have termed it, a "hot sketch." He had grown up in the house and the tree was in the background of most of the photos.

This was funnier because we caught the news report last night about the tree having been found and cut down.

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» Thursday, November 09, 2006
You Won't Believe This...
The desk clerk got the plunger, wrapped in a plastic bag, from a cart that has been left next to the rear entry door (nice way to greet your guests, guys).

Obviously the hotel has other guests, as well, because after we got done using the plunger, there were ants in the bathroom. Geez.

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Return to the Sky
We "chose wisely," as the knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade intones; we picked today to go to the Udvar-Hazy Center, which is subtitled "America's Hangar," where the big aircraft, and more aircraft, are now displayed rather than being shown cheek-by-jowl in the Air and Space building downtown on the Mall. Air and Space is still crowded, but compared to the way it looked before the new building was opened, it looks downright bare. Anyway, it was a beautiful day, cloudless, the sky that "blue bowl overhead." The wind was blowing briskly, but that lessened as the day progressed.

I pretty much described the Udvar-Hazy Center in my blog entry two years ago, so for details on the place, just follow the link. More aircraft have been added; the vertical flight gallery is now there, but there is still space where they used to have the tables and the Subway stand. (There is now a McDonald's restaurant and a "McCafe" permanently installed, so Subway is no longer needed.) James says some airplanes have been moved, but I couldn't really tell. And there were some additional airplanes added, including one that he told me used to ferry spies into occupied France (so that ties back to the Spy Museum from Sunday; cool).

James goes through these places taking photos of the airplanes, the rockets, the missiles, and occasionally the satellites. I like to look at the airplanes and the space equipment (like the Gemini capsules), but mostly I want to see the memorabilia: the flyers' outfits, the things they carried, the gadgets they used, their journals. There is a wonderful display case filled with space toys from the 1950s and 1960s, for example. Another has dishes and plates, furniture, and other things influenced in style by the balloon craze that occurred after the Montgolfier brothers flew their first hot-air balloon in the 1700s. (I was amused by the timeline that talks about the first American to fly in a balloon being a 13-year-old boy. Timmy mentions this fact in an episode of Lassie.)

There were two new historical displays this year. One was an assortment of memorabilia having to do with zeppelins. Two struts from the crashed Hindenburg were here, along with a surviving cup and saucer. There was also a tank used in an exploration vessel, Norge, which was lost. Roald Admunsen, the first man to reach the South Pole, and a partner disappeared while looking for the Norge.

The second display was three big multi-shelf glass cabinets holding items to do with Charles Lindbergh. Some were items Lindbergh (and his wife Anne in a couple of cases) had used, but the majority of them, over 90 percent, were items that had been issued to celebrate—and capitalize—on Lindbergh's historic flight across the Atlantic. If you think merchandising over movies and celebrities is something new, think again. There were games, drinking glasses, statues, toys, inkwells, watches, bracelets, photos, frames, and other things too numerous to list.

After we'd walked the main level we had lunch. I tried the McDonald's Asian salad, which wasn't bad, except they were out of the sesame ginger dressing. I had balsamic vinegarette instead, which gave me roaring indigestion despite two Prilosec.

We then visited the Gift Shop (it's a State Law) and I bought a book about World War II homefront propaganda posters and also a postcard book of them. I'm going to frame a few of them and dot them around the house. Afterwards we walked the second and third floor catwalks so James could get more photos, then went up to the tower, which overlooks the landing path for Dulles Airport. Last time James had gotten rather foggy pics because of the weather; tonight he snapped photo after photo while I just sat and enjoyed the view. It was so clear you could see the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 23 miles away.

We left about four o'clock.

Well, a couple of nights ago I discovered there was an A.C. Moore about seven miles away from us. I asked James if we could make a stop there before visiting Rodney tomorrow and he had agreed, but since we had time tonight we went tonight instead. I found some inexpensive (less than $3.00 in most cases) decorations for the front porch for Christmas and for the winter, got some iron-ons for my new sweatshirts, and a couple of other things. Not worth trucking up to Chattanooga for, but nice since the store was nearby. We also stopped at Borders in the vain hope that this one might still stock Best of British, but, alas, no. I did get a couple of cross-stitch magazines, the new Yankee—gad, they're going to magazine-size format in January, after seventy years!, the Ideal Home Christmas volume, the December Early American Life, and from the remainder rack, Life's Christmas Around the World, which was $25 last year. Borders remainder price: three bucks. I love Borders' remainder tables.

We also had a great meal at the Golden Corral near the Borders. The breakfast bar here at the hotel is heavily starches, I had salad at lunch, so I did an Atkins thing at supper. :-) I did have a small slice of apple pie and was very surprised: most commercially served apple pie is overly sweet, but this was just sweet enough and very strongly spices, and my favorite part, the crust, was terrific!

So it was a lovely day, except for the toilet doing its thing again when we got back. [eyes roll] Need to let James have a turn at the laptop and go have a game of "peck" with Pidgie. Ta!

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Not Again
Yes, again. The toilet has clogged again. To make sure it would be okay, it was flushed first, even though it was clear, then it was flushed a second time in progress. Toilet paper didn't even enter into the equation; it hadn't been used yet.

I've also noticed the handle on the bathroom sink leaks water when you turn it on. It's one of those single-handle ones and when you turn it on, water spills from under it. Ducky.

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Blimey!
The television did it again. Since we are heading to Udvar-Hazy today and that's right up the road about four miles, we slept until 8:30. Or we tried to. Promptly at 8 a.m. the television turned on, to TNT like last time.

And it was off when we came back to the room at 8:30.

Evidently this darn thing has been programmed to come on as an alarm clock. But how? The remote is basic and doesn't have any button to program a timer.

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» Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Au Natural
It was another rainy —or rather drizzly—day in our nation's capitol again. No matter; we were planning to be inside all day.

But first it was the usual morning routine including the buffet downstairs. There are about four people here that sound like they are from CDC. One lady, tall, heavyset, with greying hair, looks very familiar. She's no one that works in my office, but I'm sure I've seen her somewhere before, perhaps on a web page or visiting PGO.

Even leaving at nine the freeway was a solid mass of cars, backed up, according to the traffic report, from west of Chantilly all the way to I-495 (the Beltway). So we tried the route we took last night coming home, Route 29, but that was mostly backed up as well, which took so long we ended up again parking in the reserved parking space (non-reserved after 10 a.m.) and heading into town.

Our venue was the Natural History Museum today; we began at the galleries that trace the evolution of life through primitive human beings. When I was in school my favorite science class was in eighth grade, Mr. Plummer's Earth Science class. Today it all came rushing back, especially at the beginning: trilobites and brachiopods! We wandered through the Hall of Dinosaurs, with the classic skeleton models, explored the Ancient Seas, and saw models and skeletons of fossil mammals and explored the gallery about the Ice Age, which ends with a diorama of a Neaderthal funeral. (I had another nostalgic moment at a small exhibition about the evolution of the horse from small dog-sized, three-toed eohippus to the modern equine, since I did my eighth grade science project on the evolution of the horse, with models done in Play-Doh.)

Following this is an "African Voices" display which includes a beautiful hand-embroidered Tunisian wedding tunic and some fab art.

Part of the building was blocked off for a new ocean exhibition scheduled to open (as in the redone Museum of American History) in 2008, so we could not cross the building. Instead we took the elevator upstairs and visited the Western Culture exhibit. This began in the Indus Valley civilizations and worked through the years until it concluded with the Romans. There are relics from Troy there, as well as Egyptian collections including a mummified cat, also a mummified bull (it didn't explain why the bull was mummified), and an actual Roman mosaic taken from Carthage. There were all sorts of tools of everyday life such as knives (stone, copper, bronze, iron), lamps, needles, cooking pots and water jars, baskets, and all the other items of survival, plus an exhibit about the Ice Man found in the Alps several years back.

From there we entered the gallery about plate tectonics and the entire history of the development of land masses on earth, segueing into geology and ending with minerals and gems, the showpiece, of course, being the Hope Diamond. I was in hog-heaven here and wandered about blissfully along with James until I turned to examine something and noticed he had sat down to watch one of the films showing about plate tectonics. He doesn't usually do this without saying anything, so I sat down too and watched the film and then thought to look at my cell phone. We'd been walking around over three hours and he hadn't eaten for over six hours. No-no for diabetics; he was starting to "crash."

So we hurried out through the rest of the gallery and went downstairs to the Atrium Cafe Food Court. This has several selections, but we again know now what the bus tourguides meant when they commented on the overpriced food and suggested we go to Union Station for lunch! James had this really limp-looking hamburger that cost $5, we both had soup, and I had a salad (it was actually a very good salad—it had baby greens in it rather than that loathsome iceberg—and the soup wasn't bad, thick with noodles, chicken and carrots), and we split our desserts, a tiny apple tartlet and a brownie, plus just bottled water at $2.50 a pop! Lunch actually ended up costing more than dinner.

When we finished up with lunch we looked over the Museum's symbol, the huge African elephant in the rotunda, then explored the Hall of Mammals, which contains beautifully mounted specimens from all over the world. The taxidermist was very skillful in all aspects and there are some gorgeous dioramas, like two lionesses attacking a water buffalo and a bobcat catching a partridge in midair. The wolf looked as if he would howl at any minute. A raccoon relaxed over a branch, a lynx was frozen in mid-lope and kangaroos in mid-hop, and a possum dangled by his tail.

From animals in vegetables (uh, vegetation) we went to minerals. Instead of taking up where we left off, we started with the Hope Diamond (which is not clear like engagement ring diamonds, but blue tinted and very attractive) and worked backwards through the gem exhibit, to the minerals, to the rocks. There is a small but solid collection of gemstone jewelry that included a diamond and emerald crown and necklace given by Napoleon to his second wife Maria Louise, a 428-carat brilliant blue sapphire, and the most unexpect pleasure, a heart-shaped cut sky-blue diamond pendant that I adored. There was also a "crystal ball," a larger-than-bowling-ball sized perfectly clear quartz globe that reflected the entire room upside down.

The mineral exhibit was fabulous. I can't describe all the different colors, shapes, and sizes of the different ones exhibited, but it was the full range of the spectrum and more, from pea sized to larger than a big dog. Super geodes, including a huge one studded with amythyst quartz. This segued via an exhibit of the products of mines, including gold, silver, copper, and even plum-sized nuggets of pure platinum, which returned us to rocks—how they form and how they erode and how they change from various means—and where we had left off earlier.

By this time it was very late and we had no time left to see the insect gallery—I was only interested in the butterflies anyway—and the reptiles (again, not something I really cared to see) and the bones. We hit the gift shop (it's a State Law) and between the two of use we bought a couple of Christmas gifts. Then it was closing time and time to trudge across the Mall in the drizzle and get back to the Metro.

Amazingly, the freeway was not backed up tonight and we could come back straight that way. We "supped" at Bob Evans and bought four loaves of pumpkin bread (we loved it so last time and are planning to freeze it to last the rest of the winter). They have a little gift shop alá Cracker Barrel and I bought a cute sign for the laundry room and two little "acorn men." Then we came back to "hearth" and hotel and our critters. I leave the television on for Pidgie and it was off again; it turns itself on and off at its own sweet will—Sunday morning it woke us up at eight by clicking on!

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» Tuesday, November 07, 2006
The Blind Leading...
I'm not sure if today was a school holiday in this area or not.

When I was in elementary school we always got an election day off because our school was used as a polling place. I noticed at least one school with a "no school November 7" on it when we were driving home last night.

But there were children at the Air and Space Museum today that were obviously in school groups, and children with their parents as well. So I guess it depended which school.

Several of the children seemed to have an assignment to be fulfilled at the museum; they had to visit various galleries and answer questions posed on the paper (like "What was the Lunar Rover used for?"). I'm not certain that having to do assignments like this rather than enjoying the museum exhibits hasn't turned many children into museum-haters, but it was done even before I was a child and I'm sure will continue to be done. I peered at exhibits over the heads of these children and saw several of these photocopied forms filled in in childish handwriting.

There was one mother there, though, who was basically walking about with her kids in her wake and filling in the form for them! Did she have a copy of the blank at home that she was going to let the kids copy to bring to school? Didn't she figure the teacher would notice that it wasn't her child's handwriting? And it certainly couldn't have been right for Mom to have been doing the assignment in the first place! I could see her gently helping the child to find the answers, but doing the assignment for them?

I also noticed that some of the parents guiding the children around the exhibits didn't seem much more knowledgable than their offspring. Most of these were younger mothers and their ignorance was rather sad. I have been reading space program books since I was eleven years old and know that most people don't know about PLSS backpacks, or what a DSKY was, or the definition of the word "perihelion." But I certainly thought some basic facts might be known, like the fact that the Earth revolves around the sun. I was next to one exhibit that showed the "Earth centric" solar system commonly believed in many centuries ago (with Earth as the center of the solar system with the Sun revolving around it) and the model of the actual solar system. Mom was happily showing her son the Sun and the Moon on the "Earth centric" solar system model, telling him that's how the solar system looked. (There was no mistaking the Sun in both models. Even the little boy pointed it out to his Mom: "There's the Sun! It's yellow!") It's as if she didn't even read the labels on the two models.

The mom who was doing the assignment for her children didn't seem much better. She didn't seem to recognize that it was Apollo 11 that had landed on the Moon and she was not familiar with the names of Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin. Granted, she looked of an age that she learned about the Moon landing in school rather than lived it the way James and I did, but she learned it...didn't she? I wasn't there when the "Spirit of St. Louis" flew the Atlantic nor when there was a battle at the Little Big Horn, but I remember the names of Charles Lindbergh and General George Armstrong Custer! Heck, I loathed algebra and trigonometry, but I still know what logarithms are, what an algebraic equation looks like, recall the terms sine and cosine, tangents and co-tangents—even if I no longer recall how to calculate each—and what discipline they are from.

It's as if school never happened for them.

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A Slice of Nice Between Two Pieces of Annoyance
We had a fab, if tiring, day today at the Air and Space Museum. We were able to visit all the available galleries (the one devoted to things from the history museum won't open until next week) except for one with the older aircraft so we were footsore, but happy. Played with a lot of the gadgets, watched several of the short films including an older one narrated by Douglas Fairbanks Jr. about how World War I aviators were portrayed on film, visited the Gift Shop (it's a State Law) (James bought a couple of books; I didn't—I'm still really bummed at not having all those wonderful books in the history museum to choose from; I'd been saving up for the trip!), went to visit the Enterprise model down in the toy area of the gift shop, watched them set up for some sort of occasion tonight—they were setting up a bar and tables and everything (and had several exhibits and the big beautiful space mural on one side of the open area in the center blocked; I thought that was pretty poor treatment for visitors)—and had lunch at their "Food Court" which included a Donato's, but you can't order the specialty pizzas like you can at a real Donato's, so we got the Boston Market chicken instead. You can order either a quarter light or dark, with corn and mashed potatoes, that's it. For this privilege they charge you $3.00 more than the going rate at any other Boston Market.

The going and the coming, that was a problem.

Because we'd had the toilet contretemps last night, we were up late and up late this morning. When we arrived at the Vienna Metro Station, every parking place was filled. I mean every single space on the ground and in two five-deck parking garages. The only spaces open were these reserved spaces that only allow parking from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. We ended up parking in one of these because after over half an hour of driving around, it was finally after 10 a.m.! Even all the metered spaces were taken (except for the seven-hour meters, which weren't long enough). It was extraordinary. The place wasn't full like this yesterday. Don't people work on Monday here?

So this is why we missed one of the galleries at Air and Space, because we didn't get downtown until after eleven.

When we got back from downtown we discovered they are now charging for parking at these lots (they didn't charge two years ago). It was cloudy and grey all day, had begun drizzling when we emerged from Air and Space, and was raining in earnest when we got to the station. They don't take cash or credit cards at the exit because the booths are not manned; the only way to get out was using something called a SmartTrip card. We thought about getting one yesterday, but I thought it was a bit of a rip-off. You have to pay $10.00 for the initial card, but you only get $5.00 credit for subway use; the other $5.00 is for the production of the card!!!!! Like it cost $5.00 to make the stupid card. They probably turn them out for a nickel apiece.

So I had walk back to the station to get the SmartTrip card to ransom the car from the lot. I had to use my debit card because the machines only take a $10.00 bill. Sheesh.

Times like this make me appreciate the T in Boston.

So we grabbed a couple of sandwiches at Subway, had supper, and are now watching House.

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» Monday, November 06, 2006
I Can't Believe This
James just had to use the toilet, did his business, and the darn thing has clogged up! What is with the plumbing in this place?????

When I made the reservations the confirming e-mail said "When you return from your trip, please send us a short note about what you liked or disliked about the hotel." Boy, are they going to get an earful from me.

(11:00 p.m.: James took Willow outside and on the way back stopped at the front desk to ask to borrow a plunger. It took them a while to find it because there was only one—only one plunger in a hotel with at least 100 rooms?—and it had not been put back where it belonged. He cleared the toilet himself.)

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By the Way...
...if you are a registered voter, GO VOTE TOMORROW. You have no right to complain about the state of the government, Federal, state, or local, if you don't vote. No whining, no excuses, no "I was too tired after work" or "I had to get home to watch whatever's on TV." VOTE!

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On the Buses
With the air conditioner running I slept quite soundly until the alarm went off. And no nightmares! Thank God! So we hit the breakfast buffet about eight, but left later than I planned because the traffic was still rather dicey. When we got to the station, a further complication: the South Lot was full. Tomorrow we will try the North Lot, but for this time we fed the parking meter close to the station. This actually didn't matter because the Metro comes more often on weekdays and really seems to go faster, too! We arrived at the Castle about 10:10.

We had decided yesterday to take the Tourmobile Bus and were walking down to Air and Space to meet one when it came up behind us. They picked us up and soon we were off on the day's adventure.

The Tourmobile takes you to most of the main sites in the city on a circular (actually a weird figure eight with the top hole flattened) course. You can get off the bus at any time and get back on by showing your ticket. Between stops the tourguide tells you facts and trivia about the buildings and areas you are passing.

Our first tourguide was Melvin, who was funny and constantly ribbing the driver, Samuel. We passed the Air and Space Building and the American Indian Museum and drove around the Capitol Building. Of course there are no flags up over the Senate and House chambers because everyone's home getting re-elected. We also drove by the place known as "Media Plaza" because all the news reporters go there when big news comes out of Congress because you get a shot of the Capitol dome fronted by a fountain.

We next passed Union Station, which is a wonderful railroad station of the old fashion. It originally had features like a five-bed hospital, a bathhouse, a doctor-in-residence and more; even a butcher and a baker (but no candlestick maker). Now it is full of shops besides being the central train station for the city of Washington. Oh, and back in the days when the President took the train, he had his own special entrance.

Melvin told us that the lower level had a smashing food court, so we decided to go there for lunch after we had ridden the route once.

From Union Station we went past the other side of the Smithsonian buildings on the Mall, including the Natural History Museum. He says there is a 400+ carat sapphire there; lots bigger than the Hope Diamond. We passed the Washington Monument, then the Holocaust Museum, the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, the Jefferson Memorial (you should see the autumn-dressed trees around the Tidal Basin—absolutely gorgeous!; the whole city is tressed in lovely fall color), the FDR Memorial (you can't see it from the road), behind the Lincoln Memorial, and over the Potomac into Virginia and to Arlington National Cemetery, where the tours originate. The Arlington tour is included in your tour fee.

At Arlington they have to change drivers and guides, so Melvin, the chatterbox, was replaced with Vera, who had a cold and all the facts and figures. She took us around the Lincoln Memorial, past the Korean War and Vietnam Memorials, past the Washington Monument again, then back to the Castle. I learned something that I never knew (or didn't remember if I had read it): Constitution Avenue (formerly B Street) used to be a canal! Just past the Washington Monument is a little stone cottage was originally one of the lockhouses on the canal. We stayed on the bus repeating part of the route and debarked at Union Station to have lunch.

Wow. Wow, wow, wow! Vaulted ceilings overhead, marble floors, statuary in the galleries. Imagine coming through here every day!

The Food Court has many selections, just like at Quincy Market. I had meat ravioli with a side of garlic bread and bottled water, and James had a combo bourbon chicken/Cajun chicken with friend rice on the side (apparently it was a Cajun/Japanese food stand!), also with bottled water (but a different brand). When we finished we "hit the head," checked out the newstand and a Gift Shop (it's a State Law), and then went outside to wait for the bus to come by.

Here we were able to get some shots of the Union Station facade, the flagpoles of the Christopher Columbus memorial in front of the station (the flagpoles stand for the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria) and the Freedom Bell before we joined the new guide, Evelyn, who reminded me a little of our friend Emma.

Evelyn was very informal and added more facts to our store: for instance, because the new wing of the National Gallery of Art is built on an odd trapezoid of land, I.M. Pei, the architect, also made the building a trapezoid, and it has the most sharp angles of any of the museum buildings. She said she thought it ironic that the building with the most angles is directly across the Mall from the American Indian Museum, which has no angles at all; the building is all shaped in soft curves miming a rock worn by the weather.

We had decided at lunch that since it was Veteran's Day week, we should go on the Arlington National Cemetery tour, so we repeated our previous route to that location, then queued up for the bus to take us around that area.

The Cemetery is beautiful at this time of year; the rows upon rows of solemn white headstones flow against browning grass and colorful trees dotting the slopes. We had only a short time to visit the graves of John and Robert Kennedy and snap a few photos before riding to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to see the Changing of the Guard. The bus left us there early, so we had a chance to see the dignified stones they have put up to commemorate the Challenger and Columbia astronauts.

Nearby also is the mast from the battleship Maine and the grave of actor and war hero Audie Murphy (marked with flags and flowers). Explorers Robert Byrd and Robert Peary, President William Howard Taft and his wife "Nellie," and General Omar Bradley are just some of the other "famous" people buried at Arlington, but the most affecting site are those Civil War graves that endlessly say "unknown soldier," since "dog tags" were unknown in those days.

Ten minutes before the hour James and I mounted the steps with several hundred other people to watch the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, the guard changed once an hour. We watched a special on PBS about Arlington a year or two ago which not only told about the funeral procedures but about the training of the honor guard at the Tomb. Their pace is very precise, like a clockwork, and is stately and beautiful.

We were lucky because the side of the steps we had chosen to watch from was also where the Sergeant of the Guard and the new guard emerge. We were able to see them march to the front, then, before approaching the area where the old guard is still walking his post, the Sergeant inspects the new guard and his rifle with a gimlet eye. With a set routine, the sergeant makes sure both the guard and the gun are in perfect condition before the new guard takes the old one's place and he and the Sergeant both return to quarters.

It was not sunset, so we did not hear "Taps," but it was sunset by the time we returned to the Visitor's Center and the tours were over. So after perousing the Gift Shop (it's a State Law), we walked to the Arlington Metro station and came back to the hotel for soup and apples and cookies. Right now we're watching 1776 on TCM—I guess because it's Election Day tomorrow. Pidgie spent a wild half hour tossing toys off the worktable near the kitchenette and is now back in his cage while Willow is trying to convince James she's starving (ignoring, of course, the full bowl of dog food).

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» Sunday, November 05, 2006
A British Celebration...
...in Holiday Harbour.

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We Were Never There, Part II
I discovered last night that the American History Museum is closed for remodeling until summer of 2008. I'm really disappointed. Frankly, had I known this I may have chosen somewhere different for vacation. (Damn, and I wanted to go back to that bookstore downstairs...)

Anyway, this is pertinent because James had never been in the original Smithsonian main building, known to everyone as "The Castle." The first time I came to DC (1973) the Wright Flyer and the Spirit of St. Louis were suspended in the Castle halls. It is now the Smithsonian information center and the gallery hosts travelling exhibits, including one about coins that is part of the History Museum display. Most of the coins on exhibit, of course, were from the U.S., including Confederate bills and Continental dollars (they even had a Pine Tree shilling from Massachusetts), but they had a Greek coin from 400 B.C. as well. Too cool. The rear of the gallery shows highlights from each of the different museums, so they have Chuck Yeager's helmet and African art and animal artifacts and Native American moccasins, etc.

From the Castle we walked across the mall through the Butterfly Garden on the way to the National Archives building. All the plants are labeled and its shown which butterflies they benefit.

They have re-done the National Archives so that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are more accessible to the disabled and no longer up on a pedestal. First you have to go through the metal detectors, then you wait to go into the rotunda area. The guard tells you that the documents are in order by papers that led to the Declaration, then papers following the formation of the U.S. and you can look at any of them in any order, but everyone queued up anyway.

The Declaration, as we saw on a PBS special some months ago, is now so badly faded that you can barely make out some of the words and some of the signatures have simply "disappeared," including those of all three Georgia delegates. Stephen Hopkins and Ellery Channing of Rhode Island are like ghosts upon the page.

Afterwards we wandered back into the Public Vaults, just a sample of some of the papers owned by the Archives. There will be a photo and documents from a person accompanying a plaque that tells you about that person. They had a photo and a typed facsimile of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Dakota-to-Missouri diary, documents from a John Boston who was a freed slave, Rose Kennedy's report of visiting Windsor Castle in the 1930s, wax disks that transcribed a speech by Theodore Roosevelt, photos and memorabilia of the Presidents as children, and more. One particularly affecting letter was from a U.S. serviceman who wrote home to his parents about arriving at Dachau. He was very blunt about what was found.

We hadn't planned to stay there so long, but going from person's to person's commentary about the world around him was simply too addictive. That would be my dream job, being a researcher who had to look through all those wonderful old documents to find out facts about various events, people, and places!

On the way out we visited the Gift Shop. It's a State Law. :-)

We then walked up 9th Street past the Navy memorial (masts and yardarms fluttering with flags) and had lunch at the Spy City Cafe. Very 60s "moderne" theme, mostly hot dogs and a couple of other menu choices, plus pre-wrapped sandwiches and lots of fancy bottled drinks like Snapple and Nantucket Nectar. We both had meat loaf, which was good, but came drowned in ketchup.

Once we'd finished, we went through the International Spy Museum. This is a real blast. You go through blue gates into a weirdly-lighted elevator to the beginning of the exhibit. There you are free to pick a spy identity and take on a "mission." You are supposed to remember it and see if you can get past the "guard" (via computer) on the way out. I remembered everything except what I was supposed to get from my contact!

Meanwhile, you see exhibits about aspects of spying like bugging and lock-picking and different equipment, which leads into galleries of the history of espionage, going back to Machiavelli, Queen Elizabeth I's agents, and Casanova (I never knew Casanova was a spy, nor Daniel Defoe). This led into the bulk of material about spying during World Wars I I and II (a big display about Bletchley Park and another about propaganda; I didn't know Josephine Baker had done spy work, nor Julia Child—I went looking for Sidney Reilly, of course, and found him tucked into a room devoted to the founding of the "Cheka" in revolutionary Russia, which eventually turned into the KGB) and then into the Cold War. There were some unique exhibits about underground tunnels (with "sandbags" and all), an area that attempted to recreate the atmosphere of East Berlin at the time of the Wall (and the ingenious ways people smuggled themselves across via car), a showcase full of children's spy toys from the 1930s and 1940s, and even a small gallery with a loop of spies in the media, including John Drake, James West and Artemus Gordon, Maxwell Smart (I think the scene they showed is from "Dr. Yes"), and, of course, James Bond. (Speaking of spies in the media, while looking at all the bugging devices, explosives, and other gadgets, I was amused to discover how many of those "crazy" gadgets in Get Smart were actually taken from real life.)

And when we got done we visited the Gift Shop. It's a State Law.

I liked a book called Spy Television, but it was hideously expensive. I settled on a cute-looking kids' book called The 7 Professors of the Far North by John Fardell, which looks Encyclopedia Brown-ish (with touches of John Verney). James bought me something; I guess I'll have to wait until Friday (our anniversary) to find out.

It was after 5:30 and already dark when we emerged. We walked west to 10th Street and took a photo of the outside of Ford's Theatre (everything, of course, by now being closed), and then strolled over to a gift shop that had a Ben & Jerry's franchise and had dessert—one small cone of chocolate therapy ice cream. We then made a squiggle walking pattern to the Metro Station on 12th Street.

I noticed that, although it was Sunday and downtown was not really crowded, there were many groups of people and even single people wandering around from building to building and to places open like ESPN Zone and Hard Rock Cafe (the latter which is next to Ford's Theatre, which I find a very amusing juxtaposition), so nothing was very deserted. The city was quite quiet as well.

There was a Big Game today and we had shared the Metro going out with a bunch of Washington Redskins fans. Well, when we hopped back on the Metro there were all the Redskins fans coming back. Apparently they played the Cowboys today (the Redskins won) and it was a bit of a contended competition. I don't understand why anyone would get het up over a football game, but then people don't understand why I get het up over museums, either. Whatever.

So we came back to the hotel to find the animals okay. Let Pidgie out to play with his toys and fly around the room, scolding, and Willow got to go out and have her dinner and a cookie and snuggle with her Daddy. "Treehouse of Horror" was...okay. The Blob sequence was the best. Sorry to see that the "War of the Worlds" spoof ended up as political commentary; the 1938 setting was cool.

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We Were Never There
This morning didn't start auspiciously. For some reason, this room is very stuffy; we don't know why. I had the fan on last night and woke up several times crying out because of feeling smothered. Today when we went out I left the air conditioner running. It's still on. It seems very bizarre to have to run the A/C when it's in the thirties outside!

We got up at eight because we had to move rooms twice last night and didn't get to bed until two. Then we hit the breakfast buffet, which is okay. From Ivan's descriptions, it's pretty much like the breakfast buffet at La Quinta, except without biscuits and gravy. The eggs are "fake." They have waffles, coffee, tea, apple and orange juice, two percent and whole milk, three kinds of cereal, muffins, French toast, several flavors of instant oatmeal, bagels, "supermarket doughnuts" (which are tooooooo sweet), sausage, and scrambled eggs. It's not the buffet at the Drury Inn. Oh, well.

By the time we got to the Metro station (having been misdirected by the front desk to the wrong exit), it was ten, and by the time we got downtown it was almost 11:30. It looks like if we want to do the buildings from the moment they open we will have to hit the metro by 8:30.

Back in a bit. Want to watch the new "Treehouse of Horror."

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One Saving Grace
The shower is actually decent.

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Pissed
About an hour ago I had to use the bathroom. The toilet clogged up. When I complained, they said they could switch us to another room.

We'd just gotten into that room when I flushed the toilet in there and it didn't flush properly either.

So we are now in a third room. I'm so tired I can't see straight. Not happy.

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» Saturday, November 04, 2006
The Ark "Floats" Again
Greetings from very dark Chantilly, Virginia (and on wireless thanks to the hotel and the new wireless modem)!

Yes, we're on vacation for the next week.

It took us almost an hour to get the last few things settled and the animals in the car, then we were off about eight. James drove as far as the South Carolina Welcome Center, where we were pleased to find that Willow had not barfed in her crate like she usually does. She doesn't get carsick; she'd just nervous from starting on a trip. She's always well for the rest of the ride. Then I took over and drove as far as I-77 just west of Charlotte (we didn't go through route 321 this time, at Gastonia; all the construction in Charlotte was done).

Throughtout Georgia and the Carolinas the fall leaves were quite pretty; we passed through some brilliant spots on and off. This petered out when we got to Virginia except in a pretty valley off on our right which I believe was Fancy Gap. The trees in Virginia were either "blown" or bronzed or uniformly browned over their former brilliant cover.

Unfortunately just as James took over driving after we stopped for lunch at a rest area, we discovered Willow had barfed in the crate and she had pulled the plastic bag off her fleece before she'd done so. So James had to rinse out the fleece and that put us a bit behind. Then while I was driving on I-81 we got stuck behind a 18-wheeler that basically planted itself in the left lane (it's only two lanes going north) five m.p.h. under the speed limit for almost an hour until people just got pissed and started passing him on the right. So we finished about the last three hours of the drive in the dark, arriving at the hotel around 8:30.

We listend to XM all the way up, first 60s, then 40s, then a few hours of radio classics, then some Top Vinyl or whatever (the Doors and Queen and things like that), and finally Fox News.

I'm a bit disappointed. The Townehome Suites we had last time in this area had a miniature kitchen, with a little stove and a full size fridge and pots and pans and dishes. This has a mini-fridge and a bar sink and a microwave and coffee maker. The fridge isn't even big enough to hold James' teamaker pitcher. But the rest of it is roomy, big king-size bed and a little "parlor" area where Pidgie and Wil are living. Pidgie was as good as gold all the way up, even with the bumps in the road. He only got snappish after it got dark and he does that at home as well.

But it's nice here, near two shopping centers with all sorts of restaurants, about four in walking distance. We hit the Safeway for some soup and milk; boy, they're expensive!

We're still deciding what we want to do tomorrow; probably walk the mall since it's going to be cool. It's going to be 66°F one day and 70 another, so we want to save those days for being inside with some air conditioning instead of outside in the miserable heat. Friday night we are scheduled to meet our friend Rodney at his new townhouse.

Man, my eyes are starting to cross; only 4 1/2 hours sleep last night. Going to listen to Pidge burble. Later.

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» Friday, November 03, 2006
Friday Five

Music Soothes the Savage Beast
Or so they say...

1) What was the first CD/Record/Album/Artist you ever bought and what format was it in? Vinyl/Cassette/CD/MP3 Download)?


The first album I ever bought for myself was the soundtrack album to the television miniseries QB VII. That was back when the Jordan Marsh at Warwick Mall still sold records/cassettes. (Heck, that was back when Jordan Marsh still existed...) Yes, it was an LP.

2) How do you usually listen to music? (iPod/Walkman/Stereo/Radio)

XM Radio and CDs at home.

3) What is your favorite genre of music and why?

Swing and New Age. I like the spirit and the old-fashioned sound of swing and the sweetness and calmness of New Age.

4) What is your opinion on music video shows and music television?

Haven't watched music television since Weird Al Yankovic premiered his "Jurassic Park" video. Yes, that was 1993. (Actually, I watched MTV after that, but only because they were showing Speed Racer.)

5) Do you usually agree with who the winners of the Grammy Awards are?

Er...Grammy Awards? I've never watched the Grammy Awards. Heck, I haven't watched the Emmy Awards in several years.

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Thursday Threesome

Dorothy contributes this one...

::Off to see the wizard::

Onesome: Off-- to do something productive? What are your spare time hobbies? ...or do you have a life <g>?

There's not much spare time left after the week's work, but at home I like to create web pages, blog or write, read, and cross-stitch, plus occasionally do crafts like embellishing sweatshirts, painting signs, and doing flower/leaf arrangements.

Twosome: to see-- beyond the horizon? Where would you like to take your hypothetical 'unlimited' vacation?

Around the world: particularly Great Britain and Ireland, a Christkindlmarkt in Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, Alaska, and more of Canada, like Lake Louise and Banff.

Threesome: the Wizard-- There's always (or should be) a fix-it wizard around the place; do you have one you can call on to take care of those minor repairs that crop up? ...or are you "it"?

Depends. I can fix a lot of things; learned repair with electrical tape years ago! I used to be quite good at setting up "rabbit ears" and bow-tie UHF antennas, too. I can also build bookcases (not just put 'em together). James has gotten pretty good at electrical fixtures and of course he's a whiz at computers.

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Thanksgiving is Coming...
...to Autumn Hollow.

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» Thursday, November 02, 2006
I Don't Know How I Got There...
...but I like it!

Actually, I know how I got there. I was looking at the site devoted to A Christmas Story and found a post in the forums about a fact I didn't know: apparently when they restored the original "Carousel of Progress" theme song to the ride at Walt Disney World in 1994, they also redid the voices and Jean Shepherd was the new voice of the father. (GE was still sponsoring the show in the 1970s-1980s and had the song changed to another catchy Sherman brothers tune, "Now Is the Time," but it wasn't quite the same.)

I've written about my fondness for "General Electric's Progressland" (as it was originally called) at the 1964 World's Fair in New York in my essay "Fair Day for Adventure." The two things I still remember most about that trip was Mom's flap about the sneakers I wore (check the entry) and the Carousel of Progress—although we also saw Disney's other attractions at the Fair: "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln," which was at the Illinois State Pavilion, and this other ride nobody remembers anymore, with this totally forgettable song...I think it was called "It's a Small World. " LOL. My dad, of all people, fell in love with "It's a Small World." He even bought the souvenir booklet, which cost a whopping $1.00 back then.

Well, I knew about this entry: Carousel of Progress at Yesterland. I've written about it before.

So I started following links, including one for a Yahoo Group called "Progress City," which led me to the blog Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, chiefly the October Entries (primarily October 11-23).

Oh, and I found this 1964 World's Fair Site.

And then I hit the jackpot:

Carousel of Progress.com

Now I know there are other people out there as potty about this wonderful ride as I am.
There's a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
Shining at the end of every day;
There's a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
And tomorrow's just a dream away.
Man has a dream and that's the start,
He follows his dream with mind and heart.
When it becomes a reality,
It's a dream come true for you and me,
So there's a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
Shining at the end of every day;
There's a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
Just a dream away.

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