Yet Another Journal

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


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

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» Saturday, June 30, 2007
Wall Art
Stay awhile at Autumn Hollow.

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» Friday, June 29, 2007
A Noise of Independence
Just finished putting the final touches of Independence Day decorations on the front porch; I'd put most of the things up this afternoon when it was so swelteringly hot that I had to lie down when I finished, since I could not breathe properly in the heat. Since seven we have had off-and-on thunder (and one real gully-washer, a.k.a. Georgia Monsoon Season, on the way to Hobby Lobby) and it is now thundering again, low rumbles that vibrate the house rather than crashing overhead.

I did a trip up to Books-a-Million today and decided to drop into the Super Target there. I've never been in one. Their produce is very good, but the rest of the food is more expensive than WalMart. I might as well get Campbell's chicken broth in Kroger than buy it at the Super Target. They did have low-carb whole wheat tortillas and organic baby greens. I'm also trying a box of Quaker Weight-Control Maple and Brown Sugar. It has extra protein and lower carbs. I hope it's better than the Heart Healthy stuff, which was exceedingly dry.

I also bought some Kashi shredded wheat with cinnamon, not sweet like its Kelloggs counterpart, and some of the TLC ("tasty little crackers") that Rodney warned me about. He was right. I had to strictly count fifteen (one serving) or I could have nibbled on the entire box. Tasty indeed.

We got all the grocery shopping done tonight, thank God, except for James' calorie countdown chocolate milk; Kroger was out. Since he has to work Sunday, I wanted to keep Saturday as clear as possible. We'll go by the computer show at the civic center, but they haven't been good in several years. Miss the "good ol'" ones that used to stuff the place wall-to-wall and even in the water-damaged meeting rooms.

Things with Schuyler seem to be at an empasse. I was looking at a budgie book today and it said you should start training a week to ten days after bringing the bird home. Well, I stuck to that timeline, but Skye is having none of us. She sits comfortably fluffed or eats or plays with a toy until we focus our attention at her or walk up to her cage. We both do it slowly and easily and she still watches us suspiciously.

I discovered yesterday that the bottom of her food dish is cracked, but I don't dare change it. I would have to put my hand in the cage for several minutes and she would freak.

I do notice when she flees from my hand that she scolds me. It sounds like she is not afraid, but more wary.

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» Thursday, June 28, 2007
Night and Day
On certain days, I am not sure if I have a job.

It seems more like a one-way ticket to an insane asylum, complete with the straitjacket, pink elephants, and folks in white coats waving ink blots.

I have a pile of orders (I think it's about forty) and there were some I had printed out two weeks ago that I had done nothing more with than make notes on them because I was busy doing older orders and coping with people fighting with me over everything I asked for. Then I had new orders that had been assigned this week. So Tuesday afternoon I printed everything out, and yesterday I sat down determined to do nothing but look at every one of those orders, decide what needed to be done with them (print out any backup documentation that came with them, ask for quotes and/or sole source justifications, send for quotes, advertise, whatever). I was doing fine until I opened two attached Word documents that simply would not close again. After messing with it for a few minutes, I simply logged out of everything, shut down Windows, and shut off the computer, then rebooted and got back in.

The little suckers were still open!

If I could have ignored them, I would have, but no, every time I needed to open up another attached Word document, it would either say it couldn't open because another document was open, or when I did get it open and print it, it would say "normal.dot is in use; do you want to save it?" If I clicked yes, it said it couldn't save because it was in use by another document, if I clicked no, the same dialog box popped up again. Plus someone has loaded something called EndNote in with Word. So not only did "normal.dot" complain at me, but a file in EndNote kept asking me to save it. If I clicked yes, it said it couldn't save because it was in use by another document, if I clicked no...wait, you've heard this. The "OK" button for this would pop up ten, twelve times and I would have to click it each time before it disappeared. Or it would tell me something wasn't connecting. By the time I got finished, an hour later than I usually do because I had sworn I would get through those files—and I hadn't actually finished because Word/EndNote's little debacle had finally choked the computer so much that it would not open the final attached Word document that I needed—I was angry, my stomach was churning and I was nauseated, my back hurt, and I had a headache. I logged off, took three ibuprofin, and lay down in the nice, dark, cool, non-purchase order infested spare room until James got home.

I would say "hurrah" at the news that our contract/purchasing order generating software will be replaced in January, except that I've heard rumors from people who have used it that it is worse than what we have now. Oh. Joy.

The nice parts of yesterday were playing music for Schuyler and myself and also working out on the exercise bike for one side of "The Partridge Family Album." The beat is really good for a nice steady 13 mph.

Today is better so far, as I am doing orders rather than trying to print them out (the printer was also affected yesterday by Word/EndNote; it was taking so long to print out two- and three-page documents that I could do things like make the bed or use the bathroom during the printout and come back to find it still printing) and feel like I am accomplishing something. To fend off the 90 degree temps I am playing my autumn albums (George Winston, David Huntsinger). I worked with the hand weights today, but I don't exercise as long with them because of the pain in my elbows.

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Thursday Threesome

From the Paranoia Center:

::Optimize your firewall!::

Onesome: Optimize-- Okay, it's geek time: what do you use to optimize your computer experience? Is there a program or tool or piece of hardware that has made a difference for you?

All wrapped up in a pretty package: WordPerfect. So far up from Word that it gets altitude sickness. :-) Word gives me the fantods. If I hear "normal.dot" complaining at me one more time I'm going to scream. I was crazed yesterday because I had two Word documents that would not close for me via the telework portal, even after I logged out and cold booted because of "normal.dot" and some other damnfool thing they installed, End Text, and nothing else would work properly.

Twosome: your-- firewall, is it a hardware or a software firewall? ...or is that something you leave to someone else to worry about?

Oh, you were talking about firewalls. We have AVG for a virus scanner; you'd have to ask James about the other.

Threesome: Firewall-- appliances and programs stop some stuff, but have you ever had to use a malware removal tool because something slipped in through email or from a web site?

Yeah, on the last computer. We got a fix from Symantec's web site.

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Which Buffy The Vampire Slayer Character Are You Most Like!?
Oh, terrif. I'm the murdered one. Actually, thinking about my answers, this was inevitable:

You scored as Tara Maclay, You're soft-hearted and soft-spoken. You do get nervous, especially when around new people, but it passes. You love your loved ones and would do anything to help them.

Anya

54%

Willow Rosenberg

54%

Tara Maclay

54%

Buffy Summers

50%

Xander Harris

50%

Dawn Summers

46%

Spike

29%

Rupert Giles

25%

Which Buffy The Vampire Slayer Character Are You Most Like!?
created with QuizFarm.com


Tip of the hat to Bill.

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» Tuesday, June 26, 2007
A Look Into the Future
Article on Tom Batiuk, who does the "Funky Winkerbean" comic strip.

Warning: there is a major spoiler contained in this article.

The Cleveland Free Times: A Funkier Winkerbean

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More Books...
...in A Cozy Nook to Read In.

Which reminds me I have a copy of Gladys Taber's Another Path on the way; I never tried to collect it because I thought it was one of her novels, not nonfiction. I need to get a copy of her Harvest of Yesterdays someday.

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» Monday, June 25, 2007
Finally...
...new episode of History Detectives on PBS tonight.

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Creaking Into the 21st Century
[warning: geekery]

First there was a new processor and motherboard. Then James had to put Win2000 on my computer. I have a 20GB hard drive that is nowhere near full; I probably still have 10GB empty. However, even though I only install Windows things to C:, the Windows-designated drive, and all other programs in other designated drives (WordPerfect in the Publishing drive, E:, Paint Shop Pro and PhotoImpact in the Graphics drive, F:, etc., the programs still insist on installing one part to Windows—for instance, PSP9 shoved an entire set of templates on the C: drive and I can’t find any preference that makes changing these templates to another drive possible. Internet Explorer 6, which I needed for teleworking, installed on C: without even asking me where I wanted it to go, so typical of Microsoft (do it our way or don’t do it).

This means that, especially since I had to install Service Pack 4 to get my telework connection to work properly, that C: is getting pretty full. If AVG (my virus software) or any further Windows updates go in, I will not be able to defrag that drive any longer, since it will only defrag if you have 15 percent or more of the disk free.

So, reluctantly, Sunday we went out to Fry’s hunting up a new hard drive. We went to the Fry’s in Alpharetta, rather than the one at Gwinnett Mall, and, except for the fact that they had no bread bowls at the café so I could have soup for lunch, I much preferred it. The Gwinnett Fry’s is always loud, with a stereo blaring, sound up high on several movies playing, and one of those Dance-Dance game things going at top volume. This was a nice quiet shopping experience.

The smallest drive we could find was 120GB! Wow. I was thinking a 40, like James has now, or an 80, but nothing that small was in sight. James also bought something that is supposed to copy your old hard drive to the new, including things like passwords, preferences, etc., and, if your hard disk is partitioned, to expand the old partitions to fit the new ones. (No, it’s not Ghost.) This would be quite useful, as I dread having to re-do things like my mailboxes in Eudora, my FTP settings, and my publish settings in HTMLAssistant Pro.

I keep looking at WindowsXP, but it’s $99 just for the upgrade, f’Gossakes. James says for his own computer he does not want the Home edition because it doesn’t come with "everything" (I have no idea what "everything" is, but I’m sure it’s useful technical stuff). The edition he wants, complete, is $299.00. Aieee! I also keep setting covetous eyes on the latest edition of WordPerfect, which is supposed to have a setting that emulates the wonderful old DOS blank screen. "Ah, youth!" :-) (The student edition also has a new version of Paradox.)

While we were there I bought the new copy of Secret of NIMH, which is properly letterboxed. This is the movie that features the beautiful lullaby “Flying Dreams,” which I used to sing to Sylvester-bird and which we danced to at our wedding reception in Rhode Island; it became the name of our APAzine and finally the name of our web domain.

As we passed the books I notice a large trade paperback book called Remembering Walt. I looked at it, and as it seemed to be just printed "sound bytes," most which I had read before (since I have at least six Disney biographies), with lots of photos, I was going to put it back until I noticed it was only $7.00. The photos, more than half which I had never seen before, were worth that. One was a publicity shot of Walt advertising the NBC iteration of his long-running anthology show, The Wonderful World of Color, with posters of some of the offerings that I wish Disney would make available on DVD, like those great animal shorts. Another full-page shot has him with two 1964 World’s Fair posters. How could I resist?

We took the “back way” up to Fry’s rather than resorting to GA400. I would like to go some time on a Saturday, when we could stop at some of the stores we saw that were closed, like a Catholic gift shop. Also be early enough to stop at the Goodwill. Maybe this one has "good stuff." :-)

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You Know What's Really Sad?
It's 86°F in my cubicle.

It's only 79 outside...

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Monday Madness

1. How many times a month/year do you see the sunrise?

Used to be five, now it's two (I'm usually driving to work at sunrise, or sometimes before).

2. How many times a week/month do you see the sunset?

Not a lot. Usually in the house, which faces west, but we don't have a main window that faces west, only the two small bedroom windows. We aren't in there at night.

3. Do you go out at night and "gaze" at the stars?

We did when we first bought the house, but now our neighbors insist on keeping their deck lights on all the time (I do mean all the time, even through the night).

4. Do you ever look for star clusters, such as the big dipper, etc?

Oh, sure. My mom and dad showed me how to do that from when I was little. On cold nights, even with the streetlight in the front yard, you can still see the stars from our driveway. I can pick out Casseopeia and Orion, too.

5. Do you look for planets at night (with or without a telescope)?

I don't go searching for them, but if there is a particularly bright "star" I will try to find out what it is.

6. Are you able to see the northern lights where you live? If so, about how often do they come around?

I've never seen the aurora. That would be cool.

7. Do you like going outside during a thunderstorm and watching the lightning?

Yes. We did that a lot last summer when it rained; sat out on the front porch, absorbed the breeze, and watched the storm. A couple of times Willow sat out with us, even though she is afraid of thunder. I figure she thinks we're a bit crazy.

8. Do you have any really neat weather pictures? PLEASE, feel free to share them!

Somewhere I have a lovely sunset pic I took from the front steps of our house when I was a kid, and there's a wonderful fiery autumn tree, blazing color even in a rainstorm, in, of all places, a rest stop in Plattsburgh, NY, but I'd have to hunt them up. Old-fashioned print photos, you know. :-)

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::CHEERS! CONFETTI TOSS!::
The bridge is finally open! Yayyyyyy!

[Final leg of long drive to work is turning right from Woodcock Drive onto Flowers Road and crossing a small bridge over North Peachtree Creek; from there it's an immediate right turn and then second left to my building. Bridge, of WPA vintage, has been being replaced since January by wider roadbed with sidewalks on either side. "Short detour" added five more minutes to commute. Still prefer the old bridge; it looked like it was part of a country road. Now it just looks like a curve in the freeway.]

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» Sunday, June 24, 2007
Strange Nightmares
I dreamt there were ants in the bathroom again, but this time enough to form a trail to lead me to their entry point. The exterminator advised me to spray them with Windex. In the dream I sprayed them with so much Windex I had an inch of liquid on the floor. :-)

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» Saturday, June 23, 2007
Enjoying the Little Things
I've bought myself a few treats this afternoon—not clothes and shoes, something a lot more fun: a couple more Webkinz. I got two of the Lil Kinz, a Chihuahua (Pancho, after the dog in the "Candy Bash 2" game) and a unicorn (Gaudior, after the unicorn in A Swiftly Tilting Planet).

I don't plan to "run" them right now. The only way to renew the online membership is to buy a new critter, so I have two (one for spare, LOL). I still want the Clydesdale, which is for sale all over e-Bay, but I haven't seen in stores.

I bought James the new husky as an early anniversary gift.

I also have collected enough of the cards to be able to play the card game.

The cards come with codes that not only entitle you to sets of virtual cards which you can play online, but various virtual prizes. You can get "Kinzcash," groceries, furniture, clothing (which I sold back), and other treats. One is something called "Webkinz Virtual Studio." You can buy characters and sets for it and make your own "movie." Much fun.

Every day a certain game is featured in which you get extra "cash" to play, and also at various times of the day you can play a certain game for more "cash." Tonight between ten and eleven the miniature golf game gave you extra cash, so I happily played it for about 45 minutes. At one point I played a two-player game, which was a blast. It's much more fun to play since I discovered the secret to Hole 17. :-)

I like the sometimes complicated but nonviolent games they have on the site. Everything now seems to be car chases or first-person killer games or survivalist epics. These are just games of skill. My favorites are Cash Cow and Cash Cow 2 (clicking away contiguous milk bottles in two different situations), Mini Golf, Lunch Letters (which is like the "Letter Invaders" game in Typing Tutor; you have to type the letters to keep them splatting on the floor), Candy Bash 2 (you break pinatas and have to catch the candy in your sombrero), Hungry Hog (a PacMan clone with a hog instead of Our Hero and bees instead of Winky, Blinky and pals), and Zacky's Quest (a teardrop-shaped critter with a vegetable fetish negotiates a Frogger-like course to get parts of a map), plus the electronic jigsaw puzzles that I can do in my "room."

I also play Polar Plunge where you have to leap obstacles as you sled down a hill (I usually do terribly, but it's still fun), Lily Padz (as a frog you have to zap bugs with your tongue), Dex Dangerous and the Lunar Lugbotz (Asteroids clone), Pumpkin Patch Protector (you shoot crows with water), Tile Towers (mah jongg), Tulip Trouble 2 (click only on the good fairies, not the bad ones; this one moves really fast by Level 5), and Wacky Zingoez (their version of the game where the polar bear swats the penguin the longest distance, only with a weird masochistic teardrop critter who likes to be hit and a lumpy monster).

I end up racking up the most points on Quizzy's Word Challenge, where you are given squares with letters and have to achieve a certain goal each level by spelling words that will give you the most points.

They revealed a new activity this week: you can buy "seeds" of various vegetables, "grow" them in your yard, and then "harvest" them for your Webkinz characters to eat. All you have to do is check them every day and do what the inspecting tool tells you to do: water, rake and/or dig. Once you finish harvesting a plant (they only grow a certain number of veggies), it starts growing again! I'm surprised they don't call them "Phoenix Vegetables"!

Now that's my type of gardening: no sun, no dirt, no bugs, and most of all, NO WORMS.

We did find a real drugstore that actually sells compression socks, which James needs now for the dermatitis on his leg (we went to Wender and Roberts, which so long ago was the only store that sold the calcium compound I needed after my thyroid removal) and next door is a vacuum cleaner store that not only sells Kirby bags, but is open on Saturdays longer than three hours, like the other little store that I'd been forced to use since Mr. Sweeper closed.

Oh—I also purchased the small version of this lovely Jim Shore Autumn Angel. Check out the details; it's just as highly decorated at the back.

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Woohoo!
All the regular bills that used to be on my old credit card are now on a new credit card. I can cancel that troublemaking old credit card. Idiots.

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» Friday, June 22, 2007
2 Anxious 2 Cope
Schuyler has been here four weeks today and I'm not sure if she's any more comfortable than she was a few days after she came home. I put my hand in her cage for a few minutes each day, but she will only let it get so close. Sometimes it doesn't even need to come near her; she bounces away and most of the time she scolds.

I am probably going too fast. She seems very young, younger than any bird I've ever had, and females may need a longer adjustment time. I've never had a hen. I make myself anxious and am probably making her anxious. I am too eager for a new friend; she needs to adjust first. She doesn't even greet me with the friendly raise of wings. I have to leave it for now and just be friendly.

Here's the "You lookin' at me?" pose:

You Looking at ME?

She went down to the bottom of her cage to preen and when I glanced over I got the "Can't a girl have some privacy?" look:

Can't a Girl Have Some Privacy?

Obviously not. :-) A lady has to look her best:

A Gal Has to Look Her Best

Darn those cage bars blur the focus. But look at that face!:

Peekaboo

Fluffed and relaxed:

Just relaxing

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Friday Five

1. If you were going to remake a movie, what would it be and who would you cast in the roles?

I'm not sure who I would cast. Maybe Anthony Stewart Head or Hugh Laurie in the male role, but I would like to do Daddy Long-Legs properly, the way Jean Webster wrote it, not something about a French orphan.

2. If you could turn a book into a movie, what would it be and who would you cast in the roles?

I think Jean Webster's sequel to Daddy Long-Legs would make a great movie: rich society girl runs orphanage in an enlightened manner, runs afoul of officious Scottish doctor, and keeps two brothers and their little sister together although it would have been so easy to separate them. Ewan McGregor with a beard might be good for Sandy.

I'd also like to see Kate Seredy's The Good Master as a kids' movie (independent girl character in pre-WWI Hungary) or her Chestry Oak (young Hungarian prince during WWII) and always wished when they made Merlin with Sam Neill that they had done the Mary Stewart version. He's too old for the young Merlin anymore; unless they find a Neill lookalike for the younger Merlin and concentrate more on the Merlin-with-Arthur part of the books. A shame. Neill could have done a super job.

3. If you were going to turn a video game into a movie, what would it be? Would it be animated or live-action?

I don't play those types of video games.

4. You're going to turn a book into a TV series. What is it? Why would it make a good TV show?

I can't think of any book I'd want as a continuing series, but I'd love to see several books as a miniseries or a British-type limited series: the Stewart Merlin books, Chestry Oak, Good Master, Fardell's 7 Professors of the Far North, a real version of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Huckleberry Finn...

5. Do you generally prefer the movie versions or the novel versions of works?

Oh, I usually prefer the books, but some of the movies are very good. Harry Potter has been abridged, but the movies are fun. The Gordons' Undercover Cat and Disney's original That Darn Cat! are both good in their own ways, the original Lassie Come Home is excellent, National Velvet changes the story some but is still good, also 101 Dalmatians, Bambi, Cheaper by the Dozen. I actually prefer the movies Journey to the Center of the Earth and 7 Faces of Dr. Lao to the books.

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ARRRRRRRRRRRGH!
I was just, just finished with an order and the system crashed. This is the second time in two days. I got a fatal disk error. I thought maybe it was my fault, rebooted, and after that I couldn't get in again. I wanted to complete this order before I finished for the day and now I can't. Wretched system.

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» Thursday, June 21, 2007
::sigh...::
Ants in the bathroom...again.

If they stayed in the bathroom, it wouldn't be so bad, but I've found them in my work papers.

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Thursday Threesome

From the Advertising Department:

::Laundry Stain Removal::

Onesome: Laundry-- Ah, the relaxing way to spend a day, -eh? ...or not. "Laundry, bane or boon?", the question of the week!

Well, face it, the hard part of laundry is after it comes out of the dryer (or the washer, if you use a clothesline; they're banned by the covenants here). That's when you need to fold it or perhaps even iron something, and put it all away. Tossing stuff in the washer, then pulling it out an hour later and putting it in the dryer—how hard is that? I don't buy things that need special washing.

Twosome: Stain-- Okay, we'll work on cleaning this Thursday: what's your best stain removal tip? (Mark, "buying a new shirt" does not count...)

We use Shout before laundering. We also bought one of those Tide pens. Not bad, but you need to use it Right Away.

Threesome: Removal-- So you're doing dishes (presuming you don't nuke everything on paper plates and use plastic utensils): what's the hardest food to remove from day to day stuff (cookware doesn't count <g>!).

I rinse any really bad dishes and utensils, so that's usually not a problem, even if this dishwasher isn't as good as the Bosch we had. Usually the gunk left after you bake the chicken. Or cheese.

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Funniest Looking Baskets I've Ever Seen
I was given this link in a World Market e-mail: Yellow Bamboo Baskets at World Market.

The funniest thing is that the URL actually does state what they are, it's the description on the page which is wrong...wonder if they will change it eventually. (They did; it was changed before 11 a.m. The photo was originally of two very nice folding chairs. Trust me, if I knew they had a set of nice wooden chairs like that for $2.96, I would have been at World Market in a flash...)

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Hm...Interesting
The timing may just be coincidence, but it's funny that four days after a big story is in the Sunday papers about Webkinz that the site crashes, comes back up for about fifteen minutes, then crashes again. Can the hackers be at it again?

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First Day of...
A comic strip after my own heart:

Mutts comic strip for the summer solstice 2007

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» Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Still At Work
Well, Hugh Laurie played a "right bastard" on MI-5 tonight, and will be on next week's episode as well.

You'd think when he goes home after filming 22 episodes of House he'd take a rest. :-) Not that I'm complaining of more Hugh Laurie!

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Victorian Life "Captured in Amber"
Slate.com's short article on early film is accompanied by a slide show of ten early films, including that of citygoers in a snowstorm, an early bodybuilder, and a couple feeding their baby in Video Slide Show: Uncanny Early Films. Cool stuff!

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» Monday, June 18, 2007
Buying Books Online
Succumbing to temptation and wading through the chaff in A Cozy Nook to Read In.

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Monday Madness

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

There is none. The perfect daytime temperature is 55°F with a breeze and that doesn't come in summer.

2. What is the perfect nighttime temperature?

About 40. (Again, in summer, not happening.)

3. Do you plant many flowers around your yard?

No. I have never liked gardening. Being out in the sun too long gives me migraines and I can't stand bugs and worms and I'm allergic to plants to boot.

4. How much lawn do you have to mow? Do you enjoy mowing lawn?

Not sure. We don't mow it, our lawn guy does, God bless him! We are .16 of an acre, but a fourth of that is woods and a third what remains is the house. I absolutely loathe mowing the lawn. I used to have to do it as a teenager, with a push mower. I'd always have to shower and wash my hair thoroughly afterwards and I still got an allergy attack. I'd be stuck in a chair with my eyes streaming, with a Kleenex continually over my nose to keep myself from sneezing every minute. Utter misery.

5. Of the summer months, which is your favorite?

August, because it means summer is almost over.

6. Do you take a long vacation each summer?

No, we take our vacations in the fall and winter now. No tourist crush, quiet, cool, comfortable for us, the fids, and even the car.

7. Is summer your favorite season? If so, why? If not, why not?

"Summer sucks! Summer sucks! Summer sucks so much it should be renamed 'Hoover.'" Heat, humidity, bugs trying to invade the house from all quarter, allergy problems, rashes, the air smells bad and is close and oppressive, tornado danger, mosquitoes...summer's only fun if you're a kid on school vacation and now they get stuck going to all those camps and daycare things instead of being free to do anything you wanted like we were able to do.

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Thin is In...the Grave
This is sad.

Diabetics Risk Health to Feed Obsession With Thinness

The entire point of correcting bad eating habits is not to be thin but to be a healthy weight with as healthy a body as can be managed. "Skin and bones" isn't healthy, either.

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» Sunday, June 17, 2007
Danny's Day Coda
So I watched Merry Andrew. I hadn't seen it before. Sorry to say I found it a bit dull and artificial, nowhere near as good as The Court Jester, On the Riviera, The Five Pennies, or On the Double.

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Daddy's  Danny's Day
James was off for another Sunday at work. Since the house is clean, I did a few errands (went to fetch the paper at Publix while recycling the plastic bags and also picked up some pineapple tidbits for James' lunch) and took advantage of one less vehicle present to sweep out the garage. Now I appear to be having a Danny Kaye festival, playing the new On the Riviera DVD, which comes with a marvelous 26-minute profile of Kaye that features his daughter and even shows his specially-designed Chinese kitchen (besides being a singer, dancer, comedian and humanitarian for Unicef, Kaye also was a jet-rated pilot and a gourmet chef). Now I'm going to put on Merry Andrew, which I recorded from TCM last year. I can't remember if I've seen it before. If I have, it's been a while.

I had a salad for lunch and offered Schuyler one of the leaves, but she would have none of it. I let her have a little millet instead.

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» Saturday, June 16, 2007
Need A Better Class of Goodwill Stores...
Slept late this morning and ate a bland breakfast (oatmeal and mandarin oranges), and seemed to be better. We transported the old computer desk (we put the new one together last night before whatever it was made me sick), along with a box of general things we didn't need and a mixed media box (books, DVDs, tapes, even a CD) to Goodwill.

Since we had the day to relax I suggested we go into the store. I'm on a Yahoo group where one of the ladies talks about her expeditions into the local Goodwill stores. (She's in Florida.) Obviously they have a better "class" of donations down there because all we saw was the same tired clothing and kitsch; this lady manages to find stuff like Spode "Christmas Tree" china at one-tenth its original price, and other expensive things at bargain rates. She even talked about taking a visitor there once and how the woman came out with a cart full of expensive things for almost nothing. However, I did find a practically new hardback copy (with dustjacket) of Marguerite Henry's Misty of Chincoteague, with the original illos by Wesley Dennis. Mine was a book club edition without the memorable illos, so I decided to "trade up."

We also went next door to Rowan's, which is a used book/DVD/CD/cassette/record store. I found a lovely new "Good Old Days" publication called "Best Years of Our Lives," stories of returning WWII soldiers and the women who waited for them, also a brand-new cross-stitch book for only $3, as well as The Pawprints of History, about historic dogs and their influence on history.

Then a sortie at the hobby shop, and finally a late lunch at Longhorn. We had a coupon for a free dessert. So we both ordered the smaller steaks (Renegades), both ate half, I left most of my mashed potatoes and had only a slice of the bread, and we ordered something called the Chocolate Stampede. The linked photo gives you a little idea of how big it is; the menu photo didn't do it justice at all. I took one look at it and said "Oh, dear God!" We ate the ice cream and just tasted the cake part. It's in the fridge and will make two more desserts for both of us! Do people actually eat the whole thing at one sitting? I would be so sick!

Oh, yeah, and more fall garlands out at Hobby Lobby. Yeehah!

Schuyler singing us lovely songs tonight. Amazing how that tiny morsel of bird can belt out such a loud CHIRP!

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Trouble
I'm feeling better today but last night was quite strange. We had dinner at Yardbird (chicken wings), then stopped at Publix. Went home, fooled around a bit on Webkinz, the settled down to watch a new Animal Precinct. About halfway through the program I began to feel very strange. I wasn't really nauseated, but I felt sick, I was burping and had pressure on my throat, and my heart rate was slightly elevated although not racing. I also developed the runs, but I'm not sure if it was a symptom or a result: when I get upset I usually get diarrhea.

The weirdest thing was that my mouth felt funny, like the time I had the drug reaction to the penicillin. I could speak and swallow, though. And I had the shakes, to the point where I could not type properly ro sit quietly, but they would come and then I would use the bathroom and then eventually they would calm down. I finally took two Pepto Bismol to cope with the diarrhea and the shakes went away, and I also took one of my Claritin. That seemed to relax the rest of it.

It was like I had an allergic reaction to something, but what? We've eaten at Yardbird before. It's nothing more that teriyaki sauce on chicken wings. It did happen after I took my atenolol, which upsets me a bit: I have to take it every night for my heart. Really worried it will happen again. Or maybe it was food poisoning, but, again, from what? James had the same wings, only in a different flavor. He did say he was belching more than usual. There were also those meatballs earlier in the day. Very strange.

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» Friday, June 15, 2007
World War I in Color
Photos taken on autochrome film: The Heritage of the Great War.

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How I Had Breakfast and Lunch at BJs and Saved Money, and Other Tales
I actually went to BJs for a birthday gift. We had a coupon and I was on a mission. :-) I did find the birthday gift, although I'm tempted to give it to the recipient before the date. :-) (I also found a birthday gift for someone else, so it was a double bargain.) I also found fifth season of Hogan's Heroes for a good price, and—swelp me, something called "TV Guide Presents" that was the first season of Banacek. Now if TVG/Universal is going to release the old Mystery Movies, I would have been deliriously happy if it was Faraday and Company or The Snoop Sisters, but I will settle for Banacek with its Boston backgrounds. One of the reasons that I like John Larroquette's McBride is that it reminds me of the old NBC Mystery Movie segments.

While I was coming around from getting the milk, I came past two of the sample servers. One lady had pancakes and the other had wild blueberry juice. Usually they give you little slices of samples, but there weren't many customers, so I received one pancake and one nearly full cup of blueberry juice. Yum. On the way out I passed a woman giving out Italian-seasoned meatballs in teriyaki sauce. They were halves but were large enough to be three full-sized Swedish meatballs.

I had those before decamping to Borders for a new Country Living (British edition), Buffy comic, and a remainder book about different games (card, board, strategy, etc.).

Also had a brief dip in Hobby Lobby. They had put out their fall bushes and I hugged one I was so glad to see it! :-)

Stopped at WallyWorld for yogurt and to use a couple of coupons and buy a treat for Willow. Naturally I forgot something, so after I had all the perishables put away, I went to "Love Street," the little boutique on (what else?) Love Street near downtown Smyrna. I bought a birthday gift for a friend; I'd seen it the last time we were in there and grabbed it. For fun I also got a set of Webkinz trading cards, which come with a code for goodies. I got a couple of coupons and a jack-in-the-box, and also some virtual trading cards.

At Food Depot I picked up the stuff I'd forgotten at WalMart, but they didn't have the one thing I wanted, the low-carb wheat tortillas. I guess the folks that shop there have no need for them; I didn't see a low-carb, fat-free, flavored tortilla there, just the plain ones in different sizes. Also went into the Dollar Store seeking a Father's Day card for James from the fids and found, for $5, a DVD called Merlin's Apprentice, a sequel to Merlin, also with Sam Neill. I had no idea they'd made a sequel to it. What the heck; if I don't like it, in the donation box it goes. Hello deduction! :-)

When I got home, there was Josh and Susan's Weimaraner in our front yard. I drove into the garage and he followed me in, wagging and happy to see me! I emerged saying "Tyler, what are you doing out?" just as Kelly from across the street came over and led him back to the house. Susan was home, so we gave him back. Apparently he'd gotten out the back gate.

After I'd put the things away and watched How Clean is Your House? (ohmyGOD, I don't believe some of the houses these folks go into—dusty shelves attest that I am not the housekeeper my mother was, but dear God, food on the floor, grotty stuff everywhere, trash in the fireplace...), I decided to try a different tack with Schuyler. I opened the big door and stood in front of the cage. Instead of putting my hand inside I was just going to talk to her face-to-face. BAD, BAD idea. She's not afraid of me enough not to launch herself right out the front of the cage. I compounded the error by trying to head her off, accidentally sending her exactly where I didn't want her to go, behind the television stand! It's reachable from either side, but of course as soon as I reached on one side she ran to the other. Finally she perched on the electrical cord as if prepared to take root there. Well, I couldn't take my eyes off her and I was terrified she'd go toward the power strip and somehow electrocute herself. (When I was a little girl we had a bird who ran under the refrigerator and was electrocuted.) So when she was relaxed a bit I gave one fervent prayer and reached quickly for her.

So much for that idea. She's eaten, preened, chirped and is now looking sleepy, so I'm hoping I didn't hurt her with that wild grab. Stupid me.

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Friday Five

1. Do you download music not from the popular genres of Top 40, pop, rock, rap, dance, R&B, or country?

I haven't downloaded music in a long time. I used to have both WinMX and Kazaa Lite. I never went on them for popular songs; I didn't like them. I think I downloaded "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" for James, that was it. I was downloading old radio shows and singers like Lou Monte and out-of-print Christmas music.

2. Are there any musicians for whom you've downloaded a significant amount of their material yet own few or none of their albums?

Again, what I was downloading wasn't on albums on sale (except maybe at used record stores).

3. Have you ever enjoyed a downloaded album so much that you went and bought the physical album?

I haven't, but I downloaded the Moody Blues Christmas album from one of the binary groups for James and when he heard it, he bought it.

4. How many different ways of playing music do you own (such as radio, stereo system, computer, Walkman/Discman, mp3 player, mp3-ready phone, etc.)?

Well, there's two stereos with a phonograph, plus James' turntable and tape player, the two clock radios in our bedroom and one in the spare room (not sure it still plays), the two computers, the two PDAs, the three DVD players which are also CD players, my portable CD player that plays MP3s, James' big Sirius radio player (the Sirius radio from the car fits in it, but he's using mine), the XM radio in my car, and also the television (Dish Network has their own music channels plus carries the Sirius music channels). Oh, yeah, and there's the little AM/FM/Shortwave we brought home from my mom's.

5. Do you still have and/or play a favorite vinyl album, cassette tape, or 8-track tape?

Man, you're kidding, right? I still have enough records to need one of these and yes, I still play them. At least half of them are not out on CD, like the Christmas album the Cranston High School East a capella choir recorded (my best friend and another girl had a duet in one of the songs). I also have a big rack of cassettes with things I recorded off the television that are not on video or DVD, like CBS: On the Air and NBC: The First Fifty Years. In the living room we have a rack of filk tapes and soundtracks, some of the latter I've never seen on CD, like "Anne," the music from Anne of Green Gables. I have radio tapes, too. I have a case full of Christmas tapes, some of them are obscure stuff like English waits and choirs that I bought when Oxford Books went out of business.

James has as many records as I do, but our tastes are wildly divergent. I think we both have the Star Wars soundtracks, though, and maybe Superman.

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» Thursday, June 14, 2007
Schuyler Pics
Schuyler and her new buddy, the mirror:

Schuyler at the mirror

Safer here on the back perch, behind the rings. They're good to yank!

Schuyler behind the rings

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Thursday Threesome

Summer madness?:

::Crazy with the heat!::

Onesome: Crazy-- things happen with the heat; is there anything strange happening yet where you live?

Well, ants are climbing into a second story bathroom to get water. I think that's crazy. :-)

Twosome: with the-- changing seasons,.how does your wardrobe change? No, we're not trolling for the pervs; let's stick with outerware...

I wear short sleeves instead of long to work, jeans and short sleeves on the weekends rather than sweats.

Threesome: heat!-- Okay, what is "heat" to you? When do you figure it's time so stay out of the sun and cool off?

Um, anything over 65°F, thanks!

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» Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Clever Girl(s)
The exterminator showed up at the appointed time, checked out both the kitchen and the bath, then went outside. The master bath is on an exterior wall, so he immediately went to check that.

The ants had made a tidy little nest under the gutter spout, between the splash guard and the foundation. Straight for water, clever things. (He said they would be female ants, hence the entry title.) He also sprayed inside and baited outside for roaches, which are coming in occasionally, apparently through the deck door.

Schuyler got within an inch of my finger today, but declined to take that final step onward. Instead, she fluttered backward, scolding.

WBPA's showings of Rick Steves Europe seems have to disintegrated into repeats of the same ten shows, so I put my own DVD on during lunch and saw one I had never seen, using London as a home base to see things like the bunker where Churchill directed British action during World War II (fascinating! want to see!), the Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Cambridge, and, predictably, ended with punting on the river Cam.

Then I got on the exercise bike in the dark and cool spare room. Thirteen minutes at a nice steady 13 miles per hour burns off 100 calories, according to the gauge.

The weather alert radio has just gone off again. When I got home yesterday, we had finally had some rain, and the steam rising off the streets was so thick it looked like fog. I found some chunks of ice on the lawn about jawbreaker candy size, and the wind whipped on and off in the early evening. At one point James thought he saw hail again, but it was only rapidly dropping leaves. We went outside to watch the grey clouds gallop past overhead like mammoth coach horses and it was quite cool and pleasant. What a shock to watch the news later on and see fires caused by lightning, hail that looked like snow, and storm damage on the other side of town.

Not sure why the soundoff now. It was cloudy a few minutes ago, but is now completely sunny.

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Once Again the Most Dangerous Thing for a Child...
...not pistols, pit bulls, poison, or pools, but Mom's boyfriend:

Couple Finishes Restaurant Meal While Child Tied in Hot Car

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» Tuesday, June 12, 2007
A-Reading We Will Go
A list of recent books in A Cozy Nook to Read In.

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Yay!
I vacuumed today and Schuyler didn't get frightened. She did watch that big noisy thing verrrrryyyyy carefully, but she did not flap and even began to chirp a little right before I finished, then she went to eat.

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Making a Cubicle a Home
My cubicle is really a break in the middle of the hallway between two different sets of offices/file rooms. It was initially placed so a clerk could be put in the indent to serve the folks on that side of the hall. We only have a couple of clerks now and they are situated near the supervisor's office. I got this cubicle because at the time this was the only place they had for me. It's nice if too warm in the summer because I'm not near the hue and cry near the team lead's offices. Too noisy down there.

The biggest treat is being able to face forward to people who come to talk to me; the way my previous cubicles were set up, I always greeted them with my back. It seemed rather rude. The biggest bane is facing directly into one of those three-bulb reflector fluorescent lights. (Go to any Borders store in Marietta or Atlanta and they will have the same lights, only ours are larger and lower.) I have a big piece of foamboard up there to block the majority of the light and also wear one of those foam visors.

There is another three-lighter directly over my desk, but a tall co-worker unscrewed two of the three bulbs for me. Sometimes this is still too much at seven in the morning! I noticed last week that the bulb was dimming and Friday working from home received a cc of an e-mail from a co-worker who nicely informed the person who is our liaison with building maintenance that my light was out and could they send someone to fix it. I think I left skid marks on the computer keys telling the liaison not to bother! I know those guys; they would have screwed them all back in and I would have come in yesterday to Migraine Central.

However, it was a bit too gloomy here in the cave so this morning I brought in the little wooden night table lamp that used to be in the old spare room. It's been sitting on top of my craft room cupboards waiting for something to do.

It's amazing the way that little lamp has made the area look so cozy. I even tidied up the mess that is my desk so that the area would look friendlier.

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» Monday, June 11, 2007
"Water! Water!" and Other Damp Tales
A not totally unexpected result of having no rain: when I went to sweep out the master bath last night and set out fresh towels, I found a half dozen ants running around (I had swept under the toilet before continuing to the shower, so not sure whether they came from under the pot or near the stall). This must mean they are crawling up the side of the house again and I guess coming in under the shingles? Ugh. Anyway, I have a "date" with the exterminator on Wednesday. I hope Schuyler doesn't get too upset.

It is hot and breathless outside. When I went out for lunch it was cloudy, but by the time I came in the sun was out. (Not sure what it looks like now since D. has her shades closed.) It made bringing in the pile of magazines all that more difficult. You wouldn't believe a collection of decorating magazines would weigh that much, but the pile was about a foot high. I bought them all when we were in the old house, when I felt like I was trying to make even a cotton purse out of a sow's ear. Don't really need them anymore. I kept only two which had some lovely Christmas-themed pages. I will probably slice those out and get rid of them.

Anyway, I left them in the break room, which is usually what I do with magazines. They often disappear by the end of the day, but this was a larger pile than usual.

I really need to do that with some of the fall and winter magazines I have: just cut out what I buy them for and discard the rest.

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::pant::
85°F again in my cubicle. It's hard to work and stay next to the fan at the same time. I can hardly breathe.

I don't think I've ever had a chance to ask any of the maintenance staff whether the vent over my cubicle is actually open. In all the times I've been calling about this problem, I've only seen someone once.

The direct road to my building continues to be closed, although the road looks finished and I have seen construction vehicles drive on it. Do overpasses (it goes over a creek bed) have to "settle" a certain number of weeks?

If they are keeping that road closed for something stupid, like they have to sod the side of the road or "make it look pretty," I'm going to scream. We've had to detour since January and it's getting really old, even only two days a week, and it's wasting gasoline to boot.

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Monday Madness

1. Do you listen to the radio, or a CD, when you're driving in your car/truck/SUV?

Mostly my XM Radio. I keep forgetting to burn CDs to keep in my car. (I'm certainly not going to keep the originals in there.)

2. Do you have one of those GPS systems in your vehicle?

No, but they sound cool. I loved the Garmin commercials at Christmas. "There's that moose again!"

3. About how many miles do you put on your vehicle in a month?

It used to be at least 1200, but now that I'm telecommunting it's dropped to at least half that.

4. Do you have your oil changed regularly?

Regularly, but not as regularly as I should.

5. Do you take your vehicle to a car wash or do you wash it at home?

Car wash. We have a watering ban now. Haven't had my car washed...since my mom died.

6. How often do you have the inside of your vehicle cleaned? Do you do it yourself or do you pay someone to do it?

Pay. Again, haven't done it for a while. We used to live near a nice car wash. Now that it's not as close, don't go as often.

7. What is the color of your vehicle?

Concord grape purple. That's why it's called "Twilight," after the first line in "Stardust": "And now the purple dusk of twilight time..."

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» Sunday, June 10, 2007
In with the Old, In with the New
So we had lunch at Ikea.

Actually, they have a good lunch; they usually have two other hot dishes besides the Swedish meatballs; I've been having the chicken marsala. They also have some cold sandwiches, or you can have fresh (and I mean fresh; they still crunch) vegetable soup with or without salad. They have salad greens and a couple of other veggies, so I had salad greens with my chicken. This is not so bad since I brought my own dressing. Their ranch and Italian are so vinegary that even after ingesting two Prilosec I get sick. I brought the Kraft low-fat Asian Sesame instead; still gives me indigestion, but not as bad.

We bought a new desk for downstairs; the metal one is just too bulky and doesn't look good in a traditional library. We'll give it to Goodwill. The "Mikhael" is what I use for my work desk (except mine is red). We also did get the Bygel rail and baskets that I thought I had purchased previously, plus two of the small "spice shelves" (can find the pic for those).

On the way home we stopped at Costco and got the essential of life (milk). Found a special edition of Twelve O'Clock High, which I bought for James "from the fids" for Father's Day (I know that's next week, but he's working that day). I also found Danny Kaye's On the Riviera (as movies go with Danny Kaye playing dual roles, I like On the Double better, but Riviera is cool, too). We also bought boneless pork ribs, which are just finishing cooking in the crock pot. Mmmn.

I also got a few more compact fluorescents at Ikea; one we put in the downstairs hall and the other is in the lamp downstairs in the library, which is low light; it's just for reading. Then James installed the "spice shelves" in the laundry room, the Bygel rail in my craft room, and also installed the new handle on his Lazy Boy (the old split in half because the metal support was installed off center). He sat down to see if it worked properly and was instantly "Willowed"—she leaped up in utter delight to sit in his lap.

As James was installing the Bygel and afterwards as I was cleaning up the drywall fallout, I was playing some of my mom's records. These were the Glenn Miller 78s that were in the original record album. (If you've ever wondered why an LP or a CD is called an album, besides being a collection of songs, records used to come in paper sleeves. In a collection by the same artist or on the same theme, four of these sleeves, one record with two songs to a sleeve, were bound in an album, like a photo album. A drawing or photo of the artist and the name of the album was on the front, and name of the album was on the spine, like a book, and you stored them on shelves, like a book or photo album. When LPs came out, the name carried over.) Mom has a couple of these albums. Unfortunately the record with "Stardust" and "Pennsylvania 6-5000" has a piece taken out of the rim. Shellac records are prone to break like this. I also played Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters singing "The Three Caballeros" and "Don't Fence Me In."

Anyway, suppertime...

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» Saturday, June 09, 2007
The Sound of Music
So the record player is exchanged. The new one works. It had better; we didn't realize until we got home that the cashier had kept my receipt. How scratchy the records sound! Is there a good way to clean shellac records?

Schuyler occasionally bombards us with chirps and some scolds. She responds to the birds on the television, which neither Pidgie nor Bandit ever did.

We also did coupons at JoAnn and Michael's today, visited Barnes & Noble at Town Center, and stopped at WalMart for low-carb tortillas (only to find they were out of them, but got yogurt and sugar-free ice cream bars). We were going to get milk at WalMart, too, until we saw the price. The difference in the price of three gallons of skim milk pays our membership to Costco, Sam's and BJs for the year.

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» Friday, June 08, 2007
Friday Five

This week's:

1. Remember the scene with Molly Ringwald putting lipstick on by holding it in her cleavage? Name one really bizarre thing you know how to do. No matter how small.

Um, no I don't remember. Is that in The Breakfast Club? Anyway...um, sing the entire theme song to "My Mother the Car" from memory.

2. What's your favourite way to pass the time?

Reading. So many books. So little time.

3. What's your favourite restaurant and why?

I don't know how to answer that. There are favorites for different things. I love Olive Garden for Italian, but Vincent's is awfully good (now that they've solved the service problem). Red Lobster for seafood. Longhorn for steak (and their crab/lobster dip is wonderful, too). Sonny's for cheap barbecue.

4. Which TV/Radio show did you like that's not aired any more?

That list would go off the screen. But, briefly put: Remember WENN!!!!!!

5. if you had a choice of learning another new language, what would you choose? what do you think that reflects about you?

Spanish would be useful, although I can usually get through most Spanish signs because a lot of the words are similar to Italian.

Last week's:

1. You're holding a dinner party and can invite three famous people from the past or present; who would they be?

Eleanor Roosevelt, James Thurber, and Madeleine L'Engle.

2. You have the opportunity to question someone about something you've always wanted to know and receive a truthful answer; what would your question be?

I could have Clement C. Moore to dinner and ask him if he actually did write the darn poem, finally solving the debate!

3. If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

Lose weight.

4. If you could save other people's lives by completing an act that would lead to your own death, would you do it?

I'd want to do it, but I'm afraid I'd be too chicken.

5. Would you commit murder if you knew that you could get away with it?

No. Unless it was Osama Bin Laden.

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Awwww, Nuts...
This morning I plugged in the new phonograph, hoping to play Mom's records for a while.

The sound doesn't work! I've heard these things play in Linens'n'Things on the display and know the sound isn't bad (it's not "wide-screen Dolby stereophonic," but 78 records aren't up to that anyway). If you turn the volume all the way up you can hear the strongest stations on the radio if you stand right next to the unit. I put one of Mom's records on and I could hear Bing Crosby whispering in the background if I put my ear right up to the speaker.

Oh, well, I didn't toss the receipt...

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» Thursday, June 07, 2007
Thursday Threesome

Cautionary tales:

::Just in case::

Onesome: Just-- in time for summer vacation? Are you there yet? Another week to go? Does it matter (to the moms with little ones and the eight to five crowd)? Just curious how things are across American and around the world...

Not vacation for a while, since we took our last in November and James can only take weeks seven months apart. Of course that would put us in July and I'm not going anywhere in the summer anymore. Unless it's New Zealand (it's only 57°F in Auckland right now).

Twosome: in-- times of crisis, what do you do to chill out a bit? Talk to someone? ...take a walk? ...eat a gallon of Ben and Jerry's? Read a book?

Read. If I'm upset it will usually be Gladys Taber or Madeleine L'Engle's nonfiction, or perhaps an old favorite.

Threesome: case--by case? Do you have a carry case for everything that has one available and keep them all populated? ...or do you just stuff gadgetry into whatever is handy when you need to lug it along somewhere?

Hm. Depends. My cross-stitch has its own bag, as do the cameras, the laptop, and the PDA. But other things...not really.

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» Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Liberated
My Amazon.co.uk order arrived today, slightly the worse for wear. The Post Awful had strapped it on both sides, it having broken apart a bit in transit. But the contents were all securely shrink wrapped and hadn't been touched. I had just gone ahead and ordered the rest of Blake's 7 (I already had third series, as it was my favorite of the four), and also all of Doctor in the House, plus a book of Dave Allen's best routines/stories.

I made the acquaintance of Doctor in the House way back when (1971) when the Prime Time Access Rule sent local stations scrambling for programming. (For those non-old fogeys reading this blog, prime time television used to start at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time up to 1970. Then the FCC pushed it back a half hour, hoping to encourage first run local programming. Few stations did so; they instead bought syndicated game shows and packages like Doctor in the House from Britain. Original, cheaply-made series, many of them produced in Canada, also filled these slots: Dr. Simon Locke—later retooled as Police SurgeonYoung Dr. Kildare, Primus, the Persuaders...).

There were actually several different "Doctor" series starting with Doctor in the House: Doctor at Large, Doctor in Charge, Doctor at Sea, etc., but they were all marketed here in the States under the Doctor in the House banner title. I always loved the first, medical school antics and of course was delighted to see the set released. Doctor at Large is now in release, and presumably the others coming along soon.

Blake's 7 I first heard about from my friends in Boston. They had received camera copies from friends in England and we had great fun watching this now blue-tinted series on small televisions. (What's a camra copy? You get a television and a VCR that plays PAL—the British TV format and aim a video camera that records in NTSC—the American system—at the screen. Voíla!, a tape capable of playing on American televisions.) The first B7 I ever saw was "City at the Edge of the World" and Vila Restal is still my favorite B7 character. I spent the late evenings/early mornings, from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. at the only MediaWest*Con I ever attended watching B7 episodes in the film room. Even now the theme songs reminds me of that convention and of Deb Walsh and Mary Fall's old apartment up in Malden. (Deb later did a fanzine called "B7 Complex" to which I contributed a piece of artwork—Avon and Vila, of course—and a poem—about Vila, of course.)

Blake's 7 later got picked up by the PBS station here in the late 1980s, so I had all the episodes on tape, but the video was aging badly (one of the tapes with series two was full of dropouts to the point where the tape wouldn't play any longer). Hence the DVDs, finally.

I watched bits of "The Way Back" and most of "Space Fall" during lunch. I had heard there were layer change problems on some of the discs, particulary during "Space Fall," but the Cyberhome played them flawlessly. These are probably new pressings, so maybe that problem was taken care of. I just finished watching "Gambit," a second series favorite (Avon and Vila again).

For a nearly 40-year-old series, it all looks quite nice. Of course with today's special effects, the BBC's minute budget on this series is even more obvious (as if it wasn't back when we saw it in the 1980s!), but I felt that gave the series an advantage. Instead of emphasizing flash and glitter, we had stories, for the most part, that emphasized characterization and plot. I'd much rather watch a substandard set with some thought behind the story and protagonists than a bunch of CGI flash with laughable plots and cardboard characters.

Incidentally, it appears I got my order in just in time. I went back to Amazon.co.uk's site this morning and discovered that both series 1 and 4 had gone up at least six pounds and both Doctor in the House sets had gone up two pounds each.

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Flickering
I am tired of these pinpoint blackouts. We get them at least once a week, usually on Saturday or Sunday morning when we are sleeping. We wake up immediately because James' CPAP machine goes off, then comes back on, and the dog starts barking because the answering machine coming back on gives a scream. Sometimes it happens later.

Today it happened right after the test of the weather system finished. What a pain in the neck when you are working: reboot, retest, reshuffle; also you need to shut the A/C off and then turn it back on again to give the system a chance to reset.

Schuyler was chirping a bit this morning and bouncing around her cage. She goes to the bottom to flap her wings, which is how baby birds exercise. She is still quite shy. I put my hand in the cage; just motionless, and she doesn't flap, but she does shy back and try to hop away from it. I think I might have bought her right after she was brought to Petco. We'll see when she goes through her first moult, which happens at three months.

Since the television went off anyway, I am playing "Pachebel's Greatest Hit" for her. May follow up with some George Winston classic stuff, "Autumn" or "December," perhaps.

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» Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Mapped
It was raining here at lunch so I went to check the radar to see if it was raining at home (nope; 24 miles away and dry as a bone). The Weather Channel has new radar and old radar; the new radar superimposes the clouds over a scalable map that includes satellite photos. I noticed that whomever WC uses for their map still does not have our street on it, and neither does Yahoo Maps, but Google now does. We are on the map, interestingly enough, but not on the closeup satellite photo; two satellite photos are used. The one from a distance is the complex under construction; you can still see the dirt pile that was our house. But the two most close up photos still have the woods and the old junkyard there.

(It's amazing what we dig out of our backyard. As the soil wears down or when it rains, we find old cloths, metal pipe, PVC pipe, glass, what looks like part of the water pump from an old washing machine, etc.)

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Monday Madness

1. When is the last time you planned for a party/social gathering at your house?

It was in...February, I think. Yes, the Saturday before Valentines Day. We had a games night.

2. What type of event was it?

Very informal. We had Swedish meatballs and other finger foods, paper plates, all that.

3. Do you enjoy hosting parties at your house, or do you find the preparation stressful?

Yes, I do, and it's not stressful as much as busy beforehand. Need to do more games nights, but James' schedule is so flaky it's hard to plan ahead.

4. Do you tend to have a lot more food than needed for these events, or are you pretty good about estimating how much to serve?

Yes, most of the time because we plan for everyone who was invited and of course sometimes they can't all show up. So we have leftover finger foods for supper in the succeeding days.

5. Some people have gatherings at their homes on a regular basis because it forces them to really CLEAN. How do you feel about this?

I clean anyway, but yeah, having company does make you put that extra fillip in the cleaning.

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A Lot More Interesting Find...
...than an extra bottle of detergent:

"Laundry Letters" Worth Millions

Imagine keeping something like that in the laundry room! (Although what thief would have thought to search there?)

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» Monday, June 04, 2007
Good Weather for Ducks
No, it's not raining. I wish it would. But I'm sopping wet anyway. It's 85°F in my cubicle. When I went out for lunch it was the same temp, but much cooler under the trees. I have my fan on high right under my chair.

I'm not the only person complaining.

It's worst on Monday because they either shut the A/C off on the weekends or have it set very high, which is great for energy consumption, but it's terrible for us on Monday morning. Not to mention all the computers up here. Heat isn't good for computer components and it shows on performance.

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» Sunday, June 03, 2007
Keeping Cool...
...in Holiday Harbour.

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» Saturday, June 02, 2007
Cloudy and Cooler, With Flashbacks
Both the weather and me. :-) We're enjoying it because the weather report says 90s by Thursday.

I'm thinking of those fall wreaths in Hobby Lobby...

We had lunch at Longhorn. Having not had breakfast, we both ordered an appetizer. Their lobster and shrimp dip is to die for. James had their equivalent of a "Blooming Onion," which was quite good. I forgot to take my Prilosec and it didn't even make me sick.

The appetizer was the equivalent of a meal, so I took almost all of my 8-ounce Renegade home (it's two lunches for next week), and so did James. He has to work tomorrow, so he can use it as a treat (or have the chicken left over from Boston Market; it was supposed to be mine, but we had chicken three nights in a row and there's just so much I could take).

We were on "the other side of town" (well, the middle of town) on Roswell to find a games shop James had found listed online. It was a very small shop in the Kroger shopping center and we were the only customers. I found the Buffy "season eight" (an official continuation of the television series) comic #1 and #3, which I had been wanting to read. (Yes, Rodney, I bought comics. Don't faint. LOL.) Since I then wanted #2, we went to Oxford Comics.

On the way there, we stopped at Pearl Arts and Crafts. I don't think I've been to this store since my office moved from Buckhead and I didn't realize how much I missed it. It's not like a Michael's or JoAnn; they don't sell furniture (except maybe for art desks) or garden stuff or yard decorations or yarn or frames or artificial flowers (or in the case of JoAnn, yard goods and sewing supplies), and they have only small departments for glass paints, cross-stitch thread, stationery, scrapbooking stuff, and some kids' crafts. Most of it is what the sign says: an art store. They have canvas, all types of paints, different types of pens, drawing pencils, easels, drawing kits, etc. I stopped at the pens and was having fun just trying out the different points. It brought me back to the days when I would wander the aisles of Block Artists or E.L. Freeman's stationers and drool over the pens and drawing materials and the empty wire-bound composition books that to me just represented another story to write. I would have killed for the beautiful gel pens and Rapidographs and Pilot pens back then. I designed covers for my own stories with Flair markers and my indispensable 64 box of Crayolas.

Anyway, picked up Buffy #2 at Oxford Comics, then drove back to Cobb County for the weekly trip to AAA Hobbies. Then we made a stop at Book Nook (the Cobb County annex of the Atlanta used bookstore which has been around nearly forever; I know it's at least 26 years old, since it was one of the places they took me when I visited Atlanta in 1981). I found some really cool stuff: an Ideals Christmas book I didn't have, also an Ideals book about American holidays, a Guideposts book of inspirational Christmas stories, Mary Engelbreit's Believe Christmas book, an Ideals book about Easter, a book by Mark Russell (I didn't know such an animal existed!), and Hey Ranger! a book of humorous park ranger stories that I saw last year at Barnes & Noble, but that I could never find at Borders when I had a coupon.

I just realized I forgot to go back to get the Eric Sloane compilation book I saw when I first walked in. Blast.

When we got home, we put up the rest of the compact fluorescents in the garage. We had put up two 100 watt equivalents for the main garage lights, and then two 60 watt equivalents each in each of the garage door openers. I don't know who designed the light covers on the Genie openers we have, but where did he keep his brain? You have to climb up high enough on a ladder to see over the mechanism to unscrew the cover over the lights. Um, you have to change light bulbs, guys. You couldn't have at least put the screws at the bottom?

We also replaced the porch lights with compact fluorescents and put one downstairs in the bathroom, which I don't spend a lot of time in. I'm not into chronic headaches; I get enough of them at work.

Oh, and Schuyler has chirped more, including one small scold!

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The Screaming You Hear is Me
Bookstore Owner Burns Books in Protest

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» Friday, June 01, 2007
Surrounded by Fuzzy
Willow's asleep behind us while I log on chat and James plays "Cash Cow 2." Schuyler is sitting next to the mirror with one foot up, looking sleepy. She's been quiet today, but then we haven't been home a lot. We had to take the truck in to get two new front tires, as the old ones were starting to miss their treads. We did the "big shopping" at BJs and brought all the stuff home. During this interim is when we laid Pigwidgeon to rest.

Later we hit Borders with our coupons. I had a $5 bonus certificate and $5 in bonus bucks, so I was able to get Susan Kandel's newest mystery and Victoria Thompson's newest mystery in paperback for a total of $1.57.

To get some exercise we did a lap around Cumberland Mall. It's pretty boring these days: shoe stores, clothes stores, clothing accessory stores, one tiny Waldenbooks, two card shops, Sears and Macy's, not much else. Yawn. We did stop at the pet shop to look at the puppies and budgies. The clerk was discussing Yorkshire terrier puppies with a customer—the cheapest was $2,300! Four figures for a pet-quality purebred? Are they mad?

We also stopped at a local shop called "Love Street." They sell flower sets in the summer and yard decorations, plus body and bath specialties, little knicknacks, a few specialty books—and they had a whole rack of different kinds of Webkinz. People are haunting Hallmark shops for different ones and they are all out and this place has three shelves packed full of them and, according to the clerk, more in the back!

So if anyone is looking for Webkinz in the Cobb County area, here's one source. 1295 Concord Road in Smyrna, right near the downtown area.

They didn't have the Clydesdale yet (the clerk says everyone is calling about them), but I did get the dog I wanted from the first, the white terrier, and the cow. (Well, there are cows all over the kitchen and dining room; what's another one?) I named the terrier McDuff after the hero of the Susan Jeffords books and the cow is Molly. Elsie seemed too twee. Molly is the name of Mrs. Preston in The Open Gate, one of my favorite books; she is afraid of cows when the book opens, but soon gets used to them as the family comes to love the farm they accidentally buy.

If I cuddle my stuffed Webkinz cow too much, would I be Molly-cow'dling her? :-)

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His Last Journey
"...The way your smile just beams,
The way you sing off key,
The way you haunt my dreams—
No, no, they can't take that away from me..."
One correction, though. Pidgie never did sing off-key.

I remember the way he would crane his little neck looking for food whenever he saw us chewing...how he perched on top of the big hinge on the door at the Towneplace Suites in Chantilly...how he'd kiss and kiss when he wanted something...perching up on the curtain rods at "Grandma's house"...singing in his carry box while riding in the car (and attracting the curious at rest areas)...his making love to "Girlfriend" and sleeping fluffed up singing to himself...the way he pecked at the button in back of his cage...his tossing "Girlfriend" off the sofa tray...or his toys off the top of the cage (and into the open carry box)...coming forward to get a kiss...trying to press "pleats" in James' shirt with his beak...the way we'd watch the wild birdies together...

He lies next to a maple tree now, with a maple leaf gently laid over him.
No, no, they can't take that away from me—
They can't take that away from me..."

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