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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» Sunday, September 30, 2007
Open Windows Weekend
It's a somnolent late Sunday afternoon and I have to resist the impulse to nap; it's hard enough to sleep on Sunday nights. Besides, there's something in the fridge that I'm waiting for with anticipation.

The windows are all open and the fans going, and it's that time of the day where the heat has been absorbed into the house and it's warm, but not uncomfortable—but warm enough to make one sleepy. The weather has been simply lovely except at the hottest part of the day and even then shade and breeze has saved it.

We had a busy day yesterday starting with the weekly trip to a wholesale club; this time it was BJs since Costco doesn't carry the big bags of Chex. The "sample ladies" were out and one of the things we sampled were clams in a butter garlic sauce. The clams came in the shell and the lady who checked us out was very surprised to see the leftover clam shells coming home with us. I figured I could use them in a craft project; they're presently soaking in the hall bath sink.

We also passed by their meager Webkinz display and James noticed that someone had stolen the tag from one of the Dalmatians. We reported this to the management, who didn't realize why the tag was important. Sheesh. I hope they don't put it back out or some kid may be really disappointed.

After dropping the perishables off, we went to the hobby shop. I had James drop me at Harry's, since we needed cashews (the chicken stir fry isn't the same without them). I also got more potatoes, salad greens, bananas for lunch, strawberries and a cucumber. I was coming by the deli when I stopped to look at the soup. The mushroom barley with a tomato base and full of vegetables smelled heavenly, so I got a container of it plus a demi baguette to "zoop" (It's an Italian thing. <g>) for Sunday supper. It was very tempting to give up dinner plans and eat it that evening!

We also stopped at Michael's, where I found the nicest card-making kits for $1 each. They were adopting dogs next door at Petsmart. The smallest of the dogs was large enough to make Willow's eyes get very large and have her hide behind James.

We went to the "new" Grand China Buffet for supper. I try to avoid buffets, except for Sweet Tomatoes since it's mostly salad, but James had a Chinese craving and we had a coupon. There really is nothing new about it, sadly; they originally had a very nice baked honey chicken that I loved, but now nearly everything on the menu is fried. The few things that weren't were not appetizing. I have to admit the wonton soup broth was excellent, though, even if the wontons themselves had collapsed. Most of what I ate made me sick to my stomach. I used to love the Chinese buffets to fill up on crab legs, but since I had that bad reaction in 2004 I have lost my craving for crab legs. I've had them since and they're still delicious, and I know the reaction was probably due to still being on medication after a hysterectomy the week before, but it still brings back bad memories.

It was still fairly early, so we drove out to Trader Joe's to get the popcorn that doesn't bother me; unfortunately they were out. After a brief stop at Home Depot, we were back home in time for Torchwood (you know, Captain Jack is downright nasty on this series).

It was as delightful sleeping last night as it was on Friday: all the fans blowing inside, a light blanket, and blessed comfort. It's been going down to the 50s, which is the maximum comfort range for keeping the windows open and the A/C off.

This morning we had the breakfast buffet at Sweet Tomatoes, an interesting combination of old-fashioned oatmeal and salads. This was the last day for the wonderful Thai peanut salad—next month is devoted to buffalo wing concoctions. Blah.

After breakfast we went to the Atlanta Home Show and walked around for about 90 minutes. Not as many decorative door dealers, but lots of hot tubs! Also, the usual window-and-door replacements, sunrooms, cookware displays, hardwood flooring, etc. I was hoping there would be some fencing places, but there was only the humongous Home Depot display. We entered their contest, but didn't unlock the strongbox, so no gift card for us.

A stop at Kroger for a double paper and some other groceries and it was home again. The fans on the west and south sides of the house are exhausting right now and keeping it tolerable; the weather station says it's 77°F on the deck and 81 in here, but once the sun is down we can turn the fans around and open the front door and that will help.

Come to think about it, it may be time to decant that delectable container of mushroom barley soup and getting ready to record The War...

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» Friday, September 28, 2007
Into the 21st Century
I've had a constant problem since I got my new mouse after frying the old one during the winter: the mouse pointer for no reason skitters across the screen. This happens with almost every action, and is especially annoying when I am trying to work in detail, such as editing images in Paint Shop Pro. I will meticulously erase a few pixels, then the mouse pointer will dash across the screen and erase part of the image so that I have to undo and start again.

Tonight we had supper at Boston Market, then went to MicroCenter. I noticed they had a keyboard for $4 and figured "what the heck." Then I looked at the mice. There was a corded optical mouse one up from mine, expensive optical mice, expensive cordless optical mice.

At the other end of the aisle was a cordless optical mouse for $5. Again, at that price, what can you lose?

I also bought a new mouse pad.

Wow. Finally my mouse is under control. It doesn't go dashing off to meet a friend every fifteen seconds.

The keyboard I'm more ambivalent about. The arrow keys seem to work better when I'm playing games. However, the Enter key is stiff and so is the space bar.

Anyway, when we went out to dinner, it was beautiful! Not chilly yet, but the air was cool. It didn't feel as if you had a hot wet washcloth over your nose and mouth. We drove out and back with the windows open, and when we got home we leashed Miss Wil and went for a walk around the neighborhood. I think it's a little less than a mile.

I really have to start remembering my pedometer.

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A Whole Lotta Catching Up to Do
Friday Five

Trying not to go back too far.

1. Have you ever considered running away from home?

Nope. Threatened to once, because my mom wouldn't listen to me, but never really meant it. Where would I go?

2. Have you ever actually run away from home? (If so, for how long?)

Nope.

3. What would make you want to run away from home?

Abuse.

4. What would you do if a friend ran away to your house?

Talk him or her into going home (or if they were experiencing physical or mental abuse, going to the police or assistance.

5. If you were going to run away from home, where would you go?

Somewhere cool! :-)

1. Did you write a list to Santa when you were little? Do you write a Christmas present wish list now?

Well, sure. How would my parents have known what to get me? I don't do lists anymore; I just hint. (Like The War book on sale at BJs.)

2. What are the top 10 things on your list this year?

Ten? Yow. I want a copy of The War and the new Mannheim Steamroller Christmas album. I am (cross fingers) hoping to buy myself a new camera, maybe on Black Friday. Now if someone wanted to buy me a nice big memory card for it...that would be nice. LOL.

3. What are the three (or 1, 2, 4, 5) best presents you ever received as a child and why?

Easy: my television (so I wouldn't have to argue with my dad about watching Lost in Space reruns; he hated Dr. Smith but I had a crush on Mark Goddard), my cassette recorder, and my typewriter.

4. What are the top 5 movies you think everyone should see and why?

Why? Because they're excellent or just darn funny: Casablanca, Galaxy Quest, A Christmas Story, Star Wars, The Andromeda Strain.

5. Which comes first, success or happiness? Or, to think of it a different way, does happiness follow success or are you only successful when you achieve happiness? Are they even necessarily related?

I think you can be happy and successful if the success is what you wanted. Some people sacrifice their happiness for success. People can be happy without being "successful," if being successful is defined as having gobs of cash, a big house, a big car, and many expensive material items. For others "success" is just enjoying life.

1. What was the most sick that you've ever been?

I had ovarian cysts that manifested themselves when I was in my senior year of high school. The pain was excruciating. The doctor gave me the strongest pain medication he dared and I was still screaming in pain.

2. What disease are you afraid of getting?

I've had cancer. What could be scarier? I'm afraid it will come back!

3. Are you a big baby when it comes to taking medicine/shots for your illnesses?

No, I had to get allergy shots every two weeks in summer and every four weeks in winter when I was a kid. It didn't bother me. I never minded taking medicine, but since I became allergic to penicillin new medicines bother me at first. I never know how I will react.

4. Is going to the doctor really THAT bad?

Depends on what you are going for. :-) When you have to drink the glop and then get shoved in the machine, that's pretty bad.

5. Would you have the flu twice a month if you were paid $1,000 for having it?

No.

1. Who is your best friend?

Well, James of course. Isn't your husband supposed to be your best friend?

My best girlfriend is Sherrye, but she's all the way in Rhode Island.

2. Why did you become friends?

Well, James was part of the crowd I hung out with. Sherrye liked the same things I did. She was the only one I ever let read my stories.

3. How did you meet?

I met James at Ann's house, the second day I was in Georgia. Sherrye transferred to my school in sixth grade.

4. Why have you stayed friends?

Well, Reader, I married him. LOL. Sherrye and I were both sympatico. We weren't the popular kids, we didn't dress in the latest styles or listen to the latest music (although she was more hip to the contemporary music than I was).

5. How long (realistically) do you think you'll be friends?

Forever, I hope.

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» Thursday, September 27, 2007
Yeehah!
New Mannheim Steamroller Christmas album coming out in less than two weeks!

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Serendipity is...
...going to the grocery store to get money for the lawn guy and discovering that the paper towels that you need are on sale...and also finding out that they are having the Mistletoe Market at the Civic Center this year.

(Gaw! It's in three weeks and has a Breakfast with Santa! Who wants to breakfast with Santa in October? Why do they have these things so early anyway?)

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[fall down laughing]
Having struggled with algebra, I feel his pain:

One Big Happy Comic Strip

Don't worry, Joe. Once you get to plane geometry, it all makes sense again.

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» Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Interesting Bits from the News
Real-Life Plot Twists of Famous Authors

Here's another neat Mental Floss article, "How Did You Learn to Type?", along with the comments.

And the complete blog.

Sigh...where was all this stuff when I was lying in bed screaming in pain so bad that Tylenol and codiene didn't help?: Period Makeovers: Fixes for Heavy Bleeding, Cramps, PMS

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From First (Mostly) Until Last (Mostly)
Wow! It looks as if it is series movie month on TCM in November! They will be showing the following movie series:

  • Torchy Blane
  • Topper
  • Rusty (dog series)
  • Nancy Drew
  • The Whistler
  • a series of Westerns with Hoot Gibson and Ken Maynard
  • the Man from UNCLE compilation films
  • Crime Doctor
  • the I Love a Mystery films based on the radio series
  • Philo Vance
  • Penrod
  • Tim Holt Westerns
  • Dick Tracy
  • The Saint
  • the MGM Lassie films (except for The Painted Hills)
  • Arsene Lupin
  • The Lone Wolf
  • The Five Little Peppers (cool! I've never seen these; they look very different from the books)
  • East Side Kids/Bowery Boys
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • The Thin Man
  • The Falcon
  • both Flipper movies
  • films based on radio series Fibber McGee and Molly and The Great Gildersleeve
  • Mexican Spitfire
  • Andy Hardy (for Thanksgiving and the day after)
  • Maisie
  • Perry Mason
  • Dr. Kildare
  • The Durango Kid
  • Father of the Bride/Father's Little Dividend
  • the Margaret Rutherford Miss Marple films
  • Boston Blackie

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» Monday, September 24, 2007
The War
We are now into the second episode. One boy dies. Another is held captive in the hell of a Japanese prison camp. A young girl and her family spend the entire war sequestered in the Philippines in an internment camp. So do thousands of Japanese in the U.S. Days pass by as Italy is invaded, a gain of only 50 miles. At home food is rationed and blue—and gold—star flags fly in each window.

It was spending my early life with parents and older cousins who lived through World War II: when I look at the film and the photos, I feel as if a gateway could open up and I could step through. I feel kinship with these people. So many of my cousins were older than me. My cousin Anthony, now lost in Alzheimers, fought in World War II. My cousin Skippy, who has survived two wives, did also. My cousin Raymond who just passed away, was a young soldier back then. My dad was almost thirty when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He fought in Germany, in the Black Forest, and in Austria. My mother remembered hearing the news of Pearl Harbor and everyone in their closely-knit Italian community went to church. Brothers, cousins, best friends and schoolmates went to war. Mom and her future sister-in-law waited for my Uncle Sammy to come home. My grandmother cried when he left and cried again when he came home, his thick hair lost to the relentless rubbing of his helmet, he suffering from nightmares from the carnage he saw in the Pacific.

They are all so close every time I watch programs like these.

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Waiting for the Year to Turn...
...in Holiday Harbour.

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» Sunday, September 23, 2007
"Your Obedient Servant, B. Franklin"
Went to the Benjamin Franklin exhibit today at the Atlanta History Center. We drove through one of my favorite streets, West Paces Ferry Road, which is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Atlanta; about halfway along the route is the Governor's Mansion and Pace Academy, a well-known private school, is located there as well. The houses there were already large with huge lawns and hidden garages; now more of the wooded land around these houses has been cleared for "McMansions" and some of the older houses have been enlarged. One house is a huge Italianate estate that looks like something a Victorian children's novel millionaire would live in.

Still, it remains beautifully wooded and you can see hints of fall, especially in the dogwood trees where half dozens of leaves at the end of branches are turning a rusty red.

We spent almost three hours at the museum, mostly looking at the Franklin artifacts—I particularly was amused by his quote that he did not have much money, but he always managed to have some for books! There were interactive exhibits, including an interesting one about Franklin's journey from Boston to Philadelphia; you had to decide whether to buy passage or walk or use other transport, carefully hoarding your money.

There are more details of the exhibition at the website for the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary.

We also walked through the exhibit for the 1996 Olympic games, which is great: there are panels on each of the previous summer games, showcases of Olympic and ethnic gifts, panels of highlights of each of the sixteen days, and even an interactive trivia test at various stations throughout the exhibit.

After the museum we went to Richard's Variety Store. This appears to be the only surviving store of its type left in the city. They have a small section of hardware and housewares, but most of the store is taken up with toys, novelties, greeting cards, some decorative items, and, right now, seasonal (Hallowe'en) items. They have a great children's book area where they have books I didn't even know were still in print: Lois Lenski's "Small" books, the picture book Pretzel about a dachshund, etc. They have goofy things like action figures of a librarian, Sigmund Freud, an obsessive-compulsive (this gentleman has dark hair and comes with a wet wipe—wonder where that inspiration came from), and Van Gogh (he has two heads, one with two ears, one with only one).

We had our dessert before our supper (Baskin-Robbins chocolate fudge ice cream) and then went to Red Lobster. I was craving a lobster pizza. I wanted to have some clam chowder with it, but the cups are usually so small. I thought I would have a bowl instead. Most bowls in other restaurants are just a bit smaller than the cups, but I was brought a brimming salad bowl full of soup! So most of my lobster pizza is saved for telework lunch this week.

Everything else is stopping this week, at least Sunday through Wednesday then Sunday through Tuesday, for Ken Burns' The War. We are already into the first 90 minutes, covering the four towns they are specifically profiling, pre-war lives, Pearl Harbor (my hair still stands on end when Roosevelt makes his declaration of war speech), the nauseating horror of the Bataan death march. Now they are talking about the Japanese internment camps...such a waste and a shame.

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» Saturday, September 22, 2007
The Saturday (or "There and Back Again")
We went out this morning to do the rest of the weekly grocery shopping at BJs. One result is reported in another blog. I also found the box set of the newest "American Girl," Julie. Oh boy, now I can read about what happened in 1974. [snicker, snicker]

I wanted to get the groceries out of the way so we can go "into town" tomorrow, specifically to the Atlanta History Center to see the Benjamin Franklin exhibit before it leaves. We have "twofer" coupons from the Entertainment book, which makes it even better.

We haven't been to the History Center since they finished building the new addition, so I'm looking forward to it.

I was thinking we might stop by Richard's (if they are open on Sunday; this is the only surviving "variety store" in Atlanta—like an old 5 and 10) and go to Borders, too. Unfortunately we can't stop at the J. Muggs newstand any longer; it closed.

When the shopping was finished, James went off to his IPMS meeting. I went out to the Borders at Parkway "Pointe" to use my 30 percent off coupon for the Ivy book that goes along with the Julie set and also bought some sachet in Linens'n'Things. They had autumn and Christmas things out, so there was much to "oooh" and "aaah" over.

Popped in at Barnes & Noble on Akers Mill, but nothing there of interest.

Found some cool stocking-stuffers in the $1 bins at Michael's and also return address labels that can be used for Christmas cards for only $1.

By the time I got home James was already there. A package in the mail from my cousin Debbie: it contained a DVD movie her son had worked on. He is in film school in New York City. She let me know that my Aunty Ella had died. (This was the wife of my mom's youngest brother; he passed away before she did.) They are also selling my cousin Anna's house. Her daughter, who lived in the other part of the duplex, moved out, and Anna's husband, who has Parkinsons and Alzheimers and is like a little boy, stays at various of the children's homes and now has a professional to look after him at night because they finally couldn't handle it. So sad. Anthony was always this small bear of a man, always friendly, always willing to do a favor. To see him reduced to infancy is jarring.

I also have a lot of memories of that house. We had a lot of family gatherings because my Uncle Tommy, Mom's oldest brother, lived next door. Sometimes the place would be packed with 30-40 people. My Aunty Petrina would make wandis, which are so difficult to make, and we'd eat and reminisce, and the kids would play in the yard.

We had supper at Sweet Tomatoes. I remembed to bring my own salad dressing this time and was able to chow down on numerous vegetables. I had taken two Prilosecs beforehand and while I wasn't in distress afterwards I still have indigestion after eating. Sigh. They have an Asian theme for the rest of the month and I really must have some more of their Thai peanut salad. Yum!

We also dropped by JoAnn again. James fell in love with a cool winter decoration: a snowman built of ice blocks who is lighted by a bright blue LED bulb. Too cool. Stopped at Borders, got gasoline at Costco, dropped in at Hobbytown.

On the way home we put on the Sirius 1960s channel and listened to Cousin Brucie at the San Gennaro festival in Little Italy in New York City. He opened by playing one of the singers I grew up on, Lou Monte, singing "Lazy Mary." So I've been flitting into the past more than once today.

And now back home after a busy day.

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» Friday, September 21, 2007
Cloud Cover
We've had cloud cover from the tropical storm south of us most of the day and only now is the sun seriously trying to break through. It was a very nice day for some short traveling; I could drive with the sunroof open and be cool and collected.

The day started with a refreshing sleep-in. I had a SlimFast bar and milk for breakfast and then drove out for my monthly visit to Books-a-Million. I take the back way, up Macland Road to Lost Mountain Road, which crosses Dallas Highway and eventually turns into Mars Hill Road. Stopped at their Michael's first and—surprise! at least for me—used one of the 50 percent off coupons to buy a Hallowe'en tree. (I guess I'm tired of being "pumpkin Scrooge.") There were two types, a thick trunk with a spooky face and short branches at the top and a black, gnarled ancient type tree (the closest I can find on Michael's website is this, but that's actually a tree for one of the Lemax villages; this is a lot larger, gnarled, and stand-alone). I got the gnarled tree and four packets of four ornaments each (one is a purple bird in a witch hat and another is an owl) and a packet of balls in black, a bright gloss orange, and a matte darker orange.

Also found some small autumn wildlife figures for the display on the mantel (a squirrel and cardinal at the woodpile) and a display of snow shovels and salt that will go perfectly in front of my Woolworth's Christmas building.

At the Dollar Tree two doors down I found two "potions bottles" and bought some new Colgate toothbrushes. DT is the only place that has these toothbrushes at a reasonable price. This is a great DT, incidentally: has a lot of stock including good brand-name things and always looks clean and neat.

Picked up some aviation magazines in Books-a-Million for James and got myself a copy of Country Woman.

On the way down US41 stopped at the Acworth WalMart. The WallyWorld near us does not stock SlimFast bars and I wanted the brownie ones. They had them and I also got a few groceries and the Prilosec that enables me to eat. On the way out I realized I'd forgotten my yogurt. The elderly lady checking receipts at the front let me put my bags on a bench nearby and she watched them for me while I went back for the yogurt. That was nice of her.

I stopped at JoAnn and found the prettiest Thanksgiving resin table decoration. It is a "board" about a foot long and 2 inches deep. On this "board" are two pumpkins, the first with a turkey sitting on it, a bushel of corn, a bushel of apples, a sheaf of wheat, and another pumpkin with a crow on it. The turkey holds a sign that says "Give" and the pumpkins, bushels, and sheaf each have a letter on them, spelling out "Thanks."

It was still cool enough when I got home to leave the car in the driveway with the windows open—XM Radio Classics was playing a Bob Hope Show with guest star Al Jolson—and sweep out the garage. The floor was dusty with lots of dead millipedes all over the place and scattered paper; I brushed it all clean and disposed of the paper. That's better.

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» Thursday, September 20, 2007
Uneasy
Someone broke into our neighbor's house (across the street) yesterday in broad daylight. They forced their way into the door to the garage (thank God, we don't have one of these) and came out a bedroom window (in the back). The folks next door to us were even home and working outside (on their car) and didn't see anyone. I was here and the windows were open most of the time it might have happened. Willow didn't even bark and she usually flares up even if someone bangs a car door. They took a laptop and an I-POD, little things they could just pick up and leave with.

The two little pugs that live there were locked into a bedroom but they were okay.

I'm not sure if I want a stairway up to the deck anymore!

The police said they thought it might be high-school kids because there was an early-release day yesterday.

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» Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Reunited With Charles Nelson Reilly
I had just purchased the Match Game retrospective on Sunday.

Match Game's Brett Somers Dies at 83

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» Sunday, September 16, 2007
Whistle While You Scrub
Got a good workout doing a deep-clean on the bathroom this morning: took an hour to get it all done.

Then I recycled plastic bags, got the newspaper, and took a quick-step walk once around the mall before buying gas and then purchasing some chicken drumsticks for supper.

I picked up a cheap DVD set at Dollar General: 1950s mystery series. Again, "digitally remastered and sound enhanced" plastered all over the box, and the pictures not much better than having seen it on an old television. So many of these 1950s show copies have a black halo around the edge.

Anyway, what I watched was two episodes of the 1954 series Sherlock Holmes, which was produced in England and starred Ronald Howard, the son of Scarlet Pimpernel/Gone With the Wind/other classic films star Leslie Howard. He quite favored his father. One of the stories I watched was an adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes "Greek Interpreter" short story. It was changed to a French interpreter and Holmes' brother Mycroft was not involved. The other was an original story called "The Case of the Eiffel Tower." It supposedly took place in France and indeed the Eiffel Tower scenes looked as if they were filmed there; however, the background shots of France in 1890-whatever were supplied by old silent films of Paris!

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» Saturday, September 15, 2007
Waiting for Fall...
...Holiday Harbour.

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It Won't Last Long
It's supposed to go down to 55°F tonight and is already cool outside, so we have the windows and the back door open and the fans going. High tomorrow said to be around 75°F! Compared to a few weeks ago, it sounds like Heaven! Ah, but it will creep up starting on Monday.

We had "Hair Day" this morning, then went to A Blue Ribbon Affair. Didn't buy much as the crafters fall into the "this is beautiful but we really don't need it" department. Someone had some lovely autumn wreaths; another fall and Christmas arrangements. I bought a miniature to go with the Christmas/winter shelf I bought last week at Yellow Daisy, we got the last of our yearly fudge, and we got a new hot pad. These are cloth and filled with rice and cinnamon oil. Our last one got dripped on so much that it no longer smells like cinnamon. Now the entire kitchen smells like simmering cinnamon sticks.

If I feel I need it I can go back tomorrow; it's only a dollar to get in and poor James will be off at work. His day off will be Thursday, which means he will get to meet Scott [our exterminator] at last. After a little over a month of not seeing the little buggers, they are appearing one at the time: one on top of the stove, one on the counter, and, most disturbingly, one tonight on one of the dining room chairs. I've only seen them once out of the kitchen. He needs to treat outside again early, too—I caught the ants making an advance approach on the front of the house last night. One was already inside the foyer and two more were in the doorframe. I grabbed the Ortho and did some perimeter spraying.

We saw the first two episodes of Torchwood tonight and I'm already enjoying it (and it's not just John Barrowman...LOL). Also saw "Blink," a Doctor Who episode I have heard about since it was first broadcast in England. Wow. Couldn't take my eyes off the screen. (However, I did blink. <g>)

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» Friday, September 14, 2007
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!
Time for a Snoopy dance!

Amazon.com: The House Without a Christmas Tree: DVD:

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Air!
Zowee! I have the windows open.

It won't last—the sun's due back soon and it will be too warm tonight, but it's nice to have a chance to air out the house.

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» Thursday, September 13, 2007
Celebrating Fall
Here is the fall "shelf" and the miniatures to accompany that I bought at Yellow Daisy last weekend:

autumn miniatures

The crafter is "Country Pick'ns" located in Leawood, Kansas. No website, I'm afraid. God knows I'd love to make one for them!

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» Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Mysteries and More...
...the newest reading list in A Cozy Nook to Read In.

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A Parent's Lament
Mosey on over to YouTube to see Dad's evening lament in Pachelbel Bedtime.

Tip of the hat to Bruce Robb.

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Follow the Stars
We watch Jeopardy on Channel 38 from Boston since up till this week the Atlanta station showed it at 4:30 p.m. and we have seen the Hannaford's commercials referenced here:

Shoppers Follow Start to Healthier Foods

A useful system.

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Remember the Carefree Days of Childhood?
They truly are gone:

How Children Lost the Right to Roam in Four Generations

I was a bit overprotected as a kid by parents who had suffered through three miscarriages before I came along, plus I was a girl, so I was not given the freedom James remembers: leaving the house early in the morning to ride bikes with buddies to come back for lunch or even as late as supper without fear or repercussion. On the other hand, as long as I told my mom where I was going, I remember being allowed to walk or later bike just about anywhere: the half mile to Linda's house or the mile to Sherrye's, down to the Cranston Stadium or even to Thall's. I remember the grand day I was sixteen, my mom was at work, and I wanted to go to the Paperback Bookstore in Providence so badly, so I took the bus downtown on my own for the first time. Doesn't sound like much now, but it was a Big Trip back then and quite lovely, being able to browse in the Paperback Bookstore and Read-All and Woolworth's and the Providence Public Library for as long as I wanted without my mom getting bored.

Now everyone's in organized activities instead of just playing like we did, and tied down by cell phones.

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Where Are All the Bees?
Another news story:

Scientists Find Clue in Mystery of the Vanishing Bees

Hmn. After reading Aliens in the Backyard I'm always surprised we haven't given up importation of fauna and flora long ago. Starlings. Kudzu. Gypsy moths.

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Treading the Concrete
We saw this story on the news the day before it appeared on CNN.

Walking Hard for Many Exercisers

I remember when I moved to Georgia being surprised about how so many things were just not walkable—and where were all the mailboxes? I could walk ten minutes in three directions and find a mailbox in Rhode Island. Here you have to drive to the post awful or find public buildings like City Hall that have mailboxes in front of them. I found it so puzzling! Of course most of the things in walking distance of our house disappeared by the time I went to work: Tom's Superette, Joe's Spa, the Gansett Bakery, Mancini's Hardware. My mom (and I during summer vacation) walked a mile to the grocery store with a shopping cart, and every day after Labor Day I would religiously walk the mile to Thall's Pharmacy to get the Fall Preview TV Guide. But Food Town and Thall's are both car supply places now.

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» Tuesday, September 11, 2007
R.I.P. Madeleine
A Wrinkle in Time Author L'Engle Dies

New York Times Obituary

Here's the infamous New Yorker interview that made such waves in 2004.

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» Monday, September 10, 2007
Sometimes For Worse, Sometimes For Better
Anyone following the saga of Lynn Johnston's long-running comic strip knows that this is the month the strip was supposed to go into permanent "rerun-mode." After 20+ years, Ms. Johnston, who was suffering from an illness and hoped to retire, relax, and travel with her husband, wanted to end the strip permanently, but instead she was offered the chance to recycle some of the oldest strips, when John and Elly Patterson's kids Michael and Elizabeth were about age six and a toddler, respectively. "For Better or For Worse" was only running in a handful of newspapers back then and most people had not seen the early material except in retrospective bound volumes.

This has actually started already, with Michael telling his children stories of when he was a kid, using the old strips as flashbacks. However, circumstances have changed at the FBOFW ranch: Lynn's illness has eased (the story I heard was that medication she was taking was actually causing her problem) and she will still be traveling, but not in the manner she planned since, sadly, she was divorced in April. So there are plans for some new Sunday strips and also a resolution to the story of Elizabeth getting back together with her old beau Anthony, which has created a furor over at the comic discussion groups because Anthony is considered "boring" and "stupid," at least through 2008.

Here's a long article about what happened and a shorter piece from KansasCity.com.

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» Sunday, September 09, 2007
"Daisy, Daisy, Give Me Your Answer, Do..."
We were up early this morning to go to the Yellow Daisy Festival. Nothing remarkable to report upon: the guy from Alabama who made our kitchen table and chairs wasn't there (I guess he's retired), nor were the bread knife people, or the person who made the affordable German pyramids. Ah, well. We bought our yearly fudge, got more "Smack Yo' Mama" barbecue sauce, and sampled the dips (bought more garlic dip to make garlic butter with).

I did allow myself an extravagance: there's a gentleman there every year who sells shelved small frames and miniature cupboards. To go along with them, he makes little wooden, metal, and resin items to go on the shelf/in the cupboard. They are in themes like pets, sewing, Christmas, autumn, Hallowe'en, winter, etc. For instance the sewing theme had miniature spools, little bolts of cloth, tiny thimbles and sewing machines, signs that say "I ♥ Sewing," etc. They're like small dolls' houses. I've always wanted one of the cupboards, but settled for two shelf frames: one has a scarecrow in the background and I bought little items like an autumn angel, an apple basket (to give you an idea of the scale, the apple basket is only about an inch tall), an "Apples 5¢" sign, a watering can with a pumpkin on it, a birdhouse and a couple of other things.

The other has snowmen in the background and says "Love," "Friends," and "Be Kind" on it. It is mostly winter-themed but has red cardinals and the snowman has a star. So I bought four little Christmas-themed bits for it (Santa, reindeer, etc.) and four winter-themed items (bottle of "snowballs," winter birdhouse, etc.) and it can be interchangeable winter and Christmas.

Since we were already on that side of town we went to the DeKalb Farmer's Market for boneless skinless turkey thighs, and also stopped at BJ's for the necessity of life (milk!) and other things. By that time both of us were suffering from sun overdose, although it was better this year (some clouds), we remembered our hats and I rigged up something with heavy-gauge floral wire so we could carry a bottle of water without having to have it in our hands all the time (James brought his carry pouch at the last minute and didn't need his). Heat and sun just leach energy from me; by the time we got home I was sleepy. But by the time we put the turkey up, wiped the counters, gone through the paper, and put away the rest of the groceries, this had passed.

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» Saturday, September 08, 2007
Micro-WOW!
I suppose as someone who grew up in the age of the transistor radio I shouldn't be so surprised. Suddenly radio went from the dark-brown AM-only Bakelite box that was on our kitchen counter bringing us Salty Brine's list of school closings on a snow day to something just twice the size of a deck of cards playing both AM and FM. (I remember Mom's little leather-cased transistor that she took to work with her to listen to Dick Pace and Jack Comley on "Talk Back" while she linked and looped innumerable pieces of jewelry.)

But yesterday when I stopped by Office Max to see about the MicroSD cards they had on sale it took me a while to get my mind wrapped around the idea of this gadget. My phone has a slot for a MicroSD card, you see, and I thought it might be useful to have a card for storage of pictures and even some MP3s. Office Max had a two gigabyte card on sale for $30.

There it sat, in the blister pack, next to the adapter that would allow it to fit an SD slot. They also had a reader that supports 20 other types of memory cards besides the SD, and which plugs into the computer with a short USB cable. I bought both, brought them home, and just stared at the MicroSD in awe. It's 3/4 inch long and 1/2 inch wide and the part that goes into the phone is the thickness of a credit card (the opposite end has a slightly wider edge so you can pull it out of the phone with your thumbnail). Holy cow! Two gigabytes on this tiny card. Absolutely freakin' amazing.

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» Thursday, September 06, 2007
The Phone Caper, Birthday Tidings, and All That
Ever since my cell phone did a swan dive into one of the toilets at Linens'n'Things, it has been slightly wonky. Oh, it did all the phone things all right, but the charge light remained on constantly, draining the battery so much that it had to be charged every night. The couple of times I thought I lost service completely was due to the battery being drained completely. The switch on the side that raised and lowered the volume barely worked.

So on Tuesday, which was James' birthday, we went to Longhorn for supper. I was so grateful to him for staying up with me while I was sick that I had given him all his gifts Monday night: the DVD set of Band of Brothers, The Astronaut Farmer (this was actually "from" the fids), and a Webkinz. The latter had a tie to his past: when he was on his own after his Navy service, he had owned a half-beagle, half-dachshund named Berengaria or, as he called her, "Little Bear." He described her as looking like a beagle with a dachshund's "clearance." Some bastard poisoned the poor dog some time later. So I put a tag around the beagle's neck that said "You can name me what you like, but I am a girl and my name is Berengaria." And so she is.

I was still feeling pretty bad when we went to dinner, but the salad and half the steak (the rest went for lunches) perked me up a bit, so we stopped at Verizon to get new phones. I ended up getting another Samsung because I hoped our old charge cords would fit (they don't) and James got the "free" phone, which is a Motorola. Both of them are wired for Bluetooth if we need that, and both of them accept Verizon's GPS service. You can get it monthly or, if you just need it once, you can buy it for the day. I thought that might be useful in a travel situation. You can also put a MicroSD card into the phone so it can serve as an MP3 player.

At home I snapped a photo of Schuyler to serve as a wallpaper and spent a frustrated hour trying to download a couple of ringtones. I could not get the Lassie theme again, so I settled for The Waltons, and for James' ring picked the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme. (I was going to get "Linus and Lucy" for the main ring, but the arrangement they had was dreadful, and George Winston's "Moon" did not call attention to itself well.)

James was very disappointed to find out that they had both 633 Squadron and Battle of Britain music—but only as a ringback. Sigh. He got the Battlestar Galactica theme instead.

Today I plowed through more purchase orders and at lunch did something I've been putting off since last summer: fixing the curtain in the master bathroom. For some reason they are putting these big square windows in new home bathrooms. I would rather they had regular windows that opened to let out shower steam and circulate fresh air in the bathroom, but evidently that isn't done any longer. (Probably some nonsense about drafts. Sheesh.) Anyway, I have not wanted to cover the entire window because it faces east and I like the morning light coming in, but I could only find tab-top drapes (I didn't want to put up a permanent curtain rod but wanted to use a spring rod; the only spring rod wide enough to span this huge window was a thick one for use with a shower curtain, so I needed tab-tops) or valences, nothing about 25" long.

Finally I just bought the longest tab-top valence I could find and put it up. Last winter there was no one living in the trailer behind our fence, which is elevated enough that one can look into our bathroom, but this spring someone moved in; luckily the trees leafed quickly. (Although, I suppose if anyone is weird enough to get their kicks looking at a fat white broad, that's their outlook...) I had bought a wide piece of cream-colored eyelet edging to sew at the bottom of the valence, which brought it to required length, but had resisted for months sewing it on.

My mom always looked at me, incredulous: "You cross-stitch! How can you hate to sew?" Cross-stitch is painting with a needle and thread. Sewing is...well, sewing. Interminable hours with a needle and thread connecting two pieces of material. I had a pint-sized sewing machine that I had salvaged from her attic, but I have no manual for it and I haven't figured out how to get the thread from the bobbin up to the foot plate where the threaded needle would connect the two threads in the sewing process. And I was still afraid I would muck it up and have to rip out all those seams.

In rummaging around the sewing box, I found the Stitch Witchery stuff. It's basically iron-on stuff that binds two pieces of material together. So for better or for worse, that's what I did. Looks good.

While I was messing around with curtains I washed the ones in the dining room/kitchen and this time ironed them. I hate empty windows—I don't know how people in these show houses on HGTV bear them—and I had just put them up with wrinkles, which I couldn't stand anymore. The ruffles on the dining room swags weren't as bad to iron as I feared, so they are already back up.

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A New Girl...
...in the collection in A Cozy Nook to Read In.

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» Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Giving a Hoot
Various Andy Runton/Owly links:

Andy Runton Website

What a Hoot: Runton Talks "Owly"

Who, Who is Andy Runton?

Owly Livejournal (not recently updated)

TopTwoThreeFilms.com Andy Runton Interview

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» Monday, September 03, 2007
DragonCon, Day 4
Well, last night wasn't fun. I had some bad stomach problems last night and didn't get to sleep until about three. Things were not good "down under." I realized I have been drinking fruit juice all weekend with my sandwiches. I usually have real fruit, not juice. I think that was part of the problem.

Needless to say, having gotten up at 8:30, I was pretty exhausted all day. James had stayed up with me and he wasn't doing all that well, either. But he wanted to hit a 10 o'clock panel, so we headed downtown. It was the nicest day for parking and we we were going to the same panel—I'd seen Erin Gray and Gil Gerard last time and at that point was feeling too shaky to be alone, so I went to the panel with him.

This was actually one I had scheduled as a possible, about revisionist history in SF being the "new fantasy." Between the panel and the audience, we actually decided the term "revisionist history" was inaccurate...what the suggestor probably meant was "alternate history." We discussed the various kinds of alternate histories: ones that are "what if" type scenarios (Robert E. Lee takes command of the Union army, etc.), ones that use magic, and ones that have a SF plot (aliens invade during World War II, for example).

I toyed with seeing Elisabeth Rohm's panel and then found out they had changed today's Lone Gunmen panel up 90 minutes and to the Hilton, but didn't feel like rushing there. So instead James and I went to register for next year, walked over to the Marriott to wander about the Walk of Fame for a few minutes and buy the discount memberships to Timegate next Memorial Day weekend, then ended up at the Hilton anyway. We went to the Dealer's Room to see if anything else took our fancy, but nothing did. We did stop at Andy Runton's table on the way out and James bought the "Korgi" graphic novel by Christian Slade (this, like "Owly," is told just in drawings). I had to buy the stuffed Owly (with his pal Wormy on his head); he was just too cute.

We dropped by the Exhibitor's Hall to get an Enterprise poster James had liked, but alas, they were out; should have gotten it yesterday. Then I went with him for about a half hour to attend the wrapup panel of the Apocalypse Rising track (which used to be the Tribe track). He's attended several of the track panels this weekend and enjoyed most of them, except "Music for the Apocalypse," which turned out to be musicians talking about their favorite songs. I left him about 1:30 so I could leisurely make my way through the Marriott and back to the Hyatt. There was a Doctor Who panel at 2:30 and I wanted to make sure to get there early enough.

Monday's a bit of a melancholy day at the convention since people have to check out and many leave early; the lobbies were clotted with people with suitcases and luggage racks and the drive outside full of cars being pulled up. So the Who panel was full but not overcrowded. By this time the panel members were on their fourth day in the Brittrack room and they were all a bit punch drunk, so there was much joking as people ate their lunch up at the front of the room.

We had a nice discussion about the different aspects of the old series and the new series and how people would like to see more references and actors from the old series on the new one, and also the definition of an "official" companion (why Sara Kingdom, for example, and not Bret Vyon, and was Adam a companion or just a failed wannabee?), whether David Tennant would be staying with the role, etc. (they think he is because fifth season has just been announced by the BBC as being delayed since DT wants to do Hamlet).

I nipped off to the bathroom between panels and came back to find James waiting for me. He was going to go to another wrapup panel, but the one he had attended was disappointing and the room was hot. So he came and sat in the Brittrack wrapup panel where people were asked and said what they would like next year (mostly a larger room!). Finally we were both too tired to finish and headed home. We'd planned to go out to eat, but I was utterly exhausted, so we ended up at Wendy's after James' plan to get Chinese food at the Grand Mercado didn't pan out: the restaurant section was gone except for the sushi bar.

The funniest thing happened: I showed the Owly stuffed animal to Schuyler, expecting her to be frightened. Instead she just stared at it, creeping close to the cage bars, fascinated. Maybe it is the big eyes! Her reaction was just too delightful!

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» Sunday, September 02, 2007
DragonCon, Day 3
Apparently it's not DragonCon if I don't wake up one day with a sinus headache. So I wasn't as quick out of bed as I'd planned. At least it was a nice morning, overcast with a nice breeze. We drove downtown with the windows open.

They actually had Matthew Lewis and James and Oliver Phelps in a decently-sized room today, so we were able to sit and enjoy the show. I must admit, Matthew Lewis not-as-Neville is quite cute! Makes me wish I was a teenager again. :-) The trio seemed to be having a good time and the panel was a lot of laughs. Someone asked if they were anything like their movie characters and Lewis said he was awkward like Neville and the twins said they really do like to play practical jokes.

Surprisingly, they say their schoolmates do not make a lot of their fame. I remember watching the child actor special and people like Melissa Gilbert, etc. talking about being tormented or at least teased at school. Their schoolmates don't seem to make much of their involvement in the movies.

Another question was if they visited any of the Harry Potter fan web sites. Matthew said he liked Mugglenet because they knew everything before he did!

What was their favorite book? Lewis said Azkaban. Oliver said his was Hallows; he usually wasn't a quick reader, but he couldn't put that one down. James liked Goblet of Fire best. Plus Matthew's favorite junk food is pizza, Oliver something called a "Percy Pig" (a local junk food), and James said a KFC chicken burger.

(BTW, I freely admit I may have the twins' answers mixed. I'm not sure who was in the plaid and who was in the solid shirt!)

Of course there were the usual complement of embarrassing questions. There was a uniform guffaw and red faces at one that asked "If you had to dress up as one of the female characters, which would you pick?" Matthew asked "Who has the most clothes on?" and the audience chorused, "McGonagall," so that was his choice. :-) James (or was it Oliver?) said "Mrs. Norris!" [the Hogwarts' caretaker's cat].

They were asked about a favorite scene and Matthew Lewis said he enjoyed the Yule Ball because he got to learn to ballroom dance. He and Bonnie Wright [Ginny Weasley] actually learned the tango, but it didn't get in the movie. Incidentally, they said during the dancing lessons, they really were the way it was portrayed in the movie: girls on one side, boys on the other!

James was then off to another panel, and I had thought I would go see the other Babylon 5 panel, but was waylaid by deciding to go to the art show. I spoke to Caran Wilbanks before going in, and she said there was little this year of what James calls "intestinal art," lots of vampire/people getting hacked up/creepy stuff like that.

Very cool. And there were some very good pieces this year; I really enjoyed the contingent of fantasy and SF art. There was the cutest piece of a fairy with a Cairn terrier!

At one side of the room they had three dimensional art and also some prints. I bought a scratchboard piece as a Christmas present, then stopped at a table where the artist had two seasonal pieces I liked: a Snow Fairy (complete in a coat and hat, holding a candle, with holly in her hair) lovingly framed in a snowflake matte, and a Hallowe'en shot of two Jack o'lanterns with an owl perched on top. I also got a postcard print for James of a dog holding a Frisbee-shaped flying sauce with frantic aliens running about inside; the title was "Biscuit Saves the World."

On the way out you have to exit through the print shop, so I bought a companion piece to the fall print of the little birds with the baby dragon; this is the baby dragon with a squirrel who is collecting acorns among the autumn leaves. I also had to buy a humorous print for James: a dragon cook with bookshelves filled with cookbooks behind him. I also bought a very lovely, small print of two cats in a library for the library downstairs.

As I exited the art show I could hear Claudia Christian's voice loud and clear out the door of the Hanover room. The lady can project. So I went in and saw the rest of the B5 panel (once again she was the only one there—and I missed the story of how she was nearly killed by a tribble). Incidentally, the one funny thing she mentioned yesterday that I forgot to mention: she is now looking for a house in California. Andrea Thompson, her co-star on B5, is now her real-estate agent.

I headed directly upstairs for the Star Trek: The Next Generation reunion panel—the line was already past the men's room, up a flight of stairs, and out the door and onto the street! Well, damned if I was going outside! So I just waited there as they finally began to move the crowd and watched person after person coming by me, down the stairs from a door outside in a ceaseless parade.

Aside here: it hasn't been all in our heads—there are definitely more people at this convention; it's not just that part of the Marriott is shut down. I heard that there were 30,000 people last year and that there were approximately 20,000 more this year. Yow. So hotel security and the fire marshals have been going berserk. Well, as they started to run...and I do mean run...people from the waiting line finally into the big ballroom, the hotel guy was bellowing "Come on, people, move it, move it, don't stop!" like a drill sergeant. For cryin' out loud, we had people coming down those stairs who were elderly, had kids with them, were kids coming down a long flight of stairs. I appreciate that they had to keep the crowd moving but this was too freaking much. What if someone had fallen?

Anyway, finally the door to the outside closed and no one else came in. So I followed behind them and got a seat at the back of the room. It took another ten to fifteen minutes before they had the room filled and could start.

The panel, which consisted of Brent Spiner [Data], Gates McFadden [Dr. Crusher], and Jonathan Frakes [Commander Riker] was, after all that, very entertaining and much fun. They began by having the cast come out to the wrong names and just got sillier from there. Brent Spiner started answering questions in a Patrick Stewart voice. His hair is quite white now and he looks more like a scientist than ever. Gates McFadden still looks gorgeous. And Jonathan Frakes is...Jonathan Frakes. :-) Someone mentioned that the Mythbusters build team was here and he said "I love that show!" and they started discussing series they liked. Gates says her son's favorite is Pimp My Car and Brent likes Survivorman.

There seemed to be some funny feud going on between them and the Battlestar Galactica people that I didn't quite understand, but there were BSG digs throughout. They also told a funny story about having filmed a scene with a particular actor who was then released and went home, which was somewhere quite far from California—and they needed him for a reshoot. Instead they found a wig that resembled the actor's hair and filmed the scene shooting over "his" shoulder.

There was a question about movies which I do not remember, but Jonathan Frakes dryly commented, "Generations? Ah, the story of two captains searching for one good hairpiece." LOL.

At 2:30 I attended the Torchwood panel, back down in the very crowded Brittrack room I mentioned yesterday. This time I was early enough to get a decent seat, but they had 143 people crowded into that little room! Unlike most of the complement who has seen the series through downloads, bittorrents, and other means (like actually being in England when the series was broadcast!), I don't know anything about the show but the premise, so the talk about characters rather went over my head. It was fun nonetheless, and I'll be interested in seeing how it goes together with this season of Doctor Who that we are just seeing on BBC America.

After this panel I headed for the Hilton; instead of tramping outside I used the skywalk to the garage, where I dropped off the big carry bag I have been using to carry both my camera and my lunch bag. The strap has made a big sore spot on my shoulder; it feels like I have sunburn. Who should I bump into in the lobby of the Hilton but James, so we did a turn of the dealer's room together.

The first thing we happened to pass was Andy Runton's table. Andy does a comic book called Owly, about a cute but lonely little owl. I have seen Owly drawings at other times, but never investigated the books. I picked up the first one and was enchanted by the story told without dialog—the storyline is carried by drawings and some minimal words. I ended up buying all three of the existing books plus the sample comic and Andy autographed them all for me while we talked with him about Schuyler and Pigwidgeon.

(Here's part of an Owly book online. They are so very charming!)

I also got this year's Pocket Dragon. He's holding a pink spider and the title is "Welcome to My Website." LOL.

I returned to the Hyatt for the Blake's 7 panel, taking a quick walk through the Hall of Fame. Claudia Christian was already gone; I was hoping she had some copies of her book with her. There was a big line for autographs with Matthew Lewis and James and Oliver Phelps; some other busy spots, and some spots not so busy. I did stop by the table with Tom Braidwood and Bruce Harwood and thanked them for their panel and told the latter he looked like my ex-supervisor. He said "Is that good or bad?" :-)

The Blake's 7 panel was small but busy; everyone had a favorite episode or opinion on characters. There were lots of fans of my favorite episode, "City at the Edge of the World." I also won a B7 audio CD by knowing which Doctor Who episode Michael Keating was in ("Sunmakers"! One of my favorites!).

I had planned to join James in what I thought was his last panel of the day, but during the B7 panel John Lenahan had popped in to publicize his online book. John was the voice of the toaster in the series Red Dwarf and is also a comedian/magician. He was doing the opening of the Whose Line Is It Anyway? finals, so I went to see that instead. He was quite funny and so was the improv, although I apparently missed the joke about "shooting orphans" that somehow ended up in the show (not to mention a sketch about shaving a cat).

I waited for James after the panel, only to call him and find out he was at the Hilton for one last panel, so I trucked back over the "Luke Skywalk" to join him. This was a panel about your legal rights if confronted by the police in a traffic stop or if they come to your door. It came with a cheesy instructional film called "Busted" which, we were promised, had the same acting level as the "DragonCon TV" films that are shown in the rooms between panels! It did greatly resemble those lovely ethics films we used to get at work!

Then we came home. I'm pooped. And this is not proofread, but my fingers are refusing to work anymore...

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» Saturday, September 01, 2007
The Nerd Test, Version 2.0
Yay!


NerdTests.com says I'm an Uber Cool Nerd King.  What are you?  Click here!

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DragonCon, Day 2
Today was fun, if a bit frustrating in parts.

I'd been feeling unwell last night, so we blew off our first panel and instead left the house intending to make an 11:30 one. At least we tried to get there early. Traffic was dreadful, even on a Saturday morning and the Williams Street exit was backed up onto the freeway. Also, we are used to the Courtland Street Garage being crowded on Friday because people are working that day. But the garage was just as crowded this morning; we barely found a spot, and the Peachtree Street Food Court, which we cut through on the way to the hotel, was mobbed, including with mothers with children who did not belong to the convention. Obviously some other event was taking place, but I don't know what it was.

I toyed with going to the Harry Potter panel again—this time they had scheduled it in a larger room—but I finally decided to go with the Babylon 5 panel instead.

Claudia ChristianThree people were supposed to be on the panel, but it was just Claudia Christian (Susan Ivanova); this was okay because Claudia has enough energy for three anyway. She is what in my mom's generation was referred to as "a pistol." This woman could make a hummingbird look lazy. With the prompting of questions she bounced from one subject to another with much humor, including talking about how she didn't like being "the Voice of the Resistance" because all she had to do was read a Teleprompter; no acting was involved. She also told a funny story about a bet she had with Jerry Doyle about both being in the same number of episodes—until a script came along without her. She told Joe that she had to be in that episode; she had a bet riding on it! :-) So she appears briefly coming out of an elevator.

She had been living in England for the past three years, has written a book about her experiences at conventions, and is learning to play the fiddle (her brother has a bluegrass band). She talked about her love of books—she has a two-level library and said she has so many books she's giving them away to friends; she brought four with her this weekend alone.

Someone asked her if it was hard to work in front of a green screen and she started laughing just recounting a scene where Ivanova was greeting Lyta Alexander coming off the organic ship belonging to Kosh; Alexander comes down a long ramp that has been extended from the ship. The ship and the ramp were put in later via CGI; what she actually saw was a stagehand munching on a bagel wheeling actress Patricia Tallman, who was on her knees, in a children's wagon! She couldn't stop giggling and they finally had to send her off the set. She also said that, to remember the buttons in C&C (the station's control center) that they were to push, they would label them with things like "chips" or names of rock songs.

She said her favorite two episodes were the episode with the Drazi (green! purple!) and the episode where Marcus sacrificed himself for her.

From there I went to the Doctor Who Classics panel down in the depths of the Hyatt. The Brit Track panels are usually crowded into a small room and this one was SRO as we talked about the different aspects of the series, the panel moderators' favorite Doctors and companions, what we did and didn't like about the Paul McGann film, etc. It was very warm in the room and I was feeling a tad overheated when I emerged, so instead of going anywhere else I joined James in the "Designing the Future in Plastic" models panel since the room was very nicely air conditioned! They discussed old SF and fantasy models and one of the moderators said his company is releasing a model of the "Voyager," the ship used in the animated Fantastic Voyage series! If James wants to buy that one, he has a thumbs-up from me—I enjoyed that series, even if it was typical Filmation limited animation. wish I could find it on DVD!

Incidentally, I saw something I thought rather funny on the way to the panel: the hall costumes are out in force this year, with the usual superheroes, fairies, anime characters, television favorites, the Blues brothers, etc. One of them was a lovely Gandalf, beautiful costume from top to foot.

Except he was talking on his cell phone. Arranging to get together with Bilbo Baggins later on? :-)

I went back to the Cairo meeting room for the new Doctor Who panel; I was almost fifteen minutes early and the room was crammed full already. A line formed behind me all the way out toward the escalators. Every seat was already full (I counted later; I think there were 80-85 chairs) and people were along the wall and sitting on the floor (I guessed there were probably about 130 people in there; someone took a photo inside and of the line outside to prove to DragonCon that the Brit Track needed larger rooms!). You could only get in if someone came out. I was the last person that got in. It was hellishly hot, just like my cubicle for most of the summer, and I had no fan, but luckily I had a cup of water from one of the water jugs in the hall. I kept dabbing water on my nose so I could breathe properly and on my neck and arms to keep from overheating.

Otherwise the panel was terrific. Most of the folks have seen the third season on downloads from England, so they were way ahead of me, but I've read all the synopses on Outpost Gallifrey, so I know all the spoilers. However, they had some spoilers and rumors that I had not heard.

A good time was had by all, and all that, but it was good to get out and be able to take a deep breath again.

After that James and I met at the Hilton to attend a telecommuting panel. The moderator was lucky in that he has been telecommuting for ten years! He works for a software company in California but lives here; works totally by telecommuting. At least one person in the audience said they worked at home but were having trouble in being distracted by household things. When I get distracted, all I have to think about is driving to work and back! That's enough to make me focus, trust me. LOL.

Well, now we had to make a decision. There was a writer's track panel at ten that we were sort of interested in. But to attend it we would have had to have hiked back to the Hyatt and then waited three hours. There was a Harry Potter Jeopardy or a Babylon 5 lost tales panel we could have gone to (except I lost interest a bit in the lost tales when Claudia said at her panel that only Bruce Boxleitner, Peter Woodward, and Tracy Scoggins have been contacted to be in them; what's the fun in that?), but we were both warm and tired, and we both have panels we want to go to early tomorrow.

So we wandered about the two exhibition halls for a half hour until they closed (I got some lovely card-sized fantasy prints) and then "got the hell out of Dodge," stopping at Michael's to spend a couple of coupons (I got a lovely metal autumn leaf wall hanging) and at Publix before going home to our happy fids.

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