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, May 31, 2008
Saturday Excursions
Poor Schuyler. This morning we uncovered her and went about our business and she just sat, droopy and sad, deprived of her "teevee." We were going to be out for a while and didn't want to drag the small television out of the spare room, so I found a DVD with multiple episodes on it and put it on for her. How quickly she perked up! Of course, I left her with some millet, too.

We went out to Frys today to get a new case for my laptop. The one we have is overlarge and very heavy. We lucked out just as we walked into the store, as they had one on special, plus I bought a small mouse. James also got a small case for his EEE that will hold the two external disk drives as well. Plus got some more 3-disk DVD holders. We had lunch at the cafe and I had one of their tuna salad wraps. I wasn't very happy with it and only ate half. Later on it made me sick to the stomach and then sent me into the bathroom. This happened last Sunday after I had the wrap at Arbys. Maybe it's the mayonnaise?

Stopped at Trader Joe's as well for popcorn and some more of their wonderful gourmet chicken salad. The mayo isn't overpowering and the currants give it a subtle sweet taste and the almonds a lovely crunch. (And it doesn't bother me, so maybe it isn't the mayo.)

We stopped at Hobby Lobby later on and to my surprise they already have some fall wreaths, garlands, and picks out. Yay! They also have a few Christmas picks and small trees and plain wreaths, too.

We got home just in time for Jack Benny to finish. Schuyler immediately got droopy again, so when we went out the second time to Hobby Lobby and Kroger, I left something running on the computer again. She gave the happiest little chirp and has continued to enjoy sitting with us tonight and watching Star Trek IV and Airplane! (the "Don't Call Me Shirley" edition).

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» Friday, May 30, 2008
All This and Laptops, Too
Yeah, guess what arrived at James' desk about two hours ago. Evidently UPS figured they had scanned it enough. He's charging it up and giving it a name for the network and all that. Tonight I can load WordPerfect and Eudora and mIRC and all that other useful stuff on it, since I can't watch television. (Well, I can, but...network television...shudder...)

Spent an extraordinary amount of money just stocking up at WalMart and BJs. However, I did buy a couple of clothes and a new ironing board cover at WallyWorld (the old ironing board cover was 24 years old; I think it's seen enough) and a nice pack of boneless pork ribs at BJs for Sunday dinner from the crock pot. I think I got everything...LOL. Oh, yeah, and there was the $47 to fill the car...and I was only down to a quarter tank. Thank God for teleworking!

Now that everything's put away, I'm watching the second disc on the "Disneyland" Treasures box, "The Golden Horseshoe Revue." Ed Wynn is performing...still funny. It's the full show from Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, complete with Walt's intro and the wonderful Sherman brothers' "World of Color" theme.

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» Thursday, May 29, 2008
Well, This is Cool
At one of the "Timegate" panels, Jana Oliver asked where you would go if you could time travel. It sure would be neat to see what happened here over the years: Stonehenge was a Place of Burial, Researchers Say

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RIPs
Just saw this on Biz' LiveJournal: Comic Actor Harvey Korman Dies at 81

Here's to Gallegher's good friend "Brownie"...

Also noted on CNN: the passing of Joe Pevney, television director well-known for doing Star Trek's "City on the Edge of Forever" and "The Trouble With Tribbles."

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Birds and Boxes
So it's lunchtime, and yes, the satellite box is toast. I've unplugged it twice for over an hour, it's come back on for about ten minutes, then shuts off. I don't see why, if the hard disk is bad, the signal in doesn't work...you don't need the hard disk to watch the television! Stupid.

Anyway, for lunch, I put on one of my Rick Steves disks; am watching the Oslo/Bergen segment now. I would have been done with it by now, but I heard frantic baby bird cheeping outside and looked out the window to see a juvenile cardinal, brown, but with his red feathers just coming in on his wings and spots on his body, begging for seed and his harassed-looking father feeding him! I grabbed the camera and got a bunch of photos of "dad" feeding the kid. The male kept getting huffy because a bewildered-looking dove kept getting between him and the fledgeling. (Well, he looked bewildered, but then doves always look bewildered.)

Speaking of birds, you should hear Schuyler calling to the Norwegian birds in the background!

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Awww Factors
I'd just finished an order and decided to call both UPS and Lenovo and give them a piece of my mind (this time Lenovo told me everything had been delayed because of Memorial Day, which, in the customs case, is probably true). However, I was still steaming and decided to step out on the deck for a couple of minutes and fill the bird feeder. As I opened the door, I noticed one of the brown-headed nuthatches sitting on one of the arms of the feeder holder. I expected him to fly away the moment I stepped out on the deck, so was astonished as he held his ground, keeping so still I thought he was dead until I saw him blink, as I took the few steps to the deck, moved the chair between me and the feeder, and came right up to him. I extended my hand and it wasn't until my finger was a half-inch from his tiny body—he's smaller than Schuyler!—that he flew away with a "Yeep!" Too cute.

I am soothing my "savage beast" with Christmas music. On right now is a CD I received with a book or something else. Full orchestral treatments, in classical style, of songs, including "Jingle Bells," which made me grin.

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Technical Difficulties
Well...snellfrocky. Hangnails. Dirty socks. The satellite box has quit working. It says we have a hard disk error, but it won't even pick up the satellite signal itself. That means three Sarah Jane Adventures and two Doctor Who episodes we haven't seen are toast and at this rate we will miss the ones this Friday as well because UPS won't deliver a new box until Monday. (UPS, of all people! Since I can't even get a laptop out of their damn clutches.) And then we will have to set it up ourselves, after it took the technician an hour to get the original one set up.

Should have known something was fishy when James turned it on this morning and said "Did you have the Smithsonian Channel on for a reason?", because it was on WXIA when we shut it off. I might have DVR'd something last night, but it wasn't supposed to change channels when it recorded.

The phone tech told me to unplug the unit and maybe after it had cooled off for an hour the satellite part might work. Gee. Thanks.

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» Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Where in the World is Linda's Laptop? The Annoyed Edition
It's still in Louisville, after saying yesterday that it was going to be delivered today (today it just has the shipping date on it). It has so far been held up for a week in Louisville for "brokerage" reasons, which we researched on the web and found out it meant it needed to clear customs, but this only took a day or two.

In the meantime it has been import scanned ten times and also had two notes on it that "the package was missorted at the hub; it has been rerouted to the correct destination site." Obviously not, since I still don't have it. So I called up UPS, who told me it hadn't been missorted, but I need to have Lenovo call up UPS to have it released from customs or some such nonsense. I called Lenovo and they told me they needed to call UPS to get them to release it from customs.

Why do I get the feeling I'm in this unbroken circle?

You know, I never did like UPS, ever since they damaged a bunch of my books that my mom shipped down to me...

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Pssst! Ken Cook at Fox 5...
...that "thing" that happens in June is a solstice, not an equinox. :-)

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» Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Past Times
I am 84 pages into the first volume of About Time and am enjoying it immensely. We are talking an anal-retentive volume here. :-) I have several episode guides to Doctor Who, including single-volume works and then the paperback "Handbooks" for each Doctor, plus the Discontinuity Guide, which lists all the errors, but nothing like this detail. Along with examinations of each episode, there are sidebars about how the BBC operated in the 1960s, how the show was created, who really created the Daleks (one of the early designers of the Daleks was supposed to be Ridley Scott, but he had left the BBC a few weeks earlier to learn how to direct), theories of how the TARDIS works, can you rewrite past history, etc. Wonderful stuff.

We had our bike rides tonight (very difficult tonight, since it was still about 79°F and sticky as hell), the came back to watch Most Outrageous Moments, and now I am watching a marvelous documentary on the Smithsonian Channel in glorious HD, about the different monuments in Washington, DC, which was filmed in the fall, so the color accents the architecture.

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As Nanny Would Say: "Raw-ther!"
Eloise Returns to the Plaza Hotel

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» Monday, May 26, 2008
Timegate, Day 4, the Coda
Having finally had supper, now feel vaguely human again. :-)

At eleven o'clock I slipped next to James at the end of the apocalypse panel, but he wandered off, leaving me at the two Doctor Who panels that ended up blending into one. The first was "The Ultimate Smackdown—Classic Who vs. New Who," which wasn't really a smackdown anyway (whatever that is). The chat was mainly about which stories would have never been seen on the original series, and which new episodes resembled old episodes. This melded into the second panel, "After Davies—the Future of Doctor Who," since Russell T. Davies has announced he will no longer be producer of the series, to be replaced with Stephen Moffat. Most folks are looking at this as being a good thing, since there have been many complaints about the series having turned into a minor soap. Moffat wants to bring back off-Earth stories and do serious historicals (without aliens) again. This sounds great to me. I'm sick of the Doctor mooning over Rose and Martha mooning over the Doctor and even sensible Sarah Jane having broken down when the Doctor left her life. Apparently from the rumors the season finale is going to be quite a blowout.

When the panel was over I reconnected with James in the foyer. We both wanted to see the wrapup panel at two, so we re-upped for next year, then sat in the foyer talking with Teri Sears and Kim, then moved to more comfy seats and were joined by Bill Ritch and Adam Levenstein, talking about the convention, Teri's knitting, Bill's job search and various computer languages. At two we all crowded into the last panel, the convention wrapup. We aired our complaints about the hotel restaurant, everyone was thanked, we bounced ideas for next year, but everyone was wildly enthusiastic.

We enjoyed this convention. It would have been nice, especially for the con staff, to have a few more people, but it was so nice as is. All the panels were great, the few guests were wonderful (please, Louis Robinson, come back next year; I'd be willing to just hear him talk about his days at the BBC!), the hotel in general was nice, the con suite was good, and we just had fun sitting and talking to people. Atlanta used to be full of conventions, from the early, cozy Dixie Treks and Phoenixcons, Fantasy Fair, and MOC nearby, now all there is is DragonCon, which is the 500-pound gorilla. There is lots to see at DragonCon, but at the same time it's sensory overload. It's crowded, it's loud, it's frantic, and it's at a time of the year when it's fiendishly hot and you have to walk between hotels. There's really no downtime space, like a quiet area where you can sit and talk.

Anyway, at the conclusion of the panel we sat for about an hour and talked to Kim Holec and others, before going off to Publix to gather the usual groceries and something for supper. We hadn't had lunch and it was four o'clock and the hunger kicked in fast.

I want to urge anyone in the Atlanta area to consider this con next year (it will be on Memorial Day weekend again). There's going to be an additional track that does not concern Doctor Who and Stargate. Heck, just come for the day and enjoy. This is the real thing, a nice weekend with friends rather than Christmas season at WalMart. :-)

Oh, yeah, I did buy all the About Time books (the third, about the Pertwee years, is out of print but a new expanded edition is supposed to come out this year). I never met many books I didn't like...LOL.

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Timegate, Day 4, Part 1
I'm once again seated in the lobby, typing on the EEE. James is attending an apocalyptic gaming panel and I decided against the YouTube video panel, instead wanting to catch up blogging since I was so rudely interrupted last night. Across the lobby at the registration desk, John Levene is talking with a guest, and down the steps near the panel rooms, the two "convention dogs" are schmoozing with the humans. There are two of the Stargate folks who always bring their dogs (which is why, I'm sure, they picked a pet-friendly hotel): Sebastian, a little Shetland Sheepdog who usually wears a Stargate vest, and Princess, a vividly blue-eyed Husky. Sebastian looks particularly cute this weekend because he has gotten a "summer cut" from the groomer and looks like a little lion, with his face fully furred and a tassel on his tail and the rest of him with short hair.

If it was breakfast that "done me in" last night, I have had a little "hair of the dog" this morning to see if it is indeed the cause, except I had more cornflakes than oat cereal and foregone the couple of rashers of bacon I indulged in previously.

Still tempted by those About Time books, since I still have bonus money left over...

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» Sunday, May 25, 2008
Timegate, Day 3, the Very Late Report
Very late because the day kinda deteriorated in the evening.

After tea, it was much more pleasant to sit talking with friends in the lobby than go to the Star Trek movie panel, so we chatted, then took a few steps down to the panel room where we were discussing the companions of the Doctor—who's bad ::cough:: Adric :: (poor Adric) and who's not, who's favorite (Sarah Jane, Leela, Ian and Barbara, etc.) and who you would have wanted to see as a companion (like Sally Sparrow).

I had seen John Levene yesterday, so I figured James and I could have a leisurely meal at the restaurant before the UNIT panel at six, since the restaurant was supposed to open at five.

At five thirty we gave up waiting for it to open and went to Arby's. (I had their pecan chicken salad wrap, which wasn't bad but I'm not sure if did not contribute to what happened later on.) We got back in time to say hello to the Butlers just arriving and greet Neil the new graduate.

The restaurant didn't open until 5:40, despite the sign out front. I swear, I've never seen such a dual-personality establishment. Physically, it's nice and in the middle of everything, and plays great swing music. In the morning, everything is up and running, the waiter (Jesse) is attentive as is the other waitress; at night you might as well be in a different universe. The young waitress tries really hard —we felt bad for her Friday night, when she had tons of people to serve and no help except for a guy whose entire job seems to be to wander out occasionally to tell you the waitress will be with you in a moment. I know the bad service on Friday night caused a lot of people to seek other means of being fed for the rest of the weekend.

Anyway, at six we decamped to the UNIT panel, which degenerated into silliness from the opening minutes. We wished them better marksmen, chatted about the Brigadier's love-hate relationship with the Doctor, Sgt. Benton's varying roles, where was UNIT when Harold Saxon rose to power and why didn't Torchwood protest with UNIT using their enemy, the Doctor, as a scientific advisor (::cough:: add-on, add-on ::cough::), so on, so forth.

About five minutes before the end of the panel, I started terrific stomach cramps. This had happened mildly the night before, but had passed quickly. Unfortunately, this didn't. I was in the bathroom getting claustrophobic from the tiny stalls for about three hours with only two respites: a brief period eating soup in the restaurant, which only made me nauseated, and getting to see the last half of the Atlanta Radio Theatre presentation (which, of course, typical of life, were two stories we had heard previously; I missed the first new piece entirely and only saw the end of the Ghost Hunters bit). Afterwards, I would have preferred to schmooze with friends and see the Doctor Who cruise video, but instead we went home and finished up the day with diminishing "potty breaks" and watching a replay of the Mars Phoenix lander touchdown on Mars.

Still not sure what set it off...something at breakfast? Maybe the green tea or whatever in the Heart to Heart cereal? the cantaloupe? Or was it the shrimp or salmon sandwiches at tea? The Arby's wrap with a quick turnaround (since I usually don't eat mayo?). It's nothing consistently, that's the problem, or I would quit eating it.

Actually written in the a.m. on Monday.

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Timegate, Day 3, Part 2
We've just come back from tea. Yes, I know tea is traditionally at four, but it's early here. :-) They had a traditional high tea, with different types of English teas, "biscuits" of various kinds, crustless halves sandwiches and filled croissants, and even sugar cubes and Turkish delight. (I tried the Turkish delight, and it was just as wet as I thought it would be...it's a gel, like spearmint leaves or gumdrops, in fruit-flavored cubes rolled in confectioners' sugar. Edmund sold out his brother and sisters for this? Hold out for dark chocolate, kid...)

Had fun this morning. After the Who science panel, James wandered off and eventually found a card game called "Faerie Haven" to play. I stayed for Louis Robinson's Sherlock Holmes panel. The concept was most basically that Hound of the Baskervilles is unfilmable because nothing film producers can do that can live up to Conan Doyle's description and voice. But we talked of different versions of Holmes, Robinson's encounter with Peter Cushing (and Dave Allen), very briefly touched on House, the stupidity of Nigel Bruce, and many other aspects.

The following panel was about fan fiction, which was also enjoyable. Remarkably, there were quite a few men there. We talked briefly about how some of us missed fanzines (hi Kim!), where to find decent fanfic online (since so much of it is Fanfiction.net horrible with no paragraphing, grammar or plots), why write, what is said when you write, etc. This and the Holmes panel should have run much longer! :-)

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Timegate, Day 3, Part 1
We are in the midst of a panel called "TARDIS Repair for Dummies—the Science of Doctor Who," moderated by Rob Bowen; answering questions is Dr. Kevin Grazier, who is science advisor on Battlestar Galactica and Eureka. Is the science better on the new series than the old? Is time travel possible? What does "time and relative dimension in space" mean anyway? I love discussions that make you think.

We were up later this morning after being up late last night, but did get in on time for the breakfast bar. I'm quite enjoying the Kashi cereal; must get some.

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Timegate, Day 2, Part...Whatever
It's late. We just got in from seeing the Mighty Rassilon Art Players (MRAP)'s performance of "From TARDIS, With Love," the first Doctor Who production they've done in a while. I can't tell you a whole lot about the plot...plot? what plot?...which involved the Tenth Doctor and Donna, two different incarnations of the Master, Sarah Jane Smith, a slinky blonde, Captain Jack Harkness, the Doctor's granddaughter Susan, two menacing Torchwood operatives, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Queen Victoria. Convoluted, but very, very funny. Jonathan Strickland and Jack Mayfield, as the Tenth Doctor and the younger incarnation of the Master, were excellent in the leads—and some very funny flashback lines to at least one previous MRAP Who skit. I loved when Donna opened the treasure box they had obtained for the Queen and looked at the contents, a pair of Victorian boxers emblazoned with the initial "A" and blurted out, "This is Victoria's secret?" Silly, but awfully fun.

(And, in late-breaking news, about 20 minutes ago my laptop received yet another import scan...enough with the scanning already...)

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» Saturday, May 24, 2008
Timegate, Day 2, Part 4
We've just come out of the team trivia contest. Only four were allowed to a team, so that meant we couldn't join the Skidmores and the Boroses, or Sue and her friends. Instead we teamed up with Aaron and Anne; we see Aaron regularly at these cons but didn't know Anne. She saved us on at least one question, and we ended up tying for first place with Sue's team. They won the tiebreaker, though, which was about how many seasons the television version of Highlander ran.

There was a hilarious bit right at the beginning: usually at Team Trivia contests, there is a musical selection while each answer is being cogitated and written down. So someone piped up during the first question that we needed to have some music and immediately the entire room started humming the Jeopardy theme!

Previously we had gone to the Torchwood panel, where we discussed the relative merits of each of the season two episodes. Rob Levy brought down the house when he tried to draw a timeline for the known life and times of Captain Jack Harkness, beginning with life in the 51st century through "had wacky adventures" to meeting the Doctor and becoming immortal to being buried alive and dug up and frozen...well, if you've seen the show, you know the drill. Quite hilarious.

Now we are back sitting in the lobby with the Kiernans and Phyllis, reading or writing on various electronic devices, except for Daniel, who has a good old-fashioned book.

I'm about to go back to my good old-fashioned book myself.

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Timegate, Day 2, Part 3
Waiting on James now, out in the lobby again, after chatting with Sue Phillips for a bit, visiting the con suite, and previously having bought myself Ahistory, the Doctor Who timeline book I mentioned earlier and then attended the Q&A with John Levene, who played UNIT Sergeant (and then Warrant Officer) Benton on Who.

Actually, it should have been called "the John Levene lounge comedy act with interrogative interruptions," as he had us in stitches with rapid-fire bad jokes for an hour. In between we learnt that his mother still had a small Yeti prop from his first appearance on Who and that he is trying to do a small Benton film around it, that he was great pals with Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning and Roger Delgado and that he and Pertwee pulled several pranks together, that he'd love to be on the new series, and many other things in enjoyable detours from the questions posed. ADD has nothing on this man. :-)

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Timegate, Day 2, Part 2
James has gone off to his IPMS meeting, so I am sitting in the foyer talking to the Kiernans. I just circled the very small Dealer's Room where I am being seduced by the About Time books (basically super Doctor Who episode guides), but I think I will get them on Amazon...much cheaper. I may get the timeline one, though.

The final morning panel we saw was actually at noon, an overview of the fourth season of Doctor Who, which, due to Carrier and other circumstances beyond our control, we have only seen the Christmas special "Voyage of the Damned" (otherwise The Poseidon Adventure meets Doctor Who with Tennant in the Gene Hackman role) and "Partners in Crime," but we willingly listen to spoilers. So we were listening with great glee to end-of-season rumors about all the characters returning—Rose, Mickey, Jack, and all—as Russell Davies' end-of-tenure blowout. Will we kill him or adore him? Stay tuned!

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Timegate, Day 2, Part 1
Aint technology wonderful? I'm posting from a panel room on James' EEEPC using the hotel Wi-Fi connection. Its a panel called "The Hitchhiker's Guide to Doctor Who."

We just finished a panel about time travel stories in general, mostly literary, with author Jana Oliver and Lewis Murphy. Murphy is also on this panel, along with Lars Pearson. Previous to that we enjoyed the hotel breakfast buffet, which was night and day better than yesterday's debacle. I was able to have oatmeal and fruit, and also tried Kashi's "Heart to Heart" cereal, which is basically naturally-made Cheerios with antioxidents added. Quite good.

Back to enjoying the panel...

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Where in the World is Linda's Laptop, Part 3
Still in Louisville, after a third import scan and after having been "rerouted" due to going to the wrong hub. Hey! I already paid for this thing—I want it delivered to me!

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» Friday, May 23, 2008
Timegate, Day 1
I neglected to ask for today off until so late that I would have been embarrassed to do so, so while James, who did ask for the time, traveled about buying new boots, visiting the hobby shop, and doing other errands, I was finishing off two more purchase orders, doing yet another payment authorization, answering e-mails, and otherwise busying myself with work until the time came to cut loose. We were heading across town to Timegate* immediately, since it was already 3:30 p.m. and we didn't want to get stuck in the worst part of rush hour.

Too late. The sky was dark and heavy when we left the house and it was pouring by the time we got on the freeway. Traffic westbound on the top end of I-285 was backed up for at least six miles, from I-75 past Roswell Road, and eastbound was backed up about the same distance. We tried to get around the last bit of the jam, but only cost ourselves more time. Still, we got to the hotel in time to have to wait around for the restaurant to open.

We eventually ate, but it took a while. There was only one waitress and the poor girl was running around like crazy, even though there were not all that many diners. The kitchen was very slow; we waited about 40 minutes for our food and some friends of ours who came in later waited even longer. I had an Asian salad for supper, pretty much a duplicate of the salad that we used to have at Rockford's when we used to play trivia there, except this had cucumber in it and there were a lot fewer mandarin oranges and they left out the chow mein noodles. (They also had the same salad dressing that Rockford's used to have, which we can't find in the stores, dammit!) This had about four ounces of grilled chicken breast in it and I cannot for the life of me figure out how people live on these salads. We finished eating about 5:15 and about 8:30 I was so hungry and lightheaded we had to run up to the con suite between panels, where I grabbed some plain pasta and a juice box.

We went to three panels after supper, which were all fun. The first was supposed to be a visual retrospective about the "good old days" of Doctor Who fandom in Atlanta, with the Terminus TARDIS group and doing fundraising for Georgia Public Television. Unfortunately they never could get the VCR to work, so we ended up just chatting about the good old days of meetings at White Hall at Emory University, the Science Fiction and Mystery Bookstore in Virginia Highlands, and George Wearn and manning the phones at GPTV.

The next panel was run by author Jana Oliver, where we talked about where we would go if time travel existed and who we would like to meet and if we would try to change history. Much discussion about the butterfly effect, killing Hitler and the like.

Finally we went to "Doctor Who 101," what was supposed to be a history of the series for the folks just entering the fandom via Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant. It eventually went off on the usual tangents about the books and even into Torchwood—oh, yeah, and some video involving Daleks and porn. [don't ask]

We had brief discussion whether we wanted to stay for the Doctor Who documentary, but I was spoiling for a headache left over from being hungry, so we came home. I had to eat a bowl of oatmeal and two ginger cookies to even keep the headache at bay.

I had better remember my sunglasses tomorrow, too; the lights in the meeting rooms are wayyyyyyyyyyy too bright. And I thought the ones at work were bad. Yow.

And, in late-breaking news, the laptop is still in Louisville.

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* We've been going to Timegate for a couple of years. Previously it was held in the summer and in the fall, a one-day con held at the Lions' Club near Northlake Mall. The convention got enough "gate" for them to do a weekend affair.

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Where in the World is Linda's Laptop, Part 2
Still in Louisville. It's had two import scans, though.

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» Thursday, May 22, 2008
A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes
Between reading this week's edition of "the Bleat" (James Lileks' blog) and watching two specials on the Disney parks on the Travel Channel last night, including one called Disney on a Dime), I was inspired to go to the Disney Vacations site and plot up a week's trip. I started with just a week's worth of stay at one of the value hotels and the 8-day pass with Park Hopper in the first full week of December (when you can see all the Christmas decorations but not run into the Christmas crowd—and my birthday week, coincidentally) and came up with $1,300-something. I suppose that's not bad after paying over $1000 for a week at that miserable Amerisuites in Chantilly, Virginia, a year and a half ago.

Then I started playing with it. I think I ended up doing the Caribbean Beach Resort because the rooms had ceiling fans and mini-fridges in the price (we could keep some milk and fruit in the fridge), the pass/Hopper, the meal deal with all the meals, airfare and the pickup service and got $2,800.00 (plus $160 because that's how much it would cost to board Skye and Wil for that time). I suppose these days it's not a lot. Are the Deluxe Meal plans worth it, I wonder? I know how expensive the food is at Disney and I would want to eat real meals, not burger crap and fattening junk. I think the meals worked out to $50 per person per day. Most of the time we use coupons to go out to eat, so this seems like a ton of money (the most we ever spend is when we indulge and go to Longhorn, which is about $30 for the two of us, and we usually come home with leftovers for at least one lunch). Anyone done the meal thing? The two times we drove down to Disney ('85 and '89, as I remember) we brought a cooler and sandwich/soup fixings for supper, got a cheap motel in Kissimmee with a breakfast buffet, and only ate lunch at the park.

Incidentally, I noticed you have to pay for high-speed internet at Disney, something most hotels now offer as a perk in their price. Gosh, and I thought Disney was a civilized place...LOL.

Of course one of the most fun things to do at Disney has cost us almost nothing at all: we bring a hamburger bun with us and sit down in the shade somewhere and feed the sparrows. :-)

They have a really good deal for late August/September, but (a) can't go anywhere July through September because of end-of-fiscal-year, and (b) August in Florida...we're talking Dante's Inferno here, one of the rings on the route to Hell. No thanks...

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» Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Where in the World is Linda's Laptop?
Well, tonight it's in Louisville, Kentucky, with a notation that it's "being held by brokerage for reasons beyond UPS' control." Apparently this has something to do with Customs. Wouldn't it have gone through Customs when it came into the United States, which would have been in Alaska?

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The Unbearable Lightness of Pants
I did errands on my lunch hour today since I am out of AAA batteries for my wireless mouse. Supposedly the batteries are supposed to last about three months. I'm lucky if the ones I've bought last three weeks. I finally got ahold of some Panasonics, which have worked better before. But methinks I need to go for rechargables. I don't like throwing out so many batteries.

I also picked up some vinegar to do the kitchen drain, but my main purchase was a pair of pants. I wanted something easy to pull on to go bike riding and light due to the summer heat. I noticed last time I was in there that they were selling the "scrubs" that employees wear in hospitals for only $8 each, and the pants had elastic waistbands and were very light. So I bought a pair. Very nice and light indeed. I'll have to buy another.

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Sending Clear Signals
LOL. I am teleworking today and it is cool, so I took a few minutes to throw open all the windows and turn on the fans in our bedroom and in the front windows before sitting down again at my desk and delving into a purchase order. Suddenly one of the woodpeckers began drumming outside, presumably on the side of the house since it was so close. They do this to attract a mate, I've read, not to look for food.

Even with the door open, it was particularly loud, so I went to the door to see if I could see where he was drumming. Smart fellow!—he hadn't chosen the wood of the deck or the vinyl of the siding, but was industriously drumming at the one item that gave him the best echo: the rain gutters! Clever boy!

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» Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Rain Delay
No biking tonight: the tornado sirens were going off before seven o'clock and there were several times I wondered if we would have to trek downstairs. At one point while James was cooking and the sirens were wailing, I went out on the front porch and anxiously watched the low clouds. One looked like it was about to begin swirling but it raced on east instead. The radar showed angry splotches of red all over the city.

Now I'm watching a special about the Adirondaks on WPBA (the Atlanta PBS station rather than the Georgia PBS station) and am annoyed: it's a beautiful special that was shot in widescreen. Unfortunately PBA is framing it in 4:3, so all the text notations are disappearing off the right and left sides and you can't get the full effect of the gorgeous scenery.

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Well Traveled
My laptop left China (!!!) yesterday and was in Anchorage, Alaska, this afternoon.

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» Monday, May 19, 2008
Postprandial Moves
We took the bikes out for about fifteen minutes, just around the neighborhood. It's a bit like training wheels, acclimating yourself again.

On the other hand, it's nice to remember again what it was like to fly...

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Snoopy Dance!
My new laptop shipped! My new laptop shipped!

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The Music Goes Round and Round
Forgot to mention with all the bicycle flap that we saw the coolest gadget in Costco (no, did not buy; still trying to figure out how to do this with a line out cord and Windows). It's a USB-connection turntable which plugs directly into your computer. With the accompanying software, it will transfer whatever record is on the turntable to the computer so you can burn it to CD or rip it to .mp3. It also has a jack for you to plug in a cassette player so you can do the same thing.

As you can tell looking at the photo, it only has 33 and 45 speeds, but according to the specs it will also recognize/play/convert 78s. Neat, eh?

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» Sunday, May 18, 2008
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling
After supper we took the bikes around the neighborhood a few times. James still needs to adjust his back brakes and I really must have my handlebars lowered. I don't feel in proper control. I also notice I am having trouble reaching the caliper brakes. I have small hands and this is a pretty wide grip. May have to loosen the mounts and move them up a little.

I didn't expect the years to fall away once I started rolling and miraculously end up back in 1983 and the five-miles-nightly stamina (for one, my knees are definitely cracklier than they were back then!), but yeesh...it started to rain after the third orbit, so we came in. We had a very quick thunderstorm that started the dog barking and got the north and west windowsills quite soaked.

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What Has Four Wheels and Wobbles?
Two bicycles ridden by people who have been "on hiatus" for several years.

I kept seeing bicycles yesterday. People on them. Bikes on the back of cars, in the beds of trucks, on racks.

I woke up this morning thinking "I want to go to WalMart and buy a bike."

Astute observers will probably remind me "Linda, you have a bike." Yes, I do. I bought it in 1996, after we purchased the house. (There was no room to keep it in the apartment.) I rode it about half a dozen times, mostly to get air in the tires, and then pretty much quit. There was so much traffic in the neighborhood there was no safe place to ride and there were always mosquitoes out because we were fifty feet from a creek, plus every time I wanted to ride, I had to go into the backyard, which I hated, through a gate that never worked properly, and into the shed, which was full of spiders.

The bike itself is still brand-new and is reasonably clean, especially now that it was rinsed off with the hose last year, but it needs a good lube and new tires. So over the winter I asked around at bike shops for this work to be done. The average price I got was $125! I only paid $99 for the bike!

I said to James, "I'm going to say something stupid. I want to go to WalMart and buy a bike. But today's the last day it's going to be nice; tomorrow it will be eighty and sunny and it will be horrible again."

But we went anyway. Something's got to give here. I picked out the retro 7-speed Schwinn (a lady who was trying to pick out a starter bike for her tiny little boy said, "Oh, that's cute, like a PT Cruiser," and James grinned and said, "She has one of those, too"), and he got just a generic 21-speed guys' bike. We brought them home, did the rest of our shopping, then came home to fix them. Seats are always placed too high for me, and for some reason they angle them up so the front of the seat is like the horn on a Western saddle. James fixed that, and he also adjusted his rear brakes and lowered the "horn" on his seat, but raised the seat itself. However, he is going to have to buy a metric hex set to fix the handlebars on my bike; they angle upward and I feel like a bird flapping.

Stupid. I felt really stupid on the first ride-around. I was scared. Me, who used to ride five miles a night after supper the whole summer of 1983, zipping in and out of the streets probably at about 12 mph. Made me mad. By the fourth ride around the street I was a little more comfortable, but the handlebars really have to be lowered. I don't feel balanced with them at that angle.

The big thing is going to figure out when to use them. If James got home at a reasonable hour, we could go out biking after dinner. But the earliest he can get home is seven; usually by the time we get done eating it's almost eight o'clock. By that time we're both exhausted.

Not to mention that I still can't tolerate the damn sun, which came out while we were out fixing the brakes and things. I came in absolutely sick to my stomach for at least an hour.

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» Saturday, May 17, 2008
The Women
We drove down to Warner Robins today to visit with James' mom to celebrate a belated Mother's Day (she had to work last weekend). We usually take the bypass road, I-475, and as we approached the far end of Eisenhower Boulevard in Bibb County, we could see the damage done by the storms last week: motels with blue tarps across their roofs, missing billboards, and bent, cracked, torn and tilted trees (and former trees).

We'd been planning to take James' mom out for lunch, but she preferred to relax, so we sent out for Chinese food and watched some of those "cold case" type shows and also the movie Sphere (God, what a dumb movie—so they meet this alien that can manifest all their dreams and all they do is call up their fears so they join hands and send it away? gah...). She loves to read so we brought her some books. She and my sister-in-law had just been to a used book sale, so they have lots to read now!

We had come in through the usual exit, down the 247 extension to Watson Boulevard only to find that the city limits of Warner Robins now extend to the freeway. Watson at that end used to be scrubland and peach orchards, but now there is one superannuated, abandoned peach grove left and businesses creeping down the road. They have a Hobby Lobby out there now, and even a Bruster's and are clearing more land for either another retail center or an apartment complex. The traffic was so bad coming in that we decided to go out "through the back." Richard B. Russell Parkway used to end at Houston Lake Road, but now it goes all the way out to the freeway. There's some businesses on it, including the ubiquitous CVS, but it was a nice drive that way.

We got home just after seven and spent the rest of the night relaxing and finally watching the first two stories of The Sarah Jane Adventures. This is the children's spin-off of Doctor Who (since Who, originally conceived as a children's show, no longer is) centering around companion Sarah Jane Smith, a journalist. When Maria and her dad move into the house across the street (Maria's ditzy mom, who keeps showing up, ran off with a judo instructor, so her parents are divorced), Maria happens to see Sarah Jane speaking with an alien. Yadda yadda and she gets involved with aliens trying to take over the world through a "fizzy drink" company and also the return of the Slitheen.

Definitely this is for children and the background music is really drippy. Otherwise, I enjoyed it. It's not like the stuff they have for kids here, which might as well have a big "this is the lesson of the episode" pasted on every frame of the story, or these dumb crockily-drawn animated series we keep stumbling over. I never thought I'd long for the high art of Hanna-Barbera or the sparkling scripts of the Lippy the Lion! I also loved the photos up in Sarah Jane's lair of Harry Sullivan and the Brigadier, and her musing over names for her new adopted son like "Harry" and "Alistair." (She finally names him "Luke." Did I forget something? Who was Luke?)

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Whoooo!
Gareth David Lloyd is (so far) a scheduled guest at DragonCon!

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» Friday, May 16, 2008
The Rest of the Day
• Complete clean out of master bathroom. I can never figure out how it gets so messy. I really am thinking of switching to castile soap if it doesn't leave soap scum. Now if that would also solve the problem of the hard water stains...

• Two loads of clothes finished.

• Cleaned all drains in upstairs bathrooms. Would have done the kitchen sink, but didn't realize until I went after the bottles that I actually had two half gallons of white vinegar rather than one half and one full.

• Rearranged the burgeoning to-be-read pile.

• Watched bits of An Unmarried Woman which I DVR'd last night. I just wanted to see the parts with Lisa Lucas, as I'd only seen her in one other role that wasn't Addie Mills.

• Fixed the summer banner for the front porch. I noticed when I took it down last year that the petals of the sunflower (it's a ladybug on a sunflower) were already frayed. I usually can't keep these seasonable banners more than two years because the sun fades them so badly. (The Thanksgiving, Hallowe'en and Easter banners don't make out so badly because they stay out such a short time.) But I sure didn't want to toss this one after only a year. So I sat down with needles and thread and overstitched the frayed bits. As short a period as took to fix this, it still made me glad I wasn't born back in the days when everything had to be hand-sewn. I always think of all those bits of Little Women where they spend the night sewing...ugh!

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Green Baggin' It
Time for the usual round of grocery shopping...started out at Kroger with the one Publix bag I had left and my Trader Joe's bag. Since I had coupons I got sugar-free pudding and soap there, plus contributed to my stash of Hallowe'en candy and 3-way light bulbs.

From there I went to Publix since I wanted more of their reusable bags. The Publix ones are the best: large and roomy, with a flap at the bottom that makes them stay open. (Kroger bags are about the same size, but they're $3 and Publix's are only $1. The Trader Joe's bag is quite sturdy but a little smaller than the Publix bag.) Lucked out and found my yogurt on sale cheaper than at WalMart. I checked to see if I kept "lucking out" and they had Quaker oatmeal 2 for 1, but you can't have everything. :-)

(The cashier at Publix asked politely if I wanted to put my purchases in one of the reusable bags. Well, um...yeah. [I can see her point, though. I might be buying them for someone else. As Emma will tell you, there are customers that get huffy over almost nothing.])

Then on to WallyWorld for the rest: oatmeal, "square Kleenex" (our moniker for the small boxes), some marinades that were on sale, bananas (yikes! I should have gotten them at Kroger; they were cheaper), other this's and that's. (And the other; it's a set. <g>) Was quite amused when the cashier and the bagger commented on how much better the Publix bags were than the WalMart bags—there were some right in front of me: smaller and without the rigid bottom. No thanks.

One of the things I did remember to buy was baking soda so I could clean out my wonderful recalcitrant master bathroom sink. It's always clogged. I have tons of Jergens soap left from coupon buys we made many years ago, but I'm thinking of going to castile soap, as Green Housekeeping says it leaves no soap scum, a real plus in my book.

Someone asked in another post how you clean out the drain with baking soda and white vinegar. Here it is: half cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by one cup of white vinegar. You'll get a nice fizzy reaction. When it quits, add a chaser of a kettleful of boiling water. If the sink is going slow, like mine usually is, first you fill it partway with water, then open the drain and pump it out with a plunger. The soap leaves a godawful black sticky gunk in the drain and that all comes up. You drain the sink so the sticky gunk doesn't go back down, wipe it all out with a paper towel and dispose of it, then do the baking soda, etc.

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» Thursday, May 15, 2008
Missing in Motion
I noticed that our Movies/HD channel listing (on the Dish box you can keep up to four "favorites" lists—we have one for the channels we watch regularly, one for movies and HD, one for other channels we watch occasionally, and one for favorite music channels) was looking rather skimpy tonight. It was...a bunch of the channels were just gone: Family Festival, Treasure HD, the animation channnel, and others we never watched. There was a "preview" of the new HD channels, though, and that's when I noticed the little message that said they had removed some of the lower-rated channels to include the HD ones. Well, drat. There goes my chance of ever seeing the Paul Revere or Eleanor Roosevelt Chasing History Home episodes again. And the Family Festival channel used to show Flipper, Thunderbirds and UFO, and occasionally had on really odd movies, like A Feast at Midnight and the Quebec-made Christmas movie North Station.

On the other hand, they'd been showing some of these things for the past two years, over and over again, so it's no wonder folks got tired of them and quit watching.

Looks like we get an MGM movie channel now, too, and a Smithsonian channel.

So where's BBC America in HD already?

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Birdie Bytes
Saw something lovely this morning: the male cardinal perched in one of the small maples in the back yard. Since the tree is various shades of bright green, the vivid crimson of the cardinal was quite beautiful against it.

I am still trying to identify which bird outside sounds like a cricket. It is extraordinary.

In the meantime, the house finches continue to eat us out of house and home. "Arlo and Janis" did a strip last week about "why St. Francis is poor," showing the saint rushing out to buy birdseed, and I know how he felt! The poor male finch is quite harassed because there are two fledgelings that are still demanding to be fed. They can fly just fine, and perch on the deck rail not a foot away from the feeder watching the other finches, sparrows, titmice, chickadees, and nuthatches availing themselves of seed, but still demand that "Dad" feed them, fluttering their wings and persistently chirping. They gobble the seed as fast as the male can shove it in their mouths, then beg for more.

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It Figures
I was going great guns yesterday morning. Got two orders advertised and had planned out a third, did a modification, answered e-mail and phone messages. About noon had to get dressed and go in for an All-Hands meeting. This was at one of the new buildings on the Chamblee campus and was quite pleasant. Several people I knew received awards or warrants or years of service plaques (gack! I'll be due for my 25 in 2010!).

I noticed the way they had the fluorescent lights in the meeting room: instead of bare bulbs glaring down, they had the fixtures set to point upward and reflect off the ceiling. This gave a nice diffused light—however, despite that, I still arrived home with a screaming migraine (my own fault; since I didn't have the brimmed eyeshade I usually wear in the office, I should have put on my sunglasses). Needless to say, I had to medicate and lie down in a dark, quiet room until the throbbing quit. It didn't exactly make for a productive afternoon.

So here I am this morning trying to make time and the connection is doing its infamous imitation of a sloth during high summer. I've had dial-up connections that were faster.

In the meantime another storm is stalking in from the west and is presently dampening Birmingham. My sinuses feel like a flamenco dancer is doing a routine on them. Sadly, at this point I am better off than James, who has a persistent cough which got worse working in all that leaf mold and pine straw on Sunday. We finally drove to CVS last night to confer with the pharmacist and get him some appropriate cough medicine and after his shower I slathered his chest with Vicks. I've asked him to drink hot tea today, which reminds me that I need to add peppermint tea to the grocery list...

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» Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Silence of the Trees
The gusting winds quieted almost abruptly from when I got home from work last night at 5:30 to bedtime, so it wasn't nearly as nice to sleep last night; I had to put the fan in the window. I'm sure all those who had trees down from the wind, and the poor family of the Smyrna woman who was killed by a falling tree as she walked to a friend's apartment, are glad to be rid of it, though.

Anyone catch House last night? More creative storytelling alà "Three Stories." I find it disconcerting now that House is on Mondays; makes me think it's later in the week than it is. And interminable Tuesdays are even more so now that there's not House to look forward to.

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» Monday, May 12, 2008
Take Me In to the Ballgame
When I arrived home from work, there was my DVD from Australia. Once I had Willow walked and the bed made, I sat down to watch it, my first time ever seeing it intact and the first time seeing any part of it for fifteen years.

It was worth the wait and the trip. :-)

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» Sunday, May 11, 2008
They Call the Weekend Eventful
• Friday

Bad afternoon at the computer: just after noon, I was working on an order that I hoped to have ready for Monday morning. In ICE, first you enter all the information, then you tell the system to build the order in Word by pressing a button. It's automatic. I was having a bit of trouble, so it was a perfect time to abandon computer to use the bathroom since I don’t dare touch anything when it's building—it's that ticky.

When I returned ten minutes later, the computer was still in the middle of the build. This was peculiar since the build usually takes less than a minute. I waited a few more minutes and nothing else happened.

Unfortunately, it just locks up like this occasionally. The only thing to do is log off, and completely shut off the computer so the lock-up disengages. If you just log off and log on again, or turn the computer off and on again immediately, the connection doesn’t release and when you log back on, you are taken directly back to the locked-up document.

So I turned off the computer and had lunch. Unfortunately, as part of my lunch hour, I started a load of clothes and then vacuumed the stairs. When I got to the bottom of the stairs I stepped on the plug for the Dirt Devil. I was in stocking feet—damn, that hurt! The place I stepped with swelled up a little, and I limped around for the rest of the day and about half of Saturday.

Ready to get back to my order, I logged on. Everything worked fine, except that when I tried to get back into ICE, the application never came up—just Microslop Word with the stuck document. Weird—turning off the computer has always worked previously.

It never worked, all afternoon. I rebooted the computer and left it twice more. Both times the document, still stuck, came up when I tried to get into ICE, but not ICE itself. I noticed that Word was still writing to the stuck document (there's a little icon at the bottom of a Word document that shows you when activity is going on). So I answered e-mail and telephone calls and did follow-up work on the orders I had, but never could work on that document again or any other order in ICE. Pissed as hell about it, too. Thank God I’d done my purchase authorizations this morning!

After supper at Oriental Café, we went to Lowes. We had a $10 off $50 purchase card, so we bought the three new shades we needed (I got cream-color for the bedroom) and then three rolls of that wire fencing that you put around trees or flower beds. The back fence to our yard, which was put up when the complex was built, is high up off the ground rather than hugging it like the one we had installed. In most places Willow can easily get under it. We are going to edge that fence with the wire fencing to keep her in.

When we emerged from Lowes, it was pitch dark, but what looked like a bird was flying around one of the big light fixtures. It had to have been a bat, swooping and diving after the insect smorgasbord being offered it!

We stopped at Borders because we had 30 percent off coupons and I had many, many Preferred Reader Coupons. I got a copy of one of the Torchwood books; this is supposed to have a subplot about Gwen and Rhys. I love Rhys. I figured I married the American version. :-)

• Saturday

We struck out for Trader Joe's today, to replace supplies and also bought some wonderful tasting chicken salad. It doesn’t taste totally of icky mayonnaise like a lot of chicken salads, is low fat, and also has tiny currants and slivered almonds in it. From there we stopped at the Borders at the Avenue at East Cobb. They were the only Borders that had a copy of Only Yesterday, the Frederick Lewis Allen book about the "Roaring 20s" that was written in the 1930s and which is supposed to be a classic.

We made a couple other stops, then it was the usual Saturday visit to the hobby shop. I sat reading Tasha Alexander's And Only to Deceive, a Victorian mystery, and by the time I was quite into it knew I wanted the sequel.

On the way home we stopped at MicroCenter. I received a performance bonus a few weeks ago and wanted to use some of it to buy a new laptop. We noticed that several Lenovo units got good ratings in Consumer Reports, and since James works for IBM he gets a discount. I wanted to look at some Lenovos to get an idea of the keyboard. We also bought a new router for the computer setup: we found one that supported both wired and wireless connections. This we installed before chat, and, although it gave us some trouble during setup and a little more next morning, it seems to be working okay (cross fingers).

We had dinner at Oriental Café again since we had a coupon expiring, stopped at BJs for granola bars for our lunches, had our dessert (ice cream at Bruster’s with another coupon), then stopped at Lowes to pick up something we had forgotten and Borders to pick up the And Only to Deceive sequel.

When I downloaded e-mail yesterday I had gotten a big surprise. Biz, on the Yahoo group for Remember WENN, had passed on some information about a Kentucky theatre that was doing a mystery festival. One of the plays being produced next month is one written by Rupert Holmes, a combination of two of his Remember WENN stories in musical form. I looked up info on the show and where it was, only a six-hour drive from here. I started thinking how we had not gone away for the weekend last November for our anniversary as we had planned because of Schuyler and this sounded like it was going to be fun. So I talked to James about it and we decided we might like to go.

We were talking to Rodney about it tonight on chat, thinking he might be interested, and were discussing where to stay (we found a host hotel, but after reading about twenty really awful reviews of the place, decided to pass). We have reserved rooms at the Sleep Inn instead, through Pets Welcome.com. It ended up being very late when we signed off; we had some "weather" of the bad sort predicted and the thunder had already begun by the time we headed off to bed. Rain was pattering on the chimney cover as we shut the computers down. No sooner did we leave her than Willow started to bark after each thunderclap. She quieted a bit after James spoke to her, then the weather radio began to shrill. We woke up each time the tornado watches slid east over Georgia. It was not until after five that we got to sleep.

Which brings us to today. Today was a nice day for us, but not for others. The storms that crawled south of us created six tornadoes and left damaged homes and property in its wake. Some houses are complete write-offs. One tree smashed into a house and just missed someone sleeping on the sofa. Two other trees devastated a family’s house and their three cars—but they got out alive, thankfully. One house looked like a giant can opener peeled off the top, then a huge spoon came down and scooped the inside out. Six counties have been declared disaster areas.

As usual after these storms, the sky is a beautiful blue and everything looks washed clean. The wind was quite wild all day and is still blowing; it sounds like the surf on a stormy afternoon and the trees are just as tossed as the water usually is. I don’t know how the birds will sleep tonight in those wildly tossing branches.

James had forgotten to get up and go to Kaiser for a doctor-ordered blood test yesterday; since our office is the after-hours treatment center, the lab is open on weekends. So we rather staggered up this morning to take him to the lab. We decided not to try to go out for breakfast since it was Mother’s Day. Instead, from there we went to Costco for gas and then inside for milk. They fed us pretty well, including "popcorn chicken" and full quarters of black Angus burgers. I found Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods on the book pallets as well as a book I have been considering, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, about a family who lives off the land for a year.

When we came out of Costco, as nice as the weather had been upon entering, it was even better: the cold front had come through and the air was delicious, in the low 70s and almost no humidity. We reveled in it for the rest of the day.

Once the milk was put up, I told James that this nice cool weather was something God had given us today and we ought to take advantage of it. First we opened all the windows wide and then I put up all the new shades. James fixed the problem that showed up with the router this morning, and then we went out into the yard.

We did the really necessary thing first: placed handles on the inside of both gates to the yard. They have a handle on the front, but not on the back, so that we were having to handle the bare wood and getting splinters when pulling the gate closed. Then, since the woods and the back fence were in shade, we put up the wire fencing. This was...fun. ::snort:: Nothing bad, just fractious wrestling with the wire. We’d unroll a reel, straighten it a bit, then I would set it into the earth as best I could and James used the staple gun to staple it to the fence.

We broke the wallpapering rule. We thought we needed three reels and thus should have bought four, just in case, and returned the fourth if we needed. Instead we needed the fourth, so we had to run to Lowes and back before we could finish. But it was all done by three-thirty and now we will feel a little more secure if Willow takes off after a squirrel if she’s off-leash.

We decided we needed a reward after all that sweat equity. James had seen a good deal on an SD card, so we swung back by MicroCenter for it. I bought myself a tiny, inexpensive .mp3 player to take on walks. It’s about two inches square and looks like an old-fashioned pillbox. Previously I have played .mp3s on my PDA, but the poor thing is almost seven years old and the battery doesn’t keep up well anymore. Plus this gadget clips on and I don’t have to worry about it falling.

Then we had ice cream at Bruster’s on Cobb Parkway and I told James I wanted to stop by Borders again. We had one more coupon and I wanted to get a book about green housekeeping I had seen. So we did so, then came home.

So it was an unconventional Mother’s Day (but then since I didn’t get blessed with kids I’m just an unconventional mother of fids anyway). We had the rest of the lobster ravioli and a cucumber salad for supper and just chilled.

The breeze is now almost downright chilly. Should be nice to sleep tonight and tomorrow night and then it’s back to the A/C according to the weather report.

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» Friday, May 09, 2008
My Favorite Commercial
I ignore most of them, but this one is too good to resist:

Discovery Channel - "The World is Just Awesome"

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» Thursday, May 08, 2008
Stormy Weather Approaches
Checked the weather report about ten minutes ago, and the storms coming in from the west were approaching apace, so I dropped everything and took Willow out (probably providential since I checked the radar again when I came in and the storm had moved at least eight miles more south in those ten minutes). Right now it is just high overcast clouds, but the wind has been freshening all day and the trees are tossing, the leaves making soft hissing sounds. Approaching weather like this always makes me think of the "mysterious" background music that used to play during approaching storm scenes in the Timmy episodes of Lassie. (These shows had great background music—you could listen to the stories without setting eye on the screen and know what was going on simply from the dialog and the background music. There was "running for help" music, "danger" music, "morning on the farm" music, "saying prayers" music, "going out to explore" music, "threatening music," and more.) The mystery music had a great woodwind and background strings arrangement; always very spooky, and perfect for today's tossing trees.

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» Monday, May 05, 2008
::sigh::
I was reading e-mail this afternoon when there was a thump from out on the deck. We have a squirt bottle out there for use with the grill and I thought it had fallen over, but I didn't see it on the deck.

What I did see was a little sparrow crumpled on the deck floor. His eyes moved a few times, but by the time I got out there it was dead. It must have been flying around and smacked into the window glass, breaking its neck.

I put it into a box and James disposed of it tonight.

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Deal
The charge for the DVD from Australia just appeared on my credit card—only $17 and some change. This includes postage. Not bad considering it's coming halfway around the world!

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» Sunday, May 04, 2008
The Right Place at the Right Time
It was a leisurely forenoon and early afternoon, as I am still attempting to load things on the laptop. Eudora loaded fine, as did Shockwave, and I only had a minor bobble with the wireless network card, but RealPlayer continues to confound me: Real11 would play on Win2000, so I downloaded and installed Real10.5 at RealPlayer.com's suggestion, only to have it not play because it couldn't find one file. Urgh.

So we went to Borders and I was not only pleasantly surprised to find Earlene Fowler's Tumbling Blocks on the paperback display (release date is Tuesday according to Amazon.com), but also the May-June Yankee magazine without having to search.

As I looked through the history books, I saw the volume Little Heathens (about kids growing up on a farm in the 1930s), which I have been wanting. I wondered when it would be out in paperback and passed it by.

At the checkout it turned out I had Borders Bucks, so when I used my 25 percent off coupon and a Rewards coupon, the entire purchase was $1.35. I haven't paid that for a paperback book since 1976! :-)

So we went to Costco for milk and had lunch :-) (Costco has the best samples!) and there in the stacks of books was the paperback printing of Little Heathens! Wow.

On the way home we stopped at CVS to see if they had double papers. I'm particularly interested in the sale flyers this week because I need both B-12 and potassium gluconate. Not only did CVS have doubles, but right on the front page of their ad flyer were vitamins buy-one-get-one-free, and they did have both B-12 and potassium gluconate! I prefer 50 percent off to buy-one-get-one because it's less expensive, but thems the breaks...

On the other hand, someone had a really bad day...James was waiting for me to look through the bargain books at Borders when he exclaimed "Oh, my God, there's a bus on fire outside!" I came to stand next to him and sure enough, there on US41 right outside the shopping center a MARTA bus was on fire, not just smoke, but flames coming out of its engine compartment! While I was checking out a soothing female voice came over the intercom: "Just to let those folks know who are parked in the row near the street, there's a bus on fire out there and you might want to move your car. There's just been a small explosion."

We didn't hear anything explode, so James wondered if maybe it was a tire, and by the time we left, the fire department was containing the worst of it; only the acrid smoke remained. Smelled just like the day Tune-Up Clinic caught my Dodge Omni on fire...flashback time...

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» Saturday, May 03, 2008
Vexing
Not this morning. Hair Day was good.

On the other hand, we tried to get new shades for the bedroom. We had the original ones cut wrong and we used them on other windows, but Lowes only had the cheap shades when I went back to get more. We had to have shades that night to sleep, so I got the cheapies. After two years, they are now developing holes.

Lowes had actually restocked the shades—usually when I go there there are two left—but it's probably why they had so many: the cutter was broken. So we'll have to drive to another Lowes if we want new shades or just wait.

We reformatted the laptop tonight to run Win2000 and the stupid thing won't network with the other computers. It connects to the internet, but it won't see the other two computers. Gah. As I remember, this is one of the reasons we discarded Win2000 in the first place. But I don't think WinXP will fit on the laptop; it only has 6GB on the hard-drive.

But yeah, it does get online, and it does run WordPerfect. Can't have everything.

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» Friday, May 02, 2008
Off and On Again
I said when the temp in the house reached 80°F I would put the A/C on, so I have just done so. The fans did yeoman work, but living upstairs has its disadvantages, and this is one. It's still only in the mid-70s down in the library.

Since I knew it was going to be warm this afternoon I did all my errands this morning; got home before 1:30, which was a first. I bought something we needed at JoAnn, plus a pretty gift to put away, picked up some piroulines for dessert at Linens'n'Things, and grabbed some of those "green bags" at Bed, Bath & Beyond (we talk online with someone who has used them and have been told they actually do work). I then went to Costco to "re-up" and got some of the new generic Prilosec (omeprazole) and some Breathe-Right strips.

I would have liked that to have been the end of the errands, but alas, things were needed at Wally World again. Stopped at the one near Sam's Club, which I keep forgetting is there. They actually did have the small-size low-carb whole-wheat tortillas, so I bought some of those along with the usual yogurt and bananas. Since I had perishables in the car, I passed up the trip to the library; after seeing My Son Jack, I would like to read a biography of Rudyard Kipling.

Had salad for lunch and watched the Paul Revere segment on Chasing History Home. This program is telecast on Treasure HD and visits the homes of famous Americans, from George Eastman to Margaret "Molly" Brown. Naturally, being done in HD, the homes are showed off to the best advantage, but I find the host(ess) irritating. Her name is Cat Greenleaf and she's...well, probably she isn't stupid. She can't be that stupid and host a television show...can she? The creators of the show have tried to make it "light" and not weighted down with ponderous declamations of history, so Greenleaf's approach to her hosting duties are semi-serious. I don't expect ponderous and humor, in small doses, is occasionally welcome. Greenleaf, on the other hand, acts like a middle school student, presumably not the brightest bulb in history class, bouncing around the historical sites. In this one she simpers and teases the curator at the Paul Revere House to allow her to touch things, acts stupid (let's call her a really nitwit Companion allowing the Doctor to do the explanations), and resorts to childish rhyming of the Longfellow poem. This is all done, I expect, to make history "accessible"; unfortunately they appear to think their viewer has the mental capacity of a six-year-old.

Still, the HD presentation wows in every episode, which is why I put up with the "chick light" view of history. If the producers of this show would like to make a slightly more mature multi-part HD history of Boston, I certainly would watch it: the visuals are stunning.

Greenleaf, on the other hand, needs to change colors a bit and fall off the tree.

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» Thursday, May 01, 2008
From "Down Under"
I have put in an order for an Australian DVD.

Actually, the movie is American; it's just never been released to DVD here, never been rerun on television, and the VHS copy sells for around $50 if you can actually find it on E-bay. It's called Cooperstown, starring Alan Arkin and Graham Greene, and it was broadcast originally about fourteen years ago. It's an experience I remember with frustration because both times I tried to record it, TBS did not air it at the time TV Guide said it would be on. The first time it began late, so I missed the end, the second time it began earlier, so I missed the beginning (had I recorded it on two different tapes, I'd have a copy now). All I remember is that I loved it, and the only place to find it is in Australia, so I'm taking the chance.

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