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, March 29, 2009
Windy and Cool
It certainly was a good sleeping night last night; the temperature plummeted into the forties. The bed was a nice cocoon.

We were only out briefly today, once to go to Kroger and then once to go to BJs (neither of us having remembered the BJs coupons). I felt like Mrs. Whatsis in A Wrinkle in Time proclaiming "Wild nights are my glory!" as the wind eddied about us, crept down my jacket collar, and set leftover dried leaves a'swirling over the sidewalk.

We had a dandy coupon for BJs: buy five DelMonte multican packs and save $10. James stocked up on vegetables and also some canned fruit. They had a lot of samples once again today, so we didn't have to worry about lunch (and a good thing, as all I had eaten for breakfast was a packet of oatmeal): calzones, hot ham and cheese, a tiny sample of chocolate chip cheesecake, chicken cordon bleu, Uncrustables peanut butter and jelly, and some kind of low-cal drink that was, sadly, carbonated (ugh).

Came home and had laundry to do, and read the paper and watched Clark Howard and Friday night's Jeopardy and the newest This Old House. I think we've missed at least one part due to all the damned fundraising that seems to have gone on for a month now. If they were offering new stuff it would be different, but both GPB and WPBA must have shown the three Anne of Green Gables stories three and four times and there was some concert called Chris Gotti in Boston that was on sometimes two times in one night, several times a week! I wish this segment of This Old House had been longer, too: they only devoted ten episodes to the New York brownstone. There was a lot more they could have shown!

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Deja Vu
This Sunday's Parade had this small article, The End of Grade Levels?, that made me smile.

Isn't this what Dorothy Canfield Fisher advocated way back when in her novel Understood Betsy, which was first published in 1917?

Everything old is new again.

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» Saturday, March 28, 2009
Coupons and Canines
The weather report was rather ominous last night, predicting thunderstorms this morning. I opened one bleary eye around 8:30 and groped for the curtain and peeked outside. Oh, rain. But no thunder that I heard. A few minutes later James murmured, "I wonder what happened to the thunder" and I started to snooze again.

::RUMBLE!::CRASH!::

Bark, bark, bark!

"Oh, there it is," and we both went back to sleep. :-)

James had his meeting this afternoon, but before it was time for that we went to the video store we like and grabbed a copy of Bolt. I ended up getting the one-disk version because that's all they had, and I really didn't care about the extras enough to pay more. I also picked up a copy of the Doctor Who episode "Remembrance of the Daleks." I hear the commentary with Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred is a hoot.

We also stopped at the German bakery for a baguette and a treat for dessert, but unfortunately couldn't get pork schnitzel at the butcher shop next door as it is closed for remodeling.

James dropped me off and I had a small sandwich, then went out to spend those lovely 40 percent off Borders coupons. I got a copy of American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work, but spied another book I had to have. I knew James wanted to come back later for something he had seen, so I just left it be and went to the Borders at Parkway Pointe to pick up Tell Me Where It Hurts, which is written by a veterinarian in Boston. (I also picked up a great bargain book about bird feeders and attracting backyard birds, published by the Audobon Society. Wonderful photos!)

It had stopped raining when we left the house for the video store, started raining when we left (this was a leitmotif of the day, it raining every time we walked out of a store), misting heavily when I got home from the bookstores. The weather was doing a number on my sinuses, so I finally took some ibuprofin and lay down to get rid of the headache they were causing, but not before I had a terrific e-mail from someone I hadn't heard from in a few years. This person had gotten me a DVD of something I had wanted. Now the person was transferring something else in a similar vein and asked if I wanted that. Oh, boy, do I!

James arrived home with the news that during the meeting they had all pitched in and moved the rest of the shelving, models, equipment, etc. to the new storefront at the other end of the parking lot, so now the store move is complete (except for transferring the phones). He said four guys had pickup trucks and with twenty guys there it only took a little while and they still had the meeting as well. So...cool...they are finally away from the blood-sucking lawyers collection agency (and the bakery that was shut down for rat contamination) a few doors down.

We had supper at Fresh2Order and then walked down to the Hallmark store to digest. I picked up a stuffed Arctic fox and some Yankee Candle tealights, Sun and Sand. It has the faintest scent of Coppertone, which is one of the few nostalgic summer odors for me. Then we hopped over to the Parkway Pointe Borders, where James got Robert Asprin's last book. I had my eye on something else, but was arrested by a book called Flyaway, about a bird rehabilitator. I opened it to a passage about parrots reacting to different music. It was so funny I read it aloud to James and we were reminiscing about how excited Bandit used to get during the third season titles of Babylon 5. All we can figure is that he had some sort of thing for Claudia Christian's narration, because the moment the theme came up and she started talking he would fling himself out of the cage door and fly wildly about the room, chirping loudly!

Our last stop was at the East-West Connector Borders. They had a coupon for buy-one-get-one beverage at Seattle Coffee, so for dessert, we had a cocoa trio each and shared a gingerbread cookie. This was very gingery, and not overly sweet. I don't understand why bakers insist on shoving so much sugar in products.

I bought a book there called The Portable Italian Mamma, subtitled "Guilt, Pasta, and When Are You Giving Me Grandchildren?" Even though there is dippy stuff inside like references to celebrities like Madonna and talk about The Sopranos, it's pretty funny. I kept paging through it and giggling and nodding "I remember that!" LOL.

Once we got home I put Bolt on. We had intended to go see this at the movies and never made it. I really loved it!, although I liked the Bolt/Mittens dynamic so much there were a couple of points that I wanted to stuff a sock in Rhino's mouth. :-) The scenes with Bolt as a puppy were so charming, and the action sequence that followed was amazing. Also quite lovely are the scenes of Bolt learning to be a real dog. The pigeon parallels were funny, and that scene where Bolt sees Penny greet his replacement was a heartstopper. I also particularly liked the first half of the credits, which reminded me of the style of Mary Blair. Two thumbs up for Bolt!

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» Friday, March 27, 2009
Flower Power
Spoke too soon on Wednesday; the dogwoods are blooming. Tree upon tree appeared in that odd moon-shine color that the blossoms have as I drove to the library during lunch hour to pick up the new Anne Perry book I reserved at the library. Stopped at Dollar General on the way home hoping to find a couple of cheap plastic measuring cups; no luck but did pick up sugar-free ice cream bars at Food Depot.

We are having a break in the rain, supposedly more to start about seven.

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Needed: Swim Fins
We are awash outside. It hasn't rained this much for this long a period for a long time. We are to have periods of rain of varying force through tonight, with a cloudy evening, and strong storms tomorrow morning through part of the afternoon. It reminds me of 2005, when it rained almost every day.

Hopefully this will help solve our rain deficit, but one wishes it wasn't always all at once!

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» Thursday, March 26, 2009
You Can Find Anything on YouTube
If anyone is interested in the sort of thing I buy as a CDC purchasing agent, here is one of them. I will occasionally do internet searches to determine if the product can be purchased from only one vendor and came upon this demo on YouTube. You're so used to finding silliness on YouTube that you forget it can be used for serious things as well.

SPEX SamplePrep 2000 Geno/Grinder

Of course, why they're playing "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" as background music is anyone's guess. (Probably because it's copyright-free.)

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» Wednesday, March 25, 2009
A Flask of Milk
Selfless Hero of Titanic Tragedy

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March Showers Bring...
Well, we don't need April flowers! The flowering trees have been bursting here since the end of February: pink, lavender, white. Plus the yellow of the forsythia and of the daffodils. The Bradford pears have already leafed in most places, and now the other blossoming white trees are in full flower. The only tree left to bloom will be the dogwoods.

Yesterday I caught the first signs of spring's annual plague: the yellow pine pollen dust. I'd been keeping an eye on the tassels on the pine trees at work and had been relieved to see them not yet bright yellow as they were last year. Alas, they are already producing dust, in a fine layer over my car, to be swept into a stiff line when I engaged the windshield wipers. I could better see them on a long line of pines when I exited from the freeway yesterday and the tassels were fat with pollen.

I still have the windows open, but if the situation comes that the fans must be used in the windows, I will close them and turn on the A/C instead. I hate to do it, but the yellow scum gets on everything, turning the windowsills an ugly dirty golden color and caking whatever it can reach. Nasty stuff.

They have been warning us of four straight days of rain for days now, so perhaps that will keep it under control. Besides, although the drought situation has improved, we still need the wet weather. Yo, cloud! Go hover over Lake Lanier!

The rain hasn't prevented the TruGreen guy from coming by to mark the weeds for extermination and Willow has been in full-throated bark to challenge the interloper on her property. She takes her job seriously.

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» Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Left Turns at Albequerque
If you get turner Classic Movies on your cable/satellite and are a Chuck Jones fan, tune in tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern for a Chuck Jones festival! There will be a new half-hour documentary, "Memories of Childhood" (review on Boston.com), followed by animated shorts—including my favorites "Duck Amuck" and "The Dot and the Line," plus "One Froggy Evening" and the classic "What's Opera, Doc?"—and then a repeat of "Memories of Childhood" until eleven. At eleven they will be showing the animated version of The Phantom Tollbooth, which is nowhere as good as the Norton Juster book, but has its moments and a couple of catchy songs. Then the whole shebang repeats again into the wee hours of the morning.

(What? you haven't read The Phantom Tollbooth? Yikes! One of the best books ever, especially if you love words.

Some various excerpts.

Manchester Guardian review.

And a whole cool Norton Juster interview!)

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No April Fool
No Joke in April Fool's Day Computer Worm

Huh! I wonder if this is what got at James' computer on Saturday night. He was searching for the From the Earth to the Moon theme on .mp3. The last thing I remember is that he had gone to Michael Kamen's website. He said he went to a couple of sites after that, then went downstairs.

I came out of the bathroom to find some type of spyware checker running madly on his computer screen, having already found nineteen "threats," and the icon for this "Spycatcher," "Spymaster," whatever...it was "Spy-something"...in his tray. There was no option to turn it off—how did it install to the tray when there was no one there to say "yes" or "no" to an install? It was running in Firefox, but referred to Internet Explorer and said it was from Microsoft's site, and the title bar referred to a "powerfull" piece of software. The typo only confirmed that it was bogus.

James ran AdAware and got part of it, and AVG and got what looked like the rest, then downloaded the new version of AVG and ran the scan again, but it came up empty. He has received Windows Updates in March, so maybe it was something else.

Stupid gits. Apparently the losers have nothing better to do with their lives.

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» Monday, March 23, 2009
Free Day
I took the day off today to be with James. I did some counting at the beginning of the year and if I don't start taking some days off I am going to have to take half of November and all of December off or lose the annual leave I'm earning.

It was a nice day. We slept late, had some breakfast, tidied up some, brought the plastic bags to Publix for recycling and returned my library books. I really need to swear off the library until I have some of the books in my stash read! James wanted a proper basting brush—he used one of my paintbrushes yesterday—so we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond. Stopped at JoAnn, too, and then went to the hobby shop for a while. They are preparing to move to another store in the same shopping center, and are already packing up and shifting the extra merchandise.

Came home. For some reason Ellen was on at four instead of five. James made chicken thighs for supper with plain elbow mac. We watched Jeopardy. The usual.

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» Sunday, March 22, 2009
Sunday Activities
Sigh. Must I go to bed at 2 a.m. to be able to sleep? And sleep I did, except when James' alarm clock went off. But he made it shut up and we didn't get up until late morning.

We had a few errands to run, which we did: Kroger for my bread for work and a few other things, including the Sunday paper. Like other newspapers, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is cutting costs, which means the Sunday paper looks like a picked carcass. We also went by the WalMart at the East-West Connector and Powder Springs Road. Friday I picked up a sleeveless top to hang around the house in during the summer; it worked out, so I wanted another. All my sleeveless tops are...gulp...almost seventeen years old. (I remember the date because I bought them for Magicon.) James found some T-shirts with pockets as well.

We also went to BJs. More samples—they must be trying to compete with Costco. Had a pepperoni pizza Hot Pocket, a Milano cookie, a mini-cream puff, some Wensleydale cheese, and some Greek yogurt. I have heard a lot about Greek yogurt, but I wasn't really impressed.

Once we had the groceries home and put up, and I had thrown all the windows open to capture the cool air, I asked James what he wanted to do. He admitted he really wanted some "man cave" time. So he went downstairs for a while after we read the paper and watched The Clark Howard Show which I recorded earlier. We also fixed my America poster in the foyer. It's been sliding sideways in its frame and looked drunken. James took it down and put it back up after I had secured it on its backing.

I also did some craft work and put up the spring decorations. It's not quite time for the Easter decorations yet; possibly next weekend. Scrubbed off the chairs and tables on the deck; they are begrimed from winter, but we can't wash them because of the water restrictions. I almost want to pop them in the truck and take them to one of the do-it-yourself car washes. The ones in the yard have their feet covered with dirt from the rain.

James made some ribs on the grill tonight. These were glazed with pineapple teriyaki sauce and a little honey. Yum! These were eaten with a little French bread and we had a few chocolate-covered nuts (from the Christmas basket from James' mom and sisters), and we watched America's Funniest Home Videos and Extreme Makeover. I have just finished watching a documentary about animals in Yellowstone. The footage was really breathtaking as they followed the different creatures through the seasons—and what a variety! Not just wolves and bison and deer, but bighorn sheep, beaver, red foxes, coyotes, otters, and various varieties of birds including hummingbirds.

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» Saturday, March 21, 2009
Saturday
James worked. I tried to sleep late, with not much success, sadly, since I didn't sleep well at all. My knee hurt, or my left elbow, or some other damn fool thing, no matter which way I tossed or turned.

Went to pick up this month's food, then had to wedge it in the fridge. Took the netbook out for a spin. Connected to the wireless at the Smyrna Library, and contacted wireless at four other places, but you had to subscribe to a certain service or pay for access. But it picks up signals nicely. That's what I wanted to make sure of.

Stopped at Michaels and took much too long making up my mind about a geegaw. When I came home I started a little cross-stitch of a chickadee to put on a keychain fob. I did it on 32-count fabric over one square. Yep, you're right—squint time. Sat near the window in the craft room to take advantage of the light as well as to enjoy the fresh air. I finished it after midnight, after putting in the last stitch, one of those horrible French knots, and then ironing on the fusible backing. Still need to cut it to fit the keychain fob.

Interrupting the stitchery was supper at Ted's—we had a $25-value Restaurant.com coupon we got from Borders Rewards for only $2. We had Delmonico steaks, with enough left over for two lunches (for me, at least, accompanied by some potatoes or ramen noodles). Then walked around Hobby Lobby to digest. Picked up a 4" embroidery hoop for only 50¢.

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Testing...
...wireless signals. I'm at the Smyrna Library right now. Not going to stay long, as it's really warm upstairs where they have the desks and carrels. I'll at least wait until Windows finishes uploading all those dratted updates.

Wish I could withdraw books!

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» Friday, March 20, 2009
Bargains Galore
Must be spring. Or it could be that it was only in the 60s. But I was restless.

So I went out to Acworth. I always go through the back, down Macland Road, and then right on Lost Mountain Road (which turns into Mars Hill Road at Dallas Highway). It's mostly country, save for a few shopping centers popping up here and there.

Stopped at Books-a-Million, which seemed to be crowded with dozens of middle-schoolers. That's because it was. :-) The cashier told me later that Calhoun County Schools had transported them there, complete with adult escort. I guess it was a field trip? Gosh, we used to go to the symphony or to a museum! :-) Ah, well, it could have been worse. They could have taken them to Game Stop, or Ulta, or Best Buy. The cashier said about half of them did buy a book.

We're trying to avoid bookstores tonight, though, since the Twilight DVD is out at midnight. Don't want to drown in a sea of estrogen again. LOL.

Well, I was actually looking for books for others, but came out with five for myself; they were all on remainder, though, including the hardcover copy of Rhys Bowen's A Royal Pain, which won't be out in paperback until July. I also bought Matthew Pearl's The Poe Shadow. I'm not much of a Poe fan, but I'm reading his Dante Club now and enjoying it.

While I was at BAM I got a call from my bank. It was something I had been meaning to talk to them about. Thankfully, I found out something I was worried about was okay.

Since I was stopping at Michaels anyway, I also went into Dollar Tree. This is the one with the toothbrushes we like, and that's what I bought: toothbrushes. The Stevie B's Pizza a couple of doors down from Dollar Tree seemed to be the next recipient of the influx of the adolescents. I saw them forming a queue out the door. Boy, I wish we'd had field trips like that.

James needed something, so I stopped at WalMart. I like the WalMart in Acworth; the lines are short and the cashiers are generally friendly. Finally remembered to buy myself more sandpaper and a tack cloth to use on wood projects.

On the way home decided to check out the twofers at Publix. Ohboy! Mandarin orange cups and Knorr sides and cranberry/grape juice and Special K! While I was in the bread aisle looking for something else, I noticed they had the low-carb whole wheat fajita-sized tortillas that James likes. Sadly I had just bought four packs of the taco-sized ones at WalMart. Maybe next time. (That is, if the Publix near us carries them. This was the Publix on Cobb Parkway north of Barrett Parkway.)

At this point it was waaaaaay past lunch and I was thinking—I never did have my favorite birthday lunch...

So I got home at 2:30 and treated myself to Wheat Thins spread with ricotta cheese. :-) Got home in time to catch Lassie on WHT, too, while reading my Christmas group mail. WHT is showing second season of the Jeff episodes and I can watch them on line.

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» Thursday, March 19, 2009
Yet Another Reason...
...to never eat at Pizza Hut ever again: their obnoxious "one for $5.99" campaign. Basta!

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Daddy's Girl
Forgot to post this Tuesday, on Willow's birthday (she was eleven); she was having a postprandial cuddle with James.

Willow cuddling

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Buona Festa di San Guiseppe!

St. Joseph's Day

Articles about St. Joseph and the celebration, including—of course—zeppoles, in Holiday Harbour. (Great video of Scialo's Bakery in Providence!)

When I was looking for the zeppole info on the Providence Journal website, I came upon the news that Taco was going to a four-day workweek. Whoa! For 28 years going by Taco was a way of life: going downtown on the bus, or driving to my Grandpa's via Laurel Hill Avenue, or heading to college via Route 6 (sometimes I just wanted a different route to RIC than going through Killingly Street). How could you ignore this venerable old building they have been quartered in for years? (It's an old trolley barn—I didn't know that.) They make "hydronic systems and equipment for residential, light commercial, industrial and OEM markets." Anyway, hope it works out for them.

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» Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Back in Time
Ohmygosh, just turned off the DVR and there on "live TV" was The World Magic Awards and they were just introducing Mark Wilson by talking about his television series, including the one I remember from childhood, The Magic Land of Alakazam, with Mark's wife and partner Nani Darnell (and Rebo the clown!). Does that take me back! Alakazam was on Saturday mornings, one of my favorites!

Mark Wilson was presented with the Blackstone award. Cool!

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Happiness Hangs by a Hair
Just plain sad.

Natasha Richardson Dies After Ski Fall

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The Sound of Spring
Had a nice bout of back pain yesterday—very odd as I was feeling okay when I got up Monday, but as the day progressed I got more and more stiff until I was limping around like Methuselah, and woke up every time I turned over in bed. Nursed myself with ibuprofin and a straight-backed seat, with the result that I am moving again without pain, just stiff from not moving. I hate when my back acts up; everything moves so slowly if it moves at all.

Plus I couldn't chase off that dadgummed squirrel munching on the bird seed and cramming his little claws into the suet cage. When I refilled the feeder I put more cayenne on everything.

This morning it is getting warm enough to have the windows open and I am hearing the sweet "pheee-beee" call that means the chickadees are courting each other. There are other birdcalls out there that sound unfamiliar, which I presume means the others are courting as well.

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» Sunday, March 15, 2009
Life Lessons
They had a little snippet on the news tonight about a teacher who instructs her kids about money: about saving, budgets, buying items, etc. I think this is a great idea. I've always said they should have a mandatory "life course" in public schools. If you think this is the sort of things parents should teach children, well, sometimes parents don't know how to do those things themselves. My parents paid cash for everything. They never bought anything on credit, which got them into trouble when they went "housekeeping" in 1951. They had to get a private loan. (I have no idea what kind of loan it was; I was told it was none of my business. However, our mortgage was paid off in 20 years.) So they both got "charge plates" from stores they shopped at, charged purchases, and then paid them off in full when the bill came due, and established better credit.

Still, they paid cash for almost everything else. When the utility bills were due Mom went to whatever drug store took those payments and paid the bills. (For a long time it was Phred's.) When Dad wanted a car he saved up and then paid cash. Mom went to City Hall every three months to pay the water bill.

The first checking account in the house was mine, after I went to work. I was really embarrassed to realize I didn't know how to write a check! (I know, it's simple, but if you've never done it, you don't really know if you're doing it right.) Thank God the World Book Encyclopedia had an article on check writing and balancing a checkbook!

(Eventually my parents got a checking account and every month when my dad balanced the checkbook he used to grumble at me. "You started this!" he said. LOL. Dad didn't like numbers any better than I did.)

Anyway, a "life course" would be just the ticket. You learn about checks and debit cards. How to write a check. How to apply for a credit card and about the hidden pitfalls. How to budget. How to apply for a job. How to do a job interview. Everyone takes home ec. You don't learn how to bake dopey pineapple upside down cakes or make a skirt like we did. You learn how to boil water, make simple meals, plan a menu, about calorie counts; you learn how to sew on a button or fix a hem; basic housecleaning so if you aren't neat you're at least sanitary. You learn to read grocery labels. You learn about interest, simple and compound. How to take out a loan. You learn how to shop for essentials, from food to clothes to a car. How to read a lease. What to check for in finding a place to live. You learn what to do in emergencies: CPR, Heimlech, what to do for bleeding cuts, sprained ankles, and more.

I would have sure appreciated something like that. I learned a lot from my parents, but there are always better or alternative ways to doing things. Some kids have parents that aren't responsible. It would be a great help to them. Maybe if we gave everyone a leg up we would have fewer folks who accepted bad loans or got suckered by scams.

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Order Out of Chaos
Just watching the different camera shots from a truly lovely space shuttle launch fifteen minutes ago—just wish NASA-TV was in high-def! Hope Aaron did get to see this! (Guys, we wanna see the photos!)

Had a nice late sleep, then had to run to Kroger. James had gotten a phone call yesterday that they had a prescription ready for him. Wanted to see which, as he didn't have one due. Also had to pick up bananas, more yogurt, and my bread for sandwiches this week, but they didn't have any of my usual buns. I just got a loaf of French bread, which will make two sandwiches and also leave some for supper tonight.

We needed Chex mix, so we went to BJs with a coupon. Basically we bought the Chex mix, an eight-pack of canned corn and an eight-pack of "Leisure peas" and with the coupon got the corn free. (We call the Green Giant Lesueur peas "Leisure peas" ever since we saw a sale sign at Kroger spelling their name that way years ago. <g>) BJs had a tremendous lot of samples today; usually they only have about two or three and at least one is some type of sweet. Today they had half-a-dozen, all good foods. We stopped and had a sample of a Lean Cuisine four pack: sweet-and-sour chicken, sesame chicken, chicken alfredo, and butternut squash with vegetables in a cream sauce. Our appetites were sharpened, well, by appetite, as we hadn't eaten anything yet except for the manadarin orange cup we bought at Kroger, but they were also delicious. We bought a set.

At home we put all the perishables away, then headed out for lunch. We went to Ikea. :-) I had salmon, which was good for me, but I burped up fish taste all afternoon. Except for tuna and shellfish, I just really don't like fish. It tastes...well, fishy. :-)

We were at Ikea to buy an inexpensive bookcase. I ended up with this, the Kilby, which comes only in this "birch" color. I needed more storage in my craft room; there was just too much on the floor.

The original idea had been to get rid of the sleeper loveseat, but I hate to get rid of something that would support a guest, even if we do have a guest room. After watching all those HGTV shows where they put a console table or narrow shelf behind a bed, I decided I would put the sofa in front of the shelving. This meant (a) the sofa would stick out more and (b) half of the bookcase would be unusable, but it was better than having to put holes in the wall.

So we got the thing home about 3:30-4 o'clock, and I went from then to past 6:30 getting things to rights. James put in the screws of the bookcase for me and also turned it upright against the wall; otherwise I put it together, put the shelves up, and then started stocking it. I also moved the two-shelf bookcase that I used to have near my desk in the cellar and had brought home from my mom's to find the phone plug behind it. Now I have the old telephone, the one that doesn't ring, in my craft room. The Kleenex is on a shelf, rather than perched precariously on the back of the loveseat, and I have other things there I use a lot or plan to use a lot: my Elmer's glue, the Scotch tape, my scissors and rulers in an old Pirouline can, blank cards, my paper cutting gadget, etc. I also put my mom's picture up there, some plastic shoeboxes, my Shepard's clock, the cigar box with my mom's handwritten recipes, etc.

Of course the bookcase is not as wide as the loveseat, so there are two gaps on either side of it. Into one gap I put the little table and the table lamp. It is up high enough to shed light on the room. In the other "hole" I tucked things like a garden stake I painted but haven't yet put outside (it looks so pretty I hate to stick it in the Georgia sun and have it faded and blistered!), the yardstick, and my camera tripod. I also tidied and vacuumed, and put out the things I need to start my new project, a birthday gift for Juanita.

(And as a bonus when I cleaned off my drafting table I found the paintbrush I thought I lost.)

The loveseat does "stick out" more, as the bookcase was nine inches deep. That's one of the reasons I cleaned the junk off the floor on the other side of the room, to make more space. However, the space behind the loveseat is not "unusable" as I feared. I had a Xerox paper box full of Doctor Who Monthly magazines, Blake's 7 monthlies, SFX, etc. magazines that was just in the middle of the floor in front of the closet, a PITA when had to get in the closet and especially when I had to use the ironing board. All those magazines went back there, as well as some master videotapes I won't get rid of. (It's cooler for them back there anyway, rather than being on top of the cabinets near the ceiling.)

I also took my mom's records and put them in the guest room under the phonograph that will actually play them. The turntable in my room doesn't play 78s, darnit.

By this time I was starved. James was making some lunches for himself, but he warmed me up the butternut squash Lean Cuisine meal and I had that with some French bread and milk. What a relief that's done! The room needs more work, but it looks loads better now, and the grunt work is done. And I won't be scrabbling for the glue, tape, my paint pens, or my calligraphy pens anymore.

That was a lovely space shuttle launch. The sun had just set and it was like a dream.

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» Saturday, March 14, 2009
Cold Day, Warm Truck
Something amazing happened this morning. We went to bed late because I was messing with the Gimp. This is a graphics program some friends of mine have been recommending for years. I downloaded it once and couldn't get it to work. I must have downloaded it improperly because I tried it again yesterday, downloaded it, and was using it immediately. I love some of the ways you can alter images, like the puzzle feature.

Anyway, James got up at nine as usual, walked Willow and fed her, and then came back to bed! He must have really been tired!

We had a busy, busy afternoon. I wanted to go to a certain video store since Pinocchio was out. They always have Disney films at a good price.

The price was so good I got Peter Pan, too. I must come back for Bolt. I also got My Summer Story for $3; this was the Bob Clark sequel to A Christmas Story—the cast is completely different, but I'm told it isn't a bad film, so for $3 it was worth trying.

We stopped at Town Center Mall for another try for café au lait tealights at Yankee Candle. No dice. I may get some Sun'n'Sand candles; they smell just like Coppertone! We went upstairs to go to Hallmark (where I bought a Webkinz Lil Lamb, a perfect Easter decoration) and stopped at the Lindt store. They had a deal with their smallest chocolate rabbits, three for $12, and since they were contributing part of the proceeds to an autism foundation, I bought some to put away for Easter.

The mall was packed and no surprise, since it is cold and raining, that winter rain that creeps into your bones. As we left the mall, the traffic was so bad we went to JoAnn through the back way and it was still stop-and-go. JoAnn was having a "coupon commotion," so I got several small craft things. James bought a brownie pan. It comes with dividers that you bake with the brownies; once they are done they are all perfectly divided and no need for all that messy cutting. He thought it might also be useful for cake or cornbread.

I looked at the thing and laughed and said, "Mr. Monk would love it. All of the pieces are neat."

By this time it was after three, so we hurried down to the hobby shop for a while. We were both starving. I'd only had some oatmeal and a Slim Fast bar for breakfast/lunch. We stayed and chatted for a bit, then went to Williamson Brothers barbecue across the street. James had picked up a coupon book in the cleaner and they had a twofer coupon. So he had a beef rib platter and I had pulled pork.

We stopped at Michael's on the way home and also went to Borders. I had my eye on a different book at Borders, but saw Linda Lear's Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature and had to grab it. This is the definitive Potter biography.

Finally arrived home about seven. Put Pinocchio on after a little while...wow, been a while since I saw it, and never did have the DVD. It looks wonderful! We were amusing ourselves looking at all the delightful details in Gepetto's woodcarving shop. The Monstro scenes are breathtaking as well; the water is so well animated.

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» Friday, March 13, 2009
What a Difference a Temp Makes
The last two days have been like day against the night of the first three days of this week. Tuesday night it was so warm I didn't sleep well again and woke up with a headache on Wednesday, which went away until about six o'clock. It then came back with a vengeance. I had to take some ibuprofin and lie down in the dark until James came home.

Wednesday night it dipped into the forties and it was wonderful sleeping. I have had energy for the past two days, finished five orders and posted one more, did laundry and craft projects at lunchtime, refilled the bird feeder and the suet cage, and even went out to lunch one day. (Well, I went out at lunch. I didn't waste money on food; I bought a book.)

Oh, and I saw the prettiest thing yesterday: I had taken Willow out at lunchtime and heard a faint, faint honking. I searched the sky and flying north was a tremendous flock of geese. I counted them and there were 36 in all!

Received the second part of Little Women today and watched it before James got home. The second part improves slightly. Susan Dey really did do a nice job as Jo, and in this version they did show the affecting sequence where Jo takes Beth to the seashore, which played very well.

Many people love this because they show some of the scenes that are usually left out of the other films for time, like the seashore sequence. This version includes the episode where Meg pays $50 for silk material for a dress. In the book, this is part of a longer sequence where Meg has to adhere to a budget and complains to John about being poor, but all that is omitted, so the sequence has no meaning. In another interesting sequence that's not in the book, Mr. March and John Brooke salute the birth of the twins with wine. Except it's very clear in the book that the Marches are teetotalers. Jo even makes Laurie promise not to drink at college.

William Shatner's Professor Bhaer is...interesting. He has the fun inherent in the part, and thankfully doesn't take Jo to the opera or kiss her on the neck; instead he tries to teach her German, as in the book (if later on they did climb trees together). But again, no one ever casts Bhaer as he is portrayed, in his late thirties, already greying, stout, and with a beard.

Ann Dusenberry's Amy went back to being very unpleasant. I couldn't put my finger on why she was so unlikeable in the first part, but by this part I understood. In the book, Amy has her moments of brattiness, as when she burns Jo's manuscript, and silliness, when she uses ridiculous vocabulary to make herself sound older, but she is determined to be a well-bred lady and, as she ages, tries to cultivate herself that way, to be gracious and polite, with a soft voice and a pleasant manner. Dusenberry's Amy is, in Benjamin Franklin's words in 1776, a Boston fishwife. Her diction is often coarse and loud. And damn, she's still doing that rabbit thing with her upper lip.

The whole business with Amy and Laurie is unbelievably truncated. Jo refuses Laurie's proposal, he goes to Europe. Amy finds out he is there and asks him to visit. He turns up, drunk, in her room the night before she is leaving, and she tells him off for his condition. He goes to Vienna to study music, realizes he hasn't the talent to be a composer, and returns to Amy when he learns of Beth's death. All of a sudden he is in love with her, she with him, with no chance to be together and fall in love as they do in the book, and they get married.

The miniseries moves full-circle and, as it concludes, once again it is Christmas. The "under the umbrella" scene with Jo and Professor Bhaer thus not only occurs at Christmas, but it quits raining and of course starts snowing (since it snows everywhere on television on Christmas Eve). Okay, the end does have a good sniffle factor. I did cry anyway, if just remembering "the good ol' days" at home.

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» Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Yet Another News Blooper
Channel 46 news just offered a "SNEAK PEAK" at the upcoming weather.

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Serious Cereal
I saw this cereal at Trader Joe's, Reduced Sugar Triple Nut and Flakes Cereal, and it looked pretty good, so I bought it and just tried it. Yum! It has only 2 grams of actual sugars. The nuts are almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts, and the rest of the ingredients are whole wheat flour, brown rice, whole rolled oats, rice flour, milled cane sugar, vegetable oil, fruit juice (pear and peach), molasses, salt, cinnamon, and annatto and purple carrot juice for color (no, it isn't purple...LOL). The milk gives it sweetness; no need to add sugar.

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Castle is King
Anyone catch this new mystery series on Monday? As innovative programming goes, it ain't. The premise is as usual: pair two dissimilar characters together, add a little romantic tension. Result: clash.

Particulars on pilot episode: Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) is bad-boy mystery-thriller writer of best-seller list fame (think James Patterson/John Grisham/J.D. Robb, etc, etc, etc) with flamboyant mother (played by Susan Sullivan, whom I first remember from Another World) who's an actress, practical 15-year-old daughter Alexis, and publicist who is also his ex-wife. Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) is square-jawed, humorless police detective with an unsolved, personal crime in her past who comes upon a case in which the killer is emulating murders in Castle's books. Castle is questioned, but, intrigued about both the killer and Beckett, keeps butting into the investigation. (In fact, since everyone's a fan of his books, he has certain connections that help move the case more quickly.)

It definitely isn't Waking the Dead. More like "take your brain out of gear and play along." At that level, it's fun. Fillion is perfect as the bad boy with hidden underpinnings (he actually has a keen mind and good perception, and does worry about and love his teen daughter). Beckett is still a bit of a flat character; however, there's a small twist: it turns out she is a big fan of Castle's books. Sullivan plays Auntie Mame-like Mom for fun and Molly Quinn as daughter Alexis is cute.

Plus there's a great scene in the opener where fictional author Castle plays poker with real-life authors James Patterson and series creator Stephen J. Cannell. The series definitely doesn't take itself seriously.

So I enjoyed it, ABC apparently less so, as they've reduced the episodes they've ordered from thirteen to ten. Ah, well...will view while it lasts.

(Incidentally, I spent the first half of the show thinking "this guy is annoying" and the second half warming up to him. Where had that happened before? Oh, yeah, on Remember WENN. In fact, if we hadn't seen Castle's mom already and the timeline was altered, Richard could be the son of Scott Sherwood and Betty Roberts, with the writing skill from Mom and the charm and chutzpah from Dad. If he'd said "Very exciting!" with upraised eyebrows, I wouldn't have been a bit surprised.)

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» Tuesday, March 10, 2009
A Warm Welcome It's Not
Every year I tell myself I'm not going to fight it. It's going to get warm, there's nothing I can do about it, I might as well roll with it. In fact, last Monday when my toes were so cold, I was thinking it might be nice to have the temperature edge up a bit higher.

Not this much higher. Not this early. It's been in the 70s for the past few days, up to 80°F yesterday. If the temperature dropped like a rock after sunset, it wouldn't be bad, but it's still in the high sixties when we go to bed and even after a cold spritz in the shower and three fans running in the bedroom, it's hard to sleep. I only had three hours of sleep Sunday night before staying in bed a few more hours Monday morning so I wouldn't be a danger to people on the road. (I've decided I really just need to take the Monday after daylight savings time starts off, as it takes me at least three days to acclimate.) I've got enough leave; it's not like it's a problem, but I really would prefer to sleep well at night instead of playing catchup.

The weather change plays havoc with my emotions, too. It's like premenstrual syndrome. I'm sad, indignant, and fearful by turns, and if the nagging nightmares are going to strike, this is when they'll come to get me. I'm often dogged by things that need to be done repeatedly, or things that are done that don't work out (like a spreadsheet on which the data won't save) when I dream, and I wake up feeling frustrated and exhausted. When it's cool I just sleep.

Willow's wandering about panting as well. One expects her to say, "You think it's easy wandering around in a fur coat in this weather?" LOL.

It's supposed to go back to more seasonable temperatures on Friday. Fine with me.

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Old News
I hadn't heard about this previously; apparently it was written for charity auction last summer:

The Harry Potter Prequel

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Don't Faint...
...I wrote in my LiveJournal.

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» Sunday, March 08, 2009
Hawaii at Last!
No, no, we're not going there...ugh, no, too warm.

We finally found a Hawaii quarter and have the whole set.

Otherwise an unremarkable day. James had a prescription to pick up and needed Hood's Calorie Countdown milk, so since both can only be found at Kroger, we were there. I hate the fifteen minutes waiting for the prescription; we always find something else to buy! Milk was on sale, so we bought it there and picked up a couple of cheap cans of mushrooms so we wouldn't have to go to BJs as well.

And even after that, we still forgot his orange juice! So after putting up the groceries and having some chicken as a quick lunch while perusing the Publix ad, we went to Publix to get a couple of the twofers.

On the way there we went by Vickery Hardware to get a "cheater" (an adapter to convert a three-pronged plug to a two-prong). I gave the clerk cash and asked him if by any chance he had a Hawaii quarter. He said, "We had one yesterday," checked...and found one. So our map holder is now complete.

We also had a delightful encounter with windshield wiper replacement this morning. Mine went on fine once I figured out I had to pull them backwards out of the U-hook. James, however, had no trouble replacing his passenger-side wiper, but the driver's side wiper was stuck fast. He had to use a pliers to loosen the latch and pry one of the sides off before it would allow itself to be yanked off. Gah.

Anyway, once all our supermarket duties were completed, we could come home and relax—well, sort of. It was now dinnertime and James fired up the grill to cook some hamburgers for supper. I removed the winter decorations from the porch and replaced them with spring things, and started taking the winter things down inside as well. I at least wanted to put my St. Joseph's altar in place since it is only eleven days till St. Joseph's Day. Also finished up washing the towels and did a load of socks.

We had a good laugh watching America's Funniest Home Videos tonight. There were some hilarious dog clips and a riotous piece about a man moving a refrigerator and a mouse running out from underneath. The cat got it, whereupon the man tried to get the cat to let it go and capture it under a jar. Of course he fubbed it and the mouse dashed under the stove. One could almost hear the cat thinking: "You idiot! I had it and you let it go!"

There is a great special on right now, a collection of Saturday Night Live parody commercials—they've even gone back for the 1970s vintage stuff, like "Shimmer"—it's a floor wax and a dessert topping! Nice to see all the old favorites, like Dan Ackroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman and Gilda Radner.

(Oh, I tried out the .flv converter this morning...it works perfectly!)

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» Saturday, March 07, 2009
Oversunned in March
So hard to believe it was snowing less than a week ago! It was quite overcast until about noon, when the clouds whisked away and the temperature began to climb. The rest of the afternoon was sun, sun, sun and mid-70s. My face is sore from it and I already have a rash dotting my arms here and there.

We went out to JoAnn first so I could get a needle case. On the way there we saw a PT Cruiser with the neatest paint job: white with a brown roof and brown bumpers—looked just like an old-fashioned pair of saddle shoes. Happily I found a pretty gift at JoAnn to put away, too. We bought a few more of their big reusable bags because they are so useful. James wanted to stop at Hobbytown, so we did that, and also went to Bed, Bath and Beyond as he wanted a good set of grilling tongs. I wanted a pair of toaster tongs; I'm tired of burning my fingers trying to get English muffins out of the toaster! :-)

Stopped at Borders and picked up the newest Molly Murphy mystery in paperback, then went to the hobby shop for a while. Then we went to MicroCenter, so I could get a case and small mouse for the netbook I bought last week. I got a piece of $3 software that is supposed to convert Real Player .flv files to .avi files. We'll see.

Decided to get Trader Joe's out of the way as well, stocking up on fresh chicken salad, more baby greens, oyster crackers, a new type of cereal with three kinds of nuts and only 2 grams of sugar, and a few other things. We also popped into the other Borders where I finally found a copy of Storm Front, which is in that goofy new "tall paperback" format (ugh!) and the newest Early American Life. Finally, a stop at Michaels to get a green paint marker and we were ready to head home for supper. We had our usual Sunday salad for supper tonight instead as the hamburgers we were planning on grilling were not yet thawed, and when that was finished, I "drowned" Willow. (Well, that's the way she sees it. I call it giving her a bath!)

Did get a disappointment: one of the things I bought at MicroCenter was some inexpensive RAM for the netbook. James had updated his EEEPC a week or two ago by just plugging in a RAM stick. Sadly, my Acer has to be almost completely disassembled to put new memory in it! No wonder it states that it voids the warranty to add RAM. James found a tutorial online and I have no doubt he could do it, but why put him to the trouble? The netbook works well enough; I just wanted to give it a little ooomph at a low price.

News report tonight about all the people camped out at the Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend for a big race happening there. So—they get together for a whole weekend just to watch a bunch of cars driving round and round a track, but science fiction fans are the ones that are weird? LOL. So odd.

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» Friday, March 06, 2009
Bibliophily, Sweeping, and Dancing
Had a good long sleep this morning, which evidently my body needed. I'm going to enjoy it now, as it's going to be in the 70s this weekend and warm at night. It's so hard to sleep when it's warm.

The Cobb County Library sale opened today. I ended up having to drive around Jim Miller Park trying to find where they were letting people in. They are still digging up the part of the park closer to Austell Road—I'd dearly love to know what they are doing!—and all the other gates were locked save for the one on the street that connects Calloway and County Services Parkway.

Getting there even before noon seemed kind of a loss. I usually end up hunting in nonfiction because there's very little fiction that I want that I don't already have. The hardback fiction was especially skimpy today unless you wanted James Patterson, John Grisham, Patricia Cornwell, and other assorted best-selling authors. I ended up with an "Observers" book of spacecraft for James, a book about Americana, one about first names, a history book (book one of six book series published by Scribners in the 1920s) about turn-of-the-century America, and Charles Kuralt's America. And since it's full screen on DVD anyway, I grabbed Disney's Rascal on VHS.

From there I went to return my five library books; even with the To-Be-Read pile here, I came out with another five: Rhett Butler's People, Before Green Gables, Bill Bryson's book on Shakespeare, and one book on the French and Indian War and another on King Philip's War. I've been reading a book that is reviews of pre-Revolutionary War history books and the author commented that most people see the French and Indian War as a minor footnote in American history. Wow. Events of the French and Indian War led to the Revolutionary War—what do they teach in history classes these days? Anyway, I figured I would pick up a history of the F&IW. And as I used to pass Anawan Rock regularly when I went out to Readmore in Taunton, MA, I thought I might want to look into a King Philip's War text. (Anawan was "a Wampanoag sachem and advisor to King Philip, [captured at] at Anawan Rock in August 1676. This action ended the King Philip's War in southeastern Massachusetts.")

Grabbed a plain junior burger at Wendy's, then went to Wally World for a new watch band. Two weeks ago I was going out to lunch and caught the wristband of my watch in the door. It popped out one of the pins that hold the band on the watch and I couldn't find it. Okay with me as I never liked the band that came with the watch anyway; it was shiny "patent-leather"-isn and I loathe patent leather. I got a nice matte finish black leather band, a couple of other groceries, a gift to put away for James—and yogurt on sale! I got lots! (Wish I'd had the coupon I cut last week, too.)

Got gas at BJs, then stopped at Borders in Austell to pick up Storm Front in paperback. I couldn't find it anywhere, not with the new books, not with the other Jim Butcher books, not even on the endcaps. Sheesh. The computer said the book was "likely in store." It said the same thing for the DVD of Miss Potter. The Austell store is getting pretty useless anyway. Over the months they have cleared out almost half of the books and there are toys and stuffed animals in the childrens' section rather than books and games and other things everywhere. Yeesh. They really do want people to buy online.

Got home in time to sweep out the garage and take Willow out before Ellen came on. She had on Jason and Molly from The Bachelor. Yawn. Boring. The science guy was terrific, though! I'll have to look him up.

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» Thursday, March 05, 2009
Little Women Revised
I noticed that Netflix had available the Little Women miniseries from the 1970s and decided to add it to the queue. The first half came today. I remember thinking when this aired that it was not a bad version, although I've never been satisfied with any of the adaptations.

Film buffs love the 1938 version, with Katharine Hepburn as Jo, but I always thought she overdid the role. All of the "girls" are too old—one of the actresses was even pregnant when the story was filmed. The 1950s version is like an MGM musical version of the story, all bright colors, and you expect someone to break into a song any minute. I like June Allyson as Jo, but having Margaret O'Brien's Beth be the youngest was sheer bathos and Elizabeth Taylor is just...inappropriate as Amy.

The 1994 version comes very close to the spirit of Alcott. The Marches actually look poor, Kirsten Dunst is a great young Amy, Winona Ryder has spirit as Jo, even if detractors say she's too pretty for the role. Eric Stoltz, however, was an odd choice for John Brooke, and even if all Marmee's feminist polemics were all culled from Alcott, they were sometimes incongruous. Worst was director Gillian Armstrong's attempt to deify the character, when Marmee clearly admits her faults in the book, and Armstrong also made too much of an effort to have the fictional Marches be like the real-life Alcotts. Still, of the three, I like this one best, if just for the wonderful score.

This 1970s version is clearly 70s vintage: the look, the music, the way the girls wander about, just like in Little House on the Prairie, with their hair streaming down their backs. Events that happen singly in the book are doubled up in the miniseries, so that Jo's story publication, Marmee's letter saying Father is better, and Beth getting sick all happen pell-mell in a single scene; Meg's "dressing up" happens at the same party where Jo and Laurie first meet, and the news of Mr. March's illness arrives in summer rather than November, smack in the middle of Laurie's picnic, where Amy is suddenly old enough to be flirting with Frank Vaughn. (Vaughn, I noted with some amusement, is played by a mustachioed John DeLancie!)

Little bits of things are irritating: the March girls clearly wear 1970s rubber boots, lines are read in a stilted manner in many scenes, the house is much too upscale for the poor Marches. The whole opening 40 minutes of the story seem to take place in a couple of days immediately after Christmas, then suddenly it's two years later. The Hummels are added in as an afterthought just before Marmee leaves for Washington, DC, as the whole famous Yuletide opening of the story where the girls forgo their own gifts to buy ones for Marmee and then give up their breakfast for the poor Hummels, is omitted. The overwrought minute or two where everyone thinks Beth has died is a froth of tears and overly loud, irritatingly plaintive violin music. (And where the heck did Amy come from? Wasn't she sequestered at Aunt March's house?)

And there's that everlasting Christmas tree which is in every version of Little Women—which the Marches wouldn't have had...the Christmas tree custom didn't catch on that early. Apparently the greens strewn around the house aren't enough to tell us it is Christmas.

Worst of all is Ann Dusenberry, who begins to improve as Amy ages, but her portrayal of young Amy is startlingly bad. To play spoilt Amy in the earliest part of the story, she seems to spend almost every scene with her upper lip humped up like a disturbed rabbit. The literary Amy is a pest at that point, but Dusenberry turns her into a witch. You almost wish Jo and Laurie had let her drown.

The bright spot in the story is Greer Garson as Aunt March. She's a real trip in the role, although every time she talks, I expect her to segue into the narration for The Little Drummer Boy.

My favorite part of the production is still the theme song. I think I'll slip the DVD into the computer and transcribe that off to Audacity so I can have a copy.

In the meantime, I can only hope part two has aged better. But then a highlight of part two is William Shatner in the role of Professor Bhaer, so, we'll see.

[I had forgotten to mention the really odd thing about this version. In the book, two of Mr. Laurence's children are mentioned. One is a girl who died when she was young. It is her piano that is given to Beth. The other child is Laurie's father, who chafed under his father's strict ways, went to Italy, and married an Italian concert pianist. This is why he objected to Laurie's piano-playing. In this mini-series version, the daughter who loved music and died is combined as a character with Laurie's mother, who married an Italian concert pianist. Laurie tells Jo that his real name is "Theodore Laurence Cerrito" (I think that was the name) and his grandfather won't let him use it. Too weird.]

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The Essential Thing
Stone Soup comic

Oh, for heaven's sake, if it's International Woman's Day, there has to at least be chocolate! :-)

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» Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Horsing Around
Oh, boy, sequels! Check out A Cozy Nook to Read In.

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Just Saw This Wonderful Lady on CBS News
YouTube - Great Depression Cooking Ep:1 - Pasta with Peas

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"Cheap" Lifestyles
In a Recession, Cheap is Chic

Is this guy for real?
"We don't believe that luxury lifestyle has gone away," Wright said. "We're looking at maybe not having the $250,000 watch, but a great watch you can get for perhaps $7,500."
Who pays $7,500 for a watch?

Of course I've heard of women playing $1,000 for some kind of designer purse or $300 for shoes. Weird.

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» Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Who Do You Believe?
Don't you sometimes think we suffer from an influx of too much news? Especially when it presents contradictory information. The political news is bad enough, but it's constant, and down to the smallest things. For instance, in my youth the method for weight loss was just a matter of eating fewer calories and getting more exercise. You'd hear about the occasional "water diet" or "juice diet" in women's magazines, but it was just a small fad; there were also diet pills, but you didn't want to get into the drugs in those.

Then came "South Beach" and "Atkins" and a half-dozen others, all nationally touted and all purporting to have the "real answer." Treatments like "Alli" came along, and surgical cures. Studies, studies, studies—and now we are back to "eat fewer calories and exercise" again.

This struck my funny bone yesterday while reading Country Living (the American version, not the Brit). It was in the news a few weeks ago that the mayor of San Francisco was caught with bottled water, when he is actively campaigning to have bottled water banned from the city. The bottles result in plastic waste, and, says the mayor, tap water is just fine for you. (I understand there have been also cases where some brands of bottled, supposedly spring-fed or at least filtered water have been found to have come straight out of the tap.)

I had to laugh because there in Country Living was an admonition that you should never drink tap water, or even give it to your pet, because the chlorine used in purifying destroys the "flora" in your digestive system.

It's like watching ping-pong...

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» Monday, March 02, 2009
See-Saw, Margery Daw...
So...it snowed yesterday. It barely got up to 40°F today.

And by Saturday it's going to be 75?

Talk about "if you don't like the weather, wait a minute"!

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Cold and Clear
We ended up with not much snow at all, although they noted that there was an official record of four inches at the airport. Everything must have gone south and east of us. This morning it was crisply cold, with a blue, blue sky and gradually decreasing clouds. We had a delayed opening, which suited me fine: any day I can get eight hours sleep instead of six is fine with me! The deck was covered in ice, however, which made refilling the bird feeder a bit of an adventure! The roads were less treacherous, although the traffic report was brimming with news of icy spots.

At present I'm parading back and forth to the printer to get all the orders for last week ready for signature. Ta.

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» Sunday, March 01, 2009
Flash and a Bang
I had forgotten to mention that just as we were leaving Kroger, with the snow coming down in big, quarter-size flakes that looked like goosedown, there was a bright flash in the sky, as if a streetlight had exploded, and then one explosive blast of thunder. "I'm awake!"

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From Snow to Wind
Ah, well, the snow stopped a little before five. We didn't get all that much in total, and the rising wind is blowing what little there is away. But it was fun while it lasted.

In the meantime, I remembered the one movie we love that we hadn't watched yet on this television: Galaxy Quest. Word on the street is that a special edition DVD will be released in May.

While surfing around, I found the original shooting script (a text file). Enjoy! (Sadly, the quality deteriorates after the halfway point. Interesting to see that the Fred/Laliari romance wasn't originally in the script.)

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March Came in Like a Lion
After a winter of temperatures that went up and down, including one freezing weekend and a couple of 67°F days, now that it is almost spring and the trees and flowers are blooming, we were flabbergasted to hear a forecast of snow for today.

Sure enough, after a night of rain, about eleven o'clock it began to snow.

James needed shoelaces, so we went to Walmart. Either everyone was still in church or folks saw the snow and didn't go out, because there were remarkably few people there. We both got new windshield wipers for our respective vehicles (I figure after almost five years, my car could use some new wipers...LOL). We were only in Wally World about a half hour, but by the time we got out the truck had nice little caps of snow and the rain-sodden parking lot was getting slushy with the new snow and approaching slippery.

James needed something at Lowes, so he dropped me off at Borders. Found the new Yankee and used my Borders Bucks—result: free Yankee. Yay! Then we went to Kroger to pick up James' prescriptions. Found paper towels on sale and also a new fleece throw of a good size for less than $4. It's pink, but so what? It will make a nice blanket for the futon.

Since we had nothing to do for the rest of the day and the snow was coming down steadily, we stopped at Publix to pick up some of the twofers.

Once we were home and had the groceries put up, of course I grabbed my camera and went outside to take pictures! I took several dozen and also some movies of the snow and of the birds at the feeder. As expected, we had quite a crowd at the "seed restaurant."

Home, home in the snow:

snow home

Looking up the street—you can see how the wind was blowing at this point:

snow on the street

The deck all frosted:

deck in the snow

The view from the deck:

snow in the woods

Mr. Cardinal takes a bite:

cardinal

Two, two, two brown-headed nuthatches for one:

a pair of nuthatches

Here's a handsome chipping sparrow in the snow:

chipping sparrow in the snow

Two for the price of one: a chickadee and a pine warbler:

chickadee and pine warbler

White-breasted nuthatch:

nuthatch

Peekaboo titmouse:

peekaboo titmouse

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Miss Potter is Charming
I was surfing about around midnight for something to watch and found Miss Potter just starting on Encore West. I had DVR'd this a couple of weeks ago and watched it just last week, but it was so sweet I let it run again. I really want to see this widescreen, as the beauty of the Lake Country (and Scotland and the Isle of Man) is really lost in fullscreen. In story tone it's very like 84 Charing Cross Road or The Railway Children or even Anne of Green Gables; nothing spectacular happens, it's just a slice of life.

I went looking for the reviews of this film and found some folks running down Renee Zellweger something terrible. I was a bit puzzled why they didn't do this with an English actress in the role, but I didn't think she was as bad as everyone made out. What did annoy me was people talking about how "unattractive" she was made up as (they did seem to take pains to paint Potter as being a rather plain woman), and others pointing out that "the real Beatrix Potter was no raving beauty, either." I've read at least one bio of Beatrix Potter, with photos included, ones that are also on the web—she looked like a real, live, normal woman, not those overly-made up, mannequin-faced actresses on television and in the movies that are supposed to resemble real human beings and who have become our models for "attractiveness." These women always remind me of the line in Eight Cousins where Rose describes Annabel Bliss as "so like a wax doll she longed to give her a pinch and see if she would squeak." Hear, hear. Bless "Miss Potter" and other "just plain folks"!

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The Rest of the Story
Paul Harvey, News Commentator and Talk-Show Pioneer, Dies at 90

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