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 theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net
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» Monday, May 31, 2010Never a Dull Moment
Sleeping late was the only thing restful about today. Five minutes into booting up my computer, it locked up. Turned it back on, and it worked fine...until the mouse locked up. This is a new wrinkle. Swapped the wireless mouse for the wired mouse, which worked a bit longer...and then that locked up. A PS2 mouse will work, but not USB. Even after we went out for an hour, the mouse would not work after we rebooted. And when we rebooted, the computer said it was June 1!
I can't work this way. So we have fixed it, in a way that causes James the minimum work. And now it's time to reload, and reload, and reload.
Finally got some things cleaned off the floor, but there was no time to vacuum. The house is a wreck.
James grilled the steak I found on Friday, and we had corn on the cob along with it, with a watermelon chaser and two mint-filled dark chocolate squares as a treat, and we spent the rest of the evening watching the rest of the Matt Smith Doctor Who episodes aired on BBC America so far, except for "Vampires of Venice." Wow, talk about going from the ridiculous to the sublime. I absolutely hated, hated, hated "Victory of the Daleks," and not because I despise the Daleks. This was utterly stupid, although the gentleman who played Winston Churchill was quite good in the role. What a waste of a World War II setting, especially after having seen things like "The Empty Child." The two-parter about the Weeping Angels was quite suspenseful, although part of the suspense was carried by this year's story arc, not by the angels. Rather gobsmacked by the final five minutes of "Flesh and Stone," though.
Oh, to add insult to injury, we haven't been able to use Dish all day. The DVR is fine, but it will only tune in a few channels. The problem doesn't seem to be in the receiver, but in the dish itself (which is a relief because of all the things on the DVR). We called Dish and we have to pay to have a technician come and look at the thing! It was fine last night when we were watching the National Memorial Day Concert and the news, but it never came on this afternoon. Some channels say "We're working hard to restore this service," and when James called Dish and they walked him through a test, the two feeds check out okay, but a message says we are not getting access from all satellites. He's checked the dish itself from the ground; it looks okay. Weird.
» Sunday, May 30, 2010On the Program
We had a nice day today: were up at eight, and off at 8:30, and had the breakfast buffet again. The hotel restaurant steadily improves. The service is still spotty, but is mostly responsive and at least they open on time. Maybe by 2015 they may have it perfect.
Went to the podcasting panel at ten. This was about producing podcasts, with Jana Oliver, and a gentleman named Bruce who does a podcast about a Stargate role-playing game. They mostly talked about the mechanics and did so in such a lively manner that we never really talked about podcasting hosts until just as we had to leave. I've always had this unspoken ambition to do a Remember WENN podcast, which is absurd since I tend to trip over my tongue...but there it is.
There is a family reunion using some of the other rooms left at the hotel (they are remodeling; the 4th floor is closed down and the entire atrium area is unusable, although they have set up seats near the restaurant for patrons) and halfway during the panel they started holding a church service. You could hear the minister through the walls—and we had the Dealer's Room between us and the room they were using!
James was nursing a headache, so he took something for it and went into the only dark area, the video room, where they were running "The End of Time." I sat with him, intending to leave at eleven for the Doctor Who music panel with Dominic Glynn (composer of music for the series in the 1980s), but I couldn't resist seeing it through the end. Oh, it was all histrionic, but I still sniffled and loved Bernard Cribbins all over again.
Did attend the end of the Glynn panel. Since I'm not musical, didn't understand some of the language, but they were talking about arrangements of the Who theme and their individual parts, and it was neat to see how the different parts, like the bass line and the melody and the other elements went together.
James and I were both getting peckish and were holding 40 percent off Borders coupons, so we nipped out for an hour to go to the Borders at Perimeter Mall. James got a sandwich at the cafè and I had a bagel, and I bought Roy Blount's Alphabet Juice, which was recommended in some linguistics reviews.
We were back in time to see the "toys" panel, which was mostly about the new Who figurines.
Next came the panel I was waiting for, Louis Robinson and Jana Oliver were doing a panel on Jack the Ripper. I'm not particularly interested in the Ripper, but I will listen to both panelists talk about almost anything. This was super: talking both about the crime itself and whether the crime was actually done by one person, and about the influence it has had on society and even on stories. One really odd thing was that Louis said he became interested in the Ripper by Googling his own name. It turns out Catherine Eddowes was arrested by a PC Louis Robinson and taken to "the drunk tank" the night before she was murdered.
This was followed by two panels about general media: media-tie ins (mostly books) and "reimaginings." The media-tie in panel featured Diana Dru Botsford who has written original and media novels and has been commissioned to do a Stargate novel. She has been allowed to go to Antarctica next winter to do reseach for a novel! Talked about different tie-in series (Trek, Who, Stargate, etc. and some that worked and some that didn't. The "reimagining" panel prompted a lot of conversations about what worked and what didn't, and there was a lively discussion, especially between the moderators!
We always attend the wrap-up panel, so that was last at six, and finally we were on the way home. We picked up a newspaper and some chicken wings for James' supper. I had a Lean Cuisine and we settled down with our fids for a relaxing night.
I think I'm just going to break down and buy new RAM and a new hard disk. I use the computer for work; I can't afford to mess with it.
Managed to make it through the night only waking up once, and then twelve minutes before the alarm, and no software dreams. Mouse did work when I booted up to check e-mail, but computer locked up in the now-usual five minutes while I went to re-tie the dog's shirt. James is now wondering if one of the memory sticks has gone bad because apparently they do manifest problems oddly. Like that or not, the hard disk still has to be redone. Bother.
I did not mention yesterday that I did stick around to seeing the Disney panel. Seemed to spend a lot of time wondering about who is the mysterious "they" who decides not to release classic Disney material or work in 2D animation. Frankly, as much as I loved Up and Finding Nemo, I'm about sick to death of 3D animation. It's now as ubiquitous as limited animation was in the 60s, without the clever scripts.
Louis Robinson showed up at the Disney panel about halfway through, asking about the mysterious "they," and his panel about commissioning scripts at the BBC was next. No one was there for instruction; we were just looking for Louis' wonderful stories about working there. The "commissioning" process seems to work under one rule: give them what they want, not what you have created. But any panel Louis does is invariably entertaining, and he had some amusing (but ultimately sad) producer stories.
» Saturday, May 29, 2010Good Day, Bad Computer
Just got home about a half hour ago. We stayed to see the cabaret and the very short masquerade. They gave away some door prizes, and I won a collectible from Stargate, three actual "replicators" used on the set. I never watched Stargate and would have rather won one of the Doctor Who gifts. Lo and behold, one of the folks who won a Doctor Who book asked me if I would trade with him because his girlfriend loves replicators. So I now have a copy of the big Time Travelers Guide by Peter Haining. Cool.
Didn't attend a lot of panels today because Ann and Clay came in for the day and we sat with them and the Spiveys a lot of the afternoon just talking. Aubrey went with me to the "Fifth Season" panel with first impressions of the eleventh Doctor and Amy, and of Stephen Moffat's style so far. Then we had dinner with Ann and Clay, and later on went to the cabaret, which is done for charity. Professor Satyre did interstices between performances, which included Hyperdrive doing some rock offerings; Dominic Glynn, who did music for Doctor Who, doing a piano piece very reminiscent of George Winston; Louis Robinson with three guitar offerings, including a funny song about the Queen as a "franchise"; and Carmen Argenziano doing improv with members of the audience. We've never done the cabaret before; it's always been too late or I got sick or some other damnfool thing.
So we got home and Willow was happy (probably because it was thundering earlier) and I got on the desktop to pay a bill and of course it eventually locked up, and I turned it off, and turned it on, and it was working fine as I checked the comics—and then the mouse locked up and even after I rebooted wouldn't work. Gah.
Timin' Out at Timegate
We are at present sitting in a panel called "The World of Harry Potter," right now talking about the new theme park "world" at Universal in Florida. We have just finished the buffet breakfast, a very good bargain for the price. There are eggs, bacon, potatoes, grits, cereal, oatmeal, waffles, fruit, and yogurt. Kim joined us for breakfast, and the Spiveys showed up while we were eating, so it was another good meal with good conversation.
We started our Timegate experience yesterday afternoon, as we headed cross town with trepidation against the traffic, but it wasn't as bad as we feared. Earlier in the day, around two o'clock, I-285 showed on the traffic map as dead red from Roswell Road all the way around to Northlake Mall (about eight miles).
So we arrived and registered, then had the dinner buffet, which had roast chicken and an absolutely exquisite pork roast. Well worth the money. The Skidmores walked in just as we were finishing, so we stuck around while they had dinner and has the chocolate cake dessert. Kim came along at that point, so we had some nice conversation.
James went to a 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back panel while I went to a "Sequels We'd Like to See" panel for Doctor Who. All I can say is a sequel should not feature any more Daleks (and they've already broken that)! Really, I would like to see a sane Master again.
When the panel finished I did a short turn around the Dealer's Room, and then wandered into the video room where James was sitting watching Empire and watched myself for a bit. Then it was time for the Torchwood panel. We spent quite a bit of time talking about "Children of Earth" and a future for the series, whether it takes place in the UK or the US. (Oh, please. Not with LA as a location. LA is a freakin' location for everything. Why not Chicago? I'd love it in Boston, myself!) (Heck, set it in Providence. It would tie in with Lovecraft.)
We did stay for the panel "British Shows You Never Knew You Never Knew," which featured Louis Robinson, who used to work for the BBC. Any panel Louis is on is super. One of the other panels, Sasha, had compiled a list of shows, including a great number of radio series. I think we as Americans are poorer in the entertainment department in that the British still do radio drama: book adaptations both classic and new, and original scripts. It's really a shame. Apparently much of the radio stuff is still online at the BBC, and there are many clips on YouTube. Louis had some great stories to add about various performers, including the fact that he accidentally went to Benny Hill's funeral and he was one of only four mourners.
So we got home wayyyyy after eleven and pretty much immediately went to bed.
There's a Disney panel next, so will probably stick around for that. We are just finishing talking about the Potter books and films.
» Thursday, May 27, 2010[black mark over my head]
Gah. Spent four and a half solid hours, including my lunch hour, working on something that had to be awarded today. Most of it took so long because ICE decided to erase an entire memo I wrote, and then an entire seven-page purchase order. When I got the original order done, I realized I couldn't do it because something had been done that can't be done in the system. So I made two phone calls, then looked back at the order and realized I could do it a different way because it was all under one accounting code. So it had to be completely copied and pasted from the old order and then edited into the new order.
Then when I submitted it and it was pulled up for signature, everything I had done was gone. This happened twice, but the second time it was still saved on my computer. ICE gets a big fat "F" for today.
The frightening thing is that we have been told that the replacement scheduled for ICE is worse.
» Wednesday, May 26, 2010End of the Day
I have finished with work and am reading True North, which makes me feel abashed about complaining of stomach cramps and nausea; it's the story of an ad man who left his rat-race job after the crash and moved to Labrador, where he met and married an Australian mission nurse. The book is actually about the hunting trip they took into the wild with one of the trappers and of the hardship and beauty they experienced.
When I put my things up and took Willow outside, the sky had developed a grey tonsure and it was starting to rain, the drops hitting the hot concrete and evaporating as quickly as they struck. The air had that sharp water scent it develops before the rain, sweet and stinging all at once. I hustled Wil in the back yard and ducked under the second floor overhang to keep dry. The birds were still darting at the feeder despite the rain.
Darn, there's thunder out there...
Me and My Big Mouth
No sooner do I write my blog entry than along come the stomach cramps and the inevitable trip to "the necessary." Still cramping now. Crunching Pepto Bismol to settle my stomach. This hasn't happened in a while. Wish I could figure out the connection: eating chicken? stressing over an order? Wednesdays?
I ended up just eating the leftover beef. Didn't want to eat those luscious shrimp when I'm so sick to my stomach; won't enjoy them at all.
It's Dead, Jim
The desktop is truly dead. James stopped at MicroCenter on the way home yesterday and bought a new video card, on the off chance that the problem was video-based. (Ironically, he stopped at MicroCenter, waited in line, and still got home before I did...traffic was just freaky yesterday.) After supper he tried the video card, but it did not trigger the monitor.
He tried two other things: he pulled out the memory, and then the sound card. He said either one of these being missing should have made the computer give a series of beeps when it started up. I thought this was odd because this setup has never done a "post" beep when starting, but he said the computer would alert us to those components being missing. Not a sound out of it.
Well, now I have a choice: I can have James build me a new one, or there are two desktop units at MicroCenter already built for a reasonable price. But they come with Windows7, which I am not adverse to as I would be if it was Vista, but I am worried about my considerable software collection not working in Win7. It would actually be cheaper to buy an OEM version of WinXP and have that installed than to buy new software. Plus WinXP works fine for me; I don't see the need to upgrade.
MicroCenter also has a deal right now with two different processors: if you buy them you get a motherboard free. James investigated both last night and said they are comparable with (and perhaps better than) what I have now, and will fit the same memory. So it might actually be less work for him to assemble than last time when we had to buy everything new.
So today I am working on the laptop, which is not as bad as I feared, although I had some brief trouble logging on, and working through a new pile of purchase orders while listening to podcasts ("This Week in Tech," "Podshock" [a Doctor Who, reacting to "The End of Time" part 2], and another "Tech Guy" with Leo LaPorte.).
» Monday, May 24, 2010Ouch!
The last few years I rue almost every day those long steps I used to take when I was in a hurry to do something. I was doing it one day, on the way upstairs to take inventory at work, almost twenty years ago. It was two days before my birthday, on which my mom was going to take me to see A Christmas Carol at Trinity Square Playhouse.
My troublesome right knee locked and I landed face-first on the concrete floor of the shipping room at Trifari. I had three stitches taken in my nose, and it pushed one side of my nose up.
These days that "bump" where my nose got pushed up hurts almost all the time, especially when there are thunderstorms in the area. It was hurting today on the way home so much that when I got to a red light, I tore some tissue from the box in my car and pleated a strip to make a pad between my glasses and my nose. Bleah.
Going to work and heading home has been made more difficult by a slight detour: they have closed Smyrna-Powder Springs Road at the bridge near Benson Poole Road. The road has been a wreck since winter, when they began straightening the corner of Benson Poole. That is finished, although not done, enough to use Benson Poole as a detour now. But the rest of the road is horrible; they have dug up both sides, strewn straw over front yards that used to be grass, and cut down all the beautiful old trees that overhung the bridge. In the fall they made a lovely arch over the bridge in oranges and yellows, looking for brief seconds like you were on a country road, and now it is clear-cut and bleak. It will be closed, supposedly, until August 1. Most of the time they pull these dates back one to two months when they are almost finished, but August 1 will almost be the beginning of school here and the school buses will need to get at the three apartment complexes at that intersection, so maybe it will be done on time.
Turned out I was about two cars behind James taking the detour and beeped at him when I rolled behind him in the turn lane.
And then to top it all my desktop computer died tonight. I turned it on, downloaded and read e-mail, then was going to go into Farmville when the computer locked up. It's been doing this since March, so I turned it off for a few minutes, turned it back on, and on the opening screen as it started to boot up, all of a sudden zeros ran in a horizontal line along the bootup screen, and symbols in a vertical row to the right, and there it quit. And wouldn't come back up. I wasn't even getting power to the monitor.
We tried another monitor and that wouldn't go on, so it's not that. Wondering if it might be the video card. I can buy one and try it. If it doesn't work it can always be the starter piece for a new unit. Still...bother.
» Sunday, May 23, 2010Sizzlin' Sunday
Sigh...today illustrated one of the problems about summer: dashing home from the grocery store with perishables. We did stuff the ice cream and the pork ribs into an insulated bag, but still had to book to get the milk home, stuffed into the floor of the cab sharing space with my feet with the A/C roaring.
We went to BJs first for tea, cheese, and eggs, and discovered some nice bone-in ribs, which James later made on the grill, basted in honey teriyaki, then swung by Kroger for milk, bananas, produce, etc. Ended up spending $$ instead of $ by using some excellent coupons ($1 off Downy is always good).
Oh, and found third season of The Muppet Show at BJs as well!
When we had all the perishables stuffed into the fridge and the rest of the groceries put away, we drove out to Fry's. James wanted to check a few things out, and it gave us an opportunity to walk around in air conditioned comfort. While it wasn't as humid as yesterday, it sure was hot: went up to 89°F eventually. And it's not yet June.
During dinner we watched a Banacek episode, and then followed with a few episodes of The Muppet Show from first season.
» Saturday, May 22, 2010A Taste of the Weekend
It was all those television ads, I think.
Friday night we decided to celebrate the new mortgage with a rare treat at Red Lobster. We had the shrimp promotion they've been endlessly advertising. and how could I possibly resist crab-stuffed shrimp? It's been a long time since I've had baked stuffed shrimp actually made with crab/seafood stuffing. I remember we'd have that at home, but then the stuffing must have become too expensive, because they replaced it with a grainy, buttery stuffing instead, even at the Inn.
This was a bit too slavishly covered with a buttery cream sauce, but it was oh-so-good! Also had some shrimp scampi, and we even had an appetizer, wood-grilled shrimp bruscetta. Bellissima!
Afterwards we made our third trip this week to MicroCenter. You see, James has been considering upgrading his 4-year-old EEECPC, but didn't want to spend a lot of money. MicroCenter had the old version of the 10-inch unit, with WindowsXP, and refurbed, for a very reasonable price (not quite half the price of the new one with Win7). So on Tuesday he bought one and took it home, started to set it up—and the minute he connected anything to it via USB that needed to pull power, like the DVD drive he needed to make a backup copy, Windows seized and died, and he not only had to shut the thing down, he had to pull the battery and wait a half hour before starting it again! And then it did it again. So Thursday night we went to get another. We no sooner had it home and James turned it on than it threw a Windows registry error. He was just going to reboot and press F9 to get into setup, but he couldn't, because the keyboard wasn't fastened on properly. So this time we tried out the replacement in the back room at MicroCenter, with the blessings of the staff. This one seems to be better, but I'm not impressed with Asus' refurb department!
Today we had to get Willow's stitches removed. We were going to take Wil to the Farmer's Market with us, and then directly to the vet, but then I remembered how shy she is around other dogs. We would need to have more time to negotiate the booths. Plus I thought someone would see her stitches and ask about her—I know I would!—and that would take more time we didn't have. So we had breakfast and then went off to the vet.
Were we embarrassed and chagrined! We took the shirt off Wil midweek because she was being so good. Sometimes we caught her scratching and told her "no" firmly, and everything was healing nicely.
Well, except for the one place under her left foreleg. It was covered by fur and we apparently didn't notice she'd been worrying at it. It was bright and red! They had to restaple it and now she has to go back next week and we have to keep her away from it. So when we got home, back on went the shirt—to her chagrin. You should have seen her face when I called her with the shirt in my hands.
Anyway, on the way home we stopped at Borders at Perimeter Mall. I had seen a book here in April that looked quite promising (The Victorians) and this was the only place I had seen it. James walked Wil around outside while I went inside, and then it was his turn. I took her and walked down to Pet World. They had miniature bunnies, and a great flock of budgies singing, ferrets, mice, rats, guinea pigs, and a wall of barking puppies who seemed very envious of Willow being outside! Several Yorkies, and two of the cutest Cairns ever!
We made one more short stop, at the Container Store so I could buy more hooks for the car. These go around the supports of the headrests, and I could fit another two sets in the back seat. It will be nice to have hooks for any shopping bags instead of worrying about them falling forward if I have to stop short.
James let Wil and I off and went off to the gun show at Jim Miller Park, and then to the IPMS meeting. I put Willow back into her shirt, then took the rug that was too small back to Walmart, then decided to go to the Barnes & Noble at the Avenue at West Cobb. Didn't intend to buy anything and didn't, but did discover they had a Yankee Candle shop there which just opened yesterday. Sadly, they don't have a coffee-scented car freshener. I would have loved one of those. Right now I have "Sun and Sand" in my car. It smells just like Coppertone, one of the few happy memories I have of summer. It brings back Sundays at Sand Hill Cove [cough...'scuse me, Roger Wheeler State Beach] and Galilee and Newport and Narragansett Beach.
But, boy, was it a shock going back outside. As the morning wore on, it got more humid and smothery, and at Walmart the sun emerged from the clouds. Very hot by the time I arrived home.
Came home, read a bit in How the States Got Their Shapes. When James got home, we took the new EEEPC (dubbed "Little Blue" because it is "midnight blue") to Borders to see how it worked with the wifi (flawlessly) and he had a strawberry Koohla (like a smoothie) and I had a kids' cocoa trio. Wish I could have the lattes. :-(
Came home past Publix, where we shopped while the folks at Dragon 168 prepared our supper. (Yes, Ivan, real fried rice. Yum.) Ate dinner to Doctor Who—we haven't watched any of the Matt Smith episodes yet! So we watched "The Eleventh Hour," which we enjoyed, and also "The Beast Below." I like him so far.
» Friday, May 21, 2010Downpour
Yeesh. Good thing Alex and Paolo came this morning; it is raining pitchforks and little fishes out there, the trees are swaying and there is thunder growling in the distance. Willow has posted herself less than a foot from my chair and Schuyler is singing along to the pounding of the rain on the deck (there's a nice breeze coming in; why waste it?). My headache was gone until the storm started to approach, but my eye socket isn't hurting like it has been the last couple of days. I noticed last night that the fan next to my bed was pointed at my head; I tilted it away and I think that helped.
I am apparently hallucinating every time I go near the door: here I am several hundred miles from the ocean and I swear I can smell brine.
» Thursday, May 20, 2010A Sour Little Headache
I have struggled through the day today, trying to make headway on a rush order with a pesky sinus headache. At least I think it's my sinus, although I don't appear to have a stuffy nose. The whole orbit of my eye is sore when I touch it, and my glasses hurt.
There's a line of thunderstorms coming our way; maybe that's it. But I really don't need to have a headache every time it storms. It makes for an unpleasant summer.
My left knee has been giving me problems for the last three days as well. I wake up in the middle of the night unable to straighten it without pain. Yet I can walk upon it all day and it doesn't bother me. Could I be dreaming about being in pain? Very odd.
And There Will Still Be Nothing On
» Wednesday, May 19, 2010Reboot
Well, it's done. The closing attorney arrived at 6 p.m. and left at 7 p.m. after giving us an advanced case of writer's cramp. Signing mortgage papers always reminds me of the scene in an episode of M*A*S*H where Radar asks Henry to sign something, then to initial the second copy, and then to sign to acknowledge he initialed the second copy instead of signing. You get a long form which you have to sign and then initial the rest of the pages, then a short form acknowledging receipt of the long form which you have to sign, etc, etc, etc.
Anyway, we now have a 15-year mortgage at 4.37 percent.
» Tuesday, May 18, 2010A Tuesday Off
Since James worked on Saturday, he had today off. We had a couple of things to take care of before we signed the refinance papers tomorrow, so I asked for leave today. Got that taken care of and also had lunch out, and went back to BJs for more omeprazole. As long as I can get it so cheap, I'm going to keep buying it. It doesn't expire until October 2011, and 42 of them only last me 21 days.
A cold front went through today, taking the sky from stormy grey to fluffy crowds against blue sky. Unfortunately it gave me a nasty sinus headache for most of the day, too. Ah well, it was a day spent with James, which is always lovely. We also went to MicroCenter; I'm facing the possibility of having to replace my desktop, partially due to the lockup problem, and partially because the Windows operating system is filling up the virtual drive space we allotted for it and very soon I will not be able to defrag my hard drive. Hate redoing computers. It takes ages to load all that software, plus you have to get the "mother-may-I" from Microslop and download all those Windows updates. I was looking at already built systems at MicroCenter, but those come with all sorts of slop pre-installed. Ah, well, decisions, decisions.
» Sunday, May 16, 2010Food for All
Ah, well, ended up going shopping again today, but not for us. When I refilled the bird feeders yesterday, I could see the bottom of the seed container. What we had left in birdseed probably would not last the week. So after breakfast we went to Lowes and bought a big bag of wild bird seed, a smaller bag of safflower seed, and a bag of the Scott's finch mix, which is the size seed that Schuyler gets along with niger seed to attract the goldfinches.
Incidentally, I love the French words for wild birds: oiseaux sauvages. I laugh to think of the little birds being "savages." It always sounds so proper in French. I remember my Douay translation of the 23rd Psalm: "In verdant pastures he gives me repose."
We made a brief stop at Borders for James to use his free book coupon. He is getting the itch to have a container garden—I apparently missed the Italian gene for gardening completely—and bought a "square foot" gardening book as well as a book about scare tactics. I found a bargain book called Inventory that will be perfect as a bathroom book: it's from the people who do "The Onion" and is humorous lists. How can you not love a book with a list called "6 Keanu Reeves Movies Somehow Not Ruined by Keanu Reeves"?
When I went to BJs on Friday they had a $4 coupon off omeprazole, so I had bought a box. Well, inside the box was a $5 coupon off. So we stopped by BJs and I bought another box, using both the $5 coupon and the $4 one. $22 worth of medicine for $11. Can't beat that.
Stopped at Publix for some twofers, and then we were done.
When we got home we refilled the birdseed container. This involves pouring in a partial portion of seed, stirring, pouring in another type of seed, stirring, etc., until all is mixed. In the meantime the birds wanted to visit the feeder and were vexed: the moment they saw us they would make a speedy U-turn and return to the trees, chipping disconsolately. But soon they had the feeders to themselves.
I also did something for James that I had done for myself: created an emergency list within a emergency folder on his phone. There is now a folder on both of our phones called "ICE" (in case of emergency), which I understand that EMTs look for if you are involved in an accident and cannot communicate with them. Inside the folder is a direct dial to 911 and also a text file which contains our doctor information, our allergies, our prescription drugs, our OTC drugs, and any other notations, like the fact that we both still have an appendix. Makes me feel better.
We did other fiddly things today, like refilling water bottles and restocking meds, and I washed towels. We had half of a turkey pot pie for supper, from Paul's Pot Pies at the Farmer's Market, along with a salad, and watched something on the Science Channel about James Cameron looking at Titanic. These are the clearest photos of Titanic I have ever seen. They found the cabin the Strauses had, with the fireplace almost still intact and the gilt clock still sitting on the mantel, and the Turkish bath, with its tiles still vividly blue. Wow!
We tried taking the shirt off Willow tonight, and she almost immediately began to scratch again, so she will, unfortunately, have to go back into her shirt.
» Saturday, May 15, 2010All On a Saturday
Up early for the Farmer's Market this morning, but, again, not much time to walk slowly and enjoy it, as James had to be at work at eleven. James got a homemade turnover for lunch, and we bought sweet corn, honey, and a pot pie. Dozens of dogs at the market today: Golden retrievers, two paired corgis with dazzling smiles, a black cocker spaniel, three greyhounds from Greyhound Rescue, and others.
It was already humid and sticky by the time we left; got home and James left for work. I had breakfast, then decided to go to Costco to see if they had Wilderness Warrior. Wandered about, tasted the samples, found the book, and also bought soap and paid this year's membership. On the way home, stopped at Barnes & Noble. Found a book called A Flaw in the Blood, a mystery involving Queen Victoria and the death of Prince Albert, on the remainder rack, and also found The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott at a big discount. Since I'm crazy about material about Alcott, and Victoriana interests me, I got both.
Then just came home; it was not even one and already too steamy to be out. Dubbed off Rick Sebak's A Flea Market Documentary and then started on Castle. Forgot that "The Third Man" had sound missing until the first commercial. Hope they repeat it!
[Coda: have all Castle eps except the last four, one of which is on Monday—and the bad one, of course. They've already repeated it, but maybe something will come up in the summer. James got home at 8:30 with the pizza we'd ordered. Had a good time on chat.]
» Friday, May 14, 2010A Dinner and a Stroll
Dinner was at Giovanni's. This is a little hole-in-the-wall Italian place near BJs and the food is magnificent. Tonight I had lobster ravioli in a "pink" sauce and James had chicken lasagna. I had a small lunch, so ate all five of my crammed-full ravioli, and the sauce was delicious.
The stroll was at WalMart, the one at Powder Springs and the Connector, since I had not known James needed juice. Did get a new entry rug and another for the back door, but I will need to take it back; it's too small. While we were there, we got James a new pair of slippers. The last pair we bought him had black soles, and they have made a grubby mess of the carpeting; the black has rubbed off in spots, especially near the recliner and near his computer. Anywhere he might have rubbed or pressed his slippered feet has black marks. These slippers are very light tan.
We got a phone call at Giovanni's from the closing company and at home from the attorney, and we should be, cross fingers, signing the refinancing papers next Wednesday.
Short But Tweet
Losing My Mind...and My Patience
I am losing my mind. I swear.
I got up, had my oatmeal and yogurt, and set out for Walmart. Before I left, I stuck the Borders "free book" receipt in my pouch.
Skimmed through WallyWorld. Still no entryway rugs I like. Need to look at another Walmart. Found small shirts for $4; bought Willow a purple one. Like Londo Mollari, "in purple [she is] stunning." Put the yogurt and the sugar-free pudding, etc. in an insulated bag inside an insulated bag. Went to Borders. Indeed you did have to buy a book $15 or under. No buying one over the price and paying the rest, so no Wilderness Warrior for me. Finally picked out Bill Bryson's travel in Europe book, which I've been considering a while, plus this month's British Country Living and Shop Smart. To make it all $30, I bought a small gift for someone.
When I got up to the counter I realized I didn't have the Borders receipt, I had the Radio Shack receipt. Gah.
So I left my purchase with them, went home, put up the freezer and fridge stuff, did the survey on the Radio Shack receipt to get the coupon it offered, picked up the Borders coupon, then went out to finish my errands: picked up the books, then went to BJs for Chex. They had a coupon for omeprazole, so I bought more.
Then I came home past Kroger. With the 10¢ discount, gas was cheaper there, so I filled up, then parked and went inside for milk, etc. When I got back outside, with milk, and ice cream cups, and a pot pie for lunch, and other frozen stuff, some utter git had parked so close to me that I couldn't get in my driver's side door, even without my pouch on. I finally had to get in through the passenger side and climb over the gearshift stick. And phooey on you, too.
» Thursday, May 13, 2010Spring of My Discontent
Actually, I pulled down all the indoor spring decorations at lunch time. They were making me morose. The best thing about spring so far has been seeing fledgelings come to the bird feeder, still fluttering their wings at Mom and Dad, begging to be fed. The parent birds are incredibly patient—after a while, you would figure they would peck them: "You're sitting on the feeder! Feed yourself!"
Been irritable and "off" since I was sick in February. I'm pretty sure now I had the flu sans fever. The hot flashes feel worse, not better, compounding the hot feeling on my skin that I've had since my thyroid was removed. Bleah. Heat.
We have succeeded in keeping Willow in her shirt. She seems resigned to it. If I hit Walmart tomorrow I may buy her one that fits, maybe a women's small. James said I should try to find one that says "Bad to the bone." :-)
Listened to podcasts as I worked today: "This Week in Tech," a "Hardcore History" about the Apaches, "Mugglenet," the Whocast that was broadcast after the airing of the second part of "The End of Time," a BBC history magazine broadcast for this month, and Leo LaPorte's "Tech Guy."
Watched American Experience about the history of American whaling: a combination of a general history, the specific incidence of the whaleship Essex (as written about by Nathaniel Philbrick, who appeared in the program), and pieces about Herman Melville and Moby-Dick, which was based on Essex. The person narrating/glimpsed briefly as Melville was so familiar that I went scrambling to PBS's website: well, yes, of course it was Robert Sean Leonard.
The new theme song to American Experience sucks.
It looks like they are going to do "Hurricane of '38" next week in widescreen. A pity Dish doesn't show GPB or WPBA in widescreen, or I could re-record it.
Oh, and my copy of Lillian Gilbreth's biography came today. Looking forward to reading that. Has photos of the real Cheaper by the Dozen children.
» Wednesday, May 12, 2010What the Well-Dressed Dog Will Hate
While I've been known to coo over cute tiny dogs in little sweaters, I don't really believe in dressing animals unless they have very little fur and it's terribly cold.
However, the vet said that Willow was not to scratch at her surgical areas. They gave us an Elizabethan collar so she couldn't bite at things ("I do not like the cone of shame..."), but should she scratch we would have to put a sweater on her.
We don't have one.
We caught her scratching at her right side Tuesday night, and it was very slightly red around two of the sutures. I rummaged in the closet and found an old T-shirt that doesn't fit me anymore. Even in its small condition, it was still too large for her. We secured it around her neck by pulling it up as tightly as we could and then securing it with those rubber bands that come around the Sunday paper, and then pulled up the tail of the shirt and just made a knot in it. The first incarnation was too loose and it came off, so we tried it again. The short sleeves were still too long, so I tied a long ribbon around her, just behind her elbows, to pull them out, and fastened the shirt with a safety pin.
Oh, the woebegone look! You would have thought I put reindeer antlers and a Bozo the Clown nose on her.
By this morning she had gotten it off, and I left it off until I caught her scratching again. This time I tried an even older shirt, a bright orangy-yellow Turtles (remember Turtles, the music store?) and fastened it in the same way. This shirt is so old it was softer and tied better. She's had it on all day, but made the same face.
At one point she was at the screen door when we saw the squirrel trying to get at the suet in the feeder. He gave her a big stare, then vanished down the pole and down the deck support. She gave me this pained look that seemed to say, "Now look what you did. The tree rat was laughing at me!" :-) Really, one could almost hear her protesting "I'm a dog! I don't wear clothes!"
» Monday, May 10, 2010Feeling Ugh...
Didn't sleep well, but still headed to work. Things to do, and the amazing phone message to take care of. Except the message wasn't there. I was fit to be tied. I had kept it because I wanted my team lead to hear it, but it's gone. Really pissed at the voice mail system.
By the time lunch came around, I had a headache, and that is usually helped by a nap. Instead the headache was worse by the time I came upstairs. My stomach's been a wreck since we had breakfast at Golden Corral. Not sure why; everything tasted fine and I didn't have that many different things, just French toast, a couple of slices of bacon, Honey Nut Cheerios and milk, a slice of toast, and watermelon and cantaloupe.
Finally just came home to nurse my stomach. Slept until James had supper finished. It was a very bland supper, chicken breast with sweet corn, but I'm still feeling queasy. Ugh.
» Sunday, May 09, 2010A Cool and Groovy Morning (and Frustrating Afternoon)
Well, cool at least! It was only 58°F out when we got up at nine. James made buckwheat pancakes again...light and tender. My Mother's Day gift from Schuyler was a kiss, and from Willow the fact that she was definitely feeling better. I couldn't sleep for thinking about her, and I got up before James did to give her breakfast and her antibiotic and analgesic. I put each pill in a Greenies Pill Pocket and she swallows them like candy; two chews and a gulp. Is there such thing as catnip for dogs—'cause if there is, this stuff has it! And she mooched food from us all morning.
Then the usual Sunday trip to Publix for twofers and Kroger for the rest. Came back through Jim Miller Park to see the progress on "the ditch." Put the groceries away.
Then we went back out to Bed, Bath and Beyond. I had a $5 off $15 coupon, and James needed something to use on the grill for small things that might fall between the grill bars (we had bought some chicken tenders and he wants to grill them). We got a small pan with a handle, and also more of the tape that secures rugs.
On the way back we stopped at Cumberland Mall to go to Radio Shack. Got a vent mount to hold the Droid. Will be useful for using the navigation function. Some users on droidforum.net recommended this one, a "Bracketron." There is also one which mounts through the power jack.
When we got back we pulled the old XM antenna off the car and took the radio out. After lunch we're going to install the new Sirius one and then go through the activation hoops (since I need to activate one and cancel the other). It's just a little over four years since I subscribed to XM. It was a nice four years (well, three years, since the suck-ass Sirius schedule began last year). Bye, guys.
[Later: Sheesh. They say installing these things is sooooo easy. As if. First we had to get the antenna fastened to the car, then wind it under the molding to the front of the car. The clips on the vent clip mount didn't fit my vent slots and the radio was wobbling horribly. James unfastened the clips from the old XM mount and they slipped into the slot for the Sirius clips, and it fastens it down better. Then we had trouble tuning in the radio to use the FM modulation to play the satellite radio through the speakers. We never did find a channel that was static free; we think this is deliberate because they don't want you doing that anymore. So I just used the cassette adapter. Then I called to get the new radio activated and the old one deactivated. Since I didn't know the number of the old one—I don't even know where the old one is since I've been using the XM radio—I had to tell the Sirius guy which serial number I didn't want to cancel. So that was done. Then I tuned in the radio. This one has only ten presets, but I never listened to most of the others anyway. I have preset NPR, Radio Classics, the Standards channel (Siriusly Sinatra), 40s on 4, Escape, Watercolors (cool jazz), Spa (New Age), classical pops, and for when James drives, 60s on 6 and Classic Vinyl (if you flip up one channel on the Classic Vinyl preset, you get Deep Tracks, which he also likes). The radio I bought has a "jump" which will take you to a preset traffic channel and then jump you back to the station you were listening to, so I didn't need to preset the traffic channel.
This all took two hours!
Then I came in and called XM to cancel...and that, as they say, is that.]
» Saturday, May 08, 2010Little Lost Dog
Willow's not lost physically, but she's still a bit out of it.
The vet called James back this afternoon to say she was just coming out of the anesthesia, she was fine, and we probably could pick her up at 6:45 and take her home. So when he got back from the hobby shop, I was much refreshed from a two-hour nap, and we had a light supper, then drove back out to Dunwoody.
Willow came out on her feet, but looking like she was under the influence. This did not keep her from, after the bill was paid (it went to four figures, as I expected), immediately heading for the door and the verge around the parking lot, to do her dog duty in marking the dirt.
She rode all the way home leaned against me. Looks like me on Monday morning, blank eyed and sleepless although she's been asleep for a while. She climbed the stairs one by one, had a drink, and has been wandering around, a bit lost, all evening. The vet technician said she would still be a bit drugged all night, and she's acting like it. She slept a little, but mostly wanders about looking a bit puzzled.
It is cool enough that we have opened the windows; it is supposed to go down to 49• tonight! I am listening to podcasts: "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," "A Way With Words," the February 1 edition of "This Week in Tech."
Far From Home
We awoke at the darkest of hours for a Saturday morning (6:30 a.m.) in order to take Willow to the vet to have her teeth cleaned and have the "old dog" moles removed. She was waiting for us at the gate, hungry and thirsty, since she was on nothing by mouth after midnight, and we totally betrayed her trust by James taking her out, and then our proposing "Do you want to ride in the truck?"
There was a cool front coming through, and we rode across town with the windows open, happily enjoying the cool green smell and the scent of privet and honeysuckle that is in full bloom. The privet doesn't grow in neat hedges here, but wild at the side of the road and near fences in big bushes of tossing branches, so they are especially fragrant. Willow didn't question the ride, just occasionally turned to James with big questioning eyes, until we arrived at the vet and got through the door.
Then she tried to pull us out of there as quickly as possible, to no avail. They say they will call us when she is awake and they want to keep her overnight.
James had said he was craving an omelet from Golden Corral, so we went to the one near Gwinnett Mall for breakfast, then hit Fry's because he needed a DVD drive for his computer; his has died. I broke down and got a new Sirius radio. It's no use in my having an XM Radio now that they are the same service, and I can put the monthly fee to better use. I actually still have a Sirius radio, but it's in vertical format and had to mount it on the dashboard, and with me being such a shrimp, it annoyed me when I drove. It's also a royal pain in the butt to change channels. The new one will mount on the vent like the old one and there are simple buttons to press to change channels; you can actually enter channel numbers, which you can't do with the vertical one. Anyway, four months without an XM account will pay for the radio.
(SiriusXM states there is a Droid app coming out soon. If it offers the same service I will give the radio to James and just use my phone.)
We made a short stop at Barnes & Noble, and then, with much reluctance since we were sleepy, decided to go out to the DeKalb Farmer's Market, since we were on that side of town anyway and we are out of boneless skinless turkey thigh. It is hard to find and when we do find it, DeKalb is always cheaper. Also got some fruit and veg since we missed the Farmer's Market this morning, a baguette, and some small desserts from the coffee bar.
Came home, put up the perishables, and James went off to the hobby shop. I was thinking about a nap, but nature called instead, and I spent the time regaining all my favorite Xiia Live radio channels which I stupidly deleted last night. Discovered there's a channel that is just all the songs/soundtracks from the various Disneyland/Disney World rides. Lots of 40s channels, of course, and OTR and smooth jazz.
» Friday, May 07, 2010Yet Another Workweek
Not much news from here this week. Listened to podcasts, or music, tossed an occasional aside to Schuyler, and did orders. Received an absolutely astonishing phone call today that I will have to follow up on Monday when my team lead is back in the office. Spent about fifteen minutes with my jaw dropped, though.
I would like to say I am making progress finger-taming Schuyler (yes, after three years!), but it's not much. If I hold my finger parallel to the branch perch that is closest to the front (and top) of the cage, and then make an enticing sound—depending on her mood, either saying "Schuyler, come here, I want to talk to you," or kissing, or loudly humming the quadruple opening beat of the Doctor Who theme (I did mention that Skye is massively in love with the Doctor Who theme, didn't I?)—she will scramble up and sit on the branch/finger combo, but only with one foot. The other is clutched to the side of the cage so that if that finger starts moving, she can give it a nip and then clamber off. She is a funny little lady.
Had a rude surprise when my package came from Amazon. I ordered a spare battery for James' phone and it has a funny little bulge on the side that is supposed to contact with the charger. Because of the bulge, it won't fit in the charger, or the phone, either, so I have contacted the vendor and asked for an RMA number and return postage.
And Alex never showed up, which was puzzling.
We had a simple supper at Ken's Corner Grill. This is in a building that looks like it used to be a Waffle House or maybe a Huddle House, or may just be built in that style, with the grill out where you can see it. The food is plain but usually good. We had beef on the grill last night and I had beef leftovers for lunch, so I didn't want more beef and didn't feel like chicken. We know we can get pork chops at Ken's.
Then we had small cones of ice cream for dessert at Brusters, wandered around Borders for a while, then came home. I have Schuyler on the tray table at the opposite end of the sofa and she just finished giving me a serenade, while Miss Willow is sitting in Daddy's lap. I wonder if she knows she is going to the v-e-t tomorrow...
» Wednesday, May 05, 2010History Lite
Is anyone watching America: The Story of US on the History Channel? Apparently it is the highest rated special ever or highest rated special on the History Channel, something like that.
I'm torn between enjoying it and being irritated by it. I certainly don't mind the historical recreations, and the computer graphics, while still pretty cheesy, illustrating various concepts, like how the Erie Canal looked after it was built, or the changing landscape. Even the narration—surprisingly not by Edward Herrmann!—isn't too bad, when it doesn't rely on clichè.
It's certainly going through history at a gallop. I don't think they even mentioned the French and Indian War, which removes a lot of what caused the Revolutionary War.
But what is with these "celebrities" offering commentary? I don't mind the historians, or someone who might know something about the subject—but what are Donald Trump, "Diddy" Combs, Michael Douglas, and others there for, besides "name power"? Now if "Diddy" comments on slavery, or Trump about robber barons, or Douglas about John Wilkes Booth, something that might have relation to their ancestry or occupation...okay, I can see that. But many of the commentaries seem superfluous.
Fun With Podcasts
Podcasts are a good combination with advertising requirements, contacting vendors, assembling clearance forms, and other work. Today, so far, I have listened to:
Two "minicasts" of "A Way With Words."
A "Pet Life" "Wings and Things" podcast called "Seven Days in Parrot-dise."
And now edition 640 of Leo Laporte "The Tech Guy"—streaming TV, Google Buzz and more.
I listened to these podcasts on April 21, but never did post:
"A Way With Words" from 2009, talking about sayings like "duck on a June bug," children's nursery rhymes, a derivation of chicken pilau, etc.
The rest of what was the most recent "This Week in Tech" from when we drove up to Helen, mostly talking about the iPad, and of course audio books since the sponsor is Audible.com.
A "Wings and Things" broadcast about birdproofing your home.
Episode 3 of "A History of the World in 100 Objects," in which our host holds a stone tool from Olduvai Gorge (!!!).
"This Week in Tech" last podcast of 2009...talking about going to the Consumer Electronics Show (...drool...) and mentioned Comdex...miss Comdex, driven out of Atlanta because the city preferred the company of drunken teenagers over businesses.
Edition 639 of "Leo Laporte the Tech Guy."
» Tuesday, May 04, 2010Phone Geek News
» Monday, May 03, 2010Reminded by Ivan
» Sunday, May 02, 2010The Sound of Sunday
Just a usual Sunday: sleeping late, dawdling through breakfast, fiddling with FarmVille, finally picking up to go on the grocery run. We were more reluctant this morning as it was quite warm and humid, sun going in and out against the gusting wind that is preceding a series of thunderstorms which will, of course, strike tomorrow morning during rush hour. Joy.
Stopped at Publix for the twofers (which included Zataran's and Uncle Ben's rice), then hopped across the street to Kroger for gasoline and cheap milk, yogurt, and other items, then came home. And that would have been it, except that I needed gasoline myself.
We had a $3 off $15 coupon for CVS, too, so we took my car and stopped there first. Unfortunately, nothing we needed was on sale. I did get some medicine that I needed, but it wasn't $15 worth. Then James wandered into the "as seen on TV" aisle.
If we are out on Saturday evenings or Sunday afternoons, we like to listen to the "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" podcast that I download every week. In my car I have a cassette/CD player, so I can plug the phone into the cassette adapter and hear the show over the car's speakers. But James' truck only has a CD player, so usually I just turn the phone on as loud as I can and hold it up between us. But if it rains, or the road is bumpy—well, there's only so much a phone speaker can do.
So my eyes lit on this Jupiter Jack gadget they advertise, for talking on your cellphone and leaving you hands-free. Well, neither of us talk on the phone while driving, but I wondered if this would work for listening to podcasts. And since the gadget was only $10...
And you know what, it works perfectly! You plug it into your headphone jack—if it doesn't fit, it comes with at least five adapters (one which fit my phone jack perfectly)— and then set it to one of two frequencies, and we listened happily to "Wait, Wait" while we stopped at the bank and at BJs for gas, and when we got home, James tucked it in the truck for the future.
And now we're home and listening to a past "This Week in Tech" from the Consumer Electronics Show...talk about something I would love to go to sometime!
» Saturday, May 01, 2010Surprises and Saturdays
This morning started early, since it was both Hair Day and the first day of the Marietta Farmer's Market. We had gone to bed about one, so getting up at 8:20 was not fun.
When we opened the garage door to head out, last night's surprise was still there. Last evening I had scolded myself for putting on my shirt inside out as we prepared to go out for supper. My mom used to say the old superstition was if you put on a piece of clothing inside out, you would get a surprise. Well, boy, did we: after supper at Fresh2Order, a trip into Costco to get garbage bags, and a brief stop at Borders (yeah, I got Heat Wave after all), we headed home only to find something that hadn't been there when we left home at 5:30: a For Sale sign on the Robinsons' house next door. Total shock.
It was a cool, drizzly morning: if more spring days were like this, I wouldn't mind spring at all. We had to do a quick round of the Farmer's Market: picked up sun goat pesto to bring to Hair Day, some bread, and two Napoleons from the pastry sellers as a dessert treat. Next week we will need veggies and potatoes and can also peruse at our leisure.
One man was selling ready-to-plant flowers, and had a bridal wreath plant like the one we had growing in our front yard when I was a kid. We always called it the "Bridal Veil" bush. When its blooming season was over it would send tiny petals of white "snow" all over the lawn. So pretty.
We headed to Ron and Lin's house through the back, Polk Street to Whitlock, and then to Villa Rica Road, the latter which is lined with small holdings, several of the places having horses. At least two mares had foals at heel; one was taking breakfast from mom as we passed.
We had a nice time at Hair Day, although at least one friend is chafing at longstanding mobility restrictions due to surgery needed on a foot (unfortunately her bone graft is not "taking"), and another friend has an injured knee which he is still not allowed to bend for another four weeks. Yet a third friend had developed a cyst behind her knee and is in pain when she moves. It has not been a good few months for our friends and right legs! The entree was sandwich fixings, and we brought nibblies: crackers with the sun goat pesto as well as lobster spread from Costco.
Later in the afternoon we went out to the hobby shop. I had slept badly and just sat in the car alternately reading the new issue of Real Simple and dozing off. We also stopped at a Hallmark store to get a few goodies for Mother's Day, popped in Borders, and finished at Trader Joe's for tomorrow night's supper, and for James to buy something for tonight. He decided on Chinese, which was eaten much later since we were still full from lunch, and I had the bowl of creamy chicken vegetable soup I bought along with my long plate last night at Fresh2Order, with nice crusty French bread "zooped" into it. Yum.
Watched a bunch of things backlogged on the DVR: last night's Jeopardy, the "Inside Look" from "The End of Time," Graham Norton's show with David Tennant (and his charming real-life Scots accent) that ran concurrently with "The End of Time," last night's DIY channel premiere of the Desperate Landscapes episode where they redid Penn Jillette's front lawn, which basically looked like a moonscape, and Monday night's Animal Cops Houston, where cocker spaniels were rescued from horrible conditions—one poor dog was covered with mats of urine and feces in its fur so bad that it had maggots.
By the time we got done with that it was time for Stossel, which I watched while on chat.
Incidentally, saw the Kentucky Derby this evening, which I have not done for years. Apparently there had been a downpour all afternoon and the track looked like soupy chocolate. As the horses paraded to the post they left thousands of sharp-edged hoofprints in the muck. However, the sun had come out just in time for the race, but it didn't help much: by the time the horses reached the finish line their beautiful glossy coats were all the same color of the mud.