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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» Friday, April 30, 2010
A Hunting I Would Go
The hunting came later; the housework came first. The appraiser was coming this morning, so I had to swap what I'd planned for this afternoon to this morning. So I got up, swept and washed the kitchen floor, swept and tidied the hall bathroom, wiped around the master bath sinks, and vacuumed everywhere. By then it was 10:40, and I locked Willow in her crate with a couple of dog treats.

The "appraiser" turned out to be "appraisers" and right on time, what sounded like a married couple (they had the same last name, anyway). They measured things, checked out that the house was intact and that we lived here, and went on their way. I let Willow out when they came upstairs, and she barked at them, but behaved herself.

Once they were gone, I was free. Since we haven't been able to find C-9 bulbs individually, I went to Hobby Lobby to buy a new string of lights with the 40 percent off coupon. The replacement sets of bulbs would have probably cost as much as the string anyway; we need at least twelve.

Stopped at Borders with a hot 40 percent off coupon in my hand. I was thinking of buying Heat Wave, but I happened to wander by the science books and found something called The Mapmakers. One of the things I would have loved to do for a living would have been cartography, so this was immediately appealing. Then I noticed that the author was John Noble Wilford, who wrote We Reach the Moon, one of my favorite books since I was twelve years old.

Then I did the hunting: mushrooms, ibuprofin, etc. at BJs, and bought beef since we were completely out: some small round steaks, enough for three meals, and beef for stew that James will transform into stir fry beef, also enough for three meals.

Now I'm dubbing off the things that were at the end of the old McBride DVDs onto the new McBride DVDs: Burke's Law episode with Dean Stockwell, Bonanza episode with Lou Antonio, and John Larroquette on House and Chuck.

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» Thursday, April 29, 2010
Out of My Hair
I've finally finished an order that's been plaguing me since March. I've put everything in place carefully, so I hope nothing messes it up.

And did three other orders to boot, and have all my 653s back.

I'm sure some new crisis will come up on Monday, since that's the way it always goes.

I was counting on a full day tomorrow to do various errands, and now it turns out the appraiser (for the refinance of the mortgage) is coming tomorrow. Wheee. So much for going out when it's cool.

We got Sherlock Holmes from Netflix and watched it tonight. I'm...torn. I can't say I liked Downey's unshaven self, and he mumbled so much I found it difficult to understand him sometimes. If I ever watch this again, I'm doing it with closed captioning. On the other hand, the film does recognize that Holmes did have an athletic side: the books say he is skilled in boxing and fighting. On the third hand (hey, where did that come from?), I'm really fond of the idea of Dr. Watson not being a bumbling old idiot, and indeed a bit of an action man. It was as if they channeled Holmes and Watson through The Wild, Wild West (the steampunk look, the offbeat villains, and the fistfights), filtered it through Gregory House and James Wilson (the bantering), and then directed it back toward Victorian London. I also thought of Irene Adler more of a lady; she dressed more like a tart!

My favorite bit, actually, were the credits, where the stills turned into pen-and-ink/watercolor.

Plus the DVR recorded Rick Sebak's "A Flea Market Documentary" tonight. Now all I need is the cemetery one.

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» Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Progressives
I did seven orders today and was finally able to forward one that was "stuck." Whew.

In the meantime, James did some research yesterday while he was off and put the wheels in motion for us to refinance the mortgage at 4.375 percent. It's still with our own bank. We're getting a 15-year this time; at this rate it's only $120 more a month. I've wanted a 15 for ages, but the payment would have been too much four years ago. Whew. Spending all that money still makes me nervous, but heck, we have three-bedroom apartments here that start for that amount.

We've also arranged for Willow to have her teeth cleaned/moles removed, which just about blows the rest of the tax refund. Such is life.

In the meantime, the motto for today should have been "if you don't like the weather, drive a few miles." I left work to a brisk wind and clouds. A few miles down the freeway I ran into a squall of wind whipping rain and pushing the car sideways which lasted for the space between two exits. Back to clouds. Back to rain. Turning north again, drove for several miles to cloudy blue skies and bright sunlight, then back to clouds with dark clouds and lightning in the distance. By the time I was three miles from home, it was hailing! At home it was cloudy, with soft hail pellets cushioned in the grass and pine straw, the wind flapping the banner and the flag.

After supper the sun came out. Go figure!

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» Sunday, April 25, 2010
The Rest of the  Story  Weekend
We had supper Saturday night at the Sweet Tomatoes at Town Center; haven't been there in a dog's age. The place is looking a bit the worse for wear these day, but the salads and soup were good. The weather had not cleared much; the sky was steel-grey with low clouds scudding by as we emerged. I needed a couple of things at JoAnn, so we stopped there for a few minutes; also picked up a couple of new cross-stitch magazines. James got a neat slow-cooker cookbook: some of the illustrations are vintage magazine advertisements for stoves, foods, etc. The skies had opened while we were in the store, stopped once we emerged, and was now raining again once we left the parking lot, so I let James go into Hobbytown himself while I read my Victorian London book.

Since there were good coupons this weekend, we stopped at Borders as well. We found a nice gift for James' mom and...ooooh, new Yankee!

Had a nice ride there and back listening to last week's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me (which, BTW, has its own blog! check my blogroll).

Later had a great time on chat with Mike, Rodney, Jen and Emma, so much so that I stayed on until 1:30 a.m.

Last weekend, James bought some buckwheat flour at Nora Mill, and this morning he made buckwheat pancakes. These were soooooo good, light as that proverbial feather, just slightly sweet. Didn't even need butter, but just drabbled some real maple syrup on it, and with a glass of skim milk they were perfect. The IHOP should make every pancake like this.

Then it was off to Kroger for the usual grocery shopping trip, and a quick detour to BJs to get gasoline for the truck. Once we'd finished that errand and put all the groceries away, we had the rest of the afternoon for ourselves. I put on this week's episode of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me and we zipped off in my car for some gasoline.

It was nice to have company, since the line at Costco's gas station was six cars deep in each line. No wonder, gas was 2.579, at least 15¢ cheaper than any other station in the area and 6¢ lower than BJs. We also stopped at Borders because I had seen a couple of things there I wanted to pick up as gifts. I also bought the book A History of the World in 6 Glasses (the drinks covered are beer (Ancient Egypt), wine (Classical Greece and Rome), spirits (Colonial period), coffee (the coffeehouse culture in both Europe and the US), tea (the China trade), and...Coca-Cola). Sounds intriguing, no?

Back at home, watched "False Flag" (Waking the Dead). I love this series. It doesn't assume you're an idiot, the lead male isn't a pretty boy, and the lead female is an older woman, not a "cougar" or some busty twenties blonde. Not to mention the other two female leads look like real women, not overly made-up bimbos.

James found some pre-marinated "bourbon chicken" leg quarters on sale at Kroger, and we had them for supper, done on the grill with two small ears of corn. The latter was rather insipid; definitely not corn season yet. It almost tasted presweetened. The chicken, on the other hand, was flavorful and juicy. I have some of the leftovers for sandwiches for work. Yum!

Watched "The Once and Future Queen" in our DVR cache of Merlin episodes. I sure hope Arthur gets smarts soon. He drives me nuts.

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» Saturday, April 24, 2010
Electronic Saturday
James had to work today (going in a lot earlier than I though he had to), so I took the opportunity—or rather my body did—to catch up on the sleep I lost at Atomicon. When I arose the rain had already begun, so I decided to catch up on a few things at home.

One was simple: to rip some songs to my Droid playlist. I had already ripped all the Rupert Holmes music I had, but had recently accumulated more with my purchase of "Cast of Characters: the Rupert Holmes Songbook." Windows Media Player does that in a trice. I change a couple of names, and it's ready to go.

The next just took time: dub the remaining four McBride movies from the DVR onto DVD. I had a bad minute or two when it got very dark and began to thunder, but it blew over without hitting the power. I had previously recorded all of these, but Hallmark Movie Channel is showing them in HD, so I am redoing them. I wish they didn't bleep the swear words. It seems a little silly; it's not like this is the Family Channel! Thank God I can skip the commercials, which, in the middle of the night when these have been showing, are deadly: ambulance-chasing lawyer commercials, vitamin crap, bits for Medicare and hearing aids (the latter with Lee Majors doing the commercials), and those "Seen on TV" gadgets from cat scratching implements to the divided brownie pan. Yawn. The films have some ripples and skips in them (it seems standard with the DVR recordings), and I missed my cues several times, but they're 99.5 percent intact and it will be done with. Maybe someday there will be a DVD set with no blips and no edits.

The third chore took longer and was more frustrating: I have been having a problem with my computer since we turned the clocks ahead. I went to time.gov to get the proper time and it said I needed a new version of Java. So I went to Sun's site for the upgrade. Since then my computer freezes up at least once a day, usually about an hour after I start it up, but anywhere between five minutes and two hours. I have to wait a set number of minutes to restart it; too soon and the bootup process screws up. And it's not from overheating: the computer is not only not overly warm when it happens (before James replaced the power supply, it was shutting off from overheating, and believe me, it was HOT), but once I restart it, it stays on for the rest of the day, up to 12, 13, 14 hours. When it locks up the keyboard and mouse no longer respond; if I am in Citrix working, the work applications keep working for five to ten minutes afterwards, and then also lock up.

I have scanned it with my virus scanner, also with AdAware, and all my Windows updates were up to date. I even went back to do a system restore from before I installed the Java update and deleted that Java update. It seems to happen when the computer is still, but it's also happened in the middle of switching messages in Eudora, surfing in Firefox, even copying a file of a USB drive.

Today I went to the Windows OneCare Live site for a scan. This helped me when Conficker got onto both my laptop and desktop. I ran the scan, and lo and behold, it found something. I didn't catch what it was the first time round, had to abort the re-scan when the thunderstorm came up, but finally got it on the third try: and guess what, it was something that had to do with Java. OneCare said it couldn't fix it, but that I should remove a certain file in the Java subdirectory. I have, and it doesn't show up on the scan anymore.

Whether it worked, I don't know. I'll have to see. But at least it's not on there anymore. The computer itself got several shocks during the winter from static carried when I tried to plug in USB sticks or the work printer. It may be internal.

[Later: no, didn't fix the lockup thing.]

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Thunder...
It's as dark as twilight outside...thunder...lightning...I'm running a scan on my desktop...says I have a virus...hope the lightning doesn't flip the power because I'm also in the middle of dubbing off a McBride...damn...

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» Friday, April 23, 2010
A Cute Couple
Yesterday Mr. Goldfinch brought the missus by for some seed. You can see he's taken the least favorite feeder (the third feeder was empty at the time) and given her choice seat.

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Birthday Bird
Happy birthday, Missy!

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» Thursday, April 22, 2010
Holmesian Goodness
No, not Sherlock, Rupert.

I wanted the Hip-O collection when it came out in 2005, but I didn't have the cash. I treated myself to it from my performance bonus.

So I have some new things to hear Rupert sing--and finally "Full Circle" on CD!

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» Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Oh, You Beautiful Guy!
On March 31, I took this photo of the male goldfinch. He was clearly molting into his summer coat.


I have been dying to see him again, but he's made himself scarce in the last three weeks. And then, today, just as I was leaving my lunch plate in the sink, guess who showed up. Isn't he lovely?

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» Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Wow! That's a Low...Wait, Wrong Excitement
Don't you just hate those "Wow! That's a low price!" commercials? Even more obnoxious than the singing H.H. Gregg flyer at Christmastime...

The wow factor today was that ICE was working. And it's working faster! I got seven orders finished! And someone I needed to talk to contacted me!

Plus watched a great episode of Waking the Dead tonight.

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» Monday, April 19, 2010
Oy, Day!
Just a usual Monday, waking up shell-shocked to a yammering alarm (James' has been hissing, which seems totally appropriate—turns out he had it switched to AM). Watched a lovely sunrise this morning: it looked like sedimentary layers at the Grand Canyon done in impressionistic style on the eastern horizon, lemons, saffrons, cantaloupes, pale scarlets, mauves, greys...stunning.

I parked the car, opened the passenger side door to retrieve my things—and only then noticed that I hadn't brought my folder with my work in it. ::groan:: Well, I couldn't do anything without it, so I turned around and headed home. Nearly an hour later (traffic westbound was wretched, worse than at night) I was home with my head pounding, and, due to frustrations, problems elsewhere, which I took care of immediately, then lay down to nurse my head.

Arrived back at work just before ten, with folder, only to find out that I couldn't get into ICE. If I can't get into ICE, I can't do any purchase orders: print out the ones I already finished, do the ones that were ready, print out the new ones, look up things for people, process payment authorizations. Nothing. Bother. Hoping it was just an "attachment" problem (it's happened before), I warm booted, then cold booted. Nothing.

Okay. Will clean out e-mail and answer messages from Friday. Did that. No ICE. Rebooted again. Nothing. Evidently the change of servers this weekend opted me out. Contacted the IT helpdesk.

Thankfully I had lots to do even with ICE not working: printing out attachments, answering correspondence, brewing up more 653 forms for Charlene to sign. Tried to get into ICE about quarter to two. Nothing. Rebooted. Nothing.

Help desk called after two, but couldn't do anything for me and escalated me to second tier. Continued a frustrating e-mail correspondence with a person. When finally I thought things were straightened out, I got another message which took us back to square one. Aieeee.

About quarter to four someone else called from the helpdesk. I read the error message to him, he paused, I received an e-mail which said "YOU HAVE BEEN ADDED..." just as he said, "Please restart your computer." I did.

ICE didn't.

He was quite nonplussed and said he would have to turn the problem over to his supervisor.

So I finished doing the report that I am supposed to do biweekly by hand (and frankly, liked doing it better that way). By then it was time to go home.

Traffic was better than this morning, and James made stir-fry chicken with Rice-a-Roni on the side. Yum. House, Castle and Antiques Roadshow tonight.

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» Sunday, April 18, 2010
Atomicon Day 3 and End of 2
The wifi at the hotel quit working again last night. And they have business conferences there! What a joke!

We had a jolly Saturday evening: out to dinner with eleven other people at a new restaurant called "Tiny's." This was a bit of splurge, as their prices went up to $25, but we both had items under that amount: I had manicotti stuffed with beef and sweet Italian sausage and mushrooms, and James had a nice thick Jamaican jerk pork chop along with some sweet-and-sour pork soup. The place did not do your usual dishes, but things with a bit of a twist, like a chicken breast with a lemon sauce, etc.

Along with the food, there was great conversation, so it was a wonderful combination.

When we emerged from the restaurant, it was just twilight and we had a pretty ride back to the lodge.

Usually there is more game-playing on Saturday night, but no one appeared to be in the mood. We just sat and talked, with a couple of folks on computers (occasionally getting past the logjam of the wifi) playing a video or others reading. Since the internet was unavailable, I got on chat via my cell phone—a real shame when you can do more on your phone than on your computer! So, got to chat with Jen and Rodney and Emma and Mike anyway...sweet!

It was supposed to be down in the forties last night, so we had planned to leave the windows of the room open. Well, we did it for ten minutes and a bunch of little flies got in! So much for that. We finally just put the fan on low and it was cool enough (and quiet enough, as when the compressor kicks in it is really noisy) to sleep, and we did, if not eight hours.

We had breakfast at the lodge again, and then finished the packing we had already started at eight o'clock (we were pretty much complete in a half hour) and put our things out in the common area while we talked with everyone as the food table was dismantled. (We did very well with the cookies this year: one pack of chocolate chips, some half bags of goldfish, and a box of Wheat Thins left over. The cookies got eaten at the picnic, and I took home only the Wheat Thins and the cheddar goldfish for James' chip box.) At almost eleven, we checked out, packed the car, and drove up to Picnic Shelter 6.

It was a lovely day for a picnic, warm, but not hot, with a lovely breeze—in fact, when we arrived it was still a little chill and folks were sitting in the sun. Ken already had the fire going when we got there, and hamburgers were ready in short order. I had one and later shared a hot dog with Juanita. The kids played on the jungle gym, and, with supervision, walked down to the river. The teens took their own table. I wandered about happily schmoozing with everyone.

Surprisingly, I don't think anyone fell in the water this year. What's with that?

We left about one, and I let James off in downtown Helen and drove around the block so he could run in and buy a t-shirt. Molly the carriage horse was out with her person and her puppy.

Halfway home is the North Georgia Premium Outlets. We stopped so I could get some new socks, but also made a stop at the Yankee Candle outlet store, where I found more "Fresh Mint" (it's spearmint) and "Roasted Coffee" tealights, and Book Warehouse, where I picked up a Richard Lederer book I didn't have.

Although it was only in the seventies, we were hot and going on sunburned when we arrived at the vet. Schuyler let out a happy chirp when they brought her out and Willow pretty much dragged the attendant behind her. Yow! Almost $600 and we didn't even have to give Wil her three year shots. It's next year they're due.

The vet does want her teeth cleaned and her "old dog" moles removed. Oh, well, there goes our tax refund.

So we drove home, unloaded the car, dashed out to Food Depot for the necessities of life (another gallon of milk, buns for my sandwiches, and bananas), then came home to get cool. The laptop (which never worked in the hotel anyway) gave me fits trying to reconnect it to the network. We had some Hormel beef for supper, and now are watching the rest of Life ("Plants," "Primates," and the "making of" special).

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» Saturday, April 17, 2010
Atomicon Day 2, Part 1
I don't know why I can't seem to get through a weekend of Unicoi without having a sleepless night. In this case, James was a participant as well. The latest beds at the lodge are firm enough, but we are used to a mattress with baffles enough to stabilize the Queen Mary. Every time one of us moves the lodge beds ripple, not to mention my knees aching woke me up all night.

So it was two distinctly bleary-eyed folks who made their way out of the room and had breakfast at the lodge hotel: French toast, bacon, cereal, skim milk, also waffles, sausages, grits, quick-cook oatmeal, fruit, and other goodies. Then we got into the car and headed for Blue Ridge.

It was a nice cool, breezy day, with fluffy clouds all around (until we got back to Helen late in the afternoon, it was in the 60s), and we headed on our plotted route, up 368 to Blairsville. There was a note that the road was closed, but other folks were using it, so we hoped it might have been some teenage pranksters. Unfortunately, about six miles up a very twisty-turny steeply ascending road, near a scenic overlook where over half a dozen cars were parked enjoying the view—and it was a lovely view, the trees about a week or two behind in blooming and still in soft greens of many shades and even some pinks—the road was indeed blocked off.

We turned around and went back to the road we had taken to 368, and went in the opposite direction, going toward Cleveland. The navigation on the Droid "caught its breath," and rerouted us to the road that connects Cleveland and Blairsville, so we were once again headed north, and then west, through a patch of National Forest, but not like what we had driven through previously.

We arrived in Blue Ridge and here the navigation performed a bobble: it said we were there and we weren't. But we were on the correct street, and once James made a U-turn, we found Free Time Hobbies quite easily. While he was in the shop, I called the vet back (we had received a call on the road) and gave them permission to take a X-ray of Willow's chest. She's been coughing off and on, before the pollen began.

We also went one street over to downtown Blue Ridge. In what was once a bustling small town on either side of the railroad tracks, the old buildings were now antique shops, boutiques, restaurants, fudge and candy shops, etc. We walked some way down Main Street, stopping at a pet-oriented store, a little shop that stocked Christmas ornaments along with gourmet foods, a book shop with an impressive collection of military books (James got an aviation book), and a little candy shop where I bought a quarter pound of dark-coated orange creams. I haven't had orange creams since the last time my mom bought us some from Sweenor's at Thanksgiving 2004.

The ride back was much quicker, especially since I kept dozing off. Sorry to miss the pretty scenery, but–

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» Friday, April 16, 2010
Atomicon Day 1
Wifi at the hotel is spotty. Phone is working better.

Left the animals at the vet, then picked up lunch at new place called the New York Butcher Shoppe. Arrived at Unicoi Lodge about one and walked around downtown Helen for about an hour.

Had supper at the Huddle House--yum, pork chop! Then we went for a carriage ride behind a white horse named Molly. It was hot this afternoon, but really nice with a cool breeze by the time we had the ride. The carriage driver also had a four month old half Aussie shepherd with her. His name was Troubadour and he was a "leaner." :-)

Played Uno for a while, now are gabbing.

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» Wednesday, April 14, 2010
This is the Way We Wash the Clothes
Five loads today. One was small, three shirts that had mysterious stains. I rewashed two of them with James' support socks. All the clothes, all the towels, and now the dog's bedding and bath towel. Yes, I gave her a bath. On the whole I'd rather wash clothes.

We had a staff meeting today, which I drove in for. It was pleasant on the way out (at noon) and too warm on the way home. I tried out a new app called "Trapster." It's based on the input of users to tag where speed traps, traffic cameras, etc. are. Well, one of the speed trap notifications was definitely correct—I saw the patrol car hovering there on Buford Highway, just where the notation said it was.

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» Tuesday, April 13, 2010
The End...
Yes, we waited this long to watch "The End of Time." Sometimes we didn't have time. Or I blew it off for something else. Or just couldn't bear to see the end of David Tennant.

But since Matt Smith premieres as the Doctor on BBC America Saturday, I thought the time was right. (Pun intended.)

Immediate thoughts:

Wow, the Master has really gone off his rocker this time.

Multiple images of John Simm ranting are all but one too many.

And how the hell did we wander into Star Wars?

And I thought the previous season finale threw in everything but the kitchen sink! Pulled out all the stops? Just how many were there, anyway? :-)

But—who knew when I was watching a rerun of Daleks Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. back in the late 1970s, with Bernard Cribbins as the hopelessly hapless police officer, that someday he would make me cry?

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Chirps
The cutest thing happened at lunch. First I got out of the car and was about to cross the verge separating the parking lots when a robin came hopping up. I stood very still and he got within ten feet of me, concentrating on searching for a meal. He was looking very handsome, which means there are no fledglings running him ragged yet. Sadly, I had to move, and he flew away.

There is an overhang at the building entrance and as I stepped under it, I heard a steady chirp-chirp-chirp that sounded nearby. I took a few steps to the other door, previously used by another business which is now gone, looking up, expecting to see a little bird or a bird's nest, then looked down, and next to a capped drainpipe, camoflauged by pine straw, was a little brown bird with a spotted chest. I squatted down to see if it was hurt, and it stretched its little neck out at me like Schuyler does when she is curious, but didn't look at all afraid. I think it may have been a young one. I extended my hand—I was pretty much at arm's length of the little thing—and it flew away. How darling! It was tinier than Schuyler!

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Woohoo!
Timegate schedule is up!

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» Monday, April 12, 2010
Getting on in Years
I thought I slept well last night, but evidently not. I spent the day in a sleepy stupor, going through one order after the other at too slow a pace for me. I should have taken a nap, but I hadn't been to lunch with everyone for a dog's age. So I had lunch with Juanita, Alice and Barry, and now my eyelids feel about four pounds apiece. Stupid pollen. Stupid warm cubicle.

On the way home I had to choose between two traffic situations. I chose poorly and spent over 20 minutes going about four miles. Ugh. Did get to listen to a good Dragnet episode on Radio Classics: "The Big Lift," with the most laid-back bad guy I ever heard.

Greg Bell, the host, said that they would be doing a salute to Norman Corwin (the "Poet Laureate of Radio" and a major writing influence on people like Rod Serling, Gene Roddenberry, Norman Lear and J. Michael Straczynski) on his birthday...he will be one hundred years old on May 3!

I first heard of Corwin during the 1970s, when PBS revived his Christmas play in verse, "The Plot to Overthrow Christmas," as an hour television production. Half of the show was the presentation of the play, and the other half showed the rehearsals and the fascinating business of how the "foley" effects worked for background sound. There are several PBS shows from the past that I would love to find again, and this is one of them. (Another is "Verse Person Singular," a 1980s production that was one hour of Richard Kiley reciting poetry. Bliss!)

You can read Corwin's clever script here and download the broadcast here.

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» Sunday, April 11, 2010
Damn Blogger...
We went to Walmart. James got a good deal on shirts.

We went to the Container Store. Got an organizer for the truck and some hooks to keep things from falling out of the car seats. Replaced the coupon holder I stupidly forget at BJs last weekend.

Found a cute new cozy mystery series in Barnes & Noble.

Found the next Julie Kenner "Demon Hunter Soccer Mom" book in the bargain rack at Borders. Also bought a book on Victorian London with my coupon.

Came home. Tidied up the front seat of the truck with the organizer. Now I won't sit on that hairbrush anymore. :-) Cleaned out the big plastic container James uses as a trunk, too, so we can get more easily to the reusable bags.

Plus fixed the light string in the yard. It came free of its plug and fell, shattering three bulbs. Several others are broken internally but the string still works so that James has light in the back yard when he walks Wil at night.

Had oriental chicken and salad for supper tonight. Yummy! Also listened to a hilarous installment of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me."

Even that little time out in the sun gave me a headache. I'd better sleep well tonight!

This was longer and funnier, but Blogger ate it. Phooey. Where's autosave when you need it?

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» Saturday, April 10, 2010
Sunny and Sixties
Since summer must always come, it couldn't get any better than be like today May through September: 60s, a breeze, the sun warm instead of scalding.

Sadly, the pine pollen precluded having the windows open. I opened them after the rain and they were ajar for about seven hours. In those seven hours, even after the rain, the windowsills became coated with yellow. Ugh. So the windows stay closed.

After what is getting to be the usual Saturday lunch—one plain junior hamburger, a Mandarin orange cup, and a milk—we went to the hobby shop, where the guys jawed while I read my Country Sampler and Early American Life. Then we went out to the Borders at East Cobb.

Way back when James was working at SPD, he brought me a CD from the adjoining pawn shop. It was called "Pachebel's Greatest Hit" and had a funny graphic for a cover: eight "cannons" in a pile, and was a collection of Pachebel's "Canon in D" (otherwise known to past television commercial fans as "the GE Soft White Light Bulb song) done in different arrangements: symphonic, done as a pop song, by James Galway, etc.

Today in Borders I found "Pachebel's Greatest Hit, the Ultimate Collection." It not only has more variations on a theme, but it has the cutest "Mutts" cover. Had a coupon...

We stopped by Michaels for a few minutes so I could buy a few of those foam visors the kids use to make crafts at camp. I have one of these things at work to keep the fluorescent lights out of my eyes, and another in my car. I wanted a couple more, at least one to keep in James' car to keep the sun out of my eyes when I forget my hat.

And finally we stopped at Trader Joe's for groceries, then came home. Had the leftover Easter ham for supper and listened to podcasts. Finally James went downstairs to the "man cave" and I started dubbing off McBride again.

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» Friday, April 09, 2010
The Great--Yeah, Right--Outdoors
Tap-tap-tapped away at work today while waiting for the exterminator (he came the other day, but the gate was locked) to do the back of the house; not fancying ants in the kitchen, thank you.

I had another problem: while the Bermuda grass in the front yard has barely come out of hibernation, the fescue in the back yard looks like it's been on steroids. Some of it was almost taller than the dog. Now, I had misplaced the business card of the guy who cuts our lawn, and the phone number I had for him was wrong. I had a card for another lawn service, but when I called the number, the person only spoke Spanish.

Well, out of nowhere, Alex called wanting to know when I wanted him to cut the lawn! He even said he could come today. So I had the lawn cut. Went out there with the checkbook to wait for him to finish trimming the bushes, and in that time got caught in a cloud of pine pollen. Later, I was to regret this.

Anyway, fifteen minutes later, James arrived home. We were hoping to have dinner at Folks because we had a coupon, but wanted to avoid the Windy Hill location due to the traffic on Cobb Parkway. It looked like there was one in Mableton...oooops, maybe not. It was closed and turned into another restaurant (that was also closed).

We ended up at Giovanni's, a little Italian place we have been passing on the way to BJs (it's in a little strip shopping center off the driveway for BJs) for months. You get 15 percent off if you are a BJs member. The owner, who supervises the kitchen, is really named Giovanni and is Italian. James had the baked ziti and I had ziti and sweet Italian sausage in pomodoro sauce. It was fabulous! The sauce wasn't overly spiced, or peppery, and they had Romano cheese. Civilization!!!!!

Stopped at Borders on the way home. Woot! New Shop Smart and the April British Country Living. Found a cute-looking Christmas humor book in the bargain bin.

Once home watched most of Summer Magic on the Hallmark Movie Channel. I love this movie. Nothing really happens, just domestic drama of the most minor sort, but it makes me happy.

Just as the movie ended, the pollen took its revenge: my eyes began to swell and my nose run. And when I went to take an allergy pill I realized I hadn't taken one last night. Aieeeeeee!

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» Thursday, April 08, 2010
Ad Infinitum
Woke this morning to a watery sunlight that served as an advance for the rain predicted later. It looked so odd it took me a few minutes to figure out what was wrong: the light is yellow. It's the pollen. They had a shot of downtown on the news last night that looked like it was misty or foggy; no, it's just the pollen dust in the air, specifically that yellow pine pollen.

Eventually the glow went away just to leave the gloom.

The television always runs in the background. I usually don't even hear it, indistinct babble except for the last strains of the theme to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire that is my signal that it is lunchtime. Schuyler loves the chatter of the voices, so I generally leave it on for her. But today I was brought up out of concentration twice. Tiger Woods. Again. And again. And again. The American news media apparently has nothing better to do than cover the sexual peccadillos of celebrities and idiot politicians. I am so tired of Woods and Sandra Bullock's husband that I could scream.

I am now burning a cafè au lait candle and listening to chorale Christmas music in German. Much better for my nerves.

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» Wednesday, April 07, 2010
The Changing of the Guard
I washed all the jackets over the weekend and during lunch tucked them into the closet, winter coats on top of jackets, gloves and hats in the pockets of their corresponding garment so they will be available when fabulous fall weather rolls around again. I've pulled out the boonie hats and hung my broad-brimmed hat up so I can grab it when I have to go outside in the (ugh) sun.

Listened to the first episode of a fascinating podcast this afternoon: BBC4 is doing a new radio series called A History of the World in 100 Objects. Each week the commentator will go to the British museum and focus on a different historical object. Major coolness.

Last night's History Channel special on How The States Got Their Shapes was enjoyable, even if I was half asleep after four hours sleep the previous night. You learned a lot of history, including the names Thomas Jefferson proposed for the western states, where the states of Franklin and Jefferson were (and what happened to them), why some states have interesting notches or bumps in them (the one in western Pennsylvania, for instance, is there so Pennsylvania could have a port on Lake Erie after the canal was built). I may have to get the book now!

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Easy Being Green
While we were driving my car home from the dealership yesterday—horrible "hmmmmmm" from the worn rotors now gone, making the ride much pleasanter—I waved my arm toward the windshield. "James, look—it's green."

The green has come out of nowhere. Ten days ago it was still chilly and except for some brave tree blossoms, just buds were visible. Now the trees in the back yard are lacing pale green from tree to tree as I look over the deck and the bird feeders.

The pine pollen is out in full force. When they finished with the car yesterday, they parked it next to a wall under a line of trees. It probably wasn't out there two hours and it is covered with a fine yellow dust all over; there's even some inside. This morning, after breathing in even that little amount, I feel headachy and congested. Bleah. I'll have to take it out to "Mr. Clean" and get it vetted.

Even the bird feeders are gritty. I noticed that, although they are identical, the birds are patronizing the new squirrel-proof feeder more than the old one. The newer one is up much higher, as high as it can be and me still be able to reach it to refill (I have to balance on tiptoe), and I wonder if that is why it is favored. So I swapped the poles around so that the other feeder is almost as high as the new one, and the little copper feeder is the lowest. They only eat out of the copper feeder if there is nothing else in the others.

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» Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Statecraft
I've looked at the book several times, but haven't picked it up. Tonight the History Channel presents How the States Got Their Shape at 9 p.m. Eastern.

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» Monday, April 05, 2010
A Curiosity
Back when home movies were really "movies" (and silent ones at that): shot on film on an 8mm (and later Super8) camera and shown on a projector (that Dad would swear at when the film didn't uptake correctly!) with a fold-up screen, the manufacturers would often repackage cartoons or edited movies and sell them. We had a "Deputy Dawg" cartoon that I loved as a kid. These were also silent, with subtitles.

Here's a short film edited from Disney's "The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh" in QuickTime format:

"Mysterious Dr. Syn"

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I Hate Dealerships
Just got a call from the dealership and am now boiling mad. "Repair consultant" tells me Chrysler will cover this, this, and this, but not the "trans pan" (which I assume means the transmission pan) because it it an aftermarket item, not a Chrysler part. Now I had a dream last night where they called and said something wasn't covered. I let out a big breath and asked "Is this 'trans pan' something that might be changed in the course of an oil change, or replacing tires, or fixing brakes?" Oh, no, he said.

Well, I answered, then aside from having oil changes, new tires, and a brake job, the only repairs that were ever done on that car were at your body shop in September 2004.

Big pause. He tried "Are you sure you didn't go to Marietta Dodge?" which made me furious. Marietta Dodge, now deceased, were the biggest crooks in town. I wouldn't have taken Osama bin Laden's car there, let alone my own.

So now he is off consulting with the body shop and I'm sitting here stewing. What a shame such a wonderful little car was made by such a bunch of schnooks.

(Excuse me, sir, sir...I'm a Federal employee...a little while ago MY boss just bailed out YOUR boss. So don't give me this crap, okay?)

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"Space Physics" Game
This is the game I bought:

This Android Life Review

Android and Me Review

Android Guys Review

Game In Action

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Two Minds With the Same Gag...
Today's "One Big Happy" and "Mother Goose and Grimm":


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» Sunday, April 04, 2010




Our Easter day in Holiday Harbour.

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» Saturday, April 03, 2010
Busy Saturday
It was a fun day (well, except for the phone call parts), but boy, was it high traffic all day.

We were up before nine to go to Hair Day. We made the Asian Ginger Fruit Salad last night, and also bought some baklava from BJs when we shopped yesterday (the latter was quite good, sweet, but not overly sugary). Shannon made teriyaki chicken and broccoli beef, and Alex made fried rice and potstickers, plus there was Lin's Asian salad and lots of other goodies. I had a little of everything. The fruit salad came out quite well. The ginger gave it a kick. Plus I had three inches trimmed off my mop and Sheri cleared up a bunch of split ends.

We left before two to go to the hobby shop. Stopped by the house to treat Willow with a potsticker that had fallen on the floor and bring the remainders of the fruit salad home.

When we left the Butlers' house, I called Ed Voyles to see how the car was doing, and was told they would call me back "in a few minutes." Well, after more than an hour I called them back. Twice. I don't stay on hold longer than ten minutes; sorry.

Finally, at 3:15, I talked to my "consultant" and found out the car wasn't going to be ready, but my service plan gave me a free rental car. But we had to get to Enterprise Rent-a-Car before 4 p.m. when they closed. And, pray tell, when were you going to call me with this information?

Anyway, we got to Enterprise. Because I was a Chrysler customer and on a Chrysler service agreement, I had to rent a Chrysler Corporation car. The only Chrysler car left on the lot was a silver Jeep Cherokee. Wow. I mean, it drives nice and has lots of cool perks including built-in satellite radio (it rather feels like you're driving your sofa), but it's huge. I don't dare try to get it into the garage; I might clip one of the mirrors.

At five-thirty we went out to Hiram to join friends to celebrate Ken Spivey's birthday at Folks. Used the GPS on the Droid to get there. Makes me laugh the way the mechanical voice pronounces "Smyrna": "Smeye-er-na." Pork chops, baked potato and fruit cup. Yum. Brought one chop home. We had a leisurely dinner, Ken opened gifts, and we shot the breeze. When we emerged from the restaurant, the heat of the day had burned off and we had a pleasant ride home with the windows down. Stopped at Brusters for dessert.

By the time we got home it was after nine. James walked Willow and we settled down to read tomorrow's paper, which we'd picked up at the QT on the way home with the rental, and watched The Ten Commandments starting when Moses was brought back as a prisoner after killing the man abusing the slave.

When midnight comes I will put out the Easter banner. While the porch is decorated for Easter, I left the spring banner up. I don't feel comfortable putting the banner up early, since I managed to find one with a Christian theme (a cross with lilies on it). He hasn't risen yet; it's just not right.

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» Friday, April 02, 2010
Good (ness)! Friday
I always intend to observe a quiet time on Good Friday, to sit between noon and three reading something spiritual, or meditating. But another has passed without being able to make it.

I hurried through my breakfast this morning and took Twilight back to the car place. They drove me home and I finished putting up the rest of the Easter decorations, then finally packed up the rest of the winter decorations into the large plastic container (the smaller, flatter ones were already completed). It's like a puzzle: you have to figure out how to fit it all in.

By the time I was finished with this, and that, had used the bathroom, etc., the mechanic called me back. The leak was in the oil pan seal. I'd also asked them to see if they could figure out where the noise was coming from: the car has been terribly loud lately. Even James noticed it. Just a loud hum, and a vibration at 30 mph that vanished as speed increased. Turns out my front wheel bearings are bad. There's also a vaccuum leak in the throttle.

So is this covered by the extended warranty or not? I asked the mechanic if he would call up Chrysler, as he can more easily explain what is going on. But he called back saying the people at Chrysler wouldn't talk to him because he wasn't the customer. So I called them. Turned out I have a very good extended warranty; covers about 2000 things, everything mechanical.

So they came to pick me up (while I waited, I continued to work on my web pages, changing the copyright dates and doing some minor structural alterations), and I took the car over to Ed Voyles, which is the closest Chrysler service center. I like my mechanic, so leaving the car somewhere strange made me a bit jittery, but they all seemed nice. As I waited for the guy to shuttle me home, I was amused by everyone reading my bumper stickers.

I had the sun in my eyes all the way to Voyles and in the shuttle on the way home, so by the time I got in I had a screaming headache. Collected the mail—a cute Easter card from my cousin Debbie featuring her four dogs—then took three ibuprofin and lay down for a while. By then it was almost time for James to come home. Worked a bit more on the web pages.

We had supper at Shane's barbecue (I continued reading Good Book here; at least it was slightly appropriate for Good Friday), then came home in case the dealer called before they closed at seven. When they didn't, we went out grocery shopping. Had to do it all tonight or tomorrow since the stores are closed for Easter. We also had to get supplies for a fruit salad for Hair Day.

We arrived home to find a policeman running down our street, then a police car racing down to the cul-de-sac after him. There was already a police car down there. Apparently those creeps from the trailer park have been jumping the fence again down at that end and trying to break into the houses. Doesn't look like they caught anyone. :-(

Had a mad time trying to fit everything in the freezer and refrigerator. Yiii. We have pork chops and frozen dinners in the chicken bin, vegetables and ice cream in the pork bin, and what looks like no beef on the steak shelf.

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» Thursday, April 01, 2010
"It's Spring, Sir!"
Which, of course, is the answer to "Klinger, what are you doing in that hat?" :-)

The hounds of spring have evidently abandoned winter's traces, because it's warm. Yesterday it only hovered around 70, today it is sitting on 79°F. Ugh. Gone from sweatshirt, sweatpants and socks to tank top, shorts, and flip-flops on bare feet in less than 72 hours. It's a good thing I put the Easter decorations out yesterday at noon when it was still cool, because when I took Willow out at five today, it was a simmering oven of brickwork.

Yesterday I rather dragged through the day, having woken with an imminent migraine. I burned a spearmint candle, refilled the bird feeders (a hungry sparrow zoomed past me, so close I felt the breeze from his wings), finished the towels and did a load of clothes, but otherwise tap-tap-tapped at my work. It went from chilly in the morning to rather pleasant in the afternoon. James had a late call, so we ate very late for these days.

Incidentally, the male goldfinch came to the feeder today: look how his summer coat is coming in!


In a few weeks he'll look like a canary with black wings.

Today things moved better. I got through a couple of orders, received quotes, made phone calls, scanned a blueprint off to someone, and listened to an Aaron Copland CD, then to podcasts. I went surfing for podcasts last night and found several pet broadcasts, a Harry Potter podcast, and some history-oriented ones—listened to the latest "Inside the Magic" (Disney parks), an edition of Dan Carlin's "Hardcase History" where he talks to James Burke, and PetLifeRadio's "Wings'n'Things" (a birds podcast, of course).

I think James likes the non-stick wok he bought at Ikea Sunday. He's used it twice this week already. :-) We had beef and mushroom stir-fry with rice.

We've been watching Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares all evening. What fun. It's 78 in here. wish it was cooler.

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And the Water Came Tumbling Down
Warwick, Cranston hit hard by flooding | Rhode Island's NPR - WRNI

Residents Deal With Flooding (audio files)

Linked from Donna on Facebook.

(Gosh, Trinity Square has a radio theatre--some of the offerings online include adaptations of Eudora Welty stories.)

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