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.
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» Sunday, June 18, 2017Just Another Weekend...Sort Of
It's been a quiet weekend: nothing much going on, but not much to write about. We slept in Saturday morning, after staying up late to watch more Star Blazers on Friday night. James walked Tucker, and then after breakfast went to his club meeting. I decided to go check out something at Home Depot, but on the way, dumped a Xerox paper box full of working, useful, but unwanted odds and ends I wanted out of the house (timers, a Christmas card holder, etc.) and the books we couldn't get rid of at McKay's last year at Goodwill. (I was amused to note our neighbor Dave was ahead of me in line.) I also stopped at Big Lots and got a cheap bookcase to replace the old microwave cart downstairs that is an auxiliary pantry. The cart is too wide for the narrow hallway and I want it gone.
I appeared to have arrived at Home Depot at the same time everyone else did. Seriously, it was like a convention. I didn't find what I was looking for there, and went on to Barnes & Noble with an eye to spending one last coupon, but I didn't see anything, and the books I was looking at were just making me depressed. I went home feeling low, and pretty much ruined the rest of the afternoon by forgetting myself and biting down too hard on my bad tooth while I ate lunch. I didn't see stars, I saw planets, asteroids, and a couple of galaxies. I had to run in the bathroom and put on some Ambesol in a hurry, and eventually took some ibuprofin and lay down. Luckily James called on his way home and was willing to detour to Dragon 168. The fried rice was easy on my tooth, and it really didn't hurt for the rest of the night...well...
It didn't hurt in the evening. We finished up watching Star Blazers and then I put on Watership Down, which I hadn't watched in years. Still mesmerizing and exquisite, especially the beautiful watercolor backgrounds. James wandered downstairs to work in the man cave for a while (he's watching Man in the High Castle) and I finished up with Hazel, Fiver and company and watched A Dog of Flanders. I had bought the newly-released DVD when it came out, but had not yet seen it. This was not only the first time this 1959 film had been on DVD, but the first time I was getting to see it in its original aspect ratio. I've only previously seen pan-and-scan version; this was a popular movie that usually ran on TV during Christmas vacation or during other school holidays. I have to say I was pleased! It's not only a sweet, leisurely film about a boy, his dog, and the boy's artistic ambitions, but it was filmed on location in Belgium and Holland, so it has a real European look that looks fabulous in widescreen. David Ladd is very solemn and earnest as young Nello, and the "dog of Flanders" is played by "Spike," who was Old Yeller in Disney's film.
I had quit using the mint rinse the dentist gave me over a week ago because the cinnamon oil in it burned the dickens out of my tongue. Now that my tongue was healed I planned to go back to it but use it for fifteen seconds instead of thirty. Not only was fifteen seconds still too long–it burned my tongue the minute it hit my mouth–but my teeth were fine until I used it. Once I got into bed the bad tooth and the two next to it started to burn and hurt. I had to drag out of bed and put on Ambesol and take some ibuprofin. Let's say I wasn't very alert in the morning.
We were up a little earlier this morning so we could go to Costco. The place was mobbed even though we got there only twenty minutes after opening. Picked up milk, popcorn, and a few other things, and were able to escape reasonably fast. We just dropped what we bought off at home and swapped vehicles; I needed gasoline and decent bread for lunches, so the only solution was going to Kroger on Dallas Highway. We went there for bread, almonds, and a large pill container, and as always, ended up with a bit more.
That was it. We came home and put everything up, I put away the spare filter for the air conditioner and tidied up a few other things, then put on some quiet music to sit and read to. At five we watched Colour Confidential successfully, had chicken breast in mixed greens/oranges/almonds oriental salad, and resigned ourselves to the news and Guy's Grocery Games. However, have found Aerial New Zealand. An escape from network television.
» Friday, June 16, 2017All the Maintenance in a Row
Well, it was a busy week around here (and that didn't count work). The exterminator showed up on Tuesday to hopefully keep the ants at bay this year, and the filters for the air conditioner which were expected on Tuesday had already come on Sunday (the A/C tech told me bluntly when we had the new HVAC system installed that it would be cheaper if we bought our filters online than having them supply it), and then Thursday the HVAC system got inspected (the hypoallergenic filters cost $138 for two on Amazon; they would have charged us $100 to replace the one). The tech turned down the humidity as low as he could; he said it would make it feel cooler and should be better for the system. Way later on the repairman from AT&T turned up (finally, after they'd sent me a text saying they weren't coming) and we have a dial tone on the landline again. It's been gone for two weeks as far as we know; since the DSL never dropped out we didn't realize until I picked up a receiver one day. There was a short in the box outside.
So I was perfectly ready to sleep in this morning. The alarm went off at 8:30 and I told Alexa to shut off the alarm, and then the bed reached its soft blankety arms around me and I conked out for another half hour.
After breakfast and perambulation of the pooch, I went into Buckhead to visit the Barnes & Noble there. I have one more 20 percent off coupon and wanted to see if there was anything good to use it on. Didn't find anything for it, but did get an odd looking paperback cozy mystery about a family with a skeleton in their house (literally; it's sentient) that helps solve its own murder (I know; it sounded so wild I had to read it) and a new issue of "Best of British."
Picked up lunch at Tin Drum on the way home. Called James while I was eating; he had an appointment at Hanger (his orthopedic shoe place) at two-thirty and I wanted him to swing by to pick me up. We got to Hanger without incident and the technician agreed that James' shoes should not have so much wear on them after only a month (and he really only walks the dog in them). Both of the toe areas are fraying and there is already a hole in the left one. The shoes are still under warranty and they are ordering another pair for him, with hard sides instead of soft ones.
When we got done there James picked up a burger at Martin's (he hadn't had lunch and it was nearly three) and then we went on to Publix. Once all the groceries were put up it was already time to head up to Town Center for supper.
We ate at Fried Tomato Buffet again because it's about the cheapest supper we can get and on Friday night they have shrimp. Their fried shrimp have a very nice, light, crunchy coating. Plus I had cucumber salad and olives. But we saw the darn rudest thing when we came out: someone had gone in one of the stores and bought a vacuum cleaner and what looked like an air purifier or portable air conditioner. Evidently the boxes didn't fit in their car, because they had emptied out the boxes and left them behind the car next to them and gone on their way!
I had a Michael's coupon, so James sat in the truck and I ran in. I didn't find what I was looking for, but I wasn't about to waste a coupon, so I bought another watercolor pad. James wanted to check out the new Hobby Lobby—beats me why they abandoned a perfectly good new building near the JoAnn and the Michaels to move a mile or so away into a newer building—so we did. I used their coupon to buy a larger set of watercolor pencils (they're Sargents, though; not sure how good they are), some water pens to use with them, and blending pencils. We walked the whole store, though, and we saw signs of Christmas being put out: wreaths, big bows, ribbons, some picks, some craft parts (they have stickers of dogs in Santa suits; one of them is a collie—I must get one set), ornaments. And new aisles of fall! I hugged garlands to make me feel better about summer.
Spent the evening watching Star Blazers again.
» Sunday, June 11, 2017Discount Mavens
We were up last night so late watching the exploits of Mark Venture—LOL, sorry, Star Blazers—that we didn't get up until almost eleven. Accordingly we got dressed and just skipped breakfast. We had to finish the shopping and I wanted to use some coupons at JoAnn.
For food we went by Wendy's for a burger each and then headed up to Town Center. James needed gasoline for the truck before anything, and our jaws dropped when we detoured to Costco and found almost no one in line for gas. Usually the Costco gas lines are backed up six ways to Sunday. Then we went to JoAnn. With half price coupons I am always after things for the house and we bought Command stuff with it: two things to organize the bathroom, some cable holders, and a razor holder to use for a remote control.
Then we had about an hour for fun and went to Barnes & Noble. James got Cary Elwes' book about the making of The Princess Bride and I bought Their Finest, a British World War II novel about the propaganda office (Dani recommended it on her blog) and Pioneer Girl Perspectives, essays about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Still got one coupon left each! Annoying, the clouds that had made this morning so nice had vanished and that nasty old sun was back. The only good thing about this was that the sky was full of lovely, pillowy clouds white as snow against sky blue.
Finally it was Kroger time. We went by the list, which was stuff on sale, and didn't have to stay long.
At home I settled in for a Sunday relax while James solved a couple of thorny problems. He ordered a book from Amazon which was supposed to arrive on the 6th, but has never come. The tracking number online only said that it had left the distribution center on May 31, and that's where it ended. So after trying to trace it through the post office led to a dead end, he just called Amazon, and they have dispatched a new book. The other one was a little funny: I mentioned he bought a new desk chair last night. Well, what showed up on Flipp this morning in the Office Max flyer? They now had it on sale as a Sunday doorbuster for $53 less! He called them up and they said they would price match. So we ran over there and got his $53 back. Very much worth the time, even if I did miss a Colour Confidential.
James has been having fun with the grill burner on the new stove, and we've already had lamb steaks and pork chops on it; one night when my tooth was hurting badly he grilled me a turkey burger. Tonight he tried grilling the pork rib bits we bought at Nam Dae Mun. They came out good, but not best. I think they could have used a marinade to make them a little more moist. I'm looking forward to more grill experiments! Maybe we will also have griddle experiments? Buckwheat pancakes anyone? 😀
Finishing out the evening by watching the Tony Awards. Richard Thomas was nominated for a Tony! He didn't win, but he was at the ceremony looking quite attractive in a beard. Scott Bakula still looking quite nice these days! Kevin Spacey did a really fun opening number, and the musical Come From Away (about the residents of Gander, Newfoundland, who took in the stranded airline passengers after 9/11) looks really cool. Ruben Santiago-Hudson, who was Captain Montgomery on Castle, was also nominated in a directing role. How great for him he was doing something worthwhile during that final miserable season.
» Saturday, June 10, 2017Feeling the Burn—and the Blaze
Friday reminded me of the lyrics from Annie's "Together at Last": "Yesterday was plain awful." "You can say that again." I started out with multiple bathroom visits, chills, and nausea. This being gone by afternoon, my headache kicked in instead, and I was having another, more odd problem: you know how when you eat something too hot and burn your tongue? The first day it feels terrible, the next day it's a little better, and after that it's gone? Well, my tongue has been feeling like the first day burn since Tuesday, but I hadn't eaten anything too hot to make my tongue get burned. Nor is the pain diminishing by day. The tip of my tongue burns and hurts when you touch it with anything (teeth, toothbrush, fingers). I can taste what I eat, but it burns, too, and makes my mouth all dry. I kept drinking all afternoon to cool it off.
When I was done with work (which ran late because I was receiving proposals; I got twenty three!), I just lay down until James got home; we went to Hibachi Grill for dinner. My tongue hurt and my tooth is still painful, so eating wasn't much fun. We still have Barnes & Noble coupons, so we stopped there for a little while, but I was too miserable to enjoy it, and we skipped going to Publix. The only other thing I did was take Tucker out. James came with us and we admired the mini-moon.
A good night's sleep does a lot, and while my tongue still hurts, I woke up feeling better. It was James who was feeling odd this morning. He'd already eaten breakfast, but it must have been low blood sugar, because as we got going, the odd feeling disappeared. We dropped off the old stereo speakers at Goodwill, then went on to Nam De Mun, because James needed ginger tea. Well, we found it, and we also found cherries, scallions, celery, lamb steaks, pork ribs, a really nice looking steak, and more low-sodium teriyaki sauce. Needless to say, we had to go home and put up the meat before heading out on our real errand of the day: looking for a new office chair for James.
On the way to Staples, we stopped at Freddy's for lunch, which is more than fast food, but not really a restaurant. They have "steakburgers," hot dogs, one lone chicken burger, and frozen custard. The steakburgers are neat; they have little crispy edges. And the fries are like the shoestring potatoes you get in cans. Nothing special, but not a bad place to have lunch.
After eating, we checked out the chairs at Staples, and had decided on one, but they didn't have it in stock. They would have ordered one for us and had it shipped at no charge, but I thought we would go to Office Max and see what they had first. Well, we found a nice Serta chair. It was a little more expensive than the chair at Staples, but James has been having so much trouble with his back and legs in the old chair that the additional support will be helpful. The old chair is probably seven or eight years old.
(I also finished up my Flair collection with a set of the "candy pop" colors. These are hard to find and hideously expensive. Office Max had them on sale.)
We had to "decant" the chair in parts out of the box to get it in, then just left it to sit while we had dinner at O'Charley's (we had a coupon). We both had 6-ounce sirloins and healthy sides.
And then on the way home we made up the missing Publix trip.
Finally home, James put the chair together and I put on an old favorite, Star Blazers. The other night we had found a link to a completely new version of this series, which was a cleaned up and English-dubbed version of the Japanese anime Space Battleship Yamato. It looks super, but the DVDs are hideously expensive. I'd love to see it: they have pretty much done the original story over, but with computer animation and HD, and there are now more women "in on the action" including a fighter pilot, a ship's psychologist, and even a disc jockey. (The original series showed women on the ship, but the only woman ever involved in the action was Yuki—known in the Star Blazers universe as Nova.) My best friend Sherrye turned me on to the original series when it ran on good old WSBK-TV38 in Boston in the late 1970s.
Space Battleship Yamato 2199
(I still like Mark Venture best! 😁 )
» Sunday, June 04, 2017No Pressure
We were up wayyyy late last night, so we slept in this morning. James took Tucker out and we had breakfast. We had no plans for today, but after checking the weather report, James thought he might want to go get his laptop since it looks like it may rain all day tomorrow. So once the rain that was falling this morning slacked off, we went over to his work to fetch it; it drizzled on and off, but never did pour. It was nice and cool for driving, but sticky as glue once you stopped.
We got all the broken things taken in the garage recycling box and then sat to give the sound bar a real test: Twister. For the first time in a long time I could hear all the dialog and the thunder rumbled and the tornado roared quite nicely in the background.
We had bought a nice roast at Sam's, and James decided to test out the pressure cooker. It has a voice that instructs you what to do. He didn't put it in until three, right before we started the movie, and by six it was still "setting pressure." So I guess whomever sold it to "Grandma's Attic," the thrift shop we bought it from, sold off something that didn't work. How rude. We will put it in the box with the electronics recycling. 😒
All the broadcast stations were coming in so well this morning that I ran the scan of the channels again. I had already done this last week, hoping we could get Ion Life in better (and we did; it is no longer dropping out during Colour Confidential) and lo and behold, in came RetroTV! We haven't gotten Retro since they moved from channel 32.7. Still no GPB, which irritates me no end; why does WPBA (Atlanta PBS) have a strong enough signal and not Georgia PBS? Found a couple of new channels, but still mostly Christian, Spanish, and shopping, so while I found 84 over-the-air channels, I only kept 35, and one was QVC, because they'll be doing Christmas in July. Still no METV, still no Hero & Icons. We are supposed to get them over the air, but apparently not on this side of town. If you live in another area of Atlanta, you get it. Bizarre.
Of course, I expect when Doctor Simon Locke rolls back around on Tuesday, Retro will suddenly vanish...
Tested out using the Aux feed on the speaker to play a little of a "Travel with Rick Steves" and also tried it on Tune-In Radio to play music. Splendid. Wondering if I need to invest in a portable CD/cassette player so I can play my cassettes at Christmastime. I have a portable CD player that I bought about ten years ago to play MP3 radio shows, but I notice it's been skipping when playing CDs and it doesn't play cassettes.
» Saturday, June 03, 2017Crossing the Bar
We slept in this morning, and James walked Tucker while I snoozed, then we had breakfast and got to work on the only errand we had to do today: go to the Walmart up near the Big Chicken (Cobb Parkway and Roswell Road). He had reserved two pairs of pants there.
First I had him take me by the Dollar General to see if it's just the store close to us that doesn't sell scrubs anymore or if Dollar General has dropped them. It looks like the latter, as there were none to be seen. This was the store close to the old hobby shop and we got there by the usual way, down Frey's Gin Road. This has been all rebuilt since the last time we came through here, and the corner where the dentist's office was is gone. The dentist had paid to have a plaque on the building commemorating the lynching of Leo Frank for the murder of a mill girl at this location in 1915. I had heard that they were going to place a permanent historical marker at the site; I wonder if they still intend to do it.
It was already slammed at Walmart when we arrived, but we got lucky and found someone leaving a handicapped space in front. We returned the pair of pants that didn't fit him from last week and retrieved the two we'd reserved, plus I found two pairs of scrubs pants there. I like these to wear around the house or out in the summer. One of them will become my dog-walking pants because the waistband on the present pair is worn out.
Since we were now next door to Sam's Club, we stopped there for milk and mushrooms. We also bought a likely looking roast of beef to be crock potted or pressure cooked, some Skinny Pop...
...and a sound bar.
We've been looking at sound bars or sound stands for a while. Way back in the old house (which makes it at least twelve years ago, but probably longer) we had ditched James' old receiver from the 1980s and bought one with five speakers and a subwoofer for a home theatre system. It worked fine at the old house, but it went a little squirrelly when we moved: instead of the sound going from 0 to 50 (quiet to loud), it started going backwards (50 being no sound, 0 being the loudest). In the last two years, we haven't been able to use it because if there is a loud sound in any movie (an explosion, a burst of music, someone screaming, etc.) it shuts itself off.
Thus the soundbar. This came with a small subwoofer and two "satellites" that are used for surround sound. We basically got home from the stores and spent the rest of the afternoon setting the silly thing up. The hardest part was getting the old stuff pulled out and out of the way: the receiver, all the speakers, and the tape player, which doesn't really work anymore, and has nowhere to plug in on the sound bar because it's so old. Of course it was all dusty on the TV stand despite periodic maintenance and had to be cleaned and polished. We found wires back there that were no longer connected to anything, and a glut of RCA cables because originally each of the players were set up to feed individually into the receiver. We also swapped out an old surge suppressor with a new one, so basically the first thing I did was re-set up everything left (DVD player, the Hopper, etc.) and make sure that still worked, and then add in the sound bar. While it didn't connect automatically to the television as the manual said it would, we finally got it to work and even the subwoofer and the little speakers. I finished up by twist-tying overly long cords and even putting some Command hooks on the back of the television to hold up extraneous wires.
This took us till 6:30, and I almost didn't want to go out afterwards, but we got dressed and went to Fried Tomato Buffet for supper (it's barbecue ribs/chicken and dumpling night, after all) and then dropped in on Barnes & Noble with coupons. I used the one that came in e-mail on a book of supernatural mysteries and one of the 20 percent offs from the mail on The Royal Nanny, which is a fictionalized account of Charlotte Bill, the beloved "Lala" who took care of the children of King George V and Queen Mary, especially the youngest, Johnnie, who was epileptic and possibly autistic. (His story is also told in the television miniseries The Lost Prince.)
We came home and finished the project officially by putting a board (a Billy shelf we bought at IKEA years ago which was the wrong size but was never returned) under the television to boost it up. Otherwise the top of the sound bar covered about 1/2 inch at the bottom of the screen. It works really well! Then I vacuumed around the television and put the subwoofer and one satellite behind the rocker and the other satellite behind James' chair. (We tested this out later by watching Jaws and all the background sound is coming through fine. Tucker keeps staring into the corner with a perplexed look on his face. When we first tested the subwoofer he jumped and then ran over to stare at it accusingly.)
Tomorrow we have to dump the receiver and tape player in the garage. I suppose the speakers and the speaker wire can go to Goodwill; they are still good. The one thing left to do is get the old subwoofer out from under the window; we use it to hold the telephone! We'll need to replace it with the little teak table from the hallway and I will have to find a new place for Sherwood the stuffed fox, who sits on it now.
Spent the rest of the evening watching this and that on "real TV" (Room to Grow on Ion Life, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, the news) before trying out the speakers on Jaws. Need to test it with something with really cool sound, like Twister. 😀
» Friday, June 02, 2017All the Projects in a Row
Well, the dentist trip yesterday was both a success and a bust. Did make it through the dentist, but did not get the whole deep cleaning of my left side done. The x-rays alone took a while. The "deep cleaning" was nothing. I lay there and grunted occasionally as nasty calc was removed from my teeth as Julie the dental hygienist chipped at it and then used the sonic gadget that sprays water. My big problem was the painkiller. I had told them I'd never had novocaine so they used gel. It worked great. Too great. Some of it got down my throat and I felt like I couldn't swallow (and by extension, couldn't breathe) and I had a nice little panic attack there for about ten-fifteen minutes.
So Julie couldn't do my top left quadrant, only the bottom, and even then she had run 15 minutes over into the next appointment. Oh, and they warned me this gel tasted disgusting, and boy were they right! It was worse than Beverly, and that is a singularly nasty taste experience. If you've ever used Ambesol and thought that tasted bad, this makes Ambesol taste like dessert. It's got lidocaine in it and is it bitter!
(It's like I imagined Baytril would taste when the vet told us about it. Back when we had Merlin, he got very sick and I had to medicate him through an eyedropper with this animal antibiotic called Baytril. The vet said to add something sweet to it--I used lemon-lime Kool Aid because Merlin loved it--because it was very bitter. I said jokingly "How do you know," and the vet said that in veterinary school they had to taste every single oral medication they gave to animals so they would have an idea how the animal might react when given it! You haven't seen anything until you've seen a budgie spitting up what you just gave him with a black look in his eye. 😀 )
So came home from the appointment disappointed, but at the same time still glad I made myself sit down and have the bottom left teeth cleaned. She offered me an out three times, but no time would be any better, and I already had my lower jaw numb. And, as I said, her cleaning down there didn't bother me. I might have fallen asleep if it went on much longer.
Unfortunately I still can't chew right. And the next appointment they had was July!
Worked before and after the appointment and had soup for supper and was quite prepared for a nice long sleep this morning. I got up before nine, though. Did a bit of cleanup in the kitchen while I boiled water for oatmeal, had breakfast, walked the dog, brought paper towels upstairs. And then I worked on A Project, relating to a post a week ago talking about the lights formerly on our deck ("My idea was to take a string of big bulb (C-9) clear Christmas lights (bought at Hobby Lobby after the holidays at a discount) and hang them between the uprights on the deck, so it will light the deck and the back yard as well."). I basically took the new string of lights, the timer we got at Lowes, a wire cutter, and a reel of gold floral wire, and went outside and put them up, under the top rail and between every other baluster. Every fifth bulb I put one colored light to give it a little pizzazz. I also swept off the deck, and then went down to the yard to clean up the birdseed bags and other junk I had thrown down (this wasn't me being hyperclean; I had to do it, as I dropped my cutting plier off the top rail