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 theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Friday, January 31, 2003
Friday Five

1. As a child, who was your favorite superhero/heroine? Why?

Lassie. I sure thought she was a super hero when I was a kid. Anyone with brains knew real dogs weren't like Lassie, so she really was something special. But the best thing about her was that she was a good friend. You could tell her all your secrets and your hopes and she would never tell anyone else.

If you must have comic book superheroes, though, I guess Superman. He was the only one I knew because of the old George Reeves TV series. The only comic books I was interested in when I was a kid were the Dell ones that published the Disney movie stories (or TV stuff like Gallegher) and Lassie. Most of the stores we lived near did not have a good selection of comic books, only five or six titles at the time. Mom didn't hate comic books, but if I wanted to read, she preferred I have books, though.

The funny thing? I preferred Clark Kent to Superman.

2. What was one thing you always wanted as a child but never got?

More books. :-)

Seriously, Tinkertoys and Lego blocks. My aunts said they were boys' toys and girls weren't supposed to play with them. My dad always listened to his sisters, unfortunately. Also, when my Aunty Lisa was a little girl, she really did poke her eye out with a stick like your parents always warn you about. She has one blind eye to this day. So Tinkertoys weren't allowed in the house.

3. What's the furthest from home you've been?

In or out of the country? In--California. My parents and I drove cross-country twice. What a blast! Out-- Toronto. We went to Canada's Wonderland.

4. What's one thing you've always wanted to learn but haven't yet?

Actually, I do know how to do it minimally, I've just never gone on with it. In 1966, the Hammond Organ Company donated organs to fifth grade classes (don't know if that was just in our area or all over the country or selected places). We all learned to play the organ and had a recital at the end of the year. I used to love practicing on my own. I learned how to fiddle with the stops--this was a real organ, not a keyboard!--so that the organ sounded like a harpsichord. Part of me has always wanted to go on with that. Every time I go by one of those cool Casio keyboards in Sam's Club or Costco I get a little twinge. And then I stop and think--what if I just let it sit around? Sigh. So much to do, so much of it devoted to earning a living...

5. What are your plans for the weekend?

Buying insulation to wrap the pipe that we just had fixed that burst last Friday. (That lived in the house that Jack built. LOL.) James is going to a hobby show. I'd like to go to Discover Mills. We haven't been in a year.


» Thursday, January 30, 2003
Sigh. I don't usually make silly fusses about dumb commercials, but I saw one tonight that absolutely freaked me out. And perhaps I'm more sensitive because I own a bird...

Quizno's, a sandwich joint, has a new commercial about their sandwich maker, who forgets everything when he's creating a new sandwich. One of the first things you see is that he hasn't fed his bird, a blue and white budgie who lies dead at the bottom of his cage.

I guess it's supposed to be amusing, but I don't see one damn thing funny about neglecting your pet. Animal Planet already has two series about humane society cops who arrest people for the same thing.

The ironic thing is that I saw this ad on Animal Planet itself...


Thursday Threesome

Echoes: What sound do you hear from time to time that immediately draws up an echo from the past?

This will sound silly...but the theme song from Mannix. My parents used to watch the series, but I wasn't allowed to stay up that late during the school year (Mannix was broadcast 10 p.m. Saturday nights). The first time we ever went away for vacation (other times we just went to my aunt's), we went to Lake George, New York, and stayed at the Fort Gage Motel, one of those motels that had the little "cabins." I was eleven years old and it was the first time I'd ever been in any kind of hotel or motel that I remembered (we'd been to Florida when I was three, but I don't remember anything about the trip except sweating a lot on the train). That night I was allowed to stay up past ten and watch Mannix. Ever since then the theme song--I still hear it used on TV promos and commercials--can take me right back to 1968, sitting in front of that TV at the Fort Gage Motel.

The other song is Rupert Holmes' "Him." When I hear it I am in the back seat of our car, driving down Tower Hill Road, heading for South County.

Visions: ...and what about something you might see now and again that evokes a scene from days gone by?

Any black and white rerun of Lassie. [wry grin] I remember when a glass of Hood's milk, a Hershey's semi-sweet bar (they call ‘em "Special Darks" now), and an episode of Timmy and Lassie could solve just about any problem you had.

Memories: "Misty water color memories"? Is there a painting or a picture you like to look back on just to remember a certain time or place?

All it takes is a glimpse of the skylines of Boston, Providence, or New York... (I used to watch Providence just to see the cityscapes, but the plotlines just got too stupid. It wasn't worth watching 45 minutes of Sydney Hansen being tortured yet again for one minute of the Industrial Trust Building.) (Yeah, I know it's the Fleet Building now. Sheesh. Sounds like an enema.)


» Tuesday, January 28, 2003
Etymology Fun

I collect books about the English language--I've been reading Mario Pei since junior high school--and still love finding out things about words I never knew. For instance, I'd always thought the word "groovy" was a 1960s creation, or perhaps maybe went as far back as the late 1950s beatnik. What a surprise, then, to watch the original theatrical trailer for 1947's Miracle on 34th Street and hear a young actress refer to the movie as "groovy"!

"Hop," as a euphemism for dance, to me sounded like perhaps a creation of the swing crowd in the 1930s, or perhaps even as far back as the 1920s flappers. So it was with interest I noted its use in a St. Nicholas serialized nonfiction piece about a young man's appointment and subsequent education at West Point. He attends several dances, or "hops" as they are referred to.

Date the story was written? 1887.


The Sound of Dripping

We have water again, thank God. The hole in the pipe was barely an inch long. I ended up doing four loads of laundry, a load of dishes, washing two floors, the bathtub, all three toilets...urgh.

By the way, the demented contractor did not neglect to put a shutoff valve to the faucet in the backyard. The other demented contractor, the one who carved the old garage into a den, laundry room, 3/4 bath and furnace closet, took the knob off the shutoff valve and placed it behind the drywall. How simply stunningly stupid of him.

(Granted, the pipe break was at a point where the shutoff would have done no good. But still...)


» Sunday, January 26, 2003
Interesting Times

It's been a tad nippy, especially for Georgia, here lately, including one nightly temperature that went down to 8ºF (something like -10 with the wind chill). James and I pretty much ignored it. It was cold, but we just bundled up, and despite the evident shortcuts the builders took with our house, cold's never bothered it much, not even the plumbing. The furnace just runs more.

Friday night James dropped the laundry basket off in the laundry room and we set out to IHOP for supper. We had coupons, so we had a leisurely steak dinner and then came home.

I walked through the den and up the short hall to the short stairway to the kitchen to let Willow out. I did notice that the carpet in the hall seemed uncommonly soft. James was already taking his shoes off--and gave a yell because his foot was wet.

I turned on the hall light to find about 12 feet of carpet (the entire hall and about two feet into the den) sopping wet and could see water in the downstairs bathroom. I squelched on the hall to find the laundry room floor shiny with about half an inch of water and a sound like water running. Note: I had not done something stupid like start the washer before we left.

James lost a few minutes fumbling around for a flashlight and pulling on his shoes. Unable to find anything in the laundry room, he realized the culprit had to be the outside water faucet to the back yard. He ran back into the yard and sure enough water was pouring from around the spigot, down the yard, under the shed, and toward the gate to the yard. It was evidently also seeping through the cinderblock wall into the laundry room, which is right behind the spigot.

Since the dimwit who built the house (the same demented idiot who also put the wallpaper smack on the drywall without priming it first and who installed an outside electrical plug in the back of the house but not the front) had neglected to install a shutoff valve for this faucet, we had no choice but to shut down the entire main water supply. (I gave our home maintenance folks an emergency call and never did get a call from them back; needless to say I was a bit ticked when I did get in touch with them. As I suspected, they'd been inundated with broken frozen pipes calls and we ended up at the end of a very long queue: no repair until Monday morning. They did promise to fit us in if there was a cancellation on Saturday; needless to say there wasn't.)

I gave a frantic call to a friend I thought might have a Wet/Dry shop vac; they didn't but another friend did and we gratefully accepted the loan. It's a useful animal to have around the home anyway, so while I waited for the friend to bring his over, James ran out to Home Depot and bought a 9-gallon unit. I used the smaller loaner until he came, but it could have never coped with the amount of water in that carpet. The moment the water was shut off the laundry room floor and bathroom floor began to dry, but we spent the rest of the evening continually running the nozzle of that shop vac over and over that 12 feet of carpet. James estimates we got anywhere from eleven to thirteen gallons out of it.

By bedtime it no longer squelched, but was still wet. We left some fairly high wattage lightbulbs going in the hall, the bathroom, and the laundry room to dry things out, and on Saturday I ran the vac over the carpet a couple more times. It only got out about a pint of water; that was the end of the vac usefulness. Then I put down our space heater teamed with our small fan, aimed right down the 12 foot length. This in combination with the lights being left on and the usual dryness in the house dried the remainder of the carpet, amazingly, in about nine hours. (I still have the fan on it.)

Saturday I also cleaned out the floor in the laundry room; thankfully we didn't lose much except a box James had stored a gift in. We just put the gift out; it had been packed away since we were in the apartment!

The rest of the weekend was an adventure of living without water. In the most bizarre way, Osama bin Laden indirectly "saved" us. Last December, when the maniac was rattling his saber about launching more terror attacks during the holiday season, I started rinsing out gallon jugs from the skim milk and filling them with filtered water. We had fifteen or twenty of the things, plus some two liters of water, stored in our downstairs shower, which we usually don't use. We used this water to wash hands, take pills, and flush the toilet.

As hard as it was going without a shower, the worst part was actually the toilets. Of course we "let things rest" until it needed flushing due to paper, and by that time it was pretty "high." Don't know how our pioneer ancestors coped with outhouses at all!

I have to be home for the plumber tomorrow, then have to wash all the clothes I couldn't wash Friday night and run the dishwasher, but James has to go to work as he's still training at the new job. Thus he had to have a shower. A friend offered to accomodate both of us, so we spent this evening getting clean again and refilling the water jugs.


» Friday, January 24, 2003
The “Peter Principle”
(a rambling discourse with an overlong and fond digression about a bookstore...)

I’ve spent the last two evenings being entertained by a lordly, uncommonly interesting gentleman. James was fine about it, too.

You see, I received my Lord Peter Wimsey DVDs from and had to watch them both immediately.

Naturally I watched my favorite, Murder Must Advertise, first. This was my initial exposure to Lord Peter so long ago when it was broadcast on Masterpiece Theatre. Needless to say, I was captivated. I managed to snag both Murder and my other favorite (naturally, the second DVD), The Nine Tailors, on video from broadcast, but both were deteriorating and had interference since they were telecast from Boston. Therefore I was determined to buy Murder when I saw it was being released on DVD by Acorn Media (the last of the Ian Carmichael stories done, to my dismay and my pocketbook’s joy). Deepdiscount offered me such a good rate that I couldn’t resist ordering both at once.

I was in college at the time Lord Peter entered my life, on a limited budget; needless to say I was a bad girl and forewent schoolbooks to buy all the Wimsey novels, re-released by Avon to coincide with the series being featured on Masterpiece Theatre (Nine Tailors, which for some reason was owned by Harcourt, was luckily also re-released in a paperback edition). The paperbacks were (gasp!) the then enormous sum of $1.25 in the mid-1970s, so I ended up buying them two at the time.

However, this was no chore, either: the bookstore situation in Rhode Island was a bit thin in those days (I hadn’t yet discovered the ones on Thayer Street and the Waldenbooks at Warwick Mall didn’t carry all of the Wimseys, just what had been shown on TV), so the quest for Lord Peter meant I had to go to downtown Providence to perhaps one of the best bookstores I’ve ever shopped in. Such a hardship!!!

It certainly didn’t look like much. It was a little storefront tucked in between boring clothing stores on Weybosset Street, cat-corner from the Outlet Company department store. The plain white sign said simply “Paperback Books.” Inside the floor was of worn tile, the shelves of finished but aged and worn wood. The interior itself wasn’t very large, although the store described an L-shape and widened as you walked toward the rear. Leaving just enough room in the aisles for the average person, every other square inch of the floor was covered with book shelves (the ones lining the perimeter of the room were nearly up to the ceiling); the cashier sat up in a large booth overlooking the store, not only to keep a weather eye out for shoplifters, but so that more books could be crammed around her.

If it wasn’t at the paperback bookstore it wasn’t anywhere. How they managed to cram such a large selection of books into such a pocket-sized store I never figured out. They carried classics for the college crowd, lurid true-crime novels for those who liked that sort, classic science fiction, romance novels, nonfiction, and an entire corner of mystery books at the back of the store. (The Wimsey books were on the bottom shelf.)

They must have had the world’s best distributor, too, because books showed up there almost a month before any other bookseller. Their media book corner was especially appealing. You could tell when one of the networks was going to have a movie or special based on a novel because that novel, with its photo cover, would appear sometimes even two to three months before the movie was released. Novelizations based on movies were also sold there, and I can still tick off the volumes I bought: Cromwell, Strange Report (the mystery series with Anthony Quayle), Red Sky at Morning, The Gathering, The Homecoming, Spencer’s Mountain, The Waltons...

I suspect the habitual cashier, a large, quiet young woman, was also a closet science fiction fan, since I saw my first fanzine at the paperback bookstore, “Night of the Twin Moons,” a Star Trek Sarek-and-Amanda zine. The other note of interest was...the ceiling. Like all good stores trying to cater to the “in” crowd in the 1970s, the paperback bookstore sold posters. However, with the bookshelves along the walls reaching all the way to the ceiling, there was no room to display them. But the ceiling however–big posters of the Partridge Family, the Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, Bobby Sherman, and other rock luminaries of the day regarded you below as you shopped. There were even counterculture black light posters and the ubiquitous rainbow unicorns.

So like Noah, two by two I collected Lord Peter–the store even sold the big trade paperback Lord Peter, which contained all of Sayers’ short stories about Wimsey, and was even more difficult to find. It cost...gasp!...$3.95! My mother thought I had gone mad, spending that much for a book!

(The paperback bookstore continued to be a mainstay until it was “remodeled” in the early 1980s: they added new snazzy metal shelves and carpeting, and cleaned the ceiling–and took away 90% of the books. The “ambiance” and mostly empty shelves just didn’t fly. It closed not a year later.)

As for the DVDs, I’m considering also purchasing Clouds of Witness, but am not certain I will go for Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club or Five Red Herrings. If I did, it would be solely for Ian Carmichael as Wimsey.

In the late 1980s PBS showed a second series of Wimsey mysteries, these featuring Harriet Walter as Harriet Vane and Edward Petherbridge as Lord Peter. Walter wasn’t too bad as Vane, but I never did warm up to Petherbridge, even if he was closer to Sayers’ description of Lord Peter. He always “felt” too unbearably stiff to me, although I can’t imagine Carmichael’s Wimsey proposing to Harriet, either! I notice that there are many people who adore Petherbridge and despise Carmichael. It may simply be a case of “the one you saw first,” like fans of different regeneration of the Doctor.

(Speaking of film versions of Lord Peter, I have in my video collection a great curiosity, an American version of Busman’s Honeymoon, which was re-titled The Haunted Honeymoon and stars Robert Montgomery and Constance Cummings. Montgomery is the most unlikely Lord Peter you’ll ever see, although there’s a nice solid British supporting cast, including Sir Seymour Hicks as Bunter.)

Of course all the arrival of the DVDs has done has prompted me to want to re-read most of the books! (Such an ordeal!) Here’s a site that describes the books (including the Jill-Paton-Walsh-completed Thrones, Dominations) and also includes a personal critique.


Friday Five

1. What is one thing you don't like about your body?

Just one? You’ve got to be kidding. Okay, if I had to pick one spot: my breasts. I’ve had large ones all my life, even when I only weighed 117 pounds. I hate them with a passion. At the risk of offending, I think anyone who wants to have their breasts enlarged should be clapped in a straitjacket and sent to an insane asylum, because that’s what they are, crazy.

2. What are two things you love about your body?

My hands.

3. What are three things you want to change about your home?

Paint the porch, put French doors in place of the sliding glass doors in the back, and get all the #$@$@!$ wallpaper down.

4. What are four books you want to read this year?

John Adams, Edmund Morris’ two books about Theodore Roosevelt, and the new Benjamin Frankin biography.

5. What are five promises you have kept to yourself?

I tend not to do this because I don’t keep them. I have managed not to ride in red Ford Mustangs and never watch Taxi again, however.


» Thursday, January 23, 2003
Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Still- Can't hold still? What type of music gets you going? I mean to where your just have to crank it up and start moving to the beat!

You mean a particular kind? No. There are certain songs that do it. Rupert Holmes' "Rifles and Rum" is a good one to accelerate to. And, if you're angry at someone, "Aw Shucks."

Twosome: Life- Life in the fast lane? What would it take to slow you down a bit and let you relax this weekend? Hmmm? ...or are you going to turn That Game on? (...and who's going to win?)

To get me to slow down this weekend? A nice dark room, a pillow and nice warm blankets would be all it takes. My eyes are already heavy now.

What game? You mean the Stupid Bowl? I'm more interested in the dog agility show Animal Planet's having on Saturday, thank you.

Threesome: In watercolor- Hey! How about wall art? What do you like to have hanging around the place for decoration? Kid pics? Knick-knacks? ...the Monet or two?

Everything--fan based artwork, including a pic of a little boy stargazing that I love because it reminds me of my husband; airplane pictures; autumn leaf pics; family photos; postcards; movie posters; and, right now, a "think snow" plaque.


The Snowstorm That Almost Wasn't

When folks start talking about snow down here you usually don't believe them. Some wretched tropical wind from Florida usually shows up and the predicted precipitation shows up in the form of achingly cold rain. So when they mentioned flurries last night, I wasn't impressed.

Interesting, I noted, when they talked about bad traffic conditions on this morning's news. It really had snowed, a scant inch, if that much, since the grass in places was still poking from out of the whiteness. The streets looked clean, so off I went--or rather I tried to, because oddly while the side streets were clear, the main artery out of the neighborhood could have doubled as the local skating rink.

I fractured an elbow years ago learning to skate. I doubt if "Tucker," even on four wheels, is anywhere more ept. I went back home at least until it was light out. If I got rear-ended I wanted to be able to see who hit me...

It was only when they began talking in depth about the storm about 9 a.m. did they start mentioning how localized it was, with our county as one of the affected places. I'll say. Three miles from home the only snow was a white edging on the interface between grass and sidewalk. Once I reached the freeway proper, a distance of five miles, there was not a lick of snow to be seen!

It is, for Georgia, hellishly cold. At 11 a.m. it was still 19 degrees F, 4 degrees with the wind chill. As someone who remembers walking to school on a -10 day back when girls weren't allowed to wear pants, I gotta admit...4 degrees is still damn cold!


» Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Friday Five (from 01/17/2003)

1. Where do you currently work?

For the federal government.

2. How many other jobs have you had and where?

I’ve worked in the present job for almost 15 years. (Fifteen in April, to be precise.) Previously I worked 3 years as a civilian for the Air Force. Before that I worked 3 1/2 years in a shipping room, and before that summer factory jobs.

3. What do you like best about your job?

I work with nice people.

4. What do you like least about your job?

Too many numbers. I preferred what I was doing when I first got here, and also at the Air Force job, which was typing and correcting letters and manuscripts. My favorite part of the job here was assembling (from boilerplates) the documentation and rewriting and correcting the non-boilerplate portions. Writing and editing are my most enjoyable tasks. Anything that has to do with numbers is least.

(Yes, the “too many numbers” still beats out the excruciatingly long commute. Numbers are God’s way of getting even with us for being smartasses.)

5. What is your dream job?

Designing web pages. I would specifically like to design web pages for small businesses who do not want to do e-commerce, at a price they could afford.


Thursday Threesome (from 01/16/2003)

Onesome: Health- Do any of your hopes for the New Year concern health issues?

I would like to be healthier. Last year I was out of work for flu, palpitations, and torn ligaments in my foot, a total of four weeks! While I enjoy staying home with the fids, I want to do it with a regular income. I also need to lose weight, but am annoyingly always hungry. (Not talking I saw a cookie and am salivating; we’re talking stomach-growling-lightheadedness sometimes only an hour after eating a sandwich.)

Twosome: Wealth- What if you didn't have the ten million we were talking about last week on the Porch. What if you had an extra $100 dollars? Where would it go? Uh-uh! No necessities! You can only spend it frivolously!

As Mike Rogers has pointed out, $100 don’t buy a lot. ( Hi, Mike!) I guess I’d go for some DVDs.

Threesome: And Happiness- What would make you happy today? ...and not world peace, just something easy for you.

NO MORE BLOODY FLUORESCENT LIGHTS IN MY OFFICE. A nice 75 watt incandescent lamp would do quite nicely (and not give me screaming headaches).


Calloo-callay! Excelsior! Eureka! (and all those other exclamations of joy)

James got the DSL connection working on both computers last night. The network is still a little weird--I see him (and myself) on the network, but he can't see me, or himself for that matter. His network logon prompt doesn't even come up. Always something doing with one of 'em.

So we can now surf swiftly and my mom won't get busy signals any longer. (We realized how many telemarketers we had been blocking with being online last night. The phone rang every half hour on the half hour.)


» Wednesday, January 15, 2003
Revolutionary Results

For some odd reason I was doing a search on “Johnny Tremain” last night, just to see what I’d find; one of the links led me to and a long list of reviews. I guess I expected some negative reviews of the novel from kids--probably a series book addict, I grumbled when I saw them, with their interchangeable characters and settings or someone who wasn’t a reader or who was forced to read the book.

To my surprise I came upon a teacher who read the book aloud to her class upon the suggestion of some curriculum guide and both she and her class hated it! It was hard to believe of a teacher--especially since that was how Johnny and I met so many years ago.

It was 1966. Our fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Grady, mentored student teachers, so in September, soon after school started after Labor Day, we were introduced to Miss Greenberg. She was so very young we couldn’t even think of her as “old” like our other teachers; she resembled classmates’ older sisters, wore her blond hair in a stylish “pixie cut,” and her wardrobe consisted of tasteful-length, flowery-print, bright miniskirts (!!!) and dresses instead of staid navy blue and black skirts and suit jackets.

Miss Greenberg had no sooner introduced herself than she insulted us! She told us she was going to read to us every day after lunch. Who did this woman think we were, babies? Some of us were readers, some of us weren’t, but all of us knew that at ten and eleven we were much too old to be read to. That was for little kids before they went to bed!

However, we dutifully filed back to our seats after lunch and Miss Greenberg began Johnny Tremain. I don’t recall how long she read each day--it might have even been as long as a half hour. After a couple of days, we began rushing back from lunch to hear more about cocky Johnny, patient Cilla, phlegmatic Rab, handsome Lieutenant Stranger, Johnny’s fabulous horse Goblin, that little brat Isannah, and the mysterious and beautiful Lavinia Lyte. We were appalled when Johnny lost the use of his hand; upset when he was arrested, cheered him on when he taught himself to ride. We would beg Miss Greenberg for more every time she closed the book.

By the second week of reading, the two copies of Johnny Tremain in the school library were constantly checked out. Everyone wanted to know how it “came out.” I begged my mother for a copy for Christmas. It was not in general paperback release back then, but somehow Mom managed to find a teacher’s instructional copy that had discussion topics and vocabulary words. Miss Greenberg had finished by Christmas, but I snapped up that copy like a starving person, so I could read it again and again.

The fifth grade never found another book we liked as well as Johnny Tremain. Miss Greenberg, noting how much we had enjoyed a Revolutionary War story, tried another called Hay Foot, Straw Foot. It was a dismal failure when we discovered it was nowhere near as complicated and full of complex, real characters as Johnny Tremain. She finally found a third book, totally unrelated to any war, that we enjoyed almost as much, title now forgotten.

But Johnny Tremain had been magic, something special. For a period each day a bunch of baby boomer kids who were “too big to be read to” were sent back in time and lived in Boston as the flame that became the United States began to burn.

As far as I'm concerned, it's still magic: when I open it I can smell the salt air at the wharves, hear the sea birds and the rattle and racket and rumble of horse-drawn carts, see the narrow cobblestone streets with people hurrying to their work. I would love to talk to Cilla, meet the townsfolk who banded together against the British, stick a tongue out at the unrepentant Dove, feed Goblin an apple--Johnny's world was that real to me. I'm glad I made his acquaintance.


Woohoo! Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is due to be released June 21!

(That's a Saturday, presumably so all us Potterfan working stiffs have the same chance at it as everyone else.)


» Friday, January 10, 2003
Friday Five (on time; don't all faint at once).

1. Where are you right now?

Writing this? LOL. In the den at the computer, trying to get on to chat. If I catch the twits causing the denial of service attacks on, I plan to tie them to chairs and force them to watch 72 hours of bad commercials. (I'd say three Adam Sandler movies in a row, but anyone who causes denial of service attacks is probably stupid enough to like Adam Sandler.) On TV, Matt Fox and Shari Hiller are visiting the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.

2. What time is it?

10:28 p.m.

3. What are you wearing?

A white "Lassie Fan" sweatshirt and green sweatpants, white socks and fuzzy blue slippers. (What, you expected lingerie? Not in this chilly room!)

4. Any people or animals around you? Describe them.

Well, there's a tall dark shape looming over my left shoulder. Oh, wait, it's "the mister." He's even in long sleeves tonight, so you know it's cold. The yellow-and-green budgie is eating and the little brown dog is under the birdcage, foraging for the seed suppliments the bird won't eat. (Yes, she's strange. We all are...LOL.)

5. What are your plans for the weekend?

Let's see. We need to buy the usual bread and milk. Oh, and peanut butter. I want to get a motion sensor for the light in the furnace closet. I like the one in the laundry room. The pull cord in the furnace closet is even more difficult to reach. James needs some cheap white wine to cook with. And...sigh, I have the rest of the decorations away, but I still have to take down the Christmas tree. We need to remove the presents beneath it first, however.


» Thursday, January 09, 2003
E-books: Katy Complete

Back in junior high I found a double set of Susan Coolidge's What Katy Did books in the library and was in heaven.

If you like Victoriana and Louisa May Alcott, Katy may be for you. Katy Carr (and her sisters and brothers Clover, Elsie, Dorry, Joanna--called Johnnie--and Phil) appear in five books all told.

Katy Carr makes Jo March look like a piker. She is always in trouble, whether tearing her clothes in rough plays, making friends with inappropriate people, or devising new games that get everyone in trouble. Her Aunt Izzie (Mamma Carr is dead; father is a doctor and often out) must handle this wild child as best she can--until Katy disobeys once too often. She takes a forbidden swing ride (the swing is unsafe), falls, and injures her back so badly that she is bedridden for two years. Aunt Izzie and saintly cousin Helen help Katy to conquer her wilfulness in fine Victorian style.

In What Katy Did at School, Katy and Clover go to boarding school in Connecticut at the prodding of their cousin Mrs. Page and her obnoxious daughter Lilly. The person who gets into scrapes in this offering is their schoolmate "Rose Red," who is now more interesting than a tame Katy and placid Clover with her antics. I found many the fun parts in this book to be some of the word/writing games the girls play at their club meetings; they are, like the poems written for Valentine's Day in What Katy Did, quite creative and enjoyable.

When I went out to buy Katy on my own, I also found What Katy Did Next, about Katy's adventures in Europe as a companion for their neighbor, Mrs. Ashe and her little girl, Amy. Katy has many adventures before Amy succumbs to typhoid fever; while nursing the child back to health, Katy is introduced to Mrs. Ashe's brother Ned Worthington, a Naval officer and...well, you can guess what Katy did next!

I knew nothing more about sequels until I found a 4-volume compilation which included a fourth book, Clover. Formerly staid Clover and the youngest Carr child, Phil, are sent out to Colorado for Phil's failing health. While Phil recovers, a lively and self-sufficient Clover attracts men like the real thing attracts bees: Geoff Templestowe, an Englishman who has taken up cattle ranching, and Clarence Page, once insufferable brother to the insufferable Lilly (Lilly hasn't died; Clarence just reformed).

A year or so ago I was surprised to find there was a fifth book in the series, In the High Valley. Alas, there was no magic compilation this time and all copies on were in the three figure range. Imagine my delight when I found In the High Valley on an e-book site just recently.

Nothing very exciting happens in Valley, but there are some very humorous sequences where a staid English girl finds out her misconceptions about America and Americans are wildly off-center and Coolidge wraps up all the threads of her story (except for marrying Phil off, but he intimates he is interested in Amy Ashe) with loving marriages for all (the entire family, in fact, except for Dorry and his new wife, end up living in Colorado).

Oh, after five books and several years, we finally also find out what Dorry's real name is: Theodore!


January 3 Friday Five:

1. Do you wear any jewelry? What kind?

Wedding ring. I used to wear my engagement ring (filigree band with an opal, since I think diamonds are unattractive) and a little sterling silver braided ring, but they no longer fit my fingers. Sigh.

Oh, and my St. Jude medal. I occasionally forget to put it back on after a shower, but it is usually with me always. Only time I had it off for a length of time was to lend to a friend who had cancer until he got one of his own.

2. How often do you wear it?

Well, they get it off me for x-rays and hospital matters, but that's it.

3. Do you have any piercings? If so, where?

I couldn't even stand to have my ears pierced, even after occasionally seeing some cute designs. Sorry...boring holes in my ears isn't worth having little TARDISes or fire opals.

4. Do you have any tattoos? If so, where?

I avoid allergy shots, f'God's sake. You want me to voluntarily be multiply stabbed with a needle?

5. What are your plans for the weekend?

"Were" at this late date. We not only had a very nice party, but cleaned out a particularly messy storage closet and dumped a bunch of junk in the dumpster. Woohoo! Unfortunately the spare room closet awaits... [cue Twilight Zone theme]


Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Commercial- Are there any TV commercials that really grab you? I mean, to the point you want to show them to other people?

Not usually, but there have been occasions I have mentioned a commercial to a friend or to as being funny. I'm the world's worst person to show commercials to. I either pay no attention at all, or if I do, I remember the cute/funny/dramatic situation and forget the sponsor's name completely. Remembering the sponsor's name, however, does not make me want the product.

I gotta admit, the newest Sprint commercial with the oxen/dachshund mixup is pretty cute. (But my favorite is still "flour the children.")

Twosome: Holiday- Valentine's Day is coming up, do you celebrate the holiday or do you prefer to just let it pass you by?

We celebrate, but usually not very elaborately: cards, maybe eating out. Every once in a while we look at one of those "getaway in town" hotel deals where you get a room for the night in your own area. And then we think: why pay $$ for a hotel room down the street from your house just so you can sit around? We can do that at home, and it won't disappoint the dog as much. :-)

Threesome: Madness- Even if you don't celebrate it, do you succumb to the madness and buy up boxes of chocolates, just for you?

I buy chocolate anytime...a fact amply supported by my figure. Buy candy for a holiday? Heck, no. You buy it after the holiday, when it's cheap. Chocolate is chocolate no matter what color the wrapper!


» Tuesday, January 07, 2003
CNN headline: "Group calls for chatroom panic button" (tool against pedophiles in chatroom).

I thought we already had these. They're called "parents."


» Thursday, January 02, 2003
Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Postage Hey, did all your packages and cards get delivered? ...or are you (or perhaps someone on the receiving end) still expecting something 'any day now'?

I never take chances and always mail before December 10. This year my mom's gift was so special (I bought her a small boombox with a CD player; she has never owned one before) I sent it before Thanksgiving. I'd finally found a Russ Columbo CD for her (Columbo was the precursor to crooners like Bing Crosby and Perry Como; whatever they did, he did it first) and I wasn't going to trust that puppy to the Christmas mails.

Twosome: Due: Are you due for a break after all the excitement of the holidays? ...or are you just moving on with life? Maybe the upcoming weekend is a good thing to see on the horizon?

After a friend's heart attack (and subsequent stroke), my "jolly" hospital stay, and another friend's death, I figure being bored is the best alternative anyone could ever have. I was lucky enough to keep Bandit another year, but the little guy is now basically a budgie senior citizen and his breathing is none too good. I will cherish what I have of him this year.

A Saturday with friends, however, is definitely the good thing on the horizon.

Threesome: Two cents... What's your two cents on things wintery? Has it been one you can handle so far or a bit too much for your taste?

Winter? What winter? The only thing one could label as having been wintry here would be temps in the 20s a couple of nights, cold wet rain, and some mornings where I had to hack frost off my windshield.

But I must be realistic here. Were I to go back to a real New England winter, I'd have to hire someone to shovel the walks. I am so overweight and so out of shape that I'd probably have a heart attack just picking up a snow shovel. My 85-year-old mother spent Christmas Eve chopping ice out of the driveway with the lawn edger. Sadly, I'd probably need a year's membership in a health club before I could try that again.