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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» Monday, September 29, 2003
E-book stuff: Finished H. Irving Hancock's The Young Engineers in Arizona, part of another series of boys' books starring another pair of upright young gentleman of the early part of the 20th century. In Arizona they defeat "the Man-Killer," a stretch of quicksand, to get the railroad through, while fighting a corrupt gambler in the nearby town of Paloma. Lots of gunplay, steadfast good guys and dime-novel bad guys (one of Our Heroes even comments that they act like dime-store villains).

This is actually a series spinoff with a long history. It started out as "The Grammar School Boys," following the adventures of Dick Prescott, Tom Reade, Harry Hazelton, plus Dave Darrin and Dan Dalzell. The "High School Boys" and "The High School Boys' Vacation Series" continue their exploits. Then, interestingly enough, the books split into three series. Tom and Harry become "The Young Engineers," Dick goes to West Point in one series, then is one of "The Boys of the Army," while Dave and Darrin first go to Annapolis and then into the Navy in "The Dave Darrin Series."

Interestingly enough, Hancock did, among his other series, a four-series "alternate history" of what might happen if the U.S. had not entered World War I and the "Huns" invaded America.

Also finished Lucy Fitch Perkins' The Scotch Twins, which I found delightful. Unlike the books about the younger twins, who do merely cute, everyday things, this story about Jean and Jock, children of a shepherd, has a great storyline about them defeating the dishonest gamekeeper of the late laird, along with their new friend Alan. These kids would have been great at psychological warfare!


A Coupla Things

The spam has slowed down, if you could call it that. It's clocking about 20% filling the box every three hours. This leaves me room for some charming messages from someone called "Nicole" who gave the gas attendant "head" while he filled her tank and people who are trying to sell me discount drugs. The e-mail box has become as annoying as the mailbox and the telephone. And to think they are supposed to be a service!

I got a shock at the Town Center Barnes & Noble on Friday--found a copy of my favorite cross-stitch magazine after an absence of almost three years! The last issue I had of Future Publications' Quick & Easy was Christmas of 2000; the Millenium apparently ate it. :-) Now it turns up after I haven't done a stitch of the craft for over a year. Confession: I bought one anyway.


» Thursday, September 25, 2003
Fewer Pork Products

The spam deluge may be subsiding.

As you may remember, on Sunday night, knowing I was going on jury duty and would not be able to check e-mail and empty the mailbox every couple of hours, sat down with Eudora and set up filters for every single one of those wretched Microslop impostors coming into our box. It took me four hours, working every time a different one came in, but I finally managed to identify all the permutations. Monday through Wednesday, this worked fine.

Last night I started getting messages with different keywords in the From line and the Subject line. It was a week since the virus had broken out and I assumed it was probably programmed to avoid filters by morphing itself after a certain number of days. Let's say I was pissed. I spent last night and this morning correcting, consolidating, and sharpening my filters so that they were all herded obediently toward the Trash folder again.

This may be the eye of the storm, but I have noticed late this afternoon that the spam seemed to be slowing down. I could set Eudora to check mail every fifteen minutes and only get one or two "Microslop" spams where I'd been getting five and ten before. I noticed amusedly that this has happened, probably coincidentally, after I responded to Earthlink's usual "How Did We Do?" e-mail that they send after you call tech support. I basically told them off for their grossly inefficient spam filters and indicated that I was highly displeased with their service and would no longer recommend Earthlink to any of my friends. I can't help thinking they must be getting a lot of e-mail like this, perhaps even membership cancellations.


Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Green- Are you ready to go from all things green to the vibrant colors of autumn? Or for those of you down under, from winter to spring green? What do you like best about the change of seasons?

Woohoo! Did you read my previous post? I was positively dancing around replacing summer decorations with fall ones. According to the Weather Channel, we may go down to the seventies on Sunday, with lows in the fifties. No more A/C!

Twosome: Eyed- Have you eyed anything lately that you absolutely had to have? Or have you had your eye on something for a while now that you want to splurge on?

Well, yes...that $75 I got from jury duty is positively egging me on to get the first Star Blazers set from Deep Discount DVD.

Threesome: Monster- Are you a monster movie/ thriller fan? If not, what kind of movies do you like?

Never liked any type of horror movie. I was the kid who was forbidden to watch The Wizard of Oz until I was twelve because the first time I was allowed to stay up past my bedtime and see it (it ended at eight and I was seven at the time) I woke up with screaming nightmares about the witch. Oddly, the scene that scared me the most? Not the witch setting the Scarecrow on fire, or riding on her broomstick, or any of the more violent scenes, but the one where she can see Dorothy in her crystal ball. That really creeped me out, that someone miles away could see her.

The Thursday Threesome folks also ask:

So...what TV themes are your favorites? Did you like the actual shows, or just the theme songs? Also, were there any themes that you could not stand?

Let me tell you about that. From 1969, when I got my own cassette recorder, until about 1984, I collected my favorite television theme songs and even musical exerpts from favorite shows. I have eight and a half half hours of nothing but TV themes on cassette. Because I also watched reruns, I have themes on tape such as the original closing theme to Fury, the original theme to Daktari (not the African-drums sounding one), plus things like the cast of The Mothers in Law doing "There's Gonna Be a Wedding," Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard singing "Down the Drain" from the same series, etc. Also theme songs from selected TV movies like The Last Giraffe. I never watched the movie, but I still love the theme song, "Now I Know Where I Belong."

In fact, every September I would make a list of all the new shows and listen to all their theme songs. I would check off if I didn't like it and was not going to record it or that I liked it and would record it, or if I had to listen to it again. This is how I ended up taping songs to series I never watched, but loved the songs: "Everybody Needs Friends," for instance, from 13 Queens Boulevard (anyone remember that one?). Usually it would take one or two listens to make me decide if I wanted to keep a song. The song I fell for the fastest (it wasn't even done when I decided I had to record it)--the instrumental theme to Spencer's Pilots, another forgotten series, I'm sure.

Favorites? I'm sure I'm going to forget some, but, besides the songs mentioned above, "Believe It or Not" (Greatest American Hero), Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere, and "Makin' Our Dreams Come True" (Laverne and Shirley).

And all the theme songs to Lassie, of course. :-)


Ding! Dong! The Summer's Dead!

Woohoo! I spent late yesterday afternoon ripping down all my summery decorations and stuffing them back into the plastic bags in which they reside during the better seasons of the year. James came home to find me estatically draping an autumn-colored garland on the main ceiling beam in our den. I'd already put out the autumn flag banner, the autumn doormat, the autumn glass door wreath, the Indian corn for the front door, the oak leaf garland in the living room, the autumn bouquet on the kitchen table, the autumn napkins, the autumn plaque in the den...I think you get the picture. :-D


Always a Pool, Never A Juror

Was released from jury duty today without having ever been a juror. Maybe next time. I got an interesting look at modern courtroom procedures and finished two books and four decorating magazines, earning $75 in the process.

Works for me.


» Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Scam o Rama, or The Lads from Lagos

Speaking of spam, this is a very funny site I discovered about those Nigerian spam letters. Some people have actually corresponded with these dingbats and have documented their e-mail conversations (Updates, on the right hand side).

If these aren't amusing enough, you can scroll down to "Funny Links," of which I've examined only a few. The "Third Annual Nigerian Email Conference" is a riot. Try "Scam-O-Matic" and create your own Nigerian scam letter. Priceless.



We've been with these folks (well, originally with Mindspring) for 12 years, and in all those years I've never had a bad word to say about them.

Right now my attitude is "Earthlink sucks."

I called them about the neverending spambot, and their attitude boiled down is "We can't do anything." I have talked to people that have other ISPs. When this spam explosion happened, they called them and their ISPs put filters at the server level, either to not accept attachments at all or to reject attachments over a certain size. Earthlink says they can't deal with accounts at an individual level.

I then told them what I had done in Eudora. Sunday night, in about a four hour time slot (not working all four hours), I worked out filters for all these e-mails. Even though they supposedly coming from different sources, they contain a stock subject line and sender name, or, in one instance, a phrase unique to the spam. I just told Eudora to shift any e-mails with any of these stock items into the trash. It's worked beautifully. I just don't like leaving my computer on all the time, and worse, having to have it do work it doesn't have to do.

Now, I'm professionally untrained at this type of computer work and yet I managed to work it out; why can't Earthlink add these same parameters to their known spam block definitions and do the same thing? The only way you can spam block on Earthlink is by a specific e-mail address, not by subject line or sender name, which is massively stupid.

I've thought about changing the address as well, but this is our "business" address--I can simply contact our friends and tell them we've changed our address (which I actually sorta did; I told them to use an alternate e-mail address), but we are signed up with a number of Important Things at the main address, like with VeriSign for my domain name and Yahoo for the domain space itself and I wouldn't know where to begin to go about changing them.



» Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Here Come Da Judge

I've been on jury duty for the past two days. I've never been on jury duty and am finding it fascinating despite the long hours of waiting. Other people are sitting there complaining about how much time they are wasting. I notice most of these complaining folks turn up with nothing to read and nothing to do: no stitching, pocket computer, game, etc. I'm sorry for people who can't amuse themselves for awhile. Yes, the chairs in the jury assembly room aren't Laz-y-Boy quality. There's only one snack machine and one drinks machine and one coffee machine. But I don't think it justifies the complaining. Trial by jury is a right in this country, even if it's a frivolous claim. I hope none of these people have to be on the other side of the coin someday, trusting those "bored" jurors to get them out of a scrape.

Anyway, we were first divided up into eight different panels and court procedure explained to us, then we all took an oath. The panel designations are how you know whether to report the next day. You call a recorded message after six each day you serve to see if your panel needs to report. (In DeKalb County, where I got a jury summons many years ago, they divide you into panels when you get your summons. You then call up Sunday night to see if you have to report or not. In my case, I didn't.)

After waiting all morning on Monday, I was one of 30 people called to possibly serve on a jury. This was an insurance claims case, with details we could gather from the questions the different attorneys asked us. The more questions they asked, the more details you could add to what was about to go on.

It looked somewhat like a TV courtroom yet not: for one thing the lights were sure a lot brighter than they are on the box! There were banks and banks of those horrible reflective fluorescent lights like we have at work.

The other thing I thought was amusing--and the man next to me also commented on it: There's always a scene in the courtroom drama where the two counsels approach the bench and talk to the judge. They never whisper and don't you always wonder how the jury can help hearing them talk? I don't know what they did in the old days--retreat to the judge's chamber or whisper, perhaps--but at the Cobb County courtrooms the moment the attorneys walk up to the bench they turn on "white noise," a hissing sound very like the static of a television station off for the night. I thought that was kind of cool.

Also, there's no longer a court reporter typing frantically; the court reporter has a mask that looks like the bottom half of what high-altitude pilots wear for oxygen. She repeats everything everyone says into a dictating machine and I guess it is transcribed later. There are also microphones at various places in the courtroom that the court transcript can be called from.

I was not called on that jury, nor was anyone else who'd been in a car accident.

Today I didn't have to be in until nine. I was almost called for another jury pick, but before things started, we were all sent back to the jury selection room. About 11:30 panels one through six were sent home for the day while panels six to eight had to stay for a possible afternoon session. Panel 6 had also had to wait through a two and a half hour lunch yesterday and some of their folks were bitterly unhappy about it. I went home willingly because I wasn't feeling good, but had they asked Panel 5 to stay I would have just gone in the park to eat like I did yesterday--alas, I forgot to bring bread for the sparrows anyway!--and gone back to my book. What's the fuss?

Only Panels three and four have to report tomorrow, so I'm off to work. But I still have to call after 6 p.m. to see if I've been dismissed for the week or have to go in on Thursday.


» Sunday, September 21, 2003
No Inoculation Needed

I do not have a virus. As we read further on this thing, we realized a lot of people, including one friend, were getting tons of these spam e-mails supposedly generated because we have a virus. People were complaining in newsgroups that they did not have the virus but were getting tons of e-mail.

But just to be sure, we followed the instructions on Symantec's site for getting rid of the bugger: first James did a simple Regedit move that was cut and pasted from Symantec's site. This was supposed to generate a "value" in the startup registry key which we were supposed to delete. However, everything in this particular key was already supposed to be there. There was nothing extra to delete.

We then followed the rest of the instructions: kept the computer in safe mode and ran the virus scan, which had been updated 2 hours earlier.

Guess what, no virus.

I have managed to configure the filters in Eudora to switch all these spam e-mails to the trash, but it means I have to leave my computer on 24-7 so my e-mail box won't get clogged up. There is no way for me alone to stop these messages at the server level. That should be Earthlink's job, yet only a few of these messages get into the known spam folder (which doesn't count for my 10MB storage space).

Other folks have noted that it's "tapered off." I'm still getting 80-90 messages every three hours.


» Friday, September 19, 2003
The Big Sneeze

Well, I'm hacked. My computer somehow has gotten a virus.

This is a new virus, just identified late yesterday, which probably explains why when I ran Norton yesterday it said I had all the correct virus definitions and did not identify a virus in my computer. I seem to have gotten it instantly. It's very puzzling.

For one thing, I do not open attachments unless I know who they are and then I still look at the file name carefully before I open it. I've seen "photo" documents identified as image.jpg.scr or image.jpg.bat, which of course means it's actually an executable. I haven't opened any Word .doc files that could have a virus embedded in the macro. I haven't followed any links in e-mails to possibly infected web pages. Heck, if I don't know where the e-mail is from, it just gets tosses in the trash folder. It's probably just an ad for Viagra anyway.

I also haven't downloaded any executables lately, and I only download those from official sites.

The other thing is the distribution this thing is doing. We use Eudora, not Microsoft Virus Vector...I mean Outlook. But it is totally possible that whomever wrote the virus included some type of option that makes it work in Eudora. But as I understand these viruses, what they do is shoot off e-mails to people in your address book. I have looked at the bounce messages and I know none of these people. I have no idea how I could be "automatically sending" e-mails to people who aren't in my address book.

In any case, now I've got to download new virus definitions when I get home, clean the stupid hard drive off, and go into the registry. (I'll get James to do the last; he's the one with the A+ Cert .)

What a mess.


The Friday Five

1. Who is your favorite singer/musician? Why?

Rupert Holmes.

2. What one singer/musician can you not stand? Why?

Just one? Anyone with a snotty celebrity attitude or who thinks he/she can do no wrong and can be let off from crimes because they're a Big Name. And anyone who has rude or violent lyrics. Our ex-neighbors once had a stereo blaring a very explicit song about a woman masturbating and then having sex. That isn't music, it's pornography.

3. If your favorite singer wasn't in the music business, do you think you would still like him/her as a person?

Oh, yes! He's one of the sweetest, kindest people I've ever met. And he writes wonderful stories and scripts to boot.

4. Have you been to any concerts? If yes, who put on the best show?

Hm. Moody Blues. So loud I couldn't hear the music, if that makes any sense. Jimmy Buffett. Music was okay, but I only went because a friend wanted to go. Lakewood Amphetheatre (or whatever its corporate name is now) sucks big time. I prefer Chastain Park. Peter, Paul and Mary, I would say.

5. What are your thoughts on downloading free music online vs. purchasing albums? Do you feel the RIAA is right in its pursuit to stop people from dowloading free music?

Well, I'd feel better about the RIAA's self-righteous protests if the artists were the ones actually losing the money, not some suits in an office. But no, I don't think people should be downloading everything and not buying CDs; it's neither fair nor legal. It would be nice to have a site where you could just download a particular song you heard and not the whole album. I'd be willing to pay a dollar or two for a special song. My problem is, any of the music I've downloaded from WinMX or Kazaa Lite were not the sort of things the RIAA is protesting against. They're trying to prevent people from file-sharing popular new singers like Britney Spears and J-Lo and all that other trash. I'm not interested in "ho's and homeboys." When I download music I want real music like Bing Crosby or Big Band or New Age. That's all I've ever collected from file-sharing networks.

98% of what I download on .mp3 is old radio programs. Who wants J-Lo when you can have Jack Benny? (And yes, I intended the joke in that statement. )


» Thursday, September 18, 2003
Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Darwin's- Hmm... Ever run across someone who could be a Darwin awards candidate? Can you share your story? If not, what's your favorite story (true or not)?

I don't think anything can match the nonsense I've read in the books, even if some of it is made up. Although I'm continually amazed by the stupidity of people who drive the freeways of Atlanta.

Twosome: Survival of- What kicks you into survival mode during the week? Kids? School? Driving? Spouse (nope, better leave that one alone!) The News? What makes you yearn for your next break?

Anything involving numbers (which is practically my entire job).

Threesome: the Fittest- Hey, how are you doing in the fitness wars? Are you the drill sergeant leading the troops on the five mile hikes or are you the person waiting back at camp with the chips and dip ready for when they come to their senses?

In the fitness wars I'm in the back, slogging to keep up. I was up to fifteen minutes on the exercise bike at the beginning of summer. Then came vacation and then came bronchitis; it took me a month to get my lungs in good enough shape to even try the bike. I'm back to five minutes again because my joints hurt so badly.


Guess what happened when the A/C repairman got here.

Yep, it worked. To his credit, he took the cover off, checked inside to see if there was a problem with the contacts, etc. and didn't charge me for the call.

In the meantime, while I was waiting for him I cleaned out the spare room closet. This might not sound momentous to anyone else, but it was for me! I tossed out two 33-gallon garbage bags worth of old papers, rearranged, consolidated, and put other things away. You can (1) see the floor now, (2) things that needed to be folded are, and (3) I can get to the "Christmas boxes," which is where I stash the Christmas presents I buy all year long. Discovered that the only gifts I have left to buy are for the family proper: my mom, James' mom and sister and niece. Cool.


» Wednesday, September 17, 2003
What the...

I got home this afternoon to an almighty hissing sound that was too familiar--the den was still fairly cool, but starting to get stuffy. I hitched the dog to the leash and dragged her in the back yard--actually she dragged me, because there were two cats nonchalantly sitting there--and our brand-new A/C motor was stopped dead in its tracks! It had failed fairly recently, as the motor still smelled hot. I checked to see if the breaker had snapped, then called R.S. Andrews while opening all the windows.

They're sending someone out tomorrow.


» Tuesday, September 16, 2003
I saw this ad flashing on my bank's website and clicked on it.

Unlimited teller visits? You have to pay at banks now if you make too many teller visits? What the...?


» Friday, September 12, 2003
Good heavens, John Ritter died! I didn't like Three's Company much (the British original, Man About the House, was much funnier), and I remember him best as Reverend Fordwick on The Waltons.


Friday Five

1. Is the name you have now the same name that's on your birth certificate? If not, what's changed?

My birth certificate says "Linda Maria Lanzi." I started using my middle initial in junior high after my cousin Jimmy Lanzi married a girl named Linda and she was "Linda Lanzi," too. Then I got married. For some absurd reason when you get married the Government starts using your maiden name as a middle name on things, so after I was first married I was receiving stuff saying "Linda L. Young." Excuse me. I'm not ashamed of my maiden name. I was proud of being "Mike and Mary Lanzi's daughter." But my middle name is still "Maria," not "Lanzi." I sign it "Linda M. Young." I noticed in about a year the payroll people got the message...

Actually it was really Linda Maria Rosa Lanzi. At confirmation I took my great-grandmother's name. (I didn't like either of my grandmother's names, Anna or Matilda, very much. Besides, if I'd picked Matilda, my middle names would be "Maria Matilda" like Amy's doll in What Katy Did Next! :-)

2. If you could change your name (first, middle and/or last), what would it be?

Oh, gosh, I've always hated my name. Everyone was named Linda back in the 50s. Linda was Danny Williams' daughter on Make Room for Daddy. There were two Lindas in first grade besides me, Linda Lonardo and Linda Azzoli. You might guess some favorite names from what I've named my lead female characters in stories: there's Lissa (for Melissa), Lyssa, Tessa, Carly, and Cally (short for Callandra). But I don't know if I'd want to be any of those names.

3. Why were you named what you were? (Is there a story behind it? Who specifically was responsible for naming you?)

It was either Linda or Barbara. Those were the big names that year that my mother liked. I wasn't Barbara, according to her, because of my cousin Barbara...but then I have a cousin Linda who's closer to my age than cousin Barbara, so I haven't quite figured out what my mother was thinking. One name I wouldn't have been named was Susan, because my mom loathes the nickname "Susie."

4. Are there any names you really hate or love? What are they and why?

Oh, gosh, that would be too long. I do like the name Melissa, although it got so popular for a while there was a cascade of Melissas. I like a lot of the simple New Testament-chiefly boys' names: Matthew, Mark, John, Peter, James. David is one of my favorite boys' names.

5. Is the analysis of your name at accurate? How or how isn't it?

Well, this is what says:

"Your first name of Linda has made you a hard worker with a meticulous sense of detail. You have a great deal of patience and independence, and you can be relied upon to complete your undertakings. You are stable, trustworthy, homeloving, and logical in practical matters, but rather unresponsive to suggestions from others. You resist change. This name does not give you great ambitions, vision, or imagination. It frustrates the expression of your softer, feminine qualities in that you find it difficult to express the depth of your feelings for those you love. It limits you to practical matters of the day, filling your life with detailed routine. hard work, and monotony."

I'd say it's mostly accurate. I sure do resist change; I'm like a budgie in that respect! I don't know if my "softer feminine qualities" are all that much frustrated in expressing feelings. I am stuck with detailed routine and monotony at work, that's for sure, and I am patient at the things I love.

The health assessment, however, is spot on:

"Weaknesses in the health could affect the intestinal organs, causing growths, ulcers, constipation, or glandular conditions. Problems from head tension affecting the eyes, ears, sinuses, or teeth could arise."


» Thursday, September 11, 2003
Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Sticks and stones- Are you an outdoorsy sort? Would you prefer to spend all your spare time hiking, biking, swimming, etc? What's your favorite outdoor activity?

Outside makes me sneeze. The sun gives me migraines. Fresh air makes me sleepy; my mom found out when I was a baby the sure way to get me to fall asleep was to put me outside in the baby carriage--fresh air conked me right out. I would like to go biking again, but that involves using the truck, heaving the bike up into the bed, and driving to the bike trail. I don't dare ride around my neighborhood now the way I rode around my old one: people "drag race" through the area.

Twosome: May break my bones,- Have you ever broken a bone? Or needed stitches? Or been hurt badly enough you should have gone to the hospital but didn't?

In 1980 I fell face-first onto the concrete floor at work and needed three stitches in my nose. It knocked the bones askew and narrowed my right nasal passage, but since I could still breath Blue Cross wouldn't pay to fix it because it would be "cosmetic surgery." (Blows raspberry here.) Several years ago I fell and fractured an elbow trying to learn to roller skate. Future hubby had to talk me into going to the emergency room at midnight; I didn't get home till 5 a.m. Oh, and last year I tore the ligaments in my right foot. Now there was a "fun" experience; I actually did more damage than actually breaking the fool thing.

Threesome: But words will never harm me- The pen is mightier than the sword and words do truly have the power to hurt. But sometimes we slip and just can't help but vent our anger toward that slow moving driver or the jerk who cut in front of us and took the last of what we needed. What's your favorite insult to hurl? Do you try to censor yourself when the kiddos are around?

If I had kids I would watch my language more. I have to watch what I say around Bandit. He repeats anything I say too much.

My favorite insult is, "I hope when you get home your mother runs out from under the porch and bites you on the leg!"

The weekly question is:

When you are feeling down...what movie(s) are guaranteed to lift your spirits? Why? Also, are there any particular scenes that bring a smile to your face?

Hm. Just movies? Galaxy Quest always helps. "It's a rock! It doesn't have any vulnerable spots!" And every single scene Tony Shalhoub is in. Or Spaceballs. I laugh helplessly at the idiot "comb the desert" scene and also John Hurt's cameo with "Michigan J. Alien."

But there are a lot of cheer-uppers in our TV collection, too. If I'm depressed James will usually ask me if I want to watch "Spider," the episode of From the Earth to the Moon about building the lunar module--"Bob, how much do these windows weigh?" "I'd say about four to five ounces." "Bob!" ... "You're looking more and more like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape." "Funny you should say that. I've got some guys building a tunnel..." ... "To the person tapping the pencil; if you value your life, please stop." -- and the other ep "That's All There Is," a humorous look at the Apollo 12 space mission.

Almost any episode of Remember WENN will do it, too...

Now if I need a good cry it depends on how much time I have. If I only have a half hour I'll watch Joe Dimino's last Ask the Manager. If I have an hour I'll watch "The Achievement" on The Waltons where John Boy gets his book published. If I have 90 minutes I'll watch "Lassie's Odyssey" and have a really good cry.


J.Lo, Ben Delay Wedding

And we should care...why?


Microsoft Acknowledges New Windows Vulnerability

From what I can tell, a map of Windows' structure would look like chicken wire.


» Tuesday, September 09, 2003
I'm hoping the weather may have "turned" slightly; we are having temps in the low 80s, although over the weekend it does promise to creep up to 87°. But the breeze seems cooler and the air isn't so stifling, and the past two mornings it's been cool and lovely outside. Perhaps fall is finally, finally on the way?


» Sunday, September 07, 2003
BTW, I got a kick out of tonight's Conquest, or rather the promo for it: the show was about weapons of the ancient Romans and their adversaries. The promo had the title as "Weapons of the Babarians." Lovely! They're about to be attacked by French elephants! :-)


Well, managed to make it out of the Yellow Daisy Festival almost unscathed.

This is the big arts and crafts festival held at Stone Mountain Park every second weekend of September each year. Two years ago we bought our table and chairs there, from a marvelous furniture-maker from Alabama. Our master bathroom medicine cabinet also comes from these folks. I could buy every type of furniture these folks make--but we have no room for it. I still drool. It's plain, sturdy, real wood furniture, rather Shaker-style in its simplicity.

The items for sale at the Festival range from harmless geegaws of the clutter type to cooking items (sauces, soup mixes, special bread cutters, containers) to useful things like furniture, yard items, lawn furniture, etc. It takes us about three hours to see everything, and we skip the obvious booths: cutesy things made of flowered fabric, children's clothing, funky garden ornaments, etc. We did make our annual stop at Ginny's Fudge--they have a sugarless type--and I was sorely disappointed at our breakfast: I decided to get a Philly cheese-steak sandwich (without the cheese, of course, which I loathe) and could only eat half of it, it was so heavily peppered. I was starving, but my mouth burning completely destroyed any appetite I had. Needless to say, I spent a lot of the route feeling decidedly lightheaded and welcomed all the samples.

I lost it at a little booth where a woman had made rustic looking ornaments out of wood in the shapes of sleighs, sleds, and canoes with little fuzzy animals in them. One of the things was a "birchbark" canoe with wood trimmings, filled with "pine branches" and a little stuffed fox, asleep. I never could resist foxes and had to buy one. I think this is supposed to be a Christmas or winter type ornament, but I'm going to go to Michael's or JoAnn, whomever has more realistic looking silk leaves, and get some autumn finery to fill in the ends of the canoe so it will match the library's autumn motif more. Or maybe I'll just leave it downstairs in the den. It's awfully cute.


» Friday, September 05, 2003
The Friday Five:

1. What housekeeping chore(s) do you hate doing the most?

Scrubbing the bathtub because I have to get down on my knees. As well padded as the rest of me is, my knees seem to be completely bare--even kneeling down on a rug hurts.

2. Are there any that you like or don't mind doing?

Not a chance. It takes me away from my bird, my books, and my website.

3. Do you have a routine throughout the week or just clean as it's needed?

No, there's weekly cleaning. If I were smart I'd do it a little every night but I'm so pooped when I get home from work that I don't. I've been trying to get the clothes all washed on Friday night; most of the time it works, but it's getting them folded that's the problem. It doesn't take long, but it seems to be hard to fit in.

4. Do you have any odd cleaning/housekeeping quirks or rules?

James seems to think it's quirky I want to clean some things at all. :-) He wonders why, since the bed stays uncovered all day (he gets up after I do), that I make it when I get home at night, only to crawl in it and mess it up six hours later. I dunno, but to me a bed with straightened sheets and already puffed pillows is just nicer to get into.

5. What was the last thing you cleaned?"

Hm. I wiped out one of the sinks, I think. Downstairs bathroom. Hard to remember.


» Thursday, September 04, 2003
While I'm DVD Wishing...

Foul Play and the Chuck Jones Kipling cartoons on a collection--these were done for television and were superb adaptations, with Roddy McDowall narrating: "The White Seal," "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," and "Mowgli's Brothers." Forget about the invented Jungle Book 2. These are the real thing.


Awaiting That Christmasy Feeling

(I'm depressed...I can't help it. I always wish for Christmas when I'm depressed...)

I was overjoyed to hear that The Homecoming was finally arriving on DVD. It's one of my favorite Christmas movies and I wanted something a little more permanent than videotape. Every time I play one of my old collection I am reminded of the ravages time takes on magnetic media. I have a commercial VHS copy of The Homecoming, which makes the quality a little better, but I expect that to deteriorate over time as well, since my commercial VHS copy of Little House on the Prairie: "Christmas at Plum Creek" is already beginning to falter somewhat.

"Christmas at Plum Creek" and another holiday episode, "A Christmas They Never Forgot," are both on DVD, but each paired with another episode I wasn't interested in. I could take or leave "A Christmas They Never Forgot" anyway, since the anachronisms bother me, but "Plum Creek" is rather a favorite--think Little House meets O'Henry--and I might have bought the DVD this year nevertheless if I hadn't seen "A Little House on the Prairie Christmas" listed on Deep Discount DVD: this set has both episodes. (I'm amused to note I couldn't find a pic of the DVD cover on either of the "big" sites--DDD or even link is a distributor I've never heard of.)

Wishlist of other great holiday movies/specials that should be on DVD: The House Without a Christmas Tree (perhaps on a double bill with its sequel The Thanksgiving Treasure), the marvelous Ed Asner/Maureen Stapleton film The Gathering, Chuck Jones' A Very Merry Cricket (maybe we could have a Chester-the-cricket set, with the delightful, original Cricket in Times Square and the rather forced Bicentennial sequel Yankee Doodle Cricket?), John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together, and the Geraldine Page version of Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory.


Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Red- Stop! Take a moment from your busy day and let us know what it's like now that the kids are back in school. Hey, even if you don't have kids, I'm betting the traffic pattern has changed on your commute! ...and not for the better, -eh?

The traffic was bad last week, but this week is better. I suspect everyone finally has their schedules finalized. I have started taking a different sidestreet to the main road in the morning: previously I was going down our street to another street which lead to the main road. After five mornings of dodging kids in dark clothing when it's pitch black outside (I leave at 6:20 a.m. or thereabouts and there are already kids outside waiting for the school bus), I'm now going the opposite way--if the kids at the apartment complex are waiting for a school bus, at least they're not doing it in the middle of a narrow street!

{N.B. 09/05: I went "the old way" this morning--one of the kids was doing a cartwheel in the middle of the street! Arrrgh!}

Twosome: Yellow- The leaves will be yellow and gold soon in New England! Who's your team this year? Oh, college of course! (Okay, you can go NFL if you'd like <g>...)

Team? You mean football? Who watches football? I like dog agility contests and horse jumping...

Threesome: Green- Go ahead, tell us what is happening in your neck of the woods as Autumn approaches. I've heard tales of the ash trees turning golden in Pennsylvania while central California is still in triple digits. What are you seeing when you're out on your porch?

Sorry, all the trees are doing here are still panting in 80 degree weather. The leaves are limp, not golden.


» Wednesday, September 03, 2003
There's Good News and Bad News...

For instance, this is good news, the long-awaited WWII Disney set, including Victory Through Air Power.

There's also this, which features the Disney "Man in Space" offerings done for the "Disneyland" television series in the 1950s. Not sure what else is on it besides that--maybe a couple of the classic teaching films released to schools, like "Our Friend the Sun"? Time will tell...

These will both be released on December 2.

Then there's Steve Martin's update of Cheaper by the Dozen. Of course I wondered how they would improve on the original movie, which was pretty accurate, except for the fact that the real Frank Gilbreth was overweight and Clifton Webb was thin. But, hey, I'm always interested in a good period piece...was looking forward to the 1920s background.

Fuggeddaboudit. This isn't the Gilbreth story in any shape or form, except for ripping off the title because of the family's twelve kids. The family is named Baker, it's set in modern day, and dad isn't an efficency expert, he's a football coach and mom's a writer. Shame on 20th Century Fox for promoting this as a "remake" of the Gilbreth story--it looks like a simple promotion for a bunch of teen stars, including ex-Lizzie McGuire actress Hilary Duff. There's even an overweight kid in the cast, for crude humor purposes, I'm sure.

I have now lost any interest I had in seeing this.


» Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Friday Five (late since I was at Dragoncon)

1. Are you going to school this year?

No, but I have thought about going back to school to get a web designer's certificate. Problem is, I can hardly stay awake at work/commuting. I'm not sure if I could stay awake during classes, either, especially since all schools have fluorescent lights now.

2. If yes, where are you going (high school, college, etc.)? If no, when did you graduate?

I was graduated from high school in 1974. I did two years of college and also did a year of business school in 1981.

3. What are/were your favorite school subjects?

English and history.

4. What are/were your least favorite school subjects?

Math, especially algebra and trig {barf!}. Numbers are God's way of punishing us for our sins. (I actually liked geometry--it made sense--and I did get an A in Business Math. But then that was about money, not about unknown quantities like "X" and "Y.")

5. Have you ever had a favorite teacher? Why was he/she a favorite?

Ninth grade. Charles Abosamra, my English teacher and also head of the English department at Hugh B. Bain. He was tough, fair, and humorous.


» Monday, September 01, 2003
Dragoncon Days 3 and 4

Yesterday we had another early morning: our first panel was Gil Gerard, the star of the Buck Rogers series. He's aged nicely if being a bit more stocky these days, and is very funny and personable. We learned about the way Universal Studios neglected the series and how he'd hoped for more character-driven scripts.

We returned to the dealer's room afterward for another look around, then returned in the middle of Anne McCaffrey's panel. There had been a contest to decorate "dragon's eggs" (really ostrich eggs) and she was just ending her chat and beginning to judge the entrants as we arrived.

We had come in the room early for James Marsters' panel and a good thing: the huge room was packed. Security had to request people to fill in seats and it took 20 minutes to accomplish. Marsters, the evil "Spike" from Buffy, worked up a crowd fevor I hadn't seen since I witnessed William Shatner's appearance at a Star Trek con over 20 years ago. He was quite an entertaining speaker--but the capper of the panel was caused by a woman who yelled "Take off your shirt!" from the audience. As can be expected with a good-looking actor, Marsters has become quite tired of these silly requests. He asked the woman to come up and remove her shirt instead--which she did. Well, he challenged, you're not finished...whereupon she removed her brassiere as well! It quite shocked him.

Not to mention all of us!

The next panel was "The Ambassador Will See You Now," featuring the ambassadorial cast from Babylon 5. Mira Furlan, however, had had to leave earlier due to an emergency, so we weren't graced with her presence. However, the rest of the group, Stephen Austen, Stephen Furst, Bill Mumy, and, for about half the panel, Julie Caitlin Brown, carried on in a lively manner. They had some stories about getting their roles--Furst's was particularly funny; he basically walked into the office acting like Vir due to a misunderstanding and won the role without audition--and being in extensive makeup.

We then attended a preview of the last Lord of the Rings film, Return of the King, then James went back to the dealer's room to pick up a few things and I went downstairs to see Peter Woodward again...or at least I tried to. They had put him in a very small meeting room--the one we'd been in the previous night for the Gerry Anderson panel--and it was SRO. I went to most of the "Mythology and Babylon 5" panel, which was okay, but it rather gives me pause when fans of a show cannot remember the names of the main characters!

James and I met up again in the big Centennial room for the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company's Sunday night performance, The Island of Dr. Moreau. Usually ARTC is scheduled before the masquerade, but this year it was being held at the Atlanta Civic Center, some blocks away. There were also a couple of other panels scheduled at the same time. Predictably, given that they were usually the opener, the ARTC folks wondered if people were just there to hold good seats for the masquerade. This year they found out--the show was extremely well-attended and the audience was left breathless at the conclusion of the story...the few seconds of silence were then followed by thunderous applause and a standing ovation.

We then made our way home for the night.

Unfortunately James had to work today, so I was on my own. I went in early for the Babylon 5 cast reunion panel, which was a bit understaffed: Mira, of course, had had to leave, and Julie was absent as well, and Walter Koenig had "declined to participate," whatever that meant. However, Peter Woodward (who said he thought of himself as a Babylon 5 "cousin" since he was from its sister series, Crusade), Stephen Furst, and Brad Dourif kept us ably entertained for an hour. Peter continued to try to embarrass the translator for the deaf.

After this panel I purchased memberships for next year and then talked to some friends for a while. Then I attended the Buffy "cast reunion," which was not quite as crowded as the James Marsters' panel yesterday, but only because some folks had already left. It was packed in pretty well nevertheless. The other panelists were Andy Hallett ("Lorne" of Angel), James Leary ("Clem"), Imari Lymon ("Kennedy"), and Danny Strong ("Jonathan"). Most of the questions seemed to be directed at Marsters and occasionally I felt badly for the others. However, the panel was a lot of fun. All the panelists played very fast and loose and were downright hysterical at times.

Finally I attened what was supposed to be the Mighty Rassilon Art Players' production of "Sherlock Holmes and the Crime of the Century." MRAP is a fun little group composed of many of the same members of ARTC who have been putting on comedic parodies on SF subjects for over fifteen years (they started out with Doctor Who-based skits, hence the name). However, the DragonCon programmers did not understand that the play had to be performed on a weekend and had scheduled it for today instead, when three of its principal players were at work! So Bill Ritch and other members of the company did a retrospective of MRAP skits over the years. While some of the humor was topical, they are still very funny. I enjoyed it, but I did, sadly, notice that many people walked out when they found out the play wasn't to be presented. :-(

At this point I had to get ready for work tomorrow myself and left. It certainly had been a fun--and too short!--weekend, even if we were both pooped!