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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» Tuesday, March 30, 2004
So Angry I Could Spit
Thank God Bank One is so capricious.

They use the old credit card trick of moving up your billing due date, so that your payment is late and you get a late charge. So I noticed they had moved my April payment up to the 13th and went into my online banking account to schedule it.

I usually check online banking three or four times a week anyway, and as always, went into pending charges to see if there was anything still outstanding.

There were three charges, totalling $2,000!

I called the bank card people immediately. Someone had used my check card number to make calls via French Telecom!

Please note that my check card is with me, and not missing.

A lady I talk to online had this happen to her several weeks ago, so it made me even angrier. They have canceled my card effective of my call and I have to call the bank tomorrow to start the process to get my money back. The lady at the bank was very nice. She also didn't sound surprised, so I wonder if the bank has gotten a lot of calls about this.


Tuesday Twosome


1. Rain or Snow?

Depends on the intensity. I prefer driving in snow than in a hard driving rain. Much safer, unless the snow has ice under it.

2. Music from the radio or compact disc?

CD. God, I hate the radio.

3. Yellow light: "slow down" or "go faster" ?

Depends on how much of a hurry I'm in, road conditions, how fast I'm going and would someone rear end me if I stopped for the light.

4. Freeway or feeder road?

Freeway if it's clear. High traffic times, surface road all the way.

5. Road Rage: "what's that?" or "Heck yeah, and you better not get in my way!"

I just swear a lot. People who get into physical violence are just plain weird.


Broadcaster Alistair Cooke Dies


Someone really needs to release Alistair Cooke's America on DVD, even if the final part is now out of date. Perhaps a commentary or a note could be added to the final part by someone who worked with Cooke, or a historian. It was a wonderful series and a fine tribute to Cooke.

BBC News Announcement

BBC Obituary

Cooke's Producer's Memories of Him


My sis-in-law sent this one awhile back:

1. WHAT COLOR PANTS ARE YOU WEARING? Um, right now I'm in a duster.

2. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Nothing. The timer on the TV just went off.


4. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Steak with onions and a beef lo mein side dish, with a Blue Bunny no-sugar added ice cream bar for dessert.


6. WEATHER RIGHT NOW? Dark and still Too Damn Warm.



9. HOW ARE YOU TODAY? Sleepy right now--oh, will you look at the time!

10. FAVORITE DRINK? Coffee milk.

11. FAVORITE ALCOHOLIC DRINK? Kahlua and milk (coffee milk with a kick).

12. FAVORITE SPORT? Dog shows.

13. HAIR COLOR? Plain old brown with grey starting to show.

14. EYE COLOR? Brown.



17. FAVORITE FOOD? Chicken soup with rice.

18. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Twister (which sounds awesome with the surround speakers, but it makes the dog flinch).


20. ARE YOU TOO SHY TO ASK SOMEONE OUT? I don't need to anymore; he follows along.

21. SUMMER OR WINTER? Winter, of course. Summer sucks. Summer sucks so much it should be renamed "Hoover."


23. CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA? Chocolate. Eeeew--vanilla.


25. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Since I'm blogging this instead, dunno.

26. LEAST LIKELY? Mike, since it's not "period." :-)

27. LIVING ARRANGEMENTS? House with hubby and terrified terrier.

28. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Do I have time? Well, here's one: Eye of the Giant (a Dr. Who novel).

29. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? It's red. (Or as James said, "Milk stains.")


31. WHAT DID YOU DO LAST NIGHT? I forgot. :-) Naw, we snuggled together and watched Always.

32. FAVORITE SMELLS? Coffee and fresh-baked bread.


34. WHAT INSPIRES YOU? Good books and cold weather.


36. FAVORITE CAR? PT Cruiser.



39. CAN YOU JUGGLE? Only full grocery bags.

40. WHAT WOULD YOU HATE TO BE TRAPPED IN A ROOM WITH? Oh, there's so many choices. Politicians, probably.

41. 7-UP OR SPRITE? Milk!

42. COFFEE? No. Regular gives me palpitations and decaf gives me heartburn. But I love the taste and the smell.

43. WHO'S YOUR TRUE LOVE? Bandit? J/K...James.

44. FAVORITE PERFUME? Avon Odyssey.


46. DOGS OR CATS? Both, but I prefer dogs. And budgies.

47. DO YOU FLOSS? When I remember.

48. BITE YOUR NAILS? "Not any more."

49. PET PEEVES? Traffic, loud music at the wee hours.

50. FAVORITE TV SHOWS? NYPD Blue, Monk, Decorating Cents, Room by Room, Design on a Dime, Clean Sweep, Weekend Warriors, Changing Rooms, Ground Force. And always...Lassie reruns.


» Monday, March 29, 2004
Monday Madness

1. Describe what you believe is a "good" driver.

Drives carefully, watching the road at all times. Not yapping on the phone or distracted by something else like makeup or a drink. Using turnsignals. Anticipating obstacles and turns. If you are over the speed limit on the freeway, drive extra carefully since things happen more quickly. No speeding on side streets, especially in neighborhoods. Turn right on a red light only after you stop and look!

2. Describe a "bad" driver (your opinion of course).

I'm tempted to say "Anyone from Fulton County," but I have friends in Fulton County that are good drivers. But driving around metro Atlanta, especially in the area not around and surrounding downtown, pay attention to that idiot in front of you doing the stupidest thing imaginable: turning left from the right lane, turning right from the left lane, crossing three lanes of traffic to get to an exit, stopping for no reason on the freeway, not ceding to ambulances, trying to go the wrong way on ramps, etc. 90 percent of the time the dork is from Fulton County.

IMHO they would let a dog drive in Fulton County if he had the money for the license. ("Didn't that little guy with the gruff voice look kinda funny to you, Fred?" "Which little guy?" "The one you asked if he had a bad week and he said 'Rough, rough.'" "Oh, him. If he paid his money, who cares?")

3. Which category do you fit in? Please back up your answer. Feel free to use examples!

I've picked up lots of bad habits. A lot of times I will not use my turnsignal on the freeway to change lanes because even if you have a lot of room, the moment you put the turnsignal on, someone speeds up to fill the space rather than let you get in.

And I speed like anyone else on the Atlanta freeways. People still tailgate me at 75 m.p.h.!


This Guy Sounds Like a Winner...
Artist Dyes Iceberg Red in Greenland

"We all have a need to decorate Mother Nature because it belongs to all us," Danish artist Marco Evaristti said Thursday.
Evidently this guy's so full of himself he thinks he can improve on Nature's "decorating scheme."

Of course after this revelation I'm not surprised:

Evaristti, who was born in Chile, drew widespread attention -- and disdain -- when he displayed 10 working blenders filled with goldfish in a Danish gallery in 2000. He invited guests to turn the devices on and someone did, grinding up a pair of goldfish.
I don't particularly like fish, but that's sick...


Guess I'm Missing This One :-(
Newport Revives Jazz Age


» Sunday, March 28, 2004
"Grownup Stuff"
We purchased a new receiver and speakers back in the fall, installed the left, right, and center speakers in November; the subwoofer when we got the new television.

Today we finally got the left and right surround speakers up and going.

I couldn't really tell if sound was coming out of them, so I popped the one movie in I knew would tell us. Last week James bought a copy of Always. I suppose most folks see it as a love story that has airplanes in it, but James sees it as an airplane movie interrupted by a love story. :-) As the movie opens, two fishermen are in a motorboat on the lake. It is quiet, then engine sounds come up, louder and louder, and you see the front of a plane heading straight for the boat. The plane does get off the surface of the lake without hitting the boat, although the guys have to dive in the water. When you watch this in a surround system, you hear the plane coming on the front speakers, then it switches to the back speakers as the plane passes over.

So James sat down next to me on the sofa and sure enough, the plane made the passover noise. And then he sat, engrossed in the planes, and there I sat, engrossed in Richard Dreyfuss :-), and I turned down the overhead lights and we watched the movie snuggled together.

When it was over, he looked at me curiously. "Have we ever done this before?" he asked, meaning just sat and watched a movie together, without also reading, being on the computer, eating, playing with the dog or bird, etc.

Well, I'm pretty sure we did, many years ago, but even I can't remember when!

(Oh, and BTW, he cried at the end, too.)


Slush Dogs
Watched Snow Dogs tonight. The previews always looked so cute; always wondered why the dogs were in deck chairs on a beach and talking. Let me assure you the scene isn't real, nor does it last for more than a minute.

Ted Baker is a well-off Miami dentist who discovers he was adopted, and his birth mother was from Alaska. At the reading of the will, he inherits his mother's cabin and her champion sled dogs, who peg Ted for a rookie right off. The only one who likes Ted right away is Nana, his birth mom's affable Border collie.

There's a lot more to it, but it turns out to be less. Cuba Gooding Jr tries, but his material is weak. His birth dad turns out to be a surprise, but except right at the end, there's no real feeling to any of the relationships. There's a snotty French celebrity musher who looks like he might be a good villainous rival, ala Peter Thorndyke in The Love Bug, but he's just used for a couple of incidents of comic relief.

The end does get a little teary, but by then it's too late. I did like the dogs; the dogs were great. And Nichelle Nichols is sweet as Ted's adoptive mom.

But on a whole this movie is like a rainy winter day.


» Saturday, March 27, 2004
The [Bunny] World is a Carousel of Color...
Holy cats! I finished doing some chores while James was at the IPMS meeting and then put my new DVD of Here Comes Peter Cottontail on.

The restored color nearly knocked me out of my chair. We're talking full-strength Technicolor color here: crimson red, sunshine yellow, grass green, ultraviolet purple, prominent pinks, sunset orange, and brilliant sky blue, not to mention bleach whites, dark blacks, and grizzly grey. Plus the quality is so good I can tell that Mr. Sassafras' outfit has texture to it: a satin finish for both the hat and the suit coat. It definitely made the experience more 3-D. This looks even better than Rudolph, on par or maybe even better than Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Makes me wonder what it looks like on a progressive player with the proper color-coded cables!


Our Friends the Birds
We've had a bird feeder in the middle of our front lawn for years now. The sun is so strong we pretty much have to buy one of those cedar feeders from WalMart every year now; one rots and gets warped in a year. We tried a plastic feeder; the birds hated it and would not eat from it. Luckily WallyWorld doesn't charge all that much.

We have a few semi-regulars, the darling little chickadees who shrill "dee-dee-dee" before they fly up, the occasional sparrow, once a nuthatch and several times some tits, but the most common visitors are the mourning doves who graze under the feeder and Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal. In fact, I can tell when the feeder needs refilling: one of them sits nearby bitching "Chit! Chit! Chit-chit! Chit!" Evidently the cardinal equivalent of "Hey, we're hungry out here! Where's the food???"

Mr. Cardinal made me laugh earlier in the week. Wednesday I was changing after work and saw him land on the roof of the shed, which is outside our bedroom window. He looked about anxiously, flirting his tail, and then hopped into the gutter. Although James cleaned out the gutters thoroughly last spring, they're full of leaves and gunk again. At the end of the gutter on the shed, there is a place where the leaves have been depressed into a small hollow. It was at this Mr. Cardinal was pecking and "chipping" excitedly.

I caught him doing it in the same place the next day. I think he's trying to convince Mr.s Cardinal that this is a good place to nest. "Chit! Chit! chit-chit!" "Look, hon, it's nice and soft! Already lined with leaves! Comfy! All it needs is a few of your down feathers and it'll be a great nursery for the kids!"

Mrs. Cardinal has not made an appearance. I can imagine her on another tree branch. "Chit-chit! Chit! Chit!" "Fred, for crying out loud, quit being so lazy and build us a proper nest! Honestly, men want the chicks and never want to do any of the work..."


You know, after watching the news for much too long, I've come to the conclusion that the biggest thing endangering children in the Atlanta metro area is not drugs, guns, school bullies, or dangerous drivers.

It's Mom's boyfriend...


» Friday, March 26, 2004
Doctor, Second Verse
Went for my pre-op appointment today. The doctor is delighted because she got the person she wanted to assist her.

Other notes:

They've decided to take "all the plumbing" out. She was going to leave an ovary in, then looked at me and said, "This has already happened twice. If this grows back on the other ovary, you're going to kill me, aren't you?" Well, yes... :-)

Of course this means I will get menopausal symptoms, but I've been getting pre-menopausal symptoms for months now, including hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods...the whole "kitten caboodle." I will need to remember to take calcium supplements to guard against osteoporosis and keep myself in better shape.

Plus I may get "flaky." James looked dourly at me and joked, "How will I tell?" "-)

Oh, she says she's gonna take a picture of the darn thing.

The hospital brochure is astonishing. When I had this surgery 30 years ago, I was in bed for several days before they allowed me to get up (I remember the catheter being in for about three days). According to the brochure, they get you on your feet within three to six hours of the end of the surgery! This is to prevent blood clots, I'm sure, but it sounds soooo odd.


History Repeats Itself...Dammit
Well, the cat's out of the bag now...I told my mom (after first saying Alan Shepard's prayer), so I can go public now.

I "became a woman" early and always had problems with my menses. They weren't regular and when I did have them, "excruciating pain" doesn't begin to describe it. I was literally in bed for two days with a heating pad slapped firmly on my belly, taking codeine and Tylenol, which didn't help, and throwing up, which occasionally did.

In November 1973, though, my senior year of high school, there was a new wrinkle. Just as the cramps started to abate, a new pain took possession of me for about a week. This was an intense pain unlike anything I'd ever known. It was so bad the doctor was giving me the strongest pain medication he thought safe for me and it wasn't helping. To help me sleep at night, my mom had to get in bed with me and rock me to sleep.

My gynecologist, who had also delivered me, was puzzled. Of course the first thing he checked for was appendicitis, but I had none of the symptoms. X-rays showed nothing--but then I was too doubled over with pain to have a decent one. As the pain faded, he discussed it with my parents and myself: if it didn't happen again, we'd blame it on some aberration. If it turned up again, in those days of no sonograms or CAT scans, he'd have to do exploratory surgery.

It showed up again in February, as savage as before, so in April 1974 I had abdominal surgery. It turned out to be two benign ovarian cysts, one so heavily wound around a Fallopian tube that it was removed. While he was in there, the doctor looked for signs of endometriosis, which might explain the cramps. No sign was found.

It all turned out okay. I missed all but the final two weeks of my senior year, graduated with honors. But he did remind me of one thing: they might recur.

The last year or so, I've had the dickens of a time losing weight. When James got diagnosed with diabetes last year, we both basically went on a diabetic diet. In a year he'd lost 30 pounds. I, on the other hand, actually have gained weight, and the fat seemed to be getting firmer. James has quite a firm fat pad himself, so I didn't think anything about it. It was the old saw about married couples, after all: after a time they start to resemble each other.

And I certainly didn't have any pain, not like last time. Gah, had I had that I would have run screaming to the nearest Kaiser Permanente office shrieking "It's back!"

Except it is back. The nice sonogram and the nice CAT scan say I am the proud owner of a bouncing baby cyst. A rather hefty baby cyst. No wonder I'd noticed that I was starting not only to look pregnant, but feel pregnant.

So it's scheduled for extraction on April 7.

Darn. Multiple days in the hospital, a big incision, and I don't even get a baby out of it...


» Thursday, March 25, 2004
Well, It Was Nice of Me to Warn Myself
By the way, was reminded about this while reading another blog:

Big chuckle before bed last night. I got two--two!--messages, purportedly from "the team at" advising me that (1) I had a virus, but running the attached software would correct it, and (2) that I was sending out spam that might be caused by a virus and--you guessed it--running the attached software would correct the problem.

Norton headed this one off at the pass, but needless to say I would not have opened the attachments anyway...

...since I happen to be "the team at" and I sure don't remember sending myself this e-mail! :-)


Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Computer- What was/is your first computer? A clunky old Commodore or something a touch more modern?

Just a common old garden variety Commodore 64, with a great word processing software called Paperclip.

Twosome: Anti-Virus- Have you ever had a computer virus? How bad was it? Or are you one of the lucky ones who have managed to avoid them?

Sorry to say I have, at work. We were warned several times by the LAN administrators not to open attachments from strangers. However, the attachment I opened came from one of my contacts at work; I thought the person was sending me a quote sheet. It turned out to be that wretched "ILoveYou" virus--and I wasn't the only person fooled; the darn thing shut down the office for almost two days.

Threesome: Software- What piece of software really made you more productive on your computer. ...or, as in my case, less productive? *g*

My darling, forever-loved, always superior WordPerfect. The crown jewel. The top. The best. (Microslop Word. Phooey. Spit. What can you say about a piece of software that offers...gag..."sparkle text"? Ugh. Get real.)


» Monday, March 22, 2004
Monday Madness

1. What was your favorite TV show as a child?

Lassie. When I was really little, it was the only show I was allowed to stay up late (it ended 7:30 p.m.) for.

2. What show did you hate?

The Three Stooges. Boys would klonk you at school and when the teacher scolded them they'd say "But they do it all the time on the Three Stooges."

3. What show did your family gather around the TV to watch?

Wow, we had such disparate interests that's hard to say. Maybe Make Room for Daddy. I think we all liked that. I loved Uncle Tonoose.

4. What show is currently your favorite?

Monk on USA.

5. What show do you hate now?

Just one???? Friends and any single contest-type reality series. Oh, yeah, and The Sopranos because there are still too many dimwits who think all Italians are in the Mafia.


» Sunday, March 21, 2004
Dogs Will Be...Dogs
It was an otherwise unremarkable Sunday, except for a funny...we stopped by Lowe's on the way to our monthly trip to Wally World, to pick up a new screen door for our sliding glass doors. We had one, but we had purchased the wrong size, a 35" width instead of a 30". Since we don't use the sliding glass doors, the screen is there basically to keep the bugs out and the too big door wasn't doing that. Last year wasps had nested up in the upper track and some of them had managed to squirm inside.

So when we got home James took the screen door into the back yard and took Willow with him to run around. Bad idea. Miss Dog found the cat that has nested under our shed and began enthusiastically digging her way under. I was helping James with the door, and while Wil usually listens to us when we call, this time she was in full pursuit mode. Barking a sort of terrier version of the "treed" bark, she dug and scrambled around under the shed at the wider part. She was having a glorious time, tongue lolling out, tail wagging enthusiastically, all her little terrier genes firing at full force. She has nothing against cats, you see; she thinks they are great toys to chase.

Needless to say by the time we got done with the dog, Willow's white points were Georgia red clay covered. She smelled, not surprisingly, like fresh-dug earth.

So the first thing we did after bringing her inside was to plunk her in the bathtub and give her another bath.


» Friday, March 19, 2004
BTW, I've posted a couple of more book commentaries in A Cozy Nook to Read In, including one I backdated. Still having trouble getting adjusted to James' crazy schedule, so I have to write when I can.


What Did You Do for St. Joseph's Day?
Wander along to Holiday Harbour.


Friday Five

If you...

1. ...owned a restaurant, what kind of food would you serve?


2. ...owned a small store, what kind of merchandise would you sell?

Books, of course.

3. ...wrote a book, what genre would it be?

Children's (or maybe fantasy--could be both).

4. ...ran a school, what would you teach?


5. ...recorded an album, what kind of music would be on it?

Songs written by Rupert Holmes. :-)


» Thursday, March 18, 2004
BTW, I Really Know It's Spring Now...
...yesterday I found my first ant wandering near the glass doors and did my first spray of the season.

What fun, eh?


Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Blog: -- How long have you been a member of the blogosphere? ...and from a different angle: how long have you been on the Net?

I started this blog in January 2002, while I was recuperating from torn ligaments in my right foot. We got our first internet connection in September 1996 (although I had been online earlier at work). Previous to that, we were on GEnie.

Twosome: Design-- Do you do your own design work for your site? ...and if not, where are you finding templates you like?

No, I'm not quite swuft on CSS yet. I can take a CSS blog template and figure out what causes what and modify it to my liking, which I did with all three of my blogs and James' as well. But I've never written one of my own; not sure I could. I've looked for blog templates on places like Blogskin; some are quite nice but almost look too complicated, or I don't like the images included with them.

Threesome: Exchange-- ...and while we're on the Net, have you ever participated in any of the Net "exchanges" such as recipes, Christmas ornaments, site exchanges, guest blogging or related things?



» Wednesday, March 17, 2004
#6 For Miss Wil
Canine birthday thoughts in Holiday Harbour.


Scarecrow of Romney Marsh site.

Majorly cool!!!


» Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Firsts and Lasts
James found this one somewhere.

First job: Charging (that's putting the little lead pellet on an earring part so that the solderer can solder the earring clip on, and yes, it's as boring as it sounds).
First screen name: kmb777 (Corey Stuart's call sign on Lassie).
First self purchased CD: Good god. I don't know. Vinyl Album: the soundtrack to QBVII.
First piercing/tattoo: None.
First true love: Billy Campanini.
First enemy: The Ford Mustang that ran over a dog I loved named Chiquita.

Last big car ride: To Charlotte, North Carolina to see Thumbs in 2001.
Last kiss: About an hour ago. :-)
Last library book checked out: No Graves as Yet By Anne Perry (um, don't bother).
Last movie seen: Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow.
Last beverage drank: Skim milk.
Last food consumed: Salami sandwich.
Last phone call: Received or made? Made: hubby. Received: Teressa Esposito.
Last CD played: Winter Solstice Reunion.
Last annoyance: Saw an ant near the front door. Sprayed, of course.
Last pop drank: I hate soda. It's been so long I can't remember.
Last ice cream eaten: Blue Bunny Sweet Escapes Ice Cream Bar.
Last time scolded: Don't remember.
Last shirt worn: Red with embroidered front.

I AM: still afraid of going to the hospital.
I WANT: to go back to New England.

I HAVE: Lots of books...I'm rich!

I WISH: I had a PT Cruiser.
I HATE: Purchase orders.
I FEAR: not waking up from surgery...the freeway...things over my face...enclosed spaces...bugs.
I HEAR: Right now a really obnoxious commercial (wait, that's a redundancy).
I SEARCH: for everything I put down and then forget. :-)
I WONDER: What the future holds.
I REGRET: not going to Brown (but I still don't know how I would have paid off the $20,000 tuition).
I LOVE: James and Willow (and still Bandit).
I ALWAYS: take a nap during the week.
I AM NOT: as fearless as I wish I was.
I DANCE: Not anymore. I lost my feathered dancing partner.
I SING: only when I'm happy.
I CRY: Each and every time I see "Lassie's Odyssey."

YES or NO:
YOU KEEP A DIARY: Yes. And three blogs. I like to write, sue me.
YOU LIKE TO COOK: He cooks. I write.
YOU HAVE A SECRET YOU HAVE NOT SHARED WITH ANYONE: Nope. I always told Bandit everything.

DO YOU...?
HAVE A CRUSH: Yes, but I won't say it. It would embarrass him.
WANT TO GET MARRIED: Well I didn't, but he changed my mind, thankfully.
GET MOTION SICKNESS: On roller coasters and "drop" rides. Barf rides!

BIRTHPLACE: Providence, RI, at the "Lying In."

COLOR: Bright sky blue
DAY: Saturday
MONTH: October
SONG(S): "The Impossible Dream" sung by Richard Kiley
SEASON: autumn
DRINK: You mean alcoholic? Kahlua and milk.

CUDDLE OR MAKE OUT: Cuddle. I'm a girl.
CHOCOLATE MILK, OR HOT CHOCOLATE: None of that stuff, the Real Thing! COFFEE MILK!
MILK, DARK OR WHITE CHOCOLATE: Dark. White has no reason to live; it's not even chocolate.

CRIED? 'Fraid so.
HELPED SOMEONE? Only myself.
BOUGHT SOMETHING? Well, I paid for the doctor's appointment, so I guess I bought her time.
SAID 'i love you'?: Yes.
WRITTEN IN A JOURNAL?: Yes--and my blog.


Well, Okay...
Here's one of several Dr. Syn Alias the Scarecrow videos for sale on e-Bay. Notice the running time. If they use this version, I'm sold:

Dr. Syn videotape


Tuesday Twosome

1. What two things you enjoy about Spring?

There are things to enjoy about Spring? My nose is stuffed and my eyes itch. Okay, the trees blooming are pretty. And we can keep the windows open (at least until it gets too hot).

2. What two things are you going to miss about Winter?

The nice cool air and the beautiful blue skies. When it gets warm here the horizon turns yellow.

3. Spring Cleaning: "Of course, I get to clean out my house." or "Nope. What's the point? It's going to get dirty again anyway."

I guess the last. I try to clean it once a week and stuff like the ceiling fans, etc. often. And it does get dirty again.

4. Spring Flowers: "Tulips and all flowers are blooming. I love this time of the year!" or "Allergy season is kickin' in. Pollen! Enough already."

The latter!

5. Spring weather in you area means: "Outside activities!" or "It is still freakin' cold! I am going to be inside, thank you!"

Outside activities: cutting branches and spraying for bugs.


» Monday, March 15, 2004
NASA to Detail Aspects of Planetoid

I wonder if it's really the planet Brummis. :-)

(You'll get it if you're a Star Blazers fan...)


Monday Madness

1. What is your solution for cabin fever - you know that feeling of being penned in the house all winter?

Actually, I get cabin fever in the summer, after being penned in air-conditioned buildings for five months. But it's either that or melt.

I've never had cabin fever in the winter. There are always books, writing, or the idiot box. The most fun is walking in the snow, but there isn't any here.

2. Who are the people in your your neighbourhood, in your neighbourhood.....?

Well, the lady in the pink house next to us is nice. She introduced us to the guy who cuts our lawn, so I adore her. :-) Diane, the nice lady in the house on the other side, is gone. She sold the house after her husband died. We don't know any of the other neighbors. Someone across the street has a poodle. Someone else down the street has a cocker spaniel. Two houses away we have a registered sex offender. Isn't that just special?

3. What's the best thing about spring?

There's something good [aaaaachoo!] about spring?

Cadbury's chocolate filled Easter eggs. That's the best I can manage. It used to be lilacs, but we don't have those here, either.

4. Any Easter traditions?

Cadbury's chocolate filled Easter eggs. A chocolate bunny. And ham for dinner.

5. How old were you believing in the Easter bunny?

I don't remember. Probably the same time as Santa Claus, which was about nine.


» Sunday, March 14, 2004
That Seven Dwarf Time of the Year
The Bradford pears seemed to have bloomed overnight; James said it's as if they did "that popcorn thing" and exploded into flower. Each looks like a big egg-shaped tree body covered in snow.

I can tell it's spring, I'm waking up with aching joints in the morning as well as being sneezy and dopey and sleepy, which makes me grumpy. The doc gives me medicine, but I'm still not happy and not bashful to mention it! :-)


» Saturday, March 13, 2004
Sounds Great!
You may not believe this, but we've had this new receiver and speakers since December, but at the time we didn't have all the speakers hitched up.

So today was actually the first time I've tried playing a music CD since all the speakers were set up. I've got "Autumn in New England" on. Wow.

I should try one of the instrumental Christmas CDs...or maybe the Anne of Green Gables soundtrack tape...


Mispelings R Us
We were talking about mispelling and grammar misuse on chat tonight, which reminded me of something funny that happened a few weeks back.

Many moons ago James and I gave a new nickname to those Green Giant "early tender June" peas. This happened after the day I stopped at Kroger and found the "LeSueur Peas" on sale. The sale sign labeled them as "Leisure Peas."

Well, Kroger did it again a few weeks ago. This time they had a sale on a certain Italian-named brand of soup.

The sign said "Progressive Soup on sale." :-)

The "Leisure Peas" are still my favorite. I have these visions of pea pods kicking back in the sun.


» Friday, March 12, 2004
Doctors Urge House to Reject "Cheeseburger Bill"

Oh, please. Someone has to stop this nonsense. Does anyone twist your arm to go eat in a fast-food restaurant? Does someone threaten your life if you don't chow down on a cheeseburger or feed your children those hideous chicken strips? Does anyone force you to give in to your children's whinings and go to the local Greasy Burger because you've allowed them to watch too much TV with all those Greasy Burger commercials anyway? Does anyone force you to go out and eat at Greasy Burger instead of feeding your family at home or at a restaurant that has decent food?


I had a coupon for Media Play, so I bought a copy of the Monk pilot movie. I didn't realize Lt. Disher had another name in the pilot, Duncan.

Wish there'd been some commentary on it. The picture is great, and it's letterboxed.


The Friday Five

1. What was the last song you heard?

LOL. I have my video of "Scarecrow of Romney Marsh" on, so it's Terry Gilkyson's "Scarecrow" theme.

2. What were the last two movies you saw?

Pilot movie to Monk and Airplane. Or do you mean at a theatre? Um...Return of the King.

3. What were the last three things you purchased?

Oatmeal, stew beef on sale, and a quart of fried rice.

4. What four things do you need to do this weekend?

Wash clothes, clean the bathroom, vacuum, and wash the dog.

5. Who are the last five people you talked to?

James was last. Before that, the cashiers at JoAnn, Media Play, SaveRite, and Dragon 168.


» Thursday, March 11, 2004
Well, now we know it's spring, we had the first fly of the season in the house.

Except for when we had the "plague o'flies" from two years ago, I'm not much on hunting down flies that have gotten into the den, even if they are annoyingly flying in front of the lights. We don't leave food hanging about, so there's nothing for Mr. Fly to eat or drink. Eventually he's just going to drop dead somewhere. If he lights, I'll whap him with a flyswatter.

The problem is, somewhere along the line Willow got terrified of flies. I think one stung her on the nose several years back and she's been neurotic about them ever since, which is odd, because she will pounce on and kill palmetto bugs and other crawlies.

Last year we'd gotten her to the point where we made a game out of the fly; she'd "point" it and I'd kill it. Well, she regressed over the winter. She took one look at Mr. Fly and decamped to the kitchen.

Last year we had the wall-mounted lamps over the sofa, and could usually catch the fly on the inside of the lampshade (which explains why we had to buy new lampshades last year). This year we have the new halogen lamps, which are hot and provide no perch. So the little wretch just kept flying back and forth, out of the reach of the trusty flyswatter, occasionally making forays to around James' computer--and the television.

That nice, big wide screen gave me an idea. I shut off all the other lights, leaving the television on. Next thing I knew, there was a black dot on the screen. Whap! Ex-fly.

Now here's where it got odd. Last year, if she was upstairs when the fly was dispatched, Wil would hear the whap of the fly swatter and run downstairs to get her "treat." This time she had to be called downstairs, nuzzled the fly, and then ran back upstairs--almost as if we didn't kill the right fly. We had to coax her downstairs and literally hold her down, and she was trembling! But there was only one fly.

Absolutely bizarre.


Thursday Threesome

Onesome- The dinner: What's your favourite meal? Is it something you get out or can you get it at home?

Gosh, that's a hard one. Chicken cacciatore, which I like better at home. In restaurants they most often use deboned chicken. I like it better with chicken parts. And the restaurants don't have a nice big hunk of crusty Italian or French bread to "zoop" in the sauce. Not the same at all.

Twosome- the theatre Admission: What's your favourite movie and/or play and why?

Only one movie? Impossible choice. I can name some favorites, but not just one: Galaxy Quest, Casablanca, Airport, Auntie Mame, The Andromeda Strain, Big Jake, The Homecoming, A Christmas Story, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Spaceballs, The Right Stuff, 1776, Twister, Raiders of the Lost Ark...

Threesome- and the babysitter: We've all been left with a babysitter at one point or another. Did you have a favourite childhood babysitter? What made that person special?

If by "babysitter" you mean a teenager--actually, no. My parents never left me with strangers. I was always left with relatives, who I really didn't think of as "babysitters." The closest I had to a babysitter was when I was little and my mom would go downtown and leave me next door with my godmother's mother, who I called "Zia Maria." If it were warm we would sit outside on the big Adirondak chairs under the grape arbor and eat fruit from her garden, grapes and pears and plums. Sometimes Victoria's mother, "Zia Maria Antonia," who lived in the white house on the other side of the chain-link fence, would come through the gate and sit with us.


» Wednesday, March 10, 2004
"Scarecrow, Scarecrow, The Fans of the Film Seek Your Name..."
A new bunch of classic Disney stuff due out in July, according to Deep Discount DVD, including that dog-lover's favorite The Ugly Dachshund and one on my want list, The Three Lives of Thomasina, which features a wonderful performance from Patrick McGoohan...heck, the entire cast is superb.

So, speaking of McGoohan, I ask again: where's The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh?


This may be a case of "ask and ye shall receive" for once--but I have reservations. says Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow is due out in August. There's a problem, though. There's the three-part Wonderful World of Color Dr. Syn story, which was originally titled Scarecrow of Romney Marsh. The total running time on this story was somewhere between 120 minutes and 135 minutes (a note on the IMDb says the running time was 129 minutes). There was also a theatrical version, titled Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow, that was released at 98 minutes.

So the question now is, are we getting the full version or the edited version?


Bye-Bye, Esai and other Crime Series Thoughts
I know, terrible, but I couldn't resist. Will miss Esai Morales as Lt. Tony Rodriguez on NYPD Blue. Not only did he manage to do well in what is essentially a background role most of the time, but he's pretty easy on the eye, too. (In a word--yum!)

"T-Rod," as he's referred to online, is being replaced by semi-regular Eddie Gibson, a rather hapless Sergeant who's appeared in occasional running subplots on the series. Most folks aren't pleased by the Eddie decision, since the character's rather a loser. Ironically, the actor playing Gibson, John Donahue, is an actual New York policeman, retired, who once held the job Eddie is being promoted into.

Speaking of hapless brings me to someone who's become one of my favorite series supporting characters, Lt. Randall Disher on Monk. Maybe not-so-oddly, I hated Disher when the series premiered; I'm assuming most people did, because Randy was such a sycophant you were hoping he got offed in an upcoming episode. Not only was he a yes-man, but he was a stupid yes-man. I can't remember when Disher's conversion started, but someone must have realized that a character like Disher's boss, the no-nonsense Leland Stottlemeyer, would put up with a brown-noser like a cat puts up with a rat.

I definitely enjoy Randy a lot more now that he's been turned into Monk's equivalent of what Tony Shalhoub's Galaxy Quest character Fred Kwan would refer to as "plucky comic relief." Randy even ended up saving the day a few weeks ago when Monk and Sharona investigated a lowlife who had married Disher's widowed mom under false pretenses. With Disher's conversion to nice guy, it's easier to take his obvious attraction to Sharona–not to mention that Jason Gray-Stanford's baby-blue eyes work much better for such a nice guy. :-)


» Tuesday, March 09, 2004
Tuesday Twosome

This week's looked fun--I'll admit the first question reminded me a lot of the "fasten-zip" Garibaldi-Sinclair routine from Babylon 5.

1. Do you put both your socks on then your shoes or do you put on sock, then shoe, then go to other leg and put on sock then shoe?

Socks, then shoes. It would be too much, putting on a shoe when one bare foot is chilling itself on the cold bathroom floor on a chilly winter morning. Besides, I tend to leave my shoes downstairs, near the computer.

2. When you button your shirt/blouse, do you start at the bottom buttons or start from the top?

Top to bottom, although as I remember, Frank Gilbreth experimented with doing it both ways and bottom to top was several seconds quicker.

Which reminds me, the Cheaper by the Dozen DVD is due out next Tuesday.

3. Do you put your deodorant on before or after you put your clothes on?

Before. It's actually the first thing I do, even before washing my face or taking my Protonix for the morning. That gives it a chance to dry before I get clothed.

4. Do you floss before or after you brush your teeth?

Before, especially if something is stuck.

5. You are out to eat and spill sauce on your light-colored shirt/blouse, do you try to get it out and just decide to let it be, or do you go and buy a new shirt/blouse because it is too embarrassing?

Gag. It's bad enough having to shop for the original in the first place. I've become a champion at getting out spots with my napkin and a good dollop of ice water.


» Monday, March 08, 2004
Let's Smack the Lesson Over the Head...Again
Disney Channel had Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure on tonight. I watched it, despite a bad review from a friend whose opinion I respect.

He was right. :-)

In yet another in a series of "hit 'em over the head with the lesson" films from Disney, Lady and the Tramp's scruffy son doesn't want to abide by the rules and escapes to keep bad company with a pack of junkyard dogs led by a self-absorbed Doberman named Buster, who was...surprise!...once Tramp's protegè. Buster "has issues" about being "abandoned" by Tramp.

Anyway, one of Buster's gang is a pretty little female dog named Angel and, well, you guessed it, she and Scamp hit it right off. But where he wants to be footloose and fancy free, she longs for a home--and keeps telling him how lucky he was. Over and over and over.

Lady and the Tramp, who were such vibrant figures in their own movie, are reduced to stereotypical parents in this one. Tramp has "gone establishment" and lectures Scamp about the big bad outside world. And while Lady was a bit naïve when Tramp met her, she was hardly a shrinking violet where protecting her family was concerned. Yet every time something goes wrong in this film, Lady runs for Tramp instead of doing something about it herself. Yeah, yeah, I know, in the end this is about the father-son bonding thing, but she's a mother. She's going to go looking for the kid herself, not just leave it up to everyone else.

The less said about the "little Lady puppies" the better. For a modern Disney philosophy that's supposed to espouse strong female leads (Pocahontas, Ariel, Belle, etc.), the three girl pups are vacuous little airheads who adore baths and coo in little girly voices and do the usual "Brother is a pest" comments. At least Scamp is interesting next to these little twits.

Other things are "off." Sneaky Si and Am and Aunt Sarah both have small cameos; the formerly strong-minded calculating Siamese are quelled by the dogs easily and become part of a silly gag. Aunt Sarah is suddenly motherly and pushing food on everyone. Jock and Trusty exist in the film simply to perpetuate the running gags about Trusty's un-trusty nose and penchant for long tales.

It's a pity, because there was a good story in there somewhere. Scamp and Angel are actually interesting characters when he's not posturing and she's not lecturing. The animation isn't all that horrible; they tried to capture the Gay '90s style of the original with cheaper animation and it's not half bad, although there are no surprises either--nothing dramatic like Tramp's fight with the rat, the chase after the dog catcher's wagon, etc. in the original. The songs are...iffy, not terrible but not good either, and the opening introductory song about a "little New England town" is just a reworking of the much better opening to Beauty and the Beast and most of the time they just seem to interrupt the action.

And if you like Don Knotts, the fellow who does the dogcatcher's voice does a dandy imitation. Pity it wasn't a dandy imitation of a real Scamp story, though...


Does Bill Gates Just Want to Be Hated?
Gates: Buy Stamps to Send E-mail

If the U.S. Postal Service delivered mail for free, our mailboxes would surely runneth over with more credit-card offers, sweepstakes entries, and supermarket fliers. That's why we get so much junk e-mail: It's essentially free to send.
Paying doesn't seem to slow the bulk mailers much. I routinely sort our mail over the wastebasket. I'm appalled at how many trees are killed every year trying to shill credit cards. And this year we get the added crush of those annoying political flyers.

Maybe, Bill, you just ought to fix all those "holes" in all your Microsoft products? Funny, I hear about Outlook and Word enabling viruses to be spread all the time. No one ever points a finger at Eudora or WordPerfect...


Sigh...the Extended Version Still Won't Be Out Until November...
`Return of the King' Comes to Video in May


» Saturday, March 06, 2004
The Store...Uh, Closet...Phase II
Did I mention James had a lot of unbuilt plastic models? :-)

As he's sorting the old boxed ones on the new shelves in the closet, he's cataloging them in a file. He's up to 480 models now and still has about six boxes to finish emptying. The closet is almost full. He may be able, with judicious fiddling, to get the rest of the boxed contents into the closet. However, there were still more models in boxes in one corner of the room.

Today he bought a set of heavy-duty (well, he didn't really need heavy duty, but that's what they had in the proper size) wire shelves on wheels from Sam's Club. These are meant to be used in storerooms in restaurants, laundries, hospitals, etc. They are 72 inches high, 18 inches deep, and 48 inches long, six shelves. Since they're on wheels, once James finishes filling the closet, he can store the shelves in front of them, and move them if he needs to get in the closet.

We emptied out the models and about three-quarters filled the shelves. I keep joking with him that he needs to open a store. Did I mention there are also about six to eight big Rubbermaid containers full of models in the shed? That's a lot of plastic.


» Friday, March 05, 2004
Another One Bites the Dust
We're losing favorite restaurants at an alarming rate. Now it's Ryan's. I wasn't much for going out tonight, but James mentioned Ryan's and I had visions of T-bone.

Guess what, no more T-bones. They said they weren't selling enough.

Instead of getting a steak from the grill, we opted to eat the ones on the bar. Their so-called "medium-rare" steak was overcooked, and I hated the pepper on it. They had "roast beef" in gravy, but it was processed roast beef and was rubbery. (The same could be said for the chocolate cake.) The shrimp smelled fishy, although it tasted okay.

The only thing I really enjoyed was the whipped cream, which appeared to be real.


Which Lassie Character are You?
I created this chiefly for my Lassie website and mailing list, but you're free to play:

You're Ellen Miller.
You're Ellen Miller. You're the peacemaker
in life, a lover of home and family, yet in
your heart you still harbor a little romance.
Occasionally you dream of faraway places, but
you always want to come home.

Which Lassie Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


Quiz: What Cartoon Dog are You?

What cartoon dog are you?

Brought to you by the good folks at

It must have been that "little yellow bird" answer. :-)


Friday Five

What was...

1. ...your first grade teacher's name?

Mrs. Donohue.

2. ...your favorite Saturday morning cartoon?

Just one? Hm. Rocky and Bullwinkle.

3. ...the name of your very first best friend?

Joyce. I even named my tricycle after her.

4. ...your favorite breakfast cereal?

Same thing it's always been, Special K.

5. ...your favorite thing to do after school?

Watch You Don't Say and The Match Game (the original version, on NBC) with my mom, and Lassie reruns.


» Thursday, March 04, 2004
Belated News in the "It's About Freakin' Time" Department
DVD: Jonny Quest Season One

May 11.

(Note to the DVD producers: you can save your cash and not bother with that pathetic 1980 "second season" or the even more pathetic USA movies like Jonny's Golden Quest.)


Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Night: -- Nights can be difficult if you need something from somewhere: what time do the stores shut down where you are? I mean, if you needed something more than a loaf of bread, is there any hope late at night?

Ah, well, most of the stores are closed by ten. But this is why the Good Lord invented Kroger. It's open 24 hours. So is the Super Walmart (which is crowded even in the middle of the night). And if we needed meds, the CVS a few miles away is 24 hour, too.

Twosome: on the-- River? Hey, are there any rivers near you? ...or are you located out in the wilderness somewhere?

Well, I cross one twice a day going to work, no matter which route I take. There's a creek about 100 feet (??? I'm terrible gauging distances) from our house. I hate it. In warm weather every mosquito in Cobb County is there. I can get bitten just unlocking the door.

Threesome: Town!-- If you could have any "Night on the Town" you wanted, what would you like to do? ...and would you like some company or would you go it alone?

I want to go see an evening Broadway show. Otherwise I don't care. I'm not into "clubbing" and I never much liked alcohol but I won't drink it at all now that I'm on heart medication. My idea of a "night on the town" used to be going to Oxford Books, which closed at 2 a.m. on weekends.

But of course I'd take someone. What's the use of having fun without someone to share it with?


» Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Who IS That Bimbo Anyway?
One of the things James and I are in the habit of doing, when there's nothing else on television around 9 p.m., is to switch to Game Show Network and play along with the contestants on Lingo. Chuck Woolery hosts this Scrabble-like/Bingo-like crossover in which two sets of contestants take turns guessing a five letter word, having been given the first letter of the word. (As they guess incorrect words, letters that are correct are either filled in or marked to show that they're in the word, but in the wrong place.) Each word guessed gives the contestants a chance to choose a numbered rubber ball that will complete their "Lingo" board horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

Contestants with the most points go on to a final round where they again guess a five letter word, but with two letters supplied. The "Lingo" stripe here wins them $5000.

It gets our minds going and it is alternately frustrating to not be able to tell the contestant the very obvious answer--"Why are you guessing words with 'a' in them, you nitwit; you already know there is no 'a' in the word!!!!" "It's 'vague,' stupid! 'Vague!'"--or annoying when you can't guess a perfectly obvious word yourself--"Well, of course it was 'guess,' dammit!"

This show was apparently enough of a winner that people were discussing it online and it went on to a new season. The new season, however, brought Chuck Woolery an assistant, a comely blonde in usually low-cut attire who "sets" the new board and gives the ruling on what are proper words. She doesn't do a darn thing that Woolery didn't do previously, so she's obviously just there as eye candy. We still occasionally grumble, "What's with the bimbo? Is Woolery sleeping with her?"

What's next? Alex Trebek gets a sexy brunette to read the different categories and sum up the scores at the end of the rounds? A good game like Lingo doesn't need any T&A pretensions, but evidently GSN thinks it does. Gah.


"Easy as Cake"
(Whatever happened to Elya Baskin anyway?)

Been doing some minor updates to my Lassie web pages using Pro 2000. How "delicious" that quick publish feature is! Correct something, click a button, and it's up.


Secrets of the Dead: "Killer Flu"

Found this running on PBS tonight. The 1918-1919 flu pandemic has always fascinated me (as one is fascinated by snakes and people like Saddam Hussein). It seems appalling that this virulent disease was "the flu" that for most people, except the old, infirm, or very young, is just a nuisance that keeps you feeling miserable for a week or two. The cyanotic episodes ("heliotrope cyanosis" is the description, which gives you a good idea of the color blue the victims turned) are particularly frightening. The story is that a person could leave for work feeling a little under the weather, come home deathly ill at lunchtime, turn blue by afternoon, and be dead by night.

The last special about the "Spanish influenza" I saw traced the source to burning of horse manure at an American army base in Kansas. However, the base source for all flu germs seem to be birds, transmitted from domestic birds to humans, or from domestic birds to pigs to humans (which of course why modern scientists are paying so much attention to bird flu epidemics in China which are spreading). Also, soldiers in 1916 France were dying of a disease remarkably similar to what was later described as the Spanish influenza, but there is still yet no evidence linking the two outbreaks.

One of the reasons I like watching these type of specials is that I love the old newsreels and films showing how people dressed and the streets looked: women in filmy picture hats, little boys in Eton suits, country girls in shawls wrapped around their heads and bodies, ladies in hobble skirts and men in high collars, boys in cloth caps, horses pulling hearses, carriages, dray wagons, early automobiles and ambulances.


» Monday, March 01, 2004
HTML Assistant Pro 2000
I took the plunge this weekend and bought the upgrade to my beloved HTML Assistant Pro. I had version three of the old Win3.1-based software, which I had used in a "partially disabled" version for years, and then found full version on a disc that came with a British web authoring magazine. It was still fulfilling most of what I used it for, but this version has some cool upgrades, including the instand publish feature. Oh, how I wish I'd had it when I updated all my copyright dates at the beginning of the year!


Monday Madness

How many hours do you spend per week doing the following things?

1. Watching television.

42. (Hey, it's the answer to everything anyway.)

2. Sitting at the computer.

84...since most of my work is done at a computer.

3. Reading a book.

Depends. At least 14, more like 20 or more.

4. House work.


5. Cooking.

As little as possible. James cooks, not me.

6. Eating.

Too much. Really, I dunno. I usually eat while I'm doing something else.

7. Driving.

Much too much. During the week sometimes two hours a day. On Thursdays and Fridays it can be more.

8. Working outside of your home.

40 (that's without the commute time, which I think of as work).

9. Blogging.

Hm. Maybe 7?

10. Sleeping.



"It's a Clean Sweep..."
To quote Steven Spielberg.

Congratuations to Peter Jackson and everyone who had anything to do with Lord of the Rings, especially the cast, who got cheated out of nominations (especially Sean Astin).

Oh, yeah, and to all of New Zealand... :-D