Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.

 Contact me at theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Friday, April 30, 2004
Wanted: Time Machine (a.k.a. "Wanna Go Back In Time")
I spent the day finishing a cross-stitch project and watching part of my collection of American Experience episodes. Of course I began with "The Hurricane on '38." One can't grow up in Rhode Island, or at least couldn't grow up when I did, without hearing stories about the hurricane of 1938. We grew up with the older folks comparing that storm with each new hurricane or nor'easter. There were several close contenders, one in 1954 which I "remembered" simply because of the softcover "Hurricane Book" we kept in the attic, comparing the devastation in that year against photos from 1938. The hurricane I actually did remember was in 1963; we lost power for three days plus shingles from the roof, and the chimney cracked. The power came back on with a speaker's blare and my first comment was typical of a 60s seven-year-old: "Oh, goody, now I can watch TV!"

The 1938 hurricane was a heartbreaker. It might as well have been Galveston 38 years earlier. No warnings were given because the Weather Bureau considered it unlikely that the hurricane would make landfall where it did. "Hurricanes don't hit New England," the head of the Bureau said. When a junior meterologist plotted the path of the storm and asked if people shouldn't be warned, this same bullheaded superior said no, that New Englanders wouldn't listen to it anyway. The stories are frightening and fascinating: a family who rode out the storm riding a portion of their attic which was swept inland by the storm surge, ten Baptist ladies having their annual picnic who could not escape the waves and were all drowned, the couple who married despite Providence flooding below them. Providence was jackhammered by the storm; at one point the water downtown was 14 feet deep, a level memorialized by a brass plaque on the old Providence Journal building. Providence was built on a marsh and the city stunk of rotting plants and sewage as the waters receded; then the looters showed up.

My mother was at work that day. She kept glancing up to the window and told folks she could see bricks, window frames, stones, tree branches going by. No one believed her as the wind whipped rain against the windows. Finally at four, the height of the storm, they were told to go home. She had to walk all the way up Federal Hill on her own. My grandmother was hysterical because my grandfather was not home; he had gone up to their lots near what is now Providence College. But he was on high ground, at least, and safe.

Another of my American Experience favorites is "Coney Island," which was done by Rick Burns. I fell in love with this film the first time I saw it. At one point many years ago I was depressed and would watch the film over and over, sometimes twice in a night. It has a melancholy score despite its lively subject and I can't help aching at the old footage of people frolicking on the Brooklyn shore in thick awkward "bathing costumes" or the folks riding the forgotten rides at the different Coney Island parks, Steeplechase, Luna Park, Dreamland, and wishing I could take a time machine back just to see how it all looked in color. (Not to mention to figure out how people in those days actually survived in summer wearing all those layers of clothing!) The rides at Dreamland, which only lasted seven years before being consumed by fire, sounded fascinating: a depiction of the Biblical creation, another of Hell, a submarine ride (ten years before submarines were used in World War I), a ride through "the Swiss mountains" with frigid air blown on people to simulate the effect, and more. Also, the very first incubators were in use at Dreamland. Most doctors of the era refused to believe they helped babies, but the doctor who built them saved 7,500 infants out of the 8,000 which were brought to him.

Oddly, McCullough's own "Johnstown Flood" always seems a lesser effort to me after reading his book. The film tells the story of the haves and have-nots at Johnstown and the club that brought about the town's downfall, but does not talk about the aftermath of the dam breaking as well as McCullough does in his book. The photos, however, are fascinating. It is maddening to realize that Johnstown didn't have to happen: all those deaths could have been prevented had the dam been reinforced and proper overflow been provided, but the rich owners of the lake provided by the dam couldn't be bothered to properly repair it.

The last two programs I watched are the fun ones: "Barnum's Big Top," about P.T. Barnum's careers as a museum showman and then circus empresario, and "Mr. Sears' Catalogue," which, while chronicling the rise of Sears and his company, is less the story of Sears and more the story of the people who profited most from his "wish book," the rural dwellers in the Midwest and West. The story is spiced with actual letters from the Sears catalogue archives--several young people of both sexes asking if Sears could provide them with appropriate mates, a rhymed order for a corset, etc.--and the delightful reminisces about the early rural mailmen, who, during the course of their route, might be asked to tend animals or sell eggs to purchase a needed stamp!

The most fascinating story was about Alvah Roebuck, who, despite having his name on every Sears store, even today, actually had his shares bought out in the late 1800s. Roebuck went on to invent several things, but then used his profits to invest in Florida land. The 1929 Crash wiped him out and he finally went to Sears looking for a job, anything that would pay, even sweeping floors. The astounded Sears executives (Mr. Sears himself having died years earlier), hired him back to do promotional work, such as cutting ribbons at new Sears stores!


» Thursday, April 29, 2004
Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Goodie-- What is your your favorite "goodie" you treat yourself to when you've finished a project or maybe even just survived a long day? Ice cream? ...a long bath? ...a good book?

Just sitting down and being quiet. A nap would be nice.

Twosome: Two-- Quick! Two things that make you smile! No thinking, just write!

Problem is, when I just write: Bandit. But he's not here anymore to smile at. James coming home. Willow trying to make out what we're saying (she tries so hard).

Threesome: Shoes-- ...and how about your favorite pair of shoes? You know, the ones you look for an occasion to wear! (Yes, guys that ratty pair of tennis shoes does count...)

How about my slippers?


» Wednesday, April 28, 2004
No Redeeming Social Value
One of the things I did today while finishing another small cross-stitch project was watch a movie. This film was neither educational nor superiorly written. It was, in fact, a very guilty pleasure: Hello Down There! Social value: none. Nostalgia factor: A big 9. I remember dragging my dad to see this (I wasn't allowed to go to the movies alone) and it turned out he loved it, especially the line "She's talkin' to a fish!"

This one is in the silly Disney family film circa 1960 genre, about an underwater researcher who takes his aquaphobe wife, two teenagers, and the kids' two friends to live in an underwater home for 30 days to prove to his boss that people can live underwater. Boss of course has dollar signs in his eyes and wants to scuttle the project in favor of an underwater dredge that just might dig up gold. The family has various harmless adventures and of course, since it's an Ivan Tors movie, there are two cute dolphins named the Duke and the Duchess and a cute sea lion named Gladys.

And of course since it's the 60s, the teenagers and their friends have a rock group, Harold and His Hang-Ups, and they're trying to get a recording deal with a cool 60s mod recording studio director played by Roddy McDowall in his mod period. Their go-between is Charlotte Rae, the family's tippling maid.

Of note: Harold (who's one of the friends, not one of the family) is played, in one of his earliest movie roles, by Richard Dreyfuss. According to the IMDb, it was his fourth movie role, and only his second credited role.


Shrek the Sheep Faces His Shearers

They showed this fella on Regis and Kelly this morning (I was blogging and didn't bother changing the channel after Good Morning America was over). They sheared him for charity in the end and got 27+ kilos--something like sixty pounds!--of wool. They showed him being sheared; it was so funny--they just gently rolled him over, like a big medicine ball and he blinked and lay there until the shearing was done. He was so light when he got done he looked bewildered!

More Shrek


Tuesday Twosome (one day late)


1. Side of the bed: Left or Right?


2. Sleep with or without covers?

I like being cocooned in blankets, which is why I like winter best.

3. Sleep with or without night light?

As a kid I slept with two. The one night when I was in my late teens, I shut the one off in my room and shut my bedroom door (my bedroom was off the kitchen, which had the other night light) and never slept with one again.

4. Deep or light sleeper?

Light, mostly.

5. More annoying to be awoken by: alarm or phone call?

Phone call. The alarm I plan, even if I don't want to get up.


» Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Stitching in Time
Man, I've been sleepy today. Did go to bed rather late last night (just before one) so we could stay up and see "Headlines" on Tonight, the one truly funny feature we enjoy, and were up at 7:30 to send James off to work. I ate breakfast and puttered around a bit, then at 9:30 snuggled up on the sofa and after about an hour of trying to fall asleep, did indeed fall well and truly to sleep until one. I've been up since then, but am still sleepy. Perhaps I'm still sleepy from not being able to sleep well over the weekend because of the heat.

Anyway, I spent the afternoon doing something I truly have not done for years: cross-stitching. I used to go at it billy-ho for a long time, then had a period where I started a lot of projects but never finished them. I've tried to start up again, but today was the first time I actually finished a small project, a little apple cross-stitch that is to go on one of the cupboards in the kitchen. I started another while I was going good, a thank-you gift for a friend.

One of the reasons I wasn't stitching was my glasses; I have new ones now--but I still have to look under them to actually stitch. I have progressive bifocals, with the bottom fit out to be able to read, but it's still not as close as I need to stitch. I tried buying one of those magnifying lenses you hang from your neck to stitch with, but it was awkward.

Another problem I dismissed today rather dismayed me. Several years ago, when the CATS show (a stitchery show) came to Atlanta, I was delighted to find a new type of cross-stitch needle--it had two blunt-tipped ends with a long eye in the middle. Instead of having to sew up and around as you do when you darn, you just pulled the needle up and down, rather like a sewing machine. I thought the technique delightful and bought all four sizes of needles.

I discovered in taking up the apple pattern again that one of the things holding me back from cross-stitching were these needles, however. I've always been a maverick when I cross-stitched anyway: in the craft you are supposed to use a short, blunt-tipped rather wide-eyed needle called a tapestry needle, and I've always hated the darn things. To me the blunt tip did not go through the hole in the Aida cloth you use for cross-stitching easily (especially since my favorite count Aida cloth is 18--eighteen squares to the inch--which is small, and the holes are correspondingly small) and I hated the big eye, which is supposed to be for ease of threading, but I've never had problems threading needles. I always used common garden variety darning needles when I did cross-stitch, short, sharply pointed, and with as tiny an eye as I could get away with using embroidery thread.

But these double-head needles are more like the tapestry needle than a regular sewing needle. So today I went back to my old favorite darning needle and the cross-stitch has proceeded more satisfactorily.


Takes Me Back...
Most people have a special song...for the elderly it may be a big band number, for the early baby boomers a rock and roll song, for the later boomers maybe something by the Stones, and so forth. And there are other pieces of music that, innocuous though they may be to everyone else, bring back a special memory.

Watching the Lost in Space DVDs has that effect on me, not the episodes themselves, but the theme song, which has the power to catapult me back to some mid-sixties summer evening. If I was allowed to watch Lost in Space, it would have been during midsummer, when everything else was in reruns, because my dad only watched it very grudgingly. In fact Lost in Space was the reason I finally got my own television once the series went into reruns--I had a major crush on Major West. :-) But Daddy couldn't stand Dr. Smith, to the point he hated everything else about the series.

So he would probably be outside somewhere when the episode aired, watering the lawn in the twilight. The windows were thrown as far open as we could manage, for there was no air conditioning, and the front and back doors wide agape so any errant breeze would come through the screen doors. I might be on the sofa, sweltering in a pair of shorts and a shell top, or sitting cross-legged on the floor, probably with a book in my hands--I almost always had something in my hands, whether it was a book or a composition book that I was writing a story in or a drawing pad--watching the black and white picture on our 19" Magnavox. The theme song brings back the sluggish breeze and the smell of heat fading from the concrete sidewalk and the muffled shouts of the men across the street playing baseball. Mother would be sitting behind me keeping cool in a duster and light slippers, sipping lemonade. If I had a drink it would still probably be milk--I didn't have to be encouraged to drink it! Or it could be Eclipse lemon-lime syrup, spooned into a big glass of cold water and deliciously, tartly sweet.


It's Cool, It's Cool!
We had a cool front go through yesterday. It was so cool last night I had to put flannel jammies back on. What a wonderful night to sleep, compared with Sunday night, which was a toss-and-turnfest kicking off blankets because of perspiration. Last night I cocooned myself in blankets and slept like a log.


I'll Take Fantasy
We were upstairs last night trying to get James' new computer in some semblance of shape and didn't come back down until it was almost time for the news. So I just popped the television on and left it on NBC; after all, you can stand anything for fifteen minutes, right?

What was on was the most mind-bogglingly boring thing I'd ever seen, some new reality show called The Restaurant. I kept checking the wall clock for the entire fifteen minutes. Some guy named Rocco was never around and some waitress was getting reprimanded for not following someone around--maybe it was Rocco. Then at the end some guy who needed to shave had an argument with another guy. One of them was Rocco; I never figured out which.

I guess someone is watching these fool things, judging by news reports, ratings, and the conversation on that actually goes on between the slimy racial bigotry posts, but I can't imagine why.


» Monday, April 26, 2004
Monday Madness

These letter things drive me mad, but I'll bite on this one:

"Using the letters in the word 'blogger' describe your blog for us."

Groggy (in the mornings)


Surgical Update
Have been getting out and walking around (Borders, Barnes & Noble) for exercise, but just walking around a bit right now still makes me downright tired. In somewhere larger like Sam's or BJ's I take the little cart.

All but three of the surgical strips that the nurse put over the incision after removing the staples have come off. Supposedly they "just drop off" but the visiting nurse told me no; that once the ends were flapping merrily I should gently remove the strip, which I have in some cases, others have fallen off themselves. For a surgical scar, I guess it's no uglier than most, a red line with little marks on either side where the staples were in. The red line gets darker when I shower. I dabble alcohol on it--don't wince; it doesn't burn at all, just itches a little.

Actually, the incision itself doesn't really bother me. It's the pinching inside when I move around too much. It's my early warning system that I'm starting to overdo it, like yesterday when I helped James spray the foundation of the house by gently raking away the leaves clotted at the back of the house, the back yard still being a mess. We have someone coming to clean it up, but he has to squeeze the job between his own full-time job and his part-time job cutting lawns, either of which could be delaying him. Wish I knew some enterprising teen-agers looking to earn extra money. I really hate our back yard right now.


» Saturday, April 24, 2004
Serves Me Right
I was so tied up over the surgery the first weekend in April I broke the rule I set last year. After last year's "invasion of the ants" I swore the first weekend in April we were going to spray the foundation of the house with the Ortho. We didn't.

Guess what we found crawling in under the kitchen window frame tonight.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. What I get for being so abominably lazy.

And this wouldn't be half so annoying if I had not had a dream about the damn things getting in just last night.


» Friday, April 23, 2004
Is There a Bronze Version?
Watched the first part of the three-part Iron Chef challenge with the three American cooks and Alton Brown hosting. I never have figured out what everyone saw in the original Japanese version.

Y'know what? It's just as boring in English.


It's Just Too Damn Hot...
It's 81°, my "Weather Pixie" has a bathing suit on, I'm sticky behind my knees, and the sun is just Too Darn Bright.

I'm playing the CD of Christmas dulcimer music I bought in Helen last weekend, but it ain't helping.

Sigh. Six more months of this Hell.


Friday Five

Still down, so I've picked an old one as suggested. This from April 5, 2002.

1. What are the first things that you do in the morning to start your day?

Shut off that drad-ratted alarm clock, go to the bathroom, and take my Protonix so I can actually eat something.

2. What are the last things that you do at night before going to bed?

Read so I'll be sleepy.

3. What daily routine have you recently added to your day?

LOL. Staying home right now.

4. What routine do you wish you could get rid of?

I want to win the lottery so I could give up the routine of work. If I had a job I actually enjoyed it would be different, but...purchase orders. Ugh!

5. What's the one thing that makes you feel like something is missing if you don't do it some point within your day?

Taking my Atenolol. Or else I feel funny. (And my heart will let me know it, too. How our bodies get used to our medications!)


» Thursday, April 22, 2004
Nostalgia in the Morning
I've already had a delightful hour watching most of a 1936 movie Tough Guy starring Jackie Cooper and Rin-Tin-Tin Jr. from 1936, about a poor little rich boy who runs away, and, together with an escaped criminal, cares for a dog. The boy comes to love the criminal more than his distant workaholic father--then crooks try to kidnap the kid, and the criminal--and the dog of course--helps to rescue him.

I know Cooper did such a good job in the original film of The Champ, but I've never been able to watch any of his films after seeing him in that awful version of Treasure Island. He was just a "regular boy" in this one, not a sniveling kid as he played Jim Hawkins. (If you want a defininitive Treasure Island, get the Disney version with Bobby Driscoll.)

Then I put on a videotape and went back in my own time via an Ask the Manager, to the early 1980s station tour of WSBK-TV with Dana Hersey doing the honors. This was done in two parts and is delightful and complete, from the station microwave tower and the Birmingham Parkway entrance down to the editing rooms and Studios   A and B, with all sorts of station personnel encountered in the interim. Oh, those were happy Saturday mornings, awaking before ten and having breakfast along with Dana and Joe or Dana and Dan.

Following the tour was the reason I'd put the videotape on, the MGM vintage version of Dorothy Sayers' Busman's Honeymoon, Haunted Honeymoon. Both the British Ian Carmichael and Edward Petherbridge Lord Peter Wimsey television stories are better, but this is a true curiosity, the only Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey story to be put on film. Dark-haired Robert Montgomery plays Wimsey, with Constance Cummings as Harriet Vane and Sir Seymour Hicks as Bunter. It's a workmanlike version, but with half of the charm of Sayers and too obvious efforts to be light, as if Lord Peter and Harriet were Nick and Nora Charles.


Thursday Threesome

A geek-- Hey, who handles tech support at your place? You? ...the six year old? ...or someone from outside? ...and how about in your web space? No, we're not looking for techs; we're just curious.

That would be my A+ hubby, the inestimable James, who unfortunately has lost a fight with Win2000 versus his system board. I know he's supposed to be getting to know it better, but as far as I'm concerned Win98 does what I want and who cares about the rest? I can watch Lassie on streaming video, download radio shows from Usenet, make web pages, and look up how bad traffic is. What else do I need?

in the-- computer? Just a curiosity for the designer types: what Operating System are you running? ...and which browser? Since sites can show up differently in different browsers it's more than a casual question.

Windows 98 and unashamed of it. All I can tell Win2000 and WinXP do is give you some 3-D fancier graphics. Honey, if I want good graphics, I'll watch television. I don't care if my icons look like multicolor lollipops and the skins on WinAmp and Mozilla glisten.

Family-- Do any family members read your place? Do they care? Do they have a clue? ...and how about your 'off line' friends? ...or do you supply a little bit of separation there?

I do have family members who are online, but I have no idea if they ever read my blogs or site. They never write. Richard? Christopher? Richard? Deanna? Chad? Anyone? Send me a line, okay? Dying to hear from you.


» Wednesday, April 21, 2004
No Earmuffs, Please

:: how jedi are you? ::


Arrrgh! Retro Me!
I'm A 1960s Geek
I'm a 1960s geek
You're pretty quirky and weird but we know you're smart and love you anyway!
find your geek decade at


» Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Medical Updates
The visiting nurse came again today--unless something changes she is planning to discharge me on Thursday. One part of my incision was a bit irritated last week and James has been treating it religiously for me--because I can't see it--at least twice a day with alcohol (to dry the area) and Neosporin. She says all she sees now is a small red spot. So three cheers for my unofficial nurse!--yea, James!

Oh, the before-insurance-payment hospital bill showed up the other day. If Kaiser is running true to form I'll be getting more of these as Kaiser's payments trickle in; nine months from now I expect the usual collection agency call for part of the bill. I'll try not to lose my temper this time; Kaiser is terribly slow paying their bills and Northside ain't exactly swuft about submitting them on time, either; my problem with the collection agency last year stemmed from Northside never having submitted a bill to Kaiser for James' MRI in July 2002.

My total: $13,206.85. Zounds. If I sold my body to science I doubt if it would rustle up a tenth of that total!

(On the other hand, it means a lot to me!)


» Sunday, April 18, 2004
Return from Paradise
We've been away for the weekend.

Every year a group of us go up to Helen, Georgia, a Bavarian-themed former logging town, to Unicoi State Park, and take over one of the lodge buildings. These are built with two intersecting halls on an obtuse angle. At the intersection of the halls there is a common area, with a sunken seating area in front of a big fireplace, and then an open area. We assemble snacks, a microwave, breakfast food, a bread machine, and other goodies in this open area and generally chill out from Friday through Sunday morning.

Normally I wouldn't have been traveling so soon after the surgery, but since this is mainly a relaxing weekend, I didn't have any qualms. I brought a wedgie to prop my back, all my meds, and James and I basically loafed. We did go into Helen for about an hour--my dearly "bought" handicapped parking pass, however, was useless since there were only four spaces (we thought there were more) near where we wanted to walk, and they were all taken. So James dropped me off, but since the truck was downhill, I did walk back. The doctor was very insistant that I do walk. I was hurting a bit Monday when I went to have the staples out and James wheeled me upstairs in a wheelchair and they seemed displeased.

The only very odd thing that happened was an attack of hives, of all things, on Saturday morning. I have never, ever had hives in my life. I got up and was using the toilet when i began to itch, and to my surprise, welts were breaking out all over my right arm, then spreading to my back, chest, face, and then other limbs! James gave me a Claritin right away, and I sent him off to look for someone with Benadryl--all our friends have allergies and I knew someone would have some.

I popped one and it seemed to turn the tide, although I was very shaky heading for breakfast and only managed to down some cereal. What I was really afraid of was having other allergic reactions, like breathing problems.

All I can think of is that my already abused digestive system reacted badly to the crab I'd eaten the night before.

We had a great time otherwise and, while my back is still a bit sore, I think moving around and interacting with people turned the trick and the bulk of the pain is gone. I can cough without major pain most of the time as well.

Wish I'd been feeling well to participate more in the game of Cranium folks were playing on Saturday night. I sat in for the last fifteen minutes. All the different actions--spelling, acting out clues, drawing items, etc.--looked like great fun.


» Thursday, April 15, 2004
The lead story on the news tonight is who got picked on that fool Donald Trump show, The Apprentice.

They showed a bunch of parties and enthusiastic fans, but my entire reaction is Who the f*** cares?????

I can't believe anyone can be so involved in a dumb reality show.


Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Insomnia-- Ever have it? Some do and some don't, but have you ever been hounded awake for that endless hour after hour with no hope of sleep? ...or does the very act of touching head to pillow put you out for the count?

Yes, and it's usually on a work night. I can sleep fine on the weekend.

Twosome: the cure-- Hey, if you do have the occasional bout or chronic insomnia, what do you do about it? Work? Read? Try cures? Hmmm... Did you ever find one that worked?

You're supposed to get up and do something, but I don't usually, because I want to keep my eyes closed. They usually hurt from being under fluorescent lights all day. So I just lie there until I do fall asleep.

Threesome: for sleep-- Female/male, young/not so young, we all need varying amounts of sleep. What's your personal sleep cycle? Five hours? Ten hours? ...and if you had a choice, what would be your personal sleep cycle? ...and yes, "All day long" is a valid answer. :-)

I would love to sleep eight hours, or even seven, but six is more like what I get during a work week. My big problem is I have to get up too early; being a night person, getting up at six loses me my two best hours of sleep between six and eight in the morning. I would love to go to bed at one a.m. and get up at nine.


» Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Belated Easter Memories... Holiday Harbour.


The Outside World
I went out today!

Originally it was just a walk down the driveway to the mailbox and back. Then James said he was going to Lowe's to look for parts for his new compressor. I asked if I might go; he could drop me off at Border's next door. I am supposed to walk around a little each day and it's really boring making circles in the den. I also was looking for a copy of a recent New Yorker which apparently had something about Madeleine L'Engle in it.

It figured: they didn't have a copy. By the time I find it, if it wasn't already too late, the new issue will be out. I did get a copy of Earlene Fowler's Sunshine and Shadow, just out in paperback and had a nice ten-minute stroll between the magazines and the mysteries in the meantime.

I also determined that the new debit card I got in the mail is for the new account by driving by the bank and asking for a balance, so I finally "have" money again. Cool. I've got tax software rebates that need to go in.

It was such a nice day I wished I hadn't gotten tired out so soon! It didn't even get into the sixties and there was a nice brisk breeze blowing. By Friday it will be in the 70s and icky again. I even sat in the car and started it--it hadn't been started in a week--and sat inside, enjoying the breeze and the birdsong. James said we had about nine birds gobbling at the feeder at one point.


Late for the Panto
While clicking through channels this morning, found Star Trek: the Final Frontier just starting. This was the only Trek film with the original cast that I hadn't bought in a special edition, because I really didn't like it.

My opinion hasn't changed in the years since its release.

In a way I see it as a pity, because I'm not one of those SF snobs who see Trek as barely SF. Like any other series, it had its ups and downs. But it had good actors, a usually literate script, adequate special-effects (I've no need for flash; if the story is good enough, even the BBC £1.98 budget can be endured if the ideas and action works).

Final Frontier, however, does owe a nod to the Brits. It's the Star Trek version of the "panto," the classic British Christmas play.

The "pantomime" is an annual British theatre presentation that mixes various theatrical styles from the 1400s to the present. It is not a "pantomime" in the sense that it is silent, BTW. It's a musical-comedy presentation built around either an old fairy tale like "Cinderella" or "Jack and the Beanstalk" or English tradition, like the story of "Dick Whittington and his Cat." The "dame," the bombastic female lead, is always played by a male actor (usually florid and overweight) and the "principal boy," the young male lead, is always played by a young woman. The productions feature bad puns, flashy costumes or gadgets, broad acting, and music. The audience is encouraged to shout to the players and prominent British actors are one of the drawing cards for each season's "pantos."

Final Frontier, with yet too many stupid jokes--Scotty bonking his head on an overhead beam, Sulu and Chekov trailing after a comely Klingon--after being lost in the woods early in the movie, Uhura doing a strip-tease as a diversion, and too many others to list--is the Christmas panto come to life. Dr. McCoy, presumably due to Kirk's mountain-climbing proclivities, seems to spend the entire beginning of the movie drunk. Indeed, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy seem to be there simply to trade quips. While a madman searching for God--who turns out to be Spock's long-lost emotional half-brother--hijacks the Enterprise and wins over her crew, they take a lickin' and keep on quippin.'

Which, again, is a pity because there are legitimate and interesting ideas behind this entire debacle: Kirk's theory that he can't die because he's not alone, for instance, Sybok's search for God and ability to release people from the pain of their past, and finally, Kirk getting to ask the classic question that has never been asked in other SF films.

You know the films: the ominipotent being--he with the powers of God, who can do anything and hurt anyone he likes--wants to escape from his prison. He gets the opportunity by hijacking a spaceship/starship/rocketship/mind of someone--you know the drill. And not one time does anyone ask "God" why, with all his powers, he needs someone else to help him escape.

So Kirk's puzzled, "Excuse me...I have a question...what does God need with a starship?" is so finally, damnably right, except it's asked in the one Star Trek film that's a joke. High irony indeed!


» Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Not to be confused with the packing material.

I slept in my own bed last night. All night. With a minimal backache and--ta-da!--on my sides! I used a pillow to cushion my abused tummy and it worked out pretty well. The muscles in my back are twisted out of shape from unusual positions in the hospital bed and by the staples pulling me in, so I have to stretch them to get them back into place--and still keep them from hurting. Good trick.

Oh, and I had a full glorious shower last night and got to wash my hair, which after six days had turned into a sodden mass of grease. I can't believe that as a teenager I would let it go a week without washing. I don't think it was as greasy back then, though.

I had this surgery thirty years ago, but I realize now that I don't remember much about it, except that I couldn't laugh with the stitches in, I was in the hospital for a week, and when I came home I went straight to bed. I do remember my hair went two weeks without washing; when my hair gets dirty it forms ringlets, so by the time I did wash it I practically had banana curls. I think we had a hair dryer by then, one of those cap-on-the-head affairs, but I'm not sure. Before that I'd had to dry my hair in front of the oven of the gas stove. That would explain why I didn't wash my hair all that often back then! How boring it was to be stuck in a kitchen chair in the middle of the room, dangling my head back. (That was only when it was cold. In the summer it could dry naturally.)


Monday Madness

Only a little late...

What color is your favorite.......'

1. Vegetable

Red (tomato)

2. Beverage

Tan (coffee milk)

3. Room

Cream-colored right now; I want to paint it a pale orange (the library)

4. Outfit

Black (sweat-set)

5. Mood

A happy December-sky blue

6. Season

Saffron and orange and scarlet and purple and brown

7. Fruit

Red (cherry)

8. Dessert

Dark brown (chocolate cake)

9. Pair of shoes

White (my Reeboks, which actually fit right)

10. Color????

Bright sky blue


» Monday, April 12, 2004
Exit the Staples
Urgh. Maybe I can get my back muscles to loosen up now.


» Sunday, April 11, 2004
Sleeping My Way Well
Okay, I should be forewarned. I mean, I had surgery five, count 'em, five days ago. I'm still on pain medication two or three times a day. But it still weirds me out that I am so sleepy and woozy. Put me down on the sofa, even with an interesting magazine or a movie, and I want to conk out. It makes me nervous. I keep taking my pulse, then warn myself that it's natural. Thirty years ago I was still in the hospital, dozing off indiscriminately between exams, meals, and walks in the hall. Heck, fourteen years ago with a different type of surgery I was still in the hospital--but I hardly slept last time; don't know why. Different type of anathesia? Beats me.

Between the bouts of sleepiness I seem to be having bouts of crossness. Can't figure out if it's just because of my backaches or if I'm already being assaulted by missing hormones. The weather isn't helping; it's warm and humid and the pollen is making my eyes itch.


» Saturday, April 10, 2004
There's Flying and Then There's...Crashing?
One of the things I bought with those innumerable Media Play coupons was a copy of the "Airport Terminal Pack," which is a collection of all four Airport movies, the first of course which is a pet of mine. For a "potboiler disaster film" it's well done, has good performances and actors, and has a good suspense factor. Even the score is good. The "Terminal Pack" had the letterboxed version, so of course I picked it up.

Airport 1975 I have not seen for years, probably since the rerun on network television. I remembered it being pretty bad, but I didn't think, compared to the swill that's coming out these days that it was that bad.

It's that bad. The stock characters are not only stock, but stupid, including a waste of the talented Myrna Loy as a little old lady who drinks boilermakers, Sid Caesar as the guy who becomes her companion on the flight, and Jerry Stiller, who sleeps through the entire disaster (at this point I'm not sure if "disaster" describes what happens to the plane or the movie itself). Linda Blair as the little girl who needs the kidney transplant is so boring she alone could put you to sleep. The leads are dull. Even the music is awful, what sounds like stock 1970s television background music. They could have used the soundtrack music from the old '70s Filmation cartoons and had something more appropriate!


We Have "Movement"
I won't elaborate, but if you've ever had abdominal surgery, you know this is a Big Step. :-)


So There I Was Channel Surfing...
...and Fox Movie Channel has Good Morning, Miss appropriate! It's a nostalgic movie about an autocratic but beloved geography teacher in a small American town who is suddenly diagnosed with a spinal tumor and who has to undergo surgery. Her life and how it intertwined with that of her pupils is shown in flashback. Always makes me tear up.


Had a restless night, thanks to the backache I picked up in the hospital. Finally ended up sleeping on the futon in the spare room, where I could prop my back up better. I'm dying to curl up on my side on the nice firm mattress again.

I can tell when I need the pain meds now; the incision starts to prickle. I'm up to six hours apart.

The folks at work sent a fruit basket since I'm allergic to fresh flowers. Looks yummy. Thanks, guys!


» Friday, April 09, 2004
This is It...
Looks kinda like the Vians' brains in the "The Cage," the Star Trek pilot with Jeffrey Hunter, doesn't it?

The Cyst

That's sitting on my tummy, I believe next to your regulation size human hand.


I'm Home
I have a visiting nurse tomorrow and the staples out Monday. In the meantime I've just had a four-hour nap on the sofa.

It's really sad when the sofa you got at Big Lots Furniture gives you more support than a hospital bed.

Time for pain meds again, I think.


Gadzooks, I'm Being Sprung!
Had an unsettled night last night. They had taken me off my Atenolol--for tachycardia--because my blood pressure was so low on the first night after surgery. They thought it was still low last nght, so did not adminster again.

I woke about midnight with what the doctor later called "tachycardia flashback"; you have to be weaned off Atenolol, not removed from it quickly. My heart was not realy racing, but was going fast, about 93 beats per minute, and pounding hard. If I turned my head sideways, I could hear the blood hissing through my veins.

So I had to call the nurse and get my usual dose.

Anyway, the doctor walked in this morning, removed the dressing (I do indeed have a nice "zipper," but not as far up as I expected; she went around the belly button). It was stuck to hair; pulling the tape off hurt worse than the incision does!

Then said I could go home after lunch. Cool. The nurses and doctors at Northside are super. The beds should be shot for cruelty to patients. After two days' stay here I'm now a candidate for back surgery.

Oh, the doctor brought a picture of the thing. It looks like a brain model from an old 50s horror movie. I'll have James scan it when we get home and I'll link it here. You may peruse at your own risk. :-)


» Thursday, April 08, 2004
They took me off the IV pain meds this this afternoon. The first oral med they tried me on was Percoset. Bad news--it worked well but I could feel my ears ringing, or rather wheezing...the sensation was hard to describe. Let's leave it at "scary.''

The new stuff doesn't work as well, but it doesn't scare me.

When I checked in yesterday, there were two other Linda Youngs having surgery! One of them just dropped by to say hi!


Ain't Technology Wonderful?
Here I am blogging from a hospital bed using a PDA and a plug-in modem.

Yesterday was...surreal. Thankfully the tranquilizer drugs did their job, as I was doing my best not to freak. Everyone was super-nice. Worst part was waking up with a dry mouth and feeling not able to breathe. A mouthful of ice was welcome.

The pain is...tolerable. Sad to say I've had worse cramps (scary thought). I've had broth and jello with cranberry juice for breakfast, then James and the nurse helped me clean up.

James has gone home to walk and cuddle Willow and have a shower. I was thinking of surfing, but i'm still sleepy--they wake you up every half hour for one test or the other--and it's tough typing all this with a stylus, so ta for now...

Thanks to everyone for the prayers. Love to all,



» Wednesday, April 07, 2004
James here. Just a quick update. Linda's surgery went well; the cyst, while large, is apparently benign. She's currently in recovery and will be in a room in an hour or so. The doctor thinks that she may be able to come home on Staurday if everything continues to work out ok. More later.


It Was "a Day"
X-1. Kept myself from panicking most of yesterday by keeping busy. Left when James did and went to the Cobb County License Office for my handicapped parking pass. It looked as if there were about 200 people in line (I probably exaggerate; it was more like 150...) and there were no parking spaces. I figured this. It's spring break and the kiddies are queing up to get drivers' licenses.

So I drove off to the hospital for the pre-op blood cross-match. They actually admit you when you do the test: do all the paperwork, draw the bloods, then give you your hospital bracelet--under pain of death (just kidding) do you take it off. It's your ticket next morning to just breeze through admissions.

Saw lots of upcoming surgical patients down there with me--a well-dressed woman with her husband sporting cell phone headphone, an elderly couple a bit bewildered by the procedure, a tall young woman with curly dark hair who looked as apprehensive as I felt.

Once this was done, I headed home to check if the doctor had called about my laxative-du-jour. She said I could eat until midnight, but the laxative--a huge jug with electrolyte powder in it that I was supposed to mix with water and chill--said to start using it at 6 p.m. and not to eat 2 hours before that. So the phone call straightened that out; I could start using the stuff at nine instead, since my surgery is so late. (She also said I could mix Kool-Aid with it as long as it wasn't red or orange.)

Then I was smart and ate something before I went to the license office again. The line was shorter, but just barely. Both the people in front of me had lost drivers' licenses and I knew they'd be there for a while. I managed to get through in an hour, finishing at 2:10. One gentleman had been there waiting since 10:30!

Then I decided to have a small good time and went to Barnes  & Noble and Media Play. Came home by Dragon 168 for my meal, pork fried rice.

And all the time read Madeleine L'Engle, which I do when I'm stressed.

I always think the gunk the doctor gives you can't be any worse than the last batch and I'm always wrong. This electrolyte stuff is the worst yet. There are four liters, which you are supposed to drink in 8 ounce increments every 15 minutes. Now, I have this honkin' great cyst in there taking up a lot of room, so after 32 ounces not only was I sick, I felt like I was about to explode. I couldn't take a deep breath without pain. I called the advice nurse. Unfortunately this is normal. She told me to slow down and not take it in such short increments.

It also took a damn long time to work, about two hours. The senna stuff starts you percolating in an hour or less. You might as well be on the toilet when you start taking it, because it's gonna work that fast.

So here I am blogging between bathroom breaks. I'm still scared witless...but am now sleepy on top of it. I expected the toilet business to be over an hour ago.


» Monday, April 05, 2004
Familiar Faces
In a previous entry some time back, I mentioned I had what some people thought "odd taste in men." I never liked the teen idols or the strikingly handsome actors in movies and television.

Tonight I was surfing along and was stopped by a clip from Disney's Follow Me, Boys! with a gentleman talking about Kurt Russell. It was Biography, with Russell as the subject, but I was more mesmerized by the man I saw in that opening scene. He looked to be in his fifties, blond, with a blonde-grey goatee beard. His voice sounded a little familiar, but his eyes were arresting: I'd seen those eyes before.

And then it dawned on me. "Joey" from the "Bessie" episode of Lassie. The feckless Richard Schuyler in Disney's series of Kurt Russell/Medfield College comedies, starting with The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes. The put-upon Norman as partner to Michael O'Hara the Fourth. Hobie on The Waltons.

It was Michael McGreevey. And I spent the rest of a Kurt Russell bio waiting for McGreevey's commentaries!

(I didn't realize he'd written an episode of Deep Space 9. But I guess writing runs in the family. Dad is John McGreevey, who wrote so many episodes of The Waltons, among others.)

McGreevey's the one on the right in this Mexican lobby card. As always in those Disney days, he looks a little goofy. But he's aged well, I think. :-)


You Know What Really Bugs Me... I am in a swivet about surgery and there are people who actually do it voluntarily! I'm not talking about someone who decides to have a medical problem corrected that's not threatening their health, like stuffy sinuses or under-control herniation, or some woman who goes in for reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy.

I mean these utter dimwits who willingly go under the knife to get a face lift or other cosmetic-only plastic surgery, or who even more stupidly have breast augmentation. You'd risk being anesthetized to make your stupid boobs bigger? And why? So some man who thinks with his gonads will think you are attractive? Good God. Get a real life, okay?


» Sunday, April 04, 2004
X Minus 2
Well, there's two more days of freedom till "hospital day." I'm trying not to panic, but in the wee hours of the morning when you wake up suddenly in the dark, it's hard.

Tomorrow I go to work and try to pretend I care about the stuff in my queue. (Purchase orders are awful enough, but cell phone orders...ugh.) Tuesday I have to go to the hospital in the morning to get my blood typed and cross-matched, and then I have to take a laxative. That's sure to be fun. Glad I have books to read while I'm stuck on the pot.

I washed the dog today and scrubbed out the bath enclosure extra well since I won't be able to bend over to do it for a while. Our water leaves a reddish scum on the bath because the water is hard. After awhile it looks really dreadful if you leave it too long.


Pirates Ahoy!
Last week Daniel and Rodney recommended Mozilla's new upgrade, named "Firefox" and both James and I downloaded it. We were both really pleased with it, especially as we both liked Mozilla.

I was getting so that I could accept Internet Explorer, especially since we had it at work. It loaded quicker than Mozilla for sure.

But last night demo'd something I don't like about IE--it allows websites to hijack your browser. I still have IE linked to come up when I double-click on URLs in Eudora, and that's when the trouble started. I don't have any idea how I got to a certain site, because I didn't go there on purpose, but something began to do popups even though I have AdSubtract. And when I closed IE, there were three new icons on my desktop. So I opened IE again, and, even though I had it defaulted to start at a blank page, now I had some other page as a home page, something about not having to pay for legitimate software and--what I found really ironic!--urging you to use AdAware and other spyware blockers.

I deleted the desktop icons and left AdAware running during the night. This morning I discovered it had found 91 bits of spyware on my computer. Worst of all, when I went back into IE to default it to a blank page, this intruder page put all those icons back on my screen, including one that could not be removed because it said Windows was using it.

So I had to run AdAware again to get rid of the icon, which was spyware, and ran Norton Anti-Virus to make sure the spyware was not also a virus. What a pain!


» Saturday, April 03, 2004
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» Friday, April 02, 2004
The Bank Thing (see March 30 and April 1)
I turned in my "affidavit of fraud" this afternoon at lunch. At least one of the big (+$1800) charges had posted in my bank account, along with one for $63. :-( However, a second large charge (+$1800) dropped off the pending list, as did the smallest ($10) charge. The lady at the bank said hopefully I will have my money "back" within 7 days.

Also got the new checking account tweaked so I can start bill paying on it, I think tomorrow, unless the lady at the bank misunderstood and it's next business day. It can hold until Monday anyway.


More Hospital Stuff
I did a pre-surgical phone interview this morning. Basically they ask you...well, the basics: what prescription drugs you take, weight, height, allergies, general health, past ops, health problems, all that.

Then they tell you what's going to happen when you get to the hospital and then after the surgery. Yes, they do expect me to stand up and walk within six hours after the procedure. Oy veh. Lots of deep breathing and coughing so you don't get "pooh-monia" as my mom's friend Pat once said. Leg movements so you don't get blood clots.

And boy, she floored me when she said that from now to the surgery I can only take Tylenol for any pain. No aspirin, Aleve, or ibuprofin which might thin my blood. (Wait, weren't they worried about blood clots? Balancing a fine line, I see.) Ordinarily I wouldn't kick too much, but my sinus headaches won't go away with Tylenol, and I spent a lovely three hours writhing on the couch tonight because I wasn't allowed Aleve for my cramps.

(Yes, It has struck yet one last time to torment me. For 37 long years I've been threatening to get even.

I wasn't thinking of so radical a movement, however...)


Well, That Figures

What Flavour Are You? I taste like Bread.I taste like Bread.

I am a staple in almost everyone's diet. Friends like me are a complement to any other friends I get on with almost everyone, remaining mostly in the background, but providing substance when it would otherwise be lacking. What Flavour Are You?


Earthlink for Dummies?
When I went into web mail this afternoon to check messages I noticed that the options on the left had changed.

"Compose message" is now "Write message."


No Friday Five last week; last week's message still up this week.

Hope everything's okay with the Friday Five folks...


» Thursday, April 01, 2004
Still Spitting
Re March 30 entry.

I am going to have to give up my nap this afternoon--which really hurts (literally) because I have a splitting headache (yes, I've taken something for it)--and have to go to the bank during lunch to open a new checking account.

Even though they cancelled my check card on Tuesday, yet another large charge has somehow been made against my checking account! The bank manager tells me that since my account is pretty much compromised, a new one is advised. She also told me that even though I had reported this on Tuesday, they still hadn't put a flag on my account, just cancelled the card.

This means I'm going to have to buy new checks now, and not be able to use my cool "the Century" checks anymore, dammit.


Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Rebel-- Hey, are you considered a rebel in any areas? Yeah? Like how, man? (...or not? Maybe you are one of the conforming types?)

I guess in a way I am. I'm a woman and I hate buying clothes and buying shoes is even worse. I usually come home from a shoe-buying trip angry and with a headache. My mom figured when I grew up I would want all the things for my house that she'd always wanted for hers: pretty curtains, cut crystal, nice bedspreads. All I want is books and to be clean, and cozy.

Twosome: Without-- Hmmm... What have you done without lately that you could use a little of? Sunshine? A break from schoolwork? Housework? Kids?

The ocean.

Threesome: a Cause-- ...and just 'cause' it's the type of thing we ask: are you getting away for Easter/Spring break or is the usual routine in effect?

For Spring Break and Easter I get to go to the hospital. What fun.

I still bought me a chocolate bunny, though.