Yet Another Journal

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

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

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» Monday, May 31, 2004
Dad Goes to War... Holiday Harbour.


Monday Madness

1. What was the name of the last movie you watched (dvd, vhs, theatre, or tv)?

Battle Hymn with Rock Hudson. James bought the DVD.

2. What were you doing on the internet before coming here?

Writing in my other blog.

3. What color of pen do you usually write with?


4. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?

My mother.

5. When is your birthday? (month and day)

I'm a very proud December baby, two weeks before Christmas on the 11th.

6. How organized is your computer desk?

Well, I can find almost everything, although inside the cabinet is a little dicey. But it's not neat.

7. How many calendars do you have in your house?

Six, one on the computer desk door, a perpetual one, one on each computer, and one on each PDA!

8. Do you clip coupons and use them when doing your grocery shopping?

Yes, we did that tonight (groceries, that is). My feet still hurt.

9. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Night owl. I prefer sunsets to sunrises, thanks.

10. Did you enjoy your weekend?

Yeah, but it was too short as always!


» Saturday, May 29, 2004
Summer Note:
Several people are in the hospital here for carbon monoxide poisoning. They had to run the air conditioner on their houseboat all night and the unit was leaking the deadly fumes.

If you're in a boat on a lake where there's supposed to be a breeze at night and you gotta run the A/C--it's too damn hot.


» Thursday, May 27, 2004
Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Learning-- Hey, what would you like to learn how to do this Summer? Learn to ride a motorcycle (like Sarah)? Learn PHP? Learn how to chill out and vegetate properly (lessons available)?

I don't learn anything in the summer except how to keep cool as much as possible. It's too hot to do anything but find a nice cool spot, curl up in a ball and sleep. If you want me to learn something, call me when better weather comes.

Twosome: to-- Too? Two? Okay, two things you are positively not going to learn how to do! Ever!

Entomology and herpitology. Oh, and rock climbing.

Threesome: Ride-- Speaking of motorcycles: Do you ride? Did you ever ride? ...or do you just enjoy them? ...or maybe, "No way!"?

Actually, I've always wanted to try riding on a motorcycle. I might be scared. I don't know. With my luck it will work out just like the ride in the small plane did and I'd get motion sick. Urgh. And I'd looked forward to that ride all my life...

Actually own one? No. I still want a PT Cruiser.


» Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Just to Add to My DVD Want List:
23 Paces to Baker Street

The Prisoner of Zenda with Ronald Colman


First Three Lassie Films on DVD
An August 24 release:

Lassie Come Home

Son of Lassie

Courage of Lassie

The photo of Elizabeth Taylor on the Lassie Come Home cover is actually from Courage of Lassie. In the original film Taylor's character is either in a dress or, once, in a riding outfit. Hmmn. Didn't they want to show her in a dress?

I rather resent her presence there. The film is about Lassie and her devotion to Joe. Priscilla is only a supporting character; if she wasn't played by Elizabeth Taylor, she wouldn't even be on the cover.


» Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Tuesday Twosome

1. Name two things you will miss this summer: Cool air. And more cool air.

2. Name two things that you won't miss this summer: Bugs! Because no matter what, they will get in the house, so I won't be able to miss them!

Okay. Vacation. And vacation.

3. Vacation: "Planning on one" or "Don't have the time and/or money to take one":

No time off after the surgical vacation. James is saving up his vacation weeks and maybe we can go somewhere at Christmas. At least it will be cool!

4. Warmer weather: "Finally" or "Crap! I want cooler weather": These questions give me the feeling of deja vu. :-) Let me repeat: I hate summer. Anything over 70° is too damn warm. Summer sucks. Summer sucks so much it should be renamed "Hoover."

5. Memorial Day (USA): "A much needed day off" or "I have to work": No purchase orders all day! No purchase orders all day! No purchase orders all day! No purchase orders all day!


Um, Didn't Tom Good Do This 30 Years Ago...
...granted, on a smaller scale, but why such a surprise?

The "Power" of Manure

It can be done in real life.

[In the British series The Good Life (a.k.a. Good Neighbors here in the States, Tom and Barbara Good practice self-sufficiency at their home in suburbia, keeping a goat, pigs, and chickens and farming their front and back garden as well as an allotment. The electricity in the house is maintained by Tom's "thing in the cellar," a methane-powered generator fueled by their animals' wastes.]


» Monday, May 24, 2004
Heat Sink
The A/C was fixed Friday at 3:00 p.m.

It's taken this long to actually be able to walk into the house and say, "Oh, it's cool."


Monday Madness

1. I started blogging about 29 months ago.

2. I try to post a new entry in my blog about every 1 or 2 days.

3. I read about nine blogs on a regular basis.

4. I change my layout about none a year. I don't really change it. I might someday. Who knows?

5. I used to ?, and now I blog instead. Actually, I haven't stopped journaling, talking on mailing lists, or on newsgroups. I just blog now, too.

6. I spend more time blogging than I do thinking about clothes and shoes.

7. I tend to blog (and visit blogs) most in the ?. Whenever I feel like it, really.

8. The thing I enjoy most about blogging is talking about various things and expressing my opinion.


Actor Richard Biggs Passes Away
Apparently he got up Saturday morning, collapsed and died. He was only 43. Some folks know him from the soaps, but I had only seen him as Dr. Franklin on Babylon 5. He had a great role in the series. James and I had also seen him as a convention guest. We used to laugh about him being "a perpetual motion machine"--he was always moving.


» Friday, May 21, 2004
It's Just Too Damn Hot... Redux
89° today on the fry meter.

But the A/C is finally fixed.

Well, it has a new motor. It isn't really "fixed." They put in a new motor in mid-August. We shut the damn thing off at the end of September. It didn't work when we turned it on two weeks ago. So, the new motor lasted a total of six weeks. It really needs a whole new outside unit. But of course if the repair company admitted that, they'd have to pay for it because we have the home maintenance contract.

As the little birdie says...


» Thursday, May 20, 2004
I Should Explain About the Flush Riveting, Eh?
We watched the second disk of the "Walt Disney on the Front Lines" set last night; this was the disk that Victory Through Air Power was on. Of course James had always wanted to see it, especially having read Seversky's book. I'd read the description in Leonard Maltin's The Disney Films and was intrigued with it, especially after I saw some of the animation in Disney tribute shows and in Life Goes to War.

It's actually a cool movie, if you're into history--especially if you like aviation as James does--and know it's not your typical Disney animated film. The opening animation, which is the story of aviation up to 1943, is amusing at times. The rest of the graphics and animation illustrated Seversky's theories of long-range bombing. The design is quite stunning in places and the restoration of the film shows it all off to good advantage.

The rest of the disk has two interviews with Disney animators who were working during the war, and another with Roy Disney's memories of the studio during wartime (he was eleven when Pearl Harbor was bombed), galleries of animation art and storyboards (including the abandoned feature about "the Gremlins" based on the Roald Dahl book) and insignia that Disney did for various military units, plus two Disney wartime traing shorts.

These seem to have been divided up into two types of films: ones that used the occasional cartoon interspersed with the training instructions for humor--this was the type used in the anti-tank rifle training film included, which opened with a cartoon about Hitler going to Hell and included little humorous asides, although the majority of the film was about the rifle itself: how it worked (illustrated with animation), how to clean it, how to fire it in different situations--or ones that were simply straighforward training films illustrated with nonhumorous, illustrative animation. That was the other entire training film shown, "Four Methods of Flush Riveting." It was, as you might expect, a bit dull for anyone who's not learning flush riveting, but a good example of how simple the Disney training films made the process, with clear illustrations and instructions.

There's also a short with different clips of other training films; some were for aviation identification and weather training that James wished he could have seen in their entirety.

By the way, the four methods of flush riveting are "countersinking," "dimpling," "double dimpling," and a combined "dimpling" and "countersinking" technique, depending on the thickness of the two pieces of metal being riveted together. :-) So now you know!


Thursday Threesome

Onesome- Beginnings: Are there any television shows out there that you've watched regularly from the very beginning? Or for those of you not into TV, any book authors that you've read from the very beginning?

You mean television shows on now? NYPD Blue. Past television series--lots: Remember WENN, Get Smart, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space 9, Babylon 5... As for books: Sue Henry's Alaska books, the Adept series, all the Whitman Lassie books, The Bobbsey Twins...lots here, too.

Twosome- Middles: What about shows that you came into in the middle of the season but immediately grabbed your attention and turned you into a die-hard fan? Again, for non-TV fans, have you ever begun reading a series of books in the middle and then just had to read everything else in the series?

The first example I believe is Star Trek. I started watching it in second season because it was finally on at a time that didn't conflict with my mom's or dad's regular programs. Other shows: I didn't turn into a die-hard fan, but when I found out some of the Remember WENN actors occasionally appeared on Law & Order, I started watching that in prime time as well as in reruns. I got tired of it after awhile, though. Of course Lassie I joined in the middle of the series because I was too young to have seen the Jeff episodes. When those came back in reruns, I made certain to go back and watch them. Also, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. All our friends raved about it, so we finally decided to see what the furor was about and decided we liked it. Well, except for that depressing season when they brought Buffy back from the dead...

Threesome- And Ends: Recently, a number of big name shows have ended, Friends, Fraiser, The Drew Carey Show, and the cult hit, Angel. Did you watch any of the big finales? Have you ever been really sad to see a show go? Ok, readers, here's one for you. Have you ever read the end of a book first? Why? ;)

No, for the first three. Hated Friends, occasionally watched Frasier but never found it all that funny, and only saw Drew Carey when Shirley Jones was on. Is Angel over already, too? We quit watching Angel after Connor boffed Cordy. I've been sad to see many shows go, especially Remember WENN, which should have had a fifth season at least. And I cried when The Waltons was cancelled after its eighth season, then CBS recanted and brought it back. They should have left it dead: that's when they did that hideous soap-opera-y melodrama about Mary Ellen's husband having not really died at Pearl Harbor, but living under an assumed name somewhere else because he didn't want to admit to Mary Ellen he was impotent (yes, it was as dreadful as it sounds).

A friend of mine who writes mysteries would probably say I'm a barbarian--he hates spoilers--but yes, I've read the ends of many books first, especially mysteries. To me it doesn't matter; the solution to the crime is not as important as the people involved within it, their actions and their interactions with each other. Sometimes I want to read the end just to know if my favorite characters came out okay (these days that seems to be reserved for Ramses and Nefret in the Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody books). Then, if the book is absorbing, I'll read it through despite knowing "whodunit." If it's not, I'll just quit. For instance, I once started a book about two jewel thieves who were lovers. I didn't like the characters very much and flipped to the end, just to find out they died at the end. So I quit reading; who cared? If you only read books to find out the ending, then there would be no need in rereading books, would there? Especially mystery books! I know who killed the mysterious man up in the belltower at Fenchurch St. Paul and who knocked off Victor Dean on the circular staircase at Pym's Publicity, but I still reread The Nine Tailors and Murder Must Advertise to not only glory in Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter, but in the voluble Reverend Venables, the mysteries of change-ringing, Miss Meteyard and the genial Mr. Ingleby, all over again.


» Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Congratulate Me!
I now know the four methods of flush riveting... :-)


Good Disney, Bad Disney
I have in my hot little hands--well, actually, no, since then I couldn't type; they're actually in a chair--so I had in my hot little hands the Walt Disney Treasures sets "On the Front Line" and "Tomorrowland." Woohoo!

So at the moment Disney has made me happy...but I'm still a bit miffed. The Ultimate Disney site has some upcoming cover art, and I discover they've decided to use this overly precious promotional photo for The Three Lives of Thomasina.

I can imagine the legions of adults who have never seen this movie, especially men, who would take one look at the cutsey cover with Thomasina dressed up in baby clothes and say that cats or no cats, a piece of treacle like that is not going to enter their house. Gah. The scene with Mary dressing Thomasina in baby clothes hardly lasts five minutes and does not represent at all what this movie is about. Anyone who thinks it's a sweet little fantasy about a little girl and a cat would be highly mistaken. It's actually very adult for a Disney family movie, addressing things like an adult's disappointment with a career, the relationships people have with their pets, the relationship between a loving child and a distant father, a woman being different in a highly traditional society, and how children deal with death. So don't write it off by its cover.


Foxlife - Out There - German Couple Finds Out Stork Isn't Real

My only question is what did the girl's mother tell her when she got her first period? I'm having visions of Stephen King's "Carrie" and her mother here...

As for whomever wrote this story: "had been brought up extremely religiously"? Is this a bad translation or simply bad grammar? How about using "had been raised in extremely religious homes"? or something else that sounds like proper English?


» Tuesday, May 18, 2004
"You Knew the Job Was Dangerous When You Took It, Fred..."
Colonial House, Parts 3 and 4: The main goal, as I understood from last night, was for 21st century people to form a community living as 17th century people. This meant they had to conform to 17th century laws (within reason, of course; no one was going to burn witches, etc.).

Frankly I think some of these folks are cheating. For instance, if I go downtown right now, don't feel like walking, and park in front of the Marriott Marquis, I'm going to get a parking ticket or have my car towed, and perhaps end up in court. Why? Because the law says "No parking." 17th century law said the settlers had to conform to certain rules, and that included church attendance on the Sabbath. Several people in the group didn't want to go to church and didn't show up. The "governor" of the colony instituted punishments, but at this point so many of the few participants were being punished for not attending services that the colony's work was compromised. Finally the punishments for non-attendance were rescinded and the requirement for attendance also dropped, for the good of the colony.

Look, going to church for three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon isn't my idea of the ideal Sunday. But then neither is sleeping on a dirt floor with bugs crawling around, or wearing a corset, or cooking over a fire with wool clothing and a long skirt. I wouldn't have volunteered for Colonial House because I knew I'd have to do all these things. If the members of the project didn't want to abide by the rules, they shouldn't have joined.


Tuesday Twosome

Gad. I haven't done one of these in a dog's age. (and after the white on lime green text and the subject, I guess I know why...)


1. The last two songs you heard:

"Valencia" and "Mask of Togaegi" by David Lanz.

2. The last two CDs you bought:

"Christmas in a Celtic Castle" and an album of Christmas songs done on dulcimer by a gentleman who was selling them in Helen, GA.

3. Two songs you hate at the moment:

Dunno. Don't listen to music. Probably something on the commercials.

4. Two songs you are loving at the moment:

Same songs as always, including "Touch and Go" by Rupert Holmes.

5. Two singers you would like to meet (dead or alive):

Well, I'll always go back and speak to Rupert Holmes. Also Barry Manilow.


Tony Randall dead at 84

Who could forget old fussy Felix and his "honk" when things went wrong, plus a host of other guest star and star roles?


» Monday, May 17, 2004
Parts one and two of Colonial House tonight. This bunch seems a bit more realistic about what they're going to go through--at least at this point!--although they're only human and do complain. I was amused by the girl who said she volunteered to milk the goats because she had visions of being the sexy milkmaid, but she ended up covered in goat dung and sour milk. :-)


Sleepless in...Certainly Not Seattle
I feel shellshocked. I had about 2 hours of sleep last night--maybe. Without a blanket I was too hot. Without a sheet or with a sheet I was too cold. The attic fan sounds like a Mack truck and it's right outside our bedroom door, and the little fan that is in our window is nearly as noisy, even on low. If the air conditioning doesn't get fixed, I will go mad. Once it gets over 60° at night, it's too hot to sleep upstairs without it--unless the rackety fans are going.

I also forgot my badge, which means every time I have to go to the bathroom--and that's often these days--I have to borrow someone else's to get out the door to it. I wish I could just curl up somewhere and sleep. I deliberately did not take any naps last week so I would make sure I could sleep at night. But I don't seem to be able to get comfortable enough due to the heat and am just getting shorter and shorter on sleep. I didn't even sleep late over the weekend.


» Sunday, May 16, 2004
"It's Yesterday Once More"
Jonny Quest - The Complete First Season (1964) makes me feel like a kid again.

I was just short of my ninth birthday when this series premiered on ABC, broadcast at 7:30 p.m., which was in those days still prime time. I didn't get to watch it much, maybe one or two episodes, because we had only one television and it was ruled by Mom and Dad. Luckily pretty soon it was on another network on Saturday mornings and I could get my fill. I loved adventure stories and this was a cracking good one: a kid about my age, his friend who could do all sorts of magic tricks. his father who was a scientist but not geeky, their bodyguard who was a real-truly secret agent, and a cute dog all mixed up with spies, meglomaniacs, monsters, native people, deserted ships, exotic locales...

Much later, when I had a VCR I recorded all the episodes off TNT, but my VCR was going west at the time and the sound was bad on all 26 episodes. Lately we had been watching them--and amazingly, they were uncut, all the fun violence restored, unlike the copies that had been rerun on the networks in earlier years--on Boomerang, which had no commercials but did have interruptions.

So how could I resist the DVD set? Jonny Quest on command, as it were. And the transfers are gorgeous. I do detect some occasional dust on the prints they used, but the color is tremendous, full, brilliant saturation--the ones on Boomerang had looked a bit washed out--sharp edges, good sound considering they were filmed for television in 1964. In fact, they wouldn't have looked half so good on our black and white television, no color notwithstanding.

I know how "Little Rosie" feels in the "Rose is Rose" comic--watching these shows is like being nine years old all over again...


Ah, The Scents and Sounds of Summer
Our air conditioner is still broken, so the windows are thrown wide and the fans are going lickety-split. Outside earlier black and steel grey clouds were boiling in the distance, now it's overcast and the sky is growling at Willow. (She takes thunder so personally.) And someone nearby is marinating their steak in lighter fluid, overwhelming the fading scent of the privet bush, which seems to be everywhere we go. The road to the airfield last week was lined with privet, and, when we came home through surface streets last night, they dotted the sides of the road intermittently.

We took Wil for ice cream today, as we did before I had the surgery; I go back to work tomorrow. How time flies when you're having fun. (And I'm not being sarcastic.)


» Friday, May 14, 2004
I Am Blue?
What Color is Your Brain? - Quizilla

What Color is Your Brain?

brought to you by Quizilla


Another trip into nostalgia-land yesterday; after wrestling with a fractious printer which for some reason will only print blue out of the multicolor cartridge, I popped on Disney's Horse Without a Head (based on Paul Berna's book. This is one of my favorites of the made-for-the-television-series Disney films (it was released theatrically in Europe and that's the version I had recorded off the Disney Channel--say, remember when the Disney Channel still showed Disney films????). The story: five poor kids in a small French town have only one toy, a big Victorian hobbyhorse on wheels that one of the children's grandparents found in a bombed-out house (the book takes place in the early 50s, when France was still pockmarked with shelled buildings from World War II, the Disney version looks contemporary to 1962 when it was made, but it's hard to tell). The toy lost its head in the bombings, hence the title. The kids use it as a sort of roller-coaster to ride down the long hill in town, blocking traffic to the eternal exasperation of the local gendarme, and arising the ire of a tinware peddler named Roublot. Roublot, we find out as the story opens, has some unsavory friends, ones who are planning to rob a train of a ten-million franc bank shipment.

Of course the kids, the horse, and the crooks all collide, along with the help of Inspector Sinot, the good-natured chief of police who's, ironically, longing for some action.

They wouldn't make a movie like this for kids today. Heavens, there are no fancy special effects, no snazzy costumes, no fantastical turns or loud noises, no farting jokes! It's just a nice kids' adventure story of the Enid Blyton/Trixie Belden/Whitman books school of writing.

Speaking of Trixie Belden, in Horse, although the leader of the kids is ostensibly Fernand, played by Vincent Winter, who's also in The Three Lives of Thomasina and Almost Angels, the most interesting and ingenuous is Marion. Played with waiflike looks by Pamela Franklin in what I believe was her first Disney job (A Tiger Walks was later), Marion has always been one of my favorite characters, literary/movie, whatever. She's "the girl with the dogs": when she's not helping her mother or racketing down the street on the horse without a head, she picks up injured or hungry strays, feeds and treats them, then finds them homes. But first, she teaches them to always respond to her whistle.

And they do, several times in the movie, to great effect. :-) I always did like Marion...


Thursday Threesome (a day late and a dollar short again)

Onesome: Fax-- Do you have access to or use a fax machine at home? Just curious...

No need for a fax at home unless you run a business. The few times I've ever needed to fax something (getting a mortgage, that sort of thing), I've used a commercial fax.

Twosome: Cover-- Hey, summer's coming! What type of cover up do you use when you're out in the sun? SPF4000? Sun clothes? A hat? "What sun; I live in a cave?"

Most of the time it's the last answer, but occasionally we do stay out in the sun (air shows, rocket launches, that sort of thing). Since we both have meds that say "Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun," we slather on SPF45 Coppertone. It works, too; not only don't we burn, but we don't even tan. Of course for a couple of days afterwards patches of my skin get a pebbly texture and itch, doesn't burn.

Threesome: Sheets-- 120 count or 180? (Okay guys, you're exempt , but you could ask someone who knows!)

What's with this "guys are exempt"? Even James knows not to buy cheap sheets. Anything under a 180 threadcount and the sheets start to pill after you've washed them a few times.


» Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Doing It To Myself
It's been hot and humid, and late last night the storm clouds crowded in. It's been spoiling to rain since this morning, and, although there have been a few "sucker holes," as James calls 'em, full of sun and the resulting heat, most of the day it's been breezy and cloudy. It's just started to get dark again and thunder overhead.

This morning I started A Wind to Shake the World, Everett Allen's book about the Hurricane of 1938. Allen, a journalist, has a very atmospheric writing style. Besides the eyewitness reports he reprints in the book, he records his own impressions of the summer of 1938 and then his reactions to the hurricane: he began working on a New Bedford newspaper the very day the hurricane struck. About halfway through the book I went upstairs--the air conditioning isn't working, so there were no lights on so things stayed cool, and it was very dark because of the clouds outside. The breeze being pulled through the house by the attic fan smelled heavy with damp but the area was still faintly warm, just as Allen's description mentions in the book. It was just a little spooky...I came downstairs and did something else for a while before finishing the book!


Monday Madness (late)

Very strange questions this week, too!

1. If you had a farm, what would you name the following animals: Pig, Cow, Goose, Chicken and Horse (assume these are show animals and not food.)

Being a Good Life/Good Neighbors fan, the pig would have to be either Pinky or Perky! I suppose Bessie for the cow, thinking of Lassie, although the classic cow's name is Elsie. Samantha for the goose, of course (having read Friendly Persuasion), even if she didn't pace. I would have to see the horse; each breed has its own personality. Not sure about the chicken: Timmy had a bantam hen named "Becky" once...

2. What are the top ten spices you use in cooking and what is cooked with them as the main spice (ie. Oregano: Spaghetti)

LOL. I just use salt, garlic powder, and onion powder on all meats. James is more creative. He also uses sage, basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley--on all meats, except for the pepper, which I don't like, and he only uses on his own foods.

3. Name your favorite flower and describe yourself using the letters.



» Tuesday, May 11, 2004
One More Week...
Walt Disney Treasures: Walt Disney on the Front Lines DVD Review

This page reviews the shorts; don't forget to go on to page 2 for the overview of Victory Through Air Power and the extras. Apparently Disney has made more copies of this release than of the other three coming out at this time, anticipating a big demand.

The "Tomorrowland" Treasures set is also due out next Tuesday.


» Monday, May 10, 2004
Cameras, Lenses, and Duh Moments
James went out and committed camera today.

The first time we laid our eyes on the Sony Mavica with the floppy disk, we were hooked. One of our friends got the original model, then another friend got the next one up, with the 10X zoom lens. When my Pentax film camera went bad (and the regular lens broke) for the second time in 1998, it was that camera with the 10X zoom that I coveted (the worst thing about leaving my Pentax was the beautiful telephoto lens I had bought for it).

But I ended up buying the new model that was out that year, the one that also took MPEG videos. After Merlin and Leia had died, I was regretting never having any "film" of them and bought the FD81 especially for Bandit. The MPEGs are very small, considering the floppy disk space limitations, but I have moving pictures of my baby (including one darling one I keep at work to cheer me up: it's Bandit making love to the spindles on the old red chair). That's what's important.

But the FD81 only has a 3X lens and I would complain every time we went somewhere where I wanted a closeup of something in the distance. The FD81 lens must be the orphan of the Sony world; Sony makes accessory telephoto and wide-angle lenses for every Mavica they have, except my FD81, or so the catalogs I've seen say, so I couldn't even improve my condition that way.

I'd look at the new Sony Mavicas, which save to CD-R/RW, but all of the darn things have 3X optical lenses, too. They actually brag they have 6X lenses, but the "times 2" is actually a digital magnifier, not an optical one. All it does is make the pixels bigger. Sorry, I want a real zoom lens, not one that plays one on camera. :-) (James must hate to take me to photographed events. Invariably I will see the news reporter with a huge periscope-sized telephoto lens on his camera, point and say, "Now that's a lens," with unconcealed envy.)

Meanwhile the trusty old FD75 has lived on in the corner of camera departments of certain stores, growing cheaper all the time. After taking itty-bitty pictures of great big airplanes flying way overhead on Saturday, James finally tossed in the towel. We found an FD75 sitting in the display case at Eckerd's, forlorn and overlooked because it doesn't do megapixels on memory sticks, at a quarter of the price of what I paid for the FD81.

So now we have MPEGs and magnifications, too. :-)

Anyway, in unpacking the FD75, I was reading the manual. Now, when our friends first got a Mavica, someone had mentioned to me that it had a timer function--basically you could set it on a flat surface and then include yourself in the picture. Well, surprise, my FD81 didn't seem to have it. I figured it was a function I had traded for the MPEG availability. But, cool, the FD75 did have the timer capability.

I looked at the timer symbol and the instructions on how to use it. Funny. I'd seen the same symbol on my camera. I turned it on to look.

Well, slap on the dunce cap and call me Dopey. Mine had the timer capability all along.


Wow, How 'bout That New Blogger Layout?
Pretty snazzy, eh? Although I do miss my split screen a bit.


» Sunday, May 09, 2004
It's Mother's Day... Holiday Harbour.


A Touch of Magic
Did everyone catch ABC's Sunday night of commercials, occasionally interrupted by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone? (I kid you not; there were commercial breaks every ten minutes.) The perpetual breaks were made bearable by other breaks with Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson talking about the filming of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which opens June 4. Emma Watson is turning into a real heartbreaker! In any case, not only were filming scenes shown, but there was a longer version of the trailer that has been on Warner Brothers' website. Everything looks super, especially the CGI work on Buckbeak the hippogriff.

They also showed previews of tomorrow night's showing of the Disney film of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, which also looks very good. As long as they keep the spirit of the novel, I'll be happy, and don't turn it into a simple-minded lecture as was done with Disney's version of L'Engle's A Ring of Endless Light.


The Steady Drip of Sweat
Well, guess what, the air conditioner isn't working. Since the repairman came and checked it out last fall about a week before we shut it off for the season and said all systems were okay, I'm kinda annoyed.

On the other hand, when he replaced the motor on the compressor he did warn me that this might not be a final fix. Since we have the home repair warranty, they would have to give us an entirely new compressor basically for free, so they had to try out all the cheap stuff first, I guess. [wry grin]


» Saturday, May 08, 2004
The Scent of Summer
It happens every time we need to stay out in the sun for a while: today the airshow, or it might be shooting off rockets. Both James and I have become extremely sensitive to the sun due to medications, so before we step out the door I slather Coppertone 45SPF on both of us. And it takes me back...

There are many scents that remind me of summer. The first was a prelude: the glorious rich sweet scent of the lilacs that spilled over the chain-link fence from the neighbor's yard. They bloomed in May, delicate lavender-colored blossoms that made fragrant draperies. The other was my mother's roses, always deep red, twining and covering the fence.

The third was the scent of Coppertone. On all those innumerable summer Sundays, arming ourselves for a trip to the beach, or just taking a ride down to the shore, Mom began the expedition with an application of lotion. For some reason, although the entire family used it, it always reminds me of my mother. Maybe it was all those Sunday evenings, as I happily and sleepily snuggled in Mom's arms after a long day, and breathing in the safe, warm scent of Coppertone.


A Navy Day
No, not talking about the shade of blue. We attended the Dobbins AFB/NAS Atlanta open house today. We went early so James could take pictures of the planes on the static line. They didn't have as many aircraft as usual; my favorite was the DC-3 fitted as it would have been for post-WWII flying: the cargo compartment was open and they had old-fashioned suitcases inside; the rows of seats--two on the left, one on the right--had the tidy white headrest covers--and Life magazines in the pockets behind the seats.

We stayed to watch several of the displays, including Patty Wagstaff and her neat little stunt plane, and a super combined display of the F-86, F-15, and F-16. For a while we found a nice viewing place in the shade of the hangar, but we eventually had to emerge into the sun (fry factor was 88° today) for better viewing.

We left about noon, did lunch and errands, and then went home to shower and collapse. The sun works like a vacuum cleaner on me: completely sucks any energy I have from my body, and today was no exception. We took the opportunity to watch that great recruiting film for the U.S. Navy, The Final Countdown. I like James Farentino, by my favorite character in the movie is still Charlie the dog. :-)


» Friday, May 07, 2004
Summer Swelter
Another day in Joyless Heat, 84° on the fry meter. At least there was a breeze today, which made taking the dog out for walkies a little more bearable. I turned all the fans up to "overdrive" and let 'em cool.

Despite the heat, I hate to close the windows and turn the A/C on, half because I know the bill will then climb past the $200 mark and half because the privet bush outside the kitchen window is in full bloom. You can smell the blossoms almost everywhere on the main level of the house and even downstairs in the bathroom and going up the stairs, a sweet, lovely perfume. I wish our roses smelled as good, but these new hybrid things they're turning out have almost no scent at all. You have to bury your nose in them to smell anything. I remember walking past big old-fashioned roses in my mother's back yard--the perfume practically lifted you off the ground and wafted you away with its heavenly heady scent.


R.I.P. Friday Five
It was fun while it lasted.


» Thursday, May 06, 2004
Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Something old- Do you have anything that you've owned simply forever? A cherished childhood toy, an antique handed down through the family...

Probably my doll that my Grandpa brought me home from Italy when I was little. My mom still has it since I never liked dolls much. Her name is Matilda, after my grandmother. I think she still has my walking doll, too; her name was Patty Ann after my cousin whose name I thought was so pretty. And my copy of Lassie: Forbidden Valley.

Twosome: Something new- Buy anything new lately?

Mother's Day gifts for my mom.

Threesome: Something borrowed- Ever borrowed anything and never returned it?

A fact book from my Aunt Emily. And now I can't return it because she passed away a few years ago.

Bonus: Something blue- See anything blue from where you are? What is it?

I'm wearing a blue duster, actually, with yellow and orange flowers with green stems and red "eyes."


» Wednesday, May 05, 2004
When the doctor says they want you to rest, they mean it.

I went out yesterday—thank God for the handicapped parking pass I wangled so hard to get—to arrange for my mom's Mother's Day present. I was out four hours and came home exhausted. James fed me a rather innocuous supper of turkey thigh with mushroom sauce; I still woke up this morning with stomach problems and feeling nauseated.

So I've either been napping again or reading Paris 1919. The weather's about to drive me crazy. The last two mornings it's been in the forties and I had to wrap up; now it's 81° bloody degrees this afternoon. It will be up in the sixties at night by the weekend, which means we'll have to light off the wretched air conditioner. And of course the Dobbins Air Show is this weekend. Why can't they hold these events when it's a decent temperature?

My fantastic wish is to be independently wealthy and have a second home somewhere in Australia or New Zealand. The moment it began getting warm in the Northern Hemisphere we'd pack up everything and go really south. Never to have to see summer ever again. What a delicious dream!


» Tuesday, May 04, 2004
Today's Tuesday Twosome... over at A Cozy Nook to Read In, since it's book-related.


» Monday, May 03, 2004
Monday Madness

1. Do you collect anything?

Bound (mostly) issues of St. Nicholas magazine, a children's periodical which was published from 1873 to 1940. I have all but a couple of issues and one of the bound volumes that I want. (I don't want the ones after the Century Company sold out to another publisher in 1931; I have one 1935 issue which is pretty peruile compared to the old ones.) I also have many old children's books that I loved when I was a child, from the school library, etc.

I also have five Pocket Dragons, about a dozen Beanie Babies, and about a dozen collie statues/stuffed collies, but I don't see them as "must have" collections.

:-) Do my "Winter Solstice" and Rupert Holmes albums count?

2. How many items do you have in your collection?

Wow. I haven't counted the St. Nicholases. The first five or six years are single volumes. Then after that it's every six months. They fill up an entire five shelf bookcase, plus the top shelf.

3. What is the most unusual piece in your collection?

Unusual I don't know, but the first volume of St. Nicholas is from 1873. Pretty old if nothing else.

and one more for good measure...

4. Is there anything you don't collect that you would like to collect?

Maybe old Wide Awake and Our Young Folks, which eventually merged into St. Nicholas


» Sunday, May 02, 2004
ABC Adds New 'Wrinkle' to May Sweeps

Disney's adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time is finally airing Monday, May 10. After A Ring of Endless Light I'm not holding out high hopes for it--I understand they have left out the "IT" character, which is a big omission, and have made the Happy Medium a man--but sometimes a story can override changes to work out; certainly Wrinkle is a good enough story to overcome some tinkering. It certainly worked for Mary Poppins.

We'll see.