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, July 30, 2004
The Friday Five

1) Of everything in your wardrobe what do you feel the most comfortable wearing? Why?

Sweatshirt and sweatpants. Because if I have them on, it's cold enough to wear them and I love the cold.

2) How would you describe your style?

Shabby. :-)

3) How many pairs of shoes do you own and do you wear them all?

Hm. Two pair black Reeboks for work, one pair white Reeboks for weekends, one pair old Reeboks for the yard, one pair Hush Puppies, one pair black high heels, one set flipflop slippers, two pair fuzzy slippers, one pair Eyore slippers (which I keep and don't wear). Oh, and there's my two pair of boots that don't fit anymore, so I guess I should at least donate the good grey pair. (What am I saying? The grey pair really did never fit right; I have that problem with women's size shoes. I remember limping around the Freedom Trail on our honeymoon in those darn things.)

4) Where do you buy most of your clothes?

Kmart, WalMart, Sam's know, cheap. I have to buy my bras at Catherine's, though, because they have the only sizes that will fit the T*ts from Hell.

5) What was the last piece of clothing you bought?

A pair of pants.


» Thursday, July 29, 2004
Thursday Threesome

::Knit One, Purl Too::

Onesome- Knit one: Do you have a crafty hobby? Knitting, stitching, scrapbooking or model building, whatever it is, tell us about it! Or is there a crafty hobby you'd like to take up if had the time and/or money to do so?

Yes, I cross-stitch. I'm doing some chickadees for a welcome sign right now. On occasion I do glass painting or craft painting--I still have a little storage shelf that needs to be painted for the hall bathroom. I tried scrapbooking but got bored with it.

As for things I'd like to take up, I like to build things of wood, mostly bookcases, and I might do more of that if I had a workbench type area. We do have a sort of workbench, but it's in the shed, which is filled with boxes of models, gardening tools, and bugs.

Twosome- Purl: Or rather, pearl. What's your birthstone? And while you're at it, what's your sign? *g*

Man, you make it sound like a singles bar. :-) My birthstone, depending on which version of the list you read, is either a turquoise or a zircon. It had better be a blue zircon or I don't want it.

As for signs, "Stop" is a good one. Oh, you mean astrological sign. :-) Sagittarius.

Threesome- Too: Too much? Have you had enough of the political coverage already? ...or are you waiting for things to really gear up in the Fall?

One word out of the mouth of a politician is already too much. They lie instinctively, the way Willow chases cats.


» Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Lee's Motel

This is the place we used to stay at when we went to Lake George. The buildings don't look much different. There's a fence around the main house/office now, though, and of course there are new owners. Mrs. Guseck [sp?] was a contemporary of my dad's, so she's probably passed away by now. I wonder if they still let people stay in the rooms upstairs in the house.


Tuesday Twosome

Carnival Time:

1. Cotton Candy or Caramel Apples:

Really, neither; both are too sweet. If I had to choose one, the caramel apple.

2. Turkey Legs or Corn Dogs:

Turkey legs. I don't like anything with a batter or breading on it. (Or frosting or icing, for that matter.)

Of course what I really want from the carnival is a doughboy.

3. Lemonade or Iced Tea:

Lemonade. I hate the taste of tea.

4. Carnival Games or Rides:

Most of the games involve throwing or aiming, and I'm bad at both. So the rides, as long as they're not barf rides. I don't do anything that falls, tips, or turns upside down.

5. Fun House or House of Mirrors:

I've actually never been in either, so I can't tell you. I remember enjoying the cool "tilting house" they had at Gaslight Village at Lake George, though.


» Monday, July 26, 2004
Monday Madness

1. Skipping or Running?

I can't do either any longer. It hurts my knees to run. I used to love to run; I was playing tag long after the other girls thought it was too babyish.

2. Coke or Pepsi?

Ugh. Neither. Soda is horrible, but cola is worse. Too much burn, too sugary, and much too gassy.

3. Rock or Hip Hop?

If I gotta choose, Rock. But I prefer New Age or Big Band.

4. Laptop or Desktop?

Well, laptop you can take along. But desktop is better for designing graphics on.

5. Cold Weather or Hot Weather?

"Out, out, damn summer!" I hate hot weather. I hate summer. Summer sucks. Summer sucks so much it should be renamed Hoover. (But I've said this all before...)

6. Swimming or Bicycling?

Bicycling. I can't swim. Now if I can just loll in the water, I guess I'd prefer that on a hot day. But bicycling you can do all year round.

7. Chocolate or Vanilla?

I hate vanilla almost as much as I hate colas. The only thing I eat vanilla in is ice cream bars, and that's because the chocolate coating kills the taste.

8. Day or Night?

Night. I've been a night person since I was "knee high to a drainpipe." (Prize goes to the person who recognizes where that came from.)

9. Looks or Brains?

Brains? Who wants to talk to a manniquin?

10. Cable, DSL, or Dial-Up?

DSL. Dial-up is too slow and too undependable. And cable...phaugh!


Tale of the Car Coda/Stairway to Birdie Happiness
We kinda made a boo-boo Saturday when we went out looking at cars. One of the things that was supposed to factor into the price was the trade-in value of my car, which they appraised at $800 (which I expected; Kelly Blue Book said $1000 for a Neon in Good condition, but that squeaking brake and the perpetually glowing "check engine light" probably kicked the price down a little). But--one of those things to remember for next time--I didn't have the title with me, so they couldn't take it.

However, CarMax has this unusual policy: if they appraise your car, they will buy it from you within a week, even if you don't buy a car with them. So we could come back any time before next Friday with the title and they'd give me the $800 then.

James and I chatted on what to do while we waited for them to prep the PT--should we donate it and get the $800 tax deduction, or should I take the $800? What decided me on the latter was the fact that I'm now going to have to pay the upcharge on my car insurance the moment I tell Nationwide I have a new car.

So yesterday we fished the title out of the accordion file with the papers in it and took Tucker on that long last ride back out to Gwinnett County.

We had to wait 30 minutes while they checked the car in, got my license plate off, and did other stuff, so we drove to the Aviarium to see what else we might get for Pidge's cage. What I wanted was a perch that would fasten to the outside of the cage and Pidge could sit on it, once he gets tame enough to come out, that is.

Well, we found that and also a set of rings. As I was rooting around in the small bird supplies I found a box that had short plastic perches in them, no more than 3 inches long. If I haven't described it before, the birdcage has two long horizontal perches. I set up one down near the door, with a mirror at one end and a bell toy at the other and some millet clipped near the mirror. The other perch I put toward the back of the cage and at least two inches higher. Pidge's food and water dishes are set within reach of this perch and his cuttlebone is also up there.

He can hop from one of these perches to the other, but because his wings are clipped, it's a bit of a jump. So the moment I saw these little perches, I knew this was exactly what I wanted. When I got home I set two of them, one on each side of the cage, about halfway between the two big perches so he could use them as a little ladder or stairway.

Pidge got the idea at once, hopping up and down each side a couple of times and then started to sing! Evidently he finds them useful for other things, too, because when we looked up from reading the paper, there he was sitting on one of the short perches with his head under his wing, asleep!


Yes, But Does Anyone Still Care?
New Star Wars Movie Title Revealed


» Sunday, July 25, 2004
Tale of the Car
I've been driving a Plymouth Neon since August of 1998. We were moving buildings at work the following January and the creaky old Honda I had to buy after Tune-Up Clinic set my Dodge Omni on fire was having trouble making surface roads, never mind 28 miles of freeway one way.

"Tucker" has been a lovely car. Unlike the newer Neons, this one had elbow room inside. We went up to Ohio with it, and I drove those nearly 300 miles to work every week.

At six years old, it had the usual problems: needed the brakes done, needed the usual oil change and tune-up. Also, the heater wasn't working well under 50° and the seals around the door were loosening. Plus there was a squeak somewhere.

The biggest problem is that the car had pretty much had a constant oil leak since I got it. I bought it at CarMax up at Kennesaw and although I took it back to them about every six months during the entire five years of the warranty, they never could fix it. Neons apparently have this head gasket problem.

Despite that, the car actually ran fine. Every once in a while between oil changes I would toss a quart in. The car was leaking when we went up to Ohio and we got 31mpg in it. I was still getting between 25-28mpg depending on the commuter traffic.

Back several years ago, though, Chrysler came up with this cute little retro car called a PT Cruiser which was built on a Neon base. Me, the 1940s/Remember WENN fan, set my beady little eyes on it as Pidge would look at a piece of millet.

The advice is always to let a car go a few years after it comes up to get "the kinks" out. That I did, and the clincher was when my friend Alice bought one. Alice's dad taught her all about cars and she only goes for a good deal.

So I started thinking about a new car this year, especially because Chrysler was running a $4000 rebate program. They kept pushing it to one month after the next, and I suppose I could have took the chance that they would push it to October, when I really wanted to buy a car. But with car prices as high as they were, did I want to risk that?

So Saturday we went out looking at cars. We started out at Ed Voyles in Marietta, for a simple little reason (besides being close): ten years ago, when Tune-Up Clinic messed up my Omni and didn't want to pay damages, we had the car towed to Ed Voyles and they kept it there until our lawyer called in what I guess you would call a "car forensics" expert. He determined the fire in the engine started at the fuel filter, which Tune-Up Clinic had replaced (probably badly; I saw them use a hammer to get something back in the engine), and they had to pay the damages. Anyway, Ed Voyles never charged us for the tow, or any type of fee for the car to sit on their lot for three months, or even to dispose of it. It was pretty nice of them.

We got to the lot at about 4:30. There were no parking spaces for customers and we had to park in a little corner. We saw a couple of salespeople taking some folks around in little golf carts. Well, I don't like to be attacked by salespeople immediately, so it didn't bother me when no one came right out. I thought they were just giving us a chance to look around.

We didn't quite like what we were seeing. They had all the high-end PTs, with the special paint jobs, stupid stuff like chrome gas caps and spoilers, running from $21,000 to $27,000. Since the PT came with a couple of things standard that I wanted (power windows, rear window defroster), all I wanted extra was automatic transmission and the combination CD/cassette player (so I could still plug in my .mp3 player and listen to radio shows during rush hour).

We were out on the lot about 15-20 minutes. By that time I expected someone to have come out to see us. Nothing. Hm. We went inside the showroom, thirsty, and asked if they had a water fountain. We were told it was in the back. We then walked back to the door through the showroom. The entire time we were there, there were three or four salesmen sitting around on two couches near the door.

Not one salesman bothered to even ask us if he could help us.

We walked out. I guess Ed Voyles wasn't interested in selling a car that day.

Anyway, we went out to Car Max in Norcross, which is also a Chrysler dealership. We were greeted once we walked in the door, told the salesman what we were looking for, and that we couldn't afford anything fancy, and he took us right outside to the lower-priced PTs and showed them to us.

Two hours later I had a new car, with a good loan and a not bad payment, on a car that had a lot more things that I'd even planned to get. I got the automatic and the CD/cassette unit, plus a sunroof, cruise control, power locks with the little remote, tilt steering wheel and adjustable height seat, a little drawer under the passenger seat, and tinted windows.

I had to compromise a little on the color, though. :-) I wanted silver or grey, what they had was purple. Oh, well, I've been driving a lavender-color car; a Concord grape color one can't be worse. It could have been worse; it could have been beige or spring green or {shudder} "champagne."

For now I'm calling it "Twilight" from the line in "Stardust": "And now the purple dusk of twilight time..."


Good Singing Place
One of Bandit's funny little habits was that he used to perch on his millet clip. This is a little metal gadget that clips on the cage bars and which you can open to fasten a piece of millet inside the cage. The clip in Bandit's cage was up near the top so the millet sprig could dangle down for him to eat. But he'd climb up there and sit on it and sing. As he got bigger, instead of perching with both feet on it, he'd have to use one foot to grab the side of the cage.

I turned around tonight as Pidge began to sing and burst out laughing.

There he was, sitting on his millet clip.


» Friday, July 23, 2004
Harry To Tide You Over
Here's the Harry Potter fanfic that I mentioned last week in my Friday Five entry.

Harry Potter and the Wizard's Apprentice


One of the Greatest Composers of Movie Soundtracks Has Passed On
Jerry Goldsmith Obituary


New post in A Cozy Nook to Read In.


» Thursday, July 22, 2004
The Next Harry Potter Book... entitled, according to, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

You can click on the link if you like, but that's all the info there is. They evidently got the info from Scholastic's site; nothing I can find is on Bloomsbury's site.


The Original "Arena"
Remember the classic Star Trek episode "Arena," about Captain Kirk's singular battle against the Gorn? If you've never read the original story by Frederic Brown, here it is on


New entries in Holday Harbour and A Cozy Nook to Read In.


» Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Hair of the Dog
This week's "Raising Duncan" comic (about two writers, their Scotty–the eponymous Duncan–and their cat) is very familiar: there's a thunderstorm and Duncan is afraid and cowering while Brambly the cat tries to reassure him. Somewhere in her third year Willow suddenly became afraid of thunder. She clings close to our legs when "the sky growls" and on a stormy night would retreat as close as she could to Bandit's cage, as if he would protect or reassure her.

We see a lot of Willow in Duncan; it must be a terrier thing as a whole.

Speaking of Willow, her nose is solidly out of joint where Pidge is concerned. She got quite used to being an "only dog" from the end of January, despite her running to Bandit during storms, and apparently looks at the junior member of the pack as being a little interloper. Even if we greet and caress her first, she gets insecure if we talk to the bird and inserts herself in the space. Last night James sat on the top step of the stairs up to the kitchen as he usually does to give her a few minutes of "up close and personal" attention, but instead of snuggling she just kept staring downstairs where I was talking to Pidge while putting his cage cover on.

That answers the question of what she would do if we got another puppy. We've talked about getting a smaller dog, Yorkie or Chihuahua sized, so she wouldn't be intimidated, but if she's jealous of Pidge, who at the moment sits in his cage all day over her head, imagine how she'd act with a little dog in her territory, getting the pets and scritches she figures are her due!


» Tuesday, July 20, 2004
One Small Step
Happy Moon Day! Thirty-five years ago today man first walked upon the moon.

Here's a site: Where Were You? and also CNN's story.

It was hard during that nearly two-week mission not to stay glued to the television. I was thirteen and a half and watched all the space shots that I could manage, and of course this happened during the best viewing time: summer vacation. And for once my parents didn't say, "Get away from the television and go out and get some fresh air." My dad was particularly interested in the space program; several guys at work thought he was a bit peculiar. This was a working-class factory crowd and more than a few of them weren't all that imaginative. But Dad didn't care, nor did his like-minded buddies.

The moon walk was scheduled the same Sunday night as the fireworks at the St. Mary's Church feast (which had been going all weekend) and I can't remember if we missed the fireworks to see the moonwalk or not. It was mind-blowing, watching a TV picture that came from the moon! Everyone else was watching, too, all over the world. The newspapers and news reports were filled with people crowding around television screens set in public places, and the "electronic tickertape sign" in New York City spelling out the message for those who weren't watching.

The one funny thing about the moonwalk I remember is that right after it happened, we had about a week or two of rain. In dire voices, all the elderly people kept saying it was all the fault of "those guys who walked on the moon," apparently upsetting the balance of nature or something.

Any other "moon memories" out there?


Well, that sucks. Merriam-Webster's online dictionary is now subscription only.

However, is still free (for now, she said in her best Eyore voice).


Pidge's Progress
Actually, for a while it was regression.

He blinked and me and raised his wings when I uncovered him yesterday, and James said he just crunched on millet while he ate yesterday morning.

But when I got home, even though I came in the door as quietly as I could, he flapped around the cage and then sat on the rear perch, panting.

Flapping I didn't mind; I'd startled him. Budgies can doze with their eyes closed. But the panting bothered me, especially after all the mouth-breathing Bandit had done for months before he died. Pidge had been so phlegmatic yesterday that it scared me.

So I backed off and eventually he started chirbling again and was letting me talk to him while I stood in front of the cage--then James walked in the door and we started the panting bit all over again.

He was fine after a while. It's hard to describe the cage, but looks a bit like a split level house in that it has a small "upper story." We put a swing up in the peak, secured with a couple of twister seals. (He actually has two swings. James had bought one at the bird show, which I kept thinking was too small. It isn't; Pidge is still tiny. We bought a slightly bigger one, which is the one "up under the eave." The smaller swing Pidge seems to be using as a toy, swinging it back and forth.) Well, we heard a scrabble and a flap, and there was Pidge in the swing. He sat up there most of the night, singing and occasionally preening.

At bedtime I had to go fetch him down; he won't come down for us yet, of course, and after I shut the light he couldn't find his way down. I left a nightlight on for him this time, but he slept on the bottom perch and again blinked gently at me this morning and didn't seem much perturbed. Must try to be a little more quiet this afternoon. Maybe I should come in the front door?--but that would throw my whole pattern off and with my luck I'd put my keys or my badge somewhere I couldn't find them...


Tuesday Twosome

Problems with...

1. A co-worker: Ignore it or confront him/her:

Probably ignore. I'm terrible with face-to-face confrontations.

2. A retail purchase: Go back to store and try to fix it or It just isn't worth going back:

If it's an expensive enough item, damn right I take it back. This is not to say it will work. My car still has an oil leak even after taking it once or twice a year back to Carmax to be fixed during the five-year warranty period.

3. Customer Service over the phone: Accept it and move on or ask for name and then request to speak to the supervisor:

Give me Mr. Supervisor please. James has worked customer service for years. I know what type of service I'm supposed to get.

4. Your health: Ignore it because the less you know the less you have to worry or call for an appointment immediately:

I tried this. I ended up in the hospital and with a big incision rather than a little one, remember?

5. Electronic equipment: "Good thing I bought the warranty" or "Crap, what do I do now?":

LOL. Again, depends on how expensive it is.


» Monday, July 19, 2004
Now It's His Turn
James called up at lunch with "interesting" news: now someone has hacked into his bankcard. No, it's not the French Telecom fiends again; he said the only one they could identify was "the East India Company." Gosh, I thought they existed only in American history books; didn't the tea the Sons of Liberty tossed into Boston Harbor come from the East India Company?

Oddly, we just went to BJ's again after a gap of about a month and this happens, although he thinks someone might have grabbed his new debit card out of our mailbox--apparently he was due to get a new one.

I guess these days one has to have the Mad Eye Moody philosophy: "Constant vigilance!"


Tale of the Bird
I deliberately waited a while after Bandit died to think about getting another bird. Some of this was partially for the bird’s sake; I didn’t want to try to make a new bird with a different personality into an image of the other. I also needed time to mourn–I’d nursed Bandit through what the vet told me would be a terminal illness for nearly two years and he’d become more like a baby than a bird. I’d made the mistake of getting Pip only five days after Sylvester died because my mother was leaving soon and I didn’t want to be alone, and I think that was a mistake.

So it was only in the last couple of months I had been really looking. There’d been a likely-looking bird at the flea market who nibbled fearlessly on my fingers some weeks back and another little blue guy that we’d seen the week before at Town Center Mall chasing a cockatiel around the enclosure. I almost went back for the latter, but I’d spent a lot of money last week and since I had to buy everything from the ground up (the old cage was broken and I wouldn’t reuse the toys) I didn’t feel I could afford it. The cage we had pegged at Petsmart was nearly fifty dollars.

Anyway, one of Tim Vogle’s bird fairs was scheduled for the North Atlanta Trade Center over the weekend, so we went. (I’m always amused by this guy’s name. I wonder if it was originally “Vogel,” because that would be really funny: “Vogel” means “bird” in German.) We entered to a cacophony of bird whistles, shrieks, and squawks. You can hear sun conures down the street. :-) Did an entire circuit of the room–there were also a lot of dogs there! Some guy had a Great Pyrenees and a chow, another couple had two Jack Russells, there were three Papillions, and also a beautiful Pomeranian with a silky soft coat. (James remarked later about Willow: “What we got was a terrier with the markings of a Pom,” which is true. Her coat is terrier rough but she has a similar brown color with white markings.)

Several vendors had budgies and one even had English budgies, which I had toyed with buying. Bandit had been a halfbreed, English and American. In fact, the fellow who had the English told us many people were crossing them, male English and female American, because the American hen is a better mother. I liked having the bigger bird and I think they may be a bit smarter because their brains are a bit larger. But I was looking for someone with personality, too.

One fellow with only a few cages–James said he was from Augusta, GA–had his baby budgies in a low cage on the table. When I came over to look at them, they didn’t flap, but they all retreated except one little yellow-faced sorta-chartreuse guy with pale stripes who just regarded my finger curiously. I made a move to scratch his neck and he started to fluff for me, then thought better of it.

When we came around the second time, the little guy was still in front, still looking curious. I crouched down to talk to him again and he just blinked at me and didn’t retreat.

My fatal mistake was saying “Yes,” when the fellow said, “You want to hold him?”

He was quite a squirmer and got away from me once, but a lady standing next to me caught him. I took one look at that disarming little face with the big dark eyes and how could I say no? Baby budgies have "cute" written all over them.

We wandered about the bird fair in the next few minutes buying him essentials–food, a swing, a few toys, and of course a cage. We got him a big cage, same quality or even better than Petsmart, and, as opposed to the nearly $50 price tag there, this cage was only $15. With the purchase of the bird, we actually only spent $30. Stopped at Petsmart on the way home and got a few things we didn’t see at the show; I wanted natural perches, but they didn’t have them at the Heritage Pointe store. If I want ‘em, I’m going to have to go up to Town Center, which has more stuff.

After the poor guy recovered from the shock of being stuck in a dark box, you could hear him pattering around and biting at the cardboard, trying to get out. We set up his cage then put him in it, and he sat on the perch with his eyes wide as if thinking “this is all mine?”

On the way home we’d discussed his name. I confessed that I’d half been looking for a personable grey one, so I could name him Pigwidgeon after Ron Weasley’s minute grey owl in Prisoner of Azkaban and onward, since Pig has all the personality of a budgie. James asked, “Why does he have to be grey?” Well, why is right? But I never did like “Pig” for a nickname, so he is “Pidge” instead.

He’s doing pretty well, I think. He’s not a flapper, although he jumped around the cage some last night, trying to find a way out. I can already get him to sit on my finger, so I assume even if he wasn’t hand-raised he has been used to humans and being handled some. Usually new birds sit in their cage and look shellshocked; he’s warbled a few times, preened, relaxed and looked sleepy even when we talk to him face to face, and eaten the millet I put in there (I’m going to have to pull it or he won’t eat the seed at all). The breeder said he’d also given the birds carrot and a couple of other vegetables; next time James chops carrot up for our supper I’ll try a bit on Pidge as well.

Willow took one look at the birdcage and then the bird and went into Camille mode. She missed Bandit for about a week and then realized she was an “only child.” She’s enjoyed being the center of attention and is loathe to give up her special status. She isn’t angry; she just looks grieved and clings to James as if to say “You still love me, don’t you?” I’ve never seen a dog so lavished with affection and still so insecure!

When Pidge is a little more secure with us, I’ll make him a vet’s appointment and get him checked out. Meanwhile, he’s home watching the History Channel. (Thought of leaving music on, but we want him to get more used to voices.)


Monday Madness

1. Do you prefer to be out in the sun or in the shade?

I hate the sun--it gives me migraines. Besides, I take medication that advises I not stay out in the sun too long.

2. Regarding the walls in your house, do you prefer neutral colors or bright colors?

I like colors, not necessarily bright. My mom always had the house painted beige so she could buy any color curtains. I called it "everlasting beige" and finally we convinced her to paint the walls other colors. My room was blue, my parents' room was a nice sunny yellow, and the living room was terra cotta. After I left home and my dad died, my mom had the walls all painted beige again. Sigh.

3. When hanging pictures on your walls, do you like things symmetric or asymmetric?

Symmetrical. I have a tiny bit of Adrian Monk in me.

4. How about where you'd like to live; country or city?

I dream about houses in the country, but I'm afraid of bugs, worms, and snakes and have a bad back.

5. Your blog; Blogger, Blogdrive, Blog-City, or another one altogether?


6. Email; Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, or other?

Earthlink e-mail (with Eudora as mail software--I wouldn't touch the VirusVector a.k.a. Outlook).

7. Air conditioning or just a fan when it's hot at night?

Air conditioning if it's over 60° outside at night. Otherwise it's too warm to sleep under blankets and that's the only way I feel safe.

8. Dinner; seafood or steak?

Depends on my mood and my pocketbook, since seafood is always more expensive.

9. Your all-time favorite music media; CD's, cassette tapes, or vinyl (or 8-tracks)?

CDs, I guess, although I have stuff on LP that will never come out on CD.

10. When learning a new software program, do you find it easier to follow a book or an online tutorial?

Depends on the book. Some of them aren't user friendly.


» Sunday, July 18, 2004
New Birdie Around the House
We went to the bird show today and came home with a new budgie.

We've named him Pigwidgeon. :-) But he's "Pidge" for short, not "Pig."

Pidge behind bars

Since he's not yet tamed, this is the best I can do. :-)


» Friday, July 16, 2004
The Friday Five

1. What color ink pen do you like best?

These days black, but my faithful old Sheaffer ball point was always blue. I still have it somewhere; I don't even know if you can get refills for it anymore. My mom bought it for me when I started junior high, back when the school quit supplying you pens for free like in elementary school. Man, all the stories I wrote with that pen! Most of them were in small size composition books. I would undo the coil wire binding and put hand-drawn and colored covers on them, with blurbs on the back, like real books.

2. Do you prefer plain paper or paper with lines (notebook paper)?

Plain paper these days (but I loved those narrow-lined composition books!). I usually make a guide page of lines to go under a blank page to keep my writing straight.

3. What's better: books from the library, or reading online?

Books from the library, though I'll willingly read anything interesting online. I found a great "sixth Harry Potter" book online a few weeks ago. It was excellent, not like the usual fanfic offering.

4. Which would you rather get, e-mail or snail mail?

E-mail. All we get in the mailbox lately is bills and sales flyers.

5. Do you have a paper weight on your desk?

No. If I need one I can use the bottle of soy tablets. :-)


» Thursday, July 15, 2004
Thursday Threesome

::State Fair and Rodeo::

Onesome- State: What state (or territory) do you live in? Have you lived in any other(s)? Where would you like to live? And as a bonus: Any idea what year your state became a state? *grin*

I currently live in Georgia, but I was brought up in Rhode Island. Ideally I would like to live somewhere where the summers are a lot shorter. (Trust me, I've considered Alaska...New Hampshire will do. We always talk about moving to New Hampshire if we do the utter impossible and win the lottery.) Well, both the states I've lived in were part of the original thirteen. I could look them both up. I do know Rhode Island was the last state to join; they wouldn't join until they made sure they would have equal rights to the larger states and wouldn't be bullied by Massachusetts and Connecticut. :-)

Twosome- Fair: Or amusement parks: Did you enjoy them as a kid? What was your favorite ride? How do you feel about them now? Ready to go wander around one again, sampling funnel cakes and corn dogs and riding rides until you're sick or would you rather just enjoy the entertainment or stay home and avoid the crowds?

Oh, now you really have started me on a nostalgia ride. When I was a kid there was never a better place to go than Rocky Point Amusement Park. (I think we went to Crescent Park a couple of times, but I don't recall it.) I would get so excited if I knew we were going that my mom was reduced to conversing about it to relatives in Italian, but I eventually figured out what "Rocky Point" sounded like in that language, too.

Rocky Point was wonderful. I don't remember funnel cakes and corn dogs, though. The specialty at Rocky Point was the food from the Shore Dinner Hall, especially the clamcakes. Even if we weren't actually going to the park, sometimes we would drive there just for Mom and Dad to get a bag of clamcakes. And of course there was popcorn and the inevitable cotton candy. I wasn't allowed to eat the latter, though.

My favorite ride was always the carousel, although I stayed on the Kiddieland merry-go-round a lot longer than I should have because I was afraid of heights and the big carousel was just too much for me. I also loved the Whip. I didn't ride on any of the "barf rides," though, like the roller coaster or the Trabant (sp?). My mom was a big roller coaster fan, though.

If you didn't ride the rides you could play miniature golf or play "Rocky" (that was Rocky Point's version of Bingo) and skee ball or just people-watch: folks at the different carny games, or just wandering the midway. And it was so beautiful at dusk, with all the neon lights coming on and the ferris wheel and the carousel a welter of revolving lights.

Threesome- And Rodeo: Have you ever been to or watched a rodeo on TV? Did you enjoy it or consider it a barbaric spectacle? If you liked it, what was your favorite event? Ever tempted to race barrels or ride a bull yourself?

I've never been to a rodeo, just seen bits of them in movies and television programs. I think rodeos are like any other entertainment with animals; some are nice to their animals and some aren't, and the ones who aren't ruin it for the ones who are. Some animals are extroverts, just like people, and love to perform. Look at Bandit; he loved to show off. I still have the picture the newspaper people took of me at the computer, with Bandit looking at the photographer with the "see, aren't I handsome" expression on his face.


» Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Fractured Correspondence Redux
You know, after sleeping on it, I'm wondering if yesterday's e-mail wasn't a troll. If it was, I sure fell for it!

After all, what real person writes to someone to correct an error on their web page and then starts bragging about things like their family's church donations and low-number license plates?

Now that I think about it, it's really funny. Thanks for the laugh, whomever you really were!


» Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Fractured Correspondence
I got an e-mail today that was a pip.

Generally I enjoy my e-mails about my web pages; I even don't mind when people write me to point out a typo or a bit of information I've misremembered. It's usually a "duh" moment.

Today I heard from someone who had read one of my nostalgia pages. The person was "offended" because I had misremembered a landmark and that landmark had special meaning to them in regards to their family.

Reading the first part of the letter, I was immediately apologetic. Some of these memories are 40 years old; as I say in one essay, they are like the chalk paintings in Mary Poppins which have blurred a little from the rain. I'm not surprised that there are mistakes--I can only say "I goofed" and correct them.

Had the message ended there, I would have sent an apology. However, at this point I'm considering sending a snarky response.

The rest of the letter went on to the effect of how dare I say what I said because of how wonderful this family was: one relative had donated a lot of money to a certain church and even had a road named after them; another member of the family was a "brilliant college graduate" who worked for years in Rhode Island state politics and who--golly gee whiz, Mr. Wizard!--had one of those coveted "low number" state license plates that certain idiot gits in Rhode Island seem to think are so damn important!!!! (Honest to God, they mentioned a car license plate as if it were something important!) And that I had really maligned this wonderful family by misrepresenting this particular landmark.

Oh, please. I suppose I should be scuffling my little feet in shame now that I offended one of the Big Name Families in Rhode Island and that I'm simply not worthy to live because my grandfathers didn't make expensive donations to the church and instead one worked six days a week digging ditches for the Providence Gas Company and the other in a foundry, and my dad wasn't a brilliant college graduate but was forced to quit school and go to work after eighth grade due to economic circumstances and supported his family by breaking his back 8-10 hours a day over a polishing machine.

Anyway, next time I talk to my mom I'll ask her if I have misremembered this particular landmark. If she doesn't remember, I'm sure one of my relatives, who worked across the street from the landmark in question, can tell me if I'm talking through my hat. If I am, I will gladly alter what I have written.

I guess when your dad isn't a "brilliant college graduate" you aren't immune to mistakes. ::snort::


Make Sure... wander in "A Cozy Nook to Read In" occasionally, okay?


Tuesday Twosome

1. Ice cream or sherbet?

Ice cream! I never did like fruit-flavored foods in general; if it's fruit, I usually want the real thing. BTW, did you know sherbet is worse for diabetics than ice cream? It has more sugar and the fat in the ice cream helps the sugar in that metabolize more slowly.

2. Two fave flavors of ice cream/sherbet:

Coffee! (Or "jamoca," as Baskin-Robbins calls it). Also coffee chip, which is coffee ice cream with chocolate chips in it.

3. In a cone or cup:

Cone always. I vacillate between "cake" cones (what we used to call "waffle cones" at home) and sugar cones. The cake are fewer calories and the light crunch is welcome.

4. One or two scoops:

One. I've finished two scoops, but it's hard. And one is better for me.

5. More painful: dropping your cone/cup or a brain freeze?

The drop. the brain freeze hurts, but it goes away. A lost ice cream cone is lost forever.


» Monday, July 12, 2004
Living the Minty Life
Got home and found two straggling ants around the sliding glass doors. Worrying--I expected stragglers after James sprayed the door, or on Sunday, not two days later.

Anyway, I fished out a Q-tip and applied pure mint oil to the bottom of the sliding glass doors and also to the woodwork on either side of the bottom of the sliding glass doors. I have had several people tell me that ants hate the scent of mint oil and stay away. [wry grin] I hope we just don't have abberent ants who like the odor of mint instead. It would be my luck!

The smell is very strong; I would think it masks the scent of anything else in the kitchen, at least distracting the little buggers. There is a bite to the scent, too; it nipped my nose and the dog sneezed several times after I applied it.

I suppose I ought to give up and call the exterminator, except I hate to waste $300 saved dollars on some stupid ants. I'd rather save them toward a new set of doors!


I See Stupidity Knows No Nationality
Adrenaline Junkies of All Ages Flock to Pamplona


Monday Madness

True or false time:

1. I like my job.

False. Liked it better when I was doing support work.

2. I find time to 'smell the flowers' so to speak.

True, sorta. I try. There's usually too much damn housework to be done.

3. I have no problem thinking of things to write about in my blog.


4. 'Organization' is my middle name!

Eh...depends on what needs to be organized.

5. If 'Plan A' doesn't work, there's always a 'Plan B.'

False. I don't cope with unexpected events well.

6. I adjust easily to new surroundings.

False. I'm like the dog. Most of the time I don't like things to change. (Now if someone would give us a bug-proof house with windows that actually all work, hardwood floors, and an A/C that can keep up, I could probably adjust!

7. I'd rather work 'behind the scenes' than 'in the spotlight.'

True. I was the kid who tried to fade into the woodwork at school.

8. I'm happy where I am, at this point in my life.


9. I can wake up in the morning without an alarm clock.

False. Only on weekends.

10. I can function pretty well on less than 8 hours of sleep.

True. I have to. I'm sure as hell not sleepy at 10 p.m. One p.m., yeah...


» Saturday, July 10, 2004
Third Round
The war against the ants has resumed. Dammit.

When we found ants in the cupboard on one side of the sliding glass doors back on the 30th, I took the precaution of moving Willow's water and food dishes away from the other side of the door and putting them at the edge of the kitchen table, at least two feet away from the door.

Evidently the ants didn't mind tramping the two feet across the floor. James came downstairs this morning to find the little buggers swarming in Willow's food dish, a clear path laid from the dish to the bottom corner of the sliding glass doors. (Have I mentioned lately how much I hate those sliding glass doors?) So he dumped the food outside and rinsed the dish, then tramped out back with the Ortho and drenched the door, the step, and even inside the track after wrestling the door open (it takes two people to open the door even an inch). He also sprayed very close to the door and we locked Willow in her crate until it dried, and sprinkled ant granules on the ground all around the sliding glass door.

In the meantime I tramped on nearly invisible ants (the floor is an icky dark brown) until I quit seeing movement, then I mopped down the floor with white vinegar, which is supposed to destroy the ant trails. By the time I finished I was fit to be tied and about ready to cry. The Ortho works when it gets a chance to soak in, but nearly every time we've sprayed lately, it rains about two hours later--and I'm not talking about a shower spritz, but full blown Georgia Monsoon Season with the horizontal rain.

The nice gentleman who cuts our lawn hopes to clean out the back yard sometime before he goes on vacation at the end of the month. I hope he can make it. He's been held up by the incessant rain and also having all his equipment and vehicle stolen from his parking lot at work! Anyway, it's a mess back there, branches dating back to Hurricane Opal, the last batch of leaves from last fall, long grass. The mosquitoes are having a field day back there.


» Friday, July 09, 2004
Rumor Mill, Inc.
And one possible spoiler at the end...beware.

Interesting stuff over at the Digital Bits website: By now everyone knows original series Star Trek will be out on DVD soon, but apparently David Gerrold is saying they are also going to release the animated series on DVD as well, with commentary by the writers and the cast. I understand there is commentary by Gerrold and other writers such as Larry Niven on the Land of the Lost DVD set–very tempting; Lost had absolutely hideous SFX as a Saturday morning kids’ show, but the scripts were quite literate.

(And while we’re dragging one old Filmation series out of mothballs, how about Fantastic Voyage, too, guys?)

Also rumors of a director’s cut of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, with all those edited scenes returned to the narrative as they were on ABC’s commercial-drenched network premiere a month or so back...not to mention other deleted scenes.

Caution, spoiler:

By the way, speaking of rumors, James apparently read one that said Gary Oldman is in the third Star Wars film (Digital Bits says the rumored title is Revenge of the Sith) and gets to kill Jar-Jar Binks. I suspect this is one bad-guy effort that’s going to get a big cheer from much of its audience, since Jar-Jar is so universally hated.


Rod Rides Again
I was about to send an e-mail about this to someone, but I figured someone else might be interested, too:

Christopher Stasheff has a new "Warlock" book; I saw it at Barnes & Noble yesterday. It's The Warlock's Last Ride.


My, Aren't We Serious Today?
Friday Five

1. Would you rather earn more money or have more time off?

Have more time off. If I had a career, it might be different. I just have a job.

2. Which is more important, the ends or the means?

Well, the means, of course. I really mean that. :-)

3. How are our personalities formed, by nature or through nurture?

Nurture, unless a person has a deep psychological problem.

4. Who do you feel closer to, your mother or your father?

My mom. My dad always regretted it. He wanted “daddy’s little girl.” Unfortunately we were both so alike we started to clash as I grew older–we were both shy introverts who got upset if you looked at us the wrong way.

5. Why do you answer these silly questions, out of boredom or out of love of introspection?

I guess the first most of the time; it’s something else to do. :-) But introspection occasionally is fun, too.


» Thursday, July 08, 2004
Georgia Public Television showed something called Air War: Ruling the Waves: Battle for the Atlantic, a documentary about World War II. James sat there through it all saying "But that's the wrong ship," "that's not [type of airplane], that's a [another type of airplane]," "that's a post-war aircraft carrier!" etc.

Anyone want to hire my husband as a historical advisor? He seems to know a lot more about these subjects than the filmmakers do!


Literary Me
I have this recurring problem since surgery in April, a pinching in my abdomen when the weather gets thundery, or if I've been sitting in one position too long. I suppose it's part of the healing process.

I could complain "my scar hurts," but then I'd sound an awful lot like that Potter lad... :-)


Thursday Threesome

::Not so much easy as addicted...::

Onesome: Not so much-- --to do now that school is out for the students? ...or maybe a little too much to do for those student's parental units? What are you up to this July? Back for Summer Sessions? to the beach? ...headed out on a weekend adventure? Surely you must be doing something!

Um, yeah, there's this little thing called "work." Ah, for those halcyon days before the age of 16 when there was nothing to do in the summer but a few chores and then television and books, or walking to the neighborhood store for a popsicle, or hanging out with friends.

Twosome: easy as-- Pie? Sure, how about your favorite pie? ...and hey, homemade versus store bought! Would you rather have Mom's Apple Pie or head on over to Marie C's for a slice of heaven there?

Chocolate cream. :-) Apple if purchased, but to me most apple pies are too sugary. Pray tell me why one adds sugar to fruit pies? The fruit is already sweet and the baking releases more of the sugars? So why then does apple pie need to taste like you're licking out the sugar bowl? Sam's Club used to make a sugar-free apple pie that wasn't half bad, but I haven't seen it in a while.

When I was a kid I'd actually scrape the apples out of the pie and leave them for my mother and then just eat the crust. That's the best part of the pie anyway, if made properly. (::Linda drools thinking of Table Talk pie crust...::)

Threesome: addicted-- Okay, what is it you are addicted to, that element of your life you simply cannot do without. Reading? The Net? Little porcelain dolls? Oh, yeah: Money? Nah, make it something you'd spend your spare change on...

Books, books, books...


» Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Tuesday Twosome

Share your two favorite...

1. ways you cool off from the summer heat:

Air conditioned house and air conditioned car. :-)

2. summer activities:

Hibernating in the air-conditioned house and air-conditioned car until more civilized weather comes along.

3. cold beverages:

Milk and lemon-lime Kool-Aid.

4. summer memories:

Vacations and being out of school and having nothing to do but a few chores around the house.

5. vacation spots:

Lake George, New York, and New Hampshire. (I'd say Boston, but even the best city is uninhabitable in the summer.)


Monday Madness (a day late since I thought yesterday was Sunday)

1. I usually clean my house on weekends; when else is there time?, or about every ____ days.

Spot checks when needed.

2. My favorite Sunday night program to watch on television is

There's TV shows worth watching on Sunday night? We're usually reading, at the computer, or have a DVD on. Of course I do have to make a note of Sunday television starting this Sunday: there's a new Jim Chee/Joe Leaphorn Mystery! on the 11th, and then a British World War II-based mystery called Foyle's War that I just found out about recently starting the week after.

Any more Hetty Wainthropp coming up? she asked hopefully.

3. Monday morning I usually waking up thinking, "Oh, Lord, not again."

4. To wind down at the end of a busy day, I like to read, including my favorite newsgroup, alt.recovery.clutter.

5. I try not to call anyone on the phone until after 10 a.m.

6. And I NEVER call anyone after 10p.m..

7. When I don't have to get up to go to work or school, I sleep in until Oh, ten, eleven....

It's really relative because if we don't have to get up the next day, we don't go to bed until two and three in the morning. So we just get the normal eight-hour sleep which I certainly don't get during the week.

8. I have six telephones in my house. in the den, kitchen, living room and each bedroom. Or are you counting the cell phones, too? Then there are eight.

9. I usually answer the phone on the ??? ring.

The answering machine picks up the phone. When I know it's safe, then I answer it, or I end up talking to one of those little root weevils (a.k.a. telemarketers). And even worse, this year--politicians. Aieeeeee! Keep away, keep away, unclean, unclean!

10. When I know I should be sleeping, but am having a hard time falling asleep, I usually Just lie there anyway.

At least it's dark and my eyes don't hurt.


» Sunday, July 04, 2004
Hey, I Have an Idea...
...maybe next year at the Pops concert we can talk a couple into having sex in front of one of the television cameras. Maybe then CBS/WBZ will take those cameras off the damn crowd and into the sky where they belong...


Birthday Celebrations
waving flagThe firecrackers are going like crazy outside. It's the usual Independence Day noise. I revel in it all. I love the fireworks, the songs, and the celebrations. I don't always agree with the government, but I'm proud of my country and I love joining in on the festivities.

We went to two parties today, "one for lunch and one for supper," had a grand time with friends, and came home to watch various and assorted fireworks on television. The Centennial Olympic Park broadcast was darn near unwatchable; they had a loud and obnoxious rock band. PBS' Capitol Fourth was quite good; they even did the finale of "The 1812 Overture"--with howizers--which we now miss since CBS took over the Boston Pops broadcast last year.

(Sigh. Can't help thinking how wonderful those A&E/WCVB Pops broadcasts would have looked on the new television...)

As for CBS' one-hour only broadcast of the Boston fireworks:

+5 points for being better than last year
+5 points for the aerial shots

-5 points for only showing the fireworks, with a nasty five-minute commercial break in the middle of them (A&E's coverage had a commercial break, but it was very short)
-2 points for not telling us what songs were playing like A&E used to
-3 points for Harry Smith yapping too much

Guys: listen up again. When we tune into a broadcast to see fireworks, we don't want to see

(a) faces of people watching the fireworks
(b) the orchestra
(c) backs of people watching the fireworks
(d) shots of the fireworks over the half-shell
(e) the host asking anybody how they like the fireworks
(f) anybody else talking about the fireworks
in short
anything that is not the fireworks!

Got it yet?


Lynn Johnston Wrote This One for Me... :-)
"For Better or For Worse" Strip 07/04/2004


Independence Day Traditions
One broken this year.

Maybe it was silly, but it just happened one time and kept going. During 1776 one year when Bandit was young, I perched him on my finger during "He Plays the Violin" and "danced" with him. He would give me a puzzled look during these gyrations, but hung on with good humor. Sometimes I would even put my forefinger under one of his feet and we would "clasp hands." It was something I looked forward to.

Needless to say I was a bit tearful during the song this year.


» Saturday, July 03, 2004
Speaking of Nice Fan Sites...
...were we?

Oh, well. If you've enjoyed Sam Neill in movies, you ought to check out Erica Grams' Sam Neill website. Very well done.


» Friday, July 02, 2004
At Last...
...not only finally got the comments working, but got rid of those hideous red links!


Speaking of DVDs
Cheapest price I've seen on the Star Wars trilogy so far is $41 and change at Deep Discount DVD (even cheaper than Sam's Club--possibly Costco but I don't see it listed yet on Costco's website). So unless Eckerd's has a Really Good Sale like they did on the Indiana Jones films...

I'm going to push Deep Discount--they've been nice to me. :-)

In the meantime I suppose I should toddle off there and order Three Lives of Thomasina (before [those idiots at] Disney decides to pull that, too).


Silent Funnies
Any of you "pushing fifty" or over like me remember an early 1960s series called Fractured Flickers? It was done by the folks who did Rocky and Bullwinkle and featured host Hans Conreid (well known by me at that time for playing "Uncle Tonoose" on Make Room for Daddy). They took silent films and put absurd soundtracks to them. It lasted only a season, but is one of those cult shows people have remembered for years.

It's coming out on DVD August 31.


The [New] Friday Five

I gotta be careful how I answer these from now on. Last Friday I mentioned ants and Wednesday they showed up!

What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?

Rupert Holmes invited us on to the set of Remember WENN.

What's the nicest thing you've done for someone else?

Sent someone who was having trouble making ends meet some things.

What one thing do you wish you had done?

Sent more things. :-)

What is your biggest regret?

Losing my dad.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

My website.


» Thursday, July 01, 2004
Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Yankee- Hey, this is the 4th of July weekend here in the States; do you have any plans? Fireworks? Watching the Boston Pops? Hiding under the bed with the dog?

We're invited to two cookouts. One's at one, another's at four. We've toyed with the idea of doing both. Sigh. Boston Pops ain't no fun anymore since A&E lost the rights to the broadcast. WBZ's coverage does a mean Hoover imitation, if you know what I mean.

Twosome: Doodle- Is there any paper safe from you, or are you a doodler? If you are, when are you most likely to doodle and what do you draw?

I doodle it a lot. :-) Mostly collies. Sometimes budgies, but it frustrates me because I can never get them to look as cute as they really are. Or cross-hatching, just because.

Threesome: Dandee- Or dandy. It's one of my favorite words. How about you, do you have any favorite words that you like to use, just because you like the way they sound or just because you can?

I think this question is cool! (I'm from Rhode Island; I should be saying "wicked cool," though. For some reason I never got into that habit. Odd because most of my younger cousins use it.)