Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.
Contact me at theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net
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» Tuesday, September 28, 2004
1. Two things you love about the FALL:
It's cooler and the bugs start to go away. (After that, it's all the nice holidays.)
2. Two things you dislike about the FALL:
Nothing and nothing.
3. Two things do you want to accomplish in the FALL:
Getting fresh air and more exercise.
4. Do you enjoy the changing of seasons and why:
Summer sucks. Summer...but don't let me start ranting again.
5. Two colors that exemplify FALL for you:
Orange and rust.
» Monday, September 27, 2004
Spoke with the claims agent: sounds like they're putting Twilight back together again. I'm supposed to be getting a call from the other insurance company to find out what expenses were incurred by the accident.
» Sunday, September 26, 2004"Voice" From the Past
Well, wayyyyyy cool! I heard from my eleventh grade English teacher via e-mail. She was searching for something else and came upon my nostalgia website.
» Friday, September 24, 2004
Apple of Our Eye
One of the things we like to do before Christmas takes place in November: Lithia Springs High School holds a big craft show called "Christmas at Lithia."
One of the "vendors" every year are representatives from a gourmet cooking supply outfit called Pampered Chef. You have parties for Pampered Chef products, like Tupperware, and the folks hand out circulars at the show and sell an irresistable treat. They have this gadget that cores, peels, and slices apples into spirals, and they do this with a Granny Smith apple, dribble it with warm caramel sauce, and hand it to you with a spoon. James and I love Granny Smiths and always end up getting one apple, sometimes two.
Last year we started to consider buying one of the gadgets for ourselves, despite the cost, which is about $40-$50. I love Granny Smiths--I love all sour apples--but the skin aggravates my acid reflux. Also, we had an idea about making sugar-free apple pies and tarts. The ones they sell in stores are hideously sweet; I've never figured out why one has to add sugar to apple pies at all. The moment you bake an apple you get sweeter. But peeling and coring all those apples is drudgery, as far as both of us are concerned.
Tonight we were tooling around the appliances and things at B.J.'s and came upon a similar gadget called The Apple Machine. It was only $14.95. For $14.95 I figure one can take a chance on anything. We brought it home, set it up, and merrily peeled and cored two of the big bag of Granny Smiths we'd bought in the produce department. Yum, even without the caramel sauce!
Not sure it will have the longevity of the Pampered Chef corer/peeler, but it was more in our price range and seems fairly sturdy.
Now to figure out an easy way to make a sugar-free pie crust. :-)
What's the Deal With the Chicks?
Anyone out there seen Disney's Home on the Range?
I was at Border's last Saturday and they had a stuffed version of one of the little chicks on discount. I love the little scowl--it reminds me of Pidge when he's in a contrary mood. But what's with the chicks anyway? In drawings and in this little stuffed guy they look like they have an "attitude." Usually chicks in movies are of the Cute and Adorable variety. So what goes with these guys? Anyone know?
Late...oh, you know the drill.
::Crockpot Marmalade Chicken::
Onesome: Crockpot-- Hey, Winter is just around the corner! Does that mean crockpot meals for you? ...and how about the students: When you get home for the holidays will Mom have had something simmering all day?
Occasionally James does something in the crockpot, but generally we eat the same thing in the summer as we do in the winter. A pork roast does taste nice in the crockpot, though.
Twosome: Marmalade-- Chunk style or creamy? Do you even do jams, jellies and peanut butters with bits and pieces in them? ...or is that something you like have stocked on the shelves?
Um, James is the one that does marmalade, not me. I don't like spreads with stuff in them. I like seedless blackberry preserves the best. We had a nice cinnamon apple jelly at one of the craft shows, though, but didn't buy it.
Threesome: Chicken-- pot pies? Do you love 'em or hate 'em? Simple, -eh? ...and if you love 'em, where do you find good ones? ...or is that even possible
People make chicken pot pies? Gosh, I thought you got them from the supermarket. :-) I'm stuck with Swanson or Banquet most of the time, turkey or chicken. I used to love a brand they sold in New England, Willow Tree. I don't know if it's made any more. It had all white meat chicken, which I didn't particularly like (I'm a dark meat fan), but it didn't have any vegetables in it, which I loved. I don't mind the carrots in pot pie, but I hate those damn mushy nasty-tasting green peas. Ugh.
Kentucky Fried Chicken has (had?) what looked like a lovely pot pie, with nice thick flaky crust. But I was soooo disappointed when I bit into it: they had apparently garnished it with about half a gallon of pepper. I thought my tongue was going to blaze up, char and fall off.
Late also for obvious reasons.
1. How many hours on average do you get daily and is it enough?
Six during the week, and no. Trouble is I get my best sleep between six and eight a.m. Guess when I have to get up. There ya go.
2. Can you sleep anywhere or does it have to be in a bed?
If I'm tired enough, I can sleep with the TV making a racket. I usually need a pillow or a reasonable facsimile thereof. I get headaches when I lie on hard surfaces.
3. When you go to sleep, does it you need to be absolutely quiet or do you need a little noise (radio or TV)?
Quiet. We already have little noises that wake us up. ("bark! bark! bark!" means the neighbor across the street blew his nose)
4. Name two things/situations that can ruin your sleep:
The dog barking and thunder (which brings the dog upstairs).
5. Name two things you "must have" in order to sleep comfortably:
It must be dark and cool. I like to cocoon.
Late for obvious reasons.
1. My ________ is the most used piece of furniture in my house.
Sofa. (Actually, it's probably the bed on weeknights.)
2. The one electronic 'gadget' that I use most often is my ________.
PDA. I keep my brain inside it.
3. My favorite appliance, and the one I absolutely cannot live without is the _______.
Appliance? Does the television or the computer count as an appliance? :-) Microwave, I guess.
4. One thing that I thought I just HAD to have at one time, and I now barely ever use, is my _______.
Electric frying pan.
5. I find it easiest to keep in touch with family and friends via ________.
E-mail. Except for my mother.
6. I own more cd's (or other music media) than I do _________.
7. All my important addresses are stored in/on my _________.
Computer and PDA.
8. If I had to live without TWO keys on my keyboard, I would choose _________.
The ones with the brackets and braces on them.
9. I probably own about _____ pieces of software that I haven't used in years.
10. There are a few food items that I try NEVER to run out of, and those would be __________.
Milk! Milk! Milk!
Boy, that’s weird but better. The Malibu was too oversized, for all that I liked the gadgets. I also got the Focus before Enterprise had a chance to stink it up with their car freshener spray. Ugh. Sit in the car for more than five minutes and you have that smell all over you.
Of course driving the Focus is weird after the PT: it’s like driving a go-kart, or something resembling one, like a Geo Metro or an Echo.
» Thursday, September 23, 2004Less is More
Traded the Malibu for a Ford Focus, which is more my size. Would you believe that wretched Chevy ate 2.7 gallons of gas just getting me to work and back?
Got my new computer at work. They have it rigged so you can't install any programs on it, so I'm stuck without Firefox and back to that sucky Internet Explorer. And no Word Perfect, only that asinine Word. Oddly enough, they left the Windows games on it. Go figure.
I'm back at work and in an absolutely poisonous mood. It drives me mad when people don't do what they were supposed to have done and then I have to mop it up. Like I don't have enough to do at home.
I hope the rent-a-car people can get me something better than this idiotic Chevy Malibu I had to take. It drives okay, but it's too frapping big, everything's in weird places, and it beeps on its own. Honestly, it sat in the driveway last night and beeped (like a car alarm was going off) every half hour. We were down to wondering if it were the DVD remote, however implausible that might be--until it started beeping again at about one in the morning and then finally shut up.
» Wednesday, September 22, 2004Welcome, Fall!
Spent about an hour this morning cheering myself up by putting up all the fall decorations: oak leaves on the archway, Indian corn on the front door, a harvesty-type hanging on the glass doors, autumn-color garland in the den, an autumn bouquet on the kitchen table. Fall is good. We've had the windows open, but looks like we'll have to go on A/C through the weekend.
We have the equinox; let's hear from the equinotical winds, please...
Grammar Police Strike Again
The Stats to Go With the Picture
Body shop says just looking at external damage it's already up to $7000 for repair. They need to get the car on a hoist and remove some parts to see if other parts are damaged.
Besides what you can obviously see, the left front tire was completely disengaged from the steering assembly (which explains why I couldn't get the car to do anything once it got hit). The left rear door no longer opens, either. And, a minor point, I'm not sure if the little drawer that goes under the passenger side front seat is just off its track, or broken off. It's a telling point of the force of the impact that to get this little drawer open by hand I have to jiggle it a little and tug hard. The impact simply popped it out like a candy out of a wrapper.
» Tuesday, September 21, 2004Back to Tatooine
James figured to cheer me up, so we went out to Williamson for barbecue. If I figured staying home one day would do it, I wasn't counting on my out-of-shape flab. After five minutes of jouncing in the truck, I'd had quite enough of driving for the evening. I kept forgetting not to lean my head back. No matter how carefully James drove, there was always something that bumped those sore bumps at the back of my skull against the back of the seat. (What are those bumps back there called, anyway?)
We did go by CompUSA, from which copies of the Star Wars trilogy were conspicuously missing. Not to matter. We picked up their ad flyer and went to Best Buy, which matches price. So we spent the rest of the evening watching the Rebel Alliance defeat the Death Star. The soundtrack is really impressive now. Pidge had to sing at the top of his little birdie lungs to try and overwhelm it.
Stupid Illogical Thoughts
I was considering making a run to CompUSA today--none of the sale papers except theirs and Eckerd had a price on Star Wars and CompUSA had it cheaper than I'd seen it anywhere, even Sam's and Costco and Deep Discount DVD. And now I'm flat without a car to do any of it. Dammit.
Logic tells you that after these things, you will hurt.
And so will friends who have been in similar straits.
Still--oh, boy, does it hurt.
The scrape on my chin hurts the least; it just itches. The worst pain comes from a spot under and to the left of my left knee, which barely has a mark on it. But it hurts the moment you brush the skin. My whole left side of my torso hurts now (probably from where the door crumpled in). It hurts to cough or sneeze or breathe deeply. My neck is worst, especially where the seat belt was. I have a big purple lump over my left breast right on the collarbone, and the collarbone hurts, especially when I turn my head to the left where the flesh is abraded--or if I do something as simple as sniffle. And I still have a headache which the Naproxen or the muscle relaxant just won't kill.
There are also things hurting that weren't hurting at the hospital, including that outjutting C7 cervical vertibrae and those two round bones on either side at the back of your head just under the hair. My right shoulder, which has hurt constantly since the 1990 cancer surgery, hurts worse than ever. Needless to say, it was hard to find a position to sleep on yesterday.
And I keep looking out the blinds hoping a miracle will occur...
» Monday, September 20, 2004Life's What Happens When You Make Other Plans
It started like any other Monday, dark--I get up before the sun--but deliciously cool. I didn't even have to roll the car windows down this morning.
This was a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it.
I was less than a mile from work when I got T-boned on the driver's side and driven up off the side of the road (except for one wheel). I didn't see a darn thing--all I knew is there was an "earth-shattering kaboom" and the car was shoved sideways and forward. God bless Chrysler engineering: the seat belts held (the red marks on my shoulder and chest attest to that) and the air bags deployed fine. They also knocked my glasses off and some kind stranger had to find them for me, so when I actually got two of the four windows rolled down I still couldn't see them open and thought I was trapped in the car and it was on fire. (It was actually the smoke from the explosive charge in the air bags.)
After a brief chat with a policeman--I never did get an accident report and had to call up afterwards to get the number--the rescue squad whisked me off to Northside Hospital--I figured if I had to be kept overnight Kaiser would have me transferred there anyway, since it's their hospital, so I might as well go there in the first place--where James met me and waited for them to determine that I was almighty bruised but it didn't look like I had any permanent spinal damage. They released me with some muscle relaxants and sent me home, after which I had to make numerous calls to the insurance agent, the police, and several tow companies to find out just where the heck my poor car was. When I finally found it, I asked the guy, "I never did see the damage. How is it?" He replied dryly, "Well, it's pretty banged up."
Gah. I haven't even made the first 300-mile oil change or the second payment on it...
» Sunday, September 19, 2004A Breath of Air
Something wonderful happened after Ivan "got the hell out of Dodge."
There's air out there. Actual, breathable, cool air.
Oh, it's still too hot in the daytime (over 70° is still too hot for me), but there's a breeze when you open the windows. You can ride in the car with the windows down and not swelter. You can open the windows of the house and put on the attic fan and not feel like you are drowning in sweat and heavy, bad-smelling air.
There are drawbacks. The nice breathable cool air is filled with pollen from the goldenrod and the ragweed that are everywhere. My eyes still itch. But it's better than the sulphurous-smelling stuff that's been going around since May.
» Thursday, September 16, 2004English Abuse
I swear I'm going to beat my head against the wall. I've seen the same mistake twice in the past 12 hours. Once it was in a blog, and most of those are informal, so it doesn't count as much. But last night it was in a published novel (Collins' the Lusitania Murders, to be specific).
Both were talking about people being stopped from doing what they wished; they were "reigning in" their ambitions.
Guys, the phrase is "rein in," okay. Like pulling on the reins of a horse to get him to slow down. "Reign" is the period in which a monarch rules or a verb describing what the monarch does ("The king reigns over his subjects"). "Reigning in" not only is incorrect, but it makes no sense!
This isn't the first time I've seen the two confused. Is nothing proofread any longer, and if it is, do the proofreaders actually have knowledge of the English language?
::Girl Scout Cookies::
Onesome: Girl- Girls' (or boys') Night Out- Do you ever just feel the need to drop everything and go hang out with your pals? What do you all do when you go out? Something "wild" like partying at the bar, or something as "mild" as just hanging out at a coffee shop and discussing the latest books you've read? Or do you head over to a pal's house to watch the big game?
We do that every Saturday night: we go play trivia at Rockford's American Grill with some friends. We used to have a club meeting once a month, way back, the Phoenix Science Fiction Society, but everyone drifted eventually because of family commitments. Still miss it. Never partied at a bar--think it's stupid. I don't understand why people have to get drunk to have fun. We can have a great time not drinking at all, or maybe one or two of the guys just having one beer.
(I never could stand beer. How on earth can you drink something that smells that bad?)
Twosome: Scout- Were you ever a scout as a kid? Which branch? Did you join willingly or was it something you did because everyone else was or your parents thought it would be "good for you?"
I wanted to join the Girl Scouts but my allergist said I wouldn't be able to go on the campouts because of my allergies. What was the use of joining Girl Scouts if you couldn't go to camp?
Threesome: Cookies- What's your favorite kind of cookie? What's the strangest cookie you've ever had or heard of but been too afraid to try? And do you buy Girl Scout cookies? Which ones?
The chocolate cream filled Oreos. Haven't had one in a long time. Trying to lose weight and failing miserably because at work I'm always starved. I'm not hungry when I'm at home.
We quit buying GS cookies when James was diagnosed diabetic. I always liked the chocolate covered peanut butter patties and the peanut butter sandwich cookies. James likes the trefoils (ugh...shortbread) and thin mints. (Thin mints are good for me, too.)
» Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Tickled by Ivan
Even though Hurricane Ivan hasn't even made landfall on the Gulf coast yet, it's so big that the outer fringes of the storm clouds have already started to tickle Atlanta--this is one big storm! Narrow bands of rain clouds have been creeping up from the south all morning and are now just miles from the metro area. It is overcast out, the temperature hung at about 70°F, and the lovely breeze that was blowing this way and that earlier seems to have lessened for a bit and it's gotten more sultry. It's stalking northward like a hungry cat.
I hope everyone down in "Nawlins" and Mobile and that area have either evacuated or are safe. This is one guy that doesn't want to go away.
» Tuesday, September 14, 2004
1. Two favorite flavors:
Coffee (jamoca at Baskin-Robbins) and Jamoca Almond Fudge.
2. Two least favorite flavors:
Vanilla and strawberry.
3. In a cone or cup?
Sugar cone, please, but I'll have a "cake" cone, too. Funny, when I was a kid, cake cones were "waffle" cones and we didn't have those big things that looked like waffles.
4. Sprinkles or plain?
Plain, I've never liked "jimmies."
5. If you could invent your own flavor of ice cream, what would it be and why?
It's already been invented, but it's hard to find. Newport Creamery came out with it in the late 70s/early 80s: coffee chip. Coffee ice cream with chips of dark chocolate in it.
» Monday, September 13, 2004
1. You are given 1 million dollors. You must give it all away before the donor gives you $1 million. Who would you give it to?
Medical charities for cancer, heart disease, etc. and some to the humane society.
2. If you had $1 million what would you do with it FIRST?
Move somewhere cooler.
3. Do you participate in lotteries?
Not really. James buys tickets occasionally when it gets high.
4. Name 3 of your best physical features.
Hair. Fingers. Feet.
5. ..... 3 of your biggest virtues.
I'm short on those lately. But I'm still kind to animals.
6. ......3 or you biggest vices.
Books. Chocolate. Sleep.
7. ...... 3 of your favorite pleasures in life.
Books. Chocolate. Vacation.
8 If you were a member of the opposite sex, what would you choose to do for your occupation?
Work with computers.
9. If you were to come back after death as another animal, what animal would you choose to be?
A terrier. I want to be smart!
10. What kind of 'baby' are you... water, clouds, beach, garden?
Pidge Goes Walkabout: Grey Hairs Flourish
Pidge's cage has two doors. One is the regulation small door for budgie to hop in and out. The second opens about 3/4 of the front of the cage for easier cleaning by the human portion of the household. I had that big door open on Saturday afternoon.
For some reason, however stupid--and it was stupid--I forgot to latch it.
When we got home Saturday night after trivia, the big door was ajar and Pidge was gone.
To say this tossed me into frantic action is putting it mildly. I began calling and then screaming his name, grabbed a flashlight, and began searching under things for him. His feathers are still growing in, and although he can pretty much now fly the width of the room, he can't get any altitude. If he had hopped on the big door and it came open, or had he climbed out and played with one of the toys I bought him on Saturday afternoon and fallen off, he had no way of getting back up.
Things were bouncing off my head in rapid succession like spark plugs going off. What if...what if he'd gone toward the door where I'd sprayed for ants on Tuesday? The stuff is supposed to be harmless after it dries (except to insects), but he's so small and has a sensitive metabolism. Or if he went under the couch, where I'd also sprayed? What if he went under the door into the furnace closet? We don't turn the gas flame off in the summer. What if he went into the laundry room? Fluttered into the toilet?
What had me really frightened is that lately, when I come into a room, or come downstairs and he hears my voice, he's been chirping. I wasn't hearing any chirps. As the minutes ticked by, I started to be convinced that he was dead. If he wasn't, why wasn't he answering?
James stayed reasonably sensible. He went outside in case Pidge had fluttered out there when we came in the door, but he said, "He won't go into a dark room. You know he freezes up when the light is off. So he shouldn't have gone under any doors into dark places."
What if, by hopping and fluttering, he made it upstairs? Now I was really terrified. When I was a little girl, my playmate was a little green budgie we had named Pretty Boy. One day Pretty Boy and I were playing "chase" and he ran under the refrigerator and was electrocuted.
James said there wasn't room for a bird to run under our refrigerator.
I ran upstairs, cast a cursory flashlight around the floor of the library, then ran up the stairs. Opening the door to James' room, I thought I heard a chirp. I called and called again, and didn't hear it. I then searched the spare room and our bedroom, although both doors were closed. As I came back into the hall, half in tears, I thought I heard a small chirp. And another. I yelled down the stairs for James, but he couldn't hear me.
Then I came back down the stairs, looked across the library instead of down.
Pidge, looking very confused and fluffed up, was blinking at me from the top of the loveseat, where he was sitting under the lighted lamp.
He was quiet for the rest of the night, but thank God at the moment seems none the worse for wear. I did wash him off with water before I put him back in his cage--he was, to excuse the expression, madder than a wet hen--and was quite relieved to see him gobble up seed and millet.
All we can figure out is that he somehow got on the floor, couldn't find anyone, maybe went upstairs to find Willow. The gate that keeps her from coming downstairs has a gap in the bottom he could have ducked under. But it was dark in the kitchen except for Wil's "night light," and he probably headed for the brighter light of the library, going through or around the baby gate that was just leaned at the entrance. The loveseat has a "skirt," so it would have been very easy for him to climb up to the top and chew on the red throw and those lovely, delectable lace curtains.
Me, I was a wreck for the rest of the night and not feeling good on Sunday, despite the long tramp through the Yellow Daisy Festival. But as long as he's safe, I don't care...
Wide-Eyed in Paradise
My mom was brought up in an era where a young lady dreamed of marriage and somewhere that she could make a cozy home. Sometimes it was just an apartment or one floor of a triple-decker, but it didn't matter. If hubby was making a decent salary, she could have pretty curtains, bureau scarves with lace edging, tablecloths, maybe a cut crystal bowl or two for the sideboard, out on special occasions. Maybe Mom dreamed I would covet those things as well.
Folks, I walked into Paradise on Saturday and it didn't look like the housewares section in Rich's or Neiman-Marcus, lemme tell you.
Imagine Radio Shack crossed with Best Buy and garnish with some magazine racks and bookshelves thrown in, add a restaurant and the candy counters from the supermarket checkout line. Now put it all in a place the size of a warehouse store: Sam's Club or Costco or BJs.
Ladies and gentlemen, you have Fry's.
This is a list of what they were selling at Fry's: computers, computer parts, computer hardware (peripherals and main units), computer software, safes, television antennas, burglar alarms, CD players, DVD players and recorders, televisions, radios, VCRs (including one that was multi-format), Sirius and XM satellite radio sets, refrigerators (including more freezer-on-the-bottom units than I'd seen in any other store), freezers, ovens, crock pots, irons, rice cookers, other small appliances, clock radios, clocks, telescopes, magazines, software, computer books, oscilloscopes, electronic work equipment, Swiss army knives, flashlights, printer ink, DVDs, CDs, CD and DVD recordable media, Ipods and other MP3 players, boomboxes, stereo systems, home theatre systems, office furniture...
There's more than that, but I'm tired of typing it all.
Fry's is behind Gwinnett Place Mall, on the road past where Borders used to be and the Aviarium and the old movie theatre. They're building another in Alpharetta. Have fun.
» Saturday, September 11, 2004The Date Says It All
» Thursday, September 09, 2004Goodie, Goodie, Yum Yum...
Back in the 197os or thereabouts, WGBH, Channel 2 in Boston imported Monty Python's Flying Circus. More British humor then appeared: The Good Life (Good Neighbors to we in the States), To the Manor Born, others of that ilk. We also were gifted with that particularly British SF phenomenon, Doctor Who, the great Dave Allen and the raunchy Benny Hill--and a trio of cartoonish live-action do-gooders whose lives were peppered with sight gags and peculiarities like giant pussycats. The trio, made up of Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, and Bill Oddie, were The Goodies.
The loose--very loose--premise of the series was as follows:
Tim: And we are... er... going... to... do good... to people.
Graeme & Bill: How wet!
The motto of the Goodies was "we do anything, anytime." And certainly they did.
This inspired silliness followed Doctor Who on WGBH's sister station WGBX and I got hooked on it. (I also must admit I thought Tim Brooke-Taylor was cute...) So the last time I made an order from Amazon.co.uk, I picked up The Goodies, At Last, an eight-episode sampler of Goodie nuttiness. (Thank the Lord for region hacks on DVD players...)
I watched the first two eps last night. The DVD has been deliciously [pun intended] restored--the extras include a comparison between the old dust-flecked, color faded prints and the new DVD copies--and we can see the guys in all their glory. Do I find it as funny as I did at age 20? Well, maybe not quite, but I did find myself giggling a lot during the Tower of London episode. The episodes are chock-full of the slapstick stuff my Dad wouldn't allow me to watch as a kid (no Soupy Sales, Pinky Lee, or Three Stooges for me): pratfalls, overcranks, silly jokes, absurd costumes--to catch Twinkle, the kitten who grows to enormous size due to Graeme's growth formula, for instance, the guys dress up like mice--and the Goodies' own "commercials" inserted into the eps at the halfway point, which largely seem to be humor involving gay men in the vein of Mr. Humphries on Are You Being Served? No thinking is involved, which on weeknights is a relief.
So, yeah, sometimes you can go home again, even if a spiffy new paint job doesn't always completely hide the aging timbers. Like with the Doctor, it's always fun to time travel to the past. I'm looking forward to the rest, especially the infamous "Ecky Thump" episode (apparently a British gentleman laughed himself to death during this outing).
Here: Have some more goodies...uh, Goodies:
BBC's Goodies Page
Humorlink's Goodies Page
Fact Index's Goodies Page
Warning: Adolescent Budgie Crossing
It's been nine long years since I had a young budgie in the house and it's like it's a surprise all over again. I don't remember Bandit being this fractious, even if he was a biter in his youth (several times he even drew blood).
I told Pidge last night he was a biker budgie, always looking for trouble. If I didn't know this is how young birds are, I'd be convinced he had the avian version of ADHD. When we're home, at least, he's almost never still: he's bouncing from one perch to the other, turning upside down on his perches, swings, and rings, singing boisterously. If I open his door he generally just climbs all over the cage, pecking at the other side of the food and water dishes, and playing with a button that says "Anything not nailed down is a
Occasionally he'll fly toward me--his primaries are growing in and he's getting more distance daily--but he won't sit still on my finger most of the time...instead he bites at my duster or nips my nose, climbs over my shoulder and chews at the pillows. He's fun to watch, but worrying, too; and now I have to keep him away from my computer desk and the door as well after the ant debacle.
He's still glaring at the ceiling fans warily, so hopefully I don't have to worry about that, too, when he's finally re-fledged.
"Special" Bulletin: A/C Still Dead at Work
This doesn't bother one of my co-workers, who's from Florida and therefore has the body chemistry of a salamander. Floridians put on sweaters when the temp gets into the 70s.
Me, I brought a fan. (BTW, it's 68°--with a nice breeze--outside and 82° at my desk. Arrrrgh!)
» Wednesday, September 08, 2004Passovers, Power Failures, and the Patter of Tiny Feet (Again!)
Wonderful. Dragon*Con ends and everything goes to hell in a handbasket. And it didn't start out badly, either.
We watched "Frances" warily all weekend. Her main effect over the four days was shaking the trees with a perpetual rattle and providing a nice breeze. The clouds came in on Sunday and hung high, not threatening, but watchful. We were in the house, safe and cozy, by the time the rain began Monday night.
Sometime around six, something happened in Atlanta. Every story I've heard on the news--trees falling, power dying, etc.--happened around six a.m. Our power went out for two hours. It stayed cool in the house, even with the windows closed, and wasn't much of a problem.
About 8:10 I called my supervisor. "Are the lights on there?" Yes, she said, so I went on in; the 40-minute drive lasted 75 minutes.
The lights were sorta on. Mostly the building was dark, the computers wouldn't even boot up, and the A/C was dead. One microwave in the break room was working, so I had my breakfast and read a book. At eleven they told us to go home.
With my advanced case of bookstore attraction, I ended up at Kudzu, the remaindered bookstore on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. They had enough power to light three banks of fluorescents, the "open" sign, and the cash register. While I was there even that died. I gave them a check. I also stopped by Borders for Best of British and bought Sudden Sea [1938 hurricane book] with coupons.
The plan was to go home, toss clothes in the dryer, do some other tidying, then sit with my books and watch my Goodies DVD. I had watched the little restoration short on the DVD, and had wandered to the computer to see if the BBC had finally gotten smart and decided to release a set for Dave Allen.
I got as far as typing "dav" into the search block when I saw an ant on the keyboard. I killed it. Oh, well, ants get in.
Except there was another ant, and another, and another. I grabbed a good flashlight and found the damn things parading up and down the feet of my computer desk and into my wastebasket. (What was in the wastebasket that attracted them? Dunno–we'd emptied it for the trash men the night before, which I expect means they were in the house earlier and we didn't know it, perhaps even before I sprayed the front door on Sunday.)
Mildly put, I went berserk. I put Pidge's cage upstairs in the spare room, shut Willow in the kitchen, and grabbed the can of Raid (because it was raining and Raid has petroleum in it) to spray both doors outside. The breeze was blowing every which way, so I had Raid on me when I came in. Without touching anything else, I then got the container of Ortho (which has a low scent that disappears eventually) and sprayed both the glass doors and the other door, the baseboards between outside doors, the perimeter of the parquet near the glass doors (where I guess they got in; I couldn't find the ant trail to the outside), the feet of the computer desk, the base of the bookcase next to the desk, behind the sofa, under the sofa, behind the phone stand and the printer, behind the computer. And then I washed hands quickly, undressed, ran upstairs and had to shower again.
Once redressed, I decided that since it was raining pretty steadily and I wouldn't need to water it down, I would go outside again and spread ant granules around the side door and on the lawn near the glass doors;. Finally it was over, I could wash again, and relax-
Willow was at the glass doors staring at me. She'd slipped under the gate while I was outside. All right, all right, think...if the Ortho wasn't quite dry I could just wash her feet...
I told her to stay. Completely misinterpreting my being upset, she instead rolled on her back. Arrrrgh! So I had to carry her upstairs, give her a bath, then lock her in the room with Pidge while I washed again and then vacuumed downstairs and disposed of the vacuum cleaner bag in case it had ants in it.
By this time I was knackered and my back was one mass of pain. I collapsed on the futon in the spare room and stared glaze-eyed at the television. I felt chastened about my ant furor as I watched people who had trees fallen on their homes--but damn, I hate those lousy little creepers. Finally both Pidge and I dozed off until James came home. I had called him sometime during this debacle and he brought home wonton soup and fried rice. I was so exhausted all I could get down was the soup,
I stayed upstairs with Pidge for the rest of the night and James sat for a bit, too. Since there's no cable upstairs, we were stuck with network. We watched the highly touted animated thing, Father of the Pride, which we'd missed the premiere of last week. Actually we missed nothing. This show is really stupid. Afterwards, this show Scrubs that has been such a good goer for NBC came on. I'd never seen it. I watched for five minutes before I changed channels. If this is what passes for humor these days I don't want to watch it. I can't believe how unbelievably bad it was. And this is a "hit" series!
Now I'm back at work. The lights work, the computers work–the A/C is still dead. When you're in an inner office with six other people, this sucks. There is no air circulating in here and it's 85° at my desk. I feel like I'm smothering.
» Monday, September 06, 2004Dragon*Con: Day 4
I always hate the last day of conventions. It's like the last day of vacation, with the idea of returning to the usual routine; I always ending up shedding a tear or two at the end of both."How fast the earth spins..."
We were up early this morning to see the "Buck Rogers Reunion" with Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, and Felix Silla. They were a friendly, upbeat panel, with many stories about pranks on the set, but also some serious tales about how callous Universal was of their health and of the series itself, plus Gerard's criticism of second season producer John Mantley (now we know who to blame it on).
James went off to attend a Space & Science panel that was ultimately cancelled; I attended a panel on Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. Of all the non-media panels I attended, this was the best--the panel and the audience got into a spirited discussion of L'Engle's "Time Quartet" (or as someone called it, the "Time Trilogy and one related book") and touched briefly on some of her other books. Sounds like most of the panelists liked the television film better than I did--although they liked best what I did, the actors themselves.
I then went to a panel on the British SF cult favorite, Blake's 7. This was rather sparsely attended because of the Monday timeslot--a lot of people are checking out or have already left by one in the afternoon. I was particularly interested in this panel, not just because of my fondness for the series, but because I wanted to know if the DVD release of the four seasons just beginning in Great Britain was going to happen here, and in what form (rumors were that the British would get the super-duper set with extras and commentary and that the Americans would get the plain vanilla overly compressed set). Well, apparently sometime in the spring we will be getting the full versions of the DVDs. Cool. Anyway, we also discussed favorite episodes and our theories about the final episode (where everyone supposedly is killed off).
Finally James and I rendezvous'd again--he'd been watching the tribute to DC Comics maven Julius Schwartz--for the Mighty Rassilon Art Players' presentation of The Return of the King and I. This was a daffy, hilarious musical version of Return of the King which included a surprise revelation from Gimli, a pompous Aragorn, the Lost, Lost Riders of Rohan, and several dozen in jokes that touched everything from pop culture to MRAP's past. The cast were all quite funny, but IMHO Neil and Colin Butler came close to stealing the show as Merry and Pippin. Their real-life sibling role suited them well for the bantering that went on.
And finally it was closing ceremonies and time to go. We waved goodbye, took a quick spin by Michael's to spend their 50% off Labor Day coupons, and then went home to pizza, budgie song, and Willow greeting us with joy.
» Sunday, September 05, 2004Dragon*Con: Day 3
It should have been a sleep-in this morning, but I used the dry weather as an opportunity to do the monthly spraying of the foundation and around the doors. I found a parade of ants going the entire length of the driveway, which is over two car lengths long.
Our first panel was the "Babylon 5 Reunion," which was a small reunion as the only B5 guests were Jason Carter (manic as usual), Stephen Austin, and Peter Jurasik. (Richard Biggs has planned to do D*Con this year, before his untimely death. A fund had been set up at the con for his children.) The panel was quite funny--Jason recited some humorous poems he had written--and there was a hilarous segue in which Peter Woodward broke in the room to announce he hadn't been invited to the panel because of his previous panel, but he wanted to promote a cruise he was doing, and he raced through the room scattering flyers everywhere.
We remained in the room to see Harlan Ellison speak. I can't say I always agree with Harlan's politics, but he kept it to a minimum. Harlan is...well, Harlan. Acerbic, aggravating, annoying...and often amusing. I enjoy reading his essays even though I might not always see things the way he does. In this outing he told the long and convoluted tale about his almost fatal encounter with Frank Sinatra in a private Los Angeles club. From anyone but Harlan this would probably be exaggerated. But it's not.
James and I then wandered back over to the Exhibitors Hall, where I made my yearly McFarland Books purchase, Crump's The Christmas Encyclopedia. McFarland is a small press and their books are wonderful, but very pricy. I just missed the chance to grab their Halloween Encyclopedia and may go back and order it tomorrow at convention sale prices. They had a radio book I was interested in, too...oh, dear...
We took another stroll around the Dealer's Room, which is still hellishly hot. James got a pic of Kathy Garver and we said hello to Dee Wallace Stone and commented about her seating near June Lockhart (which I mentioned in a previous entry).
Tired, we attended a time travel panel, which was okay, and then the "Whither B5" panel in which we got very small news about the possible theatrical movie, The Memory of Shadows, which might be more about the Technomages and might continue the Crusade series. Oh, and that Crusade was being released on DVD on December 7.
We then had some time to kill before the ARTC presentation of Heinlein's "The Menace from Earth," so we walked back into Peachtree Center where a few restaurants were still open and each had a sugar-free Dilly Bar at Dairy Queen. These were quite good. I've been ingesting pita sandwiches, granola bars and fruit juice all weekend and wanted something a bit decadent!
Then we sat in on the "Celebrity What's My Line? panel in the main ballroom. This was sparsely attended and they only did two "lines," including the mystery guest, which turned out to be children's host/game show player Soupy Sales. Sales is appearing at the convention, even though it is pretty obvious he suffered a stroke at some point. It's a bit sad to see this gregarious smiling guy confined to a wheelchair with limited movement and a whisper of a voice, but he seemed to be enjoying himself. The other two celebrity guests were Kathy Garver and Beverly Washburn (you'll remember the latter from Old Yeller) and it turned into a Q&A with the three of them.
We had hoped to see a little of Dean Haglund's improv routine at 8:30, but the panel started late and we just wandered into the big ballroom where ARTC was setting up and sat down in relief. (Haglund was actually "waiting in the wings" at the back of our room and didn't go on until almost nine.) They had a wonderful crowd despite this being the night of the masquerade (held at the Civic Center for the second year in a row).
There were two presentations, another installment of Ron Butler's homage to 40s and 50s kids' space serials, "Rory Rammer, Space Marshal," which had Rory's youthful sidekick Skip Sagan being turned into a zombie puppet for a mad scientist, and "The Menace from Earth." This is my favorite Heinlein short story, about a teenage moon native who discovers her feelings for her slightly older future "partner" in spaceship design has a bit more meaning than just that of a working relationship when he is attracted by a fetching visitor, a blonde "groundhog" from Earth. Sarah Taylor, just the age to play the fifteen-year-old heroine Holly, made her lead debut (I believe) in the story, and got an overwhelming roar of approval from the crowd when the story was over and the cast was introduced.
Al Leonard and Brad Weege also received the Thomas E. Fuller Lifetime Achievement Award for their musicial contributions to ARTC.
At this point it was 11 p.m., and, as fun as the cabaret probably would have been, we had to head home to the "terror" who was probably crossing her legs at that point.
» Saturday, September 04, 2004Dragon*Con: Day 2
We got in early this morning to see the 10 a.m. panel on weapons and weapons' handling conducted by Peter Woodward. This was fun as well as informative; Woodward talked about the progression from sticks to swords and armor.
Having nothing to do for the next interval, I knew we could get an hour's good entertainment out of Dean Haglund. Some of the chat was repeated from yesterday's panel, but he also told us about his invention, Chill Pak, which keeps laptops cool, extending their life and improving their performance (this segued into a very funny conversation about two men who have lawsuits against laptop companies after getting their "willie" burnt by a hot unit).
James went to another panel, but I stayed in the room to see Peter Davison. It was actually supposed to be some bits about the new Doctor Who as well, but not much is known about the new production. Davison talked about working against a blue screen, doing period drama, and appearing in audio drama and The Hitch-Hiker's Guide as "the dish of the day."
The panel following was the one I had been waiting for, the Lost in Space "gathering" with June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, and Marta Kristen. This was a hilarious panel, with the three talking about pranks that happened on the set, the incongruity of working with talking vegetables, and Irwin Allen's reluctance to have his married characters touch each other (he said the children wouldn't like seeing parents being affectionate!). June Lockhart also told an amazing story: during her scenes in LIS where she was doing something scientific, the prop department gave her a clipboard. To her surprise, she discovered that her clipboard was on the one her father Gene Lockhart had used in his role in the movie Carousel.
James and I did a turn around the art show next, and then went into the Dealer's Room. James got some candid pics of the actors on the Walk of Fame, including one of me with June Lockhart. He also bought me an autographed pic of Lockhart with Lassie.
He kept wandering about and I went to one of the young adult panels about the transference of stories from book to screen--and how sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
We started to stay to see a panel on mystery books, but were tired and knew tomorrow was going to be a long day, so we picked up a quick supper and came home to listen to Pidge sing and scold and have Willow cuddle.
» Friday, September 03, 2004Dragon*Con: Day 1
So we were off to D*Con after a bank errand and breakfast, and went through an astonishingly short registration line (even if they did "lose" us in their computer system for a few minutes).
Our first panel was the British programming track welcome panel, which included Peter Davison from Doctor Who. He was late getting in but we had an enjoyable time nevertheless. Davison doesn't look much different from when he did the series, albeit more mature and his voice seems to have a new huskiness.
Next James went to a different panel, but I attended Dean Haglund's panel in the other hotel. Haglund, who played "Ringo" Langly, one of the "Lone Gunmen" in The X-Files and then in The Lone Gunmen, was quite funny, a bundle of energy. He revealed that The Lone Gunmen series will be coming out on DVD and he and the rest of the cast will be filming/recording extras for the set next month. There are tentative plans to also place three stand-alone Lone Gunmen X-Files episodes with the set.
Following James and I took a turn around the Dealer's Room and the Exhibitor's Room. I did buy Haglund's cute little comic of "behind the scenes" at The X-Files (autographed), and got James a birthday present: a reproduction poster from the film The Battle of Britain (the other half of his gift, the British version of Battle of Britain, had arrived when we got home; that's what I call service from Amazon.co.uk!). We also wandered around "The Walk of Stars," where the actors signing autographs gather between panels. It is always hot in the area--it has been for years; we can't understand why the Hyatt doesn't fix this problem, since Dragon*Con isn't the only organization who uses that exhibit floor!--and they relieved the situation a bit with some huge fans this year. Of course now it's louder than ever. We saw Kathy Garver, who looks as perky as she did back on Family Affair, just older. And Mark Goddard, my "crush" from Lost in Space, back when I was ten, looks remarkably fit and well for 68.
I didn't get to see June Lockhart today; she wasn't in her seat when we went by. I did notice with amusement that this wonderful lady who played "Mom" in Lassie is sitting back to back with Dee Wallace Stone who played "Mom" in The New Lassie!
Again we split up; James went to one panel and I went to "The Future of Star Trek" panel. Folks seemed encouraged by the improvements that are supposed to show up on Enterprise next year; new producers are supposed to make it more like a real precursor to the original series. James and I quit watching Enterprise during second season, but it might be worth taking a peek at it in the fall.
Finally it was time for opening ceremonies, which were this year orchestrated by the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company and opened with a funny sketch about what happens at conventions when you don't keep moving when you reach the bottom of the escalator. (This sounds ridiculous until you've navigated the traffic at Dragon*Con, which rivals that of Atlanta for sheer "jam." People who bobble at the bottom of the escalators which lead to the different floors, especially the main programming floor, can cause "traffic jams" that remind one of the freeway at rush hour.)
ARTC also did their opening production, an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's Shadow Over Innesmouth, a spooky tale of a young man who takes an interest in the odd occupants of a sinister New England town. The production was excellent and was highlighted by a performance by Harlan Ellison, who played an elderly occupant of the town who has witnessed its terrible downfall.
» Thursday, September 02, 2004Sandwiches and Mattresses
We've spent the evening getting ready for DragonCon. We bring our lunch and supper (pita sandwiches) and other goodies (granola bars and a small bag of chips and some juice boxes) along with us, partially because of James' diabetes and partially so we can spend the most time at the convention we can; since we only go to one a year we try to make the most of it. I have a list of the panels I'm interested in on my PDA, and I've been charging batteries all night. We'll each have a camera, a PDA, a cell phone for emergencies, and two-way radios.
We're hoping for a good night's sleep on our new mattress and box spring, which was delivered promptly at 6:30 as they had said they would. Both the spring and mattress are considerably thicker than the old set and we now have to climb up into bed! In fact, when James sits at the end of the bed now, his feet don't touch the floor!
::Three Ring Circus::
Onesome: Three- What do you think the T3 should be next week? Just toss three words together; we'll do the rest! *g*
"Waiting for fall," maybe? (look at that calendar! it's now less that three weeks away). "Autumn leaves coming"?
Yeah, I know. I'm obsessed.
Twosome: Ring- Are you a jewellery person? Is there any one item you wear every single day? Do you have any piercings? Where are they and did they hurt?
I've considered on and off for years having my ears pierced, mostly the once a year when I see a nice small pair of earrings I like. But I've never had the guts to do it. I'm not into rings. I have my wedding ring and then my engagement ring which doesn't fit anymore and my little silver ring that is sadly tarnished and finally my high school ring, which is put away.
Threesome: Circus- Do you like the circus? What's your favorite act? Or is your life enough of a circus for you?
I like the circus when I've gone, but not enough to pay to go every year. I like the animal acts.
» Wednesday, September 01, 2004For Fellow History Buffs
National Geographic's Lewis and Clark site.
The journals of Lewis and Clark (footnoted and annotated for your reading pleasure).
The Smithsonian's "Vote: the Machinery of Democracy."
It's That Time of the Year Again
This weekend: Dragon*Con
Next weekend: Yellow Daisy Festival
Plus the "Blue Ribbon Affair" crafts show at Jim Miller Park the weekend following, a dog show the next to the last weekend of October, the library book sale on Halloween weekend, and the bird show the first weekend of November.
Darn, I don't see a Mistletoe Market this year.