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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» Thursday, August 31, 2006
Upcoming Events
This weekend: Dragoncon.

Next weekend: Yellow Daisy Festival.

In two weeks: A Blue Ribbon Affair.

If there's a cool day, we should go to the North Georgia State Fair this year.


September Prelude
Nature is demonstrating in subtle ways that the "big show" is over and it's time to coast to a conclusion.

The trees won't change color here until the beginning of November, yet the big lush oaks, maples and other trees that I park under each day are casting the occasional yellow leaf or two down upon the asphalt. The relentless buzzing of the cicadas grows louder as the summer ends. The oaks themselves are already dropping acorns in preparation for the fall and the squirrels scamper about gathering them for the coming winter. There are still some steamy mornings when even at 6 a.m. there is no comfortable air, but more often the dawn is soft and cool, with fog rising over the Chattahoochee River and drifting among the trees that surround it.

Today, in fact, it's an amazing 77°F here just after noon because it appears we have been caught by the very outer edge of TS Ernesto's storm bands. After 99 degrees, 77 is nice, if not great.

There's still heat left at least until late September, more likely October, but summer's steel grasp has loosened slightly.


The Back Porch
Thursday Threesome

::Fluffy Bunny Rabbits::

Onesome: Fluffy-- is as fluffy does! It's almost lemon meringue season at that pie shop. Do you do fluffy pies? ...or is it fruit all the way for you? (Okay, Southerners: go ahead and expound on rhubarb...)

Er? Fluffy pies? I've had fluffy chocolate cream pies. [drool] For pies a no-sugar-added apple pie is my favorite (except for the one we got at Shaw's—or was it Stop & Shop?—in November 2004; yeeeeech). Sam's used to have a terrific no-sugar-added apple pie but I haven't seen one in a while. I like squash pies (like pumpkin, but made with butternut squash so the flavor is a bit milder) but no one seems to make them any more, even in Rhode Island. :-(

But those aren't fluffy.

Twosome: Bunny-- slippers? Yes? No? Barefoot? Shoes? What do you schlep around the house in when it's cold outside?

I have "fuzzy slippers," sort of a fake suede on the inside and imitation sheepskin on the inside. (Can't have real sheepskin; I'm allergic to wool.) I have a pink and a blue pair and alternate them so they won't wear out so fast.

Threesome: Rabbits-- Have you ever had little furry pets? What varieties? Are there any in your future?

Furry pets as in bunnies? No, never had a rabbit. Mom wouldn't let me have a guinea pig or a hamster; she said they looked too much like rats and mice, which she was terrified of. (When she was a little girl and lived in tenement houses, she saw a baby who had been bitten by a rat. After that you couldn't get her near a rodent. She would have nightmares about them.)

Mom used to tell a funny story that wasn't funny to her at the time. After she and my dad got married, they lived with her parents while they saved up a down payment so they could "go housekeeping." One night my mom got up to use the bathroom and in the dimly-lighted hall spotted a mouse. She froze in the hallway calling "Ma! Ma! Ma!" until my grandfather, not her mother, heard her and came out to see what was wrong. Mom said she pointed at the corner the mouse had disappeared into and stammered "Mou-! Mou-! Mou-!" (she was so terrified she couldn't even say the entire word). Luckily Grandpa understood and went after the mouse and told her to go back to bed.

Next morning my dad asked, "Why didn't you call me?" My mom didn't know. I guess sometimes no matter what you always have to call for your mother!


» Wednesday, August 30, 2006
What Does Your Cell Phone Know About You?
Be careful where they end up...

Seller Beware: Cell Phones' Secrets Can Betray Former Users


Steamboat on the Mississippi Charles
This sounds like a cool tour:

History on the Harbor in Boston

The Duck tour of Boston also takes you into the harbor, but many of the points mentioned on this tour are not touched on in the Duck tour. But it's a heck of a lot of fun.

Surprising that many people don't know Revere was caught before he finished his famous ride. (Longfellow's poem gave Revere great press.) Of course the gentleman mentioned was from England, but many Americans still don't know this fact. Several men rode out that night, but the only one who completed his warning ride was William Dawes.

Revere did accomplish what he needed to: he was able to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams to get out of Lexington, and saw to the removal of a trunk that had valuable information about colonial militia and stores before the British could capture it.


Whoohooh! What a Birthday Gift!
St. Elsewhere - Some Good News About Season 1

A tip of the hat to Jaime.


» Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Tuesday Twosome

Goodbye summer... (and move faster, dammit—don't let the door hit you on the butt on the way out)

1. Did you go on vacation? If so, where? If not, where do you wish you had gone?

Nope. Refuse to go on vacation any longer in the summer. If I'd been forced to "vacate" I would have stayed holed up in the air conditioning since I can't afford to go anywhere really cool. (The Bering Strait looked nice...)

2. How many times did you swim in a pool? How many times did you go to a beach or lake?

Nada. Love the seashore, hate going to the beach. Too much sun, too much sand (especially encrusted on your body after swimming), too many people with noisy radios.

3. What are the two best things about summer? Explain:

[crickets chirp]

4. What are the two worst things about summer? Explain:

Only two? All twelve (fourteen, sixteen, whatever) miserable weeks of it. Sun. Heat. The two biggies. Humidity. Air you can see. Ants. Mosquitoes. Wasps.

Not to mention end-of-fiscal-year.

Summer sucks, summer sucks, summer sucks...

5. Recall the two best memories you are going to remember about this past summer (2006):

The nice man who cuts our lawn for us. Our Independence Day party.

But more than those, Pidgie being okay after he broke his blood feather.


Oh, Will You Look at the...Phone
Cell Phones Taking Over as Timepieces

Must admit I am one of these people; when the watch my dad bought me for Christmas in 1985 finally gave up the ghost, I was going to replace it, but it was an economic thing: I don't want a Rolex, but I would want a nice dial watch with a second hand (a "click" second hand rather than a sweep, with the second marks on the dial; none of those tiny "ladies' watches"). But why would I need one if my cell phone with the time on it is always on my hip? Bit of a redundancy, isn't it?

James' watchband got caught in a door the other day and bent the pins that hold it to the watch, so he purchased another watchband at WalMart just for the pins and has his watch back. He said he felt "naked" without it. I did, too, but the feeling has passed. :-)


» Monday, August 28, 2006
Monday Madness

1. Do you do dishes by hand or do you use a dishwasher?

If there are only a couple I will wash them by hand but 99 percent of the time we use the dishwasher. It's not as good at the one we had at the old house, but it'll do.

2. How many people have your cell phone number?

[sigh] One less than last year.

Seriously, I don't know. Maybe a dozen?

3. Do you shower in the morning or at night?

At night. I'd rather sleep later in the morning. For a long time after my thyroid removal, though, I took a shower in the morning because my neck was so stiff from the tendons being scraped. It still hurts all the time but I'm used to it now.

4. Do you ever have a song 'stuck' in your head?

Oh, gawd, yes. James calls 'em "earworms."

5. Do you pay your bills when they arrive, or do you wait until closer to the due date to pay them?

When I get them. The only time I didn't do this was last year when I exhausted almost all my savings because I didn't get paid for three months when I stayed home to nurse my mom. To keep from having a service charge on my checking account, I paid the bills right before they were do to keep a minimum balance in the account.

6. Are you obsessive about anything in particular?

Er, my website? And I straighten pictures. :-)

7. What one thing would you say you have a zero tolerance for?

Child molesters.


» Sunday, August 27, 2006
Seeing Things
But that's good.

I've done the other expensive thing for the month—the first being the purchase of the two new front tires—and have had my eye exam and ordered new glasses. I had a Sears coupon but it never turns out that cheap because my prescription is such that if I ordered the $99 glasses they would be thick and heavy. My nose is already having trouble with the weight of my glasses; it's an old relic from when I broke my nose back in 1980 by falling face-first on the concrete floor at work. These will be premium ultralight lenses, again with the progressive bifocals. I am, with misgivings, also having the anti-glare coating put on the lenses and am hoping it has improved. I had the anti-glare coating many years ago and it was terrific as far as glare was concerned, but the coating made the glasses extremely sensitive to scratches. I dutifully cut up one of James' old t-shirts and kept a square with me and only washed my glasses with water or Windex, but they began to scratch after a month.

The trip was also pricey because I've been having trouble with my eyes due to the fluorescent lights at work, so have decided to get sunglasses for the ride home and for driving in the sun in general. I have no idea how it happens, but no matter which route I take driving home or to work, the sun is always in my eyes.

I asked if the sunglass lenses could be put into my old frames, but it would have been $100 more to do so, and these were frames I bought at Sears. So I will just put the present ones away for spares. I remember the trouble I had a few years back when my glass frames broke and it took me a week to get new ones.

My right eye is still the weak eye, which I can definitely tell at night after working all day; it aches and itches.

Oh, well, that's nearly $500 more dollars toward book points at Borders... [sigh]


» Saturday, August 26, 2006
"And What to My Wondering Eyes Should Appear..."
Cleaning out the Christmas closet in Holiday Harbour.


» Friday, August 25, 2006
Lights Leaves at the End of the Tunnel
So I walked into the Barrett Parkway Barnes & Noble this morning through the Starbucks door and casually glanced in the display case.

O frabjous day! Pumpkin bread is back! I bought two slices for dessert.

On the way to B&N I passed the dogwood tree on Sandtown Road which is always one of the first trees to start changing color and it has about a dozen leaves already shading to red. Hurray! So there is a light at the end of the long muggy fetid tunnel that is summer.

Other goodies: Hugh Laurie is on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. (Well, of course I bought it.) I also got the House season 2 set. Trust me: check out the "Valley Girl Version" scenes. There hasn't been a sitcom on this season as funny.

Also found an anniversary or Christmas gift for James. Already have his birthday gift, an autographed copy of John Ringo's new book. When we went into the Hamilton Place Mall last weekend, Ringo and the book's co-author Travis Taylor were sitting outside Waldenbooks having an autograph session.

Gas was 2.629 at Costco. Yay.


Friday Five

1. What book or books were special to you in your childhood?

All of them? Hon, that would take a another book! :-)

2. What was particularly special or memorable about those books?

I loved animals, especially dogs, and most of my favorite books as a child were about animals. A few of my first books were Lady, a Whitman Tell-a-Tale taken from Lady and the Tramp, another Tell-a-Tale, Lassie's Brave Adventure, and the Little Golden Books version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I had all the Lassie Whitman books, the Albert G. Miller Fury books, Wild Animals I Have Known, More Than Courage (stories about real dogs and horses), Black Beauty, Beautiful Joe, The Call of the Wild, etc. Some of my favorite school library books were about animals: Anne H. White's The Story of Serapina, Junket: The Dog Who Liked Everything Just So, and A Dog Called Scholar, the Frances Frost Windy Foot books about a boy and his Shetland pony living in Vermont, Clarence the TV Dog, etc.

I also had many of the classic children's books like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and the Louisa May Alcott books. I loved Rebecca because she was so smart and creative, even under the pressure of her practical aunt, and my favorite Alcott was Eight Cousins, with shy Rose learning to live a more enjoyable life with help from her guardian uncle and her seven boy cousins. I liked stories about kids who did stuff, whether it be solving mysteries or just doing neat stuff around their own house. I liked the older books like the original Bobbsey Twin books, back when they had a horse and carriage instead of a car, because it was fascinating reading about how people in those days lived. Cleaning out the town well? Having a magic lantern show? Building an ice boat? Putting together an Independence Day parade? Watching people be rescued off a sailing ship during a storm? Wow, too cool.

3. Have you re-read any of them as an adult?

Read 'em? I still own 'em, including the library books I loved. and Amazon Marketplace is a wonderful thing. I even found a Windy Foot book (Fireworks for Windy Foot) and an Anne White book (The Uninvited Donkey) that I didn't know existed.

4. If so, were the books as good as you remembered them?

Yes, and in some cases even better than I remembered because I knew the historical background behind many of the stories. The Singing Tree and The Chestry Oak are all the more meaningful because I've learned more about the World Wars. A lot of the books are great to read because the children back then had such freedom, not like the regimented daycare/school/adult supervised activities the kids have to do today.

5. What do you think about movies being made out of children's classics (like the Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of The Rings, etc.)?

Um, I wouldn't classify LotR as a children's classic, although I know a lot of people read them in junior high! But I think it's fine as long as they stick as closely as they can to the story. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe changed a few things, but stayed pretty faithful to the book, for instance. The new version of Lassie Come Home, Lassie, is quite good, but I wish the producer had not changed so many things. The movie has the spirit of the original, but why not keep closer to the text (and the time period) the way the original did? There is an upcoming "remake" of My Friend Flicka that isn't a remake at all—about the only resemblance to the Mary O'Hara book is that there's a wild horse named Flicka who gets tamed. The main character is a girl instead of a boy and the entire story is changed. Why not just name the horse something else, since it's pretty much an original story. Although there were things about the 1943 version of My Friend Flicka that veered from the book and that I hated, like that obnoxious little girl Hildy, at least it stuck pretty close to the story!


» Thursday, August 24, 2006
Confessions of an XM Convert
It started with the traffic report.

Traffic in Atlanta is sometimes enough to separate you from your sanity. When I told someone we were driving to Chattanooga last weekend, the person asked "Isn't that an awfully long ride?" (It's about 90 minutes.) Er, no, especially when you consider that it's taken me that long to get the 28 miles home many a night, especially on the days before a holiday; the traffic jams right before Thanksgiving are enough to make one weep in frustration. I was tired of the local traffic reports, since I had to listen to what seemed like hours of DJ's babbling between reports. The least annoying was Kim Peterson, which I found really sad because "the Kimmer" can be a complete maniac. Then when they did get to the report, half the time the DJ was bullshitting (excuse me) with the helicopter pilot. Shut up and tell me why traffic's stopped dead on 285 Westbound, willya? I started saying I would give $10 per month for a dedicated traffic report station.

When XM first started and had their promotional cards up at Media Play, I didn't give them a second glance because all they were pushing was their music, and most of it was rock and rap which I didn't care a ding about. Sirius piqued my interest when they premiered because they had an Old-Time Radio channel, but I still hated the thought of the expense of buying (and installing, back then) the equipment and then the monthly charge.

Then several things happened: both XM and Sirius came out with portable units that could be plugged into your existing radio and I noticed both of them had traffic reports and XM also got itself an Old-Time Radio channel. Then, when we were cleaning out Mom's house last year, we went to BJ's and found a big Sirius pack, both the home kit and the car kit, for a good price, and in addition a $30 rebate. Remembering our drive up switching from NPR station to NPR station in a depressing search for something decent to listen to, we both grabbed one and had the service started on both and one of them installed on my car for the drive home.

It was okay for me, for a while. I had my traffic report, which was Atlanta and Boston sharing a channel (leaving me to roll my eyes when they reported the Tobin Bridge/Callahan Tunnel/Ted Williams Tunnel were backed up again; when aren't they?), later changed to Atlanta and Miami. I used to listen to Jerry Doyle's talk show on the way home. Occasionally I would listen to OTR.

But little things started to irritate me, starting with the traffic channel I'd wished for. They always promoted that the reports were every four minutes. However, the reports weren't new every four minutes; they would repeat a report at least three times before going to a new report, which meant you were driving directly toward a stoppage frequently. Also, the reports were often hideously inaccurate. The last one I recall was driving home in February and encountering a traffic stoppage. Dutifully I was listening to my traffic report and only after twenty minutes and I was coming abreast of the accident (it was a small panel truck on its roof) did they actually report it. Well, they sort of reported it. The vehicle was on I-285 Westbound in the breakdown lane. They said it was on I-285 Eastbound in the left lane. Big difference, guys.

The nadir of the sloppy traffic reporting was actually about a month after we'd gotten the radios. We were heading home the Saturday evening of DragonCon, having made arrangements to meet Clay and Ann Weaver at our house and then go out to dinner. Traffic stopped dead on I-75 North just outside the perimeter. I mean stopped, with people getting out of their cars after a while. We put the Sirius traffic report on and for an entire hour the traffic guy blatted about how the traffic was running smoothly on I-75 north and south while we stood there and watched a helicopter land on the freeway to medevac someone out to Grady Hospital. We kept listening even after we'd left the site. Not a word did they say. Um, guys...

Near the end of the year Sirius added some new channels, but did so by getting rid of other channels. They added a New Age channel, which I had hoped for, but killed the 1940s Swing channel and combined it with the Standards channel, which I adored—it played all the music I had heard growing up: Sinatra, Dean Martin, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day. I liked the 40s channel, too, but sometimes I wanted to just listen to 40s music and sometimes to just the standards. Evidently someone thought this "old music" was all alike. No, Standards and Swing are two completely different animals with a little bit of overlapping. (Sadly, the New Age channel was depressing. I was expecting Windham Hill and Narada, maybe some George Winston, David Arkenstone, material like that. Every time I turned it on it sounded as if they were playing funeral music.) They also had two conservative channels and two liberal channels, one of which was Air America. They dropped Air America and therefore dropped one of their conservative channels, combining the most listened to programs on both channels into one channel. Bye-bye Jerry Doyle. I didn't like any of the conservative commentators (or the liberal ones, for that matter), but I liked Jerry because he was not conservative, but more libertarian; he complained about Left and Right alike and most of the time he was more matter of fact than ranting.

The nadir was this year's Christmas music. In 2004, when Dish Network added Sirius music channels to their lineup, Sirius converted one of their channels (I recall it being what they consider the Easy Listening channel) to Christmas music. I quite enjoyed it and looked forward to last Christmas. Ugh. This time it was StarLight or StarTime or whatever they converted and their playlist was severely limited. From my blog last December: "...when you have a continuous music station and you are hearing the same songs repeated at 2:30 p.m. that you heard earlier at 10 a.m., your playlist ain't anywhere near big enough. I have heard Springsteen's "Merry Christmas" (or whatever), that annoyingly-repetitive-after-one-hearing "Wonderful Christmas," the John Lennon song, Eartha Kitt's and Madonna's "Santa Baby," Josh whasisname's "Believe" ["Believe" was on so many times that I'm convinced Sirius was receiving kickbacks to play the song to promote the release of Polar Express], Gene Autry doing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Here Comes Santa Claus," and a bunch of others so many times that I can look at what's playing (while listening to a large variety of different music on the two local radio channels) and say "Oh, it's the Ronettes singing "Frosty" again." There are other cuts from the albums these songs are on...the Gene Autry album I bought for James has 12 songs on it; why don't they play the other ten? Barry Manilow did a whole Christmas album; why do they only play one of his songs? Bing Crosby did a lot more Christmas songs than "White Christmas" and "Do You Hear What I Hear?" And there's a whole TransSiberian CD—heck, there are two—besides "Christmas Eve Sarajevo."

The absolutely stupid part is that between CDs, records, tapes, and MP3s, I probably have at least four days of Christmas music before anything would repeat. And I don't have any of the recent popular albums like Amy Grant, Barenaked Ladies, NSync, Charlotte Church, etc.—heck, I don't even have a Dean Martin or any Frank Sinatra or Doris Day and only one Johnny Mathis and not all of Bing Crosby and Perry Como. If I bought all I wanted, I could probably have seven days worth of music that would never repeat. And Sirius can't spring for more than seven hours worth of music? Sheesh."

This spring XM had an offer on their website that you could try out some of their music channels for three days for free. So since I was sitting at work with nothing better to listen to I signed up. I loved what I heard.

A week or so later Brandsmart had XM's "Roady XT" unit on sale for $38.00 with a $30 rebate. Let's see, music I love and a radio for $8. Yes, God, I'm listening...


Thursday Threesome

::Name that Tune::

Onesome: Name-- Ah, what about names? How did your blog name come to be? Is there a story there?

Er, there is, but it's not very exciting. I've been keeping a diary/journal since I was eleven years old and someone gave me a diary for Christmas. (I find most of my old diaries have me complaining about school and noting what I watched on television or in the movies, but I figure that's about normal. <g>) So the blog was simply "Yet Another Journal."

Twosome: that-- and this. We've all thought about a change of locations from time to time: is there any place you'd like to try living for a while? (You can go back home when you're done with the tryout <g>.)

How about someplace in Alaska? That sounds cool (and I've always wanted to see Alaska).

Threesome: Tune-- us into what you're listening to lately. ...anything on your radar we should be aware of?

Actually, what I'm listening to is my XM radio and I love it; I'm glad I switched from Sirius. My favorite channel is "Escape," which seems to have traded the playlist with the "Sunny" channel I was enamoured of originally. "Sunny" originally played the "beautiful music" and "Escape" had "easy listening" stuff with which I was only marginally interested (Enya, Peabo Bryson, Celine Dion, that sort of thing). Then "Sunny" became a commercial channel and now "Escape" plays the beautiful music. It's not all instrumental—we get Tony Bennett, John Denver, Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow and occasionally Chet Atkins as well. The announcer even sounds a little like the announcer on the "beautiful music" channel when I was young, WLKW in Providence. And of course there's the OTR station. I've come to look forward to Dragnet and Gunsmoke, which is usually more about the choices one has to make in life than gunplay. The radio "Doc" sure is a lot different from Milburn Stone's kindly medico on the television version: this one seems steeped in the wine of the grape and the barleycorn, if y'know what I mean. :-)


» Tuesday, August 22, 2006
The Patter of Little Feet--Same Old Story
I usually leave out the front door rather than through the garage—just because, to see the weather, get a bit of fresh air. Hmn. What was that on the doorframe outside? Ant. Goodbye, ant.

More rain, but dry when I get home. Walk the dog. Hmn. Ant on doorframe outside. Goodbye, ant.

There are some smudges on the paint that are driving me crazy, so I am busily wiping them down and have reached the foyer as James comes in. Hmn. What's that on the doorframe inside?

Okay, you don't have to beat me over the head. I got into grubbies and went for the Ortho. Sure enough, ants marching around the bottom of the front steps and straggling up the bricks to the door. So ended up spraying all the cracks and crevices of the porch, the steps, and the edges of all the sidewalks out to the mailbox. They can live out near the mailbox. Not in my house.

I didn't spray inside for present, just killed the other three ants I found sauntering in. Maybe I need to go back to the health food store and get some more peppermint oil, which would be better for the woodwork and smell nice as well.

Wretched things. Must be all the rain—and I can't say I don't blame them for wanting to get away from the present deluges.

About the time September rolls around in New England, we start having what they call "line storms" to indicate the changing of the season. It almost seems like we're seeing a version of them here.

Sure wish it wasn't going to rain again. I hope the stuff at least gets to dry.


Tuesday Twosome

The number 2...

1. Where were you 2 hours ago and what were you doing?

I was still on my way to work. I was starting on a migraine when I woke up and took a couple of Tylenol and lay back down for 15 minutes. It has to be dark and quiet or it doesn't work.

2. Who was your 2nd boyfriend/girlfriend and how old were you?

Er. Never had a second one. James was my first.

3. Who are your 2 closest friends and explain why you chose them?

Well, James...for obvious reasons. And the other was my mom, but I've lost her.

4. What 2 accomplishments are you most proud of and why?

Writing skills and web skills. I like to write; it's as natural as breathing. I like constructing narratives that are [hopefully] interesting (sadly, all are not). Web design is just darn fun, well, until you have to construct all your creations; then it's work. But it's still enjoyable because it's a challenge.

5. What were the last 2 television shows you watched and did you enjoy it?

Er, the last show I watched was Animal Heroes: Phoenix, Arizona. Yes, I enjoyed it, but it was also sad due to the abused animals. Does a movie count as a "show"? Before AH, I watched The Bishop's Wife on TCM.


» Monday, August 21, 2006
Georgia Monsoon Season
Whoa! You ought to see it rain outside—it looks like an audition for a hurricane. James just went out to bring the two little flags in before they blow away. We had thunder and hard rain just about the time he came home (7 p.m.) from work, but it's even wilder now, with constant thunder like artillery, lightning, wind whipping and water flowing down the street like a branch of some river. Willow's been clinging to our legs all night long since the sky is growling at her again...


Snow Among the Thunderclouds
Virtual snow anyway, in Holiday Harbour.


» Sunday, August 20, 2006
Project Finished
More pics in Autumn Hollow.


Adventures in World War II
Looks like the next "American Girl" movie will be about Molly, the girl growing up during World War II. Not much news yet at American Girl Movie Headquarters, but supposedly news is forthcoming.


» Saturday, August 19, 2006
Getting Together
Oh, the folks next door (the ones with the Weimaraner) are arranging a neighborhood get-together in September. Sounds like it might be fun.


Points North
I'd told James some months ago that I would like to go up to Chattanooga one day in August to go to A.C. Moore, the craft store that we so enjoyed when visiting my mom's house. The closest one in this area is in Chattanooga. They carry quite a few things that are not the same as items from Michael's, JoAnn, or Hobby Lobby.

Before we left, James did a search on hobby shops and we had a couple tagged as we drove into town after listening to old-time radio shows on the way up.

We stopped at the first shop before going to Moore, this a tidy little place off a main street of grocery stores, drugstores, and other businesses; it seemed rather forlorn compared to AAA Hobbies where we go every week, with just the proprietor in the store. AAA is always filled with guys (occasionally gals and at least one dog, Rocky the Boston terrier) and this was a bit lonely.

Next we went to Moore's. I behaved myself but did pick up many things, which included a couple of sweatshirts in colors I had never seen in a sweatshirt in a hobby store (pale blue and turquoise) and a couple of things for Christmas presents, plus a discount stir-fry cookbook. Everything else was autumn-related, and (don't anyone faint who knows me) I actually bought some Hallowe'en decorations! Hallowe'en has never been my favorite holiday, but Moore actually had some things that were Hallowe'en-y without being too gruesome or too cutesy. I purchased a green witch with a green gauze costume supported with wire; metal cylinders dangle from the witch's "shoulders" to clatter when you open whatever she's hung on. I also got a ghost and a jack o'lantern in wood.

One thing I was delighted to see was a big jar of pheasant tail feathers for only $2. Hobby Lobby sells these things for $8 and they are always ratty from being handled. I wanted a couple for the ginger jar filled with cattails and Chinese lanterns that sits on the hearth.

We went next door to Books a Million and ended up spending more time in there than I'd planned: it was a big one! Didn't buy any books but was thoroughly delighted to find the new issue of Country (the August issue, but with absolutely gorgeous fall photos, including a center spread of a valley in Canada), and the October issue of Blue Ridge Country, with a photo spread of fall finery.

We also stopped at the Hamilton Place Mall to check out a games store. James checked out their supply of old Strategy & Tactics magazines and found a World War I-oriented card game. I investigated one row of games and found an old favorite, Po-ke-no, which we always played at my grandpa's house on Christmas Eve and other holidays. I may never get to play it, but it brings back such sweet memories that it makes me feel safe and happy.

We checked out one more store that sounded promising, but it was mostly a comics and fantasy gaming store; nothing we were really interested in. This place had a dedicated crowd and we couldn't help feeling sorry for the other, deserted hobby store.

On the way back we checked out a couple of stores at the Calhoun outlet mall center, but it was pretty underwhelming.

All in all it was a nice day.

OH! I forgot to mention the most important thing. On the trip up I finished the cross-stitch I began as "a leap of faith" when we decided to buy the house. It's a sampler-type piece with lettering on the left and bottom and a garland of grapes, autumn leaves, acorns, and other fruit at the top and right, with "We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing" in the center. It's just finished soaking in the sink. Next it must be ironed, then ironed to fusable backing, and finally framed to go into the dining room.


» Friday, August 18, 2006
Scary Enough?
3 Shot in Marietta Home Invasion

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 08/15/06

Three people were shot early Tuesday during a home invasion in a Marietta neighborhood, police said.

Marietta police spokesman Casey Camp said an unknown number of suspects forced their way through the front door of the house on Spring Hollow Drive off Bellemeade Road around 1:30 a.m.

"After making entry into the home, the suspects fired numerous shots toward the individuals inside the residence," Camp said.

Three of the five people inside the house were struck and taken to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Camp said. Their identities were not immediately available.

Camp said detectives were interviewing the other two people, trying to determine a motive for the shooting.
This is one street down from were we used to live.

Darn right it's scary.


As I Wandered 'Round the Internet...
An interesting fan site for My Favorite Martian.


Friday Five

1. Do you really make wishes when you blow out the candles on your cake?

Well, yes, but these days I usually just wish that we all stay healthy and safe.

2. Have any of the wishes ever come true, if yes?

I think it did the year I got my tricycle. :-)

3. How do you feel about birthdays? (e.g., love the attention, just another day, don't want anyone to know my real age, etc.)

Usually it's "just another day" because it falls during the week. It's impossible to "feel special" at work. What's this real age business all about anyway? You are what you are, whether you're 20 or 50. Can't get away with it. All the lying, face cream and workout sessions aren't going to change it, although the latter will at least keep you in shape.

4. Tell us a favorite gift you've received, or something you'd really like for your next birthday.

Well, my tricycle. :-) Her name was Joyce. :-) One of my best presents was the money James gave me to get more webspace at Simplenet, which got eaten by Yahoo, which I have now escaped from.

What I'd really like but which are too expensive for most anyone to buy are the Taaschen "All-American Advertising" books, which have the "swellest" graphics in them. James said he might manage one if there was a good coupon. I don't want all of them, just the 1900-1910 volume, the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

5. What flavor cake?

Chocolate forever! (And not German chocolate; it's not chocolaty enough and I only like coconut fresh or in a Mounds bar. A nice double chocolate fudge cake. It doesn't need frosting; powdered sugar on the top will do. Frosting's too sweet, even the chocolate kind.


Thursday Threesome (late because I was busy doing something else yesterday)

::Free Amazon Prime::

Onesome: Free-- isn't always free! What "freebie" have you discovered over the years that really isn't?

:-) "Free" gifts usually come with a price (besides being redundant).

There was a brief time that there was such thing as a free lunch. Many, many years ago when my office was still in Buckhead, the clubbing area of Atlanta, a fancy new place called J. Paul's opened. Unfortunately for them, they had stocked the restaurant, but hadn't gotten their liquor license yet, so they couldn't legally sell food until the next Monday. But here were all the waiters and food in the fridge.

Someone in my office came in one afternoon and said "They're serving food free over there." Sure enough, they couldn't sell it, but they had to use it. Everything was free. The only stipulation was that you tip 15 percent of what the bill would have been. I think the whole office went over and had a free lunch.

Well, there was a SF convention that weekend, one of the long departed ones, like Dixie Trek or Fantasy Fair, can't remember which. When a bunch of us got together and said "Where do we want to go to eat?" I piped up, "I know somewhere we can go for the price of the tip!"

We ate there all weekend, at least a dozen of us, and had a great time talking as we ate. This remains one of my most cherished memories. James still has the "Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Free Lunch" button that Ron Butler hand-lettered to commemorate the occasion.

Twosome: Amazon-- It's been a bit since we've done our Amazon Survey: do you use Amazon? Good? Bad? Indifferent?

I love Amazon! I just ordered two books from two of their marketplace sellers. One I got in five days; still waiting on the other (media mail and it's only been a week). I had one problem with them a year back; they had a book listed incorrectly. They have this year's edition listed incorrectly, too, but I'm wise to it now and will just get it in B&N or Borders if I have to. Wish they still discounted paperbacks. Oh, well, can't win 'em all.

Threesome: Prime--Time! Are there any shows you are looking forward to seeing in the Fall lineup on TV? (okay, football counts <g> ).

Fall...what? I think I've seen the fall schedule; oh, yes, Brent had it on his blog, I believe. I didn't see anything that sounded all that memorable.

But there is a new season of House. And the David Tennant episodes of Doctor Who start on Sci-fi on September 29...


» Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Those Were the Days at TV38
For Dana Hersey fans, compliments of posters on YouTube:

During his tenure on Ask the Manager, Dana did an offbeat series called We Don't Knock in which he and a TV38 cameraman wandered into various places and events in Boston. Most of the time the results were hilarious. I saw only one complete episode, one where Dana & Co. take the train.

This is from a different outing, a five minute clip with Dana investigating the night life at Kenmore Square.

Also for Hersey fans: Dana's opening to the Cheers in Boston special and Dana interviewing John Ratzenberger from the same special.

I wonder how they convert these things to Flash...

(And I wonder if all those We Don't Knock episodes are somewhere...wouldn't they be fun on DVD?)


"What's With His Hair?"
Not sure the link will let you in; I checked out this article as a "visitor," so perhaps it gives you some leeway the first couple of times.

Longtime Ch. 10 Anchor Doug White Dies

Doug White was anchorman for WJAR during all my adult life, but had started on Rhode Island evening newscasts at WPRI, Channel 12, six years earlier. Later in the article you'll see Doug's most memorable feature, his hair, mentioned; there were always jokes about Doug White's hair...many, many gentle ribs over the years. When I returned to Rhode Island on numerous vacations, Doug's face on the evening news was oddly comforting, a stable presence in a world of unexpected events.

We'll miss you, Doug.


Solar System "Expanding"?
Pluto would keep its planet status.

Proposal Would Increase Planets from 9 to 12

I never knew that Ceres had been once classified as a planet.


» Monday, August 14, 2006
"You Are a Booby and I Am Going to Have You Put in the Booby Hatch"
I found this little news item on Fox's site:
Wait, Unicorns Are Real? And Sighted?! And Literate?!!

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An giant sculpture of a unicorn that went missing in Columbus, Ohio, has returned in almost mythical fashion.

It disappeared last weekend from a small park across from Thurber House, the museum that was once the home of author James Thurber. And the unicorn apparently has its own tale to tell.

There was a note underneath when someone out for a walk discovered the four-foot-tall bronze sculpture back on its pedestal yesterday morning.

In part, the note said: "Sorry if I caused a fuss, but I just needed to see the world outside of my shrine." It was signed "Unicorn."

Police took the note as evidence. The unicorn was unharmed.
Amused because "The Unicorn in the Garden" is one of my favorite Thurber stories and I believe I have a photo of the unicorn somewhere from when we visited the Thurber House several years ago.


When Mickey Mouse Gets Angry
Just kidding, but interesting story nonetheless:

Pluto on the Chopping Block

Er, I thought the definition of a planet was a body that revolved around the sun (rather than something like Deimos or Triton or Charon, which are moons and revolve around a planet). Pluto does revolve around the sun; doesn't that make it a planet?

(Of course those pesky asteroids revolve around the sun, too.)


Dreams of Multicolor Leaves
Coping with summer and waiting for fall in Holiday Harbour.


Monday Madness

1. How many "people" pictures do you have displayed in your house?

Does this count non-relatives? Really haven't counted. There's a pic of James' sister with an old photo of a friend's son stuck in the frame, an autographed pic of June Lockhart with Lassie and an autographed pic of Jerry Doyle that I remember off the top of my head. Most of our family pics I haven't put back up yet because they are for our bedroom and we haven't done anything with the bedroom yet. I want to rearrange some of the furniture, get two "Billy" towers from Ikea to replace the wider bookcases in the room now, and also put a chair in the room. (I have my eye on a small inexpensive chair from Ikea, but for now even one of my grandmother's chairs will do.)

2. How many times a month/year do you rearrange your furniture?

Once it's there, it usually stays there unless we buy something new.

3. Do you check your email every day? If so, how many times a day?

At least five.

4. How often do you generally look at a clock/watch on any given day?

At work? Lots. Seriously, there's a clock down in the status bar and one on my phone. How could I miss it?

5. How do you handle telemarketer phone calls?

I don't. We let the phone machine answer the phone. It even tells the caller to put us on the do-not-call list.


» Saturday, August 12, 2006
McFarland Fever
Well it is three weeks until DragonCon, after all. I hope the McFarland people bring this one:

Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet

Of course, many of these look yummy, too.

This children's literature publication looks fascinating, but I'm not sure it will turn up at DragonCon (you want to get them at DragonCon because they offer a discount).

This is the new edition of The Christmas Encyclopedia that I bought two years ago. Still very tempting. There's also a book about the different adaptations of A Christmas Carol. I got The Halloween Encyclopedia last year, and James got me the two-volume encyclopedia of television cartoon shows. I also have John Kenneth Muir's volumes on Doctor Who and Blake's 7, and of course their book about St. Nicholas magazine.

Hm. Wonder if He and She, My World and Welcome to It and Ellery Queen are covered in this volume about short-lived television programs? (Of course it will include such luminaries as Me and the Chimp, The Ugliest Girl in Town, and My Mother the Car, too.)


"Air! Air"
After the Easy Bake Oven day a few days ago, we had a respite today. The entire day looked like one in November or February, pretty much uniformly grey and drizzly when it wasn't raining outright—except that it was very warm and humid most of the time.

But a funny thing happened when we were driving home from Hobby Lobby: we noticed the breeze tossing the trees about and I rolled down my window a bit to sample the air and said amazedly, "James, it's cool!" And it was. The thermometer on Powder Springs Road said it was 71°F! In August! At five o'clock! My gosh, there is air out there somewhere.

Supposed to be "only" 84 tomorrow, but then creeping back into the 90s. ::expletive deleted::


Our Feathered Friends
Our bird feeder looks like the Publix parking lot at certain times of the day; I love watching it. Unlike the other house, we don't have three or four cardinals making the rounds, but we do have at least one pair. There is also the occasional sparrow and a chickadee once in a while (there were more of them in the spring). Today we saw a male goldfinch! The parent bluebird and her fledgeling whose presence I noted a few months back are still hanging around as well. The latter is amusing because he is still baby spotted on top, but his flight feathers have grown in a bright blue and he's getting the orangy breast.

Our most regular visitors are the nuthatches. We have one saucy and quick white-breasted nuthatch who seems to live on the pine tree directly behind us. He flits over and blithely hangs upside down pecking at the suet or gets on the feeder and eats like Pidgie, tossing the stuff he doesn't like overboard.

There are also several other birds which closely resemble a brown-headed nuthatch, but not quite. They almost look closer to a pygmy nuthatch but my bird book says those live out west. Maybe we have a lost pair? These little ones are incredibly brave. We had some folks over for the Fourth and Alice and Juanita were sitting on the deck talking and the two little ones just flitted around them eating as if they weren't there. A week or so ago I had been out on the deck talking to James, who was "airing" Willow, and one of them just flew up, gave me an appraising look and decided I was harmless, and crunched away.

We also have crows and blue jays, but they don't come to the feeder. A blue jay checked it out when we first put it up, then gave it a pass.

I bring Pidge to the window occasionally to see his wild cousins and he just looks at them with cocked head when they fly. Since he can't hear them through the windows it's just possible he thinks it's all "teevee."


Friday Five

1) What was the bravest thing you have every done?

Have cancer surgery.

2) Describe the meanest thing you have ever done.

I got a classmate in trouble. I was friends with his sister and he was always pushing her around. So I marked one page of a brand new social studies book and he got blamed for it.

3) Tell us about the nicest thing anything anyone has done for you.

There are too many of those! Like the time many friends turned out in nearly 100° weather to help us move. Not to mention the friends who turned up in February to help us move. Not to mention my cousin Janice who made the lovely collage of photos of my mom for her funeral. And most of all my cousin Anna and her daughters who made sure my mom was okay when I wasn't there.

4) What was the most insane thing you have ever witnessed or done?

Me. Ridden on a roller coaster. I hate barf rides.

5) Describe the most "out of character" thing you secretly want to do.

Scream and holler at work and then shoot out the fluorescent light that's been shining directly in my eyes for the last two months.


» Thursday, August 10, 2006
Thursday Threesome

::Disc Golf Season::

Onesome: Disc--overy channel madness: did you catch the Mythbusters show with the bit about the Mentos and Diet Coke (episode 57)? Have you tried it at home yet? What am I talking about? Psst: it's a fun project with the kids...

Nope. Don't drink Coke anyway, nor do I eat Mentos. (What flavor are they anyway?)

Twosome: Golf-- Do you play? Do you watch? Do you care? Even the Opens? Just wondering...

Golf golf, no. I've watched some golf. It's a good thing to do to chill out, but I haven't paid much attention. Now miniature golf, that's fun. I like the newfangled "fiendish" courses along with the old brightly-colored warhorses with the giant dinos and the bridges and the guillotine gates. Best course I ever played on was a little course tucked into a corner of a lot in Lake George, NY. It was two levels in places because the lot was so small and that made it even more fun. It was apparently a PGA-designed miniature golf course. No bridges, just lots of traps!

Threesome: Season----ing salt? What spices do you routinely use when you're cooking up a little something for yourself? A little tarragon? Cinnamon? White pepper? What perks up a meal for you?

Garlic! Onion! Those are the two big ones. James occasionally uses a little curry. Also sesame oil makes everything taste wonderful.


Easy Bake Hell
Holy cow, it's hot.

I mean, it's been hot, 90°F and upward. We've been spoiled by the last few summers which were either cool or cool and rainy (last summer it practically rained every day—not just a quick thunderstorm rain, but heavy-gray-cloud steady rain until the backyard smelled like primordial ooze—well into August), as opposed to the summer when we moved into the old house, the wonderful weekend with 99°F temps and 98 percent humidity? (And have I said thank you again to the folks who helped us move on that terrible day?)

Today in the shade there is a slight breeze and it's uncomfortable but marginally bearable. But in the sun...especially standing on a white concrete sidewalk...well, it has all the charms of sticking your arm in the oven while the chicken's baking, and holding still for a while.

Even as a kid I despised summer, except for the fact that school was out (and then I had to go to work during the summer once I turned 16 and even that pleasure was gone). I wrote this inspired piece of doggerel sometime around 1971, when I was fourteen:
"You know what would fill me with elation?
To have, no heat, no frustration
A winter vacation!

So here's to the school board, earnestly wishing
For school in summer; we'd really be listening
(As long as they put in air conditioning)!"
Prize-winning it ain't. Heartfelt it sure was.


» Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Tuesday Twosome

When you were a kid...

1. What two things did you do when it rained?

Read. Watched television. Heaven forbid I should go out and play in it; my mother was afraid I'd get sick. (But I still had to walk to school in it. Drove my mother nuts; if I'd forgotten to take an umbrella and it was jacket weather, I'd put my jacket over my schoolbooks instead of over me. [We didn't do backpacks back then.] She never seemed to get it that the paper wrinkled but *I* didn't.)

2. What two things did you do when you had a rain/snow day and didn't have to go to school?

There are such things as rain days? We went to school even if animals were walking the streets two-by-two. On snow days—ah, snow days! You went out in the snow and played, of course. Coasting, sliding, snowballing, just walking in the snow. Going outside in the snow was much more fun than going outside in the summer. When you got done playing you went inside and Mom made you hot soup for lunch and you watched Jeopardy (it was on at noon back then, hosted by Art Fleming) and then either you played with your toys or read or watched Mom's soap operas, or you went outside and played some more.

3. What two subjects in school were your favorites?

English/reading and art in elementary school. English and history in the upper grades. Math...suck, suck, suck. Barbie is right—math is hard (well at least algebra and trig were; geometry was fun). Science was okay as long as it was "earth science," interesting things like anthropology or fossils or astronomy or geology. Biology and chemistry were a bore.

4. Who were two of your best friends?

Linda Azzoli when I was small and then Sherrye Davis from sixth grade on.

5. What/who did you dream you would grow up to be?

I wanted to write books and have an apartment in Boston. Oh, well. That's real life.


Don't Ever Tell Me... fluorescent lights throw "less" heat than incandescent ones. We just had the lights go out awhile ago—what a nice relief!—not the power, just the lights, very strange, and it was appreciably cooler in here after they'd been out a few minutes.


Birth of the Talkies
Greenbriar Picture Shows has a great article on the anniversary of Warner's sound system, Vitaphone.


» Monday, August 07, 2006
Monday Madness

1. Are you working on any big projects around your house right now?

Mostly finishing little projects, like putting up the rest of the autumn decorations. Now that the stores are selling the appropriate things, we can go for it with the help of coupons or sales.

2. If so, tell us about it; if not, do you have any plans to do so in the near future?

The one big project we have left right now is moving the television and reconnecting the cables properly since the VCR picture will not show up and our Region 2 DVD player is no longer hitched up. This is a big project because the 36" TV is rather heavy and it's a bear to move. But I'd like to use my VCR again and be able to watch The Good Life and other Region 2 material in the living room rather than the spare room or on James' computer.

Not to mention hanging up the big Harry Potter poster behind the television.

The next really big project will be saved for the fall when it's cool—cleaning out a bit of the woods area our back for a "nook." We have shepherd's hooks, decorative rocks, stepping stones, everything but the chairs since I was hoping some of the garden sets would go on sale at better prices. Sadly, it doesn't look like they will. I think we'll end up with plastic Adirondak chairs instead.

James also wants to plant a maple tree in the front yard.

3. How do you generally pay for merchandise at your local store? Debit, credit, check, or cash?

Credit card all over the weekend (don't usually shop midweek unless it's an emergency). On Monday I add up the receipts, then schedule a payment online. This gets me points for book coupons at Border's.

4. Which month of the year seems to go by the fastest?

December (indeed, any month where it's nicely cool, from November through February).

5. Which day of the week seems to go by the fastest?

No question about it: Sunday.

6. Have you taken up any new hobbies lately?

I've got a whole bunch of scrapbooking things I bought on coupon but haven't been inspired to sit down yet and do it. I did make a few cards using the same material. Maybe now that we have a color laser printer to do journaling on, I might be more inspired.

On the other hand, several of my web pages need a makeover soon!


» Sunday, August 06, 2006
Favorites at Last
Accomplished some "needed doing" things today: fetched prescription drugs from Kaiser (where the poor things were just recovering from being a week without air conditioning), taking books, DVDs, old computer games, and our old printer, plus some sundry household items to Goodwill, stopped to buy and mail a birthday card, and bought more paper towels on sale at Eckerd's.

For fun we went to Hallmark and bought an ornament du jour. James went after this year's airplane and I got the Rudolph ornament, which is novel because you rarely see the adult Rudolph; it's always the little guy with antler buds. I also grabbed batteries for my Hallmark radio, which I adore: it's in the old tombstone shape and when you turn the dial there is static and then you get one of fifteen sounds: there are five station IDs (from a jazz, classical, rock'n'roll, all-Christmas, and country station—"WCOW, putting the 'cow' into 'cowboy'"), five pieces of Christmas music, and an advertisement (my favorite is the firewood place which offers a free piece of coal to the first 50 naughty customers).

We also tried the new Grand Mercado Farmer's Market, which is where the SaveRite used to be (where the Winn-Dixie used to be) near our old apartment. It's pretty cool although it's not really a farmer's market, just an ethnic grocery store: not quite half the store is Asian, not quite half the other is Mexican, and there are a couple aisles of American food and then things like detergent and cleaning things. Their produce department was swell: they had Rainer cherries for 99¢! Also strawberries for the same price, so now we have them for dessert. We also found black soy sauce, which we've been looking for for years; the last store we found it in went out of business after six months. They also have a small bakery, a little corner where they sell LCD televisions (????), and then an area with a sushi bar, Japanese fast food, and sub sandwich counter. Great stuff. We need to go back.

The last stop of the day was also the nadir: stopped by The Usual Supermarket Near Our House since they carry the Blue Bunny sugarless ice cream bars. So there I was in the express lane, 12 items or less. At the head of the line was a guy buying cigarettes, then a guy with a watermelon, then me with the two boxes of ice cream and a newspaper, an elderly man with a box of eggs and something else, a woman with some bottled water.

Between the fellow with the watermelon and myself, bold as proverbial brass, was this woman with about 30 items in her cart. Of course they are afraid of losing business, so the cashier and the other employees said nothing to this rude ingrate as she unloaded meat, ice cream, and other food on the tiny counter which is, of course, for small purchases. We folks behind her kept rolling our eyes at each other as she not only overloaded the counter, but asked "Can you scan this for me?" "Isn't this on sale?" ad nauseum. Only after the last thing was bagged did she paw through her handbag and get out her check card and run it through the ATM, squinting at the machine like she'd never operated one before.

After she left, the little cashier just rolled her eyes at me and gave me an apologetic smile.

Sheesh, and to think I felt guilty the last time I added a sixteenth tiny item (a pack of gum) in my cart at the fifteen-items-or-fewer line at Walmart. Why are people so inconsiderate? Do they just think they are too good to stand in the regular line?


» Saturday, August 05, 2006
Return to Flight
Success! Pidgie managed to fly from his cage to James' shoulder and made a wobbly, but safe landing; the distance from cage to computer is about seven feet.

The return trip was a little off—he ended up on my work purse which sits next to the birdcage when on weekend hiatus—but the first half of the trip certainly was a rousing success.


To Race the Wind
James noticed in the Friday Fry's ad...I mean newspaper...that Fry's had a color laser jet printer on sale for $200, so when we finished some other errands, we drove out there. Fry's is behind Gwinnett Mall, and since school starts on Monday and this weekend is "tax free" on certain clothes and back to school material, the place was a zoo. Luckily we were able to skirt most of it.

Fry's was a zoo, too, but they have enough checkout counters that this isn't a problem. We found out they did have a printer left and secured it before having lunch—Saturday is Italian wedding soup day and they did indeed have bread bowls today, too (the last time we went they were out).

When we had arrived at the store, it looked like storm clouds were beginning to build up and it was very still and hot. On the way out, the clouds didn't look like they had changed much, but the wind had picked up. We stopped briefly at JoAnn and Hobby Lobby, and then got on the freeway toward home. It was then we noticed as we headed west that the sky was darkening by the minute—and there we were with a big cardboard printer box in the back of the truck. As we approached I-75 North it was quite black in the direction we had intended to head, so I suggested we take the next exit and try to "go around it."

We managed pretty well and actually did circle the back side of the storm, but the time finally came when we were about three miles from home and had to turn back into the storm area to get to the house and on came the rain. However, the box kept its integrity in the ten minutes of wetness and several hours later we printed out a nice color laser copy.


» Friday, August 04, 2006
Friday Five (this week's)

1. How much time do you spend on the Internet daily?

A lot because part of my job involves going on the internet. I have to research vendors other than the selected one, consult GSA Advantage for products on GSA schedule, check to see if a vendor is on the Excluded Parties list, and make sure the vendor is in the Central Contractor Registration or else it can't do business with a Fed agency.

2. What are your favorite 3 websites?

Besides my domains? :-) Google,, and Blogger.

3. Do you eat at your computer?

Not usually, but I have when I was working on web pages.

4. Pick one and why - Reading the news online or in a newspaper?

Online. I have to pay for a newspaper and it's mostly ads for stores I don't patronize.

5. How many people are on your instant messenger buddy list?

22, but most of them don't show up anymore...and Dana can't... :-(


Speaking of Pidgie, he's coping with his "handicap" as well as he can. One of his favorite things to do when James is at his computer is to sit on his shoulder and gnaw on his shirt. Last night he launched himself at James and made it—except he didn't have the loft and ended up at his feet. He perched on my hand and ruffled in disgust as I put him on James' shoulder. Needless to say, I had to help him on the return trip as well.


Friday Five

(This is last week, which I missed in the Pidge flutterings.)

1. Are you named after anyone? If so, explain.

Nope, Linda was just one of the big names in the late 1940s-1950s. I would have either been Linda or Barbara. I have a cousin Linda a little older than me, my cousin Jimmy married a girl named Linda (again, both little older than me), but they divorced. I was in first grade with two other girls named Linda, Linda Azzoli and Linda Lonardo. My 11th-grade English teacher, who was probably born late 40s or early 50s, was Linda Lorenzo. I have a close friend named Linda, known by "Lin," who's my age.

2. Do you have your children's names picked out already? If so, is there any significance?

"Did we" is the operative verb here. Never did manage that one. A boy would have been James Michael after James and my dad (so there wouldn't be a junior). I guess he could have been Jamie or Mike (I've never been all that fond of "Jim," for all that there's a lot of men I like with that name!) A girl would have been Christina Kathryn after Christina in Flambards and Kathryn because James liked the name.

3. If you were born a member of the opposite sex what would your name have been?

Probably Michael John, after my dad. Or maybe Vincenzo or Simone after one of my grandfathers. (For some reason my dad's father Vincenzo was known to his buddies as "Jimmy." Never figured that one out.)

4. If you could re-name yourself what name would you pick and why?

I don't know. I never did much like Linda. I remember when I first heard "Melissa" I thought it was a lovely name, but then everyone started being "Melissa" and it was a bit of a cliche. I always liked the nickname "Lissa" better than "Missy," though. I've always thought Elizabeth and Katherine (Kathryn) were great names because there are so many nicknames for each you can pick one that best represents you: Liz, Beth, Bess, Betsy, Betty, Elspeth, Eliza, Lis, and Kate, Katie, Kathy, Kit, Rynn... (Sometimes different nicknames depending on who knows you: I have a friend known to all her contemporaries as "Liz" but her mom always called her "Betty.")

5. Are there any mispronunciations/typos that people do w/ your name constantly?

I'm not sure if it's my allergies or if I still do have a "nasal Cranston whine," but on the telephone people are always mistaking me as "Brenda" or "Wendy." I try to carefully pronounce it when I have a minute but sometimes there just isn't time.

Especially in the 1960s, everyone wanted to spell my name with a "Y" because of the President's family. I had to always add, "NOT like Lynda Bird Johnson."


» Thursday, August 03, 2006
Do Tell! (On Yourself, That Is)
First MySpace and now this?

College Students Warned About Internet Postings

I suppose I understand about MySpace, when many of the kids are so young—but you mean to tell me college students don't know that anything they put on the Web is public information? Are we really raising a generation that is so naïve? Heck, when I was a kid everyone knew when someone did something wrong because the neighborhood mothers would tell on you. Now kids post this information deliberately!


A Mystery's Afoot and She's About to Investigate!
Remember Judy Bolton and the rest? Check out A Cozy Nook.


Going in Circles
I let Pidge out for the first time Tuesday (thank God it was before the blackout) by coaxing him out with "Girlfriend," his little green toy. I just let him sit on my hand and trill and peck at "her."

His flight feathers on his right side, where he had the blood feather removed, are pretty well useless; to preen them he had to chew a lot of them away and the feathers are rather ragged. So when he tried to fly, just a little, he basically made a slow curve to the right and down to the floor. He's got to fly a little, keep the wings exercised, but it still frightened me a bit.

Yesterday I let him loose a little more, mostly on my hand with Girlfriend, but also let him wander about the top of the cage. He went to the perch in the back where I have taped a button that says "Anything not fastened down is a cat toy" with "cat" crossed out and "budgie" substituted and played with it and chirbled for a while. He was sitting on my shoulder at the computer (about three feet from the birdcage) and launched himself at it and barely made it; he's not getting much loft at all.

It bugs him, too; he gets his breath back and scolds.


Thursday Threesome

From the dentist's waiting room:

::Time to Fill::

Onesome:Time-- wasters in your life... Just a brief jump onto your soapbox: What is the biggest bother you have in this department? I mean, something you can post without incurring familial or job related problems <g>...

People who hold me up by not giving me what I need to do my job. Since it's to their benefit if I do what I need to do as quickly as possible, I don't see why they can't do a Larry the Cable Guy and "git 'er done."

Twosome: to-- beat the heat! It seems like it's all sort of hot all over the Northern Hemisphere this Summer! What are you doing to handle the heat? ...and for those Down Under? Well, your turn may come in just a few months; do you have any plans for then?

Enjoying the air conditioning and turning on any fan I can. The one in my cubicle is set on high, between my feet. And drinking lots of cold water. James said they had snow for the first time in umpity-ump years in Johannesburg yesterday. When do we leave? Kotzebue, Alaska, looks nice right now.

Threesome: Fill-- your cup with a cold something! What are you drinking this summer to keep cool? ...and if you're a tea drinker: is it "ice tea" or "iced tea"? Just curious...

Cold milk and cold water from the fridge. Miss lemon-lime syrup. Someone said they were making Zarex Syrup again, but it's only in orange and raspberry. I can't stand tea. I had an accidental sip of James' a few weeks ago—even with four packets of Sweet'n'Low it tastes bitter. I like ice coffee—I like coffee, period, but I can't drink it; regular gives me heart palpitations and decaf gives me heartburn.


» Wednesday, August 02, 2006
In the Still of the Night
In the midst of 97°F on the Fry Meter, storm clouds gathered. Before James came home last night, they had become heavy with rain and spilled open in a tremendous wash. Lightning divided the sky and thunder rumbled. Willow clung to Mommy as she barked in defiance at the sound. Pidge said "cheep!"

James got home saying his route had been awash and he'd wished for a boat on part of his route. He prepared supper and the lights blinked off several times. We watched Whose Line is It Anyway as the storm raged around us and then passed over, then I put on second season of Hogan's Heroes and was listening to Patricia Crane's commentary when the lights blinked once...twice...and went off completely. It was just a little after nine.

Evidently the blackout was localized because we could see a streetlight way up Smyrna Powder Springs Road on one side and someone's lights if we craned our neck on the deck. But our whole neighborhood and the apartments beyond and the trailer park behind us was black as damp velvet. James and I went outside to see what we could see, but there wasn't much of anything. The rain had totally passed, although we could see some flashes of light to the west. Someone in a house down the street came out and got into their car, presumably for the light. It was cool outside at the moment and stuffy when we went back in. I had left Pidgie with a flashlight and that low glow was the only thing that lit up the house. It reminded me of when the house was just finished, when we would visit in late afternoon and walk around in the silence.

We found the Freeplay wind-up radio and so cheered Pidge with "teevee" and I called the electric company. Otherwise there wasn't much to do as we were trying to conserve our flashlights, since our Freeplay spotlight had gone belly-up before we moved. I collected the trash at one point, but mostly we lay back and tried to keep cool. Willow wandered around us panting in confusion. Pidge let out an occasional questioning chirp.

About eleven the lights popped on again and we had just put all the fans on afterburner—not wanting to put the air conditioner back on until we were sure the power would stay on. James got up to make my lunch while the power was on—and it snapped back off abruptly.

Finally it got too stuffy and we threw open all the windows upstairs and the doors; there was not even one of that proverbial breath of air, but at least it felt like it was circulating, if just a little. And we waited. Finally it was eleven and I was sleepy and James doubted he could sleep without his CPAP, but we dutifully showered by the light of James' LED "headlamp" and tried to sleep. "Tried" was the operative word as it was too stuffy for words and even though we had both rinsed off in cold water, I was even warmer than I'd been lying on the sofa.

The power came on after midnight with a snap and a whoosh of the fans. We waited twenty minutes before we closed up and cooled down.

I supposed without the air conditioning but with the fans it might have been bearable, but the stillness was dreadful. I don't know how people 100 years ago slept in nightshirts and nightgowns in airless rooms!

Today we seem to have "guests." I suppose they came around the edges of the screen on the deck: about two dozen little gnats who are perched on our ceiling! We've had a couple of the little critters buzzing around the kitchen since the weekend, but it appears that they invited friends in last night!


Remember Occasional Wife and My Mother the Car?
Some interesting articles here about forgotten television series (although several should have stayed forgotten, like Mr. Smith).

Television Obscurities

I confess. I used to watch My Mother the Car. I was nine at the time. I quit watching it when Daktari premiered in midseason.

Hmn. I wonder if there's an article about The Hathaways? (God help us, Peggy Cass and a cast of chimps...managed to miss that gem...)


Remember the Series Earth 2?
This is the "little girl' who played True on the series. Sad.

Deaths - J.M. Wright Morris, 21


» Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Tuesday Twosome

1. Do you check your email once a day or more? Explain:

Yes, if I have a chance. Since I run a Lassie mailing list and belong to several Christmas mailing lists, I like to read what's sent.

2. When you receive SPAM emails, do you just delete them or take the time to mark it as SPAM? Explain:

I just delete them. Not worth my time.

3. When a friend/acquaintance emails you a "forward" email like a joke or chain letter, do you forward it to your friends or just delete it? Explain:

No, not most of the time. Usually I have seen all the photos. Occasionally I will do those "getting to know you" e-mails and once I forwarded something with cute kittens and puppies to one friend who I knew would like it. I don't forward anything that says you have to forward it or it's bad luck. It's like the old chain letters that people use to get and which the post office finally made illegal. Someone I know was very upset recently by one of those things.

I do wish when people sent us forwards that they would use the blind cc feature. The e-mail we give to family and friends is solely for family and friends and neither of us like it being sent out to people we don't know. I once had a stranger sending me tons of junk e-mail after they received our e-mail address as part of one of these forwarded letters.

4. Who are two people you look forward to their emails? Explain:

That would be violating their privacy. :-)

5. Do you believe that email has completely replaced other forms of communication?

Nope, although I have to admit it's a lot harder to send a letter these days. There aren't as many mailboxes as there used to be and I usually trust them so little that I go to the post awful anyway. This started when I had mail go astray over 20 years ago and I've never gotten over the habit. Besides, most of my relatives don't even have e-mail or if they do, don't read it that often.