Yet Another Journal

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

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

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» Friday, August 31, 2007
DragonCon, Day 1
We call Day 1 the "DragonCon Exercise Program." There's always something up with registration that means we have to troop around a lot.

This year part of the Marriott hotel is being renovated, so many things are in the Hilton. We expected registration where it was the past few years, but discovered from asking someone that it was in one of the ballrooms in the Hyatt. So we walked past the Marriott to the Hyatt, up the steep, steep steps next to the pool, and inside only to find out registration was only reached from the outside, on Harris Street.

Except when we walked all the way back to Harris Street there were no doors open and lines forming. Luckily we saw someone who already had a badge.

The entrance was on the other side of the building, on Baker Street. Duh.

Plus of course there was the usual switchback line system alà Disney World. We're also not sure what was wrong with the guy who checked us in. He peered at everything as if he couldn't see or couldn't read.

At least we weren't in the Ticketmaster line, which looked like a line for rock concert tickets.

From there we split up and I didn't see James again until opening ceremonies. He attended some science and literary panels and really should write about it in his own blog—hint, hint.

Ken Feinberg, Elizabeth Rohm, James Marsters, Juliet LandauMy first panel was one with Juliet Landau, James Marsters, Elizabeth Rohm, and Ken Feinberg, who worked on the Buffy and Angel series and who is now a director who lives in Atlanta. This was great fun; the panel kept things hopping. They were asked at least one question about slash fanfic that made James Marsters turn red as the proverbial beet. He has been a guest star on the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood that features the very sexually active Captain Jack Hearkness played by John Barrowman, so someone else asked him if he had "snogged" Barrowman. It was all very irreverent.

Juliet Landau talked about doing a short film with Gary Oldman which Oldman filmed completely on his cell phone camera. The music to the film is done by a Jewish hip-hop band called "Chutzpah." She also had an interesting story about working with her father in a film. She actually had no scenes with him, but did have to do scenes with a body made to look like her father in a casket, which she found unsettling and slightly frightening.

Watching Elizabeth Rohm I wish they had cast her as Murphy in the Harry Dresden series. Of course she'd now be out of a job, so maybe it was for the best. <wry grin>

Tom Braidwood and Bruce HarwoodThe next panel was a bit more low-key. This featured two of the "Lone Gunmen" (Dean Haglund was absent this year) Tom Braidwood, who played Frohicke, the one who had eyes for Dana Scully on The X-FIles and Bruce Harwood (Byers). Harwood made me smile because without his Byers beard he's nearly a dead ringer for my old supervisor (and in this pic looks a lot like Rick Steves, too!).

Braidwood had been involved with The X-Files as a crew member, so he had some interesting memories of the series, such as helping the "cockroach wrangler" in the episode "War of the Coprophages." He also reported that they made the slime that went on the "Tooms" character so repulsive that the makeup technician refused to put it on him. Braidwood had to do it instead.

In another case of "the actors are always the last to know," they both found out there was a spinoff of the Lone Gunmen characters by reading Variety. They also told about finding out about the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center after the Lone Gunmen pilot had involved a plane deliberately crashing into the same site.

A more amusing story was about filming a scene up in Canada on a very cold, blustery day. They were all in shirtsleeves and freezing while the crew stood some distance away. The latter were crowded around a table and they were shivering and wondering what the delay was. Then they realized that the crew was actually having some hot soup while they stood freezing and waiting for their shot!

(Sorry the pic is so dark. The International North and South rooms are always abominably lit.)

I had a blank hour here, so hiked back down to the Hilton to go into the Dealer's Room. I cut through the Marriott and was able to see some of the construction barriers first hand. The Dealer's Room was where it used to be back when D*Con was in the Hilton/Marriott, so it was all very familiar yet confusing at the same time, as most of the dealers have usual spaces in the Marriott which we had gotten used to. Didn't see anything that screamed out "Buy me!" but may go back for a Buffy book and my yearly Pocket Dragon.

I also walked through what they call the "Exhibitor Space," which is a bit of a misnomer. These people are exhibiting and selling, so it's just a glorified Dealer's Room. There was a bookseller there with a mystery book I had never seen before...I'll think about it. I usually don't buy hardbacks unless it's a favorite author or on remainder.

Next I tried to go to the panel with Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) and James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley) from the Harry Potter movies. I never made it. You would think maybe someone on the D*Con programming committee might have had the foresight to note that actors from an ongoing movie series based on a book series that just ended might be very popular and need to be placed in a larger room? The line was out the door and out in the street. The people like me who turned up from inside the hotel didn't have a chance. Hotel security was having a fit because of fire code violations. I finally just went back upstairs to stop by the ARTC table and talk to John Campbell, who just had a really bad teaching experience in one of the local schools. The students were abusive and he was never given any supplies to teach the course. No wonder parents send their kids to private schools!

I finally had to get out of there; they had loud bands playing down on the level where the ARTC table was. You could barely hear anything.

James and I finally reunited at opening ceremonies, which was followed by the Atlanta Radio Theatre's production of Rory Rammer, Space Marshal and The Challenges of Brave Ragnar. Rory rather inadvertently infiltrated a space sanitarium and Brave Ragnar (complete with his own fanfare) proceeded on a quest and found more than he expected. I would like to say I really enjoyed both, but my aging ears had a difficult time making out a lot of the jokes since the programming next door was a wrestling tournament, complete with loud music blaring through the walls. I saw Bill Ritch slip next door and the sound diminished a bit, but it really wasn't conducive to listening.

Robert Picardo (the doctor from Star Trek: Voyager) was supposed to speak at 8:30, but when we got to the room a notice was up that he was not appearing due to professional commitments. So we said goodbye to the folks at the ARTC table—they're all going to be deaf by Tuesday—and came home to fids and quiet.



On the Road Again
It's the Friday before Labor Day, we have our lunches packed, our cameras onboard, and we're off to DragonCon. Later!



» Thursday, August 30, 2007
Thursday Threesome

Music Quiz!

::Over the Rainbow::

Onesome: "Over-- the Rainbow" Has someone 'Somewhere' done the song better than Judy Garland did in the movie? ...or does she still 'own' it in your opinion?

Oh, she still owns it. I've heard many versions of "Over the Rainbow" and no one quite gets the plaintive message of it through as well. Of course, seeing what she went through, it's particularly apt.

Twosome: the-- best all time album in your collection? ...or one you'd like to have? Sure, the Go-Gos count, but hey...

I should never answer music questions. I never like what everyone else thinks I should like. I don't like most rock (except for Rupert Holmes); my taste runs more to the older things my parents loved: Crosby, Como, Martin...just about every singer from the 30s, 40s and early 50s, except for Sinatra (I got that from my mom; she despised Sinatra). Plus good New Age (George Winston especially), easy listening (John Denver, James Galway, Native American flute music), and Christmas music, especially instrumental and non-pop Christmas music. So asking me about a favorite album is difficult. I'd have to named several: George Winston's "Autumn," "James Galway's Christmas Carol," the Vince Guaraldi soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas, David Huntsinger's "Autumn in New England," and then I wouldn't be finished.

Threesome: Rainbow"?-- As sung by Billy Ray Cyrus? (Yes, on his latest album.) Who has done the best "cover" of a song you like to listen to? You know, better than the original artist...

Er. No one that i can think of. Sometimes I wish they'd go back to the original artist. Sinatra is famous for "New York, New York," but he caressed it; it's a challenging song. Liza Minelli sang it just right.



» Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The Percussion Section
The sun is in and out, in and out, but for the last half hour thunder has rumbled in the distance like cannon. I ran out to refill the bird feeder and the suet cake hanger before the rain started and found us surrounded in a horseshoe of thunderclouds, rumbling enough to drive Willow under my desk. The moment the feeder was full a small (three) flotilla of sparrows and the female downy woodpecker immediately availed themselves. We haven't seen the goldfinch since his one memorable appearance. He had flown to a tree next door, but we do not know if it was just a stopover or something more permanent. Goldfinches are supposed to be a winter bird here.

The male cardinal has just shown up. I don't know if it's been a bad summer or what, but his crest is gone—the entire top and back of his head is featherless. Not sure if he's not healthy, if he got into some type of territorial fight and came out the loser, or if "the missus" used some of his feathers to line the nest. He looks distinctly seedy. [No pun intended.]

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» Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Putt It's All Right
Well, look what I found: here is the Webkinz mini-golf game without the characters and decorations: Online Games: Minigolf

3D Game: St. Mulligan's

Very strange-but-challenging vertically-oriented game: Dumbolf

[I played through the Dumbolf course later on. Oh. My. Challenging it definitely is.]

With a carol in mind: Christmas mini-golf

Play mini-golf while Life Savers get in the way: Candystand mini-golf (warning: obnoxious ad must play before you do)



Life Happens Even When You Make Other Plans
• Poor James! For the first time he had the opportunity to renew his driver's license online and they sent him a note back that he had to come in anyway: his driver's license number was too close to a social security number. Apparently in Georgia in the 1970s your SS was your DLN, too, but now that's illegal. James' was off by one digit.

• Turned on to Atlanta Road from the rotary near the Smyrna Library this morning and was faced with what looked like a carnival at the corner of Atlanta and Concord Road. It was the aftermath of a huge accident, including the presence of an ambulance. ::brrrr:: I hope the injured people are okay. What a reminder that things can take a bad turn any second.

• Looks like my cell phone's dead. Since the spill it's needed charging every night. I heard it chirp last night but forgot to get up to plug it into the charger. This morning I plugged it into the car charger; it started up for a few minutes, then the charger came loose. When I fixed it a few minutes later the phone would not come up again. Bother.

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Gonna Wash That Summer Right Outta My Hair
The weather is trying desperately to break. After temps near 100 for about two weeks, we're starting to have some rain again. Sunday we had a good bit of rain for about a half hour; the lawn quit panting for a while. Yesterday morning it was actually cool and breezy, low 70s, felt more like May even at noon when it had hit the 80s. We still have some 90s coming up, so summer's back isn't broken yet, but some occasional storms may alleviate thr drought some. Trouble is, when they come up, someone usually gets hurt: all the ones lately have produced news stories of trees down on homes and places struck by lightning, including one situation where the family had just left on vacation. What a thing to come home to!

It is overcast right now and there is a good chance of thunderstorms today.



Monday Madness (a day late)

1. Where you live, what kind of weather (or weather-related tragedy) do you fear the most?

Tornadoes. What is it that "Preacher" calls them in Twister? "The finger of God." A well-built enough house not in a flood area or on the shore can survive a hurricane; ours did. You may lose power and some shingles, but it doesn't come suck you up.

2. What kind of weather do you MOST enjoy?

I call it "jacket weather." If it's about 55°F with a breeze, so I can wear sweats and my fleece jacket and maybe my hat...that's nice. Oh, yeah, and partly cloudy.

3. What kind of weather do you LEAST like to drive in?

A rain so hard that you can't see even when the wipers are at top speed. Or as I refer to it, "Georgia Monsoon Season."

4. What is the scariest weather-related experience you've had in your lifetime?

I drove ten and a half miles home from work during the height of the Blizzard of 78. It took two and a half hours and most of the other cars on the road at that time got stuck and were abandoned for the National Guard to dig them out a week later.

5. Share a "weather picture" with us!

Don't have any of my own right now, but check out Elaine's blog. She always has lovely photos. Like this!



» Saturday, August 25, 2007
Pricks, Sticks, and a Pile of Books
No, it wasn't the guy driving behind me on the freeway this time. :-) I started my morning getting stuck for blood; my doctor wanted a TSH level.

From there I went to Borders to discover they were having a $1 clearance sale. There were some wonderful books in this section; not dull tomes at all. I found an Our Bodies, Our Selves book about menopause, a large hardback reference of quotations, a biography of Robert Goddard, Stanley Weintraub's 11 Days in December about Christmas during the Battle of the Bulge, Stephen Ambrose's D-Day, another World War II volume called Battleground Atlantic, Neil Armstrong's biography First Man, and two volumes that will be perfect for gifts.

Visited Costco for milk and then came home to measure the windows in our bedroom, but decided in the end not to go to Lowes today for new shades. (The original shades for our bedroom were miscut, but we used them in other rooms. When I went to get replacement shades all Lowes had were the cheap $6/each ones. They are already cracking. I'd really like to get dark shades for the bedroom but Lowes and Home Depot don't seem to carry them; I'd have to research somewhere else.) I did stop at Hobby Lobby since their ceramics/resins and florals were half off. Bought some fall angels and even a fall cheese spreader and even found a budgie magnet for the fridge, plus three very lovely "sticks" of brilliant autumn leaves.

The Borders at Austell had a few more $1 books: one about home improvement, an antiques mystery, and Teri Garr's autobiography; also another gift. I had $10 in Borders Bucks and a 25 percent off coupon, so bought for a mere $1.20 a trade paper called The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril, which is a send-up of pulp magazines in pulp style featuring Walter Gibson (creator of The Shadow) and L. Ron Hubbard back when he was just Ron Hubbard, hack writer.

Laundry whisked through, I settled in to read and watch mysteries: 23 Paces to Baker Street, with Van Johnson as a blind American playwright who overhears a kidnapping plot in a London pub, but can't convince the police it's a real threat, and The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, with Nicol Williamson's brilliant portrayal of a Sherlock Holmes deep in cocaine addiction, cured by Sigmund Freud (played by wonderful Alan Arkin) and then embroiled in a kidnapping plot. Robert Duvall isn't quite up to par as Dr. Watson, but the fun's watching Williamson and Arkin anyway.

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» Friday, August 24, 2007
Yow! Wow! and Ker-pow! And Other Sounds of Friday
I didn't have to wait long before the refrigerator repairman turned up. He was here to fix the icemaker, which ground to a stop last Saturday, despite James spearing some ice out of it. The motor was broken. I asked if we could do anything to prevent further breakdowns and he said no; everything today was just made cheaply.

He also told me horror stories about his drug-addicted nephew who is being aided and abetted by his DFACS case worker. Geez.

The "Yow!" was for the bill. Egads.

In any case I dashed out, hoping to get home before it became too hot—fat chance as it was already in the 80s at 10:30. I went all the way to Costco for gas, finding out when I arrived that it had been cheaper at the QT on Austell Road. Ah, well. Then went to JoAnn. They still had some spring things on sale 75 percent off; I found what looked like a small white pitcher with "spring" flowers in them, except all the flowers were in fall colors of red and orange. So I bought an inexpensive branch of yellow-gold leaves and, upon arriving home, cut the branch up to disburse between the flowers. Not bad. It's sitting on the sill in the dining room, where I intended it to go.

I dropped by Hobbytown and—"Wow!"—was greeted by the new Webkinz seasonal pet, a black cat. I'd seen photos of this online and it didn't look all that good, but the real animal is much more appealing. It will make an interesting Hallowe'en decoration. Right now I have the Harry Potter spectacles we were given out by Borders the night of the seventh book release on his face, since I named him "Harry." Well, he has black hair and green eyes...

Stopped at Barnes & Noble and found to my delight that all the fall travel magazines are out: Vermont Life, Midwest Living, and Blue Ridge Country all scattered with delightful autumn landscapes. Plus I found a nice biography of Mark Twain.

So at home I messed with the flowers and spent some time online. I had planned to take Willow out when it got a little cooler, but I was so involved reading messages on "Christmas to the Max" that I didn't notice the sky darkening. All of a sudden came the blast of thunder, the flash of lighting, and the dog attached to my leg.

We lost power momentarily, but the rain looked as if it had slacked a bit. I put Willow on the leash and let her out the front door. I thought if she gave signs of wanting to go into the back yard I would grab the umbrella and take her.

Instead she'd just finished squatting when "POW!" blasted over the houses to the west. Willow whipped around, dashed up the steps, and fastened herself back to my leg in a matter of five seconds.

When James came home we went to Hobby Lobby, then had supper at the Chinese place next door. While we were inside it continued to rain. And when we came out...

It was cool! There was a breeze! We drove home with the windows open despite the drizzle. This is the first time we've been able to drive with the windows down since May! My God! Cool outdoor air! My lungs won't know what to do with it!

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» Thursday, August 23, 2007
Enjoy a Bit of Postwar England...
...visiting with the Callendar family in A Cozy Nook to Read In.

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Who Needs Sitcoms to Make You Laugh?
The commercials will do.

Presently BBC America is running a commercial for a new diet remedy called "Akavar." They claim it will work and then add, "We couldn't say it on TV if it wasn't true!" Ha-ha. Hee-hee. ::snort::guffaw::chortle::

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We Need a Little Autumn...
...right this very minute.

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Busy, Busy, Busy
Told my supervisor today that I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel...although it may be the proverbial train. I think I can do four orders right now. I have eighteen in various forms of dishabille, a bunch more that the folks at Fed Bid did the quotes for, one I haven't had a chance to look at, and the guy who wants us to pay him even though he never delivered the product. (Say what?)

Not to mention all those last minute ones they foist off on you because someone pleaded "Oh, please..."



Thursday Threesome

Homework Instructions:

::Calculators may not be Used::

Onesome: Calculators-- and such: are you good with numbers? Do you have a calculator built in? ...or does the presence of a second column demand some help from something electronic?

When it comes to things like my savings or figures at work I would rather have a calculator to back me up. I got an A in Business Math but I really despise numbers. Numbers are God's way of punishing us for our sins, and algebra and trigonometry are sheer torture.

Twosome: may not be-- where you left them. Hmmm... What have you misplaced lately? You know: the item you are flat positive you left in one spot but somehow mysteriously migrated to another!

It was the scissors in the living room that we use to snip out coupons. I tied a bright orange ribbon to the handle to keep track of it, and even that didn't help. But it's back. (The Little Blue Guys returned it. LOL.)

Threesome: Used-- cars? When you buy, do you buy new? ...or do you go for those with a few thousand miles on them?

I bought new. Any used car driven in Atlanta traffic has been "rode hard and put away wet," and is sure to come with the requisite aches and pains that calls to mind. I bought the used car last time. It spent six years constantly leaking oil even though it was taken in for repairs at least twice a year.



» Monday, August 20, 2007
One Good Reason for Telecommuting
I got "rear-ended" tonight on Spring Road.

It's in quotes because I didn't get hit very hard and there are just a few white paint marks on the right side of my rear bumper. Everyone stopped short in front of me and I managed to stop safely, but the guy behind me didn't. He didn't have any damage either, so we just shrugged and went on our way.

But this is the third time in three years that car has been hit. Of course the first time was the worst, two months after I bought it when I was T-boned on the driver's side on the way to work, $12,000 damage. The car was barely finished when we drove it up to my mom's two months later and there was another sudden stop on the Connecticut Turnpike and someone whacked the rear bumper—have a dent in my license plate and a crack in the right backup light. Luckily Chrysler makes good bumpers!

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» Sunday, August 19, 2007
Belated Friday Five

1. Who was your favorite teacher?

Charles Abosamra. Ninth grade English. Best English teacher ever! (Honorable mentions: Linda Lorenzo, eleventh grade English; Joseph Dwyer, seventh grade English; Stanley [or was it Stephen?] Plummer, eighth grade Science—only science class I ever loved; Mrs. Wright, college Geography)

2. Why was that teacher so special?

He was just an interesting teacher, never dull, made us work hard, but we enjoyed it. Only problem: we didn't read Huckleberry Finn, one of my favorite books. We had to read a William Saroyan book instead. Human Comedy would have been interesting, but it was My Kind of Crazy Wonderful People, which I found exceedingly boring. Certainly not with the same type of depth as Finn.

3. Do you think teachers get paid enough?

No. People who do important jobs never get paid enough, such as teachers, firemen, and policemen. Dips like politicians and no-talent "celebrities" get the good money.

4. Do you have a favorite year of school?

Ninth grade, because we were "top of the heap" in the junior high system (not freshmen in high school like the system is now). We had the best teachers and the most challenging classes (although I loathed biology and algebra, history and English and art class/elective and creative writing class and typing—I couldn't have a typewriter until I learned how to type, so this was an important class!—made up for it).

5. If you could travel back in time and tell yourself something now that would have helped you get through school, what would you say?

Nothing. I just wish you could have reported bullies like you can do today. Eighth grade wouldn't have been such a misery without those creepy ninth-grade girls in my Art Activity elective.



Warm Weekends and Welcomes
Summer continues to drain as the heat stands in the 90s. I remember all the energy I had when I first started working at home! Now, of course, that I need it at the end of fiscal year, it has all bled away.

We spent yesterday morning tidying up the kitchen and vacuuming for our games night, then dropped in at the hobby shop and also went to Fuzziwig's candy store. I picked up a few more Jolly Rancher watermelon candies—the bin is mixed, so I really can't get many—and James bought about a quarter pound of sugar-free malted milk balls, which he had been looking for.

We finished up at Trader Joe's, which disappointed us by being out of the chicken apple sausage that we like so well. We did get some brownie bites and chocolate chip cookies for the games night.

This went quite well, although Sue was ill and could not come. Jerry did come and the guys spent a bunch of time shmoozing about politics, although James showed off his "Dogfight" game (he was able to obtain a copy of this board game that he loved as a child). I was a bit disconcerted by the fact that I was unable to concentrate on the game we played as well as I wanted. I was a bit torn by other interesting conversations in the room, but lately this distraction factor has been a problem, as well as recurring bouts of depression.

Later we had the Little League playoffs on. The Warner Robins team was in the finals, so several people were interested in the outcome.

This morning we had a sleep-in as we stayed up late—my excuse was the third Maisie Dobbs book; I am parceling them out, reading a book in between each one, as I am enjoying them so much! When the new one comes out next year I am buying it in hardcover!—then had a light breakfast. We went for a good long walk around Town Center Mall before stopping at BJs for milk and eggs, then came home to read the paper. (At the mall we were passing "It's About Time," the clock/watch store and I suggested we go in as James' old watch, the self-winding Seiko his dad gave to him as a gift many years ago, is no longer winding properly and losing time. He was reluctant to buy as these are usually very expensive, but found a very nice one on sale, the same size as his old one. I also looked at a watch, but passed on it for now. It was a very nice Criterion with a click second hand as I like them. Ironically, my watch that gave up the ghost was given to me by my dad as well.) As a cheer-up, I put on The Best of Dave Allen as well as the "Backs to the Wall" episode of The Good Life.

Television was absolutely miserable tonight, but they advertised a fascinating-looking special for Thursday night that I don't remember ever seeing, JFK: Breaking the News, how news coverage changed with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I remember all the coverage about JFK and still have the TV Guide special edition about it. The archival footage should be fascinating. There is also a new History Detectives this week as well as next week, and more Inspector Lynley mysteries starting next Sunday on Mystery. I don't like Lynley as well as Foyle's War, but they're solid, literate mysteries. (I do wish BBC America would rerun all the existing seasons of Waking the Dead!)

There's a hint in the question-and-answer afterward of Pardonable Lies that the Maisie Dobbs books might be adapted for television. I hope the British do them! If Hollywood does it it will just be dumbed down and tarted up.

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» Friday, August 17, 2007
Ready for a Rumble
Sometime during the night there was a clap of thunder and Willow burst into a salvo of barks. We had more thunder but it really didn't look like it had rained.

Well, it's raining now—thank God I looked up from my computer and noticed how dark it was getting and hustled Wil outside—because now it's pouring. I hope it keeps it up for at least fifteen minutes, since the grass is looking a bit thirsty.



» Thursday, August 16, 2007
Welcome to Adolescence
Schuyler's moult is proceeding without incident. Her forehead is now half white and peppered with pinfeathers.

She does something that makes me laugh every day, yet she resists any effort to be friendly to her.

I love to watch her play. She gets upside down on the roof of the cage and plays with the plastic rings hung there, going in and out of the top ring. She "fights" with the different bells in her cage or sits there industriously grinding down her cuttlebone; it's the funniest scratching sound. She still goes down to the bottom of the cage and flaps her wings, the budgie version of strength training.

The most amusing thing she does is make the sounds the Webkinz make when you log on: the squeak of the tail wag, the kiss and the whistle. She has the sounds spot on.

Sometimes she just sits up on a perch and scolds for minutes at the time. Not sure what she's complaining about, but she really, really means it. LOL.

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Will You Just Shoe?
Meredith Viera on Today is giving us a preview of the new shoe department in Saks Fifth Avenue. One entire floor, the eighth, devoted to 100,000 shoes.

There's a store here in town and presumably elsewhere, called DSW, an entire store the size of Bed, Bath and Beyond, just for shoes.

I don't get it. I've never gotten it. I've never figured out Imelda Marcos or these people on Mission: Organization with hundreds of shoes.

Shoes You have one pair for best, a pair or two for work, a pair or two for weekends, a couple of pairs of slippers (summer, winter), snow boots, maybe a pair of sandals or two and some flip flops for the beach...but different color shoes for each outfit? In different styles? Why? And what's so pleasurable about shopping for them?

To me, shoes are just something that protect your feet and keep them warm in winter. It's never been a pleasure to buy them because I have a small foot (size 6) with a high instep. From what I can see, they have quit making women's small-size shoes in wide styles. Even when the rare pair turns up and they are labeled "Wide" they are still too narrow. I wear black leather Youth-size Reeboks because those are the only ones wide enough for my feet, and they still rub my small toe raw the first couple of weeks. I remember the agony of the first week of school with my school shoes rubbing blisters on my toes and my heels; I usually wore Band-Aids on them the first couple of weeks until the shoes stretched out (thank God Hush Puppies actually stretched).

Ugh! shoe shopping! I'd rather clean the bathroom! Last time we went shopping for Reeboks and I found the right size, I bought four pair, so hopefully I don't have to shop for shoes for a long, long time.



That Man
Gawd! Not Elvis again! Thirty years.

I don't see anyone making this fuss over Bing Crosby, and it's thirty years for him, too. And he was a darn better singer and performer, too.



The Illusionary Perfect Summer
The ones written about in books. Always the same: warm days, but interspersed with wonderful treats such as a cooling breeze while reading in a hammock under the trees, splashing at the beach or the pool, ice cream enjoyed as it drips, vacation in a car zooming through the mountains, night air cooling so much that sometimes you have to grab a sweater. "Sun-dappled" days when the Swallows and Amazons sailed on the lake and the Bobbsey Twins had adventures in the country and students went punting on the Cam.

Huh. The reality is sweat, swarms of bugs, air so leaden it weighs down your shoulders and smells like hot metal, sun like the flame of a welding torch on your skin and the interrogator's light shining right in your eyes, haze, fumes, still close and hot and sticky as the clock approaches midnight. Elderly people dying in third floor apartments or walking two miles in 100°F heat to get a free fan from a hospital. Dogs panting before they've gotten one step. Birds crowded at the feeder not for the seed but for the water. Misery.

"Sweet summer" my foot! Sheer Hell.



» Monday, August 13, 2007
There Is Nothing I Would Like to Do More Now...
...than to just burst out into tears.

But it wouldn't solve anything and the orders still wouldn't get done.



» Sunday, August 12, 2007
The WalMart Exercise Program and Not Many Other Tales
We needed low-carb wheat tortillas again, but I had no intention of going through at WalMart what we had last time. We were there by 10:25 and were out by 10:50. James could hardly keep up with me. I wanted out of that place before church ended. We checked ourselves out and fled.

Stopped at Lowe's for some casters and then went to breakfast at Sweet Tomatoes. They have a not-bad Sunday brunch now. Wish they hadn't dropped the cold cereal, but I had a nice bowl of real oatmeal. The heavily egg-dipped French toast assured me of one thing: I still loathe the taste of eggs.

From there we drove up to Acworth and went to Books-a-Million. Hadn't been there in a month. I think the lack of good sleep and the heat finally hit because I started to get lightheaded. So we came home and I stretched out on the sofa for about an hour. During that time James had to run back to Lowe's for another set of casters. The folding table we bought from Ikea a couple of weeks ago is too heavy to shift easily into the library, so he put wheels on it. It rolls heavily, but it rolls.

Caught up reading my Yahoo Christmas group today. I thought I hadn't read for a week, but it turned out to be from August 1. Yow.

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» Saturday, August 11, 2007
The Social Whirl
Up and running as it was "Hair Day." There was a fair crowd today. We grilled out, had what I heard was a fantastic Mexican dip, our tomato and cucumber salad (lots of tomatoes, actually, as everyone seems to have brought some), and even two great desserts, which we brought home.

We dropped in at the hobby shop and also bought some more pepper-spiked suet for the birds. I also picked up some Webkinz charms.

Tonight we went to a retirement party for a friend. She was all excited about the new recliner she'd purchased as a gift for herself. We all gave her lots of gift cards to bookstores. :-) We ate at a Japanese steakhouse and had an entertaining chef. I've been disappointed sometimes when we've gone to these places because it seemed everyone else had a funny chef and we had the one who acted like he had his period. :-)

The pall on the day has been the heat. I think it must have hit 100°F again today.

We've arranged to have a game night next Saturday evening. Yay!

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» Friday, August 10, 2007
Keeping Cool
Ever have one of those nights? The ones where all your problems gang up on you as you lie there trying to fall asleep and soon your thoughts are so crowded with worries you can't fall asleep? Yeah, those. James and I had dual attacks. Fortunately I had a day off but he had to make his way off to work.

I didn't take much of a sleep-in because I didn't want to be out in the 100°F+ weather expected later on. When I left the house at ten it was already 85. Hit the Grand Mercado for ingredients for a salad for tomorrow—I was astounded. Their vegetables didn't look like the polished and waxed perfect veggies you find in the supermarket. The cucumbers were particular misshapen. However, the tomatoes actually smell like they came fresh out of someone's garden and not a hydroponic chamber off the Jupiter II.

Sadly, even though I hit Costco we still have to go to BJs—they didn't have everything I needed (and we have to go back to WallyHell too, because the low-carb tortillas are almost gone). Made a quick stop at Borders with the milk and beef bits I bought all safely tucked up in the insulated bag, then raced home to make it by noon.

The rest of the afternoon was a mix: I did two loads of clothes, made the bed, and washed the kitchen and both bathroom floors. Also cleaned up some of the mess in my craft room preparatory to making a card for someone. I had purchased a card-making kit from Michael's some time ago. Wielding a decorative-edge scissors and picking the best bits from the card kit and adding appropriate words, I felt like Addie Mills sitting at the kitchen table making Christmas cards from construction paper. It was a nice homey feeling; I always did projects like this as a kid.

I also wrapped a couple of belated birthday gifts, including one for a person I've seen twice since his birthday (at least one time at our house) and not had his gift ready for him. Although his birthday is not for almost a month, I wrapped a gift for James and prepared another one.

I confess I did take a nap this afternoon; the siren song of the sofa was just too much. The television murmured in the background and at one point I dreamed the house was tipping over and my sofa going with it!

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» Thursday, August 09, 2007
Just sat down to watch last Friday's Doctor Who and Monk.

After July 27th's Monk, I was ready to chuck the show for good. The whole episode was ridiculous. The August 3 episode was like going from the ridiculous to the sublime. Touches of humor enlivened the drama, but it was a good story and had good character portrayals. Even Randy Disher had just the right amount of goofiness without being a complete airhead.

The epilogue was a bit offbeat and I don't think we ever learned the motive of the crime (simply bumping off a partner?), but I had tears in my eyes at the end from an honest emotion that wasn't simply feeling stupid for wasting an hour of my time.



Thursday Threesome

Summer things:

::Swimming Pool Pumps::

Onesome: Swimming-- along? Do you swim? Can you swim? Do you like to swim? Do you have a place to swim? I'm drowning in questions here <g>!

I like going in pools, but no, I cannot swim. They tried to teach me long ago, in junior high, bussed every two weeks to the Gladstone Pool. Misery. That's where I got the plantar's wart in my left foot. I would not learn to put my head under water so I couldn't learn to swim. Chlorine irritates my eyes intensely. Besides, I'd have to take my glasses off and then I couldn't see.

Twosome: Pool--? ...or billiards? Have you played either one? ...or would you like to learn?

I've played pool. It was very long ago. I don't know anyone who plays actual billiards, with the red ball and all that. When I read about it in the encyclopedia as a kid I was surprised because I didn't know that game existed. I thought pool was billiards.

Threesome: Pump--ing iron: is that in your reps? ...or does the thought of that style of working out just do you in? Inquiring minds and all that...

I have an exercise bike that works the arms as well as the legs. I have some wrist weights and exercises that can be done with them, but it hurts my elbows where I injured them when we moved from Buckhead to Koger if I do too many of the exercises.


Baby, It's Very Hot Outside
A little while ago the Weather Channel website said it was 97°F but the heat index was 102. However, the sensor for our weather station was in the sun at that time. It said it was 110°F.

It's in the shade now and down to 102. Egad.



» Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Outside: 93°F. Heat Index: 97°F.

Inside: 83°F. My fan is going full blast. I'm sopping wet and thank God Ban is a good deodorant! :-)

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Vick Chew Toy Introduced

Tip of the hat to Caran.



High 90s today and tomorrow. Possibility of going into the 100s on Thursday.

I despise summer, but most of all I despise August.



» Monday, August 06, 2007
Gold In Them There Feathers
The weather yesterday fugged me out so much I have forgotten to mention the beautiful thing that happened yesterday morning. I was at the computer and James was sitting facing the dining room windows when he said, "Linda! Look at that yellow bird out there. On top of the mount for the bird feeder!"

Last year we saw yellow and black birds and thought they were goldfinches, but they turned out to be pine siskins. This, however, definitely was a goldfinch: brilliant yellow with glossy black cap and wing markings and white bars. Gorgeous!!!!



It's that time of the afternoon when I'm almost sure I can't make it one more minute. It is not as warm in here as I feared yesterday, but it is well over 80°F and my face feels dry and cracked. Every once in a while I rub some cold water on my nose. It sounds ridiculous, but it helps me breathe better. I have the fan right under my chair, but it's only blowing warm air.

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The Quidditch Champion and the Noted Naturalist
Here's Mugglenet's interview with J.K. Rowling after the fact. Spoilers galore!

May make up for the American Graffiti/Animal House summation everyone missed. I'm a sentimental lass and liked the epilog. Harry eventually became what he always wanted to have.

Thanks for the link, Sweetie.



Monday Madness

1. What ONE thing would you like to accomplish before the end of the day?

More purchase orders.

2. What one goal would you like to attain before the end of the month?

I'm tempted to say "another job." But no chance of that happening.

3. Are you a "to-do list" writer? If so, do you stick to your list and cross things off as you complete them?

Yes, especially in improvements to the house.

4. In general, how organized do you feel you are?

I go in fits and starts. One day I just get tired of all the clutter and clean. However, I'd say 97 percent of the house is tidy. It's just those little hot spots.

5. How many piles of papers/junk mail/etc. do you have laying around your house?

Not so many since I began sorting the mail over the wastebasket. Most of it goes out with the trash. I am so not waiting for 2008. I don't even know how many trees are going to be wasted on political campaigns. Surely there's a better way than squandering resources.

6. Which ONE surface in your home do you have trouble keeping clean?

Just one? It's sort of a tie between the back of the sofa and James' side table in the living room (and in the bedroom).



» Sunday, August 05, 2007
Those Hazy, Hazy, Hazy Days of Summer
It was pretty loathsome looking today. If it had been cloudy and stormy, it would have been one thing. Instead, it again looked like someone turned the contrast slide on the television all the way to the left side. The sky was a milky blue, so pale that there was little delineation between it and the cumulus clouds that were scattered everywhere. The air was heavy; "air you wear," as John Ghiorse at WJAR always says.

And of course it was hot: in the mid-90s. No relief for the rest of the week, either. Tonight's news talked about 99°F on Thursday. Aieeeee! I don't even want to think about my cubicle tomorrow morning. It will probably be almost 90 after a Sunday with no A/C.

We had a late morning and waited to go out so that James could put our dinner in the crock pot. We had bought pork stew bits in order to make pork cacciatore; I'd even bought a nice baguette at Publix to have with it. But it turned out we were out of the Campbell's roasted garlic tomato Special Select soup used to make the sauce. So we had to make a quick trip to Food Depot again. Naturally, they didn't have any, so we made do with regular tomato soup, a green pepper, onion, and basil and oregano flakes.

Once that was started we went to Cumberland Mall to take a walk. The mall was crowded because it is tax-free weekend for Back-to-School and we only did one circuit, partially due to the crowds and partially because we still had to truck around Costco. We had some coupons for cleaning/storage supplies that were expiring today and therefore had to walk most of the store. It was actually a relief to leave the mall; the open areas were fairly cool, but the interior of any of the stores we popped in were hot. The halogen lights they use at the entrances throw off unbearable heat.

One of the things we'd planned to get at Costco was Loratadine (generic Claritin) because I had five left and James had none. Costco had none, too, so we had to stop by Kaiser to get some.

The scent of pork slow-cooked in tomato sauce accompanied housework when I got home. Two bathrooms were cleaned and I also vacuumed. The carpet wasn't in bad shape so I used the little Shark instead of the clumsy Kirby. I have been continually surprised by the cleaning power of this little gadget I got for $10 (that was half price) at Target on "Black Friday," especially since it is basically a Dust Buster. I had two Dust Busters previously and the moment the reusable dust bag got a coating of dust on it, the vacuum action dropped dramatically. But this unit, which has a vacuum head attachment for the front and an extendable handle that turns it into a little stick vac, has excellent "suckage." It even gets up birdseed.

We also folded the clothes, and, as a capper to a cleaning evening, gave Willow a bath. She sure isn't happy about it at the end like virtual pets. :-)

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» Saturday, August 04, 2007
No Mystery
We went by Dollar General today to get some batteries and I had a field day at the spinner. I bought five mystery paperbacks for $1 each, including the sequel to Blue Moon (bandleader in the early 1960s solves mysteries), Death Dines In (anthology of food mystery short stories), Cruel and Unusual Intuition (says it's a "Karma Crime Mystery"), The Sunken Sailor (a mystery written by fourteen different writers), and one of Nero Blanc's crossword puzzle mysteries, plus a book of good and bad carb foods. I've had variable success with books from the spinner; some have been winners and there were others, like the gardening mystery, which I just plain hated.

The batteries were for James' new weather station. He'd always wanted an electronic unit, but they run into the $50-$60 range. We have my dad's old thermometer/barometer/humidity sensor that hung on the wall at home, but the barometer quit working long ago. However, we went to Lowe's for safflower seed last night and discovered they had all their weather stations on sale. James got a $60 unit for less than 2/3 off and also a pocket-sized one that's also an alarm clock for about $8. The larger one has a sensor for outside and also one for inside. Both tell the phases of the moon.

I also found a wonderful book in a little book/gift shop in Acworth. It's actually a compilation of three books about a woman in New York who rescues, cares for, and then releases hummingbirds.

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» Friday, August 03, 2007
Backlogged Memes
Thursday Threesome


Net gain:

::Writing your Blog::

Onesome: Writing-- on the web: Do you consider yourself a writer, in that you provide a narrative of some sort? ...or a responder, wherein you primarily work the meme circuit?

No, I write. About nothing, if necessary. Writing's what I do, along with reading. I've been writing stories since I was ten and journaling since 1968. You might as well ask me not to breathe.

Twosome: your-- place: did you do your own design? ...or did you pick out something from the established templates?

I've taken templates and messed with them, which is pick and choose because I don't understand CSS as well as HTML.

Threesome: Blog-- this! What's your favorite type of thing to run across that you just can't wait to get to the computer to post? Photos count, but for the photobloggers (like Laurie and me), what is it that you just know you won't be able to hold on to for even a day?

Oh, items about books or television series that I like.


From the garden

::Lettuce and tomato::

Onesome: 'Lettuce'-- talk of salads and dressings: Is plain green your thing? ...or do you like 'stuff' mixed in or scattered over the top? ...and how about the dressing: what's leading your list this year?

I love baby greens and also tomato and cucumber salads. Onions are nice but they make me sick. Minimal Bacos are good, too. I have finally found a salad dressing I love, since I can't find the Oriental dressing they used to have at Rockford's when we played trivia. This is Kraft Low Fat Asian Sesame Dressing. Only comes up on me minimally and tastes great.

Twosome: and-- how about those Mets, -eh? Actually, baseball's doing okay this week, with basketball, football and cycling having the problems. Is there any sports news you'd care to comment on?

Sports? What's sports? (Although there's someone I'd like to set a pit bull on...)

Threesome: tomato-- and lettuce: the perfect toppings for that hamburger someone will cook up for you at a Labor Day picnic in another month or so? ...or perhaps you have another set of condiments you like on your meat or tofu?

I like my hamburger and hot dog with ketchup only and then just a little.

Friday Five

1. If you were a fruit, which would you be and why?

Granny Smith Apples, because they're tart and crisp.

2. If you wake up and smell smoke, and you have to get everybody (pets included) out of the house safely, but you have time to grab one item, what would you grab?

Photo boxes.

3. If you were stuck on an island, who would be the one person you would want with you and why?

Well, James. Who else would cook? :-)

4. If you could change one thing about your physical appearance, what would it be?

Honey, I'd need a book. I'd lose weight because it would be healthier for me and I'd probably sleep better.

5. If you could spend the day with one famous person, dead or alive, who would you choose?

Hard. Eleanor Roosevelt during WWII. Or maybe Walt Disney. Very hard question.



» Thursday, August 02, 2007
A Project Completed... Autumn Hollow.

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