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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» Sunday, August 29, 2010
The Weekend Update
My weekend action started before the weekend ever did. Friday morning I called Earthlink because the FedEx tracking number that the Earthlink rep had given me was still showing up as "not found" on the FedEx website. I really didn't expect them to ship the modem on Wednesday, but after paying for overnight shipping, I did expect it to be on its way by now.

I was informed by yet another Earthlink representative that I had the wrong FedEx number. Joy. When I plugged that in, it told me the package was enroute. But I had another question for her: did I have to sign for it. No, she said, if there was somewhere to put the package, they would leave it. If not, we would get a note and could go pick up the modem at the FedEx office on Franklin Road, anytime before 8:30, or on Saturday morning.

I got on a roll today and at lunchtime was going so well I just kept going. There is always, in August, a logjam of orders in various states that makes me feel uncomfortable. This morning I spent distributing orders and other paperwork, and printing out new orders and backup material to be submitted for signature. This afternoon I went through my e-mail one by one, printing out pertinent items, and matching them with orders. This has produced a nice tidy pile of orders which are now able to be worked on. It was a relief.

Success! I can finally close the accordion folder I have all my work in! It no longer looks like a stuffed tick and I don't need to use the thick elastic bards that come with the newspaper to keep it shut anymore. Considering how it looked (and weighed!) for the last few weeks, this is a definite plus!

When I got home, there was Mr. Modem sitting in its box at the front door. I took Willow out, then booted up the computer and began. The modem was almost ridiculously easy to set up (which was a good thing, because the instructions which the packing slip insisted were in the box were missing in action). I plugged the telephone line into the modem, and the computer into the modem, then tried to get into a website. Instead of an error message, I was connected with Earthlink. I typed in my user name and password. And I was in.

The router, however, seemed insurmountable. By the time James came home, I had a screaming headache. So we went to supper at Ken's Grill, then came home, completely reset the router, and uninstalled and reinstalled the software.

Now everything is reconnected happily—except for the laptop. The laptop does not work and play well with others—at least wirelessly. Plug a network cable into it and it says hi happily and work its little heart out. But show it wireless and it turns up its little computer nose.

It was not resolved by midnight. We went to bed anyway.

James had to work Saturday, but we still got up to go to the Farmer's Market. We strolled the booths, ate samples, gathered vegetables, chicken salad, and some yummy wine jelly, and when we finished our shopping, we ate breakfast at a newish place called "Old Ephraims," right on a corner of the Square. It is an anamoly for downtown, a place that looks like it belongs about an hour north up in the mountains. The story of the name is on the back of the menu, along with the info that the beautiful wood paneling that lines the inside of the place was originally going to be burned! The owner had cleared some land and didn't want the wood. Yow!

The portions were huge. James had biscuits and gravy, which came with eggs and hash browns. He finished it only because by the time we ate it was almost lunchtime. I had French toast and took half of it home. The bread slices were "Texas toast" size, but light as a feather. The only thing they didn't have was real maple syrup: I made do with Mrs. Butterworth.

After the vegetables were put up, James left for work. I corralled my coupons and went out. I went up to the Barnes & Noble at Town Center to see if any of the fall magazines were out, as they have one of the best magazine collections in town. (Damn, I miss the J. Muggs newstand in Buckhead!) Sadly, nothing out yet but the new Early American Life, but I did get the Hallowe'en issue of Just Cross Stitch because of the fall designs, including one of a chickadee on autumn leaves. I also walked next door and found good copies of the first two Mannheim Steamroller Christmas albums at CD Warehouse. I have these on cassette tape and am trying to get better copies, since the tape is so frangible. Most of my Christmas cassettes are things I can't get anymore, like the three British albums of medieval and pre-19th century music, but when I find inexpensive replacements on CD I replace them.

I also found an unusual gift for James. :-)

By this time the traffic down Barrett Parkway was in epic proportions (read: the usual for a busy shopping area on Saturday afternoon). Emerging from the clot, I went to JoAnn; mostly bought things on clearance and used my coupons for more iron-on patches. I found little decorative stools at half price, and bought a red one and a dirty eggshell colored one (they are "country" and "distressed"—frankly, the lighter one looks more upset than distressed...LOL). The red one can be used in the foyer for Christmas, Valentine's Day, autumn—even Independence Day with the right trim—to hold little figures, but the red wouldn't work for Easter. I may paint the light-colored one a grass green or a sky blue, which would work for Easter and also for summer.

Then I went to Borders. I'd seen a new book about House at Barnes & Noble and hoped I could find it at Borders to use with a coupon. Apparently I was in the only place on this side of town that had one! Also found the fall editions of Yankee and Vermont Life—yay! there is a light at the end of the tunnel of horror called "summer."

Stopped at BJs on the way home for gas. Zowee! 2.349! Made a final stop at the Borders on the East-West Connector to see if they had the astronaut book that I'd also seen at B&N. No dice, but I did find the next book in the "Dog Walker" mystery series.

Came home to a very un-fun afternoon. [neep alert] After a bit of conniving, I managed to connect the laptop to the network. I found the place where you had to enter the new encryption data (James swapped the encryption from WEP to WPA since we now had units all capable of using it), and entered a static IP address because that's the way the laptop likes it. And I had connected!

Unfortunately, I decided to restart the laptop. I wanted to take AVG and Avast virus scanners off and replace them with Microsoft Security Essentials. The minute I rebooted, everything went to that proverbial handbasket. First I had to keep retyping the static IP address in. When you do that it asks you to reboot. Once it rebooted, it had lost all the data. I probably did this ten times before it saved. Then it wouldn't connect because it said the wireless was off. Since I hadn't shut the wireless off, this was maddening. Finally I got that to stay on, but it wouldn't save the encryption. I kept getting a message that I didn't have the correct code when I had just typed the blasted thing in not ten seconds before.

Had leftovers for supper and watched The Spiderwick Chronicles. Haven't read the novels, so I don't know how much it diverged from the original storyline. I remember there was some contention about the young lead actor playing twins. Passable fantasy—were the clueless parents with marital problems in the original book? My reaction was "oh, no, not this again."

James arrived home at 9:30, just about the time I discovered that the DragonCon schedule was finally online. They put it up later each year; it's only five days until the convention starts. So we spent the rest of the evening entering likely-looking panels into our calendars, and, later, talking to Jen, Rodney, Mike, and Emma on chat.

Had a late start this morning, and it was a long grocery shopping trip. This last weekend in August is one of my least favorite weekends, since we have to buy for two weeks. After four days of DragonCon, the last thing I want to do is grocery shop! All we need to do is stop by and get some milk.

After stowing the groceries, we had a varied, but relaxing afternoon. I washed towels and the hall bathroom floor, James rearranged the cupboards, and we listened to a backlog of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" podcasts. Later James grilled boneless pork ribs marinated in Trader Joe's Island Soyaki sauce, which we had along with some rice and salad while watching R5Sons Alaska.

Now catching up on "Headlines" and Futurama.

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Color Film Tests
Absolutely mesmerizing: Color Motion Pictures - The Earliest Days: 1922.

You must scroll down a little to see the footage.

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» Thursday, August 26, 2010
Don't Touch That Dial (up)!
An interesting day. Because the DSL modem is dead, I had to work today using dial-up.

This was slow, but not as bad as I feared. The biggest problem I had was opening PDF files. I spent most of the day working on orders, and having to work more slowly than usual was actually valuable—I knew I couldn't rush so I was more methodical. I did get five or six orders done; at least three had to be put aside due to technical difficulties like ICE not being able to find a contract number. Plus the usual: answering a few e-mails and a few phone calls.

I broke for lunch very late because today was Amazon Vine day. On the third Thursday of the month, you get the targeted list, which is usually very boring. But on the fourth Thursday you get the "leftovers" from everyone's targeted list. Sometimes it's still dull, lots of young adult books bristling with vampires or romance novels and Amish romances or pretentious-sounding academic books. But then I like some of those pretentious-sounding academic books myself, especially if they are about linguistics and history.

I didn't pick anything last week, and I wish we could have "rollover" choices, because the leftover list was pretty juicy today. I picked out the newest Bess Crawford mystery by Charles Todd (I got the first book from Vine, too; Crawford is a World War I nurse) and Bill Bryson's new book about the history of the home. You can only pick two books at the time and that was disappointing, because I would have loved The Mental Floss Guide to American History and a book called Turn and Jump: How Time & Place Fell Apart, which had an intriguing description about being about time and place. Not to mention there were at least three "warm and fuzzy" type books about dogs as well.

Had a nice time listening to podcasts today as well. I listen at work, but it is so much harder because I worry about disturbing other people, but it is hard to hear at work without turning up the volume—it's just so noisy with the computer, the fan, the dull roar of the air conditioning system, and the ceaseless drone of voices. Anyway, I listened to a Leo LaPorte "Tech Guy" broadcast, a "Way With Words" from last October, the 2009 year finale at "Mugglecast," the first broadcast of "A Doggy Dog World" from PetLife Radio (about "busy dogs"), and a Rick Steves tour of St. Paul's Cathedral.

We are now watching a special about the history of cereal.

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» Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Life and Times—and Back in Time
Well, Monday I did the dreaded deed: went to the dentist. I haven’t been in a while. I have this very paranoid tendency toward anyone who has to work close to my face, a hypersensitive gag reflex—my pediatrician couldn’t even use a tongue depressor—and a big panic reaction to anything involving dentists, since my experience having my wisdom teeth removed ranks right up there with the Spanish Inquisition (and one knows that no one gets over the Spanish Inquisition). (I’m being funny here because the memory is so terrifying.)

Unfortunately I have a broken tooth. It’s been that way a while, but it started hurting a couple of weeks ago—up till then I’d even still been chewing on it. I started gargling with salt water and brushing more than the usual twice a day and it felt better. I knew then I was going to have to bite the bullet (which would be considerably less painful) and get it taken care of sometime in the future.

And then Friday the pain hit again. This time it wasn’t the gums that hurt, but the tooth itself; I couldn’t even touch it gently. Well, I’d been looking online for likely Delta Dental dentists and found a nice-sounding one on Concord Road. Unfortunately they were closed for the day. So I did the salt and the analgesics and the pain for the weekend, and my left cheek was hard, hot and swollen. I even had a fever on Saturday.

Anyway, the dentist is nice, the techs are nice, the office is nice (it's a converted house)—and my reactions to such have remained the same. I have antibiotics to take care of the abscess I have, and I can either have the tooth pulled or have a root canal done. Either way they are going to have to sedate me. All they did Monday was take X-rays and I was gagging on the thing I had to bite down on to properly photograph the teeth. Logically I know it’s ridiculous, but the moment anyone gets that close to my head or presses down on my tongue and I panic. Just thinking about having to lie back and have junk in my mouth makes me ill.

Trouble is, I hate taking sedatives, too. I don’t understand how people take “recreational” drugs. They scare the dickens out of me. I remember when they took me off the IV painkillers after my surgery in 2004; they gave me Percoset. It made me feel like I was going crazy, and as if my heart was racing even though it was not. I told the nurse I didn’t care how much it hurt; I didn’t want that again. I know people who say airily "Oh, I had this procedure done, but it's okay because they gave me 'the good drugs.'" Even the good drugs look bad to me.

Anyway, nice thing to look forward to. It isn’t bad enough it’s summer and end-of-fiscal-year!

Next came the DSL modem problem. For about a month, we’ve had this odd problem with our online access: aside from one Thursday afternoon, it will work fine all day and then about 9 o’clock start having drop outs. Unplugging the modem only gave you a few more minutes of connectivity and then it would crash again, and by the end of the night it would refuse to work at all. In the morning it would be fine again, so it wasn't like the wretched thing was permanently broken. Not only this, but it only happened a couple of nights a week, and never happened on weekends. Well, after it happened a couple of weeks in a row I went on Earthlink’s online chat via my Droid to ask what to do, which always involved starting, stopping, and resetting the modem, and I was always doing this about 10:30, 11 at night, so I couldn’t follow through with anything the technician wanted us to do because it was time for bed.

Last night the moment it started acting up (directly after I finished watching an episode of History Detectives online, and it worked flawlessly) I called Earthlink. It took forever to get on, and then we went with the dog-and-pony show of unplugging, resetting, and testing the modem. None of this worked, and they escalated us to Level 3. Briefly, the tech did get us online—and then I made the mistake of asking how the other computers on the network could then access the internet. To make a long story short, and against James’ better judgment, the tech required us to reset the router, too. So after two and a half hours we not only had no internet connection, but the idiot had killed our home network.

This morning I called them up and told them, politely, what I thought of their technicians and their procedures. I had instructions to call the tech support number, ask for Senior support, and tell them we had been through all the ordinary tests. This I did upon arriving home, and, to make a long story short, we are getting a new DSL modem.

In the meantime, we are on dial-up, which we haven’t done since we moved into the house! I couldn’t even remember how to set up a dial-up connection. Neither of our computers have modems anymore, but several years back I bought a compact (about the size of a cell phone, but chubbier) USB modem, which has sat in a little bag behind my computer screen, awaiting a day such as this. It is a breeze to install and works like a champion, even if the speed is positively glacial next to DSL. Of course we don’t have the fastest DSL plan anyway, so it’s not that big a shock...and a slow connection is better than no connection at all!

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Too Funny
World War II on FACEBOOK

Tip o' the hat to Biz!

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» Sunday, August 22, 2010
Went grocery shopping about noon and have been watching From the Earth to the Moon all afternoon. Schuyler's cage is near me and I've been watching Schuyler preen and fluff and nap all afternoon. Occasionally she comes to the front of the cage, on the top perch, and does her "trick" for me—leans backwards and touches her swing with her beak, flapping her wings.

I wish they had done a score CD for From the Earth to the Moon. Some of the background music is so lovely, or lively, or just plain memorable. The least they could have done was have a "score only" track for the DVDs as was done for Apollo 13.



» Saturday, August 21, 2010
Mostly Work and Not Much Play
Been busy as the little bees Victorian children were given as examples of industriousness. Drives me a bit mad not to have done more. Thursday night I wanted to finish one more order and they took ICE down at five for maintenance. The littlest things hold things up, and build into larger things.

I've also had a problem for the last few weeks that's going to need to be taken care of, and it looks like it might have to be sooner than later. I've been putting it off, at least until after September 12. I really don't want to take off from work, not to mention don't want to do it at all.

Plus it looks like I may have a fever. So if it's not one thing it's another.

I'm just having trouble keeping up this summer. It's a combination of the continual heat and the workload, which was in June what it usually is in August. I'm not bouncing back to the challenge like I used to. And while I've tried not to show it, I've been depressed and restless since the summer began. Mostly I want to retreat into my books.

At least have got some housework done and am slowly prepping the house for Jen's visit. DragonCon is in two weeks and I wish I was more enthusiastic, especially since Dean Stockwell and Kai Owen will be there.

Stayed home this afternoon to nurse myself and ended up watching the rest of the first season of The Mothers-in-Law and the first two episodes of season two. It's immediately apparent that the show has lost something by not bringing back Roger C. Carmel. Richard Deacon is workmanlike—I don't think it was ever in Deacon's nature to give a bad performance—but he's just not the larger-than-life character than Carmel's was. Plus he had no chemistry at all with Kaye Ballard. Roger and Kaye were these big, expansive ridiculous characters who loved and argued with equal gusto, but they adored each other. Kaye thought Roger's scripts were brilliant and acted them out with him, and even when she took Jerry's side against his father, it was always obvious that they were miserable when they weren't speaking to each other. Deacon was just someone Kaye snapped at and slapped, and when they hugged it wasn't real.

Watched two of the extras, the original pilot with Kay Cole playing Suzie and the interview with Kaye Ballard. She spoke highly of Carmel.

I did notice that, although they couldn't afford to give the cast their raise (the reason Carmel quit), they managed to redesign every inch of both the Buells' and the Hubbards' homes, and had a lot more "name" guest stars (who very obviously commanded "name" salaries).

I guess this isn't an inspiring post, either, but my heart's not in it.

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» Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Noted on "TechStuff" on Facebook:

The Secret Histories of Those @#$%ing Computer Symbols



» Sunday, August 15, 2010
Chillin'...on Some Summer Afternoons
After Friday it was a blessedly quiet weekend. We slept late on Saturday, ate a leisurely breakfast, and didn't go out until one o'clock.

Some of James' co-workers have been talking about a new restaurant called "Come and Get It." (It's literally that: you put the order in and they call your name when it's ready.) It in what used to be the old Elizabeth Feed and Seed Store, back when Elizabeth was a little country village outside Marietta serving mostly farmers. The menu is an interesting mix of "country food" and some Greek and Italian favorites. We decided to make this our big meal, so I had a bowl of soup along with my grilled cheese sandwich and a small slice of chocolate cream pie with two layers of chocolate. The waitress said the piece wasn't large enough and gave me two—I saved the second for later! James also got the chocolate layer cake for dessert (he had meat loaf and vegetables) and brought half home; the slice was enormous.

I can definitely recommend their chicken soup! As a bonus, it's made with rice; I could have had it as a meal alone. Quite stuffed when we left.

Didn't do much else: sat at the hobby shop for a while, then made a stop at Family Dollar and also Big Lots, then came home, to the joy of our fids. James spent some time down in his "lair" trying to get incorrect decals off a model; that's some good glue, because he couldn't even peel them off with duct tape!

We were on chat late, wanting to hear about Jen's and Jason and Meggan's trip to Oklahoma to visit Mike, so we slept in this morning, then went grocery shopping. Publix had instant oatmeal as a twofer, and we got some other goodies as well. At Kroger we found about a pound and a half of boneless pork ribs. When we got home, James layered them in the little 1 1/2 quart crock pot that was my mom's, putting barbecue sauce between the layers.

Once we finished putting the groceries away, we went to Sears to see if they had fabric wallets; James' is about dead. Just leather there. Guess we will have to go to WallyWorld. We did wander around Sears a bit, and saw some of the new LED televisions. My goodness, they are bright! Impressive picture, too.

Also went by Borders for a bit, then came home. Washed towels, made the bed, sorted my pills for the week, made sure I had all my clothes out for tomorrow, that sort of thing.

The pork was cooked it until it broke apart with a fork and we had barbecue on English muffins while watching a neat National Geographic Channel special called How Man Created Dogs. Wish I could say I was fortified for tomorrow, but the barbecue sauce is making me sick to my stomach. Apparently at this time of year if I eat anything with more flavor than instant oatmeal it's going to attack me. Phooey!

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» Friday, August 13, 2010
Tired--And It's Only Two Weeks In
As the British say, I am completely fagged out. Six more weeks left until end of fiscal year and I already feel like I've been wrung out in the wash.

Today was...extreme. Didn't sleep well most of the night. My knees woke me up once; plus at 1:30 I woke up tasting supper from over seven hours earlier. Just a plainly cooked pork chop, three tablespoons of teriyaki rice, and some watermelon—wouldn't have bothered me ordinarily. Woke with a headache. Forgot to pour my milk last night and completely forgot to pour more. Stopped at Burger King to get a pint: $1.06 and it was 2 percent which feels thick and unnatural since I've been drinking skim so long.

Traffic was appalling. It's been a year since I've had to drive to work on a Friday; there was more traffic this morning than any other day this week. Got to work, left my phone in the car, had to go back after it before I could eat breakfast. Feeling hungry and lightheaded all day, especially this afternoon; even after my peach I was hungry to the point it hurt.

In the meantime I processed seven orders, but they couldn't be awarded electronically because the mechanism that reports our spending to DC was down. This was actually a good thing because in going through e-mail I discovered there was a problem with one of them that I hadn't realized went with that particular order (I've had several orders for the same vendor, and I didn't realize the problem order was the one I was trying to get awarded). Our workload is such that even my supervisors are doing purchase orders...that is just wild. I spent the afternoon trying to match a glut of quotes printed out to the orders they belong to, or match 653 waivers to their corresponding orders, etc. I haven't even touched the orders that were competed...arrgh!

Out at 3:30, which, of course, when it started to rain. I-285 west didn't look that bad when I checked the traffic map; ten minutes later it was stop-stop-stop with very little "and-go." It was pouring most of the way, the freeway awash in puddles that sent up great wakes of water when you drove through them, and scattered trash all in the right lanes: pine straw, twigs, limbs, leaves beaten off the trees by the rain. It took me 45 minutes to go ten miles, over eighty minutes for the whole trip of 24 miles.

Arrived home to discover it hadn't rained a drop here. Should have had a drink and perhaps some nuts or cereal, but instead collapsed on the futon and slept until James came home. We had dinner at Giovanni's, which partially revived me, but now I am re-tasting tonight's dinner. All that acid in my stomach from the stress, I suspect.

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» Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The Atlanta 500
Great. Yesterday some nimnul from Florida driving a car the size of a cabin cruiser nearly sideswipes me—had to swerve all the way into the breakdown lane; good thing it was empty—and this morning some dork is tailgating me at 70 mph. Mind you, I didn't want to be going that fast, but I was afraid to slow down, he was hugging the bumper of my car so closely. And there was no way for me to move into the right lane to let him pass because it was one solid line of cars heading downtown. He only got off my bumper when he saw a police car flash its lights from the northbound lane.

Guys, this is the freeway, not Daytona.



» Monday, August 09, 2010
In Passing
A farewell to Patricia Neal in Holiday Harbour.



Someone Having a Bad Day
So there I was, this morning, at the traffic light at the Shallowford Road exit, waiting to corss the intersection to the access road that would take the rest of the way to work. To my left was a big car with North Carolina plates and two young women in the front seat. The one in the passenger side seat rolled her window down and called out to me—asked which way was the airport. Boy, were they going in the wrong direction. I pointed in the opposite direction, down I-85S and said "That way."

She looked shocked. "But the man at the hotel told us it was this way! He said 85 north!" And if this wasn't bad enough, she had printed instructions in her hand that apparently also said 85 north!

Maybe they were going to Peachtree DeKalb? No. They wanted Hartsfield. "It's in the other direction, south of town."

I saw the driver's jaw drop and the woman talking to me protested "But we just came from downtown!"

So I let them get in front of me to pull off the road, presumably to recheck their directions and maybe consult a map. Good grief, who in the dickens gave them directions like that?

Hope they finally made it.



» Saturday, August 07, 2010
Since we'd picked up hoagie rolls last night, we were free to go to the Farmer's Market this morning before Hair Day. Munched on samples, bought a huge tomato ($1.50 for a tomato!), some sweet corn, chicken salad, and sun goat pesto to also bring along. James wore his Gaelic Storm T-shirt and one person asked him if it was a sports team, but another recognized it and said they'd been to one of their concerts. Then we went to the Butlers via Polk Street, Dallas Highway (stopping at Kroger to get crackers to go along with the sun goat pesto, which, incidentally, tastes good with pretzels, too), and Villa Rica Road. I particularly like this last leg because there are still farms out that way, with horses and houses snugged under stands of trees.

Hair Day was fun. We had sandwiches, macaroni salad, fresh tomatoes, olives, and lettuce, and Terica made a strawberry cake, and gabbed and gabbed. Elayna's little boy is getting so big!

We left about quarter after one, taking the veggies and the chicken salad home and swapping the car for the truck (we took the car in case Juanita needed a ride home), then went to the hobby shop. I was reading John Noble Wilford's The Mapmakers until someone tossed a magazine at me. It was the first issue of a magazine called "The Atlantan" from 1958.

Whoa. Talk about time machines. Of course the first thing you noticed about it was that everyone in the magazine was white. And there was a depressing one-page article about desegregation of schools being bad because crime, vandalism, etc. went up in schools that were desegregated.

On the other hand, some of the entries were a trip. There was a humorous story about Martians who land in a rural area and befriend an old farmer. An article about the carving on Stone Mountain, which wasn't finished yet, and several pages of ladies' fashions at the time.

One full-page article, "Chicks in Georgia," was about poultry production in the state. I was especially amused by this passage under the heading "Feed Progress":
Feed manufacturers have made their contributions, too. Tremendous improvements have been made in the feed which the broilers eat. Foods now may contain antibiotics, medicinals or other growth-promoting additives.
All those things in the late 1950s were seen as something positive in agriculture; now they are all considered negative! I also hadn't realized how long those additives had been in animal feed.

The magazine had been in with some old stuff, no one wanted it, so I got to take it home.

I'd thought about going to another Barnes & Noble to see if they had any books I could put away for gifts, but we were so hot and thirsty by that time we just came home. I had realized that I had not started a gift list for this year and so did not know who we already had gifts for and who we did not, so I spent about an hour sorting in the Christmas boxes and rearranging, making a list on my phone. I already have a surprising number of people taken care of for Christmas, and now just have to fill in the blanks.

And James' anniversary gift is already wrapped and hidden away.

Around suppertime we watched the latest Jesse Stone film with Tom Selleck. It looks as if we missed a great deal of backstory not watching the previous five films, but I enjoyed the mystery nonetheless. And then finally we watched "The Pandorica Opens" and "The Big Bang," this year's season finale to Doctor Who. Whoa! Bouncing timestreams! About to go cross-eyed. Glad to see that little Amelia got a return engagement. Great roller-coaster of an episode.

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» Friday, August 06, 2010
Temporary Freedom
I so needed my compressed day off. You should see the accordion folder I have all my purchase orders in! If I thought it was crammed full last year, it's positively bursting this year. The wide end looks as if it's the width of the A, M, N-O, and P volumes of the World Book. Thank God it's not as heavy, but I'm still having difficulty carrying it. I feel like I'm in junior high school again, carrying an algebra book, a science book, a history book, and Mr. Dwyer's beloved Warrener's English grammar, not to mention assorted notebooks, my arms stretched out full-length.

The Fry Meter was supposed to stand in the high 90s today, so I tried to go out to get back around noon. I had to post something first, so my first stop was at the Post Awful where I decided to stock up on Forever stamps. I had a coupon for $10 off a $30 purchase at World Market, so I went there next.

World Market is always a trip: they have everything from cooking supplies to wine to furniture to bath things to chair pads, and the inevitable geegaws. At the rear of the store is a collection of international foods, complete with Vegemite and marzipan, down to clotted cream and couscous. I wanted to put some things together for a gift basket, which I did, and chose two different types of couscous to make up the difference.

I also had a 25 percent off coupon to Barnes & Noble if I used my Chase credit card. I have my old Borders credit card which is now a Chase Freedom card, which pissed me off. I don't want most of what Chase Freedom provides; I preferred the book coupons. Anyway, I was noting that many of the credit card advice sites say to use a card once or twice a year so that the company will not charge you a fee. I thought it a good time to combine the two things, and bought Nicola Upson's second Josephine Tey mysteries. I adored the first; the narrative was so evocative of the 1930s mysteries. I was definitely getting Dorothy Sayers vibes.

Came home by the dueling gas stations, which, sadly, were not so cheap any longer. But I didn't feel like searching all about for gas.

When I got home I started my fruitless search for cheap airfares. As I'd discovered yesterday at lunch, we waited something like two days too long to get a decent flight north. What was $508 on Wednesday is over $700 now. Can't be helped. I haven't seen any of my relatives in five years and am dying to get north to smell the Atlantic and feel cool mountain air. I always read about people feeling cooped up during the winter; this is what I'm feeling now, claustrophobic from going from one air-conditioned, canned air building to another via air-conditioned vehicle just to keep out of the heat, which saps energy from my body like a suction hose. I despise the heat and loathe the sun; all they give me is rashes and headaches and extended time in the bathroom. At least I don't get eczema like I used to in the summer when I was a kid—that would be too much, having to wander down corridors at work with the folds of skin opposite my elbows doused in soothing cream or Caladryl!

James came home and we had supper at IHOP (twofer coupons). Surprisingly, their sirloin tips weren't bad. Picked up hoagie rolls for Hair Day tomorrow, then wandered around Borders for a while, where I picked up the August issue of the British Country Living, and another gift.

Bit the bullet, have plane reservations. Next, hotel and car.

Finished Kelly McNees' The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott. I think I have every bio of Alcott ever written (all of which she mentions in the afterward). As always when reading about Louisa's family, my first impulse is to grab her father and shake him to his senses. Lord, what an infuriating man!

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» Wednesday, August 04, 2010
'Cause Although I'm Not Generally Interested in Dinosaurs...
...I never did quite get over Jurassic Park (it's all Sam Neill's fault...LOL):

MSU Finds Triceratops/Torosaurus Were Different Stages of One Dinosaur

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» Monday, August 02, 2010
Because, of course, celebrities are somehow "special."

Lindsay Lohan Released From Jail



Not Sure Which is Sadder...
...the always sobering story of Jim Thorpe's fate, or the comments that accompany this article, including the inevitable dragging in of politics, politics, politics.

Tortured Life of World's Greatest Athlete



The Open Road
At least Smyrna-Powder Springs Road has been reopened! No more going through Church Street where the intersection at South Cobb was always backed up past the church, or through the congestion that is Windy Hill Road.

The roadwork's not finished, mind you; the curbs are not all in yet, nor have they settled the front yards of homes which were torn up and which are now overgrown with weeds. Frankly, it's still a mess and I wish they hadn't touched it, except for a good repaving, which it needed. The recovery dollars they wasted on it could have been better used repairing gaping potholes which are everywhere else, and, frankly, they have ruined what was once a nice little almost-country road through suburbia, especially where they uprooted the beautiful trees surrounding the little bridge over the creek, trees that made a lovely shady canopy in roasting summer only to turn beautiful colors in the fall, simply to straighten out the road a bit. Not to mention that the straighter, wider road will just encourage the idiots who already dash through there like they're auditioning for the Daytona raceway to go even faster.

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» Sunday, August 01, 2010
The Calm Before the Storm
Gathering positive vibes and ZZZZZs before the start of the last push of the year. Slept late, stopped at Publix and Kroger, had breakfast, went to Office Max (they were having one of those "20 percent off anything you can fit into this bag" sales and we stocked up on some office supplies), Books-a-Million, and Petco, then came home.

Took a break from watching The Mothers-in-Law; watched about 20 episodes so far and enjoying it for the most part. As James commented, this was a bit of a one-joke show: meddling mothers-in-law always interfering in their childrens' marriage. The fun in this is watching Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard, especially Ballard doing her broad Italian mother routine. Such ethnic comedy is uncommon today, but in the 1960s it was impossible for Italian kids not to see their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers in her volatile performance, whether fussing over her son, supplying endless Italian dinners, and muttering under her breath in Italian whenever she became aggravated. While modern audiences might see Kaye Buell as a stereotype, we knew she was real, just overplayed in the tradition of commedia dell'arte. Roger C. Carmel and Herb Rudley made great counterparts to these two great ladies.

Oh, yeah, you can see some of the lines coming from a mile away, but it's all still fun.

We came home from our second excursion to find Willow sniffing the air eagerly; we'd found a pork roast at Kroger and were slow cooking it in the crock pot with spaghetti sauce. When it was done James put it in the freezer and we will have it some other time. For supper we had the steak we found on discount.

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