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, September 30, 2010
The Moving Finger Writes
And having writ, moves on...and so another fiscal year bites the dust. This was a particularly mad year, with recovery act money and other funds.

I actually finished everything yesterday, so today helped set up the brunch that was arranged—we had breakfast things mostly, fruit, and some sweets, and juice and coffee, and we all sat about and chatted for a while, and then folks went back to their desks. Answered some e-mails, and eventually went over and shot the bull with Tamera, who was filing her finished orders. I had to do mine last week as I had run out of room for them and had them piled on top of my file cabinet and on the extra chair in my cubicle. I tossed out a bunch of catalogs and promotional letters, some which went back to 2007, and freed up two drawers.

Was uncomfortable most of the day as I had eaten one spicy meatball and one sausage and paid for it later. I should have stuck to the bagel, potatoes, and pancakes. :-( James grilled some pork very simply for supper and that seemed to help.

We watched a couple of episodes of The Flintstones tonight to celebrate the anniversary—still funny after all these years.

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The Flintstones are 50!

Webrock - The Flintstones and Hanna-Barbera Page

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» Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Fire and Ice
I was so busy last night with my nose buried in Connie Willis' Blackout (I barely came out for House and Castle) that I didn't comment on the irony of 90s on Saturday and ice on the deck yesterday afternoon.

It rained most of yesterday morning, but was sunny and cool by afternoon. However, by five, huge dark clouds were building up. I hustled Willow outside. As always, she wanted to bark at the three big dogs next door, and I had to keep reminding her what she was outside for. Then the thunder started while we were under the trees.

We got back in, unscathed; I wiped her paws and sorted the mail, came up the stairs—and the rain began with an unholy rattle at the chimney. Now that Willow had an "airing," it was my turn. I wasn't so much into Blackout, however, that I missed that the pounding rain was inordinately loud. For a second, I almost panicked, because it sounded as if it were raining in the attic!

I found out the reason immediately: hail! It was coming down in bean-sized lumps, making little piles on the deck. The thunder was ferocious.

If it was anxious for me, it was even more "interesting" for James, who had to drive home in it. The sound of the hail was so loud beating on the roof of the truck and the windshield that he said he could still hear it in his head even after changing clothes and starting dinner.

Today it is still overcast, but I don't believe rain is expected. It was a chilly 58°F this morning—how lovely!

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» Sunday, September 26, 2010
The Weekend Only Got Better
Although Saturday was hot later on, there was a nice breeze at the Farmer's Market and it wasn't bad walking around. We had vegetables, so bought treats: goat cheese, some applewood-smoked bacon, and a turkey dinner pot pie.

There were signs up all over the market saying it would be open until November 20. I guess they found opening through December didn't work last year, but we're glad it will go into the fall.

We also went to the bank, stopped at Lowes to get some filters for the HVAC system, and at Hobby Lobby just to wander about from the fall decorations to the Christmas decorations.

James had his club meeting this afternoon. I continued working on my digital photograph project. I'm looking at each of the photos, deciding whether to keep all of them or not. This began when I looked through my Timegate photos of Terrance Dicks and Mary Tamm. I had about two dozen photos of them, and several were blurred. If I had no photos of either, I should probably keep the "best" blurred ones, but why was I keeping the blurred ones (or the one of Ms. Tamm with her eyes closed) if I had good ones? So basically that's what I'm doing, losing blurred stuff, or photos where you can't tell what I was taking a photo of (like a shot of an airplane at an air show that is just a dot on the sky), or photos of people with their backs to the camera. In the process I am also renaming them if they are not renamed already, so I know what they are.

This evening we had a birthday party dinner to go to. We stopped at Borders to get the birthday girl a gift card. Now Borders had a paperback coupon this weekend, 40 percent off, but there was nothing I was looking for. The next book I wanted was Deanna Raybourn's Dark Road to Darjeeling, but it wasn't supposed to be in release until October 1, although Amazon said it was available now. Borders' website said no copies were in their stores.

So what do I find in the mystery section? :-)

Anyway, the birthday dinner at Red Lobster was a blast. Juanita's mom even got to come. You must understand that "Mama C" had a stroke several months ago, one so bad that she was not breathing on her own and she could only move her eyes. She is now using a walker and can talk again, if a little more slowly. She is one persistent lady.

So we talked, and ate, and watched Aubrey open her gifts—oh, goodness, she is seventeen this year!—and talked some more. After the party broke up, we went to Brusters for dessert, then home to later chat to more friends. We are all waiting for Jen's address to be posted so we can write to her. I already have a card started.

We woke to cloudy skies and high 60s, which means we didn't have to race to the grocery store at a breakneck pace before it got hot, but could actually eat breakfast first. What a novelty. By the time we left the house, it was raining in earnest. Stopped at Publix for twofers and Kroger for the regular items, and when we finished the temps had dropped further so it was only mid-60s all afternoon. It was wonderful!

Later on we went to Petsmart to get Willow some food; we are going to toss out her food just in case that's what made her sick. Michaels is next door, so we popped in there for a bit to look at the village buildings. They have a bookstore/coffee shop that almost could be a year-round decoration. Also stopped at CVS to use a coupon and Borders, just for the heck of it. No surprise books this time. :-)

Spent the rest of the afternoon working on the photos again, and have finished through 2003. We had the pot pie for supper and now are watching Stossel and R5Sons Alaska.

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» Saturday, September 25, 2010
[falls over laughing]

Ask me how I know this is a really good idea...



» Friday, September 24, 2010
At the End of the Week
Things got kind of interesting yesterday.

As in the "Chinese" sense.

The beginning of the week was rather ordinary, finishing up orders. By the time I reached yesterday, I had three orders left, two of which I did during the day.

At 2 p.m. we had a staff meeting which I attended, like many others, via conference call.

At 3 I took a break for "leftovers day" on Amazon Vine and scored Connie Willis' sequel to Blackout and a cookbook by Christopher Kimball (from Cooks Illustrated.

About 4:45 Willow was suddenly anxious to go out. She made a mad dash for the woods in the back of the house, squatted and [sorry for the graphics] had blood in her stool.

This wasn't good.

Oh, hell. This happened back in 2005, when she had pancreatitis from having completely demolished a ham bone, grinding it to bits. We haven't given her any kind of bone since.

I called the vet and made the first appointment for this morning. James came home and when we took her out again to get a sample for the vet, it remained in the same state. Otherwise she seems in a good state of health: her gums are a normal color, she's hungry and active, drinking fine, no swelling anywhere that I can feel.

So this morning there I was, trucking across town with Willow next to me in the front, seat-belted in and doing her imitation of Camille expiring from consumption. We got to the vet and were first seen by the vet tech and then by the vet. As always, Wil was extremely anxious through the whole thing. She panted and whined, and wandered to the two doors of the exam room to try to find a way out, and when I finally sat on the little bench next to the exam table, she jumped up and down and up and down and up and down until it tired me out just to watch her.

Finally the test on the stool sample was done. She has some sort of intestinal bacteria infection that causes these symptoms. So I came home with special dog food, antibiotic for a week (and the pill pockets to put them in), and orders for her not to have any treats until the antibiotics are finished. She won't mind the special dog food, but the lack of "cookies" is going to upset her.

Still, she didn't have to stay overnight, and I hope it's just the bacteria causing the problem.

On the way home, with my nose stuffy because I'd just spent nearly 90 minutes in a enclosed room with an anxious, stress-shedding dog, I thought I'd buy myself a treat: a chocolate frosted doughnut. I hadn't had a doughnut since April. I also got a Boston Creme for James.

Dunkin Donuts always has made a lovely chocolate frosted doughnut, a light raised circle with a thin chocolate coating on top. So what a horrible disappointment to find out that they are now making them like those dreadful, disgusting Krispy Kreme things, with a sugar glaze over the whole doughnut. I despise glazes and icings. Yuck! First they quit making crullers, and now this. Ugh! Why do they have to keep adding more and more freaking sugar to everything?

I spent the rest of the afternoon teleworking. Finished the other order, and started a modification, only to discover that the vendor wanted wording that wasn't quite acceptable. Had to do another modification as well, because I mixed up two vendors with the same name.

Just as I finished, Alex, our lawn guy, showed up. Now, this afternoon when I took Willow out, I noticed her having to pick her way through the trees in the back yard. Usually in the spring I go out there and cut down the saplings that start growing, but it got so hot so quickly this year that I never had done it. So the tree area was a tangle of maple and pine saplings, fallen branches, and other general tree debris. Since there wasn't much lawn for Alex to cut—it's hardly grown at all since the last time he mowed—I asked him if he could clean out back there, get rid of the branches (including the big seven-foot branch that was tilted on the fence) and the saplings. Sure he said, and quoted me a very reasonable price. Okay, I said, when can you do it.

He and his assistant did it today. They gathered up all the branches, the assistant cut down all the saplings (oops, including two little maples I wanted to stay up; oh, well), and then they mulched them with the big lawn mower. It was all done in a little over an hour (that includes what they cut of the lawn, edging, and trimming the bushes in front of the house, too) and it's now really bare out there. But at least Willow won't be getting caught on branches like she was earlier. When we took her out later she was sorely puzzled: where were all the piles of leaves and tussocks of grass?

Crossing my fingers that the antibiotics work quickly.

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» Monday, September 20, 2010
It's That Time of Year Again...
...I'm occasionally moseying over to Holiday Harbour.



Holy Cats!
Small Plane Lands on I-85

I drove home via this route tonight and passed this spot not five minutes earlier!

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» Sunday, September 19, 2010
A Blue Ribbon Disappointment
We were up late last night saying our final farewells (well, for a few months) to Jen, and getting massively silly, since it was past two a.m., and, since A Blue Ribbon Affair didn't start until noon, we slept late, ate breakfast, checked e-mail, before getting dressed and heading to Jim Miller Park...

...where we beheld a nearly empty parking lot. A woman was standing near her car telling us that two other women had just walked in to see what was going on. We followed them partway, only to have them turn around and come back. The craft show part of Blue Ribbon Affair had been cancelled; they only had the car show yesterday!

Well, it's been smaller each year, but it was still advertised on the County's web site, and no one even bothered to put up a sign! Way to go, Cobb County!

So we did something else "exciting"—went to Publix to look at the twofers. Did find grapes at 99¢/pound. They were good to snack on. We drove out to Acworth to go to a better Michaels; both the stores near our house are pretty small. Also stocked up on just about everything for Schuyler at the Petsmart next door. A family was buying a budgie. I hope they'll give it a good home and not stick it off in a corner somewhere, or scare it.

Then we came home, listening to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me."

No fair? No fair!

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» Saturday, September 18, 2010
Alone On Saturday, But Certainly Not Without Things To Do...
By 9:30 I was at Lowes, to pick up more safflower seed and more thistle and finch food for our voracious adopted avians. I looked at what few Christmas things they already had out (mostly lights), and noticed that they had a nice fall applique banner. The one outside now is on its second year and already sadly faded. They only last two years in the blisteringly bright Georgia sun. Michaels hardly stocks the applique banners anymore, just the "art" banners, which are so lightweight. I have one for Valentines Day, but it only stays up a week, so it doesn't need to be strong.

I went from Lowes to BJs, and picked up various things, including onions and carrots. You wouldn't have to look at a calendar to know what time of year it's getting to be: there are now two full rows of toys.

Got gas, gave a great sigh, and decided to go to WallyWorld and do the grocery shopping. Unfortunately I forgot the damn bananas, which must be Freudian or something; my subconscious knows I don't like them. Stocked up on yogurt and other things, picked up the "Returning Favorites" issue of TV Guide just for the great photo of Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic (and I'm sure there is one nice House pic in there, too), and nearly did a Snoopy dance on the pharmacy floor when I found...ta-da! soy isoflavones! I haven't been able to find them in a grocery store/drug store for almost two years. The last batch I bought cost me $14 in GNC.

When I got home I had lunch after putting everything up, then continued copying old photos from floppy disk (I used to have a Sony Mavica, which took floppy disks). I did already have this backed up on a CD somewhere, but I wanted to sort the photos a little better this time. I started this earlier in the week and just finished today. Then I burned them all to DVD while listening to a podcast of Leo Laporte, "the Tech Guy." A couple of weeks ago, I listened to one of these and a very upset mother came on; she had all her children's photos saved to a hard disk that crashed. She was able to recover some, but all the photos of her two kids from age 3 and 4 are gone. Leo suggested not only backing them up several times, but having at least one version of the photos that were in a different location. I will take these DVDs to work and tuck them into the file cabinet where I keep my desk decorations.

Also rearranged my to-be-read books in the bedroom. If you saw my piles—those "sidewalk sales" at Borders are dangerous!—you'd understand. :-) My nonfiction pile is...impressive!

By this time it was almost four and I decided it was time to sit down and do something pleasant, so I'm listening to "The Best of Narada Christmas." Yes, I know it's still September and hotter than Hades out. So why am I doing it? Because it makes me happy. So there.

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» Friday, September 17, 2010
Where's David Tennant When You Need Him?
We had supper at Shane's tonight, then had a brief visit to Borders. Found a neat compilation book of various astronaut memoirs all the way back to John Glenn.

Came home and tried to watch more History Detectives; it started playing, then said "not available at this time."  Huh?

So I went snooping about on Hulu and played a couple of House promos,  then went looking through films. Found Dr.  Who and the Daleks, which I had seen in the late 70s. Isn't any better today; even Peter Cushing couldn't save it. Couldn't find the sequel; would have liked to show James Bernard Cribbens as a "puppy."

Found all of the McHale's Navy series, and even My Mother the Car! Finally happened upon the old 1950s SF series Tales of Tomorrow and found an episode Paul Tripp made, called "Ahead of His Time." Goodness, this was painful. Funny, he had the same name in it as he did in The Christmas That Almost Wasn't.

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Happy Friday!
Sleeping in until nine o'clock was the first pleasure, then I had a whole day before me.

After breakfast I headed out to CD Warehouse. Three weeks ago I'd found the first two Mannheim Steamroller Christmas CDs here and bought them because I wanted to replace my cassette copies. I skipped "Christmas in the Aire," then discovered when I came home that I only had that on cassette, too. So I went back today to see if it was still there. Success! And I found a gift for James, too!

Now, I really didn't need to go next door to Barnes & Noble, but this is me after all...LOL. And I found the Christmas issue of Early American Life. Also picked up Boston magazine's "New England Travel 2010," and a luscious big "Ultimate Guide to Historic Britain."

There was a book I was looking for and wanted to get at Borders with the coupon, so I let the Droid's GPS guide me to the East Cobb store (the only place it was in stock; down Piedmont to Roswell, a cinch). The book was indeed there, and I also got the new Shop Smart and the October Birds and Blooms, with not only fall photos, but owls!

I nipped over to Fuzziwig's, the candy store, and was so dismayed when I did not see the Jolly Rancher bin out. Then the salesman came out from the back with a big bag...he remembered me and was prepared to start sorting out watermelon candies from the mixed collection! They had to start keeping them in the back because the fluorescent lights were making them sticky and no one wanted to buy them.

Made a short stop at Michaels with a 50 percent off coupon. I noticed the last time I did some painting that several containers in my gloss assortment of "paint pots" were dried out. I also found a little spider decoration I could clip to my hair to go along with my spider "cloak" I bought last Sunday and an autumn decoration, plus bought a new calligraphy pen and a bottle of pale blue paint which I will use for the stool I bought. I considered light green, but light blue will do for both Easter and winter.

Final stop was Trader Joe's. Haven't been there for months and rather went hog wild: shelled pistachios, a dinner for James tomorrow when he has to work, oyster crackers, chocolate-coated sunflower seeds, popcorn, salad greens and chicken for Sunday night dinner, a few other things, and wonderful, wonderful chicken salad! I had this for lunch when I got home, along with some of the pistachios.

I've now gone back to what I was doing the night the DSL messed up: watching History Detectives. This one is the third episode of the latest season: early fragment of sound film (not by Warner Brothers! and they went to Edison's lab in West Orange, NJ, and saw "the Black Maria," the first film studio), drawings of huge gold nuggets, and finally a fragment of vintage telegraph cable, with most of the action taking place at the University of Rhode Island and at Nauset/Orleans on Cape Cod. There's a transatlantic cable museum in Orleans!

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» Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen
This morning was pretty much a replay of Monday...and then Jen was off again, this time to the airport and home.

As the Amish elder told John Book at the end of Witness: "You be careful out among them English."



» Monday, September 13, 2010
Back in the Truck (Ah, Car...)
I was a bit distracted this morning by tummy problems, so it didn't dawn on me until about 6:25 that Jen wasn't up yet. She had planned to be up at six. So I knocked on her door, and a good thing, too; she had slept through her alarm. Twenty minutes later she had gathered all her things, retrieved her breakfast and snacks from the refrigerator, and was off to Pensacola in her little rental, a bright yellow Volkswagen "bug."

::sniffle:: If I thought this morning was hard, Wednesday will be even worse.

Work was, surprisingly, not all that annoying. I revised a Statement of Work and got the info I needed for the conference order, and finished that, and an order I had trouble completing did complete today. Not sure if it was because a contract number got changed or someone did something they were supposed to do. I was left with the one that needed recompeting, the one that needed a replacement, and the one that needs one solitary serial number.

That was, until I was assigned five more. One's easy. Two are middling. The other two need advertising. Saved the latter until tomorrow. In the final fifteen minutes I happily removed the summer flowers from my desk—if I look at them one more day, I'm going to puke—and replaced them with autumn leaves, and swapped the summer photos and drawings out for autumn ones. Ahhh. That's better.

Had to stop on the way home to pick up my reserved copy of Alison Arngrim's Confessions of a Prairie Bitch from the library, and discovered that Melissa [Sue] Anderson's The Way I See It was also there. I actually finished the latter tonight. It's not a hard read. We do get glimpses into Anderson's time on Little House and other movies, but much of the book is either rehashes of some of her memorable episodes or odd scriptlike scenes. It's, truth be told, kinda dull.

Arngrim's humor makes her book a treat, although some of what she reveals, especially about her brother's abuse of her, is pretty disturbing. Glad to know she survived it with strength and resilience.

Saw some odd new show tonight, Nate Butkis? Bupkis? It's like Rachael Ray, but with home makeovers and design instead of food. Later watched the season finale of Futurama and the previous two R5Sons Alaska, where the family is purchasing a 1920s Ford "snowmobile" (the term was created for that particular vehicle) and transporting it to the Rainy Pass Lodge. On the way Buckey (the lodge guide) showed off his massive collection of antique firearms (back to a 1700s German rifle), powder cans, powder horns, and even his first rocking horse. Wow! He could stock a history museum handily.

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» Sunday, September 12, 2010
Sunday in the Park (and Elsewhere) With Jen
Never will learn to get to bed early when we have to get up at eight the next morning. :-)

By nine we had money, a small breakfast from Burger King, and were on the road to Stone Mountain. It was cloudy when we started out, but the sun had emerged by the time we got to the park and joined the queue getting into the gate. We were there just in time to get a nice close parking space, only three rows behind the vendors' trucks.

Thankfully there was a breeze and we were in the shade of the trees on the trails that the booths were on, or it might have gone worse. There were crowds already; usually we have about a half hour before the press of people starts to get thick. We flitted from booth to booth of whatever interested us: paintings, odd sculpture, carved wood, lawn decorations, and the numerous food samples (barbecue sauce, dips, soups, prepared dinners, maple syrup—the man let us sample some B- syrup; oh my! what an aftertaste, almost like molasses—candy, etc.). We listened to the various musicians promoting their wares, dodged small children and strollers, watched exhibitions. It took us three hours to wend our way through all the different booths, skipping the the displays of cutesy kids' clothing (Grandma places!) and mostly skipping the jewelry booths.

I did, on the other hand, buy a piece of clothing. You needn't faint! It's a piece of netting that fits over your head like a poncho, decorated with silver holographic spider webs. I figured I never have anything to wear for Hallowe'en if it's warm; this can go over my short-sleeved purple shirt and look kind of neat. I can buy a rubber spider at one of the dollar stores or a Hallowe'en store if I want to jazz it up a little. They had a spider pin, but...

We also stocked up on "Smack Yo Mama" barbecue sauce for the year, bought one of the great bread knives (we'd intended to last year, but the vendor wasn't there), got a couple of firestarters for emergencies, bought the first of our two yearly fudge treats, got a key lime dip mix, chocolate pie kit, and some cocoa, found the lady with the delicious mint jelly with the bits of mint leaf in it and bought a jar, and also a half-dozen apple cider doughnuts.

I also bought another little miniature set-up from Country Pickin's, another fall arrangement. Not sure where to put it. I wanted something for the craft room, but most of the craft theme is sewing.

We emerged from the trail about one o'clock. The sun was...intense. We each had an ear of grilled corn, standing in the shade of a picnic pavilion to eat most of it, then went on. Jen was hoping to get a shot of Stone Mountain, but by the time we left, traffic was bumper-to-bumper and there was nowhere to park. So we just turned around and left.

We thought about many options for lunch, including Cracker Barrel (but the line was out the door there). We ended up at Folks, where we had a nice leisurely meal and discussed Jen's drive down to Florida on Monday.

Since even when you have houseguests, you must do the shopping, we ended up at Kroger to buy gasoline and the needed groceries for the week. Then we could get back to the house and relax. Jen caught up on her correspondence and I rifled through the floppy disks I'd never copied to hard disk and turned up the photos from the 2000 Remember WENN get-together, which was a mad conglomeration of shots from the Thurber House, the Columbus history museum, and our visit to the Air Force Museum in Dayton.

Since we never did have a free morning for a homemade breakfast, James made buckwheat pancakes and bacon for supper instead. This was a package of bacon we had left over from a food pack—wow, am I glad we never got any more of that. James kept frying and draining and rinsing, and we got this tiny portion of bacon from a pound of the stuff, and over half a cup of bacon grease! Yuk.

Spent the evening "filling in" From the Earth to the Moon episodes. We'll get to show Jen everything but the Apollo 13 episode, which is actually about the reporters anyway.

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» Saturday, September 11, 2010
Saturday Just About Everywhere With Jen
We have had a full day!

It started at 8 a.m., when we got up and ready to go to the Farmer's Market. It was a bit warm already, but we could still ride downtown with the windows down. Bought some veggies for next week's supper, chicken salad and jalapeno cheese for James, garlic cookies for Willow, and samples from each of the booths, including beef pot pie, salmon, sun goat pesto, and others. We also got a loaf of apple bread and of peach bread to take to Hair Day.

Drove to the Butlers via "the back way" (Polk Street to Whitlock to Villa Rica Road). Once we got away from the big housing developments we went past the little farms with horses and cows, a peaceful setting on a busy Saturday morning.

Everyone welcomed Jen and asked her questions about her enlistment and future. Neil left for Savannah and college just after we arrived. The peach and apple bread seemed to be a hit. We had "cheesy chicken" with rice, noodles, and salad for lunch, and, of course, talked and talked.

We left about 12:30, brought the veggies home, then went to the hobby shop for a little while. Corley was regaling Jen about his short naval career, and he and James were telling service stories.

We stayed a bit too long, since when we finally arrived at the Atlanta History Center we discovered it was going to close at 5:30. So we only had three hours of looking around and never did get to the farm/smithy outside. We first went to the special exhibition of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia. There was an astonishing amount of handwritten material, including the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln's letter accepting the Republican nomination, Stephen Douglas inviting him to debate, and so many more. They even had the exchange of letters between Lincoln and Grace Bedell, the little girl who wrote to him suggesting that he should grow a beard because his face was so thin. Lincoln actually visited her after he "grew whiskers."

Another case held the contents of Lincoln's pockets the night of the assassination (including two pairs of glasses and a stray button), and they also had his silver inkstand.

We then took Jen through the history of Atlanta gallery, from Indian arrowheads to the interstates. This includes an original log cabin and a shotgun house that were taken off their original properties and put into the museum, a brougham (horse-drawn carriage) made in Atlanta, and also an early motorcar called a "Hanson."

Walked through another temp exhibit that compared what Atlanta looked like during the Civil War and what the places look like today. This had some artifacts as well, such as rifles and bayonets, but was mostly photographs and maps. One little gallery was projecting original stereopticon photos that had been made into 3D slides that you viewed with the red and blue glasses. The depth was amazing—there were landscape shots and it really seemed as if you could walk into the photo itself.

But boy, did that give me a headache. I don't see how anyone could sit through Avatar or any of the other 3D films.

We had only enough time to partially go through the permanent Civil War gallery—outstanding, full of memorabilia collected by a father and son, firearms, medical supplies, clothing, furniture, ordnance, and more—before the museum closed.

For supper we went to the Colonnade.

Of course I had the turkey!

On the way home we came by Barnes & Noble. Juanita had given James a gift card for his birthday, and there was a new book out that he couldn't find at Borders. I found Jane Brockett's The Gentle Art of Domesticity in the remainder rack. I wish I could find her Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer, which is about the cool foods written about in English children's books.

We emerged from B&N to find a thunderstorm about to explode, and explode it did as we moved out of the parking lot! It was truly Georgia Monsoon Season, with the wind whipping through the trees and leaves scattering everywhere, the sky lit by lightning (the whole sky, not just lightning bolts), and the thunder roaring in unison with the lightning.

It petered out by the time we arrived home, and spent the rest of the evening watching more of From the Earth to the Moon.

I completely forgot to put the big flag out today. I feel bad.

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» Friday, September 10, 2010
Friday in the Trattoria With Jen
Okay, it wasn't a trattoria, but Jen is here! She arrived a little after five, and she got settled in the room, and then James arrived home. We went to Giovanni's for supper; Jen and I both had lobster ravioli, which was perfect. James had fettucine Alfredo with shrimp. For dessert, we went to Bruster's for ice cream.

Jen had never seen From the Earth to the Moon, so we spent the remainder of the evening watching a few episodes.

Oh, and she brought us some gifts: James had some smoked salmon, and I had some ornaments made from real leaves. They are lovely, filigree with a metallic finish.

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Not Yet The End
We were supposed to get everything done today.

In my case, it was a lost cause. I have one that needs to be re-advertised, because we didn't have all the information needed. Another is held up because it won't complete electronically. We're awarding the order against another department's contract, and it's only for their use. For us to use it, the department is going to have to change the access.

Two are held up for lack of information, and one I almost finished, but it was incomplete. And damn, I'd wanted to finish that one.

But there were better things coming...



» Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Not One Minute Longer
Gawd, what a frustrating morning. I got in at seven, but couldn't do anything on the computer until nine, since there were sporadic network outages. Ironically, the woman across the hall from me and someone down the hall from me both had their connections, but I was high and dry, even after rebooting three times. I made a couple of phone calls, and stewed. Then when the network was back, I had to print on another printer because ours was out of toner and we had no replacement. This wouldn't have been bad except someone else was printing what looked like a 300-page document—and then it started saying it was running low on toner, so instead of shaking the cartridge, someone kept shutting it off. I guess they don't know you can extend the life of the cartridge that way. Heck, I once got several extra days out of a cartridge by just shaking it twice a day.

Thankfully, this afternoon was calmer.

When I got home, I walked Willow, then ripped all the summer stuff down and put it away. I simply cannot stand looking at it any longer. Did the porch and the foyer, and even put the mailbox wrap on. Had to throw the summer banner away; it was on its second summer and the sun had made the bottom panels rot away and get stringy. The fall flag is looking very faded. Sigh. The sun is so hard on these things, and the porch faces dead west, so it simmers in the heat.

Willow also got a bath tonight. She hated it and so did my back. :-) But we watched an episode of Pie in the Sky and the 2010 RV show...oh, goodness, one of those looks like fun!

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» Monday, September 06, 2010
DragonCon, Day 4
Today was a little more laid back. We rose at nine, rather than eight, took a little more time at breakfast. James stopped by Chik-Fil-A for his breakfast, we made a stop at my ATM, and then were off downtown. We managed open windows again, but it was much warmer this morning.

James went right as we exited the garage, to an Electronic Frontiers Forum panel about not using a virus scanner on your computer. I went left to the Sheraton, bought next year's membership (the line was about 20 minutes, and people were complaining about it—::snort::), then went to the remainder of the Star Trek panel up in the Grand Ballroom. Marina Sirtis, Michelle Forbes, Jonathan Frakes, Robert Beltran, Garrett Wang, and John Delancie were the partners in crime in this outing. (I wondered wryly if Denise Crosby and Claudia Christian had taken the same plane home.) Props Snitching 101 was detailed by Marina. They were all asked what they thought of the reboot film (most liked it), and Garrett Wang talked about seeing it nine times, including in Europe. Each time people wondered why a Star Trek actor would want to see a Star Trek film. Wang also told a funny story about why he never watched Next Generation: because every time he tried to watch it, it was "Code of Honor," the episode the cast thought equivalent to the original series episode "Spock's Brain." (Marina said it's been pulled from the episode rotation because it's considered racist now!) All praised Jonathan as director. Mostly the it was the usual banter. Glad I came to both the panels, despite not thinking about attending a Trek panel in several years.

Headed for the Hilton hoping to catch up with James and found him just about to step on the bridge to the Marriott; that's where I was going as well. But first we made a turn around the "Walk of Fame" where the guests give out autographs at $$ a pop. I used to love to walk through the Walk of Fame taking candids of the actors reacting to something a fan said to them. I used to get some nice shots. Now they have forbidden photography unless you pay to have your picture taken with the actor or actress. That's not what I wanted. I liked seeing them react naturally to what a fan said: it might be a laugh or surprise or delight.

Not sure if "filthy lucre" just crept in or the actors are afraid that someone will take a picture of them doing something stupid or embarrassing and then post it online. But I miss taking those candids in the Walk of Fame.

Anyway, we wandered around the two exhibitors' rooms at the Marriott for a bit. Looked at a Utilikilt with the aim of perhaps getting James one; these are kilts made with all sorts of pockets. They are very expensive, but handsomely made. Unfortunately they had every size but his.

Naturally I gravitated back to the McFarland booth, and found a volume about Nancy Drew and other girl detectives, including Trixie Belden. James bought John Kenneth Muir's Space: 1999 book. I also picked up that book of steampunk short stories that I couldn't buy yesterday. It was on sale today—yay!

I'd intended to meet James at another panel at the Marriott after he finished his shopping, but as I mused as I took a break I realized what I wanted for my burgeoning post-con depression was a good Doctor Who panel. So I called James and told him I was heading for the Sheraton. This was originally supposed to be a Kai Owen/Fraser Hines panel, but since neither were there now, we were back in the Brittrack room. The Brittrack population grows each year. First we outgrew the teeny Baker room at the Hyatt and now we are outgrowing this new one after only two (or is it three?) years. The room was full except for the seat I saved for James. Good practice for coach travel.

After laughing—and rolling our eyes—at several of Rob Levy's "top ten" lists ribbing Caro McCully, we settled down to Whoversation. Much more discussion about River Song's timeline. And the Dalek timelines. Egad, that would take years to figure out. Also bouncing theories—again—about the break in next year's season. Speculation if it's going to be so Torchwood being broadcast in the interval.

They also mentioned something that sounds neat: it's a box that attaches to your television. You pay $40 year and get all British programming: the BBC channels, ITV, perhaps even Channel 4!

Most of the crowd wandered off then, but we stuck around, as always, for "So Long and Thanks for the Fish," otherwise the Brittrack "Dead Dog" panel, where they ask for suggestions and want to know what people like. The suggestion box was only partially helpful. :-) We did discuss a get-together, maybe a tea party, something of that sort.

And then the sound guys came in to collect the equipment, and it was five o'clock, and midnight had rung, and the party was over. We drove home via Longhorn, where we had a nice steak dinner with an appetizer, and the free dessert James got for his birthday. (We got the Chocolate Stampede, which is two huge slices of a chocolate mousse cake served with two scoops of vanilla ice cream. We ate the ice cream and took the cake home; it will make two desserts for both of us!) Also stopped at Borders, only to find they didn't have the book James wanted. He got something else instead.

Thursday night in line, there was a guy behind us from Florida who was complaining about the line. A very justified complaint. And he said he didn't want to come next year if that's how he was treated. Given the 3 1/2 hour wait, the interminable other lines this weekend, and sometimes the general attitude of the con staff, probably the best way to get better treatment is to do just that, not show up at all.

But as much as we complain, the problem is, we're hooked. I remember as a kid always feeling like the odd man out. I didn't like the same things my classmates did, always felt a little off-kilter in what was supposed to be my own world. Then in 1978 I talked Mom into taking me to my first science fiction convention. I looked at the fans, listened to what they talked about, saw the things they collected and the books that they read.

And I said, "I'm home." And that's what it boils down to: despite the long wait, the damn sun, the hikes between hotels, the maddening always wants to go home.

And that's...all there is.



» Sunday, September 05, 2010
Dragoncon, Day 3
Third verse, same as the first, except James picked up his breakfast at yet a third different place. I had the usual at home. Oh, it was blessedly cool this morning—58°F! Imagine that! We drove downtown with the windows open. (Don't be too quick to be happy for us: 90s again by Tuesday...bleah. Jen, bring warm weather clothes!)

We were both headed for the Hyatt today, so walked over the skybridge from the Courtland Street Garage to Peachtree Center, reflecting about how long it took the Food Court people to realize that by shutting up tight on Sunday, they were losing a lot of business. The place was pretty full for 9:30 on a Sunday morning, and everything was open except for Chik-Fil-A, which doesn't open on Sundays anywhere, and the noodles place.

Unfortunately the garage wised up, too, for the bad. We used to get weekday parking on Friday and Monday ($5) and $10 on the weekend days. Now they have "event" parking, $16.00 for the day. Of course when it was just DragonCon they didn't bother, but now they have a bunch of weirdoes downtown on Labor Day weekend, going to football games. In September! In 90 degree heat! Nuts, I tell you. Football's a fall sport.

Jim Butcher - - - >

So I wandered into my first panel, Jim Butcher of the Harry Dresden series fame. He's cut his long hair! Anyway, most of the conversation revolved around the future of the Dresden books, especially after the "bombshell" that was dropped at the end of the most recent novel. (Ouch! someone in the question line inadvertently revealed a spoiler point to the crowd, and was met with a groan.) Apparently he does plan to end the series at some point with a big trilogy. He also would like to write a straight SF book and also what he described as "an apocalyptic 'epic.'" This fall his short stories will be released in a book called Side Jobs.

Someone asked him how the character of Bob the Skull came about, and he said that after he did his first draft, he knew that Harry would have some type of companion with whom he could talk magic, to explain things to the reader. Well, he was told, just make sure the character is "not a talking head." ::sputter::guffaw::

Okay, I mentioned "the martial arts story" on Facebook. Here's the short version:

As a kid Jim was bullied in school. As he put it, he was not only a nerd, but he had a smart mouth. He wanted to take martial arts lessons, but his dad demurred until the day a classmate attacked him with a knife. So he learned martial arts from a Japanese man. When it came time for him to go to college, his Japanese instructor said to him in very precise tones, "When you go to college, you will meet others who also do karate. You have a good form, but no control. Do not fight with them." So he goes to college, and sure enough, when he's working out, he gets challenged. Finally he can't stand it anymore. He and a classmate spar, and he's trying to keep himself in control. Suddenly there's an opening. He does a quick jab forward with his fist just as his opponent is inhaling. Gets the guy so good that he throws up. He apologizes.

During Christmas vacation he goes home, goes to tell his instructor what happened. "You were right," he said. The instructor looks at him and says "You did incorrect move." He says "What?" The instructor scolds "The move was incorrect. If you had done it properly, you would have killed him." Pause. "Now change your clothing and I will show you how to do it correctly." ROFL!

I had an open hour, so decided to take a turn around the Exhibitors' Halls. Bingo! I got to the back wall of the smaller room and there in a small booth were the McFarland people! They haven't shown up for a couple of years and I've been crushed. McFarland is a small press that does a variety of books, from history commentaries to pop-culture overviews to literary criticism and analysis. Since they are small press the books are more expensive, but they always have given a discount at DragonCon.

Of course, they chose to bring mostly books that would appeal to the DragonCon crowd. Lots of zombie books. But they brought a smattering of other things, and I got a volume about dime novels written for children (with a chapter about the old series books), a book about modern SF "shades of grey" heroes, and a critical overview of the Hardy Boys books, back to the original series. I also was very interested in a book of themes in Muppet performances, and another about the influence of Coleridge and Spenser in the Chronicles of Narnia. (This is what I love about McFarland...I mean, imagine walking into an ordinary bookstore and finding stuff like that!!!)

I almost bought a book of steampunk stories at another stall, but didn't have cash. Hope there's one left tomorrow.

Alas, there was a big, long line for Marta Kristen and Mark Goddard in the gigantic Atrium Ballroom of the Marriott (this shows you how audiences change; we saw them both a couple of years ago and everyone fit perfectly in the tinier room they had downstairs in the Hyatt), so I trudged over to the Sheraton and went to the " v. Torchwood" panel instead. This was held in another cavernous ballroom, the one which we had registered in back on Thursday. Sure a lot less crowded, but still a good deal of attendance.

Of course there was much speculation about the new series, which is to be set half in Britain (it's a BBC rule) and half in Los Angeles (yawn). The show will actually be filmed in Vancouver, and to get the big tax break you get for filming in Canada, they figured the leads would probably be Canadian as well. Much annoyance about one of the "American" leads having to be a CIA agent. Overdone, overdone, overdone. There was also some critique of things they missed on doing in the last three series, like not exploring Ianto's past or what effect doing "cleanup" had on him, or not expanding further on Tosh's past, instead rather having her dwelling on a guy.

From there I went upstairs to "Seeing England on a Budget." James joined me there. Basically it was what it sounded like: tips from panelists who had been to Great Britain on keeping your costs down: something called "the London Pass," which got you in a bunch of cool things for free, staying at hostels, renting a cell phone, etc. Also, when to go (not summer) and places beyond the tourist traps to visit, like Dorset, the West country, the Lake District (I'd love to see Beatrix Potter's Hill Top Farm!), etc. James won a travel book by answering an airline question. That's my guy! :-)

Well, I tried. We hiked back to the Hyatt and James went off to his literary track panel, and I tried to get into the Futurama voice actors panel by the simple expedient of going into the room after the long, long, long line went by. It turned out I was in the Eureka room; the Futurama panel was already full even though they hadn't let the people in the room yet! So I surrendered and went to the Marriott for the young adult alternative history panel—much discussion about steampunk, of course: citing not only its nostalgic appeal, but the adventure, artistry of the moving parts, and its non-commercialization. Folks gave book recommendations. It was quiet pleasant.

Fraser Hines demonstrating delivering a calf on "Emmerdale Farm" - - - >

And then it was back to the Sheraton to see the Fraser Hines (Jamie McCrimmon from the Patrick Troughton years of Doctor Who) panel. This had been planned as a Kai Owen and Fraser Hines panel, so was scheduled for the big ballroom upstairs. The crowd for Hines alone was much smaller than the digs, but all who showed up were showed a good time: Fraser Hines is an entire vaudeville show all by himself. We were treated to bad puns, stories of Who pranks, and various funny tales, like how he was cast as a patient on an early BBC series, Emergency Ward, which was done live. While on the "operating table," he fell asleep, and was quite disoriented upon awakening, and was later told it was such a realistic performance! Another time, working on a play with Kate O'Mara, he came out before his cue and the other actors frantically fumbled to cover up the fact so the viewers wouldn't know.

He also seems to have met everyone: John Wayne (who told him the secret to being in a Western was "walk slow and talk low"), Dean Jagger, Dudley Moore, and even Richard Burton. He was asked his favorite role, and he said he loves doing the pantomime every year, and then regaled us with stories of interviewing little children onstage during the panto as "Buttons," a traditional character in the Cinderella story. One little girl told him she was there "with Mummy and Uncle George." "Oh? Who is Uncle George?" "He's the nice man that keeps Mummy company while Daddy's on the road in his lorry."

Jason Carter - - - >

I thought James would join me at the last panel, but he was at another panel in Fairlie downstairs. So I went on to an already nearly full International South to see the Babylon 5 panel with Claudia Christian and Jason Carter. Well, that was the original plan. Claudia came out first, bouncing as always, showed a film of Look, a series she did that seemed to be made to look like it was comprised of shots taken from security cameras, then Jason appeared. They were bantering for several minutes, with Jason being his usual motormouth (so unlike his Marcus character!), and then I didn't hear what he said, but she got into a snit and walked out!

A slightly bewildered-sounding Jason went on alone, chatting about Marcus being a virgin, talking about being in deep makeup on Angel (such complicated makeup that nobody he worked with that week recognized his real face!), revealed that the part he would most like to play is the Doctor, and even managed to rattle off some of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Modern Major General" as he did on B5, and some of his short offbeat poetry.

(Excuse the hideous Jason Carter photo. The lighting in the International ballrooms of the Hyatt is horrible and I was in the very last row.)

There was a Matt Smith season overview panel we could have gone to, but we were both tired, so we met up, entered Peachtree Center (where earlier I had seen "Captain Kirk" getting a shoeshine <g>), crossed the "Luke Skywalk" for the last time today, and drove home. It was cool out, the sun had just set, and a very brilliant star-like item was on our left (west) as we drove. I pulled out the Droid and got into Google Skymaps—it appeared to be Saturn!

Hey, check out the report WXIA did on DragonCon. This is actually a different video than they just showed on the news at 11 p.m., so they've done at least two of them. The news report we saw called the convention a definite economic advantage for Atlanta.



A Few Con Photos (click photo to make larger)

Barbara Eden, Bill Daily, and Larry Hagman

Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell

David Gerrold

Armin Shimmerman, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Jonathan Frakes, Denise Crosby, and Garrett Wang



» Saturday, September 04, 2010
Dragoncon, Day 2
This morning, second verse same as the first: breakfast, birdie time, then off downtown.

James and I used to go to a lot of the same panels, but as they have instituted more tracks, we are diverged most of the time. I go to my "spiritual" home, the British programming track, the odd Star Trek panel, a few of the classic television panels or the literary panels. James does a few of the media panels, especially for series or people, but he mostly hangs out in the literary track or the Apocalypse track. But this morning was different; we were both heading to "Whatever Happened to Saturday Morning Cartoons?"

This was great fun--David Gerrold was one of the panelists, so we not only chatted about what was special about Saturday morning cartoons for each of us, and which ones we loved, but we had some inside info on Land of the Lost and just writing for children's programming in general. (And how dumbed down it has gotten.)

Since I had nothing planned for the next hour, I took my leave of James and crossed the skybridge to the Hyatt to see the art show. Little "intestinal art" (violent pictures with monsters and/or vampires ripping open people) this year, thankfully, many cute dragons and other critters, some lovely medieval-type illustrations, a few nice steampunk items, some wonderful 3D items. I then strolled the print shop, wanting to take home the titmouse gryphon and the yin-yang wolf and a couple for James.

I had hardly walked across the barrier to Comics Alley when I found Andy Runton's Owly booth. There is no new Owly digest-sized volume out, but Andy's just done a full color children's book, and there was also the "Free Comic Book Day" comic as well as a new print: winter! I bought that and some tiny magnets of Owly, Wormie, and all the little birds. A few minutes later James appeared; his panel room was empty and the Marriott was already a zoo, making him claustrophobic. So we walked about the art show and the print shop again together.

Finally was off to the best two panels of the day—if laughter is the best medicine, I should surely never be sick again! The first was " vs. The Whoniverse," the folks from this review/humor site doing commentary on the first Matt Smith season. With this bunch it is never serious and I hadn't laughed so much in ages. One of the panel had just begun watching Who, so we had neo commentary, critiques of "The End of Time," lots of chat about River Song and just who she kills, and the usual "corpsing." This is so expected that several members of the audience were playing a Bingo game handed out by the panel: you got a square if they made a certain type of joke, or a certain reference, or criticized a certain person. First person with five blocks in a row won a DVD.

There was a long, long line for the Star Trek: The Next Generation panel, but I did make it in at the tail end and was quite happy. If you figured the stars of a serious drama series like Next Genwould carry on a serious panel, you would be dead wrong. This was even more hilarious than the Who panel, with guests Armin Shimmerman, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Jonathan Frakes, and Denise Crosby, with Garrett Wang as the moderator. (They continually teased him about Voyager.) If you want to know anything cool someone said, that would be hard to say; as Marina Sirtis put it, they were trying really hard not to give out any serious answers!

(I have to say that I had forgotten her original accent—saw her years ago at Magnum Opus Con—was so strong!)

LeVar Burton did have some good news: he is putting together a Reading Rainbow website which will be a continuation of the television series. There will be video book reviews, games, and other family-friendly items. Brent Spiner rambled a bit about the bad movies he has made when someone asked him about doing comedy.

There was also an odd occurrence when a reference was made to "chips," and Denise Crosby said "I didn't have any chips," and Jonathan Frakes responded, "Just that one on your shoulder!" and she walked off the stage. He followed her, presumably to apologize...I guess! It was a bit disconcerting!

I've only watched two episodes from series two, but I went to the Merlin panel anyway. I understand Morgana has started going bad, but Arthur's still a git. Figures. Much speculation if Arthur was ever going to twig to Merlin's magic saving him all the time, and if they would continue a series after Arthur became king.

Both James and I had considered going to the Adam Savage (Mythbusters) panel, but when I got to the Hyatt and he arrived from downstairs, there was a line out the door and around the building. Instead we went back to the Marriott for the Space: 1999 panel, which was a bit tongue-in-cheek. Discussed favorite episodes, the change between first and second season ("1999: A Space Odyssey" and "Star Trek 1999" as the moderator called them), the never-ending supply of Eagles, the tie-in products and books (I had no idea anyone was still writing Space: 1999 novels), and other stuff.

I had nothing on at seven, so I went with James to the literary track's Jeopardy game. This was entertaining and I blogged the first half of this entry on my phone between questions.

We finished up at the Sherlock Holmes panel. They were mainly talking about the new iteration of the character, which is done in a modern setting. Now, I've heard about this series, but how is everyone seeing it? Was it on BBC America and we've missed it? Apparently they've taken care to create parallels of Holmes' behavior in the Victorian era to modern day. It sounds quite interesting. The panel also discussed other favorite Sherlock portrayers...Jeremy Brett got most of the votes, as could be expected. One vote for Peter Cushing, too.

And after that panel, it was home again. The temperature today never got over 82°F and at least twice, to avoid that mess in the Marriott, I came down those awful stairs at the back of the Hyatt (James with me the second time) and just walked down the street next to the Marriott to get to the Sheraton because the heat wasn't oppressive. As we drove home it was blessedly cool. The sky this morning was beautiful, a deep blue and scattered liberally with mare's tails; tonight it was mostly clear and we could see a big "star" in the eastern sky. Google Sky Maps said it was a conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus. So we drove home with the windows down, sniffing cool air and the delightful scent of fresh vegetation that hasn't been broiled in the sun.



» Friday, September 03, 2010
Dragoncon, Day 1
A very long day beginning at eight when we got up and I had breakfast. (James picked his up on the way.) Willow followed us downstairs and kept trying to leave with us. She's never done that before. Kind of weirded me out.

Once parked in the garage, we immediately separated; not sure where James headed, but I went to the I Dream of Jeannie reunion panel with Barbara Eden, Bill Daily, and Larry Hagman. They were all in high spirits and teasing and enjoying being on stage. They chatted some about the series, plus some other projects they had done. No one asked Barbara Eden about Five Weeks in a Balloon or Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, but the guys had questions about Dallas and The Bob Newhart Show. Bill Daily told a funny story about meeting Bob Newhart for the first time at a Hallowe'en party: he was dressed as Leonardo DaVinci carrying a copy of the Mona Lisa that was partially a blank paint-by-number. Daily said he just had to meet that guy!

Many people just stated how special the series had been to them, like a woman who had watched it with her mother who just passed away. Probably the most affecting of these was from a man who served in Vietnam and said Barbara Eden's picture was carried by as many soldiers as Betty Grable's had been in World War II, and it helped him get through the hardships of war.

Much fun! Next a more serious panel: "What the #$!$#$! Happened to Our Space Program?" Basically the moderator, a Georgia Tech professor, stated that NASA really ended in 1972 and now is just a job-retaining agency, and that many better plans for space exploration had been dropped just so people could keep their jobs. He chatted about all the alternative plans for a reusable space vehicle that would have been more economical in the long run, and safer as well.

Had the schedule stayed the same, I would have now been headed to the Kai Owen (Rhys on Torchwood) panel. However, he had to bow out, so I was at loose ends for an hour. I waited until the dealer's room opened and then wandered around in there. It pretty much seems to stay the same every year, with the same vendors in the same places. I then headed upstairs to start going through one of the exhibitor's halls (basically two extensions of the dealer's room), then realized I was hungry. I found a little sofa area on the far side of the Marriott and sat down and had my bologna sandwich, some apples, a juice box, and some baked Cheetos. James turned up, and we traded future plans, then he was off to the Hyatt and I went upstairs.

There were two things I was determined to see at this convention: one was Kai Owen—oh, well—and the other was the Quantum Leap panel with Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell. The latter was at 4, but when I got up there at 2:30, they were already queuing up for it, so I got in the queue and waited. Unfortunately I was in the part of the line that was already outside, but there was a breeze and I was in the shade, so I just stood there and read Death at Blenheim Palace until it was time to go in the room.

The panel started late, but it was fabulous: Scott and Dean teased each other throughout the panel, and reacted with bemusement at a group called "The Church of Bakula" or something like that. Various questions were asked, from the usual—what's your favorite episode?—to the unusual—one person asked them to look at each other as if they had just leaped into the room and both say "Oh, boy!" They both looked fit and happy.

Of course there were questions about a reunion movie. Dean said he hadn't heard of any plans, while Scott said there had been some news, but that they would not be involved, or at the least would have only cameos, to which the whole audience groaned. There were also questions about if they thought Sam had ever gotten home or not; they were frankly not sure because the final episode left so much open to interpretation.

Anyway, very much worth standing in line for.

I met James back at the sofa area, and we walked back over the new skybridge from the Marriott to the Hyatt (no more crossing that noisy, hot street via that steep set of stairs), and then outside and up two blocks to the Westin, where the alternative history panels are being held. The streets were clotted not only with fans, but with folks out partying on a Friday night at local restaurants and places like the Hard Rock Cafe. Thankfully, the panel room was right inside the door.

This was the "Hollywood vs. History" panel where the participants, all alternative history writers as well as history buffs/instructors, had five minutes to comment on history-based films whose titles were printed on slips of paper and picked out of a hat by audience members. We went to this last year and it was just as much fun this year, but it needs to be longer! With intros and parting thoughts, even only five minutes on each film means you only get to hear about ten of them. This time there were groans for such films as Titanic ("Well, the ship did sink!"), Pearl Harbor (don't even get me started), the most recent Robin Hood, and more.

Now it was time for the first of two Atlanta Radio Theatre Company presentations at the convention. For some reason they had people queue up outside—at this point it's still 88 degrees out there—instead of letting them in the room as they usually do. [shakes head] Annoying as all get out. So we just waited inside until they let everyone in and we joined the end of the line already in progress.

Two rather different productions were done tonight. The first, "The Proper Thing to Do," written by Bill Ritch and Brad Linaweaver, postulated a future where golden, irresistible aliens visit the Earth. Everyone is fascinated by them, to the point where they are willing to give anything to them, except for a small group who are not affected by the glamour. The story is is bit whimsical, but with a point well made by the end of the story.

The second story, "The House Across the Way," took place in a small Southern town of the past, where a widow and her two daughters of marriageable age become involved with a young male neighbor who has just lost his father. But there's a third daughter involved, one who seems a bit uncanny—in fact, she appears to be dead. A very neat story, with a twist to the end that was quite satisfying.

James wanted to see one final panel, so I decided to go to the "Canon in Doctor Who" panel. I arrived at the Sheraton to find the corridor stuffed with people—for an 8:30 panel. Goodness! I did get in, but the room was packed! The panel description made it sound as if we were going to discuss the classic series more, but most of the questions were about the new series, with some questions if the new stories might refer back to events from the classic series, like the character of the Valeyard. It was still a fun panel to end the night with.

I trudged back to the Courtland Street Garage and sat in the truck with the A/C running until James wended his way through the Hyatt and over the "Luke Skywalk" from Peachtree Center. In fact, the first two paragraphs of this blog entry were written via Blogaway on my Droid.

Saw lots of neat costumes today: an Avatar guy, someone from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, a Zap Brannigan (thankfully with the legs for the costume), the usual contingent of zombies, Trek shirts, film characters, pirates, lots and lots of steampunk costumes, including a guy with an authentic pennyfarthing bicycle, many half-clad ladies, a "Jeannie" at the Jeannie panel, Browncoats, redshirts, and even, walking back to the garage, a Dread Pirate Roberts!



A Quick Update
I've done nothing but work this week, so I'll spare you the phone calls, the form construction, the call to the help desk to ask "What the devil is that?" and the usual stuff. Yesterday I did thirteen orders and half of an option renewal, then we had soup for supper, and, thinking an evening pre-registration line might be shorter than last year's two-hour ordeal on Friday, headed downtown.

Basically we paid $15 to stand in line for three and a half hours, mostly outside, where there was hardly a breath of air. At one point the line led into a little overhand type area where the hotel was shilling bottles of water at $2 a pop and also beer at God only knows what price. Any air we had outside was gone in there.

As we got close to the door a staffer was announcing that, although it was almost way after ten o'clock (we got in line at 8:10) anyone in line would get badges tonight. I said "What I need is a bathroom!" and was gratefully directed to one, followed by a flotilla about half-a-dozen other women who were overjoyed at this small favor.

When we got inside, at least it was cooler until we snaked through the "Disneyland line," back and forth and back and forth. Eventually they started calling for "last names ending"—as in beginning—with certain letters and with relief at "W-X-Y-Z" we managed to get our badges at 11:40 and trudge back to the garage and home.

The saving grace in this whole debacle was that we weren't in the sun. Almost anything is better than that.

Surely there is a better way to arrange registration at DragonCon. I've never seen registration at WorldCon or a professional convention like Comdex take this long. And by now this is a professional convention.

Okay...need to finish breakfast and off...