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, July 28, 2013
A Corner, a Conclave, and a Coupon

Another annoying week at work. I do not know how a business does business without not knowing specific things about itself! And everything runs out on Monday. So it was better I enjoyed the weekend while I could—if I can get over being depressed about the whole situation.

Traffic was utterly mad Friday night, even if I leave an hour earlier on that day. I just went surface streets to avoid the whole red mess in either direction on the freeway. I got home so late James still ended up taking Willow out.

We went to SteviB's for dinner because it was cheap and we knew we would splurge on Saturday night at Juanita's birthday dinner. Afterward, despite having no coupons, we went to Barnes & Noble. Now, on the way to dinner, we had listened to a "Travel With Rick Steves" podcast I had saved because Jane and Michael Stern (Roadfood) were on; we love listening to them on "The Splendid Table." They were talking about their at-the-time (this was a 2010 show, I think) latest book, 500 Things You Must Eat Before They're Gone. Minutes after we entered the bookstore, I heard James looking for the book at the information desk. :-) I figured. The Town Center store didn't have it, so we drove down to Cumberland to fetch one there. I found a few good things in the remainder bins at 75 percent off: To End All Wars (first World War, about war dissenters), The Eighty-Dollar Champion (I had this already, as a free ARC, but this copy was only $1.25, with better photos and properly paginated), and the big, beautiful coffee-table size The Life of Charles Dickens. This was written after Dickens' death by John Forster, his best friend, and was republished for his bicentennial in a lavishly illustrated version containing novel illustrations, playbills, period engravings, etc. The dust cover on this was a bit damaged (nothing that couldn't be fixed with tape), and all for only $10.

We were in bed early Friday because James was off to work on Saturday. I didn't sleep well, but got up nevertheless to go to the Farmer's Market. It was a weekend for the Artists' Market, too, and I was lucky enough to find someone just pulling out; otherwise it was SRO. Still had cucumbers, so got cherry tomatoes and also chicken salad, dog biscuits, and goat cheese. Capra Gia not only had a sleepy little goat with them, but two chickens, a couple of fat and fluffy hens. I held out my hand like I had some grain and greatly perked their interest, until the reddish one realized my hand was empty—then I was soundly pecked!

Came home by Bernhard's Bakery to get a couple of desserts for the week, too.

I spent the afternoon doing some clean up in the dining room. The dog's area against the wall was starting to be a little funky, so I bundled all her towels and blankets in the washer and then the dryer, and while those were scrubbing, washed out her crate with Swiffer cloths as well as the plastic mat her dishes go on. I thoroughly cleaned both dishes, and then cleared the area and scattered baking soda on the carpet and left it for over an hour. Then I vacuumed thoroughly, and sprayed the area with Lysol.

I was watching Atta Girl, Kelly! in between all this. This was a three-part story that first aired on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color in the 1960s, the story of a German Shepherd destined for the Seeing Eye. I loved this as a kid, but watched it with a little sadness thinking that most kids wouldn't be interested in the slow-moving story today. Kelly, bred at the Morristown kennels, is first given to a farm boy named Danny (Billy Corcoran) to raise. His father expects him to be interested in cows and sheep instead and is a bit confounded by this being a 4H project. This is Danny's first puppy and he is very reluctant to part with her, and she with him. In the next part of the story, it is shown how Kelly finally bonds with her trainer Matt Howell (played by Beau Bridges; she and a Labrador named Robin are his first projects, and he is closely watched by his supervisor, played by J.D. Cannon) and learns to be a guide dog; not just to work and be obedient, but sometimes to be disobedient to protect her handler. The final part has Kelly learning to adjust to her new, blind master, Evan Clayton, an attorney who was very attached to his previous dog, Jennie—so attached, in fact, that he isn't giving the dog the support she needs. In a parallel plot, the attorney's roommate, a newly-blind football coach named Chuck Wilson, gets along famously with his dog Robin and learns to love her, only for her to prove undependable after they had bonded and him having to receive another dog.

(I was amused after buying this film after all these years that here, four years before they did one of my favorite movies of all time, The Andromeda Strain, together, the two men training with Kelly and Robin are Arthur Hill and James Olson.)

I managed to get Willow's corner cleaned up and Juanita's gift wrapped (as well as Ken's belated gift) by the time James arrived home and we had to leave for Longhorn. Dinner was great fun; we sat at a long table and ate and chatted and watched Juanita open her gifts. From there we just went home; it was almost eight o'clock anyway. Watched a new production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood on PBS after As Time Goes By. In this one, John Jasper turned out to be Edwin Drood's illegitimate older brother, who was ignored by their father in favor of golden boy Edwin. He didn't kill Edwin, but he did kill their father, in an opium fog and embittered by having been so long ignored.

We were so tired we went to bed early (read: at midnight, which is early for us on Saturday) and thus were up at nine today. After breakfast, did the grocery shopping, and then had a more fun errand: going to Books-a-Million with a 30 percent off coupon. We were mainly looking for gifts to put away, and came away with a bumper crop: two Christmas gifts and a birthday gift and a bunch of stocking stuffers. James bought himself a couple of books, and I finally bought electronic Scrabble Flash for myself since it was only $10 before the discount. We listened to "The Splendid Table" there and back, and came home to read the paper.

Some goodies on television tonight: Cosplay: Crafting a Secret Identity, about science-fiction costumers, a lot of it filmed at DragonCon (I had to give Alice a fast call when I saw it, since she's designing a costume for DC this year; she's going to be a Minion!), and featuring Grant Imehara from Mythbusters. Lots of shots at the Atlanta Marriott; I'd know those carpets anywhere! Later we had three parts of Pioneers in Aviation, with lots of wonderful old photographs and vintage film footage.

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» Monday, July 22, 2013
Guest Blogging...
I was guest blogger today on Christmas TV History's "Animation Celebration" for Christmas in July:

The Small One

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» Sunday, July 21, 2013
Heat and Humidity

Just a normal Sunday morning here: sleeping late, then a trip to the supermarkets. Publix had a good assortment of twofers and milk was on sale; we also got some lamb for tonight's supper. We went for regular weekly things at Kroger (my sandwich bread, yogurt, etc).

The fun part of the day was driving into Buckhead to go to Barnes & Noble. We went through Vinings (a once tiny village that is now yuppieville, with townhouses going for $600,000 and regular homes for $700,000...egad!) and the tree-lined Paces Ferry Road, and then Moore's Mill, before having to venture a few blocks on Peachtree Road and traffic. We entered through the Starbuck's, which smelled sweetly of hot coffee—I miss coffee, dammit—and noted they had pumpkin bread, which came in handy in a little while.

I wandered about the shelves for a while, perusing this and that—a book about a thousand and one children's books to read before you die (it was $36; I passed), a Doctor Who volume, various history books—when James found me and said his blood sugar was plummeting and he was going to the cafè. We'd had a sketchy "breakfast," some granola bar and a cup of mandarin oranges each, and he had chili and a burrito for lunch while I simply dunked some fresh French bread into some leftover teriyaki chicken sauce warmed up in the microwave and had a feast. Sounded like his minimal carbs had worn off quickly. So he went to get a cold drink and I finally found something I found interesting: Divided Highways, the story of the building of the interstate system. I opened it up and random and there was a familiar name: John Volpe, Massachusetts-born-and-bred. You couldn't live in Rhode Island without hearing about John Volpe as well. And I turned the page and there was Route 128...I was hooked!

We drove home through Habersham as I had on Friday and came home to do some getting ready for the workweek, and some reading of books (I finished Thieftaker tonight). We were watching QVC ("Christmas in July") for a while, and then another thunderstorm (barely noticed by Willow) blotted the signal out, so I changed to broadcast television and we just bounced around there, including watching Barney Miller.

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» Saturday, July 20, 2013
Moonbeams and Thunderbooms

We have a get-together once a month with friends that we all call "Hair Day" (for the obvious reason that we all get our hair cut by Lin's friend Sheri). Lin and Sheri usually decide on the date after the previous month's event.

Back in June we got an e-mail announcing the date for July as being the 20th.

I've never forgotten July 20...specifically July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed and then walked on the moon. At age twelve I followed all the space missions and this was indeed what all the others had been building up to. The moon walk itself happened to coincide with an annual neighborhood event, the St. Mary's Church feast, which is a great weekend celebration (there are dozens of these feasts all over Rhode Island during the summer at all the Catholic churches: St. Bartholemew's, St.Rocco's, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, etc.); on a Sunday night when we usually would have left the main feast venue at Itri Square (the corner of Park Avenue and Cranston Street), air sweet with the scent of hot doughboys and pizza strips and freshly-popped corn, and the sound of the sideshow games and the band concert, and trudged up Park Avenue to Atwood Avenue behind the police station to watch the grand finale fireworks presentation, we were hurrying home to sit in front of our 19" Magnavox black and white television to watch the first moonwalk.

Our friends are of similar interests, so I immediately began plotting some way to celebrate the event with the food contribution everyone usually brings. We had brought the main dish last month, so my easiest option for a moon shape was, of course, a cake. One triple chocolate cake mix (with chocolate chips in it) baked in a springform pan, one container of chocolate frosting, one small bottle of silver sugar chips to act as moondust, one bottle of edible "moonrocks" (we found these at Michael's, in the cake-baking section; they're like M&Ms), and one play kit from Hobbytown to supply an astronaut, a command module and lunar module, and a gold moonrock, and we came up with this: our "One Small Step" cake.

James baked it, since I'm apparently incapable of baking even a box cake without it falling apart, and then I had fun decorating it. (You can click on it to see a bigger photo.) You can tell we don't do things like this often because we had no cardboard liner for the bottom of the cake, just waxed paper, which later presented a problem, since the hard part was carrying it to Ron and Lin's house. It turned out the lid of our Tupperware cake carrier was a little too small to clear the cake without scraping off the frosting and the "moonrocks" on the side, and we couldn't shift it to a bigger plate because all that was under it was waxed paper. So I put the cake still set on the bottom of the cake carrier in a larger plate and wrapped foil around it loosely and covered it during the night. This morning I gingerly carried it down to the car and held it like a baby until we got to the house. I was so glad to put it down!

Everyone enjoyed it, and it was tasty as well. A fun little project, and a fun morning and early afternoon! The Butlers supplied sandwich fixings and we also had cheese, a fruit and cheese tray, and a relish tray (black olives! yum!). James had no meetings today, so we were able to stay a lot later than usual, talking with Charles about his new cat, and giving Alex and Pat some advice about their upcoming vacation (like not to drive through New York City—take the Tappan Zee Bridge!).

So we were not home until three, having blown off stopping at Kroger because I didn't have the coupons for yogurt. Trouble was, since we went to Barnes & Noble and JoAnn last night and had no other coupons, there really wasn't anywhere else to go.

Meanwhile the sky got darker...and darker. We changed clothes and, in the process of tidying, I wandered by the dark and cool and slumbery looking futon in the spare room, and just the look of it suggestively called my name. I couldn't resist its siren song, and just stretched out on it, just for a few minutes, you understand. "Soft and snoozy, warm and woozy..." as Hilary Booth would say, and off I was in Dreamland.

Soon there was a sound of thunder. The next clap of thunder shook the house so that the handles on the dresser rattled. The third sounded like cannons on the Somme.

Next something furry touched my hand. I opened my eyes and found myself looking in a pair of liquid brown eyes that looked very anxious, belonging to a small dog who was desperately trying to join me on the futon. By the time she had tried several times to get on the futon with me, I figured there was no use trying to get back to sleep; besides I had to clean up the bit of wet carpet next to the futon. Apparently one can scare the piss out of someone, especially a small dog who's afraid of thunder.

Turns out James had felt sleepy, too, and being disinclined to just doze off on the recliner, had actually climbed into bed, put on his C-PAP, and finally fallen asleep, all to be woken up again by Willow trying desperately to get into bed with him. Having struck out with him, she had come to try me!

Schuyler, meanwhile, was just pissed off  because the rain had taken out the satellite dish. :-)

We'd had so many carbs at lunch between the sandwich breads and potato salad and the slices of cake that we just had some wings tonight, delivered from a Chinese place. Thankfully, they were very lightly sauced; that's the only thing wrong with Zaxby's wings—they're always glopped up with sauce. We got wonton soup, too, but I pretty much saved most of mine as the wings were very filling.

We saw a new Britcom on GPB tonight—incidentally, we didn't have to look out a window to tell that the weather was bad; GPB was coming in flawlessly on broadcast TV, where usually when the sky is clear the signal is so weak we can't get all—So Haunt Me, about a couple who has had to downsize due to the husband losing his job. They and their teenage daughter and young son move into an older house that happens to be haunted by the former owner, a Jewish woman who died after her daughter left home with an inappropriate boyfriend. I see Jewish stereotypes are just the same in England: the ghost is a kindly but meddling type who appears to both wife Sally and the son. (They also have the cutest Corgi.) The Good Life (Good Neighbors) is also back on, followed by Keeping Up Appearances, Are You Being Served, and two helpings of As Time Goes By.

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» Friday, July 19, 2013
Cover to Cover Coverage

Drat it, I hate when I have an alarm set for a time and then wake up having to use the bathroom 45 minutes earlier. My shoulders were aching from the extended time I spent at the scanner last night (I'm trying to scan an out-of-print book and it's taking forever because I have to adjust the brightness settings for every single page; I only got half of it done last night), so I took some ibuprofin after I'd finished what I came there for, then went back to bed until nine.

Breakfast, e-mail, finishing loading the dishwasher, etc. got me to eleven o'clock, when I went to Aldi. They have these small chocolate hazelnut crunch bars they sell (but only at the store on Powder Springs Road) that are low-cal for a chocolate treat, and I needed more. I planned to pick up milk while I was there, but they were out of skim. I had a terrible sinus headache when I got home and was already hungry again after the oatmeal, yogurt and milk, so took two Tylenol and had peanut butter on an English muffin. It helped a lot.

With that taken care of, I had some literary adventures in Buckhead, then headed home through Habersham Road and back to West Paces Ferry. I love going through Habersham because they have some of the neatest houses: mock Tudors, a stone-and-brick affair with a turret for a foyer, very proper looking brick Colonials, etc. (None as pretty as my favorite house in Brookhaven, the stone one that looks like an English hunting lodge!) Buckhead was always a bore to work in—all those dopey bars—but the ride to work was always pretty.

Came home with my pile of books (finding another on the doorstep) and watched Lassie while waiting for James. We had supper at the Panera Bread at Town Center, then went to JoAnn to pick up some craft items with our "Coupon Commotion" coupons. You could only use them on full price items and everything I wanted was already on sale. I let James have a couple (he bought bases for models), and then used the rest to buy chocolate for desserts next week. How frustrating! Even the stuff not marked as on sale was on sale; I couldn't even put away some scrapbook things for Juanita. Phooey.

When we got home we had another project, frosting the cake we baked last night for Hair Day tomorrow. The details on this little project are delayed until tomorrow so the cake is a surprise. :-)

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» Sunday, July 14, 2013
Git 'Er Done

Sometimes I like to feel like I've accomplished something during a day. There are times at work that I feel as I run and run like a hamster in a wheel and after nine hours only interrupted by lunch and a few trips to the rest room I achieve nothing. It's very disheartening.

After Friday the first thing I needed to accomplish was to get some restful sleep. I got up about 8:30 to fulfill a need. James had gotten up earlier, but when I peeked out the door, Schuyler was still covered up. James has a habit of doing this on Sunday mornings, not being able to sleep about 7:30-8:30, getting up, taking Willow out, and then settling in his recliner and dozing back off. I wanted eight hours of sleep in a proper bed, having stayed up until one talking to Mike and Emma, and went back to sleep until 10:16 when I heard Schuyler start up her "Hey, you!" chirp.

And when I got up there were biscuits, which I had with Kerrygold butter and a nice glass of milk.

Next to Kroger: ho hum. We did buy the parts for our contribution for "Hair Day" on Saturday, as we want to have a little fun with this. Once we brought our goodies home, we went to Walmart as we were out of wild bird food. Ran into David Gibson as we walked in, but never bumped into Juanita, but then it's a big Wallyworld. Picked up a couple of other things, then came home and put the seed into the storage can. (I learned my lesson about leaving wild bird seed bags in the house after we bought one infested with roaches in 2007. Ugh!) The sky was merciful; there were clouds overhead as we did this. Soon the cardinals were back—we'd seen the male cardinal earlier, feeding a nearly grown fledgeling who was still begging for food—and I'd also put out a finch sock (with thistle seed in it; all the thistle bags they had at Walmart were too big) and a suet cake.

For weeks I've been putting off reading the Sunday paper until Thursday (I've just got things I'd rather do) and cutting out the coupons. It doesn't help that I like shopping with coupons, but hate cutting them out. Today I read the paper first thing, and cut the coupons, and put them away, and also finally put up all the craft things we bought at the Michaels' sale and our Container Store trip a few weeks ago: the potential craft things into their proper place into the craft room (including all the little jewelry bits I've bought for assembling into gifts), the few things James bought placed in the box going downstairs along with the Hallmark ornaments we bought yesterday (neatly concatenated into fewer boxes; no, collectors, don't get all horrified—I don't keep all the ornaments carefully wrapped up in their original boxes; we'd be sleeping in the closet if I did that), and the stocking stuffers we have bought here and there.

I also started a plastic bag full of little things for Toys for Tots. I always want to give, but have run out of money by December. So I had collected a couple of simple toys and today on the clearance aisle at Walmart bought something for a boy and something for a girl. I want to buy some crayons and coloring books when I find them on sale, too.

James worked on a little project, too, this afternoon, as we watched television. We've gotten quite fond of the "hidden restaurant investigations" shows, like Mystery Diners and Restaurant Stakeout, and, wow, did they have some beauts today! This was followed by the delightful Forgotten Florida, about the old Florida attractions before the interstates and Disney hit (a few are still there): Cypress Gardens and also Silver Springs (both which I remember being neat), Weekee Watchee Springs, Marineland, the original "Goofy Golf," Parrot Jungle, Monkey Jungle, etc., followed by a Weird Florida special.

Another Sunday supper of chicken strips in salad: baby greens, mandarin oranges, slivered almonds, and chow mein noodles, all topped with light Asian sesame dressing. Yum!

And at least I can feel like I accomplished something today.

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» Saturday, July 13, 2013
We Need a Little Christmas...

It was a hellish week at work. Frustrations piled up upon frustrations and I ended up in tears at 5 a.m. on Friday. Four hours sleep, 45 minutes on the road, eight hours of fluorescent lights glaring off printer paper, 60 minutes on the road again...I crawled into the futon when I got home (after taking Willow out) and had only about fifteen minutes of nice quiet darkness before James got in from work. We only went to Hibachi Grill for supper and then came home, and went to bed as if we were going to work in the morning.

That's because we were up at 7 a.m. to get to the Hallmark ornament premiere. It was cloudy and cool, and we were able to drive out to East Cobb with the windows down, a treat in the summer. When we finished at Hallmark, we went to Trader Joe's. We don't come out to East Cobb as often as we used to since Borders closed, so we stocked up on several things and also bought chicken and salad for tomorrow night's supper. Then we headed off to Town Center to hit their Hallmark store, and also stopped at Publix for twofers.

Finally we arrived home with our treasures, and James was off to his club meeting. I decided to go pick up a book I'd seen at Book Stop a couple of weeks ago (if still there, of course), and found them adopting cats at the front of the store. I do regret my allergies! I did find the book, then swung by Kroger to get gas for the car, and stopped by Dollar General to see if they had any more of the instant Rice'a'Roni. Finally I settled down to watch a few more episodes of The New Adventures of Kimba the White Lion. This is so much grimmer than the original, and much emphasis on honor.

We had supper at StevieB's tonight, the Dallas Highway location, but I like the Town Center location better; certainly quieter! There was a car show going on in the next parking lot over, with a nice variety of vehicles, even some 1930s cars. As we left a Volkswagen station wagon from the 1960s was driving by, and as we pulled out, a late 40s-early 50s Chevrolet was behind us, complete with hood ornament of the swooping lady with wings.

James said he had polystyrene withdrawal, so we went to Hobbytown so he could prowl the model aisles; I found a table and sat down to read "BBC History Magazine." Then we had dessert at Barnes & Noble, splitting a Hershey's chocolate cheesecake slice. We emerged from the bookstore to find a lovely sunset glowing scarlet in the west, despite it having been cloudy most of the day.

But I guess it's a fact of life, isn't it—to get the prettiest sunset one must always have some clouds as well.

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» Sunday, July 07, 2013
Just One More Coupon...

Ah, Sunday morning: sleeping and [grocery] shopping. James got a prescription refill and we stocked up on things for the week (yogurt, bananas, desserts, lunchmeat, etc.) and found a nice steak for tomorrow night's dinner. Of course it was raining. I'm wondering where you find gopherwood these days.

Once the boodle was put away, we collected our coupons and, tossing a figurative coin in the air, drove up to the Barnes & Noble at Town Center Prado. I was happy to find that something I had wanted to buy a few weeks ago as a gift was still there; came out with three gifts altogether as well as Julie Hyzy's new Grace Wheaton "Manor House" mystery. James found a nice book about the Lockheed "Blackbird" and the newest BBC "Good Food" magazine.

We had a Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon expiring tomorrow, so went there next. With Willow in her old age, we needed more "Urine Gone," plus we bought a silicone baking device for diverting the grease from meats, and a refill for his Soda Stream. I also took a gamble and bought a "Chillow," hoping this will help James sleep. If nothing else, if it doesn't work in his pillow it can be used for aching feet after DragonCon!

The sun was actually out briefly for our ride home through Kennesaw National Battlefield Park, but otherwise it remained cloudy, humid and too damn hot all day. Spent the remainder of the afternoon watching the end of David Suchet's version of Murder on the Orient Express, and then the chronicle of his ride on the newly-revived Orient Express. Such lovely countryside and what a great trip! Far beyond our means, but it sure would be fun to do as Suchet did and help "drive" the train.

Now watching a PBS program about scenic railway journeys through New Zealand.

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One Last Bargain From McKay's

I had forgotten to mention the book I found at McKay's and turned over to James: the 1936 Your Wings by Assen Jordanoff, a noted Bulgarian aviator. No dust jacket; instead it looks like this. It's a manual of learning to fly and how aerodynamics and the aircraft works, all with vintage 1930s illustrations. And let's say it wasn't at eBay prices, either.



What is Your Car Doing? The Backstroke!

 Been more restless by the day and longing for even a little bit of an "adventure," even the tamest of one.

So, despite the endless rain forecast for today, we did load three photocopy paper boxes of books and media, and headed up to Chattanooga after stopping by Chik-Fil-A for breakfast. It was merely lightly overcast as we started out, and we had the car windows rolled down and were listening to Gaelic Storm. However, before we got to the state line it started to pour. Thankfully the boxes had lids, as we had to shuttle them in from the parking lot—the place was packed! I guess rainy days in Chattanooga are good for visiting bookstores. So we turned in our books (this was our first time trading in books) and commenced to browse.

Two hours later...

Both James and I picked up a gift for a friend. Unfortunately, I picked out a book I already had because they had issued it in a new edition and changed the title; dang, and I thought I'd found a different book about Victorian homes. What I ended up with otherwise:
  • Savage Peace, about the aftermath of World War I in the US (race riots, "red" scares, strikes and increasing social turmoil)
  • Don't Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America (only 50¢ to boot)
  • Providence of a Sparrow, about a man who rescues and raises a sparrow
  • George, Nicholas and Wilhelm (a.k.a. George V, Czar Nicholas II, and the Kaiser, who were, incidentally, all cousins)
  • Around the World in 80 Dates (listened to the author on a "Travel With Rick Steves" podcast; besides, it was only 50¢)
  • Tony Horwitz's Blue Latitudes, following in the footsteps of Captain Cook (to replace the one I bought at the library book sale, but turned out to have missing pages)
  • A new copy of Born Free because my original one, the one I had from when I was ten years old, had fallen apart because I read it so many times
By now James was relaxing in a sofa up front. I couldn't find the Christmas books, but I did go upstairs where the CDs were, looking for Aaron Copland and found some Christmas CDs: "Irish Christmas," a replacement for a cassette ("Christmas Weekend" from England), and three NPR "Jazz Christmas" albums.

Best of all, I still have almost $15 in credit left. :-)

By now it was nearly three o'clock, so we decamped to Golden Corral for linner (or is it dunch?). Since Golden Corral started as a "steakhouse," it was depressing that the steak on the buffet was so bad; they'd marinated it in something and it tasted of the marinade rather than of beef. The chicken wings and the pork ribs were better, and I had some seafood salad and popcorn shrimp as well.

We had Barnes & Noble coupons, so after finishing our meal, we circled the Hamilton Mall and found the store, which is part of the mall. I've seen Books-a-Million stores in a mall, and at least two Borders as part of a mall, but never a B&N. This was a really nice store, too; there were books there I'd never seen in any B&N in our area. I was going to buy the new "Manor House" mystery, but figured I could pick that up in Atlanta and went looking in other aisles. They had an impressive history section and I found Are We There Yet?: The Golden Age of American Family Vacations—a perfect time of year to find it, as this was the time of year we always took our family vacations.

I was also impressed by the travel section. Usually when James and I go on vacation, I like to check out the "local interest" section of bookstores, hoping to find intriguing titles about the area; most of the time the majority of these books are ghost stories. Ho-hum. But this store had an extensive section of local books, including many of the "Images of America" titles. Plus their travel titles were outstanding...almost picked up a book by Jerry Ellis, who walked the length of the Trail of Tears (he's also walked the path of the Canterbury pilgrims, of the Pony Express, and of Sherman's march through Georgia). But I was instead seduced by Route 66 Still Kicks. So what does one do with one coupon and two books you want? Which one do you choose?

Silly. Both of them, of course. :-)

It was raining hard by the time we left Chattanooga and the ride home was nowhere as pleasant as the one up. The sky lowered in more shades of grey than E.L. James ever conceived of, and every ten minutes Georgia Monsoon Season kicked into high gear. We had previously told a friend that the next time we went up to McKay's we would ask if she wanted to come along, but thankfully she had already gone there last weekend. I was really glad we didn't have to pick up Sue because it was only the two of us to worry about and not three. There was a good deal of traffic on the road, although it wasn't as bad as what was heading northbound, and between the constant spells of hard rain and the spray coming off the tractor-trailers, I was really spooked by the drive. By the time we got into "fair weather" (read: not a deluge, just showers), we were almost home and my shoulders and hands hurt from the tension of gripping the wheel, and my head ached. I'm surprised the car didn't petition me for waterwings and a snorkel halfway through the ride.

We spent the rest of the night quietly, mostly because the rain knocked out the satellite and we ended up watching MeTV: Lost in Space (a halfway decent episode from first season about the dangers of selfishness), Star Trek ("Squire of Gothos"), and then "Svengoolie" introducing the William Castle film I Saw What You Did. I've read about this movie, but this is the first Castle film I've ever seen. Two teenage girls and one of the girls' cute little sister spend a boring evening making prank phone calls. Unfortunately they call up one man, saying "I saw what you did and I know who you are," right after he's murdered and buried his wife. Of all things, Joan Crawford plays the guy's next-door neighbor who is in love with him, and who thinks now that wifey is gone he will marry her.

Of particular interest to me in this movie: Frank Weatherwax, brother of Rudd, handled the two dogs used in this film. The girls' little Yorkshire terrier looked like it was "Silky" from the Lassie series (recently retired since Lassie was now off with the forestry service), and I'm pretty sure the other dog was played by "Spike," a.k.a. "Old Yeller."

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» Friday, July 05, 2013
In and Out Friday

Starting with "in bed," naturally, continuing on to "stripping bed" in preparation for washing the bedclothes. I also boxed a pile of James' magazines that have been blocking the chifforobe since we put the Christmas tree up and brought them downstairs. Once downstairs, I started the washer and then shelved all the books I read last month and in May, and then finally went through the bookshelves to pluck out a few more volumes to trade in at McKay's. I have two copy paper boxes full, but not packed, and there's a partial box of books that belong to James.

Since it looked as if James was busy today and wouldn't be getting out early, about 12:30 I quit the housework, dressed, and popped into the car. Picked up some cash at the bank, and then, because I'd been reading my Christmas Movies and Music mailing list and hearing more good Goodwill stories, stopped at the one on Concord and South Cobb. Sadly, the usual junk; not even one good book. I would be embarrassed to take some of this stuff to Goodwill! If it's that worn out I throw it out or recycle it. I did get something good at the Dollar General across the parking lot: scrub pants in black. Scrub pants make great "hanging around" clothes when it's too cold for shorts and too warm for sweats, and if you have a quick errand, they are outstanding "throw on fast" pants. Usually you see them in turquoise or gas-flame blue or (uuuuuugh!) pink. (They're really light, so if the temps climb into the 90s, they work well there, too.)

Made my way to Heritage Pointe, where I stopped at Dollar Tree to pick up more Pears' transparent soap for a dollar a bar. I love the bracing rosemary and thyme scent—especially at six in the morning when I'm barely conscious. :-) Next I went to Michael's with a fifteen percent off entire purchase coupon (including sale and clearance items) and picked up some useful things. Finally I came home by Aldi for milk and some baking soda for the refrigerator.

Arrived home just in time for Lassie on Angel2. Angel2's broadcasts of Lassie have been so weird I had almost given up hope on them. They would show four or five Jeff episodes (and a few Timmy episodes) and then repeat, and repeat the same ones for weeks and then show a few more and repeat was maddening. But some months back they started from the pilot episode, "Inheritance," and proceeded to show every Jeff episode, and then went into the introductory Timmy episodes and showed all thirteen of them! Finally got to see "The Wolf Cub" again after many years. Rewatching the "transitional episodes (Jeff with Timmy), I always love how well Ellen Miller got along with little Timmy. She was the perfect "aunt," and had she wanted to continue with the series the relationship would have been perfect. I wonder if it was hard for Jan Clayton to do such loving scenes with a small child after the death of her daughter in a car accident, which is what pushed her to quit the series. Certainly Cloris Leachman's portrayal of Ruth Martin in the next twenty-six episodes was no match for Clayton's charm, and the less said about Jon Shepodd playing Paul Martin the better, although in his book Timmy's in the Well, Jon Provost said that in person Shepodd was a nice, warm, humorous guy, and that he still kept in touch with him. Pity the writers couldn't have written Shepodd that way; I can't count the times I want to knock him upside the head for the way he treats Timmy! (I didn't want him to spoil the kid, but his Paul was such a cold fish!) As for Leachman, she hated the farmwife role and no matter how loving she tried to be, it always showed.

We had supper at the cheapest place we could think of: IHOP, where they buy-one, get-one senior menu items from 3 - 6 p.m. James forgot his Barnes & Noble coupon (the new "Destroyermen" book is out), so we just came home. That's fine, because I can just go back to reading Paris to the Past, about historical day trips by train out of Paris. (Oh, yeah, and re-making the bed...this new mattress is just so easy to make! No breaking our backs any more hefting that giant padded board and having to clamp the sheets down so they didn't slip off the bed.)

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» Thursday, July 04, 2013
A Glorious Fourth

An early start to this weekend, although we were nearly drowned getting there. It started raining yesterday and just kept raining; we had a power blip at work—to my enormous surprise, the network stayed up—in the morning (and at home, too, over twenty miles away). Thankfully, they "sprang us" early (and it still took me an hour to get home). I took one look at the traffic map, which was turning shades of red not found in nature, and just headed home via surface streets. My favorite house in Brookhaven is up for sale again...wonder what's with it? (It's a lovely brown stone home, which would look fabulous decorated in an autumn motif year round, and lovely at Christmas.) Anyway, I think the car swam from Chamblee Tucker Road to Windsor Parkway, after which the rain lessened a bit and it was just soggy for the rest of the trip.

This morning we celebrated our independence by sleeping until ten o'clock, and we did not go to bed late, either. I guess we needed it. Did some chores and then put on 1776 at noon. Followed that by some channel-switching, where I found a selection of patriotic songs performed by Bing Crosby running on "40s on 4." By the time this was over, it was time to go to the Spiveys for an Independence Day cookout. Great fun: Ken's mom and sister and brother-in-law, some of Aubrey's friends, the Boulers, and David, Juanita, and Jessie were there. We brought our own meats and shared sides, and exchanged apps.

Home in time for A Capitol Fourth. Great performances, and even a salute to the Boston police department, but their fireworks coverage was pretty poor this year: they kept turning the cameras on the musical performers (Barry Manilow and a blonde woman whose name I don't know) rather than showing the fireworks.

Had a rude surprise when I consulted Zap2It this morning: CBS was not broadcasting the Boston Pops concert this year. They said the ratings had not been good. Instead they had a rerun of Elementary scheduled. I love Elementary, but not on July 4th! Did you ever think, CBS, had you treated this concert properly, you might have had a better audience? Maybe shown the entire concert, including the entire performance of the Pops' Independence Day signature piece, the "1812 Overture"? And not reworked the concert as you have the last umpety-umph years to highlight this year's musical celebrity pimping his/her new album? WCVBs/A&E television's coverage was so perfect CBS's hideous coverage suffered in comparison.

We did find that WBZ-TV was streaming the musical portion of the concert on their website, followed by streaming video of the fireworks. So there we were, watching the Washington, DC, fireworks listening to the Boston Pops play the "1812 Overture." :-) (DC played it, too, so we had an encore.) Then I tried to switch to the live feed on the television computer, but it whined about a driver, so we ended up watching on James' computer, in the dark, which nonplussed poor Schuyler. Some neat new firework combinations, too: red and blue spheres with white centers, and triple circles around a spherical center, and some beautiful multicolors. Unfortunately our download speed is only 5mps, so it was a bit pixelated.

Finally we watched the New York City concert/fireworks on, what a fireworks show!!!! 95 percent of the shots were outstanding (just a few focused too tight or crowd shots) and the fireworks themselves were outstanding! Loved the red hearts surrounded by a halo, and a great finale. Plus, in the background, they were running a light show at the top of the Empire State Building. The red-white-and-blue color scheme danced and twinkled and shimmied and shimmered. Excellent! Of all the firework coverage we saw, this one gets the best marks.

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» Monday, July 01, 2013
Newly Re-created Paul Temple Serial Starts on BBC Radio 4 This Wednesday!
When I first began listening to BBC Radio 4 Extra (then BBC Radio 7) about three years ago, I discovered the delights of Francis Durbridge's urbane Paul Temple, a special investigator as well as author, who solved crimes with the help of his wife Louise (she writes mysteries under the name "Steve Trent," so everyone knows her as "Steve"). The Temples are a witty British counterpart to Nick and Nora Charles (with considerably less booze involved). The most popular actor pairing for the Temple serials was done by Peter Coke and Marjorie Westbury.

As in what happened to Doctor Who and other British television and radio dramas, several of Paul and Steve's adventures were wiped from the archives. Recently new versions have been adapted, using the old-fashioned technology of the 1940s-1950s so the broadcasts would sound more authentic, and this is the newest re-creation, made possible because the lost scripts to several episodes were found in Oslo, Norway!

More about Paul Temple and the Gregory Affair.



Happy Canada Day... all my friends up north!

Haven't been to Canada in quite some time (late 1970s) and hope to return some day. I have happy memories of Quebec, Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Canadian side of the Falls, and Canada's Wonderland. I'd love to take a Maritimes cruise sometime, to see Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, with a definite visit to Campobello Island. Much better than going somewhere warm! (We keep getting spam phone calls from some outfit who has a happy-voiced rep chirping "You've won a cruise to Bermuda!" Yeah, right. What timeshare crap do I have to listen to to get this "prize"? Offer a cruise to Alaska and I might actually call to see what kind of scam you're running.)

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