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, April 26, 2015
Quick, Before We Melt

I slept last night, but not very well. While I was taking my shower, there was a terrible thumping sound. I jumped out of the shower, yelling, thinking James might have fallen. He thought I had fallen in the shower stall.

What actually fell was the back shelf/rod in the closet, the one we hang our dress pants, my jeans, and the winter coats on. The suitcases are kept on the shelf, which pulled right out of the wall because it looks like none of it was fastened into one of the studs. The wall anchors just gave way and pulled through. And here I was Friday thinking how good it looked now that the big suitcase was tipped up on its side.

It doesn't look as if anything got hurt, except for a lid on a box on an adjacent shelf, but I can't tell yet because this would mean cleaning the pants and the coats out of that corner and I simply wasn't up for it today. I hope nothing happened to Matilda (my doll that Papà brought me back from Italy), as she was in the corner under the coats.

When I did sleep, I had nightmares: in one, there was a pet monkey (not a chimpanzee, a real squirrel monkey) and it was killed. (Don't ask me where that came from; I haven't watched anything with monkeys in it.) I got up at eight feeling shellshocked and went back to sleep until 10:30 and dozed until almost eleven (we went to bed at two; James was working on the Quest jet down in the Man Cave and I was chatting with Emma and listening to Christmas music). Then we had to hustle before it got too hot to go out grocery shopping; it was already in the 70s and sunny, with only a brisk breeze to save the day. I took Tucker for his walk while James got himself a burrito; I ate a BelVita bar in the car.

We stopped at CVS briefly to use a coupon for BreatheRights, then went to the Battle Ridge Kroger because I needed buns for my lunch (the Smyrna Kroger makes terrible buns) and the usual: milk, bananas, yogurt, burritos, and a few other things, and I bought gasoline. Then we brought the stuff home and put it up, then released Tucker from "Durance Vile" and took him with us in the truck to go to Petco and pick up more dog food, a new antler, and a few snacks. There were no dogs in the store for him to interact with, but I took him to visit the cats, all of whom chilled out except for the one who hissed at him. It took him a few minutes to realize "these are cats!" and once he barked I took him away promptly. We also visited the budgies—"Wow, look, more brothers!"—and the ferrets. And he knew what the mice were, too; they took cover soon after he showed up.

When we got home, I tackled a major irritation: the chifforobe. I pulled out James' electric blanket which doesn't heat up anymore, and trashed that and a bunch of other stupid things like receipts. Anyone got any idea what to do with a Nook Color? It still works but it isn't a tablet, just an e-reader. It's not worth any money, but I wondered if someone just wanted an e-reader. I have some things to go in the electronics recycling bin, like our old phone chargers (and probably the old Droids, too; they've been wiped), and we took down a box of books James had already read and winnowed out what he didn't want to keep to take to McKay's. We have a Xerox box full to go to McKay's and another one started. Really, the rubbish one accumulates!

Next weekend, of course, we'll have to fix the shelf. We need three hooks, at least one fresh strut, and some screws to fasten those things into the studs!

(I'm now worried about the shelves in the "Christmas closet." Bet they're not screwed into the studs, either.)

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» Saturday, April 25, 2015
Waiting for the Rain

The weather report looked rather grim last night, with rain predicted in two waves, one sometime in the morning, one sometime in the afternoon, with thunderstorms and dire predictions. If there was thunder this morning we slept flat through it. I might have seen some lightning when I used the bathroom at seven. Otherwise, it was just cloudy and humid, with a nice breeze, when I took Tucker out. James had made the couscous for Hair Day last night, but it looked puny in its plastic container this morning, so he made a bit more while I was out with the dog.

Very small Hair Day today. We had expected at least two more, Juanita and Jessie, but Juanita's brother had a stroke yesterday, so we did not expect her. Phyllis made the main course, barbecue lamb, and we also had Lin's fabulous Asian salad and veggies with dip, and for dessert, Charles brought Klondike bars. We were there till about two, talking about all and sundry, and then we left to go home and get the power chair so we could wander around the Jonquil Festival for about an hour.

Not only didn't it rain, but the sun came out and James forgot his hat, so I gave him mine (he's the one who takes meds that make him sensitive to sun). We bought some buttons from the Button Girl—he actually got four, I only got one, the only Sleepy Hollow button they had!—and another small bottle of wildflower honey and some "Lose a Finger" dog cookies for Tucker. These look like peas and when he's pestering me while I'm teleworking I like to get eight or ten and toss them around the dining/living room and tell him to go find the cookie. We looked around the food trucks, but just decided to come home and eat leftovers (jerk chicken for James and spaghetti for me) and watch This Old House and yesterday's Hawaii Five-0 as well as last Sunday's Call the Midwife.

Incidentally, it never rained at all.

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» Friday, April 24, 2015
Swimming in Books

Well, I've used up all my extra leave, except for the day I need in the fall for the library sale and an emergency day, so this is my last Friday off for two weeks ::sob:: I hate getting up at six in the morning! So today I left the alarm and woke up naturally, which was about nine o'clock and dozed on and off for another half hour.

Then it was time for dog-walking. This took a while as I actually didn't walk the dog, just tied him out as I took the Easter things off the porch (finally) and trimmed some of the nandina. Tucker was actually pretty good; he never went in the street, although he could have. When we got in, he begged to go out on the deck; I finished Grace Against the Clock, washed a few dishes, made the bed, and put some things away. I got  up so late I actually ended up having some lunch instead of breakfast. Then I decided to go to the South Cobb library. I discovered that before Christopher Fowler had begun writing his Bryant and May mysteries, he wrote some urban horror books that featured Bryant and May. South Cobb had one of them, Rune, so I wanted to borrow it. Well, when I walked in, right with the new books was an autobiography of Katherine Paterson, and I also found one of the American history books that was on my Amazon wish list, The Expansion of Everyday Life, 1860-1876.

Then I wanted to check out The Book House, a book store on Veteran's Memorial Highway that we found one Sunday, but it is closed on Sunday. I thought this was a remainder book store, like the one on the main street at Pigeon Forge, but it is a used book store just crammed with books upon books, doubled up on shelves, stacked up in corners. As always, at least a fourth of the store is devoted to old romances (this happens in all used book stores). But in the back I find old children's library books, a good collection of old science-fiction and fantasy paperbacks (Larry Niven! Jerry Pournelle! Christopher Stasheff! Clifford Simak!), biographies cheek by jowl with history books, true crime crammed in a corner where it belongs, and up front behind a bookcase of classics a small bookshelf of Christmas books and right near the front a big double-shelved collection of old books including Whitman TV tie-ins. I picked up one book called A History of the World War (didn't look at the copyright but with that title, definitely pre-1939) and folded inside was a Chautauqua program. There was a paperback reprint of Burrough's Tarzan of the Apes with a front cover featuring Ron Ely, star of NBC's 1960s Tarzan series.

The one thing I didn't find was the mysteries; I'm sure they were there somewhere!

I bought two of Joe Wheeler's Christmas in My Heart books (these are short story collections with the stories taken from magazines from the late 19th and early 20th centuries) and one of the Sutton series of Christmas books, this one The Great British Christmas. Amazingly, the cashier told me all the thousands of books in the store are indexed on computer; they cataloged them starting in 2005 and now catalog everything that comes in. Wow.

I thought I'd stop at Ollie's to see if they had any of the "Angel Treats" I'd gotten earlier in the year, dark chocolate Hershey squares. Alas, they are now malted milk balls (barf) and sugar free milk chocolate (barf two). I did pick up two "Dear America" books for more than 75 percent off the list price.

On the way home I dropped the plastic grocery bags at Publix for recycling. Once I got home I found my shipment from Hamilton Books on the doorstep. Several of the books were for eventual gifts, but I had a few inexpensive goodies for myself: Connie Willis short stories, Susan Cooper's bio of John Langstaff (of the Christmas Revels), a David Crystal book about English that was only $2, a mystery featuring Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde (we were talking about the two of them at 221B), and the beautiful illustrated version of Bill Bryson's At Home at 70 percent off. The only pricy thing in the shipment was The Collected Days, the three-book compilation of H.L. Mencken's memoirs.

I fell asleep reading Rune (not because it was boring but because the sun always drains energy out of me) and didn't wake until James arrived home. We went to fetch supper from Dragon 168, taking Tucker with us; he had a ball sticking his head out the window. Later we watched the news to see what kind of storms are heading our way (it went from bright sun with a winter sky and a breeze when I was at the library to flat grey and humid by the time James got home), Doctor Who, and last night's Big Bang Theory.

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» Sunday, April 19, 2015
Soggy Sunday

You know it's been raining too much when you take the dog out and he doesn't want to walk on the grass!

But, honestly, we outdid ourselves this morning! Now, granted, we went to bed a little after two, but when I finally woke up, it was 12:15! We haven't slept that late in ages! Oh, we used to do that long ago, when the Phoenix Science Fiction Society meetings would end late and then we'd go to dinner and get home at two and three, or those insomniac nights when we'd go to ::sob!:: Oxford Books, which stayed open until two, or even the nights we'd stay up on WENN chat until two or three, but not lately. James said he did wake up around ten, but he was hurting so much he took some Naproxen and came back to bed. I don't remember, as I was happily in the arms of Morpheus.

We did want a paper and I did want to go by the library to renew my card and I did want a look at the new cross-stitch magazines, so we got up, I walked Tucker, and then we went off downtown via Wendy's for a fast meal.

Wow, I hadn't been to the library in so long they couldn't even find my card number and had to give me a new one! I find little time to go to the library anymore; I used to reserve things online and then have them sent to the Sibley Library so I could pick them up, but after they cut the library budget (rather than, of course, cutting the fat cats' salaries) and closed Sibley on Friday I just got out of the habit.

From there we went to the Barnes & Noble at Town Center, which has the best selection of cross-stitch magazines. I wasn't impressed by any of the patterns, but I did find a cool book called A Brief Guide to The Sound of Music. Why am I buying another SOM book when the FAQ book turned out to be such a snooze? Well, because this had the sort of thing that I was expecting from the FAQ book: for instance, it has a synopsis about each of the two German movies about the Trapp family, plus synopses of each of the episodes of the Japanese anime versions. That's more like it!

We'd apparently slept through all the rain, wind, and storm that was supposed to spring on us last night, but it was still dark, miserable, and humid all day. We treated ourselves to a BOGO deal at Baskin-Robbins, then stopped at Publix for the double Sunday paper (a waste since there was only one packet of coupons). By the time we got home, it was nearly suppertime. We watched one of the four episodes of season seven of Murdoch Mysteries we had on DVD from Netflix, then James warmed up the Italian wedding soup and we had that with the scones from yesterday.

The chaser was three more Murdoch episodes—and now it's time to get lunches ready and go to bed! Hope I'm as sleepy tonight!

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» Saturday, April 18, 2015
Go Out Early, Come Home Early...
Since it was high time we went to the Farmer's Market, we got up this morning and went. There was brief debate on whether we should go because of the expected rain, since we had to take the chair, but luckily it was just cloudy and damp and a bit miserably humid when we set out. We took Tucker with us, and luckily found a handicapped parking space right on the square, near the old jewelry and coin shop, which was completely empty! I stopped there last during my annual Christmas excursion, since they always had a variety of nostalgic things among the jewelry and the junk. In the interim they have moved—or closed, whatever.

Tucker again was on sensory overload. Fed him a tiny bit of bacon from Pine Street Market, and you should have seen his eyes as that delectable, fresh-cooked morsel came toward him. He touched noses with a lot of dogs, but the cutest was with an Old English Sheepdog puppy, who desperately wanted to PLAY! And he wanted to play back. Darn those leashes!

We picked up a big blueberry scone to eat then, since we left the house without breakfast, and five smaller scones, three chocolate and two bacon, cheddar, and chive ones to eat with our soup tomorrow night. We also picked up dog biscuits and James got a couple of mini-pies from the Sweet Auburn lady. They also had a run going on downtown, and some local businesses on display along with crafts (Tupperware and all that) that we walked through, and then we went back to the truck via the park where Tucker got himself cuddled by a young father and his little girl. Dogs know a soft touch; the guy was a dog owner.

We brought Tucker home and played "red dot" (the laser pointer) with him before consigning him to the crate with some breakfast and, of course, a cookie, and went off to BJs. It's the only weekend we can go and we needed toilet paper. Boy, did we get a lot more: BreatheRights, Jamaican meat patties, pineapple cups, Skinny Pop, Chex Mix for my lunch, etc. Plus we had to renew membership. Whew. Glad BJs takes credit cards; more points for Amazon!

This was all towed home from BJs, and then we decided to get the ordinary stuff out of the way [Later: A good thing, too.] because it's supposed to pour, thunder, lightning and all sorts of pleasant things tomorrow until noon. So we went to Kroger for just a few things (milk, yogurt, wheat Chex to mix with the Chex Mix, etc.) and, dammit, they didn't have the chocolate whips again. I complained to both the dairy attendant and the checkout person; this apparently is Yoplait's most popular flavor, since it's always sold out, and they need to stock more. I couldn't let it go, either, or I wouldn't have any for breakfast, so we stopped by Publix and I bought the measly eight they had in stock.

And then we truly were done and could sit down and watch This Old House and Hawaii Five-0. Later James "computed" and I chatted with Emma and worked on a story.

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» Friday, April 17, 2015
Websites = Timesink

Oh, I had so many plans for cleaning today!

Well, I did manage to clean off most of the horizontal attractant; otherwise known as the dining room table. I put the oyster crackers in a glass jar, put up the rest of the stuff we bought at Buford and Trader Joe's, and put away James' fruit bars. Still don't have any place for the juice boxes I bought to take to 221B, but then we will use them in a few weeks for Timegate. Probably need to plan to take our lunch, at least, as the new hotel's restaurant is horribly expensive. Can't believe we finally got the restaurant to behave halfway decently at the old hotel after so many years and now the venue is changed!

Did some tidying in the kitchen at least and reloaded the dishwasher and washed, and of course Tucker and I had our walk (and it started raining, as it has for the past week).

I was entrapped quite willingly for most of the afternoon by my Doctor Simon Locke webpage; since RetroTV isn't showing the other three episodes, I might as well finish up what I intended to do when I completed the descriptions. On odd nights when Retro was coming in halfway decently, I pointed my camera at the screen—yes, a very old-fashioned method, camera copying! this is how I saw my first episodes of Blake's 7—and took short movies of what was playing on the television, clips of about one to two minutes. This is how I got the screen caps for the titles already on the page as well. Today I took the rest of the screen caps and distributed them liberally about the page (capped a couple more today and redid both the opening graphic and the actors' title photos in the cast section). Then I went through, rewrote a bit here and there, and proofread. All that was left was the upload.

By this time spending so much time at the monitor was making the letters on the screen dance before my eyes, so I quit and made the bed and put some other junk away. James got out an hour early so that we were sure we'd get to the mechanic before they closed, and we picked up the truck, then had supper at Giovanni's. I love this place to death, but, man, where are they getting their spaghetti sauce? It tastes like someone tossed a sugar bowl in it.

It was raining when we left and raining when we got there and raining when we headed home. A good night to sleep! Instead we watched the end of "The Visitation" on Doctor Who and later on Police Surgeon.

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» Thursday, April 16, 2015
Restocking the Larder

So when I took Tucker outside this morning, I had to pull him back immediately to grab my jacket. Damn! It was chilly out there! It turned out it was about 55°F, cloudy, breezy (my favorite weather!), and it pretty much stayed there all day. Which made it perfect when we ended up doing what we did.

Since James worked Sunday, he had today off, and I took today off as well so he could get new tires installed on the truck; one is starting to bald while the other looked like it had a slow leak. We also ended up ordering the heavy-duty shocks; they'll be put on tomorrow, and he'll take my car to work. Me, I've got housework to do anyway.

After we dropped off the truck, we had breakfast at IHOP (let's hear it for the senior menu!), then headed east, skirting a tremendous line of people queuing up for I-285 by taking the alternate exit. I was originally headed for Sprouts, but we ended up at the Buford Highway Farmer's Market first. I wanted frisee and they're about the only place that has it, and I was jonesing for lupini beans; I got them, but had to buy a big jar. I'll have enough for a while. We also got pork kabobs, which will make great pork cacciatore, some great chicken legs, and some pork chops, more Asian noodles, spaetzle, and of course some peppermint Ritter bars for dessert. With the Russian cards they also had some Russian books, and I was delighted to recognize a Russian-language version of Tom Sawyer. Thursday morning is a great time to come—I've never seen the place less crowded!

We lucked out at Sprouts; they not only had the Italian wedding soup, but they had their chicken noodle soup as well. (We got both, and had the chicken soup for supper—or rather high tea, since we hadn't eaten lunch, so ate the moment we got home—and it's quite good! Not too salty, with big thick noodles and nice big slices of carrot.)

Stopped at Barnes & Noble for a few minutes; nothing much new out, but did get a new "Remind" magazine. It's really not worth the money for a "retro" magazine, since mostly it's just full of puzzles, but it had a story about the 1964 World's Fair.

Our final grocery stopping shop was Trader Joe's, where we got some cupcakes for dessert, another container of miso soup, chicken sausage, fruit bars for James, and some "shrimp nuggets," which are just whole shrimp in breading. We sampled them, and they were just so good. I also bought a bottle of vodka pasta sauce, as we've had some crab ravioli in the freezer for ages but haven't eaten it because regular tomato sauce would just blot out the taste of the crab.

Gas was 2.159 at Costco, and that was our actual last stop. James put the groceries away while I walked Tucker, we had the chicken soup, and then lazed around the television for the rest of the night: Ellen, the news, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, Doctor Who (parts 1 and 2 of "The Visitation"), this week's Big Bang Theory and a rerun, and finally two episodes of Police Surgeon. These were supposed to start tonight, after Retro Television finished showing Doctor Simon Locke; to my dismay they only showed 23 of the 26 episodes and started Police Surgeon on Tuesday's second showing. It's a really depressing show; I think they scraped the underbelly of every 1970s cliche crime: criminal fathers deserting sick kids, drug smugglers, an ex-con who betrays Simon who's trying to help him. One of the episodes tonight was a bit more character-driven (Simon rides with a cop whose partner was killed to determine if he's fit for duty), but the other one had a Mission Impossible-ish cliche Hispanic dictator and the people who were trying to kill him. Sam Groom still plays Dr. Simon Locke and Len Birman is now Lt. Dan Palmer; it's like they're Simon and Dan from Dixon Mills in an alternate universe (which means they're still sniping at each other).

Retro says the three missing episodes ("Marooned," "The Wanderer," and "Gun Point") aren't in their package, which is bizarre because on their web page SFM Entertainment, the distributor, says they own all 109 episodes—good trick, as there are only 104 episodes of the Doctor Simon Locke/Police Surgeon combo in its CTV listing—did they not sell Retro all the episodes that exist? I'm bummed because (1) I wanted to update all the descriptions on my Locke web page and (2) I particularly wanted to see "Marooned" again because Simon and Dan are forced to cooperate with each other to survive rather than exchanging barbs at each other. LOL. I've found at least two other people on the Retro Facebook page that prefer Locke to Surgeon!

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» Saturday, April 11, 2015
"Deerstalking" (or, 221B Con, Part 2)
Up this morning, leaving James to have fun at his club meeting, and got to the hotel in time for the breakfast buffet. The bacon is remarkably good; also had fruit, cereal, a bagel, toast.

My first panel covered the recent Russian Sherlock Holmes series. I still haven't seen this one, although we talked about the series last year and I did look it up and watch the first few minutes of the first episode. It sounds quite unique and earthy. There probably won't be any more, however, because the actor playing Watson died under suspicious circumstances. I didn't realized it was intended as a miniseries, with Watson growing at his writing skills in each episode. They were talking about the earlier series as well, which is apparently sacrosant among the Russians, who are great Holmes fans. They rerun it every year at Christmastime.

Next came the Alternate Universe/Crossover panel. I didn't realize there was such a variety of ships! I hadn't heard about Mycroft/Lestrade. (!!!!) As for alternate universes, there's apparently Sherlock as a chef, as a brewer, even as a florist! (Someone said they think Sherlock florist would raise poisonous plants in the back room...LOL) Someone has even written a Sherlock/Valdemar crossover, which had Sherlock rejecting being Chosen and John being a Herald. I hadn't heard the term "fusion" before. The definition was "If Sherlock is with Harry Potter at Hogwarts, it's a crossover; if Sherlock is Harry Potter at Hogwarts, it's a fusion.

Remember how I talked about the Asylum Sherlock Holmes last year, the one with the dinosaurs? Our guest at this convention was Ben Syder, who played Sherlock Holmes. He was funny and very honest about the cheesiness of the film, and told humorous stories about time on the film set, including how he auditioned seeing only two pages of the script. Apparently there was supposed to be an aquatic element in the film, but they couldn't afford it. Also, the character who turned out to be Holmes' brother in the movie was his uncle in the script (they should have left it as uncle; it might have made a tad more sense). I remember remarking that the phone that they used was not period; well, it turned out when it came time for a phone scene, they had no telephone at all. An old candlestick phone was all they had. At the other end there was no phone so Syder just talked to a corner. I may have to watch the film over just to see all the goofs he pointed out.

There was a funny story; he was living in London with friends. One of the roommates left and a new young woman from South Africa moved in. Wanting to welcome her, they took her out to the local pub. When he mentioned he had done Sherlock Holmes, she said "You look so much like Robert Downey Jr." Well, he doesn't, but he took it as a compliment—until he realized that she had probably seen his Sherlock Holmes and didn't realize it was the same guy!

Then it was time for "Sherlock Holmes and the Crime of the Century," the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company's first radio musical, adapted from a stage play originally written by Thomas Fuller and Doug Kaye. Professor Moriarty and his sidekick Guiterrez (who speaks with a Cockney accent at will) work on committing the crime of the century before the 19th century ends: they are going to completely make England disappear by at first carting away all its symbols, including Queen Victoria! Sherlock is completely clueless and Irene Adler makes most of the deductions, and it was a lot of fun. Fiona Leonard played up a bit ditzy Victoria for all she was worth.

The first thing I had done this morning was stop by Angela Misri's table in the lobby. She is a young Canadian author who has written the first two of five novels about Portia Adams, a 19-year-old Toronto girl whose mother has just died. When her mother's will is read, she discovers she has inherited a home in London and a guardian, the wealthy and rather flamboyant Mrs. Jones. Portia, who is studious and wishes to study law, finds the opportunity given to her to go to college appealing, but doesn't know how she'll make out with a guardian. Then when she reaches London, she finds out the home she has inherited is 221 Baker Street, with Holmes' own digs still upstairs, and it turns out she is the granddaughter of Dr. John Watson! She also has a talent for solving mysteries, as she shows her handsome downstairs neighbor, Brian Dawes, a newly-minted police constable, who lives there with his parents. I bought the two books out, and that's where I went next, to her panel, which, sadly, was very sparsely attended. At first there was just me and another woman, and she was ready to pack it up and go chat in the bar, then I called Caran Wilbanks when she came by and Louis Robinson showed up. We had a jolly chat about finding a publisher, how she got interested in Holmes, her similarity to Portia (introverted, nose in a book, shy at parties, etc.; when I read that part I laughed: there's me!), etc.

Louis had the most fantastic story: they are going to use his new house for a movie! When they get done they will fix up anything they messed up, paint the outside, put in a driveway and a garden, I think he said a pool! How wild!

At four, it was time for research...or rather "how to research" at "Beyond Wikipedia." The folks that wrote Victorian-era stories said Google Books has become a great resource because of their scanning in old books. One woman who was interest in what Dr. Watson's military career might have been like found several old military memoirs about the Peninsular Wars on Google Books.

One of the panels I missed last night was "Sherlock Holmes' London," but they had another iteration today. One woman said she always flies into Dublin and then makes her way over to Great Britain by inexpensive means because it is so pricy to fly into England. Someone had taken a trip to London and passed around their photo albums, including pics of the Baker Street tube station and the interior of the Sherlock Holmes museum. Apparently, Simpson's, the real-life restaurant that Holmes and Watson used to frequent, is still there and running! Sadly, I don't think we'll ever make it to Great Britain; I asked about handicap access and was told it is very limited there. :-(

After travel of a terrestrial kind, I went to travel of a time kind, with a small Doctor Who panel. I'm getting old here; the two panel moderators looked like "puppies." :-) A lot of the panel was about new Who versus old Who, or rather the fans of such, and also the Peter Capaldi/not Peter Capaldi club, and the oh, God...Clara vs. oh, God, Clara! discussions Yay, someone else who thought "Flatline" was the best episode of the season!

My final panel was on Victorian London. I got the feeling that many people didn't get the answers they wanted. I kinda of thought the panelists were not as knowledgeable on the subject as they could have been. For instance, someone asked what the streets looked like. They talked about horses and carriages with many names, but I think the questioner were also referring to the physical composition of the streets. Someone also asked about pollution and they talked about the oil lamps and gas, but not much mention of anything else except for the cholera well. They also spoke about bathhouses (for those who supposed Holmes and Watson were more Holmes/Watson, bathhouses were notorious as gay meeting places) and the Tube. Someone wondered why Doyle set the stories in London rather than Scotland (I would presume it's the same reason stories are set in New York City; eight million stories in the Naked City and all that, and their answer was about the same). They also chatted a bit about the Oscar Wilde case and "the love that dare not speak its name." It was a nice lively panel, and a good way to end the night.

I had thought to stay for the Sherlock panel, but it wasn't until ten, and there were two hours until then. There were a couple of panels I could have gone to, but nothing I had to see and I was sleepy, too. There's a Sherlock panel scheduled for Timegate, so I figured I could skip it, and I came home. James was just eating his supper because after his meeting he had come home, walked the dog, then fallen asleep! Just chilled out by reading the first Portia Adams book (Jewel of the Thames). I'd read some of the other plot points before, in other mysteries, but I really like the character, as I mentioned earlier. Thrilled to see that she is going to Somerville College at Oxford, which Dorothy Sayers and Vera Brittain also attended.

Oh, James told me a story about his day. He went to lunch with the guys, then they had their meeting. When that was finished, James stopped by the Jamaican place to get dinner to go. He had the power chair, and just before he entered, a woman and her kids had gone through the door. The littlest girl, about kindergarten age, ran to the door and held it open for him! James thanked her profusely, and then when he left, the little girl did it again! He said it looked like she did it all on her own, without prompting from her mother! What a sweet thing! Maybe she has someone at home with mobility problems that she helps?

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» Friday, April 10, 2015
Less Than Six Degrees of Doctor Simon Locke
If I've posted this, it means I've come home early from 221B Con to watch tonight's two episodes of Doctor Simon Locke. So tell me: what does Locke have to do with Sherlock Holmes? There is an answer!
  • Sherlock Holmes was once played by Jeremy Brett
  • Jeremy Brett was the son-in-law of actor Raymond Massey
  • Raymond Massey was the younger brother of Vincent Massey, once Governor General of Canada
  • Vincent Massey once lived in the Massey Mansion
  • The interiors of the pilot film for Doctor Simon Locke were filmed in the Massey Mansion

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Elementary, My Dear Kroger

Grrr. Forgot to shut off my alarm and then never really got back to sleep. Set the alarm for another half hour and then did get back to sleep.

After breakfast and walking Tucker, went to Kroger. It was raining quite smartly by then and I was glad of my hat and my brolly. Kroger was having a good sale on many things, so I bought James more pudding, but, alas, only one cup of yogurt; the Whips were 39 cents each and the shelves were stripped. Found mandarin oranges in juice—finally. The oranges packed in water and monk fruit juice taste terrible. Back home, rather wet, unloaded the groceries, did a few tidying things and packed my backpack with a few snacks. I had bought a quarter of a pound of roast beef, too, and made two sandwiches, one for Sunday lunch and another for Saturday supper, since only the breakfast buffet in that hotel is affordable! Also made a Saturday lunch of peanut butter and jelly. I have fruit and juice boxes, nuts and...okay, I have Cheetos, too. :-)

Spent the last half hour playing with Tucker; how he loves that laser pointer! He'll chase it until he's flat out of breath. And he knows where the little light comes from; when I put the pointer down on my desk he came begging and making crying sounds, until I played more with it. He just loves to chase things, even if it's a dot of light.

Left after one and went to the Panera near Cumberland Mall. Wow, it was packed. It looked like someone stopped a tour bus there. I had my soup outside, where it was quieter (the rain had stopped for now) and had my tuna sandwich wrapped up to go.

Since registration wasn't opening for a while, I went to the Perimeter Barnes & Noble, read two chapters of The Angel Court Affair, and cruised the books. It was almost four when I got to the hotel to register for 221B, and it turned out registration had opened at three, so there was no line. This gave me time to peruse the schedule and also to talk with Oreta at the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company sale table. Naaman successfully conquered Army basic training, and is on his way to Missouri to learn to operate heavy equipment.

At five I went to my first panel, about fiber arts. I was hoping it would include cross stitch, but it was just about knitting (although some of the knitters also spun their own thread, too). They had some killer examples of fannish knitting, including a stunning bee-themed yellow and black scarf with the bees and the honeycomb, and 221B on it. It was gorgeous! Apparently wallpaper patterns (the loud wallpaper in Sherlock) is quite the thing and there was a wallpaper scarf there on display, and patterns online for gloves, mitts, scarves, blanket squares, etc.

I did a quick spin around the dealers room as the knitters compared notes, then came back for Lee Shackleford's panel. Lee wrote a play called Holmes & Watson, about his theory of how Watson reacted when Holmes came back from the dead. Apparently there was some complicated gadgetry in it that didn't work on stage and now the play is done a bit differently. The play ended up going off Broadway (!!!) and Lee played Holmes. He also came up with the story idea for Professor Moriarty turning up on the holodeck of the USS Enterprise-D in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He's now producing a new Holmes and Watson story in which both characters are women. Unfortunately the viewing is up against the ARTC performance. ::sigh::

Next I was planning to go to the panel show panel (British panel shows, since we don't do such an animal) and then the "Watsons Through Time" panel, but near the end of Lee Shackleford's panel, James texted me. He'd locked his keys in the truck and therefore couldn't get in the house or go anywhere else! I told him I thought Alice still had our key and she tried to help him, but it was the key from the old house. So I left the panel show panel—except for QI, I hadn't heard of any of them—and went to rescue him. Luckily the "raining pitchforks and little fishes" event that had been on when he was on his way home from work was over and it was just drizzling drearily as I headed west on I-285.

If I hadn't already planned to leave at nine p.m., so I could be home for Doctor Simon Locke, I would have just let him in and gone back, but it was too stupid to go back one hour for a panel I'd seen last year anyway. Instead I was able to see "Four to Doomsday" on Doctor Who, which I don't even remember, but then I realize my viewings of the Peter Davison and Colin Baker Whos were rather spotty. Poor James hadn't even gotten to eat, because his supper was locked in the truck, too!

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» Sunday, April 05, 2015
One Fine Easter Day
Just after midnight I went outside to put up the Easter banner, and I also pulled the resin cross from the background and put it on top of the china cabinet among the vintage-looking decorations. I never feel comfortable putting them up until Easter Sunday has begun. Then I continued chatting with Emma, and James and I watched the October 1962 episode of Our World.

Needless to say, when I woke up this morning, I found James sitting at the side of the bed. "What time is it?" "Oh, about quarter to ten." That's all I remember until 10:53. :-)

After breakfast we drove out to Acworth to see if Books-a-Million was open (basically the same thing we did last year). It was perfect out, just chill enough for me to wear my pashmina and James his light jacket and have the windows down in the truck. The Bradford pear trees are now gree-leafed instead of looking like big snowballs and it's way past forsythia blossoms, but there are flowering plums and cherry in purple and magenta still, and azaleas blooming in vivid reds and pinks, and now the white and pink dogwood flowers are out as well. We took our favorite "country" route, West Sandtown past "Addie's Pond" (a development that really has a pond, unlike all the "[Fillintheblank] Farms"), briefly on Dallas Highway, then down Due West Road, which goes schizoid at one intersection where Due West turns left, or goes right as Due West Kennesaw Road, and straight as Due West Acworth Road (got that yet?). There's only one shopping area, at that Due West crossroads, and the rest of it are homes, small acreages, and a few scattered developments.

Had a lovely browse in Books-a-Million and got a new "Just Cross Stitch" and two decorating magazines, a discount book of Christmas humor, and a book I bought totally on a whim, Born on a Mountaintop, about the fictional concepts of Davy Crockett as compared to the reality of the man, with a big picture of Fess Parker on the cover. Intriguing. James and I shared a frozen hot chocolate—they really do them so well here—and then had an equally nice ride home.

Sat down to watch the Addie Mills story The Easter Promise after we arrived home. Drat it, these stories will never get a good DVD release; all the interior shots had vertical streaks up the very left edge. Otherwise the picture is very nice; they seemed to have solved the problem with the house scenes being too dark and the garden scene being too glaring.

During dinner, a yummy concoction of ham slices with a glaze of pineapple/cherry/honey, garlic potatoes, and corn on the cob, we watched Here Comes Peter Cottontail. If nothing else, Rankin-Bass will keep Casey Kasem's memory alive.

Afterwards we watched Friday's Hawaii Five-0 and then it was time for Call the Midwife.

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A Happy Easter to All!

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» Saturday, April 04, 2015
Completely Booked for Saturday
I was up late last night updating my Doctor Simon Locke web page and James just remained up and surfed along, so we were abed late. With no alarm clock to wake us, we slumbered peacefully until 10:30. Figuring Tucker was crossing his legs by now, I took him out and was joyously surprised to find cool air, blue sky, and a lovely breeze. After all that mucky 70s and 80s we had this week, it was wonderful. I almost wanted to dance.

By the time the dressing and the walking was finished, it was nearly lunchtime, so we didn't bother eating breakfast and simply drove out to the Perimeter Mall Barnes & Noble with our coupons, as we had a coupon for $2 off a sandwich if we bought a drink (which means we basically got the drink for free). It was hard to sit and eat first without looking at the books; if I don't go to a bookstore once a week I get twitchy. :-) I had a chicken and cheese something-or-other on a ciabatta roll and James had a chicken chipotle, then we shared a little round chocolate cheesecake for dessert. After this nice meal, we happily wandered around the store for an hour or so before we made our selections. I was very tempted by a geological guide to Georgia! I ended up with the next Kate Shackleton mystery, Murder in the Afternoon, and an interesting travel book, America and WWI. Of course, most of the locations to visit in the book are in France, but there are a surprising number in the United States, and along with being a travelogue, is actually a history of the U.S. participation in the war. Pretty neat. (I still want to find a book about the homefront in the first World War; hasn't anyone written one? Meatless Mondays, Wheatless Wednesdays, liberty cabbage instead of sauerkraut, Sedition Acts, etc.) I also picked up two books from the remainder table, the sequel to the Scotland Yard mystery The Yard, The Black Country, and a Doctor Who novel featuring the second Doctor with Jamie and Zoe, The Wheel of Ice.

James got a Firefly Yahtzee game and a nifty book called The American Plate: A Culinary History in 100 Bites. It begins with maize and talks about history as well as food.

We were "in the neighborhood," so to speak, so we backtracked to Dunwoody and went to Sprouts. Got James some chicken tortilla soup for supper, and I picked potato, with nice big chunks of potato with skin in it. We also picked up some beef bits, a couple of bulk things, Yukon Gold potatoes and corn on the cob to go with Easter dinner tomorrow, and two big chocolate cupcakes for Easter dinner dessert.

However, we still needed milk, so James parked at the Kroger across the street and I ran in for two gallons—and some burritos for James, and got a jackpot in the meat department: very pretty boneless pork chops on sale, some aging steak, and, amazingly, six nice chicken drumsticks for Tuesday for only $2.10! Oh, yes, and when I checked out the ice cream bars for dessert, I couldn't find any Eskimo Pie ones, but I did find some "Thin Mint" ice cream sandwiches. Can't wait to try that. Stuffed all the frozens and the "refrigerables" into the cab of the truck, put the air conditioner on full blast, and booked it home.

By the time we got home it was suppertime. The potato soup was delicious. James enjoyed the chicken tortilla soup, but said it wasn't any better than Kroger's.

When Tucker needed to go out, I enjoyed the weather once more. Really, if we didn't have to worry about the pine pollen, which has laid a fine spray of yellow all over James' truck, I would throw open all the windows. You don't want that junk in the house; I did it once and had to mop up windowsills and anything under them.

We had an interesting night at the television. First we watched the next two episodes of This Old House while we ate dinner. Oh, I drooled over those hardwood floors! Then I thought Rick Steves in The Holy Land would be appropriate for Holy Saturday. Next was another disk of Dave Allen at Large, and now we are watching Our World.

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» Friday, April 03, 2015
A Quiet Friday

Since 2011, I have been taking Good Friday off to observe some spiritual time. (I tried just taking the afternoon off in 2010, but I barely made it home in time after working for four hours.) As a Catholic we're supposed to observe silence between noon and three, which is the time Jesus spent on the Cross. Sadly, these days, if I'm silent, I'm asleep. {wry grin} So I observe in other ways.

Meanwhile, the morning is made for mundanity: getting eight hours sleep, having breakfast, taking Tucker on his walk, and doing chores: sweeping the kitchen floor, vacuuming the upper story, cleaning the hall bath. Right before noon, I had something to eat, and then sat down to do some reading and listening. I began with yesterday's and today's Mass readings on Laudate, and then eagerly turned on the BBC Lent Talks I have been hoarding since Ash Wednesday. Each year they do a series of six talks with a theme, this year's which was "Performance." I especially enjoyed the first two, the first by James Runcie, who wrote the Grantchester mysteries, in which he equated the Mysteries of the Passion with a real mystery story, and the second by Kate Saunders, who talked about being an Anglo-Catholic.

The very last Talk was by musical conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner, discussing Bach's St. John and St. Matthew Passions, so I put that on after the talks were completed, from a performance on YouTube, and read The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything. I'm enjoying this book, especially talking about how you can feel the love of God when close to nature, or with your family; you don't need to be in church.

It's like this afternoon. It was a blessing of quiet and serenity.

James stayed quite late at work last night, so he was home about 3:30. I had already walked Tucker again—he was really good between noon and three, except for a couple of barks—and was dressed to go out. Since he was early, we decided to have dinner at Golden Corral. Going to have to keep away from this place until I turn 60; dinner here is much too expensive anymore. Did get a nice variety of meat: steak, pork pot roast, dark meat turkey, chicken, popcorn shrimp, and seafood salad.

James wasn't feeling well, so after a short stop at Publix, we just came home, and he ended up lying down for a while. I watched Doctor Who (the second two part of "The Keeper of Traken") and read a little while until Doctor Simon Locke came on. RetroTV announced way back at the end of last year that they were going to start showing Police Surgeon in the second quarter of 2015, and I was absolutely gobsmacked to discover on Monday that they were showing the series predecessor, Doctor Simon Locke, as well. Locke's gone down in TV annals as one of the first original programming results of the Prime Time Access Rule as well as a mediocre show in which what was going on behind the scenes was more interesting than the series itself. It was originally conceived as a series about a young doctor (Sam Groom) joining the country practice of an older doctor (Jack Albertson) and their clashing medical methods. Instead Groom's antagonist became the town sheriff (Len Birman) and Albertson was reduced to playing the crusty old doctor figure. The show was also shot on the cheap, not just on videotape, but providing no dressing facilities for the actors. We're not talking about plush dressing rooms here; they didn't even provide trailers for them, so that the actors were changing costumes out behind trees and bushes, sometimes in frigid weather. Scenes that were not quite correct were not being re-shot. Albertson, an Oscar and Tony winner, was very conscious of the show not being up to snuff and finally walked out on his contract.

At that point, since the show had low ratings, the producers just moved Locke back to the city to become...go figure...a police surgeon. Television in 1971 had just swept away all its Westerns and cornball comedies and pretty much was doctors/lawyers/police all the time. I watched Police Surgeon for about a year, until Len Birman left, and dismissed it as a bore and quit watching.

So after all this time...I'm still enjoying Doctor Simon Locke. The filming is mainly abysmal, there are many clunky lines and/or clunky performances, Jack Albertson is definitely not happy and it shows. But...put Locke up against any sort of reality television or totalitarian dystopia or endless zombies from a asshat cable channel who will remain nameless, and I will take Locke, warts and all, any day.

Just wish it was on a channel I could record!

At least I can update my Locke web page!

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