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, September 23, 2018
Peaceful Adulting

A much calmer day today. We slept in, we had breakfast, and we went to the Barnes & Noble at Town Center. It was 20 percent off (even magazines) member appreciation weekend, and I was hoping they had the new "Smoky Mountain Living." Alas, no. James corralled a nice selection of magazines, and in a fit of whimsy I bought Adulting, which I've paged through since it was first released. Maybe I can find out if I'm doing it right. 😀 This is the revised edition with about 90 more tips.

(I love this woman. James and I laughed ourselves silly when we got to the cooking chapter and she's talking about basic weekly shopping items. #9 is "chicken thighs," with the notation "chicken breasts are for chumps! So dry! The meat equivalent of a PowerPoint presentation that no one asked for!" 👍)

We stopped at the Dallas Highway B&N on the way home in case they had a SML, but no dice. So we went by Sprouts and found they had Italian wedding soup for the first time in a good long time. It was at the bottom of the container, so we got few meatballs and even fewer chicken bits, so we took it home, thinned out the salty with some unsalted chicken broth, and I took most of the pasta and the meatballs, and had it with French bread. James took the remaining pasta and soup and chopped up the lemon pepper chicken from yesterday into it. We both had satisfactory suppers and the rest of the blueberry pie for dessert.

A thankfully peaceful Sunday night.

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» Saturday, September 22, 2018
Not the Fall I Was Expecting

Apparently summer forgot about itself through August and then only remembered this month that it was supposed to be hot. So up until the equinox tonight, it's been 90°F or over. I remember last year, with its 70s on Yellow Daisy weekend, with more fondness than ever.

James' mom had called up a few weeks ago and said they would like to come up for the day one Saturday to see us. We haven't seen them in four forevers. We'd intended to go after Christmas, and then came the truck accident, and once that was over James was  having other troubles, and then came the hospital siege. Well, cool. James understood it to be the 29th, so we were making plans for that.

Except Mom called last night and asked if we were still on for today. Ooops. So we set to work tidying the kitchen last night and I made sure the hall bath was still clean and gave it a nice wipeover with a Lysol cloth. We had talked about making one of the casserole dish kits we had bought at Yellow Daisy last year, but for that we would need cooked chicken and some cream cheese. We had the big package of thighs I'd bought at Nam Dae Mun on Friday, though, and we could have done those in cream of mushroom soup with a cucumber salad on the side. But James wanted to try something different, so we skipped breakfast this morning and ran over to Publix to get the two ingredients, and, since we were there, get the rest of the BOGOs. Unfortunately they only had lemon pepper or "mojo" flavor (I'm sure that means it's spicy) rotisserie chickens. We didn't have time to go to another store, so we got a lemon pepper and James said he'd make sure not to include the skin in the casserole. (I despise pepper. I don't understand how you can taste the goodness of the food when your mouth is on fire.)

We expected Mom and Candy about noon, so we were surprised and dismayed to see that they'd arrived when we got home and we weren't there to greet them. I hadn't even had a chance to run the vacuum cleaner over the carpet, or get James' magazines and books off the ottoman of the rocking chair. James just plunked the pile down on the hearth so everyone could sit.) We chatted a few minutes before starting lunch.

This was okay. James put onions and celery and mushrooms instead of green beans, which made a casserole more palatable. I like plain food, really: a meat, a starch, a veg. Sometimes it tastes good with a gravy (turkey, or chicken thighs, or the meat in spaghetti sauce or the barbecue wings I made last night), but I really like to taste all the flavors individually most of the time. So casseroles are really not my thing. But it did have a nice flavor, except that you could still taste the pepper from the rotisserie chicken even with the skin off. Couldn't be helped. We still had the cucumber salad, and baby carrots that Mom and Candy brought that I steamed and put maple syrup glaze on.

Dessert was something James picked up at Publix, a cinnamon "babka," flaky pastry folded in with cinnamon and sugar, with no "ick" (icing sugar) on or in it. It was wonderful, flaky and not overly sweet; we ate the entire thing.

We also had presents, since we had never "done" Christmas. We got them a basket of unique foods from various farmers markets: a mix from Nora Mills, specialty jams, some of the sweet onion relish, glazes, etc. There was also Candy's birthday gift: a book and an Eeyore ornament. James got a biplane made of Coca-Cola cans and they had bought me the tray and the mugs with the Christmas dogs design I saw last year at Pier One, but couldn't afford to buy. That was so cool!

Just talked the rest of the time and about 5:30 they decided it was time to hit the road so they could get home before dark. Mom got up and cut through the space between the sofa and the lamp—we usually avoid this because it's a narrow space—and I guess she tripped on the base of the floor lamp. Next thing we knew she was on the floor. She had not hit her head, but scraped her elbow on the carpet and had a big bruise already coming up on her right knee. Well, she's over eighty, and getting up isn't so easy anymore. We tried several different ways to help her up, and I thought James and I together might have been able to get her to her feet, but Candy was afraid if James hurt something, they wouldn't let him have his surgery. So I finally called 911, and while she was sitting on the floor, I cleaned and bandaged the little scrape on her elbow and got a bag of ice for the swollen spot. Three nice firefighters showed up and they had her up on her feet in less than a second (the head guy told her to put her feet on his and then they just swung her to her feet).

So they left a little later than expected, with a fresh ice bag, and I was making buttons most of the night until we found out they were home and safe.

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» Sunday, September 16, 2018
Yet Not Another DragonCon Weekend

It was another quiet weekend, although I am not happy. I got nervous on Thursday and called Kaiser, and the advice nurse agreed with me that James should not be having such rapid weight gains. We could not see his GP, but on of his colleagues. She checked James out, had him take some labs, get an x-ray of his chest, and told him to take three Furosimide for three days, rather than two. I'm still suspicious that the foley catheter is in the wrong place, but how do we determine that? The only way we knew last time was the MRI. But he has had the foley in the wrong place before.

Saturday we went to Hair Day. It was sandwiches and sides; we brought the potato salad, and there was also krab salad, a relish tray, and apples and cheeses. We had fun talking and were there until after two. On the way home we did the shopping at Publix, or rather I did the shopping, because there were no carts available. James sat out front and then paid when I got finished.

And we still forgot stuff. I went out to get them this morning.

We rested for a bit and then went out to Taste of Smyrna. It was trying to rain and the streets right around the downtown area were frankly soaked, but I wanted my pork and grits from Atkins Park and we pressed on. We weren't able to come last year and I wanted to make sure we got it this time! It actually didn't rain, and we both had the pork, plus James had jerk pork and cabbage and rice with beans from Rodney's, and I had sausage and meatballs with ziti from Maggiano's. We both had two chicken vegetable potstickers from a vendor called Chinese Southern Belle, with a killer soy ginger sauce. (Their teriyaki was good, too.) They were both low salt and low sugar. Then we shared a lemonade and had a small cone of ice cream each for dessert.

This morning I hit the ground running after trying to sleep a little late: I went back to Publix and got the additional two packages of wraps James needed (they only had one yesterday, and we only had three at home), plus onions and lunch meats. I also had to go by CVS to pick up something with a coupon. I was in line behind of a woman who spoke only Spanish (at least to her kids). She was with a teen boy and another boy who must have been 10-12. He wanted a little videogame-oriented toy and it was evident by Mom's tone of voice that she was saying, "No, you can't have that, it's too expensive; you may have some chocolate for a treat." The boy finally put the toy down but was standing there scuffing his feet, pointing back at the toy, and murmuring in both Spanish and English about how he wanted it. She had to keep giving him the gimlet eye and repeating "No, you may have some chocolate only." He kept looking at the older brother, who was giving him the look "Man, I'm not getting involved in this!" The boy finally chose a Nestle bar. I wanted to burst out laughing because I've seen that scuffle and mutter so many times, but I didn't want smile to because Mom was so ticked about her kid misbehaving in public. She looked pissed but a little embarrassed, too. Turned out they were parked next to me, and I had said good morning to a woman in the car who was probably grandmama.

Oh, on the way to Publix I had to go the long way around because downtown was still blocked off. Near the pond I saw a mother duck with three fluffy ducklings. I didn't know they had babies so late in the season.

James spent the afternoon making thirty burritos, some low-sodium sausage and egg, some ground turkey chili. I helped him package and put away half of them, but otherwise washed the towels and changed out the one on the power chair, put up the reusable shopping bags in both vehicles, paid TruGreen, put a square of honeycombed shelf liner under the cushion in the driver's seat of my car in the hopes it will quit sliding sideways, put up some clothes, and sorted meds for the week. Also watched a couple of things on the DVR, including a program where the host visited Sam Neill's Two Paddocks winery and met Sam's pet pig, Angelica (who's a boar). Also finished watching the silent 1916 Sherlock Holmes, the only performance of actor William Gillette on film. This is a version of the play he performed after he asked Arthur Conan Doyle if he could use the character, and Doyle, at that time sincerely sick of Holmes, said "You may marry him or murder him; I don't care." For the record, Gillette got him married. 😁

I have to keep moving.  If I don't keep moving, I start to think...

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» Saturday, September 08, 2018
Not a DragonCon Weekend

Was very annoyed on Friday: went to Costco for milk and they had no skim! So annoyed I forgot the cheese; glad James didn't need it immediately. Did get other things, but because I bought a rotisserie chicken and a lovely package of boneless pork chops, had to come home immediately. I just put perishables away and went to Publix. They had none of my favorite yogurt. Not a satisfactory shopping session. I had the wings of the rotisserie chicken for lunch and we ate the breast meat, cooked in with ramen noodles, for supper. I don't know how James puts together these tasty concoctions, but I certainly do enjoy them!

On Saturday morning, for once we had a nice, long sleep, and then James went off to his club meeting. I didn't have anything I really wanted to do, but I did have things that needed doing, so I did them: first I pulled down all that depressing summer stuff and converted over to autumn, outside (on the porch and the mailbox) and in (in the foyer and the dining room and under the mantel). Since the house is always dressed for autumn in some form unless it's at Christmas, this is just a matter of adding another layer to what's already here. I also vacuumed both upstairs and on the stairway, and put away all the things I had bought at Costco yesterday (lots of medical items on sale).

James had a very long meeting, but we were still able to get a seat easily at West Cobb Diner and had turkey dinners. He didn't feel up to going into Barnes & Noble, so I ran in and bought a cross-stitch magazine and two "Country Sampler" issues, then we came home, and, because it was the 52nd anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek, we watched "Balance of Terror" (James' choice) and "Journey to Babel" (mine).

Sunday we went to the Yellow Daisy Festival, that trip which is told here, since it's a fall event in the household.

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» Monday, September 03, 2018
DragonCon, Part 4 or "A Joyous Sound"

It was easier this morning: we got up, had breakfast, and went off downtown. I had reserved a space yet again in the America's Mart garage and then wish I hadn't done it, because a garage nearby was half the price.

We were very early, but since we wanted to see John Barrowman and Catherine Tate, we needed to get there early. We joined a queue of people already assembled outside the Marriott Atrium Ballroom. Now, they usually clear the big panels like this between each panel, so everyone gets out, and everyone waiting gets a good chance at a seat. But the word going around was that they were not going to clear the room after the Star Trek guests panel that was going on at ten.

The crowd for Barrowman and Tate was getting enormous, so the volunteers at the room just started letting everyone go in. Now, this worked out fine when they did it for Capaldi and Mackie yesterday; we got to move up. But, because they didn't clear the room, and were letting everyone in, not just DS services, we ended up being stuck in the middle of the room, with no chance to move up when the Trek panel ended. Granted, we had a good time, but it wasn't fair to the people who had shown up early. Not to mention that the Star Trek people thought people were coming in to see them, which was deceptive and was lying to them.

Putting that behind us, getting to see most of the Trek panel was fun. This was Ethan Phillips, Robert Duncan McNeil, and Garrett Wang from Voyager, Mary Chieffo and Ken Mitchell (who play Klingons) from the new Discovery, and of course Mr. Chekov himself, Walter Koenig. This was a very funny panel with everyone ribbing Phillips about his spontaneous remarks. Lots of commentary about Discovery, which we haven't seen, and praise for Kate Mulgrew's Captain Janeway. The one thing I remember best was that they were asked what was the strangest gift a fan has ever given them. Walter Koenig said someone gave him a Chekov doll, which was made with real hair and real fingernails. You should have seen the faces on the other panelists!

As I said, by the time the panel ended, the room was crammed, and then Disability Services had to stop everything to clear the front five center rows so that the line-of-sight people (deaf or hearing impaired, those with sight problems, etc) could use them. The people who had been allowed to sit there (and were assured they would not be moved) were given benches at the side. It was a major screw up. However, everyone was very nice and cooperative, everyone crowded in, and then the two crazies came in.

John "Scooter" Barrowman
If Barrowman and Tate are crazy on their own, as a team they are off the wall. The first thing that happened was that John Barrowman spotted someone in a scooter and said he always wanted to ride in one. The person in it let him borrow it happily, he got in, and took off, right down the left center aisle, yelping "Damn, this thing goes fast! Get out of the way!" He drove all the way to the back and then back up via the right center aisle, coming right by James and I. As he passed James he turned and shouted "Mine is better than yours!"

After that it just got crazy. Because Catherine Tate invites her questioners up on stage, they did their Q&A in that manner, alternating sides. The best part was when a young lady came up to ask a question and she was filming the experience with her phone. Barrowman grabbed it and cried, "For God's sake, don't film this, experience it!" However, about halfway through her question session, he got the camera, aimed it down the front of his pants, and took a photo! Several minutes later, during another person's question, sudden shrieking came from seats about fifteen rows ahead of us. Both actors stopped, because they thought something was wrong, like someone being sick. No, it was the young lady from a few minutes earlier showing her phone to her friends!

Seriously, even right after the panel I couldn't tell you everything they talked about. But it was hilarious. And the very best thing about this panel? James laughed for an entire hour. I don't know if he was still in pain or not, but for one hour, it didn't bother him anywhere near at much.

As far as I was concerned, it was the best part of the weekend.

We didn't have anything else planned so we trudged back to the America's Mart to see if we could get into the dealer's room. There was still a line, but handicapped can go right in. As usual, we were confused by the two sets of elevators (you take one set up to the main floor and then another to the exhibit floors; for some reason when you come down the elevators, you can never make it back to those elevators you came in the first time). We walked around the first floor and one of the others, and James bought a polo shirt (he can wear it to work) that has the NASA logo and says "It's not flat. We checked." (Someone had this at the Trek panel and we had just laughed.)

As far as I was concerned, I had enough junk and there weren't any books out I wanted. The one thing I did want to do was go up to Artists' Alley and see Andy Runton. Sadly, no new Owly books. He is redoing all the old books in color, and then the new one will come out. However, I had him autograph his new print, which is of Owly and Wormy walking in Muir Woods. I remember Muir Woods very fondly from one of the two cross-country trips we took in the 1970s. Such a lovely place!

Finally it was time to go back to the Hilton. As usual, the America's Mart elevators delivered us somewhere else: all the way to the back of the building! So we had to go an extra block, then up the hill, then past the Hyatt and the Marriott. The owners of the full-sized TARDIS that usually sits in the Hilton lobby had already dismantled it, and we passed the café to get to the elevator to take us back down to the BritTrack room. This is usually our last panel of the weekend; the track members are dead tired and slap-happy, usually eating a late lunch, and give out snacks. This year was no exception. It was also the second year in a few where another panel was mistaken for the DragonCon-as-a-whole wrapup panel, and a man stood up and went on for several minutes about how he couldn't get into the parade, and then was embarrassed when he was told this was the British track wrapup only. Another couple was confused as well. Rob said they were welcome to stay but to please go to the DragonCon closing ceremonies and let the con chairs know the problems they had. We had water and chips, and cooled off, and schmoozed and enjoyed the commentary until it was finally time to clear out, then go all the way back to the America's Mart (I got plenty of exercise this weekend!) to fetch the truck. However, this time we could get to the elevators, although we had to bellow into a very badly working intercom to get someone to come open the doors for us. (This is a very badly run garage. No wonder it's so cheap.)

Then we just came home. We usually stop at Longhorn on the way home from the last day of DragonCon, but we didn't have the money. Instead we had soup at home.

I'm still happy. James laughed, after all those weeks of pain. It was worth every minute.

Star Trek panelists Ethan Phillips, Robert Duncan McNeil, Garrett Wang, Mary Chieffo, Ken Mitchell, Walter Koenig

Walter Koenig

Catherine Tate and John Barrowman bantering.

John Barrowman like a silver fox.

"So long and thanks for all the fish..." BritTrack final panel.



» Sunday, September 02, 2018
DragonCon, Day 3 or "I Flip Out...Again, But Then It Gets Better"

I'm a maniac who thinks too much.

James made his own decision to go to DragonCon today. He made himself a lunch and everything. So why was I awake at five in the morning, afraid I'd talked him into it and something horrible was going to happen because I did? And I had to tell him this when he woke up, didn't I, in case I had been too overambitious?

So we were a little strained this morning having breakfast and all. But we went.

Got the same parking lot as yesterday, but this time on the A level, which proved to be providential later. However, we couldn't go the same route out as I did yesterday because in the middle of my route had been two stairways, one down, then back up again. So we had to take the elevator, and came right out in front of the building, where the line for the dealer's room was building, and building. (N.B. There was a line for the dealer's room all weekend and the stories about waiting to get in were horrendous.) Then we had to hike all the way to the Hilton. Since it was downhill all the way, we just walked outside.

Luckily the Hilton was not yet crowded. We were early and stopped to take a pic of me with the Jurassic World critters they had all over the Hilton lobby, then get a muffin (too sweet) to share and a cold drink for James at the café. Then it was relatively simple, since it was only about eleven, to get  him upstairs in the elevator. He was going to the Apollo 11 panel, which I would have loved to have seen myself, but I was going to the Anne of Green Gables panel, because it was one of the two things I wanted to do today. (Apparently they did have one last year, but I did not see it in the schedule.)

Well, this was totally delightful. Although the audience was comprised mostly of women, there was a nice assortment of men, and at least one man and one woman who came up to ask questions who said their parents had bonded due to Anne and taken their honeymoon on Prince Edward Island. Megan Follows as always was gracious and fun. She still crinkles up her eyes in that lovely way when she smiles. She stated that her two favorite scenes in the original story were walking the ridgepole and she and "Diana" scaring each other walking through the "haunted wood." She said she did not grow up reading the Anne books, but liked fantasy the best and had read all the Oz books. She was asked if she was still friends with Schuyler Grant, and she said they do keep in touch, but that Schuyler was now in California running a yoga studio. Asked if she had a particular memory of a role she played other than Anne, she mentioned being in a movie where she played a young woman who was kidnapped (Cry in the Wild). David Morse, who was her kidnapper, accidentally shot her near her eye with a blank. Thankfully it did not hurt her as badly as Jon-Erik Hexum! Morse was appalled at what had happened and kept apologizing to her. Asked if she had a funny memory of any of the Anne movies, she said that Schuyler Grant did so many takes on the raspberry cordial scene and drank so enthusiastically that she really did throw up afterward. And everyone sighed and aww'd when she said her most precious memory of Jonathan Crombie was that he made her laugh.

I met James after the panel (he really enjoyed his, too; wish I had a Time Turner for these panel conflicts!) and walked (well, I trudged and he wheeled) back to the Hyatt with him. He would be here the rest of the day watching science fiction literature panels. There was no panel in the SFLit room when we got there, so we went in to talk to Bill Ritch and Phyllis Boros and another lady who taught Latin to middle schoolers. (She said her students get to rate her. That's appalling!) They were telling teaching stories and science stories, and it was quite entertaining.

About two I left James to his panel ("The Military Mind in SF") and went a'wandering. I thought about going to the art show, but instead went to the Marriott because they had a stuffed baby dragon for this year's con and I wanted to buy one for James. They hadn't had any in the Sheraton this morning when we checked, so I went to the DragonCon store at the Marriott and got one there, and a car magnet for Butch. (He did "put me back on the horse," so to speak, since I'd been afraid to go downtown yesterday without Twilight.) Then I got in line to go in the Walk of Fame. I used to like doing this way back when the WOF was downstairs in the Marriott. I would walk around and get candid photos of the actors signing autographs and interacting with their fans, but they won't let you do this anymore. But I did want to talk to Megan Follows about something she'd said; she said the character she found the most interesting in Anne was Marilla. I wondered if, being so busy as actors always are, she had seen there was a book coming out about Marilla.

So I waited in this long, sinuous, hideously stuffy and hot line to get in; the WOF is like a freaking zoo. Finally when I got in it was crowded, full of more lines, especially for Jennifer Morrison (who used to be on House but who was now the lead in Once Upon a Time), but at least it was cool. Megan Follows was at the back and was eating a salad when I came up, so I didn't keep her long. She had heard about the book coming out and wondered where I heard about it. Actually, Amazon suggested it to me.

Since I was in the room I just walked around looking at who I could look at. William Davis (the "Cigarette-Smoking Man" on The X-Files) seems ageless. Christian Kane, who just finished up four seasons of The Librarians (TNT canceled it, the snots), was nearly unrecognizable in long hair, beard and moustache; he looked like Grizzly Adams. Saw Brent Spiner and some other Trek folks signing and spied Jennifer Morrison when she stood up.)

Then I got the heck out of there by taking the escalators to the bottom floor of the Marriott and fled for the Hilton and their blessed cool. Went downstairs early for the Star Trek panel I was going to and met both Alice Spivey and Juanita Gibson down there, and we had a nice little chat before the panel along with Joe Campbell.

Well, the panel was fab. I had misunderstood. I saw "Star Trek Fandom Herstory" and thought the panel was going to be about women characters in the Trek universe. Instead it was about women in Trek fandom! The two panelists were young and had not experienced the beginnings of Trek fandom, but there was Alice in the front seat who had pretty much been in almost at the beginning and me who'd joined later. So both of us had contributions as the panelists talked about fanfiction and the early conventions, the Welcommittee and Lincoln Enterprises, and communications before the internet. I sure wish Mary Bloemker could have been here for it, since she was at the very first August Party!

(Even got a lead on a fanfic book I'd never heard of, about Trekfic. I ordered it the next day!)

I called James when we got done and he sounded quite chipper. He'd even used the basement of the Hyatt to get to a panel in the Regency room, and he asked if I wanted to stay to see the ARTC performance tonight! I was thrilled. I told him I was going to see Catherine Tate and then I would meet him near the elevators at the Hyatt International Tower afterwards, and if he still felt okay to go we would brave the elevators to get to Regency again.

I didn't have to go far for Catherine Tate; she was just in a ballroom upstairs. I found a place at the end of a very long disability line and just waited, and pretty soon they started to load the room. Since I am "end of row" I can end up anywhere, even way down, but it doesn't matter. I'd rather be in the back than be in the sun waiting. If I am out in the sun too long it makes my heart pound very hard, so that I can hear it boom in my ears and pulse in my neck. It can be frightening.

What can I say about Catherine Tate other than she is very, very funny, and the whole hour was a delight. She saw a costume she loved in the audience—the Muppet character Beaker dressed as a "Meeping Angel" accompanied by Dr. Bunsenburner as the Doctor—and came out to meet them. Alas, too far away and quick for my camera lens. The other thing she does is that you come up on stage to ask her a question. I have never seen so many gingers in my life. One little boy of about ten with a vocabulary far beyond his years seriously asked her about acting; he was already appearing in plays at school. And of course there were the usual "favorite episodes," "favorite Doctor," questions. One person asked her if she read science fiction as a child and she said she hadn't, so what were her favorite children's books? Since I have been following the 150th anniversary of the publication of Little Women blog and discussions, I was delighted that she said one of her favorite books was Little Women and Good Wives, as parts one and two of the book were published in England, and that she greatly loved Jo March!

Once this panel was over I made my way posthaste to the Hyatt to find James waiting for me near the elevators, and to our delight, we had no trouble getting down the one level to the Regency VII ballroom. There was a Hyatt employee named Peter Miller in the elevator who was making sure all the disability people and people with strollers got to their proper floors, and while he couldn't take us on his first run, he came back to get  us. I was so impressed I posted this on the DragonCon Disability Facebook page and on the DragonCon page, and I sent the Hyatt a PM about it.

Sadly, we'd missed the original productions on Friday night, but tonight's Atlanta Radio Theatre Company performance was Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, which we've heard before and is really good. I think this is my favorite adaptation. The story has been updated a little so that Conseil (Professor Arronax's nephew) is now his niece, and the navigator is also a woman, but they are in there as real people, not as spokespeople for women's equal rights. They just fit in as if the parts had always been written for a woman, and it works so well.

Even though Peter Miller had gone off duty, we had only a short wait for an elevator; a crowd basically let James in and I ran upstairs and met him, and we walked back down to the parking lot. To our surprise there was no one manning the gates, and someone sitting on the steps waved toward the Atlanta's Mart and said, "Go over there and they'll let you in." We didn't find any "they" to let us in and I basically had to trudge next to the power chair as we circled the A Level of the garage until we found the truck. Huh. Not really fond of that little business deal. But the rest of the day was swell, we stopped at Wendy's for a burger on the way home, and James wants to go again tomorrow. Hurrah!


Megan Follows, Anne of Green Gables panel

Catherine Tate talking to the boy who wants to be an actor

Matt Goodson as Professor Arronax and Jeff Hunt as Captain Nemo



» Saturday, September 01, 2018
DragonCon, Day 2 or "Butch's First Con"

Especially after yesterday, and because it was crowded Saturday, James did not think he would make it to the convention today. I took solace in the fact that he could have lunch with the guys (the hobby shop denizens still do lunch even though the hobby shop is long gone) and visit Hobbytown. Me, I put together a lunch and snacks, loaded up my backpack, and took the Kia downtown.

We have pretty much parked at the Courtland Street Garage since we started going to DragonCon, but their "event fee" was just too much for me. I went on Parking Panda and found a garage that was right next to the DragonCon dealer's room in the America's Mart. This was terra incognita for both of us: frankly I was terrified by driving downtown without Twilight, and I nearly went through a red light because I was so nervous not making that left turn on Ivan Allen Boulevard. I nervously parked, and ended up going down the elevator and cutting through the Merchandise Mart, coming out behind Peachtree Center. Then I had to go to registration, and this took a while as Disability Services was backed up due to an incident with the parade (apparently the Hyatt security people were not allowing the usual disability seating when they were supposed to). I've been getting an end-of-row badge because I can't stand for long periods and I can't be out in the sun. They also let me pick up James' badge, and I was hoping against hope he would make it tomorrow.

The long wait meant I was late for the panel saluting the 45th anniversary of Schoolhouse Rock. However, I did get there early enough for the singalong to favorite sequences: "Conjunction Junction," "Lolly Lolly Lolly," pronouns, "Interplanet Janet," "I'm Just a Bill," "The Preamble," and "Three is a Magic Number."

One of the panels I wanted to see today was next, the tribute to Harlan Ellison by the Sci-Fi Lit Track. Peter David and his wife Kathleen O'Shea were on the panel and, since they were good friends with Harlan and his wife, had some riotous stories to tell about "SF's bad boy." Peter told about people awed by the idea of Harlan babysitting 10-year-old Caroline David. Other funny stories were about Harlan's fondness for Goya paste with cream cheese and crackers and a practical joke Peter played on him involving it, and another was about Peter calling Harlan while on heavy sedation after a terrible back injury (Harlan advised him to unplug the phone before he made another call). Ken Garrison and a member of the Friends of Harlan Ellison club also told some funny or touching stories about him.

Next was the panel I was really looking forward to: Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie. I had nothing planned, so I figured I would go get into the disability line and eat my lunch and read. Well, the disability seating area was already packed, and under the lights in the Atrium lobby, it was hot. More disabled people were coming, so they took the people already seated and sat us in the back of the Black Lightning panel. I've never seen the show, but the panelists were funny and entertaining, especially one of the women cast members who apparently plays a villain.

When that panel was over, we were moved up first, and then the people who arrived later were filled in behind us before they let in the general population. This worked really well.

This was a fun panel. There was a running gag apparently going as people asking questions would come up and pose a dare Catherine Tate had posed in her previous day's panel. Throughout the panel Pearl Mackie collected names of restaurants to go to before she left Atlanta. (I wonder if she made them all!) Questions were varied, but there were the usual ones like favorite villains and favorite scenes. What role would you want? Pearl wants to be a bond villainess. She also revealed the worst part about being converted to a Cyberman was getting into the suit! Asked what they were taking away from Doctor Who, they said learning the craft and working with a great crew, and finding out that a simple television series can prove to be very powerful in people's lives. What was the difference between the first day of filming and the last? Happy and confusing to begin with and happy but also sad to leave it all behind. Peter Capaldi also talked a little about winning an Oscar for a short film, and how disorienting it was to be behind the scenes at a big event like that, pretty much like a dream. Pearl Mackie was asked what she would have liked most in the TARDIS. A bedroom! she said, and Peter agreed.

There was also a big laugh when Peter was asked how he, Stephen Moffat, and Mark Gatiss could lose a Doctor Who trivia contest.

After this big panel, I decided to go to a small one: the Alternative History track's panel for the Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. This was low-key, relaxing, and fairly cool. The panelists and audience discussed favorite characters and episodes, and they talked about the movie that is coming out based on the series. There is also apparently going to be a sequel series called Ms. Fisher's Mod Mysteries, with Phryne's granddaughter solving mysteries in 1970s Australia. That sounds interesting.

I didn't have anything planned for 5:30, so instead of doing something else I just made that long trek back to the parking garage (via the Courtland Street Garage elevator and Peachtree Center and the Merchandise Mart) to fetch Butch and drive home. I'd done what I wanted to do today, enjoyed myself, and just wanted James and some soup. I told him I was on my way home, and he waited to eat supper until I got there. Providentially, there was a can of Campbell's chicken noodle in the cupboard.

We chatted a little and he said he'd had little trouble going to lunch and although he was still in pain while sitting, he thought with some pain medication he could manage going to the convention tomorrow and have a little fun. Hurrah!

Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie

Peter Capaldi

Pearl Mackie