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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» Friday, May 31, 2019
Tripping the Aisles Fantastic

We have had a taste today of how things might work once James gets to retire—that is, if the tradewinds continue to blow favorably, as Captain Daniel Gregg might say. (I can't go out and walk the dog on warm summer evenings any longer without thinking of all those evenings I had to rush home from the hospital and walk the dog and put the fids to bed and then rush back.) Yesterday we did grocery shopping during the week (a chore I would eventually switch to Tuesdays as that seems to be the day the stores are least crowded, based on my last year's experience), and today we had the totally novel experience of going to Ikea during the week.

We didn't rush anywhere. Last night we went to bed when we were tired (about midnight), rather than having to hustle to bed early (before eleven!) so James can get up at 6:15 a.m. (an uncouth hour unless one is going somewhere interesting like on vacation), and got up a little after nine. I notice he sleeps so much better when we do this. Then we had breakfast, and I walked Tucker, and we headed for Ikea around 11:30. Noticed on the way there that Sam Flax, the art store, is back on Northside Drive, after having relocated on Peachtree Street for a while. I suspect the Buckhead rents did them in. Ironically, they are now in a building that is pretty much across the street from where they used to be (which is now a Goodwill).

I wasn't out to buy anything at Ikea—we just hadn't been in a while and I wanted to take some snapshots for Alice of clever storage items, as she's having a bathroom remodel. But since you never know what you will find there, James did buy a little reading lamp to clamp on the side of the bed, as the one he has there now is large and awkward. Otherwise he rolled and I walked (the path through Ikea is one and a half miles, according to my Fitbit) looking at goodies. On the way out I bought ginger cookies. Ikea's are the best and I haven't had any since last fall.

We didn't eat there, as frankly my tolerance for Swedish meatballs isn't all that much, but were going on to West Cobb Diner. We haven't had their turkey dinner in three forevers. One of the things we would like to start doing on James' days off (and days he teleworks) is to eat our largest meal in the afternoon rather than at night. (This has the added advantage that, if we go out to eat, it's actually cheaper.) However, since it was already two o'clock and traffic was building, it looked as if it would take some time to get from Northside Drive to Dallas Highway, and we were both pretty hungry. So we had personal pizzas at Uncle Maddio's instead (ah, that exquisite crust!) and then finished the afternoon by shopping at Sprouts. They had steak on sale, and also their ginormous chicken legs for only 77 cents a pound.

We also got some chicken noodle soup at Sprouts and has a small portion of it for a light supper. It had an odd taste, not spoiled, but like someone had taken some of the clam juice from the clam chowder and slipped it into the chicken. So...not yum.

Ended up the evening watching some of the backlog of This Old House.

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» Thursday, May 30, 2019
The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...
...the sun is going in and out of the high clouds, and occasionally the trees toss, but there is no sign of rain on the horizon. After a rainy winter, it is suddenly extremely hot, especially the last few days when it has been up in the 90s. Even though I stay out of the sun as much as possible, I have not felt well the past couple of weeks, with digestive and other ailments. At least I am not as bad as last week, where, in turn, I had a stiff, painful neck, followed by a toothache and a fever, and then just general tiredness after the pain went away. Summer always messes my physiology up.

I am thinking...
...that it is still strange to be on James' new schedule. As I had mentioned, he is now working 10-hour days Sunday through Wednesday. This is the first time he's had to work a weekend day in quite some years. The worst part of the schedule is eating supper so late. The food comes back up on me despite a daily dose of pantoprazole. When James teleworks we do eat dinner in the afternoon and just have a light meal when he gets off, but we can't do that the other three days. (He could eat a big hot lunch at the lunch counter at work, but that would be expensive, and restaurant food is usually too salty for him.) This is actually the first week he has had a "normal" new schedule: the first week he had a mole removed on Thursday, and last week he had the stitches out from that surgery. We are planning to use Thursday mornings for grocery shopping; this will keep us out of supermarkets and shopping clubs on busy Saturdays and Friday nights.

I am thankful... was a "normal" Thursday instead of a surgical one! It just would have been better if it were cooler!

In the kitchen...
...the rest of a rotisserie chicken is ready to be put away. We ate the wings, legs, and thighs for dinner. We'll use the breast meat with some mixed greens, orange cups, sliced almonds, and chow mein noodles on Sunday for a dinner salad.

I am wearing... and purple and white tiny flowered print tank top and aqua shorts, and white socks. It's the only costume for weather this hot, even under air conditioning.

I am creating...
...cleanliness! Tucker got a much-needed bath today; I have been brushing him since the last one, but his fur was just getting too greasy and he was always rolling over on the carpet to rub himself against it. All I did was run my fingers through his coat to rub the soap against his skin, and then again to help rinse it off, and hair just came off tangled within them, a big chunk that glommed together into a shape bigger than Snowy. (After I walked Tucker, I brushed him as well and got two big wads of fur off with the slicker brush. All winter coat! No wonder he was so itchy!) Now I am washing the towels and his bedding. Tonight he will go to bed in a nice tidy crate.

I am going... have to stiffen my resolve about two unfinished projects: checking all the lights on the Christmas tree (a bunch of them are out, so I have bought a big bag of replacements) and tidying up the garage. What's left to do in the garage are the shelves of tools, nails, screws, etc.—in other words, the hardest part to keep tidy! Some stuff needs to go, and the rest has to be sorted.

I am wondering...
...pessimistically about the results of these later suppers. It is going to play hob with our weights, because who wants to exercise after eating dinner at practically eight o'clock (James doesn't get home until 7:40 now)? If we could both walk, it would be different, but he can't, and during the summer it's still over 80 degrees outside even after dark. Who wants to exercise in that muck?

I am reading...
...The Farmer's Son by John Connell, about a college-educated Irishman who comes home to help run the family farm (cows and sheep). It's very James Herriott-like and I love the narrative.

I am hoping...
...the weatherman is correct and it will at least go down into the 80s. 90s in May is appalling.

I am looking forward to...
...Hair Day, which has been changed to the 15th, so that James can actually go to his meeting, too, this month, and a book sale at Half-Priced Books.

I am learning... to properly give Tucker a bath in the tub. The price on the "dog wash" went up, and I have knee pads now, so I am trying it. I learned from last time and had the bathroom better prepped; I still ended up sopping wet. But Tucker is clean, and seemed very happy about it afterward, although he sits there and looks pathetic during the process.

Around the house...
...alas, James has dozed off again. Tucker is in his cave under the dining room table, and Snowy tweedles to his "girlfriend" toy occasionally. The news is on.

I am pondering... to stay awake in the afternoons after I finish chores. I'm having to get up early to take Tucker on his long walk in the mornings and it really starts to show by afternoon. Yesterday I only dozed on the sofa, but I think it's what's hurting my neck. On Tuesday, when I actually sacked out on the bed, my neck felt okay, but I had horrendous dreams.

A favorite quote for today...
This has been a favorite since I heard it on All Creatures Great and Small so long ago:
"Heat, ma am! It was so dreadful here that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones." . . . . . Sydney Smith

One of my favorite things...
I was watching it this afternoon: a syndicated courtroom show called Caught in Providence which is mostly traffic court. The judge, Frank Caprio, is what my mother would have termed "a hot sketch" and loves to invite kids up at the bench with him, and runs a relaxed, amusing courtroom.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Maybe a trip to Ikea.

A peek into my day...
A wet dog from a previous bathing session. Poor baby thinks he's been drowned.

If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.



» Sunday, May 19, 2019
Time Moves Forward (And Does Not Tarry With Yesterday)
We all travel in time, the saying goes. We just travel forward and can't go back.

I'd had the time after WHOlanta pegged as quiet time, but it's been anything but—nothing really bad for us personally, thank God, but one unexpected and tragic event has happened and some interesting events have occurred.

On May 6, we heard that we lost our friend Claudia Barbour. James and I last saw Claudia at the Apple Annie craft show at the beginning of December. She was with a friend and we learned she was being treated for cancer. She told us things were going well, and we invited her to the Twelfth Night party, but she didn't come and we assumed it was because she was not feeling well due to the treatments. Evidently things did not "go well" after that December day. We remember her friendship and the fun we had launching model rockets in her horse pasture, her smile and the twinkle in her eyes.

I am continuing to try to walk more, not just for exercise, but to help my vitamin D, which is in the tank. I'm at an age where I need to worry about bone density. Tramping the same mile and a half route out of the development and back in does become monotonous, but I have been listening to podcasts ("Happier" with Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft at present, until I catch up) while I do, and trying to observe what nature can be observed on a suburban street, which included having a good look and sniff at Chinese privet and honeysuckle blossoms. (I wish they made perfume that smelled like the privet! I would buy it!)

Most of the time I am amused by the birds. One morning Tucker and I were buzzed by a swallow at least four times. Since we just walked up and down the street a couple of times that day since I was keeping an eye out for the A/C guy and we were nowhere near someplace that could be a nesting site, I'm assuming this is a dashing young swallow enjoying his wings and his ability to turn on a dime. A avian Eddie Rickenbacker, as it were. One morning as we approached the daycare center down on the main road, which has a big lawn to the left of the structure, we saw a funny bird territorial dispute. There was a robin hunting worms there and apparently a male cardinal had the temerity to try and hunt a meal there, too. The robin kept chasing him off—they did that fluttering circling around each other and hissing birds do when they fight--and still the cardinal kept coming back! He only flew off a few yards when Tucker and I finally reached the driveway.

The following morning a male bluebird was perched on one of the mailboxes and I don't think I was more than two yards away from him. To my surprise instead of flying away, he flew to the sidewalk directly in front of me and pecked at something for a minute, so I could admire his lovely blue wings. I even had a close encounter with a silver spotted skipper (a type of small butterfly) who was perched on a mailbox post one morning. I stopped to admire the dark wings with the orange spots on the top and the broad white stripe under the wings, and, on a whim, held out my forefinger to it as you might to a pet bird. To my surprise it stepped up on my finger and actually let me carry it a few driveways before it fluttered off on its way. What a magical experience.

And once in a while something cute happens: one morning as we meandered toward the stop sign on Sandtown Road, walking toward us was a man with a tiny little girl. I think she was only about twice Tucker's height, and you could hear her chattering for quite a distance. As we grew closer, she saw Tucker and started repeating "Doggie! Doggie!" and the dad (I guess) asked if she could pet Tucker because "She has a cat, but wants a dog." I said "Sure, if he can quit sniffing at whatever he's sniffing at!" Would you believe Tucker was so absorbed in whatever he was trailing he had hardly noticed they were there and looked surprised when she tried to pet him? He loses track of everything when he's trailing a scent. 😊

More prosaically, the aforementioned HVAC guy did arrive to do his semiannual check. We didn't need a filter replacement at the time, so the filter I ordered is back in the garage until autumn.

I was happy to finally receive George Winston's a new album this month, as he has been undergoing cancer treatment and not done one for quite a while. I've had it on pre-order since I heard it was being released. I have to be honest; his new albums are not as good as his old—not his piano playing itself, that is as lovely as ever, but in what music he is playing. This may be due to his health, or just his own changing tastes. I'm not really into The Doors, and while I love his Vince Guaraldi tributes, I prefer his own compositions.

To temper the sad news about Claudia, we also were able to celebrate Lin Butler's retirement at Longhorn on the 10th. Good food, good friends, good chat, and a cake; you can't ask for anything better.

In routine news, I've done some spring cleaning of the master bedroom (oh, that ceiling fan! not to mention the one in the living room) and did the saddest spring task, washing and drying and putting away all the jackets, hats, gloves, and scarves. Once again we barely had a spring, but went almost directly from chill at night and nice days to 80s and, starting next week, 90s! Of course it was open window weather when the pine pollen was at its worst, so we lost over two weeks of fresh air for not wanting yellow dust all over the house.

The best television news so far: The Orville has been renewed by Fox. This has been the best season! It's still a weird show sometimes, but it gets more and more thought-provoking each week. And, in what could have been sad news, this month we also bid farewell to The Big Bang Theory after twelve seasons. James and I didn't watch this series at first; it sounded dumb. But at one of the conventions we were going back and forth to the con suite, and one time we had an hour or two between panels, and it was playing constantly on the television. After the convention we started watching the reruns on two different channels and the first run episodes on the network, and we eventually started collecting the DVDs. So this will be our final year of the tradition of buying the DVD set at Best Buy on Black Friday! It was a fun, fuzzy ending: Sheldon finally realized what he had, Leonard got to tell him off, we finally saw the Wolowitz kids, Amy got a new look and enjoyed it, and Sheldon and Amy did indeed get a Nobel Prize. They also tied it in with the end of the season finale of Young Sheldon, where ten-year-old Sheldon is listening to a shortwave broadcast of the Nobel Prize awards all alone, not knowing his future friends (shown as kids) are "somewhere out there." Later they did a wrap-up special. All very satisfactory. I will miss Big Bang, but I'm not absolutely heartbroken over its end. It's a good place to leave it. Better it goes now before someone does a Castle to it.

The big news in the last week has been James' new work schedule. Several people have left and there was not enough coverage on weekends. Alas, after so many years of being free of it, James is relegated to working one weekend day again. He chose Sunday since this will leave Saturday free for his club meeting and also for Hair Day. He also is working four 10-hour days, so his schedule is now Sunday through Wednesday. We have just begun the second week and hope to provide a little more routine to the new schedule, as last week was rather unsettled. The big event last week was James' second MOHS surgery on Thursday. He had another small basal cell cancer mole removed from near his left ear. The procedure took only two hours and then we were home with him having to ice the site every two hours. We followed all the instructions—although I almost went spare when we couldn't find the polysporin (we aren't allowed to use Neosporin), but finally remembered it was in the suitcase because we had to take it with us when we went to Atomicon—and it looks as if it is healing nicely, at least as far as "Nurse Linda" can see.

The only problem with the new schedule is that we are not eating until 7:30-8:00. This is going to play hob with both our weights. It's already bugging my digestion. One afternoon when he teleworked we did eat dinner rather than supper and that "went down" (literally) better, but that's not going to work when he's in the office. My best hope is to either have something cooked right when he gets home at about 7:40 p.m. or if it's something he needs to cook have everything prepped when he walks in the door.

I can always walk two miles, but he can't walk at all. Guess I'd better get that exercise bicycle I bought a couple of days ago assembled and see if he can ride it.

Then there was the phone saga. Last week while he was teleworking, James dropped his phone as he has dozens of times before. Unfortunately this time it hit one of the legs of the laptop desk rather than the carpet. When he picked it up it was "bruised" with tiny flecks of purple at the bottom of the screen. As the day proceeded, so did the "bruise." By next morning the screen was almost totally purple-black and unusable except for answering phone calls, since James could just swipe up in the usual place to answer it. So that evening we found ourselves at Best Buy. He was particularly interested in the new, less expensive Pixel 3a, which has the headphone jack restored to it, and he needs the headphone jack since his home headphones have Bluetooth, but they don't stay on between calls, so he uses the wire instead for reliability. But despite all the publicity about the damn things on the review sites and on television, Best Buy didn't have any in stock and James needed one for Wednesday at work. He ended up with a Motorola G7, which has twice the storage memory, and the ability to load a microSD card. The camera apparently isn't as good as the Pixel, but, you know, if we want good pictures we do have real cameras.

I was quite envious, as I've made no secret that I've never been happy with the original Pixel we got back on Black Friday of 2016. It was too small (they were out of the XL size), it didn't do a lot of the things my old Droid Turbo did (I'd wanted the Droid Turbo 2, but the ads made the Pixel sound like the greatest thing since HD-TV), and I missed the Moto Voice feature. (I eventually named the phone "U.P." for "Useless Phone.") Plus right before WHOlanta it started eating battery out of nowhere; one night I barely got to the car to plug it in before it died. I'd take it off the charger, read Facebook (no video watching) for ten minutes, and it would go down fifteen percent. So Saturday while we were out I went and picked up another G7. Alas, the one feature of Moto Voice that I loved most, the fact that you could give it a passphrase rather than using "Okay, Google" to ask it a question, Motorola (actually Lenovo) has gotten rid of. Otherwise, it's quite nice. I did have a bobble loading my old podcast app. It was a free app, but limited in how many feeds you could download and had ads. So for $3 I bought the full version (unlimited feeds and no ads), which was a separate unlock app. Usually when you buy a new Android phone, if you have been backing up religiously to Google, all your apps will re-download onto the new phone if you give it permission to do so. When they all downloaded, the unlock app was not there. When I checked the Google store, it wasn't there either, and as I checked the app itself, I realized it hadn't been updated since 2015. So, orphan app.

I looked around for the best substitute and found Podbean. I'd downloaded it, added some feeds, made some playlists, but it was dreadfully awkward; you had to add to a playlist and then download as a separate function; MyPOD did this in one action if you set it up that way. And if you used the shortcut widget, whatever podcast you were in last automatically started to play. Very provoking, and I couldn't find anything in the settings to stop it. So on a whim I loaded up MyPOD on the phone anyway to see what would happen and it mostly still works, with no ads, and I can add all the feeds I had before (I just stuck the backup feed file on the phone and told it to import and everything was there). You can't sort by title properly anymore, and every time you open it it asks that you load the unlock app, but the feeds still download and the podcasts still play. So I'll use it until it doesn't work anymore and then go back and wrestle with Podbean again.

(I should be able to go into the file folder on the old phone and actually find the .apk file for the unlock app, but I haven't been able to manage that. I did it previously on an older Android phone. Not sure if they've taken away that ability or they've just hidden the files too well.)

[Update, May 20:  I decided there must be a solution to this problem, and I found it: an app called APK Extractor (yeah, go figure). I extracted the .apk folder from my old phone and saved it to Google Drive, then went to Google Drive and extracted it to my new phone. Viola, as Snagglepuss used to say.

I can see my mother giving me that look, cupping her right hand with the thumb and first three fingers joined and bobbing it at me, and calling me "Calabrese!" Makes me laugh and cry at the same time.]

And, as Walter Cronkite used to say, "That's the way it is."

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» Sunday, May 05, 2019
A Few More WHOlanta Photos

Alan Siler at Opening Ceremonies

Marc Scott Zicree and one of his most famous creations.

Janet Fielding once more.

Jon Davey, who played Cybermen and other costumed denizens of Doctor Who.

Edward Russell, who did marketing for Doctor Who.

Jason Haigh-Ellery from Big Finish Productions, who continue to do Doctor Who audio drama.

Louis Robinson, late of the BBC.

Robert Allsop, who did costuming and props on Doctor Who.

Kelly Yates, comic book artist, who has done several Who graphic novels.

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WHOlanta, Day 3

And here it is, the final day of the final WHOlanta. I can't tell you how I was looking forward to this convention while still dreading this day. Naturally we were quite bleary after yesterday's key adventure, but managed to eat and dogwalk and get on our way, and in reward we found a handicapped parking space right outside the door.

My first panel was about Victoria. It was a very small panel, so we got to chat amongst ourselves about the aspects of the series we enjoyed, and also why they had to finagle things to create drama (for instance, the subplot about Victoria's half-sister this season trying to undermine her relationship with Albert—the real Feodore and Victoria had a good relationship). I'm also wondering how they are going to resolve how nice Victoria is to Bertie in this series to how nasty she was to him in the future when he is older!

Mark Heffernan (right) at the Victoria panel.

Next attended the "Television Production" panel. This featured Louis Robinson, Matt Golden from RetroTV, Who alumni Edward Russell, Jason Haigh-Ellery, and Robert Allsopp, and Marc Scott Zicree. This panel basically boiled down to "when you're the producer, the buck stops here." Zicree talked about a show he worked on where filming could either stop or they could film something else that they had not planned, so they filmed the alternative items so to not stop production. Another time they needed another set, but the set designer quit. He and some of the other crew members took an existing set apart, rearranged the parts creatively, and created the two sets they needed. Another time a series on the next soundstage over was cancelled. By thinking quickly they were able to claim several parts of this series' sets and save themselves money.

One of the things they talked about was making decisions and that sometimes they had to be made immediately, with little time to think of the consequences. Matt Golden said something that stuck with me, and I wrote it down: "I would rather make a bad decision than no decision."

Matt Golden [left]
Marc Scott Zicree [left] and Louis Robinson talking.

Next James and I went to the EarthStation WHO podcast, where they were talking about everyone began watching Doctor Who. There was a gentleman in the room who just began watching last year while on a military assignment, and then there were folks like us who started watching in the 70s either with Jon Pertwee or Tom Baker. It was great hearing everyone's story. We even talked about the party we had for the TV movie premiere in 1996 (we took over a sports bar and watched on the big screen TV). This was recorded, so James and I may appear on the podcast.

As a bookend to Friday's "Why We Read," today was "Why We Write." I always liked the answer attributed to Samuel R. Delaney: "There are books I want to read that haven't been written yet, so I have to write them." Those characters in your head just want to come out!

Marc Scott Zicree, author of The Twilight Zone Companion, moderated the next panel about The Twilight Zone and what a groundbreaking series it was. His book is pretty much the text on the television series. He talked about meeting Rod Serling's wife Carol and what a television pioneer he was. Also some brief discussion on the new series running on Amazon Prime (or Netflix, I forget which). Alice said of the ones aired so far, one was outstanding, the rest were okay.

Attended a very small "What's on Britbox and Acorn TV?" panel (Mark Heffernan at the table and five of us in the audience). There was one woman in the audience who did want to know which was best to get, so we discussed that: Acorn has more non-British series (Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian), but Britbox has more series, and they do have some British soaps shown "live" and other events live as well (I watched Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding on Britbox's live stream). We ended up discussing how hard it was to "cut the [cable] cord" because, as I have found out, once you get all the channels you want, you don't end up saving very much! (James had gone to a cord cutting panel while I was Victoria-ing.)

At four it was time for "The Great Big Doctor Who Panel," starring Janet Fielding and the rest of the guests, including Jon Davey, who's played a myriad of Cybermen and other baddies over the years; Jason Haigh-Ellery from Big Finish, who does Who audio adventures; Edward Russell, who did Who marketing; Robert Allsop, who did costuming and props for the show; and Kelly Yates, who did Who comics, plus Louis Robinson, who worked at the BBC while Who was on. The combined panel is usually a time for the guests to answer silly questions, so we enjoyed hearing about Janet's shoe expeditions!

The Great Big Doctor Who panel, with Janet Fielding on the hot seat.

And then came the dreaded end. The last hour of programming was a fantastic photo-and-video retrospective put together by Alan Siler, from the first event at the Elk's Club in Tucker to last year, and then at the end were special messages sent to him by previous guests. We saw videos from Domenic Glyn, Katy Manning, Sophie Aldred (and her dogs), and a lovely one from Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant, filmed at the white cliffs of Dover by Sylvester McCoy!

At this point I started blubbering and didn't come up for air until Closing Ceremonies was over. Alan and Susan made farewell speeches, two young ladies sang a song for them, all the guests and track directors and other helpers came up and took their bows, and then as always there were prize drawings. I got lucky and won a program for this year's convention autographed by all the guests.

Alan bids his farewells.

Susan says her thanks.

We filed out of the room to find Lt. Moxie Magnus posing with people outside the TARDIS, so we took a turn ourselves. It cheered me up but little and I started crying on the way out again. Sue Phillips gave me a hug and we sang "Tipparary" (ala The Mary Tyler Moore Show), and then it was time to leave. All the miserable rain from yesterday had washed everything clean and we were able to drive home with the windows down. (Sadly, we also lost the tarp that goes over the power chair. It must not have been bound securely enough and flew out of the bed of the truck.)

Then it was home for real life again: walking the dog and Call the Midwife. It really has been fun. And I'd do it all again—even the Saturday I was sick in the bathroom of the Holiday Inn for three hours, and the last day of con in 2012 when the car battery died.

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» Saturday, May 04, 2019
WHOlanta, Day 2

It always happens.

We were up on time, had breakfast, and I walked the dog. We were all set to head to the hotel.

Except when we got down to the garage James couldn't find his keys. So I spent twenty minutes looking and never did find them, so we took the spare key. Did get to the hotel in time to see most of the British Empire panel, which was interesting because Louis Robinson was on the panel and his father worked for the British tram system in India. He was talking about how startling it was that the Indian officials grew "more British than the British," and would send their sons to British schools, and have tea and speak in twee British accents.

Next James and I went to the Q&A by RetroTV, who is still showing the classic episodes of Doctor Who. While they discussed Who a bit, they were promo-ing a new series they were doing for Retro's sister channel Heartland, The Unseen World, where they are traveling to unusual and unknown attractions. Since I'm currently reading the book Curious New England, this seemed to fit right in. I told them they should go to Mystery Hill in New Hampshire.

RetroTV panel: Matt Golden at far left and Alan Siler at far right

My next panel was "Quatermass and Early British Science Fiction." Louis was also on this panel and talking about the marvelous inventive series that popped up once in a while that are now lost because the tapes were erased. However, SF was few and far between due to low budgets and also the view of management that SF was for children and wasn't quite "adult." The television executives would, as the running gag of the panel went, rather mount another production of Pride and Prejudice.

Anthony Williams and Louis Robinson.

I went looking for James and discovered he was up in Clay and Maggi's room having lunch with them (yes, they carried their own food, too, although they had gone out for this meal), so I went up as well. Again, a great time chatting as we don't see them as much any longer.

Yesterday when we were talking out in the foyer area of the meeting rooms, Sue was looking for another person to be on a panel about science fiction on TV. This was me. So at two Sue, Alice, Aubrey and I did a panel! We talked about past and current science fiction on television, what were our favorites, and then contributions from the audience. This was fun.

Fellow panelists: Aubrey Spivey, Alice Spivey, Sue Phillips

I was set to attend "The State of Fandom in 2019," but didn't in the end, but instead sat chatting with friends until it was time for Janet Fielding. If you are not a Doctor Who fan, Janet played Tegan Jovanka, an "air stewardess," as they were known back then, with the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison). Tegan never failed to say what she thought, and her fannish description has always been "a mouth with legs." Janet was funny, charming, and also very opinionated, especially about her favorite subject: shopping. She'd enjoyed being in Atlanta early because she finds it difficult to find shoes small enough for her feet, and she'd found a great pair of running shoes! She also expressed displeasure for most of the Tegan costume choices on the series. :-) After Doctor Who she did some other acting, and like other Who actresses before her, became an agent for other actors. She delighted in teasing Peter Davison throughout the panel, but you could tell it was all in fun.

Janet Fielding

After a very short hour, went off to the young adult fiction panel. I'm glad to hear dystopia is passing us by—so depressing. Following was the panel I had been really looking forward to: "A Guided History of Atlanta Sci-Fi Conventions." This was a really fun and nostaglic panel, which went back to the 1970s way before I arrived here in Georgia to the conventions I remember: Dixie Trek (and its coverage on GPB), Fantasy Fair, Phoenixcon, the Doctor Who Exhibition, and lots more, including the 1981 Space: 1999 convention and even Weaponscon and the one MOC (Magnum Opus Con) that was held in Atlanta (alas, it was at the 1987 MOC in Columbus, GA, where Patrick Troughton died of a heart attack).

Atlanta Convention History panel (on the table is a quilt made from Ken Spivey's old con T-shirts)

We were sticking around for the "Fanfiction as Writing Training" panel, which I was really looking forward to, so we went to see an annual event, "Professor Satyre's Sci-Fried Sideshow," where Mike Langford does these wild mashups of television programs and old movies. We are sad to see that Mike's partner, our old friend Kim Holec, is now in a wheelchair, so that tempered some of our fun in the silly situations.

Really enjoyed the fanfiction panel, because Lee Martindale was on it, and she definitely does not believe in fanfic. She thinks you should create all your own characters, situations, etc. even as practice for writing. But we all started discussing fanfic and I think we kinda blew her mind, since we were talking about crossover fic, mpreg (male pregnancy), alternate universe stories, and real life character stories. Heck, they weren't considered fanfic, but I remember those "I met Donny Osmond [or Bobby Sherman or David Cassidy]" stories in "16 Magazine" and "Tiger Beat"! I didn't even get to mention that fanfiction goes back to Don Quixote sequels penned after the book was published, and Charlotte Brontë wrote real-life fanfiction about the Duke of Wellington! Also, many established novelists started out in fanfic, of course the lady who wrote Fifty Shades of Grey, which started out as a Twilight fanfiction, Naomi Novik, and even Peter David.

But we headed home very late and I had to rush to take Tucker outside before he burst. James was a little happier because he realized where he left his keys.

Except they weren't there. We knew they were in the house because he drove home last night and lowered the garage door via the opener on his keychain. So for an hour, as it went past midnight, we kept retracing the track of the keys. We looked everywhere. Finally I said that we couldn't keep it up; we needed to get to bed, and we started undressing. Then I said, "James, is there a pocket in your kilt?" (He wore his beautiful blue plaid kilt this weekend.) He said tiredly, "That one doesn't have pockets." I said, "I thought they all did."

Why, yes, they do. And there were the keys! I just don't see how he didn't hear them rattling around!

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» Friday, May 03, 2019
WHOlanta, Day 1

Today it was the usual refrain: James had to work. We'd already made sandwiches last night, so this morning was just for loading up the backpacks. We had some lunch, got gasoline, and then headed down for the airport; despite it being officially before rush hour, the traffic from our house to the intersection of I-20 was bumper-to-bumper. After that it was clear sailing, but we have to decide which is worse: stop-and-go traffic that is actually paying attention or the high-speed traffic where everyone is out to kill you. We were a little rattled by the time we got to the airport Hilton—but we did find a good parking space.

After registration, we bumped into the Spiveys and sat down to talk. They had the same complaint about the hotel that we did: the food is too expensive! The sports bar has the cheapest food, but it was terrible, expensive, and the service was bad. We never did see the prices on "good" restaurant, the Magnolia Grill, just the supposedly "moderately priced" Italian restaurant, where spaghetti and meatballs was $28! This offends the frugal part of my Italian soul to the limit. So they had sandwiches, and we had sandwiches, so we went up to their room to eat supper. This was fun! Clay and Maggi arrived while we were eating and came upstairs to talk as well.

Right before six we went downstairs for opening ceremonies. The guests this year included Janet Fielding, who played Tegan with with fourth and fifth Doctor (described fliply as "a mouth with legs"). Later we all went on to the first literary panel: "Why We Read." (Well, because it's not possible to do anything else. It's like breathing. And you can't live without breathing, can you?) 

Janet Fielding at Opening Ceremonies

Afterwards I went to the Doctor Who reboots panel, discussing which regeneration was the most significant . Surprised no one mentioned the original reboot: Patrick Troughton! Different actors had taken over a role before, but the difference in look was never acknowledged. This was the first time "regeneration" had happened and the change of face was acknowledged.

James and I took a turn around the dealer's room and then decided to leave early, since Saturday will be a long day. We are planning on staying very late.

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