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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» Saturday, September 26, 2020
Let There Be Light...and Danish...
This weekend ended with an announcement: we have finally watched all 261 episodes of the original Perry Mason. I guess it's time to go hunt up The Mandalorian on Disney+ and see what all the fuss is about.

In better news, my sister-in-law (so far) is better and should be going back to rehab soon. I hope after this they take better care of her!

The two highlights of our weekend were going out to lunch at Olive Garden with a portion of "the lunch bunch" on Friday (Alice, Ken, Aubrey, and Ken's sister Debbie) (James had gotten two restaurant gift cards for his birthday and we used one today, including buying Olive Garden's take-home $5 entree—we got spaghetti and meat sauce) and having Hair Day on Saturday. The latter was funny because Publix had their Danish on sale buy-one-get-one-free, and of course what happened: several people showed up with Danish! However, what was funnier is that we all picked a different kind: we brought maple, Lin got apple cinnamon, and someone else brought raspberry. So we had an assortment after all. Alex made breakfast sliders that were so good even I ate one (after giving James the eggs, of course—cooked eggs, ugh!).

On the way home from Olive Garden we saw a memorial billboard to Gale Sayers, who died this week. I don't know anything about football, but Brian's Song will remain in my memory forever.

Saturday we also had a trip to Lidl and I vacuumed—much fun, eh? It was at least more fun than Friday's visit to Kaiser for prescriptions and to Walmart to replace one of the burned-out floodlights in front of the garage. (Get LED lights, they said. They last forever, they said.) James replaced it immediately when we got home and I was quite upset that after it lit the first time, it didn't seem to go on again. However, when I went out at night, the photosensor did catch my movement and turn the light on. So the only thing I can think of is that Walmart (they are Walmart-brand floods, which have the motion sensor built into them, for the same price as the brand-name floodlights) has adjusted them so they only go on in the dark and not during the daytime, which I agree is much better. The original other bulb goes on any time day or night.

Anyway, the autumn decorations are now all up...just waiting for the temps to go down permanently instead of jacking up and down like they always do in the fall. At least it's not 90°F like it was last year, well into October.

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» Saturday, September 19, 2020
Judgments and a Judge Passed On
The good parts about this week, and weekend—including the joyous news that on Wednesday it was 100 days until Christmas, having Tin Drum for dinner on Thursday, James' appointment with his cardiologist going well, and, best of all, that it was cool enough to open the windows and doors, with a great breeze (and there were ordinary things, too, like the exterminator coming to head off the cooler-weather insect invasions and buying new frying pans at Bed, Bath & Beyond)—were completely overwhelmed by the sad news about Chief Justice Ginsberg, and also my sister-in-law ending back up in the hospital. Will you tell me how in the name of God's green earth that a woman in rehabilitation for an amputation, who should have been watched day and night, ended up with a UTI so bad it caused sepsis? And this is the second time it's happened while she has been hospitalized/covered by rehab. The Veteran's Administration medical care in this country is a farce. It really hasn't changed in one hundred years, when the Coolidge administration had it investigated for gross abuse of the system (people earning an annual salary for only working four days in the year—not in a week or a month, but four days only in one year—and orderlies selling the gold intended for fillings for veterans' teeth). Last time I was in a VA hospital it stunk of urine and feces.

It was bad enough inattention from the VA caused her to lose her foot in the first place!

As for Ruth Bader Ginsberg, what changes have taken place during her time in the court! These are freedoms we need to cherish and keep. God bless, Your Honor.

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» Sunday, September 13, 2020
A Varied Week

Well, what followed DragonCon was a series of interesting events (but at least not interesting in the Chinese sense).

On Tuesday, while I was dipping in and out of "Star Trek Day," I took down the master bedroom curtains, washed them, washed the windows, and did something about the window shade on my side of the bed (finally). The spring broke on it some time ago, and for many, many months now when I opened the window I just rolled up the bottom of the shade and secured it with a large paperclip on each side. It occurred to me just recently that we had a window shade we cut for James' "man cave" and had never put up; it's been propped up behind the door of my craft room since...well, you don't want to know. I tried it. It fit. So now I have a working shade again and the curtains are clean. (I have saved the broken shade; it's back behind the craft room door. It would be fine down in the "man cave" since James doesn't open the windows, but we can't get to the window now with a shelf full of modeling things in the way, and we never put the mounting hooks up anyway. Ah, well.)

Since it was cloudy out Wednesday morning, I put up the main autumn decorations outside: leaf mailbox cover, leaf wreath, fall banner, fall basket. Also did laundry and installed a "shelf" over one of the power outlets in the garage. These will be used to hold the rechargeable lights I found for his power chair if we have to take it out at night. I also put something away in his truck, and thereby hangs a tale:

Thursday James headed downstairs, got in the truck, and headed for physical therapy. Well, no he didn't. The truck wouldn't start. I should have simply told him to take the car, instead I just grabbed my pouch and took him there myself. On the way we discussed what to do with the truck: we figured we'd just call AAA and have them replace the battery. After all, it was five years old...

Well, no, I realized as I drove home, no it wasn't. The starter died last year, and they replaced the battery along with it. The receipt from November 2019 was in the glove compartment. So I called up the mechanic, who told me, sure they'd replace it free; it's under warranty. I told them I thought it was because the door didn't close properly when I'd put something in the cab. He told me that if it was just the light that had drained the battery, maybe they didn't even need to see it; if I could get it jumped off and then keep it running for awhile, the alternator would recharge the battery.

As I once again considered calling AAA, up the street comes our neighbor Gary, who walks his little daughter in the stroller every morning. I hadn't jumped off a vehicle in a dog's age, so I asked if he would help. We already had jumper cables, and the car...

Annnnnnd it worked. I locked the truck and left it running outside and just was about to take Tucker walking again (he got shorted on his first walk) but realized a whole hour had gone by and it was time to pick up James. Did I dare? Yes, I did, although I don't feel comfortable driving the truck; I dressed and went to get him. Just in case, instead of going directly to shopping, we drove home, turned it off, he changed clothes.

Yay. Restart. Still working, so far...

On Friday we had lunch at Top Spice [Thai restaurant] for the first time since the lockdown. Everyone likes Top Spice, so we had nine people, which was within safety guidelines. We also stopped in at Barnes & Noble (didn't buy any books; they don't have a thing I want) and at Hobby Lobby.

Did a bunch of other little things on Saturday including vacuuming the whole upper story and all the dust bunnies under the bed, and then it was Sunday and chore day (backed up my hard drive, too). So it was a varied week.

Big Thanks again to Gary for helping out!

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» Tuesday, September 08, 2020
The Final Frontier

Incidentally, if you did "DragonCon Goes Virtual" you got an extra fillip this year as well: today is Star Trek Day, the anniversary of the premiere of the original series. In celebration, has had a live, free virtual feed all day celebrating all the Star Trek series: they played all the pilot episodes, then began playing memorable episodes (the original series story they showed was "City on the Edge of Forever"), then took a break at 3 p.m. Eastern time to present 3 1/2 hours of all-new interviews with each of the series' casts, conducted by Wil Wheaton of Star Trek: The Next Generation (and the ultimate geek) and Mina Burton, daughter of LeVar Burton from Next Gen and Reading Rainbow on PBS. The final interview featured Wheaton, Patrick Stewart, and Jonathan Frakes from Next Gen/Picard. I remember when Jonathan Frakes showed up at DixieTrek in 1988 with his beard; all the ladies (and I'm sure some of the guys) ooohed and aaaahhhed over it. He looked good then, and I swear he looks better every year. I sat there watching him talk and smiled a lot. Goodness, he's adorable.

Once the interviews were over, they did more memorable episodes.

So it was like having an extra day at DragonCon.

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» Monday, September 07, 2020
"Faith Manages"

In the spring, when the COVID-19 lockdowns began, we could only wonder peripherally about what would happen in the future. Right then the hospitalization and death statistics were too overwhelming. Cobb County cancelled the spring Library Book Sale two days before the event, even though I was already planning a way to get through the event safely (mask and then leaving the books downstairs for a week to let any germs die—the thought then was the virus only lasted on surfaces 72 hours). We managed to make it to Atomicon; Helen, GA, shut down the very next day.

As the spring, and then the summer moved on, more and more things were cancelled: Smyrna's Spring Jonquil Festival, Media West Con, then MomoCon and LibertyCon. DragonCon held out till the last minute, but then in July we got the word it was too cancelled.

Sadness, but a little bit of relief, too. Imagine DragonCon wearing masks, in all that heat! Certainly there would be fewer people, as many would choose not to travel and especially not to fly, but crowds... And frankly I wasn't really feeling up to it physically. In the spring, before it got hot, I was walking two miles a day and didn't feel bad, but every summer is harder and harder on me, and the thought of having to prep all the snacks, and cook the chicken and make the sandwiches, and then, the worst of all, having to get up early on Friday to fight rush hour traffic. The worst thing about summer is sleeping because even with the thermostat down to 68°F and three fans going, it's simply too warm.

Then the chatter started on the various Facebook groups devoted to DragonCon tracks: BritTrack, American Sci-Fi Classics, SF Literature, etc. They were going to try to do some virtual stuff; arrange some interviews via Zoom and post the videos on YouTube. Well, okay. This would be some small solace, but what, really, could they do?

"What could they do?" indeed! They succeeded past our wildest dreams. Eventually DragonCon Goes Virtual had a Roku channel that was split up into three tracks. One was "DCTVLand," which showed panels from previous years. We were treated to the classic 2009 panel with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, John Barrowman and Kai Owen discussing Torchwood in 2012, several interviews with the late Stan Lee and with Brian Henson, son of Jim, and more. A second track was the Fan Track, which featured panels from each of the multiple programming tracks at DragonCon actual: a BritTrack panel about tea and programming, costuming panels, Star Trek reunion panels, etc. The final track was "Main Programming," which included a virtual masquerade and a virtual parade. People sent in videos of themselves in costume to the former, people in costume marched around their back yards, local parks, and their own streets, and this was strung into a virtual parade interspersed with historical video of past parades.

What wasn't on Roku was on YouTube. BritTrack did a whole string of panels, including two on James Bond and one on Sherlock Holmes archetypes (Adrian Monk, anyone? Or Gregory House?) American SciFi Classics turned out some delightful stuff. Saw a Zoom interview with author Jim Butcher, old panels with Grant Imahara 😭, Alton Brown, Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk, Carrie Fisher 😭, and a brand new panel with the cast of Star Trek: Voyager. We even had a performance by the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company that knocked our socks off. Also, it has apparently been a tradition at the masquerade—we haven't gone in years; too long a line—to play "Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century" during the judging. However, since DragonCon was being broadcast, they couldn't do it due to copyright violation. So they had people act it out. It was hysterical. You can watch it here!

In short, it was a weird idea that totally, fabulously, worked. Heck, there's programming online we still haven't seen. And they've promised us all this nonsense will be available through the $10 streaming membership we bought. Several of the tracks have their programming up on YouTube without a streaming membership. So many people schemed, dreamed, worked hard, and then gave us something we didn't imagine they could: they gave us DragonCon weekend.

In the words of J. Michael Straczynski: "Faith manages."

Thank all of you, and God bless. (Stay well!)

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