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, March 26, 2023
The Coming of Fiber
We've talked about getting rid of Dish for some time. We were actually going to do it two years ago, but ratcheted back to the Flex plan instead. I can't complain, since that's how I started watching Law & Order: Criminal Intent regularly. But, again, a lot of the reason why we kept Dish around was to have something decent for Snowy to watch. Even if he was just a bird, I didn't want his brain fried by talk show crap and the other rubbish that's on the Flex channels like A&E and TLC. That's why we left WEtv or Sundance on most of the time: he watched LOCI or NCIS or "the mothership" Law & Order.

A week or so ago we got a postcard from Earthlink saying they were going to be offering fiber. Now we started out with Earthlink back in 1996, as GEnie was winding down, and dial-up (further annoying my mother, who could never reach us by phone since we spent evenings online). We went to DSL to keep out of her hair, and converted over to broadband in 2018 (a multiday clusterf*ck due to rotted wires and incompetent techs. Broadband was giving us a nice, steady 35-45 mps, and we really had no trouble with any of the channels when we got a Roku box to aggregate everything we subscribed to, like Netflix, Britbox, etc. But 350 mps? Up and down?

As usual, they tell you the install will be "an hour or so." This actually took most of the day. The technician was competent, but had to be very patient. He started out putting a cable through the wall, and then hitching it to the router. Problem #1 was now that the router was on the opposite side of the room. We like to have the desktops hardwired into the router because (1) it's faster and (2) even though it's secured, I don't like my online banking bouncing around on wireless signals. When the tech finally did get everything hitched up, the television, plugged in, of course had no trouble, nor did James' desktop, which is basically the same model as mine, have a problem hitching right up to the wireless; my desktop refused to get half the signals, as did the laptop. Plus we were supposed to use the information e-mailed to us to sign on to the fiber app, where we could change the name of our router, change our password. I was never able to get into the app. We finally ended up stringing a network cable along the floor under the sofa and under the clear plastic chair pad to my computer because it would not connect to stuff I needed, like the uploader for my website, Amazon, my bank, Nationwide's site, the water bill site...ya know, important things. And once again James couldn't access the printer.

So after Hair Day, we drove out to MicroCenter and bought a network switch. Now both desktops and the printer are networked on cable and now I can get to all of my links in Firefox (yes, the cable is still across the floor, but very little of it is exposed).

I also had a problem getting the DVD recorder and the Chromecast to work. The Chromecast seemed completely dead and the DVD recorder was giving me a U99 code. It was fine when I watched Little Drummer Boy in December.

The plan right now: I get some stuff dubbed off the DVR, cancel Dish, get Philo (which is $25 rather than $80whatever and gets us everything but TCM, which I will miss), probably subscribe to Peacock's low tier. I already canceled our Disney account via Verizon and got the Hulu/Disney/ESPN triple package (not that we're going to watch ESPN, but they didn't have a dual package Hulu/Disney sans commercials and for some reason the Roku won't do Disney with commercials. Still think a little about AMC+ so I can see Dark Winds, but I haven't watched Those People since they canceled Remember WENN and don't know if I want to fall in with traitors even 25 years later.

In other news, James got a new pair of orthopedic boots. He gave in and instead of getting lace-up boots he got velcro fasteners.

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» Monday, March 20, 2023
Atomicon 2023
And most of this week was Atomicon, so that's what I'm going to write about.

Our vet, where we board Tucker and used to board Snowy, closes for lunch, so since we wouldn't make it there by 11:55, we coasted Thursday morning and arrived at the vet's office just as they reopened at one. Tucker is not Willow, who had to be dragged into the doctor's office; he went back quietly, then I picked up sandwiches and two zeppole (Sunday is St. Joseph's Day) and we had a nice ride up to Helen. We stopped at the Cleveland, GA, Ingle's supermarket to get distilled water for the CPAP tank, and then schlepped all our stuff inside the Country Inn and Suites. We brought our pillows again this year, and also all the catherization supplies, so we were set.

For supper a bunch of us went to Spice55, the Thai place, for supper, and it was delectable and delicious as always. We have several Thai places in our neighborhood, but if I want really good Pad Thai I come here. Alice had warned us in the Facebook group that since tomorrow was St. Patrick's Day and Friday we might want to skip eating out and instead get food to bring in, so James and I ordered entrees for tomorrow.

We both hardly slept. James has to use the bathroom multiple times a night, so we had to leave the light on in the bathroom so he would not stumble and fall on his nightly trips. The door would not stay cracked just a tiny bit, but instead kept opening wide, so we were up half the night because of the terrible daylight bulbs they have in there. This was a shame because they had actually changed the horrible noisy air conditioners they've had for years and replaced them with ones that were quiet, so we could sleep. At one time I'd had a nightlight in the suitcase, but it wasn't there now.

Daisy the bookstore cat

 Friday was rainy and quite chilly. We'd prepared for it and planned to stay in just talking with everyone. We had leftovers for lunch, plus I had some of the salad I picked up at Ingle's. When the rain slowed down in the afternoon, we went to the Mt. Yonah Book Exchange—as usual the owner had put the "Welcome Atomicon!" sign out!—with a small herd of others including Maggi and Clay (this is their first time at Atomicon). Clair bought almost every watercolor painting book they had. I bought a book on writing and also James Michener's memoir. We also stopped at Ingle's where I ran inside to buy nightlights for the bathroom and they had a Starbuck's at the entrance, so I stopped there, too, to order a surprise. Nothing better on a damp chill day than peppermint hot chocolate!

We had a nap and then a big happy dinner in the common room (the conference room) and chatted and watched Clair paint. Worked on fic and chatted and read a bit.

Saturday was a much better day at the start. The hotel has a free breakfast and at first all was fine as we availed ourselves of cereal and oatmeal and other goodies (James has more choices because he eats eggs and sausage; I despise eggs and the sausage will only give me indigestion). Then we went for what has been the best part of the last few Atomicons: we are in walking distance of downtown and we just go to walk around there. We stopped at the glassblower's shop and James bought a neat ring. We discovered the olive oil/vinegar store is open (Alpine Olive Tree) and we got more balsamic peach and also some chipotle flavor oil for James. We stopped at Hoffer's (the bakery/breakfast place) but I wouldn't have bought the cake if I'd known it was eight dollars a slice! Yow! And I bought my annual almond bark and dark chocolate orange creams, and got James some sugar-free chocolate cashew clusters at the Hansel and Gretel chocolate shop.

Alas, on the return leg, we both got stomach aches—I believe it was from the salad from Ingle's (I'd also bought some for James on Friday)—and ended up in the public restrooms. Both of us thought we were okay then, and headed down the side street between Alpine Olive Tree and the antique shop (one of the "antiques" they have there is the faux Tiffany triple-bulb light fixture we have in our foyer, which we got at Lowe's). There is a new history museum open at the old city hall and we had just gotten in there to look around when I started getting a bellyache again. We eventually just walked back to the hotel and ate our leftovers for lunch.

For supper Maggi, Clay, Alice, Ken, and James and I went to Rib Country barbecue in Cleveland. You can get a rack of ribs here for the price of a half rack of ribs at any barbecue place in Atlanta, and they are tender and perfect. We are planning to stop there again on the way home Monday.

Sunday morning, St. Joseph's Day, I shared slices of the two zeppole I'd bought with anyone who wanted some. Zeppole, which are soft pastry covered in frosting and filled with yellow cream (egg custard) are so rich a little slice is about all anyone can eat. For lunch James and I picked up sandwiches and some cheese at the new cheese shop and also bought pioneer porridge and country gravy mix at Nora Mill, then came back to the hotel to eat as there are no tables at the cheese shop. It was a beautiful day, but very windy and cold, and James, who has been cold all the time since he was hospitalized in October, gave up halfway into our second walk into Helen. I was very sorry because I had really wanted to see the history museum, that is if it was open on Sundays.

This is the first time we have stayed over until Monday and we were kind of disappointed that so few others did. Of course the Lawsons and several others who usually do stay over did not attend this year. Then Monday morning Daniel got sick and Clair had to call the ambulance to take him to the Habersham emergency room we had to go to a few years back when James' pulse was racing. (Daniel was okay; he had just vomited and was dehydrated.) We packed up and did stop by Rib Country for tonight's dinner, then drove past the vet to pick Tucker up. We got there ten minutes before the vet opened after lunch, and I really needed to pee, so James took me over to Kroger to use their restroom. I was rewarded by finding not only Lindt dark chocolate Easter bunnies, but they had Cadbury dark chocolate filled eggs, too. Previous years we have had to order the chocolate eggs online. So—Easter candy!

Alas, we have had to make arrangements to have Tucker's teeth cleaned. His gums are very bad. This will cost about $750. Aieeee! And, even worse, we will have to get up at 7 a.m. to drop him off before nine.

And we had the ribs for supper and I got sick. This wasn't the rib place's fault. When you get them at the restaurant, they come with no barbecue sauce, and they are so moist and juicy and well cooked that you don't need it. I forgot when you order them to go they do put barbecue sauce on them. Their sauce is very vinegary. I ended up with a killer case of heartburn and retched so hard I strained the muscles in my torso. Now ever time I cough, and cough I will due to the damn pollen, it hurts like hell.

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» Sunday, March 12, 2023
A Death in the Extended Family
My friend Pat Brimer died on March 9. She's had cancer for a long time, and a year or more ago had to move into assisted care because she couldn't live alone any longer. She at least found a place where she could keep her beloved cat, Kaylee, who has found a home with another mutual friend, Liz.

We were going to visit her the last time we were on vacation, but I was so stressed about having to ride the T with the power chair that I chickened out, and I'm so sorry for it now when it's too late. But we had been trading cards (me) and letters (her) until her last one in January. ::sigh::

Nothing much else going on. Had to order a new spring flag for outside as the Georgia sun just fades them within three years, and the place sent me the wrong flag. The one I wanted is out of stock, so they are sending me a replacement that I picked out. And I managed to drag the old printer (forty pounds) down the stairs to the foyer and it took the two of to get the new printer (also forty pounds) up the stairs. But we got it set up and working.

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» Sunday, March 05, 2023
Gains and Losses
Things got done this week.

We have a new laser printer. When James was hitched to the oxygen tank, he tripped over the tubing several times, thankfully never hurting himself, but he did kill the printer. We thought the cable plug was broken, but it's the plug inside that is broken. It would take as much to get the printer fixed as it would to buy a new one. So we went to MicroCenter and bought another Brother. We had to look carefully, because the new printer couldn't be over a certain height to fit on the shelf we have for it. I would have settled for black and white, which would have been smaller, but James wanted a color printer.

We ordered new glasses at Costco. Less than $800 for four pairs of glasses for both of us. Go suck eggs, VisionWorks.

Thursday we ordered new orthopedic shoes for James.

Friday we went back to Dr. Salazar. James is going to start having steroid shots in his knees again. It will help alleviate some of the pain. Unfortunately the shots will eventually stop working.

We also went to Barnes & Noble and decided we just can't do the buffet at Fried Tomato any longer. I love the pork ribs, but they also make me sick.

Saturday we did do something fun: downtown Marietta hosted something called "Marietta: the Gathering," which was a bit like an outdoor convention with mostly a dealer's room. It was a lot of fun. There was at least one Star Trek artist there; most of it seemed anime and gaming oriented. I bought two kitsune pins (there's a kitsune reference in one of my stories) and we ran into Matt and Kelley Ceccato there.

In some sad news, one of my favorite writers, Christopher Fowler, passed away. He had talked previously on Twitter about having cancer; it was the reason he had concluded the Bryant and May mysteries. I also found out that they are tearing down, floor by floor, the venerable old Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. I went to my first science fiction convention there, and it feels as if I've lost another piece of myself.

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