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, May 28, 2023
Food, Friends and Bookstores
A blissfully slow week except that James has been feeling a bit down. He had the second of two iron infusions this week and really feels it when they do that, because it doesn't make him feel better, and he's exhausted when he's off the Ferrex supplements.

Tuesday his physiotherapy session was early, so afterward we went to Half-Price Books—I'd finally watched Mystic Pizza when I cleaned off the DVR, and wanted a copy. Found Book Lovers cheap, so got that, too. Almost bought the first Will Trent novel, but it looked too noir for me. The series is really sanitized.

Did some cleaning during the week, and then there were two very nice lunches with friends as well! On Friday we went back to Tofu Village with Alice, Ken, Aubrey, Mel, and Phyllis. Had beef bulgogi again with all the nifty little sides. Had a nice discussion with Aubrey about the usefulness of AI in some situations. Been hearing and reading more about AI this week replacing creative writing and it boils my blood. I don't want to read books and see art done "by AI." Maybe you can do summaries in AI, but not books. Maybe you can use computers to render art, but they should be directed by a human, not automatically compiled out of other people's original art!

On Saturday, our friend Shari, who lives in Birmingham, and her niece Jenny were in town, and we had a big, happy, noisy lunch at Longhorn. Shari just had a hip replacement and was walking stiffly, but she was walking!

On the way home we stopped for ice cream, and then watched the National Memorial Day Concert. We have watched Gary Sinese and Joe Mantegna grow old on this special! As always, tears, and some fabulous performances.

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» Sunday, May 21, 2023
"'The Time Has Come,' the Walrus Said, ""to Speak of Many Things...'"
The week began in an ordinary manner (thank goodness!).

Alas, the shorts we had bought at BJs last week, although they were the correct size for James, did not fit. So today we went up to Books-a-Million (they have canned the J. Muggs café, which is sad, because they had the best frozen hot chocolate) and put the magazines (a lot smaller space) in its place. We figured that since we try to get up here once a month it would be worth getting a membership again, especially since Barnes & Noble has jacked up their membership price so you can get such "goodies" as a crappy book bag each year and discounts in their café, which we almost never use. So we got a discount on today's books as well as a $10 gift card to use in the next 30 days. With the refund for the shorts, we got more maple syrup, some nice round steaks, and a wedge of smoked Gouda cheese.

Friday we went to JoAnn to use some good coupons, and when we stopped at Walmart, I finally kept a resolution: I bought new nightshirts. I have been wearing the same nightshirts since we moved into this house; they were still intact, but very faded and rumpled. So I got one with rainbows on it and one that has sleep words ("dream," "snooze," etc.).

Saturday I had a frustrating but ultimately rewarding afternoon rearranging the electronics under the TV now that the Dish Hopper is gone. The Roku is now on HDMI port 1, our aged (we've only had one; I think this one is about fifteen years old) Blu-Ray player on port 2, the VCR/DVD recorder and the Chromecast on a switch port on HDMI 3, and the cheapo region-free DVD player on 4. Plus I made gravy. We got four servings with pork, and then just some plain sauce to mix with ground beef or turkey for another meal.

Sunday I finally cleared out my "shorts and pajamas" drawer, and that's a relief. Threw a few tank tops away, found out I had a brand-new pair of blue shorts I should have been wearing. So...gain.

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» Thursday, May 18, 2023
New Mouse Tale

Several years back now I had a netbook I bought, I think on Black Friday. I had a Lenovo ThinkPad at the time and it was heavy and awkward; I wanted something I could just tuck under my arm and open up and write on, and get on the internet if I wanted to. I called the little gadget "the Mouse" and it was handy to take on vacations when I didn't need to do any high-power computing, just keep up my blog.

But eventually the Mouse aged out and the Windows updates pretty much filled up its tiny SSD. The last straw was when I couldn't get the micro SD card I'd bought to supplement its memory out of the slot it belonged in. I finally wiped the hard drive and placed it in the recycle box.

Lately I've been inundated on Facebook with ads for "distraction-free" writing. Apparently for writers, laptops are now "out" because it's simply too easy for you to get distracted by social media. I see ads now for "distraction free" writing devices like the "Freewrite" which cost as much as a laptop. I mean, they're neat little gadgets; one even folds up, almost like a little purse. Wow.

Last week when we were in BJ's I saw the little Chromebook, which is almost "tuckable" under the arm. Usually when I get a laptop I strip almost everything off it anyway; they put such junk on them: music players, games, etc. So if I got the Chromebook, stripped off the excess (except Chrome, which I could use for synonyms or other story research), loaded Calmly Writer on it (I still had one more use of the license, and there was a version for Chromebook), it could pretty much be a writing-only machine.

And it's pretty much worked out that way, although I don't see where in the heck Leo Laporte gets off saying it's easier to use. Maybe it's because I'm used to Windows machines, or maybe because people just use these out of the box just to get online or read e-mail. Whatever. When I tried to load Calmly Writer it said I had to put in some code into the Linux kernel first. When I did that, it said the program didn't work on this version of Linux, and that I should update Linux. When I tried it just kept going round and round! Finally the Chromebook itself loaded some updates, and only then Linux would load its updates, and then I could put in the two lines of code that made it okay for Calmly Writer to load. Once I had that loaded, I tried to make a folder to store my writing. Eventually found out the folder had to be in the Linux folder to work.

Alas, Microsoft OneNote, which I use for cross-platform transfer of stories, does not work on a Chromebook, because Microsoft removed their support for Chromebook. We love you, toooooo, Miss Hannigan! So I'm reduced to relying on a thumb drive again.

On the other hand, I used it to write when James had his infusion and it worked quite well; it's smaller and lighter than the laptop, so easier for me to work on my lap while I sit in his chair. I had a small contretemps with it trying to get it to connect to Kaiser's wifi because Google is effing overprotective and refuses to go to unsecured pages; it didn't even want to load Facebook because it said "my credit card numbers and other data" might be endangered. Thank you, I know that, and I shouldn't have to suffer for morons who would offer that info on Facebook. (My tablet also has this problem with Kaiser's logon page; it's maddening. You can't even click something that says "Yes, I understand the dangers; let me go to the next page anyway.")

Need to see if I can find a downloadable thesaurus...



» Sunday, May 14, 2023
Bye-Bye Dish...
Well, it was an eventful week, and that was in a good way except for one thing.

Tuesday, since we had an early appointment at physiotherapy, we went to Trader Joe's afterward. Since James has been making real oatmeal daily, we are using maple syrup regularly. It's very expensive, especially if you want the robust flavor ($22/quart at Publix), so we have been trying to buy it at one of the clubs (Costco, etc.). Unfortunately the syrup comes in jugs (like old-fashioned moonshine jugs), and the pour tops on them are terrible; they never screw back on properly after you remove the foil tab from the top of the jug so that the spout faces "front" (pour spout is opposite the jug handle), no matter how you screw them on. They always face back toward the handle. So we have been refilling the Trader Joe's maple syrup container, which has a pour top that faces "front" properly. Unfortunately a couple of days ago one of us tossed the Trader Joe's container, so we'd hoped to get another.

Sigh...except Trader Joe's has changed their containers and now use a jug, too. I just gave up and ordered a mason jar type 1-quart pouring container from Amazon. This way we can see how much is left as well.

We'd planned to go up to Canton for pizza and a book fix on Thursday, with a side trip to BJs before the coupons expire; I decided at the last minute that it really wouldn't be good for James at this point to put a big load of sodium in his system, and there are enough books, so we ended up going only to BJs. While I was there I saw a little (11 inch) Chromebook for just a little over $100. I've been looking for something that I can write on for certain situations while we're out (James is at physiotherapy or getting an iron infusion), so I grabbed the last one, only to find out it was out of stock. So I ordered one from when I got home.

Glad we watched all the Law & Order iterations that evening, since what happens next week may affect a story I'm working on. (Am I in too deep with this stuff or what?)

Friday I tackled some small clean-up things that had been neglected. I finally finished up scrubbing all the things that had been in the birdcage as well as the cage frame itself. It went very slowly and was emotionally draining. The other thing was dusting/cleaning off the space heater in the master bathroom for the season and covering it in plastic. This came as a figurative shock: the plug for the space heater was fused to the plug for the heavy-duty timer with some brownish-black stuff. Both are now in the electronics recycling bin. It's been fine on that timer for several years, so I can only assume the space heater was to blame. We have to have something in there, because it gets terribly cold in there in the winter.

The last thing I did on Friday was to sign up for Philo. This will replace Dish, and, although we will lose TCM, we will actually gain a lot of channels we lost by going down to the Flex Pack, like Animal Planet, BBC America, Science Channel, Destination America, and Sundance all the time rather than on monthly previews. Best of all it's $25 versus $84.

Saturday the first thing I did was pack up the two blue bags that the mail carrier had left earlier. They do a food drive every year. I pulled a lot of higher-sodium items out of the closet and bookcase downstairs, double-bagged it inside leftover Kroger bags, and hung it on the mailbox post. Seriously, they do the food drive in May and expect you to leave the bags on the ground. Sure, expect the nice people who get the food from the food bank to get stuff with ants in them.

James spent the afternoon in his "Man Cave"; I put on a podcast and posted a short piece on A03/, then girded my loins and called Dish to cancel. I was very surprised, because I'd heard these horror stories on "The Tech Guy" about people calling Spectrum and Frontier and the cable companies and getting these hard-sell please-stay-with-us people badgering them. The guy offered me three things, including one thing where you "park" your account for five dollars a month! But he was very polite, and never at any time gave me a problem. So, after 27 years we are done with Dish.

In the late afternoon I fished the shutters out of the garage and put them on the sidelights on the front door. It isn't pretty, but I thought it did a good job last year of keeping the electric bill down.

Mother's Day was very lazy. James always buy me a gift on Mother's Day because he says I'm a dog mom (and was a budgie mom), so my gift has been sitting on the back of the sofa for about two weeks. I always get him a Father's Day gift for the same reason. He expressed an interest in a book and movie called First Light, about a flyer during the Battle of Britain, so I found a good used copy of the book online (a new copy was $57!) and it turned out to be delivered today. So we exchanged gifts. (I got Catherine Friend's book Sheepish, a sequel to her Hit by a Farm, about a city girl who trades pavement in for soil.)

Spent a good deal of time rearranging the channels on the Roku box. Since we will now get our "cable channels" through Philo, I have that first on the menu. I also deleted the Dish-only Roku services because I can't sign into them anymore. Plus I looked through the channels to see what interesting things are on which channel. For instance, they did a film of Madeleine L'Engle's book Camilla Dickinson. It's on both TubiTV and on Filmrise. There are also short (about sixty minutes each) films based on about a dozen of the "Dear America" books; those are on Filmrise. Stir of Echoes, a paranormal film with Kathryn Erbe, is available on Tubi. (We keep Tubi around because they carry Jonny Harris' stand up series, Still Standing.) I found the Ion channel (which occasionally shows the early Law & Order: SVU episodes) on several services. And a 1948 film based on the BBC's radio series Paul Temple is on one of the "Cozy Mystery" channels.

I also bought Peacock for the year (cheaper per month), which should cover me through almost all of Law & Order next year.

The sobering thing was finding out a friend was in the hospital again, this time with tachycardia. She won't have any news until Monday.

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» Thursday, May 11, 2023

The Simple Woman's Daybook
FOR TODAY, MAY 11, 2023 (my goodness, haven't done one of these in forever)

Outside my window...
It's kinda partly cloudy, so the sun is diffused on the leaves of the trees. Everything is fully leafed out now, the back yard in deep shade by afternoon. It's already too warm, and supposed to be almost 90℉ on Sunday (which is Mother's Day).

I am thinking...
...James is sweet; he bought me a Mother's Day gift because I am a "dog mommy." Alas, right now I am not a bird mommy; still thinking about a new budgie, but not until after Libertycon; it would be too jarring to take a young bird on the road after so short a time. Also thinking against it because all the avian vets are a 45 minute drive away. Our current vet is the closest (maybe Lenox Animal Hospital, but that's within the Perimeter, which is worse traffic than outside the Perimeter...

I am thankful...
...we made a safe trip to BJs and back today. We were supposed to be going to Canton, for our usual trip to Books-a-Million and Uncle Maddio's Pizza, but I have so many books in the house, and James doesn't need the sodium in a Maddio pizza.

In the kitchen...
...James is warming up something for dinner. I have leftover steak from last night and a luscious dinner roll from Lidl, so I'm gonna have a steak sandwich.

I am wearing... orange tank top, grey shorts, and white socks.

I am creating...
...still working on a short piece of fan-fiction to tide me over until I finish the longer piece of fan-fiction. I'm doing something a little different on the longer piece, sections of straight narrative interrupted by the story being told via my characters' blog entries, texts, e-mail excerpts, etc.

I am going...
...not much of anywhere, but as long as I'm not going to a hospital, whether as a patient or a visitor, I'm good.

I am wondering...
...if this is going to be the season in which George Cooper dies on Young Sheldon. The wiki for Sheldon Cooper states his dad died while he was in Germany for the summer, and that's coming up on the series. I'm wondering if that will be the season cliffhanger, as the series is expected to run another season.

I am reading...
...Life in Five Senses by Gretchen Rubin, and have reached the "smell" portion of the book. Recalling some of the favorite scents of my childhood: the exquisite lilacs blooming over our fence from Charlie's house, the "AirPopt" popcorn from Ann & Hope, the scent of frying doughboys at the St. Mary's Church feast, the wonderful ocean smell...

I am hoping...
...Dr. Kongara is being very, very careful and James will not have to worry about dialysis soon.

I am looking forward to...
...nothing, really, because it's summer coming. Libertycon I guess, although I don't read anything that the guests write. James has always wanted to go, and we're staying at Staybridge so we can take Tucker with us, and I hope we go up to Chattanooga early so we can go to McKay's and eat at City Cafe.

I am not looking forward to James' appointment with the vascular surgeon because I don't want to think about him having a fistula created so he can got to dialysis when the time comes. I don't want the time to come, I want him to be well.

I am learning...
...about science, as the other thing I'm dipping into sporadically is The Usborne Science Encyclopedia, which I saw at Hobbytown and ordered a cheap copy.

Around the house...
...we just had pot-lucks for supper: James found leftover pork stir-fry, and I had my leftover steak from last night in a nice "dinner roll" from Lidl. James is at his computer, I'm listening to "The Tech Guy" podcast (way behind on these; this one's from December).

I am pondering...
...all the wide-eyed younger people on Reddit who ask if they should write about this or that, for fear of offending people or hurting people's feelings. Not racist crud or supremacist or totalitarian religious stuff, but addressing subjects like sexual identity or suicide or abuse. If it's in you, write it. Just accept that everyone might not read it; it's their decision.

A favorite quote for today...
I found it on Twitter, and remembering my office days, that is so sad!

"His insomnia was so bad, he couldn’t sleep during office hours."
Arthur Baer

One of my favorite things...
...well, Law & Order is on tonight. Even though the follow-on series lacks the fire of the original, I do like Cosgrove and Shaw. And, judging by the episode descriptions, probably going to be suckered into watching SVU and Organized Crime this week and next. SVU is usually bearable unless it gets into heavy ick, but I find OC tedious.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Our week is pretty much over; once we've done the shopping, maybe it's lunch with friends on Friday. Sure not planning to go anywhere on Mother's Day; temps expected to be broiling.

A peek into my day...
...probably reading this next.

A Courage Undimmed - (an Olive Bright Mystery) By Stephanie Graves  (hardcover) : Target

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



» Sunday, May 07, 2023
So Dull, Thanks...
This week was so normal. Thank goodness. I wish it could be like this all the time, but with a few happy things to make life a little more joyful. Chores on Monday, laundry and physiotherapy with James on Tuesday, shopping on Wednesday, some minor fun on Thursday (Hobbytown visit—bought a miniature room kit to put together—JoAnn visit (needed some Command hooks) and Barnes & Noble visit. It rained Friday and all we did was get supper at Zaxby's. We were supposed to go to Otter's, but the one at Cumberland Mall closed.

Saturday we watched King Charles III's coronation—and once that was over, the Kentucky Derby. Sunday I did book reviews and then shelved the books.

Here's to normality. 

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» Monday, May 01, 2023
Yes, We're Still Here!

If anyone is still reading this blog, we are indeed still here (which you probably noted if you also read Holiday Harbour and A Cozy Nook to Read In). Things went a little pear-shaped after the October 7, 2022, entry, and then we went into Christmas depressed, and a bunch of other things, including the fact that we lost sweet little Snowy just after Valentine's Day.

And I am all caught up! I'll try to be better...but things that bother me are still happening. ::sigh::