Book Ratings

Book ratings explained:

* I didn't like it | ** It was OK | *** I liked it | **** I really liked it | ***** I loved it

Saturday, July 31, 2004

The Village

The Village movie poster
I saw the movie today. Suffice it to say that I enjoyed it and I appreciate the means to an end approach the movie is. I can't really say anything about the movie without giving away the film's secret which must be seen to be truly appreciated. The only thing I will offer up here is that in one scene very early in the film the word "scared" was used. I found it to be jarringly anachronistic. I wonder if anyone else in the world will have been bothered by its use. I also wonder if its use was deliberate.

Figure in cloak in a wood, from The Village

Today's Dilbert comic

Having been at both ends of that phone conversation, I find the comic particularly funny.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Have child, will trade

Need I mention that my progeny still hasn't gone job hunting? He didn't even bother to come up with an excuse today for not doing it. But he did swear he'd go next week. Of course, he won't be able go job hunting on the day the car goes into the shop to get the A/C fixed (which I was told would be Monday) and he won't be able to go on the day I have to take the kittens to the vet (which will be Friday). And I'm sure something else will come up on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday that will make it difficult to go then.

Sigh. Long, drawn out sigh.

Another tiny tweak

I bet you can't even tell what formatting I tweaked on my blog. The change is so minor I'm almost embarrassed to even mention I made it. But I like the subtle difference in the appearance.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Just a nip and a tuck

No major changes to my blog layout. I just took down the Harry Potter poll and put up a new one about the title of the new Star Wars film. I also added an atom feed button for my blog. And last, but not least, I added a new category called "Reciprocity". I've discovered that I am a link on someone else's blog so I thought I would reciprocate. I have no idea who this person is or why she would have a link to me, but . . .

Two Smileys making a toast

Would you like a beagle to go with that mitglieder?

You guessed it . . . one more company computer succumbed to the W32.Beagle.AG@mm virus today. This computer hadn't had any of the Windows updates or virus definition updates run since April. I'm frankly surprised the only thing on it was the Beagle.

Puppy Smiley

And no joy on the job hunt today

The male person who claims to be descended from me still hasn't gone job hunting. His excuse today was being in pain from having his wisdom tooth out yesterday. You will note that this alleged pain did not and has not interfered with his ability to hang out with his friends all over town today. Oh, well . . . I had the illusion of living only for myself for 2 1/2 months.

Weeping Smiley

Cat poop coffee

Well, now I really have heard everything. | Cat droppings yield chic coffee

I like coffee but not at $1,000 per kilogram and certainly not knowing for a fact that some jungle kitty ate the beans and pooped them out before they were roasted to yield my morning cuppa.

Grey kitty lapping milk

Still no joy on the job front

My baby boy didn't go job hunting yesterday either although he did stop and pick up a newspaper so he could look at the help wanted ads. I see that as a positive step forward. (I'm not being facetious when I say that. It really is forward motion for my brown eyed boy.)

Instead of pounding the pavement for work, he went to the dentist to have a wisdom tooth pulled and a cavity filled. He has to go next week as well to have his last wisdom tooth pulled and another couple of cavities filled.

Did I mention that my son had six - yep, six - wisdom teeth? He had four on top and two on the bottom. He's already had the top four removed and we're working on getting the bottom ones out now.

Green alien offering greetings

Trojan.Mitglieder.M . . . again

I've cleaned up a second computer infected with the Mitglieder.M Trojan horse. I have no idea how it found its way in. This, of course, required me to send out another round of emails about updating virus definitions and running virus scans.

I see that we're heading toward a full moon. And a second one for the month of July at that. Guess that ol' blue moon is wreaking havoc.

Cool Blue Smiley Blue Devil Smiley Cool Blue Smiley

Monday, July 26, 2004

Cowboy Bebop, The Movie

Cowboy Bebop, The MovieI finally got around to watching it. Well, almost all of it. The DVD wouldn't let me watch scenes 14, 15, and 16 on my player even after I cleaned the disc. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality. It was much better than I was expecting a "cartoon" to be. I watched the film dubbed in English with English subtitles. That was interesting. Very often the dialog on the dub had almost nothing to do with the subtitles. I strongly suspect that if I'd watched the film in Japanese with just the English subtitles I wouldn't have liked it very much. The subtitles were very minimalistic.

Murder on the Orient Express

I watched a modernized remake of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express last night on the telly. It starred Alfred Molina as Hercule Poirot. It was totally bland and dull and uninspired. Instead of Poirot being this prissy little busy-body with a ridiculous moustache, he was . . . Alfred Molina . . . using a laptop . . . and having an implied liaison with a woman at the end of the film.

If you're going to watch Murder on the Orient Express, watch the Albert Finney version. That one had character.
Murder on the Orient Express

I'm glad I didn't hold my breath

When my son picked me up from work I asked him if he'd gone job hunting today. He hadn't. He went back to bed when he dropped me off this morning and didn't wake up until 2 p.m. or so. Naturally, that left him no time to job hunt before he had to pick me up at 5 p.m.

In a Shift, Bush Moves to Block Medical Suits

To quote directly from the article in the New York Times:

The Bush administration has been going to court to block lawsuits by consumers who say they have been injured by prescription drugs and medical devices.

The administration contends that consumers cannot recover damages for such injuries if the products have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In court papers, the Justice Department acknowledges that this position reflects a "change in governmental policy," and it has persuaded some judges to accept its arguments, most recently scoring a victory in the federal appeals court in Philadelphia.

Allowing consumers to sue manufacturers would "undermine public health" and interfere with federal regulation of drugs and devices, by encouraging "lay judges and juries to second-guess" experts at the F.D.A., the government said in siding with the maker of a heart pump sued by the widow of a Pennsylvania man. Moreover, it said, if such lawsuits succeed, some good products may be removed from the market, depriving patients of beneficial treatments.

I am so disgusted with this. I'm in favor of tort reform because too many frivolous lawsuits are filed and not thrown out of court; however, when a product or device or service can be proven to be harmful, I think no one, including the government, should have a say so in whether a lawsuit can be brought.

Mystery Lottery Winner Donates $1.8 Million Ticket

Jul 26, 8:43 am ET

TOKYO (Reuters) - Officials in western Japan were marveling on Sunday at the generosity of a mystery philanthropist who donated a $1.8 million lottery ticket to help victims of recent torrential rainstorms.

In an extremely rare display of charity, a winning lottery ticket good for a 200 million yen ($1.82 million) grand prize was mailed to the governor of Fukui prefecture on Friday with a note saying it was intended as a donation for rain victims.

"I am sending a lottery ticket that is blessed with luck hoping that it will be of some help to the people who had the misfortune of suffering damages," the letter said.

Hiroko Imatomi, a Fukui prefecture official who first spotted the mail, said the note convinced her the sender was sincere.

"It was a wonderful letter ... It was definitely not intended as a hoax or a joke," she said.

"It must be from a rare type of person who has a big heart and hopes it will help people who suffered a lot," Imatomi said.

The sender used a false name and local authorities have no way to find out who sent the winning ticket, which has been confirmed as being authentic, she said.

Torrential downpours pounded Fukui prefecture on July 17-18, killing three people, injuring 17 and destroying or damaging more than 200 homes.


I can just image you asking yourselves why I would know about such an obscure trojan that it barely qualifies as a threat. Guess why. I dare you!

That's right. The fifth computer infected with the Beagle virus is also infected with the Mitglieder trojan.

Just another manic Monday . . .

Gun toting Smiley

Couch potato on the weekend & virus fighter on Monday

I was a couch potato this weekend. I didn't even bother to get dressed yesterday. I watched TV, though I'd be hard pressed to tell you what I watched, and I read and I played around on the computer a bit. I was gloriously unproductive.

My son said he was going to go job hunting today, but I'm not holding my breath for that to happen. There is always something more important (and I use that word loosely) that comes up instead. I think he was surprised and disappointed that I didn't find his being fired amusing or that I didn't take his side against the mean employers who expected him to show up for work on time. I've been working for almost 27 years straight with only a two month break between jobs when I got married and moved up here. I've pulled my own weight as well as that of my son's father and now my son's, and I'm tired of it. I want me time.

Oh, well, enough of that.

I trampled another beagle infection into the dust this morning. That makes five infected computers. When will people learn?

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Isual looking for sprites and elves

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | High-altitude light show in focus

The Taiwanese government put a satellite in orbit containing an instrument from UC Berkeley that is studying the electrical phenomena called sprites, jets, and elves found in the Earth's upper atmosphere. The instrument is called Isual - Imager of Sprites and Upper Atmospheric Lightning.

Word of the Day: sciolism

sciolism \SY-uh-liz-uhm\, noun:
Superficial knowledge; a superficial show of learning.

I think the adjectival version of this word could be used to describe the man at Firestone yesterday who thought the solution to ending world terrorism was turning 'em all to glass.

BBC NEW | Science/Nature | World's tiniest fish identified

This hefty little bugger comes in at about 1/4 of an inch in length and lives around the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Turn the place to glass

I had to take the car to Firestone this morning to get my front driver's side tire fixed. While sitting in their lounge waiting for the repair to be done, some news report about the 9/11 findings came on the TV. The announcer pointed out that all the pundits and theorists and general doom sayers were predicting that something worse than 9/11 was on the horizon. As the report came on, another customer, a man, was walking out the door. In typical Texas fashion, he commented that if people kept saying the worst was coming, they would eventually be proven right.

"It's like them people that say a hurricane's gonna hit the Texas coast every year," he said. "When one actually does hit, them people will say 'I told you so'."

The three of us - a man, a woman, and me - sitting in the lounge area chuckled and agreed with him. He left. After a couple of minutes, the man sitting in the lounge began to talk about how no one was going to do what really needed to be done to put an end to terrorism because it would make America unpopular but it would save the world. According to this man, all Muslims are the same no matter what they say and they all bring up their children to be dyed in the wool terrorists because it says in the Koran that Muslims must kill all the imbeciles. He said it was up to good Christians, even Catholics, to do the right thing.

"The next time they cut off somebody's head, tell the people that don't have no business there to get out, and turn the place to glass. Got some other country helping terrorists, turn 'em to glass too. Nobody'll like it, but we done it before. Show 'em we mean business. That'll put an end to it."

It will certainly put an end to it. I wonder what the next cycle of evolution will bring when this old world recovers from massive nuclear devastation.

The rings of Saturn

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Cassini-Huygens Home

These images are courtesy of NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

Saturn's A Ring
Saturn's A Ring from the inside out

Saturn's C and B Rings
Saturn's C and B Rings from the inside out

Natural color view of Saturn's rings
Natural color view of Saturn's rings

Thursday, July 22, 2004


My son got himself fired yesterday. He didn't bother to tell me until today. He thought it was amusing. I didn't.

He managed to hang on to this job for 2 1/2 months.

Can a Doughnut Drink Save Krispy Kreme? [Motley Fool Take] July 22, 2004

Not if the drink is as foul tasting as the doughnuts.

I really don't know what all the fuss was about over Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I actually tried some not too long ago and they were possibly the worst doughnuts I've ever had in my life. They had no flavor (not that doughnuts usually do but these were particularly without taste) and they looked as if they were made out of plastic. Which they must have been since there was nothing inside expect air pockets. I was really unimpressed.

Word of the Day: eructation

That happens when I eat raw onions. Or chili dogs. Or even chili dogs with raw onions.

Cool Smiley

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Pregnancy (Youngest Mother)

I don't really have anything to say about this. It's interesting in a disturbing way.

Sad Smiley

FoxTrot by Bill Amend

Oh, dear. Another good chuckle to start off my day. I wonder what's going to go wrong with this one. Yesterday I chuckled and the Beagle virus struck. Did someone write a new nasty while I slept that will magically creep its way into my life?

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Too pooped to 'puter . . . again

Gagh! Today at work was awful. So far I've found and dealt with three computers infected with the new AG version of the Beagle virus that came out Monday. Again I sent out the slew of emails that I send out every time some fool lets a virus in because (s)he didn't follow the instructions in the slew of emails I sent out the last time I battled a virus.


Angry Smiley

FoxTrot by Bill Amend

This has got to be the epitome of geek. This gave me such a chuckle first thing this morning. FoxTrot is such a hoot.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Osama emerges -- on Kentucky bumpers

If I didn't already think that Bush and his cohort are the worst thing to happen to this country since I became a citizen in 1976 and started voting, it is politics like this that would make me vote for the other guy, whoever that other turned out to be.

Of all the tasteless, mean-spirited, immature, conniving, back-stabbing, worthless . . . gagh! Words fail me.

Angry Smiley Angry Smiley Angry Smiley Angry Smiley Angry Smiley Angry Smiley Angry Smiley Angry Smiley Angry Smiley Angry Smiley

OK, now I'm going to watch TV.

Too pooped to 'puter

Today was one heck of a day at work. I didn't know if I was coming or going. I am so tired that I think I'll plug myself into the Alias Season 1 Disc 6 which is patiently waiting for me in the living room.

Sleepy Smiley

Monday, July 19, 2004

Happy camper

Well, I guess I'll admit to being a happy camper since I installed Mozilla 1.7.1 as my browser of choice and Blogger is mostly working for me again. I guess it really becomes obvious when you count how many posts I've made today. Honestly, I don't mind change. Change is good. It keeps things from becoming stale. What I hate is the cascade failure that usually accompanies change.

Sun Smiley Happy, bouncing Smiley

King Arthur

King Arthur movie posterI saw this film on Saturday right after I watched I, Robot. Given the horror of what went on the first time I saw King Arthur, I had to see it again just to see whether I liked it or not.

And I did like it although it is a flawed film. One reviewer I read, cited Clive Owen (Arthur), Mads Mikkelsen (Tristan), and Stellan Skarsgård (Cerdic) as the actors in the film while the rest of the cast "mistake facial hair for acting." This gave me a chuckle because I found Clive Owen to be rather wooden in the part. He was the least expressive of any of the actors including the ones with beards.

Photo of the seven knights from the film King ArthurI honestly think the film has been done a disservice by the publicists handling it. It is not a summer blockbuster. It is a much smaller, more intimate film. It is gritty and lacks the overdone special effects of a blockbuster. The movie also lacks the star power of a summer blockbuster. All the actors, with the possible exception of Keira Knightley, are virtually unknown to most of the American movie going public. Those of us who watch BBC America or A&E may be familiar with Clive Owen and Ioan Gruffudd, but I couldn't put a name to any of the other actors. Phot of Lancelot, Guinevere, and Arthur from the movie King Arthur I also think that publicizing it as the "true" story of King Arthur is a further disservice. Actually, I think it would have been better for the film if it had been called Artorius Rex instead of King Arthur since the film does not address any of the passion and conflict between love and duty that the "not true" story of Arthur does. A lot of the angst that makes the Arthur legend what it is is missing from this film. So is the romance.

But despite all these flaws, I truly did enjoy the film. It will definitely find its way into my DVD collection.

I, Robot

Call me dense, but I can't figure out what to do at the official movie site. I. Robot movie poster It was obviously designed for far more clever (patient) people than I.

Any which way, I saw the movie on Saturday. It was exactly what I was expecting it to be . . . a Will Smith movie. I enjoyed it for what it was not what it wasn't. At no time did I ever harbor any illusion the film would have anything to do with any of Asimov's robot stories. For a while there when the previews first started, I didn't even think they had the Three Laws right. But for a mindless Saturday afternoon matinee, it suited just fine. I do have to admit that the character I liked best was Sonny (who was voiced by Alan Tudyk.)

Sonny the robot from I, Robot

The gist of the whole movie involves Will Smith's character figuring out what's really broken in the world that is 2035. Not exactly rocket science, but . . .

BBC NEWS | Technology | First Pocket PC virus discovered

What a refreshing notion . . . a proof of concept virus that asks your permission to spread. Gosh, what will they think of next?

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Fossils from forgotten time amaze

Neato! Scientists say the fossils are neither plant nor animal and the article has a couple of very good pictures of the fossils.

Yahoo! News - 'Beowulf' Pic Set to Slay Hollywood

Oh, yes, please, let's get a former Soho art dealer, especially one who views the poem as "the first horror story", to write the screenplay for an Old English poem. I can just see it now . . . actually, I refuse to look. I've shut down my brain.

Gosh, darn . . .

. . . it's tomorrow already.

And there is still the posting ad infinitum problem that the Blogger folks are already aware of.

Oh, well. I'm off to bed. It really is way past my bedtime.


Is it fixed yet?

Not exactly. It was suggested by massless that I upgrade my Netscape 7.02 to 7.1. I tried doing that but 7.1 would not install on my computer no matter what I did. It wound up totally hosing my 7.02 installation. I bet you can imagine just how pissed I was about that. So I downloaded Firefox 0.9.2. Hated it. Looks like a cheap imitation IE from what little I bothered with it. So then I downloaded Mozilla 1.7.1. And surprise, surprise. It looks, mostly, like my Navigator and Blogger actually appears to function.

Am I happy? Let's just see what tomorrow brings . . .

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Ombria in ShadowOmbria in Shadow by Patricia A. McKillip
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Anyone who reads Ms. McKillip knows the kind of fantasy she writes. Her stories always seem very dark though they often have bright(ish) endings. This one is about what happens when light and shadow overlap. This is only the third McKillip book I've read, but I have become a huge fan. I enjoy her non-traditional style of fantasy with its darker tone.

Link to

OK, I found something to cheer me up

The Stargate guys first impressions of you by kestrill
Jack O Neilwanted you there and then
Tealcwas cautious but fascinated
Daniel Jacksonstarted believing in love at first sight
Created with the ORIGINAL MemeGen!

Look, ma, it's still broken

I've had to resort to using IE again to post. I resent having to use IE at home instead of my preferred Netscape, but I guess that's the price I have to pay for progress I neither asked for, needed, nor wanted.

The Blogger interface never actually worked worth a damn under Netscape, but I was willing and able to work around it's little idiosyncrasies because the two buttons I used most, aside from "Save as Draft" and "Publish Post", worked like a charm. Those buttons were the spell checker and the preview. Neither of them function at all under Netscape since the glorious upgrade.

I actually enjoyed blogging. It was fun and silly. Now, it's become a cumbersome burden.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Look, ma, he broke it

I am completely unable to post anything using the "new and improved" Blogger interface. Using Windows XP Pro and Netscape 7.02, I cannot get anything to work. I've done the unthinkable by opening IE and using it to make this post.

The new "user-friendly" Blogger

To quote directly from The Jargon Dictionary:

"user-friendly adj. Programmer-hostile. Generally used by hackers in a critical tone, to describe systems that hold the user's hand so obsessively that they make it painful for the more experienced and knowledgeable to get any work done."

I hate sounding ungrateful since is a free service, but I really wish someone would put a stop to implementing improvements that aren't and fixing things that aren't broken.

I wish I knew to whom to attribute the next quote, but I have no idea where it originated. It has pretty much become my mantra when I am asked to modify one of the programs I've written to make it just the tiniest bit more idiot proof.

"Design a system that any fool can use and only a fool will use it."
A Trust Betrayed (Margaret Kerr, #1)A Trust Betrayed by Candace Robb
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book starts a new series for Ms. Robb based on the character of Margaret of Perth set in 13th century Scotland. The book is classified as a mystery, but I really didn't find it to be much of one. I thought it more a political and historical set up for this new series. Nonetheless, I thought it was a quick, light, entertaining read espcially if you are a history buff. In an afterward, Ms. Robb includes some information I found interesting - William Wallace did not support Robert Bruce but the reigning King of Scotland, John Balliol.

Link to

RoboFlop - The mechanical heart of I, Robot. By David Edelstein

I love a good, scathing review.  I haven't actually seen the movie yet, but I harbor no illusions about it having anything to do with Asimov's stories.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

The Tragic MooLatte - Couldn't Dairy Queen find something else to call its new drink? By Timothy Noah

Oh, please, get a life. Since I'm neither a rampaging bigot nor a bleeding heart, the similarity this person rants about between the name of the drink and a racial designation didn't even occur to me although I have probably heard the word for the racial designation used more often on a regular basis than the author of the article. I am also willing to bet that most people didn't make the association either since the word for the racial designation isn't really in popular use.

To quote the article, "Moreover, the name of a commercial product should never spotlight, even unintentionally, the physical similarity between that product's appearance (in this case, hue) and that of any class of human beings." And what would you rather they had called it? What clever, catchy word can you come up with for ice cream that you can tack onto latte to make a silly coffee drink name?

The Cosby Row - Are the entertainer's remarks comedy or tragedy? Compiled by Kevin Arnovitz

Jeez, Louise! When did someone saying people should take responsibility for their own lives instead of blaming their misfortunes on society without ever trying to overcome society's limits . . . when did that become politically incorrect? Shouldn't the message for everyone be "get off your ass and work to make changes" instead of "sit on your ass and whine about how miserable your life is"?

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

And just to prove you can't keep a good geek down . . .

I've added a link to that let's you subscribe to my blog so you don't have to go hunting for new entries. I use Bloglines as my aggregator and my blogging life has gotten so much easier. One click and I see all that's new since the last time I looked. Love it!

Subscribe with Bloglines

Lovey Smiley

Moon Phases

Since I'm feeling completely phased at the moment, I decided to add the nifty little moon phases thingy I found here to my blog. I love knowing what phase the moon is in. Right now it's waning just like I am.

Haven't heard a peek . . .

Generally, neither do I. I must have been in a serious hurry to post this afternoon if I made a silly mistake like that. It should have been "haven't heard a peep."

And I still haven't heard either a peek or a peep, but I'm seriously pooped.

Men, part zwei

I finally found out what the AKYM was trying to accomplish . . .

We do have a small email issue with a few roaming users. There is a very simple though inelegant solution to the problem. Apparently, the HEL had already told him what the solution was, but he just couldn't (or more likely, wouldn't) accept it, so he reconfigured her email and made a mess of things just so he could prove her wrong. After she and I got her email put back to rights, I sent the AKYM an email explaining the gains and losses of using the two modes Outlook can be configured in and what the solution to the remote issue is under our current configuration. That was almost three hours ago. I haven't heard a peek from him.

Men . . .

Can someone tell me why men feel compelled to fix things that aren't broken? And why is it they know so much better than anyone else that something is broken and needs to be fixed even when no one has complained?

Yesterday, the AKYM decided the non-existent problems we are having with Outlook had to do with the way those of us who have received some training in the area set it up. So he decided to show the HEL how her Outlook should be configured. Shortly afterward, the HEL came to me to ask if I could fix her email back the way it was so she could actually send mail, receive mail from both accounts she monitors, use her personal address book, and get her stored mail back. That's what I'll be doing this morning.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Miss Muggles

I finally have two mostly decent shots of Miss Muggles where her tortoise shell markings are more evident. Her lopsided chest markings show up really well.

Miss Muggles sitting, looking away from the camera Miss Miggles sitting, looking at the camera

She is just such a sweetie cat (even when she's being the dain bramaged demon cat from the nether hells.)

The Ten Commandments and the Alabama Supreme Court Building

Despite how you may have personally felt about the issue, there was a good logical reason for removing the Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Supreme Court building.

You cannot post things like "Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery," and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians.

It creates a hostile work environment.

(I received this in an email from a member of the Resnick list I subscribe to.)

The best friend with the best cat

Best friend and best cat
(That's my best cat, of course.)

Sunday with the best friend

Let's see . . . what did we do?

I took a few pictures of various and sundry things while she took video of my cats. We then looked at the pictures I took and the video she took. I also got to watch video of her husband feeding their goats and their cats and some of the puppies they have running about. By the time we stopped playing with the cameras and went for breakfast, it was almost lunch time.

After filling up on food and checking the mail, we went to see King Arthur. I strongly suspect that I probably would have really enjoyed the movie if I'd been able to watch it in peace. King Arthur movie poster However, a grandma and her half dozen grandchildren decided to sit behind us in the theatre. There was one child who obviously had some sort of respiratory problem. Every couple of minutes or so, it sounded like a goose honking behind us. Then there was the five year old who kept up a running commentary through the entire film despite being told repeatedly to be quiet and watch. And of course grandma didn't turn her cell phone off so it had to ring right in the middle of the film. Not only did the woman answer the phone, but she actually chatted for a few minutes. Then there were the little girls who had to go to the bathroom multiple times during the film. And the little boys who had to kick the back of the seats. Actually, now that I think about, I'm not even sure that it was King Arthur we went to see. It felt more like Nightmare on Elm Street.

After the movies we went back to the house. I fell asleep while she watched one of the Harry Potter movies on TV and played with the cats and took pictures of my house so her husband can see where I live now. When I finally woke up from my nap, we finished watching Two Weeks Notice and then off we went to dinner at Chili's - fajitas for her and a bacon burger for me. We went back to the house after dinner. I did a load of laundry so I would have clean clothes to wear today and we watched Seabiscuit. That was a wonderful little film. We both enjoyed it very much.

The best friend left this morning at the same time I went off to work. I think we had a fun visit.

Family Update

I talked to my stepdaughter yesterday and she said that the surgery to remove the tumor from my former brother-in-law's spine was successful. Unfortunately, the tumor was cancerous; however, the doctors believe they removed the entire tumor. The doctors also grafted some bone to his spine to alleviate some of the damage done by the tumor. My former brother-in-law will be required to wear a neck brace for a while, but he is expected to be able to go home later this week. As of the phone conversation with my stepdaughter yesterday, my former brother-in-law had not been told the tumor was cancerous.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Saturday with the best friend

My best friend came up for the weekend. Friday we had dinner at my favorite local steakhouse, did laundry, and watched the Star Gate: SG1 season premier. I hadn't a clue what was going on since I hadn't watched any of the last season and I'm not really an SG1 watcher in general.

Saturday we had breakfast at my favorite local restaurant to have breakfast at and then we drove to that Barnes & Noble I always go to to have a cuppa at Starbuck's and shop for books. I can never go into a B & N without buying books. Sometimes I do more damage to my finances than others. Yesterday I lucked out - five hardback books for $45. I bought -

King Arthur and the Grail Quest, by John Matthews
Monday Mourning, by Kathy Reichs
Put a Lid on It , by Donald E. Westlake
A Spy for the redeemer, by Candace Robb, and last but not least,
Dungeon, Fire, & Sword: The Knights Templar in the Crusades, by John J. Robinson.

I talked my best friend into buying The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and she bought one of *those* books she always buys for herself. I don't even know what the title is or what it's about.

After B & N, we drove over the overpass to the mall and walked around till we were ready to drop. Mostly we looked at purses even though neither of us was in need of a new one. They've redone the food court at the mall. It's no longer as large or full of diverse selections as it was. After walking ourselves silly, we really wanted a drink and a pretzel but there were no pretzels to be had. So we went driving in search of someplace we could get something to snack on that didn't involve sweets. Wound up exploring a bit of the area and settled on going to the Cracker Barrel for Stewart's root beer and onion rings. My best friend bought a very pretty multi-blue quilted bag she found there.

Refreshed, we drove down to the outlet mall and wandered through the little remainder bookshop they have there. The only thing I picked up there was a $5 copy of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. After digging around that shop, we went on the great bathroom scavenger hunt. None of the stores in the outlet mall have public restrooms and the public restrooms at the mall were taped off with yellow tape and traffic cones. We wound up at a Whataburger where we also bought drinks to refresh us on the drive home.

The Terminal movie poster And then we drove home but we didn't actually go home. We went to the movies. Saw The Terminal because it was one we could still get into without missing anything, especially the previews. A movie just isn't a movie if you miss the previews. After a day of shopping, The Terminal was the perfect movie to watch - light-hearted and pointless and mindless and feel-good. We enjoyed it very muchly.

Finally, there was home to wrestle with the kittens and wind down before bed.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Booster shots

Miss Muggles, Mouse, and I just got back from the vet. They were in getting their booster shots and having their little raptor claws trimmed. Miss Muggles weighed in at a hefty 3.11 pounds and Mouse wasn't far behind at 3.8 pounds. They were both very good girls. No hissing or scratching or biting, just plain mind numbing terror tempered by curiosity. They go back in four weeks for another set of booster shots. Thank goodness for having every other Friday off.

Hello Kitty smiley

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Little Bitty LiesLittle Bitty Lies by Mary Kay Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was a light, frothy read about the trouble you can get into when a shallow man leaves a deep woman in the lurch.

Link to

Jimmy Stewart on reality

"I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it." -- Jimmy Stewart, in Harvey, 1950

BBC NEWS | UK | England | Lancashire | Wife killer, 100, spared prison

This article details an act of justice tempered by mercy on the part of the court. I find it disheartening the poor man was driven to such an act of desperation because he couldn't cope with the changes.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

My first cross stitch project

This is a picture of the very first project I ever tackled when I started cross stitching. It is the piece I am the most proud of because it turned out so well despite not having a clue what I was doing. I stitched the piece in 1990 on 14 count white Aida. Knowing then what I know now, Aida would not have been my fabric of choice. But 14 count white Aida was the suggested fabric on the pattern and I had no idea I could use something else. Heck, I didn't know there was something else to use.

Cross stitch of a dragon
The Castle, Teresa Wentzler

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The haircut, revealed

I've had several requests for a picture showing what I look like with my new haircut, so I thought I'd comply . . . sort of.

A picture of the back of my head to show off my haircut

Little Devil Smiley

Set the prayer wheels spinning, part three

My stepdaughter left a message for me this afternoon to let me know the surgery for my former brother-in-law has been moved back to Thursday at 10:30 a.m. It appears there is some kind of problem with his blood clotting or not clotting.

Well wishes, good thoughts, and prayers for the family are still welcome.

Mouse, starring in Alien 4

This is Mouse doing a pretty darn good imitation of an Alien at rest on a blue folding chair.

Mouse laying on a chair

Miss Muggles in repose

This picture shows off her speckled face and the lopsided tortoise shell markings on her chest.

Miss Muggles in repose

C. V. R. Thompson

"Washington is the only place where sound travels faster than light."

Monday, July 05, 2004

Training the car

She pulled into a crowded parking lot and rolled down the car windows to make sure her Golden Retriever had fresh air. The dog was stretched out on the back seat, and her mistress wanted to impress upon her that she must remain there.

She walked away from the car backward, pointing her finger at the car and saying emphatically, "Now you stay. Do you hear me? Stay! Stay!"

The driver of a nearby car, perhaps noting that the woman is blonde, gave her a strange look and said, "Why don't you just put it in park?"
The House of Seven Mabels (Jane Jeffry Mystery, Book 13)The House of Seven Mabels by Jill Churchill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very quick, light, fun read. I actually figured out who did it and why before the what even happened, and I can honestly say it wasn't the butler.

Link to
The Lovely BonesThe Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the book tremendously. I found the point of view refreshing. It was a story of longing and loss and love and forgiveness and change.

Link to

Miss Muggles and Mouse

It doesn't take much to amuse a couple of kittens.

Kittens playing with an empty cracker box

Spider-Man 2

I finally got to see the movie yesterday. For a comic book film, it was exceptionally well done. There was plot. There was character development. There was humor. There was just a hint of cheesecake.

And there was that freight train I'm sure was intended to be foreshadowing about the story / villain of the next film.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Happy 4th!

Patriotic Smiley

Set the prayer wheels spinning, part two

I just talked to my stepdaughter and the surgery for my former bother-in-law has been moved up to 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Well wishes, good thoughts, and prayers for the family are still welcome.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Politics . . . a definition

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy." -- Ernest Benn

Sometimes someone has such a clear vision of a truth that you wonder at its simplicity. As definitions go, this quote from Ernest Benn encompasses the meaning of politics more elegantly, though succinctly, than any other I've ever come across. The only definition that is shorter and more to the point is not as elegant. It is also very evocative of a Texan, especially the rather blunt one keeping this blog.

"Politics . . . BS bought and sold." -- M. E. Houston

Friday, July 02, 2004

Set the prayer wheels spinning

My stepdaughter called late last night to let us, my son and I, know that one of my son's uncles has been hospitalized as a result of several strokes. During the course of examining him, the doctors discovered that he has a tumor in his spine. At this point in time, no one knows if the tumor is malignant or benign. My former brother-in-law is in a contraption similar to a halo to keep his head / spine immobile since the tumor is located at a juncture where paralysis could occur if the spine is damaged further. He is scheduled for surgery next Thursday.

Well wishes, good thoughts, and prayers for the family are welcome.