Sunday, November 29, 2009

Recovering from Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving was wonderful, as usual. I got to see Holly and Robin's new, 52 inch TV, and it's wonderful, but we actually had Thanksgiving dinner in the new bar behind their house.

A while ago, Robin bought a Chinese dragon kite, and he wanted it for decoration. Here's a photo of it on the ceiling in the bar.

And here it is close up:

Here are Holly and Robin behind the bar:

A photo of Robin getting ready to answer a question, it looks like:

And a couple of photos of Holly:

I finally gave up and went home after 1:30 am.


Before I forget to tell you, Vickie Howell is having her annual book giveaway! Today is the last day to enter, so get right over there!


For all you knitters out there who need/want a yarn winder, here are instructions for making one of your own for a low cost.


The ABC Family channel was running the "coundown" to 25 Days of Christmas, but gave up on that for Thanksgiving and Saturday. They're back with some Christmas movies, if anyone cares. I have to admit it, I'm a sucker for those gooey Christmas movies.

BBC in America told the people who put up the digital TV guide that they were going to show the Doctor Who episode, Utopia yesterday, but they really showed Turn Left. I hope they show the two episodes that come after Turn Left (The Stolen Earth and Journey's End). The other two are considered to be a whole story, but I think that Turn Left should be included as part of that story, and it should be a three-parter.

I just looked it up, and they're not showing Doctor Who next Saturday. In that time slot they're showing Torchwood, and they haven't put up any info on which episode yet.

By the way, SyFy is now rerunning Doctor Who on Friday mornings, very early, again, at least for a few more weeks. Next week will be Fires of Pompei. On Christmas Eve (Christmas day) and New Year's Day, they will not be showing Doctor Who. Hopefully, he'll be back in January.

Heroes will be the only new SF programming on Monday. Of course, SyFy will have it's usual reruns of Ghost Whisperer, and there will be reruns of The Big Bang Theory, and Castle. I know Castle isn't SF, but I like Nathan Fillion so much from Firefly.

I have to get going now. I promised John I'd get some more done on the back cover of Volume 3 of the Steve Canyon DVDs over the weekend, and yesterday went in a completely different direction from what I intended, and I didn't get anything done then, so I have to make it up now.

I hope you've all been having a great extended holiday weekend!

Friday, November 27, 2009

John Gorka

Here's more about another folk singer that's a favorite of mine, John Gorka.

This is a song he wrote called Branching Out, and it's supposed to be a song written by his guitar, back when it was a sapling.


Thanksgiving was great, but I have to get out and get some things done, so that's all for today!

More information later!

Have a great holiday weekend!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

In honor of Thanksgiving, for all you Arlo Guthrie fans out there (like me) I'm giving you a chance to hear a slightly updated version of that Thanksgiving classic, Alice's Restaurant Massacree. The whole thing is only available in three parts, so you'll have to click on the next one when the previous one stops. Sorry.

There's an even more updated version of this where Arlo talks about touring the Pentagon, and discovering that they are manufacturing and distributing arcade games to teach the next generation of Americans how to fly fighter planes and fight in a war!

And then there's the Multi-colored Rainbow Roach Affair, which is not related to anything but a weird story.

I tried to find them both for you, but couldn't.

And if you are an Arlo Guthrie fan, I'm sure you've heard the Motorcycle song. But you may not have heard his story of the significance of the pickle. So, here it is, just in case you didn't understand about the pickle.

He was such a cutie!

Here he is doing Stevie Goodman's City of New Orleans:

You can listen to Coming into London on You Tube if you want, too. Who says Arlo only did folk?

For those of you who love the blues, Saint James Infirmary was one of his best. The acoustics of the place they did this were kind of echoy, but it still has heart!

One of my favorite memories of Arlo, though was one night he and David Bromberg showed up after their local gigs on the Gene Shay show. The two of them got to playing a risque tune, and had an impromptu competition to see who could make up the raunchiest lyrics to it on the spot. They were supposed to be off the air at midnight, but it ran 20 minutes over because everyone was having so much fun! And being so rowdy!

This is the song they were doing. Here, David is playing with Jorma Kaukonen.

And the two of them aren't trying to make up off-color lyrics like David and Arlo were doing that night.


To give you something else to hope to be thankful for, here's some info on a contest by Berroco, where you can win all the Barbara Walker stitch dictionary books! Click the link in the sidebar on the right.


All this is my Thanksgiving present to you!

Now, tell me what you're thankful for this year!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Steve Canyon is Coming Back!

I woke up this morning, and was just about to turn over and go back to sleep, when the phone rang. It was John, in his sweet, loving, ever-so-nice way giving me a shove, and getting me going on the cover of Volume 3 of the complete Steve Canyon on DVD. He had lots of ideas about the cover(s). I was half asleep when I talked to him, so I hope I can remember it all. "F-104" keeps running around my head. I'm not entirely sure why at this point, but I already found some great photos of them on the internet!

I wound up getting up and staggering around for a while (which is usual for me when attempting to wake up) and trying to get ready for the day and all the stuff I have to do, especially with the addition of the finishing the cover (at least the front cover) by tomorrow sometime.

John has had a lot of things to do in real life as well as stuff to do to get the video ready for DVD. You can read a bit more about it on his website, here.

He also mentioned something about selling DVDs on Amazon again. After looking around on Amazon, I find that he's right (he always is). Very soon, you will be able to buy Volume 1 of the Steve Canyon DVDs on Amazon. It's listed as "currently unavailable," but you can find it here, and it will be available soon.

And, yes, that is my artwork on the cover! I'm excited!

So, this is going to be a short post because I have all the aforementioned "stuff" to do.


For all you science fiction fen out there, here is something really neat!

Somebody made a cake in the shape of a cylon head, and it has a light that really lights up, and that tracks back and forth! See lots more about it, including a video here. You really have to see this!


News in on Flash Forward! I don't know about you, but I've been feeling that Flash Forward has been bogging down.

In fact, last week it was up against two shows that I really wanted to watch, and it lost the DVR lottery, at least as far as I'm concerned. If it was on a different night (like Tuesday, which has no SF regularly scheduled, or even Wednesday, when the only thing is some fantasy in the form of Eastwick, I'd still love to watch it. But no, they pitted it against the best night of TV all week, and it's losing the battle due to being far outclassed.

So, click the link to find out more.


Do you want to find out the real reason behind the mask that Darth Vader wore? Check out an interview with Ralph McQuarrie about how the whole helmet thing actually came into being.


I have to make a quick trip to the grocery store and then do laundry and then work on the cover, and it's dark already, so I'm going.

Tomorrow there will be a Thanksgiving post, and then nothing will be posted on Thanksgiving itself. Black Friday is iffy, but I'll try to get a post up.

Let me know what you're thankful for, and I may include it in the Black Friday post!

So, Happy Thanksgiving in advance!



A friend posted this on Facebook:

There will be no Nativity Scene in Washington, D.C. this year! The Supreme Court has ruled that there cannot be a Nativity Scene in the United States' Capital this Christmas season. This isn't for any religious reason. They simply have not been able to find Three Wise Men in the Nation's Capital. A search for a Virgin continues. There was no problem, however, finding enough asses to fill the stable.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Shifting into High Gear for Christmas

Sorry! I feel like I've been neglecting you, but I'm shifting my previous efforts toward Christmas into high gear. We have only about a month left until then, which for knitters and crafters is getting to be last minute.

I'm also preparing a Thanksgiving post (which will go up on Wednesday) about some of my favorite Thanksgiving stuff. I'm putting it up on Wednesday because there are some people who will be away for the holiday, and I want to give them a chance to see it before then.


I finished an absolutely gorgeous hat for someone last night using the Bernat Alpaca yarn in lavender.

It's just a little darker than it looks on my screen in that photo. The color is soft and beautiful, and it feels just as soft and cuddly, with just a little bit of fuzzyness. I really don't like yarn that's this thick as a general rule, but I love this yarn, and especially this color. They also have a plum color that's to die for, and a beautiful denim as well as other colors.

Considering that it'll be a Christmas gift, I'm going to take a picture (although not today: it's raining outside and dark in here), but that will not be available until after I give it for Christmas. Sorry, you'll just have to wait along with the recipient, and I'm not saying who that will be. I have finished knitting the hat, but although it fit my head snugly when I tried it on while I was knitting the critical part, now that it's finished, it feels a little loose, so I'm going to get some thin elastic cord and weave it through the area where a hat band would be to make it a bit more snug, so it's not completely finished. The hat is completely original, specifically for the person it was made for! And did I mention how beautiful it is? I may make a similar one for myself!

I'm busy making a hood out of the same stuff, for the same person. Then, I'm not sure if I'll make mitts or mittens to go with the set. I'm also considering the possibility of making a scarf in a way that will drive any knitter nuts trying to figure out how I did it. But I haven't made any decisions yet, except for what I'm already knitting.


Some of the networks have thrown out their normal scheduling completely for the duration of Thanksgiving week, with SyFy leading that parade. They're having movies on instead of their normal daytime rotation all this week, with only James Bond movies on during Thursday and Friday. In a few cases, they're putting on movies that I previously wouldn't have expected from SyFy, so maybe they are trying to change their programming a bit. I personally thing they could stick to science fiction and fantasy and still expand their borders tremendously. Case in point, Grendel will be on again soon, specifically, Saturday at 11am (here), and on Sunday, we'll have the complementary Beowulf. I still can't figure out how someone could take such a timeless classic, and destroy it as thoroughly as they did in those two films. They beg to be on MST3K! The only was these films would be watchable is if you watch them with friends and either supply MST3K-like remarks or have to drink a shot every time Grendel uses his "scud missle."

There are some new episodes on tonight on Heroes (NBC), The Big Bang Theory (CBS), and Castle (ABC) as well as the usual Monday night line up of four reruns of Ghost Whisperer (SyFy) tonight.

Tomorrow, we have only one new SF entry, V, which will be the last new episode shown this year. Read about it here.

For the overall outlook of science fiction on TV this week, check this out!

And don't forget to check your local listings for The Legend of the Seeker, which is the only worthwhile sword and sorcery on TV right now. I'm seeing it locally on the CW on Sunday nights, but it may be different where you live, and they keep moving it around, so you may really have to look. Saturdays and daytime weekend TV have not been immune from this enjoyable series, so check it out.

Although they usually show the episode from the week before, and then a new episode, last week they showed the episode from the week before and then repeated it again immediately afterward. I was hoping they'd catch this, and show the new one they should have shown last week along with the next one, but they have definitely skipped an episode, and a whole new character has shown up and we don't know why. But they are doing reruns, so maybe we'll get to see the missing episode for the first time during the reruns.

Have a great evening!



Today is the 46th anniversary of the showing of the very first Doctor Who episode!

Happy birthday, Doctor Who!

Friday, November 20, 2009


I've had a week full of getting up early or earlier than usual, and I just want some sleep!

For all you knitters out there, here's a collection of great patterns to make Christmas gifts. These are, for the most part, smaller projects that have lots of WOW appeal. If you don't see what you like, click on one anyway because each project has photos of other projects below it that are good ideas. One of the links is messed up, but if you click random other links, you'll find it below the featured pattern.

If you dig a few layers under all the links they provide, you'll find the Cinchy Hat, which I think would look great in a solid color, too.

Oh, and there are other pattern links on the side. I like this page so much that I'm putting a link to it in the sidebar.

There are only 35 days until Christmas!


For any of you that live in the LA area, there's a Serenity and Firefly convention this weekend! There will be stars from the show! Enjoy! I envy you!


I went to the Comcast meeting yesterday. It was basically to sell stuff to the people here. The representative didn't know anything about TiVo for use with Comcast.

She said I had to call and talk to a representative over the phone. I did exactly that, and found out that if I trade in my Scientific Atlanta DVR for the newest Cisco model, I'll get a more reliable box, and a hard drive that's several times larger! Since the box is free, I'm leaning toward that option at the moment.


The usual (mostly) Friday night line up is on tonight. We have a new Ghost Whisperer and Medium on CBS, new Sanctuary and Stargate Universe on SyFy, and new White Collar and Monk on USA. That should keep your DVR busy!

Have a great Friday night and a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Prisoner is Over

The Prisoner finished up last night. This link has lots of spoilers in it if you haven't seen it yet. And if you haven't seen it yet, it'll be rerunning starting on 29 Nov. Check local listings. I think it's worth watching.

It's very different from the original Prisoner, and I didn't like it at first because of that. The original Prisoner was about the dehumanization caused by modern life, and about someone who fought back.

In a way, the new Prisoner is a prisoner, too, and so are the people in the Village, but for very different reasons. I think it would have been much better if they hadn't copied the name and some of the conventions of the original.

If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend that you DVR, TiVo or tape it. Once you see the ending, you're going to want to watch the whole thing again, and you're going to find that it's a very different story the second time around.


Yesterday was my dentist's appointment. I had three caps on my front teeth, so I thought I knew what I was in for this time around, but I didn't.

When I got the first three caps (two around '79 or '80, and one about a year later), they took an impression, cut down the teeth, and did another impression, then put on temp caps in one visit. The stuff from the dentist went to the lab, and when the finished caps came back I had a second visit where they installed them.

This time, in the first visit, they took an impression, removed the cap that was broken and that they intended to replace, cut down the tooth that they were replacing, took another impression, broke another cap, did two more impressions and installed temp caps.

This second visit was not to put in permanent caps, it was to clean up the part of the tooth that was under the cap that broke. When they replace a cap, there's old cement or glue that was used to hold on the previous cap, and they have to get it ready for the new one.

I have another visit scheduled for the first of December to do impressions for the finished caps. There will be another appointment for checking the metal part of the caps. If everything is OK at that point, they will go back to the lab and have the porcelain part applied. If it's not OK, there will be another visit. Then, finally, I will get the new caps.

I told the dentist "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!" He said it would be close, but I might get them in time for Christmas.

So, I have at least three more visits before I'm done, maybe four. I will be so happy when it's all done!

When I got home yesterday, after all this, I was so tired, having gotten up at 7am to be able to get on the bus at 9 for my appointment at 10. I took a nap, but there was something wrong with me all day. I didn't seem to be able to actually do any one thing for more than 15 minutes without wanting to stop and do something else. I was still so tired I wanted another nap, and didn't seem to be able to do that right, either. I finally did take another nap and eventually started feeling better by evening. Can Novocaine cause something like this?


The apartment place stuck a notice in the door today saying that the USDA food program (which I'm eligible for and still signed up for) will be delivering food on Thursday (tomorrow), and that there will be a small, frozen turkey for each person!

So, after the apartment place just gave me a new stove with a new oven, the government is now giving me something to put in it! I guess it's kind of a "chicken in every pot" deal.

I'll be having Thanksgiving with Holly, Robin and all the friends they've invited. Everett and Jeff will be there, plus another guy I swear I don't know but Holly says I do, plus someone I don't know from Ireland. I'd love to find out more about Ireland from someone who grew up there! So, aside from the fact that Robin's a world-class chef, there's lots of reason to look forward to Thanksgiving.

And I haven't even mentioned all the good things there are to look forward to. I haven't seen their new 52 inch TV, and I'll not only get to see it, but Holly says we can pick out which BluRay movies we want to see! As if that wasn't enough, Holly won't feel like driving me home afterward, so she's planning on giving me the car keys and sending me home in their car. I'll bring it back later in the weekend, but they usually don't want to do anything or go anywhere on Black Friday, so the car will probably go back on Sunday.


Just before I pick up my Thanksgiving turkey, there is a special meeting for people who want to talk to a Comcast representative, and boy do I want to talk to someone. We had a "weekly test" yesterday afternoon, and again today around one pm. They are disgusting in so many ways! I have to bring along the book where I've been writing everything down.


In knitting news, the beautiful lavender Alpaca yarn arrived on Monday! I'm not really ready to start working on it yet, but it'll be good to have it here when I'm ready for it. The color is soft and subdued, and the fiber itself feels so good! I had planned to make a hat, wimple mitts and maybe a second hat or something, but since I can't start yet, I'm also entertaining ideas about what I could make instead. I don't think the person I'm using it to make something for will want a vest, but I'm thinking about that. Is there enough for a sweater, maybe? That might work.

I've gotten far enough down the wimple from the top so that I need to start to increase, but I haven't planned that far ahead, so it's on a temporary hold while I think it over and decide how I want to proceed. I not only have to plan for the rest of the wimple, but also have to plan how I'm going to do the hat to go with it, and think about if I'll make a second hat or mittens to go with all this and the mitts.

Decisions, decisions.

In the meantime, I'm finishing up the second sleeve of the slinky ribs sweater. I expect to finish the sleeve tonight, and then the only knitting left on it will be the finishing on the pockets. That will leave weaving in ends, blocking, and sewing down the pocket flaps to finish it completely.

It's rapidly becoming apparent that there is too much knitting and too little time before Christmas! There are only 37 days! Less if you have to mail a present to anyone!


Tonight, we do not have another episode of Eastwick! I did a little checking, and there will be one available next week, the evening before Thanksgiving!

And that's all the SF/fantasy TV viewing news available for tonight, sadly.

Have a great evening!

Be seeing you!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Quiet Tuesday

I've been doing some investigation on TiVo, and it sounds like a good deal.

Essentially, it would just be replacing my junky, chronically malfunctioning DVR from Comcast (which has a maximum recording space of 50 hours) with an excellent, top-of-the-line DVR from TiVo (which has an SD recording capacity of 180 hours, and can be expanded with a terabyte hard drive to almost infinity).

The details (if I understand it correctly) would include not paying Comcast $16 per month for the DVR, but $2 (?) for card(s) and TiVo $13 per month. If the info on TiVo is right about the card price, I would have a net savings of $1 per month. The catch is that I would have to buy the TiVo box for $150 (refurbished). Aside from the initial fee, it sounds like a fabulous deal.

Bear in mind that a new DVR (even if it is a TiVo) will not prevent Comcast from failing to broadcast closed captioning on a particular channel, or prevent them from doing THREE weekly tests in less than two hours, or any of the other junk they do. But it will at least give me a great DVR.

I'll be checking the details when I talk to the Comcast representative who will be here on Thursday. I suspect that his real agenda will be to sell us more stuff, but since that's not my agenda, I don't think that's going to happen.


This will be a busy week for me. Tomorrow, I get the permanent caps on my teeth and one last cavity filled at my dental appointment. I will then actually be able to bite into something without fear of my front teeth breaking. Well, I will after a few days, when my gums heal. They have to drill and do other work below the gum line, so I know that my gums will not be happy for a few days.

Thursday, there will be a Comcast representative here to discuss our service with us. I have to organize my thoughts, and calm myself to keep from screaming at him.

And Friday is the yearly inspection of our apartments. Oh, joy!

I shouldn't complain. It's partly to keep things working well. They check the seals on the refrigerator, and stuff like that.


If you read the page at i09, you'll find that they were not overly impressed with The Prisoner last night. I'm hoping it will improve tonight. Throughout the original Prisoner, Patrick McGoohan fights back, whereas this particular number 6 was beginning to cave in the second episode. It might have the capacity to

And I made a mistake. It will be rerun again tonight, but only once, at 6pm (here), followed by a new episode, shown twice. But the rest of tonight includes four hours of Ghost Whisperer reruns on SyFy, brand new episodes of Heroes, The Big Bang Theory, and Castle.

In the meantime, I have lots to do.

Have a great evening!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Prisoner is Coming!

Back in the late '60s, one of my favorite shows was The Prisoner, starring Patrick McGoohan.

In case you're not familiar with it, it was a TV series from England. Patrick McGoohan had been in a series called Secret Agent (Danger Man in the UK), which had a theme song that's still one of my favorites. Here's a video with the song on it:

I chose the copy of the song that seemed to be from this time period, so the video portion of the recording isn't too good, but the song has all the vitality and appeal that I remember from the series.

Secret Agent was written by Brian Clemens, one of my all-time favorite writers. He wrote a lot of the best episodes of The Avengers, and The New Avengers, and some of the best stuff that's ever come over here from England. I have never seen anything he wrote performed that didn't stand out way above most other things. There was a made-for-TV movie that William Devane and Lauren Hutton were in that I loved, called Timestalkers. It's one of the best time travel stories I've ever seen. If you get a chance to see it, don't miss out!

I'm not sure if Secret Agent was ever shown in the US. I certainly didn't see it. But when it ended, Patrick McGoohan wondered what would have happened after the series. What if Drake quit? Would he be allowed to walk out with all the secrets he'd discovered as an agent?

And The Prisoner was born. The first episode of Secret Agent was filmed at Portmeirion, and they went back and filmed the whole Prisoner series there.

I don't know if the theme song inspired some of the plot or if it was the other way around, but one of the central themes of The Prisoner was the dehumanization of people. It was a time where corporations and computer were getting bigger, and, being the beginning of the hippie era, there was a lot of rebellion. People felt they were being squeezed into niches that they didn't want to be pushed in, and were feeling less like individual people and more like the numbers that were increasingly being assigned for everything from Social Security to driver's licenses.

The Prisoner took all this free-floating angst, and wrapped it up with a bow and shoved it down Drake's throat (although you never get to hear his name in the show, but it's an obvious continuation of the previous show). To the delight of the audience, Number 6 fights back with everything he's got, and has us all rooting for him!

American Movie Classics has remade The Prisoner, (or if you want to be more politically correct, reimagined it) and it will air as a six-part mini-series starting tonight at 8pm (here) It will rerun at the end of the two hour episode (at 10) and tomorrow at 6. Check your local schedules.

I do know that they've changed a lot of things about this version, but don't know if it'll be as good as the original, but it's defiantly worth finding out!

So, there's a really good chance that there will be some great TV on tonight!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Friday the Thirteenth!

Well, that time has rolled around again. It's Friday the Thirteenth!

This year, we had a Friday the Thirteenth in February, and because it's not a leap year, we also had one in March. We missed it by one day in June when the thirteenth fell on Saturday, and again in August, when it fell on Thursday, but this is the third and final Friday the Thirteenth for this year!

Although most people consider it an unlucky day, there are lucky aspects of the day for everyone, such as special deals on flying and booking a hotel that many people routinely refuse to do on a Friday the Thirteenth.

I could swear that I read somewhere that witches consider Friday the Thirteenth a lucky day, but I can't find any information about it on the internet. It's really surprising not to be able to find some information about something on the internet!

But Crazy Aunt Purl has a post today about Friday the Thirteenth and fear. As usual, she's fun to read.

And today, probably because it's Friday the Thirteenth, the new movie about the end of the world, 2012 will be opening. Find out more about it on io9 here.

I once found a fascinating book called Arachne Rising, about the theory that there had been a thirteenth sign of the zodiac (Arachne), and that it had been eliminated in antiquity, under harsh punishment, to the point that the number 13 has been considered unlucky ever since. Since that sign used a spider as it's symbol, and you would be punished if you kept spiders, it also is supposed to have formed the basis for the fear of spiders. I no longer have the book, but would love to have a new copy for Christmas!

And my grandson-in-law can be happy that he wasn't born a day later, or his birthday would be today!


I'm almost at the end of the neck part of the wimple. Soon I'm going to have to make up the rest before I can continue. It looks like it did yesterday, only longer.

Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!



I came across an article about the remake of The Prisoner, and I thought you'd be interested! Check it out here!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Legend of the Seeker, Happy Birthday Johnny and Grape Jam

If you don't absolutely hate sword and sorcery, you should watch or DVR The Legend of the Seeker tonight on SyFy! There were multiple episodes scheduled for tonight earlier in the week, but, in it's charming, whimsical way, SyFy has chosen to change the schedule at the last moment so that they WON'T be on tonight!

But if you like sword and sorcery at all, this is good stuff! It's based on the Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind. I haven't read the books, but Sam Rami tells a good story in the TV series! The first few seem like individual stories, but after watching them, you start to see an overall story emerging, which eventually gets very exciting. It's been playing locally on the CW, sometime on Saturday and/or Sunday. You'll have to keep your eyes open because they keep changing the time, but it's worth tracking down. If you can't find it on TV, I recommend the DVD.

I didn't see a credits on the first episode of the new season, Marked, but it looked like Charisma Carpenter was in it, and, yes, IMdB says she was! This was a really good episode, and shows you can't tell the good guys, even with a score card, although we should have learned that from the last few episodes of the first season.

As of tonight, however, SyFy has returned to showing Doctor Who episodes very late on Thursday night (or early on Friday morning, depending on how you look at it)! They're continuing with The Stolen Earth tonight, which is the second of a three-part story following Turn Left. I really want to thank them for breaking the story up like that!

I want to thank them even more for scheduling Partners in Crime for next week, an episode that is the first one in the adventures of the Doctor and Donna, rather than the last of the three episodes in the story. I always love it when they show parts of a story out of order!

I shouldn't really complain. They show things in order so much of the time. I really want to thank them for showing Firefly in order, but they probably made a point of that since Fox showed them out of order and moved the time of the show, so I never got to see a whole show when it was on Fox, and never got to see them in order until they were on SciFi.

Sorry to ramble on like that!

What is on tonight (and brand new) includes Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Flash Forward and The Mentalist. They've stopped repeating Vampire Diaries on Thursday nights, unfortunately.


Today is my grandson-in-law, John Merillat's birthday!

Happy Birthday, Johnny!


Yesterday, the Encore Tweed in Grape Jam yarn arrived for Christmas presents!

I'm going to start with a wimple, but a very different one than I've made in the past. I'm considering this for a pattern if it turns out well.

Then there will be a hat, and I'll reassess mitts and a second hat depending on how much yarn is left.

Here's the beginning of the wimple, as far as I've gotten:

The color you can see on the left is the most accurate representation of the real color.

Here's a copy of the color as shown online. It looks a bit lighter and not as soft as the real color.

I am absolutely in love with this color and pattern so far.

I'm starting from the top down, so the photo shows the top of the wimple at the bottom of the photo. When I get to where it has to expand to go over the shoulders, I plan to have the pattern branch out and sprout leaves and possibly flowers. The whole thing is quite exciting for me! I keep knitting "just one more round" because the pattern is so pretty as it unfolds! Although the pattern will stay the same to the beginning of the shoulders, so I've about seen all there is for a while. The photo doesn't do it justice!

I need to look up some lavender colored flowers to put on this. Lilacs? No, too small. I thought about real grape flowers, and it's no wonder I've never seen them before because they're so tiny. I don't know. More research is in order.


Holly felt it was very important for me to know more about the pink flamingo, as it applies to lawn ornaments, so she sent me this:

The father of the pink flamingo (the plastic lawn ornament) was Don Featherstone of Massachusetts. Featherstone graduated from art school and went to work as a designer for Union Products, a Leominster, Massachusetts company that manufactured flat plastic lawn ornaments.

He designed the pink flamingo in 1957 as a follow-up project to his plastic duck.

Today, Featherstone is president and part owner of the company that sells an average of 250,000 to 500,000 plastic pink flamingos a year.
Just thought you might want to know.

Have a great time with all the wonderful TV that actually is on tonight!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans Day!

Happy Veterans Day!

Happy Veterans Day to all veterans and currently serving military no matter where you might be! I wish you the best now and in the future. May you all come back safe and sound!

For an article about some of my more flamboyant adventures while in the Air Force click here. I might mention that I actually did some stuff that was actually useful to the Air Force, and before I was in the military, I did some stuff that was even more useful to defend our country.

I got a job right out of high school working as a technical illustrator for a small printing company doing the assembly, wiring, and other diagramming for all the manuals for the BMEWS Project.

I hope the weather where you are is nicer than it is here for Veterans Day. Here it's chilly, overcast, and drizzling! Makes me not want to go out at all!

I had planned to go to the library and grocery store, but if the weather is better tomorrow, I think I'll do it then.


The repairman from Comcast came on Monday, and said that the only way he could "repair" my DVR would be by replacing it. I wasn't really happy about the idea of giving up all the shows on the hard drive. There was at least half of one show that I hadn't watched, and some others that I wanted to watch again. He said I didn't have to decide now, that I could try to get along with the machine I had and If I changed my mind, I could get a new one later. He said most of my problems were because I had the machine set to keep programs until I erased them. Possibly, but I really don't think that that's why it says I only regain 1/4 of the space used to record a program when I erase it. He says it is, though.

The new DVRs they have are made by Motorola, and mine was from Scientific Atlanta. He said that the two DVRs were identical, just made by different companies. You would think that they'd go for some kind of improvement, but NO. I looked around the internet and discovered that the "new" DVR is just as unreliable as the old one (maybe more), and has it's own set of idiosyncrasies. I'm not sure I want to change.

But, while looking around the internet, I found out that you can use TiVO on Comcast. I have to find out more about that. I suspect that you have to pay the fee for TiVO service, and I know that you have to buy the box yourself. If there's anybody out there using TiVO on Comcast, give a shout, and let me know how the arrangement works! Clearly, I have to do some more research on this. But if there are still any questions, there will be a representative from Comcast here on the 19th to talk to all their disgruntled customers in this building.

Maybe he can explain why they have done their "weekly required test" and then repeated it and hour and 10 minutes later, and then again, 45 minutes later! Three tests in less than two hours doesn't strike me as a "weekly test." The answer I get to that one is that the government requires it. No, not true! Otherwise, why call it a weekly test?

I have to laugh at the FIOS commercial where their representative is asking their customers about how they like the service, and the cable guy wants to know why they care what the customers think. I've dealt with some other cable companies, and they seem to provide quality service and care about their customers. But Comcast really doesn't care if they provide what you're paying for, or how bad their service is.

The people who are supposed to fix things over the phone are actually there to provide excuses so that you can never get anything fixed. Their DVRs (and cable boxes) malfunction on a whim, and it's not just that there's a bad box or two floating around. They all malfunction, and they do it from the beginning. I have never seen a DirecTV box malfunction! The DirecTV boxes are the best out there in my experience, but I've never had an actual TiVO.


Well, there doesn't appear to be any science fiction on TV today at all! I thought there was an SF movie on SyFy today, but I tuned in, and it's a documentary on possession, like Ghostfacers in Supernatural.

Eastwick is not on tonight, due to the Country Music Awards. I'm disappointed!

Sorry I'm so boring today. I think it's all the rain and overcast today. Days like today always made me wish I could play hooky, and stay home from work. It's one of the few perks of being retired.

I have to run to check the mail!

I hope something cheerful happens to you today!



The news has just broken that Fox has decided that they will cancel Dollhouse after this season. At this point, they're saying that they'll show all 13 episodes of this season, and that the decision to cancel it has come early enough for Joss to wrap up the story for the series. There are only two episodes that haven't already been filmed, so I tend to wonder about that.

Fox has been notorious for sabotaging their own shows and then canceling them when their sabotage is effective, and seems to be fairly schizophrenic at best. It looks from the outside (where I'm standing) like they're over endowed with a combination of greed and fear.

In related news, Joss wrote up info on a project called Goners, and submitted it to Universal, who are not doing anything with it, but haven't freed up the rights so that Joss can use it. See more information about it here. The site doesn't include an email or street address for Universal, but does contain all the information you need to make your opinion known on Twitter.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Tuesday!

There's not a lot going on around here.

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day, so if you want to do something that requires advance planning, this is your wake-up call.

Tonight, the only science fiction thing that will be on is V.

Tomorrow, there will be no SF on TV that I could find , except for a movie on SyFy at two pm (here). OK, I can imagine greater, but I'd still like a little SF on SyFy, please. I guess that's why they changed their name and it's no longer SciFi.

Eastwick won't be on tomorrow, either, and I'm really disappointed.

I've been reading The Magicians, and I have to say that it hasn't been living up to it's hype, at least so far. I'm at least three quarters of the way through the book, and so far, our hero, Quentin, hasn't gotten to Fillory, as promised on the book jacket. So far, the story has been about how hard it is to learn to be a Magician at the only school of magical higher learning in the United States. It's been interesting, but reads more like a documentary, so far. Maybe things are about to change from black and white to color on the next page, and it will get to be a good story. The book is due back at the library today, which means I can get it back tomorrow, free, but I may just take it back tomorrow even if I haven't finished it.

I hope you're having a great Tuesday!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy Birthday, Invader!

Twenty years ago, on the first of November, principal filming started for a movie that had the working title of The Killing Edge. It was released in theaters all over the world with various names, but eventually came out on VHS as Invader! Later (much later), it was released on DVD.

Here you see the German cover.

This is the Japanese Cover.

And here we have the British cover.

Here's my story on the film.

I headed down to Virginia on Halloween, and somewhere in Maryland, the drive chain on my car broke, leaving me stranded. A state trooper came along, called a tow truck, and I wound up in a motel on Halloween night. The only good thing about that was that the motel had cable, and I got to watch Evil Dead, a film by John's friend, Sam Rami, who I was later lucky enough to meet at the premier for Invader!

The next day, I finally got down to John and Cindy's house, and started my part on the movie, which was, initially, to do all the computer work and hold down the fort and do administrative things for two weeks while everybody else was on location.

They started off the location shooting with one of the crew running an errand with John's car and crashing it. This movie was hard on cars at the beginning. There was another car it was hard on, too, and that was a little yellow sedan, which we put bullet holes in during filming. Later on, John became the hero of all the little kids in the neighborhood when he drove up in a car full of bullet holes.

While everyone else was on location, the Berlin Wall fell, and when they came back, everyone was asking about it. They were asking because other people were talking about it, and none of them had heard news reports or done anything but film a movie for two weeks.

Most of the film was done on location, one way or the other. The place we filmed in most often was the Prince Georges County Film Office, where we got into some really interesting things at one point with some dueling videotaping. Except for the initial two week location shoot, one of my main jobs was to document the making of the movie on videotape. But while we were at the Film Office, they wanted to document the making of the movie, too, and the video cameraman was blown away that we were also videotaping it, so he took a lot of footage of me, and we eventually got into a game of taping each other. The film office got a batch of this footage broadcast on TV, so I got to be on TV along with everyone else. There were some shots of me applying makeup to some of the actors in what looked like a glamorous dressing/makeup room, but was really the men's room at the Film Office. Of course, they interviewed John and Phil, and showed lots of action shots, which made it a fabulous trailer for the movie.

One interesting day, we were filming at some government office in PG County, and it was supposed to be a cafeteria in the Pentagon. It was memorable for several reasons.

First of all, we shot Robert Biederman.

Walter Suarez, who did all the explosive special effects for Invader and New Genesis, rigged Robert for it, and Robert was really nervous because he had never done it before. But Jack Lane fired a prop pistol at Robert, and he and Walter did a fabulous and very visual job of showing him getting shot!

Hans learned CPR especially for the occasion, right before we filmed him doing CPR. One of the "medics" that showed up to take over from him was a real paramedic, and was the one who taught Hans how to do it.

The other "medic" was a friend of John's who wanted to be in the movie. He was supposed to be in the military, but he showed up with hair so long that he could almost sit on it! Not something that anyone in the military would be allowed to have (except a woman who kept it up when in uniform). John gave him the choice of not being in the movie or of cutting his hair. He finally agreed to get it cut, but didn't know where he could do that. So, John had me cut it for him. I left it longer than was regulation military, but soaked it with water, and plastered it against his head in the back so it would look shorter. I heard later that his mom was delighted with it because she had been trying to get him to cut it for a long while. I heard that he even liked it, once he got over the shock.

That same day, I got to stand on a table with the video camera and pretend I was a surveillance camera and film a fight in the cafeteria.

We did one marathon day and night at the Film Office. We initially did a lot of filming in a conference room there, and one of the actors involved was George Stover, who has a cult following due to having been in all of John Water's films.

Later on, we did some shots that were part of the night scene in the film where the prototype fighter tries to kill everyone. During breaks in the filming, Hans Bachmann, Al Smith and Rick Foucheux did a little chorus line number, kicking up their feet. While they were doing that, Phil Cook grabbed the smoke machine and ran around behind them to add more foul-smelling "smoke" behind them. He came dashing back and dropped the smoke machine to the cement floor of the sound studio, where it struck a spark and burst into flames.

Matt Herath, who was slouched down in his chair, and looked like he was asleep, was actually totally awake, and yelled "fire!" before I could manage to, and I was paying attention. I guess Matt was, too. Phil skidded to a halt, ran back and grabbed a cardboard box, which he upended over the flaming smoke machine. Luckily, the lack of oxygen put out the fire before it could ignite the box. Matt yelled across the room at him "Oh, very good, Phil! I always use cardboard to put out fires!"

Right after I met Steve, who I later married, we needed to do some pick-up filming. Principal filming was over and we were in the process of editing it, so it was a bit later. I asked Steve if he wanted to be an extra in a film. He, and a bunch of his friends showed up to be in it, and we all played soldier for the day.

Well, there are a lot more stories I could tell, and I'm only telling stuff I saw with my own eyes, so it's only one person's view of the filming. There's so much more to say.


The Librarian trilogy is currently playing on TNT. Quest for the Spear is almost over, and Return to King Solomon's Mines is about to begin. But if you enjoyed the New Orleans parts of my Halloween post, check out Curse of the Judas Chalice later! There's a lot of good New Orleans stuff in it.

I hope you've been having a great weekend!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Christmas Is Coming! Christmas Is Coming!

Christmas is coming in only 49 days!

Is there someone on your Christmas gift list that leaves you completely at a loss for what to get for them? Is there someone you want to get something really special?

Well, I need money, and because of that, I'm willing to spend some time and effort making presents for others. I can make something completely designed specifically for that special person. This will be something you won't see elsewhere.

Is your intended recipient a science fiction fan? The most memorable SF knit of all time is probably Doctor Who's scarf, but there were plenty of knits in Twilight, and I've knit dozens of Harry Potter scarves and hats. But it doesn't have to be limited to that. From the new Doctor Who, Rose wore a lot of knits. Her Boomtown scarf was beautiful. In Doomsday, she wore a gorgeous pair of mitts, and there was a photo of her in a gorgeous knitted slouch hat with a brim. It doesn't end there. Almost any SF movie has knits in it.

Do you know someone who's family tree is from Scandinavia or Ireland? Or somebody who just likes Celtic knots or beautiful things? I have done some really amazing things with Celtic knots in garments, and I can do it for you, too.

Here's a photo of the top of the hood from one sweater I'm working on.

And here's a Saint John's cross from the back of the sweater. A Saint John's cross is a Viking symbol of happiness, so the sweater is a symbol of good wishes.

Here's the version from the sleeve. Please notice that the cables at the bottom of the cross come right off the surface of the sleeve and become a tie to make the cuff ruffled (which will make it warmer), although it can be worn with it loose to be a romantic medieval sleeve and be a little cooler.

The bottom of the sweater is wider to make it fit better and be more flattering, and the extra width was achieved using a gusset, so I used the opportunity to add another variation of a Saint Johns cross.

Variations of these motifs would look great on a hat. I can also do knitted Viking Runes. Other cables or special knots can be created for almost any kind of garment, but for a Christmas present, I'd suggest something that doesn't require a lot of fitting, like a hat, scarf, mitts, wimple or shawl. I plan to make a bag for my runes with four runes on the bag: Fehu for wealth and prosperity, Algiz for protection, Wunjo for joy or happiness, and Sowelo for success. These runes would also work for other things, too.

And then, there are always things like a Santa hat. And, if you knit, the Santa hat directions are still available through this website.

And I could make a stocking for you or for you to give. Here's a sample of one I made for myself with my spinning wheel in the background and some Christmas lights. Everything on the stocking sparkles, and the star beads are glow-in-the-dark.

Other color schemes are available, too.

Anyway, let your imagination go crazy and let me know what you want.

There's lots of good stuff on TV, so have a great evening and a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Quiet Thursday

One of the best things about Holly and Robin's trip to New Orleans (for me) was that they saw Doctor John. The main reason that was so good was that I looked for some music from Doctor John on the internet, and found some great recordings on You Tube.

I've seen lots of recordings on You Tube, and I usually try to avoid them. My computer is older and doesn't play most of them in any sort of coherent way. But the recordings of his music were clear, had great sound, and played well.

Which lead me to look for some of my other favorite music makers.

Today, I'm going to let you hear Chris Smither, who, on a list of my favorite artists would be fighting it out with Ry Cooder for number one. I will undoubtedly write something about Ry Cooder sometime soon.

Here's Chris' most famous song, Love You Like a Man. You should note that when Bonnie Raitt transposed genders so she could sing it, she also softened up the language. This is lowdown blues at it's best!

The first time I ever saw Chris was at The Main Point outside Philadelphia in the very early '70s. I went to see John Hammond, and Chris opened for him. He came on, sang Love You Like a Man, and I fell in love! I didn't even care about Johnny Hammond after that!

Chris is not only a superb musician, but he's a showman, too. Not in the sense of putting on a fabulous light show or anything, but just plain charisma. When he comes onto the stage, it's like he grabs you by the collar and drags your attention onto the stage. You can't walk out, you can't talk to someone else, you can't ignore him! You can't do anything but sit there and enjoy the show with him. When he finally lets you go, you have been entertained to within an inch of your life!

Chris always plays sitting down, and he had a large board at the Point to stomp on because almost everything he does has a hard, driving rhythm, and he pounds it out on a board (one of these recordings has a shot of his foot stomping on a board). One of the people at the Point said that they had a "Chris Smither memorial chair" in the basement that they kept for sentimental reasons. It had been reduced to rubble!

Here's Chris doing the classic Statesboro Blues:

But he's best doing his own songs, like Train Home. This recording was hand-held, and the picture bounces around a lot, but the music, as always with Chris, is excellent!

Here's another handheld recording, complete with people walking in front of the camera, of his song Crocodile Man.

This is not his best work, just the best that I was able to find on You Tube. I, personally, like his own songs better than a lot of stuff that other people wrote, with the exception of Catfish, which was not written by him, but is very good nonetheless. And, of course, I love the classics, like Statesboro Blues.

Catfish is another lowdown blues, but in a cute way. Part of the lyrics go:

Catfish got whiskers and a sweet little grin,
but you never can tell where a catfish has been.

I'll be your catfish, honey, any old time,
just call out my name, girl, and drop me your line.

Some lowdown blues goes overboard, and is in questionable taste, but Catfish is more like flirting, cute, not raunchy.

Oh, and I should mention that Chris will be at the Birchmere (in Alexandria) on the 13th of November for anybody reading this locally. You can see his schedule here, find out more about him at his website, and follow him on Facebook.

If you look at his website, you'll find that there's a book that's just out with a story that was written by him. This is the first I've heard of a completly unsuspected talent that he has! The book is Amplified.

I don't remember the name of the author, but there is/was someone out there writing mysteries who was also a fan of Cris'. Sometimes the books would just have a reference where the character would get in their car and turn on the radio and Chris would be on, other times there were other mentions, but he was in most of the books.


The Legend of the Seeker is about to come on SyFy in a few minutes. If you want to catch it from the beginning, this is it!

And, of course, there will be the usual great stuff on TV tonight: The Vampire Diaries (which got off to a slow start, but is beginning to get good), Supernatural, Flash Forward, and The Mentalist. Those are all new, by the way.


I've decided that I need to change my whole Christmas present strategy in relationship to my blog. From now on, I'll be talking about Christmas presents, but I'm not going to tell who they're for.

I placed two orders yesterday for yarn for Christmas presents, and they will be original creations, and I'll be writing up the instructions and publishing them in PDF form.

But I'm not saying who they're for.

Legend of the Seeker is on now, so I'm going. Have a great evening!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Well I recorded most of V on my DVR. That is I tried to record what the SyFy Channel aired. Not all of it, thanks to the shoddy Comcast DVR that failed to record about an hour of it. But not one episode. It failed to record the second half of one episode, and the first half of the next episode.

Aside number one: Comcast DVRs do not work well. They malfunction at random and in random ways all the time. About one out of ever ten times I go to play something back, the screen goes to black, and the whole thing locks up. I have to turn it off and back on to get it to play the recording if I'm lucky. The thing it's currently doing is saying it's taking up 4% of the disk space to record a two hour movie, but if I erase that same movie, it says I freed up 1% of the space. As you can see, this is eventually going to be a problem. Even though it said I had 18% of disk space free, I think it quit recording because it thought the disk was full. I'm having to disconnect it for 30 seconds and then reconnect it and leave it turned off for 15 to 20 minutes to get it to malfunction at it's usual level, as opposed to not functioning at all.

They are coming out to fix it on Monday. At least that's what they told me. Then again, they also left a message that said that they had fixed a problem in my area, and that they think it fixed my problem with the DVR, and my appointment was canceled, and that if I still had a problem I should call them and they'd schedule an appointment. When I called them, their automated service confirmed the existing appointment.

But there is a Comcast representative coming out to talk to all the people in the building that have problems on the 19th. I suspect that he, like the people I speak to on the phone, is an expert at blaming someone else, and will not really answer any questions or do anything to help. Comcast almost never does.

Aside Number Two: I had forgotten that Judson Scott was in some of the later episodes of V. He's been one of my favorite actors ever since the first time I saw him on Phoenix.

Back on Topic: V was a really wonderful and important show in a number of ways. It showed beautifully how a population can be convinced to do really terrible things. It compared what the visitors were doing with what Hitler did before and during World War II, and it was an excellent comparison, too.

When I was in High School, the teacher showed us an educational documentary to illustrate the way the communists were dealing with propaganda, and how they were manipulating people's minds.

The thing that was truly scary, is that a large group of the population of the town I went to school in protested vigorously about the fact that she was teaching this, and, even more terrifying, was that they followed all the procedure to stop her that the teacher was trying to teach us! They illustrated what she was trying to teach perfectly.

And the visitors in V are doing the same thing.

But, what is even more chilling is that some of those things have been happening right here in the United States, and the majority of the citizens I've spoken to have been calling it a good thing! One of those things that stands out is the federal laws about terrorists that have been passed under the last administration.

What people I've talked to seem to miss about all this is that by "terrorist" what they really mean is accused terrorist. In other words, all you need is to accuse someone of terrorism and all their civil rights go away, and they can be tortured, imprisoned, and even killed! This leaves the door open to someone who's miffed that their next-door neighbor has let their dog loose to make a mess on their front lawn to accuse that person of being a terrorist, and the federal government will punish him. To within an inch of their life. If they're lucky. It's the first step to abolishing democracy.

And I can't help noticing that it was extremely convenient for that administration to have everyone upset by the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I also couldn't help noticing that a couple of days after the attacks, there were no plane debris anywhere near the Pentagon when I rode past it. And in spite of the government insisting that hundreds of people saw the plane hit the building, I haven't been able to find even one, and I live nearby.

And I can't help thinking that if someone who wanted to pass legislation to start to legally abolish democracy in the US, it was awfully convenient.

Aside Number Three: I saw a program on The History Channel recently about people who have a conspiracy theory going about 9/11, and the show drove me crazy. The show gave both conspiracy theorists and government representatives a chance to state their case.

Surprisingly, the best information to prove that it was a conspiracy came from the government reps!

One of the things that really gave me a jolt was that the government people said that large parts of both of the twin towers were closed for about two weeks before the "attack" and there was a lot of construction/destruction going on without an explanation. I didn't know that, and it provides an excellent explanation for the fact that both buildings went straight down without harming adjacent buildings.

Back on Topic: The second reason I think V is so important is that it provides lots of ideas for how to fight back. So, pay attention. It could save your life and your country. I'm sure the Germans thought it couldn't happen in their country, but it did.

I should mention, at this point, that I feel that the US is getting back on track as a country I can be proud of under the current administration.

But the best thing about the previous miniseries/TV show called V was that it was entertaining. And the new version promises to be entertaining, too. The first episode alone is too small a sampling of quality to be sure, but keep watching.


In other SF/fantasy TV, Eastwick will be back on tonight, and now that Chad is dead (killed by the statue his girlfriend, Roxie, made) things may be heating up. I can't wait to see it!

The SyFy Channel will be showing a new (for them) series tomorrow evening, called The Legend of the Seeker. The show is based on the Sword of Truth series of books by Terry Goodkind, and is the very thing that all you Sword-and-Sorcery fen have been waiting for.

I haven't read the books, but I have seen the first season, and it's better than I expected. In addition to being based on books from a respected author like Terry Goodkind, Sam Rami also has his hand in it (as one of what seems like a dozen different kinds of producers), and his brother, Ted, even appears in an episode. You might remember Ted Rami from Xena Warrior Princess, where he played Joxer.

So, you might want to check it out on SyFy tomorrow night if you haven't already seen it.

Oh, and SyFy will be showing Doctor Who on their daytime rotation on Friday!


I have some additional photos from Holly and Robin's trip to New Orleans.

Here, you see an overall view of Robin in his costume.

And, in case you missed the point, is a close-up:

Holly said that everybody recognized him instantly.


Well, my Social Security arrived yesterday, and I've paid my bills and bought some things to make Christmas presents from, and now, one day later, I have barely enough to buy food and stuff for the rest of the month.

What else is new?

I need to think up a good money raising project. If you have any ideas, let me know!

Have a great evening!