Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Give Up

I've been telling myself that I don't really feel that bad for the past few days, but this evening I realized that I've just been kidding myself.

I'm tired, I ache all over, and I had my flu shot, so it shouldn't be that.

I don't know what it is, but I feel rotten.

Maybe some chicken soup will help. And sleep.

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Don't forget that a new Burn Notice is on TV tonight! Along with a new Supernatural!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hi! and Bye! Again.

I was in CVS on Saturday, late, and they had some great daylight floor lamps out on the shelves. The kind I've been drooling over for a couple of years. You know, the kind that usually cost about $100. The kind that look like this. I checked for a price, and there wasn't any marked, so I figured that they would probably be on sale starting on Sunday, and they were just putting them out so they'd be ready for the following morning.

So, anyway, I went back today and they were $25, but on sale for $20. I dragged one home through the snow, and now it's next to the chair I usually use, and I can get some extra light when I'm doing craft projects!

I'm so tickled!

If you're a crafter or a reader, check this out. There are few crafts that couldn't be improved with a little light.

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Oh, yes, we had our first snowfall of the winter today. It's been 14 years since we had a first snowfall of the winter this late! There were just a few flurries, and it looked like it was somewhere between 2 and 3 inches when I went to CVS.

It made everything look so pretty, and there wasn't enough to make a driving problem, so it was very pleasant and wintery. The roads were all clear, and most of the sidewalks were also clear. Nature decorated beautifully!

Tomorrow will be a different story. There will be sleet, rain, and freezing temperatures. 

I don't have any plans that involve going out tomorrow.

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For all you Red Dwarf fans out there, check this out! 

It's coming back! 

Well, for a little while, anyway.

Don't forget to watch a new Leverage tonight! And a new Fringe!

I have to run.

Have a great evening!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Snowed Under with Work

The world seems to want to make sure that I have good grasp of the meaning of the word Entropy.

The last definition of that is more what I mean in this context: "a doctrine of inevitable social decline and degeneration."

The world seems to be determined to keep messing things up for me, and usually on a financial basis. Well, sometimes on a health basis, or, as one of my current problems, something that broke, but is going to cost me a lot of time and effort (and probably some money) to fix. More about that later.

The IRS, in it's logical fashion, started taking money out of my monthly Social Security payment last year to satisfy a debt that was a bit over $500. They took over $300 out of my payments, and then decided that since they owed me enough to pay the rest, that  they'd stop doing that. But instead of applying it to my account, they sent it to me. So, now they say that it means that I owe them almost a thousand dollars.

I spent some time discussing it with them today. The outcome is not happy, but better than what they originally planned to do to me.

I've been trying to get in touch with the VA Hospital near here to get one of the hearing aids they gave me to use fixed, and probably return the other one due to almost total hearing loss in the other ear. The part of this that's really frustrating to me is that I'm pretty certain that the hearing in that ear could be improved tremendously, and possibly restored completely, but the last person I saw about it (an ear, nose and throat specialist at the VA Hospital) said that there was nothing wrong with my ear and then asked "So, why can't you hear?" Which was kind of the question that I came to him to answer.

I'm getting really tired of doctors asking me the very questions that I came to them to answer. 

But you can never get through to the hospital on the phone. You just get to leave a message and wait by the phone all day to have them call you back. It's frustrating.

Tomorrow I'm going to work on getting something done about my front teeth before I don't have them any more. Or maybe later today if I get a call back and am not worried about making a call and missing the call from the hospital.

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I also have two projects that need to be done.

One is the Christmas stocking commission. That's going well. I'm almost through the colorwork on the leg of the last stocking, which will leave some very easy knitting, and then some finishing work.

The other one is the cover for the second volume of the Steve Canyon DVDs. I have a lot to do on that. The cover photo was taken in color, but the only surviving copy of it is black and white. And while the scan of the photo is excellent, the photo itself is covered with dust, dirt, and scratches. 

So, there's a lot of restoration work before I can even apply the colors and make it into the background for the cover.

And I haven't even designed the inside cover yet. Not to mention that there has been no decision made yet about the photo for the back cover.

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Now on the happy news! The science fiction shows that were off for the holidays will be returning soon, except for those casualties of the networks.

On the 31st of January, G4 will be running a Heroes marathon, pretty much all day.

On the second of February, we hit the jackpot, at least as far as NBC is concerned. 

Chuck will be back with an opening episode in 3D! That means that you'll need special glasses to watch it and get the 3D effect. I can't find any information on the internet about where NBC expects you to get these glasses, though.

Heroes will be back the same night, too! You knew there was a reason why G4 would be running a marathon!

Medium will also be back the same evening.

Later, at a date I haven't been able to pin down at the moment, the long-awaited premier of Dollhouse is coming up for all you Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku fans.

Fast forwarding to March will bring us the premier of Castle! For all you Nathan Fillion fans, he'll be starring in it, and that's enough for me. But it looks like it has the potential to be a great series, too. Nathan will be playing the role of Rick Castle, a fictional famous author of crime and horror novels. Rick helps the police solve crimes.

In the more immediate future, the SciFi Channel will be running random episodes of Lost tonight. They've already caught up to the the premier of the show last week, and are just running through some highlights.

NBC will be showing the second half of The Last Templar at 9 tonight. It was listed for last night, but I didn't realize that it was a mini-series and that they weren't just showing the same movie again tonight. Woops!

And Wednesday night, of course, we have an episode of Lost from last week followed by a new one!

It's almost 5 pm, and the Hospital still hasn't called. I doubt that they'll be calling me back this late, so I guess I can stop carrying the phone around with me everywhere I go.

Have a great evening!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Miscellany


Here's a photo I took on my way to the library the other day. Most of the pond was frozen, but there was still a little hole of unfrozen water, and some of the geese where swimming in it.

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I watched the news on Thursday night, and noticed a few things that I hadn't seen reported before.

An unnamed White House source said that Obama did more work in his first two days than Bush did in eight years.

The newscaster said that our new president seems to be "working hard to clean up the mess left by Bush."

I've never heard the press speak about a president like that (the way they spoke about either one of them) until just recently.

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I went to Michaels on Thursday. They sent me an ad with a coupon. In the ad, it said that they had Kroy sock yarn on sale, and I wanted some. If they had been honest, they would have said that it was a clearance sale, and I wouldn't have bothered going. I was there two weeks ago, and they had just a few balls of Kroy sock yarn, so I would have known that there wouldn't have been much left if they'd said clearance.

In actual fact, there was one ball of solid black sock yarn. Enough to make one black sock. And I had to ask an emplyee to even find it.

Who wants to buy yarn for one sock? 

I used the coupon to get a pack of stitch markers. I think they're overpriced, but I like them. A coupon makes the price much more acceptable.

And I got a tiny bottle of something similar to Fray Check, only flexible. It's intended to glue glitter to clothing. That's not something I can envision wanting to do unless the clothing is Christmas stockings or something. I want it to deal with really tiny areas of color on the stockings I'm knitting. When you only have two stitches in a color, there's really not a big enough area to darn in ends. So, I'm tying a knot and using the glue (which won't come out in the wash) to keep the knot tied, and then cutting the ends leaving a short section. I bought a tiny bottle because they always clog up and dry out before they get used up, so maybe I'll actually get to use most of what I bought.

I also bought a pair of scissors that are supposed to cut a deckle edge on paper. They cut much too cleanly for my taste, but then again, they were only fifty cents. And they're so flimsy that they'll probably soon begin to malfunction and chew up the yarn making a nice deckle edge.

I still have a bit of money on the Michaels gift card that Malaia and John gave me for Christmas.

I liked what I got at Michaels, but it wasn't sock yarn. I was disappointed about not getting sock yarn.

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I'm past the "cuff" and into the colorwork on the last Christmas stocking of my commission. I'm so glad to be nearly done!

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I have piles of stuff to do, so I'll just remind you that BBC in America will be showing the first of the final three episodes of the latest season of Doctor Who tonight. The last three episodes are Turn Left, The Stolen Earth, and Journey's End. It's the most dynamite ending to a season of Doctor Who that's ever been done! If you haven't seen it yet, check it out.

One of the things I'll be doing is working on the cover for Volume Two of the Steve Canyon series DVDs. Oh, I was talking to John (the producer) last night, and he told me about all the good feedback he's been getting on the cover for Volume One. He said my friend, Allen Asherman said that when he got his copy and pulled it out of the package, the cover was so beautiful it brought tears to his eyes! Wow! There have been other really good comments about it, too.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

12 Degrees!

I woke up this morning at seven am. I went right back to sleep, but before I did, I turned on the weather channel, and found out it was twelve degrees! And it was probably colder a bit earlier. 

But for the first time in a while, it's expected to go above freezing today, and tomorrow it's supposed to go up into the fifties! And be sunny today and tomorrow! I'm going to do my running around then unless Holly has the car back and we can go somewhere on Saturday. I see a trip to the library in my future today.

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I finished all the colorwork on the fourth Christmas stocking! I started the heel flap last night. That means that I can just knit a regular sock foot! I won't have to worry about color changes for a while! Only one more stocking to go! I'll be so happy to see them all finished!

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It's Burn Notice almost all day on USA today, with the season premier on this evening.

There's a new Supernatural on the CW, but there are things I want to watch on two other channels at the same time, so I don't know what's going to happen. I can't possibly watch it all.

Don't forget Moonlight and Invasion tomorrow evening on SciFi! 

They're also having The Stolen Earth on really early tomorrow (5 am?). This is the second of the three final episodes of the current season of Doctor Who. The first one was Turn Left.  Those three episodes build up to the final one (Journey's End), which includes almost everyone who's been on the Doctor recently and a few from Torchwood who have never been on Doctor Who, including Gwen and Ianto. And yes, Captain Jack makes a pass at everyone. Well, except Donna, which annoys her no end. 

This is the biggest mind-blower ever for Doctor Who! Russell Davies really wanted to go out with a bang and he succeeded! Steven Moffat will be taking over from him, so, since all of his stories have been spooky, I think we can expect more of that for the Doctor. Examples of his stories include Blink and the two part story, Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead. I don't know anything about the new Doctor (Matt Smith), but I think we're going to see more spooky stuff! What a ride!

If you missed Turn Left the first time around and last week, you can pick up with the last two without a problem. The only thing you should know is that Rose showed up in Turn Left. She was not just the ghost that Donna saw in Partners in Crime or a picture on a screen that the Doctor missed as in Midnight. This time she showed up in real, solid 3D, carrying firearms big enough to smash an asteroid. Even Captain Jack approves!

Favorite quote from Silence in the Library: "All over the universe, people have an irrational fear of the the dark. But they're wrong. It's not irrational!" Is that spooky or what?

Have a great day, and enjoy this evening!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration!

Yesterday, Washington DC was standing room only!

No kidding!

All of downtown was filled with people to the point that there was only room for them to stand. Well, you know that if you watched the inauguration on TV.

Holly said she looked at the photos of the crowd and was floored. 

I looked at them and something in the back of my brain said "That can't be right." I found myself checking landmarks, thinking that they couldn't be taking those photos where it looked like they were, and it must be someplace smaller. But no. Downtown DC was literally standing room only!

And the commotion extended all the way out to here in Northern Virginia (or NoVA, as the natives refer to it). I was at PRTC (local bus company in PW county) headquarters in Woodbridge, and watched big buses leaving in a constant stream with big signs on the front that said "FREE RIDE DAY." They were headed to the Metro. For people going to or coming from DC on the Metro, buses were arriving at the Springfield station and leaving every minute, apparently all day. I didn't know they had so many buses. The only thing to or from DC yesterday was public transportation. Which was probably a good thing. After all, where would you park?

The local buses were not free yesterday, though. Which I found out since I rode around on three buses yesterday. I took four trips, but caught one of the drivers on the way back on the same bus.

After watching the actual inauguration on TV, I pulled myself together and took the bus to the station and took another bus to Comcast to straighten out the mess. It's not totally straightened out, but at least they're not planning to turn it off at this point, and I can not only watch TV, but blog and use the internet without fear of sudden disconnection. I caught the same bus on it's way back to the station. I've been riding the bus so much that I'm beginning to know all the drivers.

Yesterday, the temperature did not get above freezing at any point. So, I was amazed to watch our new president take the oath wearing a business suit. His only concession to the cold seemed to be warm gloves. I can't imagine how he avoided freezing, but he did look spiffy.

I watched the proceedings on Channel 7, and Holly watched it on 4. We compared notes later and discovered that we had seen very different things because of the way that it was presented. One of the things that I missed, but Holly filled me in on was that he was sworn in with the same bible that Lincoln was sworn in with.

Since I spent my day riding around (it was well after dark by the time I got home), I missed the parade. Holly says that despite the strong resistance of the secret service, Barack and Michelle got out of their bulletproof limo and walked for a couple of blocks, and then did it again for a shorter distance later.

I have been around Washington, DC, one way or another ever since 1964, and I have never seen such a wild frenzy here. I wasn't crazy enough to go downtown, but stories of friends are filtering back to me. It's awe inspiring.

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I'm halfway through the leg of the fourth stocking. This is what it looks like from the front.


This is what it looks like from the back. Please note that I have darned in the ends from the colorwork at the top. The ends from the name and date, and the ends from the edge between the white of the "snow" and the red of the body of the stocking. The mess you see here is just from the tree and Santa designs.

This is why I don't like to do colorwork. I can't just knit. 

I have to keep stopping to count. And cut new lengths of yarn for a new color section. And wind bobbins. Then unwind parts of bobbins so I can knit a few more stitches. And periodically stop completely and spend an hour untangling the mess and darning in ends because the yarn ends have gotten too unmanageable to continue unless I do. 

Once I get past the colorwork on the leg, the rest is simple. Just knit. Well, and there's some shaping, too, but that's easy. And it doesn't require untying a bad tangle and darning in ends.

Actually, I took the photo a while ago, and in the meantime I've darned in most of the ends and gotten further. Only one more complete stocking to go!

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Haunted has been on the SciFi daytime rotation all today, and Doctor Who will be on Friday's fare. Those episodes will include Tooth and Nail, and School Reunion, which show the inception of Torchwood and the beginning of The Sarah Jane Adventures, respectively.

Which reminds me of the Leverage episode last night. They suddenly find they need some aliases, and they go through "Sylvester McCoy" and decide on "Tom Baker" and his wife, "Sarah Jane." Who says they don't have a sense of humor?

SciFi is starting two reruns on it's Friday night line-up starting this week. Look for Invasion and Moonlight on Friday.

They're both good series.

Invasion is about a first contact situation during a hurricane in Florida. It started on the air right before Hurricane Katrina, and was interesting because you could watch a hurricane aftermath and clean-up both on a TV show and on the news. The show was far more bizarre. Kind of Hurricane Katrina meets the pod people. Although it was very good, it ended after the first season, and they didn't have a chance to wrap up the story successfully, so it was very disappointing that way. I want to watch it over again, though.

Another really good show that ended after the first season was Moonlight, about a vampire private investigator. It starred Alex O'Loughlin as the most likeable vampire ever, Mick St. John. This one is beyond description, it's so good. You really need to watch it. They didn't get a chance to wrap this one up successfully, either, but it's easy to assume that they just went on with their lives (or undeadness). Invasion never got a chance to tie up the loose ends that really needed to be resolved.

I was very unhappy when each of these shows ended.

But the really BIG news on TV is the premier of Lost tonight! This is what everybody has been waiting for!

Enjoy!

I know I will.

And don't forget that Burn Notice will be having it's premier Thursday, too, on USA!

Oh, and Dragon Sword will be on SciFi on Saturday.

Check local listings!

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After riding around on all those buses yesterday in sub freezing temperatures, with a 20 mile-an-hour wind with who knows what kind of chill factor in order to pay my Comcast bill, Comcast thought it was necessary to call me today and ask if I'd like to make a payment. This is just another example of their substandard everything. I wish I could change to another provider.

Oh, well, it's supposed to go above freezing tomorrow, and I might even go out voluntarily under those conditions. I still have money on the Michaels card that Malaia and John gave me, and I'm thinking about using it for some sock yarn. Yes, I really want to take a break from knitting Christmas stockings with knitting socks! Even though it sounds crazy. I also have to get busy on the photos for the cover of Volume 2 of the Steve Canyon series. Busy, busy, busy!

Have fun with Lost tonight and Burn Notice Thursday!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King Day

Yes, I knew it was Martin Luther King day, but I didn't stop to think about the ramifications.

I was all set to go over to Comcast and wrangle with them about my service, but luckily I called first. I got messages that they didn't have anyone to talk to me due to being closed for the holiday. The messages also said that they would be open tomorrow. So, I guess I'll have to deal with it then. I'd rather watch the inauguration tomorrow.

I discovered that I actually did forget to make a payment. But some of the problem is them. I made a payment through their website, and they not only didn't credit it to my account, they didn't collect it. I think their website is malfunctioning. The other part of the problem is that the website was only telling me about current charges, and didn't tell me that there was any more I owed until this month.

If they'll let me make payment arrangements, it'll be OK, but if they want it all right now or they're going to turn it off, then we'll be parting company because I don't have it all right now.

I'll talk to them tomorrow.

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In the meantime, I've been knitting like crazy on my Christmas stocking commission. Here's where I was on the third stocking yesterday morning.


I have a couple more rows on the toe, kitchner it together, sew up the back, give it a light blocking and add the stars and loop for hanging and I'll be done with this one. The second one needs the pom poms and the loop for hanging. I'll be starting the fourth one in a bit, and hope to finish them all in a little over a week from now. I can use the money.

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For all you Lost fans, there will be six episodes of Lost on the SciFi Channel tonight starting at 5 pm and running until 11. And, of course, the premier will be on Wednesday evening on ABC.

I can't find any information on The Middleman as far as whether it will be out on DVD or will be brought back for another season, so I copied two of the episodes off of my DVR last night. Comcast messed up most of them so badly that they're unwatchable, but I had forgotten how low my standards have gotten since I have Comcast.

One of the episodes had sound that went off and on during their broadcast. It has to be watched with closed captioning on unless you're a lipreader, and some of the action wouldn't let you do that. The shows are so good, though.

I have to go do something productive now, so I'll post again sometime soon (depending on whether I still have an internet connection).

Have a great holiday and a great inauguration day! I hope you get to watch it on TV rather than being here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Steve Canyon Rides Again!

For all you Steve Canyon fans out there, there's a new article about it up on the internet at this address, and it's a great review. There's even a photo of the cover I did.

And the second volume is in progress. I am downloading files for the cover as we speak. I have a fast internet connection (at least for the moment), and the first file says it will take four hours to download. Of course, it said that about a half an hour ago, too. Then there are two more files to download after that.

But the covers are going to be wonderful!

It's gone up to four hours and ten minutes for the download.

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John is going to be going to Dayton, Ohio to The National Aviation Hall of Fame for an event to honor Milton Caniff (among others), and they'll be showing a Steve Canyon episode. There's lots more info if you follow the link.

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I was talking to Holly just a little while ago. Her car still isn't fixed, and at this point, she's hoping that it won't be fixed before Wednesday. She lives close enough to the inauguration that her car was towed the last time around. They have told her and people on her street that they will not be towing cars this time, but that's what they said the last time and they towed anyway.

All the bridges between Northern Virginia and DC are being closed down, and most of the major highways are also being closed in this area. 295/395, and a list of others. You can only reach DC from Maryland now (or soon). 

Hotel rooms and other accommodations sold out long ago. People in Holly's area are selling crash space (enough space on a floor to lie down) at $100 each, and some people are putting up tents and selling space outside. With the high for today at 23 F, that sounds dangerous to me. I'm hearing rumors that some accommodations are going for as high as $400, and we're not even talking hotel room, here. 

Restaurants in DC are allowed to be open 24 hours for the duration, and bars are allowed to close at 4:30 am. Most of the bar operators really want to close earlier than usual, though, due to the situation. And restaurants probably won't be staying open for the whole time they're allowed to, so food and drink may be in short supply, too.

Holly works almost across the street from the White House, and they will be closed down all day on Monday and Tuesday. She has no fonder wish than to just stay at home until Wednesday, although she may have to go out to Safeway for supplies.

She was hoping to go out with me and get some yarn for a knitting project last weekend, and that never happened, so she won't be knitting on that project. But, she's got her new, wall-sized TV and new BluRay player with some new discs to play on it, and games to play on the computer and TV, so I don't think it will be too much of a strain for her. She plans to watch the inauguration on TV in the comfort of her own living room. I'll probably be watching it on my dinky little 19 inch TV, too. And we'll have a better view than the crazies that will be out there freezing.

I have 7 pizzas in the freezer (sale), ramen noodles, and lots of Chicken and Stars soup, so I'm dealing with the cold, too.

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I've been steadily working my way through the irreplaceable stuff on my DVR, copying to DVD the stuff that I would like to buy, but that isn't for sale anywhere.

ABC Family is giving out no information on The Middleman. They haven't said that they're either picking it up for next season or not, and nobody has mentioned Middleman and DVD in the same sentence until I did it just now. So, I want to copy the few episodes of it that Comcast didn't manage to mess up so badly that they're unwatchable. If it ever becomes available on DVD, I promise I'll buy it. The same thing goes for some things that I'd dearly love to buy, but that aren't available.

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I've also been working my way through the Christmas stockings I'm doing on commission. I'm about halfway through the third one (time-wise), so I'm about half done. I'm almost at the bottom of the leg on the third one.

The leg part is very time consuming. There's lots of combination intarsia and fair isle in color. So, it's not just knitting. It's stopping and winding bobbins with new colors, untangling the mess of yarn ends and bobbins frequently, darning in the ends of colors/strands I've finished with so they'll stop tangling with the ones I'm currently working on, and stops several times in each row to see how many stitches I have to knit in the current color before I change to a new one. Once I finish the leg, it's just a standard sock, with about the same number of stitches as a standard sock, so, no big deal. Then there's sewing up the back-of-the-leg seam, blocking and adding the pom poms and hanging loop. I'm finding it easier to do some preliminary blocking on the leg before starting the heel and foot. But there's still blocking to do on the finished stocking.

Pictures soon. I know I keep saying that, but it's been so dark and cold all day, I can't get good pictures in this light. And the flash makes it possible, but not flattering. At some point in time soon, I want to get a slave flash or two.

Here's a rerun of a photo from the second one, in case you want to get an idea of what the stockings look like.



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Have a great weekend and enjoy the inauguration!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Prisoner

I woke up this morning and turned on my phone, which promptly told me I had a text message. Holly wanted to be sure I knew that Ricardo Montalban had died yesterday. For Star Trek fans, he played Khan in the original series and in the movie The Wrath of Khan. He played every part with such dignity and verve. He will be missed.

I had some more sad news this morning when I checked Stuff on TV, a blog about stuff on TV. The particular post I'm talking about is the one where he says that Patrick McGoohan died. His post says it all.

For me, The Prisoner was on at a time in my life when I lived in a complex remarkably similar to Portmerion, while living through some strange and scary times in my own life that lead my co-workers to call my home "The Village" and call me "Mrs. Peel." 

My village was a fun place to live, but the events that lead to my nickname are the stuff of nightmares, and I'm glad they're over. I've wanted to go to Portmerion ever since the series, though.

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On other TV topics, the Lost series shown last night was fabulous! It was the last three episodes (apparently) of the fourth season, shown in preparation for the premier, which will be next Wednesday night. Check local schedules.

There were explanations of the action run across the bottom of the screen. Some were obvious, but some were valuable insights that I probably would have missed the first time around if I had seen these before. I hope you got to see it, even if you've seen these episodes before.

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On the home TV front, I have finally (after three or four days of requesting this) gotten Comcast to agree to send me an itemized account of what was charged to me and what they think I paid. They charge at the beginning of the month for the month of TV you're about to get, and I'm reluctant to pay up front for the upcoming month if they're going to cut off my service anyway because I seriously doubt that I'd ever get it back, not to mention that they've shorted me about a month of service already. I base that last statement on the fact that they were completely off the air for more than two weeks while they continued to expect full payment, and they've had so many malfunctions that have made various channels unusable for lengths of time up to four months, and have caused me to have to spend so many hours on my cell phone that I was charged an extra $72 for it, and made two full-day trips to their offices before they would straighten it all out.

They sound like they're doing me some great favor to send me that information, but they said that they will not freeze my account while it's getting straightened out, and I may be subject to having my cable turned off. I told them that if it's turned off, it will never be turned on again.

For all I know, somebody ordered cable TV with everything at another address, and told Comcast they were me,  and I'm getting billed for something else. 

I don't know. I don't know what's wrong, and more importantly, what's wrong with them.

Oh, and by the way, Google has put up ads for Comcast because I keep mentioning it. Their cable internet connection is good, although overpriced, but I would avoid their cable TV like the plague!

The good news on all this is that I got my DVD recorder hooked up yesterday, and have gotten some of the stuff recorded that I don't want to lose when/if my DVR goes back. The most important item was the pilot for The Dresden Files. The SciFi Channel showed it one time nearly a year ago. You can buy the DVD, but it doesn't include the pilot, which has only been shown one time, ever. It's not for sale or I would buy it, and so would a lot of other people. The Dresden Files has a large, loyal fanbase, and I'm sure that they could make money on a DVD of the pilot (Storm Front). 

Storm Front was eventually condensed from the original 2 hour pilot to a one hour episode for the series, but they cut out a lot. They also changed a lot for the series, too. In the pilot, Bob is just like in the books. He's just a talking skull with lights in the eyes. I don't know which way I like him better.

I've also been telling Holly about Blink, which is the Doctor Who episode with the weeping angels, and I got that on a disk. The other big thing is The Middleman episodes I have on the DVR. That's not out on DVD and I haven't even been able to find out if they ever plan to release it on DVD, and I really love it, so I want to get the copies that Comcast didn't ruin off there and onto DVDs next.

The stuff I really want to copy is stuff I would buy if it was available, but it's NOT, so I really don't see the problem. 

It makes me wish I had kept my Blake's 7 videotapes to copy. That link will take you to a place on Amazon where you can sign up to have your name given to the copyright holders to let them know that you want to buy the DVD, and to get Amazon to send you an email and let you know if it ever becomes available in NTSC format (will play in the US). You can get copies to watch in PAL format, but unless you buy a PAL DVD player and TV set, you can't watch it.

For those of you who don't know about Blake's 7, it was a science fiction TV show from England. They had a very small budget, so when they ran across the deck of a space ship, you could hear the wooden floors resound, and most of the special effects were terrible. But the stories were some of the best that have ever been on TV anywhere. You can find more about the series on Wikipedia here. This is something I would also put on DVD for myself if it were on TV again since it's not possible to buy it in playable form.

********************

I want to get some more stuff off of the DVR today since I'm afraid that Comcast will shut off my service and I won't be able to do it later.

Since Comcast may turn off my internet connection (it's six of one and half a dozen of another) but I'll say:

Be seeing you!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Under Siege!

I am currently drowning in bills for things that I already paid for, had no idea I owed, and are mostly a mess to straighten out.

Comcast is telling me that I haven't made several payments and others have been partial payments when I've been paying them what they said I owed every month. I'm totally sick of them. I spite of the fact that I've been paying them what I agreed to, they haven't been providing the services they said they would for that money.

I'm too angry to write anything nice today, except to say that I hope you enjoy the Lost marathon on broadcast TV tonight.

I hope you're having more fun than I am!

************************

PS I just noticed that Google is putting up ads for Comcast because I've been talking about it. Don't click on it, and don't deal with them! They are nothing but a RIP OFF!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ho Hum

In an effort to brighten up a ho hum Monday, here's a photo of the gingerbread house that Malaia made for Christmas:


I forgot to mention to her how impressed with it I was. She's an amazingly crafty kid.

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I worked myself up into a headache last night over the Comcast thing. I finally realized what was going on and took a Valium (which is why I asked the doctor for them) and some Aleve, watched Harold and Maude, and went to sleep.

Before I did all that, I did some research on the internet about TV and internet connections, and I think that no matter what Comcast does at this point, DirecTV and a Verizon internet connection will make me happier. I have severe doubts about Verizon because they've treated me badly in the past, but they were very nice yesterday, so I'm thinking about giving them a second chance. Also, they're willing to give me a connection for $20 a month instead of Comcast's $45 per month. I am pretty sure that it's a slower connection, but it's a lot less money. I think I can live with that, and if I can't, I can get a faster connection for $10 more, which is still lots less than Comcast.

I just can't imagine anything that Comcast could do to make me want to continue with them at this point. I did ask them for an itemized list of all the charges and payments to my account for at least the last year. Even if they straighten that out, they've made too many problems over too long a period of time for me to want to continue with them.

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I finished the mitts last night, and started on the hat. I'll post photos soon. Come to think of it, I don't have a photo of the finished mitts, but here's something:


There's one finished mitt (L to R), one that's finished knitting but doesn't have the ends darned in, and one that's just started. I think I put this up before. The third mitt is done, and all ends are darned in! You should know that the mitts look weird until you put them on, and then they look and feel great.

Photos of the hat when I get them.

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There are four hours of Lost on the SciFi Channel tonight, and the premier of Kyle XY on ABC Family, which follows a Kyle marathon today. And don't forget that G4 is running single episodes of Lost at random times (usually, but not always at 11 am here), so stay alert! I think G4 is using them as filler, hence the random timeslot. Oh and there will be another three episodes shown on Wednesday on (I think?) ABC. Everybody's gearing up for the big premier later this month.

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I have a lot to do today. I got several letters/bills that are wrong all at once, Comcast being only one of them, and I have to write letters/make phone calls to straighten them all out. 

I also have to get to WalMart for some additional yarn to complete the stockings, a coaxial cable for the DVD recorder, and some blank DVDs to record. I want to get anything I really want to keep off of the DVR so I won't be upset about giving it back. And I want to make a stop at Shoppers while I'm out. That means about 2 hours of bus time (not all actually on the bus, but time spent walking to the stop and waiting).

And I have a dentist's appointment tomorrow morning, so any post that I might make will be late. This will be the last appointment (he says) before getting the caps for the front teeth. That will have to wait until they get more funding next summer.

Have a great week!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I Hate Comcast (still, yet)

I started with Comcast as a cable TV provider at the beginning of December in 2006. That's just over two years.

During that time, I had one month (last November) when there wasn't something major wrong with it. Their internet seems to be OK, but their TV is the pits!

During the first year, I kept track of the amount of time (per hour) that they were completely non-functional. It came out to TWO WEEKS! They had a series of small problems too numerous to catalog, along with deciding to put a half hour (with no breaks) of commercials into one show, which meant (since I was watching it later on my DVR) that I didn't get to see the last half of the show. They did that on a regular basis. And they blanked out the closed captioning on several different channels at various times, making them unwatchable for me. They particularly did that to ABC Family for FOUR MONTHS! Right now, they seem to be randomly going to a blank, black screen for 4 to 30 seconds in the middle of various shows. Sometimes several times in one show.

I had Cox Cable for four years, and they may have had a total of half a day out during that time. I had DirecTV for four years, and they had a total of two hours of bad reception, but not out due to bad storms, although they sailed right through some severe hurricanes without so much as a blink.

Getting back to Comcast, since I got cable internet, my monthly bill was $70 per month. Recently they've sneaked that up to a bit over $86 per month. But I discovered when I went to pay my bill that they charged me $268 and change for the past month!

My thoughts on this are that they started charging to pay a bill over the phone through their automated system. But they're not charging to pay a bill over the internet. So, of course, I've been paying over the internet. And for the past three months or so, they've been calling me up about two weeks after I make a payment demanding a payment or they'll turn off my service. I tell them I made a payment, and they say OK, sorry, and things seem to be OK. I suspect that they haven't credited any of the payments I made on the internet. But, come to think of it, when I went to pay it before this, they only asked for the current payment, they didn't say that I hadn't paid the previous month's charge.

If you don't hear from me on my blog, it will be because Comcast and I have come to the parting of the ways.

I am so fed up with them.

Right now, I can't really think of anything else to write about, I'm so angry.

I hope you're having a better day than I am.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Grey Saturday

Last night all the walking and other stuff I've been doing (including dental visits) caught up with me.

The sinus/throat/ear infection with bronchitis that I had last summer and still have in spite of a ludicrously large doctor bill flared up last night. I took some stuff for it, and feel much better after a good night's sleep, although my colitis is still annoyed with me that I did so much walking.

I wanted to go to Michaels to cash in on their sock yarn sale that ends today, but Holly's car still isn't fixed, and I just can't do that much walking at this point without making myself really sick.

I have to walk over to Safeway to get a few things no matter what, though. I do have a supply of Chicken and Stars, but the way I feel, I want some more comfort food. I need to get food no matter what, it's just a matter of choosing things that I'll like better when I'm not feeling well.

But I did get some yarn while I was out on Thursday, and plan to make a hat and mitts. I lost a mitt somewhere in my travels that day, and until I can get to the WalMart that does carry the yarn I want, I won't be able to replace it.

But here's a photo of the mitts so far. One is done, one has the knitting done and needs the ends darned in, and one is just started. I haven't decided how I want to make the hat.


Progress has been made this last week on the second of the commissioned Christmas stockings. Here's the second one almost finished. It just needs the toe and back seam done, darn a few ends and block lightly. The third one will be underway shortly.



*********************

Practical Magic will be on tonight on ABC Family. It's not action/adventure, but it's one of my favorites. When I got my first DVD player, this was the first DVD I bought, and I still love it.

The thing you really don't want to miss this weekend is Harold and Maude, which will be on Turner Classic Movies tomorrow. This was a cult movie that truly deserved it's following.

Another not-to-be-missed event on TV this weekend is two Doctor Who episodes which, together, make up a whole story. BBC in America is showing both of them back-t0-back today, and possibly on Sunday. The two episodes are Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead. They were both written by Steven Moffat, who also wrote the Doctor Who episode, Blink. As usual, he has written horror, but, as usual, it's kind of low-key. But you'll never look at books quite the same way again.

I have to go get some cough drops, and other stuff from the supermarket.

Have a great weekend, and don't miss Harold and Maude and Doctor Who!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Busy Week!

This has been such a busy week!

Monday, I went and did my monthly shopping at WalMart. 

Tuesday and Wednesday there was supposed to be freezing rain all day, so I tried to stay in. Thankfully, the temperatures didn't get down to freezing, so it was just a lot of rain.

Wednesday I had a dentist's appointment, so couldn't manage to stay in. I rushed over there, and the dentist's assistant was out sick, and doing fillings is a two-person job, so they made an appointment for me yesterday.

Yesterday, I went back and had two fillings removed and replaced. Then I walked over to the clinic and picked up my medicine. I had a choice of two bus stops to go to (the clinic is at one point of a triangle between two bus stops at the other two points). I chose to go to CVS for something my local CVS doesn't have and caught the bus nearby.

Then I went to the Post Office to mail a pattern to Germany. The Post Office charged me $1.75 instead of the $30 they said it would cost on their website.

By the time I got out of there, the temperature was dropping (along with the sun) and the wind was picking up. Luckily I didn't have long to wait for the bus, but it was long enough to get really chilled. Then I stopped at JoAnn Fabrics, which was having a fabulous sale. Unfortunately, this particular JoAnn will be moving next month, so they haven't been ordering new anything, so although the prices were great, there wasn't much to buy. I bought a couple of balls of Paton's Classic Wool in the blue rag color. Somewhere in my travels (I think it was at the clinic) I lost one of my mitts, and had to keep my hand in my pocket when I was out for the rest of the trip. I'll get more yarn tomorrow and make a couple more. Normally, I make three at a time, but I ran out of yarn at the end of the second one, and was going to get more tomorrow to make the third one.

Today, I need to take some books back to the Library and pick up a DVD I requested and then stop by Safeway. Oh, and taking down the Christmas decorations might be nice, too, if I get the time.

********************

In between all of this, I managed to almost finish the second Christmas stocking! I'm down to the white part in the toe. I'm hoping to knock out one of these a week if my wrist and hand hold out.

*****************

Right before I left for the dentist yesterday, there was a knock at my door, and the UPS guy delivered my DVD recorder. I didn't have time to do more than open it and marvel at how wonderful it was at the time.

Today, I tried to wade through the instruction manual, and I have to say, that although I was responsible for putting together the instruction manual (and repair manual, wiring diagrams, etc.) for the BMEWS project, this thing is written in gobbledygook! It says that upsampling makes a better picture and you should always use it when playing back DVDs, but it also says that all the outputs from the recorder are disabled if you use upsampling. It also uses lots of words for which it doesn't supply a definition, and is written in the kind of pidgin English that you get from having a native speaker of another language try to translate to English without any knowledge of English grammar.

I also have to read the whole manual and determine what I need to buy to make it work. Some of the cables it says are included don't appear to be there. Plus, I definitely haven't gotten any blank DVDs to record to.

It will be an adventure.

*****************

I've recently discovered something interesting about the current depression. It's been more than a week since the Safeway near me had any Coca Cola in two liter bottles. I asked the manager of the store about it, and she said that they can't get any more than that from the distributer. So, although the store is able to sell two or three times as much Coke as they do, they can't because the distributer won't supply it.

I believe what the manager of the store said because when they are out of Coke, so are all the other supermarkets in the area. And I'll bet that the CEO of Coke is wondering why their sales are half of what they should be.

I've noticed the same pattern with other groceries, too. Stores are out of certain items half the time, and when one is out, they're all out. Which means that those companies could be selling at least twice as much if they made the goods available.

Another point in case is the WalMart near where I live. I suspect that WalMart and Caron made a deal, because the only place that you can buy the new Caron Simply Soft Eco yarn is at WalMart.

Except that you can't buy it at WalMart. The local store put out a limited display of it about three months ago, and promptly sold out almost all of it. End of story. No more has been put out on the shelves. They have an empty section marked for that yarn with only a few balls of yarn left from the original supply.

And the WalMart in Manassas doesn't carry it at all. There aren't even empty shelves for it. If you want to buy it, you have to go to the WalMart in Dumfries. They have a beautiful (usually full) display of beautiful colors available. The display changes, and there is usually a difference in the display that shows that they're stocking the shelves and selling it.

The other WalMarts could be selling it, too, but they don't bother putting it out on the shelves.

What is wrong with American business? I understand that there's a depression on, but these are things they could sell if they bothered to make them available.

********************

As far as science fiction on television is concerned, brace yourself for a roller coaster ride! All the great series are coming back for their midseason premiers this month, and they're showing reruns leading up to the new shows in the meantime.

Next Wednesday evening, ABC will be showing a Lost marathon! That will be preceded, of course, by the usual Lost marathon on the SciFi Channel on Monday evening. And G4 is also showing episodes of Lost almost every day. They really seem to want to get people excited about the premier in a couple of weeks.

USA is having a Psych marathon during the daytime today, in case you're in time to catch the end of it.

And, of course, SciFi is having a Stargate Atlantis marathon every day during their daytime rotation this week in preparation for the season finale tonight, witch will be followed by a new Sanctuary.

Well, I need to get moving. There's lots to do today.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy Distaff Day!

The day after Twelfth Night is Distaff Day, the day that the spinners have to get back to work after their vacation over the twelve days of Christmas. By extension, this is also the day for fiberartists. 

So,
Happy Distaff Day!

I plan to do some spinning later today.

***********************

I had an early appointment today with the dentist. After getting up in the middle of the night (which was still late), I rushed over there only to discover that the dentist's assistant was out sick and they couldn't do the fillings today.

So, I have an appointment for tomorrow afternoon, and instructions to call earlier and make sure that she's back and that they can do the work.

I'm going back to bed!

Have a great Distaff Day!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy Twelfth Night!

Happy Twelfth Night!

During the Middle Ages, Twelfth Night was the big celebration of Christmas. Just like the song The Twelve Days of Christmas. Each day, you'd give everyone a slightly bigger, better present and have a bigger, better feast until on Twelfth Night the festivities climaxed.

For all you fiberartists out there, there's a special Christmas/Twelfth night series of art on The Panopticon, starting here.

***************************

There's supposed to be sub-freezing temperatures today and tomorrow with freezing rain and other miseries today. I went to the store yesterday so I wouldn't have to go out at all today in honor of the festivities.

I have lots of things I need to get out to do, but I'm avoiding them at all costs.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to avoid the visit to the dentist tomorrow. After my last visit, I have little fear of dental work done. He did the worst, and it wasn't bad, so that's not a source of stress. It probably wasn't bad because of the heavy-duty dose of Valium the doctor prescribed and I took pre-appointment. I'm just not looking forward to going there in the freezing rain that will be continuing at that point, and will have had about a day to build up some under-foot problems.

At least I'll wind up with some more teeth that look like original teeth without fillings. I feel like what the doctor is doing is magic. It's really amazing. 

And getting rid of most of the metal in my mouth may actually improve my health.

**************************

The SciFi Channel showed six episodes of Lost yesterday, and I had one additional one from G4 to watch yesterday. That's a total of seven hours of Lost yesterday! All I can say is WOW! I suspect that they're up to season four, but I could be wrong. I think there was an episode that was skipped, but I can't be sure.

I suspect that what they're trying to do is bring everybody up to date for the beginning of the fifth season later this month (Wednesday January 21st).

the SciFi Channel is also having a Stargate Atlantis marathon during the day, every day this week to build up to the season and series finale on Friday. They seem to be skipping around between seasons, though.

Have a great Twelfth Night!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Finished Objects 2008 Part Two

Here is a whole collection of things that I made as a set. It includes a hat (you already saw that), a scarf, three mittens and three boot cuffs. The photo only shows one each of the mittens and boot cuffs.


This finished poncho is now up in my Etsy shop.



And, of course, I finished the covers (back and front) plus the inside covers and two labels for the first volume of the Complete Steve Canyon on TV. You can see the inside cover art here.


I made a glow-in-the-dark Christmas stocking for my Harry Potter school house KAL.


The photo here shows some yarn and one mitt that's finished. I actually finished two more to make a complete set, plus two more out of the black yarn to go with John M's hood.


I know this isn't finished, but here's a glimpse of part of the Celtic sweater I've been working on. There are ends to darn in and blocking before I can sew on the buttons, but it's almost done.


And here is the first of the five stockings I'm doing for a commission (front and back views).



While we're on a Christmas theme, here's the Santa hat I made for myself, and which it turns out I like and have been wearing a lot. I made another one just like it in black for Robin (since that's his favorite color).


And here is the almost finished hood for John M. I neglected to take a photo of it when it was done, but I did finish it in time to give it to him on Christmas.


There are probably a bunch of miscellaneous things that I've knitted but neglected to photograph, too.

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I went to Michaels on the bus yesterday and got to do a lot of walking. Well, it's a lot of walking for me, anyway.

I found some better yarn for the beard and fur on the Christmas stockings, a calendar, and a punch to round corners on paper. Thanks, Malaia and John! But I lost track of time, and left Michaels about the time that I should have been at the bus stop. Since I still had a half mile walk to the bus stop, I didn't make it, and had to wait almost two hours between the two buses (there are far fewer buses on a Saturday). 

This actually turned out to be a good thing because I had time to stop in to Borders and get the Winter issue of Spin Off Magazine.

I left Michaels at 5:30, and got home at about 8:30. 

***********************

I got home and got the news that Malaia had gotten a tattoo. Holly says she has (some of) the words to Amazing Grace tattooed in a spiral around her arm. She also got a rose and a butterfly. She said the rose was for me, and the butterfly was for her mom. I got on Facebook and demanded photos. She wrote back "Photos of what?"

*********************

I hope you all had a chance to see Serenity on the SciFi Channel last night! I love Firefly!

*********************

There is a new post up on the Steve Canyon on DVD blog! Check it out!

I hope you had a great weekend!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

It's 2009!

Once again, Happy New Year!

To catch up on old business, I did go to the dentist on Tuesday. He was hoping to remove and replace two fillings, but only had time for one.

The Novocaine worked exactly the way it was supposed to, and there was no pain. Well, there was no pain until it wore off and I discovered that I had bitten my tongue.

It's really odd how I feel about all this. The tooth used to look like it had a filling. Now it just looks like a new tooth. All in all, it was a good trip to the dentist with almost no stress.

*******************

Here's an update on more old news: Robin took the car to be fixed, the repair place kept it for two days and charged her $22 to tell her that they couldn't fix it. She's not happy, and neither am I. She's going to try to find a repair place that will fix it tomorrow, but it seems unlikely.

Whether the car is fixed or not, the trip for Saturday is off because she's going somewhere with Malaia.

************************

Yesterday was not only quite cold, but also windy. Just short of qualifying for hurricane velocity, in fact. There was one local man killed by a falling tree and one child hit by a falling tree who was in the hospital in critical condition last night. The news showed photos of several area vehicles smashed under fallen trees.

Considering that the temperature only got a couple of degrees above freezing yesterday, the wind chill made me glad to stay at home all day and evening.

********************

I'll be posting about the rest of my finished objects for 2008 real soon now.

In the meantime, I hope you've been enjoying this year!

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