Friday, September 30, 2005

Hello from Milwaukee

No movies. No photos. I'm lucky just to BE here. We arrived here at the hotel at 5 a.m., after an intermittently harrowing flight and an emergency landing in Albuquerque. But we're here and I expect to fall asleep during the play we are going to see in a couple of hours.

I tried to send an audio message from Milwaukee when we arrived, but it kept being recorded garbled, so that didn't work.

I'm taking lots of photos and some video, but until I get home, I suspect I'm not going to be able to process them because the set-up in our hotel room is so inconvenient (at least I get free internet access in the "business center" which is open 24 hrs a day.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Audio messages en route

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#3

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#2

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#1

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A Belated Introduction


Awhile back, I mentioned that I had started a yahoo group for beginning Vloggers. It hasn't been very active, but today someone suggested that we each post an introduction of ourselves, answering some questions about how we started with vlogging, what kind of equipment we use, what we hope to get out of this, etc.

This movie is what I came up with. I had to do it quickly, because I was going off to review a show, then home to write the review, and tomorrow pack getting ready for our trip, so I knew there wouldn't be any time if I didn't do it immediately.

I'm kind of tickled with this video, though, because while most of it was shot with my camcorder, a piece in the middle was shot with my digital camera (so I could take a picture of the camcorder). That movie was in a different format, so it meant I had to convert it and then figure out how to get it in the movie.

I made one big mistake, but didn't have time to go back and change it. The volume on the inserted movie was MUCH louder than the rest. I should have adjusted the volume, but owell. I remember that for the next time!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

New Toy!

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Fairytale Wedding


Well, I actually didn't take a single photo today. Not a photo, not an inch of video. Just buried my nose in my computer and tried to get some work done.

So in the meantime, I've posted a brief clip from Tom and Laurel's wedding 2 years ago. It was a lovely wedding. Laurel was gorgeous. Jeri and Ned played the music and then the soloist was Marta, singing a song from "Phantom of the Opera," with Ned on the drums and another friend on keyboard.

So in this clip, you get to see the bride and groom and get a taste of what a gorgeous voice Marta has.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It was nice while it lasted

It lasted 10 years. And it was a wonderful ride.

Lawsuit started in 1986 and ended on New Year's Eve in 1996. During that time it grew from 4 guys to 10 (sometimes exactly 12). It produced 3 terrific CDs and a tape. It played up and down California, always to excited crowds. Record companies were interested, but their music was so varied and esoteric that they couldn't fit into any niche so they never got offered a recording contract. It was a terrific ride and I wouldn't have missed it.

We went to as many concerts as we could. I genuinely liked the music. Grandmothers liked the music. Little kids liked the music. College kids liked the music. High school kids liked the music.

I don't have a way of copying videotapes well, other than just recording them with a camera off of the television set. But I did want to share a couple of Lawsuit numbers because I'm still, nearly 10 years later, so damn proud of what the kids accomplished (Paul was the lead singer; Ned was the drummer; Jeri played sax, clarinet and flute; Marta played trombone and did some vocals). This isn't the best quality video, but it is from my favorite concert, where they filled an area that included people climbing up into trees and hanging off the balconies on the three story building. I took this video and spent more time filming the crowd than the band itself. But if you stick with it, it will give you a feel for what it was like to be at a Lawsuit concert.

Monday, September 26, 2005

BLOGGER IS DRIVING ME NUTS!!!!

It took a whole day before the photo from the latest video to upload, but now the link to it and to all the other videos seems to have disappeared. Even though the code is right, the link ends up linking to the photo, not the video. I thought it was something wrong with this particular video but when I went and checked the photos for all the videos I've uploaded thus far (which, prior to today, all linked to the video itself) and ALL of them now link to the photo, not the video.

I hope that blogger gets its sh*t together soon.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A test


Well, we'll see if somehow a photo comes through on this when I post it. I've tried three times; each time Blogger says the photo has uploaded, each time it's not there. So again, there are problems.

(--- Well, it took a whole day, but the photo finally uploaded, but the link still wont work, though it's programmed into the HTLM. Go figure.)

The point of this video was to do a test, to combine still photos with video. I chose a game of miniature golf that we played right before I left Australia because I knew that I had video and I only had a few photos. The test worked just fine and I'm happy with it, but I don't think I'll be doing slide shows like this any more. I generally use Pictures to EXE for slide shows and the photos are much clearer in that format (of course they are also more difficult to share with the world at large). So many choices!

Just in the nick of time.

Well, I just had a feeling.

The one problem with having a video camera is that without someone to help you film, you're pretty much stuck with what you can do either holding the camera or mounting it on a tripod. None of that "following the action" sort of stuff.

Last night I was thinking how cute the dogs were when they follow me around as I get their meals ready. Especially Sheila and her "happy dance." But the three little black bodies trailing along behind me was just...cute. Well, to me anyway.

So this morning, I had Walt film the brief feeding session...the ending of which was definitely not planned or anticipated!...and as it turned out, it was the last film for Pepper, who went off to the Adopt-a-thon in Sacramento today and found someone who wanted to adopt him and give him a lap, like he's had mine.

I was surprised to find myself a bit misty-eyed when I got into my recliner tonight and nobody immediately jumped into my lap. Walt offered, but I told him he wasn't little and cute. (He took offense at that comment)

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Put a sock in it


This whole video blogging thing is becoming an obsession. Part of my brain seems to be thinking about it all the time.

Someone recently referred to me as the "Andy Rooney of vlogging." Well....Andy has a lot more experience (and a lot more talent), but I find that I am starting to look at the little irritations of life and talk about them.

So here ya are--read about my frustration with socks. Riveting material. Not.

Friday, September 23, 2005

D.I.L.O. - September 2005

Four times a year, Flickr has a Day In the Life Of, where we record, photographically, what we do during the day. This time around, I figured that since I was taking photos, I might as well take video too. Talk about overkill. (It makes a D.I.L.O. a full time job, lemme tell you!)

My one regret is that I had inadvertently set the manual controls on the camcorder without realizing it--and then by the time I found out, I was out running around and didn't have the manual with me, so it was at the end of the day before I figured that out, hence some bits of the clip are kind of blurry.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Zebra and I


I told this story in my journal a few years ago, but I decided it might be fun to do it visually...kind of live, up close and personal, as it were! It was fun to do.

Today I started a conflagration, innocently. I tried to start a yahoo group for beginning vloggers and was surprised at the kind of sarcastic and somewhat angry comments it created in the original videoblogging group. You'd think I was trying to stage a coup or something. Heck, all I wanted to do was to hang out with a few non-geeks so we could make stupid comments and not feel that we were going to be viewed as idiots.

Believe me, I won't make that mistake again!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Of purses and vlogging


Well, this video clip is a bit long, but haven't you always wanted to know what was in a woman's purse? If you'd prefer to watch the streaming version, it can be found here.

Some time ago, I joined a yahoo group for videoblogging. The information was mostly more technical than I could follow, but occasionally I could pick up a tip or two. But very rapidly, it escalated waaaaay beyond my ability to comprehend.

At one point I suggested starting a complementary group for beginners, but people seemed to think that those of us just starting would learn by listening to the more advanced people discuss. Well, that's all well and good if you are speaking the same language, but half the time I can't even begin to understand the nature of the subject matter, much less the discussion itself. So today I started the complementary group that I suggested before. I had my first member literally 30 seconds after I posted a notice in the original group and another member within an hour after that, so this tells me that I'm not the only one floundering here.

So we'll see what happens and if we actually learn something from each other, so that we can continue to read the more advanced messages and start to understand them.

Anybody interested in joining the beginners' group can find it at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Vblog

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

City of Bicycles


Well, if last night's video clip was too long, this one may be too short! After I got back from Australia two years ago, I came home with the idea that I would make a "Davis video" to show Peggy's friends Janne and Chris about the city that I live in. I started out great, with the clip about our house. Then I went up to where our city symbol sits and took a bit of a clip there.

Unfortunately, the video died at this point. First, the camera developed problems and I ended up getting a new one. Then, I was going to go over the video with Janne and Chris when I returned to Australia, which I then decided not to do. So all that remains is this very short clip of the city bicycle sculpture and the street on which it sits. (You may have to look closely to actually SEE the penny farthing bike there).

Monday, September 19, 2005

Still a kid at heart

I got a love for Hollywood-type award shows when I was about 10 years old and we got our first TV set. I remember the first Oscar telecast that we watched. I still remember that there was a big multi-tiered rotating stage (looked like a wedding cake) on which sat all the stars who had won Oscars previously. I remember it vividly because at the time I really had a "thing" for Loretta Young and I can still see her sitting on that rotating cake.

But since then I've religiously tuned in for the Oscars, and then the Emmys and now the Tonys as well. Some people have award parties, but I just sit at home, usually by myself (if Walt is at home, often he is working upstairs). Tonight I was alone in the house--just me and the three dogs--so I decided to make a video to record the highlights of the show. I did miss the segment of Donald Trump in overalls singing "Green Acres" with Megan Mullally, but got the parts that I liked best, with my voiceover commentary, and occasionally on-screen comment. I don't know how good the video is, but it was fun to make, anyway!

YouTube Link (streaming)

It was a fun Emmy broadcast for me because since we've had the DVR, I find I've watched more of the "oddball" things that I've missed in past years (because I set the DVR to record them when I first hear about them, so I don't have to worry about remembering to watch when they come along!). I didn't see ALL the nominees and/or winners, but more than in previous years.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Dog Day Afternoon

Pepper went back to the SPCA display at Petco on Saturday for a second attempt at finding him a home. He gets more and more attached to me and he was definitely not happy to be put in a cage and have me walk away.

Ashley had asked me to take pictures of some of the dogs and every time I passed Pepper's cage, he set up a pathetic howl and tried to climb the wire mesh to get out of the cage.

I came home and around 5, Ashley returned with Pepper, who had not found a home and will be here for at least another week. He greeted me with a tail that was wagging a mile a minute and the kinds of vocalizations he hasn't made since he first arrived here, as if to ask me why I went off and left him in that awful place. He climbed into my lap, gave a huge sigh and fell asleep happily.

The dog has become much too happy here. (And I find myself surprised that I don't mind.)

You Tube Link (streaming)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Frustration with Blogger

Well, I'm frustrated with Blogger. The photo I put on yesterday's entry disappeared and Blogger won't recognize it when I attempt to re-load. And now it won't recognize the photo I am trying to upload today either. It is to this video, wherein we learn that I will never be a true video blogger because (a) I take crappy video, (b) I'm too inhibited to actually point a camera in someone's face and ask them stuff, and (c) I won't even take a video if I know someone is watching me. That does limit one's subject matter, as the picture on this link would show you, if Blogger had chosen to display it!

I did, however, spend quite a long time on the editing process before uploading the 29 MB file (if you have flash, you might want to watch it here instead, since it will then stream and begin immediately.

Follow all my exciting and poorly filmed adventures from today.

Susan of KityKity commented about my comfort level in front of the camera. There is a very good reason for that. Our kids began taking home movies before we had a video camera, so I've had a camera pointed in my face for the better part of 30 years, and you do get more comfortable with it, at least when you're facing home movies!

You Tube Link (streaming)

Friday, September 16, 2005

More playing



There are several reasons for this otherwise reason-less video (for some reason, Blogger won't upload the photo, though I know it was there last night...but you can link on the words instead.

1) I'm still experimenting with the camcorder;

2) I'm also trying to learn WindowsMedia--the various special effects, how to put a movie together, how to trim video clips, how to add a soundtrack, how to work with transitions and titles. That sort of stuff;

3) To show anybody who watches these videos how cute Pepper is. He's growing on me (don't tell anybody I said that); and finally

4) To show off my daughter. For those who don't know, Jeri received a degree in composing and arranging from Berklee College of Music in Boston. She was one of the "old" students. Most of the student body is made up of kids just out of high school, who come with their guitars and want to be rock stars. Jeri had already received a theatre arts degree from UC Santa Barbara and her Masters Degree in Design from UC Davis, but she also wanted a music degree, so she went to Berklee and graduated, specializing in composing and arranging. (One of my proudest moments was going to Boston and watching Jeri conduct an orchestra and singers performing her own composition!).

Anyway, after graduation, they invited her to stay on at Berklee and teach a couple of classes in composing and arranging. That was four years ago. She now teaches several classes there and this summer taught an on-line course. And she also continues to compose and arrange music. The background for this video clip is a short piece that she composed and arranged and recorded on her home computer, with herself playing all of the parts.

This entry itself is longer than the video clip!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Kindness of Strangers

One nice thing about the Internet Community is that everybody is so helpful. I've been trying to figure out this "RSS feed" business. The video sites that I post to have them automatically, so people can subscribe and find out when I post some of my incredibly professional videos (that's a joke, son), so that was OK. But trying to figure out how to get the proper "buttons" on here for the two or three people who might want to subscribe to Funny the Vlog (note the new name) was giving this old brain fits.

Along comes Susan of KityKity's Vlog who walked me through the steps and--voilĂ ! There I am, out of my difficulties at once. So everybody go over to KityKity and look at the cute videos of her kids and appreciate her singing talent, and say thanks from me!

(I also wonder if somewhere down the line we are related...or her husband and I are related...since we share a family name!)

Mail Call

It used to be my favorite time of the day: the arrival of the mailman. When I was a kid in SF, we were the third stop on the mailman's route. I'd sit in the window and watch him get off the bus and head down the hill...mail for Leah, mail for Irma & Joe, mail for us. I had penpals in those days. I used to contact a Mrs. Chegwidden who would set me up with some girl in England. I looked forward to my letters.

At Christmas it was great because sometimes the mail might come two or three times a day. A real bonus!

When we first lived in Davis, we hosted foreign students and everybody wrote to us when they got home. There was a time when our mailman (in the days when we knew who our mailman was) told me I got more foreign mail than anybody in Davis. That may have been true, because once a girl in Brasil sent a letter to "Mrs. Beverly, Davis, CA" and I got it.

(years later, I sent a note to "Longs Drug Store, Covell and Sycamore, Davis" and it was returned because I didn't have a street number on it!)

Nowadays, though, I get instant gratification for mail and it all comes in e-mail so now 99% of the mail that shows up in the mailbox is bills and junk mail. The junk mail can be overwhelming. This clip shows a "light" day!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Live Teddy Bears

Ned's mother-in-law raises chows and last Christmas (or maybe it was the Christmas before--I can't remember), her bitch had a new litter of pups. (Little did I realize then how much time I'd be spending with puppies in the foreseeable future!)

These little guys were 6 weeks old and she had fixed up a huge enclosure for them, draped with sheets, so they could sleep undisturbed.

We, of course, all wanted to play with the puppies and so we all had to wash our hands and then sit in a circle on a clean sheet on the kitchen floor. They were, of course, adorable. But in light of my life this past year, I have to laugh to compare how careful we had to be with these 6 week old puppies to how I treat the 2-3 day old puppies that I bottlefeed! When I think about how careful we were with the chows, it's amazing that I haven't killed any SPCA puppies!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Houston, we have lift-off!

Thanks to Ned's best friend, Greg, I can now attach my camcorder to the computer, upload a movie, and play around with it with Windows MovieMaker. You're in for it now.

This particular movie, the first shot with the camcorder, is really pretty boring. I decided to take some movies when I went down to have lunch with my mother. It was going to be wonderfully clever and informative, show you lots of interesting spots between Davis and San Rafael. But in the end...it's just pretty crappy.

But it's done and it's a start. And I'm pleased that the quality of the movies is better than those taken with the digital camera. Now if only I can find something interesting to film, the quality of this vlog might actually improve.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Childhood Revisited

Like a lot of mothers, over the course of our children's growing-up, I saved a lot of the pictures, stories, school projects, etc. that they did. What didn't get posted on the refrigerator door got put in boxes or file folders in a file cabinet.

The file cabinet then got "buried." There was so much furniture in my tiny office that you could only get to the top two drawers. It wasn't until we did a gigantic reorganization of the office that I was able to free up the bottom 3 drawers and have a chance to go through them.

I found stuff I hadn't seen in 20 years, stuff I'd always meant to give back to the kids when they grew up. So a couple of Christmases ago, I made up a big box for each of them, since I didn't want to just throw all of these "valuable" things away, but I also was trying to declutter, somewhat, and didn't want to keep them.

With a heavy heart, I did toss Paul's and David's, but for the other three, I made a box to give them each at Christmas. Tom and Laurel weren't going to be making it to Christmas with us that year, so I gave Tom his box at Thanksgiving. It was fun watching him go through it and Laurel seeing it all for the first time.

The book Laurel reads is really kind of funny. Tom has the soul of a Virgo and was always trying to keep things neat in this always-messy house, so this story is particularly appropriate!

What's funny is that Tom found a math paper which had a bad grade on it and his uncle Norm starts giving him a hard time about it. Tom was so indignant about it that he did some further investigation and proved that it wasn't HIS paper, but Paul's.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Pepper

I can't seem to get away from black dogs. You should see the black hair I sweep up off the Pergo every day!

Pepper is very cute, but I suspect it's going to take him a little time to find a family. There are several chihuahua mixes up for adoption now and, alas, he's not the cutest of the bunch. He's also older than the others (they figure about 7).

He also seems to have bonded with me. I gave him to Ashley at Petco and she put him in one of the fenced off sections and every time he saw me (I was photographing some of the other dogs for the web page) he would let out this blood-curdling howl and try to climb the fence to get to me. When Ashley brought him home this evening, he was absolutely thrilled and spent most of the evening sleeping in my lap--he's even figured out how to jump up with the footrest raised, which he didn't seem to be able to do last night. So I guess he's adopted me...I just hope he finds a home soon, though he's an easy dog to have around. He's a sweet little thing--want a chihuahua mix?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Suppertime!

The one thing that I don't like about my new Pergo floor is that it has hampered Sheila's happy "suppertime" dance, but I was glad that I got it (mostly) recorded while she still did it. (Now her feet slip on the Pergo, so she's much more cautious when she gets fed.)

I had Walt feed her while I took this video. She doesn't get as excited when he feeds her as when I do, so this is a more calm version of the Suppertime Dance. But this is something she worked out by herself. I never trained her to go and sit by her feeding spot and wait for me to bring her dinner to her. She still does that. No matter how many other dogs I have to feed first, she sits there and waits till it's her turn--and then does the happy dance when she can see that it's about time for her bowl to be put down.

Friday, September 09, 2005

You can take the girl out of the city....

Though I don't think I could ever be a "city girl" again (it took about 15 years before I settled into suburban life), there is still nothing I love better than visiting somewhere where I can look out on a view of San Francisco.

I took this brief clip when we were at dinner in Sausalito last night and it makes me look forward to when I can actually move movies from the DV camcorder onto my computer (hopefully this weekend). This is an OK movie, but I suspect it would be much better if I had been able to use the camcorder.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Shhh...be very quiet

Some city workers just knocked on my door. I think.

I thought I heard a knock and Sheila started barking her head off. I went to the peep hole in the door and saw someone I didn't recognize in a uniform, but I still was wearing on my nightgown, so I didn't answer the door.

See, the thing is that on my door is a sign which says "If I'm working in the back of the house I may not hear you; use the door knocker and knock LOUDLY."

If this guy knocked (and I assume he did, because I really did think I heard something), he knocked very, very softly. Now. My question is--if you expect someone to answer the door, why do you knock as if you're afraid you'll wake someone up? It was 7:30 a.m., so it was logical to think that the household might be sleeping (though I'd been up since 5), but still--either you don't want to wake people up, or you do, so why be so very polite about it?

Dear Old Mom

I spent an entry on Walt's mother, now it's time to introduce my own mother. She celebrated her 86th birthday yesterday and today I'm taking her out to dinner to celebrate (I was going to take her out yesterday, but she got confused and thought we were going to lunch, so made plans with some friends to go out to dinner).

My mother is a pretty amazing woman. She has outlived all but one of her 9 siblings (all of whom died of lung-related illnesses). Her younger sister still lives, but is in an Alzheimer's facility. My mother, though now showing more memory lapses (like forgetting our discussion about what time we were going to dinner yesterday), is still often more bright and alert than I am.

She belongs to several groups, and volunteers at the Hospice of Marin thrift shop twice a week. Her social calendar has no blank days in it. You can hardly add a new activity because it's so full of lunches and dinners and fund-raising events, and mah-jong games and theatre shows to attend. It makes me tired just reading it.

My mother, no matter how old she gets, chronologically will never be "old." She keeps her mind active by constantly working jigsaw puzzles. She reads every newspaper from front to back.

She's a fantastic grandmother with a wonderful relationship with her grandchildren.

I am so very lucky to have her in my life, and so fortunate to be able to say that in addition to being my mother, she is also my best friend.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Making History


There have been one or two times in my life when I've been witness to history, and yesterday was one of them. I've told the story here

This morning I put the video together and realized how much I need to get that camcorder up and running. For an event like this, the movie function on a digital camera just doesn't do it justice.

Since we were not allowed to bring cameras into the assembly, I took some footage out of the television coverage.

It is impossible to describe what a roller coaster of emotions yesterday was...and I can't even begin to imagine what it was like for those who have waited so long for the opportunity to marry (31 years for Shelly & Ellen, 34 years for another couple from Grass Valley, for example!)

Monday, September 05, 2005

Amazing Lady

This brief clip was taken a couple of months after Walt's mother's 90th birthday party (she's 92 now). She could still see a bit then and was trying to see the photos from her party. Sitting to her left is our daughter-in-law, and sitting in the other couch is my sister-in-law (Walt's brother's wife).

Alice (Walt's mother) has always amazed me. She was widowed when Walt, the oldest, was 15. She worked to support her three kids, and once the last one flew the coop, she set out to see the world. Literally. She's been through the Panama Canal, ridden a camel in Egypt, climbed Mayan ruins in Mexico, took a cruise around South America, visited all the European countries, took a cruise down the Rhine River, and down the Volga River. At 82, she took a trip on the Orient Express, which had only recently been refurbished and was running again. She visited parts of China that had never seen Caucasian people before, washed out her linens in the sink in her hotel room.

She has an inquisitive mind and used to read everything (now she has to rely on what is available on tape). I've always admired her greatly.

Marathon???

The Food Network says it's having a "Labor Day marathon," meaning that they are showing back-to-back cooking programs.

Uh.

When do they NOT show back-to-back cooking programs???

Don Juan

Well, if you live long enough, you finally get to experience (almost) anything.

This morning I got my first obscene phone call. A guy who said he was "Don Juan," and that he wanted to tell me how beautiful and sexy I am.

I almost laughed when I hung up on him. I wonder if he could have seen the person he was speaking to if he would have continued to tell me how beautiful and sexy I am!

I feel like I've "arrived." I was able to hang up on an obscene caller.

Grandma's Birthday

Walt's mother turned 92 this week. She's slowing down and her macular degeneration hampers her ability to get around as well as she used to, but she's still going strong.

When she turned 90, we had a big surprise party for her and the highlight of the party was this song, composed by Tom and Walt's sister's boyfriend (the two guys with the guitars). They called themselves "Joe and the Matriarchal Remnants" and each of her kids had a verse to sing. This is just a brief clip of the chorus.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Grand Tour

I drove around Davis today, taking what I've come to call "Tour of Memorials to the Dead Sykes Children of Davis" which I give to unsuspecting folks who come to visit us.

It's not that the kids were all that special, but we live in a relatively small town and with all the stuff we've been involved with over the years, we just kind of have a "known" presence that resulted in all these memorials to the kids. After all these years, it has become a comforting tour for me to take, rather than the emotional tour that it used to be.

The story of the grave marker, which I mention on the "tour" can be found here.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Looking for a Home

Trixie is still very skittish. She was happier last night sleeping safely in her cage, rather than out in the family room.

This morning I was supposed to take her to the Farmers' Market to the SPCA booth and hope she'd find a home. Naturally, I mis-read Ashley's e-mail and spent 15 minutes waiting at Petco instead of the Farmers' Market. But we eventually got there and she began to relax a little, especially with the little kids.

I left her there and went off, later to be called by Ashley to say that she has found a home, but the family won't be able to take her until tomorrow, so she'll spend one more night with us, but this cute little girl is going to a good family. I'm very pleased.

(Trixie's new name is Abby)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Dear Mr. Bush

A letter from Michael Moore...

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

Dear Mr. Bush:

Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.

Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?

Last Thursday I was in south Florida and sat outside while the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over my head. It was only a Category 1 then but it was pretty nasty. Eleven people died and, as of today, there were still homes without power. That night the weatherman said this storm was on its way to New Orleans. That was Thursday! Did anybody tell you? I know you didn't want to interrupt your vacation and I know how you don't like to get bad news. Plus, you had fundraisers to go to and mothers of dead soldiers to ignore and smear. You sure showed her!

I especially like how, the day after the hurricane, instead of flying to Louisiana, you flew to San Diego to party with your business peeps. Don't let people criticize you for this -- after all, the hurricane was over and what the heck could you do, put your finger in the dike?

And don't listen to those who, in the coming days, will reveal how you specifically reduced the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for New Orleans this summer for the third year in a row. You just tell them that even if you hadn't cut the money to fix those levees, there weren't going to be any Army engineers to fix them anyway because you had a much more important construction job for them -- BUILDING DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ!

On Day 3, when you finally left your vacation home, I have to say I was moved by how you had your Air Force One pilot descend from the clouds as you flew over New Orleans so you could catch a quick look of the disaster. Hey, I know you couldn't stop and grab a bullhorn and stand on some rubble and act like a commander in chief. Been there done that.

There will be those who will try to politicize this tragedy and try to use it against you. Just have your people keep pointing that out. Respond to nothing. Even those pesky scientists who predicted this would happen because the water in the Gulf of Mexico is getting hotter and hotter making a storm like this inevitable. Ignore them and all their global warming Chicken Littles. There is nothing unusual about a hurricane that was so wide it would be like having one F-4 tornado that stretched from New York to Cleveland.

No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh! Race has nothing -- NOTHING -- to do with this!

You hang in there, Mr. Bush. Just try to find a few of our Army helicopters and send them there. Pretend the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are near Tikrit.

Yours,

Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
www.MichaelMoore.com

P.S. That annoying mother, Cindy Sheehan, is no longer at your ranch. She and dozens of other relatives of the Iraqi War dead are now driving across the country, stopping in many cities along the way. Maybe you can catch up with them before they get to DC on September 21st.

Letting it all hang out

I have, from time to time, posted photos in my Journal which show bits and pieces of my office, but couldn't get a proper angle to show the size and condition of the office in all its glory.

So with video available, I can let it all hang out, so to speak, and give you a feeling for just how small, cramped, and cluttered the office really is. I keep thinking that if this office were twice as large as it is, I could actually be organized.

But I know that would never happen.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Be It Ever So Humble...

Soon our house/yard will look like this, as summer comes to an end and autumn begins. I took this movie clip a year or so ago, when the leaves were beginning to fall. It was to show the folks back in Australia where I lived, but obviously the street has not changed much since then!

This is called the "city of bicycles" (though I suspect we are less inundated with them now than we were when we moved here, as more and more people are driving instead of biking). You get a taste of that during the brief film.

Also, the red car in the driveway belonged to David. It still runs. The ultimate irony was that the week after he died and we brought the car up here to our house, someone stole the stereo out of the car. The dashboard is all torn up, but the car is so old, it's not worth fixing. Walt drives it occasionally. I do when I absolutely have no other choice, but I wouldn't dare take it out on the highway.