Saturday, December 31, 2005

How to Wash a Dog

How to Wash a Dog
Originally uploaded by basykes
This is a video from 1967 of Walt trying to give our dog, Ho Chi Mutt (what can I say? It was the Vietnam era) a bath.

Mutt wasn't liking it.

Friday, December 30, 2005

What did YOU get?

Originally uploaded by basykes
This is the "gift opening" portion of our Christmas evening. As a general rule, we didn't do the usual "scarf" or "sweater" kind of Christmas gifts. This video is just the highlights.

The nice thing about this Christmas was that it was so low key. In other years we have had an embarrassment of riches, mountains of gifts (since there were so many more people). This year each person had one or two gifts to open and it seemed much more civilized and not so over the top.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Originally uploaded by basykes
I had a crisis last night and discovered just how strong my addiction really is.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Toys and Poliltics

Toys and Poliltics
Originally uploaded by basykes
I never realized that Sheila and Latte had such strong political opinions. Since they are dogs, they mostly seem content to listen to news reports without actually commenting.

But when they received toys for Christmas, suddenly their true colors--and beliefs--came out. Watch for yourself and see if you don't agree.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Night

Originally uploaded by basykes
Some families sit around and discuss politics, current events, religion, sports and all sort of interesting topics. Our family? We sit around and learn interesting facts about poop.

This is Part 1 of our Christmas celebration, all the stuff up to dinner. The gift opening part will be in the second video, which I'll post tomorrow.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas with the InLaws

Originally uploaded by basykes
We began having dinner with Ned's inlaws the year Paul died, when they very graciously invited us to join them at a time they knew was going to be very difficult for us. We've just continued to join them each year. Ned's mother-in-law always makes burritos and then afterwards there is music...of some sort. The past two years there was a chorus of kazoos. This year, I got a bit more organized'll see....

Also this was the first year that Jeri's new beau, Phil, joined us for both Christmas eve and Christmas day.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


Originally uploaded by basykes
Every year in Davis, there is a holiday dinner which is held for anybody who is alone, or homeless or who just wants to join with other people for a holiday dinner. There are over 500 people served, and all the food is donated by members of the community or by local merchants. For the last several years, my friends Ellen and Shelly have organized it. This year they asked me to be the event photographer.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Grinch's Christmas

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?
It came without pressure! It came without stress!
"It came without company, tension or mess!"
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe crisis," he thought, "doesn't come from without.
"Maybe just always about"

Will you just go away and leave me ALONE!!" I shrieked at the dogs. They had permanently attached themselves to my legs even moreso than usual. I couldn't go anywhere without them having to be touching me. It was worse than having toddlers again. They lay on my feet, they leaned heavily on my legs. I wanted to give both of them a good swift kick, but of course I couldn't do that.

I got the trifle I had made yesterday out of the fridge, whipped up the cream and spread it on top. Then I tried covering it with some of that press-and-seal wrap, but discovered the "stick to everything" wrap would not stick to the moist bowl fresh from the fridge.

I wanted to throw it across the room.

What was wrong? This is a tension-less Christmas. No company to worry about. Just the same people who are here all the time and know this house intimately, clean or dirty. It's going to be a small dinner, and it will pretty much cook itself.

Why are my insides churning like they do every other, stress-filled Christmas?

A package arrived from my internet buddy Doug, in Rhode Island. He is determined to get me into a chat group for video bloggers and I am hopeless at getting the computer to recognize a microphone. I have had geek experts from all corners of the globe, literally, giving me advice for how to get a microphone--any microphone--to work and so far nothing has worked. All of my volumes are at the top, none of my mutes are muted, today Andy had me install software. I tried three different programs, including one called "funny voice," but none of them realized that I had a microphone.

The Windows help screens tell me that if I'm having problem, I should make sure to check that my microphone is plugged in and working...but it doesn't tell me what to do if it's plugged in and not working. My XP for dummies doesn't even address the issue of microphones, much less acknowledge that there might be a problem with them.

I realize that a good part of my grinchiness comes from the frustration over the microphone, which I thought would really work this time.

But it's more than that. There is this huge ball of MOM'S ANNUAL CHRISTMAS CRISIS just sitting there in the pit of my stomach, just like I were going to be hosting a dinner for 24.

It seems that no matter what I do, or don't do, I am doomed to go through my Christmas crisis. It's just part of the annual tradition.

You don't suppose that having two people who are supposed to be here and aren't has anything to do with it, do you?



Originally uploaded by basykes
I actually posted the first part of this video a few weeks ago, but after finding the second part and videotaping it last night, I put both halves together into one glorious whole.

These are movies, taken in in 1970, 71 and 72 of my friend Char and I and combined 10 children and an annual incident after Halloween, where Char and I would bake pies and then in year 1 I threw one in her face, year 2 she threw one in my face, and year #3 the kids demanded their turn.

Part 2 starts out as kind of anticlimactic, but when you have 10 kids with 10 pumpkin pies, the action very rapidly builds.

Friday, December 23, 2005


Originally uploaded by basykes
We found a neighborhood that had chosen a decorating theme, Gingerbread men on Broadway and all the houses were decorated with that theme in mind (some better than others). As this was a retirement community, and it was 9 p.m., many of the houses had already turned off their lights (old poops), but I did manage to get a fair representation of the area.

It just needs a little love

A Charlie Brown Tree
Originally uploaded by basykes
Today we decorated our tree. In past years, we have gotten big, full, bushy trees, but with no kids at home, and so few people (7) here for Christmas dinner, somehow having the big fancy tree didn't seem necessary, so this year we went for a Charlie Brown tree, that seemed to need a little love.

We may not have beautiful themed trees like those we saw at Macy*s, but every thing that hangs on our tree has a meaning behind it, no matter how weird it may seem to other people!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Shhh...don't tell anybody

Shhh...don't tell anybody
Originally uploaded by basykes
...wherein I reveal the secret of what I'm getting for my family for Christmas. Most of the people I buy gifts for don't or can't watch these videos, and the couple who might are not discussed in this video. But it was fun making a video about what I got for people.

Flash version is here
Blip version is here

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Have a Politically Correct Whatever

Have a Politically Correct Whatever
Originally uploaded by basykes
(for some reason, this video loads slowly, so be patient--I think it's because I tacked on an extra movie, made in 2003, at the very end of it....but it seemed appropriate to the video!)

This is a difficult time to send people good wishes. You never know when it's not going to be politically correct. I started to make this video and realized that I have a whole system for how I send out cards, who gets what, what the card look like when it arrives, etc.

Here is the flash link
This is the link to Blip.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Originally uploaded by basykes
I love rain. I love being inside on a rainy day. Always have. At this time of year, a rainy day reminds me of living back in San Francisco again.

Blip is not allowing me to post movies tonight (I've been reading about problems all day long), but I did get a flash version posted to You Tube.

Monday, December 19, 2005


Originally uploaded by basykes
We went to a wedding of a guy who works in Walt's office. It was a lovely wedding, though the ceremony was mostly in Chinese (don't know if it was Mandarin or Cantonese)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Must. Have. Coffee

Originally uploaded by basykes
We had a blackout this morning. BEFORE I'd had my coffee. I'm posting this now to test out the movie-posting feature of Daily Motion. I'd love to get feedback from everyone, if you can see the imbeded video or if you can't.


I'll tell you--I'm wondering what kind of audience I have out there. This is the caption I put on this photo: I finally have gone through some of the video I made at Thanksgiving and have put together another couple of videos. This one is the conversation and preparation that went on pre-dinner. See what Ned and his grandmother are chatting about--you'll be very surprised (she's not such a sweet old lady!)

Now. When I check my stats on Blip-TV, I generally have about 30 hits per video that I upload. But this video has, as of this writing, had 852 hits. EIGHT HUNDRED FIFTY-TWO hits! What are they expecting to find in Ned's conversation with his grandmother?????

Yeah, it's not your typical grandma-grandson conversation, but she doesn't rip off her clothes and ravage him on the kitchen floor or anything like that! I suspect there were an awful lot of disappointed viewers!

Flash version is here.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

2005 Remix

I suppose I'm a couple of weeks early for an "end of the year" retrospective, but I got this idea today for what I wanted to do and ended up working on it so intensely that it was 1 p.m. before I even looked up. I had skipped lunch and didn't remember anything about any morning television.

In the end, I was pleased with how it came out. It's a mix of photos and movies and it seems to go together logically, at least in my own mind. I think that I hope I can do something a bit better next year, if I'm still keeping a video-a-day.

The Flash version is here.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Gold Rush Days

One thing about living in California, we do have our "western" history. Old Sacramento, a special area set aside on the outskirts of Sacramento itself, has been maintained as a national historic monument, and kept looking much as it did when it was the last outpost before miners went up into the hills to search for gold.

Old Sacramento is also where the Pony Express began (did you know it only ran for 18 months?).

In the summertime, "Gold Rush Days" are held over a weekend in Old Sacramento and these are pictures which I took this past year when we happened to stumble upon the event. This is a slide show, not a video.

The flash version can be found here.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Great Potato Debate

Years ago, Walt's uncle Ernie came to visit us at Thanksgiving time. While he was here, he took the boys on his knee and shared with them the secret of the "Baur Mashed Potatoes," which include adding an egg and making sure to leave in lumps.

The boys took over making Uncle Ernie's potatoes (and to tell the truth, I don't like them) and have been doing it ever since.

My mother doesn't like them either, so this Thanksgiving she decided that since she was cooking dinner, she would do the potatoes the way SHE liked them. Great hilarity and mock-anger erupted. This is the video.

Flash version is here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Nannie and the Earthquake

I didn't much like my grandmother (my father's mother). When I was born, the first grandchild, she insisted on being called "Nannie" because she thought "grandma" made her sound too old.

I was the favored child and I hated that. My sister was a tomboy and Nannie was very feminine and never really did understand Karen. I was so jealous of Karen because Nannie's preference for me was so blatant.

But she had an interesting background, including being a young girl during the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 and later going on to become a chorus girl in a vaudeville company, where she met my grandfather. Over Thanksgiving, I interviewed my mother about some of my history, which I didn't know before, and here she talks a bit about my grandmother's early days.

Click here for flash version.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Life in Parentheses

You start out filming one thing and it ends up being quite another. I started out filming a report on the Christmas letters that I've written throughout the years. In the end, it turns a bit melancholy, but I guess that is to be expected.

For flash version click here.

Any Day Now

Any day now, there is going to be a family who wants to adopt Latte. All I want for Christmas is a permanent home for Latte!

But as long as she's still here, she is fun to videotape. Sheila's favorite game of all time has always been tug of war, but until Latte came along, Sheila never had anybody (2- or 4-legged) who had her stick-to-it-ivism, or her ability to hang on, literally forever.

Latte, however, loves tug-of-war as much as Sheila does and they can play it for hours. They play and tug until they are worn out, then they curl up together on the big pillow until they wake up and start all over again.

When Latte finally leaves, I won't really be sad, but I will be sad for Sheila because she and Latte are such close friends.

Flash link is here

Monday, December 12, 2005

Latte and the Big Green Monster

This is probably the shortest video I've ever posted.

It really was dangerous for Latte, but she was so funny, I had to take her picture first. I remember years ago when I was videotaping one of our kids being caught by undertow in the ocean. It wasn't really dangerous because Walt was right there to pick him out and I was too far to do anything anyway, but Char told me one day I'd be taking pictures of my own kid's death. [As it happened, I didn't do that either :( ] But Latte is unharmed and the video is, as I said, very short!

Flash version, click here.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Well, after the angst, the sweat, the frustration, the certainty that it would never get done, it did, of course, come off just fine.

The cousins dinner was great fun and the house satisfied me. I'll never be one of these people who decorates to the hilt for the holidays, but I don't think I set too ugly of a table.

This video was made mostly for the cousin who couldn't make it, so there is a section where we all talk to her, but it just gives you the flavor of the evening.

Too bad I couldn't have shared with you a taste of the panettone trifle too!

Flash version here.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Charlie Brown Christmas

My boss, the entertainment editor of the newspaper (in the photo) gives my favorite kind of Christmas party--no stress, interesting people, fun things to do, and an amazingly decorated house. This video is mostly of the house decorations. Watch and be amazed yourself.

For the flash version go here.

Friday, December 09, 2005

How's It Coming?

Second entry for today. Tomorrow is the day that my cousins and their spouses (9 people in all) will be here for a holiday meal. I've been talking about this for weeks, about getting the house cleaned up for them. This video was taken yesterday afternoon, midway through the clean-up. It's now 4 p.m. Friday and I'm still working--with lots more to do.

But this will give you an idea of the "progress"! (And the conclusion I reached at the end of it!)

Link to the flash version.

Ridin' the Rails

We went to San Francisco by train. Amtrak really has a good deal, where it takes you down to Emeryville, across the bay from SF and then buses you to where you want to go in the City. I love the space on the train.

I had hoped to take some nice views of San Francisco as we got closer, but it was one of those days when the bridge was so socked in by grey that you could just barely see it if you squinted--and it would not have shown up on video at all. But I did take a couple of shots en route, just to give a flavor of the route. I love going under the Carquinez Bridge and seeing it tower above me!

This is a link to the flash version.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Looking for Christmas

I've always loved San Francisco at Christmastime. The fancy windows at the Emporium, the decorations on the streets, the feeling of Christmas. Feels like walking out of a Christmas carol.

We we went to SF today to look for Christmas. It wasn't there, but I did take some video of what was there.

I'm getting to be an old fogey. I know it's always been commercial, but surely it hasn't always been this commercial! I also almost longed to hear "White Christmas" or "Jingle Bells." I got so tired of the rock music that was played everywhere.

I think I'll do the rest of my Christmas stuff close to home.

For flash version, click here.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I Dream of Genie

This is another one of our home movies. It was such fun to show a few of them on Thanksgiving. We're going to do more over Christmas.

This one is probably about 1975 or so. The kids were just learning about camera tricks to do special effects, and they decided to make their own version of "I dream of Jeannie." Fortunately, as they got older, their plot lines got better!

Flash version is here.

After the Fall

Sometimes life isn't fair.

I hated exercise of any kind all of my life until I turned 57 and decided to lose weight. A friend talked me into getting a bike and going riding with her and I discovered I really enjoyed bike riding. I went riding 8 miles around town in the mornings before starting my day. On the weekends, I'd ride 10-15 miles out into the country and back.

I did two charity runs to raise funds for the homeless. On this particular one, in 2003, I had completed a 30 mile ride and was just a block or two from the finish when I took a bad tumble and ended up with a dislocated shoulder.

I put together a slide show with the photos that were taken to document the event (I'm the person who, lying in the street in extreme pain called out to Walt and said "get. the. camera.")

This is the link to the flash version.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Down Side

There is a down side of everything, even a beautiful new floor.

Flash format

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Move Over, Julia

Well, there was a challenge issued by the guys who run Kitchen Arts, who invited people to submit videos demonstrating gadgets in their kitchen.

Some time ago, I started getting rid of gadgets, so I don't really have anything specific to demonstrate, so I went through my "gadget" drawer to see what was there.

I figure my "presentation" rivaled Julia Childs for the number of surprises and goofs and near-misses.

Photo goes to .mov file. For flash click here.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Josiah Milton Kirkpatrick

My great grandfather, Josiah Kirkpatrick, was apparently quite a guy, as my mother explains in this video from Thanksgiving. I was happy to have a video record of her talking about him. I don't know if my kids will appreciate it after I'm gone--but it makes me feel good (and now I know more about him as well!)

It's fun for me to realize that a talent for writing has shown up in every generation of this family. I guess I come by my obsession to write naturally!

Photo links to .mov. For flash click here

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Search for St. Stephen's Green

OK. This is a long video. No question about it. And if you didn't like Tom's story about the San Francisco airport, you won't enjoy this.

But the back story is that when Tom and Laurel went to Spain, he learned that cousin Nora's son, Ciaran, ran an Irish pub in Spain, so he decided that they would find the pub.

It's fair to say that it was not as easy a task as it appeared to be.

I just love the way Tom tells the story.

Photo links to .mov file; for flash version click here.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Latte and Kimba

Latte doesn't know that Kimba doesn't like dogs. And that Kimba doesn't like to play. And that Kimba is a grumpy old lady. So Latte is this big bumbling puppy who tries to get Kimba to play.

Amazingly, Kimba doesn't seem to mind.

I won't go so far as to say she is enjoying it, but since she seems to go out of her way to put herself in the same space as Latte, I can only assume that somewhere in the back of her head, she is thinking that maybe this is sort of fun.

Photo links to .mov format. . For Flash format click here.

Latte is starting to feel entirely too comfortable here. She is very much at home...and I'm sitting here counting the days until Saturday and hoping that "her family" will find her and take her home with them.

She is really feeling her oats these days. She's discovered that she loves tearing up blocks of wood and she has realized that there are sometimes Good Things To Eat on tables, stoves, and kitchen counter. Now that it's also raining outside, there are always muddy pawprints on the counters. It also seems that the minute I sit down at my desk, I hear things being knocked over, torn up or chewed in the other room. She's a fun dog, but I won't be sad when she leaves.

This is the life

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Were we ever this young?

It's always fun to look back on your earlier years and see how really silly you were...and how much fun you had doing it.

Somehow we grow up and we send our kids out into the world and we join PTA and other organizations and we get jobs and move into the work force...

it's always nice to look back and remember when you did silly things that made you laugh--and still make you laugh today.

I'm so glad Ned brought home movies to Thanksgiving dinner!

Photo links to the .mov version. For Flash, click here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Just Like Mother Made

Well, exactly like mother made because this is mother making it.

I've always thought my mother made the very best turkey stuffing in the world (just like my father made the very best potato salad). In the years when she wasn't having holiday dinners with us (because she was with her new husband's family), she gave me her recipe and it never quite tasted right, so I started embellishing it and liked what I came up with. However, nothing is quite like Mom's home cooking, is it?

So this year, with camcorder in hand, I decided to get not only her recipe, but her technique on film.

Funny thing is, though, that either her technique has changed over the years, or my taste buds have changed over the years--or I just have developed a taste for my own stuffing (which uses lots more butter and adds dried cranberries to it).

Nonetheless, this holds the title (in my mind) for best turkey stuffing ever until only very recently, so I thought it would be fun to post the video.

Photo links to .mov format. For flash, click here.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Toys for Tots

Sunday was the 29th annual Toy Run, with motorcyclists all over Northern California bringing toys for underprivileged kids to the state capitol.

I had taken pictures of this event in 2000, and had always wanted to go back and really do it justice. In 2000, I just stumbled upon the some members of the group at their pre-meeting spot in Old Sacramento. This year, I went whole hog (pun intended) and followed the group all the way to the Capitol to see what happens when they get there. I overheard someone say there were about 3,000 motorcycles which participated. Pretty impressive, I must say!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A Two-for-one day

I have two movies for today. I didn't know if I would have anything worth posting from the party we attended this afternoon, but when I put the digital photos together with the movies and added a nice piece of music as a sound track, it didn't turn out too badly. At least I like it--and, of course, I only make these things for me anyway!

Photo links to .wmv format. For flash, click here.

Boy of Steel

It's too bad that we didn't have time to watch more movies at Thanksgiving, but we did watch a few.

One of the best was Superman. Our kids never made your run-of-the-mill movies. They always had a plot, costumes, sets, and special effects. Usually the plots were taken from TV shows or movies and, as we were very heavily into superheroes in those days, Superman was one of the most popular.

After the first Superman movie came out, the kids decided to recreate it. It had a cast of thousands (well..dozens, perhaps). There was more leaping off our roof than I am comfortable watching today. There are very funny special effects. We laughed a lot watching this movie on Thanksgiving. I knew I had to post it here. I don't know if anybody will appreciate it as much as we all did, but what the heck. Give it a try.

The photo links to the .mov version. For the flash version, go here.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Identified Flying Objects

Tom is really a good story teller. He ranks up there with Walt's cousin, Ernie, whom I once dubbed The Seanachie (Irish story-teller). Tom had us all laughing with a couple of stories he told over dinner at Thanksgiving. This, shorter, one is an incident that happened at the San Francisco airport, while he and Laurel were getting ready to leave on a flight to Spain.

It involves "dense objects."

The photo links to the .mov version. For the flash version, click here.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Baked Alaska!

Thanksgiving has taken place. Tom has baked his famous baked alaska. And I didn't eat pumpkin pie at 3 a.m.

That pretty much sums up yesterday in a nutshell. My mother cooked a delicious turkey, with her famous stuffing--and there were no leftovers to take home, so there will be no turkey sandwiches for lunch today.

But the baked Alaska was definitely--an experience!

(Photo links to .mov format. Flash link is here)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm about to head off to my mother's for a couple of days, so I'm posting this early and won't post another entry until I get back on Friday.

We're headed to the big pig-out feast of the year, concluding with my very favorite: pumpkin pie.

What is wrong with this picture?

(Photo links to .wmv format. For flash format check here.)


More dog movies.

Latte and Sheila have discovered tug of war. They love playing it. They will go on for hours. Sometimes Sheila will have a toy and Latte will go through all sorts of submissive behaviors as if she is begging for Sheila to let her take hold of one end of it.

Sometimes Sheila will take the toy and stand in front of Latte, practically stroking her mouth with it, waiting for Latte to take hold of the toy so they can play.

With the slippery Pergo floor, they take turns dragging each other across the floor, or dragging each other along on a blanket or the big dog bed pillow.

This is the first time in my life (this year) when I have been home pretty much 24/7 so that I can observe dog behavior and interactions first hand. I'm having a great time doing it. I took this brief video with my little digital camera that has no sound on it. (Background music courtesy of Jeri)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Airport Adventure

Calling it an "adventure" is a bit of a misnomer. I went out to pick Walt up at the airport. He had been to Santa Barbara to have an early "Thanksgiving" with his mother. As I waited for him in the car, I had nothing really to do, and had a video camera with me, so I just made a video.

The best thing about this video: It's short!

The link for the flash version is here.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Video Meme

You know how you find, from time to time, lists of questions in somebody's blog that the writer invites you to answer? Like 100 questions, or Childhood Memories, or something.

Well, in a video blog called Bicycle-Sidewalk, the videographer, Nathan Miller filmed himself showing cards on which were (he said) 50 different questions. In reality there were only 38 of them, and I cut one out, so I answered 37 of them. But it makes for a weird 13 minutes of video. It was fun to do, I have to admit.

The link for the flash version is here.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Saturday at the SPCA

I had hoped Latte would find a home today, but no luck. However, she did get a bath, which she definitely needed (having become very stinky when she went off to the vet's to be spayed).

I have started photographing the dogs and cats each week, so their pictures can be posted on the Yolo County SPCA Pet Finder web site. This time I took the video camera along (again) and made another SPCA video. These may be boring after awhile, but I do like to have a record of the various animals that have gone up for adoption. Last time I didn't video the cats.

This video also includes a tour of part of Petco. I'm sure that is just thrilling for most people!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Asking some "hard" questions

I call this my homage to Andy Rooney. Seems to me he did something similar a few months back. However, it doesn't alter the fact that it's damned annoying!

Two for the price of one

Two videos for the price of one today. First there is this "leftover" video of Sheila. The footage came from when Slingshot was here and I cut most of it out of the Slingshot video and put together this Sheila video, for those who are not yet sick of seeing my dogs and hearing my daughter's music!

Yesterday wasn't a "film-able" day anyway, being spent just sitting at the computer, and cleaning up my office, in preparation for moving things from the living room in here. I figure if I expected Walt to do some cleaning up, I should do the same thing!

But the better movie is Steve's, a video from the Ovation Awards in LA. I have seen this video a number of times now and I still get all teary-eyed when I watch it.

It's fun watching them receive the award from Jerry Herman, of all people (as Jim says, he started his career in show biz on Broadway selling orange drink at intermission of "Hello Dolly") and then even, perhaps more emotional is Jimmy's being rendered speechless backstage after winning the award. I've never seen Jimmy speechless before.

Then the video ends with my very favorite song from the show, which makes me cry even WITHOUT an award show in front of it. Please watch the video. It's fantastic.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Photo Shoot

If you want to photograph something irresistible, go to a rehearsal of a performance featuring 4-6 year olds. I decided to go to the photo shoot for the picture that will accompany my latest feature article about a woman who teaches music programs for 1-9 year olds. They were militantly adorable.

I just fell in love with this woman and her philosophy of giving little kids an appreciation for music without all the pressure, teaching them love of music for the sake of the love of it without any real expectations. She talked about how some kids are able to be on stage, while others wander around and play in the curtains and how that's OK because the point of it is to offer them the experience.

Anyway, this is one of my favorite videos so far.

I need to get out more, obviously!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Down on the Farm (or Up on the Ranch)

I have this theory that the shorter you make a video, the more likely people are to watch it. Do you really want to click on a video when you see that it's 11 minutes long?

So I cut our "ranch visit" into two shorter videos, this being the second ("Olive Harvest" being the first). This is all the stuff we did before the guys who were harvesting the olives got into the trees to pick 'em off.

In the photo at the right, our friend Mike is showing me the outer husk of a walnut--city girl that I am, I didn't realize that they had outer husks just like coconuts.

This isn't the best of all possible videos, but the main reason for posting it was to test out a new method of encoding videos so they will start sooner and you won't have to wait for 2 or 3 minutes before a video starts playing.

Tomorrow's video will be much better, I promise!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Doggie Psychology

I just love this video. Sheila was playing with a new toy and Latte desperately wanted to join in the play, but for some reason she didn't feel comfortable just going over and trying to get it. So she goes through all these gyrations. ("Maybe if I stretch my feet out far enough, Sheila won't notice that I'm getting close to her.")

Times like this, you can almost hear them talking to each other. I just got such a kick out of it.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Take an Olive...

We went out into the Sierra foothills to harvest olives yesterday.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


The link is to an mp4 file. I found it took forever to start for me, so I also uploaeded an .wmv file. I didn't know if anybody would even be interested in this very brief file, except possibly my daughter, so it seemed a good file to experiment with mp4 again. This is the gala reception for the theatre whose ribbon cutting we attended a couple of days ago.

On the video, I said that the guy in the red shirt hates me because I gave him a bad review. In truth, I actually gave the show quite a good review, but criticized one thing that he took exception to and it led to a lengthy letter to the editor. I don't think he knows what I look like, but I kind of steered clear of him throughout the night anyway.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Meet Latte

There are better shots of Latte on this video that I could have used for the screen, but I just loved this big nose sticking up into the camera lens. She then proceeded to lick the lens, I believe, but the "tongue" picture wasn't nearly as good.

Yeah, I wasn't going to take another foster dog until the first of the year, but Ashley was out of town and Latte needed a home, so here she is. I won't go into a lot of detail about her because I did that in my journal for today.

I'm not sure how long she'll be here. She goes to Petco tomorrow, but can't be adopted out until she's spayed on Monday.

Friday, November 11, 2005


My journal today talks about the ribbon cutting that we attended for the Davis Musical Theatre Company. Last night we went to the gala reception which preceded tonight, which is the first official performance in the new theatre.

I have an off-again, on-again relationship with this company, the latest (before the theatre opened) being an off-again relationship when the director of a recent production (which I raved about) sent a blasting letter to the editor, taking me to task for one criticism I leveled. He was there last night and I don't know if he knows me by sight. I tried to stay away from him just in case.

But last night was not a night for old complaints, it was a night for celebration as fans and backers walked through the ~$1.5 million facility, watching the drapes being hung and waiting for the pit band to play the first notes of the overture to Into the Woods, which will have its opening night tonight.

We've crossed paths with this company since before it existed and I have to admit I was tickled to see their 20+ year dream come to fruition.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

New Book

I actually have a video "in progress," but it won't be ready until tomorrow, so in the meantime, I put up this about a book I got in the mail a couple of days ago. I'm quite jazzed about it.

But I have no time to write anything meaningful here because we just got home from the theatre and I have to get a review written. Good show, but one that is going to be difficult to review.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Thoughts on Vlogging

Your mind wanders when you walk. As I walked up to the polling place to vote against Arnold's proposed devisive consitutional amendments, I started to think about vlogging. And where my place in the vlogging community is.

When you join the Yahoo vlogging group, you are inundated with stuff, gadgets, strange terminology and stuff you can't possibly understand. You also realize, when you are 62 years old, that there isn't a person on the list who is your age. They are all twenty- and thirty-somethings eager to buy the next new gadget, enthusiastic about getting into home-grown video journalism.

You also reaize that the mainstays of the vlogging community won't even give you the time of day, though there are others who can be very kind.

So the decision I came to was that I have to forge my own space in the vlogging community, and this video records my thought processes.

(Oh--and if anybody watched my voting video and is curious about the outcome of Measure X--it went down in defeat, along with all of Arnold's measures.)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

My Civic Duty

Well, it will all be over tomorrow (technically today). Arnold is trying to ram his state constitutional amendments down everyone's throat. They predict low voter turn-out, which can only benefit the Governator, so I will definitely do my civic duty and get to the polling place to cast my negative vote.

(trying to) donate blood and voting all within 2 days. What a good citizen I am!

The big issue that is being contested around here, however, is not the governor's amendments, but a little thing called "Measure X" which is one of the most hotly-contested issues this town has seen in a long while.

Save a Life

My heart was in the right place, but my hemoglobin was not. Once again, I marched myself up to Blood Source, full of blood and ready to give it to whoever wanted it, but in order to donate blood, your hemoglobin count must be 38 and mine was only 37.5, so they have sent me home to pump iron and see if I can't boost it that extra half point so that it qualifies for donation.

Don't want to give some poor needy person anemic blood, now.

What really surprised me was how nervous the tech who was testing my blood was when she found out I was taking a video of the process. If there's one thing you don't want to do it's to make the person with a needle poised over your veins nervous!

Monday, November 07, 2005


I also put together a slide show from the photos (not video) that I took when we were on our bird-watching adventure yesterday. The photos are, of course, much more clear than the video is. (And there is more mood music written by Jeri)

(be sure to check the Phase 2 video below)

Phase 2

I love my kids.

I finally put out the call, asking if Ned could stop by after work today and help carry some of the scrapbooks upstairs so that I could start doing a major clean up of the living room.

Bless his heart, he showed up and moved all the remaining scrapbooks upstairs (I had been moving them a few at a time during the previous week), as well as helping Walt to carry a bookcase upstairs to help house some of them. I still have a ton of stuff left in the living room, but with all the scrapbooks upstairs, I now can see what is left to do and can start being a bit ruthless, tossing out stuff.

I've now come up with a hair-brained scheme. It's going to probably be a multi-year project, but I'm going to start scanning all the photos in all the books and move the photos to disks so that I can (it hurts to even SAY this) throw out the photos and the books and make copies of all the photos for each of the kids, so we can ALL have copies of all of the photos.

As I said, it will take forEVer to do, but if I really do it and work at it regularly, I will gradually begin to make a dent in all this crap around here and feel like I'm actually doing something constructive.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Fledgeling Birdwatcher

I've always loved watching birds, especially the larger birds you see around here--egrets, hawks, and, if you go to a nearby lake, pelicans.

There are several bird sanctuaries and some wetlands in this area and I've always been intrigued with the idea of going on a bird walk, so when I saw the notice that there was going to be a free tour of the local wetlands, it sounded like fun. It was to be a 2 hour tour and I was especially pleased when it said that "most of it would be by car." I figured a 2 hour driving tour I could handle!

I learned a bit about birdwatching. I learned that (a) you need high-powered binoculars. The little pair that Walt has doesn't do it, and a measly 12x zoom on a camera definitely doesn't do it. (b) you spend an awful lot of time looking at nothing, or at each other, waiting for our feathered friends to do a quick fly-by. (c) birdwatchers are just as excited about the little tiny birds off in a distance as by the big red-tailed whatever-it-was that we saw. and (d) I probably don't want to become a professional bird-watcher.

However, that said, I really enjoyed myself, even though I couldn't see the birds all that well and the photos weren't all that great. But next time I go bird watching it will probably be at the local zoo.