Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Weird Sheila

I made this video awhile ago, to keep a record of the strange way Sheila plays with Kimba, and how she shows her dominance. The movie is silent, but I was able to add a soundtrack to it to give my impression of what is happening.

Incidentally, not being a computer geek, I don't have all the fancy doo dads for doing things like voice-over, so the way I did this was to record into my PDA, which made a wave file and then copy the wave file to my computer and then use that as background for the movie. I was rather pleased with myself when I figured out how I could do that.

Incidentally, someone commented on not being able to see Steve's movie which is on BlipTV. BlipTV plays movies in the format in which it was recorded. This movie of Sheila and Kimba is in Windows Media, and I believe Steve's video is also in Windows Media.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Show Offs

All this video blogging stuff is really Steve's fault. He's so excited about the things he's doing with his camera and the editing he's doing with his editing software that it's infectious.

This week he came up with a new music video using the opening number of the Trout SuperShow. It's really good! He's getting so much better at this kind of thing. I don't know that I'll ever get as good as he is getting. This video uses still photos instead of movies, showing off his newfound ability to zoom in and out on movies in the loop.

Plus the music is pretty good too!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Take an apple...

I am not a gardener. But I sometimes play one on the Internet :). We have this apple tree which is dripping with apples, as it does each year. Each year I try to harvest (some of) them and then I'm left with: what to do with them? There are far too many to just eat. They aren't really good enough to give away, but yet I can't just let all that fruit go to waste.

So I decided to make a pie. I'm pretty good at making pies and after watching all those cooking shows on Food Network, I decided to make a video about making an apple pie, proving that I am much better about making pies than I am about making videos. But I did it anyway. I am not as perky as Rachel Ray, as talented as Emeril, and I didn't use nearly enough butter to be Paula Deen, though I do get rather excited about tasting my sweetened apples before putting them into the pie crust.

The "success" of this video is not in its content, but in that it was good practice for me in editing, cutting and pasting, and in compressing video. I managed to compress at 63 MB film into a 7 MB film, which I consider a great accomplishment, even if the quality isn't all that great (because of the subject matter, not because of the compression).

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Seeing My Babies Again

I took Sydney up to Petco today to give her back to Ashley, since she had become such a disruptive influence around here. Made me sad because I really loved that little dog before she started attacking Kimba.

The first dog I saw at the SPCA booth was Jasmine, who stayed here last week, looking terrified with all the commotion going on around her.

But in a pen near Jasmine were my babies--Harry, Hagrid and Weasly, and their 3 siblings. I could pick out Harry and Hagrid all right, but Weasly was all black and so were a couple of his siblings. I can't believe how much they have grown in a month. Their faces don't look anything like those cute little baby faces that I fed when they were here. (I'd forgotten that one of that group was "Paul," who was such a crybaby the first time I met him)

I petted them all and told them it was good to see them again and took some photos of them. Ashley says they have a harder time placing black dogs and ALL of the dogs I've taken lately have been black, so I wonder if any of them found a home today...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Water dog wannabe

We spent 5 days on a farm near Albany, in SW Australia, and there we met Indy, the little 6 month old Border Collie puppy. It had rained shortly before we got there--a real gully washer--and the river flooded. On this day, we went down to the river, with Indy and Zac, the adult border collie.

Zac loved to chase sticks thrown in the river for her and Indy, who had never seen water like this before, we just so excited. She wanted to be in the water, but was afraid of it too. It was so funny to watch her struggle with whether or not to go in the water. At one point, she fell into the water and leaped out immediately and continued her excited barking and jumping along the shore. Very funny.

Now she's an adult dog, and presumably she fetches sticks in the water every bit as much as Zack does.

Friday, August 26, 2005

They're everywhere!

You never know when you're going to run into a kangaroo. We had driven some 200 miles north of Perth and were staying in a little cabin in Denham, on Shark Bay. Peggy and I were reading on the porch of our cabin when I looked up and saw this young joey hopping through camp. He stopped right across the road from us and began munching on this poor palm tree (which obviously is not going to make it to maturity!).

I stood right next to him and took photos and video. Another little kid was sitting even closer. He wasn't fazed at all and when he'd eaten his fill, he hopped on down the road to a busier section of the campground.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Find a Hole...

Our new foster dog, Sydney (a Lab/Corgi mix!) is very sweet, but she has a couple of quirks. One of them, I feared, was digging holes in the lawn. The morning after she arrived, I found the big dirt area that you see behind the dogs in the photo on the right. I was concerned about what Walt would think (fortunately it was only weeds, not grass), and didn't want to complain about the dog's behavior because she's otherwise a very sweet dog.

However, as I began to check out the dirt, and watch the dogs, I think I've figured out what is going on. Click on the photo and see for yourself!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Checking the coastline

This is a very short video, taken from a teeny plane as we flew out from Kalbarri National Park and circled around along the coastline.

There are two interesting things about this movie. First, the color of the water. This was my favorite thing about the Australian ambience...the color of the Indian Ocean, which was this aqua color wherever I encountered it. I never realized that oceans had different colors.

The second thing is the vastness of the outback. We got up over that plain you see above the cliffs (unfortunately, I didn't think to start filming until we were out over water), and it was just barren and bleak as far as the eye could see. I suspect there is far more of Australia that looks like this than looks settled. Yet in the "bleakness" there is its own special beauty. I suppose I would tire of it after awhile, but I enjoyed the novelty of it all.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Beautiful Flowers

I was in Australia in the springtime, at the height of wildflower season. It was a week before we drove out in to the outback. By then I'd been to a flower show in Kings Park and seen flowers in meridian strips, but I wasn't prepared for the explosion of color once we got beyond city limits. We stopped at one point on the way to Kalbarri National park and I took a brief video clip. This clip can't possibly begin to give a true representation of the brilliance, the vividness of the color, but it does give you an idea of the scope. Field after field after field covered with wildflowers. It was an experience I'll always remember.

Monday, August 22, 2005

On Porpoise

Continuing my "Critter Tour of Australia," here is a little bit of film shot at a place called Monkey Mia (the "mi" in "mia" rhymes with "pie"). It was actually Monkey Mia that, even before I met Peggy, made me decide I had to go to Australia some day. My friend Olivia had been there and told me tales of a bay (Shark Bay) where the wild dolphins swam in from the ocean and you could stand in the water and feed them. I had to see this place.

And so we drove north from Perth up to Monkey Mia. It's an amazing place. If this were in the U.S., there would be thousands of tourists, but it's actually a relatively small place. The dolphins swim in twice a day, at the same time each day. The park rangers don't do anything to call them, they never know (a) how many will show up, or (b) if the will show up. But if they do, they give them some fish and then the dolphins swim back out to the ocean.

They are careful not to give them enough fish so that they become dependent on the humans, but just enough to be hospitable and give the tourists a chance to see dolphins up close and personal.

There were probably less than 100 people on the beach on this day and the ranger chose about 5 of them to go out into the water to feed the dolphins (this day only 2 came in, a mother and daughter). I didn't get chosen, and I wasn't really in a good spot for photos. Peggy took the best still photos and I shot a little bit of video, which you can see here.

One of Peggy's Photos

Sunday, August 21, 2005

How not to ride a camel

I'm gradually posting all of the brief film clips we took when I was in Australia (or at least the good ones). We returned to Caversham Park (where the kangaroos are) and discovered that they had camel rides. We had originally discovered Caversham because we were trying to go on a camel ride and had driven an hour out of Perth, only to discover that the camels had been moved to Whiteman Park, which was about 15 minutes from Peggy's house. We never did find the camels that first time, but we did find the kangaroos, and considered it a lucky find.

On our second trip, we found the camels. It was like one of those pony rides, where a guy leads the camels around a track. It was designed for little kids, but there we were, these two silly middle-aged women, wanting a camel ride. It was not my most graceful day.

It was drizzling when we got on the camels and by the time the guy had led us out on to the track, it started really coming down and by the time we were headed back, it was pouring so hard that we were all soaked and I was afraid that my camel's hooves were going to slip on the mud under its feet.

Naturally Peggy recorded it all, from my awkward ascent into the camel saddle, to riding in the downpour, to my awkward descent from the camel. We laughed a lot and felt pretty silly when we got back to the paddock and found that the people who were next in line for a camel ride were about 5 years old.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Farmers Market

In keeping with my desire to post a video blog a day, I offer today some scenes from our local farmers market. This is not the most interesting film in the world, but does give a little bit of the flavor of it. It is a place where you meet friends, shop for local produce and local baked goods, listen to musicians, buy a meal and sit down on the grass or at a table and enjoy the food, check out the dogs for adoption through the SPCA or "Lab Rescue," and meet all the local politicians pushing their specific issues.

It's a real tradition around here. Walt and I used to go every Saturday when I could still ride my bike, but now that I can't, he goes by himself. I did drive up this morning, though, to drop Jasmine off at the SPCA booth, hoping that she will find herself a new family today.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Another Kangaroo Movie

Here is more from our afternoon at Caversham Wildlife Park outside Perth (this was October 2003). This was shortly after we entered the kangaroo enclosure and we decided we had to take some video to show our friend Diane and my friends Shelly and Ellen.

The whole afternoon was "magic," and one I will never forget!


Well, we have another foster dog. This one is Jasmine, who is described as a "lab-terrier" mix, though she is so solid and stocky that I suspect the "terrier" is a pit bull terrier.

She's 7 years old, but looks older. She belonged to a family who gave her away when their child went off to college. Isn't that like leaving your kid in the trash when you move? Anyway, they dropped her off at the pound, where she was rescued by the SPCA.

She is very calm, very quiet, and, to Sheila's frustration, isn't much into playing. But Walt discovered this morning that she is into getting out and she was eating a hole in the back fence, so I am now having to keep her confined inside and supervise her trips outside. She doesn't appear to want to bond with people much; she's a solitary animal (so far).

She goes to the Farmers' Market on Saturday to see about finding a home. Given her age and breed (and lack of instant cuteness), I suspect she is going to take longer to place.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Little Friend of Mine

I found out yesterday that I can take a decent (not good, but decent) movie off of the television screen, so I made this clip of Paul singing the song that he wrote for David's memorial service. This film was actually taken two years later, when he performed it for the second (and last) time during his one-man show, "Sedona, Arizona." Paul himself was dead a few months later.

This is a long clip, some 46 MB, but if anybody is interested in hearing the song, or Paul's emotional delivery, start it downloading and then go watch a TV program or something and come back to watch it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Attacked by Kangaroos

I discovered Blip.TV so decided to check what it's like to post there. I posted this movie, another one from our day at Caversham.

You can walk in among the kangaroos--I suspect it's about a quarter of an acre in size--and there is a big garbage can filled with roo food that you can pick up (free, unlike here, where they'd sell it to you) to feed the animals.

On this particular day, it was cloudy and had been raining, so there was not the usual assortment of parents taking toddlers to see the kangaroos. Which also meant that there wasn't as much free food handouts available, so when they saw us, they were all over us, begging for food. It's really fun having a couple of kangaroos hanging off of you!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I've been going over some old videos to see if there is anything remotely interesting that I can post here. This one is kind of funny. It's a mole, who was busy feathering his nest or whatever it is that moles do underground. The movie itself is mildly interesting, but what I like about it is that there were about 8 adults standing in a circle around this little tiny hole and the comments that are heard on the film clip are pretty funny (well, to me anyway).

So to check out Old Mr. Mole, click here

Vlogging, Part 2

This is an experimental blog entry to see if it really becomes a vlog. This is a very cute film clip that Peggy took while we were wandering around the kangaroo enclosure at Caversham Park outside Perth. (The Journal entry is here)

You can click here or on the photo to see the video.

Now let's see how it works...

Saturday, August 13, 2005


The newest craze on the internet is vlogging, making a video log instead of a printed log, which sounds like a really cool idea. I got introduced to this both through Steve, and also through Rob, who has been doing vlogging since before there was such a term. I was intrigued, of course, and had to try this new medium, so I set up my own site on Ourmedia, where I've posted a few movies, mostly of the dogs. (The latest one is the funniest--also my first attempt at editing and adding a soundtrack).

Our Media is the next "in" web site that people appear to be flocking to and so I've spent some time checking out the movies that have been posted. With few exceptions (I live for the exceptions), they are all pretty boring. Perhaps funny to a selected age range/audience, but in the random hits that I made today, I didn't find one that was as interesting as the kinds of things that Steve is doing, with his plot-based movies, humor, etc.

Also, most of the members seem to be about 12 (well, at least compared to me!) The frustrating thing about being 62 is that I still have a hunger to do all this fun new stuff, but I have fewer and fewer peers. I set up an OurMedia group for "Saucy Senior Citizens," hoping to find someone other than Steve and myself, who have lived at least 50 years.

A good example of the frustration is having an e-mail exchange with a guy who signed my journal guestbook saying he'd found me looking for his wife's old high school. Turns out his wife graduated the year before I did and I vaguely remember her. But he says, "She browses well, but resists the email tool." In this day and age it's odd to think of anybody who doesn't do e-mail, but there are those who do not, especially in my age group.

So I'm left with posting my own boring entries and learning little bits and pieces as I go along (hey--today I learned how to trim a clip, how to edit a clip, and how to add a soundtrack, which I think is pretty good!) I'm hoping that as the art of vlogging grows, there will soon be more films of things other than someone saying "so tell me what you're doing now?" or sitting there saying "ummm" a lot (that's the kind of movie I'd probably make if I tried doing a personal video log), or doing silly things that are interesting only to a select few.

(I will admit that the vlog about an ultrasound to detect the sex of a baby was pretty cool, tho).

It is a medium work in progress, but I have to admit that I still enjoy the ability to read a well-written paragraph than seeing the person talking about the same thing. At least at the moment, at least after being able to put face to words. (Sometimes I think the vision we have in our minds is better...we are all pretty much nerds and most of us LOOK like nerds--so do we really want to broadcast that to the universe?)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Don't Piss off the Critic

For the first many years we lived here, I worked doing publicity for most of the theatre groups in town. And, if I do say so myself, I was a pretty good publicist. One thing that was very important to me was developing a good relationship with the local critic (who was also the entertainment editor). I recognized that working with the critic was better than entering into an adversarial position with her.

When a new editor was hired, I made an appointment to take her to lunch and get to know her face to face, and to ask what I could do, as a publicist, to make her job easier. Generally speaking, she was usually very fair and kind to the groups I represented. And I always thanked her when she went out of her way to give us special publicity.

I often wish there was somebody like me doing publicity for a lot of the groups I deal with now. Not wanting to blow my own horn, but sometimes getting cooperation to get publicity for somebody's show is like pulling teeth, and involves several phone calls or e-mails and frustration waiting until the very last minute until the person wanting the publicity finally comes through with a photo or a date or another piece of information (like information on the cast members). I am, on the one hand, sympathetic with their busy schedules and the fact that the performance itself takes precedence, but by the same token, without publicity, the best show in the world isn't going to be successful if nobody knows it's there.

From having worked at the theatre end of it, I know how frustrating it is to see a review of your show, with which you disagree, in the paper. I certainly saw that many times with The Lamplighters. Maybe the critic had a bad day. Or maybe what you think is a wonderful scene or terrific actors just don't appeal to the critic. Everybody looks at a production in a different way, filtered through their own individual likes and dislikes or previous experience.

But the problem with reviews is that they are pretty much unarguable. If you send an irate letter to the newspaper, you run the risk of two things happening. First, people who don't generally read reviews may take a negative view of your show from the anger in your letter to the editor; and second, you piss off the critic, who gave his/her sincere opinion and is only going to find the public complaint as an unjustifiable personal attack.

What happens when you piss off a, for that when I find you doing another show, I may not soft-pedal my criticism. I would never, ever write something untrue to get back at someone who had attacked me in public. But, by the same token, there are lots of ways that you can write a criticism of something. You can be blatantly honest ("so and so should know better than to..." or "this show was deadly dull and dragged terribly" or "the orchestra was terribly out of tune") or you can be more gentle ("there was some problem with..." "the energy was down opening night, but I'm sure it will pick up as the cast gets more shows under their belts." or "there were a few problems with the orchestra on opening night which I'm sure will work themselves out as the run progresses.")

In dealing with community theatre, where people are amateurs and doing it for the love of it, I tend to be more gentle than blunt, but if someone has pissed me off, I'm less likely to spend a lot of time trying to decide how I can say "this was lousy" in a gentle way and more likely to just write exactly what I feel in the first place.

So the watchword is: don't piss off the critic. It won't unwrite the review you object to, and the critic will remember your attack and not worry about being gentle the next time you put on a show.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I'm very old

Ashley was here last night talking about a pair of lhasa apsos that was going to be going up for adoption. They were trying to think of names for them, because they hope to adopt them as a pair, since they have lived together for so long. Someone had suggested "Mickey and Minnie" but she said that had been used a lot and she wanted something different. She thought perhaps "Fred and Ethel," but someone else didn't like those names.

I suggested "George and Gracie."

"Who's that?" she asked.

Omigawd...someone doesn't recognize "George and Gracie" as being George Burns and Gracie Allen. I didn't have the heart to ask if she knew who Burns and Allen were.

It reminded me of someone else who looked at the photo in the last blog, of Jimmy and Ethel Merman and thought it was "a couple." When I pointed out that the woman was Ethel Merman, she said "I'm sorry--I don't know who that is."

I am feeling v-e-r-y old these days, surrounded by all these little kids.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Photo Restoration

Ethel Merman
Originally uploaded by basykes.
I have lots to do today, so of course I've spent the bulk of the day working on photo restoration. I posted a couple of photos to Flickr. The one of Walt's grandfather is one I've been working on for a very long time. This one, of my friend Jimmy and Ethel Merman is, so far, the most spectacular restoration I've done thus far.

Monday, August 08, 2005


Originally uploaded by basykes.
Well, it appears Bud is here until Saturday, when he goes up for adoption. Tomorrow he goes in to be neutered, so he'll be out of the house all day, but then he comes back and stays until Saturday.

He's a sweet dog but I guess there is chemistry even with dogs. I bonded really well with Petey, but not with this dog. There's nothing WRONG with him, just somehow he doesn't do it for me.

Guess dogs are like people--some you like instantly, others it takes awhile to warm up to. (But you have to admit that's one cute picture!)

30 Days

Did you ever watch that series by Morgan Spurlock (of Supersize Me fame), called 30 Days, where he gets people to live in another person's life for a month? The first one I saw was a Christian who lived with a Muslim family. The second was a macho guy who lived with a gay man in San Francisco. There was a couple who lived with a "back to basics" group where there was no electricity, no indoor plumbing, they raised their own food, etc. The participants find their lives changed forever, as they begin to see their "opposites" as real people, people just like themselves, with different habits, perhaps different clothes, etc.

Last night I watched the pilot episode with Spurlock himself and his fianceƩ, attempting to live on minimum wage. It was a real eye-opener, I'll tell you. They each got jobs at minimum wage, then had to find an apartment, get furniture, buy food, etc. They were just barely making it, and only when he took a second job, so they almost never saw each other, when they both suffered medical problems--he had a badly sprained wrist, which was swelling; she developed a bladder infection. Both went to the emergency room for treatment, since they had no medical insurance. When the bills came, the bill for both together came to over $1,000, which was way beyond their ability to pay.

Watching the stress grow between them, seeing how little time they were able to spend together, how they could not take any time off to relax, added to the expensive of unexpected medical problems and it's easy to see why there is escalating violence in this country. Everyone must be on a short fuse, pushed to the bring by poverty, poor health, etc., with it becoming a rapidly downward spiral. Add children into the mix, children who must be fed and clothed and who can't work to help contribute to the family income and it's amazing that anybody living at that level is able to survive.

If it ever comes around again, I really strongly recommend watching it.

Nasty Blood-suckers

I have been leaving the sliding door open far enough for Bud to get out at night, should the spirit or the bladder move him. Unfortunately, this is an open invitation for any wandering mosquito who might happen to stop in for a quick bite, to do so. This morning I woke up with a couple of bites, which I assume are mosquito.

Normally this would be nothing more than just annoying, but we are in the middle of the worst West Nile Virus epidemic, the worst yet, and the two counties hit hardest are Sacramento County and Yolo County--and I live in Yolo County. There have been several deaths from the virus, though they say that most people who are bitten by West Nile-carrying mosquitos will never notice it. But it's so bad that they are resorting to spraying in Sacramento County and spraying in Yolo County is also under consideration.

So if it turns out that I end up being killed by West Nile Virus, blame Bud's bladder.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

QAF & 6 Ft. Under

Tonight was the final episode after 5 seasons of Queer as Folk, preceded by a half hour of interviews and goodbyes by the cast. I will miss this show tremendously. It was a ground-breaking series that showed gay people as having real lives--love lives, sex lives, emotional lives, work lives, family lives, relationships, know--like straight people. There was graphic sex, which shocked people, but if put up against some daytime soap operas or evening sitcoms or dramas was no more or no less shocking--merely involving same, rather than opposite genders.

In the last 2 seasons, the show has gotten more pointedly political, laying it on rather heavily (for their straight audience, I suspect) about the groups that are trying to deprive the gay community of equal rights and remove from them all the hard-won rights they now have.

I was kind of afraid that they would wrap things up in a nice neat little package, with everyone living happily ever after, they way you would expect on a final episode of a straight drama, but the final episode kept you guessing to the end, and went out in a way that was 100% appropriate for a gay audience.

It was really a good show, and I will miss it.

Then I watched Six Feet Under, Nate's funeral. How many times does a major show kill off one of its lead characters (except on The Sopranos). There was one scene that did me in. Nate is laid out on the table in the morgue while his brother is washing the body and his mother comes in and approaches the body, gingerly beginning to stroke his hair. It was exactly what I did after Paul died and I said goodbye to him in the emergency room. The whole scene had me sobbing.


I watched Beloved today. This is a story I've had a difficult time with from the get-go. I read the book, but somehow it never grabbed me. I've tried watching the movie several times, but always gave up about 1/3 of the way into it. Today I determined that I would sit here and watch the whole thing.

I'm glad I did because it is a good movie. Oprah Winfrey is, I think, an underrated actress. She gives an excellent performance as Sethe.

However, as good as it was, I couldn't help thinking that my problem with it all along is a cultural one. I suspect that there are many elements of this film that a white person growing up on the West Coast during the Civil Rights era can't possibly hope to understand on the same level as an African American audience can. It doesn't take away anything from the movie itself, but I just think that my problem with it in the past was that I don't come from that cultural background and can't feel on a gut level the kinds of feelings that are expressed. I could follow the story. I could feel empathy. I could feel the pain of those involved, but I couldn't get in there and inhabit the minds and souls of those involved.

It's much the same way I felt (on a much smaller scale) returning to the U.S. from Scotland two weeks after 9/11, when the entire country had gone through the emotional trauma of 24/7 coverage of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center, and the pain of those who survived, those who had lost loved ones, those who dug through the rubble hoping to find survivors. I didn't get that TV feed in Scotland and so when we returned, there was an emotional disconnect. I could feel the shock, the horror, the pain on an intellectual level, but at the real gut level, where the rest of the country felt it, it just wasn't there.

However, Beloved is a good film. Rent it.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The High and the Mighty

I can't remember why this John Wayne classic has been kept out of circulation for decades, but it's available now on CD and I rented it from Netflix. As a gripper, it holds up, this story of a plane with a bad engine limping its way from Honolulu to San Francisco and all the drama that entails, but if you look at it from today's perspective, it sure has a lot of funny stuff in it.

  • I was surprised, for example, that the passengers about to board the plane had to present passports and report to Immigration. I'd forgotten that Hawaii wasn't a state until 1959 and this movie was made in 1954. I'll have to remember to ask Walt if he needed a passport to leave the island (he was raised there, and left in 1955).
  • The stewardess for the flight worked at the check-in desk and introduced herself to each passenger as they checked in.
  • The plane. Ahhh...the plane. There were (I counted) fifteen passengers on board and there were more empty seats than there were full ones. When is the last time you found even half a dozen empty seats on an airplane.
  • There was one flight attendant--they were still called stewardesses back then. Those were the days when they were chosen as much for their youth and appearance as for their competence, I believe.
  • She actually seemed to cook meals individually (which is perhaps why there were only 15 passengers!).
  • John Wayne's total job seemed to be to stand in the cockpit and look out the window, until Robert Stack (the pilot) began to fall apart, upon which time he slapped Stack and took over the controls.
  • Many passengers smoked (and the stewardess even carried matches for a passenger who had forgotten his lighter).
  • Everybody in the cockpit had a lighted cigarette in their hands.
  • A passenger had a gun in his jacket pocket and actually pulled it out, brandished it, and shot it inside the plane.
  • The airplane gave a teeny shudder and everyone fell apart, including one woman who cried "I don't want to die" for the rest of the flight (presumably 6 hours, since they'd said it was a 12 hour flight and that they had "just passed the halfway point).
  • After that the plane was not only smooth, but silent as it headed for San Francisco. I've experienced more turbulence on a "smooth" flight than this flight in danger of crashing for 6 hours experienced.
  • Everyone dressed up to ride the airplane. Anybody remember when you got dressed up to ride a plane?
  • The seatbelts stayed off until the very end.
  • The overhead racks had no doors on them.
In spite of how dated it all was (which was, in itself kind of an historical glimpse of flight in the 50s), the movie still held up as one which kept you on the edge of your seat--even if you do know the end before it begins.

Ironically, I had seen the movie when it first came out and I only remembered two scenes, but very clearly--the stewardess blowing up the life vest of the sleeping child, so as not to wake him, and Wayne walking away from the airplane, whistling the theme song.

Good movie. Rent it.

Baby, It's Hot Outside

We are at about 20 days of >100 degree weather in the past 2 months. We were feeling pretty smug back there in June when we were still having April showers and such pleasant weather. We are paying the price for our smugness now. Have I mentioned how much I dislike heat???

Friday, August 05, 2005


Originally uploaded by basykes.
Petey goes off to look for a home tomorrow. Ashley will pick him up and take him to Petco. I really don't think he's going to have a difficult time finding a home, but there is a part of me that hopes it's not this week. I'm enjoying having the little guy around--and if he stays another week, Walt will be able to meet him.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Why are the people most in need of publicity the people the most difficult to get information or cooperation from?

There was a time when I did publicity for several theatre groups. I stopped doing it after several frustrating years when it seemed that I was in constant conflict with the people who needed those folks to sit in the seats in the theatre. Every great idea I came up with, someone didn't feel like doing it. It was so demoralizing that I just quit. There are still people in this town who have never heard of this 25 year old town institution.

Now I'm dealing with another group who desperately needs the publicity. On the whole, they have been quite helpful, but I am on a strict deadline and am missing a very key piece of information that I have been promised by several people for two days now. Very soon I'm going to have to say "screw it" and discard one of the best pieces of publicity.

These are people who work hard, who hold down jobs by day and rehearse by night and give their heart and soul to the works they want to present to the world.

Why can't they understand that without people like me who are willing to help publicize their event, they have a much less chance of getting the word out? (Or, more to the point, why do I tear my hair out over stuff like this. Why don't I just start out saying "screw it.")

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


With Walt out of town for the month, I've been eating really weirdly. It's been TV dinners, and junk food and gorging on fruit. When I went to the store recently, I bought a watermelon. Somehow I just had this craving for watermelon. I looked at the cut melons, but those usually end up being mealy textured from sitting out for so long.

I went to the bin of watermelons and chose one which seemed to be the smallest one. It wasn't until I went to carry it in from the car that I realized that the thing was really pretty big. I've been eating on it all week.

But this is the most "water-filled" watermelon I've ever had. The thing is sweet and juicy and leaves big puddles of watermelon juice on my plate whenever I have a piece, most of it coming from the juice running down my chin, no matter how neatly I try to eat it.

I haven't had such a watermelon pig-out in a long time. I'm enjoying every juicy bite!