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.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Slingshot Goes Home

When I looked at the clock this morning and saw that it was 5:30 a.m. and realized that there had been no cold wet nose in my arm pit in the previous hour, it went a long way to offset any sadness I might have had about turning Slingshot over to his new owner.

Hs performed well on his last day, everyone was amazed at how outgoing he was, and he hopped into his new car without hesitation. My boy done good--and I got to get some sleep, finally!

Now on to whatever our next adventure is going to be...

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Last Day

Well, I've complained about him, but in the end, I kind of melted and have a soft spot in my heart for Slingshot. Other than puppies, he's the first foster dog we've had for more than week and I've grown very fond of him.

BUT, he's too young and too big and he needs his own family, so I am thrilled that he is going to his permanent home tomorrow at 2 p.m. He will be moving to Concord with a family that has 2 sons, who I think will be absolutely perfect for him.

He still tends to be a bit skittish at times, but he'll get better as time passes. I tried taking a video of his last day here; he was a bit suspicious about having the camera aimed at him, but in the end, I'm happy with this final memory of a very sweet dog who, I hope, is very, very happy in his new home.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Pleasing My fans

"awera," a guy from Spain who has seen some of my stuff on YouTube and Flickr wrote to ask if I could take some pictures for him of places he remembered from when he lived here four years ago.

So this is a video for "awera," going around the neighborhood where he lived and the school he attended. I tried to keep the narration a bit interesting for people who have no interest in seeing suburb streets and schools, but this is mainly for "awera."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

How to Kill a Fat Lady

Lemme tell you, the easy way to find out just how out of shape you are, even though you know you are horrendously out of shape, is to try to move a collection of scrapbooks from downstairs to upstairs. I decided to make a video out of the process and was so winded after moving just two books that I had to sit down and rest.

This is either going to be a wonderful thing when it's all finished--or it's going to kill me to do it!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Well, this is kind of my tribute to Halloween.

Not exactly, but sort of.

Since I don't do costumes or trick-or-treat (try answering the door with two big dogs trying to get to the little tikes!), I recorded a long monologue on my experience with death and the afterlife....and just to make the thing worth sitting through, I added a bit of a real ghost at the end. The background music for the last few seconds is the best part. Ned sent it to me this morning.

So does that intrigue you enough to sit through a 12 minute video?