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