Sir, Put Both Hands On Top Of Your Head And Step Away From The Hammer . . .


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The long-running sketch comedy television show Saturday Night Live has a reputation for sketch comedy and satire, and for giving an amazing list of guests the chance to showcase their comedic chops.  This clip leaves that reputation pretty much intact.

It also reinforces my belief that I like Chris Hemsworth better clean shaven and with normal muscles than when he’s got a weeks’ worth of carefully-groomed* beard and is all bulked up for his role as Thor.  The sketch would have been even funnier with a bird more in keeping with the spirit of Shatner’s and Pine‘s performances in the role of Starfleet starship captain, but I can see why they went with the chicken.  A turkey would have been much more problematic in front of a live audience.

Hemsworth’s actual hair color is brunette (the eyebrows are always a dead giveaway), but I like him better as a vintage blonde* (– as opposed to a suicide blonde+).  Still, let’s face it, whatever color it is, that widow’s peak is to die for.

Take your pick:  Grungy and au naturel in “Snow White and the Huntsman,” blond and bearded in “The Avengers,” or beardless and unarmed. . .


*If you’re going to take the time to “groom” your beard with a special electric beard trimmer, you might as well adjust the beard length setting to “0” and shave the damn thing off already.
**Probably a vintage Sauvignon L’Oreal, because hemsworth it.
+Dyed by their own hand.

Opinions and Questions



I hate the “new improved” WordPress text editor version.  It’s not that I’m used to the old version (I am).  It’s that the new version is unwieldy.   When you’re composing a new post, it doesn’t show you all your categories or tags.   It’s too cutesy and up in your face, and I hate having to go the Columbus route* to get back to composing a post using the old style text editor, which thankfully, they’ve still left on there.  I had no problems at all with the old style.  They should have left good alone and not messed with it.  I wish they simply gave you an option of either using the old style all the time or using the new style all the time, instead of making you have to maneuver all the way through the mishmash to get where you want to be in the style you want to be there in.  AARRGGHH!

Wednesday, I was rewatching the part of “Snow White and the Huntsman” that I had recorded (I was interrupted in the middle of watching the film on TV and pressed “record” at that point.)  I don’t think much of Kirsten Stewart‘s acting — this is the only thing I’ve seen her in, and I was greatly underwhelmed.  (I have strenuously resisted watching any of that “Twilight Saga” drivel.)  Charlize Theron acted rings around her.  Likewise, I am not at all impressed with Sam Claflin either.  Chris Hemsworth is not the greatest actor that ever trod the boards, but as far as I’m concerned,  his eye-candy-worthiness takes up the slack.  (His drule factor is higher as a blond, though, in my opinion.) I thought it was interesting that it was not “William’s” kiss that woke up Snow White, but the Huntsman’s “noncanon” kiss, because you know that once she’s queen, she’s probably going to knuckle under to (literal) peer pressure and/or convince herself to marry out of loyalty her childhood friend, wimply William, who is way more acceptable to the nobility because he’s the duke’s son, and any inclination she shows for including or (perish forbid!) choosing the huntsman, who is not only a peasant, but a soldier, will be discouraged and he will be excluded and sidelined into oblivion.   In the film, the dwarves were played by nondwarf actors (Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, and Ray Winstone, among others) whose faces were then CGI’ed onto “body actors” who actually were dwarves.  How typically Hollywood.  I don’t blame “Little People of America” for getting upset about it.   I was pretty disgusted about it when I found out, myself.

I really do need to binge watch the latest season of “Downton Abbey.”

*Going east by sailing west; having to go the long way around; like changing directions on the freeway — you have to go all the way to the next interchange and then do a U-turn.

Spring Is Here Kinda Sorta



It’s been in the middle to high 80’s F/26+C here for the past week with lows in the 40sF/4+C, until today. Apparently, a front is blowing through and temperatures have dropped.  It’s 41F/5C at the moment.  It’s also windy with winds of 25-35 mph/40-56 kph, gusting to 50 mph/80 kph.  Tomorrow’s predicted high is only 67F/19.4C, but we’ll be back up into the mid-80s F/28+ C by Friday.  Not going to get any rain out of it, though.  They’ve had tornadoes in Oklahoma and Arkansas with one storm-related fatality and a bunch of storm and hail damage.   We’re moving into tornado season.  And thunderstorm season.

Now that the weather has warmed up, I need to get out and start walking.   Whether I actually will or not remains to be seen.  Checked my thermostat yesterday afternoon and it read 72.   I’ve decided that I will change back to summer sheets and spread on April 1st.   I need to get my rear in gear and do my taxes.

The closet door still isn’t fixed yet.  Still no new dishwasher.   I’m about ready to just take that one door down and chuck it out into the parking lot.   I might take them both down and restructure the closet contents, and just leave that one off until the door gets fixed.   If I can get motivated to do it.  It hasn’t quite reached critical mess yet, I guess.

When I parked the car after knitting group Tuesday, I had 1849 miles on it.   Driving the wheels off it.

A Slow Sort of Sunday


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Ran out of work repeatedly last night and crashed by 12:30.  Decided to read a while.  Started the latest in the Sebastian St. Cyr books (Kindle version), “turned” the last page, looked up at the clock and it was 7 a.m.  I should know better than to start a new book right at bedtime.  Put out the light, went to sleep. Woke up sneezing at 11 o’clock.  I should have taken my meds before I went to sleep.  Took them, then had to read for 30 minutes so I could eat something as I can’t eat for 30 minutes after my thyroid meds, but both the antibiotics and the N-acetylcysteine tend to provoke nausea when taken on an empty stomach.  Naturally, I started a new book while waiting, and was about halfway through it when it was time to get up for work.

It’s been the same again tonight.   Work is coming in dribbles and drops.  I sit at the computer, type frantically for about 10 or 20 minutes, then sit and knit for 20 to 35 minutes while waiting for more work.   They’ve all been short little reports, for the most part.

I need to start reading on my Kindle.  I have a bunch of books on there I need to read, but I’m rereading the Anne McCaffrey Pern books at the moment.  I’m going to knock off in about 30 minutes and go get some supper.

Books Read in 2015


35. *Who Buries the Dead, Harris, C. S.
34. The White Dragon, McCaffrey, Anne (re-reread)
33. Dragonquest, McCaffrey, Anne (re-reread)
32. Dragonflight, McCaffrey, Anne (re-reread)
31. Archer’s Goon, Jones, Diana Wynne
30. Enchanted Glass, Jones, Diana Wynne
29. Why Kings Confess, Harris, C. S.
28. The One-Eyed Man, Modesitt, Jr, L. E.
27 Tehanu, LeGuin, Ursula
26. Castle in the Air, Jones, Diana Wynne
25. What Darkness Brings, Harris, C. S.
24. When Maidens Mourn, Harris, C. S.
23. Where Shadows Dance, Harris, C. S.
22. What Remains of Heaven, Harris, C. S.
21. Where Serpents Sleep, Harris, C. S.
20. Why Mermaids Sing, Harris, C. S.
19. Fire and Hemlock, Jones, Diana Wynne
18. What Angels Fear, Harris, C. S.
17. When Gods Die, Harris, C. S.
16. Possession, Richardson, Kat
15. The Year of the Griffin, Jones, Diana Wynne
14. Dark Lord of Derkholm, Jones, Diana Wynne
13. Till We Have Faces, Lewis, C. S.
12. Catch the Lightening, Asaro, Catherine
11. Seawitch, Richardson, Kat
10. Unexpected Magic, Jones, Diana Wynne
9. Fortunately, The Milk, Gaiman, Neil
8. Downpour, Richardson, Kat
7. Labyrinth, Richardson, Kat
6. Pogo’s Double Sundae, Kelly, Walt
5. Pogo’s Bats and the Belles Free, Kelly, Walt
4. Primary Inversion, Asaro, Catherine
3. Johannes Cabal, The Necromancer, Howard, Jonathan L.
2. Beau Pogo, Kelly, Walt
1. Emerald House Rising, Kerr, Peg

* Ebook

Baby Afghan Redux



2015_03_21-02My mother’s niece EYJ, the one we stayed with when we went to Pearland in December and mom stayed with when she went for her brother’s funeral, is anticipating being a grandmother again. Her son and his wife are expecting their first baby. (She already has two grandchildren by her daughter.)  The new yarn bowl’s maiden voyage is going to be a baby afghan.  I had some Caron Jumbo variegated baby yarn that is pink, blue, yellow, green and white, and I limbered up a size 9 circular needle, and I’m doing another of those “overgrown dishcloth” pattern baby afghans that are knitted on the diagonal.  The yarn is slightly nubby and is knitting up nicely.  It will be a sweet little afghan.  We don’t know the sex of the baby as yet, hence the “nonspecific”  colors.

2015_03_21-01The Caron Jumbo skeins wind into a ball that is about 7 inches in diameter, which is just slightly too tall for the new yarn bowl when the lid is on.  However, I’ve now knitted the ball down small enough that with the lid on, it is able to roll around freely and have the yarn pull out easily through the slit without the ball binding.  This is a variegated yarn (the colors change about ever 8 inches), rather than a self striping yarn, although I guess it would stripe if you were knitting something small enough.

In other news, I made the first pitcher of iced tea of the season Thursday night.  Now that we have sprung forward, the sun is currently setting about 8 p.m.  The weather has been nice enough that there have been children playing in the “grassy” area between the apartment buildings (the grass hasn’t started growing yet).  It’s supposed to be getting up into the 80’sF/26+C starting tomorrow, for about the next week, with lows in the 46’sF/4+C.  We’re supposed to be having scattered showers, although I haven’t looked to see if one is scattering on us at the moment.

It’s about time for me to switch from the winter bed linens to the summer ones.  It’s not consistently warm enough yet to switch from the heating to the air conditioning.  Haven’t gotten my new dishwasher yet, nor have I gotten the closet door fixed.

Amarillo, Shoes and Cars


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Tuesday morning, I was on the road to Amarillo by 9 a.m.  Made it as far as 50th Street and the Loop (about five blocks), and realized I had left my computer on.  However, some people leave theirs on 24/7, so I resisted the urge to go back and turn it off.  I went via I-27 — typical of interstate highways, it is a 4-lane divided highway all the way between my town and Amarillo — good roads, speed limit of 75 mph/121 kph, hardly any traffic to speak of, and an utterly boring drive.  The weather was cool and overcast.  I made the turnoff onto State Road 335, AKA Soncy Avenue, but second-guessed myself looking for West Amarillo Blvd, thinking I had gone too far when I hadn’t gone far enough.  Then I turned off onto Highway 40 when I shouldn’t have and had to turn around and back track. Scenic route not withstanding, I made it to the VA hospital and was pulling into a parking place by 11:15.  I made it to the Radiology Department, reported in, told them I had a 3 pm appointment but they said they’d work me in earlier if possible, found a seat in the waiting area, knitted 3-1/2 rows and they called me in.  Spent all of 10 minutes getting the CT scan, and was out on the street by 11:55. (beat the VA bus there, BTW)  Then I  had me a Big Mac at Mickey D’s, filled up my car’s gas tank, then hit the road for home (I’m getting an average of 26 mpg, BTW).  I pulled into the parking space at my apartment by shortly after 2:30 p.m.

Drove 280 some-odd miles (450.6 k) and spent 5-1/2 hours in order to spend 10 minutes actually getting the CT scan, which I could have gotten at one of the local hospitals here, (and Medicare would have paid for all but $104), except there was nobody at the VA clinic who could write me an order for it.  The CT scan should be read and the written report sent by Thursday-ish.

I got back in time to go get a refill prescription for the cephalexin I’m taking trying to clear up this bone infection.  I took it to Walmart to get it filled (the VA does not fill prescriptions written by nonVA healthcare professionals) and get some groceries while I was waiting to get the prescription filled.  I got home, put up my groceries, had time to eat a container of yogurt, and then went off to my knitting group. (We got pre-empted out of our room again and had to meet in the library proper.)  By the time I got home from that, I was pooped.

Back up at 8 o’clock Wednesday morning to go to The Brace Place by 9 o’clock to pick up the custom orthotics for my shoes.  (I was supposed to go Tuesday but I had to reschedule, because I went to Amarillo.)  Then I cooled my heels over a cup of fruit and oatmeal at McDonald’s until my 10:30 appointment to take the new car (Crayolanova? Silver?) in for it’s 4-month service (they rotated the tires and checked to see all was as it should be.  I go back in August to get the oil changed.  This is all free service as a part of the warranty maintenance.   (I took knitting to do while I waited.)

Then I went over to mom’s house.  We visited for a while and then went out to lunch. While we were visiting, she mentioned that the Sunday she flew to Houston to attend her brother’s funeral, she dreamed about my dad for the first time since he passed (September 22, 2014).  She said she dreamed he came walking into their bedroom — walking normally, without his walker —  and said he wanted to go to Houston with her, so she went to the dresser and pulled out three undershirts and three pairs of boxer shorts to pack for him, which is what he would have needed had he been going with her.  Then she woke up, got up and got ready, and I picked her up and took her to the airport.  It was a nice dream, and typical of him.  He would have wanted to go with her.  (I might mention that she actually could have gone to their dresser and taken out clothes for him — all his clothes are still right where they were when he passed.  She is not ready to deal with that yet.)

Mom goes out of town for three days tomorrow to a music association convention in Brownwood, Texas, and she had changed her beauty shop appointment from Friday morning to that afternoon to get her hair done prior to her trip.  She will go with three of her women friends, one of whom will drive them.  I’m so glad she’s able to do things like this.  She is such a social person, and she missed being able to travel and go out frequently when she was caring for my dad that last year and a half.  Next month, a couple have invited her to their house on one of the lakes in the Dallas area.  She and the lady used to work together at the law firm where she was a legal secretary for so many years.   I’m so thankful that my 90-year-old mom is not only still as sharp as a tack, but also healthy, fit and able to get around with no trouble.  She’s just like her oldest sister, JJP,  — she never meets a stranger!

On my way back from my mom’s house, I stopped by the vet’s to get some of the Science Diet KD (special kidney formula) A 4 lb bag of that stuff costs over $20, so the grey one is going to be the only one who gets any. The other two can just eat the Mature Hairball Control Science Diet I put down for all comers.   I gave her a little bowl of it today and she snarfed it up.  It comes in small kibbles and she seems to be able to eat it a lot more easily than the chicken I’ve been giving her. Even when I cube it in small cubes, because it’s moist, it tends to stick to the dish and she seems to have trouble getting it up into her mouth.  I just hope this KD  stuff helps her gain some weight.  She hardly weighs anything.  She’s just skeletal.  If I can’t put some weight back on her soon, I’m afraid I’m going to lose her.  I’ve put a bowl of fresh water up on the dryer for her so she can drink water that the black one hasn’t put his foot in or isn’t lurking to pounce on her the moment she tries to settle down to drink.  My poor little baby girl.

IMG_2047When I got back home, I saw that my yarn bowl had been delivered.  I haven’t had a chance to use it yet, but I’m planning on staying home for a while now.  At least until knitting group next Tuesday.  I’ll try it out tomorrow.  The new car has over 1800 miles on it now.  I’m going to be driving the wheels off it if I’m not careful.

It’s Dejá Vu All Over Again


So today when I went to get my mail, I discovered I had gotten a new Master Card debit card from my bank.  This time, there was only the card, no letter telling me my info had been compromised.  Just this new card.  So, I call the bank, and gave the lady who answered the whole spiel about how they’d sent me a card a while back with a letter, etc.  She said there’d been a problem with about five customers, including her son — and me apparently — , having their info compromised, and Amazon seemed to be the culprit this time.   At her direction, I shredded the old card and got the new one activated.

I also got a notice from the VA that I had an appointment to get my CT scan in Amarillo on the 31st, which is right at two weeks away, so I wrote an impassioned email to the VA about how my dentist has x-ray proof that I have a bone infection in the bone between my teeth and my maxillary sinus and how I am in danger of losing that tooth, etc., etc.  You practically have to go all John Cleese from the Dead Parrot sketch to get the VA to do anything in a timely manner.  Dealing with them is like trying to push a rope.  So they called and now I have an appointment tomorrow.  In Amarillo.  Oh, joy.  I’ll be driving.  At least I won’t have to ride that rattletrap old VA bus and be crammed in cheek by jowl with all those fat sweaty men.

And while I’m on the phone with the VA, I get a phone call and let it go to voice mail.  It’s sneaking up on 5 o’clock when I listen to the voice mail informing me that they’ve cancelled my new credit card and I’m to shred it and keep using the old one.  Which I’ve already shredded.  And I’m going to Amarillo.  Tomorrow.  And it’s too late to call the bank because they’ve already gone home for the day.

Well, payday is not until next week, and I’ve only got $9.72 in the bank anyway, but  I do have $27 in cash in my wallet, and my mom says come over and I’ll front you some money til payday.  I dash over to mom’s, she writes me a check and I dash off to the bank (the motor bank is open til 6 p.m.).  I put the check, the deposit slip, the new debit card, and my driver’s license in the little pneumatic container and sent it thwooshing up to the teller, and go into the song and dance about the debit card, and how I’ve shredded the old one already and is this one still valid, and it is.  Whew!

And in between my apartment and my mom’s house, and all along that stretch of Loop 289, and all up Quaker Avenue, there are rampantly blooming ornamental pear trees.  I came straight in the door of my apartment and into the half bath and downed a generic Sudafed and a generic Mucinex, (I almost said “inhaled them” but my nose was too stuffed up to breath through by then) and it still took me over an hour to stop sneezing and twhonking my nose.

I need to get something to eat, take another dose of antibiotic and get on Google Maps and write down which highways I need to take and which turns I make where, which I’ll write in big letters and tape to my dashboard.  It’s a pretty straight shot.  The VA Hospital is right on the western edge of town.  It only takes about an hour and 45 minutes to drive one way — unless you take the VA bus and have to stop and pick up and let off people ten or fifteen times along the way.  I won’t have to wait for the bus.  I can just leave when I’m through and come home.  My appointment is at 3 p.m., but if I get there earlier, the radiology tech said they would try to work me in.  I’m going to try to get there by about 10:30, and I’ll take some knitting.

Now I have to call first thing in the morning and tell the Brace Place that I have to reschedule the appointment to get my new orthotic shoe inserts.  Maybe I can get them to schedule me Wednesday afternoon, after I get the Corolla serviced.

Oh, and did I mention, the people upstairs moved out!  They moved out last Friday.  The thundering herd is gone. The silence is blessed.  I had no compunction about using the vacuum to clean up around the cat box at 1 a.m. after work Sunday night.  And according to the apartment maintenance guy, I’m getting a new dishwasher.  They were just going to order me some new racks for the old dishwasher, but they were so expensive that it was cheaper to just go ahead and replace the whole thing.  And the new track for the closet door has come in.  Now, if the maintenance guy can just find time to come do those two things. . .

VR or DR?



The voice recognition software that the medical transcription company I work for uses can be more trouble than it’s worth.  It seems I spend more time sorting out what it thinks it heard than it would take me to just type the durn thing from scratch.  Then again, in all fairness, I have to consider what it has to work with — such as:  “Her syncopal episode (fainting spell) happened while she was sitting down, and got up, and the next thing she knew, she was on the ground unconscious.”  GIGO.


Knitty, Gritty and I-27

I’m on antibiotics again.  Tuesday I went for a visit to the hygienist to have my teeth cleaned.  That smoldering bone infection at the root of my left upper molar has flared again.  If I can’t get the infection stamped out, I will eventually lose the tooth, so I’m on cephalexin again, four times a day.  I suspect the source of the infection is my sinuses.  I’m trying to get the VA to do something about it.   They’re supposed to send me for a CT scan, which I have to go to Amarillo to get — a 100 mile trip — because all we’ve got here is a clinic.  Unless I want to pony up $600/£407/€572 or so for the CT, I have to go to the VA hospital in Amarillo to get it.  Unless I want to drive myself there, I will have to ride the stupid VA bus.  We’re talking a 200 mile round trip which, even with the great gas mileage the new Crayola gets, pretty much totals a tank of gas, which these days is around $25/£17/€24.  Considering what an ordeal it was to ride the bus the last time I did it, I might have to google a map of Amarillo and see how you get to the VA hospital from where I live.

After I’d spent an hour at the dentist’s, and 45 minutes in Walmart getting the prescription filled, it was 4 p.m.  I had not been feeling 100% for a couple of days, and my trip to the dentist explained why.  I crashed out for 2 hours, then got up to go to knitting group.  There, I ended up sitting between my friend SD who was trying out the horseshoe cable scarf pattern from my knitting blog, and a new lady who was trying out a rather complicated crochet pattern that involved front post treble crochets.   SD didn’t realize, as I didn’t at first, that a horseshoe cable is actually a left over right twisted cable (Cable Back) followed immediately by a right over left twisted cable (Cable Front), with no stitches in between.  Because there are no intervening stitches, the two cables are pulled toward each other, giving the horseshoe effect.  I was in the middle doing the 3 cable scarf, which has a braided cable between two twisted cables.

While I was at knitting group, my mom called me from Dallas to tell me her plane was running late.  She had flown to Houston Sunday to go to Pearland, Tx, to attend the funeral of her brother HJ.  Her plane was supposed to arrive at 8:35, but it only takes about 15 minutes to get to the airport from where knitting group is held, so I stayed until knitting group was over at 8:30, and then went to pick her up.  She was just coming up to the doors of the terminal as I drove up, so it was perfect timing.  She said it rained all day Sunday and Monday, but that it cleared up for the funeral.  Even so, there was standing water everywhere, and the funeral home put up a marquee and had to put down an AstroTurf carpet for the graveside service because it was so muddy.  Mom said it was a nice service.

Next Tuesday, I go get my custom orthotics for my shoes, and Wednesday is my 4-month/5,000 service on the new Crayola. (It’s going to be a 4-month service, because I haven’t got but 1500 miles on it.) They sent me an email saying I had an appointment for 7 a.m.  I don’t think so!  I called and got it rescheduled to a more reasonable hour.  I said I’d wait on it, so I will be bringing either a book or knitting.



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