Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fear the Walking Dead: So Close, Yet So Far

In tonight's episode, the fall of Los Angeles accelerates.

Most people still don't know anything is wrong.  They are hearing reports that people are getting sick and becoming violent, but you know how it is, it doesn't really have anything to do with them personally.

Alicia finds her boyfriend home alone and sick so she stays with him to try to help him.  Her mom and Travis find her there, and almost physically pull her out of there, with Matt saying he'll be ok and his parents will be home soon.

This whole scene bothered me because two parents, two teachers who work with kids are more protective of them than most, and they would take Matt out of there with them, ill or not.  You just don't leave the guy your child loves alone and suffering.  I don't believe seeing Cal turned into a zombie would be enough to harden them.  I don't think they understand what he was, and the effects of the illness are not so widespread at this point that they can go, oh yeah, he's dead soon, and dangerous.

Back at home the group splits yet again. Travis to find his son and ex-wife, Madison to go to the school to get a bunch of drugs from a locker at the school for Nick.

Travis' son Christopher becomes involved in a mob situation, as onlookers protest police shooting a homeless person, he films away.  Luckily his parents see the scene on tv and pop on down to get him, only to have the mob turn into a riot as police shoot another obvious (to the audience but not the crowd) zombie.

The family seeks asylum at the barbershop, which shuts down as the crowds surge by.  Here's our barber family.  The dad seems grumpy.   The mom does look a bit mystical and creepy but she insists he let them in.  The adult daughter Ofelia comes down to see what is going on and Grumpy Boy tells her to go to her room. What?  Luckily she brushes him off and gets everyone calmed down.

They should be safe, but the barber tells Travis there is no back door, no other way out.  I hope that's not the case, how can you run a shop without access to an alley and trash cans?  How do you say "trapped like a rat"?

Madison meanwhile finds the all knowing Zombie fan Tobias at the school. He is taking stores from the school kitchen "a mother lode" of accessible food, and he'd like his knife back.  Since he walks in on her loading up on drugs, she has no problem helping him load a cart and start pushing it towards the exit.

Odd noises turn out to be the principal, who has been transformed.  She has a long history with this man and only fights him when he has Tobias pinned and is nearing his neck for a snack.   She must have hit him five times with a fire extinguisher before he let go of Tobias.

She drops the kid off at home, where he seems to have no one. This time she does offer to bring him home with her where he can be safe.   I really liked this kid as soon as I saw him.  Total geek, sees what's happenings, predicts "when civilization falls, it falls fast".   I suppose the whole deal is we are supposed to see the apocalypse through "every person's eyes"  and we can't have a character like him around.  I hope he is saved, and triumphs.

Finally at home, she finds Nick had a grand mal seizure and Alicia had been planning to sneak back to help Matt.   The birthday party across the street turns zombieriffic.  Travis manages to call and let her know they're safe but trapped.  He wants her to go to their rendezvous spot in the desert  but she'll wait for him.


Madison shows herself capable of defense big time, even though it is a hard thing to do.  She's full on Mama Bear, protective (except Matt!).

Travis is pretty single minded here, find ex-wife, find son, gather everyone up and get far from where people are.  He may be ok in the apocalypse.

Alicia, still undeserving of Matt, still not my favorite.

Nick spent most of the episode barfing.  Not his finest hour.

Christopher tried to be socially conscious, filming the scene where police were clearly shooting innocents and protesters are angry and chanting as he chants with them.   He moves up an inch on the scale.

The Salazars are an interesting group.   There is a sneak peak of the next episode on the official page and they are part of the hapless group that stays together once they escape the tin can of the barbershop with no other entrances.

Official Site:

Ha! The next episode is September 13, skipping next week already.   Way to build and maintain tension and interest.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fear The Walking Dead: Pilot

The episode served as a nice intro to the apocalypse.  It appears people are falling ill and getting violent all over, but nobody knows the cause.   It is a slow thing, not a rampant overnight change in the world.

From our cast of characters, it turns out I like Nick and Travis.  Travis really is a good guy who is trying to mediate the personal disasters that Nick brings with him.  He seemed like a gifted teacher in the classroom.  He spent time watching over Nick in the hospital then yikes! went to the church where Nick had seen his Girlfriend the Zombie to look around.  Oddly no bodies remained but lots of gooey looking blood.

Nick, I'm surprised I like him, he is a total druggie, not my favorite people.  There is a vulnerability to the guy, an innocence somehow.  He only means himself harm.  I like that he reached out to Travis, who isn't a stepdad as I thought, but a live in boyfriend.

Madison was all sharp edges and annoying this episode.  Her daughter was even worse.  Luckily the daughter has a great boyfriend, who she doesn't deserve, but maybe he'll bring her around.  Or save her from a zombie.

Christopher was brief and whiny for someone in his teens.

Liza turned out to be quite pleasant and understanding for the most part, but I thought Christopher too old to be the subject of a conversation  "it's your weekend will you take him?"

I briefly liked Nick's old friend Cal, who seemed like a good guy that had maybe cleaned up his act as Nick should be doing, but nooooo.  Bad dog.

The Barber's family wasn't in the episode but it looks like next week they'll be in.

Fear The Walking Dead Tonight!

The premier of Walking Dead spinoff Fear the Walking Dead premiers this evening.  Luckily I have some deep seated love of zombies, or I'd be put off by some aspects of the show.

It is set in Los Angeles at the start of the zombie outbreak.  I'm ok with zombies in bikinis.  The more dead, rotting flesh, the better, right?

We get to see how everything fell apart, which is one of the great pleasures of disaster movies and books.  Everyone is enjoying everyday life, complaining about hang nails, then whammo!  Sheet happens!

My problem with Fear is that as soon as I read the character descriptions, I thought, man, I'm not going to like any of these people, and I will be fine with them getting eaten by zombies.  Tear em up, boys!


Look at that face! Popular guidance counselor with a murky past.  Ya.


A hip high school teacher who wears tweedy jackets and blue jeans.  All around good guy with a lurking ex-wife and "resentful son".


Popular guidance counselor Madison oopsie has a heroin addict son.  Note he is a "young man at a crossroads".   Could that be the corner of Dead and Zombified?


Popular guidance counselor Madison also cranked out a Perfect Patti of a daughter with ambitions to get the heck away from her crudball addict brother and popular mother.  Hard to say how she feels about her tweedy stepdad but we'll find out tonight.


Tweedy Travis's son is all rebellious because he wants daddy to himself.


Tweedy Travis's Ex.   Unhappy "for years" with "do gooder" Travis she is now working her way through nursing school.  She is a "multi-tasking whirlwind".

Truly, all those guys seem obnoxious, and I wondered if they made them that way so nobody would get attached to them or mind when they got torn apart by hungry zombies.   I started watching The Walking Dead at season 4 so I never read the bios of the characters in advance.  Maybe if I had, I would have written a snarky post like this, then fallen in love with them and felt bad.

There are three other characters featured on the Fear the Walking site.  I like them all very much in advance!  They'd better not kill them off is all I have to say.


Here we have a guy who has a shot at survival.   Mild mannered barber who will "protect his family at any cost".    That's what you need in the apocalypse.


Smart, realistic, tough.  That's what we're looking for.


She might be a mother figure to our ragtag group.  She will have to have been tough to come here and make a new life.  They try to make her sound weak because she has faith, but that doesn't have to be so.

We shall see what I think tonight.  Bring on the zombies, I'll bring the popcorn.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Scrapbooking DOA: Anecdotal Tales

Anyone working on family histories or scrapbooks knows that "interviewing" people and getting stories about the past can really add personality and depth to the stories you're trying to tell.

If the person is speaking of their own past, you assume that a lens of time and emotion is applied to their stories whether they know it or not, but the essence of the tale is almost certainly true and worth noting.

When they speak of their contemporaries, including their parents or grandparents, a larger lens of refinement is applied depending on what relationships with those people have been.  These stories are valuable for inclusion because they help paint a larger picture for future readers, but you need to note somehow what these relationships are, or have been, so anyone would know it isn't necessarily an eyewitness account of events.

Anytime the person is speaking of someone from the past who they didn't really know or interact with themselves, I think marking these stories as anecdotal  (a short usually amusing account of an incident, esp a personal or biographical one...Free Dictionary) lets everyone know it is just a story passed along down the years.  As you're writing your own section, you might want to make things pretty clear, so your tale doesn't get enlarged or modified.  Could work.

As I'm going through old photographs, and getting birth and death and whatever other information is out there, I know I can't really bring the previous generations to life.  I do have anecdotal tales of some of the way back folks.  It seems to me that what survives as anecdotes is often not the everyday things in a person's life, but the out of the ordinary or borderline scandalous stuff.

Did this couple really have a line drawn through the center of the house and one side was his, and one was hers?  And did he "have a woman on the side"?

Even more Dept. of the Wierd...did this woman have such a strong constitution that she survived her Atlantic crossing in a barrel?  Did she use her iron will to arrange marriages, possibly including the unhappy one above?  Was there an opportunity to follow some love to California (which would have brought considerable relief to the locals) which she turned down?

I'm wondering if I should keep some of these stories in my own notes, or should I include them in just my own book and give everyone else just the facts?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Trying out Apple Newstand: Mollie Makes

I love magazines, particularly two craft magazines: Mollie Makes and Simply Crochet (from the same British publisher).
I've had good luck finding copies at a local Joann fabrics, but if I am willing to give up the cute little craft project they include with each issue (a tiny bag with the project of the month and all the materials you need to make it), would I enjoy just getting access on my iPad?


For an initial browse of the articles, the format would be fine.  My iPads large screen will display the pages easily.

Working on a project

If you're using a page to work on a pattern, you run into the tendency of the device to go dim/dark.  I have tried to find a setting that stops this annoyance but without success.

Another consideration is that you might be working away blissfully only to find your battery is low.

These things are never a consideration with the physical magazine.

Of course you can have dozens of issues on your device and no space is taken up in your home, which is already overflowing with books, right?

The Newstand doesn't show you the subscription price of a magazine until you choose "Get" and log in with your Apple ID.  That seems so odd since other apps show you the pricing upfront.

You can buy individual issues of Mollie Makes for $6.99 each which might be an option if you didn't want to subscribe upfront but only wanted to see a particularly appealing issue.

$16.99 for three months 
$59.99 for a year

I may try the three months to see how I like it.  I believe you have access to all back issues when you subscribe.

Edit:  I went with a three month subscription and the magazine is beautiful as always. Caveat! Your three month subscription will auto renew unless you go into settings (device or subscription settings??) ...I'm pretty sure they said the day before it is due to renew.  That is all kinds of troublesome if true, and if the subscription service is U.K. Based you'll need to be wary of time zones.

As you're flipping pages it seems to take a few moments for some pages to resolve.
If one of the reasons you like the magazine is getting the "artist paper", that you'll need to print out rather than being able to tear it out of the magazine.  Artist paper is usually on a bit stiffer stock than the rest of the pages so what printing result you get would vary with your printer and the paper you choose to print on.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Crafty D.O.A.: Printing on Canvas Inkjet Paper

As I'm going through mom's old sketchbooks, I think I'd like to share some of her drawings and some of the watercolors she dabbled in.

Quite awhile ago I purchased Strathmore Canvas Inkjet Paper with this in mind.  I finally tested it tonight, and while the colors aren't quite true, the essence of the picture is, and it is on nice canvas paper that makes it seem like the original, when the original can't be split 8 ways.

The paper is two sided, one side looking like canvas, the other side just glossy paper.  The instructions on the box seemed to say they wanted you to print the image on the non-canvas like side, but that isn't what I wanted.

The original scanned:

The original with the copy:

DOA Menu Planning 101

I make a menu now weekly and shop just for what I need for the week accordingly.  I've decided to go a month at a time.  Somehow I feel this will allow me to put all of our favorite meals in a rotation, and plug in at least one new to us meal at least once per week.

I like this template from No Ordinary Moments

She says it is an editable PDF but it didn't come up as editable on my screen.  I'd rather print it out and have it handy in the kitchen in any case.

Here is my own weekly planner:

I take a list similar to this to the store with me after writing out a menu (can't find in my documents grrr).

Here's a list of our Standard, stick these in the menu if I'm not inspired meals.  Each to their own!  There is plenty of room in a month long menu to use some of these and look through recipe books and cooking blogs for new things to try.

Pizza using purchased sauce/dough or Pizza with homemade sauce and homemade dough with Garlic Bread
Creamed Beef on Toast
Grilled Cheese
Roast /Mashed Potatoes and Gravy/ Corn/ Rolls
Chicken Breasts with Gravy/  Rice/ 4 Cheese Potatoes/Veg
Sloppy Joes and BBQ Chips
Chicken Nuggets/Homemade Mac and Cheese/Fruit
Brats/Dogs/Kraft Mac and Cheese
Pork Chops/Augratins/Veg
Beef Stew
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Chicken Noodle Soup/Bread/Cheese and Crackers
Chicken Pot Pie (Homemade)
 Ham/Augratin or Julienne Potatoes/Corn/Salad
H Helper
Chow Mien

Posts Incoming

While I haven't been writing posts, I've been pondering them.  Thinking DEEPLY.

 Actually, I'm going to dredge up posts from my notebooks. I could temporarily rename the blog From the Notebooks Of... but I like it as it is.

See my post count go up and my readership go kablooie.  This counts as one.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Scrapbooking DOA: Baby Announcements That Never Were

Although I meant to present my "family history scrapbooks" to my sisters for Christmas about five years ago (how time flies!) they still don't have them.  I was actually rocking along, mass producing the pages to be the same across eight scrapbooks so they'd be the same.

The plan was a nice cheery overview of just a couple of generations back so everyone would have a feel for where they came from, what their "people" of the the past were like, because none of them remembered anyone.

 I'd do a section on each sister/brother kind of giving a short overview in pictures of their own life.

Way too ambitious any way you look at it, but did that stop me? No. It has slowed me down considerably, but I got this. I am going to produce the coolest albums ever.

My latest project is to make up baby announcements for each kid.  With eight children, you don't get baby showers for everyone, and I suspect they just picked up the phone and called or wrote letters to get the word out that another arrival had made it into the depot.  Mom wouldn't like that last sentence.

Current baby announcements are all slick photos with the baby's pertinent info on them.  Not what I was looking for.  Also, my sisters all looked very much alike as babies so I can't tell who is who.

Enter my love of cutesy "vintage" clipart.  (No there is no vintage vibe in my house, just alot of books, toys and games everywhere).

There was one I copied that I'm sure seemed sweet to another generation, but the whole "baby creeps" idea put me in mind of some horror film.  The font is part of the creepy factor too.

I hoped to find some that had lines for baby info: date of birth, sex, size, etc. that were blank so I could make copies and fill in the information for everyone.  These are rare and not always quite what I want.

I'm looking for sweetie pie stuff.

I'll have to just use the images on cardstock and add text.

There was a bad moment the other day when I was looking at scanners to see if there were any that could do new and interesting things with old pictures and slides and negatives.  I found one, the Epson 550V. 

It not only would work more efficiently than the current one, but it would convert scanned documents into editable text — ABBYY® FineReader® Sprint Plus OCR.

Does this mean I can scan my cute babies in and add text to them? (Potentially, but I'm wondering if they mean a text document that could then be edited, rather than offering to put text on any scanned item.)

Edit 8/9/15:

Microsoft Publisher has templates for greeting cards, and a few (perhaps 5) templates for "New Baby"  that are bland but customizeable:

Perhaps with tweaking.  I didn't realize you could create your own palette of colors if you don't care for what they offer.

This Blog Needs Something...

I looked over my blog last night and realized I have hardly posted in 2014 or 2015 at all.  I feel like I have been posting but 53 posts in 2014 and 66 posts in 2015 so far...tsk slug doggie!  My game blog has 108 posts so far this year.  It isn't that I'm playing more, I think perhaps because it is focused on a particular topic it is just easier.


My blog also appears to have become a gardening blog. Even this winter that was the most common post topic.  It isn't even what I send most of my time doing, it just has lovely pictures that can be posted along with my deep deep thoughts is my guess.

Although I've gotten out of my reading slump and have been readings lots of good things I could recommend, I follow so many authors on Facebook who find reviews of their books and are either very pleased or they are crushed that they got a poor or middling review or a dread single star.

Giving out stars is just something I can't bring myself to do.  I have never been a fan of doing book reports so I can't write those big whopper reviews that are half the length of the book.

In my last post, I think I may have hit upon a way I can share what I read without any judgement being made. Just the ever ideal, hey, this is a great book.

Watch This Space  for actual posts, mini-posts, pseudo-posts as I try to get that post count up.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August: A Perfect Summer Continues


The weather has been stunningly beautiful this year.  We're having less rain going into August so I will need to begin watering the outer yard to keep the trees and shrubs and grass happy.

My lilacs along the north facing roadway are suffering from having snow mounds dumped on them over the last few winters.  I'm going to try to prune them to a happier state and see if they respond.
Without question it is the weight of the snow because five other lilacs in from the property line are vigorous.

My annuals in pots are still happy and gorgeous as long as I water them daily.  In this heat, if I miss a day, they droop and wilt and look tragic.

My very old bench which has at least one rotted leg but which when propped against the fence somehow held many pots was finally undermined and undone by beagle digging.  I wouldn't have minded at all if he just went under there to keep cool, but no, he had to dig one of his trenches.

Desperate to have a plant holder in that prime sunny spot, I dragged out an old headboard from the garage and it is serving well enough.  I may spray paint it and use it again next season.  I'll need to take the back off for air circulation.

My sisters came over one day and re-did the border of this bed. They're younger and can tote bricks and patio blocks as if they're marshmallows!

Small Garden Before

Small Garden After

I may remove one layer of bricks, but this garden is retaining moisture much better with this frame.

My knees are demoniacal, and were so bad at the beginning of July that I feared I may not to able to walk at all anymore.  Warm packs, Bufferin, Advil, Tylenol in rotation and treating my legs as if they are made of glass resulted in a much better start to this month.  I was even able (gasp) to get down on the ground and reach in to weed this bed which I had been trying to get at for most of a month, but I just couldn't reach the center from my garden tractor.

 Random garden photos, proceed with caution.


After years of customers highly recommending the Agent Pendergast series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, one of those Amazon $1.99 deals caused me to purchase Relic, the first in the series.  It is one of those things, I think, where I was just in the mood for something adventurous and mysterious.  I loved the book immediately this time around.

As soon as I finished it, plink! I snared Reliquary, book two, which takes place in the world underneath the city of New York.

These are set in New York City, and the stories revolve around the Museum of Natural History.  The Museum is a character in and of itself, with its miles of tunnels and rooms filled with collections of so many amazing things they couldn't possibly ever be displayed.  The personalities of those who work in the museum or are associatedwhich  with it are so vivid.

Agent Pendergast is sort of a visiting expert in the first two novels, and apparently comes to the fore in book three, Cabinet of Curiosities which I've just begun.

 The New York Museum of Natural History
Preston has a non-fiction title all about the museum which he wrote before this series of novels.

Must read list!

I'm determined to read through the series before the new book comes out this November.  I love these books so much.

Sara Paretsky's most recent novel Brush Back came last week, so I'm alternating reading Cabinet and Brush Back.

The VI Warshawski character is a wonderfully brave, smart PI, but she is very grounded by her friends and family and her South Chicago background.  The stories are action packed. VI has a strong emotional response to the world around her and it is easy to be carried along with her feelings about events and people, making for a wonderful read.


My older beagle is ten.  I hadn't even realized he was that old. He looks really good, but the vagaries of age are creeping up on him as his allergies and ear problems and dental problems cause him ever more trouble.

Beagle two is a lucky dog indeed as she gets a lovely walk through a wooded set of paths with my son daily.

Although there are nice grassy spots in the beagle area of the yard this year thanks to the rain, they like to lie in the dirt. Silly bozos.

I haven't posted much because you know, TYPING.  How easy it is to just jot things of interest in my notebooks, for possible posts sometime, but they don't make it off of the pen and paper page.

I'm composing this outside in my garden in my comfy Adirondack chair on my lovely iPad Air 2.  The breeze is keeping the flies off of me ( I was writing in the cool shade of the garage, but I was circled by flies...doesn't bode well does it!)

I'll add corrections and pictures later from my PC which is simpler to compose and add pictures on, but I don't tend to retire to my computer room/craft room till later in the evening when my head isn't so interested in composing anything at all.

edited and enhanced, lrs 8/5/15