Thursday, February 26, 2009

The three seasons

Growing up, TV was dominated by the big three networks. We had access (via our antenna) to a grainy PBS station and an independent, which was even grainier. The TV season of new shows ran with the school year and of course, there were many more episodes than there are now. Summer became rerun time and we found other things to do.

But with the advent of cable, that all changed and I see that we've all settled into a new pattern. It was fairly common for new shows to come on at mid-season, but now, that's expanded to summer as well. Leverage, shown on TNT, began in December, even played Christmas week (!), and is just now ended. Will it be back? In the summer. (As an aside, this is a very clever show. It bears a strong resemblance to AMC's Hustle from several (mid)seasons ago.)

The Closer, another TNT offering, began in the summer several years ago. These last two months, we've had a mini-season and it'll be back in June.

Lost, 24, and Heroes all have begun in January. Does this keep us interested through the winter? Is it just a clever ploy so we won't permanently desert our sets for rental movies and Netflix downloads?

Don't know, don't care. I just know the finer aspects of TV viewing aren't showing up in September any more.

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Monday, February 23, 2009


The fast-forward button on the DVD remote is your very good friend. We all know that. The front of videos are crammed with previews of other movies the same production company has made and to watch them is to be force-fed the same movie trailers you most likely had to sit through at the theatre. Therefore, either fast-forward on through the VCR tape (yes, I still watch them and no, you're not surprised) or find 'menu.'

I watch movies while I do my daily treadmill two miles. At about 30 minutes per session, I can get through most movies in 3-4 days. To that end, I've been buying old videos for a buck at used book stores, then donating them to the library to be resold for same. But we've a new video store in town, which allows five days rentals for a dollar or less (except for new releases), so I'm changing my game plan, and in more ways than one.

I've started watching the previews. If I like movie A well enough to rent it, perhaps I'll like B or C or D enough also. So far, I've either found or been reminded of three movies. This may work after all, shortening my time in the store and widening--but just a bit--my horizons.

And, if all else fails, there's still the fast-forward button.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hurry, Springtime

The instant Winter Solstice hits, I start looking for spring, despite the fact that the worst of winter is, statistically, yet to come. We've had some mighty cold 20-flirting with the teens temps in the last 2 months. Still, I rejoice in the lengthening days. And I get very, very tired of my winter wardrobe.

So, yesterday, on a trip to Dallas, I wore beige slacks. I stopped and bought four pairs of on-sale flats/short heels because 1) I can't wear high heels any more or my right knee protests unspeakably loudly and 2) I'm as tired of my winter loafers as I am my black slacks. Really, really tired of them. Everything does not go with black, at least not in this stage of the waiting-for-spring game.

Now, in fairness, come October, I'm pretty well ready to hang up the crop pants and the sandals. After all, I'd have been in them for six months. (That's why there are end of season sales, so we can put a little excitement in our worn-out wardrobes.) In Texas, I think summer clothes wear out more quickly anyway. Perhaps we have a tendency to buy 'for the season' more or the fabrics are just lighter in weight and not as durable. Or I get my favorites and wear them over and over and over, until I want to say, Hurry, Winter.

No, don't think I've ever said that. Hurry, Autumn maybe. But never, Hurry, Winter.

But for now, Hurry, Springtime.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

A new game

Having lamented on January 5, that the game of collecting state quarters was over, I was delighted to find out from the news this morning that another game is afoot. In coordination with Lincoln's bicentennial year, the Mint is releasing new--don't get too excited!--pennies! Four of them! Spread out over the year!

I seem to excel in getting pennies in change, so this shouldn't be too difficult. But what if I get greedy and can't wait to pick through what the cashier has just dumped into my palm? What if I go to the bank?

With the quarters, a sign would appear in the drive-through window: We have the new X-state quarter. I'd send a dollar through the canister and get back my shiny new quarters. So what do I send now? Four old pennies? A nickel?

What to do... what to do.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Zyliss d-list

Several years ago we were at the home of a friend. He was using this marvelous corkscrew to open a bottle of wine and proclaimed it (the corkscrew, not the wine) the best ever. He said it was expensive. (All things are relative.) Not to be deterred, I followed his lead and found one. Loved it. Loved it so much I gifted our sons with one each.

It was a Zyliss corkscrew with foil cutter. While the foil cutter was nice, I could have foregone that for the simplicity of the corkscrew. One just keeps twisting. There's no twist in, twist out. No pull, pull, pull. Rarely a broken cork. Works on real and synthetic corks. We finally managed to split the plastic around the foil cutter part which also acts as a balance for the bottle's neck, so I used strong tape and bandaged it.

You probably know where this is heading. Our corkscrew is almost dead. It takes a certain "touch" and patience to get it to work. (I have it; someone else in the family does not.) I've casually looked for a replacement, but to no avail. So I started searching the internet. While there's a picture on Amazon (see link above), there's no seller or price. There's one available in Australia but by the time it got here, it really would be expensive. Nothing close on ebay.

So I did what I should have done in the first place: emailed customer service for Zyliss USA. A prompt reply told me they had discontinued making it two years ago. None for sale.

Oh. (But say that as you swallow the lump in your throat.) Now what? Was I going to have to retrain myself to another?

Then I was telling this very sad (IMO) tale to the second son. Come to find out, they rarely use theirs, preferring another type instead. Hand it over, I said. And I'm going to email him and remind him of that right now!

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Friday, February 06, 2009

The joy of re-acquaintance

When I began writing for McKinney Living Magazine last summer, I thought I might run into a few old friends along the way, and I have. But one of my most anticipated "run intos" is yet to come.

In the trail of an article on romance (scroll to page 54) which I wrote for the February issue, a friend from high school left me a comment on this blog. Many years after high school graduation we are reacquainting ourselves via email. As a bonus, she has lunch every month with four others. I, who have to be the worst about high school reunions, am hoping to meet up with them soon and play an extended game of catch up!


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