Entries 425 - 401

ENTRY # 425
DATE:  12/22/14 (Monday)
SUBJECT:  A Message from John Grisham / My Plea to Readers...

December 19, 2014

Dear Reader,

Another year, another chance to count one's blessings and celebrate the season with friends and family. Time to unwind with simple, but essential pleasures: food, drink, good conversation, laughter-and reading.

Much is written about the plight of literacy and long-form reading, namely book reading, and how many potential readers are lost to video games, digital devices and social platforms.

As you might expect, I feel differently.

When I browse through the titles I see packed into my local bookstores, I can't help but be impressed by the breadth, depth and quality of what I see. This is particularly true of books for children and young adults, which is a good thing, since readers are made when they are young. If you've ever seen a child literally fall into a book, you'll know just what I'm talking about.

So, this holiday season, I salute book readers of every age and ilk, with an extra dose of good cheer for my loyal readers. You are, each and every one of you, a blessing.

Best wishes to you and yours for a happy, healthy and well-read holiday season.


John Grisham

     I just found this message from John Grisham in my mailbox. First of all, NO, I am not personal friends with Mr. Grisham. I've never even met the guy. Second of all, I will also admit that his message was not a personal note to me. It's a computer-generated form letter that was automatically sent out from his website to all his members. I am a John Grisham reader/fan so I'm also a member of his "e-updates" list on his site. That's how and why I received his email. Now, y'all might be wondering why I'm posting it here. I have taken the liberty of underlining a paragraph in his message. That particular paragraph is what I'm responding to...
    Back in the day, when I was a teenager, I could walk around both my local shopping malls and experience the pleasure of browsing around in THREE different book stores; B Dalton's, Lauriat's and Walden Books. Imagine that!!! Three major book-sellers in one Mall. Hell, I even remember when Walden Books had a stand-alone store on Route One in Milford. Life was good!!!
     Then the Internet happened, LOL, and people of all ages began purchasing their books online instead of from their local book store. That pretty much killed off B Dalton and Lauriat's. Poof! Gone! Just like that! Walden Books managed to hang in there for a while longer, thankfully.
     Then Barnes & Noble and Borders hit our neighborhoods. Things were looking up. We had three stores again, even though Walden's was struggling. B&N became my home-away-from-home. But, again, the Internet saw an opportunity and gave birth to Amazon.com! Walden Books then lost their foothold in the physical world thanks to the bargain-priced books on Amazon. The Walden locations that managed to survive the Internet's first attack were then bought out by Borders. Fine. That was OK. At lease we still had TWO major book sellers that we could actually WALK AROUND IN and browse.
     Then eBooks became the new fad... and, eventually, eReaders were born; the Kindle (from Amazon) and the Nook (from B&N). Good grief. Thanks to their $9.99 prices we were even forced to wave goodbye to Borders!!! Barnes & Noble is now the only physical bookstore left around here for miles and miles! We're down to ONE, folks, and a year ago there were rumors floating around that Barnes & Noble was starting to feel the financial pressures as well.
     Through all of this, I have remained firm. I DO NOT own an eReader of any kind nor do I plan on ever owning one. And the only eBook I've ever downloaded was Stephen King's "Riding the Bullet," and that was because the eBook version was the only version available.
     The Internet, eBooks and electronic readers are killing our bookstores. They're even affecting the authors of the books. New hard-cover editions by King, Patterson, Grisham, Rice, Sparks, etc., etc. (the list goes on for miles) are usually released with a cover price of [between] $25.00/$30.00. Now, as a consumer, I get it -- times are tough and we're all guilty of wanting to save a few bucks -- but the $9.99 prices you find on the Kindle and the Nook are a little extreme. The authors, themselves, are losing MILLIONS of dollars. This totally sucks.
     I LOVE book stores. One of my favorite activities is browsing around a book store, finding new books, discovering authors I've never heard of. Hell, even the SMELL of a book store I find enticing!!! You can't browse Amazon like that! You can't browse on Kindle like that! It pisses me off, dammit!!!
     Personally, I dread the future. What's going to happen next? Is Barnes & Noble going to be forced to close as well? If so, what do I do then? I can always rely on USED BOOKS book stores in my area but that means I'd have to wait months to finally get my hands on the newest King book, or the newest Patterson book. That kind'a sucks. And, of course, there's always the Library but I'd be in the same situation -- I'd have to wait for it instead of walking into a bookstore on the actual release date and buying it.
     And what about our children? (I am now referring back to the paragraph of Grisham's email that I underlined.) Think back when you were a child. Remember how safe and snug you felt, lying in bed, with a doting parent reading you a bed-time story, showing you the pictures and, sometimes, even letting you turn the pages? Remember how proud you were when you were finally big enough to read all by yourself? Remember how it felt to be sprawled out on your bedroom floor surrounded by your favorite books and stories? Can you remember the joy you felt when you read about "Curious George" and "Clifford, the Big Red Dog" and "Winnie the Pooh," and "Dick & Jane?" Remember how you relished reading all those enchanting fairy tales like "Little Red Riding Hood," "Snow White & the Seven Dwarves," or "Goldilocks and the Three Bears?" And let's not forget about the adventures of the "Hardy Boys" and "Nancy Drew" or Dorothy in that great land of Oz...
     Do you not want your children to have those same treasured memories? Don't you want to buy your favorite childhood books for your own kids to "fall into," as Grisham suggests? Don't you want to witness the tiny, little fingers on your grand child's hand as they reach out to turn the page while you read to him or her? What's going to happen when actual books become obsolete? Are we eventually going to be living in a world where a child has never held a book in their hands?? Will they grow up never having turned a page in their life??? Oh my God, that can't be! We can't let that happen!!!
     I beg you! All of you out there... all you READERS out there.... please support your local book stores. Buy the actual book, stop all the downloading!!!!

ENTRY # 424
DATE:  12/20/14 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  A Dead Ex...

     Back in 1997-98, I used to date this guy. His name was Marty. It wasn't a very long relationship but it was pretty serious. Serious enough for me to drive out-of-state almost once a week to see him. Serious enough that he introduced me to his entire family. Serious enough for us to travel to Maine together for long weekends. Serious enough for me to spend 400 bucks on a limited edition of Stephen King's "Eyes of the Dragon" for him. Granted, we weren't talking about marriage or even getting engaged.... but it was still a "serious" committed relationship. At least TO ME it was. Then, all of a sudden, for reasons I was never quite clear on, he ended our relationship abruptly. Over the phone, no less. It hurt. A lot. I was really angry about that. At least have the balls to break up in person, not over the phone, dammit!!! What an ass, right?!?!
     Today, when I think about it, it reminds me of the episode of "Sex and the City" when Burger breaks up with Carrie on a Post-It note, LOL. It was just like that. I was really hurt... and confused... and tormented for months afterwards because I never got a reason why or any closure. It totally sucked. I was left with feelings I couldn't do anything with. Was it me? Was it him? Was there someone else? Was he gay? Did I never matter to him at all? Was our relationship just a game? To this day, I still don't know what happened.
     When we were together, he didn't have a computer so he wasn't online. Considering that was almost 17 years ago, I tried searching for him a few months ago to see if I could find him online somewhere. I wasn't looking for him for any particular reason. I had no plans to actually contact him. I was just curious to see if I could find him. I just wanted to see if he had a personal website or a Facebook page.... just something I could find to see what he's been up to lately. Y'know, like, if he ever got married or had kids, or bought a house, or if he was even still living in Long Island.... just basic stuff like that. No big deal.
     I found nothing on Facebook other than people that shared his name. I went through all of them though, just in case. Either the info didn't match his specs as I knew him or the photos were of total strangers. So then I tried using one of those "People Search" sites. I found many folks, again, with the same name but none were him... except for one. Only one listing offered the slight possibility that it could be him. However, this one listing said that he was deceased. I was like, "Oh shit!"
     Since I had no other information to go on I was at a loss. My next step was to try to find an obituary. I found obits for his father, his mother and his brother... but nothing for him. OK, fine. At that point, I lost interest and gave up. I didn't feel like sitting in front of my computer any more so I signed off. Oh well. I figured he was either alive or dead, LOL, either way it didn't matter. Since I wasn't planning on contacting him anyway, who cares... Whatever.
     Well - oddly enough - about three weeks ago, a mutual friend of Marty and I - a guy named Stu - who I'm no longer friends with, posted on his Facebook page that he just found out that Marty died over a year ago on October 28, 2013... that's all he knows though. He doesn't know how or why... and he also didn't include how he came to learn this information. He asked, on his Facebook page, if anyone has any information about what happened to Marty to get in touch. Strange. I wonder how Stu found out? I 'spose I'll never know...
     Now... I'm writing all of this because I honestly don't know how or what I'm supposed to feel right now. He was a boyfriend. Not for long, but he was. At the time, I thought I was in love with him. That was 16 or 17 years ago. I obviously don't have those feelings of love for him anymore, after all these years. And he did hurt me. Should I feel sad because an old boyfriend died? I don't. Should I feel happy because this guy who hurt me is now dead? I don't. Would I have gone to his funeral if I had known about it? Definitely not. If he had died shortly after breaking up with me I probably would've been happy just out of spite and/or anger, LOL. I'm sure my attitude, back then, would've been, "Good, you son-of-a-bitch, you got what you deserved!" I don't feel like that today though. In fact, I feel... nothing.
     As a compassionate human being, should I even care at all that he's dead? Because I don't... not really, anyway. My level of caring right now is based solely on my morbid curiosity. I wanna know what happened to him. Did he die of natural causes? Was he sick? Did he kill himself because his father, mother and brother died, leaving him alone in the world? Did he die instantly from a heart attack? Was he killed in a car accident? LOL, I wanna know the details. That's all I care about. Other than that, the only thing I can honestly say that I feel is.... satisfaction. It sounds cruel to be "satisfied" that he's dead but I can't find any other word to describe it. Maybe I should say "indifferent" instead, though that doesn't sound much better. I dunno...
     I feel absolutely no remorse at all. Does that make me a bad person? Am I heartless??? It seems like I should feel something. I just don't know what it is. I mean, he was a part of my life. Why don't I care? I guess I'll just blame the passage of time. Apparently all the years have erased his entire existence in my mind...

ENTRY # 423
DATE:  12/13/14 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  Fraud Sucks!!!

     Oh. My. God. Last Friday, December 5th, I discovered that one of my accounts had been fraudulently compromised. Some asshole out there tried to pay their DirectTV bill (in the amount of $284.00) with MY hard-earned money!!! Thankfully, I caught it in time and no major damage occurred financially.... however, MENTALLY, it has completely drained me. All week long I've been dealing with the bank, my credit card company, my employer because we use direct deposit, my AOL billing account and various utility companies to make sure that I'm OK. What a pain in the ass it's been. I can't even tell you how many hours I've spent on the phone sitting on hold waiting to talk to all these people. Good grief!!!
     The next thing I want to tackle is getting copies of my credit report. I want to get all three of them, one from Equifax, one from Experian and one from TransUnion 'cause these are the three companies that are used for things that matter. If I ever need a bank loan or if I wanna buy a new car or, someday, a house... these are the 3 companies that are used most often 'cause they're supposed to be the most accurate ones. I was going to do this tomorrow at a friend's house ('cause my computer is so slow it won't even load those websites), but he's busy. So, instead, we're going to do it when we both have some time off during the holidays.
     Once that's done, I'm going to give LifeLock a call and become a member. According to their info-mercial they're the best credit monitoring company out there. And I definitely want the best. I want to make sure my shit is locked down tight so I never have to deal with this again.
     Fraud sucks!!!

ENTRY # 422
DATE:  12/01/14 (Monday)
SUBJECT:  Revisiting King...

     If you're a regular visitor here, or if you know me personally, you all know it's no secret that I'm a Stephen King fan. Have been for years. Many years. Almost 35 years, in fact, LOL. That's a long time to stay committed to one person's work. Although, when you consider the length of King's prolific career it makes sense. To date, I've read everything King has written. Well, not everything. I don't bother to hunt down every article/short story he's written for various magazines. I don't bother with trying to track down all the book reviews he's written. And I definitely don't scrounge around after his poetry either, LOL. But, when it comes to his BOOKS, I've read them all... except for "Faithful," the Red Sox book he co-wrote with Stuart O'Nan (I will eventually, I just haven't gotten to it yet), and "Revival." That's his newest book. It just came out last month and I haven't bought it yet 'cause I'm kind'a hopin' I'll get it for Christmas from one of my co-workers. Everything else, though, I've read...
     I have all the movies, too, that are based on his work. The real movies, not the plethora of "dollar babies" that are out there. Tracking all those down is nearly impossible and I honestly can't be bothered. My movie collection, unfortunately, still includes many King titles on VHS.... I just haven't gotten around to upgrading ALL of them to DVD.
     A couple of weeks ago, I was in FYE and decided to see how many DVDs I could find to replace those horrible VHS tapes. I did pretty good. I came home with both versions of Carrie (the original with Spacek and the remake with Julianne Moore), Christine, Cujo, The Dark Half, The Dead Zone, Children of the Corn, Firestarter, Graveyard Shift, Thinner, The Running Man, Storm of the Century, and Bag of Bones. Not a bad haul for one afternoon of browsing. I came home and had a major Stephen King Marathon that weekend and sat through ALL of them in a row. I intentionally watched both versions of Carrie back-to-back 'cause I wanted to compare them to each other. I gotta tell ya, they are both fantastic movies. Anyway, during the Julianne Moore version of Carrie, I happened to catch a line mentioned about how Carrie's power was inherited from her grandmother. I was, like, "Really??? I don't remember that from the book."
     Well, that got me thinking.... there's actually a bunch of stuff I don't remember from King's early work 'cause, let's face it, that's stuff I read 25, 30, even 35 years ago, LOL. My brain can only retain so much!!! So.... I have decided to revisit King's early years. I plan on re-reading everything up to (but not including) "Hearts in Atlantis." Everything from "Hearts" on, I've read since 1999 and I think that's recent enough in my mind. I don't really need to go any further than that. Oh, and I'm gonna skip all the "Dark Tower" books too, 'cause I finally read all those, in a row, when he finally completed the series... and that wasn't that long ago either.
     I started re-reading last week. I have since worked my way through Carrie, Salem's Lot, and The Shining. I just started Night Shift last night. And, damn, I read these books so long ago, it's like reading brand new stuff, LOL.
     Most of Carrie's story I remembered.... but it was the format I had forgotten. All the [fictitious] excerpts King included from "The Shadow Exploded," and "Carrie: The Black Dawn of T.K." and "My Name is Sue Snell" (to name a few) I had completely forgotten about. I had no memory, at all, that that's how he moved the story forward. That's how he managed to make the story long enough in order to publish it as a full-length novel. There were also little tidbits here and there that I had forgotten... for instance, Carrie's birthday is September 21 (like King's).... and one of Carrie's teachers is "Mr. Edwin King." For those of you who don't know, Edwin is King's middle name. So, whenever I stumbled across little stuff like that, I'd chuckle a little.
     Oh, and forget about Salem's Lot, LOL. I didn't remember shit about that book at all, except for a few vague memories about vampires, a big house on a hill overlooking the town, a boy floating outside someone's window, and a priest named Callahan, LOL. That's it. The story was brand new to me 'cause I read it for the first time approximately 30 years ago, LOL. One thing I found interesting, though, is the fact that it's so long, considering it was only King's second book. Carrie was only 253 pages and King struggled to make it that long. Then, all of a sudden, for his second book, he was able to pound out 631 pages??? That's an impressive leap in story-telling.
     Then there's The Shining. I read it for the first time when I was 10 years old. I read it again when I was about 20 or 25. And now, almost twenty years after that, I read it a third time. The majority of this one I did remember... but I had forgotten exactly how great this book actually is. It's a masterpiece!!! Even though this was my third time through it, I was still rocking back and forth, having a major anxiety attack, during the last 75 pages, LOL. Hallorann's trying to make it to the Overlook through the blizzard, Jack has completely lost his mind and has escaped from the pantry swinging his mallet around like a maniac, the pressure in the boiler is creeping higher and higher, Wendy and Danny are convinced they're going to die, the hotel is coming to life around them with all it's ghosts.... and I'm thinking, "Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!!!" even though I KNOW what happens, LOL. Yeah, it's a GREAT BOOK!!!!
     So, yeah, revisiting King, so far, has been pretty damn cool. I'm looking forward to rediscovering more!!!

ENTRY # 421
DATE:  11/01/14 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  Anne Rice's "Prince Lestat"...

     Years ago, I was a huge fan of Anne Rice's "Vampire Chronicle" books. I've read them all... including all the vampire books which weren't considered part of the "Chronicle" series. Then, all of a sudden, she stopped writing the vampire stuff.... I forget the exact reasons for her quitting, but I do remember that it had something to do with her [then] newly found religious beliefs. After that, she started writing a new series about Jesus Christ.... and then another series about angels. I said to myself, "OK, fine. I like her writing style so I'll give these a try too."
     Big mistake. I made it through the first two "Jesus" books and was so disappointed with them I didn't bother continuing any further. In fact, my disappointment was so severe I never even attempted the angel books. I just - flat out - had no interest at all in the new shit she was putting out. And, apparently, millions of other fans felt the same way too...
     Throughout the last six years or so, if you happened to visit a Barnes & Noble book store - and if you're an Anne Rice fan - I'm sure you've noticed that the number of Rice's titles on the book shelves has dwindled considerably. I remember, back in the day, her books would take up two, three, sometimes even four shelves in the fiction section. The Vampire books, the Witch books, the Beauty books were ALL there in numerous editions. Her section was almost as large as King's... or Patterson's... or Koontz's. Today, though, it's a completely different situation. If you walk into a Barnes & Noble now, you're very likely to find only 10 or 15 Anne Rice books (if that many), taking up only about half of ONE shelf.
     Luckily, Rice finally realized that these new books just weren't pleasing her fans. Her plummet in sales has - apparently - shown her that "Gettin' right with Jesus" might be a good way to live but it doesn't pay the bills, LOL. As of 2012, it seems she's starting to make a slow comeback. She's begun a new series about werewolves. I've read the two books that are currently available, "The Wolf Gift," published in 2012 and "The Wolves of Midwinter," which came out towards the end of 2013. They were both really, REALLY good. While purchasing the second title ("Midwinter"), I got into a conversation with the sales person at the information desk. I actually asked how Rice's sales numbers were going lately. The guy laughed, shook his head, and said, "Not that great." I then blurted out, "Yeah, she needs to go back to the Vampire stuff. I want Lestat and Louis and Armand and Pandora..." And then the woman behind me chimed in with "...and Gabriella and the twins (Mekare & Maharet) and Marius." And we three laughed and all nodded in agreement that we wanted more about Vampires in New Orleans and Paris.... we all wanted to know what happened to everyone. Where are all these great characters now? What's Lestat, The Brat Prince, been up to all these years? None of us are interested in Jesus and angels..... Bring back the stuff we care about! Bring back the characters we all fell in love with!!!
     It was at that moment I got my hopes up. (Keep in mind this conversation was taking place almost a year ago, right after "Midwinter" was released in 2013.) The sales guy said, "Well, there is a new vampire book coming out sometime next year." The woman behind me gasped at the news and we stood there staring at each other, eyes wide, in anticipation. We both looked back at him and said, "WELL?!?!?!? When? What's it called?" He started typing on the computer and said, "Yup, due in October, official release date is 10/28/14, Prince Lestat." As soon as we both heard the words Prince Lestat we went nuts. The woman - now standing next to me - actually grabbed onto my arm and shouted "YES!!!!!!!" and I, again, blurted out a rather loud "OHHH SHIT!!!!" We were practically jumping up and down in excitement.
     That was over a year ago. Now... flash forward to current time... "Prince Lestat" just came out four days ago, as promised, on 10/28/14. After waiting an entire year for this book, I raced to Barnes & Noble as soon as I got out of work and bought my copy!!! I just finished it early this morning.
     Um... it was a good book. Was it worth waiting an entire nail-biting year for? No, not really. But it was good enough to keep me turning the pages.
     If anyone out there is actually reading this blog of mine, and if you are an Anne Rice fan, I don't want to give anything away so I'm not gonna talk about the story-line itself. I will say I feel it's important to mention here that - within the Vampire Chronicles time line - this new book takes place shortly after "The Queen of the Damned," after Akasha is destroyed. Don't get me wrong, it was a "good" book overall. However, it left me feeling a little disappointed but - at the same time - extremely hopeful.
      Like I said, after waiting a YEAR to settle back into the life of Lestat, I was disappointed because eighty percent of the book is about other vampires that I don't know or care about. The bulk of the book consists of chapters that tell the story of individual vampires that lived thousands of years ago; vampires we have never met in any of the other Chronicles. Their stories are interesting but they don't really have anything to do with Lestat and his doings at all. They all know of him but most have never even met him.
     In the last hundred pages or so, the story gets really good, because Lestat finally becomes a key player. All these unknown vampires band together to help Lestat through his current dilemma So, in a sense, I guess each back-story of the unknowns kind'a helps us understand the significance of Lestat's "political" importance in the vampire world. Even these vampires who are thousands of years older than him believe that HE is the one that needs to head their community. They want him to lead, to create and write a list of laws for them to abide, to govern, to be their Prince, hence the title, "Prince Lestat."
     So, disappointed, yes - in a way - because I wanted more Lestat. But remember that I also said "hopeful." The numerous introductions to all these [new] ancient vampires, I believe, is Rice's foundation to many more vampire books to come. There is also a brand new vampire - as in "just born" to darkness - in this story who, I'm sure, will become an extremely prominent character in the future. So, basically, my overall opinion is that this entire book is nothing more than a preview of what is to come. It's just Rice's way to dip her toes back into the vampire well to begin anew. Though the story in "Prince Lestat" is complete and can stand alone, it has definitely set the stage for a whole new collection of Vampire Chronicles that Rice can continue to write for many, many years to come!!!

ENTRY # 420
DATE:  09/13/2014 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  My QUEST for Robin Williams DVDs...

     Well, after reviewing the list of Robin Williams' movies on IMDB's website and after spending the last four weekends shopping for them in various stores.... my collection has jumped from a measly eight DVDs to a staggering forty-three!!! I have been to two Best Buys, three FYEs, two Walmarts, one Target and one Barnes & Noble... so far, LOL. Even though I now have 43, I still have much more to find...
     At first, I wasn't sure how I was going to handle the list from IMDB. My first thought was I'd only buy the movies where he's the main character. However, in the process of trying to track them down, I learned that many of them are so old they're really hard to find... and some of them are out of print. Because I couldn't find some of his major stuff, as I came across ANYTHING he was in, whether it's just a cameo or a voice, I bought it. So, apparently, my quest has now grown to own EVERY movie he's ever been in. Hell, I even bought "AI" (Artificial Intelligence) and he's only got a voice-cameo in that one, LOL. He plays the computer-generated "Dr. Know" and has approximately two minutes of screen time. There are some movies he's done (from the list) where he's listed as "uncredited" and, for now, I'm going to forget about those. Right now my focus is to get all his "credited" movie roles. Once I own all of those, I don't know.... I might expand the collection or not. We'll see.
     In the last 4 weeks I have also WATCHED all forty-three DVDs, LOL. That's a lot of TV time. But it's been fun. Some of the movies that aren't major roles for Robin aren't that great.... like "Shrink" and "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen." I thought they were both pretty lousy, but he's in them so I'm glad I own them, even though I'll probably never watch them again. And then there's "Popeye," LOL. Back in 1980, when I was ten, I absolutely loved this movie. However, it is not a film that survived the "test of time." It's 35 years later... and to watch it now... it's painfully bad. But he's Popeye so I'm glad it's in my collection.
     And then there's some stuff I've never heard of like "The Face of Love" and "August Rush" and "The Big Wedding." His parts aren't very big but the movies themselves are really good so I'm glad I own them...
     And his more serious/dramatic roles in films like "The Final Cut" and "Insomnia" and "One Hour Photo" and "The Night Listener" and "The Big White".... great stuff!!!
     Oh, God.... then there's his classic stuff like "Good Morning, Vietnam" and "Good Will Hunting" and "Dead Poets Society" and "Patch Adams" and... well, the list goes on and on.... all of those are excellent and will definitely be watched over and over again.
     I've made it through a little more than half of the IMDB list..... there are still 23 more titles that I need to track down. Disney's "Aladdin" is one of them but, unfortunately, it's been put in the dreaded Disney Vault for now. It's supposed to be released again in October of 2015 so, unless I can find a used copy, I'll have to wait awhile for that one. And of course there's the new movies he made right before he died that are still in post-production. I'll get those eventually as well.
     I think I'll end up putting a lot of the remaining titles on my "Christmas Wish List." That way Santa will save me some time and money. ;-) Gotta love that.

ENTRY # 419
DATE:  08/16/2014 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  Robin Williams...

     OK, the news of Robin Williams' death has settled in a little. When I first heard, I couldn't write about it. My brain just didn't want to accept that he died. The fact that he committed suicide made it even harder to digest. It's shocking. It's appalling. It's devastating. It's extremely sad. It's tragic. You can say it's this, it's that, it's this and that.... but, so far, I've found nothing that really sums up the loss I feel. Even though I didn't know him, never even met the guy... it doesn't matter. Robin Williams was always just THERE, a part of my TV/movie/comedy-watching life. And now he's not. He's gone. There's a fucking hole in the world where he used to be and, for some reason, it's affecting people - myself included - personally. Ever since I was a little kid, Robin Williams was there. On Happy Days. On Mork & Mindy. And, as I grew older, so did he.... and his laughter, his comedy, his movies, his face, his beautiful shining eyes... remained a part of my life. Like a rock. Always there. Always able to make me laugh. Always....
     Suicide. Jesus. I honestly can't believe that Robin Williams took his own life. It just seems so.... WRONG, dammit. This man dedicated his whole life to making people laugh, to bringing joy into their lives. He wanted them to smile, to feel happy. He raised millions and millions of dollars for various charities around the globe.... he traveled around the world to support the troops performing "USO Shows." And for what? WHY did he do that? To help people, to make them feel good, to better their lives.... TO MAKE THEM LAUGH. And this poor man, who did so much for others, couldn't reach out and ask for help for himself? He felt so alone that, in his mind, only death would make it better? He actually felt no one would understand him, or be there for HIM, after he did so much for others around the world? He was so distraught and filled with anguish that even his love for his own children wasn't enough to keep him going?
     I guess I'm blessed that I don't understand "depression." I just can't accept that some people feel that death is the only solution to their problems, to their pain. Thank God I don't know anything about that kind of pain. Poor Robin, though. What could it have been like for him? His life was, literally, an "ON/OFF" switch. He could perform his stand-up routines for hours... and then, all of a sudden, once he stepped off the stage, BANG, he'd sink back down into the darkness. He'd go from total euphoria to doom-n-gloom in the blink of an eye. I wish he just could've said to someone, "Look, can I talk to you? I have this stuff in my head and I need some help." There are millions of people, literally, around the globe that completely loved this man. If you search the internet, you can read for yourself.... thousands of celebrities and millions of normal folks have come forward sharing their feelings of love, of friendship, of admiration for him. I have not come across one negative word spoken about him ever, anywhere. People just embraced him, fully and honestly, as soon as they met him. Yet he felt so alone, so isolated in his own world and mind, he couldn't reach out to anyone at all. His pain, his suffering, was so encompassing only death could ease it. My heart breaks for him. I keep thinking about his beautiful smile... and how much joy and laughter he brought into other people's lives.... yet there was no joy and laughter in his own life. Seriously, my heart just aches for him and his family.
     Like I said before, I am so glad I know nothing about that kind of pain. I just can't imagine how bad life has got to be to make one's self want to end it all. I mean, Jesus Christ, think about it.... for just one minute, sit there and try to imagine what was going on in his mind that morning... how alone he felt, how isolated he felt, how desperate he felt, how unloved he felt, how tortured he was by his own brilliant mind... when he took that knife and tried to cut his own wrist.... and when that didn't work.... how he locked himself in the darkness of his closet, wrapped a belt around his own neck, anchored it to something that he knew would support his weight.... and slowly let himself suffocate... until.... fade to black. Nothingness. Gone. My God. He was rational enough to think it through, to figure out - step by step - what would work. Yet, he was so lost, he wasn't rational enough to seek help, to reach out to someone, to anyone at all??? Just... death. I mean, he knew enough to seek help for the drugs and alcohol... why didn't he just, simply, take it one step further and get some help for the depression? All he had to do was talk to someone... whether it was personal or professional. He just had to say, "I need help. Please listen to me." I just want to shake him and scream right in his face, "There's therapy, there's medication that can help you!!!" But it's too late. He didn't do that. He's gone. Forever. There's a hole in the world where he used to live.... That's fucked up.
     I used to have a bunch of his movies on VHS. Those, unfortunately, have been thrown away. I always planned on replacing them on DVD but just haven't gotten around to it yet. I do have a few of his movies on DVD but not many. The ones I have - as of right now - are "The Butler" (he has an extended cameo, where he plays President Eisenhower), "The Final Cut," "Insomnia," "Man of the Year," "The Night Listener," "One Hour Photo," "RV," and "Robin Williams: Live on Broadway." A total of eight. That's it. Eight. That sucks. I'm gonna have to get off my ass and try to replace those older movies I used to have on VHS.... plus whatever else I can find. I just checked out IMDB's website for his filmography and there is a TON of stuff listed there. LOL, half of it I've never even heard of. I had no idea he was in SOOOO MANY movies. Holy crap! I'm gonna print out that list and try to figure out what I want to own... I couldn't possibly own ALL of it.... first of all it would take forever to find everything and, second of all, it would cost a small fortune (which I don't have).
     I guess a part of me wants to fill that hole he left behind. I know my personal movie collection won't fill the hole in the world or in his family but, at least, it'll help fill the hole in my life now that he's gone. I'll fill it with as much of his work I can find. And whenever I watch it, I'll laugh - as always - and he'll continue to be remembered...
     Rest in peace, Robin. You are, and always will be, missed. Finally, please, rest in peace...

ENTRY # 418
DATE:  08/14/2014 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  "Yaka, Yaka, Yaka!!! Release Your Wiggle!!!"

     Just saw an ad on FUSE-TV for a Big Freedia marathon that will air this Saturday, starting at 3pm. They're gonna show BOTH complete seasons. Wooohoooooooooo!!! I guess that's what I'll be doing most of the day on Saturday. :-)

ENTRY # 417
DATE:  08/12/2014 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  Lauren Bacall...

     This just in from CNN....

     Actress Lauren Bacall has died, an official from the estate of her late husband, Humphrey Bogart, tells CNN. She was 89. The husky-voiced Hollywood icon made five films with Bogart, including "To Have and Have Not" and "The Big Sleep." She went on to receive two Tony Awards and an honorary Oscar.

     I wasn't really a "fan" of hers but I did think she was a pretty cool lady. I always loved the roll she played in "The Mirror Has Two Faces" starring, and directed by, Barbra Streisand. It was a great movie!!!
    RIP Lauren...

ENTRY # 416
DATE:  08/12/2014 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  Robin Williams...

     Robin Williams died... He killed himself yesterday... I can't say anything more than that right now.... I can't get my head around this news at all...
     My heart is broken.

ENTRY # 415
DATE:  08/07/2014 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  My New Obsession...

     OK, here's the deal... if you know me, you know I love music. And I love all kinds of music. If you click on the link-button that says "Dove's Music" on the Dove's Reading Room homepage you'll see my collection of CDs. From Bjork to Diana Krall..... from Streisand to Will Smith... from Gretchen Wilson to Selena Gomez... from Adele to Hugh Laurie... from Madonna to Megan Mullally... from Elvis to Missy Elliot... from Cher to Stefanie Powers, LOL. I've got a bunch of stuff.... Country, Jazz, Big Band, Rap, Broadway, R&B, Rock n' Roll, American Standards and even some soundtracks from a couple movies.
     Well, I just added "Bounce" music to my list. I am now completely obsessed with BIG FREEDIA (the Queen of Bounce) thanks to his show on FUSE-TV. I discovered this show about a month ago and I absolutely love it. If you've never heard of him before check out his website at
www.bigfreedia.com. I'm hooked on the show, I've got his new CD "Just Be Free" and I've also downloaded about 35 other songs from all over the 'net. I can not get enough. Unfortunately, though, I didn't discover the show soon enough. Season two just ended on July 28th so I was only able to see a few episodes.. and I've never seen any of season one at all. Hopefully FUSE will air a complete marathon so I can watch everything from the very beginning.
     The "Just Be Free" album is terrific. I think my favorite song is track 3, "N.O. Bounce." When I'm in my car I just gotta roll down the windows and BLAST it!!! It's not possible to sit still when listening to Bounce. I just gotta "RELEASE MY WIGGLE" whenever I hear it. It's very cool!!!
     Big Freedia has quickly become one of my favorite people. He's really cool. His real name is Freddie Ross, born and raised in New Orleans. He's extremely talented and, from what I've seen so far on his show, he's definitely career-driven but also very down-to-earth. He absolutely loves his music team, his dancers, his friends and his family... especially his mom, Vera (who he lost to cancer on April 1rst of this year). He's got a great personality, he's funny, and very smart. And he's also got a smile that can light up any room he's in. He's one of those infectious people that just draw you in. Whenever I watch the show I'm, like, "Damn, I wish I knew him 'cause I bet he'd be a lot of fun to hang out with."
     I found an MP3 from a radio show called "Sound Check" and he talked about not being very popular or well-liked in Connecticut. In 2011, over the Memorial Day weekend, he performed during BOMB Fest (Bring Our Music Back) in Danbury... he went on in between Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa and, apparently, wasn't very well received. That was three years ago. I hope that negative experience here won't keep him from coming back 'cause if he's ever in this area I'd love to see one of his shows. So, Big Freedia, "y'all get back now," and give Connecticut a second chance!

ENTRY # 414
DATE:  07/14/2014 (Monday)
SUBJECT:  GERD vs. Esophageal Muscle Spasms...

     OK, so, here's the deal.... I might not have GERD (Gastro-Esophageal-Reflux-Disease) after all. After describing all my symptoms to a co-worker, he seems to think he suffers from the exact same thing. Now, his doctor diagnosed his symptoms as esophageal spasms.... which basically means getting a Charley horse in your esophagus. Super.
     I'm not exactly sure what I can do about this. It's a muscle spasm. How is it possible to control a muscle spasm??? You can't, really, as far as I know. When I get a Charly horse in the middle of the night in my leg, I jump out of bed as soon as I can and then hobble around aimlessly until the muscle stretches out a little.... then I massage my leg with both hands kneading frantically until the pain goes away. Obviously this whole procedure won't exactly work with my esophagus, LOL.
     The only thing I think might help is potassium. I've heard potassium helps with muscle spasms. Sooooooooooo.... I guess I'll be eating more bananas from now on. I'll try a couple a week to see if it makes a difference. Wish me luck.

ENTRY # 413
DATE:  06/22/2014 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  Happy Birthday, Mom...

     Well... as you can tell from the Subject line, today is my Mom's birthday. She was born in 1944. She's 70 years young today!
     So, Mom, in honor of your special day, here's a look back at the world you were born into....

.....1944 Timeline.....
January:  The Air Force announces production of the first US jet fighter, the Bell P-59.
February:  The "Batman & Robin" comic strip premieres in newspapers.
March:  In Chicago, 2500 women trample guards to purchase alarm clocks announced for sale.
April:  "Patrolling the Ether" is shown on three TV stations simultaneously.
May:  The first eyebank is opened by Richard T. Paton of Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital.
June:  Congress charters the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
July:  The world's largest circus tent catches fire at Ringling Brother's - Barnum & Bailey circus.
August:  Philadelphia is paralyzed by a transportation strike.
September:  The first TV musical comedy, "The Boys from Boise" debuts.
October:  Thirty blocks in Cleveland, Ohio burn after a liquid gas factory explodes.
November:  The John Hopkins Hospital performs the first open heart surgery.
December:  Congress establishes the rank of General of the Army (5-star General).

.....1944 World News.....
D-Day begins when allied troops make landings at Normandy, which leads to the recapture of Paris.

Fifteen-year-old Dutch-Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family are discovered by the Nazis and taken to concentration camps.

The first V-1 Rocket bomb hits London.

General MacArthur returns to the Philippines.

German officers make an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Adolph Hitler.

French tanks lead allies into Paris.

.....1944 National News.....
Franklin Roosevelt is elected to his fourth term as President.

Big Bend National Park is established.

The GI Bill of Rights is passed, giving WWII vets benefits, most notably housing subsidies and funding for college education.

Meat rationing is ended in the US.

Harry S. Truman is elected Vice President on the same Democratic ticket.

A team of scientists working at Harvard University and funded in part by IBM, construct the first automatic, general-purpose computer.

Seventeen Magazine makes its debut.

Chiquita bananas are introduced.

.....1944 Sports News.....
World Series Champion:  St. Louis Cardinals
Pro Football Champion:  Green Bay Packers
Stanley Cup Winner:  Montreal Canadiens
NCAA Basketball Champions:  Utah
College Football Champions:  Army
Heisman Trophy Winner:  Leslie Horvath from Ohio State

.....1944 Cost of Living.....
New House....................$3,475.00
Average Income....................$2,378.00 per year
New Car....................$975.00
Average Rent....................$50.00 per month
Tuition to Harvard University....................$420.00 per year
Movie Ticket.....................40 cents
Gasoline....................15 cents per gallon
United States Postage Stamp....................3 cents each
Granulated Sugar....................75 cents for 10 pounds
Milk....................62 cents per gallon
Bacon....................45 cents per pound
Eggs....................21 cents per dozen
Ground Hamburger....................32 cents per pound
Bread....................10 cents per loaf

.....1944 Music Favorites.....
Don't Sweetheart Me - by Lawrence Welk
G.I. Jive - by Louis Jordan
I Dream Of You - by Andy Russell
I Love You - by Bing Crosby
I'll Get By - by Harry James
I'll Walk Alone - by Dinah Shore
It's Love-Love-Love - by Guy Lombardo
Mairzy Boats - by Merry Macs
My Heart Tells Me - by Glen Gray
Shoo Shoo Baby - by The Andrew Sisters

.....1944 Movie Favorites.....
Going My Way (starring Bing Crosby)
Jane Eyre (starring Elizabeth Taylor)
Double Indemnity (starring Barbara Stanwyck)
To Have and Have Not (starring Humphrey Bogart)
Gaslight (starring Ingrid Bergman)
Meet Me in St. Louis (starring Judy Garland)

.....Other 1944 Birth Notices.....
Jimmy Page - January 9th
Stockard Channing - February 13th
Jerry Springer - February 13th
Kelly Bishop - February 28th
Timothy Dalton - March 21st
Diana Ross - March 26th
Tony Orlando - April 3rd
Craig T. Nelson - April 4th
George Lucas - May 14th
Patty LaBelle - May 24th
Gladys Knight - May 28th
Marvin Hamlisch - June 2nd
Gary Busey - June 29th
Richard Belzer - August 4th
Sam Elliott - August 9th
Barry White - September 12th
Jacqueline Bisset - September 13th
Peter Cetera - September 13th
Michael Douglas - September 25th
Danny DeVito - November 17th
Ben Stein - November 25th
Brenda Lee - December 11th

ENTRY # 412
DATE:  06/17/2014 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  The 20th Anniversary of the White Bronco Chase...

       Good grief. I can't believe it's been TWENTY years since that damn white Bronco, carrying OJ Simpson, fled (at a rather slow pace) through the streets, followed by numerous cop cars. Twenty years...
     LOL, I was 24 years old... living in West Haven at the time in a crummy, cramped, dumpy little apartment on Campbell Avenue, right above a small bakery and a "pizza-by-the-slice" joint. I was working in down-town New Haven back then.... and I remember coming home from work that day, like every other day, and settling down in front of the TV to eat dinner. Later that evening, the show I was watching was interrupted with a "Special Bulletin" about OJ Simpson... so I flipped the channel over to CNN and yelled for my [ex]husband to "come and see this" as they showed the live footage.
     We watched, for hours, as that white Bronco drove around aimlessly... with little snippets of OJ sitting in the passenger seat holding a gun to his own head. What an idiot. He should've just shot himself and saved us all the trouble of having to hear - for days, weeks, months - about the trial that later unfolded surrounding the murders of Nicole (Simpson) and Ron (Goldman).
     My [ex]husband eventually got bored and went back to bed.... but I stayed up and watched the entire chase, including the part when they took OJ into custody. It was one of those strange moments of "captivated boredom" -- it was a slow-speed chase (not very exciting at all) but I was captivated and just HAD to see what was going to happen, LOL.
     And now, twenty years later, thanks to that damned OJ chase/trial we are all stuck in a world over-run by Kardashians, LOL. I mean, let's face it, that whole thing is what made Robert Kardashian famous. With the constant news coverage on TV, radio, newspapers and websites, he became a household name. Before that, though, he was just another lawyer, right? Nobody knew who he was and nobody cared.
     And today you can't turn on the TV or walk by the news stand without seeing Kris, Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, Robert [Jr.], Kendall & Kiley [Jenner], and Mason and Penelope [Disick].....
     Good grief, the fact that I even know all their names is annoying. LOL, I blame OJ....

ENTRY # 411
DATE:  06/11/2014 (Wednesday)
SUBJECT:  Ruby Dee...

     We lost another great lady today. The actress Ruby Dee passed away today at her home in New Rochelle, New York. She was born in 1922... so she was 91 years old.
     According to WikiPedia, she's best known for her roles in A Raisin in the Sun (1961), Do the Right Thing (1989), and American Gangster (2007)...
     For us Stephen King fans, though, she will always be remembered as Mother Abagail Freemantle in King's mini-series, The Stand (1994).
     Rest in peace, Ruby...

ENTRY # 410
DATE:  06/05/2014 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  Another New Ring...

     Got another new ring in the mail today from my "friends" at ShopHQ, LOL. It's not Sleeping Beauty turquoise this time though. It's Drusy. Mystic Drusy to be precise.... and I love it. It matches my Mystic Topaz ring perfectly!!! Hmm, I'm gonna need a bigger jewelry box soon!

ENTRY # 409
DATE:  05/28/2014 (Wednesday)
SUBJECT:  RIP Maya Angelou...

     The world lost a great one today. When I got home from work this evening, I learned that Dr. Maya Angelou passed away. I obviously didn't know her personally but, after reading eight of her books, this was a woman I wish I could say I did know. She was an amazing human being and her passing has saddened me. The autobiographies she shared with us touched me profoundly and made me believe that just about anything is possible. She overcame so much in her life and maintained the ability - somehow - to see the positive side and always found a way to smile through it all.
     CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS all showed short little snippets of Dr. Angelou reciting one of her poems entitled "Still I Rise." I've never read her poetry (just some of her books and essays) so I was curious to read this poem in it's entirety. I finally found it and, as a tribute to her memory, I'm posting it here in case anyone else is curious as well. So, here it is, as shown on the website

...Still I Rise...

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, Iíll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
ĎCause I walk like Iíve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still Iíll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Donít you take it awful hard
ĎCause I laugh like Iíve got gold mines
Digginí in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, Iíll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like Iíve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of historyís shame
I rise
Up from a past thatís rooted in pain
I rise
Iím a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak thatís wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Dr. Maya Angelou
1928 - 2014

ENTRY # 408
DATE:  04/19/2014 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  Safety-chain for the Pandora bracelet...

     I forgot to mention something. A while back I wrote about how I was done with collecting Pandora/Chamilia beads and that the only thing I needed to get was a safety-chain for my second bracelet. Well, I managed to pick one up at Fanedo's Jewelry last week. I chose the "Rain Drop" one... and here's the pic:

     While I was there I also asked for the newest catalog. I've only glanced through it quickly so I don't know if there's anything I want or not. We'll see.
     And, um.... just in case I do change my mind about NOT buying any more beads... I bought a third bracelet (by Chamilia) at Country Hearts in Monroe. They've decided to get rid of all their Troll/Chamilia inventory and they were having a HUGE clearance sale. I got a 65-dollar bracelet for 20 bucks. Very cool. And, hey, if I end up not using it, I'm only out 20 bucks. [shrug] Big deal, right? I could always give it to someone...
     That's all for now. Gotta run. I'm starving. Must find something to eat for lunch. Seeya.
     Happy Easter!

ENTRY # 407
DATE:  04/18/2014 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  "Gem Week" ends in two hours...

     OK, it's official. Right now it's 10:00pm.... which means "Gem Week" ends in two hours. I have already changed the channel so I will no longer be tempted. Phew! It's over! But, I gotta tell ya, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and [some of] today were real nail-biters for me, LOL. I actually managed to control myself. I did NOT buy anything else. However, I did manage to create a rather long Wish List of rings that I would like to buy at some point. I'm proud of myself though. I actually made it through those 5 days without speed-dialing ShopHQ with an order! Yay for me!!!
     And I received the rings I ordered on Sunday today. Even though they were ordered separately they came at the same time. Oh. My. God. They are fantastic. I'm so glad I didn't have any will power, LOL. Here's what they look like...


     I love them both.... now I have SEVEN Sleeping Beauty turquoise rings in my collection. That pear-shaped one is my absolute favorite out of all seven, I think. I'm not sure why... it's just so... so.... perfect. The high-polished silver; the pear-shaped stone; the color of the turquoise; the finished under-gallery; the simplicity of the design. It's just so... classic. It kind'a reminds me of some of the turquoise rings my Mom used to wear back in the '70s. I love it, love it, love it!!!
     Today is Good Friday. Sunday is Easter.... I'll be heading over to Adrienne's house at 2:00pm for Easter Dinner at 3:00. So, in case I don't post anything else here until then, I hope you all have a wonderful Easter with friends and family.
     Ciao for now!

ENTRY # 406
DATE:  04/13/2014 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  Oh yeah, I'm screwed...

     Good grief. "Gem Week" just started yesterday. We're only 24 hours in and I've already ordered two rings. They're both Sleeping Beauty turquoise by Paul Deasy.... and I just couldn't resist.
     I have absolutely no will power at all. Even though they weren't expensive I'm still thinking about the damn timing belt in my car, LOL. I really wanna get that changed in July so I have to try to behave myself. My goal is to pay off the credit card and, at the same time, set aside the cash to pay for the belt so I don't have to charge it.
     Gem Week lasts until Friday (the 18th). It ends at midnight. That's five more days. I can't imagine I can make it through 5 whole days without buying anything else. Especially now that I just learned there are two more shows coming up for Sleeping Beauty turquoise.
     (*sigh*) Yeah, I'm screwed....

ENTRY # 405
DATE:  04/09/2014 (Wednesday)
SUBJECT:  Gem Week on ShopHQ...

     Oh boy! I just got an email from ShopHQ telling me that "Gem Week" is coming up. It starts on April 12th... and ends on April 18th at midnight.
     Umm.... I've only got one word to respond to that email -- and that would be...

Uh oh!!!

     Hmmm... so much for trying to set aside money for the timing belt in my car. ;-)

ENTRY # 404
DATE:  04/05/2014 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  Car Day!!!

     I got to Kia this morning at 8:10 and when the garage's Service Door opened for me there was Adrienne's car, LOL. As I was checking in at the Service desk, Adrienne found me so we took some seats and just chilled out together, chatting away. I brought my new Sleeping Beauty rings to show her and she broke out her Kindle and started browsing around QVC's website for more turquoise. They finished with her car first, obviously, but she stayed and waited around for mine too so I wouldn't be bored sitting there all by myself. After they did the oil change they washed it for me and brought it out front. I paid and we left. Hopefully we'll be getting together again soon 'cause I've got an Applebee's gift-card burning a hole in my pocket since January from my Mom (for my birthday).
     From Kia I headed over to Splash! in Shelton for a REAL wash and wax job. LOL, I ended up getting a lot more done than that. I picked two different package-deals to have done that, when combined, ended up costing me 90 bucks. But, hey, it smells like a brand new car now!!! They washed it, waxed it, super-shined it, sprayed down the under-carriage, vacuumed the floor and seats, cleaned the floor mats, blew out all the cup holders and nooks and crannies, cleaned up the dashboard with Armor-All, washed the windows and mirrors, and shined up the tires. It took about an hour and a half.... it was worth it though. The car was a mess on the inside with all the sand and salt from the horrible winter we had. Plus I haven't had it cleaned for about 3 years, LOL. It really does have that New Car Smell back, which is cool.
     Between Kia and Splash, my car was pampered for about 4 hours today. The next appointment I'll be making is going to be sometime in July when I'm on vacation. I wanna have the timing belt changed... there's 42,000 miles on it right now - which isn't bad - but there's five years of time on that belt... and I really wanna have it changed before it friggin' snaps and blows the engine!!! I've had that happen in the past (to a previous car) and it totally sucked. Thank God it was still under warranty or it would've cost me about 10 grand for a new engine. So, um, yeah, I'm gonna have it done in a couple of months to avoid going through that shit again. It's gonna cost me about 700 bucks and it's gonna take all day long so I'll have a loaner car..... it's expensive and inconvenient as hell but, in the long run, that's definitely better than a blown engine! So, between now and then, I have to work at keeping my credit card cleaned off so I can afford it.... which means no more ShopHQ for a while. All that Sleeping Beauty turquoise will just have to wait. ;-)
     Crap. I just realized that I completely forgot to ask about my Title when I was at Kia. Oh well...

ENTRY # 403
DATE:  04/04/2014 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  Happy Birthday, Rigby!!!

     My little baby is growing up. Rigby is three years old today!!! I can't believe how fast the last three years have gone by. I remember when I visited her for the first time at the breeder's place. She was so small at that time I could cradle her in the palm of my hand. Back then I never could've imagined that sweet, innocent, tiny ball of fur growing up to be the trash picking-nylon shredding-Q Tip stealing-wall climbing-kitty litter spreading-hell raising-overly curious-coffee spilling-trouble making-wire chewing Terror (with a capital T) she's become today, LOL! Not that I mind all that much. She's still adorable no matter what she does. She'll always be my little baby!
     So... on my way home from work I stopped at Pets Supplies Plus for a birthday present. I really didn't want to get any toys - 'cause there are already HUNDREDS of cat toys littering the floor throughout my apartment - so I just wandered around the store aimlessly looking at stuff. Eventually a salesperson approached me and asked if I needed help finding anything. At this particular moment I was standing in front of the mice/rat/gerbil and hamster cages watching the little darlings running marathons on the exercise wheels, nibbling kibble at their food bowls and sipping from their water bottles. And - somehow - with a straight face, I managed to say to this guy (who looked no more than 17 years old), "Well, I'm actually looking for a birthday present for my cat. I'm kind'a thinkin' about a hamster. What do you think?"
     Holy shit, LOL. That comment wiped the smile off his face in a hurry. This poor, unsuspecting kid didn't know what to say to that at all. He looked stunned for a moment... but I could tell he didn't want to blow the sale... but, at the same time, I know he didn't want to sell a hamster into a Sudden Death-type of situation, LOL. He just stood there, staring at me, mouth agape, trying to figure out what to say. Finally, he muttered a very uncertain-sounding, "Ummm..." and glanced over at the hamsters running around in their tank. I couldn't keep it up any longer. The straight face I had managed to hold onto this long finally snapped and I just started to laugh and I was, like, "No, no, no. Don't worry, it's OK. I'm just messin' with ya. I'm not gonna buy a hamster for my cat." LOL, the look of relief that washed over his face was priceless. He started laughing and was, like, "Ohh man! Damn, Lady, I totally believed you. That's messed up!" So, after all that, I told him I was good and didn't need any help, I was just browsing. He laughed again and said, "OK, well, if you need anything just let us know," and he walked away, shaking his head, still laughing at the whole thing.
     Hey, it was funny... and that's what I do. I like to mess with people sometimes. I think I get it from my father.
     Anyway... I finally decided to get Rigby a new Krinkle Sack. And for those of you who don't know what a Krinkle Sack is.... it's like a paper grocery bag covered in material on the outside, usually lined with satin on the inside... and when the cat gets in it, it makes wrinkling-paper-krinkle sounds with the cats' movements. She used to have one but outgrew it... and when I saw this one (that is lined with heavy duty, snuggly-warm lamb's wool) I knew she'd love it. She's the type of cat who likes to snuggle up under the covers when it's chilly in here and I just knew that lamb's wool was right up her alley so - thirty five dollars later - I brought it home.
     SO... happy birthday, Rigby!!! I guess she likes it 'cause she's curled up in it right now... and she is absolutely refusing to share it with Sabrina. Every time Sabrina walks by to investigate it, Rigby's paw shoots out like lightning and swats her away. She's too much.... LOL!!!
     Adrienne called at 10:00pm this evening and we talked for about an hour. She wished Rigby a happy birthday too!!! During our conversation we started talking about our cars and she mentioned she had an appointment at Kia tomorrow to have them replace a fuse for her lights in the dash-board.... and I was, like, "Oh shit, that's too funny! I have an appointment tomorrow too for an oil change at 8:30." She said, "I'm at 8:00!!!" so it looks like we'll be hangin' out together at Kia tomorrow morning waiting for our cars. That's cool. It'll help pass the time....

ENTRY # 402
DATE:  04/03/2014 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  Rings Came Today!!!

     Got the new Sleeping Beauty rings today in the mail!!! The package was waiting for me in the mailbox when I got home from work!!! Woooohoooooooooooo!!! I can't wait to wear them to work so I can show them off!!!
     Gotta run for now. I'm starving. Must find something to have for dinner before I waste away... (yeah, right!) Ciao for now.

ENTRY # 401
DATE:  03/30/2014 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  More Sleeping Beauty Turquoise!

     ShopHQ aired a two-hour turquoise show tonight, hosted by Paul Deasy (one of the "Three Amigos"). It covered a range of different turquoise from all over the world (i.e. Kingman, Persian, Mojave, Chinese) but there was some Sleeping Beauty. There were two rings that I really liked and I just couldn't decided which one I wanted.... so I bought'em both!!! One is a cluster ring with the Sleeping Beauty surrounded by tiny black spinel gem-stones. The other one is a solitaire, cushion-cut stone. Both are set in sterling silver.
     Since Sleeping Beauty is becoming so rare (thanks to the mine closing back in July 2012) I feel this urge to get as much as I can before the prices sky-rocket!!! Once these two pieces show up, I'll have FIVE Sleeping Beauty turquoise rings in my collection!!! I'd like to get a bracelet too but - so far - I haven't really seen anything that speaks to me.
    Anyway... here's the pictures of the two new rings...


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