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19 May 2006
  Upgrades R Us
I was beginning to get concerned about the Dish Network guy until he called about eleven a.m. looking for directions. He showed up a bit later and set to work.

The invisible screens tech showed up after the Dish guy and did two doors and was gone before the Dish man was finished. I looked at him in surprise, because they'd told me the doors take about 40 minutes each to install. He said it is easiest on new homes (probably because the door frames haven't had a chance to deteriorate) and also that he'd installed about 4000 doors!

I guess he has it down pat. :-)

Anyway, I've had the doors open all day. It is absolutely grand to be living somewhere that seems to have been designed to circulate air through the house! The old house was all compartments and the only way to force air through the house was to put on the attic fan. With any type of a breeze outside, this happens naturally.

The screens puzzle the heck out of Willow. There's a barrier there—she pushed at it and I gently reprimanded her a couple of times until I think she's figured out it's a door and she can't go through it. This afternoon when there was a nice breeze she sacked out in front of the door to the deck. Ahhhh...

While they were working I was doing my own chores. I [yes, again] was doing a load of laundry. I also had tidied up the craft room so I could work: I finished doing the glass paints on the top half of the upper window sash. As always with glass paints, you can't really tell how it looks right after you get done. This evening, however, the window looked quite nice with its autumn color highlights.

I also took a plaque I bought at JoAnn and converted it into an autumn picture. They have these resin plaques done in primitive style of colonial buildings, farms, schools, etc. Mine has a motto of "America the Beautiful" over a scene of a schoolhouse with a tree and flagpole next to it; in the foreground is a round barn with some sheep in front of it. The background is a hill with little pine trees on it. I added yellow, orange, and reddish paint to the tree to make it an autumn tree and then painted a smaller one in the background, and scattered the same color dots under the trees and around the school to represent fallen leaves. I then applied a weak brown wash to the grass to make it look as if it were going dormant for the fall and brightened the blue of the sky because a fall sky is always more vivid. Didn't come too bad. Some of the leaves look more like what they are, autumn-colored blobs, but it will look better from the street. I used the Scotch outdoor tape to place it on the brick arch on the front porch.

I had to run to the grocery and stopped at the Dollar Store. Found another animal for the menagerie out front: a hedgehog. So now we have two rabbits (Fiver and Pipkin), a fox (Cinnabar), a bluebird (Happy), a hedgehog (Lindesfarne, of course), a goose (Samantha), and a Jack Russell terrier (O'Dell—anyone understand the joke?) "digging a hole" under one of our bushes, with St. Francis watching over them all. Still can't find that 3-piece Loch Ness Monster in a smaller size at a reasonble price. Maybe I should get the squirrel; then we'd have a "Perri."

Meanwhile, been vacuuming—sigh...again! the new carpet sheds so!—and dusting and the usual housework to tidy up for the party tomorrow.

In the meanwhile, the television picture looks stunning. You actually can tell the difference between the regular picture and the hi-def feed. It took me about a half hour to figure out the new remote. It's very cool. For instance, there is a picture-in-picture feature on the channel guide, so while you are searching for something new to watch, you can continue to watch the program that's already on. When you click over a program, even if you haven't selected it to watch, it will give you a full description of it at the top of the guide screen, without having to click the info button.

The HD channels are just...brilliant. The color is vivid and everything has razor-sharp edges. The funniest thing is that some of the HD channels are showing old television shows that weren't filmed in HD, but were created on film rather than videotape. You should have seen how good 40+ year old reruns of Hogan's Heroes and Flipper looked in HD. I thought I was watching it on a movie screen—and the illusion was reinforced since both programs were letterboxed! I don't know how they got letterboxed versions of a show originally filmed in a 4:3 ratio...probably the picture has been masked at top and bottom.

(I wish these people showed Lassie! These shows are shown uncut (commercials at the end) and look like they are from the original masters. Even the Lassie DVDs are from syndicated prints and have bits missing.)

Needless to say Doctor Who looked super tonight...