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September 2007

Nothing I Can Say, Total Eclipse of the Moon....

OK, everyone has been to more concerts than I have books!! I recognise some names,  others I have no idea: Big Pig (Men in Aprons, or possibly women??): Neil Diamond, Prince, Kylie, Osibisa, Jimmy Barnes, Johnny Farnham, Screaming Jets and Icehouse. What a diverse list. I holding out for concerts with Frank, Bing, Peggy, Doris, Dean, Nat, Perry etc. Not knowing who these people are makes you Young. Very Young!!!! I expect I will need a Go Bag: a Go to the Concert bag. I don't know what they will let me take in. I will definitely need a cushion, a drink, headache tablets (just in case) rain repelling wear, Burt_ward_socks nibbles.... oh and maybe a hat.

I have started two new knitting projects, so I won't be needing anyone to send me any of theirs, thank you very much!!! I started The Burt Ward socks on Saturday. Some variegated 4 ply Lana Grossa I think, on 2.75mm needles. I am just doing my favourite K2,P2 rib. The socks are for my sister and Burt Ward may help with the name guessing!! A few years ago a telegraph pole sized log rolled on her foot and crushed her ankle quite a lot, so I am making the socks stretchy and easy to get on and off. I think a lace pattern or cables could be constricting, and I am using larger needles too. I'm making my mum a beanie in pale blue Country Silk. She wants it to be reversible, don't ask why, I have no idea, so I'm knitting the One Row scarf Hats_all_folks pattern again. I have also succumbed to a sale and bought some A-Maizing in the Keepsake colour to make the Shaped Lace Tee from Knitting Lingerie Style. It was half price. What's a girl to do????

Semi-final: One of the two competitions of the next to the last round in an elimination tournament. I'm just saying because Idol has as many semi-finals as they like. Willy-nilly. Laissez-faire. I am collecting Idol for MrsDrWho's sister and so I am forced to pay a tiny bit of Harki_loves_yoghurt attention. As little as possible really, but I have noticed there is a week of semi-finals. It is just wrong, wrong on so many levels!!

Harki and Peri have been very happy. Harki has been eating yoghurt, just like Sam, but hers is vanilla bean yoghurt from King Island. My fault as I left it out of the fridge. Harki can usually lick off all the yoghurt from her muzzle or (look away now if you're squeamish) Peri helps!!! Peri has been making nests in the bed again. It isn't a terribly good photo, but then I'm no Ansel Adams. Look how cute she is, all startled and sleepy!!!I noticed that the wattle has started to flower. All of a sudden it is everywhere, and so are the Spring flowers: right outside the back gate. Tonight we are having a Total Eclipse of the Moon for an hour starting at 6-50pm. The Planetarium Peri_makes_a_nest_in_the_bedjust down the road will be doing whatever a Planetarium does at a fever pitch pace. I hope The Labradors don't howl, like lunatics!!

Wattle_be_here_soonspring This afternoon I watched The Thirty-Nine Steps, the original with Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll from 1935, directed by Hitchcock. I borrowed it from the Library yesterday. It is very good, though quite different from the book. There are 4 Hannay books in this series so I am borrowing them all. On Saturday I watched just the last 20 minutes of You Have (You've Got) Mail and Noel Streatfeild's Ballet Shoes is mentioned. After I had dried my happy tears at the film's end I Spring_flowerswiki-ed Ballet Shoes, only to find it is being made into a series. Look who's in it!! Wow!! I loved my Ballet Shoes book to death, literally. It fell apart. Now I am reading all the 'Shoes' books!!!

Finally, a recipe. I was inspired by the 'real' custard feature in this month's Delicious magazine. I don't have the inclination to make a proper custard, or bake pastry at the moment, so here is my recipe for

Cherry Custard Tarts

  • pastry cases, 8 medium vol au vents or one large caseDessert_002
  • 250ml milk
  • 300ml pouring cream
  • 2 tablespoons of custard powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla , I used my new vanilla bean paste!!!
  • 2 - 3 teaspoons of powdered gelatine
  • 1 large jar of Morello cherries, drained, and the juice saved OR if you live where I do, 2 tins of pitted black cherries in syrup, drained and the syrup saved
  • 2 tablespoons of cornflour
  • extra sugar if you likeDessert_003

*Make up 500ml of custard as directed on your packet of custard powder, but substitute cream for the milk as per the recipe. When it is cooked, whisk in the extra vanilla and sprinkle over the gelatine, whisking thoroughly again. Pour through a fine sieve into a jug and then set aside. Nigella-like, tumble the cherries evenly into the pastry case(s) and then pour over the custard. Refrigerate for about 2 hours. To make the cherry sauce, bring the reserved juice or syrup to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes or so till it reduces a little. Mix the cornflour with a little water, remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour the cornflour mixture into the juice, stirring all the time. You may want to add extra sugar to taste. Bring back to the boil and then simmer for a minute or two, Cool and refrigerate. Then serve and eat. I think you could use pretty much any fruit, tinned or preserved, that you fancy!!! Thank you MrsDrWho for the photographs of the tarts.

I Guess That's Why They Call It The Greens....

Yes, every Mother wants a boy like Elton, and yesterday I managed (heart racing, fingers sweating) to purchase 4 tickets to the Elton John concert that will be here in December. The tickets cost $285, $175 or $96. Guess which ones I bought??? Yep, the cheapest ones, but they are in the grandstand and the show will go on regardless of the weather and we are so likely to have a huge downpour in December that I made an executive decision!!! This will be my second concert ever, in my life. I have been to orchestral concerts, chamber music etc, but only one other concert. I was 16 and my dad had actually allowed me to go to the Town Hall to see Sherbet. I didn't particularly like Sherbet, but my friends did and so I went. I had the worst time ever. Everyone was smoking, so I couldn't breathe, and my eyes watered, it was so loud and people screamed and you had to stand up - so I sat on the floor. I was never happier to see my dad's car when he came to pick me up. And I have never been to another concert. I'm thinking thisDirty_dogs one might be a little different.

Our trustworthy Howard Federal Government has been editing Wikipaedia. That's right. The Prime Minister and Cabinet's Department and The Department of Defence have made over 5000 edits: including removing Mr Costello's nickname of 'Captain Smirk' and changing the children overboard entries and others like it. Way to go: open, honest government, who do YOU trust??? Similarly here in Peri_stealing_harkis_billyballThe Apple Isle the State 'Lenin' Government has been ejecting everyone from the public gallery, just because it can, and still endeavouring to ram through the Pulp Mill Legislation. How informed are they?? Well two members of the Upper House think a pulp mill just pumps out ordinary salt water as effluent: no toxins, no dioxins, no waste products or chlorine, just salt water. There is no hope for a reasoned and safe decision. It is all too much and it hurts me too mHarki_has_her_billyball_backuch to think about it.

The Labradors have dirt knees, both of them, well all of their front knees. They had a big play in the mud and dirt and both of them ran back to me with grubby knees and dirt smudged all over them, but they obviously had a great time!!! Harki and Peri have also been playing in the back yard. Peri has been stealing Harki's Billyball and running away with it and Harki had had to wrest it back from her. An endless happy game!! On our way home from our walk this week thMy_lucky_numbers_onee car odometer made an excellent number: 111,111. How wonderful. Of course now I have to wait ages for another good number to turn up.

I have finished The Daydream Believers. What a great pattern (page 142 in The Barbara G Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns: Double Wing Pattern) and very easy to remember too. Daydream Believers:  Knitted using 2.25mm needles and Cherry Tree Hill sock wool which is to die for!!! Because I like to use 72 stitches, I added a little column of P1, K2, P1 at the side of each Hey_hey_its_a_monkee_2 leg. I know these aren't green, but these will be my not-green socks!! The wool was a lovely gift and I will wear the socks and think of this every time I do!!! I hope you like my blocking effort: it's an envelope inside there!!! LarjMarj and AmyP both asked about my Greenery Snickets and how I knitted the Upside Down Baudelaires. The Baudelaires are toe up, and though I have tried toe up socks, I prefer knitting them from the top down. So, I printed out the chart from Knitty and then turned it upside down and revered the decreases: sssk became K3 together and so on. Then I knitted from the top down. It doesn't make the same pattern as the Baudelaires, it makes a kind of Leafy Sea Dragon effect. I am a knitter who knits without a net. A lot. I think I deserve a MacGyver Knitting Badge. How about you???

Really_inebriated_bees I really wanted to knit the Drunken Bees socks and I did make an excited start but the pattern just doesn't make me happy. I don't know why, but it doesn't call to me, there's no Indian Love-Sock Song vibe happening. I knitted, I twisted, I cabled, I made holes everywhere there were meant to be holes, but it will soon be an ex-sock, pushing up the daisies ....... So I have no knitting started. I must start something soon, but I'm not sure what. I did buy 5 balls of CleckheatFive_fluffy_ferny_balls_of_mohair_2on Studio Mohair in green @ $3 a ball. A bargain at The Black Spot of Doomlight (TM). I had only gone in to buy some more wool for MrsDrWho to fuel her newly developed knitting habit and the fluffy soft mohair called to me. I think I can make a vest with 5 balls.  I have also asked Daphne at The Knittery to dye some sock wool in lime and teal colours for me. I have a blouse that's lime and teal and I love the way the colours go so well together. Teal and Lime are also featuring in clothes this season. I am waiting eagerly to see what it will look like!!!! Daphne dyed the Forest Moss colour for me and liked it so much she added it to her colourways.

I did mean to post yesterday afternoon but I had an accidental nap for 3 hours!! I promise a recipe next time and photos of my new clothes and my green denim jacket that I love, love, love, as soon as I can take a snap without a wiggly tail or inquisitive nose in the way!!!

Cause I Don't Have A Wooden Harki!!!

Harkiparkiparkerposey_is_8 Yes, it's that special day of the year: Harki's Birthday!! Harki is 8 this year, and had a lovely birthday: Breakfasting on vegetables, dry dog food and some Cocopops, with a rawhide chaser, later on, a big beef bone and then a new squeaky toy striped like a zebra and just now, she saw a cat out the front window and had a lovely growl. Happy days. Oh and Elvis has been dead for 30 years. I like his songs, I like some of them a lot and I sing along lustily (or in whatever style the song necessitates) but I am a bit over the whole memorial thing. Is that wrong of me?? Maybe I do have a wooden heart?  In our house The Unbirthday Girl also receives a present, but PeFeed_me_feed_me_feed_me_3ri has lost her polka-dotted squeaky toy in the long grass in The Forbidden Zone. She is not very sad!!!   

I have been knitting socks like there is no tomorrow. I have finished The Greenery Snickets AKA The Upsidedown Baudelaires. I have had them thoroughly dog haired by Labradors beginning to lose their Winter undercoats. They are lovely. I love the teeny tininess of the stitches. In fact I had to knit another 10 rows for the foot as the wool and needles were so fine. They are so lime The_greenery_snickets and so green and so lacily cabled! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...... I am very sad they are over.

Still, I have The Daydream Believers to come and I have finished one MonkeeHey_hey_were_a_monkee thus far. Once again, I knitted extra rows for the foot, 11 this time Greenery_snicket_or_upsidedown_baudas that's a pattern repeat, because of the very fine wool. Also on the subject of Knitting, Donni is contemplating a steek. The idea of cutting my knitting is anathema to me, but she threw down the scissor gauntlet and so I knitted a swatch and I cut it. Cut right through it. With the scissors. It was not a particularly liberating feeling, but it didn't unravel immediately.  I am not sure I would ever cut real knitting, but if I had a list of knitting challenges: This can be ticked off, albeit Pre_steek with a pencil and not a pen!!!

On the health front, emails have apparently been winging their way across the Strait, but nothing is decided yet. My specialist is off on a 6 week holiday soon, so I will see himPost_steek at the end of the month and then not till late October. I'm not holding my breath. We are being very quietly hopeful and a tiny bit happy, because my numbers went up and down all by themselves, ie. the ones that we wanted to go up did, and the ones we wanted to go down did too!! It was not a big increase but it is a move in the right direction!! Despite this I did have an accidental nap yesterday for almost 4 hours. I only rested my eyes for a minute and the next thing I knew the rest of the day had gone by. I took a picture this morning of what I take every day. I should shake, rattle and roll. The pink one is in case I get a Tablets_of_well_tablets headache from all the others. Some of the tablets and powder are to replace minerals and other things that the drugs leach out of me. The 4 large tablets I have to dissolve slowly and then drink mixed with juice. Oh what fun!!!

Both Linda and Belinda have decided I am Nice!!! When I was teaching, 'nice' was one of those overused words and I always tried to help children find better synonyms for it, but I quite like Nice_nice_nicely_does_it being thought of as 'nice'. Nice in a nice way. Nice with connotations of friendliness, of being helpful and kind, of being supportive and caring. Thank you Belinda and Linda, how nice of you to think me nice!!!

I have tried to add pictures of my new Doctor Who books to my sidebAll_dressed_up_no_place_to_goar but the Typepad doesn't recognise their ISBNs. They are Limey and Typepad is a Yank. I do have a picture of new things, but Harki and Peri are bent on stealing the limelight, so I might just dress The BareNakedLady tomorrow for a few fashion snaps!!!

Oh, I Can't Control Myself, Do Keep Me Hanging On The Telephone!!

Walk_on_water_our_floods Raisin treating has ceased!!! Never have so many been worried about so few, for so long, and so urgently!! The Labradors are fine and grape free!! I suppose this means a glass of bubbly for them is out of the queWild_girlsstion too then??? Contact has been made!!

We have had floods throughout The Apple Isle. Water inundated many towns, swept away bridges, forced evacuations and flooded houses and businesses.  The winds uprooted trees everywhere, even on our walk. The wild winds made The Labradors go Beserkers Bonkers and they ran about madly on their walk, crashiThe_labradors_wallow_in_the_muddy_2ng through the fallen tree and jumping in and out of the creek with wide and muddy smiles. Peri can be calm, I have photographic evidence. Here she is sitting calmly and still on Otto with my two new Labrador mugs. Aren't they great?? Isn't Peri so sweet, and she's sweet and calm when she's asleep too!!

Sadly, one of Aunty and Uncle Dutch's dogs had to be put to sleep last week. Fifi Trixiebelle Heavenly Hirani Tiger Lily was about 12 years old. She is in Dog Heaven now with Arthur. Tommy, her brother, misses her terribly. I took him a little quilt made in Fifi and girl colours with a Joy button aLovely_little_peri_and_new_dog_cupsnd her name embroidered on it. I think he likes it.  He looks like Dougal from The Magic Roundabout. That's MrsDrWho's arm in the picture: she of new knitting fame. One scarf down, "To Infinity and Beyond!!!"

Tommy_loves_fifis_quilt At last I have finished The Sinatra Socks. At last I can replace the picture of me in Haute Tricot!!!    The Sinatra Socks, made in Opal Acapulco 1301. Knitted to my own pattern, 72 stitches on 2.25mm needles. Time taken?? An inordinate amount. And I ask myself why they are compleThe_sinatra_socks_2te??

It is because of this. Yes, I am Uhura now!! I can spend near Millennia on the phone and it is just wasted knitting time: now I can knit and talk!! Last night I talked to my mother on the phone for about 90 minutes and I knitted my sock too far. I had to unravel a few rows before I could start the toe. I see many happy hours of telephone knitting, even embroidery, ahead!!

Uhura_here_i_have_vulcan_command_fo I also finished The Merrily Scarf. ( One Row....Row, Row your boat) Two Balls of Shadow Tweed, on 5.5mm needles. It is very long and suits The BareNakedLady very well!!!The_merrily_scarf

This afternoon we cooked an Italian chicken casserole. I intend to break the Italian Pasta rule and serve it with some lovely mashed Desirees. At the weekend I cooked Lamb Chops on Sticks, or Frenched Lamb Chops. I dipped them in beaten egg, then in a mixture of breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and pepper. Finally I shallow fried them in a little olive oil and butter. They are equally delicous hot, warm or cold.  And they are on sticks, so they are finger food and not a meal!! You can eat them anytime. Unfortunately they are hideously expensive, so we only have them when they are on super special.

I have a slew of new Doctor Who books: pictures next time. I have a new skirt and top. Pictures next time too!!  Now I have to finish a Turing Sock toe, a Greenery Snickert foot.............. There are no Categories today and all my saved Categories seem to have disappeared. I have no idea why and it will take me a while to re-invent them. Please bear with me. Normal Categories will be resumed as soon as possible.

Raisins To Be Cheerful: Part 1

Peri_lurves_raisins The latest craze at our place is Raisins. I had some raisins languishing in the cupboard. I gave one to Peri, and now she is hooked: Might as well face it, she's addicted to the above. She will do anything for a raisin, even have drops in her ears. She breaks the World Jumping On and Off the BedGreenies_such_an_appropriate_treat_ Record hourly, she comes at the Speed of Light when I call her, she turns herself inside out with anticipatory delight. Harki? She can take them or leave them, they're a good treat but not to die for. Harki has donated blood again at The Hospital to help a dog who ate rat poison. The Vet gave her a whoHarki_loves_raisins_not_as_much_as_le bag of treats and she graciously shared them with Peri. They have some new toys to play with and so there is endless squeaking and toy snatching afoot. Only a mother could endure such a cacophony.

MrsDrWho had gone over to the Dark Side. It must have been the strange confluence of events, the unusual planetary alignment or the weird coincidence at The Black Spot of DoomLight. We had wandered in and who should we meet but The Bionic KnitterWoman( Wagner.. geddit!!!??) Whilst chatting to her, who should have arisen from her sickbed to shop, but the pale and interesting Amanda!!! Then we met our friend Janette, who was Amanda's Grade 3 teacher. No wonder MrsDrWho has been magicked into knitting. The Bionic KnitterWoman also found a new knitter: The Stitch Wrangler. I am not sure if she is truly here in The Apple Isle, or from The Mainland. You could visit and offer commiserations to the former and encouragMystery_sockement to the latter, or vice versa, whatever.....

I have finished one of Amy's Secret Socks, turned inside out to protect the innocent. I have also knitted one ball's worth of Paton's Shadow Tweed using The Yarn Harlot's One Row Scarf Pattern. It is such an easy pattern and the Tweed is nice. It knits up easily and changes colour nicely and it is not for me, and I know The_me_and_my_scarf_beginsthe NiceLady Nextdoor will like it, so the lack of greenness is mitigated. I just read a book where a point was 'mute'. How did this get past the editors and proofreaders?? Have writers missed the whole moot point point?? Mitigated just reminded me of moot.6_million_dollar_clown

I have transmogrified the Sad Clown: washed his clothes, trimmed his matted hair, gathered his outfit and added new frills and ribbon. I still have to oversew his hands and feet with matching embroidery thread and darn a hole in one hand, but he is pretty much made over. I have also sewn tissue holders. Nine tissue holders. I have started my own tradition of giving the members of The Knitting Coven a present on Our Birthday. Today was our 3rd Birthday and we lunched heartily and I drank Earl Grey Tea and my very own little bottle of sparkling!!! Happy Birthday to Us!!!

Birthday_bless_yous Many Kiss Biscuits have been made with the Teapot cutter (I love my new cutter!!) and my Mother's Kiss Biscuit recipe. It is the best recipe and MrsDrWho requested plain icing (pink) and raspberry jam filling. I like to 'jam' two biscuit bottoms together, so there is a 'top' on the bottom as well as the top. Luckily I remembered to bake half the biscuits reversed. There could have been an awful tantrum otherwise!!!

Kiss BiscuitsJust_one_kiss

  • 4 oz/ 225g butter, softened
  • 4 oz/225g caster sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 8 oz/450g plain flour
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1 tbspn (20ml) cornflourSave_all_your_kisses_for_me
  • your favourite jam
  • icing sugar
  • 100s and 1000s

Preheat oven to 180*C (160 FF) and line trays with baking paper. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla till light and airy. The mixture will look light in colour too. Beat in the egg, then sift in the flours and baking powder. Mix well to make a sticky, then not so sticky, dough. I usually use my hand, it's easier. Then you may need to refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes or so.

Cut the dough into quarters and work with one piece at a time. Roll out on a floured surface until about 3mm thick and cut out shapes with a floured biscuit cutter. Then knead the leftovers together with a fresh quarter of dough. Place on the tray, they will spread a little, and bake for 12 minutes. I usually swap and reverse the trays after 6 minutes. The biscuits should be golden brown un the bottom. They cool very quickly, so you can mix the icing sugar and water to make icing while you wait. Ice a biscuit, add 100s and 1000s by pressing it into a plate of the colourful spheres. Spread a base biscuit with jam and then join the two together. These are nice to eat straight away, but they are much better after a few days as they soften and the jam permeates both layers.

And where are the clowns? Quick send in the Hounds. Don't worry, they're here!!!

Send_in_the_clowns_there_ought_to_b Do not fear for the fate of the clown. The GardyGardeners have had this clown for 29 years and it needed a little, well quite a lot of, TLC. When I deconstructed it the head was barely attached and one arm was totally undone and the stuffing was coming out of the torso. I have washed the clothes and I am making new frills for the arms, legs and neck. The Labradors look as if they have had a wonderful time pulling the clown apart, but it is not so!! Instead, in a 5 minute window of letter posting opportunity, whilst left alone with the shopping they ate a box of oaty Vitabrits and all bar the bottom two layers of a box of sugar rectangular prisms. (In the name of all things mathematical: these are NOT sugaAre_you_cottoning_on_yetr cubes. I have emailed the company but they still insist on calling them 'cubes' They're not cubes at all. Though I may, apparently, be a square!!!) There was much moaning and stomach holding on their part. I gave them no sympathy whatsoever.

There has been a little shopping for wool and the like. I am the proud owner of Anchor Oops_i_did_it_todayCotton: 12 balls, and Patons' Caressa: 10 balls in green, @ $2 a ball. Then there's the variegated green: Cathy has knitted a cardi and the little coloured parts of the wool look like little flowers in a sea of green and white. I had to have some, it had me under its Spell!! Of course now it is almost Spring, but I can squirrel it away for later on.... The cotton is Ive_got_you_under_mydestined to be dish/face cloths for C*****mas. (Trying not to say the 'word' as directed by those un-enamoured by the subject being mentioned this early!!!)

I am knitting The Monkey Socks, heretoforafter known as The Daydream Believers, for obvious reasons. Oh the Cherry Tree Hill wool makes my knitting perfect. Truly, my stocking stitch has attained machine-like heights of precision and it is so lovely to knit: never splitty and so soft. The lace pattern is very easy to remember, but as I like to have 72 I_believe_this_is_great stitches on 2.25mm needles, I added a few extra stitches at each side with some knits and purls. I like it. I am doing Secret Sock Knitting for Amy. I am using some lovely wool hand-dyed in Germany and 2.75mm needles. I don't have any 2.5mms but 2.75 gave exactly the right tension. I am not a relaxed knitter!!!

The Labradors have been more or less trapped inside for the last two days. The rain, much needed and Water_day_for_a_labrador_dreamappreciated, has been pouring down and accumulating everywhere. Harki doesn't like to get wet at home. Peri does. Say no more. They both love walking in the rain, mud and puddles and have embraced their walks with added fervour. Harki has been to the Vet again and Dr Tim says she is one ear away from being well again, so we have another week of eardrops in her right ear.

I have gone berserk and bought enough 'Fiestaware' to sink a ship. It is as cheap as chips, thank goodness, as Peri has already decided the big bowl is hers, and hers alone to chew up. There are Plastic_beserktrand_2cutlery holders, and dish drainers and a peg basket and containers for bits and bobs. I am truly Plastic Bertrand though I am not sure of my 'plane pour moi'!!! If you like beading, you could plan to look at Beading Daily, daily. I am fascinated by beading but I can't quite 'do' beading properly. MrsDrWho can. And she has a truckload of beads too.......

I had a surprise in my letter box, unvisited for 2 1/2 days because I needed a cut lunch and a machete to Tea_4_sheepreach it through the torrential rain: a very cute teapot biscuit cutter and a sheepy card!! Jolly good thing my letterbox is fairly dry as I think the parcel was in there for a while. Thank you, virtual cup-of-tea enthusiast!!! I love it!!! I shall make Teapot Kiss biscuits I think!!! Next time, pictures of the biscuits and a recipe I think!!! And I think I need to have a few less !!!! You think?????? Pretty much!!!!!!!!

Oh and thank you Donni for inviting me to join the Second Sock Syndrome Liberation Group. However did you know I'd qualify? I now have 4 single socks without a proper partner. Freds without Gingers. Donnies without Marees. Kirks without Spocks. Maxes without 99s..........