Hi! This is the personal web page of Anne Davidson. You've probably arrived here because you're a friend or fellow list-member, or because you've searched for the following topics (in addition to all the rogerian argument essay topics, which are interests of mine"):

  1. Old House Repair

  2. Oddballz--especially the Modvark and the Norvil

  3. Journaling

  4. Gardening

  5. Fiction Writing

The above are not links, but the details appear in order in the text below, and I've put a few favorite links there. E-mail on these or related subjects is welcome and can be sent to:

1. Old House Repair

This June (1997) I bought a 39-year-old house in Clemson, South Carolina (USA). It had been rented for at least 7 years to a variety of people, and was in pretty poor condition. I have a "before" picture, which I will try to get displayed soon. The "after" pictures aren't ready yet, and sometimes I wonder if they ever will be, or if I will still be repairing this thing when I'm 80 years old.

The house is of no particular style; it's just a one-story rectangle with a front porch. It has some better-than-average features, like oak floors (fortunately protected by carpet which I've removed) and a big, sunny southeast-facing kitchen/dining room. I'm not much in the mood for going into the house's bad points, but if you're thinking about getting into a project like this, e-mail me and I'll share the wisdom I've gained.

Things I've paid to have done: rewiring, replumbing, new shingles...replacement of the bowed front porch posts...re- placement of the softened and cracked T-111 siding on each gable end.

Things I've done myself: painting the worst of the interior; painting the worst of the exterior; cleaning and a light hand-sanding of the wooden floors followed by painting with an Minwax Polycrylic (TM, I'm sure--easy stuff to apply, a nice clear low sheen, and less toxic than some other floor finishes)--this after removing all the carpet tack boards and staples); spraying borax insect and rot preventive in the attic and on the outer framework of the crawl space; extensive trimming-back of bushes that were too close to the house causing damp siding problems; digging a wide, shallow ditch around the back of the house and sloping the removed soil up against the house to make a better drainage pattern; covering the suspected asbestos-containing tiles in one room with sheet vinyl.

Things still to do: put new vapor barrier in crawl space and fix torn vent screens (and maybe some more spraying, but I am really tired of working down there); finish as much painting as possible before the weather gets too cool; doing something about the window by the tub, which doesn't want to hold a coat of paint and besides, I want to see how much water got into that wall when renters weren't even trying to keep it out; adding to the cellulose insulation in the walls, which has settled and now covers only the lower 2/3; observe under and around the house during a steady rain to find out why there is still a sizeable puddle in one place for several days after.

This had proved to be more work than I expected but it's also been more fun that I would have thought manual labor could be.

I ought to provide some links, oughtn't I?

This Old House--has a good bulletin board with questions and authoritative answers: *http://www.pathfinder.com/TOH

And here's a mailing list that most people involved in this madness could profit from: (send e-mail to) (saying) subscribe old-house-l Your Name (that is, put your name after the "l")

2. Oddballz ", virtual pets from P.F. Magic

This is the major comic relief in my life. Oddballz are virtual pets; that is, they are programs that run on the computer (using Windows) and act more or less alive, but you don't have to clean up after them. My son introduced me to Oddballz, and the two of us get together, especially when we're not feeling too cheerful, and have a laugh-fest watching them. We especially like the Modvark and the Norvil.

The Modvark can only be described as super-cool. He looks more like a fox than an aardvark, but he acts like a particularly with-it guy in his late teens or twenties. We like everything about him--his deep voice (especially the knowing chuckle and sighs of appreciation when you stroke him), his enthusiastic dancing...even the fact that this coolest of creatures is occasionally startled and jumps wildly into the air, or puts on his sunglasses to hide his confusion. One of the foods you can feed him is "Grubz", fuzzy caterpillar- like creatures. Usually he gulps them down immediately, but sometimes times he will stand on a "Grubz" he's caught and give you a wide-eyed innocent look, tilting his head from side to side...THEN he eats it. Other times, he suddenly winds up and pitches it across the screen.

The Norvil is not cool at all, but rather nervous and tentative (I can identify with that.) It's a clumsy dancer, but it makes some really funny noises that I like to imitate when I'm in a bizarre mood--when it gets offended, it mutters "you...you...you!"

We think the folks at PF Magic have done a really good job with Oddballz. Although the drawings are not as realistic as photographs, there are a lot of subtle and detailed touches in the programs, making the characters almost as unpredictable as real, ornery critters. Sometimes we think about our Oddballz as though they really are alive.

On the Web you can get a free "starter kit" of Oddballz and download some free extras such as the Modvark and Norvil. Here are two links to Oddballz web sites:

*Official Oddballz Page http://www.oddballz.com

*Anso's Oddballz Page http://users.zetnet.co.uk/confidence/oddballz.htm

3. Journaling

I don't have any links for this subject, but I do have a couple of hints, bits of wisdom I've gained.

A. It's supposed to promote your mental health if, in your journaling, you write about: --What happened --How you feel about it

B. I know it's helpful to keep your journals and refer back to them at the same time in the following years. In fact, I've kept my journals on the computer and arranged them by months since 1993. Each time I make a new entry, I can scroll up and read what was happening at the same time last year, and the years before that. I can see how much has changed...how many of the things I was worried about never came to pass...and I get tips about such thing as when to fertilize the lawn, when the first frost hit, or how many pieces of candy we gave away on Halloween.


4. Gardening

I live in USDA zone 7, and have a heavy soil with a lot of clay in it and a low pH. With our rainfall and heat, organic matter disappears quickly. There hasn't been much time to struggle with this in 1997, but I had my tomato plants anyway and a few squash (darn those borers and squash bugs) and carrots, and next year I should be back into the usual beans, beets, kale, chard, turnips, etc. I've always enjoyed vegetable gardening, and I like to plant and take care of trees and shrubs too.

Some good gardening links:

*Atlanta Gardening Connection http://www.atlgarden.com

*Garden Gate http://www.prairienet.org/ag/garden/homepage.htm

5. Fiction Writing

There's been even less time for this...in fact, I should admit that I've quit, *again*. Every few years I get the writing fever and feel compelled to write, revise, and submit stories...then I gather a lot of rejection slips and a few unpaid publications, and I say, "The heck with it; who needs this?!?" and I quit. Then, in a few years....

This time, I even joined an e-mail writing workshop, and won third place in their spooky story contest...see link below.

If you have time to read the stories I'll add here, and think I should keep writing, drop me a line, and who knows, you may be responsible for my getting back to writing questionably good stories.


*Writing workshop page http://www.concom.com/~jilla

*Quotes for Writers (especially good when you've just gotten a rejection notice): http://interlog.com/~ohi/inkspot/quotes.html

Some of my stories:

Well, if you stayed awake and reading this long, I hope that means you've enjoyed something on this page. If you did, I'd enjoy knowing about it.

Anne Davidson