Sunday, April 26, 2015

Rag Dolls and Jersey Boys

I slept in a bit today. When I finally got up, I began the last Amelia Peabody book I haven't read, Guardians of the Horizon. This one answers a burning question I've always had about the series - what happened to the Lost City they visited in The Last Camel Died at Noon? Did it survive? Did Nefert ever want to see her old home? I only got to the first two chapters - they aren't even in Africa yet. Hopefully, we'll be getting answers soon.

Had my usual Sunday pancakes while listening to Billy Joel and Elton John records. My Strawberry Buttermilk Cake came out so well, I decided to try to recreate the flavors with Strawberry Buttermilk Pancakes. I did replace the vanilla flavoring on the cake with almond flavoring. I've seen almond flavoring used with strawberries before - they seem to go together pretty well. And oh boy, did they ever! I added a little sugar along with the egg and buttermilk, and they were tasty, rich and tart and just sweet enough.

I dance a little along with the music as I cleaned up from brunch. Unfortunately, I wasn't looking where I was going. I smacked my right hand against the wooden dining table chair as I headed to the kitchen. Ouch! Nothing seemed to be broken, but the fourth finger is sore and swollen. I didn't have enough time to do anything with it before work. I'd just have to be careful.

Thankfully, work wasn't anywhere near as bad as it was yesterday. It was busy, but that's typical for a nice Sunday. It actually could have been a lot worse. Everyone was in a very good mood. Other than my break was late again, there were no major problems. My relief, one of the college boys, was on time.

It was another gorgeous, sunny, breezy day when I got out of work. Once again, I took the long way home down Nicholson. The Sunday traffic was pretty bad, but I wanted to at least enjoy a little of the weather. I'm getting tired of the repair to the Oaklyn ramp on the Black Horse Pike, too. (Thank heavens they've finally covered those metal plates. You could hear cars driving over the plates as far away as my apartment.)

When I got in, I got the dolls changed into slightly lighter outfits for May. Josefina honors the upcoming Cinco Del Mayo in her recently retired Dress and Vest and the lovely gold Heirloom Accessories shawl. Samantha's ready for her birthday in her original pink striped Birthday Dress and Pinafore, the white shoes from (Rebecca's) Lace Dress, and the lace headband from her current accessories set. Whitney looks very 50's in a hand-made polka dot dress from eBay, the pink ankle-wrap shoes from the Sweet Spring Dress, and the lavender scrunchie bow from Samantha's Frilly Frock. Molly's in a hand-made version of her extremely hard-to-find Victory Garden Dress. Jessa wears the lavender sweater from Kit's original "meet" outfit with the flower-print tie-dye t-shirt from the 2012 Hiking Outfit, the mauve sandals from the Sparkle Sequin Outfit, and the hand-made denim capris Lauren sent for Christmas. I just left Felicity in her salmon pink Birthday Gown. I really don't have much to change her into.

Ran Jersey Boys as I changed the girls, and later as ate leftovers and roasted zucchini and squash fries for dinner. Four Italian-American guys from North Jersey seem to be typical layabout kids of the mid-50's - they end up in jail, they get into trouble, they chase girls. Except one, Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young) has an amazing singing voice, and he's generally a decent guy. When one guy leaves the band, a friend introduces them to Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen), who has already had a hit and can not only sing, but write songs at the drop of a hat. They get stuck for a year as backup singers to other popular artists at the time, until Bob comes up with the smash hit "Sherry." Suddenly, The Four Seasons are on their way to the top...but when Tommy (Vincent Piazza) gets into trouble and Frankie helps him out, the other guys aren't as thrilled.

I agree with most critics that Clint Eastwood probably wasn't the best choice to direct a musical about the Four Seasons. This movie should be funny and colorful, and while there are some hilarious bits (I love the guys talking to the camera, especially early on), it degenerates into a mire of sludge once the band gets popular. Despite some of the actors having been in the original Broadway cast, almost everyone comes off as stiff. The performances are lifeless. In fact, the only really fun number is the entire cast doing "Oh What a Night (December 1963)" over the credits. Not horrible if you're a classic rock fan like me or love the show, but it could have been a lot better. (Oh, and as with the show, this is NOT for kids. There's a ton of rather heavy swearing throughout the film.)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Trouble In the Morning

I had my early 8 AM shift today. It wasn't fun. I was tired and cranky, and my customers were only a little happier. I know I was more rude than I should have been, especially with one man who thought a brand of barbecue sauce was on sale when it wasn't. I got fussed at again by one of the managers for being rude and being slow. Ok, I shouldn't have been rude...but I was tired. I'm not used to working this early anymore. I really, REALLY wish they'd give me a consistent schedule. And I'm getting fed up with the complaining about me being slow. When I try to go as fast as they want, the customers say I don't need to go that fast. They're not in a hurry, so why should I rush?

I couldn't get out of there quick enough. It was still below-average chilly this morning, but it had gotten warmer and sunnier by 2 PM. I bought toilet paper and scones and hurried out. I decided to take the long way home down Nicholson and enjoy the nice weather. The traffic on Nicholson was pretty bad, but it was fine once I went over the hill and onto Atlantic. 

As soon as I got home, I took a nap. I went to sleep at 2:30 and got up at 4. It didn't really help that much. I still felt tired, frustrated, and dazed. I grabbed a notebook and decided to write down ideas for my WENN swashbuckler spoof to clear my head. Just writing the stuff I had planned for Scott's character filled over a page and a half alone. I've been writing down ideas at work on whatever small pieces of paper I can grab without anyone noticing, which means I had lots of small pieces of "no sale" papers floating around my desk that had to be notated. 

I had scrambled eggs with zucchini, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese for dinner and strawberry buttermilk cake for dessert while finishing out the Sailor Moon set. Poor Naru picks the wrong guy to fall in love with. She's crazy about Nephrite, even after she learns how evil he is. First, he uses her to get to a princess at a big party whose secret treasure may be the Silver Crystal. Naru's lucky Usagi badly wanted to attend a ball and is there to help her out. Then, he thinks she may have the Silver Crystal, so he goes to her and tries to persuade her to bring it to him. Even after Usagi tells her he's a villain, Naru still insists she cares about him, to the point of saving him from Sailor Moon's tiara.

Switched to a less dire Remember WENN episode as I cleaned up from dinner. It's "Two For the Price of One" when Pruitt's secretary Miss Cosgrave signs the cast up to do programming for not only their station, but radio station WEEP as well. They sign up the entire staff to do shows, even Gertie and Mr. Eldridge. Trouble comes in the form of WEEP manager Mr. Crowley. He loves their shows so much, he wants to use them for his station...and his station alone. Scott, Betty, and C.J come up with a way to mix up the programming and keep their shows at WENN where they belong.

I wanted to get out into the fresh air after being inside for most of the day. I grabbed my coat and boots and jumped on my bike. Stopped at Common Grounds Coffee House for a chai latte and to collect my thoughts. I'm so frustrated about this morning. I wish I could explain about being shy and an introvert to the managers. I took this job to make money in college, not to be my permanent career. I just don't know where to go next. 

I rode around the neighborhood, enjoying the cool breezy and the partially cloudy evening. I hopped off my bike at the small playground on the end of Cedar and goofed around. I climbed the stairs. I dove through the tunnel. I just barely squeezed down the wavy slide. 

There were quite a few people out and about tonight. I saw many folks - interestingly, most of them adults - getting ice cream and water ice at Phillies Yummies. There were quite a few kids out playing catch or riding bikes, or just walking around and chatting. Adults strolled with friends or chatted on their porches or patios, or just enjoyed the spring evening. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Chilled Spring

I began a cold, blustery day with more Sailor Moon. This time, it's personal when Nephrite targets a little girl named Mika who is a good friend of Usagi's brother Shingo. Mika gave Shingo a doll she made that won a contest, but Shingo accidentally breaks it. While he tries to figure out how to apologize, Mika becomes more and more reclusive, locking herself in her room to work on more dolls. Usagi's worried; the other girls smell a Negaverse plot.

Usagi's in seventh heaven when she gets a letter from Tuxedo Mask. That is, until she finds out every other girl in the entire area did, including Ami and Rei. Usagi goes to meet "Tuxedo Mask" at the mall. So does Naru, who hopes it's the handsome playboy she's had her eye on. Naru's unfortunately right; Nephrite wrote the letters in an attempt to lure Sailor Moon into a trap. Sailor Moon has to work with the real Tuxedo Mask to rescue Naru and escape Nephrite's lion constellation monster.

I spent the rest of the morning continuing to work on my fanfiction. Anyone who's read my other WENN spoof fanfics knows Rupert Holmes isn't the only one who likes playing around with secret identities. As of right now, Betty is the pretty head of an inn in Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh in its early years) and a writer on the side. Victor is the former manager who went to help the new US government prepare for war. Scott is the charming scoundrel who turns up on the inn's doorstep, claiming he's the new manager...but really has a very different reason for wanting to be there. Maple gets a job as a maid, but she has her own reasons for coming. Hilary and Jeff are nobles who left England in a cloud of scandal. The others are either residents of or servants at the inn.

The Acme called me around 10:30 and asked me to come in at noon. No, not noon, but I could pull off 1. I got off a little early so I could have lunch and watch another Sailor Moon episode. This one was another rather sweet filler story that was cut from the original English dub but happily restored here. The girls and Luna go on vacation to the beach. They end up at a spooky mansion that seems to be occupied by some pretty weird people, including monsters, a father, and his daughter who may have some strange powers. When the father pushes his daughter's powers too far, the Soldiers have to help the girl control her abilities to get rid of it.

I did go in at 1...but I could have gone in at the original 2 PM, for all of how busy we were. The lines were a little long when I got in - one of the morning people called out - but they gradually slowed down as the afternoon continued and the afternoon shift arrived. We were never more than mildly steady. It wasn't even that busy during rush hour. My relief, one of the college girls, was right on time.

I'm not entirely thrilled with my schedule next week. In good news, far more hours, more on a par with what I usually get at this time of year, and Tuesday and Wednesday off again. In annoying news, I have an 8 hour day on Monday and a (now) rare late night shift on Thursday, neither of which I'm looking forward to.

I had a huge grocery order this week. The Acme's organic tea was on clearance for $2.59 each. I stocked up on their White Pomegranate and Green Chai to have with breakfast. I also grabbed Skippy Natural peanut butter for $1.67 - I didn't need it that badly, but that's a good price for peanut butter. There was a good Quaker cereal sale this week - went with Cinnamon Life. I restocked baking powder, yogurt, cheese (went with sharp cheddar), canned low-salt tomato sauce, chocolate chips, and brown sugar. My vegetable crisper was practically empty. I picked up apples, bananas, grapefruit, mushrooms, two tangelos, two containers of sliced zucchini and yellow squash on a buy-one-get-one deal, and a bag of romaine hearts for $1.88 with a coupon in the flyer. Took advantage of a great sale on chicken pieces to grab two of the smaller packages of legs and thighs.

My original plan was to eat dinner at home. I just wasn't up to cooking after all that shopping. I ended up trying the new restaurant a few doors down from Tu Se Bella in the mall behind the Acme. Muscle Maker Grill was supposed to specialize in fast health food. Considering their name, I was surprised to see how many pasta dishes they had. Shouldn't they encourage protein, not carbs? To their credit, they did have a long menu of protein shakes, too. I just went with a "Mona Lisa Wrap" off the smaller portions menu. It was a pretty normal grilled chicken wrap with their tangy "special non-carb sauce" on a toasted whole wheat wrap. A little messy, but not bad. I drank most of the Diet Dr. Pepper on the way home.

Watched one last Sailor Moon episode while putting everything away and eating strawberry cake for dessert. One of my favorite "filler" episodes of the first season is (in the original dub) "An Animated Mess." Two girl animators are new on the job and are excited to be working on the new Sailor V movie. One of them thinks the other is getting better assignments. Nephrite curses the special drawing pencils she and her friend bought years ago and split, vowing they'd only use it for really important cartoons, and only with the other's permission. When Usagi, Rei, and Ami visit the animation studio, the young woman's ambition seems to be causing a rift in her relationship with her friend...until the girls figure out what's really wrong.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Windy Spring Days

I spent the morning finishing out Doc McStuffins. The funniest episode of this round was "Kirby and the King." The evil King and Sir Kirby, the valiant knight action figure, get stuck together after an accident with a sandcastle. They have to make their way out of Doc's little brother Donny's room so she can get them unglued. "A Day Without Cuddles" was also really sweet. Poor Lambie is "sick" again. This time, she got flour all over her and can't hug the others until she's been washed. Trouble is, it's International Cuddle Day. The others all want hugs from their favorite fleecy cuddler, but she doesn't want to get flour on them, too. She learns that it's hard to wait (and for humans to not spread germs), but you're better off in the end.

I thought I'd try something as the cartoons ran. When I lived in Wildwood, the Dollar Tree in Rio Grande carried small cake mixes in little 9 oz boxes. They were a perfect treat for one person. The first thing I baked in my new home was made from one of those mixes. Alas, after a year, the Dollar Tree stopped carrying them. I rarely saw anything like them, until I discovered that the Westmont Thriftway carries the Jiffy yellow cake and brownie mixes. Most local supermarkets only have their corn muffin mix, maybe the blueberry muffin mix if you're lucky. I made myself a lovely little one-layer Strawberry Buttermilk Cake.

Switched to the last first season Remember WENN episode I hadn't done as I got ready to head out. WENN's resident diva suddenly turns into "Hilary Booth, Registered Nurse" when she's struck on the head by a microphone boom and thinks she's the kind-hearted nurse from a World War I drama. Betty Roberts has to jolt her memory in time for a very important broadcast...and do it without the help of Victor Comstock, who is preparing to leave on a government assignment to London.

I didn't see Studio LuLoo open when I finally got out around quarter after 12. My first stop ended up being the Oaklyn Library by default. There wasn't a lot going on there, either. I didn't even have a ton of things to organize. I just sort of browsed around in the books for an hour.

When I got out, I decided I wanted more lunch than just a hoagie from WaWa. I ended up having lunch at Jalapeno's Grill across from WaWa. They were totally empty, despite it being 1:30. Not even that older lady who seemed to be a permanent resident was there. A man did come in as I was finishing, but for most of my lunch, it was just me, my vegetable and cheese quesadilla, and the notes I was taking for another Remember WENN fanfiction. I was surprised to see they were already decorated heavily for Cinco Del Mayo, despite that holiday not being for another couple of weeks. 

I did stop at WaWa on the way home. I wanted heavy cream to make icing for my cake. I also bought myself a Black Raspberry Sparkling Ice. They were busy, but thankfully, the other cashier opened as I was waiting. 

Though it wasn't raining (or even snowing - Lauren said she got snow in Pittsfield today), the weather was not much fun. It was cold and gloomy and windy. I went straight home after leaving WaWa and didn't attempt to go anywhere else.

Did some more Sailor Moon as I got organized after I got in. When a handsome young photographer holds auditions for new models, Usagi thinks her modeling career is about to take off. Mamoru first reminds her that modeling is tough work. It really gets hard when she makes it to the audition, and she and Luna realize it's another Negaverse plot. 

The new Strawberry Shortcake set Snowberry Days seemed rather appropriate, given the weather. I very much enjoyed these three snow-themed tales. In the first one, the girls are surprised when they have a warm day in the middle of winter. They're disappointed they can't make snowmen to play "Capture the Snowman's Nose," until Strawberry comes up with a creative way to let them have fun. It's all crazy games until the carrot noses go missing, and the girls and the Berrykins start wondering if the squirrels may be short of food. 

The second story focused on Blueberry. Her new ice skates that use butterflies to pull you faster are such a huge hit, she's asked to make a line of them for a shop in a city nearby. Blueberry's not sure she can pull it off, but she learns that you never know what you can do unless you try. 

The third one once again begins on an unusually warm winter's day. Raspberry Torte is planning a spring fashion show for the same day one of the Berrykins has scheduled a water show - and they both need to use Berry Bitty City's fountain. Even when they put the shows together, Berrykin Bruce the mechanic feels his show is being overlooked. When everything freezes overnight, an overflowing fountain makes the court too slippery for fashion shows or water shows...until one of Bruce's workers comes up with a creative solution.

I did a few chores around the apartment. The big one was clearing out the space under the sink. I keep my pots, pans, and leftovers containers down there. Trouble is, there's only the narrowest of shelves and no real way to organize anything. I tend to lose tops for containers among the kitchenware. 

Did some writing for about an hour, hour and a half. While I still want to finish the Precipice series, I finally came up with some ideas for that WENN swashbuckler/Revolutionary War spoof I've had in the back of my mind for years this morning. It's set after the (unresolved) 4th season finale cliffhangers. When the WENN show "The Crimson Blade" ends abruptly on similar cliffhangers, Betty and Maple wonder how they would have ended it if given more of a chance. Their narrative will turn into a spoof of every swashbuckler I can think of, and probably quite a few other things, including the show itself. 

Around 6, I made leftovers for dinner while watching the newest Scooby Doo movie, Moon Monster Madness. This story is the strangest yet - the gang wins a lottery to go up into space on a luxury space shuttle financed by an egotistical millionaire. The moment they get into orbit, things start going wrong. An alien attacks the ship, depleting their oxygen and forcing a stop at the millionaire's new resort on the moon. While Daphne and Velma fight over Daphne's astronaut scores being higher than Velma's, Fred hounds two aging astronauts who are driving the ship and Shaggy and Scooby befriend a football player who has some very interesting methods of dealing with fear. The gang has to learn to work together, especially the girls, in order to find out who's really behind these extraterrestrial doings.

The science fiction trappings gives this one a bit of a jolt, despite the been-there, done-that plot. I can only think of a few other episodes where Scooby and the kids got anywhere near sci-fi, and they were mainly in the 70's and early 80's. I did figure out the mystery before the kids - if you're paying attention at the beginning, you may be able to as well.

If you love alien stories or are already a Scooby fan, go right ahead. This isn't the best one they've ever did, but it's a fun mystery with a unique setting. Newcomers will probably want to go to the original series or What's New, Scooby Doo? first and save the movies for after they've gotten to know the characters a little better. 

Oh, and I frosted the cake while Scooby Doo was ending. It ended up being Cocoa Cream Frosting. Not bad. I think I should have just broken out the mixer. The cocoa was a little lumpy. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Celebrating Our Earth

I slept in a bit this morning. I might have slept a little longer if I hadn't been awaking by the construction men banging and cursing downstairs. I read The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog and wrote in my journal instead.

When I finally got up, I honored Earth Day with a couple of conservation-themed cartoons. Started off with Sailor Moon and the re-dubbed "An Unnatural Phenomenon" from the first season. Usagi is jealous when Rei convinces Mamoru to take her on a date in a local park. She grabs Umino and uses him as a decoy so she can spy on them. Meanwhile, Ami is worried about an older friend who is a caretaker in the park. The park is supposed to be torn down for office buildings, and her friend is upset. Nephrite ends up using his anger and that of the animals in the park for the Negaverse' schemes.

My personal favorite Dr. Seuss special is also one of the darkest. The mysterious Onceler relates the sad tale of The Lorax to a little boy who has wandered to his falling-down store. Once upon a time, the Onceler was the chief executive of a bustling factory that created faddish "Theneeds" from the beautiful truffula trees. The Lorax was a little orange fellow who "spoke for the trees" and continuously protested the destruction of the forest and the loss of the animals who lived there. The Onceler ignores his pleas, until they both finally learn a lesson in the damage unchecked progress can do.

Headed out around 11:30. My first stop was Studio LuLoo. I came into a group of mothers and some very small children, as young as a few months old. Roxy explained they were having an Earth Day party for little kids. I watched the kids run around and play music with some of the volunteers while I organized old, recycled card games, Memory pieces, and flash cards that would be used to make greeting cards for Mother's and Father's Day. I enjoyed pizza and laughed at the kids' antics.

The newly revamped Yummies, replacing Leo's Yum Yums, was open when I headed out of the studio. They had more-or-less the same menu Leo's had, though, alas, their prices weren't quite as good. Even so, I thought I'd give them a try. My small cup of Cinnamon Bun ice cream was a pretty good size for two dollars. The ice cream itself was delicious, sweet and spicy with plenty of big pieces of cinnamon bun.

Since I had a free lunch, I skipped stopping to eat and went right on to the Haddon Township Library. It was still a gorgeous day for a ride at that point, sunny, warm, and breezy. Newton Lake Park is awash in the loveliest spring pastels - pale green, soft butter yellow, lavender, pale pink. There were quite a few people out and about, strolling or bike riding. I dodged a flock of Canadian geese looking for lunch.

Maybe because of the nice day, the Haddon Township Library wasn't really very busy. I did have some children's DVD's and CD's and one audio book to shelve. I still can't get all the S titles on children's shelves. The adult M through Z shelves remain so overloaded, there were a huge pile of M, R, T, and W titles that just would not fit.

In addition to renewing Jersey Boys and Get On Up (neither of which I got to last week), I found the newest titles for three of my favorite animated franchises. The latest Doc McStuffins disc looks like it concentrates on sweet Lambie, Doc's cuddly stuffed lamb. Scooby Doo's latest movie looks like it's out of this world - literally, given that Moon Monster Madness is set in outer space. Strawberry Shortcake and her friends take on winter adventures in Snowberry Days.

Headed across the street to do some quick grocery shopping at Thriftway. Their generic whole wheat flour is much cheaper than anything at Acme. I picked up light mayonnaise, too. Bought juice boxes for my nephew Khai - I was supposed to be babysitting him tomorrow. (Rose called me later and told me Khai was sick and I wasn't going to be able to watch him.)

The weather had started to get nasty while I was in the Library. Clouds had moved in, and the wind was whipping around my legs. It was time to head home. I made my way around traffic on Cuthbert and the increasing wind.

As soon as I got home, I grabbed my laundry and headed back out again. Alas, the clouds had burst by this point. I got showered on as I made my way to the laundromat. They were a bit busy when I got in, but by the time I was tossing my small load into a dryer, there were only two other people left. I listened to Family Feud and read the Kit Kitteredge mystery A Thief In the Theater and ignored everything else. The sun came out briefly while I was in the laundromat, but the showers reemerged as I went down the White Horse Pike.

When I got home, I listened to one of the Rod Stewart "Songbooks" while putting the laundry away. After everything was organized, I made chicken burger casserole (ground chicken in tomato sauce with the last of the mushrooms, onion, and cheddar cheese) for dinner, then baked Apricot-Chocolate Chip Muffins while watching cartoons.

First up was one last environmentally-themed special. It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown has the Peanuts learning about trees and the conservation of our natural resources. Sally is eager to show what she's learned and takes Lucy up on her offer to use the baseball field for their garden and orchard. Chuck isn't terribly happy...until the disruption their plants cause ends up helping them out with their game.

Moved on to Doc McStuffins next. Doc doesn't just help heal physical conditions. She's pretty good with mental problems too, as we discover in "My Huggy Valentine." Lambie is jealous of Doc's new stuffed Valentine's Day heart, until Doc reminds her that she's special in her own way. She's a "Lamb In a Jam" when she gets grape jelly all over her, and on Stuffy, too. They have to stay behind after being promised they could go to school with Doc. Hallie thinks of fun things to do to help them get over their disappointment.

As a teddy bear collector with allergies, I really appreciated "Dusty Bear." Doc can't figure out why her brother won't play with his favorite bear, until she discovers how dusty he's gotten. A good run in the washing machine gets rid of the dust...and eliminates her brother's sneezes. We learn about the importance of resting the muscles in "Awesome Guy's Awesome Arm." Awesome Guy is the resident superhero of Doc's room, ready to save Lambie and her new block home at a moment's notice! He sprains his mechanical arm while showing off and is admonished by Doc to rest it. He has to learn to let others rescue him and find new ways to save Lambie when the King goes after her home again.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Spontaneous Mall Adventure

Started out the morning with Sailor Moon as I ate breakfast. Usagi is determined to accompany Rei and Ami on a trip on a romantic cruise. They aren't as eager to have her around, so she and Luna end up stowing away in disguise. Usagi discovers there's a lot more to this cruise than love when it turns out Jadeite and a Negaverse monster are using the ship to gather energy from lovers.

I spent most of the morning doing things on the computer. The trouble with trying to write is I get so caught up in reading things online, I often run out of writing time. I just have such a hard time focusing when I can tap on an icon and bring up distractions! It's part of why I haven't been able to do much writing in years. I get so into the reading, listening, and watching, I don't get to the writing.

I finally got fed up with sitting down around noon. I ate the last of the leftover tuna casserole while doing more Sailor Moon.  Jadeite's failed one too many times, and now Queen Beryl is going to put him to an eternal sleep unless he can stop Sailor Moon. He lures the trio to Tokyo's airport, where his powers set airplanes chasing after them. He also seems to kill off Tuxedo Mask...or does he? The girls finally get sick of being chased and turn things around by turning Jadeite's powers on him.

I was bored. I'd wasn't planning on having three days off in a row this week. After I finished lunch, I hurried down to Oaklyn's City Hall and hopped on the bus to the Voorhees Town Center. I also wasn't expecting the bus to be so darn full! It was 1 PM; a lot of people must have been going to or from lunch hour. Thankfully, most people got off on the White Horse Pike. There were only a few left by the time we made it to Voorhees.

I did browse in Boscov's for a while, looking at sandals and shorts, but I was really there more to do something than to shop. I wandered around the toy department, too. The only Ever After High dolls they had were one Holly/Poppy 2-pack (I guess they really weren't that popular - too bad, they're cute dolls) and two of the Briar Beauty Thronecoming playset. Bought myself a huge chocolate chip sandwich cookie at the cookie booth in the middle of the mall's first floor.

After I left the cookie booth, I strolled up and down Restaurant Row. This is the first time I've been able to check it out in decent weather. In fact, it ended up being a very nice day, mid-60's and sunny, though very windy. Though it also features a beauty school, "Restaurant Row" is, as the name implies, a line of eateries on the bottom floors of the Town Center's condos. Most of them are steakhouses and breweries that were too pricey for me, and I ate out enough last week. I could see people setting up what looked like a carnival in the parking lot. Alas, the rides weren't even half-done. They probably wouldn't be ready until I was long gone.

Ended up spending an hour or so across the street at the Voorhees Library. They were quiet as could be, especially upstairs in the nonfiction section. I first took a look at this year's Entertainment Weekly Summer Movie Preview, then found a really interesting book on lost silent movies I enjoyed for a while.

I was going to pick up the bus at the Library, but I got tired of waiting. I ended up in Macy's for a while, looking at shorts, before I got on at the Lens Crafters entrance where the bus stops. Thankfully, though it was the middle of rush hour, the traffic was going in the opposite direction. I had no trouble getting home, or stopping at WaWa for a Sparkling Ice Cherry Limeaide and a soft pretzel.

When I finally got in, I ate more leftovers while watching the next Sailor Moon episodes. Arrogant Nephrite replaces Jadeite as the girls' main villain for the rest of this set. Unlike Jadeite, he has a regular alter-ego - a suave playboy. He first appears in this guise at a tennis club, where he seems to want to help a close friend of Naru's. What he's really doing is increasing her energy, so he can claim it for the Negaverse. One of Usagi's teachers is the victim in the next episode. Rei and Usagi both want to make the wedding dress of their dreams in order to win a contest...but when the teacher shows up controlled by the Negaverse, she really takes the wedding cake!

Switched to Remember WENN as I cleaned up from dinner. "Sight Unseen" is the first episode to appear after the original four were run. It's also the first of three episodes during the series' run to deal with the treatment of minorities and the disabled. The latter gets spotlighted here when a young blind woman named Angela (Molly Ringwauld) appears at the station, asking to see Mackie Bloom. He plays her favorite character, the suave "Vagabond." Trouble is, Mackie is really short, balding, middle-aged, and about as far from his concept of a "Vagabond" as you can get. Angela finally reminds him that she can't see what he looks like...but she can hear his kind, intense voice, and that's really what matters.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Big April Showers

I awoke to the gush of rain on the roof. It was cats-dog-and-chickens pouring. Thankfully, it had begun to slow down by the time I was eating French Toast Crunch and grapefruit for breakfast. I ran WENN episodes as I ate and got ready for work.

"Close Quarters" is one of my favorite episodes of the second season. Maple's interviewing a doctor who sees a spot-covered Mr. Foley and thinks he has a rare disease. The cast finds themselves spending a week quarantined in the station. Things start out well - Hilary makes spaghetti-and-ketchup dinner, there's a cute dance, and a sweet exchange between Scott and Betty. However, as the week drags on, everyone starts to get on each other's nerves...at least until it turns out the doctor was wrong about Mr. Foley's condition.

We move backwards a little in the second season to "Don't Act Like That." Giles Aldrych (Roddy McDowell), Hilary's former acting mentor, now has an acting school near-by. Scott and Betty suggest that his students work at WENN for free as their first interns. The cast doesn't mind the well-meant acting lessons from Giles, but they rebel when they realize they'll have to share the air with amateurs.

It was down to light showers by the time I headed to work. The weather must have scared everyone off. It was quiet for most of the day, and never more than mildly busy. I now understand why my hours were so bad this week. We weren't even busy when the sun finally came out around 1, or even at rush hour. I was able to shut down quickly with no relief and no need for one.

The sun was still out when I headed home. Since Mother Nature was holding on for the minute, I ignored the traffic and took the long way home down Nicholson. It was rush hour and the traffic was fairly heavy, but I wasn't sure what the road repair would be like on the Black Horse Pike.

When I got in, I did one more episode of Remember WENN as I had leftovers for dinner. The first WENN episode I ever saw was "The Emperor Smith." African-American waiter George Smith (Howard Rollins) takes over for Mackie when he gets laryngitis. Trouble is, this is early 1940. A man of color playing a sexy role in the soap opera "The Hands of Time," no matter how hunky he sounds, isn't going to fly with the general public. It's almost scary how the cast manages to keep his name under wraps, even when an annoying reporter comes snooping around, by letting the reporter think he's the "invisible man" society considers him to be.

I finished out the night with Sailor Moon. Other than de-emphasizing Rei's interest in Tuxedo Mask, the episodes that introduce hot-tempered Sailor Mars remain more-or-less the same. My favorite out of this batch is still "Nightmare In Dreamland." Ami, Rei, and Usagi investigate a wildly popular new theme park that's been seeing reports of people vanishing. Serious Rei and fun-loving Usagi have to learn to work together in order to discover Dreamland's secrets and save Ami from the Negaverse.

And this morning's storms have returned in force, even as I type this. Hopefully, they won't be as bad for the next few days. I'd like some decent days off. It is supposed to get colder, which might not be so bad. It was really too warm for April last week.