Friday, October 24, 2014

Sunset Dinner at Sonic

Started a sunny, cool morning with breakfast and Moonlighting. In the fifth season episode "I See England, I See France, I See Maddie's Netherworld," Maddie and David find themselves confronting their mortality when a client dies of a heart attack while waiting in their office. Shortly afterwards, his partner arrives, looking for something he had on him. The duo find themselves being chased by three spies, spending time with a corpse, and arguing over the idea of the afterlife and if there really is anything "on the other side."

I actually showed up a little early at work. I thought I was supposed to be there at 11, but the schedule said 11:30. At any rate, I did stay until 5:30, and it was probably a good thing, too. We were busy all afternoon, and it just got worse during rush hour. I was just barely able to shut down and get out on time.

(Oooh, and I got a compliment from two managers and a customer. Someone gave me all 10s for dealing well with a customer who was nasty yesterday. I'll have a five-star card up for a drawing for a 50-dollar gift card this week.)

I went right into grocery shopping after work. I didn't need a whole lot this week. The big thing was meat. I found a small seasoned turkey tenderloin with a manager's coupon. I'll have that for dinner tomorrow. Pillsbury Cake Mix was 99 cents - I bought a box of Devil's Food Cake to replace the chocolate mix I used earlier in the week. Restocked unbleached white flour, applesauce, double A batteries, and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (not on sale, but Smart Balance doesn't make the 50/50 butter anymore).

Next week's schedule is slightly better than this week's. I'm still not happy about having to work early on Sunday (though 9:30 to 3:30 does mean I'll be out just in time for the Eagles-Cardinals game). I work 1 to 7 on Halloween. That means I'll miss trick-or-treat, but should be back in Oaklyn right on time for the parade. The parade is supposed to be at 7, but Oaklyn parades NEVER start on time. I have Tuesday and Wednesday off, Tuesday for counseling.

After I did my shopping, I went over to the Audubon Crossings Shopping Center for what may be one of my last dinners at Sonic of the year. Despite the nice night, the patio wasn't busy when I arrived. I got my loaded cheeseburger, tater tots, and cherry limeade quickly. By the time a couple of pre-teen boys were ordering Dr. Peppers and bacon cheeseburgers with extra cheese, I was finishing my limeade and enjoying the gorgeous magenta sunset over the Black Horse Pike.

When I got home, I put everything away while running another horror-themed TV show episode. Even Wonder Woman's feeling a bit creepy in the second season episode "Seance of Terror." A little boy with psychic powers is being forced by his con-artist guardians to lure three diplomats from an important peace conference. Wonder Woman has to find where they've been taken and convince the kid that his powers are worth a lot more than being used for con games.

Donald Duck lets his imagination run away with him in the freaky mid-40s Disney short "Duck Pimples." A dark and rainy night leaves Donald at home with a scary pulp mystery that gets a little too real in his overheated brain!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chilled Fall

It was cloudy and cold but not raining this morning when I headed to work. This continued for the rest of the afternoon, as people who avoided coming out tomorrow took advantage of the drier weather to do their shopping today. It was steady until rush hour, when the lines started to get much longer. Thankfully, the reliefs for both me and the other person who was getting off were right on time. I was able to hurry out with no problems.

When I got home, I made leftover sausage with spinach and mushrooms for dinner while watching The Black Cauldron. Taran, an assistant pig-keeper in a medieval-esque kingdom, must hide his porcine charge Hen Wen from the evil Black King, who wants to use her powers to find the Black Cauldron. The cauldron's dark magic could make him an army of undead warriors! Taran's daydreaming leads him to lose Hen-Wen, and when he chases after her, he gets her away but is captured himself. Now he, strong-willed Princess Ellonwy, and Flewfldor the Bard, joined by cowardly fuzzy critter Gurgi, must make sure the Cauldron doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

This was the first Disney animated movie I remember seeing in the theater that wasn't a revival of an older film. It's definitely not like most of their canon. The Horned King and those undead warriors, not to mention the witches and the general dark atmosphere, are genuinely scary. This isn't for younger kids, but if you have fantasy fans or older kids and teens who have seen every other Disney movie, try this one on them.

The classic Donald Duck short "Trick or Treat" is included on both versions of The Black Cauldron on DVD. Disney's only theatrical short that revolves around Halloween has Donald playing a rather nasty joke on his nephews instead of giving them treats. He runs into trouble when a witch sees what he did and decides to get revenge on him. A favorite of mine that's available on several different Disney horror-themed cartoon collections, as the finale of Disney's Halloween Treat on YouTube, and on the last Donald Duck Walt Disney Treasures set.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rainy Days and Libraries

I slept in this morning. When I got up around quarter of 10, it was pouring. I read in bed until 11. Watched Lucky Losers as I had breakfast. Slip and Sach are working for a prominent Wall Street broker...until the broker seemingly kills himself. Slip and their friend Gabe find information that leads them to a local gambling casino. With the help of a sidewalk hustler, the Boys infiltrate the casino in order to flush out the real murders.

It was still raining when the movie ended, so I went online until around 1:30. By that point, I decided I just couldn't wait anymore. I had DVDs that had to go back. I picked up my DVDs, went outside, and got wet.

The Haddon Township Library was busy; a lot of people must have come to avoid the nasty weather. I mostly concentrated on shelving and organizing the kids' DVDs. Still couldn't get all those "S" titles on there. (It's those darn Scooby Doo cartoons. They have every single one released in the last five years, and some older movies. I like Scooby too, but really, there are limits.) There were also lots of adult DVDs to put away, though only one CD. I didn't take out anything myself. I have tons of movies to watch that I've bought over the past few weeks, and plenty to watch for Halloween, too.

I made a quick stop at Thriftway on the way home. I wanted to buy a hoagie for a very late lunch. Turned out they were also having a sale on the box of Domino's Dark Brown Sugar for $1.19, and their regular large eggs are only $1.99. Stopped at Dollar Tree as well, but couldn't find anything for my Halloween costume and left with nothing. By that point, the rain was down to light showers, though it would pick up on and off even as I made my way home.

Needless to say, I spent the rest of the evening at my apartment. The continuing rain made it no day to be running around. I baked a Chocolate Mint Cake and had leftover chicken sausage and fried peppers with Brussels sprouts for dinner while dubbing McLintock! This 1963 John Wayne vehicle is one of his more popular comedies. The title character is the owner of a huge ranch spread in a small town in the west in the early 1900s. The town is seeing big changes that McLintock doesn't entirely approve of. More settlers are moving in, and with them come more disputes over land. The local Native Americans, who have long been friendly with the townspeople, are getting pushed off of their land, too. Matters come to a head when McLintock's stuffy wife (Maureen O'Hara) comes to town to seek a divorce and custody of their daughter Rebecca (Stephanie Powers). The battle of the sexes is on, not helped by the arrival of an attractive cook (Yvonne DiCarlo) who has enough sense to know how to deal with both McLintocks.

This movie brings back many wonderful memories of when Dad first bought the video in the early 90s. He loved it as a kid, and we used to watch it all the time with him. The Taming of the Shrew-inspired story hasn't always dated well, but it's still very funny, especially the brawl towards the middle that ultimately has just about every character in the movie knocked into a mud pit. A must if you're a fan of Wayne or O'Hara, especially his later comedies.

Switched back to the Bowery Boys as I cleaned up from dinner. Slip thinks he's Hard Boiled Mahoney when he and Sach stumble onto a case involving a missing young woman. As it turns out, there's a lot more to this case than meets the eye. Slip and the Boys may not get the chance to find out when a phony medium and his men chase them all over town, including into a radio game show!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Fall Trip to Deptford

I spent the morning of the first of my two days off sleeping until 9:30. When I got up, I finished Watership Down, then wrote in my journal. There was already noise downstairs, even as I got dressed. When I came home last night, I discovered that wooden columns had been added to the sides of the stairs to my apartment for more support. They were already out there finishing them as I moved to Cranapple Muffins and an apple for breakfast and watched two TV show episodes with spooky themes.

Laverne and Shirley go looking for a couch in a creepy old manor in the second season episode "Haunted House." Their guy buddies Lenny and Squiggy join them...until they and the man from the city who was selling the couch disappear! Now they have to figure out how to get out and what's making that noise, before they're the next ones to vanish.

The Monkees also dealt with a supposedly haunted house in the first season episode "Monkee See, Monkee Die." They inherit the organ from a deceased millionaire, but don't expect to find themselves spending the night in his spooky old home, with relatives disappearing and Davy falling for the niece who inherits the house. It's Davy who finally come up with the solution when they discover who's been behind the mystery.

It was past 12:30 when I finally made it to the laundromat. It was dead as could be when I arrived. While the washer was running, it was just me and The Young and the Restless. By the time more people were using the washers, my load was in the drier.

I quickly put everything away when I got in, then went right back out again. I wanted to pick up the 2:40 bus to Deptford. There wouldn't be another one until 4! At least it was a nice day for a bike ride. Far from the rain we were supposed to have today, it was sunny and bright, with barely any wind. I made it to Barrington with enough time to spare to grab a slice of pizza and a Coke Zero for a late lunch.

I wanted to keep my Deptford errands short this time. Hit Target right when I got in. They were even quieter than the laundromat. I mainly needed underwear. Their selection is far better than Wal Mart's (and they usually have most of theirs in stock).

Though I explored their toys and stationary, the other reason I was there was to take a look at their seasonal section. Target always has a great seasonal section. They have things that no one else Maple Brown Sugar Pillsbury Cake Mix and Maple Bacon Betty Crocker Cookie Mix. I also picked up Jet Marshmallow Pumpkin Spice Mallows, which look like a seasonal variation on those flavored and shaped marshmallows Jet did a few years ago. I really miss those. Didn't find any DVDs this time, though, not even random Halloween cartoons. Grabbed lemon extract as well - it's cheaper at Target.

(Oh, and Matt and all Dinosaur Dracula regulars, yes, I did see this year's retro Monster Cereal boxes, including those for the fruit snacks. Yes, the masks on the back are cool. No, I didn't buy them. I still don't eat cereal with marshmallows or fruit snacks.)

It was such a nice day, I decided to take a short walk. Not to the Deptford Mall; I just did a mall last week. I had a 20% off coupon for Bed Bath & Beyond, so I headed across the street to the newly rebuilt shopping center across from the Deptford Mall.

I took a look at the Christmas Tree Shoppe first. The place was ENORMOUS. It was sort of a cross between Michaels' and Bed Bath & Beyond. Both BB&B and Christmas Tree Shoppe had huge food sections, filled with fancy imported and gourmet items. The Christmas Tree Shoppe had elaborate Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations in addition to actual Christmas things. I didn't get anything at the Christmas Tree Shoppe. I used my coupon on a new long rectangular cake pan from Bed Bath & Beyond. It was a beautiful nonstick Wilton Advance that had a heavy plastic lid with a handle. The sale was $14.99; the coupon brought it down to $11.99.

I picked up the bus home in front of the empty building that used to be Bally's Gym. Had no problem either way, despite taking the trip home during rush hour. When I got back into Barrington, I unlocked my bike and road straight home, mostly taking the back roads to avoid the traffic.

After I got home, I put everything away, then made the Maple Bacon Cookies while watching more horror-oriented TV show episodes. "The Boy Who Left Home to Learn About the Shivers" is one of the lesser-known stories covered by Fairie Tale Theatre. The boy in question is Marvin (Peter MacNichol), an innocent peasant who has never felt scared in his life. His father throws him out, and he heads to Transylvania in an attempt to learn about fear. A king (Christopher Lee) offers him his greatest treasure if he can spend three nights in a haunted castle. He accepts...but nothing, not the sorcerer's powers or the ghosts or the ghouls who want to go bowling...seems to really scare him. Nothing except maybe his love for the inkeeper's pretty daughter (Dana Barron).

Alton Brown finds himself in an equally frightening pie shop in "Oh My, Meat Pie," a Good Eats spoof of Sweeney Todd. Alton (or his great-great-grandfather) shows the makers of "the worst meat pies in London" how to make the perfect Shepard's and Mincemeat Pie. They keep avoiding his questions as to what meat they're bringing him, though....

Oh, and work on the porch proper has commenced. The railings around the side of the porch that's sagging have been removed, and that side is now taped off. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cold Monday

My apartment was freezing when I awoke this morning! I didn't really want to get out of bed, but I had late morning work. I warmed up with oatmeal and Cranberry Flummery while watching the Bowery Boys. They're Trouble Makers when they witness a murder in a high-rise hotel via telescope, but no one believes them, not even their cop buddy Gabe. After meeting the deceased's daughter in the morgue, she gets them jobs as belhops so they can continue their investigation.

Work was actually pretty boring for at least five of the seven hours I worked today. In fact, I spent a lot of the early afternoon doing returns. It did start to pick up during rush the point where I had a line down the aisle by 6:30 and no relief. The manager originally wanted me to just close. I would have been there forever! She finally sent in one of the college boys who stocks shelves.

When I got home, I had leftover broccoli and the last of the hamburger pie for dinner while watching more Toy Story shorts. When Barbie and Ken's "Hawaiian Vacation" is cut short by a blizzard, the rest of their friends try to create a tropical resort for them right in their human Bonnie's room.

A trip to a local fast food restaurant results in Bonnie accidentally leaving Buzz in the playground in "Small Fry." She takes home the Happy Meal version of Buzz instead. This mini-Buzz was originally a display toy and desperately wants to be played with. While the real Buzz finds himself in a support group of discarded Happy Meal toys, the others try to figure out how to get mini-Buzz to tell them where big Buzz is.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dress Up Dolls

Started an early morning at work. We weren't too busy at 8 AM. I spent the first hour doing returns. It did pick up later in the morning. Thankfully, by the time it was getting crazy, I was done. My relief was right on time, and I headed out.

I was tired when I got home. I'm not used to working that early on a Sunday! I spent a half-hour or so resting and reading Watership Down. I'm about two-thirds of the way through the classic stories of rabbits first fleeing their original warren before its destruction, then retrieving does for their new warren from one run like a totalitarian state. It's not the easiest read in the world (the rabbits have their own language and stories), but it's a surprisingly absorbing tale for a survival story about rabbits in the English countryside.

When I finished the current chapter, I changed the American Girl dolls into Halloween costumes. This is the one time of year I'll let the historical dolls get away with wearing non-historical costumes. Whitney looks adorable in AG's Flapper Costume from 2005. Josefina is a lovely fairy princess in AG's very first ballet costume from 1995, based around the Sugar Plum Fairy. Felicity tries the 50s in a hand-made poodle skirt, petticoat, and blouse from eBay and Molly's saddle shoes. Samantha is a lovely little AG mermaid in the Sparkling Mermaid outfit from 1998. Molly wishes she were in Hawaii in the hula skirt, lei, kukui nut necklace, and pineapple-shaped ukelele from the 2007 Island Hula Outfit with her Hula Costume red sweater and meet skirt. (The skirt and leis that went with her original costume aren't in great shape and are too fragile for her to wear.) Jessa represents her Chinese heritage in Ivy's Chinese New Year Dress.

I listened to random football games all afternoon, then switched to records during dinner. Ran the 1966 Broadway cast album for I Do! I Do! while eating my Cranberry Pancakes. This charming, rather slight comedy-drama is, simply, the tale of Michael and Agnes, a typical married couple. We see all the ups and downs of their marriage. from the wedding to the arrival of the children, from his affair to her depression after their daughter's marriage. What makes it work is a charming score (including the hit "My Cup Runneth Over") and the performances of two theatrical powerhouses, Mary Martin and Robert Preston. Preston actually won a Tony as Michael. A must if you're a fan of either of the stars.

Oh, and since the Eagles are off this week, my main interest football-wise was in the Giants-Cowboys game. Darn it, the Cowpokes won again, pushing off the Giants 31-21. Mom's Redskins had an easier time, just squeaking past the wayward Tennessee Titans 19-17.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cast Your Fate to the Wind

Thank goodness after the rain we've had the last two weekends, I awoke to sunshine and blustery blue skies. Listened to the American Top 40 as I prepared for my Saturday errand run. I was 8 years old in mid-October 1987, when this episode debuted. It wasn't a happy time in my life. I was constantly tormented at school, my body was just starting to change in ways I didn't understand and wasn't ready for, and my parents were having major marital problems. The music I heard on the radio was one of the only constants in my life then. Hits from the fall of that year included "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake, "Commotion" by Madonna, "I Heard a Rumor" by Bananarama, "Little Lies" by Fleetwood Mac, "Who Will You Run To?" by Heart, "Paper On Fire" by John (Cougar) Melloncamp, "Bad" by Michael Jackson, "U Got the Look" by Prince and Sheena Easton, and two remakes of 60s numbers, "I Think I'm Alone Now" by Tiffany and a live version of "Mony Mony" by Billy Idol.

Pop stars Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam had their second #1 hit of the year that week, "Lost In Emotion."

I headed out as soon as the show ended. I made a few quick stops in Oaklyn to look at yard sales, but found nothing interesting. My trip to the Collingswood Farm Market was also short. I didn't really need much today. The Farm Market is on it's last month. Corn and tomatoes are gone, and with them went the booth in the very front of the Market that sells corn out of a truck bed. They were replaced by the yarn booth with live alpacas in a pen. All I needed were cranberries, apples, and broccoli.

I went straight home after that. I put my Farm Market finds away, grabbed the pumpkin bread I made last night, and rode to the Acme. I was off, but there was an Oktoberfest party in the back room. I promised I'd bring bread a month ago, long before I got this week's schedule. There was plenty of food there, but I mostly just nibbled on small things like deviled eggs. It was too early for lunch. I bought contact lens cases (which I forgot yesterday) and moved on.

I took the back way out of the mall, past America's Best and Golden Corral and onto the side road with the baseball park and into Audubon. Audubon and Haddon Heights were having their fall town-wide yard sales this week. I spent the next two and a half hours riding around both towns, dodging traffic and checking out sales.

My finds were small, but interesting. I picked up the book Sesame Street Unpaved (with lots of details on the various characters and the backstage doings) from a family with two little girls. (Gave them a dollar - they wanted 25 cents, but I was out of quarters and the book is a hardback in really nice condition.)

The nostalgia factor was high at another Audubon sale. I found the second-to-last Donna Parker story, Mystery At Arawack, along with three videos I loved during my childhood - the 1949 version of Little Women with June Allyson and Elizabeth Taylor, the Leslie Ann Warren Rogers' and Hammerstein's Cinderella, and Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer.

By 1:30, I was tired of hiking up and down the hilly streets of Haddon Heights, and many yard sales were starting to close down anyway. It was time to head to Simply Soups for lunch. It was very quiet, allowing me to read my new book and give me a chance to think as I ate my corn bread, Diet Coke, and creamy turkey-pumpkin-rice soup for lunch.

After I quick stop at WaWa, I headed home. Went right in the bathtub as soon as I got in and put everything away. That felt absolutely wonderful after all the running around the last few days. I listened to George Winston's Cast Your Fate to the Wind CD (recordings of Vince Guaraldi music, including music from Peanuts specials) and read The Woman's Comfort Book.

I spent the rest of the evening baking, cooking, and watching The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Bilbo Baggins and his dwarf friends have many adventures on their way to Smaug's treasure cabin, from hiding in the home of a man who can change into a bear to a none-too-pleasant encounter with giant spiders to a run-in with the elves, who aren't terribly happy to have them there. Even after they arrive at the town near the lake, trouble - in the form of orcs and nasty local bueracrats - follows. When Bilbo finally goes nose-to-scaly-nose with Smaug, he learns that the beast is more terrifying than anything he could imagine...and that he plans on destruction on a massive scale.

Just as beautifully done as the first one. Basically, if you enjoyed the original, you'll probably love this, too...but catch the original film first to have a better understanding of what's going on.

Toy Story of Terror was Pixar's Halloween special last year. When the toys stay at a creepy hotel, each of them seem to disappear mysteriously. Jessie is the last one left. When she's captured too, she and the others discover a plot to sell them off. Jessie will have to rescue Woody from being sent away...if she can get over being trapped in a box...

Basically a shorter rehash of Toy Story 2, but enjoyable enough for what it is. Combat Carl (and his mini version) is especially funny. It doesn't have much to do with Halloween, but it's still worth a peek if you or your kids love Toy Story or are looking for something new to watch at Halloween.