Friday, July 17, 2015

Salad Days of Summer

Started another gorgeous morning baking Blueberry-Chocolate Chip Muffins and watching Dark Command. Republic Pictures was mainly known for serials and cheesy B westerns, but they could occasionally come up with some really good material, like this thoughtful western from 1940. John Wayne is a Texas cowhand who comes to Lawrence, Kansas with a grizzled old dentist (Gabby Hayes) to rile the locals enough into giving up a few loose molars to Burnette's business. Wayne initially isn't happy, until he sees the lovely daughter of the local banker (Claire Trevor). He pursues her, helped by her younger brother (Roy Rogers), despite her having a beau in the local school teacher (Walter Pidgeon). When Pidgeon loses the election for marshal to Wayne, he becomes a bandit, then a guerrilla fighter when the Civil War breaks out. Wayne can't seem to bring him in...until he and his men threaten Lawrence and its citizens.

A surprisingly dark western for Republic with an interesting cast. (This would be, in fact, the only time Wayne and Rogers worked together.) Pidgeon's character is a bit underwritten and turns bandit too quickly; Wayne, Rogers, Trevor, and Marjorie Main as Pidgeon's steadfast mother do much better. This is now on Blu-Ray and DVD from made-to-order company Olive Films; recommended if you enjoy mature westerns like Stagecoach or are a fan of Rogers or Wayne.

Work was much busier than it has been the past few days. It didn't help that I was in the express lane all day. I get very frustrated when I can't keep up with the pace or people start fussing over prices. Thankfully, it slowed down enough by the time I finished that I was able to shut down with no problems.

Good news, bad news for next week's schedule. Good news - decent hours, all afternoon and early evening, with nothing later than 6 again, and once again Monday and Tuesday off. Bad news is, the fact that it's been quiet has finally caught up with my schedule. I have far fewer hours this week than I have in the past few weeks. The weather may have scared a lot of people who would normally be going on vacation into staying home as well. Hopefully, things will pick up once we get closer to the beginning of the month.

Which makes it just as well that I barely had any shopping to do. I bought cans of cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup to use as sauce bases. I only picked up Honey Nut Oatmeal Squares, grape tomatoes, and two fillets of cod because they were on especially good sales. I finally bought the dryer sheets I've been forgetting for two weeks. Since it's supposed to get mega-hot starting tomorrow and I enjoyed the ones I bought from Dollar Tree, I indulged in a sale and bought Blueberry Fig Newtons. (And yum - they were good. Thinner than the dollar store fruit bars, but more delicate and flavorful. I think I'll get more later this weekend.)

This time, I had dinner at Muscle Maker Grill. I wanted something different, but their heavy, pasta-based dishes just seemed like a bit too much for me. I opted for the "Hollywood Salad" - grilled chicken on romaine and spinach, with cheese, red onions, and tomatoes, and a zesty French-esque dressing. Yum. Not bad at all, actually. Not surprisingly, given protein is supposed to be their specialty, the chicken in particular was excellent. I enjoyed my salad and Diet Dr. Pepper while listening to ESPN's Sportscenter and watching people stroll by.

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