Thursday, November 07, 2013

Rainy Day Mysteries and Adventures

I slept in this morning for the first time in a while, not getting up until 10:30. It was just as well. It was showering at a pretty good clip when I got up. I had a late breakfast of Cranberry-Chocolate Chip Muffins and a grapefruit half and watched Thanksgiving specials. Garfield's not a happy kitty in Garfield's Thanksgiving. Liz the Veterinarian just put him on a strict diet...and now Jon's inviting her to dinner! An unexpected guest and Liz's change of heart may make Garfield's holiday the tastiest ever.

Charlie Brown is also having problems with Thanksgiving dinner guests in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Peppermint Patty invites her, Marcie, and Franklin to dinner at the Browns' house. Trouble is, Chuck and Sally are going to be eating over their grandmother's. Linus suggests a small meal to appease them. When Peppermint Patty's not happy with her meal of popcorn, toast, pretzels, and jelly beans, it's up to Marcie and Linus to remind everyone that they still have things to be thankful for.

I headed out after Charlie Brown ended, around quarter after 12. The sky was still dark, and it was damp, windy, and a little warm, but it was no longer raining. My first stop of the day was the Oaklyn Library. Only a few hearty souls braved the weather to use the computers or read newspapers. I mainly organized the DVDs, especially the adults' titles. Took a quick look at the kids' books before a mother showed up with her two kids, and I decided to move on.

As I rode up to the White Horse Pike, I noticed that Duncan Donuts finally finished the remodeling on the Oaklyn restaurant. They were always a little, well, 80s-looking, with lots of vinyl and plastic and tile. Part of the overhanging roof broke last year, which must have finally prompted Duncan Donuts to upgrade. Pretty much the only thing left intact was the framework of the building. It was now boxier, with a more modern sign, longer counter, windows all around, and curvy wood and metal furnishings. They also had something that they didn't have before (and was the reason for the hold-up on the remodeling) - a drive-through window and a longer driveway. The landscaping had been completely redone, and even the parking lot was new. I sipped my Mocha Coolatta and admired the changes, listening to a couple of college-age boys chatter about girls and classes and movies.

The rain started again as I made my way over to Westmont. It may have done me a favor. I never saw Cuthbert Road so quiet! I was actually able to cross without waiting ten minutes. I was just able to make it to Friendly's as the rain became a steady shower.

Friendly's was pretty busy for 1:30 on a Thursday afternoon. A lot of kids must have gotten out early for the New Jersey Teacher's Convention this weekend. I saw a couple of grade-school-age kids out to lunch with their folks, and a trio of high school girls in uniforms for Paul VI giggling as they ordered sliders. I went as simple as possible and checked off the build-a-burger form with all the free toppings I was interested in and some "3 Caesar Cheese," the closest they had to Provolone. Not bad. While the burger itself was just a frozen patty, it was at least cooked perfectly, a little pink inside, just the way I like it.

The shower continued, but I still had things to do. Fortunately, my next stop was just across the street at the Haddon Township Library. I had DVDs and books that really needed to go back. They surprisingly weren't busy at all when I arrived. Some of the librarians mentioned it had been busy earlier, which was reflected in the DVD shelves. I had no trouble at all putting the kids' titles away, and I was actually able to get the adults' titles on the shelves and pull a big pile of foreign films from the regular adult shelves and put those away. I also helped a woman find some of the titles she was looking for and figure out how the library's DVD filing system works.

I ended up with three movies and a stack of books. I've been debating taking out the two Mr. Moto movies Haddon Township has for a couple of weeks now. Figured I'd give them a chance this week, since they're pretty short. I've also been wanting to see Despicable Me, especially after the sequel was a surprise blockbuster hit this summer.

Returned to the Westmont Plaza next for two quick errands. I needed eggs rather badly, but the Acme's eggs are fairly expensive, so I stopped at Thriftway. While their white eggs were only slightly cheaper than the Acme's, their generic brown eggs are $2.29. Acme's are over a dollar more! They had a large container of plain lowfat LaYogurt on sale for $1.99 as well. I also stopped at Dollar Tree for sponges and birthday cards for my sister Anny (her birthday is the 10th) and brother Keefe (his is the 18th).

Though the rain had stopped by then and the clouds were breaking up, it was also very windy and much colder. I went straight home this time, once again getting across Cuthbert quickly. I didn't even have problems getting across the White Horse Pike, despite it being rush hour.

When I got in, I used the Golden Vanilla Betty Crocker Cake Mix I got last week to make Golden Apple Cinnamon Cookies, adding chopped apples, applesauce, and the last of the buttermilk (as well as two eggs that broke on the way home). I decided to run the Mr. Moto movies tonight, starting with The Mysterious Mr. Moto. The title character (Peter Lorre) is a Japanese detective and master of disguise. Here, he poses as a Japanese houseboy for a group of assassins in London to find out what they're up to.

Switched movies as I made Black-Eyed Peas and Rice Soup for a quick dinner (the ground turkey I pulled out for meatloaf hadn't defrosted enough). Mr. Moto Takes a Chance has Moto in the jungles of southeast Asia, this time posing as an archaeologist. The arrival of an aviatrix (Rochelle Hudson) and a pair of newsreel cameramen bring excitement to the tribe Moto's staying with...but it also brings death when the Chief's advisor is killed while being filmed. A mysterious old man with hypnotic powers manages to get the cameramen in the clear. Who is the man, and what is in the ancient temple in the middle of the jungle?

If you love Charlie Chan or similar B detective mysteries from the 30s and 40s, you'll enjoy the tales of Mr. Moto. This is also a rare chance to see Peter Lorre playing a relatively heroic and sane character, and he takes it to the hilt. While I preferred the more exotic and Indiana Jones-esque Take a Chance, both films were well-done for B-movies. There are a few mild stereotypes, including Moto's houseboy in Mysterious and a couple of the natives in Take a Chance, but by and large, these are still fun to watch today, especially if you're a fan of Lorre or light mysteries.

Finished the night with Merry Madagascar, one of two holiday specials featuring the characters from the Dreamworks Madagascar animated series. The four main animal protagonists are still trying to get home, this time in a home-made balloon. Their attempt to get back to New York for the holidays is inadvertantly sabotaged by King Julian and his tribe. They're awaiting a mystical demon who appears every year on "Julianuary," the holiday where the tribe gives their ruler gifts. The demon, of course, turns out to be Santa Claus, who promptly gets amnesia when the tribe knocks him out of the sky. When the reindeer refuse to help them, Alex insists that the animals deliver the gifts themselves, with the penguins pulling the sleigh. Meanwhile, Santa teaches Julian that it is better to give than to receive when the spider monkey king hoards all the gifts Santa makes for himself.

Cute, but nothing you haven't seen before. I do like them delivering presents, and especially the excited little girl who keeps them going. Fine if you have Madagascar fans in your family, harmless for everyone else if you run into it on TV or online.

No comments: