Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Wrapping

I spent most of the morning wrapping my presents. I got Jessa, Ethan & Matt, Khai, Faith, and Lauren's gifts done. Ran the 1951 A Christmas Carol while I worked. This English version of the beloved story is about as traditional as a version as you can get, other than an expanded Christmas past sequence. British character actor Alistair Sim is considered to be one of the best Scrooges on record.

Since this is Friday the 13th, I thought something resembling horror was in order. Not being a fan of gruesome scares, I switched to some silly scares instead. In Ghost Chasers, the Bowery Boys tangle with a ring of phony spiritualists who are bilking desperate locals like Louie out of their money, while Sach has an otherworldly encounter with a ghost who isn't too happy with the fake mediums and their trickery, either.

Moved to some more comic spookiness as I had a quick PB&J lunch and got ready for work. "A Nutcracker Scoob" is the first of three holiday Scooby Doo episodes. In this story from the early 80s, Fred joins Daphne, Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy for a Christmas pageant at a local orphanage. Christmas goes sour quickly when a nasty old miser orders the orphanage closed so he can find a priceless emerald. Things really get hairy when it seems that the Ghost of Christmas Past is after the emerald, too!

Work was very busy all afternoon. We're supposed to be getting another snowstorm tomorrow, 2-4 inches and then rain at press time. We'll see what actually happens. It wasn't that cold today, probably in the mid-30s, and the streets here are covered with so much salt, I'm surprised there's any left in the Atlantic Ocean. That didn't stop people from panicking. Not to mention, many families are beginning or in the midst of their Christmas baking, and there's a lot of birthday, sports, and holiday parties this weekend. Thankfully, it finally slowed down enough for me to close with no relief at 6:30.

Good thing it did. I had a LOT of shopping to do. I bought small bags of white and whole wheat flour to refill the half-empty flour canisters. I was going to need peanut butter, cranberries, and chocolate chips for next week's baking, too. I restocked navy beans and tomato sauce after making the pasta fagioli last week. Also bought local MacIntosh apples in a bag, bananas, grapefruit, mushrooms, an onion, and a plastic container of pre-cut asparagus tips.

One of my favorite holiday limited edition items comes from tea companies. Just a few years ago, only Celestial Seasonings put out holiday-themed tea boxes. Now most major tea companies have a couple of Christmas and fall-themed flavors. I went with Bigalow's more colorful assortment last year. This year, there was a decent sale on Celestial Seasonings, so I thought I'd try their Nutcracker Sweet black vanilla tea.

When I finally made it home (going down West Clinton to avoid the ice on Goff Avenue again), I put everything away, then finished out Scooby Doo: Winter Wonderdog while eating leftovers for dinner and making a special surprise for my friends Linda and James. "A Scary Night With a Snow Beast Fright" from the mid-70s brings Velma back in as Mystery Inc investigates a dinosaur-like snow monster that has suddenly appeared in Alaska. The beast is scaring away the natives, and the Professor who called the group has vanished. Can the huge totem poles and the black snow the kids keep seeing have anything to do with the Professor's disappearance?

"Alaskan King Coward" is a goofy late-70s short. Shaggy and the two dogs are once again in Alaska, this time prospecting for gold. When they accidentally defrost another dinosaur, Shaggy and Scooby try to outrun it, while Scrappy is determined to protect their land from this scaly "claim jumper!"

The rest of Mystery Inc. returns for "That's Snow Ghost" from the original 1969 series. This time, the "Snow Beast" is an furry Abominable Snowman-like monster who can seemingly fly and is out to scare people away from a run-down ski resort. The kids' try to figure out the connection between the monster, an abandoned sawmill, and an old man from Tibet who says the monster's ghost is after him.

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