Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wild Stooge West

It was a little warmer and a bit more humid when I headed out on foot for this week's volunteering session at the Oaklyn Library. I mainly organized DVDs. They did have a couple of people coming in to take things out while I was there, including a family with a couple of little boys, but otherwise, it wasn't that busy.

I headed out around 12:30 for lunch. Decided to keep things simple and picked up a hoagie at a very busy WaWa. I noticed one of their Icee flavors was cherry limeade. I love cherry limeade anything. Despite it being lime green, it was really more cherry than lime. Pretty tasty, though. I settled on a roast beef classic hoagie, which I ate at home when I finally got in.

Watched The Outlaws Is Coming! as I ate. This western spoof was the Three Stooges' last starring feature film. This time, the Stooges join a dedicated nature reporter (Adam West...yes, the Batman one) who is trying to find out why the buffalo are vanishing so quickly from the prairies. They discover a foul plot by an outlaw gang to eliminate the buffalo and stir up the Indians, so the Calvary will be too distracted to stop their thefts. While West deals with wild Annie Oakley, the Stooges reform a motley group of outlaws who are among the most famous in....well, in kids' TV.

Though the Stooges get some nifty gags, including the whole deal with Curly Joe's animal-calling horn, this one is mainly of interest for baby boomers who'll remember the local TV hosts who appear as the famous bandits. (Including long-time Philadelphia host Sally Starr as Belle Starr.)

I decided to try something while the movie was on. The remaining peaches I bought from the Acme last week were starting to get soft. I tossed in some blueberries, sprinkled them with sugar, added a brown sugar-whole wheat flour-butter-oatmeal topping, and made Peach-Blueberry Crisp. Not bad. Tart and earthy and just sweet enough.

Work was on-and-off busy. Other than some grouchy beginning-of-the-month customers (and a few grouchy managers), there were no really big problems. I got lucky. It rained off and on, but the clouds hadn't arrived by 3, and it wasn't doing anything when I went home at 9.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Perfect Sunny Day

Began a gorgeous day with fresh blueberries, strawberries, and peaches sprinkled with sugar and a couple of public domain Popeye and Betty Boop shorts. It's Popeye-rella to the rescue in "Ancient Fistory" when Bluto goes after the fair Princess Olive. The two are "Taxi-Turvy" as they compete to see who can get Olive to her destination. "Betty In Blunderland" takes animation's sexiest flapper into the world of Lewis Carroll as she follows the White Rabbit down a subway hole to a surreal Wonderland. Betty is a legal stenographer, but what she really wants to be is "Judge For a Day" so she can pass sentence on all the people who annoy her on her way to work.

The first order of business of the day was getting the laundry done. I hadn't seen it so quiet in there in weeks. I guess the nice day encouraged people to be elsewhere. I listened to The Price Is Right and the news and read the American Girl History Mystery Shadows In the Glasshouse. I only got half-way through the tale of a young girl who is kidnapped to be an indentured slave at a glass works in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1621. I'll finish it next week.

When I got home, I put everything away, then went right back out. I was actually glad I had a lot to do. There couldn't have been a nicer day in late June. The sun was shining. The breeze was blowing. It was warm, probably in the upper 70's-lower 80's, but not that hot, and not at all humid. If the Acme could only give me one day off this week, this was the day for it.

Had lunch at Friendly's around 1:30. There were a few older couples and grandparents with grandkids enjoying a treat. Friendly's is having a five dollar meal deal...and the meal was finally something I'd eat. The other items they have as part of the deal this summer are either too spicy or have crispy chicken in them. I don't like breaded chicken. The Honey BBQ Burger is better - bacon and crispy onions with melted cheese on a brioche roll. The ranch and barbecue dressing was tasty but did make eating it a bit difficult. It was deliciously savory, but very slippery.

The Haddon Township Library was quite busy when I arrived, mainly with people using the computers. Once again, I actually managed to fit all the kids' titles onto the spinning racks, even the Scooby Doo DVDs. The kids volunteering that day did the overflowing adult titles, but I did get to the new book releases and the CDs and audio books. Didn't take anything out - I have a busy week ahead, and I have plenty to watch for the holiday and that I still haven't watched from vacation.

Made a quick stop at Thriftway next. Their generic whole wheat flour is cheaper than the brand-name prices Acme. I also picked up Mazola Canola Oil on sale for $2.99. They were dead as a doornail - I was in and out in 20 minutes.

Decided on a treat at Common Grounds Coffee House in Oaklyn on my way home. Unfortunately, their Frozen Vanilla Coffee Frappe had a little too much coffee flavor in it for me! I drank what I could of my indulgence outside at a wrought iron table, writing down notes for Captain Victor, Man of Power and the first of my Remember WENN fairy tales, Scott White and the Seven Actors.

I started Scott's fairy tale when I got in. Each fairy tale is based around a couple of episodes that spotlight the character - in this case, "Who's Scott Sherwood?" and "The New Actor." The prologue is set a few days after "Who's Scott Sherwood?" Scott is at home, wondering where to go next after his firing. He's listening to WENN and hears them doing "Snow White" on a kids' show. He thinks about Betty's strange behavior and Pruitt's gloating. As he listens to the story, he complains he'd never liked it - the prince has little to do, and Snow White is too passive. He contemplates how he would have gotten Betty to juice up the story....

Which takes us out west to Colorado. Scott is now a gambler who is on his way home to his mother's ranch. He encounters Betty Prince, a pretty reporter, on the train to Wennton. Seems someone's been buying up seemingly worthless land in the area and forcing people to leave their homes. Betty thinks there's something devious going on. Scott offers to help, but Betty can see him for the con-artist he is and brushes him off. He's still intrigued by her, though...and now, he's worried about his mother's own lands...

I got offline around 6 to have leftovers for dinner and dub Blonde Crazy. This pre-code comedy takes James Cagney out of gangster mode and into Scott Sherwood's world of con-men and smart ladies. Cagney is Bert, a bellhop with aspirations to make money, money, and more money. Joan Blondell is Anne, a chambermaid who becomes his partner in crime when the two start setting up cons together. She wishes he saw her as more than his business partner. When he does finally fall for her, it's too late. She's in love with a seemingly respectable broker (Fredrick March). They go their separate ways, but they realize they both made a mistake when she comes to him one last time to get him to help the broker out of a jam.

This breezy tale of con artists and the rich folks they fleece is such fun, it's really rather a disappointment when it takes a hard left turn into melodrama for the last twenty minutes or so. Cagney and Blondell always did play well off each other, and this movie is no exception. Today, this movie is mainly remembered for the scene where Cagney is sparring with Blondell while she's in the bathtub. (It's so famous, it's on the cover of the Forbidden Hollywood Warner Archives set this was released in.)

If you're a fan of Cagney and Blondell or pre-code movies, despite the dark ending, this is mainly a fun comic caper that's worth checking out at the Warner Archives.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Red, White, and Blue Dolls

I slept until nearly 10; I didn't get going until 11. I made some delicious Zucchini Pancakes while listening to Yankee Doodle Mickey. This Disneyland kids' record, probably from the early 80's, is a collection of patriotic-themed songs featuring the regular Disney characters, the Disneyland Chorus, and a very young Molly Ringwauld. "The Liberty Tree," the only original song, is fun; I also like Mickey, Donald, and Goofy's medley saluting the Armed Services.

Spent the rest of the early afternoon dressing the American Girls in red, white, and blue or patriotic summer outfits appropriate for next month. Molly now wears her Camp Gowanigan uniform and blue and white saddle shoes. Samantha's in her Sailor Middy Outfit and Tam (which she's worn every summer since I got her in 1993). Josefina looks very pretty in her Indigo Skirt and Camisa with her rebozo and meet accessories. Jessa's in the hand-made "antiqued"-look red, white, and blue print peasant blouse Lauren sent for Christmas and Springfield Collection capris and sneakers with no socks. Whitney looks adorable in the now-retired AG Revue Tap Dance costume from the stores with the red and blue sequined trim and glittery red tap shoes. I left Felicity in her outfit from last month - the blue and white floral print suits the holiday, and I really don't have much for her.

I listened to my 50's CD collection that I bought from Abbie Road last year. Most people think of the music of the 1950's as being either early rock or doo-wop. The truth of the matter is...most of it was just as likely to be tearful ballads, remakes of songs from as far back as the 20's, or exotic tunes based around ports of call like Hawaii. Some of those ballads could be really lovely - my favorites were the Platters' classic version of "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," Rosemary Clooney's "Half as Much," "Fascination" by Jane Morgan and the Troubadours, and Pearl Bailey's zesty "Takes Two to Tango."

It took me so long to get the dolls dressed, I was almost late for work! Work was surprisingly steady for a Sunday. It's usually a lot busier than that. I'm guessing everyone's waiting for the holiday and the beginning of the month next week. They may also have fled for the Shore once the rain vanished. I did have some problems with break. I thought the manager said I could go on break, but she wanted someone else to. The other guy didn't have any problem with it, but I felt bad after I found out the manager wanted him to go first. And why do they have to kick up a fuss because people leave a minute or two early when it's dead as a doornail? That's just silly. Why hang around and do nothing when there's nothing to do?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rainy Day at the Farm Market

Started a gloomy, damp day with a run to the Collingswood Farm Market. I had to get it done today. I won't be able to make it to the Colllingswood or Westmont farm markets next week. It was showering lightly when I arrived. They were still busy with people buying food for their graduation parties and barbecues. Asparagus is gone, but I did see the last of the strawberries and the first of the Jersey tomatoes. I bought two pints of blueberries, a tomato, cherries, strawberries, two small organic zucchini and a small organic yellow squash (they were three for a dollar), and snap peas. I did see a few yard sales on my way to Collingswood, but they were shutting down even as I headed back to my place.

When I got home, I put everything away and finished out Scooby Doo, Where are You?, which I began during breakfast this morning. The gang discovers that "A Tiki Scare Is No Fair" when a ghostly Witch Doctor scares off the natives from a supposedly cursed village. Then their guide mysteriously disappears. They go to check out the village...and find that it's guarded by a gigantic living statue!

"Don't Fool With a Phantom" finishes out the second season and the show's original run. The kids are competing in a local dance show that's robbed by a creature made of wax. A former employee insists he made the creature come to life. A search at the wax museum reveals otherwise as the kids try to trick the phantom into getting trapped in his own wax.

Switched to more Hello Kitty Furry Tale Theater as I made quick Zucchini-Coconut-Chocolate Chip Cookies from a cake mix. A horror-themed disc begins with the series finale, "The Phantom of the Theater." Someone is playing pranks on Kitty and her friends backstage. They're determined to find out who doesn't want the show to go on.

"Frankencat" and "Catula" are fairly straight spoofs of those two famous horror stories. Catnip is the famous mad scientist and Grinder her creation in the former; My Melody is the little girl Grinder befriends. "Catula" gives Catnip the chance to play a more glamorous villain as she terrorizes Hello Kitty, Sam, Chip, and My Melody in her castle.

"The Pawed Piper" plays a little looser with the famous poem about the musician (Tuxedo Sam) who steals away the children of a town when the Mayor (Catnip) won't pay him for getting rid of pests (fleas, in this case). "Rumpledogskin" has Hello Kitty as the daughter who has to spin straw to gold. The title character (Grinder) gives her a way out, but she has to promise him her first born child (My Melody)...a promise she can't bring herself to keep.

It was still spitting when I rode to work. I arrived a little damp, but not soaked. Work was very busy when I arrived. It gradually slowed down as the rain got harder on and off throughout the afternoon. By the time I finished, we were dead...and the rain was coming down in buckets. I got off easily with no relief. There were no major problems; I was in and out after I got milk and a cinnamon raisin bagel for a snack.

The shower was far heavier when I got out. I tried waiting for it to slow down, but after ten minutes, it didn't happen. I needed a shower when I got home, anyway. I just rode home and got pre-wet. It was raining heavily up until about a half-hour ago; it seems to have lightened considerably since then.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Time For Turtles and Fairy Tales

Started today with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles In Time. The last of the 90's Turtles movies also has the most unusual premise. The Turtles and April O'Neal are sent back in time by a strange Japanese scepter. They land in feudal Japan, where a warlord may be receiving a shipment of guns from a nasty English soldier to help him quell a peasant rebellion. The locals regard the Turtles as friendly demons...and April as a not-so-friendly witch! While April spars with a familiar member of the Englishman's troop, the Turtles try to figure out where the scepter went and help the young woman in charge of the rebellion make sure those guns never end up in enemy hands.

By the time this one came out in the mid-90's, the shine had long been off the Turtles franchise. This was a failure with fans and critics alike. I'm inclined to disagree. I found the change of scenery to be a breath of fresh air and liked seeing the Turtles interact with a part of world history that isn't often discussed outside of Japan. The big problems here are occasionally stiff dialogue, some too-goofy situations (like the warlords in the bar towards the end) that clash with the history, and the lousy special effects. The Turtles' costumes look like they were rented from a cheap store in their native New York.

If you're a fan of the Turtles and are willing to go a little outside of the sewer with them, give this one a shot. If you can get around the poor special effects and the clashing tones, it's not really as bad as most people claim it is.

I made Chocolate Muffins from the Alton Brown baking book I'm Just Here for More Food. I replaced the white sugar with brown sugar and vanilla extract with peppermint extract (I was out of vanilla) and added dark-chocolate chips. Otherwise, this came out very well, moist and delicious and quite chocolate-y.

Work was a lot busier today than it was earlier in the week. Next week is the beginning of the month; some people may have gotten their money already. Thankfully, there were no really major problems. My relief was on time, and I got out quickly.

Mixed feelings on next week's schedule. On one hand, I have tons of hours and only one day off, Monday, which I could use considering my low bank account. On the other hand, I'm not thrilled with a late night on Tuesday, or working 10 to 4 on the Fourth of July. I'll get to see the fireworks...but I'll miss Oaklyn's parade and both farm markets.

I didn't have a huge grocery trip, but I did need a few things, starting with a major baking restock - white flour, cocoa. Needed cheese and canned black beans after last night's dinner. Found shrimp and crab cakes with manager's coupons. Took advantage of a sale on chicken to grab a package of drumsticks at a decent price.

When I got in, I had shrimp and leftovers for dinner while watching the Fairie Tale Theatre version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Vincent Price (as the Magic Mirror) narrates this very traditional take on the Grimm's story. Elizabeth MacGovern is the lovely lass who runs afoul of her vain stepmother (Vanessa Redgrave) and hides out with seven very funny dwarves. Meanwhile, a handsome prince (Rex Smith) has been hearing stories about this beauty from the smitten dwarves, and would like to meet her...if her jealous stepmother will give her the chance....

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Rainy Day Mysteries

It was still sunny and a little humid when I got up this morning. Did some more Scooby Doo as I had breakfast and got ready for work. "Jeepers, It's the Creeper!" is one of the few episodes of the entire series where we see Mystery Inc. interacting with kids their own age. They're on their way to a dance their high school is holding in a barn when they encounter a ransacked armored car and its driver. Evidently, a strange zombie called "The Creeper" has been stealing from local banks. When the lights go out in the barn, the kids opt to solve the mystery instead.

Mystery Inc is on their way to a rock concert when the Mystery Machine decides to overheat next to a spooky old southern mansion. They end up with a "Haunted House Hang-Up" when they discover a headless ghost who may be guarding a treasure.

Work was pretty much the same as yesterday - dead for most of the day. It's the middle of the month and the middle of the week, not to mention we're between holidays. It did get busy enough later that I had to have someone take my line so I could go home, as I had no relief.

Oh, and I got some ideas for my next round of WENN stories - and these, I should be able to post. Along with Captain Victor, Man of Power, I'm going to be doing a series of fairy tales and short fantasy stories spotlighting one or two WENN characters, taking place at different times during the series. (Gertie and Mr. Eldridge and Eugenia and Mr. Foley will share their stories, which will be more comic and shorter than the others.)

Betty's will be The Little Mermaid, inspired by the second season episode "Behind Every Great Woman." Her story is set in New England. A mermaid rescues a handsome sailor (Scott), but when she gives up her voice to be with him, she discovers that not only do two witches (Ruth and Hilary) want his human soul, but he already has a dear female friend (Maple). (And while I don't intend to use Disney's ending, which I always considered to be a bit of a cop-out, I can't bring myself to let Betty end up a spirit, either...)

I'm going to do Victor's King Arthur straight medieval Camelot, based around the late third and fourth season. Victor is King Arthur. Scott is Lancelot, who turns up while Victor is on a mission...and falls hard for Queen Bettivere. Maple is the Lady of the Lake. Pavla is Morgan LeFay. The others are other members of the court and Knights of the Round Table. (That one may require some reading on Arthurian romances and will likely be held off until later in the summer.)

Scott's story will head west for a gender-inverted take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, based around the early third season. Scott is a gambler who returns west to find that his mother, who married a wicked landowner (Pruitt), has died, and his stepfather wants him out of the way. He's jealous of his good looks and has no intention of allowing his stepson to either gain his inheritance or find out what he has in mind for the land the town's on. Pruitt sends a bounty huntress (Maple) to kill Scott and take out his heart, but she's a friend of his and warns him instead. He flees, first to a friendly tribe of Indians, then a a run-down theater that's being restored by a troupe of seven performers (Hilary, Gertie, Mackie, C.J, Mr. Foley, Mr. Eldridge, Eugenia) who agree to take him in. A reporter (Betty) at first believes Scott is a crook...but she has second thoughts when three more attempts are made on Scott's life.

The sky was beginning to darken by the time I headed home at 5 PM. After the huge storm the other day, I had no desire to do anything but hang out at home! I made some tasty Tex-Mex Black Bean Dip while watching The Death Kiss. I thought a murder mystery was appropriate for such spooky weather. The title actually refers to the movie being filmed at Tonart Pictures. The studio's top actress (Adrienne Ames) is accused of having her ex-husband shot during the filming of a picture. Her current boyfriend, a writer at the studio (David Manners), is determined to prove her innocence. The cop in charge of the case (John Wray) thinks he's just a pest, and the head of the studio (Bela Lugosi), would rather write it off as an accident. As it turns out, quite a few other people working at the studio, including the director of the film (Edward Van Sloan) and an alcoholic extra, would have loved to see the leading man die for real....

From the title and the presence of Lugosi, I assumed this would be a rather dark crime story. Far from it. Actually, it's a fairly goofy mystery with a surprisingly realistic glance behind the cameras at a real-life small-time film studio. The entire movie was shot on and around Tiffany Pictures, the minor movie studio that produced it. Too bad Tiffany went under and was bought out by Columbia shortly after they made this film. While not a masterpiece, this is quite fun, with a genuinely suspenseful finale with hand-tinted yellow flashlight spots.

Don't come here looking for the scares often associated with Lugosi - he's not really in it much at all. This is a fun little mystery with an interesting glimpse at life at a small-time studio in the early 30's.

Oh, and it did start raining sometime around 6:30-7. Thankfully, this time, all we got were showers. They were heavy at times, but nothing like the other day. At the moment, they seem to have subsided.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Kids, Dogs, and Summer Mysteries

It was absolutely gorgeous when I got up today, perfectly sunny and no more than the lower-mid 80's. It was a little humid, but nothing like it was yesterday. I celebrated with more Scooby Doo after I finished The Adventures of Captain Marvel. "A Night of Fright Is No Delight" gives an animated take on an age-old premise. Scooby is one of five heirs called on by the late Colonel Sanders who may get part of a million dollars....if he can survive a night in Sanders' spooky old mansion. There's a pair of green ghosts who are determined to eliminate the heirs one by one, and that includes Scooby.

Spent most of the morning working on my story. It's coming along quite well. It's still too dark to post, but I'm enjoying it. I didn't often get very adult with the WENN characters when I was into the show the first time, so this is something new.

Work was boring as heck for most of the day. The weather was beautiful, it's the week before the end of the month, and we're between holidays. It was mildly steady off-and-on, but I mostly stood around a lot. I did have some problems with a WIC check right before I left, but at least the women were really cool about it.

When I got home, I decided I'd try something a little different for dinner. Instead of pan-frying the chicken sausages, I baked them instead. Yellow squash and onions went in the pan, along with water, seasonings, and chicken stock. I overcooked the squash, which fell apart, but the sausages came out beautifully. Yum, yum, soo tender. I'll have to try them that way again the next time it's cool enough to bake.

Continued with Scooby Doo during dinner. The show's second season brought a few changes. The opening was somewhat reworked, with new scenes added, and there was a slightly more pop-ish version of the theme song. Each show now included a musical number over a chase scene Monkees-style. Honestly, the songs all sound alike, usually have absolutely nothing to do with the scene they're being performed in, and were probably only added because The Partridge Family and Monkees re-runs were huge with kids in 1970.

(Oh, and I skipped "That's Snow Ghost," the first season finale. I have that on my Scooby Doo: Winter Wonderdog DVD.)

Otherwise, things remain pretty much the same...but we could occasionally get a twist, as in "Nowhere to Hyde." The Ghost of Mr. Hyde has been stealing from jewelry stores all over town. After the kids find him in the Mystery Machine, they follow him to the home of the grandson of Dr. Jeckyl. He thinks his potion turned him into Mr. Hyde! The clues all seem to lead to his maid Helga being the culprit, but Velma's not sure...

"Mystery Mask Mix-Up" also plays with a common premise - some innocent tourist buys a souvenir that turns out to have far more significance than originally suspected. In this case, the tourist is Daphne, who purchases a mask from a shop in Chinatown. They're pursued by two Chinese zombies and a ghostly figure in white and green...but the reason they want the mask is a lot more down-to-Earth than the kids think. (And beware of some mild Chinese stereotypes in this episode.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Stormy Weather

I wasn't up until 9:30 and didn't get going until quarter of 11! The last couple of weeks have really worn me out. When I got up, I ran more Max & Ruby. We return to fairy tales for three kid-takes on famous fables. Ruby tells Max the story of "The Boy Who Cried Lobster" to try to get him to admit to swiping a piece of her Apple Upside-Down Cake. But it turns out that this time, Max might actually be telling the truth.

Max is GoldieMax in "Max & the Three Bears." Ruby, Valerie, and Louise have snacks and cocoa ready for their slumber party, but Max wants some, too. Ruby tells him the tale of the little boy who invaded the home of three bears and stole their snacks. Max, as usual, ignores her reading and just takes what he wants, to the girls' annoyance.

"Little Ruby Hen" wants to make the batter for Grandma's berry sweet rolls. Her brother's helicopter keeps getting in the way. She tells him the Aesop's Fable about the industrious hen and her barnyard friends who goof around and won't help out, at least until it comes time to actually eat the bread. For once, Max learns his lesson and finds a way to use his helicopter to aid his sister.

Ugh. It was incredibly sticky hot and humid when I finally started out around 11:30. I spent an hour volunteering at the air-conditioned Oaklyn Library. The heat must have scared everyone off. There was only one other woman there on the computer in addition to the librarian and me, and even she was gone by the time I left. I organized the kids' DVDs and board books and gave the adult DVDs and picture books a good once-over.

It was too hot to do much more after that than run the few errands I put off yesterday. I was out of toilet paper. I picked it up at Family Dollar. Grabbed eggs there too when I saw that they were $2.25, at least 25 cents cheaper than at WaWa. I wasn't as big on their milk prices, so I did end up getting that at the WaWa across the White Horse Pike, along with a roast beef hoagie for lunch and a Sparkling Ice Blackberry soda.

Even just that short walk left me sweating bullets. I spent the rest of the afternoon at home. Had my hoagie and soda for lunch while finishing out Max & Ruby. Ruby is excited to meet the great dancer Bunny Pavlova and get "Ruby's Autograph." Max just wants a slice of pizza.

Max keeps insisting that a robot is the perfect "Toy For Baby Huffington." Ruby keeps pointing out that most robots make loud noises and have sharp edges and small parts that aren't baby-proof. Max uses odds and ends to finally turn him into the right robot for an infant.

Ruby and Louise are studying paleontology in "Max's Big Dig." They're eager to find bones and other ancient objects in Max's sandbox. Max wants to jump right in, but the girls are more methodical. They show him how a real paleontologist digs slowly, dusts objects, and marks off where they're digging using grids and flags. Max would rather dig up his toys.

Worked on writing for about two and a half hours after that. I'm currently working on a short WENN piece that's a bit different than anything I've ever done for this series. It's far more adult-oriented and a bit personal, too much to post online. This one will be just to see if I can do something more adult than usual and a bit more intense and intimate after that last epic.

When I got offline, I started dubbing The Adventures of Captain Marvel. This classic 1941 serial was actually the first live-action super hero story, predating the arrival of better-known characters like Batman and Superman to the big screen by several years. Billy Batson (Frank Coghlan Jr.) is part of an expedition to track down the Scorpian, an amazing device whose lenses can turn ordinary rock into gold...or melt down solid rock into flowing liquid. Since he refuses to join the scientists in charge of the expedition in taking the Scorpion, he's given the power to turn into Captain Marvel (Tom Tyler), a tall, striking man in a cape blessed with super strength, flight, and incredible speed. Billy finds these powers come in handy when a hooded villain known as "The Scorpian" kills off the members of the expedition one by one and threaten Billy's friends Betty (Louise Currie) and Whitey (Billy Benedict).

I don't know enough about Captain Marvel to tell you how (or if) this has any relation to the original comic books. I do know this is actually pretty well-done for a 40's serial and is still considered to be one of Republic's best serials. If you're a fan of the Golden Age of Super Heroes or love serials, this action-packed fantasy caper is a must-see.

The storm that had been building all afternoon finally broke around 6 PM. It was crazy, with lighting, thunder, 40-miles-an-hour winds, the works. I got lucky. The lights dimmed twice, but I never lost electricity. Some folks were still reporting electrical outages online over an hour or more later.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Sunshine Summer Days

Began a surprisingly sunny day with the last Scooby Doo episode on disc 2, "Spooky Space Kook." The kids take their first mild foray into science fiction when the Mystery Machine runs out of gas next to an abandoned airfield. The farmer who lives next to the airfield has complained about seeing a UFO. The gang finds glowing phosphorous footprints and see a strange skull-like alien in a space suit running around. For once, it's Shaggy and Scooby who discover that this extraterrestrial isn't as out-of-this-world as he seems.

Didn't get to the laundromat until quarter of 12. I picked the right time. Most people must have been out enjoying the hot but not overly humid morning. I didn't do laundry last week because I did two loads the week before. I had a lot that needed to be washed, including Lauren's towels, my new tank tops, and my work clothes.

There was a box waiting for me on (what's left of) the front stoop when I got in. My Amazon.com order had arrived! I'd wanted Darling Charming, one of the newest Ever After High dolls, ever since she was first announced at New Year's. I also picked up Rosabella Beauty. Darling is the daughter of King Charming, the younger sister of Daring, and the tougher twin of Dexter. She's supposed to be a damsel in distress, but this gorgeous gal would rather rescue herself, thank you. She may be the only fashion doll to ever come with a Marie Antoinette hairstyle and beauty mark...and a silver armor dress and plates. Rosabella, the animal activist cousin of Briar Beauty, is just as lovely. Like another Beauty looking for her Beast, she wears a yellow dress, but her hair is much nicer and silkier than Briar's, and her dress has a cute fur collar.

It was past 2 PM when I finally headed out for lunch. I grabbed the $3.50 two-slices-and-a-can-of-soda deal at Phillies Phatties, getting my usual cheese and mushroom slices. I don't usually drink soda with sugar, but I thought I'd try the limited edition Mountain Dew Sangrita Blast that Matt at Dinosaur Dracula mentioned in an article on this summer's bumper crop of junk food. Oooh, it wasn't bad.  Basically bubbly fruit punch, but I always did like fruit punch. I ate outside on the picnic tables, enjoying the breeze.

I went across Newton River Park to and from the Haddon Township Library. The park was busy with sunbathers, people walking dogs or children, or old folks going for a stroll. It's really beautiful there now. The trees are fat and green, and the sun reflects on sparkling bottle-green waters.

The Haddon Township Library was also very busy. Today begins the first full week of vacation for many local kids. This was reflected in empty kids' shelves. The only DVDs I couldn't fit were double copies of older discs. I even managed to squeeze the 800 Scooby Doo titles in. I shelved and went through the adult DVDs while young adult volunteers worked on the audio book sets and the kids' books.

For the first time in a while, I took out a few DVDs. The library got the first new Max & Ruby set I've seen there in at least two or three years, Sharing and Caring. Also grabbed two very different independent movies, an intriguing-looking Bela Lugosi murder mystery set at a low-budget movie studio called The Death Kiss, and the vacation-themed comedy The Way Way Back.

Stopped at Phillies Yummies for root beer water ice on the way home. I saw Mr. Doria talking to two people outside of what was his store. I hope he's selling it to them. I hate passing by it and seeing it empty every day, especially since it's now the only empty store on the block. I wish they could have just held out a little longer. I think if they'd at least waited for the beauty shop to open, they would have gotten far more customers.

Spent the next hour and a half after I got in working on my travel essay. Sigh. It's not coming out as well as I'd hoped. I love to travel, I really do...but everything I seemed to recall was a bad memory, from the disastrous vacation to Six Flags Great Adventure my family tried to take in the mid-90's to my many problems with the long bus rides to and from Lauren's house from 2006 to 2008 that were often full, late, or stuck in New York traffic. That's why I took the train to New England in 2009, the last time I went up there. I really need to re-write this to make it more positive.

I had tilapia in red wine sauce, cucumbers, and the last of the steamed snap peas for dinner while watching Max & Ruby. The bunny brother and sister duo and their grandma went on their first overseas adventures to "Bunningham" (their version of London, England) in my favorite episode.

Ruby wants to take a double-decker-bus tour in "Max's Ride," but thanks to Max's desire to ride paddle boats and the Tube (subway), she keeps missing it. A trip on the famous London Eye Ferris wheel finally gives Ruby the sights she'd been hoping for.

"Max On Guard" has Max trying to get the infamously stoic Bunningham Palace Guards to smile for his camera.

"Ruby's Real Tea Party" takes Ruby, Grandma, and Max to high tea at Bunningham Palace! Ruby is desperate to see the queen, but with Max's toy frog on the loose, she may be lucky if she's allowed to stay at all.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summertime for Dads

First of all, Happy Father's Day to all dads, including my own two and those with children who are four-legged and feathered.

We had some pretty noisy storms overnight. The clouds were just subsiding as I finally got up around 10. Made Blueberry Coconut Pancakes and enjoyed the air conditioning as I listened to one of the two cassettes I picked up from the yard sales last week. The Hollywood Musicals features Johnny Mathis with help from Henry Mancini. I like that there's a few obscure titles, including "It Could Happen to You" (from the little-known And the Angels Sing) and "Crazy World" (from Victor/Victoria).

Work was, surprisingly for a holiday, not as busy as I thought it would be. For one thing, it got sunnier and hotter as the day went on. I suspect a lot of people may have headed off to the Shore once it became apparent that the weather wasn't going to be anywhere near as bad as the local newscasts claimed. Other than some fussy customers, there were no major problems, and my relief was on time.

It sure felt like the first day of summer when I got out of work. It actually wasn't that hot, probably in the mid-80's and a bit windy, but it was humid as heck. I hurried home the short way down the Black Horse Pike.

When I got in, I called the family in Cape May County to wish Dad-Bill a happy Father's Day. To my surprise, he answered the phone. He apparently ripped a tendon on a knee a while back and had just had surgery on it. He was at home, resting. I'm glad I got to talk to him. He's usually out working on Father's Day. Talked to Mom, too. She was let go from the Ferry earlier than expected, thanks to an error, and is now at loose ends. My nephew Skylar will be spending the night at her house to celebrate the end of the school year. I can't believe he'll be going into sixth grade in the fall!

(I'll go to Dad-Bruce's house and deliver his card tomorrow or Tuesday. I think he and Jodie may have gone away for the weekend.)

I listened to my other yard sale cassette find while having leftover chicken sausages with a farm-market fresh spinach salad for dinner. I took Barbara Streisand's Back to Broadway album out of the library a few times a while back, but I don't think I ever owned it. My favorite song on this one is the touching "Children Will Listen," from Into the Woods. I also like "Luck Be a Lady" from Guys and Dolls.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Those Meddling Kids

Began a cloudy, humid day with a quick stop at the Collingswood WaWa for money. Headed across the street next to the Collingswood Farm Market. Needless to say, considering this is the day before Father's Day, they were very busy with people shopping for barbecues and parties tomorrow. The strawberries seem to be done, but I saw the first cucumbers and Jersey corn, raspberries, and blackberries of the year. I needed mushrooms, spinach, and a zucchini; also grabbed blueberries and cherries.

When I got home, I finished out the Scooby Doo episodes I started earlier. It seems like "Foul Play In Funland" when the gang spot a creepy, rather stiff character running around a local amusement park. But in a rare instance for the original show, this odd fellow isn't a villain in a mask, or even really doing anything criminal - he's a robot on the rampage. (In fact, I believe this is the first episode of the series with no real criminal or typical bad guy.)

"The Backstage Rage" takes the gang to a local theater after a violin case filled with money vanishes while Scooby is distracted by a cute girl dog. When the dog turns out to be a puppet, the kids investigate a local theater that's holding a puppet show. It turns out there's a lot more going on than meets the eye when the kids find that the theater's hiding a counterfeiting ring.

I just made it to work on time. Work was on and off busy, though not as bad as it could have been. I suspect a lot of people may have taken their dads down to the Shore. There were no really major problems, and my relief was on time.

When I got in, I had leftovers for dinner, then turned that Tropical Mango cake mix into a Tropical Fruit Cake with the addition of pineapple, sparkling water, and coconut. Ran more Scooby Doo as I worked. The kids encounter "Bedlam In the Big Top" when a clown ghost with hypnotizing abilities keeps putting the kids under spells that make them work in the ring. (This is also one of the few times the villain isn't someone the kids met early on.)

The gang has their first encounter with Universal's finest in "A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts." A gypsy tries to warn the crew away from a spooky castle, but they ignore her and try to solve the mystery anyway. If losing Daphne almost as they arrive isn't scary enough, they run headlong into a werewolf, Frankenstein's monster, and Dracula!

"Scooby Doo and a Mummy Too" pits the kids against a former Egyptian prince come to life. He seems to have turned the professor who found him and his assistant to stone. Shaggy and Scooby are afraid that if they don't turn over the ancient coin they've found, they may be next!

They're starting to wonder "Which Witch is Which?" when they get lost in a scary swamp that's inhabited by a strange zombie. A local tells them the story of a swamp witch who brought the zombie to life. The kids search the town and an old riverboat to see if the stories are true.

(And incidentally, the cake came out perfectly, moist and sweet. Much better than my previous two cakes.)

Oh, and we had a nice, noisy storm earlier. I don't hear anything now. Hopefully, it'll hold out on more until I'm off on Monday.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Springtime Lows

I headed to work this morning in a sunny, slightly humid morning. Work was on-and-off busy. I had a few problems with people early on, especially a family who fussed over everything from bagging to the price of soda. Everyone must have gotten out of work early for the weekend; by the time of the usual 4 to 6 rush hour, it was starting to slow down. Thankfully my relief, one of the college girls, was on time.

My schedule is the best I've had in weeks. Plenty of hours without being overwhelming, nothing earlier than noon or later than 7, Monday and Tuesday off. Needless to say, I'll be spending most of my week either doing my usual errands and volunteering or at home. I'm still worn out from the last two weeks, and as I discovered a bit later, I don't have much money left.

I didn't realize how little money I had left until I did my grocery shopping. I didn't even need much. I restocked sugar, chocolate chips, laundry detergent (the Acme's generic brand was $1.99 for the smallest bottle), and tuna. I didn't really need cereal or peanut butter, but the Quaker brands were $1.99 (went with Cinnamon Life) and Skippy Peanut Butter was $2.00. The chicken sausages I bought two weeks ago were back on the same sale and with the same manager's coupons. I got two packs of the pesto-flavored this time. While the chicken sale wasn't that great, I did find a pack of chicken breasts that seemed somewhat reasonable.

Unfortunately, when I got up to the register, I couldn't take money out. I couldn't pay with my card, and I had three dollars on me. I was so horribly embarrassed. I held up the line. I don't like holding up people, even if they say they're not in a hurry. That isn't fair to them. I had to borrow a few dollars from the cashier, which also embarrassed me. She was ok about it, but I felt horribly guilty. I shouldn't have spent so much on vacation.

I still felt horrible when I got home. I immediately checked my bank account. I feel like such an idiot. I overspent the last few days, and my rent check went through quicker than I thought it would. I ws very overdrawn My paycheck hadn't gone through. (It since has.) I don't even have much money in savings. I wish I was smarter with money. Every time I think I'm doing better with it, something like this happens.

I tried to cheer myself up with Scooby Doo episodes and chicken sausages with pan-fried onions and leftover zucchini for dinner. Scooby becomes a "Decoy For a Dognapper" when prize dogs start going missing. They use Scooby as a decoy to catch the thief. This may be the first episode where the case is a little personal for the kids - after all, they do own a dog who is their beloved companion. They're wondering "What the Hex Is Going On?" when they visit a friend at her family's mansion and discovers that her uncle has aged into an old man overnight, and then their friend goes missing. "Never Ape an Ape Man" takes us to a Hollywood movie set. The kids help Daphne's uncle find out why a legendary Ape Man has been wrecking havoc on his set.

Spent the rest of the night in the bath. I really, really needed it after what happened earlier. I'm glad I was able to take two long baths in a row.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Misty, Moisty Morning

Started the morning with some of my favorite Backyardigans episodes as I ate breakfast, and then while making Strawberry-Chocolate Chip Muffins. Uniqua, Austin, and Pablo are on a "Mission to Mars" to find out the source of the "boinga boinga" sound Mission Control heads Tyrone and Tasha keep hearing.

Pie Master Tyrone teaches eager apprentice Austin how to make "Samurai Pie" for Empress Tasha. Meanwhile, pie-snitching ninjas Uniqua and Pablo have to watch out for traps as they try to grab that pastry!

Austin's also the focus in "Scared Of You." He's bringing invitations from Mad Scientist Tasha to Mummy Tyrone, Werewolf Uniqua, and Pablo, the world's cutest vampire penguin. At least, he will if the monsters don't stop being scared of each other.

Today was my 8-hour shift. It was probably just as well. It rained overnight. The precipitation was down to a mist when I went to work. The weather kept people away until the 4 to 6 rush hour. It was just starting to die again when I finished at 7. My only major problems were a grouchy couple early on who kept fussing about not having the right thing for the darn WIC Checks and about my bagging. Other than them, there were no major problems, and I was able to leave quickly without a relief.

Finished out the Backyardigans disc when I got in and had leftovers for dinner. Pablo is asking "Whodunit?" after Lady Tasha's jewels vanish. With suspects like Uniqua Underwood, Tasha's neighbor Austin Frothingslosh, and the mysterious Tyrone the Butler roaming the halls of gloomy Mystery Manor, this is going to be Pablo's most baffling case yet!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hello Goodbye

Lauren and I spent her last morning quietly playing our last round of Pac Man Party. We did the longest round, Desert Mirage. This time, I won - I kept winning her big desert temples. We ran Three Stooges shorts (including another Shemp classic, "All Gummed Up"), until Jodie called and said she and Dad were waiting for us out front.

Other than some road repair on Cuthbert and getting stuck behind a NJ Transit bus, we had no problems getting Lauren to Cherry Hill. I waited with her until Lauren looked her train on her smart phone and discovered the train would be five minutes late. I had Jodie and Dad waiting for me, so I just hugged her and said I'd see her in October and that she could call me before she got into Albany tonight.

And yes, I've confirmed that my next vacation will be the week of Columbus Day, and I will be going up to Pittsfield to visit Lauren. I haven't left Camden County overnight in two years, and I haven't taken a trip out-of-state in six years. I'm way overdue.

I did some things around my apartment when I got in, including posting the blog entry that was delayed by last night's internet outage. Headed to the Oaklyn Library to do this week's volunteering there. The kids' DVDs needed badly to be organized. (Someone keeps putting the kids' series under the title of the disc, rather than together under the title of the series.) Otherwise, there wasn't much going on there. I headed out around 1:30.

(Oh, and I skipped the Haddon Township Library this week. I'm just not up for the ride after more than a week of hiking around Camden County in heat that got into the 90's.)

Headed to Dunkin' Donuts next for a treat. I picked up a Vanilla Bean Coolatta and something rarer, a vanilla cream doughnut. There was one other couple there, but otherwise, it was pretty quiet. The doughnut was a bit dry; the Coolatta was very sweet and very tasty.

Studio LuLoo was nuts when I arrived. They had apparently done some kind of program the day before and was organizing their vast store of costumes. They have costumes of all shapes and sizes, ranging from Teletubby costumes to elaborately sequined mummers' outfits to many, many sparkling tutus, and all the tiaras, hats, scarves, gloves, and bonnets that go with them. There were several kids running around as well, enjoying their first day of vacation after their last half-day at school. I hung dresses and heavy blue wraps on the few hangers they had, folded everything else, and listened to the kids chatter and fuss at each other.

I was worn out after a long week. I spent the rest of the day at home. When I got in, I had cherries and the last of the tuna salad for lunch while watching Chasing Rainbows. Bessie Love and Charles King are a dancing act who are currently appearing in a touring musical about World War I. Marie Dressler is the lead comic. Jack Benny is a station manager with a crush on Love. Polly Moran is the costume designer who is perpetually at war with Dressler. King has a bad habit of falling for his leading ladies. His most recent (Nita Talbot) convinces him to marry her, despite her already having a lover. The two do finally reconcile amid the classic hit song "Happy Days are Here Again."

Big warning about this title - all of its original two-strip Technicolor dance numbers are lost, including the finale. The movie does give you a text-and-still-photo explanation of what went on during them. What's there isn't bad, though. Dressler and Love in particular shine - catch Dressler's hilarious "Poor But Honest" and Love's reactions to King's two versions of "Lucky Me, Lovable You." This one is in the Warner Archives - if you like the cast or enjoyed Broadway Melody or other early talkie musicals, enough remains to give you an idea of why it was popular in 1930.

After the movie ended, I took a long, blissful bath. It's been a while since I last had one. I really needed to relax and soothe my sore legs. I looked over Can't Help Singin' and Song In the Dark, both of which cover early talkie musicals, and listened to my Nipper's Greatest Hits: The 30's Vol 1 CD ("Happy Days are Here Again" is the first track).

Switched to Copacabana while I made salmon in lemon wince sauce with sauteed zucchini for dinner. If you know the Barry Manilow song, you have a pretty good idea of where this one is headed. Tony (Manilow) and Lola (Annette O'Toole) meet when they compete on a radio show for a job at the legendary Copacabana nightclub. He wins, but the job turns out to be bartender. They both rise in the ranks as he pulls her out of a dime-a-dance dive and reworks her dark love song "Man Wanted" into a showstopper. It looks like the two are on their way...until Rico (Joe Bologna) convinces Lola to give up Tony for his flashy Havana nightclub. Tony befriends an older woman who helps him into Havana to rescue Lola. But Rico's not happy with Tony's chivalry, and like the song, this story does not have a happy ending...

...But I think it really should have. This may be one of the few times I enjoyed the stage version of a TV or movie musical better than the original. I liked Lola better as an innocent Ruby Keeler ingenue in the West End stage musical, not to mention all the playing with reality vs fantasy. The tragic finale is much too sudden. It doesn't really jive with the mostly light-hearted romp that came before it.

On the other hand, the cast is pretty decent, even Manilow as Tony. His "Lola/Who Needs to Dream?", performed with O'Toole on a street surrounded by a rapt tenement audience, is a delightful moment. And the stage show does retain my favorite song written for the movie, Tony's big dance number "Sweet Heaven."

I like it...but it's really for heavy Manilow nuts, or those who really love the song. All others may want to dig up the cast album for the stage version instead.

Tony and Lola are far from the only couple in show business with problems. Rose of Washington Square jumps back to the early 20's, where singer Rose Sargent (Alice Faye) sings smoky dirges in low-down dives and speakeasies. Her guy friend (Al Jolson) is also seeing his career rise and is trying to encourage her likewise. She first meets Bart (Tyrone Power) in a speakeasy. She falls hard for him, but Bart is a gambler and a con-artist who can't stay out of trouble. The two end up getting married, much to Jolson's dismay. When the police finally catch up with Bart, Rose has to decide whether it's worth waiting up for her man or consider the damage his brushes with the law are doing to her career.

If that sounds like the story of Fanny Brice and Nicky Arnstein with different names, Al Jolson, and a less gawky woman playing Brice...well, Brice thought so, too, and she wasn't happy. In fact, she sued Fox for damages. Beyond the Brice connection, it's a similar story to Alexander's Ragtime Band with a more dashing and dangerous Power and Jolson singing his own familiar songs. If you love other Fox/Faye musicals like Band or Lillian Russell, there's enough that's different for this one to make it worth a peek.

Oh, and Lauren arrived home safely over an hour ago. She had no problems whatsoever once the train arrived, up to and including her parents picking her up in Albany.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Good Mall Vibrations

It was still hot and humid when we started out around quarter after 11 this morning. The sun was in and out of heavy clouds, but a nice breeze helped. We had an early lunch at Jalapeno's Grill. They were busy for 11:30, with a large group eating salads and burritos in the center of the room and the usual old lady at the table in the very back near the counter. Lauren and I both had tasty chicken, avocado, and bacon wraps with Spanish rice and those yummy cups of black bean soup. (Lauren also had an iced tea. I was fine with water.)

Alas, we arrived in Audubon too late to pick up the 12:37 to Moorestown. We explored the big CVS on King's Highway for a while. Lauren grabbed an iced tea; I got CVS' tasty generic pineapple-coconut sparkling water and our annual pack of Tastycakes for later.

We did finally catch the 1:37. It was slightly late, but other than a small shower on the way, that was the worst that happened. There was no traffic, and only one other person went all the way to the Mall.

Went right to Boscov's after we got off. We mainly explored the women's clothing this time. I didn't see anything I wanted, but Lauren bought three pairs of shorts in a style she liked. Lauren didn't get anything from FYE, but I once again took advantage of the buy two used, get one for a dollar sale to grab The Lego Movie for $9.99, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves for $4.99, and the Backyardigans set Mission to Mars for the dollar. We browsed in a toy store and the video game store Play Trade (the latter was the same as Jay Street Video Games at the Cherry Hill Mall - mostly used titles going all the way back to Atari).

It was around 4:30 when we settled down at one of the fountains for a short rest. We finally shared our annual packs of Tastycakes. I went with nice, simple Krimpets this year, enjoying our treat while watching people and families stroll by.

After a bathroom break at the movie theater, we cut through what remained of the food court (they seem to be in the midst of a major remodeling project) and made our way outside. I desperately need new work sneakers. Mine are falling apart. There's a Dick's across from Barnes & Noble at the East Gate Shopping Center. Since I was there, I figured I'd get my sneakers now. I knew exactly what I wanted - the same New Balance sneakers I bought last time. A young man directed us to them. I tried them on, and I bought them for $49.99, all in less than 20 minutes.

Browsed briefly in Barnes & Noble next. I didn't have nearly as much luck there as I did back in February. I just ended up buying a new journal; my current one only has a few pages left. Lauren didn't get anything.

Went straight to the bus stop...but we made a mistake when the driver of the bus to the Mall forgot to change their sign to Camden. We ended up missing the bus. We had lunch in one of the three remaining restaurants in the food court. I could eat Saladworks anytime, and Lauren could eat Subway anytime. We had the chicken cheese steak and divine thick fries from Charley's Cheese Steaks and Fries. Yum, yum. Messy but very tasty.

We did catch the 6:44 home. We got very lucky, About ten minutes after we got on the bus, it finally started raining, and hard. It didn't last long, though. Lauren showed me a large but fast-moving blob that mostly seemed to be wrecking havoc north of us.

When we got off, the clouds mostly remained, but a beautiful orange and gold sunset could be seen under them. The rain seemed to have gotten rid of some of the worst of the weather. The wind had picked up, it was cooler, and the humidity had dissipated somewhat. We had a lovely walk to Oaklyn, talking about our families and nieces and nephews and siblings on the way.

I lead Lauren right to Common Grounds Coffee House. There was already a lively group of older women sitting at several tables in the center of the room, talking about TV shows and movies and their families. Lauren had a black iced tea and a warmed raspberry yogurt muffin. I had a spicy cinnamon iced tea and a huge cinnamon coffee cake muffin. My muffin was amazing, perfectly moist and sweet and spicy. Lauren's muffin vanished even quicker.

It was nearly 9:30 when we finally got home. We've been watching classic comedians while we're online. (And not online - the internet went down briefly a few minutes ago.) The 1962 musical Snow White and the Three Stooges isn't beloved among fans, but many casual viewers find it to be a quite adorable dose of more family-friendly Stooges. The Bowery Boys take on a gambling ring from the inside in Lucky Losers and attempt to become male escorts in Blonde Dynamite.

Right now, we're doing to the classic Shemp Stooge short "Brideless Groom." Shemp has to get married or lose his inheritance. Once they get word, every woman in town wants this slightly eligable bachelor!

(And sorry this was late. The internet went down last night before I could post it.)

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Walk On the Mall Side

Got an earlier start today at around 10:30. We were in Westmont at quarter after 11 for brunch at the Westmont Bagel Shop. There was a line when we arrived, but it thankfully turned to mostly be kids ordering sandwiches to go. Lauren had a Chicken Caesar Wrap with chips. I had an omelet with peppers, mushrooms, onions, spinach, and cheese, home fries (which I didn't finish), and a French toast bagel.

Explored a few stores in the mall next. The big Game Stop is right next door to the Bagel Shop. We saw a few things we liked, but decided we'd look around and see if we could find cheaper prices. Lauren bought glow sticks at Dollar Tree for a rally she'll be participating in on Friday. We browsed around Tuesday Morning but found nothing we couldn't live without.

We picked up the bus on the hill across the street from the Haddon Township Library. The bus to the Cherry Hill Mall wasn't full, and there was no traffic and no problems getting there. We were in Cherry Hill by quarter of 2.

The first thing we noticed when we arrived was a new video store opened on the second floor across from the exit, Jay Street Video Stores seems to be a chain that, unlike Game Stop, sells older games going back as far as Atari in addition to new titles. Lauren said there's a larger one in her local mall.

Our next stop was JC Penney. I got a coupon for 10 dollars off an order of 10 dollars or more. I really needed one more bra. Playtex bras were on sale for $24.99. The coupon bought a gray-brown bra down to a far more reasonable $14.99.

Checked out the toy stores next. Lauren picked up a Yankees baseball uniform for her bears at Build-A-Bear. I found the cutest little stuffed flamingo on the clearance rack for five dollars. We marveled over the enormous stuffed food and wonderful wooden sets at Toy Genius (and one of the clerks admired my flamingo). She bought t-shirts for her parents at the Disney Store. I just looked over the Princess dolls.

After the Disney Store, we headed towards Nordstrom's and out to the pedestrian bridge. Our first stop there was Target. They had no new Ever After High dolls (much to my disappointment), but I did get some food. They have great peanut butter prices - I bought Jiff's Chunky Natural. For some reason, Target always gets the really nifty limited edition seasonal baking mix flavors. I've never seen a Tropical Mango cake mix before. And they had some of those flavored marshmallows I loved so much a few years ago - I went with Toasted Coconut.

Kohl's was next. We looked over appliances, but I ended up with a new pink and aqua floral sleep shirt that was on sale for $18. Once again, the toy area yielded no finds.

It was still hot and humid, and despite the local weather warnings to the contrary, the sun had come out since this morning. We cooled off at the Dairy Queen/Orange Julius in the food court. Lauren had a green Arctic Slush and some small slider-sized wraps for a snack. I had one of those Jurassic Smash Blizzards Matt talked about at Dinosaur Dracula (not in the themed cup, alas) and a huge pretzel from the smoothie booth next door.

Game Stop proved to be a disappointment. They were a very small store and only sold the latest games for the most recent systems, no original Wii or Nintendo DS, or even much Wii U. We had more luck at Teavana. I tried their Samurai Chai (tasted like hot cinnamon candies), the Wildberry/Orange Blossom iced tea, and the Oprah Chai. Lauren had the Samurai Chai and Pineapple Berry Blue Iced Tea. Had even more luck at Old Navy, despite some very long lines. I can't really wear their pants, but they do have shirts I fit into. We both picked up tank tops. Mine were blue heather and tan heather. She had the blue heather and mint. Took a brief look at Macy's before we decided it was past time to head home.

The bus was a few minutes late. You'd think it was a few hours late, the way people were carrying on! We listened to people whining and complaining because oh, they were going to be late, and oh, they just couldn't wait for the bus, and shouldn't the driver be suspended for not starting the bus when they wanted him to? Sheesh. Thankfully, there were no problems when the bus did finally appear. We did have to stop to take on a person in a motorized chair, but that only slowed us down a little. We got off near TD Bank on the White Horse Pike and hiked home from there.

It was past 7 before we got in, and 8:30 before I got dinner on the table. It was worth it, though. I made turkey burgers with farm market fresh Colby cheese and steamed snap peas. The burgers in particular came out very well and very tasty.

Ran a few movies as we went online. John Candy's Summer Rental seems to be a bust at first - the house is on a busy party beach, it's falling apart, and control-freak Candy gets in trouble with the local big shot (Richard Crenna). When it looks like they may lose their summer spot, Candy makes a bet with Crenna for the rent, then turns to the crusty old sailors who have been teaching him about boats for help.

Martin Short doesn't have much better luck with Captain Ron. He hired Ron (Kurt Russell) to pilot a boat he inherited though the Caribbean. Ron proves to be less-than-trustworthy, but his stories and goofy ways are a hit with Martin's wife and kids. Now Martin has to learn how to command a ship and get the attention of his family, before the pirates of the Caribbean do some real damage!

Finished the night with more Red Skelton. By far my favorite of this batch was Leslie Parrish, Peter Palmer, and Stubby Kaye of the film version of the musical Lil' Abner (along with Abner's creator Al Capp) appearing in a sketch that has Skelton's resident hick Clem Kaddlehopper almost marrying Daisy Mae (Parrish). We even got to hear my favorite number from that show, "Jubilation T. Cornpone."

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Never (Busy) On a Sunday

I was awaken around 9:30 by my cell phone going off. My stepsister Jessa left me a message. Turns out that record cafe she mentioned last week isn't open on Sundays. I called her back and left a message, telling her to call in a few hours. After I let her go, I tried to sleep for another hour or so. After I gave up, I read Maisie Dobbs, wrote in my journal, and went online for a little while until Lauren was ready to emerge.

Jessa called back as Lauren and I were finishing our Mini Blueberry Pancakes. (Lauren didn't want them to be too big, so I made them more silver dollar size.) Nope, they weren't going to the record cafe. I told them I had to get to the Acme anyway, so we'd be ok just not doing anything today.

We started out to the Acme around 1 PM. This time, we took Nicholson Road. It was, once again, hot and humid, though not quite as hot as it had been. We browsed around Game Stop and Rue 21 at the Audubon Crossings Shopping Center for a while, not because we wanted anything, but really just to get in the air conditioning. We had lunch at Tu Sei Bella's. We both had Powerade to replace the fluids lost from sweating heavily. I had a slice of chicken-garlic-mushroom pizza. Lauren had prosciutto with greens and tomatoes.

Next stop was the Acme. I didn't really need much in the way of groceries. Bought a bottle of Sparkling Ice for Lauren and a can of white beans to replace what I used on the tuna salad earlier in the week. Got things to make a Strawberry Mousse Pie.

I'm not terribly happy with my schedule next week. My first day back is eight hours! They couldn't have eased me back in? My remaining two work days are far more normal. I'm glad for more hours than I thought I'd have, but I hope this doesn't mean I'm going to end up worn out again.

We went straight home after leaving the Acme. After having spent the last four days running around, we decided we'd be better off hanging out and resting. I made the strawberry mousse pie. We played  Kirby's Epic Yarn, then did the short Celebration Board on Pac Man Party. (Lauren won.) We tried The Blob 2, which apparently involved making little creatures roll into color and brighten the environments. I made cornmeal-crusted chicken fingers with steamed asparagus for dinner after we learned Lauren hadn't unlocked enough rounds to play in party mode yet.

Finished out WENN after I took a shower. I showed Lauren all of the fourth season episodes but "The Sunset Also Rises" (she hasn't seen Sunset Boulevard either, and it's just not a very good episode) and "All Noisy On the Pittsburgh Front" (that is a good episode, but if I watch it again, I'll just cry). I'm not sure she knows what to make of it. She's fonder of Red Skelton's pratfalls and visual comedy. We switched to him after "At Cross Purposes." We just got past a really nifty pantomime-based episode with Ed Wynn as the guest-star, a friendly hobo who helps Skelton's Freddie the Freeloader with the baby he's found.

Tomorrow, we're going to dodge the projected storms and hit the Cherry Hill Mall and stores in Westmont.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Take the Long Way Home From Collingswood

We were up by 9 to take in everything that went on this morning, starting with Oaklyn's Town-Wide Yard Sale. While surprisingly there weren't that many on this end of Manor, there were plenty of other sales around. Woodlawn Terrace around the corner was awash in sales, and there were plenty on Kendall as well. While Lauren didn't find anything, I did a little better than last year and picked up a few items. Three records:

Ringo Starr - Ringo

David Bowie - Diamond Dogs

Supertramp - Breakfast In America

And two cassettes from an estate sale on East Haddon Avenue:

Barbra Streisand - Back to Broadway

Johnny Mathis and Henry Mancini - The Hollywood Musicals

The estate sale also yielded a book of recipes and quotes about love, A Cheerful Heart by Barbara Milo Ohrbach. I found another DVD set I'd been looking for, the 2-disc Vista Series Who Framed Roger Rabbit, for two dollars at a sale on Coldspring Avenue.

We finally made it to the Collingswood Farm Market around 11. It was still busy, even that late in the morning. It's probably just as well that we didn't need much. I was mainly restocking fruit. I picked up strawberries, Florida blueberries, and the first cherries of the season. Also grabbed more snap peas before their season is over.

Lunch was a picnic in the park. We stopped at WaWa earlier in the morning and bought sandwiches, bags of snacks, and for me, a banana. (That was too soft to finish.) Lauren had a turkey and cheddar panini. I had a small turkey and provolone hoagie with honey mustard, spinach, and pickles. It was really a beautiful day for it, too. It was still hot and still a bit humid, but not quite as bad as it had been the past few days, and there was a wonderful wind. We enjoyed our meal and the brilliant greenery in the park.

When we got home, I put away our finds, and we played Kirby's Epic Yarn for a little while. Lauren and I are going back and replaying rounds, grabbing things we left behind the first time. It turns out if you defeat bad guys a second time, they'll give you patches that can open two extra rounds in the area.

Lauren wanted to wash clothes for the rest of her trip, and I had new clothes that needed to be cleaned. We decided a trip to the laundromat was in order. We timed it right. It wasn't busy when we arrived around quarter after 4. The few people there were watching golf. By the time more people were coming in, we were on our way out.

I made scrambled eggs with cheese and the one last chicken sausage and steamed snap peas for dinner. After we ate, we played another round of Pac Man Party. I finally won the woods-themed round. Getting a lot of shooting and twirling games helped.

We've been online for a while now. I ran through a bunch of WENN episodes earlier in the night, taking us through the late third season and early fourth season (including the intense season finale "Happy Homecomings" and the hilarious "And If I Die Before I Sleep"). We're now doing some black-and-white Red Skelton episodes from the early-mid 50's. I still find the commercials fascinating. It's practically a collection of mid-20th-century advertising history. The animated Pet Milk commercial with the cowboy was especially cute.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Better Shop Around

We began another killer hot and humid morning with some classic Scooby Doo, Where are You? "What a Night For a Night" has the kids running around a museum, trying to find the professor who brought a suit of black armor to the US, while finding out if the suit really can come to life. "Hassle In the Castle" puts the kids on an island that seems to be inhabited by a ghost who wants them to leave, and now.

We headed out around 11 to pick up the bus to Voorhees. We got off directly across from the Voorhees Library. Today was the first day of the Camden County Library's Book Sale. I couldn't believe how busy they were, especially around the CD/DVD/video shelves. I couldn't get near the CDs! Surprisingly, the kids' area wasn't as bad. Lauren found a pile of R.L Stine books (she's a big fan), a book on teddy bears, and a Jude Deveraux novel. I also found a (different) teddy bear book, three videos (the serial The Adventures of Captain Marvel, the Mary Martin version of Peter Pan, and the James Cagney/Joan Blondell movie Blonde Crazy), the Alice Faye musical Rose of Washington Square on DVD, and the book Can't Help Singing: The American Musical On Stage and Screen, by Gerald Mast.

My best find by far was a DVD. The last movie I expected to encounter at a library book sale was the 1930 musical Chasing Rainbows, still in its original plastic! This vehicle for Bessie Love, Jack Benny, and Marie Dressler is a Warner Archive title. They're expensive online and even moreso on the rare occasion they turn up in stores. While the color numbers in the finale of this tale of heartbreak in a traveling musical have been lost, enough remains to make the movie interesting for musical buffs.

Lauren and I headed across the street to the Voorhees Town Center next. We browsed around in Boscov's for about an hour. I didn't find anything I liked. She picked up two blouses. (No toys this time - their collection was rather picked over.)

We had lunch after leaving Boscov's. Lauren doesn't have a Chick Fil'A in her area, so we ended up there. I had a Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich. She had the regular Grilled Chicken. Expensive, but quite tasty, especially the huge, potato-y waffle fries.

We browsed around the Voorhees Town Center for the next hour or so. We bought cards for our dads at Hallmark; Lauren also got a bag of Swedish fish. Bath and Body Works was having a huge sale. I bought two bottles of hand soap (Watermelon Lemonade and Mimosas and Magnolias) for the regular price of one, $6.50. Lauren got five little bottles of soap for five dollars.

Spent a pleasant half-hour or so enjoying a treat at Victorian Savories, the bakery/cafe on Restaurant Row. Lauren had a raspberry cookie bar and a Snapple Raspberry Tea. I had a slice of white cake with tasty sweet buttercream icing in spring sherbet colors and a Snapple Apple (Juice). (Lauren was highly amused when the cap of my Snapple Apple revealed that "The Star Spangled Banner" isn't allowed to be used as dance music in her native Massachusetts.)

The two of us briefly wandered through Macy's after heading back inside. Lauren bought two more blouses for work. I finally found a decent pair of brown shorts. I look better in black than brown, but as the cashier pointed out, brown is a hard color to find, for some reason. They'd had the shorts at the Macy's in Philly, but not in my size.

We took the 3:55 home. I wish we hadn't. Not only did the driver keep hitting the brakes hard on every single stop (and there were a lot of them), but someone spilled something sticky on the floor under us. I had to wipe my feet off hard when we got back in Oaklyn.

Neither of us were really up to any more walking around. It's still hot and humid. The rest of the evening was passed playing Pac Man Party (Lauren won the Crystal Caves board) and Kirby's Epic Yarn. We ate out of the fridge for dinner and finished the spinach and strawberries.

The first movie we did as we ate was I Dood It. This 1942 vehicle for Red Skelton and Eleanor Powell was inspired by the Buster Keaton comedy Spite Marriage. Powell marries smitten pants presser Skelton to make her fiancee jealous, but it backfires spectacularly. Now Skelton is out a job and a bride, but his knowledge of her current show may help out when it turns out that one of the actors is a spy.

To be honest, a lot of this movie seems to have been rather hastily put together. At least two of Powell's numbers are cribbed from other films (Honolulu and Born to Dance). Powell and Skelton do have one good moment where he just cannot drag her into bed after she's taken sleeping pills, no matter how hard he tries. Otherwise, this is strictly for fans of the stars, big band music, or 40's musicals only. Like Chasing Rainbows, it's in the Warner Archives for those interested.

Moved onto more WENN next. "Mr. and Mrs. Singer" and "Eugenia Bremer, Master Spy" were the best out of this lot. (Lauren hasn't seen Casablanca, so I skipped "From the Pen of Gertrude Reece" despite my own fondness for it.)

We finished the night with more Police Academy. City Under Siege returns us to the unnamed city as the cadets try to solve a crime spree initiated by an unknown "Mastermind" and his goofy gang. The gang seems to know their every move...and they seem to have a leak among them. When Commandant Lassard is framed, the group springs into action to find out just who wants them off the case for good.

The series was down to a PG rating by this time, which means plenty of goofy gags, but the sexual humor is limited to a few cracks at Callahan's...assets. I used to love this one as a kid when it ran constantly on cable in the late 80's - early 90's. Time hasn't been as kind to it as some of the other movies in the series. References to hard rock and bad rap date this much more than earlier entries. Actually, if you want to start slightly younger kids on this series, I'd recommend coming here first and going backwards to the raunchier entries. Otherwise, same deal - if you loved the other titles in this series or have fond memories of catching it on cable, it's worth a peek.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hot Fun In the Springtime

We started a hot, sunny morning with more WENN. There's "Magic" in the air when the staff discovers sabotage in on their own airwaves and Betty finds that Victor Comstock is closer than she thinks. It's a busy late night in the third season opener "In the WENN Small Hours." Betty is trying to find out what's going on with Victor Comstock while waiting for the others to return. When Eugenia's explorer guest catches them together, they have to think fast to keep Victor's survival a secret.

We finally headed for Collingswood out around quarter of 11. It was already hot and killer humid, at least into the 90's. At the very least, it was also sunny and breezy, an improvement considering it rained the last two years we did our Collingswood/Philly trip. We had lunch at Tortilla Press. They'd been open a half-hour by the time we got there, and we only saw a few groups in the dining room, including parents with an adorable little boy. Lauren had steak tacos and an iced tea. I had strawberry, bacon, and brie quesadillas with strawberry-jalapeno glaze. We shared a plate of sweet potato fries. Mine was messy but absolutely delicious, and not as hot as I thought it would be with the jalapeno glaze.

We took the 12:28 train into Philadelphia, getting off at 12th Street and Locust. We were just going to keep things simple, due to the heat (and several of our favorite smaller Philly stores having closed in the last few years). We headed straight to the big FYE on Broad Street, exploring them for about an hour and a half. I picked up the original Barry Manilow TV version of Copacabana, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles In Time, and something I've been looking for, the first and second season set for the original 1969 Scooby Doo, Where are You? (I did the buy two, get one for a dollar used sale again. The Turtles were the dollar movie.) Lauren bought A Letter to Four Wives for her parents and a lot of wrestling DVD sets for her.

We headed through City Hall and over to the Market Street Macy's after we made our purchases. They were a bit less busy than FYE, for once. Lauren found two blouses for work in a style her local Macy's no longer sells. I picked up a nice floral blouse that was on sale for $12.98.

We retraced our steps and took a very, very full 3:30 train back to Collingswood. We were hot, sweaty, and tired, and Lauren was hungry. Stopping at the Pop Shop was practically a requirement. I took advantage of their Milkshake of the Month and had a delicious German Chocolate Shake, with lots of big chocolate cake pieces. She had sliders and an Orange Cow ice cream soda (orange soda, vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup).

We were even hotter and sweatier when we finally made it back to my place. We spent the rest of the day indoors. We first played Pac Man Party. Lauren won the Spooky Hallow game; she kept getting my haunted houses. Played a few rounds of Kirby's Epic Yarn after that.

I made a very simple dinner of Tuscan Tuna Bean Salad (tuna and white beans in a vinegar-based dressing) on a bed of spinach for dinner. We listened to the soundtrack from Three Little Words (I think it's the only record I have with Red Skelton on it) as we ate.

I put on Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach after dinner. Commander Lassard is retiring. Captain Harris is hoping to take over his job, but first, he has to help Lassard take the Academy graduates to Miami Beach for a convention. What they find are beach gags, Lassard's laid-back nephew, and a trio of jewel thieves. The thieves take Lassard hostage during a party. While the others try to get him back, Harris and his yes-man Proctor go off on their on after Lassard in the hope of getting promotions.

Despite the loss of Steve Gutenburg, I've always liked this one. Maybe because it showed up frequently on cable in the late 80's - early 90's. At the very least, the Miami Beach setting is unique, and it has slightly more of a plot than some of the previous entries. If you love the series, or just the snobs-vs-slobs comedies of the 80's, this one is worth checking out.

Ran more WENN next. We've made it up to the early third season and some of my favorite episodes, including the funny and suspenseful season opener "In the WENN Small Hours," the hearbreaking "Who's Scott Sherwood?', and the hilarious "Two For the Price of One."

We finished the night with DuBarry Was a Lady. Lauren and I both love this cute musical that has Red Skelton dreaming he's Louie the Eighth, Lucile Ball is the scandalous lady of the title, and Gene Kelly is a dashing revolutionary.

Tomorrow, Lauren and I will be taking a bus this time to the Voorhees Library to check out the County Library Book Sale and take a walk around the Voorhees Town Center. I need to go grocery shopping, too.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I'm Into Something Good

I slept until about 8:30-9 AM. I let Lauren sleep about an hour longer before having breakfast. We ran one more Tiny Toon Adventures travel episode while she got dressed and organized and I ate. It's "High Toon" when Buster and Babs make a wrong turn and find themselves in a Wild West town that's being attacked by outlaws. They corral Plucky and Hampton to first help them find the outlaws, then save the town.

There couldn't have been a nicer day for a walk. When we headed out around 11, it was sunny and breezy, without a hint of humidity. June is busting out all over the neighborhood. The trees are shades of green that would make emeralds jealous. The pansies and roses are up now; the tiger lilies look like they'll be out in a week or two.

Our first stop was the House of Fun. Things were a little more organized than they were the last time I visited. They even had all the arcade games turned on. Alas, we didn't have any luck this time around. We both walked out empty-handed. The comic book store next-door wouldn't open for another 20 minutes. We moved on.

We hiked past the noon traffic on the White Horse Pike to Abbie Road on Market Street. We spent a half-hour or so browsing around Bob's store. Lauren chatted with Bob about New England sports. We both did much better here. Lauren bought a couple of rock albums for her and some country and gospel albums for her dad, including The Elvis Prestley Gospel Album. I ended up with:

Patti LaBelle - Greatest Hits

Rupert Holmes - Greatest Hits (I had to, despite it being 10 dollars - the first track is the theme from Remember WENN)

Wilson Phillips - Wilson Phillips (I loved my cassette copy of this as a kid.)

Rosemary Clooney - 16 Most Requested Songs

Tina Turner - Simply the Best

We hiked down to the Audubon Crossings Shopping center after leaving Abbie Road. It was 1:30 by then. We were both hungry, and Lauren doesn't eat in the mornings. We had lunch at Sonic. It was too nice to eat indoors! We had the Ciabatta Grilled Chicken Sandwich with tater tots. She had a Raspberry Sonic Splash. I had my favorite Cherry Limeaide. We enjoyed lunch and the music. The patio was surprisingly quiet for a nice day. I think more people were using the drive-in window.

We did a little more shopping next. We had more luck with that small Game Stop in the mall. Lauren found something called The Blob 2. I picked up Super Smash Bros Brawl (for 25 dollars - that's the cheapest I've ever seen that one) and Kirby's Epic Yarn for $17.99. I did pretty well at Avenue, too. They've always been good to me. I got a turquoise tank top on sale for about 6 dollars and a pair of black shorts for 30.

It was getting hotter and hotter by 2:30, and the wind was starting to die down a bit. We decided to avoid the rush hour traffic on the Black Horse Pike and head home. We spent the next few hours after we got in playing video games. We started with Super Smash Bros Brawl. Lauren played Kirby; I was Princess Peach. I think we were pretty evenly matched. We played until we got tired of smashing buttons. We switched to Kirby's Epic Yarn after that, picking up items we missed when we played last year.

Lauren played The Blob 2 while I made dinner. I pan-fried onions and mushrooms with the chicken sausages with cheese and garlic I bought on Friday and steamed snap peas. Tore up spinach and sliced a massive radish for vegetables. Our dinner was delicious...but it was even nicer to share it with a good friend, while listening to Herman's Hermits (Lauren is a fan of their lead singer Peter Noone).

We went for a quick walk after dinner. I needed money and milk at WaWa, and we both wanted snacks. It had cooled off a little by then, and the breeze had picked up again. Lauren got a soda and a bag of Funyuns. I got a Chocolate Cookie Cheesecake Smoothie and a bag of pretzels. WaWa was busy; there was a pretty good line, not surprising, given it was quarter of 7 when we were there.

After a shower, I joined Lauren online. We watched Meatballs first. The first movie in a long line of summer-camp based films has Bill Murray as the wacky head counselor of a small summer camp in Canada. While Murray befriends a lonely camper, the junior counselors chase each other and compete with the obnoxious rich kids from Camp Mohawk in various sports. If you're a fan of Murray, teen comedies, or summer camp movies, this one is still pretty enjoyable.

I put on more WENN after the movie ended. Right now, we're on "Strange Bedfellows." I'm going to run through the second season for Lauren. She requested more of the comedy-based episodes, and the second season has some of the funniest.

Tomorrow, we're going to explore Philadelphia and Collingswood as well as we can in what's supposed to be a very hot day.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

So Happy Together

Got a fast, early start this morning with an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures that involved vacations and travel. The Toons go "Around Europe In 30 Minutes" when Plucky wins a trip in a contest. Their tour is a big bust at first, at least until they make it to England and discover a plot to kidnap the royals! Buster and Babs try to thwart the kidnappers, while Hampton and Plucky avoid a chef who wants them for that night's dinner.

Moved to Strawberry Shortcake In Big Apple City while finishing breakfast. Strawberry doesn't have much more luck with her trip. She's on her way to the title city to take part in big bake off that's going to be on TV. The Peculiar Purple Pieman is also in the contest. He'll do anything to win the Gazebo that's the big prize. Strawberry meets friends in the city who help her along the way, including artist Orange Blossom and model Lemon Meringue.

I headed out to the laundromat around 9:30. I had a really big load to do, including sheets, and I just couldn't put it off until later in the week. I timed it right. There were only a few people when I came in (including a few managers cleaning washers), and no one when I left. I listened to talk shows and Let's Make a Deal and read one of the Samantha American Girl mysteries, The Stolen Sapphire.

When I got in, I ran another Tiny Toons episode as I put away my laundry and got organized. "No Toon Is an Island" when they discover a map that leads to buried treasure. They learn a lesson in jealousy when the treasure sets them all quarreling, and then it disappears...

I headed out for my long errand run around 11 AM, starting with a stop at the Oaklyn Library. Though there were plenty of people on the computers when I got in, there really wasn't much to do. I organized some books in the kids' area, then moved on. Made a quick stop at WaWa for water and a pretzel.

Headed to Haddonfield next for lunch. It rained hard last night, but the clouds had begun breaking up as early as my trip to the laundromat. It was already getting hot and humid, even as I arrived on King's Highway. I had a quick lunch at Amino Burritos and Juice. They were pretty busy - it was quarter after 12 when I got in - but the line went fast, and I did get a table pretty quickly. My Chicken & Guacamole Petito (small) Burrito was tasty, but very mess. The Glow Juice - carrot, orange, and cantaloupe - was tasty, sweet, and such a bright shade of neon orange, it was aptly named.

I had counseling next. I told her about how happy I was to finish my story, be on vacation, and that my best friend was going to visit later...and how frustrated I am with work. We pretended I was greeting my co-workers. I do say "hello" to them. I just don't fit in with them. It's not that I dislike them. It's just that I have nothing in common with them. Most of them don't understand how badly I want to change things, and how much I don't fit in. I want to work somewhere small and quiet, not filled with customers. I want to handle a few people a day, not five hundred. I'm just so scared about dealing with people, especially ones I don't know.

After I got out of Mrs. Stahl's office, I headed down to Westmont for some much-needed Primo's Water Ice. There was a line when I got there, but the chocolate-peanut butter water ice was worth the wait. There was plenty of peanut butter and a hint of cherry. I watched cars go by and enjoyed my treat.

The Haddon Township Library was next on the to-do list. They were even quieter than the Oaklyn Library. I shelved kids' DVDs, audio books, and a few new novels, but they had people around to do the adult DVDs. I was in and out of there in a half-hour. Made a quick run to Dollar Tree for some things for Lauren and a new shower curtain.

This time, I finally did make it back to my apartment. I put on One Crazy Summer while sweeping the porch, putting up the shower curtain, and doing chores in the living area and bedroom. Hoops McCann (John Cusack) joins his best buddy in Nantucket for a summer of sun, fun, and learning about love. He learns a lot more than he ever bargained for when he falls for a singer (Demi Moore) who has a week to earn 3,000 dollars to pay for her father's home. A nasty seafood restaurant chain owner wants to buy it and tear it down to build his new residential homes. Their attempts to help her lead them to the Nantucket Regatta, where they discover the importance of teamwork while going up against the owner's spoiled son. Strange but fun if you love the "slobs vs snobs" comedies of the 1980's and early 90's.

Switched to Recess: School's Out as I made a quick dinner of scrambled eggs with spring vegetables and farm-fresh cheddar cheese. The kids of the Third Street School are on vacation and hitting summer camp, except for T.J Detwiller. T.J's convinced it's going to be a boring 12 weeks, but then he sees a laser being fired at the school, and the school's principal Mr. Prickley vanishes. He brings his friends back to help...and they discover a conspiracy to end summer vacation forever! If you love the animated show Recess, you'll get a kick out of this cute ode to time off.

I called Lauren around 6:50. Lauren was at the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia by that point. She'd had no problems on any of the trains or the stations. Jodie and Dad picked me up at quarter after 7. There was no traffic anywhere. Lauren arrived right on time.

When we got home, I showed Lauren the Ever After High dolls and my new stuffed animals (including Hee Haw the Donkey and Pluto the Tsum Tsum). We exchanged gifts. She gave me a pile of AG books and copies of movies she'd made. I gave her the items I bought her at Dollar Tree.

Lauren had been sitting on trains all day. We decided to go for a short walk down to Phillies Phatties after we'd gotten organized and stretch our legs. I forgot tonight is Studio LuLoo's kids' open mic night. West Clinton was awash in pre-teens and young teenagers. It looked like a block party. Lauren got a large lemon water ice, I got a small cinnamon roll ice cream, and we both ate them at my quiet apartment instead of listening to the kids.

Tomorrow, we're just going to go for a walk in Oaklyn and Audubon and sleep in. The weather is supposed to be the nicest it'll be all week, perfect for a walk. Meanwhile, I'm showing lots of Remember WENN to Lauren, currently "Popping the Question" from the late first season.

Monday, June 08, 2015

I Wanna Go On Vacation!

Started a windy, slightly cloudy morning early with breakfast and chores. I turned the mattress, stripped the sheets off the bed, put on the light summer sheets and the summer quilt. and made the bed. Tidied up around the apartment, too. Cleaned and fixed up the Disney Princess Toddler dolls, who got messed up from sitting next to the bed.

Ran The Great Mouse Detective while I worked. Since I just finished the Sherlock Holmes novels A Study In Scarlet and The Sign of Four, I figured it was appropriate. The Holmes in this case is Basil of Baker Street, mousedom's most famous detective. Dr. Dawson arrives at Baker Street with little Olivia Flaversham, who is determined to see Basil. Her father, a toymaker, was kidnapped by a bat...a bat with ties to Ratigan (Vincent Price), the most famous rodent criminal. An altercation in a toy shop costs them the kid as well. Now they have to rescue not only the girl and her father, but Queen Mousetoria herself from Ratigan's scheme to take over the British Empire!

This was overshadowed by American Tail when it came out in 1986, but it ended up being a decent-sized hit on its own, enough to convince Disney to give animation another chance after The Black Cauldron flopped. Today, it's something of a cult classic, thanks to the nifty animation (including that intense showdown at Big Ben in the finale), suspenseful mystery, and wonderfully hammy characters. Price had apparently wanted to do a Disney movie for  years. He took to the role of Ratigan with a relish usually reserved for flesh-and-blood villains and later said it was his favorite role. I have fond memories of seeing this in the theater with Rose when I was barely older than Olivia.

If you love mysteries, Sherlock Holmes stories, or are looking for a more action-oriented Disney movie, this is still as much fun as it was when I was a kid and is highly recommended.

Ran Max & Ruby as I got ready for work. "Grandma's Berry Patch" is a great place for Ruby to pick berries for Grandma's special surprise recipe...and for Max to eat them. Ruby and Louise want to make "Ruby's Bunny Scout Banner" the best their troop ever had, but Max's running around doesn't make that easy. When Mrs. Quack, one of Ruby's favorite toys, vanishes, it's "Ruby's Detective Agency" to the rescue!

Work was mostly dead, though we did start getting busier during the evening rush hour. There were some annoying customers. One woman threw a fit when I asked to look at the pamphlet in her WIC Check holder, after she'd gotten at least three items wrong and held up the line. We don't have any other way of finding out what's part of the WIC program and what isn't. They got rid of the pamphlets we had up front after they revamped the program in January and never replaced them. And nobody bothered telling me my relief came in early and I was supposed to shut down on my own - I figured that out for myself.

I had a few things to pick up on my way out. I don't drink a lot of soda, but Lauren does. I picked up a 1-liter dollar bottle of Pepsi and a couple of bottles of Sparkling Ice and the Acme's generic version of it for her when she arrives tomorrow. They were also having a good sale on my favorite jam, the Smucker's Orchard's Finest. I went with Triple Berry Preserves.

When I got home, I ran more Max & Ruby while getting organized. Ruby and Louise go on "Ruby's Safari" to find exotic creatures, but they keep finding Max's toys instead. The girls make their spa cleaning products from all-natural fruits and vegetables, but "Max's Mud Bath" proves to be the most natural beauty ritual of all. "Max's Lost Lizard" is a chameleon who gets loose while the girls are preparing his terrarium, much to Max's delight.

Switched to Moonlighting as I had sauteed spinach and mushrooms and the last leftover chicken leg for dinner. "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice" for Maddie and David in this classic second season episode. The two are bringing photos to a husband who wants to catch his wife cheating. He may be buying a famous old nightclub...one that saw a murder in the later 40's. A woman and a man killed the woman's husband and went to their graves claiming the other did it. Maddie thinks the man did it; David thinks it was the woman. Their argument turns into two black-and-white spoofs of 40's movie cliches. Maddie's pokes fun at wronged woman melodramas like Mildred Pierce and Humoresque. David's is a satire of film noir and prison dramas.

While David and Maddie never did decide who was at fault, they gave me an excellent idea for my own Remember WENN film noir spoof. I was never quite satisfied with my first fanfiction venture into 40's mystery. From what I've heard, Rupert Holmes had originally planned a spoof of The Maltese Falcon for the fourth season, but it was dropped, for some reason. I always wondered what that would have been like...

It's set during the late third or early fourth season. Hilary and Scott hear the story of a woman who was arrested for her role in a smuggling ring or some similar crime and who had been involved with a private detective who was also implicated on the news or in the paper. Hilary instantly takes the woman's side - the detective probably betrayed her. Scott takes the detective's side - he got into trouble for doing his job.

As with Maddie and David, we'll see each of their sides of the story. Hilary is the woman who got involved with the thieves through no fault of her own. She's ultimately thrown over by both the detective (Scott) and her ex-husband (Jeff), who is always chasing other women. Scott's the private eye whom Hilary drags into the case and into bed, losing him the love of the sweet girl he really cares for (Betty). Pruitt will probably be the Sydney Greenstreet who is in charge of the smuggling operation. I want this to be a little darker and more adult than my first mystery spoof and The Adventures of the Crimson Blade, closer to what I had in mind for the first mystery I did.

And...as of tomorrow, I'm on vacation! I'm kind of glad Lauren doesn't arrive until late. There's a lot I have to get done tomorrow, including laundry, counseling, and library trips.