Monday, August 31, 2015

August Heat

Started a hazy, humid morning with breakfast and "A Quack In the Quarks." Producer Steven Spielburg couldn't resist a few digs at his buddy George Lucas' Star Wars series in the second episode of Tiny Toon Adventures. Plucky brags about his non-existent athletic and academic prowess to a pair of duckling "foreign exchange students." He immediately regrets his lying when it turns out the new students are aliens who duck-nap Plucky to help stop an evil overlord from destroying their planet! Buster, Hampton, and Babs see him being taken by the aliens and go after him.

Laundry was the first thing on the schedule this morning. It really, really needed to be done. I had a huge load, including towels. Good thing the laundromat wasn't anywhere near as busy this morning as it was last Sunday. There were a few guys who were in and out, but I mainly just worked on notes and half-listened to Let's Make a Deal and The Price Is Right. I finally finished about half-way through the latter.

I went home, put everything away, then went right back out again. Did the Westmont Bagel Shop for lunch. It was 12:30 by the time I arrived. Surprisingly, they weren't that busy. I saw one older guy eating a sandwich and a couple of high schoolers having snacks. Most of the kids in this area won't be back to school until next week, so they're still pretty safe during lunch. I had an Egg Salad Club Wrap and fries while listening to the local news and continuing to work on my story notes.

Made a quick stop at Dollar Tree for sponges, both of the regular and the scrubbing variety. They were also surprisingly quiet, with no lines, for once. I was in and out fairly quickly.

Everyone must have gone to the library, probably trying to avoid the hazy heat. The Haddon Township Library was busy. I guess everyone was picking up movies to watch for the last week before the kids go back to school. Both the adult and kids' DVD shelves were overloaded. I couldn't begin to fit everything on the shelves. As soon as people took movies out, I'd be trying to fit in more. I finally gave up after a hour. I thought of taking a couple of cartoon sets out, but I'm not sure when I'll be able to return them. Next week is Labor Day. I may be lucky to get one day off.

Made a quick stop at the Westmont Acme on the way home. I was originally going to buy things for a pudding pie. I ultimately just ended up buying bread for lunch this week (it'll be too hot to make muffins) and an orange-mango sparkling water.

Headed home across Newton River Park. They were surprisingly dead for a summer's day. I saw one jogger and a group of Canadian geese. It must have been too hot for most people to be running around parks. Even the geese were sitting down. (The trucks working on the road alongside the park may have had something to do with it, too. All that algae on the river doesn't smell that great, either.)

Spent the rest of the afternoon finally finishing The Little Mer-Betty. Betty and Enid do rescue Scott from Ruth's grotto and get him up to Maple before Ruth can take his soul. While Betty, Scott, and Maple escape a raging storm in a small skiff, Ruth tries to trap them in a whirlpool. Hilary tricks Ruth into the whirlpool instead and gets her to give Scott his voice back. Mackie finally arrests Ruth; Hilary locks her in a dark, confined cave.

Meanwhile, the other three have made their way back to land. Betty restores Scott's voice. She's able to tell him she was the one who saved him; he's able to tell her he loves her. It seems their kiss earlier was enough to give Betty a partial soul. She'll be a human on land, a mermaid in the water.

The epilogue takes us back to the writer's room. Hilary comes in to get her script and apologizes for her behavior on "A Night on the Town." She enjoyed the attention and got carried away. Betty knows Hilary will probably get carried away again - it's how she is - but the next time, she wants some credit for helping.

Betty also finally tells Scott she doesn't feel appreciated enough. Scott admits that he, too, got carried away by the sponsor's delight in the show and how popular it was. He does appreciate Betty. He couldn't run the station without her. He offers to take her to dinner. They'll have to take the stairs, though. It seems the elevator is stuck....

I just posted this story at my writing blog tonight. I'll see if I can get it up at my Remember WENN fanfiction website after I finish this entry and Fanfiction.Net tomorrow.

Writer's Blog at the Riverside: The Little Mer-Betty

Incidentally, the next story I have planned is the long Remember WENN fantasy novel I've been working on for most of this month. Once again, Betty is daydreaming while writing a script. This time, she's been called on to create a sword-and-knights action show for a new drama. This is set in the late third or early fourth season, Betty's worried about the station, about the Jeff/Hilary/Pavla mess, and wishing she knew what to do about Scott and Victor (not to mention Doug). As usual, her own problems intrude on the story, which turns into the tale of a young woman who discovers her destiny while fighting the Shadow Realm and the evil King of Darkness...

My sister Rose called me while I was working on my story. She invited me to dinner at her house with her son Khai on Thursday evening at 6. Sure! I haven't seen them in a while. It turns out Rose just finished her job at the Camden City Hall and wants to celebrate the last week before Khai starts kindergarten.

She also gave me a mild scolding about how low my fiances have gotten this summer. I've been taking money out of savings to pay the rent...and I do still want to go visit Lauren in October. Why didn't I tell anyone when my hours got bad? Why did I take money out of my emergency savings? Why didn't I try to get a second job?

I understand her concern, but first of all, that would just make me crazy. I don't want to spend all my time running between two jobs I'd probably hate. I've loved this summer because I've been writing again and coming up with tons of story ideas. I don't want to lose that. I'd like to work up to selling it, but it'll be a slow process. I'm not a fast-moving kind of person.

Second, I'm just not good at the job-hunting thing. I don't know where to begin. I have no network of friends who can automatically give me leads to where the right jobs are. Even if I did, how would I talk to human resources? I have trouble dealing with authority figures. If I do get a second job, it'll be at home, based around things I actually want to do.

I finished the story so late, it was nearly 7 before finally made chicken-pepper stir-fry from the last of the leftover seasoned chicken fillets for dinner. Ran a quick cartoon while I ate. Firefly's Adventure (aka Rescue From Nightmare Castle) was the very first My Little Pony special in 1982. Unlike most girl-oriented 80's cartoons, this one embraced its dark side from the outset. The evil demon Tirek is abducting ponies to turn into dragons that'll pull his chariot. Fearless Pegasus pony Firefly convinces normal little girl Meghan to help her and her friends find the Rainbow of Light, the only object that'll put an end to Tirek's reign.

The home-made DVD went right into Snoopy's Getting Married, Charlie Brown as I did the dishes and cleaned up from dinner. Snoopy meets a beautiful French poodle and falls in love with her while acting as a watch dog for Peppermint Patty. (Much to the latter's annoyance.) While Charlie Brown reminds Snoopy that marriage is a big responsibility, the kids set up a huge wedding for the engaged pooch couple. Best beagle Spike has his own mishaps earning enough money for bus tickets.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Music of My Childhood

I was up late chatting with Lauren last night and didn't get up until quarter of 10. It was near 11 before I got going. I made Pineapple Pancakes while listening to one of my 80's music collections. I picked up Everything 80's from what was then the Super Fresh in Westmont shortly after moving here. It's two discs of pop and dance songs from the 80's, from "Our House" to "Karma Chameleon" to "Walking On Sunshine." It makes for a great pick-me-up and some wonderful memories. I remember dancing around the house to these songs on the radio when I was little.

Work was steady, but not quite as busy as yesterday. It slowed down considerably by 4 PM. There were a few annoying beginning-of-the-month people, and I was tired and got frustrated easily. Thankfully, my relief was early, and I was able to easily get out on time.

I went straight home. I had originally planned on spending the rest of the afternoon writing. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get my internet working. I called Comcast three times; got cut off the first two times. I knocked down my bulletin board trying to find the cables to the modem. The broadband connection just wouldn't connect, despite the fact that the modem was working.After an hour and a half of struggling, Comcast finally told me to check and see if the Wi-Fi was enabled. Oops. It was not. Somehow, the computer had shut it off. I turned it on, and the internet has been working fine ever since. I wasted an hour-and-a-half that I could have been writing and feel like a complete idiot.

I tried to cheer myself up with scrambled eggs with farm-market fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese and the Debbie Gibson album Out of the Blue. I listened to my cassette copy of this constantly as a 10-year-old. Tiffany, too. My sisters and I had a pink and silver radio/cassette player that was our first "stereo." I remember listening to Tiffany and Debbie Gibson while reading or doing homework and making up my own "music videos" to the songs in my head.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Beginnings of the Fall Harvest

Began a beautiful, hot, sunny morning with a Garfield special to drown out Charlie blaring 80's music downstairs. Garfield In Hollywood has the famous fat cat appearing on a local pet talent show with Jon and Odie. They win, but when the dog and cat cut Jon out of the act, he begins to wonder if winning the finals in Hollywood would me leaving him behind.

I checked my finances online and didn't get going until 11. Yes, my paycheck went through. I was able to get money at WaWa and head to the Farm Market. By quarter after 11, they weren't nearly as packed as usual, though they were still pretty crowded. The blackberries are gone, but I did see the first pears and pie pumpkins of the season. I ended up with small yellow peaches and Gala apples, two small cucumbers, an onion, and a tomato.

I didn't start work until 2. I had the time to ride around and look for yard sales. There were a few around, but I only found one, on Stokes Avenue in Collingswood. I ended up with two DVDs, Superman Returns and Ernest Goes to Camp. Stopped at CVS on the border of Collingswood and Oaklyn on the way home for their generic strawberry-kiwi sparkling water.

Ran Hello Kitty Furry Tale Theater cartoons as I ate lunch and got ready for work. "K.T: The Kitty Terrestrial" is a lost feline alien who'd love to phone home...if Tuxedo Sam and his buddies can help her escape from scientists Catnip and Grinder. Kitty and her new friends are on their way to visit "The Wizard of Paws" in order to get her home to Catfish. The Wicked Witchie Catnip does everything she can to get rid of them. Kitty has a close encounter with a huge Grinder on a remote tropical island in "Kitty and the Kong." Catnip thinks he'll be a great attraction in New York, but Kitty realizes he doesn't belong. "Cat Wars" takes us to a galaxy far, far away as Tuxedo Sam Skywalker flees with Princess Kitty from the evil Darth Catnip. "Paws: The Great White Dog Shark" has been eating everything wooden around, including a beloved amusement pier. Lifeguard Sam, Surfer Kitty, and scientist Chip try to get to the bottom of why Paws is behaving so badly.

Work was much, much busier than it has been, and a lot more annoying. We're getting close to the beginning of the month, which means all the fun, frustrating people are coming out of the woodwork. Had some trouble with WIC checks again, too. And the scan gun in register 7 not only wouldn't work, but made the computer run super-slow for at least 20 minutes. Thankfully, though my last order was huge, the lady was super-sweet about it and a big help. I just got out on time with no relief.

(Oh yes, and for those of you who are fans of Dinosaur Dracula, Matt's famous Halloween Countdown - in which he spends two and a half months discussing all things horror and Halloween - began yesterday.)

Friday, August 28, 2015

All Kinds of Fantasy

Started another beautiful, sunny morning with the soundtrack to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. This 1971 musical version of the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was apparently a relative failure on first release - the early 70's weren't a good time for unusual kids' movies or musicals in general. It ultimately became one of the earliest hits on cable and home video, turning its three big songs, "Pure Imagination," "The Candy Man," and "I've Got a Golden Ticket" into standards. "Golden Ticket" is probably my favorite number - Grandpa Joe and Charlie are just having so much fun in that song, it's infectious.

Work finally picked up a bit after being dead for most of the week. It still wasn't quite as busy as usual, and I still had a lot of downtime to work on story ideas, but it was better than it has been. My relief was a bit late, but he wasn't my original relief - he was replacing a kid who called out.

I had a few problems grocery shopping. Even with what little I needed, I still didn't have enough money in the bank to cover it. My paycheck hadn't gone through. I just bought sugar (I was out), milk, deodorant (Arm & Hammer was on a dollar sale), and one can of chicken.

Mixed feelings on my schedule next week. In good news, nothing really early or late, Monday and Tuesday off again. In frustrating news, fewer hours, rather surprising in the week leading up to Labor Day and the beginning of the month. Hopefully, it should pick up once we get to and past Labor Day and people start coming back from vacations.

As soon as I got home, I got to writing. An angry Ruth has spirited Scott away to her own grotto. Hilary gives Betty her voice back so she can tell Maple at least some of what's going on...but she can't restore her tail. Betty needs a full soul for that. Betty gets Maple to take a skiff out into the Atlantic, while C.J reveals to his siblings and father that he has a plan to distract Ruth while Betty frees Scott...

Did an episode of Wonder Woman during a leftovers dinner. "Wonder Woman Meets Baroness Gunther" is the second episode of the World War II-based first season. The Baroness, a former Nazi spy, seems to be a model prisoner...but she's really part of an espionage ring that seeks to frame Steve Trevor for a series of sabotage incidents. Things get really hairy when the Nazis get their hands on Wonder Woman's golden truth-telling lasso!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

She Has High Hopes

First of all, American Girl's newest Historical character (and the first truly new character under the BeForever name) debuted this week. Welcome aboard to Maryellen Larkin! This sweet native of Daytona Beach, Florida is trying to figure out how to stand out in a crowd...not an easy thing to do in a big family (she has five siblings) or in conformity-obsessed 1954.

I'm not interested in the doll (I already have a perfectly good red-head, colonial lass Felicity Merriman), but I would love some of her clothes for my own mid-20th century doll Whitney. I'm considering the cute purple gingham School Outfit, cherry-print Play Outfit, and a lighter Poodle Skirt than the felt-and-long-sleeved-blouse costume I picked up on eBay last year. She even has her own version of those itchy Crinolines Mom and Linda Young often complained about from their own late 50's-early 60's childhoods. I may look into her Ice Skating Outfit for Christmas. (As pretty as the Birthday Dress is, I already have a formal spring outfit for Whitney.)

Some of her furniture and accessories are nifty too, even if I don't have the room for them, much less the money! Whitney may end up with her "meet" accessories - I've been wanting to find fake pearls for her. I'm debating Scooter the dachshund, too. I usually find AG "pets" to be too expensive for what you get, but Scooter is beyond cute! I love his big, hopeful eyes.

Although her diner and the TV that you can use to make your own videos are cool, my favorite piece of furniture for Maryellen is the sofa bed. My family had a sofa bed in the mid-late 80's. It was brown and gold and kind of nubby, nothing like Maryellen's...and to tell the truth, it didn't work all that well. My sisters and I would sleep on it together on Friday nights so we could wake up early and watch Saturday morning cartoons. After a few years of bouncing on it during shows, I think we finally broke it. We couldn't get the bed part out at all by the late 80's. It was gone by about 1991.

I'm dying to read her books, too. I was born in South Florida (although I wasn't raised there) and was a devoted beach bum at age 10. I also come from a fairly large family (though I'm the oldest). And I definitely understand how she feels about wanting a white Christmas. White Christmases aren't that much more common in South Jersey than they are in Central Florida. I wouldn't have a white Christmas until I was well into my 30's.

Watched an episode of Remember WENN while getting ready for work this morning. "Caller I.D" teaches us about the magic of fiction when a late-night caller claims to be sitting on the edge of a near-by building. She'll jump, unless the cast performs for her.

Work was, once again, quiet for most of the day. It did pick up a little bit later in the afternoon, but by that point, I was almost done. My relief was right on time, and I was in and out.

I went straight home and worked on my story. Betty finds Scott and Ruth half-underwater at the remains of his sunken ship. Ruth has tied Scott to a casket and wants her to kill him - his blood will restore her fins, so she can go home and Ruth can take his soul. Betty, however, can't bring herself to kill anyone, even a human. She cuts him loose and kisses him instead. Her family shows up to get rid of Ruth. Wrathful and jealous, Ruth blasts Betty away and takes off with Scott, determined to steal away the rest of his soul.

In honor of Maryellen, I ran Grease 2 while eating leftovers for dinner and baking a Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. Maryellen's not the only girl of the 50's and early 60's who's tired of the era's need to conform. Pink Lady Stephanie Zannoni (Michelle Pffifer) is a tough tomboy who is bored with her obnoxious T Bird boyfriend Johnny (Adrian Zmed) and is looking for someone much stronger and a lot deeper. Enter Michael Carrington (Maxwell Caulifield), a bright and sweet transfer student from England. He falls head-over-heels in love with Stephanie the moment he sees her, but she has a far harder time accepting him. When he tries to be the "cool rider" she's dreaming of, they both learn what Maryellen did - the best way to gain someone's love is to follow your heart, not the crowd.

A major guilty pleasure that's a nostalgic soft spot for me - this used to run on cable a LOT during the early and mid 80's. Mom used to go around the house singing "Cool Rider" when I was a kid. Yes, I know it's cheesy, full of plot holes, some of the songs aren't great, and as gorgeous as Caulifield is, he can't dance or really sing. I don't care. When the numbers are good, they really hit the era right. My favorites are the dynamic opening song "Back to School Again," the hilarious "Reproduction," the bowling number "Score Tonight," and the Pink Ladies' "Girl For All Seasons" in the talent show.

If it's a guilty pleasure for you too, or you're a big fan of Pffifer or the Grease franchise, jump right on this motorcycle. It's not nearly as bad as its reputation suggests.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Telling Stories

I had just enough time to work on my fanfiction before leaving for work this morning. Hilary has brought Betty's other siblings - Jeff, C.J, Enid, and Doug - up to the surface. They give her a knife that has been coated with Ruth's potion. If she pierces Scott's heart with it, his blood will restore her tail, and she can go home.

Betty's confused. She misses her family, but she loves her friends on land, too. Not to mention, she genuinely loves Scott. She couldn't bring herself to kill him, whether or not he marries her. But then, she sees Scott with Ruth, telling everyone at the party that he's engaged to her. Betty's horrified, but Maple suspects there's something very wrong with all this, and especially with the lady....

Work was exactly the same as it has been - quiet until rush hour, on-and-off steady thereafter. It's the middle of the week and the end of the month, and an absolutely gorgeous day besides. Most people are either doing outside work or still at the Shore. I once again spent the down time working on story ideas when no one was looking. My relief was right on time, and I was in and out.

When I got home, I had a quick dinner of leftovers while watching Sally. Marilyn Miller, the darling of the theater in the 1920's, did the first of her three movies in the title role. Sally is an orphaned waitress who dreams of becoming a star on Broadway. She gets her chance when her friend Connie (Joe E. Brown), a former count, and Blair, the handsome son of a millionaire (Alexander Gray), gets her a job dancing in a cafe. A theatrical agent (T. Roy Barnes) hires her to play a Russian dancer at a fancy Long Island garden party. Sally thinks she's on her way...until she's recognized by both Connie and Blair and called out by both. She ends up dancing in the Ziegfeld Follies, but all she really wants is Blair. Sweet Cinderella tale with some nice numbers - look for the color "Wild Rose" chorus routine. The movie was originally all color - this is the only footage that remains.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

On the Boardwalk In Atlantic City

Started a sunny, slightly humid morning with Garfield In Paradise. Garfield and Jon are off to Paradise World, an island tourist trap that was the cheapest tropical place Jon could get them to. Their trip doesn't start off well, thanks to a falling-down hotel run by an owner who tells Jack Benny jokes. Things take a turn for the strange when their 50's rental vehicle takes them to the village of a group a doo-wop-worshiping natives...and a volcano that's about to explode!

Headed out even before the cartoon ended. I wanted to take my annual summer trip to Atlantic City today, while it is still summer. I was on the train to Lindenwauld by quarter of 11 and in Lindenwald by a little after 11.

Instead of sitting on a hot train station platform for an hour or wandering around Walgreens, I decided to have an early lunch. There's three restaurants across the street from the Lindenwald Train and Bus Terminal. I finally decided I didn't have enough time for the sit-down diner or Indian restaurant and opted for Burger King. It was the fanciest Burger King I ever saw. It must have been either just-built or very recently remodeled. They had a huge dining area with a separate room for parties, TVs everywhere, and even a counter with Wi Fi and computers. I took it all in while eating my Whopper and fries.

Even with lunch and buying my ticket, I still spent a half-hour waiting on the platform for the train. Thankfully, it was only about five minutes late. The train was half-full, mostly with the lunch crowd on their way to a day trip in AC like me, I suspected from the college students across from me. At any rate, there were no problems whatsoever getting there, and I enjoyed a very pleasant ride.

As soon as I arrived in Atlantic City, I strolled down straight down Michigan to the Boardwalk, passing a newly repainted Bally's on the way. (I'm disappointed they painted over all the cute Wild West-themed sides they had. Now it's just a mellow if slightly bland yellowy-tan.) Even as I walked, the clouds were gathering, and it was killer humid. It spit a little as I headed onto the boardwalk.

The Boardwalk was as busy as it always is during the summer. I went in the direction of Resorts, the Taj Mahal, and the Claridge this year, since I went towards Caesars and Tropicana last year. My first stop was Peanut World, the coolest souvenir store on the boardwalk. They have every kind of junk you can imagine....including a counter with some of Atlantic City's least-expensive candy. I went with my favorite fruit slices in pink grapefruit flavor. I desperately needed a can of Diet Rite too by that point. It wasn't that hot, but the humidity was horrible even close to the water.

Hit the Casino Pier next to try my luck at the cranes (and to avoid a sudden shower). (And to make up for not hitting the arcades this year.) I tried one with some very large Peppa Pigs. After I gave up on Peppa, I attempted one with more generic round stuffed animals. Nope. No luck.

The sun was out again by the time I made it to the Taj Mahal and Steel Pier. Steel Pier isn't really "The Showplace of the Nation" anymore, but it is the only amusement park in Atlantic City. I strolled around, watching people enjoy themselves on the rides. The place was surprisingly busy for a day with such iffy weather. I found a couple of wire tables with umbrellas between the Slingshot and the Rock and Roll and looked out onto the misty, hazy beach and deep green-blue waves.

(And yes, I saw the Dinosaur Beach logo on the Crazy Mouse roller coaster. Evidently, the same people who now run Steel Pier once owned the mid-90's jungle/dinosaur-themed Hunt's Pier revamp in Wildwood. Thanks to Matt at Dinosaur Dracula for pointing out this bit of lost Jersey Shore history!)

I was hot and sweating like crazy. It was time to go back. I stopped at one store for water and at one of the bathrooms. I really wanted ice cream, but most food is expensive on the boardwalk, and a lot of those small booths don't take credit cards or have a minimum. I didn't have much cash on hand.

Having done most of my clothes and shoe shopping earlier in the summer, the only store in the Tanger Outlets I was interested in was Toys R Us. I wanted to see if they had some of the new Ever After High dolls, but I wasn't keeping my hopes up. They were an outlet store.

Someone must have just restocked the shelves. The Ever After High/Monster High area was full to capacity. The products were almost entirely brand-new. too, including two just-released Toys R Us exclusive Ever After High dolls, Royally Ever After Apple White and Heartstruck C.A Cupid. I also saw Way To Wonderland Apple and Maddie Hatter, the re-release of Poppy and Holly O'Hair, and Candy-Coated Cedar Wood for the first time.

My real interest are the Signatures (original release) dolls. They had Faybelle Thorne (peppy daughter of the Wicked Fairy from Sleeping Beauty) and Bunny Blanc (laid-back daughter of the White Rabbit) for $15.99, cheaper than the $19.99 I usually see them go for on Amazon. I grabbed them both,

Fortunately, the train station is only a few blocks from the Toys R Us Outlet. I darted there, bought my ticket quickly, and still made it on the 3:36 train to Lindenwald with time to spare. Other than the train stopping to let another train going in the opposite direction pass, there were no major problems. We arrived at the Lindenwald station right on time.

Went straight upstairs to the PATCO. The train going to Collingswood was a lot more full than the NJ Transit train had been. People weren't in great moods, either. They talked loudly on their phones and fussed at each other when they tried to move around. I was so happy to arrive at my destination and hurry back to the ground.

When I got back into Oaklyn, I stopped at Phillies Yummies to finally get my cooling treat. It was now a gorgeous day for it, too. The clouds and humidity must have all ended up at the beach. By 5 PM, the sky was a radiant blue, and it was dry and in the mid-80's, perfectly normal for this time of year. I had a mint chocolate chip water ice. It was extremely green - a neon green more suited for lime than mint. It was quite tasty and mint-y, though.

As soon as I got in and got organized, I pulled Bunny and Fayebelle out of their boxes. Fayebelle's been a real surprise. I didn't expect to like her character or her doll when she was announced on New Year's Day, but she's slowly growing on me. Fayebelle is a perky cheerleader who also happens to be an evil fairy. She loves cheering so much, she cheers her spells instead of chants them! While her sparkly tunic and simple leggings are kind of plain compared to some of the other dolls' outfits, she has some of the prettiest hair in the entire line. Like Darling and Kitty, it's very silky and smooth, with lovely turquoise highlights. I did have problems keeping her wings on once I took off the rubber band (which I probably should have just left on).

I had more problems with Bunny. Not only does she have an odd facial mold, but she had more gunk in her hair than anyone else but Poppy. She went right in the bathroom sink for a twice-cleaning. Even after that, her hair is still a bit thin and sheds like crazy, and her head is a bit floppy. Too bad, because I like her character. Unlike the object of her affections Alistair Wonderland, Bunny has no use for maps...or for rushing, for that matter. This jazz-loving rabbit girl always manages to get where she's going eventually. Her dress is adorable. I love the fuzzy white collar. (Even if I wish the black collar and pink ribbon were real and not plastic.)

Ran The Merry Widow while taking out the dolls, and later while making a chicken salad for dinner. The last of the Jeanette MacDonald/Maurice Chevalier/Ernst Lubitsch musicals takes us to the fictional European country of Marshovia. The king is horrified when Sonia, the widow of the title (MacDonald), decides to leave off mourning and decamps to Paris. She owns more than half the country. If she takes her money elsewhere, they'll be ruined. They send the charming Count Danilo (Chevalier) after her. The ruse works too well - he actually falls for her. Now he has to convince her that he's sincere, even during a trial when he's accused of being a traitor to Marshovia for letting her go. If you're a fan of operetta or these two, this one is a bubbly bit of fun that's worth tracking down in the Warner Archives.

Finished out the night with a nice, long bath. Oh boy, did I need it. I was hot and tired after my long walk, and my knees were so sore, they were barely moving. I enjoyed the sounds of big band music while looking over more Christmas With Southern Living books for holiday gift ideas.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Busy Library Day

I had a lot to do today, since I'm hoping to have the day clear for a trip to Atlantic City tomorrow. One of the big things was hitting the libraries. I did the Oaklyn Library first, around noon. They weren't really busy, just one young woman asking to use a computer to help her apply for a job. I organized DVDs, shelved children's books, and organized the board books and picture books.

Lunch was next on the list. Since Capitol Pizza is only a couple of blocks from the Oaklyn Library, I ended up eating there. I had my usual slice of cheese and slice of mushroom with a can of Diet Coke. Enjoyed  a quiet meal while listening to the tail end of Action News and the beginning of The Chew. They were dead as a doornail. I saw one other person come in to pick up a pizza, but no one stopped and ate.

The Haddon Township Library, on the other hand, was bustling. There were once again piles of DVDs to shelve, and once again, there wasn't room for all of them. This time, it was the C and D kids' shelves (all those Dora the Explorer titles) and the A and M adult shelves that were overloaded. Put away a huge stack of audio books and a few CDs, too. Helped a sweet little girl find new Scooby Doo DVDs to watch, including the 13-episode set I just brought back. I didn't take out anything myself this week. I have other things I want to do this week besides watch movies, and there's still a few things I've bought over the past few months I haven't watched yet.

Stopped at the Westmont Acme on the way home. I was almost out of cooking spray. I really loved that Talenti Gelato and wanted more, too. They had flavors the Audubon Acme didn't carry. I went with the less-fattening Roman Raspberry Sorbetto. Picked up an Organic Cascade Sparkling Mixed Berry Water to drink on the way home. It tasted more like cherry seltzer than the usual Italian soda. They were a little busy, but the lines weren't that long.

When I got home, I worked on my story. I worked on it this morning as well and wrote down notes during lunch. Scott is taking Betty to the big end-of-the-summer clambake on the beach outside his home. Betty's happy to be going with him, but she's worried about their relationship. She's heard rumors about him and Maple possibly being engaged. It doesn't help that she overhears Eugenia gossiping with local women about Scott's marriage choices at the clambake.

Scott, meanwhile, has been lured to a sheltered cove by a familiar voice. Hilary and Ruth are there, Hilary singing with Betty's voice. Ruth forces Hilary to use her voice to put Scott under a trance. She wants him to marry her...then, she'll have him killed and take his soul.

Did a quick bathroom cleaning session around quarter after 5-5:30. The bathroom was absolutely disgusting, especially the bathtub. I couldn't really put it off for long. I'll see if I can get the kitchen in later this week.

Ran Mannequin this morning and while I cleaned later in an attempt to drown out the 80's rock radio station Charlie was blasting downstairs while he worked. There's nothing the 80's loved more than a good - or at least unusual - fairy tale romance, and this is one of the strangest. An Egyptian lass (Kim Catrall) who has traveled thousands of years to find her soul mate finally ends up in the body of a dummy in the window of a large old Philadelphia department store. She was originally put together by aspiring sculptor Johnathan (Andrew McCarthy), who fell in love with her. She comes to life and helps him make fabulous window displays that are the talk of Philly. Now he has to prove to everyone, including his flamboyant assistant Hollywood (Meshach Taylor), that he's not insane, just in love.

Like Xanadu from earlier in the decade, this is one of those movies you either really love, or really don't get. Critics tear it to shreds to this day. If you can accept it as a fun little fantasy with a nice cast and some great Philly in the 80's locations, you'll find it just as cute as I always have.

Garfield has his own close encounters with fantasy and strangeness in an episode of the 80's cartoon Garfield and Friends. He finds himself in "The Lasagna Zone" when he accidentally spills his favorite treat on Jon's new satellite dish and ends up in the TV shows. Orson just wants to be a "Sleepytime Pig" in the U.S Acres short, but the Sandman has missed the barnyard, The others try to help him get some rest. Jon wants to be brave like a samurai warrior in "Yojumbo." He takes karate lessons to impress Liz after a big guy threatens them. Garfield knows better - he finds himself helping out when the lessons prove to have not been very successful.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Rock Around the Doll

Started a beautiful, sunny, though slightly warmer morning with Peach Brown Sugar Pancakes. Thankfully, they turned out much better than the ones I made last week. They were perfect, soft and sweet and chunky and just right on both sides.

Work was on-and-off busy, busier than it has been, though still not quite as bad as it could be on a Sunday. I once again spent the down time writing and shelving items, though not for as long as during the weekdays. We should be picking up a bit this week as we get closer to Labor Day and the beginning of the month. Thankfully, by 4 PM, it had slowed enough that I was able to leave with no relief and no need for one.

As soon as I got home, I changed into regular clothes, grabbed my tiny laundry load, and rode over to the laundromat. It was crazy! I'd never seen it so busy. I did get a washer and a drier, but the only seats left were across from the vending machines, where hot late afternoon sunlight was pouring in. Even when it slowed down a bit later, it was still busy. Good thing my load was so small. I was in and out in under an hour.

In honor of the debut of American Girl's newest historical character, Maryellen Larkin, on Thursday, I ran music from the 50's and early 60's all day. Maryellen is supposed to be a Florida kid in 1954 with five other siblings. If any of those siblings are older, or her parents are a bit more liberal, she may have heard some of the music from the American Graffiti soundtrack. Although I think most of these songs are from later in the decade (the movie is set in 1960), it still gives you a good cross-section of what early rock-and-roll and R&B sounded like.

I suspect she would have been more likely to be swooning over the High Society soundtrack. This film musical was a huge hit in 1955, thanks to an excellent Cole Porter score and a cast that includes Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Celeste Holm, and Grace Kelly. Standards from this one include "True Love," "You're Sensational," "Well, Did You Evah?" (borrowed from Dubarry Was a Lady), and my personal favorite, Sinatra and Holm's comic number "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?"

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Beautiful Summer Day

The big plan for today was this week's Collingswood Farm Market run. It was the perfect weather for it too. The heat and humidity that had smothered the area this week dissipated overnight, leaving bright blue skies, fresh breezes, and perfect temperatures in the lower 80's. The farm market was understandably crowded, given the nice weather. Not only were the golden apples back, but they'd been joined by some very pretty Galas. I got the Gala apples, yellow peaches, blackberries, a red and a green pepper, mushrooms, and a bright red Heirloom tomato.

I took advantage of the cooler weather to finally do some baking. Used the last three white peaches and one of the apples to make Fresh Peach-Apple Muffins for lunch at work. I made more Blackberry Flummery as well, since my last batch came out so well. The muffins were a little crumbly, but they tasted pretty good. The Flummery was just as delicious this time around. As long as you don't add too much sugar or cornstarch, it's hard to get this recipe wrong.

Finished out The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies while baking and cooking. Even after the dragon Smaug is dispatched, Bilbo (Martin Freeman) finds himself dropped in a flat-our war between men, elves, orcs, giants, and dwarfs. Thorin, the head dwarf, is consumed with greed and refuses to give the men part of the treasure to rebuilt their town or jewels that belong to the elves. While Bilbo tries to keep the groups from killing each other, Gandalf (Ian McKellen) discovers where the orcs and goblins are coming from, and what sent them. Bilbo finally shows his friends that when you work together, you can bring down any army, no matter what your size or where you came from.

I have to admit, I kind of liked The Hobbit series a little better than the Lord of the Rings series, for one big reason - I liked Martin Freeman's good-natured Bilbo Baggins much better than Elijah Wood's Frodo as a main character. Freeman's having more fun and is a bit more helpful than just wandering around and getting caught by villains. Then again, I've always enjoyed the book The Hobbit more than the main series - the dwarfs are funny, Bilbo's a lot stronger than he thinks, and the battles aren't nearly as protracted. If you loved the original Lord of the Rings series or are a fan of high fantasy, this whole series is certainly worth your time.

Ran a little Backyardigans while I got ready for work. Wizards Tyrone and Pablo have "A Giant Problem" when a huge Tasha stomps into the kingdom. She's disrupting Queen Uniqua's royal nap. The very cranky queen wants her gone! Tyrone and Pablo aren't very good wizards. They do everything they can to get rid of the giant, but nothing works....until they decide to play along.

Work was a little busier than it has been, on and off steady. It could have been worse. I took notes for the fantasy story I'm concocting during the down times. There were no really major problems. In fact, a co-worker praised my blog, saying I was a smooth and intelligent writer. Though my relief ended up going elsewhere, I was still able to get out on time fairly easily.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Mermaid and the Hobbit

Did more Remember WENN this morning. Maple LaMarsh just wants a little respect in "A Girl Like Maple." The men tend to treat her like one of them; the women edge around her experience with the opposite sex and noisy Brooklyn accent. Maple thinks she's finally found the right guy in a handsome congressman (Boyd Gaines). Trouble is, she was using a cultured voice for a political interview show when she met him. He doesn't know her real voice...or the real her....and she's afraid of what he'll say if she tells him.

Work is still quiet. Once again, it was a little busy during the noon rush hour. Otherwise, nothing. I spent most of the day doing returns. It should pick up next weekend, when we get closer to the beginning of the month and Labor Day. Oh, and I got another 5 dollar off card from work as well, this one direct from one of our new managers. I used it on my groceries this time.

My schedule is much better than last week's. Though I have slightly fewer hours, I also have two days off this time, Monday and Tuesday. Otherwise, all late morning/early afternoon hours,  nothing out of the ordinary.

I didn't need much in the way of groceries, either. It's too hot to bake, I buy most of my produce at the farm market, and I tend to eat a lot of quick meals in the summer. Got the buy-one-get-one breaded and seasoned chicken fillet deal again and a small container of shrimp for dinner. Most of it was restocking - mandarin oranges, ibuprofen (Acme's $1.99 bottle was buy-one-get-one), canned chicken, cereal (went with the Acme generic Multi-Grain Cheerios), milk. The Acme is having a sale on Bryers brand ice cream. Their regular brand won't fit in my freezer...but I've been wanting to try their fancy Talenti Gelato. It's usually $5.99, far too expensive for a small container of ice cream. $2.50 is far more reasonable. Took advantage of the back-to-school sales to pick up a mini-notebook to keep in my locker at work for writing notes.

After I got in, changed, and put everything away, I worked on fanfiction. Betty's having the time of her life on land. Though she misses her family, she's enjoying seeing everything the world has to offer, from boat rides to croquet games. She especially loves the time after dinner she, Scott, and Maple spend playing the piano and dancing.

Meanwhile, Hilary has been using Betty's voice to give concerts under the ocean. Ruth catches one and realizes what she's done. She threatens to turn Jeff into a human if she doesn't agree to help her lure Scott and his immortal soul into her arms.

Started The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies while having shrimp, sliced heirloom tomatoes, sauteed vine greens and onions, and the last of the peach-blackberry cobbler for dessert. I got half-way through it before I needed to hit the shower. I'll give the full report tomorrow.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cracked Windows

Started off the day with the soundtrack from the 1965 Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella while getting ready for work. Though I like all three TV versions of this popular musical fairy tale, I tend to listen to the 60's version with Leslie Ann Warren the most. That may be because I grew up on it. This is the one that used to turn up on cable constantly when I was a kid. I'm especially fond of the lovely "Loneliness of Evening," a ballad added for the Prince in the opening. Originally cut from South Pacific, it's a gentle song of longing that gives us slightly more insight on the Prince. (The recent stage version uses it, but moves it to closer to the end, after the ball.)

Work was still dead. It did pick up a bit during the noon rush hour, but other than that, I was standing around and working on notes again. By the time the dinner rush hour was starting, I was heading home.

I spent the next few hours working on fanfiction. Maple takes Betty shopping, showing her how complicated human clothing is. They meet Scott for lunch, and then take in one of those new "movies" at the picture show. They end their day at the beach, chasing each other and listening to Scott's stories of his travels.

What they don't know is they're being watched. Ruth has come to the surface to see this human that's captured the heart of a mermaid. She finds him very attractive indeed...enough that she decides that she wants his soul for herself.

I was lucky. I had just saved my work and was about to shut down anyway when the computer crashed. Again. It crashed twice last night after I upgraded to Windows 10. I figured it would be ok if I let it cool down. I turned it off and went right into dinner. Dinner was all the remaining leftover vegetables in my refrigerator with canned chicken. Not bad, amazingly enough. I added two carrots for color.

Ran more Faerie Tale Theatre while I ate. "Sleeping Beauty" is one of the earliest stories in the series. Christopher Reeve is the very handsome prince who hears a story about a beautiful princess (Bernadette Peters) who was cursed to sleep for a 100 years by a wicked fairy (Beverly DiAngelo), then goes to rescue her himself. While the special effects do show their age, I may actually appreciate the jokes on this one now that I'm a bit older....and I definitely like that heart-stopping final battle between the fairy and the prince.

I had nothing but trouble the rest of the night. Windows 10 didn't get better when I turned it back on. It got much worse. Now, it was going down every 5 minutes or so. I finally texted Lauren and told her what was going on. She suggested switching back to Windows 8.1. I finally did as soon as the computer was behaving well enough. It seems to have done the trick - it hasn't gone down since then. I then had to try to remember where the router number was in order to get back online, which took another half-hour. I'm on a cable modem. I didn't remember the number is on the bottom.

Cheered myself up with some Remember WENN while waiting for Windows 8.1 to come back on. In the third season episode "A Star In Stripes Forever," character actor Mackie Bloom is working as the station manager while Betty is out of town. He's taking every advantage...until an old and unwanted acquaintance from his past shows up and starts making demands.

So, yeah. Next time, I do some research before I upgrade anything. And I don't recommend anyone upgrades to Windows 10 until they figure out the bugs. I haven't had any trouble with Windows 8.1. Sometimes, more really isn't better.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

More Ups and Downs Than a Roller Coaster

Began another hot, humid morning with more Scooby Doo. We move to the 1989 "spinoff babies" spoof A Pup Named Scooby Doo for "Scooby Dude." The (much younger) kids are visiting Velma's Aunt Thelma at her ocean research institute. She wants to find out why her dolphins are disappearing. The kids are more concerned with a Headless Skateboarder whose tricks are definitely not looking like a treat, not to mention avoid Red Herring bullying them.

I ran to Studio LuLoo around 11 for this week's volunteering session there and to donate another bag of stuffed animals. The kids were there again, though not quite as energetic as last week. The heat must have been getting to the poor things. Most of them did muster enough juice to perform a few song and dance routines for me. They loved it when I put the bag of stuffed animals down and let them roam through it. I loved watching them play with their new friends.

Since I got out a little earlier than I planned, I headed to WaWa to pick up a hoagie for lunch. I also grabbed eggs (they're cheaper there than at the Acme), a bag of carrot sticks for a snack this week, and a sweet frozen peach lemonade.

Had lunch at home while continuing the Scooby Doo set. The second season of the Scooby and Scrappy show was fully devoted to the antics of the two dogs and Shaggy. Most stories, like the fairy-tale spoof "Scooby-Noccio," didn't involve mysteries at all. Others have real ghosts and monsters that aren't humans in masks. "Scooby's Roots" introduces Scoob's grandfather, who is having trouble with ghosts in the family plantation. "Lighthouse Keeper Scooby" takes the trio to a deserted lighthouse, where they're chased by a ghost who wants them out - yesterday.

Work was...well, dead again, exactly the same as it was yesterday, last week, and all summer. In good news, I got a 5 dollar gift card from work for a compliment on how I handled a nasty customer. I even got a letter (with a hand-signed note) from an Acme vice president! I treated myself to some decadent mini sandwich cookies I've been wanting to try. They cost five dollars, too expensive for one container of cookies without a sale or a gift card.

I had more trouble with the WIC Checks in the end. First of all, the lady said she was in a hurry. She ran her cart into the register trying to get it out twice - and she was pregnant! I was glad she didn't hurt herself. Second, she was my last customer, and I wanted to leave. Third, she didn't have the checks organized correctly. I had no idea she had those juices there, and she never did find the last one. She complained to a manger, and a manager fussed at me. We're not supposed to rush the WIC Checks. I didn't mean to cause trouble! I was just hurrying, like she said to.

I was so frustrated when I got home. Every time I feel like I go two steps forward with that job, I end up being thrown five hundred feet back. I've said it before, and I'll say it until someone listens - I am not meant to be a cashier. No amount of gift cards can make me a saleswoman. I can't stand that job. I'm only there to make money.

I was going to work on my story, but I realized when I went on my computer that I forgot to do the upgrade to the new Windows 10. I ended up doing that instead while eating leftovers for dinner and watching the rest of the Scooby Doo episodes.

Scrappy, Scooby, and Shaggy are back to shorts with three more stories from their solo show. "Excalibur Scooby" has the trio avoiding a magician who needs their hair and fur to make a potion that'll get the sword from the stone. "Scooby's Escape From Atlantis" pits them against a centaur who is determined they stay in the ruined city of Atlantis forever! "Scooby's Luck of the Irish" moves inland to Ireland, where Scrappy traps a leprechaun, and they encounter a banshee who doesn't want them finding that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

"Cruisin' for a Brusin" is a real oddity, from just about the most bizarre Scooby Doo show ever, Shaggy and Scooby Get a Clue. Scooby and Shaggy are enjoying a vacation on a Mexican cruise ship. Unfortunately, so is their regular villain, Dr. Phibes. He tries to enlist his regular mooks to get rid of them, but all they do is repeatedly knock their boss overboard. He finally has them try to sink the ship instead...right as Shaggy and Scooby are about to help out with hot dog taco night!

"Hang In There Scooby" returns to the shorts format for some antics aboard a glider. Scrappy wants what he thinks will be an easy and fun way to get to the beach. His uncle and his uncle's best pal don't agree - and neither does a huge bird they encounter on the way down.

The next two are episodes from the mid-70's Scooby Doo Show. "The Creepy Case of Old Iron Face" has the crew going undercover underwater to find out what a strange iron-masked man has hidden on the former penitentiary Skull Island. "A Creepy Tangle In the Bermuda Triangle" has the kids stranded on an island that turns out to be the home base of a UFO and the alien, one-eyed skeletons who seem to be hijacking weather planes.

We skip ahead almost three decades to the new millennium and What's New Scooby Doo? for "She Sells Sea Monsters By the Seashore." A trip to a time share in the Pacific is waylaid by locals who are battling for spots for surfing and for sea turtles to lay their eggs. A huge green snake-like sea monster is frightening away locals, not all of whom are unhappy to see them go. The kids do a little underwater hunting of their own to find out what the monster is really after.

(The last two episodes on the disc are both from the the first season of the Scooby and Scrappy Show, which I just watched last week, so I skipped them.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Scooby Doo and the Sea Monsters

Began a super-hot day with breakfast and the Scooby Doo 13-episode set. Like most of the others, this one starts off with a brand-new half-hour special. Scooby Doo and the Beach Beastie takes the kids to a resort in Florida that's being plagued by a strange "sea beast" that's made entirely of water. While the rest of the crew tries to figure out what the creature's after, Fred attempts to get over his obsession with nets.

Work was still dead, the same as it has been all summer. It was especially quiet when I first came in this morning. Probably just as well, given they had people running around doing inventory until noon. It did pick up a little later, but not enough to be more than barely busy. I was able to shut down easily without a relief.

When I got home, I went straight into writing. Maple and Eugenia scrub Betty until she's clean and fix her hair. She joins them for dinner...revealing her lack of knowledge of human manners and mores. Maple offers to take her into town to shop for clothes; Scott says he'll join them for lunch and a trip to the picture show.

I jumped in the bath around 5. That felt so relaxing. I listened to Count Basie and read Christmas With Southern Living books for an hour. A nice, cool bath was great after a hot, humid couple of days.

Had leftovers while doing some more Scooby Doo. "A Clue For Scooby Doo" was one of the earliest episodes of the original series. Scooby and the kids encounter the ghost of a dead captain in a glowing diver's outfit during a party on the beach. It's Scooby who figures out how the ghost is able to glow.

"Scooby's Night of With a Frozen Fright," from the second season of the original show, also begins with a beach party. While fishing, Shaggy catches a whopper - a caveman frozen in ice who was lost by a cargo ship. Though the kids do bring him to the Ocean Land research facility, the million-year-old creature defrosts and kidnaps the scientists anyway. The kids have to figure out what a caveman wants with two scientists...and the mysterious machine that allows one to talk to aquatic animals.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Berry Dark Fairy Tales

Spent the morning finishing out Into the Woods. This is a musical retelling of four famous fairy tales - the original Brothers Grimm versions of "Cinderella" (Anna Kendrick), "Little Red Riding Hood" (Lilla Crawford), "Jack and the Beanstalk" (Daniel Huddlestone), and "Rapunzel" (Mackenze Mauzy). Cinderella still wants to go to the ball and dance with the prince (Chris Pine), but she gets help from her mother's grave, rather than a fairy godmother. Red Riding Hood is still dealing with a very hungry wolf (Johnny Depp). Rapunzel is still in a tower, thanks to her evil adopted mother, who also happens to be a witch (Meryl Streep). Jack is still annoying his mother (Tracey Ullman) and climbing beanstalks. The characters who tie this all together are the Baker (James Corben) and his wife (Emily Blunt), who have to get iconic items from each of these characters to break a curse and have a child. Everyone does get their wish eventually...but wishes have a way of not turning out the way you hoped they would. Happily ever after isn't always happy, even in fairy tales....especially when angry giant's wives come down and decides to destroy everyone and everything...

I'm a fan of musicals and fairy tales, and I do like some of Stephan Sondheim's work. (Though some of his stuff gets too dark or pretentious on occasion.) I adored this excursion into fantasy, and how sometimes the wish you thought you wanted ends up not being what you need in the end. The entire cast was great, but I give special kudos to the two kids, particularly Crawford's tough little Red Riding Hood. The set design, special effects, costuming, and make up were nicely done as well - the witch's final exit was downright amazing.

I will add that, like Les Miserables from a few years ago, this is a very dark musical and a very musical musical. There's more dialogue than in Les Mis, but most plot points are still presented in song, with very little dancing. If you don't like musicals and/or fairy tales, don't come within a quadrillion miles of here, no matter how much you like the cast. A lot of critics complained about the amount of music and the extreme length. The latter is somewhat justified - the middle does drag (but it did in the Broadway show, too). Broadway purists may be upset that a lot of songs and characters were apparently cut from the show, including a few big ones.

I loved it, but I love musicals, no matter how dark. I say your mileage may vary on this one, depending on whether or not you like musicals and how dark you like them.

Headed out for today's errands as soon as Into the Woods ended. Started at the Oaklyn Library. They were fairly busy for them; a group of autistic teenagers were leaving with their mentor as I was arriving, and a mother and her sons came in later. A volunteer worked on organizing craft items while I went over the DVD shelves, fixed the series books again, and shelved children's books.

Had lunch at Jalapeno's Grill. Despite it being around 1 when I came in, it was dead as a doornail. The only other people there were two college-age guys chatting at a corner table. I had a grilled vegetable quesadilla with chips and a tomato-and-shredded-lettuce "salad." Not bad, other than I think they overloaded the cheese. (And they took their sweet time delivering it.)

Made a quick stop at Thriftway next. I was hoping they'd have Fig Newtons on sale, but the prices were actually worse than the Acme's. Settled on their version of the fall spice wafers instead. Popped into Tuesday Morning after that to see if they had any Ever After High dolls. Nope, nothing new. Same dolls they had last time, including the original release of Cedar Wood.

The Haddon Township Library was bustling today! I guess everyone decided to hit the libraries to avoid the heat. The DVD return carts were overflowing, with kids and adult titles. I couldn't fit a good stack of both in. The adult shelves were an absolute mess. I had to fix a lot of slots before I could get anything put away.

Due to my busy schedule this week, I limited the live-action titles to The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. I did take out new releases for the 13-episode Scooby Doo sets (this one with a beach theme) and the 2009 version of Strawberry Shortcake.

Stopped at Dunkin' Donuts on the way home for a much-needed Oreo Vanilla Bean Coollatta. Pretty much the same deal as the Chips Ahoy Coollatta I took out earlier in the summer, but obviously cookies-and-cream themed. Sweet and tasty...and chilly, which is all I cared about.

Spent the rest of the afternoon hiding in air conditioning and working on my story. Nasty sea witch Ruth Geddy sends Betty's four siblings off to find the ingredients for the potion that'll change their sister back into a mermaid. In truth, she cares nothing about Betty or her family. What she wants is to gain an immortal soul of her own, so she can rule the concert halls on land as well as in the sea...and she thinks Betty's sailor may be the key.

Meanwhile, on land, Scott has taken Betty home with him. His servants Eugenia and Mr. Foley wash her and make her feel welcome. Maple fixes her hair and finds her some clothes, promising to take her shopping in town the next day. Betty's delighted to take it all in, especially things she's never heard of, like pianos and bathtubs.

Ran the Strawberry Shortcake set Berry Best In Show. These episodes bring in pets for the other girls besides Strawberry and introduces token boy character Huckleberry Pie to this incarnation of the franchise. In our first story, Huck and Blueberry are 'Partners In Crime" when they try to write a mystery together. Huck has some new ideas, but Blueberry wants to imitate her favorite detective, Patty Persimmon. When she sees Huck writing a song with Cherry Jam, Blueberry gets a bad case of jealousy, dealing by trying to act like Cherry.

The second story brings in Huck and the new pets. Huck is "A Boy and His Dogs" who needs a place to stay when his van breaks down. He's mortified when the puppies he's taking to the city to get adopted destroy Strawberry's guest room. The girls board the pups while he fixes up the room. He tries to like what they like to fit in, but they like him already, just as he is.

(And this episode is interesting in another way. It's the first time I've ever seen this series address Huck being a lone boy among anywhere from six to twenty girls. Talk about not fitting in - he's even a different gender.)

The dogs get involved in the third story, "The Mystery of the Disappearing Dog Show." Disappointed that their mystery story was rejected, Huck and Blueberry decide to put on a dog show to earn money for Huck's animal shelter instead. The girls try to make their pets the best, but their suggestions make things harder instead of more fun. Meanwhile, Huck and Blueberry work on another, more original detective story, set at a dog show. They may need to do a lot more than fancy detective work to figure out why no one came to the show and no tickets were sold!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fairy Tale High

The morning got off to too fast of a start with Chocolate Chip Pancakes. I'm not used to working early on Sunday! I burned one side of a pancake and just barely had the time to eat them. Too bad. Other than the burned side, they came out very well. I tried to make them as much like a real chocolate chip cookie as possible, with butter instead of vegetable oil and a little brown sugar in the batter.

I just barely got into work on time. And for once, I needed to be on time. We were busy all morning and early afternoon. Today was the first pre-season Eagles game at 1 PM. (They beat the Colts 36-10, BTW) and we're usually at least steady on Sunday regardless of what's playing. This is the only day many people who work during the week can shop. My relief was one of the new college kids who is usually early.

Good thing, too. I had many things I wanted to do today. As soon as I got home, I changed into regular clothes, then grabbed this week's laundry load. Since it was small, I threw in the doll-themed quilt on my bed. The laundromat was bustling when I arrived! People seemed to be in a far better mood there than they had been at work. I especially liked the lady with three adorable kids, ages seven, five, and two. They watched their clothes go around and around and helped their mom fold their things. They were so cute. I've never seen kids that were so well-behaved in the laundromat. I spent a pleasant hour or so working on notes and watching their antics.

When I got home, I folded my own clothes, then spent the rest of the afternoon dusting. I put it off to work on stories, but it was getting really bad. I couldn't put it off any longer. The dust came off one window sash in waves, it was so bad. Thankfully, I did get it all done in about an hour and a half.

I listened to more fairy-tale themed records and CDs as I dusted and ate the last of the leftover tuna salad for dinner. Once Upon a Time is Donna Summer's disco Cinderella retelling. The ballad "I Love You" was the only hit, but I prefer the sprightly "Fairy Tale High."

After I dusted, I switched to a true curiosity. Among the radio shows included in my The 60 Greatest Old Time Radio Shows of the 20th Century set are an episode of the children's program Let's Pretend that recreated fairy tales and fantasy stories. They covered many lesser known stories as well as familiar favorites, including one story even I never heard of - "Mell-A-Lot." Three brothers are turned into half-frogs, half-men by a wicked sorceress. Mell-A-Lot is their gentle neighbor, a sweet girl who accepts their help to fix her roof and eat her food without any thought of herself. It takes intervention from three fairies - and acts of true kindness - to break the spell and eliminate the sorceress.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Into the Craft Fair

Today was Collingswood Farm Market Day. It was a beautiful day for it, too, warmer than it has been but still not humid. The farm market was once again packed, even late in the morning. The summer harvest is out in full force, tumbling over long tables of succulent, colorful produce. Blueberries are gone, and I didn't see any apples or small melons today, but I saw plenty of just about everything else. I ended up with white peaches, blackberries, a green and a yellow zucchini, two little round yellow squashes from one of the organic booths, an heirloom tomato, and an unusual vine with greens on it that the farmer said tastes like spinach. (They also sell the Chinese beans and the many varieties of heirloom tomatoes.)

Haddon and Collings Avenues were blocked off when I arrived. I totally forgot that today was also Collingswood's annual Summer Craft Show. This fair emphasizes craft booths of every kind, from wood workers to tile-layers, from jewelry to soap-making. They were even busier than the farm market by 11 AM with people exploring and checking out the goods for sale. Though I enjoy looking at the items, I'm afraid it's very rare that I can actually buy something. Most crafts are either too expensive for me, or too large or awkward or delicate to carry home on my bike. I finally found some bars of hand-made soap that were being sold for $3.50 each. Went with Fruit of the Vine, which is, according to the soap-maker, partially made from wine.

Had lunch when I got home and put everything away. I started Into the Woods while I was eating leftovers for lunch. I didn't get the chance to finish it. I'll watch the rest of it tomorrow or Monday before I run errands.

Work was on-and-off busy all afternoon. There were quite a few grumpy people, too. I have no idea what got into everyone. (Mom said on Thursday night that people have been grouchy at the Ferry, too.) Thankfully, it did slow down enough by 7 for me to leave with no relief.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Summertime Lovers

Started the morning with some third-season Remember WENN. One of the best episodes of the entire series (and one of the five currently unavailable on YouTube) is "From the Pen of Gertrude Reece." WENN's receptionist pens a radio script that turns into a hilarious spoof of Casablanca, with Scott Sherwood as Rick Blaine, Betty Roberts as Ilsa Lund, Victor Comstock as Victor Lazlo, and Mackie Bloom as Major Renault.

The forthcoming war is also at the heart of "Eugenia Bremer, Master Spy." An English counter-intelligence agent believes there's more codes being transmitted by the station. He thinks Eugenia's the one doing the transmitting. Is there another, less insidious, explanation for her mysterious behavior?

Work was busier than it has been, but still not overwhelming. A hot weekend once again means most of our customers will rush out of town to the nearest tourist spot as soon as possible. It was fairly busy when I came in. By rush hour, it was so quiet, I was able to shut down easily without a relief. Not only did I spent almost an hour doing returns, but I actually got them all done.

I'm not thrilled with my schedule next week. In good news, more hours, which I sorely need, and they're almost all the same late-morning/early afternoon hours I've had all summer. In not-good news, only one day off, Monday. I was really hoping to go to Atlantic City this week! Oh well, it'll have to wait another week. Not happy about an early day Sunday, either.

Once again, my grocery shopping was kept to a minimum. It was mostly restocking - I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, sugar, chocolate chips, olive oil, skim milk, bubble bath, mandarin oranges. I finally found a laundry bag in with the back-to-school items. Thank heavens for all the college kids on their way back to school! It cost me $3.49, more than it would have at Dollar Tree, but at least I found one. It's made of nylon - I hope it lasts.

I spent most of the day before and after work writing. Betty's siblings - Jeff, Enid, Doug, and C.J - are worried about her. While her father Mackie fumes and frets, they take a more direct route and go to a truly evil sea witch, the snobbish and nasty Ruth Geddy. She does offer to help them...but not because she particularly cares about them or Betty. She wants an immortal soul of her own, so she can control theaters and seek applause on land and under the waves.

Watched Love Me Tonight as I ate leftovers for dinner. This classic 1932 musical is a modern fairy tale about a French princess (Jeanette MacDonald) who is wasting away in an old chateau in the country, surrounded by elderly nobles and her man-crazy cousin (Myrna Loy). When a tailor from Paris (Maurice Chevalier) shows up trying to get a playboy count's (Charlie Ruggles) debts, the count introduces him as a baron to avoid trouble. The princess is rude to him first, but she ultimately falls for this charming, cheeky fellow. When she finds that "The Son of a Gun Is Nothing But a Tailor," she learns that a truly modern princess can make her own happy ending...and it doesn't matter if the prince charming is a tailor or baron.

I'm so glad Kino International released this wonderful movie on DVD about a decade ago. I thoroughly agree with - this is the best musical you've never heard of. Fabulous songs by Rogers and Hart (including the title number, "Lover," and "Isn't It Romantic") and great performances from the leads, Loy, Ruggles, and Charles Butterworth as a wimpy suitor of the princess make this an elegant treat, one of the last major film musicals released before 42nd Street changed the rules of what a movie musical should be. Very highly recommended.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Children Will Listen

I couldn't believe how nice it was when I got up this morning. It was sunny and warm, but not hot or humid at all. There was a fresh breeze in the air. The sky was a shade of blue that was so brilliant, it hurt the eyes to look at it. This is how the weather should have been all summer.

Watched a couple of Max & Ruby episodes as I ate breakfast. I'm not the only one who likes to have fun with twice-told fairy tales. Ruby is "Little Red Ruby Hood" who tries to avoid the Big Max Wolf and get her cookies to Grandma's house. "Max and the Beanstalk" has Max discovering how cool beans can be when his sister tells him the story of the boy who climbed a beanstalk into the sky. Ruby and Louise want to tell a fairy tale, but Max wants his frog to be in it, too. Ruby doesn't think he can, until she remembers the story of "The Froggy Prince."

Since it's still berry season, I tossed in "Grandma's Berry Patch." Grandma wants Max and Ruby to pick berries for a special recipe. Ruby's excited about all the things Grandma might do with their harvest. Max would be more excited...if he didn't keep trying to swipe the berries from his sister.

I haven't volunteered at Studio LuLoo in a while. I put on my new sandals and strolled down Manor to West Clinton. I picked the right day for it. They had a group of kids, probably between the ages of 4 and 12, enjoying summer day camp. I was the audience for their adorable musical "Charlie and the Tube Band," about a poor boy who makes friends when he teaches the local kids how to have fun with a paper towel roll when the electricity goes out. They were so cute. The oldest girl played the guitar and accompanied the younger kids when they sang and danced. Some of the older kids helped the littlest kids read their lines.

After they finished, we had a question-and-answer session. I told the kids how their play had reminded me of my own childhood. Like Charlie, I was bullied as a kid. We talked about how that made me - and them - feel. They told me about their grandparents, their vacations, and the people who inspired them to be creative. Chatting with the kids was the most fun I've had in months that didn't involve writing.

We even got a mini-concert from Roxy. She could only stay a brief while, but she did perform a knockout version of "Defying Gravity" from Wicked, as well as a song of her own, "Guilty." She and Sarah O'Brian are going to California to play on the set of the new Supergirl show in a day or two. The kids and I were all really impressed.

I headed out around 12:30 when the teacher declared lunch time. Had my own lunch at Common Grounds Coffee House. They were busy too, mostly with bored teenagers looking for a fancy drink in air conditioning. I had my favorite spicy sweet iced tea and a slice of bacon and sweet corn quiche that was savory and sweet and quite yummy.

The Oaklyn Library wasn't nearly as busy. Other than one guy reading the paper and the librarian, it was dead as a doornail. It was too nice of a day to hang around in libraries. I was in and out in about a half-hour.

The House of Fun wasn't any busier. They didn't have the second season Sailor Moon DVD I've been looking for, just Season 1, Volume 1 again. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, the popular wrestler who passed away recently, was one of Lauren's favorites. She asked me to look for an action figure of him. Alas, I didn't see anything there, either. I'll check the loose figures bin the next time I'm in there.

Made a short stop at WaWa on the way home for a treat. I thought I'd try Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie. Yum, not bad. The crumb topping was a little messy, but the creamy strawberry shake was smooth and sweet.

Spent the rest of the afternoon working on my fanfiction. Betty goes to Hilary, a sea witch and former actress, to find out how to become human. Hilary warns her that the price will be her beautiful voice and long, dark hair. She'll be in constant pain when she's on land - splitting a tail into legs hurts terribly. Betty's still willing to make the sacrifice. Hilary uses her hair and a scale as part of the potion. She then takes the mermaid's voice, sealing it in a green glass bottle.

What Hilary doesn't tell Betty or Jeff is she takes Betty's voice for herself after sending the younger mermaid to the surface. She wants a beautiful singing voice to compete with her many acting rivals under the sea. She does feel guilty that Betty was hurt, is business, and it did get her a voice.

Betty is found on land by Scott and Maple, who put a quilt over her and carry her to Scott's home. Betty wants to tell them who she is and ask about Maple, but she no longer can. Her legs hurt too much for her to walk. Scott carries her back...which makes her as happy as a clam.

I got off around 5 PM. Made a Peach-Blackberry Cobbler while watching "Celery Night Fever." One of the more recent Veggitales episodes centers around forgiveness. Laura Carrot wants to save Celery Park from being destroyed by the developer Bob Onion. She's upset when Junior Asparagus forgets the camera to film an old-timer talking about the park and ends their friendship. Turns out Laura's not the only one holding grudges. Her grandpa Larry was a member of the wildly popular 70's band The Groovy Brothers, until they went their separate ways. Now Laura has to help Larry get the band together and learn that grudges can't be held forever, and we're only truly at peace with ourselves when we forgive the past.

Veggitales almost always does right by its musical episodes, and this one is no exception. Cute tunes done in the style of 70's pop, disco, and hard rock tell a sweet tale that almost seems to be a spoof of most musical biopics. If you or your kids are Veggitales and/or classic rock fans, you might have a blast groovin' to the beat of this one.

Appropriately, I made a tuna salad while finishing the night with the Faerie Tale Theatre version of "The Little Mermaid." This was the last adaptation of this tale to stick to the original story before Disney changed the rules of Mermaid tales. Pearl (Pam Dawber) is the title character who gives up her voice to the sea witch (Karen Black) in order to become human. Treat Williams is the prince she loves. Helen Mirren is Amelia, the sensible princess whom the prince is really in love with.

While this was never my favorite Faerie Tale Theatre episode (the aquatic effects look rather cheap today), I do like how the princess who competes with the mermaid for the prince's affections and the sea witch are played more ambiguously than usual, as per the original story. Amelia does like Pearl and really doesn't wish her any harm. The Sea Witch does warn Pearl how badly it'll hurt and how she's crazy to want to make the trade.

Oh, and I heard from Mom tonight. She's fine - better than fine, actually. She's back to work at the Ferry. Seems they were so overwhelmingly busy, they hired her back on the spot...and for good. She's only part-time, but that's enough for her. Dad's back at work as well, his knee having healed enough to handle the sea. He did get it bumped around a lot during a trip to an overflowing Wildwood water park with his grandchildren, but not enough to keep him off the boat. Poor Anny hasn't been as lucky - her brood all has pink eye, and she's had to deal with them alone. Her boyfriend J.J, also a fisherman, is at work as well.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Small Kids, Big Heroes

It was absolutely gorgeous when I got up this morning. The sun was out, the breeze was blowing, and the clouds must had disappeared sometime overnight. I celebrated the nice weather with breakfast and the end of Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo. "Lock the Door, It's the Minotaur!" takes us to Greece, where the kids are cruising the Mediterranean isles. A Minotaur is trying to keep everyone away from the local temples. While the Minotaur chases Shaggy and Scooby around the maze, for once, it's Scrappy who finds the clue that gives the monster away.

"The Ransom of Scooby Chief" is probably meant to carry viewers over into the next version of "Scooby Doo." Scrappy is visiting his puppy buddies in New York when Shaggy and Scooby are kidnapped by a couple of gangsters looking for quick loot. Scrappy and the other pups try to rescue the duo...but they accidentally do more to keep Shaggy and Scooby in prison than get them out!

The emphasis here is on comedy. Fred, Daphne, and Velma don't even figure into the story - they only appear in the beginning and the end. I suspect this was intended to be an introduction to the Scooby/Shaggy/Scrappy gag-based shorts that debuted the next year. The whole gang wouldn't be together in another show until 1989's A Pup Named Scooby Doo. Also, this reminds me why so many people don't like Scrappy. A little of that kid goes a long way, and he's just plain annoying in "Scooby Chief."

Work was boring, just as it's been all summer long. In Camden County, most people tend to hurry off to the nearest vacation spot the moment summer comes. Everyone is probably at the Shore or the Poconos, and will be for the next few weeks, until we get closer to Labor Day. (And even after that, a lot of folks will probably disappear on weekends and after school until the holidays pick up and it gets too cold and too busy for trips.) It was so dead, I was able to shut down relatively early with no relief and really no need for one.

It was such a nice day, I dodged the traffic on Nicholson Road and took the long way home down Nicholson, Atlantic, and Manor. They were doing a lot of work on Manor, especially down by the Oaklyn Manor Bar. I think they were tree-trimming (and cutting down some trees).

As soon as I got home, I went right into working on The Little Mer-Betty. Betty rescues Scott from drowning in a violent storm. Though she gets him to shore, he doesn't see her. He tells his friend Maple he heard a beautiful voice and saw a pretty girl helping him before he passed out. Betty is smitten with Scott...and she wants him to appreciate her saving his life.

Even though she gets in trouble with Mackie for communicating with a human and being out too late, Betty thinks constantly about Scott and the world above anyway. Her grandmother tells her that she'll need an immortal soul to be truly human. Mermaids don't live on, the way humans do. When they die, they become sea foam on the waves.

Betty knows who can help her make her dreams come true. She begs her older brother Jeff to bring him to his wife Hilary, a noted sea witch. Jeff doesn't want to, but Betty convinces him that she really wants to be human.

I broke for dinner around 5:30. Made one of the turkey tenderloins I've picked up in the last few weeks, baked in leeks and an augmented version of the sauce it came in (with additional chicken stock and lemon juice). Had corn on the cob and sauteed Chinese long beans on the side. Yuumm. The turkey tenderloin was amazing, juicy and sooo tender. The corn on the cob is the sweetest I've ever tasted. My hands were so sticky from the corn when I finished, I had to wash them twice.

Ran Big Hero 6 during dinner. Hiro (Ryan Potter) is a young man living in a futuristic hybrid of Tokyo and San Francisco. He's brilliant, but he tends to use his skills with robots to win illegal robot battles. His brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) and Aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph) wish he'd join the college for brilliant science students, like Tadashi did. A visit to the laboratory and seeing all the cool things they do wins Hiro over. Hiro makes tiny little micro-bots that can do anything to win a spot in the college. He does win...but the auditorium where he's making his introduction is blown to smithereens. His brother dies in the blast. Hiro is totally lost without his brother's encouragement...until he and the soft, marshmallow-like nurse robot Baymax (Scott Adsit) his brother made discover that both his brother's killer and the micro-bots are alive. Now he, Baymax, and his brother's buddies have to figure out who stole the microbots, and what they're really after....and learn that it's a lot easier to heal when you open up to friends and let them help you.

Awww. For an action-filled superhero extravaganza, this was really one of the more touching movies Disney's done in a while. Someone at the House of Walt really has sibling relationships on the brain. Tadashi and Hiro have very sweet bond, almost like Anna and Elsa's in Frozen, and Cass is pretty darn cool too. As much as I liked the kids, I think my favorite characters were big, soft Baymax (Tadashi programmed him well) and Aunt Cass, who really cared about her adopted sons, even if she wasn't always the best parent in the universe. I questioned whether or not this one deserved its Oscar win back in the spring...but now, as much as I liked How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The LEGO Movie, I think it really earned it.

I will warn that the PG rating on this one is well-earned. The death of a major character, discussions of mental health and puberty, and more violence than usual for a Disney animated feature puts this one out of the reach of really young kids. Anyone over the age of about eight with even a mild taste for sci fi adventure or anime will likely have as much fun with this one as I did.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mysteries and Mermaids On a Rainy Day

I slept late today. I've been up a little too late more than I should have been recently. When I did get going, I started the day with breakfast and the next episode of Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo. Horror movies come into play in "The Ghoul, the Bat, and the Ugly." The gang is going to attend the Batty Awards, which honor the best performers in horror films. This year, it looks like there may not be a show, thanks to the Shadow Creature roaming around. He's chased away the guests and slashed the film that was supposed to be previewed to ribbons. Shaggy and Scooby would rather hide in the maze, but Velma suspects that the answer to the Creature's appearance may be in the movie itself...

Hit the laundromat as soon as I finished breakfast. It was quarter of 12 by then. I put off doing the laundry for a few days so I could get it done on my day off instead of rushing after work. They were fairly busy, but I did get a washer and a dryer with no problems. Good thing, too. I had a big load this week, thanks to waiting two extra days. I spent the whole time working on notes. By the time I was finished, most people had left.

Went home, folded and put away the clothes, then went right back out. It rained the night before, but hadn't done anything since then. The clouds had been in and out all day. It wasn't really hot, but it was cut-the-air-with-a-knife humid. I needed ice cream. I ended up having lunch at Friendly's. They were surprisingly busy for 1:30, with several mothers and grandmothers and their children and at least two pairs of older women enjoying a late lunch. I had a tasty Patty Melt, a burger topped with fried onions and Swiss cheese on rye bread and fries. Decided to try something different and very summery for ice cream - Rockin' Poppin' Cotton Candy with marshmallow topping. It was raspberry-blue and pale pink with some kind of bits (crispy pieces? candy bits?) mixed in. Ahh. Very sweet and yummy.

There wasn't much going on at the Haddon Township Library. The threat of bad weather must have scared everyone off. Once again, I was able to shelve all the children's DVDs with no problems, but couldn't begin to fit the adult titles. Otherwise, there was nothing going on, no new releases or audio media to put away. I was in and out in a half-hour.

Made a fast stop at Family Dollar on my way home. I wanted to buy trash bags there because Family Dollar sent me a coupon for Glad. I forgot that coupon, but I did have another dollar one I got out of the circulars on Friday. I got my Glad Febreze/Gain bags and a Dasani Strawberry Water. (I haven't seen the Dasani flavored waters in years.)

The sun was out for most of the afternoon. It had gotten hot, and the mugginess was stifling. I spent the rest of the day at home, working on The Little Mer-Betty. Betty is the little mermaid, who lives under the waters of the Atlantic with her father the king Mackie, her siblings Jeff, Enid, Doug, and C.J, and her grandparents Gertie and Mr. Eldridge. She's fascinated by her grandmother's stories of the world above the waves. Mackie's birthday present for her is her first time going to the surface.

When she arrives, she sees a ship and climbs the anchor, taking in the dancing crew. Among the men are handsome captain Scott, celebrating his return from Asia with expensive cargo. She's starting to fall for him...but a storm may bring him closer to her than she could have ever imagined...

Oh, and we did finally get rain later in the day. It had showered briefly, for about two seconds, when I was on my way to Friendly's. The real rain finally started around 5. It poured for about 20 minutes, then stopped. To my knowledge, it hasn't rained since. Hopefully, it at least got rid of the humidity.

The rain was long gone by the time I was eating dinner around 6. I continued Scooby and Scrappy while I cleared out leftovers. Shaggy's screaming "Rocky Mountain Yiiiiii" when the ghost of an old miner comes back to haunt a Denver ski resort, looking for his lost pot of gold. While Scrappy attempts to get his uncle and his uncle's best friend to learn skiing, the rest of the gang find out what was really in that pot of gold.

"The Sorcerer's a Menace" in an Atlantic City on the verge of major changes. A magician opening a big act at one of the fancy new hotels is haunted by the ghost of his former mentor, who makes the valuable Black Pearl do more than disappear. Shaggy and Scooby would rather be eating salt water taffy at Steel Pier. Velma has her own ideas about what the ghostly magician is doing on the boardwalk.

Ended my night in a quiet, blissful bath. Ahhh. I haven't had one of these in a while. I needed it rather badly, especially after sweating in a muggy day. I listened to my By George jazz CD of Gershwin music (including at least three versions of "Summertime") and looked over my Christmas cake decorating book and two of the Christmas With Southern Living books, working on ideas for holiday gifts.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Cookies and Stories and Meddling Kids

I spent most of the morning starting my next WENN fanfiction. This one is set towards the end of the second-season episode "Behind Every Great Woman." Betty is frustrated over Hilary claiming her voice on the air, Scott's behavior, and Ruth Getty's snobbishness. She's supposed to be adapting The Little Mermaid to the air...but as usual with Betty, her own problems intrude....

Did a few episodes of Scooby Doo before and after writing. "Shiver and Shake, That Demon's a Snake" is unusual in that it's one of the few Scooby stories I've seen to be set in more than one location. The gang's cruise from Haiti to Miami to New Orleans is disrupted by a nasty snake demon. He keeps following the kids...but why? And what's hiding in the boat?

"The Scary Sky Skeleton" is attacking an air circus, where Daphne's friend Windy is the star performer. If the gang doesn't figure out what the skeleton is after, the show will be shut down for good.

"The Demon In the Dugout" presents a similar mystery across the sea in Japan. This time, it's a Dragon Demon attacking a stadium and trying to force it to close in the middle of a game between a Japanese and American team. While Scooby and Shaggy taste-test the local sushi, the other three try to figure out who wants to get rid of the stadium.

Work was on-and-off steady, not much different than it has been all summer. It gave me the chance to work on yet another fanfiction idea. Babes In Toyland is one of my favorite Christmas fantasy stories. I actually had it in mind for WENN as far back as the late 90's, but I could never figure out how to work it and went with The Nutcracker instead. Shirley Temple's version gave me a little bit of an answer - go back to the source.

The prologue opens during "Christmas In the Airwaves." Two kids are left waiting for their parents in the studio after the disastrous "Tell It to Santa" broadcast. The little boy is a typical rambunctious kid. The little girl, however, is quite grown up and sophisticated. She insists that there's no Santa, regardless of whether Mackie or Pruitt plays him. Mr. Eldridge reads them a story to convince them otherwise.

The two kids fall asleep and dream they walk through a door and find themselves in a magical world. Pretty secretary Betty Blue is engaged to half-gypsy former thief Scott Piper. They both work for nasty Barnaby (Pruitt), who holds the mortage on Betty's mother's (Gertie) shoe. Barnaby is determined to take Betty as his bride and force Scott to give up his inheritance and his claim on her. The kids and the other citizens of Toyland help to keep the two together and defeat Barnaby.

My relief was one of the new college kids and was actually early. I got out with plenty of time. The day remained cloudy, cool, and humid - just right for baking. I had leftover chicken with a tomato-cucumber-cheese salad for dinner, then made Coconut-Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies while running more Scooby and Scrappy.

"The Hairy Scare of the Devil Bear" takes us to the Grand Canyon. The ghost of an Indian bear demon has been scaring off members of an archaeological dig. The bear is said to be guarding the treasure hidden within the caves. Could it be the grouchy old hermit who is upset that the dig pushed him out of his home....or is someone else after the treasure?

The gang goes "Twenty Thousand Screams Under the Sea" when they check out a cliff diving competition in Acapulco. A sea beast is scaring off divers and fishermen. Velma convinces a fisherman to help them locate the beast and find out what it's really after.

"I Left My Neck In San Francisco" takes us and the group on a whirlwind tour of the City By the Bay. A famous thief left jewels at Alcatraz Island, jewels that are now scattered in hiding places around the city. A Lady Vampire seems to be after the jewels. Thanks to her flaming red hair, Shaggy and Scooby think she's Daphne. Velma, Scrappy, and Fred have different ideas.

Shaggy and Scooby aren't singing "When You Wish Upon a Star Creature" when an alien from a newly discovered star comes to Earth and immediately frightens everyone away from the local observatory. Scrappy just wants to trap it, but Velma suspects this star-struck monster has more Earth-bound reasons for keeping everyone away from the huge new telescope.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Fairy Tale Dolls

I slept in today after spending last night posting my story. Had just enough time to make Coconut-Lime Pancakes. Or tried to. I burned one. At least it still tasted pretty good. I listened to ABBA while eating. I was in a bouncy mood this morning.

Work was on-and-off busy, much busier than it has been. It is Sunday, which is usually our busiest day of the week regardless of the time of year. The down times were pretty quiet, though. Most people are probably either still at the Shore or on their way there. My relief was actually early, and I was in and out with no trouble.

When I got home, I changed my own clothes, then finally got around to changing the dolls. It took me a lot less time than usual. Dolls don't need to be stuck in hot outfits at this time of the year, either. Jessa wears the 2004 modern AG Island Luau suit and holds the pineapple-shapped ukulele. Whitney wears the Springfield Collection polka-dot navy bathing suit with the cute skirt and Springfield's white Swiss lace espadrilles. Molly's in her own peach Bathing Suit and heavier green towel. Samantha's 1904 Bathing Suit (the second version with the cap) is layered over the black stockings from Rebecca's School Outfit.

Felicity and Josefina are from time periods when bathing wasn't considered ladylike. Felicity wears her lavender "Traveling Gown" (and later meet outfit). Josefina is very pretty in her empire waist Party Dress and rebozo, with a flower clip in her long, silky black tresses.

Since I still had time after I dressed the girls and I wasn't that hungry, I worked on notes while listening to fairy-tale-themed musicals and children's records in my collection. Disney's stage version of The Little Mermaid wasn't as well-received as some of their other shows. It was nearly impossible to put the water effects onstage - the mermaids were on rollerblades. There's also the simple fact that a lot of Disney's Mermaid (including it's clueless title heroine) hasn't dated that well. Changes to the story (including a "princess contest" that sounds like it was swiped from The Swan Princess)  don't really help.

Two kids' records were more fun. Disney did a lovely Hansel and Gretel, based on the Englebert Humperdink opera, with Ann Jillian as Jill and Marni Nixon singing the lion's share of the songs, including "Brother Come and Dance With Me." One of my favorite record finds is the Peter Pan version of Alice In Wonderland. There's some nice songs - my favorites are "The Queen Has Commanded" for the ensemble and the dreamy title song.

I discovered something I wish I'd known about years ago on YouTube. Apparently, Shirley Temple did a short-lived show that was a series of fairy tale and book adaptations. I watched three tonight, including a Christmas special. My favorite of the three was the charming fantasy "The Princess and the Goblins," but they were all fun. (The Little Mermaid was uniquely set in ancient Greece.) And someone did some nice remastering here - the early 60's color is vibrant and exquisite.

The Princess and the Goblins
The Little Mermaid
Babes In Toyland.