Monday, February 25, 2019

Against the Wind

The wind was still howling violently when I awoke this morning. I drowned it out with more Buck Rogers as I ate breakfast and made my bed. "The Golden Boy" is a gold-skinned lad that the Searcher crew finds in a life pod. Shortly after, they get trapped in a an asteroid and can't get loose, even with the boy's metal-altering powers. He claims his larger friend who landed on a near-by planet has stronger powers and can help them. Buck, Hawk, and the boy have to find his taller companion among the members of a medieval-like prison colony, before they use him for their own purposes and an ion storm destroys the ship.

Headed out to get the laundry done after the episode ended. Maybe because it was almost noon by that point, but they were pretty busy. It didn't help that I had a big load, thanks to having put it off for so long. I was lucky to get a washer, but driers were easier to come by. I read a book on finding your calling and ignored the news and soap operas.

Put the laundry away when I got home, then had a quick Coffee-Chocolate-Banana Smoothie for lunch. Cheered myself up with the the Rainbow Brite record I found a while back as I worked. Some of the songs here are just so fun, and they're all much better than the music on my somewhat similar Care Bears record. "Starlite - Rainbow Brite," about Rainbow and her brilliant-maned equine friend, is insanely catchy. I've had it stuck in my head on and off since I listened to it. I also like "Make a Room For a Rainbow Inside" and the Color Kids' "The First Part of Friendship Is Friends."

I had a few errands to run, but the wind was way too wild for the bike. I had a hard enough time getting home from the laundromat! Opted for a short walk instead. My first stop was the Oaklyn Library. I had just enough time to do some quick organizing on the adult DVDs. They're still finishing re-labeling them. The labels for the fantasy/sci-fi section was now done, or mostly done (doesn't look like they finished it) in red. They were surprisingly busy for them, with several people grabbing books or looking up something on the computer before they closed for the afternoon.

I ran into the mother of my friend Erica, Miss Helen, while I was organizing the DVDs. She said she and her other daughter Debbie were on their way to Collingswood and would be willing to take me to Dollar General, which was my next stop. Between the wind and all the hiking I did last week, I wasn't about to look a gift ride in the mouth.

Unlike the library, they actually weren't that busy when they dropped me off. I mainly needed eggs. They're only $1.25 there, much cheaper than they are at the Acme. I was hoping to pick up shampoo, but while their larger Pantene bottles are smaller than the Acme's, they're not that much cheaper. I'll wait for a good sale or hit Rite Aid tomorrow. I did get rubber bands for my hair. I've had mine forever, and they're all stretched out.

I was walking down Manor when Miss Linda, the wife of my former landlord, drove by and offered me another ride. Once again, I figured why not. We had a short chat before I got off at my place. As the grandmother of Khai's friends Bree and Chloe, she knows what's going on with Dad. I told her I'm feeling worthless and stuck...and I am. I feel like I'll never find a use for my abilities. She said I wasn't worthless, and that I shouldn't talk that way. Sometimes, it's hard to remember that.

Did some reading on my newly-made bed for the next hour and a half. Finished out Work Reimagined. I've begun to realize that I've never really had any concrete ideas of what I wanted work to look like. As a young child, I wanted to be a marine biologist because I'd always been around the ocean; a little later in my childhood, I wanted to write because everyone always said I was such a good writer. No one ever said what I should write, or what I should do with it, or what else I could do. The career center at Stockton sat me down in a room filled with books on jobs and told me to pick one. They were otherwise no help whatsoever.

I presumed, after I got out of college, that I'd get a job with a local newspaper or radio station, or I'd become a secretary at a local office, and that would be that. No one in Cape May County wanted me. Turnover at most Cape May County media is rare to non-existent. People keep their jobs down there for as long as thirty years or more - and then they turn their job over to a friend or relative. No one ever needed help. I took the Acme job to earn money while I was in college, not for the rest of my life.

That's the trouble. I don't know what I want to do with the rest of my life, besides write and volunteer. I have no idea what I'm supposed to do, or what I should be doing. I know it's not retail. I just want something I enjoy to supplement my income, and maybe help me figure out what I can do beyond pushing carts. I'm just so nervous about pushing forward. It's easier to read than it is to move.

Worked on writing around quarter after 4. I think I'm going to try to wrap up my current Robin Hood/Han Solo story earlier than planned. It's not going as well as I'd like. Not only do I have a lot of other things on my mind, but there's at least three or four ideas that I have in my head that are probably more developed than this one. Han tries to get to Luke and Vader, but he's stopped by Sir Boba of Gisbourne, who knows he, Luke, and Leia are in charge of the outlaws. Han gets him to cut off his bonds, and they end up dueling.

Decided I needed a decent dinner for a change, and not just something thrown together. I finally had the pasta with chicken meatballs I was originally going to make last week. Used the spaghetti sauce mix packet from the buy-one, get-one Acme spice pack deal to make my own tasty pasta sauce. Had it over whole-wheat penne pasta, with a side of steamed broccoli and cauliflower. Yum! Ooh, I love the Acme's spaghetti sauce mix. My sauce was nice and tangy; the meatballs were incredibly tender.

Returned to Buck Rogers as I made my meal. Finished out disc 2 with "The Crystals." Buck, Hawk, and Wilma are among a group searching what they believe to be an uninhabited planet for crystals to power the Searcher. They find a muck-covered creature that Buck calls a mummy. They think it's dead, until it goes after their crystals. Meanwhile, Buck encounters a pretty young girl who can't seem to remember anything about herself or where she's from...but the mummy sure seems interested in her. Buck and the others try to save her from this wrapped-up menace, while Crichton and Twiki (the latter now performed by Mel Blanc again) learn more about the planet's previous inhabitants.

Went back to Angry Birds Star Wars after I ate. I'm still working my way through the "Path of the Jedi" rounds to earn an upgraded lightsaber for Luke. The space rounds alternated between being annoyingly tricky and actually kind of easy. A lot of them involve just needing to hit a Darth Porker helmet that's using the Force to hold things up just the right way, causing everything to fall down and destroy the structures and the other pigs.

Finished the night with Three Billboards Outside of Ebbings, Missouri. We head down to the deep south for this story of what people will do when they're grieving, and how different folks handle grief. Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) handles the death of her daughter by buying and painting three billboards with messages that basically indicate that Chief Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) isn't doing his job. Her daughter was raped and murdered, and no one has caught the killers yet. No one's happy that she did it, especially since Willoughby has cancer and isn't in good shape. While Willoughby is understanding, his obnoxious and racist officer Jason Dixon (Sam Rockwell) is far less so. He threatens the man who sold Mildred the billboards and arrests a friend of hers on trumped-up charges. Even her ex-husband Charlie (John Hawkes) thinks she should let the billboards go. Mildred is determined to make them stay and have her voice heard, no matter what.

Yow. This is a very, very dark story of how grief and anger can lead people to do some pretty frightening, violent things. McDormand, Abbie Comish as her equally troubled friend, and both of the leading men are excellent; McDormand and Rockwell won Oscars for their strong performances.

This isn't for kids (there's a ton of swearing, some occasionally nasty violence, and a lot of discussion of rape and how justice isn't always done as fast as we'd like), but for adults who are looking for something thoughtful with some incredibly courageous performances, this is a very dark but very interesting look at what grief can do to all of us.

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