Friday, February 01, 2019

Turn On the Heartlight

Kicked off a cold and silvery-gray morning with The Backyardigans. Pablo, Austin, and Uniqua go on a "Mission to Mars" to find out what that strange "boinga boinga" sound is. Tasha and Tyrone acts as their Mission Control on Earth.

Headed to work even before the cartoon ended. It was snowing when I went out, but not heavily, and it wasn't sticking to the streets. I figured I'd be all right riding to work. Besides, I had grocery shopping to do later.

It wasn't busy when I arrived. I did have to gather carts for the first hour, but there was only a dusting of snow on the ground at that point. Despite the head bagger saying she'd been slipping on the parking lot, I had little trouble. When another bagger came in who prefers outdoor work, I spent the rest of the day doing returns and shelving what little candy was left. I did end up in the register a few times when the lines got a little long. I also had to take a very short test on my knowledge of produce codes. (For some reason, we all have to take that test once a month now. I guess it's to keep us updated on the produce codes.)

Got my schedule during break. In good news, same amount of hours, all morning work, sometimes as early as 8. In bad news, I don't have another day off until Friday! At least working so early will mean I'll have the afternoon to get chores and errands done, including looking for writing work.

There were a lot of good sales this weekend, probably in honor of the Super Bowl. Quaker was having a big online coupon sale; I picked up the golden raisin Breakfast Squares and their crunchy cinnamon Oatmeal Squares. Broccoli crowns were also on a good sale, as were chicken sausages. Found two of those crusted fish fillet packs with managers coupons. Picked up the Acme's generic organic blue corn chips (another good sale) to go with Sunday's dinner. Found canned chicken on the clearance racks. Had a coupon for free eggs from the Acme's online rewards program. Restocked apples, bananas, grapefruit, skim milk, cheese, cooking oil, and mandarin oranges.

The snow continued to fall lightly all afternoon. By the time I finished shopping, it was still coming down...and now, it was sticking to the streets. I think we got maybe three or four inches or so in all, not a lot as snow goes, but more than we have been getting. Even the main roads were a mess. I half-walked, half-rode my bike home.

Ran more Backyardigans as I put everything away when I got home. Tyrone the master "Samurai Pie" maker instructs young novice Austin in the creation of the Great Pie for a very hungry Empress Tasha. The duo have to figure out how to please the picky hippo ruler and keep their creation out of the hands and flippers of pie-snitching ninjas Uniqua and Pablo!

Worked on writing for a little bit after I finished. Han's first robbery is of Brendol Hux, an obnoxious Norman nobleman on his way to give the high taxes collected from his peasants to Sheriff Vader. Han charms his wife (and steals her jewels) while the rest of his group pose as a performing troupe. Stealthy Ezra the Miller's Son even manages to steal the gold hubcaps right off their carriage!

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Turned one of the fillets I bought earlier into fish tacos, using the remaining tortillas from last week, with steamed broccoli for extra vegetables. Continued with The Backyardigans while I ate. Assistant Austin is upset when Mad Scientist Tasha sends him to gather all the monsters of filmdom for a secret assignment on his birthday. It's harder than it looks. Mummy King Tyrone, Vampire Pablo, and Werewolf Uniqua are terrified of each other! Austin points out that being "Scared of You" is kind of silly, especially when they're all more cute than frightening.

Sherlock Pablo is asking "Whodunit?" when Lady Tasha's jewels are stolen during a blackout at her mansion. He has quite a few suspects to choose from. Butler Tyrone has been seen wandering suspiciously around the grounds. Austin Frothingslosh nervously claimed he had to go home to his cat right after the theft took place. Uniqua Underhood shows up claiming that there's going to be a theft...right before it happens.

Worked on my first mini-donuts while "Whodunit?" ran. The donut pan set Mom gave me a few weeks ago included pans for smaller donuts, the kind Tastycakes sells in bags covered in powdered sugar or chocolate. I used Mom's modified recipe and dipped them in plain glaze to keep things simple. The Acme always holds a chili cook-off the day before the Super Bowl. I can't bring in chili on my bike, but desserts are a lot easier to carry. I figured the mini-donuts would make more. I might have to make them more often. They came out much better than my larger donuts, with only one falling apart after I took it out. (And yes, I remembered to add everything this time.)

Finished the night after a shower with E.T: The Extra Terrestrial. 10-year-old Lucas (Henry Thomas) has just returned from picking up a pizza for his rather obnoxious older brother Michael (Robert MacNaughton) when he sees something in the tool shed. That "something" turns out to be a lost alien. He and his sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore) befriend the little fellow, taking him into their home under the nose of their busy single mother Mary (Dee Wallace). Gertie even manages to teach it English, thanks to episodes of Sesame Street. Elliot dubs it "E.T" and tries to help it make a machine from a Speak & Spell that will allow it to "phone home." E.T, however, is growing weaker...and thanks to having bonded with Elliot, he's getting sick, too. They do manage to call E.T's planet, but not before Mary and the government find them. While the scientists have good intentions, Elliot insists that he knows what E.T really needs.

This is another movie from my childhood that a lot of people love, but I really only kind of like. (Once again, the fact that it rarely appeared on cable and didn't make it to home video until late in the 80's may have been part of the problem.) The first half, with the kids and their creative insults and Gertie's method of hiding E.T in plain sight, is hilarious. There's a major mood whiplash after E.T starts to get sick, with the second half going into action-melodrama turf. (Although the scene where Michael has to drive the van carrying E.T when he's barely driven their family car is pretty darn funny.) And I am glad to see that most of the special effects have dated well, including the famous scene of the Elliot riding by the full moon with E.T in his basket.

This still isn't my favorite childhood movie, but I think I like it a lot more now that I've seen it again as an adult. If you have kids who love sci-fi stories, have fond memories of it from childhood or it's 20th anniversary re-release, or are a fan of director Steven Spielburg, you'll want to blast off with this touching story of a boy and his alien pal, too.

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