Friday, February 22, 2019

Woman On the Run

Began a sort-of cloudy and windy morning with breakfast, then baking Mint Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies to get rid of the last of that bag. Ran four Monkees episodes centered around Peter Tork, who passed away yesterday, while I baked, starting with "One Man Shy" from the first season. Poor Peter is too bashful to talk to a pretty debutante (Lisa James). The other guys try to encourage their romance, which annoys the heck out of her obnoxious boyfriend Reggie (George Furth).

Most other episodes that revolved around Peter usually had him discovering a foul plot and the other guys coming to his rescue. Take "The Case of the Missing Monkee" from later in the first season. He discovers that a respected scientist has been kidnapped, only to be captured himself. The remaining Monkees learn that Peter and the scientist are being kept in a hospital and first try fake injuries to get in, then passing as doctors.

One of the best - and most controversial - episodes of the series was "The Devil and Peter Tork," from the mid-second season. Peter inadvertently sells his soul to the devil Zero (Monte Landis) in order to buy a beautiful harp he falls in love with. Peter and his harp-playing skills brings the guys fame and fortune, until Zero comes to collect and the others have to keep their blond buddy out of his clutches. (This was actually filmed much earlier - Mike's wearing his green hat, and Micky has straighter hair - but censors had a fit over the song "Salesman" and some cracks at the strict network rules in the 1960's and it got pushed back.)

"The Monkees Blow Their Minds" from later in the second season is somewhat similar, only this time, Peter ends up being controlled by a devious mentalist (Landis again) and his goofy assistant (director James Frawley) who want to use him for his nightclub act. This time, when the other guys go after him, they fall into the mentalist's hands, too. It's Micky who finally figures out how to break free of his control. (And yes, that is Mike swapping roles with musician Frank Zappa in the opening sequence.)

Went outside after the cookies came out of the oven. I had to get the bike seat back on. My legs just weren't up to more hiking after all the long walks I've taken all week. It took me almost an hour and a half, but I did manage to figure it out. Despite my efforts, it remained quite wobbly. The tool set I was using to fix the bike fell apart while I used it; it was a kind of cheap one I picked up a while back, anyway. I figured I'd stop and get a new one later.

First stop after I actually got the bike moving was PNC Bank. Dad and Jodie gave me some money as an early birthday present. I reopened my two savings accounts, one for that nest egg everyone wants me to make, another for other expenses. The woman who helped me was really sweet. She even offered me peppermint puff candy when her throat was dry.

Next stop was the Crystal Lake Diner on Cuthbert for lunch. It was almost 2 by the time I made it there. They weren't dead, but it was far from crazy. I ate a huge chicken quesadilla with lots of big, juicy grilled chicken pieces and watched Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? on the TV behind the counter.

The Haddon Tonwship Library is on the hill just over the diner. They were even less busy. I mainly shelved kids' DVDs. Grabbed more Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and An American In Paris for review next week, along with renewing Julie & Julia and Three Billboards.

Stopped at Target after I left the library. They actually had a set of two tool sets for 9 dollars. That was fine. It wouldn't hurt to have two around. I raised the seat to the right height, but still couldn't get it tightened.

Rode across Haddon Township and Audubon to the Acme to do this week's grocery shopping. The clementines are still on sale; found bagged vegetables on a decent sale as well. Had an online coupon for free Acme generic hot chocolate mix and thought I'd try it. Restocked canned tomato sauce, mushrooms, canned mandarin oranges, honey, skim milk, buttermilk, yogurt, chocolate chips, brown sugar, whole wheat flour, cereal, and ground turkey.

My schedule next week is pretty similar to this week, only this time I work next Friday and have off on Saturday, and the latest I work is 5:15. Monday and Tuesday are also off. This time, I'll actually be able to get some stuff done on Monday, including volunteering.

Finally went straight home after that. Ran episodes of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood while putting everything away, and then as I made a quick banana-oat smoothie for dinner. "Super Daniel!" and Super Grandpere take Daniel Sr's lunch to work. Along the way, they help Prince Wednesday the Dinosaur get an apple from a tree and Miss Elania the Horse find her way through the forest.

"Daniel Is Big Enough to Help Dad" build a playhouse for him. Well, he's big enough to hold the door while Dan Sr. nails it on, help him paint the door, and hold a cabinet that his mom needs to fix. "Daniel Fixes Trolley" when his mother doesn't have the time to help him and he has to put the tire back on his toy trolley himself. "Daniel Doesn't Want to Stop Playing" with his toy trolley, but first his parents insist he has a book he made himself that he has to finish for show-and-tell, then he has to go to bed. Mom tells him he can do one more thing each, and then he's done.

(Dan's not the only one who has trouble with the "one and done" thing. I often stay up too late when I can't stop looking up or reading things online. I need to remember that "Choose one thing to do. It was fun, now it's done" song myself.)

Did a little bit of writing after dinner. Han tries to get Leia to go after Luke, but she wants to stay with him. They finally admit their feelings to each other...but Prince Palpatine is not moved. And then Sheriff Vader comes back with his prisoner...

Ended the night after a shower with Julie & Julia. "Julie" is Julie Powell (Amy Adams), who works at a call center in New York in 2002. She hates her job and while she loves her husband Eric (Chris Messina), she doesn't like their move to Queens over a pizza parlor. Hoping to find some meaning in her life, she starts a blog devoted to cooking every recipe in beloved chef Julia Child's massive Mastering the Art of French Cooking books. She's hurt first when her husband argues over all the time she spends on it, then when the real Julia Child makes a dismissive comment, but eventually finds writing a blog to be invigorating.

As Julie finds herself, we see in flashbacks just how the cookbooks came to be. Julia Child (Meryl Streep) attends a prestigious French cooking school to give herself something to do while her own husband Paul (Stanley Tucci) works as a diplomat. She enjoys French cooking so much, she collaborates on a book of French recipes for American housewives with two other women. The cookbook is rejected by the first company that picks it up; Julia couldn't deliver it on time, and they want less elaborate recipes that use mixes for fast-paced American cooks. Julia perseveres, and not only does another company publish her book, but they give her the first real cooking show on PBS, The French Chef.

Meryl Streep is the thing here as a perfect Julia Child. She has the more interesting story, including her collaborating with two other chefs and keeping her husband in Europe while she worked on her book. Julie's story isn't as much fun; while Adams isn't bad, her character can come off as neurotic and a bit of a whiner. While Messina and Tucci are fine as their supportive husbands, this is mainly about the women and a lot of French food. If you love writing, stories of real-life triumphs, or the other work of writer/director Nora Ephron (this was her last movie), you'll want to throw a French omelet on the burners and check this one out.

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