Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Spring In My Step

The day did not begin well. I awoke to Charlie cursing on the porch. I forgot he was going to start putting the new siding on the house today. I'd been reading Superfluous Women for an hour and ignoring him when the phone rang. Turns out it was a very upset Mrs. Stahl. Her brother had just died, and she was going to his funeral. Having lost my stepfather back in October, I could understand her distress too well. We rescheduled our appointment to the end of May, the week after Lauren's visit.

Finally had breakfast while watching more Dick Van Dyke Show. Rob is more than a little surprised when "Harrison B. Harding of Camp Crowder, Mo." shows up at the office one day, claiming to be an old army buddy. He doesn't recognize him, but he still invites him and his wife to his house for dinner. He's convinced that Harding has nefarious motives, and gets Laura worrying, too...but maybe things aren't as bad as they seem.

Headed to the laundromat after the episode ended. I'd already planned on doing this in the morning anyway. There were a few people around when I arrived. By the time my small load was in the dryer, the place was almost empty. I listened to 70's and 80's hits (and one good recent country-pop song) playing over a man's phone, ignored soap operas, and worked on story notes.

Put everything away when I got home, then made a strawberry-banana smoothie for lunch. Continued with Dick Van Dyke while I sipped my treat. Rob was supposed to buy "Forty-Four Tickets" for the PTA, but he forgot. Now he has to beg, borrow, or con enough tickets off everyone he can think of, before the members figure out what's going on.

Since the weather is supposed to be lousy the rest of the week anyway, I flip-flopped my original plans for Thursday and did the Haddon Township Library today. It was so nice, I took the long way through Newton Lake Park. The weather was gorgeous today, sunny and breezy, a perfect upper 60's-lower 70's spring day. I dodged a lot of people enjoying the scenery, including dog walkers, fisherfolk, parents out with strollers, and people out for jogs.

The Haddon Township Library wasn't terribly busy when I arrived. It was too beautiful for people to want to hang around a library all day. I shelved all the DVDs I could. Many of the shelves were overloaded, and there were quite a few titles I just couldn't fit in. Didn't get any movies, but I did find the next Super Hero High novel, this one about Bumblebee.

Made a very quick stop at Target on the way home for cough drops. I'm hoping it'll loosen the gunk in my chest enough to stop me from sounding like I'm hacking up a hair ball. They weren't busy either, and I was in and out in less than 15 minutes.

Noticed that Phillies Yummies was open for the first time this season. They're the ice cream place a few blocks down from me on West Clinton. Tried a cherry vanilla Yum-Yum, a creamier, grittier water ice. Oooh, it was good, especially the vanilla part. Enjoyed it a table while watching the kids show off on their bikes and chatter amongs themselves at the picnic benches on the sidewalk.

Went straight home and on the computer, ignoring Charlie's fussing as he finished up the work for the day. Leia, Harris, Luke, and Chewbacca manage to get out and regroup in a service hallway. Leia expects the guys to follow her, but Harris is having none of it. He's his own man. They finally get to a catwalk above the Falcon...only to be spotted by the Shadow Men...

Broke for a quick dinner at quarter of 7, then some Lego Star Wars. The two rounds I did tonight are among the longest in the game. "Through the Jutland Wastes" and "Mos Eisley" both have distinct parts and long, involved puzzles that take a while to figure out. I managed to get True Jedi from "Jutland," but got shot at too much to get it in "Mos Eisley." Didn't really find much in the way of pieces in either round. I do better with those rounds on Free Play, when I have refilling hearts and invincibility.

Finished the evening with the fantasy Yolanda and the Thief. I go more into this unusual Fred Astaire film from 1945 at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Yolanda and the Thief

Monday, April 29, 2019

A Beautiful Sunny Day

Started off a sunny day with breakfast and episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show. This is one of six full TV shows Lauren dubbed for me about five years ago or so when I expressed interest in them. After running four sci-fi shows in a row during the daytime this winter and spring, I thought it was time for a change. Besides, I've barely touched those shows since I got them. Almost all of the shows Lauren sent me ran for anywhere from five to eight years. That's a lot of episodes to watch.

I decided to do one season of a show, then switch off, starting with Rob and Laura. I did three episodes of the first season in honor of Mary Tyler Moore after she passed away in January 2017, but hadn't gotten around to the rest until today. I have fond memories of watching this show on Nick at Nite during the early 90's, and I was glad she sent it along.

Started off with "Washington vs. the Bunny." Rob has been ordered by his morose boss Mel Cooley (Richard Deacon) to check out a new act for The Alan Brady Show, the variety program he writes for, in Washington DC. His son Richie happens to be appearing as a bunny singing the Cole Porter standard "You're the Top" in a play the same day. At first, he says no, but after a nightmare that has Laura controlling him, he agrees to go...and regrets it.

Richie gets his parents to tell him how they first got together in "Oh How We Met On That Night We Danced." Rob in fact met Laura when she was a USO dancer during World War II and he was hosting her show. He'd tried everything he could think of to get to know her, but she kept brushing him off. He finally gets onstage for a dance with her, but it doesn't go quite as well as he hoped.

Headed off to work shortly after the episode ended. Work was off-and-on steady, but I spent most of it in the back, organizing the clearance racks. One of the head managers wanted me to get as much of a cart filled with clearance aspirin and ibuprofen bottles onto the shelves as possible. I moved a lot of things around, helped by an older man buying all eight of the fire-starter logs that had been sitting on the bottom shelf. I wish I could have finished it, but I kept getting called to take back cold items, then they wanted me to go outside for the last hour. At least it was a nice day to be outside, breezy, sunny, and fairly warm. There were even people out filling some of the larger pot holes that had developed in the parking lot during the winter.

Grabbed tissues on my way out, then decided that the weather was nice enough to take the long way home down Nicholson Road. It was almost 3:30 by then. I ran into a lot of rush-hour traffic, especially around the Audubon Crossings entrance and on Nicholson. Everyone probably wanted to enjoy the pleasant weather and nice scenery. The leaves are almost full-grown now, pale green and delicate. Creamy white dogwood trees and deep purple irises bloom in gardens and yards. Kids laughed and chattered on their way home from school.

Worked on a few things when I got in. I tried writing a proposal. The trouble with trying to get writing jobs is, I have no idea how to explain my lack of experience beyond my blogs. I'm still nervous about selling myself. What do I say that sounds right?

Switched to working on my story around 5:30. I re-wrote yesterday's sequence to make it the walls moving in to crush the crystals before they go in the furnace. Leia tries to burn the walls enough to get them out, while Harris and Chewie hold the walls at bay and Luke calls Charlie and Rudy on the intercom to shut it down.

Broke for dinner at quarter of 7. Had leftovers while watching one more Dick Van Dyke episode. Buddy convinces Rob to take care of his German Shepard Larry while he's on vacation. The dog becomes "The Unwanted Houseguest" when Laura complains that she should have been consulted too, Richie is afraid of him, and the dog whimpers all night and won't sleep. Rob has to figure out how to get the dog to settle down without upsetting the rest of the household.

Ended the night with Lego Star Wars. Finished out Revenge of the Sith and did the first round of New Hope. The longest and most difficult of the three is "Ruin of the Jedi." There's a lot of puzzles to figure out here, many of which you can't do until later. I didn't get True Jedi or a lot of pieces.

Did better with the other two. The boss round "Darth Vader" involves a lot of jumping over and through bursts of lava that often obscure your vision. Thankfully, all but two pieces are pretty easy to find, and I got True Jedi despite losing a lot of studs hopping around in the lava field. Did better with "Secret Plans," the first Original Trilogy round. Princess Leia leads Captain Antilles to Artoo and Threepio, and they have to escape the ship with the help of Antilles and a Rebel soldier. Once again, there's a lot that can't be done in the regular mode, but I still managed to get more than half the pieces and True Jedi.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Winds of Spring

Began my morning with a quick breakfast and the children's record version of Strawberry Shortcake and the Winter That Would Not End. I was inspired to do this one after talking to Lauren last night. We're lucky that our weather this month has largely been normal for this time of year. That's not true everywhere. Lauren told me she got snow in Pittsfield. It didn't stick, but it was still snow in late April. She says it's at least 20 degrees colder there, too.

It's still pretty cold and snowy in Strawberry Land, too. Strawberry and the other kids are worried about their crops. Elderberry Owl explains that the Snow King's crystal was stolen by a grumpy badger. The kids take it on themselves to find it. They dress warmly, pack jam sandwiches, and make weapons and helmets, just in case. The badger, however, isn't as much of a bully as he seems, and he has his reasons for not wanting spring to come.

I have the original book version of this as well. It was one of mine and Rose's favorite stories when we were really little. The LP uses the rustic artwork on it's A and B sides, and it's really gorgeous. If you love the early Strawberry Shortcake cartoons and can dig up either the record or the book, I highly recommend them. They're both charming.

Headed to work shortly after the record ended. Work was fairly busy when I came in this morning. I got stuck in a register for about twenty minutes shortly after I arrived. Even as early as noon, it slowed down enough for me to focus on returns, baskets, and doing the inside trash. I did have to sweep and gather some carts when the other baggers went home, but I didn't do either for long. Considering the weather was chilly, on-and-off cloudy, and gale-force windy all day, it's probably just as well. 

Went straight home and into bed for a nap. I've been up late the last few nights with Lauren, chatting and watching Buzzr game shows. When I got up around 5, I did a little bit of writing. Leia leads the guys and Chewie to the main furnace room in the Mufasar Iron Works. It's using khyber crystals to power that huge laser. The quartet crawl right onto one of the conveyor belts hauling khyber...and getting awfully close to the furnace...

Broke for dinner at 7. I ate leftovers really quick, then finished the night with Lego Star Wars. Didn't do quite as well with the first four rounds of Revenge of the Sith as I had previously. I got all but one of the pieces on Battle of Coruscant, but ran into too many ships to get True Jedi. Got more than half the pieces on each of the remaining rounds, but the only one I managed to get True Jedi on was rescuing Palpatine. I mistimed jumps and landed in the ravine too often in the "General Grievous" boss round, and I just barely missed it in "Defense of Kashyyak." Tomorrow, Obi-Wan and Yoda will hit the Jedi Temple to witness the "Ruin of the Jedi." 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Day In the Wind

Kicked off a sunny morning with breakfast and an episode of Sailor Moon from the first season. Usagi may think that new clock of hers that looks like Luna is cute, but it turns into "Usagi's Disaster: Beware of the Clock of Confusion" when it turns out to have been charmed by a Negaverse monster and actually speeds up time. Luna and Ami have to figure out how to slow her down long enough to find out what's going on.

Headed out around quarter of 10. Today was Haddon Heights' Town-Wide Yard Sale. Thankfully, theirs went on despite the high wind. It wasn't really cold, though. In fact, it was gorgeous for this time of year, sunny and in the lower 60's. Maybe that's why they were so busy! I dodged many cars as I rode over the hilly streets. Haddon Heights isn't named that because it sounds nice. The town is on higher hills than most of the area and isn't easy to ride around in even when the wind isn't going at 20 miles an hour.

While I didn't do as well as I did a few weeks ago in Audubon, I did make some decent finds. Picked up La La Land, the film version of Rent, and the original Broadway cast CD set for Rent from one house; a teen boy admitted he was a big Rent fan. A sale near an antique shop yielded a former library copy of a vintage Peanuts Treasury from the 70's. Found the Pixar film Up at another house. Two kindly older women sold small squares of chocolate-peanut butter bars that I thought I'd try.

I started back towards Audubon at 1:30. I was originally going to go to the Acme's Luncheon...but it turns out that they moved it to May 11th. I hadn't bothered to look at the sign-up poster. Annoyed, I dropped the donuts in the back room anyway and went out to lunch. Ended up at a very busy Chick Fil'A, where I had a grilled chicken sandwich, piping hot waffle fries, and a frozen key lime drink. (The latter didn't taste as limey as the lemonade drink tasted like lemons.) Returned to the Acme quickly to get free eggs from the big online coupon points program, then went home.

Spent the next few hours writing and looking around online. Leia leads the guys into the furnace room. Harris isn't happy to be stuck next to a super-hot boiler. He's even less so when it starts to overheat...

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Made yummy black bean dip with tri-colored organic tortilla chips while continuing with Sailor Moon. Ami and Usagi head to a shrine to investigate mysterious disappearances that have happened on a certain bus line in "The Cursed Bus: Enter Mars, the Guardian of Fire." They encounter hot-tempered psychic shrine maiden Rei Hino, who doesn't appreciate people pestering her and her grandfather. Luna wonders if strong-willed Rei is the Moon Princess she's looking for.

Switched to Lego Star Wars after dinner. Finished out Attack of the Clones tonight. At least two rounds here are super-short. "Jedi Arena" is Mace Windu rescuing Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Padme, and it's neither that difficult, nor requires a lot of pieces to get True Jedi. "Droid Factory" is more complicated, but I did manage to get half the pieces and True Jedi. I'm normally terrible at the flying rounds, and while I did find all but one piece in "Gunship Calvary," I bumped into too many walls to get True Jedi. Didn't get much of anything during the boss battle with Count Dooku.

Ended my night with the supremely strange family musical The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. I go into more detail on the only live-action musical written by Dr. Seuss at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T

Friday, April 26, 2019

Laughter In the Rain

Started off a gloomy morning with It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown in honor of Arbor Day today. Sally's writing a report on Arbor Day for school. Lucy suggests getting hands-on experience by turning Charlie Brown's baseball field into a garden and orchard. Chuck's not happy with the idea...until it looks like their plants might help them win a game.

It had rained off and on all morning. Thankfully, the rain was off when I hurried off to work. It continued to rain off and on for the next few hours, scaring off our customers. We were dead for most of the day. I spent the morning and early afternoon doing returns, gathering baskets, and helping one of the head managers round up the few remaining dying Easter flowers. By the time I went outside to do carts and outside trash and recycling around 2:30, the rain had stopped, and the sun was trying to come out. I got called in for the last 15 minutes because they'd gotten a little busy. Good thing it wasn't that busy. I was able to close when someone else came in.

In good news, my schedule for next week is a lot more normal, with three days off (including Tuesday for counseling) and only one early day on Sunday. In bad news, my hours were cut to the lowest they've been in weeks, and I work relatively early next Saturday and will likely have to miss the first Collingswood Farm Market of the year.

I didn't really have much that I needed...but some of it was expensive. I was almost out of whole wheat flour, and thin chicken breasts were the cheapest meat I could find. Grape tomatoes were on a better sale, and I had online and offline coupons for Belvita cookies, Plugra butter, Pantene conditioner, the Acme's premium pint ice cream (the Caramel Apple Chai flavor was on clearance), and a free donut from the Acme's Monopoly game. Picked up taco sauce and tri-color tortilla chips for dinner tomorrow. Found a slightly dented can of Italian wedding soup on the clearance rack. Restocked skim milk, yogurt, pears, strawberries, mandarin oranges, and powdered sugar.

Even as I went up to the front desk to get the extra half-off for the dented can (the teenage girl doing my order probably didn't see the label with the coupon), one of the managers pointed out that a storm was coming. I once again got lucky. Heavy, dark clouds were building up as I rode home, but they waited until a half-hour after I arrived to burst.

I had leftovers for dinner, then made strawberry-banana donuts for a spring luncheon at work tomorrow. Watched The North Avenue Irregulars while I worked. Reverend Michael Hill (Edward Hermann) is the new minister at the North Avenue Presbyterian Church in a small California suburb. His secretary Anne (Susan Clark) is aghast at all the changes he wants to make, from inviting local rock band Strawberry Shortcake to sing with the choir to allowing Mrs. Rose Rafferty (Patsy Kelly) to handle the church's sinking funds. Strawberry Shortcake's upbeat pop works out great with the choir, but letting Rose deal with the money was a mistake. Her husband Delaney (Douglas Fowley) has bet all the money on a horse. Hill tries to get it back, only to be thrown out when the horse loses. His tirade against organized crime on TV doesn't make his boss Dr. Fulton (Herb Voland) happy, and the gangsters manage to move the location before Hill brings the cops in.

Two treasury agents show up, insisting that the need the help of Hill and the men in the church to catch the gangsters. The men don't want anything to do with it...but six of the church's female members, including Rose, are ready to help. Their attempts at going undercover and placing bets don't work out so well, so they settle on car surveillance and watching where they keep the money. They get so good at it, they make the mob nervous enough to bomb the church. Hill's ready to give up, but it's skeptical Susan who reminds him of all the good he's already done for the community.

I have vague memories of catching this when it would occasionally turn up on The Disney Channel in the 80's and early 90's. I'm glad I found it at the yard sale. It's really cute, with a surprisingly diverse cast for a Disney movie of this time. All six ladies, including Kelly (her last film role), Cloris Leachman, and Barbara Harris as a mom who keeps dragging her kids with her on missions, are hilarious. Along with the older Kelly, one of the church ladies is a strong black woman (Virginia Capers) who gets her own moments to shine, including driving the truck in the finale. What's more, it seems to be based after a real-life incident - apparently, a reverend really did have to call on the ladies of the church to help him catch mobsters when their menfolk wouldn't, over the objections of two treasury agents. There's even a rather dark moment when the church is destroyed.

Like Hot Blood, this isn't something I would have bought if it hadn't been a dollar at a yard sale...but I'm very glad I found it. If you love the cast or are looking for a mostly lighthearted crime caper for girl's night in, I highly recommend digging around for this one.

Played a little Lego Star Wars while the donuts cooled. Got through the "Darth Maul" boss round and the first two rounds of Attack of the Clones. I'm finally starting to figure out the driving rounds a bit better. Still didn't get much in the way of pieces in "Bounty Hunter Pursuit" (or "Darth Maul," for that matter), but I got True Jedi on all three and more than half the pieces on "Discovery at Kamino."

Though the rain and thunder were gone by the time I was glazing the donuts, I still finished the night with Clue. It was an old tradition in my family to watch this whenever there was a thunderstorm. Mom called it our "stormy weather movie." It's another crime comedy, this one based after the famous board game. Six strangers meet at an old mansion in 1954 for a dinner party. Turns out they're all being blackmailed by one Mr. Body (Lee Ving), according to the butler Wadsworth (Tim Curry). Things go south quickly when Mr. Body's killed, and everyone has a movie and means. Now, as the bodies start to pile up, the group has to figure out just who did it "in the hall, with the revolver," or they may be the next victims!

As I mentioned, this was an old family favorite. We taped it somewhere around 1987 and watched it for years. The movie starts slow as Wadsworth explains the plot and connections, but once Mr. Body gets it, things take off. Possibly the most famous thing about this movie, besides the all-star cast, is the multiple-endings gimmick. The movie has three different endings. Apparently, the original theatrical one limited it to one random ending. The video and cable prints and most streaming services opt to show the three endings simultaneously. (This is how I usually do it, mostly because that's what I'm used to from that old taping.) The DVD has the option of going with all three, or choosing a random one.

Whichever one you go for, you'll likely have a blast. This is one of those beloved comedies my family had memorized in full; I can still recite most of the dialogue to this day. If you're interested in the cast or the multiple endings gimmick, or you just want to enjoy a good ensemble comedy, this one is highly recommended and is one of the most underrated comedies of the 1980's.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Pop Goes the Backyardigans

Began a quick morning with an episode of The Backyardigans. Coast Guard members Uniqua, Tyrone, and Pablo are determined to "Save the Day." Tasha just wants to catch a fish, and is annoyed when the others keep dragging her out of increasingly dangerous waters.

Work was a bit annoying. I was the only bagger for the entire day. The afternoon bagger called out, and the other bagger was helping to clean up boxes in our attic. I did manage to get a small box of gift cards shelved, but I mostly alternated between doing carts and doing returns. They tossed me in the register once, but it died so quickly, I don't think I was there for even five minutes. It rained a little bit while I was outside, but was otherwise just gloomy and windy.

Went straight home afterwards this time. I was so dead after all the early work I've had this week, I went down for a nap at 3:30 and didn't get up until quarter after 5. Worked on writing for about an hour or so after that. Leia sends Rudy and Charlie to cover them, then shoots open a grate and jumps in. Luke goes after her. Harris isn't as happy about it, but it's either that, or get shot by Shadow Men. He grabs Chewie and follows them.

Broke for dinner around 6:30. Had leftovers while watching more Backyardigans. Tasha, Uniqua, and Austin are intergalactic garbage collectors who are on a "Garbage Trek" to collect all the trash in the galaxy. They keep getting what they think are distress calls, but are really aliens Tyrone and Pablo, who need garbage to fuel their ship. Tasha's fed up with them, but she has to decide whether or not to heed one more call when they all get trapped in a black hole!

Played more Lego Star Wars for an hour after dinner. I've gotten musch better at the Mos Espa Pod Race. I won the race on the first try, got all but two pieces, and just barely missed True Jedi. The next round, which has Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan helping Padme to defend Naboo against the Separatists, takes much longer and is far more complicated. Didn't get many pieces, but I did make True Jedi and found my first red brick of the game for Super Slap.

Finished the night with the 1955 film version of Oklahoma! in honor of the revival currently running on Broadway. I go into more details on this vigorous western at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Oklahoma! (1955)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Sunny Spring Days

Slept in a little bit this morning before awakening to an absolutely gorgeous morning. Began the next Rick Steves disc while I ate breakfast, and then while making Coconut Crisps from that Duncan Hines baking book I found a few weeks ago. His side trips from Paris and into the Loire Valley mostly concentrated on the stunning palaces and chateaus built by French nobility before the Revolution, including the wonders of Versailles.

His trip into Turkey was even more interesting. Turkey is a fascinating land, with a diverse culture of Arabs, Muslims, Christians, and many others living in one small country. I enjoyed seeing Rick visit several holy sites and talk with an actual family of Muslims.

(By the way, the cookies tasted pretty good, but I really made them too big. Plus, the first batch got a little burnt, though they're not inedible.)

Spent the next two hours online, writing, messing around, and waiting for Camden County to call. I didn't hear from them until 2:30. Same deal as the last two times they did this - they asked me how much money I make and said they'll send me a packet with the rest of the paperwork.

It was such a nice day, I went out for a walk after a very quick lunch. Left the bike at home and struck out on foot. My first stop was the House of Fun. They were pretty busy with kids and young adults off school and college. I browsed around, but eventually decided I'd wait for Lauren to visit.

The next stop was more important. I really needed to talk to Dad and Jodie. Dad was napping when I arrived, but Jodie was there. Yes, she'll drop Lauren off at the train station in Cherry Hill, and she'll tell Rose to pick her up. She and Dad are mostly fine. She went out to a family member's house for Easter. Dad stayed home. She wasn't happy when I told her that Rose is trying to find another doctor. She said she'll either get on Rose's rear and tell her to call the first doctor again, or get the paperwork and do it herself. (I hope either them do it. Jodie says she thinks the doctor will be perfect for me. Whatever. I just want a second opinion and someone to help me with my anxiety problems.)

It was too nice to go straight home after I left Dad and Jodie's. I treated myself to a Frozen Chocolate from Dunkin' Donuts on the White Horse Pike. It obviously came from a hot chocolate mix - it was kind of grainy - but it tasted pretty good. They were a lot busier on the drive-through than inside. The girl took my order while helping another customer at the window!

When I did go home, I briefly resumed writing, partially to drown out Charlie working on the siding. Luke does manage to rescue Leia...only to be nearly knocked out by a wall of water. Vader flooded the room and tried to drown her. Once Luke frees her, she manages to use her fire powers to (accidentally) knock out the computer consoles. Harris hands them his homemade weapons that shoot sticky gunk at people or freezes them.

Made flounder cooked in vegetable stock with steamed asparagus for dinner. Had it while watching the remaining Rick Steves episodes. Turkey, Isreal, and Palestine are all fascinating countries...but Rick doesn't shy away from a short discussion of all the trouble the latter two are having with their border disputes. The Dead Sea and the Jordan River are both gorgeous areas - no wonder people insist on being baptized in the latter.

Returned to Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga after dinner. Thought I'd give this one a third shot. Got through the first three Phantom Menace rounds in a little over an hour. Got True Jedi on all three, but the only one where I found a lot of pieces was the second that introduces Jar Jar. Didn't find much on the other two.

Finished the night with something totally different. I was looking up some game shows I used to love as a kid when I noticed that a lot of them were now run on a channel called Buzzr...and that they stream for free online. Got to see one episode each of Press Your Luck, Match Game, Password Plus, and Card Sharks, and two of Supermarket Sweep. Password is the only one that's totally new to me. I watched Press, Supermarket Sweep, and the later CBS version of Card Sharks when they first ran, and I'm pretty sure I saw at least a little of Match Game in re-runs.

This brought back so many memories. I used to watch game shows all morning when I was home, and then catch them in re-runs on the USA Network later. It annoyed the heck out of Mom, who would have rather I been outside, but I loved learning all kinds of crazy trivia and getting to make fun of bad fashion. If you want to relive some fond memories too, here's the link:


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Hello, Oaklyn, Hello

Started off  the morning with another episode of Rick Steves' Europe. This time, we head east to Prague, the capitol of the Czech Republic. Prague has some really interesting history, including recent history. Czechoslovakia was able to shake off its communist past without bloodshed in 1989, something Rick does discuss. I also love the ornate Art Noveau buildings and artwork on display, especially since that form of art seems to have become popular again of late.

Work was even quieter than yesterday. It was gorgeous, sunny, breezy, and in the upper 60's by 10 AM. While I did check the bathrooms, clean the backroom, and do returns during the last hour, I was mostly outside. The carts generally weren't that bad...but not only was it too nice to be inside, but there really wasn't that much to do inside, either. When the carts were full, I swept the patio and rounded up what little trash there was. (The recycling was fine.)

Took Nicholson Road home. As soon as I got in, I changed, grabbed my purse and Harley Quinn at Super Hero High to return, and went right back out. Charlie was still working on the last window in my bedroom, so I hit Phillies Phatties for lunch. I loved the basil-fresh mozzarella pizza from last week so much, I had it again, this time with a slice of cheese and a can of Pepsi. The place was much busier than usual for a weekday. It's a popular hangout for local kids, and they're all out of school this week. I half-listened to their chatter and half-watched ESPN talk about football trades.

The weather was so gorgeous, I took the long way across Newton Lake Park to the Haddon Township Library. I wasn't the only one who wanted to get out and enjoy the weather. I dodged other bikers, dog walkers, people with strollers, and a dad walking hand-in-hand with his adorable little girl, who didn't look more than 4. The trees are just getting greener and greener; buttercups wave in the breeze on the riverbanks.

The Haddon Township Library was just as dead as the Acme this morning. They were doing inventory, but I was able to shelve DVDs for adults and kids between their hourly work sessions. Once again, it was quiet, and there just wasn't that much to do. I spent longer grabbing a young adult book about Superman's youth in Smallville than I did volunteering.

Stopped at Dollar Tree really fast on the way home. I bought a plastic tote for Khai's Pokemon figure, instead of the usual cheap bag, along with sponges, tissue paper, and a card for Khai. (His birthday was on Friday.) They weren't really all that busy either, despite it being rush hour when I finally headed back to Oaklyn.

Did some writing after I packed up Khai's gift. Luke insists on rescuing Leia, whom Vader wants to kill. Harris refuses to help, until Luke plays the "she's rich" card, and even then he does it reluctantly.

(Oh, and Charlie is now totally finished with all the windows in the house. He's going to come back and paint in the living room and kitchen, and then he'll be done until after Lauren visits and he can do the closet. I really wish some of the windows weren't permanently closed ones, but at least most of them can open. And I need to ask about new shades or curtains after the windows are done. I like my privacy.)

Rose called me last night, but I had my cell phone turned off and missed it. Called her back this afternoon, right after work. She invited me to eat Easter leftovers with her, Khai, and Finley. No problem! I only had leftovers of my own planned for dinner. We had ham, potato salad, and a green bean and tomato salad that apparently is a specialty of Craig's and is delicious. Rose, Finley, and I shared pineapple upside-down cake for dessert. Khai wasn't feeling well and went to his room and his new loft bed as soon as he could, but he did like the Pokemon figure I gave him. Rose loved her gift card to Target, too. She gave me a 25 dollar gift card to Applebee's. Finley has a cool new bed too, a white loft bed with a very slippery slide to ride down. I got to watch her mother give her a bath before we settled in to watch the first How to Train Your Dragon movie for a while.

Returned to Rick Steves after I got in. The episodes about Berlin fascinate me. Like Prague, this is one of the few episodes where I can actually claim to have lived through some of the history depicted. I remember watching people tear the Berlin Wall down on my little black-and-white Zenith TV in 1989. Berlin has exploded as a cosmopolitan center since the Cold War ended and the two sides of Germany were unified. It does respect it's past, though, including a touching Holocaust Memorial Monnument and the excavated ruins of Germany Nazi underground bunkers.

Finished the night with the 1943 Alice Faye vehicle Hello, Frisco, Hello, which I go into in more detail on my Musical Dreams Movies Reviews blog.

Hello, Frisco, Hello

Monday, April 22, 2019

Going Green

Once again began the day with work. This time, we weren't even mildly busy. I ended up in the register briefly for someone's break. Otherwise, I was mostly doing carts, gathering baskets, or cleaning up two spills in a row.

Took the long way home down Nicholson Road and Atlantic Avenue. Not because it was a nice day. Actually, by that point, clouds had moved in, and while it wasn't freezing, the wind was chilly. Charlie started working on the bedroom windows today, and I wanted to give him time to finish. At least the neighborhood looks lovely. The leaves get larger and greener every day. The dogwood tree in one yard on the other end of Manor is in full bloom, and the yellow starbursts of dandelions dot every lawn.

Charlie was just starting to finish when I got in. The new air conditioner is an upright model, attached to the window by a thick tube. The two window models I have no longer work with the windows in the house. Other than I'll have to figure out how to duck around it when I need to plug something in on the wall overlooking the park, it works pretty much the same as the one Dad and Jodie bought last year.

He also replaced the window next to my desk in the bedroom with the same cranking windows used in the living area and bathroom. Though it sounds like he will remove and cover the other window tomorrow, he won't get to expanding the closet until late next month, after Lauren visits. Probably just as well. Besides Lauren visiting, I need to do my heavy spring cleaning starting next week.

Ran a couple of cartoons related to Earth Day and environmental concerns as I changed, had lunch, and let Charlie finish. The Lorax is a little orange fellow who speaks for the Truffula trees and the animals they support, but the greedy Onceler only cares about cutting them down to make his faddish Thneeds. He continually ignores the fellow's pleas, even as the pollution from the factory drives away the animals in the area...until he and the Lorax learn a sad lesson in the damage unchecked "progress" can do.

The Sailor Guardians go up against Mother Nature in "Usagi's Panic: Rei's First Date" from the first season of Sailor Moon. Rei wants to go on a date with Mamoru to a park that's about to be demolished for an office building. A jealous Usagi grabs Umino and uses him as her date to follow them. Meanwhile, Ami is concerned about the park's kindly old caretaker, who has been acting very strange. It turns out that the Negaverse is after his energy and that of the animals in the park...and use it to turn the animals against the Guardians.

Headed out as soon as the cartoon ended and I finished lunch. Despite the dark clouds building up overhead, I really needed to get the laundry done. I didn't have that big of a load, but I needed to get my work clothes done. They weren't busy, especially when I came in. I worked on story notes and half-listened to Ellen on TV. It was wet when I got out, but not raining. I must have just missed the worst of the weather. Indeed, almost as soon as I got home, the sun came out. It hasn't rained since.

Hurried home and spent the next few hours writing after I got everything put away. Ben says he'll go and turn off the main power generator. Luke wants to go with him, but he says he'll do it better alone. He also suggests that if he doesn't make it, Luke should talk to Yoda Yamada, the former Grand Master of the Jedi. Shortly after he leaves, Rudy discovers that Leia is there as well...and she's in the midst of being executed, even as they stand there...

Broke for dinner at 6:30. I had quick leftovers, then took down the Easter decorations. I moved the plastic egg bag to the bag with the baskets to make more room in the container for the other items. Wrapped up some of the items in heavier plastic or paper.

Watched an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures from the late first season as I worked. Spring fairy Babs hopes she has a "Pollution Solution" via three shorts. "No Deposit, No Return of the Trash Bag Dispenser" has Plucky trying to teach a clueless Elmyra how to recycle. It's a "Jungle Bungle" when Babs and Buster stop a rich businessman from destroying the rain forests to make a bigger front lawn. Go-Go is "Waste Deep In Wackyland" when Monty pipes the backwash from his new factory into Go-Go's home. Go-Go and the other citizens of Wackyland put Monty on a kooky trial to teach him a lesson.

Switched to The Dark Knight as I finished taking down the Easter decorations. Batman, aka Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has his gloved hands full with Gotham's biggest mob bosses and a new criminal, the insane Joker (Heath Ledger). Bruce is hoping that crusading lawyer Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) will be the hero that Gotham needs when, with Batman's help, he manages to arrest the entire mob. He's still interested in Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) as well, despite her dating Dent.

Meanwhile, the Joker has taken over the crime syndicate. He wants nothing more than to kill Batman and expose his dual identity. Bruce is about to do the same before the Joker goes on a killing spree, taking out the Police Commissioner and almost assassinating the mayor before Gordon (Gary Oldman) saves him. The Joker still has killing on the brain...and Rachel and Dent are his next victims. Bruce is devastated when he can't save Rachel, but a disfigured Harvey is even moreso, joining with the Joker to seek revenge. Now Batman has to deal with the Joker's insane plans and show Harvey that revenge is not a dish best served at all, never mind cold.

Honestly, this one might have been a little dark for my taste. That's why I've put off seeing it for so long. That, and Batman has never been my favorite character. I never was much for the rich playboy superheroes. (I'm not a fan of Iron Man/Tony Stark, either.) There are some really great performances here. Ledger's freakish Joker won him a posthumous supporting actor Oscar. Bale's not bad as Batman. Eckhart makes for a rather strange Two-Face, but Gyllenhaal is appropriately spunky as Rachel, the woman both men are after. (She was certainly better than Katie Holmes in the role.) Great makeup for the Joker and Two-Face, too.

For all the great action, it's just too darn dark for me, with everyone in dull colors and even the Joker's men not really standing out all that much. I also wish they spent less time with the rather boring mobsters and more with the Joker and Batman. The mobsters were mostly not much different than the types who show up in any generic crime thriller.

While I'm not into it, I can understand why it went over so well in 2008. If you're a fan of Bale, Ledger, or Batman or like your superhero movies darker and more adult, you'll probably enjoy this a lot more than I did.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Home Sweet Easter

Began my Easter with early work. It was...pretty much the same as yesterday, actually. The worst we got was mildly steady around 10:30-11. I very briefly ended up in a register and cleaned up a spill, but I mostly alternated between doing carts, shelving two full carts of returns, and gathering baskets. I had plenty of help, with two other baggers arriving eventually, and no trouble at all. It was a decent day for doing carts, too, on and off sunny and breezy. It was warm, but not overly so for this time of year, I believe in the upper 60's.

Ran into Rose, who was grocery shopping with little miss Finley, while I did the returns. Evidently yes, as Dad and Jodie said, she was having eye problems - it looked like some kind of nasty eye infection. Khai had just gotten over a bout of strep throat, too. They were going to go to her husband Craig's parents' house for Easter dinner, but she didn't sound to sure about it. I never heard from her the rest of the day, so I'm going to presume they did. She also mentioned a birthday party for Khai tomorrow; I may at least try to stop by and drop off their birthday gifts before that.

(I also got Easter greetings from Mom via texting, and I texted Dad later in the day.)

After I changed into regular clothes and bought small packs of tissues for work, I headed across Audubon to the Legacy Diner. Surprisingly, they were also just steady despite it being almost 12:30 and the diner being less than a block from a church. I tried a strawberry-raspberry crepe. They did use really large, sweet strawberry pieces in the filling, but the raspberry compote was gluey and the crepes were a little burned. They were still quite edible, though.

Stopped at WaWa on the way home. Instead of buying a slice of heavy cake or cheesecake at the diner, I opted to get a strawberry milkshake as an Easter treat. They were slightly busier than the Acme or the diner, but a second line opened just as the kids behind the counter finished my milkshake.

After I got home, I decided to try something. Last year, I attempted to make yeast Lemon Rolls, but they didn't rise and ended up being hard as rocks. I think the yeast I used was dead. This time, the dough rose normally, and the rolls came out amazing, just sweet and tart enough. I was out of powdered sugar and opted to make a lemon-honey glaze that gave it the right note.

Watched Yogi the Easter Bear while I worked. Yogi and Boo Boo are in big trouble when Yogi eats all the candy Ranger Smith intended for Jellystone's big Easter Jamboree. They go to the Easter Bunny to get replacements and end up rescuing him and the Easter Chicken from a pair of bizarre plastic-obsessed villains.

Switched to Bugs Bunny's Easter Funnies as I cleaned up the bread mess. The Easter Bunny is sick and asks Granny to find a replacement. She first turns to Bugs, but he's busy making his cartoons. They eventually turn to the other Looney Tunes to see if they'd make an appropriate Easter Bunny (via clips from various shorts, some of them Oscar-winners).

Ran one more Looney Tunes short as I finished the dishes. Easter Funnies was not the first time Bugs was asked to fill in for the Easter Bunny. "Easter Yeggs" has Bugs taking over delivering eggs for the tired bunny...but the bratty child of a criminal and Elmer's attempts to have him for Easter dinner makes him regret his desire to help.

Worked on writing and messed around online for a while. Ben has Rudy hack into the Iron Works' computer system to find out where the controls for the electricity are. Ben insists that he has to turn it off alone. Luke wants to go with him, but Ben feels he must do this alone.

Charlie showed up as I was gathering the risen batter to shape into rolls. Apparently, he intends to start putting in the new windows in the bedroom. That's going to be a little more complicated than doing them in the living area or bathroom. I have a lot of stuff next to the windows in my bedroom, including my modem, a shelf of young adult paperback books, my desk, and my self-help books. I left the modem and the desk, but moved the books and the shelf (good thing it was an easily-collapsible folding shelf).

Broke for dinner at quarter of 7. I made pasta salad with broccoli florets, sliced tomato wedges, tri-color spiral pasta, scallions, cubes of Monterrey Jack cheese, olive oil, rice vinegar, and lime juice to go with my pan-cooked ham slice. The pasta salad wasn't bad, although I suspect it'll be even better tomorrow after spending time in the fridge.

Finished off the night with rolls for dessert and two more Easter specials. The Easter Bunny Is Comin' to Town was the last Rankin-Bass Easter cartoon in 1977. Sunny the Bunny is adopted by the orphans of Kidsville, who basically regard him as one of them. He encourages them to try to sell their eggs in gloomy Town. Lady Lily Longtooth, the rigid ruler of Town, keeps forbidding Sunny, his eggs, and every other thing he comes up with to get around her strict rules...but even she can't stop tradition.

It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown has the Peanuts getting ready for the festivities in their own ways. Peppermint Patty wants to show her best friend Marcie how to dye eggs, but Marcie keeps doing everything to the eggs but hard-boiling them. Sally wants new spring shoes, and Snoopy is looking for a bird house for Woodstock. Don't bother with all the fuss, says Linus. The Easter Beagle does all that. Sally's skeptical of his theories after the non-arrival of the Great Pumpkin at Halloween. Lucy would rather color and find her own eggs.

And here's hoping you had a lovely and enjoyable Easter or Passover of your own!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

In Spring, the Easter Bunny Never Sleeps

Kicked off a gloomy morning with breakfast and The First Easter Rabbit. The second Rankin-Bass Easter special shows how Stuffy the Bunny was originally the beloved stuffed animal of a little girl named Glinda. A sympathetic fairy rescues him from being burned after she comes down with scarlet fever by turning him into a real rabbit and anointing him the symbol of Easter and spring. Stuffy's thrilled to have the chance to start spring traditions in Easter Valley and see his favorite girl again, but Zero, a winter wizard, may make them permanently snowed in before he can get started.

Did a little writing after breakfast. Broke for an early lunch at 11:30. Ran Daffy Duck's Easter Egg-citement while sipping a Chocolate-Banana Smoothie. Daffy dodges an animator with a strange sense of humor while hosting three all-original spring-themed shorts. He and Sylvester chase after a golden egg in the first story. In the second, he tries to keep Speedy Gonzoles from stealing chocolate bunnies from the factory he's guarding to give to the kids in his village. Daffy's solo in the third story as he tries to figure out how to get north without flying.

It was showering lightly when I went to work. Thankfully, the rain ended shortly after I arrived. I did get stuck in the register for about a half-hour after I arrived, but after that, I was mainly outside with the carts or sweeping the debris from a windy day. We were on-and-off busy, and the carts kept vanishing. At least I had plenty of help from two guys early in the day and one of the new teen girl baggers later. By the time I was on my last hour, the clouds were starting to vanish, and it had actually turned into a rather nice day in the lower 70's (though the wind persisted).

Had a quick leftover dinner when I got home while watching Here Comes Peter Cottontail, Rankin-Bass' first Easter special. Danny Kaye narrates the story of how Peter (Casey Kasem) has to travel through a year's worth of holidays to deliver more eggs than nasty bunny Irontail (Vincent Price) and become the new Chief Easter Bunny.

Did some more writing after I ate. The group makes their way into the nerve center of the Iron Works. After knocking out the computer operators, Rusty hacks into the outlet and discovers where the lever to open the gates are. Ben says he'll do it. Luke wants to go, but he says he needs to deal with the lever - and Vader - on his own.

Finished out the night with the rest of Peter Cottontail and Easter Parade. I go into more detail on that 1948 MGM confection at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Easter Parade

And here's a collection of more classic Easter specials from YouTube to check out while you wait for the Easter Bunny tomorrow!

Silly Symphonies - Funny Little Bunnies
Thumpkin and the Easter Bunny
Fabulous Fleischer Folio - Bunny Mooning 
The Bernstein Bears' Easter Surprise
A Family Circus Easter
Buttons and Rusty Meet the Easter Bunny
Easter Egg Mornin'
Easter Is
Ice Age - The Great Egg-scapade

For those of you who won't be online tomorrow, I hope you have a safe and happy Easter!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Before the Rain Came

Started off a cloudy, warm day with breakfast, then making coconut muffins for lunch. Watched Hot Shots! Part Deux while I worked. Topper Harley (Charlie Sheen) is called back into the war by Colonel Denton Walters (Richard Crenna) and government official Michelle Huddleston (Brenda Bakke) to help rescue hostages in the Middle East. He's reluctant at first, but changes his mind when Walters goes missing. He's joined in Iraq by the remaining soldiers lead by his former lover Ramada (Valerie Golino)...and when he and the others are attacked by Iraq forces, President Tug Benson (Lloyd Bridges) goes after them. When the mission goes awry, Topper has to figure out who did it and why...and why Ramada left him.

I like this one even more than the first one. Yes, some of the cracks at the First Gulf War and the bloody action movies of the 80's and early 90's are dated, but some of the gags still work, especially in the second half. If you're a fan of the first movie or spoofs, you'll have a lot of fun with this one.

Headed off to work about ten minutes after the movie ended. Work was an absolute pain in the rear. I kept trying to get outside to help with vanishing carts...and I kept getting pulled inside to take a register. While it was never overwhelmingly busy, two people called out. I didn't really get to the carts until almost an hour before I finished. All I did all day was panic.

I'm even less happy with my schedule. In good news, more hours. In frustrating news, not only do I work Easter, but my next day off is Wednesday. I'm working for over a week....and I only have that day off because of my phone appointment with Camden County for my food stamps. (I'm also off Saturday.) While I work early enough to have a nice lunch out on Easter and get things done in the afternoon on Monday and Tuesday, it's still going to be exhausting. I'm not looking forward to it at all.

Did better with the grocery shopping. I've decided to keep my Easter dinner simple and have a ham slice, broccoli with cheese sauce, and pasta salad. Grabbed the ham and a tomato for the pasta salad, and broccoli was on a good sale with an online coupon. There were decent sales on chicken and seafood, too. Went with drumsticks and flounder fillets, respectively. Restocked skim milk, bananas, yogurt, pears, clementines, breakfast cookies, peanut butter, unbleached white flour, cake mix, and asparagus. Treated myself to a vanilla cream-filled doughnut, thanks to a free coupon from the Monopoly game.

Went straight home after work. I changed, put everything away, then had dinner. Played some Kirby's Epic Yarn around 7, but I didn't get far. Couldn't find the items in the two rounds I went back through, and I just could not gather all the beads in 30 seconds in Beadrix's mini-game, no matter how hard I tried.

Watched Hot Blood before and after the game and a shower. Though it came with my Columbia 20 Musicals set, this is really more of a drama. Marco (Luther Adler), king of the gypsies in 1956 southern California, is dying and wants his brother Stephano (Cornel Wilde) to take over his role as king. Stephano has no interest in ruling and would rather pursue his dream of becoming a dancer with his blond partner Velma (Helen Westcott). Hoping to get his brother to settle down, Marco arranges a marriage between him and Annie (Jane Russell), a beautiful gypsy woman from Chicago, but Stephano refuses. Annie convinces Stephano to stage a phony wedding...but she doesn't go through with it, and they get married for real. Angry, Stephano takes off with Velma, dancing in clubs in San Diego...but being away from Annie makes him realize how much he misses her. When he sees her being chummy with his brother on his return, he begins to wonder just what he's lost.

This was really interesting. Usually, when gypsies turn up in cinema, they're seen in historical costume movies, or as background color. This is the first time I've seen them used in a modern setting. Wilde and especially a tough-minded Russell were excellent as the lovers who live up to the title of the film; Adler was also excellent as the wily Marco. The CinemaScope cinematography and colorful costumes do a wonderful job of bringing this story to life. The music sequences are mainly there for cultural color rather than to move the story along, including Wilde and Russell's incredibly sexy wedding dance.

Is it cliched? Oh yes. It's basically "Flower Drum Song with gypsies." Some of the older folks seem more than a little stereotypical today, including most of Annie's family. The unusual setting and a culture you just don't see represented that often go a long way to making up for the melodrama. If you love the cast or want to try a different type of soap opera, give this one a try.

(Oh, and I got incredibly lucky. It was cloudy, warm, and humid all day. The rain didn't start coming down until a half-hour after I got home. It's been raining off and on, sometimes heavily, ever since.)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Sailor and the Star

Slept in a little bit this morning, but I did have enough time to start the set of Popeye 40's cartoons before work. We begin with the very first Popeye color short, "Her Honor the Mare." Popeye's nephews find a broken-down old horse and bring her home with them. Popeye wouldn't mind so much if they didn't insist on keeping her inside. He does everything he can to remind them that horses are outside pets.

Popeye's Navy buddy Shorty joins in for "The Marry-Go-Round." Popeye wants to propose to Olive, but doesn't know what to say to her. Shorty tries to show him how to do it...but Olive ends up falling for him instead!

"We're On Our Way to Rio" is more-or-less a color version of the earlier "Kicking the Conga Around." This time, it's the samba Popeye doesn't know how to dance. Once again, it takes spinach to get him stepping with the beat.

Olive is "The Anvil Chorus Girl," a female blacksmith who is overwhelmed with work and the heavy tools she uses. Bluto and Popeye try to help, but they may end up making more of a mess than anything. She's upset with Popeye when he loses a big fight in the ring. He has to remind her that he's "Spinach-Packing Popeye" who has fought and won many opponents before, via sequences from the earlier "Sinbad the Sailor" and "Ali Baba" featurettes.

Popeye's not feeling "Puppet Love" when Bluto creates a live-sized marionette version of him and uses it to push Olive away from him. He turns the tables on Bluto and uses him as a puppet. "Pitchin' Woo at the Zoo" is somewhat similar, only this time, Bluto is a zookeeper who makes uses of some of his more ferocious or playful charges to get Olive to himself.

Headed out to work as soon as the cartoon ended. Thankfully after yesterday, work was no problem whatsoever. It was so nice, I spent the entire day outside, gathering carts, sweeping, and doing the outdoor trash and recycling. It was too beautiful to be inside! The day was hot and sunny, probably in the upper 70's, with a nice breeze and a brilliant blue sky.

It was so nice, I took the long way home down Nicholson Road, dodging the beginning of rush hour traffic. Spring has really hit the neighborhood now. The trees are a lovely, soft green. The dogwood and cherry blossoms are in bloom. Bold tulips have replaced the early hyacinths and daffodils in yards. There were quite a few kids outside riding bikes or throwing baseballs, and several adults working in their yards.

Charlie came upstairs shortly after I got in. He and Richard covered the siding with black paper. I ignored them, changed, and worked on my story. Leia is horrified when Tarkin goes through with his destroying her family's home Aldera Hills, despite her telling him where the tapes supposedly are. Meanwhile, Harris' attempt at fooling the Shadow Man guards at the gates doesn't work. He knocks them out instead and suggests he, Charlie, and Luke dress as the guards to gain entrance.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Finished out the Popeye shorts while I had turkey hot dogs, steamed asparagus, and pasta tossed with olive oil for dinner. Olive is "Moving Aweigh." Popeye and Shorty try to help her pack her things, but a cop gets upset when they accidentally hit his car and keeps trying to arrest them.

"She-Sick Sailors" has fun with Superman and the popularity of superheroes in the early-mid 40's (likely due to Paramount also making the original Superman shorts). Olive has fallen in love with the comics and refuses to date any man but Superman. Bluto dresses as him to impress her...but Popeye is determined to prove he's as good as any superhero.

"Pop-Pie A la Mode" is a lot tougher to take today. Popeye is stranded on an island filled with extremely and annoyingly stereotyped natives who want him on tonight's menu. He's happier to be stranded with Bluto in "Shape Ahoy," at least until Olive washes up as well, and they end up fighting over her.

"For Better or Nurse," the guys try to get themselves injured when they see an attractive Olive working as a nurse in a local hospital. "Mess Production" was the last cartoon made during and themed around World War II. Olive, Popeye, and Bluto are all working at a wartime factory. Both guys do their best to rescue Olive after she's knocked senseless and wanders around the machines and production line.

No wonder it took them so long to put this set out. Most of the cartoons were kind of disappointing. Shorty was no replacement for Bluto. "Moving Aweigh" wasn't too bad, but "The Marry-Go-Round" just got weird. "Puppet Love" got a little creepy, especially when Popeye started using Bluto as a human marionette, and there were the stereotype complaints on "Pop-Pie a la Mode."

The set definitely improves as it goes along. "She-Sick Sailors" was a riot; it'll be even funnier if you know anything about the Paramount Superman shorts. Popeye and Bluto's attempts to hurt themselves and get closer to Olive in "For Better or Worse" were pretty funny too, as was Olive stumbling around in "Mess Production."

I'm afraid there's more misses than  hits here. I'm ultimately glad I bought it, but I really wouldn't recommend it for anyone but major fans of Popeye. Hopefully, the next batch will start off as strongly as they end.

Went into Kirby's Epic Yarn after dinner. After a try at getting that last music disc in King Dedede's Castle, I finally opted to take on Yin Yarn. It took me two tries, but for the first time on my own, I actually managed to get the patches for the final rounds in the game. The first one has you playing through several of the abilities you pick up along the way; the second is a shooting round that takes place on-board Meta Knight's ship the Halbeard. I lost a lot of beads in the first one, but managed to get up to silver in the second; found all three items on both. If I continue with this game, I'll either go back and see if I can find some of the items I missed, or play a few of those mini-games with the little tadpole guys in Patch Land.

Ended the night with last year's version of A Star Is Born. I go into more detail on the fourth retelling of this famous story at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

A Star Is Born (2018)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


Charlie was just coming upstairs as I got moving this morning. He was mostly outside on the porch while I was here. I ran an episode of Rick Steves while I was eating breakfast. This time, he went further north in Italy to three cities that had once been owned by Venice. Of the three, Ravenna, with its beautiful churches and colorful amusement park, was my favorite.

When Charlie came in, I moved to my room, checked out a few books, and made my bed. I'd already gotten my lunch together before he left. By the time he was in the bathroom, I was heading out. As Charlie pointed out, at least it was a nice day to do the work. While not as warm as over the weekend, it was still pretty nice, probably in the lower 60's, sunny, and breezy.

Work was off-and-on steady. I did do the carts with the help of one of the college kids this morning, but after that, I was mainly inside. I manage to get the candy done early this afternoon, the inside trash later in the day, and most of the returns shelved in the last hour...but they kept throwing me in the register, usually for someone's break. Thankfully, it slowed down well before I finished. I needed tissues again; grabbed them on the way out.

Charlie was just finishing when I got in. The new window in the bathroom is the same as the ones in the living area that you crank to open. At least it's high up enough that no one can see you going to the bathroom. That had always been a problem. The bathroom window was so low, anyone could see someone using it. That's why the shades in that room were always down. (I do want to know how he's going to replace the tile on the wall...)

Had leftovers for dinner while continuing across Europe with Rick Steves. We head west from Italy to The Netherlands for two episodes displaying the charms of that low-lying Scandinavian country. Amsterdam, its largest city, is home of lovely architecture from its "golden era" of the 1600's, beautiful museums, and the adult pleasures of its street life. Things are more quaint in the smaller towns situated on land the Dutch has reclaimed from the sea, home of farms, windmills, and tons of flowers.

Worked on writing for a while after dinner. Backtracked to the Mufasar Iron Works, where Vader is keeping Leia hostage. He and his crony Tarkin threaten her parents' home Aldera Hills if she doesn't cooperate and tell them where the plans are. She does...but they still destroy it and say they'll drown her.

Ended the night after I finished off the Netherlands episode with the final episode of the fourth season of Smallville. Smallville High's "Commencement" is going well...except for the fact that Lana and Lex are missing. Clark doesn't have the time to ponder where they might have gone to. There's a huge meteor shower coming their way, thanks to Lana having used one of the Stones of Knowledge to kill Genevieve and expel the witch from her. Now Clark has to get the stones and stop Jason from hurting his parents, or none of them are going to have much of a future beyond high school.

When the show actually focuses on Clark coming into his powers and the various strange things going on in Smallville, it can be a lot of fun. The problem is, it tends to go off on tangents. The entire side plot with Lana and the witches was unnecessary, out of place, and awkwardly tied in with the main story. This is Smallville, not Charmed. There was no need for them to go to China in that one episode, either.

I liked it enough to give that second season set I found at Goodwill a shot...eventually. After four sci-fi series in a row, I think it's time to try something different. I still haven't watched all of at least four full series Lauren gave me a while back. I think it's time to give a sitcom a shot, either the first season of Wings or The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Out In the Sunshine

Started off a sunny morning with breakfast and more Smallville. Clark and Lana find a baby abandoned in a cornfield. They take it home and think they're going to be its surrogate parents...but it turns out to be "Ageless," rapidly aging from a baby to a boy to a young teen in less than 48 hours. Clark turns to Lex to help him find a cure, and to Chloe to find the boy's parents.

I spent most of the morning trying to job hunt...and trying figure out why I have so many problems job hunting. I shouldn't have problems job hunting. I don't know why it's so nerve wracking for me. I look jobs up, I do research...but in the end, I can never write the proposal or send the application. It's not that I can't do the work. I just can't advertise myself.

First of all, my current website is blah, boring, full of ads, and hasn't been updated in years, but I don't know how to do anything fancier, or whom I could hire to make something fancier. Second, there's a big chunk of me who is terrified that if I draw attention to myself, I'll just bring in a ton of bullies and trolls who'll hurt me. I've spent a lot of my life trying to avoid encouraging bullies. Third...another part of me doesn't think I'm worth promoting. If I was worth promoting, I wouldn't be having these problems.

At one point, I opted to stretch my legs and went downstairs to check my mail. The first part of my Amazon.com order arrived! Warners finally put out the next collection of Popeye shorts - and the first color shorts - as part of the Warner Archives. It's probably overpriced for the few cartoons that are there, but I had to have it. I have the sets based around the 30's and World War II shorts.

I finally got fed up and headed out around quarter after noon. Went to Phillies Phatties for lunch. Despite it being the lunch hour, it was pretty quiet in there. I think there might have been two other people watching ESPN discuss the NFL Draft next week and the basketball play-offs with me. I had a slice of mushroom, a slice of a tasty basil-and-mozzarella, and a can of Cherry Vanilla Pepsi.

Next stop was the Oaklyn Library. They were absolutely dead when I arrived. I think there may have been one other person talking to the librarian as the sad news about the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral and all the money pouring in to rebuild it played on CNN. I took a look at the DVDs and shelved a pile of Dr. Seuss books in the kids' area and moved on.

No wonder it was dead at the Library. The weather was absolutely gorgeous today. It was sunny and warm, but not as ridiculously hot as over the weekend, a perfect mid-60's and breezy. It was a great day to ride through Newton Lake Park. I wasn't the only person who thought so. I dodged other bikers, parents pushing strollers, and dog walkers as I headed to Westmont. It's really spring here now. The trees have shiny pale green leaves; bright yellow buttercups waving in the breeze line the banks of the lake.

The Haddon Township Library was only a little busier than the Oaklyn Library had been. I spent my session doing a good, thorough organizing of the kids and adult DVDs. Didn't take out any movies myself - I still have a lot to watch at home - but I did grab the next Bryant and May novel, Bryant and May On the Loose, the next Super Hero High story for Harley Quinn, and returned to the Daisy Dalyrumple series with Superfluous Women.

Stopped at Target on the way home. I needed to pick up something for my nephew Khai's ninth birthday on Friday. Did what I did for him last year and went with a Pokemon action figure. I also grabbed something to drink - this sinus infection keeps making my throat dry.

Headed straight home after that. Worked on writing for a little while when I got in. Harris charges past Mara Jadeson and follows one of Vader's lackeys to the gates of the supposedly-abandoned Mufasar Iron Works. Meanwhile, Vader has tried to torture Leia to get the information out of her, but it hasn't worked. He has an even more insidious trap for the young superheroine...

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Did another episode of Smallville while I ate leftovers. The school's photographer wants high school to last "Forever" and brings students to a version of the school he set up in an abandoned building. If kids try to leave, he uses his powers to turn them into wax statues. Clark has to literally turn the tables on him. Meanwhile, the Teagues have also captured Lionel and Lex and are trying to figure out where the Stones are...but they underestimate just how loyal father and son are to each other.

Moved to Kirby's Epic Yarn during dessert. Went back and got the music disc for Wispy Woods, then moved on. I got all the items on Cloud Palace (but not much in the way of beads), but missed the music disc at King Dedede's Castle. I'll have to go back there before I head to the final confrontation with Yin Yarn.

Finished the night with You'll Never Get Rich. I go further into this vehicle for Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

You'll Never Get Rich

Monday, April 15, 2019

Blown Away

I stayed up way too late last night. I'd barely gotten into bed when the wind suddenly picked up, and rain began to lash violently against the windows. Good thing the only window left open by that point was the one in the bathroom. I shut it in a hurry, then tried to go back to sleep and ignore the brilliant lightning, driving winds, and house-shaking thunder outside.

By the time I did roll out of bed, the rain was long gone and Charlie was pounding on my door. While it was partly cloudy by that point, it was also too windy and cold for him to get any work done. He'd begin again tomorrow. He was up twice, to deliver the news and get my schedule, and then to check the windows for their model number. I let him in and showed him my schedule, but otherwise ignored him.

Once I got moving, I had breakfast quickly while watching Daffy Duck's Easter Egg-Citement. Daffy finds himself dodging an animator with a strange sense of humor in this spring variation on "Duck Amuck." The first short has him and Sylvester chasing after a golden egg. He's the one chasing Speedy in the second, trying to keep the mouse from taking chocolate bunnies for the children of his village. Daffy's solo in the third as he tries to find an easier way of getting north for the spring.

Went to the mailbox to see if I had anything after I ate. My birthday card and gift from Lauren had arrived! Her parents gave me 20 dollars; she sent me a collection of 20 vintage Columbia Pictures musicals. She asked me what I wanted last week. I told her I'd been eyeing this set for a long time, even before I started my Musical Dreams blog. Out of the 20 movies, the only one I already have is My Sister Eileen with Janet Leigh and Betty Garrett, and that's in a dubbed copy Lauren sent me a while back. It'll be nice to have a legit copy.

(Among the movies you'll be seeing for review on Musical Dreams eventually are My Sister EileenYou'll Never Get Rich with Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire, Tonight and Every Night with Hayworth and directed by British musical specialist Victor Saville, You Can't Run Away From It with June Allyson and Jack Lemmon, Slightly French with Dorothy Lamour, Time Out for Rhythm with The Three Stooges, and the odd Dr. Seuss-penned The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T with Hans Conried as part of the Family Fun Saturday series.)

Headed out after that. I forgot toilet paper at Wal Mart yesterday, and I badly needed to make change for the laundromat anyway. Grabbed a 4-pack when I couldn't find a single, along with sponges and my favorite pecan log. Dropped by Dad and Jodie's on my way home, but they didn't seem to be in.

As soon as I got home, I loaded the laundry into it's bag, grabbed my notebook, and went right back out. Wild wind or no wild wind, I had a huge load to get done, including those flannel sheets. I picked the right time. It wasn't busy at all when I came in. I worked on story notes and ignored afternoon talk shows on TV.

Made a Banana-Chocolate-Orange Smoothie for lunch while watching the other Looney Tunes Easter special, Bugs Bunny's Easter Funnies. The Easter Bunny is sick, so Granny first turns to Bugs to replace him. When he claims he's busy, he encourages her to ask the other Toons. This is less of an Easter special and more "Bugs Bunny's Oscar-Winning Shorts Showcase."Among the shorts seen are bits of "Knighty-Knight Bugs," "For Scent-timental Reasons," "The Rabbit of Seville," "Bully for Bugs," "Hillbilly Hare," "Robin Hood Daffy," "Sahara Hare," and "Birds Anonymous."

Worked on writing for a while after lunch. Harris pulls up at Senator Bail Ortega's Aldera Hills mansion, only to find it a smoking ruin and the senator and his wife dead. Mara Jadeson is there too, snooping for a story. Luke basically tells her to go away and stop pestering these people. They finally get away from her and follow one of the Stingrays to the industrial area near the base of the Naboo Mountains...

Checked out the first episode on my new Rick Steves set while eating leftovers and celery with peanut butter for dinner. I never heard of Italy's gorgeous Cinque Terre region, five beautiful villages nestled on the cliffs alongside the Mediterranean, but now I'd love to visit there. They remind me a bit of Cape May, with their fishermen and charming shops and car-free streets.

Played Kirby's Epic Yarn for a while after dinner. Went back and tried to get an item I missed from Hot Land, but just couldn't find it. I finally went ahead and did the first round of Dream Land instead. I missed the music in the Wispy Woods. I may try to go back and find it tomorrow.

Finished the night with the final episode of disc 4 of Smallville. Clark is turning a "Blank" when a young man who can make people lose their memory causes him to get amnesia. Chloe tries to help him remember his powers and his life. He has no trouble remembering Lana - and falling for her all over again. Lex, meanwhile, intends to take every advantage of Clark's state to find out more about his hideout in the caves. But there's a reason the young man has these powers...and Clark and Lois have to help him find his own memories, before Chloe loses hers.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Marvel-ous Birthday

Got a quick start this morning with Coconut Pancakes for my 40th birthday breakfast. Ate fast while watching The World of Strawberry Shortcake. The original 1981 special is set on the title character's birthday. Her friends hold a big surprise party for her, complete with a watering can gift. The "gift" is actually part of a plot by villainous baker The Peculiar Purple Pie Man to get as many berries off the kids as he can...but the kids have some unusual friends who'll help them teach the Pie Man a lesson.

Unwrapped my present from Linda Young right before I ate. She gave me a set of brand-new Rick Steves Europe episodes, including trips to the Middle East and Italy. I haven't seen the series anywhere in years and had no idea they were even still making them. Thanks, Linda! I'll be nice to have some new adventures with Rick!

Rushed out to catch the 12:09 bus as soon as the cartoon ended. I was at the stop in front of Oaklyn's City Hall for less than a minute when it arrived. It was full, but not so much that I couldn't get a seat. There was no traffic on the White Horse Pike, and I jumped off in Somerdale in less than 15 minutes.

It had been cloudy, warm, and humid all morning. The clouds were just starting to shower lightly when I got off. Since I arrived almost an hour early for the 1:30 showing of Captain Marvel, I took a look around. Poked through the Wii games and stuffed Pokemon at Game Stop. I did see The Angry Birds Trilogy for the Wii, but decided I'd save buying games for when Lauren visits and I have more people to play with. Also explored a massive Dollar Tree that was about three times the size of the one in Westmont.

The rain was long gone by the time I returned to the theater. Figured I'd just hit the theater early. Treated myself to a bottle of water and a box of Junior Mints...and unless I'm that thirsty, I'll never do that again. Just those two items cost as much as the tickets, and the Junior Mints barely lasted past the commercials and the first 10 minutes of the movie.

I also had a hard time finding a seat. You'd never know Captain Marvel has been out for a month and a half. It was almost entirely full, mainly with families or groups of bored teens and college students avoiding the weather. I started out in the very front seats, moved to the ones behind them but a person with a broken leg needed it, then went all the way to the very top, but that one turned out to be taken. I finally returned to the front seats, plopped down in the one on the end, and stayed there for the rest of the showing.

(None of the commercials were as intriguing as the ones in front of Aquaman back in January. I might catch Spider Man: Far From Home in the theater if I'm bored this summer, but I have no desire to see the three-hour marathon known as Avengers: Endgame. First of all, I wasn't that crazy about Infinity War. Second, three hours is a long time to sit in a theater. Third, I don't go to the movies to go to a funeral. I'll check out the DVD in the fall.)

I'm not going to go heavily into Captain Marvel here because of spoilers but...I really enjoyed it. It probably helps that I'm not a comic book fan, could care less about how all this played out in the comics, and never even heard of this character until about a decade ago. Brie Larson was totally awesome as the strong-willed and dedicated title character; Samuel L. Jackson was a lot of fun as a much younger Nick Fury (with both eyes). I also liked warm Lashana Lynch as Carol's supportive best friend Maria, Ben Mendelsohn as an alien looking for a home, and Annette Benning as a scientist who turns out to be far from what Captain Marvel expects. And yes, Goose the cat was adorable and pretty darn cool, even when she's not exactly what she looks like, either.

I suspect that some of the critical and fan carping is more a case of hype backlash and too many comparisons to other Marvel movies than anything. If you're a fan of the character who is open to changes in her origins, or are looking for a good action movie with a strong female in the lead, I highly recommend this one.

It was almost 4 when I finally got out. Went straight next-door to Applebee's for a late dinner-early lunch. They were steady, not really crazy, but there were quite a few people there. I listened to their conversation and worked on story notes while waiting for my Cheddar Chicken Bacon Sandwich and fries. The chicken sandwich was huge, to the point where I barely managed to keep it on the bun, but it was so nice and juicy! Never had such an eye-watering red onion slice, either. And the fries were nice and salty and crisp.

Since I had an hour before I had to pick up the bus, I went to the massive Wal Mart on the hill next. I didn't see any toys I liked, for me or for my nephew Khai (whose birthday is Friday), but I did find last year's version of A Star Is Born to review on my blog. I'm tired of waiting for it to show up at one of the libraries. (So yeah, look for that one on Tuesday.) Bought peanut butter, honey, and trash bags, all of which I forgot at the Acme yesterday, and cake mix, which is cheaper there.

The bus was slightly late, but nothing terrible. Once again, there were no problems getting home, despite it being the tail end of rush hour. There was no traffic, and the bus wasn't full. I jumped off at the dentist's office across from 7-11, cross to the City Hall, picked up my bike there, and rode home.

(I got incredibly lucky with the weather - and so did a young women I chatted with briefly who was taking a break from her job at Taco Bell. She said she was supposed to get off at 7, and that was when the rain was to start. The rain didn't arrive until past 8, and when it did show up, it wasn't heavy, although the wind was pretty bad.)

Ran more Yogi Bear while enjoying my Lemon-Coconut Cake (which came out splendidly). The final episode of the series was "Yogi's Birthday Party." Kellogg's wants to hold a surprise birthday party on TV for everyone's favorite smarter-than-the-average bear. Ranger Smith tells him it's a variety special, and he spends the week trying to take singing and dancing lessons. Yogi's as shocked as anyone when it turns out to be a gathering of all the Hanna Barbara funny animals who'd been created up to that time, including Huckleberry Hound, Quick-Draw McGraw, and his own buddies Cindy and Boo Boo.

Switched to Kirby's Epic Yarn after the cartoon ended. Went back and re-did one round in Grass Land to get the music disc, then finished Space Land with the final two rounds. One has you using the giant tank in a zero-gravity moon base; the other is a Galaga-style space shooter. Both are a lot of fun, probably some of the most fun of any rounds in the game. I did have to re-do the first one when I missed one of the furniture items, but otherwise, both rounds went just fine.

Finished the night with two episodes of Sailor Moon from the third season. It's also Usagi's birthday, but it's not going as well as she hoped in "Usagi In Tears: A Glass Slipper for My Birthday." First, it seemed like the girls forgot her big day (though they're really holding a surprise party). Second. Mamoru seems like he forgot, too...and when he does remember and gives Usagi the glass slippers she wanted, they turn out to be a monster trying to steal her pure heart! Kaolinite shows up and not only takes Usagi's transformation broach, but kidnaps Tuxedo Mask as well.

Usagi takes off to find him in "The Stolen Pure Heart: Usagi In Crisis." Haruka and Micheru take her to the TV tower where he's being held. The girls follow, with Venus dressed as Sailor Moon to fool Kaolinite so they can get her compact back. Even after she does get the broach and frees Tuxedo Mask, they still have to deal with Kaolinite...and Sailor Uranus and Neptune as well.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Getting Better

Kicked off a sunny, warm morning with three Mickey Mouse birthday shorts while I had a quick breakfast. "The Birthday Party" is the black and white one. Minnie invites Mickey over to her house for a surprise birthday shindig. They do an adorable duet of "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" on dueling pianos, then Mickey has a hard time dealing with a moving xylophone. The color one is "Mickey's Birthday Party." Donald and Clara Cluck join the fun this time, as Mickey dances to his new organ and Goofy attempts to make a cake. "Pluto's Party" from the 50's has Mick hosting Pluto's big day. Pluto would rather he didn't have to share it with Morty, Ferdie, and 30 of their rambunctious friends.

Switched to a short from The Yogi Bear Show as I cleaned up and got organized. Chopper the dog is in a "Happy Birthdaze" when his buddy Yakky Doodle brings him the biggest bone he can find. Trouble is, it's a rare dinosaur bone. Yakky thought he bought it from the museum, but an Irish security guard is convinced he stole it.

It was getting hotter by the minute. I was fine in shorts and a short-sleeved blouse as I made my way to the Oaklyn Library. Needless to say on such a nice day, they weren't busy. It was just me, the librarian, and Cartoon Network. I made a pit stop, organized the DVDs, and moved on.

Headed to the Audubon Crossings Shopping Center next. I locked my bike at the Acme and walked in back to look around. I did find Broadcast News and the second season of Smallville (the latter still in it's original plastic!) at Goodwill, but had no luck anywhere else. There were no good sneaker sales at Marshalls or The Shoe Depot. Our Payless is in the midst of closing with the rest of the chain. I set the alarm off going in and out of Marshalls and decided not to chance Ross.

Did better at the Acme. Bought cake mix and coconut to make myself a Lemon-Coconut Cake for my birthday. Found the Acme's generic blue corn chip version of Fritos on clearance and thought I'd try them. Asparagus was on sale. Was hoping an online coupon for the Acme's "natural" eggs would work on the cage-free ones; alas, they did not. Turkey hot dogs were the cheapest meat I could find. Restocked cereal, skim milk, pears, floss, bananas, strawberries (buy one, get one), yogurt, mouthwash, Belvita cookies (coconut this time), brown sugar, canned pineapple, mandarin orange cups, and chocolate chips.

My schedule this week is...actually pretty odd. On one hand, I don't work again until Wednesday. I'll be able to devote tomorrow to my birthday and save laundry and errands for Monday and Tuesday. It actually makes sense that they want me to work later in the week, given we're coming up on Easter. I even have all afternoon and evening hours, nothing too early. I just wish I hadn't lost hours. You'd think I'd gain a few, given that once again, we're coming up on a major holiday. (Two, actually. Passover starts next week as well.)

Went straight home. Finished one more Yogi Bear short while I put everything away. Ranger Smith's birthday is soon. Yogi assures that he'll have a "Slap Happy Birthday" when he tries to find ways to make a party without him finding out...and he assumes that Yogi's up to his old tricks.

Did an episode of Smallville while making a Banana-Strawberry Smoothie for lunch. The "Spirit" of a spoiled popular girl who died in a car crash on a kryptonite-filled ravine enters first Mrs. Kent, then Lana, then Lois, in the hope of netting Clark as her "perfect" prom date. She gets a major eye-opener when not only does Chloe win the title of prom queen, but it turns out that neither Clark nor anyone else in school were as fond of her as she was of herself.

Tried taking a nap around 3:30, but it only lasted for 40 minutes. My head's still a little achy and I'm still sniffling and coughing a bit, but it's nowhere near to the degree that it was earlier in the week. I felt up to doing some writing. Luke's thrilled that he's doing better with his training...but his delight doesn't last long. He and Ben both feel dozens of people being killed. Harris points out a green laser being aimed right in the direction they're heading for...and that Aldera Hills is on fire...

Broke for leftovers for dinner around 6:30. I made the Lemon Coconut Cake from yellow cake mix with lemon juice instead of lemon cake mix (which was more expensive). Added orange marmalade for the filling and frosted it with home-made coconut buttercream icing. I'm saving the first piece for tomorrow, but the icing mostly came out pretty well, rich and very sweet.

Finished the night with Here Comes Peter Cottontail and The Easter Bunny Is Comin' to Town before and after a shower and I frosted the cake. I go into more detail on two of the Rankin-Bass Easter specials at my Musical Dreams Reviews blog.

Here Comes Peter Cottontail & The Easter Bunny Is Comin' to Town

Friday, April 12, 2019

This Is My Day of Rest

While I did feel a little better when I woke up this morning, my head remained stuffy, and I was still coughing like crazy. I decided to do what I should have done all week and just spent the day at home. Ran an episode of The Backyardigans during breakfast. Uniqua and Tyrone ask Tasha "What's Bugging You?" when she calls them to rid her house of pests. Turns out on of the wormen, the colorful worm-like critters who appear on the show from time to time, has gotten in. She needs her house to be perfect to get into Mr. Spiffy's (Pablo) Spiffy Club. Tyrone and Uniqua try to figure out a way to get rid of him, and then him and all his buddies.

I spent most of the day on the computer. Did do some writing, but I mainly hung out, hoping to see the trailer for the new Star Wars movie. The Rise of Skywalker was worth waiting for. I am so happy. Happy to see Rey do that awesome move onto the TIE Interceptor. Happy to see Lando again. Happy to cry with Rey when she hugged Leia. Happy to see that BB8 has an equally cute little friend.

From the title and the way things sound to me - Luke's narration, Lando in the Falcon, the appearance of one of the medals from New Hope, the trio coming up on the ruins of the Death Star, the all-too familiar laughter in the end - I suspect a dying Leia may have sent Rey, Rose, the droids, and the boys to Tatoonie and maybe a mining colony to find out more about Luke and her family's past, including from Lando. There may be something in Luke's past, between the end of Jedi and his starting his school, that could help them stop the First Order. Ben Solo (Kylo Ren is a dumb name) would probably still prefer to let the past die and will keep them away from anything that involves resurrecting any part of his family that doesn't make him look like the grandson of Darth Vader.

Even if that's not what happens, I'm still excited. This is the best possible birthday present Lucasfilm could have given me. I can't wait for Christmas now. Here's the trailer, so you can make a few ideas of your own:

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Broke for a quick lunch at 1:30. Had a banana-peanut butter smoothie while watching an episode of Good Eats. Alton shows how easy it is to make your own marshmallows...and all the recipes they can be used for. Given that one of the things he makes is more-or-less his own Peeps, I thought this one was appropriate for right before Easter.

Ran outside quickly after I ate to see if I had any mail. Grabbed a package for me in the mailbox and shoved it under my shirt to keep it dry in the rain. It was a birthday present from Linda and James Young. I'll open the gift on Sunday, but I did open the card now. They also sent me copies of the original 1980's Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea (The Sequel) miniseries. I've had the Sullivan Anne of Green Gables for  years, but I haven't seen Anne of Avonlea since the 80's. I'll give Anne of Green Gables to someone else, or donate them to one of the libraries.

(The wind started while I was online the first time. It didn't rain until lunch. It's rained off and on, sometimes heavily, for the rest of the day.)

I went down for a nap after lunch. Got up around 4 and actually got some writing in along with the puttering around. Luke and Ben are working with his new light sword in the back of the van as Harris turns onto twisty roads overlooking the upscale Naboo Heights section of town. Harris thinks the whole thing is ridiculous, but Ben is adamant that the young man learn to use his newfound abilities.

Didn't break for dinner until 7:30. Had leftover tuna salad while playing more Kirby's Epic Yarn. Space Land can be fun, but a lot of areas are tough to figure out. There were at least two worlds that took so long, I never did find the music discs in them. By the time I made it to the boss round, it was getting late. I'll take on Meta Knight tomorrow.

Finished the night with another episode of Smallville. "Onyx" gives us two Lex Luthors in one when an explosion at the lab splits him into  his evil and good selves. His evil self locks his good self away in the mansion and proceeds to make as much trouble as he can, including hitting on Lana and threatening to expose Clark's secret. Clark and Chloe have to figure out what's going on and how to bring the two back together.

I'm going to have to go out tomorrow, even if I don't do it for long. I'm almost out of tissues and milk, among other things. I need to go to the grocery store. I'll need to get my schedule, too.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Springtime In Audubon

Sleeping in this morning really helped my cold. While I was still sniffling and coughing up lungs, I wasn't nearly as tired. Ran an episode of Sailor Moon as I ate breakfast. "Usagi Learns Her Lesson: Being a Star Is Hard Work" has her and Naru trying to develop their singing act in order to join a talent show and become big stars. After they quarrel, Usagi considers getting Luna to do tricks before giving up on the idea of being famous. It may be one of the smartest things she ever did. She and Luna discover there's something very disturbing going on behind the scenes...and it may be a Negaverse plot to get energy.

Actually felt up to working on my story for an hour and a half today. Harris leads the Shadow Soldiers' black Thunderbirds on a merry chase down highways and back streets, to the annoyance of his passengers. He knocks them out with oil and simply by outrunning them before turning on his "turbo" engine and speeding off.

Broke for a banana-coffee yogurt smoothie lunch at 12:30. Ami Mizuno, aka Sailor Mercury, is introduced in "The Girl Genius Is a Monster: The Brainwashing Cram School of Horror." Actually, Ami, the smartest girl in Usagi's school, isn't the monster here. She only goes to the school. Usagi and Luna mistake her for the monster when they find a disc with programming that brainwashes people into giving up their energy. But gentle Ami turns out to be more friend than foe...and she's especially helpful with the real Negaverse monster.

Headed out to work shortly after the cartoon ended. It was really boring. There were at least two other baggers on when I arrived; a third came in an hour before I left. Except for the 15 minutes I got stuck going in for a cashier's break, I spent the entire day shelving candy, gathering baskets, and doing what few returns there were. We were mostly dead the entire afternoon, and I had no major problems.

Put on some Backyardigans to liven things up as I ate leftovers for dinner. Uniqua has "Flower Power" when she pricks her finger on a thorn and become's Garden City's newest superhero. Gloom Meister Austin is determined to rain on her parade and keep everything in town dark and dreary.

Spent the next few hours playing Kirby's Epic Yarn. Snow Land is a bit more complicated than the previous worlds. Kirby slides on the icy platforms and is occasionally hard to control. I am terrible at the ability here, snowboarding. I just can't figure out how to jump and turn and keep the momentum going. I must have played that round 30 times before I finally gave up and moved on. I did fine elsewhere, picking up the extra patches and only missing the music disc in the bonus car race round. (Although I did have to do the Christmas-themed bonus round twice to get the music disc there.)

Finished the night with April In Paris. I cover this frothy romantic comedy vehicle for Doris Day and Ray Bolger at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

April In Paris