Friday, October 24, 2014

Housework...

is evil. It must be stopped. So says this refrigerator magnet.


The October SAT was on the 11th; tomorrow is the October ACT. I had a slow week and I figured it would be a good time to...clean. Maybe I just wanted an excuse to link to this song.

I'm not good at housework. I'm slow and I get easily distracted.The frustrating thing about housework is that it never ends. I like the look and feeling of a clean place, but it doesn't last for long. I don't mind dusting, maybe because it gives me an opportunity to re-arrange things. But otherwise, housework is either boring or tiring.

But housework is one of those things that has to be done, and if I have the time, it's on me.

I still love that magnet. I think I bought it at the same time I got this one:


No DPF Tonight

Last week at the Halloween party, everyone seemed psyched to meet this Friday. We figured it would be the last dog park Friday of the year.

Jeff and I got salmon for dinner before heading to Taylor Farm a little earlier than normal. We saw Mary who was on her way out for dinner, and then Chris. No one else showed.

Sunset was at 5:58. If people have to work late, that leaves mere minutes for a dog park visit. I get it. But I'm still disappointed. I try to keep Friday evenings open for the dog park. Tonight I didn't go to an open studio event because I didn't want to miss the last dog park Friday.

Maybe dog park Friday means more to me than to anyone else.

Bette Davis on TCM and our DVR

I've been catching up on a few movies on our DVR.

The first is John Paul Jones. Special guest star Bette is Catherine the Great. I had fast-forwarded this film before to see Bette's performance. This time I watched (okay half-watched) the whole film. Bette is fine, but not particularly memorable.

I would like to talk to the person who cast Robert Stack as John Paul Jones. Stack is wooden--he doesn't bat an eye as the "love of his life" rejects him. Instead of a righteous rebel, Stack plays Jones as a spoiled brat who throws tantrums when he doesn't get his way. The best performance is by Charles Coburn as Benjamin Franklin. Overall, a mediocre movie--I hope Bette was well paid for her cameo.

Much earlier in Bette's career is Way Back Home, her fourth film. Bette is fourth billed as the romantic interest of the secondary lead. She is good, but doesn't have much to work with. Frankie Darro is the standout here. He is also memorable in The Mayor of Hell and Wild Boys of the Road.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Back to the Gym

I went back to the gym for the first time in almost three weeks. For the most part, I didn't go to the gym because of my cold. It lingered for about ten days, and my symptoms re-appeared yesterday.

I had been on a roll--I had visited the gym three times a week for six weeks. On each visit, I did some kind of weight work--usually legs one day, chest, shoulders and triceps another, and back and biceps a third. I did ab work every visit. On most visits, I also did some kind of cardio.

I had to scale back today.I did back (but no biceps), leg press and calf raise (but not leg curls and extensions) and some abs.I had to lower my weights on several exercises.Then I did a half hour on the bike because that's my favorite form of cardio.

Just another beginning.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

National Nut Day

Here's the background for this holiday. I'm intrigued by these random holidays, even though I suspect that they are the work of industry groups. Through the Dog Lovers group on Linked In, I received this link.

Good information. Jeff had told me that only peanuts were good for dogs because they are not nuts, but legumes. Peanut butter was one of Spike's first treats because he was a vegetarian before he came to live with us. (We thought that was unnatural, and changed that.) He still loves peanuts and peanut butter, as do Jeff and I.

The nut article included a link to this article, which is a good source. We're fine with more of Spike's favorites: carrots and apples.

Leaves Are Fulling All Around...

I've been thinking of this song on recent walks with Spike.

Our summer was mild, the first few weeks of autumn were warmer than usual. Now we're in the thick of fall. The air is crisp; the leaves a mélange of green, gold, orange and red.

It's dark when we get up in the morning, and sunset is creeping earlier each day.

Soon our dog park Fridays will be done for the season. I'll miss them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What I've Been Reading

Early this year, I was looking through posts to see what books I read last year--assuming I would post about them. As many people overestimate the amount of exercise they get, I apparently overestimate the number of books I read. for 2014, I made a goal to read at least a book a month.

I haven't come close. In January, I read a short book from a Ridgefield historian. He was selling his books on Main Street one day, and I bought them to support him. The one I read wasn't that good. Next I re read Einstein for Beginners. Next up was Reading Lolita in Tehran.  Most recently, I finished The Red Leather Diary.

I'm reading other things: magazines, newspapers, online news and reviews, but my book list to date is pitiful. I doubt I'll make up eight books in the next 10 weeks.

Wait til next year.

Harpo and Carmen

Our friends Jenn and John have a Halloween party every year. This year it was last Saturday--the 18th. They also have a theme: past themes were angels and devils, Mardi Gras, superheroes and once upon a halloween eve. This year the theme was dead celebrities.

Jeff came up with the idea of Harpo Marx a few weeks ago. He bought a wig, hat and horn and looked pretty good. I was going to go as Groucho. I couldn't find a tuxedo jacket with tails locally. I was also worried whether I could get the eyebrows and hair correct.

I considered some other options--Pharaoh Hatshepset, Boudica, Bela Lugosi. Then I saw a Carmen Miranda hat. That was it. I wore my own clothes--a blue and green flowered skirt with a green, long-sleeved blouse (not exactly right but part of the party would be outside and I didn't want to freeze) lots of necklaces and beads. Unfortunately, some people thought I was the Chiquita banana. Oh well.

Other celebrities were Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, Toulouse Lautrec, Jimi Hendrix, Andy Warhol, John Lennon and two Charlie Chaplins.  Good fun.

Bonita Granville's Nancy Drew

Over the summer, TCM ran the four 1938 - 1939 Nancy Drew movies starring Bonita Granville and Frankie Thomas as Ted Nickerson. I'm a big fan and have seen the films several times. I recorded and watched them in July and recently re-watched the series.

The series has a madcap comedy approach: book Nancy is serious and responsible, and as my sister complained--too perfect. Granville's Nancy is impulsive and let me repeat madcap. She also plays fast and loose with evidence, something book Nancy would never consider.

The first film Nancy Drew Detective is loosely based on the book, The Password to Larkspur Lane. It seems to be the most serious of the films, but its overall tone is lighthearted. Nancy's attempted rescue of an older woman held prisoner in a nursing home is foiled by Ted's poor attempt to dress in drag as a nurse. His pants leg drooping down from under this uniform gives him away. Of course, they ultimately succeed.

Bonus: James Stephenson, who was so memorable as Bette Davis' lawyer in The Letter, appears here as one of the villains.

The second film is Nancy Drew Reporter. Nancy investigates a murder case while allegedly on an assignment as a student reporter. (She steals the assignment from another reporter's desk when the reporter is away.)

As part of Nancy's investigation, poor Ted winds up in the boxing ring with Soxie Anthens. A clue from the boxing ring takes them to the Mandarin Café. Unfortunately, Ned's bratty sister and her friend (Mary and Killer) tag along by hiding in the rumble seat. They order chop suey even though Nancy and Ted don't have the money to pay the bill. To avoid washing dishes, Mary, Killer, Nancy and Ted sing a medley with a full orchestra (!) The patrons throw enough change to pay the bill. I don't usually care about these musical interludes, but this one was fun. (Compare it to Blow that Horn in After the Thin Man.)

Another scene in drag: this time it's Sergeant Entwhistle masquerading as Grandma. While searching the villain's room, the Sergeant is revealed when his skirt is caught in a trunk and is pulled off, revealing his pants. Damn, if only Ted and Sergeant Entwhistle were committed to their disguises, they might have gotten away,

I loved Nancy's trick after she and Ted are locked up in the electrical room on the roof of a hotel. By removing fuses, they change the sign of the Beldenburg Hotel to the Bedbug Hotel, and they get rescued.

Mary and Killer even come through.They put whistles on Nancy's car, just before the bad guys try to escape in it.The police can easily apprehend the villains.

Nancy Drew Trouble Shooter is my least favorite of the series. None of the regulars come off well: Nancy is especially scatterbrained and Ted is especially clumsy. Carson Drew acts like a lovesick schoolboy at the first sight of an attractive neighbor.Ted is also immediately smitten. Nancy becomes jealous of the neighbor, calling her a "scheming adventuress."

There are many "slapsticky" scenes including a bull whose charge frees Nancy and Ted from a locked building, Ted flying a crop dusting plane, and Ted and Nancy sinking in the boat Ted built, the Nancy. Somehow, no one notices the big hole Nancy makes christening it.

Perhaps the worst part of the movie is Willie Best's stereotypical character Apollo. Apollo's hides a live and later a cooked chicken behind his back, complains about his work, and is so afraid of ghosts that he doesn't realize that he's witnessed a murder.Thank goodness Nancy's around to figure it all out.

The final film of the series is Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase. This film also had some outlandish situations, but they were fun. I loved the situations created by Ted as the iceman, despite the silly falling pants routine. I laughed when Nancy ordered 500 pounds of ice just to get Ted's help.

Ted makes a final appearance in drag. He's on stakeout in the basement to try to catch the bad guy, and strips to his underwear to sleep. When the bad guy takes his clothes, all Ned can find is an old-fashioned women's dress. Okay, but why did he don the lady's hat?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ABC

Anybody but the Cardinals.

The Kansas City Royals are going to the World Series, as I hoped for two weeks ago. Alas, there's no hope that the Pittsburgh Pirates will be joining them.

I want new blood; new teams. The ALCS gave me that. I would have been happy with the Royals or the Orioles. The NLCS--not so much. Two teams that had been there before...recently.

Here I am, rooting for the Giants. Yes, they've won twice in the last four series. But the Cardinals won in 2011. More importantly, they kept my beloved Mets from advancing to the World Series in 2006. The team was also the Mets' nemesis in the mid '80's when I first got into baseball.

I have a long memory--ABC.

Let's Not Talk About Last Week

My postings have been light (actually non-existent) for the last week-plus. I was dealing with a bad cold and didn't want to whine about it--especially after my last whining and complaining post. I had a relatively busy work week. Because the SAT was last Saturday, I could only reschedule one appointment. I just hope I didn't get any students sick. It was an exhausting week.

Let's focus on good things. Friday night we had a nice Dog Park Friday. We know our Fridays are numbered with daylights savings time ending, so we appreciate the evenings we have left. We just don't see our dog park friends that much in the winter months.

Mindful of other opportunities that will soon be gone, Jeff, Spike and I visited Nik's for a Sunday lunch of gyros. Afterwards we went on a loop around the dog park. Reminiscent of another visit to Niks but at the beginning of a season.

Yesterday was a beautiful example of Indian summer: sunny with temps in the 70's. Spike and I managed a brief early afternoon dog park visit before my tutoring appointment.

Hmmm, my good things this week all revolve around the dog park. I guess it all comes down to Spike.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Traffic Tribulation and Construction Conundrum

Spoiler alert: I'm going to complain and whine.

I had a busy day yesterday: I had three tutorials scheduled in Greenwich, CT; Scarsdale, NY and Trumbull, CT; followed by a dinner with my mother in Redding, CT. I had gotten stuck in traffic on a previous visit to the Scarsdale student and owed him an extra three quarters of an  hour. I was glad that I was able to re-arrange my schedule to fit in all three tutoring students. But it didn't work out for me.

As I headed to Greenwich, there was an accident at Exit 9 on I-95 that closed two lanes. I realize that being delayed is nothing compared to what people in the accident faced, but I was upset that my plans were messed up. It took me 1.25 hours to get to my first appointment: it should have taken me 20 minutes. Luckily the mom was understanding when I asked if we could shorten our session to one hour so I could fit in the second session. Mom was awesome: she got me a cappuccino because she felt sorry that I got caught in a traffic jam. Onto to Scarsdale: it took longer than I expected; bad visibility slowed me down., but I got my 2.45 hours in before I headed to Trumbull.

The Trumbull appointment didn't work out; I got stuck in another traffic jam so bad that we had to cancel.

To add to my woes, our condo's parking lot is being repaved. First, the drainage is being improved. Everyday, a new area is cordoned off. Now we have to get our cars out of the lot for the day tomorrow. Tuesday we also have to put our cars elsewhere, maybe for 24 hours. Oh joy. I just learned that we are also being assessed for this. Okay, but let me know ahead of time so I can plan.

Complain and whine.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wild Card

Last night's Royals/A's game went into 12 innings and ended around 1AM Eastern Time. It was an exciting game with many lead changes. I dozed off a few times but managed to see the end of the game.

Tonight's NL wild card game is completely different. As I write this, it's the middle of the 9th and the Pirates are down 0-8 to the Giants. I'm bummed: nothing against the Giants but they've won two world series recently. I'd love to see the Pirates advance.

Now, it's over. Sorry, Bucs. I guess I'll be rooting for the Nationals in the NL, and continue to root for the underdog Royals in the AL.

It may not be nice, but the main thing is that I'm rooting against the St Louis Cardinals. ABC.

A Bette Davis Gift

Scrolling through Jezebel, I found this. I had never heard this interview. I saw her in person in the 70's at an event called A Night with Bette Davis. At that time she said these lines from All About Eve were true:

Margo Channing: Funny business, a woman's career - the things you drop on your way up the ladder so you can move faster. You forget you'll need them again when you get back to being a woman. That's one career all females have in common, whether we like it or not: being a woman. Sooner or later, we've got to work at it, no matter how many other careers we've had or wanted. And in the last analysis, nothing's any good unless you can look up just before dinner or turn around in bed, and there he is. Without that, you're not a woman. You're something with a French provincial office or a book full of clippings, but you're not a woman. Slow curtain, the end. (Courtesy: imdb)

I'm glad to see she knew the world had gone beyond the "little woman." I enjoyed this interview and the animation created for it.