Everything Comes Together . . .

When I was blogging about the two movies we saw on Saturday, Maleficent and The Edge of Tomorrow, I spent some time Googling about the films.

The first thing I found out was that Tom Cruise’s part in Edge was originally written for Brad Pitt. But when he dropped out, it was rewritten for Cruise.

In fact, the entire script was written and rewritten several times, including even after filming had started. They didn’t even have a ending to the movie when they started.

As far as Maleficent, they really did a great job matching up the original Disney Sleeping Beauty Maleficent

Maleficent - Old

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with the Angelina Jolie version.

Maleficent

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One thing I found funny was concerning a scene in the movie where Maleficent  meets up with Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) as a young child.

Maleficent and Aurora

They tried three different young girls to play the part, but even after Angelina got to know them and played with them ahead of time, they would run away screaming as soon as they saw her in costume.

Then someone noticed that in between takes, Angelina’s daughter would run over to her and ask to be picked up.

So someone got smart and suddenly Brad Pitt and Jolie’s daughter Vivienne was in the movie.

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Nick and Terry finally got back from their Michigan road trip about 2pm, which was a good thing, since things had been entirely too quiet around here.

Then around 4pm we all headed out to celebrate Terry’s birthday with a meal at King Wha, our favorite local Chinese place. Our meal was great, and as usual, we had enough to bring home.

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For the last couple of weeks we’ve been wondering how things were going to play out over the next couple of weeks. We’re scheduled to leave here July 7th, and head down to the Indian Lakes Thousand Trails Resort at Batesville, IN.

But we’ve had two things in the works that might have disrupted that schedule. The first is getting our cracked passenger-side windshield replaced before we leave the area,

We set everything in motion a few weeks ago, but then everything seemed to grind to a halt.

And also a couple of weeks ago, I went to a dermatologist because I thought a bump that suddenly appeared on my head might be skin cancer. So we’ve been waiting for the pathology report to come back.

But then today, everything fell into place.

I had called my National General Insurance agent, Chris Yust, of C and C RV Insurance this weekend to see what she could do. She and her husband, Charles, are RV’ing up in Alaska, so there’s a 4 hour time difference, and since it was the weekend there wasn’t a lot she could do until this morning, but boy, did she get things moving.

I got an email forwarded from NG by saying the claim had been approved and RV Glass had been notified. About 5 minutes later I got a phone call from RV Glass telling me the claim had approved and they had contacted the repair place. And about 30 minutes after that I got a call from Josh at the repair place giving me a tentative repair date of this Friday at 8am.

Then at about 2pm I got a call from the dermatologist’s office confirming the initial diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma, and after finding out they had a cancellation for tomorrow morning, I’m scheduled to have MOHS surgery, starting at 8am and lasting from 2 to 4 hours. It will be done under a local anesthetic as an outpatient.

So by the time most of you read this, they’ll be carving a new hole in my head. And as hard-headed as I am, I figure it will take the entire 4 hours.
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Thought for the Day:

Stop Expecting Me To Be Normal

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Gotta Love that Global Warming . . .

This time 3 years ago we were spending a week at Glacier National Park in northern Montana.

At that time, it pretty much looked like this.

GNP 3

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And this.

GNP 5

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But, after more than 15” of snow the other day, the above scene looks like this.

Glacier Natonal Park Snow2

Yes, the waterfall is frozen. Really glad we aren’t there this year.

Later in the afternoon, I went outside to change out one of my headlight bulbs on the truck. I remember the good old days when you could just pull the bulb socket out of the back of housing, plug in the new bulb, put the socket back in, and you were good to go.

However, changing this one out now requires a #10 Torx driver and a 10mm socket and a ratchet with a long extension with 4 bolts and  screws.

After finally finishing up the headlight repair, I checked the engine oil and transmission oil, on kind of a ‘while I was in there’ basis.

Around 3pm we headed back over to Mishawaka for a couple of reasons. The first was, Jan already had a Wal-Mart / Sam’s list, and we were just there Friday.

The other reason  was that when we ate at Outback Steakhouse that night, I left my little bottle of ground Ghost Pepper/Trinidad Scorpion powder, and I was hoping they still had it.

So our first stop was at Outback, and they did still have my bottle in their Lost & Found box. Yea!

And our next stop was, believe it or not, Taco Bell. Jan and I had been seeing the ads for their new ‘Quesarito’. It’s a burrito wrapped up inside a cheesy quesadilla.

Quesarito

It looked really good, and tasted even better. Jan got hers with the ground beef, and I got the grilled steak. And they also have shredded chicken. We both got the Quesarito Box, which comes with a Quesarito, a Crunchy ground beef taco, a Doritos Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco, and a drink.

The  Doritos Nacho Cheese Crunchy Taco has a taco shell made in, what else, Doritos Nacho Cheese flavor. And again, it’s really good. If I’d known how good, I would have paid the little bit extra to get both tacos that way.

And even better was the price. Our total bill was $12.38.

We used to eat at Taco Bell a lot when our kids were little, but kind of got out of the habit. Maybe we need to rethink that.

Our next stop was Sam’s Club. We wanted to get another box of the fresh cherries that we got on Friday. They were really good, and we wanted more. And then after our Wal-Mart stop, we headed home.

Coming back to Elkhart, I stopped off at Menard’s to get some hardware for my latest project.

I needed to take down my AC grills so I could clean the filters, but that involves digging out a screwdriver, and it’s a pain in the rear trying hold the grill up with one hand and get the screws out with the other.

AC Coil Cleaning 1

Plus the fact that continuously putting the screws back in the same holes is making them looser.

So I decided to install hanger bolts in the screw holes and use wing nuts to hold up the grill.

Hanger bolts look like this. It’s wood screw on one end and a machine bolt on the other.

Hanger Bolt

But the first problem you have with these is – how do you screw them in. Well, they make a special driver that looks like this. But it costs more money (about $8) than I spent on the rest of the project (8 hanger bolts and 8 wing nuts – about $6).

Hanger Bolt Driver

So here’s my cheap version. It’s just two nuts with a lock washer in between, and then tightened down snug.

Hanger Bolt Driver -DIY

Then my ratchet will screw them in just fine. And cheaper too.

So when I got finished, and after cleaning the foam filter, it looked like this.

Wing Nut Installation

Much easier to take down and reinstall.

Tomorrow Nick and Terry should be back from Michigan. Really looking forward to it.

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Thought for the Day:

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons"
Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

“There is no need for any individual to have a computer in their home.”
Ken Olson, President of Digital Equipment Corp, in 1977

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A Movie Two’fer . . .

Normally, when we’re not having muffin muffins with our coffee in the morning, we have English muffins, buttered and then toasted with cinnamon and sugar. Well, when we were at Wal-Mart yesterday getting groceries, we came across a new product.

It’s a Cinnamon Vanilla English Muffin from the Thomas English muffin people, and it’s really good,  especially when you add butter, more cinnamon, and sugar.

Unfortunately, according to the package, it’s a Limited Edition, so stock up now.

Later, about 1pm, Jan and I headed down to the local theater for our movie two’fer afternoon. We do this a lot, because it’s just more convenient.

Our first show was The Edge of Tomorrow, the new Tom Cruise science fiction movie. I haven’t been a big fan of Tom Cruise since he screwed up the Mission Impossible franchise, but the concept of this movie, and previews on TV, were intriguing enough to make me want to give it a try.

As far as the concept goes, think Groundhog Day with a alien invasion. Cruise, killed in the first day of a D-Day style invasion to retake continental Europe from the aliens, wakes up the day before the battle, and does this over and over every time he’s killed, each time getting a little closer to the solution of defeating the alien invasion.The movie is very well done, and we both liked it. Worth Seeing.

Our second move was Maleficent, a retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty fairytale, but this time from the viewpoint of the Evil Queen, Maleficent. And through the storyline, you find out who she is, why she’s ‘evil’, and what made her that way.

Like my feelings about Tom Cruse, Jan is not a big fan of Angelina Jolie, but she liked this movie, and she liked Jolie in it. And so did I. Nobody but Angelina Jolie could have played this part.

The effects are great, and the story ends with a twist from the original version.

Well Recommended.

By the time we got out from the movie, it was about 6pm, and after talking it over we decided to have dinner at Das Dutchman Essenhaus over in Middlebury.

Das Essenhaus

We always try to eat here at least once when we’re in the area. And it’s always good.

When we eat here we normally order from the menu, and don’t do the buffet. And we always get the ‘broasted’ chicken.

If you’ve ever wondered what ‘broasted’ chicken is, it’s basically Kentucky Fried Chicken. It’s cooked in a pressure cooker fryer, just like KFC is. It’s just not KFC, but a competitor. And without all those pesky franchise fees and royalty payments.

Das Dutchman Essenhaus

We always get the 4 piece plate which gives us chicken to bring home. I got the ‘Broasted’ Potato Wedges, and the fresh green beans. And Jan got the same thing, except she got Mashed Potatoes with Gravy instead of the wedges.

You can’t eat here without having one of their homemade pies for dessert. Tonight Jan had her favorite Chocolate Cream Pie, and I had a really delicious slice of Praline Pecan Cream. Really, really good.

We finally got home a little before 8pm, just in time to miss the heavy downpour that came through.

Lucky us.

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Thought for the Day:

Time obliterates the fictions of opinion and confirms the decisions of nature. – Cicero

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Steaks and Croissants . . .

We got more rain last night, and more is scheduled for today, so it was too wet to sit outside again with our coffee.

But Jan made up for it by putting out a couple of the fantastic Williams-Sonoma Frozen Chocolate Croissants that our daughter Brandi gave us for Christmas. They are shipped to you frozen in dry ice and come 2 dozen to a box.

All you have to do is just set them out overnight to thaw and rise, pop them in the oven at 375° for 12 minutes and you’re good to go.

Delicious.

Chocolate Croissants

About 2pm, Nick and Terry Russell  headed up to Michigan to visit relatives for a few days, so things should really quieten down here at the park. At least for me, anyway.

About 3pm Jan and I headed over to Mishawaka for some shopping and dinner. We did hit some rain on the way but it had cleared up by the time we got there.

Our first stop was at the Sam’s Club to pick up our prescriptions and a few other things. I mentioned last month that when I renewed my membership on the 15th I had upgraded from the standard membership to the PLUS version. The reason I did this was that I found out PLUS members had a additional list of drugs that we can get cheaper, besides the $4 ones.

The drug in question was the Lipitor generic that Jan is taking. Previously we had been paying $93 for a 3 month supply. But this time with my new PLUS membership, I paid $35.61 for a 3 month supply.

So, instead of paying $125 for all our drugs, we paid $69, a savings of $56.

And since the cost of upgrading to the PLUS membership is $55 a year, we’re already $1 ahead, with 9 months to go. So the upgrade will save us almost $170 for the year.

NICE!

Leaving Sam’s we drove over to Outback Steakhouse to have dinner. Outback has always been one of our favorite steak places, especially since it’s not near as loud as Texas Roadhouse. You can actually have a conversation using your inside voice. Well, at least as much of an inside voice as I have.

As usual, Outback didn’t disappoint. My ribeye was delicious. Better than the one I had at Texas Roadhouse last week, and a couple of bucks cheaper too. Plus we always like Outback’s salads.

Leaving Outback after a good meal, we headed back to Wal-Mart for groceries. The Wal-Mart and Sam’s are side by side, but since we were getting some cold stuff, we didn’t want it all sitting in the hot car while we ate.

Tomorrow looks to be a movie two-fer, probably Maleficent and The Edge of Tomorrow.
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Thought for the Day:

"Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own." – Robert Heinlein

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Who knows WHAT they know . . .

Your entire life is in the Cloud and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Recently Nick Russell told me about a new service that lets anyone accept credit cards. It’s called Flint and unlike its competitors, it doesn’t require any type of reader, like Square, Intuit, and Android does.

Square Reader

In Flint’s case, you just take a photo of the credit card with your smartphone, like you do when using one of those online check deposit services with your bank.

So now you don’t have to wait until you receive your reader, you can sign up and be taking credit cards in just a few minutes.

But the one thing all these services have in common is the signup procedure. Specifically the verification process that confirms you’re who you say you are, and have legal access to the bank account that you want the funds deposited into.

One of the ways they do this is to ask you questions that only you should be able to answer. But how far they go, and the stuff they can dig out of your past is amazing . . . and scary!

In my case, for Square and now Flint, they ask you a series of three questions. For me, they went like this.

1. With Which Name Are You Associated?

a) Julian
b) Jesse
c) James
d) None of the Above

In my case, the answer to this one was d) None of the Above

2. In Which City is E. Center St ?

a) Belden
b) Cameron
c) Madison
d) None of the Above

In my case, the answer to this one is c) Madison.
E. Center St is the address of
MyDakotaAddress, our mail forwarding service in Madison, SD.

3. Which Street Have You Lived On?

a) Lubich Dr.
b) Matterhorn St.
c) Huntington Ct.

In my case, the answer to this one is b) Matterhorn St.

This one is the kicker. Matterhorn St. is the address of a rental house where we lived in Montgomery AL in 1975.

We lived for a while right before we bought our first house in a nearby area.

So, as I said above: Your entire life is in the Cloud and there’s nothing you can do about it.

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As far as today, Phyllis Schell came by for a while to ask some questions about a router problem she was having, and as is usual with RV’ers, we ended talking about restaurants and food.

She told us about a BBQ place in South Bend called aptly enough, Pit’s. She said it’s pretty good, and she and Dick liked the sauce, so much in fact that they bought some. She said she’d send Dick over later with a sample and she did. But we haven’t had a chance to try it yet.

Jan and I pretty much goofed off the rest of day until about 4pm when we headed out with Nick and Terry to have dinner at El Maguey Mexican Restaurant, our favorite local Mexican place, and once again, they didn’t disappoint.

After we got back someone from a Good Sam group in the park came by to invite us to a wienie roast at the Activity Center tomorrow evening at 5pm. Sounds like fun, but we don’t know how our schedule will work out, since tomorrow we’ll make a run over to Mishawaka and pick up our prescriptions at Sam’s and do some other shopping.

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Thought for the Day:

Being born in Alabama, I was 15 before I knew “Damn” and “Yankee” were two separate words.

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Walking the Wall . . .

Today was pretty much a rest up day after yesterday’s all-day road trip. We thought about sitting outside with our coffee this morning, and some of Miss Terry’s delicious homemade bread, but the chairs were still wet from last night’s rain, so we gave it a pass.

I mentioned right before we left Houston that I was helping my beautiful great-niece’s Stahlie and Darby get their visas for a visit to China. And now they’ve been and come back, so we have pictures.

The Great Wall

Great Wall 1

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This is Stahlie

Great Wall 9

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And this is Darby.

Great Wall 3

Great Wall 2

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Here’s Stahlie doing her ‘Praying Mantis’ karate move atop the Great Wall.

Great Wall 4

Great Wall 5

Great Wall 6

Great Wall 7

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And this is Darby doing her scene from ‘Titanic’, or maybe James Cagney from ‘White Heat’

“Top of the World, Ma!”

Great Wall 10

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The Forbidden City

Forbidden City 1

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But I think this one is my favorite.

Great Wall 8

How many other people can say they’ve been photobombed by a Chinese Communist soldier?

Looks like Stahlie and Darby had a great time, and Jan and I are glad they made it back safely. Hopefully we’ll see them in about six weeks.

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Since we’re on family stuff, Brandi sent this photo of Landon making pizza at his daycare. (Landon says it’s not daycare. It’s SCHOOL!)

Landon Makes Pizza

Doesn’t seem like he’s too enthused about the whole process.

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Later in the afternoon, I saw Nick Russell outside, playing like he was going reinstall the new locks on his rig’s fuel fill doors. After watching this pitiful display for a few minutes, I went outside to take over the project and do the job right.

I told Nick that I saw through his Tom Sawyer ‘Whitewashing The Fence’ routine, but that it was just easier to do it right the first time, rather than have repair the damage.

What I didn’t say was that I didn’t want to have to drive him to the emergency room after he hurt himself trying to use ‘Tools’.

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Looks like we really dodged a bullet storm-wise this afternoon. Weather alerts were coming on saying there was a line of thunderstorms coming through the area, with 60 mph winds and quarter-size hail. Said to expect roofs being blown off and hail damage to vehicles.

But although we got the heavy rain for a while, it’s looks like the really bad stuff stayed north of us. Good.

Don’t have anything scheduled for tomorrow. Good.

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Thought for the Day:

Talk about going two-for-two!

“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.”
Lord Kelvin, ca. 1895, British mathematician and physicist

“Radio has no future.”
Lord Kelvin, ca. 1897

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At Least Two!

Today was a road trip day which meant we had to get to up entirely too early. Early enough to be on the road at 9:00. That’s how early.

Nick and Terry, and Jan and I headed out for Peru, IN so Jan could track down some of her old haunts from when she lived here in 1957 when her father was stationed at Bunker Hill Air Force Base.

But our first stop was in Twelve Mile, IN to visit Butch and Fonda Williams, long time RV friends from Nick’s Gypsy Journal Rallys.

Nick was dropping off his RV fuel door locks to have them keyed alike and then we will pick them up on the way home.

By the time we got into the Peru area, it was after 11, so we made a quick stop at McDonald’s for a lunch bite.

The first place Jan was hoping to find was the house they lived in. Jan told me she remembered it was a little outside of town heading towards Logansport, and only a couple of blocks from the Wabash River.

So looking at the map yesterday, it looked like there was only one subdivision that was a likely candidate.

And when we drove down the first possible street, she yelled out, “That’s it.”

Peru House 1

Peru House 2

She said that when she lived here there was a big picture window on the front where they put their Christmas tree.

It looks like it hasn’t been lived in in a while, but it hasn’t been too long since there was a satellite dish on the back.

As we came into town, we saw a sign that Peru was the birthplace of Cole Porter, the famous Broadway composer, so we tracked it down so Nick could get some pictures for a Gypsy Journal story.

Our next stop was the Circus Hall of Fame located outside of town. At one time Indiana was the winter home for over 100 circuses. And 10 called Peru home at one time.

Circus Car

The first circus was held in Peru in 1884, and many started wintering here soon after. In fact Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show played here several times.

Circus Model

Circus Model 2

One of the stand-out exhibits is a very large diorama depicting an old-time circus, with a lot of detail.

Heading back into town, we dropped Nick and Terry off at the International Circus Museum in the downtown area. Jan and I headed a couple of blocks away for the Miami County Museum.

Jan wanted to look at old phone books and city directories to see if her family was listed. But we didn’t find anything. Apparently they weren’t there long enough to be in the books.

Jan also wanted to look for information about her old elementary school, which we figured out was called Ridgeview Elementary. She already knew it had been torn down in the 70’s, but she was hoping to find a picture of it.

We did find this photo from 1909, which means Jan’s school was already 50 years old when she went there.

RidgeView Elementary School

We had already found this photo of her school on the Classmates website.

Rdgeview Elementary School

Leaving the Museum, and based on some info from the Curator there, we drove out to the cemetery so Nick could get some pictures of Cole Porter’s grave.

Leaving the cemetery, and also based some info from the Museum Curator, we stopped at the Carousel Ice Cream Shop for a cold treat. We been told how great the ice cream was there, and pulling into the lot, it was easy to see why their ice cream was so good.

They had a big sign in front that said, “We Proudly Serve Blue Bell Ice Cream.”

Well, of course it’s good. It’s from Texas.

By now it was about 4:30, time to head back home. But first we stopped off at Butch and Fonda’s again to pick up Nick’s rekeyed locks, and also check out this 1951 or 52 Crosley Super Sedan Convertible that Butch was working on for a customer.

Crosley 1

Butch is well-known in the Crosley world as a source and manufacturer of Crosley parts. In fact he has a whole warehouse of parts and the machines to built new parts.

Crosley 2

And yes, the propeller on the front actually spins in the wind.

Crosley 3

But the real question of the day, is how many clowns can fit in a Crosley Clown Car.

And the answer is . . .

Crosley Clown Car 2

At least two.

Crosley Clown Car 3

For my part, I think the car is like Dr. Who’s TARDIS.

It’s bigger on the inside than the outside. That’s the only explanation for how Nick and I could both fit.

Finally leaving Butch and Fonda’s, we headed up to Mishawaka to have dinner at the Golden Corral.

After a really good meal, and eating ‘til we almost hurt., we got back to the rigs about  8:30 after a long but very nice day.

Tomorrow, sleeping late.

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Thought for the Day:

"A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject."—Winston Churchill

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