Friday, January 31, 2014

Where They Build Palaces Out Of Corn

I've been wanting to go to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota since I first discovered its existence.  Since we don't get through South Dakota all that often, and never actually deliver or pick up anything there, it's a bit difficult to make it happen.

This week we were in Mitchell, South Dakota.  Well, not in Mitchell, but at the truck stop on the Interstate, at the exit that leads into Mitchell.  But we didn't have time to stop.

So I didn't get to see the Corn Palace, and it can be years before I get back there.

I just hope it doesn't become a Flickertail.  Because then I'll be guilty of not carpe-ing the diem again.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Modern Market Girl
2012: A Berry Good Time
2011: Traveling Through Mountain Ranch
2010: Backroads
2009: If Only I Could Fit All Of This Information On A Bumper Sticker…
2008: Gambling Haze
2007: Published
2006: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Day The South Fell Apart...Again

We stopped yesterday about an hour south of Birmingham, Alabama because the roads were getting icier by the minute.  Just in the few miles we drove, we saw cars sliding around and the decision was made to pull off and find a place to park.  We sat all night and into the next afternoon before leaving.

Once we hit Birmingham, around the I-65 and I-459, the landscape changed completely.  There were cars in ditches:
And there were cars lining the interstate for miles.  Abandoned.  Most of them on the shoulders and in the median.
But some, like this garbage truck, were just sitting right in the lane of traffic.  With no one in the vehicle.
The only lane of traffic moving here is the one we're in and the one to the right.  Everything else you see are cars parked.  There's a Frito-Lay truck and a UPS delivery truck in this photo, parked on the shoulder to the left.
The cars parked all along the right shoulder, in front of the red one, are all empty.  Not a person to be seen.  It was like a sci-fi movie.  Something drastic happened, the world froze as it was, and the people were gone.

But where did they go??  We heard, on the news I think, that some people were shuttled to local businesses by bus.  And some people walked.  We even saw a guy on a bicycle.  
I don't know how long it's going to look like this, but apparently Atlanta was much worse.  Glad I wasn't there.
And this asshat (and many others) writing about his experience being stuck in his car, clearly has no idea who causes most of the accidents on the road.  Because I can tell you right now, it's highly unlikely that drivers of big rigs "slammed their accelerators to the floor, trying to get their loads moving across the snow and ice".   
Next stop is way out west, to the empty northern states.

They may have a lot of snow, but at least they don't have thousands of people driving entirely too fast for the conditions just to get three cars ahead of you.  Not to mention the fact that they should have stayed the hell home in the first place. 

And honestly, those are the people I'd like to see make a soft (but safe) landing into a ditch.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Island Graffiti

2012: Four Seasons Of Food To Conquer
2011: Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head
2010: As Seen On TV
2009: Eddie Polishing His Chrome Friday
2008: Traveling With Your Cat
2007: Getting Wet In The Next County
2006: Down With O.P.P.
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Calling It A Day

I can't even remember the last time we've had to shut down for the night due to weather - in this case, it happened in the middle of the afternoon, because of icy road conditions.  We did it once before, but since then I don't recall a similar situation.

Once night fell, Ed went to sleep and I stayed up in the cab watching movies on the computer - I wasn't tired and didn't want to disturb him.  The photo above is the view I had for most of the evening.

The roads were so bad - some of the worst weather the south has seen in years - that the only movement I saw was one or two cars who ventured in to the little convenience store/quasi-truck stop and twice a state trooper who drove through with his spotlight, checking out the area, then stopping for about thirty minutes to do some monitoring on his computer.

The convenience store was closed when we got there, I didn't see any headlights from the interstate, and once in a while in the distance I could see the sand trucks drive off one ramp, go over the bridge, and head down the other one in the opposite direction.

We wound up being there for more than twelve hours.  But at least we weren't in a ditch or stranded on the roads like so many of the people reported on the news were.

Tomorrow is going to be interesting.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  Eight Ways To Take It Easy

2012: Dinner With Friends
2011: This Is What Sheer Joy Looks Like
2010: I’ll Have The Tootsie Rolls And The Butterfinger And The Lollipop And The Gummi Bears And The Hershey Kisses And The Snickers Bar And The M&M’s And…
2009: Meals On Wheels
2008: Mercury Dropping
2007: James Cameron For $79.99 A Night
2006: The Town That Big Tobacco Built
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Better Than No Touch Freight

We finally sold our old trailer! And we are thrilled.

There wasn't anything wrong with it, it just wasn't suited for the freight we were hauling.  When the opportunity presented itself to get the new one, we jumped on it. That meant we were sort of stuck with the old one for the time being - it's not like we could trade it in - but since it was paid for and wouldn't cost us anything while it sat around, we just parked it in the yard and put it up for sale.

Ed listed it in Truck Paper, on our company website, on the equipment website of the people we bought it from, on Craigslist, in a trucker Facebook page, and on Ebay. We got a couple of calls on it, but nothing panned out.

Until yesterday. Ed got a call while he was having breakfast at a little greasy spoon in the Florida panhandle. The caller wanted this trailer. Today. Ed knew immediately he was "the one".

Turns out he was the owner of a trucking company in Pennsylvania, was on vacation in Florida, and was sitting around browsing items for sale on Ebay.  He saw the trailer and decided he and it were a perfect match.  He called his office girl back in snowy PA and told her to prepare to wire the funds right away.  He also had a guy out in Phoenix who was picking up some other trailers he purchased, and put him on standby to send to Tucson as soon as the money Ed's bank account.

The dust devil began.

Ed exchanged a few phone calls and emails, waited a couple of hours for the money to be wired, called his bank to confirm they were actually in his account, then had the title notarized, made up a bill of sale, and hit a nearby FedEx branch to overnight the documents to a tiny town in Pennsylvania.

Then, back in Arizona, my brother met the guy from Phoenix who came to the house to pick up the trailer - photo of his blue rig courtesy of my mother, taken through the screen of the back porch - to make sure he got in and out easily.

Our only concern was the driver getting stuck in the sand like Ed did a couple of years ago.  We were hoping since his truck was smaller and lighter than ours that he wouldn't have any trouble.

But just in case he did, Ed armed my brother with the name and number of the tow company we used to get us out.

Thankfully he didn't have to use it.
The selling of this trailer was the quickest and smoothest transaction I've ever witnessed for a purchase of this size.  Not that I've had much experience selling equipment, but I've spent more time getting my hair cut and colored than it took for this to happen.

Now we have a nice chunk of change to dump into retirement.

Ed is clam happy.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: The First Step Is To Admit You Have A Problem

2012: The Top Five Sweet Scents In My World
2011: A Weekend Full Of Bright Stars And Not Much Else
2010: I’m Floored
2009: Two Worlds Collide
2008: Girl Crush
2007: Silly Boys
2006: It’s Nowhere Near Mexico, Y’all
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, January 27, 2014

We Work A Lot, We're Fat, And You Can't Get By Without Us

The Life of a Truck Driver

86% of us are fat??  Holy shit.  Who knew?  I gotta get my ass into the remaining 14%!

As for the other stats - you can check the sources at the bottom of the graphic if you're interested.

I'll be back in a bit - apparently, this is where I'm supposed to go get a snack and sit on my ass.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Domestic Cat Life
2012: Being Appreciated
2011: Just A Phone Call Away
2010: A Practically Perfect Circle
2009: My Frozen Kentucky Home
2008: On Tour And Collecting Paper As We Go
2007: Finding Your Way
2006: Trivia From The First Tsar Of Russia
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

NOT An Oasis

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of an oasis is as follows:


1.  an area in a desert where there is water and plants
2.  a pleasant place that is surrounded by something unpleasant
3.  a time or experience that is pleasant and restful

The Oasis Travel Center in Alabama?

Doesn't qualify.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2013:  Drop The Flag And Take Me Home
2012: Cottonwood Trading Company
2011: Service With A Smile
2010: Getting The Red Out, One Barn At A Time
2009: Obamaduck!
2008: How A Four Year Old Can Make You Feel Like Crap For Trying To Get Out Of Doing Yard Work
2007: Florida Fro
2006: Hail To The McGriddle Gods
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, January 24, 2014

They Were Five

I'm reading a book featuring a fictional character who is one of the famous Ouellet quintuplets.  I Googled the Ouellet quints wondering if they were real because this author has used real life inspiration in her other books, and found that the author was inspired by actual people - the Dionne Quintuplets of Ontario, Canada, the first quintuplets known to survive their infancy.
I did a little digging and found more photos and information on them and their story is pretty interesting.  The parents were approached by a Chicago World's Fair who wanted to put the girls on display, but the government of Ontario was concerned about their exploitation and took custody of the quints citing the parents unfit.  Then they turned around and created a place called Quintland, where the children were shown off to millions of people as an attraction.  Between 1936 and 1943, almost three million people came to see them, sometimes at a rate of six thousand people per day.

As of May 2013, two of the quints were still alive, but their worldwide notoriety didn't seem to help them much when it came to preparing for old age.  The eventually did get some compensation, which I'd say isn't nearly enough for what they went through, but it's certainly better than nothing.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  Wake Of Imagination

2012: Woman With Cat
2011: From Blue Grass To Wine Country
2010: Plump With Fat Quarters
2009: Eddie Out With The Old, In With The New Friday
2008: You Can Get Them At Home Depot??
2007: There Are Never Enough Hours In The Day To Do Anything When You Have A Baby
2006: Tequila Sunrise
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Winding It Up Before Leaving Town

Today we stopped by our friend Craig's to ask for his help on a little project Ed was doing. 

I've known Craig since he was in eight grade, when he first became best friends with my brother, and I knew he'd be able to help with Ed's vision.  Although Ed could have completed this project on his own with a little elbow grease, Craig is a highly skilled metalsmith with a fully stocked machine shop.  Asking for his help was a no-brainer.

Here, Ed and Craig discuss the details: 
Once they decided exactly how they were going to proceed - with lots of (useless) input from me - Craig got to work.  I gotta tell you, Craig is one of the nicest guys I've ever known in my life.  He's always happy, always has a smile, always quick to laugh, and always quick to lend a hand.  Anytime Ed or I have a harebrained idea that involves welding, we think of Craig.  We've called him several times but have never actually had him do anything for us - all the projects sort of fell to the wayside.

But this was a little one, so we took a ride over (he's a mile from our house) and thought we'd be in an out - the weld was something Craig could do with his eyes closed - but we wound up hanging out for two hours.  It took Craig no time at all to do the welding part, but we killed a lot of time fiddling around and bullshitting. 
When everything was said and done, Ed had exactly what he had envisioned - a new strap winder for the trailer:
It fits in the stake pocket of the new trailer perfectly, and as soon as we got home he tested it.  Works perfectly.  And it'll probably last forever.
Now we can get back to work.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Who Is A Bahamian?
2012: Pay No Attention To The Cat Behind The Curtain
2011: Papa Can You Hear Me?
2010: The Err Erudes Them
2009: Sorry, no post for this date.
2008: Addicted
2007: When You Just Can’t Decide Between Dinner And Breakfast
2006: Purple Industrial Skies
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Drill, Baby, Drill

A shot of a drill press from our friend's shop, which we visited today to get some help with a project Ed was working on.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Ruling Color

2012: After This, It’s Time To Close The Left Door For A While
2011: I Think I’ve Seen This Person On Facebook
2010: Eating Crud Is So Much Tastier Than Eating Crow
2009: Chihuly In The Trees
2008: Is It Really SO Hard??
2007: Snowball In Hell
2006: The Southern Family Tree
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Thin And Crispy. Just How I Like 'Em

I found this recipe while flipping through magazines in Barnes & Noble - I'm including the entire text of the page and a few tips from the article.  I'm making these babies, and as soon as I put the cookie sheet in the oven, I'm going to cross my fingers because I want them to look exactly like the picture from the magazine:
Photo courtesy of magazine I can't remember the name of.
Craving infinite crunch?  Look no further than this featherlight variety from Carey Jones and Robyn Lenzi, authors of the just released Chocolate Chip Cookies book.  Flecked with dark chocolate chopped from whole bars – the baker’s preferred brands include Dandelion, Guittard, Tcho, and Valrhona – this cookie, with its thin, waferlike texture, lasts a bit longer (up to 4 to 5 days) than, say, a chewy version.  Keep them in an airtight container.

Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 24 cookies

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate
1 cup finely chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds (optional)

Preheat oven to 375˚F.  Adjust racks so they divide the oven into thirds.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Melt butter in a small saucepan on the stove or in a microwave-safe container in the microwave.  Let cool until barely warm to the touch.

Transfer butter to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; add both sugars.  Mix on medium speed until well blended, about 30 seconds.  Add egg and vanilaa and mix until completely combined.  Scrape sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, scraping the bowl if necessary to incorporate dry ingredients.  Add chopped chocolate and nuts (if using); mix on low speed until evenly distributed.  The dough should be slightly shiny and loose.

Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon measure, drop well-rounded balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  Dampen the palm of your hand and flatten each cookie until about 1/4 “ thick.

Bake for about 14 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through the baking time and changing shelves, until cookies are evenly golden.  It is important to bake them fully to ensure crispiness throughout. 

When cool enough to handle, transfer to wire racks (the cookies will get crispier as they cool).

And now, the tips:

TEXTURE TIP:  If you like ‘em crispy, use melted butter for a more liquid batter so you can create a thinner cookie.  Wait for the butter to cool before combining.

  Leaving the batter in the fridge for at least 24 hours allows the flavors to meld and the sugars to become more like molasses, say the brainiacs at Baked, in Brooklyn.

  Yes, they’re delicious and crunchy, and almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts may also release oils as they heat up in the oven, resulting in a moister cookie, says Karen Mitchell of the famed Model Bakery in St. Helena, CA.

  Never place your batter on a warm cookie sheet.  Instead, let it cool between batches, says Greenspan.  A hot sheet causes the dough to melt before it goes into the oven, which leads to uneven baking, compromising the texture.

:  Consider this option, especially if you know your cookies won’t all be quickly consumed.  “If you love a soft, chewy texture, baking a few at a time ensures they’re always fresh,” says Kathleen King of Tate’s Bake Shop in Southhampton, NY.  Her smart method:  Scoop out dough balls, place them on a cookie sheet, and put in the freezer.  Once frozen, store scoops in a resealable plastic bag and return to the freezer.

AMP UP THE VANILLA:  Christina Tosi of NYC’s Momofuku Milk Bar adds an extra splash of vanilla to her famous treats.  “It’s the secret to any deep-down delicious baked good.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Amber Jack
2012: Adding A Poodle To The Mix
2011: If…
2010: How The West Was Fun
2009: Pecking Order
2008: The Sympathy Train Stopped Dead In Its Tracks
2007: Shalom
2006: A.D.I.D.A.S.
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Only Thing I Haven't Done

courtesy of Google Images
Today marks the 32nd day we've been home.  The holidays have come and gone and we've taken care of everything we needed to - from shopping to medical to truck repair.  We've eaten lots of food and watched countless movies.    Now it's time to get back on the road.  I'm getting a little more than antsy and I'm counting the days.

We were planning to meet Marlaina and MacGyver in Jacksonville, FL for our company appreciation days this week, but the load we had booked to get us closer, cancelled.  Two years ago we deadheaded there - which means driving with no load, about 1,975 miles, costing approximately $1,030.00 in fuel.  We were thisclose to doing it again this year, but thought a load might "pop up" and take us there.  Yeah, right.  What were we thinking?  We're in Arizona and the only thing they ship out of here is cheap-ass copper.

We have another load lined up, but until we actually put the freight on the trailer, it's not a definite.  M&M are
 already in Florida, and the events start on Thursday.  It looks like we're not going to make it.

At this point, I'm running out of things to occupy my time.  So my plans for tomorrow?

Do the one thing I haven't done since I've been home.

Bake cookies.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: United Tails

2012: I Grew Up In The O.C. Too
2011: Snowy Arrival
2010: Not A Pretty Sight
2009: Marking This Day In History With A Vibrant Spot Of Color
2008: Lighting To Do Laundry By
2007: The Benefits Of Dating A White Boy
2006: Shhhhhh, You’ll Wake The Driver
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

All This Entertainment For Less Than The Cost Of A Restaurant Entree

I love movies.

I'll watch anything with Mark Wahlberg, Jason Bateman, Denzel Washington, Ryan Gosling, Matt Damon, any of the Afflecks, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Rudd, John Cusack, Melissa McCarthy (although I did not like Bridesmaids), Sandra Bullock or George Clooney (although I hated Gravity), my boyfriend Channing Tatum (with him, it has zero to do with acting)....gosh, there are so many actors I like, it's hard to choose.

But choose we did, from the RedBox around the corner.  We wore that thing out.  We've watched more movies this visit home than usual.  Here's the short list, with the RedBox synopsis for each flick.  I've put two stars (**) next to the ones I recommend.

** The Reluctant Fundamentalist:  Lahore, 2011. At an outdoor café, a Pakistani man named Changez tells American journalist Bobby about his experiences in the United States. Roll back ten years, and we find Changez, fresh from Princeton, seeking fortune and glory on Wall Street. The American Dream seems well within his grasp, complete with a smart and gorgeous artist girlfriend, Erica. But when the Twin Towers are attacked, a cultural divide slowly begins to crack open between Changez and Erica. Changez's dream soon begins to slip into nightmare: profiled, wrongfully arrested, strip-searched and interrogated, he is transformed from a well-educated, upwardly mobile businessman to a scapegoat and perceived enemy. And with time, he begins to hear the call of his own homeland.

Dark Skies:  Daniel and Lacey, a young couple living in the suburbs, witness a series of disturbing events and their tranquil home life quickly unravels. When it becomes clear that the family is the target of some horrific force, Daniel and Lacey must take matters into their own hands before it tears their family apart..

Only God Forgives:  Ten years after killing a man and going on the run, Julian now manages a boxing club in Bangkok, which in reality is a front for his drug operation. When Julian's brother kills a prostitute, a mysterious and unbalanced policeman arranges to have him killed in revenge by the girl's father. This prompts Julian's mother to come to Bangkok. The powerful head of a criminal organization, she's come to retrieve her son's body and to instruct Julian to find his killers and create chaos in the process.

The Power of Few:  During one afternoon in New Orleans: A desperate teenager assaults a store clerk to get medicine for his ailing baby brother. Two undercover agents come into conflict with the rules of torture while taking down a terrorist ring. To feed himself, a delusional homeless man steals a gun from a cop and sells it to the wrong guy. And while delivering a package, a courier rescues a man on the run and becomes the target of a ruthless gang. All are unknowingly connected to a smuggling operation, and they are to cross paths on that day.

Oblivion:  Jack Harper is one of the last few drone repairmen stationed on Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying threat known as the Scavs, Jack's mission is nearly complete. Living in and patrolling the skies from thousands of feet above, he is brought crashing down when he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he knows and puts the fate of humanity in his hands.

Stuck In Love:  Three years past his divorce, veteran novelist Bill Borgens cannot stop obsessing over, let alone spying on, his ex-wife Erica, who ignominiously left him for another man. Even as his neighbor-with-benefits, Tricia, tries to push him back into the dating pool, he remains blind to anyone else's charms. Meanwhile, his fiercely independent collegiate daughter Samantha is publishing her first novel while recoiling at the very thought of first love with a diehard romantic; and his teen son Rusty is trying to find his voice, both as a fantasy writer and as the unexpected boyfriend of a dream girl with very real problems. As each of these situations mounts into a tangled trio of romantic holiday crises, it brings the Borgens to surprising revelations about how endings become beginnings.

Peeples:  Sparks fly when Wade Walker crashes the preppy Peeples annual reunion in the Hamptons to ask for their precious daughter Grace's hand in marriage. Wade might be a fish-out-of-water among this seemingly perfect East Coast clan, but he's not about to let himself flounder. Instead, in a wild weekend of fun, dysfunction and hilarious surprises, Wade is about to discover there's room for all kinds of Peeples in this family, no matter their differences.

** Disconnect:  The need for human connection is told through interweaving stories: A hard-working lawyer is attached to his cell phone, but can't find the time to communicate with his family. An estranged couple uses the Internet as a way to escape from their lifeless marriage. A widowed former police officer struggles to raise a son who is cyber-bullying a classmate. An ambitious journalist learns of a teen performing on an adult-only site and sees this as a career-making story.

Redemption:  After his traumatic tour of duty in Afghanistan, ex-Special Forces soldier Joey returns to London to face another kind of war: life on the streets as a damaged, homeless veteran. Trying to start over, Joey takes another man's identity and seeks the aid of a young nun who works at an inner-city parish. When his training as a soldier leads him into work in London's criminal underworld, Joey offers his profits to those who need it most in order to maintain his integrity. But when he learns that his girlfriend has been murdered by a kingpin, he risks all he has for revenge, choosing a path that will either destroy him or be his last hope at redemption.

**  The Frozen Ground:  Based on a true story that follows Alaskan State Trooper Jack Halcombe as he sets out to end the murderous rampage of Robert Hansen, a serial killer who has gone unnoticed for 13 years. As the bodies of street girls start to pile up in Anchorage, fear strikes a chord with the public. Risking his life, Halcombe goes on a personal manhunt to find the killer before the next body surfaces. When a seventeen-year-old escapee reveals key information about the case, Halcombe is finally on the trail of the killer. But will he catch him in time to save the next victim?

**  The East:  Former FBI agent Sarah Moss is starting a new career at Hiller Brood, an elite private intelligence firm that ruthlessly protects the interests of its A-list corporate clientele. Handpicked for a plum assignment by the company's head honcho Sharon, Sarah goes deep undercover to infiltrate The East, an elusive anarchist collective seeking revenge against major corporations guilty of covering up criminal activity. Determined, highly-trained and resourceful, Sarah soon ingratiates herself with the group, overcoming their initial suspicions and joining them on their next action or "jam." But living closely with the intensely committed members of The East, Sarah finds herself torn between her two worlds as she starts to connect with anarchist Benji and the rest of the collective, and awakens to the moral contradictions of her personal life.

**  The Factory:  Detective Mike Fletcher and his partner patrol the streets of Buffalo, NY, on the trail of a madman who targets prostitutes. But when his own daughter disappears, Fletcher throws the rules out the window as he stalks the killer.

**  Prisoners:  Keller Dover is facing every parent's worst nightmare. His six-year-old daughter Anna and her young friend Joy are missing, and as minutes turn to hours, panic sets in. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had earlier been parked on their street. Heading the investigation, Detective Loki arrests its driver, Alex Jones, but a lack of evidence forces his release. As the police pursue multiple leads and pressure mounts, the frantic Dover decides he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands. But just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family?

Mud:  Two boys, Ellis and his friend Neckbone, find a man named Mud hiding out on an island in the Mississippi. Mud describes fantastic scenarios-he killed a man in Texas and vengeful bounty hunters are coming to get him. He says he is planning to meet and escape with the love of his life, Juniper, who is waiting for him in town. Skeptical but intrigued, Ellis and Neckbone agree to help him. It isn't long until Mud's visions come true and their small town is besieged by a beautiful girl with a line of bounty hunters in tow.

The Colony:  As an endless winter engulfs Earth, humans struggle to survive in remote underground outposts. When Colony 7 receives a distress call from a nearby settlement, Sam and Briggs race through the snow on a dangerous rescue mission. What they find at the desolate base could mean mankind's salvation-or its total annihilation. Terrifying discoveries will unfold that will change the rules of survival forever

Fruitvale Station:  Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: being a better son to his mother, whose birthday falls on New Year's Eve, being a better partner to his girlfriend Sophina and a better father to Tatiana, their beautiful four-year-old daughter. Crossing paths with friends, family and strangers, Oscar starts out well, but as the day goes on, he realizes that change is not going to come easily. His resolve takes a tragic turn when BART officers shoot him in cold blood at the Fruitvale subway stop on New Year's Day. Oscar's life and tragic death would shake the Bay Area - and the entire nation - to its very core.

**  Identity Thief:  Unlimited funds have allowed Diana to live it up on the outskirts of Orlando. There's only one glitch: she's financing her shopping sprees with an ID stolen from Sandy Patterson, an accounts rep who lives halfway across the U.S. With only one week to hunt down the con artist before his world implodes, the real Sandy Patterson is forced to extreme measures to clear his name. He hits the road to confront the woman with an all-access pass to his life and coerce her into making the 2,000 mile road trip back to Colorado to set things right.

Thanks For Sharing:  On the surface, over-achieving environmental consultant Adam, long-married small-business owner Mike, and wisecracking emergency-room doctor Neil, have little in common. But all are in different stages of dealing with addiction. Confident and successful in his career, Adam is afraid to allow love back into his life, even if that means losing a chance to start over with the beautiful and accomplished Phoebe. Mike's efforts to control his wife and son as tightly as he does are tearing his family apart. And Neil is still deeply in denial when befriended by Dede, who has just begun to take her own small steps back to health. As they navigate the rocky shores of recovery, the three men become a family that encourages, infuriates and applauds each other on the journey toward a new life.

We're The Millers:  David Burke is a small-time pot dealer whose clientele includes chefs and soccer moms, but no kids-after all, he has his scruples. So what could go wrong? Plenty. Preferring to keep a low profile for obvious reasons, he learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished when he tries to help out some local teens and winds up getting jumped by a trio of gutter punks. Stealing his stash and his cash, they leave him in major debt to his supplier, Brad. In order to wipe the slate clean-and maintain a clean bill of health-David must now become a big-time drug smuggler by bringing Brad's latest shipment in from Mexico. Twisting the arms of his neighbors, cynical stripper Rose and wannabe customer Kenny, and the tatted-and-pierced streetwise teen Casey, he devises a foolproof plan. One fake wife, two pretend kids and a huge, shiny RV later, the "Millers" are headed south of the border for a Fourth of July weekend that is sure to end with a bang.

Elysium: In the year 2159, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine, man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. The people of Earth are desperate to escape the planet's crime and poverty, and they critically need the state-of-the-art medical care available on Elysium - but some in Elysium will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve their citizens' luxurious lifestyle. The only man with the chance to bring equality to these worlds is Max, an ordinary guy in desperate need to get to Elysium. With his life hanging in the balance, he reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission - one that pits him against Elysium's Secretary Delacourt and her hard-line forces - but if he succeeds, he could save not only his own life, but millions of people on Earth as well.  

2 Guns:  For the past 12 months, DEA agent Bobby Trench and U.S. naval intelligence officer Marcus Stigman have been reluctantly attached at the hip. Working undercover as members of a narcotics syndicate, each man distrusts his partner as much as the criminals they have both been tasked to take down. When their attempt to infiltrate a Mexican drug cartel and recover millions goes haywire, Trench and Stigman are suddenly disavowed by their superiors. Now that everyone wants them in jail or in the ground, the only one each can count on is the other. Unfortunately for their pursuers, when good guys spend years pretending to be bad, they pick up a few tricks along the way.

Getaway:  Former race car driver Brent Magna is pitted against the clock. Desperately trying to save the life of his kidnapped wife, Brent commandeers a custom Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake, taking it and its unwitting owner on a high-speed race against time, at the command of the mysterious villain holding his wife hostage.

**  The Heat:  Uptight and straight-laced, FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn is a methodical investigator with a reputation for excellence--and hyper-arrogance. Shannon Mullins, one of Boston P.D.'s "finest," is foul-mouthed and has a very short fuse, and uses her gut instinct and street smarts to catch the most elusive criminals. Neither has ever had a partner, or a friend for that matter. When these two wildly incompatible law officers join forces to bring down a ruthless drug lord, they become the last thing anyone expected: buddies.

White House Down:  Washington D.C. policeman John Cale has just been denied his dream job of being a Secret Service agent and protecting President James Sawyer. Not wanting to disappoint his young daughter with the news, he takes her on a tour of the White House, and they are there when the complex is overtaken by a paramilitary group. Now the nation's government is falling into chaos, time is running out and it's up to Cale to save the president, his daughter and the country.

Red 2:  Retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses reunites his motley team of elite operatives for a worldwide hunt to track down a missing portable nuclear device. In order to succeed, they'll need to survive relentless assassins, ruthless terrorists and power-crazed government officials, who all want to get their hands on the next-generation weapon. The mission takes Frank and his team to Paris, London and Moscow. They are outgunned, outnumbered and have only their wits, old-school skills and each other to rely on as they try to save the world-and stay alive.

**  The Internship:  Billy and Nick are salesmen whose careers have been demolished by the digital world. Trying to prove their relevance, they talk their way into coveted internships at Google, along with a team of bright, ambitious college students. But gaining entrance to this utopia is only half the battle. Now they must compete with a group of the nation's most elite, tech-savvy geniuses to prove that necessity really is the mother of re-invention.

Ain't Them Bodies Saints:  After a long crime spree, passionate young outlaws and lovers Bob Muldoon and Ruth Guthrie are caught in a shootout in the Texas hills and apprehended. When pregnant Ruth wounds one of the lawmen, Bob takes the blame and is sent to prison. Four years later he escapes and goes looking for Ruth and the daughter he has never met.

**  Paranoia:  The two most powerful tech billionaires in the world are bitter rivals with a complicated past who will stop at nothing to destroy each other. A young superstar, seduced by unlimited wealth and power falls between them, and becomes trapped in the middle of the twists and turns of their life-and-death game of corporate espionage. By the time he realizes his life is in danger, he is in far too deep and knows far too much for them to let him walk away.

**  Adore:  Two women cross the boundaries of friendship when they each have affairs with the others son.

Open Road:  Angie, a young Brazilian on the run from her past, finds an unexpected connection with an aging drifter, a handsome cop and his sympathetic sister. As she learns to care for her new friends, Angie finds herself torn between the freedom of her nomadic life and the joy of becoming part of a community that truly cares about her.

Parker:  Parker is a professional thief who refuses either to steal from people who can't afford the loss or hurt those who are innocent. On his latest heist, his crew double-crosses him, stealing his cash and then leaving him for dead. Parker sets out to get his revenge, tracking them down in Palm Beach where they are planning a heist to end all heists. Parker takes on a disguise and a savvy partner, Leslie. Together they come up with a plan to foil the heist and get away without a hitch.

The Numbers Station:  After his latest mission goes horribly wrong, veteran CIA black ops agent Emerson Kent is given one last chance to prove he still has what it takes to do his job. His new assignment: guarding Katherine, a code operator at a top-secret, remote CIA "Numbers Station" where encrypted messages are sent and received. When an elite team of heavily armed assailants lays siege to the station, Emerson and Katherine suddenly find themselves in a life-or-death struggle against an unknown enemy. With the station compromised and innocent lives at stake, they must stop the deadly plot before it's too late.

The Purge:  In an America wracked by crime and overcrowded prisons, the government has sanctioned an annual, 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity-including murder-becomes legal. The police can't be called. Hospitals suspend help. It's one night when the citizenry regulates itself without thought of punishment. When an intruder breaks into James Sandin's gated community during the yearly lockdown, a sequence of events begins that threatens to tear a family apart. Now, it is up to James, his wife Mary, and their kids to make it through the night without turning into the monsters from whom they hide.

**  Girl Most Likely: Imogene is a failed New York playwright awkwardly navigating the transition from Next Big Thing to Last Year's News. After both her career and relationship hit the skids, she's forced to make the humiliating move back home to New Jersey with her eccentric mother and younger brother. Adding further insult to injury, there's a strange man sleeping in her old bedroom and an even stranger man sleeping in her mother's bed. Through it all, Imogene eventually realizes that as part of her rebuilding process she must finally come to love and accept both her family and her Jersey roots if she's ever going to be stable enough to get the hell away from them.

As Cool As I Am:  James Marsden and Claire Danes star as parents of a teenage girl who is not only frustrated with the fact that her parents refuse to "grow up," but also wants more for herself and dreams of a bigger life.

Let's just say that it's a good thing some of these movies cost less than a pack of gum.  

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2013: Ten Things I Hate About Flying

2012: Teeth Or Another European Vacation? Ooooh, It’s A Real Toss Up.
2011: Not So Wacky After All
2010: Spreading The Word
2009: He Had A Dream. Tomorrow We See It Come True.
2008: Who Do You Know?
2007: South Beach Blue
2006: Jawl Spake Anglesh??
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!  

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Gorgeous, Rich, And Rugged. And That's Just The Bag.

So now the residents of  Down Under can get as fat as we are.

This takes bicycle riding to a whole new level.  Whole new level...get it?

I'm going to do one of these river cruises if I have to take it on my death bed.  I wanted it to happen this year, but it's too early to tell.

Yo!  What are you afraid of??

My favorite hair cut - and oddly, one that I've never had - is back again.  But really, did it ever leave us?

As if I didn't love grilled cheese enough - now I have EIGHTEEN choices.  

I love reading a movie.  I've seen some of these already, but I really need to get crackin' if I want to see all fifty.  

I don't even remember how many times I've seen this rig, but I love it.  And I want to take it on the road and live nomadically.

I love the style of this bag.  Impractical - because you have to stack everything you put in it, and what if you need something down at the bottom? - but I still would love to have one.  Or buy Ed one.  It's gorgeously rugged and rich.  

How does Cameron Diaz stay hydrated, you wonder?  She drinks water.  Holy shit.  Does NASA know about her yet?  

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2013:  Back To Basics

2012: I Can Think Of Better Ways To Spend Hump Day
2011: Can I Appoint Myself The Baroness Of Cattle?
2010: This Time Losing The Wallet Really Means Losing The Wallet
2009: Marley & Me
2008: Eddie Gets Handy Friday
2007: The Perfect Neapolitan Slice
2006: The King Of The Flying Salmon
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!