UNSEEN ON TV SIGNS – CEE’S B & W PHOTO CHALLENGE

CEE’S BLACK & WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE: STORE FRONT SIGNS


We live in an area that doesn’t have a whole lot of place to shop. The few malls we have are no less than 20 miles drive and they aren’t the huge malls you find in suburban areas near major cities. Nonetheless, with a little help from the internet, we make do.

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Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge Badge

SAVE THE SPARE

Spare. It’s when you need two tries to get all the pins down at the bowling alley. Not as good as a strike, but not bad, either. Respectable.

A spare tire on the road is a must. Even though tires rarely pop these days the way they did back in the golden olden days. Still, stuff happens. Nails, glass and the miscellaneous road rubble are always there to puncture a sidewall or flay a tread.

You can be spare and lean, a mean machine. All muscle and fat-free.

And then … you could be a leftover. The remaining single of what was previously a set.

Where they were purchased.

Where they were purchased.

Which brings me to the lovely green earrings I bought while we were in Arizona. I spotted them and the sales lady and co-owner of the shop said “Oh, yes. And they hang so beautifully,” which shows a deep understanding of earrings.

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I was enchanted and obliged to buy them, especially since I have a wonderful green turquoise pendant with which these dangles would go perfectly, and harmoniously blend. While acquiring them, I realized there were several other small items without which I could not survive.

So I bought a second pair of earrings plus a nicely coördinated choker too. It was off-season for tourism, so discounts were meaningful … and the jewelry looked so good on me.

In my defense, I would like to point out that these were my only purchases for the trip … a level of self-control that was aided by avoiding anyplace that sold jewelry. And I had not let Garry buy me anything for Christmas because I absolutely knew in my heart that something lovely was waiting in Arizona.

A month (two?) ago, I was wearing my lovely green earrings with the coördinated choker. When I went to remove the earrings, instead of a pair of earrings, I was wearing one of each pair I had bought. I dug around in the cache bowl in which I put my jewelry when I remove it at night and found one matching earring — but not the second green one.

I was devastated. How could I possibly lose one of those earrings? We had recently traveled for a weekend, so I checked the suitcases, all my travel jewelry pouches, then emptied out the cache dishes and both earring drawers in my jewelry chest. No green earring. I now had one green dangly earring. A spare.

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I put the single green one back in the bowl and tried to gain some perspective. While it was a very lovely earring, it wasn’t terribly expensive (but it was a “one of a kind”) and losing an earring is not the end of the world. It just feels like the end of the world.

Life went on. Yesterday, I went looking for a pair of earrings in that same little bowl … and the second green earring was there. Garry tried to blame me (“You didn’t look hard enough”) but I was not having it. I emptied that bowl. I tore everything apart,

It’s those thieving pixies. Or maybe mini demons. There’s a fair chance that Bonnie is a demon. She acts like one.

I know for sure — that earring was not there. Until yesterday, when it was.

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I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE | Spare

SHOPPING FOR COOKIES

Our local grocery stores are not bad, but there’s stuff they just don’t have. Thin Oreos — any flavor — are among the things they do not stock. So, this evening, in a fit of rampant self-indulgence, I went online. To Amazon, my one-stop online shopping choice.

And sure enough, Amazon has them in pretty much every flavor, including some I didn’t know existed. But. Either the price is outrageously over-the-top or they are available only through PrimePantry. Despite how I love Amazon (I really love Amazon), I don’t love their grocery subscription services. They won’t let me choose when they will deliver or when they will bill me. Moreover, I don’t necessarily need or want a crate of stuff.

Today, all I wanted were cookies.

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After maybe an hour of increasing frustration, I ordered 35-pounds of senior (Diamond Naturals) dog food — plus an economy-sized box of Teenie Greenies. And no cookies.

As Garry pointed out, it’s important to know what’s really important. The fur kids approve. They barked their approval when I pressed “Place Your Order.”

ODDBALLS FROM THE WILD WEST

CEE’S ODD BALL PHOTO CHALLENGE: 2016 WEEK 3

We came back from Arizona late last night … with more than 2,000 photographs. Some of them are still on the cards in the camera. I’ve dumped most of the photographs onto my hard drive, but I haven’t sorted through them. Yet.

While Garry shot the Iron Cowboy, I bought jewelry!

While Garry shot the Iron Cowboy, I bought jewelry!

You’re going to see a lot of pictures of Arizona coming up! This is no exception.

Memorabilia at Apacheland Movie Ranch Museum

Memorabilia at Apacheland Movie Ranch Museum

For the tourists ...

For the tourists …

WHAT’S THAT THING YOU’RE WEARING?

“How come Gibbs is wearing a coat in Arizona in the summer?”

I was talking to Garry. It was an NCIS rerun. We watch a lot of reruns, though this new fall season of TV is shaping up better than I expected, so maybe there will be new shows to watch.

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The question about costumes comes up often and on various shows. One of the more common “duh” moments is when the male lead is wearing a coat and the female lead is skimpily dressed. No explanation needed for that one.

More weird is when each cast member is dressed randomly, apparently without regard for the plot. One is wearing a heavy winter coat, another a light denim jacket. A third is in shirtsleeves. Some are clothed in jeans or other casual stuff while others look ready for Wall Street … or a cocktail party. Women are supposedly hiking. Or running from or after serial killers while wearing 4-inch spike heels. My feet hurt looking at them.

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Garry and I have done a tiny bit of movie “extra” work so I’m guessing it goes like this:  “Go find something that fits in wardrobe and be on set in ten.”

Everyone hustles off to wardrobe, which looks like a jumble sale or the clothing racks at the Salvation Army store. Most of the clothing in wardrobe probably came from some second-hand source or other.

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Everyone dives in looking for something that fits. As soon as they find an outfit … any outfit … they head for a changing booth, then off to be on set before someone yells at them. Stars get slightly better wardrobe or wear their own clothing. Wearing ones own clothing, both on TV shows and movies is quite common. I understand why.

The real question is not why everyone on a show is poorly or inappropriately dressed. It’s whether or not the people who produce the show think we won’t notice.

My theory is they don’t care if we notice or not. They don’t want to spend money on wardrobe. They figure if you and I notice, we won’t care. In any case, we’ll keep watching. And they’re right. It’s a bottom-line  world. Wardrobe is an area where corners can easily be cut.

The thing is, we do notice. You don’t need to be a professional critic or especially astute to see the incongruities of television costuming.

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It’s not just costumes, either. Sloppy editing, crappy scripts, stupid plots that include blatant factual and continuity errors. Ultimately, we do stop watching. Because it’s obvious they don’t care so why should we?

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You notice it on long-running shows that had good scripts and editing, but not any more. Quality slides. Producers are baffled when loyal fans stop tuning in. Obvious to a normal person, but apparently incomprehensible to network executives. Disrespect for viewers is at the root of much of the illness besetting the TV industry.

They should be nicer to us. We’re, after all, the customers. Aren’t we?

YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR – OR LESS

I bought my first media streaming device — the Roku HD Streaming Player, aka Roku 1 in January 2013. It was easy to set up and worked perfectly. Never hiccupped. Always connected to the WiFi and never faltered. I liked it so much, I bought another one for the bedroom a couple of months later. I wrote about it in “Roku – The Little Streaming WiFi Unit That Can” on December 18, 2013. By which time I’d had it for almost a year.

The only problem was the remote. It is line-of-sight. This technology works best in an uncluttered home with fewer dogs. So the remote worked, but it was like target shooting from a long distance with an inaccurate weapon.

FTVstickThis doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s the sort of thing that gets on your nerves over time. I replaced the living room remote with an upgraded version. A nominal improvement.

When Amazon came out with their bargain basement Amazon Fire Stick, I said “Oh, what the hell. Maybe the remote will work better,” and it did. Unfortunately, the stick didn’t. In fact, the stick hardly worked at all. As one reviewer succinctly put it, “You deserve better. Don’t do it.” He was right.

I had read the reviews, but I didn’t read all of them. I missed the ones that said the stick would lose the WiFi and sometimes, would never get it back.

From the beginning, it either couldn’t find our WiFi, or couldn’t hang on to the signal.  Even when it was connected, it was like watching a series of stills with sound. Like one of the strip films we watched in elementary school … a slide show with sound. I am told it’s an antenna problem, but whatever the reason, it stunk.

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Last week, I gave up and bought the Roku 3 with the “point anywhere” remote. Which also, I’m told, responds to voice commands. We installed it today and it works. No stuttering, no faltering, no loading problems. Smooth as silk and you can point the remote at your own forehead and it will still work.

So, here’s the cost breakdown.

Roku 3 cost $49.00. Plus $4.20 for an HDMI cable. We got two years of service out of it, so it doesn’t owe us anything. And it still works, just not on this television.

The Amazon Fire Stick was a bust. It cost $39.00, was unsatisfactory for all 90 days of its service. The new, improved, wonderful Roku 3 Streaming Media Player (4230R) with Voice Search (2015 model) cost $96.04 (and if I’d waited a few days, would have cost $20 less), but really when you include the cost of the Fire Stick, it’s more like $140.

It reminds me of how I always used to buy the cheaper, less comfortable shoes. Eventually, when I couldn’t walk in the shoes I had bought, I ended up buying the more expensive ones, too.

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In total, I spent more than $200 on a streaming devices. If I had bought the Roku 3 in the first place, I would have spent half that.

The motto of the story is worth remembering. You aren’t saving money by buying shoes that you can’t wear. If your feet hurt, the movie won’t load, the remote control drives you bonkers? You haven’t saved money if you will have to buy it again.

It’s not cheap if it doesn’t do the job.

WE CLEAN UP NICE

If you are a women, discovering you don’t have suitable clothing for an upcoming event is a crisis. I don’t care how old you are. Since retirement, we go to so few events where anything dressier than yoga pants and a tunic is required that I don’t have “dressy” clothing.

Nonetheless, it happens. Someone invites us to an affair that requires dressing up. Not jeans. Not yoga pants. Not clogs. Not sweats. Real clothing. Without dog hair and lint.

Photo by Bob Mielke

Photo by Bob Mielke

Garry needed a tie and jacket. He has that. I needed a dress. Which I ought to have, but somehow, don’t. It’s one of the baffling things  in my life, how clothing I am absolutely sure I own isn’t there when I go looking for it. Pixies again?

So in answer to Garry’s question: “Do you have anything to wear to the wedding?”, I bought two dresses. One from Land’s End, another from J.Jill. Both arrived in time, but Land’s End won.

Shoes were a whole different problem. I eventually found the missing “box shoes” for which I searched, but they were higher than I remembered. Too wobbly. I wasn’t sure I’d make it down the stairs and into the car, much less to a wedding. I thought maybe I’d skip the falling down and breaking my hip part of our evening out.

Fortunately, in another box in a shady corner of my bedroom were a pair of new lower heeled dress shoes in go-anywhere black kid. Oh yeah.

Garry found his dress shirt and a brand new tie he’d bought, but never worn. Matching shoes and pants. The you-can’t-go-wrong-with-Harris-tweed jacket he bought in Dublin — on our honeymoon — and being Garry, it still fits just fine.

It was heart-warming and touching to be at the wedding of the woman who had been our flower girl when we were married — 25 years ago. Congratulations, Melissa and Christopher. May your marriage be long and rich with happiness.

And thank you, Bob Mielke for this great picture of us in our glad rags!