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Caddy's pawprintsSo yesterday was a pretty interesting day, all things considered. We'd discussed going down to Hammond, IN to a salvage and resale store that Jim knew of, but by the time we got started, it was already past 11 and none of us were really in the mood for a long trek, especially as there were errands we needed to run. So we started out with a bank run and a good Mexican breakfast at Sabor Ixtapa, and then all the way back east to Jewell Animal Hospital because Dawn had to pick up some food for her boys and I had to pick up Caddy's remains. I was kind of blindsided by the fact that they'd made a medallion of his pawprints as a kind of keepsake before they sent him for cremation, and when they handed it to me I lost my rag. Poor Dawn stood there hugging me and Dr. Jewell was kind of petting my arm while I stood there, tears pouring down my face, saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry..." I'm such a big dork sometimes. I have to say that I've never had a vet who treated me or my pet better than we were treated by Dr. Jewell and his staff.

So I pulled myself together, we left, me clutching the box filled with Caddy's ashes, and Jim suggested we go to Nadeau, where we hadn't been in ages. While they didn't really have much in the way of dining room tables (Apparently they fly out of the warehouse almost as soon as they come in, so I'm going to have to be fast if I want to get one.) I did fall in love with these chairs, and these, and continue to be enchanted by their hand painted items like this corner cabinet. We saw a wonderful chest right at the front door with a big sold sign on it, and honestly I loved it so much I think I'd have bought it outright if someone hadn't beaten me to the punch. It was about five feet tall, bright yellow, and shaped like a big oval with a flat top and legs. It was incredibly whimsical and needed just a bit of amusing decorating to make it utterly hilarious. Or as I said to Jim and Dawn, it wanted something whimsical but not figurative, just before I said "I'm being a big wanker, aren't I?" To which they agreed wholeheartedly.

Pray be seated, Mr. HolmesJim wanted to go to Golden Triangle, but Dawn wasn't sanguine about getting parking there in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. I'd never been, and I do want to go, but I wasn't certain I was ready for the sticker shock, especially after the very reasonable prices at Nadeau, so we opted to head back west to Time Treasures Antiques an antique dealer and furniture restorer with whom I've done business in the past. Anna does wonderful work, and I wish I had the space for more of it in my home -- she refinished two hope chests, my mother's and my grandmother's, which had been damaged in a flood -- but space is kind of tight. She also took some dining room furniture from my old place, and we've been whittling down the selling price on that to the point where she really doesn't owe me a whole lot more. I saw this chair in the window, and when she gave me a price I couldn't refuse, I jumped on it. We nearly failed to get it into Jim's car, but persevered, and now it's sitting in my dining room, ready to join the other chairs I've got in various states of disrepair, all of which will eventually sit around a dining room table I don't yet have in a dining room that's still filled with boxes. But I has a chair! (And one I don't have to do anything to.)

Back out to Half-Price Books where I found a copy of Peter Ackroyd's London: The Biography, which looks like a terrific resource for the novel I'm working on and a copy of Time and Again which Dawn recommended highly. I love time travel stories anyway, and if she liked it, the chances are good that I will too. On the way back here we stopped for pie and coffee at Baker's Square.

We laid around here for a couple of hours, talking and watching HGTV, making fun of people who behave like morons while house hunting. Karen and Gene came by about eight and we all went to McNamara's for supper. I love that place. It's homey, warm and cozy, and the food is always good. We drank beer and ate comfort food, and laughed a lot, and enjoyed the live entertainment. I love it when I can wholeheartedly recommend a neighborhood business.

Karen and Gene stayed for about an hour after we got back, and we talked a lot about fandom and my beloved Kindle and their business the ultimate fate of which is still pretty much up in the air. Sales have been slow because of the recession, and though their internet biz is doing well, the future of their brick-and-mortar store is by no means sure. And that would be a shame because there are so few places like Alien in this city.

I love days like that. We get things done, we make some plans but nothing really etched in stone, we do some stuff that's spontaneous and we laugh a lot. Those are the best days.
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We decided to get an early start today because the plan was to go down to Indiana to shop.  Jim said he knew some good places, apart from Costco where we could look for Christmas trees because neither of us are willing to spend upwards of $300 for a tree this year.  So we went on down to Munster for breakfast at the Riviera which is your basic Hot Brown Food restaurant, and it didn't disappoint.  V. nice, very lemony hollandaise on the eggs benny and good, crisp cottage fries which they called "hash browns."

From there we hit Old Time Pottery in Clarksville, and I have to tell you the prices there were amazing.  We found our 6' pre-lit trees on sale for $59.95.  They're not spectacular-looking by any stretch but the way I figure it is that we'd end up spending that much for a real tree which we'd toss out at the end of the holiday, so if we truly hate these, we can get better ones next year and donate these to some church or something (Jim's suggestion.)  We also got lights, garlands and wreaths for the doors and porch, and some extension cords.  Unbreakable ornaments for the trees in front, and a a couple of gold wicker trees with glitter and a gold deer for the porch.  Also picked up: Cookie tins because it'll be baking time, soon, ornaments for our new trees, and a SHITLOAD of Christmas fribble because -- speaking for myself anyway -- I'm starting almost from scratch this year having lost most of my Christmas stuff in the flood a few years ago.  Since this is the first Christmas in years that I'm looking forward to, I'm not going to skimp even if it means having to put off some other stuff.

Well, by the time we finished (and we spent hours in that store; there are literally aisles of metal pieces for gardens or interiors) we realized that there was no way we could fit another thing into the car so the trip to Costco was canceled.  Instead we did some driving around, looking at Munster, Hammond, Whiting, etc., and finally ended up at  El Taco Real in Hammond where I had the best damn pozole ever, and a good margarita, too.

We drove back via Lake Shore Drive and even though it was kind of hazy, and overcast this evening, the view of the city was still beautiful.  I do love Chicago, though I confess that some of the properties we looked at this afternoon were amazing and made me think that since money goes further in smaller towns, it might not be a bad thing to move out of the city one day.  Though Dawn and I both tend to want to go north to the Madison area rather than into Indiana.

After we unloaded we went upstairs and watched the Good Eats 10th anniversary show, and then a whole lot of House Hunters, HHI and finally Color Splash, and mercilessly ridiculed every buyer and every home.  By 11:30 I was almost punchy so I thought I'd best come down, do my email and all, and then get to bed.  I'm a whole lot poorer (so is Dawn) but Christmas will be kind of pretty this year, and that's a Good Thing.
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I have been waiting for a DVD release of "The Dead" almost since the day I first discovered the film at a tiny video rental store. I fell immediately in love with the film and bought a copy for myself because I wanted to be able to watch it whenever I chose.

Time passed. Even more time passed. DVDs which were just appearing on the horizon when I first saw this film eclipsed VHS but there was no sign of a release. I managed to burn the movie to DVD, a hectic and not-terribly satisfactory solution. When I discovered a PAL version was available I ordered it since I had a multi-standard DVD player.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I want you to understand how I felt when I found that Lionsgate was finally releasing "The Dead" to DVD in this country. I was overjoyed, I pre-ordered it, and I waited anxiously for it to arrive.

And then I watched it and nearly wept. It's not bad enough that the beautiful cover of the original film has been replaced by hideous cover art with no real connection to the film, save the image of Anjelica Huston, but to find that an 83-minute film has been chopped down to 75 minutes, and utterly without regard for the continuity was enough to make me furious, and determined to keep anyone else from buying this travesty.

Fortunately Lionsgate has apparently discovered that their truncated version of the real thing was not being well-received (What were they thinking??) and has issued a recall. Information is here: http://www.seanax.com/2009/11/05/total-recall-lionsgate-recalls-the-dead/ They are taking the position that it was an accident. My thinking is that an accident is not sending the DVD out in the case, or sending defective one, or sending ones with the wrong film. Cutting a film to pieces is not an accident, it is a deliberate act. I see from the information on IMDb that in Spain, the release is 79 minutes.

It's not as if this is as long as say, "Fanny and Alexander"'s original version, or another "Lawrence of Arabia." This is 83 minutes we're talking about. If you don't have an attention span that long you won't like this film anyway, no matter how much they cut out of it. This is a film that is short and perfect, and it should not be interfered with in any way.

So if you were one of the unfortunates who bought a copy, please go to the URL I've just posted and get yourself a copy of the real (we hope) film before they say "Oh no, too late!" or do something else boneheaded to it. And pass the word. Lovers of this film have waited far too long to be jerked around like this.



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Tracy Rowan

August 2013

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