Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Great Stills from Stephanie Plum Movie

There is joy tonight!

I clicked on Stephanie's Obsession and discovered a series of official photos from One From The Money. Where did they come from? A movie site in Russia of course! I will never pretend to understand how the Hollywood mindset works.

This is our first look at material that will be in the movie. Some of them are easy to place. Others don't seem to be sticking exactly to the book. Not really a surprise, but nothing negative I can see so far.

Being a gun fancier I was especially interested in the firearms releated views. The first one up was worth the wait!

In the book Eddie Gazarra takes Stephanie to the range. I don't really know whats going on with Ranger and the Desert Eagle, but I love it! I mean, the look on Stephanie's face is priceless. This one appears to be the .44 magnum, so wait until she hears it go of off!

Why do the nickel Desert Eagles always look so much bigger than the blued ones?

Debbie Reynolds is going to make a great Grandma Mazur. Of course, if you talking about Grandma Mazur and guns, you have to talk about shooting the chicken in the 'Gumphy'. They did not disappoint.

"Think about this for a moment Steff. Your gun and ammunition in your purse - next to your Grandmother! What were you thinking?"

This last photo puzzles me. The obvious explanation is Stephanie shooting Jimmy Alpha. If that's the case they are changing the scene quite a bit from the book. Again, big surprise.

Perhaps they didn't think Stephanie could actually hit Alpha with her gun still in her purse.

I did!

Follow the Stephanie Plum link in my sidebar to a post titled Could They...?

If any of you have never visited Stephanie's Obsession, by all means check it out. For what ever reason I can't cut and paste a link at the moment, but the site is worth goggling.

So, what's next? Helene and I are going to see the last Harry Potter movie tomorrow. Wouldn't it be great if there was a trailer for One for the Money!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

On The Road Again!

It was around Christmas that I pulled out of Sam's Club in the little blue S-10 and it...stopped running. As luck would have it I had speed and the timing to coast into the Cinemark Theater parking lot next door to Sam's. Our son Matt came with the trailer and brought us, the S-10 and me, home.

Fire was not getting to the spark plugs. Why was the $64,000.00 dollar question, and we thought it was going to cost that much before we were done. I had the truck dropped at a local garage I have used in the past and it sat for more than a month without being touched. So, we were on our own.

Tracking the problem has been a hassle. The details lead me to break out in profanity, so I won't go into them here. In the mean time we have been using a Big White Truck built for towing heavy loads.

Short Trips Only!

The gas mileage is as low as gas prices have been high. It's been fun. A trip into Bryan means borrowing a vehicle from Matt.

I was back on the road with the S-10 yesterday. The only problem I encountered was overheating. Of course the 110 degree heat of the day may have had something to do with it.

Stopping the way it did still has me spooked. For the next few days I will be making short runs until I build up my trust S-10 again. One thing is clear; the difference in mileage between the two is going a long way toward winning me over.


I got one trip to Marlin Saturday.

Nothing yesterday.

This afternoon I went to the post office. At the house I had to let the truck 'crank' longer than usual. Once it started it drove to the post office with no problem. I parked, went inside, and came back out. The truck cranked

and cranked

and cranked

and cranked




and cranked!


This is exactly the way it acted in December. The only difference is it refused to start rather than dying as I drove down the road.

At least Helene and I kept the white truck, and she was able to come pick me up. We will fetch the S-10 from the Post Office in the morning. We will decide what to do once it's home.

As if offering a footnote, while waiting for Helene to pick me up a single rain drop hit my shoulder. I waited for more, but there was just the one.

Updated Update!!!

This morning Helene and I loaded up a tow strap and headed to the post office to retrieve the S-10. After checking the PO Box, I climbed into the little blue beast and cranked the engine. After much protesting it struggled to life. Waisting no time I drove it home.

Did I mention 'Spooked' earlier? For a while I will use it for short trips by my self. I don't want to risk it stranding Helene and I both anywhere. Someone has to drive the big white truck to the rescue.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Triple Cross Disappointment

Let me start by saying I'm not throwing rocks at Netflix. It's a matter of simple math.

60 mile round trip to so/s0 movie rental store


High gasoline prices



Their inventory is much greater than local movie outlets, when they can keep their doors open. The Movie Gallery in Marlin, Texas closed last year.

We aren't sure how long we can justify Satellite TV.

New FCC regulations make antennas all but useless. I can't help but think money must have changed hands.

Buying DVD's just isn't in the budget anymore.

Even with their much publicized rate hikes, Netflix is getting to be a better deal all the time.

That is not to say there are not moments of great disappointment. Sometimes we have problem disk, but Netflix is quick to send replacements. Other problems are unforeseen.


Not long ago I thought of an old favorite movie, Triple Cross, starring Christopher Plummer. This is a wonderful spy story based on the true adventures (give or take) of Eddie Chapman.

Eddie was a bank robber, bugler and opportunist who was in jail in the channel island when they were occupied by the Germans. Cutting to the chase, Eddie became a spy for both the Germans and the British.

I have always loved that movie and wanted to watch it with Helene. A quick check of Netflix showed they had Triple Cross in their inventory. Great, I put it in the queue and sent it to the front of the list. It came in a couple of days later and we setteled down to watch ... a train wreak!

This was a gangster based night mare I had to force myself to stay with for twenty minutes. It didn't get better!

I can't throw rocks at Netflix. Had I looked at the description I would have known at once this was a different film. It never occured to me more than one movie would have that title.

The thing is, even if this Triple Cross isn't my kind of movie, I know there are folks who like this sort of film.

So, one of these days I will find my Triple Cross.

But you know what, there are enough fans of both kinds of film out there to justify stocking both movies. I think Netflix is missing out.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

An Unwelcome Intruder

There was an unwelcome intruder at our son Matt's Calvert, Texas home this afternoon. The first indication of a problem was our Granddaughter, Ali, screaming SNAKE! SNAKE! SNAKE! at the top of her lungs.

Matt responded to find a Copperhead trying to get under the TV set. When chopping it in half with a machete failed to achieve the desired level of "dead" he shot it in the head with a 22.

Ali told us she had thought the cats were playing with a piece of rope that had been kicked under the coffee table - until the piece of rope started moving across the floor toward the TV set on its own. She didn't know what kind of snake it was and didn't care. She summoned help, really loud.

The heroic cats were trying to assist, until the snake started hissing and striking. At that point they decided Matt could handle it on his own, and joined Ali on top of the couch to watch the action.

In the end the beastie turned out to be an 18 inch (give or take) Southern Banded Copperhead. How did it get into the house? Your guess is as good as ours.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Emergency Backup

The heat wave gripping HomePlace seems to have spread far beyond the borders of Falls County, or even Texas. It seems just about the entire country is 'one hundred degree hell'. My friends in Oklahoma have been suffering with one hundred and ten degree highs within the last week. It's amazing what folks will do to beat Texas at something!

This has many people gathered around an appliance even more popular these days than the fabled Television Set. I speak of none other than that hero, beloved by millions, the Air Conditioner.

Sadly, AC's popularity is in its self a problem. With millions of folks across the country taking refuge from the summer heat in near frostbite splendor the power companies just can't take the drain. That in its self can cause power grids to fail.

Storms are another cause of massive power outages. The combination can be a disaster. Both my friend Zack at "The Next Chapter" and HomePlace have suffered power outages that lasted several days in the last year. If you're caught off guard these can be deadly. Preparation and planning makes all the difference in the world.

There are all kinds of preparations. Candles and matches, flash lights and batteries, and emergency supply of food and water should things we already have on hand. You may need another way to cook. A detailed list would be another blog.

The first, most obvious fall back tool for a power failure is a gas powered generator. With this you can restore power in minutes, or even seconds!

Friends in Houston have the deluxe emergency plan. With their house came a huge generator that runs on propane. It automatically comes on as soon as the power goes out. The generator is large enough to run everything in the house with power to spare. If it weren't for blinking clocks and microwaves they might never know they had a power outage.

Our system isn't that elaborate.

Our generator can handle 6560 watts of surge power and 5250 watts of continues power. We got it to run power tools on parts of the ranch where there were no electric lines. It comes in real handy when the power company drops the ball. But it would take a generator of 8000 to 10,000 watts range to power house, refrigerator, freezers, AC and all the little things that make up a home. Depending on the size of your generator, you're going to need to pick and choose.

If you can make do without the AC, use a fan. Move the contents of the refrigerator to ice chest. Freezers do a pretty good job of 'holding their cool' but you can help them with that.

We use a lot of two liter soda bottles here. Wash them out and fill them with water. A drop or two of iodine will keep anything interesting from growing in the bottles and won't affect the taste. I always mark the treated bottles with a "D" on the cap. We also have frozen bottles just to keep things cool. The difference is, when the "D" bottles thaw, we can drink them.

Even if we lived somewhere we could depend on the power provider I would keep frozen bottles. Nothing is more expensive to run than an empty refrigerator or freezer. As groceries come out we fill the empty space with water bottles and vice versa after a shopping trip. The practice saved a bunch of food when we were without power for the better part of a week. They will thaw, but it takes days to weeks depending on the outside temperature.

Even the best generators are going to have a short life if run non-stop. We tend to run ours in four hour stretches. Then we go to a battery backup system.

We have a couple out buildings it just isn't cost effective to run power lines to. To light them I use a battery and inverter. This will easily run a fan, tape player and some small tools. If I need more power, that's what the generator is for. That's also how I recharge the batteries.

My house system is a self contained cart I got from Sportsman's Guide a few years back. It is no longer in production, the good Lord only knows why. The good news is you can assemble your own.

An inverter system isn't complicated (or doesn't have to be) and can be tailored to pretty much any budget. You can find inverters ranging from as small as 75 Watts to as large as my generator. The thing to remember is the more power you draw; the faster your batteries are drained. Inverters can be found lots of places. I have seen them at Lowes, Wal-Mart and Harbor Freight. They may have them at Sam's Club.

I prefer marine deep cycle batteries for my power storage. They are available from Wal-Mart so finding them is no problem. Regular car and truck batteries can be used if you would rather.

To make your power last longer / be able to run more items on the inverter you add more batteries. I started with one in my workshop and added one every month or so until I had a total of six. I have gone from needing to recharge twice a week to getting more than a month between charges.

I won't get into the 'parallel or series' debate on what method works best to run multiple batteries. Goggle them and make your own choice.

My cart has the battery charger built in. You will need one to recharge your system. There are chargers that will tell you the level of charge the battery / batteries. That feature is worth the extra money in my opinion.

So I run the generator for four hours, then three to four hours on the inverter system while the generator cools. Once I start the generator again I plug in the battery charger and get ready to repeat the process.

We can't run as much on the inverter system as the generator. We do without the AC for a couple of hours but we have lights, fan, telephone, TV and the computer.

But you know what, it beats the heck out of candles.