January 17, 2017

I Broke Out The Slow Cooker

A whole month ago, or so, we went to JCPenny's to do a little shopping for the house. I might have written about it, or not. But either way, I'm not going back to look.

We got a Bullet knock-off. That little cup blender thing. That we cracked open yesterday when my sister decided to make apple cinnamon waffles. I asked for waffles which also lead to us opening up the waffle maker too. Oh, the blender thing was to make applesauce that the waffle recipe asked for. Lucky us we had some apples. 😊

So in two days we unwrapped three things. 😊

And the slow cooker was to used to make chicken curry. 😊 It came out well. My sister on the other think that it should have been a bit spicier and blamed the sweet potato, but not until I told her it was in there. I told her that I made the recipe just like how they told me to, but just now I remember that they asked for cayenne pepper, but I didn't have any so I used paprika instead. I had some peppers in the fridge that I just remembered that I could have used in its place.

Oh well, next time. I don't miss the heat. I was never one for very spicy food. Despite what people think, not everyone from the Caribbean lives on Scotch bonnets. Those are those small round wrinkly peppers. I'll get you a pic.


Sorry. no pics of my plate tonight. I started it late, for a slow cooker, so when it was done, I just ate. I had some leftover rice and I fried that up in my non-stick copper frying pan. Yeah, we did a lot of shopping now that we didn't have people to pay back for the funeral.

Along with the little bit rice, we had naan bread. Don't even think that I made them. Those are things you buy unless you grew up making it. I found out about naan bread after 2007 I think and I've loved them ever since. 😄

This entry is going to be short and sweet... now I remember something. The girl I babysit? She was actually sick today. I didn't know. I wasn't told until tonight. I jumped up out of bed and the light sleep I had nodded into to get dressed and get downstairs to wait for the bus.

But as I headed down the stairs with the trash, I heard tv noises coming from upstairs. So I went down and got rid of the trash then thought about it. It was too late. The bus should have woken me up. Someone had to have been upstairs. So I went in and up and up again to stand outside their door. Yep. The tv was on. Ok.

So when I went back in I cleaned up, set up the curry and then cleaned the bathroom. I'm always surprised when I do something like, bending over the tub for a while scrubbing it down and my back doesn't feel like it's breaking with the effort. Like it did years ago which got me to the lovely weight I am now.

Until I started those 3-month birth control shots, I was one weight for years. The shots caused me to gain weight, then weakened my bones so I almost broke my back, then the recovery took years because I didn't know it was the shots and I was still taking them.

Now, I'm almost as good as new now. But sweeping still hurts for some reason. :shrug:

January 14, 2017

This is what happened Wednesday.

I unexpectedly paid $24 for a ride that traveled the distance of 2.4 miles that is on average is 8 mins long.

How may you ask? I booked the wrong Uber. That's how. It was the second time I've used the app ever and I think they changed it since I last used it, and I didn't know what black was.

So after I got home and looked over the app and tried to understand what I did wrong, it all seems so simple and clear now.

I went to do the wash on Wednesday because the child's father was here. I had a bit of a back log, so I decided to get an Uber and do a lot of it at once.

I woke up later than I would have liked, but since I've been going to sleep after sunrise, how early could I get up? Anyway, I was too wiped to stay up when my alarm first went off. So I didn't leave until around sunset. Which at this time of the year is between 4:30 and 5:15 or so.

I did kinda ask why this big thing came to pick me up instead of a car. I had told myself not to get an Uber XL because it was just me and three bags of wash. But he told that I what I got, and here it comes, Uber Black could be a car or a mini van.

I know, all of you who have taken Uber know what I just did, but I didn't. I didn't even know until I tried to get an Uber home. But not even that went well for me

I had my phone next to me all day while I slept and didn't put it charge since I was suppose to leave like 5 hours earlier than I actually did. So at one point, around 8 pm or I realized that all my music playing has put my phone in battery save mode because it was almost dead. So I stopped playing my streaming music and thought my phone would stay until I was able to book my ride home.

I was finishing up my last load, I had 4 in all because I had to separate my sister's sheets and comforter into two loads and it takes a long time to fold queen sized sheets all by yourself. So I'm checking the time every twenty minutes because I wanted to be finished before the buffet closed next door at 9:30 since I clearly didn't cook. But my phone's screen stayed black when I pressed the side button. But I told myself not to panic and to just finish up the last bits and pack it up and then worry about how I was gong to get home.

I may not have been freaking out but I was going over what I could or couldn't do. I didn't know my sister's number, I didn't know anyone's number. But who really knows anyone's number these days when you see it once when you enter it into your address book and from then on you see the name of the person as you dial them or they call you? So even if I found someone willing to let me call home I wouldn't know the number. So I had to hope to get someone who was willing to call me a cab, which I could pay for, or order me an Uber on their app and I pay them for it.

So by the time I had everything packed up I was sure I wasn't going to be walking home in a skirt in 30-degree weather. And leaving my wash behind to pick up the next day. So my first stop was the Spanish speaking attendants to find out if they had my kind of charger back there. Oddly, enough they did. They first told me that they didn't because they may have thought that I would have an iPhone. But I don't. I have a window's phone. And an older one at that.

So I stood there, after I thanked them, until it was charged enough to turn on. The first thing I did was call my sister and let her know where I was and that I was going to get an Uber afterward that call to come home. She had ordered pizza. Which is good because next door was already closed.

Now I tried to get and Uber and the first thing I see is the price. I was expecting $8 not $24. So I'm reviewing this ride and my phone cuts out on me and I had to leave it alone as it built back up a charge to turn back on again. So I realize at this point that the plug wasn't all the way or it wasn't very good. So I left it sitting on the counter as I now texted my sister, once it was up again, and asked her to send and Uber for me. But then it cut out of that. Great. So I unplugged it and plugged it in again and waited for it to come back and be one again for a while.

Then I called my sister and asked her to call me one since my phone was acting up. She laughed and said sure. She then sent me a screen shot so I knew what the license plate would of the guy picking me up. My phone didn't cut out again, but it did start to rain. And not just some drizzle. It was a downpour.

So the car came, the driver helped me load the wash into the trunk, thank goodness, and as I close my door, I started to ask him about what was an Uber Black. When I heard all that, I then said that the guy who picked me up should have helped me load up the car then. We talked all the way there. It was only an 8 min ride. When I got home, he helped me again and even got my small little bag that I had forgotten in his trunk.

Now I'm slowly pulling two bags up the steps along with the smaller bag of rice and stuff that I got at the discount store and the bag of detergent and dryer sheets and bottles of other things, when my sister has to squeeze past me to get the pizza that showed up behind me. I had rung the bell when I got there for two reasons.

One, for her to know what it sounded like, since I wasn't sure she did. And two, to help take the wash up. I don't even take the wash down. I throw the bags down the stairs and I walk down with the detergents and such. I gave her the biggest bag, that had her work clothes in it, and it was when she put that down upstairs, after she complained about it being wet, that she got the call that the pizza person was downstairs.

So she was stuck behind me as I lifted the bags up on each step and took the stairs one step at a time. Over pizza, I told her of how my day went.

That's it. This took way too long. It didn't help that I almost feel asleep like 5 times and I have to be up at 'early' to go to Costco today and it's already 4:30am.

Later. 

January 12, 2017

Gods of Mars

Michael Whelan's John Carter Cover


It's 8:25 am on my birthday, I haven't slept for the night and I'm going to try and write about Gods of Mars. Now, when the first book finished and it was nothing like the movie, I first questioned how they intended to start the next movie that they were planning on making but then nixed when the first movie didn't take off like they hoped and they didn't make back the money they had spent to make it. I believe. I'm not going to look it up because I'm still peeved over the cancellation of a number of shows I like. 

So the cover and painting above shows what happens within 15 mins of John Cater coming back to Mars. In my head, I saw more of the hair/ears than what I saw here after I had finished the book. BTW, I think this is my fave cover out of all the ones I've seen so far for all the books. So, how much of this do I talk about? 

This whole book dives into things that were hidden from the world we were introduced to in the first book. This is the moment that we are thrown behind a number of curtains that we didn't even know were there. So if I say anything it could be a spoiler for the book. So let's see how long I can skirt that until I really have to tell you something. 

Their time count is wonky. I'm not even talking about having to understand and keep in mind that a Marshan year is just over twice as long as an Earth year. 600+ days. In fact, John Carter forgot that himself near the end of the book and we beyond happy he was wrong. No, my time issue concerns someone he meets up with later. 

What I don't think is a spoiler is that the green man fighting with him is his friend from the first book. The Jeddak of the Tharks. Oh, I have missed saying this before, but Jeddak is on the level of a king and Jed is on the level of a prince. But for some reason, they just called princesses, princess. Go figure. 

So we meet those lovely blue things up there. We are reintroduced to the White Apes of Mars and John is once again knee deep in another fight. John even remarks how he loves to fight. Something you can't put in movies it seems if you want your hero to be a hero. But from one of the movie reviews I watched that other night, having him be so resistant to being the hero and fighting in general, was a big turn off to some people. Mostly because it had been done. So much. Now  I can see how they said, "No, we can't have our hero enjoying fighting, what kind of message would that send?" and then they did a full 180. Another thing I wonder how they would have resolved if the follow-up movies saw the light of day. I think he should have been good at fighting but showed him not bragging about it, not denying it all outright. 

And there is fighting for the whole first chapter. The next chapter and the chapter after that I'm sure. Oh, and the next two chapters. Then we have an escape from some people that stopped their first escape from the other people. At one point John is cooling his heels in a jail for twoish days. By the time they were caught I was starting to think that he shouldn't be standing anymore. Due to a number of events (injuries) and not eating for what seemed like days. 

I don't even really recall reading that he was feed, but I'm sure he was and he got to rest up and sleep too. Now by the time he's been locked up, he has a new friend and is about to find another new friend. I got who this was since they introduced him, but some may not, so I won't say anything. 

Why am I being all "Spoiler Alert" with this book? It's over 100 years old. Forget that. 

Back in book one, I told you how they made up those bald men with the powers? Well, this is where the real Therns come into the story. At the start of the book, John wakes up and wonders where he is. He doesn't know how he got to Mars the first time and he doesn't know why he left. And he could only hope that he was sent back there, but he acknowledges the fact that he could have easily been sent to any other planet. Because what he sees when he wakes up doesn't match anything he had seen on Mars the first time around. That certainly includes those blue skinned things with one eye and hair for ears. 

Things happen, and he finds and comes to the aid of his friend. The green skinned guy. Eventually, they get a little time on their hands, and it seems they are in the place that was considered to be the restful end for anyone who went down the River Iss. They very quickly realize that all of Mars has been lied to and know that when they get back, they most likely will be killed for making it out alive. It's a rule the people behind the invisible curtain came up with to keep people from trying too hard to leave and to keep anyone on the outside from hearing or believing anyone that did. 

Now around chapter 9 and also in a small part of chapter 2 I think, we are introduced to the practice of cannibalism. Some people may not agree with me because they see themselves as different races if not Gods or servants of Gods,

By the 9th chapter, we have two major reveals left and we just had two major ones handed to us. It was around chapter 13-15 we get the next one, but this was one I knew and was falsely lead to believe that it was about to be revealed on at least 2 earlier moments. Then depending on which chapter that is said, we get another bombshell 1 to 3 chapters later. 

This is a hint of what book three, Warlord of Mars is going to be about, but just a hint. First, we have to get back home to Helium. You remember that bit about how people of Mars were told to kill anyone that came back from going down the River of Iss? Well, John has enough good and very loyal friends that he gets to have his day in court. There is a guy there who is holding a grudge from the first book and is in a position to make it all go badly for John. It didn't work out the way he would have liked, for clearly John lives, but even I was questioning it at the time since this whole thing was new to me. 

Maybe I should say that I didn't know how he was going to get out of it because he had something to do, to live for, by this time so he wasn't going down this way. But the man tired. Oh, how he tried. He tried so hard that John almost killed his own son. Yep, he has a son. I'm leaving that for you to read on your own. It's during this event that he forgets how long a Marshan year is. We were all happy he was wrong. 

Now after this long moment of time, he gets ready for another big fight. He now has to go back, to where he came from and fight the people he bearly got away from. He takes his new friends and old ones with him. He has the fighting force of Helium behind him and any hoards of Thraks his green friend could get. But it's not that hard since they live to loot, and the are promised temples to raid. 

Oh, that guy who wanted John dead is still around to cause issues too. But he gets sorted and there are some close calls during this battle that more or less spans two cities and the air. 

Normally I can tell how a story is going, what will happen next and so on, but this book didn't know about all these things when it was written and not enough people has done what he has done since. I didn't know how most of this book was going to go down. So for a few seconds, I may think John is going to not make it in some way, while somehow believing that he should survive this and then when he does it's not how I expected at all. I'm not saying that every single thing in this book is a blind side, I'm just saying about 90% of it was. 😆

Which is why I'm being very loose on details here. 

So, battles, fighting, new skin colours, an actual ocean or sea really. I don't think it's actually as big as an ocean or we didn't get to see half the place and we saw a lot. 

Two races are overthrown and a lot of people find out how much they have been lied too for eons. And then he's within reach of what he came to do, and he watches his wife as she gets sealed up in a stone prison for a year, along with someone else he was trying to rescue and an enemy that he saw charging at his wife with a dagger just as they were being sealed inside.

And that is how it ends. On a cliff hanger. I'll be more kind with the next one. Anything I say there will most likely make you want to read this one to understand how that all happened.😊 

Here is another audiobook link for you. Gods Of Mars from LibriVox

Later.


For info on the award and to see how others in each category ranked, CLICK HERE!

January 11, 2017

Princess Of Mars


Cover by Gino D’Achille


The first book in any set of this collection. Now, for those of you who saw the movie, this is the title of the book they turned into a movie. Somewhere at the end of the books that were written, there is one called John Cater of Mars. But that is not the name of the series like one might suspect. Like John Cater of Mars: A Princess Of Mars or John Cater of Mars: Gods Of Mars.

At least that was what I expected.

So the first book. It starts off, loosely how the movie did. I've been meaning to watch it again, but since I'm writing it now, you will have to put up with the holes in my memory like I do. :)

Now I say loosely because there are Indians and there is running to save his hide and he does go up into a cave to hide and gets transported to Mars from there. And that about's about it. Everything else is different, For better or for worst, it's different. He does have a mine claim, But it's when he's trying to rescue his partner in the mine that he ends up having issues with the Indians that killed him and he's off and running.

So he's on Mars now. How? We don't know. He seizes up and he experiences traveling between the two planets, like in Galaxy Quest, and wakes up on Mars. And he's naked. In fact, it seems that most 'people' here are mostly naked. They have 'leathers' to hold weapons, a sword and dagger, and a pouch for other others. And somewhere on this, there is a space for the mark of where they come from, what city.

The green men are just about right, and how they met is the same as in the book. So is how he learns to walk on Mars. He even describes how it was one of most embarrassing moments of his life in the book. Then there is the incubator. That is most true also. I think the movie made the green men shorter than they are described in the book. But it's far more forgivable than how they depicted the red men of Mars. But I'm jumping ahead.

... I'm going to see if I can watch this. Something feels off. ...

Ok. So I forgot a bit. The walking city, the little sand storm war and the gift from the Goddess. Oh, and everything leading up to his nephew reading his journal.

So far, I have yet to see any walking cities and I'm up to book 5. Oh, those people that float down from the sky with the weapon? They are a reinvention of a race we don't see until book two, Gods Of Mars. So this didn't happen either. As for the war, they lived in wars. One city was always fighting another city. Over anyone's guess. Then there is the whole show of the telegram and the tomb.

John did 'die' and his nephew was sent for. In fact, John did send for him, himself, but not for the reasons that are shown. I was there reading and reading and waiting to see this part that was shown in the movie and it never came.

Now despite the fact of all the writing I have done and will do, there are bits I will leave out. I don't think I can give the whole thing away, and after a while, I'll just get tired of typing. 😊

So that whole bit around him 'dying' and his nephew at the start is something I leave for you to discover.

Ok, back to where I left off. The height of the green man is good. :) I would like to note, that he, John, wasn't shot in the book and only the women tended to the wounded among their kind. In the movie, there is the bit where she, the princess of Helium, is trying to present this device that used the 9th ray and it blows up and she is more or less disgraced and her father makes her marry someone she doesn't want to. None of that happened and it's even more misleading because, in the book, they have and use the 9th ray. This is not something for anyone on Mars to discover.

Next, The green man that captured him is not Jeddak. he was just Jed. The branding thing. Not a thing at all. Next, he, John, was raised in a house with two or three other babies and the women who are in charge of each. He was taught the spoken langue of Mars by the female that took care of him. The same one who was branded in the movie.

Oh, she wasn't well liked, but she wasn't whipped or branded or anything like that. She was just hated for being too kind-hearted. She was considered a throwback to before the seas dried up and they could have afforded to be kind to those around them. But once everyone had to fight for food and whatnot on a changing, dying world, they like everyone else on the planet became more warlike to get or keep what they had.

The time he spent with the green men is more like weeks to two months than the two or so days we see in the movie. The girl he falls for was shot down by the green men. There was no fight overhead that they just claimed stuff from after shooting down a ship themselves. They started the attack and boarded the ship after they disabled the other two that were with it. John played no part either.

The princess was also with them for a long time before they both escaped. In the book we saw the green man caravan as it moved to the south or was it the north? I think it was the south, of where John found them, to meet up with other green men tribes. This is where their Jeddak lived. We saw John fight with the green men against another green man tribe that didn't like the one he was with. We saw one attempted assassination on John's life. This is the only time that the princess fights and all she really does is knock a mirror out of someone's hand and maybe try to stab them. Oh, that someone is the green female that had it out for them in the movie. She's not a good soul in any version.

Now there is no river scene. Everyone talks about the river and the goddess. But we don't see any of that until the second book. Gods of Mars.

Oh. I forgot about the flashbacks to his dead wife. There is no dead wife. And the 'horses' here on Mars in the movie are wrong. This is the only time I've seen them so stocky, and they forgot the yellow feet. They are suppose to have yellow feet. Oh, something else we don't see, the princess' father and grandfather, at least not until the end of the book. Yeah, her grandfather still lives. In the books anyway.

I keep forgetting little bits. The red men of Mars are suppose to be red. Not red tattooed, but red skinned. Like a potato. Or a red onion. There is suppose to be a marked contrast between his skin and her's.

What else can I say? Most of what happens next in the movie don't really follow the book. At one point there is the threat of a wedding that the princess doesn't want any part of and is being forced into by her captor. Not her dad. But we learned a lot about Mars before that happens. All that was taken out of the movie. Now I understand why some of it was taken out, but in doing so they have to omit a lot later on, if they got to continue, or re-write completely. One one, We see trees in this book. Those Mar Canals are lined with trees because it's one of the few places where there is enough water to really grow anything. At least that is what the first book tells you. :)

Oh, that bit about Tharks, the green men, not flying? It's not true. In the book, they don't have that hang-up. Also, the guy sitting pretty during the arena fight was Jeddak and John's friend killed him to become Jeddak. Oddly, we don't see it in the book. In the book when he goes back to get help from his green skinned friend he is Jaddak and as they ride to save his princess, he gathers other green men tribes to their cause.

In the movie, they show that they first went to the wrong city then had to get on the fliers to get to Helium in time. But that is only half true. They did not get the wrong city in the book. They do stop the wedding, and then they get on the fliers to go to Helium because it was under attack still.

I leave the surrounding details for you to discover.

Now in the movie, once Helium is safe John is attacked and sent back to earth right after he gets to spend most of the night with his princess and now wife. In the book, peace is brought to Helium and he marries his princess and they have an ... egg. Yep. I was surprised too. This is near the end of the book but not quite. There is a little bit more, but it ties into what I omitted above so I won't talk about it now.

There. I have told you about the book, Left good bits out for you to find something interesting and new to read for yourself and I didn't ruin the ending.

So if you are interested here is the link for the audiobook

Now that I have recapped parts of the book and the movie for you, I felt like finally playing a "Everything that is wrong with John Carter Of Mars" vid. They have some good points so far, most of which I missed since I wasn't watching the movie to take it apart. I wouldn't be surprised if they actually watched this movie like 3 times and on the third time through they got a whole bunch that didn't bother them or they didn't realize until then.

As purely a movie on its own, it wasn't that bad I liked it. And this one review I'm watching is comparing it with Waterworld. Believe it or not, I liked Waterworld. I didn't see anything in that would make it garner such hate.

I think most of the mistakes he's pointing out are due to all the rewriting of the story to such a degree. They also forgot to show the proper passage of time. So some people think all of this happened in 3-4 days. In the book you will see that all this, not counting the time he was back on earth, was years of his life. See vast difference.

Ok, that's it. I hope you do read or play the book. It may have outdated ideas, but it's still a good adventure story. They all are. Yes, I'm taking back all the moaning I did about Chessmen Of Mars. 😏