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Gifted

gifted.jpgWe haven’t done one of these “flix” category reviews for a long time. We both watched the “Gifted” DVD and enjoyed it very much.

While this flick has all the ingredients intended for a family audience, it also targets those of us who have experienced higher levels of mathematics associated with our jobs or avocations. The latter subject matter doesn’t bog down the family aspect of the story as it keeps moving. There is also some brief comedy in the characters banter and actions.

The presentation of a gifted seven-year old girl’s complete grasp of differential equations and the Calculus was well done. I wonder if it is actually possible for an individual of that age to “get” differential or transcendental equations? Regardless, it was an entertaining movie to watch.

The IMDB Storyline follows:

Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is a single man raising a child prodigy - his spirited young niece Mary (McKenna Grace) in a coastal town in Florida. Frank’s plans for a normal school life for Mary are foiled when the seven-year-old’s mathematical abilities come to the attention of Frank’s formidable mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Frank and Mary. Octavia Spencer plays Roberta, Frank and Mary’s landlady and best friend. Jenny Slate is Mary’s teacher, Bonnie, a young woman whose concern for her student develops into a connection with her uncle as well.

Enjoying the Spa in the Summertime

Being Prepared

During the Summer Months, The Better Half and I keep the spa at temperatures in the mid-eighties to ninety degrees F. That is plenty cool enough to contrast with our normal daytime temperatures of 100 degrees plus. Once in the spa, the water cools us right down.

Prior to getting in, we go through our Spa Checklist:

  • Towels for drying when getting out - check
  • Drinking water - check
  • Water temperature/level OK - check
  • Spa jets activated - check
  • Personal defense accounted for - check

We aren’t terribly remote from civilization, but our lot size is the better part of an acre isolated on three sides by hilly, natural desert. If some danger were to present itself in the two-legged form, it would likely have to enter via the driveway which encircles the house. If something like that sort of threat were to occur while we’re in the spa, we want to ensure our personal protection by providing for that ourselves, thus the loaded Glock 30 (Fat Man) next to the spa.

The day I took this photo, the temperature on the patio was 105° in the shade and the water temperature was 87° in the spa. TBH and I had an enjoyable fifteen or twenty minute dip in the spa. Clickable image.

Another Milestone

seven-four.pngAs of about 3PM this afternoon I have officially made seventy-four trips around the sun. By the grace of God and the phenomenon of modern medicine, I am still here to brag about my longevity.

The Better Half prepared a wonderful corned beef dinner for us, complete with strawberry shortcake dessert with a lit candle embedded in the whipped cream. :)

We will be celebrating for the remainder of the weekend. Tomorrow, I will be doing surf ‘n’ turf on the grill with filet mignon steaks and Atlantic salmon. That will be served with grilled corn-on-the-cob and TBH’s bacon, cheese and pea salad. I had a taste of the latter just now and it’s some real good stuff. TBH prepares it today and refrigerates it overnight.

I hope that everybody will be having as great a weekend as we are having here.

Do It Yourself RV Repair

RV Screen Door LatchA few weeks ago, we had the big RV down to the dealer in Avondale for some warranty work. We squawked several items, most of which were resolved to our satisfaction. One additional squawk that popped up due to one of the technicians errors was a broken latch for the screen door.

(Clickable) Image: The New Screen Door Latch

Our service advisor immediately ordered a replacement part for the door. In the meantime, we accepted the RV as it was and brought it home.

To shorten the story, the part arrived at the dealer’s place and the service advisor told us that we could pick it up. Well, the dealer’s location in Avondale is a one hundred mile round trip for us. I asked the advisor if they could ship the part to us. He went one better and said that since he commuted to his place just a few miles south of Wickenburg that he would meet us and hand over the part. We drove to a Family Dollar store and met him there.

We’re not used to someone going the extra customer service mile (actually several) to accommodate us. We thanked him profusely and took our latch home and installed it this morning. #campingworldofavondale

Jury Duty

Summons

Having served as a juror on many, many occasions during the time of my employment, I truly thought that I would never again be called for that odious “service” given that we are remote from the big cities and not much happens here to warrant a jury trial locally. I guess all the stars aligned and my name popped out of the local selection lottery. (Why couldn’t I be a Powerball winner or something?) I am not one of those people who enjoy jury duty.

In the Los Angeles County area where we lived, one’s name would regularly come of the selection process every couple of years. I’ve served on so many trials, I could not begin to enumerate them. After a while, I got clued in that if you were to postpone jury service to a week where there was a holiday, the odds of selection to a particular jury would be much less. I used that tactic the last few times I was called and it worked pretty well.

Unfortunately, our little town doesn’t offer a postponement or reprieve unless

  • it causes serious financial impact
  • you are physically or mentally unable to serve
  • are above a certain age

I missed being able to use the latter excuse by almost exactly one year. So, unfortunately, I have to drag my ass out of bed at the crack of dawn to report at the ungodly early hour of 0700.

mickey.gifThere is still a chance to get out of this since the instructions say to call and verify the trial is still taking place on the last business day before reporting.

UPDATE: I followed the instructions to call the court to verify this afternoon and, lo and behold, the recording said THE TRIAL HAS BEEN CANCELED! YOU ARE EXCUSED! HAPPY DANCE!!

Monsoon Season is Upon Us

Monsoon Radar

Last night, tonight and for the next few afternoons and evenings, the radar image above is typical of the precipitation activity over our state. We experienced our first downpour late yesterday, with the results being a lot of flooding and debris in the usual places. There were reports of downed trees in town and emergency crews restoring electric power and other interrupted services.

We were fine here, albeit a bit shaken when lightning struck just up the hill behind our house. It seemed to rattle the dogs a bit too, but no harm to anything we could detect. None of our utilities were interrupted (other than satellite TV due to the precipitation) and we stayed cool (104° and 77% humid outside).

Our retention walls behind the RV drive did the trick yesterday, with the heavy runoff diverted to the west side of the property and down the creek that The Better Half and I devised in early 2016. We should continue to be OK in the weeks to come.

Smokin’ Sunday

Electric SmokerWhen the summer weather here gets above 110° as it has for the last ten days or so, The Better Half would rather not prepare food in the oven and heat up the kitchen. Alternates for oven cooking, in our case, include Crock Pot, Steamer (out in the patio), Electric Smoker and the BBQ Grill, none of which result in heating the kitchen up.

The latter item above, the BBQ grill, is also somewhat undesirable in this weather since one has to tend to it while being out in the heat, although we have been known to “tough it out.”

(Clickable) Image: Our Masterbuilt Electric Smoker

Yesterday, we opted for the crock pot with TBH preparing a tasty Tex-Mex Casserole dish. Today (starting last night, actually), we employed the electric smoker. Late last night, I put a pork loin into the smoker and cooked it on low with smoke overnight. This morning, I put a 2 pound beef brisket in the smoker and cooked it along with the pork with smoke all day at 250°.

This is actually the first time I have used the smoker for preparation of two different meals simultaneously. Today, we enjoyed smoked brisket with baked beans and potato salad. During the coming week, we will be having pulled pork sandwiches using shredded smoked pork loin.

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