Musings & Thoughts for Thursday, November 10, 2022, or: Storms, Stress, Movies, and Other Things on My Mind

The eye of the storm has passed, so the worst weather is headed to the west-northwest.

The Passage of Nicole

A view from the front porch.

Hi, there, Dear Reader.

As I write this, I’m sitting at the kitchenette table in the house where I live in Fish Hawk Ranches, a sprawling planned community within the city limits of Lithia, Florida. It is a chilly, gloomy, and rainy day in the Tampa Bay area. Thanks to the passage of Tropical Storm Nicole, it’s been like this since before I woke up at 6:30 AM, and since Nicole is still over land and its cloud cover is so extensive, I’m sure the rest of the day will be chilly, gloomy, and rainy.

So far, the storm has not wreaked much havoc in my immediate vicinity, although I can only report on what I observe directly. I have not turned on the TV to watch local news, so I have no idea if Nicole has damaged any buildings, killed, or injured anyone, or caused any power outages, here or anywhere in the state. All I know is that local government offices are closed, including the county courthouse, which is the Caregiver’s place of employment even though she chooses to work remotely from home.

Stressed Out in Lithia

Photo by Pedro Figueras on

I was going to write a review of one of the three non-fiction books in my collection about Operation Downfall, but I’m too tired. The approach of Tropical Storm Nicole made me low-key nervous, so even though I’ve been outwardly calm throughout the past three days and try to focus on such things as working on a script, reviewing stuff on either of my blogs, or watching Billy Joel: Live at Yankee Stadium, my tendency to feel high levels of stress – especially about having to cope with power/Internet outages –  gets in the way.

Here’s Not Looking at You, Kid (At Least, Not on 4K UHD)

I was hoping that the status of one of my three pre-orders from Amazon (and the only one with a November 8 “drop date”), the 4K UHD/2K Blu-ray/Digital Copy 80th Anniversary edition of Casablanca would change from Expected to Arrive by November 17 to Shipped. I suppose that the ongoing supply-chain issues that have been with us (globally) since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic are affecting shipments to Amazon from the Mexican replication facility and the distribution centers in the American Southwest, but I hate it when I pre-order something from anywhere – especially Amazon – and then have to deal with the “hurry up and wait” that comes with the release of a truly popular movie on home media.

Now, understand. I own the late 1990s DVD that was released when Ted Turner owned MGM and MGM, in turn, owned most of Warner Bros.’ pre-1950s (or was it pre-1960s?) film library, which is why the disc I have comes in a case with the MGM lion logo on it. I can still watch that, even on my PC (which has a DVD-ROM drive).

(C) 1942, 2022 Warner Bros. 4K UHD packaging (C) 2022 Warner Bros. Home Entertainment/Studio Distribution Services

I also own the 70th Anniversary edition of Casablanca on Blu-ray; I bought it back in 2013 because I was upgrading my movie collection from DVD to Blu-ray; I also have a fondness for Casablanca that puts it in the same category as, say, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Longest Day, or Jaws, which are all movies I’ve owned in most of the home video formats I’ve adopted since I bought my first VHS videocassette recorder back in 1984.

I love Casablanca for a variety of reasons. First, it was one of the few films that my mother ever recommended I should watch, even though I was reluctant to see it because I thought it was “just” a romantic story. I was still a pre-teen at the time – 12, I think – and didn’t think I would like it, so I resisted Casablanca the same way that I initially rejected Star Wars in 1977, only for a far longer period of time. I don’t recall when, exactly, I finally came ‘round and watched it, but I do recall getting the VHS tape for Christmas back in 1992 – Casablanca’s Golden Anniversary year.[1]

Anyway, when I made my order back in September, Amazon estimated that I’d get my 4K version of Casablanca today – September 10. Somewhere along the line, though, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (Studio Distribution Services) sent word to the e-retailer that shipments of Casablanca would be delayed, so since early October, the delivery ETA has been November 17¸2022.

I don’t know why I feel so disappointed about this; it’s irrational, I know, and like I said earlier, I can watch the movie in two earlier formats, so it should not be disappointing

Maybe it’s the weather – dark, rainy, and windy days are rarely conducive to happiness for me, and since Tropical Storm Nicole is still affecting the Tampa Bay area, it is dark, rainy, and windy.

In any case, I’ll get over this – I always do.

“No Grand Slam Breakfast for You!”

In my Miami life, in the Land of Ago, I used to boldly go where I had boldly ventured to since I was 15 years old. This spot on West Flagler Street is a third of a mile from where I used to live.

In the meantime, I need to eat something a bit more substantial than a pumpkin spice muffin and two cups of coffee, which I’ve been running on since…9:45 AM Eastern Standard Time. I’m not only grumpy, stressed, tired, and a bit frustrated with things, but I’m also hungry.

If I still lived at either of the two houses I called home in South Florida, and if the weather wasn’t so dodgy, I’d walk to the nearest fast food place to grab a bite. Preferably Denny’s; I used to go there occasionally both when Mom was still around and during the brief period that I lived alone after she died, but that’s because the Denny’s on Park Hill Plaza is only one-third of a mile away from my previous home.

In addition to Denny’s, there is also a Wendy’s near my former house. I didn’t eat there often, but I did go there one night – in the dark! – in November of 2015.

Here in Fish Hawk, there are plenty of restaurants, including Outback Steakhouse, Jet’s Pizza, and Subway, but they’re definitely not just a third of a mile away. In theory, some are within walking distance, but by that I mean it’s more of a forced march that would take me 45 minutes – or more – in one direction.

And if we had an electric range rather than a gas stove, I could make myself a “breakfast for lunch’ of scrambled eggs and toast. But no. The Caregiver chose a gas stove/oven combination for the kitchen when she and her late husband bought this house in 2012 because she prefers gas to electric.

I tried using the stove a couple of times soon after I moved in, but I hate how fragile the burner knobs are, and I don’t like anything that involves open flame, either. (I don’t have issues with the oven component, but the Caregiver did not get a few items I asked for in the last grocery list, and even though I can order stuff from Amazon Fresh, it’s a pricey option, plus any order I make for delivery would take several hours to fulfill.)

I will probably have to order dinner either from Pizza Hut or Outback, assuming that the weather picture improves and the Doordash drivers can be out and about. I hate having to order out, and only from those two restaurants, but unless the Caregiver’s adult “kiddos” prepare something for dinner – which they don’t do regularly – that’s the route I’ll have to take.

I should go take a shower and at least put on some fresh street clothes, even though I am not going to be out and about in the breezes and occasional showers from the outgoing Nicole. So, until next time, Dear Reader, sayonara. Stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the less stormy side of things.

[1] The VHS tape of Casablanca was on my “short list” of things I wanted for Christmas back in 1992, a list that I handed to both my mom and half-sister either in late October or early November, which was standard operating procedure (SOP) for the holidays in the “Miami branch” of my family. Not so much when I was a kid, but my mom liked to have some idea of what I liked or wanted for either my birthday or Christmas. Usually, what happened was that once I gave Mom my list, she and my half-sister would decide between them who would get me which item. In 1992, it was Vicky who ended up getting me my VHS copy of Casablanca.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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