Archive for September 2019

September 2019 Fort Laudedale Diary   Leave a comment

Posted September 30, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE, LIFE

Almost finished!   Leave a comment

Repaving driveway Sept 24 2019
3 years of making improvements and Gateway is almost finished. Aside from replacing the old–very old–wiring in the apartments and not sure if that is even on the horizon all the inside work has been done. All the buildings have been painted all that is left is the lettering of the building and apartment numbers. It would be great–and add some color to the blah look–if the letters were a bright color but I am not holding my breath!
The past two weeks have been spent redoing the driveway through Gateway and this coming week they are working on the parking lot across the street and the 3 that are in alcoves between buildings and that should be it.
Parking resident’s cars has been a problem since I moved in here as there have never been enough parking spots for all the apartments and now I believe there are 25 ‘reserved’ spots for people who know how to work the system and received ‘prescriptions’ from their doctors for their own private parking spaces besides there are 5-6 public handicap spaces
There are many abuses by residents regarding parking but this company really isn’t as stringent as the previous owner was.
This is really not a problem for me as I don’t have a car. Of course, with my 21st Leap Year birthday coming up I just might get a car (with a year of automobile insurance) and then it will be a problem! LOL

Posted September 29, 2019 by greatmartin in FORT LAUDERDALE, GATEWAY

Around Gateway   Leave a comment

Gateway September 2019
1) On the left Biscuit 12 years old and on the right Cody 7 months old
2) And the ‘Christmas’ cactus keeps on blooming
3) Working on the roof
4) Out my window
5) A new pepper–for some reason they only grow one at a time
6) Great,Great Grandmother Becky who baby sits with her granddaughter’s child Monday through Friday
7) Rion with his new sun ‘cancer’ hat
8)  When it gets windy we get waves
9) My apartment–3rd floor–right side
10) Another yacht seen from my window
11) Mary racing around on her motorized wheel chair
12) Cloudless sky–freshly mowed lawn–boats docked on both sides of the canal–welcome to Gateway!

Posted September 28, 2019 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE, LIFE

“Judy”–a movie review   1 comment

Judy 2
Renee Zellweger does an excellent job as Judy Garland but, using her own voice, shows that there was only one Judy Garland! Judy Davis, in 2001, did a 4 hour TV story called “Life With Judy Garland: Me & My Shadow”, winning an Emmy, but lip-synced Judy’s voice and was more effective.
In “I Could Go On Singing”, Garland’s last movie, the screenplay did a much better job about a world famous singer showing the love for her children then this screenplay by Tom Edge based on a play by Peter Quilter. The flashbacks to Judy’s start and her treatment by the studio, especially during “The Wizard of Oz”, along with ‘appearances’ by actors such as Mickey Rooney, doesn’t add anything new.
More time spent with Judy’s ex husband, Sid Luft (Rufus Sewell) and Jessie Buckley, as Judy’s last assistant, Rosalie, would have added more to the story about her last days. Finn Wittrock, as Micky Deans, her last husband, for less than a year and rumored to be gay is given less attention but then another husband Vincent Minnelli, father of Liza and also gay, isn’t even mentioned. Darci Shawn, as young Judy, would make perfect casting as a young Liz Taylor.
“Judy” delivers one fine performance and a tearful last 5 minutes but instead of recommending seeing this I would recommend you seeing Judy Garland in “I Could Go On Singing” and Judy Davis in “Life With Judy Garland: Me & My Shadow”.

Posted September 27, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

Eating out!   Leave a comment

Eating out Sept 2019 Part 1

It is no secret that I love to eat out but, unfortunately, my budget constantly says “NO!” I sort of have it under control in keeping it to Thursdays and Fridays while during ‘theatre season’ Tuesday is added to the list.
On Thursdays, after shopping at the $ Tree and before going to Winn-Dixie, plus the Tuesday nights when we go the theatre in Broward, we sort of eat at a ‘better’ restaurant such as the Outback, Big Louie’s and La Bonne Crepe, while theatre nights it is either the Quarterdeck or Cafe Vico.
Fridays, after the movies, and Tuesdays when we go to the theatre in Miami it is Denny’s at the latter and Subways or Arby’s after the former.
From a dessert crepe made of strawberries, bananas, vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate syrup to a turkey foot-long on herb-garlic cheese and adding cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and onions plus mustard, plus a pizza at Big Louie’s to steak and all the shrimp you can eat at Outback and a Rueban at  Arby’s I do have a varied menu of meals.
Oh, yes, I gave up carbonated sodas about 7 months ago so now I have lemonade at fast food places and late dinners while real coffee at lunch meals at full service restaurants.
The other 4-5 days I am a pretty good boy when I eat at home–well, most times!! I do make my dinners in advance on Saturdays with a basic fish or chicken dish with 2 veggies, a salad, 2 cups of yogurt and an apple. (No, we won’t talk about the carrots cakes, etc.)

Posted September 26, 2019 by greatmartin in DINING REVIEW, FOOD, RESTAURANTS

Christmas on September 25th   Leave a comment

InkedChristmas in September_LI
I write a lot about my ‘Christmas’ cactus and it blooming all year round. If you look at the dates you’ll see the buds (1) started coming out on the 22nd and came to bloom (4) on the 25th. Even the ‘puppy’ (2) plant I made with leaves from the mother plant has buds.
Along with the cactus the begonias, geraniums and Cuban plant are blossoming.
Is it possible I confuse the plants be keeping the temperatures in the apartment low: in the 60s at night and 70s during the day? I don’t know but I am not complaining at all by having blooms all year round!

Posted September 25, 2019 by greatmartin in GARDENS, MOTHER NATURE

“Downton Abbey”–movie review   1 comment


There were two kind of people in the audience: those who have seen every, or almost every, 52 episodes of “Downton Abbey” and those who never saw it or, like me, only saw, maybe 3-4 episodes, over the 6 seasons it was on PBS.
You could tell people from the first category as they laughed at EVERYTHING Maggie Smith said, and did, funny or not, while those in the latter category might have smiled at one of her barbed witticisms but certainly didn’t laugh out loud.
This is a review looking at it as a stand alone movie while those who see it as an extension of the series most definitely would review it differently.
The screenplay by Julian Fellowes introduces between 30-40 characters with about as many story lines involving 2 or 10 of them. Anyone who is a movie goer can see where most of them are heading but a couple fail to pay off and a couple just fizzle out while a major one had me going, “So what’s new? Knew that from the moment they came on screen!”
The opening segment sets the direction of all the  lush photographic scenes and rich looks, in more ways than one, of the costumes, jewellery, and the settings both in and out of Downton Abbey.
The story revolves around the visit of King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James) who will be spending an evening at Downton Abbey, bringing their own staff of kitchen and servants which brings about a rebellion between the Royal’s and Abbey’s staffs offering about 5-6 story lines while there are many, some confusing, story lines regarding family members in all sorts of matches from mother and daughter to sister-in-laws.
There are too many actors/characters to mention all but, yes, Maggie Smith is a delight and the encounters between her and Imelda Staunton are master classes in acting. I have been a fan of Elizabeth McGovern since I saw her in 1981 in “Ragtime” but I have a feeling her role in the TV series was larger and stronger. I recognized a few actors such as Jim Carter but the one who really made an impression, and getting the biggest laugh, is one I am unable to put a name with the face even looking through the cast credits–possibly Brendon Coyle–playing one of the major Abbey servant’s.
While “Downton Abbey” is a good example of the genre it is not as memorable as “Howards End” or, my favorite, “A Room With A View”.  While the outdoor scenes are lush this sequel would have done better as a ‘made for TV movie’.
Am curious to hear from fans of the TV series as to what they thought of the movie.

Posted September 24, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW

Trying new foods and that second steak!   1 comment

new food and second steak September 2019 2

 Two weeks ago I wrote about discovering Rancher’s Home steaks and how great the one I had was. At less than $5 a pound it was a great deal in more than just taste! I had grilled it in my George Foreman grill and it melted in my mouth, s-o-o-o-o-o-o-o good. I knew I would have to try it again.
Last week I bought one home and tried the ultimate taste–putting it in the microwave oven. I have a ‘grilling pan’ to use in the microwave and decided to make the steak that way. I chopped up some garlic and put it on both sides of the steak, put it into the microwave, cooked it 2 minutes on each side and when it was finished it didn’t look like a grilled steak but I wasn’t expecting it to. I will say it tasted even better than the first one. I knew this was going to be my once a week treat.
I couldn’t wait to get one this week and when I went to the beef section in Winn-Dixie I got my rude awakening! The previous two weeks the steak had been on sale and now they were $9+ a pound!! Oh well, maybe 1 every 2 months!!
By the way the ‘side dish’ on the plate by the steak is a mixture of red beans, rice and spices, a basic Jambalaya staple.
Every month I try new items that I get at the Pantry and as tempted as I was to spread some of the duck rillettes but it is definitely a no-no on my do not eat list. They also have 2-3 new marinades every month and though I am very limited on using marinades I always sneak a tablespoon or two into the crock pot when I am cooking chicken. Using one tablespoon of YO MAMA Honey Balsamic marinade over 8 chicken breasts really doesn’t go very far regarding taste but every now and then I will get a bite with a ‘bang’ that makes the other plain bites edible!
In all the years of tasting new foods the only one I can remember saying that I would never have again was oyster plant–and I haven’t!

Posted September 23, 2019 by greatmartin in FOOD, HOME

Welcome to lizard land!   1 comment

Lizards everywhere
I don’t know how many lizards we have roaming just around Gateway but I do know I haven’t seen a mosquito, fly or most common bugs because of them. No matter where you walk you will see them running away from you as they aren’t too friendly with humans.
Due to all the encroachment on the Everglades by humans many of the creatures are coming into the city. Also people who buy pets and either don’t know how to take care of them or find they are not as entertaining as thought many will ‘dump’ them anywhere. Most are not native to Florida which causes problems not only for other creatures but for humans.
Each year there is a Boa Constrictor hunt in the Everglades not to mention crocodiles and alligators showing up in gardens, swimming pools and, once in awhile, at the front door.
A favorite ‘pet’ that people usually turn loose are chameleons and they can be pretty large.
We use to have 200-300 beautiful wild parrots that would ‘visit’ every day around 4 PM to a tree outside my kitchen window but the owners cut that tree down and haven’t seen them since. Coincidentally there was an article in the paper and on TV: ” Nearly one-third of the wild birds in the United States and Canada have vanished since 1970, a staggering loss that suggests the very fabric of North America’s ecosystem is unraveling.” NYTimes Sept. 19, 2019 So that might be the answer.
At this point I have only seen lizards and chameleons at Gateway and I hope it stays that way!

Posted September 21, 2019 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE, MOTHER NATURE, Uncategorized

Ad Astra”–movie review   1 comment

ad 1
Being as nice as I can, and a Brad Pitt fan, I would not call this the worst movie of the year, though it is certainly a contender, let’s just call it the worst Brad Pitt movie ever!
Instead of making a large, long list of negatives like it is one of the longest 2 hour movies I have ever seen let me just tell you not to see it!

Posted September 20, 2019 by greatmartin in FILM REVIEWS, Uncategorized

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