a99kitten’s Musings

I blog about a WHOLE LOT of stuff :)

F**********************************************CK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is all.

…have a bizarre sense of humor.

Friday and today were absolutely excellent trading days for me. My trading account hit an all-time high today. Excellent moves/sales in TWTR and GPRO calls bought last week, sold LC also from last week and sold my UWTI position +5% that I was down 20% just a short time ago. And I jumped in and out of the monster that is TWLO for a very nice win. Was feeling pretty happy….so naturally AH decided to take me down a peg…

I bought some HAIN calls last week (have had a small stock position in my 401k for a long time) as it started running. I *ALMOST* sold the position as a quick in/out trade on Friday as it really heated up but then didn’t. Got greedy and thought maybe they really DO announce an acquisition over the weekend. And then when nothing was announced – almost sold AGAIN this AM. Still up on position. But nooooooo….the greed devil on my shoulder said “hey they are September calls…hold them a little longer….” Sigh…It’s a small position but make some VERY annoyed. Since I ignored myself TWICE to sell. Gah.

HAIN came out after hours today and announced reporting/financial issues. Always a winner. Stock tanked about 25%. Yay. I will likely add to my LT position at these levels (maybe) but those calls should be nice and worthless. Grrrr. Hate that greed devil.

The stock market gods giveth, the stock market gods taketh away. Back to work to make that back….

AT SDCC this year I was in Ballroom 20 all day Saturday for OUAT and the CW Hero block. They were really why I wanted to be in there. I have been in B20 for the OUAT panel almost every year because it always proceeds something else I want to see. Now, I do watch OUAT but for the past 2 years, I have not watched it during the season and then I remember that I really like the show and binge watch it through the summer. I like it but there are so many other things to watch and I have limited time to do it in (need to upload SO much content to my brain!) And sometimes the storylines get a but silly. But that’s OK – it’s fairy tales!

But, just like every other year when I sit through the panel, I walk away loving the cast and wanting to watch the show immediately! So when I got back from SDCC, I made it my mission to catch up on this season before the new eps starts in Sept. And I just finished the last episode last night. I LOVED this season! Loved it!

The thing about OUAT is it depends very hard on the “True Love Trumps All” mantra and sometimes it gets a bit goofy. And to be honest, my favorite characters are Rumple and Regina :) And they were great as usual this season!

I thought the forced lesbian storyline of Red and Dorothy was dumb. If you want to introduce a gay character/storyline, do it over time. Not just BOOM in your face in 2 episodes. Seemed forced and I think perhaps an overreaction to politics. But whatever.

Thought the Hades storyline was fun. I LOVE Arthurian tales so that was an interesting take on the whole storyline (and the nod to the Connecticut Yankee was cute.) More info on the Dark Ones was great. And I pretty much loved that Gold finally made Belle realize that she likes him BECAUSE of his dark side, not in spite of it. Because I’ve been saying that all along! When he was no longer the Dark One – he went back to being the scared weakling he was before. And no one really likes that. I don’t care what they say. And his dealing with his ex-wife – heh. Loved that.

And now I am VERY excited to watch the new season!

I’ve been collecting Star Wars and some superhero stuff since I was a kid. And kept most of it pretty good condition. When I moved form FL to CA when I was 18, my Mom boxed up my stuff and stored it in the garage until I moved it out to me in CA. In FL. Hot and humid Florida. In a garage with no climate control. Thanks Mom :/ But most survived ok. Sigh.

I’ve added to my Star Wars collection over the years but never completed my vintage action figures. Most of mine were loose as I displayed them in scenes with the vehicles and playsets in my room. Further evidence that it was not only boys that liked Star Wars. But I also did not care 1 little bit that there were very few female characters. I hate feminazis. Give me a damn break.

I’ve lately gotten back into wanting to complete not only my loose collection ( I think I need about 20 more to have all 92) but also a 12-back, cardback A run. And then also the other Han and Chewies on all card backs. And the Hoth figures. And the final 17 POTF lines. And. And. And…(yes it will likely never end really!)

Over the years, I used to just read some of the websites about collecting. And in the olden days…read the magazines about it :) There are far more websites now along with tons of FB groups that have tons of info!

I also collect Funko. It started with a Chewbacca POP from SDCC (the flocked one which now can cost you $1500+ on eBay – doh!) and now I have 1000+ POPs plus items from their other lines. I started collecting Funko a few years back and had noticed some snobbiness from the “older” collectors who felt we were all noobs. There was some definite cliqueness and I’m sure it turned some people away from the main Funko blog. When I was at my first Funko Fundays at SDCC there were several people at my table who were talking about they felt “blocked out” from the old school members on the blog. OK. Whatever. I have never allowed myself to be affected by stuff like that. But yes – I did notice it as well.

Ironically, I was asked to be a moderator on the Funko blog and it’s been a great time (after the coup and drama and holy hell what (^(&* just happened few days that we had.) I’ve had dealings with a lot of new collectors but also some of the old school members and have certainly not felt any weirdness. Some of the older members and moved away from the blog and only participate on the FB groups. And complain a lot apparently. Oh well – I stay away from high school drama.

But now the more time I spend on the Star Wars blogs and FB groups, I notice the SAME THING. The older collectors (and frankly I have been collecting the original toys and other stuff since 1978 so I am as original as they come) complain about the “newer” collectors run prices up, only want AFA-graded (and then go on to bag on that), have too much money to spend, ruin the hobby, etc etc. Sigh…

Come on man – these are TOYS! We collect them because they are fun and we love them. Yes – they can be valuable so we take care of them and treasure them. But jeebus man – the drama that ensues in ridiculous and tiring. I’m sure the same thing happens in trading cards, comics, sports memorabilia, etc etc. But sheesh.

BUT, at SDCC the year, I found a vinyl-cape Jawa. I have been wanting this guy and was at the booth for quite awhile discussing toys with the owner and the other booth workers. And wow – the collecting stories were GREAT! I think I had some of the most fun at SDCC this year at that booth listening to these stories. And THAT’S what I want collecting to be.

I live in the boonies so I don’t have a local comic book store or access to many brick and mortar toy stores. And sadly, my friends don’t collect like I do and I’m sure they get bored listening to me talk about it. So I depend on the internet lot. So I will continue to read the blogs and FB groups and will likely see more drama and snide comments. For both Funko and Star Wars.

But my collection is growing and it makes me happy. And that’s the point, right? :)

One of my neighbor’s dogs passed away this morning. He was rushed to the ER in Reno Wednesday night and it turns out he had the same issue that Angelus died from. An “aggressive tumor” on his spleen that ruptured and bled out. The dog loses so much blood into their abdomen and too quickly to replenish. They gave him a blood transfusion and after he stabilized yesterday, they removed his spleen. But he was still critical. I just learned of it last night as they have been at the vet this whole time until they came home for some rest last night.

With Angelus, he had just had his annual physical, was 100% healthy and acting the crazy husky he always was. There was 1 instance of him waking up in the middle of the night with a yelp. It was about 2 weeks before he died. I woke up, looked for any injuries and he was fine. But he seemed off. Not terribly – but off. I took him to the vet and we thought maybe he tweaked his leg in the middle of the night or something because they couldn’t find a single thing wrong with him. I wonder if the tumor had a small tear then.

Later, my vet acknowledged that it could have been that. But 2 weeks for it to fully rupture with him acting normal would be pretty long so unlikely. But I will always wonder. And that I should have delved more into it. But I was in the middle of an office move and was so busy and tired – I figured he was fine. Like he always was. I will never forgive myself for that. Or anything else associated with that stupid office move.

But my vet (who knew Angelus since 8 weeks) said statistically, the dog would have more tumors. And if they make it through the spleen removal, then you have other decisions to make. And if Angelus would have been sick, confined to bed rest after surgeries or chemo or just plain not doing well – he would have hated that. I know that.

With Tucker, the dog next door, he was much younger than Angelus. And I feel so bad for his parents. They have a bit of a situation like I did – Angelus was the healthy 1 and Stormy was the one with health issues we were always worried about. They have an older dog who I know they have been worried about. So the shock that comes with this is what hurts even more.

I remember when they brought him home, after losing their oldest Golden. He was a good friend to Angelus and Storm but he has been an even better one to Smokey. Tucker and his older brother Jameis were Smokey’s first friends after I brought him home. He met them out in the back forest and instantly took to them. He *always* ran up to them as soon as he saw them. He could smell when they were abut to come outside if we were already out and would pull towards their door. Tucker, being a Golden, was a food hound. And he always ran to me first because he knew I had the cookies. But he was a sweet boy who was always just a giant wagging tail.

And the weird thing is the past 2 days Smokey has been pulling towards their house and whining even though they weren’t outside. It’s like he could sense something was wrong. I really never doubt animal senses anymore. They know a lot more than humans in some ways.

Rose Kennedy (NOT my favorite family but she certainly experienced loss) said something that in my opinion is 100% fact…

“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”

I know they are very sad today. I remember feeling numb. And sick. And there is simply nothing anyone can say to make you feel better in any way. Time is the only thing that helps. We lose our furry friends way too quickly.

Between our beloved fur-kids that die young, species being hunted to extinction and kids with cancer or other life-ending diseases but then pedophiles, rapists, terrorists and murders walking around hurting/killing others and people like Charles Manson STILL breathing on the government tit, what other proof do you need that life is simply not set up to be fair. Ever.

OK, on this Sunday morning the con is not officially over but basically over for me. I’ve been in my hotel room in bed sick since Saturday AM. I don’t think I’ve been sick in like..3 years so naturally I get it while at Comic Con. NOOOOOOOOO!! Seriously sick, like it hurt to get out of bed to get water sick.

BUT…my trip/Con from Tuesday – Friday was AMAZING! And really I mean Friday was AMAZING! Sat in line from noon Thursday till about 10pm to get wristbands for Friday’s Hall H. My con partner, Sonya, and I were in line Thursday for The Last Ship panel around 11:15am. And we looked at each other at the same time and said “I think we should get in line now for Hall H.” We had planned on getting in line right after The Last Ship panel but we both had this feeling. So we got out of line and went down there. The line seemed to be about 500-750 people. Now more people would joining all of those people but we felt secure in not being 6500 people before us.

Sat in the sun all day long and waited. Made new friends in line :) Around 7pm, the line got quite hectic (and the twitter drama following it all!) as there were line cutters and security had to be called and, once again, SDCC was unprepared to handle these issues. So we were starting to get stressed that we wouldn’t actually make it in. But we did – got B wristbands and we were allowed to leave the line and sleep in our rooms and shower (I *really* wish everyone would take advantage of that…)

Got back in line at 6am and waited some more. Got to see some line cutters get removed from the line – that was fun! We all yelled SHAME at them as they were escorted past us. LoL.

Anyway – got in and saw everything I love: The Walking Dead panel (OMG trailer for season 6 is INTENSE!) and Game of Thrones panel (quite obvious they went out of their way to avoid the Is Jon Really Dead question.) Plus a panel for Fear the Walking Dead which looks GREAT! The Entertainment Weekly panel after GoT was full of hero hotties who were hysterical!!! :) And then STAR WARS!

Obviously happy to see everyone but let’s be real – I was out of my mind to see Harrison Ford! :) SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!! I had just seen the rest of the cast at Star Wars Celebration in April but no Mr Ford (who was still recovering from his plane crash.) The place was bonkers when he came out. Bonkers.

And THEN after the panel we got treated to a special Hall H attendee only Star Wars concert with fireworks! We all walked from Hall H to the San Diego Symphony music center down on the water. Mark Hamill drove by us and was talking to fans and waving. Daisy Ridley did the same and was high-fiving as they drove by.

We got light sabers and the music was played to footage (the previous 6 movies, not new footage) and the fireworks display was FANTASTIC. And everyone there loves Star Wars and the energy was just awesome.

My throat had been dry all day but I assumed it was just because I was so exhausted. But when I woke up Saturday AM to try and get ready for the day – I could barely move. Getting out of bed for water hurt. And my throat was on fire. So I’d like to thank whoever came to SDCC fully infected with sickness. I hope you still feel sick for weeks.

As sad as it made me to not get out there on Saturday, I knew I a) felt too horrible and b) didn’t want to be that person who was germy everywhere. I missed out on a lot but 99% of my excitement for this year’s con was for Star Wars. So I got my fill and more. Best Con Day Ever – Friday 7/10/15.

You can see the panel here:

You can see the Behind the Scene footage here:

And then ME in a video down by Verizon (for Facebook). In the same vide as Harrison Ford – ARGH!!!! (I’m about 35 seconds in waving with my Chewie backpack on :) :) :) ) This was Thursday night while we were in line for wristbands to Hall H…for Friday…

Check out what #StarWars brought to #SDCC2015. We’re excited for December 18th!

Posted by Verizon Wireless on Saturday, July 11, 2015

I took a bazillion pics but these are a few of my favorites:

The Legacy trio!

The Legacy trio!

I love you. I know. :)

I love you. I know. :)

Star Wars panel 3

Star Wars panel 4

Interesting article regarding a new book coming (a whole book?!?) out about the beanie baby craze. Pretty interesting. Basically the book is saying the beanie craze was manufactured by some crazy women it seems….I wonder if the book has pics of them. I know how I mentally picture them. But I would add that it really helped propel eBay as well.

http://nypost.com/2015/02/22/how-the-beanie-baby-craze-was-concocted-then-crashed/

And yes…I have some. Big surprise. I can remember hitting up Hallmark stores or small gift shops in search of new cute ones or rare ones. And constantly searching eBay. This is also when I first learned, from an Australian friend who saw TONS of fake beanies being sold on the streets in China, how they were made at a factory (in China) and some of the “rejects” that did not pass QC were then “thrown out” which actually meant employees took them and sold them on eBay as variants and rare for big $$$$. I learned how to look for the errors in the TY tags (the Chinese always seem to mess up the English in everything they steal/copy.)

This is what instilled in me *Caveat Emptor* of ANYTHING bought on eBay (or from China.) But there are people who pay $25 for a Prada purse from a street vendor who actually think they just got a good deal on a designer bag. I am assuming these are also the people who respond to the Nigerian Prince…

I can remember going to McDonald’s to get happy meals for the teenie beanies. I’d go to the one at Stanford Shipping Center in Palo Alto – do NOT get in the way of wealthy soccer moms attempting to get toys for their screaming kids!! And do recall people ordering the Happy Meals and telling the cashiers to keep the food (ummm…give me those fries!) It was definitely nutz.

My beanies are currently all (EXCEPT the 2 husky beanies which are on my bedroom dresser) stored away in 2 containers in my garage. But I can honestly say I never paid more than $50 and that was just for 1 on eBay – the Princess Diana bear. When I moved a couple years back, I considered donating them but I just couldn’t make myself give them up. They are too cute.

So when I start to worry I collect too much Star Wars stuff, or Funko POPs, or anything else…I can re-read this :) I might actually get this book. Cannot argue the guy was a genius. And he owns the Four Season in NYC?!?!? From crazed women (mostly I am sure) buying stuffed toys. That is fantabulous.

Just watched tonight’s episode of Big Bang Theory. Wow. You caught me off guard guys. I’m still sniffling.

I hate to admit that I had kind of forgotten that the actress died. And when Howard mentioned his Mom, I thought to myself right then “oh, that’s how they will deal with it. Have her away, etc. She didn’t appear on the show so maybe even find another voice.” Yes. I thought it during tonight’s episode. It’s Hollywood. They do that.

Then Mrs. Wolowitz died. And I got instantly sad. The actors did a great job of being very sad and remaining in character.

When Sheldon said “When I lost my own father, I didn’t have any friends to help me through it. You do.”, it made me cry and smile at the same time. When my brother died, my friends are the ones who got me through it.

Them. And Big Bang Theory. I watched repeats every single night for several months. It was the only thing I could watch without getting sad. The only thing besides my huskies that could make me smile at all.

That was a great episode tonight.

Now I need to go get all this dust out of my eyes.

RIP Carol Ann Susi AKA Mrs. Wolowitz #fuckcancer

I found this recipe in a Williams Sonoma catalog (catalogs ARE good for something!) and it’s actually what made me want to buy the Paderno Spiralizer. I changed the recipe a bit from the original for my taste:

Ingredients:
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (plus extra for topping)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup packed mint leaves
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 lb. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 zucchini – spiralized!
1/4 cup pine nuts

Directions:
To make the pesto, combine the garlic, almonds, Parmesan, 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a food processor and pulse until the almonds are finely ground. Add the basil, parsley, mint, 3/4 cup olive oil and the lemon juice; process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in small pan and brown the pine nuts. Remove from heat after browned so they don’t burn. Then add to pesto when stirring in with the noodles.

Preheat a pan over medium-high heat until smoking. In a bowl, toss the shrimp with the 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and sauté until just cooked through, about 5 mins. Transfer to a plate.

Toss the zucchini noodles with the pesto (not all at the same time) until evenly coated. Divide the zucchini among 4 bowls and arrange the shrimp on top. Drizzle more pesto on the shrimp and sprinkle with parmesan. Serve immediately.

This was SO delicious. Actually better than I expected. Will definitely make again! And honestly, it didn’t take that long which I like :)

It was supposed to be cold, rainy and (hopefully) snowy over the weekend so I thought a good time to make some meat sauce and try over zucchini noodles using my new toy!

Ingredients: 

2 pounds ground beef – I used organic, grass fed 85/15%
1 shallot, finely diced (I used my food processor)
1/4 cup minced garlic
4 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (14 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb seasoning
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in ground beef, shallot, and garlic. Cook and stir until the meat is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink, about 15 minutes.

2. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker. Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, chicken broth, red wine, Italian seasoning, basil, salt, and black pepper.

3. cook on low for 8 hours.

Noodles:

Obviously you can use real pasta (mmmmmm) but I wanted to try zucchini noodles! SUPER EASY! First step – bought the Paderno Spiralizer 3-Blade from Williams Sonoma. Sure, sure…you can slice them manually but I know that I won’t do that and like kitchen tools :)

Once you have spiralized the zucchinis (2) heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and cook/stir in the noodles so they are all coated in the oil. Then add in about 1/4 cup of water and cook until the zucchini is softened, about 8-10 mins or so. Season with a bit of salt and pepper as you stir occasionally.  You want the water soaked up by the noodles.

Then pour some sauce over your noodles and sprinkle some parmesan over it and YUM!