Friday, March 16, 2018

Getting Ready for Spring

Got a late start this morning, finishing Star Wars: Aftermath before going into breakfast. After I finished, I put up the St. Patrick's Day and general spring decorations. I put them off because it's been so cold, but I'm tired of looking at the winter stuff. Besides, it won't be winter forever. The sun is already warm. It's just that darn wind that's cold.

Had The First Easter Rabbit on while I worked. This is another Rankin-Bass Easter Bunny origin story, this time in 2D animation. It's basically Frosty the Snowman crossed with The Velveteen Rabbit. Stuffy was once the beloved toy of a little girl named Glinda. He's rescued from the scrap pile after she gets scarlet fever by a fairy who anoints him the Easter Bunny, guardian of springtime.

Ran an episode of Sailor Moon while I finished up with the St. Patrick's things. Spring is the season of cherry blossoms in Japan. Usagi and her friends and teacher join the local cherry blossom festival to celebrate their arrival. The fun ends abruptly when they're attacked by an especially strong monster. It's so strong, Usagi can't defeat it with her tiara! Her original mother Queen Serenity gives her a new broach with the Silver Crystal to create "A New Transformation! Usagi's Power-Up."

Went into another episode while getting my clothes and money together for the laundromat. Minako, aka Sailor Venus, makes a new friend when she defends a little girl against bullies in "The Targeted Kindergartners: Venus to the Rescue." Meanwhile, the Guardians learn that kindergarteners across the city have been targeted by a monster for their energy. Usagi (disguised as a teacher) joins Minako and the kids on the bus to make sure they stay safe.

It was well past 1 when I finally made it to the laundromat. It might have been the right time. They were almost totally dead when I got in. By the time it became a little busier, my laundry was almost out of the dryer. I worked on story notes and listened to The Chew.

Went home, put everything away, had a quick lunch, and went right back out. I wanted to get to the Acme and pick up some groceries. Ran into a lot of good sales today. Bought chicken, cabbage, carrots, and potatoes to turn into Irish Chicken Stew tomorrow. Restocked tomato paste, cereal, eggs, butter (real butter this time - Land O' Lakes is on a 4-day sale), yogurt, cocoa, bananas, grapefruit, mandarin orange cups, parchment paper, and skim milk.

Got my schedule while I was there. In good news - more hours. I'm less happy with the earlier hours on Sunday, another 8 and a 1/2 hour day on Wednesday, and having to wait until Saturday for my second day off.

When I got home, I put everything away and finished the Sailor Moon episode, then did some writing. I mostly re-wrote the scene between Han and Leia, adding a conversation between her and Obi-Wan. They both think there's something odd about Han. They were told he was a criminal, but the remains of his clothes are made from the kind of fabrics only afforded by nobility. His memory seems to have been totally wiped by some kind of dark magic. Leia's just fed up with being ordered around by him. She storms off into the woods to get berries for dessert.

Played a little more Lego Star Wars during dinner. Did a second run-through of "Secret Plans" and "Battle of Endor." Completed the latter; got all but one piece on the former.

Finished the night with My Cousin Rachel. Phillip (Sam Clafin) is certain that Rachel (Rachel Weisz) has murdered his guardian, whom she married in Italy. He has inherited the estate and his guardian's fortune. He returns to England, only to learn that Rachel has followed. She moves into the estate, where Phillip becomes infatuated with her, to the point of wanting to give her part of his fortune. She appreciates it...but not his insistence that they're engaged. She won't be bought, no matter how much she enjoys their lovemaking. When Phillip falls ill, he begins to suspect Rachel has an ulterior motive for not wanting to become his bride. Is she really a murderess in disguise, or is she innocent of anything besides extravagance and bad taste in men?

Weisz gets top honors in this moody Gothic romance as the mysterious title character. Clafin comes off far less well as the young man who may or may not have been driven to madness by the haunting Rachel. The sweeping cinematography and handsome production design and costumes are also excellent. If you're into the cast or period romances that are a little darker and sexier than Jane Austen, you might was to look up this one.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Back on the Road

Began my day with dusting the apartment after breakfast. I should have done it earlier this week or even last week, but I just never got there. Just did a really fast once-over. I'll do it more thoroughly next month and in May before Lauren visits.

Ran The Easter Bunny is Coming to Town while I worked. This is Rankin-Bass' third and last Easter special. Sunny the Bunny is the official mascot of the youthful citizens of isolated, kids-only Kidsville. He takes their eggs over the mountain to Town, where grouchy Lady Longtooth and her put-upon young nephew King Bruce preside. Sunny constantly invents new Easter customs to get around her overly strict laws...proving that the delights of Easter will outlast any attempts to curb it.

Dad picked me up around 10. We dodged trash trucks picking up garbage cans on Manor and headed for Cherry Hill. There's a nice bike shop just a few blocks down the road from Market Place, near a residential area. He'd taken me there before to fix the wheel on an earlier bike, but not in a long time. It's bigger than the one in Haddonfield, with a much better bike selection. 

I looked over several bikes before settling on a beautiful Liv cruiser. Basically, it's the same as this one...only the design is a lovely bright magenta with white and turquoise trim and stitching on the handlebar pads. As Dad said, it's South Florida colors. (I guess I'm more of a southern belle than I thought.) The white-walled tires had matching turquoise trim. Even the bell matches. I also picked up a new bike lock. The owner offered to put fenders on the tires to keep the rain off them. We decided to go out to eat and run errands while he did the work.

We drove a few more blocks down the highway to Ponzio's Diner, on the former circle across from Whole Foods and near CVS. This is a local institution that has apparently been around for years. It certainly seemed popular when Dad and I were there! They were busy as heck, even around 11:30, mostly with old folks, office executives in fancy suits, and college students. I liked their huge bakery selection. The St. Patrick's Day leprechaun cupcakes were adorable. 

We got a big booth next to the windows. I had a spinach and feta cheese omelet with hash browns, whole wheat toast, and Orange Blossom (pekoe) tea. Dad had fried eggs with mini potato pancakes (that he spread with raspberry jam - that actually looked kind of tasty) and coffee. We had a nice chat about work and the bike and the family.

Doubled back to the Market Place to hit the Home Depot there really quick after brunch. That place is gigantic. We stepped into rows and rows of paint, tools, siding, doorknobs, keys, and probably everything else you can fix inside or outside a house. Dad looked at a new track for the sliding door in the living room, but he just ended up buying a balm that can repair cracked nails. His are apparently cracking and splitting from his cancer treatments.

As we were on our way back to the bike shop, we got a call on the phone in Dad's car that allows you to talk without handling a phone or a lot of buttons. We timed things right. The bike was ready to go. The gentleman even loaned us a rack to get it home. (Dad's current car is smaller than his previous van.) 

I got off at Dad's house. After we failed to figure out how to work my new lock (I'll just use the old one until I can get that together), I rode the bike home. It's wonderful. Handles like a dream. The rustproof chain rides beautifully. And I can't stop ringing that cute bell! (The man did tell me not to use WD 40 on the chain. Actually removes lubricant. Great to get grease out, not so much for chains. I'll see if I can find some oil actually intended for bikes. Maybe Amazon or Dick's Sporting Goods has it.) 

Ran another cartoon while getting ready for work. Dr. Seuss on the Loose gives us not one, but three short Seuss tales. "The Sneeches" are yellow creatures who live on the beaches. Sneeches with green stars on their stomachs snub those who lack them, until an enterprising monkey teaches both groups a lesson in equality. "The Zax" refuse to move to let each other pass, even as the world continues around them. Sam I Am tries to interest one poor fellow in his favorite dish, "Green Eggs and Ham." The guy goes to increasingly wild lengths to avoid the persistent little fellow!

Work was pretty much the same as yesterday - mildly busy around rush hour, otherwise quiet. One of the cashiers did say it was crazy earlier. Must have been the lunch crowd. I spent the first half of my shift mopping the bathrooms and bagging, and the second half rounding up carts and baskets and doing out the outside trash, with no problems whatsoever.

Dad invited me to dinner at his house when we were at Ponzio's. I went straight over there after work. Jodie made corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes in a Crock Pot as an early St. Patrick's Day meal. Yum! I haven't had corned beef and cabbage in years. Corned beef is too big, fatty, and expensive for me to buy, but Jodie's came out just right, nice and flavorful. (She added vinegar to hers. I've never heard of that. I settled for butter.) Showed Jodie and her friend my new bike, letting them ooh and ah over the print and the big comfy seat and the stitching on the handlebar pads.

Finished the night at home with Earthquake. The mammoth success of Airport and The Poseidon Adventure in the early 70's inspired many similar extravaganzas about an all-star cast surviving some catastrophe or the other, including this one. A young seismologist named Walter Russell (Kip Niven) has discovered that a devastating quake could hit Los Angeles within a day or two. His superiors don't believe him at least until the first quake hits, and they realize that he might actually be right. Among those effected are Denise (Genvieve Bujold), a single mom and actress, who is having an affair with executive Stewart (Charlton Heston). His father-in-law (Lorne Greene) just offered him a major promotion, but he thinks it's because he's married to his daughter Remy (Ava Gardner). Rosa (Victoria Principal), a roadie for a motorcycle stuntman (Richard Roundtree), is caught looting by a National Guard member (Marjoe Gortner) with a dubious hold on his sanity. Cop Lou Slade (George Kennedy) corrals Stewart to help him find the survivors, before the Muholland Dam comes crashing down on all of them.

This was one of the biggest hits of 1974, but it hasn't aged well, to say the least. From Rosa's massive Afro to the Technicolor pimp clothes on the drunk at the bar (Walter Matthau in a cameo), this movie couldn't be more of its time if it tried. Even at the time, most critics apparently thought it was pretty bad, and yeah, all the soap opera theatrics are really cheesy. 

There are some things to like. While some of the Oscar-winning special effects are a tad dated (the animated blood on the screen after an elevator plunges down a shaft looks flat-out ridiculous), others remain amazingly effective. Gortner comes off best in a chilling performance as the soldier who is constantly taunted by his housemates and is fed up with his customers at a local grocery store. (And I thought I hated my job.) Kennedy as the burnt-out cop and Heston as the heroic executive are also fairly memorable. 

If you're a fan of the cast or disaster movies and don't mind sitting through the slow-moving first half, this is worth a look for the effects alone. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Strange Magic

Started off a sunny morning with breakfast, then doing some baking. Turned Alton Brown's Old School Muffins into Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Muffins by replacing part of the yogurt with peanut butter. Yum! Very moist and just the right sweet-salty blend.

Since the weather was decent (if still chilly), I decided to run the first Easter special of the season as I baked. Here Comes Peter Cottontail was the first of three Rankin-Bass springtime cartoons in the 1970's. Peter (Casey Kasem) has to deliver colored eggs before the evil Irontail (Vincent Price), or Irontail will take over April Valley. Peddler Seymour S. Sassafras (Danny Kaye) gives him a time machine that'll allow him to return to Easter after it's already passed. Irontail is determined to keep him from getting back to his own month, following him through a year's worth of holidays.

Did one quick short from my public domain set while getting ready for work. The Wizard of Oz is a very condensed animated short of the famous book that apparently was made in Canada in 1933. Dorothy comes to Oz and meets the Scarecrow and the Tin Man much as she does in the book and later film (it even jumps from black and white to color once she gets to Oz). The lion's role has been eliminated, and the Wizard is an actual wizard who can make dolls dance and hen's eggs grow to gigantic size.

Work was absolutely no problem at all. Not only was the weather much nicer than it was this time last week - the worst we got were clouds and gale-force winds - but it was dead almost the entire day, up through rush hour. Though I did do carts when I first arrived, once other baggers took that over, I spent the rest of the day shelving returns and organizing candy and the gift card kiosk.

Went straight home after I was finished. Dug further into the public domain disc for Popeye Meets Sinbad the Sailor as I ate leftovers for dinner. Sinbad (Bluto) brags about his island filled with amazing monsters that he's tamed. Popeye is less than impressed, especially after Sinbad capsizes them and grabs Olive. He and Wimpy go after her, taking down each of Sinbad's creatures...but it'll take a little spinach to take out the "extra-ordinary fellow" himself.

Worked on writing for an hour after dinner. The man awakens in the cart to see Leia attending to him. He's dazed at first, calling her an angel. She explains that she's nothing of the kind and asks him his name. He can't remember. His memory is nothing but a blur. He manages to blurt out Han before asking about dinner, a bath, and a soft bed. Leia can't help with the bed, but she offers him her uncle's vegetable stew and a near-by pond to bathe in. Han's fine with the pond, but complains about the meal, fussing that he wants fine meat and fruit. Leia chides him for his ungratefulness and tells him she didn't have the chance to go hunting.

Finished out the night with The Court Jester while I was online. Hubert (Danny Kaye) longs to aid the rebel outlaw the Black Fox (Edward Ashley) as something more than an entertainer. The Fox is trying to get the infant king of England back on the throne in place of the usurper Roderick (Cecil Parker) and his daughter Gwendolyn (Angela Landsbury). He sends Hubert and Jean (Glyns Johns), one of his captains, to deliver the child to an Abbey. On the road, Hubert takes over the role of the king's court jester, hoping to get a key that will open a secret passage and allow the Black Fox to gain entry. Trouble is, the Jester is also an assassin, whom the king's adviser Lord Ravenhurst (Basil Rathbone) has hired to eliminate his rivals. He's also hoping to eliminate Griswold (Robert Middleton), Gwendolyn's intended. But the princess wants a man far more dashing and romantic than her suitor. Her maid Griselda (Mildred Natwick) hypnotizes Hubert into playing the dashing rogue...but it gets him into a heap of trouble when Griswold challenges him to a duel. Now Hubert has to play the dashing rogue for real if he wants to save the infant king and secure his beloved Jean's heart.

Widely considered to be Danny Kaye's best starring vehicle for the excellent cast, fun patter songs, and tongue-twisting screenplay. (Just try keeping up with the famous "vessel's in the pestle" exchange!) If you love Kaye or comic swashbucklers, this film could not better be.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Not Quite Spring

I was dreading looking out the window this morning...but to my surprise, it was just cloudy, damp, and gale-force windy. The rain was long gone, and as far as I could tell, there was no snow. The big storm passed us by this time.

Celebrated our luck with some more second-season Sailor Moon episodes during breakfast. "A UFO Appears: The Sailor Guardians Abducted" brings in Rubeus, the head of Dark Moon operations. He'll be replaced by Esmeraude (and her annoying laugh) if he can't bring in Sailor Moon and Chibi-Usa. He does get the Guardians, but is unable to get Usagi, thanks to Chibi-Usa stealing her broach. Chibi-Usa gets it back to her in time for "Defeat Rubeus: Battle in Space." The little girl follows Sailor Moon onto the UFO, and proves to be more helpful than Usagi could have ever believed.

Headed out to run errands around quarter after 10. First on the agenda was my gynecologist appointment at Lourdes Medical Center on the border of Collingswood and Westmont, about a block from Krispy Kreme Donuts and Walgreens on Haddon Avenue. I'm not going to go into heavy details on my appointment, which involved a pap smear and was rather personal. At least the doctor and her nurse were really nice. I'll hear the results in a few weeks.

Next stop was the Westmont Acme. I forgot laundry detergent and toilet paper during my grocery trip on Friday. Thankfully, they weren't terribly busy. I went in, grabbed the two things I needed, and went out.

I was originally going to have lunch at one of the fast-food places on Cuthbert, but after my appointment, I figured I deserved a decent meal. Ate at the Crystal Lake Diner for the first time since they were rebuilt after a disastrous fire in 2014. They're actually a bit simpler inside, all white walls and tile, but at least the booths are comfy. Had a very tasty and very messy gyro. It was so big, I ended up eating the bread before most of the filling and had to finish it with a fork. They were surprisingly quiet for around 12:30; I had expected a much bigger lunch crowd.

The Haddon Township Library is literally right over the diner on top of a hill, so I went there next. They had so many DVDs that needed to be shelved, they had to keep them on two different carts. There were too many to wait for the volunteer who was supposed to do them. I shelved the children's titles and half the adult ones.

Took out a few things of my own this week. Having enjoyed The Poseidon Adventure back in December, I thought I'd try another 70's disaster film, Earthquake. I've read the book My Cousin Rachel and decided to check out the movie from last year based on it. Marty sounds awfully sweet, and I figured I could use something lower-key after the disaster movies and blockbusters I've been checking out. Also found a book about two Irish brothers in New York in the late 30's, The World of Tomorrow, and another Mercedes Lackey Elemental Masters tale, Reserved for the Cat.

It was fairly late when I finally dodged the traffic on Cuthbert and made my way home. Spent the next couple of hours writing. The man does help hold off Tarkin's guards, but barely. As soon as they're done, he passes out in the cart. He awakens to find Leia making a simple stew for dinner. He complains about the accommodations and the food. She points out that this is the best they can do at the present. She tries to ask him about himself, but there isn't much to tell. He has no idea who he is, what his real name is, or why he was in that tower.

Didn't get off for dinner until past 7. I was still full from the gyro, so I settled on yogurt and Cucumber Tomato Salad. Made brownies for dessert from my Hershey's cookbook while watching an episode of Fairie Tale Theatre. "Sleeping Beauty" was one of their earlier stories. Christopher Reeve of the 80's Superman series is the prince charming to stage star Bernadette Peters' lovely princess in this Russian-tinged retelling. Beverly D'Angelo is the wicked fairy who curses the princess to sleep for a hundred years; Carol Kane is the younger fairy who revises the spell to allow for a prince to kiss her awake.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Not-So-Legendary Knights

It was already pretty blah out when I jumped out of bed early this morning. Wanted to fill a pitcher with water and the dish pan with soapy water. My landlady called me a few nights ago and said the water would be off from 9 to 6 today. I could hear the road work grinding as early as 7:30.

After I finished with my journal and a few chapters of Star Wars: Aftermath, I went right into breakfast. Watched a Three Stooges short while I ate. "Musty Musketeers" is one of the few remakes from the later Shemp era I like better than it's original version, "Fiddlers Three." This tale of a trio of wandering minstrels who help saves the princess from the court's magician so they can wed their sweethearts is given the benefit of a nice sword-fight sequence and a sharper ending.

Spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon and an hour after dinner writing. Re-wrote the scene where Leia and Obi-Wan find the prisoner to add more Han-Leia banter. Leia wants to know if he's seen her brother Luke. No, but the guy sure likes looking at her. She's not amused. Obi-Wan is even less-so - Tarkin is still coming their way.

Leia is horrified by the idea of Tarkin selling a man into slavery. There's rules about that in Naboo! In Naboo, yes, says Tarkin...but not in Tatoonie. Leia finally attacks the men when they attempt to take the prisoner away. Obi-Wan frees him while Leia fights several men at once.

They split up at the bottom of the tower. Obi-Wan takes the prisoner back to the carts. Leia looks for Luke...and is promptly captured by Tarkin and his men. They take her with them to the stables to see Chancellor Palpatine's newest prize...a unicorn with a flowing golden mane and tail, a sharp horn made of green crystal, and large blue eyes that seem almost human. Leia feels a connection to the creature and refuses to allow anyone to harm it. She takes off on it, using her own power to free all the horses in the stables.

Leia meets Obi-Wan, Chewie the Wookie wolf, and the prisoner in the cart at the drawbridge. She, her uncle, and the unicorn use their Force power to push the bridge open and escape. They're followed by several carts filled with guards, but it turns out one of the few things the man can remember is how to shoot. His bows and arrows helps get them past the guards and into the safety of the Endor Woods.

Had a quick lunch while watching an episode of Sailor Moon from the second season. Usagi herself is the target in "Awaken the Sleeping Beauty: Mamoru's Distress." Sailor Moon is put to sleep by a monster when they try to rescue Chibi-Usa from two of the Dark Moon Sisters. Tuxedo Mask should be the one to kiss her...but fearing her being hurt after a nightmare, he broke up with her. The girls have to convince him that helping his girlfriend is more important than any bad dream.

Discovered why the water was cut off when I headed out for work. They were replacing pipes almost literally right in front of the McHughs' house. No wonder Charlie didn't sound too happy this morning. He probably couldn't get out. I, on the other hand, was easily able to walk my bike around the road work.

Work itself was pretty quiet almost the entire day. We've been downgraded tomorrow from a major storm to "a half an inch of snow maybe and some rain in the morning." No one had any reason to go running out this time. I spent the first half of my shift helping the afternoon bagger with carts, and the second half inside doing the trash, bathrooms, and returns.

The rain had begun to pick up sometime after my break around 4. By the time I headed home, the light sprinkles had become a nice, steady shower. I needed a shower tonight anyway. I went home and got pre-wet.

Returned to Sailor Moon when I got in as I ate leftovers salmon for dinner and made a cucumber-tomato salad. "Battle the Flames of Love! Mars Vs. Koan" pits Rei against the youngest, fire-powered member of the Dark Moon Sisters. Koan shows up at the temple where Rei lives, trying to sell cosmetics...but she's been there before, and Rei and her fellow temple worker Yurichurou recognize her. Koan wants to capture Chibi-Usa and prove to her boss Rubeus that she truly loves him. Her boss, however, doesn't love anybody but himself. It takes intervention from the Guardians and Sailor Moon's healing powers to show Koan that she's a much better person than she wants to believe.

Did another Three Stooges swashbuckler as I cleaned up from dinner. They're "Squareheads of the Round Table" when they end up in the dungeon with Cedric the Blacksmith for trying to help him court Princess Elaine. Turns out her fiancee the Black Prince intends to murder her father and take over the throne! The Stooges help Elaine save her father and the kingdom.

Finished the night with King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword after writing and a shower. Arthur Pendragon (Charlie Hunnam) grows up on the streets after his father Uther (Eric Bana) is murdered by Vortigern (Jude Law), who has taken the throne of England. A group of brigands force Arthur and his hooligan buddies to try to pull a certain sword from a certain stone. Only Arthur is able to do it...revealing that he is the true king of England. Arthur is rescued from being executed by a group of freedom fighters, including Sir Bedivere (Dijimon Housou), who had once been one of his father's knights. He leads the group against Vortigern...and while it's a trap, he does end up showing what Excaliber can do. He wishes he didn't. His attempts to get rid of it in a lake end of with the lady of that particular body of water (Jaqui Ainsley) returning it. Arthur now has to figure out how to save England and learn to take responsibility for not only himself and his friends, but the future of his country.

Uh...yeah. What the heck did any of this have to do with King Arthur? It felt more like someone mixed whatever happens to be cool at the moment (vikings, superheroes, Star Wars, angsty vaguely good-looking white guys) with the legend of the Sword In the Stone. Not only did the plot not make sense, but the dark and dreary-looking direction and production design made the already-murky story hard to follow. No wonder this was a massive flop last summer. It's about as much fun as Excalibur taking your head off.

I have heard this has some fans, who enjoyed the theatrics and the action. More power to you. I just did not get into it. See this one only if you're a major fan of the cast or historical action movies, or you really must catch every version of the King Arthur stories out there.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Bad Day Rising

I guess Daylight Savings really got to me. It was 10:30 before I finally got up and past 11 before I was having breakfast. I wanted something quick, so I settled on Cinnamon Brown Sugar Pancakes. Yum! Came out quite nicely, and for once, I didn't burn them. Listened to one of my K-Tel records while I ate.

Did a tiny bit of writing before leaving for work. Leia and Obi-Wan have to put their capes back on and pretend to be servants again when the evil Counselor Tarkin and his men arrive. Tarkin tells the prisoner he's to be sold to the Sultan of Tatoonie as a household slave. Apparently, he owes thousands of credits in debts to him. The prisoner protests this, saying he can't remember his name, much less who he owes money to.

I did get off the computer with enough time to get dressed and to work. Good thing I did. They were crazy when I arrived, and the carts were empty. I just wish people had been more pleasant. I got yelled at by another customer, this time for not moving a cart away from his car fast enough. I was going to double back and get his cart. It would have taken me a second...and he called me lazy! I was doing my job! What is with these people? And I had trouble with employees when I went inside and didn't get my break until almost 4:30. Other than cleaning the bathrooms (which genuinely did need it), I spent as much time as I could outside with carts that wouldn't argue with me. At least the crowds died off by the time I was finished at 6.

Took the long way home down Nicholson Road, partially to cheer myself up, and partially because it was an absolutely gorgeous day. It supposedly was in the mid-40's today, but the sun felt much warmer. The gale-force winds had gentled down to a breeze. The roads were almost totally empty, other than a few cars on Atlantic Avenue in Oaklyn. Even the entrance to Wal Mart/Marshalls wasn't busy. Everyone must have taken a cue from Dad and Jodie yesterday and went out for a ride.

Listened to my original cast CD for Pippin while eating baked crusted salmon and roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner. This 1972 tale of the son of Charlemange who is searching for his purpose in life was one of the biggest hits of director/choreographer Bob Fosse, and the second major hit for composer Steven Schwartz. My favorite number from this is the Irene Ryan sing-a-long "No Time At All"; I also like Pippin's "Corner of the Sky" and "Extraordinary" and "Magic to Do" and "Simple Joys" for the Leading Player (Ben Vereen here) and the ensemble.

Did some more Lego Star Wars after dinner. Got the remaining pieces in "Invasion of Naboo" and "Darth Maul." Still can't find the red brick in the latter, though.

Finished up the night with another silent medieval adventure. John Barrymore plays The Beloved Rogue, medieval Paris poet Francois Villon, in this 1927 tale. The copy currently on YouTube is in far better shape than the one for Knighthood, including all of the movie in its original blue tint. Barrymore has a whale of the time as Villon, who defies the king of France (Conrad Veilt) by insulting him, then remaining in Paris after he was banished. He saves his life by claiming that the king will die 24 hours after him. Even after he falls for the king's ward Charlotte (Marceline Day). But the Duke of Burgundy is determined to wed Charlotte and outwit the most cunning scoundrel in all of Paris.

If you want to see Barrymore in his prime or enjoy other versions of this story like The Vagabond King, this is worth checking out.

The Beloved Rogue

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Dolls on a Busy Day

Began this morning with She-Ra during breakfast. Probably my favorite episode on the DVD set I have is "Enchanted Castle." Adora and Bow help an old woman on their way to a mysterious castle. When they're captured by the castle's owner, an evil sorceress, they have to find a way to escape. The duo is surprised when the old woman comes to their aid, but she's more than she seems...

First on the agenda was finally getting the laundry done. I put it off for way too long. My clothes pile was huge. I got there just in time. Only half the washers were available, and the rest were taken less than twenty minutes after I arrived. Spent the whole time working on story notes and vaguely listening to other people chatter around me.

Went straight home and put everything away. Dad called shortly after I finished. I called him earlier to ask if he wanted to go to the bike store today. Not today; Jodie had just bought a new car, and they were going to head to a winery they like. We'll go Thursday morning.

then went right back out. I had to run a few errands, starting with this week's volunteering at the Oaklyn Library. Everyone must have been out enjoying the day. I only saw one other older man reading at a table and the librarian. I organized DVD, peeked at magazines, and went on my way.

Backtracked to West Clinton Avenue for lunch. Phillies Phatties is probably the cheapest place to eat in the entire area. Two slices and a can of soda are only $3.50. I enjoyed my lunch while watching March Madness college basketball. (Memphis was playing Cincinatti; apparently, Cincinatti won, 70-60.)

Strolled down West Clinton and up to the White Horse Pike to pick up a few things at Dollar General. Looked at laundry detergent (I used up the last of mine on that big load), but their prices weren't even as good as the Acme's sales. Did get cake mix and cough drops. Also tried a pecan roll that was so soft and chewy and good! It was the best nut roll I've ever tasted.

I'm glad I went for a walk instead of on my bike. This was a day to be savored. While it's still chilly for this time of year and a bit windy, the sun was warm on my back. The snow is melting fast, revealing tufts of emerald grass and the first crocus and daffodils of the season. There's buds on the trees and sprouts in people's gardens.

Vacuumed as soon as I got in and put everything away. It had to be done. This is something else I shouldn't have put off. The kitchen in particular was really bad, thanks to a flour spill when I was putting away the new white flower yesterday.

Next on the to-do list was dressing the dolls for St. Patrick's Day and early spring. Jessa wears a bright green wrap blouse I picked up from a doll clothes booth with drawstring cargo pants and penny loafers. Whitney's also in bits and pieces - paired the green-sprigged turtleneck from the 90's modern Girl Scout uniform with Molly's original navy "meet" skirt, tights, and the flats from the Coconut Fun Outfit. Put Samantha into her only green outfit, her just-retired Special Day Dress. Felicity's in Elizabeth's Summer Gown...which, with it's quilted petticoat and pale celery green color, is really more appropriate for spring. Found Molly's hand-made shamrock print dress with the rickrack trim at a yard sale; she wears it with white tights and Sam's black Mary-Janes. Josefina sports her Harvest Outfit with the sage-green print skirt and beautiful embroidered flowers on the long-sleeved camisa.

Worked on writing after I finished with the dolls. Obi-Wan, Leia, and the wolf manage to pass themselves off as servants and a guard dog. They find their way to an office, where Obi-Wan learns that a high-profile prisoner is being kept in the top of the tower. The wolf sniffs a familiar scent on a finely carved bow and scabbard. Leia uses these to get him to lead them to his master. Obi-Wan tricks one of the guards and knocks them downstairs, while Leia stabs the other two.

The dirty, foul-smelling tower cell holds only a chair, a straw pallet, and a battered man bound in chains. He's dirty, his long brown hair hangs lankly to his shoulders, and his once-fine clothes are in rags. The wolf runs to him immediately, recognizing his smell. He calls the wolf Chewie, but doesn't seem to recognize much else.

I got so into writing and doing research, it was past 7 before I broke for dinner. Had leftovers while playing more Lego Star Wars. Completed "The Great Pit of Carkoon" and "Cloud City Trap," getting all the pieces in both and True Jedi on the former.

Finished the night online with YouTube. When I wrote the Remember WENN fanfiction The Adventures of the Crimson Blade back in 2015, a lot of my research involved watching old silent and public-domain swashbucklers on YouTube and taking notes on interesting ideas. I decided to try that again, this time with medieval romances and sword-and-sorcery tales. Began with the 1922 silent tale When Knighthood Was In Flower. Marian Davies plays the sister of Henry the VII, who is being forced to marry King Louis of France. She's really in love with her brother's Captain of the Guard. They try to flee, but are captured after a melee at a wayside inn. She's locked in, and he's about to be sent to the gallows. Will these lovers ever be united?

I don't know. The copy currently on YouTube is missing the last 20 minutes. What's left is worth checking out if you're a fan of historical romances, including some sumptuous sets and costumes. My favorite part by far was Davies trying to pose as a boy, including her demand for a gigantic meal and subsequent duel.

If you're interested, here's the YouTube link:

When Knighthood was In Flower

Oh, and don't forget to switch your clocks ahead an hour for Daylight Savings Time!