Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Mall Adventures

Began a hazy, sunny morning with breakfast and Strawberry Shortcake In Big Apple City. Strawberry's on her way to the Berry City that Never Sleeps for a baking contest. The Peculiar Purple Pieman is determined to keep her from winning and sabotages her every step of the way. Good thing she meets a lot of friendly locals who help her out, including eventual series regulars Orange Blossom and Lemon Meringue.

First on the agenda for the day was getting the laundry done. Good thing I had a tiny load, because they were busy again. Thankfully, it wasn't a noisy crowd. The young boy in the one family there sensibly spent the entire time reading. I took a page from him and spent the forty minutes I was there working on story notes and half-listening to Rachel Ray and The View.

After I got home and put everything away, I had a really quick lunch and got organized to run errands. Garfield and Jon are heading for a tropical resort in Garfield In Paradise. Their vacation doesn't work out well at first, thanks to the cheap hotel Jon booked. It's not until they rent a vintage 1950's car that things begin to pick up considerably. The car, however, eventually lands them in a village of doo-wop-worshiping natives...just as the island's volcano is about to go off!

Made a few quick stops first. I just returned the DVDs and Star Wars In 100 Scenes book to the Oaklyn Library. I'll volunteer there on Saturday, my next day off. Stopped at WaWa for a Gatorade and change for the bus. Locked my bike at the fence behind the former Camden Restaurant Supply Store on the White Horse Pike, then crossed the street to pick up the bus to Cherry Hill. They were right on time, with no traffic anywhere.

The Cherry Hill Mall was the busiest I'd seen it since Christmas, much busier than it was when I went there in May with Lauren. It looked like I wasn't the only person who wanted to avoid the 93-degree heat and stifling humidity. I did my clothes shopping during vacation, so I was mostly there to peek at the toy stores.

Browsed at Jay Street Video Games and Build-A-Bear, but didn't see anything I absolutely needed. The Disney Store had practically no Star Wars stuff left, likely cleared out to make room for the new merchandise for The Last Jedi. They did have some cute Animator's Collection Toddler dolls, though, including a new Flynn from Tangled, the third boy in the line after Aladdin and Kristoff from Frozen. (Flynn comes with the cutest stuffed grumpy Maximus and has an adorable little smirk like Toddler Merida's.)

(And I can name any number of boys I'd like to see in the line. How about a young Arthur from The Sword In the Stone with a stuffed Archimedes? Or Mowgli with a mini-Baloo or Bagheera? Or Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid with a mini-Max the Sheep Dog?)

I was really in Cherry Hill to hit their Target. Hiked across the street and over the pedestrian bridge, taking the elevator up instead of the stairs. (It was really too hot to be dragging my feet up steep concrete steps.) Noticed they're opening a second Layne Bryant location in the fall between PetSmart and the furniture store. Awesome! I like them. You can never have too many plus-size stores. (Plus, this is the first time I've seen that store in a regular shopping center, rather than an indoor mall.)

Target was even busier than the mall. I actually had a reason for being in the toy and sports section besides checking out dolls. I had no bike inner tubes. You never know when one will go on you. All they had was Schwinn. I just grabbed one; I'll get more when I had more money.

Of course I had to check out the toys. While Ever After High seems to be gone, they did have the new Forces of Destiny Star Wars dolls. I debated getting Sabine Wren, then decided I'd save my money for Ahsoka and Padme in the next wave. They did have Jyn and two each of Rey and Leia, including a really cool Leia that came with Wicket the Ewok and the brown dress the Ewoks gave her, but I already have perfectly good Leia, Rey, and Jyn dolls.

Otherwise, I didn't do very well there. They didn't have magnetic curtain rods for my new front door with the too-big window, and I couldn't find the chair pads for my dining table chairs. Their Halloween stuff isn't out yet, either. Not even the candy. They're still on Back to School. This did enable me to buy a red composition book for my next journal for a mere 50 cents. Also grabbed Betty Crocker Spice Cake Mix (which I love - it's cheaper at Target than at the Acme) and a bottle of water for the way home. (And drats. Looks like my favorite toasted coconut covered marshmallows were discontinued again. They didn't even have a label for them.)

Tried looking for the curtain rods and curtain at Kohl's on the way back. Nothing there, either. The rods were all huge. Didn't even see any good American Girl stuff. They had outfits for Tenney Grant, the new musically-inclined modern character, and a few accessories for the little-girls line the Wellies Wishers. I don't have any of the Wellies and find Tenney and her line to be rather bland. I moved on. (To give Kohl's some credit, though, they did have a few fall displays out.)

Headed back into the mall for treats and a cool iced tea sample from Teavana before I headed home. Dairy Queen advertised a new Frosted Fudge Brownie Blizzard as their Blizzard of the Month. Yuumm! The medium cup I bought was delicious! Brownie chunks in vanilla ice cream with fudge swirls and chocolate chips. The fudge swirls turned it into Black and White Brownie Blizzard. I just wished they'd mixed it a little better. It was mostly vanilla and chocolate chips on the bottom.

Briefly checked out JC Penney before heading out into the heat to catch the bus. I got lucky. It arrived a few minutes after I came out, early for once. There was slightly more traffic around the Market Place and in Westmont. Otherwise, I once again had no problems getting home.

As soon as I got in, I went on the computer. Things get worse for Luke when the car he shares with Leia dies on the side of the road. He flags down an ancient old Asian man to ask him to use his phone. Turns out...yes, the old guy is Yoda, the elderly former surfer who has surfed with all the greats and knows many of the best tricks. Yoda's not at all certain he'll be able to teach Luke. Luke tells him he's not afraid. Yoda's not so sure.

Broke around 7 to have leftovers for dinner. Did more fourth-season Moonlighting as I ate. The only mystery in "Tale In Two Cities" is why Maddie continues to remain in Chicago. While she attends a party her parents put on to get her out of her funk, Dave tries to pull him and Burt out of their own depressions by going out on the town with some lovely ladies. But they can't get their women out of their heads...

Did a few more episodes after my shower. Maddie announces that she's pregnant at the end of the previous episode, but only to Agnes. Dave finds out from Agnes and Burt in the start of "Cool Hand David, Part I." He goes to Chicago, only to somehow get switched with a criminal and thrown in jail. While he tries to foil a crooked warden's scheme in Part II, Agnes and Burt attempt to find out what happened to him.

And wow. The humidity we've had all day has finally resulted in a massive thunderstorm that's going on even as I write this. Lightning, noisy house-shaking thunder, crazy wind, torrential downpours, the works. Charlie's not going to like this. He spent an hour cursing his brains out while clearing the massive piles of acorns off the other side of my porch and from around the yard. (And I don't think he can cut down the tree that's dropping the most acorns, despite his threats. I think it's in his parents' yard.)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Sun

Began a sunny, hazy morning with breakfast and Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation. The Care Bears and Care Bear Cousins were raised as cubs by True Heart Bear and Noble Heart Horse, who fight the evil Dark Heart. True Heart's first assignment is helping a trio of kids at a summer camp. Twins Dawn and John and their pal Christy have been constantly bullied all summer because they're terrible at sports. True Heart finds Dawn and John and helps them out right away...but Dark Heart finds Christy. He makes her into a champion athlete, able to more than compete with the others, but also expects her to help him capture the entire Care Family. It's Christy who finally teaches him that, as she says, "Good or bad, you're still a person."

While the first movie had the scarier villain, this one has the somewhat more interesting plot. I actually like the riff on Faust here. The conversation between Christy and Dark Heart in the lake on the differences between them was rather mature for this franchise. Some nice music, too, including the gorgeous (if superfluous) ballad in the finale, "Forever Young." As with the previous movie, it's not as cutesy as you might think, especially in the second half when Dark Heart is capturing everyone. I didn't notice as many continuity glitches with the animation on this one, either.

The fairly dark storyline and atmosphere makes this for slightly older Care Bears fans and adults who enjoyed the franchise as kids.

Work was, frankly, a bit of a pain. The manager from a few Sundays ago was actually in charge this time. She called me to do carts...right as I was leaving for break. I was almost an hour late getting it. When another bagger came in, instead of having him help me with the carts, she sent me to do the outside trash, which wasn't really that bad. Got stuck in the register when I should have been doing returns. Thankfully, by the time the other bagger and I did get to the three overflowing return carts, it had slowed down somewhat. Everyone probably wanted to come in before that once-in-a-lifetime eclipse today.

(And...I don't know if I saw it or not. I never got the darn glasses, so I couldn't look up. Besides, there was cloud cover off and on all day.)

I rushed home as quickly as possible after that. Spent the next few hours writing. The fishing boat the Millennium Falcon escapes into the harbor, just as Vader and his boys arrive. Vader gets angry at the guy who showed up too soon. He gives the guy next to him the second-in-command job, then calls two other gang members to help him "take care of the trash" at the gas station next-door.

Luke, meanwhile, is lost in the small town of Dagobah, on the marshes around Delaware Bay. The guy who gave him directions on the phone had really weird syntax and didn't seem to speak very good English. He's about to leave when a strange little man on the street offers him assistance...

Did another fourth season Moonlighting episode as I made Chicken Stir Fry for dinner with green peppers, eggplant, carrots, scallions, and canned chicken. Dave's still recovering from Maddie taking off for Chicago in "Take a Left at the Alter." Bert hopes that a case involving a bridegroom who ran out on his wedding day will help get his mind off of her.

Finished out the night online while watching The 'Burbs. We take another left into semi-horror in this 1989 black comedy. Ray (Tom Hanks) is a normal suburbanite trying to take a relaxing week's vacation at home with his sensible wife Carol (Carrie Fisher) and their son. He starts wondering about his new neighbors, the Klopeks, when he hears strange noises at night coming from their basement. His buddy Art (Rick Ducommum), having heard a few too many urban legends, is paranoid that these people are killers who have murdered their elderly neighbor and buried him in their back yard. Enthusiastic teen Ricky (Corey Feldman) and ex-solider Rumsfield (Bruce Dern) are all for checking them out. Ray resists at first, until they actually meet the Klopeks and see just how weird they are. He bundles the rest of the family off, then joins the guys and Ricky and his friends to find out just how many skeletons the Klopeks really have in their backyard.

Hoo boy, this was always a weird one. I thought it was weird even when it was running on cable in the early 90's. My major complaint now is that the ending comes off as a bit of a cop-out. I kind of wish they'd just ended with Ray going in the ambulance. Not every family that looks weird are serial killers. (They actually planned a couple of endings, including one where Ray ended up getting killed, and another where Carol and the cops stopped the doctor from killing him.)

On the other hand, if you like your humor toasty-dark, there's a lot of fun to be found here. Feldman's hilarious as the teenager who's just enjoying all the lunacy, and Bruce Dern's a riot as the solider who never quite left Army life behind. I love it when Art and Ray find what they think is their neighbor's bone. Their reactions are priceless. (Classic sitcom fans will want to look for a cameo by long-time radio and TV grump Gale Gordon as the neighbor whose disappearance causes a lot of the trouble.)

This is now considered to be something of a cult classic along with director Joe Dante's other beloved semi-horror film from the 80's, Gremlins. If you're into the cast or black comedy, it's worth checking out.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Summer Breeze

Began the day with Raspberry Pancakes and classic disco. Donna Summer's On the Radio was one of my stepfather's favorite albums in the early 80's. When my sister Rose and I were really little, we would dance along to "Hot Stuff" and "Bad Girls," swirling around in the "fancy dresses" that were really our grandma's old lacy slips. Someone bought it for him again on CD for Christmas in the late 90's-early 2000's...and this time, everyone enjoyed it, even Mom. It played constantly all of Christmas night and the day after.

Work was relatively quiet for Sunday when I got in. There was another bagger doing the carts until 1. I mostly bagged, gathered baskets, and helped people to their cars, though I did get stuck in the register a few times when it started to get much busier around 11:30-noon. By the time I was on my own, the crowds were starting to subside. I wasn't alone for long, anyway. The afternoon bagger arrived at 1:30.

It was a gorgeous day, hot but not humid at all, with a really lovely breeze. Since I'd been inside for most of work and wasn't planning on doing much outside at home, I took the long way back to Oaklyn down Nicholson and Atlantic. Nicholson was a little busy. Otherwise, it was smooth sailing, all the way back to my apartment. Everyone must have gone to the Shore or backyard barbecues by then. (I saw a fair in the back of the Hispanic church on Nicholson as I went by. Wish I could have joined them. It looked like they were having fun!)

When I got in, I worked on writing for a while. Hank's big Ford truck is chased down the narrow streets of Ocean View, past Victorian summer homes and storefronts. He manages to lose the Imperial Gang long enough to pull in at Ackbar's Restaraunt. He's going to take them up north in the Falcon to Bespin Island, where a friend of his owns a condo and manages a dance club.

Broke at 6 for a quick cheese and Ratatouille omelet and to make Summer Fruit Flummery (peaches, raspberries, blueberries) while listening to Lionel Richie. Can't Slow Down is another seminal album from my early childhood. We loved this one. We must have listened to it hundreds of times in the mid-80's. While the major hits included "Hello," "Penny Lover," "All Night Long," and "Love Will Find a Way," my favorite song is the lovely ballad "The Only One."

I'd been inside for most of the day. I ended my evening with a pleasant walk and a treat from Phillies Yummies. By 7, the heat of the day had mostly dissipated, leaving a warm night cooled by a soft wind. I enjoyed my Watermelon Yum Yum (grittier water ice) at one of the wooden tables on the sidewalk. Oooh, it was good! Sweet and fruity. Tasted like real watermelon. Strolled home down Woodlawn Terrace, enjoying the breezy late-summer evening.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Sailor Man and the Pooh Bear

Started the day with Famous Studios' color Popeye shorts from the late 40's and 50's while eating breakfast and making my grocery list. Popeye is "Out to Punch" when Olive coaches him for a boxing bout against Bluto. Bluto does everything he can to make sure he's not at his best in the ring. It's "Assault and Flattery" when Judge Wimpy has to try a case between Popeye and a battered Bluto. Bluto insists Popeye beat on him (via clips from other shorts), but Popeye has his own version of events. He's "Taxi-Turvy" when Bluto's fancy rig keeps beating his little car to fares, but he's not going to let Olive get away! "Ancient Fistory" is a riff on "Cinderella," with Popeye as the scullery sailor who wants a chance to go to the ball, Bluto as his nasty boss, Olive as the princess, and Pappy as the fairy godfather. "Aladdin and His Magic Lamp" is another fairy tale, the last of the three "featurettes" featuring Popeye. He's the title character in this take on the  Arabian Nights tale. Olive is once again the princess. (No Bluto, though. This story sticks to the original version; here, an evil wizard is the villain.)

Work was, once again, busy when I arrived, steady but not overwhelming when I left. I did round up carts in the morning, but there were two other baggers who were able to help out. I mostly gathered trash and baskets, did returns, and bagged. At least it wasn't too horrible when I was out. It was sunny, hot, and humid, but not quite as hot or as humid as yesterday.

I did get stuck in the register for a little while when they needed the cashier to do another order, which I wasn't happy about. I just get so nervous in the registers! I wish people understood introversion better. Few people at the Acme, co-workers or customers, really get why I don't like dealing with so many people at once.

I was happier doing my grocery shopping after work. Took advantage of sales and coupons to pick up laundry detergent, two catfish fillets, the Yoplait Custard Yogurt, and the Chobani Flips. The Acme's having a big "buck a bag" sale for produce this week. Along with grape tomatoes and a container of small cucumbers, I found something that was basically a baked rice-pea snack. For a dollar, I'd try it. I couldn't get to the Collingswood Farm Market today, so I bought peaches, blueberries, and raspberries. Restocked skim milk, eggs, corn meal, toilet paper, canola oil, and sugar. Bought whole wheat bread from the bakery for sandwiches this week. It's too hot to bake muffins.

Found another magazine I've been looking for. Entertainment Weekly features The Last Jedi as the cover subject in their Fall Movie Preview. I grabbed the one with Rey on it, looking tough and determined with her lightsaber.

Changed my clothes, looked over my new magazine, and put away my groceries when I got home. Ran more Popeye as I worked. "Private Eye Popeye" is supposed to be guarding a huge emerald for femme fatale Olive, but butler Bluto takes off with it. Popeye has to chase him down to get it back for his lady fair. It's a "Fright to the Finish" when Bluto uses Olive's fear of Halloween and ghosts to make her think Popeye is playing tricks on her. Popeye doesn't need spinach to show Olive who the real trickster is. The election in "Popeye For President" is nearly as charged as last year's, bringing it down to just Olive's vote. Popeye and Bluto both help her with chores, but Popeye's strength and ingenuity gives him the advantage. "Greek Mirthology" returns us to classic folklore and fantasy. Popeye relates the story of Hercules to get his nephews to eat their spinach.

Did some writing for a few hours after I finished. Went back and added a more dynamic showdown between Vader and Ahsoka when he invades her DJ tent. She confronts him about why he's attacking them. He tells her he no longer believes in friendship, having been abandoned by Ben Kenobi in the fire that destroyed the Jedi Knights' hang-out and an adjoining hotel and burned him beyond recognition. She does hit him, but he has the advantage and beats her to a pulp before the Rebel and Rogue One crew and Ahsoka's crew from the radio station drag him away.

Meanwhile, most of the others have decided it's time to get out of town for a while until the heat dies down. Hank will be taking Charlie, Leia, and Chip up to Bespin Island, a party town about a half-hour north of Ocean View, to visit a friend of his, stopping to let Chip ask for time off from Maz Kantana. Luke and Arturro head east to Dagobah.

Broke at 7 for codfish and leftover Ratatouille for dinner and Acme bakery peanut butter cookie that were on the overstock rack for dessert. Watched The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh while I ate. This anthology features the original three Pooh featurettes from the mid-late 60's, starting with "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree." Pooh will do anything to get honey, including pretending to be a cloud and using a balloon to get up to a tree filled with bees, or eat so much of it, he gets stuck in Rabbit's door.

"Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day" introduces Tigger and Piglet in the tale of a very windy afternoon that is so blustery, it makes Piglet fly like a kite and blows over Owl's house. The spooky, rainy evening prompts a nightmare from Pooh...and a surprising act of heroism later.

His tiger buddy is in the spotlight in "Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too." Rabbit wants Tigger to learn how to have some consideration and stop bouncing everyone, but his attempt to get Tigger lost only ends up with him lost. Tigger eventually does it to himself when he bounces so high up a tree, he can't get down. The narrator helps him down, but Rabbit won't let him bounce...until everyone figures out that, as long as you're careful, a little bouncing now and then can be a lot of fun.

A fourth Pooh short released in theaters in the early 80's, "Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore," is a bonus feature on the Many Adventures DVD. Tigger's once again bouncing carelessly, this time landing Eeyore in the river. The gloomy donkey isn't happy, even when he's rescued. It's his birthday, but no one's remembered. Piglet and Pooh try to give him gifts to show how much they care.

I've always enjoyed the Pooh movies, shorts, and specials. The stories are just so much fun, and actually quite unique for Disney, with it's simple, innocent, bittersweet world. Speaking of Disney, this would be a great "starter" Disney movie for very young kids who are still a little too small for some of the more recent films.

Friday, August 18, 2017

On Really, Really Weird Tides

Spent most of a dark, gloomy late morning writing. The motorcyclists on the road are, indeed, the Imperial Gang, lead by one of Vader's top boys, Ozzie Ozzel. Han and Leia flee across the tennis courts. Luke and his friends manage to get some of them off their bikes with rope and surfboards, but the damage is done. The bikers have run roughshod over the party, knocking over tents and destroying tables and equipment. Luke and Wedge run to Chip and Arturro, who are hiding at the Tea Room. Luke's ready to head to Dagobah Bay to see Yoda Yamagachi. Arturro (translated by Chip) asks to come along - he has relatives in the area and no car.

Ran my Chip & Dale shorts DVD during breakfast and lunch. "Chicken In the Rough" has Dale mistaken for a chick by a mother hen. "Two Chips and a Miss" are the chipmunks and the nightclub singer they both pine for, Clarice. They try very hard to outdo each other, but their musical act works better when they all perform in harmony. Pluto's in the spotlight in "Food For Feudin'" when the chipmunks try to get their nuts back from his dog house. Their tree home is "Out of Scale" on Donald's model railroad. The duo take over a house instead, then the train it's on. They're all "On a Limb" when Donald attacks the chipmunks with his tree pruner and tar. He also teases them in "Dragon Around," making the two think his steam shovel is a dragon. But here, he has a real purpose - he wants to get rid of their castle-shaped tree for a freeway project. The two do whatever they can to defend their home.

Headed to work around 1. The weather was awful today, cloudy, hot, and thickly humid. Every time I went inside and out, my glasses fogged. I spent the first few hours doing returns. I should have been outside the whole day, humidity be damned. We were crazy-busy up until 5. Not only did I have no help after 3, but the bagger who was out there earlier shouldn't have been doing it all alone. The items that needed to be shelved could have waited. By 5, heavy dark clouds were gathering, and while it grew even more damp, it also got windier, which helped with the heat. At the very least, it cleared out the customers. I had a far easier time gathering carts than I had earlier.

I did get my schedule today. It's kind of odd. I mostly work fairly early, except for two afternoon-evening shifts on Monday and Friday. Tuesday and Saturday off, which is good. I'll actually make it to the Collingswood Farm Market next week.

By the time I got off at 6, it was thundering and lightning could be seen, though it hadn't yet rained. A manager said to wait until the storm had passed to go home, but I couldn't wait. I had no idea how long that would take. I did end up hurrying home. I was inside for ten minutes and had just started the next chapter of Double Fudge Brownie Murder when the rain finally arrived.

After my shower, I had a quick leftovers dinner while finishing out the cartoons and watching Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Well, the title's accurate, anyway. This is one weird pirate flick. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is ordered by none other than King George II (Richard Griffiths) to lead an expedition to find the Fountain of Youth in Florida. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) is involved, too. They're not the only ones searching for it. None other than the infamous Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and his daughter Angelica (Penelope Cruz) are after the Fountain as well (to Jack's dismay, as he and Angelica had once had a relationship). He's even less happy to learn that Blackbeard has shrunk his ship the Black Pearl down and inserted it in a bottle. Meanwhile, a missionary who is a prisoner on Blackbeard's ship (Sam Clafin) has fallen in love with a mermaid (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) who was also captured by the ruthless pirate.

Uh...yeah. I didn't understand a lick of this. While I love the idea of them searching for the Fountain of Youth and thought Cruz was a perfect partner for Sparrow's goofiness, almost nothing else worked besides some neat special effects. The missionary/mermaid romance in particular seemed shoehorned in to give the teen girls something to moon at. It wasn't really horrible, just...too much.

And now that we've gotten to the end of this series (for now - I'll catch the one currently in theaters when it shows up on DVD), I can safely say that while At World's End tries hard, none of the follow-up movies have ever really recaptured the magic of Curse of the Black Pearl. Curse is highly recommended and a lot of fun. I'd only do the others if you really loved Curse or this series' cast or pirate tales.

(The next series will likely be either The Matrix or the Divergence trilogy. I'm also considering the Transformers Movieverse.)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Summer Madness

Had early work first thing this morning for the first time in weeks. While I did do the carts when I first came in, I mostly shelved items. I might have finished this if one of the managers didn't send me in for cashier so they could go on break (we're very short-handed this week - a lot of people went on vacation), and if they hadn't sent me outside to gather carts ten minutes before I was scheduled to finish. (The carts really didn't need to be rounded up that badly.)

I was very glad to hurry home as soon as I finished. It was relatively cool when I got up this morning, but by 1 PM, it had gotten hot, into the mid-80's and fairly humid. I hid inside for the rest of the day. Had lunch while watching a Backyardigans episode. Having just finished my own cleaning, I thought "What's Bugging You?" was appropriate. Tyrone and Uniqua are bug exterminators. Tasha wants them to catch a wormen (one of the Technicolor worm critters who appear on the show from time to time) and get it out of her house! The house is being inspected by Mr. Spiffy (Pablo) to see if it qualifies for his Spiffy Club. The moose and the pink girl do everything they can to remove that critter.

I tried writing for a little while, but I was too tired. I yawned all through work. Finally gave up and took a nap for an hour or so. Gave it a second shot when I awoke. Leia's upset that both Luke and Hank are leaving her high and dry, especially since she's already had to take time off from school to help with the cottages. Hank tries to calm her down with lunch and a dance at the gazebo, where DJ Ashoka Tano plays Prince and Billy Joel and meets her admirers. Hank's almost ready to take Billy's advice and reveal his feelings to Leia, until he sees a line of familiar black and silver motorcycles on the road that belong to the Imperial Gang...

Broke at 6 for dinner. Made Ratatouille to go with the leftover Salisbury Steak. Watched more Backyardigans while I ate. "Who Goes There?" is a flamenco-fueled riff on the Night at the Museum films. Tyrone is the night watchman at the museum; Uniqua, Austin, and Pablo are the artworks come to life. Tasha is the curator, who once again wants everything neat and tidy the next day, especially in one certain room.

Did some more Lego Star Wars: Clone Wars as I finished the Ratatouille. Did most of the "Weapons Factory" level tonight. The minikit finder was a huge help here. I was able to pick up at least five more pieces and a ton more studs.

Finished the night online with The Money Pit. Walter Fielding (Tom Hanks) is having some major problems. He just inherited a huge load of debt from his father, who scammed his company and left town. He and his girlfriend (Shelley Long) were thrown out of their apartment when her ex-husband Max (Alexander Godunov) comes home and wants it back. They ultimately buy a huge house in the suburbs from an old woman with a sob story (Maureen Stapleton), but it turns out to be a mistake. The place is in a shambles. Nothing works, from the wiring to the chimneys. The man they hire to do the work (Philip Bosco) turns a two-week job into four months. Max is also trying to get his wife back, especially as she keeps selling him their things from the divorce to get more money for the house.

Cute, but nothing special. A tad disappointing for all the talent involved. The script never rises above the level of an average sitcom from the mid-80's. Not bad for fans of Hanks, the cast, or 80's comedies, ok time-waster for anyone else.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Beating the Heat

Began a much sunnier day with breakfast and another episode of She-Ra. Much like Han Solo, "The Sea Hawk" is originally only out for himself, delivering goods for the Horde and the Rebels. She-Ra gets him firmly on the Rebels side when he's forced to give up Adora to the Horde, then rescues her.

Did some writing for the next couple of hours. The day of the block party at Phineas Estate Park dawns sunny and beautiful. Leia, however, is not feeling as happy as she should. Not only does Hank still intend to leave as soon as the party's over, but Luke does, too. Uncle Ben got a hold of Yoda Yamagachi, who is willing to teach him a few things that'll make him a better surfer. Carl Rieekian, the owner of a local shoe store who also runs the Phineas Estate Museum and is on the City Council, assures her that he'll try to help.

As soon as I got off the computer, I rounded up my dirty clothes and headed to the laundromat. Thankfully after last week, the place was quiet the entire time I was there. I saw maybe two older men. I didn't have a huge load, anyway. I was in and out in a little over 40 minutes.

Went home, put my clothes and the clean dish towels from the kitchen away, then went right back out. It was late, past 2, but I still had some things to do. First stop was Friendly's for lunch. Needless to say that late in the day, they weren't busy. I only saw a few older people eating quick meals. I had a tasty Chicken Caeser Club Sandwich and fries, with cookies and cream ice cream and hot fudge sauce for dessert. The club was tasty, with maybe a little too much Caesar dressing (and not enough chicken and lettuce and tomatoes). Loved the bacon, though. They made it extra-crispy, just how I like it.

Next up was a very quick trip to Dollar Tree in the next building. All I needed was sponges. At least they weren't terribly busy, for once. I was in and out.

Volunteered at the Haddon Township Library for about an hour next. They only had a few DVDs to return, but I did shelve romance novels and audio books and CDs. Organized the kids' DVDs, too. They were surprisingly quiet for a day that was killer humid and in the lower 90's. Everyone must be on vacation.

I have movies at home to watch, but I did take out some books. They had the two most recent Joanne Fluke/Hannah Swenson mysteries, Fudge Brownie Murder and Wedding Cake Murder (Hannah herself apparently gets married in the latter). I also grabbed another Princess Academy story, as well as the final Anne of Green Gables novel, Rilla of Ingleside. (I wasn't that impressed with the previous book Rainbow Valley, but since I'm in the mood to finish up series at the moment, might as well do this one, too.)

Cut across Newton Lake Park going home. Despite the hazy sunshine, they were fairly quiet except for a few joggers and people out for a stroll. I took the cooler, shadier, narrower back path that butts up against houses. Had a nice walk through the woods, pushing my bike up a dirt path, past fields of wild Black-Eyed Susans, to the Haddon Township Environmental and Historical Commission. Stopped briefly at WaWa for a yummy Watermelon Perrier.

As soon as I got home, I dusted in my bedroom, completing the cleaning for this month. It needed to be done badly. I never got around to dusting last month because of vacation. The bedroom takes a while, too. That's where all my collections and books are stored. I have to dust under or around them.

Took a nice, long bath after I finished. Ahhh. This felt soooo wonderful after riding around on a hot day. I looked over Big Magic (on finding your creativity) and my two most recent Christmas With Southern Living finds and listened to one of my jazz CDs.

Continued the fourth season of Moonlighting as I ate Salisbury steak and cucumber-tomato salad for dinner. "Come Back, Little Shiska" has David dealing with the fallout from the season opener, while Maddie reconnects with her parents in Chicago. Meanwhile, we actually have a mystery this time. A rich man (John Goodman) wants David and Burt to find the woman he spent an amazing night with. The woman originally wants nothing to do with him, but nothing is as it seems. (Look for David's bizarre Will Vinton Claymation dream sequence.)

Ended the night with the 1987 Dragnet. This extremely odd spoof of the original 50's and 60's cop show has Dan Ackroyd playing the nephew of the original Joe Friday, Los Angeles' most by-the-book cop. His new partner (Tom Hanks) is anything but. The two are going to have to learn to work together if they intend to take down a cult that wants to take over the world. While Friday falls for the virgin the cult wants to sacrifice, his partner tries to figure out what the upstanding Reverend Worley (Christopher Plummer) is really up to.

Basically, this is "Dragnet if it were The Naked Gun." At the very least, it has a nice cast, including Harry Morgan as the duo's boss (moving up from his original role as Joe Friday's partner in the 60's show). If you're a fan of The Naked Gun movies, Ackroyd, Hanks in comedy mode, the original show, or goofy spoofs, you might have fun with this.