Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Age of Avengers

Actually, I spent most of a gray, dreary day getting through my 7 hour shift at work. It was off and on all afternoon, and I suspect it'll be like that for the rest of this week and next week as well. Easter is this Sunday; the beginning of the month is tomorrow. Most kids will probably be off for spring break starting Thursday or Friday. Thankfully, there really weren't too many problems. My relief was late. Thankfully, it died down enough by 6 that I was able to shut down and get out on time.

I got lucky with the weather both ways. It was just cloudy when I went to work. It must have rained fairly hard sometime in the afternoon. I saw the sky get dark around 2 PM. By 6 PM, the sky was lighter, and the rain was down to a light shower. I was barely wet when I got home. The rain has been off and on since.

Spent the rest of the evening eating scrambled eggs with mushrooms, spinach, and cherry tomatoes for dinner while finishing The Avengers, which I started this morning before work. Some of the most popular Marvel comic book characters - Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Captain America (Steve Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johassen), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Helmsworth), and archery master Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) - come together to fight Thor's silver-tongued brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and the army of aliens he's called up via the Tesseract, an opening in space. The group, aided by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his S.H.I.E.L.D agents, has to stop Loki and close the Tesseract before New York gets torn to shreds. Their biggest battle, though, is trying to figure out how six incredibly different people can figure out how to work together as a team, without killing each other before Loki does.

I know this isn't the darkest or most creative superhero movie around...but darned if it doesn't WORK. It helps that it's hilarious, with quips being fired off from just about every character on the screen. (Heck, the Hulk gets my favorite line in the movie.) It manages to tie all of the loose ends from previous movies, and even creates a few. My favorite characters are still the sweet Rodgers as the hero-out-of-time Captain and Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, a fairly good-natured scientist who is funny and charming...until you get him angry, and he unleashes his really, really big and angry side. The motion capture animation they did to make Ruffalo the Hulk was amazing.

Definitely a no-brainer, especially if you're a comics fan or a fan of the previous movies. The next one, Age of Ultron, is due out in a month. I may actually attempt to see this one in the theater this time. I hope it's just as much fun as the original.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Windy Spring

It looked like it had rained last night when I got up - the porch was wet. However, by the time I was sitting down with my cereal and finishing Little Nemo, it was just cloudy. The clouds were breaking up, even as I moved on to my half-grapefruit.

I ran the two Lady Lovely Locks episodes I dubbed a while back as I cleaned up from breakfast. This very 80's girl's tale tells of the title beauty, whose magical hair keeps her kingdom forever sunny. Nasty Duchess Raven Waves tricks her into staying away too long in the pilot episode "To Save My Kingdom." We're introduced to the Pixietails, the critters who live in her hair and help her out. We also meet Prince Strongheart, who is under a curse that makes him appear as a dog named Prince. Prince shows his love for the Lady in "Cruel Pretender." The Lady learns that not everyone who appears to be a friend is when a handsome Baron shows interest in her...but turns out to be part of another Duchess Raven Waves trick.

The sun was trying to come out as I rode across Newton River Park to Westmont. The Park's finally starting to show signs of spring. Buds are just appearing on trees. Green grass sprouts on the fields. Every last bit of ice and snow is gone from the river. Surprisingly, despite it being 12:30 and not a cold day, there weren't too many people out and about other than some Canadian geese poking around near the Cuthbert Road entrance.

The Haddon Township Library was busier, but mainly with people who wanted to use the computers. I lost count of all the people I explained to that I know nothing about the computers. That's the librarians' territory. The DVD shelves were really jammed today. There were a lot of kids and adult titles I just could not fit in. G and S titles in the kids' section and M, R, and S in the adult section were especially overloaded. Maybe people felt more like music this week - I also shelved a big pile of CD's and a couple of audio books. There didn't seem to be much else to do. I headed out after less than an hour.

(Oh, and I didn't take anything out this week. I'm not sure when I'll get to the library next week to return it, and I do have plenty to watch at home.)

Ended up at the Westmont Bagel Shop for lunch. They were surprisingly quiet for 1:30. The only other people there were a mother and her daughter. I ordered a tasty and unusual sandwich consisting of grilled deli turkey, cranberry cole slaw, and melted Swiss cheese on a sourdough bagel. Messy but delicious. I enjoyed my meal while watching The Chew and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

My next stop was Dollar Tree. I needed sponges, but I was mainly there for Easter cards. While most of my family isn't really big on Easter, there's a lot of people this year I want to cheer up or just acknowledge more often. Dollar Tree wasn't too busy, a bit of a surprise given what they're usually like. I wasn't in line for long.

Headed home after that. I got all of the cards going out of town ready to send out. I know Easter isn't until Sunday, but I figured if I put it off, I'd forget to do it at all. I grabbed my laundry and went out to the laundromat around quarter of 4, stopping at the mail box on the corner of West Clinton and Manor to drop off the cards. Once again, the laundromat wasn't too bad. Pretty much the same as last week. I did a small load, read The Cameo Necklace, and ignored Dr. Phil and his "patients."

Ran Hello Dolly for the rest of the evening when I got in and had a fried egg sandwich and spinach and tomato salad for dinner. This 1969 adaptation of the Broadway hit takes us to early 1900's New York. Dolly Levi (Barbara Streisand) is a matchmaker (among other things) whose current assignment takes her to Yonkers. Cranky bachelor feed store owner Horace Vandergelder (Walter Matthau) wants to get married to a charming milliner named Irene Malloy and his niece to find a more suitable suitor than a penniless, very tall artist (Tommy Tune). Vandergelder's store clerks, Cornelius (Michael Crawford) and Barnaby, just want an evening on the town. Dolly finally gets everyone to Manhattan, where she pairs them all off, chases Vandergelder herself, and raises the roof with the famous title number.

Wall-E isn't the only guy who loves this movie. This is a long-standing favorite of my entire family, and was a surprise hit with my otherwise musical-resistant brother and nephews. Though it did make money on first release, its gigantic budget put it in the red until families like mine discovered it on cable and home video. What I love about this movie is the wealth of detail. That money was well-spent, going into creating a believable Manhattan and Yonkers of the late 19th-early 20th century. It was so realistic, it prompted a lot of discussions on the era in my family when I was a kid. I'm especially fond of the gorgeous, colorful costumes.

Casting is more of a problem. Streisand is miscast in a role intended for an older woman, though she seems to be having fun anyway - "So Long, Dearie" is especially hilarious. Matthau and Crawford are generally better as the miserly businessman who softens just a little bit as Dolly works her magic and the goofy clerk who is looking for adventure in the big city and his first romance. (Though Crawford's natural English accent has a tendency to pop out at times, noticeably during the Harmonia Gardens segment.)

If you're a fan of Streisand or the big musicals of the 60's and 70's, this one has been happily redeemed of late and is now seen as one of the better ones of that era.

While Dolly was on, I went through a lot of stuff in my back room. The back room is an unheated room towards the side of the house over the front apartment, and is my equivalent of an attic. I keep unused or unneeded things like seasonal decorations and clothes, the dolls' clothes, and toiletries and linens that don't fit in the bathroom or my bedroom in there. I first went through the journals, organizing them by year. I've been writing in journals for nearly 30 years now, and writing in them everyday for almost a decade. They take up two plastic milk crates and are starting to spill over to a third. I'm only missing one volume, for 2007 - I'll look around some more.

I also went through everything I intend to donate. Books and other media go to the local libraries. Toys, stuffed animals, and craft items go to Studio LuLoo. Anything else, including random wires from electronics, goes to the church thrift shop in Audubon. (I still don't know what to do with that bag of empty CD and DVD cases. Maybe I'll see if one of the libraries can use them.)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dolls In the Spring

I went decadent with Coconut and Chocolate Chip Pancakes to start my day. Listened to the original cast album of Ain't Misbehavin' while I ate. Hearing the title song in The All Night Strut inspired me to pull out this 2-disc set. Like All Night Strut, Ain't Misbehavin' is a simple three-woman, two-man revue revolving around the music of the early and mid-20th century.  In this case, the music was either written or performed by Fats Waller, a legendary pianist and performer who was known for his lavish lifestyle and great jazz and swing songs. I particularly like "T'ain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do" and "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter." Broadway favorite Nell Carter had one of her biggest successes as one of the female singers.

Changed the dolls into formal spring outfits for Easter after breakfast. Josefina wears her Feast Day Outfit with the ruffled camisa and her beautiful gold Heirloom Accessories shawl. Jessa's in the 1998 fruit-print Birthday T-Shirt and Jumper and purple jelly sandals. Whitney gets what's now known as Kit's Springtime Outfit, the peachy-pink dress with the ruffled skirt that was released as a limited edition last year. Samantha also wears a limited edition outfit, in this case her current Flower-Picking Set dress with the white and pink shoes from Rebecca's Lace Dress. Felicity sports her Pink Birthday Dress and floral Pinner apron. Molly's wearing her Polka-Dot Outfit.

(And Sam looks beautiful in her new dress! Unlike the Frilly Frock, it fits her well, too. I love the fancy lace collar and the pretty pink and magenta print. The skirt is also much longer than most of her wardrobe, giving her a slightly more grown-up air. As with the extras from Kit's Candy-Making set last year, I'm going to use the basket and flowers that came with Samantha's outfit as general decorations in the apartment, rather than with the dolls.)

It took me a lot longer to dress the dolls than I thought it would. I had to hurry out to work and just made it. Glad I got there on time. We were busy almost the entire afternoon. It was chilly and a little windy, though not quite as bad as yesterday. It's the week before Easter, and the beginning of the month is this week as well. Some people (and employees) weren't in the best moods. I suspect at least some of the rancor is because Mother Nature keeps hovering in the mid-to-upper 40's and won't automatically jump into the 60's and 70's, the way everyone wants her to.

I spent the rest of the evening eating baked salmon cakes and broccoli and cauliflower and cleaning up a mess in the living room. I spilled water out of the plant on top of the record crates next to the window overlooking the park in the music area. I didn't think it was any big deal...until I felt a wet patch while pulling out Ain't Misbehavin' this morning. The water seeped under three crates and soaked a few records in the crate closest to the window. I put two crates outside to dry and had to leave the others all over the living room while the rug dries out.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Adventures In Mutantland

Began a cold, sort-of-cloudy morning with shredded wheat, half a grapefruit, and It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. Linus keeps insisting that the Easter Beagle will come down and give presents to all the good little children. Sally's more skeptical. She's dealt with his pet theories before. Snoopy wants to buy Woodstock a birdhouse to keep the spring weather off of him. Peppermint Patty spends her spring holidays trying to teach Marcie to color eggs, with little success. Lucy tries to get presents off of Schroeder and makes sure that she'll win the Easter egg hunt. And Charles Schultz makes a few jabs at very early Christmas sales.

Work was on-and-off busy, especially in the morning. It wasn't quite as bad as the other day, and it did thin out a little as the afternoon went on. It picked up enough by 2 that I needed a manager to come in for me. My relief, one of the college boys, was late.

I went straight home. When I got in, I changed and spent the next few hours working on my final project for class. The question is, "if it wasn't impossible, what would you do?" You have to brainstorm ideas, then let them sit for a while. I did some stuff online, then did my brainstorming. I'll start the essay - it has to be at least 10 pages - Monday or Tuesday.

When I finished, I made leftovers for dinner, then baked a pineapple-coconut cake while watching X Men: Days of Future Past. In the far future, Sentinels, robots with mutant-like powers, are killing off human and mutant alike. Logan "Wolverine" Howlett (Hugh Jackman) jumps back in the past to 1973 to stop blue-skinned assassin Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing the inventor of the Sentinels, Boliver Trask (Peter Dinklage). He'll need help from Professor Xavier (James McAvoy), who's become a drunk since the last movie, and Erik "Magneto" Lensher (Micheal Fassbinder) who is in a top-secret security prison in the Pentagon. Logan has to bring the two together, or there may not be a future for any mutant.

I'm not normally the biggest sci-fi fan, but this one was rather interesting. I suspect it might help if you know the comics a little better. Tighter focus helps, although there's still a few characters (like some of the mutants seen in the opening, Storm, and the hilarious sprinter Quicksilver) I would like to have seen more of. If you're a fan of this series, jump in. Newcomers and casual fans may want to check out at least the first two movies before coming here to get a better idea of the characters.

Moved to Little Nemo: Adventures In Slumberland while I frosted my cake with Coconut Cool Whip Icing. The title character is also from a comic book, in this case one of the earliest hit comics, going all the way back to the early 1900's. Little Nemo dreams that he's in a fantastic world where dirigibles are practically flying palaces, pixies control the weather, and jolly King Morpheus rides a toy train and wants to make him his heir. Nemo's not entirely sure about this, despite making friends with his daughter. When he and the mischievous hobo Flip accidentally open the door to Nightmareland, the evil Nightmare King kidnaps King Morpheus. Now Nemo and his friends have to get into Slumberland to free the king and show that in dreams, anything really is possible.

This was another troubled production that goes back even further than Felix the Cat and Happily Ever After. Originally a Japanese-American co-production, animation began in the early 80's. There was so much infighting and fussing over what tone to take (the Americans wanted darkness; the Japanese, whimsy) that the movie wasn't completed until 1989, and wasn't released in the US until the early 90's. They never entirely solved that problem. The movie goes back and forth from goofy fantasy to frightening dark sequences. Some of the animation is really awesome, though, especially in the second half in Nightmareland.

This was released on Blu-Ray a few years ago with the original Japanese soundtrack and some of the footage cut from the US release restored. It's worth a look if you love fantasy or unusual animated films.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Jukebox Friday Night

It was just cloudy and cold when I got up this morning. I combated the gloom with another Easter special. Bugs Bunny's Easter Funnies is another Looney Toons holiday special made up of mostly bits and pieces of classic cartoons. The wrap-around story is the flimsiest yet. Granny has to find a replacement for the ailing Easter Bunny among the Toons. Possibly to make up for the weak storyline, the cartoons excerpted are among some of the best ever made by Termite Terrace, including three Oscar winners, "For Scentimental Reasons," "Birds Anonymous," and "Knighty Knight Bugs." (Other favorites seen here include "Robin Hood Daffy," "Hillbilly Hare," and "The Rabbit of Seville.")

Work was on-and-off busy, but mostly quiet. The clouds from the morning had mostly subsided by late afternoon. We weren't quite as busy as yesterday, and we had a lot more help, too. This time, I was able to shut down easily with no relief and no problems.

Good, because I had a lot of grocery shopping to do today. I needed meat, but there weren't any really good sales. I did get a small tube of ground turkey for $3.49 and two packs of salmon cakes for $1.58 each with two manger's coupons. Most of it was restocking - tomato sauce, diced tomato, peanut butter, parchment paper, brown sugar, chocolate chips, coconut, oatmeal, bananas, sweet potatoes, apples, grapefruit. I found a bunch of DVD's in the clearance shelves. Grabbed the first How to Train Your Dragon for $2.99 and a set with the first two American Tail movies for $3.99.

Oh, and my schedule for next week is pretty similar to this week's with slightly more hours. I do have a 7-hour day on Tuesday. Otherwise, nothing really late or really early, Monday and Wednesday off again.

The light on my phone was blinking when I got in. Rose called while I was at work. We'd be going to the show at 7:30, after she dropped off Khai at Craig's mom's house. Ok, that was fine. I could have a chance to eat, change, put everything away, and watch How to Train Your Dragon 2.

Hiccup, his beloved dragon Toothless, and the other Dragon Riders of Berk now live in harmony with their new friends. Hiccup is nervous about taking over as chief from his father, Stoick. He's even more scared when he, Ingrid, and the other riders discover a group of dragon poachers who are rounding up dragons for the evil Draco. Draco wants to create his own dragon army and destroy Berk. While escaping the poachers, Toothless and Hiccup make a huge discovery in an ice cave. Another dragon rider has been making raids on the poachers, and Hiccup gets the shock of his life when he finds out who this person is! Meanwhile, his father is searching for him, and the other Riders are trying to rescue their dragons from Draco. Hiccup wants to reason with Draco, but he gets a huge reality check when he discovers that his dad was right, and there are just some people in this world you can't reason with.

I was just as impressed with the second movie as I was with the first. This is a touching, rather dark tale of a boy and his dragon who both learn that family is closer than you think, and while not everyone will be reasonable, that doesn't mean you don't still try to make peace. If you loved the first movie or the TV show or are a fan of animated action, this is very highly recommended.

The movie was ending and I'd just cleaned up the dishes from my salmon cakes and vegetable stir-fry dinner when Rose called again. She was picking me up early. She had decided to pick me up first, then drop off Khai. Fine by me. We dropped him off at his grandmother's house in Haddonfield, then headed down the highway to Woodbury, dodging more road repair on the way.

Woodbury is a lovely old town in the heart of Gloucester County. It's the county seat, as well as having the local hospital branch. The Sketch Club Players turned out to be a small theater in an old house on the edge of town. We parked in front and, after some confusion over where to go, headed in. The stage was small, so small you could sit in the back and probably see everyone pretty clearly. We took seats in the middle. We were there more than a half-hour early. We had time to look over Playbills and check cell phones before the show began.

The All Night Strut was a revue based around 30's and 40's music. Three women and two men performed popular standards from the era like "Minnie the Moocher," "As Time Goes By," "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" and "Jukebox Saturday Night." The backdrops were just simple curtains and mid-20th-century Art Deco trim, with a movie screen occasionally showing projections of Hollywood stars of the era or scenes from Depression breadlines or World War II (and some newer wars, too).

Rose's friend and fellow lawyer Tiara was the one who suggested the show to us. She performed an especially lovely "I'll Be Seeing You," the finale of Act I. She made a great Minnie the Moocher, too.

The two cutest numbers both revolved around troubled relationships. One of the guys tried to chase two of the girls...and ended up getting into trouble with both....in "Ain't Misbehavin'." Both guys tried to woo two of the girls in "A Fine Romance," but they weren't having any of it. "Java Jive" reminded me of "Coffee Break" from How to Succeed In Business as everyone chased that all-important cup of Joe. (They even had a stage manager who brought them the cups and broke up the girls fighting in "Misbehavin'.")

As you can tell, I really enjoyed the show and am glad Rose invited me. She seemed to have fun too, and musicals usually aren't her thing. I wish we could have told Tiara what a fine singer she was, but Rose couldn't figure out where to meet the performers and wanted to get home to Khai anyway. We had to dodge a lot of traffic slowly making its way around the repairs on the Black Horse Pike, especially down by the ramp into Oaklyn. Rose picked up Khai first (in his cute dog-print pajamas!) before she dropped me off.

Oh, and I got my eBay order for Josefina today. Most American Girl dolls up through Kaya had mini-dolls made for them and their time periods. Josefina's Nina is especially meaningful because, in the story, her mother made it and passed it down from girl to girl. Josefina's sister Clara didn't want to give her up originally after her mother died, but she finally decided to honor the tradition and clean her up for her sister.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Changes In the Rain

It was cloudy and unusually warm and humid for this time of year when I started work. I have no idea why we were so busy...or why we had so many people call out. Warm temperatures aside, this was hardly the kind of day you'd want to spend on a blanket at the Jersey Shore. We were so short on help for a lot of the day, I ended up staying an hour. One man even complained loudly about it, yelling to everyone around him that we were horrible because we couldn't be bothered to hire help. (Uh, we did. It just didn't come in.)

I worked on writing for an hour when I finally got home. I also came to a conclusion while going over the websites for AG Collectors and AG Playthings. I think I've had quite enough of the American Girl fandom. While no one's ever said anything really mean to me, I'm tired of the complaining over sales, how the dolls and the time periods they represent should be depicted, what the clothes they wear and the things they hold are made of, and how one side of the fan base snipes at the other. I will continue to post on the Ever After High/Monster High message board I belong to, to read doll blogs and websites, to collect things for my dolls, and to post photos of them at my blog. I'm going to take a hiatus from American Girl message boards until the late August release of Josefina's new wardrobe and the 50's doll. We'll see how I feel then.

The assignment was to write a short story based around an event that changed you or someone who changed you, preferably set during a holiday. I had a hard time choosing an event! I finally based the story around Christmas 1990. We moved across town on New Year's Day 1991, and because of this, our Christmas was very simple. We only had a few presents, we had a small table-top tree strung with cranberry-popcorn ropes and a hand-made glitter-covered star, and we otherwise didn't decorate. Thankfully, the next time we moved, four years later, it was in the fall. My two subsequent moves on my own were in early February. They were all well away from any major holidays.

It also reminded me of how different we were from other families. I still don't know anyone else outside of the military who grew up moving from house to house because they couldn't afford the rent or Dad fought with the shady friend who owned the house. Even Lauren never lived in more than two or three houses her entire life.

We were supposed to let the writing "cool" for a while. I put on a Wonder Woman episode while having leftover chili for dinner and making Banana Spice Muffins. "Knockout" is one of the more interesting early second season episodes. Diana Prince finds herself dealing with a former LA cop-turned-terrorist who has kidnapped Steve. The terrorists are going to hijack a business conference for major companies in LA...if Wonder Woman doesn't stop them first!

Oh, and it's been raining on and off all day. Thankfully, it waited to start until well after I got to work, and took a break while I was on my way home. (In fact, the sun was trying to come out at that point.) It started up again later in the night, and has been off and on since. There's a possibility it'll mix with a little snow tomorrow. Once again, I doubt it'll stick...and if it does, it won't be around for more than a day or two.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Around the Town and Home Again

I started the morning off by finishing The Boy Friend and eating shredded wheat and half a grapefruit for breakfast. I didn't get going until 11:30. My first stop was Studio LuLoo for this week's volunteering session there. I decided to try something different and swept the sidewalk outside. Studio LuLoo is between Phillies Phatties and Leo's Yum Yum on West Clinton. They all share the new wood-and-plastic picnic tables that appeared on the sidewalks last year. I swept under the ones closest to Studio LuLoo, and pushed as much debris off the main sidewalk as I could with the wind.

When I got back in, I did what I could with the play area. It was a real mess. Toys and dress-up costumes and play food was scattered all over the floor. I could barely move around. I brought in the stuffed animals and dolls I'd brought for donations, then got to organizing everything. I dumped dolls in one container, horses in another. Large toys were separated into two big plastic bins. Dropped soft balls into a mini-shopping cart. (I didn't know where else to put them.) Stuffed animals and large dolls went in a doll crib. Play food was returned to the Cinderella-themed kitchen.

Headed to the Oaklyn Library next. They just completely rearranged their DVD's. The shelves that held the adult DVD's on one side and oversized books on the other were now placed back-to-back instead of side-by-side. They're also now strictly home for DVD's. The classic movies were re-integrated into the shelves. The kids' DVD's were moved over to next to the TV. I worked on organizing all of them. It would seem they hadn't entirely finished organizing them when they were moved. I took a look at the children's section, too. (I have no idea what happened to the oversized and reference books, though.)

It had started to shower lightly as I left Studio LuLoo. The rain picked up as I headed down to the White Horse Pike. I hadn't eaten at Aunt Berta's for a while. The soul food restaurant was very busy when I arrived. I took a seat next to the window and watched the heavy traffic on the Pike as other people chatted around me. I knew exactly what I wanted. I got the salmon cake lunch hour special that comes with one salmon cake and two sides and the tub-sized container of sweet iced tea. My collard greens and candied yams were delicious, especially the yams. Had a nice, crumbly slice of cornbread, too. It was all tasty.

The rain had picked up as I ate lunch. I decided to just save the bike riding idea I had for another day and buy the things I needed from the CVS on the border of Collingswood and Oaklyn. They were pretty busy for mid-afternoon when I got in. I ended up with the Tums I needed, plus their generic drain cleaner on sale. (My bathroom sink is still running really slow.)

The rain continued on and off for the rest of the afternoon. I spent the remaining day indoors. I worked a little on class work online. I also joined another AG adult collectors message board, AG Collectors. I'm going to stay on AG Playthings as well, but I've been getting tired of some of the fussing over there about the sales and the new Historical things being different from the old Historical things. On the other hand, some of the people on AG Collectors are nice but very outspoken about everything under the sun! I'm a bit intimidated. We'll see how things go there.

I ran Ducktails the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp while making a very fast peanut butter and jelly sandwich and spinach salad dinner. Uncle Scrooge takes Launchpad, Webby, and the nephews on a trip to the desert to find the legendary Treasure of Kali Baba. They come back empty-handed, much to Scrooge's frustration...except for a rather familiar lamp that Webby kept to use with her dolls. The lamp turns out to be the home of a genie who, unlike the Aladdin version, is basically a kid himself.  When Uncle Scrooge finds out, he uses the genie to bring him the treasure. Someone else is also after the genie, a nasty sorcerer named Merlock who has a talisman that grants him unlimited wishes. Uncle Scrooge ends up discovering just how important his family and home are when the sorcerer and his cowardly minion Dijon get their hands on the genie, and he and the others have to get it back.

If you're a fan of the original Ducktails, this movie is a no-brainer. I'm so glad it's finally on regular DVD. While the animation isn't on a par with their regular animated films, it's mostly better than the TV show. I love the opening in the pyramid and how the kids found and befriended the genie. I'm less fond of the second half. Dijon is a rather annoying stereotype, and Merlock is too hammy for words (played by Christopher Lloyd, which explains a lot) and has some of the film's stiffest dialogue. The genie can come off as a bit annoying as well.

I still recommend this for fans of Ducktails or the Uncle Scrooge comics that inspired it. Short and fun, with some wonderful action sequences, especially in the opening.

Oh, and I made Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies during the first half of Ducktails, mainly to use the last of the raisins I bought for the Irish Soda Bread. It's a variation on a recipe from the Betty Crocker Cooky Book. I added a cup of whole wheat flour and baking powder to make up for not having enough oatmeal. My first couple cookies were a little crumbly, so I added more water to the mix. Yum. Sweet and chewy and a little nutty.