Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Kids In Space

It was once again pouring when I awoke late this morning. I ran a couple more episodes of Rick Steves' Europe while I ate breakfast to combat the gloom. Vienna and Saltzburg may no longer be the centers of the Austrian Empire, but they're still beautiful towns steeped in romantic history and tradition. I love the palaces, the bakeries, and the waltzes of Vienna. And while most people who think of Saltzburg think "Mozart," I like the little village on the banks of a river that is one of the oldest towns in Europe better. A former salt mining center, it's steeped in quaint, quiet charm.

Headed out around quarter after 12. Though it was still sprinkling at that point, I was tired of sitting inside, and I had errands I wanted to run. Ended up at the Oaklyn Library first. I mostly organized DVDs. Took out two TV sets I'd been wanting to watch. For some reason, they have a bunch of sets of the Filmation live-action kids' shows of the mid-late 1970's. I rented The Secrets of Isis, a superhero-based show, a few years ago and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Given my current Star Wars kick, I figured it was a good time to try out two sci-fi-based programs, Space Academy and Jason of Star Command. I also took out a book of fairy tales and Aesop's Fables with beautiful, delicate illustrations.

My next few stops were quicker. I took a peek around the House of Fun after leaving the Oaklyn Library. Though they have lots of Star Wars stuff, there wasn't anything I really needed, and they still didn't have any second season Sailor Moon.

The Oaklyn Post Office is two blocks from the House of Fun. I've been meaning to buy stamps for over two months now. I either hadn't had the money, or just plain hadn't gotten around to it. Since I was in the neighborhood, I stopped by and bought a book of beautiful, colorful flower-based Forever stamps.

Ended up at the CVS on the edge of Oaklyn and Collingswood (which is another two blocks down from the post office) next. I needed mouthwash. Picked up some Jiff Peanut Butter that was on sale for $1.99 as well. I got lucky. The tag for the Crest Mouthwash I bought said $5.09 on clearance. It was the cheapest bottle I could get at that size. They must have dropped the clearance even further, because it rang up $3.39. Talk about your scores.

Finally got to have lunch at Viola's International Deli on West Clinton Avenue, two doors down from Common Grounds Coffee House. Hit a good deal there, too. Evidently, their Wednesday special is a wrap or Panini with a can of soda and a bag of chips for $4.99. I opted for a basic Roast Beef Club Whole Wheat Wrap with a can of Diet Dr. Pepper and a bag of lattice chips. The wrap was so big, I ended up taking the chips home. (I peeked at Studio LuLoo, but they still aren't open. I'll try again on Friday.)

I got home just in time. About a half-hour after I'd ducked in and was on the computer working on my story, the rain started coming down heavily again. It had been incredibly humid for this time of year all afternoon, but the rain stopped after I left the Library and didn't start again until well after I was done with my chores. The wind roared and rattled - I even heard about possible tornadoes. There were thunderstorms later in the evening.

Spent the rest of the afternoon and evening working on writing. Ben says he, Luke, and Han will all be going to the ball, as a prince and his court. He helps Luke dress in his silver crystal armor, then dresses himself in the gold armor of a master Force knight. He turns the Falcon into a splendid carriage, Chewbacca into its driver, Arthur (Artoo) into a footman, and a pack of mice into horses. To Han's annoyance, he's to play the prince. He complains noisily about his tight black velvet jacket and breeches and the silver crown that gives him a headache.

Princess Leia's not much happier. Her white gown with the lace sleeves is itchy and too tight. She would rather be delivering the Kingdom of the Empire's plans to Sir Benjamin Kenobi than trying to push obnoxious young nobles away from her. As her uncle reassures her that she'll be able to carry out her mission soon, there's a disturbance in the room...and a trio of unknown figures appear on the staircase into the ballroom...

When I went through the pantry shelves between the counter and the stove yesterday, I found a can of navy beans and a can of evaporated skim milk that were about to expire. I thought it was time to have a pantry dinner night. I made two Crock Pot meals. Started the Italian Escarole, Broccoli, and Bean Stew before I left to run errands. Oooh, did that turn out nice! I put a little too much water in. Otherwise, it was rich and flavorful. Made Pumpkin Custard for dessert. That didn't come out quite as well. It tasted pretty decent, but I accidentally didn't close the cover all the way, and it overflowed and burned a bit.

Watched the first four episodes of Space Academy as I ate. Jonathan Harris is the head teacher at a school for young cadets with extraordinary powers. There's a telepathic brother-sister pair, a super-strong Native American kid who also acts as the group medic, a smart black kid who acts as navigator, a dark-haired girl, a cute-blue-haired younger kid they pick up in the first episode, and a small robot who acts as something of a mini-Threepio. (The blue haired kid sort of has Artoo's cute-mischievous mascot role.) Once again, I'm impressed. The dialogue is sometimes cheesy, but the special effects (except for some shots that are supposed to be in space) are surprisingly well-done for a show of this era, the kids are decent actors, Harris makes a splendid teacher, and there's some interesting storylines.

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