Saturday, July 23, 2016

Loved By the Sun

I got up earlier than usual on a day off, around 7, to get to the Collingswood Farm Market before it became too hot to do so. I did two travel and summer-themed first season episodes of Sailor Moon as I had breakfast and got organized. A trip to a local amusement park turns into a "Nightmare In Dreamland" when Rei, Usagi, and Ami discover that many people have vanished from the park grounds. Usagi just wants to have fun, but Rei suspects the Negaverse may be involved.

Usagi is feeling those "Cruise Blues" when Rei wins tickets for a romantic cruise and invites Ami instead of her. She stows away, hoping to encounter cute guys in nautical uniforms...but she and Luna make a far more serious find when they discover it's a Negaverse plot.

Headed out to the Farm Market around 9. After looking for a yard sale on Reading in Oaklyn (and failing to find it), I rode down to Collingswood. Considering the temperature was supposed to get into the upper 90's, I didn't expect it to be as busy as it was. I guess I wasn't the only one trying to get their produce as early as possible. The summer harvest is in full swing now. I saw eggplant, beans (including Chinese and cranberry), apples, melons, and peppers for the first time this season. Since I'm not going to be able to get to either Farm Market next week, I stocked up as much as I could. I ended up with a tomato, blueberries, blackberries, Chinese beans, little yellow apples, a lavender-striped eggplant, three cucumbers, a small onion, two zucchini, a small melon, and two ears of corn.

Went straight home after I left Collingswood and went nowhere else today. This was no day to be running around, even if I'd had any major plans. Despite a lovely, cool breeze, the heat was heavy and steamy. It felt like it was wrapping around me like a wet blanket. This was supposed to be the hottest day of the year so far, and while the breeze kept it from feeling as bad as it could have, it sure wasn't overly pleasant.

After I got everything put away, I played Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures for a few hours. I had no problems in "City of Danger." That was mostly running around in (and over) the Cairo marketplace, getting shovels from silly monkeys by tossing them bananas and avoiding the Nazis and local thugs. No sweat.

I had more problems with "The Well of Souls." It's a long level to begin with. I got to the second-to-last room...and realized I didn't have something I needed for it. I got so frustrated, I finally decided I'd figure it out later and turned it off.

Switched to The Backyardigans while having the last leftover turkey burger and making Persian Cucumber Salad for lunch. Tyrone, Tasha, and Pablo "Follow the Feather" to the Polka-Dot Pony in the Tibetian mountains. Uniqua gains "Flower Power" when she touches an unusual bloom and becomes Flower Girl, defender of Garden City. She uses her newfound abilities to fight of the Gloom Meister's (Austin) Gloomsday Machine.

Spent the next couple of hours working on my story. Leia swims through the maze, holding onto Chewbacca's fin, when they're trapped in a low-lying cold-water coral reef. Even after they escape that, they fall into the tentacles of a giant squid. Leia cuts through that, rescuing not only herself and Chewie, but the slave who keeps following her. The slime has been slowly coming off of him...revealing a silent Luke. Leia's delighted to have her brother back with her, even if he can barely talk or remember who she is.

The next part of the maze takes the trio into a deep, dark cave. It's so deep and dark, Leia becomes separated from the other two and gets lost. Not knowing where she is, she decides to settle in and get some sleep. But even as she falls into an uneasy slumber, the second shell on the necklace Maz gave her blinks out, a reminder that she doesn't have much time to fulfill her mission...

Broke around quarter of 5 for dinner and a movie. I wanted to have a decent dinner, for once, after eating out of the fridge all week. Made Skillet Chicken and Tomatoes, one of my favorite quick dishes. It's just chicken breasts marinated in balsamic vinegar and olive oil and spices (it's supposed to be Italian dressing, but I make my own dressings), pan-fried in olive oil, and then cooked with canned diced tomatoes. It's quick, simple, and very tasty. I tossed in brown rice and steamed Chinese beans while the chicken was cooking.

As dinner cooked, I decided to do something I'd been putting off for a while. I organized as many of the random recipes I've gathered (from work, from the tops of whipped topping canisters and the backs of bottled flavoring boxes) into my cooking recipe book. My recipe book is actually a photo album I found at a yard sale a few years ago that came with clippings of retro recipes going back to the 70's. Some of the recipes were too folded or heavy to fit, but I got most of them in.

Ran Legend as I worked and ate. This 1986 fantasy takes us to a mystical land far away. The innocent princess (Mia Sara) is in love with a free-spirited wood's boy named Jack (Tom Cruise). He takes her to see a unicorn, a magical creature. When she wants to touch it, all literal hell breaks loose. Unicorns are sacred - no mortal is supposed to lay a finger on them. Her playful request turns into a nightmare when evil creatures kill one unicorn and capture another for the Devil himself (Tim Curry). While the Devil pursues the Princess, Jack joins a group of elves, fairies, and dwarfs in an attempt to save their land from eternal darkness.

I had a soft spot for this one in the 80's, maybe because I love fairy tales. I thought it was pretty weird then, and it's still strange today. While some of the effects have dated, one thing that hasn't is the amazing makeup work, especially on Curry. The script is silly and the performances range from wooden (Cruise) to over-the-top (Curry), but somehow, it mostly works. I don't think people knew what to make of this in the mid-80's. It's since become something of a cult favorite, especially among fans of fantasy and fairy tales. If you love fantasy, you may want to give this one a look as well.

(Oh, and while I watched the "Director's Cut" with the original Jerry Goldsmith score, I have to admit, the next time I watch this, I may do the theatrical version. I always liked the Tangerine Dream score, especially the appropriately mystical "Loved By the Sun.")

Ironically, just as the world onscreen plunged into darkness and snow, so did the world outside my apartment. It had been on-and-off cloudy as early as noon, and the wind had picked up considerably since this morning. They finally broke around 6-ish...and when it rained, it monsoon-ed. The first one was especially bad, with hail the size of golf balls. The sun finally came out shortly before 7. To my knowledge, it hasn't rained since.

Returned to Lego Indiana Jones after dinner and vanilla ice cream for dessert. To my embarrassment, I looked "The Well of the Souls" round up online and discovered the room I was having problems with wasn't necessary to finish the round. (I did get an "artifact" piece from it.) Escaping the Well was a little simpler, more build-and-jump. "Finding the Ark" was even less difficult. The only real problem I had was with trying to jump from platform to platform. I had to get Indy onto the platform to send Marion over on a rope. First, one kept following the other, and I couldn't always get them where they needed to be. Second, I'm still having a hard time with the jumps. It took me forever to get Marion to a certain spot.

On the other hand, the three levels I did today represent the most beads I've ever gotten in any Lego game. I picked up at least 65,000 from "City of Danger," 90,000 from "Well of Souls," and more than 115,000 from "Finding the Ark." I never did collect much in the way of beads in Lego Star Wars because I kept falling or dying in jumping or flying rounds.

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