Saturday, July 02, 2016

Yankee Doodle Dolls

I couldn't believe how gorgeous it was when I got up this morning. Swung open my front door to discover a sunny, beautiful, breezy day. Yesterday's heat and humidity had dissolved overnight, leaving perfect upper 70's-lower-80's temperatures, cool breeze, and dry air.

Celebrated the nice weather and the upcoming holiday with America Rock while I ate breakfast. This series of animated music videos discussing American history and how the government works were made as inter-stiles on ABC in 1975 and 1976 in honor of the US' big bicentennial celebration. The most famous number is probably "I'm Just a Bill," on how a bill becomes a law (and how long that takes). My favorite numbers are the jaunty ragtime-based "Fireworks" (on the Declaration of Independence) and the lovely "Preamble."

Headed out to the Collingswood Farm Market around quarter of 11. Even that late, they were packed with people buying produce for their 4th of July weekend barbecues. Talk about a lack of "Elbow Room" - I could barely get in the lines at some booths. More of the summer harvest has debuted. I saw green beans, bean sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, blackberries, raspberries, garlic, and New Jersey blueberries for the first time this year. I ended up with strawberries (I'm surprised they're still around - they're usually long gone by now), blueberries, three small cucumbers, a tomato, and bananas from the tropical fruit booth to take to work this week.

It was such a nice day, I rode home via Newton Lake Park. The sun sparkled on the green waters. The cool breeze ruffled the glossy green leaves overhead. I saw many boaters in colorful kayaks on the lake, and dodged quite a few dog walkers.

The other reason I went through the park was I wanted to hit CVS on the way home. I needed laundry detergent, and I've been forgetting dryer sheets for weeks. Also grabbed the dollar scouring sponges, which they haven't had at Dollar Tree.

Stopped at Viola's International Deli for lunch. Despite it being almost the lunch hour when I arrived, there was no one eating inside or at the benches. I ordered a turkey wrap, but the lady must have heard me wrong and gave me a turkey club panini. Oh well, it still tasted good. Tossed in a can of Diet Mountain Dew as well. It was too nice to eat indoors. I had lunch outside, on the picnic benches.

It was so nice, I was able to make Strawberry and Blueberry Cupcakes (yellow cake mix with coconut milk and farm market-fresh strawberries and blueberries) for Dad and Jodie's party on Monday without turning my apartment into a sweat box! Watched Yankee Doodle Dandy while I baked. James Cagney won an Oscar as George M. Cohan, the early 20th century dynamo who ruled Broadway as an actor, singer, dancer, producer, and director. Joan Leslie is his beloved wife (or at least, a composite of Cohan's two real-life wives). Walter Huston again plays a supportive dad dealing with a short, cocky son. Though Cohan's shows are mostly considered un-revivable due their corny, overly patriotic books, many of his songs live on - "You're a Grand Old Flag," "Yankee Doodle Dandy," "Give My Regards to Broadway," "Mary Is a Grand Old Name," and "Over There," among others, are still performed and played today.

I dressed the American Girl dolls for the 4th of July holiday and warmer weather during the second half of Yankee Doodle Dandy. Samantha's in her sailor-themed Middy Dress and Tam, with black stockings and the black and white button boots from her Flower-Picking Dress. Josefina's wearing her striped Indigo Skirt and Camisa and her soft "suede" meet outfit boots. Molly's in her Camp Gowanigan uniform and navy and white saddle shoes. Put Jessa and the red, white, and blue "antiqued-look" blouse Lauren sent me for Christmas two years ago, a pair of jean shorts I found at a craft show, and white Springfield Collection sandals. Whitney's ready to perform in the red and blue sequin-trimmed AG Revue Tap Costume that was sold in the stores during the mid-late 2000s. I especially love the shiny bright red tap shoes that go with this outfit! Left Felicity in her blue and white gown. I really don't have much to change her into.

Listened to the original cast album for George M! while dressing the dolls. Joel Gray was Cohan in this 1968 Broadway take on his life story. With Cohan having passed away in 1942, they could be a little more honest about some of the less-attractive aspects of life, such as his having married twice and his siding with the producers during the big Actor's Equity strike of 1919. It also included many lesser-known Cohan songs that are rarely heard anymore, such as "Push Me Along In Your Push Cart" and "Twentieth Century Love."

Spent the next few hours working on my story. Vader's goons show up just as Han is about to get the Silver Falcon in the air. Leia may have joked about the rough shape the plane is in, but her captain is genuinely good at his job. He and Charel manage to get the plane out just before the goons close the doors.

Han, of course, has to brag about their narrow escape. Leia's just glad they still have her godfather's research. It'll help them find at least one of the two remaining swords in Guatemala after they rescue Vader's sword from Coruscant. Han tells her he'll take her and Luke all the way to Guatemala if he gets a percentage of their payment for finding the treasure. She snaps that he'll get his reward and storms off.

Had some quick leftovers for dinner and the last of the chocolate sorbet while finally finishing off the story portion of Lego Indiana Jones 2. The most difficult of the three remaining rounds in Last Crusade was Level 3, which was set in Berlin during the book burning. Indy has to use his whip to pull the bridge out from under Nazis shooting bombs at him, not easy when there's soldiers running all over the place and men in vehicles blasting you. Level 4 was yet another car crash-and-bash, this time involving tanks. The last level started out normal enough, with Indy and Sallah solving the puzzles in the Grail's hiding place. For some reason (perhaps because the real end of Last Crusade is a tad anti-climatic), Donovan turns into a wind-based monster when he drinks from the wrong Grail. You have to shoot at him with one of the rocket launchers from the Berlin round. It's really, really weird. (And Elsa doesn't die, either.)

At any rate, I'm now finished with the story levels of Lego Indiana Jones 2. I'll go back and do the bonus levels I didn't get to with Lauren eventually. I'd like to finish Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga and give the first Lego Indiana Jones game a shot first.

No comments: