Saturday, January 28, 2017

In My Hometowns

Began another cloudy day with breakfast and decorating. I usually put up the Valentine's Day items in late January-early February. I figured I needed the splash of pink and red, what with all the gloom lately. Most of what I have are cardboard hangings, notably two vintage 70's-early 80's ones I picked up at a yard sale. One is a Holly Hobbie-type girl in a bonnet, giving flowers to her puppy. The other is a teddy bear with a heart headband. I also have plain heart cut-outs and fancier ones covered in mylar, along with a cute pink teddy bear tin, a heart-shaped candy box covered in ruffles and lace that was too fancy to throw away, and shiny mylar heart I actually found in the street. The smaller heart hanging on the bottom was broken, but the larger one is fine.

Ran a couple of episodes of The Backyardigans as I worked. Uniqua is a "Fly Girl" who goes to dangerous locations with singing telegrams. She's discouraged when she thinks cleaning-obsessed Captain Pablo, quiet-loving Maharajah Tasha, and grumpy Abominable Snow-Moose Tyrone don't like her song and dance. They have a special surprise for her too, though...

"Who Goes There?" is a flamenco-fueled riff on the Night at the Museum films. Security guard Tyrone finds  himself chasing after wayward moving artworks Austin, Uniqua, and Pablo when they come out to play for the night. He's worried what'll happen when Curator Tasha sees the mess they leave, especially in one display room she insisted must not be touched.

I headed out even before "Who Goes There?" ended. First stop on the list was the Oaklyn Library. Other than one old man snoring on a couch and a few folks on the computer, there was nothing going on there. It was getting kind of late by that point as well. I was there at quarter after 1, and the library closes at 2. I organized DVDs and took a quick look at the children's section before moving on.

Dodged a few small flurries on my way to Westmont for lunch. I treated myself to Friendly's. They were busy for almost 2, with families having ice cream and old couples enjoying companionship. The Comb-Ohh $9.99 for sandwiches, fries, and ice cream sale is still going on. The Honey BBQ burger i had was amazing. It was their basic burger slathered with barbecue sauce and fried onion rings. There was also bacon, but I ate that before I attempted to close the bun. I didn't think I'd get the bun closed otherwise! Yum. Crunchy and tangy. The cherry chocolate chunk ice cream with hot fudge sauce and a mountain of whipped cream was just as good.

The Haddon Township Library was much busier. I organized and shelved the children's DVDs...then was promptly told not to do that anymore. They now have volunteers who come in on Wednesdays from other branches to shelve DVDs. Uhh...why? Why bring volunteers from elsewhere when there's plenty right in Haddon Township? I did manage to shelve a pile of audio books with no problems.

Took out a few DVDs this time. The Haddon Township Library has every Harry Potter movie but the first one, including the second, Chamber of Secrets.  I never did get to The Hunt for Red October a few weeks ago. I'm not normally fond of romantic comedies, but Morning Glory, about bickering anchors on a morning TV show, at least has a nice cast that includes Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, and Harrison Ford. Also grabbed some more Lego Star Wars, The New Yoda Chronicles.

Took the long way home across Newton Lake Park. It wasn't that bad, despite the continuing clouds. At least by 4 PM, the winds had diminished, the flurries were gone, and it wasn't quite as cold, in the lower 40's. There were several people out and about today, including a fisherman father whose two daughters chased each other down the hill, the younger tumbling after her older sister.

Worked on writing when I got in. Ahsoka and Leia follow Chewbacca around back. They use the handle of the bucket of ashes Han held earlier to lead Chewie to the basement. Leia cuts the barrel holding Han open. After the women untie him, Han tells them about Jabba's plot. He and Leia form a plan that has Ahsoka dressing as a maid to distract Jabba and his boys while they make their way in.

Made a quick meal of scrambled eggs for a late dinner while doing one more Backyardigans episode. "Who's Bugging You?" A wormen, one of the Technicolor worm critters that appear on the show from time to time. They've invaded Tasha's house, to her dismay. She wants to show it off to Mr. Spiffy (Pablo) and join his Spiffy Club. It's Tyrone and Uniqua's job to chase them out.

In honor of Chinese New Year today (it's the Year of the Rooster), I did two animated films set in Asia tonight. Mulan is one of Disney's more unique tales. Mulan is a cheerful tomboy in very patriarchal ancient China. She may be a washout as a traditional bride, but she's determined to show she still has a lot to offer her family. The young woman gets her chance when the Huns invade China. She dresses as a boy and takes her father's place in the Army. She doesn't do well at first...until she proves that brains and guts are as crucial to a warrior as brute force.

I've always liked this one. Mulan herself is a fun character, and her fellow soldiers in the army are a riot. The fact that war is brutal is not glossed over. There's quite a bit of violence, and one rather dark sequence where Mulan and the army discover a destroyed village and a ruined child's doll.

This is one of the few times I wish a Disney musical had concentrated on the war and left the music out. Other than the hilarious "I'll Make a Man Out of You," none of the songs are particularly memorable, nor do they add much to the proceedings. Though Eddie Murphy as Mushu, the dragon who accompanies Mulan in the army, has some funny moments, his wisecracks and character really do not belong in ancient China and take one out of the story.

Not one of the best of the Disney Renaissance movies of the 90's, but one of the more interesting. If you're interested in Asian artwork or folktales, or if you have a daughter who prefers action to princesses, this one is well worth your time.

Finished the night with Kung Fu Panda 2. Po is ready for the next step in his journey - to master balance and meditation. Trouble is, fidgety, ever-eating Po can't really do either. During a battle, he has a vision of his family...his real one. He's determined to find out more about them, to the consternation of his adopted goose father. Meanwhile, Po and his fellow Furious Five members discover the wicked peacock Shen's plot to create a cannon that is so efficient, it'll eliminate the need for kung-fu forever. The group go to Shen's home town to get rid of him...and in the process, help Po find his family.

Still the best of the Kung Fu Panda movies. Po's attempts to find out who he is and where he came from are touching and funny, and the final showdown with Shen is amazing.

I spent most of the night working on another Pinterest page. This one is a little personal for me. I did a page especially for South Jersey and the Jersey Shore - the towns I grew up in, and the ones I live in and around now. I wish there were more images for some of the smaller municipalities, like Oaklyn, North Cape May, and Haddonfield. There was nothing for Rio Grande - everything that came up when I typed that in the search bar was related to Cape May, which is 15 minutes down Route 9. I found exactly one image for Audubon, what I believe to be a vintage postcard of what's now the Audubon Crossings Shopping Center. So, if it seems a little too oriented towards Collingswood, Cape May, and Wildwood, that's what I had to work with. The page is sprinkled with lots of Jersey jokes and things only South Jersey natives will know. (And I felt that it was mandatory to add a few "Jersey Girls Don't Pump Gas" jokes, even though I don't drive.)

My Hometowns - Southern New Jersey and the Jersey Shore

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