Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Mall Madness

Bright sunshine was already filtering through the living area windows when I sat down with breakfast. I did two Good Eats episodes on desserts and candy while eating, getting organized, and recharging my iPod. Alton tried to show how the Arabic dessert baklava can be made easily. Honestly, I think it's still too fussy and takes too long for me to try. Marshmallows, on the other hand, are mostly sugar and plain gelatin, and might be worth giving a shot one day.

Finally headed out around 12:30. My first stop was the Haddon Township Library. I was mainly there to return DVDs. It's just as well. Turns out there wasn't much for me to do, anyway. They're in the midst of reorganizing their DVDs. Instead of having them face outwards on the shelves, so you riff through a bunch, then go to the next ones, they turned them horizontally in an attempt to fit more in. On one hand...this does make sense. You can see the titles of the actual movie without having to move every other one, and yeah, it does make more room. I mainly shelved audio books and new releases.

As soon as I was done, I hurried out to catch the bus...then went back in. I'd read the schedule wrong. I did finally make it on the bus to Cherry hill around 2. There was a little traffic in Westmont where they're still working on buildings. Otherwise, no problems traveling either way.

I needed to make a few quick runs to a couple of big-box stores at the Market Place...but I needed to eat first. My original thought was 1,000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza, where Lauren and I ate when she visited last June. Alas, the store was empty. They were likely a victim of way too much competition in Cherry Hill. There's not only at least ten restaurants in the mall itself, but tons of other places to eat (including local pizzerias that are much cheaper) within walking distance. I ended up enjoying a cup of French onion soup, half of a turkey-greens-apple sandwich, a green tea, and a crusty roll at Panera Bread.

Was in and out of a few stores for the next two hours. I couldn't find my usual New Balance sneakers at Dick's. I badly need new work sneakers. (I have the feeling the state the old ones are in are one reason I turned my ankle.) Had more luck at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Grabbed a new can opener (I've had mine for at least 15 years or more) and a shower curtain, along with cherry cola Tic Tacs, for $20, thanks to two of those 12 coupons I had sitting at home. Peeked at the Hallmark down the way from Panera Bread, but didn't see anything totally necessary. Browsed around Barnes and Noble. Found Bloodline, one of the latest Star Wars novels, in paperback.

Finally got a pair of Easy Spirit sneakers at DW Shoes. I really love the ones I bought for running errands a few months ago. They weren't a bad price, either. The salesgirl was really enthusiastic. Turns out she's not only a huge fan of Harry Potter, but Star Wars as well. We had a nice talk about fandoms.

It was late when I got in, past 5:30. I did some quick writing. A young maid named Sabine helps Leia prepare for Mon Mothma's ball. Her mother appears, praising the maid for the beautiful up-do that she did for Leia. Sabine explains that she's an artist and is hoping to save her paycheck to attend art classes. Leia and Breha see Sabine meet a young man out in the hall as Breha helps her daughter with her jewels. Breha says it's sweet that Sabine has a romance, but Leia thinks their faces look more concerned that romantic.

Finished out the night with leftovers and episodes of Hello Kitty Furry Tale Theater. Tuxedo Sam is "Robin Penguin," who robs bubble gum from rich Princess Catnip and Sheriff Grinder and gives it to the poor of Knotty-Pine. He also gets to be "Pinocchio Penguin" and learn a lesson in telling the truth when he and Chip are lured by two gypsies (Catnip and Grinder again) and end up being swallowed by a whale. Chip is the "Ugly Quackling," whose feathers are very different from his siblings. They learn to never judge a bird by its color when "Ugly" grows up to not only be beautiful, but stop the hungry fox (Grinder) from harming his family. "Hello Mother Goose" has quite a mystery on her hands when famous items go missing in Mother Goose Land. The solution to the crime may lie in the whereabouts of My Melody Bo Peep's runaway sheep. Melody is the lead of a western-themed "Little Red Bunny Hood." She has to rescue her grandmother from Belle Catnip while avoiding the Big Bad Wolf (Grinder).

(And this might be a good time to get a few things Star Wars related off my chest, given that Bloodline is about how the New Republic fell apart and at least one recent book is on Han and Leia's break-up. So many people have been whining and crying about how horrible it was that the "Golden Trio" from the original trilogy were allowed to have a child that wasn't perfect, livest that weren't perfect, and were permitted to separate and be unhappy.

As my stepfather used to say, horse marlarkey. People don't stay together for 30 years. That's not how life works. Sometimes, parents do neglect their children, even when they don't mean to. They have lives, too. Sometimes, friends do break apart, even close ones. Sometimes, bad things do happen to good people. Of course, Han would go back to smuggling. That's what he does. What he's always done. My stepfather's been doing the same job for 50 years. That's not called "character derailment." That's called "being realistic." I'm wondering if people just weren't ready for that level of realism in this franchise, especially after the knights and queens and melodrama of the Prequels.

Also, allow me to point out that we've only had one movie and a prequel that amounts to a flashback. Unless there's real Jedi out there, the average person doesn't know what's going to happen yet. We don't know why Luke is on that island. He very likely has some plan he doesn't want anyone knowing about. We don't know how he's going to react to Rey. Han's likely dead, but one never knows, especially in science fiction. There's also the matter of how they're going to deal with Leia after Carrie Fisher's death. (I say...I'm sorry, but grab a reasonable look-a-like and recast Episode 9.)

I don't think Rey and Kylo Ren are going to fall in love and become the next Twilight like many teens and young adults want, either. That's hormones (and their own parental issues) talking. The guy killed a whole school of kids and his own father, and he practically mind-raped Rey. And no, having a bad childhood doesn't excuse him. If Kylo Ren is redeemed, it's probably going to be a lot messier than Vader simply tossing his boss off a ledge and dying in Luke's arms.

And all the screaming over the Han Solo movie is a whole other can of fish. Look, Harrison Ford is a great guy. I've had a crush on him since I was four. The fact of the matter remains that he's also in his 70's. He doesn't look 74, but he is. I don't mind the recasting. I think this sounds like it's going to be a fun intergalactic crime caper, sort of like the book Scoundrels. Once again, I'm willing to give a different story and different people a chance.

I don't believe in "canon." Canon means something is set in stone. Stories aren't set in stone. Stories are flowing, organic beings. They change and evolve. Everyone has their own way of telling a story. Mine is different than yours, which is different from everyone else's. Star Wars is stories...and stories change with time. Maybe this isn't the story people would have told in the 70's, or ten years ago, but it's the one being told now. And there's nothing wrong with that.

I'm starting to think I'm not cut out to be involved in big fandoms. I ran into the same problem in the American Girl fandom. I'm really laid-back about most things. For me, stories are stories and dolls are dolls. They're fun...but they're toys and fiction. In the end, they're nothing to scream over.

I think we're also starting to get an inkling of the can of worms that open when studios revive franchises that are in some cases as much as 50 or 60 years old. Sure, some people want to see the story continue and are willing to give anything a shot...but most have had their own casts and their own ideas in their head for years, maybe decades. They're not only loathe to give that up, but highly offended when the studios' stories don't match the ones they've already created or that were created by others in the interim.

I'm hoping finding conventions to attend will help me meet people who are willing to enjoy all aspects of a franchise, from the very beginning to the most current offerings. I'm just glad that we're getting more dolls and more movies and cartoons and books. Just knowing that we're going to get one Star Wars movie a year until 2019 (and likely beyond that, seeing how Disney loves its franchises) is enough to make me happy.)

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