It was just cloudy when I rolled out of bed this morning. Started my day with more Rick Steves. Rick takes us across the Alps from Germany into the Austrian Tyrol and the Italian Dolomites. I love all these small, medieval Alpine towns. They look like something from my fairy tale books. No wonder people believed in a witch that lived on a mountain. I half-expected to see princesses kissing enchanted frogs and young maidens named for parsley throwing combs that became rivers.
Focused on writing for the rest of the morning and early afternoon. The ginger cat first asks Luke to chop the piles and piles of wood she has in the back of the castle. After weeks of chopping, she takes him to a field full of grass. He has to cut the grass and dry it for her cows. When the field's clear, she has him build a small cottage. Every tool he uses is made from precious metals, making Luke wonder just how rich these kitties are. The orange cat is brusque and bossy, never giving Luke anything to replace his worn work clothing, but the young man still works without complaint.
When a year has passed and the house is finished, the cat finally tells Luke he can choose a horse to take back to his master. He picks a beautiful white stallion. The cat says she'll bring it to the mill in three day's time. Meanwhile, she gives him a meal and prepares him to return home.
Broke at 1:30 for lunch. Ran an episode of Sailor Moon while I ate. "Usagi's Awakening: A Message from the Distant Past" is part one of the three-part first season finale. Thanks to the Silver Crystal, the Guardians are flung back in time to the remains of the Moon Kingdom. Usagi's mother Queen Serenity explains that they were all once residents of the Moon Kingdom, a peaceful land that protected the Earth. When Queen Beryl and the dark energy known as Metallia incite the residents of Earth to attack the Moon, the kingdom is destroyed. Horrified, Serenity gave up her own life to send her daughter, her friends, Tuxedo Mask, and the cats into a happier time in the future. But Kunzite isn't finished with the Guardians just yet...
Did a quick Popeye short while I got ready for work. "Ancient Fistory" is a retelling of "Cinderella," with Bluto as a blacksmith and Popeye as his put-upon servant. Popeye's Fairy God-Pappy helps him get to the ball to court Princess Olive. Bluto competes with him in archery for Popeye's affections...but when midnight comes, it takes the magic of spinach to turn Popeye into a knight in shining tin-can armor.
Work was busy all afternoon. It's the beginning of the month, and the weather isn't supposed to be great for the next few days. While I did gather baskets and do the outside trash and put away returns for the last half-hour, I was mainly outside. The carts just kept disappearing. They were empty when I arrived. It started to shower lightly as early as 3. Thankfully, it didn't really pick up until about 5:30, by which time I was almost done with the carts anyway. I was lucky to make it home only a little damp. The rain got heavier around 7:30, and it's been pouring ever since.
They had pizza in the back room at work. Since I had an early dinner there, I went right into playing Lego Star Wars when I got home. Returned to The Phantom Menace to finish "Negotiations," "Retake Naboo Palace," and "Darth Maul," now that I had the Minikit Detector extra. It was a big help with the former two, finally helping me complete "Negotiations" and find all but one piece in "Retake." Still didn't have much luck with "Darth Maul"; couldn't get the last piece or find the red brick.
Finished out the night with Annie Hall after a shower. Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) does not have the best luck with women. His cynicism and neurotic behavior has already driven off two wives. Annie (Diane Keaton) is different. She's just as quirky and neurotic as he is, with her mannish clothing and experimenting with drugs. He actually enjoys being with her, even helping her get a job as a singer. They move in together, but they get on each other's nerves too much and ultimately break up. Alvy tries dating other women, but he ends up back with Annie after she calls him over to kill a spider. But all isn't as it was before, including in their sex life, and after a trip to California, they finally call it quits for good. After seeing her again in New York, Alvy finally admits that, while they couldn't make it work, he is still glad that he had Annie Hall in his life.
1977 was a good year for unique genre pictures. Annie Hall is one of the very few comedies to have won Best Picture...and as big of a Star Wars fan as I am, I think this one is just as deserving. Keaton also won an Oscar as the title character, and while Allen lost Best Actor, he did win Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
I will add that this is far from a typical romantic comedy. If you're not a fan of Woody Allen's brand of neurotic wisecracking or of films that are more talk than action, you're not going to be into this. If nothing else, you can spend a viewing counting all the cameos from famous faces, from Paul Simon to Jeff Golblum in a quick bit to Carol Kane as Alvy's first wife to Shelly Duvall as one of the women he dates after Annie leaves the first time.
Fans of Woody Allen and his movies or folks looking for a quirkier romantic comedy than most will really love this one.