Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Whole Tooth, and Nothing But the Tooth

It was still gloomy and cold when I got up this morning. Brightened my day a bit with more of The Cat in the Hat. It's too cold for Nick and Sally to play outside. The Cat takes them to visit with Lars and his family to see how they keep warm in the tundra in "Little Lemmings." They take a fantastic voyage inside Thing 2 to show how their hearts "Keep the Beat." Clarence the cricket teaches them how to play like he does in "Name That Sound."

Hurried out to the Westmont Plaza as soon as "Name That Sound" ended for my dentist appointment. I just made it. I only had one of the three broken teeth out today, the back right one. I only have the money for one removal at the moment (they cost 25 each with my insurance), and I figured the back one would take the least time and still allow me to eat. I was right. It took them less than 10 minutes to remove the broken tooth. I was out again before 10:30.

Since it's across the way, next stop was the Haddon Township Library. Considering they'd only been open for about a half-hour at that point, their DVD return cart was overflowing. Either it was much busier right when they opened, there were a lot of DVDs in the return box this morning, or the majority of them were ones they never shelved yesterday. At any rate, I spent an hour getting them all organized.

Took out a few more movies this week. I wasn't crazy about the first Blade Runner, but so many people gave high marks to Blade Runner 2049, I figured I'd give it a chance. Finally found Almost Famous, which I'd wanted to see for a while. They also had a new My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic set that was themed around spring events and a half-hour Lego Jurassic World special, The Indominus Escape.

Dodged lunch-hour traffic on Cuthbert as I headed over to Oaklyn. It spit a little bit when I was out there, but never really rained. I got to the Oaklyn Library perfectly dry. They were a lot busier than usual, with several older folks on the computer, another man reading, and a dad and his upset child trying to find movies. I organized DVDs and took a look at the picture books. Took out Black Panther, Maze Runner: Death Cure, and another Clone Wars set, this for the original 2-D animated series.

Headed to the Acme next to pick up my prescription for stronger ibuprofen than you can find over the counter. The pharmacist on duty said she'd need a half-hour to get it ready, so I checked out a display of books on clearance, went to the bathroom, and considered getting a drink before I realized it was late and I didn't really have the money for extras. I just took my prescription when it was ready and went home.

Finally had lunch while watching The Indominus Escape. The Indominus Rex is a new, dangerous hybrid dinosaur that Claire encouraged the creation of. Owen's not so sure about this, especially when it learns that the Indominus will only eat hot dogs. The creature gets loose and chases any hot dog it can find, including one poor guy in a costume. Meanwhile, Owen and Claire have to figure out how to get it where it belongs.

I honestly liked "Employee Safety Video" better. Claire hires a Hollywood director to a film a safety video for new recruits. The director thinks he's brilliant, but everything that can go wrong, does, usually to his poor yes-man.

(Evidently, these started as a series of online shorts at LEGO and Jurassic World's YouTube channels, and...yeah, you're probably better off watching them there. There's no reason to buy this set unless you're a huge fan of Jurassic World.)

Went with Lego Indiana Jones after lunch. Got through "Castle Escape" and "Trouble in the Sky" today. "Castle Escape" was far longer and more difficult than "Trouble In the Sky." I found all but one piece on the latter and got True Adventurer and the parcels for both, but I missed two pieces on "Escape."

Worked on writing for a little while next. Leia, Lando, and Wedge follow a parade of dancing peasant girls in brightly embroidered costumes, carrying flower rings. Lando explains that this is a fertility ritual, intended to bring good crops and many marriages in the coming year. It ends at Solo Castle, where Ahsoka shows off her mind-reading skills. She reads Leia's mind before telling her that there's a secret entrance in the side of the castle. Wedge will take her there.

Broke at quarter after 6 for dinner. Watched two My Little Pony episodes while eating and making Strawberry Chocolate Bars (strawberry cake mix made into a butter crust, topped with strawberry jam, sliced strawberries, and chocolate chips). "The Ticket Master" is the second episode of the series. Princess Celestia has sent two tickets to the Grand Galloping Gala to Twilight Sparkle. All of her friends do her special favors to get her to let them go, putting a great deal of pressure on her. She figures she'll give them back...but Celestia has a surprise in store.

Spike takes care of the Mane Five's pets in order to earn jewels for a cake he's making in "Just for Sidekicks." He discovers how hard it is to care for pets when he tries to dump them on the Cutie Mark Crusaders and ends up watching them too, and then Fluttershy's bunny Angel runs away.

Took a bath for an hour after finally pulling the Chocolate Strawberry Bars out of the oven. Ahh. After a rather long month, I really needed the soak. Looked at old Wilton cake books and listened to my new George Shearing Quintet CD.

Finished the night with Black Panther after I got out of the bath. This movie takes the "superhero secret identity" thing to a new level by having a whole country with a secret identity. Wakanda may look like an African third-world country, but it's really an advanced city made from the space metal vibranium. T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) becomes the king of Wakanda and the new Black Panther, protector of the country, after the death of his father. He's challenged in the role first by Jabari Tribe leader M'Baku (Winston Duke) and then by Erik "Killmonger" Stevens (Michael B. Jordan), who had been abandoned in California when his father was killed by T'Challa's father. Killmonger's father was going to sell vibranium to people who would fight to release Africans around the world from oppression. He manages to badly wound T'Challa in their challenge. With the help of his mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett), his brilliant scientist sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), his ex-girlfriend Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), and warrior Okoye (Danai Gurira) of the all-woman Dora Milaje tribe, T'Challa is able to return to his rightful throne and prove that Wakanda can find a place for itself in the 21st century without bloodshed.

As good as Boseman and Jordan are as the king and the wanna-be ruler, it's the ladies who walk off with the film. T'Challa's lucky to be surrounded by some truly wonderful women. I especially loved Gurira as the strong-willed and devoted warrior and Wright as the adorable and brilliant teenager who drives her brother crazy, even as she's creating gadgets for him. Also check out the amazing set and costume design for Wakanda that managed to be both fanciful and respectful of African heritage and tradition.

This is another character I'd only vaguely heard of before Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and Captain America: Civil War...and another I'm very glad I learned more about. No wonder this broke box office records in February, a month not known for its strong movie releases, and has become a touchstone with black audiences in particular. This is by far one of the better entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and certainly one of the best solo films. If you're a fan of the cast, the character, Marvel, or want to see a truly unique and diverse superhero film, this is one you absolutely must check out.

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