Friday, February 20, 2015

Deep Freeze

Brrr! It was barely in the teens when I headed off to work this morning. Despite the cold, work was much busier than it was yesterday. Not only are we getting closer to the beginning of the month, but we're supposed to get snow and rain again tomorrow night. At press time, the National Weather Service is saying 2 to 4 inches tomorrow evening, then a ton of rain. As long as the precipitation isn't heavy when I'm going home from work, it can do whatever it wants. The rain and warmer weather should get rid of most of the remaining snow. After that, it sounds like it'll be cold, but not as bad as this week.

I'm not entirely happy with next week's schedule. In good news, nothing later than 4 PM, and three days off in a row, from Monday through Wednesday. The trouble is, I only got 17 hours. Hopefully, they'll go up fast once we get into spring holidays and events.

I ran into Jessa while grocery shopping. She had a small red basket and was doing a little shopping of her own. She's fine - she seems to mostly be hanging out with her boyfriend Joe and his family lately, when she's not working as a clerk at a local Macy's. She did tell me that Dad's back is the problem. He can barely sit some days, not a good thing with all the sitting in front of laptops he and Jodie do. (Which might explain where the problem is coming from.) The heat is still not working in his kitchen, too. I'm hoping to get over there on one of my days off next week to finally give them their Valentine's Day card and say "hi." I wanted to visit them on Valentine's Day, but it got way too crazy.

Didn't have quite as much to buy this week as I did last week, but I did need some things. The Acme's having a "use your spare change" sale, with some items at 50 cents, 75 cents, or a dollar (and even a few small "treat" items at a quarter). I found their 8 ounce cans of peaches and fruit cocktail for 75 cents - bought two each. A lot of it was restocking - crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges, sugar, apples, grapefruit, bananas, fish fillet packs, mouthwash (just grabbed Acme's generic version of Listerine), sponges, Skippy natural chunky peanut butter (on sale for two dollars), and sandwich bags, Quaker cereal was still on a pretty good sale. This time, I went with my favorite, Oatmeal Squares, in the cinnamon flavor. Found a package of pre-cut vegetables to make stir fry for dinner.

As soon as I got home, I changed into regular clothes. Ran two Sailor Moon first season episodes as I put everything away. Marcia and Paul aren't the only star-crossed lovers in my DVD collection. In "Crystal Clear Destiny," Serena follows Darien when he has a showdown with nasty Zoycite. The two end up discovering more about each other than they could ever imagine...including that they were once forbidden lovers. Serena's "A Reluctant Princess" after Darien is kidnapped by the Negaverse. The other Sailor Soldiers give her the confidence she needs to fight off Zoycite's incensed lover Malachite.

I was still in the mood for musicals, but I decided I wanted something a little less dramatic. I returned to the Edwardian era for the 1968 comic fantasy Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as I made my Chicken Stir Fry. The title vehicle was once a prize-winning race car whose career ended up in flames. Chitty is rescued from the scrap heap by eccentric inventor Caraculous Potts (Dick Van Dyke), his two children, and his equally eccentric father (Lionel Jeffries). When she's finally fixed, he takes his children to the seaside. They're joined by the lovely Truly Scrumptious (Sally Ann Howes). There, Potts spins a fantastic tale of how the evil Baron Bombhurst and his wife (Gert Frobe and Anna Quayle) desperately want a flying motorcar and first kidnap Grandpa when they mistake him for his son, then go after Chitty and her new owners.

Would you believe Ian Fleming (author of the James Bond series) wrote the book this is originally based on? I've read it, and while it's not bad, I thought this was a lot more fun. Roald Dahl (of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame) did the script...and yeah, it sounds like a lot of his books, especially in the second half in Vulgaria. Baron Bombhurst is an obnoxious man child who keeps trying to kill his wife, exiles all children, and insists that the local toymaker (Benny Hill) make toys for him alone. The Sherman Brothers' music is lovely, especially the sweet lullabye "Hushabye Mountain."

My major complaint is, once again, length. This is one of the epic musicals that popped up during the late 60's-early 70's, and it's really much too long for a family-oriented fantasy musical. Younger kids may need two sittings to take it all in. The tone shifts from light-hearted comedy to darker comedy once we get to Vulgaria, and it's a more than a little strange.

I grew up watching this on TV and on home video in the late 80's and early 90's and have always loved it, especially the music. If you enjoy other fantasy musicals like Mary Poppins or are a fan of the cast, the movie is pretty easy to find on DVD and Blu-Ray and is highly recommended.

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