Saturday, March 21, 2015

Puddles, Puddles Everywhere

Started off a far nicer and sunnier day with spring-themed shorts. "Birds In the Spring" is just what the title implies, a Silly Symphony about a baby bird who falls out of the nest and has a close encounter with a snake and bees, among other creatures. "The Goddess of Spring" is a retelling of the myth of Persephone and Hades done as a full-blown mini opera (and a practice run for Snow White). Donald Duck may have "The Greener Yard," but as the little beetle who wants to make a snack of his flowers discovers, it holds many perils, including the bad-tempered duck himself.

I had another fairly early work day, but at least it was also a short work day, only four hours. It was busy the entire time. The beautiful day must have brought people out of the woodwork. I was thrilled when my relief, one of the college boys, showed up and I was able to get out on time.

After I got home, I messed around online and did classwork for an hour. I edited the essay, took a look at Writer's Market for a good magazine I'd send it to if I was so inclined (Adventure Cyclist), and posted it. The next assignment involves writing a fiction story about someone we admire. I have some ideas, but it's supposed to be a short story, and I could probably do it fairly quickly on Monday or Tuesday.

Besides, it was too nice to spend most of the rest of the evening indoors. I went for a nice walk down by the school around 4:30. It was as perfect a spring day as one could wish for. The snow was melting rapidly, creating puddles that were ankle-deep in some places. I wore my winter boots and did a lot of jumping and splashing. One puddle I jumped into was so deep, it sloshed into my left boot, making it very soggy. Both boots were soaked when I got home, but I had more fun than I've had in ages.

I wasn't the only one outside enjoying the day, either. Whole families were out riding bikes. Kids played catch or basketball. One toddler tried to run through the snow in her little pastel rubber boots. She was too cute, stomping around. Adults chatted on porches or in their front yards. Older kids hung around in front of Phillies Phatties, Studio LuLoo, and Common Grounds on West Clinton and chatted, their bikes temporarily abandoned against the storefronts.

When I got home, I put up the remaining Easter decorations, mainly cardboard hangings and posters. I ran out of tape earlier in the week. After I finished, I made leftover chicken for dinner with sauteed escarole, spinach, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes in lemon sauce.

Ran the very, very bizarre Felix the Cat: The Movie as I ate. Felix and finds himself and his Magic Bag of Tricks in the strange fantasy world of Oriana. The Duke of Zill is determined to have Oriana and its beautiful princess for himself. Meanwhile, Felix's 50's nemesis the Professor and his nephew Poindexter follow him, hoping to get gold and the Magic Bag of Tricks. The Duke has created an army of robotic cylinders that obey his every command. Felix and the others have to dodge the Duke's army and a strange circus in order to find the book that will save the land!

Hoooo boy. This is just about the strangest animated film I've ever seen that was intended for kids. Felix and his 20's by way of the 50's design do not fit in with 80's high fantasy and Transformers-esque technology. It feels like the animators had a movie about a princess in a fantasy world and a movie about Felix and threw them together for no reason. The ending in particular is rushed to the point of being non-existent.

To give the movie a little credit, there's a few things I do like. The creature designs are amazing. Some of the monsters seen in this movie are very detailed and creative. The backdrops are detailed and well-done, especially as they're traveling through Zill. And for all his lack of reason for hating his brother's daughter (it's never stated why he's banished), the Duke of Zill is very well-animated and looks like something from one of the better 80's boys cartoons. It may feel meandering, but at least up until the truncated finale, it is action-packed and fun to follow.

Like Happily Ever After last week, this is another movie that was started in the late 80's and not released until the early 90's. In fact, they made the mistake of releasing it at the same time as Beauty and the Beast. Needless to say, it was not a hit, and in fact is extremely hard to find today. (My copy is an imported DVD I found at a yard sale.) If you enjoy unique or unusual animation or are a huge Felix the Cat fan, I sort-of recommend this one despite all the strangeness. It's absolutely not for everyone, but it does have its fans, if you can handle the weirdness.

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