Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Lost In Cherry Hill

It was still sunny when I got up this morning. I had breakfast while finishing Elena of Avalor. The young princess learns a typical lesson about not judging by appearances in "All Heated Up." Villagers claim a rock lava monster chased their children and stole their rocks. Turns out the "monster" is really friendly...but when upset, the volcano he lives on blows its top. Elena befriends him...but her cousin Esteban sends guards after him. The creature is angry enough to make the volcano boil over. Elena has to find a way to save her people and regain the creature's trust.

It's Esteban's birthday. To distract him from a surprise party, Elena and Marco the young wizard take Esteban to the "Fountain of Youth," an island with a spring that can make anyone young again. Esteban is feeling his age and hopes the water will help him regain his youth. In his greed, he drinks too much. Elena and Marco find themselves chasing an Esteban who is growing increasingly younger, all while trying to escape the island before it disappears.

Threw on a Disney cartoon while I got ready to head out. "The Galloping Gaucho" was the second Mickey Mouse made and the second released. The first "Mickey rescues Minnie from Pete" short has Mickey as a cheeky, cigarette-smoking gaucho who first admirers a shimmying Minnie in a bar. Trouble is, so does Pete. The little mouse has trouble pursuing him when his drunk ostrich just won't stand upright.

Stopped at WaWa for a chilled mocha cappuccino. then headed to the White Horse Pike to pick up the bus. For once, it was on time. There were no problems on the road whatsoever, not even traffic. I got off at the Garden State Pavilion, home of the Cherry Hill train station, the big Shop Rite, and where Jo Ann's moved after they left Westmont.

Most of Camden County's government buildings are in the large series of 50's-60's buildings in the area between the Pavilion and the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels, the Executive Campuses. Trouble is, all those glass and tan cinder block buildings look alike, even with numbers on them. I'd forgotten to check which number the DMV was in. The few signs are also fairly small, and often don't indicate what is in which building. The clouds temporarily took a leave of absence at this point as well. It was warm and way too humid for early March. I finally got directions...and discovered, to my annoyance, that the DMV was the first building you saw when the bus turns off the highway.

It was 1;30 when I finally found the DMV, a large glass-and-steel monolith. The lines were long, but they moved fairly fast. After I took a minute to explain that I wanted a non-driver's ID, not a driver's license, it took me 20 minutes to sign the necessary papers and get my picture taken. (My previous ID was so old, the address was for my parents' home in North Cape May. They haven't lived there in over a decade.)

My original plan was to have pizza at Famous King of Pizza and walk around the Garden State Pavilion. I was too worn out from my earlier hike to even attempt it. Besides, the clouds had returned, and it was now chilly and windy. I just took the bus straight home, stopping at WaWa for a turkey hoagie and to ask if they'd seen my iPod, which wasn't in my purse. (Turns out I left it at home.)

Did another episode of Rick Steves while enjoying my hoagie for a late lunch. The Rhine and Mosel Rivers in Germany are not only some of the busiest commercial shipping lanes in Europe. They're also popular with tourists, who admire their romantic medieval castles and lovely, mostly intact old towns.

Worked a little on writing for a few hours. Wedge, Mon Mothma's yacht driver and a very good friend of Luke's, is among the men Baron Vader captures. He says they're being taken to the Lothal jails and will be questioned the next day. Luke and Han arrive just in time to hear their announcement. Luke is devastated. Han offers to take Leia to the artist's festival at Lothal the next day. They end up arguing over his taking Vader and Tarkin as clients and whether or not he should be doing more to help the country.

Willa showed up around quarter after 6. She wanted me to sign the papers. I told her we had to wait for Rose and her letter, but she didn't want to wait. She would cut the rent down to 600, but otherwise didn't care about lawyers and letters. I signed it, just to make her happy, but I'm pretty sure you can't do that. I called Rose 20 minutes later, and I still intend to give her the letter when Rose does finally finish it.

I really wasn't up to writing after that. I tried for another 20 minutes, then broke around quarter of 7 for leftover bean casserole for dinner. Watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire while I ate. Harry (Daniel Ratcliffe) no sooner recovers from a disastrous trip to the Quiddich World Cup with the Weasley family than he discovers that Hogwarts is hosting the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Despite being underage, he ends up in the tournament anyway, along with students from the Bulgarian and French wizarding schools and popular older Hogwarts student Cedric Diggory. He has to navigate his way through three frightening tests...and the even scarier world of hormones. He has a crush on pretty Cho, but no idea how to tell her. Meanwhile, Ron and Hermoine each have crushes on the French and Bulgarian champions, and maybe even each other. But there's a group trying to bring back the worst villain the wizarding world ever knew, and they might be closer to their goal than any of the kids or their teachers can imagine.

I didn't like this one quite as much as the previous Azbekstan, but it's still better than the earlier entries. I wish they hadn't rushed so much, especially early on. It feels like one minute, Ron and Harry are fighting, and the next, they're friends again. Also, it's at this point where things start getting really dark. A student dies, there's a lot of violence and dark imagery, and the villain is pretty darn freaky-looking when he does appear.

This is one franchise where you absolutely must start at the beginning - or at least, the last movie or the book series - to have any idea of what's going on. If you've seen at least Azbekstan, proceed right to this one or the book. If you haven't, you'll need to see or read that one or the earlier ones for this to make much sense.

Oh, and it did finally rain, not long after I got home. Thankfully, I don't think it's rained since. There may be some snow on Friday, but I doubt it'll stick to much. It's supposed to go right back to the 50's and 60's by early next week.

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