Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Spring Before the Snow

Got a lot of small chores and cleaning up done around the apartment this morning. First on the agenda was putting up the spring and St. Patrick's Day decorations. Even with the cold weather that's coming later this week, it still doesn't feel like winter anymore, and hasn't for weeks.

As I was hauling the plastic bin with the winter decorations in the back room, I happened to notice the pints I saved from the Talenti and Open Nature (Acme's generic natural brand) gelatis and ice creams last summer sitting on another bin. I've been trying to think of something to do with them for months. I then saw the half-full contain of cotton swabs that wouldn't fit in the glass jar I kept them in and wondered if they'd all make it into one of the ice cream pints. They fit quite nicely. It worked so well, I ended up reorganizing the bin with the first aid items, loading gauze pads and large bandages I picked up from the Acme's huge clearance sales last fall into pint containers.

Ended up going through the shelves and my dresser to see what else they could be used for. Travel-sized toiletries fit into one container, Jewelry fit in another. Random makeup and at least six unused tubes of variations of Chapstick went in a third. I was able to clear out and completely reorganize the narrow wooden crate I use to hold everyday toiletries like deodorant and hand lotion. It looks much better now, far less cluttered.

Ran the 1943 version of The Desert Song as I worked. World War II is worked into this retelling of the romantic 20's operetta. Here, El Khobar (Dennis Morgan) and the Riff tribes are fighting against the tribes being used as virtual slaves to build a Nazi-funded railroad in their territory. Margot (Irene Manning) is a singer who is being courted by a French captain and handsome pianist Paul (Morgan). The goofy, whiny reporter comic relief is replaced by an older, far more seasoned, and perpetually drunk journalist who rooms with Paul but has no idea where he goes for extended periods.

Of the three versions of this show currently available to the general public (the 1929 version is around, but not easy to find), this is my favorite. While the music is downplayed in favor of standard action, it actually works pretty well, and Morgan makes a charismatic Riff leader.

Got my books together and my shoes on while listening to records. Finally headed out around 1. First on the agenda was lunch. Friendly's is still having that Comb-Ohh! $9.99 for a meal and ice cream special. I had an Apple Chicken Walnut Salad for lunch. Not bad. I wish they used heartier greens than iceberg and romaine lettuce. Otherwise, lots of big grilled chicken pieces, and a ton of blue cheese. Dessert was a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream topped with hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry.

The Haddon Township Library was just getting busy when I arrived. Though I did shelve some audio books, I spent most of the hour I was there reorganizing DVDs. I knew they weren't going to stay alphabetical for very long. The A through Ls in particular were a mess.

Took out quite a few DVDs today. I continued my weekly Harry Potter marathon with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and found the Oscar-nominated Meryl Streep vehicle Florence Foster Jenkins. Dug up a bunch of new kids' discs as well - the pilot movie for Elena of Avalor, a new set for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and the most recent Barbie movie, Barbie: Video Game Hero. Also grabbed two books, a mystery about a 30's radio station, The Darkness Knows, and the young adult fairy tale retelling Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow.

Rode straight home to work on some writing. I'm still re-writing the beginning to place more emphasis on the airships Han and Vader are both working on. Tarkin has now invited them to see the Death Star Airship launched at the Lothal Village Fair. Leia, her aunt and uncle, and Mon Mothma are taken to Lothal in a different yacht, this one owned by a dark-skinned woman with green-tipped black braids, Captain Hera Sylendulla, and her strange crew.

Had corn meal mush and a banana for dinner, then baked Chocolate Chip Muffins (adapted from Alton Brown's Old School Muffins recipe). Finished the night with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Harry gets into trouble over the summer for using magic to defend himself against Dementors, the soul-sucking creatures that guard Azbekstan prison. Dumbledore and his Order of the Phoenix manages to get him out of it, but the Ministry of Magic, the government agency that is in charge of the wizarding world, isn't pleased. They send Dolores Umbrage (Imelda Staunton) to be the new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher. Under her soft and pink facade beats the heart of the nastiest villain ever to set foot in Hogwarts. She proceeds to take over the school, creating far stricter rules and refusing to teach the kids real magic. Harry recruits students to learn magic in secret. Meanwhile, no amount of denial by the Ministry can stop Voldemort from attacking Harry in dreams. He's after something....and only Harry knows what.

A marked improvement on Goblet of Fire, this still has problems with a huge book being stuffed into a two-hour movie (Cho turns on them way too quickly, for starters), but it's not quite as obvious. Umbrage may actually be my favorite character here, the only villain in this series you truly love to hate. She's proof positive that one doesn't have to look like Voldemort to strike terror into hearts...which makes her comeuppances later all the more rewarding.

Once again, you really need to see the previous films or have read the books, especially Azbekstan and Goblet of Fire, to understand the plot here. If you're already a fan, grab a broom and fly on in - this is one of the best movies in the series.

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