Monday, April 17, 2017

Little April Showers

Began the morning with my first of two early work days in a row. I headed to work in a light shower, which may be why we were fairly quiet throughout the morning. I got two carts of returns done in the morning, then finished the last of them after lunch. I just wish they hadn't insisted on sending me out to do carts 10 minutes before break. Thankfully, another bagger finally arrived and took over for me. Spent an hour outside later in the afternoon. By that point, the rain had stopped altogether, although it was still damp, cloudy, and warm, probably in the lower-mid 70's.

It was still cloudy and damp when I headed home. I didn't trust the weather, so I just went straight there. As soon as I got in, I changed, had lunch, and then took down the Easter decorations. I don't know why I was in so much of a hurry. I didn't exactly have much else planned for this afternoon. Every time I thought I'd gotten everything, I'd see two more things I'd forgotten.

Ran two episodes of Rick Steves' Europe while I worked. Rick explored the many facets of Paris in two intriguing episodes. The first focused on fine art in the Louvre and the daily life of its citizens. The second took more of a historical angle as Rick visited the catacombs, Notre Dame Cathedral, and several former mansions.

Switched to records as I did a few things around the apartment that I'd put off doing over the weekend. I put away the rest of my birthday presents. I don't think the socks I usually buy at JCPenney's are sold online. I'll use the ones I got for my birthday for now, but they're thin and aren't going to last. I'll try to get some thicker pairs when Lauren and I hit the malls next month. I changed the summer sheet for the one I bought on Friday. Even though it was listed as a twin, it was still pretty big, more than big enough to fit on my narrow mattress. Found a bag for the action figure I'm going to give Lauren next month, but not for Khai's birthday present for Wednesday. I'll see if I can find a bag or better paper tomorrow or Wednesday morning. Finally loaded the new ink into the printer and put away my bank statements for the past few months.

Did some writing for the next few hours. Leia's visitors are Henry Solo and Luke Skywalker. Luke hurries to Leia to make sure she's ok the moment she arrives. Henry's more amused than anything. They've come to invite her out on a picnic and a row on the river. Leia agrees. She wants to keep an eye on them. They claim they know nothing about the mess at the fair grounds, but Leia has her suspicions...

Broke for dinner and a ride around 6. It had turned into an absolutely gorgeous spring day. The clouds and humidity had given way to sunshine, soft breezes, and warm temperatures. Took a quick peek at the House of Fun (didn't buy anything) before going a block down to Capitol Pizza for dinner. Took my slice of cheese, slice of mushroom, and can of Diet Pepsi out to the metal tables on the sidewalk, ignoring the news blaring inside.

Went for a short ride after I finished dinner. I was far from the only one. I passed by people in twos and threes on bikes, looking at the scenery like me. The neighborhood is really blooming now, all pale greens, soft pinks, and off whites. The daffodils and hyacinths are on their last legs, but the tulips are out, and I can see more coming. Kids played catch in their yards while adults chatted on the porches or sidewalks.

Passed Charlie watering his yard on my way in. I've seen a huge mouse on the music area side of the living room the last few nights. I have no idea what he was doing there. Maybe he got lost looking for the kitchen. At any rate, he had to go. Charlie didn't see it - his dogs eat any mice he might get - but he agreed to set traps anyway.

There was an envelope waiting for me in the mail when I came back from dinner. Got my last birthday gift from Lauren and her folks. They gave me 20 dollars and a cute cupcake-themed card.

Played Kirby's Epic Yarn for an hour after I got settled. It took me six tries, but I finally got the last two rounds for Space Land. The first one, which had you play the tank in an area without gravity, was really hard. The tank can be hard to navigate when gravity is at a normal level. I loved the last round, a Galaxia-style shoot-the-critters game. In fact, I had so much fun with the round, I did it again to get the one item I missed the first time.

(And Charlie did come upstairs while I was playing to set the non-harmful type of traps. I did see a mouse earlier, but I don't think anything's gotten in there yet. Maybe Charlie's dogs ate them after all.)

Ended the night after a shower with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Set a few weeks before A New Hope, we follow Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), an independent young woman who has been living on her own ever since her mother was killed by the Empire and her father Galen (Mads Mikkelson) back into their service. The Empire wants him to build a super weapon, a Death Star that'll destroy whole planets. Jyn's brought to the Rebellion by Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), a devoted member of the group. They eventually assemble a team that includes Chirrut, a blind monk warrior (Donnie Yen), his guardsman friend Baze (Jiang Wen), former Imperial pilot-turned-rebel Bodhi (Riz Ahmed), and extremely sarcastic reprogrammed Imperial droid K2 (voice of Allan Tudyck). This unlikely group has to get the plans for the Death Star to the Rebellion, before Darth Vader's big new toy causes major damage...or worse.

If you've been wanting to see a Star Wars movie with more emphasis on action and characterization and less on mystical Jedi and Force talk, have I got the story for you. This one really puts the "war" in Star Wars, with lots of battles and explosions and death. I loved the rough-and-ready characters, especially Chirrut, the spiritual monk who firmly believes in the Force and all it stands for, and K2, the galaxy's saltiest droid. The grimy, down-to-Earth (so to speak) aesthetics of Jedha and Scarif were quite different than anything previously seen in the series, and very welcome after the mild twice-told feeling of Force Awakens.

Big warning that this is very dark for a Star Wars movie. Pretty much the entire main cast doesn't make it out alive, not even K2. It's probably the darkest and most violent movie in the entire series outside of Revenge of the Sith. Not a ton of humor either, other than K2's commentary. The plot tends to be murky, especially in the first half.

Families with younger kids may want to wait on The Last Jedi or check out the Rebels cartoons instead. If you have young teens on up who can handle the violence, this is a very different and tougher Star Wars movie that is well worth your time.

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