Friday, April 28, 2017

Spring Into Summer

Kicked off a beautiful, sunny spring day with the end of Neverwhere (which was weird as heck, but pretty good) and a couple of Arbor Day-themed stories and poems from Colliers Harvest of Holidays. The first involved a little old shoe maker who enjoys admiring a tree in the park across from his shop. When the tree is to be cut down, he goes straight to the mayor. The head of the town doesn't want to listen at first...until he complains that his shoes hurt. The shorter story was simply an old man explaining to a nobleman how important planting trees is.

Ran It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown as I ate breakfast. Mr. Plum and the little old man aren't the only ones who know how important trees are. Sally's been learning about Arbor Day in school and now wants to plant trees of her own. The others agree to help her, but Charlie Brown gets a major shock when it turns out that their garden ended up on the baseball field! He's less upset when it looks like the superfluous flora might actually help them win a game.

Spent the rest of the morning working on writing. Henry watches Luke and Leia practice their fencing. Not only do their styles resemble that of the Jedi (and Sir Kenton and Ahsoka), but they themselves are very much alike. They seem to anticipate each other's every move. Henry won't admit it, but he's a tad bit jealous of how easily Luke gets along with Leia, whom he's starting to fall rather hard for. He invites Leia and her aunt along with them to the Royal Regatta in a few days. She accepts, not only to keep an eye on them, but because she may be starting to have feelings for Henry, too...

Broke around 12:30 for lunch. Did a quick episode of The Backyardigans while I ate and got organized. Uniqua and Tyrone are a pair of galactic police officers in "Cops and Robots" who are after "bad bots" Tasha and Pablo. If they get to the robot factory, they'll turn all the robots in the galaxy bad!

Headed out to run errands as soon as the episode ended. First stop was at the Oaklyn Library. They were relatively busy for such a gorgeous day, with several people reading or on the computer. A family showed up as I was working on the kids' DVDs. Glanced over the adult DVD titles, then shelved books in the kids' area.

It was a glorious afternoon for a ride in Newton Lake Park. The sky was blue, the breeze was cool but not cold, and it was the warmest day yet, into the lower 80's at quarter of 2. I'm actually surprised the park wasn't busier. I mostly saw Canadian geese and ducks, along with a few joggers and fishermen. The park's really beautiful now. The leaves get bigger every time I see them.

The Haddon Township Library wasn't nearly as busy as Oaklyn was when I arrived. I shelved some audio books and non-fiction DVDs and organized the fiction titles, but there wasn't much to do. There weren't even any new releases on the cart.

It took me forever to choose them, but I did take out movies and books this week. I think I might have seen the Fleischer Brothers' Gulliver's Travels as a kid, but it hasn't turned up anywhere but public domain DVDs in years. Kubo and the Two Strings is said to be excellent - it was one of this year's Oscar-nominated animated films. Thought I'd try another film series after having fun with Harry Potter. Star Trek: The Motion Picture isn't highly regarded by fans, but a woman has to start somewhere. Also grabbed the cult 70's sci-fi favorite Westworld. Found an older, non-Amelia Peabody Elizabeth Peters novel I hadn't read, The Love Talker, along with a modern pirate adventure story, We are Pirates. Also grabbed two books on crocheting for beginners and with one skein of yarn.

By the time I finally made it out, it was past 4. I dodged heavy rush-hour traffic on Haddon Avenue and Cuthbert Road to the green field next to what's now Planet Fitness, where Studio LuLoo's CD release party was being held. I hadn't seen on Sarah's busy poster that it was running from 4 to 9. That was too late for me to catch the whole show, but I did see some of the kids sing along with "Can't Fight This Feeling" and "Let It Go."

It was nearly 5 when I rolled into Oaklyn. Phillies Yummies finally opened today. I celebrated Arbor Day, their opening, and the nice weather with a Pina Colada Yum Yum (a creamier, grittier water ice). Had a quick slice of bacon and sweet corn quiche and a Deb's Spicy-Sweet Iced Tea from Common Grounds Coffee House for dinner on their metal tables outside. Enjoyed listening to the band playing on the veranda at the Oaklyn Manor Bar while watching locals go by with their frozen treats.

Finished out the night crocheting while watching Gulliver's Travels. This very loose adaptation of the first half of the famous book has Gulliver washing ashore after a storm wrecks his ship. Turns out he's in Lilliputa, a land of tiny people, including annoying Gabby. The king of the land is about to go to war with the king of a neighboring country over which song to play at the prince and princess' wedding. Gulliver does his best to stop the war, while reuniting the prince and princess.

A lot of animation fans have praised this one, especially the rotoscoped Gulliver, lush backgrounds, a couple of nice gags, and some decent tunes. "Faithful Forever," the combined version of the songs that started all the fuss, was nominated for an Oscar. Gulliver's number as he laments being unable to return home is also lovely.

I just wish they'd figured out a way for it to work together in a cohesive whole. The realistic prince, princess, and Gulliver clash with the cartoony Lilliputians. Gabby and his shrill, high-pitched voice are annoying as heck. (Someone at the Fleischers' studio liked him a lot more than I did. He got his own short-lived spin-off series.) A couple of comic spies don't come off much better. The plot is utterly ridiculous, too. Even Gulliver calls them out for it. It's also just barely an adaptation, lacking the savage wit of the original story. (And actually lacking most of the original story - Gulliver went on a lot more travels after this.)

If you're a fan of classic cartoons, animation history, or the Fleischers' work, or you have young children who won't mind the plot problems and may enjoy the gags and music, this is worth seeing at least once.

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