Friday, May 19, 2017

Some Kind of Wonderful

It was still sunny and hot when I got up this morning. We wanted to leave a little earlier this time and beat the heat. Lauren was already up by 8:30. Put on a couple of Bugs Bunny shorts as I had breakfast and we got organized. "Baseball Bugs" takes over an entire team in order to put a passel of obnoxious stadium-sized players in their place. "Rabbit Seasoning" is second of three Bugs/Elmer/Daffy hunting cartoons. Bugs goes baton-to-banjo with an opera singer with no sense of humor (or fondness for hits from Warners musical movies) in "Long-Haired Hare." Bugs is a "High Diving Hare" when Yosemite Sam wants him to do the high-diving act in place of the original performer...but the clever bunny has many ways of wiggling out of it. Sam ends up being the one who's all wet.

Headed out around quarter of 10. Made a quick stop at WaWa for money and Gatorade to keep us hydrated on another hot, sizzling sunny day. We strolled as briskly as we could get away with in the heat. Made it to King's Highway in Audubon with ten minutes to spare. The bus to the Moorestown Mall was only a minute or two late. There was no problem getting there, no traffic anywhere on the route, and only four other people went all the way to the end with us.

Instead of starting in the mall and heading outside as we did last year, since we were already outside when we got off, we started with a walk around the sprawling East Gate Shopping Center. I noticed a Chick Fil'A as the bus was winding down the street. We were going in that direction anyway, so we ate there first.

We got in at quarter of 12, just missing the lunch crowds. Lauren had a chicken wrap with waffle fries and soda. I had a chicken club sandwich with the waffle fries and a frozen lemonade. The "frosty lemonade" was creamy and sweet, more like a lemon milkshake than a slush, and absolutely worth the extra money. We chatted and watched kids play in the playground in the front of the building.

Our main interests on that side of the street were Ross Dress for Less and Game Stop. Ross is more-or-less the same thing as TJ Maxx or Marshall's, a department store that sells recent high-end merchandise for a fraction of the cost. Lauren bought clothes for work. I found a cute turquoise blouse for $5.99.

Their Game Stop is a pretty good size for a shopping center store. Lauren bought a Nintendo Switch game, the first either of us have ever seen used. (The system was just released last month!) I bought Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings, an RPG that lets you play as Indy in an original story. It was only five dollars. For that price, I figured I'd give it a chance.

I always forget there's a free-standing Old Navy on the other side, in the same part of the mall as Michael's. We went there next. They're bigger than the one in Cherry Hill, and have a better selection, too. I found a short-sleeved tunic in a beautiful shade of red coral on clearance for $4.49. Lauren picked up a pair of shorts and two tank tops.

Hiked across the street to spend an hour or so at their enormous Barnes and Noble. While they're one of the few local stores that still sells CDs and DVDs, my main interest was more Star Wars novels. I ended up with Shadow Games, an older novel about Han and Dash Rendar of Shadows of the Empire working together to rescue a pop singer who has fled her marriage to a notorious gangster.

Hit the main mall for a few hours after we got out of Barnes and Noble. Lauren bought a few more blouses for work at Boscov's and a glass with her dad's favorite wrestler (the Ultimate Warrior) on it at FYE. I figured I'd spent enough and didn't buy anything at either place. Enjoyed water ices from Rita's. (I had coconut-pear. Lauren went with a cherry-chocolate Misto Shake.) We browsed in Hallmark, but neither of us saw anything interesting.

Took the 5:37 bus home. It was right on time, and there were once again no problems on the road. If anything, the traffic was worse on the White Horse Pike when we got off. We strolled the back roads home, enjoying the nice breeze, clouds, and slightly cooler temperatures.

(It was supposed to have rained a little today. Hasn't done it yet.)

After we got home and got organized, I made us dinner. I originally intended to coat the chicken tenders I pulled out this morning with some kind of breading and pan-fry them, but it was too late to mess around with it. Sauteed them in home-made turkey stock instead. With steamed asparagus and vegetable spiral pasta from the Acme, it made for a very filling meal after two long days of walking.

Finished out the night and the current Star Wars film series with The Force Awakens. (I'll hold off on the somewhat depressing Rogue One for now.) Rey (Daisy Ridley), a scavenger living on the desert planet Jakku, intercepts an adorable rolly-polly droid who has part of map leading to missing Jedi master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). She and former stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) manage to flee the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who also wants the droid...and run right into Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mahew). They've been looking for their stolen ship, the Millennium Falcon. Han's not thrilled about being in the thick of battle again, but he does it anyway for his wife Leia (Carrie Fisher), now the head of the Resistance. But Ren has a connection to Han and to Leia that could have dire consequences for Rey, her new friends, and the galaxy...

I don't have the problems with this that a lot of older fans do. I'm not bothered by how the original characters were written. They don't have to live perfect lives to be fascinating. I do wish the writing on the villains had been stronger. Kylo Ren comes off as a spoiled brat until his heart-rendering confrontation with Han on the Starkiller Base, and Hux and Phasma barely register (despite the former's considerable female fan base).

And while I'm also not someone who thinks this is a total re-write of New Hope...the Starkiller Base finale was not necessary. Han and Ren could have met anywhere and been just as dramatic. They definitely need to stay away from planet-destroying weapons for the remainder of this series.

I still recommend this for major Star Wars fans, as long as they're open to a different take on a galaxy far, far away.

Tomorrow, we're going to hit the Collingswood Farm Market and explore Haddon Avenue in the morning, then spend the afternoon at home. Jess and Joe invited us to go to a local wrestling tournament in the evening.

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