Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Warmth of the Sun

Lauren and I were so tuckered out from our long day yesterday (she traveled for 8 hours; I did a lot of running around, including a bike ride that was over 30 minutes both ways), we went to bed relatively early. I was up at 7:30. Wrote in my journal and read The Sword and the Shadow, then messed with my phone until Lauren awoke.

Put on an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures while I had breakfast. (Lauren doesn't like to eat in the morning.) Plucky wins a tour of Europe in "Europe In 30 Minutes" and brings the bunnies and Hampton along. They're not impressed at first when the tour moves too fast for them to see much of anything, at least until they end up in England and discover a plot to kidnap the royal family and ransom them for the crown jewels!

We headed out on foot around 10. It turned out to be too early. We were going to do The House of Fun first, but they don't open until 11. We visited a small spiritual books and oils shop first, then Dollar General. It was hot even that early, 78 according to the digital sign at Oaklyn's city hall. At the very least, there was a nice breeze, and it wasn't terribly humid. We stopped at the hillside overlooking Newton Lake Park (formerly the home of an abandoned Burger King) and the parking lot of the empty former PNC bank building before Lauren saw someone open the House of Fun.

The House of Fun was the usual dusty jumble of pop culture debris and arcade games (not turned on today, probably because they just opened). We both made finds here. Lauren dug through a bin and came up with four loose wrestling action figures from the 80's, including one representing her favorite, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. I bought the 1998 Power of the Force 12-inch Luke to join the Han, Leia, and Lando I got here in December and February.

It was nearly noon when we finally made it out. There was a big crowd standing around the door to The House of Fun's next-door neighbor Comicrypt, consisting mainly of twentysomething and thirtysomething comics collectors. Lauren bought two issues of G.I Joe that she'd been looking for. I settled for petting the two cats who curl over the boxes and shelves.

We hiked over the train bridge and into Audubon for a stop at Abbie Road, a used music shop. While Lauren chatted with Bob, I went through his used stock. She mostly bought classic rock and gospel for her father. I came up with The Best of James Bond: 30th Anniversary Collection 2-disc set and and two collections of 20's and 30's standards, Those Were the Days.

It was getting hotter by the minute, into the lower 90's. Lauren hadn't eaten yet, and I was starved. We had lunch at Sonic. By the time we made it over there, it was nearly 2, too late for most people to be eating meals. We had the patio largely to ourselves. She had an Ultimate Chicken Club, tater tots, and a cherry limeade. I had a cheeseburger, tater tots, and a frozen cherry limeade. The burger was ok, probably a fake patty but still edible. The frozen cherry limeade really hit the spot.

Backtracked to the Game Stop in the Audubon Crossings Shopping Center after lunch. Lauren didn't get anything here. I got a Lego Star Wars game based around the Clone Wars cartoon series.

Strolled over to the Acme next, mainly for snacks and for me to get things to make a pudding pie for the baby shower on Sunday. We used two of my three remaining free doughnut coupons for a jelly-filled and a vanilla cream-filled. Bought white corn chips to go with the Tex Mex Bean Dip I was planning on making for dinner that night. Went through my Monopoly coupon stash to get Pepperidge Farm Cookies (their Raspberry Chocolate Milanos) and free hamburger rolls for Sloppy Joes later this week or early next week. I wanted yogurt for a snack. Grabbed two boxes of Special K granola bars to use with a coupon. Got Dasani Sparkling Waters for the walk home.

When we finally got in, we both settled down and put everything away for a while, then played video games. We couldn't figure out the first round of Lego Clone Wars, and for some reason, it wouldn't let Lauren play. Switched to Lego Indiana Jones 2 and started that over instead. Got up through the fight round with the Russian mooks before we broke for dinner.

I'm really happy with how the Bean Dip came out. The turkey stock I made last night was just as tasty as the picante sauce the recipe called for. Lauren's chips were a brilliant idea. We enjoyed the fruits of working together as we munched.

Ran the first two Star Wars prequel films as we ate, and later as we went online. The Phantom Menace introduces us to Jedi master and apprentice Qui-Gon (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan (Ewan MacGregor), who find themselves on the run from the greedy Trade Federation while protecting lovely young Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman). They have to make an emergency stop on Tatoonie, where they encounter child slave Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) and his mother Shimi (Pernilla August). Anakin's pod racing gets them enough money to get off-planet and gain his freedom. The Trade Federation is now blockading Naboo. They'll need help from the goofy frog-like Gungans, including their leader Boss Nass (Brian Blessed) and the rather ridiculous Jar-Jar Binks to save the planet. But a fellow in red and black make-up and horns is skulking in the background, waiting for a chance to attack Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan...

Went straight into Attack of the Clones after that finished. Anakin (Hayden Christensen) is now a Jedi teenager, chafing under the strict tutelage of Obi-Wan. He almost literally leaps at the chance to protect the now-Senator Amidala, whom he has a huge crush on. While the two fall in love on Naboo, Obi-Wan explores a strange mystery involving an unknown planet and an army of clones. When Obi-Wan goes missing, captured by the evil Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), Padme and Anakin go to rescue him...and Yoda ends up rescuing them.

While I slightly prefer Attack of the Clones, with its interesting mystery with the clones and exciting climax in Genosis, to the muddled and too-complicated Phantom Menace, neither of these are top-drawer Star Wars. Unless you're a big fan of the cast or the prequels, I'd go elsewhere. George Lucas would do better things with this material in the cartoons and Revenge of the Sith.

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