Friday, July 14, 2017

Dodging the Rain On the Road to Vacation

It was just gloomy when I awoke this morning. Had breakfast while watching Garfield In the Rough. Jon takes his pets for a week of rest and relaxation in the wilderness. Garfield would rather rest and relax somewhere that has TV. He really gets freaked out when they learn that there's a panther loose in the area...and it may be nearer than they think.

I had a ton of things to do today, starting with packing up the living room. Charlie is apparently going to start working on the inside of the roof again after I leave for vacation.  I took all the cookbooks and the popcorn maker out of the tall shelf and all of the coffee table books off the IKEA shelf. Moved the coffee table crate and some of the things on the counter in the kitchen that wouldn't fit under the sink.

Did a couple of Disney shorts as I hauled boxes and crates. Pluto has a rough time keeping a persistent rodent out of Mickey's garden in "Pluto and the Gopher." "In the Bag" takes us to Brownstone National Park, where ranger J. Audubon Woodlore is having trouble cleaning up after the last departing tourists. He gets the bears to help with promises of a good meal afterwards. When they all shove the debris into Humphrey's section, he has to figure out how to get rid of it, or no dinner!

After I finished the packing, I figured it was time to get the grocery shopping done. I think I should have waited a bit. It had just begun showering as I walked out the door. By the time I got to the Acme, it was coming down at a pretty good clip. Oh well. At least the rain cleared out the customers. It wasn't any busier than it has been all week. I was mainly there for snacks for the train ride tomorrow and to restock sugar and skim milk.

I also tried one of the "Flavors of America" candy bars Hershey has out this summer. The Texas BBQ Payday was surprisingly tasty. Who knew hickory and caramel nougat worked so well together?

The rain had started slowing down on my way home. By the time I got in, it was gone, though the day remained cloudy and exceedingly humid. Finished off Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!) as I put everything away. Chuck, Linus, Marcie, Peppermint Patty, Snoopy, and Woodstock are on vacation in France (after a brief trip through England). Marcie and Peppermint Patty find themselves dealing with culture shock and vying for the attention of the cute son of their hosting family. The boys and animals have less luck with their host home. The Baron, the owner of the Chateau Mal Voisan, hates strangers and won't let them in. While Charlie Brown and Linus try to solve the mystery of the Chateau and find out who wanted them to come, Snoopy hits up a local cafe with a great selection of World War II-era tunes on the jukebox.

An unusually dark tale for the Peanuts. The mystery of the Chateau, its owners, and why they wanted Charlie Brown to come to France is far more interesting than the comic bits with Snoopy playing tennis and sobbing over "I'll Be Seeing You" or Peppermint Patty's culture shock. This is unique in several ways, not only for it's slightly spooky plot, but because this is the only movie where adults actually speak. (They weren't going to get away with letting the kids travel through Europe without adult intervention.)

If you have slightly older kids who have learned a bit about World War II or European history in school, they may find much to enjoy in this one.

I was originally going to eat lunch at my place. Charlie had called me earlier and said he was turning the gas off to do some work downstairs. Fine. To my annoyance, when I turned on the tap in the kitchen, I discovered the water wasn't running, either. He hadn't mentioned that part. I finally decided I'd be better off having my meal elsewhere.

Ended up down the street at Phillies Phatties. They were quiet for past noon. They even had a classic rock station on instead of ESPN. I had my usual slices of cheese and mushroom pizza with a can of Dew SA. Ate it inside; even with no rain, it was still too wet to sit at the wooden benches on the sidewalk. Watched families come in and out to order pizza as I enjoyed my lunch.

Next stop was the Oaklyn Library. They weren't much busier than anywhere else. I saw one older woman on the computers and a man reading along with the librarian. Organized the graphic novels in he kids' area, went over the DVDs. Found another interesting DVD on the sale racks, Anchors Aweigh with Gene Kelly, Kathryn Grayson, and Frank Sinatra (and Tom & Jerry).

Thankfully, the weather continued to hold out as I headed over to Westmont. Went to Dollar Tree first. I wanted sponges and thank-you cards for Lauren and her folks. They were busier than most everywhere else had been, but at least the line went fast.

The Haddon Township Library was also relatively busy. A sign on the DVD cart said to leave them out. Good thing there were piles of audio books and CDs to put away. I got those done and headed out. I still had one more stop I wanted to make before I rode home.

Cut across Newton Lake Park going back to Oaklyn. Despite the gloomy, killer humid day, the park was busy with bikers, fishermen, and people out for a stroll. Ducks awaited the start of the next round of rain. I was actually glad for the rain. The park is starting to look a little brown around the edges.

It held off long enough for me to make it to Dad and Jodie's house. They were watching the endless Law & Order re-runs on ION Television when I arrived. Jodie had just gotten in from work. I'd been meaning to get over there and say "hi" for over a week now. I haven't seen them since the 4th of July. Besides, I needed to pick up the pan I used for the Berry Icebox "Cake" I whipped up for the holiday. Dad gave me the tickets for the train to New England tomorrow and $100 spending money. (He also told me the cake was very popular. It vanished so quickly after I left, they had to save him the last piece.)

I'd been home ten minutes when the storm that had threatened all afternoon finally broke. The rain provided a great backdrop for the final part of my story. Not only does Langdon and his crew blow up the Death Star, but Duke Bail Organa shows up at the last minute with the Alderaan Navy.

Meanwhile, Luke's trying to get Vader off the Death Star, but Vader knows it's his time. He dies in his son's arms. Luke, Wedge, and the other members of the League just manage to get his armor on Wedge's ship the Rogue and ship off before the entire Death Star goes up in flames.

Luke is eventually crowned King of Naboo. Wedge becomes his regent. Henry moves Solo Shipping to Alderaan, where he and Leia take over as Grand Duke and Duchess. Charles is their bodyguard. Cedric and Rusty happily return to their jobs as secretary and handyman. Luke burns Vader in the woods near Nabarrie Palace; he buries him in the same tomb as Padme. Langdon buys Jenkins' Casino and makes it wildly popular with the gentry. We end in Alderaan, where Henry and Leia discuss that tumultuous summer they met...and Leia's impending arrival.

Wow. At over 104,000 words and 31 chapters, this is officially the longest story I've ever written, period. For anything. It took me six months to write, three times as long as anything else I've done. It's my first novel. I'm so proud of myself for actually finishing it!

When I get back next week, I definitely want to finish that 80's Star Wars story I started last year, and I may do a few fairy tales, both original and Star Wars universe. For now, this is a great way to end my writing time before vacation. At press time, The Adventures of the Crimson Hawk is only available at Archive of Our Own. I'll post it at my writing blog and after vacation.

The Adventures of the Crimson Hawk at Archive of Our Own

While the water was back on when I got home, the gas wasn't. This meant a cold shower and eating out of the fridge, instead of the omelet I'd planned on having for dinner. Cheered myself up with The Road to Morocco as I ate. Bing Crosby and Bob Hope are on their third Road To... adventure, this time in North Africa. Castaways after their ship explodes, they wash up on the coast of Morocco without a dime to their names. Bing sells Bob into slavery to make a quick buck. Bob's not happy...until he realizes he was bought by a lovely princess (Dorothy Lamour). But the Princess has her own reasons for wanting him...and her former fiancee (Anthony Quinn) wants both men out of the way.

My favorite of the Road to.. movies. If you want to know what this series is all about, start here. You get everything from a camel that (really) spit in Hope's eye to Bing introducing the standard "Moonlight Becomes You."

Ended the night online while watching National Lampoon's Vacation. Clark Grizwauld (Chevy Chase) is determined to take his wife Ellen (Beverly DiAngelo) and their two kids cross-country from Chicago to Wally World, a huge theme park in California. Even before their trip, absolutely nothing goes right. The car Clark wanted didn't come in, and they end up with an ugly clunker. Ellen's hillbilly cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) hits Clark up for money. A cranky aunt (Imogene Coca) hitches a ride to Phoenix. Clark keeps seeing a beautiful woman in a red corvette (Christie Brinkley) throughout the trip. Even when they finally make it to Wally World, the disasters continue to pile up on Clark's lap. He wants to have a good time no matter what, but even he can only last so long before he snaps...

Another John Hughes-penned, vacation-themed comedy. Some good gags here, including the ultimate fate of that cranky aunt.

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