Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Dolls In the Matrix

Thankfully, by the time I got up this morning, the rain was long gone and the sun was shining. I enjoyed breakfast while listening to one of my 80's music collections. To give you an idea of how long I've had this two-CD set, I found it at Super Fresh in Westmont (now the closed Thriftway) shortly after I first moved here.

Continued the disc while I dressed my American Girl dolls. It's now a bit too cool for bathing suits. Time to put them in clothes appropriate for school and late summer/early fall. Samantha wears her blue and white windowpane check Play Dress with the ruffly white pinafore, white Springfield Collection socks, and the black Mary Janes that came with her current meet outfit. Josefina is in her red and orange Summer Outfit. Whitney gets the yellow floral Queen's Treasures dress with the red Mary Janes from Sam's green spring dress. Put Molly in Kit's original blue School Outfit and brown Oxfords. Jessa went with the gray shorts and neon yellow ankle socks from the previous modern Hiking Outfit, the magenta t-shirt from the original 1995 mix-and-match meet outfit, and blue "denim" Springfield Collection sneakers. Left Felicity in her lavender Traveling Gown. I really don't have much to change her into.

Headed out around noon to hit the Oaklyn Library. Despite the nice day, they were relatively busy, with several people using the computers. They just moved the kids' DVDs into the children's area, so they weren't in bad shape, but the adult titles were a mess. The kids' books were almost as bad. I shelved and organized the kids' area for almost an hour.

When I got home, I had a quick lunch, then decided I'd try something. It was cool enough to turn on the crock pot. I threw mushrooms, scallions, white cooking wine, water, and the last of the home-made chicken stock together with a pack of drumsticks for a fast dinner.

Ran the an episode from the third season of Wonder Woman while I ate.  After witnessing his kidnapping, a young girl becomes convinced that "My Teenage Idol Is Missing." Diana's not convinced at first, especially after she sees what she believes to be the boy in his own room. Turns out the kid is the singer's twin...and when he proves to be every bit as talented as his brother, the kidnappers think the other is expendable. Wonder Woman has to spring into action to rescue the boy and make sure his sleazy manager doesn't further cooperate with the criminals.

Headed to the laundromat after the show ended. I picked the right day. Everyone must have been out enjoying the weather. They were the quietest I've seen them in weeks, if not months. I saw maybe two college girls the entire time I was there. Washed a fair-sized load while working on story notes and half-listening to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Right This Minute, and General Hospital.

As soon as I got home, I put everything away, then went into writing. Hank and Leia have just finished making out under the boardwalk. Leia says she's had a great time, but she's still worried about the Cottages, her uncle, and being late for school. Hank says he'll take her back the next day, but then Leia points out that he'll be leaving. He's not sure if that's still true...

They finally return to Lance's condo, where they dress in good clothes for a date. Charlie shows up first with a battered and unconscious Chip. While they try to revive him, Lance appears. He invites them to the Cloud City Club for dancing and dinner in the VIP Lounge. Charlie says he'll catch up later. He has to take a shower and attend to poor Chip.

Broke at quarter after 6 to enjoy my savory chicken legs with the last of the Cucumber-Tomato Salad. Ran another third season Wonder Woman episode while I ate. A telekinetic con artist is a "Disco Devil" who steals top secret information from the minds of government officials in a Washington DC dance club. Diana digs up the only other telekinetic who can help her, a shy little man whose discomfort with his powers has lead to a series of jobs and low self-esteem. His powers, however, may also have lead him to inadvertently discover Diana's secret...

Went for a short walk after dinner. It was too nice to be inside all night! The weather was gorgeous today, sunny, warm, and in the upper 70's. Strolled past gardens awash in rainbow colors and green trees rustling slightly in the soft breeze. Ended up trying blueberry cheesecake ice cream at Phillies Yummies and watching young teens chatter and squeal over cute guys on their phones. (The ice cream wasn't bad, creamy but slightly gritty, with nice, big graham cracker pieces and a sweet, thin blueberry swirl.)

Finished out the night with The Matrix. Thomas "Neo" Anderson (Keanu Reevs) is a normal computer programmer by day, hacker by night. His life takes a turn for the seriously weird when a young woman named Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) leads him to a man named Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) who offers him a pill that will show him the truth. The "truth" is he's living in the Matrix, a reality created by machines who want to keep humans trapped. Morpheus and his rebels hack into the system and "unplug" certain humans, giving them superhuman abilities. Neo's so good at his training, the others now believe he's "The One" who could lead the humans against their machine captors. But Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) and his two goons have been programmed to make sure there's no more rebels hacking into the Matrix, and one of the rebels (Joe Pantoliano) is willing to sacrifice the others to return to his own life. Will Neo remain a rebel, or will he return to his old, orderly life?

I probably should have seen this when it came out in 1999, but I was caught up with college and other interests. This is so late 90's. It was revolutionary on release. Everyone was talking about it. People were amazed by the deep philosophy and mix of computer and practical effects, by the green-neon look, by the slow-mo fight choreography. No one had seen anything like it...until the imitators started to roll in. Now, the hardware looks clunky, the aesthetics are more drab than cool, and the CGI fights aren't anything you haven't seen in a hundred action movies made since then.

On the other hand, I can understand why it was such a big deal. The plot really is interesting, if occasionally confusing, with its sometimes heavy discussions of religious philosophy and the role of technology in our lives. Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fisheburne in particular are good as hero and mentor, but Hugo Weaving steals the show as the totally unflappable program.

If there was every a movie of and made for its time, this one is it. If you want to understand the changes going on in the world as the calendar flipped from the 20th to the 21st centuries, this is a good place to start, with its stylized violence, neon green world, and obsession with technology. Heavy violence and the general adult themes makes this not for young kids. For young teens on up, if you love sci-fi, the dark martial-arts-influenced anime that inspired this, or Reeves or Fishburne, you may be ready to escape the Matrix as well.

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