Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Summertime Fairy Stories

It was a lovely day when I rolled out of bed this morning. Started off the day with breakfast and the fourth Happy Days disc. Fonzie and Mr. Cunningham are "Two Angry Men" when the roof over Fonzie's apartment breaks, thanks to a blizzard and his new pigeon coop. Their fight over who should pay for the damage ends up in court.

Cleaned the bathroom for an hour or so after I ate. I shouldn't have put it off so long. It was really, really grungy, especially the bathtub and around the sink. I did it as quickly as I could get away with. I don't do heavy cleaning in the summer.

Continued with Happy Days as I worked. Bored with their usual dates, Richie, Potsie, and Ralph hold a "Beauty Contest" at Arnold's. In order to entice more sophisticated girls, they claim the first prize is a trip to Hollywood. Fonzie is supposed to bring a girl who'll win...but when she doesn't show, the boys have to figure out how they'll explain to the contestants that the prize is a fake.

Fonzie's having problems with his younger cousin in "Bringing Up Spike." He thinks he can help raise the kid without the rules Mr. Cunningham suggests. Spike makes that difficult when he's caught trying to steal from the cash register at Arnold's. Now Fonzie may have to lay down the law, whether Spike likes it or not.

"A Sight for Sore Eyes" has Fonzie visiting Ralph's eye doctor dad to try to figure out why he's been getting terrible headaches. Turns out he has an astigmatism and needs glasses...to his horror. Glasses are not cool! But he quickly learns it's even less cool to drive your motorcycle into Lake Michigan because you can't see the road, or avoid reading the results of a "Biggest Fool" contest onstage at Arnold's because they're blurry.

Headed out around quarter of 1 to hit the Oaklyn Library. Given the lovely, relatively cool day, they were quiet when I arrived. I listened to the librarian and the one older woman on the computers chat while CNN droned on about North Korea's new missiles in the background. Mainly worked on organizing the DVDs, especially the adult ones. There were a lot of new ones that needed their stickers removed or to be shelved in the right place.

I finally found out why the Oaklyn Library has such a great collection of DVDs - including ones for sale - for a two-room building. The morning librarian volunteers at Samaritan Thrift in Westmont in the afternoons. She picks up their overflow DVDs for use at the Library, to rent or sell. Her son is also a fan of Pirates of the Caribbean...which is why they have all four of the movies currently available on DVD. I've seen the first two, The Curse of the Black Pearl and Dead Man's Chest, but not since they came out. With a new one in theaters, I thought this might be a great time to give the whole series a shot. Also found a Barbie movie I'd never seen, Mariposa and her Butterfly Fairy Friends. Grabbed a double-set of Men In Black and Men In Black II from the "For Sale" rack.

Made a quick run to WaWa for a snack on the way home. I love their Chocolate Banana Smoothies. They use real bananas, making it sweet, creamy, and very banana-tasting! Didn't get anything else. I had plenty of food at home.

Returned to Happy Days while having a quick lunch at my place. "Arnold's Wedding" has the owner of the kids' favorite local hang-out getting married to his traditional Japanese pen pal. He wants Fonzie to be his best man. Fonzie says "no" at first. He's convinced he's cursed after the last two weddings he attended broke up quickly, and he's not crazy about the traditional kimono he's expected to wear. Richie begins to wonder if he's right when the bride gets upset over her non-traditional bride groom.

Hit the laundromat to get my load done around 2:30. They were crowded for the middle of the afternoon! I worked on story notes and tried to ignore a family with very unruly and spoiled children. The eldest daughter was especially obnoxious, sitting on her brother when he wouldn't behave and whining and crying ridiculously for sodas from the machine. Her father did give in to her begging for soda, but not for requests for snacks, no matter how hard her brother threw himself against the machine. They were long-gone by the time I was finally finished, managing to dodge another noisy family as I left.

Finished out the third season of Happy Days as I folded and put away my clothes and towels. Though "The Second Anniversary Special" was originally presented as a regular episode in a normal time slot, I'm actually glad CBS-Paramount opted to move it to the end of the set as a bonus feature. This clip show episode revolving around Fonzie's birthday made more sense as a season finale that "Arnold's Wedding," especially as it featured clips from episodes that hadn't aired yet when it was originally run. (I do wish they'd cleaned it up, though. The copy they included looked terrible, especially compared to the other episodes.)

(Incidentally...for all Fonzie's popularity and pop culture osmosis, he was never my favorite character on this show. Ralph was the one who made me laugh the most, followed by the delightfully down-to-Earth Cunningham parents. Though there were sporadic later episodes featuring Chachi and Roger I liked, frankly, once Donny Most and Ron Howard left the show, it pretty much lost my interest. If Paramount ever releases past the sixth season, I will probably pick up through season eight. There's still some good material there, including a musical episode. After that, there were too many cast changes and turnovers for my taste.

I do intend to eventually buy the entire Laverne & Shirley series, though. Not only do I like that one slightly more, but Carrie Fisher, a close friend of Penny Marshall's, appeared in an episode of the Shirley-less final season as a waitress who joins Laverne in becoming a Playboy bunny.)

Worked a little bit on writing after I finished folding the clothes. Luke suggests turning Kanan's yard sale into a block party, complete with music from the mysterious DJ Fulcrum. Hank adds that he and Charlie will enter the Falcon into Ocean View's Boat Pageant (based after the one Ocean City has every year) to represent the Cottages. He also insists that this doesn't mean they're staying for good, just for the summer.

Meanwhile, Vader reports to "The Big Man" at Alderaan Manor, the corrupt CEO of Empire Enterprises, Simon Palpatine. Palpatine isn't happy with the recent loss of Tarkin and wants to eliminate the residents of the Cottages By the Sea...until Vader suggests they hire Luke and Leia instead of killing them. Palpatine thinks this is a sound idea. Leia's brilliant enough to work in his offices; Luke could join the Imperial Gang.

It was past 7 when I finally broke for dinner. Made a tasty ground turkey-noodle casserole while watching Mariposa and Her Butterfly Fairy Friends. This earlier Barbie movie is more interesting than the cutesy title sounds. Elina of the Fairytopia series tells the story of Mariposa, a shy butterfly fairy who prefers reading and searching the sky for constellations to parties and dancing. She feels out of place among the more outgoing, less thoughtful fairies, like her friend Willa. Her demanding fairy sister employers are desperate to go to a ball and meet the handsome Prince Carlos. This Cinderella-esque story turns into a quest when the Queen of the Butterfly Fairies is poisoned. She created the magical lights that keep their fairy-eating enemies the Skeezites away from their land. If she dies, the lights will die, too. While Mariposa and the sisters search outside the kingdom's limits for the antidote, Willa rescues Carlos and attempts to figure out who is behind the poisoning.

This one really hit me in a sore spot. As a fellow introvert who prefers reading to parties, I know exactly how poor Mariposa feels, especially early-on. I like that the Cinderella story that's originally presented is turned on its head. The sisters Rayna and Rayla have a surprisingly amount of character development, starting out as spoiled stepsister-types and ending up as Mariposa's friends who understand her worth. Not only does the Prince end up being the damsel in distress, but there's no romance presented, either (a rare thing in these early Barbie specials).

I remember liking the follow up Mariposa and the Fairy Princess, and I have to admit, I enjoyed this one, too. If you're a fan of the Fairytopia series or the earlier, more princess-y Barbie tales, you may find this one to be just as enjoyable.

Finished out the night on YouTube with another Barbie movie I hadn't seen, Barbie In Swan Lake. The third movie in the series also has Barbie telling a tale, this time to a nervous camper who feels scared of her new environment. She relates the story of Odette, a baker's daughter who follows a runaway unicorn into an enchanted cave in the woods. Here, she meets the Fairy Queen and a group of elves who were turned into animals during the day by the evil Rothbart. Angry at her invasion of the woods, Rothbart and his his obnoxious daughter Odile turns Odette into a swan. The Fairy Queen softens the spell to make her human at night. While a troll scholar named Erasmus searches for the solution, Odette falls for the handsome hunter Prince Daniel. Daniel wants Odette to come to a ball, where he'll declare her his wife...but Rothbart has other plans.

This one has a lot in common with another 90's-early 2000's Swan Lake retelling, The Swan Princess, including additional cute sidekicks, plotlines, and a happy ending. One one hand, it does have its charms, including some of the funny material for the "elves" and the use of the real music from the ballet. Alas, it's plagued with the same waxy animation that was a problem in Barbie In the Nutcracker and didn't really start to change until around the time Mariposa came out. Ok if you're a fan of the earlier Barbie stories or princess tales.

And a final send-off to two legendary musical performers, country star Glen Campbell, best known for his hit "Rhinestone Cowboy," and stage and cabaret legend Barbara Cook, who appeared in the original casts of The Music Man (as Marian the Librarian) and She Loves Me and had a second career as a much-loved cabaret and concert performer.

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