Saturday, August 26, 2017

True Colors of Summer

I overslept and didn't get as early of a start as I'd hoped. I had a quick corn meal mush and mandarin orange breakfast while watching more She-Ra. "Three Courageous Hearts" gives sidekicks Kowl, Madame Razz, and her talking broom a moment in the spotlight. Evil sorceress Shadow Weaver puts She-Ra to sleep during a local athletic competition, then traps her in the Sixth Dimension. While she makes her way out, Kowl, Madame Razz, and Broom (the only ones not put to sleep by Shadow Weaver) search for the book that'll tell them where the Sixth Dimension is and how to get in.

It was past 10:30 when I finally headed out for my first errand run of the day. I'm glad I was off and able to get to the Collingswood Farm Market. The weather today was gorgeous, sunny, breezy, and just warm enough, in the upper 70's-lower 80's. They were still pretty busy by then with people buying produce, meat, cheese, and bread for late-summer barbecues and pool parties.

The fall produce is just starting to roll in. I saw pears, Italian plums, local small potatoes, Gala apples, and spaghetti squash for the first time today, while blueberries and cherries seem to be gone for good. I didn't have much money on me. I ended up buying green beans, mushrooms, potatoes, small Gala apples, a green pepper, and an Italian (lavender-striped) eggplant.

After I went home and put everything away, I went right back out again. First stop this time was at the Oaklyn Library. Given the lovely day, you probably won't be surprised to hear that they weren't busy at all. The only other people there besides the librarian and me were two old women using the computers. I organized DVDs and looked at the board books and picture books while The Weather Channel blared frightening news about the damaging storm that was battering the Southern Texas coast.

(And for all my readers who live in Southern Texas, I hope you're dry, safe, and well away from the path of Hurricane Harvey. I know what it's like to deal with scary storms. I grew up in a hurricane-prone area.)

I needed to go grocery shopping. Didn't have a huge order; I was mainly there for skim milk. The Acme was having a couple of good buy-one-get-one-free sales. Stocked up on chicken drumsticks (one also had a manager's coupon) and blueberries. They were having another good sale on that tasty Talenti gelato. Decided I'd try Mediterranean Mint this time. Restocked lemon juice, yogurt (had an online coupon for the new Yoplait Mix-Ins), cereal (been dying to try the Pumpkin Spice Cheerios), canned chicken, condensed cream of chicken soup, plastic sandwich bags, and mandarin oranges.

Got my schedule. It's pretty similar to last week, this time with Wednesday and Thursday off and no really late or really early hours. Once again, par for the course and what I have been getting of late.

Had a quick yogurt and apple lunch after I got in and organized my purchases. Continued with She-Ra. Adora is at "A Loss for Words" when Shadow Weaver seals her voice and that of several dissenting villagers into bubbles. The princess has to get it back, without being able to transform into her alter-ego.

It was too nice to be outside all day. I headed out around 2:30 for a short walk. I passed by gardens in radiant full bloom, craggy men mowing lawns and trimming trees, and a moving van hauling furniture into an olive-green house down the street. (I wonder who moved in?) Families pushed children in strollers or rode bikes together.

Most people must have gone elsewhere. The House of Fun wasn't terribly busy with anyone besides the guys who run the place. At least they were a tad more organized than usual. The video games were on, too. I browsed through the DVDs, Funko Pops, and Star Wars dolls, and looked at wrestling action figures for Lauren. Ultimately decided I'd wait on new merchandise for The Last Jedi before buying anything else for Star Wars and moved on. WaWa was even less busy. I just grabbed a Crystal Pepsi and a soft pretzel.

Did some writing when I got home. Luke is annoyed with Yoda when he loses his surfboard in the water and Yoda gives him the "try not" speech. He goes looking for the board and can't find it...only to discover that it had already floated back to Yoda on the shore. He lectures him about patience while Luke finally signs the forms for his car that Arturro wanted him to sign in the first place.

Meanwhile, back on Bespin Island, Chip Thompson is bored and lonely. He misses his buddy Arturro and is frustrated that no one will pay attention to him. Hank and Leia are spending time with each other, Charlie's trying to fix the Falcon, and Lance is doing work at his night club Cloud City. Chip goes for a walk in downtown Bespin to clear his head. He happens to pass by Lance's club as he does...and sees something he wishes he didn't...

It was so late when I finally stopped for dinner, I really only had the time for leftovers. Did more 80's girls' cartoons while I ate. While the Lady Lovely Locks doll line isn't as well-remembered as She-Ra today, it was wildly popular in the late 80's. Yes, it also had its own corresponding cartoon. In the tape I picked up on eBay, the segments were bracketed by a breathy live-action Lady Lovely Locks who explained the "moral of the day," much like Loo-Kee in She-Ra.

Frankly, I always found the Lady herself to be rather disappointing. She's rescued by others in both shorts. The tale of poor Prince the Dog, who isn't what he seems, is far more interesting. Her friends the Pixietails help her out in "To Save My Kingdom." She wants to go home after being away for too long, but nasty Duchess Raven Waves won't let her. Prince is the one who saves her hide from a handsome Baron who turns out to be a "Cruel Pretender" at a ball.

Finished out the night with another cartoon based on a famous doll line, Trolls. The trolls are colorful little critters who love to dance, sing, and hug. They were once hunted by the Bergens, miserable, colorless creatures who ate them in order to feel happy, but they escaped and found a new home. Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) wants to have the party to end all parties. Branch (Justin Timberlake) thinks she's crazy. She'll attract the Bergens. He turns out to be right. A Bergen chef (Christine Baranski) captures a group of trolls and takes them back to Bergen Town. Poppy, Branch, and the remaining trolls go after them. They help a put-upon Bergen maid (Zoey Deschanal) catch the eye of their Prince (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) in order to get her to help them find their friends...and in doing so, teach her and all of the Bergens that one doesn't have to look to find happiness. It's already in your heart.

All the 70's and 80's musical numbers were rather appropriate. This did remind me a lot of the Care Bears films and other similar colorful, kid-oriented animated movies from my childhood. The animation is of particular note here. This is the brightest, most brilliant film I have ever seen. The textures, especially on the trolls' hair and felt clothes, makes this feel more like one of those cloth books they used to give toddlers. This movie just pops, making the drab colors of the Bergen and Branch stand out all the more.

I have to admit, while I liked this a lot, I didn't love it. The Cinderella subplot with Bridgit the Bergen maid comes out of nowhere and doesn't really have much to do with the actual story. The characters and the plot are simplistic and frankly a bit silly. It also brings to mind Strange Magic, another odd animated musical fantasy that had characters singing cover of famous pop songs every two minutes. The songs often seemed to be there just for song's sake...which, to be fair, suited the trolls' party-hearty characters, but didn't really move the plot along, either.

While no masterpiece, this was still a lot better than most reviews lead me to believe. If you have kids, especially ones who love musicals or troll dolls, they may have a blast with this. For everyone else, it's a rental at best unless you're a really huge fan of the cast or music.

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