Thursday, January 18, 2018

Oaklyn Runner

I slept in a bit again this morning, this time with no need to rush off early. Watched an episode of The Backyardigans after I finally rolled out of bed. "Garbage Trek" is a funky third season spoof of Star Trek. Tasha, Uniqua, and Austin are intergalactic garbage collectors on a mission to seek out the messiest places in the universe. They keep getting distress calls from Klingons Tyrone and Pablo, who need trash to power their ship. When their ship gets stuck in a black hole, the others have to decide if they want to trust them a third time.

Spent the rest of the morning writing. Broke at 1:30 for lunch and another Backyardigans episode. Westerns and Lone Ranger-style masked mystery man oaters are the target in "Blazing Paddles." Uniqua is the sheriff of peaceful Ping Pong Mesa, where everyone is crazy about ping pong. After she and all the residents of the town lose their paddles to Pablo and his "Bandit Slam-It" move, she goes into the desert to step up her training.

Headed out after the cartoon ended. It was a lovely day, sunny, chilly, and a little windy, but not nearly as bad as New Year's week. I had a nice ride through Newton Lake Park. The trees are little more than stark outlines against the ice-blue sky now, the grass pale gold and brittle, but the ice on the river sparkled with an austere beauty. I'm surprised there was no one in the park today, not even Canadian geese. It wasn't really that cold. I guess everyone was at work or class.

The Haddon Township Library, on the other hand, was busy when I arrived. There was a project where kids would be making paper snowmen going on in the kids' play room. I shelved CDs and audio books and shelved and organized DVDs. They'd just gotten Cars 3 in. While it wasn't my favorite Pixar movie, I didn't hate Cars 2 as much as a lot of people did and was willing to give a third movie a chance. Also found the original 1939 Golden Boy with Barbara Stanwyck and William Holden and continued my exploration of the changing cinema of the 60's and 70's with the classic sci-fi tale 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Made a couple of quick stops on my way home. I badly needed to replace my dish pan. My old red one was dirty and cracked and had a broken handle. Just grabbed a new white one at Dollar Tree. Picked up milk and a soft pretzel at WaWa when I hit the White Horse Pike.

Continued writing as soon as I walked in the door and put everything away. Luke duels with Kylo Ren, letting him fight him while Rosie and Finn, once again clad as short trolls, rescue the others...and Rey Quite Contrary rescues herself. Luke finally lets Kylo Ren get one last hit on him...but he vanishes without a trace. An angry Snoke and flustered Kylo Ren order the Knights of Ren to attack the others, but they've been rounded up by the townspeople.

BB is upset by Luke's disappearance. Han and Leia are even more devastated...especially since Luke gave Leia the box with their deeds to the Factory. Snoke goes after them while Kylo Ren tries to figure out where his uncle went. But no one is ever truly BB is reminded when a certain jolly old man in a red suit comes to town...

Had leftovers for dinner around 6:30, then made Banana Muffins. Finished out the night with The Maze Runner. A young man (Dylan O'Brian) awakens in a green area called the Glade with no memory of who he is and how he got there. Turns out he was brought to "The Glade" by a group of men who are "runners" in the massive maze that surrounds them. The youth, who eventually discovers his name is Thomas, is continually curious about the world beyond the Maze. Albie (Aml Ameen) keeps telling him to not worry so much about it and abide by the rules of "The Glade," but Thomas just can't help himself. When first a runner, and then Albie are stung by a massive creature living in "the Maze," Thomas begins to wonder if there might just be a way out. His suspicions are confirmed by the arrival of Theresa (Kaya Scodelario), the first and only girl in the Glade, who has a device that can heal the creatures' stings. Thomas now has to figure out how to escape both the maze and the Glade's strict and restrictive rules...and teach the other kids lessons in identity and helping one another.

So yeah, this is another imitation Hunger Games series. While there's no getting around the deja-vu, there are some interesting ideas and intense performances, especially from O'Brian, Will Poulter as his rules-obsessed rival, and Blake Cooper as the youngest resident of the Glade who comes to admire Thomas. I also like the mystery and shadowy atmosphere surrounding the Maze and why it's there.

If you enjoyed other Hunger Games-style tales like Divergent, you'll probably like this one, too. (There's a third movie coming out on the 26th. If the second one is as good as the first, I may have to give it a look.)

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