Friday, February 16, 2018

In the Year of the Dog

Began a late and very gray morning with breakfast and a couple of Max & Ruby shorts. "Ruby's Figure Eight" has Ruby and her best friend Louise practicing their skating while trying to keep new skater Max away from the older boys playing hockey. Max wants to go outside and enjoy "Max's Rainy Day," but Ruby insists that he dress for the weather first. "Ruby's Piano Practice" has her trying to play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," but Max and his toys keep distracting her.

First on the agenda for today was volunteering at the Oaklyn Library. They were quiet as can be when I rolled in around 12:30. It was just me and the librarian. I looked through the DVDs and kids' books, but there wasn't a whole lot to do. I left after a half-hour.

Took the long way down Nicholson Road to the Acme to do this week's grocery shopping. I wanted to make chicken stir fry for dinner in honor of Chinese New Year today. Picked up canned sliced water chestnuts and bamboo shoots (the former were on sale) and fresh green beans. They were also having a really big sale on Bryers Ice Cream. I love their cherry vanilla! Restocked apples, grapefruit, mandarin orange cups, bananas, eggs, yogurt (for lunch and for cooking), mushrooms, batteries, and cheese (another good sale). Bags of Brussels sprouts were also on a decent sale.

My schedule for next week is...exactly the same as this week. I just go in an hour earlier next Saturday. Otherwise, same hours and same days off, including President's Day.

It started showering pretty hard as I headed home. I waited out the storm while putting everything away and having lunch. Ran Fairie Tale Theatre as I ate. "The Nightingale" is a rather strange episode from the first season. Mick Jagger is the Emperor of an Asian country who is so coddled and fawned over by his courtiers, he's never allowed outside. When a kitchen maid (Barbara Hershey) discovers a nightingale that sings beautifully, she brings it back to the court. The emperor loves it at first...but it can't live inside all the time. It flies away when the court becomes enamored of a mechanical bird from Japan. But the mechanical bird eventually breaks...and it can't save the Emperor from a horrible illness that may take his life.

I got lucky. The rain ended right as as "The Nightingale" did and I finished my lunch. I was able to ride to the laundromat without getting soaked. Maybe it's a good thing I waited. There were only two other people in the room when I arrived at quarter of 4. I had plenty of time for a big load (including the towels I used to mop up the defrosting freezer last week) while working on story notes and half-listening to General Hospital and Action News.

Put everything away, then finished out Brave Rey. Rey is able to trick Snoke into thinking there's something in the sack that Luke was held in. Luke uses his own magic to seal Snoke in tightly. She gets him out through the window, fighting their way through orcs and trolls before making it back to Maz.

Rey becomes Luke's newest apprentice, and eventually a great wizard-warrior. Her sisters do court the princes, and she takes the hand of Prince Poe. Kylo Ren, Hux, and Phasma think Luke is in the bag and beat it...and nearly kill Snoke in the process. When he does die, Kylo Ren does, indeed, take over the country. He invades Naboo several times, but can never get pasty the feisty, clever girl warrior who most definitely is anything but a "nobody."

I'm mostly pretty happy with how this one came out. These fairy tales are just rolling right along. Next up will likely be another Hans Christian Anderson story, this time with Finn in the lead role, The Swineherd.

At any rate, here's Brave Rey for your reading enjoyment:

Brave Rey - Archive of Our Own
Brave Rey - My Writing Blog
Brave Rey - Fanfiction,net

Didn't get to making my chicken stir-fry until almost 7:30! Cheered up the still-gloomy weather with The Road to Bali. The only Road To... movie made in color takes Bing and Bob down under, where they're in need of cash after having to outrun several local girls and their fathers. They take a job as deep-sea divers in a remote island kingdom. It seems like paradise, especially after they meet the beautiful Princess Lala (Dorothy Lamour). But all is not well in this lush tropical landscape. Lala's cousin wants the throne and the treasure the guys are supposed to be diving for, and he's not adverse to doing anything from turning natives against the guys to outright shooting them to get them out of the way. Then there's also that giant squid monster the locals are so terrified about...

The boys and the premise were starting to wear a bit thin by 1952. It doesn't help that most of the songs are bland and dull. (The exception is the comic trio "The Merry Go-Run-Around," which pretty much sums up the entire series.) On the other hand, there's still some great gags and one-liners (including some amusing surprise cameos), and this is one of the only movies in the series where you feel like the guys are in any real danger.

If you're a fan of the other movies in the series, you'll probably want to track this one down, too. If you're new to Bing and Bob's Road travels, you might want to start with one of the earlier entries, particularly Morocco or Zanzibar.

Ended the night with Mulan for Chinese New Year. The title character (Ming Na) is a mouthy, perpetually late tomboy in very patriarchal Ancient China. She brings shame on her family when she first fails her matchmaking tests, then tries to keep her aging father from joining the army. She cuts her hair and joins as a man in her father's place. With the help of a wise-cracking dragon (Eddie Murphy), she manages to befriend the rest of the troop, and even resuce her commanding officer from the invading Mongolian army. Unfortunately, her good deed reveals her true gender. Now she has to prove that a woman can kick rear just as well as a man...and save the Emperor (Pat Moriata) and all of China while doing it.

This tale of war and gender politics wasn't a favorite of mine when it came out, but it's grown on me over the years. Mulan herself is one of Disney's best non-princess female characters, feisty and brave but still awkward as she tries to fit in among the men. Her army mates are an absolute riot as well.

Once again, the problem is the music. Other than the hilarious "I'll Make a Man Out of You," it just isn't very good. This movie probably didn't need to be a musical, and likely only was one because at the time, all Disney animated movies were musicals.

If you have older girls and pre-teens who are more into action than princesses or enjoy hearing stories from other lands, they may have a lot of fun with this one.

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