Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Picnic In February

Began a late morning with breakfast and the Xanadu soundtrack. I had it on because it's one of the inspirations for my newest idea, another 80's-set Star Wars novel. This time, it uses the Sequel characters and is set right here in Camden County. In the 60's and 70's, Cherry Hill had one of the top nightclubs in South Jersey, the Latin Casino, as well as a popular race track and many luxury hotels and restaurants that catered to the rich and famous. Sadly, changing times and tastes, as well as several damaging fires, doomed the majority of those fabled buildings. The Subaru and Mercedes dealerships and Holiday Inn replaced them in the 1980's. The race track itself apparently hung on until 2000 - it's now the Market Place shopping center.

My story takes us back to 1981. Poe Damerez, with money provided by his boss, Galactic Records owner and president Leia Wallace, has just bought the former Rebel Alliance nightclub in Cherry Hill. He's hoping to reopen it as a dance club and music showplace...and that his first act will be no less than Leia and the Falcons. The Falcons started as a jazz trio after World War II, before adding two more members and moving on to becoming a pioneering rock and folk group.

Poe has several headaches from the get-go. First of all, while Leia is all for playing a one-time-only gig, none of her former band mates agree. Harry "Han Solo" Shaw, the manager and saxophonist, is now a manager for several low-level groups who is known for his shady activities. Guitarist and dancer Luke "Skywalker" Wallace is living in retirement in Philadelphia and has no desire to rejoin the music business. Laurence "Lando" Craydon has vanished all together. There's also Leia's business partner Amilyn Holdo, who is wary of the entire scheme. Not to mention, the First Order Company is after the land to build a shopping center...and their vice-president Kylo Ren has his own reasons for not wanting the Rebel Alliance Club rise again.

While I really like this idea, it's more than likely we won't see it until next year at the earliest, if not the year after. First of all, the only novel-length fanfiction I was planning on doing this year was the Original Trilogy 30's adventure, and that mostly to finish it. I spent almost eight months doing those two novels last year. I'd like to move on to other projects. Second, I think I'll wait on any novel-length Sequel Trilogy fanfics until we know more about the ninth movie and how it fits in with the others.

I did get started on the next story I'm going, which coincidentally also stars Poe. The Water of Life is based after a Grimm's Fairy Tale. Poe is the adopted son of Queen Leia of D'Qar. The queen is very sick. Her magician Lor San Tekka tells her sons that only the Water of Life can save her. Her real son Benjamin and other adopted son Armitage Hux goes out in search of the Water of Life, but they get stuck in a mountain pass after insulting a little old lady by a well. Poe insists on going out as well, despite Tekka's trepidation.

Broke at 1 for lunch. Did an episode of Good Eats while I ate and got ready for work. "Milk Made" gives us recipes involving milk, as well as explaining why milk has to go through several processes before it can be made safe for us to drink. The caramel-like Dulce de Leche is too sweet for my taste. I might try that Tres Leches Cake and the cottage cheese made from skim milk sometime, though.

Work was quiet as can be. Not only is it the day after a major holiday, but the weather was ridiculously gorgeous, sunny, breezy, and in the upper 60's-lower 70's. I mopped the bathroom when I arrived and did what few returns there were, but I was mostly outside. I definitely preferred that. It was too nice to be inside, anyway. I just wish I hadn't been late on my break again.

It was still so beautiful out at 6 PM, I had my first outdoor meal of the year on Sonic's patio. Ordered a fish sandwich with tater tots and a cherry limeade. I'm surprised the patio wasn't busier, given the nice weather and it being dinner time. I guess my co-worker was right that people are partied out right now. There was one other guy there, just sitting. I enjoyed my meal while watching the stars come out over the parking lots.

Returned briefly to the Acme after dinner. I was out of my own skim milk. Since that Bryers sale was still on (and my throat has been dry and a bit sore lately), I picked up a carton of coffee ice cream. Grabbed a two-pack of cranberry-oatmeal cookies for a snack.

As soon as I got home, I put everything away and got dressed, then played some Lego Star Wars. Returned to the Prequel Trilogy for "Invasion of Naboo" and "Darth Maul." I only got one piece and the red brick on the former, but I picked up a lot of pieces on that one the first time. Got almost all the pieces and True Jedi on the latter.

Finished the night after a shower with Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? Joanna "Joey" Drayton (Katherine Houghton) shocks her parents by coming home from vacation with a new fiancee...black doctor John Prentice (Sidney Poiter). Her father Matt (Spencer Tracy) is a newspaper publisher who prides himself on his liberal views, but he's not at all ready for this. His wife Christina (Katherine Hepburn) is more supportive. Their black maid (Isabel Sanford) is even more horrified that a black man would get "above himself" and marry outside his race. Things are the same with John's parents. His soft-spoken mother (Beah Richards) thinks the kids should do what they want; his father (Roy E Glenn) is worried that they'll get hurt by the prejudice and that they're taking this too fast. It ultimately comes down to Matt...who finally gives a rousing speech on what he's learned about love from his daughter and wife.

Touching salute to the power of love was Tracy and Hepburn's last film together, and Tracy's last movie period. (He was noticeably frail during the entire movie, and in fact died two weeks after filming ended.) Tracy and Hepburn were both Oscar-nominated for their roles; Hepburn and the screenplay won. I actually think Tracy was much better. His final speech to both families and the maid was a killer moment. Considering the shape he was in, I give him a heck of a lot of credit for being able to deliver it as powerfully as he did.

With racial strife once again in the news, this romantic comedy-drama doesn't seem quite as dated as it did a decade ago. If you're a fan of the cast or of comedies with a thoughtful streak, this is worth checking out.

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