Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Busy, Busy Spring

I had a lot to do on a busy morning, starting with making a new collage after breakfast. Up until last year, I used to make a collage out of old catalogs once a season, usually once every two or three months. I haven't been shopping as often as I used to...and haven't been getting as many catalogs as I used to, either. Finally got enough (including a few I've had around for as long as five years) to make one.

Ran an episode of Wonder Woman as I clipped and glued pictures. "Skateboard Whiz" takes Diana Prince to a small town in southern California for what she hopes will be a relaxing vacation. Turns out the town is being threatened by a gangster who has already set up an illegal gambling den behind a local arcade. When the daughter of one of her friends accidentally sees the casino and their plans, they go after the kid...and Wonder Woman springs into action and goes after them.

Put on my ABBA Greatest Hits CD as I moved on to more vigorous chores. First on the list was scrubbing the trash canisters and my bike. While I normally do this twice a year, in May after it gets warm and October before it gets cold, I think I'd like to start washing the bike a little more often. I'll see if I can pull off once a month. Charlie didn't have the hose hooked up in the back yard yet. I settled for washing them with water in a bucket.

When the canisters were drying on the porch, I went into heavy vacuuming, at least as much as I could with my sprained thumb. I couldn't lift a lot of furniture one-handed, but I could run the attachment around the baseboards. This is another twice-a-year chore. The apartment doesn't get that dirty very often.

After I vacuumed, I did a little bit of organizing in the back room. I first found a box to unload my recycling in. I'd wanted to clear out Christmas books, but I mostly got rid of holiday picture books. I really don't need the books for little kids.

Broke for lunch around 1. Did a couple of cartoons featuring Mickey, Minnie, and their pets while I ate yogurt, a banana, and blueberry Breakfast Bars. "The Nifty Nineties" is one of my favorite Mickey/Minnie shorts. Mickey and Minnie show us what life was like in the 1890's as they stroll through the park, take in a vaudeville show, and encounter other Disney characters during a wild car ride.

It's "Bath Day" for Figaro. He's embarrassed by Minnie washing him and putting a bow on his neck. He fights with a bunch of alley cats to prove how tough he is, to Minnie's dismay.

Mortimer, a thinner, slicker mouse, is "Mickey's Rival" in a classic late 30's short. Mortimer invades Mickey and Minnie's picnic, showing off for her in a way that makes Mickey and his little jalopy look like a fool. Mortimer is the one feeling foolish when he unleashes a bull and flees...but it's Mickey and his car who end up saving the day.

Headed out around quarter of 2. First stop on the agenda was Dollar Tree. I needed a Mother's Day card for Mom and a friendship/thanks for coming card for Lauren. I also found a nifty striped notebook. My journal is almost done - time to replace it. It was the quietest in there I'd ever seen it, with no line.

The Haddon Township Library was much busier. They had tons of movies - kids, adults, and TV show sets - to shelve and organize. Big stack of audio books, too. I did end up taking out a few films. Thought Legend of Tarzan sounded like good B movie fun. Continued exploring the films of the 60's and 70's with Dog Day Afternoon and Badlands. Warners finally put out the second half of the first season of Be Cool, Scooby Doo! a few months ago. I wasn't that crazy about the first half, but I figured I might as well finish out the season. (Especially since it sounds like it wasn't terribly successful; Warners recently indicated that its truncated second season will be its last.)

Headed home across Newton Lake Park. The weather couldn't have been more perfect for early May in Southern New Jersey. The sky was a brilliant blue. The air was cool and fresh, but not cold. The sun was just warm enough on my back and sparkled like gold dust on the green velvet ribbon of the lake. The breeze whistled through my hair. I wasn't the only one out and about, either. The park was teeming with kids off of school, joggers, dog walkers, fisher-folk, boaters, and sun bathers. I pushed my bike up the path on the hill past the Haddon Township Environmental Center and Museum to avoid them. (Someone cleaned up the path since I last went that way, putting down wood chips on the end that comes out by the Museum and marking the beginning of the path with two large rubber tubes.)

Did some writing when I got in. Ahsoka finally admits to Leia that his killing children and other Jedi was the reason Anakin was always so soft on his own children. He regretted his part in Palpatine's reign of terror for the rest of his life. It was part of the reason he fled Coruscant and the remnants of the Jedi Order.

The group finally arrives at the gate surrounding Coruscant City a few hours later. The head of the guards, Sir Wedge Antilles, is a supporter of Mon Mothma, who runs the Rebel Underground. He also recognizes Ahsoka and Hera and her family and is more than willing to let them in. Luke can't stop eyeing him, even as a unicorn...

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Had leftovers, then made Strawberry-Almond Muffins for work tomorrow. Ran The Sound of Music as I worked on the muffins, then went online. How do you solve a problem like Maria (Julie Andrews), a nun who is too spirited for her Austrian order? Send her to be the governess for Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) and his eight children. The kids have driven away other governesses, but they take a shine to Maria after she sings to them to calm them during a storm. The Captain banned music after the death of his wife. Maria thinks that's ridiculous and uses her own methods to teach the kids to sing. They do it so well, they soften both their father's views and that of his fiancee the Baroness Elsa (Eleanor Parker) towards music. Their father, however, still refuses to allow them to sing in public...and it's becoming clear that he's falling for Maria. She returns to the convent at first, but her Mother Abbess (Peggy Wood) finally sends her back. Things fall apart quickly after the wedding. It's 1939, and the Germans want Von Trapp in their army. He's against the Nazis and won't work for them. His family finally flees Austria instead, after they give a stirring performance at the Saltzburg Music Festival.

This movie has the reputation for being syrupy and too sweet. I can understand where people got that impression, what with songs like "The Lonely Goatheard" and the holiday standard "My Favorite Things," not to mention all those kids. It's pretty much a romantic drama until the sudden left turn into dark Nazi territory in the last half-hour or so. It's also way beyond too long, almost three hours long, in fact.

Sweet or not, it still holds up as one of the best musicals ever made. As Rick Steves pointed out in his episode on Saltzburg, that's the real Austria the family's singing in. It gives the movie a feel of immediacy that many studio-bound musicals lack. The glowing countryside becomes almost as important of a character as the humans dancing across it. The cinematography was Oscar-nominated; the movie itself, director Robert Wise, and the music, sound, and editing won. Andrews and Wood were also nominated for their fine performances. I like Plummer as the stern father (even if his singing had to be dubbed). He gets my favorite song from this show, the lovely ballad "Edelweiss." Other good songs here include "Sixteen Going On Seventeen" for oldest daughter Lisel and her sweetheart Rolf and "Climb Every Mountain" for Wood.

This is one of the great American film musicals. If you love Andrews, musicals, or composers Rodgers and Hammerstein and have a lot of time on your hands, this one is a must-see.

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