Thursday, May 24, 2018

Sunny Afternoon

Lauren and I spent her last couple of hours in New Jersey playing one more Lego Indiana Jones Last Crusade round. "Trouble In the Sky" starts in the zeppelin that Indy and Professor Jones take out of Germany, but that doesn't last long. It's pretty easy to beat, once you figure out how to throw things at the Nazi officer. The second segment is a more typical chase-and-build...but a cog we needed got stuck in the clock after we rebuilt it, and we had to start over. Thankfully, things went better after that. We had fewer problems figuring out how to set off the birds, once we got over the steps on the rocks.

Lauren hauled her heavy purple suitcase and backpack downstairs around quarter after 11. It was a good thing we got down early, because Dad was a few minutes early, too. At any rate, we had no problems getting to the Cherry Hill Train Platform. Let Lauren out there, gave her a hug, and returned to Oaklyn with Dad. He needed to stop at CVS briefly to pick up a new medication that may help him eat better. I checked out a few magazines on the new Han Solo movie.

(Incidentally, as far as I can tell, Lauren had no problems anywhere. Last time she texted me was around 9:30, as she was heading home with her folks. The problems with the King of Prussia Mall trip aside, I had a great time with her. In fact, I think this is one of our better trips in my neck of the wood. I'm going to hold off visiting her and her parents in Pittsfield until mid-September. She wants to see the New England State Exposition - their collective state fair - and I need more time to save money for the trip.)

I didn't even go back inside when Dad dropped me off. I just hopped on my bike and went to run errands. First stop was the Oaklyn Library. The only people who were there were two librarians who were sorting materials donated for their Library Book Sale next month. I stuck to organizing DVDs. Took out the first two Mummy movies with Brendan Fraiser and two random collections of the CGI Star Wars: The Clone Wars show. I've been thinking of buying the series sets after I loved Star Wars Rebels. Given that I like the prequels but for the most part don't love them, I thought I'd try a taste of the show before I went all in on the pricey full sets.

I actually saw the first Mummy film in the theater when it debuted in 1999...and while I didn't hate it, it really kind of freaked me out then. It was far more of a horror film than I was ready for. I'm hoping I can deal with it a bit better now.

Since I was closer to Nicholson Road than the Black Horse Pike, I took that way to the Acme. It was a lovely day for a ride, even nicer than yesterday. The sun was shining, the breezes were blowing, and it was hot, probably in the mid-80's, without being overly humid.

I had a little bit of grocery shopping to do. Lauren and I drank all my tea between the two of us; the Boston Mint & Green Tea was on clearance. Restocked strawberries, bananas, skim milk, cereal, honey, and turkey bacon. Pepperidge Farm Goldfish were on sale, and I had a coupon from the Monopoly game. Decided I'd try their new whole wheat pretzels as a snack this week.

Went in the back to get my schedule for the last two days of the week. I work late in the afternoon tomorrow and early afternoon on Saturday. While I am disappointed that I didn't get a few more hours and that I'll have to miss the May Fair in Collingswood, I'll also get some laundry and writing done.

I'd been trying to figure out what to do about lunch when I heard laughter in the back lounge room and saw party decorations. Turns out there was a huge spread out for one of the grocery managers, who's retiring this week. I had two Italian mini-hoagies, three slices of cake (chocolate with chocolate frosting, chocolate with vanilla frosting, and butter with cherry topping), jam cookies, and cole slaw.

Listened to my new Cinderella Peter Pan record as I put things away and cleaned up from Lauren's visit when I got home. This is pretty much the same thing as my Peter Pan Alice In Wonderland set, a retelling of the Charles Perrault version of the most famous fairy tale in the world. I kind of liked Alice better. They had more fun with the unique characters than with the bland prince and stepsisters here.

I had one more errand to run. I'd debated staying at home for the rest of the afternoon, but it was just too nice to hang around inside all day. This time, I went across Newton Lake Park to Westmont. The park was even prettier than it was yesterday, all dappled light on the lake and fresh breezes ruffling the big green leaves on the trees. I was surprised it wasn't busier. I saw a few families gathered around the playground, but not too many other people.

The Haddon Township Library wasn't much busier than the Oaklyn Library had been. It's just too beautiful for people to hang around in libraries. I mainly shelved stacks of DVDs and organized the kids' titles. Only took out one, but it's a doozy - the second season set for The Cat In the Hat Knows a Lot About That. I enjoyed the full season set I found there last year.

After a brief stop at Dollar Tree for a Pepsi, I rode straight home. It was past 4 at that point, and the traffic was getting worse on Cuthbert and the White Horse Pike. Worked on writing for a little while. Leia confronts Unkar Plutt, who has several Ewoks in cages in the town market. She doesn't like the poor creatures being treated as pets. He's no kinder to her than he would be thirty years later to a certain young scavenger, refusing to release them. She opens the nearest cage and calms the Ewok it contains, little Wicket. Chewbacca sees Plutt send some of his men to attack her, and goes to Luke to get help...

Broke for dinner at 7. Ran the first two Clone Wars episodes on the Galaxy Divided set, which also happens to be the first two episodes of the series (and would be made into levels on Lego Clone Wars as well). Yoda and several of his clones face an "Ambush" at a planet that may be willing to become a base for the Republic Army. Determined to see the planet under Separtist rule, Sith warrior Asaji Ventress sends her droids to take them down, then faces off against Yoda himself. Yoda proves that even a goofy, short old alien can have amazing reflexes, enough to take down a younger challenger and a tank.

Jedi Master Plo Koon and his clones witness an attack by General Grievious' powerful new starship the Malevolence in "Rising Malevolence," but Grievious wants no survivors and attempts to shoot them down. Anakin and Ahsoka are supposed to be heading to the Jedi Council for a meeting, but Ahsoka knows her old master Koon is alive and insists on finding him.

Played Lego Indiana Jones for a couple of hours after having scrambled eggs with leftover tomato, black bean dip, and asparagus for dinner. Instead of staying with the game Lauren and I had been working on, I returned to my original game from last year to see what I could find in Free Play. Thanks to that guide I found a few months ago, I did really well. Found all but one "artifact" piece on the first two Raiders rounds and completely finished the Cairo level, pieces and True Adventurer.

You have to find five Star Wars characters hidden in different rounds throughout the game to unlock Han Solo as a playable character (just like you can unlock Indy in Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga). Was surprised to run into Threepio in a hidden cave with an artifact piece in the first Raiders round. Lauren and I saw Luke Skywalker stuck in the cave in the second round, but you can't release him until you get someone who can shoot or break glass in Free Play. Chewbacca is hanging out in a cafe hidden behind a hieroglyphic-coded wall in the third round.

Finished out the night online with the remaining two Clone Wars episodes. "Shadow of Malevolence" continues from the previous episode as Plo Koon, Anakin, and Ahsoka lead an attack on Grevious' weapon-ship. Padme and C-3PO are taken prisoner as "Destroy the Malevolence" begins...and now Anakin not only has to finish blowing up Grevious' pride and joy, but rescue his secret wife and her droid, too.

And that was the end of my vacation. I return to work tomorrow, but thankfully only for four hours late in the day.

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