Thursday, June 21, 2018

Welcome to Summer

It was raining lightly when I woke up this morning. I checked out the fly situation, then ate breakfast while watching seasonal Silly Symphonies in honor of the first day of summer. "Summer" was the sixth Silly Symphony, and one of the simplest. Like the spring short, it's pretty much animals dancing and eating each other in time to classical music. "Playful Pan" has the little faun helping the animals when the woods nearly burn down. "Bugs In Love" is the last black-and-white Silly Symphony, and one of the earliest to depict small characters fighting off a larger creature. In this case, the title bugs help two romantically-inclined ladybugs scare away a crow.

Worked on writing for an hour or so after breakfast. Leia and her friends are introduced to the rest of the crew. Bodhi Rook had lived in Jedha, one of the countries in North Africa that the Empire bombed. He worked for them, but ultimately defected and joined the rebel underground. Asians Baze and Chirrut joined after the Empire destroyed their temple.

Broke for a quick lunch at quarter of 1. Finished out the summer-themed Silly Symphonies while I ate and got organized. "Frolicking Fish" is just that - fish dancing in time to music. "Night" is similar, only this time with nocturnal creatures.

Headed out at quarter after 1. I got into Haddonfield for this month's counseling just in time. In good news, I've been getting more hours, and other than the bobbles with the King of Prussia Mall trip, Lauren and I had a great time when she visited last month. However, I'm broke again. I overspent on my birthday and lost most of my food stamps. Not to mention, I'm worried about both of my dads. Dad-Bill in particular doesn't sound great.

At the very least, Lauren and I aren't getting together this year until September. I have two and a half months to save money for vacation. In addition to upcoming 4th of July hours, I think I might talk to Dad and Jodie and see if I can do chores or housework to earn the money for the tickets and vacation, or if we could split it. I don't want to not go this year. First of all, this is my only real vacation away from Camden County. I don't even visit the family in Cape May much anymore. Second, Lauren and her parents look forward to my visit and have said that they'd be disappointed if I couldn't come.

I'm also hoping to try to get out a bit more this summer. The rule is, anything I go to has to be under 40 dollars, or better yet, free. There's a lot of inexpensive or free events, concerts, plays, shows, and fairs in the summer. Movies are cheap if you go in the early morning (as I discovered with Beauty and the Beast and Solo: A Star Wars Story) and lay off the concession junk food. A walk or ride to the local towns don't require much more than the cost of a soda and lunch.

(Incidentally, as for Solo not doing well...along with the problems usually sited - release date too close to the heavily contested Last Jedi, minimal marketing, a lot of competition - I've been wondering just whom Lucasfilm thought the audience for this was going to be. Most younger fans consider Han Solo to be a dead character, and many older fans have read the original books on Han and wouldn't dream of seeing anyone but Harrison Ford in the part.

That said, this and Rogue One were good movies, and I'm hoping Solo not doing as well as they'd hoped won't put Lucasfilm off the Anthology movies all together. A lot of people still want to see that Kenobi movie. Boba Fett is one of my least-favorite major characters, but he doesn't have a lot of back story, either, and they might actually be able to do some fun things with him.

I've said for a while that Lucasfilm needs to realize that they're not Marvel. The Star Wars films are complex creatures, and they need time to germinate. They should still release Episode 9 next year, then maybe take a year or two off to really develop all the movies and TV shows they supposedly have in production, including a cartoon series about the Resistance, at least two more non-Skywalker trilogies, and a TV show focusing on the Star Wars underworld.)

Mrs. Stahl let me get away with paying her 10 dollars co-pay, instead of the usual long as I put the remaining 10 away for savings, in my savings accounts or an envelope. I put it in one of my savings accounts. If it's actual, physical money, I'll spend it.

By the time I headed out around 3, the sun was out, the clouds were fleeing, and it was turning into a gorgeous day. Rode over to the Haddon Township Library to return my DVDs and do a little volunteering. I just put away the children's DVDs. There were a ton of those as it was, and they had another volunteer shelving the adult titles. Along with more The Lion Guard and He's a Bully, Charlie Brown, I grabbed some new releases. They had Paddington 2 in, a new PBS version of Little Women, and another Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, The Undead.

Went back to Westmont to take a look at their Summer Solstice Festival. There were plenty of food trucks and craft booths, along with a stage featuring local jazz bands. A kid's area next to the Westmont Theater/Planet Fitness had a huge pirate ship-themed bounce house, carnival games, face painting, a woman dressed as Belle in a lovely yellow gown greeting eager children, and a beer garden for their parents. I bought two slices of pizza (at $4 for two slices, it was the cheapest food deal there) and enjoyed listening to the jazz band and a yoga instructor encourage everyone to breathe deeply and put out their summer ommms.

Made a quick stop at the Westmont Acme on Cuthbert after I left the block party. I couldn't put off buying bug spray until the next time I get to the Audubon Acme. The flies were too nasty. No wonder I got three days off - they were dead when I came in, and at rush hour, too. I got in and out with no trouble.

Had my snack, then rode across Newton Lake Park in search of the "Matrimonial Garden." It turned out to be the brick half-circle terrace near the playground across from the Parkview Apartments. There were two tents, one white, one pink, set up near and on the half-circle when I arrived. I locked my bike to a tree and settled down on a bench. Other folks sat in chairs, on blankets, or on lawn chairs in the park behind us. An online pamphlet for the Camden County Park System mentioned "Shakespeare In the Park," the only major event happening in Newton Lake this summer. Since it was free and I hadn't been to a play in years, I thought I'd check it out.

It turned out to be a performance of Twelfth Night. Viola and Sebastian are twins separated in a storm. Viola arrives in Illyria first and dresses as a young man named Cesario to work for the Duke Orsino. Orsino is in love with the fair Olivia, but she's in mourning for her brother and won't see anyone. Olivia falls for "Cesario" when she delivers Orsino's messages to her. It doesn't help that Viola has fallen for Orsino. When a pirate brings Sebastian ashore, his close resemblance to his twin muddies the lake waters even further. There's also a subplot involving Olivia's drunk uncle Sir Toby Belch and his buddy Sir Andrew Agacheek making the pompous Malvolio believe Olivia's in love with him, with the help of Olivia's lady-in-waiting Maria.

I loved it. A park with a lake running through it turned out to be an ideal setting for this particular show. Characters made their entrances by real water, in a real row boat. Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and fellow servant Fabian hid behind real trees and audience members when Malvolio arrived to read their fake love letter. Characters watched the action from the park with the audience. It was a lot of fun. Special kudos to the guy who played Sir Toby. He was absolutely hilarious, and had a gorgeous deep voice to boot. Wasn't as impressed with the girl who played the fool Feste. She mess up some lines, and her singing voice wasn't that great.

It had turned into an absolutely gorgeous night, windy and cooler with a few clouds. The sun was just starting to slip behind the horizon as I returned to Oaklyn. Treated myself to a mint chocolate chip water ice from Phillies Yummies. Whew, was that minty! Clear-my-sinuses minty. Very minty and very green, with real chocolate chips. I enjoyed my treat while watching people stroll back from Tonewood Brewery and Phillies Phatties.

Finished the night at home, watching The Undead. This one skips way ahead to Season Eight, one of the later Mike seasons. While Tom Servo is declared a genius, the trio watch a Roger Corman movie from 1956 about a prostitute being regressed to her past life, a woman accused of witchcraft. The man who sent her back travels into the past to save her and see history change...but if she doesn't die, her future selves will. The movie itself was cheap but oddly interesting, with it's unique past-life medieval plot, even if it does look cheap as heck. (However, the only "undead" are three dancers towards the middle of the film who more closely resemble modern dancers than any current ideas of zombies.)

The Undead (Annotated)

(Oh, and I did spray not only the front window, but around all the windows in the living area I could reach to do so. Seems to have worked, at least for now. The flies are gone.)

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