Saturday, July 07, 2018

In the Good Old Summertime

A gentle breeze blew through my windows this morning, ruffling my bed sheets and my curls. The sun was shining, the wind was cool and fresh, and the haze had vanished with the rain. I celebrated after a long reading and journal writing session with breakfast and the soundtrack from The Roaring 20's. This was a TV show in the early 60's with comedienne Dorothy Provine as a singer involved with two ambitious reporters. Too bad it doesn't seem to have lasted long. The music is a lot of fun, including some songs I'd never heard of before like "Ooh Ernest," "Whisper Song," and "A Cup of Coffee, A Sandwich, and You."

Headed out to the Collingswood Farm Market around quarter of 10, after stopping at the WaWa across the street for money. The summer harvest is in full swing now with the arrival of the corn truck that's the first thing you see when you come in from the Collings Avenue side. Cherries and peas seem to be gone, but I did see the first Chinese beans and peaches of the year. I bought blackberries, a spring onion with its top still on, a grey squash (really more a very pale green), a cucumber, and a larger tub of blueberries than usual.

Rode down Atlantic Avenue and across Collingswood to the Westmont Acme. I forgot cereal and relish yesterday. Grabbed the Acme's generic version of Honey Bunches of Oats and Almonds and a jar of dill relish, along with an iced tea for the ride home.

It was such a beautiful day, I rode the entire length of Newton Lake Park, from Cuthbert Road to the White Horse Pike. Stopped once in the park on the little stone bridge and again on the bridge between Collingswood and Oaklyn to take pictures of the spectacular views. It was like a pastoral setting from a rural romance,with the sparkling lake and lush green trees. I dodged many bikers, dog walkers, fisher-folk, and people taking their kids out in strollers.

When I did get home, I replaced The Roaring 20's with another bit of Provine nostalgia, Oh You Kid! Most of the songs here were actually ones I was familiar with. The only ones I didn't know before I bought this were "Take Me Up With You Dearie," "My Pony Boy," and "Wait 'Till the Sun Shines Nellie."

I decided I wanted a half-way decent lunch on my day off. Made a simple but delicious Cucumber-Tomato Salad and Egg Salad. Used the dill relish in the salad; whew, it was salty! I think I'll go sparingly on that stuff from now on.

Switched to my Song of Our Times studio music collection for 1925 as I made Poohberry Muffins. This is a modified version of the muffin recipe in The Pooh Cook Book. I upped the sugar slightly, added cinnamon, and replaced the blueberries with blackberries. They came out perfectly, sweet and chewy.

Went out again quickly around 1:30 to sneak in volunteering at the Oaklyn Library before it closed for the afternoon. (The library closes at 2, though it does have 3 to 7 hours on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.) Needless to say on a gorgeous afternoon, it was just me, the librarian, and one other man who wanted a computer with Microsoft Word on it. (Apparently, most of the library's computers are on the fritz. People have to take what they can get.)

I did have the time to take out four movies. Three were animated films from the 90's and 2000's. I've seen Quest for Camelot and The Rescuers Down Under before, but not within the last decade. Clone Wars was the theatrically-released pilot for the TV series. I've been wanting to see The Post for a while now. This tale of journalists at the Washington Post in the early 70's has a great cast that includes Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks and was nominated for Best Picture.

I was home just long enough to grab my laundry before heading back out. I'd put it off for too long, partially because there wasn't that much of it. I got lucky. It was busy when I came in, but most customers vanished well before I was putting my clothes in the dryer. Speaking of, it only took me two quarters to get to 18 minutes, rather than 3. Considering their last change in pricing was to raise the prices on the washers, I hope this sticks. I worked on story notes and barely paid attention to a skateboarding contest on TV.

Jodie called while I was folding my laundry. She and Dad have been deciding on a good air conditioner for me. Since neither of them are up to lifting it, Rose and Craig are going to bring it over sometime tomorrow.

Spent the next few hours writing. Harry tells Bodhi to drive around a garbage truck, then leans out the door and shoots the truck's tires. It stops...and Roberto Fettara runs right into it, sending garbage all over him and his armored car. Harry figures it'll hold him long enough for them to get back to the hangar.

Broke at 6:30 to make another salad. The grape tomatoes I bought yesterday were perfect for Chicken Pasta Salad. I tossed canned chicken with whole-wheat penne pasta and sliced grape tomatoes and broccoli florets with a light balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Not bad. I probably should have used more vinegar for a tad bit more bite.

Moved on to Lego Clone Wars after I ate. Finally got through a bunch of the bounty hunter missions. Found clone commanders Cody and Ponds and Jedi Plo Koon, Eeth Toth, and Kit Fisto. Tried Lumiara Unduli, Anakin Skywalker, and the clone Waxer, but didn't get far. Completed "Blue Shadow Virus" and got the Regenerating Hearts red brick, the last red brick on the Separatist ship.

Finished the night after a shower with Clone Wars. This 2008 animated film is Lucasfilm's only venture into feature animation. Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) has come to Jedi Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) to tell them that Yoda (Tom Kane) has assigned her to be Anakin's new padawan. Anakin is adamant about remaining a lone wolf at first, until she helps him shut down the Separatist's energy field and he sees how well they work together. Good thing he changed his mind. Their first assignment as teacher and student is to rescue Jabba the Hutt's (Kevin Michael Richardson) son Rotta (David Acord) and convince Jabba to allow the Republic to use his smuggling lanes to transport clones. Trouble is, Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) has already gotten there first. He claims that the Jedi kidnapped Rotta and are holding him for ransom. Senator Padme Amidala (Catherine Taber) catches wind of the scheme via Jabba's uncle Ziro (Corey Burton), but is captured herself and may not get to her husband and his padawan in time.

While this apparently did make it's low budget back, critics at the time absolutely roasted it, and it remains the worst-received Star Wars film to date. On one hand, I loved seeing the beginning of Anakin and Ahsoka's mentor/student relationship. Ahsoka has become one of my favorite female Star Wars characters, and she gets a good showing here, especially in the opening and closing sequences. And I thought the scene where Obi-Wan sits a Separatist commander down and tries to discuss a treaty over tea was one of the funniest things in any Star Wars movie. (And so very Obi-Wan!)

However, I can definitely understand the critics' complaints. It feels like three episodes of the series strung together, and it's not nearly as good as what little I've seen of the show. The dialogue is clunky (and has the habit of repeating itself constantly), the animation is waxy, and several characters (including Yoda and Mace Windu) are underused.

While not quite as horrible as the critics claimed at the time, it's not great, either. Fine for major fans of Star Wars or The Clone Wars cartoon. Anyone else can skip this and move on to the far-better TV series.

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