Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Dashing Through the Rain

Overslept and kicked off a quick morning with breakfast and my Story of Star Wars LP. Star Wars: A New Hope was so wildly popular in the late 70's, kids were clamoring for anything they could get that was Star Wars-related. For many kids, this cut-down version of the film, complete with a book with photos and the original voices, was the closest many would get to seeing it over and over until it turned up on video.

It was still sunny, hot, and humid when I got to work. Every time I tried to get the carts or returns done in the morning, I kept getting thrown in a register for someone's break or when they left. It wasn't even that busy. Thankfully, by the time the afternoon bagger arrived, more cashiers had also appeared. I spent the second half of my shift helping him with the carts outside.

Clouds had been gathering for almost an hour when I finished work at 1. Rumbles could be heard over the horizon as I dashed home down the Black Horse Pike. I was just starting to cover my bike when the first big fat raindrops started falling down. I dashed up the stairs as fast as I could before they could fall even harder.

Changed and had a quick lunch while it poured and rumbled outside - twice. Ran a pair of Three Stooges shorts while I ate and got organized. They're "Three Missing Links" when a director claims they're perfect to play natives and a gorilla in the movie he's filming in Africa. They want to tell him where he can take his film when they run afoul of real natives, gorillas, and a lion. "We Want Our Mummy" movies them northward to Egypt, where they have to find a missing professor and the mummy he was looking for to get five thousand dollars.

The weather finally calmed down enough for me to head out around 2:30. I wanted to hit the Haddon Township Library before the next round of storms. They were busy with kids and their parents trying to find something to do in the crazy weather. Their DVD return racks were piled so high, they needed another rack to hold the TV shows. There were so many, I only got the kids' titles and half of the ones for adults done before dark clouds and the lateness of the day sent me out again.

I did take out a few things for myself. Grabbed the recent releases Green Book and Bad Times at the El Royale. They had the full series set for What's New, Scooby Doo? in. There's enough episodes I haven't seen of that one to give it a shot.

It started raining again just as I rushed across the street to the Westmont Plaza. I waited under the overhanging roof at Target until it at least slowed down enough for me to start out. It was still raining, and I did still get pretty wet dodging the rush hour traffic. It didn't stop raining until I'd already walked in the door, of course. To my knowledge, it hasn't rained since then.

Tried to work on some writing after that, but I got distracted by this cool blog that talks about vintage Acme architecture. I did manage to get some in later in the evening. Vader tells Bob A Fettman and his motley collection of oddball bounty hunters that he wants them to find Leia, Harris, and Charlie...and no disintegrations. But for now, his own boss is calling him...

Had a quick leftovers dinner around 7. Started What's New, Scooby Doo? as I ate. Since I've seen a lot of episodes of this show on other sets or in re-runs, I'm going to try to only watch the ones I either haven't seen at all, or haven't seen in a long time. Kicked things off with "Space Ape at the Cape." Mystery Inc is at NASA when Velma wins a contest to see her project put on a major shuttle launch. While they're there, an alien egg seems to hatch...and puts out a nasty monster that doesn't want the shuttle launch to go forward!

Finished the night with Lego Star Wars. Finally completed "Rescue the Princess," which fully finishes New Hope except for the Super Story. Had enough time to move on to Empire Strikes Back. Got "Betrayal at Bespin" on the first try, but couldn't get through "Cloud City Trap." I'll try that and the New Hope Super Story again tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A Mighty Heat

Kicked off the morning with breakfast and trying something different. Instead of going straight on the computer, I listed everything I thought I might be able to do for writing, from articles (as long as it's not hard news) to creative writing to poetry. Once again, the trouble is that lack of experience. I think I might try writing samples a bit later in the week, when I have time again.

Watched A Mighty Wind while I worked. The folk music scene of the 1960's is spoofed by Christopher Guest in this affectionate mockumentary. When their former manager dies, three major folk groups come together for one last concert at Town Hall in New York. Mitch (Eugene Levy) and Mickey (Catherine O'Hara) were once "the sweethearts of folk music" with their big hit "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow," but Mitch didn't handle their break-up well and is now in a sanitarium. The New Main Street Singers are a smiley-happy group anchored by Terry (John Michael Higgins) and Laurie (Jane Lynch) Bohner. Laurie belongs to a coven of witches who firmly believe that color cures all ills, which is why she insists that her group color-coordinates their costumes. The Folksmen, Mark (Harry Shearer), Alan (Guest), and Jerry (Michael McKean), are equally happy to be together and singing again. While the big concert doesn't go off perfectly, it does manage to show off these three very different groups and folk music itself in all its peace-loving idiosyncrasies.

Far more affectionate about folk music than Guest's previous spoof Best In Show was about dog-lovers, this is mostly a very sweet look at a frequently-overlooked musical genre. Levy and O'Hara were especially impressive as the neurotic nerd and his former partner who wonder if they might be able to find a spark of their old romance in another on-stage kiss. The music, written entirely by the cast, is both accurate and excellent; "Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" was nominated for an Oscar, and the title number won a Grammy.

If you love folk music, Guest's other mocumentaries, or the cast, you'll want to let that might wind blow you on over to Town Hall to check this one out.

Did some Rick Steves as I made a blueberry smoothie and graham crackers spread with peanut butter for lunch. Since I just finished Wings of the Falcon, a Zorro-style swashbuckler set in 1860's Italy, I did one of the Italian episodes on the new set Linda Young sent for my birthday. Having enjoyed Rick's romp through Verona and Padua, I moved westward to Berlin. The Berlin episodes are a little more meaningful for me than most, since they're some of the few shows where I can claim to have lived through some of the history involved. I vividly recall watching the Berlin Wall being torn down on my tiny black-and-white Zenith TV in 1989. Nowadays, the remnants of the Wall are mostly museums or a great place for people to relax in a park or for graffiti artists to show off their work, and Berlin is bustling, popular, and reunited.

Headed out around 12:30 for today's errands, starting with volunteering at the Oaklyn Library. Other than the librarians, there weren't that many people around, but I did have to shelve and organize a lot of books in the kids' section. They frequently get new releases before Haddon Township does. I took out the just-released Wonder Park (on a little girl trying to save her imaginary theme park), along with Quest for Camelot for review on Saturday. Fished Finding Neverland out of the dollar DVD sales boxes (and had to fish it out again when one of the librarians thought I didn't want it and put it back).

Rode across Haddon Township and Haddonfield next for counseling. Arrived just in time dripping with sweat, thanks to it being a sunny, hot, and humid day. Not a whole lot to report, at any rate. I didn't really do much last month. I'm not making a ton of progress with the job hunt. I did make my Facebook page, but couldn't afford ads on it. I still don't know what I'm going to say on my new website, or what I actually have to put there. I need to write samples. Not to mention, work's been a pain when it hasn't been boring, and there's Mom and my sisters feuding.

Everyone says I'm too hard on myself, that I shouldn't label myself so harshly. I say, I wouldn't label myself so harshly if I just did better things, if I had a better job, and was able to fit in better. I've never felt like I fit in here. All of my best friends live elsewhere, and while I appreciate everything my family has done for me, I don't really fit in with them, either. Jessa is the only person in the family I can really relate to. And Rose still hasn't brought over the rest of that furniture or talked to the darn doctor who was supposed to help me. I need to get on her rear about that. I'm also having a hard time focusing on and offline and end up doing research or reading other things when I should be writing or job hunting.

It was so hot, a stop at Primo's in Westmont was mandatory. I sat outside in the shade and enjoyed my super-sweet Oreo Dough water ice on a bench. (Vanilla water ice with crushed Oreos and brownie pieces. The vanilla was too sweet, but the brownie dough bits were huge and so chocolate-y! Also stopped at the Westmont Acme to pick up laundry detergent, a roll for dinner, and ten dollars to send in my nephew Skylar's birthday card.

Took the long way home across Newton Lake Park and down to the White Horse Pike. It was too hot for most people to be out and about. The only folks I saw were a young couple goofing off in the shade. The grass is starting to get a little crunchy, and even the trees seem to be dusty and drooping. The wildflowers by the Environmental Center fared better, glowing like the rainbow in Mitch and Mickey's song.

Tried to work on writing when I got home. Vader rounds up Bob Fettman and his crew of very strange bounty hunters, telling them that he wants them to go after the Millennium Falcon and Force Girl. Fettman has no trouble with that - he has a score to settle with Harris.

Broke for dinner at quarter of 7. Finished off the turkey bacon with a turkey and tomato sandwich on the Italian roll while watching more Rick Steves. The Paris side trips mostly consisted of ventures into France's royal past, notably a trip to the most lavish palace in Europe, Versailles.

Moved on to Lego Star Wars after I ate. Finally finished off the blue minikit challenges for "Mos Eisley Spaceport" and "Death Star Escape." I tried to figure out "Rescue the Princess," but the Death Star is just too much of a maze! I gave up early for a shower and decided I'd figure it out tomorrow.

Ended the night with the 1976 version of A Star Is Born. I go into more detail on this vehicle for Barbra Streisand - and how it stacks up to other retellings of this story - at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

A Star Is Born (1976)

Monday, July 29, 2019

Princes, Princesses, and Goofs

Kicked off another sunny morning with breakfast and more Goof Troop. "As Goof Would Have It," Goofy is easily able to lose weight, while Pete eats constantly. Hoping to win a health-food contest, he sends his picture as the "before" and Goofy's as the "after," claiming that Goofy is him. Once again, he ends up regretting this when Peg insists that "Pete" live in his house and eat his food, and "Goofy" actually goes on a real diet.

Spent the next hour or so doing research on what website builder would be appropriate for making a writing site. One thing I noticed that most of the writing sites had in common was the writer listed either what they were writing or everything that they could do and had done. Um...I'm not really sure what I can do now. I haven't done anything besides fanfiction and my blogs since I made those pieces for the Helium Network in 2012, and that was only when I was out with a fractured ankle. I need to write down what I can do and maybe make a few more sample pieces.

Finally finished out Goof Troop while having a quick lunch. Goofy has just enough money to afford tickets for him and Max to go to the big family reunion, at least until Pete takes all his money with hidden fees after he repairs his car. Fed up with her husband's treatment of Goofy, Peg's "Calling All Goofs" and brings his relatives to Spoonerville, even letting them stay at their house. Pete's horrified to have all these Goofs around and does everything he can to get rid of them.

Once again, that seems to be all that's on DVD at the moment; among the episodes that are currently missing are the ones that ran concurrently on ABC's Saturday morning block. Of what's currently on DVD, I liked it, but it could be awfully strange, especially for what's essentially an animated sitcom. Some of the weirder episodes stuck out like a sore thumb; notable offenders include "Come Fly With Me," "Close Encounters of the Weird Mime," "Frankengoof," and the two Goofy relative spoofs.

By far my favorite character created for the show was Peg. Tough, devious, and no-nonsense, she and Pete were absolutely perfect for each other. I also enjoyed the touching relationship between Goofy and Max, especially compared to their antagonism in the later Goof Troop-based movies and anthology shorts. For all Goofy's clumsiness, they really will do anything for each other. In fact, I really appreciated how the three adults basically took care of the three kids together. Goofy gave PJ almost as much advice as he gave his own son, and Peg mothered all three kids at several points.

Ehh, I feel the same way about this one as I did about Chip n Dale's Rescue Rangers - it was cute enough that I'm glad I finally saw most of it, but not enough for me to rent a lot or buy. If you've got kids who love Disney shows or sitcoms, they may enjoy checking out Goofy and Max's strange but loving world.

Headed out as soon as the episode ended. Work was pretty much the same as it was for most of last week - dead as a doornail. Men working fixing a pothole in the middle of the parking lot near the Black Horse Pike didn't help. Nor did a very hot but dry day that likely had anyone who wasn't on vacation outside. I spent most of the day outside, gathering carts or the trash, though I did go inside to sweep twice.

As hot as it was, it was still nice enough to take the long way home down Nicholson Road. Dodged a lot of cars by the shopping center entrance and down Nicholson as I made my way past glowing gardens and people going for strolls. The leaves are still pretty green, if a little dusty, given we haven't had any rain for a week and there was no breeze.

Went home and into writing. While Maz considers how to get Harris and Leia together, Vader is dealing with his own problems. He just killed one of his men for not capturing Harris and Leia and has ordered the man next to him, Piett, to take over finding the Rebel League. Finding the Millennium Falcon and Force Girl is a job for a very different group of scum...

Broke for dinner at quarter of 6. Switched to Garfield In the Rough while having a turkey bacon, cucumber, and tomato sandwich for dinner. Garfield's not happy when Jon drags him and Odie on a camping trip. Where's the TV and microwave lasagna? His annoyance turns into flat-out fear when they hear that a panther is loose in the area and he and Odie get lost in the woods.

Didn't have much luck with Lego Star Wars tonight. Tried "Mos Eisley Spaceport" and missed three pieces. Came so close on the New Hope Super Story, but just missed it in "Rebel Attack." I'll try again tomorrow.

Finished the night with Krull. Part of the run of Star Wars imitations and sword-and-sorcery epics of the late 70's and early 80's, this one takes place on a planet called Krull. Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony) is to marry Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall) and unite their kingdoms. Before they can finish the ceremony, the evil Beast (voice of Trevor Martin) and his Slayers invade, kill the kings and their armies, kidnap Lyssa, and leave Colwyn for dead. Colwyn is found by Ynyr (Freddie Jones), the old one. He insists on Colwyn finding the Glaive, which will give him the power to destroy The Beast. Along with finding the Glaive, Colwyn releases a group of thieves with the promise of pardons when he's king and recruits magician Ergo the Magnificent (David Battley) and cyclops Rell (Bernard Bresslaw) to his aid. The men face many dangers, from the Beast's teleporting Black Fortress to an assassin that can change his form, to find the fortress and rescue Colwyn's lady love.

Oh boy, was this fun. Considering how many sci-fi and fantasy fans there are in my family, I'm surprised I never ran into this one before. A decent cast (including a young Liam Neeson and Robbie Coultrane among the thieves), rather good special effects for the time (especially the Beast and the Widow of the Web's lair), and appropriately stirring music make up for the nonsensical and cliched plot and some really over-the-top performances. If you're a fan of 80's sci-fi or fantasy like me, you'll want to give this unusual hybrid another try.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

In the Swim

I slept in again and awoke to a sunny, hot morning. For once, I got to have my Sunday pancakes for brunch in the morning. I wish my blueberry pancakes had turned out better, but I think I used too many blueberries and couldn't turn them over. They just broke apart and made a mess, though they still tasted pretty good.

Listened to my Kismet original cast album as I ate and cleaned up afterwards. This is the 1953 musical adaptation of the early 1900's Arabian Nights-set play. In the course of a single day, a story teller in old Bagdad (Alfred Drake) falls in love with the lusty wife of the Wazir (Joan Diener), kills off the Wazir (Henry Calvin), and sees his lovely daughter Marsinah (Doretta Morrow) married to the Caliph (Richard Kiley). Some of the biggest Broadway hits of the early 50's could be found in this show, including "Baubles, Bangles, and Beads" for Marsinah, "The Sands of Time" for Drake, and the lush duet "Stranger In Paradise" for Marsinah and the Caliph when she thinks the latter is a gardener.

Went to run a few errands after I finished the dishes. I forgot that today was Dad's birthday, and my nephew Skylar's birthday is Wednesday. My first stop was Dollar General. I did grab cards for both of them here, along with my favorite pecan log. I was hoping to find Cool Whip to make a pudding cake for Dad, but no luck. The closest thing they had was Reddi-Whip, and they were out of it.

As I was leaving the store and going in the back to get my bike, my mind was so focused on getting presents for Sky and Dad, I wasn't looking where I was going. Took a bad step and ended up scraping my left arm against the stucco walls. Thankfully, my arm had rubbed red, but it wasn't really hurt. My left knuckle caught the worst of it got a little scraped. I always bring a small pack of Band-Aids in my purse, so that was an easy fix.

I didn't have much luck elsewhere. No Cool Whip at CVS or Family Dollar, or even heavy cream. None at WaWa, either, but I did get one of those dollar 32 ounce sodas there. The Minute Maid Peach Lemonade I got out of the Coca Cola Freestyle machine was amazing; it really tasted of sweet peach and tangy lemon.

Called Jodie when I got home and said I'd come over later, then relaxed a bit and did some writing. Maz tells Leia she thinks Harris is very much in love with her, and she'll prove it. She plans a romantic dinner for them, but the Empire may have other plans...

Watched a few episodes of Sale of the Century on Buzzr while I worked on my story. Today was their special "Christmas In July" theme, when they run Christmas episodes of some of their shows. Sale of the Century was kind of a mid-80's cross between Jeopardy and an upscale Price Is Right. They were decorated for the holidays with elaborate silver and green wreaths and a huge tree. Most of the little skits for the prizes were holiday-themed too, from Santa and people in gingerbread men costumes selling a karaoke machine to people in wide-shouldered 80's suits and dresses celebrating with crystal glasses. The woman who won was amazing, especially on the first episode. Not only did she get the final round in under a minute, but she got the last two in under five seconds!

Grabbed my bathing suit and went back out around quarter of 5. I was a little disappointed that Rose and her kids were leaving just as I came in. I was hoping to talk to her about the furniture. I did have a nice chat with Dad and Jodie in and out of the pool, though. The pool was so warm! It was bathwater-warm. I told them when my vacation in September is and about Rose giving me the coffee table. Jodie and I enjoyed mushroom pizza together and Jodie had hot wings while Dad switched between Law & Order re-runs and the Braves-Phillies game. (Phillies killed the Braves this evening, by the way, 9 - 4.)

Finished the night after I got in with Lego Star Wars. Finally completed "Rebel Attack" tonight. I don't know why I kept missing that one piece. Like I said, the blue pieces were hard to see against the gray and blue Death Star. Tried "Rescue the Princess" and "Mos Eisley Spaceport," but had no luck. I'll return to them tomorrow.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Hot Harvest

Kicked off a sunny morning with a quick breakfast and more Goof Troop. It's a "Nightmare on Goof Street" when Goofy wins a remodeling contest, but Pete convinces him to let the men add a game room to his house. Turns out that for once, he's the one who gets tricked when the men who held the contest turns out to be con artists who take Pete's house apart, then sell it for spare parts.

Headed out shortly after the episode ended. I had a few errands to run, starting with the Collingswood Farm Market. This one was really important, since I won't get there next week. I didn't make it until quarter after 11, and it was still packed with people looking for produce for summer barbecues and pool parties. I dodged enough people to grab a tomato, Chinese beans, blueberries, peaches, a small cantaloupe, and two ears of corn. Went quickly across the street to WaWa after I finished to grab a lime Perrier and money for the laundry later in the day.

Rode around for a little while, looking for an estate sale in Westmont, near Crystal Lake Road. Not only did I never find it, but while it still wasn't as humid as last week, it was getting much hotter. I finally gave up around 1 and went home.

Put everything away, then made a blueberry-zucchini smoothie while continuing Goof Troop. Pete once again insists on getting in on something Goofy inherits in "When There's a Will, There's a Goof." This time, he claims to be Goofy's brother in order to claim a big inheritance...that turns out to be a collection of huge shellfish, mollusks, and slugs. While Pete tries to offload the critters, the rest of the family get attached to them, until they start to make a mess in the house.

"Winter Blunderland" is the first of two snow-themed episodes in a row. Pete claims he wants to take Goofy and the boys skiing, but he's really after photos of Bigfoot. He dresses Goofy as Bigfoot so he can bring him to his used car lot and advertise him as being part of the show, but then the real Bigfoot shows up...and she falls for Goofy!

I still had one last thing to do for the day. My laundry badly needed to be done. Once again, I picked the right time. It was dead as a doornail there. I think I saw two people the entire time. Good thing, too. I had a larger load this week, including a lot of clothes from the heat wave last weekend and my work uniforms. Worked on story notes and ignored the boring nature and consumers' shows on NBC.

Went on the computer when I got in. I tried to do research on free website builders. Trouble is, there's just so many! I have no idea what would be right for my needs. Not to mention, the better plans cost money. They say the free plans don't look professional, but I can't make money for the fancier plans without it. I wish I knew someone who was more familiar with this, someone I could talk to about finding writing jobs and writing and websites and how to sell your writing.

Tried to do a little writing when I gave up on that. Maz tries playing matchmaker with Leia next. Leia is clearly interested in Harris, but claims she's too busy and he's too immature. Maz knows there's more to him than what's on the surface, and maybe she needs to dig a little deeper to find it...

Broke for dinner around 6:30. Pete experiences a "Gymnauseum" when Peg starts trying to push him about losing weight and the svelte owner of a muscle car shop makes a play for her. Goofy gets Pete to join a winter sports contest, but he has to lose weight to do it. Peg tries to make him jealous to motivate him, but it works too well. Now he thinks the only way to get his wife back is to win that contest.

"Come Fly With Me" is the strangest episode this show ever did, and is probably creepier than either of the horror-themed episodes. When Pete fights with the boys over his new computer, he's somehow zapped by the electrical waves and turns into a fly. He has to dodge Goofy making shoo-fly pies, everyone swatting him, and the real flies preparing to invade their houses in order to figure out how to turn back into a cat-man again.

Moved to Lego Star Wars after dinner. It took at least four tries, but I did finally finish the blue minikit challenge for "Through the Jutland Wastes." Still can't figure out "Rebel Attack." The blue pieces don't stand out enough against the gray and blue backgrounds. I'll give that one another shot tomorrow.

After I went online, I worked on my review for the CGI version of The Lion King that I saw yesterday. I go more into that one - and the pros and cons of Disney's remake fever - at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

The Lion King (2019)

Speaking of animation, I finished up the night with another animated movie, Spider Man: Into the Spiderverse. Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is a young Afro-Hispanic teenager living in New York who was just switched to a prestigious boarding school. He's having a hard time fitting in and is so scared of making friends, he hasn't even talked to his roommate yet. After his Uncle Aaron (Marhershala Ali) takes him to the subway to check out the graffiti, he's bitten by a radioactive spider and gains extraordinary powers. He thinks he's alone, with the original Spider Man having just been killed by the nasty gangster Kingpin (Liev Schriber), but then is nearly killed by two of Kingpin's men and is saved by another Spider Man (Jake Johnson). He's after a key that will open Kingpin's particle accellerator, which he calls "The Collider," and send him home.

Peter's not the only Spider Man Kingpin's brought to New York, either. There's a lot of them, including an Asian girl with a Pacific Rim-type spider robot (Kimiko Glenn), Gwen Stacy from a timeline where she became Spider Woman (Hailee Steinfeld), the black and gray Spider Man Noir (Nicholas Cage), and anthropomorphic pig Spider Ham from an all talking animal world (John Mulaney). Each of them have their own abilities that they bring to the table...and each reminds Miles that, no matter how strange or difficult things may seem, he's never alone.

Wow. This deserved every bit of its Oscar win last winter. The animation style was incredible, somehow making the brilliant colors and lines of a comic book work in CGI. Every Spider Person is done in their own style, from Gwen Stacy's girlie pinks and grays to Peni's anime to Spider-Ham's 2D cartoon, and it works beautifully. Moore and Johnson work nicely off each other as the newest Spider-kid and one of the best-known ones, and Schriber makes an appropriately menacing Kingpin. I also liked the emphasis on Miles' relationship with his parents and uncle, something sorely lacking in many superhero stories (including Peter Parker's original origins).

I really regret not having gotten to see this in the theater last fall. I'll bet it was incredible on the big screen. If you're a fan of Spider Man, comic books, or want to see a really unique take on a familiar character, I can't recommend this one enough.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Everything Is Mostly Awesome

Slept in this morning. Kicked off a late and sunny day with breakfast and Goof Troop. Bored, PJ and Max run off to the big city to find a little excitement, but they're definitely feeling those "Big City Blues" when they lose their money and desperately chase a bill all over town. They learn a lesson in what it's like for a real runaway when a homeless man finds them and helps them home. Meanwhile, their dads are having far less luck looking for them, thanks to a cab driver who stiffs them and takes them in circles.

Headed out as the next episode was beginning. I'd been hoping to go to the movies today. After the long week I'd had, I figured I needed it. Locked my bike at the back of the fire department, then went to pick up the bus at City Hall. It was on time, and while the traffic was a little stop-and-go due to a repair project on the White Horse Pike, it wasn't really that bad. I hopped off the bus in Somerdale around 12:30.

It was a tough choice, but I ended up seeing The Lion King remake. Surprisingly, the theater wasn't that full, despite it having only been out for a week. Only three of the last four rows were remotely full. I easily found my seat and stayed there this time.

(The movie was...ok. I'll go further into my opinions on my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog tomorrow.)

As for the commercials, the most interesting of the upcoming movies advertised for me was Cats. On one hand, Jennifer Hudson gets to sing "Memory." I know she can raise the roof on a good song - Dreamgirls is one of my favorite musicals. On the other hand, the CGI cat people look a little too uncanny valley, and I suspect actors in cat costumes pouncing on giant sets would go over better onstage. I probably won't see it until January in any case. I'm afraid my Christmas movie-going is reserved for Rise of Skywalker. (Other commercials of mild interest include a film continuation of Downton Abbey, the remake of Mulan, and Playmobil: The Movie, which basically looks like a rip-off of the Lego films.)

Despite it being 3 PM by the time I made it out of the theater, it wasn't really that hungry. I strolled down the hill and went to the Taco Bell in front of the bus stop for lunch. Needless to say, they weren't really busy that late in the day. I used their nifty self-service monitor to buy their crunchy taco/quesadilla combo and a low-sugar Baja Blast. The creamy salsa in the quesadilla was way too spicy and too messy. Too bad, because the chicken and melted cheese was pretty darn good, and it was just the right size, not too big like some restaurant quesadillas. The taco was your usual taco, filled with cheese, lettuce shreds, and ground beef.

I noticed a bench on a strip of land behind Taco Bell's drive-through area when I was walking to the theater. Since I had a little time before the bus appeared, I took a leaf from the lions and basked in the sun. The weather was perfect for it. It was absolutely gorgeous, bright and breezy and hot but not humid, like it was last weekend.

Strolled around to the bus stop about five minutes early. The bus was about ten minutes late, not bad during rush hour. I actually had fewer problems getting home. There was no traffic, and the bus wasn't full. I got off at the dentist's office across from 7-11 and City Hall, grabbed my bike, and headed home.

I was only there long enough to use the bathroom and make a grocery list. It was so nice, I decided to get the grocery shopping done. I didn't really need a whole lot, anyway. The Acme is having a big sale on Skippy for 88 cents. Quaker cereals were on sale, too; went with Cinnamon Life. Had online coupons for the Acme's generic Greek yogurt, almond milk, vegetable chips, and the organic fruit spread. Found cans of the Acme's chicken soup and Campbell's Cream of Mushroom on the clearance racks. Bought Irwin's Spiced Wafers for a snack this week.

Not really happy with my schedule this week. On one hand, Sunday and Tuesday off, the latter for counseling, and slightly more hours. On the other hand, I don't have another day off after Tuesday, which means missing the Farm Market next week and likely working 7 days straight through again. To be honest, I'm probably lucky I got the schedule I did at all. The Acme was stone-cold dead when I was there, and that was during the height of rush hour on a Friday.

Ran some Goof Troop as I put everything away and made a tasty Blueberry-Peach Smoothie with vegetable chips for dinner. (The vegetable chips were even yummier, other than being a tad salty.) A superstitious Pete wants to "Rally 'Round the Goof" when a fortune teller insists that Goofy is a good luck charm. Pete lets him drive in a road race, but may end up making his own luck when Goof falls asleep behind the wheel.

Pete and Peg go through "Window Pains" when Peg and the kids start a window-washing service to earn money to buy Pete a car. Pete thinks they're trying to win a busy neighbor contest and begins a service of his own, despite not being a fan of heights. Goofy's the one who ends up stuck between Pete and Peg's stiff competition.

Went out shortly after the episode ended. Tonight is Oaklyn's Final Friday block party, which they have on the last Friday of every month in the summer. By 7 PM, it had gotten a little cloudy and a bit cooler, but otherwise was still a gorgeous evening. This was reflected in the huge crowds bunching around the line of food trucks on West Clinton Avenue. I considered getting a doughnut, but I really wasn't that hungry. I just strolled through, watching parents enjoy fried goodies and beer from Tonewood Brewery and kids get their faces painted and twisted balloon creations from a gentlemen who made balloon swords and belts.

Took the long way home down Kendall and across Goff. The cool breeze ruffled colorful gardens filled with lilies, roses, geraniums, and gladiolus. Kids who weren't with their parents on West Clinton chased each other down the street; their parents mowed their lawns.

Grabbed the last of the black cherry ice cream when I got home while playing Lego Star Wars. Finally got through "Chancellor In Peril" tonight, completing Revenge of the Sith and the Prequels. Had less luck on "Through the Jutland Wastes," which I tried three times. Got pretty close the last time. I'll try again tomorrow.

Finished the night with The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. Everything isn't awesome for Emmett (Chris Pratt) and his friends following an invasion of Duplo blocks. It isn't awesome for the young boy who owns him, either. Now a jaded teen who is tired of sharing his collection with his sister, he turns everything but Emmett's home into a wasteland. Though everyone else in the world is in despair, including Emmett's girlfriend Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Emmett remains upbeat. His faith is shaken when a doll named Sweet Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz) in a pink sci-fi outfits whisk his friends away to the Systar System, where everything is pink, pastel, or covered in glitter. Wyldstyle doesn't trust their Queen Waterva Wa'Nabi (Tiffany Haddish), especially when she wants to marry Batman (Will Arnett), but she's not as bad as she thinks.

Meanwhile, Emmett gets help finding his friends from super-macho Rex Dangervest (Pratt), who is basically all of Pratt's action roles rolled into one Lego figure. He seems super cool at first, with his gun-wielding dinosaurs and incredible moves. Emmett thinks he's the one who can help him save the others from "Armamagedgeon"...but the only thing that can really save them is rallying together, both the figures and their brother and sister owners.

Very interesting take on regret, compassion, sharing our creativity, and the importance of working together. Pratt had a ball sending up his recent tough-guy image, Tiffany Haddish made a nice queen (and did surprisingly well with a song number midway through), Banks had a much greater role this time around as Wyldstyle, and Beatriz did well as the not-so-tough Lego Friends astronaut. Great animation too, especially with the stickers and drawings of the Systar System.

This didn't do quite as well as the first one, with audiences or critics, when it came out this winter. I'm wondering if some critics are just feeling Lego fatigue after the spin-offs The Lego Batman Movie and Lego Ninjago Movie and the announcement of the Playmobil film. Not to mention, the first movie was such an unusual success, it was probably going to be a hard act to follow for any sequel. Still, if you're a fan of the other Lego movies, this one is highly recommended...but yeah, see the original Lego Movie first to get a better gist of the characters and these films' unique universe.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Busy Summer

Kicked off a sunny morning with more Peanuts. The He's a Bully, Charlie Brown DVD comes with an episode of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show from the mid-80's. Only the first segment, with Lucy making Linus and Snoopy help out in her garden, and the last, with Snoopy taking over from Chuck briefly as manager of the baseball team, have anything to do with summer. The other two consist of gags with Re-Run on the back of his mother's bicycle (most of which would be reused in I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown) and Linus mailing his blanket to himself when his blanket-hating grandmother visits, only to panic when it doesn't appear in the mailbox.

Work was pretty much the same deal as yesterday. I once again spent most of it outside, trying to round up carts. They're still rearranging the store. A lot of people are starting to complain, including employees. They get in the way, don't tell the managers what they're doing or rearranging, and use up too many carts that paying customers need. I swept the store and did a few returns after the head bagger arrived, then went right back outside. At least it was a nice day for it. It was a little hotter and more humid than yesterday, but still nothing like last weekend.

Went straight home, then changed, rounded up my library DVDs and purse, and went right back out. I had a few things to do today, starting with lunch at the Westmont Bagel Shop. Despite it being an hour from closing, their was a fairly long line of teenagers ordering sandwiches. I went with a tuna melt and tomato paninni and a Snapple Peach Tea. The tuna melt was enormous and absolutely refused to stay on the bread. It ended up being a very tasty mess.

Stopped at Target next. I needed pads rather badly. They were even less busy than the Acme had been earlier in the morning. I got my pads, paid for them, took out money for tomorrow and Saturday, washed my hand and arm when I discovered they were sticky, and got out.

The main reason I was in Westmont was to hit the Haddon Township Library. They were a little busier with people looking for something to do in the afternoon heat. The kids' DVD titles were overflowing. I discovered why when half of them wouldn't fit in the racks. I had fewer problems with the much smaller stack of adult titles.

I took out a few movies myself for the first time in weeks. Along with the second half of Goof Troop, the library just got Lego Movie: The Second Part in. I'm dying to see that. Also grabbed the Oscar-winning animated film Spider Man: Into the Spiderverse and the 1976 version of A Star Is Born. (The latter is for review on my Musical Dreams blog, probably on Tuesday.)

Took the long way home across Newton Lake Park. It was too nice not to! Dodged a lot of fishermen and kids out for a stroll as I headed past the emerald green grass and waving leaves. There were bright orange cones set up in front of the path going to the Haddon Township Historical and Environmental Center, but it wasn't really that bad, mainly a few sticks and debris leftover from that storm on Monday. Stopped at WaWa really quick to get their bottled mocha cappuccino and make change.

When I got home, I thought I'd see if I needed to pay my college loan. I'd gotten forbearance, but I thought it ended this month. To my horror, it ended last month...and I ended up taking money out of my savings account to pay for both and just getting another forbearance. I'm so frustrated.

Tried to cheer myself up with some writing, at least when I could make myself focus. Maz tells Leia she's seen her eyes before - in a pair of superheroes from the 1950's, the White Lady and the Hero With No Fear. Leia reveals that yes, they're her parents. She was told that her father died with the other Jedi Knights when their powers were outlawed, but intentionally doesn't mention what happened to her mother...

It was almost 7 before I broke for dinner. Had leftover burgers and defrosted frozen broccoli for dinner while watching more Goof Troop. Pete gets really paranoid in "For Pete's Sake" when he gets what looks like a cut-and-paste note from Goofy that claims he's going to kill him. It's really saying he's going to replace his Swiss army hedge clipper. Pete spends his time trying to hide from Goofy, while Max and his family just wonder why he's acting even stranger than usual.

Moved to Lego Star Wars after I ate. Finished the blue minikit challenge for "Bounty Hunter Pursuit," which completes Attack of the Clones. Had no luck with "Chancellor In Peril," "Death Star Attack," or "Rescue the Princess." I'm probably going to have to look up most of the longer later rounds.

Ended the night with Moulin Rouge! in honor of the stage version opening on Broadway tomorrow. I go into more detail on this colorful tragic romance at my Musical Dreams Movies Reviews blog.

Moulin Rouge! (2001)

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

It Was a Beautiful Summer, Charlie Brown

Started a fast and early morning with breakfast and Goof Troop. "In Goof We Trust" has Pete hiring Goofy after he's declared to be the "most honest man in Spoonerville" and Pete is exposed as a fraud on local TV. Pete's hoping that honesty will sell used cars. Goofy does sell the cars...for what they're worth, which isn't much. Pete hypnotizes Goofy to keep everything he finds. Goofy does do that, but he ends up bringing all the sold cars back to the lot, leaving Pete to do some quick talking to their new owners.

Headed off to work as soon as the episode ended. Other than gathering baskets and sweeping, I was mainly outside. That was fine with me. The carts kept disappearing, but not because we were busy. In fact, we were dead all morning. They're in the midst of rearranging the frozen food aisles and are using the carts to hold items. It was too nice to be inside all day anyway. While a bit warmer than yesterday and slightly humid, it wasn't anything resembling as bad as the weekend. The sun glowed in a soft, haze-less blue sky.

The weather was so nice, I took the long way home to enjoy more of it. It was a little busy around the entrance to the Audubon Crossings Shopping Center, but otherwise wasn't bad. I'm hoping they were all out for a drive, or at least going home from work. The rain and humidity has left intense green grass, large waving leaves, and rainbow flowers blooming in flourishing gardens. Kids chased each other down the street and called across their lawns.

Changed and decided to take advantage of the nice day to finally do some baking. Made Blueberry-Lemon Muffins while continuing with Goof Troop. "And Baby Makes Three" when Peg tells her family she's bringing home a "surprise"...and Goofy, Max, and Pete and his kids all think she's having a baby. Pete and Goofy try to build a nursery for the little one, while Pistol and Max dress PJ as a baby to head off the idea of Pete and Peg having more children.

Pete's convinced to fight "The Incredible Bulk" after he brags about his wrestling prowess. After seeing the size of Bulk Brogan, he signs Goofy's name to the application. Goofy does fight him...but Pete's the one who ends up in trouble when it turns out Bulk is more interested in cooking than wrestling.

Pete and Goofy compete to be "Mrs. Spoonerville" and win a prize and three thousand dollars. Pete, however, is a major slob who is used to Peg and his children doing all the domestic work, while single-dad Goofy can pretty much do anything domestic. Pete first tries his best to compete with Goofy's cleaning abilities...and then decides he's going to cheat.

Worked on writing after the muffins were in the oven. Harris takes everyone into Maz's castle-themed bar. She's a tiny black lady who manages to yell Harris' name over the din and her very strange customers. She's also fond of Chewie, giving him a nice, juicy bone from the back. Harris tells her they're there to lay low and get the Falcon fixed, but she suspects he has ulterior motives...

It was quarter of 7 before I broke for dinner. Made a tomato and broccoli omelet and turkey bacon for dinner. Watched two Peanuts specials as I ate and had black cherry ice cream for dessert. Charlie Brown gets a chance to be a hero for once in He's a Bully, Charlie Brown when a bratty kid at camp wins all of Re-Run's marbles. Snoopy trains Chuck in playing marbles...making him confident enough to take on the champ. Chuck doesn't do nearly as well in another camp story, It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown. The girls keep trouncing him and the boys at everything...until they pit Lucy against the Masked Marvel, aka Snoopy, in arm wrestling.

Ended the night with Lego Star Wars. Just couldn't get anywhere tonight. Could not find three pieces in "Death Star Attack." It's not the longest round, but the Death Star is mostly blue and silver and kind of matches the pieces. Took so long on the New Hope Super Story, I ended before I finished. I think I'll try doing the blue minikit pieces for New Hope before I tackle further Super Stories.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Rainy Daze

I awoke to a comfortable apartment. I'd never been so happy to see a cloudy, shower-laden morning. While it was still a bit humid, it was also much cooler. I switched off the air conditioning, then had breakfast and switched on more Goof Troop. "Good Neighbor Goof" isn't acting like much of one when he gets into a feud with Pete. They won't let PJ and Max hang out together, until the boys concoct a scheme to make them see how silly they're acting.

"Goodbye Mr. Goofy" is similar to "Goof Under My Roof." Goofy and Max end up staying with Pete and his family again. Pete took Goofy's mortgage money to teach him a lesson about leaving things laying around, then lost the money. Even when he finds it, Goofy thinks it's charity. Pete has to figure out a way to get him to take it, without offending his pride or losing it again.

Tried to do some writing after breakfast, but I had a hard time focusing. Just managed to mention that Harris took Leia, Chewie, and Charlie to Maz's Takodana Motel, a castle-themed L-shaped 50's hotel with an attached bar. He leads them into Maz's bar, and warns them not to stare...and jumps when Maz calls out to him.

Broke for lunch at 1. "Lethal Goofin'" is the first episode to revolve entirely around the kids. Max and PJ are tired of being attacked by school bullies and convince the nerdy head of the School Patrol to let them join. They proceed to use PJ's tough moves to save kids from losing their lunch money. When the leader of the bullies frame the boys and throw them out of the program, they become determined to speak for all the bullied kids of the school and keep them from causing more harm.

It started to rain hard just as I walked out the door. It was slowing down just as I arrived, allowing me to arrive fairly wet but not soaked. I had plenty of time to dry off. I spent most of the afternoon sweeping and doing returns. The head bagger did most things. By the time I went outside to help with carts, about a half-hour before I left, the rain was long-gone, though the cool air thankfully remained. The worst thing that happened was me slamming my knee just under the kneecap hard against a bench next to the main door. It hurt like hell and formed a nice dark purple bruise, but not enough that I wasn't able to get home.

Changed and started turkey burgers for dinner to go with my cucumber-tomato salad. Watched Goof Troop as I cooked and had a Cherry-Berry Ice Cream Float for dessert. Goofy and Max inherit a castle in "Frankengoof." Pete insists that he and his family need to tag along. This proves to be one of his worst ideas when it turns out that the castle is a dilapidated wreck that houses a creepy Igor-style assistant, paranoid townspeople, and a monster who looks oddly familiar.

Goofy gets the job of his dreams in "E=MC Goof." He thinks he's a janitor for a NASA-esque rocket program, but he accidentally turned in Max's report on Einstein as his application, and now the scientists are convinced that he's a genius. While Goof tries to teach the playful monkey astronaut how to scrub a spaceship. Pete tries to offload a pile of useless products onto his customers.

"Pete's Day at the Races" returns to more familiar sitcom territory. Pete wins a race horse in a card game and hopes to make him a champion. His family is annoyed with him pampering the equine and throws them both out. Pete hires Goofy to help him make the horse a champion, then sells shares in him when he assumes he can't win. What he doesn't know is Goofy figured out what was wrong with the equine...and he ends up being the one racing him.

Moved on to Lego Star Wars after dinner. Completed the super story for Revenge of the Sith with the fastest time yet, just a little over 35 minutes. Still can't figure out where all the blue minikit pieces are in "Chancellor In Peril" and get to them in time. I'll look that one up and try again tomorrow.

Finished the night with Waikiki Wedding. I go more into this Hawaiian-set Bing Crosby vehicle at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Waikiki Wedding

Monday, July 22, 2019

Thunder In the Summer

I awoke to sun and haze...but my apartment was, thankfully, far less warm than it was yesterday. I celebrated the cooler weather with breakfast and more Goof Troop. Max and PJ are thrilled when Peg's uncle, retired General Robert E. Lee Sparrowhawk, comes to visit. Despite the fun he has playing with the boys, he's bored and feels useless. Pete claims there's a national emergency that he has to recruit help for, but it ends up doing more harm than good.

Worked on writing for the rest of the morning. The little old man Luke encounters at the backwater swamp village of Dagobah eats the fast food in his car, tosses his stuff around, and won't give up his flashlight. An annoyed Rudy gives away the game - the old man is Yoda, the Jedi Grand Master who once ran the order. He says he doesn't think he can train Luke, but Rudy tells him he's just too used to training kids - Yoda is a former elementary school teacher. The spirit of Ben Kenton in the trees convinces Yoda otherwise.

Broke for lunch around 12:30. Returned to Goof Troop while having a mix of yogurt, blueberries, honey, and cinnamon for lunch. Goofy is "A Goof of the People" when he runs for mayor on a platform of shutting down a factory that's causing some really nasty pollution. Pete runs on the same platform, until the devious owner of the factory bribes him to look the other way and sabotage Goofy.

It was still sunny and killer humid when I went to work, but while it was hot, it wasn't quite as bad as yesterday. I spent most of the first half of the day outside, either rounding up the trash and recycling or gathering carts. Also did some sweeping while the head bagger was on her breaks.

I was doing my second sweep around 5 PM when I happened to look out a window. Clouds had been gathering when I was outside with the carts, but they weren't really that bad. Now, they were bad. It was dark as night out the windows. As soon as I finished sweeping, I dashed outside. It was windy and pitch-black and much cooler. I ran around, bringing as many carts as I could find up to the patio. I'd just grabbed a last one from a corral near Nicholson Road when the clouds broke, the wind roared, thunder rumbled, and it started pouring! I ran the cart back up to the patio as fast as I could, then let the wind blow me inside.

Maybe it's just as well that I wanted to pick up a few things after work. I needed a roll for dinner, and I grabbed a soft pretzel for a snack. Turkey Hill ice cream is still on sale. I went with black cherry and picked up the Acme's generic sparkling black raspberry drink to go with it.

By the time I walked out the door, the rain had finally started to slow down. I only got a little bit damp riding home. Though the rain was gone, the clouds lingered. It's rained off and on, sometimes with thunder, lightning, and heavy wind, for the rest of the night.

As soon as I changed and put everything away, I started dinner. Since I had the turkey bacon, I made a TBLT' - turkey bacon, tomatoes, and lettuce - sandwich and steamed broccoli for dinner. Did some more Goof Troop while I ate and had a tasty Cherry-Berry Cream Float for dessert. Pete claims that he owns half of Goofy's property, and even knocks down part of the wall of his kitchen. He regrets it when Goofy and Max stay with his family, and having a "Goof Under My Roof" drives him crazy.

We learn why he wants Goof's house so badly in the first part of the two-part pilot episode, "Everything's Coming Up Goofy." Goofy wants to move Max to his hometown of Spoonerville. Peg's delighted to sell the house to him. Pete's far less so. He wanted the land to expand his own house. He does everything he can to get Goofy to leave, but it just makes him want to stay.

Finished the night with Lego Star Wars. I didn't have the time for the Super Stories, but I was able to complete the blue minikit challenges on "Defense of Kashyakk" and "Secret Plans." Tried "Rescue the Princess," "Death Star Attack," and "Chancellor In Peril," but didn't get very far. I'll see what I can do tomorrow.

Oh, and I bought the tickets for my vacation tonight. I'll be leaving for Albany on Friday, September 13th! :)

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Too Hot to Handle

I'd been up for about ten minutes when the phone rang. It was Rose. She and Craig had finally gotten their extra furniture sorted enough for me to take a look at it. Did I want to come over after work? She'd even drive me to and from the Acme. Sure, why not? I was only working until noon, and I had no other plans.

She came around just as I'd finished breakfast. I'm giving her the other air conditioner that Dad and Jodie bought me last summer. It's no longer appropriate for my windows. (I need to figure out what to do with the smaller, older air conditioner, too.) I followed her as she carried it downstairs to her car. We talked about the heat and how to beat it; she said she'd tried that Turkey Hill Trio'politain Vanilla ice cream, too (and enjoyed it just as much as I did).

Maybe it's because I was in early, but work wasn't really that bad. I did spend a lot of time doing the carts...but they had a jug of water for baggers at the front desk, and I keep a bottle of water in my locker year-round, since I get thirsty riding my bike. I also rounded up the outside trash and shelved a full cart of loose items. By the time we were getting busier, I was on my way out. Rose and Khai had to do a little bit of grocery shopping anyway and picked me up just as I finished.

I changed into regular clothes as soon as I could get past Rose's miniature pincher Kelsey greeting me with barks and sniffing and into the bathroom. (Their other dog, Toby, sadly passed away about a week or two ago.) She had a lot of furniture she didn't want that she'd gotten from Mom or friends. That's perfect, because a lot of my furniture needs to be replaced. The metal frame on my day bed broke almost as soon as I put it together. I have crates holding up the broken bars right now. I've had my loveseat for a good 15 years. In fact, Rose gave it to me after she and her previous boyfriend moved to Audubon and couldn't use it anymore. I know I had it in my last year at Wildwood. My entertainment area coffee table was a crate.

We went upstairs and looked at a trundle fold-out day bed and a book shelf that was currently holding her older fantasy novels. I could definitely use the bookshelf. I need space for DVDs, CDs, and books. I'd like to take the trundle bed. If it can fit, it'll replace the loveseat. If not, it could replace the day bed...though I'd have to find something do with the frame, which is still in decent shape. A small, black-and-gray elliptical-shaped coffee table would be a great replacement for that crate.

Among the items in the basement were a wide metal bed frame, a microwave holding shelf, a small rolling cart, and several chairs. Not only was the metal frame too wide for my bed, but it was the same flimsy design I'd already broken. I might be able to use the microwave shelf and the chairs. I like my dining area table, but the chairs are already a bit wobbly. (She also showed me a table, but it was old and scratched. Nahh, I like mine better.) I don't have a microwave, but plenty of other things could fit there. I could get the popcorn maker and food processor off the shelf in the living room.

Rose gave me the small coffee table today, along with the pillow cases that match my new quilt and the coral red hand towel to go with the matching large towel. She helped me get the thin table up to my place, then measured where the love seat and bed are. (I also need to eventually replace the dresser and wardrobes. They came with the house and were likely cheap pieces Miss Ellie and her nephew bought before I moved in to make up for the lack of closet space. They're falling apart, especially the dresser. The McHughs want nothing to do with them.)

As soon as I got home, I did some organizing. The crocheting, coloring, and crossword puzzle books that were in the crate fit on the shelf under the coffee table. I was originally going to move the crate to where the small corner shelf is, but it was too big. It went next to the appliances and now holds oversized books on entertainment and media history and biographies of entertainers. The video games went where the media books used to be. Listened to the soundtrack of American Graffiti as I worked, and later as I had perfect blueberry pancakes for lunch.

Spent the rest of the afternoon trying to focus in my bedroom and write. Luke discovers a little old man with elf-like ears and greenish skin on the sidewalk. The old man insists he can help them find where they are and proceeds to make a mess of Luke's Corvette. He's had it up to here with this old fellow when Rudy comes back around, looking for Yoda...

(My apartment has been crazy-hot all day. Even the air conditioner going full-blast didn't do much. The heat is supposed to end tonight, so we'll see how things go.)

Broke for dinner around 5:30. Made a tasty scrambled eggs with broccoli, cheese, and mushrooms and turkey bacon. Enjoyed my tasty meal, then moved to Lego Star Wars. The "super stories" are all six rounds of each movie played one after the other, with no pieces or extras. You have to do it in under an hour and collect 100,000 studs while doing it. I completed Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones in under 40 minutes each and got more than enough studs by the half-way mark on both. This totally completes Phantom Menace; I won't need to go back there during this game.

Had less luck with the blue minkit challenges. Took too long on "Chancellor in Peril" and missed one darn piece on "Bounty Hunter Attack." I'll continue to work on them tomorrow.

Put on the original cast of the Broadway Lion King while I got organized and got online. I picked this one up on vacation in May and decided to save it for when the new movie came out. The Broadway show is mainly notable for it's famous pageantry and African-esque puppet-costumes, but it does have some great songs. A lot of the new numbers are taken directly from Hans Zimmer's wonderful African-inflected film score, including a great solo for the adult Simba, "Endless Night." They also used two of the best songs from the underrated "inspired by The Lion King" cassette Rhythm of the Pride Lands, "One By One" and "He Lives In You" (as "They Live In You"). Honestly, if you loved either version of the movie, I'd look this up, too. While the cast isn't as good as either film, they do very well with the material, and the old and new songs are enjoyable to hear.

Finished the night with the lower-key Rosemary Clooney. I totally forgot I picked up that 16 Most Requested Songs CD a while back. Indeed, among her "most requested" numbers are the hits "Come On 'a My House," "Mambo Italiano," "Tenderly," "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," and "This Old House."

Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Morning Report

Kicked off another hazy, sunny morning with breakfast and more Goof Troop. PJ and Max are excited to be out of school in "To Heir Is Human," but their excitement dims quickly when Pete recruits PJ to sell cars in his store. He claims he's deathly ill, but what he really wants to do is go fishing. Goofy and Max get in on things and believe Pete is sick, too, especially after his attempts to do a series of stunts for his commercials. Peg knows better and plots with Goofy and the boys to teach her husband a lesson.

Left for work a little early to get my schedule. I wasn't happy with it. Not only do I not have another day off until next Friday, but I was only listed for an hour on Tuesday! I wasn't the only one who was upset. I heard at least two other employees complain that their hours were wonky. I was able to increase my hours on Tuesday to four...which actually gives me slightly more hours than I have been getting lately.

Today's shift didn't go much better. I ended up in the register at least three times, twice to go in for breaks. I don't know what they were worried about up front. We were never more than mildly steady all day. The carts were bad up until the last hour; every time I'd try to get them done, I'd just get called back in. Good thing more help came in later, and the head bagger was around all day.

Had some grocery shopping to do when I finished. The Acme is having a big sale on chicken; took advantage of this to restock my ground chicken. Grabbed turkey bacon on sale, too. Almond milk was on a decent enough sale for me to give it a try. Turkey Hill is $1.99 this weekend; picked up their Triplepolitan Vanilla and the Acme's lemonade soda for a lemon cream float later. There was a good sale on grapes, too. Restocked peaches, blueberries, graham crackers, Belvita cookies, yogurt, honey, brown sugar, and chocolate chips.

As soon as I got home and put everything away, I had my sweet and cooling lemonade cream float while switching to Volume 2 of Goof Troop. Max and PJ don't want to be "Hallo-weenies" when they volunteer to spend the night in the old mansion Pete bought to turn into a bed-and-breakfast. Their fathers join them when their sons come home screaming about ghosts. Turns out that the ghosts of a trio of 20's jazz musicians are bored and decide to have a little fun with their fathers. The ghost of Goofy's spook-busting ancestor gives the boys tips to get rid of them.

Worked on writing for a while, despite it being deadly hot in my room. (The air conditioner was on, but air doesn't really circulate well in this apartment.) Luke and Rudy are fed up with looking for Yoda. Rudy goes to find him in his yard, while Luke looks for a map in his car. He has a feeling of being watched...when he turns around and sees a cackling old man with long ears and slightly greenish skin making jokes and asking him to help behind him. Luke doesn't know what to make of this fellow, but he'll turn out to be far more helpful than he believes...

Broke for dinner at quarter after 6, when I couldn't stand the heat anymore. Finally finished off the 4th of July leftovers while watching more Goof Troop. PJ is thrilled when his father asks him to join him in the town's tub-racing marathon in "Tub Be or Not Tub Be." Turns out Pete only wants to use him to spy on Goofy and Max's entry. PJ sets out to make amends, even when the Goofs accuse him of cheating.

Moved to Lego Star Wars after dinner. Finally completed the blue minikit challenges for "Retake Theed Palace," "Ruin of the Jedi," "Droid Factory," and "Gunship Calvary." Also did the fairly short "Battle of Coruscant" and "Darth Vader" boss round. This completes Phantom Menace except for the super story. Tomorrow, I'm going to see if I can finish up the prequels and move on to New Hope.

Finished the night after a much-needed shower with the original 1994 The Lion King. I go into more detail on one of Disney's biggest hits at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

The Lion King (1994)

Friday, July 19, 2019

A Small Step for Goofs

Awoke to a hazy, sunny morning. Had breakfast and went through some of my cookbooks for cold dessert ideas while watching more Goof Troop. Pete's as surprised as anyone when his family's dog Chainsaw turns up with gold on her nose. He and Goofy dig for gold and end up exploring caves under their town. It may just end up being "Fool's Gold" when these two fools can't decide who should own it.

Pete's determined to make Max's cat Waffles a star in "Cat's Entertainment." He convinces Goofy to sign him over so he can star in a series of cat food commercials...but not only do Goofy and Max miss their pet, but Pete discovers that the payment isn't what it's cracked up to be.

Goofy wants to teach the boys about the importance of recycling in "Waste Makes Haste" and turns his backyard into a recycling plant. Pete thinks it's crazy...until he learns that a millionaire lost a pair of gold booties in his recycling and insists on becoming Goofy's partner.

"The Ungoofables" is another Goofy family ancestor spoof, this one of gangster stories like The Untouchables. In order to explain to Max why even the smallest responsibilities are important, Goofy tells Max the story of Elliot Goof, who brought down gangster Peg and her hench-cat Pete with his knowledge of ice.

Started out as soon as the episode ended. First stop on a hideously hot, humid day was the Oaklyn Library. Needless to say on a hot day, it was just me and the librarians. A few folks came in to chat with them while I organized the DVDs and used the bathroom.

I wanted to make the fewest stops possible, so I combined lunch and shopping and ate at the Starbucks in the Westmont Target. I came in just in time. A group of older teens arrived just after I'd ordered my blackberry-blueberry tea lemonade and tomato-mozzarella sandwich. The sandwich was divine, dripping with thick cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto. The lemonade was....well, too lemony. I tasted lemons and tea, but not really blackberries. 

I was really there to pick up sugar. I'd normally get it at Dollar General, where it's slightly cheaper, but I wasn't running all the way over there today. Grabbed paper towels too, which were also cheap there.

Haddon Township Library was the next stop. Unlike Oaklyn, they were busy. The DVD carts were so full, I was only able to get the children's titles done. Got them all on the racks too, with room to spare. With the kids out of school and the weather being too hot to play outside, a lot of parents probably took out movies to keep them amused. I have no idea what my schedule will be like next week and stuck to taking out Goof Troop Volume 2 and He's a Bully, Charlie Brown, although I did fish the notoriously cheesy 80's sci-fi movie Krull out of the DVD sale box. (Surprisingly, despite my fondness for cheesy space opera, I've never seen that movie, not even as a kid.)

Figured it would be cooler to take the long way home across Newton Lake Park. I dodged quite a few people jogging or fishing under shady trees. While they're still having problems with oxygen-choking plants on either side, dredging has gotten rid of most of the algae. The park was beautiful, green and gold, even in the wilting heat. I took the path over the hill, past the Haddon Township Environmental Center and Museum and a lovely field of black-eyed Susan's and Queen Anne's Lace. 

As soon as I got home, I had a drink, grabbed my laundry, and went right back out. I couldn't put it off, heat or no heat. I needed clean work clothes. I should do the laundry during a heat wave more often. They were dead the entire 45 or so minutes I was there. I think I saw maybe three people. My load wasn't very big, anyway. I worked on story notes and half-listened to local news and Ellen.

When I got in, I put everything away, then worked on writing. Even as Patricia says she still loves her husband and thinks she can get him out of Palpatine's grasp, Luke and Rudy arrive on the dilapidated porch of one Yoda Yamagochi. Luke can't believe that a great Jedi Master lives in a little shack on the edge of a swamp. Rudy goes around back to see if he can find him, while Luke keeps trying at the door. He feels a strange he's being watched...

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Finally got rid of the last of the 4th of July leftovers while watching one more Goof Troop episode. Pete still has making money on the brain. His latest scheme is starting his own newspaper to promote his used car dealership in "All the Goof That's Fit to Print." They don't sell very many copies when the boys tell only what happens in their neighborhood. He encourages them to exaggerate...which ends with a photo of Pete crossed with a monster photo on the cover. Goofy and Pete have to retrieve the papers before people think Pete's a mutant.

Finished the night with Lego Star Wars. Finally completed the blue minikit challenge for "Discover On Kamino"; also completed the short boss rounds "Count Dooku" and "General Grievous." Tried "Retake Theed Palace," "Droid Factory," and "Gunship Calvary," but had no luck. "Calvary" was nothing short of a pain in the rear. One of the bomb-creating machines wouldn't work, and I had to go all the way back to the previous bomb machine to blow up not only the pylons guarding the next area, but the blue piece, too. I'm going to look up more of these online and see if I can figure out how to do these. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Goofs In the Rain

Kicked off a cloudy morning with breakfast and Goof Troop. Pete convinces the mayor to hire "Inspector Goofy" so his car lot will pass inspection. Goofy, however, really takes his advice on giving citations and gives Pete so many infractions, he ends up shutting him down. Now Pete has to find a new job, while getting Goofy away from his.

Tried to focus on looking up website designers this morning, but as usual, I just got distracted and looked up Hollywood history instead. Jessa gave me an interesting idea yesterday - put my reviews on YouTube. YouTube is saturated with reviews, but it might work to advertise my blog and the movies I discuss. I could do previews early in the month of the movies I intend to review, or videos of the musicals used for a theme or week. There's one big problem with this one at the moment - I don't have and can't afford the editing equipment, nor do I know how to use it. Once again, this will require more research.

Broke for a quick yogurt-and-tomato and cucumber-salad lunch around 11. Ate and got ready for work while continuing Goof Troop. Max and PJ are obsessed with becoming hard rock stars in "Shake, Rattle, and Goof." Goofy and the boys are having fun playing in the garage, while Pete takes over as their manager. Even he thinks he's out of their league when a slimy agent changes their image and music. Goof and Pete have to figure out a way to get the boys out of their contracts when they realize the grasping agent is squeezing all the fun out of playing.

The clouds were growing increasingly dark, and it was still hot and murderously humid. I rushed to work as fast as I could. I did gather carts when I got in, but I was long inside by the time the storm rolled in around quarter of 2. Work was a lot less fun after that. I tried to get some returns done and return to the carts, but I kept ending up in the registers. Spent my last hour and a half mopping up two huge puddles that formed after a freezer broke and overflowed. (The manager of the frozen food department wasn't happy, either. Evidently, all the novelty ice creams he had in that freezer defrosted, stuck to the shelves, and had to be thrown away.)

Thankfully, the rain was long gone by the time I hurried home (and to my knowledge, hasn't returned since). I had a snack and worked on writing when I got in. Ahsoka calls her boss Chief Darren Vedder in her squad car and tells him that she didn't see anyone on the road...and then calls her other boss, Patricia "White Queen" Amidala. Patricia wants her to keep an eye on Luke and Rudy and make sure they get to Yoda. Patricia knows who Luke really is and is hoping he'll be the savior of the Rebel League. Ahsoka knows she's also aware of who Vedder is, but she's not sure even the White Queen can override Palpatine's hold on the Father of Death.

Had leftovers for dinner while watching more Goof Troop. Pete is "Terminal Pete" after a collision with a familiar gopher leaves him believing he only has days left to live. Peg, Goofy, and the kids have to save him from himself when he rushes off to Hollywood to be a stuntman.

Didn't have much luck with Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga tonight. I played six rounds, and the only blue minkit challenge I completed was the very short "Jedi Battle," and that literally just as the clock switched to zero. I'd find 8 or 9 pieces, but would pass or not be able to find the last one. I'll probably have to look most of them up online or on YouTube.

Finished the night after a shower with We're Not Dressing. I go into more detail on this tropical-set vehicle for Bing Crosby and Carole Lombard at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

We're Not Dressing

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

A Morning With My Sister

Woke up a little bit early so I could have time to get ready to join Jessa for breakfast. She picked me up around 9 AM. We ended up at the Pop Shop. Jessa had only eaten there once, and I haven't had breakfast there for a while. I've never seen them so quiet. They must have opened right before we arrived. We were probably the first ones there. Jessa had Eggs Benedict; I had Blue Velvet Blueberry "Bettys" (pancakes). (And for once, they weren't the size of the plate and I was able to eat most of them.) We both had hot tea with lemon. (Jessa doesn't like coffee, either.) We chatted about Dad, Rose, movies, our schedules, and the things we both enjoy.

I'd mentioned Mom sending me my baby pictures back in the winter. I got to show them to Jessa for an hour when we went back to my place. She really seemed to enjoy them, especially seeing me as a teeny baby. She's in her mid-20's, so she wasn't around to see me grow up in the 80's. We had so much fun going through the photos, I realized how late it was and ended up having 10 minutes to get ready for work. Got there right on time.

Work was crazy when I first got in. I have no idea what happened, but for some reason, water had leaked into the main office in the back, next to the employee lounge. (I'm wondering if the air conditioning leaked. The store is at least 50 years old or more.) I was the only bagger there at the time and had to mop it up, despite there being no carts and also needing to sweep the store. Doesn't help that I got stuck in the register again when they wanted me to go in for somebody's break. Another guy came in half-way through, giving me the chance to round up the trash and recycling inside, shelve loose items, and return carts.

Went straight home and did some writing. Ahsoka leads Rudy and Luke to a ramshackle convenience store just outside of Dagobah. She doesn't want to lead them into town because she has to report to Vader somebody. That "somebody" turns out to be the White Queen, who calls her Fulcrum and who asks her to keep an eye on Vader and on Luke.

Broke for dinner at quarter of 7. Finished out the second Goof Troop disc while I ate leftover beef stir fry. The "Leader of the Pack" is the head of the Pharoahs, a teenage gang who has taken over a local Sonic-esque drive in. PJ and Max love their burgers, but can't get past the Pharoahs. They recruit Max's cute older cousin Debbie to help them teach the bullying Pharoahs a lesson.

Worked on Lego Star Wars for a while after dinner. Got through the blue minikit challenges for "Darth Maul" and "Mos Espa Pod Race" tonight. Got very close on "Bounty Hunter Pursuit" and "Discovery at Kamino," but there was one piece in the former and three in the latter I just could not find.

As I was working on "Discovery at Kamino" the second time, the lights dimmed and blinked. They did come back on, but it was a bit of a surprise. It had been sunny, hot, and killer humid all day. I was shocked to turn around and hear crazy wind and see rain lashing at the windows. The storm had begun to pass as I was finishing up "Kamino," and to my knowledge, hasn't been heard from since.

Finished the night with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It's 1957. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is still searching for lost artifacts, but now, it's the Russians who are after him. The nasty Irina Spaldko (Cate Blanchett) wants to find the Crystal Skulls, which could lead her to the ultimate fountains of knowledge. Indy's more interested in helping young Mutt Williams (Shia LaBouf) find his friend Oxley (John Hurt) and his mother, Indy's former flame Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen). What they find is an out-of-this-world adventure when it turns out that the Crystal Skull leads to an amazing treasure...and a race of beings that are not quite of this planet.

People still tend to be hard on this movie to this day. I think a lot of folks just had expectations that were much too high. While it's not as good as Raiders and Last Crusade, I actually like it better than Temple of Doom. There's some great action set pieces, like the motorcycle chase in the beginning, Blanchett is a terrific villain, and Marion and Indy are just as funny here as they were in Raiders. The sci-fi plot really isn't that much stranger than any other story in the franchise.

Casting is a big problem. Shia LaBouf is totally out of place as the tough guy Marlon Brando wannabe. The treacherous Mac is built up to be a close friend of Indy's, but since we've never seen him before this movie, it's hard to care about him like we're supposed to. There's also the obvious CGI that was common in action movies of the early 2000's through mid 2010's. It just looks fake a decade later and clashes with the mid-20th-century setting. And some of the gags with the monkeys and the ants are a bit much, even for this series.

If you're a fan of Indy, by all means, check this one out, too...but I'd recommend catching at least Raiders first to get to know Indy's character and his relationship with Marion better.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Too Darn Hot!

Started my day with breakfast and more Goof Troop. Goofy feels like he's full of "Hot Air" when he ends up babysitting a flight-obsessed Pistol and takes her and Max the local air show. They spend the entire show chasing after her and trying to keep her from chasing anything that can go in the air...but she ends up saving her dad when a flying stunt during the filming of a commercial for his used car lot goes wrong.

Took a look at website builders after the episode ended. There's so much out there! I have no idea what would be the best for me. This will probably require a lot more research and checking out who uses what and if they're free or some attributes cost an extra fee.

Had a quick lunch at 11, then got ready for work while watching Goof Troop. Goofy and Pete recall their days as Little League players in "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." They shove their sons into playing, but the boys have to make them think they're still in the game when they don't end up making the team.

Headed to work as soon as I finished. Work was a bit of a pain. I ended up in the register at least twice. We weren't really busy after the lunch crowd ended. The computer that does our schedule just didn't assign nearly enough help. I also did returns and alternated between sweeping and gathering carts with the head bagger. Working outside wasn't nearly as fun as yesterday, either. It was much hotter and far more humid, and this time, that little breeze wasn't much of a help.

Hurried straight home as soon as my shift was over. I didn't do a lot of writing, but I did get some. Ahsoka offers to take them as far as outside of Dagobah. She's now "Fulcrum," the mysterious, shadowy second-in-command to the White Queen. She's working for the police force to get the goods on Vedder...and because she wants to help get justice for those who were hurt by Vader's plotting.

Jessa called while I was eating. She was working later tomorrow and wondered if I wanted to go out to eat? We agreed to go out to breakfast at the Pop Shop or Legacy Diner near-by tomorrow morning.

Broke for dinner at quarter of 7. Sauteed boneless chicken thighs with green peas, lime juice, water, and mushrooms while continuing with Goof Troop. Max and Pete film Goofy doing a wild stunt for an imitation America's Funniest Home Videos-type show in "Wrecks, Lies, and Videotapes." Max wants the big vacation prize for his impoverished father, but Pete steals the prize for himself. Peg, Goof, and the kids work together to shame Pete into giving up the prize.

Max wants "Max-inumum Protection" when Pete makes him and PJ think there's robbers in the area. Turns out, there are burglars in their neighborhood - the people who sold Pete his state-of-the-art security system. It takes Goofy's home-made security system to get rid of them.

Moved on to Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga after dinner. Decided to try the Blue Minikit Challenges instead of going right into the Super Stories. I haven't had much luck with these in the past. You have to collect 10 bright blue minikits in under ten minutes, without the aid of any extras. I'm better at it than I thought. I got "Negotiations" right away and only needed two tries for "Invasion of Naboo" and "Escape from Naboo." I just couldn't figure out "Retake Theed Palace" - I'll work on that tomorrow.

Returned to Goof Troop after a shower. Goofy tells Max a story of their ancestors in order to get him to continue with his violin lessons. "Goofin' Hood and His Melancholy Men" are bandits...or the men think they are. Goofy, a fiddle player, thinks they're an orchestra. Pete, the Sheriff of Nottingham, thinks otherwise. Tired of them stealing his tax money, he kidnaps Princess Pistol and uses her to lure them into a trap.

Ended the night with Ship Ahoy. I go into further details on this unusual spy-themed vehicle for Red Sketon and Eleanor Powell at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Ship Ahoy

Monday, July 15, 2019

Beautiful Summer

Began another sunny morning with breakfast and Goof Troop. Max and PJ are "Slightly Dingy" when they convince their dads to take them fishing off Sunken Reef, where a pirate's sunken treasure can be found. Max is hoping to net big bucks, but all the end up netting is a shark and a lot of trouble.

Spent the next hour or so online. I don't know where to go next with my Facebook business page. I don't have the money to pay for ads, and I keep forgetting to save. I need another way to share my writing. I think it's time I made a better website. I have one...but it's rather plain, and I share it with my best friend Lauren (it has a lot of our Bowery Boys fanfiction). That one will stay up (those Bowery Boys stories can't be found anywhere else), but I need something more professional. (And easier to update.)

Broke for lunch at 11. I made a blackberry-blueberry smoothie while continuing Goof Troop. Pete's looking forward to a relaxing couple of days when Peg takes the kids on a trip. He ends up getting "Cabana Fever" when Goofy saves his life and won't leave him alone. He gets so fed up, he takes a plane to a Caribbean island...and even then, Goofy manages to follow.

Headed out after I cleaned up from lunch. Work was no trouble whatsoever. I spent the day alternating between doing the sweeping inside and the carts and trash outside with the head bagger, and I was very happy to be outside when I got there. The weather couldn't have been nicer for early July. It was hot, but not humid, and there was a nice breeze that cooled me off.

I needed a few things after work. While my elbow's feeling better, my finger and hip are still really sore. I bought the Acme's generic Icy Hot pads buy one, get one to make work a little more bearable. Pulled a small bag of dark chocolate mini Reeces cup out of a clearance cart.

Went straight into writing when I got home. Luke and Rudy are lost looking for Dagobah, despite Rudy's protests that he knows what he's doing. They run into a police blockade. Fortunately, the policewoman in charge is Officer Ahsoka Tano, a former Jedi and old friend of Rudy's. She offers to give them an armed escort to Dagobah.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Made beef stir fry with the last of the grilled steak strips from the 4th of July while watching more Goof Troop. Goofy convinces Max to become a volunteer fireman (with their cat Waffles) in "Where There's Smoke, There's Goof." They don't have much more to do than clean the ancient (sentient) fire truck while the chief and his head man try to extract donations for a new fire truck. Goof and Max get a chance to show their stuff when one of the tower home of one of the town's richest citizens is on fire, and they have to save him and his adored goldfish.

Goofy has a "Date With Destiny" when Max claims he's getting married to avoid explaining why he's falling asleep at school. Peg convinces Goof to sign a computer dating form, but Pete decides to play a prank and convinces a handywoman to come instead. She thinks she's doing repairs and ends up destroying Goof's house. Max stays over Pete's while the house is being repaired, but father and son can't stand being away from each other for that long.

Ended the night with Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga. Did the Bounty Hunter Missions and individual round bonuses tonight to get the remaining gold bricks. Had no trouble anywhere. I had to do one Bounty Hunter Mission twice, and got a few by the skin of my teeth, but I did get all 20. (Including ones that normally give me trouble, like the Jedi Council member Ki-Aldi Mundi.)

I'm now up to 87 percent, but that's not the whole game. Tomorrow, I'll start the extra-long Super Stories that run through the entire movie levels without extras.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

You're the Top

I was jolted awake this morning by the phone. It was Rose. She and her family had apparently gone down to Cape May County yesterday. Mom is clearing out most of her linens and furniture. They won't fit into her new, much smaller house. Did I want anything? Sure! I'll check out the furniture after they get it sorted out, but she'd be willing to bring the linens they didn't want to Dad and Jodie's to see if I needed any of it.

As soon as I got off with Rose, I went right back to sleep. I was online late with Lauren last night. Read Return of the Jedi for a while after I got up for good, then wrote in my journal and had breakfast. This is the first time in weeks I've actually been able to have my Sunday pancakes on Sunday morning, and I enjoyed every bit of my blueberry-chocolate chip concoctions. They were slightly burnt, but not to the point that they weren't edible.

Listened to the soundtrack from the TV show Smash while eating breakfast, and later while getting organized and going through old photos and journals in the back room. I had this on because Smash was a two-season series that revolved around the creation of a musical about Marilyn Monroe, and the final chapters of Moviola revolved around Monroe and her tragic life. I haven't seen the show yet, but if it's as good as the music on this CD, I'm going to have to look for it. There's some absolute gems here. "At Your Feet" is a nice number for young Norma Jeane and her mother (Bernadette Peters) as she encourages her daughter to fit her feet into the prints at Grauman's Chinese Theater and dream of stardom. "History Was Made at Night" is a lovely ballad for Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio during their courtship.

My favorite number from this is the touching "Second Hand White Baby Grand." Marilyn recalls how playing the piano was one of the few times she ever really connected with her mother. She cherished those memories so much, she tracked down the actual piano later and brought it with her wherever she lived. Her sad memories and the gentle, bluesy song always makes me cry.

Bored and tired of sitting around, I headed out after the CD ended. My first stop was The House of Fun. They were as overloaded with action figures, DVDs, and pop culture paraphernalia as usual. The arcade games were even on. Street Fighter vs X-Men and Xaxxon accompanied me as I browsed. I finally ended up with a loose Poe Dameron Funko Pop figure to finish out my Force Awakens Funko Pop group. The guy behind the counter tried to contact his boss for ten minutes to see how much he was (he wasn't labeled) before finally giving him to me for five dollars.

My next stop was originally going to be Dollar General for sugar and a drink...but they were dark and quiet. The sign on the door claimed they were closed due to "electrical problems." An old lady arrived at the same time I did, and she wasn't any happier about it. Oh well. I moved down the road to CVS. Their sugar was too expensive, but I did buy a Cherry Bubly sparkling water.

Rose called as I was setting Poe with the other Star Wars Funko Pops. She and her kids were at Dad and Jodie's. Did I want to join them in the pool? Sure! I just had to have a quick leftovers lunch and change into my bathing suit. Listened to my 1962 off-Broadway original cast LP of Anything Goes while I got organized. Like the TV version, this one includes several songs from other Porter shows, including "Friendship" and "It's DeLovely." Unlike the version I watched yesterday, it also uses the original plot, with Reno and ingenue Hope Harcourt as two separate characters, and keeps the 30's setting.

When I pulled in, Rose immediately took me to her car. Evidently, she couldn't use two towels, one a lighter sage green than mine, one coral red, a beautiful summer-weight quilt in white and soft blues, beiges, and pastels, a green floral comforter and pillowcases, and a huge neon and black pillowcase that can be filled with five pillows. I took everything but the green comforter and pillowcases. Not only is the green kind of ugly, but I don't need another comforter. I do need a new summer weight quilt, and had actually been thinking that when Rose called this morning. The one I bought at a yard sale years ago was really made for a child and is much too small. I've had my towels since college, probably for almost 20 years now. They're due for replacements. (I may not keep the pillowcase. The neon is a bit much.)

Finley and Khai were already in the pool when we were checking out the linens. Rose joined us shortly after I climbed in. Finley's such a good swimmer! She can swim quite well on her own now, with little help from her mother. (As long as she wears her inflatable arm floats!) Rose tossed her into the air, and we splashed each other and shot each other with water guns and squeezable Bubble Guppy toys. (For some reason, Finley kept putting her mouth on the brick patio around the pool. Either she was that bored, or brick tastes good.)

We headed inside to get the kids a snack. Finley had a (little bit) of pizza; Khai had pasta with butter. Finley and I watched an episode of Team Umizoomi while her mother and grandmother talked and her brother played with his mother's phone.  This cute toddler show has two tiny beings and their mini-robot and car helping out by using math and geometry to get around obstacles and solve puzzles. Today, they were helping their Umi Car, whose birthday present was stolen by a pair of mischievous troublemakers and their gray truck. They have to build a gorilla from shapes to eat giant bananas and dodge an increasing number of rolling garbage cans.

As soon as I got home, I changed and put my new quilt on the bed. It took a few minutes to get to lay right, but when I did, it looked nice. The colors were perfect for my room; in fact, they really brightened the dull whitewashed walls and thin gray carpet.

I wasn't up to cooking and just opted to go around the corner for dinner. Phillies Phatties wasn't busy at all, despite it being 6 PM and the dinner hour. I enjoyed a tomato-basil-mozzarella ("margarita") pizza and mushroom pizza with a can of Wild Cherry Pepsi while watching the Red Sox play the Dodgers on ESPN. (The Dodgers killed the Sox, by the way, 7-4.)

Went straight into the bathtub when I got home. Ahhh. I hadn't had one in ages. My side is really sore, along with my elbow and middle finger on my left hand. I must have pulled muscles. I soaked while reading books about Broadway musicals. I'll see if I can get an Icy Hot patch tomorrow.

Ended the night with Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga. I had to look up how to get the last pieces  in "Retake Theed Palace" and "Jedi Destiny." The latter involves having a high-jumper leap onto the upper ledge over where the Jedi raise each other, then running along the ledge until you get to the piece. With "Destiny," I forgot you have to use a bounty hunter's bomb to blow up the walls before you can get the piece. "Bounty Hunter Pursuit" is more complicated. You have to shoot ten long rainbow-colored tubes to get one, then shoot certain areas in the second holding area to get the other.

Since I had plenty of time, I also completed the remaining bonus rounds. The original version of "Gunship Calvary" was a lot easier with all the extras, allowing me to finish the round in less than ten minutes. "Lego City" and "New Town" don't use extras. They involve knocking down buildings or building items or flowers in a regular Lego city set. I got them both in around a half-hour, pretty long but better than my last try at "Lego City." "Bounty Hunter Pursuit" gave me enough money to buy the x10 extra, the last one I didn't have. Tomorrow, I'll do the bonus rounds for the specific movie titles.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Sweet Summer Harvest

Kicked off the morning with breakfast and more Goof Troop. Goofy insists on wallpapering his house and Pete's, but he needs money for supplies. He inadvertently becomes "Counterfeit Goof" when he runs into a mobster who looks like him and ends up with his phony bills. Max tries to save his father from the mobster's big-time boss, but gets into even more trouble.

It was still sunny, hot, hazy, and killer humid when I headed out this morning. First stop was a yard sale on Ridgeway Avenue a few blocks from Kendall. Considered a CD rack and big band CD, but ultimately decided I didn't have the room and moved on.

Made my way across Collingswood to the Farm Market next. It was 10:30 by that point, and they were bustling with people and their pets and children looking for produce for their pool parties and barbecues. The summer harvest continues to roll out. Cherries, broccoli, and lettuce are gone, but I saw plums, blackberries, eggplant, white peaches, potatoes, melons, and peppers for the first time this season. I ended up with blackberries, white peaches, two small eggplants in lavender and white, a tomato, a green pepper, a small cantaloupe, and blueberries.

Since I wasn't far from there, I rode down Cuthbert to Target to see if they had any shampoo and conditioner that would be good for my scalp and less expensive than what the Acme sells. Ended up with L'Oreal's curl formula. They're expensive, but not as much as some of the brands at the Acme. I've tried them before with good results, and the label claims it won't dry out your scalp.

An estate sale was a couple of minutes' ride from Target in Audubon. It took me long enough just to find them. They were about a block from a dead end road in a small house with smaller signs on the lawn. What appeared to be a 60's-70's era house was filled with all kinds of silverware, dishes, and furniture. I just opted for a Frank Sinatra record and another spring-themed entry from Columbia Records.

I was so hot, and my my throat was so dry, stopping at WaWa for a drink was mandatory. I wasn't the only one who thought so. There was a line to use the Coke Freestyle machine and get that $1 sale on the 32 ounce cup. The Coke Lime ran out half-way through my filling the cup, so I turned it into Lime Vanilla Coke. (Which wasn't bad, by the way.)

Went home to put everything away and make a Blackberry-Blueberry-Melon Smoothie for lunch. Continued with Goof Troop while I worked. "O, R-V, I E-V U" is a strange title for the story of PJ feeling upset when Max discovers a knack for selling cars and starts spending more time with his dad than with him.

Goofy has never won any awards, and Max wants him to look cool at his high school reunion. He tries to get him to skateboard down Pete's extra-high new ramp when the pro he hired quits, but "Meanwhile, Back at the Ramp," the boys discover Goof can't skateboard and go in his place.

It's "Close Encounters of the Mime Kind" when Max and PJ dress as aliens to make a film for a science project, but Max's complicated set-up ends up broadcasting their video to the entire town. Now local officials think there's a real invasion, Pete's digging a moat around his house to ward off aliens, and scientists have mistaken Goofy's new pantomime act for the movements of a real extraterrestrial.

Grabbed my laundry as soon as the cartoons were finished and went back out. I had a fair-sized load, including towels, and they really needed to be done. The laundromat was really busy when I arrived, with several families getting things done. One adorable little girl was fascinated by my writing and story notebook. She kept wandering over with her bag of Goldfish crackers to watch me write, and once even tried to flip the page to see if there was more writing on it. Her mother distracted her with a picture book from the pile the laundromat keeps around for kids.

Put everything away when I got in, then did some writing. Harris managed to hide from the Empire in a cave. He thinks he's home free...but what he doesn't know is he's being watched by one of Bob Fettman's boys, who radios his boss right away to tell him that the Falcon is on its way to Takodana.

Broke for an early dinner at 5:30. Had leftover ground turkey casserole and steamed snap peas while watching Anything Goes. I go further into this shipboard TV comedy at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Anything Goes (1954)

Moved onto Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga after dinner. Picked up more than half the pieces and the red brick on "Bounty Hunter Pursuit," the red brick on "Falcon Flight," the last pieces in "Hoth Battle" and "Speeder Showdown," and two more pieces on "Jedi Destiny." I have such a hard time getting the last piece in that room where you're supposed to walk around the light-up circles! It never wants to work. Finally got fed up and went to buy the x6 extra, now that I could afford it. Did the short bonus New Hope round from Vader's point of view to get enough studs for the just-found x4 extra.

Finished the night with Batman Forever. Batman (Val Kilmer) is having enough trouble dealing with Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones), a former lawyer whose face was half-damaged in an accident, and dodging the advances of beautiful psychologist Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman). The last thing he needs is nerdy Edward Nygma (Jim Carrey) pestering him about his new contraption that can send TV signals directly into the brain. Angry when he's brushed off, Nygma goes ahead with his research anyway, and discovers that the machine can directly transfer brain waves from one person's mind to another. He dresses in green as The Riddler and contacts Two-Face with a scheme that'll reveal Batman to Gotham and the world! Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne takes in young circus performer Dick Grayson (Chris O'Donnell) who lost his family to a bomb planted by Two-Face. He's determined to seek revenge, but Bruce knows all to well that revenge isn't always the answer.

This is the only Batman movie I ever really liked. It's dark enough without being too dark, walking a fine line between the heavy violence of the Nolan films, the grotesque vibes of the Burton films, and the over-the-top camp of the TV show and Batman & Robin.  Kilmer makes a surprisingly good Batman, and Carrey puts in one of his best performances as the Riddler. If you wan't to check out one of the Caped Crusader's movies, this might actually not be a bad place to start; you can go backwards or forwards from here, depending on how dark or goofy you like your Batman.