Archive for the ‘Reviews’ category

King Tut

May 28, 2018

2018-05-28 10.58.34Today we went downtown to the California Science Center to see the King Tut exhibit. Mike & Theresa got the tickets. We all loaded into Mike’s Honda Minivan and headed off to see King Tut.

We got Dawn to come and watch over Mary while we were gone. We left at 9:00 am expecting traffic, but no traffic to speak of so we arrived ahead of schedule.

Our tickets were for 10:30, so we had to hang out for about a 1/2 hour before we all could get into the exhibit.

So the tomb of Tutenkhamun was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922. The tomb was pretty much undisturbed for 3,000 years. Here’s the wiki article about Tut.

Jonathan was trying to get his head around how old King Tut was. He couldn’t quite get his head around 3000 years old. So we compared it to Old Testament Bible stories like Noah and the like. Okay, he got it.

Here are some more pics.

After we finished the exhibit, we did lunch at the “Bombay Tandori” Restaurant on PCH in Torrance. We got there in time to do the buffet. We all hadn’t had Indian cuisine for a long time. Very tasty and not too expensive

Dodge Challenger

May 22, 2018

Just got back from out trip to Boston. As in the past, we rented a car. So I made a reservation with Avis/Budget Rent-a-Car for a Ford Escape. Why can’t Avis give me what I ask for? So this year they give us a Dodge Challenger. Not even close.

There once would have been a time that I would have loved to drive (or own) a car like a Dodge Challenger, but that shipped sailed a long time ago.

We are thinking about buying a new car pretty soon. Renting a car that is similar to what you  are looking for in a new car is a good way to get a good feel about the car. You get a better feel than a 10 minute test drive.

 

The first thing notices about the car is the sound of the exhaust. It has a deep throaty roar to it that makes you want to step on the gas and go fast. It has lots of power.

The only thing that bugs me is the controls for things like headlights, radio, AC, etc. Before I drive out of the rental car garage, I try to figure out all of the stuff I need to drive, like how to turn on headlights, how to turn on AC, etc.

2018-05-20 14.55.58.jpg

Most of the new cars have a setup like this with app buttons and interface to one’s smart phone, which is great. But it takes me time to get used to is. I can connect to my phone and play music from my iPhone. I don’t have to find a suitable radio station. This car did have “CarPlay” which is the Apple interface. I believe that there is a similar system for Android phones.

The steering wheel has more buttons than you can shake a stick at for cruise control, audio functions, make a phone call which is great but it takes a bit of getting used to.

And another thing that takes a getting used to is the “Start” button. Apparently, the put the key into the lock and turning is long gone. Step on the brake  and push “Start”. It will start as long as the key fob is somewhere in the car. Leave the key in your pocket, that way you won’t forget it.

Maybe next time I will try Hertz to see if they can give me the car that I request. Sigh.

Oh and by the way, I filled it up before I turned it in on Monday. What a pleasant surprise to buy gas for under $3 a gallon again. Haven’t seen that in California for a long time.

Isle of Dogs

May 2, 2018

Last night was date night again. Our friend Roberta was visiting from San Diego and promised that she would sit with Mary so that Paula and I could have a night out at the movies. So Tuesday is $5 night at AMC theaters and Mother in law sitting free. You can’t do better than that. We paid more for the popcorn and bottle of spring water than we did for the tickets.

Isle of DogsSo we decided to go see “The Isle of Dogs“. This is a Japanese animated film that tells the story of dogs that had been exiled from the city of Megasaki to trash island. So, apparently Mayor Kobayashi is a cat lover and has ordered all dogs exiled to Trash Island.

The film tells the story of a boy who is search of his dog. So the boy (Atari) is aided by a pack of five dogs that together run into many obstacles along the way.

So the people spoke Japanese with subtitles, but the dogs all spoke English.

The film is PG13 for some violent images. Just because the film is animated, doesn’t mean it is suitable for children.

I was unimpressed. I would give it about 2 out of 5 stars. I would have been upset if we had paid full price. It was mercifully short (1 hr 41 min.)

chops and salsaDinner was at Taxco Mexican restaurant just around the corner at Western and Capitol. Excellent food as always. We both had Margaritas to wash down the food. Very tasty.

They had an excellent spicy salsa to go with the chips.

 

Comedy and Magic Club

April 27, 2018

Comedy and Magic outsideLast night was date night again. This time our OES Chapter was doing a fund raiser night at the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, CA. So, our sitter for Mary arrived at about 5:30 and off we went for dinner and a show. [For you East Coast folks, Hermosa Beach is about half way between LAX and San Pedro]

We arrived and got one of the last parking spaces on the roof and got in line to enter the club. Doors opened at about 6:30 and we got prime seats right up next to the stage.

We proceeded to order drinks and dinner. Paula had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and I had Chardonnay. We should have just ordered appetizers. We had way too much food for the two of us to eat.

The club holds about 100-150 seats. Tables are small but not uncomfortably so. Food service was decent, though a bit pricey. There was a requirement that everyone buy at least two items on the menu. Fair enough.

Celebrities Visit SiriusXM Studios - September 30, 2015The headliner last night was Paul Reiser, best known for his appearances in “Mad About You” and more recently in “Stranger Things“.

He did a couple of very funny bits. One was about a dead goat on the beach and the discussion he had with his wife about how said goat came to be there. That led into more discussion about conversations with ones significant other. Very funny.

There were also three warm-up acts. The names of which escape me. Luckily for me I found a scrap of paper in my pocket that listed the performers.

  1. Keon Polee
  2. Michael Palascak
  3. Alonzo Bodden
  4. John Carney (magic)

While we were waiting for the show to start, they were running a slide show of the many artists that had appeared at the venue. Alas, many of the stars pictured there were dead. There were pictures of Robin Williams, George Carlin and many more gone too soon.

They also have displays of comic trivia on display, costumes and the like, some recent and some not so recent.

Apparently, Jay Leno does a regular gig there on occasional Sundays. That might be worth going to see.

Seems like we spent a small fortune including sitter for Mary, dinner and show, but it was worth it. We’ll probably do it again. Maybe one of the days when Jay Leno is performing.

The Piano Guys

March 24, 2018

Piano GuyPaula and I had a date night last night. We got tickets to see the “The Piano Guys” perform at the Shrine Auditorium in downtown LA. We had only decided to try to go to the concert about a week ago.  So I tried looking for tickets on Monday. Nothing but pricey tickets available. $100 a seat and up.

I decided to wait a couple of days and see if the prices would drop. So indeed the prices did drop and on Wednesday I got two tickets for $36 a ticket. Add the “convenience fee” and the total ran to $100.

First, let me talk about the concert. These guys are great. They cleverly mix classical and popular music. The Piano Guys were born in YouTube where they have grown a huge following. Here’s a link to their youtube site.

2018-03-23 18.29.38Well we got to the auditorium in plenty of time. We thought the show started at 7pm because the tickets said “DRS 7pm”. Eventually we figured out that “DRS” meant that the doors opened at 7pm, Show start at 8pm.

You pay for everything. Parking $20. Refreshments (Tequila Sunrise for Paula, water for me) $16. Bought a CD for $20, earrings for Paula $15.) We passed on getting a T shirt or poster. Marketing machine in full swing.

Our seats were in row 40 of the orchestra section. Seats are all crowded together. We were on an aisle, so I could at least get one leg out. My knees were right up against the seat in front.

As you can see from the picture that I took outside, they have metal detectors deployed. I suppose that’s a good thing. Sad that in this day and age we have to do that. Though, the detection was not as thorough as the TSA at any airport. My artificial knee didn’t set it off. It always sets it off at LAX.

The concert ran a little under 3 hours including a 20 minute intermission. We were home by 11:15 in time to pay our sitter. So when we add it all up, tix, drinks, parking, CD and sitter, it probably runs just under $300. Next date will likely be a movie for a lot less cash.

Overall, it was a fun night. Good to get out without Mary in tow.

TTFN

The Leisure Seekers: A Novel

February 25, 2018

Leisure SeekerOne of the books that I am currently reading is “The Leisure Seeker: A Novel” by Michael Zadorian. This is a story of an aging couple (John and Ella) that go on one last road trip in their motor home. They are traveling along the old rte 66 from Michigan to Los Angeles.

I discovered this novel while watching the coming attractions a couple of weeks ago while seeing “The Darkest Hour”. The trailer was for a film of the same name. It stars Donald Sutherland and Hellen Mirren. So I saw that the film was based on a novel and I thought for once I would read the book before I saw the film. Besides, the film isn’t in theaters yet.  We’ll probably get to see the film eventually.

So here’s the story line. John and Ella are in their 80’s. John is suffering from Alzheimer’s and Ella from cancer. They decide to take one last road trip in their motor home they call the “Leisure Seeker”. They load up and hit the road. They start in Michigan and head for California on the old Rte 66.

The book is in the voice of Ella. She speaks of the anguish of dealing with a loved on who is suffering from dementia/Alzheimer’s. I feel your pain.

They try and stay on rte 66 but sometimes that is not possible. So occasionally that are forced to use the insterstate. You miss so much on the interstate.

They have a cell phone but it was turned off. John and Ella’s grown children gave them the phone but they turned off and put in the glove box to be used only in an emergency.

So far I have read as far as Texas. I keep flipping back to the other books that I am reading (“Leonardo” and “Maestros and Their Music”). I’ll probably finish all three at the same time.

I’ve got to stop reading the NY Time Book Review. It just adds to my reading list.

The Post

February 9, 2018

The-PostDate night tonight. We went out to see “The Post“. This is a film about the Washington Post’s handling what became known as the “Pentagon Papers”. The movie stars Meryl Streep as Kay Graham and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post.

Anytime I see Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks I expect that I will be seeing great performances. I was not disappointed this evening.

The movie is set in Washington in 1971. Daniel Ellsburg had stolen the pages that documented failures of the Vietnam war in a document that became known as the “Pentagon Papers“.  I have provided a link to the Wiki pages on the Pentagon Papers. The Nixon White house tried to block the publication but the case was heard by the US Supreme Court. And the rest is history.

Post 2

I loved the set decoration on the film. Where’d they get all of the dial telephones and the pay phones. I felt like I was going back in time. One really gets the feeling that you are in newspaper news room. Presses and Linotype machines too. Reminds me of a tour I took of the Boston Globe facility on Morrisey Blvd. in Dorchester when I was in high school. Only thing missing was the smell of machine oil and ink.

The film ends with the break-in of the Watergate offices of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington.

Stopped at KFC for some chicken take-out.

Good film. Go see it.

Joe