Archive for the ‘Reviews’ category

Bohemian Rhapsody

December 2, 2018

Saturday night was another “Date Night” for us. Paula and I were wanting to see “Bohemian Rhapsody” for a while now. We thought it might be getting to the end of its run in theaters by now. But we got tickets on the AMC app for the 6:40 pm show.

What a great movie. Paula says four stars all the way. It brings the story of Freddie Mercury and the rock band Queen to the big screen. You don’t want to watch this on your DVD player. You want to watch this on a big screen with the full theater Dolby sound system.

Freddie had an amazing voice. He could cover 4 octaves. (I can only cover 4 notes, let alone one octave.) I was impressed that a four piece band (drums, bass guitar, lead guitar and singer) could make such loud, beautiful sound. (Click here for the full Wikipedia article on Freddie Mercury.)

Freddie was born of Parsi parents on the island of Zanzibar and later in India. He later moved to England with his parents.

The finale of the movie is the performance at the Live Aid concert in 1986. Freddie Mercury died in 1991 of Pneumonia related to the disease AIDS at the age of 45.

So last night I downloaded the soundtrack album from iTunes and listened to it on the way to and from church. Nothing like the tune “Bohemian Rhapsody” rattling around your head during church. Maybe, I’ll play it at our OES meeting tomorrow.

Click here for the trailer on YouTube.

The Tatooist of Auschwitz: A Novel

November 15, 2018

TatooistI just finished a book titled “The Tatooist of Auschwitz” about a young Slovakian man who was imprisoned at Auschwitz during World War 2.

I could hardly put the book down. This is the story of a young Slovakian man named Lale who was imprisoned in 1942 in Auschwitz. Somehow, Lale survives and manages to get a job of  “Tatooist” which was a person who inscribed inmates with their identification number on their arm.

It is a story of one man’s survival in a German prison camp. Lale manages to survive and even thrive. He manages to not only survive but meet a woman named Gita and fall in love. Then, after the war become his wife.

One of the skills that Lale had that helped him survive was that he was fluent in over four languages. He was useful to the Germans. I really enjoyed this book. I could hardly put it down. I went through it in about three days which for me is light speed.

Go ahead and download it. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Crazy Rich Asians

September 20, 2018

Crazy Rich AsiansWednesday night was date night again. This time Paula and I decided to go see “Crazy Rich Asians” still playing at the AMC in Torrance. It stars Constance Wu and Henry Golding. Been meaning to go see this movie but didn’t quite have the time or baby sitter availability.

The movie is based on the best-selling novel of the same name.

This is a story of a young Chinese woman, Rachel Wu (played by Constance Wu) who travels with her boy friend from New York City to Singapore to meet his family. So you get the impression from the get-go that his family is very rich

He is in Singapore to be best man at his best friend’s wedding. They travel first class all the way.

The story begins with a scene where Eleanor Young travels with her three children to the Calthorpe Hotel in London where she is told that she doesn’t have a reservation (for obvious racist reasons). She is turned out in the rain to call her husband who proceeds to buy the hotel. She returns triumphantly to have the manager clean up the mud on the floor.

It was a fun movie. There was lots of pomp and rich trappings displayed. Major friction between son and mother. Go see the IMDB page for the full plot synopsis.

It was nice to get out without Mary. We stopped for KFC chicken on the way home.

Nissan Rogue

August 22, 2018

So I have had my new Nissan Rogue for about a month now. Time to write about the things I like about the car and the things that are not so great.

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First, here are the things that I really like.

File Aug 22, 1 08 08 PMBlind spot detection. There’s a little light in front of each side view mirror. So when you are driving down the highway, the light comes on when there is a car in your blind spot. One has to get used to checking for the light before you change lanes. You can’t see it very well in the picture. I would need to be moving to get it to light up. That wouldn’t be very safe.

Automatic Seat Adjustment When you start the car up, the driver’s seat moves forward to your preselected spot. When you shut it down, the seat moves all the way back and down. Makes it easier to get in and out. There are two saved seat selections. So Paula can have her selection and I have mine.

Adaptive Cruise Control So I’m cruising down the highway on cruise control. The car detects that you have a car or truck moving slower in front of you. The cruise control detects the car in front of you and eases off on the gas. Pull out to pass and cruise control steps on the gas.

File Aug 22, 1 06 03 PM

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Automatic Unlock Push the black button on the door once, driver’s door unlock’s. Push it again, all doors unlock. All you need is to have the key fob in your pocket or purse. Getting out of the car, push the button, doors lock. There is a corresponding black button on the right front passenger door.

Color I love the color. I was getting really tired of choice of white or black. It seems to me that most cars these days are either black, white or silver. Boring.

2018-08-05 12.13.15Gas Mileage The car is a hybrid. Right now I am getting about 30 mpg. Much better than the Jeep. Not dropping $70 a fill-up at the gas station. It feels a bit weird to have the car shut off at a traffic light. Remember in CA, gas is running at about $3.75 /gallon for regular. It’s also taking a little getting used to having the filler pipe on the right side.

Rear View Camera Put the car in reverse and the rear view camera is turned on. Gives you a nice wide angle view of the space behind you. Has guidelines on the view to give you an idea about the path you will take. Great for getting out of tight spaces.

Here are things that I don’t care for.

Navigation I’d rather use Waze on my iPhone. So I am heading up to Hollywood. The route is to take I-110 north to Rte 101. Then head towards Hollywood. The GPS will warn me to make a left turn in 5 miles on the 110. Well, there is no left turn after 5 miles. What it is really telling me is to stay on the 110 and not take the I-405 exit. Confusing to say the least. So it is telling me to turn left when it really means keep going straight and not take the exit.

One nice thing is that it shows you the lanes you should be in before the turn or exit.

Nissan Connect App The free app is very clunky and not very intuitive on how to use. You can download a destination to the car or remotely unlock or start the car. Nissan gives you the service for free for the first six months, then they charge $8 or $9 a month. It does what it is supposed to do, but a struggle to figure out how to make it happen. Needs work. I doubt if Nissan will do it though. Next winter I will need to decide whether to keep the service.

Control Panel. Hard to see. I can’t make it bright enough. If I wear my sunglasses, the panel is impossible to see. Also, the buttons on the steering wheel are kind of small. Also, hard to see. I suppose eventually I will know them by feel. Muscle memory, etc.

One more thing. Last week my permanent license plates arrived. So I removed the dealer temporary plate and frames with the dealer’s name on it and threw them in the trash. I replaced them with my new Red Sox frames. I don’t feel that I need to give free advertising to the dealer.

 

Day’s Inn by Wyndham – Novato, CA

August 21, 2018

On sunday, we got back from our trip up north for the Grand Ruth reception. We stayed in a “Day’s Inn by Wyndham” in Novato, CA. Novato, CA is north of San Francisco. Here are my thoughts on the hotel. I think that this place was bought by Wyndham and that by adding the “Wyndham” tag to the name one would think you were getting a nicer hotel. Day’s Inn is still a dump with or without the “By Wyndham” tag.

This is a fairly old facility. Probably built in the 1980’s. The building has two levels, street level and a second level up a flight of stairs. No rooms available on the street level  so we had to schlep all of our stuff up the stairs. Of course, there was no elevator(s). I need to be sure of the location of the rooms and whether or not they have an elevator. Perhaps, it might work if I were to ask for HP accessible. We could have had a first floor room but that room didn’t have a fridge/microwave. We felt fridge/microwave was more important.

 

Room was quite small. Two straight back chairs, no comfy chair. Bathroom was very small with hardly any shelf space to put our personal kits (cosmetics and shave).

Bed was okay. I’ve slept on better.

Room had a nice view. Deer came down from the hills to graze at dusk.

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They had breakfast served but we didn’t take advantage. We brought our own snacks and cooler with milk and drinks.

The room had free WiFi but very slow. Only 2 Mbps download speed. If you want faster, it’ll cost you $10 /day.

Next time, I need to be more careful when booking a motel room.

So here is my checklist:

  1. HP accessible?
  2. Adequate WiFi speeds and free.
  3. Elevator if room is above 1st floor.
  4. Check YELP reviews.
  5. Restaurant(s) within walking distance?
  6. Review with Paula.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

July 26, 2018

WeAnt-Mandnesday was date night again. This time we went to see “Ant-Man and the Wasp” at the Regal Cinema in PV. Regal Cinema is a place that has replaced all of their seats with big comfy reclining seats that are so very comfy. We had a couple of passes that we received last month for a billing SNAFU.

So we got ourselves a bag of popcorn and a bottle of water and sat down about a dozen trailers before the actual movie started.

So Ant-Man and Wasp are part of the Marvel Comics universe where they fight evil and crime. So the movie stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne/Wasp. So somehow, Ant-Man and Wasp are joining forces to fight some serious bad guys. It doesn’t hurt things that Evangeline Lilly is so easy on the eyes.

The movie also has Michael Douglas starring as the senior scientist who has developed all of the technology that can turn our heroes into micro versions of themselves. Douglas has aged well. He runs some sort of lab that manages all of action. Lots of flashing lights and bells & whistles. They manage to miniaturize the whole lab building with some sort of remote and pick it up like a piece of carry-on luggage. The movie was great for all of the special effects.

It was a fun movie. I didn’t quite figure out why the bad guys were bad. But it doesn’t matter. They have some serious chase scenes in downtown San Francisco. How did the producers get permission to film that part. It kind of reminded me of  Steve McQueen in “Bullitt” which also had good guy McQueen chasing bad guys in downtown San Francisco. Watch this trailer from Bullitt. Serious car chase in San Francisco.

Sex and the City

July 1, 2018

Sex and the CitySo last night I decided to start watching some old episodes of “Sex and the City” starring Sarah Jessica Parker et al.  Sex and the City first appeared in 1998 on HBO.

The series explored the sex lives of four unmarried young ladies in New York City. The first episode that I watched explored the ladies experience with dating younger men in their 20’s. Then, I watched the pilot episode.

One of the things that caught my eye was the set dressing. There were no cell phones, only land-lines. Sarah got up in the morning and had herself a cigarette. When was the last time that you saw an actor in a movie or TV show smoke a cigarette? It was interesting  to see the differences. Wherever they go for fun, there is smoking, a lot of smoking. At bars and nightclubs, there is smoking.

So the point of the story is that Sarah writes a column about sex for a New York City newspaper. Occasionally, we see her typing out her column on her computer. The computer was some laptop of a certain vintage. (Ie. Old and clunky) I thought she might be seen actually using a typewriter, but that was not the case. Hard to tell what brand it was though, but certainly not thin and sleek like today’s models. And, definitely not an Apple device. Nowadays, it seems that Apple has cornered the market on product placement.