Movie Thoughts Roundup: BlacKkKlansman, The Meg, The Happytime Murders

I know it has been a while since I’ve seen or written about movies but I have been going and loving the new AMC A-List service as an excellent alternative to the now imploding MoviePass. I’m going to hit the three major flicks that I’ve seen recently (BlacKkKlansman, The Meg, and The Happytime Murders) in this roundup or digest, or whatever you want to call it.

Movie #1: BlacKkKlansman

Okay, see here’s the thing. You can have a great true story with compelling characters and an important message and loads of talent….and still not make a good movie, as was the case here. I have to keep this short since this is a roundup, but as a movie and a story, Blackkklansman misses the mark. I humbly believe that Spike Lee’s hubris got in the way of making what could have been a truly amazing feel-good and fun movie about battling racism and winning – and YES you can have a feel-good summer movie on this topic – a passable and meandering tale that barely clings to its plot which teeters on the edge of story structure oblivion.

Continue reading “Movie Thoughts Roundup: BlacKkKlansman, The Meg, The Happytime Murders”

[UPDATED] Thing Thoughts: The OneWheel Is For Social Media Influencers

onewheel

[7/30 UPDATE] I’ve added below info on the original self-balancing  One Wheel scooter (that I know of) that was designed back in 2007 by Ben Smither (upon which Free Motion’s design is clearly based).

…and if there’s one thing I never was or will be, it’s a social media influencers, ergo, the OneWheel was a mistake for me. I also value my knees, and my overall physical health and wellbeing, and the OneWheel does not really take any of those things into account as a means of personal short range transportation…very short range transportation that’s a pain to carry when it’s time to do that.

OneWheel+ (and its predecessor and successor the XR) have been pitched as the closest thing you can get to snowboarding in the summer. Maybe for some people this is true, but for me, notsomuch. Quite the opposite in fact. For me it was unwieldy, unstable, and unusable. I say borderline because sure, there are people who likely could find better balance on this thing that I could. But here’s the thing, what it does have in common with snowboarding, makes it significantly more dangerous – that is, you are going to fall off, and in some cases, you’ll fall off by design, and that’s simply unacceptable because unlike snow, hard asphalt and the hard packed dirt trails that Future Motion markets the OneWheel as being ideal for are just that: hard. Failling on snow isn’t going to do much to you, but hitting asphalt hurts. It hurts a lot. I know. I’ve done it without the help of a OneWheel or bicycle or anything else (although I’ve fallen from both of those too). You can do exceptional damage.

Continue reading “[UPDATED] Thing Thoughts: The OneWheel Is For Social Media Influencers”

Rover Thoughts: So Far, Bertram’s Doing Okay…

rover

Well, if I’m being completely honest, Bertram the Range Rover Sport L320 doing only okay in terms of reliability and cost. If you want to look at the RoverLog Spreadsheet, you can see that since purchasing Bertram in March of 2018, I’ve spent a $5,500 on it (in round numbers). But that total doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. This is due in part to the amount of elective work I’ve done in the form of upgrades and non-critical repairs that I was aware of at the time I bought Bertram, that did not affect its drivability (ie like when Clarkson, Hammond, and May buy used challenge vehicles that clearly don’t work like they did when showroom new).

If we want to look at repairs that were totally utterly necessary for me to drive it around, then as of this posting, we should only look at Line 4 and Line 8: The door latches and the air conditioning compressor (which failed on what must have been the hottest day of the year thus far here in Los Angeles). If we accept that I elected to fix other items that could have gone unaddressed, then that means the total repair bill on a 13 year old Range Rover Sport with 130,000 miles is roughly $2300. Spread over five months, that comes out to roughly $461 in repairs per month.

$461 per month is about $30 per month more than my financed Ford Focus EV was costing me, however I was also dining out 3-4 nights a week at between $20-$30 per meal while I waited for the damn thing to charge up since I was unable to charge at home. So right now it’s in line with the Focus…however, let’s take a look at a spreadsheet showing what I’m getting or not getting for this current $30 monthly disparity:

Continue reading “Rover Thoughts: So Far, Bertram’s Doing Okay…”

Geek Thoughts: San Diego Comic-Con 2018

You know how there are things nearby you that you never do because they’re nearby you and so you figure you can do them any time but then one day you’re on your deathbed and realized you never did those things, well, for me that was San Diego Comic-Con, almost.

I say almost for two reasons:

  1. Because I’m nowhere near my deathbed (I hope)
  2. Because I finally did Comic-Con for the first time this year.

The circumstances surrounding this first visit are pretty straightforward. I had befriended a rather talented individual and voice actor by the name of Wally Wingert (check out his IMDB) and one of his compadres Mark Fullerton (a connoisseur of all things pop and geek culture) and they had both won the lottery for onsite Comic-Con hotels and to host a panel at Comic-Con, a double-whammy of awesomeness. Given our shared passioned, I proceeded to assist with the Keynote deck that Wally used for his panel, and the whole panel aspect of things was an incredible success AND I got what many consider to be the most coveted of Comic-Con recognitions: A panel placard with my name on it.

I mentioned how successful the panel was, but the yang to that yin was that, it being my first time, I beautifully, brilliantly, brazenly failed to do anything else right with regards to Comic-Con. What I learned was that:

  • The Exhibition hall is a marketplace, one that can largely be avoided unless you want to spend money on collectibles and comics. As I am not currently collecting anything, I did not need to spend much time there.
  • Film and TV studios no longer promoted their upcoming projects on the exhibition hall floor and that had mostly moved across the street and into the adjoining hotels and public spaces of Down town San Diego.
  • The Exhibition hall was about 50% legitimate comic book “conventioneering” with numerous dealers and a large chunk of the space devoted to individual artists. I had heard Comic-Con had lost its way (for better or worse) and no longer devoted this much space to comics and artists but it looks like they’re back and that’s a good thing and makes me happy.
  • Comic-Con has stopped paying for sexy cosplay “con-girls” to walk the floor. I did not see anything approaching the photos that would get posted to blogs in the mid-to-late 2000’s and 2010’s. Rather, I kept seeing ridiculously ripped shirtless cosplay “con-men” and so I have to say ladies, this was your year. If you didn’t show up, you missed out.
  • I didn’t bring sunblock and a good hat. I should have, because the interactive experiences across the street from the convention center out in the blistering sun would have been fun but I got sunburnt on my first day and sun sick that night. It was hot as f***.
  • The exhibition hall will not give you room to breathe. It is packed beyond belief. Give it an hour or two, then move on.
  • Go to the panels!! There are so many interesting ones to learn from and I regret not giving more of my time to that.
  • If you’re driving down for Comic-Con…just pay the $50 daily rate for parking. Don’t try to cheap out and walk. It’s not worth it.
  • I think I mentioned this before but it bears repeating: bring as much sun protection as you can for the amazing stuff across the street from the convention center.
  • No matter how close you may think you live, you’re probably better off getting a hotel and paying for it. Of course if this isn’t an option with regards to your travel budget, don’t not go, just know it’s going to be a little more challenging. I canceled my hotel due to needing to repair my car’s air conditioning, and I should have just paid for the hotel too.

Getting back to the panel I helped with, it was titled ‘I Was Cosplay Before Cosplay Was Cool’ It was a look back through Wally’s early years building costumes from his favorite comic-book, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror shows and movies back in the 60’s to the present, long before reference material and patterns had become ubiquitous and easy to make. Some of the improvisations Wally made were amazingly effective, many the result of no better a reference than a black and white 35mm photo he took on the spur of the moment from an episode playing on his television set (long before DVR’s let you pause of course). The Panel and subsequent Q&A inspired me to try and apply for a couple of my own Comic-Con panel ideas in the years to come, and I can’t wait to go back again, and again, and again.

Oh and one more thing I kind of failed at, was decent photographs, so hopefully the ones you see on this page will suffice. I didn’t really get anything good enough for the gallery. Maybe next year.