Category Archives: Movies

Senior Discount

I took my first “senior discount” today.

I hadn’t expected it to happen for a while, since most of them are for folks 62 years and older, or maybe 65. But I was getting movie tickets and the senior discount applied to everyone 60 and over.

I was faced with a dilemma. On the one hand, four bucks is four bucks. That’s half of a soda once I’m in the theater! On the other hand, would taking the discount be the first chink in the armor of denial I had put up about my age?

Then I remembered that they give those discounts out because they expect people to be dead at 70 or 75. Maybe 80. But I have every intention of living to at least 150 or 175 – so the joke’s on them!

The movies were fine. So was the four bucks. As long as I don’t get hit by a bus or trampled by a herd of stampeding gnus (no gnus are good gnus!) in the next 90 years or so, my bet pays off.



Filed under Health, Movies, Paul

See, We Were There

Two pictures from last night’s preview screening of “The Finest Hours” on the Disney lot.

File Jan 15, 23 44 37

That’s producer James Whitaker talking to us before the film.

File Jan 15, 23 45 57

It’s not that I’m super stoked about the movie – it was good, but it’s not like a NASA Social or anything. It’s just that I’m so freakin’ swamped between my day job and my CAF job and having my car die and needing to buy a car this week and needing to keep working on the interminable task of getting ready sometime in the next year (or less!) to move out of the place we’ve lived for over twenty-five years…

I’m feeling a bit short on time.

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Filed under Entertainment, Movies

An LA Perk

Occasionally one here has the opportunity to get to see a movie earlier than the general public.

This might mean going to a screening where you get to fill out some questionnaire at the end – sometimes that means that the movie in question is only about 90% done and what you see is not quite the final edit. Many years ago we got to see “Star Trek III: The Search For Spock” at one of those, with several of the big special effects scenes rendered in animated pencil drawings. Still, we were among the first to know that the Enterprise got sacrificed in that film. Then we had to keep absolutely quiet about it with all of our SF con friends for a couple months.

On the other hand, sometimes that means that you get to go to one of the studios and just see a film early for some reason or the other. Maybe there’s a connection at work (as was our case), maybe you know someone who knows someone, maybe you just are in the right spot at the right time to get an invite. Thus it was that tonight the Long-Suffering Wife and I ended up on the Disney lot in Burbank to see “The Finest Hours.”

It’s a good film, I recommend you go see it when it hits the theaters in two weeks. Chris Pine is great in what I considered to be a different sort of role for him, but I always will see him as Captain Kirk. Casey Affleck tries hard to steal the show on his end, Eric Bana is still trying to get Chris Pine killed, Holliday Grainger plays a kick-ass woman stuck in the 1950s, and the rest of the cast, while not Hollywood superstars, did an excellent job.

With a big enough special effects budget you can make anything believable and the storms and dangers at sea were extremely believable and graphic. Despite the use of special effects, it looks like everyone on set was probably wet and cold from actual ice water about 99% of the time.

We saw it in 3-D, which for this film was worth it. I’m not a “3-D for 3-D’s sake” guy, but it worked well here.

Check it out when it comes to a theater near you, even if you can’t see it in 3-D or on the Disney lot.

Mickey would want you to.

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Filed under Entertainment, Movies

Star Wars VII


Go see it, ASAP, if you haven’t already. We waited two weeks and managed to avoid any spoilers, but that’s getting tougher. My undying thanks to all of my friends and social media companions who saw the movie and held their spoilers so it wasn’t ruined for me.

If you’ve seen it already, I’ll see you in line to see it again.

Tuesday evening, 16:30 showing, regular theater with no IMAX or 3-D, and it had maybe a dozen seats vacant. We got there about fifteen minutes before the show figuring it wouldn’t be a problem to get tickets – we were in the second row, it was all that was left besides the front row.

Wonderful, wonderful movie, I enjoyed every minute of it. Lots of nods to the best parts of the first three movies, lots of old friends, both mechanical and biological.

The one great thing about the second row is that John William’s score will pummel you, in a good way. I’ve said before that five hundred years from now the scores from our movies, particularly those of John Williams, will be played and live on much as we today play Beethoven and Mozart. Listening to this music didn’t dissuade me a jot or a tittle from that opinion.

Especially for me, with the way Williams’ original score resonates with me and my memories of those first three movies, the way each character had their themes, it really hit me hard when those themes were woven into this soundtrack at just the right moments. You’ll see what I mean.

Damn, that was a good movie!

No spoilers, everyone!


Filed under Entertainment, Movies, Science Fiction

Juicy Chunks O’ Wisdom For Friday, October 2nd

‘Cause giving a damn is too much of a pain in the ass at the moment, that’s why.

  • Listening to “Jeopardy” by Greg Kihn Band as it comes up on the satellite feed reminds me again how many songs of the late 1980’s through the early 2000’s I now recognize more by the Weird Al Yankovic parody version.
  • Taking the trash out yesterday evening was an adventure. It was full dark, but we have one of those motion-activated flood lights out there, so no worries. I was just opening the gate from the front yard and it hadn’t yet triggered on, when something slammed into my left leg and another something slammed into the trash bag I was carrying in my right hand. No flood of insanely bad smell, so they weren’t skunks, and I don’t usually see the raccoons moving that fast, so my money’s on rabbits.
  • Observation made the other day – I would prefer that my life story be directed by Frank Capra, but instead I got Hitchcock. Or Kubrick.
  • Twenty-nine days until “NaNoWriMo” starts. Do I participate this year? Do I have an idea to use? Feeling a bit stretched thin and abandoned by my muse.
  • After the leporine hit-and-run, the light turned on and I looked behind me into the front yard. Jessie was there, oblivious to the (at least) two conejoes that had just scampered in front of her nose. We’ll cut her some slack, she’s getting really old and having some mobility issues. Back in the day, she would have chased those rabbits all the way down the block. Of course, I would have been trying to chase her all the way down the block, so maybe it’s just as well.
  • Maybe I need to learn to play the bagpipes. Yeah, that’s it!!
  • Even then, could I get the “2001: A Space Odyssey” Kubrick? No such luck. More and more days it’s feeling like the “Clockwork Orange” Kubrick. Or “Full Metal Jacket.” Or “The Shining.”
  • re: NaNoWriMo, it might be like the line about needing an hour of meditation a day, unless of course you can’t afford the time, in which case you need two hours.
  • No, I haven’t seen “The Martian” yet.
  • Wait, a decent set of bagpipes costs how much??!! And I thought it was the noise that kept more people from playing them.
  • Can we try for “Eyes Wide Shut?”

Remember, “You have to go to people’s funerals or they won’t come to yours.” Thanks, Yogi.

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Filed under Critters, Juicy Chunks, Movies, Music

That Moment, June 11th Version

That moment when after going like a bat out of hell all day while only getting four hours sleep last night (up late to see the ISS Expedition 42/43 crew say goodbye to the 43/44 crew and close the hatches, then woke up at 05:00 with a nightmare and the dog needing to go outside) and ALL of the adrenaline wears off at once and suddenly you’re literally not sure you can walk to the bedroom at the other end of the house.

Followed by that moment when some enzyme in your system runs low or some sleep deprivation toxins redline high and not only do you start to feel lightheaded (hypoglycemia for the win!) but your legs start to twitch and jerk. Not a lot, it’s not like I can’t walk. I’m not turning into a John Cleese or Steve Martin sketch. But it’s more than enough to be really annoying.

BY THE WAY (as long as I’m twitching and rambling incoherently)

It was wonderful seeing the Expedition 42/43 crew land successfully.

Another clueless male who’s drowning in privilege that he can’t comprehend or observe (despite the fact that he won a Nobel Prize) has stuck his foot into his mouth big time, then doubled down on his screw up, then gone on some BBC talk show or news show to mansplain it and now he’s REALLY stuck in it. (Some people just don’t have a clue when they should shut up and stop making things worse.) Just do a search for “Tim Hunt” for the particulars. Much better than his actions are the reactions from the half of the population that he insulted and belittled. Remember the #GirlsWithToys meme about three weeks ago? This time it’s #DistractinglySexy that’s a gathering spot for women to try to point out to this clown that he might have his head stuck up his ass. The responses are highly entertaining – check them out.

The Youngest Daughter has (correctly) pointed out that I had my head up my ass the other day when I was telling everyone to go see the trailer for that fantastic movie coming out, “The Astronaut.” Um, that’s not the name of the movie. It’s about an astronaut, but the movie (and the book) are called “The Martian.” In my defense, it was really late, I was rushing, and I was really tired. That being said, since those same conditions exist in spades tonight, I make no guarantees that my correction is correct and isn’t making the mess even worse. (I didn’t want Tim Hunt as my role model, despite the obvious similarities.) I am, as she has also correctly pointed out on FaceBook, a dork.

I think I’m going to crawl on my face toward bed now.

But first, maybe there’s one more little thing I can take care of. A loose end. Or two. Maybe three or four. No more than ten, I promise!

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Filed under Family, Freakin' Idiots!, Movies, Space

Juicy Chunks O’ Wisdom For Tuesday, June 9th

‘Cause I read the comments, that’s why.

  • The dog survived her day and night alone with me.
  • Saw a huge accident on the other side of the freeway when I was heading home from the hangar. Many fire trucks, cops, and ambulances, three and a half of the four lanes blocked, traffic backed up for ten miles. Big surprise, given that we’ve gotten rain (so, so, SO weird for SoCal) from the remains of Hurricane Blanca after it pummeled Cabo San Lucas. On the other hand, our side of the freeway was cruising right along at 65+ up until some freakin’ moron decided to slow down to 5 mph in the #2 lane so that he could watch the carnage. That’s a special kind of freakin’ stupid!
  • Of course you’ve seen the first full trailer for “The Astronaut.” Of course. It’s okay, go watch it again. (Watch it in Hi-Def. On a big screen. With the sound turned waaaay up.)
  • The third best thing about how Jessie deals with the absence of The Long-Suffering Wife is the way her ears perk up and she snaps her head around to look at the front door with every creak of the house or sound from the street. When she’s here along with The Long-Suffering Wife and I come home, I’m sometimes here for five or ten minutes before she wakes up enough to notice that I’ve arrived.
  • While you’re waiting for “The Astronaut” to come out, go pick up a copy of the new, remastered, extended, director’s cut, Blu-ray version of “1776.” It’s a masterpiece, I say! You will cheer every word, every letter!
  • The second best thing about how Jessie deals with the absence of The Long-Suffering Wife is the the way she uses gas as a weapon when she wants to go to bed and I’m not ready yet. She lays next to the desk and farts and farts and farts. The Syrian army could learn a lesson from her. “Just a dog being a dog,” you say? Right, sure. So how do you explain the big smile on her face and the way she keeps glancing up at me after each “event”?
  • Did everyone see that the cubesat launched two weeks ago by The Planetary Society has successfully opened the world’s first solar sail? Did everyone see the fantastic picture of it?
  • The best thing about how Jessie deals with the absence of The Long-Suffering Wife is the way she takes off across the yard, even in her ancient, arthritic, and decrepit condition, when she sees The Long-Suffering Wife’s car coming into the driveway. Who fed her, took care of her, cleaned up after her, took her outside over and over, gave her treats… It’s sort of like the way a dad will worth with his son for innumerable hours in Little League baseball or Pop Warner football, and then when the kid gets on national television during his debut he grins at the camera and says, “HI MOM!”
  • 867-5309. Ask for “Jenny.”
  • Has everyone joined The Planetary Society so they can build a full-sized solar sail to test? Plus, you’ll help support their efforts to keep our Congresscritters informed and educated about space and science. Just for taking on that thankless task they should have the support of all of us!

Remember, “Don’t EVER read the comments!”

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Filed under Distracted Driving, Dogs, Family, Freakin' Idiots!, Juicy Chunks, Movies, Music, Science Fiction