Going In Style Movie Review

Going In Style

I saw Going In Style, the latest age-based comedy, and it wasn’t bad. Wasn’t great either though.

The comedy is about three guys, Joe, Bill, and Al, played by Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin respectively, whose pension funds are cut by the bank that bought the steel factory they used to work for.

Struggling to pay their bills and angry at the bank, they decide to rob it to get back at the entity that screwed them over. They hope to use the money to enjoy their old age by spending it with their families instead of restarting their careers.

There’s a few jokes, but I wouldn’t exactly call the movie a comedy, more like a heist movie that’s masquerading as a comedy. Continue reading

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Sacramento Underground Tour

This weekend my wife and I went to Old Sac to take one of Sacramento’s Underground Tours.

Old Sac is a historical neighborhood in Sacramento that has turned into a bit of a tourist trap.

All the old buildings from the Gold Rush in the 1850s and 60s are still there, converted into restaurants and gift shops instead of hotels and supply stores.

(I also feel a personal responsibility to warn you about La Terraza restaurant in Old Sac. Food’s bad! Don’t be tempted by the spectacular view! Stay away!)

Bunch of old buildings, right? What can we learn from the tour?

Tour comes with everything you see here!
Tour comes with everything you see here!

Our tour guide, Schoolmaster Mrs. Appleton, told us the basics of Sacramento history first that every Californian knows. Continue reading

Graduated Student Tour

While letting myself into my lab a woman approached me and said, “Hi!”

She had just graduated UC Davis and was looking around all the buildings she hadn’t been in much.

She was a Landscape Architecture major (didn’t even know you could major in that). My building is for biological sciences, so its understandable that she had probably never set foot in it before.

My lab’s building, Briggs Hall, is interesting from an architecture perspective (but maybe not landscape architecture).

The building was built in 1971 when there were a lot of campus demonstrations (still are! Pepper Spray Cop was at UC Davis).

A method of cutting down on demonstrations was giving students no places to gather indoors. Thus Briggs Hall’s layout is amazing confusing and even I get lost in it after working in the building for several years.

Briggs also doesn’t have any staircases inside. All of the stairs are on the exterior of the building. Don’t ask me what lunatic decided that was a good idea for a four story building.

Anyways, the recently graduated student asked if there was anything interesting in Briggs.

I showed her my lab. She glanced around in it, but not being a biologist she didn’t really understand anything in the lab.

I showed her the -80°C (-112°F) freezer which she did like as summer is starting in Davis.
I also showed her my favorite part of Briggs, the back exit by the police station.
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The back exit is where all the old equipment is put that no one wants anymore. These are the pieces that are too big to just throw in the trash.
There’s old computers, old centrifuges, old heating blocks, old incubators. Tons of cool science equipment.
It’s this sort of industrial wasteland and NO ONE EVER GOES THERE.
My lab is super peaceful, but if something ever got too stressful and I needed to go outside, this is where I’d go.
Why does industrial junk calm me down? I had an air filter going in my room constantly when I was a kid. That constant hum while I slept made me associate industrial hums and old appliances with peaceful rest.
So now places like this always calm me down.
Course, the graduated student didn’t get any of that business. Shook her hand and congratulated her on graduating after I showed her the junk pile before going back inside to my lab.
-GoCorral

The Age of Adaline Movie Review

Another movie I saw with my wife! Can you tell who my favorite person to go to the movies with is?

Age of Adaline tells the story of a woman who acquires immortality during a car accident. The movie has a pseudoscience explanation for how she becomes immortal that my wife and I laughed at.

Adaline was born in 1908. The movie hops around a little bit, but most of the story takes place in 2015.

Adaline fell in love and had a family back in the day. She obviously outlives her husband, but her daughter remains a character throughout the movie, aging into a granny by 2015.

At some point the FBI figure out that Adaline is immortal and they move to arrest her because she’s suspected of communism or something (this part wasn’t clear to me).

Adaline goes on the run. Every ten years she changes her name and moves to a new place, keeping the same youthful appearance of Blake Lively wherever she goes.

In 2015 Adaline falls in love with Ellis, a rich socialite who spends his time learning about the local history of San Francisco, something Adaline is intimately familiar with.

I suppose the viewer is meant to feel that the love between Adaline and Ellis is something wonderful and worth preserving, but frankly it feels creepy.

First of all, Ellis pursues her in the most stalker-like fashion possible. She sternly tells him she’s not interested at a party. Next he shows up at her work and hits on her there. They go on a date and then she calls it off. After that he figures out where she lives and waits for her outside her apartment.

Like I said, I think the audience is supposed to feel that his love is earnest, but he seems more like a rich boy who can’t have what he wants and starts freaking out about it. A normal person would start considering a restraining order at this point.

Of course Adaline doesn’t do that, she takes him back and agrees to go on a weekend trip to his parents’ house!

When she meets Ellis’s parents Adaline discovers that she used to date his dad after her husband died and was considering marrying him. The plot ensues and I don’t want to ruin the rest of it for you if you plan on seeing it.

The romance of the movie is terrible. There’s the issue with Ellis being a stalker, but the additional problem of Adaline being a little bit of a cougar. After all she is dating someone who is a quarter of her age.

That said, the science fiction parts of the story are interesting. How does an immortal person’s life work amongst mortals? Is she still sad when her pets die? How do friendships work for her? What does she do with all her time? Does she “retire” every couple of years or keep working? Those are all interesting questions that the movie answers well without even focusing on them.

I wouldn’t recommend seeing this movie in theaters, but if you like little science fiction stories about immortality (I do!) then I’d recommend renting Age of Adaline once it comes out on DVD.

-GoCorral

Valentine’s 2014

My cat "helping" with my Valentine poster.
My cat “helping” with my Valentine poster.

My wife and I have several cute traditions. One of them is making posters for each other for special occasions. We fill the posters with pictures of ourselves, drawings, and notes. I decided to make a poster for my wife for this Valentine’s.

I forbade my wife from coming in to our office and printed off about ten pictures to glue onto some foamcore board we had left over from a school project. My cat helped me by lying down on the pictures to make sure the tape was firmly pressed down to keep them on. I added some extra decoration with hearts and a love note on the back.

I also got my wife a stuffed monkey holding an heart that says, “I ❤ U,” on it.

The crowning present I got for my wife was a playlist CD I made. The songs were:
1. I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie
2. If This Isn’t Love by Jennifer Hudson
3. Without You by David Guetta featuring Usher
4. All These Things That I’ve Done by The Killers
5. Always On My Mind by Willie Nelson
6. I’m Yours by Jason Mraz
7. Love Story by Taylor Swift
8. Can I Have This Dance by The High School Musical Cast
9. Love Like Crazy by Lee Brice
10. When I’m Sixty-Four by The Beatles

The CD is meant to be the story of our lives. The first song frames the story with us reflecting back when we’re old and dying.

The second and third songs are us having fun and starting our relationship in high school.

The fourth  and fifth songs are about my breakup with my wife (then girlfriend) during our first year of college and my subsequent move to be closer to her and the rest of my family.

My wife and I joke about the sixth song. I was planning on proposing to her with it. I got all ready, hit play, and was singing along to it with the ring in my pocket. Then her grandma walked into the room and the moment died. Still, the sixth song represents me asking my wife to marry me.

The seventh song was used during our wedding ceremony. The eighth song was our first dance together (our relationship actually closely parallels that of Troy and Gabriella in the movie).

The ninth and tenth songs are about us growing old together. Then if you have the album on repeat you can go back to our deaths where we reflect on how happy our lives were together.

The album made her and myself cry several times. Successful Valentine’s!

-Mister Ed