Pitch Perfect 2

We saw Pitch Perfect 2 and sadly it suffered from sequelitis.

That’s when the sequel to a movie just isn’t as good as the original and probably wouldn’t have been made if it didn’t already have an established fanbase.

It’s still a decent movie and if you enjoyed the first movie you’ll most likely enjoy the second, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen the first Pitch Perfect.

So what was weaker in this movie than the first? Gosh… Where to start?

The two announcer characters got a lot more racy and offensive. They were already a little bad in the first movie, but it was cringeworthy in the second.

I listened to a few interviews of the production staff as well and apparently most of the announcer scenes were adlibbed. I don’t know if that makes the racy parts better or worse, but they’re there.

The romantic plot between Beca and Jesse is essentially absent in the second movie. Their relationship is stable and off-camera. Their romantic sub-plot is replaced with Fat Amy and Benji’s two love interests. While those sub-plots are interesting they don’t really compare to the entertainment provided by Jesse cracking open Beca’s shell in the first movie.

The other thing that’s absent is Beca’s dad. I really liked his role in the first movie.

It makes some sense to phase out parental figures as the characters get older. And the whole sub-plot of Beca getting over her parents’ divorce is absent in Pitch Perfect 2 means that her dad doesn’t have much to do. I still missed his presence though. He’s somewhat replaced by the mother of a new freshman member of the Bellas, but the new relationship isn’t nearly as interesting as the old.

The villains in the second movie, Das Sound Machine, aren’t nearly as likeable as the Treblemakers.

Now why would you want to like your villains? Well I just wrote about that in a previous post. Go read that one and come back if you need an answer to this question.

Das Sound Machine are portrayed as just evil which makes them a little boring.

The movie also portrays them as hyper competent. While that’s definitely true, their performances are still a little boring. Their first performance is Uprising by Muse, one of my favorite songs. They do a great job, probably as good as they could do, but the song just sounds awful in acapella. I could barely understand the lyrics over the background music imitations.

The musical performances do really suffer compared to the original movie.

There are good reasons for this. The Bellas as a whole suffer some sort of identity crisis that comes out in their performances not being as good, but that also means that the first half of the movie has unsatisfying performances by the Bellas.

The first movie had this as well, but it covered it with humor. Aubrey throwing up pulls you into the hilarity of the movie right away. Aubrey’s tongue lashing after the poor performance at the fraternity party is great character development for her.

How does the Bellas excess use of props enhance the other plots in the movie?

It doesn’t.

I felt the songs picked for numbers were in general worse than the original as well. I didn’t know as many this time around and that hampered my enjoyment.

And there’s just a few other things that the second movie just missed. Lily’s little whispers aren’t as terrifying as the first movie. Beca’s odd sexual attraction to Das Sound Machine’s leader isn’t explored further by having Jesse find out. The inclusion of the new freshman in the Bellas felt like an excuse to have an original song in the moive so they could sell something with fewer royalties attached. If the international competition is for college groups, why are people out of college allowed to compete?

Just tons of small stuff like that.

Like I said, its not a good movie for people who haven’t seen the original. For those who enjoyed the original, there’s still plenty of stuff like it in the new movie. The songs are still catchy and Fat Amy is still hilarious.

-GoCorral

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Mars One

I read about this project the other day called Mars One.

The project involves setting up a colony on Mars for four people to live on by 2025.

Getting to the moon is hard enough. It takes like a day and a half of travel, landing is hard, getting off again is hard, and landing safely on Earth is even harder.

NASA and other government space programs have always avoided going to Mars for two reasons.

#1 With our current rockets it would take about two months to get there. Spend a week there and two months back, you need four months of oxygen. It’s not possible to transport that much so you need to recycle your air and that gets complicated. Plus there’s all the extra food, water, and fuel you’d have to bring.

#2 With that two month journey its even harder to get back. We can land drones on Mars, but we can’t bring them back.

Mars One plans to get around the first problem by establishing a minor space colony first, while also working with robots to establish a little base camp on Mars.

The second problem is tackled by… not bringing the humans that are sent there back to Earth.

That’s right, Mars One is a one way trip. That’s where the name came from (I think).

There’s a lot of logistical problems with that. I’ve casually mentioned a few (sustainable food, water, air, fuel). I’m sure there are more.

Another problem is who would want to go on a mission like this? It’s almost certainly going to have problems that could kill you. Even if it doesn’t kill you, you’re stuck on Mars for the rest of your life. Maybe more people will come later, but that’s doubtful.

Well, Mars One asked people to apply for their one way trip to Mars and got thousands of responses. Those responses have been whittled down to one hundred people.

The next step is to whittle that one hundred down to four via, get this, a reality TV show.

This was the point where I stopped taking Mars One seriously.

I looked into it a little more. Mars One is a non-profit. The project is supposedly only for the advancement of space travel. And it will help with that at least through gaining public attention if not by developing equipment for Mars colonies.

There’s also a for-profit company attached to Mars One called the Interplanetary Media Group. That company is the one releasing a bunch of press and making the reality TV show. They’ll probably make a ton of money off of that.

Is that money going to go towards funding the Mars trip? Maybe. Is it going to fund the construction of beach house real estate for the owners of these two companies? Maybe.

And the weirdest thing about all of this? Even though the reality TV show seems like an awful interview process, I’m still interested in watching it.

A previous experiment for this, Mars-500, simulated people going into a spacecraft to Mars for 500 days. Cut off from the outside world the people in the mission pretended to do all of the things necessary for going to Mars to see how they held up mentally when they were forced to be in the same “spacecraft” for a year and a half.

Mars-500 was a success, but possibly only because it was fake. As a psychological study you have to give people the option to opt out at any time. That wouldn’t be the case in a real space flight.

My point is that the training process for Mars One has to be similar to Mars-500 and I’m excited to watch that. Plus I might get to vote people out the airlock or something!

-GoCorral

PS. And here’s what Neil deGrasse Tyson has to say about it.

Valentine’s 2015

Here it is almost two weeks later and I still haven’t made a post about my awesome Valentine’s date!

My wife and I went out to eat at her favorite restaurant, Chevy’s. She likes the place a lot because they have really good tortilla chips and the family friendly atmosphere is very inviting.

After the wonderful dinner we used a birthday present I’d gotten for her back in November, tickets to Disney on Ice!

The opening act was a few ice-skating boomerang throwers.

Mickey came out along with all of his friends who wanted to throw a birthday party for somebody, but it wasn’t any of their birthdays!

The Mad Hatter came out along with Alice and suggested an Unbirthday party instead.

After the party Mickey stayed to clean everything up by putting on his wizard clothes and summoning a bunch of iceskating brooms.

The next celebration was Halloween (because Halloween is totally on Valentine’s Day in February).

After Halloween came Valentine’s Day. Finally!

Minnie was looking for her love, but couldn’t find him. All the Disney princes and princesses tried to help out by dancing around a fountain. Most of the traditional amazing ice skating moves were during this number. Lots of princes lifting princesses and dazzling spins on the ice.

In the end Mickey was inside the fountain that Disney royalty was dancing around. He came out and had a dance with Minnie.

Hu-Ha! Let's get married, Minnie!
Hu-Ha! Let’s get married, Minnie!

After the Valentine’s Dance there was an intermission followed by Mickey’s fantastic travel the world second act! If you’ve been to Disneyland and seen the Magical Dot show, it’s almost the same thing.

Asia, Agrabah, all over Europe, New Orleans, and Hawaii!

Hawaii was the best of all. A man came out and sprayed some liquid onto the ice. Then the male lead from Lilo and Stitch came out with a fiery baton and lit the liquid (gasoline) on fire!

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Pyrotechnics are hard to capture on film beca-THIS SHOW IS COPYRIGHTED BY DISNEY!

And then the show ended with the required big finale where all the characters came out to sing and make merry.

I know what you're thinking and no, Woodie did not make merry with the dinosaur.
I know what you’re thinking and no, Woodie did not make merry with the dinosaur.

Pretty cool date! Definitely glad that we went.

-GoCorral

 

Weekend Trip to Disneyland

Jack Skellington comes out for Halloween and Christmas
Jack Skellington comes out for Halloween and Christmas

Last weekend my wife and I took an unplanned trip to Disneyland!

We were talking on Friday night about how some people take vacations by going to the airport and just asking for a ticket to the next plane leaving the runway.

I said that doing that was unreliable. “What if you ended up in a boring place? Or a place that you couldn’t afford? It makes more sense to go to some place that you know you’ll like for a vacation, like Disneyland.”

My wife and I went to Disneyland for our honeymoon, so going again will always bring back happy memories for us.

She said she was actually interested in going. Disneyland is fun so I wanted to go to. We decided we’d leave early Saturday morning and spend all day at the park before getting a hotel room and returning Sunday morning.

We looked at plane tickets first, but those cost about $800 for both of us to fly from Sacramento to Anaheim.

We drove instead. A little over 400 miles and 6 hours not counting breaks and traffic.

This was the first long road trip i’d bern on where I was the person driving. It was exhausting, but definitely worth it!

We went through a lot of farm land and dairy land. My wife is a vegetarian and when we passed the occasional stockyard she would clasp her hands together and say, “I love you moo-cows! Someone cares about you! I hope you are safe!”

We checked in to our hotel and headed on over to Disneyland for lunch. It was great being back where we’d had our honeymoon.

After lunch we rode all our favorite rides, Pirates, Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, Peter Pan, Splash Mountain, and Haunted Mansion (seen above). Dinner fit in there somewhere as well.

At the end of the day we saw the firework display and got to watch the Fantasmic water and light show. I LOVE Fantasmic because of the animatronic dragon near the end. It rears up out of the stage and breaths fire on the river. It’s amazing! I’d love to show you, but the show is difficult to capture on video because most cameras aren’t able to handle the sudden changes in light that the show has. Your eyes can handle it, but mechanical cameras are too slow.

Afterwards we went back to the hotel and collapsed. We drove on back the next day!

It was a super fun trip and my first unplanned vacation ever. Plus I had my best friend with me, my wife!

-Mister Ed

My Cousins’s Wedding

Still got a little bit of snow in October.
Still got a little bit of snow in October.

Last weekend I flew to Portland, Oregon with my wife to attend my cousin’s wedding.

The flight there was a little unusual. I liked it, but my wife did not.

We flew on Alaska Airlines which apparently uses smaller planes.

Particularly they use propeller planes that you have to board from the tarmac instead of from the Jetway.

I thought this was pretty cool. I’ve always liked boarding from the tarmac and I’ve never been on a propeller airplane before.

My wife did not enjoy the novelty so much and instead focused on fear of the unknown.

There were some negatives. The plane didn’t have enough room for our carry-ons so we had to check them at the gate which I am always suspicious of. The plane smelled when we got on. The propeller engines were really loud compared to jet engines. The ceiling was lower than other planes I’ve been. You get the idea.

Good news though! The plane was smaller, so it flew lower. That’s how we got that pretty cool picture of Mount Shasta up there.

As for the wedding and seeing all of my cousins? Loads of fun!

I haven’t seen my youngest cousins in awhile so it was nice to see all of them and dance with them at the reception.

I liked catching up with all my older relatives as well. And now my wife has met nearly everyone in my family. There’s still a few holdouts, but we’ll get there!

Plus my cousin got married! Her husband is super cool and I’m glad he’s going to be part of our large family. Beautiful, short ceremony followed by a good dinner and an awesome live band for dancing!

My uncle lives in Portland and operates a pottery studio there. I liked going in to see where and how he makes all his stuff. If you’d like some amazing custom pottery you can check him out at Piatt Pottery.

We also did a little bit of Portland sight seeing. Specifically the Lloyd Center mall (The mall is cool! Don’t knock it!), a Mexican sports bar called Aztec Willie’s, and one of the Salt and Straw ice cream places.

I recommend all three places. The mall was well designed with a lot of natural lighting from a large central skylight. The sports bar had good service, good food, and what looked like a dance floor they were setting up when we had to leave to go meet relatives.

Salt and Straw was probably the most interesting of the places we went to. It has all sorts of weird custom-made ice cream flavors. Their recent batch of ice cream is all Halloween themed. My wife and I both got the Chocolate Graveyard flavor which is chocolate with Oreo “dirt” mixed in along with candy skeleton “bones.”

And there was a gift shop next door to Salt and Straw where I got this guy!

Time for Video Games!
Time for Video Games!

BMO is a character from one of my favorite cartoon shows, Adventure Time. BMO will be joining me for a video game stream in the future because that’s what BMO does. Play video games!

I’m sure there’s a lot more to do in Portland that I missed out on. It’s an amazing beautiful city. And a big thank you to my grandparents for funding all of us in getting to and staying in Portland!

-Mister Ed

Youtube Channel and Twitch

The first steps I've taken to creating a Youtube channel.
The first steps I’ve taken to creating a Youtube channel.

I started up a Youtube channel to connect to my Twitch channel. The Youtube channel is called GoCorralTV.

I’m also in the process of setting up a Facebook page for GoCorral. With that done I’ll have a unified presence for the website across multiple different sites.

I’ve also been toying with the idea of renaming my game and forum accounts to GoCorral. I think I’ll wait on that. If I get a ton more viewers it will make sense just to reduce confusion, but right now it would just cause confusion amongst my friends instead of removing it for other viewers/readers.

Back to that Youtube channel though.

I haven’t made it look pretty and amazing yet, but I did link it to my Twitch channel.

The link allows me to move the highlights that I create on Twitch over to the Youtube channel.

Twitch allows you to create highlights from saved broadcasts.

I’d thought I was saving my broadcasts, but apparently I was mistaken. My first two are now gone from Twitch.

I still have the recordings saved on my computer, but there’s no way to reupload them to Twitch.

Highlights are sections taken from a broadcast and turned into their own video. They’re meant to show off a cool play that you made.

I made one from each of the saved broadcasts I have up so far. One is a cool play and the other is a game where my cat sat on my lap looking cute while I played.

I showed the highlights to my wife this morning and she confirmed my suspicions that the audio quality is bad.

My headset mic broke a few months ago. The earpieces work fine and I still have a mic on my video camera for talking to my friends. The mic isn’t that great for recordings where I’m not directly interacting with people.

I’m going to do two things to fix this.

#1 Get a new headset. I ordered one this morning.

#2 Enunciate my words better. I have acting experience from high school. I should better at this!

So if you wanted to check out that Youtube channel you can go to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0KcigNbusgIY231nDigo1A to take a look.

Thanks for reading!

-Mister Ed

Jeopardy!

I’m a big fan of the Jeopardy show.

I don’t watch it every night, but when I have time I’ll turn it on.

I started watching Jeopardy as a kid with my mom.

We’d watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune back to back.

I liked Wheel of Fortune more than Jeopardy then. I think it was because Wheel of Fortune is flashier and has more enthusiastic people.

Now I like Jeopardy better, partially because I feel I can participate more in a Jeopardy episode than a Wheel of Fortune episode.

In Wheel of Fortune my only means of participation is to guess what the whole phrase is, I can’t guess individual letters.

But I can guess individual Jeopardy questions!

I’ve actually worked out a system where I can keep my own score along with the Jeopardy contestants on the show.

I watch with a calculator in my hand and keep track of my points as the game goes on.

I get points for answering a question before any of the contestants do. I lose points if my answer was wrong.

If I correctly answered the question before the Daily Double, then I get to participate along with the contestant who found it. I decide how many of my points to bet on a Daily Double in which I participate.

Final Jeopardy works the same as for me as it does for the other contestants. I see the category, bet my money, and guess after the commercial break.

The system isn’t perfect. I and another contestant can both get money from a question.

Also the betting on Daily Doubles and Final Jeopardy isn’t ideal. The contestants can bet based on what the other two contestants have, but not what I have. I get to bet based on what all of them have.

I get first or second place most of the time. I feel like once I can reliably get first I’ll be ready to be on the show.

The show has tryouts online every year, but I haven’t made it through yet.

I just hope I can get on the show before Alex Trebek leaves.

-Mister Ed