Friday, February 26, 2021

Diamonds Are Forever movie review

Connery is back in the seventh Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever.

Dave's review: Let the tongue-in-cheek era of Bond begin. This is not one of my favorite films. There is very little real suspense and some scenes are downright ridiculous, like Bond fighting a couple of scantily clad women named Bambi and Thumper. Jill St. John's Tiffany Case is dumb as a twit and annoying. And I won't even get started with Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd. Charles Gray, playing Blofeld, was better in his miniscule role in You Only Live Twice. Honestly on that point, the entire film completely fails. You take the emotional ending of OHMSS and the pre-credits sequence where Bond hunts down Blofeld simply glosses over what killing Blofeld would really mean to 007. There are a few really snazzy one liners such as "I didn't know there was a pool down there" and my favorite, "It's a much smoother ride in the front, Mr. Franks" but overall Connery's much anticipated return to the franchise is a complete dud.

TT's review: This was just a bad movie. Kidd and Wint, as a creepy couple, did not do the LGBT community any favors. And Connery. He looked so old! Even though he was only 40 when the movie was shot, he looked 50+. 

I will tell you what I enjoyed. That English Channel hovercraft. Old school Vegas. Circus Circus! In the 80s, my mom would give me a roll of quarters to play video games and she would be off gambling.

I don't know if anyone made this weird connection. I got to thinking about it because Jill St. John (Tiffany Case) is married to Robert Wagner (Austin Powers's Number Two). Plenty O'Toole was played by Lana Wood, whose sister was Natalie Wood. Natalie was once married to Wagner and she died under mysterious circumstances when she was on a boat with Wagner.

Dave's response: I must say, the connections among those people are fascinating. That would make for a much more interesting movie than Diamonds are Forever! 

TT's response: I agree with everything. This was a huge letdown and a lost opportunity after OHMSS.

Dave's grade: D+

TT's grade: C-

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Chinese Restaurants documentary

Thanks to CJ for the tip. A Canadian-Chinese guy did a 15-part documentary of Chinese restaurants around the world. The first one, in South Africa, was so-so. But this second episode, set in Turkey, is a must see.

Photo accidentally taken at disposable camera factory


Kidney stone under electron microscope


My Daily Driver: @HeyItsDerekJ's BMW 330i ZHP

1. How did you come to the decision of buying this car?

Quite simply, a case of quarantine boredom. I started looking around Craigslist for manual transmission equipped E39 or E46 BMWs that needed a little work, but nothing too far gone. I ran across an ad for a cheap 2005 330i six speed, with the ZHP package and wearing Imola Red paint. Cheap and manual E46 ZHP don't go together normally, so I knew it would have some character. 170k miles, sure. Oil leaks, check. Smashed rear door, yep. But it appeared decent otherwise so I figured it was worth a look. I met the seller who was a cool guy with 4 other BMW projects and a new house, so something had to go. He originally bought the ZHP from a kid who inherited it from his dad, with the intention of pulling the engine and transmission, until his friend talked him out of killing it. A quick drive and I knew it was the right project for me.

2. What has your ownership experience been like?

It immediately failed emissions for the gas cap (of course). I got it home from the DMV and the power steering pump failed, which I expected since it had been run low on fluid for too long in the past. After replacing the cooling system, power steering pump, brakes, control arm bushings, filters and fluids, interior bits, and fixing most of the oil leaks, I got to enjoy it. It had been years since I drove an older BMW and I immediately remembered why people liked the E46 so much. Amazingly I found an Imola red door on eBay to replace the damaged one and it was ready for daily duty on non snow days. It still needs a new windshield, a new steering wheel wrap, and a VANOS solenoid, but it's mostly sorted now.

3. What is your fondest memory with this car?

At first it was a project, and projects need repairs, so my early fond memories were learning how to work on it and annoying my neighbors as it sat on jackstands awaiting parts. Now that it's running it gets plenty of fun mountain drives. I really haven't had it long enough to have one favorite memory of it yet, but my daughter loves it and always wants to go for drives in it. That's enough for me for now.

4. Why do you love cars?

I honestly have no idea, but I can remember as a little kid being obsessed with airplanes and cars, which earned me zero credibility with most of my friends, but I never cared. Cars have been much more attainable than planes so I've gravitated their way. A lot of the fun has been learning more and more; first track days (bro), getting into more and more advanced repairs, and of course looking for the next project.

If you would like to participate, just answer the above four questions and submit one to three photos of your daily driver to milhousevanh at geemail. Thanks and have fun!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

On Her Majesty's Secret Service movie review

The sixth Bond movie, and George Lazenby's only movie, is On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Dave's review: On Her Majesty's Secret Service is one of the most under-appreciated Bond films of all. It is truly a work of art. It is the most personal, emotional Bond film, save for Casino Royale, and possesses an ending that will haunt you. It is a love story, one that is sweet and tense, and dark. Diana Rigg smoulders as Contessa, she will go down, again along with Vesper Lynd as the most memorable of the Bond women. The criticism over the years lodged at Lazenby is mostly unfair. He was no Sean Connery and he never got the opportunity to settle into the role. The story drags a little at Piz Gloria with the brainwashing of the women but overall this is a majestic film that ought to be appreciated without comparison to the lighter Connery entries.

TT's review: I was going to give this movie a C. I know many Bond-philes think OHMSS is the best Bond film. I’ve watched it several times and I always get skeeved out by the women on top of the Swiss mountain. And Lazenby with that kilt. So gross.

But in re-watching it, I’ve changed my mind. The end of the opening scene, in which Lazenby broke the fourth wall and quipped that this never happened to the previous guy, inspired Roger Moore’s lightheartedness. 

The ski chase, car chase, and bobsled chase were all excellent.

Ultimately, the love story was so different from the other Bond movies. Bond declared his LOVE for Tracy, offered to quit his job, and proposed to her. Tracy recited POETRY.

Dave's response: What's wrong with reciting poetry?!

This is definitely a film that requires multiple viewings to appreciate. Lazenby is quite funny once you get used to him. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if he made a second film. 

TT's response: I would have liked to see Lazenby in a second film.

Dave's grade: A

TT's grade: B+

Monday, February 15, 2021

Worth It visits Taiwan

@slirt introduced me to this series. 


Soup. Some thoughts:
  • The first place was featured in Netflix's Street Food: Asia. The woman's story is very touching.
  • The second place (beef) is nuts. 
  • The third place (French-inspired) is surprising because it's in Taichung, not exactly the most cosmopolitan town.

Chicken. Some thoughts:
  • The second place is my favorite. First, serving sparkling wine with greasy food is inspired. Second, I am so proud of Taiwan and its acceptance of the LGBT community.

Dude in 200SX destroys the Nurburgring

You've seen hundreds of Nurburgring videos, but I think this beats them all. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Chichen Itza in the 1890s versus now


Robot dogs guarding air force base

I don't like the future.

Pangea with today's borders

3rd gen MR2 review

My tweet today about this MR2 garnered 54+ helpful and funny replies.

Here is what Tiff had to say about it.

Thursday, February 04, 2021

E63 autobahn runs

The slow drivers in the passing lane!