Monday, May 31, 2021

Tiffany Pham Lexus ad

I first saw the print ad in The Economist this weekend. Pham is the CEO of a recruitment company. Can you imagine in the late 1980s, when conservative Toyota came out with Lexus, it featuring a woman of Vietnamese descent in an ad for its flagship sedan?

Old Friday Mosque in Maldives


More info here.

Quechua music video

Press CC for Spanish subtitles.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Moonraker movie review

Roger Moore's fourth Bond film (with three more to go).

Dave's review: Moonraker is campy but it's still a good film. Piggybacking off the popularity of Star Wars the producers decide to send 007 into space, The pre credits sequence is thrilling, with Bond being flung out of an airplane without a parachute. Jaws is back but this time he's a lot less menacing. That is one of the biggest disappointments of the film, along with the boring villain Hugo Drax. Holly Goodhead is gorgeous but a bit bland as well. Still Moonraker offers good old fashioned Bond thrills; it just doesn't live up to its predecessor, the superior The Spy Who Loved Me. 

TT's review: Years ago, when I ranked all of the pre-Craig Bond movies, I ranked Moonraker dead last. It was so ridiculous and over the top, I hated it. But now, with a fresh look, it's not so bad. It's bad, but not that bad.

What I liked the most about the movie is the set design. They really did a great job. Hugo Drax was a decent villain. Jaws and his girlfriend were sweet but weird. Roger Moore was already old, and he had three more(!) movies to make. What I noticed this time was his lackluster physique. He had thin wrists and arms. Very different from the ripped Daniel Craig. I'm not sure Moore was able to do a single pull up in the 1970s.

But ultimately, the space laser battle was just too hokey.

Dave's response: Interesting observation about Moore. I didn't really notice until For Your Eyes Only where you start to wonder, can this guy really win a fight? 

TT's response: Jaws was plain weird in this movie. I wonder what my least Bond film will ultimately be.

Dave's grade: B-

TT's grade: C

Saturday, May 08, 2021

The Spy Who Loved Me movie review

Roger Moore's third movie:

Dave's review: The Spy Who Loved Me is everything a Bond film should be. It's easily the best of the Moore films. It's the film that inspired Christopher Nolan to make Tenet. It's the film that introduced Jaws, one of the most memorable Bond henchmen ever. Barbara Bach is stunning as Triple X. The storyline where 007 killed her lover infuses the movie with an extra degree of intrigue. Atlantis is a sight to behold and the use of Mozart's "Elvira Madigan" when it rises from the sea is music to my ears. The theme song "Nobody Does It Better" is also pitch perfect, as well as the use of the most locales for any Bond film. The scenes in Egypt in particular are enchanting. Finally, how bout that pre credits sequence when 007 skis off a mountain?! Still to this date one of the greatest stunts in cinematic history. This is a movie to be savored. 

TT's review: I need to watch For Your Eyes Only again to refresh my memory, because I'm fairly certain The Spy Who Loved Me is my favorite Moore Bond film. Sure, it's formulaic. It has the ski chase scene, the car chase scene, and the underwater chase scene. But they are all fantastic! Everything is just perfection. I particularly enjoyed the telephone van in the Sahara desert. And don't get me started on the iconic Lotus submarine. To top it off, up to that point, this must have been the least sexist and least racist Bond film. My only tiny complaint is that Stromburg was more grandfatherly than evil.

Dave's response: I thought Stromberg was fairly sinister, otherwise looks like we are in agreement that this is one of the best installments in the series. 

TT's response: We are in agreement!

Dave's grade: A+

TT's grade: A+

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

The Lost Coast: Day Two (and Day Three)

Getting a meal at the Lost Coast is a dicey proposition. Yesterday evening, the innskeeper told me that the only place open for dinner was the brewery but because they were short staffed, I had to be patient. The food was great, but I think I waited for almost an hour for my meal. This morning, I saw an ad in the local paper. The brewery was desperate to hire staff.

The little coffee shop downstairs from the inn was supposed to be open at 7am. My plan was to grab something to go for my hike. But when I went down there, it was closed. The owners left to celebrate their anniversary. This was inconvenient as the start of the hike was two hours away and high tide was at 1pm. There was a section of the hike that was impassable then.

I passed the time while driving by listening to a local FM station. First up was a radical LGBTQ news program. They spent a lot of time on a Mexican and Namibian gay couple who were not able to adopt their twin girls in South Africa. Then, the radio station played a community meeting from the night before where a national forest representative took questions from the public about how the federal government was going to take care of all the damage caused by last year's horrific fires. The audience was pissed.

The trailhead at Mattole River Beach.

The plan was to walk 3.2 miles south to the Punta Gorda Lighthouse and back. There was barely anyone there. It was beautiful. Walking on the sand was difficult.

My footprints.

I took a break here and ate an orange.

You can barely make out the abandoned lighthouse in the distance.

I had to cross a few streams. I just got progressive lenses and all these rocks made my vision blurry,

Thankfully, the last half-mile to the lighthouse had a solid dirt path. After slogging through the sand, I felt like I was on a moving walkway.

Just below the lighthouse was a seal rookery. Oh, I forgot. While walking to the lighthouse, I saw up close four or five vultures feasting on a cute seal. Its head was intact and its eyes were open. It did not look like it was in pain. But the rest of its body was in the process of being picked clean. Nature.

The walk back was tough due to strong northerly winds. This is why they recommend that one-way hikers go from north to south. With about an eight of a mile left, I had a cramp in my quad.

I celebrated with an incredibly juicy and cheap ($7.55) jalapeno double bacon cheese burger with onion rings at No Brand Burger Stand in Ferndale.

Back in Shelter Cove, I decided to check out a couple of movies. The internet was too slow for streaming.

After 15 minutes, the In the Line of Fire tape broke. So I watched Clerks. It was still pretty funny.

The next morning, I drove back home. I listened to a pro-agriculture radio station. Its audience was mad at a recent California law that banned poor treatment of pigs and other livestock.

I stopped in Garberville and ATE INSIDE at Eel River Cafe. I went in because there was only one other guy eating inside (and I just had my second Moderna shot). It was hard getting used to eating inside.


Monday, May 03, 2021

The Lost Coast: Day One

After years of reading about the Lost Coast of Northern California, I finally went!

The Lost Coast is a stretch of the coastline that is desolate and rugged. Because of heavy rain and frequent seismic activity, the Pacific Coast Highway never made it there. I first learned about it in college. There was wilderness that was once the home of the Sinkyone native people. A paper company wanted to chop down the trees, and I joined a protest group on campus to stop the destruction. We succeeded!

In order to get there, I first took Highway 101. I had driven through the Chandelier Tree once, in my first generation TSX sedan. But I had to take a picture of my wagon and the tree for my son at home. So I paid the $10.

Next up was lunch at The Peg House. It was supposed to have one of the best burgers in the West. It was above average. I was also looking forward to their BBQ oysters, but their oysterman wouldn't deliver fresh ones until the next day. Coupled with a lack of internet, I was getting a taste of the Lost Coast.

Once I got to Fortuna, I filled the wagon up with gas and turned off 101. Ferndale was the last real town in civilization.

The road to Cape Mendocino (the westernmost point of California) was windy, narrow, steep, and full of cows. The photo below was taken during the descent to the coast. It reminded me of Switzerland.

There's the wagon in front of the cape.

The next stretch was along the coast. It was pretty spectacular.

Once the road turned inland to Petrolia and Honeydew and beyond, it was a nightmare of a drive. I didn't dare take any pictures. The two hour drive was exhausting. I was going to stay at an inn at Shelter Cove. I first stopped at the general store for some provisions for the next day's hike. I spotted this Ford Ranger pickup truck that was getting some use.

I got the best room in the house, a corner unit on the top floor. I had fish and chips at the only restaurant that was open and got back to the room just in time to catch the sunset.

Tomorrow, the hike!

Far From Home podcast

On the recommendation of @DasPretzels, I downloaded Season One and listened to the whole thing during my three-day Lost Coast road trip. It's about an ex-NPR reporter and his photographer brother driving from London to Ulan Ude in a red (and very unreliable) Nissan Micra for the Mongol Rally.

Before I listened to it, I kind of turned my nose up at the rally because I assumed it was a Jackass-type race with little regard for the safety of and respect for the local population. I was wrong. 

This podcast is perfect for long drives. Enjoy!

Mongol Rally 2016 highlights from scottgurian on Vimeo.