Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Countries that will accept Afghans


Infographic: The Countries Pledging to Accept Afghans | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Watching South Lake Tahoe area

Virtually every Northern Californian has fond memories of Lake Tahoe. Following the Dixie Fire's progress has been painful.

New and old Countach


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Time lapse of US Covid cases per capita


Visiting SF-08C Vollmer Peak Nike missile site

The day after visiting the Lake Chabot missile site, I took the kids to the Vollmer Peak site.

Vollmer Peak, at 1,905 feet, is the highest peak in the East Bay Hills. It is named after the first police chief of Berkeley, California, who is recognized as the Father of Modern American Policing. As you can imagine, the City of Berkeley is considering changing the name.

The peak is in Tilden Park, about a mile away from the steam trains. So I took the kids for a ride first.

We got to ride in the caboose.

Almost there! The last part of the paved trail was steep.

No signs of any missiles. Just this giant array of antennas. 

The view should be fantastic, except for all the wildfire smoke. You can barely make out San Francisco.

This is the view looking the opposite direction. Mt. Diablo is in the background and the Orinda Country Club is in the fore/mid-ground.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Visiting SF-31L Lake Chabot Nike missile site

At the beginning of the Cold War, the U.S. stationed Nike nuclear-tipped missiles all over the coasts to intercept Soviet bombers. There were a bunch near where I live so I decided to visit a few with the kids. The first missile site, long since abandoned, was in Lake Chabot Regional Park.

The former site is at the end of a short and steep dirt road, but with a two year old and a four year old, the walk took forever.

The launch site was paved over with this parking lot.

They were confused as to what this box was.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Fast SUVs, what's the point?

This morning, my 18 year old calendar showed the 2002 Mercedes ML55 AMG. When it came out, I was in awe of the ultra-wide rear tires. But was this car really necessary? Back then, 342 horsepower was too much. Now, not so much.

Then, this afternoon, I passed this Bentayga Speed, which has a top speed of 190 miles per hour. Is this car really necessary?

Sunday, August 15, 2021

7 Mile House in Brisbane

I met up with some friends and had this Filipino sisig for lunch yesterday. I did not know that the building was a stage coach rest stop during the Gold Rush!

Sunday, August 08, 2021

Never Say Never Again movie review

Connery is back!

Dave's review: Never Say Never Again is good ol' fashioned fun. A remake of Thunderball, in many ways, it is better than its predecessor. Connery is ancient but still has that unmistakable charm. He is flanked by a simply outstanding cast including Kim Basinger as Domino, Klaus María Brandauer as the megalomaniac Largo and Barbara Carrera as the flirtatious and deadly Fatima. One of the best scenes of the movie is the video game for world domination, with physical pain the consequence to the loser. Where can I get one of those? And I wouldn't mind taking one of those pens too. All in all, what a satisfying way for the legendary Connery to make his swan song. 

Dave's grade: B+

TT's review: Is grade inflation a thing here? When I embarked on this journey with Dave, I thought most of the Connery and early Moore movies would get Cs, but I have been overly generous. This is a solid movie. Fatima Blush is my favorite non-Bond Bond character of all time. She was both batshit and had the raddest wardrobe. Her Renault R5 Turbo is also the tops. The actor who plays Largo is excellent. His smirks kill me! 

The only demerit is Connery himself. Who was his makeup artist?

I wonder how much the feel of this movie influenced War Games (also 1983), Miami Vice (1984), and D.A.R.Y.L. (1985). The archaeological dig scene at the end definitely had a Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) vibe.

TT's grade: A-

Dave's reaction: Barbara Carrera's costumes were indeed extraordinary. 

TT's reaction: Never Say Never Again was definitely a better version of Thunderball!

Rwandan troops in northern Mozambique

I knew there was an Islamist insurgency in Mozambique, but I had no idea Rwanda sent 1,000 soldiers to help. Here is a good article on the situation.

2020 USSR Olympics medal count

Since nobody asked, this is how the USSR would compare against China, USA, and Japan:

USSR: 139 total, 29 golds, 51 silvers, 59 bronzes

USA: 113 total, 39 golds, 41 silvers, 33 bronzes

China: 88 total, 38 golds, 32 silvers, 18 bronzes

Japan: 58 total, 27 golds, 14 silvers, 17 bronzes