MoviePass update

It’s a garbage fire of a service and I cancelled my subscription months ago.

But I bought Helios and Mathewson stock first because it was slime-mud-on-fire-dirt-cheap, so I guess I still support them by being an investor or something?

But now they’re being spun off into a separate company, so the shares won’t even be connected to the concept I found so fresh and intriguing in the first place.

But Cinemark Movie Club looks like a more reasonable setup since the local Cinemark is the only place I see movies nowadays, due to comfy recliners, reserved seating, and very close proximity.

Don’t do MoviePass you guys.

Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: Get Out

MoviePass is pretty great you guys. Found myself with an open afternoon so I figured I’d stop by my local Century Cinema 16 today to see newly-Oscar-nominated-but-really-I’ve-been-wanting-to-see-it-anyway Get Out. It was really good it turns out! I guess sometimes the self-congratulatory circle-jerk movie awards organizations happen to pick productions of actual quality and not movies engineered specifically to sway judges. A broken clock, amirite?

And it turns out, they still do trailers before movies, and many of them are for movies that are derivative works of a prequel/sequel/remake/adaptation nature. Hence, the HUR returneth. It’s not the metric of original storytelling we want, but something about great responsibility. Continue reading Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: Get Out

Custom Disney Pin Trading Display Board

Jenny and Mario's Disney Pin Boards

Confession: I have fallen victim to the Disney pin trading fad.

My girlfriend and I told ourselves we would be able to just buy a few collectible pins and be done with it. We picked up WALL•E and EVE, plus some Star Wars characters. Then grabbed some hat pins for trade fodder. Then I bought the Inside Out set. Then we splurged on a Diamond Anniversary medallion set. Before we knew it, our lanyards were weighed down with metal baubles and we needed a place to keep the ones we didn’t want to trade.

Pinterest to the rescue! Continue reading Custom Disney Pin Trading Display Board

Thoughts on Furious 7

Furious 7 — and the entire (The) Fast and (the) Furious franchise — doesn’t seemingly merit the praise I laud upon it. As an action series, there’s an expectation for it to hit specific beats and move on. And it certainly does that with aplomb; fast driving here, explosions there, punches aplenty, attractive women looking attractive… But at the same time, this series packs more heart into it, more appreciation for its characters and their diverse personalities and quirks, more respect for the audience than we would ever expect of normally-mindless action flicks.

Are there crazy physics-and-logic-defying sequences that stress the limits of suspension of disbelief? Certainly, and possibly more in Furious 7 than anything prior (and that includes Fast Five’s giant-safe-tethered-to-two-cars-driving-at-speed-being-used-as-sliding-wrecking-ball). If that’s going to be a problem for you, I might suggest sitting this one out. (The guy who sat next to me at last night’s IMAX screening was quite vocal in his disapproval of the stunts presented onscreen; I fear he may have been in the wrong theater. Or state.)

But at the same time, there’s a movie-long romance arc about Dom and Letty’s relationship (I assume you’re all equally on first-name basis with the characters) being strained by Letty’s persistent amnesia (let’s all just move on from that bit), and a respectful farewell for Brian’s character that doubles as a teary-eyes goodbye to Paul Walker.

There’s a revisiting of the scene and characters from Tokyo Drift — a film made ten years ago with none of the characters from the previous films as a crazy effort to breathe new life into a waning franchise, no forethought of an ongoing story, but which became the springboard for an arc spanning five films — to dovetail Han’s death/funeral with Owen Shaw’s drive for vengeance. No action movie I can recall has story seeds running through the veins of a decade of films; most exist movie-to-movie, trying to reboot a series with every release to sustain public interest, keeping only one or two actors in to maintain audience recognition (and probably to keep the budget down).

James Wan had a difficult task of taking over for Justin Lin, who had directed films 3-6 and established the long arc, and continuing those story threads into their next phases. He successfully weaved Han and Gisele’s death, Walker’s struggles with the doldrums of domestic life, Shaw’s defeat in Fast and Furious 6 acting as ghost from their past for a new antagonist in Jason Statham, and the aforementioned Letty amnesia into a beautiful tapestry, while still giving everyone in this (now slightly smaller) ensemble cast appropriate screen time to continue to develop their characters and simultaneously kick ass. He even brought in new faces such as the brilliant hacker Ramsey and the mysterious US government agent/benefactor/plot driver Mr. Nobody, both of whom I expect to see in future endeavors.

And there’s no doubt in my mind that there will be future endeavors. Although the actors got to pay their respects to Walker in character and let his character sunset in as fitting a way as I could have ever imagined, it’s also clear that their love for Walker motivated them to give this movie a proper heartfelt ending. That same motivation, that shared experience amongst cast and crew, will no doubt continue to drive them to keep telling their story as long as there’s a story to tell. They’ve lost someone special to them, and instead of throwing in the towel and canceling the film they can now be catalyzed to carry on. The cast, like the characters they portray, are family.

That mutual love, adoration, and respect is ever-apparent onscreen, and serves as yet another indicator that this series is special. The cars, the jet-setting, the action, the spectacle… It all hides something much more profound and powerful than I ever expected to find in movies like this. In the end, that heart is what will keep bringing me back.

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Steamrollers Game Results

Today I watched the San Jose Steamrollers play power soccer (a soccer variant played with power wheelchairs), and figured I’d do a sports writeup on their two games. Because I can!

vs. BORP: 1-0
vs. Hollister Free Wheelers: 2-2

Jairo Solorio scored a fantastic goal against BORP. The Strike Force chairs are generally superior on the court when it comes to maneuverability, but Jairo’s chair packed more mass and allowed him to simply push through the defenses and nudge the ball over the goal line.

Hollister’s Chad Bojorquez squeezed in an early first goal for game two, but San Jose quickly retaliated when Ryan Connolly pulled off a slap-shot from halfway down the court, too fast for the Hollister goalie to respond. The Steamrollers then pulled ahead after Matthew Arensdorf passed the ball across the goal to Jairo, who nudged it in before Hollister could intercept, but Hollister tied it up again when Bojorquez knocked the ball through a gap between players. Despite Hollister’s aggressive push for the goal, some near-misses on their part combined with blocks from Steamrollers goalie Jenny Mitchell helped maintain a tied score at the end.

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I Like-Like You! Happy Valentine’s Day!

My sometimes-yearly tradition of making store-bought-style Valentine’s Day cards based on things I like… continues! This year I went with The Legend of Zelda for NES. Personally I prefer Zelda II, but it’s hard to deny the cuteness of square-aspect-ratio-3/4-pseudo-isometric-view Link from the original.

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Mario’s Tahoe Journal

In the interest of converting my entire collection of physical representations of childhood memories into eternal digital archives, I’m scanning pages from Mario’s Tahoe Journal, my old pen-and-binder-paper-powered diary of our family trips to the alpine lake back in the 90s. You can now read the pages on this very blog! I’ve posted them with their original dates and typed them out as accurately as I can (misspellings and sullen teenage angst and all), and included photos I had taken during the same trips. They will all be posted under a single category for reference, which can be found here:

Mario’s Tahoe Journal

Please note that the opinions I had expressed as a teenager of siblings and peers do not reflect current opinions of same individuals. These entries are being posted unedited for posterity. I have nothing but love for my family and those we traveled with all those years ago. Blame the hormones, and forgive Baby Mario his transgressions.

[Discuss]

How many baseballs to a soccer ball?

Twitter was all abuzz today with the impressively high-scoring Brazil vs Germany World Cup game. In the end, one of the teams* defeated one of the others with a score of 7-1. Twitter parody account @DodgerzGM made the following statement partway into the game:

Which made me wonder: what would the actual equivalent score be? Or to put it another way: what is the conversion of soccer goals to baseball runs?

This is, of course, a ridiculous question. Which is why, equally of course, I needed to address it.

To start, I had to narrow some definitions. It would not be practical or informative to try and determine, say, an average score of every baseball game played around the world for all time. I decided to compare the latest available data in both sports: the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2013 MLB Season. Right off the bat, you sports-minded folk may be complaining about some kind of selection bias, claiming that an entire season of baseball isn’t an appropriate sample size compared to the relatively smaller World Cup series of games, and that just using the World Series or the 2013 postseason would make more sense. To this I say:

  • It was a World Cup game, so using the World Cup as a basis seemed to make the most sense. As I understand it, there are other regional qualifying matches that lead up to the World Cup, but that amount of information would have been difficult to compile.
  • The World Series only involves two teams across 7-ish games, so that sample size seems ridiculously small. The postseason is only slightly better with four teams.
  • Baseball-Reference.com made it very easy to get the numbers needed to make this calculation on the baseball side (I used Wikipedia for the soccer stats).
  • Comparing soccer to baseball in this apples-and-oranges sort of way is fun, we don’t need to muck it up with more complicated stat-gathering.

With that disclaimer out of the way, it’s Fun With Numbers time!

The average team score in the 2010 World Cup was 1.13 goals. In the 2013 MLB season, the average score was 4.17 runs. With this information, we can determine that 1 World Cup goal is roughly equivalent to 3.69 MLB runs.

Now that we have a conversion, we see that a World Cup score of 7-1 is about 25-3 in MLB.

“Why didn’t you state the score in decimal values?”, you might ask. The reason is that the actual output of 25.83-3.69, while technically more precise, would never fly in actual baseball. In such a hypothetical game, .69 runs barely gets past second base, so the runner would probably stay on rather than try to power to home plate. .83 runs gets the runner around third, but I’m guessing they doubled back or got caught/tagged out. Either way, a fraction of a run isn’t a run.

Data Sources:

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*I didn’t actually watch. It’s all sportsball to me.