Tag: Bumblebee

A car full of spaghetti

A car full of spaghetti

If I was quiet this weekend it’s because I’ve been immobile outside of family chores, and I didn’t think a second post about running the Burbank Ikea circuit would be very exciting.

The immobility comes from car troubles that have plagued me since early last week and at one point derailed my blog into a discussion on laundry.

I was headed to the gym that fateful day when I heard a pop coming from my engine, followed by what sounded like a rubber band flopping around.

After weeks of screeching sounds coming from the car when it turned on, needless to say I did not wind up going to the gym. I brought the car back home and it has been sitting idle in front of the driveway ever since.

Dad and I looked under the hood and found a completely shredded serpentine belt.

When I say spaghetti in the car, I’m not kidding.

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For those not knowledgable in automobile, that wheel on the left side should have a rubber belt around it. Instead it’s mangled at the bottom.

Mondays are street sweeping days, so the car couldn’t stay idle forever. Thus I called AAA this morning and had it hauled off to our preferred mechanic.

Mom and I drove behind the tow truck on the way there, which gave me the opportunity to photo the damage from a different angle:

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You can see some of the spaghetti dangling from below.

Luckily for my plans later this week, the issue was fixable in a matter of hours. No need to lose my vehicle overnight.

So I spent the afternoon driving around with Mom doing chores. We stopped by my Grandpa’s complex to pay his rent, got a document notarized and delivered, did some shopping and delivered a few held-up items from Friday’s Silent Auction.

By 3:00 p.m. the car was ready.

That’s more or less where the story ends, but before I left the mechanic I got to see a few of the parts that were replaced. The main one was the busted up A/C Compressor that actually had rubber remnants burned into the wheel.

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Pretty incredible.

To some extent I suppose my immobility was a blessing. Earlier today there was an active shooter situation at the Del Amo Mall that’s still being covered as I write this.

I know it’s somewhat cliché at this point (which in itself is a horrible statement on gun control in this country), but it’s hard to imagine that kind of thing happening so close to home.

My family frequents that mall. It hosts our usual movie theatre. It’s where I went to see Detective Pikachu with Aly, and Bumblebee with my friend Juan going back a bit.

This is a bit more visceral than Gable House Bowl was a few months back because I hadn’t been to that bowling alley in years. The Del Amo situation is so visceral that I’m not entirely comfortable with how I feel about it just yet.

So I figure let’s stick with car talk and leave it there.

To any of my local friends who may wind up reading this, I hope you’re safe today.

Unexpected technological developments

Unexpected technological developments

I had a few friends over this afternoon as a last-ditch hangout for Winter Break. Back to school Tuesday.

Woo-hoo.

We watched a couple of movies together. Mortal Engines was a total dumpster fire. Then Isle of Dogs was a decent palate cleanser in spite of it being super weird.

However I’m not planning on talking about either in heavy detail today. Nor am I planning on going back to talk about Green Book, as I mentioned in my Fantastic Beasts post yesterday. Though out of every movie I just mentioned, Green Book is the one you should see.

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A leftover from my plans to maybe talk about the movie today.

It’s a really solid period piece following a working-class Italian-American family man chauffeuring a gay, black, eccentric musician across the Deep South during the 1960s. Super great music, characters and a well-written script.

Would highly recommend.

Though if you hadn’t gathered it from the leading information on this post, instead of talking about movies I have an update on something totally different.

A few weeks ago I wrote about getting a computer for Gladeo stuff. I didn’t touch it for a while because the semester got busy and there wasn’t a lot of space in my room to fit a new PC.

But when I cleaned my room recently, I pushed back my TV cabinet so there would be that necessary space. After that I wanted to sit down with my Dad to set the computer up, but there have been various waves of sickness running through the house.

I didn’t expect all of that to come to a head tonight. I simply underestimated the drive of my friend Juan, who is super into computers. Like builds his own PCs from scratch.

Which sounds familiar if you remember my Bumblebee review, I’m sure.

When I first got the machine he asked about the specs, but as someone who doesn’t pay that much mind I wasn’t even really sure where to find them. Time went by and we all kind of forgot about it.

But then we went to grab something in my room tonight, he caught sight of the machine and started to look it over. One thing led to another and soon enough part of the hangout turned into setting up computer time.

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I’m officially a proponent of free labor.

Turns out that extra space I laid out works pretty well for what I need:

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Even though I might not keep the extension cords squished between the machine and my desk, I’ll have to decide later.

In the meantime we booted this thing up and decided to take a look.

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Check out that pretty display. It’s certainly a step up from the desktop Mac that was there before, which I might not ever have to plug-in again considering I took everything that I wanted.

So now I have a brand new computer to toy around with as the spring 2019 semester begins.

… Or actually, perhaps not so soon. Apparently the machine can’t connect to wi-fi, and we might have to figure out a different way to get the thing online.

I’ll have to sit down with my Dad and look things over later. Maybe tomorrow.

For now I’m going to go back to waiting on that super blood moon and watching Bob’s Burgers with the crew. Because god damn that show is funny.

Bumblebee a good movie

Bumblebee a good movie

To be completely honest, I’ve never been a huge Transformers fan.

I’ve always liked the franchise, but it wasn’t a line of toys I grew up with. As a result, the recent Michael Bay franchise of films has more or less been my closest connection.

… But even then, I only watched the first two or three. And I would be lying if I said I remembered anything even remotely well past bits of the first movie from over 11 years ago.

So I was hesitant to watch the newest Transformers movie, Bumblebee — in spite of the fact that I knew it was distinctly different from the Michael Bay series. Especially on the insistence of my friend Juan, who is a huge Transformophile.

I suppose I felt a little intimidated about the prospect of going to see this kind of movie with him. Though I’m glad I got over that, because boy did I have far more fun  than I expected to.

Bumblebee is leagues better than any of the Michael Bay Transformers films for a number of reasons: Its character development, dedication to a setting and mood, as well as its visual design.

Disregarding its titular character, Bumblebee is led by Hailee Steinfeld, who apparently had a phenomenal 2018 by showing her prowess in live action here and in animation through Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Steinfeld’s character Charlie is the down-on-her-luck angsty tomboy teenager who finds Bumblebee broken down in a mechanic’s junkyard and becomes his best friend/protector.

It’s a cliché relationship that was essentially the exact same dynamic between Bumblebee and Shia LaBeouf’s character in the 2007 Transformers. It includes all the beats you’d imagine off a story where the girl’s father died and she can’t move on, only to learn the lessons she needs to through saving the world.

However, the clichés don’t bog Bumblebee down at all. If anything, they make the movie better because of how much the filmmakers lean into them.

Steinfeld brings far more chemistry to bonding with Bumblebee than LaBeouf ever did. In one two-hour picture I loved their kind of goofy, mutually beneficial relationship and had no trouble believing she was in the same room as a giant robot.

As hilarious as it was when I realized wrestler John Cena was going to be a prominent antagonist, he wound up pouring so much into the performance that I couldn’t help but love him.

Granted, I honestly couldn’t tell you his character’s actual name because I just saw him as John Cena the whole time. But he was so fun that I didn’t mind.

Another reason Bumblebee succeeded in capturing my heart is because it played itself as an unapologetically cheesy 80s movie. Not only did that give it an identity, but it served as a somewhat clever underlying commentary.

Like the Transformers were literally going back to the time when they were created, both in visual aesthetic and spirit.

After an opening action scene on Cybertron (which, like every action scene, was better choreographed and more visually appealing than any previous Transformers movie), diving into the life of Charlie tells us everything we need to know about Bumblebee‘s world.

Charlie, that angsty teen facing tragedy archetype I mentioned, works at a pierside Hot Dog on a Stick where the full range of 80’s teen comedy cast members appear. The awkward next door neighbor/unrequited lover, the mean high school girls, the jock who takes his shirt off after some awkward hi-jinks.

If it weren’t for the killer robots, you could mistake this movie for something akin to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It crafts great characters and loving relationships in this kind of world very well.

You could probably pull out homages to a dozen different movies, with a scene reminiscent to Iron Giant‘s gentle being vs. weapon dynamic standing out to me.

There’s even a really clever joke in the middle of the movie that stipulates some Transformers may have been involved in the creation of the Internet.

If you like that kind of self-aware humor, you’ll enjoy Bumblebee.

On top of that, Bumblebee‘s more classic toy-like Autobot and Decepticon designs allowed for more flowing, understandable action scenes and empathetic moments than the mechanized madness of Michael Bay’s films.

It sounds like I don’t have too many complaints about Bumblebee — and to be honest, I don’t. Some of my major complaints are nitpicks, like the fact that Transformers spoke English humans could understand and knew our vehicle shapes before coming to Earth.

But those are symptoms of the original source material than they are this movie specifically, and don’t detract from the film.

The movie also plays fast and loose with its setting’s time and place until late into the movie (at least from the perspective of someone who hadn’t seen the Golden Gate Bridge in that promotional poster I used as my Featured Image).

On top of that, every plot beat is borderline eye-rollingly predictable because of how much it leans into common clichés. Though to be fair there are moments where the script takes a high ground and doesn’t lean on obviously foreshadowed deus ex machinas.

Frankly, Bumblebee’s biggest strength is just how fun it is. So much so that even if there are bigger concerns, I’ve completely overlooked them. As exhausted as I was with the overwhelming Michael Bay franchise by its second or third installment, I could watch many more movies using Travis Knight’s formula going forward.

Not only was it great for Transformophiles like Juan, who was giddy seeing at least six named characters he recognized within the first few seconds, it also worked wonders for people like me that simply enjoy well-crafted, goofy 80’s flicks.

There were only about five people in our theatre today so I don’t imagine the film will be out too much longer, but I’d recommend going to see it while you can. It’s definitely a ride worth taking.


Featured Image courtesy of IMDb