Tag: Dinosaurs

Cretaceous developments

Cretaceous developments

Yeah that’s right, these developments are so monumental that they’re one step more advanced than the obvious ‘Jurassic’ developments joke I could have made to attract attention from Spielberg fans.

Unfortunately the dinosaur conceit is also just clickbait.

Sorry y’all, but the promise of this neat-o dinosaur ice cream waffle was too much of an enticing image not to use! I found the window graphic while wandering Del Amo Mall for lunch with Mom and Aly and fell in love.

Especially after my friend Mitchell suggested their potential ultimate marketing strategy of the Green Tea-Rex.

I have no idea if they actually capitalized on that idea because I never tried the Waffle-saurus Rex.

We were on a mission from Aly to instead eat boring old regular Taiyaki.

Even though dinosaurs > fish. Obviously.

In other words, no dinosaur ice cream waffle reviews. Arguably a worse travesty than my continuing to remind myself to talk about Shantae: Half-Genie Hero despite vehemently continuing to put it off.

Instead I’m going to talk about things on the horizon, most of which came to light while I was at the mall.

For instance, I’ve been invited to this year’s Comm Awards:

Screen Shot 2019-04-08 at 9.13.36 PM
Cut off the RSVP email just in case. Sorry party crashers!

Last year’s ceremony was a lot of fun (even if I’m not cringing slightly at my unkempt beard) and I’m excited to see what I’ll be awarded this time!

So much so that I made a great Tweet.

Gotta use one of the best gifs of all time to punctuate a self-deprecating joke.

Going further down the school-related rabbit hole, I also got an email today letting me know that CSUF Commencement tickets are officially available. As much as graduation-related stuff stresses me out, that is an important step in the process.

Or at least… It would be.

If the website worked.

For some reason the link to buy graduation tickets leads to an endless loop of security verification.

I wager the traffic of people going after tickets at once isn’t doing so great on the school’s website.

You’d think the network would be better prepared, but there must be too much energy going toward the development of more parking space. Another thing I got an email about.

The extra spaces are needed, even if it’s unfortunate that permit prices are hiking up $50 or so to facilitate the construction.

Luckily I’ll be a graduate who doesn’t need parking permits by then!

So hey, it’s not all intimidating and bad.

With those major Cal State Fullerton developments, the only other thing I can think to tease is a fairly big interview I scheduled for Gladeo Wednesday. Not sure I want to give it away because I’ve been pushed off once already, but let’s just say it’s a nice, recognizable name.

That’s about all I have for the night. My first day back to school tomorrow is going to be punctuated by a Cognitive Psychology exam, so I wanted to write-up something quick before I get back to studying.

Here’s hoping my lethargy in that department somehow pays off.

Strange restaurant names?

Originally I was going to skip writing a post tonight because I’ve been busy with chores, homework and cleaning for the imminent arrival of my Grandma this week — plus the gym as an added bonus, but I just couldn’t get this out of my head.

I had to share it.

My family was over at the Century City Mall for a solid chunk of the day to hit up a couple stores (which, fun fact, is the same place I was when I wrote my Summer 2018 Initiative post), and at one end was this place:

The Crack Shack. A fried chicken and egg-themed restaurant as I found out through rudimentary research.

We didn’t actually eat at this place so I can’t pass any sort of judgement regarding how good the food is. I’m purely here to pick on the name.

Because let’s be honest here, Crack Shack sounds like a junkie’s favorite dining experience.

Honestly just thinking about that alone made me laugh enough that I felt it was worth going back to take a picture as we were moving on. But then I thought about it more…

And I came to the realization that Crack Shack isn’t even the weirdest egg-themed restaurant name. Because eggslut is a thing.

These kind of viral or gag-based named websites became a very interesting subject to me this afternoon after thinking about these places.

I personally would not want to eat at a restaurant called Crack Shack, for instance. Mostly due to that drug association that I can no longer delink in my head. I also don’t know that I want to eat at eggslut for essentially the same principle, even though I’ve heard the food is really good.

So I can’t help but wonder whether or not trying to make a viral name is actually helpful for business.

On the one hand, there’s something to be said for the old idiom that any publicity is good publicity.

But on the other hand, you risk hitting a threshold where your name is so off-putting that nobody wants to visit after that initial media splurge.

I can’t say what that threshold would be, as some place like eggslut is a very popular place for a combination of its quirky, provocative name and (reportedly) good food, and if there are any restaurants that have been shut down for their overtly edgy name, I certainly haven’t heard of them.

That said, I suppose I’ll leave it here: If you know of any really bizarrely named restaurants (that have either survived or crashed and burned), I’d be very interested to hear about them.

I’d also like to know what you think the absolute threshold might be between a quirky, provocative name for a restaurant and something over-the-top.

So yeah, let me know somewhere on the Internet!



As an extra added bonus, while visiting a Blick art store on the way home, Aly and I came across this miniature T-Rex.

It was adorable and we got this great picture of it, so I wanted to share.

Hopefully it can help usher you all into a better night.

‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ fails to live up to its ancestors

‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ fails to live up to its ancestors

While taking a break from doing my homework, reading chapters from Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” ironically enough, my family finally watched Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Honestly? I wasn’t very impressed.

As the middle in the trilogy rebooting Spielberg’s classic Jurassic Park movies, Fallen Kingdom kicks off three years after the first Jurassic World. The park that was established in that film has been abandoned, and all of the freed dinosaurs are at risk when the island is set to explode in a cataclysmic volcanic event.

When Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) are brought back to help rescue a number of species for a philanthropic conservationist, they discover more sinister motivations under the surface and must take on both greedy human beings and powerful, ancient beasts.

While there’s a decent set-up here, it isn’t executed very well. At all.

I’ll be spoiling bits and pieces of this movie here, though not in too much detail (in my opinion). If that’s a concern of yours, here’s your warning.

Fallen Kingdom falls apart almost immediately with the introduction of some weak tertiary characters. In the time since Howard’s character left the theme park she once led, she became a dinosaur rights activist.

Which yes, is about as overt a metaphor as it sounds.

Two of her assistants, Franklin (Justice Smith) and Zia (Daniella Pineda), come along on the rescue mission. Their status as bigger players in the film are indicated with as cliché an introduction as it gets. They’re the only members of what looks to be a semi-large staff who have speaking roles, and those roles are mostly playing off of each other as bickering friends.

Then as they start to fly to the old park, their archetypes are immediately stated. Smith is a scaredy-cat technical nerd and Pineda is a dinosaur veterinarian (yeah) who takes no nonsense from anyone.

Neither changes over the course of the movie and only appear enough to help move the plot along, so they feel like one-note comic relief.

Perhaps that’s harsh, as they play their roles well. But they get a lot more screen time during the early part of the movie — which is kind of the worst part. So that might have colored my perception.

Pratt does a good job as a leading man, though his performance isn’t exactly inspired. Meanwhile, Howard’s character seems to take a complete 180 from her original role and seemed like a totally different character.

Granted, it has been a whole since I saw the first Jurassic World, so maybe I’m just not remembering her quite that well. But with that in mind, her performance seemed a bit jarringly out-of-character.

However the biggest problem with the film is the fact it’s hard to even begin suspending one’s disbelief while watching it.

For instance, at one point Pratt’s character is partially paralyzed and literally rolling out-of-the-way of a pool of magma slowly encroaching him.

The movie has next to no tension up until the finale because of things like this.

Things like this make other silly bits stand out in a bad way. At one point a character was watching footage of Pratt’s character training the main raptor from Jurassic World, Blue, while it was young.

The scene itself was obviously meant to help emphasize the larger moment, his character completing an arc from being willing to abandon the dinosaur at the start of the film to remembering how much he loves it, I was so generally disinterested that I couldn’t help but think about other strange details.

Like the fact that the footage was expertly edited together as of from a reality TV show with a confessional booth.

Instead of being engrossed in a story about dinosaurs walking the Earth again and nearly going extinct, I was too busy wondering who decided to edit together Pratt’s training footage so that someone could one day watch it as an exposition dump.

There are lots of little moments like this throughout the movie, where I was left wondering why certain things were happening.

Another issue with Fallen Kingdom is that it had a bit of a tone problem.

At one point, there are action-adventure scenes with characters escaping from an exploding volcano. Then there are times where the film seems almost unreasonably dark, with one character getting pretty graphically ripped apart on-screen. Then there were also moments of loss and other sad parts that seemed in-place only to push an environmental message.

Then there are scenes with characters evading one another that feel eerily like Looney Toons. Notably one with one character following closely behind another without noticing them.

It’s almost too silly for a movie that’s trying as hard as it is to be darker and edgier than the first. Because I’ll be blunt, the villain in Fallen Kingdom is kind of an unforgivable monster of a human being, almost cartoonishly so.

His plan is equally as cartoonishly evil, playing with themes of illegal animal trapping, trafficking and using genetics for unethical purposes.

Yet the filmmakers don’t seem to fully commit to the dark tone that otherwise could have made for a stellar overall package — even if it could scare away a certain sect of audience members.

While this review is mostly negative thus far, I will say the end of the movie is actually far better than the first two-thirds. Most of the darker stuff comes in here, and discounting a ridiculous twist in the last few minutes, everything is more engaging and tense.

On top of that, I would argue that the movie’s CGI and a lot of its cinematography is actually really well done.

There were no moments I can recall where seeing a dinosaur on-screen took me out of a moment because it looked fake. In fact, the Indoraptor creates to serve as a more environmental antagonist, is used really well in a number of scenes with lighting contrast.

Yet for as pretty and clearly well-made as the movie is, the tonal issues and a general inability to suspend my disbelief unfortunately took me out of most scenes.

Fallen Kingdom is a hard movie to place.

I wouldn’t say it’s a kid’s film because a lot of it is dark and violent.

Yet it doesn’t fully commit to that dark tone until the very end, which makes it hard to recommend as a serious take on the Jurassic Park formula — probably the darkest since the original.

It’s a confused film that seems to be trying harder to push some kind of deeper message about either scientific caution or the importance of family than it is being a fun dinosaur flick. A lot of it is actually kind of unpleasant.

But it is a pretty film, and fits into an overall story we’ve been following for a long time now. So I suppose if those kinds of things catch your interest, you can watch it on those merits.

Otherwise, it might not be worth the time. I certainly don’t think I’d go back and rewatch it anytime soon.

Also, don’t be fooled by its advertising. Jeff Goldblum barely has a role in the movie.

And that just might be its most vital flaw.

Sharknado 6 Ruined Me

Sharknado 6 Ruined Me

Today was a day where I felt pretty good about myself.

In the wake of a hangout that went past 1:00 a.m., I still got up and did some work editing for Boom. Then I went to the gym and got a nice hour’s worth of a workout before making myself a pretty sweet looking sandwich for lunch.

Good stuff all things considered.

But then. We decided to watch the sixth Sharknado movie that premiered earlier.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be the same after that. I might just be more broken by existential dread than I can truly convey through text. In spite of that concern, I shall try my best.

For those of you who are not aware of this bizarre little corner of pop culture history — Though I can’t imagine there are many people out there who haven’t heard of it considering the almost unexplainable popularity of the series — Sharknado was a movie released by the Syfy network in 2013 starring Ian Ziering and Tara Reid.

The best way I can think to describe the film is that it was one in a long line of shark-themed, low-budget disaster parody films put out by the network. Other classic examples included Ghost Shark and Sharktopus.

These are all super real. And surprisingly popular as Z-grade dumb parody fun for those of us who enjoy cheesy science fiction schlock.

But… Sharknado was different. Sharknado, by some combination of washed-up actors, a ridiculous premise and laughably horrible CGI, became a phenomenon. A phenomenon big enough to spawn five sequels.

Because my family happens to be a fan of dumb, awful movies like this, we’ve watched every single one over the last five or so years. I’m not going to say I’m proud of that, but it’s a thing we do. It’s dumb fun.

Admittedly, I don’t remember any significant detail past the third movie. Because they got increasingly ridiculous, complex and overblown with each entry. Dare I say… They jumped the shark.

The creators probably intended for that exact cliché to show up when discussing their work.

The first Sharknado was a somewhat contained story, where the hero Fin (fish joke ha ha) has to rescue his family after a Sharknado touches down in Santa Monica and starts to destroy the surrounding Los Angeles area.

The second was basically the same story but in New York. Cue hopping around on taxi cabs and other such predictable New York jokes, plus a half a billion cameos from famous people hoping to jump on the meme.

The third was more of a world-wide scale, saving the president of the U.S. and dealing with Universal Studios Florida and… Going into space I think?

Unless that was the fourth movie, which of course made a Force Awakens joke in the title. But like I said I don’t remember any of that movie, or the fifth one. Something happened in Niagara Falls, and there were robot clones and uhh… Yeah.

Then of course we come to the newest, presumably final entry in the series. Sharknado 6: The Last One.

The last one until someone decides we can bring the series back with a rebooted cast and do it all again, I guess.

Sharknado 6 took things above and beyond where we had already been by figuring if we’ve destroyed the entire planet with Sharknados, we might as well do the same thing throughout history. That’s right, it’s a time travel story. With everyone hoping to stop Sharknados in the past so they can save the future.

It’s about as contrived and derivative as it sounds, and it’s meant to be. Hell, the amount of times they reference Back to the Future is astounding.

The characters literally travel using a flux capacitor, which in at least one situation requires them to use a train to travel at 88 miles per hour.

Even though I’m 100 percent sure the conflict of BttF 3 was needing to speed up a steam train because it didn’t go fast enough, I’ll let it slide.

Most of the jokes you’d expect to appear to appear based on the periods of time they go through in the movie. First it’s pre-history, then the American Revolution, the Old West, the 1950s and eventually culminating in the early 2010s where they stop the Sharknado that started the whole mess in the first place.

Of course there’s all sorts of underlying plot with the main characters struggling to move beyond their past experiences and not use time travel to try to alter history (even though the whole plot is literally about altering history?). But that doesn’t really matter. The series has basically retconned everything at least four times so far, and characters constantly come back from the dead. The film even ends with everyone back at the beginning of the first movie but different, a circumstance where everyone is happy and alive and life is perfect for all.

If anything I’d argue it’s mostly a forgettable, lackluster romp compared to those early entries with just a sense that everything is going through the motions needed to finally end it all.

But there were at least two scenes that made me truly question my existence. So I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if you’re interested in Sharknado 6 and don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read on.

The first is during a stop in ancient Europe, the 1400s or so. Whenever King Arthur lore happened because of course that’s the chief influence they’re using.

This scene of the movie has arguably the most recognizable modern-day cameos in it.

Neil deGrasse Tyson shows up playing the wizard Merlin. Which a first probably seems as strange to you as it did to me, why would you cast one of the most recognizable science communicators of all time to play one of the most famous magic-users of history?

Because time travel joke. That’s the whole reason. Merlin knows some things about time travel.

But that’s not all, folks. The drag queen Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 (also actual name, I’m not screwing with you I swear) plays an evil queen that fights with swords and shoots fireballs.

They have a moment of talking with one another in the film.

So we are in a universe where a drag queen named Thunderfuck and Neil deGrasse fucking Tyson are acting against one another in a movie about time travel being used to stop the world from ending because of tornados full of sharks.

Hallelujah, we truly are in the darkest timeline.

There’s also a scene toward the end of the movie where everyone goes to the year 20013 — because obviously someone accidentally added an extra 0 onto the flux capacitor.

That future, for being in an age where Earth would most definitely be dead and gone, looks okay. Everything’s just vaguely dilapidated.

But then. Tara Reid shows up.

Which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for context she had died during a stop in the year 1997.

As it turns out, and bear with me on this one, the robotic clone of Tara Reid — who played a significant role in the fifth movie and then just became a severed head MacGuffin in the sixth movie who blew up Sharknados with laser eyes — survived past all other human beings and created an army of robot Tara Reids and robot sharks to ensure that she could live forever.

So the third act of the movie becomes Fin having to set the timeline right by completely fucking it up in order to stop evil robot queen Tara Reid from ending humanity so she could rule forever.

In an otherwise lackluster movie, these two moments blew my god damn mind. They’re such things that I never needed to see that I don’t think I’ll ever be the same.

If you think I’m getting to some point with this whole post, I’m not.

I just wanted to share these things with you so that you don’t have to go shatter your concept of reality by watching Sharknado 6.

It’s not worth it guys.

Actually it’s very worth it It’s definitely not worth it.

Save yourself.

Be free from the Sharknado.

That’s my public service announcement for the day.