Thursday, July 31, 2014

Beach Chalet, Zoo & E66

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
A few months ago, a long anticipated comedy sequel came out in theatres… and a few people I know went… and a few podcasters whose opinions I regard highly went… all reviewed… and all said that “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” starring comedy legends like Will Ferrell, Steve Carell & Paul Rudd SUCKED!!! Absolutely sucked!!! Like, no redeeming qualities whatsoever… so I didn’t go see it… until it came out on DVD through Netflix... and then I watched it. The story picks up a few years after the original when legendary news anchor Ron Burgundy (Ferrell) & his wife Veronica (Christina Applegate) co-anchor the San Diego news in the early 80’s… until one day, their boss (Harrison Ford in a badass cameo, which there’ll be a LOT of in this movie) hired Veronica to be the national anchor for the network. Enter conflict as Ron is subsequently fired because… well, he’s kind of an idiot. With his family now in ruins (again, due to being an idiot), he gets the opportunity to be a part of the world’s first 24 hour news network… and for this, he has to get “the band back together” with his former cohorts from the local news. Anyway, the story goes from there… and frankly, the worst parts of this movie… was what was in all of the previews. For example, the highly predictable “cruise control” joke & slow-mo-roll… him pulling an Austin Powers and just saying “black” repeatedly when he’s introduced to his black female boss… and later when he’s idiotically& insensitively racist at his boss’/lover’s home having dinner with her family. Now… my question at that situation was… why the f**k would he even be there? Seriously? You’re bangin’ your boss, it’s never really mentioned whether he’s even divorced, and she’s supposed to be an intelligent woman, right? Why would you invite even the character of Ron Burgundy to meet your family if you’re just f**king him? Anyway, aside from those three parts which was in all of the billing & marketing… the rest of the movie was actually pretty hilarious with it’s quick one-liners, star-studded cameos & general nonsense. Yeah, a few jokes go on just a beat too long, but overall, not NEARLY as bad as everybody made it out to be. Heck, I’d watch it again if somebody else wanted to see it. Go check it out.


Monday night, I finally watched the Marvel superhero sequel “Thor: Dark World” starring Chris Hemsworth, Sir Anthony Hopkins & Natalie Portman among others. I’m pretty sure that I mentioned after watching the first “Thor” movie that it was basically ok, but my least favorite of the newer Marvel superhero movies (excluding whiny ass Spiderman but that’s Sony) and seemed to be the one that was… a little out of the whole scientifically based realm that they were trying to set up originally. Considering the source material though, good job with the first one. Everybody told me that the 2nd one was better though… so I watched it. In this movie, Thor (Hemsworth) is battling to bring peace to the Nine Realms (planets I think?) & his love interest from the first one Jane Forster (Portman) is back on Earth… doing science stuff with annoying ass comic relief that apparently knows nothing of her work. “It’s plot exposition, it has to go somewhere.” Anyway, while looking for a way to find Thor again, she accidentally stumbles onto an evil dark force called the Aether that was looked away 5000 years earlier by Thor’s grandpa (I mean, who hasn’t don’t that?) The force possesses her a little bit (never really explained why it goes into her but doesn’t control her or anything despite being an all-powerful force), wakes up some “dark elves” on the other side of the galaxy that have been resting for 5000 years (and have actual badass weaponry while Thor’s forces still have swords, axes & hammers?) and now they’re after her to get this dark force so that they can put the entire universe in absolutely darkness because that’s what they want. Got it? Okay… oh, and remember Loki? He’s in Asgard prison (Asgard is Thor’s home world, but it does kind of sound like a minimal security prison where butt rape is frowned upon) but he’ll of course come into play later… because he has some charisma. Now, I’m going to start by saying… this movie was pretty good. I enjoyed it. The story was… okay considering. It kept me interested. It really helped that I had no idea what was going on half the time with comments like “Why the hell are they doing that? It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I’m intrigued about their lack of reasoning and/or how this will work out.” Action scenes were pretty cool if not a little inconsistent at times (you know, the whole “Superman exerting himself” type stuff when some superhuman things are incredibly easy while others are apparently really hard though they’re basically the same thing). The whole movie though… I REALLY felt like I was watching “Episode II” of Star Wars… with a dash of the first “Star Trek” reboot. The Dark Elves… looked almost exactly like the legions of Eric Bana from that movie (old Romulans?) and they had cloaking capabilities on their airships like the Klingons. As for Episode II, Asgard looks eerily similar to Naboo, Natalie Portman is the damsel in distress, the airships sound EXACTLY like the pod racers & tie fighters from the newer trilogy and… let’s face it, Chris Hemsworth as Thor is basically a larger version of Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker… from a character perspective. They don’t really have charisma in their character like other films they’ve been in…  they’re almost inexplicably smitten with Natalie Portman’s character despite, especially in this one, aside from her obvious good looks… I mean, there’s really no reason, right? The decisions that they make are… INCREDIBLY STUPID at almost every possible juncture. Oh, and they’re both total badasses when it comes to battle. As you can see, even the poster is kinda reminiscent of the Star Wars posters... Anyway, just a lot of similarities with other films that I’ve seen… but yeah, check it out. The movie was pretty good once the action got going about 40 minutes in.

I also watched yet another sports documentary from the ESPN 30 for 30 series called “Catching Hell” which was about scapegoating in sports, specifically baseball & the incidences involving famed & infamous Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner & unluckily persecuted Cubs fan Steve Bartman. The documentary essentially shines a light on the horrific situation that followed their respective events involving everything from violence, media stalking, fan interactions, death threats & all that crazy sh*t… and then asks the question, “WHY? How are these guys responsible or worthy of such distaste & criticism?” Now, maybe because I’m not a psychotically obsessed baseball fan (I stick to basketball & football) then I didn’t understand a lot of the ridiculous superstition behind a lot of it… but I basically summed it up as a mixture of drunken idiocy in large crowds… and the media’s insensitivity towards the topic… but I would highly recommend that any sports fan check out this documentary… and maybe think twice before you condemn somebody for a simple mistake that… really wasn’t that big of a deal in the first place. I enjoyed it… and I hope that Steve Bartman is okay wherever he is… because he has one of the coolest names ever… and if I were him in the witness protection program, I’d just drop the “r” in the last name & be EVEN cooler somehow.
Wednesday morning, Izzy & I helped out with another brew (their Kolsch this time) at Elevation 66 Brewing in El Cerrito with Super Dave, Big Ben & Black Jack. Yup, a full staff of five… so it went pretty swimmingly actually since they typically have maybe two or three on-hand. It has been a few months since I’ve been able to help out thanks to my day job… but it was a lot of fun to get back into it & chat with the fellas while waiting for water to boil. Also, this was my first time staying for the entire process… because I had taken the day off from the day job… and frankly, I didn’t miss a whole lot with ducking out a little early… but it was still interesting to see the whole process including the transferring to the large fermenters & the yeast additions. The whole process really intrigues me… and maybe that’s what I have so much fun doing the homebrewing & big league brewing, it’s all just a difference in scale & efficiency but basically the same process. Also, having someone like Izzy to help out, keep me interested & of course just be amazing doesn’t hurt either.
After brewing & a few errands, we then headed to the San Francisco Zoo. Remember when I gave Izzy the present of a year membership? Well, she’s gone consistently and I’ve gone I think twice this year… but they now had Red Pandas & Wolverines on display… and it had been a while… and it was basically a perfect kind of overcast day for it… so yeah, we checked out the zoo… here are some pictures… from my fancy camera…

After the zoo, we visited Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant along Ocean Beach, as he had heard about them at the Hops & History event last week… and the beer they provided to the event was decent. Their restaurant overlooks the ocean in a historic building from the heyday of that area as a veritable high class hangout for San Francisco’s elite (think when the Sutro Bath area was peaking in the roaring 20’s) and they had eight different craft brews on tap… and they were okay, not great, but decent. I really like their Riptide Red & their Oyster Stout was unique… but the others seemed pretty standard to my now-obvious-beer-snob taste buds. The food was fantastic too. A little overpriced… but still really good. Definitely a great place to impress a lovely lady though… I definitely recommend it for that. Not too pretentious or anything.
Well, that’ll take care of this entry. More fun stuff coming this weekend though… including bottling our California Common, starting our 2nd edition of the award-winning Honey Amber recipe, a release party for our SF Homebrewers Guild Collaboration with FreeWheel Brewing, and much more!!! Have a great weekend everybody!!!

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