Monday, September 26, 2016

13 Hours (Action 2016)

Not too bad of a movie. It was reminiscent of American Sniper meets Blackhawk Down. Story, acting, and firefights were all pretty good and believable; well worth a rental. If you've seen any current period war movies then you already know what to look forward to. I think it was only in the theaters for a few weeks, but it probably should've been there for a bit longer. It's always a toss up with films that get pulled too early; they usually suck too bad or they need to make room for a more mainstream film, but I'd say that this one was on par with the rest of them.
Rating - B

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Out With the Volvo

So after a little under a year of ownership, I decided to move on from my 2015 S60 and this brand. The car was fine, but there were small issues that kept on adding up. The car never left me stranded, but everyone has their tipping point. Here are all the takeaways:

Pros
  • Real leather and super comfy seats. I've sat in other luxury cars and I do have to say that the Volvo seats were pretty darn good in comparison with more expensive vehicles.
  • Fairly decent MPG for the amount of HP the car had. 26 MPGish with close to 280 HP
  • Pretty quiet ride on all types of roads, especially highway
  • Acceleration with the turbo was excellent. This car was never slow and I rarely ever felt it change gears.
Cons
  • No dipstick. It had an electronic dipstick that could only be accessed if you went into a secret mode with the key fob and push-button start. On top of this, it wasn't accurate and would not give actual readings, only binary reports (OK, Overfilled, Under)
  • The headlights were quick detachable, but the battery was totally under 2 plastic covers and a strut bar, WTF. Who replaces headlights that often? The design of the headlights was good, but with the battery being so difficult to get at, it goes to show the twisted mentality of the design team
  • Uses crazy torx screws instead of a phillips or regular sockets
  • The steering wheel controls were reversed. Usually the audio controls of most cars will be on the left-hand side but on the Volvo it was on the right. Still confused me 'till the last day.
  • Doesn't have a quick detach design for the engine or cabin air filter
  • The brakes were mushy and the pedal always went down as if the master brake cylinder was losing pressure. Additionally the braking distance sucked and it felt like there was way too much weight that needed to be stopped
  • The auto-start/stop for the newly-designed Drive-E engine was totally annoying and rarely ever engaged when I wanted it to. It caused more problems than anything and I usually just turned it off when I got into the car. In hot weather it was non-functional, so good for me but kinda crappy of a design
  • The windshield washers didn't spray in a fan pattern, it only shot 3 straight streams of fluid. Very old school and not very useful in cleaning
  • There was no spare tire (call me old fashioned)
  • There was next to no real storage if both cup holders were being used
  • The rubber fins for the cup holders broke off too easily. 70% of mine were busted off
  • The USB MP3 slot would not read any songs that were purchased off of Google Play, only ripped MP3s or Amazon Music
  • And the biggest problem that annoyed me to death was that after a mandatory software upgrade, my infotainment system would randomly stop working. You would be listening to music and then all of a sudden it would just stop. Nothing would work, no steering wheel controls or directly on the console. Power-cycing the system or the car itself would not help either. You would have to wait until the car decided that it wanted to work. To make matters worse, when this would happen, the backup parking sensors and the blind spot monitoring system would also cease to function because I think they are all part of the same circuit or system. I could've brought it into the dealership for warranty work if it was actively happening, but you know how dealerships are with any intermittent issues; if they don't see it, it didn't happen
So yeah all in all I just wasn't happy with the car anymore. I felt like I was driving a quickly depreciating vehicle and that it would be better to change over to something else while it still retained some value. Even though I didn't have a garage to work on the car, it was annoying to know that so many things I wouldn't be able to touch or tinker with because of the design of the automobile. I guess some brands are just like that, but older Volvos you could mess with. Since I'm still waiting for the release and subsequent reviews of either the Toyota C-HR or Honda Civic 5-Door Hatchback, or for a house purchase so I can get a Nissan Leaf, I decided to get a sporty, impractical car temporarily. You only live once, right?

Sunday, July 31, 2016

DMV Kiosk

So I never tried one of these kiosk machines until the DMV "lost" my registration information last year after I moved to Vegas. I totally blame this city since everything goes wrong over here but yeah. Last time I got my smog test, went online and paid for my registration, then proceeded to wait many-a-weeks for a tag that never came. I complained online and also had to print out some weird extension while another tad supposedly was ordered a second time, but to no avail. After the 3rd attempt and another email, the tag finally arrived. The whole time USPS and the DMV were pointing fingers at each other and both entities were also blaming me for changing addresses.

So this time around I thought I would try out one of these kiosk machines to see what would happen. Surprisingly enough it worked perfectly. I went and got my smog test done, then went to this machine, put in a credit card, got charged $3 extra to use the machine, and bam!, it spit out my registration form and colored decal for the back license plate. This is much better than paying $12 for 2 resubmittals and only receiving 1 copy.

I will point out that I had to go to 2 Albertsons to find a working kiosk and also if you already submitted for a registration renewal online, you can perform a resubmittal using this kiosk. This box has to be the first and only attempt in order for it to work. I totally tried this last year when my registration was lost in space.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Jason Bourne (Action 2016)

After you've seen one of these films, you've pretty much seen them all. There was nothing really new about this one: lots of action, good use of tech, fast-paced plot, and more action.

It seems like forever since the first film came out. Matt Damon sure has aged since then, and Tommy Lee Jones looks like a rug, relatively speaking. They, of course, left the ending wide open for another movie but seriously...why? Even though this type of entertainment is fun and exciting, it really is just the same old stuff. Not a lot of originality anywhere anymore.

This version of cinema led to a fun afternoon, but it was 100% forgettable as well. I will remember nothing of this film come 4 days. It's a rent.
Rating - C

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Tiger's Fate (Chronicles of An Imperial Legionary Officer Book 3) By Marc Alan Edelheit (Book 2016)

Yeah I don't do book reviews as much these days since it usually takes a bunch of time and the payoff doesn't seem to be all that rewarding anymore. Movies are different because they are few and far between, but I can clear a book pretty quickly these days.

This book I'll make an exception for because I'm continuing on with the series from this author. It's a great story with a mix of Roman-like armies, fantasy races, and fantasy-like adventures. It's the 3rd book in the series and it's just as good as the first I read. Luckily there will be another one after this and maybe the series will keep on going for a few more.

The author is one of the good ones who can write in a manner where you don't even realize that you're burning through pages at an accelerated pace. He takes time building everything up, so that results in very good characters, action, and story. It has been an enjoyable 3 days.
Rating - High

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Trainwreck (Comedy 2015)

See, Amy Schumer is an OK funny comedian, but I don't think she should go into acting. I say that, but of course for years all celebrities have tried to milk it by testing out everything under the sun. I'm sure they're just trying to maximize their cash before their careers end but yeah it's annoying to see it happen.

This film made me chuckle a few times only, but overall it wasn't really that funny. She and co-star Bill Hader have zero chemistry whatsoever. He himself is not funny period; so it was a horrible casting selection.

The humor and jokes were blah and a bit on the slutty side, but we've all seen it before. It's a forgettable film that was mediocre at best.
Rating - C

Pan (Fantasy Adventure 2015)

So this movie was kinda bad. I only watched it since it was free and I was working out at the time, but yeah, I think it would've been better to re-watch some action film instead of this.

I was interested see if it would show how Captain Hook turned bad, but spoiler...they don't. They totally just left that answer open to a sequel which, for their sakes, I hope they don't.

I still think Hook was better even though that movie was super old. This one seemed to want to be grandiose, but it didn't have any real content to back it up. Even for a kids movie it was pretty lame.
Rating - D