Jurassic World, a review…

I finally got to see Jurassic World!… last Monday. I had some spare time after my plane landed so I figured it was a good way to spend the afternoon, rather than doing anything productive like buying groceries. I’ll try to keep this post as spoiler free as possible, but since this is a Jurassic Park movie, things are pretty predictable anyways.

I hadn’t write about it yet mostly because I wasn’t sure what to make out of it. The special effects are amazing as always, the story is passable but doesn’t completely break suspension of disbelief and the characters are likable. They also used some animatronic dinosaurs in a couple scenes which is pretty nice. Not much else came to mind, so I took the week to think about it some more.

There are also several aspect from the previous three movies that are reflected in Jurassic world. Obviously, the main plot of the original movie, dinosaurs getting loose and wrecking havoc, makes the back bone of this movie plot. There is a short scene where a T-rex is fed a goat like in the first film as well and there is also a scene where a T-rex is baited/guided by a flair. The Mister DNA cartoon character makes a brief cameo and they ripped one of the Dilophosaurus straight out of the scene where the fat guy gets killed for a brief cameo as well.

The second movie dealt more with the Greedy Ingen corporation, the parent company of the Jurassic Park, trying to salvage the park’s dinosaurs for profit and again in this movie, Ingen tries to intervene to protect its investment by bringing armed mercenaries. At some point in Jurassic World, we discover what happened to the original structures of the first park, as it lays in ruins in the jungle, similar to the research facilities they find on Site B in the third Jurassic Park movie.

They are couple things they missed out on though. One thing that was recurring in the previous films was climatic sequences under heavy downpour. The first movie had the big reveal of the T-rex and it was raining. In the second movie, there is that scene where Jeff Goldblum’s trailer/science RV thing gets attacked by a couple of T-rex and it’s raining. The third movie had a scene where the heroes are attacked by the Spinosaurus while riding on a boat, and it was raining! In this movie? No rain scene… How disappointing. There is no reference to the water cup scene from the first movie either, which is strange because that was also reuse in both previous sequel, if I remember correctly.

The one of the things that really bugs me about this movie is that it doesn’t quite feel like the others Jurassic Park movies. A big theme in the first and third one was “man vs nature”, and the movie centered around the survival of the human character versus dinosaurs. The primary objective was to survive and leave the island. The second movie had some of that in the first half of the movie, while they are still on the island but shifts away in the second part when the T-rex gets loose in San Diego.

In Jurassic world however, the plot plays out more like a monster movie. It’s not about surviving and leave the park alive anymore, it’s about stoping the mutant dinosaur thing from killing everyone. This shift in theme and focus makes the movie feel very different. In the previous one, danger could be just around the corner, in this one, you feel safe unless the big bad dinosaur is close. It feels claustrophobic when the “Indominus Rex” is around but controlled and safe when it isn’t. It’s not about nature vs men but more of a predator vs prey sort of situation. It is pretty obvious that the script was rewritten a couple times as there are some plot elements that don’t feel like they really fit with the rest of the movie. It feels darker and more serious than the previous movies.

Overall, it is a decent action adventure movie and a good addition to the series of Jurassic park films. It did set it self up for potential sequels quite nicely and considering the amount of money they made during opening weekend, it almost a guaranty that we will see more dinosaur in the near future.

June Loot Crate “Cyber”!

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Look what I found when I got back from New York! Why yes, it is another mystery box from Loot Crate! This month’s theme was “Cyber”, which sound pretty swell if you ask me. I am also using my camera this time rather than my phone, so hopefully the images are better.

Alright let see what we have this around!

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First off we have this nice Tyrell corp badge, logo thingy from Blade Runner. Now that’s a movie I need to see at some point.

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Next we have this Terminator theme key ring. It’s the brain cpu chip thing the second movie. Pretty nice, a bit heavy.

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Next is the T-shirt! This time it’s a Tron inspired Transformers t-shirt! Pretty cool!

DSC00068And back to some terminator stuff, a miniature t-800 terminator skull. It’s made of a rubbery material, so it not all that heavy. It might even be lighter than the key chain…

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To be or not to be, that is the question…

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Hey look! A Borderlands mouse pad! heck yeah! Now that something that has both form and function!

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The Loot crate magazine, as usual.

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Now we get to the less exciting stuff. This is a circuit board pouch. It feels cheap, it looks cheap, it is cheap. Supposedly it glows in the dark… meh…

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And then we this:

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These are supposed to be Cylon practice target for the shooting range. They are decent posters but why two identical ones? They don’t actually expect you to shoot them, are they?

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Next we have some stickers from something called Nerdhq. Not sure what that is but the stickers aren’t that bad bad.

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Oooohh, a membership card! That’s pretty swell! But why wait until the third box? why not just put it in the first one you receive? What ever….

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And finally, the pin. Funny story, I have the two previous pins attached to my backpack, along with the Harry Potter bag tag, and went through TSA security without problem when I went to New York this past weekend. Can’t bring a nail clipper but pins with pointy ends, no problem…

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Overall, probably the best crate out of the three I have received so far. The T-shirts are consistently awesome but some of the other stuff do vary in quality. I think I’ll keep my subscription for another round of boxes!

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New York Trip!! Hell’s kitchen, Jurassic World, Queens 10K…

New York, New York, It’s a helluva town! There is nothing like breaking the work routine than by walking 10 miles a day and eating food from all over the world! Manhattan is a nice place to walk around if you can keep a general sense of where North is.

Now if you have seen the Netflix hit-show Daredevil, you might think that Hell’s kitchen (the neighborhood where daredevil is supposedly operating in) is collection of old, dilapidated warehouses and old apartment blocks. Something that would look like a bit like this:

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But that is not at all what actual hell’s kitchen is like. It is quite the opposite. While it might have been true when Daredevil was first written but as you can see, things have changed quite a bit:

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One thing that really struck in the show is the lack of trees and vegetation. All the street and avenues have trees lining them on both sides and the show had none. Also there are no back alley with those fire escape stairs or dumpster bins that Daredevil keeps finding himself in. Most of the buildings have also been nicely renovated and I can only assume go for quite a bit of money. There are several tall apartment complex that have opened recently that are helping with the rampant gentrification of the neighborhood.

Now on a more technical point. How does daredevil go around? “Why, running on rooftop of course!” you might say. But there is a bit of a problem that this picture should highlight:

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Still not sure? Well, ask yourself this: since Daredevil does not have super strength or flight, how does he go from one block to the next? Surely, no man can jump this gap between buildings without any sort of help. So if Daredevil were to climb on top the buildings, he would be stuck on that block. But then again, I don’t really expect Hollywood to have any grasp on Physics… Now during the last episode, you can see schematics for some kind of device which could very well be a grappling hook, But by then he had been punching bad guys for months at that point! I also doubt he would just run down the streets in his costume.

Talking about Hollywood, what about “Jurassic World”? Well…. I still haven’t seen it yet. Would you believe that there are a lot of people in New York who wanted to see the movie? I guess I am used to have empty theaters in Nebraska. Well, I guess there is always next week…

What else did do? Let me see… Ah yes, I went and ran the Queens 10K this morning! That was quite fun. I some how managed to get sun burnt even thought it was cloudy the whole time. I ran it in 1:28 which is not bad considering it was my first one. They gave us this nice medal too for finishing, there is also a space on the back where you can engrave your name and time.

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That about wraps it up. Not exactly looking forward going back to Nebraska after having so much fun here, but all good things must come to an end…

Now I wait until the New York Comic Con in October… Now that will awesome!

What a slow week…

Yes, once in a while, absolutely nothing of interest happens. It was really warm, and then it rained… This coming week will be full of excitement however so I guess things balance themselves.

This week is the second attempt at the Disaster Recovery exercise! Huzzah! I have the same 3 to midnight shift that I signed up for last time, but hopefully I will get to actually do something this time around. Pressure is pretty high since apparently some of our client threatened us to leave if we can’t do it properly. Good times!

Also I going back to New York City on Thursday to see the family, run a 10k and other equally thrilling things. Exciting! And since my parents actually live in Hell’s Kitchen, I’ll probably post some photo to show that the Daredevil show on Netflix has no idea what actual New York looks like.

Now, being an avid movie goer, I would probably review Jurassic World right about now, since that was the big release this week. The thing is I haven’t seen it yet. I’ll been seeing next week, while I’m in the city. I do not really have high expectations considering that the two sequels they already made weren’t as good as the original. The third movie had some potential with the setting but I think that the characters could have been better written. The second film was just pure rubbish. But let’s be honest, Jurassic park movies are all about dinosaurs. And dinosaurs are the best.

I case you missed it, we are upgrading our Cobol systems at the office to a newer version and as you could expect, things are not going well. While we haven’t had any major issues, every other teams have. Most importantly everything has been pushed back to the end of the year and try to wrap up by early 2016. The thing is, we made too much progress and our team has to put those project on the back burner. This is annoying since that was one of the only things that were assigned to me. Now, I am at the mercy of randomly assigned bug reports.

Hmmm… what else…

Oh, Facebook decided that their comment system needed to be more like Reddit’s. Rather than having a single linear threads, you can now reply to specific comment and create sub threads. Since Facebook already stole hashtags from twitter, all it needs to do is to take the re-blog function from Tumblr and the cycle would be complete…

Random ramblings, Volume… something something….

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I have noticed something strange about the office’s internet proxy/firewall. Like any place of work, the internet has restriction to prevent you from accidentally getting distracted and stop being productive. However, it seems pretty inconsistent at best.

While most social media (like Facebook and Twitter) are blocked but sites like Reddit, Imgur, Giphy and Youtube are fully accessible. Some news website that have live streaming feature get disabled by the proxy, and some don’t. Anything remotely related to Video games, even some wikipedia pages, is unaccessible but Twitch.tv, the biggest streaming website for video games, is not blocked. Some website won’t load images for no apparent reason.

I’m not sure how it supposed to work, be it web domain based or scanning pages for specific terms, but I am pretty sure it is not working the way it should…

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Talking about the office, something kinda annoying happened. I was working on this small project with another member of my team. The project was low key and only required minor changes so only he and I was working on it. All the changes were coded and regression tests went smoothly, I had the quality inspection meeting with him and he was happy with the work I had done. The only thing left to do was for him to sign-off on the QI form and the project would have been a slam dunk. Except he left the company, or possibly got fired (no official announcement was made by my manager, so I’m leaning toward the latter), before he signed off on the thing.

I now had to find a new analyst, explain to them my problem, go through the whole inspections again, miss the deadlines by like a week, just because that guy forgot to click a check box on a form. What a mess…

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So time ago, back when I was in college, I took this Computer Science class called “generative art”. Basically, it was a class about writing scripts that generated image and animation procedurally. We did this using a tool called Processing, which is basically Java/Javascript with a bunch of additional libraries for drawing stuff. I was a really cool concept because It allowed you to be creative and still have the logic and problem solving aspect of programing. There was always a lot of satisfaction when your code did what you want it to do, and some nice surprises when it did something you didn’t expect.

Anyways, the other day I got really bored and I started remember the good times I had in College… Ahhh, the ability to engage so many people about so many topic… Living with housemates that all had similar interests… having the ability to walk to different parts of campus and work where ever I wanted… Playing with liquid nitrogen in that one thermo-dynamics class… And that one computer science class on Generative art.

It got me thinking about what could be a fun project to do with processing, and then I had an idea… and immediately regretted it….

You see, when I get bored for too long, my imagination/problem solving skill are ready to spring into action and won’t stop until the thought is thoroughly explored. Which meant that when I realized I could probably easily do the falling code from The Matrix at like 10:30pm on Monday night, my brain went in full overdrive and I had a hard falling asleep, let alone standing still…

Anyways, I put a couple hours into it and made something quite satisfactory. It is nowhere near movie accurate but it feels close enough. I tried embedding the thing in the post but it doesn’t seem to work, but you can check it out here. Maybe I’ll come up with more fun stuff to make I’ll post more stuff.

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My air conditioning problems…

About maybe two weeks ago, the air conditioner in my apartment decided to stop working. The thermostat would still work properly, but instead of refreshing cool air coming out of the system, I just got warm air. Now since I live in an apartment complex I figured that this problem wasn’t unique to my apartment and that someone else might have complained already or would complain before I got the chance. So I got lazy…

After a few days of warm evenings and lots of ice cold glass of sparkling water, I decided to talk to the leasing office, but they forgot to actually put in a work order (KKKKHHHHHAAAAAANNNNNNNNN!!!!!!). I did go back a second time when I realized that they were probably taking too much time.

Now, it seemed for a while that maybe each apartment had its own autonomous system. After all, if it bothered me not to have the air condition working, other people would also be bothered, right? Well, the guy came in today to take a look and found the problem: there was a leak in the main coolant line down in the garage, and the system essentially dried itself up. No coolant flowing, no fresh air.

But, if there was a leak in the main line, then I was not the only affected, yet I was the only one that complained…