The original Monsters Inc. ranks in the top 3 of Pixar movies so i was pretty excited last year when i saw preview images of MU, Monsters University. Now a days if things are on the internet are for reals or just some fan fiction or a real prequel. The movie did not disappoint even though i began to hear rumblings that it wasn’t going to be a good movie. It was definitely better than Cars 2, with a plot that didn’t feel stretched out just to make the movie to be longer.
So what worked?
I liked seeing Mike and Sully back again, especially as nemesis. It was also interesting to see how they worked Randall into the story to flow into Monsters Inc. I was interested in seeing how they would move him from being a nerdy kid into the evil genius that he eventually becomes.
The movie’s main plot is a basic underdog type of movie, with a bunch of lovable yet uniquely skilled cast of misfits. I liked though at the end it wasn’t a revenge of the nerds type ending where they overcome the big bad frats and become champions per se.
So what didn’t work?
I wish they did make more of a point of them being in college because it was only really shown through fast paced transition scenes. I know they wanted to keep the flow of the movie to the plot but for once i wish there were a few more side scenes to mimic college life.
That was really just about it, with a run time of 1 hr. 35 min. it was one of the shorter movies we’ve seen this summer (my bladder appreciated it) and it was a good movie for the entire time where i didn’t feel like i needed to slap my forehead in frustration.
The Summer Solstice marks the beginning of summer and also is the longest day of the year. It normally falls on the 21st of June, but on Thursday June 20, Joy and i went for a walk in Santa Monica after dinner. I thought i always miss summer solstice but the second longest day of the year would suffice.
Its been over 4 years since we last lived in Santa Monica, and so this time around it felt new again. We skipped 3rd Street Promenade and headed down to the pier instead. While passing Pacific Park i remembered that i had an expired Groupon that head credit for $10 each so i thought it was a good time to try to redeem it for a ride on the ferris wheel. I now realize that most workers don’t know how to use just the credit and just give the full value of the Groupon instead since its easier. So we got our full day wrist bans but with only an hour on the meter and the fact Joy is preggo we couldn’t do anything more than the Ferris Wheel.
After the pier Joy and I drove to Scoops Westside for some dessert for some Brown Brown Bread, and Balsamic Fig ice cream.
This day also marked Instagram’s entry into the video world to take on Twitter’s Vine app. I tried my hand on it, and thought it was cool, but in the wrong hands is going to be horrible to deal with. Click the image above or here to view the video.
I was really hoping to get the kitchen project started before Memorial Day, but I had to get the designs approved by the HOA beforehand, and that took another week. Once it did we were off to the races starting with the teardown of the existing cabinets and haul away of the appliances.
Our contractor made quick work of the cabinets and this mexican couple were really fast to take away all the debris and appliances for $275. I called around to official junk haul aways and it was going to cost almost double that so i was happy to give it to them. They did a good job of sweeping up afterwards too which was nice.
The biggest delays we had was having to shut off the water to the building so that we could move some pipes around since we were installing a dishwasher that didn’t exist before. We had to give the building a 48 hour notice and then couldn’t get anyone to come out until the next week, so that delayed the process a little.
The other delay was trying to get our countertop guys to come out to measure our space, but it all started to come together when they finished up and brought the countertops the same day that the appliances got delivered. We picked the perfect sized fridge since we have a tight corner that everything has to be squeezed through. At this point i had a work thing to go to in Vegas so Joy and my parents had to take care of the rest of the work review.
I was pretty happy to get home from Vegas last week because i knew when i arrived our kitchen would be completed. I was pretty excited to get my first look at our new kitchen and really happy how it came out. Joy picked out the subway tiles for the backsplash and i picked out the gray grout to make them pop a little more. I love the single tub sink where we can actually put our pans flat to wash, and the automatic ice maker is awesome.
Its so nice to have use of a fully functional kitchen again, because i never thought i could get sick of eating out. Finally having a digital oven is nice so i don’t have to guess with the pre-heating, and our burners are super high so we can boil water in an instance.
The last thing i want to talk about is the extra counter space we created by moving the sink over to the far right. We’ve got plenty of space now for all the mise en place we end up making for our cooking. If you think so saw a lot of cooking before, you aint seen nothing yet.
For Father’s Day i pre-bought tickets for the Beach Cities Arclight to take my dad in the afternoon. He was pretty happy with going to such a nice theater since he’s used to going to the UA Los Cerritos Galaxy $5 Tuesday special. I bought the tickets early enough to get dead center middle seats and didn’t have to stress about getting to the theater early.
Overall the movie was good and if you enjoyed Batman Begins then you’ll enjoy the Man of Steel. I’ve never been much of a Superman fan, i think he just has way too many powers and really struggles way more then he should. Besides my own biases i did think they did a good job of exploring Superman’s upbringing and discoveries of his super powers nicely.
It wasn’t quite planned this way but i had to return to Vegas twice within the same week. This time is was for a Work thing where we wanted map out the future of the company and figure out what our long terms goals were for the company. We spent a couple days locked up at a virtual office a few miles outside of the strip so we hashed out every detail that we could think of. In the end I think we have a more realistic and solid plan to run the company.
We did get to squeeze in a little R&R between the work hours and ate some good food. Earlier in the week I got a Facebook message from an old co-worker from International Rectifier saying he was headed to the Oyster Bar after seeing my pictures and he was in Vegas for the week. Wednesday night we met up with Mark for dinner at Bouchon and got to reminisce of the old days of eating and playing basketball. We drank a lot of scotch that night and made the next morning a little rough.
Thursday night we had late reservations at Raku where we met up with Thomas for some fancy ass Yakitori and Sushi. The handmade tofu agadashi style was delicious and were completely stuffed by the end of the night. We were still awake and got one of the worse foot massage experiences that i’ve ever had. I was pretty happy to get back to the Hotel after basically getting yelled at for not tipping enough.
Back at the hotel Jonathan and I decided to stay up a little longer and hit the slot machines where i played my $20 and wich my last spin hit the wheel of fortune and won back $60. From there we moved on to the dollar machine and on my very first pull got the wheel of fortune spin and made $150. Not a bad way to end the night
I watch a lot of HGTV and watch occasional show of Flea Market Flip, where they basically pit two teams of two to take some flea market items, fix/clean/change them up and upcycle them at another flea market. This always gets my mind racing on ideas on what i could do to the house or to build myself.
I always wanted to go to the Rose Bowl flea market, but reading a few reviews people find that its too big, can get too hot, too expensive, and have to pay to get in. So instead we tried out the Pasadena City College. The good thing about the PCC flea market is that its free, plenty of parking for a fee or free on the street. We thought it was a little small thing at a parking lot but saw signs that led to an entire parking structure level of more vendors and another outdoor parking lot of other vendors as well. Half way through the structure i stopped really looking hard for things and did more of a flyby as i was getting tired visually and physically.
Joy and I were on the look out for a possible coffee table, and decorative house items. I pulled out a hundred bucks which i thought was a lot, but it was right in the middle comparably speaking. There were some things that were super cheap and others that were super expensive. We found a few interesting pieces but the set of 4 chairs that we liked were being sold for something like $350, and another side table that was being sold by some bitchy ass lady that we didn’t want to give our money to.
Too bad no one taught either Joy and I any negotiation skills so we really didn’t’ feel comfortable haggling for much of a discount. We eventually walked away with some Dr. Seuss books for a buck each, and this wooden elephant which we negotiated from $17 down to $16.
One of the Southland’s largest flea markets, the show is held the first Sunday of every month. Come enjoy the browsing and the bargains. With over 500 vendors, the Market features fascinating antiques and collectibles, thousands of records, tools, clothes, toys and much more, not to mention food and good company.
7:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Its been a while since i’ve seen Thomas since his move out to Las Vegas, so a few weeks ago i found an open weekend and booked a night at the Monte Carlo to go visit him. Joy and I left home around 6am and made pretty good time to get to vegas by 10:30am. The entire trip there we were trying to figure out where to go for brunch and initally we planned on going to the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s Palace, but when we got there and did a quick once around the food stalls it just didn’t seem worth it for $40/person for lots of egg dishes and jook.
We quickly went across the street for our other favorite place Bouchon for some Chicken & Waffles instead. We also ordered the Croque Madam but really shouldn’t have since joy couldn’t get her egg over easy, but she really wanted the fries.
Afterwards we went to check-in to our hotel room and met up with Thomas and his kid Christian at the pool. I originally booked the Monte Carlo because there was a lazy river which i though Joy would enjoy but the place was filled with dudes drinking buckets of beers and making it impossible for an inner tube to float on through. There was also a wave pool which was pretty fun to hang out in, but summer times means a lot of people drinking and loud music, especially here where they stationed a DJ at the top and every so often had drinking contests at the edge of the pool. Not particularly the best place to bring a kid, but hey its Vegas i guess.
For dinner we wanted to check out this place Raku which i noticed all the people i follow on instagram go to when they’re in Vegas, but the only RSVP time available was 10:30pm. So instead we went to the Oyster Bar at the Palace Station Casino for their Pan Roast. This is the place where all my basketball friends go to while in Vegas. The wait is super slow, but we got in just in time for a dozen oysters for Thomas and I to split, and a Pan Roast for Joy and I to split.
We were short on time because we had gotten tickets to watch a comedy show called Defending the Caveman at Harrah’s Casino. It was a pretty funny show where a guy gets up on stage and tries to show how men aren’t assholes, they just see and interact with the world with a different type of brain. It actually got me to laugh so i would say it was pretty good.
Finally to end the night we went over to Serendipity 3 so Joy could get a Frozen Hot Chocolate and Thomas and I could have a few beers. It was a pretty hot night but there was a nice seating area with misters all around us and got to enjoy just hanging out long enough before i started to pass out.
I realized that i haven’t actually said anything about our impending new addition to our household, but by the end of the year i’ll be a dad. I can hardly still believe it but i guess it was bound to happen sooner or later.
Joy hit 19 weeks and it was time to find out the gender of the future kid and leading up to it people kept asking me if i preferred a boy or a girl and for the most part i didn’t care. But as people kept asking me i started to form an opinion and hoped for a boy and started to think about playing basketball and what not with him.
Friday we headed to the hospital to find out and well it turns out that we’re having a girl. Not that i’m really disappointed but i just need to adjust my thinking path. I still expect to have a second child and i was pretty happy growing up with an older sister too. I’ve also learned that girls are typically easier to handle in the early years since they’re smarter and generally easier to deal with.
We actually already started a blog fattyjr.com once we found out that Joy was with child. We’ll be doing most of the updates there and to keep this blog more kid less friendly.
Ever since we bought our condo back in 2009 Joy has been plotting to redo the kitchen. Over the years the most time we spent at home seemed to be cooking and baking and the appliances we had just didn’t seem to do it enough for us. We debated about just buying new appliances but that just didn’t seem to be worth it on its own. So Joy spent all last summer saving up her pennies working at her second job and this year finally got to hatch her dastardly plan.
It started slowly with just thoughts and ideas starting with getting offered a free estimate from Home Depot for a cabinet resurfacing, which seemed like a good idea but once the lady came out to take our measurements and door options we were blown away by the $20,000 price tag!
The second option was the Ikea route with all their fancy store showcases and modern designs, but as we sat in front of their computer for HOURS trying to layout the kitchen and getting confused with the dimensions, we finally threw that plan out the window when we found out it would cost $100+ per cabinet just to be built and installed.
The third option was going through my mom’s guy who we eventually went with because we needed personal help with the project. He convinced us to just go with the Chinese cabinets ($2,200), even though we couldn’t really get the most modern design the price was just too good to pass up. He designed it all himself and gave us options that we really didn’t think of even after watching hours upon hours of HGTV. We ended up going with espresso cabinets and white quartz countertops.
The biggest changes that we’re doing is moving the sink to the right serving two purposes, giving us room to instal a dishwasher in its place, and give us more usable counter space for cooking. I always felt like we needed more counter spaces when we’re prepping because we need so many bowls and cutting board when making more of our elaborate dishes.
We also had just the right timing doing this right around Memorial Day sales and went to town shopping for new appliances. After going looking at Home Depot, Best Buy, Pacific Sales, Sears, we eventually went with Lowe’s. We ordered ourselves a Whirlpool Bottom-Freezer Fridge ($1050), Samsung 5 Burner Stove ($800), a Whirlpool Dishwasher, and Whirlpool Range Hood.
Lowe’s happened to have most of the lowest prices and priced match + 10% for once of the appliances as well. All reviews for products seem to be perfect or breaking down all the time so Lowe’s offers a group protection plan vs. buying a protections plan for each specific device saving some more money. They offered Free Delivery and Haul Away. Finally we signed up for their credit card so we could save an additional 5% off the entire purchase (or no interest for 6 months) since we were going to just pay cash anyways.
So after all is said and done our kitchen is probably going to cost us just around $9000.
The Revenge of Chow is was what the sub-heading of the movie title should have been. The movie has been panned by critics and i was worried it was going to be a duplicate of the second movie, all about memory loss and recollecting those into some sort of half baked storyline. To my surprise, it didn’t play out like that at all and it think I enjoyed it. Its a very heavy Chow centric movie with the guys having to travel from LA to Tijuana and back to Vegas to end the series.
The movie is kind of like Olive Garden where when you go as a teenager you’re amazed by the unlimited soup, salad & breadsticks , but as you enter your 20s you find that the food is corporate and unimaginative, and finally later on in life you realize that you really do enjoy their soup, salad and breadsticks and thats enough for you to go back.
The same thing goes for this movie where in the first movie you find the characters charming, hilarious and compassionate. The second movie tries for the big laughs via its physical humor, and sense that the writers aren’t even trying. In this movie as the finale you realize that the story line really doesn’t matter, and its the characters that you should be enjoying the whole time. Plus it doesn’t hurt to add in Melissa McCarthy to the gang.