Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)

Why is it that when I get bored, I hunt up movies on my Roku 3 that seem to be zombie- or infected- or contagion-related? It just happened again. I found one.

Set in a dystopian future, The Girl with All the Gifts opens in an army penitentiary at Beacon, England, where a couple of dozen children are imprisoned.

Dressed in orange hoody jump suits, the adolescents are transported every morning from their cells to class in special restraining wheelchairs.

The military complex is protected by a heavy link fence, strong, but apparently not strong enough to hold back a massive army of "hungries," fungus-infected humans, who overrun the compound.

One especially intelligent child named Melanie (Sennia Nanua) is rescued by her teacher, Helen Justineau (Gemma Arterton), from Dr. Caroline Caldwell (Glenn Close), who wants to use Melanie's brain to manufacture a cure for the fungus that has ravaged the world. 

They and a small group of soldiers, led by Sgt. Eddie Parks (Paddy Considine), seek an emergency mobile laboratory, their movement among the hungries masked by a blocking gel that hides their human scent.

It works, but there is a problem. Remember the kids in the penitentiary? They smelled the gel every day and know it means normal humans (food) are nearby.

Even Melanie smells the humans and becomes ravenous. So they have THAT to deal with as well. She's hungry and antsy, catches and eats a pigeon, and calms down. She gets hungry again, catches and eats a—well, you get the idea. And yet, she is a savior in more ways than one.

This is not a zombie film, by the way. Zombies are slow and plodding. “Infecteds” are alert and fast. Remember 2013's unsettling World War Z (Brad Pitt)?

Based on M.R. Carey's Edgar-winning 2014 short story, The Girl with All the Gifts is one of the more-intelligent "infected" movies I've seen ... and I've seen a lot. It joins a list that includes three based on Richard Mathewson's iconic 1954 sci-fi novel—1964's The Last Man on Earth (Vincent Price), the 1971 remake, Omega Man (Charlton Heston), and the 2007 reboot, I Am Legend (Will Smith).

It's an entirely plausible movie with an uplifting (if unnerving) finale.

Memorable quotation: "The (pregnant) mothers were probably all infected at once, in a single incident. Then the embryos they were carrying took the infection as well. Through the placenta. They ate their way out."

Memorable scene: Melanie catches and eats ... a cat.

Book Adaptation, Drama, Apocalypse

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Hawaiian Subtitles: Why?

I never really paid much attention before, but for some reason I recently noticed that Hawaiian Airlines' preflight safety video not only has subtitles in English, it also has Hawaiian translations.

Immediately, the only thing that came to mind was one word: Why?

Other than paying homage to, and showing respect for, the native Hawaiian language, what useful purpose do Hawaiian-language translations accomplish? I'm sure at least 99.9% of their passengers don't understand the language (I know I don't).

Most just listen to the dialog on the screen. Or they don't. And if they can't speak English, they can understand what to do just by watching the video.

To my way of thinking, if Hawaiian Airlines wants to use foreign language subtitles, they should use Spanish ... or Japanese.

And that's all I have to say about that. Or, A i ka pau aʻu i, e olelo aku no ia.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Fremont Neighborhood Fauna

Keeping an eye out for wildlife in my grandson's neighborhood always pays off. Sometimes, one has to be patient and wait, but there's usually a payoff.

This visit, I started seeing several five-inch long gray lizards scurrying about on the rocks of the front door.

They usually don't hang around and let me get my camera out and take aim, but finally I got lucky and photographed one as it was sunning itself.

I think it's a Northern Fence Lizard.

I also saw a lot of turkeys, but they were always on the wrong side of the car and I couldn't stop for more than a few seconds ... until our last day there. Four toms were displaying on the sidewalk next to a meter of sorts, trying to impress a female across the street.

One thing about males in sexual heat, they're single-minded and can't be bothered with a camera in their faces.

Good! I finally got some shots off for posterity!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Bodega Bay Overnight Jaunt

I always try to take an overnight trip somewhere in California whenever the wife and I visit our family in Fremont.

We hadn’t been to Bodega Bay (where Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” was filmed) in a couple of years, so we packed up our overnight bag, jumped into our rented Hyundai Elantra, and motored north to Bodega.

It wasn’t a short trip; it was a long (according to my standards) two-hour drive that started on freeways and then veered off into smaller country roads. But it was quite fun.

Once we hit Bodega Bay, we stopped by at Lucas Wharf for lunch with a Facebook friend. I took the occasion to snap some picturesque photos of just ordinary stuff lying about the piers.

Here … I’ll share some of them with you:

Once again, we stayed at the Inn at the Tides. You know, the one where they give you a complimentary bottle of Salmon Creek wine. I’ve run pictures of the room before, but that was two years ago, so here are the new ones:

Once we got settled, it was time for dinner, so we headed down the driveway and across the street to the Tides Wharf Restaurant for dinner. After dinner and a little wander around, we went back to the room for a relaxing lie-around to rest.

The next morning, we had breakfast at the Tides Wharf Restaurant. You may recall from my post two years ago that a free breakfast comes with the room. (By the way, pictures of our Lucas Wharf lunch and our Tides Wharf dinner and breakfast were posted yesterday.)

Finally, after a good night’s sleep, we went on that famous road that Tippi Hedren took around the bay to the Spud Point Crab Company, a little shack on the side of the road that makes the best crab sandwiches and award-winning clam chowder.

Can’t wait for our next sojourn there, but I tell you, the 2+-hour drive back to Fremont was grueling—my shoulders and neck ached by the time we reached the house.

But … it was worth it!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Fremont Vacation Lunches and Dinners

I'm a two-meal-a-day man. Breakfast and dinner.

It used to be lunch and dinner when I was working out of an office. But since retiring, I eat a big breakfast and skip lunch.

If I'm going out for lunch, I have toast and coffee in the morning.

During our recent vacation to Fremont, the wife and I did breakfast every day. However, on our second day, we ate late and lo and behold, one of the lunch specials was braised Short Ribs. Couldn't pass that up.

Another time, we had a lunch date after a two-hour drive to Bodega Bay, so we skipped breakfast.

One dinner at Bodega Bay, and two at Massimo's in Fremont, rounded out our dinner restaurant experiences on our vacation. Here's what I had:

Friday, May 5, 2017 • Braised Short Ribs (lunch)
Dina's Family Diner, Fremont

Monday, May 8, 2017 • Shellfish Sauté (lunch)
Lucas Wharf, Bodega Bay 

Monday, May 8, 2017 • Filet of Sole Petrale Doré (dinner)
The Tides Wharf and Restaurant, Bodega Bay

Sunday, May 14, 2017 • Mother's Day Special Short Rib (dinner)
Massimo's, Fremont
Massimo Salad
Fruit Sorbet

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 • Veal Scallopini Marsala (dinner)
Massimo's, Fremont
Caprese Salad
All of the meals were delicious, except for Massimo's Veal Scallopini Marsala. The veal wasn't the least bit juicy, and it was too lean and chewy.

And that’s about the size of it for non-breakfast meals.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Fremont Vacation Breakfasts

For Illustrative Purposes Only (LOL)
When I'm visiting my grandson in Fremont, CA, I make it a point to go out for breakfast. Our recent vacation there was no different. Besides me, the principal beneficiary is ... the wife.
Only once did I make breakfast at the house—over-easy eggs on hot rice, plus Aidell mini chicken-apple sausages.
The rest of the trip, we hopped in the car and visited my well-developed list of breakfast places in and near Fremont.
And here are the results:
Thursday, May 4, 2017 • Texas Chili and Cheese Omelet
Classic '50s Diner, Fremont
Saturday, May 6, 2017 • Belgian Waffle Combo
(The wife swiped ½ my waffle)
IHOP, Milpitas
Sunday, May 7, 2017 • Huevos Rancheros
Black Bear Diner, Fremont
Tuesday, May 9, 2017 • Corned Beef Hash and Poached Eggs
The Tides Wharf and Restaurant, Bodega Bay
Wednesday, May 10, 2017 • Steak Fajita Omelet with Pancake
Mil's Diner, Milpitas
Thursday, May 11, 2017 • Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs
Dino's Family Restaurant, Fremont
Friday, May 12, 2017 • Vegetarian Omelet with Link Sausages
Original Pancake House, Fremont
Saturday, May 13, 2017 • Ham, Egg and Cheese Sandwich
Panera Bread, Fremont
Sunday, May 14, 2017 • Rivermark Scramble
Prolific Oven, Fremont
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 • Breakfast Quesadilla 
Wake Up America G&T, Newark
Wednesday, May 17, 2017 • Ranch Steak and Eggs
Country Way, Fremont
That breakfast safari was quite the yummy and satisfying experience, if I do say so myself.