Las Vegas, Nevada

Cathy had asked me a while ago if I would go with her to Las Vegas to clear out her storage once she acquired an apartment. Well, the time finally arrived and fortunately for me, she had changed her plan, calling movers to do all the labor.

Somewhere of I-15

Somewhere of I-15

The hottest temperatures we encountered were not even in Nevada, but in Baker, where it was 116 degrees fahrenheit. I didn’t notice the thermometer on the way there, but I laughed out loud when I saw the sign for Puppetry of the Penis.

Puppetry of the Penis

Puppetry of the Penis

We stayed at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino, which was located off the strip.

I fell in love with the plant with the orange/red flowers. I must identify it.

One night we went out for dinner at Macaroni Grill, which I loved when I lived in Florida. Upon my return to California, I could not find any, so I was please to be able to eat at the restaurant again in Las Vegas. I had Parmesan Crusted Sole with capers and Orzo with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach, Radicchio, etc. Our waitress Roxi, was so pleasant and accommodating.

One day I found Mothra’s child in my bathroom. I didn’t mind it much; just glad that I didn’t step on it during the night and very curious how it even got in my bathroom in the first place.

Mothra's Child

Mothra’s Child

One day Cathy wanted to visit an old friend who worked in a hair/nail salon, where I decided to get a pedicure before we headed off to lunch at In-N-Out.

Next stop: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. I have never seen a palm with a pink trunk. I was pleased to see the live lizard and the sculpted one was awesome.

The following are miscellaneous photos I took. I thought the reflection on Circus Circus was way cool. The solar panel farm off I-15 has three huge solar panels which look to me like the Alien Receiving Center. The thermometer in Baker, California is still there…113 degrees on the return trip. Do you know how long it’s been since I had an Orange Julius? At $5.99 for a small, it will be a long time before I have another.

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The Loft (2014)

The Loft

source: Internet Movie Poster Awards

SYNOPSIS

Five married guys conspire to secretly share a penthouse loft in the city–a place where they can carry out hidden affairs and indulge in their deepest fantasies. But the fantasy becomes a nightmare when they discover the dead body of an unknown woman in the loft, and they realize one of the group must be involved.

Source: Internet Movie Database

REVIEW

First of all, can I just comment on these shitty movie websites. I dislike the music that automatically plays when the website is loaded and sometimes – like this time – I can’t even find a synopsis of the movie.

Negative comments aside, I was not interested in seeing this movie, but mom rented it and free is a good incentive to watch a movie. Surprise! The movie turned out to be better than expected. Twisty, turny plot that goes back into the past and forward to the present and I didn’t really get lost…bonus!

At first, I thought the movie was going to be really stupid as the police were not called immediately upon discovery of the dead body. I don’t care if you are my friend, if you kill someone our I suspect that you have killed someone, I would be in contact with the police immediately. Additionally, I was not satisfied with the ending, thinking a different ending – hinted at in the movie – would have been much better.

Great mystery!

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Cut Bank (2014)

Cut Bank

Source: Internet Movie Poster Awards

SYNOPSIS

Dwayne McLaren (Liam Hemsworth) dreams about escaping small town life in Cut Bank, Montana, “the coldest spot in the nation,” with his vivacious girlfriend Cassandra (Teresa Palmer). When Dwayne witnesses an awful crime, he tries to leverage a bad situation into a scheme to get rich quickly but he finds that fate and an unruly accomplice are working against him. Thrust into the middle of a police investigation spearheaded by the local sheriff (John Malkovich), everything goes from bad to worse in this all-American thriller. Directed by Matt Shakman and also starring Billy Bob Thornton, Bruce Dern, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Oliver Platt.

Source: Official Movie Website

REVIEW

Mom told me about this movie. It was definitely a thriller, and a good one at that, but the ending was anti-climatic for me. I just could not understand Bernie’s motive. Nice to see a movie with so many actors that I actually know and recognize.

Disappointing.

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America’s Got Talent: Piff the Magic Dragon & Drew Lynch

When I saw Piff the Magic Dragon, my first thought – much like Howard Stern – was this was going to be another stupid act. Once his personality surfaced, he had me in stitches. He is not a bad magician either. Because I like him so much, I researched and discovered he has his own YouTube Channel, and a dog – a white chihuahua that wears a dragon suit also. 😀

Much respect for Drew Lynch and the life lessons he has learned from his accident. He is frikkin’ hilarious! I was so impressed that Howie Mandel put him straight through to the finals.

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Get On Up (2014)

Get On Up

source: impawards.com

SYNOPSIS

Based on the incredible life story of the Godfather of Soul, the film will give a fearless look inside the music, moves and moods of Brown, taking audiences on the journey from his impoverished childhood to his evolution into one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. Boseman is joined in the drama by Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Nelsan Ellis, Lennie James, Tika Sumpter, Jill Scott and Dan Aykroyd.

Source: Official Movie Website

REVIEW

Very interesting! The movie did an excellent job portraying James Browns genius and life.

His genius was apparent from the scene where, as a kid, he gets knocked out. In his daze he hears the music, similar to an audio dyslexia that was remarkable in his music. I really liked that scene. Another scene I liked was the one where he is castigating his black audience to act with more dignity/integrity during one of his concerts; I found this scene to be very representative of the current racial/police climate. I applaud the movie for making it clear to me how his childhood years influenced his character and lifestyle. Finally, I had recently seen a story on the news about how the most popular songs were one in which a key phrase is repeated, and made that connection to James Brown’s music as well.

Enlightening!

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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)

 Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

source: impawards.com

SYNOPSIS

Disney’s heartwarming comedy will have your entire family laughing out loud. Based on the best-selling book, it follows the exploits of Alexander as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life and wonders if bad things only happen to him. But he discovers he’s not alone when his dad (Steve Carell), mom (Jennifer Garner) and family live through their own terrible – and hilarious – day. It will tickle everyone’s funny bone and warm their hearts as they discover how even on rotten days, families can grow closer.

Source: Official Movie Website

REVIEW

This was a heart-warming comedy to watch. I am a big fan of Steve Carell, so that was a plus that he appeared in this movie. Dylan Minnette was not bad too look at either, reminding me of Sue’s boyfriend, Darrin, on The Middle.

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Still Alice (2014)

Still Alice

source: impawards.com

SYNOPSIS

Alice Howland (Julianne Moore), happily married with three grown children, is a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. When she receives a diagnosis of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, Alice and her family find their bonds thoroughly tested. Her struggle to stay connected to who she once was is frightening, heartbreaking, and inspiring.

Source: Official Movie Website

REVIEW

I would say the journey projected was very antiseptic. I can just imagine the hilarious and the devastating scenarios surrounding such a diagnosis, but the movie kept an even kilter, perhaps because they were portraying the decline of a professor.

I think Julianne turned in a superb performance and it was for her win of the Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, which fueled my desire to see this movie.

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Mother’s Day Lunch at Cafe Brasil

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There was no way my family would go to a restaurant on Mother’s Day…way too many people and when one is hungry, waiting for your table can be endless. So on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 we decided to go out to lunch. My first choice was Father’s Office in Culver City, but a review of the website indicated a little higher cost than my budget would allow and they were only open for dinner. My next choice was Puclic School 310 in downtown Culver City, but mother and father had already been there.

As we were driving over, I remembered that I had never been to Cafe Brasil and it is very close to home; neither dad nor mom had been there either. Mom says, “Ive always loved their flowers.” The exterior is cute, noticeable every time I ever passed it.

The interior is brightly colored and with and array of care-worn wooden benches, clean and cozy. I believe all the vases had fresh exotic flowers: proteus, tuberose?, and in hindsight, lilies.

I was not in the mode to wait on my own self and I was stupid enough to leave a $5.00 tip ($4.71 to be exact)! The cost was a little more than I am used to spending, but not intolerable, had I not had the opportunity to retrieve my food and drink. Lunch for three cost $50.00, including the tip.

I apologize for the half-eaten image, but I had the hungrilys…I always forget to take a picture of the food first…next time.

The food was good and a little different for my taste. Of note is the mustard dressing on the lettuce/carrot shaving (yes, only one) salad. Perhaps if it had more oil it might have tasted better.

The Rancheira – Skirt steak was yummy – a little skimpy by my standards, unless I am confusing flank with skirt – with a generous serving of grilled onions, a pico de gallo/mustard again? sauce, white rice and a cup of black beans, and two plantains – mmm, mmm, good! Being a fan of bread and cheese, I ordered the Pã0 de Queijo: the taste and the crunch were spot on, but the texture from the yucca flour was too chewy for me.

Still, by my cheap-ass standards, a little too expensive to be serve-yourself.

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Channing Tatum: Foxcatcher

This is Channing in Foxcatcher.

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Foxcatcher (2014)

Foxcatcher

source: impawards.com

SYNOPSIS

Olympic Gold Medal-winning wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) is struggling in obscurity and poverty in Wisconsin when he is invited by wealthy heir John du Pont (Steve Carell) to move on to his lavish estate to form a team and to train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Schultz seizes the opportunity, eager to step out of the shadow of his revered older brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo), a prominent wrestling coach and Gold Medal winner himself.

With his vast financial resources and state-of-the-art training facility at Foxcatcher Farm, du Pont appoints himself head coach of the team, eager to win the respect of his peers and the approval of his condemning mother (Vanessa Redgrave).

The dynamic between Schultz and du Pont deepens as Mark embraces his benefactor as a father figure. But du Pont’s mercurial personality and psychological gameplay begins to weigh heavily on Mark’s shaky self-esteem, undermining his abilities on the mat. When du Pont’s favoritism shifts to brother Dave – who possesses the authority and confidence both he and Mark lack – the trio is propelled towards a tragedy no one could have foreseen.

From Academy Award® nominee Bennett Miller (CAPOTE, MONEYBALL) comes a searing true-life account of three men grappling for their versions of the American Dream.

Source: Official Movie Website

REVIEW

I was shocked when I discovered – prior to watching the movie – that the lead role of John du Pont was Steve Carell, and this increased my desire to see this movie. As I watched, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Channing Tatum was also appearing.

This movie was on the creepy side and kept me engaged. I did not completely understand the relationship dynamics between John and Mark because I am not that deep a person. Of course, this is my own opinion, but once I saw drugs were a part of it, I suspected some degree of homosexuality on du Pont’s part. The closest I can come to Mark’s change in affection for Mark, was that he finally saw that du Pont was a poser. As for the outcome of the movie, I suspect jealousy on du Pont’s part. Du pont obviously had mother issues that factored into his desire to be greater than he actually was.

Glad I finally got to see it. Interesting movie.

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