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Left Coast By Design

ramblings from a guy named lyteforce

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I Watched This: Furious 7

Maybe it was fitting that I saw Furious 7 last weekend with family. Because that’s what this one is all about.

Let’s be clear.

I’m a fan of the Fast & Furious franchise. Sure 2 Fast 2 Furious was a little different and Tokyo Drift didn’t make as much sense until the end of Fast 6, but there’s something inherently enjoyable about these simple movies that reinforce the simple message that family is important. So take what I say next with some understanding.

Furious 7 was outstanding!

Cast of Furious 7
Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

As mentioned above, the ending of Fast 6 introduces Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw who is out to avenge the severe “longest runway in the world” beat down of his brother by the Fast & Furious crew. Add in a little Mr. Nobody (know in the real world as Kurt Russell) and a mythical device called the God’s Eye and we have a couple of story lines to follow.

Enough story to make the movie outstanding? No. But none of us were there for that as it was.

Furious 7 - Vin Diesel
Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

We were there to watch the high-speed chases. The serious stunts and effects. Maybe even a Rock Bottom. But there was also a little tug at the heart-strings on the side. And I think that’s what got to me.

With the sudden passing of Paul Walker in 2013, while the movie was still in production, it’s obvious director James Wan had to smooth down a few rough edges to make the movie work. But that didn’t matter much to me either.

Again, it was the tug at the heart-strings.

Without spoiling much, I can tell you that he did right by Paul Walker. Instead of sending his character Brian O’Connor back to the garage, Wan kept Walker tightly woven through most of the film. And if I wasn’t trying to pay as close attention throughout the entire movie, I probably wouldn’t have known that something was up.

But that wasn’t all.

There was the ending. The tying together of loose strings. The last ride. In fact, if any one of you could point out a better send off, I’d be surprised.

So if you haven’t seen Furious 7, go see it. And for those of you who have, what did you think? Does this take top spot in the list of franchise editions or is it a solid second. Can’t be any lower than that, can it?

No way.

I Ate This – Fisherman’s Boot Cafe

Having heard of this mythical Fisherman’s Boot Cafe, my wife and I decided to go for a walk in an effort to find out if there was any truth that the Steveston Harbour Authority had this rough cut gem of a restaurant inside of its compound.
Fisherman's Boot Cafe
Located at the south end of Trites Road in Richmond, BC inside the somewhat ominous Yellow Gate, otherwise known as the Steveston Harbour Authority (though open to the public kind of), this old school greasy spoon restaurant serves up relatively decent homestyle cooking at what I can define as affordable prices.

Now if you’re looking for a full service cafe with a tonne of choice, you’re likely better off heading west into Steveston because you won’t be finding that here. The menu has at most four or five breakfast options, house specials, sandwiches and mains. And while tasty, the options are also quite basic. The cafe does have daily specials, but the suffice to say that menu is quite concise.

For instance, my wife and I went for both lunch one day (we missed breakfast, our intended meal) and had ham & grilled cheese sandwiches. Served with fries, each plate set us back $7 – affordable yet basic. On the following day, we got up earlier to ensure we could grab breakfast and each had bacon & eggs (served with toast, hashbrowns & coffee) for $6. Again, while straight and to the point, I’m not sure I can even beat that price at home.

There’s also the fact that it’s inside what I can best describe as a fishing warehouse. Why does that matter? Well, you can definitely smell the history in there. But I feel that adds to the character charm of the place. And there’s also the regular clientele that add to the atmosphere and truly reflect its unique location.

Would I go back again? For sure. Is the service phenomenal? No, but then again it seems to be a one-person shop and considering how busy & steady business was, I doubt she could do much more. Is the food out of this world? No, but then again the prices reflect that and frankly, provide far better value than anywhere else.

And good value ain’t that bad.

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Michael Jackson ONE

As you may recall, the wife and I recently returned from “our first trip” to Las Vegas. While the main intention of the trip was to attend my brother’s wedding (which was a blast), the wife and I truly wanted to immerse ourselves into the Vegas culture and decided that going to a show on the strip was a must.

Deciding to go was easy. Deciding what to see? Another story – there’s so much choice.

While the wife and I have somewhat similar tastes, we also had to take into consideration what my parents would be willing to see as we invited them to come along. During the decision-making process, we decided that Cirque du Soleil was the route to go, even though I’d never seen a show and wasn’t too sure I was all that into “circus acrobatics.” Hello boredom my old friend.

Well, Michael Jackson ONE proved I could never have been so wrong! Boredom was not an option. There’s More!!

I Saw This – Guardians of the Galaxy

With the wife and I looking to catch a movie this weekend, I had to really play the “you love me” card to get her to agree to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. She’s never been into the superhero genre of film, let alone any of the previous Marvel titles, so short of me going on my own it was my only play.

If only I knew that she would fall hard for a talking tree.

Guardians of the Galaxy
via BagoGames

While I wouldn’t say I’m anywhere near an expert of the Marvel universe, Guardians wasn’t even on my radar before I saw the teaser trailer and I wasn’t immediately sold on the concept. Seriously, who could ever take a bounty-hunting raccoon seriously? Yet it was from Marvel and I’ve been a fan of the interrelated world of the Avengers, so it did seem likely I’d enjoy the movie if I gave it a chance.

And I loved it. Truly did. Even my wife did. I’m sure we’ll even see the sequel together, so long as Groot gets a few lines.

Using the same formula we’ve seen in Iron Man or Thor or Avengers, the movie is a good mix of action with a solid story-line, comedic relief and personable yet slightly flawed characters. And for someone like my wife or me, Guardians gives us just enough back story to get us into the plot soon enough (without spoiling too much, prepare to tear up a touch in the early going).

What I found really helped the movie along is that it never took itself too serious. Yes it had the whole “save the universe” theme and yes, the premise of a really bad guy getting taken out by the underdog good guy is a well-worn piece. But it worked. It worked very well. I was never too bored, got a few laughs in (including a few from the wife), and find myself awaiting a sequel. Or tie-in with the next Avengers. And that’s what it’s somewhat about, no?

As to the product on the screen, I’m also happy we chose to spend the extra coin to watch it in IMAX 3D. Sci-fi and CGI really do give 3D some serious justice and any special effects that get my wife jumping in her chair are obviously good ones in my books.

But what say you? Have you seen it? What did you think? Or if you haven’t, why not?

I Ate This – Hamburger 285

I have to admit I was worried about the quality of a $2.85 hamburger that could be purchased from a nondescript food truck. Is it really beef? Days old buns? Soggy tomoatos?

Yet having just consumed their cheeseburger today, I’m no longer a sceptic. I’m definitely a believer!

Located just off the corner of Granville St. and Pender St. in Downtown Vancouver, Hamburger $2.85 gives you just that – a hamburger. Or if you’re like me and want some choice, you can grab yourself a cheeseburger for $3.50. Beyond this, the only other menu items are pop & iced tea, while condiments (mustard & ketchup) are also available.

The burger you receive is a good size and comes with a tonne of lettuce, a solid slice of tomato, terimayo sauce (teriyaki and mayo), cheese if you ordered it (like I did), with a beef patty on a toasted white hamburger bun. Juicy and filled with flavour, I’m glad I didn’t add ketchup as I normally do. And while I did order two burgers – don’t judge, I was hungry – I’d probably be safe ordering only one in the future!

About the only drawback is the popularity of the food truck. I arrived just after noon and the lineup was a good 10 people deep with a dozen or so people already waiting for orders. All-in-all, it took about 15-20 minutes for my order to come up and I’m definitely thankful the weather was decent today – I’m a fair weather food truck consumer!

Anywho, I’m totally putting this food truck on my “visit again” list. Sure I had to wait a good amount of time to pick up my eats, but I really can’t fault them for their popularity with such great value!

Hamburger $2.85 on Urbanspoon

Finally made it to Hamburger 285

A photo posted by Natasha (@natashacarpio) on

Destiny’s Alpha

As an owner of a PlayStation 4, I was tickled pink to learn of Bungie’s alpha test of their upcoming title “Destiny” over the course of this weekend. And having lost many, many hours the past few days glued to the console, I thought I would share my thoughts on the game.

Screenshot of The Tower from Destiny
I have arrived!
What I liked:

  • Shadows – whether it’s distance or the angle of the light source, shadows are cast with great detail. In fact, my attention to this detail got me out of many ambushes.
  • Graphic Detail – if this is the quality of product we get for an alpha release, I can’t wait to see what the beta and final releases will have in-store. Whether it’s birds in flight (which you disturbed from rest), or the transition from day to night, it’s obvious Bungie has put a dollar or two down on this area.
  • Raiding & Teamplay – while I enjoy an FPS title like the next guy, I’m more a storyline/cooperative play type of player and Destiny doesn’t look to disappoint. While we only had access to one dungeon in the alpha, it took our team of 3 just over an hour to clear – something I would attribute to our inability to communicate or coordinate.

Screenshot of ship from Destiny Alpha
Look ma, I’m flying!
And what I didn’t:

  • Ships and Vehicles – not sure if this is really a dislike or a question, but what exactly is the purpose of the two? Aside from transportation on a map, vehicles had no real purpose outside of the Crucible (multiplayer arena) and the ship was a neat way to showcase a loading screen.
  • Class Differentiation – while we had access to the Titan, Hunter and Warlock classes, there didn’t seem to be much difference between the three aside from their special ability. Each could use any weapon and with the immense cooldown associated to the special ability, we were just different dressed fraggers running around shooting things that moved. I’m hoping this was simply a problem due to the limits in the alpha and that we see much more differentiation and customization in the final release.
  • Race Abilities – I like customization, but customization with purpose. There are three races in the game and all they seem to do is help you look just a tad different from the guy next to you. No benefit, detriment or anything in between.
  • Navigation – whether by design or not, the fact you don’t have access to a map in a game which wants you to freely explore the world is odd. While missions will eventually populate a waypoint on your HUD, it’s easy to get lost and turned around.
  • Shotguns – one shot, one kill. I’m really, really, really hoping this weapon gets nerfed in multiplayer. The fact I was able to get 20 frags in multiplayer is a definitive sign of an overpowered weapon. I’m not that good!

Now before you go and castigate me for the simplicity of my opinions, keep in mind that this alpha release provided us only a small taste of the overall game. We had access to one multiplayer arena type with two maps, one storyline, one dungeon, and a level cap of 8. In fact, the only real expansive component of the alpha was the exploration of the open world of Old Russia.

But that’s all okay. I’m still freaking excited to have had the chance to find my Destiny.

I just hope the beta launches tomorrow and not July 17th as advertised. :D

Oh, and one last thing – recognize this guy’s voice?

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