Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a 2017 superhero flick based on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s the sequel to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the fifteenth entry of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It brings back writer/director James Gunn and most of the actors from the first film including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, and Michael Rooker and brings in newcomers like Kurt Russel, Sylvester Stallone, Pom Klementieff, and features one hell of cameo from (*spoiler alert*) David Hasselhoff. 

The film tries hard to recreate the magic of the first one and it succeeds for the most part. The humor is there, the character interaction is there, the action is there, but it’s missing the joy of discovery. At this point we know what to expect from Star-Lord and his crew. That’s not a bad thing. You’ll like it if you liked the first one. My girlfriend hadn’t seen the first one so we watched it on demand and then watched Vol. 2 later that night. That’s practically five hours of Guardians of the Galaxy in one sitting and we didn’t get sick of it. That’s impressive because I have a short attention span. I’ll end this review on that note because I hear the ice cream man outside. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is good. Go see it in IMAX 3D if you can, it’s worth the money and not many movies are these days.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Arguing with an Idiot

Everyone has their own opinions and most people want their opinions known. This results in a lot of arguments and debates between people who don’t see eye to eye. I’ve discussed politics, religion, sports, et cetera with friends, family members, and random people at the bar. Most of the time I end up having a decent conversation with someone who has a different viewpoint than me. But occasionally I realize that I’m talking to a complete idiot who has no idea how spectacularly wrong they are.

Case in point: the other day I was talking to a Dodger fan at a baseball game and I mentioned that beach balls in the stands is a Dodger thing. He disagreed and said that beach balls in the stands is a baseball thing. I couldn’t help but laugh at his ignorance. We were sitting in the bleachers at AT&T Park on a gorgeous sunny Saturday afternoon with nary a beach ball in sight. If beach balls are a baseball thing, then where the fuck were all the beach balls? Oh, in Dodger Stadium, that’s right. 

I didn’t bring up that very valid point though because there’s no point in arguing with an idiot. It’s an excercise in futility. If they don’t believe basic facts, they aren’t going to believe you. I want to be clear that he’s not an idiot for being a Dodgers fan. That’s not his fault. Your team is chosen for you before you’re born. He’s an idiot for not realizing that the traditions of Dodger Stadium don’t extend to all of baseball. He probably thinks that every stadium sells Dodger Dogs. They don’t. Just like they don’t do The Chop outside of Atlanta. Don’t argue with stupid people. You’re never going to change their mind. It’s a waste of time and energy. Ignorance is bliss and sometimes people want to be happy. Let them believe the world is flat.

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Iron Fist (TV Show)

Iron Fist is a 2017 Netflix show based on the Marvel character of the same name. It’s about a rich dude who uses his iron fist and martial arts skills to fight crime. It’s part of Netflix’s mini Marvel universe that includes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. Each show introduced their titular character and soon they are all going to team up in The Defenders. It’s a good time to have a Netflix subscription.

I watched Daredevil and I loved it. It had some of the best action scenes I’ve ever seen. Go on YouTube right now and search for “Daredevil hallway fight scene” and prepare to have your mind blown. Jessica Jones wasn’t as good, but it was very compelling and has a great villain to keep you interested. Luke Cage was really good and gets you hankering for the next entry in Netflix’s mini Marvel universe.

That’s where Iron Fist comes in. It’s not good. I’m watching it right now. I’m in the middle of the sixth episode and I’m not impressed. It’s sluggish. The action scenes are meh. Finn Jones can’t handle the fight choreography and that’s bad when you’re the star of a show about a good fighter. The plot lines are murky and forced. It’s boring quite frankly. I’m only watching it because I watched all the other shows leading up to The Defenders so I feel like I have to watch it. Watching Netflix shouldn’t be a chore, it should be entertaining. Iron Fist isn’t entertaining. Oh well. Even Pixar fucks up every once in a while. I’m still can’t wait for The Defenders.

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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PAX Era

I recently joined the dark side and got a vape pen. I didn’t get your standard vaporizer though, that would be boring and I need to stand out from the crowd. I got the PAX Era. PAX is known as the “Apple of vaping” and for good reason. They make quality products that look great and work great. They are best known for the Juul, their flagship e-cigarette. The Era is an updated version of the Juul, but it uses cannabis oil instead of nicotine. The cannabis oil comes in a 500mg pod. It’s kind of like a Keurig, you put in the pod, use it up, and throw it away. It’s a little wasteful but I’m American so it’s ok.

It’s ready to go as soon as you pop in the pod. There aren’t any buttons. You just put your lips on the pod and inhale. There is a cluster of four LED lights that glow when it’s in use. Shaking the device will cause the lights to show how much battery is left. You can also change the temperature setting by shaking the Era, removing the pod, and letting the lights cycle around until you find the one you prefer. There is also an app that connects to the Era via Bluetooth that allows you to change the color of the lights and to customize the temperature to the exact desired degree. You can even play some games on it. There aren’t any instructions on how to play the games so I have no idea what to do, but still my vaporizer has games. Technology is rad. It uses a micro USB cable to charge and it only takes forty-five minutes to get a full charge.

The Era costs $60 and the pods run at $45 to $50. The pods use CO2 extracted cannabis oil, which makes it taste clean and flavorful. They have sativa, indica, and hybrid strains so there is a pod for every type of stoner. I like how discrete it is. I’m not gonna lie, it makes puffing in public very easy. Anything that makes Muni more bearable can’t be a bad thing. I’m never going to stop smoking flowers, but vaping has quickly become my preferred way of smoking. It’s a lot more practical, especially for a stoner on the go like me. The PAX Era deserves to have its praises sing, that’s why I’m singing. 

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Joking Hazard

My girlfriend likes to play party games like Heads Up! and Cards Against Humanity. I guess she likes having fun and socializing with friends and family. So I bought her a game called Joking Hazard and we invited some friends over to play. I had never heard of it before I stumbled upon it in Target but I think that it has the potential to rival Cards Against Humanity as the next great party game. It’s simple to learn. There’s a stack of cards with offensive cartoon panels. Everyone gets dealt seven cards. Each person takes turns being the judge. The judge flips a random card over from the deck, then plays one of his cards create a setup, and then everyone else plays one of their cards as the punchline. The judge chooses their favorite and that person gets a point. You play until someone wins. Offensive cartoons + friends (+ alcohol) = a great time. We played a few other party games that night, but Joking Hazard was my favorite. I might be biased because I bought it, but I know a good thing when I see it and Joking Hazard is a good thing. 

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Correcting Autocorrect 

Autocorrect is both a blessing and a curse. I like the fact that it makes typing on my phone faster and easier but it’s not perfect. Sometimes it changes words or phrases without you noticing and you end up looking stupid. Sometimes it changes something you typed correctly and you end up looking stupid. My friend asked me what days I’m free. I told him I always have Sundays off. Autocorrect changed Sundays to Sunday’s. I don’t like looking stupid. I had to go back to correct autocorrect and that defeats the whole point of having autocorrect. Correcting autocorrect seems counterintuitive. I shouldn’t have to do it. Life is hard enough already.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Shoulder Tap Compliment 

A couple of days ago my buddy texted me asking my opinion on which SF Giants jersey he should get. We brainstormed for a while. Getting a new jersey is a big deal. Do you go current or retro? The name and number you choose to wear should have a reason behind it. I tossed out a few ideas and he ended up deciding on a retro 1993 Rod Beck #47. That’s a great fucking choice. Rod Beck was a beast of a closer but he’s kind of overlooked because there are so many great Giants players. You hardly see anybody rocking his jersey. I told my friend that he’s going to get a lot of shoulder tap compliments from Giants fans.

A shoulder tap compliment is the best kind of compliment. It’s when you’re doing something so great that a complete stranger feels the need to tap you on the shoulder and tell you how awesome you are. Most compliments are given by friends or family members because they noticed that you did something different and they feel like they have to comment on it. It seems more like an observation than an actual compliment. But you know you really got a good jersey when a random person tells you that you got a good jersey. I know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers but you can take a compliment from one. 

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Moscow Mule

I normally drink beer but I’ve been drinking a lot of vodka lately. I’ve mostly been making Moscow Mules. It’s a simple drink. Vodka, lime juice, spicy ginger beer, and ice. It’s crisp and refreshing, and it gets you drunk without much of a hangover the next day (provided you use a decent vodka). There are a few recipes out there but mine’s been working for me. I’ll pour two ounces of vodka into a twelve ounce glass (copper mugs are ideal, but I don’t have any on hand). I’ll squeeze and drop in three lime wedges, add ice, and top with ginger beer. Give it a quick stir, then sip and enjoy. Add more vodka as needed. But the trick lies with the ginger beer. Ginger beer is harder to find than ginger ale, but it adds spice and zing and is worth searching for. Reed’s, Bundaberg, and Gosling’s all make great ginger beer. The lime is also a key ingredient and often overlooked. Most recipes say to use lime juice. I think it’s important to use an actual lime. Squeeze that shit and drop it in. Let the lime rind release its oils and flavors into the cocktail. Enjoy the zest. Thank me later.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Beauty and the Beast (2017 Film)

Last night I saw Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s latest live-action remake of one of their classic cartoon masterpieces. It’s good. You would already know that if you’ve seen the cartoon. And if you’ve seen the cartoon, you’ve seen this movie. You know what happens. There aren’t any M. Night Shyamalan twists. They added some backstory and more character details, there are a few new songs, but it’s the same fucking movie.

That’s not a bad thing. The cartoon was the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. I’m sure this version will be nominated for a few awards as well. It’s already a blockbuster success and nobody should be surprised about that. It stars Emma Watson as Belle. Motherfucking Hermione Granger! You know how many Harry Potter fans were already invested once they heard about the casting?!? A lot. Like more than twelve. There are lots of Harry Potter fans. Dozens.

The only bad thing I can say about the movie is that the new songs are terrible. Terrible. Especially the Beast’s solo right before the climax. It totally ruined the mood. And you don’t want to ruin the mood right before you climax. I know that characters express themselves through song in musicals, but geez, enough is enough.

The special effects are top notch. Ewan McGregor’s accent is not. The story takes place in France, yet everyone speaks with a British accent except for one ridiculous French accent. But he can sing so he gets a pass. 

It’s a good movie. It’s worth paying money to see in the theatres. You might even splurge to see it in 3D. Not many movies are worth paying money for these days. This one is.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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He Pooped.

My girlfriend has a dog. That means I have a dog. Dogs are awesome but they are a lot of responsibility. You have to feed them, give them water, take them for walks, and pick up their shit when they poop in public. And you have to do all that every single day. That dog has become a big part of my life. I realized this when I was texting my girlfriend and my phone auto filled He pooped along with the poop emoji. Every third or fourth text seems to be about if he did or didn’t poop. And sometimes there’s a follow up report if he pooped like He pooped twice! Or He pooped but it was runny. I don’t mind. I love the little bastard. But I talk about his poop way more than I should. 

Critically Rated at 9/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Automatic Toilets

A lot of public restrooms are using automatic toilets these days. Those are toilets that uses sensors to flush automatically. They are supposedly more hygienic because you don’t have to use your hands, but it’s still a public toilet. It’s going to be disgusting no matter what. I don’t like automatic toilets. I don’t trust them. Sometimes they flush too early before I throw in my used toilet paper. Sometimes they don’t flush at all and my shit is on display for the lucky next person who ventures into the stall. They let me down each time I’m forced to use one. I can flush just fine by myself. I don’t need technology to do it for me. 

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Cutting Six-Pack Holders

I drink beer but I care about the environment. That means I take the time to cut plastic six-pack holders. I don’t want any fishes or small animals to get caught in one. They shouldn’t suffer because I had a cold one. Cutting six-pack holders is a quick and easy way to make Captain Planet proud. It’s up to all of us to save the world. And it’s a lot easier to cut plastic six-pack holders than it is to stop drinking. I did my part. Hope you did the same.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Logan (Film)

Logan is the tenth instalment of the X-Men film franchise and marks Hugh Jackman’s final portrayal of Wolverine. He’s played the iconic character for seventeen years. That’s a long fucking time. I saw X-Men in the theaters when I was fifteen, just after my freshman year of high school. I went to college, I moved around a bit, worked a few jobs, and now I’m thirty-one with a couple of kids and a mortgage. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine was there for all of that. Ok, I don’t have kids or a mortgage, but I could if I didn’t live in San Francisco.

Hollywood has gone crazy with remakes and sequels and reboots and prequels. On the big screen alone I have seen three Spider-Mans, three Supermans, three Punishers, five Batmans, but there has only been one Wolverine. Logan is the perfect way to say goodbye to him. 

I realize that I haven’t actually talked about the movie yet. By now I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s good. It is good. I hear lots of comparisons to Deadpool because they are both R-rated and do justice to their comic book counterparts. I think it’s a better film than that Deadpool. It has more heart, more weight, more to say. It’s a more complex movie for a more complex character. Deadpool is great. Logan is better. X2 was easily my favorite X-Men movie… now it just might be Logan. That’s a bold statement. 

Props to Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier, and especially to Dafne Keen as Laura/X-23. I’m not a fan of child actors, but Keen’s performance was on par with Jackman and Stewart. Anything less would have derailed the film. James Mangold directed one hell of a film. I wouldn’t be surprised if it won a couple of Oscars. It’s a legitimate film. Check it out, it’s the end of an era and it deserves to be recognized.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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My Neighbor Bruno

I have a neighbor named Bruno. He’s an interesting guy. He’s in his seventies and lives with his brother and sister in the same house they grew up in. He plays bass in a band. He hosts a radio show. He smokes weed and has for decades. He is old school San Francisco and embodies what makes this city great. 

Bruno is a great neighbor and that is a hard thing to find these days. When I moved in, he came over and introduced himself and welcomed me to the nieghborhood. We always say hello when we see each other and speak when we can. He asks how my roommates are doing, shoots the shit about sports, and updates me on his latest escapades. He talks your ear off but he always has something interesting to say. He sends holiday cards to all the people on the block and reminds them that it’s street cleaning tomorrow and they need to move their car. I’m going to Bruno if I ever need to borrow a cup of sugar. 

Good neighbors are a dying breed, especially in the city. Most people are too buried in their smart phones to engage with the world around them. Bruno takes me back to a different time, when life was more real. He’s the quirky neighbor and wise mentor in the sitcom that is my life. I hope everyone has a Bruno in theirs too.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Machete

A machete is a handheld blade that can be used as a tool or as a weapon. It’s versatile. It cuts through enemy skulls, watermelons, and dense jungle shrubbery with ease. They are fondly depicted in American cinema and television. There’s even a Machete film franchise.You see them in war scenes, zombie apocalypses, and carried by intrepid explorers. I have a machete. My girlfriend gave it to me for Christmas. That means she trusts me. I haven’t used it yet, but camping season is approaching and I’m sure I’ll find something to chop. 

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Tactile Dome

I went to San Francisco’s Exploratorium with my girlfriend and some friends the other day. It’s a big museum with a bunch of interactive science exhibits. You learn about magnets, optics, human behavior, electricity, you name it. But the best thing to do there is the Tactile Dome, hands down. 

The Tactile Dome costs extra but it’s worth it. It’s basically an obstacle course/maze with a twist: it’s pitch black. You have to stumble through it blindly. You feel around trying to find your way out. Some rooms force you to crawl. You climb up a rope ladder. There are slides. It’s exhilarating and exciting and a unique experience. I particularly enjoyed staying still in one spot and then scaring the shit out of my girlfriend when she came close.

The Tactile Dome was created by Nicholas Cage’s father. Seriously. I’ll end my post with that fun fact.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Selfie inside the Tactile Dome

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Broken Escalator

I was going into the subway the other day when I saw a woman approaching the escalator. It wasn’t moving. She saw that it wasn’t working and  then she went out of her way to take the stairs instead. I couldn’t help but laugh at her. She recognized that the escalator was broken but opted to take the stairs, completely unaware that broken escalators are stairs. I don’t get it. Broken escalators look exactly like stairs. Yet I could see her entire thought process unfold in front of me: Damn, the escalator is out of commission. Better take the stairs! That’s the only way out of this mess. I know that I’m an asshole because it doesn’t matter what she’s accomplished in her life, she will always be a failure to me. 

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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