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Posts Tagged ‘movies’

Neil deGrasse Tyson Teaches Us How To Be Smart And Still Have Fun

A couple of nights ago my friend Scott and I took in a live event at the Landmark Theater where the one and only presenter was the fabulous Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC. His first question from the stage was “Do you people know what you’ve come to hear about?” It turns out I wasn’t the only one wondering about that, since I only remembered that he was coming and that we bought our tickets last fall.

deGrasse Tyson as cartoon

It turns out the tentative title of the event was The Best And Worst Science in Movies and Commercials. I’m glad he went in this direction because I’ve watched a lot of his lectures on YouTube over the years and even though I was ready and happy to hear him talk about all that same stuff again it was great knowing he’d put together something new. I also noticed that we weren’t the first people getting this lecture as one of his slides showed he’d presented it in Kentucky.

He covered a lot of movies and commercials, although he beat up on one of my favorites, Armageddon, only giving it credit for one true science fact. What I found really interesting is that I only knew half the movies he talked about and not a single commercial… which were mainly beer commercials. None of that mattered though, since he made all of his observations pretty funny and relevant.

He made a very interesting statement early on, something that I, as someone who likes to write and has two video channels, can use in a different vein. He said that it’s always better to know the science of something you want to show before you either try to keep things accurate or want to go in a totally different direction.

As an example he used a clip from one of the Expendables movies (none of which I’ve seen) where the character of Dolph Lundgren says something that he reports as Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity when in actuality it was his Second Law of Thermodynamics. The thing is, Lundgren the person would have known the line was incorrect because he had a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in chemical engineering. Truthfully, not knowing the film, I’m sure there was meaning somewhere, but I understood his point. lol

Of course there was one story I was expecting and it’s the one he closed with, that being his interactions with James Cameron about the stars and sky being wrong in the movie Titanic. I’m not going to tell the story here; instead I’m going to let him tell it:

https://youtu.be/8B6jSfRuptY

All in all, it was a great night of science, laughter and fun. I was sorry I missed the last time he came to this area in 2014 because I was out of town, but after seeing him this time I know I’m going to work hard to see him if he comes back this way again.

A Saturday At Destiny USA

A few weeks ago I had an occasion to go to Destiny USA to see a movie. I was intent on seeing the movie Ender’s Game on the IMAX screen. What was supposed to just be going to see a movie turned into a little bit of an adventure.

IMG_20131103_193803The adventure started outside, where I actually had to drive around 25 minutes before I could find a place to park. I knew that the mall now had valet parking, but I’ve been away so long I couldn’t remember where it was. And when I found a place to park I pretty much had to wait five minutes for the person in the car to decide to finally start the car, pull out, and go home so that I could have her spot. That was miserable, but I can deal with that sort of thing.

I went to the box office to buy my ticket for the movie, and had to ask where the IMAX screen was, and it turns out that it’s on the opposite side from where the other theaters are, but not very far down on the left. It also turns out they have more than one screen; I hadn’t expected that. What I forgot to do, and the rest of you will have to remember this, is ask whether the movie I wanted to watch was in 3-D or not; turns out it wasn’t. IMAX works really well for 3-D, and even though I still enjoyed the movie it never occurred to me that something was missing until it was over. I probably need to find an occasion to go see the movie Gravity at some point and possibly see Ender’s Game again on a smaller screen for that 3-D effect.

IMG_20131103_194156When I came out, it just seemed like the place was packed with people everywhere. After I sat down for a bit to get my bearings, where I noticed that short black skirts with black stockings must be back in fashion, I took a walk around the new section, where almost everything is now filled in. I went into the new entertainment / restaurant place called Revolutions, where they have the bowling alley that has big screen TV’s over the bowling pins; that would take some getting used to after all these years of not having anything moving in front of me like that.

IMG_20131103_193911There was a concert going on downstairs, which is a new twist because there used to be small groups that would play in the middle section where the elevators are in the original part of the mall, but this was something different because they had flashing lights and you could hear the music everywhere. As a matter of fact, one of the differences between the new part of the mall and the older part of the mall is that music is consistently going, upbeat and frenzied, and it felt like a club atmosphere.

After stopping at a few restaurants and finding each of them had a waiting list of more than an hour, I eventually made my way back to the food court, which was also packed. I couldn’t figure out what was going on since the holiday wasn’t upon us yet, until one of my Twitter friends mentioned later on that it was Parent’s Weekend at SU and both the basketball team and the football team had played games that weekend, which I knew about but hadn’t made the connection. Still, I did have a chance to grab some food and sit down at a table as someone else was getting up.

IMG_20131103_193341Then I decided to take a walk down into the old section to try to get some ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery. Unfortunately the line was longer than I wanted to wait, which was probably just as well because I was going to get a milkshake but it would have kicked my behind (literally lol), but what was funny is that only the ice cream place and the pretzel place next to it seemed to have a lot of people. I took a quick walk through Best Buy and was kind of stunned at how quiet it seemed. I was also stunned that Best Buy doesn’t carry the DVD TV recorders that we can buy to replace what we get from Time Warner; that was disappointing.

If the mall was this crowded while it was still October, I’m wondering what kind of morass it’s going to be after Thanksgiving. I can honestly tell you I’m not looking forward to going to the mall during the holidays, and if I have to do any shopping whatsoever I will probably go up to Great Northern Mall on Route 31 and buy whatever I need there. I love the idea of having the big mall in the Syracuse area, but the issues with parking are enough to make me a bit more selective.

What do you guys think?  

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