Thursday, August 13, 2015

Pixels Movie Review

As kids in the 1980s, Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler), Will Cooper (Kevin James), Ludlow Lamonsoff (Josh Gad), and Eddie “The Fire Blaster” Plant (Peter Dinklage) saved the world thousands of times – at 25 cents a game in the video arcades. Now, they’re going to have to do it for real. In Pixels, when intergalactic aliens discover video feeds of classic arcade games and misinterpret them as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth, using the video games as the models for their assaults -- and now-U.S. President Cooper must call on his old-school arcade friends to save the world from being destroyed by PAC-MAN, Donkey Kong, Galaga, Centipede, and Space Invaders. Joining them is Lt. Col. Violet Van Patten (Michelle Monaghan), a specialist supplying the arcaders with unique weapons to fight the aliens.


Pixels is an interesting movie.

It really feels like any other Adam Sandler movie, and in this movie, he saves the world. This is a very hard movie to review because it is rather forgettable. However, I did have fun watching it.

Adam Sandler plays a blue collar worker who could not get over his loss when he competed in the world arcade championship and lost to Peter Dinklage. The character build up is not very strong however, and you do not really feel for the characters.

I would say this movie may appeal more to kids. It is a disaster movie that does not take itself seriously. Kevin James is an unpopular president and does try hard to create some funny moments. The special effects is pretty solid, but the whole story and comedy is mediocre at best.

The arcaders -- the team assembled to defeat the alien assault -- seems to eventually not require much else to defeat the aliens. There are many plot holes to overlook but it is a pretty fun movie to watch.

I would say wait for the cable release to watch this on TV instead of catching this in the movies. I'm sure there are many better movies to catch.

Overall: 4/10
Catch this on Cable.

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

1 Day Pokhara Itinerary (Nepal)

Pokhara is a great place to visit, but as the travel industry is not very matured, sometimes it is very inefficient use of your time to visit Pokhara as it may take you 3 days.

I've met several locals and got a good itinerary and here is one

Basically, the ""Tourist Bus" leaves early every morning at around 6 - 7am and it takes 6 - 8 hours to get to Pokhara for US$12 - US$15. Or flying to Pokhara cost around US$70 - US$100 and takes less than 1 hour.

So say you take the bus, and arrive at 2pm, you should look at this itinerary.

After checking into your hotel. Visit these sites.

1) Mahendra Cave (Kaski district)

Mahendra Cave is a cave located near Pokhara, Kaski district, close to the Seti River. It is a rare example of a cave system in Nepal containing stalagmites and stalactites. The cave attracts thousands of tourists every year. A statue of Hindu lord Shiva can be found inside the cave.

2) Bat Cave.

Batman may not be in, but you can surely visit this cave beside Mahendra Cave.

3) Seti River Gorge

This is rather close by and right beside the Gurkha Museum. The gorge is rather deep and there is an interesting canal that powers a Hydroelectric power plant.

4) Gurkha Museum

Full of interesting information on Gurkha, their origins and their deeds.


5) Devi's Falls

This is in a slightly different area, and you can take a taxi there.

Its a rather pathetic waterfall, in terms of size, but you need to visit this to appreciate the Gupteshwor cave more.

6) Gupteshwor cave

Across the road from Devi’s Falls, this venerated cave contains a huge stalagmite worshipped as a Shiva lingam. The ticket allows you to clamber through a tunnel behind the shrine, emerging in a damp cavern adjacent to the thundering waters of Devi’s Falls.

7) International Mountain Museum

Hey, you are in Nepal, the Himalayans is all around and you can mountain out here, learning all you need to know about the tallest peaks in the world.

8) Phewa Lake (Fewa Lake)

Yup, this is very pretty, and you should do this before sunset. Nice place to chill and get dinner after too.

9) World Peace Pagoda (Pokhara Shanti Stupa)

Pokhara Shanti Stupa is a Buddhist pagoda-style monument on a hilltop in Ananda hill of Pumdi Bhumdi Village Development Committee, in the district of Kaski, Nepal. Shanti Stupa in Pokhara was built by Nipponzan-Myōhōji monk Morioka Sonin with local supporters under the guidance of Nichidatsu Fujii, a Buddhist monk and the founder of Nipponzan-Myōhōji. Shanti is a Sanskrit word meaning peace, also widely used in Nepali and Hindi language, and Shanti Stupa means Peace Pagoda. Shanti Stupa is the shrine build as symbol of peace. The spot situated at the height of 1100 meters on the Ananda Hill was chosen by Nichidatsu Fujii and he laid the foundation stone as well with the relics of Buddha on the hilltop on 12 September 1973. Nepal has two of the eighty peace pagodas in the world: Shanti Stupa in Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha and Shanti Stupa in Pokhara. Shanti Stupa in Pokhara has also become a tourist attraction. It provides a panoramic view of the Annapurna range, Pokhara city and the Fewa Lake.

The view from up there is great, and you need to take a boat across the river. Great place to watch the sunset.

10) Dinner near Phewa Lake

Lots of interesting place for food and to chill.

11) Sarangkot

Sarangkot is a village and famous tourist destination of Nepal located inside Sarangkot Development Committee in Kaski District Gandaki Zone. At the time of the 1991 Nepal census it had a total population of 5,060 with 1,010 individual households.

This is a fantastic place to watch the sunrise and see Annapurna. Just go up, you won't regret. Its a long way up, so make sure you arrive much earlier than the sunrise. I left hotel at 4am and arrived at 5:30am and watch the sky change colors.

12) Bindabasini Temple

Bindabasini temple or Bindhyabasini Mandir is of great religious importance to Hindus living in the Pokhara region. It is a vital hub of religious fervor. The temple itself is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Durga, who is Pokhara's chosen guardian deity. Durga, also known as Shakti or Kali has numerous manifestations and at the Bindabasini temple she is seen as Bhagwati, a blood-thirsty aspect of the goddess. Durga appears in the form of a Saligram. A Saligram, according to Hindu mythology is an propitious stone. It is said that the temple was created after the goddess ordered king Khadag Bum Malla to set up a her statue here. The Bindabasini temple was then founded in BS 1845. Since its establishment, Bhagwati has been an object of worship here on a daily basis. Animal sacrifices are typically presented at the temple on Saturdays and Tuesdays.

There you go, you can visit more than 10 sites in 1 day when you go to Pokhara. Schedule is rather tight, but it can be done.

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-- Robin Low