Coffee Talk #671: The Best of 2016

Another year is in the books! Thanks so much for making RPad.TV a part of your 2016. To celebrate and reflect on the year that was, let’s take a look back at some of the best things of 2016. Naturally, when I mean “best,” I really mean “favorite.” (The idea of a movie or a record being “best” is…stupid.) Below is a “Best of 2016” list of my favorite movie, vaping gear, album, WWE Superstar, and more. I’d love to hear about your favorite anything and everything of 2016. Please share your personal highlights in the comments section. Now let’s do this!

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Second Thoughts on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Yesterday, I caught Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for the second time. My first viewing was in IMAX 3D. The second time around it was in 2D Sony 4K. Naturally, I have additional random thoughts on the movie, as well as some points I forgot to make in my first story. Below are more musings on this fine film, directed by Gareth Edwards and conceived by the wonderful Gary Whitta. You may turn on your spoiler shields when ready.

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Star Wars 4K Exists, According to Gareth Edwards

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story director Gareth Edwards told Little White Lies that he watched a 4K Ultra HD version of Star Wars: A New Hope. Confirmation that Star Wars 4K exists is huge news for fans of the series. That said, there are several questions that fans will still want the answers to. Which version of the movie was converted to 4K? And when will Star Wars 4K be available? Before I dive into those questions, here are Edwards’ exact words.

We were in Lucasfilm in San Francisco with Industrial Light and Magic and John Knowles, our supervisor, he said that they’ve got a brand new 4K restoration print of A New Hope — it had literally just been finished.

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Not a Review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a fantastic movie, but for fans that grew up watching the original trilogy, it’s something more. Rogue One has a Star Wars feel, but with more mature and more evolved sensibilities. For those longtime Star Wars fans that were kids when they first saw the originals, it’s a stellar experience. As their tastes have developed and matured, moviemaking has developed and matured. While I recommend the movie to anyone that’s the least bit nerdy, it’s a must-see (and see again) for sci-fi nerds of a certain age.

Having said all that, I had some minor issues with the film. As great as Rogue One was, I can’t help but wonder if it would have been a better movie with the original writers and without the reshoots. There were also some minor details that were convenient to the plot, but bothered me as a rational human being. That means, of course, it’s time for some random thoughts on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Lock your S-foils in spoiler formation and let’s blow this thing (and go home?).

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Random Thoughts on NXT Live Las Vegas December 2016

WWE’s NXT Live tour hit Las Vegas on December 17, 2016 and put on a solid show. The card featured great wrestlers that are ready for the main roster now, some wrestlers that are still trying to figure out their characters, and a few greenies that have a long way to go. Overall, it was an enjoyable NXT Live card with several memorable moments. If there was one takeaway from the show, it was that Tye Dillinger’s “10” gimmick is incredibly over.

Below are the results from NXT Live Las Vegas and some random thoughts on the show. Also, there are a bunch of bad photos taken with my mediocre iPhone 6 Plus. (*sigh* I should have brought my real camera.)

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EVgo Breaks Ground on 350kW Charging Station in Baker, CA

EVgo has announced that it has broken ground on a 350kW electric car charging station in Baker, California. The site will have four high-speed stations, capable of charging up to eight cars at a time. It will sport both CCS and CHAdeMO plugs. Additionally, it will be covered by a solar canopy, mostly to keep cars in the shade, but also to provide a nominal amount of energy to cars and the site’s backup battery. The company expects the Baker charging station to be operational by June 2017.

The EVgo Baker announcement is a potentially huge deal for prospective owners of cars like the Chevy Bolt. While the Bolt is the first electric car with a mass market price and a 200+ mile range, it lacks strategically placed high-speed charging stations. The competing Tesla Supercharger network has intelligently placed stations across the country, making long-distance trips reasonable. The EVgo Baker station makes the drive between Los Angeles and Las Vegas possible in a Chevy Bolt and upcoming electric cars that use CCS or CHAdeMO. That said, the infrastructure for those plugs has a long way to go before it can compete with the Tesla Supercharger network.

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Vaping Diaries #382: Fruit by the Ounce E-Liquid (ECC 2016)

Fruit by the Ounce is the first line of vaping e-liquid from E-Liquid by the Ounce. As you’ve probably inferred, the flavors are fruit-based and the bottles are large. You won’t find any wimpy 15-milliliter bottles here. Instead, Fruit by the Ounce comes in whopping two-ounce bottles (that’s 60 milliliters for people in countries that sensibly use the metric system). While fruit vapes usually leave me with a profound sense of ennui, I was impressed by these flavors. They’re refreshing, accurate, and skillfully blended.

Fruit by the Ounce Official Descriptions

Before I get into my impressions of these vape juices, here are the official flavor descriptions.

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Vaping Diaries #381: Smoking Vapor Mi-One Starter Kit

The Mi-One starter kit by Smoking Vapor was easily one of the most popular vaping devices at ECC 2016. It’s easy to see why. It’s terrifically small and irresistibly cute. The Mi-One looks like a high-end box-mod that was hit by a shrink ray (Evil Genius™). While it might not be the most practical vaping device for hardcore vapers, it excels as a stealth vape and is an excellent conversation piece.

Below are the key specs of the Smoking Vapor Mi-One, accompanied by a bunch of photos of the kit.

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Celebrate the Ridiculousness of Dwayne Johnson (Fast 8, Baywatch)

Former WWE Superstar and current sexiest man alive Dwayne Johnson recently appeared in a pair of new trailers. Both clips celebrate his status as the top leading man in Hollywood and the king of ludicrous movies. Both trailers are wonderfully absurd vertical slices of (what should be) wonderfully preposterous movies. Check ’em out below.

Let’s start with the first trailer for The Fate of the Furious, the movie formerly known as Fast 8. Like the previous Fast and the Furious movies, this one appears to have crazy race scenes, impossible action, a dangerous amount of testosterone, enjoyably bad acting, and overuse of the word “family.” The Fate of the Furious ups the ante by cleverly using a tank, a submarine, and a gorgeous South African woman (Charlize Theron).

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Spider-Man Homecoming Trailer One Feels Right

Marvel has unveiled a pair of official trailers for Spider-Man: Homecoming — a US version and an international clip. After a stellar debut in Captain America: Civil War, everyone’s favorite superhero with the proportional strength and agility of a spider is set for an all-new, all-different (and all-rebooted) solo film. Although most fanboys were delighted by Tom Holland’s take on Spider-Man in Civil War, the character has an uneven cinematic history, which made some fans temper their excitement with caution. If the trailers (embedded below for your convenience) are any indication, that caution is unnecessary. The Spider-Man: Homecoming trailers just feels right.

Naturally, it’s time for some random thoughts on the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailers using the RPadTV binary system. Let’s do this!

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