The Functional Hermit

musings from a homebody

Archive for February 2010

How to survive the NFL Offseason Part II: Explosion Movies

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Okay, I’m just now beginning to come to grips with my deep depression that is the NFL offseason. Not to say that I’m happy about it. They even screwed up the Pro Bowl. That’s right, they screwed up the most meaningless Allstar exhibition in professional sports. The Pro Bowl was a great way to transition into the offseason. Now all it was good for was Bryant McKinnie’s Twitter feed.

But fear not. Grab your nutsack and remember that you’re a man. Football is a good way to keep us in touch with our baser and more primal male instincts, but it’s not the only way. Also, you don’t want to go around constantly grabbing your nutsack. My wife would probably be cool with it going on all the time but maybe your wife isn’t as progressive as mine.

One thing you can do to grow some hair on your ass without football is to pop in a good explosion movie. You know, a movie with explosives, car chases, gunfights and other forms of male bonding. Here’s a quick list of a few good places to start:

The Bourne Trilogy

Each movie, on its own, is suspenseful and action packed. But put together, they tell a great overall story.

"The Raiders are going to win next year's Super Bowl? I'm going to kick your ass for even suggesting it."

Everyone knows the deal. Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) wakes up one day with incredible, super-agent skills but no idea who he really is. Each movie brings him closer to the truth. Meanwhile he blows things up, steals motorcycles, shoots his way out of an embassy, punches guys in the throat and many other things most of us only dream about. As a three-movie set, there is no weak link. Personally, I most prefer the second installment because it has the best villain (Keith Urban).

Band of Brothers

If a three-movie set isn’t enough for you, here’s a sprawling 5-disc mini-series. Get to know the men of Easy Company from the 101st Airbourne as they fight their way through WWII’s Europe.

"Hold up. I think I see the NFL combine coming up ahead."

This fact-based opus hits on a lot of war-movie clich├ęs but it handles them well. Gritty and bloody, it shows the horrors of war as well as the ‘noble’ causes that justified our part in the fight. Band of Brothers sets the bar for a war mini-series.

Layer Cake

I don’t care what anybody else says. Playing the lead in this movie is what gave Daniel Craig the role of James Bond with a precious, frilly bow on top. This is one smooth motherfucker who just happens to be great at selling cocaine.

"Nope, from up here Jerry Jones' ego still looks way too big."

Don’t blame him. It’s not an easy job and someone has to do it. Watch Sienna Miller literally burn herself onto your retinas with very little screen time. There’s not a lot of action in this movie, just a whole lot of maneuvering. Enjoy the unpredictable ride up the drugworld ladder.

Gladiator

Fighting to the death rarely disappoints. It was popular in ancient Rome and it still draws an audience today. Maximus (Russell Crowe) joins many other legendary action heroes who need no more than one name. In fact, what the fuck is the rest of his name anyway?

"A bengal? Is going to hurt me? I don't Ocho Thinkso."

This movie has so much blood-spurting, extremity-chopping action you really don’t care that this movie has no idea how to come to an end. Literally. It seems like someone unexpectedly announced they had to wrap in an hour and this is the best they could come up with. But by that point, you just feel lucky to have all your limbs still intact.

Hopefully these will help get you started. Check back for more ways to keep the testosterone level high until next September.

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Written by the bee dub

February 23, 2010 at 3:16 pm

How to survive the NFL offseason

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If you have any idea how to do this, please let me know.

Written by the bee dub

February 17, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Posted in Daily Happenings, NFL Ramblings

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Hermit Cinema: Big Fan

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What if you introduced yourself to the one person you most wanted to meet? And what if that didn’t go anything like you wanted?

Paul (Patton Oswalt) is a thirty-something parking lot attendant who still lives with his mother. In other words, he’s every parent’s nightmare. Paul is also an overly devoted Giants and sports-radio fan, along with his buddy Sal (Kevin Corrigan). On the air he trades barbs with Philadelphia Phil (Michael Rapaport). Phil is an Eagles’ fan who likes to call into NY-area shows and heckle opposing fans. So there’s not a rocket scientist in the bunch.

Paul lacks any ambition. In fact, his only true desire in life is to see the Giants win. Paul and Sal seem to have only two modes of operation: talking and thinking about the next Giants game or actually watching them play. Paul spends his days manning his parking lot booth, handwriting out what he’ll say on the air later in the evening. He spends his nights listening to sports radio, further revising his own on-air statement and then calling in at the same time every evening. Every Sunday, he either watches the away games on TV or the home games from the least glamorous seats imaginable at Giants Stadium.

One night Paul and Sal spot Quantrell Bishop, the Giants’ best defensive player, and let curiosity get the better of them. They follow Bishop’s car around some questionable parts of Staten Island and then back into Manhattan. In their minds, they’ll become best buds with their idol in no time. All they need is to somehow strike up a conversation. Disaster ensues.

From there this movie takes on its primary conflict. How will Paul handle the aftermath? Nobody understands his choices. He, himself seems to barely comprehend what’s transpired. All this sends Paul down a dark, unpredictable road.

This is an entertaining, little movie that unfortunately, could have been smaller. This 86-minute film felt like it had about 20 minutes of padding. Robert Siegel does a nice job writing and directing, but there’s just not enough to this story to carry more than an hour. But what is there is fun to watch.

I give this movie a straight B.

Written by the bee dub

February 11, 2010 at 10:35 am

Super Bowl Menu: Pork Stew & Industrial Machinery

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My wife and I had a weird weekend. That’s part of the reason this is getting posted so late. But the weekend was punctuated by a very strange Super Bowl Sunday. Basically, a work crew arrived unannounced and started digging up my front yard. And what a game?! That was an awesome Super Bowl. I don’t care who you were rooting for. Here’s how the whole day went down, beginning with the meal: Jalapeno Pork Stew.

I tried this recipe for the very first time just a few weeks back. This time I used less pork and a lot more onions. I started with just over four pounds of pork shoulder (I used just over five pounds last time out), then cut that into two-inch cubes while trimming away any fat. With that much meat this process took a while. Season the pork with two teaspoons of cumin and mix well so the cubes have an even spread of seasoning, or at least as evenly spread as possible.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil is a heavy pot or dutch oven. Then brown the meat in batches, removing to a plate when finished.

Now about this time I noticed a couple guys in my front yard. Turns out they found a gas leak under our front yard. I’ll tell you that I’ve called the gas company before because I smelled gas and they never found anything. Glad someone called them again because there clearly was a problem. Anyway, these guys got to work trying to find the leak.

Turns out the main city gas line had a few very small holes in it. They must pack some serious pressure into that line because I stood near the hole and could feel a strong wind of natural gas rushing out. It was like standing in front of a big fan and that pipe is still a good four feet under the surface. The whole area really reeked of gas too. They patched up the holes but may end up replacing the line for the whole block. So I’ve got a big hole in my front yard for a while. These guys started a couple hours before kickoff and worked well into the darkness of the second quarter. Thanks to these two dudes who sacrificed their Super Bowl Sunday to keep my house from blowing up.

Meanwhile I finished browning the pork.

Once removed, into the pan I added two more tablespoons of vegetable oil and three tablespoons of flour. Mix that around while it cooks for a minute.

Then add one 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained, four cups of water, one cup of orange juice, two sliced jalapeno peppers and twelve whole cloves of garlic.

The original recipe this is based on calls for zero onions. Last time I added one. This time I’m adding three.

Bring this to a boil while stirring up any browned bits stuck to the pot. This will kick in a lot of flavor.

Once boiling, put the pork back into the pot and return it all to a boil once again.

Cover and place in your 325-degree oven for three hours. Now it’s time to pickle your onions. Combine 1/2 cup of water, 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, a half-teaspoon of salt and one sliced red onion in a bowl. Mix well. Then refrigerate for anywhere between 30 minutes and 3 1/2 hours.

Here’s why my stew look like after three hours in the oven. Look how awesome it came out with all those cooked down onions.

Now add one pound of frozen, cut okra.

Mix that together well, cover and then return to the oven for another 30 minutes. Somewhere in this window is a great time to prepare your grits to serve with the stew. Here’s how the stew looks after cooking.

I serve the stew over the grits.

Then sprinkle some pickled red onions over the top to finish it all off. This really kicked some serious ass. I really like having a lot of the cooked-down onion bits throughout this. This was a strong meal that went perfectly with a strong finale to football. How am I going to live without football? Someone, please tell me.

Written by the bee dub

February 9, 2010 at 11:11 am

Another, more entertaining recap of LOST

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Here’s a spoof of two guys having to explain LOST to their girlfriends in five minutes:

Written by the bee dub

February 2, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Posted in TV Thoughts

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