I was really bored the other day and I bought a subscription to Netflix. One of the first things that I watched was Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It’s a 2011 documentary about an 85-year-old sushi master who has dedicated his life to perfecting the art of sushi. Jiro pours his heart and soul into his craft, and is considered the best in the world. You must make reservations months in advance for a chance to eat at his ten-seat restaurant, and sushi is the only thing on the menu. He doesn’t do appetizers. He doesn’t do dessert. He does sushi, and he does it better than anyone else.
The film explores Jiro’s work ethic and how he demands nothing but the best from his staff. He won’t settle for anything less. He scours the market for the best fish available. He uses the highest quality rice. He makes his chefs create the same dish over and over again until they make it right. Jiro has two sons, both of whom are also sushi chefs. The younger one opened his own sushi restaurant, replicating the menu and feel of his father’s restaurant, while the older son is being primed to replace Jiro in the original restaurant.
This isn’t a film about making sushi. It’s a film about pursuing your goals and striving to master your craft. It’s about integrity, professionalism, and honor. It makes you think about what you are passionate about and if you have the determination to succeed at it. I repeat, it’s not about sushi. But you will crave it the entire time you’re watching it.
Smoked Porter with Chocolate & Orange Peel is a limited fall seasonal beer from Stone Brewing Co. This is one third of Stone’s Smoked Porter seasonals. They also have Smoked Porter with Vanilla and Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers. This one is brewed with chocolate and orange peel. It’s a very descriptive name for the beer too. It’s a porter with a malty aroma of smoke, chocolate, and orange peel. It tastes like a porter with a roasted malt backbone with smoke, chocolate, and a little orange peel. It’s 5.9% ABV and very drinkable. It’s not the best beer Stone has to offer, but it’s a solid porter.
Last week I got a pimple. Yeah, I still get the occasional pimple. It’s not like I break out or anything. I usually get a pimple, I pop it, and life goes on. But last week’s pimple was different. It was on my lip. A pimple on your lip is one of the worst type of pimples. It’s in a painful spot and it’s painfully obvious that you have a pimple. But a pimple on your lip doesn’t look like a pimple. It looks like a cold sore. And nobody will believe that it’s just a pimple, and you can’t blame them. If you saw someone with a pimple on their lip, you would assume that it’s a cold sore too. It’s just safer to assume that you need to avoid that person. It’s a survival instinct.
The first official teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens has arrived in theaters and online and nerds everywhere can rejoice. The trailer is only a minute and half long but there are lots of things that stand out, particularly the return of the Millennium Falcon, X-wings, and TIE fighters. There’s also a seemingly-Sith villain carrying a new type of lightsaber with a laser cross-guard. There are stormtroopers and they have actual, physical armor costumes again, none of that shoddy CG armor that we saw in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. One thing I noticed is the title is simplified. It’s just Star Wars: The Force Awakens. They omitted the episode number for some reason. It’s like they want us to forget about the dismal prequel trilogy and return to the spirit of the original trilogy. This first glimpse looks fantastic; I have full faith in J.J. Abrams and his vision. December 2015 needs to hurry up and get here already.
Thanksgiving is almost amongst us, and that means that there will be an epidemic of food comas across the world. A food coma is where you eat so much food that you become physically incapable of movement. Americans suffer from food comas the most. That’s because we have an abundant source of food and are attracted to gluttony. The only cure for a food coma is to rub your belly and complain about having a food coma. Then you digest a little and eat some pumpkin pie. You might wash it down with some coffee. You might even Irish up your coffee if you don’t have to drive. I hope all my readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a food coma for the ages. Thanks for checking out CriticallyRated.com.
The Vulcan Salute is something that even non-Trekkies know about. It’s when you point your palm outward with your fingers splayed out. Your pinkie and ring finger should be together, your index and pointer finger should be together, and your thumb extended. The gesture is often followed with the expression Live long and prosper. Gene Roddenberry might have come up with the idea, but Leonard Nimoy is the one who brought it to life. He came up with the iconic salute, basing it on ancient Jewish symbolism. It feels universal because it is rooted in history. He just modernized it and made it cool.
“Crocodile” Dundee is a 1986 comedy and my favorite Australian film. It stars Paul Hogan as the titular Michael J. “Crocodile” Dundee, a bushman who narrowly survived an encounter with a Saltwater Crocodile. His story is enough to get the attention of Sue Charlton (played by Linda Kozlowski), a New York reporter. She tracks him down to get the scoop. “Crocodile” Dundee and Sue go out into the Outback to retrace his steps. He shows her the beauties of Australia and the two of them start falling for each other, despite the fact that Sue is in a relationship with her editor.
Sue doesn’t want their time together to end, so she asks him to come to New York City pretending that she wants to find an adequate ending to her article. He agrees, and then the film transitions into a fish-out-of-water story. Look at the wacky Australian struggling to figure out American culture! Hilarious! The film might be clichéd, but it works because it has heart. Paul Hogan came up with the story and turned himself into a household name. The love story that is the backbone of the film was genuine. Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski got married in real life. They divorced in 2013 but that’s beside the point. They had a genuine connection and it shows on screen, especially in the climatic scene (which is by far the best love scene set in a subway station is all of cinema).
It was a massive hit. It only had an $8.8 million budget, yet it managed to make over $328,203,506 at the box office. The film became more than a movie. It became a part of pop culture. “That’s not a knife, that’s a knife!” is one of those iconic quotes that everybody knows even if they haven’t seen it. And if you haven’t seen it yet, you should. It’s been out for almost thirty years now. Get on it.
2014 marks the 17th year of Stone Brewing Co.’s Arrogant Bastard Ale, and they celebrated by releasing a batch of Lukcy Basartd Ale. That’s not a typo, that’s how they spell it. Tehy jbmueld up the leterts basecue it’s a mutixre of terhe tepys of Anragrot Btarasd Aels, but you can sltil raed it if you try hrad egnuoh. It’s a dry-hopped blend of Arrogant Bastard Ale, Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale, and Double Arrogant Bastard Ale. This is not a beer that you age. This is a beer that you should drink right away. Well not right away. Pay for it first, drive home, and then drink it.
It has a hoppy aroma, mostly pine hops but with noticeable citrus as well. There’s a little smoke and dark fruits and a hint of vanilla. The taste is dominantly hops. Lots of pine, resin, and citrus like orange and grapefruit. It’s very bitter but that makes it better. It has an 8.5% ABV, which is decently hefty. You should get a bottle or two if you happen to come across it. You’ll have to act quickly; it won’t be around for too much longer. The bottle says you should drink it by Jan 1, 2015.
An Orphan Thanksgiving is a thanksgiving without family. It’s not as sad as it sounds. It’s when you celebrate Thanksgiving with friends rather than family. It’s either out of choice or necessity, but it’s never a bad thing. In fact, it’s often more fun than spending the holiday with family. Quality time with family is good, but it’s less responsibility and less hassle dealing with friends. And your family feels obligated to take you in, so you feel more included when someone goes out of their way to invite you to a holiday meal. Family is important, but friendship is too. You get to choose your friends; you don’t get to choose your family. (Don’t get me wrong, I love my family but I love my friends too, and friends deserve a holiday of their own!)
So Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval is leaving San Francisco for Boston and I feel a little betrayed. Panda was our guy. We drafted him. We brought him up through our farm system. He brought him to the majors. We watched him mature, we watched him battle, we watched him triumph. He became a local hero. He was fun to watch. He helped us win three rings in five years. He summoned the Bambino and crushed three home runs in a World Series game. He became a legend. In San Francisco at least. He brought immense joy to a fun franchise. And then he left us for another team. One with fans that don’t care about him, that don’t respect him. I want to wish him well. But I can’t. I feel like he abandoned us. We would have had his back through any slump or disintegration in performance if he was still wearing San Francisco on the front of his jersey. Now he’s a rival. Good riddance. But thanks for the memories. I wish we could have had more of them.
I grew up in the suburbs in the ‘90s, back when it was still safe for kids to set up a lemonade stand outside on the street. The lemonade stand was an integral part of growing up. It was the few sources of income available. You could either mow the lawn, do random chores, or set up a lemonade stand. Lemonade stands were the best way to make cash. Mix some lemonade powder mix into a few pitchers of water and you’ll be turning a profit in no time. Lemonade stands used to be commonplace. You hardly see them anymore. Kids are too busy playing on tablets inside the house. I know I’m going to be a bitter old man because I already am one.
Oyster crackers are little saltine crackers. They are usually hexagonal in shape. What’s so great about little hexagonal-shaped saltine crackers? Well, because they are bomb in soup. Like so bomb. It’s hard to make something like chicken noodle soup on a cold day better, but throwing a handful of oyster crackers in there definitely makes it better. At first the oyster crackers retain their crunch, but as time goes on they start soak up the soup like a saltine sponge. I suppose you could use oyster crackers with other things. Maybe oysters or something. You could eat them plain as a snack, but that would be a boring snack. They go best with soup. The next time you’re getting cans of Campbell’s, grab some oyster crackers to go with it.
The holidays are coming up, a time where fat Americans get even fatter from all the feasts. That’s when moms and grandmas bust out their greatest family recipes that have been handed down for generations. Your great-grandma learned how to cook from her mom and she passed it on to your grandma. Your grandma passed it onto your mom. And your mom passed it on to nobody, because nobody in our generation knows how to cook anymore. That’s a bit of an overstatement: I know a lot of good cooks my age, I’m only being dramatic to emphasize my point, and my point is that home cooking is becoming a lost art. Most American men under the age of thirty-five only know how to grill. If it doesn’t involve fire, they aren’t interested. Most American women under the age of thirty-five can cook a few dishes, but they don’t have the same culinary prowess as their mothers or grandmothers. That’s not sexist, that’s a fact. My friend Jayde told me that, and she’s a girl, so I know it’s not sexist. Just ask Jayde. She’ll tell you. She’s the one who told me to write about this, so I know she has my back. Enjoy Thanksgiving while you can because it might go extinct.
It seems like every stoner I know goes dry at least once a year. One side effect of smoking marijuana on a regular basis is getting too high and forgetting to get more green before you run out. Dealers aren’t always available and cannabis clubs aren’t always open. That’s when you have to ask a stoner friend if he can spare a nug. You don’t need a gram, you only need enough for a bowl or two. You should offer him five bucks for it as a courtesy. If he’s a good friend he’ll decline your money and just spot you, because he knows that you’ll return the favor somewhere down the road. Giving away weed to a friend in need is an important part of the stoner lifestyle. It’s like buying a round for your friends at the bar. It’s for the good kind of karma.
I’ve been on a bit of a Bundaberg kick lately, but that’s only because I found a convenience store near my house that has their whole lineup of their flavored sparkling beverages. In case you don’t know, Bundaberg is an Australian company that uses traditional brewing methods to create non-alcoholic soft drinks. I’ve tried their Guava and Lemon Lime & Bitters; tonight I had their Peachee. Peachee is a peach flavored sparkling drink. It’s lighter tasting than you’d think. It’s like a less sugary version of peach juice with a mild amount of carbonation. Most peach flavored products really emphasize the peach flavor. Bundaberg Peachee is a mellower alternative. I’d recommend it for those times where you think you want a peach but you’re not willing to fully commit to one.
Marijuana has always been around, but now it’s going mainstream. Medical marijuana and even recreational use has been legalized by several states and decriminalized in others. It’s being accepted by those who used to shun it. Case in point: these three grandmas smoking weed for the first time. The grandmas were always aware of marijuana, but they didn’t try it because they didn’t see a reason to. They said they were too busy smoking cigarettes, drinking cocktails, and raising families to try it. Luckily for us, they did and Cut Video caught it all on camera. It starts with the three old ladies taking turns hitting a bong and encouraging the others to take bigger rips. Then they start discussing how they feel as they experience things while being stoned for the first time. Then they hit a vaporizer. The first one realizes how smooth it is and comments, “This could be dangerously fun!” Then they play Cards Against Humanity while enjoying munchies and trying to figure out the definition of queefing. After a decent amount of reflection, the grandmas explain their newfound feelings of acceptance of the drug. The ladies are dignified and distinguished and I’m glad this video came out before the holidays because I think it will inspire a lot of families to toke up together before the Thanksgiving feast is served. Marijuana is not a bad thing. This video is proof.
Like millions of people, I sometimes grind my teeth at night. Apparently I’ve been doing it for years because my teeth were noticeably worn down. My dentist suggested that I get a night guard. It’s basically a mouthguard similar to what athletes wear, except they are form-fitted to your teeth and you pop it in just before bedtime. It keeps your teeth from making contact when you grind them. It takes a little bit of adjustment before I got used to it, but now I can’t sleep without it. I no longer have to worry about any nocturnal dental trauma. I used to be a little ashamed of wearing it around people, but most people are accepting of it and more than a few have inquired about getting one for themselves. A lot of people grind their teeth and don’t know that there’s a solution for it. Sleep disorders seem to be a taboo subject matter. They don’t have to be.