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The Friday High Five
On Karate, Cultural Appropriation, and Getting Stuff Done
Every Friday I share 5 things that brought me joy this week. Also, high fives are inherently cool, and I think we can all agree Friday is the bestest day. Hence the Friday High Five. 🙏🏻
It’s a beautiful day here in Michigan. I’ll be spending the weekend outside, working on projects and generally enjoying the weather. And probably a cold beer or two.
In case you missed it, this week I published a story about the dark place my love for Timothy Olyphant led me.
I have to comment on Agent 47's look. The movie was faithful to the games in this regard, which, I guess, points for loyalty. But why cast someone like Olyphant and then remove his single-best feature? I am of course talking about his amazing head of hair.8 If beauty is a physical score and 100 is the highest you can get, shaving Olyphant took at least 30 points off the board. He looks like a slimmed down version of Vincent D'Onofrio from Full Metal Jacket. It's a travesty. The only worse example of casting someone and then removing what makes them them is when Fox cast Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and then sewed his mouth shut.
Have a great weekend! High five!
5 Things I Enjoyed This Week:
The Last Samurai
Getting Stuff Done
Finally got around to watching season 5. It might be my favorite season yet, though it’s really hard to top season 1. I guess I just enjoy seeing Johnny Lawrence as a degenerate.
My favorite thing about this show is how it doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s a Top Gun dream sequence where Johnny Lawrence plays beach volleyball while Kenny Loggins’ Playing With the Boys is on in the background. It’s pretty much all I’ve ever wanted from anything. Dip me in nostalgia and light me on fire.
Johnny staging an intervention at an Olive Garden is also a prime cut. Honestly, I’m there for anything Johnny does in this show.
It is a bit silly how the show elevates the stakes of karate. It’s almost like the Valley is this bizarro world that looks sorta like ours, but where karate is the single-most important thing in the world. It makes no sense whatsoever. Is this show meant to be a parody? I honestly don’t know, but I enjoy watching it.
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I mentioned previously that I hurt my neck weightlifting. I’m still on the mend. I no longer need to turn my entire torso to look sideways, so that’s a win. There’s still a twinge when I turn my head, so I’m giving it a bit longer before I start throwing around cold iron again.
Rather than sit around doing nothing, I’ve been running on the treadmill. Some people despise running on principle, and cardio in general, but I’ve always enjoyed it. I’m working my way up to 5 miles, and maybe to 10k territory from there. I never would’ve believed the next words coming out of my keyboard, but I actually prefer weightlifting to running. It’s hard to do both without compromising your gainz, and I’d rather devote time to building muscle, especially as I’m getting older. But I think even once my neck is fine, I’ll regularly include long cardio days in the rotation.
Besides, it’s hard to beat an activity you can do while watching a movie.
The Last Samurai
There’s really no way to get around it: Tom Cruise is a white savior in this film. Perhaps even more insulting—spoiler warning—he becomes the titular samurai, which is maybe the single-most egregious example of cultural appropriation I’ve ever seen. Yet for all that, The Last Samurai a damn good movie. Cruise is great as a traumatized soldier who tries hiding from memory in the bottom of a bottle. Ken Watanabe is magnetic, as always, as the stoically regal samurai Katsumoto. The action scenes are kinetic, the drama is quietly understated. It’s funny and heart-warming. It’s pretty much everything you’d want from a big action epic. Apart from the icky premise.
Getting Stuff Done
Few things are more motivating than getting stuff done. Productivity tends to beget more productivity. There’s a dark side to that, though—inactivity tends to breed further inactivity. It’s the reason mornings are so important, and it explains why a Saturday spent lazing around can easily become an entire weekend of the same. Inertia is a powerful force, for good or ill.
It’s been a busy yet fruitful week. We took advantage of sales coinciding with Independence Day—it’s fitting yet sad that all US holidays are commercialized—and bought a much-needed new mattress. We’ve been practicing driving with our daughter so she can get her license. Got the car fixed of several annoying ailments. Finally decided how to address our landscaping—mulch or rock is the new paper or plastic—and a dumpster deposited a load in the driveway this morning, which we’ll spread around this weekend.
On top of all that, I spent time fixing things on allthefanfare.com. Some of it is minor cosmetic stuff nobody will ever notice. I put a (free) subscription requirement on most of my posts, which I talk about here (the gist, if you are curious but not link-curious: I don’t want my work used to teach AI). I also wrote an overdue WTF is this site post.
And! I’m working on a fun side project with my friend Shawn, who did the illustrations on my Point Break articles. It’s too early to talk about yet but I’m really excited about where it’s headed.
It was a great week for getting stuff done, which just motivates me to keep it going.
Golf is an acquired taste. I didn’t care for it when I was young—it was a slow, boring sport for old white men. That opinion started changing once I began playing myself, and Tiger Woods pushed me the rest of the way. Now I find the things I’d once denigrated—the pace, the hushed tones, the scattershot nature of the telecast—are positives. Few things are more relaxing than watching golf on a Sunday afternoon.
Full Swing is part reality show, part documentary. It’s basically Hard Knocks: Golf Edition. It grants unprecedented access to the players. (If you thought golf was for rich people, this show will do nothing to disabuse you of that notion.) While there is a certain voyeuristic thrill in seeing where and how people live, my favorite part is going behind the scenes during tournaments. We’ve rarely seen the thrill of victory and the anguish of defeat so up-close and personal.
I’m only 3 episodes in but I’m already thrilled they’re doing a second season.
What are you into at the moment? Leave a comment and let me know!
If you enjoyed this, please like it and share it with someone. It’s the best way to show your appreciation and it would mean a lot to me. :)