Use the Force, Alex Cross

Rock formation at Torrey Pines State Reserve

Rock formation at Torrey Pines State Reserve

          A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

Actually, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. Let me try that again…

          A few days ago, in a neigborhood just across town…


           There, that’s better! Welcome back into the world of the Bear Team. Let’s get right to it! Last week started off with a bang (well, not really a bang, more like a whimper) as I found myself zipping along I-805 through a thick blanket of early morning fog. I was headed for work after a weekend off, and eager to cruise into the new week. So eager, in fact, that I cruised right past my exit without even realizing it. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have known at all had I not seen the following sign on the shoulder:

Guns are illegal in Mexico

Not having seen such a sign on any of my previous trips to work, I decided that immediate action was necessary. I whipped out my trusty GPS Navigation System, Chuck (whom some of you may remember from our trip across the U.S.) and entered the address for work. After making some quick calculations, Chuck took me off of the freeway and along the most indirect route that you could possibly imagine. While I won’t relate the details of this incredible journey, suffice to say that I saw much more of Chula Vista than I was ever meant to see. At least I didn’t end up at a border crossing, which I imagine would have gone something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_Uzlfq4348.

            I’ve been listening to a lot of George Carlin lately. Carlin is my all time favorite comedian, and political and cultural satirist. Hearing his take on everything from language to religion to personal irritations makes my twenty-five minute drive to and from work go by a little bit faster. Most recently I’ve been playing his 1990 album “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.” Here is one of my favorite bits from the album: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X0F1Qjn0Ac.

Speaking of albums, have you heard the new Black Sabbath song from the soon to be released “13?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVfUimq2KeI.

As long as we’re talking about media, we recently watched the latest movie from Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained.” This film follows the trials and tribulations of newly freed slave Django, portrayed by Jamie Fox, as he seeks retribution against brutal masters and serches for his long lost wife, and is yet another masterpiece to add to the Tarantino legend. In addition to Fox, the movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as Tarantino regulars Cristoph Waltz (in another excellent performance) and Samuel L. Jackson. As usual in Tarantino world, there is lots of blood, lots of dirty language, and plenty of witty dialouge. Check out the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5sks1-EGfw.

            When I wasn’t watching movies this past week, I was reading “Kill Alex Cross,” by James Patterson. In the interest of full disclosure, I must say that I am a huge fan of this series. While I don’t really get into Patterson’s other books, I love his “Cross” novels. In this particular installment, Alex Cross (who is a detective on the Washington D.C. police force, as well as a psychologist who specializes in profiling serial killers) serches for the person who kidnapped the President’s children while simultaneously working to stop a terrorist plot against the U.S. Learn more about Cross and his many adventures here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Cross.

            And now I present a new feature: “Recipes from the Bear Cave,” in which I’ll share some of my favorite, easy to make dishes. This week’s offering is something I like to call “Leftover Omelette.” The great thing about this dish is that is doesn’t have an iron clad recipe. As its name suggests, it depends on what the cook has on hand. Here is a list of the ingredients of a recently prepared verison:

  1. Three eggs: leftover from a carton bought to make hot and sour soup
  2. Sauteed onions and mushrooms: leftover from a steak dinner
  3. Bell pepper: leftover from making a pot of chili
  4. Tomato: leftover from falafel sandwiches
  5. Shredded cheese: leftover from tacos
  6. Salsa Verde: leftover from some dish I can’t remember

A delicious and quick meal, especially when you are still recovering from the usual “one shot too many” drinking adventure of the previous evening.

In the world of sports, my beloved Atlanta Braves have cooled off considerably after a scorching hot 12-1 start, having lost six of nine games as of 4/27. But one person who hasn’t slowed a bit is Justin Upton, who leads the major leagues with twelve home runs in the team’s first twenty-three games. Braves general manager Frank Wren is definitely loving the way this trade is turning out!

On a sad note, former Atlanta pitcher Rick Camp passed away a few days ago. Camp, who played for the Braves during several tough seasons during the 1980’s, is best known for being the only person to ever hit a home run that resulted in Fourth of July fireworks going off at 4:00 AM. Check out this historic moment here: http://www.11alive.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=290017.

On Saturday, the Bear Team ventured North to the town of Del Mar to vist Torrey Pines State Reserve http://www.torreypine.org/. This park is one of the largest anywhere in the state, and offers stunning views of rock formations and the ocean from its many trails. Due to my legendary ability to not find a parking space, we were forced to park in the lower lot, so it was necessary for us to walk up the road for several miles to reach the trails. This led to us being winded and tired before we even began our hike. Even so, we had a great time. To check out photos from our our visit, plus shots from other places we’ve visited, click here: https://www.facebook.com/keith.maxwell.716/photos?collection_token=1392311255%3A2305272732%3A6.

We ended our day with a visit to Great Maple, a local restaurant, for dinner. http://thegreatmaple.com/location/. This eatery, which features seasonal dishes, desserts, and drinks, is located a few blocks from home. I ordered the spicy chicken sandwich, and Dena had the five spiced burger. Both were delicious, though the prices are a bit high.

To wind up our experiences for the week, we visited Cohabitat, http://www.cohabitathome.com/, which is a store specializing in Indian merchandise and culture. As we browsed through incense and statues of Buddha, I was reminded of another Indian shopping experience. A few years ago, we were at a convenience store owned by an Indian man. When we asked if an item was from Pakistan, the owner stated, in no uncertain terms, “No! India! Pakistan has nothing!” Can’t we all just get along?

On to this week’s top ten list. Today’s topic: top ten Quentin Tarantino film projects. I have chosen to include any movie which Tarantino worked on, whether as a director, writer, producer, or actor. Here they are in order, with the first being my favorite:

  1. Pulp Fiction – This is still one of my favorite movies of all time.
  2. Kill Bill Volume I – Legendary fight scenes; earns a narrow edge over volume 2 due to the presence of Lucy Lui.
  3. Django Unchained – Fox, Dicaprio, Waltz, Jackson. Enough said.
  4. Natural Born Killers – Few people know that Tarantino was the original screenwriter for this Oliver Stone powerhouse
  5. Kill Bill Volume 2 – Memorable for the scenes with Uma Thurman and Gordon Liu, who portrayed sadistic mentor Pai Mei.
  6. Four Rooms – Tarantino directed one of four vignettes, “The Man from L.A.” in this film starring Tim Roth. Still hilarious to this day.
  7. Inglorius Basterds – Who could ever forget Christoph Waltz as “The Jew Hunter?”
  8. True Romance – Another Tarantino penned hit directed by someone else (Tony Scott). The cast in this film reads as a who’s who of Hollywood heavyweights: Christian Slater, Val Kilmer, Dennis Hopper, Patricia Arquette, Gary Oldman, and Brad Pitt.
  9. Grind House – A collaboration between Tarantino and longtime friend Robert Rodriguez (Desperado), this film is memorable for the inclusion of fearless stuntwoman Zoe Bell in the “Death Proof” segment.
  10.  Which to include: Jackie Brown, or Reservoir Dogs? Both great films, and both directed by Tarantino. I can’t decide, so I’ll go with neither and instead include Eli Roth’s Hostel , for which Tarantino was executive producer. A classic horror movie, “Hostel” shows what can happen to unaware people when traveling abroad.

So there you have it, my favorite Tarantino projects. I’m sure you don’t agree with all of my choices, but then again, that’s part of the fun isn’t it? As always, thanks for reading. From all of us here at the Bear Team, have a great night.  And, should you entertain the idea of not checking in next week, always remember, it is pointless to resist, my son. See you next time!

 

 

 

 

 

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