Happy 4th of July and Other Things

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Yes, once again, I emerge from another hiatus to wish you all a Happy 4th of July, and what better way to say that than with a lewd photo of Tina Armstrong right?  Muhahahahaha!!

Much has happened during this hiatus including a trip to China with me and the GF, Arsenal ending their trophy drought with the FA Cup and the thrill of watching another World Cup, which has culminated into one hell of a game for the U.S. as they ended their campaign with a loss to Belgium.

The GF and I will traveling to St. Augustine this 4th of July, but weather reports have come in that Hurricane Arthur will be sweeping by the coast.  It apparently won’t hit mind you, but assuming it does, it might hurl lances at us with the Ghouls and Ghosts theme playing in the background.  Anyways, here’s my little blip on the blog.  Hopefully, I’ll update with more thoughts soon, especially since YouTube effectively eliminated my account (more on that later).  Unitl then, have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!!

Phil McNulty & Celebrations

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I’m sure you all know that this has been a very up and down season for Arsenal, especially since we’ve been number 1 in the Premier League for quite some length, only for it all to topple as we now remain at 5th.  Now, I won’t add to what others have mentioned already, but let me just say that it hurts as a fan. 

Yesterday, Arsenal gave us a dogged, grind-it-out, ugly performance to reach the FA Cup finals after the shot-stopping Lukasz Fabianski provided the foothold we needed to beat a Wigan squad who, despite playing for the Championship, remain undefeated in their last 12 games in this tournament.  It was for that reason that we celebrated.  It was for that reason that fans all across Arsenal were swept in jubilation…we have emerged with a chance to reclaim the FA Cup.

Then some hack at the BBC wrote this a day later.

Phil McNulty’s hatred for Arsenal borders on the pathological, and despite his bias for all things Manchester United, the very fact that he claimed that our celebrations “hinted at not just relief but almost a desperation,” highlight how willing he is to abandon the joy of sport at the expense of not only insulting Arsenal Football Club, but the very nature of the FA Cup. 

Furthermore, his insinuation that Wigan are a “very competent, but hardly [a] remarkable, Championship team” is insulting given that they not only won the trophy last season, but did so while beating Manchester City (last season and this season).  My Arsenal bias holds on to the notion that we were the better (yet nervy) side yesterday, but take nothing away from the Latics; they played their socks off (aside from some strange calls from that jerk they call a ref).

Well, we’ve fallen off a bit in the Prem, but a win at Wembley will hopefully put things right for us.  With hacks like Phil at the helm of football writing on the Beeb, it’s time to throw off all the divisiveness amongst our support and rally behind the team.  Let’s give Arsenal all we got, and let’s get ourselves a trophy!!!!

Naika Reviews LUTHER (Seasons 1-3)

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Let me be clear and say to all of you that I don’t do much television.  Even if I did, I’d probably find myself recapping shows long after their original run, and unfortunately, Neil Cross’ Luther is one of them.  I’ve long heard of the acting talents of Idris Elba on The Wire, along with his much professed love of all things Arsenal, but after watching all three seasons recently, I find it regrettable that I didn’t see his work sooner.  Luther is a brooding whirlpool of urban mayhem and Idris Elba’s portrayal of him is at the center of it all, serving as both anchor and sail.

The plights of Luther throughout the show would not be complete without a host of other characters who serve to question his moral limits while offering him sincere support.  Despite his separation from his wife Zoe, Luther’s main female counterpart is the cunning and scene-stealing Alice Morgan (portrayed by the talented Ruth Wilson).  After murdering her parents in the very first episode of season 1, Alice develops an uncanny attraction to our detective after he deduces her involvement in the matter without any solid evidence.  Luther initially views this relationship as an annoyance as he juggles between his marital problems and his duties, but as the second and third seasons unravel, we slowly find that the both of them begin to confide in one another in such a way that thoughts of something more are left lingering for us in the series’ end.

In addition, a detective series wouldn’t be complete without good old precinct regulars, namely his clear-eyed protege Detective Sergeant Justin Ripley (Warren Brown).  The straight arrow of the bunch, Justin acts as both Luther’s trusted partner and moral compass when many of the show’s antagonists test his conscience.  This especially comes to a boil at the end of season 1 when another one of Luther’s fellow inspectors commits a very desperate crime and pins all the blame on him.  However, we wouldn’t have a gripping show if the challenges to Luther’s conscience didn’t have its consequences, and what you’ll find in season 3 is a new juggling act for our protagonist as he juggles a new threat in the form some very vindictive co-workers that goes a stretch beyond your normal internal affair shenanigans.

luther-1-_FULL-bbc-america-one1If it sounds like I’m being vague here, then believe me when I tell you that it is on purpose.  Don’t expect the brilliance of Sherlock or the class of Poirot here since Luther’s hook is all about how the search to nab wicked men make virtuous men both obsessed and miserable.  In addition to that, the consequences aren’t the typical mouth-offs like “Yeah, she took the kids and moved to her Mom’s” kind, it’s the violent, yelling punch a fucking hole in my wife’s door kind…NON-STOP.  Now, if you have a hard time believing what I am writing, then you’ll have no problems seeing it since we have one fine actor doing his best to paint a very dark portrait for us.

In the end, Idris Elba’s award-winning portrayal of Luther, from the weary eyes to the hunched shoulders, along with his dogged gait and razor-edged wit, is a sight to behold.  In respect to the series as a whole, we not only witness how one detective’s obsessions lead him to more compromising consequences, but it challenges the old notions of why we seek light at the end of ANY tunnel in the first place.  For a man like Luther, light at the end of the tunnel obscures the true purpose of emerging from it altogether, and to do so, one must be willing to trudge deeply into the darkness.

Hello 2014!

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It’s a bit late from me y’all, and no, I didn’t have the time to make a 2013 event round-up like in the previous year, but that might go to show you how crazy last year was.  From the Boston bombings, the death of Nelson Mandela, the World Cup draw and the release of the PS4, lots of stuff has happened.  There’ll be more movie reviews coming on here soon, and I’ll have some more Arsenal updates as well as we continue to push for the title (cross your fingers).  Otherwise, hope you all had a great Holiday, so stay warm and let’s welcome 2014!

Happy Holidays!!

Cowboy_Bebop_Group_ChristmasSince it IS the season, it’s my pleasure to wish the lot of you a Happy Holiday, assuming you pass by here of course.  The end of the year is nigh, so you’ll definitely be hearing one of my self important Year-End Round-ups, along with a possible AMV as well on the YouTube channel.  Lots of things have happened in the world the last time I blogged, and there’s no better way to get those events out of the chest than to procrastinate like a drunken sloth and hurriedly write a half-assed blogpost before New Year’s Eve.  Furthermore, since the GF is watching Cowboy Bebop for the first time this month, a Cowboy Bebop-ish holiday image is in order.  Happy Holidays folks!!!

Weekend Roundup (11/23/2013 to 11/24/2013)

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Quiet weekends are usually good weekends and in this case, it was damn good!  Saturday morning started out well with a good win from Arsenal at home against in-form Southampton and my, was it a cracker!  The Saints played very well in the first half, but some luck from Artur Boruc’s horrible work in front of goal saw Arsenal’s Giroud steal the ball from him to score on the spot (muhaha!).  Despite what the BBC’s written, luck wasn’t the only thing that helped us will that day.  With solid defending, great build-up play and a penalty for us due to Per getting his jersey yanked, we convincingly closed out the kind of game that we would usually falter with years ago.  How’s that for a good start to the weekend?

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And with the GF still recovering from a neck knack, a great deal of the weekend had us watching TV, namely some episodes of her favorite shows, including Supernatural (because all chicks like Dean Winchester).  We also decided to jam on some old Hong Kong action with Tsui Hark’s Once Upon a Time in China films starring Jet Li as the titular Chinese folk hero Huang Fei-Hong.  Saturday night was devoted to the first film, while Sunday had us jamming on the second.  Despite the films’ relative age, they still pack the same punch that they had all those years ago.

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Interspersed in between these moments was me playing some Tetris Attack, namely the Puzzle mode, which I’ve never dabbled in until now.  Simple puzzles become brainteasers requiring a specific number of moves which not only test your understanding of the game, but can truly frustrate you if you let them.  Luckilly, the GF was there to sort many of them out, but believe me when I tell that some of them had us pissed for moments on end.  I was even playing Konami’s Batman Returns on Saturday as well, but it didn’t keep me on my toes as much as Tetris Attack did (but I will say that Catwoman is a BITCH!).

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And lastly, we paid a nice visit to Tampa’s Thai Temple, Wat Mongkolratanaram, by Palm River road, with some of the GFs coworkers tagging along.  It was a windy day, but things were still cooking as we had ourselves a big pile of Thai food and desserts.  With bowls of beef noodle soup, curries with rice, and desserts ranging from cassava cakes to Sticky Rice with coconut milk and mangoes, we all knew we were in Heaven.  Too bad there weren’t any curry puffs for me to chew on.  Overall, it was a great weekend leading up to the big one we’ll all get on Turkey Day.  Have a great week folks!

Huang Fei Hong Spicy Peanuts are the SHIT!!!

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It’s probably no coincidence that this awesome snack is named after the famed martial artist from Foshan because Huang Fei Hong’s irresistable combinantion of crunchy, jumbo peanuts (from Shandong province mind you), chillis and peppercorns pack the right amount of kick that will keep you begging for more.  It’s a relatively simple snack that’s a farcry from the stuff we usually gobble here in the States, but maybe that’s what makes it so great to eat.  How can peanuts simply taste so good?

The peanuts themselves are full of crunch and aren’t those teeny tiny Planters nuts we usually find ourselves downing during beer night.  However, the kick comes straight from our infamous little friends from Sichuan: huajiao peppercorns.  The signature ‘numbing’ spice that trickles across your tongue may initially have you reaching out for the nearest glass of water, but upon taking the heat in stride, you’ll find yourself reaching out for more. 

Internet foodie blogs have already buzzed about this hot treat, and for good reason too.  It’s a simple snack that features a neat variation to the usual fare we consume, but with neat packaging and ample supplies in many an asian grocery store equals a damn fine product.  There’s even a knock off version of this product named after Huang Fei Hong’s love interest in Tsui Hark’s classic “Once Upon a Time in China” film series too.  A favorite of this blogger’s snack repetoire, Huang Fei Hong Spicy Peanuts is da SHIT, so get ‘em today!