Swords, Gravity, Bikers: Three Things That Pumped Me Up Last Week

1. Samurai Movies. Last Saturday was an active one for me. The day began with the traditional Samurai Saturday Kurosawa movie viewing. The Criterion Collection on Netflix Watch Instantly has proven a handy tool for filling out the gaps in my samurai movie knowledge, even while it gives me a chance to go back and watch some of my old favorites. Sanjuro was new to me, but I loved every minute of the film.Toshiro Mifune was at his gruffest, but still stole the show in this story of a group of inexperienced young Samurai dealing with a rebellion and taking advice from a grizzled old drunk. Mifune delivers the goods, as ever. I’m not sure why I get such a kick out of these old movies. Sure, part of it is the unquestionable bad-assery of dudes just straight up wailing on each other with swords. But the violence is surprisingly low key. (Until it isn’t). But there is a lyrical quality to films like Sanjuro and thematic depth to movies like Rashomon that I prefer.

2. Triple Rock Brewery Firkin Festival. After the film ended and the Beautiful Wife returned from her trip,we met up with some friends and made our way out to the East Bay for some delicious craft beers at the Triple Rock Brewery Firkin Gravity Beer Festival. Some of the finest small brewers in Nor Cal showed up with kegs of their most delicious brews. All of them served the old fashioned way, relying on an angled keg and Sir Isaac’s Newton’s specialty to make the suds flow. I tasted probably the finest Imperial Stout ever from Ballast Point.  It was called “Sea Monster” and it tasted so good that it made me want to float through the gulf stream and hassle 17th century sailors. My local brewery, The 21st Amendment brought their “Imperial Jack” ESB, which was brewed with Maker’sMark barrel oak chips and tasted like it’s ideal setting would be to drink it from a Mason jar on the front porch of a large Kentucky home.

3. Punks fighting hipsters with bikers watching. The East Bay Rats are a motorcycle club based in Oakland. After the beerfest, we moseyed along to their clubhouse for an irregular Fight Night. I do not ride a motorcycle and I have never attended a soirée at a clubhouse before, so I had nothing to calibrate my expectations aside from my fervent appreciation of Sons of Anarchy so I didn’t know what I was getting into. The night was billed as Punks Versus Hipsters, and they started out trying to match the mohawks to the moccasins, but over time the match ups moved away from that theme and anyone who wanted to enter the boxing ring took a turn. It was awesome. The bikers that I met were all nice guys.No one removed anyone else’s tattoo with a blowtorch, so Sons of Anarchy may have oversold the danger. The bouts were all overseen by a referee, the fighters wore gloves, and everybody hugged after the match. It was more like a Smoker at a local boxing gym than Thunderdome. The club house was super crowded though, and it seemed like a popular event.

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