It’s Friday. Looking for something to switch up your weekend, or to give you an excuse to relax a little? That’s what the Weekend Reset is for. Each week we’ll pull together five things to get your weekend started. Could be something to read or watch, something to eat or listen to, or even something to do. Enjoy the weekend fellas.
BLANCH: Green Veggies.
Spring’s a springing. And spring means fresh green vegetables. You might wonder how I got the veggies in this photo to look so green. No, not a filter. The trick? Blanching. And it’s super simple. You boil a pot of water with a good amount of salt. Cut up your green veggies (green beans, snap peas, fava beans, fiddle heads, asparagus, broccoli, whatever) into bite size pieces. Then — drop ’em into the boiling water for a very short amount of time (1-2 minutes), fish ’em out with a strainer, and immediately dunk them into a bowl full of ice water and let them sit there. They’ll come out delightfully crisp, bright green, and full of flavor. Got multiple kinds of veggies? You can do several batches in one go. Serious Eats has a great guide to this technique. Once blanched, you can eat ’em as is, or maybe with a squeeze of lemon — they don’t need much of anything — though if I feel like it, I’ll throw on the dressing from this recipe, which works well with any fresh green vegetables.
WATCH: The Hollow Crown
In 2012 and 2016, the BBC produced two seasons of “The Hollow Crown,” a television adaptation of Shakespeare’s history plays — and they’re flat out fantastic. The first season includes Richard II, Henry IV Part 1 and 2, and Henry V, and features dynamite performances from Ben Whitshaw, Patrick Stewart, Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston. These plays are epic in every sense of the word — in fact, many epic films draw their inspiration from Henry V’s famous St. Crispin’s day speech — but they are also riotously funny, thanks to the antics of one of Shakespeare’s greatest characters, Sir John Falstaff. Worth checking out even if Shakespeare isn’t “your thing” — the acting and directing are so good here that the archaic language feels very accessible.
Do you like chess? Then you’ll love Dominion. When Dominion came out in 2009, it pioneered a new kind of card game: the deck-builder. In Dominion, you’re simultaneously “purchasing” cards from the bank — and also using those same cards to win points and antagonize other players. It’s genius game design because it forces you to think strategically: do I want a bigger deck, which means my best cards come up less frequently? Or do I want a smaller deck, with fewer options, but a higher chance of drawing something powerful? A full match takes only 30 minutes or so — its fast rounds, strategic gameplay, and modularity make it perfect for both a quick weeknight play session as well as for a marathon game night. Even better? The entire game is available for free online play, so you can easily host a Dominion game night over Zoom.
READ: Fractured Lands
In 2011, I remember watching TV news, riveted, as protesters in Egypt, Syria, Tunesia, Lybia, and other Middle Eastern countries took to the streets, demanding an end to autocratic rule. For a moment, it looked like countries that had been ruled by dictators for generations would finally become functioning democracies. But then things took a turn for the worse. Scott Anderson’s breathtaking book — which started out as a very long form magazine article, one that took up an entire issue, cover-to-cover, of the New York Times Magazine — chronicles every aspect of the Arab Spring, from its hopeful beginnings to the terrifying emergence of ISIS. I was already an Anderson fan thanks to his brilliantly written book on T.E. Lawrence, but Fractured Lands absolutely knocked my socks off. This is contemporary history that is both intimate and riveting, and I devoured it in a matter of days.
STRETCH: Your Body
(Biggie Lebowski likes stretching but likes naps even more.)
I don’t know about you, gents, but I’m sitting a lot these days. Between all of the time I spend on Zoom, on email, on writing, and on the couch — and the fact that I’m no longer going into an office — I sometimes find myself on my butt for 10-12 hours a day. And after a day like that? My low back ain’t happy. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to make a more dedicated effort to get up and stretch, and it’s helped immensely. I’ll roll out my quads and hammies with a foam roller. I’ll dig into my hips with a lacrosse ball. I’ll lie on one of these glorious torture devices to stretch my psoas. I’m a big fan of myofascial release — but there are plenty of other ways to stretch out. Try these static stretches, or these dynamic ones, or some banded stretches, which can also be done with a towel. Running short on time? Throw a tennis or lacrosse ball under your hamstring while you’re working. Trust me, your body will thank you.
About the author: Michael Robin is an LA-based television writer. When he’s not working away on his latest pilot script, you can find him scuba diving, hosting Shabbat dinners, or goofing off with his goldendoodle, Biggie Lebowski.