Monday, May 27, 2019

Brew Detective: Kids These Haze

Kids these days, or rather Kids These Haze, is an IPA from Breakside Brewery that blends beer and art quite nicely. After all quality craft beer is an art form; the combination of the two can really make a statement. Some labels depict two men smooching and taking selfies, another shows a boy and girl kissing. I'm all in on the open minded creativity. Kids These Haze won gold at the Oregon Beer Awards in the category of hazy, hoppy beers this year. 

Brewed in small batches for only three months per year, this beer pursues freshness. Originally crafted in 2015 with students from Lewis & Clark College, KTH is a limited release worth getting your hands on. The colorful glow of this ale sort of distorts the senses. It's not quite as hazy as the name would lead you to believe and I'm cool with that. It's still on shelves, but for how long? Enjoy responsibly. 

Kids These Haze | 6.2% | 65 IBU
Hops: Mosaic, El Dorado, Amarillo
Malt: Two Row, Maris Otter, Wheat, Light


Tuesday, May 21, 2019


The Finals are taking form as the Dark Side shot down the Rebellion. Golden State making five straight Finals in this era is mind-boggling—the NBA of the 1960's is almost a different sport. Now that we know who's representing the west, and being that the east is lacking LeBron, I now have way more free time to do other things. This is an NBA adios of sorts, well, at least until next season...unless KD re-ups with Golden State. 

This Blazers team etched even more love into the hearts of their fans. Thanks Rip City for one hell of a year. Last night I was fortunate enough to attend game four at Moda Center. Agent M came through in the clutch. The energy and intensity were intoxicating. Nothing comes easy in a playoff game, nothing. Basketball is electric at that level. 

I have to confess, I've attended game four of the WCF in each of the past two seasons. The game at Oracle last May was cray cray (thank you Bobcat). Last night's overtime thriller was bonkers too. My notes from the game are below. 

- Meyers Leonard played out of his gourd, he could not have been more red hot. Speaking of red hot, Bill Walton was at the game gloriously rocking a red tie-dye.

- CJ and Dame played better. It's really fun to watch CJ utilize his craftiness on offense and his conditioning and effort defense. Each possession Klay guarded Dame was a battle.

- The clear path foul was brutal; it swung momentum, totaling five points and cutting the lead from nine to four.

- My favorite lineups included: CJ, Dame, Hood, Leonard, Collins, Lil Curry and Mo Harkless.

- One of the very few moments of carelessness was a turnover on a set play that led to an easy bucket for Golden State. Whether it was Dame's wishy-washy pass or miscommunication, it hurt.

- Portland took some unnecessary threes as the game got tight. That dunk by Meyers to put Portland up three with two minutes left was dope. If only Dame had hit that running, baby sky-hook at the end of regulation. Damn.

Last Play of Regulation (111-111)
- The Last time Portland led they were up by one thanks to CJ (115-114). Then Steph came down and missed a three. I think McKinnie got the offensive rebound and put-back for two, ultimately putting the Dark Side up for good. Not that any one play decides a game, but if the Trail Blazers rebound that miss, they're up one with the ball and 85 seconds to play; a snap-shot moment they wish they had back. Portland's following possession resulted in a miss. Then Green hit the dagger three. I thought Dame got fouled on the second-to-last play where he drove the ball and was met with contact by Green and Thompson. That's a tough no call at home in an elimination game with 3.3 seconds to play. On the final play Meyers set a screen for CJ to go toward the hoop and then screened for Dame to flair out to the corner for three. Turner inbounded to Dame for the three, the rest is history. (117-119)


Basketball's had my attention since I was a wee little tot rocking J's in '85 before they were a thing. This was a big transitional year for me. I'm thankful for the language that is Basketball. I played pick up games at a training center for ninjas in the Pearl. I rekindled old-school hoops connections while making new friends in Portland's basketball league. During design week I attended a Blazers-centric event that showcased game posters and other kick ass basketball art. I hoop regularly at Matt Dishman Community Center. Irving Park and Peninsula Park almost always have runs when the weather's nice. I was blessed to watch the pros play a handful of times because I live in the same hood and games here are relatively affordable. There were invitations to watch the Blazers at my homies' house with their families. Other times we'd go to Ron Toms where the games were projected off the bar wall as if it was our own basketball living room. Or we'd just cheer from home with some snacks and cold ones. However it was being taken in, hoops was on the menu.

Portland is Rip City because Portland loves the Blazers, and maybe more importantly, we love hoops. The coolest thing about this community is that all walks of life represent Rip City. On the day of, or the day after a game, everyone is rocking Blazers gear. It doesn't matter who we are or what we look like, we all share the Trail Blazers. Thanks Portland. Go Rip City!


Monday, May 20, 2019


It must be nice to lose a two-time Finals MVP and not skip a beat. If Durant is going to sit out the entirety of this series, force someone other than Curry to score 30+ points. Portland unfortunately let the last two games slip away after big leads were snatched back by the Dark Side. The second and third games of the Western Conference Finals epitomized the tales of two halves.

I want the Blazers to show some more fire. Draymond's a total spaz who's always yapping and acting a fool, he also apparently never fouls anyone (Iggy too for that matter), but he does come to play. It pains me to say, but Green was the best player on the court in game three. He pushed pace, anchored their defense below the three point line, made the right reads, and simply put, played harder and with more passion. His rebounds that lead to him running the break were demoralizing. He wanted it and attacked. He was as Kerr put it, "a wrecking ball."

When Quinn Cook, Jordan Bell and Jonas Jerebko make an impact, especially in the WCF, it fries the opposition. This was all happening sans KD and without Iggy playing in the second half. It's probably too late, but Rip City should to do to Steph, what Golden State is doing to Dame. Portland needs to have a diligent defender stay attached to Curry's hip at all times. When Steph doesn't have the ball they need to fully deny him. If Steph does come off of ball screen action, blow it up and double him hard. Make him pass it to the screener or elsewhere. How many times has the basketball world seen this story over the past five seasons?

On offense the Trail Blazers may try playing Lillard off ball, again similar to what Golden State does with Steph at times. If Dame's man is going to be glued to him, run Lillard off some non-ball action to try and free him up, or to get a favorable match up. One thing's for sure, the high ball screen action is not working for Dame, or for the Blazers in general. If Portland continues to play that way the screener should slip more often to shake things up. Portland's best lineup during game three was probably their third quarter quintet of CJ, Mo Harkless, Lil Curry, E.T. and Meyers. I'd like to see more cutting action from the Blazers, especially from Dame and CJ. Let Turner or Lil Curry initiate some of the offense, that way Portland can try and counter some of Golden State's over-aggressive defense on the perimeter.

Another thing, when Portland's playing with the lead, they need to act like they have the lead. There's no need to hoist a deep three when you're up. The Blazers need to get back to their unselfish play and work the ball side to side or inside out. The half court possessions in which the Trail Blazers make less than two passes rarely result in a quality shot, regardless of the outcome. Move the ball and move your bodies.

Not only has Dame struggled on offense, he's dying on screens when defending on the  perimeter. He cannot be a zero on defense, especially when he's turning the ball over. I love Dame, but this is gut check time with a win-or-go-home game four looming. For granted his ribs are jacked, but he's got to get back to that laser focus in order to overcome the greatest of hurdles.

At the start of the series it was no secret that the Blazers had to do all the little things in order to have a chance. And even though Portland looked damn good in the first half of games two and three, one issue has irked me; their lack of physically boxing out. I realize that the rebounding numbers are going to be skewed due to Portland's poor shooting percentage, but defensive rebounding is crucial against the Dark Side. You cannot give them extra chances after they initially miss, it's back breaking. Golden State tends to capitalize on those chaotic extra chances following an offensive rebound or broken play. My notes have a repeated message, BOX OUT.  

No team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit, and yet, I still want the Rip City Rebellion to fight for their first WCF win in almost two decades. Let's go Blazers, I want to keep watching Portland basketball. I don't want this team to get swept. Hell, I don't want no gentlemen's sweep either. The Trail Blazers have been outgunned thus far. Perhaps too much underdog energy has crept into the series. Who cares about odds, or Death Stars, or Mike Breen's over-the-top favoritism. F all that S. Let's start with one victory and go from there. I'll keep believing, hopefully the Blazers locker room believes too. Only in the NBA.

"so you're telling me there's a chance"

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Brew Detective: Cumulus Tropical IPA

A few years back my partner in crime and I pulled into Eugene, laid out a blanket and took a little nap in one of the many beautiful parks. Literally a block away was ColdFire Brewing, of course we ambled in and had a couple of cold ones, along with some delicious food truck accoutrements. Now living in Oregon I can decide daily as to which delectable local libation I will be consuming. 

ColdFire's Cumulus Tropical IPA is another in the growing list of Northwest brews tipping their pint glass to New England style hazy's. The side of the can reads, "This one's cloudy—gently rouse before drinking." For my two cents, it doesn't have nearly the sediment as some of the others in this genre. None-the-less, I gave it a gentle swirl before pouring it into a glass.

My tasting notes are as follows: Pear juice is the dominant scent after cracking the can open. A great doughy head is produced, lingering with lasting legs. There's an almost complete absence of bitterness. Rarely do I taste the malt of a hazy IPA, but it was definitely noticeable in the Cumulus. Look for this fine libation on draft or as a four pack. Enjoy responsibly. 

Cumulus Tropical IPA | NE Style | 6.5% & 60 IBU


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Run River North

Best New Music |

Run River North | "Wake Up" 

Infectious, New Favorite, Warm Weather, A Reminder, The Lyrics, Run River North, Wake Up 

we ain't got no money
but we got lots of time
so let's spend a little
live a little, cause everyday 
the sun will rise
wake up


same life 
same skin 
wear it out
I hope it fits
the sun is come'n out
I think it's time
wake up

Monday, May 13, 2019

NBA | (Intergalactic) Conference Finals

The conference finals have descended upon the cities whose teams are still in the hunt. Now NBA fans get almost science fiction-like match-ups. A comic book battle will be waged in the East thanks to Giannis and Kawhi's freakish talents. The West resembles an intergalactic struggle as the Rip City Rebellion takes on The Dark Side. Thanks to CJ the rebellious three seed advanced. I'm hyped for the Western Conference Finals. Tuesday's ping pong balls also create some nice pregame window dressing.

Game 7's
Welcome to the Hood, northeast Portland to be more specific. Rip City was feeling good Sunday afternoon as the Trail Blazers weathered game seven at altitude. CJ was blazing Nuggets with his silky jumper and delectable mid-range game. He racked up 37 points in a 100-96 victory. His hustle to perfectly time a LeBron-like block definitely kept the momentum in Portland's favor. Dame went 3 for 17 from the field and the Blazers still found a way to win. Rodney Hood's emergence has been fun to cheer for. I wish him a speedy recovery, the Blazers will presumably need him (or E.T. phones home). Who else wants some more Zach Collins? I'm loving ZC's energy, effort and acumen. And big ups to Kanter for adhering to his faith-based fast while still doing the in-game dirty work with one shoulder. Rip City Rebellion reporting for duty.


Portland embodies selflessness and togetherness, almost something more than team. A common thread weaves through the entire squad. Their shared and collective journey has brought them to this opportunity, no matter how daunting. Each Blazer exudes that willingness to want it for the next guy. Their team play and leadership exemplifies this ethos. Learned or intrinsic, the magic and mentality of their unity disseminates belief. Don't listen to the naysayers, just believe and remain together. 

Belief is needed for camaraderie, camaraderie builds into rebellion, and rebellions face off against brutal opposition—Rip City brings hope. Hope and belief can be powerful weapons. Some laser beam accurate jumpers and Wookiee-like interior rebounding would help the Rebellion as well. The Dark Side has reigned for too long. Rise up Rip City Rebellion and cast down the evil empire. Every sound minded NBA fan in the galaxy should be pulling for the Trail Blazers. To quote the American philosopher Flavor Flav, "This is a call to all you sleep'n souls, wake up! Take control of your own cipher, and be on the lookout for those spirit snipers, try'n to steal your life." Down with the Dark Side. Go Rip City Rebellion!    

North of the border Toronto and Philadelphia took game seven down to the wire. Kawhi put on his cape and saved the day with his plink, plink, plink, Plinko-like buzzer beater. For those unaware, Leonard's a two-way monster. He's set the bar during these playoffs with his performance. More on that later. Everyone of his 41 points was needed. Toronto only scored 92 and won by two. Again, he's a beast. Both coaches played seven guys with Philly's starters stacking serious time (I don't count Monroe playing two minutes). In a game that was so distilled, the team with the best player won.


Avengers will assemble in Milwaukee as Giannis and Kawhi clash for supremacy in the east. They're probably the two best, two-way players remaining in the playoffs. Sorry KD, your team is too good. More on that later. It's a coin flip to say who's better, Kawhi or Giannis? This series will showcase their otherworldly talents, as well as something less talked about, their tenacity. It's no wonder these two guys are perhaps the best in the league. They don't seem to share the AAU, buddy buddy bullshit, or self delusional grandeur that infects the Association. I think this is Milwaukee's series. I trust their players and system more than I trust Toronto's. This will be a Clash of the Titans. Here's to hoping their assignment is to guard each other more often than not. Release the Krakens.

More On That Later
In the above paragraphs I typed, more on that later, a couple of times. Later is now. Here's a quick dish on who I think has been the best of the best during these playoffs. A top five shall suffice. 

1. Kawhi Leonard: He's a two-way monster who can shut down the other teams best perimeter player and still get you 30. He's also clutch and has the demeanor of a poker player that not even James Bond could get a read on. Feel free to take any other player listed below and ask yourself, is that guy gonna take this Toronto team as far as Kawhi can? I think not, but Durant probably comes closest. Leonard is doing the most with the least around him. Did you see Toronto playing game 7 hot potato?

2. Giannis Antetokounmpo: He's your likely MVP of the regular season and he might be more athletic than, dare I say, peak LeBron. He annihilates opponents without a great jump shot, although he takes them at the right times to keep the defense honest. Not only is he gifted, but damn if his attitude isn't all seek and destroy-like too. There's nothing not to love about this guy. His path to the NBA is unique. Unlike the trajectory of many top American hoopers who get coddled, spoiled and insulated via AAU circuits, sneaker companies and DI shenanigans, Giannis knows only one team, the Bucks. His loyalty is to the game. 

3. Kevin Durant: The most gifted scorer in the NBA and an OG unicorn. A seven foot perimeter player who can pretty much do everything. Just not on his own. It's unfair, I know, but so is his team. That's why I have him third. He's not doing it by himself. I get it, no one really does it by themselves. But come on, who else has a 6x all-star, 2x MVP, point guard, who happens to be the greatest shooter ever? Who gets a 3x all-star, 2x all-NBA, do-everything, defensive player of the year as their fellow forward? Does anyone else have a 5x all-star, 3x all-NBA, shooting guard with the record for most points in a quarter, who also happens to be an all-time shooter? Which other team has two different Finals MVPs? You get my point. No other superstar in the NBA is flanked by such a collection of elite talent, it makes the game so much easier. The most bizarre thing is, they probably need him more than he needs them. Boo Death Star. 

4. Damian Lillard: First thing's first, he's an awesome human. Second, he might be the best leader in the NBA. He loves his team like family, believes in team first play and is unselfish. His game is too legit to quit. His range seems infinite, hello logo. His handles are mad. He's got the quicks to get to the rim and finish. His nerves are that of a steely ninja assassin. He's Dame Dolla, the best MC in the Association and it ain't even close. He doesn't show off, he shows up. He's from Oakland and loves Portland. More importantly, he ain't scurred. In the battle for good versus evil, it's Dame Time. 

5. Nikola Jokić: He put himself on the map if he hadn't already. His body double never showed up and he just kept showing out. He plays center and point guard. There is absolutely nobody else like him in the NBA. He racked up playoff triple-doubles at a rate that put him in the company of Magic Johnson and LeBron James. Nuff said. Nice work. Maybe next time tiger. 

In a Galaxy Not Far Away... 
Both conference finals resemble science fiction. In our reality the Marvel Universe has infiltrated the eastern conference. A hardwood war will be waged as a Greek Freak confronts the quiet claw of a Finals MVP. Their end game, the NBA Finals. The Star War out west carries galactic ramifications as the Rip City Rebellion takes on the Death Star. Hopefully there's a round ball equivalent to a thermal exhaust port. That way the Trail Blazers can target in on it with their proton torpedoes. I'm all in on the Rebellion. Go Rip City! 

Only in the NBA

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Lazarus Chigwandali

Best New Music |

Lazarus Chigwandali | "Moyo Wanga" | 

Lazarus is an inspiration. Read this article. Watch the full set here. Thanks Lazarus.


Monday, May 6, 2019

Spring Time

Sevana | "Bit Too Shy" | EP

You're quite royal
That half smile on the corner of your mouth isn't normal
I could tell you would be loyal

Spring has sprung and though Jamaica's a long way from Portland, they have one ting in common...


Thursday, May 2, 2019

NBA | Round 2

Rip City put forth a strong team effort to even their series with Denver. In a night where Dame scored far less than is now expected of him, six Blazers scored in double figures, paced by McCollum's 20 points on 20 shots. CJ did have his mid range, herky-jerky jumpers and floaters going, thank god. He also led the team with six assists. It was indicative of a squad that just wanted to win. The most important stat is not a number, but rather a letter. Every playoff team is trying to avoid an L and Portland just chalked up a big W on the road. Sixteen big wins is what these guys are playing for.

A potential question surrounding the Trailblazers prior to game two may have been, who will help in scoring the ball other than Lillard? Dame's been an almost lock to score 30 and dish 6. Where were the other roughly 70 points going to come from? Well, in a game in which neither team hit a hundred, and the man who wears 0 only scored 14, the other Blazers scored 83. I guess my concerns were squelched. Kanter shooting over 50% helped Portland. Also interesting was the distribution of shots. The Blazers do need to box out with much more tenacity moving forward. Defense ends once you rebound the ball. 

Aminu played way better in game two on the offensive end and provided his normal glue guy intangibles. Harkless played limited minutes, he rolled his ankle pretty badly, yet still contributed. Rodney Hood played outstanding on both sides of the ball. He hit big shots that stabilized the second unit with productive and timely scoring. Hood also had a number of memorable defensive moments, including three blocks. 

I'll continue to monitor Al and Mo's willingness to take and make more jumpers, especially quick-window threes, where they need to have fast triggers. As the Nuggets load up on Dame and CJ out top in the screen and roll action, it's imperative that the Blazers take advantage of the four on three action once the ball has been kicked, especially if it results in a swing-it three. Also, Dame is a master of the late game drive and kick. His shooting ability opens up the drive, his ability to finish inside causes the defense to collapse, which signals Lillard to pass it to the corner shooters. It happened again last night as it did against OKC. As the defense ratchets up it'll be the more balanced team that perseveres. Portland also has the two best shot makers in the series, which is nice luxury to have as possessions slow down and the shot clock becomes a factor.

Is it fair to think of this match up as the battle to be The People's Champ? I mean, who wants to cheer for those other two teams in the west vying to be the bitchiest. Did you happen to see what Lillard said about pressure? The series is knotted up as it heads back to Portland. Rip City is ready to get lit for their favorite squad. I look forward to Friday night in the Rose Quarter.  

Jokić and his mile high men lost home court as they now travel to Oregon. Some interesting tidbits to think about while watching a point guard in the body of a not-so-chiseled center. First off, Nikola has more touches than anyone else in the playoffs, wow. Second, he's the assist man on the two top assist duos in the playoffs, as Murray and Harris benefit most from his genius level passing. Did you see him nutmeg Al? I'm also amazed by the plethora of ways in which he scores: off the bounce, at the elbow, catch and shoot, pick and pop, top of the circle threes, show and goes, mid post, low post, etc. He's such an enigma; there's nobody else who plays like him, let alone is built like him. As he ages into his body with a better diet and training regiment, look out. Just not this year Joker.

The B*tching Hour
Harden got got by the refs in game one. Then he got got by an eye rake from Draymond in game two. It's tough being an MVP not named Curry or Durant. What would happen if Steph was taking all of those "landing zone" fouls? Remember, his ankles are aided by the ligaments of cadavers. Quick aside, is anyone else tired of the antics and constant bitching in this series? On the other hand, there's truth to the notion that the Rockets are foul hunting instead of taking shots to make them. Maybe Houston should just try to beat the opponent rather than scheme the analytics. On to the Death Star.

Draymond is no longer fun to watch, even though he's a basketball Swiss Army Knife. He literally goes ballistic on refs like no one else in the league and should get booted from way more games. Iguodala has been the darling of metrics for his defense for quite some time now. I've watched him ample times over the past five years and here's my take. He's been gifted so many non-calls that it boggles the mind. He acts as though he's never fouled anyone, ever, every time he commits a foul. He's such a handsy player who also tends to be more flat-footed than most other "elite" defenders. I'm so over his bickering shrugs and ego-tripping flybys when he miraculously hits a three pointer because he's so wide open he could have had a ham sandwich and a soda to wash it down. He sure doesn't act a fool when he misses his fair share of lunch-break-jumpers. I too wish I could catch lobs from Green once he corrals the ball and dashes toward the lane after some screening action with Steph has left those two defenders orbiting around Curry, while the other two non-action defenders are instructed to stay attached to KD and Klay on the perimeter, leaving Dray and Iggy with a two on one at the rim

Last but not least, the arrogant nonsense showcased by Curry after his makes and sometimes even when he misses, pisses me off. It's one thing to celebrate a big shot, it's far less classy when showing off so frequently. Just imagine what he would've done had he made a series clinching dagger. Act like you've done it before. Act like the superlative star you are said to be. Because I for one am not a fan. Their collective sportsmanship is nearly nonexistent on the court. Unfortunately, those are not the role modeling antics I want young hoopers to be absorbing. Save your retinas the pain. Down with the Dark Side.

Back East
It's Milwaukee's east to lose, unless Boston wins. I think the Bucks playing at their best, is the best of those remaining back east. However they're unproven and their ultimate Grecian weapon is a shaky shooter, which allows the defense to sag tremendously and pack the paint when needed. The other Bucks showed up in game two, hitting a franchise record number of threes in a playoff game. Giannis can be unstoppable at times, yet Horford and the C's do as good a job as any defending him. The Bucks sorely miss the utility that Brogdon once afforded them, both as a creator who can make shots, and as defender. If Milwaukee isn't hitting threes, they're in trouble. 

Boston is like a box of chocolates. It's never a good thing when inconsistency is the constant. I was flummoxed by Kyrie's lackluster performance in game two. I'm not sure who has the best player in the series. Is it Kyrie or Giannis? Antetokounmpo is the most complete player on both ends of the floor, but Kyrie's a shot making magician who can also hit game winners when the onion sack is on the butcher block. I truly don't know which team will prevail, no one does, as neither team has grabbed control of the series yet. I expect this to go at least six, if not seven, only time will tell.  

Philadelphia and Toronto are Beyond Thunderdome. Kawhi's been the best player in the series, but Philly might have the next three or four best players on the court after Leonard. I love me some Pascal Siakam, but this is the first time he's had to be one of the guys. Siakam lit it up in game one, then the Sixers went back to the lab and made proper adjustments. I'm starting to waver on Lowry, this is just too many years in a row now, his game doesn't seem to translate well in the playoffs. He's still a fierce competitor and a good team defender. Marc Gasol cannot be so unengaged on offense and his defense has been a little less than. Toronto has some inefficiencies to correct.

The Raptors bench was supposed to be an asset, it hasn't looked that way so far. Philly has made some nice adjustments and actually went deeper into their bench surprisingly. The playoffs remind us that extra minutes that went to role players during the regular season, often go to the best players during the second season. With that being said, who is going to help Kawhi stave off the 76ers? Jimmy Buckets has reappeared and his name is not James. The east has my attention.

Only in the NBA,