Friday, December 30, 2016

The BESTY's 2016

The Besty's 2016
Time flies when you're having fun. Either that, or time just keeps moving faster as my birthdays continue to pile up. The end of the year is usually marked by New Year's parties, concerts and shenanigans. Once again I'm listing off (chronologically) the best live performances that I was fortunate enough to catch. As in years past, I will acknowledge the best of the best, via The Roo Ratings. Have a great end to 2016 and have fun ringing in the New Year.

STS9 - The Wiltern - January 30th *
It was my favorite person's birthday weekend, we were in LA and the band straight shredded. They dropped Herbie Hancock bombs and doused the hyped crowd with some Tupac. We also danced and kicked it with some famous people, for real. This was probably the best I've ever seen from Sector, 2.0 or otherwise. Thanks Agent M for sharing your world with me. Big ups to our Culver City crew. Video

• Cavaliers at Kings - Sleep Train Arena - March 9th *
My favorite player in a city not too far away. Sacramento hosted LeBron in the arena he played his first NBA game in. Sleep Train is no more, but damn, what a cool throwback scene. There were wooden bleachers, heady beer and an intimacy that will be tough to replace. This was my first time seeing James in person. He commanded the floor and captivated attention. The Cavs won, sweetening the night for this hoops-crazed NBA fan. On a side note: I was able to catch this game, as well as a handful of Golden State games, meaning I saw both of the clubs that battled in The Finals. My nerd alert is reg'n high right now. 

Anderson East - Sweetwater Music Hall - March 10th
Great artists emerge over time and Anderson East is definitely carving his own path. He's an old soul with more than his fair share of talents. The band is super tight and his lyrics breathe on their own. The Sweetwater was the perfect venue for a group of musicians who truly care about their craft. Not only did they play material off of Delilah, they dappled the night with soulful and unexpected covers—Van Morrison and Mariah Carey, to name a couple. It was a cool night to share with one of our favorite friends.

• Billy & The Kids - Sweetwater Music Hall - April 18th
Thanks for hooking us up, you know who you are. As far as I'm concerned, this was the best night of Dead music I've heard in quite some time. A wonder-band formed around the drumming of Billy Kreutzmann obviously sounds good in theory, it's even better when it actually finds magic. This show ripped. Sounding good never sounded so good. I love it when originals team up with fresh faces; there's a different, better energy when the pillars of yesteryear share with the flag-bearers of the future. 

• Paul Simon - Greek Theatre - June 3rd *
The Greatest passed on this night... Paul Simon told everyone in attendance that Muhammad Ali had died. I welled up with tears, my emotions spurred by the loss of a legend. I too had lost a legend. Leading up to this show I had suffered personal loss. Thanks to Paul, and the emotionally-in-tune crowd, we were all sharing a surreal moment. Life is beautiful because it is finite. Paul Simon sung to us, and he branded us with the news. Heartache and joy were co-mingling. In a night when he played new material, plus all his hits, it was his profound respect for the champion of champions that will stay with me. He shared the sadness with us during the second encore. He bravely gave  us, as a sign of appreciation, "The Boxer." A powerful, timeless, and heartfelt night to remember. sigh.

The Besty's 2016
• Banks & Steelz - The Independent - August 27th *
RZA & Paul Banks threw down—love me some bang'n hip hop. A night only San Francisco can create.

Good night. Drop the mic. Uber to Kabuki. Late night sushi. That shit was real. Banks & Steelz. We all have voices. eightychoices.

• Dancing at Lughnasa - Main Stage West - October 14th (opening night)
Agent M strikes again; her ideas are always the best. It was opening night, and a chilly one,  at our local play house. We tackled that quickly with a Russian River red wine. Irish roots met modern portrayals and everyone nailed their roles. What a fun and entertaining night. I highly recommend live acting on stage; it's completely captivating when executed with honesty and humility. 

Robbie Robertson - Dominican University - November 16th
As the old saying goes, it's who you know, not what ya know. It was nice to have both aces up my sleeve for this. What an interesting night, the type that I hanker for. Thanks Agent M and Radio Silence. Video

• STS9 - The Fillmore - November 20th
Night two was a tough ticket to get (Thanks J), so it seemed only right to give Jerry a high five as we ambled up the stairs of The Fillmore to grab a drink and scope the posters, as per usual. It must have been in the ether. Early on Sound Tribe launched into a "Monkey Music" that would morph into "Dark Star." As fly as that was, the second set was pure fire. Sector merged new-school with old, as their energy never left the extreme. I was stoked to hear them drop dance party bombs while kick'n it with Agent M.

Salty Roo
Each event with an * denotes the best of the best. The Roo Ratings are held in the highest regard. Hip hop, hoops and STS9 are Salty favorites. Pip is looming over the basketball games now, and she too likes it when music thumps. If I had to guess, Wanda is more of a Paul Simon type. And who doesn't love Ali? RIP to all the great ones we've lost this year. 

Have a safe New Year's Eve!


Monday, December 19, 2016

PUBlication: Six Pack

Beer—A Holiday Tradition!
Over the past handful of years I've been digitally documenting some of my hobbies and guilty pleasures. Craft beer is one of those indulgences; thanks if you've been paying any attention. The Brew Detective is back, offering a year end roundup of my favorite oat sodas and barley pops. I was fortunate to visit some amazing beer towns this year. The selections below were enjoyed on draft (~), or at the brewery (*). Have fun this holiday season and be safe. Unfortunately there's not a good sarsaparilla.


~ Central Coast Brewing | Kiwi a la Tarte | San Luis Obispo, CA 

~ Half Moon Bay | Strawberry Rhubarb | Half Moon Bay, CA 

* Wicked Weed Brewing | Tropic Most Gose | Asheville, NC 

* Wicked Weed Brewing | ROY G BIV | Asheville, NC

* Burial Beer Co. | Hibiscus Gose | Asheville, NC

~ Appalachian Mountain Brewery | Spoaty Oaty Pale | Boone, NC

* Oakshire Brewing | Cucumber Berliner Weisse | Eugene, OR

Looking for something to bring home on the regular? Perhaps a heady six pack, or god forbid, a four pack. Look for these if you live near the brewer, or in an area with tasty choices. Drink responsibly. 'Bottles and cans and just clap your hands.'

• Blackberry Gose | St. Archer | 6 pack
Bike Party Pils | Sudwerk | 6 pack
• El Sully | 21st Amendment | 6 pack
• Cucumber Berliner Weisse | Oakshire | 6 pack
• Tropic Most Gose | Wicked Weed | 4 pack
• Festina Pêche | Dogfish Head | 4 pack


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Jukebox Hero

Let's not kid ourselves, tis the season for lists. And so, I will indulge in another. It's easier than ever to assemble an arsenal of music. Below is a quick-hitting account of my favorite songs of 2016. Enjoy.

"Go Off" - M.I.A
"Wow" - Beck
• "Nikes" & "Good Guy" - Frank Ocean
"Freedom" & "All Night"Beyoncé 
"Fade" - Kanye
• "The Season/Carry Me" & "Come Down" - Anderson Paak
"In Bloom" - Sturgill Simpson
"Someone to Lose" - Wilco
• "Destroyer" & "Ferris Wheel" - Kevin Morby
"Mississippi" - Cactus Blossoms
"22 (OVER s∞∞n)" - Bon Iver
• "Can't Get Enough of Myself" - Santigold
• "Nobody Dies" & "Millionaire" - Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
"World's Greatest Loser" - Margo Price
"You're Mine" & "Answer" - Phantogram
"We The People" - A Tribe Called Quest
• "Sword In The Stone" - Banks & Steelz
"Buffalo Nickel" - Shovels & Rope
"Gone Insane" - Lucius 



Happy holidays,

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

PUBlication: Revolution No.004

Luponic Distortion No.004
The fourth release from Firestone Walker's Revolving Hop Series has some engaging characteristics. Firestone continues to brew with new and experimental hops, this time from South Africa. There's a lightness to this IPA. The complexities of keeping a beer clean, clear and fresh, is a challenge to say the least. I personally enjoy the interplay between the entirety of the ingredients. The lack of heavy malt and the choice of yeast make Revolution No.004 highly drinkable; this is the most session-like Luponic Distortion yet.  

Shining in the glass, No.004's clarity is pronounced, leading me to think; was this IPA brewed like a Pilsner or Lager? I really dig this installment. The brewer's tasting notes mention a white grape quality in one of the hop varietals, and I concur. Hops however, continue to lead the charge. Thanks to the Lion and the Bear for keeping craft beer interesting and attainable. Available November '16 - February '17. Enjoy responsibly. 5.9% | 59 IBU 


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Robbie Robertson | Testimony

Dominican University hosted Robbie Robertson and we had really good seats, thanks to my partner-in-crime. Helping in the conversation was editor-in-chief of Radio Silence, Dan Stone. The evening was a success, and of course, moved too fast. Stories from Robbie's life seem to bend the bars that confine many of us. Angelico Hall enhanced the intimacy of the evening. This week marked 40 years since The Last Waltz. Our anticipation, the audience, all netted by his lure. 

Robertson's voice sounds the same and his hands were constantly involved. When questioned about the process of writing a song, versus a book, he replied, "different." Snapshots from his past blended straight-shooting honesty with legendary tall tales, except that they are actually true. Robbie also dispelled elements of the commentary and reporting of past eras, saying, "a lot of it is garbage. I know, I was there."

Rather than continue to patch together the night, check out my noted quotes from various segments. Thanks to Dan Stone and my better half. I had a wonderful night.

• "Drenched in real" - referring to the sound of the South.

• "The Holy Lands of music" - referencing the Mississippi Delta.

• "It just felt good" - after listening to, "Like a Rolling Stone," shortly after it was recorded.

• "They were wrong" - his reaction to the malcontent over Dylan going electric.


Friday, November 25, 2016

So Good So Far

Twice yearly, I do my best to assemble a quality list of music. My aim is to break it down by late summer and right around Thanksgiving (gobble gobble). I confine this process to albums only, sorry compilations, reissues and live releases. With that said, I drink in music willfully and with a measure of pride—I like music that makes me move, makes me think, or inspires me to do or think more, and go beyond my norm. Most of the time I try to digest these offerings as they are released, other times, it takes time. Enough about that, now onto the goods. 

Anderson .Paak - Malibu
Released: January 15
His lyricism is dynamic throughout. Properly mixed portions of funky soul and hip hop advance his art beyond the typical noise pushed by other contemporaries. Malibu is filled with storytelling and unique characteristics, such as, paying homage to sound-scapes of the past while simultaneously carving out something fresh. There are too many dope tracks to name them all, just go listen to it.


Margo Price - Midwest Farmer's Daughter 
Released: March 25
Margo had previously made my honorable mention. Her album has since become a staple—purchasing Midwest Farmer's Daughter on vinyl was paramount to my revelation. The first track, "Hands of Time," and the final cut, "World's Greatest Loser," are painful stories from her personal life. Both of those songs haunt, spilling almost too much truth. The honky-tonk number, "Hurt'n (On The Bottle)," is a tale most of us can relate to. Thanks for keeping country 100.  

"Hurt'n (On The Bottle)"

Frank Ocean - blond
Released: August 20
Random notes as I continued to absorb this record: I can't stop listening to it. It makes me consider myself; the what-ifs and what am I's. In sharing his world, he reveals how disconnected we are. The real shit, personal and intimate. It's beautiful and a little scary. He presses into the soul, heart and mind...the interludes, snippets of reality and manufactured minimalism of the sound intensify his honesty. Ocean affirms the grandeur of love, it's power to uplift or tear down, the value of it being returned. The personal intimacy of this album isn't draped in camouflage. Thanks Frank. 

Banks & Steelz - Anything but Words
Released: August 26th
Paul Banks from Interpol and RZA make a unique duo to say the least. I seem to stand in the minority, but I really dig this record. I previously reviewed this album. My partner in crime and I caught their live performance the day after Anything But Words had dropped. Bobby Digital has gone steel.

"Point of View"

Phantogram - Three
Released: October 7
Phantogram's latest record delights on first listen. Three stimulates with it's rhythmic and modern pulse, it makes you listen with its words. The single gets all the air-time, but make no mistake, the B-side's where it's at. "You're Mine," and "Answer," are tracks that skillfully tether sonic elements to the bang of sharp lyrics. Other highlights include, "Cruel World," "Run Run Blood," and "Calling All." Pip also loves this record, which means, it rocks.

A Tribe Called Quest - We got it from Here...Thank you 4 your service
Released: November 11
ATCQ captives and educates us once again. Enlightened minds make inspiring art, hopefully their message resonates with you. From the jump, they bring the heat. "Space Program," (with it's sick ass sample of the real cinematic Wonka) and "We the People," punch with straightforward truth. Shaheed blends Elton John remnants into, "Solid Wall of Sound," he crushes the beats throughout. "Black Spasmodic," jabs at you, setting up the hard hitting accuracy of, "The Killing Season."  Kendrick and .Paak follow each other on songs that shine later on. The finale, "The Donald," features sick mixing and wordplay, it may also be too real to be true. We Got It From Here... fills two discs with  pure hip hop genius and a grip of guest spots. I'm truly thankful for this record. RIP Phife. 

"We the People" | Official Video


My personal favorites from 2016 include those listed above, as well as, the albums I reviewed earlier this year. Check out So Far So Good for the complete list. The BESTY's, an annual account of my favorite live performances, are coming soon. Thanks for tuning in.

Second-half honorable mentions include: M.I.A. - AIM, Lewis Del Mar - self titled, Twin Limb - Haplo,


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

PUBlication: Holiday Beer

Happy Holidays!
'Tis the season. One can never have enough quality libations on hand during the holidays. I lean toward selections that take from trees, literally or figuratively; think Alaskan's Winter Ale (brewed with Sitka Spruce tips) or Anchor Steam's Christmas Ale (whose beautiful artwork looks pretty good under the tree and ages quite nicely). Big Sky's Powder Hound is one of my favorites and is available from October through March. Another tried and true original comes from Sierra Nevada. Celebration Ale is a staple in our household this time of year and seemingly caters to all. I stay away from those that over indulge in chocolate or coffee, most typically found in porters and stouts. I can however, recommend Jubelale from Deschutes, if that's a profile you prefer. A nice option in cans is 21st Amendment's, Fireside Chat, a spiced winter ale. Of course, there are many other options, each of the aforementioned can be easily found on the west coast. This is my kind of holiday shopping.

Look for these delicious and seasonal ales at your local grocer, market or bottle shop. Travel safely and may you navigate the madness of the season smoothly. It's time for some justified gluttony, so have at it, just do so responsibly. Enjoy the holidays...with a tasty adult beverage. Cheers.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

We The People

A Tribe Called Quest is back. We Got It From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service, is moving, poetic and timely. Tribe's aim has always been geared to the greater good, reminding us that it is the quest. We Got It From Here attempts to soothe the obvious wounds; it's also a battle cry for humanity and civic responsibility. Thanks for keeping it 100. RIP Phife. Long live Tribe. Long live The People. 

"We The People" | A Tribe Called Quest | Live on SNL


Friday, November 4, 2016

Oregon is Calling Me (PDX)

We drove toward Oregon's lone metropolis after recharging in the Wilson River. Rolling into Portland for the first time in far too long, we scored great parking, whew. We were also lucky to have the warm hospitality of our two amazing friends (secret agents K & MM) and their wonder dog, Lillah Dame.

Pearl Court | Wushu Center
Turns out my main man with a hoops plan had wrangled us another good game. The girls went out for some drinks and such, while we headed to the Wushu Center. Pearl Court is top-notch. One wall is full-length glass; the city's Pearl District looking in on the game. The two of us battled almost exclusively on D most of the night after teaming up initially. (We won two quick games and had to break our team up to field the 3rd game.) Games are timed with a scorekeeper.  MM's older brother was the recipient of one dime that still stands out—G and I had good chemistry, making a solid 5-man team along with one of his friends. My 3 was falling, helping me to get into the paint. I finished left on one strong play with a burst. Plus I was rebounding. It was either a one-loss night or we went unbeaten. Hoops at the Wu was one of the better runs I've been a part of for quite some time. I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to play on such a beautiful court, with such an awesome group of guys. Prior to the last games I felt a little gusto. And what do you know? I threw one down at the Wu. Thanks to the little ninjas who broomed the floor. Big ups to all the players, you guys have such a cool thing going. The two Toni's walked out into the late-night air. The Tone had been set.

Day two in Portland began deliciously. A morning walk with Lillah, and a brilliant stop at Sterling Coffee Roasters was the perfect way to get us going. This wonderful small business fits seamlessly into its neighborhood. Cooperation extends inside its doors as well. The tasty brews they're serving are some of the best beans I've ever had. Kudos to their ethics and their aesthetic. MM knows his hood and we couldn't have asked for a better guide. We encountered some of the nicest people. The baristas were friendly, as was the interesting man who peered over his book; he overheard our conversation and opened himself up to it—all of them strangers we had never met. The vibe made me feel I could be myself. What a cool place to get your morning fix. We will definitely be frequenting Sterling the next time we're in town. Cheers to the reader, cheers to their roasting.

Portland, OR
Crossing the river afforded us some time in a local park. We slung the ultimate in the late summer sun tirelessly. Partaking in activities that induce nostalgia usually feels good. It was a timely moment of the day. The three of us met K for a lunch break. Our quartet made it back to the friendly confines of the park. It was a nice chance of pace to just sit in the sun on a blanket. Responsibilities were calling one of us, the three of us who were less responsible made our way to Tin Shed. Holy amazing brunch/lunch. Two words: Spike Wrap. One more: Biscuits! Another couple: Homemade Jam. Do yourself a favor and eat here the next time your in Portland. Just do it. The last stop of the day was Saraveza. The decor is from eras gone by and the bottle selection is ridiculous. A Wisconsinite turned Oregonian has created a craft beer hideout. Their draft list was heavy on locals and diverse. I enjoyed a wit bier before stepping into a rye lager. We left with a couple of heady bottles too. The first, an Urban Farmhouse from The Commons Brewery, the other a gose from pFriem Family Brewers. We reassembled our team, it was time to cross the river yet again.


A two-day stay in Portland reinforced, Oregon is Calling Me. Our Oregon trail was nearing its end, at least for the time being. Night would lead us north into Washington, but that's another story...


Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

Thursday, November 3, 2016

One for the Ages!

Ten innings filled with improbable action. Seven games etched with drama. Two great teams, each with a curse. One champion. Congratulations Cubs. Thanks for an epic World Series.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Oregon is Calling Me (part 3)

Leaving Eugene we headed for the coast; finding our way along the friendly bends of Highway 20. This was our first time passing through Corvallis, which was cooler than I expected. It's potential not yet fully realized. The road ended in Newport, a coastal town similar to many. Yaquina Bay was beautiful, as well as industrious. It was nice to know that a coastal town could have a working personality, rather than becoming just a tourist destination. This coastal adventure was licking us in the face with damp salt air. It was time to stretch our legs and take full advantage.

Coastal Oregon - While taking in the sites and smells of Newport we found parking and needed to munch on something. We decided to a grab an adult beverage and a snack at Rogue. We also purchased a limited edition bottle of their purple jasmine rice pale ale. Proceeds benefit the research for coastal starfish. We saddled up and continued tracing up the Pacific.

Otter Rock
Our next mini-detour stationed us at Otter Rock. A spectacular display of rugged coast, jagged and covered by the moist air. It created a mix of sound and site. The potential to see otherworldly life is real. Leisurely we crept north, discovering a region that resonated profoundly. Siletz Bay and the surrounding area had an unexplainable appeal—I will try however. A single place that resembled both the Great Lakes and northern California. It felt like a hybrid of the two. Now imagine if you can, that those places had a baby, and that the baby was on steroids. That's Siletz Bay. And I could live there...

Cape Kiwanda and Haystack Rock, just to name a couple, are breathtaking. Their geological stories and continual inspiration have created a vibe that feels almost too good to be true. Or maybe it's because I live in California where regulation looms too large. Pacific City is worth the adventure. It's chill and peaceful in ways that only a small town can nurture. Not-to-mention the pace, which can swallow you in as the day drifts by. We drove onto the soft sandy beach and converted our Element into an ocean front cabana. Intoxicated by the views, we ambled into Pelican Brewing. The sunset and tasty suds were just what the doctor ordered. We kind of went for it and ordered clam chowder, salads and a delicious flat bread with roasted peppers, chicken, arugula and kalamata olives. There were of course more than a few ales consumed.

Pelican Brewing Co. | Pacific City, OR
By the chance of lucky timing we were able to enjoy a Silverspot IPA. This colorful ale helps fund habitat conservation efforts for the Silverspot butterfly. My postalco reminded me of its pleasant spice. The hop blend consists of Fuggle, Sterling and Meridian. 6% | 55 IBU

Another to note was the Dirty Bird, differing quite a bit from the beer mentioned above. It had an almost bubble gum, fruit-like taste. Hops include Centennial, El Dorado, Magnum and Meridian in this northwest-style IPA. 7% | 65 IBU

We also consumed a fair amount of the Kiwanda Cream Ale. With our belly's full and our gift bag in hand, we nestled in for a cool night of car camping. The coastal sounds soothed the energy of an inspiring day. Waking up in Pacific City (with a bunch of rabbits!) we set up shop once again on our beach front property. Being first to the beach allowed us a framed view of Haystack Rock. Believe you me, blankets and crash pads never looked so good. Later in the afternoon we mashed some of the best fish tacos north of Baja. Enough time would pass, forcing us to continue onward. Thanks Pacific City.

The Wilson River
A small pit stop in Tillamook allowed us to refuel and mentally prepare for Portland. Coursing along the Wilson River, we could not help but notice that the landscape was void of homes. Instead, the forested mini-mountains that hugged the panorama were undeveloped. The natural beauty of the Wilson River Valley was refreshing and inspirational. Not being in a rush is fundamental to relaxing—nature's clock has always kept the proper time. Pulling over unannounced, I noticed a small foot trail into the trees. Carefully we walked from outer riparian to inner. As the last few limbs of green life clutched to the banks of soil, we were now in the traditional bed of river rocks. Quickly we assessed the area. We were alone. There are few things as refreshing as the cool water of a clean river. We seemingly had this entire little valley to ourselves. Swimming and lounging alone on the sun-warmed stones made us feel unconquerable. A cold Oakshire cucumber Berliner Weisse doesn't hurt either. I think we both felt like river nymphs, literally soaking in the day and rightfully so. This was a journey within the journey; a new found treasure that may call us back. The Wilson River had reinvigorated us for a night on the town. Portland was on the horizon.


The final installment of Oregon is Calling Me is coming soon.


part 1 - part 2

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

This is Halloween
Carving pumpkins, tricking and treating, ghoulish activities and costumes of all kinds, are garishly great reasons to celebrate—Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.

Be safe in whatever you choose to partake in. Lookout for the youthful trick or treaters trying to gather candy and have a spook-tacular holiday.

Happy Halloween!


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

PUBlication: Stone Enjoy By

Enjoy By 10.31.16
Trick or treat. Stone's Enjoy By 10.31 is a not-so-subtle double IPA brewed with tangerines. The zest of citrus was unmistakable with a fruit forward aroma. Colorful and dark, this Enjoy By has a hue that resembles that of an orange blossom or wildflower honey. There's a noticeable bite, making it a slow drink. 

Puréed tangerines help to mitigate the bitterness. Stone Brewing has crafted another intense double IPA, truly capturing freshness. Brewed to be enjoyed within 37 days of bottling. Look for this limited release in six packs, 22's and on draft. Drink by Halloween.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Always Believe

"Fifty-two years. Longest Title drought of any major U.S. city. Game 7 was the chance to end that misery. A chance to be the first ever to come back from a 3-1 deficit... Knotted up at 89-89 with under two minutes to play, the opposition's fast break appeared to be history repeating itself... LeBron had a different ending in mind as he came out of nowhere—"The Block"—a physics defying play that changed Cleveland sports forever. The fulfillment of LeBron's promise was closer than ever, but the game was still tied. Enter Kyrie Irving. The sticky-handled guard who gets buckets had prepared for this moment. The possession was his and his alone. Down went the dagger 3. When the final buzzer sounded and the team erupted in celebration; the world could now understand. The victory was more than a title. It was the culmination of a fifty-two year struggle. It was redemption. It was destiny."

-nike snkrs

Opening Night in the NBA. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

NBA Basketball is Back

NBA 2016-17
Tomorrow marks the start of the NBA season, proving that time does fly. Four months ago the Cavs did the unthinkable and became the first team ever to come back from a 3-1 deficit in The Finals. Has anyone seen Curry's mouth guard? There's no better ceremony than the raising of a championship banner. The Association tips off with a triple header. Cleveland hosts the Knicks in the first of two nationally televised games. San Antonio heads to Oakland (aka The Death Star) in the later game. Rip City hosts the Utah Jazz in the other matchup on opening night.

Not too long ago I posted my thoughts on who would make the playoffs and which teams might be the most interesting or fun to watch. Today's rant will focus on players who could snare the MVP, obvious or otherwise...

Kyrie Irving -

If Cleveland chooses to bludgeon the East they may end up with two candidates. The first and most obvious is LeBron James. He more than most understands legacy and his place in history. Only Kareem, Russel and Jordan have been awarded more MVP's than James. If the best player of this generation sets out to destroy, who I am to bet against him. After all, he's attempting to make it to seven straight Finals... His point guard, Uncle Drew, also has a chance to capture the league MVP. If LeBron plays in less games or logs less minutes, thus inducing Kyrie to go ballistic. There's a chance his numbers could get insane, especially in the scoring department. If leadership skills begin to develop as well, voters would have to take notice. Kyrie might also need to play in 80+ games to further cement those potential votes. There's also a chance that they cannibalize each other's votes. But in a year coming off of the greatest shot he's ever taken and made, it might just be his turn to take the regular season torch, he's more than capable of scorching opposing perimeter players. He out-dueled the unanimous MVP in The Finals. That alone is a pretty impressive feat to build upon.

Russel Westbrook -

I can hardly wait to watch Russel Westbrook nuke opponents this year. The energy and emotion with which Westbrook plays is unmatched. Fueled evermore by the cupcake decision of his past running-mate and the continued blathering by that same former teammate (though he'll never admit that). I expect Russ to morph into some type of hybrid X-Men basketball hero. He might even spontaneously combust, or shoot laser beams from his eyes and melt opponents. Either way, he's going to stuff the stat sheet. The Thunder are his team now. If OKC can grab a top four seed it will be the result of Westbrook's abilities, both physically and psychologically. I believe he can make others better. And if all that happens, he's a legit MVP candidate. Go Russ go.

Damian Lillard -

Coach Steve Kerr is quoted as saying, "...Damian Lillard wins the election. That's my forecast." I  agree with him. Dame has a purely unique identity and team, the competitive-motor runs high collectively. Last year he proved he's a leader. Rip City made their way into the second round of the playoffs after losing four starters. Other than game 1, the Blazers held the lead for 137 minutes against the Warriors in the rest of that series. He's a top three point guard that has no problem sharing the limelight with others. He'll continue to put up numbers as the trailblazers battle for a home seed out West. Portland has continuity coming into this season and they have Dame DOLLA. The stars could align.

Despite all of the juicy subplots that incubated during the off season, the players still have to play the games. Thanks for checking in. Now we can fix our attention to the NBA.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

PUBlication: San Diego Pale Ale .394

San Diego Pale Ale .394
October and playoff baseball go hand-in-hand. This postseason has already had it's share of awesome games. Did anyone else stay up all night to watch game 3 of the Cubs/Giants? We stayed up until midnight. Major League tension pairs perfectly with a cold beer. AleSmith crafts the SD Pale Ale .394—an homage to one of the game's best.

San Diego style is well-known. But when a San Diego brewery links up to create a delicious beer for San Diego's greatest hitter, it's legit. This pale has an IPA-like nose in the bottle. A heady foam cushions the top of this amber-tinted ale. The aroma produces more malt characteristics once poured. Reminding me a bit like Hops of Wrath in that regard. A slight sweetness compliments a bigger body, juxtaposing the transparency.

This ale embraces subtlety. Even with some strong legs, there's not much kick. There's a slipperiness to the mouth feel, I like it. Watch baseball intensely, drink responsibly.  6% | 26 IBU


Friday, October 7, 2016


MacRostie | Pinot-production facility
My appreciation of MacRostie Winery and Vineyards was further enhanced by a recent return visit to the beautiful estate house in the Russian River Valley. Westside Road enchanted our family as we slowly curved along wine country—dappled by early fall rain. Blurring the painted landscape were the rows and rows of grape leaves that have started to change color. This region is heralded for its micro-climates, allowing growers to produce some of the best grapes in the world. Winding along the vines is intoxicating as topography mixes with agriculture. 

The MacRostie Estate House is attractive, standing alone with its clean lines and modern warmth. Turning into the rows of fruit feels different here, intriguing and inviting at the same time. MacRostie gave the region a face lift, creating a paradigm that's different, and perhaps better, at making a first impression. Hell, they've built a new template for aesthetics in wine country. Gould Evans was the architectural firm and Wright Contracting sourced out the construction.

Before stepping inside we were offered a welcome wine, hello 2105 Clockwise Sauvignon Blanc. We were given the chance to taste in the VIP room. MacRostie is known for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen is straight crushing it, pun intended. We settled in and pursued gluttony.

Pinot Noir | MacRostie |Vertical Tasting 2011-2013 
The vertical tasting of Pinot Noir's from the Wildcat Mountain Vineyard was outstanding. Being able to distinguish the year-to-year differences of the fruit was like being told a story, weather representing chapters, the earth's mantle the canon. My favorite of the three years was 2012, now murmured as a fantastic year. I really enjoyed the floral nose and dry subtleties. The mouth feel was outstanding, so much was going on without confusing the palate. Another uncanny Pinot was grown on 5 acres in Sebastopol. The 2014 Cummings Vineyard Pinot Noir was so smooth. It embodied the characteristics one would expect, but held onto a softness that made it incredible drinkable. This is an anytime wine, especially with fall upon us. 

It's almost too good to be true when a Monday includes fine wine shared with family. County paradiso strikes again. If you only have time to visit one winery, choose MacRostie. Drink responsibly.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Random Acts of Poetry Day


Going places with only you.
She's the calm.
Me, the storm.
The darkest hour.
Her, every dawn.
Going places with only you.

- Jesse James H.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Farewell | KG

One of the best walked away. I'll never forget that 2003-04 Wolves team and what Garnett did for that franchise, nor will I forget his run in Boston. The tremble in his voice near the end lets us all know how much he loved the game. Farewell KG. Anything is Possible! 

A video posted by Kevin Garnett (@tic_pix) on


Friday, September 23, 2016

Oregon is Calling Me (part2)

Oregon is Calling Me.
The craft beer scene in Eugene is abundant and rich with diverse quality. The following breweries pleased my senses.

Coldfire - This new-to-me brewery was our first stop upon arrival. We stumbled into this refurbished warehouse after lounging along the river under the shade of trees. The food trucks were on point and my favorite beer of the evening was their Red Saison. Coldfire showcased an adventurous draft list highlighted by this hybrid. 5.1% | 27 IBU

Oakshire - After an appearance at a local wine barreling facility; we walked across the parking area and wandered into my favorite Eugene brewery. Oakshire is the real deal. Every beer resonated with me strongly, while pushing the envelope in each specific genre—captivating with its own unique characteristics. Taste the rainbow if you make it into Oakshire. They also have a great selection of in-house bottle and cans. My favorite beer of the entire journey was the Cucumber Berliner-Weisse. It's one of the best beers I've had all year. This tart, German-inspired ale begins with a slight melon-like aroma. Then it compliments the fresh taste of cucumber dreamily with the perfect amount of body. This summer beer showcases such flavor that I want it year round. It's almost too good to be true. 4% | 12 IBU

Falling Sky - Post wedding celebrations always live a little larger when the crew takes over a local brewery/delicatessen. Falling Sky is the place one should go if wanting to get your grub on, while also sipping a tasty beer. Sharing amongst friends is the best way to create a memorable experience. After diving into their extensive draft list, I was ultimately lured by, Pinky and the Belgian (I mean, c'mon, Animaniacs). This red peppercorn infused Belgian resembled a saison that packed a peppery punch. It's nuance pushes for a more deliberate approach; to be enjoyed, not chugged. 5% | 22 IBU 

Court 3 | Pickle Ball
The University of Oregon - Beyond the natural beauty and the quality of people, the University is the lifeblood of Eugene. A world class center for leaning that creates an atmosphere of participation, while encouraging community involvement. As visitors we were over the moon at the possibility of playing pickle ball on D1 tennis courts. Not only were the courts open to the public - because the Ducks are awesome - they're nestled next to the world famous Hayward Field. Flanked on the other side by the new softball stadium. Being surrounded by top-notch athletic and academic facilities is inspiring to say the least. Students and community members taking advantage of the campus motivates others to investigate and engage. Besides the obviousness of exercise, pickle ball is great while on vacation because it offers you the chance to involve yourself with a neighborhood park, or in this case, a top-flight collegiate campus, that you otherwise may not have explored. Minimal equipment is needed to play, conducive for vacation.

New to the immaculate grounds is the recently opened, Erb Memorial Union (or EMU). Community Happens Here is more than a slogan, it's the potential and kinetic energy of people fueling the action. Housed within this beautiful mixed-modern masonry are creative resources that are accessible not only to the student body, but the community as well. Talk about getting the most out of your investment. One of the many treasures within the EMU is the Craft Center. Ceramics. fiber arts, glass-working, painting, paper arts, printmaking, photography, woodworking, metals and jewelry are the creative disciplines that will further influence the campus and beyond. The creative minds that take advantage of such opportunities will continue to feed Eugene's future. Click here for more information. Also on-site is the campus radio station and a pizza parlor/brewery operated by Falling Sky. The University of Oregon is intoxicating. 

Being in town for a gorgeous wedding at the Mount Pisgah Arboretum was a magical moment. The beautiful couple getting married were such gracious hosts, creating an atmosphere of positivity, mindfulness and love for all. Their vows nearly did me in. I'd like to thank both of them for going above and beyond in their responsibility to do the right thing. Thanks. 

Many moments stand out during our extended stay in the 541. I did however have one more self-serving priority, hooping with my main man Matty Mo. We did chicken strip things when on the same team. Then we mixed it up on opposing sides. I met some great guys and broke a hard sweat while getting in some run. Thanks to the old school YMCA and the players who came out (caring, honesty, respect, responsibility). Basketball is another great physical outlet while on vacation. All you need are some sneakers and shorts; someone always has a ball. Hoops played the right way is an unspoken language. It consists of working hard, having fun and camaraderie. Big ups to the active community of Eugene, it's a glowing example of how to get out and do something.


Part 3 of Oregon is Calling Me will target some great hideouts along coastal Oregon, as well as the friendly confines of Portland. Thanks for checking in. Click here for Part 1.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

PUBlication: Revolution No. 003

Firestone Walker | No. 003
The third creation from Firestone Walker's Revolving Hop Series is juicy, clean and crisp. Revolution No. 003 strongly resembles an American IPA, even if the dominant hop is from Germany. Pop the top and breathe in what an IPA is capable of. 

Two traits are pronounced as the fluid ounces leave the bottle. Visually, a pillowy head floats atop the tropical aroma. I'm under the assumption that this Luponic Distortion is filtered; the transparency is so clean. It reminds me of a rare golden nugget, magnified and made to shine under the crystal clear waters of a river. My palate was rushed with succulent fruit. Mango and lychee came to mind, as did the slightest hint of bubble gum. Both color and flavor remind me of summer. This is one of the better IPA's I've had in awhile. Revolution No. 003 is a primo example of how the wheel can be reinvented. This delectable nectar is available on draft or in the bottle through November. Drink responsibly. 5.9% | 59 IBU


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

PUBlication: Das Froot

Recently I picked up my first Toolbox Brewing Company beer. Das Froot is a funky and tart Berliner Weisse featuring apricots and peaches. San Diego is a mecca for craft brew; thankfully a local market in my neck of the woods is now carrying Toolbox. As soon as the bottle was opened my nose was filled with funk, perhaps even lactate, reminding me of green apples. 

Bigger than expected bubbles rushed to the top of the glass as I poured this foggy, straw-colored Berliner. As the initial carbonation pops away, a faint smell of fruit is left. This sour wheat ale is wickedly tart—whoa. Personally I tasted more of the apricot, the peach arrives more so in aroma. Das Froot was my introduction to Toolbox Brewing Company, it will not be my last. Open up a Toolbox and go to work. Enjoy responsibly. 4.5%  


Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Universe Inside

Sound Tribe dropped a studio album yesterday. The Universe Inside is a disco-pop record, complete with vocals? They also dappled the new material with interludes and snippets, furthering the disjointed feeling and confusing this fan. Too many tracks are dominated by vocals, curbing the band's ability to make it funky. This structure also inhibits STS9 from carving out their jazz-like interpretations that create dance-inducing crescendos. What I normally groove on is their ability to blend those jams with their more modern EDM or hip hop sounding bangers, which grow like an ocean swell, giving purpose to movement. Their live shows feel unique and inventive, renewed with a willingness to reassess their past—due in large part to the immense skill of Alana.  

Singing dominates the second track; "Out of this World" morphs momentarily into a new-school-sounding Funky Town before returning to the bubble gum. Next is the disco-heavy, "Get Loud," reminiscent of Daft Punk's Get Lucky. Again, the vocals are too pronounced for this fan. An uninspiring "Give and Take," reminds me of a bad DJ trying to hype a glow-in-the-dark skittles party at some festival. "Elsewhere" stands on some cool jazzy legs and is the glimmer of hope on this record. The heavenly named, "Sun, Moon & Stars" abruptly jolts intellectual wandering with its glitzy mirrorball sound. I kept wanting the potential of Moon & Stars to transform into something nasty. "Worry No More" is another track with hidden possibility, there's definitely a get down in there at the 3:25 mark. Universe Inside also offers a few familiar (live) songs along the way. Ending with the near-gospel-inspired title track isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's not a good thing either.

This is the first STS9 album that I don't want to own. I will always respect artistic freedom. All artists should create what they want, or what pleases them. I may not cop this record and dare I say, I may not hit this tour. I do however remain a fan.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Banks & Steelz | The Independent

Banks & Steelz | The Independent | Aug. 27th
RZA and Paul Banks took the stage at the Independent last Saturday under the alias, Banks and Steelz. Most of the crowd seemed unprepared for the lyrical word-smithing and sonic pounding that took place. Those few who were anticipating an all out assault were getting down. Creating tonal effects, as well as strong chord play, Banks was effortlessly crafting cool hip hop sounds throughout the show on guitar. The man behind the kit was holding it down with beats that would blend rock with the vibration of Hip Hop. RZA orchestrated from behind an electric organ. His playing was minimalistic, furthering the mood with atmospheric bass. Other times he was front and center controlling the mic with his unmistakable voice. I was hyped and it was loud as f*ck.

They were well prepared, sharp and timely (this was their fourth show). The overall energy was heavy with Hip Hop. The night kicked off with filthy snaps from the high-hats and pure MC'n. Bobby Steelz threw praise at the City by The Bay, 'Thanks San Francisco, for music...smokers and hippy energy...' Later he schwilled from a bottle of Grey Goose and passed it to the crowd to celebrate the release of, Anything But Words.

An early high point was "Ana Electronic," an edgy song that blends their two distinct styles. Ana is a love story told through clever analogies and what-I-would-do's. It also borrows a line from James Brown. The banger of the night was most definitely, "Sword In the Stone." RZA came out hot. He wasn't asking us to listen, he was straight punching us in the chest with truth-bombs. Like a boxer who learns through the experience of each fight; this concert was a battle. Bass was physically pushing through, you had to focus to pry the knowledge. It was straight fire.

Banks & Steelz | Sword In the Stone

Each of the primary contributors have found common ground to co-exist, now their talents have expanded. Experiencing RZA step out of his comfort zone was interesting. He showed guts taking chances with singing, rhyming is his thing. Paul was better suited for those types of vocal deliveries. Nonetheless, their cohesion was on point, and the willingness to take chances can breathe new life into both the creative process and the resulting art. Tracks such as, "Giant" or "Point Of View," reflect this collaborative potential. Both of the aforementioned cuts were blazing live. During Giant, Bobby Digital threw in a fresh Woody Guthrie freestyle for good measure.

Throughout the night I was fixed on RZA's capacity to make his words pierce though the gauntlet of sound. I became enamored by Banks' ability to engage the guitar as a tool for Hip Hop. Booming all night, he and the drummer balanced snappy rhythms, effects and raw power. Eleven strong-armed songs finished off the main set. They encored with the title track, "Anything But Words." Whether it's the lullaby-like intro, the digital-purr, or the no-bullshit rhyming woven into the pulse-like EKG beat, I was hooked. Hip Hop forever. 

good night
drop the mic
uber to Kabuki 
late night sushi
that shit was real
Banks & Steelz
we all have voices

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Oregon is Calling Me (part 1)

Pacific City, OR
Oregon has less people and is less expensive, it also has a similar climate and comparable culture. So when are we moving? I love northern California, but Oregon is calling me. Imagine if you will, that the Great Lakes area of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin had a baby with California, and that baby was on steroids, that's Oregon. After spending 10 days in the Pacific Northwest, an old post for us, new shit has come to light. Eugene and Portland played the roles of mid-major and "big" city host. The rest of the time was spent in the lush greenery in the towns that hide west of the I-5, or along the coast. Highway 20 set the first impressions; later it was places such as Newport, Lincoln City, Otter Rock, Whale Cove, Siletz Bay, Pacific City and Tillamook that grabbed hold. Did I mention you can drive on the beaches and that the river's don't go dry in the summer?

Our first home base was Eugene. We were in town for the first of two weddings. Our amazing friends, who are truly more like family, hosted us upon arrival. It should be noted that we do visit Eugene fairly often—Ducks games in the fall, winter holiday trips and summer weddings. I've always felt at ease, perhaps at home in Eugene. It's got everything you need but isn't too busy. Nature is all around you and the amenities of the downtown are top notch. There is no shortage of good food or beer. Local shops line the streets, it feels vibrant because people are doing things, in all facets. The abundance of athletes and active living is highly visible. Driven in large part by the University, a symbol for camaraderie and initiative. I feel as though I fit in, or maybe it's the community that suits me.

Beyond the landscape's obvious beauty; Oregon has an authentic personality and an adaptable pace to its quality of life—shit's real. People are friendly, more polite and even engaging, sometimes when  you least expect it (I'll get to that later). Oregon is calling me...


Part 2 of Oregon is Calling Me will focus on breweries, bars and small businesses that stood out during our adventure. And why pickle ball and hoops are the best sports to play while on vacation, kayaking's not too bad either.


Friday, August 26, 2016

All Russ | All Day

Russel Westbrook | AJXXXI

Initial Jordan hype for Russel Westbrook's assault on the NBA. "Some run, some make runways."


Monday, August 22, 2016

STS9 | The Universe Inside

Sound Tribe Sector 9 is releasing a new record, The Universe Inside, their first produced offering since an EP in 2011. Thirteen new tracks show up on this album, a first with Alana Rocklin in the studio. I'm intrigued to say the least, STS9 was outstanding the last time I saw them live.

Fans should be familiar with a few of the cuts. In Fact, "New Dawn, New Day," was the first song this Sector played live at the McDowell Music Festival in March of 2014. "World Go Round" also debuted on stage that night. "Totem" is the other recognizable track. Digital downloads will be available September 2nd on 1320 Records. Until then, listen to a live jam below. Perhaps there will be a tour to follow? Get your moon boots ready...

STS9 | New Dawn, New Day (live)


update: STS9 announced a fall tour.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

PUBlication: Blackberry Gose

Saint Archer | Blackberry Gose
Saint Archer is brewing some nice things inside of their San Diego tanks. I've long been a fan of their work in craft beer; I don't hate just because someone got paid. Another one of their specialty beers has grabbed my attention, this time it's Blackberry Gose. A summery and session-approved ale that packs a flavorful punch, without punching you out. The funk is where it's at. 

The opening smell is prolific. Color and flavor spar after the pour. A fruit, flesh-like brandy tone glows like a candle behind stained glass. Carbonation claims a supporting role. A fluffy head vanishes and the funk regains your attention. The fruit is indirect, making me wonder if they intentionally, and wisely, added berries that weren't quite ripe yet, making it snappier. Blackberry Gose (4%) is a limited release. Find a six pack and enjoy.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Banks & Steelz

Banks & Steelz
Thus far, Paul Banks and RZA have released four tracks off of their upcoming album, Anything but Words. Banks & Steelz drop their debut later this month; the next day they play The Independent in San Francisco. Their tour takes them to the major festivals still on the horizon of late summer and early fall, interspersed between and before, are a host of shows at smallish clubs. The Wu and Interpol have collided. Early offerings are collective sounding, especially the title track (listen below). RZA goes mad deep {"turn you back to molecules - minuscule follicles - then convert your brain to sub-atomic particles"} the vocal overtures by Paul creep into place perfectly. Then comes the edgy drum machines, bringing the throaty-digital purr and soft glitch to a startling point. 

Banks & Steelz | "Anything But Words"

It seems that the two artists have found a dialogue that creates anew while allowing them to apply their established imaginations. Ghostface Killah guests on the grimier track, "Love and War," a cool collision of hip-hop lyricism and song building (listen below). The producer-extraordinaires harness an ability to coexist, both lush and raw. These cuts could be hits in the club or radio-edited singles. Check out Banks & Steelz on tour or grab a copy of Anything But Words August 26th.  

Banks & Steelz | "Love and War"