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