Friday, December 29, 2017

The Besty's » 2017

Cabbage White | Pieris Rapae
01.13.17 » The Cleveland Cavaliers (LeBron) in Sacramento @ The Golden 1 Center
» The NBA is always fantastic, this game was no different. The Golden 1 Center is an amazing venue & my favorite ever to watch basketball in. Sight-lines are unprecedentedly good, regardless of where your seat is. It was flash back Friday so the Kings wore their old-school powder blue uniforms. Thirteen rows from the floor increase the engagement, we were on the baseline near the Cavs bench. 

Early on it was Kevin Love getting buckets. His outlet passes are an asset for sure, it's one or two leaks-outs per game. Shump played well early for the visiting team, he was rocking Nike Air Zoom Generations. When LeBron is focused on defense it's a treat to watch him play weak side, he's the ultimate free-safety in basketball. Cleveland was locked in defensively overall. Kyrie's handles are so sticky and his pull-up jumpers are death blows. At one stretch the Cavs played LeBron with four role players; I've always appreciated these type of five-man groups. There were some nasty highlight reel dunks too. Cleveland's roster was filled with skilled players—it's no wonder we saw a trilogy in The Finals. 

01.29.17 » M » SF 

03.17.17 » March Madness in Sacramento @ The Golden 1 Center, St. Patrick's Day
» Cincinnati vs. K. State - First of all, K State has an awesome band & their arsenal of covers was impressive for sure. College atmospheres are so electric. 

» UCLA vs. Kent State - UCLA resembled a pro team during warm ups, missing only a few shots. Ball was quick to initiate offense and willing to take chances early up the court. I was impressed by the Bruins defense. There were some sets run by the UCLA that had such freedom & fluidity, their athleticism and exciting play is a basketball made fun. Leaf and Welsh were dominant throughout the half-court game. UCLA advanced with five guys scoring in double figures.

04.16.17 » The Birds @ Main Stage West in Sebastopol

04.22 & 23.17 » High Water Festival in Charleston, SC
» Day 1: Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, The Shins
» Day 2: Shovels & Rope, The Avett Brothers

» The artists listed above were the best sets I caught while attending the inaugural High Water Festival in Charleston. This will be an annual pilgrimage back to the Carolina's, it's one of the best boutique outdoor festival I've ever attended. And, it's only going to get better. Best friends, great times, good places, need I say more?

06.23.17 » J » SF 

06.27.17 » Tank & The Bangas @ Lagunitas in Petaluma
» Rocking, Psyche, Hip Hop, with breakdown-style call and response to some Nina Simone, and that was only their first song. They dropped some wah-wah pedal, mixing it with an almost scribbled sound two tracks later. An Anderson Paak Cover goes over well with this listener so, "I might never come down." Oozing with future sounds and Jazzy vibes, all I could think was, the future is female. Whatever you want to call their fun-soaked, bass-backed, Hip Hop Jedi sound, make sure to include danceable. Because, similar to their set-closer, Make Your Ass Clap, this band is on fire and you might just have to stop drop and roll. After throwing a party like that at Lagunitas they could have rode off into the sunset, instead, they dropped another bomb, Hey Ya (the Andre 3000 smash).

Summer @ SFMOMA

08.04.17 » BHS Basketball @ Monte Rio » Wags, Whiskers & Wine Gala in Geyserville

August » Road trip along the entire Oregon Coast & Portland
» Oregon is Calling Me...

09.26.17 » Tank & The Bangas @ The Urban Lounge in Salt Lake City
» Tuesday night ramen and some tasty oat sodas, plus kicking it with an all-time best bro and then going to a local venue to see a band that makes people dance—OK! I had a great couple of days in Salt Lake City. I got to mob the streets with the woofer Huey, she's such a sweet girl. Hanging out with one of my favorite people helps to smooth out any situation. I was shown a great time and was reminded of just how cool SLC is. I need to make it back there more frequently. 

We decided to go to Banga'ville, good choice. Tank and the Bangas opened with a Goodie Mob/Dr. Dre mash-up that got me into the groove. "Who's that peeking in the window?" Hip Hop was the early theme and the local crowd seemed to be more than cool with that. The band carved a cool energy into the crowd during the middle of their set; it had an almost lounge vibe, it made me smile. One of the lyrics went, "While you wash my hair, la la la." Returning to a more hip hop driven sound and spitting fire, it got loud. A spoken word-like poem backed by instruments segued nicely into a super creative take on the Zootopia song, it seemed as though I wasn't the only one noticing their ability to dig deep into their bag of tricks. Listeners began to shout the Zootopia line, Hey hey hey, which bent into a remixed version of, "a little bit softer now." As in Petaluma, this show would finish with Andre 3000's, Hey Ya; except this time it started off far more abstract. Having heard them do this over the summer, I whispered to the good Doctor, "Hey Ya."

10.07.17 » Gillian Welch & David Rawlings @ Golden Gate Park in San Francisco
» These American treasures own Golden Gate Park, especially when performing on the banjo stage, an annual right of passage for Bay Area residents. They started with an absolutely beautiful harmony on, Wayside, Back In Time, which set the tone for an emotional set. Elvis Presley Blues gave new meaning to poignancy as Gillian's voice bottled the masses into one moment, singing us into a willful submission; only a siren can silence that many people. The magic of a certain white butterfly kept, The Way It Will Be & The Way It Goes, heartfelt. A minor hiccup during Red Clay Halo revealed to us that they too make mistakes, they are so genuine it's unmistakable. A trio of, Hard Times, Six White Horses and Time (The Revelator), were the songs that hit hardest. The latter two carried even more meaning for my Ninja sidekick, hell, she's the M'F'n leader. Words sometimes carry with them more gravity at different times throughout life. And, when those words are being serenaded to you by authentic artists, all that's left to do is to feel. Letting your emotions take over can sometimes be exactly what is needed. Miss Ohio and I'll fly away closed the set. They would encore with Willie Watson on the cinematic, Don't Leave Nobody But the Baby. 

Set: Wayside/Back in Time, Annabelle, Elvis Presley Blues, The It Will Be, The Way It Goes, Red Clay Halo, Hard Times, Six White Horses, Time (The Revelator), Midnight Train, Look at Miss Ohio, I'll Fly Away, Don't Leave Nobody But The Baby 

10.26.17 » Mary Shelly's Body @ Main Stage West in Sebastopol

11.04.17 » Valley Ford, Dillon Beach, Tomales Bay, Point Reyes Station

» Happy Holidays & Enjoy the New Year!


Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas Day | NBA

Christmas time is here. It's the most wonderful time of the year. Only in the NBA.

» 76ers @ Knicks 9 (PT)
» Cavs @ Warriors 12
» Wizards @ Celtics 2:30
» Rockets @ Thunder 5
» Timberwolves @ Lakers 7:30

Happy Holidays,

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Brew Detective: Chasin' Freshies

Chasin' Freshies IPA | Deschutes
Juicy pear is the best way to explain this India Pale Ale. There's also a perfect amount of bitterness provided by experimental hops, juxtaposing the nectar quite well. 

Deschutes has always made delicious beer and this is no exception. It may not be as ready available however, evidence is in the photo. Chasin' Freshies is a must try IPA. Sorry for the delay in updates (coaching).

Enjoy holiday libations responsibly. I hope everyone has a fun, festive & safe season.

Cheers, eightychoices.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

So Good, So Far » 2017

So Good, So Far 2017
November snuck up on us quickly, yikes. Whether you love it or hate it, the holiday season is upon us; music can help to quell the madness during this time of year. Earlier in the summer I posted a list of my favorite music, so far so good, the fist half of my heavy rotation. As the year progressed I continued to investigate and digest the music that was released. So, without further ado, my recommendations for the best music released during the back-end of 2017.

* Sylvan Esso | What Now (April 28)... It has a beautiful warmth, both familiar and odd, like the mantra Holden Caulfield was trying to usurp. There's an almost folk-like feel to the music, in that it calms me and causes my mind to think. The intangible hum, or buzz, seems to never fully leave you. It deserves to be given a true listen. The entire album is magical, it transports me to a place I can't quite describe. The opening track, "Sound", and the final offering, "Rewind", are my preferred escape routes. This is perhaps my favorite record of the year.  

Benjamin Booker | Witness (June 2)... Booker was an honorable mention back in June, not anymore. After repeated listening there was no way I could not give credit where credit is due. "Motivation", personally hit home with me; his intention are both sad and encouraging; instructions that can be understood tend to produce better results. Another song that stings is, "The Slow Drag Under". In a world so full of everything, I too feel the weight of isolation, reminding me that I want to make it.

* Arcade Fire | Everything Now  (July 28)... The state of our current, modern and western world are captured in the sonic landscapes, creatively married to lyrics that wring out gravity. Real stories unwinding and then wound back up, hurled in the direction of anyone who's actually capable of listening—our part to play in their genius. Arcade Fire has mined both spirit and depth, and instead of hoarding those mined resources, they've decided to share. I simultaneously applaud and thank them. Few artists are as unique and daring, finding ways to move us. "Creature Comfort", "Peter Pan" & "Put Your Money On Me", resonate with me strongly. This too is one of my favorite records.

* David Rawlings | Poor David's Almanac (Aug. 11)... Songwriting, songwriting, songwriting; they care and it's vivid. Very few are able to capture the brilliance, skill and simplicity that he and Gillian are able to harness. Having seen them this fall in Golden Gate Park was as powerful as anything I've seen or heard in quite some time. Masters of their craft, timeless and full of love, we're lucky to have passionate artists who do it on their terms. This album will stand the test of time and is one of my three favorites of 2017.

LCD Soundsystem | American Dream (Sept. 1)... Reunions almost always occur, so it was only fitting that LCD Soundsystem would come back too. I won't lie, there was part of me that didn't want them to fall into that cliché, they were always their own beast and I wanted them to stand alone. The flip-side however, is that their returned gave us more danceable tracks, set against the poetic reality of Murphy's world. They epitomize diversity and singularity, if that's possible? They scream New York City, yet are consumable to all. The second track, "other voices", sounds almost too much like their past ("Advantages"), but still works in a juxtaposed manner, pitting melancholy against the upbeat. The very next track, "i used to", reminds me of 80's synth-pop, influenced by the UK but made fresh through their mechanisms. I'm glad they're back.

Wu-Tang Clan | The Saga Continues (Oct. 13)... No one does what the Wu does, no one. Little Wanda actually snugs to this album, a rarity since hip hop tends to alarm her, so that's gotta mean something. The Saga is a deep album full of grime and contemporary commentary. It continues a legacy that some could argue, created the culture we live in. It's beats, interludes and MC'n is next level shit. Tracks 6, 8, 9, 11 & 18 are beyond on point. The Wu-Tang is forever. 

Honorable Mention: Low Roar | Once In a Long, Long While & The Barr Brothers | Queens of the Breakers

Those with an * are my personal picks for album of the year. Enjoy the holidays with some solid sounds. Coming in December, is my annual list of best live performances, The BESTY's...Gobble Gobble, Happy Thanksgiving!


Saturday, November 18, 2017


Nature is the playground, snow, the conduit. From the streets of Finland to the mountains of Montana, Tim McChesney proves that winter has made landfall. There's an athlete inside those that wish to procure it. Watch him huck at about the 2:55 mark; the line they created is insane. Winter is Here & This is Home.

Athlete Edit


Thursday, November 16, 2017


Current Mood

John Lennon | "Imagine"

 Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Mind Games

John Lennon | "Mind Games"

Love is the answer and you know that for sure
Love is a flower
You Got to let it, you got to let it grow
I want you to make LOVE, not war

Current Mood. America NEEDS HELP!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017



The NBA tips off tonight! Cleveland hosts Boston and Houston travels to Oakland.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

NBA Forecast 2017-18

After an abundance of NBA jargon I've made it to the predictions. The Association has seen a lot of shakeup across many rosters. Western teams will likely need to surpass the .500 mark to make the playoffs. It appears to be another year in which LeBron's team looks like the favorite in the east. Has the gap shrunk since the trade? Will we get a forth helping of the same Finals? Personally, I want to see anyone but the death stars come out of west. Below are my predictions for the season standings in the NBA. I'll revisit these selections around the all star break. Basketball will soon be served.
You could easily make a case that the Wizards or Celtics will claim the top eastern seed. Cleveland's lessened by the loss of Kyrie, and D.C. has the most continuity of the top teams, but the Cavs play in perhaps the weakest division in the NBA. Who's going to give them run other than Milwaukee? We're likely to see a highly motivated LeBron this year, of course he's motivated every year. I gave SVG some love and threw Detroit in the eighth seed. In my opinion, it doesn't really matter after the Raptors, though Charlotte plays hard and is well coached. If my predictions pan out and chalk prevails, basketball fans would be getting the best possible match ups in round two. LeBron versus Giannis and Celtics Wizards, with Kyrie and Wall going at it; which could pave the way for an Eastern Conference Finals where the Cavaliers would play either Washington or Boston—yes please.

» 1. Cavs 2. Celtics 3. Wizards 4. Bucks 5. Raptors 6. Heat 7. Hornets 8. Pistons

There's an obvious imbalance of talent in the Western Conference. You could field an all star team from my predicted top eight teams, while still excluding Anthony Davis, Boogie Cousins, Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Devin Booker and a slough of youngsters who may impress. The real question however is, will any of those teams truly challenge the champs out west? Personally I'd enjoy watching the rebel Clippers take aim at the death stars in round one. I've clearly allowed my mind to wonder, having made some bold predictions on a previous NBA post. How insane would a reactor core death blow be from a CP3-less Clippers? The contrast in styles between the reloaded Rockets offense, and say, the sure-to-be stifling defense of the Jazz sounds nice too. Watching Westbrook, Paul George and Melo in the playoffs together will be tantalizing. I'm hoping for an updated OKC Houston second round rematch. A first round battle between the Spurs and Timberwolves would pit the established against the hungry in a four five tilt. The varsity conference  has so many good teams, full of fascinating story lines, only time will tell.

» 1. Warriors 2. Rockets 3. Thunder 4. Spurs 5. Wolves 6. Nuggets 7. Jazz 8. Clippers

For earlier NBA roundup click here. For five teams you should be watching, click here. Seasons change, as does the NBA, consume at your own risk. The NBA is fantastic.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Winter Is Coming

The Faction Collective » This Is Home »

...when you find yourself on a perfect path, the whole world can look like a is it a place that shapes us? Or, is it our own vision?


Friday, September 29, 2017

NBA Bold Predictions

Trying to consume the endlessness of the NBA is impossible, unless you're a cyborg. Melo's in OKC and Wade went to Cleveland, Sam Presti's a bold GM, while the Cavs got a lot deeper. For those who check in, I'm making some personal predictions that I think are bold, as related to the upcoming NBA season.

In case you're wondering how bold these predictions will be, I'm going with the fourth definition of boldbeyond the usual limits of conventional thought or action; imaginative. Now that you know where I'm coming from, feel free to use, or abuse, any of these takes. Here goes...

The Clippers will be better without CP3
OK, maybe not in the regular season, if Blake were to miss too many games, but in the playoffs. What does that mean actually? Do they make the conference finals? Probably not. So are they better? I say yes, and definitely in the long term. I wouldn't want to pay an undersized point guard 200+ million dollars when he's in his mid to late thirty's. A breath of fresh air in Clipper land sounds good. No more angry point guard, in his place is Patrick Beverley, a defense-first hustle guy who competes hard. They also brought in Miloš Teodosić, a Serbian wizard with the ball, giving Doc Rivers two quality guards at the point. It'll be interesting to see how much run Griffin gets as a point-forward hybrid once he's on court. Gallinari could be the wing player who creates space that they've always needed, assuming he can stay on the floor. Lou Williams is a better version of Crawford off the bench and scouting the youthful talents of Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell is a worthy experiment as well. Let's see what these new look Clips can do. A Clippers Death Star match up in the first round would be awesome. And, wouldn't it be otherworldly if Lob City flew an X-wing into the reactor core of the Death Star without CP3? You heard it here first...

Two new teams make the playoffs in the west:
The Wolves and the Nuggets appear to be ready. Not bold enough? Holy shit, the Lonzo-led Lakers are making the playoffs, his dad's a prophet, transforming the LeBron whispers into sound barrier breaking screams. Just kidding. I think the Blazers, Clippers and Jazz will fight for the final two playoff spots. Unless my bold Clippers prediction totally backfires. I still believe in the Jazz too. Utah plays defense at a high level, has a really good coach and has some guys who could prove they're able to fill the void Hayward created by leaving in free agency. Perhaps Utah staying relevant in the west is also bold. Sorry Blazers fans. The Wolves roster looks too good to falter over 82 games. The Nuggets play phenomenal on offense and signed Millsap over the summer, so they're going to improve upon last year's uptick. It remains to be seen if Minnesota and the Nuggets can prove worthy of the playoffs in the west, but I'll go ahead and say it, they're both a lock.

2 to 4 more all-stars will be dealt by the trade deadline:
If Memphis fails to compete as they transition out of the grit and grind era, their stars could become attainable. Let's pretend Thomas is not fully healthy for the Cavs, which would be terribly sad, and the Grizzlies look slow and old in the west. Conley could then become the best guard available at the deadline. Say, Love and Frye for Mike Conley and Andrew Harrison. The Grizzlies would shed one year and $6 million per, by swapping Conley's contract for Love's, plus they'd get another almost $7.5 million off their books next year with Frye's expiring. Maybe Conley does more than the off-season moves did to help shift the narrative of this being LeBron's final year under contract. Wade helps to some degree, but let's be honest, it's a one year deal. This would help Memphis to move away from their biggest contracts, accelerating a reboot. If Conley were to be dealt, they could then shop Gasol too. I know, pretty bold huh?

AD & Boogie
Here's another bold one, what if the Cavs could then snare Anthony Davis away from the Pelicans? This would surely encourage LeBron to stay. That deal would only hit the trade machine if the Pelicans look like a rubble pile to start the season. Imagine that smoldering trash heap scenario, with no direction in sight, with the added fear that Davis will soon want to leave. Cleveland calls and offers Tristan Thompson and Iman Shumpert, their recently acquired first and second round drafts picks from Boston, plus a future pick in return for Davis and Jordan Crawford. The Pelicans could build around Holiday and Boogie, or trade Cousins for more pieces and picks, deciding instead to just blow it up.

The more fun scenario is thinking about a five man lineup that would include LeBron, AD, Conley, Crowder and JR Smith (Korver could step in and create even more space or Wade could play the role of Ginóbili 2.0). Those five man groups could be scary on both ends of the floor. Cleveland would get some cost-effective youth with Harrison (6'6") and Crawford (6'5"), maybe they could develop into versatile wing defenders...or maybe this is all too ridiculous. Or, maybe this does happen. Or maybe, Isaiah Thomas comes back healthy? This would however, be a bold move were the Cavs able to make it happen. LeBron would probably stay knowing he had Davis and Conley, especially if they recapture the title. Hell, if they were to pull this off, Conley and AD combined, keeps them at the top of the east for the foreseeable future. Please let this happen, because this type of shit happens in just one place, only in the N B A!

My final NBA offering prior to opening night will be a forecast of the season standings. For past ramblings on Five Teams to Watch, click here. For the NBA Preview, click here. As always, thanks.


Friday, September 22, 2017


Lucinda Williams | "Minneapolis" | World Without Tears

I wish my thoughts were pure like the driven snow
Like the heavens and the spring's virgin buds
But they strangle me with their sin
Fill me up with poison
Black clouds have covered up the sun again


Monday, September 18, 2017

"Musical Story, Yes/Better Day"

Sound Tribe recently celebrated year 20 at Red Rocks. The three night run included some interesting sets, tasty interpretations and visual goodies. Night one was an ode to perhaps peak Sector. Artifact was played in its entirety. Above are the opening tracks, "Musical Story, Yes" & "Better Day." These offerings exemplify Sector's ability to bind score-like instrumentation with modern sampling; creating such ethereal sound-scapes is even funkier. Always a fan. 


note: Night two showcased more recent material, the entire show was electric. Night three featured an Axe The Cables first set and a second set with full-gear. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

5 NBA Teams to Watch

New Teammates in Minnesota!
Once again I'll be blabbing about five teams to watch in the NBA, even if they're not your team. I should be clear, I intentionally omitted the Cavs and the Death Stars, they're both too obvious a choice, plus they're both likely to mash through their conference playoffs. So here are five teams you should try to watch during the regular season. 

1. Minnesota Timberwolves - They were on my list last year, I'm not sure whether that's good or bad. One thing is for sure, their roster is very different from a year ago. There will definitely be two new starters, Jimmy Buckets and Jeff Teague. Coach Thibodeau may insert a third new face into the starting lineup if he chooses to go with Taj Gibson; Gorgui Dieng will probably get minutes too. Adding reliable veterans to their young athletic core could be the combination needed to finally unlock this team's potential.

There are many projections suggesting they will make the proverbial leap, I sure as hell hope so. The top teams out west can all score. What remains to be seen is, can these Wolves adopt and adapt, to Thibodeau's defense-first mentality? Two former Bulls will help bring that edge and some late game poise, to a franchise hungry for the playoffs. One subplot will be the growth of Andrew Wiggins on defense. He's far too athletic to be so mediocre on that side of the ball. The key ingredient to this recipe is Karl Anthony-Towns, the best player in the Association still on a rookie deal, his upside is limitless. I believe he's already a top 15 player and he's certainly a franchise cornerstone. Please Minnesota, show us that you're ready.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder - Last year Russy went zenith and returned to earth as a triple-double machine. He's also being recognized as the first real-life Marvel super hero, and now he has a son, so that's cool. This year he gets some serious help with the addition of Paul George—thanks Indiana for giving him away for nothing, because you were too narrow-minded to flip him to an eastern rival for a better package. Russy thanks you too. 

PG and Russy alone will increase OKC's win total. Mix in a little 3 & D from Patrick Patterson, who signed a team friendly deal and some added reps with Doug McDermott, and that's four perimeter/wing players with the potential to mesh well. Of course there's Steven Adams, the blue collar big, who could realistically wipe the floor with the ball-kickers of the NBA. Nobody wants a piece of Adams, he's for real tough. They also have the defense of Roberson to throw at teams and bench scoring from Kanter. They appear to have the pieces to host a first round series, let's hope so.

Giannis Antetokounmpo
3. Milwaukee Bucks - Two words, Giannis Antetokounmpo. I'm a big believer in his threat to the Eastern Conference. I realize that they have some holes in their lineup, but damn if he doesn't have the potential to be LeBron-like. I also think a full season with Kris Middleton will help create more space for Giannis on offense, Kris is a solid defender too. Should Thon Maker continue to develop his game, look out. The Bucks have an obvious penchant for the super long diamond-in-the-rough-type players, an advantage when playing in, or against a switch heavy defense. If they can get some reliable outside shooting they could threaten the eastern teams at the top. I'm in the camp that also thinks Brogdon can further blossom from last year's ROY campaign. I also hope Parker can come back in a contract year after injury. There's real reason to believe the Bucks can secure home court in the first round; they'll battle Toronto for the fourth seed.

4. Boston Celtics - One of the top coaches in the Association has been given perhaps the best bucket getter and the kid he coached in college who turned into an NBA all-star. Nice work Danny Ainge. The Celtics definitely acquired the top-end type of talented needed to truly challenge LeBron in the east. Not only did they sign free agent Gordon Hayward, whom I'm a big fan of, and trade for Kyrie (I'm still reeling), they also drafted Jayson Tatum and picked up a Morris twin. I'm not sure who will start for Boston, but it would be interesting to see a five man group that features Uncle Drew, Commissioner Gordon, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown and the rookie Tatum. Assuming Tatum is serviceable on defense, which they will need having lost Bradley and Crowder. The Celts could allow Marcus Smart to assert himself on the second unit with Marcus Morris. The cupboard looks pretty bare after that—Terry Rozier anyone? Could we get a rematch of last year's Eastern Conference finals? Only time will tell.  

5. Philadelphia 76ers - The process is processing, rooks on rooks on rooks, will the process manifest? Their collective talent is young and unproven to say the least. Embiid, Simmons and Fultz, plus Saric and McConnell sounds great, but they are also the great unknown. As much as I want to believe, there's not much to go on, unless you think 31 games from Embiid over three years actually means something. At this point he's more akin to Greg Oden, let's shelf the Hakeem Olajuwon talk please; his upside is not in question. Often times the best ability is availability and thus far he's proven to be a fragile tease.

Elder statesmen JJ Redick will help open up the lane with his three point prowess, we know what he's capable of. Do we know what Ben Simmons can do? Did he learn how to shoot while red-shirting? Can Fultz get his shots off against NBA talent? Will Joel Embiid Play in 70+ games? Are Saric and Covington actually their best young pieces? Can the Sixers make the playoffs? There are plenty of questions and boundless intrigue, with only one way to find out, play the season. We finally get to see the 76ers young talent on the floor together. Sam Hinkie's process could become validated.

Honorable Mention: Lonzo Ball and De'Aaron Fox - The Pacific is brimming with point guard plot lines. These two rookies will be competing in the same division, they'll also have to guard Curry and Dame. I have serious concerns about Lonzo's defense, but he possesses outstanding feel for the game with incredible vision. The Lakers will be way more fun to watch if the contagious passing they showcased during summer league persists into the regular season. Sacramento could be well served to just give Fox the keys to the car. Hell, give him all the run he can handle, he bleeds competitiveness. It's going to be entertaining watching these two young players battle each other. Also, Patrick Beverley may try to steal their lunch money now that he's a Clipper? Check back soon for even more NBA conversation, bold predictions and the forecast for standings.


Friday, September 8, 2017

Oh Baby

Best New Music

LCD Soundsystem | "Oh Baby" | American Dream

Oh baby
Lean into me
There's always a side door
Into the dark
Into the dark


Sunday, September 3, 2017

NBA Preview 2017-18

NBA Preview 2017-18
Those that get paid to hoop are prepping for an NBA season that begins a bit earlier this year. Opening night is October 17th and is likely to provide plenty of hot-take narratives. The drama unfolds early as the Cavaliers host the Celtics, while the Rockets travel to Oakland. Night two gives NBA fans an early look at some young teams and more faces in new places. The 76ers travel to the Nation's Capital, while the Wolves head to Texas to face San Antonio. 

There were almost too many major changes among NBA rosters to keep track. A record number of all-stars switched teams during the off season. With so much turnover and the amassed collection of talent in the Western Conference, there's potentially enough to keep us intrigued, before the Death Stars of Golden State run roughshod on opponents in the playoffs. Hopefully there's a few teams out west that will push them. I'm looking at you Spurs, Rockets, Thunder, Wolves and maybe Nuggets.

The Eastern Conference is solid at the top, but ultimately looks like a JV league when compared to their western counterparts. The team with LeBron is like possessing a dragon in Game of Thrones. Obviously there is intrigue in Boston, Uncle Drew and Commissioner Gordon will undoubtedly make their team better, but can they push the previously mentioned Drogon of the east? I'm also interested in watching the growth of Giannis Antetokounmpo. I believe he's capable of taking the next step in becoming a challenger to the current list of yearly MVP candidates. Are there three better players in the east than Giannis, John Wall and Bron?

Over the next few batches of posts I'll drop some more NBA blather. I'll fire off a list of teams to watch, some bold predictions and give my forecast on the standings. Thanks NBA, for being a reality soap opera based on athletic skill, real talent and real personalities. Only in the NBA.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Brew Detective: Hen House FROZEN ENVELOPE

Frozen Envelope » Hen House 
Brewers at Hen House are always up to something, beer fans of the North Bay are the lucky consumers. On July 18th, in the summer of 2017, Hen House canned a pretty awesome IPA. This India Pale Ale was given a name, Frozen Envelope. The inspiration, artwork, and beer, all get an A-plus. Hopefully the photo does the can-art some justice. I mean, there's a chicken wearing old school Adidas sneakers next to a basketball, with "The Angel of Stern" looming in the background, holding the envelope. The envelope for which this beer is named, and strongly-rumored to have landed the New York Knicks, Patrick Ewing in the 1985 NBA Draft. 

Lush pineapple juice hits your nose once cracked open and snouting about. The opaque liquid packs a voluminous punch of hops, even if it looks a bit like fresh-pressed apple juice. Be aware of the heavy sediment at the bottom. These hop-bombs are to be enjoyed within 21 days of canning. Again, the taste is all IPA with a heavy hop character.

Idaho 7 and Ahntanum hops somewhat bully the cooperative Conan yeast. This possible onetime IPA was available at the Hen House tap room in Santa Rosa. Local grocers were supplied with pint-sized four-packs (I gave a pack as a gift and kept one). If you've been lucky enough to hold a Frozen Envelope, it sure feels good knowing you picked the right one. Drink responsibly. 6.2% abv


Monday, August 7, 2017


Richard Serra » Sequence
A recent weekend visit to the highly regarded SFMOMA helped to reveal two things. One, Warhol does not resonate with me. And two, the museum does a poor job of facilitating viewers into an atmosphere conducive to enjoying the art itself. Many of the galleries were lacking natural light, were unflattering and made for a mess of clogged people. It felt to me as though the museum cared more about its exterior facade and outdoor spaces (complete with cityscape views), than it did about being the vessel for the art meant to inspire. Museums need to showcase the art above all else, then allow for the flow of foot traffic; it should not be confusing. With that being said, perhaps harshly, I thoroughly enjoyed certain exhibits and pieces. Now onto the good stuff.

The in-house collections, donated via the Fisher family, are robust to say the least. Within these modern walls rest priceless works, covering a wide range of artists and mediums. Edvard Munch and Alexander Calder were the main draws in my mind's eye, and Anselm Kiefer, who's art is felt rather than viewed.

Night in Saint-Cloud
There were three of Munch's paintings that made me feel and imagine, and for that, I am grateful to have experienced things of this nature. Each of these three seemed to me, to be truly capturing a moment, person or place. I most certainly appreciate the freedom an artist has to make their own impressions come to life, imagination is the seed from which creativity does sprout. With that said, these paintings moved me and felt more real, more visceral. Night in Saint-Cloud transplanted me into the moment I was viewing. It's so real that it allows for your own narratives to begin filling in the story. Completed in 1893, Night in Saint-Cloud kept pulling me back. Being displayed in a small closet-like offshoot thankfully didn't detract from its profound ability to mesmerize. It began to make me feel. I tried to put myself into the thoughts of the shadowy image—the long gaze out into the night beyond the pane, and perhaps, the pain. The mastery of tone and light make the mood more profound. Frozen between worlds, the inside and the out, almost become one. If I were Thomas Crown...

Another stark and strong presence was, Lady in Black (Olga Buhre). Produced in 1891, Munch's vision is assuredly captured, as is the woman herself. Centuries distance us, and yet I was able to conjure up ideas that were probably not too far from the truth. When art becomes truth it begins the debate, when art is truth, it just is. Olga is forever immortal, oil on canvass, art as truth.

Edvard had a sprawling exhibit and in one of the larger galleries resides Madonna (1895-97). This rendering embodied trial and error. There was perfection in the potential, and the potential for making a mistake allows for growth. Somehow the skin and youth of the woman remain. I was fascinated by the idea of a nude wearing a hat, it had a certain vibrancy. The rouge of her cap contrasts the soft off-white paleness of the young woman's skin. I like that her eyes are shut, she too is thinking, doing, becoming part of the artistic process. Her dark hair and subtle curves grip our attention. There's also a part of me that doesn't fully understand the left arm and shoulder, and that's OK. Madonna was set amongst a variety of his work from the early 1900's. It showcased the different ways in which Munch chose to portray subjects and topics, it did however, fit in nicely with how his range of color became more vibrant. As my partner-in-crime commented, his later works jettisoned toward color, brush strokes and proportion. I like that different eyes see different things. Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed, will be on loan until October 9th at SFMOMA.

Alexander Calder » Untitled 1949
Alexander Calder is a tinkerer, an artist, and an appreciator of motion. His mobiles are known throughout the world. Calder drew me in to fine art at an early age, his artwork always begged, 'make me move,' so of course I oblige. With enough lung power and some strategy, you can get most of his movables to move. The portion of the museum housing his concoctions is probably the most appealing and inviting space within the ladder-like maze. One entire wall of glass opens to an outdoor sculpture area and the natural light helps to add even more youthful energy. Interaction is a rarity inside the walls of an art museum, and this is exactly why the works of Calder make me feel forever young. The shapes he uses and the vibrant colors give life and movement to that which was fixed. And with one gust of wind, or gulp of air, or even a door being whisked open, his marvels swing to life. It's always worth your time to interact with Calder.

Anselm Kiefer » Margarethe (R) & Die Meistersinger (L)
Anselm Kiefer moves my emotions on a large-scale, not simply because of the size of his canvasses, nor the gravity of his subject matter, but because of the unnerving care and time I imagine the artist taking in order to create such powerful offerings. Impressive, his work reels you in, it literally captures me. You almost become part of the art. I have this need to see it from different distances, part curiosity and to make sure of something. Kiefer never ceases to inspire, always provoking thought, he's an artist who merits the praise. The works to the left were completed in 1981 & 1982. Sulamith is another favorite, completed in 1983. Sulamith mines deep into reality and is better seen in person. The early 80's!

One Rauschenberg is always enough. I have long been fascinated by his aptitude, methods and willingness to be himself (I can only assume). Collection (1954/55) was on display and immediately sucked me in. His daring use of all things possible, gives mixed media and color new direction. His Combines allow adventurous souls to dream, "anything is possible." He reminds us to do, to remain thoughtful, and to be cognoscente of our capacity to over-think. Rauschenberg may not be for everyone, but I will be steadfast, loyal to his otherworldly talents and courage. Thanks be to art.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Brew Detective: Mikkeller Bar SF

Hallo Ich Bin & Fruit Face
If you live in or near San Francisco, or for that matter LA and San Diego, do yourself a favor and visit Mikkeller Bar. Indulgence is a given, their amazing food and libations, put simply, sets a new standard. The two of us were wowed by all of the gluttonous goods we consumed. Mikkeller Bar is an oasis, literally. As you wonder whether or not you're in the right place, you approach the oversized red hanging sign, just go inside and begin purging yourself of the City's detritus.  

It just so happened to be a day to celebrate, so we kind of went off. Starting with two Mikkeller SD offerings, we opted for the raspberry Hallo Ich Bin Berliner Weisse and Fruit Face. Hallo is a deliciously tart wheat ale that punches with flavor, leaving room with a low ABV of 3.7%. Another Berliner, Fruit Face is brewed with dragonfruit, passionfruit and pink guava—another round was in order. This funk-forward, fruit-backed session is amazing and weighs in at a slender 4%.

Fruit Face & Simcoe Eyes
We moved on from the Weisse's and went for a Mikkeller Chill Pils Orange. A pilsner-style ale brewed with, you guessed it, orange. Talk about a summer crusher at an easygoing 4.7%. We tried Mikkeller SD California Dream next. California Dream is a pilsner brewed with Galaxy, Simcoe and Amarillo hops. At only 4.2% I could have knocked these flavorful dreams back all day, but alas, there were more taps to try. Hopping right along (see what I did there), Simcoe Eyes had been whispering to me from the moment I read the description on the draft list. There are multitudes of hop varietals now in circulation, Simcoe is definitely tried and true. Mikkeller went ahead a brewed a hazy New England-style IPA with just one type of hop. The result is a beer that looks juicy, but tastes like an IPA (6.5%). I've been digging the unfiltered vibe, change is good. It was unimaginable not long ago, to question whether the west coast would have to adjust in regards to IPA production. Again, change is good. I wish I had been able to bring some of this home. 

Draft beer isn't the only heavenly indulgence coming from Mikkeller Bar, the back of the house is cooking it up too yo. The salt and pepper fries are a must. We've all ate fries a million times, but you haven't had fries like these. If Caesar salad is a fresh option you typically enjoy, then you should most certainly rock the Dill Caesar with sour Rye croutons. Who'd a thunk dill could be so down with Caesar? If poultry is something you're into to, definitely add the house-smoked chicken, it's  succulence is matched by the perfect amount of smokiness. Don't stop there, you have to have the Mac n Cheese. It's probably the best restaurant-made M&C I've ever had, and I'm a self-appointed connoisseur of M&C. Please just try it. There's Monterey Jack, Parmesan Reggiano, Danish fontina and Pt. Reyes Blue covering the elbow noodles, which comes to you in a piping hot cast iron skillet.

Don't forget to check out the funk cellar downstairs. Most people just use the restrooms and fail to even notice the other hidden gem within this hideout. Hopefully this review will coerce you into experiencing Mikkeller Bar, because that's what it is, an experience. Enjoy.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Put Your $ On Me

Best New Music

Arcade Fire | "Put Your Money On Me" | Everything Now

We were born innocent, but it lies today
And baby you can give all the money away
But if there's a race, a race for your heart
It's over, before it starts
Singing put your money on me

If you think I'm losing, you must be crazy
All your money on me
I'm never gonna let you go, even when it's easy
Put your money on me


Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Best New Music | Current Mood 

Benjamin Booker | "Motivation" | Witness

It's the same problems that I had before
I know things have been hurried
Since I came through your door
It's the same questions that I had before
Can I just make it easy?
Can I run anymore?

Maybe all I need is a little motivation


Friday, July 21, 2017

Brew Detective: Revision IPA

Revision Brewing Co.
Remember Knee Deep Brewing, yea me too. Two of the brewers who helped carve out an exceptional IPA-centric lineup there, have since moved on. The new lab of lupulin is now located in Sparks, Nevada. Revision Brewing Company is crushing it, a revisionists history if you will? I'm excited to see their concoctions making it into my local watering-holes.

I recently enjoyed Revision India Pale Ale. It is undoubtably an American IPA. Most profound are the Simcoe Hops and it's amazing clarity, which does not sacrifice flavor one iota. The characteristics of this IPA are simultaneously upfront and subtle. Let's just say, things happen throughout the course of a pint. This delicious hop nectar is currently available on draft and will soon be hitting shelves—bottles and cans and just clap your hands. Drink responsibly. 6.5% | 50 IBU


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Rebirth of Slick

Current Mood (or when dope was DOPE)

Digable Planets | "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like That)" | Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)

Like sixties funky worms with waves and perms
Just sendin' chunky rhythms right down ya block
We be to rap what key be to lock


Monday, July 10, 2017

"What's Cooler Than Being Cool?"

Current Mood (PURE SUMMER)

Outkast (Andre 3000) | "Hey Ya" | The Love Below


Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Gil Scott-Heron

"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" | 1970

...So far ahead of his time, pushing new mediums; where poetry, soul and jazz coalesced with purpose, which was confronting reality—hip hop would later carve from Scott-Heron's honesty. Just listen.


Monday, July 3, 2017

A Case of the Mondays

Fats Domino | "Blue Monday"

...Spot on.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Greatest

Cat Power | "The Greatest" | The Greatest

Once I wanted to be the greatest
No wind or waterfall could stall me
And then came the rush of the flood
Stars at night turned deep to dust


Wednesday, June 28, 2017



Benjamin Booker | "Witness" | Witness

Do you need another reason to get up...


Friday, June 23, 2017

So Far So Good 2017

So Far So Good 2017
Summer has risen, its hot sun already pushing us into submission. Spread your proverbial wings and fly. Music is always a good companion. For years now, I have been giving a breakdown of my favorite records. I slice this process in two—So Far So Good drops each June and So Good So Far shows up in November. 

Here are the albums that have won me over thus far in 2017. Consuming more music than the list outlines, I try to keep this running tab at six, sometimes with a couple of honorable mentions. Then, in the second installment, I compile the complete year of music to create a best-of, bakers dozen.

The list below is in order of release date. Enjoy summer with some great tunes, a vacation or road trip, and some cold beverages. Stay cool.


Nikki Lane | Highway Queen
songwriting, collaboration, good tunes...send the sun & muddy waters

Spoon | Hot Thoughts
Austin's finest is back at it, great melodies, lyricism, very spoon-esque yet new...can I sit next you"

Timothy Seth Avett as Darling | IV
honest songwriting, contemplative, relatable, one of my favorite songs...should we move

Future Islands | The Far Field 
great album, it's thematic and complete, it captivates right away—luring you in... Ran & Cave

Kendrick Lamar | DAMN.
probably my favorite album thus far, it makes you think, gut check, DAMN. be HUMBLE.

SZA | Ctrl 
hip hop/R&B, new to the scene, honest wordplay, there's doubt & empowerment, garden & anything

honorable mention: Benjamin Booker | Witness & Kevin Morby | City Music

Monday, June 19, 2017

Just Make it Painless


Arcade Fire | "Creature Comfort" 

God, make me famous
If you can't just make it painless
Just make it painless


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Save Me

Aimee Mann | "Save Me" | Magnolia

You look like the perfect fit
For a girl in need of a tourniquet

But can you - save me
Come on and - save me
If you could - save me
From the ranks of the freaks


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Current Mood...OR

Loretta Lynn & Jack White | "Portland, Oregon" | Van Lear Rose

Oregon is calling me.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

State of the Union

The Raconteurs | "Intimate Secretary" | Broken Boy Soldier

Are you a part of this kakistocracy?


Helpless | Current Mood

Neil Young | "Helpless" | Live at Massey Hall 1971

With dream comfort memory to spare
And in my mind I still need a place to go
All my changes were there


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

High Sierra

The best kept secret of music festivals, not just in California, but perhaps the entire U.S. of A., is High Sierra. Hidden in the valley town of Quincy, this year's fest begins on Thursday, June 29th and runs through Sunday, July 2nd. There are a slough of ticket options, ranging from single day to four day, and late night shows that party into the morning sun. It truly is a gem. This year's lineup is heavy on the jam scene, as well as newer artists, whom tend to shine brightest within the friendly confines of the Plumas County fairgrounds. 

If I could only do one day, I'd definitely choose Thursday. Tank and the Bangas kick things off with an early set inside the vaudeville tent, followed later in the day by a diverse collection of acts such as, White Denim, Galactic, and headliner STS9; there's also a late night bender with Dopapod. In case you miss them, three of the aforementioned bands play again on Friday. Ween could be fun to catch Friday night and I'm a big fan of Andrew Bird who plays on Saturday. There are plenty of other bands and some fun things to do while in American Valley. I recommend taking a break to swim in one of the Forks of the Feather River. There are countless creeks that should be full with winter's thaw as well. The clarity of the Feather is legendary and life giving. The parade is a nice distraction too. Bikes are always useful if you have the extra space. Stay hydrated and enjoy a fun-filled summer.


Thursday, May 11, 2017


Monterey International Pop Festival 
The Monterey International Pop Festival turns 50 this summer. This year's festival gets underway during the weekend of June 16th-18th, the same days as back in the day. Overall, the lineup doesn't quite do it for me, but single day tickets are now available. Other than Jim James, everybody else that I prefer to catch live plays on Friday: Leon Bridges, Father John Misty, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Charles Bradley & his Extraordinaires, Sara Watkins, Eric Burdon & The Animals. As the old saying goes, "It happened in Monterey."


Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Music, comics and comedy at Shoreline. Personally, I'm far more interested in the music, the lineup is strong. Top artists for an array of comics will also be on hand. The musical guests for this two day festival are almost enough to overcome the venue (Shoreline's not the best, but oh well). Saturday's main stage acts include, Weezer, OK Go, Lord Huron, plus Tank and the Bangas. Sunday's list is not quite as robust in my opinion, but will feature two of my favorite bands, TV On The Radio and Animal Collective. This event takes place over the weekend of June 24th & 25th.

For more details on the comedy and dance tents, comic con information and tickets: CLICK HERE.


Friday, May 5, 2017

LCD Soundsystem

They're Back! Well, they've been back, but now there's fresh material to consume, "Call the Police" & "American Dream." Eagerly awaiting their upcoming LP? Tune in this Saturday, May 6th, to become fully baited. LCD Soundsystem will be performing on SNL. Thanks LCD. They played the previously mentioned titles and a track called, "Tonight," during their residency in Brooklyn.

"Call the Police"

"American Dream"


Thursday, May 4, 2017


Lelisa Desisa | Eliud Kipchoge | Zersenay Tadese

Just Do It.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Brew Detective: Windows Up IPA

Windows Up IPA | Alpine Beer Co.
Hiatus is an understatement; I may not be reviewing as many beers as in the past, but I have been enjoying my fair share nonetheless. Not only have I been consuming the cornucopia of California's beer scenes; I recently binged on the mecca that is the Carolina's—Mmm, Burial, Hi-Wire and the rest of Asheville's bounty is extraordinary. My favorites list is growing strong and will show  up on eightychoices down the road. Today's quick hitting and delicious review will focus on Alpine's new-ish IPA, Windows Up.

The nose is quite dank with the slightest notes of peppercorn. The scent reminds me of Pliny The Elder (an ultimate compliment).

The initial taste also took me to Russian River, conjuring a flavor reminiscent to Blind Pig. Amazing combination, I know. The pour created a billowing head, you could lay a 50 cent piece on it. After each subsequent drink I began to register stone fruit, most notably apricot. The colorful liquid gleams copper-yellow and orange peel. My senses were being pleased and I wanted to nurse this beer, it kept revealing new layers of itself. Alpine did a wonderful job with this IPA (7% ABV). If you see Windows Up at your local bottle shop or grocer, I highly recommend picking up a six pack. Enjoy responsibly and stay cool.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

National Poetry Month

Wild Poppies

And how do you Survive? Your long throat,
your red-rag-to-a-bull head?

You rise heavy in the night, stars drinking
from your poppy neck.

Your henna silks serenade me
underneath the breadth of the Pyrenees.

You move like an opera,
open like sea anemones.

You are earth's first blood.
How the birds love you,

I envy your lipstick dress.
You are urgent as airmail, animal red,

Ash Wednesday crosses tattooed on your head.
Your butterfly breath

releases your scents, your secrets,
bees blackening your mouth

as your dirty red laundry
all hangs out.

By Marion McCready


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Down In Mexico | Death Proof

The Coasters | "Down In Mexico" | The Coasters

Kurt Russel is awesome. Quentin Tarantino is a master of his craft. And, this song!


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

National Poetry Month

The President Flies Over

Aloft between heaven and them,

I babble the landscape—what staunch, vicious tress,
what cluttered roads, look at those slow cars. This is my

country as it was gifted me—victimless and vast.
The soundtrack buzzing the air around my ears
continually loops ditties of eagles and oil.
I can't choose. Every moment I'm awake,
aroused instrumentals channel theme songs,
what I cannot.

I don't ever have to come down.
I can stay hooked to heaven,
dictating this blandness.
My flyboys memorize flip and soar.
They'll never swoop real enough
to resurrect that other country,

won't ever get close enough to give name
to tonight's dreams darkening the water.

I understand that somewhere it has rained.

By Patricia Smith


Thursday, April 13, 2017

NBA Recap | Why Not

A long time ago in a basketball galaxy far, far away...

Well before the season began I made playoff predictions, I reviewed those picks and other NBA buzz at the midway point. It's time to revisit that subject matter and face the gamma rays. Quick couple of tangents: 1. This has been an other worldly year for basketball, filled with crazy stats and outlandish talent. 2. There are four legitimate candidates for MVP, most view this pursuit as a two-man race between James Harden and Russel Westbrook. Vote Russell! Now let's see how my choices panned out.

East Predictions:
1. Cleveland 2. Toronto 3. Boston 4. Charlotte¿ 5. Detroit¿ 6. Indiana 7. New York¿ 8. Milwaukee
Final Standings:
1. Boston 2. Cleveland 3. Toronto 4. Washington^ 5. Atlanta^ 6. Milwaukee 7. Indiana 8. Chicago^

West Predictions;
1. Golden State* 2. San Antonio* 3. LA Clippers 4. Portland 5. Utah* 6. Memphis 7. OKC 8. Minnesota¿
Final Standings:
1. Golden State 2. San Antonio 3. Houston^ 4. LA Clippers 5. Utah 6. OKC 7. Memphis 8. Portland

failed to make playoffs ¿    failed to predict ^    nailed it *

So, after a long NBA season, I mistakenly picked four teams that under performed. The East hurt me more than the West—you still would have won money had you bet with me. I owe the Rockets an apology, sorry I didn't see this coming, well done. As for the Timberwolves, maybe next year, I hope.

Some other intriguing plot lines heading into the playoffs revolve around the Cavaliers and their mundane play to finish the season. LeBron and the Cavs will undoubtedly face a path fraught with peril, as the East is far tougher this year than last. Will Cleveland make it to a third straight Finals to defend their title? Can the reloaded Warriors make it out of the West? Will we get the trilogy? We'll have to wait and see. What we do know, is that there are some intriguing first round match ups. 

The two best series in my opinion are, Rockets vs. Thunder and Clippers vs. Jazz. I'm high on the Jazz; they play tough defense, they're extremely deep, and they can tweak their roster to a myriad of styles. I'll go ahead and call that the Jazz win, RIP lob city. In regards to Houston and OKC; I'm most interested to see if Russell goes T minus and literally flies into the second round, revealing his true identity (because he can actually fly and he's a Marvel super hero who's been masquerading as a human—lucky us).

The first round isn't as alluring in the East. I do think the Celtics will have their hands full with the Bulls, mostly because Rondo will want to scorch his former team and Butler will show Boston what they missed out on in not trading for him. I also wouldn't be surprised if the Bucks give the Raptors all they can handle. Ibaka and Tucker were phenomenal acquisitions, transforming Toronto's defense. However, the Bucks have Giannis. My All NBA teams are below. Enjoy the playoffs.

First Team: LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, James Harden Russell Westbrook
Second Team: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gobert, Stephen Curry, John Wall
Third Team: Gordon Hayward, Draymond Green, Karl-Anthony Towns, DeMar DeRozan, Isaiah Thomas

All NBA is dictated by the Association's guidelines: 2 Forwards - 1 Center - 2 Guards  


Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Kendrick Lamar | "Humble" | DAMN.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Can I Sit Next To You

Spoon | "Can I Sit Next To You" | Hot Thoughts 


Thursday, April 6, 2017

My Current Mood

Timothy Seth Avett As Darling | "Should We Move" | IV


Monday, March 20, 2017

March Madness

March Madness | Golden 1 Center
Now that most of my brackets are totally annihilated, especially the East Region, I begin to cheer with my heart. I rally around style of play. Or, sometimes my preference is based on the type of school or coaching philosophy. Any knowledge or history with said town, city or region predictably swings nostalgia. College basketball is so pure and good, even if the play isn't as appealing for some. Pace is more of an identity, it is not an absolute. Nor are collegiate rosters as skilled as they are in the NBA. But March Madness has an unmatched magic, if only for a few weekends each year. Did you watch any of the first two rounds?

Having returned from the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento for the NCAA Tournament (I'd been once before, to attend a Kings game against the Cavs.) I can say with a clear conscience, that this is the best arena in America to watch basketball in. The Architecture and flow, the visibility and lines of sight (it's as if the building is floating), its intimacy, the amenities and technology, all top notch, new and fresh. 

There are other reasons the collegiate game inspire and electrify. The bands rock during these games, out performing even the best MSG organist. These truly skilled student-musicians are hopped up on youth and adrenaline. The cheer leader squads actually encompass vast athletic skill and don't simply shake it. I'm talking back flips and brute strength; have you seen the dudes who hoist up their partners to create pyramids? There's a charm and nostalgia that is tapped deeply into the tradition, alumni and pride one has for their team making the Tournament.

Sacramento was teaming with people. The beautiful weather, St. Patrick's Day and the NCAA Tournament made for a bustling downtown. Session two was shaped by distinct styles. Cincinnati imposed their will onto the game with defense. Their physical 2-3 zone matched up, forcing Kansas State into adverse situations. At times the Bearcats would run a 5 out offense that generated good shots. Kyle Washington played really well in the win for Cincinnati.

UCLA possesses talent, plays an appealing brand of offense and gets plenty of press. I'll back all of that up. The warm ups told a story before the game even started. The Bruins were dialed in and resembled a pro team—warm ups are ridiculous when you attend an NBA game, they almost never miss a shot. I watched Lonzo Ball miss one three-pointer, in either warm up session. Ball gets really good rotation on his unorthodox Kevin Martin-esque jumper, it unfurls surprisingly quick too. His accuracy is phenomenal, his makes are all net. He's also mastered a little step back move, it's butter going left.

The flow early on was palpable. The guards for UCLA initiate offense, triggering motion and effortless ball movement. They all want to pass. Ball plays with attitude, an almost nonchalance. Kent State realized that the length and talent of the Bruins can also coalesce on the defense. Other than Alford, the top players are all long and athletic. Another revelation is the presence of Leaf, he can do work from a myriad of spots on the floor. He's heady, skilled and athletic with a soft j.

The second half proved to be too much for the Golden Flashes. Regardless of the score, I did notice moments when Lonzo played defense a bit too upright with a tendency to hop, which over commits his weight, small things he can correct. T. J. Leaf is a stud. I'm sold on him being one of the best 8-10 freshmen in the country. Ball, Leaf and Welsh went beast mode, five guys scored in double figures and the Bruins won 95-73. The NCAA tournament is at its pinnacle during the first weekend of play. March Madness is the best bang for your buck in my opinion. Enjoy the road to the Final Four.