Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The BESTY's 2019

The final year of the first decade in this new millennium is nearing its end. Adios 2019, hello 2020. Over the last 12 months I've been fortunate to soak in my new surroundings, aka Oregon. My new home has introduced me to great people, delicious food, engaging events, weekend bike rides, and wondrous natural beauty. Whether we're kicking it in Rip City, taking journeys, swimming in rivers, or escaping to the coast, 2019 exemplified how a big change in life, can bring about new life. 

In the past I've primarily highlighted my favorite live shows or events of each year. Snapshots that serve as reminders. Life's way more interesting when you collect memories and experiences, rather than possessions or objects. Food and travel appear to me to be far more valuable than stuff. Experiences tend to be priceless; perhaps the truthful food for our soul. I am grateful to do so many things that feel invaluable. I also get to do these things with my best friend. We are after all partners in crime.

The lists below look a bit different this year; far less live music and a bit more diversity in terms of pop culture and food. The new year is an opportunity for change and growth. I'd like to think we valued that which we could change, while embracing who we are. The tenth installment of the Besty's is below. Tis the season...

Best Live Events
Design Week PDX | Screen Printing @ PNCA | April 6-13

Game 4 WCF | Warriors @ Blazers | Moda Center | May 20 

Astoria Beer & Food Walk | Astoria CO-OP, Fort George, Buoy | June 23

Port Orford | July 4th Jubilee w/ Parade, Keg Toss, Equestrian Events, Pickle Ball Tourney | July 4-7

Sneaker Week | Party PDX & The Gallery Experience w/ Music by Jazz Cats | August 10-17

PDX Adult Soap Box Derby | Mt. Tabor | August 17

Hood to Coast | Mother of All Relays | Timberline Lodge | August 23

Blazers Bike Ride w/ Bill Walton | Celebrating 50 Years & Retracing the 1977 Parade Route | Music @ Terry Schrunk Plaza w/ Garcia Birthday Band | August 25

Live Jazz @ 1905 | Two Jazz Ensembles | Fall Season (x2)

Nacho Week | PDX Restaurants | Liberty Glass & Oregon Public House | October 10-14 

Rise Up, Young One | Live Performance feat. Song, Dance and Stage Adaptation | Wasatch School | Salt Lake City, UT | November 14

Julia Jacklin | Crushing Tour | Aladdin Theater | November 20

Best Films 
1. Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Hollywood Theater on 35mm)
2. Ad Astra (Bagdad Theater)
3. Joker (Laurelhurst Theater) 

Best Meals
Ava Gene's | PDX (M's Birthday Dinner)

Screen Door | PDX (Southern Style) 

Filberts Farmhouse Kitchen | Aurora, OR (Hop Harvest Brunch)

Avenues Bistro on Third | SLC (Fresh & French Inspired)

Providore Fine Foods | PDX | (Sunday Oysters, French Pastries, Salads & Rosé)

Special Shout Outs: Liberty Glass (Old Fashions & Burgers), Life of Pie (Margherita w/ Kale & Arugula Salad), Lauretta Jean's (Pie & Irish Coffee), Fort George (Cast Iron Cookie & Beer), Grand Army Tavern (Cocktails & Italian)

As you can see, 2019 was pretty damn good to us. In addition to these great events, happenings and celebrations, we also had a best friend move to Portland. Lucky us. Here's to 2020, the year of the rat. Ring in the new year safely. 


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

So Good So Far 2019

Where has the year gone? December's in full swing and the holiday craze is creeping in on us. One way to mitigate the hustle and bustle of the season is through music. The second half of 2019 has flown by, just as some of us will be flying for the holidays. So whether you're traveling to see family, or trying to escape them, music can be the tool to help remedy the stress.

Back when the summer sun was shining I listed my favorite albums from the first half of the year. Now that we're on the back nine it's time to round out the list. With all the content available to consume sometimes the best stuff falls through the cracks. Below is a small sample of the riches that exist within the sonic landscapes of 2019.

Music soothes the soul, brings us together, and allows us a safe space to be ourselves. Enjoy the holiday season and ring in the new year with some music. So far so good. So good so far. 

Dame D.O.L.L.A. / Big D.O.L.L.A. / Aug. 9
assassin on the court and on the mic, mean bars, nasty beats, he's elite, lyrically dropped Shaq, diamonds shine brighter on some rough necks, Baggage Claim, main attraction, Ricky Bobby

Marco Benevento / Let It Slide / Sep. 20
80's vibes, Solid Gold, funky, dance to it, drip with it, Baby Don't Make Me Wait, breakdowns like nobody else, Send It On A Rocket,

Amendola vs. Blades / Everybody Wins / Oct. 11
the new duo, drums and keys, percussive, funk, jazz, Hi-Lo, outer space, earthlings, catch your breath, room to breath, Hambela

Circles Around the Sun meets Joe Russo / EP / Oct. 18
grateful, instrumental, musicianship, funky sounds, peddle effects, Get It Right the First Time, William Onyeabor meets The Band, Added Addition

Free Nationals / Free Nationals / Dec. 13
long awaited, welcome to the funk lounge, On Sight, synth-pop-gospel, Oslo, hip hop too, Cut Me a Break, everybody's welcome

Honorable Mention
Raphael Sadiq / Jimmy Lee / Aug. 23
Robert Randolph & the Family Band / Brighter Days / Aug. 23
Lana Del Rey / Norman Fucking Rockwell / Aug.30
Wilco / Ode to Joy / Oct. 4

Best Singles 
Julia Jacklin - Someday / Princess Nokia - S.H.I.T. & Balenciaga / Valerie June - Cosmic Dancer

Happy Holidays,

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

NBA Qtr. Mrk.

Spicy Nugs are still available in the NBA. Certain players have been on fire; Dončić, Dame, Giannis, AD and LeBron. Other squads will soon decide on whether or not to tinker with the recipe. Secrets will be shared and trades will be made. What will teams do as the trade date approaches?

Spicy Nuggets (aka hot takes)
1. Luka Lone Star is the best young star. He already shoots and passes better than Giannis, and he's younger than any other guy you'd build around. Luka sees plays and makes passes on an elite level, reminiscent of LeBron. It's one thing to see a pass and another thing to make it. It's an entirely different pass altogether when delivered on time and on target. Hell, only a few players in the league can even make those type of reads and he's one of them. Not only does he make plays, he makes other players better.

2. Milwaukee's the best team in the east, but I'm not confident they make The Finals. Giannis is relying on his physical tools. His numbers are even more insane than last year. He may still need to refine his skills (i.e. dribble, pass, shoot), but Giannis dominates like a young Shaq who can handle the ball. Antetokounmpo undoubtedly has that killer mentality. His infectious pursuit, limitless effort and transcendent ability courses through the rest of the roster. The Bucks play extremely hard. He rubs off on them. They don't want to let him down. Their style of play doesn't tend to translate in the playoffs. Giannis probably still needs help, or maybe he doesn't. Could the Bucks make a trade without pissing off Antetokounmpo? 

3. The Blazers make a big trade. Whiteside, and sadly Bazemore, are the obvious choices with their salaries and expiring contracts. But what if the front office gets real spicy and explores the market for CJ? They should call Cleveland for Thompson, not Love. Then they should call Minnesota and ask about Covington. Maybe target Gordon in Orlando. Let me be clear, I'd prefer to keep CJ. However, if the Blazers could truly get better, I'd contemplate moving him.

CJ, Bazemore and Whiteside have salaries that total $71.5 million. For that much money anything is possible within the NBA trade world. To put that into perspective, Aaron Gordon, Robert Covington and Tristan Thompson total $50 million. Portland could trade Bazemore for Gordon straight up, the money matches. Another scenario could net the Blazers Thompson and Cedi Osman in exchange for Whiteside. Or they could try to pry Covington from Minnesota. The front office in Portland needs to explore deeper than Love and Aldridge. Everyone mentions those two players, though neither are what they need. They blew up their roster this summer, they could reset it again before the trade deadline.

Another option is for the Trailblazers to go small as I've noted before. Little should start due to his energy and size on defense. He literally flies around. Simons needs to get more run too. I want the coaching staff to get creative on offense and potentially make some hard choices in terms of their defensive schemes as well. Rip City could benefit from a shot in the arm. Portland has nine wins in large part because they have Dame. Unleash a lineup of Lillard, McCollum, Little, Melo and Simons. When they need a big call upon Skal. Run opponents into the ground and battle on defense with a more switch heavy scheme. Nurkić and Collins are obviously missed, and now Hood (DAMN). May the Force be with you.

4. For as much as Ben Simmons can do, he can't shoot. At all. For someone so athletic he looks uncoordinated. His game has remained too raw for too long. He's not a max guy. I'm less inclined to care about his plus/minus regardless of what those numbers suggest. Watch the game. Philly better come to grips with the fact that Simmons and Embiid are far from being a harmonious fit.  

5. Jaylen Brown > Jason Tatum. Jaylen has a higher on-court-IQ and a better feel for the game. He also has more internal grit and fire. As the rest of the NBA gushes over Tatum's potential, I'll ride with Brown. He appears less burdened by distractions. After all, he's an incredibly smart chess player who has his ego in check.

MVP: Antetokounmpo, Davis, Dončić, Harden, James (alphabetical)

Load Management, 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Brew Detective: Sticky Hands

Caught with a case of Sticky Hands huh? It's goin' round. This time it comes in the form of a delicious IPA that drinks smoother than its ABV suggests. Notes of fruit are inescapable upon opening. Ringing with clarity, it feels foreign in a hazy landscape. Lively mouth-feel pushes the ease with which it drinks. This is really good beer. 

A true west coast IPA. Find Sticky Hands on draft or in pint cans. Block 15 is competing for our taste buds; Sticky Hands will advance their mission. Enjoy independent beer sensibly.

Sticky Hands | 8.1%


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Brew Detective: Head Full of Fresh Hops

Holy cornucopia of hops producing orchard fruit Batman. Fremont Brewing's Head Full of Fresh Hops presents a soft aroma that's big on flavor. This hazy IPA shines in marigold, glowing with taste. Juice-like traits arrive early, then bitterness counteracts. Great carbonation creates a better feel. 

Yakima hops are loaded into the brew kettle within 24 hours of being harvested. Bitterness and juiciness work in excellent harmony. One of the best fresh hop beers of the season. I highly recommend getting your hands on this seasonal treat. Enjoy craft beer responsibly.

Head Full of Fresh Hops | Hazy IPA | 6.5%


Saturday, November 9, 2019

Showtime & 60 Piece

Most teams have played between seven to ten games. It's fair to check in on the Association and assess some things I've noticed. Two teams I'm most fond of watching are going in opposite directions. My neighborhood Blazers can't buy a home win, even with a 60 piece from Lillard; while Davis and LeBron are showing out for showtime. 

AD and LeBron. LeBron and AD. I'm going to go out on a limb and just say it; they're the best duo in basketball and they've yet to scratch the surface. Scary, I know. Either one of them can single-handedly take their team to victory. Together their ceiling seems to stretch into the stratosphere. Imagine when the rest of the Lakers start to make more shots. Danny Green's been great; if the others begin to hit open looks, look out. 

This team has exceeded early expectations defensively. The good habits they're setting now will extend to situations later in the season. Davis is a monster. LeBron's reinvigorated. The perimeter guys all hustle and seem to buy in on helping as the ball swings against their rotations. Often times their extra effort stymies the opposing set, or results in a challenged shot. They're playing hard and cohesive. Davis can cover up effort plays if penetration does occur. McGee, and especially Howard, have also done a hell of a job bothering shots and gobbling rebounds. LA is holding down the fort defensively. 

The Lakers lead the west and LeBron leads the NBA in assists — talk about a point guard. Even as James and Davis continue to polish their two-man game, the early assessment is nothing short of unstoppable. When these two phenomenons fully mesh their talents, the game will become even easier for them and their surrounding teammates. As more and more attention is paid to AD and LeBron, the chances for others to shine are increased. Coupling Bron's abilities and AD's gifts with a strong supporting cast spells trouble for the rest of the league.

I've typed before about the two types of superstars. There are those who make the game easier due to their dominance. Think Shaq and the need to double or triple-team him, or get dunked on. Then there are superstars like Magic or Bird who make others better. These types of superstars know how to Bobby Fisher the chess board while others play checkers; they're always two steps ahead forecasting plays and movement. Then there's LeBron James, the rarest of superstars who can do both. He makes the game easier, and makes others better. His power can be yielded at individual times or together in unison through his cerebral acuity. James with Davis creates infinite possibilities. Is anyone more talented than AD? Does anyone know the game better than LeBron? Showtime may be on the verge of showing out.

60 Piece
Spicy nuggets are back, someone should tell the rest of the Trailblazers not named Hood, Simons or Lillard. As I've stated before, I'm all in on Rip City, but initial takeaways don't look good. Obviously injuries have zapped the roster, I miss Collins, but Stotts hasn't figured out his in-game rotations very well either. Tolliver needs to stop getting so much run. Local media gushes over how well he does the little things while paying attention to scheme. Have you seen him move? He's too stiff and slow; he can't guard one on one. With the way the league is spreading the floor, his lack of burst and athleticism offsets his IQ. He's a liability on defense, and frankly, he isn't shooting well either.

Perhaps Hezonja or Little get more minutes. Mario plays hard and has some bounce on defense. Nasir Little had yet to log meaningful minutes prior to last night. In the loss to Brooklyn he showed why he was a top prospect in his class. I've written before about how he could take on a roll similar to the defensive wings Portland sent away. Little is too athletic not to be playing more, even before Labissiere rolled his ankle, which has me wondering why Stotts doesn't try to go small and young. As far as I'm concerned, Skal could have been starting already. Whiteside's stats feel hollow. Hassan almost never boxes out, instead relying on his given gifts instead of hard-nosed fundamentals. He continually hunts blocked shots instead of playing sound team defense. He falls victim to more pump fakes and up-and-under moves than anyone. 

If I had to truly distill the Blazers depth amidst the injury bug that has hit them so hard, it'd be this: Dame, CJ, Hood, Bazemore, Simons, Labissiere, Hezonja and Little. Tell those eight guys to play their asses off and work hard on defense while flying around with more speed and play making potential. If you need a big to bang, put in Whiteside. Besides, who really runs their offense through a traditional low post center in the west? (Jokić is a slow-footed play maker from the top or the elbows. Gobert only averages six shots and impacts the game with his defense. Towns is a seven foot Curry. Adams is not the focal point in OKC.) It's time for Stotts to dig a little deeper into his coaching bag to remedy these problems. Outside of a trade or acquisition, these flaws need some in-house, house keeping. There's something to be said about switching on defense too. The game has evolved, highlighting wings and ball handlers. Put guys on the floor who can dribble, pass, and shoot. 

Speaking of shooting, where has CJ's shot gone? He should ascend to his typical averages, but he's been bad. The lack of reliable shooting from their number two guy forces Dame to go ballistic. Hood has been the second most reliable scorer thus far. McCollum also looks listless when he doesn't have the ball. Too often he's standing instead of moving off-ball or cutting backside. This lack of offensive production may also be impacting his defense. He seems to continually trail his man off ball screens, basically unlocking opportunities for the opposition's offense. I know he can turn it around, but the truth is, he has to be better on both sides of the ball. 

Dame is the sun by which this team revolves. He's going straight dragon on opponents, scorching those who stand in his way. Even with Dame's flame-throwing the Blazers are 3-6. If it wasn't for Lillard's hyperbolic scoring binge, Portland would be even further down in the standings. He needs help. His numbers are certainly MVP worthy, but that's a tough case to make when your team is three games below .500. If you were to take him out of the equation, the season becomes bleak. He's the most valuable player to his team. Thank god for Dame.

Only in the NBA,

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Brew Detective: Fields of Green | Crosby Comet

Astoria's Fort George is helping to expand my appreciation of hops. The vehicle is Fields of Green, an IPA centered around a singular hop. This time it's Crosby Comet. Freshness can make all the difference and this particular pint was canned on September 30, mmm freshies. 

Succulent flits of mango ring out first, slightly muted but incredibly refreshing. I'm amazed by the carbonation considering how thick this IPA appears once poured. Dough-like foam develops overhead. Subtle acidity clings to the palatable brew. Hints of leafy agriculture unfold with each drink. If you typically vibe on notes of bitterness, this may be a bit subdued. 

Look for Fort George wherever you find craft beer. I eagerly await the next highlighted hop from the Fields of Green. Enjoy responsibly.

Fields of Green | Crosby Comet | 7.6%


Monday, October 21, 2019

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Brew Detective: Skies of Wonder | Erotic City

Fort George continually crafts spectacular beer. The latest Skies of Wonder release is aptly named, Erotic City. This hazy homage to Prince is really good. Soft juicy pineapple wins out. Palatability is next level, it tastes so good. Overall hop profiles lean toward soft fruity notes rather than bitterness. Yellow tinged and opaque, carbonation continues upward toward a bread dough-like head.

Erotic City is labeled an Imperial IPA. This unfiltered IPA pairs wonderfully with spicy food, say chili or burritos. Grab a Skies of Wonder if given the opportunity. A canned-on date and type of hop is printed on every pint. Enjoy craft beer responsibly. 

Skies of Wonder | Erotic City | 8.7%


Monday, October 7, 2019

NBA 2K19

Cool and clear fall days when the rain holds off are the type of autumn days I'm looking for. October brings lit hues to leaves, pumpkins to front porches, and hoops to the hardwood. Only the NBA can truly quench that basketball thirst. Each season brings new hope, new rosters (notably this year) and the opportunity to start anew. With so much change I thought it best to tip the season off with some ABC's...

A. All the Action is west -
There's so much talent out west it's bananas. As many as seven western teams have legit aspirations to make The Finals. Let alone the depth of teams that won't make the playoffs. There's going to be some extremely disappointed teams after the first round of the western playoffs. Hell, after the conference semi's too. Watch the western conference this year, the competition will be crazy. The west is best.

When will the NBA just take the 16 best teams for the playoffs? The east currently has an easier path through the regular season and way too many sub .500 clubs. Rewarding winning teams who respect the regular season and are more equipped for playoffs is in the best interest of the NBA. Ebbs and flows of conference inequality would be remedied forever by taking the 16 best. The NBA shouldn't want sub .500 in the playoffs, especially if other teams are above .500 in a far superior conference. Only in the NBA.

B. Before the Bucks Build statues -
Here's a hot take, the Bucks won't be as good this season when it's onion time. Losing Brogdon hurts. I trust no one on their team in a playoff series other than Giannis, including their head coach. Antetokounmpo is easily the player I'd currently build a team around if given the choice to pick one guy. His skills and personal traits could translate into a limitless ceiling of potential. He's the reigning MVP with room to improve.

Giannis needs to become a better more reliable shooter, as many have pointed out. A serviceable jumper would empower him take more of the open looks offered to him by sagging defenses. Drawing the on-ball defender slightly closer is nightmarish for opposition. A defense can only hope to slow his interior onslaught. His decision making and passing must take a leap as well. Defenses will continue to coagulate around him, while also clogging interior driving lanes, especially with Brogdon gone. My biggest question, who do they trust to hit a truly big shot? Giannis is a mutant-hybrid 1-3-4-Shaq on offense and defense, but he'll need help.

Which brings me to the Bucks roster, yikes. I'm not as sure about Middleton as I once was, he wouldn't sniff being an all-star out west. Also, did you see any of the FIBA games? Then there's Bledsoe, yikes, and George Hill as their primary point guards—yikes. Going all in on the Lopez twins might be fun, but it could be bad. Coach Bud has great regular seasons then fails to adjust enough in playoff situations. This will only intensify when coaching the reigning MVP. Maybe the Bucks make some moves. Or maybe they can just rely on the improvement of their freakish MVP. Or maybe this team resembles his FIBA national team when it's really do or die time. Yikes. I think I'd rather be Philly. 

Quick aside: Boston had four players on the team that finished seventh at FIBA, yikes. Brad Stevens will have them playing solid ball, but they're not representing the east.  

C. Continuity is lost Currency -
There is zero continuity for teams to start the regular season. Whether rebooted or retooled, they'll need time to gel. Some teams have new coaching staffs. Other franchises will be transitioning due to players coming back from injury. Many are facing a combination of these factors, a team like the Lakers faces all three. Anyone relying on rookies will need to allow time for their young stars to acclimate. Continuity can be built. Talent and fit can offset continuity, the combination of all three is basketball's most beautiful choreography.

A range of talent reshuffled over the summer beyond the seven all stars who switched jerseys. Duos are back. Trios and quartets may or may not still exist depending on how you view Utah, Philadelphia and Golden State. There's no clear cut favorite. I believe there are nine legitimate teams with a shot at the title, which makes for a more compelling regular season. The NBA could benefit from this after the run the Warriors are currently on and the streak LeBron had. In-season trades and buyouts are highly likely; next summer's free agent pool is not as deep. Names such as Beal, Love and Paul will continue to swirl in rumors. If the lack of continuity causes teams to struggle, GM's will hunt talent.

D. Dallas, Draymond, D'Antoni, Davis & Dame -

Dallas has two unicorns who might wreck shop this year, deal me in. Last year Luka became one of two rookies ever to put up 21 points, 7 rebound and 6 assists. He did so at 19 against superior competition (Oscar did it in 1960-61). Porzingis looks like a 7'3" Ivan Drago and Lonestar looks svelte. Dallas was smart to bet on Kristaps knowing that Dončić is a budding superstar. Lonestar and The Zinger might just take Dallas to the playoffs. The complimentary pieces look nice and their coach is one of the best, but this comes down to the two unicorns. I for one think these two will come out with something to prove. The unicorns of Dallas have my attention, hopefully the grab yours.

Dray and Steph... If you believe Steph is the best player on earth, his team has to be a contender. If you also believe Draymond to be a top 15 player, then his team has to be a lock for the playoffs. These two guys play on the same team, a team that's appeared in five straight Finals. No one should feel sorry for Golden State regardless of off-season moves, roster flaws, and injuries. They added a young all-star perimeter player in D-Lo and have coach Kerr's prowess to push the right buttons. The Warriors offense may shift a little toward pick and roll action when DeAngelo's running the offense. They also have a shiny new Death Star Center. Trust me, they're fine. No other team can lose an all-world guard (Klay), an all-timer (KD), and still begin the season with three all-stars. They'll be major players no matter what, champions don't die easily. I'm most interested in how opposing teams will guard Steph, and as a result, how well he does individually.

Russell Westbrook and James Harden will make Houston way better. Unleashing Westbrook at times to rest Harden will help long term success. The two most ball dominate guys are complimented by a pretty damn good roster. When it matters most this team could be, as Russ said, "scary, and not for us." Their potential outcomes on offense and defense is infinite. Russ is a big variable, but he always plays extremely hard and a change of scenery might just unlock the next dynamic phase to his game. I'm excited to see the Rockets play when injected with some West-beast.

The rest of the Rockets knows how and what to do. If Russ blends in well, they're a threat for the one seed. I love Russ. I also really like PJ Tucker and Eric Gordon. Toss in Capela if they go big, or Rivers should they go small, and D'Antoni has some tough five man lineups. They also have the most prolific offensive force in the NBA. James Harden will continue to light the world ablaze. He hankers for the accolades only postseason success can bring, good. The Beard's hungry, he'll be looking to cook the competition come spring, and now he's got Russy.

LeBron and AD are going to lay waste. Who starts? Who finishes? Which five man unit is best offensively? Defensively? Can it be one in the same? Who guards other elite point guards? Avery Bradley apparently. Who makes the final roster? Which player will they sign with their exception? Just how good can A.D and LeBron be together? The Lakers have questions. They also have the two best answers, AD and LeBron

The Trailblazers turn 50. Yesterday I was able to see the newest squad at Fan Fest. The intrasquad scrimmage was held on their new, commemorative floor inside Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Bazemore and Hood looked good, rookie Moses Brown played well too. I'm so hyped for Blazers basketball this year. There are some what-ifs heading into the season. The roster looks dramatically different from last year's team that went to the WCF. Team scoring probably won't be a problem, but what about the D? Youth and acquisitions may fill the void left by Portland losing their two primary wing defenders.

The culture that Dame and the Blazers have created will hopefully influence newcomers. Hassan  Whiteside's physical gifts are impressive, but he's also been seen as a stat chasing malcontent. Bazemore should inject the second unit with a bit more athletic play-making and defensive upside. Nasir Little could provide a spark with his size and athleticism if given a chance. He physically resembles a prototypical wing defender. Vets like Pau Gasol, Anthony Tolliver, or Mario Hezonja may surprise as well.

A handful of guys remain. Collins and Hood should see an increase in minutes and responsibility. Both Collins and Hood have tremendous upside, now they'll be asked to perform at a more consistent level on both sides of the ball. I'm exited to see Simons get more run perhaps too. He's young and athletic with a quick release shot. And when will Nurkić return and to what proficiency? Which leads to the two most important Blazers, Dame and CJ.

Not only is Dame one of the best leaders, he's one of four players to average 25 points and 5 assists over the past four seasons (LeBron, Harden and Curry are the others). CJ and Dame were the second highest scoring back-court in the NBA last season, averaging a combined 46.8 points per game. They're key to Portland's success as primary scoring options. Hopefully Dame and CJ can lead Portland back to the WCF. As the season warms up, Dame's already on fire.

E. Extra season -
Eastern Conference Playoff Teams:
BKN, BOS, MIL, PHI, TOR = (locks) \ DET, MIA, ORL
Western Conference Playoff Teams:
DEN, HOU, GSW, LAC, LAL, POR, UTA = (locks) \  SAS
F. Finals = LAL v. PHI

Go Rip City,

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Brew Detective: Fremont | Fresh Hop Pale Ale

Seattle's Fremont Brewing creates fantastic beers capable of speaking their own language. Their most recent creation, the Field to Ferment Pale Ale, is a great beer to talk about. Late summer hop harvest leads to fresh hopped falls. I love that the NW brews pale ales this time of year. A delicate balance between hop bitterness and soft maltiness calmly displays the traits evenly. 

A foamy top crowns the wonderfully transparent and carbonated clarity. This Field to Ferment offering is a great example of crafting a non-IPA with fresh hops. In case I'm not making it clear, the clarity of this pale ale is resounding. Dense aromas transform into a light-bodied mouthfeel, never muting the bouquet in the process. This ale pairs well with pizza, duh. Enjoy responsibly because fresh hop beer matters.

Fremont | Fresh Hop Pale Ale | 6%
Hops: Centennial, Simcoe
Brewed: 09.10.19


Friday, September 27, 2019

The Book of Traps and Lessons

Best New Music

Kate Tempest | "People's Faces" | The Book of Traps and Lessons 

We're working every dread day that is given us
Feeling like the person people meet
Really isn't us
Like we're going to buckle underneath the trouble
Like any minute now
The struggle's going to finish us

And then we smile at all our friends


Monday, September 23, 2019

Brew Detective: From Astoria With Love

Sitting along the southern bank of the Columbia River delta, looking north at the tree-heavy topography of Washington while nursing a cold one, is how you take in a Saturday sunset. The local co-op fueled us with edible calories as we rediscovered the small shops and boutique hotels. After exploring we ambled toward Buoy for a pint along the water.

Enjoying a delicious beer above the waterline outside is the best kept secret at Buoy. M went for a beautifully clear and crushable Cream Ale. Excellent customer service allowed her to test drive before going all in. I elected the single hop IPA which helps support the local animal alliance by donating a dollar per pint. El Dorado IPA's tend to be in my wheel house and this was no different, crisp and clear with a bitterness ever so perfect. This west coast IPA's characteristics are reminiscent of a hop-heavy pale ale. I thoroughly enjoyed the flickering moments of the late afternoon sun as the river's shipping lanes made space for massive container ships. Craft beers with my favorite person on earth kept everything tick tock.

Cream Ale | 5.7% | 19 IBU _____ El Dorado Single Hop IPA | 6.7% | 65 IBU

Fort George 
Later in the afternoon we went to the top floor of Fort George. The secret's out; Astoria is a dope beer town. We started out with a couple of Germanic inspired offerings. Lager in the Rye had an earthy, grain-like summer feel. The rye aided in the makeup of the body while keeping it crushable. Rye's an adult lager to say the least. Agent M went for the Cathedral Tree, a barrel fermented pilsner. Such creativity added a lot of complexity and a slight murkiness. Glowing with a lantern-like yellow this soft skunky pilsner is sunshine in a pint glass. Considering that we both went for session style ales, I was stoked to pick up on the many differences that the brewers were capable of achieving. Once again customer service was superb. We were offered to try anything multiple times and felt comfortable spurring conversation with questions. 

Lager in the Rye | 4.7% _____ Cathedral Tree | 4.8%

M went for Crysknife, a hazy IPA, with her final choice. The deep golden hue was opaque. Apparently this batch was brewed in collaboration with Mutual Friends Brewing in Denver. My notes included; the smell, down the hatch and all day yo. Every year since opening Fort George crafts an IPA with hops grown by local community members who then donate those hops to the brewery. I was struck by this idea. Why don't more breweries encourage this interaction? Aptly named the Co-Hoperative Fresh IPA. Co-Hop looked and tasted traditional with a unique color sparked by transparency. Agent M's take was in tune with seasonal change, "it's a holiday beer, a winter IPA," she' crafty and cool. The night ended with a delicious cast iron cookie and vanilla bean ice cream. Do yourself a favor and order one of these every time you're at Fort George, you should probably grab a pint to go too.

Crysknife | 7.2% _____ Co-Hoperative Fresh IPA | 6% 

Blue skies, sunshine and the power of the Columbia delta are both true and heavy. The bait has been set, now take the hook. Beautiful late summer days never hurt either. Enjoy craft beer responsibly. From Astoria with love.


Friday, September 20, 2019

Everyone Hides

Best New Music |

Wilco | "Everyone Hides" | Ode to Joy |

If you're selling yourself on a vision
A dream of who you are
An idea of how it should be
And a wish upon a star


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Brew Detective: Little Beast | Wolf Camp

Little Beast Brewing in Portland is a favorite of mine, rarely do I find myself at their taproom. They possess a cool, minimal aesthetic, and craft tasty beer. I highly recommend grabbing a Little Beast offering. As for the findings on the following information, I need to thank Agent M for scoring a can of Wolf Camp. Say it again, just because it's cool, Wolf Camp.

This hoppy saison held a very subtle nose early on. Wolf Camp was oddly lacking the Ag-centric notes I was expecting. A nice foamy head forms atop the see-through straw-yellow liquid. Bubble gum aromas became noticeable after pouring. Wolf Camp jabs softly in lieu of a hop-heavy punch. The initial carbonation gets muddled along the way. It's light, slippery and has bubble gum notes, a narrative fit for a Kölsch. Interesting to say the least. Enjoy responsibly.

Wolf Camp | Hoppy Saison | 6.2% | Little Beast Brewing


Thursday, September 12, 2019

I am I am I am

Best New Music |

Bon Iver | "iMi" | i,i |

living in a lonesome way...
 Had me looking other ways
I am
I am
I am
 lost here,
     - Bon Iver


Monday, September 9, 2019


Post Malone & Swae Lee | "Sunflower" |

Enter the Spider-Verse...


Thursday, September 5, 2019

Level Up | Game On IPA

Well balanced IPA's are becoming a rarity. Thankfully Level Beer is crafting a superb example, Game On! This Portland IPA has great malt backing, a nice diversion. Don't worry, the hops are well represented, ultimately winning out. A nice jab of bitterness hits early and then fades into the smooth malt bill. I also picked up subtle notes of mango and traces of lemon. Always check the date on the can, these were fresh. Game On! Enjoy responsibly.


Level Beer | Game On IPA | 6.5% 

Monday, September 2, 2019

My Walk

Best New Music |

Raphael Saadiq | "My Walk" | Jimmy Lee |

I've seen lawyers, judges, hustlers in my dreams
It don't mean nothin' if they ain't on your team
I've been takin' backstreets just to feed my soul
You don't know me and don't wanna see me cold
I don't bother nobody, I do what I do
What I do, I only do it for you
     - Raphael Saadiq


Monday, August 19, 2019

Cosmic Dancer

Best New Music |

Valerie June | "Cosmic Dancer" |

Songwriting that cuts deep into the pieces that make us feel familiar. Nostalgia. Maybe it just registers with me. Thanks Valerie June, keep doing what you do.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Brew Detective: Broujerij West + Three Chiefs

Situation in Sector 9... Or, how to love zombies when you absolutely have to...

That's a mouth full, I know. First off, this is the best art I've seen in quite sometime, the graphics are so bomb and the application method is more like a mosaic of stickers. Now that I've gush over the art, on to the suds. The nose on this hazy IPA is reminiscent of baby food fruit, I'm talking straight Gerber's. It reminds me of banana or papaya when pureed. A decent head forms above the heavy body. There's sufficient carbonation considering how dense the mouth feel is. Once it hits your taste buds some green onion turns up, followed by bitterness.

My A+ partner in crime had this to say about SiS9, "Thick like a juice bar." Her tasting notes, "Whoa, it's a foamy pucker." There it is, a review of the collaboration between Brouwerij West and Three Chiefs. As always enjoy craft beer responsibly. 

Situation in Sector 9 | 7%
Hops: Cashmere, Comet, Mosaic
+ Malted Barley, Raw Wheat & Rolled Oats


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Don't Let the Days of Your Life Pass By

Outkast | "Git Up Git Out" | Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik

Straight classic—this is self help for those that use music as a tool, a vessel for energy and emotion. Nineties hip hop, the real shxt, is the truth. This entire record is bonkers. No one's mess'n with this... Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik


Monday, August 12, 2019

Ready or Not

Fugees | "Ready or Not" | The Score

Low down beat, like submarine battle low. The verse by Ms. Hill is so dope. Hip Hop.


Thursday, August 8, 2019

After Hours

A Tribe Called Quest | "After Hours" | People's Instinctive Travels & the Paths of Rhythm

Never sleep on ATCQ. This is real hip hop, real rhythm, with dope beats, true lyrics and substance—no mumble'n, no fake-ass messages, and never superficial. Do yourself a favor, "Get up," and listen to the music (frogs and bugs) that's all around you. 


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Bodhizafa | Georgetown

Georgetown Brewing excels at many things, another accelerated offering is Bodhizafa. This IPA exemplifies a west coast IPA, channeling clarity and taste. Fresh comes to mind when I think of this craft brew. Flavors unfold through a bouquet of hops and layers of malt. This incredible beer can fly solo for sure, it also pairs well with cast iron summer vegetables and poblano peppers.

A slight amber hue, maybe malt induced, sways through the clear body. Nice carbonation and a quality head send the information to the top, enticing both your taste buds and nose to scourer for the proper adjectives. Bodhizafa is truly delicious. Look for this gold medal winner on draft or in six packs. Consume craft beer responsibly.

Hops: Chinook, Citra, Columbus, Mosaic | Malts: 2-Row & Munich w/ Oats
Bodhizafa IPA | 6.9%


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Still Haven't Found...

U2 | "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" | The Joshua Tree

I have kissed honey lips
Felt the healing fingertips
It burned like fire
This burning desire

I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held hand of the devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone

But I still haven't found 
What I'm looking for
But I still haven't found 
What I'm looking for


Sunday, July 28, 2019

Brew Detective: Fremont Sky Kraken

Haze is all the craze. Here lies another iteration, here lies the Kraken. The Sky Kraken is a hazy pale ale from Fremont Brewing. The aromas are full of tropical fruit. Poured out the color resembles a mix between poppy and straw yellow. The Sky Kraken has decent clarity considering it's hazy. A bubbly head forms above the somewhat murky ale. 

A second dose of things to smell and taste is highlighted by mango, melon and pineapple. The Kraken is super crushable. There's little to no mouth feel, which assists in making it go down easy. A slight sweetness rings at the finish, a nice change of pace. Look for this delicious pale ale in six packs, 22oz. bottles, or on draft. Release the Kraken. Enjoy summer responsibly. 

Hops: Citra, Mosaic & Strata | Malts: 2-Row, White & Flaked Wheat, Malted & Rolled Oats
Sky Kraken: 5.5%


Friday, July 12, 2019

Electric Warrior

T. Rex | "Mambo Sun" | Electric Warrior

Girl, you're good
And I've got wild knees—for you
On a mountain range
I'm Dr. Strange—for you


Monday, July 8, 2019

All The Time

Bahamas | "All The Time" | Bahamas Is Alfie


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

So Far So Good 2019

So far so good. That's exactly what I was thinking, especially this particular year. Change is change and sometimes change is good. I'm super stoked for Independence Day this year, Pacific coast here we come. Getting out of our city will act as a reminder, and possibly a barometer, for what's been done and what could be. I know, live in the now. 

Summer has struck without it being too hot, yet. The occasional summer showers or lightening storms are a welcomed blast of nostalgia. Agent M and I have been doing a shit ton of biking, like, a lot. Anyhow, when it warms up and the sun is shining, we can all relate to the ways in which summer feeds us. Thanks summer, thanks mother earth. 

Enjoy The Fourth with friends and family, festivities or new found adventure. Whether outside grilling or inside chilling, summer tunes never hurt. Music is a must on summer road trips however. Below is a quick list of my favorite albums during the first half of 2019.
So Far So Good...

Sharon Von Etten | Remind Me Tomorrow
big, score-like, she baits you in, atmospheric, imagery, I Told You Everything, Hands

Julia Jacklin | Crushing
best album so far, too good, too truthful, painful and beautiful, CRUSHING, CRUSHING

Jeff Tweedy | Warmer
extra baggage, tales, you know who the fxck he is, Guaranteed 

Kevin Morby | Oh My God
smokey, piano, clearly understood, misunderstood, wiser, word play, unkept, just right, O Behold

Faye Webster | Atlanta Millionaires Club
whiney pop ballads, hybrid synth jangle, tambourines and pedal steel, country R&B, is this shit real?

Prince | Originals 
Prince, Prince songs, Prince was a genius, I miss Prince, purple & blue

So long, happy 4th.


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Roll With It

Steve Winwood | "Roll With It" | Roll With It |

The way that you love, is good as money
I swear by stars above, sweet as honey
People think you're down and out
You show 'em what it's all about
You can make it, roll with it, baby


Monday, July 1, 2019

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Get Up & Get Down

The Dramatics | "Get Up and Get Down" | Whatcha See is Whatcha Get |

Let me see your tight wire come alive ...


Friday, June 28, 2019

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Cloudy Shoes

Damien Jurado | "Cloudy Shoes" | Saint Bartlett |

I wish that I could float
Float up from the ground
I will never know
What that's like

You have a way about you
I wish that I had
Thought it was impossible 
To live and love like you


Sunday, June 23, 2019

Doctor My Eyes

Jackson Browne | "Doctor My Eyes" | Jackson Browne |

Doctor my eyes have seen the years
And the slow parade of fears, without crying
Now I want to understand

I have done all that I could
To see the evil and the good, without hiding
You must help me if you can

Doctor my eyes
Tell me what is wrong
Was I unwise, to leave them open for so long


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Brew Detective: Reubens' Brews Summer IPA

Reuben's Brews just keeps crushing deliciousness, this time it's their Summer IPA. Buy a six pack as soon as you see it, or get ye growler filled if ya live in the PNW. The Thrillist named it one of 21 beers we should be drinking this summer, so it's got that going for it, which is nice.

When this IPA hits your glass, you'll witness outstanding clarity and a fluffy head. Carbonation continues long after the pour. The nose is all IPA, not so juice-forward. This is a true west coast IPA, both in look and taste. The transparent nature of the ale does not surrender one iota of mouth feel. This IPA reflects so positively on Reuben's brewing team, they truly work toward crafting excellent beer. 

I really dig the cleaner, more clear IPA's. Those of us lucky enough to live within beer-crazed areas have ample opportunities to drink quality beer. As my fairy hop-father once told me, "life's too short to drink bad beer. If you don't like it, you don't have to finish it." With somewhere in the neighborhood of 6K breweries nationwide there's plenty to be had. Happy hunting.

Reuben's Summer IPA | 6.5% | 50 IBU


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Baby Blue

The 13th Floor Elevators | "(It's All Over Now) Baby Blue" | Easter Everywhere |

Leave your stepping stones behind, there's something that calls for you
Forget the dead you left, they will not follow you
Your vagabond who's rapping at your door
Is standing in the clothes that you once wore
The sky too, is falling, over you
And it's all over now, Baby Blue
     - Bob Dylan


Monday, June 10, 2019

Revolution Blues

Neil Young | "Revolution Blues" | On the Beach |

Yes, that was me with the doves,
Setting them free near the factory
Where ya built your computer love


Saturday, June 8, 2019

Brew Detective: Reuben's Brews vs. Ex Novo

Tart Cherry Weisse vs. Marryin' Berries Gose -

Reuben's Brews and Ex Novo are two of the finest breweries in the PNW. Their takes on two German standards epitomize how classic brews can be rejiggered. Both glow, tinted by the fruit they were brewed with, they're attractive in the glass. These ales are best appreciated on warm days. Craving something a little sour and lower in ABV is far more palatable when the sun's out. 

One is brewed in WA, the other PDX. If you find yourself wanting to break free of the dearth of hop-driven ales, these are two fine fixes. Neither one is over powered by the fruit. The yeast is what's packing the punch. The sugary sweet of the fruit helps to balance the puckering elements in each of these beautiful beers. Obviously the tart cherry used in the Weisse offers a different nuance than the combination of raspberries and marionberries that are added to the Gose.

The effervescence of Reuben's is full of beautiful carbonation, it almost dances in the glass, as well as on the palate. The Tart Cherry probably wins out in the end, but they're both phenomenal. Reuben's weighs in at 3.2% and Ex Novo rounds out at 4.6%. If you're in the mood for a change of pace, grab these selections from your local grocer or bottle shop. Enjoy responsibly.


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Crazy Baldhead

Current Mood |

Bob Marley & The Wailers | "Crazy Baldhead" | Rastaman Vibration |

Here comes the conman
Coming with his con plan
We won't take no bribe
We've got to stay alive


Monday, June 3, 2019

Brew Detective: Heater Allen Pils

The Pils by Heater Allen is probably the best pilsner I've had since moving to Oregon. The benchmark for me has always been Trumer. Another stalwart is Russian River's STS Pils. North Coast's Scrimshaw is also a credible choice. Now that I've listed a few of my all-time faves along the left coast, it's time to add Heater Allen to the group. My first experience with Heater was at the fantastic Navarre on NE 28th, just off the corner of Burnside (get their potatoes gratin!). 

The clarity is topnotch, as is the crispness. Perfect carbonation adds to both the look and taste. As I've mentioned in the past, carbonation is a vital component to craft beer, decidedly so when dealing with certain types. This pilsner takes its cues from the Czech Republic; It's unfiltered, so the time it takes from brewing to bottling is a bit longer than most. The balance between malt and hop is fantastic. Each characteristic shows through within the golden hue of this delicious pilsner. Look for Heater Allen on tap or in the bottle. Cheers.

Heater Allen Pils | 5.2% | 36 IBU


Monday, May 27, 2019

Brew Detective: Kids These Haze

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

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

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


Tuesday, May 21, 2019


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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