Thursday, May 22, 2014

Early Basketball Christmas 2014

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

No… the real Basketball Christmas that I look so forward to isn’t here quite yet… but last night, the NBA held their Draft Lottery to determine who gets the first 14 picks of the draft… and I thought that I’d preemptively give some predictions. Now… I’ve said for many years that I think the whole lottery system to determine these picks is shady at best & conspiracies abound… and that certainly hasn’t helped with Cleveland winning three of the last four lotteries which so happened to correspond with their prodigal son LeBron James ditching them for championship runs in Miami… but I digress. Obviously my complaining isn’t going to change anything… and who knows, maybe God love Cleveland (highly unlikely) but… at least the Lakers & Celtics didn’t get the #1 pick. I would’ve shouted SHENANIGANS from the rooftops if that were the case… so I’ll give Cleveland a break… and just go with it.

So with that in mind, allow me to give you my predictions for the 2014 NBA Draft a month before it all goes down… and yes, I realize that by saying all of this… none of it is going to happen… but I’d still be okay with it. If I ran the NBA, this is how it would go down with the benefits of each team in mind… because I like good games & a level playing field… and the Spurs are going to win everything anyway.

1) Cleveland Cavaliers – Joel Embiid – Center from Kansas – For the 3rd time in 4 years, they will use the 1st pick on a player who had a slightly-above-average freshman year that ended in injury… has major flaws in their game… but they’re loaded with potential because they’re 19 years old. I saw this guy play briefly once while eating Thai food… and he seemed okay, so why is he the #1 pick in this scenario? Well… you can’t teach tall & he’s certainly that. He’s also a decent defender & can certainly bulk up a bit being a 19 year old from Cameroon. Basically with the write teaching & work ethic, he can either become a Hakeem Olajuwon - Dikembe Mutumbo type… or a Hasheem Thabeet - Mamadhou Ndiaye - Bismarck Biyombo type. Everybody on ESPN is speculating that LeBron may be interested in coming back now but… let’s be honest. I’m pretty sure that bridge was burned like the effigies of the Chosen One. Besides this guy could be an anchor on defense. He just needs to work on a few post moves to be a solid contributor on both ends.

2) Milwaukee Bucks – Andrew Wiggins – Guard/Forward from Kansas – Embiid’s teammate at Kansas is a highly-hyped, high-flying Canadian wingman & probably the only person that could take the Air Canada nickname from Vince Carter down the road. He had a fairly impressive freshman year after a slow start… and he’s been hyped as the 2nd coming of LeBron for over two years now… but I don’t think he’s going to take over the world just yet. He’s really good… but he’s 19. I see him as more of a Harrison Barnes kind of player at this point… but he can definitely bloom. My only concern with him going to Milwaukee in this scenario… is they already have a freakishly athletic fan favorite (Giannis Antetokounmpo or something Greek like that) and that’s… frankly about it. If I were Milwaukee’s new owners, I’d be shopping this pick for a proven asset. Kevin Love would be nice… but you’d only get a year out of him before he goes free agent (and he would if in Milwaukee). I’m thinking they could maybe trade down to Philly or Orlando to get two or three pieces that’ll help them in the future. Of course, if Wiggins is 70% of what he’s hyped to be then I’d sound like a f**king idiot but… I’m willing to play those odds.

3) Philadelphia 76ers – Jabari Parker – Forward from Duke – I really like this kid’s game. As far as ready to play in the NBA right now, I’d put my money on a guy with a year under Coach K than just about anybody else… but hey, that’s not how most think. There are very few “superstars” that come out of Duke… mainly great ball players who have lengthy careers as significant role players on playoff teams… and last I checked that doesn’t sell jerseys after the first two years. However, I think in the right situation, this guy could do it… again, he’s 19 & has serious skills on both ends… but we will see. With last year’s rookie of the year & Nerlens Noel returning from knee injury next year, the Sixers could make a major leap… or they could be poised for another run at the lottery next year with a super young trio of 20-year olds. Either way, at least they get three more years with them.

4) Orlando Magic – Noah Vonleh – Forward/Center from Indiana – Would you draft a 19 year old Chris Bosh with this pick? Because that’s basically how I see this guy. Sure, he has to work on his jumper & all that but… dead ringer in size, heck even face. I haven’t seen him play… but again, you can’t teach size & his stats are pretty damn good… and everybody seems to be really high on him… so that’s my prediction, that Orlando goes with him at #4 and then a point guard at #12 to help replace Jameer Nelson down the road. They have pretty good frontcourt play from Nikola Vucevic & Andrew Nicholson but you can’t have enough good bigs. They also used last year’s #2 on Victor Oladipo with hopes that he could be a point in the future, but he may just be an undersized two-guard like Dwyane Wade at best.

5) Utah Jazz – Julius Randle – Forward from Kentucky – Speaking of undersized, that seems to be the rap for this guy, that he’s an undersized power forward at 6’9” 234 pounds… which doesn’t sound too undersized to me. I’ve seen him play a few times… and I honestly think he’s the best player in the draft. There, I said it. He works hard for rebounds, has decent post moves (though I think he relies on that spinning, prancy hook shot in the lane too often) & plays decent defense in the post. As far as undersized goes, you know who else was undersized at 19 years old? PRETTY MUCH EVERYBODY!!! What I imagine… is he shows up day one… meets the legendary Jazz trainers who helped a young Karl Malone become a veritable Man among Boys… then God among Men from a physical standpoint, learns a few moves, maybe from Karl himself as an advisor… and he ends up being a perennial All-Star and future Hall of Famer… like other “undersized” guys like Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman, Wes Unseld, or even Bill Russell. That may be lofty goals for this young kid… but if he can put in the work, that’s just how I see it going down. At the very least, I see this guy as a Kenneth Faried kind of player… and that’s not a bad “very least”.

6) Boston Celtics – Darco Saric – Forward from Croatia - They have Rajon Rondo for a point guard (and that’s about it) & most of the top players still on the board are that position… so I assume they are already looking to trade this for a proven asset… maybe include Rondo as part of a package deal to build around it (along with some of those crazy contracts for Humphries & Wallace). If that’s the case then I seem the taking Exum or Smart (more on them later) but if they absolutely HAVE to pick at #6… I see them going with this project for the future from Croatia who’s called a “Point 4” (tall guy who can dribble) but… the thing with the guys from Europe… it seems unless it’s Dirk Nowitzki or somebody the Spurs drafted… then they usually aren’t work a lottery pick. Look at the past results & you tell me… there’s far too many for me to elaborate on. Then again, there’s always Dirk… and frankly the Celtics need ANYTHING except a point guard right now… or a “Point 4”. They’d settle for just a standard “4” since they didn’t get a top 3 pick this year.

7) L.A. Lakers – Marcus Smart – Guard from Oklahoma State – I really like this guy’s game too. If I were the Lakers, I’d pick him over other guards available because he’s tough, plays hard, will be considered a steal at #7 since he was going to be the #2 pick last year, and isn’t as far of a reach as other possibilities… and he’s still only 20 years old. He’s about 6’4” and stout for a point guard… a BEAST if you will… and he had a few incidences this year with hitting dry spells (during injuries) and that fan altercation (even though he had it coming) but… he gets a good agent, Kobe gives him a few pointers for handling that mess, and the Lakers work out a deal to get Kevin Love into town via trade from Minnesota (it’s coming, my brother from another mother will go back to LA where he ruled UCLA for a year) then you will have a pretty formidable team with youth at the point & power forward, future Hall of Famers at the two & center, probably not MAJOR players but a LOT better than they’ve been. Again, that’s just how I see it in my crystal brain… er, ball. Besides, the NBA can always pull strings to make certain things happen for certain teams… hmm… wonder what Chris Paul has been up to lately…

8) Sacramento Kings – Dante Exum – Guard from Australia – Now, I know the Kings already have the 2nd coming of Isaiah Thomas at point guard… but that makes him tradable. I’m basing this pick on the best player available kind of thing… though, I’m always skeptical about point guards who dominated leagues that nobody has ever seen (i.e. Europe, Australia, China, basically anywhere outside North America… north of Texas). However, he’s tall for a guard, the highlight reels are good… and basically they already have young players at most of the other positions that are “in transition” so anything else would be depth… so yeah, I think they’d take Exum over Gordon & the rest of the field. Then again… figuring out the Kings has proven more difficult over the years.

9) Charlotte Hornets – Aaron Gordon – Forward from Arizona – That’s right… they’re no longer the Bobcats… they’re back to being the Hornets, now that New Orleans is the Pelicans. Everybody got that? Good. Now for this pick, Gordon is big, strong, athletic & seems to play VERY well when he plays well… and occasionally disappear into the background. That may be good coming off the bench to start… but hopefully he can flourish with the other young’uns on this team to make something good down the road. Starting lineup could be Kemba Walker – MKG – Gordon – McRoberts – Jefferson and a pretty good young bench including Zeller (last year’s top pick), Biyombo, CDR, Gary Neal, DJ White & others. There’s potential there. This pick was a nice steal from Detroit by the way… proving that God loves Cleveland… and hates Detroit.

10) Philadelphia 76ers – James Young – Guard/Forward from Kentucky – I liked this guy’s game too… and they could really use a good swingman now that point guard, center & whatever Jabari Parker will be is handled. Good all-around game. He doesn’t even necessarily have to be the starter as a rookie… he can be the sparkplug off the bench for Parker & whoever they’ll have as starting two-guard. That’s the thing with a young team… they’ve never played 82 games a year, they’re learning the team’s system, they’re learning about having money, no rush to get them out there Day One. Add a top free agent signing (or two), the Sixers may be in definite business again.

11) Denver Nuggets – Adriene Payne – Forward from Michigan State – I’ve like this guy for YEARS!!! The great run that he had in this year’s tournament only cemented his lottery status in my book. He’s got the size, post moves, big game experience, and tutelage under Coach Izzo to be a solid contributor from the start. There are lingering injury issues but… he’s kind of a solid player, ready to go in my book.

12) Orlando Magic – Tyler Ennis – Guard from Syracuse – After picking up Noah Vonleh with pick #4 for a solid big man, this is the pick where I expect the Magic to select their possible point guard of the future / successor to Jameer Nelson… and I’m guessing they’ll take Ennis over other possibilities like Zach LaVine (UCLA) or a guy I think will drop simply because of his size, but like Payne, I’ve liked for a while… Shabazz Napier of UConn. Regardless, Tyler Ennis has shown that he can lead a team fairly well with Syracuse’s deep run & long winning streak last year… and he’s 19 like just about everybody else so far… so yeah, the Magic could have a good, young, decent team.

13) Minnesota Timberwolves – Doug McDermott – Forward from Creighton – Again, I’ve liked this kid for a few years now… but he’s cursed with… let’s just say certain conditions that’ll make it so that he’s lucky to be a lottery pick, despite easily being the college player of the year last year… and among the top for three years… and it’s not just the fact that he’s 22 years old where everybody else in the draft is 19. He can score, he can rebound, he’s got a big body, not the fastest but fast enough… so yeah, I think the T’Wolves might get a bit of a steal here… and they’ll frankly need it when Kevin Love leaves town. Again, try to act surprised when Love becomes a Laker.

14) Phoenix Suns – Rodney Hood – Guard from Duke – He’s the big body kind of two-guard that teams are craving nowadays… he’s spent two years under Coach K… and if he can develop his 3-pointer to spread out Jeff Hornacek’s system in Phoenix, they could REALLY be the “how the hell did they do so good?” team again next year. Everybody had these guys as bottom three teams in the league at the start of last year… and Jeff Hornacek is so good a coach that he has the Utah Jazz looking to make John Stockton their next coach even though he had never even considered coaching his daughter’s high school team prior to last week… and he’ll probably get the job too. Anyway, I like Hood actually going earlier if there’s a good fit… but that’s just how it’s gone with my pics. I’d also keep an eye on somebody like Michigan’s Nik Stauskas as a deep threat for the Suns in this spot.

Anyway, in a month we can revisit this & see how poorly I did… I was just a little bored & I love basketball despite the nonsense of certain things concerning it. Mom arrives tonight & then I’ll be gone for a few weeks so… have a great few weeks everybody!!!

Monday, May 19, 2014


Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Friday, I met up with Jackie D, Supastar, Restless & her boyfriend and we headed over to Church Key in North Beach for a few libations. I like this bar… it typically has a fantastic selection of very different beers from sours to various stouts… and they usually have a few dark beers on draft which is always good. My favorite this adventure was Dark Seas Imperial Stout… and I’ve found that you really can’t go wrong with Imperial anything. They’re just strong, delicious & like a supersized version of the original profile. After a few rounds, we grabbed some pizza slices at Tony’s… and then I was off to pick up Izzy from a day at work via bus. Good times.
Saturday was the San Francisco Homebrewers Guild Tribute to America Beer Competition & Barbecue!!! This was the first event handled by the new leadership group (including myself) and I think it went swimmingly. We set up a 10’ x 10’ tent, plenty of tables, the grills, a few key elements of picnic foods, and viola we had a pretty bitchin’ barbecue with plenty of homebrew to share. Here are some pictures…

Towards the end, we also shared the results of our competition beers (American styles which were submitted a few weeks back). We had entered our Honey Amber Ale… and then soon realized that we were disqualified because we had used honey, which technically makes it a “Specialty” category, which was not part of this competition. Oh well… there was also the People’s Choice Award where everybody could pick their favorite competition beer & non-competition beer that was on display that afternoon. I’m feeling really good because… we basically finished 2nd & 3rd in the People’s Choice with our Honey Amber & what we’re now calling our Oktoberfest-Lite, which everybody enjoyed. We got some great feedback on our beers… tried some others to inspire future brews… and there were some great selections that won the awards… and of course, everybody had a fantastic time… and that’s what’s most important!!! I’m really excited to be working with these guys & gals to make these kinds of events happen.
By the way, if you would like to take part in these kinds of fun events, hit me up & I can let you know how to join the Guild… or even if you want to stop by & check it out. Izzy’s sister, Jackie D & soon Bubbles will be guests at our monthly meetings… and they seem to love them. Holla back!!!
Sunday night, Izzy & I went to The Palace of Fine Arts to watch a live podcast of Adam Carolla with special guest Mike Rowe. That’s right… the Holy Trinity of Manliness was in the same building (including myself). They were basically on stage for just under two hours doing their standard routine… but if you haven’t heard the podcast before, it’s basically a lot of outstanding comedy, social commentary, current events, interviews of special guests… and just a plain good time. This was actually one of the better podcasts that I’ve heard & I was glad that we could be a part of it… and did I mention we were sitting 2nd row? Yeah… cuz we’re awesome like that…

Anyway, so it was a pretty amazing weekend… and this weekend should be even better as my mom flies in on Wednesday & we board for our 10-day cruise to Alaska on Friday. I’m sure you’ll be anxiously awaiting all of our pictures! I’m sure anxious to be spending some time with loved ones instead of working my anus completely off. So yeah, may be a while before you hear from us but… Thanks for reading! Have a great day everybody!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Man with the BIIIIIIG Packages

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
First up, just a real quick news story that I thought was interesting & pointless all at the same time…
Deadbeat Dad Sentenced - An Ohio appeals court has upheld a judge's order that a deadbeat father can't have more kids until he pays his back child support. The decision this week by the 9th District Court of Appeals didn't provide an opinion about whether the judge's order was appropriate (or technically legal, temporary castration?). Instead the appeals court said it didn't have enough information to decide the merits of the case without a copy of the pre-sentence report detailing Asim Taylor's background. In January 2013, Lorain County Probate Judge James Walther said Taylor couldn't have more children while he is on probation for five years. The judge said the order would be lifted if Taylor pays nearly $100,000 in overdue support for his four children. The (Elyria) Chronicle-Telegram reports that Taylor's attorney is arguing that the order violates his right to reproduce… which is obvious… but I was more surprised that he only had four children. I mean… we all know lots of deadbeat dads who have LOTS more children… some of them go Antonio Cromartie when trying to name them all & just forget… but at least he has multiple concussions to blame for that. The topic aroused is… should the “Idiocracy Prophecy” be stopped? Now… I’m sure there’s extenuating circumstances as to why he owes $100,000 in back child support stemming from a combination of lawyers, evil exes & delinquency fees… but the mind boggles at this sentence. Should the courts have this kind of power? How would the order be executed? By which I mean the zygote? Obviously he has some sort of latex allergy that prohibits him from wearing standard condoms… so will his special ordered condoms be covered by the courts? Will somebody be assigned to follow him around for any casual hookups that may result in zygote? If not, will his parole officer be inquiring into his affairs? Is temporary castration the answer? How the f**k is he going to make $100,000 without robbing a bank or winning the lottery? Obviously he’s not raking in the dough… at least on the books. What about deadbeat moms? OH YES!!! They exist… I assure you. What of them? My brother’s ex-crackwhore wife is on child #6 with father #6… and apparently her first five children are with the fathers (except my niece who is with my brother). Should she be restricted from reproducing? Look… it’s a stupid sentence that’ll never fly… but it does raise some questions. Should society pay for unwanted children? That’s obviously a coldhearted way of looking at it… but obviously most REAL parents are having trouble raising their own children… so why should they be further burdened because of others? Is it fair to them? Conversely, is it fair to the children caught in the middle of all of this? “Sorry, mommy was drunk one night & daddy was a rolling stone so… I guess you’ll just have to enjoy a life of neglect & poverty.” Ugh… deadbeats anger me… sometimes I’m glad that I didn’t get laid throughout college so… I’m pretty sure there’s no little me’s running around out there. Hmm… except from sperm bank donations… but obviously those parents are pretty well to do. Anyway, if you ever need a fun topic for discussion at baby showers… you know where to find me, enjoy!
Wednesday night, after probably the hottest day that I’ve ever experienced here in downtown (a scorching 92… yeah, I know… I’m a puss now), I met up with Bubbles & we had a nice little dinner at Little Nepal over on Cortland (really like that area) and caught up on the events in each other’s lives. She’s still growing weary of San Francisco… but not sure where she’d want to move to just yet? I like it here… dare say I love it here… but it’s hella expensive… and it’s not like I need to live here for any particular reason… but yeah, I plan on staying for a while… at least another year… but we shall see. After dinner, I dropped her off at her apartment, headed back home & had four packages waiting for me…
The first contained my PS3 which had been sent off thanks to the “Yellow Light of Death” but hopefully I can copy the files & get a few more years out of it. Yes, it’s one of the originals from 7-8 years ago… but I keep it pretty clean from dust & changed out the hard drive to a 500 GB system a while back… and never had problems with it before it… just decided to stop. Anyway, this company gave it a once-over, changed out a few things that’re usually the problem & hopefully it’ll work out for a little bit longer because… there’s pretty much no way that I’m going to buy a PS4 any time soon. I just… don’t play enough for it to be feasible.
The second was from Amazon… and it contained two new books… “President Me” by Adam Carolla, which is basically things he would change if he were President of the United States… and “Shrinkage” by “Bald” Bryan Bishop, which is essentially a chronicle of the first year of his life after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Fun subject matter obviously, but apparently he has a well-written, lighthearted & ultimately thankful approach to it… and I like supporting their endeavours… so yeah, I’ll have to give them a read… and hopefully get them signed this Sunday when I see them in person at The Palace of the Fine Arts for a live podcast… with special guest Mike Rowe.


The third contained a large refill of PBW (pretty nifty powder cleaner for brewing supplies) and a quad core kit… which is basically four one-gallon fermenters with the fixings… but essentially it’s a way for us to take a standard five gallon batch of homebrew… and experiment a little bit if we wanted to. For example, if we wanted to test out different yeasts from the same wort to see what might work best in another large batch, we can split them up into the 4-5 fermenters and test them out simultaneously. Another option might be if we do the same primary fermentation… but then in the secondary we want to dry hop… or add fruit… or maybe some bourbon… or vanilla extract… or cold lager as opposed to standard fermentation… and on and on… so that we can find the best recipes possible in the simplest time… and we’re kind of nerds… so that may be awesome. Another options… let’s say that we want to do a lager or bock that requires cold fermentation. Well, it’s difficult to get a full 5-gallon carboy into a fridge, especially with roommates… but if we split it up into one-gallon carboys… then we can put one in the fridge… two in another fridge… and maybe two in another, so there’s a little flexibility there. I’m really excited about the options with these… so I’ll be sure to keep you posted.
The fourth & final package of the day… was actually an envelope… and it contained… the results from the Napa Homebrewers Classic that we entered last month. As you can see… we’re now officially… AWARD-WINNING BREWERS!!!

Yes, we took 3rd place for an American Amber with our Honey Amber recipe… and scored “very good” on the judging with 37 out of 50. Now, the Oktoberfest scored a 27 which was okay… but as mentioned, I thought it tasted watered-down a bit & the judges kind of confirmed my suspicions… but yeah, the Honey Amber turned out amazing & I couldn’t be happier with the results honestly. Eight months into it & we’re already winning fairly prestigious awards! A big wholehearted thank you to all of the judges out there… and we’ll definitely take your feedback to heart. Now, I’m curious to see how we do with the other competitions… including the SF Homebrewer’s Guild competition results that will be announced at the barbecue in Golden Gate Park this weekend. Fingers crossed on that one but there’s plenty of great competition within the Guild.
I also just got back from the SFHG Leadership Meeting to settle everything for the barbecue too... and it's really a great bunch of guys & gals that I get to hang out with... so yeah, really excited about the brewing thing right now... like I've been the past six months but MORE so... cuz now we're award winners.
Anyway, that’ll do it for this evening… and this weekend should be pretty EPIC!!! Last weekend before the cruise includes a night of beer-based exploration with some of my coworkers Friday night… the big barbecue on Saturday… and then attempting to avoid Bay to Breakers before an evening with Izzy, Adam Carolla, Mike Rowe & other badasses. Have a great weekend everybody!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Auntie Brew Day & Docs

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Saturday, we met up with Izzy’s aunts Nan & Sue for our first shared Brew Day. See… a few years ago (like 7 or 8) they were given a Mr. Beer Brew Kit with a fairly simple two gallon system… but they hadn’t used it. Obviously just about everything in the kit had expired except for the plastic barrel with a spigot, but we picked up fresh malts & hops at the Oak Barrel and started making an attempted clone of one of their favorites… Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo Extra Pale Ale. Was it a completely flawless situation? Of course not. We had just bought a new 11-gallon brewpot for a big batch like this… but their stovetop had a microwave directly over it, so we had to improvise with their 4 gallon pot… and the only problem with that was that it was a LOT of malt sugars for what would ultimately be a 7 gallon batch (5 for us, 2 for them) but we made it work. Here are some pictures…
You can tell they're related... because all
the eyes are closed simultaneously...
After boiling for an hour & adding the hops… lots of them… like a half pound (8 oz) in total for this 7 gallon batch where our previous record was 4 oz by accident with our Honey Amber… we then did a little bit of an odd cool-down process… because we knew we had to add more water, etc anyway… and transport into a larger brew pot (fit in the sink), we sanitized the larger pot (we’ll call him Bayou Billy), put a few bag of ice from the grocery store into the pot, then poured the hot wort directly into the pot with the ice. Not traditional… but the thinking behind this was that the boiling wort would quickly kill any nasties that might be in the ice (made sure that no plastic was involved), it would chill the wort quickly and turn into the water that we were going to add anyway… and then any additional water needed, they had a nice little hose setup on their faucet that we topped it off with. The result: The wort chilled MUCH faster than usual… in fact, there was still some ice floating at the top when we were transferring from the kettle to the fermenters… so we actually had to warm the wort up a bit to room temperature before adding the yeast. So yeah, real good & we’ll see how that method works. Sure beat the wort chiller or our standard methods… but there are variables in there too.

So after the quick cool, we loaded up their two gallon plastic fermentor which they placed in their basement… and we filled up our fermentor, drove about 40 miles across the bay back to my place, & then topped off the fermentor, pitched the yeast and set it up in the dark corner. Overall, I think it was an incredible success… and hopefully we get the ladies a little excited… and then we can set up another brew day in the future if they like the results… or they may just want to see us do it some time. Great ladies… hopefully we can give them something fun to do during their retirement… and two gallons should be small enough for them to move around easily since it’s less than 20 pounds I think.
Saturday night, Izzy & I watched some documentaries. First up was “Let The Fire Burn” which is about the radical group MOVE in Philadelphia during the late 1970’s until… what essentially became the craziest eviction ever on May 13th, 1985. Now… I knew NOTHING about this… so this was really interesting. Basically there was this group of people who were essentially a “back to Africa, back to nature” movement… but decided to do it in downtown Philadelphia because… it’s the strategy of their prophet John Africa (just about everybody changed their last name to Africa BTW). To live by their beliefs, they tore up the sidewalks in the city to make gardens, walked around naked everywhere, brandishing firearms that may or may not have been operational, and frankly… it just didn’t seem like the safest, most hygienic way for people in a civilized township to live… but I digress. In 1978, the mayor of Philadelphia was a former police chief & he had received the complaints… and wanted to clean up that neighborhood. Well, they didn’t want to move… the police had to move them… and there was conflict & of course… shots fired… and eventually eviction… and a dead police officer during the scuffle. Who was found responsible? Apparently nine members of MOVE were convicted… and sentenced to 30+ years. WOW, right? Well… this is basically act one of the documentary… and the last chapter gets f**king nuts as the title might imply. I highly recommend that everybody watch this documentary. It’s well done… basically all with found footage & interviews done no later than the committee shortly after the “final event” in 1985 so it’s all testimony & footage in the moment, not diluted through time. It’s informative, controversial, and it’s really not a story where there’s good guys & bad guys… but differing points of views… different moral codes… and a LOT of gray area that’s open to your own interpretation… and over an event that like I said, I had NEVER heard about before this documentary but was extremely interesting. Check it out.
Next up was “20 Feet From Stardom" which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary this past year… by the way, all of these are on Netflix so check them out. This one is about backup singers and how they have been an integral (and pretty much exploited) part of the music industry… but with today’s technology & tastes… they’re losing a lot of ground in that department. Apparently it’s hard to make a living as an actually talented singer while certain individuals with little to no musical talent are constantly on tour racking in that dough. The film was very provocative & interesting… but let’s face it, the main reason to watch is for the soundtrack. All the classics from the 60’s & 70’s… and just meeting the people who you knew before as “that girl that answers Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder” or “that girl that outshines Mick Jagger on Gimme Shelter” or something like that. So yeah… check it out… you may learn something.
We then followed that up with “The Whale” which is about a young killer whale named Luna who is separated from his family and befriends the town of Vancouver Island in British Columbia… and narrated by Ryan Reynolds. Sound like a horrible Disney flick? IT’S A DOCUMENTARY TOO!!! Yeah, apparently this really happened… and this young orca would come up along the passing ferries & boats to saw howdy & try to get the attention of the people… and then he gets really aggressive so the wildlife protective agencies have to step in… which makes him even more aggressive but still playful. Let’s face it… the reason this movie exists is to show amazing footage of orcas & Canadian wilderness… and it delivers. Check it out now… your girlfriend will love it.
SF Homebrewing Guild BBQ & our first competition results are on Saturday in Golden Gate Park!!! Also this weekend, Adam Carolla at the Palace of Fine Arts… and we’ve got great tickets for it!!! I'm gonna get these signed...
A week from now, my mom & stepdad are coming to visit for a few days… before we all go on a cruise to Alaska… so yeah, LOTS of fun things going on the next few weeks… but I’ll keep you posted in due time. Have a great day everybody!!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Booze, Broils & Ballers

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Wednesday night, I was invited to a special Don Pilar Tequila tasting by a coworker at The Four Seasons at the bar MKT. The bar was pretty nice, packed & overpriced as it should be I guess… but the best part of all… hanging with coworkers… and THE Don Pilar was there, cowboy hat & all. No, I didn’t take pictures… but the tequila was decent. It’s not my favorite form of alcohol… as we have a bit of a bad history… but it’s pretty smooth… and I really liked the aged stuff, so give it a try.

Thursday night, Izzy & I were originally going to attend a special Scotch Tasting at a restaurant by her place called 938 Crawfish, which is a boiled seafood place specializing in crawfish, shrimp, clams, mussels, sausage & the like… boiled with Cajun spices. What’s not to love? We’d wanted to try it for a while but it seemed a little pricy for a weekend lunch or something… then there was word of this Scotch Tasting… and Big Ben was going to go… so we decided to go. Well, the Scotch tasting was $30 each… and I enjoy my Scotch from time to time… but I hadn’t eaten first… and I can get the whole f**king bottle a block away at BevMo for less than $30… so after not seeing Big Ben there (not sure how as he says he was there) we decided to just do the Combo Boil with a few beers… and it was pretty incredible. Also, with tip & everything, we easily walked out of there for less than JUST the tasting. We will definitely be going back there.

Thursday night was also Round One of the NFL Draft. Now, I bore you to tears with my analysis of the NBA Draft (Basketball Christmas) every year… but there were a few things about this one that I wanted to just go on record as saying.

• The Houston Texans picked DE Jadeveon Clowney with the #1 pick… and yes, he’s an amazingly gifted athlete & it was pretty much a no-brainer… as long as he keeps his head in the game. I’m assuming the millions of dollars for what he was doing for free in South Carolina will do that. Great pick.

• The St. Louis Rams picked up 700 pounds in the first round with LT Greg Robinson & DT Aaron Donald… and I really like both picks. You can’t teach big… and hopefully they’re both athletic for a while and they don’t blow out knees under all that weight. Good for them. Too bad the Rams are still in the toughest division in football.

• The Jacksonville Jaguars selected QB Blake Bortles… I’m assuming because he was raised in Florida… went to Central Florida… and looks like a quarterback. Hopefully he’s good but… is he really gonna be that much better than TEBOW??? Who you would’ve gotten for pennies on the dollar? We shall see… I’m hoping so… the Jags need a break.

• The Oakland Raiders selected LB Khalil Mack. For the first time, the NFL allowed its players to select songs to play after they were drafted as their kind of intro music. Because it was a bunch of 20 year olds there was a LOT of Drake songs selected & stuff that… frankly I don’t believe I’ve ever heard. Some of my favorites was somebody picking “Through The Wire” by Kanye West… and another doing the theme to “Rocky” but… I was REALLY waiting for Khalil to strut out on that stage to “RETUUUUUURN OF THE MACK” but alas… it was not to be.

• This got me thinking… what song would I strut on stage too if I were selected in the NFL Draft… or really anything for that matter. I’ve collected a countdown of five songs that I would be proud to do so to…

5) “Pinky Ring” by Wu Tang Clan

4) “U Don’t Know” by Jay-Z (or basically anything from “The Blueprint” could work)

3) Monday Night Football theme… it only makes sense

2) “PIMP” by 50 Cent

1) “ AND IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII will always love YOOUUUuuUUuuUU!!!” – Whitney Houston, tell me that wouldn’t just be f**king epic!!!

• The Cleveland Browns picked CB Justin Gilbert & then… Heisman-winning QB Johnny Manziel… which I think will work out incredibly for them. I’m not getting my hopes up too high because… it IS Cleveland… but definitely some great value picks if they work out. Best corner in the draft & a Heisman winner? Basically for free… heck, I think they even got a few extra 3rd & 4th round picks in the process. Cleveland ROCKS!!!

• The Minnesota Vikings picked both LB Anthony Barr & QB Teddy Bridgewater in the first round… and I think both are going to be Pro Bowl caliber players within two year’s time. Combined with Adrian Peterson at RB, a decent WR core, and improvements on their defense… watch out for the Vikings. I say two year’s time because allegedly they’re going to keep starting Matt Cassel at QB to mentor Teddy but… yeah, I give that four weeks at MOST.

• The Detroit Lions picked TE Eric Ebron… okay… that’s their choice… a little high for a tight end when you need some resemblance of a defense but… you are Detroit so what was I really expecting?

• With the 26th pick in the draft, the Philadelphia Eagles picked DE Marcus Smith… okay… I had seen him a few times thanks to Teddy Bridgewater playing on the same team… hopefully he’s good. He had a lot of sacks as a senior… hopefully it translates to the NFL. They need Wide Receivers though and… well, here’s a few that were available that I would’ve rather seen them take (FSU’s Kelvin Benjamin, USC’s Marqise Lee, basically anybody over six feet tall that can catch a cold)

• The New England Patriots picked Dominique Easley… who has blown out both ACL’s and has only played a handful of games the past three years… but hey, Coach Belicheck is a genius so who am I to question his decision? Hopefully he works out… I like it when guys are healthy & can be happy & productive…

• The 49ers picked a safety named Jimmie Ward from the University of Northern Illinois… and everybody in the bay area immediately Googled his name to find out who the f**k he is?

Anyway, those are my thoughts of Round One of the NFL Draft. Not too bad to sit through, right? Well, on that note, rounds two through seven are coming up tonight & tomorrow but I’m not going to bore you with anything about that. Next time, we have more beer related activity including a new larger brew kettle, a shared-brew day with Izzy’s aunts, making planting pots for hops out of an oak barrel & whatever else comes up over the weekend. Happy Mother’s Day Weekend everybody!!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Shaq Fu Tu: The Quickening

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
So… signed a three-year lease on the apartment again… yup, that time of year. How much did rent go up? (By the way, not did rent go up… but how much, it’s assumed). Well, this year it was “only” about 6%... and it actually was this time. Not they said 5.5% and it was really 9% for those who know math (like me). So yeah, about $50 extra each month… and there’ll be 5.5% increase each of the next two years (which I will personally double check) but overall, given the climate of San Francisco, that’s really not that bad. It’s still ridiculous… but it could be worse.
Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn – Speaking of horrible & ridiculous things that could be worse… Shaquille O’Neal & Big Deez Productions (love the name) just crowdfunded a reboot of one of the worst video games ever “Shaq Fu”. Yes, it was almost 20 years ago that a foolish young $teve purchased (at full $49.95 plus tax mind you) a copy of the Super Nintendo video game “Shaq Fu” melting together two of his favorite things at the time… Shaq… and fighting games… like if David Robinson was a special boss in Street Fighter… or Larry Bird was in Mortal Kombat. Well… spoiler alert: The game sucked… probably worse than his movies “Kazaam” & “Steel”. It was just… horrible. I can deal with bad storylines & stuff like that… I mean… video games are based on bad storylines like plumbers stomping on mushrooms & turtles in an alternate dimension and nobody really bats an eye… so the whole “Shaq goes to an alternate dimension to fight off mummies & shiz” isn’t a big thing… however, the game mechanics were pretty horrible, graphics were bad even for SNES & frankly it just wasn’t a lot of fun to play, especially compared to games at the time like Super Street Fighter II and two of my personal favorites… Killer Instinct & Weaponlord. Don’t know about them? Check them out... but this is one of the better examples of the original Shaq Fu...

Anyway, back to the reboot, Shaq is of course a key part of it… but allegedly that’s about the only thing staying the same. Some of the crowdfunding benefits are kind of sweet like him DJ’ing a party, leaving you a voicemail, dinner, taping of his studio show, stuff like that… but allegedly when completed it’s going to be on most of the major consoles… and here are some promotional shots… pay particular attention to the last one…

That’s right… Cyborg Arsenio Hall is apparently going to be a character. Which got me thinking… who else could be characters in the game? Here are a few thoughts:
Michael Jordan as “The Owner” – I’m picturing him made out of liquid metal like T-1000 and able to not only form his arms into knives & stabbing weapons… but to also morph into any other character. Why? To win that f**king trophy, that’s why! Obviously he can also throw fiery basketballs… and double jump ability is a must.
Earvin Johnson as “The Magic Man” – Full wizard regalia in purple & gold… with an infectious laugh & blinding smile can summon the darkest of magics… maybe even throw in some Siberian tigers at his command… why the hell not? With every flamboyant & mystifying maneuver comes his commands like “Showtime baby!” But wait… there’s more…

Also, as you progress in the game, there’s another mysterious entity cloaked entirely in black who challenges The Magic Man… their powers are nearly identical in every way… it is only after standing victorious over his fallen rival that they pull back their cloak to reveal… LARRY THE GRAY!!! THE BIRDMAN OF INDIANA!!!
Kobe Bryant as “The Black Hole” – Made out of liquid metal, starts out fast, strong & impervious to the law… can absorb any projectiles, but will never return them (cuz Kobe don’t pass) but will rust as the match goes on to the point of being almost brittle… so attack quickly & with purpose
Julius Erving as “Dr. Jay” – This OG has a deceptive afro that will cloud the abilities of his opponents… before he’s ready to operate with his bag of sterilized tools.
Allen Iverson as "AI" - Yes, very small, very fast, very tough... and a cyborg... picture a robotic Wolverine in cornrows... probably a big fan favorite upon the game's release.
Dennis Rodman as “The Worm” – I’m can’t even imagine the character design on this guy… but it has to happen, right? I’m thinking something along the lines of his outfit in “Double Team” and with the occasional helpful missile strike from his buddy Kim Jong Un.
Manute Bol as “The Thin Man” – Think Dhalsim from Street Fighter… but almost eight feet tall. This guy cold literally reach you from across the arena… but the drawback is that (as Derrick Coleman brought to everybody’s attention in their famous fight) he’s not really a strong fighter… then again… it’s very difficult to punch a ghost (RIP Manute). OOOH!!! I’ve got it… he’s a reanimated Frankenstein-esque cyborg… okay, never mind… scratch Manute from the roster… or replace him with Dikembe Mutumbo or Hakeem Olajuwon with his Lando Calrissian moustache...
Yao Ming as “YAO!!!” – Tall, strong, master of the martial arts… like a 7’5” Bruce Lee… this is who I’m going to throw into the game because Kareem Abdul-Jabbar simply would not participate… but basically it’s like his role in “Game of Death” but battling a much larger opponent. Obscure reference? You know it! Sigh… it’s  a shame Yao’s ankles went out when they did… he was primed to take over the WORLD…

Karl Malone as “The Mailman” – I like this entry in lieu of Charles Barkley as “Sir Charles” or Kenny Smith as “The Jet” because… I really like the idea of Shaq & Karl getting in a little scrum. I know that sounds mean… but think about it. Shaq is this giant behemoth of an immovable object… and Karl was… hell, basically the prime example of a guy who just put in his work every f**king day. I mean… he seemed like an absolute ass… but giving respect where it’s due. The best part: They were on the same team that flopped horribly in a quest for the championship (1999 Lakers, suck it Karl!), it’s pretty difficult to understand what either is saying, Shaq will tease Karl about his rings, Karl will tease Shaq about his movies & then it just comes down to a brutal beatdown of epic proportions… you know, in a video game… because otherwise they’d have to call it “Grudge Match 2” or something.
Dwight Howard as “Superman” – Besides Kobe, MJ, Karl Malone, movie producers, or the five teams that’ve traded him for pennies on the dollar… now he faces his ARCH NEMESIS!!! Like Shaq… but younger, faster, more athletic… took his namesake (or had it thrust upon him & he ran with it) and now Shaq must defeat him in combat to reclaim his Mojo… or something.

These are only a few of the better idea that I had for this game… and I haven’t even gone into pop culture references like The Urkel, The Fresh Prince (or The Carlton), D-O-Double Gizzle (or anybody from Def Jam Fight for NY who might be interested… DMX I’m looking at you), The REAL Superman & Blade. Why Blade? Why the f**k not? Heck, I’ll even though in Steel & Kazaam as special characters. “HOW DARE YOU DEFILE OUR GOOD NAMES? PREPARE FOR BATTLE!!!” FIGHT!!!
Anyway, keep your eyes out for this installation & remember… you heard it here first. You’re welcome! Have a great day everybody!!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Motobrewer Big Brew Day

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Wednesday night, Jackie D & I headed out to AT&T Park (her first time) to watch the San Francisco Giants play a baseball match against the San Diego Fathers… er, Padres. This last day of April was surprisingly hot (like mid-80s?) but we made it… even stopping along the way at Garaje for some decent beers & Mexican food at a decent price. The place looks like an old tune-up shop that was turned into a select-service restaurant/bar kind of hybrid. It was pretty nice for what we wanted… good food, good beer, at a good price (by SF standards). Anyway, we also grabbed a beer at Public House at the stadium (standing room only), enjoyed a few more during the game (at over $1 an ounce, f**k me…) and yes… one more on the way home at some place I don’t recall but they had Mario Kart. As for the game, it was actually a pretty good one… not too long… Giants got out to a 3-0 lead, Padres pulled it back, final score was 3-2. Good times… and the view simply can’t be beat at this stadium…

Thursday night, I took Izzy to Cellarmaker Brewing for the first time and enjoyed their Crazy Eyes Kiwi selection. As probably mentioned before, Cellarmaker specializes in more… unique styles of beer to be distinct from other breweries in the area (since there are so many & they’re on the smaller nanobrewery side). Last time it was selections like their Coffee & Cigarettes Porter (I didn’t care for but they sold out) and the Crazy Eyes Kiwi was another unique entry where it’s essentially an IPA… but with kiwifruit & blood orange mixed into the wort complimented with Simcoe Hops. I thought it was actually pretty delicious. I’m also really excited for next week when they release their Taco Hands collaboration… which is an IPA with things like Cilantro, lime juice, cumin, pasilla chilis & citra hops so… it’s I’m guessing supposed to be more like a street taco beer hybrid? It sounded intriguing & is released on Cinco de Mayo… and coming soon, their barrel aged selections. Like I said, decent beer once you find something for you… I’d say give it a shot. We also headed over to Extreme Pizza afterwards for some delicious slices & watch a little of the NBA playoffs (end of great Nets-Raptors game).
Saturday morning, Izzy & I headed over to Motobrewer’s Big Brew Day celebration sponsored by Paul & his wife Miriam. Essentially Paul has a dream homebrewing system that he’s compiled over the years… essentially a 20 gallon version of what we see at Elevation 66 when we assist, fully enclosed in his normally two-car garage, which is in itself pretty remarkable here in the city. The morning started with a few eager learners there to help out & observe him doing a 20 gallon batch on his system… and of course, pick his brain & partake of some beverages. We even brought a few 22 oz bombers of our Honey Amber & Bourbon Barrel Porter to RAVE reviews. Here are some pictures of the morning…

Around noon, there was also a little presentation of how to do a quick 5 gallon batch by guild board member Chris out in his driveway on this gorgeous afternoon…

There was also a lot of meeting new Guild members, sharing some knowledge, networking, and after sticking around to help clean up… we went our separate ways on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon… a little buzzed… but that’s why I took the bus home (Izzy also spent most of the time at a family wedding in Burlingame). However, she will be able to attend the big SF Homebrewers Guild Barbecue on May 17th in Golden Gate Park. That should be a real hootenanny and we’ll learn the results of our first competition as well. It should be a LOT of beer-related fun!!!
Sunday morning, Izzy & I transferred out ChocoNut Stout from the primary fermenter to the secondary fermenter… you’ve seen the process before… but this is just some gorgeous looking (and smelling) beer… we’ll be kegging this in about 4-5 weeks (probably after our cruise) and then drinking it shortly after chilled. Behold…

Sunday afternoon, Chick’n’Wing & her new boyfriend (that we met last Reno trip when we saw Alice Cooper) came to town so that he could get a new tattoo at Picture Machine Tattoo Parlor… but rather than stick by his side while he bled out… she wanted to run around the city… so I drove her out to the beach… then to Chinatown… then to Union Square to meet up briefly with Izzy for lunch, while just catching up on happenings& going-ons. Great to see her again… and she’s already trying to set up our next trip… but we’ll see how that all works out.

Just something funny I saw at Walgreen's...
Not every day that your bones jump you...

Anyway, that’ll do it for this entry… busy busy few weeks… and then the cruise… so yeah, still busy… but at least there’s plenty of fun stuff in between to report on. Have a great week everybody!!!

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