Friday, June 24, 2016

Beer Camp & Basketball Xmas 2016

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Last week, Izzy & I watched the 1963 flick “Shock Corridor” starring Peter Breck & written/directed by Sam Fuller. The movie is about a journalist who just wants to win the Pulitzer Prize… so his big idea is to pretend to be insane, get committed in a mental institution, and then tell stories of the inmates (???) and possibly… SOLVE A MURDER!!! Leading up to his commitment, his editor & a psychiatrist trains him to be insane… and his burlesque dancer girlfriend pretends to be his sister… and accuses him of incest, so he’s committed. Well… you can’t spend too much time in a mental institution before the other patients, medications, environment, physical conditions, and your own neuroses come out to destroy you… even if there wasn’t a murderer in the midst. The movie is black & white for the most part… and is REALLY cool & inventive for the time. You may get the feeling that you’ve seen elements of the movie before but… definitely check it out. It’s pretty entertaining… and there are nymphos! I think that just sold it for you, right? Remember that it’s still over 50 years ago when this movie was made. It’s pretty sweet.
Saturday, Izzy & I went to a beer festival… but not just any beer festival… this was Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp which tours across the country featuring Sierra Nevada collaborations with many other breweries across the United States… and sometimes other countries too! This particular stop was at Pier 35 and featured dozens of other breweries, including our buddies at Elevation 66 Brewing & FDR (Ferment.Drink.Repeat.) and hundreds of different beers to try… so we were well nourished with regards to barley, hops, water & yeast… and plenty of other adjuncts. Here are some pictures…

Sunday night was (the predetermined months ago by the NBA & the actions since the end of Game 4 have obviously proven that) Game 7 of the NBA Finals here in the Bay Area where the record-setting Golden State Warriors went up against the Cleveland LeBrons… and basically Cleveland won its first pro sports championship in over half a century, due to a combination of great personal performances, and the officiating was being reproach… okay, that last one was BS, but it doesn’t matter. They’re not going to change anything so what’s the f**king point. Regardless, the Warriors did well, as did the Cavaliers… and just like the Highlander, there can only be one winner of the Prize. Also, in case you missed the Finals… apparently there’s a “Ghostbusters” reboot coming out… and based on their marketing of everything, it’s really looking like it’s going to suck & they’re trying to get everybody out there opening weekend. Anyway, congratulations to Cleveland!!! Golden State, hopefully we’ll see you back in the Western Conference Finals next year… losing horribly to the San Antonio Spurs on their way to another title.
Speaking of predetermined months ago… Basketball’s Christmas has come and passed in the form of the 2016 NBA Draft… and the lottery gave the first two picks to the Philadephia 76ers (within days of them firing  GM Sam Hinkie who spent the past four seasons making a mockery of the NBA draft system by being historically bad & bringing tanking to the forefront, so surprise surprise once he’s out they finally get the #1 pick) and the Los Angeles Lakers (finally without Kobe & last year’s #2 pick is obviously a teenager, so they can now rebuild in the nation’s 2nd largest market) and everybody pretty much knew who was going with those picks. However, the rest was kind of bonkers… and I like it. Here are some highlights and thoughts…
1.       Philadelphia – Ben SimmonsForward from LSU – Everybody has been touting him as the next LeBron James for two full years now… and his one year at LSU was pretty impressive as he was apparently the only person on that team when he showed up & they didn’t even WANT to be in the postseason tournaments so… in that respect, he’s a lot like Shaquille O’Neal a generation ago. From what I’ve seen, he has a LOT of skills and I really can’t see him NOT being the #1 pick. Need more convincing? The coach of the 76ers (former Spurs assistant Brent Brown) coached Ben’s father in Australia back in the day. Need more? What the f**k else is Philadelphia going to do? Seriously, they need to do something… otherwise the NBA will move them to Seattle or something as punishment for mocking them. Allegedly we may finally get to see a real basketball team in Philadelphia instead of a team the Washington Generals would have a chance against. Let this be the year!!! Tanking works!!! Philly also used later first round picks on international players Frenchman Timothe Luwawu & Turkish player Furkan Korkmaz (or as I’m going to call him… “FURK YEAH!!!”). With the potential of trading away their plethora of big men from past drafts (Okafor, Noel, Embiid, Siric, etc) the Sixers may be a player in the bottom half of the East next year & built for the future… or they may still suck. Who knows? Good draft though maybe…
2.       Los Angeles – Brandon IngramForward from Duke – Kobe is finally gone… so let’s now get the Lakers back into the NBA landscape. They have… well, they don’t have a lot to work with. I like Julius Randle’s game… but it really hasn’t taken off. Jordan Clarkson & D’Angelo Russell are in the backcourt but… apparently D’Angelo really is a teenager. Swaggy P or whatever Nick Young is calling himself… is a goddamn joke. Brandon Ingram has great skills… and will have to lead the Lakers from the start. However, he’s from Duke… and as has been documented, there aren’t a lot of superstars to come out of Duke the past few decades. However, there have been some great role players. Hopefully Brandon can break the trend… but let’s be honest, who gives two sh*ts about the Lakers. They’re really trying to go after Kevin Durant or somebody who’ll probably play the same position as Ingram so that’s where the real play is. The Lakers haven’t drafted well since the 80s. They get their star players through free agency. Money talks. They also drafted the 2nd best 7-foot Croatian in the draft, Ivica Zubac so… we might be pretty good too? Lakers will probably rebuild through free agency.
3.       Boston – Jaylen BrownGuard from California – This was a bit of a surprise… but apparently he’s a tremendous athlete & great size for the point position and super young. Here’s the thing… the Celtics came into the draft with EIGHT picks… and basically used SIX of them… and sent the other two for a 1st rounder next year, where they already had 2 first-rounders. They were talking about trying to trade for established superstars (or at least Jimmy Butler or the Sixers’ castaways) but they got Brown, some French guy nobody has heard of (Guerschon Yabusele), another tall European guy (Ante Zizic), Notre Dame point guard Demetrius Jackson (not bad), a guy from Providence named Ben Bentil, and another European guy (Abdel Nader). So there’s young talent but… a LOT of them for a team that already has a LOT of young talented prospects but no real superstar (until they trade for Kevin Love or something). You know who’s good at developing young talent? Brad Stevens, the coach who led f**king BUTLER to the championship game TWICE and then has been heading up a gaggle of nobodies in Boston for the past few seasons.
4.       Phoenix – Dragan Bender – 7-foot Croatian - Yes, I know… the mysterious “seven-footer” from some Eastern European country that doesn’t have the last name Nowitzki… he’s bound to suck, right? Probably. However, here’s why I think the Celtics may bite on him. First & foremost, he’s apparently really 7 feet tall… and you can’t teach that. He’s also super young like most European exports. One key difference, he actually looks proportionate to his 7 foot frame, not super skinny like Krystaps last year or anything like that. He’s got skills already but will need to develop. He could totally be a Pao Gasol / Chris Bosh kind of player very easily… or another Alex Len or something. We shall see. The Suns also traded four late round picks / busts for the 8th pick in the draft to grab Washington forward Marquese Chriss. Everybody seems really high on this kid & I’ve never seen him play… but apparently he’s 6’9” and can jump out of the f**king gym. Now a player like that might be really good & marketable in Phoenix if it all works out… and they also got a very good (short) point guard in tournament darling Tyler Ulis. That’s a fantastic draft in my humble opinion. LOTS of potential high-risk / high-reward picks… go big or go home in 105 degree heat in spring.
5.       Minnesota – Kris Dunn – Guard from Providence – Apparently Minnesota is FINALLY over Ricky Rubio and whatever they say in him for what seems like forever. They have their key talent now with guys like Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Shabazz Muhammed, etc. but they need somebody who can provide some leadership and set them up to succeed. Enter a four-year starter in college with good size to take over a bit of a leadership role. With new coach Tom Thibodeau having more of an emphasis on defense too, I can really see this working out for them.
6.       New Orleans – Buddy Hield – Guard from Oklahoma – Let the record show that I LOVE Buddy Hield’s game. What I’ve seen from him this season in college is… Steph Curry-like. He can just take over a game on offense & has range for days. So why is he at #7 then? Well… he’s absolutely ancient by draft standards at 22 years old… he’s not much of a passer / facilitator from what I’ve seen… and his defense is questionable. He may also be a little too short at 6’4” to be a major threat as a spot-up shooter unless he learns to come off screens or pull some Steph Curry moves to get open. That being said… he’s an all-day three-point shooter, has some great skills all around on offense… and can really help out in spreading out the floor for Anthony Davis down low and work well with their other guards like Jrue Holiday & Tyreke Evans… basically replacing Eric Bledsoe who’s leaving apparently. Honestly, he may be the steal of the draft. He has heart… and as Steph Curry can show, sometimes when heart meets drive, you can make a superstar out of somebody who gets doubted & scrutinized his whole life. They also picked up Kansas forward Cheick Diallo who basically rode the bench so who knows… but rooting for the Pelicans.
7.       Denver – Jamal Murray – Guard from Kentucky – He’s a one-and-done guy from Kentucky who is 19 years old and doesn’t really play defense. That being said, he’s very young, great scorer & penetrator, good ball skills that’ll need to develop, good size for a point guard, and can really help the Nuggets by distributing, shooting when needed & setting up those around him to do what they do. Unfortunately, there’s just not a lot to work with in Denver right now. They did pick up FSU guard Malik Beasley at #19 & Spanish superstar Juan Hernangomez at #15 who may play in a year or two… so may be a year or two away from competing? Who knows?
9.       Toronto – Jakob Poeltl – Center from Utah – Huge German guy who played at the U of U, goes to Toronto where they LOVE their international players & atmosphere, totally picked this one before the draft (actually I had the same players within one pick of where they were taken for these first 9 picks… and then it all fell apart). He’s a tall center who can score at times & be a defender if only in taking up space. He’s a bit of a project… but I really like the idea of him holding it down in Toronto. I think the Raptors would like that too. They also drafted Pascal Siakam late in the first round from New Mexico State, who’s a 6’9” big fish in a small pond… but has the potential to be a Kenneth Faried-type player with some work. We shall see.
10.   MilwaukeeThon Maker – Center from… Australia, I think? – Mr. Maker didn’t go to college, and instead went pro in Australia or something… and wasn’t too impressive in actual competition but is tall, skinny and… has seen a basketball before. The Bucks may have really reached on this pick. In the right environment for development, he can blossom I’m sure but… I just don’t see it. Doesn’t Milwaukee already have John Henson? Thon seems like John Henson. Tall, skinny, maybe can block shots. Oh well, they also drafted Virginia guard Malcolm Brogdon early in the 2nd round which seems like a great pickup. He’s a guard in that Alvin Robertson – Avery Bradley – Tony Allen – Bruce Bowen mold where they are defensive minded but can also get buckets from time to time. I like that pick a lot better than their first.
11.   Oklahoma City – Domantas Sabonis – Forward from Gonzaga – God damn it… I think the Thunder somehow won Draft Night. They traded center Serge Ibaka for this pick as well as former #2 overall pick Victor Oladipo & defensive specialist Eryan Ilyasova. This is an absolutely INCREDIBLE haul for a player who, while I love, was just completely out of place with Oklahoma City. Oh well, maybe he’s a better fit in Orlando… but they almost immediately replace him with the more offensive-minded Domantas “Son of Arvydas” Sabonis but he can develop well with fellow young big men Steven Adams & Enes Kanter. Dang, the Thunder may still be a contender even if Kevin Durant goes somewhere but… probably not going to happen.
12.   Atlanta – Taurean Prince – Forward from Baylor – I hear this guy is good… that’s all I’ve got… but seems like one of those long, lean athletic types. The Hawks also got a versatile passing forward type at #21 with St. Joseph’s DeAndre Bembry and then a 2nd round French guy named Isaiah Cordinier so… who knows?
14.   Chicago – Denzel Valentine – Swiss Army Knife from Michigan State – I LOVE this guy’s game. He’s basically Draymond Green when he came out a few years ago… and waited until the 2nd round to get picked up… and look at him now!!! Valentine does it all… and is a great leader on the court… and can play multiple positions. Correction: HE will be the steal of the draft. If I’m the Spurs, I’m looking to trade up to get Denzel Valentine. F**k! Even his name is f**king awesome!!! This is actually a great pick for the Bulls after earlier this week they traded away their former franchise player Derrick Rose to the Knicks for Robin Lopez and other dead weight. Let the rebuild begin! They also drafted a German forward named Paul Zipser… but I don’t know anything about him other than how to speak to him in his native tongue a little bit.
17.   Memphis - Wade Baldwin IV – Guard from Vanderbilt – With Mike Conley being a free agent, they need to secure up the backcourt… I think Baldwin was the best backcourt player available… and he can light it up from three… and just seems like a good point to start. They also snagged up a raw DeAndre Jordan / Andre Drummond type in Michigan State center Deyonta Davis at #31, a Croatian wing player Rade Zagorac at #35 & a Chinese guy named Wang Zhelin at #57. Not a bad draft for them… but we’ll see how it all works out in free agency too.
18.   Detroit - Henry Ellenson – Forward from Marquette – He plays a lot like this year’s Doug McDermott where he could be the next Kevin Love… or another slightly overweight white guy who shoots threes. However, in the highlight reels that I’ve seen (because seriously, who watched Marquette since D-Wade graduated? Do you even know where Marquette is? Spoiler alert: It’s Milwaukee… so surprised he wasn’t taken by the Bucks with the #10 pick) he seems like a pretty good player in that “Stretch-4” mold and can help space things out for the Pistons so that the post doesn’t get too crowded… and Andre Drummond can grab offensive boards and dunk that stuff in… after he learns to shoot free throw.
25.  L.A. Clippers – Brice Johnson – Forward from North Carolina – He another long, lanky, athletic guy who has good passing & shooting skills that needs to bulk up… but you just can’t sit on those NC big men. They’re wiry good. Might be a great fit for filling in for Blake Griffin off the bench to start & then go from there. I also think that the Clippers drafted the Name of the Draft at #40 with Vanderbilt center Diamond Stone!!! The competition is between him & Denzel Valentine. Cast your vote now!
28.   Sacramento – Skal Labissiere – Center from Kentucky – This guy was the #1 recruit & the second coming of Anthony Davis just over a year ago. I was so excited when he was still around with the Spurs picking at #29… it was meant to be… then the Kings had to go & f**k it up by taking them one spot ahead. Why was he this late in the draft? He played one year of college on a loaded Kentucky team and… well, now everybody is saying late lottery at best. Here, he’s a low-risk/high-reward kind of player that brings great size (will have to put some weight on eventually) but can help on defense while still providing some offensive rebounding, etc. This could be a GREAT steal at #28 for Sacramento. DAMN IT!!! The Kings also actually grabbed TWO EARLIER 1st ROUNDERS BEFORE THIS GUY with Greek center Georgios Papagiannis at #13 & Syracuse guard Malachi Richardson at #22. Three first rounders for the kings… and they now have three highly touted Kentucky big men in DeMarcus Cousins, Willie Cauley-Stein & Labissiere… damn. Not bad.
29.   San Antonio – Dejounte Murray – Guard from Washington – I hear nothing but good things about this guy (as again, didn’t see him & Maurquese Chriss play at Washington) but he has great size & skills apparently… so I’m already dubbing him the future replacement for Tony Parker… and steal of the draft (as usual). ALL HAIL THE DYNASTY!!!
52.   Utah – Joel Bolomboy – Forward from Weber State – With trades, they picked up guard George Hill from the Pacers in exchange for the #12 pick… and then continued to just pile up run-of-the-mill point guards by drafting North Carolina’s Marcus Paige at #55 and California’s Ty Wallace at #60… but I absolutely love the game of Weber State alum Joel Bolomboy. He’s a big bodied rebounder & defender who can put it back with the best of them. He’s in that Charles Oakley / Draymond Green / DeJuan Blair mold where he’s built like a brick sh*t house… a little undersized for the position… but makes up for it in heart… and I absolutely love that kind of player. I was also hoping the Spurs would snag him up… but alas, they had no 2nd round picks… and the Jazz used their first of three late 2nd rounder on him. I can’t wait to see him up against pro competition.
Anyway, as usual, just my thoughts & predictions… and as we all know, I’m only 100% correct about 52% of the time… and when you’re right 52% of the time, you’re wrong 48% of the time. Okay, so really I’m more like… 75% when I predict the end results of the picks… but hey, I make my money in another sector.
The latest episode of the Everything I Learned From Movies podcast is up and it’s Izzy & I talking about the “Highlander” Cinematic Universe. It’s pretty fun… check it out!!!
However, the next episode if a People’s Choice winner… since we got a wonderful bargain basement 4-Pack of Sylvester Stallone movies and there’s just too much awesome for one episode… so the people have spoken… and our next episode will be… “Over the Top”!!! By far the greatest movie about Arm Wrestling that features kidnapping, grand theft auto, assault with a deadly semi-truck & a father-son road trip. This wonderful movie is currently streaming on Netflix so check it out & let us know what you think. You could be featured on the next episode. In the meantime, have a wonderful day everybody!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Lots of Catching Up

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
The house is REALLY coming along… but still lots of work to be done. We had some issues getting the internet up & running and putting the house together to get this out to you. In the meantime though, we have had some fun times…
Monday night, we caught a special preview screening of “The Conjuring 2” starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O’Connor and directed by James Wan (“Insidious”, first few “Saw” movies, etc). Now, I’ve mentioned before that I get the Conjuring & Insidious movies kind of mixed up whenever asked about them… but that’s kind of because they’re the same director, half the main cast, tone & deal with demonic possession… so sue me! There is one exception… I thought the spin-off “Annabelle” was pretty bad… but it was a possessed doll movie. That being said, I love these movies. In this edition, real-life paranormalists Ed & Lorrainne Warren (Wilson & Farmiga) are called to merry Olde Londontown shortly after their investigation of Amityville to investigate “The English Amityville” where not only is a humble house haunted… but there may also be some demonic possession going on with a young girl (who was pretty f**king amazing in this movie BTW). They’re hired by the Catholic Church to investigate & see if it’s a hoax… and there are definitely some things going on… but it gets complicated. Anyway, that’s all I’m going to say other than GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!! These are great horror movies and the latest is really good. The tone is perfect. Yes, there are jump scares… and a lot of really loud noises that cause you to jump at certain points… and all those horror clichĂ©s. However, the movies start by establishing the confined environment of the movies… they take their sweet time in establishing the ascention of the events where it starts with small inconveniences & then works up to levitation and sh*t like that… but it does it over the course of an hour-plus. There are loooong shots that build suspense in a convincing way… yeah, I really liked this movie. Oddly enough, it’s also a great date movie. There’s some heart to it as well with the Warrens’ relationship and the English family of five with a single mom (O’Connor) sticking together and all that mess too… go check it out! I highly recommend it!
Last week, I finally got to see the Hunger Games Exhibition at the Palace of Fine Arts that Izzy has been working at… and it’s pretty damn impressive. It’s a great interactive experience that immerses you in the Hunger Games universe and you get to see some of the great outfits & prop pieces from the series of movies… and you can even have pictures taken with you INSIDE the Hunger Games. It’s pretty sweet… here are some pictures to wet your appetite…

Last Saturday afternoon was the annual San Francisco Homebrewers Guild’s  Picnic at Golden Gate Park so dozens of the best homebrewers in the Bay Area converged on this world famous park for a good old time of trying beers, cooking some burgers & just enjoying the outdoors. Unfortunately we only go to be around for an hour or so while the event was kicking off… but some great beers & some great people!!!

Wednesday was Izzy’s birthday… but she was in Park City being treated by her company because she’s an absolute badass newcomer to the company. So instead of hanging with my fiancĂ© on her birthday, I decided to take her mom to a fancy dinner at Elevation 66 Brewing… but since there was a Warriors game on, the brewery was packed… so we grabbed some good Chinese food & headed over to her Aunt Janet’s to watch the game. It was a lot of fun.
On Thursday, Izzy was returning from her trip… so I thought I’d get her a little something nice. Do you remember the story about my rose that I brought back from New Orleans for her… and the rose made it all the way to the Oakland Airport before getting snatched when I was trying to get a Bart ticket? Well… I was gifted a huge beautiful orchid display at work… but I’m a man so, it doesn’t really do anything for me… but I knew Izzy would appreciate them. To get it home though, I had to take it through the windy streets of San Francisco, then onto a crowded Bart car during rush hour, no seat available of course, and then through the wonderful neighborhood of El Cerrito, where I had to protect it from the cats among other things. Anyway, after a trip to Utah & an episode with the airport… this is what she came home to…

Yup… I’m the best!!!
Lastly, a new episode of the Everything I Learned From Movies podcast will be up in a few days when Izzy & I delve into the famed cinematic universe of “The Highlander”!!! Based on the franchise’s tagline “There can only be one!” you’d say there could only be one cinematic universe… but you are SORELY mistaken. There’s actually a pretty hilarious argument where we discuss which of the sequels is more horrible… and there are plenty of good points made for each, primarily #2 (which I’ve discussed previously) & #3 (now streaming on Netflix) but as for the winner… THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!!! So check us out to find out who’s argument wins. Until then, have a great weekend everybody!!!

Monday, June 6, 2016

DSL Error: Please Wait...

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

This past week has been “The Big Move over to the East Bay” and we’ve been setting up the apartment, internet, all that stuff… and frankly putting all of our sh*t in appropriate places, but we’re coming along nicely. There are a few other things that happened this week though… we had another BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) class Tuesday night… but yeah, that was a lot of learning…

Izzy & I also watched “Gods of Egypt” starring Gerard Butler & Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in… frankly one of the most ridiculous movies that I’ve seen in a while. Basically it’s a movie based on Egyptian mythology… in that they take some of the names from Egyptian gods and various grunts & noises (Bek, Zaya, Urshu, etc) and apply them to a city made entirely of pasty models in front of a green screen and add a lot of CG that seems dated even by 1999 standards. It’s pretty bad… and I’m trying to be nice. I really am. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. The plot: God of War Set (Butler) shows up at a ceremony where the King of the Gods Osiris is passing his title onto his son Horus (Coster-Waldau) but… spoiler alert… instead of just saying congratulations, the God of War kills Osiris (somehow, because he’s a God right?), whoops Horus’ ass, and takes his eyes out of his skull, leaving him blind… and then takes his woman to be his mistress too… like a f**king boss. So then we fast forward a few years, and there’s this British… sorry, obviously Egyptian thief kid named Bek (Brandon Thwaites) who tries to steal some sh*t (one of Horus’ eyes which is like… a glowing crystal or something) from Set… and it ends up getting his girlfriend killed… so now he teams up with the exiled Horus after giving him his eye back… so that Horus may or may not be able to bring her back from the Death. Oh… and we’re just getting start… we’re like… 30 minutes into this 2+ hour movie. It only gets crazier from here… but I’ll hold off on the plot points… save Geoffrey Rush has a giant blade of fire that he uses to fend off a giant worm from Dune from devouring the Nile. Needless to say, they’re not well thought out… and nonsensical… and again, the visual effects are just… I don’t know what the budget was exactly… but it wasn’t well spent. Director Alex Proyas (“Dark City” & “I, Robot” among others) didn’t seem to have his game on in this one. I can see why the movie was a colossal flop. That being said… if you like “300” then you’ll probably like this movie. Gerard Butler does that character well… some of the designs and shots are pretty cool for being completely obvious CGI… other than that though, I really have no idea what the hell I just watched & why it was made. I unfortunately cannot recommend it.

Next week, Izzy’s going to Utah on her first work trip that she won for being such an amazing employee… and he’s only been there for about 90 days!!! Truly amazing!!! She’ll be there for her birthday, leaving me behind to miss her… but I’m sure that we’ll get by without each other for two days… and we’ll just have to make it up when she gets back. Have fun beautiful!!!

Also while she’s out, we’ll be posting the next episode of the Everything I Learned From Movies Podcast featuring the 1999 movie “Drop Dead Gorgeous” which was suggested by OUR 1st SPECIAL GUEST HOST, SALLY!!! It’s one of her favorite movies… and neither of us had seen it… so you get some real sincere reactions & it gets pretty hilarious! Check it out, let us know what you think, and let us know if you’d like to be a special guest host on a future episode… and we’re always down for suggestions. Until then, have a great day everybody!!!

Where Should I Go Next?