Quarantine Beats 2020

DJ Ritchey

Stumbled onto this guy while listening to liquid drum and bass on Mixcloud and was grabbed by one of his “Coffee and Bass” sets while on a long run.

The beats can be smooth and rolling, dancey and melodic, soothing and moody.  They go with anything and the flow carries.

I listen to his sets while on long runs, at my job (thankfully still employed), and whenever I need something to clear and occupy my mind at the same time.  There’s so much heart and soul in D&B and Ritchey puts it on display.

http://www.ritcheydnb.com/

https://dnbradio.com/

Nicole Maudaber

Heard about this hard-working lady of techno when Great Northern notified me she was gonna play at their club.  First listen of the set they promoted was boring af but had great tracks. As I commented to my friend, it sounded like a minimal / dub DJ got a hold of some real techno records.

Then I kept listening to her sets on Mixcloud and loved her range.  Some of the highlights from parties were super dance-able and I envied the heads that got a live listen.  She does a weekly broadcast in Europe and gigs everywhere.

This set banged:

https://www.mixcloud.com/nicolemoudaber/in-the-mood-episode-307/

https://nicolemoudaber.com/

DJ Marky

One of my favorite sets from the Red Bull Choice Mixes .  I love this kind of drum and bass.  Clean, dancey, hearty, and a little mainstream.  The rest of his mixes are varied in style and content.  He’s got a really good ear for music.

Trifonic

My favorite ambient artist.  They create sounds and spaces in noise along with bringing a lot of sentiment and emotion into their tracks.  Working nights required me to explore beat-less music lest I succumb to a melancholy and joyless silence and not disrupt the sleep of those with whom I share walls.

It can be a real challenge.  In Quarantine 2020, it’s important to recognize the needs of the community but you should also cherish yourself and revel like Dionysus is watching.

https://soundcloud.com/trifonic

https://www.trifonic.com

"Are you, like, a crazy person?"
“Are you, like, a crazy person?”
Gramatik

“Denis Jasarevic was born in Portoroz, SR Slovenia, SFR Yugoslavia on 19 October 1984. Jasarevic’s interest in music began at the age of three, when his mother would catch him listening to American funk, jazz, soul and blues from his older sister’s cassette tapes. As he got older, he was introduced to hip hop culture and listened to artists such as DJ Premier, Guru, RZA and Dr. Dre.”  – Straight from Wikipedia

These are some of the best beats I’ve ever heard in my life.  I’m not exaggerating.  When I started getting into “lofi” and trip hop, his tracks came in the rotation.

I was genuinely blown away that these beats came from one person.  All his albums felt like an all-star compilation for great hip hop / lofi jams for the past ten years.

https://soundcloud.com/gramatik

https://www.youtube.com/user/Gramatikk

San Jose Earthquakes 2, Toronto FC 2

Avaya Stadium, Feb 29, 2020

A large crowd, undeterred by a second case of COVID-19 in Santa Clara County, assembled to watch the San Jose Earthquakes kick off the 2020 season in San Jose, California.  Avaya Stadium sold out with official attendance at 17,814.   

I didn't want to stand at the bar so I stood here
I managed to hop the rail and enjoyed sitting here as though I was a corporate sponsor

A chilling wind was blowing south and had me shivering by 3pm no matter where I stood with my “Standing Room Only” ticket.  The players on the field noticeably kept their passes low when going north.  I feel proud of myself for being able to make this observation since I know dick about the sport.

As I was wandering around the stadium, I caught a whiff of a very unsettling combination of incense and barbecue.  I didn’t know what to make of it so I quickly bought two beers for $26 and double-fisted the olfactory memory away.  Luckily I was able to find some cheap parking on the floor for these tallboys because my hands were freezing along with the rest of my body.

A classy display of my taste and habits

Oh yeah, the game …

Early play was conservative with the Earthquakes giving the appearance that they were afraid to make mistakes.  By halftime, I tweeted the team to take more shots hoping someone from the social media department would send it down to the coaching staff.

The opportunistic Toronto FC scored two goals, one by a penalty kick on a bullshit call, and the other on an attack that looked way too easy for them.  San Jose quickly responded to the second goal with a beaut by Alex Rios, an ankle deflection that put the score at 2 – 1.

That score remained until the final minute of stoppage time when Oswaldo Alanis, a loaner from the Mexican club Guadalajara, put a free kick into the back of the net to absolutely stun Toronto and end the game in a draw.

Some of the commentary later described San Jose’s performance as underwhelming and I have to agree.  Toronto looked in control despite having the ball only 37% of the time.  The crowd freaking loved it though and I was definitely cheering with a huge smile on my face.  An urge to run around pointing like I had just scored the goal myself did shoot through my brain.

I have one gripe about what was otherwise a great fan experience: POS terminal failures which resulted in cash-only stands and excessive ATM fees.  ATM fees trigger me and I see red for about 2 full minutes before agreeing to pay an extra $3 for my 20 dollar bills.

The monetary tally for this adventure is as follows:

    • $40 standing room ticket
    • $26 for 44 ounces of premium beer
    • $3 – 6 ATM fees if you weren’t patient enough to wait in the longer lines
    • Rode my bicycle so I didn’t have to pay for parking, but had to walk it back for a while before I sobered up enough to endanger only myself on the road

We’ll be back on March 21st to see the Quakes take on Sporting Kansas City, a team that looked extremely good this past weekend.

In Honor of the 100th Anniversary of Prohibition

I wrote this paper my senior year of college.  I looked at the legal challenges encountered by the Prohibition movement at the state level, which had an enormous influence on the formation of subsequent national legislation.

This was long before the temperance movement in the United States in 1920 utilized the constitutional and statutory form of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution and the National Prohibition Act.

Legal Challenges and Their Influence on the Prohibition Movement in the United States

The Roughnecks Bodyslam the Haters in Week 3.

BIG TIME UPSET FOR A BIG TIME HATER

The Jacksonville Defense, drafted in the 10th round, started things right by allowing Derrick Henry to be the only offensive player with any significant contribution against them in Week 3, a Thursday night game no less.

What followed can be described as either “old NFL players demonstrating experience over speculatively incorrect fantasy talent assessment” or “NRM getting beat by a few players deemed inconsequential yet victorious.”

Patrick Mahones, gamed into a 10th round pick by the Commissioner, could not elevate the mediocre production by the rest of his team.  With only four other positions breaking into double-digits, NRM was yielding by halftime of the afternoon games.

Not many rule changes could have altered the outcome in a favorable way for the franchise in Ben LaBron, but don’t doubt that they’re in consideration.

This places a few questions on the table of discussion.  Has the magic touch faded for NRM?  2018’s Champion has to be looking in the mirror while the coaching community wonders, “Should we ever listen to any Vain In Vain unsolicited analysis in 2019?”

WTFBBQPWN’D BY THE ROUGHNECKS WHAAAAAAAT!?

Bad Luck : Z’Smashmouths QB Woes Continue

In a shocking decision that left the NFL and fantasy owners stunned, Andrew Luck retired a few hours after VeeJay Boynkins selected him in the Seventh Round at the Annual Fantasy Football Haters Gathering in 2019.

“I heard I got drafted by VeeJay Boynkins. I’m out!”

Z’Smashmouths immediately went into scramble mode and offered the El Paso Roughnecks Dak Prescott, hoping to play on the owner’s well-known homerism, in exchange for Phil Rivers, drafted in Round 12. 

The disparity in value was immediately obvious as Dak was drafted in the 14th round.  Recognizing the intentions of VeeJay Boynkins, owner, GM, and head coach NNS wasted no time in ridiculing the offer and refused to allow his backup quarterback to be the savior of a Hater’s franchise.

“Dodged a bullet. Didn’t want to play in that shit system anyway.”

Little did either owner know that Dak Prescott would go on to be the best quarterback in the National Football League so far in 2019, racking up 40+ fantasy points in each of the first two weeks of the season.  Interestingly, he was spared worse fates suffered by quarterbacks retained by the Z’Smashmouths.

In a hilarious twist of irony, Veejay Boynkins signed Sam Darnold after unceremoniously cutting Dak Prescott (later to be claimed by Congo Natty after Prescott’s absolutely incredible performance in Week 1).

The “Smashies” (as some of their front-running fans call them) then traded Robert Woods and Justice Hill in a package deal for Cam Newton and TY Hilton.

Cam Newton started Week 1  and scored an abysmal 5.36 points.  The fashion icon followed that up by recording 13.32 fantasy points in Week 2.  OUCH!

“Oh shit, I’m starting for the Z’s? Damn, man.”

While all this is going on, Sam Darnold reported to San Leandro to practice with his new team, the Z’Smashmouths.  No one knows exactly what kind of parties he was going to once there but he quickly contracted “infectious mononucleosis”  and is out until Week 5.

Jacoby Brissett was signed as a replacement but dropped for the pass-happy, garbage time specialist Matthew Stafford.

Stafford pasted an underwhelming 14.14 points in a sloppy glue job reminiscent of our kindergarten days in Week 3.

“I don’t care if I look like Haley Joel Osment’s younger brother.”

Who’s next on this shit show musical chairs adventure?  Stafford is the latest to be cursed and he will find out just how the Z’Smashmouth’s Kiss of QB Death will affect him in a matter of days or weeks.

The Roughnecks Return for Fantasy Football 2019

San Jose, California - September 8th, 2019

His trusted mentor and dear friend Jerry Jones looking on with pride, Owner / GM / Head Coach Nico Bandito introduced this year’s Roughnecks to a packed audience at the Casino M8trix seventh floor suite.

The line to enter the Casino M8trix – tickets were rumored to be selling for $350

Only hushed whispers and speculative chatter was heard before the reveal.  The crowd’s reaction rose to a cacophony of excitement as the players came on to the stage to shake hands with their new boss.

El Paso Roughnecks
1. (1) Ezekiel Elliott (Dal – RB)
2. (24) Derrick Henry (Ten – RB)
3. (25) Stefon Diggs (Min – WR)
4. (48) Sterling Shepard (NYG – WR)
5. (49) Alshon Jeffery (Phi – WR)
6. (72) Drew Brees (NO – QB)
7. (73) Marvin Jones Jr. (Det – WR)
8. (96) Austin Hooper (Atl – TE)
9. (97) LeSean McCoy (KC – RB)
10. (120) Jacksonville (Jax – DEF)
11. (121) Adrian Peterson (Was – RB)
12. (144) Philip Rivers (LAC – QB)
13. (145) Jordan Reed (Was – TE)
14. (168) Jimmy Graham (GB – TE)
15. (169) C.J. Anderson (Det – RB)
16. (192) Graham Gano (Car – K)

No Cal Roughnecks
1. (4) DeAndre Hopkins (Hou – WR)
2. (17) Joe Mixon (Cin – RB)
3. (24) Kerryon Johnson (Det – RB)
4. (37) Patrick Mahomes (KC – QB)
5. (44) T.Y. Hilton (Ind – WR)
6. (57) Kenny Golladay (Det – WR)
7. (64) Allen Robinson II (Chi – WR)
8. (77) Jarvis Landry (Cle – WR)
9. (84) Sterling Shepard (NYG – WR)
10. (97) Austin Hooper (Atl – TE)
11. (104) Latavius Murray (NO – RB)
12. (117) Derrius Guice (Was – RB)
13. (124) Kyle Rudolph (Min – TE)
14. (137) Golden Tate (NYG – WR)
15. (144) Dallas (Dal – DEF)

So. Bay Roughnecks
1. (7) Nick Chubb (Cle – RB)
2. (18) Dalvin Cook (Min – RB)
3. (31) Devonta Freeman (Atl – RB)
4. (42) Brandin Cooks (LAR – WR)
5. (55) O.J. Howard (TB – TE)
6. (66) Matt Ryan (Atl – QB)
7. (79) Curtis Samuel (Car – WR)
8. (90) A.J. Green (Cin – WR)
9. (103) Minnesota (Min – DEF)
10. (114) Justin Tucker (Bal – K)
11. (127) Jared Goff (LAR – QB)
12. (138) Rashaad Penny (Sea – RB)
13. (151) Keke Coutee (Hou – WR)
14. (162) Greg Olsen (Car – TE)
15. (175) Justin Jackson (LAC – RB)
16. (186) Denver (Den – DEF)

SJ Roughnecks
1. (4) Christian McCaffrey (Car – RB)
2. (25) Keenan Allen (LAC – WR)
3. (32) Amari Cooper (Dal – WR)
4. (53) Cooper Kupp (LAR – WR)
5. (60) Matt Ryan (Atl – QB)
6. (81) David Njoku (Cle – TE)
7. (88) Latavius Murray (NO – RB)
8. (109) Baltimore (Bal – DEF)
9. (116) Justin Tucker (Bal – K)
10. (137) Darrell Henderson Jr. (LAR – RB)
11. (144) Anthony Miller (Chi – WR)
12. (165) Josh Allen (Buf – QB)
13. (172) Dallas Goedert (Phi – TE)
14. (193) Ronald Jones II (TB – RB)

Sabbatical 2019

After five years of employment, I was granted a 4 week sabbatical to which we can add a certain number of vacation days.  I stretched mine to five weeks and enjoyed it immensely.  Leading up to this, I experienced feelings of inadequacy and believed myself to be under-skilled in my role.  It may be part of a “mid-life” crisis that I think began at the beginning of this year.   I wondered truly if this is what I wanted to be doing with my life, all the while battling addictions to a lifestyle long since left behind.

I needed a break from life and the grind so badly.  During the trip, I resolved to do my best to smile and be kind to those around me and to continue to do so when I returned.

I started off visiting my parents and taking the train from the beautiful downtown Los Angeles Grand Central Station.

I traveled by train and sleeper car (best way to travel IMO) to my hometown, El Paso, Texas, a month before a racist would target my people and murder too many before he was stopped.  Let me tell you, that affected me and made me feel that no matter what we do or how much we could accomplish or contribute to the United States, we’d never be loved or appreciated.

I spent a lot of time with my family there and loved it.  I felt I was where I belonged even though going back permanently is an unlikely nostalgic urge.

After that I went to San Antonio for the first time and stayed in the company of two of my beautiful cousins who graciously hosted and treated me like the utmost welcome visitor.  We went to Paper Tiger and caught some live music by Haunted Like Human and the John Glenn Experiment.

The San Antonio Museum of Art was exhibiting “Men of Steel / Women of Wonder” like they knew I was coming.  As a huge DC Comics fan, I was a Charley Bucket in the Chocolate Factory.  So much to see, so much to wrap my eyes around, and all of it challenged the dominant narrative of what a superhero is and the form they take.

This is when the world wide heatwave of 2019 struck and I had to spend some extended time in my hotel room reading, sleeping, and watching TV.  Didn’t mind a bit.  That’s what vacation is fucking for.

I moved on to Austin and suffered the outdoors just enough to get a taste of the city and live music.

Next was Houston, one of the hottest parts of the trip.  Exploring during the day would have been unbearable so, equipped with a flash on my camera and no fear of the dark, I wandered.  I got to catch my favorite pitcher throw a great game in Minute Maid park.

Originally I had planned to train to New Orleans but the recent flooding and inaccessibility by rail nixed that and I flew to Atlanta, the final destination of my trip.

I loved it.  I caught a ballgame at SunTrust Field and smoked some of the best cigars I’ve ever had in my life.  Visited the MLK Jr. National Historic Park.

Being on the road for a few weeks really made me miss my chosen home of San Jose and I came back happy.  Went and saw a San Jose Earthquakes match and I also ventured to a part of Oakland that I’d never seen and was taken by.

There’s a lot more to say, but this is how I’m going to remember it.

United States 3, South Africa 0

Levi’s Stadium
Santa Clara, CA
May 12th, 2019

After rooting for and watching them win year after year, I finally got my opportunity to see the United States Women’s National Soccer Team live before they head to the World Cup in France. The game was part of the Send Off Series and this was the first one.

‘Reluctance’ would mischaracterize how I felt about going stag to this match, but the feeling was akin to it. Since it was Mother’s Day, my friends had prior commimtments and I had just visited my family in Texas.

I bicycled to Levi Stadium and donned my San Jose Earthquakes t-shirt only to find no one else was repping anything except the Team USA gear. Among a sea of women (and a few male significant others) clad in white jerseys or other patriotic attire, I stuck out a little.

Sure I possibly exacerbated the feeling when I got caught lecherously staring at some fine ass ladies who then avoided eye contact, I admit it.

But  I didn’t allow myself to feel self-conscious and enjoyed the game from start to finish!

The South African team was outmatched. Their opportunities downfield were few and the game was mostly played on their side of the field, with them defending against constant pressure by the US. When they did manage to cross the 50 yard line (what is it called in soccer?), they failed to do much more than take weak shots on goal.

My favorite player, Carli Lloyd, scored the third and last goal by kicking the ball between the legs of the goalie and past another defender. It was pretty awesome.

I was surprised with how much hard contact I saw. With the cameras as far away as they are, it’s hard to appreciate just how physical the women’s game is. An American got her head checked after taking what looked like a shoulder right in her temple and two different South African players required either a stretcher or multiple trainers / doctors.

Holy smokes!  Pay them already!

If You’re Into Jerky and Fish

These dried, little mackerels (I think?) are one of my favorite snacks.  They remind me of the harder parts of a salmon steak in texture, which I love.  Not too salty, I was expecting more of that, and with a teriyaki flavor.

 

This is something I can only describe as fish bacon roast.  It does not have any fishy taste to it, but not as brittle as bacon nor as dry as jerky.  A perfect in-between.  Same great teriyaki flavor as the mackerels.  All three of them have this and it’s pretty damn good.

Fish jerky for sure.  The equivalent of the moist, boutique premium beef jerkys except made of fish.  The texture reminds me of sashimi.  No fishy taste in this either.  A light teriyaki glaze that doesn’t stay on the fingers.  Very delicious and tasty.