NBA Playoffs Semifinals

I am so hyped for the upcoming series, especially for my Celtics. The Knicks were not as much of a problem as advertised, to be fair, Chauncey was injured as was Amare, but the two games in MSG were not playoff basketball. Boston has had plenty of time to rest and the Heat are going to be a real opponent. Ultimately, I don't see them having enough to beat my Celtics.

I admit that I am a bit of a homer (GO BRUINS!) but lets look back at the regular season games between the Heat/C's. Record was 3-1 in our favor. Let's throw out the first game and the last game as they are not fair representations of both squads. Celtics were 2-0 in the middle games, Rondo dominated, and Wade struggled. I expect a lot more of the same. Lebron/Wade/Bosh will dominate at least 1 game, possibly 2, but I don't see this series going to 7. The Heat lack the entire package that Boston has. We will have Rondo distributing the ball, bigs causing trouble in the paint, a better coach, and two wings who arguably shoot better than Lebron/Wade. Lebron has choked against Boston in previous playoffs, and I am expecting more of the same. The Heat gave the Sixers tons of opportunities to get back in games, and just looked generally streaky, while the Celtics play with precision and consistency. This might be our last year, but Boston will take this series in 6, and I am going to be betting the underdogs and under on total points in almost every game.

Looking forward, the Bulls should take care of Atlanta/Orlando without much of an issue, which worries me, because Boston will be tired from playing hard against Miami, we will cross that bridge when we get there! (and are you really scared of D. Rose?) Oklahoma City and the Lakers are going to be the two teams I am worried about in the West. The rest of the conference does not have much of a chance. Grizzlies were not able to put away the pesky Spurs who hit a couple of shots late, (and then covered the 6.5 spread in OT) but I hope ZBO and Tony Allen and crew will finish them off this weekend.


Food: Roasted Chicken and Winter Veggies

Cooked up a meal for the week, and decided to share it with the blog, as I had my camera on hand. The meal was Roasted Chicken Breast and Winter Veggies. I basically used all the veggies I had left in my fridge. This included 2 sweet potatoes, (picked up on sale for .69/lb) a big ass zucchini, 2 carrots, various mushrooms, and a couple strips of green pepper.

Started by grilling up the chicken breast (1.5ish lbs) in the cast iron skillet with salt, pepper, and italian seasonings.

Next, washed, cut, and cubed the various veggies and threw them in a casserole tray.

When the chicken was mostly done grilling, I cut it up into smaller pieces, and threw it on top of the casserole.

Dribbled a little more olive oil on top, and put it into the pre heated oven at 400* for about an hour, stirring once or twice.

Enjoyed with a delicious Bell's Porter my uncle brought me from MI, that paired exceptionally well!

Happy Easter! Glad the Celtics brought their brooms to NY... #18....


Game 2: C's v Knicks

The Knicks could have really used Amare Stoudemire in last night's loss to the C's. After it was revealed he would not be returning after halftime, Carmelo really took control of the game. he had 42 points, 26 of them coming in the second half. Bill Walker was an absolute train-wreck on the court. He got called for Technical foul after completely decking Ray Allen under the basket, and was just rowdy in general. Tommy Heinsohn reminded us that he was 0-11 from the floor.

This brings me to my final point. Mike D'Antoni, worst coach in basketball? I think that's pretty plausible, how did he not switch Douglas off Rondo, who had his best game in recent memory. How do you wait until there are .6 seconds left to foul? Why leave Bill Walker on the court when he's going on 0-11 from the field? Draw up some plays rather than let Carmelo just rip 3s? Mike D'Antoni would be gone after this year from any other squad, but I have a feeling with Isaiah having James Dolan's ear, this might not happen.

KG proves why he is the man at the end of the game, bring on Miami!


Ray Allen is the Man!

That was an awesome opening weekend of NBA playoffs. Upsets abound in Orlando, San Antonio, and Los Angeles, as well as close games everywhere else! My Celtics were losing during most of the game, but the clutch play of our big 4 (yes I include Rondo) and great play calling by Doc Rivers was topped off with this game winning shot by Ray Allen. Watch the video.


Book Review: Born to Run by Chris McDougall

I decided to pick up a copy of Born to Run off of Ebay while I was browsing and looking to spend my "Ebay Bucks." I am certainly glad i did, as this book really motivated me to run while I have been trying to get fit.

The book is a non-fiction tale focused on ultra-marathoners, meaning runs of 50 miles or more in one sitting. At first this seems completely insane, but as the book progresses, they mention a 50 miler, and it seems like an off-hand comment. I have struggled running 3 miles, but while I was reading the book, I felt that I could eventually run 50 too!

One of the most interesting characters was Caballo Blanco, an American who winds up living with the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico. They are a completely separate civilization from the rest of Mexico, located in the Copper Canyons of Mexico. These people are not plagued by the modern pains of society, such as cancer, divorce, drug use, among other things. Everyone in their society runs enormous distances, equal to ultra-marathons on a regular basis, even their oldest members. Also they wear sandals that are basically barefoot and eat a meager diet that consists of mainly vegetables and grains. Here is a Tarahumara tribe member running with another character in the book, Scott Jurek, a world class runner.

The entire book is inspirational, and really wants to make you get out there and run. Some of the most interesting topics were regarding marathon speed distributions based on age. Your peak marathon time is roughly 27 years old, however your speed at 19 and 65 should be roughly the same, and the slope from 19 to 27 mirrors that of 27 to 65.

Another topic that I found fascinating was the idea that humans evolved to be runners. This was the only way we could compete with the other animals of our time. Ever try to outrun your dog? You can't in the short term, but as it runs longer and longer, it tires out, and needs to exhale the heat through its mouth, as they can not sweat out of their skin. Our ability to sweat was what put us over the edge, evolutionarily speaking. There is even a tribe in Africa that still occasionally out-runs animals, all the way until the actually die by exhaustion, CRAZY!

Another interesting topic was regarding barefoot running. The human foot is designed to run, it is designed perfectly. Fancy shoes with shocks end up causing more injuries than running barefoot. There is almost no benefit to the shoes Nike puts out, except the value for the shareholders, and the aesthetic look. Vibram Five Fingers are a new craze, pictured below, which mimic barefoot running, while giving you the protection that we are used to.

There are many other nuggets in this book that are worth reading. Also the story of Caballo Blanco is built up over the course of the book and is revealed at the end. Finally the author who catalogs his progress based on his investigative journalism is an interesting and motivating story, because he too completes the culminating ultra-marathon.


Congrats to Masters 2011 champ Charl Schwartzel

Congrats to 2011 Master's champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa. The final day/round of the tournament was tense, with double digit lead changes, and 7 different leaders. Tiger Woods, who is always fascinating, was in contention and finished tied for 4th, if it weren't for a number of unlucky putts on Saturday/Sunday he would have had another green jacket. Rory Mcilroy choked supremely, and gave up his 4 stroke lead on Sunday running 8 over par.


Supreme Roach Clip

too bad i wouldn't have any use for this since my high school days, switch blade action roach clip #getfamiliar


Book Review: The Odds by Chad Millman

The Odds is a look at the world of sports betting. ESPN columnist, Chad Millman spent the winter of 1999-2000 in Vegas doing investigative journalism into this culture. This book is a result of the time he spent there. Millman captures the positive and negative aspects of sports betting, and presents his findings impartially.

The book is written as a profile of three different players in the Vegas world, and what they represent. The main character is Alan Boston, a professional sports handicapper, known as a wiseguy. Alan is an eccentric Ivy League grad, who has a very unique view of the world. I admire Alan a lot, he is a great stud player (Full Tilt Red Pro) and a world-class college basketball handicapper. I actually heard him interviewed several times on the 2p2 Pokercast, one of my favorite podcasts, and he is one of their best all-time guests. Next, up is the bookmakers Joe Lupo and Bob Scucci of the Stardust casino. They are regarded throughout the industry as some of the best handicappers in the business. Finally Rodney Bosnich, a 23 year old kid, who believes he has a knack for betting sports, and decides to move to Vegas to bet full-time. The book captures the lows and highs for each of these characters based on the professions they have chosen.

The book covers the Superbowl, the biggest single day of sports betting, through March Madness, the end of the college basketball season. Throughout these various events, we see the different aspects each of the players is affects and is affected by. Additionally a number of issues that affect the sports betting industry are touched upon, the legality of sports betting, fixing of games, the offshore, Caribbean sportsbooks, betting emotionally, the high roller lifestyle, the affect sports betting has on relationships based on it's solitary nature, are all covered extensively.

In conclusion, the book is a little dated, however most of the issues are still relevant right now. As I have gotten into sports betting, although for much more nominal figures than anyone in the book, this interests me a lot. I highly recommend picking up a copy on Amazon.


Short's Brewing

Short's is a tiny Bellaire, Michigan based micro-brewery that has a particularly large following in the beer geek community. They are renowned for trying strange and experimental brews such as Key Lime Pie & Bloody Beer made with real lime and roma tomatos, respectively.

They are not normally distributed in Massachusetts, and according to the beer community in the midwest, they are barely able to meet demand in their home state. However, they were taking a truck out here to Boston based BeerAdvocate's Extreme Beer Fest, and decided to pack the truck with enough beers to provide to distributors as a one-off opportunity.

I wasn't able to acquire any of the beers at my local liquor store, but I happened to be out in Western Mass, and stumbled into Russell's in Amherst Center. I asked them if there was any beer they had around here that I wouldn't be able to get in Boston. They pulled these Short's brews off the shelf and I took a single of each of them. $8 well spent on Hangin' Frank, Huma Lupa Licious, Bellaire Brown, and The Magician. I actually just polished off Hangin' Frank a few moments ago, inspiring me to write up this blog. Very solid IPA, fruity nose A-/B+ overall for me. If have an opportunity to acquire any of this stuff, I highly recommend it.


Supreme Japan Charity Tee

Supreme will be releasing this benefit t-shirt in an effort to support the earthquake and tsunami victims of Japan. This will be available next week in store and online. I will definitely pick one up in XL, I really hope this is not too limited and resellers make a profit off the terrible situation in Japan. Please consider buying directly from Supreme, and donating directly to Japan if you want to spend more than the $50 I expect Supreme to charge.

100% of all the proceeds from the sales of the t-shirt will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society. -via Supreme

Superfuture Beer Swap

There's an awesome thread in the Superfuture forums titled State Your Beer Drinkers and its all about craft beer, one of my biggest hobbies/interests. We generally discuss the goings on in the beer world, new releases, and of course pictures of what we are currently drinking. There are a number of regulars who post a couple times a week, a bunch of contributors who post every once and awhile, and the requisite non-regulars who pop in and say "when i drink beer, i prefer dos equis." Some of us regulars decided to organize a swap in which we each send each other a package full of beers, its basically a trade.
The rules to include were ~100 oz beer including one barrel/oak aged brew, and at least 50% locals. The total value of the beer should be roughly $30 and the unspoken agreement among traders that a couple "extras" should be thrown in. I am going to mail my package tomorrow, and so as not to spoil it, will include pictures/descriptions of the brews I added in a future post.

My "secret santa" was soonami, a dude from Philly, who is apparently homebrewer/beer trader extraordinaire. He sent me some really awesome brews! (not my images)

Voodoo Brewery's Big Black Voodoo Daddy - which looks pretty badass and is a PA local

Cigar City's Maduro Brown Ale - B- overall a solid brown ale, just not my favorite style

Sly Fox IPA - A-

Sly Fox Pikeland Pils - B+ - both canned, local (to soonami), and really drinkable and that's awesome

Weyerbacher Insanity/Heresy - Barrel Aged Barleywine and Stout, respectively. I have had both of these and they are relatively commonplace around here, so I am going to throw them in my parent's basement and drink them next winter.

Russian River Redemption - corked & caged 375 ml bottle, Belgian "blonde" which I am looking forward to as Russian River is extremely limited/hyped, and not distributed in the Boston area.

Russian River Consecration - super excited to try this beer, it has been aged with wild "brettanomyces" yeast which imparts a funky, sour flavor to the beer. this specific beer has been aged in wine barrels with currants added, and clocks in at 10%. going to share this with one of my buddies who is into other sours such as Cantillon and Drie Fonteinen.
4/3 edit: I will give this brew an A- it was a lot less sour/more boozy than I expected, but very complex and tasty, I think I prefer Rodenbach Grand Cru (don't shoot me though)

I want to say thank you to soonami for an awesome package! I hope my swap's recipient on the other side of the continent will be hopefully be as happy as I am with this one. I will give some details next friday after that package touches down.