The entire northeast region was crushed with an early snowstorm.  The fact that tons of leaves are still on branches and heavy winds and wet snow caused TONS of power outages and damages. I do not have home electricity, but work has a generator so there will be a few days until I am back to any kind of a regular schedule.


Justice "Audio, Video, Disco" Album Review \ Streaming

Justice has finally released their sophomore album.  Their first release, "Cross" is one of my favorite albums, and I have seen Justice live in NYC, and they really rock.  I love the grungy synths and guitar riffs mixed and the catchy beats.  "Audio Video Disco" is a change in their style for certain.  There is no poppy, catchy track like "D.A.N.C.E." although "Civilization" (which I heard months ago) and "Audio Video Disco" are on that level.  The whole album does not have the same vibe as "Cross," but in my opinion thats not a bad thing.  This is a lot more mellow and could be considered soft, but thats not my interpretation.  "Canon," "Parade," and "Newlands" are my favorite tracks, but I also liked "Helix" & "Ohio" a good bit.  "On'n'On" and "Brianvision" are my two least favorite tracks, but I do not hate them at all.   I am legitimately excited to see them live, and will certainly be buying tickets to their tour when it comes through NYC or Boston.  Stream below.

Got big plans for my birthday this week, I will do my best to take photos!


Link Dump #4

Another week, another link dump.  Please feel free to check them out if they interest you, they represent my varied interests!

SartoriallyInclined's L.A.S. gives us the skinny on all things in the fashion world, and is more tuned in than I ever will be.  However, we are both fans of UNIS, especially their Gio chinos.  Based on his post, it looks like there will now be a "slim" version of the Gio this season.  Pretty appetizing for the skinny set, but I am not quite lean enough for that yet.
Mark at MDA is one of my daily reads as he is the master of the primal/paleo movement in my humble opinion.  The recipe is a little more in-depth than I typically like to go for cooking, but the seasonal ingredients and great photography really make me want to cook this up.
Food Renegade comments on Fried Chicken Skins as well as a recipe.  Sounds like a tasty snack, but not an everyday thing.
I work in finance, for my day job, and I really forsee Europe being the cause of the next economic downturn, which will be within 18 months.  Via Zero Hedge.
DrinkCraftBeer is a Boston based blogger, who celebrated Octoberfest on Saturday with 1 liter steins of American craft beer, right on.  He also posted a review of Backlash Brewing's Convergence Saison.  I touched on these guys in my New Boston Microbreweries post.
Giuseppe hosted his 4th semi-annual Affordable Flea at Somerville's Davis Square VFW.  Looks like it was a successful event, but man do I miss Boston.  Also check out his new Volvo! (I do not support leaving the Brown sticker on FYI)


New Boston Craft Microbreweries

Boston is the capital of New England, a region with an extremely high concentration of craft beer drinkers, but always lagged behind as far as high quality breweries. Cities like Burlington, VT and Portland, ME have many more excellent craft breweries. There are a number of reasons for this, including the prohibitively high cost of real estate in Suffolk county and the surrounding area as well as local giants Sam Adams and Harpoon Brewery. However, since the summer, a number of new breweries have emerged and there are even more on the horizon.

Backlash Brewing is a new contract brewed company, which seems like the new business model for MA brewers, due to high real estate cost as well as the success of Clown Shoes and Pretty Things.  These guys are apparently brewing at Paper City Brewery in Holyoke, out in Western Mass, but distributing mainly in the 617 area for now, due to limited supply. Their first beer was Groundswell, a Belgian Pale Ale, and their second was Convergence, a saison.  I am hoping these guys do well, but I do not love their aesthetics, like the brass knuckles and the Russian Riveresque "Convergence" name.  I am a sucker for wax sealed bottles and the price points seem reasonable based on the quality.

Mystic Brewing is a production brewery located in an up and coming area of Boston that is still a bit industrial, Chelsea.  These guys seem to be the most ambitious of the new breweries, offering a Founder's Club, aiming to compete with places like The Bruery in LA.  They are currently brewing and distributing their Saison, which already has 25 reviews on BeerAdvocate (B+ rating) and several other beers are in the near future.  I am excited to try Entropy, which is a high ABV brew that should be complex and exciting.

Idle Hands Brewery is another brewery a little bit northeast of Boston, located in Everett, another industrial area.  They had a bit of an issue in getting their license, including the big issue with farmer/brewer licenses, which could have drastically affected the scene for small craft breweries in the Bay State, but ultimately was resolved favorably.  They call themselves a "nanobrewery" and like both Mystic and Backlash they seem to be focusing on Belgian styles.  Their two beers that I have seen offered so far are Pandora and Patriarch.  These guys are currently only doing growler fills ($10 + $5 for the glass) at odd hours.  Be sure to follow them on Twitter for more info.  I expect 22oz bombers in the near future.

SlumBrew is based out of the Somerville suburb that is the most rapidly gentrifying neighborhood near Boston.  Based on the colloquial nickname "Slummerville," hence SlumBrew.  These guys are about to have their first tasting on Friday Oct 28 at Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, MA.  I really like the website, which obviously does not affect the quality of the beer, but it certainly suggests that they are thorough, which bodes well for the brand.  I heard that they are contract-brewing at Mercury in Ipswich and I am sure they would be happy to be as successful as Clown Shoes has been with a similar model, as well as receive the additional Somerville boost.

Trillium Brewing has not officially opened, but it is on the horizon.  The brewer wants to brew and open a brewery in Fort Point, and Boston is home to lots of yuppies, granola eating hippies, young professionals, and academia.  This is the perfect hotbed for an innovative microbrewery.  I will add more info as it emerges, but based on Trillium blog entries, this new brewery will focus on Belgian styled beers and ales, like many of the other new breweries.


Sixpoint Autumnation Review


Sixpoint is an awesome brewery based in New York City.  I had tasted their stuff several years ago when I was in the city, since they were draft only at the time.  This past year they began to start selling their beer outside of the home NYC market.  I am lucky enough to live in one of the regions where they began distributing, and I have tasted all of their beers so far.  One of the things I like about the brewery is that they sell all their beer in 16oz cans in 4pks.  I like this better than a 12oz bottle 6pk by a significant margin.  I sometimes feel like 12oz is too little and 22oz is too much, and 16oz is perfect.  Cans are far superior to bottles, praying this continues to catch on. 

This beer is extremely unique.  It is a wet-hopped pumpkin beer.  I barely detected pumpkin, although there is a good amount of ginger and spices.  These all take a back seat to the glorious hops.  The beer is grassy, green, and delicious, using freshly harvested hops added directly to the boil.  The result is a "Fall IPA" beer that is incredibly "fresh" taking and drinkable.  I do think this beer is polarizing, and there will be people who either like it, or strongly dislike it, not much in between.   Available for only a short time, due to limited availability of the hops.  I am looking forward to their next release, Diesel, and apparently a Saison is in future developments.


Link Dump #3

Here is a collection of links I have observed since last week.  Please feel free to check them out if they interest you, and I apologize if they are not exactly to your taste.

American Beer Geek in Paris - Beer Tasting - Short post by a blogger that I like, I think the layout of his blog could be improved, but the beers all look great, and I am totally jealous of this guy's life!

The Local CBS affiliate in San Francisco ran a little series on the Paleo diet, very good set of videos, results for the lady are quite impressive!

Looks like there is more evidence proving that organic farming is extremely beneficial.

Mark Sisson's new book 21 Day Total Body Transformation is available, and he is running a promotion for those of us who decide to buy the book before Monday.

New Supreme x Clarks Desert Mali boots look great in leather, also available in suede.'

Awesome and incredibly inspirational post from NerdFitness.  We all need to take risks and fail more so that we can improve.

BS Report with Al Michaels on 10/14 is great too!


Stop Drinking Bottled Water

" In 1976 Americans drank an average of 1.6 gallons of bottled water every year. Roughly 30 years later consumption increased to 30 gallons per person, according to the Earth Policy Institute —- despite the fact that bottled water can cost anywhere from 240 to 10,000 times more than tap water, which is brought right to your home for pennies a gallon. " (link)
Solution: Buy a reuseable water bottle!


FitBomb: Common Ground

I enjoy this image a lot.  "Coffee binds us all."

Degenerate Alert

Russian Pokerstars player "I7AXA" has had quite a crazy past couple of weeks.  He was able to pull off every online poker players dream and take down a huge score in a large field tournament.  He won a $10 satellite tournament into the $225 Sunday Million and ended up taking down 2nd place for $150,000.  Most people would have immediately hit the withdrawal button and cashed out a year or two salary, but not this guy.

He took his newfound hundred thousand right to the $5k sit and go tables and proceeded to lose it all back within 3 days.  I can not imagine the levels of pain he must have been feeling as he donked that money off.  There were times when he was sitting at $300 sit n gos, then he would win 2 and move right up to a $1000 sit and go, and rinse and repeat.  The incredible thing was that after losing all the money in sit and gos, he was still playing FPP tournaments with first prizes in the single dollar digits!  Read the hilarious twoplustwo thread. Suicide watch starts now.


Link Dump

It's not Tuesday, but hey, its my blog and I can do what I want! 

I don't think that I will be watching the WNBA with my favorite league missing at least the first two weeks of the regular season, but this article presents the argument at least.  In all seriousness, I will probably be watching a lot more college basketball and maybe some NHL hockey as well. I might need to pick up NBA 2k12 for the Xbox 360 as well!

Huffington Post put up an article on Craft Beer that is a great primer.  Although it is a little basic for me, I think its definitely a great resource for those people who want to know a little more about their beer than the lowest common denominator (Budweiser/Coors/Miller)

I have been watching the Meltdown series on the financial crisis of 2008.  This is especially relevant these days with the #OccupyWallStreet movement and the pending European sovereign default. Part 1, 2, 3, & 4.

This is not my style, but Giuseppe at AnAffordableWardrobe, got a classic piece of headgear repaired at shop in the Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain, which I have a personal affinity for.  Enjoy.

Last, but certainly not least, is a guide to eating healthy on the cheap from NerdFitness.  You have all scene some of my recent paleo meals and recipes, and this is a great compendium of tips.


DraftDay.com Review

DraftDay.com is a new fantasy sports site operated by the guys from CardRunners.com which I was a member of prior to Black Friday.  The site allows you to compete in tournament style fantasy sports but rather than over a course of the season, these are one week tournaments.  They run sort of like poker tournaments, with a buyin and prizes based on total scores.  This allows large prize pools, with a small investment, financially and timewise.  Players can easily transfer funds through paypal, credit cards, or paper checks.  The site makes money by taking a portion of the total prize pool as rake.  All player money is held in segregated accounts and the site is fully legal under the UIGEA.

There is a salary cap, set by the site, and a salary for each player.  You pick 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, & 1 D/ST for football.  Points are scored in a standard fashion, and your overall score is your score for the tournament.  There are also MLB tournaments available and NHL and NBA will be available during the season.

The software seems pretty smooth and user friendly.  Also, check out the "Perfect Lineup" promotion, which could potentially net a lucky man $1 million.

Sign up is simple and there is a freeroll tournament with $100 in prizes offered.  I assume structures will be good and fair, since this is run by smart poker players, who understand what is needed to keep people playing.  Large fields as well as headsup and private tournaments allow for a variety of exciting ways to play.

Sign up here.

Hedging: Monday Night Football

Hedging is a concept that is often used in finance, but applies to sports betting or "sports investing" as well, and presents a profitable strategy to decrease risk or create arbitrage opportunities.

Example #1:

The most basic hedge assumes lines have not chagned and you decide you do not like your position, so you simply bet the other side.  You will pay the juice, but there is no longer any risk/reward.

Example #2:

This hedge assumes that lines have not changed and you still did not like your position.  However you did not completely hate the side, and wanted to keep some exposure.  By betting half (or any other percentage) of the other side hedges you against part of the potential win/loss but still leaves some room for profits.

Example #3:

The real hedging opportunities come become available when lines change.  For example you get the Packers on one side of a key number, then the line moves to the other side.  You can hedge by betting the other side, which means if the final score ends on the key number the line moved over (which many times it will, since this is how the game was handicapped and it is a key number) you can win both sides of your bet and have a maximum of just the juice to pay.

You could also decide to hedge only half of your bet and still have a profitable middle opportunity.

Example #4:

Sometimes through other books or a change in factors you can get both sides of a bet at either no or positive juice, which is a situation known as arbitrage.  If you can get these types of situations, you have to take them, because you are making risk free money. 

I was able to create a profitable strategy for myself for Monday Night's Detroit/Chicago game, where I previously went long the Detroit Lions at -5.5.  You can see the spreadsheet here or a wrap-up based on results tomorrow.


Week 5 NFL

Week 5 of the NFL is upon us, this is the first week of byes, so there will be fewer games.  My fantasy team is doing fairly well at 3-1 and with a favorable matchup this week (my opponent has several key players on bye/injured) and I hope to improve to 4-1.  I have been doing fairly poor overall in NFL betting, but I still am confident.  I am down a fairly large % of my original bankroll, so I have decided to vary my bet sizes depending on the play.  I will mention some of my key bets this week, and I apologize if lines have moved since I bet them.  See the spreadsheet here.

 Tennessee Titans +3.5 @ Pittsburgh Steelers: 1/2

I would probably not have made this pick before the season, but I think its a great matchup for Tennessee.  Pittsburgh is banged up, and Big Ben will probably not play the whole game, and Rashard Mendenhall might not take a snap.  Tennessee has looked great, both offensively and defensively, while Pittsburgh has struggled severely.  I could see Pittsburgh winning, but I think there is value taking the Titans at over a field goal. I probably missed a little value since this opened at 5 and had been bet down to 3 (with reduced juice).  I dont think this will be a shoot out either, and took the under on 40 pts.

Atlanta -6 vs. Green Bay

I obviously can tell that Green Bay has been amazing this year and Atlanta has been lackluster.  However I think theres value here.  Green Bay probably should be favored by a FG, but the recent performance has skewed public perception.  This game is in Atlanta where the Falcons have notoriously been great.  After the near loss to Seattle, I think Atlanta will be looking to make a statement here.  I am worried this will be an extremely high scoring game and I get punished.  This opened at 5, so I am glad I got it at 6 with standard juice.

New York Jets +9.5 @ New England

I hate betting against my high scoring Patriots, and this line may actually be covered.  I hate betting on teams to cover double digits in the NFL, especially teams with pathetic defense like the Pats.  I think the Jets will be up for this game, since they may need to make a statement too.  I think the Pats ultimately take it by a TD.  People are overreacting to the ugly Sunday night game last week.  I am seeing this for +9 at many places, so I got the extra half point value again.

My other plays are Detroit -5.5 v. Chi Bears, SD Chargers -4 v. Denver, Minny -1.5 v Arizona,  Cinci +1.5 Jacksonville.   I also cashed a ticket on the NYY, and hope to double down on Thursday.  I bet the Cal Golden Bears +24 v. Oregon Ducks as well.

Autumn Hiking

As autumn approaches, I truly enjoy the weather outside, and that means I want to explore.  Recently, I hiked Talcott Mountain near Hartford, CT, but thats not enough.  I love New England, and places like Mount Washington, the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Green Mountains of Vermont are where I want to be.  Please enjoy the images below, and go explore!