Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Your Third Haircut


Today we took you to your third haircut ever. Per your mom’s firm advice, your abuelita and I tag-teamed this effort. After taking you to your first two haircuts, your mama had her fill and said uh, uh, next time it’s your turn to take him.

We took you to Little Scissors, the kids hair salon at the Fremont Hub. (Your mom refers to their hair stylists as “haircut ninjas.”) For the past few weeks your hair has grown increasingly long. You’ve needed a trim for some time, but I’ve been hesitant to take you to the salon because I didn’t want to subject the hair stylists to your wails and cries.

Once we parked, you and I walked hand and hand all the way to the salon. Thus far, it’s the longest we have walked hand in hand together. I had a big smile inside, a faint one on the outside. I know someday you will be older and bigger and won’t want to hold my hand.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

2018-2019 NBA Season Predictions


The 2018-2019 NBA season begins in 16 days! Personally, it was kind to have a break from basketball, but I am elated to have it back. In writing this post, I realized that following the NBA is just like when my friends get excited about having a television series start up again; I don’t presently follow any TV series, but I do have basketball—and following it goes far beyond catching games on TV. For me, it’s listening to Zach Lowe’s podcasts, reading Zach’s in-depth weekly ESPN NBA pieces, watching the latest BBallBreakdown videos (I multi-task while I wash Miguelito's bottles or our dishes), watching Rachel Nichols and Amin Elhassan break down league-wide happenings on The Jump, and reading Marcus Thompson II, Tim Kawakami, Anthony Slater and Ethan Strauss’s savvy and comprehensive coverage of my beloved Warriors in The Athletic. On top of all that, I’ll sprinkle in a more-than-occasional article or podcast from The Ringer’s NBA staff, particularly pieces from Jonathan Tjarks. Over the past few years, I must admit that day-to-day normalcy entails tuning into all this coverage (and occasionally watching a Warriors game). So I kind of feel like I’m getting my life back with basketball returning to the fold.

Akin to the 2017-2018, this past offseason was brimming with drama and action. LeBron headed West to the Lakers. (I know I’ll eventually get used to it, but right now it is completely bizarre to see him in Lakers gold.) Kawhi Leonard cowardly forced his way out of San Antonio, which subsequently paved the way for Toronto trading DeMar DeRozan for Leonard after firing Dwane Casey. Paul George surprisingly stayed in Oklahoma City without even taking a meeting with the Lakers. (Bill Simmons has an interesting conspiracy theory on that.) The Rockets lost two of their 3-and-D aces: Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. The Fellowship of the Rings in San Antonio finally disbanded with Manu’s retirement (boohoohoo) and Tony Parker’s signing with Charlotte. And now Jimmy Butler wants out of the flaming poo of a mess that is the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise. It’s a long, long season, but I can’t wait to see how this all unfolds.

I want to make it my tradition to christen each NBA season with a series of predictions, including each playoff team for both conferences. This year, I also want to chime in on Westgate’s Over/Under win total predictions for these projected playoff teams.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Classics Revisited: They Live by Night


A while back, I was in the mood for a film noir. (Honestly, with my undying fetish for femme fatales, scrappy dialogue, stylish bleakness, and a spirit of pervading doom, I am probably always game for a film noir.) Equipped with my new FilmStruck subscription, I turned to our local preeminent film noir scholar, Eddie Muller, and his list of 25 Noir Films That Will Stand the Test of Time. Surely, the good folks at the Criterion Collection would have one of these films in their limited FilmStruck plan—and they did. Described by Muller as “Film noir's version of Romeo and Juliet,” They Live by Night lived up to its billing.

Best known among cinephiles for directing James Dean in the iconic Rebel Without a Cause, They Live by Night was Nicholas Ray’s first film. Released in 1948, the film has gone down as the template for the couples-on-the-run film genre, which has given us treats such as Bonnie and Clyde, Thelma and Louise, Wild at Heart (which gifted the world with Willem Dafoe’s Bobby Peru), and Terence Malick’s gorgeously shot Badlands. Unrequited love mixed with lawlessness—yeah, I’m there. That’s my fucking jam.

Friday, June 29, 2018

My World Cup 2018 Knockout Bracket Predictions

 

We waited four years for sport’s greatest tournament, and now we’ve reached the dramatic knockout round. (And somehow or another, this is my first soccer blog post ever!)

Before I lay down my picks for the rest of the tournament—which I thought would be fun—it’s worthwhile to note who I am inclined to root for since that can reveal a bias in my picks. Now that my beloved Perú is eliminated (boohoohoohoo), this is a breakdown of who I’ll be cheering going forward, akin to what my Peruvian literary nemesis, Daniel Alarcón, put down on his Twitter:

1.    México (due to my place of birth, my undying love of mole, and the compact and obligations of marriage)
2.    Colombia & Uruguay (yes, it’s a tie)
3.    Brazil (teams that play beautifully should be rewarded, even if they’ve won the Cup five fucking times)
4.    Any team that has never won the World Cup
5.    Spain (they won the Cup in 2010; if they hadn’t, I would have them higher)
6.    Other European teams that have won the Cup (i.e. France and England)
7.    Any team other than Argentina (sorry Pulguita; nothing against you)

Even though I’m just some dude who occasionally wears a Peruvian soccer jersey, here are my picks:

Friday, May 11, 2018

Clown Without Pity’s Super-Thorough Warriors vs. Rockets Preview & Prediction



Starting Monday, my beloved Golden State Warriors finally get to play the series that I think they’ve been awaiting this entire season. Having closely followed this team for years now, I feel pretty confident saying this is how our team feels about this upcoming matchup (and this clip demonstrates a big reason why Draymond is my favorite player):




And this is an accurate reflection of our confidence going into this series:



Conversely, all season long, the Rockets have been playing for this exact moment: home court advantage in the Western Conference Finals against the team they are obsessed with beating. All season long, much has been said about how the Rockets savant general manager, Daryl Morey, has “constructed” or “built” a team to beat the Warriors.

This is exactly what they asked for.

But I think they’ve got another thing coming.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Let’s Fucking Do This! (or My 2017-2018 NBA Playoff Preview)



After a long-ass season, we are finally here at the playoffs. Sweet baby Jeebus.

Last year, at the onset of the playoffs, FiveThirtyEight.com gave the Warriors—who would go on the statistically greatest NBA playoff run ever with a 16-1 record—a 59% likelihood of winning the title. This year, they’re giving my Warriors a 4% chance of winning the title, which is beyond fucking laughable:



Vegas—specifically Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook—has laid down more realistic odds for the Warriors repeating as champions. The Warriors are currently 6-5 favorites to win the title with the Rockets close behind at 5-4 odds. The Cavs rightly come in at third with 8-1 odds.

Before I put down my predictions for each playoff series, I would like to talk at length about my beloved Dubs.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Top 10 Songs to Play at My Wake



Well, shit, it'd been a while since my homeboy, Justin "To Live is to Fly" Goldman and I put our wretched brains together for a top-10 double-shot list. And I suspected this topic was up our proverbial alleys. And indeed it was.

I’d like to start this post by noting that I think it’s remarkable that it has taken me this long to come up with this list. Throughout my adult life, well before my body ever developed a blood cancer, I have often thought of death. I have long been cognizant that this ride will end. For most of my life I think I have thought of my own death because there has always been a part of my spirit that yearns for it. I know this is going to sound fucking dramatic, but there is a part of me that longs for a reprieve from this life that inevitably manufactures suffering. But now that Maria and I have a son, I think I am far less welcoming of death because it would tear me to be away from our Miguelito. Other than losing my mother, I don’t think there’s anything that tears me more than imagining our son growing up without either one of us.

Although my desire to stay alive has probably never been more palpable and urgent, it’s still easy for me to think about my death. I know most Americans would think that’s dark, but I don’t give a fuck about that. For myself, it’s been abundantly useful to be mindful of the fact that I will be dead someday because it has helped me to be grateful for what I do have.

Over the years, I have periodically thought about what music I would want to be played at my wake. The music I listen to has always been the clearest reflection of how I feel in the present, and—by extension—how I feel about our world. And so, this list is simply a reflection of that at this juncture of my life. So, although I listen to these genres a ton during my 38th revolution around the sun, there is no metal here whatsoever. No classic rock. No Motown. No 1960s – 1980s R & B. No surf rock (which has been my latest musical obsession). No Latin or West Coast jazz. And no blues. Instead, these are just some of the most exquisite and perfect songs I have been blessed to stumble upon this long, strange trip. (Check out my homeboy's list for some more righteous tunes aqui.)