Saturday, April 30, 2016

2015-2016 NBA Conference Semifinal Predictions!

Although I was tempted to write a panoramic prognostication for the NBA Playoffs before it kicked off, the opening round affirmed why I decided to refrain. Thus far, the story of the 2015-2016 NBA playoffs has been dominated by injuries. Key players like reigning MVP, Steph Curry, Avery Bradley, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul suffered significant injuries. Sure, I’m biased, being a Warriors fan, but I hope we’re done with all these major injuries. The opening round was brutal in terms of the talent that got shelved: Curry is going to repeat as MVP; Chris Paul would be #4 on my MVP ballot for this year. (Judging from other sportswriters and analysts picks, he’ll likely finish in the top five.) Bradley is one of the best two-way players in the game and when he’s healthy and properly motivated, I think Blake is a top-10 player in the NBA. 


As the second round begins, the Spurs and Warriors remain heavy favorites to win it all according to FiveThirtyEight’s latest NBA Predictions:

as of 4/30/2016

Here’s my predictions for the Conference Semifinals:

Friday, April 29, 2016

If in Fremont... (or Things to Do in Fremont, CA)

Central Park with Mission Peak in the distance

Having grown up in Fremont, I have an impassioned love/hate relationship with my hometown, my budding ground. It’s an absolutely quintessential California suburb—a car-centric conglomeration of strip malls, slew of corporate chain businesses and a city laid out in an unimaginative straight grid bereft of a downtown area for communal gathering. Sure, it’s the fourth largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, but when Fremont’s main bragging point is being ranked the third safest American city with a population over 200,000 in 2015, it’s not a surprise to know that there’s little reason—if any—to ever visit our ho-hum town.

That said, in a town as geographically expansive as Fremont, there is some beauty to be seen. (Fremont ranks #132 in terms of American cities by land area.) To boot, Fremont is one of the most diverse cities in Alameda County, which is one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the United States. Its yummy variety of restaurants and cuisines is a testament to that.

So let’s start there—with independent restaurants and food joints to check out if you ever find yourself in Fremont.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Memoir Outtake: Wishes, Wishes, Wishes

These were wishes I jotted down in the summer of 2009 when I was midway through chemotherapy:

  • That my hair will fall off like a autumn leaves so it can grow back as the mightiest afro ever. (My lifelong dream of having hair like Jimi Hendrix or Sly Stone would come true!)

  • That my cancer won’t come between the joy I feel alongside Paola. (Like sitting next to each other at a cafĂ©, months or years down this road, reading or writing together.)
  • That the chemo will rid my body of Mr. Hodgkins so that I can kiss her and hold her hand when we walk around the city and—for once—not be sick.
  • That it won't make me sterile so that someday, if I want, I can have kids with someone I love (and who loves me).
  • That the chemo doesn’t stop me from riding my bicycle around the Mission on a sunshiny day, or from cycling beneath the skyscrapers (our urban redwoods) in downtown at night.
  • That this ordeal will help me become the strongest, kindest, most beautiful person I can be. (Humble like dirt, compassionate like a Buddhist monk yet fierce and indomitable like the scorching guitar riff during the beginning of Kirk Hammett’s solo on Metallica’s “Holier Than Thou.”)
  • That it doesn’t stop me from going to grad school in the fall like my oncologist said it would.
  • That it gets rid of Mr. Hodgkins forever and ever so that I can be with my parents and sisters for as long as I can.

December 2014

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

2015-2016 NBA Playoff Preview: Opening Round

Oh sweet baby Jesus, after an eighty-two game regular season grind, the 2015-2016 NBA Playoffs commence this Saturday! For the second time in NBA history, this year’s playoffs will include two teams with over 65 wins. (During the 2008-2009 season the Cleveland Cavs entered the playoffs with 66 wins while Kobe’s Lakers had 65 regular season wins.) Those two teams—the San Antonio Spurs, and, in particular, the Golden State Warriors—are heavy favorites to win it all according to FiveThirtyEight’s latest NBA Predictions:

Prior to this season, 17 teams—including last year’s Warriors—have won 65 regular-season games. 14 of them have won the title, so it seems extremely likely (with apologies to Cavalier and Thunder fans) that either the Warriors or Spurs will hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy amidst a rain of champagne two months from now.

On paper, this year’s First Round doesn’t feature many enticing duels like the epic opening round of the 2013-2014 NBA Playoffs, but the second round could feature some excellent matchups.

Here’s my quick breakdown and predictions for the opening round: