Here’s My Summer Reading List

Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line by Michael Gibney

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Magic City by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Germania: In Wayward Pursuit of the Germans and Their History by Simon Winder

The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang

After the Quake by Haruki Murakami

Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford

The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team by Ben Lindbergh & Sam Miller

Available: A Memoir of Heartbreak, Hookups, Love and Brunch by Matteson Perry

MLB Power Rankings: A Belated Opening Day Preview

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Rejoice, baseball fans: Opening Day has arrived.

Below I’ve compiled some 2016 Preseason Power Rankings, based on a fine-tuned amalgamation of gumption, ESP, and side-eyed glances at PECOTA and Fangraphs. Why is it being rolled out days after Opening Day? Who cares!

As an eternal reminder, yes of course I’m biased against your team. Your team sucks. And I hate it. And that’s why it’s ranked so low. Get over it.

(Special thanks to Geoff Young for his help.)

Continue reading

Failsafe 2016 MLB Predictions

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You heard it here first, folks.

AL East
1. Red Sox
2. Blue Jays
3. Rays
4. Yankees
5. Orioles

AL Central
1. Tigers
2. Twins
3. Royals
4. Indians
5. White Sox

AL West
1. Rangers
2. Astros
3. Mariners
4. A’s
5. Angels

NL East
1. Mets
2. Nats
3. Marlins
4. Braves
5. Phillies

NL Central
1. Cubs
2. Pirates
3. Cardinals
4. Brewers
5. Reds

NL West
1. Giants
2. Dodgers
3. Padres
4. Diamondbacks
5. Rockies

Wild card: Twins, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Nats

DS: Giants over Mets, Cubs over Nats, Rangers over Red Sox, Twins over Tigers

CS: Giants over Cubs, Rangers over Twins

WS: Giants over Rangers

MVPs – Buster Posey and Mookie Betts
Cy Young – Clayton Kershaw and Corey Kluber
Rookies of the Year – Corey Seager and Jose Berrios

Here’s All the Stuff I Read in 2015

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Goodreads is a flawed website and I don’t entirely trust it not to sell my deepest, darkest literary secrets to the Russian mob, or whomever, but it’s still pretty useful in arranging and encouraging my reading habits.

According to my Goodreads stockpile, I’ve read an average of 45 books per year over the past five, with a busy 2014 being a down year (19) and an incomprehensible 2011 setting the curve (66). Thus 2015, with its 45 completed books, was, in a way, decidedly average.

To summarize my decidedly average year of reading, here’s a list of all the titles I consumed, plus blurbage. I’ve ranked them in order of enjoyability for your consuming pleasure. Early warning: There’s a lot of Game of Thrones and Freakonomics ahead. Strange bedfellows and all. This was also the first year in which most of what I read was non-fiction, which is what the kids call “adulting” these days. Continue reading

Taking a Swing at Sports

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Obi-Wan’s reaction to being told Grantland was no more.

Let’s go over all the things since last I wrote.

-At the beginning of the month I joined up with the folks at Crooked Scoreboard, a kooky sports-humor site. I’m mostly doing part-time social media manager stuff, though I’ve also authored a couple pieces:

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DeMarcus Cousins Dreams of Playing in the NBA: This is an Onion-esque troll job in which I imply the Sacramento Kings are not a real NBA team.

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Four Rookies of the Year Who Ended Up Being Really Lousy: In which I show off my embarrassing wealth of useless baseball trivia.

My photoshop skillz are all over the Legends image too.

Also, this piece isn’t mine but I wish it was: What Disney Princesses Would Look Like If They Were Black, And Members Of The 1984-85 76ers. That’s the platonic ideal right there.

Please go and check out the site. It’s still in its infancy but it’s got legs. Follow on Twitter and Facebook so you can boost my traffic so I don’t get fired.

-At the same time I’ve moved more into an editorial role at Big Think. I wrote one piece this week (not worth linking) but I’m mostly focusing on packaging for Facebook and Twitter.

-We’ve just wrapped preview week at STC for Kiss Me, Kate. If you like big ol’ Broadway musical type of shows and happen to reside in the Washington DC area, consider coming to see it.

-I reached my Goodreads reading goal for the first time in three years. Selling my car was the best thing that ever happened to my reading habits. Between bound books, e-books, and audiobooks I’ve gone through 41 titles so far in 2015. I’ll post more about that soon, as I like to rank everything I’ve read in one post.

-Sorry for this boring update. If I had any jokes left in me I promise they’d be here.

Recent Writings: Millennials So Millennial That Millennials Start to Hate Millennials

AirSmug city.

Quick link over to Big Think where my latest piece analyzes Airbnb’s disastrously tone-deaf San Francisco ad campaign. Put simply: the residents of SF are about to vote on whether or not to restrict the short-term rental market, which is Airbnb’s bread and butter. The ad campaign’s ostensible purpose was to persuade folks to vote against the measure by detailing all the good things SF does (or can do) with Airbnb’s generated tax revenue. Unfortunately, as you can see from the image above, the tone they opted for was “simpering, smug-ass douchebag.”

The rest of the piece delves into some other recent Silicon Valley PR snafus and basically says this:

The Ubers and Airbnbs of the world are a source of great pride for many millennials because they (we?) see themselves and their own values embodied in them. The recent Silicon Valley boom does feel like a new world order; young ideas are taking hold and (some) young people are thriving because of it.

The problem: These companies too often operate with a snotty sense of entitlement that leads to the belief that they’re above rules and decency. Remember when Uber execs were threatening journalists who dared to investigate the company? Stuff like that isn’t just because Uber’s CEO is a douche. Entitlement and swagger are important pieces of these companies’ cultures — for better and for worse.

The crux of these pieces is this: Sooner or later, the Ubers and Airbnbs of the world are due for a reality check.

Off-topic update — Since I went a few months without posting here I’ll note a few life changes:

-Recently switched jobs from Studio Theatre to the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Still living in DC. Still a House Manager. Still writing for Big Think, obviously.

-Have put myself on hiatus w/r/t playwriting as I focus on knocking down my student loans from undergrad. Tough to work 2 jobs and still put your all into writing when you’ve got other important commitments as well. I’m hoping to maybe re-emerge for Fringe 2016.

-I’m going to miss Donnie Baseball but managers are hired to be fired and life goes on.

Carry on.

Recent Writings: Back to the Future Day

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Zemeckis, you lying bastard.

Brief update: My latest at Big Think is relevant to today, 21 October 2015, because it’s the day Marty McFly traveled to the future and forever cursed a generation with unfairly high expectations of the future.

Not only do we not have hoverboards, a bunch of Nike executives apparently LIED like a bunch of BIG FAT LIARS about self-lacing shoes. Also the Cubs are on the brink of elimination and they’re facing an almost-certainly insurmountable 3-0 deficit to the Mets. Daniel Murphy is definitely Griff/Biff in this awful alternative timeline.

Maybe the biggest bummer? Where are the retro 80’s diners? The 80’s are to us what the 50’s were to the 80’s yet cultural nostalgia for Elvis and milkshakes trumps nostalgia for Depeche Mode and Donkey Kong. It’s not right, I tell ya.

There’s probably a deeper post somewhere in that thought germ but it’s not happening tonight.

Adiós, Tita Ali

Ali, Robert, y Robbie

Noticias tristes: Mi tía Alicia murió anoche. Ella era una mujer cubana con mucho pasión. La vamos a extrañar mucho.

As most of you know, I’m a first-generation Cuban-American on my dad’s side, yet for myriad reasons my parents didn’t raise me bilingual. It’s the biggest regret of my life; mi Español es mierda.

But when I was around Tita Ali, just as when I’m around my grandparents, it’s straight up Flowers for Algernon with me and my Spanish. She instilled confidence in me, a confidence that I don’t always feel around other people. Outside of the elders in my family, I don’t really have much cultural connection to my heritage. I’m afraid of what it’ll mean when they’re all gone. Part of being a model minority is assimilation, but I can’t help but feel something vibrant is slowly being extinguished each and every day I move further from where I came from.

Tita Ali died in her sleep last night. She was a fiery, powerful woman who didn’t take no shit from no one. She was the family wit, armed to the teeth with a quick and biting sense of humor. She loved Coca-Cola and Cuban coffee. She was the pickiest eater you’d ever meet. Meghan, my dad, and I got to go on vacation with her earlier this year and she was always so full of life. It’s shocking to think that she’s just… gone.

Since she had no inhibitions about cracking jokes, I feel comfortable making mention that it’s a funny coincidence the U.S. and Cuba re-opened full diplomatic relations in the hours prior to her passing. I suppose if you told her that we were going to bury the hatchet with Fidel, she would have said something like, “¡Coño! Over my dead body.”

We’re gonna miss you, Tita Ali. Thanks for everything.

Aunt Alice and Meg