Tebow, AZ Fall League, & October versus March

With October wrapping up, the Cubbies clinching their first World Series birth in 71 years, and a few other sports just getting underway (hockey and basketball), I've been thinking a lot about which is the better sports month.

October or March?

Let's take a look at the current month, October, then we'll dive into the promise of spring time.

October has the start of the NHL season, the NBA begins to make some noise, Major League Baseball's Post Season is in full swing (pun intended), and a little known treat, the Arizona Fall League flexes its muscle in the Valley of the Sun.

This year, the Fall League has some beef to it, with the ever beefy Tim Tebow making an appearance. Tebow continues to be someone who garners media attention no matter what he does, and any time I write about him, my page views go #allthewayup. 

At last check, Teebs has a .107 batting average with 3 hits in 28 at bats. No bueno.

If you're unfamiliar with the Arizona Fall League, it's where all the Major League Baseball teams send their top prospects to AZ to face top competition. It's a who's who of players, coaches, general managers, and avid baseball fans. In the past I've met Josh Byrnes (former AZ Dbacks and Padres GM), Mike Rizzo (Washington Nationals GM), Ryne Sandberg, and countless others.

In fact, recently Kyle Schwarber, the World Series darling for the Chicago Cubs, was at the Fall League getting ready for his post season appearance.

Highly recommended, if for no other reason than the weather is about 90 degrees while the rest of the country deals with almost-winter temperatures.

OK, now let's take a quick look at March...

If you've been a reader or follower of WestsideCulture for any period of time, then you probably know March holds a special place in my heart because of Spring Training and the Cactus League.

And towards the end of March, baseball ramps up for good, getting ready for the regular season.

But March also has March Madness, the greatest sporting event on the face of the earth, as long as you have a team in your bracket that advances to the Final Four. 

And for that reason alone, plus the weather is spectacular, March wins.

14 Inspiring Quotes From Athletes to Keep You Going

Love this.

Love this.

Since many of us are in the depths of summer's grasp, I figured you, like me, might need a little pick me up right about now. The dog days are officially upon us.

With the NFL season still about one month away, and baseball heading towards the long month of August, let's turn to our favorite players, coaches and leaders to get inspired.

14 Inspiring Quotes to Keep You Going

(These are in order of my least favorite to most favorite, so make sure you scroll down to the bottom to see the best ones)

"They give you a round bat and they throw you a round ball. And they tell you to hit it square." -Willie Stargell

"Let's play two." - Ernie Banks

"It ain't over til it's over." - Yogi Berra

"You play to win the game." - Herm Edwards 
(Editor note: 
mainly including this so I can add the video...)

"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been." - Wayne Gretzky

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth

"There may be people that have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do." - Derek Jeter

"In baseball and in business, there are three types of people. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened." - Tommy Lasorda

"If you have everything under control, you're not moving fast enough." - Mario Andretti

"Set your goals high, and don't stop till you get there." - Bo Jackson

Bo knows quotes

Bo knows quotes

"It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe." - Muhammad Ali

You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” - Michael Phelps

"It's hard to beat a person who never gives up." - Babe Ruth

"You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take." - Wayne Gretzky

And just for fun, because he's from San Diego and repped it so well...

We know we're better than this, but we can't prove it. — Tony Gwynn

21 Top Actors Who've Played Athletes

screamin' willie beamin leaves the ladies creamin'

screamin' willie beamin leaves the ladies creamin'

Lately, I've been listening to a lot of Jamie Foxx, and no, not his music, although I do respect it. He's been on a few podcasts with Tim Ferriss and hosts his own radio show on SirriusXM called The Foxx Hole. He's super funny and inspiring. Y'all should listen. 

Anyway, Foxx was talking about a lot of the roles he's played and I quickly realized he's been in quite a few sports related movies, including possibly playing Mike Tyson in an upcoming biography film.

It got me thinking about all the other actors who've played roles as athletes. So I decided to provide you with my best list. Enjoy!

Jamie Foxx - I'll always remember him as Wanda, "I'll rock yo' world..." from In Living Color, but he also did a really great job as a quarterback, Screamin' Willie Beamen, in Any Given Sunday. He also played a boxing trainer in Ali with Will Smith.

Cuba Gooding Jr. - He played the great Rod Tidwell, an NFL wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, and former Arizona State Sundevil, in Jerry Maguire. One of the best sports movies I've seen. I find myself quoting both Cuba and Tom Cruise from this movie all the time. 

show me the money

show me the money

Kevin Costner - Probably the king of sports movies, Costner has starred as an NFL General Manager in Draft Day, a washed up pro-baseball player in Bull Durham, a golfer in Tin Cup, and who can forget Field of Dreams

Wesley Snipes - Like Costner, Snipes has been in a ton of sports films as well. He's played a pro baseball player twice, starring in The Fan, and Major League where he played the brash, Willie Mays Hayes. "Hits like Mays, Runs like Hayes." Snipes was also in White Men Can't Jump, with Woody Harrelson, where both played basketball players.

Charlie Sheen - Winning. Tiger's blood. Sheen played Ricky "Wildthing" Vaughn, an ex-con turned pitcher in Major League. Oh, this just in, he really blew it with Denise Richards. Dumbass.

Duane Martin - Martin starred as Kyle Watson, a basketball player, in Above the Rim. If you haven't seen it, it's a great basketball movie, and 2Pac has a lead role as well.

Danny McBride - I mean clearly a finely tuned athlete like McBride, aka Kenny Powers, has to make the list. Just plain hilarious as a washed-up baseball player in Eastbound and Down.

Will Ferrell - Another king of sports movies, Ferrell has been in several, including Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory and Semi-Pro.

Kiera Knightly - Another really inspiring movie, Knightly is a soccer player in Bend it Like Beckham. And yes Becks does make an appearance.

Adam Sandler - Sandler played a pro golfer in Happy Gilmore, and a linebacker in Waterboy.

Robert Redford - The Natural. Classic baseball movie.

Robert DiNero - Raging Bull. Classic boxing movie.

Will Smith - The Fresh Prince did an amazing job of portraying Muhammad Ali in Ali.

Matt Damon - Damon played a pro rugby player in Invictus, an inspiring movie about South Africa and Nelson Mandela. Highly recommended. Speaking of inspiring movies, these next few definitely fit the bill.

Russell Crowe - Crowe plays a boxer in Cindarella Man, and over comes all odds during the Great Depression. A true rags to riches story. Not sure if being a Gladiator counts as an athlete, but he killed it in that role, too.

Mark Walhberg - Walhberg plays Vince Papale, a wide receiver for the Philladelphia Eagles. Slow, undersized, old, etc., Papale over comes it all in Invincible. A true story. Walhberg has also played a boxer in The Fighter and a basketball player in The Basketball Diaries with Leo.

Brad Pitt - Moneyball. Pitt plays Billy Beane, a former New York Mets player and current Oakland A's General Manager. A true story, it's an awesome movie, and shows how the little guy can overcome massive odds.

Leonardo DiCaprio - Basketball Diaries. One of the best actors of our time, in one of his first roles. 

Denzel Washington - Another one of the all-time great actors plays in this sports drama, He Got Game. A great basketball movie, which also stars former NBA player, Ray Allen.

Kate Bosworth - Blue Crush. Crush is right. :) Miss Bosworth smokin hot as a surfer in this one.

surfboard, surfboard...

surfboard, surfboard...

Sly Stallone - Rocky. 'Nuff said.

Bonus: Role Reversal (Athletes turned actors)

Ray Allen - Jesus Shuttlesworth in He Got Game.

Carl Weathers - the former San Diego State wide receiver and Oakland Raider, Weathers played Apollo Creed in the Rocky series.

Shaq and Penny Hardaway - both played basketball players in Blue Chips.

Duane "the Rock" Johnson - now stars in Ballers on HBO and has been in a whole host of movies.

West Coast Hip-Hop from A to Z

straight outta compton... one of the best movies i've ever seen.

straight outta compton... one of the best movies i've ever seen.

Sup y'all.

Here's a topic I know a little something about. In fact, some might consider me an expert. Or at the very least, highly knowledgable. I've been listening to West Coast hip-hop for 25 years. My cousin, DJ Amerrickan, introduced me to N.W.A. and Eazy-E, and I was hooked. 

Today, I wake up in the morning an bump trap music. 8am. Time to grind. If you're not hip to the West Coast hip-hop game, stick with me, I'll be your guide.

West Coast Hip-Hop from A to Z, aka a Quick Start Guide to Compton and Oakland, California

A - Ant Banks, rapper and producer from Oakland, part of Too $hort's Dangerous Music and Dangerous Crew. Known as, "The Big Badass", dude had skills.

B - The Black Eyed Peas, straight outta Los Angeles, featuring will.i.am and some girl named Fergi. 'Nuff said.

C - Coolio, from Compton, CA. Best known for Gangsters Paradise (featured in the movie Dangerous Minds with Michelle Pfeiffer), 1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New), and Fantastic Voyage

D - Dr. Dre. Oh c'mon, you know who Dr. Dre is. If you don't, watch Straight Outta Compton. You know what? Either way, watch that movie. It's amazing, and will educate you far more on West Coast hip-hop than I can here.

I'll be brief, and say he's responsible for the world knowing about Eminem, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, The Game, and more than likely, Ice Cube and Eazy-E. He owned Death Row Records, which produced California Love featuring 2 Pac, and many other platinum selling records.

E - Eazy-E, from Compton. The original front man for Dr. Dre and Ice Cube's group, N.W.A. Eazy-E was a full on gangster and nobody you wanted to mess with. I loved his music. One of my all-time faves.

E - E-40, shares a birthday with yours truly and reps Oakland (where yours truly was born), as well as Vallejo, CA. His song Choices is amazing. Yup? Nope.

F - Funkdoobiest, kind of a stretch... hey, they're from LA. Apologies, not many F's in the West Coast hip-hop game, unfortunately. But, how about I'll give you another artist? Future. His shit it lit. 

G - The Game, from Compton, CA. He didn't last long in the mainstream but had some bad ass songs like Westside Story, How We Do, and Hate it or Love it. The Game was part of G-Unit with 50 Cent.

H - House of Pain, from Los Angeles, produced the smash-hit, Jump Around. "I'll serve your ass like John McEnroe..." Lead rapper Everlast later broke out on his own, with the single, What It's Like.

I - Ice Cube, from South Central, Los Angeles, and a personal inspiration for me, the guy does it all. I wrote a lot about him previously here, in an interview I did with an artist and good friend of Cube's.

Oh and if you haven't seen this yet.... it's a must watch. I mean only 34 Million other people have seen it.

Cube acts in movies, writes musics and films, raps, produces music, a comedian, and so much more. Just a big fan. Loved N.W.A. and his solo songs like It Was a Good Day, You Know How We Do It, and You Can Do It. He was also part of Westside Connection with Mack 10. 

J - Umm... DJ Quick? Jamie Foxx? Do those count? I got nothing. Hey, I gave you two for the letter "E". What more do you want from me? How about Jay-Z? I know, he's not West Coast, but I still like him. Plus, maybe I can distract you with Beyonce. Ahh, Lemonade.

Beyonce's Drunk in Love "Surfboard" video is about as West Coast as it gets....

Beyonce's Drunk in Love "Surfboard" video is about as West Coast as it gets....

K - Kendrick Lamar. Not joking, as I was writing this post, right when I got here to the letter "K", Swimming Pools (Drank) came on my Spotify. I mean spooky. I haven't heard that song in a year at least. I also like his song, Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe.

From Compton, Lamar, works closely with Dr. Dre and his label Aftermath/Interscope Records. I mean who isn't from Compton on this list? I should look into that... How many rappers are from Compton? I'm sure it's a lot. I digress.

Kanye - I could arguably include Kanye West on this list. I mean he lives in LA now and is a Lakers fan. Plus, he's married to Kim K. That's about as West Coast as it gets. Ahh, Kanye. Such a great source of quotes.

L - Luniz, aka Da Luniz, is a bay-area, Oakland formed hip-hop group, known for I Got $5 On It, which I think is about putting five dollars of U.S. currency into an indo sack. Whatever that means. There was remix of the song featuring E-40 and Dru Down, also Oakland rappers.

M - Hmmm.... this one's tough. Ultimately it's between Mack 10 (Westside Connection w/ Ice Cube), MC Hammer (Can't Touch This), MC Eiht (Menace to Society), and MC Ren (N.W.A.). 

I'm gonna give it to MC Ren. N.W.A was just too influential.

N - Nate Dogg. This one wasn't tough. Massive hits with Warren G (Regulate), Snoop, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Ludacris, 2Pac and many more. R.I.P. to one of West Coast music's pioneers. #LBC

O - Outlawz, aka Outlaw Immortals, a group founded by 2Pac.

P - Problem. The Rapper. Not, "Problem?", like the question Ice Cube asked in Boyz In Da Hood, "We got a problem here? Problem?" No, Problem the rapper is also talented. Like Whaaat

Q - Ummm. What? Really? Q? Ughhh... how about Quo? That's all I got. Go ahead, look it up. Part of Micheal Jackson's Epic Records.

R - Rappin' 4-Tay, from San Francisco, reppin' the Bay Area. Known for Playaz Club and I'll Be Around. Made his debut with Too $hort, and was also featured on 2Pac's Only God Can Judge Me.

S - Snoop Doggy Dogg, aka Snoop, aka Snoop Dogg, aka Snoop Lion, from the LBC, aka the city they call Long Beach.

Snoop started his career with Dr. Dre, on Dre's album, The Chronic. It was quickly apparent who the star of the album was... and next released by Dre was Snoop's album, Doggystyle. To this day, it's hard to find two albums that mean more to West Coast music than those two.

T - Tupac Shakur. Born in Harlem, murdered in Vegas, and repped the West Coast to the fullest, even getting in classic rap battles with Notorious B.I.G. and Puff Daddy (PDiddy, aka Shawn Combs). 2Pac was, and is, one of the top rappers of all-time.

Many believe Pac's still not dead, an argument fueled when 2Pac released an album under another stage name, Makaveli, where he predicts his own death, in a manner shockingly similar to how he was actually killed.

Too $hort - from Los Angeles, but mostly known for reppin' the Oakland City, in a big way. His music is all about pimpin', known by today's rappers as trappin', and drug use. 

Tyga v. Ton Loc. Looks like we have ourselves a rap battle...

Let's see, Tyga has had huge success with Rack City, Faded and Make It Nasty, and is married to Kylie Jenner. Meow.

But, but, but.... Ton Loc is the OG. Funky Cold Medina and Wild Thing were amazing. Ton Loc wins.

U, V, Z. OK, I'll cut to the chase. You get nothing on these letters. Good day, sir.

But, I got you covered for "W", "X, and "Y"...

W - Westside Connection. Going with Westside over Warren G, because... well damnit, because Westside is in the title of my site. That and Westside Connection featured the OG's, Ice Cube and Mack 10.

Warren G. Really liked ol' Warren as well. He's the step-brother of Dr. Dre, he's from Long Beach, grew up with Snoop Dogg, and had some huge hits like This DJ Be Warren G, Do You See, and Regulate with Nate Dogg.

X - Xzibit. Worked with Snoop on Bitch Please, and Eminem on What's the Difference. Two of my favorite songs. Both produced by Dr. Dre. Both classics. Was also part of the Up in Smoke Tour, which featured Dr. Dre, Eminem, Ice Cube, and Snoop.

Y - YG. Born in Compton, known for his song with Ty Dolla Sign, Toot it and Boot It. He's also worked with Drake, Lil Wayne, and Rich Homie Quan.

Did I leave anyone off? Leave me a comment and let me know who should have made the list.

How to Market Like a Pro and Read Box Scores Like a GM

2 of my favorite things...

2 of my favorite things...

Today, you're all in for a bit of a special treat.

I'm going to let you in to the mind and psyche that built Westside Culture.

It all started a long, long time ago...

You might be wondering where this one is going. Hell, I'm kind of wondering myself. But, let's all hop into the waaay back machine and jump off sometime around July of 1991, roughly 25 years ago. 

We'll call Westside Culture, WSC, for the sake of the story. WSC, the young lad that he is, sits at a breakfast bar counter top, in the kitchen of his parents home. He's perched atop a barstool, in his customary position, essentially sitting on his knees, stretching forward out over the counter and morning newspaper. To his left, a bowl of Wheaties or Cheerios. To his right, sometimes a trusted companion feline named, Lightning.

For our prose here, WSC has gotten up early, as usual, long before school starts on this random Tuesday, so he can read the sports page. The newspaper is only set aside twice during each hour he's reading it, which is about two hours in total. So there's four times between let's call it 4:30 am, and 6:30 am, that WSC is not glued to the sports page.

Those four times are as follows:

4:49 am
5:19 am
5:49 am
6:19 am

Now any sports fan (older than 30) worth their weight in World Series gold can tell you, these are the times Van Earl Wright would come on for the CNN Headline Sports segment. Usually it was an exact replay of the previous content, but sometimes not. And it was always great to hear Van Earl's crazy signature sign-off in different inflections. "This is Van Earl Wright... CNN... Headline Sports."

(WSC went in the way back machine to find this...)

This was something WSC could not miss. So, aside from when those 4 minutes were on, WSC is focused on one thing only. The Arizona Republic Sports section, and to be more specific, box scores.

Our hero soaks up numbers from the page like a sponge. His eyes darting back and forth, from column to row, and row to column.

R Sandberg 2B 3 2 2 2 1 1 .321

A decent baseball fan could tell you what that meant. Ryne Sandberg, 2nd base, 2/3 at the plate, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO, .321 Batting Average. 

Pretty simple stuff really. ;-)

But WSC knew you could dig deeper. Much deeper. Below the box score stats would be data like:

HR: Sandberg (24)
RBI: Sandberg 2 (66)

Now, to a trained eye like 8 year old, WSC, this additional information was lethal, ready to be triggered whenever needed. "Mom, did you know Ryne Sandberg is batting .321 with 24 home runs and 66 RBI? He ranks 3rd among all hitters and 1st for second basemen."

And so it went...

Pro tip/Pop Quiz: In this 2/3 example, what must Ryne Sandberg's other hit have been, besides the home run?

(Answer: It had to have been a single, because a double or triple would have been listed near the HR and RBI section as a 2B or 3B.)

Today, we take a look at our hero and not much has changed. WSC still works perched up on his chair. Sometimes on his shins, sometimes on his knees. Sometimes he just elects to stand, to get closer. Closer to what? The truth? Perhaps.

The box scores have been replaced (sometimes) by excel spreadsheets and marketing data. Numbers like 1 HR and 66 RBI are placed with 207,000 sent, and 21,452 read. (A 10.4% open rate, pretty crappy, really.)

But the patterns remain. Inconsistencies and opportunities present themselves. The data doesn't lie. (Except when it does. We'll get into these outliers later). The statistics start to become stories to shape and mold.

Yes, being able to be an effective marketer and business leader these days requires a unique ability to find opportunities and optimize them. It's not far removed from what WSC was doing as a kid. 

Let's take a look at this box score from a game yours truly was watching, the San Francisco Giants versus the San Diego Padres.

Now the first thing you'll notice from this screen shot is there's no final score. 

Or is there?

You see, if you look closely enough, the data tells you everything. Always. It's all in there. In marketing, in business, in life.

Look at the 2nd column, R (Runs), for the Giants. Total it up. 3.

Look at the 2nd column, R, for the Padres. Total it up. 5.

Final score, Padres 5, Giants 3. 

Huh, well whaddya know, Robinson Cano?

But what other knowledge can we extract from this box score? What caused the Giants to lose (or the Padres win, depending on your perspective)?

Let's take a look at the 3rd column over for each team. H (Hits): Giants 2, Padres 10. Holy smokes. The Giants got demolished. Yes, they did, when you only look at hits. But the game was much closer than that. And here's one of the main reasons.

You might have noticed that the Giants had 3 runs, and only 2 hits. How's that possible? Well kids, chicks did the long ball. And the G-men had one. Scroll down and you'll see they had a pinch-hitter come in, Gillaspie, who hit a 3 run home run. Now without that, yes you can say the Giants got demolished.

What other insights can we obtain from our box score?

Here's a fun one...

Which player has the best average from both teams?

(Cue Jeopardy music...)

If you're struggling, perhaps it's because it's a trick question. Or at least a trick answer.

On paper, Edwin Jackson, P (Pitcher), appears to be a strong candidate. Wait, WSC, a pitcher being a good hitter, that's rare right? Yes, gumshoe, it is.

As I mentioned before, beware the outlier.

Jackson is batting .667, with a slugging of .667 and an OBS (on base percentage) of .667. He went 2/3 with an RBI. Now he's either the best hitter in the history of MLB, or he's only had 2 hits in 3 at bats all season.

Care to guess which is correct? 

I think you know the answer. He's not a good hitter. (Although, in full disclosure, he is one of the better hitting pitchers, but that's still not saying much.)

Now, you could take my word for it, but you could also look at the RBI section under "Batting." RBI: Jackson (1). So he had one RBI in the game, which matches his total for the entire season, aka three at bats.

Let's look at a few more anomalies and outliers from last night's shocker in San Diego.

WSC sees two right off the bat, right next to each other. For the San Francisco Giants, Pena (avg .362) and Tejada (avg .167). Either Pena is the best player ever (he could end up being really good) and Tejada is the worst (he is), or something else is going on.

The truth is, you need to get more data. You just don't know. Sometimes you need to start digging for more information. Try other sources. Resort the pattern you have created.

And that, Champ, is what WSC essentially now does for a living. Get more data. Support or disprove the hypothesis. Find out why. 

Can you throw out a player batting .167 and just disregard it, assuming it's an outlier? Or is he that bad? Or in the cases of Pena and Jackson are they that good?

This is what great marketers do all day long. Look at the data. What is is telling you. Sometimes nothing. That's fine. Sometimes too much, that's fine too. 

Find the patterns, tell the story. After all, just like baseball, business is a numbers game. So is life.

And once you understand that, ol' sport, you'll be ready for the big leagues.

#

If you liked this article, you'll love these books.

I've read each of these and they are incredibly powerful reads. Whether you want to become a better marketer, start your own business, set yourself up for success at the casinos, or win your fantasy football league, the principles taught in these resources will get you there. Enjoy.

Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell
What makes professional hockey players, the Beatles and Bill Gates all so successful? They're all outliers and cannot be put in the same category as others because of opportunities that were given to them. (This is similar to when people ask me how they can shortcut their way to being a better marketer. You can't. It takes 10,000 hours and lots of hard work. Start reading your box scores, kiddo.)

The House Advantage - Jeffery Ma
After MIT and card counting in Las Vegas, Ma took his analytic skills and started his own sports consulting business. He provides data for the San Francisco 49ers and Portland Trailblazers. A true box score nerd.

Moneyball - Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis is one of the best story tellers of our time. In this one he shows how a team near the bottom of MLB in payroll can compete with the New York Yankees, Boston RedSox and Chicago Cubs. The Oakland A's did just that, beating teams with payrolls over 4 times bigger than theirs. Warning: prepare to be inspired to greatness.

The Extra 2% - Jonah Keri
How Wall Street strategies took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First

 

 

 

 

Top 13 West Coast Athletes of All-Time

BO KNOWS HE MAKES THE LIST....

BO KNOWS HE MAKES THE LIST....

I'm not sure what it is about top athletes that inspire me, but in this post, hopefully I'll get some answers. I've always felt drawn to players who routinely crush it and are at the top of their game. And now, for your convenience WSC readers, I've listed all of them here, in one easy-to-read blog post. You're welcome. :)

This list is in no particular order, mostly a case of them popping into my mind as I was writing. Oh there is one catch... I'm sure you seasoned WSC peeps can guess what it is.

Each athlete must have ties to the best coast. Let's take a look at the top West Coast athletes...

Bo Jackson

Nicknamed by yours truly, Tecmo Bo, for his ability to run through all 11 defenders in Tecmo Bowl. In fact, there was only one play in the entire video game where Bo can get the ball, and you can just run it over and over again. He's unstoppable. Yes, I am showing my age. No, I don't care. 

Bo was always a beast and still is. Surprisingly, he's also kind of underrated, likely because a football injury cut his career short in both sports. But that's the only way he knew how to play. One speed. All out power. 

Here's a few of my favorite Bo Jackson memories...

Bo jackson was the original savage

Bo jackson was the original savage

1) Pretty much any Bo Jackson Nike ad campaign ever... Bo knows...
2) Breaking his bat over his knee and helmet like it was an annoying toothpick that couldn't get the job done, he used to snap so many bats like they were twigs

Oh Snap!

Oh Snap!

3) As a member of the Oakland Raiders, Bo ran over big, bad (so he thought) Brian Bosworth (no relation to Kate Bosworth, a favorite here at WSC enterprises...)
4) Being the only capable player to play both football and baseball (sorry Michael Jordan and Deion Sanders)

Deion Sanders

don't let him high-step all over you

don't let him high-step all over you

Yes, even after that last back-handed compliment, Neon Deion, aka Primetime, makes the list. I mean the guy's nickname is Primetime... he's gotta be on here, right?

For those of you wondering about his West Coast ties, he played for both the San Francisco Giants and the San Francisco 49ers... the only player in the world to hold that distinction. That also makes him the only player to play both sports in his home stadium Candlestick Park, aka "the Stick."

Fun fact... Did you know, both Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders were drafted by the Kansas City Royals? It's true. In fact, Primetime was drafted in 1985 and Jackson in 1986. Safe to say the Royals had an eye for 2-way sport stars and were willing to take the backlash if it didn't work out.

Randy Moss

straight cash homey

straight cash homey

Sticking with the 2 sport theme for a quick second. Did you know Randy also played basketball and very likely could have played in the NBA? Randy Moss twice won player of the year for basketball, not football, when he played for West Virginia, along side Jason Williams, aka White Chocolate, of the Sacramento Kings. 

Randy is mostly loved by WSC for 3 things he said on a cold, snowy morning in a Foxborough, MA, parking lot, home of the Patriots. 

"Randy don't write checks." - Randy Moss
"Ten grand? What's ten grand?" - Randy Moss
"Straight cash, homie." - Randy Moss

Ryne Sandberg

Chicago's other #23

Chicago's other #23

Also known as the other #23 in Chicago, WSC's All-Time Favorite Athlete, regardless of sport, makes the list. You might be wondering how is Ryno a West Coast star when he only played pro baseball for the Chicago Cubs (and Phillies, briefly)? Well, smart guy, Ryno was born in Spokane, Washington, so there you go. 

(Shameless promotion, you can get The Ryno, an old school Cubbies shirt designed by WSC, here.

Tom Brady

She's no Kate Bosworth, but she'll do....

She's no Kate Bosworth, but she'll do....

Another player where you might be asking, Brady has only played for the New England Patriots... how's that West Coast? Well, champ, Thomas Brady was born in San Mateo, CA. Plus, he's married to Gisele, do you really want to leave him off the list? Nope. Didn't think so.

Ken Griffey, Jr.

jumpman jumpman jumpman, Junior's up to something

jumpman jumpman jumpman, Junior's up to something

Let me tell you a quick story. The year was 1990. I was at Scottsdale Stadium, where the Seattle Mariners had just finished playing the San Francisco Giants in a Spring Training game. I was waiting by their team bus. Junior left the stadium and boarded the bus, but before he did, I asked him, meekly handing out a ball for him to sign, "Can I have your autograph?"

Now in his defense, I sort of remember him having a really bad game, so when he completely ignored me and got on the bus, I didn't think much of it. About ten minutes later, Ken Griffey Sr., came out of the stadium and stopped next to me. I handed him the ball and said, "Mr. Griffey, can I have your autograph?"

His response, "Of course." He signed the ball, looked at it and said, "Did you get Junior's autograph?"

I said, "No. He just got on the bus."

Griffey, Sr. then did what I'd imagine most fathers might do. He told me to hold on a minute, went on the bus and disappeared. About five minutes later, Junior came off the bus, looked at me, (I was even wearing a Mariners hat), and sincerely said, "I'm sorry. Can I sign your ball?"

I now have an official Major League baseball with both father and son signed autographs on it.

Kobe Bryant

just do it

just do it

Love him or hate him, Black Mamba has to be on this list. He played his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers and won 5 NBA titles with the team. Speaking of 5 titles with the Lakers, here's another guy who pulled off that feat...

Earvin "Magic" Johnson

oh oh its magic

oh oh its magic

I actually got to see Earvin play once, live in person, at the Madhouse on McDowell. The Lakers were in town hosted by the Phoenix Suns and my uncle took me to the game because he wanted me to see the "best basketball player" he's ever seen. 

I remember only one play from that game, Earvin grabbed a rebound, dribbled the ball down court and in a flash, just as he passed the half court line, the ball completely disappeared. Next thing I knew, the ball was back and being laid in by him for two points. I looked at my uncle, astonished and said, "He can make the ball disappear?" My uncle simply smiled and said, "That's why they call him 'Magic'."

Steph Curry

Chef Curry with the sauce boy

Chef Curry with the sauce boy

Steph has gone from being loved to hated in just under a year. I guess that's what success does to you. I still love him because I have never seen anyone be able to shoot like him. It's mind blowing. Plus, Drake likes to make up songs and lyrics about him, so he's got bonus street cred.

Jerry Rice

The San Francisco 49er and NFL All-Time leader in just about every receiving category, Jerry Rice definitely makes the list. And how is it possible I have met in person (or at least seen live) almost everyone on this list? I don't know. Face it, WSC gets around.

So my quick Jerry Rice story... 

It was a warm, sunny say in Napa, and Jerry Rice just finished a training camp practice with the Oakland Raiders. He was signing a few autographs, I missed getting mine, but did get to hear a funny story. One guy had a very large Budweiser sign. He asked Jerry, "Will you sign my sign?"

Jerry Rice responded, sure, grabbed a pen and just as he was about to autograph it, he looked at the sign and said, "Budweiser? You want me to sign a Budweiser sign?" He then turned and walked away and I heard him mumbling, "Talkin' about some Budweiser sign."

But the story doesn't end there, the guy turned to me and said, "That's strange. He signed it last year."

Joe Montana/Steve Young

Did you know Jerry Rice actually had his best seasons with Steve Young and not Joe Montana? It's true.

Young to Rice was responsible for 85 TD receptions...
Montana to Rice was responsible for 35 TD receptions...

While Montana won 4 Super Bowls in San Francisco, much of Rice's success can be attributed to Steve Young. It could be argued neither of these QB's would have done anything without Rice, but you still have to give them some credit. Montana is known as Joe Cool, and the Comeback Kid, one main reason was his pass to Dwight Clark dubbed "The Catch" to win NFC Championship.

Steve Young threw 6 touchdown passes in a Super Bowl versus the San Diego Chargers and all of them went to #80, Jerry Rice.

Willie Mays

the catch

the catch

Sticking with the San Francisco theme for a second, here's another player I met. Willie Mays, arguably one of the best baseball players of all time.

Here's what happened, I was hanging out at the San Francisco Giants Spring Training practice fields, back then known as Club Sar (no clue why, it used to be a boxing gym), in Scottsdale, AZ.

A nice car pulled up and out steps a huge, mountain of a man. But he was old. I looked at him like, who is this old geezer? My mom told me, "Kevin! That's Willie Mays." I looked at him, then looked over his shoulder and recognized J.T. Snow, a current Giant at the time. I said, "Hi" to Mr. Mays, after all my mom raised me to respect my elders, then walked right past him and asked J.T. Snow for an autograph. Whoops.

The last few athletes I discussed all have ties to the Bay Area, not my intention, but I was shocked as I was writing this list just how much of an impact San Francisco and Oakland have had on sports. Not to mention there are about 5 plays in sports known as "The Catch" and all of them have Bay Area ties. Editor note: It also happens to be the birth place of this writer, so there's that.

Honorable Mentions:
Terrell Owens, Bay Area... check his numbers, enough said
Wayne Gretzky - I'm just not that into hockey
Michael Jordan (he'd be #1, but has no ties to the West Coast... shame)
Tony Gwynn - the San Diego kid... born in San Diego, went to San Diego State University where he starred in baseball and basketball... and then of course, played his entire career with the Padres

Did I leave anyone off? Anybody you disagree with being on the list? Drop me a comment below and let me know.
 

2016 MLB All-Star Game Festivities

What an amazing All-Star Week here in San Diego. I went to as many of the festivities that I could and what an experience.

From Home Run Derby, with Giancarlo Stanton's monster home runs, to home run derby continuing into the All-Star Game with Kris Bryant, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez all homering deep, and early, to the block parties, nightlife, fireworks shows at Petco Park, and exhibits, I can't remember a time I've had so much fun.

I remember how much I love baseball, how much I love San Diego, and just how lucky I am to live here.

The vibe in downtown San Diego has been incredible the last few days. People have traveled to San Diego from all over the country, every where I turn, another team's New Ear ballcap rocked by an esctatic fan.

I got to enjoy a rooftop party and subsequent Garth Brooks concert during Home Run Derby, I correctly predicted the Home Run Derby Champion, as evidenced here, I was inspired to write way more frequently than I normally do, so you also get to benefit. You're welcome, America. 

Speaking of America, this flyby the stadium was nothing short of spectacular.

this is maverick requesting a flyby...

this is maverick requesting a flyby...

Here's a few more pics from 2016 All-Star Week, Westside style. I can't wait until the next All-Star Game comes to San Diego. I know it might be a while, but when it does, I'll be here.

Are You Not Entertained? Summer's Gladiators Take Center Stage...

all-star-game-16

 

We are one day away from the event I've been looking forward to all summer...

No, not National Bikini Day. 

And no, not National Ice Cream Day, although come to think of it, I am looking forward to that.

I'm talking about Home Run Derby.

8 of Major League Baseball's hardest hitters square off against each other to see who will be crowned Home Run Derby Champion.

I'm excited, because this year, it's in San Diego and I'll be there. In right-center field, on a roof-top, with arguably the best seat in the house. Expect pics, snaps, instas and more. 

Follow live for all the action:

  • Follow on Instagram for giphys, boomerangs, and pics from Home Run Derby 2016
  • Add me on Snapchat (username: westsideculture) for video, stories and moments of San Diego's All-Star Festivities

Let's take a quick look at the Derby candidates, then I'll break down my favorites, for obvious reasons, their ties to the Best Coast. :)

#1 Top Seed: Mark Trumbo, Baltimore O's
#2: Todd Frazier, Chicago White Sox ("The Toddfather" won the Home Run Derby in 2015)
#3: Adam Duvall, Cincinnati Reds
#4: Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners
#5: Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
#6: Wil Myers, San Diego Padres
#7: Carlos Gonzalez, aka CarGo, Colorado Rockies
#8: Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers

Now, we'll take a look at my West Coast predictions, and thanks to the seedings was made much easier for me. Thank you seeding gods.

First Up (in what we'll call here, the West Coast Bracket):

Top Seed, Mark Trumbo (born in Anaheim) vs. #8 Seed, Corey Seager (Los Angeles Dodgers

Trumbo has an advantage in that he's a right-handed hitter and the ball seems to carry better in PetcoPark to his natural swing side, left-field. The opposite is true for Seager, right-field can be a dead-zone for left-handed hitters.

For selfish reasons, I want to see Seager put on a show as my seats will be in right-center, so I'd be closer to his home runs. However, I don't like the Dodgers, and Trumbo is Cali-born. Trumbo Advances.

#4 Seed, Robinson Cano (Seattle M's) v. #5 Seed, Giancarlo Stanton (born in Panorama, CA)

Robinson Cano figures to have the best chance from a lefty-perspective, but as I mentioned before, lefties do not fare well in Petco. 

Stanton on the other hand, will put on a show on Monday night. He can hit the ball easily 475 feet, which in left-field at Petco leaves the stadium. Or crashes of the Western Metal Supply Co. building. Or breaks the new HD video score board. Any of those will be fun to watch. Stanton Wins.

#1 v #5 seeds: Trumbo v Stanton

I've seen Trumbo's power first hand, when he hit a home run off the scoreboard at Chase Field. But, something tells me Stanton pulls this one out. He's been on absolute fire lately.

Stanton advances to finals.

Home Run Derby Southwest Bracket (did you really think I'd call it the East Bracket?):

This one's easy. Hometown hero, Wil Myers uses the crowd's energy and advances to finals.

#6 Seed: San Diego Padres own, Wil Myers wins.

FINALS #5 vs. #6 seed: Stanton v Myers

Sorry, Wil, I'd love to give it to you in a magical night at Petco. Something tells me Stanton just has a little bit more. Maybe the Rock is there for added inspiration. Who knows. All is know is this... Giancarlo is a beast.

2016 Home Run Derby Champ: California knows how to party, like Giancarlo Stanton knows how to hit. 


 

13 Must-Follow Instagram Baseball Accounts

Let's slide right in and not waste any time. Leading off for my top Instagram Baseball accounts to follow is...

New Era Cap

With these caps you'll always be an all-star

With these caps you'll always be an all-star

New Era has been making Major League Baseball hats since 1954, and began selling them to the general public about 40 years ago. Their Instagram account is amazing. It features players, celebrities, new releases, and just about anything else you can think of when it comes to ballcaps.

Their Brand, 59Fifty is the official cap of Major League Baseball, and it means literally nothing more than the model number of the New Era cap, 5950. Pretty cool, how a model number can become so popular, it essentially becomes its own brand and company.

New Era has also expanded into basketball, football, hockey hats and tons more, but their Instagram accounts continues to rep baseball well.

Franklin Sports

This account is the home of none other than Franklin, the official batting glove of Major League Baseball. I used to have a few pairs of these gloves back when I used to play baseball, they are legit, and so comfortable. 

Their account is a lot of fun to follow, and it's cool to see all the new gloves and styles players choose to wear, plus a lot of rad custom shit.

Team Sports Swag

Creators of the brand, Talk Baseball to Me, Team Sports Swag has become very popular with the female fans of MLB. And for obvious reasons, their shit is lit AF. Plus, their customers are players and fans, so their photos are a nice mix of both. 

mlbballparks

This account is what it says it is. If you're not a fan of beautiful ballparks, and in depth looks at each stadium, move along.

MLB Babes

Another account that it what it says it is...

If you don't like attractive women (and who doesn't), who love baseball, you can also move along. I think you'll make the smart move. For it's root root root for the squad goals...

Under Armour Baseball
 

Typically I try not to talk about UA, because I prefer the West Coast version, which is called, Nike, but I do also like Under Armour. And they are building quite the roster of athletes for clients.

How's this for a lineup of All-Stars: Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Steph Curry, Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw, Buster Posey, Brandon Marshall, Julio Jones, The Rock... I could go on...

Their baseball account on Instagram is bad ass.

Nike Baseball

the kid.

the kid.

 

You knew big brother wouldn't be far behind, right?

Nike's baseball client roster features the best player on the planet, Mike Trout, the flashiest player on the planet, Yasiel Puig, the former best player on the planet, Ken Griffey Jr., Jon Lester, and tons more. 

im all the way up.

im all the way up.

OK, maybe I am a little biased on this one, but the hometown team gets some love every once in a while. I mean, there's no talent on the actual playing field, so at least there can be some in the stands to entertain, right?

Cat Belanger

Westsideculture's favorite stadium host is back for another round. Talk about a dream job... entertain athletes, singers, artists, celebrities, etc., all day long when they visit Dodger Stadium... sign me up!

Heidi Watney

The host of MLB Network, went to University of San Diego, reps SD in her Instagram profile photo, is from Fresno, worked in LA, and almost won Miss California. So pretty much a bad ass and pretty much reps the West Coast as much as anyone. Holla. 

Follow her for great, exclusive content you won't get anywhere else, and a lot of Louisville Slugger bats.

SF Gamer Babe 44

Win or lose, she reps her teams, a lately the Bay Area has been doing a lot of winning between the San Jose Sharks, San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors. Never met her, but seems like she has a lot of fun and a great personality. Perhaps an interview is forthcoming on WSC? We shall see. West Coast best coast.

melissam3

Melissa Moore is another Bay Area fan, but of the East Bay variety, reppin the Raiders, and Oakland A's. She is frequently featured by MLB Babes and Team Sports Swag, for obvious reasons. A true fan of the game.

LiveLoveGameday

Last on the WSC top baseball instagram accounts, but certainly not least, is LiveLongGameday. I just recently discovered this brand, along with its owner, Sydney Durso, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and Dallas Mavericks dancer. Wonder if she can introduce me to Mark Cuban? Something tells me she's got a connection. :)

 

WSC's MLB 2016 All-Star Rosters

they're coming...

they're coming...

Can you feel the excitement?

The 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Rosters have been announced and with it comes an entire infield of Chicago Cubs (my kind of infield). Another 3 Cubs players made the All-Star roster for 7 in total on the National League team.

Expect Petco Park to be Wrigley West on All-Star Tuesday, July 12th, 2016.

Before we dive into the West Coast flavor of this year's All-Star team, let's stick with the Cubs theme for a minute.

First up we have Cubs third-baseman and starting All-Star, Kris Bryant, who went to the University of San Diego. (Mascot Love: Toreros for those of you keeping score.)

He's on pace for ho-hum 50 home runs this season, and started the year in a two month slump. And he's the first player in MLB history to have 3 home runs and 2 doubles in a single game, a feat he accomplished a few weeks ago.

Bryant is already a 2x All-Star and last year's Rookie of the Year.

Then there's Cubs first-baseman and 3x All-Star, Anthony Rizzo. He's a monster, and the San Diego Padres traded him away to the Cubs for a bag of beans, otherwise known as Andrew Cashner. Woops. Typical Padres. I digress.

But really, before I move on...

He should be a Padre, playing in Petco Park, in his home stadium, during the All-Star game in San Diego. This is why people. This is why I can't be a Padre fan.

Interestingly enough, the Padres also could've had another All-Star (aside from Wil Myers) represented in the All-Star game, but they just traded away Fernando Rodney to the Marlins. So, there's that.

OK, now I can move on.

Let's get into the rest of the West Coast All-Stars.

(Said in announcer voice): Now batting, for the National League...

The San Francisco Giants are sending 3 All-Stars to San Diego in Buster Posey, Johnny Cueto (who I wrote about in the WSC MLB Style Guide), and Madison Bumgarner. Side note: Did you know Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner once dated a girl named Madison Bumgarner? True story).

The Giants could potentially send a 4th All-Star if Brandon Belt wins the MLB Final Fan Vote contest, where only one All-Star will be selected out of: Belt (SF), Jake Lamb (Dbacks, born in Seattle, college at UDub), Ryan Braun (Mission Hills, CA; WSC Style Guide), Starling Marte (PIT), and Trevor Story (COL).

I know the fans of San Diego are really looking forward to seeing San Diego's own, Stephen Strasburg. He was born in San Diego and attended San Diego State University. Go Aztecs.

The rest of WSC's National League All-Stars consists of Cubs starting pitcher, John Lester, from Tacoma, WA, Los Angeles Dodgers short-stop, Corey Seager, and Nolan Arenado (COL) from Newport Beach, CA.

And now for your WSC American League All-Stars...

Well, aside from Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, this is just a sad, pathetic, little bunch, but let's take a look.

First up, for the Oakland A's, Catcher, Stephen Vogt. Born in Cali, so sup dude.

The Seattle Mariners are well represented by 7x All-Star, former Yankee, Robinson Cano. I wrote about Cano previously here, in the style guide. I've always liked him, even when he played for the Evil Empire.

Baltimore Orioles slugger Adam Jones, straight out of the 619 (San Diego), is having a terrible year, but his team-mates, Cali born, Mark Trumbo and Zach Britton, did make the team.

the real mvp...

the real mvp...


The Toronto BlueJays not only are home to hip-hop's Drake, they also house some of the hottest female fans in all of MLB. And if you don't believe me, just ask the expert on the topic, MLB Babes. Anyway, their pitcher Marco Estrada is an All-Star.

Estrada played college ball at Long Beach State, along with...

Evan Longoria. Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays, not to be mistaken with Eva Longoria, is Cali born, and featured in the WSC MLB style guide. He's in the MLB Final Fan Vote against Dustin Pedroia, also from Cali. Pedroia went to what is often referred to as "The Harvard of the West," yes... WSC's own Arizona State University. 

Again the city of San Diego is well represented in All-Stars born in SD, just not many Padres players. Another example is Cole Hamels from the Texas Rangers. The starting pitcher reps the West Coast, Oceanside to be specific, and was featured as one of MLB's best dressed players

Finally we come to our last West Coast All-Star, Stephen Wright, from the Red Sox. I know. I said, "Who?", as well. Any who, he's from California, so he must know how to party. And he has some pretty impressive numbers upon review. 

WSC will be reporting live from Home Run Derby 2016, so get ready... follow all the action here. And remember, chicks dig the long ball.

MLB Stadiums: July 4th West Coast Edition

Caught this at the Yankees v Padres game in San Diego (Petco Park)

Caught this at the Yankees v Padres game in San Diego (Petco Park)

With the All-Star game next week in my own backyard (quite literally--yes East Village San Diego has its perks), the Yankees in town for the last few days, and it being July 4th today, I've been thinking a lot about our National past-time, and feeling quite patriotic.

Often times when I go to baseball games, or any live sporting event, one of my favorite parts is the National Anthem. The feeling you get when 40,000 people all stand in unison and salute our flag is incredibly powerful and inspiring. 

As our anthem plays out, I find myself looking around the stadium, taking it all in, realizing just how lucky I am, heck, we all are, to have these opportunities and just what freedom really means. In honor of our Independence Day, I salute each of these MLB stadiums and say thank you.

Safeco Field, Seattle, WA

the house that junior built

the house that junior built

Safeco has a retractable roof (which is key for the Pacific Northwest, since it's likely to rain at a moments notice), the largest HD video scoreboard in all of MLB, rail-road tracks (and trains) that go through the stadium, and is known as "The House that Ken Griffey Junior" built. Full disclosure and bragging: Griffey, Jr. is one of my favorite players, and I've had the pleasure of meeting him. Twice.

AT&T Park, San Francisco, CA

bay views at At&t

bay views at At&t

As we head down the West Coast our next stadium stop is the house that Barry built, AT&T Park, home of the every-other-year-World-Series-Champs, San Francisco Giants.

Let me tell you, this ballpark is amazing. With sweeping views of the bay and the Bay Bridge, the occasional "Splash Down" (what happens when a player hits a home run out of the stadium and into the bay), and garlic fries that can be smelled from blocks away, this is a unique place to watch a game.

Just make sure you bring a jacket, even in July it can be freezing cold when the wind picks up off the water. The park also comes complete with a giant Coca-Cola bottle and baseball mitt in left-field that the players could hit with a home run.

scottsdale stadium

scottsdale stadium

Bonus stadium: Scottsdale Stadium (Spring Training home of the Giants, party central, and my favorite place to watch a game).

O.co, Oakland, CA

football and baseball at the same time? blah.

football and baseball at the same time? blah.

We cross the Bay Bridge, begrudgingly, and head over from one of the best places to watch a ball game, to one of the worst. The O is a dump. It floods and frequently games are canceled due to raw sewage spewing onto field from the locker rooms and restrooms down below the stadium. Nasty.

Along with the Oakland A's, it's also where the Oakland Raiders play and the last stadium that hosts both an NFL team and a MLB team.

Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA

dodger-stadium-night

We cruise down the Pacific Coast Highway, 101-S, with the top down, soaking up the sun rays and stop just outside of Hollywood, at Chavez Revine, home of the Dodgers. What a stadium. Palm trees, movie stars, Alyssa Milano, celebrity sightings, and the seats are so close to the action. Did I mention Alyssa Milano?

In left and right field, the outfield walls are waist high, the only stadium in the majors with such a feature. In other words, nothing is there to protect your from a home run ball (and a player) landing right in your lap.

Oh yeah, get a Dodger dog. It's what they're known for. And say hello to Cat, she's the one with the nice shoes.

is it the shoes?

is it the shoes?

Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, CA

angels-stadium-fireworks

We head south-east to Angel Stadium, still very much stuck in LA traffic and hating our lives, to the home of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Here you'll find that annoying, rabid, rally-monkey that kept Barry Bonds from winning a World Series (yes, karma is a bitch). 

News flash: if you didn't know already, having the word Los Angeles in your team name increases your team's value by about $1B, so even if you are technically not in LA, best you add LA to your name. Still hoping the Dbacks can somehow get Los Angeles Dbacks of Phoenix worked out, I mean after all Scottsdale is essentially mini-LA East. 

Petco Park, San Diego, CA

petco-park-downtown-sd

Hoping back on the Cali freeways, we take the 405 South, to the 1-5 South, and head into downtown San Diego. Note, if you go too far you will end up in Mexico. 

Petco is simply put a beautiful place to watch a game. The downtown San Diego skyline is the backdrop, and from certain places in the stadium, you'll see Coronado Island, the Coronado bridge, the waterfront and much more. There's even a park inside the stadium you can bring your dog to when the Padres aren't playing. 

Oh, did I mention all the craft beer stands, incredible food (try the the Cardiff-crack nachos), palm trees, a sandy beach complete with lifeguard style chairs, and the ocean breeze? So amazing.

Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ

splash.

splash.

OK, so I know technically it's not on the West Coast, but hey, my blog, my way. The Dbacks home with a retractable roof is a great place to watch the game, especially if you can swing it so you're in the pool. Yes, there is a pool in right-field where you can watch the game and even catch a home run ball. And it is true, the hated Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles once celebrated a playoff birth in that pool, and it's a wonder why nobody likes the Dodgers?

Chase Field is also the first ball park to allow dogs to all regular season games. Woof.

 

WSC's 13 Most Stylish MLB Players (Not Named Bryce Harper)...

As the 2016 All-Star Game fast approaches, and the baseball world descends into sleepy (yet sunny), San Diego, Westside Culture is here to keep you up to date.

Since it's the All-Star game, you can bet Major League Baseball's players and front office executives, along with celebrities and their entourages will be out in full force.

This means killer parties, sick cars, custom everything, and style for days. 

Because of this, we here at WSC have taken the liberty of deciding upon the most stylish players. To qualify, said player must either be from Cali, or currently play for a team located on the West Coast.

Now that we've got the formalities out of the way, let's get on with the show.

First up, we've got the host city's own, Matt Kemp.

Kemp has dated Rihanna (who hasn't?) and Khloe Kardashian (who hasn't?), and his former girlfriend is a stylist who has worked with Kemp, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook - so basically, style on point. 

Kemp's Instagtam account is a treasure trove of custom MLB and Nike gear, plus he's frequently taking behind the scenes pics with friends and of NFL players like Larry Fitzgerald. Worth a follow, especially if you like parties in LA, SD and PHX.

Cali Loves Evan Longoria

Evan-Longoria-long-beach

Evan Longoria definitely has his West Coast style on fleek. He was named by Vanity Fair as one of the top 10 dressed Major League Baseball players. Longoria is from California, and went to college at Cal State University Long Beach. He's also married to Playboy Playmate Jaime Edmondson, just in case you were wondering.

San Diego Welcomes Mike Trout

One guy who for sure will be at the All-Star Game is Mike Trout, arguably baseball's best player and nicest guy. He's basically the exact opposite of Bryce Harper, no flash, just plays hard, has already won an MVP award - and he's only 24.

His Instagram account is a great follow just to check out all the cool, free shit he gets from Nike. Not that I'm jealous or anything...

Whaddya Know, Robbie Cano

The Seattle Mariners are one of the surprising teams this year, and their 2nd baseman, Robinson Cano, is leading the way. He's a lock to be playing in the All-Star game in San Diego.

Nice ride, bro.

Nice ride, bro.

Timmy The Freak

Tim Lincecum is about as West Coast as it gets. He's from Washington state, went to University of Washington (UDub), and has played for the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels. 

Plus, he has a frenchie, so you know he's gonna get some love from WSC.

tim lincecum in san diego the day after he no-hit the padres, the first time. (Yes, he no hit the same team twice... and of course, it was the padres.)

tim lincecum in san diego the day after he no-hit the padres, the first time. (Yes, he no hit the same team twice... and of course, it was the padres.)

tim-lincecum-frenchie

Hey Busta

Tim's former teammate, Buster Posey, is next up on our list. He's a guy who is a lot like Mike Trout, one of the best players in the game, and just goes about his business. In San Francisco, he's basically a super hero.

San Francisco Savior

Well, it's an even year, which means it's San Francisco's title to lose. (They've won their last 3 World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014.) And they look pretty damn good with their new ace, Johnny Cueto.

shirt on fiyyyyaaaaaa

shirt on fiyyyyaaaaaa

Fit for a Prince

Another Cali born star, Prince Fielder, son of Cecil (also a great player), makes the list. Cali style remains no matter where you move to. Prince played in Milwaukee and currently for the Texas Rangers. And he's an absolute monster.

get lit.

get lit.

Santon Isle

The one man show, California born, Giancarlo Stanto, now plays for the Miami Marlins, but he keeps it West Coast, hanging out with big movie stars in Hollywood, like Duane the Rock Johnson. His Instagram account handle even has LA area code, 818 in it (@giancarlo818). Stanton always fresh new haircuts, kind of like David Beckham or Ronaldo, a trend setter.

San Diego's Homegrown

Cole Hamels, born in San Diego (619 represent), keeps his style classy and is always voted as one of the top dressed or styled MLB players.

cole-hamels-style

Big, Bad, Braun

Ryan Braun took a mighty fall from the top after his 65 game suspension due to PED (performance enhancing drugs) use. The former Rookie of the Year, NL MVP and All-Star has a lot of work to due to get back to his former status, but since he's from Mission Hills, in LA, we still love him here at WSC.

ryan-braun-girlfriend

Puig's Passion for Fassion

One of the most exciting -- and flashy players to watch on the field, Yasiel Puig of the LA Dodgers, also has some of the best off-field style as well. 

The Big Unit

OK, so Randy Johnson's style is absolutely terrible. I'm not sure if you guys remember that mullet? But, now the former pitcher (and future hall-of-famer) is a professional photographer, and his camera style is killin' it.

Randy also scores bonus points for being from my hometown, Walnut Creek, CA, and he played for my favorite team, the Dbacks, along with the Seattle Mariners. And I really wanted to use this picture of him with Grumpy Cat.

if grumpy cat were a pitcher he'd be rj51.

if grumpy cat were a pitcher he'd be rj51.

And a bonus...

Since the San Diego Padres finally got smart and "brought the brown back" into their uniforms, I'm going to give them credit for once. Great job in doing what the fans wanted. Now about putting a good product on the field.... well, at least they'll look good out there.

the padres brown is back, baby.

the padres brown is back, baby.

2016 mlb all-star game jerseys

2016 mlb all-star game jerseys

 


 

San Diego's Best Restaurants, Bars and Pubs

Full disclosure: Alternate post title was Views from the 6 (19).

Often times I struggle with the same things you do...

"Why is there no beer in the fridge?"

"Do I really need to workout? Going to the bar seems like a better idea..."


And then there's the ever present question:

"Where should we go to eat?"

This blog post is my attempt to answer that question for you, fellow San Diegans, or at least make it a bit easier to decide.

And I'm not trying to spend a ton of money. So if you're looking to save dat money so you can buy your mansion on the Cali coast, stick with me.

Oh, that reminds me of a joke...

Why do crabs never donate to charity?

Because they're shellfish. 🦀

Get it? Shellfish.

If you need further explanation, hit me up on twitter and I'll explain it to you. (And tell you some alternative punch-lines... lol. OK, here's a few: They're crabby. They're penny pinchers).

I digress.

The finest restaurants in America's Finest City:

Coasterra's Views from the 6 (19)

Coasterra's Views from the 6 (19)

Coasterra - Serial Entrepreneur and Restaurant Owner, David Cohn, whom I've met and had meetings with, great guy by the way. Their office is a warehouse of just really cool shit. His wife designed this sign, which I love.

WSC Editor Note: Damn typo of Cohn, what is this amateur hour? Step it up, people.

WSC Editor Note: Damn typo of Cohn, what is this amateur hour? Step it up, people.

The only thing I love more than the sign are their restaurants. And Coasterra tops the list.

With views of downtown San Diego, Coronado Island, and the Naval Training Center, there's no shortage of things to look at. Boats, buildings, beer. And the food is amazing.

Pro tip: skip the line, go to the lounge. The scenery is better, the food is cheaper and the waitresses wear less - you know if you're into that sort of thing.

C-Level (Island Prime) - Another Cohn Group restaurant. And it's bad ass. It's in the same location as two of the other Cohn restaurants (Coasterra and Island Prime). Similar to my "Coasterra lounge pro tip", you can save some coin by going to C-Level instead of it's big brother grown up version, Island Prime. 

The food is on point, I recommend the bacon and bleu-cheese burger, one of my favorites in all of SD. And the views?

Overlooking downtown San Diego from C-Level.

Overlooking downtown San Diego from C-Level.

Stunning....

Jimmy's Famous American Tavern - This restaurant is hidden near Shelter Island, on the coast of America's Cup Harbor. You'll see yachts, massive sailboats and it's dog friendly.

"I'll have the filet." - @aix_the_frenchie

"I'll have the filet." - @aix_the_frenchie

(Note: since I have a frenchie and he goes everywhere with me, I'll add in which of these places are Fido-friendly, with a little dog emoji next to each listing). 

🐶

Pacific Coast Grill (PCG) - This one can be pricey, but honestly it's worth it. Sadly a lot of the "critically acclaimed" Best Restaurants in San Diego with a view are complete shit. I won't name names, but they are all the ones that come up when you google "Best Restaurants in San Diego with a view." Damn marketers, always f-ing it up for the rest of us, with their SEO tricks. 

You won't find that kind of trash on WSC's list of top restaurants though, no siree Bob.

PCG is up in North County San Diego, but if you live down south, it's completely worth the drive. It's the biggest bang for your buck if you want great food (WSC recommends sushi + lobster guacamole), and the soothing sounds of ocean waves crashing all around you. Enjoy.

After the dog beach with your furry friend, go to Brigantine. 

After the dog beach with your furry friend, go to Brigantine. 

🐶 Brigantine - There are 4 locations, but I prefer the one in Del Mar, which overlooks Del Mar dog beach (Fido-friendly), and the Del Mar Racetrack/Fairgrounds. Taco Tuesday is an absolute steal, cheap and so good. They have grilled mahi-mahi, blackened swordfish, shrimp, and so much more. Craft beer on point, too. Do it!

 

Vessel Restaurant - Little known Vessel is the little-engine that could of this group. Amazing food, awesome craft beer selection, jaw dropping views... and so much potential. But the service is kind of slow. Expect to spend a couple hours there. And yes... it's lit.

Mister A's - I must admit, I've never been here, but have always wanted to try it. I've heard nothing but good things about it, but it is super expensive. It's in Banker's Hill, just West of Balboa Park, and features a 360 degree view. So you'll see downtown SD, Coronado, the Bay, the Pacific Ocean, Point Loma, and Balboa. 

The Bars, Lounges, and Pubs of San Diego (with a view):

WSC checking out an ASU game at Wonderland in OB. (Lots of initials in this caption)

WSC checking out an ASU game at Wonderland in OB. (Lots of initials in this caption)

Wonderland - Every time I say the name or think of this place, that damn John Mayer song pops into my head...

"Your Body is a Wonderland...."

Lucky for us, they'd never play that trash in Wonderland. Go there for good food (did someone say pretzel balls?), check out the game, and see the ocean. One of Ocean Beach's finest spots. (Bonus OB spot is Cohn's OB Warehouse.)

Tower 23 Hotel's Tower Deck and JRDN - This place is always a great time. JRDN is on the boardwalk, so you can soak up the sun and people watch. Tower Deck is nice if you want a laid back, fireplace at night over the Pacific, type of vibe.

🐶 Hotel Del Coronado - You simply cannot beat the views from the Del. And it's Fido-friendly. Bring your pooch and sit on the deck, just like Hollywood royalty has for the last 100 years. Bonus tip: At the way other end of Coronado is a dog beach with insane view of Point Loma and Sunset Cliffs.

Rare Form/Fairweather - The first and only Speakeasy (shhhhhhh...) to make the list. Rare Form is the spot to for the scene, and to be seen. It features dark wood, vintage lamps, and giant oil-framed paintings.

 

Love this place. 🙏

Love this place. 🙏

Sounds very prohibition-themed, like a speakeasy, right?

Not so fast my friends...

The speakeasy is upstairs, and it's an island-vibe. Strange yes, but kick-back there and watch the Padres play in Petco Park. #eastvillagerules

🐶 Catamaran Resort Moray's - Skip the fanciness of their upscale restaurant, and chill at their laid back, tropical themed patio. Catch the game here, bring your dog, and Mission Bay will provide the backdrop, especially at sunset. You're welcome. :)

🐶 Barefoot Bar & Grill at Paradise Point Resort, on Vacation Island - Nobody knows about this hidden gem. It's cheap, good, and the view of Mission Bay is unmatched. Bring Fido, too.

P.S. I want this place to remain a secret, so no link provided. Go find it. It will be like a choose your own adventure. And don't tell anyone. ;-)

QuartYard in San Diego's East Village

QuartYard in San Diego's East Village

🐶 Quartyard - Another East Village establishment sneaks in. Bring Fido. It's a fenced in dog park wrapped into an outdoor bar. Sick views, live music, giant Jenga and cornhole. Nuff' said.

🐶Amplified Ale Works - A kabob shop meets craft brewery and for the price, you cannot beat it. The Pacific Ocean sets the stage and on the roof-top deck you'll love the people watching. Dogs are welcome. Woof.

Campfire - This North County Carlsbad Village spot is amazing. The vibe is on fleek, the entire restaurant is covered in wood, and you'll become a bit nostalgic, having flashbacks of summer camp. From the same owner as Addison and Cucina Enoteca, and designed by the same people who did the new concepts at Craft & Commerce and Ironside Fish & Oyster.

Just don't try toasting marshmallows or build your own fire at your table with nothing but sticks.... that tends to be frowned upon. But do get their Smores dessert. You're welcome.

Let me know if I missed anything. What are your favorite places in San Diego? Leave a comment below.

Oh - and before I forget, I started a spreadsheet listing all the new places in San Diego I want to try. It's interactive, so feel free to add to it, leave comments and feedback, etc:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1fO--znQhpNjnlkPBvQndhYYcjpKUIwUCT0V5LLwVnNQ/edit#gid=0

Snapchat Me That (explicit) if it's Cool, And Other Social Media Hacks

Thankfully, it appears the Facebook fad is coming to an end. I say this in jest, because clearly, Facebook and Zucks are not going anywhere. But is it still relevant? Not really. Is it still fun? No. Can you go on there and see photos of all your friends' babies, your Aunt Mildred's latest surgery, and a shit ton of ads? Check, check and check.

Bottom line, Facebook sucks. 

I will add a footnote to that statement, because they do own Instagram, which kicks ass. Twitter is dead and won't be coming back, either. RIP. 

For the most part, the social media landscape has shifted to a more fun, meme driven, comedic relief movement. And this is just what the good doctor prescribed.

So how do we take advantage of this shift, or at least participate in it and have a little fun?

First, if you are not on these 3 platforms, stop what you're doing, which is reading this post.

(Don't close your browser, since you're gonna want to come back here)

Open up the app store on your phone, and download Snapchat, Instagram and Periscope.

Do it. I'll wait.

Next, because I know you followed my directions, (or you're already on these platforms), let's explore each of these tools individually.

Starting with....

Snapchat. My favorite. 👻

What is Snapchat? Only the coolest social media experience I've ever had. And a lot of what makes Snapchat so cool is that there's no instruction manual. You just gotta figure it out.

And there's a lot to figure out, so let's get started:

(P.S. Keep reading for a special section I'm dubbing: WestsideCulture's Favorite Hip-Hop Social Media Related Lyrics. Trademark pending.) 

First thing you need to know, your photos and videos will disappear just after whoever you sent them to views them. There's exceptions to this rule, for example, they can screenshot your media and save it (so be careful with those nudes there, champ). The good news is if they do screenshot you, you'll be notified. If you share it as a story, people can view it as many times as they like for up to 24 hours. 

SNAPCHAT Homescreen

SNAPCHAT Homescreen

Next, what the F are all of these menu icons? Good question.

Here's your answers...

On your Snapchat homescreen, the bottom left square is where you'll go to see all your contacts. From here you'll be able to see if they viewed your video or photo, and if they sent you anything directly it will also appear on this screen. Also if they screenshotted (verb) your photo, you'd see that indicated on this screen. (See "Fire 🔥 Nudes" disclaimer above).

snapchat-contacts

As you can see here, Gina Burgess is on my shit list because she didn't see my last photo, which frankly was Snap Fiyyyyaaaaa. In fact, as I sent it I sang a little diddy, "This Snap in on Fire," clearly to the tune of Girl on Fire.

In addition, this screen is where you can chat directly with friends, to do so, just swipe right on their name.

Swiping right on their name will allow you to send them a text chat, a video, photos, emojis, etc. You can even call them, video call them (like FaceTime), or send them Snapcash (like Venmo). To send Snapcash just enter a "$" into the text/send a chat field.

Or you can do one of my favorite things on Snapchat, send them stickers, like so:

Hey What's Up Hello, seen yo pretty ass as you walked in that door

Hey What's Up Hello, seen yo pretty ass as you walked in that door

OK.... back to the homescreen.

Views from the 6(02)

Views from the 6(02)

On the bottom right, click the "hamburger icon" (the 3 lines). This is where you'll be able to view all of your contacts' stories (for up to 24 hours after they posted it). This is also where you'll be able to edit, delete, and manage your stories, and see who's viewed them. As you can see here, between 19-22 people viewed my latest stories. Then just click the eye icon and you can see the individual contacts who watched it. 

whos-seen-my-snaps

Also on the stories page, you'll find channels and kind-of-sorta promoted posts that Snapchat wants you to see. I don't typically use these Discover/Live features, but have at it if you feel inclined.

From the homepage screen, the circle in the middle is where you'll take photos and videos (hold it down for video), and it also leads you to another whole mess if confusing icons.... let's explore these as well.

starbucks-coffee-west-coast

Top left "X" icon cancels your media. The top right square icon is the emoji menu, where you can add as many emojis as you'd like to your media. 

The top right "T" is for text, to add well, text - ahem, to your photo or video. Note you can also add emojis to your text, but you have less control with where they end up on your image, it will just go inline with the rest of your text. Once you've written your text and you're still in the text menu you can double tap the text icon for additional options like styling and color.

The top right pencil icon lets you color or draw all over your "Snapsterpiece."

The bottom left icons indicate the amount of time you want your photo to appear for, the down arrow icon allows you to save your image or video to upload to the Insta (or wherever else you wanna share it....), and the plus icon adds the media to your story. 

snap tutorials... but first, coffee

snap tutorials... but first, coffee

The bottom right arrow icon is where you'll go once you're ready to share your story. From there you can share it with all your contacts, or just one of them, etc. You'll also be able to add it to a story from here. (Note: In Snapchat there's always more than one way to skin a cat). Reow.

This page will also tell you who your besties are, the people you've most recently sent things to, and more. There's emojis here also that indicate different things, which I don't want to get into in this post. You can find out what they all mean here.

snapchat-stories

If you change your mind and decide not to send it, you can always hit the top left arrow to go back to your media screen. 

And back to the homescreen we go....

when your pool game is on fleek

when your pool game is on fleek

The top left icons allow you to mess with flash or no flash. Middle ghost icon is where you'll go to add new users, see people who have recently added you, your Snapchat score, your unique "ghost" which people can take a photo of and it will automatically add you to their contacts, and waaaayyyyy more. I don't want to spend too much time here. Explore this area on your own.

go ahead, open up your snapchat and take a pic of this... I dare you.

go ahead, open up your snapchat and take a pic of this... I dare you.

And back to the hotel -- err I mean homescreen.

snap-chat-selfies

The top right camera icon flips the camera to the front facing camera for all your selfie needs. You can also hold down on your face and Snapchat will use some sort of suped up algorithm matrix thingy to tell if it's a human face, then give you a bunch of really cool filters. (Holy crap.... how have I not talked about all the filters yet? There's 2 kinds).

First, there's what I like to call the cray cray filters, which is what you see here with the front facing camera.

when its so hot out and your manscara runs

when its so hot out and your manscara runs

These filters are a lot of fun. You can even "Faceswap" with friends when you are together in the image, your face will go on theirs, or choose a solo "Facemash" where you can put anyone's face you have on your phone (or celebrities) onto your own face.

Me as Mr. West...Side

Me as Mr. West...Side

The other filters can be found when you take photos or videos with the front or rear facing camera. Once you take your video or photo, simply swipe right or left to see these options.

These are things like location based filters (think airports, stadiums, special events, cities, neighborhoods, etc), the time, the temperature, how fast you're running or walking (or driving, and people, if you're gonna snap and drive, make sure it's a really, really good snap) and more of your traditional Insta-style filters with gradients and color overlays. Bonus points for run on sentences. Hey, my blog, my way.

snapchat temperature filters... so how right now

snapchat temperature filters... so how right now

One little known trick, is pinning an emoji to a certain spot in your video. Here's an example of my friend, Mr. Hump Day the Camel being pinned to the top of Camelback Mountain. To do this, shoot your video, then use the emoji sticker icon in the top right of your screen. Choose your emoji, then when it appears on top of your video, hold down on the emoji. It will "pulse," and then you can move it to any place you choose.
 

I'm sure I've missed a ton of stuff, but bottom line, get yo' Snapchat game on and start messing around with this shiz.

OK, up next, Instagram.

For this I am not going to provide quite the how to style like I did for Snapchat, because Instagram is much more straightforward. What I will do however, is tell your how I grew my Insta from 41 followers to 635 in less than 6 months. I get it, you're like shiiiiiiittt girrrl, 635 followers ain't nothing. True, but when you consider that even with the new math, that's a 1448% increase, you might wanna pay attention. Or not. Either way.

Here's how I increased my Insta-fame by 1448% in 10 Simple Steps:

1) Use the "add location" feature every single time you upload a post. It doesn't matter if you're in your pool at home and you want people to think you're in Belize. Just search "Belize," see the options and pick one. You don't need to actually be in the location you claim to be. You can even choose options like the North Pole around Christmas time, or song lyrics. Just have fun with it.

2) #use#hashtags#all#the#time. Each post you're allowed up to 30 hashtags. Here's what I recommend: Before your post, take some time, do a little research and find out what the highest viewed hashtags are that have to do with your post. You can do this by adding a # plus the word in your caption. It will tell you the number of users who have used this tag. The more the merrier. This means that tag gets used a lot, and your post will show up when people are searching for that tag.

(WSC Bonus: Here's a few that always work well, #nature, #vsco, #photography, #sundayfunday, #craftbeer)

hashtags are all the rage

hashtags are all the rage

(Pro-tip: Use your text message app on your phone to keep a running log of 30 different hashtags you frequently use. Send text messages to yourself so you always have them. You can always add more of them, change them, edit, etc. Then just copy your text message and post it in your Insta post. There's something called "ghost tagging", where after you post your photo and caption, you quickly add your 30 hashtags by pasting them into the comment section right after you post. Instagram will hide them so other users wont really see them, this way you don't look like a spammer with a ton of #'s all over your feed.)

Ghost-Tags, IRL

Ghost-Tags, IRL

3) Follow anyone and everyone that has anything to do with your brand or interests. If you engage with them and their posts, it's very likely they will follow you back, and if they don't you can always unfollow them. Try to keep your followers to following ratio about even, or 2:1 at the most, ie: if you have 600 followers, try to follow 1200 or less people. Mathematics. 💯

4) Use a tool like Instagress to automate your engagement process. It will do auto likes for you, auto follow and unfollow people, even comment on your behalf. You choose the criteria, it does the work.

5) Use followers +, an app that tells you who is not following you back (free-loaders), your newest followers and unfollowers, etc.

6) Take some time and be super creative with you captions. Try to tie it in to your brand, personality, the image itself, etc. Take cues from what's popular or trending. For example, I love hip-hop, so I use a lot of Drake lyrics right now since his new album is trending up, big time.

7) Copy what others are doing well. There's no shame in copying others. Why recreate the wheel?

8) Stay consistent in your posts. You don't want to be posting about how much you love the Dodgers one day and then "Beat LA" the next. People follow you because they like what you're posting. Don't give them a reason to unfollow by switching up your style. 

9) Search popular hashtags, then go in and like all the photos under that thread. Refresh, repeat. Repeat again. The goal here is to be the first one to like or comment on someone's photo. Trust me, they will notice and check you out.

10) If you want a particular person to start following you, go in and like a bunch of their photos at once and then leave a comment and @ mention them. This will show up in their feed and take up a lot of real estate, increasing the likelihood they will see it and go investigate you.

Phew... that was a lot. And unfortunately, we're going to have to do a follow-up post for all things Periscope. Stay tuned for that. The short version is it's live interactive video streaming and very powerful.

OK, and as promised here it is... WestsideCulture's Favorite Hip-Hop Social Media Related Lyrics.

Artist: Yo Gotti
Song: "Down in the DM"

So I hit her in the DM (WSC translation: I sent her a direct message on Twitter or Instagram)
It goes down in the DM (WSC translation: I sent her them fire nudes in Twitter or Instagram)
Snapchat me that p*ssy (WSC translation: this seems pretty straightforward)
I love the gram, I love the gram (WSC translation: Yo Gotti likes Instagram)
Don't you hate when you get screen shot (WSC translation: Yo Gotti dislikes when people screen shot his snaps)

Artist: Jay-Z
Song: "Tom Ford"
Fuck hashtags and retweets, n*gga, 140 characters in these streets, n*gga (WSC: Jay-Z doesn't like hashtags or retweets, but he's cool with a twitter post here or there)

Artist: Kanye West
Song: "Blood on The Leaves"
She Instagram herself like #BadBitchAlert. He Instagram his watch like #MadRichAlert (WSC: She likes to take pics of herself and add a caption about being a bad bitch. He has a sick watch and likes to take pics of it)

Artist: Rick Ross
Song: "Ashamed"

Put that booty on instagram, 20 more pics going insta-ham (WSC: Rick Ross put pics on IG, and 20 of them were about going Hard As-a Muthafucka)

Artist: Fetty Wap
Song: "Trap Queen"

She my Snap Queen, let her hit the bando (WSC: I might have taken some creative freedom with this one (Snap v. Trap), but hey... my blog, my way. What Fetty is saying here is: I'd like to take my Snap Queen to one of them abandoned buildings where illegal narcotics, ie: 'drugs' are sold. Also known as a trap house.)

And some shameless promotion, again, my blog, and I gots to get paid. What you think this stuff writes itself?
Go buy this shirt and rep WSC.

sorry shaffy, you got caught up in this...

sorry shaffy, you got caught up in this...




 

Portlandia: Home of the Blazers, Portland Aerial Tram and other strange things

Well kids, it's complete. My maiden voyage to Portland. And boy was it worth the wait.

I'm ready to go back.

Upon arriving to Rip City, my first stop was Powell's City of Books - a massive, and incredibly cool book store that takes up an entire city block. It's an old warehouse, complete with huge signs for the "auto and parts department." It's also 4 stories and kind of a maze, and easy to get lost in there. Which I did.

As I exited the store, a completely different street corner than I entered in, I noticed I was near the land of food trucks - again, a city block dedicated to... you guessed it: food trucks. But this was some gourmet shit. I had some kind of wild boar, javelina, Hawaiian pulled-pork slider thing and it was amazing.

Time for beverages.

Coffee. A cold brew. Yes, please.

And then we hit up Fathead's Brewery. All in all, I was quite proud of myself. Within a few hours I'd crossed off 4 of my Portland to do's:

Brewery - Check.

Coffee shop. Check.

Food trucks. Check.

Powell's books. Check.

A lot of people (this entire tram car included) follow me on the Instagram. You should, too.

A lot of people (this entire tram car included) follow me on the Instagram. You should, too.

So it was time for the Air B 'N B, which was just near Portland State University (a hip little neighborhood) and the Portland Aerial Tram, which connects the port to some fancy, shmancy health school, the Oregon Health & Science University, which looks like something from the future. Anyway, cool shit and the Air B 'N B had views for days.

It was time for dinner, which I was looking forward to, given Portland's notoriously talked about food scene. I'm not going to go into details and bash on a bunch of restaurants, but what. the. fuck. Talk about up tight. If I shoved a lump of coal up any of these hostesses' asses in two weeks I'd have a diamond. 

Anyway, I did find a few cool, laid back restaurants and bars and had myself a great time. Also, I made the trek to the arts district (Alberta Street) and let me tell you, that's the spot to be. 

While there I hit up Salt and Straw, a trendy little ice-cream shop with some shorties that be workin' up in there like what. I do recommend that spot, although my friends hated it. Whatever, haters gonna hate.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to hit up everything on my list, so I guess I'll be heading back soon. And when I do, here's what's next:

1) Voo Doo Donuts

2) Beaverton, Oregon (Nike campus)

3) Nike Employee Store

See you soon, PNW. You're got a new fan. WSC. :)

Kickball: The Devil's Game

My office has recently joined a co-ed kickball league and on the surface, it seems like a great idea. Get a few guys and girls together, have a pre-game beer, and go play a child's game.

Alas, it's all a mirage.

Kickball is a competitive blood-sport. 

In my office alone (about 12 players), we have 6 torn quads (2 of those are mine), a separated shoulder and a sprained knee. And we are not alone. The other teams we play against frequently have players subbing in and out due to injuries.

So why do we do it?

Because it's fun. Just like throwing the football around at the beach or playing beer pong. Your competitive nature takes over and you remember what it's like to do something for the passion, energy and joy it brings.

So, you sprint to first base, trying to run out your kickball bunt attempt. And you tear your quad. And in two-three weeks, once it's healed you'll be right back out there. Playing kickball. A kids game. For the love. 

Straight Outta Cali: Thoughts on a Friday

Last weekend, amongst the record temperatures and miserable weather in Southern Cali, I made it a mission to get in the air conditioning as much as possible. So, when the opportunity of seeing Straight Outta Compton presented itself, I took advantage.

First, let me just say this, the movie is fucking bad ass. Whether or not you know anything about N.W.A. or hip-hop doesn't matter. I think you could hate rap and still love this movie.

As I left the theatre, I was a bit emotional (part of it was facing the fact that I was now back in the heat and humidity). As I explained to my girlfriend, I grew up during the time that most of this movie took place -- early 90's. Yes, I might be dating myself, but who cares. My formative years were in the midst of the Rodney King beating, Eazy-E's death, Tupac's death, Biggie's death and in my opinion, one of the best period's in the history of music.

This movie is about a lot more than music and hip-hop. It's about friendships, loyalty, racism, fighting stereotypes and unnecessary police violence. 

I had forgotten about the N.W.A. fallout with Jerry Heller, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E, but this movie brought it back. What a time that was for music. After the fallout, 3 of the top artists in America were 3 friends from the same neighborhood who went their separate ways.

Straight Outta Compton is a reminder of what is truly important in life and it's not money. It's friendships. It's just unfortunate that it took the death of Eazy-E for these friends to realize that.

The movie also touches on some other hip-hop moguls, Eminem, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Bone Thugs N' Harmony and Tupac. It's crazy to think about how all of these artists came from the N.W.A. family tree. 

N.W.A. was truly a head of their time. It's too bad money and pride got in the way, because if it hadn't they might still be making music together, today.

Anyway, enough from me. Go see it. And when you're done, drop me a line and let me know what you thought.

WSC Out

A Thinking Excercise: Fun Facts With Names

LARRY! I've never met a Larry I've liked (although something tells me I'd like L.Fitzgerald). These 2 Larry Johnson's not only both played pro sports, they kind of look a like. FWIW, there's another Larry I dislike, Larry "Chipper" Jones.

LARRY! I've never met a Larry I've liked (although something tells me I'd like L.Fitzgerald). These 2 Larry Johnson's not only both played pro sports, they kind of look a like. FWIW, there's another Larry I dislike, Larry "Chipper" Jones.

For as long as I can remember, I've had an obsession with names.

I remember names and faces extremely well. You know those games where you go around and introduce everyone in a room and then people try to remember everyone's names? Yeah, I dominate that game.

I can distinctly remember a time when I was in line at the grocery store and a cute female clerk was ringing up the items of other customers. I looked at her and thought to myself, "I bet her name is Melissa."

Sure as the sun sets in the West, when she turned towards me, I saw her name tag and it read, "Melissa."

There's been other times where I've seen random people in public and just to test my skills, I'll casually ask them, "Excuse me, is your name _____?".

Note: when you guess this correctly and you have never met the person before in your life, they get a little freaked out. It's best to explain. And so I will. Sorry, to spook you, I just have the ability to guess certain people's names. Often times I am wrong, and when they allow me to guess again, I'll usually guess it within a few other tries.

So this has had me thinking for a long time, what is in a person's name? Do our names choose us? Do our parent's think they are choosing our name, when really it was long determined? Some people are named after previous family members, others after a parent's favorite athlete or celebrity. Some just think, oh he looks like a Larry. LARRY! (Sorry, just something about the name. Yell, "Larry!". Do it now, ever if people are around. It's fun. Who cares if they think you are crazy. Anyhow, sorry for the tangent, Larry.)

Are we pre-destined to live out our chosen name? Or do we choose certain paths that we feel match up with that name? I know, big questions.

I've known quite a few Kevin's. Strangely, most of them were eerily similar to me in looks and mannerisms, and a few even shared the same zodiac sign. In full disclosure, another one looked nothing like me, but we do have similar humor and became good friends because of it.

To take it a step further, I researched both my first and last name together. Turns out out of 321MM people in the U.S., about 1MM share the name Kevin. 99.7% of them are male -- personally, I hope I never run into a female named Kevin, yikes. And Kevin is the 34th most popular name. My last name is far less common, with only 1,864 people in the U.S. sharing that.

To get a little more granular, there are 6 Kevin Rehberg's in the US. I know of 2 of them, and although we have never met in person, we have talked online. They both do somewhat similar work to me. One of their twitter profiles reads: research manager, avid golfer, crowdfunder. Let's see... I like golf, my career is heavily research based and I'm a big believer in crowd funding. Hmmm.

If you "google image" my name, there's quite a few other people who look like me, one of them appears to be a professional soccer player in Berlin. (Dad?) Another one does finance and research in Florida... again, close to my field, numbers, research, data, statistics.

For what its worth, I dominate the google searches, even beating said footballer. Ha! The power of internet marketing.

Another one of my friends, James Heffner is an attorney. When you google his name, a ton of attorneys come up and most of them are not him, although one of them looks just like him.

I can go on, a friend of mine name Sarah Dailey runs her own creative design company, but couldn't buy the domain name sarahdailey.com (it does appear to be available now however), because it was already owned and in use by a different Sarah Dailey, who is also runs a design company.

There's tons of professional athletes who share the same names, Jason Williams, Isiah Thomas, Anthony Davis, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (yes there are 2 of those), Roy Williams, Jamaal Anderson, 2 Robert Griffin's who both played Baylor football, Stephen Jackson, Larry Johnson, Adrian Peterson (I remember one year in Fantasy Football a guy in my league took RB Adrian Peterson with the 1st overall pick.... normally not a bad strategy, except he took RB Adrian Peterson from the Chicago Bears. Woops.), Steve Smith (2 football players and a basketball player, and yet another NBA player named Stephen Smith).

There's probably more, too.

But the big question, were they all destined to be pro athletes? There's tons of actors also with the same names, but we are not going to count them because they choose a lot of fake names -- still one could argue those choices are made on previous name biases. 

For example, I believe if I have a daughter, and name her Katie, she will grow up to be blonde, cute and petite. Does anyone disagree with me on that? I bet not. What if I name her Stephanie? Same thing. Stacey? Same thing only brunette, not blonde. Tiffany? Likely she is either going to be a blonde or redhead, and probably a stripper. Or a hair stylist. Leslie? Cute blonde. Julie? Cute brunette. I could go on. And I bet you are not going to argue.

What about men? Well, I admit, I'm not as good at that, probably due to me spending more time observing the ladies, (sup, girl?), but let's give it a try. Andrew? He's going to be tall, have short hair and probably blondish. Alex, same, but brunette. Mike or Michael? Tall and brunette. Jim? Tall and brunette. John? Same. What about Kris or Chris? Both brunettes. Kind of crazy, right?

Anyway, this is something I'd like to research a lot more in the future and revisit. In the meantime, if you have done any research on this or have additional thoughts and ideas, please drop a comment below. Thanks for reading, Larry.

P.S. You can find out how many people in the U.S. have your name, just click below. It's free, I promise. No spam.


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156 Fantasy Football Team Names for 2016

Good day, Ladies and Gents. As I write to you on the morn of the first day of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I'm reminded how fortunate we are to have that other sport called football, right around the corner.

And with football comes...


Yes, awesome intros and theme music, but also:

Fantasy Football, also known as, the Lord's game. (P.S. If you didn't listen to the theme song video above, stop reading and go back and play it. Guaranteed to set the tone while you're reading the rest of this post).

And along with your fantasy football draft, there's one other ritual you must partake in:

Thy naming of thy's Fantasy Football Squadron.

Some of the names I've used in the past are as follows: 

Balls Deep, Crown Their Ass, CTA (short for Crown Their Ass), Romo If We Want To, and Sucker Punch University. This year, Westside Culture has decided to lend you, thy fellow brother (or sister) a helping hand. We did our best to include trending and new players, such as... 

Man, this is going to be a fun season. 

So, without further ado:

Westside Culture's Top 156 Fantasy Football Team Names for 2016

#yourewelcomeamerica *in alaphabetical order by player/NFL Team name, added ( ) for clarity, not part of name

  1. Adrian Beaterson (still too soon?)
  2. There's an AP for that
  3. Alshon in wonderland
  4. Alshon Joffery
  5. Cooper Troopers
  6. There's Something About Amari
  7. AC/DC  (Amari Cooper/Derek Carr)
  8. Go Luck Yourself
  9. Up All Night to Get Lucky
  10. Luck be a Brady tonight
  11. The Boldin the Beautiful
  12. The Arian Nation
  13. The Foster the Furious
  14. Amari Exchange
  15. 3 Eyed Ravens
  16. You Sankeyd my Battleship
  17. Do the Sankey Leg
  18. 99 Bortles of Beer, Now I need to Barth
  19. Brandin Cooks in the Kitchen
  20. Forgetting Brandon Marshall
  21. Wham Bam thank you Cam
  22. Hyde Yo Kids, Hyde Yo Wife
  23. Can Run, But Can't Hyde
  24. Henne Given Sunday
  25. For the night is dark and full of Bears
  26. The Spiller Brees
  27. Jurassic Parkey
  28. Morning Woodhead
  29. The Tootsie Sproles
  30. Delanie White Walkers
  31. DeMarco Polo
  32. Demaryius Targaryen
  33. Demaryius Stormborn
  34. Eat, Drink and D. Murray
  35. I Pitta the Fool
  36. The Walking Dez
  37. A Lannister always pays his Dez
  38. Final Dez-tination
  39. The DeeBeeGees  (Dorial Beckham-Green)
  40. The Ol' DBG  (Dorial Beckham-Green)
  41. Doug RR Martin
  42. Pimpin aint Breesy
  43. Drew-Tang Clan
  44. Book of Eli Manning
  45. Multiple Goregasms
  46. Arya ready for some football?   (Arya Stark, get it?)
  47. The Monday Night's Watch
  48. Gino911
  49. Golden Tate Warriors
  50. Taters Gonna Tate
  51. Because Jamaal About that Bass
  52. Jamaal Along the Watchtower
  53. Winston is Coming
  54. Almost Jameis
  55. Jameis Lannister
  56. Jameis and the Giant Peach
  57. You Winston, you lose some
  58. Down with JPP
  59. Witten Mittens
  60. I cant believe its not Cutler
  61. Return of the Maclin
  62. Jimmy's Graham Crackers
  63. InstaGraham
  64. A Graham and Forte OZ to Freedom
  65. For The Watt
  66. Watts Up?
  67. Fetty Watt
  68. Goff Balls
  69. Shake it Goff
  70. Buy Low, Manziel High
  71. Peanutbutter and Manzielly
  72. The Full Nelson
  73. Ladies and Edelman
  74. Game of Jones
  75. Me and Julio down by the End Zone
  76. Julio Let the Dogs Out
  77. Red Hot Julius Peppers
  78. Orange is the new Blackmon
  79. Use the Forsett
  80. May the Forsett Be With You
  81. Justin's Nut-Tucker
  82. Kate's Up To No Good (just because)
  83. Wright My Fire (Kendall Wright)
  84. The Age of Ladarius
  85. La-La-La-Ladarius
  86. Ladarius Targarean
  87. Latavius's Big Black Hole
  88. Pass the Blount to the Le'Veon Side
  89. 50 Shades of Shady
  90. Lesean and the Real Mccoys
  91. Forte Shades of Grey
  92. Forte Year Old Virgin
  93. There's Something About Mariota
  94. The Dirty Sanchez
  95. Mason Crosby's Qualudes
  96. Staiway to Evans
  97. Knockin on Evans Door
  98. Purple People Beaters
  99. Hey Hey We're the Montees
  100. I came in like a Montee Ball
  101. Le'Veon a Prayer
  102. Suh's Out for Summer
  103. Suh-Tang Clan
  104. Kung Suh Panda
  105. the Deflatriots
  106. PSI New England
  107. Only Foles Rush In
  108. OBJYN
  109. For Whom Odell Tolls
  110. Saved by Odell
  111. Dude you got O'Dell?
  112. Bend It Like Beckham Junior
  113. the Manning-Faced God
  114. Van down by the Rivers
  115. A Rivers Runs Suh It
  116. Slob on my Cobb
  117. When It Waynes, It Gores
  118. A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush
  119. It's a Hard Gronk Life for Us
  120. the Big Gronkowski
  121. The Gronking Dead
  122. Gronk if you're horny
  123. Party Like A Gronkstar
  124. RPGIII
  125. Every day I’m Russell’n
  126. Steven Ayahuasca  (Steven Hauschka)
  127. Got my Suit and T.Y.
  128. Password is Taco (Taco)
  129. Save Bridgewater, We're in a drought
  130. Terrance West-eros
  131. A tribe called West
  132. Tebow's before hoes
  133. The Rusty Tebow
  134. Cure for Tennis Tebow
  135. Tim Tebow, CEO Clipboards, Inc
  136. Free Tebow
  137. I Have a Teboner
  138. Do You Even Lift, TeBro
  139. Hey Tebow, Do You even Lift
  140. TKO Tebow
  141. TeBow Knows
  142. Tim TeBLOWS
  143. Tebow Take the wheel
  144. Fly Like a Tebow
  145. Two Gurleys One Cup
  146. Runs Like A Gurley
  147. Sup Gurley
  148. A Gurley Has No Name
  149. Gurley's Just Wanna Have fun
  150. The Brady-less Bunch
  151. The Neverending Torrey
  152. Cruz Control
  153. Washington Shirts and Skins
  154. The White Welkers
  155. Everybody Ertz
  156. My Ball Z.Ertz

P.S.S. Comments make friends. And don't you want friends? What will your team name be this year? Leave a comment and let us know.

Here's last year's names:

You can also view the names here in the google doc. << link (sortable by filters)

P.S.S.S. No, not piss. Gross. Although sometimes you just gotta go. And speaking of going, why don't you go check out some of our post popular posts featuring the man, the myth and the legend, baby Jesus, Timothy Tebow III. #TT15
 

Day 95: Planes, Trains and Drones, Travel the Cali Coast

What's up party people? Today, let's chat about your bucket-list. As in, do you even have one? I do... and I'm going to share with you 2 items on Westside Culture's List of Shit To Do Pre-Death:

1) Buy a drone. Because, why the fuck not? Personal aircraft drones are bad ass. And I can take pictures all along the West Coast and even out over the Pacific Ocean. 

2) Like Tom Petty says, “Learning to Fly.” Yes, it’s on my list to fly an airplane. And it's frequently listed as a favorite activity among the world’s top entrepreneurs. 

Photo credit mel ashar, check out amazon's drone photography options by clicking the image

Photo credit mel ashar, check out amazon's drone photography options by clicking the image

But, before we get into flying drones and piloting airplanes, let’s first dig into some moral dilemmas about drones, or UAVs (for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). No, not should you fly them by people’s windows and watch them when they are undressing? Obviously, you’re going to do that. I mean, why wouldn’t you?

No, the dilemma sadly has to do with death. I know, bear with me while we dig in.

I was recently listening to a Tim Ferris Q/A podcast with Sam Harris, P.h.D., a neuroscientist who specializes in mindfulness and spirituality, and in it Dr. Harris discusses the trolley problem. 

For those unfamiliar, the Trolley Problem is:

A thought experiment dealing with ethics. In this exercise, there’s a runaway trolley headed down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, are five people unable to move and the trolley is headed straight for them. You’re by happenstance, standing next to a lever. By pulling this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice there’s one person on the side track and by diverting the train (pulling the lever) the trolley will head towards him. 

You have two options: 

(Option 1): Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. 

(Option 2): Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. 

Which is the correct choice?

Well society in general says, "Pull the lever and save a total of 4 lives." Which is to say, always do the deed that serves the greater good.

OK, society, you think you are so smart. Let’s explore this a bit further.

Enter the fat man.

Just as before, there’s a trolley streaking down a track towards five people. This time, your luck (or lack there of), has placed you on a bridge. The trolley will pass under the bridge and plow into the five people or you can stop it by putting something very heavy in front of it. (Very heavy, like the very fat man standing next to you).  So, your only way to stop the trolley is to push him over the bridge and onto the track, killing him to stop the train and save the other five. 

Should you proceed?

Before, we agreed, always save more people, do the greater good. You can see where this starts to become a bit of grey area and moral dilemma. Nobody wants to commit a murder and push someone onto a track even though it saves more people. Most people in this case opt to let the 5 people die and not kill an innocent man.

The difference between these two problems seems to deal with intent. In the first scenario, your intent is to save 4 lives by throwing a switch, which happens to have an effect of killing one. But in the second scenario your intent is knowingly to kill a man, and the by-product of that is saving 4 total lives.

In the HBO hit-television series, Homeland, Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes, aka baby mama, aka don't ask, it goes way back to "My So Called Life" days, aka no, she's not really my baby mama) approves a drone missile strike and wipes out a small village, full of non-militant citizens. Now, with the fat man on the tracks scenario in mind, do you think it was easier or more difficult for Carrie to “pull the trigger” and approve the drone strike? Based on society’s feedback from the trolley problem and fat man problem, it is easier for her to approve the strike, because she did not have to actually touch someone to initiate the kills.

So bottom line, when I am out flying my drone, I need to be aware that I am detached mentally from the events that occur due to my flying the drone and not being a part of it. I also think this detachment is exactly why businesses and the government have begun to ground drones and highly regulate them. For example, today the city of Cincinnati released a statement that no drones will be allowed at tonight's MLB All-Star Game in Cincinnati. There is already a federal law in effect that prohibits drones flying near stadiums, yet the city felt the need to remind the public. 

Did you know:

The FAA prohibits pilots of all aircraft from flying under 3,000 feet and within three miles of stadiums from NCAA Division 1 football, Major League Baseball, and the National Football League.

The no-fly zone is considered "national defense airspace" for one hour before and after events at these events, as with all airports nationwide, drone use is also forbidden within.

west-coast-drones

Now, let's dig into the benefits of personal drones and then later we can dive into the intrinsic-value received from flying an airplane.

Many drones you're able to mount cameras to, sort of like a goPro Drone and for professional photographers, you can imagine the possibilities. Capture a honeymoon, or a day trip to Catalina Island.

Controlling flying things are fun. When I had my remote controlled helicopter, I loved flying that thing. It was eaten by a pit-bull who jumped about 7 feet in the air to snatch it out of the sky. In his defense, I was teasing him with it. Anyhow, I'm sure it's the same feeling you get when flying a legit drone aircraft. Just a feeling of accomplishment and mindfulness.

As for actual piloting a plane, that also ranks high on my bucket-list. Many of the top entrepreneurs and CEOs in the world fly planes as a hobby. So, what is it that entices guys like Larry Ellison, Michael Bloomberg and Steve Wozniak to command a plane? Well, it's a very similar skill set to commanding a boardroom or a company. Traits like self-confidence, focus, and determination make both great pilots and entrepreneurs. Add to that the desire to take risks and rush of adrenaline, and you explain every CEO in Silicon Valley.

A good friend of Westside Culture, Kristin Reiter, enjoys aviation as a hobby. She flies between Portland and Los Angeles when she's not busy working as the Global Design Director for Nike Football and running HUSH Mediation, a meditation studio in Portland. Fitting that she enjoys flying since she basically created the Nike Flyknit, pretty much the most bad ass style of shoe, ever. #flyknit

Also, before I depart, there's also a common misconception that aviation is only a hobby for the elite and wealthy, in that it costs $10,000+ to get started. That's false. You can get started for a few thousand bucks.

So go forth, ye who dare, with your drones and your manned aircraft. I'll see you in the sky someday.

For those that care, here's 2015's Top Drone Photos Worldwide, of which La Jolla, California holds it's own as the only United States finalist.

P.S. If this post inspired you to buy a drone, although that was not my intent, I only ask that you support the site by checking out the drones here on amazon.com, because starving bloggers gotta eat, too.