Welcome to my new obsession

Hello! Anybody there? Well, I can blame you if you don’t, considering my lack of perseverance nowadays.

Today I feel like sharing with you my ultimate obsession: The NBA Daily Fantasy League.

It’s been years since I’ve followed this competition enjoyed and suffered by some close friends at a forum, and finally I’ve turn into a participant of a rookie league at the same forum, and believe me, I’m so hooked up as to be checking the matchups and players’ performances in the middle of events such as concerts, New Year’s Eve dinner and celebration and while passing through a heavy flu as I am right now.

I cannot define myself as competitive, never have any talent to fight for to my utmost strength, and since I was a kid and had my first disappointment at the gym school team, never had the desire to enroll in anything you could win or lose. I think I already wrote about the great mistake of educating children in winning but not teaching them how to lose, so I don’t think more explanations need to be added.

porzingis

I’m neither interested in videogames nor online games at all, because I’m not constant and usually get bored.

The Fantasy League is something different. It combines competition, physically performed by real players, so that my body doesn’t move any muscle, my brain works a little more than usual, and due to its activity, it requires some daily planning, and at some points strategy.

First thing to start one of these leagues, is gathering a group of competitors, 16 would be the perfect number, even though my league has 18 teams. Once everybody commits to the game, which lasts around 20 weeks until the playoffs, you should raffle the order of the draft, which will decide the order of choosing your soldiers. The closer you set the draft date to the beginning of the season, the clearer picture you will get at the time of choosing them, especially in terms of injuries. In my case, I was the 14th, not very good for the fist pick, but quite alright for the second. I was lucky to get Lillard ‘the rapper’ first, and a miracle to get ‘the unicorn’ Porzingis  as the second. Then, Ariza, Robin Lopez, Thaddeus Young, George Hill, and Taj Gibson joined my team, up to 11 players.

damian-lillard

Right after the draft you change your roster, by trading players with other teams, wave, drop and add those in the Free Agents market, up to 2 movements every week, in order to improve results.

In our league, the Rookie League, there are 9 categories to fight for: field goal percentage, free throw percentage, 3 points, points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals and turnovers (the only one you win with less score).

Imagine me reading, following injury and performance reports, and watching stats. At the end of the day, I get to know my Martinis (yes, my team is Toi’s Martinis) as if they were my kids. Somebody was telling me I’d be so hooked up 5 years ago I would have laughed my ass off.

So here I am, after 12 weeks, trying to make my way to playoffs, waking up in the middle of the night just to check on the results, swearing on my players from time to time, exchanging messages with advisers, and jumping of happiness when Ariza saves my week with his 3-points shoots in.

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors

This league helps me to escape from real world, and provides some excitement to it. I’m 41 now and you might think painting or cooking would be more suitable for my age, but since when have I followed the typical trend? I’d like to see you in my position, really, I encourage you to do it.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Hey! How you doin’! Yes, I’m still alive.

Last month I received one of these WordPress notifications advising that it was time to reniew the site and all the stuff and pay for having my place in the virtual world, and that made me start poundering over Since My Baby Left Me future. Should I stay or should I go?

I decided not to renew on the premium basis, since I seldom post stuff and because I don’t need the ultimate blog design and awesome widgets. What I understood from the notifications, which became weekly, was that I was losing my site “dot com” to go back to WordPress, and at that point my pride was a bit touched, because this used to be a great funnel and helped me a lot back in the day, but I gave up. If this was the time to quit, I would accept it without major drama, and of course, avoiding saying goodbye to one, or maybe two readers I might currently have.

But wordpress gave me some sort of last chance, and sent me aother notification this week, about keeping my sincemybabyleftme.com site for a ridiculous amount of money, and I thought “whaddahell! I might get in the mood to write about something someday, and the name of the blog is cool”, so I’m up to renew on this thing. Perhaps I will quit next year as well, but I’ve decided to give me such time to make up my mind. In case I decide to tell crap here and you are interested in what I’m saying, I’m sure you won’t mind the site is simple, will you?

Anyway, it feels great to type nonsense here. Hope you’re doing right 🙂

Everybody Loves Our Town

mark yarm

I’m a 90s child, or better said a 90s teenager. It’s impossible that someone who is acquainted with me has any doubt about it. Not that I got stuck in this decade, but in many ways it was the most defining in terms of music and personality. 2000 could be acknowledged as the settlement time, of what I started experiencing and discovering in the nineties.

This been said, you should also know by now, I’m deep into 90’s music. Not all the genres, that’s for sure, as it’s impossible, at least for me, to cover all the styles, and also because there was lots of crap too. I never dug into industrial music, although I’m currently interested in NIN, and enjoyed Marilyn Manson lots, but Fear Factory and other currents never caught my interest, same as nu metal and those guys in Adidas trackies. Never cared about The Deftones or Korn, and BritPop was something I was punished to listen to with when I was working at the laundry factory in Essex, so even though I enjoy listening to Suede nowadays, I wasn’t a diehard fan of Pulp, Oasis or Blur.

Anyway, I don’t think at this point I have to justify and give explanations on why I don’t have any CDs of this or that band. You just can’t cope with everything if you have a “normal” life.

What I do reckon is that grunge, I prefer to call it Seattle sound even though isn’t still very accurate, crossed my life when I was 14-15, and hundreds of stories of bands immediately were part of my life. Thus, when I heard of Mark Yarm’s Seattle oral history was available, I knew I had to read it as soon as I had the chance. Thanks Mr Benavides for discovering this treasure to me.

This book is a compilation of interviews the author made to around 200 people: musicians, producers, sound engineers, managers, record companies A&Rs… basically people who had been involved with the several bands which propelled the ignored Northwest area of the States, and Seattle in particular, to be a huge worldwide attraction, thanks to the scene created  throughout the years, since the early 80s to late 90s. It’d be a huge mistake if only the most prominent bands, you know, Nirvana, Pearl Jam Alice In Chains and Soundgarden, would have been covered, but luckily all the different bands previous to those, and many other such as Melvins, Mudhoney, TAD, 7-Year Bitch or even Candlebox, are also included.

Seattle scene

Many stories, different confronted opinions, and people’s feelings are reflected, respecting a very well structured timeline, showing a family tree whose branches extend to many bands with different projection and fate. Of course, there are certain key figures which are never to be forgotten, which are pillars, or even breaking points at certain times, to situations and changes of events, such as the deaths of Andrew Wood, Mia Zapata, Kurt Cobain or Layne Staley. Addictions and substance abuse are too present, excess and delusions of grandeur can be found in many stories, ambition, friendship, hard work, love, disasters and drama, and most of all talent, are part of this big cocktail, and lots of stories, I used to listen thanks to overseas magazines and the damned MTV, are now told in first person.

For all these reasons and more, Everybody Loves Our Town, immediately has become a must read for all the music lovers, and those who used to wear flannel and Doc Martens, no mattered what their parents or people at their high schools could think of their appearance, trying to emulate their music heroes, which in the end were human beings.

One last thing, not trying to spoil anything: COURTNEY LOVE is even more asshole than I thought.

Album of Week 13: HIDDEN CITY

Hello friends! Time runs really too fast. I almost forgot I got a blog. It was on January the last time I posted something here. Everything’s ok so far. Every starting of the year is becoming significantly harder. I don’t know if it’s because of the weather, I’m moodier than usual, perhaps it’s the lack of sun, but I’ve been too slow these past three months.

But, hey!  I bring you good news, I’m writing on one of the most likely best albums of the year already, and I’m totally hooked up on it.

hidden city

The fact that The Cult releases an album in 2016 it’s exciting. After rediscovering its entire discography in the past months, because I was basically familiarized with 2-3 records, I’ve realized that this band’s never followed a standard pattern of in terms of evolution. In fact, seems that they’ve been experimenting and developing what Ian Astbury or Billy Duffy were in the mood at that specific moment. Truth is that this choice is nothing but too risky, and probably this has been the main reason for preventing them from stardom, and commercial success.

One thing is for sure. They’ve always delivered outstanding albums without any major disaster. Something not everybody with more than 30 years of career on their backs can say. So when a new album was announced, you had the guarantee of a good work, but not even the fans could conceive how the album was going to sound like, because The Cult is simply unpredictable.

When the first singles came out, my expectations definitely grew fast. The trotting rhythm of ‘Dark Energy’ didn’t catch my vibe in the beginning, but with ‘Hinterland’ you could already guess Duffy’s work on guitars is killer. And the third single, this ‘Deeply Ordered Chaos’ with the verse ‘I’m a European’ repeated by Astbury and rising up to one of the most intense moments of the album.

the cult

There was another positive point to have in mind and it’s the collaboration of Bob Rock producing Hidden City. Joey Tempesta’s drums and Duffy’s  guitars  sound very powerful, and the arrangements, are treated elegantly, without being excessive, creating very special atmospheres. Astbury is almost 54, and even though nowadays he’s in perfect shape, it’s obvious his voice has lost some register, but still, it keeps on being super evoking, able to transmit  decadent sensuality in ‘In Blood’, my personal favorite, but also heartbreaking harshness in ‘Birds of Paradise’.

It’s a pity many fans remain stuck in the past and only relate The Cult to the albums they recorded almost 30 years ago. if you are livid as a musician and live for writing, you need to evolve from Love, Electric or Sonic Temple. And as a fan, you’d enjoy more if you were moving forward. If you read this, and consider listening to Hidden City, but are one of these people, don’t waste your time, but be aware you’ll miss a great album.

Wake up! It’s time to play!

I guess you already know one of my favorite topics of discussion has to do with the Guns N’ Roses universe. It’s been long time since I don’t write about this band, but events and confirmations need to be commented. At least I need to talk about them.

D073945023

Three years ago GN’R were inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. Many fans thought this would be the right opportunity for the band to leave all the arguments and bad blood behind, and perhaps, to have a fresh start and start considering a reunion. However Mighty Axl, Mr One in a million, decided not to get involved in that circus, thus he didn’t attend the celebration, and rejected it, becoming a weird event with former members of a band they weren’t part of anymore, while the singer and his new line up continued performing as Guns N’ Roses supporting Chinese Democracy. Personally speaking, my feelings were very contradictory, as on one hand I stood by Axl’s decision, cheering up the fact that he was stubborn yet honest to his beliefs, and not yielding to the pressure of this title, but on the other hand assuming that after his rejection, a reunion would never take place. And to be honest, I didn’t feel the need to encourage such reunion anymore, as it would be just a matter of money, a business, but not a true one. You can call me romantic, ‘cause I am.

In 2015 rumors started to spread on social networks, and the gossip was alive again. A reunion seemed to become a reality, with Slash and Duff willing to go ahead, but as usual, you couldn’t take anything for granted until Axl would open his mouth.

What’s been fascinating during these months it’s the fact that established music magazines were taking these rumors as actual news, and lots of information was decontextualized and twisted as to sell this comeback. For instance, some musicians just expressed their excitement on the possibility of this reunion, but their statements were manipulated as to confirm it was going real.

2016 arrived with the scheduled interview to Axl Rose by Jimmy Kimmel on TV. Expectations had risen to the moon, and everybody was super enthusiastic about him confirming this reunion through a camera. But again, 24h before the show, Axl Rose name was removed from the site, getting thousands of fans disappointed.

All of a sudden, Coachella festival confirmed Guns N’ Roses headlining the festival to take place in April, Slash and Duff were posting a terrible Photoshop poster with the band classic logo with the festival background, and eventually, after making jokes confirming his love for Taco Bell, Axl spoke through this tweet.

gnr coachella

Holy shit! It’s showtime!

Being aware of Axl’s tricked mind, how much time did it take him to post that tweet? What can be inferred from it? Tell me it’s not wonderful, like a modern cypher. Any single emoticon can have different readings, and his patronizing tone is absolutely nasty, as if he was doing us all a favor joining the reunion. Wonderful!

Axl tweet

At this point many of you might think I’m as nuts as Axl is, the truth is that I’m still skeptical. Too much time till Coachella becomes a reality, too much tension in the air, I reckon this reunion is on the verge, and it can explode at any time, no matter the strict and multimillionaire contracts signed up. Axl is unpredictable, still keeps part of his current band colleagues on the payroll, Adler, Sorum and Stradlin are not officially part of the team, and Slash’s IG posts are simply brilliant, as if trying to break Axl’s balls a bit in a subtle manner.

Like I said, I don’t need this reunion, and I’m not the only one on this. When I raised the subject on an interview to Michael Monroe, he was clear: “that’s not a real reunion, it’s not honest, the band members are incapable of putting all the shit behind, and most likely it would not have a happy ending”.

Truth is that if there was a chance, I’d move mountains to attend a show. Too attractive to be missed.

Rumors are spread on a daily basis, the craziest fans, me included, are looking for plots and new theories, with every picture, every tweet, every statement pronounced by someone close, or close enough to be a reliable source, is analyzed and commented.

Which band can create this halo of excitement? Who can turn the world upside down and get all the attention from fans and media just clapping their hands? Guns N’ Fuckin’ Roses, the ultimate rock band.

Whatever happens in the next months is worth following. So friends, get the popcorn into the microwave, because the show has just started. Have fun!

Farewell, duke

Hi there! To be hones I’d have preferred to write my first post of the year sending a positive message, or talking about good things or great shows experienced last year, but you know how this goes. Xmas is always the worst timing for writing, habits and routines are interrupted for a while and I’m lazy as fuck lately, I cannot lie. I hate finishing 2015 and starting 201 saying farewell to deceased personalities, but in both cases I think my words might work as a humble tribute to them.

bowie

I woke up this morning and visited Twitter to check on the Golden Globe awards. Not that I’m a huge fan of them, but it’s always interesting to have references to go to the cinema from time to time. Instead, I found a disturbing post from David Bowie’s official account confirming he had passed away after 18 months struggling against cancer. I didn’t have the slightest idea, being aware of his weak physical condition though. Fuck! Last Friday it was his 69 anniversary, and he had released his last studio album that same day. The news was so shocking, and so sudden, people didn’t want to believe, thus the 20 minutes after the statement have been too confusing, with people warning his social networks accounts had been hacked, and this was a hoax. Unfortunately his son, Duncan Jones, wrote a tweet confirming the sad news, together with a beautiful picture of his dad with him when he was a kid.

Bowie was an icon, and he’ll be, no doubt about it. An icon who’s been around all my life. I cannot say I’m a super huge fan, because I didn’t get the chance to dig into his discography, except for 2-3 albums I really like, but always felt fascinated by his personality, style, and of course, his attitude and way of life. I got the chance to attend a couple of his shows in 1996 and 1997, and really, he was magnificent. I was still hoping to see him again on stage, and it’s sad to know that won’t gonna happen.

What comes next? The terrible thought of many heroes on the verge because the passing of time is inevitable. And it’s frightening, for it also means I’m growing old, and eventually I’ll have to pay my ticket as well. Life, friends. When we were kids nobody warned us it was going to be a day a day struggle, as it actually is, thus enjoy as much as possible, because, as Bill Hicks said once, this is just a ride.

Damn you, Scott!

It’s weird to realize I only talked about Stone Temple Pilots once here long time ago referring to their best of album, Thank You. And it’s weird because it’s a band I’ve always loved and often listened to, especially to their masterpiece, Purple.

scott weiland

It was sad to wake up yesterday reading the news that confirmed Scott Weiland was found dead in his tour bus. It was something that many of us knew it was going to happen eventually, but when the time came, it was shocking and sad anyway.

Weiland was an asshole, but he was Scott Weiland. One of the most prominent frontmen rock has gifted us with, with an incredible voice and a way of transmitting feelings through his melodies able to make us have goosebumps. But he was all the time dealing with heavy drug addiction, his personality was not easy, and sometimes he could be a real prick.

weiland

When someone dies everybody focuses on the good points and positive contributions of the deceased, but let’s be honest: Weiland ruined the progression of Stone Temple Pilots, and he has to be blamed for it. When I had to review his last and mediocre album, I was pissed off at him, and I called him son of a bitch. And I still think of him in the same way, because I always hoped he would reunite Stone Temple Pilots for good, and he didn’t. I wanted to relive the same experience I had back in 1994 when I attended one of their shows in Madrid, while they were introducing Purple. One of the most memorable shows I’ve ever seen, enhanced by the fact that it was the first show I was travelling to a different city for with friends, and I was not yet so veteran in live shows as I am nowadays.

On stage I saw him twice, with the Pilots and Velvet Revolver, and damn! He was an animal. He had style and attitude, he could be sexy and nasty at the same time, his voice was powerful, and his performances very theatrical.

It’s sad to see someone, let’s say not so old, as he was 48, passing away. Someone you don’t know and perhaps you don’t even like, but who you’ve been somehow growing up with since you were a teenager.

So damn you, Scott Weiland! For being so selfish and so out of control. You could have given us much more, but now you’re gone.

I will always remember you singing this in the rockin’ chair:

Drivin’ faster in my car

Falling farther from just what we are

Smoke a cigarette and lie some more

These conversations kill

Fallin’ faster in my car