Monday, June 13, 2016

Everyone Deserves a Reason to Smile

This world is a messed up place. It is hard to comprehend why so many bad things happen to people who don't deserve it at all. I'm not talking about bad things like getting fired from a job or getting suspended from game 5 of the NBA Finals. I'm talking about the kind of stuff that happened in Orlando, Florida, over the weekend. It happens way too much and it makes me absolutely sick.

This is why I try to stay away from the news. The bad stuff always gets the headlines. However, it is almost impossible to avoid the news completely. It is all over my Twitter feed, it is all over Facebook,
and even if I just want to check my e-mail, a terrible news story pops up there too. 

Why do all these mass shootings happen and so often? I wish I knew. Is it because we don't have gun control laws in America? Is it parenting? Is it the media? Is it the combination of all of these things? A lot of people will have their opinions and usually once people hold an opinion about something they rarely change their opinion. (of course, that's just my opinion.)

America. It is supposed to be the land of the free, right? Why does it feel less and less that way? People are living in more fear now than ever before. People are afraid to fall in love because they are afraid they may lose that person they love. People are afraid to travel because they fear a terrorist attack. People are afraid to live and it just makes me sad.

Since my heart surgery in September, I haven't done many comedy shows. I just wasn't feeling the desire. I've done like 1 or 2 shows per month this whole year. I was taking a step back from comedy to reflect on how lucky I am to be alive and experience different things.  That desire to do comedy is back now. The desire to make people laugh, to forget the pain... and to live. Everyone deserves a reason to smile and I want to help make that happen. 

I will be at the Blue Lagoon in Santa Cruz on June 23rd at 8:30pm for a free show. I will be announcing more shows soon as well so stay tuned to my website for info. 

Tell those you love that you love them. And come election time, please be sure to vote. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

2016 Major League Baseball Predictions

The 2016 season starts in just one week and I like usual I am looking forward to another exciting season. This year, the start of the regular season on  Sunday, April 3rd, features three games instead of the normal one game like in the past. The rest of the teams begin action on Monday, April 4th. If you're an avid baseball fan like me and are looking for a new cell phone provider then you may want to join T-Mobile. This year, T-Mobile is offering anyone who joins their network between April 3rd and April 10th, MLB.TV Premium for the full season for free. (If you are already a T-Mobile member, you also get this deal). More info here

My predictions for the 2016 baseball season are as follows...(* denotes Wild Card team)

Yu Darvish
American League West
Houston Astros  (89-73)
Texas Rangers (85-77)
Seattle Mariners (81-81)
Los Angeles Angels (79-83)
Oakland Athletics (70-92)

After years of being in the cellar and obtaining top draft picks, the Houston Astros showed what doing well in the draft and developing talent can do last season. Reigning Rookie of Year, Carlos Correa, could very well be an MVP candidate in his first full season for Houston. While Cole Hamels is now the ace for the Texas Rangers, if they want to take down Houston, they will need Yu Darvish to be able to return healthy from a Tommy John surgery operation last season. His return is expected in May 2016. The Seattle Mariners lucked out when Hisashi Iwakuma failed his physical when the Los Angeles Dodgers were going to sign him as a free agent. The Dodgers then backed out of the deal and the Mariners then brought Iwakuma back. The Los Angeles Angels have arguably the best baseball player in the game in Mike Trout and the addition of Andrelton Simmons in a trade with the Atlanta Braves should help their defense. The Angels main concern has to be their starting pitching. CJ Wilson and Jered Weaver both need to find ways to be consistently good if they want to succeed. The Oakland Athletics, my favorite team in any sport, will likely finish in last. After Sonny Gray, the A's don't have much in terms of starting pitching. They spent 6 Million for Rich Hill after he played in just 4 games in 2015 with hopes he'd be a starter. He has struggled for most of the Spring. Josh Reddick should find himself on the All-Star team this season but then likely get traded soon afterwards. I hope they prove me wrong though.

Byron Buxton
American League Central
Kansas City Royals (91-71)
Detroit Tigers (88-74)*
Cleveland Indians (82-80)
Minnesota Twins (81-81)
Chicago White Sox (76-86)

The Kansas City Royals will continue to bolster an amazing bullpen as they make their run to defend their World Series Championship. Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis return to anchor the bullpen. Joakim Soria also returns to the team after originally starting his career with Kansas City. The Detroit Tigers should rebound after finishing last in the division in 2015. It seems that Justin Verlander may be looking once again like the Verlander everyone knows him to be. The addition of Jordan Zimmermann to the pitching rotation won't hurt either. Justin Upton provides extra protection in the lineup for Miguel Cabrera so now they just have to hope Cabrera can stay healthy. The Cleveland Indians didn't make many moves during the offseason and I don't expect them to make much of a move in the standings. Last year they finished in third place with an 81-80 record. The Minnesota Twins are relying a lot on a star from Korea in Byung-ho Park and a highly touted prospect, Byron Buxton. Buxton has been a highly touted prospect even though he hasn't played a full season in a while due to freak injuries. It won't surprise me to see him injured again this season.  The Chicago White Sox made a lot of moves in the offseason acquiring guys like Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie. Their biggest move though may have been involving this kid which turns out to send the morale of the team in a downward spiral. Robin Ventura's days as a manager may also be numbered. 

David Price
American League East
Toronto Blue Jays (92-70)
Boston Red Sox (86-76)*
New York Yankees (82-80)
Tampa Bay Rays (79-83)
Baltimore Orioles (75-87)

The Blue Jays lineup is ridiculously good. I don't see any reason for it to be worse in 2016. The question is whether or not the young Marcus Stroman can anchor the staff for a full season. I also think Jesse Chavez will be an unsung hero for this team, both out of the bullpen and as a spot starter. The Boston Red Sox acquired an All-Star starter in David Price and an All-Star closer in Craig Kimbrel. These two additions should help Boston get back into the playoffs as long as Pablo Sandoval doesn't eat them! The New York Yankees are still the New York Yankees. They are still considered an old team yet somehow keep winning. Aroldis Chapman was acquired to be their new closer but will be suspended for 30 games due to domestic violence claims against him. The suspension could prove quite costly for the Yankees. The Tampa Bay Rays have the worst stadium in all of baseball but won't end up with the worst record. Corey Dickerson was a nice addition which should provide some more pop and the Rays are hoping Evan Longoria can get back on track too. The Rays starting pitchers will do well but the bullpen will not fare as well. The Baltimore Orioles paid a lot of money to keep DH/1B Chris Davis in an Orioles uniform and even though he did pitch in relief in a game in 2012 and got the win, the Orioles are going to wish they spent that money toward more pitching instead. 

Zack Greinke
National League West
San Francisco Giants  (90-72)
Los Angeles Dodgers (87-75)
Arizona Diamondbacks (84-78)
San Diego Padres (78-84)
Colorado Rockies (66-96)

A lot has been said about the San Francisco Giants and their offseason. They acquired starting pitchers  Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija as well as outfielder Denard Span. A lot of their success will depend on how well Cueto and Samardzija do too as they had sub-par 2015 seasons. The Giants would also like to have a healthy Matt Cain in 2016. The Los Angeles Dodgers lost one of their All-Star starting pitchers, Zack Greinke, when he signed with division rival, Arizona Diamonbacks. The loss of Greinke will keep the Dodgers from reaching from first place. The addition of Greinke is a nice move for Arizona but it will be interesting to see if he can pitch well at home as Arizona is known as a hitters ballpark. The San Diego Padres were the talk of baseball after the offseason they had after the 2014 season. They failed to provide results after so many expectations. This year they won't have any expectations and still fail to provide results. The Colorado Rockies have Nolan Arenado so they got that going for them. Carlos Gonzalez's days with the club are numbered and manager Walt Weiss may be out of a job soon too. 

Dexter Fowler
National League Central 
Chicago Cubs (95-67)
St. Louis Cardinals (92-70)*
Pittsburgh Pirates (90-72)
Milwaukee Brewers (70-92)
Cincinnati Reds (62-100)

The National League Central race was close last season between the top three teams and should be close again this year too. The Cubs won 97 games last season and finished in 3rd place! The Cubs obtained two players who were Cardinals before in Jason Heyward and John Lackey. Those additions, plus the return of Dexter Fowler (who turned down more money elsewhere to return) should help the Cubs take first place. The St. Louis Cardinals season will depend a lot on the health of two players, Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina. Mike Leake should thrive pitching for St. Louis. The Pittsburgh Pirates will go as far as Andrew McCutchen carries them. Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco will also continue to blossom. The Milwaukee Brewers signed Chris Carter and he could tire out Bernie Brewer as Bernie will slide down the slide in left field when Carter hits a moon shot home run. Bernie may then also pass out from drinking when Carter strikes out more than 100 times. The Cincinnati Reds may very well be the worst team in majors. They got rid of talent but did not add anybody Major League ready. Brandon Phillips, who always seems to have a smile, may find it hard to smile this year. 

Clockwise - Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard,
Jacob DeGrom,
Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler
National League West
Washington Nationals (93-69)
New York Mets (91-71)*
Atlanta Braves (71-91)
Philadelphia Phillies (69-93)
Miami Marlins (66-96)

Dusty Baker makes his return to managing a Major League team and takes the Washington Nationals to a Division Championship but no further.  The New York Mets welcome the return of a healthy Zack Wheeler and it only makes their rotation better. Yoenis Cespedes will excite the fans again as long as he isn't too lazy to pick up the baseball. The rest of the National League East will stink. The Atlanta Braves are clearly in a rebuilding mode. Ender Inciarte may bring some excitement with his speed to the Braves. The Philadelphia Phillies won't feel much brotherly love from their fanbase. Ryan Howard may very well ask to get traded to a contender. Don Mattingly, now manager of the Miami Marlins, proves that he cannot in fact, manage.  But hey, Ichiro Suzuki should get his 3,000th career major league hit for the Marlins this season. 

Wild Card Games
Boston Red Sox defeat Detroit Tigers
New York Mets defeat St. Louis Cardinals

Division Series
Toronto Blue Jays defeat the Boston Red Sox (3-1)
Houston Astros defeat Kansas City Royals (3-2)
Chicago Cubs defeat New York Mets (3-2)
San Francisco Giants defeat Washington Nationals (3-1)

Championship Series
Toronto Blue Jays defeat Houston Astros (4-2)
Chicago Cubs defeat San Francisco Giants (4-3)

World Series
Toronto Blue Jays defeat Chicago Cubs (4-1) - Sorry Cubs fans...  

AL MVP: Carlos Correa, Houston Astros
NL MVP: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
AL CY YOUNG: David Price, Boston Red Sox
NL CY YOUNG: Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: AJ Reed, Houston Astros
NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers
AL COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR:  Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
NL COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Hunter Pence, San Francisco Giants
AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR:  Brad Ausmus, Detroit Tigers
NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants

Friday, February 26, 2016

My 2016 Academy Award Predictions

The 2016 Academy Awards take place on Sunday, February 28, 2016, at 7pm EST with host Chris Rock. I usually try to see all the Best Picture Nominees as possible, This year, I ended up doing a little more watching. I ended up seeing 43/57 total Oscar nominees. That is 75% if you want to do the math. Wait, nevermind, I just did it for you. That being said, here are my predictions for every category. I am including who I think will win and also who I think should win, because sometimes these are different. The films in italics are the ones I did NOT get around to seeing.

Best Picture
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Who I think will win: The Revenant
Who I think should win: Spotlight

Best Actor
Bryan Cranston - Trumbo
Matt Damon - The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Revenant
Michael Fassbender - Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne - The Danish Girl

Who I think will win: Leonardo DiCaprio
Who I think should win: Leonardo DiCaprio

Best Actress 
Cate Blanchett - Carol
Jennifer Lawrence - Joy
Brie Larson - Room
Charlotte Rampling - 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan - Brooklyn

Who I think will win: Brie Larson
Who I think should win: Brie Larson

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale - The Big Short
Tom Hardy - The Revenant
Mark Rylance - Bridge of Spies
Mark Ruffalo - Spotlight
Sylvester Stalone - Creed

Who I think will win: Sylvester Stalone
Who I think should win: Mark Ruffalo

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh - The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara - Carol
Rachel McAdams - Spotlight
Alicia Vikander - The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet - Steve Jobs

Who I think will win: Alicia Vikander
Who I think should win: Jennifer Jason Leigh

Animated Feature Film
Boy and The World

Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

Who I think will win: Inside Out
Who I think should win: When Marnie Was There

The Hateful Eight
The Revenant
Mad Max: Fury Road

Who I think will win: The Revenant
Who I think should win: The Revenant

Costume Design
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Who I think will win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Who I think should win: Carol

Best Director
Adam McKay - The Big Short
George Miller - Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu -The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson - Room
Tom McCarthy - Spotlight 

Who I think will win: George Miller
Who I think should win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Documentary (Feature)
Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom

Who I think will win: Amy
Who I think should win: The Look of Silence

Documentary (Short Subject)
Body Team 12
Chau, Beyond the Lines
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
A Girl in The River: The Price of Forgiveness

Last Day of Freedom

Who I think will win: Last Day of Freedom
Who I think should win: Last Day of Freedom

Film Editing
The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who I think will win: The Revenant
Who I think should win: The Revenant

Foreign Language Film
Embrace of the Serpent

Son of Saul
A War

Who I think will win: Son of Saul
Who I think should win: not enough data to make personal choice

Makeup and Hairstyling
Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
The Revenant

Who I think will win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Who I think should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Music (Original Score)
Thomas Newman - Bridge of Spies
Carter Burwell - Carol
Ennio Morricone - The Hateful Eight
Johann Johannsson - Sicario
John Williams - Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who I think will win: Ennio Morricone - The Hateful Eight
Who I think should win: Ennio Morricone - The Hateful Eight

Music (Original Song)

"Earned It" - Fifty Shades of Gray
"Manta Ray" - Racing Extinction
"Simple Song #3" - Youth
"Til It Happens to You" - The Hunting Ground
"Writings on the Wall" - Spectre

Who I think will win: "Til It Happens to You" - The Hunting Ground
Who I think should win: "Til It Happens to You" - The Hunting Ground

Production Design
Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Who I think will win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Who I think should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Short Film (Animated)
Bear Story
Sanjay's Super Team
We Can't Live without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

Who I think will win: Bear Story
Who I think should win: We Can't Live Without Cosmos

Short Film (Live Action)
Ave Maria
Day One
Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)

Who I think will win: Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)
Who I think should win: Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)

Sound Editing
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who I think will win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Who I think should win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Sound Mixing
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who I think will win: The Revenant
Who I think should win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Visual Effects
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who I think will win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Who I think should win: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Adapted Screenplay
Charles Randolph and Adam McKay - The Big Short
Emma Donoghue - Room
Phyllis Nagy - Carol
Drew Goddard - The Martian
Nick Hornby - Brooklyn

Who I think will win: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay - The Big Short
Who I think should win: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay - The Big Short

Best Original Screenplay
Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, and Joel Coen - Bridge of Spies
Alex Garland - Ex Machina
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley - Inside Out
Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy - Spotlight
Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff  - Straight Outta Compton

Who I think will win: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy - Spotlight
Who I think should win: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy - Spotlight

And that concludes my predictions! I hope everyone who watches enjoys the ceremony and I'm sure Chris Rock will not disappoint as host.