College football’s offseason is about three months old already, but that means there’s still nearly five months until the 2013 season. It’s an eternity for any college football fan, and while many of us indulge in watching other sports, it just can’t compare to Fall Saturdays.
With that in mind, we bring you the latest installment of our weekly feature, “Build a Better Offseason.” Every seven days or so, we’ll provide recommendations on what to do with all your free time now that you’re not all-consumed by college football, specifically focusing on beers, books, movies and other, non-college football sporting events. There’s also “this week in shame,” which you can view at the bottom of each piece.
Hop Henge Experimental IPA, by Deschutes Brewery in Bend, OR (Imperial/Double IPA, 10.6% ABV)
Looking at the ABV on this one, you’d assume it’s an extremely powerful and bitter double iPA. And yet instead, it’s probably the smoothest double I’ve ever had, with a mix of citrus and caramel notes that completely mask those traditional attributes. On the bottle (it comes primarily in the 22-oz. variety), it explains that the hops have not even been named yet, and based on the unique flavor, I wouldn’t doubt it. Trying to avoid hyperbole as much as possible, this is among my favorite DIPAs, and if you’re west of the Mississippi River (where its distribution is concentrated), you need to find yourself a bottle. For those in Oregon, you may also be able to find it on tap at select locales.
“The Accidental Billionaires,” by Ben Mezrich (2009)
For those who’ve seen the critically-acclaimed 2010 film The Social Network, this is the book that movie is based off of. And not just loosely. While it’s obvious why films cannot always adapt every element of a book when preparing a screenplay, this one manages to do so with some impressive accuracy, yet you can still experience both stories independently of each other as well. The book is written in the same timeline-focused format as the film, following the relationship between Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin from before the site’s establishment through the damaging lawsuit between the two ex-friends later on. It’s not a simple read, but a quick one nonetheless, for those inclined to get a bit more of the backstory on a site they likely use every day.
Synecdoche, New York (2008)
This one’s a bit “artsy,” so turn back now if that’s not your cup of tea. In short, main character Caden Cotard (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) is in the middle of a life crisis when his wife leaves him and as a result, he dives into what becomes a lengthy and all-consuming theater project. As the film goes on, the concepts of reality and fantasy continue to blur, calling into question everything both Hoffman’s character and the audience believes to be true. Rather than a twist ending, it’s an interesting character study that keeps you engaged, and ultimately wondering how the whole thing plays out.
NBA Playoffs — Starting Saturday, April 20 (TNT, ESPN, ABC & NBATV)
The NBA’s arguably never had more likeable stars, nor more compelling storylines heading into its opening rounds, for starters. Will the Los Angeles Lakers make the playoffs without Kobe Bryant, and if so, can they even hope to challenge the Oklahoma City Thunder? Will the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics stage an epic series as they used to in the 1960s and 70s? And can LeBron James and the Miami Heat continue to roll en route to a second straight title? There are many other plots as well, and all should make for an exciting couple months of playoff basketball.
This Week in Shame
Like most guys in a committed relationship, I’ve unwillingly seen my fair share of horrendous reality television (usually propagated by Bravo or ABC), and every so often become interested in what goes on within the program. This is a safe space to point out those programs while providing a quick FAQ for those unacquainted already.
Ready for Love – Tuesday, April 16 at 9 p.m. ET (NBC)
NBC felt like they were missing out on the dating reality TV market, so of course, they set their sights on creating the Deal or No Deal of dating shows. Elaborate stage and elevators! Rich guys! Pathetic women who lack any confidence whatsoever! Matchmakers who lack any expertise whatsoever! Giuliana Rancic! Bill Rancic!… And the list goes on. I felt very overwhelmed after episode one last week, and chances are I’ll feel the same this time around. Last week’s only had one bachelor, while this week’s features the other two, so needless to say, I’m bracing myself to be checked out within the first few minutes. If you can avoid this, I’d recommend doing so.
Side note: This is our 1,000th post (!!!) here on the blog and I just wanted to take a second to thank everyone who’s ever shared, read, commented or even written a post here for making it all worthwhile. It’s been a fun year and a half and we’ve got plenty more exciting things to look forward to in the future.