“My Life” Documentary

R&B singer Mary J. Blige released her new documentary “My Life” on Amazon Prime. Based on her 1994 “My Life” album. This documentary is great because you get to see the vulnerability of Mary J. Blige and she shares her dark times while making this album.

Blige turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with her anxiety. Making the transition from Yonkers to stardom is something that she struggled with early on in her career. Blige also went through an abusive relationship with Jodeci singer K-Ci. Blige and K-Ci dated for years, but their relationship weren’t pretty like the flowers. Blige said that she physically fought for her life a lot. She got that from her mother because her mother suffered a lot of physical abuse as well.

Blige teamed up with executive producer Sean “Puffy” Combs on the album. Puffy said in the documentary that he was dealing with his own problems. His breakup with stylist Misa Hylton caused a lot of heartache. Puffy and Blige understood each other and working on that album together brought so much healing.

Blige is one of my favorite R&B singers. I’m glad that she’s still here with us. She’s happily married now and continues to share her stories with the fans. There’s no doubt that Mary J. Blige touched so many people’s lives through her music.

Gary Sanchez’ Offense

Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez’s offense has been a rollercoaster in the last few seasons with the Yankees. However, in the last 23 games, he has been red hot. Sanchez has homered eight times while batting .336. There is no question that Gary Sanchez’s tenure with the Yankees is on the line. This is a very important season for him. If he continues to hit like this, then I don’t see the Yankees trading him this year.

In my opinion, he can perform well in the regular season, but October baseball is where it counts most. I’m not just going to say that about him. His other teammates needs to step up in October as well.

Can Gary Sanchez keep up this amazing hitting streak? We will have to wait and see. I certainly hope so. He needs to stay consistent.

Geordano Abreu: Behind Graphic Designing

Graphic design is vital in movies, sports, TV networks, and more. The 90s had terrific graphics, and it was something that drew to the viewers because it provided great promotion and marketing. There is an upcoming graphic designer that his work is impressive. His name is Geordano Abreu. Geordano was born and raised in Washington Heights. His journey with graphic design began in the Summer before entering High School, right before Facebook gained popularity over MySpace.

“I got into graphic design primarily to make cool profile pics to post on my homepage. It started with simple photo manipulations like cutting myself out of one photo and putting myself into another,” Abreu said.

“Then I got a little more complex like me holding a lightsaber or turning myself into an avatar. Then I started doing that on photos of my friends for laughs, and it would get some notoriety on social media. I noticed I had a talent for it when friends of friends started asking for specific photo requests. Some just for fun and others for more nefarious purposes. Even though I was using industry-standard programs like Photoshop and doing small design jobs for cash throughout high school, I never considered myself a graphic designer back then. It wasn’t until my junior year that when it came time to choose a major for college, I started to see myself as a graphic designer. I figured If I’m seriously thinking about pursuing this as a career and not just as a hobby, I better start viewing myself as one.”

Geordano has done some fantastic work for many artists, but designing movie posters helped him gain exposure.

“I did for the short film “The Luck Two.” It’s the poster that granted me more opportunities to designing movie posters. From events to films, designing posters has brought me the most work and pride in my career thus far,” Abreu said.

Geordano elaborates on what he loves about his work and some of the pet peeves that he has experienced.

“Expressing oneself is one of the most liberating things you can do, and graphic design is a great outlet for that,” Abreu said. “Learning something new like a technique or a skill on any of the design apps I use builds up my confidence and meeting new people from all walks of life and at the same time expanding your social/business network. The option of making your schedule as a freelancer or working with an agency and other industries with a graphics department. My pet peeve is not enough for me to quit graphic design altogether, but things that really grind my gears is when clients are vague with design instruction or feedback,” he continued. “Asking for your designer to take creative liberties on what you want is one thing, and understandable, because that’s what you’re hiring them to do. But when it comes to making corrections or changes to an ongoing project, giving vague feedback like” spice it up a bit” is a problem. The design process should be a collaborative effort between the designer and the client. The client’s role is to provide as much information as possible so that the designer can give the appropriate solutions. When there’s vague instruction, it leads to many back and forth with edits that probably could have been avoided. You can’t expect every client do that, so it’s also your role as a graphic designer to set that expectation. Also, the font Comic Sans is every designer’s pet peeve. If a client of mine ever recommends I try it, I will shut that down immediately. Never use Comic Sans. Never.”

Like any profession, Geordano has goals that he wants to reach, and with hard work and determination, he can accomplish those goals.

“The goal for the immediate future is just to continue doing what I love, which is just more of what I’m doing now,” Abreu said. “I was a freelance graphic designer for most of my design career with a full-time day job doing something else. However, since the pandemic, I’ve been focusing more on graphic design and made the decision recently to pursue it full-time.”

While talking to Geordano, he gave a surprising answer in who he would like to work with if he ever gets a chance to with that person.

“I’d like to work with Alexandria Ocasio Cortez,” Abreu said. “She’s a major voice of my generation who speaks truth to power, and I’d love to do my part to amplify that voice for the greater good. It’ll be cool to work on a re-election campaign for her one day.”

Is there anything else that Geordano Abreu desires besides the arts? If so, then what would it be?

“I like riding bicycles,” Abreu said. “It clears the mind, and it’s one of the things I like to do if I’m in a creative funk and need to step away from a project. Video games are dope too. I’m more into RPGs and other non-linear gameplay games.”

What would you tell someone that wants to get into graphic designing? Any words of wisdom?

“If you’re into the arts in general, just explore what you like, a little bit of everything that sparks you’re interested so that you know what you like the most,” he stated. “When you finally do find something you like, work on that. Please don’t wait to go to college to learn it; go to the internet and be resourceful. I was using illegal photoshop software up until college because it’s expensive. I can proudly say that now because I’ve gotten myself into a place where I can pay for it. It can get frustrating and sometimes makes you doubtful when you can’t get something right but what gets you through that is that initial passion that got you into it in the first place.”

Geordano won Best Poster at the Indian Indie Awards for his work in ‘Room 526.’

He currently resides in Washington Heights, Manhattan, NY with his wife.

Randy Johnson: The Big Picture

Randy Johnson: The Big Picture is a documentary that was originally programmed on the MLB Network. It’s available on YouTube for anyone that wants to see it. It’s a documentary about the life and career of “The Big Unit” Randy Johnson. He was one of the most intimidating pitchers of his generation. His size, serious face, and the mullet made you timid. I also can’t forget that he was a hard throwing pitcher. In the 1993 All-Star Game, Johnson threw a fastball over the head the Philadelphia Phillies first baseman John Kruk. It was a funny moment because of Kruk’s reaction.

Randy Johnson’s career didn’t take off until he got traded to the Seattle Mariners. The 1995 season was a season to remember for Randy and the city of Seattle. He won his first of five Cy Young Awards with an 18–2 record, 2.48 ERA and 294 strikeouts. The defining moment for Randy Johnson in 1995 came against the California Angels. Mariners and Angels faced off in the AL West one-game playoff; the winner wins the AL West division. Johnson struck out 12 batters to send the Mariners to the Division Series.

During his time with the Arizona Diamondbacks, he won the 2001 World Series against my New York Yankees. He shared Co-MVP with Curt Schilling. One of the things that drew me about this documentary is that Randy Johnson loves to do photography. I kinda got the idea when he was snapping pictures at Pedro Martinez during his Hall of Fame speech, but I didn’t think he was serious about it. Randy Johnson said in the documentary that he took photography classes when he was in college. I thought that was interesting and people should do whatever it makes them feel happy.

Randy Johnson is part of the exciting 2015 Hall of Fame class alongside with Craig Biggio, John Smoltz, and Pedro Martinez.

Kings Ransom

Kings Ransom is a documentary featured on ESPN’s 30 for 30 series based on Wayne Gretzky’s shocking trade to the Los Angeles Kings. Gretzky nicknamed “The Great One” was a star in Edmonton. He put Edmonton on the map and helped bring four Stanley Cup titles. Edmonton was the team of the 1980s and they loved their fellow Canadian Wayne Gretzky.

This episode of 30 for 30 is so fascinating because you get the details of behind of scenes of what went down between the Oilers former owner Peter Pocklington, Kings owner, and Wayne Gretzky. Can you imagine Michael Jordan being traded after winning his first three-peat? That’s insane to me. However, I’m not an owner either. Being a sports owner comes with a lot of tough decisions, especially when you’re talking about economics. If it were me, I would do everything I can in my power to keep Wayne by any means necessary.

Years later, Wayne understood the decision the owner made to trade him. The fans in Edmonton were furious. Pocklington received death threats: fans were thinking that Wayne Gretzky’s wife had something to do with it as well because she was an actress, and you know that Los Angeles is the primary city for the film industry. Wayne’s wife denied everything. Plus, she didn’t have time for acting anymore because she began to raise her kids.

Wayne Gretzky didn’t win no Stanley Cup titles in Los Angeles. He believes he could’ve won more with the Oilers. Gretzky could’ve finished his career with at least seven Stanley Cup titles.

Miguel’s Friday Thoughts

Welcome to Miguel’s Friday Thoughts! I will discuss last night’s Jazz/Clippers Game 2, Rudy Gobert winning the Defensive Player of the Year Award, and Julio Jones going to the Tennessee Titans. Buckle up! This is going to be fun.

Utah Jazz took a 2-0 lead over the Clippers in the series. The Jazz came out firing last night. Donovan Mitchell is emerging into a superstar. The second coming of Dywane Wade, and he is locked in. There’s a reason why the Jazz are the No.1 seed this year, and they play great at home. Jazz led as many as 19 in the game. In the 3rd quarter, the Clippers showed some fight. Reggie Jackson contributed a lot to his shooting, which resulted in the Clippers ending the 3rd quarter on a 31-17 run. Clippers played well in the 4th quarter and grabbed the lead until the game’s last five minutes. There were about three possessions where Bojan Bogdanovic played impressive defense on Kawhi Leonard. Leonard gave up the ball to Markieff Morris Sr and kept missing wide-open shots. If the Clippers made those wide-open shots, they would’ve won the game. Clippers missed nine straight field goals. Therefore, the Jazz capitalizes and puts them down in Game 2. Clippers head coach Ty Lue is not making the proper adjustments. I’m not too fond of the fact that he’s not using Rajon Rondo as much in the game. Rondo is not a guy that deserves to have DNP’s (Did Not Play, Coach’s Decision). This man is a 2-time champion. He’s been there, and he’s a vocal leader. You must have that guy on the floor.

Rudy Gobert won his third Defensive Player of the Year Award. He’s a helluva defensive monster. In my opinion, it should’ve gone to Sixers forward Ben Simmons. Simmons was sensational all year long from a defense standpoint. His defense is one of the reasons why the Philadelphia Sixers were the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Simmons losing to Gobert reminds me of that priceless interview Ben Simmons had with Rachel Nichols on ESPN. Simmons said, “He [guarded] me in Utah, and I had 42.” The best way for Ben Simmons to have the last laugh now is the win the NBA championship.

Wide Receiver Julio Jones found a new home in the Tennessee Titans. The Falcons traded Jones to the Titans. If you are a Titans fan, this is excellent news. Titans have another weapon in their offense to join running back Derrick Henry. How far will they go? I still think they need a few more pieces on defense. On paper, their offense looks legit, but they need more weapons on defense. After all, defense wins championships. You saw that with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season.

Sports Throwback Thursday: 2008 High School Trojans Baseball Championship Game

Welcome to Sports Throwback Thursday! On this edition, it’s necessary to take it back to my High School days. If you went to George Washington High School in New York during that time, you would know about the 2008 Trojans team. They won their first PSAL championship since 1997.

Friday, June 6, 2008. I could never forget this day. Two things were happening that day. Many of my classmates decided to cut to go to the beach and the Championship game between George Washington High School and Madison. Unfortunately, I didn’t go to either one. Six days prior, I turned 17 years old. In my parents’ mind, I was too young to go anywhere that far by myself. The beach was in Far Rockaway, Queens, and the championship game was in Shea Stadium at the time. I didn’t bother asking my parents because I knew what the answer was going to be.

Anyway, some of my classmates trooped to Shea Stadium to support the team’s school. I heard about the essential parts of the game days later when I returned to school. Miguel Nunez singled in a pair of runs to finally give the Trojans the lead in the top of the 11th. Francisco Rosado and Xyruse Martinez combined to shut out Madison. I knew Xyruse because we had lunch together and met through mutual friends. When I saw him in school, I congratulated him on the victory and for helping bring a title to George Washington High School. For every player that wore the jersey that year, they will never forget about this moment.

It fueled me to try out for the Varsity team the following season. It didn’t work out for me, but I’m happy that I tried and was able to see how the whole process is. It’s been almost 11 years since I graduated from High School, and I plan to catch a Trojans game at the school sometime in the future.

Suns Are Not Playing Around

The Phoenix Suns are not playing around in these playoffs. They defeated the Denver Nuggets in Game 2, 123-98, to take a 2-0 lead. The Suns have won five straight games.

This Suns team is playing with so much urgency. It’s not just CP3, but it’s the other players coming from the bench as well. We know what Devin Booker can do, but Mikal Bridges, Cameron Payne, Joe Crowder, and others make this team so deadly. They share the ball, play defense and shoot exceptionally well from the perimeter. Last night’s game made me believe that they can come out of the West. I would love for CP3 to get a ring, but it seems that the Brooklyn Nets are ruing everyone’s party with their depth. Suns have depth, too, but it might not be enough for them to beat the Nets.

I hate injuries. I don’t particularly appreciate when great players get hurt at the wrong time, but the Suns might have a chance against the Nets if one of their star players goes down. It’s just the reality. Injuries can shift the momentum of a series.

As for the Nuggets, they have been outplayed every step of the way during this series. Nuggets were not themselves in Game 2. They didn’t play with urgency, and nothing was going their way. If Jamal Murray wasn’t hurt, then this might’ve been a different conversation. It’s no excuse for the Nuggets, though, because they still have their league MVP Nikola Jokic, Aaron Gordon, and Michael Porter Jr., So the Nuggets have a chance to redeem themselves when they go back home for Games 3 and 4.

My Birthday Weekend in Vegas

Las Vegas is a city I have had my eye on since 2013. I planned to go to Las Vegas for my birthday in 2014. It would be my birthday/graduation celebration because my graduation happened the day before my birthday. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it happen back then. This time, for my 30th birthday, I needed to make this trip happen for sure. Vegas is a perfect place to celebrate your 21, 25, 30, etc.

At night, the weather is warm. But in the afternoon, it’s boiling. During this trip, I saw myself going back to my hotel suite and coming back out. Why? I needed to take a break from the heat, charge my phone, and change clothes.

Day 1: I went to the Encore Beach Club. It was Thursday, and I was one of the early folks to get there. The spot was unique. I had one guy introduce himself to me and started to make a conversation with me. I spoke with him, but at the same time, in my mind, I was careful because you can’t trust everyone in this world, especially when you’re in a city that you don’t recognize. By the way, I was by myself during this whole trip. Anyway, this guy told me that he’s from Denver, Colorado, and I told him I’m from New York. Long story short, we chatted for a bit, and that was that. He went his way, and I went my way. After the Encore Beach Club, I checked out other places such as TopGolf, Fountains at Bellagio, ate pizza at the Cosmopolitan Resort, etc.

Day 2: I felt more energized. The Poolside at the Flamingo Resort (the resort I was staying at) looks impressive. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get inside the pool because there were too many people. Before I left Vegas, I needed to take a picture with the “Welcome to Las Vegas Sign.” The Venetian Resort is probably my favorite resort on the strip because of how well it’s constructed. I had breakfast there in a place called “Chica Restaurant.” In the evening, I went to the Effiel Tower Viewing Deck, and it’s the best view you’ll ever find in Vegas. I took several pictures and videos of the gorgeous scenery at night. I have never been to a French Restaurant until that day. The place is called “Bardot Brasserie,” and I went there to have dessert. I tried a dessert called “Chocolate Macaron,” and it’s delicious.

Day 3: The last day of a trip is always bittersweet, especially if you enjoyed it so much. The start of this day was indeed something else. Around 7:34 am, I stepped out of the resort to take some pictures on my own using my tripod. But then, I witness a short fistfight between two females. It was hilarious to see a fight so early in the morning. I believe they were drinking and have been out all night.

Down below, you will see several pictures of this fantastic Birthday/Memorial Day weekend in Vegas.

Day 1

Former Giants Coach Jim Fassel Passed Away

It’s a sad day for New York sports fans, especially in the Giants community. Former New York Giants head coach Jim Fassel passed away. Fassel was 71 years old.

Jim Fassel was the head coach from 1997 through 2003. He was Coach of the Year in 1997 and took the Giants to the playoffs in his first year. It was the first of two heartbreaking losses that Fassel experienced as Giants head coach. Giants lost to the Minnesota Vikings in the wild card game.

In the 2000 NFL season, when the Giants had a 7-4 record, Fassel will forever be remembered for this quote during the press conference, “This team is going to the playoffs.” I was nine years old when I saw the press conference, and I never forgot about it. The Giants responded by ending the season on a five-game winning streak. They captured the No. 1 seed in the NFL. Before losing to the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl, the Giants beat the rival Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings.

The Giants went on to miss the playoffs for the following two seasons. Giants reached the playoffs in 2002 after winning the last game of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles to clinch a playoff berth. The second playoff heartbreak during the Fassel era is one that I hate to remember. The unbelievable comeback from the San Francisco 49ers. The giants were up 38-17 until the 49ers rallied back to win 41-38, ending the Giants season.

Jim Fassel was one heck of a coach. I was lucky enough to witness his coaching ability on my TV screen from 2000 through 2003. Rest in Peace, Coach!