J2: State of Play

It's been around for a little bit, but I'm glad this track was put out. This sends a message to the mainstream - Stop producing shitty music. Music has always been about marketing and flash more so than actual music. It has been for years. But now in the era of Beibers, Keshas and autotune, it's become more and more apparent. More so than ever, Hip Hop, if you can still call it that, joins the ranks in what I call, shitty pop music. Here's it's rebuttal:


J2: Air Jordan 2011 Preview (Tinker is back!)

Since the Air Jordan XX3, Jordan Brand took a huge turn in direction of the Air Jordan line. Being it a milestone for the brand (the last numbered Air Jordan in the series and commemorating MJ's jersey number), I wasn't looking forward to what the future held for Jordan. Especially after the Air Jordan 2009, falling way short in the design department, both aesthetically and on the technology side.

This year, however, is something some can look forward to. The design of the Air Jordan is an acquired taste for people. Some may say gimmicky, some may say "above it's time", and some just say "it's wack". The Air Jordan 2011, as always, is along those lines. This year, legendary Tinker Hatfield and senior footwear designer Tom Luedecke, team up to bring you a shoe unlike any other. And today was the unveiling:

Like every other Jordan in the brands history, the initial designs weren't too appealing at first site. But upon the unveiling, it's now starting to grow on me more and more. I say that every year, actually (with the exception of the 2009). This year, more than ever, combines style and performance.

The Air Jordan 2011 combines an all leather upper and a plain phylon midsole for a simple, sleek, and clean design. Another part of the upper is the first ever patina leather overlay. A special leather material never before used on an Air Jordan. Each sneaker is hand-burnished creating a design pattern that is distinctive to each pair. The right tongue is embossed with a Jumpman logo and the MJ Motorsports "23" on the other. The  cosmetic package is completed with a Jumpman on the heel.

In the performance department, the 2011 features a fully perforated upper with a vented tongue for breathability and easy-tight lacing system. The uppers act as a shell for the inner booty, seen on many classic Air Jordans and Nikes in the past (Air Jordan VII, Air Jordan VIII, Huarache Trainer, Air Zoom Kobe II etc.). The most notable feature of the 2011, which is a first in sneaker history is the interchangeable midsole. The midsole houses the cushioning for the sneaker which can be switched out, depending on the users game and preference. 

For the quick cutting guards who slash to the basket. The "Quick" midsole offers heel and forefoot Zoom for fast acting response. Most will ask, "why not full length Zoom?". Separating the Zoom into 2 components acts as independent suspension for the foot for easy heel to toe transition, as opposed to full length. For the smaller, faster guys, this is the ride for you. 

For players requiring a softer ride and more ample cushioning, the "Explosive" midsole would fit your game. The misole offers a 3/4 length Nike Air unit for higher impact cushioning and providing a less harsher ride than the Zoom. For the bigger forwards, big dunkers, this may be it for you. 

Finally, the sneaker sits on top of the first ever "green" rubber. Laid out with the iconic elephant print for traction, the Air Jordan 2011 is set and ready for wear on the hardwood for a $170 price tag. There's the preview, take it for what it's worth. There's one thing left- try 'em on. The question is: Is it all just a gimmick? Will it become a popular shoe, or will it succumb to the harsh reality of sitting on the outlet shelves?

The Air Jordan 2011 Commercial

For more information of how it came to be, click here.

Picture/video source: Nike Inc./Jordan Brand

J2: Boracay

Tree Top View

Another stop during my venture into Asia was Boracay Island in the Philippines. An hour flight away from Manila. I'd never been there before and I really didn't know what to expect. Honestly, the place blew me away. I've never been to a place where you can enjoy the luxuries of 5 star hotels, hype from local night clubs, music from live bands and the scenery and relaxation of the white sand beach. All within mere sandy footsteps away from each other.

Imagine the Las Vegas Strip, in a much smaller scale on white sand. With one side of the strip all restaurants, spas, nightclubs, resorts, bars, and shopping. And the other side: more white sand and crystal clear water. The island itself is very commercialized and very welcoming. Tourists from all over the world pass by everyday to take in the sights and enjoy what Boracay has to offer. If the "strip" doesn't satisfy you, the island is full of things to do - zip lining, ATV riding, zorbing (ride down a mountain in a giant hamster ball) and an 18-hole golf course.

Le Soleil/Boracay Island Map

The lower part of the island houses the main tourist attraction, the White Beach or what I like to call "The Strip". Like I mentioned, everything you'd ever want in a vacation is there. And then some, all over the rest of the island. The place is split up into 3 boat stations which are all connected together along the white beach. If you plan on going, I suggest Station 2, the more centralized, the better. Above, as indicated, is where we all stayed, Le Soleil Hotel Resort.

Le Soleil in the evening

Throughout my entire trip, I've probably had one of the best times there. The place is awesome. Especially when it's being spent with loads of family. Imagine this -

You wake up at 9am to a wide view of the beach from your resort, put on your robe and head to the lobby for your complimentary breakfast buffet by the sand. Spend the afternoon swimming, relaxing on the beach, or maybe go island hopping.  Rest at the resort for a couple hours enjoying your 2-for-1 Vodka Crans by the pool, maybe take a nap while soaking up sun. Once the evening rolls around, you decide to walk along the beach during sunset, stopping every so often to check out the local shops and head to one of the many grills, huts and restaurants for dinner. The sun goes down and you make your way to one of the local bars on the beach to have a few drinks and check out the live bands. You get a good buzz on and hit up a night club until 3 or 4am, when you have to stagger your drunk ass to your hotel room 2 minutes away. You feel physically tired but not totally sleepy, so you call up room service to get a masseuse sent to your room to get a nice, comfy massage as you pass out around 5am. Rinse and repeat. 

I loved it there and I would definitely go back.

If you're planning and want info on our accommodations, click here.


NT: January Pick-Up

Technically these are December pick-ups. 
But since I was on holiday,
I couldn't get my hands on them until I got back. 
Peace, NTers.

Following my "One to rock, one to stock" philosophy:

Air Jordan XI
(Cool Grey/Medium Grey-White)

  Air Jordan XIII
(White/Varsity Red-Black)

For more of NT's January Pick-Ups, click here

J2 DIY: "The McGangbang"

Nothing satisfies hangovers and the munchies more than greasy, fattening, bio hazardous food. I love food. I love food even more when I need to cure a hangover or succumb to the munchies. I hate McDonalds. In fact, before the holidays, I hadn't touched the stuff in months. But when you have the munchies, you'd eat just about anything. And as such, our "4th on 4th Crew" decided we should have the "McGangbang".

J2's "How to make a McGangbang" 

Step 1
Munchies? Hangover? Or simply cannot decide what to order off the McDonald's menu? Buy yourself a Big Mac and a McChicken.

Step 2
Take off the top portion of the Big Mac. The first "all-beef" patty and the bun. If you have a double Big Mac, you may remove the top bun and both patties.

Step 3
Take the McChicken out of the box.

Step 4
Place the McChicken in it's entirety on top of the base of the Big Mac and complete the assembly by placing the top portion of the Big Mac on top.

Step 5

There it is, the McGangbang.
Multiple layers of McAwesome! 
Cure your craving and enjoy it as much as I did.


J2: "Sparks Fly"

No, not the Taylor Swift song. Hahaha.
But New Years Eve is the time to let "Sparks Fly".
And 4000 Pesos, a couple of matches, some alcohol
and a 10 second countdown later,
we have ourselves a party. 

And our Sky Bomb

New Years in the Philippines FTW


J2: "Home"-sick

I spent a month in the Philippines. I THOUGHT I was ready to go home. But upon pushing my cart piled with my luggage and saying my "bye" to my family both local and immediate, I realized I wasn't ready. That was the longest flight home for me. Knowing I left what had been my home for 4 weeks coming back to an empty house by myself in the blistering cold, left me utterly depressed and I felt the need to pick up and leave again. If only money wasn't an issue.

I rang in the New Year at home by getting off a 12 hour flight from Hong Kong, entering Canadian soil as I checked my phone: messages from banks, my office, the Canada Revenue Agency, Calgary BMW, all with important notices, duties, and reminders . And it hit me: Welcome to reality. Welcome to 2011. It kicked it when I finally got off my jet-lagged state and getting into my house with more letters and reminders with a shit load of bills to pay, things to sign, and phone calls to make. On top of all that, after my cold, long commute top my office, my coordinator/manager appointed me lead designer for a project at work. Yup, reality is definitely settling in.

The more reality sinks in, the more I think about what I considered "home" during the holiday season. I loved it there. It's hot as fuck, though. If it were up to me,  I would turn down the biological thermostat just a wee bit to make me feel even more at home. But hey, whatever. What I loved about that place are the people. My family. A blast to be around. Thanks everyone for the laughs, the talks, blowing up fireworks on NYE, 2 hour commutes JUST to go to the mall, the drinking games, the silly bets and deals, the partying, the drunken antics we barely remember the next day, and all in all, thanks for the all the memories. I will be back. Hopefully it won't take another 5 years. But I did promise to make it sooner. I just have to live up to it.