All posts by Adrian Spinelli

Music. Food. Sports. Chill.

On the Radar: The Alabama Shakes

If you’re a regular ‘Morning Becomes Eclectic’ listener on KCRW, then you’ve probably found yourself enamored with the voice of Alabama Shakes’ lead singer Brittany Howard. She oozes soul and raw emotion, evoking shades of Dap Kings frontwoman Sharon Jones.

The Shakes are from you guessed it, Alabama and have put together a unique blend of soulful Southern blues rock that’s drawing critical acclaim, namely by wowing crowds at SXSW.

Their first single ‘Hold On’ will stay in your head long after you’ve heard it and is nothing short of a musical masterpiece:

Here’s a clip of the Shakes performing ‘Be Mine’ on the aforementioned Morning becomes Eclectic:

And my love for this band and Howard’s marvelous voice grows…

One final Easter Egg, a link to their entire Morning Becomes Eclectic set, where you can either listen in or watch the live studio session. I highly recommend the KCRW iphone app, which boasts a live stream, the Eclectic 24 station and has archives of all in studio performances from MBE (recent highlights include Sharon von Etten, Cate Le Bon and Tycho ).

The Alabama Shakes‘ debut LP ‘Boys & Girls’ is officially released tomorrow, April 10th.


The Art of Patrick Nagel

I remember when I was a kid and my old man (then single) had a Nagel print in his bedroom. I always liked it, but didn’t really understand it. Now that I can better appreciate Patrick Nagel’s work, I realize how baller it was for my Dad to have that print up in his room….

Nagel was popularized making art for Playboy in the late 70’s and then really hit it big when his art graced the cover of Duran Duran’s ‘Rio’ album in 1982. What I love about Nagel’s work, is how he captures the changing style and look of the modern woman as she exits the 70’s and arrives in the 80’s. His subjects are the embodiment of 80’s beauty and really set the standard for the style of the decade.

Here’s some favorites:

The Classic.

That look always made me think of Everything But The Girl’s Tracey Thorne.

Through the shutters...
The Eyes....
The Album Cover
The nipples, reminiscent of a record...
The shades...

Like what you see? Check out more on


Grimes – Visions

Everything But The Girl – Walking Wounded

Geographer – Animal Shapes

From the Top 9 Vault: The Top 9 Simpsons Episodes

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of my favorite Simpsons episode of all-time (spoiler alert), ‘Homer at the Bat’ and I couldn’t help but unearth this Top 9 List from an old blog post i wrote, strangely enough, 2 years ago today (just noticed the date, how random is that?!!?).  Until I read the article linked above, I never realized how poignant ‘Homer at the Bat’ was in the history of one of the longest running TV shows of all time. It appealed to the baseball geek in me then and still does today, but it’s cultural significance lives on. Below, is the Top 9 list I made 2 years ago and I still stand by the ranking of all of these. I miss the heyday of my favorite show and don’t care much for the new episodes that still air on the same Sunday primetime slot I watched when I was younger…in fact, I dont even watch it anymore. But we’ll always have the classics, and with that said, here’s the list:


9. Deep Space Homer – Homer turns out to be just “blue collared enough” to drive the ratings of NASA’s next space shuttle launch. NASA was losing in the ratings poll to “A Connie Chung Christmas” and something had to be done. We find out that NASA is actually run by super intelligent chimpanzees as Homer takes off into space, nearly destroys the mission, but saves the day at the end…Along with the help of James Taylor’s unique breed of folk rock and the all-too important “inanimate carbon rod”.

Memorable quote: “Careful! They’re rippled!” — Buzz Aldrin

8. Two Bad Neighbors – In the midst of an Evergreen Terrace Rummage sale, George H. Bush stops the party and moves in across the street from the Simpsons. A Dennis the Menace/Mr. Wilson relationship ensues between Bush and Bart and a war of the roses between Bush and Team Simpson (Homer and Bart) has a rainbow afro glued to Bush’s head and a swarm of locusts invading Bush’s personal space. In the end, living across the street from the Simpsons proves to be impossible for George and the sweetheart that is Barbara Bush. Meanwhile, Homer discovers that he and Gerald Ford are kindred spirits on their way to watch football, eat nachos and drink beer.

Memorable quote: “I come to bring you gift for warming of house, but instead I find you wrestling with local oaf?” — Mikhail Gorbachev

7. Colonel Homer – This is a favorite for sure. Tammy Wynette, stars as the voice of country bar singer Lurleen Lumpkin. Her sweet melodies touch Homer with their straight to heart honesty (“Well…except for the pickup truck part”) and Homer embarks on a mission to manage Lurleen to stardom. The songs are beautifully written and Wynette churns out a couple of classic songs, that if you buy me a drink, I’ll sing for you. In the end, Homer chooses his marriage over the prospect of shacking up with Lurleen and guiding her to stardom and sells her contract for $50 to a music exec.

Memorable Quote: “As much as I hate that man right now…You gotta love that suit!”– Bart

6. Bart the Murderer – Bart is reminiscent of Ray Liotta in ‘Goodfellas’ as he stumbles (literally) into a job as a bar man for Fat Tony and his mob. Principal Skinner goes missing and the mobsters are prime suspects, they betray Bart and explain to the court that “the boy was in charge of the whole operation”. In the end, Skinner reappears, Bart is exonerated and Neil Patrick Harris plays Bart in the made for TV movie.

Memorable Quote: “What have I done to deserve this flat flavorless Manhattan?” –Mob Boss

5. Simpson and Delilah – In this early season (2) classic, Homer discovers a new miracle baldness cure, Demoxinil, but can’t afford it and charges it to the company insurance policy. He wakes up with a full head of hair and races down the streets of Springfield notifying the world. My favorite scene of all time happens when Homer and a random stranger meet in front of the Jebediah Springfield statue after they’ve both been running at the street proclaiming “I have hair!” They bump into each other, face-to-face, squint and in unison shout “Demoxinil!!!” They hug, high five and dance as it cuts to a commercial. Epic.

Memorable Quote: “Dry fish-sticks! This sucks!” — Homer

4. Flaming Moe’s – To avoid spending any time with Marge’s sisters, Patty&Selma, Homer ducks away to the kitchen to make a cocktail. The beer ran out, so Homer threw everything, but the kitchen sink into the drink. He doesn’t notice until the end that he slipped some ‘Krusty brand non-narkotic children’s cough syrup’ into the concoction. When one of Patty’s cigarette embers falls into the drink, a large conflagration arises and the drink becomes instantly delicious. Homer shares the recipe of his “Flaming Homer” with Moe the bartender, who promptly steals the idea and markets the shit out of the “Flaming Moe”. Moe’s tavern quickly becomes the hottest spot in town, purely because of the Flaming Moe. Aerosmith performs on the pool table and Moe sings along. Just as Moe is about to sell the drink for $1 million (which his bar maid convinced him to split with Homer), Homer appears from the darkness of the pub, a la Phantom of the Opera and reveals the secret ingredient of the Flaming Moe: children’s cough syrup. The contract gets torn up and Flaming Moe carts start appearing at every corner. Moe’s goes back to being the comfortbale dankpit that Homer and the bar flies used to enjoy.

Memorable Quote: “Hey, Homer came up with the drink, but I came up with the idea of charging $6.95 for it.” — Moe

3.5 Homer vs. the 18th Amendment – I had to slip this one in at the last minute. Who can forget when Bart got drunk at the Springfield St.Patrick’s Day parade, was all over the news and led to prohibiton in Springfield? Of course, this prompted Homer to bootleg liquor, build a distillery in his basement and keep the town drunk via his alter Ego: The Beer Baron. Rex Banner was brought in to replace the banished Chief Wiggum and ultimately chase down the elusive Beer Baron. When the pointless prohibiton law was discovered to have never been in place, Wiggum returns, Homer is exposed and Rex Banner gets catapulted out of town, literally.

Memorable Quote: “To alcohol! The Cause of and solution to all of life’s problems!”

3. Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk – Mr.Burns dupes the Germans into buying his leaky nuclear power plant. They instill their German business techniques and Homer is clearly the odd man out. The best daydream sequence this show has ever seen comes when an elated Homer dreams about “The Land of Chocolate.” The power plant stock booms, but Homer recently sold his shares for “a cool 25 bucks!”. Finally the Germans have had enough of their terrible investment and sell the plant back to Mr.Burns for “a most unreasonable price.” Homer gets his job back.

Memorable Quote: “Homer Simpson, sir. Sector sieben-Grueber, I mean, sector 7-G.” — Smithers

2. Itchy & Scratchy Land – “Smashy!Smashy!” The Simpsons take a family vacation to Itchy & Scratchy Land…”Where nothing could possiblye go wrong…uh…possibly go wrong…Thats the first time something’s ever gone wrong.” This is the greatest theme park ever assembled. While Bart and Lisa are having fun at “Searing Gas Pain Land” and “Unnecessary Surgery Land”, Homer and Marge are celebrating New Year’s “Every 10 minutes” at TGI McScratchy’s on “Parent’s Island”… Then, everything goes wrong. Bart and Homer get locked up by the park police for kicking the guy in the Itchy suit and the parade robots turn against all of the park goers. As the park is evacuated, The Simpsons are purposefully left behind. “When you get to hell, tell ’em Itchy sent you!” It’s a family triumph as the Simpsons ultimately detonate the robots en route to “the greatest vacation ever!”

Memorable Quote: “Attention Marge Simpson. Your son has been arrested……..Attention Marge Simpson: Your older, fatter, balder son has also been arrested.” — Voice over PA system in the gift shop.

1. Homer at the Bat – The single greatest episode of all-time. I’ll fight you for it too. Maybe its just cause I’m a baseball nut, but it doesnt get any better than when when Mr.Burns recruits 9 prominent major leaguers and gives them token jobs so they can compete on the company softball team and help him win a $1 million bet. Of course major catastrophes happen to 8 of them and all of the employees have to take the field for the championship game against Shelbyville. All except Homer, of course. Since nothing happened to Daryl Strawberry, who plays his position, right field. In the end, Mr.Burns plays the percentages and pinch hits the right handed Homer, for the lefty Strawberry with the bases loaded. Homer gets hit in the head with the pitch and Springfield wins. The rest is softball (and Simpsons) history.

Memorable Quote: “You watch too many movies Sax.” — Lou

and finally, for your listening pleasure:

‘We’re Talkin Softball’

Playlist for a Trip Around The World…

So after a month of globetrottin’, I’m back at home in SF. My body made it just long enough to get me back and then promptly broke down. But it was 100% worth it.  Another trip around the world down with the memories to prove it. I couldn’t have kept the energy alive without the tunes I bumped everyday. I usually jot down a short playlist at the end of every post of whatever i’ve been listening to at the time, but I wanted to pay homage to the tracks that comprised the soundtrack of my trip. Each one of these evokes the noastalgia of moments on this trip.  So check em out, listen, discover and enjoy!

Futebol – Brazilian Soccer

So I had the pleasure of going to see my favorite Brazilian league team since childhood, Corinthians play a game on Sunday. My buddy Fernando and I went to stadium famously know as ‘Pacaembu’ named after the part of town its in. Here’s a shot of the stadium facade:

Fernando and I have been friends for a long time. He’s worked with my Dad for damn near a decade and everytime I come to Brazil we historically hit the town as hard as possible, ‘cept ‘Nando’s had to tone it down a bit since getting married and having a kid, i was in Brazil for the wedding 4 years ago and it was epic… But the days of us pre-gaming with vodka, smirnoff ice and beer at the gas station before hitting the club are gone (It’s very common in Brazil to pre-funk while parked at the gas stations that sell all sorts of booze). Now, I’m simply stoked to pry him away from the family for a Sunday of Futebol do Corinthians! Both of our favorite team. There’s a slew of beer vendors with styrofoam coolers outside of the stadium (all totally illegal of course) and we had a few rounds before the game:

Soccer in Brazil took a turn for the worst near the start of the new millenium. Rioting was happening way too often at major games and organized cheer sections were ordered to disband for the role they played in these deadly riots. Corinthians is the only team whose primary cheer section, Gavioes da Fiel (translates into ‘Faithful Hawks’), was allowed to remain organized, since they doubled as a major National samba school. It’s pretty sweet, cause the samba crews are in the stands at the game and the fans just go crazy when they hear the drums and the team songs. Everyone sings along and everyone knows all the words. I rememeber the team anthem and the simple chants, but you pick the other ones up pretty easily, we’re not talking a complex opus here 🙂

It was a hot sunny Sunday and Corinthinas were playing lowly Linense from the inner part of the state of Sao Paulo. Corinthinas is based in the heart of the city of Sao Paulo and is one of 3 major teams based out of here. They’re really like the Raiders of the Brazilian league. They play tough, physical soccer and have a notorious reputation for doing so, as do their fans. Brazilian soccer by nature is very physical and gritty. Unlike the super technical and precise English Premier league, the Brazilian style features HARD fouls (a lot of em), lots of flopping and just flat out agressive soccer.

The first half ended in a 0-0 draw and i told myself that i’d be pretty pissed if i left the stadium and the team i grew to love as a kid, that i hadn’t seen in person in I dont know how long, drew against a crappy squad like Linense. 30 minutes into the 2nd half, there was still no score and I was getting nervous, but 5 minutes later, Corinthians striker Emerson absolutely blasted a shot from the right side just outside the box that ended the draw, 1-0 Corinthians and the crowd went totally nuts:

The chant is “Timao-aaaaooooo! Eh-Oh! Timao-aaaaooo! Eh-Oh!!” Which means “Best team” or “Biggest team” or “Our team”… In Portuguese, one word or one conjugation can have many meanings.

The game was pretty badass and thats how it ended, 1 X 0 for Corinthians. As we filed out of the stadium, a big sign reading “Cultura de Paz” (“Culture of Peace”) was boldly imprinted on the rafters for all to see as they leave. This is another indicator of the reformation of the hooliganism of old in Futebol:

One final reminder to keep the peace and not fight with each other as you leave. The police force is pretty stacked at the game, you can see some of them along the track in the video. The visiting team had a small section across the stadium from where we were and theres a dedicated force standing along their section as well.

As we left and got near the car, the day wasn’t complete without stopping for some local street food. Today’s fix, a Brazilian style pulled pork sandwich and a Guarana (Brazilian soda…it rules). This felt just like grabbing a Mission/Downtown LA famous bacon wrapped hot dog and i couldn’t resist taking the classic bacon wrapped hot dog photo with the sando:

And that’s how we do a day of Futebol no Brasil! Tchau pra todos!



Criolo – No na Orelha

Future Islands – In Evening Air

Grieves – Together/Apart

Pretty Lights – After Midnight LIVE Mix

White Denim – D

James Blake – James Blake

Gardens & Villa – Gardens & Villa

Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Show Your Bones

The Search for Edno de Souza…

I’ve been in Brazil for about 10 days. It’s been great thus far. It took around 4 days to get over the jet lag from South Korea; it was no joke, i couldnt keep my eyes open at like 6pm and was literally falling asleep while standing up.  A weekend trip to the beach was the perfect de-compression and I’ve been lounging in Sao Paulo (my Dad lives in Sao Bernado do Campo, about 30 minutes away from the main city center, towards the coast). I’ve got a car and local cellphone at my disposal and it’s been key to hit up the city whenever I want.

Driving in Sao Paulo is always an adventure, especially since my Accord in SF is an automatic. Suffice it to say, I’ve been catching up on my stick shift skills. It’s raining cats and dogs here on the regular and i was basically thrown out there for the sharks with the car. It was either ‘remember how to drive a stick pretty damn quick, or you’re gonna crash.’ I laughed out loud to myself in the car a few times about how crazy the driving is out here and how close i was coming to running into shit…But i didn’t, ha!

I met my grandfather for lunch yesterday and to my surprise, my Uncle Alex and cousin Anna Luiza were there too. It made me super happy to see more family:

My grandfather (Nonno, in Italian) is my favorite person in the world. Nonno is 82 and as healthy as can be. I came to Brazil for his 80th birthday two years ago and not only did he celebrate his bday, but also his marriage to a lovely lady 20 years younger than him. (My grandmother passed away 32 years ago and we were all happy that Nonno found someone to spend the later years of his life with). Giuseppe Spinelli moved from Italy to Brazil when he was 17, met my grandmother and had 4 boys, who all built their own families thereafter in Sao Paulo (My Dad is the oldest of the four.)

At any rate, seeing my family was a huge part of why I wanted to come to Brazil after my trip to Korea. But I must admit, as I enter what I hope to be my final career transition and seeing as my Dad will be gone all of next week on business, I wanted to take this opportunity to network and meet people in the Brazilian sport industry. I wish I could experience the complete immersion in the industry that I went through in Korea, but that’s a longshot at best. What I’m left with is my own research, exisiting connections that could lead to others and people my family could point me to.

I’ve got a meeting setup with a sports writer for a major daily newspaper in Sao Paulo next Tuesday in hopes of learning more about the exisiting infrastructure in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup and understanding more about the role that other countries (USA, for one) and their businesses are playing in Brazil right now. On Weds or Thurs, I’ll be heading to a city called Vinhedo where an old family friend, Harry Hull lives. I’ll be meeting with one of Harry’s close friends who has a lot of ties to International soccer here in Brazil.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking: Who the hell is Edno de Souza??? Through some research over the past few months, I’ve learned that the Tampa Bay Rays have plans to build a baseball academy in a small city in the state of Sao Paulo called Marilia. This would be the first time that a Major League Baseball team establishes a bonafide presence in Brazil. This is a really big deal for Brazil and my expectation is that over the years, Brazil could be exporting the kind of talent into baseball that countries like Columbia and Venezuela have. Edno de Souza, is Tampa’s number one guy on the ground in Brazil and all of South America. Nothing happens in the Marilia project without Edno overseeing it all. Here’s a great, albeit older piece on the Rays’ efforts to cultivate Brazilian baseball players through the academy in Marilia.

Here’s the catch (no pun): I can’t find contact information for Edno de Souza anywhere… there’s a LinkedIn account with 1 connection (clearly dormant), I’ve sent e-mails to the city of Marilia, the Marilia newspaper, the Tampa Bay Rays, etc… and I just can’t track this guy down. Heck, I’m starting to feel like Nicolas Cage’s Charlie Kaufmman, chasing down Meryl Streep’s Susan Orlean in ‘Adaptation’. I’m fascinated by the idea of a major league baseball team coming to Brazil. In researching, i’ve found that Brazil’s baseball scene is much bigger than I would’ve ever imagined. There are actual leagues operating here out of smaller cities, largely in the state of Sao Paulo and MLB International makes its presence felt via occassional clinics.

While finding de Souza might represent a sort of holy grail for me while i’m out here, the path i take in looking for him is inadvertently teaching me more about baseball in Brazil. (In fact, while grabbing links for this post, I’ve already found some new leads on Edno). My career goals are all over the map, literally. I love San Francisco, want to be there for a long time, but being based out of California and have the ability to travel to Brazil regularly for a sport organization is my dream. We’ll see what happens next week…..


Play List:

Seu Jorge – The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions – SJ’s covers of David Bowie tracks in Portuguese

My Bloody Valentine – Loveless – A timeless album. This is ‘Soon’

Zero 7 – Simple Things – The first and still their best album.

Criolo – No Na Orelha – New Brazilian artist i added to the arsenal. Check it: ‘Nao Existe Amor em SP’

Median – The Sender

Atlas Sound – Parallax

Atlas Sound – Logos

Givers –  In Light

LCD Sundsystem – LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver

Ulrich Schnauss – A Strangely Isolated Place

Geographer – Animal Shapes – Coming to a Mike Torres bday party near you….

Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner – Another fine Ghostly International artist

No Age – Everything in Between

The Art of Brazilian BBQ (Churrasco)

So I spent the weekend at the Spinelli family beach hideaway in the Riviera de Sao Lourenco in the northern part of the state of Sao Paulo. We’ve been going there for the better part of the last decade and my Pops has been building a new house up there. We’ve had a sweet little 3 bedroom spot for some years now and the outside area looks like this:

At any rate, there’s nothing to top off a day at the beach quite like coming back and having a big bbq, Brazilian style. I’ve gone all out and done a Brazilian bbq in California a couple of times: The ever jolly Dallas Byelery’s 29th bday in Redondo Beach and the France vs. Brazil match from the 2006 World Cup at my old pad in Goleta (let’s not talk about what happened in that match,  but we’ll just say the food stole the show). And lately, i usually make Brazilian style marinaded wings for football game tailgates.  Follow along and i’ll drop some knowledge on the Art of Brazilian bbq (Churrasco):

1) It’s good to have many different cuts of meat:

In this spread, you’ve got 2 different ribeye cuts, linguica (brazilian sausage, not the smoked portuguese one common in america), seasoned chicken wings and the ham shaped roast is Picanha, the most traditional Brazilian cut. I’ve seen it translated into everything from rump roast to top sirloin, but the way its butchered in Brazil is unique. It’s seasoned, like most meats are for Churrasco in rock salt and ONLY rock salt. It locks in the moisture and keeps the meat super juicy and delicious.

2) Make sure you’ve got a legit barbecue with wood coals:

This particular one is a rack stlye cooker. it’s also common to have bricks with holes lining the back wall to accomodate large skewers with a single roast on each one. You’ll see this at a Fogo de Chao anywhere in the US, or at Espetus in SF. Here, you have the linguica and the chicken wings cooking over a hot open flame.

3) One word: Caipirinha. The most traditional Brazilian drink is made with pinga (also called cachaca or aguardente), which is distilled from sugar cane, muddled together with sugar and lime, that’s it. Here’s a saucy little pitcher i whipped up:

Caipirnhas and beer are complementary products. Once you’ve run out of lime or got too lazy to get up and make more, just start slugging beer. It’s awesome.

4) Lots of side dishes:

Here’s my stepmom stirring a mushroom risotto:

She also made farofa, which is made with corn or mandioc flour cooked with oil, bacon, onion, eggs, carrots and anything else you can slip in there. You dip the meat in it, eat it with bread. It’s very versatile and 100% delicious:

I put together my signature vinaigrette: Onions, tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano and my special touch, pickled mushrooms:

This stuff helps wash everything down. We eat a lot of bread with churrasco too and topping bread off with the vinaigrette is clutch. Salads and crisp veggies are always a part of the equation as well.

Here’s the spread before the final meat is done:

5) Finally, there is the meat. Here’s the picanha being cooked:

Next, Pops slicing the roast:

And here’s the finished product on my plate after a final brush with rock salt and 30 seconds on the grill:

Looks good, huh? And wait, what’s that? You’re still hungry after all of that? Ok, throw more on:

Not bad, huh? Ok, I made myself hungry re-hashing all of this so i apologize for doing it to you as well.  If you’re wondering , here’s what a real Brazilian (who did absolutely nothing to put this together, but we still love her) thought of the fare:

Until next time, I’ll be on the treadmill.



Passion Pit – Manners

Pavement – Slanted and Enchated

Jorge Ben Jor – Negro e Lindo (Here’s my favorite jam off one of this Brazilian master’s many albums; written about Muhammad Ali)

Metronomy – The English Riviera (if you like Destroyer, you’ll love these guys. This is ‘The Bay’)

Cut Copy – In Ghost Colors

Holy Ghost! – Holy Ghost! (I cant stop listening to this)

Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs (Their headlining set at treasure Island really opened my eyes to this fantastic album. This one kills it)

Real Estate – Days

New Order – Ceremony (My Dad loves this and so do I…Here’s a classic)

Caribou – Swim

Hot Chip – Made in the Dark

People Watching in Dubai

I’m about halfway through my 5 hour layover in Dubai and i’m posted up on a cushioned one seater at a starbucks; sipping green tea and watching the thousanda of people in transit walking by. I’d upload a pic of my vantage point, but the wifi here is terrible. You’d think a country with an infrastructure this rich, would have a stable connection to the internet at the airport, but alas, that is not the case. With that, all i’m left with to describe this scene is words…

This is the first time i’ve touched down on middle eastern soil and it’s been quite a culture shock. Way more so than in Korea. For starters, the main strip of the departure terminal is a seemingly endless Duty Free shopping center. Every name brand you can think of is represented here. It’s clear that i’m in an arab nation, as all signs are both in english and arabic. Many arab women are fully covered, exposing only their facial features. Next to the bathrooms, are ‘prayer rooms’ and periodically, an islamic prayer chant can be heard over the PA.

Not to be lost, however, is how multinational the people in this airport are. Every step i take, i hear a new language. There are arabs, africans, europeans, americans, asians… All of many varieties. I’ve been chatting with a guy from South Africa who builds golf courses in China… It makes me wonder what’s beyond the walls of the airport? Is this a microcosm for the cultural representation of the city or is everyone just trying to make the most out of their layover just like me?

In just under 3 hours, i’ll be on my way to Brazil. Havent been back “home” in 2 years. But right now, i cant stop thinking about Seoul. As soon as i left the city and got on the express train from Seoul station to Incheon airport, i started to feel the uncomfortably familiar feeling of nostalgia and longing that i’ve come to know when travelling alone. It must’ve been bottled up as i experienced Seoul with 25 classmates. But this is the emotion you feel when you’re in a transition period. You put what youve just experienced into perspective and realize how lucky you are to have been there. You miss the people you were with and you think about the next phase of your journey and do what you can to calm the anxiety. And i’ve been here before…i remember this feeling… When you’re somehere youve never been before and you ponder what a massive planet this is. Here it goes again…….



Pretty Lights – Taking Up Your Precious Time (was on repeat the entire 10 hr flight from Seoul…lulled me to sleep and brought me back to consciousness)
The Orb – The Orb’s Adventures Beyong the Ultraworld

The Ultimate Goodie Bag

Well, i’m sitting on our bus on this last day of our Korea trip. I really love it here. Theres been no shortage of places to see, food to eat, bars to crawl to, etc… Easily the best part of this trip however, has been our daytime itinerary that Dr. Choi prepared for us. He’s called in sooo many favors from colleagues of his, as we visit 3-4 sport related sites a day. The formats are all pretty similar: we visit the facility/stadium/arena/office, they show us around and then give a presentation on their business and what they do, followed my q&a/discussion. We’ve met with everything from basketball teams and sport marketing firms to newspapers and the site of the 2018 Olympics in Pyeonchang. All awesome in their own regard.

As if it wasn’t cool enough, about half of the places we visited gave us gifts to take home. The Korean people have been so gracious and i wanted to share some photos of what we’ve received:

The folks at Coca-cola Korea gave us a really nice notebook and branded pen:


The NC Dinos expansion baseball team gave us an awesome ball cap and gorgeous moleskine planner/agenda:


Sports Toto, a Korean online sports betting company gave us a classy wallet/money clip:


The KT (Korea Telecomm) Sonicboom basketball team gave us a sweet t-shirt after the game we watched in Busan:


We visited the largest newspaper in Korea, Chosanilbo, who printed us each the front page of their paper from the day we were born, a mockup front page with our class photo in front of their facility and a really snazzy doo-rag/beanie/headband:


As you can see, we’re not talking chapstick and branded sunscreen spray here. This is some truly nice and thoughtful stuff, that we’re all gonna use. Not to mention the slew of lunches we’ve been treated to, etc…

We’re on our way to visit the SK Wyverns baseball stadium right now. Everyone’s flight but mine leaves at 5:40 pm (its 11:30 am here now). My flight to Brazil leaves at 11:55 pm and i’ve got an additional half day ahead of me tonight. After we drop my classmates at the airport, Dr. Choi and I are meeting with a sports reporter who wants to write a piece on our visit to Korea (everyone is very excited and interested that we’re here. The NC Dinos even issued a press release on our visit to their offices that was published later that day.) I’ll say goodbye to Dr. Choi at 6 and he arranged for me to then go to dinner with Sae Young Park, whom we visited yesterday at her company ‘Minus 1 Golf.’

Words can’t express how grateful I am that Dr. Choi has arranged the end of the day for me and for the entire trip in and of itself. This has been an unforgettable week and i’ve experieced more than i could’ve imagined. I’m ready for the next step in Brazil, but i already treasure the time i’ve had in Korea, the people that experienced it with me, an the people and organizations we were introduced to. What an amazing country filled with incredible people.

More than impressed,

Adrian Spinelli


Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
Little Brother – The Minstrel Show
Starfucker- Starfucker
Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die
Future Islands – In Evening Air
Robyn – Body Talk Part 1
Gang Starr – Hard to Earn
Hieroglyphics – 3rd Eye Vision
Feist – Open Season (remixes and b-sides)
Blind Pilot – 3 Rounds and a Sound
Spoon – Ga ga ga ga ga

Nightlife in Korea

“This is Mihn Guk and Jin” Dr. Choi said. “They’re Sport mgmt students here in Korea and will be assisting us all week.” [Dr. Choi turns his head slightly and cleary looks at me while still addressing the whole group] “And don’t get them drunk..” It’s almost as if i heard him say: “go get these guys hammered” and i knew then and there what i had to do. Loop Jin and Mihn Guk into our group debauchery and hit this town hard with a couple locals…

Our first full day in Seoul called for an all out group outing. What better to build the group energy than going out and getting absolutely hammered and dancing our faces off? The night before, shortly after arriving in the city, 6 of us went on a stroll through the milder part of the Gang-nam station area. Most alcohol serving establishments there are restaurants and you could easily tell that the custom at these types of joints is to eat and drink. In other words, you cant just stroll into a restaurant and order booze without getting food too. We happened to find a lounge bar and knocked back a few korean beers and met a new friend, ‘Uncle Park’ as he liked to be called, who insisted on buying us rounds:



Night number two was a different story. We started at a legit Korean bbq joint and the soju (somewhere in between vodka and sake, cheap and smooth; lots of fun) and beer started flowing, while the bacon and bulgogi was sizzlin:

Tina and Erika cookin up the bacon (or ‘The people’s meat’ as they call it in Korea)



Bulgogi beef with enoki mushrooms sizzling:



The aftermath:




Having Jin and Mihn Guk around helped us find the happening part of Gang-Nam. While there were restaurants in the area, clubs and pubs prevailed. Our fix for the night, was Noise Bassment:


18 American students and 2 Koreans walked down the steps and the shit got real. Korean kids were doin the dougie in a corner or killin it on the dance floor, which we promptly took over. I got the impression that Jin and Mihn Guk weren’t the biggest party animals, but it was nothing a few beers and jack and cokes couldnt take care of. Before long, i had Jin doing my infamous ‘crab walk’ on the dance floor and everyone was jumping up and down to good old American bubblegum pop. Nothing says go get shitfaced on the dance floor in Korea quite like Katy Perry and Lil John.

On the stroll home, we hit up a tempura stand for tempura squid, deep fried dumplings and deep fried corn dogs (trust me they’re glorious):




Last night, we returned to Gang-nams happenin’ drag and got the games started with drinks from a liquor stand. Jack and coke tastes soooo good out of a zip lock bag:



Me and my classmate Ryan spotted a sign that had a lucky cat with a microphone. We thought this was probably a karaoke bar and took the elevator to the 7th floor to scope it out. It didnt take long until 10 of us had a VERY cushy private room and were blaring out renditions of everything from Beyonce and Offspring to 50 cent and Boys II Men. They didnt serve alcohol there, but bringing in your own booze from the 7-eleven downstairs was game. Add some 1.6 L bottles of korean beer and soju to the mix and the festivities looked something like this:



So there you have it… Korea definitely does not suck. Until next time, heres the double battered corndog commandos, saying goodbye!



Holy Ghost! – Holy Ghost!
Hard Mix – Defaults
Modest Mouse – The Lonesome Crowded West