Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Crashing a Jeep in Uncharted 4

Here's me crashing a jeep over and over on purpose because I think it's funny to hear them scream in the middle of their dialogue.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Bummer.

I never thought they had a good chance of beating the Patriots. But it would have been nice to see them get farther than before.

So much regular season magic, none in the playoffs.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Chiefs 27, Steelers 23

Divisional Picks

Chiefs -1
Packers +5
Falcons -4.5
Patriots -16

2017 Master Kansas City Barbecue List

I like the idea of a master BBQ list that I can continually update, but I also like the ability to look back at previous lists. So I'll leave the 2016 post as is, and this will be a flexible document throughout 2017.

Previous Years:
2016


_________________________________________

Places I've Been


1. Q39



Visited their original location (on 39th street) on 7/15/16. Brisket and ribs were both killer. They're opening a second location that just happens to be minutes from my apartment. Weird.




2. Char Bar


Just tried this place for the first time on 12/6/16. Mercy. The burnt end and ribs were stellar. Brisket and beans, also good. But I'm going back for the burnt ends and ribs. And the atmosphere/drinks is the best I've been to.

Went here on 1/13/17 and had the Burnt Heaven sandwich and fries. Quality was still very good, but it was hard to taste the meat because there was so much going in that sandwich. Fries were awesome and this place has a killer spicy sauce (I had to buy a bottle to take home). Even though the sandwiches are good value and the descriptions are awesome, I think it's better to just get the meat on a plate. 


3. Burnt End BBQ



Tried this place on a whim on 7/16/16, burnt ends and brisket, beans and fries. Burnt ends were the star of the show, hence the name.



Turns out my apartment is just a few minutes away from this place as well. Weird. Dropped in for the jumbo burnt end sandwich and fries today 12/11/16. Since I knew what I liked, I didn't feel pressured to get the 3-meat combo with 2 sides like I usually do when I'm trying a place. Great burnt ends and plenty of meat on the sandwich. I like their sauce assortment and nice atmosphere. Very chill.

Took the boys here on 1/7/17. Burnt ends were much drier than pictured above. Seemed to just get an off portion. I'll still go back, but it seemed to solidify that this place isn't going to be breaking into the top 2 spots any time soon.



4. Arthur Bryant's

Went with co-workers on my first day at work, 11/30/16. Didn't take a picture but had the burnt end sandwich and fries. Funny thing was I ordered the lunch special: brisket sandwich. But they gave me a burnt end sandwich. It was awesome, so I should be thanking them. Their sauce is distinctive, and I like it, but it's not my absolute favorite. Still, this is a classic.





(gaping chasm)





5. Joe's

Was going to go here today but they're closed on Sundays.


If you ask around, this is many people's favorite place. For me it's always been solid, but never amazing. Had the brisket, ribs and beans on 7/14/16. I don't think I've had their burnt ends because they only serve them on certain days. I'll certainly go there but I doubt this will ever be my favorite place.


Finally tried their burnt ends on 12/14/16. I've given this place so many chances over the years, and it never quite matches up with the competition. It's never bad. Just a 4-star place in a 5-star city. You can see it the picture. Compare Joe's burnt ends with Burnt End BBQ. See how uniform and cube-like they are at Joe's. They're dry. See how unique and juicy the ones at Burnt End are. I'm not eager to go back here. If I do go back, I think you have to stick with the Z-man sandwich. It's tasty, but I still think it's the barbecue sandwich for people who don't really love barbecue. 


6. Gates

My only review for this place that counts (2016-present) is a bad one. I went on the way to the airport, so I went to the State Ave location on 12/2/16. Ordering was a mess. I got a beef on bun with fries and the beef was dry, and a weak portion. Unsatisfied. And then I remembered my other trip to this location was bad as well. So I'm optimistic that this is just a poor spot and I'll try elsewhere.



This one hurts. Just two years ago, I was convinced Gates and Arthur Bryant's were the two best barbecue places on the planet. And I thought if I could only go to one, I'd pick Gates. I had the burnt ends at my usual Overland Park location on 12/15/16. Disappointed. Just not in the same ballpark as Char Bar, Q39, Burnt End BBQ or Arthur Bryant's. Next time I go, I think I should stick with the Double Decker, but man...I'm wondering what happened. Was it just that nostalgia and vacation excitement blinded me in the past, or did it really go downhill? Either way, I'm not dying to go back. 


(not ranked) Jack Stack 

I've been to this place many times in the past and I technically ate their burnt ends at Arrowhead on 12/8/16 but I'm not going to count that. They weren't that good but I know it's not their real kitchen, I won't hold it against them.



_________________________________________

Places I Want To Try


Danny Edward's
Slap's
Brobeck's
Plowboy's
Jon Russel's
Woodyard
Blind Box
Roscoe's

Official BBQ Map

_________________________________________


I've gotten pretty good and being able to look at yelp pictures and tell if the burnt ends look good or not. This post was created 12/11/16, but I expect to edit and repost occasionally. And the good news is that even not-the-best barbecue is still pretty good. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Steelers vs Chiefs Preview

Reasons The Steelers Could Win

  • Antonio Brown is insane. He won the game for the Steelers in the first quarter last week. 
  • Bell is also the best back in the league and the Chiefs have a weak run defense without D. Johnson. 
  • This could turn into a shootout, similar to the 2003 no punt game against the Colts. If the Steelers are at their best, Chiefs could have trouble keeping up with them. 
  • Early turnovers doomed the Chiefs in their first matchup. 
  • Steelers defense looked better against Miami than they played throughout the season. 


Reasons The Chiefs Could Win

  • Big Ben hasn't played as well on the road and Chiefs secondary is good at getting interceptions. 
  • When Justin Houston was healthy in the game in Denver, he singlehandedly changed the game. If he plays like that, it could disrupt everything. 
  • Tyreek Hill can break a touchdown from anywhere on the field. Even if you don't punt to him, you could be sacrificing field position consistently. Also, as was the case in the Raiders TD return, if you plan on kicking it to one corner and mishit a punt and it goes to the middle/other side, Tyreek can take advantage of the coverage being on the other side. 
  • The Chiefs were embarrassed earlier this year in Pittsburgh. They could be extra fired up to avenge that loss. 
  • Alex Smith turns it up a notch in the playoffs. He's been playing pretty well down the stretch. 
  • Between Kelce, Maclin, and Hill, the Chiefs actually have a nice receiving crew now. You can't take everybody away. 
  • The Steelers have been riding in a winning streak, but that also takes a lot out on you. They're a little banged up, they might be out of juice. 
  • The Steelers have the better offensive superstars, but Chiefs should have the advantage on defense and special teams. A special teams big play could turn this game. 
  • Turnovers. Chiefs lost that game in Pittsburgh because they turned the ball over. If they can force a turnover instead, Chiefs should feel good. 
  • Andy Reid is really good after the bye week. 
  • On a completely personal note, I just won the first fantasy league of my life. Before the season started, I put a futures bet on the Chiefs to win the AFC for the first time. I just moved to Kansas City. If you believe in things lining up and making a great story, seems like the Chiefs can't end their season here. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Divisional Round

Here's one crazy trick they don't want you to know: having a playoff bye is awesome. 

Look at that final 8. Am I crazy, or is the only one that sticks out as weird is the Houston Texans?



Look, I know there's 8 teams left. That's 25% of the league. So this isn't super rare territory, but...

Making the Super Bowl is something. Whether you win or lose (as long as you don't get blown out 43-8) it's something special. The Panthers have never won the Super Bowl, but I still think of their 2 Super Bowl appearances as accomplishments, not failures. It's something. 

With that in mind, even the AFC Championship game is something. You're playing for the chance to go to the Super Bowl. This is have been a game defined mostly by Manning and Brady and Roethlisburger over the last 15 years. It's a big deal. 

And now the Chiefs are one game away from getting the AFC Championship. And that game is being played at Arrowhead. The team is healthy. The opponent is strong. It should be a good one. 

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Chiefs Win AFC West, Earn Playoff Bye

As it turns out, that timeout didn't cost Andy Reid.

On a frozen Arrowhead field in Week 15, the Chiefs would have won if Andy Reid doesn't call timeout. But he did, Succop got a practice kick that was 10 yards short, and then made his second attempt that counted, giving the Titans the win. At the time it looked like that win could cost the Chiefs the bye (and potentially the playoffs entirely). Instead, the Chiefs won their last two games and got a little help from the Broncos (and a terrible injury to Carr).

Which means this product is available...


and this product is discontinued.





So the Chiefs get a week off to get everyone healthy and ready to go, plus a home playoff game.

Last home playoff game (and last time they won the division): 2010.
Last home playoff win: 1993 with Joe Montana.
Last AFC Championship game: 1993.
Last Super Bowl: 1969.







- - -

To get the bye, the Chiefs needed every single one of their wins. Here's how I rank them in terms of excitement, memorable, important, noted with their 4th quarter comebacks.

1. at Broncos (trailed by 8 with 2 minutes left)
2. vs Chargers (trailed by 17 with 10 minutes left)
3. Falcons (trailed by 1 with 4 minutes left)
4. Panthers (trailed by 14 with 15 minutes left)
5. vs Raiders
6. vs Broncos
7. at Raiders
8. at Chargers
9. Saints
10. Colts
11. Jets
12. Jags

Every single one of those incredible comebacks mattered to the Chiefs getting this bye. 

- - -

And now they're in the final four AFC teams. They'll be favored to win at home over anybody. 

Win one to see an AFC Championship game, something I've never seen. 
Win two to go to the Super Bowl.

Holy shit.

This is right up there with 2003 as the most exciting regular season I've seen.
I called last year the best total season I've seen just because they won a wild-card game.

This has potential to blow both of those out of the water.

That 2003 Chiefs-Colts loss hurt real bad. Once you get closer, they hurt much more.

Let's see how this weekend shakes out, but I feel good about at least getting one more win.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Fantasy Champion

Thank goodness for two-week playoff windows. I came back from deficits in both playoff matchups to win my first Super Bowl. I've been doing fantasy draft leagues for 10 years (Construda for two, BS for eight, plus concurrent work leagues for a few years as well) and this was my first win.

So I thought I would work backwards and see how I did it. So obviously, I had to outscore Mac in the two-week Championship and I'll get to that. But in round one, I could have beaten Niraj or Stevo, but not Mac. So the first step to the Championship was making the playoffs and avoiding the #4 seed. Since Burnsy and I both finished 8-5, if I had lost one more game I would have been the 4th seed. Which means that any single victory throughout the season, if it flipped, I would have not won the championship. That's how tight a path to victory is.

Looking through my schedule, I was thinking there would be one close win that came down to lineup setting...but there weren't many close wins at all.

I had a clutch win in week 13 to even make the playoffs, but it wasn't that close.

My closest win came back in week 1, with my 3rd and 4th round picks CJ Anderson and Keenan Allen helped me win. They would both go on IR before too long. Incidentally, Maclin and the Chiefs coming back against the Chargers was the difference between winning and losing that week.

- - -

So I went 8-5 and went up against Stevo in the first round of the playoffs. Coming into Monday Night of week 1 and I was down 122.5 to 66.5. I thought I was toast. And then Tom Brady puts up 32 points for me and I'm only down 24 headed into week 2. Also, Tyreek Hill's 2-TD performance in a game that I personally attended helped.

So in week 2 I needed a huge comeback and I got 12 points from Derek Carr. Not great. The guy who saved my bacon? My first round pick Devonta Freeman who only scored 2 points the week before, racked up 31 points. Jordan Howard added 19. Tyreek Hill had a 68-yard run TD. Bills D against Cleveland had 13 points. Solid team comeback all the way around. And now I'm in the fantasy Super Bowl.




- - -

Similar story in week 16, week 1 of the Super Bowl against Mac. Coming into Monday Night I was down 148.5 to 112.5 with only Dez. Just two weeks prior, Dez Bryant earned me negative points. But he showed up to play against the Lions. He catches two and even throws for a 3rd TD. I was only down 9 points after week 1. But against Mac...I never really felt like a I had a chance.

But in week 17, Tom Brady and Devonta Freeman came up big: 31 and 25.5. And on the other side, Jordy Nelson, David Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, and Greg Olsen put up a combined 23. And that's the difference.



- - -

Brady (round 8) finished with the 11th most points among QBs, but if you take out his suspension, his average is 3rd, just behind Matt Ryan.

I had three top ten running backs: Murray 5th (round 6) Freeman 6th (round 1) and Jordan Howard 10th (used waiver claim after week 3).

My receivers were weak. My best was Tyreek Hill (!) (who cleared waivers after week 10) and was clutch throughout the playoffs. He finished 17th among WR in points and was a free agent through the first 10 weeks. That's nuts! Dez Bryant finished 29th among WR, just above free agent Pierre Garcon.

I never had a good TE, bouncing between Pitta and Fleener who both finished outside the top 10.

I didn't own a top K or DST either.

- - -

Here's my draft with a quick review:

1 Freeman (stud, boom or bust)
2 Bryant (mediocre but clutch)
3 Anderson (injured)
4 Allen (injured)
5 Maclin (bust)
6 Murray (stud + sleeper!)
7 Fleener (bust)
8 Brady (stud)
9 Jones (meh)
...
15 Ware (helpful late round pick)

It doesn't really look like a Championship team. It came down to Brady + Murray/Freeman/Howard and Tyreek Hill.

Freeman was good to get, could have taken Charles and that would have been terrible.
Murray and Brady were my good draft picks outside the top 50. And then I added Howard and Hill during the season. That's really it.

I suppose the bottom line is I didn't score the most points during the season, but found enough running backs to make the playoffs and got clutch performances from weeks 13-17.


Monday, January 02, 2017

Raiders +3
Dolphins +10
Seahawks -7.5
Giants +4.5

Fantasy Football Hall of Fame


This post commemorates the champions of our fantasy football leagues throughout the years, and will be updated, and reposted for every update:

2016
BS Super Bowl VIII: Dave (defeated Mac)
Playoffs: tbd

2015
BS Super Bowl VII: Stevo (defeated Niraj)
Playoffs: Mark

2014
BS Super Bowl VI: Mac* (defeated Dave)
Playoffs: Mark

2013
BS Super Bowl V: Bobby* (defeated Mac)
Playoffs: Mark

2012
BS Super Bowl IV: Mark* (defeated Spencer)
Playoffs: Dave

2011
BS Super Bowl III: Mark* (defeated Mac)
Playoffs: Stevo

2010
BS Super Bowl II: Harlan* (defeated Mark)
Playoffs: Burnsy

2009
BS Super Bowl I: Mark* (defeated Stevo)
Playoffs: Stevo

2008

Construda Super Bowl II: Dynomite Kings (defeated Matt)
Home Team: Dave
Playoffs: Matt

2007
Construda Super Bowl I: Mark (defeated Dave)
Home Team: Dave*
Playoffs: Dave

2006
Home Team: Mark*
Playoffs: Mark

2005
Home Team: Mark
Playoffs: Matt

2004
Home Team: Mark
Playoffs: Dave

2003
Home Team: Dave
Playoffs: Mark


*= trophy awarded (I should have been awarded a trophy for 2008 home team, but interest fizzled. The thought crossed my mind to buy it for my collection anyways, but then what about Mark's two wins that came in the pre-trophy era. Let bygones be bygones. In 2015, Bobby went off the grid and never bought the trophy, so we abandoned it.)

Sunday, January 01, 2017

2017 IS AWESOME

HOLY FUCKING SHIT. Chiefs get their first playoff bye since 2003 AND I won my first fantasy draft league. 2017 is kicking 2016's ass so hard.


!


Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Top Ten of 2016

2014 was personally challenging as it seemed like my individual world came crashing down.
In 2016, it felt like the rest of the world was trying to do the same.

And then just when it seemed like I knew what to expect out of life, an opportunity came along and I took it. Now everything is different. And I can only hope that it will all work out. But I don't really know. Such is the joy of life. So it goes.

Honorable Mentions

GIF from The Switchboard

Brexit Joke

Chili Cheese Dog GIF






10. New Music: Big If True
For the first time in forever, I made music.

9. Rocket League Highlights
I played a lot of Rocket League, including online for the first time.

8. I Fixed The Summer Olympics
Still waiting on that check from the IOC.

7. My First Red Rocks Concert
After living in Colorado for 5 years, finally saw a show at Red Rocks. Just in time.

6. How I Predicted Best Picture
Last year the Super Bowl, this year the Oscars. My predictive power knows no bounds.

5. SF Recap
I returned to San Francisco and even escaped a room with 13 seconds left!

4. 22 Years In The Making / Mile High Magic / Arctic Arrowhead
Holy crap. The Chiefs won a playoff game. And then beat the Broncos in one of the craziest/best games ever. And then I was there for an incredible primetime win over the Raiders on a freezing night as a resident. Holy crap.

3. My First New Car
After a long wait, I got a new car—a car I wanted and was excited to drive.

2. An Email That Changed My Life
Reflecting back on how I got to Colorado and changed my career trajectory.

and the only blog post that really matters...Number One