Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chiefs get a treat on Halloween

This is why football is the best sport. Each game is 6.25% of the season and could be the difference between making the playoffs. For a team like the Chiefs, each of these kinds of games are must-wins. They aren't as good as a team like the Colts or Steelers--those teams go on the road against great teams and feel good about their chances.

A team like the Chiefs needs to take care of the teams they're supposed to beat, because there are going to be some games where they're not supposed to win.

It goes back to Vermeil's plan to go 12-4. Win your 8 home games and 4 of your road games. Well, so far the Chiefs are 4-0 at home and 1-2 on the road. They might not seem like a 12-4 team, but we're sticking to the plan.

Here's the remaining schedule...

Home: Cardinals, Broncos, Titans, Raiders

I'll be at the Cardinals game. The Titans game looks the toughest but it will be week 16, and who knows how their QB will be doing. And the Raiders are 4-4 now, but by week 17? And if it's a game that decides the division, I like the Chiefs chances at home. 4-0 is a possibility here, but even 3-1 seems reasonable.

Away: Raiders, Broncos, Seahawks, Chargers, Rams

After the Chargers, playing at Qwest field is the one that scares me the most. And even though the Broncos are a mess, the Chiefs have historically had a hard time at Denver. Which means, if the Chiefs want to scrape together 4 road wins, it starts next week in Oakland.

If they can beat the Raiders and the Rams, that's 3 road wins. Add in 8-0 at home, that's 11-5. I'd take that in a heartbeat.

- - -

Through the first 58 minutes of this game I kept thinking, "This is a game that the Chiefs should win." Not as in we should have because we got screwed by a bad call, but as in we are pounding the ball on offense and have shut down Fitzpatrick.

More directly: the Chiefs ran for 274 yards. Also, you could basically add Charles' 61 receiving yards, since he did all the work. When you are moving the ball at will, over 6.1 yards a carry, and having a good defensive day, and are +1 in turnovers, you SHOULD NOT LOSE.

The Chiefs did pull it out, but it was back and forth so much that no one knew how this was going to end.

And I'll show you what I mean. First, here's some context. This is a normal game, the Patriots over the Vikings. The Vikings started out in the lead, than the Pats took over. Here's the Chiefs-Bills game.
Also, you can see that the Bills went from a 44% chance of winning to a 52% chance of winning after they sacked Cassel in the 2nd quarter.

So how did this get to be a close game at the end?

First Chiefs drive: 3rd and 8 from the BUF 33. An incomplete pass followed by a punt into the endzone. I've heard Haley's stance on 4th down calls--he makes his mind up early on the drive so the playcalling can support it. My take on this one, if you weren't confident kicking from their 33, try and get some more yards. Instead a net of 13 on on the punt.

2nd quarter: 3rd and 3 from the BUF 20, still scoreless. Jones gets 1 yard on 3rd down, bringing up a 4th and 2. So here's what Haley is talking about. They ran on 3rd down, planning on going for it on 4th down. But it's the 2nd quarter and there's still no score. And it's not like it's 4th and goal from the 1. From the 20, even if we pick up the first down, a touchdown is not certain. And when running is a strength and passing is a weakness, we dial up a pass play on 4th and 2. Cassel's sacked.

Chiefs do get a touchdown before halftime on a 6-play, 71-yard drive. Charles took over, getting 67 yards on 4 plays.

Halftime: Chiefs 7, Bills 0.

Second half goes: Bills FG, Chiefs punt, Bills punt, Chiefs FG. Due to long drives, the ensuing Bills' possession is late in the 4th.

With 4 minutes left it was ruled on the field that the Chiefs recovered a Lee Evans fumble on the KC 13. But Vrabel's elbow touched out of bounds before he had control, so Buffalo retains possession after the challenge.

At the two-minute warning, it's tied at 10, but the Chiefs have the ball for a 2nd and 3 at their own 27. At this point I'm feeling good about driving down the field and getting a Succop field goal. Two plays later, the Chiefs punt and Buffalo returns it to their own 48. And I'm feeling bad.

Under a minute remaining, the Bill have it at the KC 41. And Fitzpatrick gets some bad luck, the ball slips out of his hand, possibly on a pump fake, and it floats right to Eric Berry. Chiefs takeover and we're headed to OT.

After one play, the Bills move to the KC 43, but end up punting from the KC 40.

Chiefs take over and it's Charles for 10 and Charles for 13. At this point I'm yelling "pound the ball" and feeling good. Then it's Jones for 3, incomplete, Cassel for 5 and a punt.

Then Fitzpatrick hits a couple passes and from the KC 37 just overthrows a wide open CJ Spiller in the endzone. The Bills settle for a field goal attempt from the KC 34. Lindell kicks the 53-yarder up and through the uprights. But not so fast! Haley called timeout! On the second attempt, it's a knuckler that starts out low. I thought it would be short, but it had the distance. It just ends up bending to hit the right upright. Haley looks like a genius.

After a pass to Moeaki and some more solid runs by Charles the Chiefs advance to the BUF 21. Out comes Succop (who is 10/11 lifetime from 30-39) and it starts out right down the middle...and hooks left at the last second. He can't believe it. (Gus Johnson, "He hooked it! HOLY MACKEREL!")

And now the Bills have it with under 4 minutes to go, and I'm thinking I just watched 4 hours of football and the best case scenario is a 10-10 tie.

The get down to the KC 42 and I'm thinking here we go again. But Hali forced intentional grounding and the Chiefs get the ball back with 1:13 to go.

And wouldn't you know, out comes Super Matt Cassel. 16-yard pass to Charles, incomplete out of bounds to stop the clock, 18-yard pass to Moeaki (Bills penalty, declined but stopped the clock, 11-yard pass to Moeaki, spike at the BUF 24 with 21 seconds left. Charles runs for 8 and they spike it again with 5 seconds left. Cassel was 3 for 3 on intended passes, setting up a 35-yard attempt for Succop.

From the right starts out wide right...and then at the last second it hooks left, right down the middle. It's over. The Chiefs are 5-2, the Bills 0-7.

- - -

Yes, it was quite windy out there. So those two-field goal opportunities in the first half were not sure things. And I like an aggressive coach who goes for touchdowns inside the 5, and in general going for in on 4th and short, especially when you're just outside field goal territory. But in a scoreless game, I'm taking the 3-point try from the 20-yard line.

But Haley made it for up with the icing the kicker timeout. There's really no reason why it should work. Lindell could have just as easily missed the first attempt, gotten a second chance and nailed it. But he didn't. And that timeout saved the game. So I'll just say these last two paragraphs cancel each other out, and I'm glad KC is walking away with the W.

- - -

And I didn't even mention that on the Bills' first drive of the game, and the Bills' last drive of the game, Derrick Johnson had a pass hit him in the hands. This happens all the time. The first one would have been a pick-six and changed the game completely.

- - -

Time for some game balls.

#3: Accepting on behalf of special teams, Ryan Succop

Hits the game-winner in heavy wind. Would have been nice had he made the first one, but he's a good kicker and these things happen. Glad we got him a second chance. Really glad he nailed it.

#2: Accepting on behalf of the defense, Tamba Hali

(There wasn't a picture of Hali. Good picture for the defense though.)

An all-around good day for the defense. Allowing only 10-points will only help their top-5 defensive rankings. On a team with 14 sacks this year (middle of the pack), Hali has 7 and is 4th in the league. He was Herm's first draft pick and seemed to be a mediocre DE in the 4-3. Once the Chiefs moved to a 3-4 with Haley, a lot of people thought Hali didn't have a future. But he's thrived in the 3-4 and has been the only consistent pass rusher. The Chiefs defense really shut down the Bills, who last week put up 34 on the Ravens.

#1: Accepting on behalf of the offense, Jamal Charles

He had 22 rushes for 177. That's...wait for it...over 8 yards a carry. What makes it really special is the only long rush he had was a 32-yarder. Which means that every time he touched the ball, he really was running for 10 here, 11 there. Add in 4 receptions for 61, and today he was the offense.

22 is a good number of carries, so I can't say they didn't use him well enough. But when he has such a good day, you'd think Weis and Cassel should be able to dial up more than 13 points. And you'd think that with such a good day, you wouldn't be one timeout away from losing.

The Chiefs are far away the #1 rushing team at 190/game. The next closest? The Raiders at 168.

He leads all running backs with 6.5/carry on the season. I think he's only behind Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson for who you'd want on your team. And at 4.1 and 4.9 respectively, Charles has been better this year.

Here's the list of best seasons for yards/carry, and it's topped with quarterbacks and old-timers.
For halfbacks in the modern era, the benchmark would seem to be Mercury Morris with 6.4 in 1973, and then Barry Sanders with 6.1 in 1997. So he's on pace to set a single-season record, depending on how you qualify it.

And for fun, here are some career numbers:

Jim Brown 5.2
Barry Sanders 5.0
Gale Sayers 5.0
Chris Johnson 5.0
Peterson 4.9
OJ Simpson 4.7

Through the first 3 years of his career, Charles is at 5.8.


Don't know if I've ever been this happy for a win over a winless team.

A lot to say about this one--back and forth about 10 times. Got out with a W. All that matters.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

saturday night college football update

With Missouri and Michigan State losing, here's the national championship update.

1. Auburn
2. Oregon
3. Boise State
4. TCU/Utah

5 undefeated teams but TCU plays Utah next week. Right now, looks like Boise is ahead of the TCU/Utah winner.

Remaining schedule for Auburn: Chattanooga, Georgia, @Alabama, SEC Championship
Remaining schedule for Oregon: Washington, @Cal, Arizona, @Oregon State

Auburn looks the best but has the toughest schedule. Oregon looks good but anything can happen in four games.

I'd like to see Boise in the championship. Even if Auburn loses, the SEC winner could slip ahead of Boise. Broncos fans really need Oregon to get knocked off, I imagine.

Friday, October 29, 2010

last night's dinner

TJ's frozen breaded chicken tenders + Van's frozen whole-grain waffles + Maple Grove Farms syrup =

chicken n' waffles!


Ryan Fiztpatrick will score 27 fantasy points. 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, almost 300 yards.

Matt Cassel will score 19 fantasy points. 2 touchdowns, no interceptions, almost 200 yards.

The Chiefs will win 30-24.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

odds and ends

Last week I experienced the rare triple crown: Illini win, Chiefs win, and fantasy win.

Last year I believe those three teams started a combined 1-8.

The last triple crown was in week 2 but it included wins over Northern Illinois and the Cleveland Browns.

The last triple crown that included a Big Ten win? We don't have records that go back that far.

- - -

In week 4, the Chiefs were the biggest underdog of the week.
In week 8, the Chiefs are the biggest favorite of the week.

P.S. They didn't cover against the Colts.

If I lived in Brazil, I'd listen to Strike

Saw this band on Brazil MTV.

Video not that different than this song that I've been listening to this year.

I'm so indie, I listen to bands that don't even speak English.

Edit: I wrote this post two days ago. Yesterday I went ahead and started listening to all their songs via youtube, language barrier be damned. Pretty good to listen to while writing, so no pesky english words get in the way of my thoughts. So now the title of this post is inaccurate.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

South America brackets

Sure, I could just make a list of our favorite attractions, but the bracket takes into account our pre-trip perceptions. Plus, everything's more fun when it's in a bracket.

I'm thankful for that 2003 internship I had in Peoria where I learned how to do all kinds of stuff in Excel. From Calcutta to making charts, it's proved useful.

Chiefs 4-2, Chargers 2-5

Through week 7, the Chiefs are

#1 in rushing yards/game
#6 in net points
#1 in sacks given up
#7 in defense points allowed/game
the Vegas favorite for winning the AFC West

This game was closer than the final score suggests. And yes, the Chiefs were playing Todd Bouman, 3rd-stringer for the Jaguars.

But hey, Chiefs score 6 touchdowns, limit Jags to 2. On to the game balls...

Hon. Mention: Matt Cassel

Not a huge game, but did what the Chiefs needed him to. 13/18 for 193, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Chiefs were 6/11 on 3rd down.

#3: Derrick Johnson

Jaguars were only down 20-21 with the ball late in the third when Johnson picked one off and ran it back for six. He has a nose for the ball and insert other tired cliche here.

#2: Dwayne Bowe

Only 3 catches, but two touchdowns. One was a deep one that he turned into a 53-yard score with good moves after the catch. His celebration move was spike that didn't come out of his hand, because now his hands are so secure--perhaps a bit premature, but I like the confidence.

#1: Rushing Attack (Offensive Line, Thomas Jones, Jamaal Charles, Dexter McCluster)

When the Chiefs had the number one offense in the early 2000's, a well-known factor was the stout offensive line. During the Herm era, that line crumbled and the Chiefs couldn't run the ball or protect the passer. Last year, they were 27th in sacks allowed and 10th in rush yards per attempt. This year, they are 1st in sacks allowed and 2nd in rush yards per attempt.

I don't know how they're doing it--they have the same offensive line coach and I think the same players. Credit Charlie Weis? I don't know.

But the #1 rushing attack in the league starts with great blocking and ends with not 2, but 3 explosive running backs that can be elusive and run with power.

Now this team has an identity. A top-10 defense, top rushing attack, with aggressive play calling and winning the turnover & penalty battles. It's not enough to win the Super Bowl yet, but it's a start.

Monday, October 25, 2010

South America recap

I already posted the pictures link.

So how was it?
We had 4 days, nights in Rio, landing at 10 am on a Wednesday.
We had 3 days, nights in Buenos Aires, landing at 10 am on a Sunday.

First up, Rio de Janiero.

There's no denying that Rio is a beautiful city. The top two attractions (Corcovado and Sugar Loaf) are lookout points that give great 360-degree vistas. The beaches are really nice, super long with giant waves.

The only problem is that Rio knows it's beautiful.

As if, they know people want to come here, so they don't have to bother with transportation infrastructure or doing anything about the safety concerns. Oh yeah, and they price gouge tourists wherever they can.

It starts with a $140 visa per person (though that can be blamed on the U.S government, as it's a reciprocity fee. The U.S. waives the fee for 36 countries, mostly Europe.)

And continues at the ATM, where the convenience charge was 12BR ($7.18). The same price as that can of Pringles. At a normal-looking dinner place, entrees were 28BR and even McDonald's was charging over $10 US for a meal.

It felt like the entire Zona Sul (Copacabana and Impanema) was one giant hotel minibar. By the end of the trip, we were drinking sodas and waters from the hotel fridge, since they were the same price as on the street.

As for transportation, they have one metro line. We were able to use one day, to go from the beach area to downtown. But couldn't use it any other time to go to restaurants or the main attractions. Which meant taking cabs everywhere.

Most of our cab experiences were negative. The very first time, our own hotel doorman gave us a cab and then told the driver as we were getting in, that the price should be 20BR. He made it seem like he was looking out for us, wanting the driver not to overcharge us. But if he had used a meter it wouldn't have been that much.

Then we wanted to go to Cristo Redentor, aka the big statue of Jesus on top of Corcovado Mountain. We were looking forward to taking the train up the mountain.

In Visual 1, we hailed a cab at point A and wanted to go to point B.

Google Maps says it's a 10km cab ride, should take about 10 minutes. Instead, we got the cab driver who DOESN'T KNOW WHERE CRISTO is. It's only the #1 landmark in Rio. It's only a big statue that you can see from just about anywhere in Rio. If you're a cab looking for tourists, don't you think that you should know where tourists want to go. This is where we went:

Google says 19km at 40 minutes, and it took us about 45 minutes. Not only were we lost, this was running up our meter to 45BR (should have been about 20), we were losing daylight at Cristo, and he didn't even take us to the train station. He dropped us off at a point halfway up the mountain, where we could only take shuttle vans the rest of the way. Oh yeah, and he had a GPS. (The thought was raised, is he scamming us? If so, he deserves an Oscar. He asked about 4 different locals (Where is Cristo?) and genuinely looked like he had no idea what he was doing.

His error was compounded when after Corcovado, we came down and there were no taxis. There were drivers, but they were "private car services" that wouldn't use a meter. He wanted 52 and I haggled him down to 45. But we really didn't have a choice. It was dark and we're halfway up a mountain and there's only 3 cars in the parking lot with more tourists on their way down.

Then came a moment that I'm still not sure what to make of. We had just gotten in the backseat of the private car service. Before we pull away, one of the other drivers who was standing around, comes over, hands a 10BR bill to the driver and says to us "you dropped this." The driver hands it back to us. We drive away. I know for a fact I didn't drop it. Even if I did, why not just keep it. It seems like a scam. But how does it work? Maybe if we were standing around, he could hope that I would pull out my wallet to put the bill away, and then mug me or something. But handing someone in a car money for no reason? If it's a scam, it's a terrible one.

I didn't trust the money. So whether it was counterfeit, laced with drugs, or a GPS tracker or something, I just paid our driver with it at the end of the ride. Whatever.

Our last complaint was a surprising was hard to find good, Brazilian food. Our first lunch came at a place highly recommended and it was mediocre sandwiches. The "street food" snack bars offered what looked like more mediocre sandwiches and weren't cheap either. We ended up having some pizzas, french fries, and pasta for the most part.

Which in light of my earlier minibar analogy, it seemed like we were really at a Rio theme park, and not a separate country.

Okay, ALL of that said, Rio is a beautiful place, the beaches are nice, we had fun, and almost all the attractions we went to were good.

The best attraction actually was Corcovado/Cristo Redentor. The view was better than at Sugar Loaf, plus you had something to look up at. I went hang gliding, which was the first time I've done anything like it. It was definitely worth it, even though it cost $200 US, including a hidden tax and the pictures (which I haggled down and almost didn't get.) We took a jeep tour through the Tijuca rain forest--just taking the ride was better than the times when we got out and stopped to look at stuff.

We did get to a Churrascaria (Carretao) the first night, which was pretty good at 35BR/person. Of course, I couldn't understand what they were offering me, so I just had to stare at the big chunk of meat on the rods and say yes to everything. (They did offer us dessert at the end. Of course it was extra, but it was worth it because the chocolate was so good.)

And we did see a samba show (Plataforma for $100 US/person). Keeping in line with the rest of the Rio culture, it was designed strictly for tourists and wasn't that impressive.

In short, it seems like it's a city that is better suited for packages, especially if they include transporting you to attractions. And 3 days is enough. Looking back, I find it similar to Venice, in that you go to see things that are worth seeing, but it's not a place that you need to experience again and again.

- - -

This feeling was amplified by our experience in Buenos Aires. As soon as we got there, we loved it. It's definitely more our scene.

A couple things helped right off the bat. First, we both have four years of spanish, so leaving portugese behind was a welcome change. Our hotel, Babel Hotel in San Telmo, was super awesome. Only 6 rooms so they had great service and helped us out with daily recommendations. And Argentina is cheap! The peso exchange rate is basically 4 to 1, so that 70AR steak (that would cost $40 in the states) is only $17.50. 2 chocolate-covered churros on the street? 5 pesos, or $1.25.

Our first day we visited the awesome San Telmo street market where Brit paid for 80AR for a cool antique bottle and I paid 45AR for a Messi Argentina jersey. (Funny thing about the bottle--it looks like a bomb when put through the X-ray machine and I was stopped when leaving the Charlotte and Rio airport--though not BA, which is a little scary.)

We followed the local customs and went to dinner at 10pm! Our first night we went to Amici Miei, the best meal of the trip. It's an Italian restaurant with Argentine influences, which makes sense because of all the Italian immigrants. (Which explains all the gelato.) We ordered a four-cheese pizza to split as our first course and it was as good as any we had in Italy. I got a giant steak with Argentine sauces and Brit got some good pasta. It was here that I had the best wine of the trip, a Norton Sauvignon Blanc, 15AR. Big, awesome meal and it was only $55 for the two of us. After dinner we went to La Confeiteria Ideal for a milonga--a bar where locals dance the tango.

Here's a typical cab exchange:

C: Donde a?
Me: La Confeiteria Ideal en Suipacha.
C: (blank face) Suipacha...Que?
Me: La Con-fe-ter-ia I-deal.
C: (blank face)
Me: Es milonga en Suipacha.
C: Oh! La Confeiteria Ideal! Vamos!

My accent is so bad that even when we were using the right words, it was a challenge. It never failed to amuse and frustrate me that they would eventually repeat exactly what I had said from the beginning.

It was cool to see the locals dance and this was Brit's favorite part of the trip.

The next day we had an amazing lunch at Cumana. The best empanadas I've ever had--and they were only 3,90AR = $1. I had spicy beef and a ham and cheese.

We toured a bunch of the city on our own, Casa Rosada, MALBA, Women's Bridge, Boca, the largest bookstore in Latin America, the Evita Musuem and the Cemetery where she's buried.

For our second night we booked a professional tango show: Senor Tango. This was my favorite part of the trip. We loved the dancing, the music, the singing, the spectacle. WAY BETTER than the Rio Samba show, and only $75 for the two of us, not $200. The downside was that since they picked us up at 9pm, we had to settle for the only restaurant open at 7pm, which sucked. The recommended restaurants opened at 8 or 8:30, a bit annoying, especially when we weren't prepared for that and didn't have a big/late lunch.

Sounds like Buenos Aires is perfect, eh?

We might have thought so. If I hadn't been pickpocketed on the train at 6pm on our last night in South America.

I'm planning on writing more about this eventually, but we were on a crowded train when I man pretended to be sick. 10 seconds later my wallet's gone from my front pocket. It ruined our night. We had to race back and call internationally to cancel our cards--thank goodness Hotel Babel was so helpful and started all the calls, covering the spanish until I reached an English operator. We did end up having dinner at 1am, but we still weren't in the mood.

As much as it sucked at the moment, I only lost about $200. Which was less than the surprise $140 entry fee/person when we got off the plane in Argentina. It could have been worse. It could have been better if I hadn't carried both credit cards and both bank cards and all the cash we had at the moment. But it happens. If you can afford to go to Buenos Aires, you can afford to have your wallet stolen in Buenos Aires.

The whole trip was worth it, and was interesting to see how undifferent South America is. The world is full of people just living their life. I preferred BA to Paris. With the language, the food, the affordability, the tango, I would definitely come back.

Brit said next time we come we'll carry a dummy wallet with a clown hankerchief attached.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

7 undefeateds left in college football

Here's the top of the AP poll.

1. Oregon 7-0 (Pac-10)
2. Boise State 6-0 (WAC)
3. Auburn 8-0 (SEC)
4. TCU 8-0 (Mountain West)
5. Michigan State 8-0 (Big Ten)
6. Alabama 7-1 (SEC)
7. Utah 7-0 (Mountain West)
8. Missouri 7-0 (Big 12)

The only matchups of these schools will be TCU at Utah on November 6th, and Auburn at Alabama on November 26th.

- - -

If Auburn wins out, they have to be in the National Championship. Even if they don't, the winner of the SEC would seem likely anyways.

Oregon is playing at USC, so if they can get past that, they could be in the driver's seat.

Both Michigan State and Missouri have at least 4 conference games, so I think it's too early to think that they'll finish undefeated.

And Boise seems to have the inside track ahead of the Mountain West winner.

- - -

My guess for the title game?

SEC Winner vs (Oregon if undefeated, if not then Missouri if undefeated, if not than Michigan State than undefeated, if not than Boise State.)

Rio and Buenos Aires pictures

Hoagie Central exclusive: first look at our South America photos.

Written recap to come this week.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

back tomorrow

I'll be back in the states tomorrow. Hopefully my meat-alcohol level hasn't reached a fatal level.

Knowing me there will be pictures, meat recaps, and possibly video set to "Rio" by Duran Duran.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

marshall really shouldn't have scored on that one

When in a youtube clip of touchdowns. Might want to hit the mute button though.

Monday, October 18, 2010

nfl mad libs

Wow, I can't believe the Chiefs (played well enough to win/sucked) against the Texans. It figures that Matt Schaub (had a good game/screwed me again in fantasy but still won.) At least Matt Cassel (was terrible / was mediocre.) (The Chiefs are 4-1 so watch out! / Easy part of the schedule coming up.)

Friday, October 15, 2010

college football friday

Really it's two LSU finishes. Both really good. (hopefully they're still up by the time you get this)

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Monday night Kirat and I started a new match. I won in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. But both sets were tied up at 4-4, so it could have gone either way.

Since we had time, we started another match, and left this one in the first set: 3-3, Kirat's serve.

Match #5, started 10.11.10: in progress
Match #4, started 10.11.10: 6-4, 6-4 Dave
Match #3, started 8.4.10: 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 Dave
Match #2, started 7.28.10: 6-7 (2), 6-2, 8-6 Kirat
Match #1, started spring 2002: ?-6, 6-?, 9-7 Kirat

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

favre on the field

This was written Tuesday morning, following the Vikings loss. Before and after (or possibly near the end of the game) Klosterman tweeted:

It's perhaps more interesting if the last tweet came while the game was still in doubt. The Vikings had a chance to win, down 2 in the final minutes. And Favre had already thrown 3 touchdown passes. But, as has happened again and again, Favre throws a game-ending interception.

We saw this in the NFC Championship most recently, but you could look at just about any Favre game in the last 5 years and see the same thing.

(OF COURSE IT'S EASY TO SAY NOW, but) the best thing the Vikings could have done was let Favre play the whole game...up until the final two minute warning. Have him fake an injury (his arm was visibly hurt anyways) and say I'm not going to let Favre blow this game for us. If I'm going to blow this game, I want Tarvaris to do it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

living it up down old South America way

We're on the way to Rio, and then Buenos Aires. I've got some future-blogged posts (that were all written this morning) coming your way.

It's OVER.

Week 1
Dave 106.5
Niraj 104
Mark 70.5

Week 2
Niraj 88
Mark 81.5
Dave 54.5

Niraj 192
Dave 161
Mark 152

Niraj gets his sweet revenge.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

first Illini win in Happy Valley

ESPN disabled the embed feature for this video, and when I tried a workaround it looked like crap.

Just click here for the high quality highlights.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Illini in the NFL

Illini in the NFL Hall of Fame
Red Grange, Running Back, Bears, 1925-1934
George Halas, Head Coach primarily for Bears, 6 NFL Championships, 1920-1967
Hugh "Shorty" Ray, Supervisor of Officials, 1938-1952
Bobby Mitchell, Running Back/Returner, 4-time Pro Bowler, 1958-1968
Ray Nitschke, Linebacker, Packers, 5 NFL Championships, 1958-1972
Dick Butkus, Linebacker, Drafted #3 overall by Bears, 8-time Pro Bowler, 1965-1973

Notable Current Illini in the NFL, sorted by draft date

Neil Rackers, Kicker, Texans, at Illinois 1996-1999, Drafted 6th round 2000.
11 years in the league, went 40/42 in 2005.

Eugene Wilson, Safety, Texans, 1999-2002, Drafted 2nd round 2003.
Won 2003 and 2004 Super Bowl with Patriots, 14 interceptions and 354 tackles through 8 years.

David Diehl, Offensive Tackle, Giants, at Illinois 1999-2002, Drafted 5th round 2003.
Started every game since being drafted, won 2007 Super Bowl, 2009 Pro Bowl.

Brandon Lloyd, Receiver, Broncos, at Illinois 1999-2002, Drafted 4th round 2003.
This is his 8th year. His best year for yardage was his 3rd year, 733 yards. This year he has 454 yards through four games.

Greg Lewis, Receiver, Vikings, at Illinois 1999-2002, undrafted.
After 8 years between the Eagles and Vikings, he has only 140 receptions and 8 touchdowns. But he was the one that caught the Hail Mary from Favre in 2009, receiving ESPY for Best Play.

Kelvin Hayden, Cornerback, Colts, at Illinois 2003-2004 (transferred after 2 seasons at junior college), Drafted 2nd round 2005.
A full-time starter for 6 years, 7 picks, plus a pick six that helped win the 2006 Super Bowl.

Pierre Thomas, Running Back, Saints, at Illinois 2003-2006, undrafted.
Solid running back for the Saints, scored on a screen pass that helped win 2009 Super Bowl.

Rashard Mendenhall, Running Back, Steelers, at Illinois 2005-2007, Drafted 1st round 2008.
Was on the winning team for the 2008 Super Bowl, but didn't play due to injury. Last year ran for over 1100 yards, and is averaging more per carry this year.

Vontae Davis, Cornerback, Dolphins, at Illinois 2006-2008, Drafted 1st round 2009.
Through his second year, he has 65 tackles and 5 interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown.

Michael Hoomanawanui, Tight End, Rams, at Illinois 2006-2009, Drafted 5th round 2010.
Signed a 4-year contract worth 2 million, including a $215,000 signing bonus. Suffered an injury, so far 1 catch for 8 yards.

Arrelious Benn, Wide Receiver, Bucs, at Illinois 2007-2009, Drafted 2nd round 2010.
He caught his first NFL pass in week 3--3 for 33 on the year.

food makes me happy

My weight will probably always fluctuate. I know how to lose weight. I should be able to maintain a weight, but that doesn't seem to happen. And I definitely know how to gain weight.

I'm currently in a cycle of between 165 and 180. My "goal" or "ideal" weight is between 155 and 160. But at 165, I'm pretty happy with how my clothes fit. At 180, my clothes get tight, and that's when I realize I need to get back on the losing weight train.

That happened, most recently, two weeks ago. Today the scale said 176. (According to the BMI for my height, the threshold between normal weight and overweight is 169.)

So if I enjoy having a healthy weight around 160, and I know how to eat healthy and exercise enough to lose a pound or two per week, why does my weight fluctuate? In other words, why once I get down to 160, why do I gain the weight back?

Obviously, I'm not the only person in America who do this. Gaining the weight back is cliche. But why do I do it?

I'll start from a logical, healthy perspective. Let's say I ate a bag of chips and some cookies last weekend...that's not doing anything for me. That pleasure is so fleeting that's it's gone. As opposed to watching Inception, that pleasure is something you can remember and look back fondly.

So if you add this up, you could conclude that food doesn't really make anyone happy.

But here's the thing. Food makes me happy.

Just a month ago, I would wake up on Thursdays and be happy that I was going to get biscuits and gravy. For the Chiefs-Chargers MNF game, I was setting up my menu a week in advance. I had fun in the store picking out my frozen pizza and cheez-its. And when I got to Niraj's and I opened the box of cheese crackers, it really made me happy.

It seems that for most of my work colleagues, alcohol makes them happy. People love having those meetings on Friday afternoons where there's beer. But that doesn't do much for me. At those meetings, I'm headed straight toward the bowls of chex mix.

When we take a trip, the first and maybe only thing I'll research, is the best places to eat.

When I would have a glass of chocolate milk, the act of drinking would only last for 6 seconds. But it really made me feel good.

Of course, two minutes later, the taste is gone. I feel fuller, but I could have gotten fuller eating brown rice and broccoli.

I've written here before:

The goal cannot be getting out of debt. The goal has to be saving money.
Just as the goal cannot be losing weight. The goal has to be eating healthy.

At the time, I thought that I had conquered that part of me that craved unhealthy foods. But four months and forty pounds wasn't enough to do it. And four years later, my idea of a fun time is still a pizza or a italian beef & sausage.

The way I lose weight is being consistent, "on the train." But once Thanksgiving rolls around, it's easy to eat pecan pie for a week and then be consistently unhealthy.

I don't have the final answer, a neat conclusion that this all adds up to. Unhealthy food will probably always make me happy. I'll just have to balance it with healthy food, that can also make me happy, just not as much.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

HOW TO: make the best fucking steak

Alternate titles for this post:

How to make a perfect steak
How to get a restaurant-quality steak at home
Put away the steak sauce

- - -

This is a 10 oz New York Strip Steak that cost six dollars at the grocery store. One way to look at that is that you could spend anywhere from $30 to $50 for a NY Strip at a steakhouse. Another way to look at it is that you can spend six dollars getting a "value meal" at McDonalds.

First step, getting the steak out of the fridge and letting it come closer to room temperature sitting on the counter. I start by rubbing the whole steak in olive oil, a little salt and pepper. Also, right away I get my pan up a hair past medium on the stove.

While that's resting, I start cooking the asparagus. I'm using frozen spears, turn the oven to 425, cover in a drizzle of olive oil, bit of balsamic, salt, pepper, and whatever else seasonings seems appropriate. Goes in the oven.

Once my pan is hot and pour some more olive oil in the pan, and in goes the steak.

Boom! Now we're cooking. Literally. I don't touch it for 4-5 minutes. What's neat is that by looking at the side, you can see it cooking. My goal is to get that juicy, bright pink medium center with a nice crust on the outside. If that's not your goal, you could do a variety of other things, including finishing it in the oven, under the broiler, whatever--I believe what Alton Brown says, "If you like your meat well-done, you don't like meat."

So I flip it over, and you can see in this next picture how you can see the meat has cooked through on the (now) top side. After I flip I like to give the side that was just cooking and crusting a nice coating of seasoning salt and montreal steak seasoning.

The way it works out, is that by the time I get a good crust on the outsides, it's just about cooked how I want it. For fun, I put about half a pat of butter in the pan, and let the meat cook in the butter for 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side. Just for that final color and taste.

Then I remove it to the plate. SUPER IMPORTANT STEP: I let it rest for at least 5 minutes. It works out that the asparagus has been in the oven for about 15 minutes now, so it's almost done.

So I take a little bit of white wine, pour it in the now empty steak pan to deglaze it, and add the asparagus. I let that cook for a minute or two, to absorb some nice flavor and color of the wine and steak drippings.

Now it's time for plating. Here comes the money shot.

Boom! Look at that crust. Look at the pink center. But wait there's more. Let's cut that bad boy open. Here's what it looks like, halfway though the meal.

Juicy, pink center and crust on the outside. Asparagus that tastes delicious and provides a nice, earthy contrast to the meat. So good. I did the same treatment last week with a 12 oz ribeye and they both turned out perfect.

what is this, some cruel joke? (part 2)

Loyal readers might remember this.

In 2007, the Chiefs went 4-12 and the Chiefs game that was televised in Chicago for me was against the Colts. It was the beginning of the Brodie Croyle era, his first start in the NFL.

(By the way, the Brodie Croyle era was not a good one. Prior to Brodie's first start, the Chiefs were 4-5. The lost the next seven. In fact, Croyle has appeared in 16 games, starting 9 of them, and the only one the Chiefs didn't lose, is when he came in for some victory kneel downs. In other words, in the 15 games where Croyle has thrown a pass, the Chiefs are 0-15. In games when Croyle was on the team but didn't throw a pass, the Chiefs are 22-30.)

The game was actually close, a 13-10 win for the Colts that featured Bowe catching a touchdown with his knees.

So of course, this year, I had to go to Burnsy's to watch the MNF opener since I don't have ESPN. And the wins over the Browns and 49ers weren't on in Chicago. But this, playing at the Colts again, this is the game I get.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

war across the shore 2010: halftime update

After week 1:

Dave 106.5
Niraj 104
Mark 70.5

It's still anybody's game...for the right to hit mark in the face with a burrito.

Monday, October 04, 2010

good weekend

After a tough week at work, I cooked the best homemade steak ever (12 oz. ribeye, pan-seared in olive oil, a little butter, touch of white wine at the end) and roasted asparagus. And then we watched some of our favorite tv shows, including a great 30 Rock.

Saturday, I did some errands, closed a Bank of America account. I had a Trader Joe's Roasted Rack of Lamb. And then we went to the drive-in and saw two good movies, Easy A and the Town. I think we both liked Easy A a bit better, it was genuinely funny.

And then Sunday, I played golf and got a par on a par-4 hole for the first time ever. I beat Mark in fantasy. The Chiefs didn't lose, and in fact became the only undefeated team in the league. And we're halfway to seeing mark get hit in the face with a burrito.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

last undefeated team, this decade

2010: Chiefs ?-0, ?
2009: Colts 14-0, Lost in Super Bowl
2008: Titans 10-0, Lost in Divisional Round
2007: Patriots 18-0, Lost in Super Bowl
2006: Colts 10-0, Won Super Bowl
2005: Colts 13-0, Lost in Divisional Round
2004: Eagles 7-0, Lost in Super Bowl
2003: Chiefs 9-0, Lost in Divisional Round
2002: Raiders 4-0, Lost in Super Bowl
2001: Rams 6-0, Lost in Super Bowl

There you have it.

9/9 of the last undefeated teams have made the playoffs
6/9 have made the Super Bowl
1/9 has won the Super Bowl

I can't wait to watch the Chiefs lose in the Divisional Round.

- - -

I'm actually quite surprised that the Super Bowl stats held up, even for teams that only reached 7-0 or less. And it's surprising how in the first part of the decade, reaching 9-0 was something special. And unless the Chiefs shock the world, including myself, we won't have a team be 10-0 for the first time since 2004.

mark picked a bad week to SHIT THE BED

He loses for the first time all season. Now he and I are both 3-1.

And now he's looking down the barrel of taking a burrito to the face.

a good walk spoiled: part five

On a 50-degree day in October, three gentleman set out to play golf.

Matt started out strong and through four, was up three strokes on me. The best hole we collectively played was the 7th (coincidentally the shortest par four). But we all three had great shots off the tee--Matt and Niraj both went about 150, myself 190 or so. I was on the green in two, and came inches within making a par putt.

But I've buried the lede. The 322-yard 6th hole. Matt and I both hit mediocre to poor drives with woods off the tee, on the ground and to the left. My 2nd shot from the left edge of the fairway, I opened up the face of my 5-iron, making good contact, sending it to the right side of the fairway. I left myself a 120-yard approach shot. I took a full swing with my 9-iron, hit a beautiful crisp shot that flew straight through the air, landing just shy of the green, and rolled within ten feet of the pin. That approach shot was one of the best shots I've ever hit. I let the other two Bozos putt out, and then I stood over this putt for par. Probably an 8-footer.

It was slightly uphill, slight break to the left. All day I had been putting on line, but leaving them a couple feet short. I decided, since this was for par, that I was going to go for it--no way I was leaving it short. When it left my club, it felt good. It was rolling up the hill at a good pace. With maybe two feet to go, I thought I had left it right. But then at the last moment it broke left. It ran over the cup, hit the back edge with some velocity, and popped up in the air an inch or two before falling in the cup. And there it was. My first par on a par four hole. EVER. I'd made a few on par 3's, when you land it on the green and two-putt in. That's not easy, but you can two-putt. With my power, I'm almost never going to be on the green in 2 on a par 4 (I did on the 7th, but it was a 250-yarder).

And all it took was a mediocre drive and three of the best strokes I've ever had.

Here was my day by hole:

1st: +4
2nd: double bogey
3rd: +5
4th: triple bogey
5th: double bogey
6th: par
7th: bogey
8th: triple bogey
9th: triple bogey

On the 8th, we all hit in the water on our first attempt. But after that shot and the penalty stroke, I went: drive, approach, chip-in that rolled within an inch, tap-in. So if would have the 2nd drive as my first, that triple was an inch away from being another par.

My previous two rounds in 2010 were both +22, despite on being a par-3 course. This one was +23. Sort of shockingly consistent.

Also, humorous note, teeing off on the par-3 2nd, I hit a 5-iron directly into the slanted red tee box marker that was maybe 20 yards in front of me. It popped straight up in the air, hung there for a good five seconds, and fell in the grass about 5 yards away.

So in the modern, post-college era, I've played twice in 2005, once in 2009, and thrice in 2010.

Friday, October 01, 2010

do jews control the media? CNN's Rick Sanchez thinks so.

Some doughy head on CNN said, and I box quote,

"I'm telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like [Jon] Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they -- the people in this country who are Jewish -- are an oppressed minority? Yeah. [sarcastically]"

Who cares what he said. Alls I knows is thats I've been hearing this "Jews control the media" thing forever. Either it is a hateful, racist, prejudiced statement of spite or it is a dead-on assessment of how things are.

How long are we going to let this possibly biased stereotype live? I say we round up all the heads of every media company, we can ship them off to a camp somewhere, and putting our heads together, really concentrate, and ask them to show us their papers!

Or we just get out a micrometer and check their noses. Either way.

Oooh, a digital caliper. Aren't we fancy!

How dare they smear (or in this case, schmear) Jews by claiming to own media companies. It's OUTRAGEOUS. Unless it's true.