Friday, January 24, 2014

Conversation with the wife about NHL Futures

Me: I think we should put $50 on the Avs to win the Stanley Cup. If it's 20/1 that would be $1000 in June.
Wife: No.
Me: What do you think, psychically?
Wife: (thinks) They're not going to win.
Me: Hmmm.
Wife: Does Pittsburgh have a team?
Me: Yeah.
Wife: I see Pittsburgh doing really well.
Me: Well, lets put $50 on Pittsburgh!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Analyzing 2013 NFL Playoff Predictions

predictions found here

After Week 2

Division Winners Correct: 5/8
Playoff Teams Correct: 9/12
Playoff Seeds Exactly Right: Broncos, Seahawks, 49ers

After Week 5

Division Winners Correct:  5/8
Playoff Teams Correct: 8/12
Playoff Seeds Exactly Right: Broncos, Chiefs, Seahawks, 49ers

After Week 12

Division Winners Correct:  7/8
Playoff Teams Correct: 11/12
Playoff Seeds Exactly Right: Broncos, Patriots, Bengals, Colts, Chiefs, Seahawks, Eagles, Packers

Monday, January 20, 2014

NHL Standings under a 3-point system

First, a recap.

Back in March 2012, I solved the problem with the NHL standings point system.

In August 2013, Grantland touches on it but even when talking about a 3-point system neglects the key difference that OT wins should be worth 3 points and OT losses should be worth nothing.

In January 2014, the same guy at Grantland writes an entire article about it, repeating the same stuff.

- - -

Now then. I thought it would be interesting to compare the current 2-1-0 system to my 3-2-1-0 system.

Here's the current standings for above .500 teams, as always sorted by points percentage.

Here are the standings with 3 points for a ROW, 2 points for a SOwin, 1 point for a SOloss, 0 points for a ROL.

Ducks: 113 points / 153 possible = .739
Penguins: 98 points / 144 possible = .681
Blues: 94 points / 141 possible = .667
Avs: 93 points / 144 possible = .646
Bruins: 92 points / 144 possible = .639
Blackhawks: 97 points / 153 possible = .634
Sharks: 90 points / 147 possible = .612
Kings: 85 points / 147 possible = .578
Lightning: 85 points / 150 possible = .567
Canadiens: 81 points / 147 possible = .551
Canucks: 78 points / 150 possible = .520
Wild: 79 points / 153 possible = .516
Coyotes: 69 points / 144 possible = .479

In terms of league standings, the Penguins move up from 4 to 2, the Blackhawks fall from 2 to 6.

- - -

This system increases the value of a regulation or overtime win. It decreases the value of a shootout win, shootout loss, and overtime loss.

To repeat, it will reward teams that are winning outright in regulation and overtime play.
It will punish teams that are scraping by with shootout wins, shootout losses or overtime losses.

I think these are good, fair things.

I didn't expect to actually make much of a difference in the standings order. I think the real benefit comes with the standardization that every game is worth the same amount of points. And that there is little incentive to play for overtime or play for a shootout, resulting in better hockey. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The only thing that can cheer me up right now

Sports are stupid.

The Curse of Vinatieri vs The Curse of Welker

(disclaimer: I don't believe in curses)

Despite having Belichick and Brady, the QB with the best playoff record by far, the Patriots haven't won the Super Bowl since 2004.

Not counting this uncompleted year, they've been the playoffs 7 of the last 8 years. They went 18-0. They made it to two Super Bowls.

But haven't won it since 2004.

- - -

After the 2005 season, the Patriots let Vinatieri become a free agent. They haven't won since. Vinatieri has won a Super Bowl since then with the Colts.

After the 2006 season, the Patriots signed Wes Welker. They haven't won since.

- - -

Today the Patriots play the Broncos, but with Wes Welker playing for Denver.
If the Broncos win the Super Bowl, it shows that you can win with Welker and the Curse of Vinatieri reigns supreme.
If the Patriots win the Super Bowl, it proves definitively that Welker is cursed.
If an NFC team wins the Super Bowl, all of this means nothing.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Mike And Tom Eat Snacks: Ratings

Last September I started a project. As a loyal viewer, I had already listened to every episode of the Mike And Tom Eat Snacks podcast (MATES). I went back and listened to each one again, this time rating each podcast using their system, 0 to 10. To be clear, I was rating the podcast, not the snacks. 

My methodology borrowed from Tom's ranking structure. If I imagined every podcast was available to me, how likely would I want to listen to this particular podcast. This explains why most episodes received at least a 5. To me, even the worst MATES is still pretty good. 

Anyways, here are my personal, subjective ratings. 

A few notes:

Episode 38 (guacamole) received my first perfect 10.
Episode 62 (smarties) received the only other perfect 10 rating.

There were three episode that received a 9.5:
12 (microwave popcorn)
23 (fig newtons)
41 (kroger's very cherry jelly belly pudding snacks)

Two episodes received my lowest rating, a 4.5
8 (crudite)
74 (marzipan)

Episodes 1-41 were produced without any affiliation
Episodes 42+ were produced by Nerdist

Episodes 71-77 were produced "on the run from the Hostess goons." On first blush I hated these episodes. On second listen, I thought they were just okay.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Updating NHL Playoff Picture

We're over halfway though the NHL season. With the new divisional playoff structure, I wondered where (if any) our playoff races will be.

Here's the current playoff picture:

Great. Here it is with league standings ranking next to each team.

This is my concern, dude.

Under the old system, the Avs would be the 4th best team in the West and draw the 5th best team in the West, the Sharks. But if they passed Chicago and became the 3rd best team in the West, they would get the 6th best, the Kings.

Currently, they are 3rd in the Central and draw the Blackhawks. If they pass Chicago and become the 2nd best team in the Central, they draw...the Blackhawks.

The bright side is that they have a comfortable lead on the Wild and Minnesota is still projected to make the playoffs anyways. So it would seem Colorado will be playing Chicago or St. Louis, and they've had better success against Chicago. Bring on the Blackhawks.

- - -

In the West, 7 teams have a playoff odds of over 87%. Minnesota, Phoenix and Dallas are fighting for the last spot.

In the East, only 4 teams have odds above 60%. 9 teams have a chance of claiming the 4 other spots.

Comparing Hockey Standings

I'm slightly obsessed with the math of the NHL.

Here are the current standings based on points percentage:

While fair, it still compares an uneven number of games and uses percentages/projection to balance it.

Here's what the standings look like for the top 11 teams, through 45 games played:

Anaheim 69
St. Louis 69
Chicago 67
Pittsburgh 65
San Jose 62
Colorado 61
Boston 60
LA 59
Tampa Bay 58
Montreal 55
Vancouver 55

So there you go. It's basically the same thing. These numbers give you a true way of saying, the Penguins are 4 points behind the Blues. But they also ignore the actual results since the cutoff date. For example, Anaheim went 3-0 since the 45 game mark, giving them the best points percentage in the league. At any rate, this only confirms the validity of the points percentage standings and the ridiculousness of the current standings that have shown the Blackhawks over the Blues all year.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Notes from a 5-course dinner

I recently cooked my first 5-course dinner. Here are some notes before I forget them. 

Appetizer. This was my first time using puff pastry. It was tasty but the onions and gorgonzola were a bit strong/pungent. I would try a pastry puff again, but not this one.

Soup. The recipe was curried pumpkin. I couldn't really discern the curry powder flavor, but I thought the soup was quite good. Better than I expected.

Salad. This was fantastic. The homemade dressing made a ton of difference and I would absolutely make this again. The only thing was that it thickened a bit in the fridge overnight. The recipe calls for chilling at least two hours, overnight is best. But next time I should try and set it out a few hours in advance so it wouldn't be as thick. The homemade croutons were also amazing. I feel like they tasted better when I made them the night before.

Pasta. The only real mistake happened here. The dinner was Sunday night. I made as much as I could Saturday night. On Saturday the squash pasta sauce was perfect. On Sunday it was way too thick. I thought heating it in the pan would thin it out, but it really didn't. I should have saved some of the pasta water or added something to thin it out. Instead it was a bit clumpy and stuck to the pasta in spots, instead of being a sauce that covered it completely.

I combined two recipes and I think the concept and the recipes were both good, just a slight error in execution.

Cookie. We both love skillet cookies, but I had no idea how this would turn out. The answer was perfectly. It was cooked all the way through just how you want it. A little crispy on top, gooey in the middle. Perfect serving size. Definitely making this again.

Monday, January 13, 2014

NFL Network Bullshit

I'm not saying it doesn't make business sense, but this is pretty much bullshit.

The NFL Network is trying to sell the first 8 Thursday night games to a different network. It's revealed that the plan all along for the NFL Network was:

"This has always been the plan -- to use the full-season package to get higher carriage fees and get on Time Warner Cable, then sell off half the package"

Let me get this straight. The NFL puts 13 games on Thursdays on their own network, leading consumers to demand their cable companies carry NFL Network. The NFL makes a ton of money by getting their network on Cable. Then takes away 61.5% of those games. If I was Time Warner I would want 61.5% of my money back.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Not really sure how Simmons can said bad weather ruined his Saints +7.5 pick when he commented on the 100% chance of rain in his article.

Friday, January 10, 2014

My picks in order of confidence

Colts +7
Panthers +1
Seahawks -7.5
Chargers +9.5

What I Miss At Trader Joe's

The first Trader Joe's is set to open in Colorado on Feb 14. The last time I lived in a place with a Trader Joe's was Oak Park, 2.5 years ago. (I did go to a Trader Joe's in December 2011, visiting O'Fallon for Christmas. Had to drive an hour into St. Louis.)

Back in Oak Park, we would joke that we would have to make road trips to the nearest location once we lived in Denver. (Pack ya bags, we're going to Santa Fe!)

Since then, I've adjusted to the local basic grocery stores. But there are legitimately a few things that I haven't been able to replace or replicate.

Now that's it about a month away, I'm asking myself, what do I miss the most?

Here's what came to mind:

Just Mango Slices
No one else does it like this. No sugar. Just dried mango, that's soft and a little chewy.

Mango Smoothie in the refrigerated section
Something about how TJ does mango.

Peanut Butter Cups
These are crazy good. Way better than Reese's, which are already pretty good.

Orange Chicken (frozen section)
Pair this with some broccoli and you've got yourself a meal, baby. (Not a stew)

Plantain Chips
Again, where else can you find these? Cheap, tasty and (sort of) fruit.

Off the top of my head, these are also good, though it's not like I've been thinking about them: Joe Joes, Peanut Butter Goodies, soft chocolate chip cookies, Midnight Moo, chocolate milk, granola, naan, pear sauce.

I just googled to see what else I should get/try. Cookie butter, mac & cheese. Fair enough.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Return of the Chili

I basically followed the recipe I wrote three years ago. Except that I wanted to make a bigger batch.

1.88 pounds of Angus Beef Stew Meat
Two grilled Italian Sausages, sliced

1 jalapeno with seeds
1 poblano

half white onion
half red onion
1 red pepper
5 cloves garlic

Liquids & Spices
2 cup Pace Picante sauce
half cup Gates bbq sauce
6 cups chicken broth
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne powder
sprinkle cinnamon
sprinkle chipotle hot sauce

I seared the stew meat in 4 batches, seasoned with salt and pepper as they came off.

Into the pot with chicken broth. 7:00 am MST.

I've added picante and Gates. Simmered for a while. Right now it's just the beef. 8:45 am MST

All the chiles and veggies get added. 9:00 am MST.

I added the Italian Sausage around 11:00 am. It didn't need to break down at all, I just wanted it in there.

Noon MST. Finished. Good depth of flavor. The jalapeno seeds made it quite spicier, though I wonder if it's better presentation to use more jalapenos with no seeds. I love every component. Served with Fritos Scoops.

The beef was very tender as it had been in the pot for five hours. The veggies and sausage hadn't turned to mush since I added them later. Success all around.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Last Words on 2013 Kansas City Chiefs

As a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs franchise, it's tempting to delve into 20 years without a playoff win, how I've never really seen one since I didn't really understand or appreciate anything when I was 9, how it's the longest active streak of playoff losses.

But I'm also a fan of the 2013 Kansas City Chiefs. And it's not really fair to that team to carry all this baggage. 

Here are the games that team played, sorted by opponents record including playoffs to date. Playoff teams in bold.

L @ Denver 13-3
L vs Denver 13-3
L vs Indy 12-5
L @ Indy 12-5
W @ Philly 10-7
L @ San Diego 9-7
L vs San Diego 9-7
W vs Dallas 8-8
W vs NY Giants 7-9
W @ Tennessee 7-9
W @ Buffalo 6-10
W @ Jacksonville 4-12
W vs Oakland 4-12
W vs Cleveland 4-12
W @ Oakland 4-12
W @ Washington 3-13
W vs Houston 2-14

That tells a pretty good story. 10-0 against non-playoff teams. 1-6 against playoff teams.

If they had held on to a 21-7 lead over the Broncos on December 1, they likely would have been the #1 seed and not even had to play yesterday.

But they couldn't. They were a good team and I think seeded appropriately. 5th in the conference. About just as good as the Colts, 4th in the conference.

- - - 

Obviously they were a few plays that if just one of them had flipped, the Chiefs could have won.

1. Missing wide open Cyrus Gray to start the 4th for a sure touchdown and a 17-point lead.
2. The fumble that bounced into Luck's hands. If there was no fumble it would have been a 3rd and 2.
3. The fumble that the Colts recovered an inch in bounds.
4. Going from a 2nd and 7 to a 3rd and 11 to a 4th and 6 and field goal when up 41-38.
5. When down 44-45, and have 2nd and 7 on the INDY 39 and all we need is a field goal and there's an intentional grounding, 6 yard gain on 3rd and 17, and then Bowe gets one foot in on the 4th down. 


There are just as many plays that went the Chiefs way that led to that huge lead in the first place. These teams are about even. 

- - -

When the Colts got the deep TD pass to finally take the lead with 4 minutes to go, I was not upset. I was thinking the Colts were sure to get a TD, I was happy to have 4 minutes to drive for a field goal. Almost got there.

- - - 

Anyways, great season. Only the 4th playoff game I've gotten to experience (as an adult). And it's not like the Chiefs were going to win two more road games anyways. Once they lost twice to Denver and couldn't win the division, I had lowered my ceiling to winning one playoff game. Almost got there. 

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Well that was heartbreaking.

Friday, January 03, 2014

The Top Ten of 2013

A lot of good posts this year. So much that there's 7 honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions

Mark Fever - Food / Mark Fever - Beer

Texas BBQ Roadtrip (imaginary)

Pie for Breakfast released

Illinois: National Championships?

Odds of Winning a Championship

Thanksgiving Sandwiches

Worst to First / Best Record in NFL

Too Real

10. Avalanche 6, Predators 5
Made the list because of the screenshots where you can see me holding my nachos.

9. PIES, ranked
I stand by this list.

8. Autopilot Sales
My writing "career" is hilarious.

7. My Original Restaurant Concept Menu
This took a considerable amount of time. Worth it.

6. The Wife's Draft Analysis
The Chiefs are hilarious.

5. How much is home field worth in the NFL?
Answered a question I had thought about for a while. I love these kind of posts that you can't find anywhere else.

4. The Blade Warriors saga
You seriously won't find a post like this anywhere else.

3. Photos from San Francisco
Good photos from a good trip.

2. 30
Thirty things I thought when I turned thirty.

...and what was the best blog post that I published in 2013?
Number One

Thursday, January 02, 2014

It's been a great season for the Chiefs, far exceeding any expectations. I don't have too much to say other than it's been almost 20 years since their last playoff win. 7 losses in a row.

I said it would be a success for Reid/Smith to win one at some point in KC. It could be Saturday.