Sunday, September 24, 2017

Chiefs 24-6 in their last 30

So I'm thinking about how the Chiefs stack up against the other good teams in the league. Just beat the Patriots on the road this year. Beat the Falcons on the road last year. Beat the Panthers on the road last year. Beat the 2-1 Eagles this year. Swept the Raiders and Broncos last year. Last time the Chiefs played the Seahawks, the Chiefs won in 2014 when Seattle went to the Super Bowl.

You go down the list and the Chiefs have come out on top a lot lately. So I looked it up over their last 30 games, including the playoffs, the Chiefs are 24-6.

In that stretch here are the teams that have beaten them: Steelers twice, Titans, Bucs, Texans, Patriots.

Titans, Bucs and Texans were all close games that don't scare me. But the Steelers and facing the Pats in the Playoffs? I'd prefer not to have to play either of them.

The Steelers come to Arrowhead on October 15. It will be interesting to see if the Chiefs can conquer their Pittsburgh demons.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

QB First Contract Super Bowl Window

"Super Bowl Window" is a phrase thrown around to describe when a NFL team has a collection of good players in their prime and how long they can keep them together at a high level.

The Seattle Seahawks won a Super Bowl through a very specific blueprint. They drafted a great quarterback and paid him peanuts, enabling the team to pay for great players around him, specifically on defense. Russell Wilson entered the NFL in 2012 on a 4-year contract.

This morning, thinking about this, I had 2 questions.
1. What did his First Contract Super Bowl Window look like?
2. Did he get/need playoff experience?

In 2012, they were good out of the gate. 11-5 record. They went to the playoffs and Wilson started 2 playoff games on the road, going 1-1.

In 2013, they were even better. 13-3 and 3-0 in the playoffs, winning the Super Bowl.

In 2014, 12-4, returned to the Super Bowl and really should have won it again.

In 2015, not as good, 10-6 and lost to the Panthers in the Super Bowl.

His contract extension became active in 2016, they still won 10 games and made the playoffs losing to the Falcons.

If my theory was perfect, you would have seen a larger drop off from 2015 to 2016. But the larger point stands, that drafting a Pro Bowl QB and not paying him much, is a great start to building a Super Bowl contender.

- - -

The Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes this year and signed him to a 4-year contract for


(Teams have a fifth-year option, but because he was a top-10 pick, that option would be very expensive and no better financially than a contract extension.)

So there you go. The Chiefs best chance to win a Super Bowl in my lifetime is the next 4 years. In 2018, Alex Smith has to go and ideally would be replaced with immediate-impact players on the defense.

Of course, if Alex Smith goes and leads the 2017 Chiefs to a Super Bowl win, we'll take that too.

Friday, September 08, 2017

The Return of All Things Right

Edit: This post was originally written September 5, 2008 in Chicago. It was updated for the first time since then on September 8, 2017. I still own the grill pan that I reference in 2006 but have not used it. since then. I have transferred from an apartment to a condo to an apartment to a house to an apartment to an apartment to a house.

This morning I woke up and felt the instinctive urge to be in Kansas City. The weather was rainy, and a bit chilly, and as if the weather was taking it's cues from the NFL, fall had arrived. And nothing seemed more perfect than getting some barbecue and walking into Arrowhead.

Alas, I'm not in Kansas City. In fact, neither are the Chiefs. And I won't be eating any barbecue. But, like birds migrating south, I can feel it inside me: football is back.

I have fond memories of every Chief's opening day since senior year (the dovetail of the Chiefs being good, fantasy football's introduction to our lives, and our football rituals in our apartment.)

2004 at Broncos

Priest Holmes was still tearing it up. LJ had just been drafted and didn't get to see any action. This was a Sunday night game and I remember being pumped all day. Plummer even threw a left handed interception. Good times. Except for Quentin Griffin went for 156 and 3 tds. This season he tore his ACL and is now in the CFL. Denver 34-24.

2005 vs Jets

This was the first Chief's game I saw in Chicago, and I remember watching it at what was then Brittany's apartment, which is now our apartment. The Jets fumbled like 7 times, and both Holmes and Johnson had monster games. The Chief's should have had a shutout, but allowed a garbage time TD. Good game. Chiefs 27-7.

2006 vs Bengals

Ah, the beginning of the Herm Edwards era. This was the first football game post-wedding. I was trying out, for the first time, grilling a raw burger on my cast-iron grill pan. And I had the Chiefs game on Tivo. Well, my cast-iron pan burned the outside of the meat, and left the inside raw. Our apartment filled with smoke, and it was about the worst burger I've ever tried to eat. When the apartment got smoky, I paused the game. Then later, on fast forward I see that Trent Green just got knocked out. It was not a good day. And I haven't used the grill pan since. Bengals 23-10.

2007 at Texans

This had another ominous start. I knew the game wasn't going to be on tv in Chicago, so I went to the sports bar a few blocks away (The Hunt Club) to watch it on Sunday Ticket. I get there a couple minutes before noon, order a soda, and peruse the menu. Then at noon the games come on, and I can't find the Chiefs/Texans. They have about 10 tv's, and that is the only game not on. I go up to the bar to ask if they can change one, and they said that it's all pre-set. So I pay for the soda and leave. It was probably better off not watching. The freaking Texans beat the Chiefs and it wasn't close. This was not a good day either. Texans 20-3.

2008 at Patriots

So over the last 4 years, the Chiefs are 1-3 in opening day games. And now they get to play on the road at a team that was 10 seconds away from being 19-0. Um...great. Oh well. At least I won't fill the apartment with smoke. Update: Down goes Brady. Down goes Croyle. And still the Chiefs almost won. But not quite. Chiefs lose to Cassel's Pats 17-10.

2009 at Ravens

This was my first Chiefs season in Oak Park. Cassel was on the team but was injured. I had hope. The Chiefs lost 38-24. Croyle fell to 0-9 as a starter. They would finish 4-12 this year.

2010 vs Chargers

This was incredible. I was living in Oak Park but didn't get ESPN, so I came over to Burnsy's apartment on Milwaukee and we watched it together. Awesome game, win 21-14. And as it turns out, the game did ignite a run to the playoffs! I'll always remember this one.

2011 vs Bills

I don't remember this one. This was my first season living in Denver and I had just become a father about 10 days before. I had to look it up. The Bills beat the Chiefs 41-7 and Eric Berry tore his ACL and was out for the year. This is my only recollection. 

2012 vs Falcons

I don't remember this one either. Man. Parenting. This was the first game in our Denver house. Also the Chiefs were real bad. They went 2-14 this year and got beat by the Falcons 40-24 on opening day.

2013 at Jaguars

This one was fun. I remember this one. I was watching at home in Denver with 2 babies. The Chiefs rolled the Jags 28-2. I wrote down these thoughts. This was the start of the Andy Reid/Alex Smith era. Funny how the Chiefs instantly got a whole lot better.

2014 vs Titans

I actually don't remember this one either. A shitty loss to the Titans where Alex Smith was throwing picks and Derrick Johnson was lost for the year. 26-10 Titans.

2015 at Texans

This one I remember! This one was awesome. We were living in Denver and I watched this game over at the Verrettes house on Salford. It featured one of my favorite Kelce highlights ever. Fun fact: I was very high on the Chiefs this year. They proceeded to go on a 5 game losing streak after this, then win all their games and their first playoff game in 22 years. Weird year. Chiefs 27-20.

2016 vs Chargers

Another great one! I was really pissed that the Broncos had lucked into a win on opening night. I have really high hopes for the Chiefs following their playoff win. And they're down 24-3 against the shitty Chargers, a division rival, at home. Christ. And then Alex Smith leads the biggest Chiefs comeback in franchise history. I remember this was the first NFL Sunday in the group Whatsapp chat and it was the last one that I was watching in Denver (thought I didn't know it at the time). Another big win that would lead to a playoff berth. Chiefs 33-27 in OT.

2017 at Patriots

Oh man. Three good starts in a row. 4 out of 5 in the Reid/Smith era. This was my first game living in Kansas City, first in the new man cave in the new house. To go into Foxboro and beat the champs on primetime national TV? Chiefs 42-27. Holy shit.

NFL Season Kickoff

At some point over the last month, I thought I should do another edition of NFL storylines. I thought about doing a full NFL standings predictions...

But all of that seems like a lot of work right now.

Let's do an abbreviated predictions:


1 Patriots
2 Chiefs
3 Steelers
4 Texans
5 Raiders
6 Ravens
Titans first one out


1 Seahawks
2 Saints
3 Packers
4 Giants
5 Vikings
6 Cowboys
Panthers first one out

Super Bowl: Seahawks over Chiefs

This week I like

Chiefs +9
Ravens +3
Steelers -9.5
Lions +2
Panthers -5

Chiefs Take Down The Champs

This wasn't a football game. This was a heavyweight bout.

Leading up to it, Collinsworth described the Chiefs as counter-punchers. We knew going into it that it was going to be a tough place to play. The Super Bowl champs opening at home, with the trophies, with the banners, with Mark Wahlberg. Al and Chris said they've never heard Gillette as loud as it was before the game.

And the Patriots came out swinging hard. No huddle down the field, 73 yards in under 3 minutes. It's 7-0.

First Chiefs play of the season, first career snap for Kareem Hunt and he fumbles. Never lost a fumble in 4 years of college.

Patriots are 32 yards from the endzone. 6 plays later, Tom Brady throws a touchdown to Gronk and it's 13-0 before Alex Smith has even thrown a pass.

Except that it wasn't. After the commercial break they take the touchdown away. That leads to a 4th and 1 from the 10.

They're going for it. KC Star writer Terez Paylor calls it disrespectful to go for it. The Chiefs stop them on 4th down and take over at the 10.

The Chiefs counter-punch and go 90 yards for a score with only getting to 3rd down once.

That was a huge sequence. Gronk completes that pass and it's 14-0. But defense steps up and boom, it's 7-7 after the first quarter. The Chiefs stop the bleeding and prove this is going to be a fight.

Next drive ends with a 4th and 1 for the Pats from the 8. The Chiefs have them gunshy and they settle for a field goal. That initial 4th down stop still providing benefits.

But the Patriots get it back after a punt and take a 17-7 lead. And the Chiefs punt again. Just like that it feels inevitable. The Patriots are the Champs. They've scored on 3 out of 4 drives. The Chiefs have only scored on 1 out of 4 drives. To stop them from scoring, we needed a key 4th down stop—you can't count on those.

With 3:44 to go in the first half, the Pats have the ball and could extend their lead before the half. But the Chiefs force their first punt.

The Chiefs now have 2:47 to salvage something. And I've always liked Alex Smith in these situations. I think he's best when he's forced to throw down the field. They quickly chip down the field, picking up key 3rd downs and with 13 seconds left Alex Smith checks down to Kareem Hunt for his first career touchdown.

It's Halftime and it's 17-14 Patriots. The Chiefs just executed a two-minute drill on the road in Foxboro against the Champs. KC gets the ball back to start the second half. The Chiefs hung in there and fought back from the second wave of punches.

Against a normal team, I'd feel reasonably confident. Against the Patriots, just nothing but dread. It still feels inevitable. But at least we didn't get blown out. At least we're not a national laughingstock.

After two punts, the Chiefs start a drive on their own 25 and this happens:

I really can't say enough about this. This feels SO MUCH like a play that I've seen happen over and over without the same result. The one where Alex checks down to RB and then the broadcast shows a replay that he had a wide open Maclin or Kelce or Hill that could have had a score. Or the one where Alex sees an opportunity like this but the pass is a little long or a little short. Or the one where he makes the throw but the ball bounces off a normally sure-handed receiver. I've seen countless variations of the wide open receiver—but I've rarely seen this version.

This is the version where Alex scans left and then continues to scan right where Hill is. When he sees Hill breaking open and doesn't hesitate. He fires it perfectly deep hitting him right in stride. And Hill catches it, oh my goodness he catches it. This is the version where the Chiefs take the lead for the first time. Just wow.

I saw the angle from Alex's point of view (wish I could find it again) and when Alex starts to throw it, Hill is not nearly that open. He's got him beat, but he's basically even with the defender. It's a thing of beauty.

And then, oh by the way, it's 21-17 Chiefs. With 9 minutes to go in the 3rd. It feels great, but I know that 24 minutes of football is an eternity. I expect the Patriots to come back.

The Chiefs lead lasted for 4 minutes. Patriots 24-21 with 5 to go in the 4rd. Damn.

Chiefs go back to back punts. Patriots open a drive with a 54-yard pass to Cooks. This is the 3rd wave of punches from the champ. A touchdown here would make it a two-possession game going into the 4th. Limit them to a field goal and it's only a 6 point game.

Chiefs Red Zone defense comes up huge again. Patriots 27-21. After a penalty it's 1st and 15 from their own 5 for the Chiefs. This feels like a punting situation. But Kareem Hunt goes 13 yards up the middle, gets the team some breathing room. Nice, underrated play. If he doesn't do that, then he can't do this:

Holy shit. Kareem Hunt is my new best friend. Alex Smith is a gunslinger. The Chiefs have counterpunched for the 3rd time. They've retaken the lead.

It's at this point 28-27, where I first thought: "Okay we're in this game. It would really, really suck to get to this point, to have this lead on the road, and have it all be wasted. We need to win this."

Ensuing drive. 3rd and 2, key tackle by Peters/Berry leaves NE with a 4th and 1 from the KC 40. They have to go for it. They try to run it like they did back in the first quarter. The Chiefs defense stops them again. The same defense that on the opening drive couldn't stop anything, is now a stone wall.

After exchanging punts, Chiefs get the ball and go to work. Short passes, deep passes, it's all working. They score again. I wish they would have gone for 2 to try and put it out reach, but they kick the extra point and it's 35-27 with 5 minutes to go.

At this point, having seen three waves of punches from the champs, I thought there was a 99% chance that Brady goes down the field and scores a touchdown.

First play of the drive is the first sack of the game for the Chiefs. #BigMacSack. Houston beats the edge rush and finally gets home on Brady.

Chiefs force a punt and get the ball back with 4 minutes to go. Still nervous. Need to close it out.

So the Chiefs run the ball twice for 79 yards and go up 42-27. Is this real life?

Like can I start celebrating yet? Holy shit.

The Chiefs sack Brady twice more on the final drive and get to victory formation.

The game is over.

Can I stop being nervous now?

- - -

For the record, there were two times this decade where the teams involved in the kickoff game reached the Super Bowl.

In 2013, the Broncos beat the Ravens on opening night. The Broncos would end up reaching the Super Bowl, but losing.

In 2014, the Seahawks beat the Packers on opening night. The Seahawks would end up reaching the Super Bowl, but losing.

So that's not exactly as exciting as I would have hoped, but...based on this alone, it seems more likely that the Chiefs would reach the SB than the Patriots, so I'll take it.

- - -

Here are some random fun stats:

The 4th Quarter by Pats was reverse of Super Bowl: 4 drives, 2 first downs, 0 points. Outscored 21-0.

The Patriots were 81-0 at Gillette when leading at half during the regular season before last night (95-1 when including playoffs).

42 points is the most allowed by the Patriots in the Bill Belichick era.

The Chiefs have won 7 straight road games, including wins over all 4 teams from the last 2 Super Bowls (CAR, DEN, ATL, NE)

Players with 300+ pass yards, 4+ passing TD and 0 INT against a Bill Belichick defense: Drew Brees (2009), Alex Smith (tonight)

Kareem Hunt has set an NFL record for yards from scrimmage in the first game of a career with 246.

Alex Smith last 2 games vs. New England (48 of 61 for 616 YDS 7TD 0 INT.)

- - -

Chiefs Offense in the Red Zone: 3 times = 3 touchdowns

Chiefs Defense in the Red Zone: 6 times = 3 touchdowns, 2 fg, 1 turnover on downs

- - -

- - -

It's easy to start thinking just about the emotional part. The opening night national TV win, coming back against the Patriots who spent the offseason rubbing it in the Falcons faces...

But this is a huge win for the season.

For starters of course, the Chiefs are 1-0 and have a few extra days to practice for their next game. They already got a road win, in the hardest game on the schedule. Plus, it's a tiebreaker against the Patriots that could easily impact the playoffs. It's not even ridiculous to think that the AFC Championship could be these two teams and because of this game (maybe both finish 12-4) that game is at Arrowhead because of Week 1. Holy crap.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Lemon Pepper Wet

So first I saw the scene in FX's Atlanta.
Then I heard Rembert on House of Carbs. And found Rembert's article.
So tonight when I saw Lemon Pepper at Buffalo Wild Wings I ordered it.
Then I came home and watched the Binging with Babish on it.

Now I have a lot to say about Lemon Pepper.

I'm pretty sure that tonight was my first time eating Lemon Pepper seasoning in any form. It's great. I wouldn't be writing about it if it wasn't. But my Lemon Pepper Dry at BWW had two clear flaws.

First, wings are better wet. These were crunchy which is good, but too crunchy. All crunch not enough flavor. The texture is just off.

Second, lemon pepper, like any seasoning, needs to stick to something wet/sticky. It's obvious, sure. If they were fresh coming out of the fryer, you'd get some decent seasoning to stick, but if you wait a minute, not much is going to stick. I had a huge pile of lemon pepper left over at the bottom of my plate. (Which I then dipped my Jerk wings and fries in—both were great.)

I also noticed flaws in Babish's preparation as far as I'm concerned. For one batch he tossed the the wings in lemon pepper dry and then coated with buffalo sauce. This may be authentic, but I'd flip it. Toss the wings in buffalo sauce, get them sticky, and then hit them with the lemon pepper.

His second batch he added dry seasoning directly to the wings, then added butter and tossed. Which I feel like would sort of work. Again, flipping it would get more of a coating...but there's a huge missed opportunity. He peeled lemon zest and did all this stuff to make his own lemon pepper seasoning. Instead of doing all that work to get to a dry powder, why not create one lemon pepper sauce from the beginning. Something with lemon juice, lemon zest, butter, olive oil, garlic and lots of black pepper would make a killer wing sauce. (Or the lazy way would be to melt some butter and stir in lemon pepper seasoning.)

So here's what I'm thinking moving forward. I'm going to pick up some lemon pepper. I imagine being able to season cut up chicken for tacos and other things.

Next time at Buffalo Wild Wings I might get some medium or hot wings and ask for lemon pepper on the side so I can coat how I want to.

Some day I should try to at least make the lazy version of lemon pepper sauce.

EDIT: So 12 hours later, I made some Lemon Pepper Wings 2 ways.

I wasn't trying to impress anybody, I just wanted some quick lemon pepper wings. So I bought some frozen Friday's ready to eat buffalo wings. Microwaved them up. Half of them I just sprinked generously with the dry lemon pepper seasoning. Because they were fresh out of the microwave, they were soft, sticky, ready for seasoning to adhere. The other half I wiped with paper towels and made a quick lemon pepper butter sauce and coated them.

The butter sauce ones looked better.

As for the taste, they were both really great, but the butter sauced ones tasted like too much butter. A little too greasy. Turns out adding lemon pepper to buffalo wings is fantastic, much better than adding it to bone dry wings.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Solar Eclipse - August 21, 2017

So the two best photos I took of the eclipse weren't that great:

But the cool thing about the internet is that I don't need to take a great picture myself. I can just find and enjoy the best pictures from all over. 

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Best Seats I've Ever Had at a Royals Game

I got free tickets through a production company and they were awesome. Before the game, I walked around the stadium.

And then I found the seats. Section 129, Row P. Incredible. They even have waiter service.

Pub nachos.

Royals won 6-4, a comeback win, their only win in their last 5 games. Sweet.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

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:


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.

Went back for the first time as a resident on 2/4/17. Ordered the appetizer labeled: best wings on the planet. Also, got the brisket/burnt end plate, fries and beans. First time having their burnt ends. Wings were good but nothing that special.

The burnt ends are really great, brisket is good. Beans weren't my favorite. I feel good about having Q39 in the top spot now, but there are a couple of cons. There's always a wait, it's pricey. Parking is tight. Only one sauce on the table and isn't as good as Char Bar's.

Just ordered a half rack of ribs for the first time, (3/23/17 carryout):

SO GOOD. SO MANY! I couldn't even at them all. Saved a big one for later. Fries were good, beans still not that good. I guess I should stop ordering the beans. But damn. 1/2 Rack is a great freaking order.

Took my Mom here on 4/22. I had a 1/2 rack of ribs w/fries at the restaurant and then I ordered a Mr. Burns sandwich to go. It was the first time having the sandwich and it was brilliant.

Took Mark here on 7/27. We got the Macaroni and Cheese to start, and then we split a half rack of ribs and the Mr Burns sandwich. It was all so good, but the Mr Burns sandwich was the star of the show. Mark called it "one of the best sandwiches he's ever had."

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. 

Took Mark here on 7/25. We split a Holy Trinity plate as well as a pulled pork and sausage plate. Burnt ends are still the star here. Ribs great too. Love the sides and the sauce. Nothing to complain about.

3. Jack Stack

Bridget came to town and we got carryout for everyone (2/19/17). I had the KC Combo with burnt ends and pork ribs, fries, coleslaw and bread. We also had beans and potato salad so I got to try a ton of food.

Ribs were great. The beans were truly incredible, the best beans can be. Some burnt ends were good, some were a little tough and stringy. If it wasn't for that, I'd be considering #1 or #2 spot.

With Bridget in town we got another round of carryout 9/2/17. Ribs, brisket, chicken. Beans, potato salad, cole slaw, cheesy corn, fries.

Everything was solid. Really loved the beans and potato salad. Liked all the meats, but not as much as my top 2.

4. 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.

Got carry out on 1/28/17. Real good. Ribs and burnt ends are good, as they are at Char Bar and Q39. Guess I just like ribs and burnt ends a lot, eh?!

5. 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)

6. Joe's

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.

I've had this a few times at work (carryout) and it continues to be good not amazing. I think because people say it's their favorite and it's not my favorite, I'm always going to be a bit resentful and knock it down a peg.

7. 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. 


Places I Want To Try

Danny Edward's
Jon Russel's
Blind Box

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. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Mark Fever 2017

The last time Mark came I wrote "2015 was a short trip, but we jammed as many games as we could into it." That's a pretty good description for 2017 as well. 

He landed Tuesday afternoon and Brit picked him up with the boys and went to Legoland. I met them for dinner at Char Bar. Burnt ends, ribs, good stuff. 

That night we started in on games: Codenames with Brit, Ice Cool, Tsuro (gang war variant after boys went to sleep), Sushi Go, Burgle Bros.

Wednesday we went to Dave & Busters and did an Escape Room (The Cure: Prevail or Perish at Breakout KC) (We perished) and then hit Boulevard for a flight and then had Pizzeria locale before playing more games. 

Thursday we built an American Gladiators assault course with nerf guns and had lunch at Q39 before taking him to the airport. Mr Burns sandwich + ribs were big winners. 

Always a blast.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Trump's Insults Invariably Apply To Himself

Sometimes I think things are so obvious that they need not be said. This is one of those things that it is feel is obvious, and has been alluded to before, but lately I haven't heard this said a lot. 

Trump loves to attack and insult. And yet virtually everything he says is bad about other people applies to himself. 

His favorite thing to say about every news organization that isn't Fox is Fake News. He lies more than anyone and literally has fake Time magazine covers hanging up. 

He attacks the Washington Post for not paying taxes. 

He said Hillary was a liar. Unfit to lead. Corrupt. He said Hillary was Putin's puppet. 

He attacked Samuel L Jackson by calling him unathletic.

Here's what he attacked Comey with: 

This is the equivalent of an obese man shouting "Hey Fatty" out his car window. 

He's a bully with the biggest microphone and there's seemingly no way to call him on his bullshit. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Work Trip to LA

Now that I'm actually making real life commercials, occasionally they send me to shoots. Just got back from a week in LA. 


Arrived in Santa Monica Monday evening. Our hotel (Loews) was amazing and right on the beach. 

Continuing the tradition from my New York work trip, first stop is Umami Burger.

After that we went to West 4th and Jane, a bar associated with the founders of Untappd. Had a Pliny and a Modern Times beer. Walked back to the hotel...

...and enjoyed the fire pit on my private patio.


Grabbed some breakfast on the way to the casting session. Darren took a behind the scenes shot of our commercial shoot for social media. So I took a behind the scenes shot of the behind the scenes.

After seeing casting videos of 74 actors (for two roles) we brought in 24 for "callbacks" so we could see them live and give them notes. From there we selected our two guys.

After casting, I had time to go to the Santa Monica pier.

I spent $8 on ten plastic balls and got one in a prize hole which won me this. Upon arriving home, I cut the baby panda away from his mom so each boy could have a panda.

Tuesday night we went out to the Den on Sunset, Laurel Hardware and Rainbow Room.


Spent the morning working in the hotel room and then had a little time to kill before our pre-production meeting.

After pre-pro, we took the client out to dinner at Brick + Mortar. 

And walked back via the beach.

Did spend Wednesday night working on McRib commercial scripts pretty late.


Bright and early on the road to the Simi Valley for our shoot day. 

The first hour of a shoot is just getting the set ready.

After an 11-hour shoot, had our wrap dinner at Tavern. Had a $60 bottle of wine and a $95 steak for two. 

By the end of that, I was exhausted and had to get up early for our Friday flight. Good shoot, good trip.