Sep 30, 2011

Upon Further Review: Week Four Picks

Yikes, Week 4 of the NFL means that we are a quarter way through the season! I scored another 11/16 last week (thanks to both the Broncos/Bengals for going the way I called it) but I am looking to do better this week.

Detroit at Dallas:
Sooner or later the Lions will lose and I only say that because it is extremely hard to make it through the season undefeated. But the Cowboys secondary is a little beat up and I see the Lions receivers having a monster game. The Lions are for real and this game will prove it.
Winner: Detroit Lions

Carolina at Chicago:
Carolina is a much better team than I figured and I credit the coaching staff for getting rookie QB Cam Newton ready to play. Of course they guy is extremely talented and that helps as well. But it is time to come back to Earth. The Bears defense will make a comeback this week.
Winner: Chicago Bears

Buffalo at Cincinnati:
This is a classic trap game for the Bills but for all the things I have seen and read, I don't think the Bills will be overlooking the Bengals. Beating New England will not make this team cocky, it will only instill in them a vast amount of confidence. The Bengals will give the Bills all they have but the better team will win.
Winner: Buffalo Bills

SIDENOTE: It has been a long, long time that I picked both the Bills and Lions to win during the same week. I know it is WAY early in the season but how freaking magical would a Lions/Bills Superbowl be?

Tennessee at Cleveland:
The Browns impressed me with how they won against Miami last week. Unfortunately that was against a hapless Dolphin team and I don't expect the Browns to be able to do what they did last week this week against the Titans. But the Browns are at home and I might give them another chance this week to show that they a better team.
Winner: Cleveland Browns

Minnesota at Kansas City:
I really want to pick the Chiefs here to win. The Vikings have showed me that they are a scared team. They have no heart and no desire to win. If they did, they would have won last week for sure. Personally, I think it would be easy to hold a lead. Just feed RB Adrian Peterson the ball when you have it. The Chiefs should win but the Vikings have too much talent. And I am hoping that they learned a lesson and give Adrian the ball.
Winner: Minnesota Vikings

Washington at St. Louis:
The Redskins should have beat Dallas last Monday night and it is all Deangelo Hall's fault. As long as this guy is on the Redskins, the Redskins will not progress into the playoffs. The more he runs his mouth, the more it ruins the team. I think the Redskins could beat the Rams but unless they take care of this issue, they won't be able to come together as a team.
Winner: St. Louis Rams

New Orleans at Jacksonville:
The Jaguars will fight hard but rookie QB mistakes will be too much for them to overcome. The Saints easy in this one.
Winner: New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh at Houston:
Oh, I hope this game is on TV. I have a feeling that Houston is going to come out big in this game. The home-field crowd, the air attack and the much-improved Houston D will have the Steelers on their back. For every good thing the Steelers accomplish, the Texans will trump them. Well, I hope so...
Winner: Houston Texans

San Francisco at Philadelphia:
The Eagles want to forget about that awful loss last week and the best way to wash that awful taste out of their mouths is to win. Luckily the 49ers are coming to town. The game will be competitive but the Eagles will want it more.
Winner: Philadelphia Eagles

New York Giants at Arizona:
My heart says to go for the Cardinals but I think that the Giants are rolling quietly in the right direction. It will not be easy for the Giants and they may have to overcome some mistakes or bad play early for them to win.
Winner: New York Giants

Atlanta at Seattle:
We will see how much heart the Falcons have. They lost a heart breaker last week and they have to travel across the country to face a team that won unexpectedly last week. I think the Falcons have some fight to take out a weaker team.
Winner: Atlanta Falcons

Miami at San Diego:
The good news is that Miami is on the road. But the bad news is that they have to travel across the country and face one of the better AFC teams who are still angry losing to the Pats two weeks ago.
Winner: San Diego Chargers

New England at Oakland:
Even though it really ticked me off, I was really impressed with the Raiders and how they ran against a tough Jets D. When it came down to it, the Raiders got what they needed out of the running game, out of QB Jason Campbell and also that young defense. The Raiders will have a much tougher time containing QB Tom Brady but they will be able to keep up in scoring. I think the Raiders are for real too. The Raiders score another major upset.
Winner: Oakland Raiders

Denver at Green Bay:
The Packers have to lose one some time right? But not against this team and not at home.
Winner: Green Bay Packers

New York Jets at Baltimore:
I cannot wait for this game. The Ravens exploded offensively last week but they won't be able to do that to the Jets. The Jets D will be back to avenge their loss last week. Now I am sure that this is not going to surprise anyone but I am going with the Jets in an upset. The Ravens beat them last year at New York and the Jets are going to return the favor and beat the Ravens at Baltimore. Should be a fun game!
Winner: New York Jets

Indianapolis at Tampa Bay:
I didn't think the Colts would be able to hang with the Steelers last week and I was happy to be disappointed. But I think the Colts extended themselves far last week, both emotionally and physically. And on the road against an up-and-coming team? I am looking forward to watching QB Josh Freeman play.
Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sep 26, 2011

Random Ramblings: Feeling Blue

Feeling Blue: I think that if the Jets pulled off a win yesterday I would be in a better mood. I take losses pretty hard. But I am feeling a little blue...

Feeling Blue Part II: Aside from the game, I had a pretty good day yesterday. Going to the funeral church did bum me out and cheer me up a bit. Our fantastic Bishop and his cute family are moving and he was released yesterday. I have known them since my family and I moved in. He was the first guy that came over to visit me. I served with him many times and I was very fortunate to teach his children in Primary. I am bummed that I will not have a chance to teach the rest of his kids.

Feeling Blue Part III: Two weekends ago was the Top of Utah marathon and I set a goal to run the 5K portion of the festivities. My knee and I never made it.

Feeling Green: On a happier note, my harvested some of our garden last week and we got some awesome looking green peppers. And a ton of them too! We are going to make a batch of Stuffed Peppers and freeze some to use for Philly Steak sandwiches.

Listening: To the first 5 Queen albums. I think I will review each album of these new remasters for the blog. Professional writers say that you should write what you know.

Feeling Giddy: I ordered the second set of Queen remasters and they are on their way. I sold some comic tradepaperbacks and I had some Amazon points to use so I only paid $10 for the set.

Thinking: I think it is time for me to make some life-altering decisions. I think it might be time for this old man to go back to school. The only problem is that I have no idea what to go back to school to learn. If you have any ideas, let me know. I do think that a career as a professional wrestler has passed me by.

Feeling Giddy Part II: That big fat X-Men hardcover that I got for free comes out in a few weeks!

Sep 23, 2011

Upon Further Review: Week 3 Picks

I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that I scored a point higher than last week, scoring an 11/16. But the bad news is that I have two trouble-causing teams that refuse to go the way I want them to go. Usually I have one team throughout the season that causes me fits but it looks like I may have two of them. Bengals and Broncos are officially on my black list.

Now on to the Week 3 picks!

Houston at New Orleans:
New Orleans is pretty tough at home and have just enough defense to slow the Texans down.
Winner: New Orleans Saints

NY Giants at Philadelphia:
If QB Vick plays the Giants have no chance. If Vick doesn't play the Giants have a slim chance. I was impressed by the Eagles backup QB Mike Kafka (he should start over Vince Young for sure) and I like the chances of the Eagles winning this game easily.
Winner: Philadelphia Eagles

Jacksonville at Carolina:
QB Cam Newton is proving that he has what it takes to compete in the NFL. And Cam will also notch his first win of the season against a reeling Jags team. It will be close but the Panthers will easily take the 2nd half.
Winner: Carolina Panthers

New England at Buffalo:
I really like the Bills chances here. I think they have an offense that will give the Pats fits. And I think that Buffalo has the momentum here. But that does not solve the Brady/Bellichek problem. Somehow the Pats will find the way to win this game.
Winner: New England Patriots

Miami at Cleveland:
Good thing for the Dolphins is that they are on the road and not playing at home. They will come in and play hard but will not take the Browns seriously. The Dolphins are struggling on defense and the Browns could run all over them.
Winner: Cleveland Browns

San Francisco at Cincinnati:
I like the Bengals chances here but they failed me last week. The 49ers should win and when they should win they usually don't. Do I have to pick this game? So what will it be Bengals?
Winner: San Francisco 49ers

Denver at Tennessee:
The Broncos are much like the Bengals to me. They both are orange and they both fail me when I call games. So what do I do now? I think the Titans will edge out the Broncos but only barely. And where is Million Dollar Man Chris Johnson? You gonna be like this all season Broncos?
Winner: Tennessee Titans

Baltimore at St. Louis:
If the Rams didn't make stupid mistakes Monday night, they could have beaten the Giants. If the Ravens play like they did last week the Rams could sneak away with a win. But the Ravens won't, an angry Ray Lewis will make sure that a repeat of last week will not happen again.
Winner: Baltimore Ravens

NY Jets at Oakland:
I was impressed with the Raiders last week that is until they melted down in the 4th quarter. The Jets are playing across country and that will hurt them. If the Raiders won last week I would totally pick them against the Jets here. But I think the Jets can win in a squeaker.
Winner: New York Jets

Kansas City at San Diego:
I feel bad for the Chiefs. I still think they can be pretty competitive, it will be interesting to see how this team reacts to all the negative stuff that has happened to the team.
Winner: San Diego Chargers

Arizona at Seattle:
I love that each NFL season is so unpredictable. Who would have thought that last year's NFC West Champion could be the worst team in the NFL? But then on the other hand, they only won 7 games last year. Seattle is a tough place to play but it is not hard enough for the Cards to overcome.
Winner: Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta at Tampa Bay:
Both teams got impressive wins last week and this game looks to be a very good one. I know it is early in the season but this game will have playoff implications. Atlanta looks to be the better team here but I am thinking that the Bucs win in a small upset.
Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Green Bay at Chicago:
The Packers have to lose at least one game during the season right? And this could be it facing a tough Bears team in enemy territory. But I just don't see the Packers losing. While it would not surprise me to see the Bears win in Chicago, I am still sticking with the World Champions.
Winner: Green Bay Packers

Pittsburgh at Indianapolis:
I really thought that the Colts could bounce back a bit without QB Peyton Manning but I was wrong. The Colts will fight hard but are hopelessly outmatched against the Steelers. This was the easiest game to pick all season.
Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers

Washington at Dallas:
Now this looks like it could be quite an entertaining game. I am still not a believer in the Redskins but they could prove doubters me wrong. If this was at Washington I would take them but I think Dallas got some momentum last week which will carry to this game at home. It will be close.
Winner: Dallas Cowboys

Sep 22, 2011

Even More Football!

The Platis household lately has been obsessed with the sport of football. Wait a sec, I should clarify this. I have been obsessed these last few weeks with football. And now I can add another piece to that puzzle of the NFL, college games, my NFL blog columns, Madden play and the Screaming Banshees fantasy football team. Logan joined a Flag Football League.

While black is a cool color, they unfortunately are the Raiders. Guess I will have to teach them how to cheat.

He started practice last week and had his first game last night. This will be an interesting season for Logan, his coach is a lot more intense than any of his former coaches. And it is not like he is mean or anything like that, he just expects more out of these kids. It is a breath of fresh air from the last coach he had since this coach is really hands-on and he communicates with the kids and parents.

Logan has to learn a playbook and while flipping through it I saw that they are going to learn my favorite play in all of football, the Flea Flicker! I hope I don't get into trouble for publishing a play from the Raider playbook.

The team is filled with 3rd and 4th graders and since Logan is a newbie, the coach put him on the offensive line as a blocker. While I do think Logan has some speed with his long legs and can catch, I do agree with his coach on this. Logan still has a lot to learn about the game and putting him on the line will vastly improve his knowledge. He plays Left Tackle on offense and Cornerback/Safety on defense. 

Logan is the one looking like he is blocking his own player.

My initial worry is that my kid is not aggressive enough to block. But after a few practices (and blocking against his old man) I think he is picking it up. I volunteered to help the coach run plays and practice and so he made me play defense and I line up against the kids on the offensive line. Some of the kids know how to block (and I have the bruises to prove it) but some of them still have to figure out how to block and more importantly who to block. I think Logan was a little confused at first with being aggressive but that passed once he learned that it was a good thing to smash the other opponent. 

Logan is giving his best gameface look to the other team.

Logan also likes to rush the QB on defense. 

His first game was last night and it was a revelation to the new players. Now they got to see how and who to block and Logan for the most part got the right kid. I wasn't too sure if he was enjoying himself out there since he didn't get to score or touch the ball but on the ride home he said he loved playing. I told him that blocking is not a glamorous position but it is the most important thing to do and there is no other offensive position where you can knock the other player on his arse! And that cheered him up.

It should be a fun couple of weeks. I am looking forward to seeing this team grow and learn.

Sep 21, 2011

New York, New York

About a year or so after my return from my LDS mission to New York, I took a buddy of mine and we went back to New York City to spend some time in the Big City.

I made a few phone calls and I was able to find some accommodations in Queens with Pat and Christa. There was only two catches. We had to hit some clubs at night with Shirley and Christa and Joel and I unfortunately had to share a couch bed. But the less said about that, the better!

So Joel and I planned what we wanted to do and saved some money so we could go in the summer. My mom took Joel and I down to the airport (stopping first to grab some Stewart's sodas for the ride) and Kristy was to pick us up from the airport when we returned. Kristy and I were not married at the time, we were still dating and much to my surprise she met Joel and I at the airport before we took off. Right before I hopped the plane to New York, I stopped and turned back to Kristy and dropped to one knee and proposed.

Yes, this is how I proposed. Well, at least this is the official story we tell people. Kristy said "Yes" and I grabbed my bag and headed back down the terminal to catch my plane. I was excited to get back to the city and do some stuff that I couldn't as a missionary. I was also looking forward to seeing people I have not seen and spoken to for a long time. The plane lifted in the air and we were off.

We had a brief funny stopover in Dallas. Now I am not an avid flyer. I don't know how things go, I am not familiar with transferring and stuff like that. All I know is that we only had a brief window to get off our first plane and to grab our second flight. As Joel and I were speed walking to our second flight we came to the realization that we do not have our bags! So we ran back to the terminal baggage claim and waited and waited. But our bags did not show up! So we panicked and contacted the airport lost and found. And they were of absolute NO help. Little did we know that our bags are automatically sent to the new plane. Quit giggling folks. We had no clue how things went! So we ran back to our second flight and headed to New York.

We flew into LaGuardia airport in Queens and waited for Christa to come and pick us up. It was so good to see her. Christa and I really bonded when I served in the Jamaica area of Queens on my mission. We became fast friends and we always kept in touch when I served in other areas, in fact she probably knows more about my mission than anyone else. She was the first one to call me when I arrived home from my mission. So it was good to be around her again. We had a nice dinner with them that first night and it was a lot of fun to share my mission with my friend and to catch up.

The next few days were super busy. I do not remember how they all flowed together so here are some highlights of the trip.

  • Most of the nights/early mornings were spent going to dance clubs. Now I am not a big dancer but I did want to experience some of the nightlife that New York has to offer. We stayed up way late, most nights mornings coming in around 4 or so. Usually we would grab some breakfast before going home to catch some sleep. We went to this four story dance house called Webster Hall and it was pretty amazing. Each floor had different music to it and it was packed. One of the floors which played a lot of metal had this one old grey-bearded gentleman wearing all leather on stilts dancing away. I had a good time but I think the club life is just not for me. One night is one thing, three nights in a row is another! The last night we were there I did have a girl come on to me which made everyone in our party laugh. I thought for sure that what I had felt was just incidental bumping. But when it happened again and again and I turned around to see the girl looking right at me, I knew there was more to this story!

Joel and I didn't have cool enough clothes to go so we had to borrow these very tight shirts to go. That is Shirley, Christa and me and Joel.

  • Wednesdays are a great day to see a Broadway play. They have cheaper matinees on Wednesday and I wanted to see Rent. I ordered my ticket before I got to New York. Joel wanted to see something else so he went and saw Beauty and the Beast. I have to admit that it was fun to sit with a bunch of strangers and see a musical. The musical was fantastic, almost all of the original players were still there. So all of the voices I knew from the CD recording were live to see. It was great, there is nothing like seeing a Broadway play live and in person. It was well worth the money. 

  • Joel got addicted to eating the nuts that vendors sell right on the street. He must have bought 3-4 of them on one Manhattan trip alone!
  • Since we were poor we didn't eat out a lot at expensive places. We did eat at the restaurant right next to David Letterman's. We decided that we should eat out at a fancy known place at least once so we chose this spot. But boy was it expensive. We only ate (and could afford) the appetizers and they were not happy about it. As soon as we were done they asked us to leave. We thought about ordering one dish and sharing it but I am sure they would have physically thrown us out if we did.
  • Since Joel and I are comic book geeks, we had to go see the offices of Marvel and DC. Marvel was a big disappointment aside from seeing Stan Lee's office. But DC really treated us well. They took us on an impromptu tour and let us take pictures. And of course we picked up some applications. And then we went to a few of the large comic shops and picked up some loot. 

Joel and Batman. And this was one of the actual costumes worn in the movie. DC had the coolest things to see.

  • We also went to the top of the World Trade Centers. This is the second time I have been there and it still took my breath away. You really felt like you were at the top of the world there. You could see forever being up so high. And I warned Joel that the elevator took you up at an unbelievable pace. Seriously, in seconds you were up like fifty floors. 

You can see the tall shadows the WTC's leave.

  • One evening Joel and I went out at about midnight or so it take Christa's dog out for a walk. As we were walking around the block we passed this guy in this dark hoodie. The dog about took his head off barking and growling at him. I yanked the dog back and walked past thinking about it. But then I got this funny feeling in my gut. I turned around and saw this guy coming back towards us. I grabbed Joel and we got back in the building and the dog went nuts again. I honestly think that this guy was coming back to mug us.
  • I also had to stop at a sports shop to look for some Jets gear. I found an old shirt and a Keyshawn Johnson jersey so I snagged them both. 

  • Christa allowed me to take her car and go visit people. So Joel and I spent Sunday going to see people. We first went to Rego Park and go to church there in my old branch. I recognized a few of the people and I was surprised when someone came in and sat beside me. The member had fallen away from the church and he had a bit of a falling out with me and my companion too. I didn't think I would see him again and in church no less. But it was great to see Auggie and catch up with him. After church we walked down to see John Libretto. I pressed the buzzer and told him that the missionaries were here and he told us to come up. He about died when he saw that it was me coming up. We had a great visit (and lunch of course) and then he gave us a ride down to Jamaica so I could see my old Richmond Hills branch. The Branch President recognized me in the audience and had me stand up. He said that I was a a missionary that would not give up on me and that is true. Kevin was very interested in joining the church but we could never get together although I called him at least every week or so. Now he is the Branch President of that branch. Afterwards we went into Brooklyn and saw Rose and then went to Jackson Heights and saw Ingrid, people I spent a lot of time with while on my mission. And it was great catching up with them. That evening Joel and I took the car and went to Staten Island and saw the Bowman's. They are a wonderful family that I absolutely loved. They treated us to one of Staten Island's famous pizza pies and we spent the evening with them. It made me miss my mission quite a bit. What I won't miss is the driving. It sure gets crazy there. 

Me, Linda and Steve with Tina and Jonathon Bowman

  • I was going to show Joel some of the areas that I used to serve in. We stopped at a subway stop and we almost got out. But I have to admit that I didn't feel quite right, I didn't feel totally safe just walking in that area. So we stayed on the subway and headed into Manhattan. Funny how things can change when you are not protected as a missionary anymore. 
  • Speaking of riding the subway, one of the funnest things that I like to do while in New York was taking the subway. I could spend hours just people watching. There are so many colorful characters that you will never get to see again anywhere that ride the trains. Joel had an experience that I don't think he will forget anytime soon. He was standing in the subway car when suddenly the car jerked a bit (which it does often) and Joel accidentally stepped on this guy's foot. The guy yelled at him and Joel said he was sorry but then it happened again and the Middle Eastern guy really let Joel have it. He was yelling at him to not stand so close to him and stuff like that. The look on Joel's face was priceless. Oh the joys of riding the subway. 
  • Christa gave us a ride to the airport and it was sad to go. We only spent a few days in New York and barely was able to do what we wanted. There was just not enough time to do it all. But we had a fantastic time there. The plane ride home was something to remember as well. LaGuardia Airport has the shortest runway in the whole United States. During takeoff you would look down and see runway and then you would liftoff and suddenly you would see ocean! It was that quick and a bit nerve racking. But it was neat to see the city as you lift off from Queens. During the plane ride home we chatted and did some doodling. A stewardess noticed our artwork and asked if she could take them to the pilot so he could see them. She talked with us for quite a while on the plane ride home. It was on this plane trip that I first formed my ideas for my first novel, The Vessel.

Joel's cartoons


New York will always be a special place for me. It was a good experience while on my mission and it was a good experience going back with Joel. I wish I could go back again.

Sep 16, 2011

Upon Further Review: Week Two Picks

I noticed that I still have not made my playoff picks yet. I better get on that before you all accuse me of being on the bandwagon of whoever is winning at the time.

There were so many good games last week and a few surprises. I scored a decent 10/16, and what ticks me off is that I really should have taken the Raiders. It was a last second change to go with the Broncos and that will never happen again. I knew I should have taken the Raiders just to spite my Colorado cousins.*

So how will Week Two go?

Oakland at Buffalo:
Boy the Bills sure handed the Chiefs their arse. The Bills looked really good and that confidence should help them in their first home game. The crowd will definitely be loud and will help the Bills. The Raiders should be flying high after beating Denver at Mile High and also tying a record field goal that was accomplished by a Denver kicker at Denver. They will play hard but playing late Monday night and flying across the country to face a hot team will be too much for them to overcome. And the Bills showed that they can handle power runners.
Winner: Buffalo Bills

Kansas City at Detroit:
I didn't expect the Lions to win last week. I thought for sure that they would win this week in an upset but now I don't think this qualifies as an upset. The Chiefs are in some deep trouble already and need to run the ball down the Lion's throats to have a chance. The crowd will help lift the Lions in their home-opener and stun the already-stunned Chiefs.
Winner: Detroit Lions

Baltimore at Tennessee:
The Ravens sure looked good last week and I expect them to continue to roll here. The Titans will play them hard but the Ravens have way too much talent to let the Titans sneak up on them. The energy from throttling the Steelers will continue here.
Winner: Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland at Indianapolis:
The Browns sure laid an egg last week. I think I have learned a lesson in picking the Browns, especially as a lock-of-the-week. The Colts looked so lost last week but I expect them to bounce back. It would not surprise me if the Browns won but I think the Colts have a small edge.
Winner: Indianapolis Colts

Tampa Bay at Minnesota:
The Vikings played pretty good in a losing effort but they really need McNabb to throw more than the measly amount he threw last week. The Bucs lost a game that they really should have won at home last week and I expect them to bounce back in a major way. The Buccs will win on the road in a close one.
Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chicago at New Orleans:
The Saints defense worries me a little here but I think they can hold off the Bears enough for the win.
Winner: New Orleans Saints

Jacksonville at New York Jets:
The Jets should win this game but I really worry about RB Maurice Jones-Drew catching the ball in the flat. The Jags will stay in the game because of that reason alone. The Jets will go back to pounding the ball with the run which will lead to some fun play-action passing which will win the game.
Winner: New York Jets

Seattle at Pittsburgh:
This is just what the Steelers needed to get back on track. The Seahawks will continue to struggle offensively and the defense will have its hands full holding an angry Steelers team. The Steelers better be careful because they Seahawks could catch them by surprise. But that is a big "could".
Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers

Arizona at Washington:
A cross country road trip will spell doom for the Cardinals. They will hang in there but will be outclassed by the Redskins and their running game.
Winner: Washington Redskins

Green Bay at Carolina:
I don't see a repeat performance for the Panthers in this game. The Packers will welcome rookie QB Cam Newton to the NFL in this game. The Packers will start a little slow because of the layoff between games but once they start rolling, they will not be stopped.
Winner: Green Bay Packers

Dallas at San Francisco:
I feel bad for QB Tony Romo. I do think he is quite talented but it seems like he keeps getting the raw side of the deal. He should bounce back this week but for some reason I see the 49ers taking it to them. My gut instinct says that the 49ers will renew that old intense rivalry by handing it to the Cowboys. This will be the Upset-of-the-Week.
Winner: San Francisco 49ers

Cincinnati at Denver:
Ugh, I don't want to call this game. I am not a believer in the Bengals but they proved to me that they will go down fighting. But then they won against the Browns. The Broncos will definitely go down fighting but they laid a Mile High Egg last Monday night. The Bengals have no business winning games but the Broncos are on a short week, playing extra late on a Monday night in a losing effort. But the Broncos are more talented than the Bengals so I should go with them right?
Winner: Denver Broncos
Yeah, I am not falling for that one again.
Winner: Cincinnati Bengals

Houston at Miami:
Miami's defense must be freaking out. The Pats posted major numbers on them and the Texans can post major numbers too. The good thing for Miami is it looks like QB Chad Henne can post up some great numbers on his own but I think the Houston defense has enough to stall the Dolphins enough to win in a shoot-out.
Winner: Houston Texans

San Diego at New England:
Now I am not a fan of the Pats but I will give them their due. They look like a machine out there, a large offensive juggernaut. The Chargers got a rare early-season win last week but they go on the road across country and face the Pats in a home-opener. This will be a slugfest but I think the Pats will win because they are at home. If the game was in San Diego, I would take the Chargers.
Winner: New England Patriots

Philadelphia at Atlanta:
Michael Vick comes back to Atlanta will be the main storyline, which is unfortunate because this will be quite the game. The Falcons looked horrid last week in Chicago and I expect them to bounce back this week. But it won't be enough as the Eagles win in a squeaker. The Eagles defense will make a few plays that will change the game.
Winner: Philadelphia Eagles

St. Louis at New York Giants
The Rams injuries will unfortunately make the difference here. The Giants want to erase the bitter taste of losing last week and they will be out in force against the Rams. But the Giants have injuries of their own too so I expect the Rams to play them tough. But it won't be enough.
Winner: New York Giant

*only teasing... maybe

Sep 15, 2011

Survey Says! The Sequel

About a month ago I blogged about getting this expensive book for free by simply taking surveys online. I was very satisfied that I was able to afford this huge sucker for spending very little time taking these surveys. It only took me a little over a month to earn that book.

Well, there is a good reason why this blog is a sequel!

Since I ordered my book back on August 11th, I have earned $59 by taking these surveys. And not only that, I also earned an additional $15 by participating in an Allergy Panel (which I got from taking one of these surveys). So what did that add up too?
I know, I know. I spent all that money on a comic book! 
Well EXCUSE ME! It is my moola!

I cannot believe how easy this really is. I may never have to pay for my comic book habit again! So what is next? I still have two Queen boxsets to get but I may put that off for a little bit and grab some books that I have always wanted.

I won't blog about this again (well, I will probably blog the day I get these in my grubby hands) but I highly recommend doing this. So far, (and I am not doing this to brag) I have earned $135.60 in just a few months!

Sep 12, 2011

Random Ramblings: Graphic-Free Edition

Watching: FOOTBALL! Oh man, I sure love opening week. Sooo much football! And opening week did not disappoint. Looking forward to two more games tonight.

Plotting: So I actually did some writing the other day. Well, not actual writing but I did some plotting for my next novel. The NaNoWriMo competition is just a few scant months away and I have no idea of what to write. So I got out my trusty notebook and jotted down some notes. And I think I have something I am interested in writing. I am planning on doing some more brainstorming tonight during the Pats/Phins game. 

Eating: I stopped by the Farmer's Market last Saturday and I picked up a loaf of Kalamata Olive bread. The guy gave me a super deal (I didn't have enough money with me at the time) and the best part is that Logan and Kristy do not like the olives. So the bread is all mine! And by Yoda, it is tasty bread!

Bottling: Our neighbor gave us a box of pears so Kristy and I spent most of our Saturday bottling them. I dislike the whole bottling process but in the end it is nice to see the finished product. One of the jars did not seal correctly so we tossed it in the fridge and ate them for dinner last night. Yeah, while I hate bottling, I love eating. They were so good.

Tackling: So Logan joined a Flag Football league and his first practice was Saturday. He has never played football but because of me he knows quite a bit about the game. It looked like he was having a lot of fun and next week I get to join him as a tackling dummy.

Listening: The last of the Queen Remasters were released last week and I have listened to them all and I think this last set of albums were the best. Unfortunately I won't be able to purchase them when they come out late November but luckily I can listen to the new bonus stuff right off the internet. What would I do without the internet?

Reading: During my vacation last week I caught up on a comic series called the Unwritten and it is blowing my mind! I recommend checking it out, the language can get a little spicy at times just to warn you. It is a fascinating read twist on books and writing.
Tom Taylor's life was screwed from the word go. His father created the mega-popular Tommy Taylor boy-wizard fantasy novels. But dad modeled the fictional epic so closely to Tom that fans constantly compare him to his counterpart, turning him into a lame, Z-level celebrity. When a scandal hints that Tom might really be the boy-wizard made flesh, Tom comes into contact with a mysterious, deadly group that's secretly kept tabs on him all his life. Now, to protect his life and discover the truth behind his origins, Tom will travel the world, to all the places in world history where fictions have shaped reality.

Wondering: Just where are the pictures?

Sep 10, 2011

Upon Further Review: Week 1

The Packer/Saint game was all that I thought it would be. Lots and lots of scoring and some good 'ol tackling. And best of all, I am 1-0 in my weekly predictions. I should quit while I am ahead, already I am doing better than last year.

Atlanta at Chicago:
If this game was during the winter months I would give the Bears the edge. Since Atlanta is playing in decent weather they have enough tools and talent to edge past the Bears.
Winner: Chicago Bears

Cincinnati at Cleveland:
Cleveland is going to be one of the more surprising teams in the AFC. The Bungles are headed nowhere. Lock of the Week here folks!
Winner: Cleveland Browns

Buffalo at Kansas City:
The Chiefs should be very careful with this game. The Bills are a better team than they were last year and they could sneak right up on the Chiefs. Luckily for the Chiefs, it is opening day and it is kinda difficult for a team to be snuck up on.
Winner: Kansas City Chiefs

Detroit at Tampa Bay:
I would love to watch this game. Two teams that are definitely heading in the right direction and the two teams I am very interested in. The Lions will play very hard and will come close but the Bucs will get the victory in the 4th quarter. The Lions will have to wait to get that first win.
Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Philadelphia at St. Louis:
It will take the Eagles a little to start to gel together and they will need to be careful because the Rams will be ready for a slobberknocker. The Rams will come up just short.
Winner: Philadelphia Eagles

Tennessee at Jacksonville:
This is a hard game to call. I like the Titans chances with a new QB than Jacksonville. And I am sure that RB Chris Johnson has a chip on his shoulder. 
Winner: Tennessee Titans

Pittsburgh at Baltimore:
The Ravens need to win this game to help secure homefield advantage away from the Steelers. Yeah, I am already talking playoffs. 

The Ravens will get the win in a thriller.
Winner: Baltimore Ravens

Indianapolis at Houston:
This is the Texans best chance to secure the division away from Peyton Manning. But they better be careful and not think that they have this game in the bag. QB Painter or QB Collins will be slinging away. But it won't be enough on the road.
Winner: Houston Texans

New York Giants at Washington:
The Giants OWN this team. But for some reason, Redskins RB Tim Hightower will steal the show. I smell an upset here.
Winner: Washington Redskins

Seattle at San Francisco:
Boy, this could either be quite the stinker or quite the entertaining game. Since it is Week One, I think it will be a stinker that both teams wouldn't want to be claimed as the winner. But one of them has to so I will go with the home team. The 49ers coach will at least have them playing hard.
Winner: San Francisco 49ers

Minnesota at San Diego:
History says that I should take the Vikings. But maybe, just maybe the Chargers have learned something from history. 
Winner: San Diego Chargers

Carolina at Arizona:
I am sure the Cardinals HC is slobbering at the idea of facing a rookie QB on opening day. Surprisingly, the Cardinals aerial offense, which was lost last season, will be found. 
Winner: Arizona Cardinals

Dallas at New York Jets:
It will hard to contain the emotion. I will be thinking of the city of New York right up until kickoff. This will be the most emotional game the Jets will play in and it could take some time before all the players settle in and just play the game. The Jets will win one for New York.
Winner: New York Jets

Ooooo... ...a double-header!
New England at Miami:
The Pats will blitz the crap out of QB Chad Henne and that will lead to some costly turnovers. The Dolphins will play hard but the Pats will prove to be too much. Even though it was only a preseason loss to the Lions, the Pats will want to show on national TV that they are the team to beat.
Winner: New England Patriots

Oakland at Denver: 
Last year I picked the Raiders to beat the Broncos at Denver and I think I was the only one to pick them. Not only did the Raiders win, they throttled the Broncos 59-14. Can it happen again? The Broncos will do everything they can to avenge themselves. But the Raiders know they can win in Denver. But can they win in a national televised game? They have not done that in 7 years or so. Argh! Decisions decisions.
Winner: Oakland Raiders...   ...wait, Denver.  No, no, the Raiders.
Real Winner: Denver Broncos

Sep 8, 2011

Upon Further Review: NFC Predictions

So I spent all that time making a new banner and I totally forgot to put it in yesterday's columns.

Now to the NFC! 


 While I do think the Eagles have enough talent to take the NFC East (only if QB Michael Vick can remain healthy) I am not convinced that this new dream team will make it to the Superbowl (remember the Heat?) and win it all. It will be close though. A 11-5 campaign should be in reach.

Don't forget about America's Team. They still have some talent to make a nice run to the playoffs. Again though, as long as QB Tony Romo is healthy, they should be able to compete for the NFC East title and a wildcard spot. If the running game works, watch out! A 10-6 record fits.

Injuries will take their toll on this team. While HC Tom Coughlin will make this team play heard, they just don't have the players to back it up. They should be able to score a lot of points but I don't think they could win many shootouts. A disappointing 7-9 season for the G-Men.

I like what QB Mike Shanahan is doing with the Redskins except for the QB situation. I am just not a big believer in both QB John Beck and Rex Grossman. The Redskins could not figure out who they wanted to play QB and Grossman is on a short leash. Beck probably get some playing time but he is still pretty raw. The QB situation is not settled and that will result in the the team struggling. A 6-10 season might be a little mean since they really do have some talent.


 The Saints will only get better this season and will make a play for the Superbowl. The only thing that concerns me about this team is the running game and the lack of a true RB. It seems that RB Mark Ingram is the answer but that is not a sure thing. While the running game is questionable, QB Drew Brees is not. A 11-5 season will be good enough in a very tough division.

Tampa Bay impressed the heck out of me last year and QB Josh Freeman is turning into one of my favorite players to watch. They barely missed the playoffs last year and with the young team remaining intact, they will compete for the NFC South and the wildcard. They will win just enough games against divisional opponents to grab a wildcard at 10-6.

 The Falcons will be a tough team but I am not a fan of the their running game and I see it struggling this year. This team will also struggle against the rest of the NFC South and will unfortunately be in the Buccs position last year. A winning record at 9-7 but edged out of the playoffs.

The Panthers will struggle under new rookie QB Cam Newton. And they are rebuilding and under a new coach. Those things just don't add up to contending. Don't get me wrong though, they will be tough and they will easily play spoiler to other playoff teams. I expect a decent 5-11 record for this team.


 The defending Superbowl Champions will have a harder road back to the playoffs. They will be a stronger team than last year and will be very tough to beat. But they have a huge target on them and they play in a very tough division. They will take the NFC North but not without a fight with a 12-4 record.

 The Lions are my surprise team in the NFL and they will challenge the Pack for the NFC North title. The Lions are still young and they will make some mistakes but this will be a big season for them. They will secure a winning record but will miss the playoffs just by a thread. They will lose a tiebreaker because of their divisional record. But celebrate Lion fans, they will be 10-6.

We forget that the Bears actually won the NFC North last year and they will be competitive this year as well. But I am just a believer in QB Jay Cutler. He has the skills but he lacks the drive to be consistent. The Bears will win a bunch of games but will only post an 8-8 record.

The Vikings window is closing quickly and I like the move to bring QB Donovan McNabb in. Unfortunately they still will be feeling the effects of the major disappointment of last season and it will result in a slow start. Even with RB Adrian Peterson's monster numbers, the Vikings will struggle and with rivals like these, they will be on the outside looking in. Another disappointing 7-9 campaign.


 I feel that the Rams know that they can take this division. Last year a 7-9 team took the division and the Rams were just barely out of contention. QB Sam Bradford looks ready to go to the next level and with veteran leadership provided by RB Steven Jackson, I can see this team easily taking the title in the weakest division. And this time, a team with a winning record of 9-7 will take it.

Don't count out the Cards just yet. The addition of QB Kevin Kolb will help this team stay competitive and will challenge the Rams but unfortunately will lose some games that they should have won. They will be edged out 8-8.

The 49ers will be a new team. But that will be when they get rid of the old team. I see the 49ers getting better and better but it will not be this year. New HC Jim Harbaurgh will get this team excited and ready to play, they just need some new personnel. A rough 5-11 record will keep this team in the cellar.

The Seahawks won the division last year but will be hard pressed to win it again this year. I am not convinced that the QB situation will be the one to take them to the top. While the team will play hard for the ol' ball coach, I just don't seeing it translate into wins. It will be a growing season for the Seahawks and a 3-13 record is not hard to see.

New Orleans at Green Bay: Oh boy, hang on to your hats! The Saints will give the Packers all they can handle but homefield advantage takes the win. I do smell a rematch in the future in the NFC Championship game.
Winner: Green Bay Packers

And I will have some playoff predictions coming up before Sunday.

Sep 7, 2011

Upon Further Review: AFC

A new NFL season is just upon us and I cannot be happier. Not only am I passionate about the game, watching football evokes strong memories of the past. Some of my best times were associated around the NFL. Even some Sunday dinners taste better because of football. It is just good to have it back.

Here are my AFC Predictions.


I know, I know. I picked my favorite team to take the AFC East. But I have good reason why. The Jets have been the Wildcard for the last two years and I think they have realized that they need to have home-field advantage to take them past the AFC Championship. I think this happens this season. The Jets go 11-5 and win the tie-breaker over the Pats.

The Pats made some significant moves during the off-season that will definitely put them in the playoff hunt. I am just not convinced that the Pats can win big games and I am not convinced that the running game will be successful. But I can see the Pats going 11-5 and snagging a Wildcard playoff spot.

The Dolphins will have a fantastic defense but unfortunately they could quite possibly have no offense to score the much-needed points. RB Reggie Bush will not solve the loss of their running game and QB Chad Henne really needs to step up this season. A 6-10 record may be too nice to call.

 There is some reason to hope in Buffalo. Offensively the Bills should be able to put up some points but I am not a believer in the defense and the ability to close out games. The Bills are on the way up though. A 6-10 record is something they may be able to surpass.


It seems like every year will be the year the Texans take the next step. I have believed that for the last two years and like a sucker, I am going with them again. While I do see the running game being not as productive as last year, I do see it being strong enough to help the Texans offensively. The defense should be much improved from last year and that will help propel the Texans to the next level. 9-7 should be enough for them to win the AFC South.

For the first time in years, QB Peyton Manning may not be able to start the season and that will hurt the Colts. They will still be competitive but the edge that Manning gives them will be gone for the first couple of games. Just enough to come 2nd to the Texans. A 9-7 or 8-8 record will not be good enough and the Colts will miss the playoffs for the first time in years.

RB Chris Johnson and a decent defense will give the Titans some swagger but not enough to challenge for the AFC South title. Unfortunately for all the other teams in the division, they will play spoiler. 6-11 could be a high number of games for the Titans to win.

I would have ranked the Jags higher but with news hitting just yesterday that they were releasing their starting QB I just don't have confidence in them. It looks like they do not have confidence either. Now the Jags did the same thing a few seasons ago when they released QB Leftwich and they went on to win but I don't see lightning striking twice. I see a 4-12 record with RB Drew-Jones winning those games on his own. But he can't win them all.


I like what the Ravens have done this off-season, especially bringing speedy WR Lee Evans over. This team should be able to post some major points on opponents and they need to learn that they need to win against the Steelers and home-field advantage to go farther in the playoffs. Like the Jets, they will do it this year. 12-4 will easily take this division.

Most teams that make the Superbowl and lose usually will have a sub-par season the next one. I just don't see HC Mike Tomlin letting the Steelers get away with it. They have offensive line issues that other teams will attack and they could have some Superbowl hangover issues but not enough for them to miss the playoffs. They will snag a Wildcard spot and cause major headaches for the other AFC playoff teams.

The Browns are heading in the right direction but are still young and a few players away from being playoff contenders. Unfortunately for them they also play in a division with two of the AFC's major powers. QB Colt McCoy will have some growing pains this season but will also show some flashes of greatness. This will be a team no one will want to take lightly.

It didn't take that long for the Bengals to become the Bungles again. I have a hard time seeing this team be competitive with all the strife management causes with the players. Some players will play hard because that is who they are but some players will merely phone it in. Why play hard for a team that has no player loyalty? This will be the worst team in the NFL and a 2-14 record is too kind.


 If the Chargers win during the first two months of the season then they should have the AFC West division all to themselves. But that is a major if since they consistently struggle during the first part of the season. But they are a complete team and QB Phillip Rivers will win games through his sheer will. A 12-4 record should be easy for them in a relatively weak division.

The Chiefs will not be able to sneak up on anyone this season. And the Chiefs will continue to struggle with winning teams. Unfortunately for them, the Chiefs will be competitive for a Wildcard playoff spot but will take a step backward this season. I like the Chiefs running game and that will keep them going but I don't think they have the will to close out games. A 9-7 record though is nothing to be ashamed about.

I picked the Raiders are a surprise team last year and they did decent last year but with some of the players they lost during the off-season, I just don't see them improving this year. I like what they are doing and feel they are heading up but they are still a few players short of taking the AFC West title. They will certainly make it difficult for the others though. 8-8 is better than a losing record.

New HC John Fox will have this Bronco team ready and they will play hard but they lack offensive firepower. And if you don't score points, you won't win games. And I am not convinced that the running game has anything to offer. Defensively they look mediocre and that doesn't bode well. 5-11 might be the best they could do.