2012 Football Contests. Bring it.

2012 Football Contests. Bring it.

It’s time!

Last year we had 3 of these contests going, we’re kicking it up a notch. Just not all the way to 11, because that might get a bit excessive. So let’s do this. Join one or join them all.  But hey, don’t be a weenie.  Join them all.

 

Survival Football

The easiest and hardest all at the same time.  Pick one NFL game each week. If they win you move on, if they lsoe you’re out. You can only use each team once.

Join now

Group ID:  5974
Password:  gobears

 

 College Pick’em

This one is just like it sounds. Pick the college football games each week.  All games will be picked against the spread.  Why?  Because anyone can pick that kU is going to lose each week, but do you know if they’re going to lose by more or less than 44 point?  That’s where the real prognostication comes in. Your lowest weekly score gets dropped from the overall standings.

Each week in this league we’ll be picking all the games involoving Big XII teams, all games involving an AP Top 25 team, as well as an occasional other interesting game as deemed by Yahoo.  Cause Yahoo likes interesting games.

Join now

Group ID: 4912
Password: gostate

 

 

NFL Pick’em

No spreads for the NFL Pick’em.  Instead it’s all about the confidence points. You pick the winner of every game each week. But then you assign points based on your confidence level. If you know for sure the Bears will beat the Chiefs (cause, duh), then give that pick 16 points. If you don’t have a clue who will win between the Cardinals and the Packers, cause it turns out they both really suck, then give it 1 point. Less to lose that way.

Join now

Group ID:  13278
Password: gobears

Salary Cap Football

New this year! This is like fantasy football, except that we can all have the same team if we want, so there are an unlimited amount of players.  Each player has a value that changes each week. Buy low, and keep their salary low. You can change as much as you want, you just have to have a full roster, and you have to stay under the salary cap.

Join now

GroupID:  1134
Password: gostate

 

Instagram Exposed

Instagram Exposed

I love Instagram. Don’t get me wrong. I love it for the social aspects of sharing photos and telling story through stunning visual imagery1.  But more often than not people just don’t seem to get it. They take a picture and then run it through unnecessary filters that  detract from a photo rather than enhance it2. And don’t even get me started on people that feel the need to blur things out3.

Instagram starts by lowering the resolution on the photo, dropping the quality right as you begin. Then as you filter, blur, and otherwise manipulate the photo you’re destroying it just a bit more each time.  So this morning I thought I would do a little experiment. I took a quick picture of my breakfast.  I think it looks pretty delicious:

 

 

Mmmm…. bacon4.  But I digress.  That’s just a quick cell phone shot. I didn’t even really try, but I think it looks pretty good.

Even the no filter version of this picture on Instagram doesn’t look as appetizing:

 

And from there I just kept layering on photos5.  Follow below to see the transformation of my breakfast from delish to giant blob6.

_______________

Notes:
  1. OK, sometimes stunning visual imagery. It is out there, you have to follow the right people
  2. If you follow me on Instragram @RealMikeT, you’ll find that almost everything I upload is nofilter
  3. Seriously! It’s ridiculous. If things are in the same depth of field but one is blurry and the other is not it looks ridiculous. Enhance the photos, don’t ruin them!
  4. I realized this morning that people who follow me on Twitter have seen a lot more pictures of my bacon than they have of me. They probably appreciate that.
  5. I also discovered there’s an Instagram jail for someone who keeps trying to upload photos. I’m currently in it. This post was meant to just be a series of Instagram photos, now it’s here instead.
  6. Obviously this abuse is on purpose. It’s the first filter with each subsequent filter layered on top. But I think you get the point.

2011: The Year in Review

I’ve been doing this questionaire each year as a year in review, so why not do it again? This just happens to be the first time over on this website. The old ones were on my former blog.  But old is old, here’s the new:

1) What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

  • Started a podcast
  • Took a job in social media marketing
  •  Bought season tickets to a pro sport (Even if it was just Arena Football)
  • Appeared on a network TV show

2) Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I normally don’t do resolutions. I’m thinking of a 2012 one to write/blog more. But let’s make it unofficial.  Less pressure that way.

3) Did anyone close to you give birth?
I think everyone I know on Facebook had a baby in 2011. They’re all doing it again in 2012. But none of my family did.

4) Did anyone close to you die?
Lost one of my former students. Heartbreaking.

5) What countries did you visit?
Texas. It’s like a whole other country.

6) What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

  • K-State getting a Big XII championship (preferably men’s basketball and/or football)
  • A surplus of money
  • Dates that don’t ultimately end in disaster
  • Bowl tickets

7) What date(s) from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I can’t think of a specific date that mattered this year. Lots of events that were fun, important, or meaningful, but no dates that will live in infamy or glory.

8 ) What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Starting a podcast, gaining some listeners, and even getting a sponsorship.

9) Did you suffer illness or injury?
I don’t remember being sick. Crap. That means I’m probably due for my every other year flu.

10) What was the best thing you bought?
I buy them every year, but I’ll say my K-State football tickets. 2011 was a really fun season.

11) Whose behavior merited celebration?
Cardinal Steve. You wouldn’t expect to see progress in a 42 year old, blind, autistic guy, but no suicidal hospitalizations, and he seems to become more thoughtful all the time.

12) Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Most of the people I follow on Twitter. Sick people on Twitter. Sick and awesome.

13) Where did most of your money go?
This list is the same every year:
Paying off debt
Car/Car repair
Living expenses
K-State tickets

14) What did you get really, really, really excited about?

  • K-State football & basketball
  • Learning just how great beer can be
  • My job change

15) What song will always remind you of 2011?
“All I Do is Win”

16) Compared to this time last year, are you:
Wiser?
  Yes, but probably not in any healthy ways.
Healthier?  Probably so. I’ve been working out, so there’s that.
Richer? Making less and no more work on the side. Guess that’s a no.

17) What do you wish you’d done more of?
Blogging. Really. I feel like when I’m writing more, I’m thinking and learning more.

18) What do you wish you’d done less of?
Wasting time, money, and emotions on people who didn’t really want it.

19) How did you spend Christmas?
In Indy with the fam, eating prime rib and making my nephew cry.

20) Did you fall in love in 2011?
Now that’s just funny. Or not funny at all.

21) What was your favorite blog post that you wrote?
I didn’t write many, but I guess I’d say this one.

22) What were your favorite TV programs?

  • Raising Hope
  • Community
  • Parks & Rec
  • Breaking Bad (catching up late)
  • Mad Men (also behind)

23) Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Tim Tebow. But that’s not real hate, just sports hate.

24) What was the best book you read?
This was the year of fiction for me. It had been a long time since I had read any fiction.  I’m 2 of 3 books done with the Millennium series and loving it, but for the best ones I’ll say the Hunger Games series.

25) What was your greatest musical discovery?
How about a re-discovery? I saw Tom Petty live and it totally renewed my appreciation of him.  I had no idea how good of a show he would put on, and had forgotten how good his stuff is.

26) What did you want and get?

  • Various rare beers
  • A new tv for my home office

27) What did you want and not get?

  • A K-State Final Four
  • A winning lottery ticket

28) What was your favorite film of this year?
The Muppets. Oh yeah. I went there.

29) What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 34. Watched K-State blow a game to Oklahoma State, and then hung out at The Foundry for awhile.

30) Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most?
Bill freaking Snyder. I’m appreciating him even more as a coach, and more as a person than I have in the past… and that’s saying a lot.

31) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Umm, don’t buy anything unless you have to?

32) What kept you sane?
This question is making some big assumptions that aren’t necessarily true.

33) Who did you miss?
I now have a better job with fantastic people I work with… but I miss many of the people at my old job, too.

34) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Never believe anything a woman says or does. It’ll change before the next “date.”

35) What did you gain this year?
My very own dot com.

36) What did you lose this year?
My house church. That was a bummer. I’d really like to get a new one going.

37) Who were the most interesting new people you met?
I had several tweet-ups and met a lot of people from Twitter in person. That was a lot of fun, and a lot of really cool people.

38) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“You’re a 3 decker sour kraut and toad stool sandwich
With arsenic sauce!” -from “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”


TV Rankings: Week 1

There’s a part of me that thinks maybe I shouldn’t watch so much tv.  Then there’s a part of me that thinks I should embrace it.  This was an idea I had last year, and am finally putting into effect this year.  Because everything in my world is a competition, why not rank the tv shows I watch, too?
So here are the rules…
  • I must have watched the show in order to be ranked.
  • If it ranks too low, it falls into the dead list, which means I’m officially giving up on the show.
  • All shows are for a given week Sunday – Saturday
  • If I’m missing a show that you think I should watch, let me know, but understand that your taste in shows may be far inferior to mine, and I may not accept your challenge.
  • These are only my opinions, there is no panel of experts, but given that they are my opinion, they must be correct.
So here are the rankings for week 1:
  1. Raising Hope: Prodigy | Every other returning show this week seemed to start slow and feel the need to establish a ton of story lines.  Raising Hope nailed it with a quick cold open that explained the show to any new viewers, then delivered everything a Raising Hope fan was looking for.
  2. Parks & Recreation: I’m Leslie Knope | Had the most quotable line of the week: “Your inbox is lit-er-alee… full of penises.”  I was disappointed in the Tammy 1 reveal, but Ron Swanson made up for it because he has the toes he has… not to mention Jerry’s large… well…1
  3. Community: Biology 101 | 4 words: Cold open musical number
  4. Modern Family: Dude Ranch / When Good Kids Go Bad | Exactly what we expect from Modern Family.  Solid laughs, no much story.  It’s definitely fun to have Lily as a character now, instead of just a prop.
  5. New Girl: Pilot | I saw a clip of this show and thought I may give it a chance. So I did. The same clip was 100x better in context. This show turned out surprisingly good.  We’ll see if it sustains it.  Also, I totally want to date the new girl.
  6. Free Agents: What I Did for Work | Fact: Hank Azaria is awesome.  So is the weird assistant woman.
  7. The Office: The List | I know we’re all supposed to hate The Office, but I don’t. I don’t like that the resolved everything in a 30 second voice over, though. But Michael Scott wasn’t the only great character.  The rest are all still here, including Gabe, who I thought wouldn’t be.  Not sure Andy Bernard can maintain the manager spot, but he came through in the story.
  8. Up All Night: Cool Neighbors | Let’s see how long this show can sustain itself based on my lifelong crush on Christina Applegate.
  9. Person of Interest: Pilot | I’m not sure exactly where the interest is.  I expected more from a show starring Ben Linus and Jesus. Not dead list yet, but it may head there…
Whitney: Pilot | I made it through the first act and it got deleted from the DVR at the first commercial break.  It’s a bad sign when the thing I liked most about it was Whitney saying, “This show is filmed before a live studio audience.”2
Best line of the week:
 If I wanted an A-flat minor I would have had you go play with your girlfriend’s chest.
Mr. Jingles via Maw Maw on Raising Hope

_______________

Notes:
  1. “That man has the largest penis I have ever seen.
  2. Please, for the love of God, let the 3 camera sitcom die! Why scream low production value and rattle of predictable lines all the time? If I want that I can just watch 2 1/2 Men.

Little freakin’ Debbie

Sure, it came completely out of nowhere.  Someone mentioned to me on Twitter that they had Nutty Bars for breakfast.  Someone else said they prefer Swiss Rolls.  So I asked for a completely unscientific poll on what the best Little Debbie snack was*.  Personally, I voted for Nutty Bars, which I thought would completely run away with the thing.  But the results are in, and Nutty Bars finished tied for 2nd.

The best part: even Debbie herself voted, so we know this was something special…

But enough’a my yakkin’… here are the results:

  • Tied with 4.5% of the vote:  Zebra Cakes, Powdered Donuts, and Star Crunch
  • 9% – Cosmic Brownies and Strawberry Shortcake Rolls (formerly known as Jelly Rolls)
  • 18.2% – Oatmeal Creme Pies (Giant and regular size votes both went in this category) and Nutty Bars

And the winner, with 31.8% of the vote:

Congratulations to Debbie, and to the entire nation of Switzerland.

 

 

*I’m confident that there will be a spike in sales of Little Debbie snacks today in the Midwest as a result of all the Tweets today

I Just Like Saying Weiner

Wiener.

In just two weeks Anthony Weiner has gone from being a congressman with a funny last name to being a congressman with an hilarious last name.  Add in a few pics of Weiner’s weiner and it can’t get much funnier than that.  But in the biggest overreaction of the 2010’s (twenty-tweens?) he’s now being told to resign behind more controversy than Joey Chestnutt’s near regurgitation in the 2009 Nathan’s hot dog eating contest.

Let’s take a look at the facts here… @RepWeiner tweeted a pic of his undies.  It was supposed to go to an adult female.  We don’t know if she wanted to see his pants tent or not, but she didn’t actually see the weinermobile.  She just saw the garage it was being kept in.  This may more may not have been the pattern for other women.  3? 5? 10? 60? 144?  Who knows?    What I do know is that not one woman has come forward to state that the pictures were unwanted.  Not one has come forward to say there was any sort of physical relationship.  Not one has come forward an alluded to any inappropriate activity with a minor.

So let’s recap:

  • Wiener has a weiner
  • Weiner likes to prove he has a weiner
  • Weiner probably likes to use evidence to see evidence of the lack of weiners on females
  • Weiner is married… a married man doing some of the above  is scummy and dirty
  • Weiner lied about being scummy and dirty for a week before he told the truth about being summy and dirty

So here’s the issue:  being scummy and dirty and lying is not illegal.  In fact, it’s a core part of being a politician, is it not?  Our country as founded on scummy, dirty liars.  It could be worse, in fact… he could be shooting for the highest office in the United States government while being 100% incompetent.

This is a scummy dirty thing.  Don’t get me wrong. But let’s not forget he hasn’t broken any laws that we are aware of.  While his actions don’t make him a victim, but any means, he is now becoming the victim of an overreaction by a generation that doesn’t understand how common his form of cheating is, as well as how a media that has consistently insinuated things without any evidence of them.

Did you watch the full press conference?  Someone asked if he had any inappropriate contact with a minor to which he correctly replied, “not to my knowledge.”  The media has since taken this as an opportunity to assume he has, when he was correctly stating that it was never his intention to do so, but being on the internet he has no way of knowing if anyone has lied about their age.

Weiner’s weiner is a private thing.  And it should have been left that way.  He accidentally made it private, but the rest of us can now as well.  He’s a congressman, which doesn’t take away his rights to a private life.  He doesn’t need to be forced to resign because of legal activities in his private life.  The voters will decide if he’s worthy of keeping his job.

Besides, forcing him to resign will deprive the rest of us from continuing to see the word “Weiner” in the headlines.  This is America.  We want our weiners!

I was running…

I’ve been thinking for awhile that I’m fat and out of shape.  Ok, that’s not really a thinking thing as much as a truth thing.  My job is a sit at a desk all day and never move kind of job, so in my time there I’ve gained weight and continued to get more and more out of shape.

I’ve tried a few things here and there.  I had a gym membership where I frequently did the elliptical and swam laps.  I’ve rocked the NFL Training Camp for Wii.  But usually I do things for awhile and then stop and end up out of breath again.

A few times I’ve tried running.  The truth is, I don’t hate it.  But I have knee issues and that tends to catch up with me  But the other day I was out for a walk and discovered that the park by where I live has a rubberized surface on it’s running trail, so I figured I’d give it a shot.   My friend Andy had told me about a plan that in 9 weeks takes you from doing no running at all to being ready for a 5k.  Now I don’t know if I can really pull that off in 9 weeks, but I downloaded the app, joined RunKeeper, and off I went.

Now I hurt. But I’m proud of myself for getting one day down… let’s see if I can get all 9 weeks…

Water Lilies

Last night I took the opportunity to go the member’s preview of Monet’s Water Lilies at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.  There are only 2 Monet triptychs in the United States, and this particular one has been divided among three different museums.  As a regular visitor to the Nelson I had seen the panel they own in it’s regular spot in it’s gallery.  I was excited to see it in it’s original context, but I had no idea just what I would see.

I went with a very close friend, and due to the craziness of the day we weren’t able to get there until 20 minutes before the museum closed, so we were completely rushed.  We practically ran through the Bloch building in order to get the the exhibit with time to see it.  As we rounded the corner into the gallery with the complete triptych the mood completely changed.  We stood together in complete awe of the painting.  I think neither of us had a clue just how impressive and beautiful it would be… add in the emotion of the day leading up to that point, and while neither of us really acknowledged it, we were both on the verge of tears.

I’m no art critic, and even the best can’t put into words what it’s like to see a piece like this.  And with Kansas City being the first stop on it’s tour, we were among the first to see it in over 30 years.  No photos can do it justice, and having seen one third of it in the permanent collection doesn’t do it the full justice.  I’m not going to try to describe it… I’m only going to say that you must see it.  It’s in Kansas City, starting tomorrow through August 7th.  It will also make stops in Cleveland and St. Louis.  Get to one of them if you can (of course I’m partial to KC).  I know I don’t write much about art, and I may not have much credibility in this area, but this one is a must see.  Just trust me.

The New Sunday

image

After years of being a pastor of some form, paid or unpaid, I was used to Sunday mornings always being filled, rushed, and stressful. I’ve been out of that world for a couple years now, and have learned that Sunday mornings don’t even need to remotely look like that anymore. Now I get up when I feel like it, make some coffee, bacon, eggs, and toast and just relax.

Yeah, I still go to church on Sunday evenings… in a living room with a few people.  But it’s relaxed.  Often we even have beer while churching it up.

Somehow this just seems to make a lot more sense for this day of rest. Even if I did accidently put too much salt on my eggs this morning.

Things I Learned Watching the Oscars

It’s probably been about 10 years since I’ve watched more than a minute or two of the Oscars.  It’s not that I don’t care… I do.  I’m always very curious to see who wins, but I’ve always been content looking it up the next day.  Awards shows are just boring, and I don’t need them.  But in order to be social I went to the Oscar party I was invited to, and I learned a few things:

  • I’m amazing at picking winners.  I tied for the win at our party, mostly by randomly checking boxes.
  • Kirk Douglas is still alive.
  • At 137 years old Kirk Douglas still has more game than I ever had.
  • Anne Hathaway would be hilarious to hang out with.  Also, she’s hot.  And she exists.  I had no clue who she was.
  • James Franco is a moron.  Also didn’t know who he was.
  • Jeff Bridges looks better in a robe holding a white russian than in a tux.
  • Oprah screwed Banksy, but is powerful enough to read whatever name she wants in the envelope and no one can do anything about it.  Damn Oprah.
  • Seriously, Kirk Douglas is still alive?
  • I was the only person there old enough to remember Jack Palance doing one handed push-ups.
  • If they already presume you’re going to win best picture, you get to be the entire focal point of the best picture nominees montage.
  • Natalie Portman is seriously pregnant.
  • It’s very clear which female presenters are comfortable with their boobs.
  • Marisa Tomei likes short, stocky bald men.
  • Was that really Kirk Douglas?  Come on… he’s still alive?

A New Take on Wings

Some guys are leg guys.  Others are breast men.  I’m a wing man.  Well, when it comes to chicken, at least.

Naturally, being Superbowl Sunday tomorrow I thought I better make some wings to bring to the party.  I remembered reading this article awhile back, so I thought I’d give it a try. I’ve always been a fried, not baked guy… any real man is.  But this article claims you can get that same crispyness (not a real word), by allowing them to dry for 8 or more hours in the fridge, uncovered.  First they’re coated in baking powder (not soda… dagnabit, need to learn to remember which is which before I go to the store… but after 2 trips, I have plenty of both now) and salt.

So here they are… ready to dry out.  We’ll see how they turn out.

As for the sauce, I’m planning on using the sauce from this recipe because it’s crazy good, and it’ll do very well for a large group party.  Can’t go too hot when there may be weenies around.

Snowpocalypse!

Sno-hawk!This video didn’t turn out at all like I wanted it to, but someone out there may find it slightly interesting.  During Snowpocalypse 2011 I worked from home and every 15 minutes I took a picture out of my window to see the snow accumulate.  Next time I’ll try taking the pictures out a window that doesn’t have a screen on it.  You’ve been warned.