Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I'm just saying...

With this delirious, almost entirely inconsequential post, I've blogged more this month than in 2013 and in 2014 combined. I miss the days when this was something I did on a whim instead of having to make a concentrated effort. Then again, those were also the days where I rationed microwavable pizzas for the week. And it's still fun.

In conclusion, here is a cartoon cat eating a slice of pizza.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Back in the Saddle

We’re going to take a break from our regularly scheduled, light hearted English Muffin Power Hour to discuss the two and a half year hiatus I was on. This is more serious than I prefer, but I feel it is necessary before I blog another Power Hour. I was all rearing to do a quick write-up on Assassin’s Creed, one of my many abandoned projects from the fall of 2012 and the brief mention of the hiatus felt ill-suited. So I thought I’d do a short write up on why the English Muffin Power Hour went away and why it is back now in three paragraphs, including this one. I wasn’t joking when I said this would be short.
As many of you many of you may know, I severely injured my shoulder in an intramural soccer game at the end of February 2013. I somehow managed to both break and dislocate my humerus, an injury so unusual that it took a week and a specialist to figure it out. Besides the inherent challenges of typing meaningful blog posts with one hand while on painkillers, I still had my normal obligations as a graduate student, an SGA Senator, and a Resident Director (all of which, I am proud to say, were upheld). Then my time was split between physical therapy and completing my final two classes so I could graduate that summer (also mission accomplished). Then began a long and disheartening job hunt which meant I had time to blog but no sense of enthusiasm. Then the job hunt ended and I had enthusiasm (which I'm not too proud to admit includes dressing up as Bandit Keith to Bean's Rambo and shouting "VIET-GODDAM-NAM" in a church parking lot) but no time. Then things at the new job turned miserable, a lot of personal things turned miserable, and I had neither time nor enthusiasm.

Thankfully, things have turned around for me and I once again am blessed with time and enthusiasm. For the first time in a long time, I feel like me again. And it is in that spirit that I offer this Blog Post as tribute to the Fantasy Reaper so he may turn his baleful gaze to another team and I may find the strength to smite Bean the Hobbit, as justice dictates I must. WHAT'S DEZ MAY NEVER DIE!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What's Dez May Never Die

Well, when we last left the English Muffin Power Hour, I was brimming with hope at the start of a new Football season. In fact, as late as Sunday night, optimism abounded in Hunteria. In the far less meaningful Beanpocalypse Now league (why yes, I did suggest that name), the potent one-two punch of the Carolina Panthers and actual part man, part panther Rob Gronkowski had the Bean on his heels with no chance of victory despite him scoring extremely well. I even had the bane of my existence, Doug in Week 1 & Week 1 alone, down by a significant margin. I was up by 45 points with my 2nd pick, Dez “Only Viable Option” Bryant to play. Now Doug did have a significant portion of his team left to play (4 players but that included a kicker), but as a rule of thumb you’d almost always rather be the guy winning by 45.

I asked Doug before the game “Was getting your score doubled a part of your plan?” To which he responded “Of course!” Then he added something about “crashing this lead… WITH NO SURVIVORS”.

"Do you feel in control?"

First, Dez Bryant has a really off game. Despite being the man with football magnets for hands, he only puts up four points and limps off the field in the 3rd quarter. Well, that’s certainly not good, but maybe it’s just a sprained ankle. One bad game on a bad ankle isn’t the end of the world, right? NOPE! Broken foot. Surgery required. Screws will be put in foot. Could be out 6 to 18 weeks. So I can’t even grab a replacement for Dez off the waiver wire since he could be back in Week 8 and play a solid half a fantasy season (half a Dez is better than none). Last week, I wrote this of Dez’s role in the Cowboys’ passing attack “who else is Tony Romo going to throw it to? The eminently forgettable Terence Williams? The flash in the pan, Cole Beasley? The Impossibly Ancient Jason Witten? The Actual Zombie, Darren McFadden? So I like Bryant's chances of being the focal point of the offense again.” Sadly, this is a real question the Cowboys are asking themselves this week. At present, the Cowboys’ solution is to have Jason Witten pick up where Ponce de Leon left off and track down the Fountain of Youth.

So the war effort suffered a major setback, but I still should win the battle right?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Iron Dirigible Draft Recap Part 2: The Winter Soldier

So here's the thing- real football starts in approximately six hours. At that point, all the hand wringing and prognosticating over the draft becomes a moot point. So I could either spend that time making some clever joke about how I don't update this very often and 3 posts in the span of 2 days is some kind of record (I figured some sort of joke about the update taking way longer than a day but being published now due to time travel, but causality loops became an issue and if the phrase "causality loops" is in your joke, it's probably not that funny. But I digress.) OR I could just update the blog. Let's go with "update the blog". When we last left our intrepid heroes, Bean had unknowingly cursed Randall Cobb to almost have a broken collarbone (and would have been fully broken, were it not for the direct intervention of Aaron Rodgers' anti-hobbit magic, which he learned after the Bean cursed him with a similar injury in 2013) and we were starting the 7th and 8th round or, as it is unofficially known, the round where we stop recognizing the players' names.

Rounds 7 & 8

49Travis Kelce, KC TE  Hunterian Velociraptors
50Greg Olsen, Car TE19th Hole
51Doug Martin, TB RBVandy PimpMasters
52Vincent Jackson, TB WRMore Dr Pepper
53Latavius Murray, Oak RBBelmont Godfearers
54Golden Tate, Det WRTeam Tune
55Martellus Bennett, Chi TEWest Katzen Maus Munchers
56Jeremy Maclin, KC WRTeam McLovin
57Jason Witten, Dal TETeam McLovin
58LeGarrette Blount, NE RBWest Katzen Maus Munchers
59Arian Foster*, Hou RBTeam Tune
60T.J. Yeldon, Jac RBBelmont Godfearers
61Andre Ellington, Ari RBMore Dr Pepper
62Owen Daniels, Den TEVandy PimpMasters
63Giovani Bernard, Cin RB19th Hole
64Andre Johnson, Ind WR  Hunterian Velociraptors

Pick I Love: I'm torn between Greg Olsen at #50 or Martellus Bennett at #55. On the one hand, I'm convinced Greg Olsen is the only person in the greater Charlotte area to ever catch a pass in an NFL game before and will be the only act in Camapalooza 2015 with Devin "Bunches of" Funchess as the opening act. On the other hand, Martellus Bennett gives you free reign to quote the 2nd best scene in Pulp Fiction at will ("WHAT DOES MARTELLUS BENNETT LOOK LIKE?!" P.S. 1st best scene in Pulp Fiction is the diner at the end because it's not only really cool, but it delivers an unexpected message as well as the thesis for the entire movie). So anyways, I'm going to give the nod to Martellus Bennett even though I think Olsen is the better player simply because Samuel L. Jackson is a better actor the Mary Kate, Ashley, or Elizabeth Olsen. What? I CAN BE PETTY!

Pick I Hate: Originally, I was going to have this whole thing about how Doug Martin was having all the upside drafted out of him by going this early and that it was a desperate effort to revive the Doug Connection. But I came to a twofold revelation: first, that even 3 years later, I still cannot hate Doug "the Muscle Hamster" Martin after he scored over 50 points in a game for me; second, that Doug Martin never had the phrase "tore his groin muscle right off the bone" associated with him like Arian Foster did this offseason. Currently, the medical prognosis for Foster is "it could be 4 weeks, it could be more than six weeks, who knows? I'm not a doctor." And generally I tend to avoid stashing guys on my bench indefinitely, like a barnacle clinging to a ship. In summation, come back to me, Doug Martin. The other Doug doesn't appreciate you like I do.

Picks I Made: Travis Kelce dueled Anthony Fasano into submission and became the sole Tight End in Kansas City, where state law prohibits Wide Receivers from scoring touchdowns. As a result, Kelce will be a target monster who descends from the foothills to prey upon weary and unsuspecting secondaries. Andre Johnson is the second half of the Murtaugh Duo in Indianapolis & I feel extremely confident in his ability to be a reliable (if unremarkable) fantasy starter, which frees me up to go CRAAAAAZZZZZY on guys with upside in the later rounds. Plus, Andrew Luck is by far the most talented quarterback that Andre Johnson has ever played for. I don't think it's impossible for him to return to 2013 levels of production (when he got 1400 yards and only 5 touchdowns). 2013 production is equal to 170 fantasy points, which would have been good enough for 11th among Wide Receivers last year, and that's pretty good upside for a pick at the end of the 8th round.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

2 for 1 Special- Iron Dirigible Draft Recap 2015 Part 1

What's this? Two substantive posts in one day? Is it Christmas? No, dear reader, since if it was Christmas, it would A) be way colder outside and B) I would be busy doing Christmas things instead of blogging. You know me well enough to know I would never hustle during the holiday season. Astute readers (far more astute than I am, since I had to look it up) may recall that I did a draft recap way back in 2012 to celebrate having six people come to the draft. Well guess what? All seven people who do not ritually ignore the draft showed up this year! Also, I had the number 1 pick! WE'RE DOING A RECAP TO CELEBRATE! Some of you may recall my last recap was over 5,000 words and that trying to do that is a surefire recipe to not getting everything I wanted with the blog done, therefore leading to me shunning it for another two years. To you I say, chugga chugga Chugga Chugga CHOO CHOO! I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE HYPE TRAIN PULLING INTO THE STATION!

For those of you who can't recall in perfect clarity a post I made three years ago, here's a brief recap:

  • There will 9 recaps- one after each of the first four rounds, then one for every two rounds for rounds 5-12, then one major recap for rounds 13-16. The reason for this division is two-fold: first, it gives me a reasonable chance of finishing the recap today; second, as drafts progress, it becomes harder to become critical of any pick. I'm convinced it's impossible to regret a 10th round pick. Maybe you miss someone who turns out to be the next Odell Beckham Jr, but it's not like you knew exactly what was going to happen. And if you did know exactly what was going to happen, then I'm onto your Gray's Sports Almanac scheme, fellow Back to the Future enthusiast.
  • For each recap, I'll go with a pick I love, a pick I hate, and the pick I made (where I justify my decisions as if I am being brought before the fantasy football tribunal to be court martialed for my many heinous crimes such as believing in now-unemployed Montee Ball's talent).
  • The draft took place on August 29th so there are some picks that may look particularly foolish in hindsight. Had Doug known that David Cobb's leg was cursed by an evil wizard and would never heal until the Ghosts of Bergard Peak found peace, I'm sure he wouldn't have drafted him in the 12th round. But hey, transdimensional hexes from malevolent spirits have always been a part of the game and always will be.
 Without further ado, here is the 2015 Iron Dirigible Draft recap.
1st Round
1Le'Veon Bell, Pit RB  Hunterian Velociraptors
2Eddie Lacy, GB RB19th Hole
3Adrian Peterson, Min RBVandy PimpMasters
4Jamaal Charles, KC RBMore Dr Pepper
5Marshawn Lynch, Sea RBBelmont Godfearers
6Antonio Brown, Pit WRTeam Tune
7Aaron Rodgers, GB QBWest Katzen Maus Munchers
8C.J. Anderson, Den RBTeam McLovin

Pick I Love: Eddie Lacy at #2. Lacy was already a top-flight running back option, equally adept at running as he was catching the ball on an offense that scores a lot of points. Then Jordy Nelson's ACL is claimed by the Fantasy Reaper and suddenly there are a lot more touchdowns to go around. Lacy also has a sterling track record of staying healthy & not abusing children so he's suspended for a year because of the wholly justified public outcry.

Pick I Hate: C.J. Anderson at #8. Part of this is an inherent distrust of everyone named C.J. that CJ2K has instilled in the heart of every Tennessean. But a bigger part of it is he has exactly 8 games of being a big time running back to his credit and he only got the job because of a fluke injury to Ronnie Hillman. More precisely, I don't think either Hillman or Anderson are phenomenal talents. I think they're playing with a Quarterback who is a season removed from shattering single season passing records and that anyone remotely competent (read: not Montee Ball) could produce points there. If this pick could be "Denver Broncos Main Running Back", I'd be perfectly fine with it. But it can't so I'm not.

Pick I Made: As recently as the Sunday prior to the draft, I made the argument that Eddie Lacy should be the new #1 overall option. Though Le'Veon Bell outgained Lacy by a significant margin last season (2,215 yards rushing & receiving for Bell versus 1,566 yards for Lacy), the fact that Bell would miss two games to suspension as well as the gains Lacy was poised to receive from the vacuum left by Jordy Nelson's injury won me over. But when push comes to shove, it's about having fun with your fantasy team. And dressed in my Polomalu Jersey & Steelers Cap, I couldn't help but take the best Steelers running back since Jerome "The Bus" Bettis roamed the earth. Plus, if I want to be a nerd about it, the quality of replacement player I can get for Bell in an 8 team league is significantly higher than I could get in a 10 team league, which mitigates the damage done by Bell's suspension.

Like the Prodigal Son, I have returned

Hey readers! How are you doing? I see we haven't talked in... um... 2 years and 3 months and even then it was only to assure you that more blogging was coming imminently. Whoops! Quick recap of my last two years: dominated Physical Therapy like how Hugh Jackman dominates the other X-Men in terms of screen time, left Housing & Residential life to pursue the thrilling life of a nomad, left the nomad life to pursue the thrilling life of a box mover, was a box mover for six hours before self-reflection (and terrible migraines) convinced me to go back to tutoring, saw Bean nearly pull off back to back championships, was a tutor until I got a legitimate job that turned out to be kinda awful, was the best man in my best friend's wedding (so it was best squared), shouted "VIET GODDAMNED NAM" in a church parking lot, saw Niagra Falls, became a fan of soccer or "footie" as it is called in the British vernacular, crushed Bean like a bug in the championship for my first title since 2008 (Bean is making the championship entirely too often for my comfort), felt existential despair as Game of Thrones the TV Show eclipsed Game of Thrones the book series (I have no answers, my powers of foresight have failed me), got a new far less depressing job, became a board game enthusiast, and started this blog again. So let's see what the last project I was working on was back in early 2013.

Ranking the Avengers films? Well, there's a landscape that's changed fairly significantly. We've had a whole new Avengers cycle complete and begin again. And I, uh, got through, um, 2 of the six Avengers films in my first effort. And, um, I kinda wanted to talk football today... so let me make a good faith effort to at least rank and say a little bit about each of the remaining films from Cycle 1. I may go over Cycle 2 some day & try making a comprehensive ranking or I may not. Overpromising is how I end up behind the proverbial blogging 8-ball.

Marvel Cycle 1: Remember when this was simple?

6. The Incredible Hulk
5. Captain America: The First Avenger- I wrote about both these films ad nauseum here.

4. Iron Man 2- a good movie undermined by a bizarre love of cross-talk (everything is so much funnier when you can't hear what the characters are saying) and maybe a little too much universe building (although not as bad as some later installments).