Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ski Trip

Just got home this afternoon from a little ski trip to Colorado.  My buddy Trevor and I flew out of KC on Wednesday night, arriving in Denver at about 8:30.  We headed to the rental car place and when we got there the lady behind the counter inevitably tried to sell me on an upgrade.  We had reserved a full size, an Impala to be specific, and she tried to get me into an SUV.  I knew it wasn't going to be snowy so I declined.  We walked outside with the sales lady to pick up our car and we walked by a Dodge Ram (hemi) and she said if we wanted it we could take it for an extra $10 a day.  Sold.  We eventually made it to Trevor's parent's house around midnight on Wednesday night.  The next morning we drove over to Copper mountain for the first ski day of the season.  We met my dad's best friend Fred, who I've been skiing with for about 12 years now, for a few runs in the morning.  The snow was pretty good, Summit county has been getting a ton of snow and there was still some really soft snow on the mountain.  We took a few runs with Fred before he had to leave around 11:30.  We caught up with my cousins, Nick and Eric and his wife Brianne (hope I spelled that right...), for a few runs to finish out the day.  Around 3 we ate some food, had a beer and left for Aspen.

Our buddy Ryan has been living in Aspen for the past six years now and I think we've been out there for 5 of his six years.  He's well connected enough to get us in to some nice restaurants and we always have a great time out there.  Skied Aspen mountain on Friday, it was pretty awesome.  Not as much snow in Aspen as Summit county, but we cruised the groomers all day and had a blast.  We took the bus out to the X-games, which they hold on Buttermilk mountain, on Friday night.  It was an experience.  Those athletes are certifiable.  We watched the ski super pipe, some snowboarders practicing the best trick and snowmobiles hitting the speed and style track.  The features at the X-games are unbelievably large.  I don't mean that metaphorically, I mean they are literally UNBELIEVABLE.  The guys are absolutely crazy.  I've got some pics and video, and I know Trevor does too so we'll put some stuff up at some point.

We skied HIghlands on Saturday.  I demoed some skis for the day since I've been on the same skis since 2004 or 05.  It was a great decision.  Technology has come a long way on 6 or 7 years and I had a blast on the new skis.  I think I've decided to demo skis from now on, that way I can ski on new stuff every year without having to shell out a few hundred bucks to buy skis.

I always have a great time in the mountains.  Amanda and I will make a trip out this summer, I've got plans to hike Torrey's peak with Fred.  That's where my father's ashes are scattered and I haven't been up there since.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Couple thoughts before championship Sunday

So it's about 10 til 2 in the morning, I've been sick all day and since I laid down at about 6:00 I'm wide awake right now.  Here's a few thoughts before the games today:

  • Hines Ward is a scumbag.  He's a terrific player, but he's dirty as hell and it seems like no one ever talks about it.  
  • Let's ease up a little with this Aaron Rodgers love fest.  He's been playing lights out lately, but he's got exactly 2 playoff wins in his career.  Mark Sanchez has four.  I heard people talking about how Rodgers was already better than Favre and that's just a joke.  Don't let your emotions get in the way, Rodgers has to do what he's doing for at least three more years before he can be considered elite.
  • Big Ben is the perfect QB for the Steelers.  He's a special player, despite being a complete d-bag off the field.  If he wins a 3rd Super Bowl this year it doesn't make him better than Manning, Brady, or Brees, but he's definitely in that next tier of QB's in the NFL.
  • I don't understand why people hate the bravado of the Jets.  I love it.  I love how much they talk, I love the way they play, I love their whole approach.  
  • I'm still pissed that Cutler is not playing in Denver.  I said it at the time and I'll say it again, you don't get rid of a 25 year old All-Pro QB in the NFL.  Despite some of his maturity issues, there really isn't 5 guys in the NFL you would take over Cutler right now, factoring in his age.  
  • I hope the Packers kick to Hester, who doesn't want to see him with the ball in his hands?  Oh yeah, the Packers probably don't...
  • Predictions from my heart:  Jets, Packers
  • Predictions from my head: Steelers, Bears
  • I love the NFL...

Friday, January 21, 2011


If you haven't seen this yet, it is tremendous.  This is why I love the internet...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This dude is the man

I've realized as I've been around the country a bit that there are people out there who passionately dislike Ray Lewis.  I grew up in Florida where football is just different.  It's one of those things that if you didn't play there or coach there, you truly don't understand just how different it is. I went to college in Iowa, have lived in CO, IA, OH and now KS since college.  I love football so I find myself talking about it a lot.  For my money, Ray Lewis is one of the top 5 football players to ever play the game.  Not top 5 linebackers, but top 5 FOOTBALL players, ever.  The guy is just incredible.  He's a great motivator, a great player and a fierce competitor.  I guess some of the hatred comes to him because of the legal issues he had earlier in his career.  I'm not here to defend his decisions, but he did exactly what most people 'say' they want star athletes to do in his situation.  He realized his position and realized that the company he was keeping was holding him back.  He cut off his 'friends', testified against them, cooperated with the authorities and then went about his business as a football player.  If you can't forgive him, that's fine.  But you won't convince me that he's not the best linebacker to ever play in the NFL.  He just is.  I didn't write this next part, I pulled it off one of my favorite websites,

"According to Baltimore Ravens linebackers coach Dean Pees, linebacker Ray Lewis took a grand total of 5 plays off this season.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Lewis played 1,111 of 1,116 defensive snaps for the Ravens this season.
Ravens new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano added, "And we chewed him out when he came out for that, for missing five plays.”
Pagano said, "You stay in this league and you play at the level that he's played at for 15 years, because of your due diligence in the weight room in the offseason, watching tape and taking care of yourself. He's taken great care of his body, and he understands that his body is his earning power and what's made him. There is not a more passionate guy. He's a great one."

In other words, Ray Lewis is a grown ass man."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The BCS, in all its' glory...

Last night Auburn won the BCS National Championship making that 5 straight years that an SEC team won the title.  Also, the SEC is undefeated in the BCS title game and has 7 overall championships.  I am not willing to even entertain an argument that suggests that the SEC isn't the best conference in college football.  It's not really that close.  What strengthens the argument is that those 5 straight titles have been won by 4 different teams.  The Big Ten has one legitimate team year in and year out, Ohio State.  The Big 12 has two, Oklahoma and Texas.  The SEC has at least 5 and some may argue 7, but I digress.

There is considerable banter about the BCS and how terrible it is.  The ground swell is for some sort of playoff system for college football.  Well, here's my take on the whole mess.  First, the BCS has been right far more that it has been wrong since its inception.  You have to keep in mind, the entire goal of the BCS system was to get the two best teams in the country into the national championship game.  The previous system never did that, if you'll remember, and that's why you had split and contested national championships.  At the very least, we get the two best teams in the country playing each other every year.  But let's look at realistic alternatives, the likely outcome of the ground swell for a playoff is going to be a 4 team playoff.  This year, you would've had Auburn, Oregon, TCU and probably Wisconsin.  That would mean that we would have one more game to play, TCU vs Auburn to decide it all.  That would be an entertaining match up, but then what about Ohio State?  Michigan State? Boise St?  Stanford?  All of those teams only lost once and since there wouldn't be room in a four team playoff for all of them, someone would have to decide which of those one loss teams gets left out and which lucky one gets a shot.  I've heard the argument that deciding who gets left out of 4th place is better than who gets left out of 1st, but is it really?  There have only been a few instances of a team who has a legitimate complaint about being kept out of the title game, think Auburn in '04, TCU this year; but every year there are 4 or more teams that could demonstrate a legitimate claim to the 4th spot in a 4 team playoff.

The other argument I hear is that there are too many bowl games.  Really?  Too many bowl games?  Too much college football?  I've never heard anyone say that the NIT is "too much basketball."  Here's a tip, if you don't like the bowl games, don't watch.  Chances are, they aren't for you anyway.  The bowls are an unbelievable experience for everyone involved.  The players and coaches are rewarded for having a good, if not great, season.  The fans get a chance to travel and spend time with the team and the host cities experience an influx of cash from all the visitors.  Remind me, what about that is so inherently evil?  Wait, maybe we want to have a 16 or even 32 team playoff.  That would actually be fun, the match ups would be unbelievable and the games would be intense!  But here's the problem, there are 119 teams that play football at the D1 level.  If there was a 32 team playoff, that would mean that 87 of those teams would be left out every year.  Further, of those 32 teams, at least half of them would virtually never miss the playoffs.  The Florida's, Alabama's, Texas', Oklahoma's, Ohio State's, USC's, Virginia Tech's of the world are not missing the playoffs very often.  Sure, Boise State and TCU would have gotten in this year, but no one else from those "lower" conferences would.  You think the system is elitist now?  Take a look at the lower football divisions and tell me how many different faces are showing up in those playoffs and doing something.  Add to that the extra weeks of practice that the playoff bound teams would be allowed and the cycle becomes harder to break.

Don't misunderstand me, I don't think the BCS is perfect, but it is a whole lot better than the old system in a lot of ways.  I do think it represents the best of both worlds.  There is still some cache attached to going to and/or winning the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl and Fiesta Bowl.  Coaches can use those games as recruiting tools and the players can have a great experience participating in them.  Yet we still have a championship game that crowns a champ.  I don't understand why we have to install a system that basically rewards only one team.  We still have a national champ, and in the 13 seasons since the BCS came to be, the BCS "got it right" no fewer than 11 of those times.

The final piece of this argument, for me, is the diminishing of the regular season.  It's inarguable that NCAA football has the best and most meaningful regular season in organized athletics.  You think that Texas vs Texas Tech game a few years back would have been as meaningful if there had been a playoff?  What about the Boise St. vs Va Tech game at the beginning of the season?  Or what about the UT vs OU games of the past?  The point is, if there were a playoff, a team could slip up once or even twice and still have a shot at the title.  College football would start to walk down the path of college basketball where the regular season literally doesn't mean anything.  A team in college hoops can, in some conferences, not have a single conference win in the regular season yet win four games in a tournament and advance to the national tourny.  Some may argue that they love that about basketball, but I'd rather have a team that won 26 games throughout the regular season and maybe had one off shooting night in a tournament get that spot in the NCAA's.  People argue that bowls are nothing more than end of season exhibitions, and they are right, but the regular season in football is king.  Personally, I'd rather have those exhibitions at the end of the year in a one game scenario than spread throughout an entire season.

As a football fan, I would love to see the playoffs.  I'd love to see the games.  But as a fan of college athletics, and football in general, I'm not willing to give up the greatest regular season going AND all of the great bowl match ups that we get every year just so that we can say that we have a system that find the "true" national champion.  I hear the word opportunity thrown out a lot, as in Boise and TCU deserve an opportunity to play for the title.  Think about the big picture here, if we institute a playoff aren't we, on some level, minimizing opportunities for the large majority of college football to experience the post season?  Even if that post season is a glorified exhibition.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Just had an opportunity to visit the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  This is the show where all of the electronic innovations for consumers all over the globe are introduced.  It is a truly global experience with an almost over the top feel to it.  The scope of the booths is overwhelming.  Some of the bigger name electronic brands have displays that are upwards of three football fields in size.  It's truly remarkable.

The show is in Las Vegas.  It's popular to treat Vegas with a certain amount of difference, to cast it into the 'Yeah, I've been there' (cue shoulder shrug).  But I am absolutely impressed, amazed, awed, overwhelmed, giddy, excited, shocked... because Las Vegas is like Disney World for adults.  That place impresses me the same way Disney did when I was eight years old.  I can't barely get over the enormity of it all.  The money that is made in Vegas is absurd.  The extravagance and detail, the beauty and the scope is absolutely stunning.  If you haven't been, you need to go. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My Zac Brown Band Obsession

If you've spent any reasonable time with me over the past 10 or so months you may have noticed that I can't seem to get enough of the Zac Brown Band.  I think they're great, great music, great musicians and pretty great in concert.  I was able to see them twice this summer.  The first show was quite an experience, my brother in-law Pat and my best friend from college Trevor and I flew out to Denver on a Sunday morning, caught the Broncos home opener in the early afternoon (it was a great game, hotter than hell but the Donkeys beat the Seahawks and I was with some family) and then drove up to Red Rocks.  I had been to Red Rocks before but never for a concert.  I had heard my parents talk about all of the great bands they had seen there, Loggins and Messina, Crosby, Stills and Nash were a few.  It didn't disappoint, aside from the fact that you pretty much have to summit Everest to get from the parking lot to the amphitheater.  The opening act was Robert Randolph and the Family Band.  If you haven't ever listened to them, check 'em out.

The second show was here in KC, a bunch of us went to see ZBB at the Sprint Center downtown.  I thought it was a better show but the setting didn't compare.  I took a little video on my Phone of them playing my favorite new single.  It's called Colder Weather.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Baby's first Christmas

Just had Avery's first Christmas, we were in Florida at Grandma Kathy's house this year, here's some photos from the big day.

Monday, January 3, 2011


First and foremost, I am an admitted Broncos fan, let's get that out there right off the bat.  Had Tebow not been drafted by Denver I would probably be disinterested in this discussion, but since he's slated to be the QB of the team that I root for, I am knee deep!  I'd like to point out that this dude has played three games in the NFL, the last three games of a truly bad season for the Broncos.  They aren't a good football team with him, they weren't a good team without him.  They have one great player, Brandon Lloyd, and a few bright spots scattered throughout their roster, but ultimately, they're just plain bad.  The Defense is pitiful and the running game might be worse.  With that said, Tebow has played admirably in his three game debut.  I'm not going to stand here and say he's the next Peyton or Brady or Brees or Rodgers or Rivers, but I think he can be a good professional QB.  My reasoning is simple, he's in the NFL.

I feel like Tebow's athleticism is very underrated.  He's legitimately fast, he's legitimately large and he's very athletic.  His throwing motion is what it is, although I think all the questions have a little more to do with the fact that he's a lefty and his delivery looks a little funky than anything else.  With all that said, he's in the NFL, which means that he's being coached by the best there is.  Those guys in the NFL are amazing coaches.  And Tebow is the perfect canvas for a talented QB coach.  He's humble enough to listen, he's got an outstanding work ethic and a drive to succeed.  He's got some intangibles that are going to make him good.  He will listen and work to get better all the time.  His efforts will be sincere and when you combine that with his abilities and the great coaching he should receive in the league, I think he's got a shot to be pretty good.

Everyone has an opinion on Tebow.  The media has been crediting this guy with creation since his sophomore season in college.  I know that drives people crazy, I was among the masses who couldn't stand watching Tyler Hansborough while he was at UNC for a lot of the same reasons.  The thing of it is, it's not his fault.  I've also heard people saying that Tebow is nothing but hype, that his actions on the field are cheesy and hollow.  All I can say to that is that there is something that's not translating through the TV set.  It sure seems like everyone who meets this dude is overwhelmed by him personally.  I don't know what kind of person he is, but let's be honest, neither do you.  If you take an objective look at him, you can easily not like the way he acts, but no one who ever played with him or interviewed him described him as fake or cheesy.

At the end of it all, he's played three games in the NFL on a bad team, and I've watched all three.  The Broncos are 1-2 in those games and would have lost the two games they did lose with just about any QB playing (outside of a few of the very best) and the game they were able to win they did so because of Tebow not despite him.  The thing I can't figure is why do we all feel like we have to put a guy into a 'will he or won't he' box before he actually plays?!?!  Everyone wants to say, 'he won't make it, his throwing motion doesn't translate' or something like this.  How about this, let him play.  Let him compete.  If he's good enough he'll make it, if not, he won't.  But at the end of the day, why do people want to see this guy fail?  What has Tebow EVER done to be hated?  The answer is nothing.  By all accounts he's a great person and a great competitor.  We'll see how good he is after he's played a little while longer.  I'll respectfully hold my judgment until then!

True Grit

Got a chance to see True Grit last night, very good movie.  I have really liked the last few Coen Bros movies I've seen and I've been pretty impressed with their movies in general.  Check out Matty's blog for a solid analysis of all of their movies here  I love a good western, I love the scenery and the dialogue.  Westerns always seem to do what a movie should, take you to a place that seems really interesting and unique for a few hours and expand your curiosity.  True Grit did that well.