Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Ballad of the Celestial Avenger

There's a war
between
angels and demons-
a war like none other-
no one is safe
all will fall victim

But time
annoyed two
A lesser devil
and a lesser god

Join they would
not out of love-
but to breed

To breed a
hero, with
the strengths
of both

A child that
must be hid-
to earth he would go
there he would grow

Until the day
he came of age
ascend he would
into the fray
even though
he knew not
what he should, what he could

But up high,
beyond mortal sight
The boy would stand
on the battlefield

And there
time would cease
blades would freeze
fires end

remain they would
and there he would stay
until the heavens
and the hades
decide to stop

Until a truce is called-
A stalemate sent to
cease the senseless blood that's spent-
In the sky
In the stars
Trickling animosity
blanketing
all the universe below.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A look back at how my preseason NFL predictions turned out

So I spent some time today going back through the NFL preseason picks I had made back on the 29th of August, and it's really interesting how those picks compared to what actually happened.  This post will review where I went wrong and which ones were picked correctly.

Let's start with the playoffs and work backwards.

In the AFC, I had predicted:

New England #1 seed
Houston        #2 seed
Baltimore      #3 seed
San Diego     #4 seed

Wildcards were
Pittsburgh   & NY Jets

I had New England losing to the Chargers in the AFC championship game as well.

Well, I hit that NE, Houston and Baltimore would win their respective decisions, although, in reality the Ravens and the Texans would swap playoff seeding.  I also correctly picked that Pittsburgh would be a wildcard team.

SD and NYJ did not make the playoffs, instead Denver was the #4 seed and Cincinnati was the last wildcard team.

I didn't fair as well in the NFC.

I had GB correct as the #1 seed, but then had Philadelphia and Arizona as the #2 and #4 seeds respectively, and neither made the postseason.

I had Atlanta winning the South, incorrect again and didn't even have NO in the playoffs, instead I had Dallas as the top wildcard team, who, again, missed the playoffs, but I did have Detroit correctly slotted as the #6 seed.

The NFC championship game had GB beating Philadelphia, which of course, the Giants would go on to win and then win the Super Bowl as well, and of course, the Giants were nowhere in my postseason predictions.

As for the regular season records, in the:

AFC EAST

I picked:

NE 12-4, not bad as they went 13-3
NYJ 10-6, a couple games off as they went 8-8
Buffalo 8-8, again missed by 2 games, 6-10 was their record
Miami 6-10- I hit this one correctly as they did finish 6-10

AFC NORTH

I picked

Baltimore 11-5, not bad, they finished 12-4
Pittsburgh, 11-5, again, not bad, they also finished 12-4
Cincinnati 5-11, way off here, they finished 9-7
Cleveland 5-11, not bad, a game off, 4-12 was their mark

quick note:  I'm kind of proud I picked BAL & PIT to be tied for the top two spots here, even picking BAL winning Division correctly

AFC SOUTH

I picked

Houston 11-5, not bad, one game away from their 10-6 mark
Indianapolis 10-6, WAYYYYYYY off here, they finished 2-14
Jacksonville 6-10, again, not bad, one game off their 5-11 record
Tennessee 2-14, again a terrible pick, they finished 9-7

AFC  WEST

I picked

SD 10-6, two games off from their 8-8 mark
KC 6-10, only a game off of where they finished at 7-9
Oakland 4-12, double that pick and you get their record, 8-8
Denver, 3-13, another horrible pick, won division at 8-8

In the NFC

NFC EAST

I picked

Philadelphia 11-5, 3 games off here from their 8-8 finish
Dallas 10-6, a pair of games away from their 8-8 mark
NYG, 7-9, only two games off from 9-7, but they did win SB so?
Washington 6-10, only a game off from their 5-11 mark


NFC NORTH

I Picked

GB 13-3, I thought they'd be great, but missed by 2, they were 15-1
Detroit 10-6, I hit this record on the mark
Chicago 8-8, Hit this one on the mark as well
Minnesota 7-9, was way off here, they finished 3-13

NFC SOUTH

I Picked

Atlanta 11-5, one game off their 10-6 finish
NO 10-6, three away from their 13-3 mark
TB 10-6, am ashamed I had them tied with NO, 4-12 they went
Carolina 4-12, did two games better than I thought at 6-10

NFC WEST

I picked

Arizona 10-6, off by 2, they finished 8-8
St. Louis 9-7, horrible picking again, 2-14 they finished
SF 4-12, brutal yet again here, they finished 13-3
Seattle 3-13, didn't give them enough credit either, finished 7-9

So, in the end, I guess I didn't do half bad for picking every game before the season started.  I was certainly way off from what actually transpired, but that almost had to be assumed, seeing so many things can change in the NFL in any given week.  Peyton Manning not playing effected both the Colts and the AFC, SF Defense coming out of almost nowhere effected the NFC.  Things like these and others play a big part of an NFL season, but even with some of the terrible picks, I hit on a few and didn't do nearly as bad as I thought this experiment would prove.

I did outstanding picking week to week during the season, which, in the end is probably the only way to pick the games, as you have a better pulse for each team, each week and most of the variable that could and often do come into play.

But this was fun, a lot of work, but I may consider giving this preseason game another shot next year.

Anyhow, I hope this offered another take on the world of picking NFL games and offered a bit of amusement as well.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Entanglement (before and after)


As usual, I begin with a random brain-writing session if you will, and see where that takes me.  Here, I had a general disarray of lines and decided to make connections between them all.  From that point I thought it would look better if I shaded in the stems, what I called them, the long connecting lines.  Then I smoothened out the the corners and finished up by darkening in some sections of the design.  I like the way the piece turned out; it reminds me of an entanglement of plant growth.  I picture a traveller who has just made their way through the dense brush of the woods.  Then, just as night appears, they reach the opening, where a beautiful and enchanted world can be seen, the vegetation comes alive entangling and entwining together, becoming an impenetrable wall.  The combined species of green growth turn dark.  Now only the beauty of the other side shows through the openings in the wall.  The traveller is now resigned to remain at least one more night in this, now, dark and unfriendly wooded confine.

Anyhow, once I got the story down in my head I decided to play around with color schemes.  The one shown in the lower painting is the one I through best represented the scene.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Prediction and Write-Up

Well, the culmination of another NFL season takes place this evening, where Eli Manning, JPP and the NY Giants represent the NFC and Tom Brady and the New England Patriots represent the AFC.

This is a rematch of the legendary game played just four years ago, where the undefeated Patriots went into battle against the underdog Giants in as close to a David Vs. Goliath story as you can get.  The Giants won that matchup and that David Tyree catch off his helmet has been shown to death ever since.

I always look forward to the Super Bowl, yet for most years it serves a reminder as to how far away my Buffalo Bills are from making their long awaited return to the biggest game of them all.  Typically though, it's really not all too difficult for me to get up for this game, regardless of who is playing who, but this Super Bowl is a bit different.

I'm not a Giant's fan by any means, but out of the three teams my Bills lost to in their four consecutive Super Bowl losses, the Giants are the team that I don't loathe as much as I do Washington or Dallas.  After all, they, for the most part, were outplayed by Buffalo on that day, and it really was Scott Norwood's fault Buffalo didn't win that game, so for that reason I can't hold too much animosity towards the Giants franchise and I don't have anything against this version either.

Actually, there's a couple things I like about this Giants team, for me personally anyhow.  Their Defensive Coordinator, Perry Fewell, held that position for my team a few years ago, under then HC Dick Jauron.  When Jauron was fired, Fewell took over as the interim coach and he did a pretty good job for what he had to work with back then too.  I really do like the coach we have now in Chan Gailey, but looking back now, I can honestly say that although, at the time, it would have been a highly unpopular decision, Perry Fewell would've been a quality choice and should find himself with head coaching opportunities in the near future, as he's done a tremendous job with the NY defense.  So yeah, I do want him to do well and win this game today.

After Fewell I like the idea of the underrated Manning brother making the comparison with his much lauded brother Payton in the who's better conversation that much more intriguing to debate.

As for the Patriots, well, there's only one thing I like about that team, that being their Tight Ends.  I had Aaron Hernandez on my fantasy team the past couple years and he, for the most part, did right by me in that regards and I was a fan of his when he was connecting with Tebow back when the two played at Florida.  Gronk, on the other hand, is a local product from here in the WNY area, and for that reason I want him to succeed.

But that's it, for both teams I have only three things combined that I like about those playing in this game.  On the dislike side, well there is many, many more.

For the Giants I really don't dislike anything about the team, although I'm not a big Coughlin fan, just something about the man rubs me the wrong way, but I don't dislike him.  The same thing can be said for running back Brandon Jacobs, who is another one of those me first type of guys, at least that's how his portrait's been painted for me, through stories and reports.

For the Patriots, I can honestly say I despise their HC and their QB.  Is the Hoodie, one of the greatest coaches of all time?  Absolutely, but that doesn't mean I have to like him, which I don't, not even a little bit.  Is Tom Brady one of the greatest QB's of all time?  Yes, yes he is, but I detest pretty much everything about him.  Then you have Wolfork, who is a dirty player in my opinion and I never wish success on players like that.

So I'm stuck with a situation of pulling for the least possible evil here, and that case is clearly the Giants for me.  I would love to see, midway through the third quarter, a shot from the sideline that shows Brady sitting alone on the bench, with his hands up to his face, and just for a second the camera catches as he lifts his head, and there, in that moment you can see the tears flowing something fierce.  Seconds later the camera pans over to the scoreboard and one of the biggest blowouts in NFL history is taking place.  That's what I'd like to take place today.  If something of that nature takes place, for me, the Super Bowl will surely be super.

That said, Jay Leno's balloon popping dog, who's never been wrong, picked the Patriots.  And unfortunately I think I'll have to do the same.  If Gronk doesn't play, I think the Giants can win this game in pretty solid fashion, but if he does, the Patriots can do so much more offensively and has been virtually unstoppable since they lost to NY earlier in the season.

I do think this will be a decent game from the standpoint of scoring.  Both defenses have their flaws, New England with many more than NY, as I believe they finished dead last in Defense this year.  But both defenses have been playing better in the playoffs, but I do like the match-ups for both teams, from the offense against defense point of view.  So in the end I think we'll see the Patriots pull this one off in a close but high scoring game.  I'll go with New England Patriots 31  NY Giants 28.

Next week sometime I'll go through my preseason posts, where I picked the entire season out and gave out awards and a few other things and see how, when all is done, how those preseason predictions fared.  Win or lose today, I feel my record this year, picking week to week, has been on par with any of the elite prognosticators out there, and that, although somewhat surprises me, feels pretty good.  I'm already looking forward to next season to do this again.

Thanks for stopping by to check out my picks and analysis this year, and stay tuned as in a few weeks or so, about the time of the combine, I'll start putting some mock drafts together as well, which is always a fun time for myself, and football fans in general.