Entries from November 2015
November 30th, 2015 ·
A *MONSTER* Week for Ron in NJ who went 3-1 in picks and extends his lead in the standings. Here are the complete results for Week 13 Kids Club picks:
Ron in NJ Went (3-1)
K-State,FSU, Lions hit; Packers misses
Dave in the City went (2-2)
Raiders, Broncos hit; Marshall, Call miss
Andy in Seattle went (1-3)
Alabama hits; Baylor, Cowboys, Jaguars miss
John in CT went (1-3)
Chiefs hit; ECU,Nebraska, Cowboys miss
Now for the standings after 13 weeks…
Ron is starting to pull away from the pack, but John and Andy are still in it.. 3 weeks to go, there's enough rope for all. We'll pick all the games again this week on the DITCOW podcast, Wednesday night here on ditcow.com and on YouTube.
November 24th, 2015 ·
A special Tuesday DITCOW for Thanksgiving Week: we look towards NCAA Rivalry Weekend, plus a recap of several upset wins by MSU over Ohio State, and Baylor in a slight upset blowout win over Oklahoma State. USC and UCLA head into rivalry week in a playoff for the Pac 12 South Division title. Alabama tries to avoid the letdown against longtime rial Auburn in the "Iron Bowl." Stanford tries to play spoiler against Top 4 team Notre Dame, plus Iowa looks to remain unbeaten as they go to Nebraska. The Kids Club (John, Andy, and Ron) covers a new Top 4 for the College Football Playoff asking "What went wrong?" for Ohio State and Oklahoma State? Then, we segue to the NFL's big Thanksgiving games, including a showdown between the Carolina Panthers and the Dallas Cowboys, then a night-cap featuring Brett Favre's number retirement ceremony at Lambeau Field while the Packers host the Bears. For the weekend, more important NFL games with playoff implications including Bills/Chiefs, Bucs/Colts, Vikings/Falcons, Steelers/Seahawks, and Patriots/Broncos. How will the Broncos fare with Brock Osweiler for a second week in a row vs the unbeaten Patriots? We'll cover all the big NFL and NCAA action along with the Kids Club Football Picks, and even a look at the Golden State Warriors' bid at a record 16 wins in a row to start the season in the NBA. Happy Thanksgiving!
November 24th, 2015 ·
Here come the Kids Club Week 13 Football Picks! Big finish this month for all of us, here we go:
Ron in NJ (29-16-1 this season)
Kansas State -20 at Kansas
FSU -2 at Florida
Lions PK at Eagles
Packers -9 vs Bears
Dave in the City (28-18)
Marshall +10.5 at WKU
Cal -4 vs ASU
Raiders -1.5 at Titans
Broncos +5.5 vs Patriots
John in CT (25-21)
ECU PK vs Cincinnati
Nebraska +2.5 vs Iowa
Cowboys +1 vs Panthers
Chiefs -5 vs Bills
Andy in Seattle (24-20-2)
Baylor -1 at TCU
Alabama -14 at Auburn
Cowboys +1 vs Panthers
Jaguars -4 vs Chargers
We have a checker on a checker this week with both Andy and John taking the Cowboys +1 vs the Panthers. In fact, the entire Kids Club endorses the Cowboys to win on Thanksgiving. Other than that, no common games or head to heads. Definitely some good variety with the game choices. Good luck to all the picks and Happy Thanksgiving!
November 24th, 2015 ·
A PHENOMENAL week for the Kids Club Football picks! First off, collectively, the panel swept all college picks. That is outstanding! Ron won the week with a stellar 4-0 week and everyone else was just as strong, here are the results:
Ron in NJ went (4-0)
Minnesota, Navy, Ravens, and Colts all hit
Andy in Seattle went (3-0-1)
Baylor, Washington State, Chiefs hit; no misses; push -- Patriots
Dave in the City went (3-1)
WKU, BC, Cowboys hit; Chargers misses
John in CT went (2-2)
South Fla., Ole Miss hit; Bears, Cardinals miss
An incredible job by all! Andy moves back into a 3rd place tie with John, and Ron retains his lead at the top. Here are the standings after 12 weeks:
On to Turkey Week, and a new DITCOW Podcast with the latest "Kids Club Football Picks" it all starts tonight at 9pm ET over on YouTube, or at youtube.com/ditcow . Join us for the picks plus previews of all the big rivalry games in pro and college football this week. See you there!
November 22nd, 2015 ·
We had a moment of triumph with the home wireless network this weekend. I, along with others around the apartment, could tell that the connections were sub par. I knew the overall network speed was rather good because my speed tests over ethernet were always great, but any tests over wifi on any device would run 10-20mbps, no more.
This was pretty lame, but it was workable... recently we noticed that peoples' connections were dropping out and I was hearing about it. My room mates were not into it at all. I had to be honest, it never bothered me as much because I wasn't using wireless that extensively and the podcast operations went through Ethernet. However I know it's pretty bad because signals were just flat dropping out, and whenever I ran baseball or other video streams onto my Google Chromecast, it was spotty performance. Sometimes it was good but other times it would freeze and drop out. It almost seemed like the dropouts were getting worse too.
On Saturday, I tried to download 4 podcasts totaling 1GB and after an hour of slow download speed I had enough. I thought "this is ridiculous! It takes over an hour to download four shows?" So, I carried on with my plan to go see football and boxing at the bar and the movie theatre respectively, but on the way over I stopped at Staples.
I want to give the fine people at Staples a huge attaboy because these guys have had very real, honest, helpful advice with computer solutions. I mean that. I was speaking to the fella in the store and asked for advice on wireless routers, and I had it in my mind to get the Nighthawk router from NETGEAR. Nighthawk is the top of the line, end all be all beast of a wireless router. You could run government operations with this thing, it was impressive. It was also nearly 200 dollars. So I asked without bringing up Nighthawk about what is good for Wireless routers. He recommended a Linksys router that was way, wayyyyyyyyyyyyy cheaper and he really liked it a lot. He even said how it handles video games really well. I asked him how many people use it at his household and he said 3 people use it every day. That was tremendous! I thought "I should forgo the expensive Nighthawk and try the Linksys out first.. if it hits all the speeds this will be good enough."
I went for it -- bought the new Linksys router and set it up the next morning. In between I checked out the Cotto/Canelo fight at the Cinemark theater near me, very good fight! Granted, Canelo was controlling it the whole way, he was huge compared to Cotto physically. His punches landed way harder and he fought with forward momentum in every round but three of them. The Cinemark, which used to be a "Cinema de Lux" theatre called "The Bridge", has been around longer than I realized -- it opened in 2001 apparently but the upkeep and occasional renovations have held up nicely under Cinemark control. More than I expected, I suppose. I had to think this theatre was built before 2006 because practically zero theatres built since that time have stadium auditoria with screens optimized for the wider 2.35:1 aperture. In fact, taking this further the newest screens now have the screen go HIGHER rather than wider, a return to the original academy 1.33:1 ratio but its actually taller than that even, which would be what IMAX does... and Cinemark basically does a similar style presentation without the IMAX licensing. I'm told it's very very good, and a huge screen with great sound.
Boy I got sidetracked didn't I? Anyway, I snuck into another large screen back at the Cinemark, which has 18 screens. It's a huge place... now Theatre 14 was showing the Hunger Game Mockingjay Part 2, and as I entered I noticed how wide the screen was... I thought "This is a side masking theatre! How cool is this??" You can really take advantage of the super-wide aperture such that it fills the entire front of the theatre, side to side, AND top to bottom. What a sight! I only got a peek for a minute but it was very cool to see it. In actuality, you don't really need the theatre designed for 2.35:1 anymore given the move to large format *taller* screens, but the funny thing is virtually all movies today, like 90% of them, are presented with the 2.35:1 ratio. The IMAX style movies are just for about a dozen films a year.
After touring the other screens, I went to a 230 seat auditorium, not big, but I would say it's a comfortable, medium-large sized screen very capable of nice presentation, bigger than a lot of screens in the suburbs, top down masking, so it's fitted for a 1.85:1 aperture. This was where the boxing match was being projected for the evening. I paid 19 dollars for a ticket to see the fight. Let me tell you, once I sat down in my plush leather reclining seat with extra large arm rest, I was SO glad with the decision. I had a sharp crisp clear, pretty detailed 1080p projection screen that was at least 50 feet wide, a guaranteed seat, and nice air conditioning the whole night. Compare this to what I could have had going to a regular sports bar... a cover of 20 dollars AND a first come first serve scenario for what was THE fight of the fall by far in LOS ANGELES even. There was no way I wouldn't be scratching and clawing for a space just to stand! I would not have had a seat most likely. What if it was so packed already that I couldn't enter in the first place?! No way folks, no way.
Going to see the boxing at the movies is a much better deal. Certainly worked out very well on this night at what, thankfully, is still a terrific venue. I didn't have high hopes honestly, I was reading all sorts of criticism from movie snobs about the Cinemark 18 following Cinemark ownership. The theatre used to be run by "National Amusements", and here's a fun fact, National Amusements is the parent company of CBS and Viacom. I was unaware, wow! It was a really nice theatre in those days and my first visit to the place was around roughly 2007 to see "Charlie Wilson's War" on a modest sized screen. My friends: it's still a nice place now and the screens look to be in good shape at least from what I saw.
The fight was very fun, and there was one undercard bout that was quite crazy! Vargas won the match against a guy from Tokyo despite looking beat going into the round... but I thought Vargas has no chance, but suddenly out of nowhere he flat out knocks out the Tokyo guy! Whoah.
I talked with the server fella at the theatre's bar after the match and told him how the fight went and we talked boxing for a good 20 minutes. That was a good night.
So, the next morning it was time, I had my new Linksys wireless router and set it up after I woke up. As it set up it asked me about how to assign the two networks. I get two networks with this new router now! The networks are a 2.4GHz Network and a 5 GHz Network which means the network is on a different broadcasting channel. Think of it like AM and FM on your radio. I was pleased with the speed test results on the 2.4GHz network... the speeds on wireless were much faster than before, even exceeding 30Mbps I believe. I said, this router is a winner, it tripled the speed I used to get on average.
That was just the beginning, ohhhh baby I was not *prepared* for what happened next. I thought "all right, what if I just jump my router to the 5GHz network for fun?" When I moved to 5 GHz we were BLAZING!!!!! Everything went way faster. I almost jumped out of my seat when I did speed test on the 5GHz network... 80-100 Mbps!! OH BABY! It was outstanding!! FINALLY I had proper download speed matching what the Cable Network subscription offered over the cable modem. Could not believe it. Furthermore, I asked my room mates to test connections and streams... they said no more dropouts, which were frequent before.
What a moment... I was trying to hold off on this upgrade because I didn't justify the expense, but it really wasn't even that expensive and the improvement is enormous. We are talking anywhere from 5x to 9x faster speeds over wireless devices. It is HAYUGE. More importantly, the signal is so much stronger now that dropouts and buffer delays should be a thing of the past. I'm so thankful to finally get on the new modem... and it made me wonder - why did I put up with such inadequate speed for so long? Most of what I do, twitter, web browsing, and youtube, didn't need huge connections, but I certainly put up with a lot more delays, hangups, and dropouts than I should of. That problem is no more. Thanks very much to Linksys for putting out such a fine product and I'm glad to an extent that my room mates kept griping about network issues... it was a good wake up call that led to a much better experience in the end.
Now, here's where it gets exciting... I'm going to make improvements just like this to someone else's home soon. I cannot wait! It's going to be so awesome to see the smiles on their faces when it is complete. I wont's say who or specifically what but not only is it going to happen, it's going to make my life easier as well. I'll share more on that later on.
For now, why don't I file this blog posting and download some files on a super fast carrier? Away we go! Catch you all soon, and if I don't write anything before then, have a wonderful Thanksgiving everybody.
November 19th, 2015 ·
Not too early to talk turkey is it?
We're about a month in advance of the main event: Thanksgiving! To usher in the event I went to Bristol Farms, a high end grocery store near me, to get some turkey related snacks. Mostly, I got stuffing. I think I look forward to the stuffing nearly as much as the turkey! I added gravy, added mac and cheese on the side, and I even added some chicken wings. OH so good!
I went to the hot salad bar. There was a really pretty blue eyed brownie (blue eyes, brown hair) who came up to the edge of the hot salad bar and I knew I was in the way. So I scootched over and said "sorry!' and she grumbled "scuse me."
No interest in the 'cow... ohhhhhhhhh... but she seemed to gravitate towards the cold bar... I was all about the hot bar, i.e. the cooked foods, meats, sauteed veggies got some of those, even added a couple nuggets of orange chicken.
Checking out at the counter, I spoke to the checkout lady about how I love the food at Bristol Farms and talked up the breakfast burritos. She said "I've never had breakfast burritos here before." She's missing out on a treat my friends.
So at any rate I took all of that home, oh wait!
Not done... before I went to the hot bar, I went over to the pizza station and asked the guy for a slice of pepperoni pizza. He took the slice and asked if I wanted it put back into the oven to reheat. I said, "that's fine."
This guy put so much effort into reheating a slice of pizza! I'm thinking in the back of my mind "settle down brown cow, this pizza's lookin fine!" but he was committed, 100 percent, I don't need a stupid emoji to write "100%" Come on now! We need a special symbol that says "100" on it...? I COULD JUST TYPE "100." Three stinking numbers! You would press more buttons looking for that dopey 100 emoji rather than putting together 1, 0, and 0.
The man had a heart of gold and was all class my friends. Never before did I see so much care and respect given to a slice of pizza. It stinks that there was no tip jar because this dude gave his all reheating that pepperoni. Such a small feat was done with so much effort, it was inspirational.
All right, so THEN I took home the assorted food and had a nice mini thanksgiving on my lap. So, as I think back on a pretty good self constructed pot luck meal, I have some other thanksgiving recommendations.
The "Bobbie" sandwich (above) at Capriotti's sandwich shop in Beverly Hills is outstanding. They have this sandwich all year long, but it is freshly shredded turkey, NOT from a deli block, from the bird itself, mixed with mayonnaise, then topped with fresh home made cranberry sauce and delicious stuffing. I have talked about this sandwich at least once every two months. I won't quit... this sandwich is amazing. If I couldn't make it to Oxnard, say there was an enormous mudslide that cut off both the 101 and 1 freeways on Wednesday, I'd go to Capriotti's and order a dozen of these sandwiches and serve them to friends and family I had in the area... maybe my cousins and people like that. What better way to make up for the full thanksgiving spread than by serving thanksgiving on a bun? These sandwiches are truly the whole package. It might even make YOU think of home and your parents' house.
Also in effect, released for this month and December, is Dog Haus' Turducken Sausage. It's just as you'd think: turkey, duck, and chicken all made into one conglomerate sausage then put on a bun and ALSO lathered with green bean sprouts and cole slaw. Truly a marvel -- I'm planning to try one tonight at my nearest Dog Haus restaurant and I hear it's a hit.
Finally, this is a personal favorite in December, but it should be around this month too, and that is the Souplantation cream of turkey soup. I've had a lot of fine soups at the plantation... and the turkey soup truly stands out as one of the best. They only serve it for about 3-5 weeks of the year and when it's released I do my best to get out there for it. It's amazing. When they serve biscuits, you can add them to concoct a turkey pot pie.
It's a tremendous time of the year for turkey lovers. If you are a turkey fan, get on down to these spots to check out the best of turkey dishes. Enjoy my friends!
November 18th, 2015 ·
This week the Kids Club joins Dave to cover Tony Romo's return to the Cowboys after hurting himself in Week 2. Is it too little too late? PLUS: Who is going to stop Iowa from the College Football playoff? The panel checks out their path to the playoff and the competition with Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame. Stanford loses to Oregon to keep them out of the Playoff run, but could a spoiler role be in place for the Cardinal when they face Notre Dame. John, Andy, Ron, and Dave make their Week 12 Kids Club Picks trying to finish the season strong as we look at big matchups like Michigan State vs Ohio State, TCU vs Oklahoma, Baylor vs Oklahoma State, and more. In the NFL, we look towards an unlikely loss by the Bengals to the Texans on Monday Night. Then we check the week ahead with NFL showdowns with the Packers/Vikings, Bengals/Cardinals, and Bills/Patriots. In Hour 2, Kevin joins Dave for "Kevin's Random Questions" where we'll check on MLB postseason awards plus some perspective on the terrible violent terror attacks in Paris last weekend.
November 18th, 2015 ·
Here are the Kids Club Week 12 Football Picks!
Ron in NJ (25-16-1 this year)
Minnesota -4.5 vs Illinois
Navy -12 at Tulsa
Ravens -2 vs Rams
Colts +6 at Falcons
Dave in the City (25-17)
Western Kentucky -16.5 vs Florida International
Boston College +17 vs Notre Dame
Cowboys PK at Dolphins
Chargers -3 vs Chiefs
John in CT (23-19)
South Fla. +2.5 vs Cincinnati
Ole Miss -3.5 vs LSU
Bears -1 vs Broncos
Cardinals -5 vs Bengals
Andy in Seattle (21-20-1)
Baylor PK at Ok. State
WSU -14.5 vs Colorado
Patriots -7 vs Bills
Chiefs -3 at Chargers
We have head to head picks this week with Dave and Andy taking opposite sides of the Chiefs/Chargers Game. Some interesting selections by the panel plus Dave's desperation dart shots with his two NFL selections. Good luck to all the picks! We'll reveal how they did on next week's DITCOW show at a special Tuesday 9pm start time.
November 17th, 2015 ·
Last night I had a taste of Irish Coffee. I was waiting for a friend at a Barney's Beanery with the Texans/Bengals game on. Man, that was a trip drinking that. My first thought was to get coffee as I wasn't staying long, but I needed something to kill about a half hour. I thought "coffee is too much energy, I need a balance between that and soda." I should have stuck with the soda.
The Irish coffee did not look as festive as the one in the picture. It was just plain coffee with the rum in it. No cream, no whipped topping. That was too bad... I went with it... I couldn't drink it but in small sips so it took a while. It was an odd experience, but I think I'd try it again, just somewhere else where they do a better job with it. Here's the kicker, I knew it would cost about as much as a regular drink, but they docked me 8 and a half bones for that Irish coffee! I was like "for that?" That was the laziest Irish coffee I had to date.
Now here's the funny thing with Colin Cowherd: Fox Sports tries very hard to market Herd as a tough guy, hard hitting, no holds barred shock jock, but then you actually put the show on and you hear this moany, whiny, adolescent sounding voice that makes you laugh. That's been the charm of Cowherd's show for years. Dude is hilarious! Sometimes it's intentional, but most of the time it's unintentional. I haven't heard his show much since the move to Fox... its not like I don't have the time slot to put him on, but it is tough to break routine, and switching from iTunes to iHeartRadio's clunky website is grossly inefficient, so I don't bother with it. It'd be nice if he had a podcast that I could easily add to my podcast player, but it's not out there!
You really CAN'T take Cowherd's opinions that seriously anyway. I never really have, he's a double talker, and can pit people against themselves if you're not keen on his strategy. HE contradicts h i m s e l f frequently. It would be a more entertaining, less grating, not as obvious version of Skip Bayless' style of commentary. He is specifically trying to stir reaction, but he can have a flair for entertaining people with it. He doesn't seem terribly bright overall, but he does seem human. With all that said, I wish him well and probably won't listen to him much for the foreseeable future.
Gosh... I feel like I was absorbed by the Mon Stars today. My sense of humor has been neutralized greatly. I really don't have much for stories or ideas today. My apologies.
I miss peach season greatly. We have apples and grapes, but it's not the same.
Ever get those deluxe Ramen packets? There was one I got as a small Christmas present, and it was amazing. It comes in a circle so the ramen sponge is round to fit optimally into your small pot.
I think that's all this time around. I'll come up with some new stories later on, but enjoy the evening! We have a live DITCOW podcast tomorrow night.
November 15th, 2015 ·
I'd like to preface this entry with an expression of my own sadness regarding France last weekend. I saw the news of the multi-targeted terror attack on Friday, with over 100 deaths and it broke my heart. I didn't want to pile on over on Twitter like everyone else was doing... it felt inappropriate to make such a sad moment about myself, but I do agree with everyone else who expressed dismay and even anger at such senseless violence. I wouldn't want to be disingenuous with the phrase "my condolences to all the strangers in France" something like that. My small self centered declarations aren't really going to do much to aid such a big calamity.
I'll continue to blog my usual inane nonsense as I think of the lives lost and dangers still to come. I can only hope the world will eventually overcome its own hatred and care more for itself and the people for one another. Until then, here are some of my latest musings:
When I moved into the new apartment with my friend, we each brought in a separate couch and both came with their own set of separate pillows. Usually when I write a blog entry, I get a stock photo. The photo you see here, above, is actually one I took myself. My pillows for the small couch are on the left, as is my couch itself. That goes on the side. The main couch is larger and my buddy owns it along with these darker pillows we use on the right.
Not surprisingly, we are loyal to our pillows. My room mate will only use his own pillows while I stay true to the lighter ones which go back to the day I got my first apartment in Santa Barbara ten years ago.
I should take you back to that day: it was Summer 2005. The Miami Heat nearly made the NBA finals but were just a peg short due to the Pistons. I didn't have TV service for a couple of weeks so I missed much of the NBA playoffs that year. Besides, the Lakers were so miserable I lost track of the NBA to begin with.
That's beside the point, I was on my own for the first time. No dorm to share with others, no bedroom to share with siblings. All I had was a Camry full of things I took from my room back in Oxnard. It was a dream... I drove in for the first time, and there was an eerie silence. I was into it. I was fortunate in those days to get such a dream location. I didn't even have furniture yet but it was all right, because there was a balcony in my Santa Barbara studio home that looked out to the whole city and into the ocean. I was truly blessed to have such a nice view for what was an affordable bare bones apartment at the time. I didn't even have a full kitchen, but the small section with a full fridge and a full sized range was already quite generous to have to myself.
I gazed into the sunshine and the ocean, the world seemed to be at my fingertips that day. I felt good... but I still had some learning to do. For instance, I had to figure out how to get something to sit on and eventually lie on. The first two days I had just a folding chair to rest on while I watched DVD's on a tiny 13 inch screen... and I don't mean the laptop; this was 2005... this was one of those dinky old Cathode-Ray tube TV's. it served me well for a few years back in Oxnard. Alas, it was not going to be put to use for much longer. I was set to buy a new HDTV, HD itself was still gaining traction. Before THAT I needed that couch and that bed, otherwise I was going to break my back resting on just comforters on the floor.
Later that week, I had furniture delivered. It was a blue mini-sofa and a bed. Success! The delivery guys were likewise mesmerized by the balcony view. They loved it. As the furniture was put into place I sat down and I felt a strange imbalance... then I realized a whole seat cushion was missing!
How very peculiar. I ordered the furniture back in Oxnard, but they were willing to drive north to bring it in... I hoped they'd be as willing to exchange the incomplete couch. As I called I explained the situation with the blue couch and the gold throw pillows, and they fessed up to the error: the seat cushion flew out onto the freeway during delivery. They agreed to replace the what they called "love seat" for free and take the old one back. The only problem was, they didn't have another blue couch. I was asked if cream was a good alternate. I took a moment and agreed to switch to cream. More success, the couch was exchanged for a proper one with both seat cushions and new tan colored throw pillows. Over the next ten years, in Santa Barbara, then in West LA and now in Santa Monica, the throw pillows were my teddy bear, I'd grip onto them for comfort, use them to keep warm, or just rest my head on them when I was tired. Sometimes the pillows would just keep me company in the old non-room mate days between guest visits.
Looking back on it now, I miss that old apartment. Surely it would be too small for me now, but I remember the day I moved out I made a promise to return to SB to live someday. Perhaps that would be my home after retirement. If all goes well, I intend to do just that.
There are some decades yet and a lot of work to do before I get such fortune. Here in Santa Monica, it's Coach and I sharing an apartment with two rooms, two bathrooms even, and the one living space. He clings to his pillows and rests his head on them just as I would. As of the moment I wouldn't give up my version of the throw pillows for anything.
That's all I had this time out. Hoping for more good things as the year comes to a close. I'm thankful for Thanksgiving around the corner. I'm thankful to still have my health and a roof over my head.
Quite a few things to be thankful for this year, and I'll get into more detail later on. Have a good Monday and be safe!