Saturday, January 23, 2010


Yes, I'm almost a month late. Get over it.

New Years'! Woo! New decade!

One of the blogs I read inspired me to make a post about how my life was different a decade ago. And, wow, what a difference.

Then: I was 12 and in eighth grade in middle school.
Now: I'm 22 and a graduate of college.

Then: I lived at home with Mom and my brothers. My dad had only died one and a half years before.
Now: I live in a new city where I've primarily lived for five years. One brother is eight hours away, and it's been over 11 years since my dad died. I now live with just my fiance.

Some other differences then:

I spent just about all of my time on AIM. Now I use Google Talk sometimes, but not all that often. I just don't chat much. I didn't even have Facebook, and now I'm sadly addicted. I didn't have a cell phone.

I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, and now I am a teacher. I had never had a job other than babysitting, and now I have one of those real adult jobs, complete with benefits.

I was dating my very first boyfriend (for the first time). I hadn't even had my first kiss. Now, I've been with the same guy for over four years and we're engaged.

I was in dance and cheerleading. (Yes, cheerleading- my one and only year. And I really enjoyed it.) I was the only French horn in band (and got a solo in Centuria). I was in A Christmas Carol in drama club. Now? I... don't do any of that, unfortunately. But I do swing dance!

I went to Huntsville, AL that year to visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Now I'm considering a trip with my fiance to see one of the last flights of the Space Shuttle.

The Blogger blog I had was solely to talk with my good friend, who had moved to Austria. I had a best friend that I spent tons of time with. I have good friends now, of course, but no one that I spend all of my time with. No house that I spend as much time in as my own.

I watched some TV, but not near as much as I do now with DVR and TV on DVD.

Gas was cheap, but I didn't know it or care because I didn't drive.

I felt smart. I still had some time to read for fun. When something upset me, I wrote. I did really well in school and my teachers loved me. Now some of those teachers are my Facebook friends, and I wish I had more time to read for fun.

Some things don't change, but a lot do. 10 years is a lot- almost half of my life- and it was kind of fun to look back at my 12-year-old self. :) I've grown up a lot, mostly for the better.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

5 Things I Haven't Done...

That everyone else seems to have done!

1. Seen more than 5 episodes of The Simpsons.
2. Eaten White Castle.
3. Been to a frat party.
4. Had a cup of coffee.
5. Read The Perks of Being a Wallflower or Catcher in the Rye.

Inspired by one of the blogs I read... as seen here.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wild Card Weekend Wrap-Up

Well, that was a bust. The Bengals lost badly. The Patriots lost pretty badly. The Packers managed a comeback after being behind by a LOT- and then gave it up in overtime.

At least the Packers' season ended with an Aaron Rodgers sack. It seemed fitting.

I did at least want the Patriots to lose (my, was it sweet to see Tom Brady actually take some hits without getting "Brady rule" calls all day); I just didn't think it would happen. I was happy that the Bengals loss, if it had to happen, came at the hands of Purdue's Dustin Keller. (Although I like Mark Sanchez, he is getting way too much credit for doing nothing other than not screwing up the work of the defense and run game.)

Anyway. So far the Cowboys' win over the Eagles is the only one of my playoff predictions to see the light. Plus, my favorite team and my fiance's favorite team are now both out of the playoffs, so it's been a bit of a gloomy weekend around here.

*sigh* There's always next year, eh?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

NFL Playoff Predictions

This is a weird Wild-Card weekend, for sure. 3 of the games are not only rematches, but rematches only a week later. It was hard for me to tell, even with teams I have watched a lot, what these games really meant. I’ll also admit that my picks are undoubtedly biased by the amount of games I watch and information I read about the Packers (and, honestly, Vikings as well- the NFC North blog I read is fantastic). I also know more about the AFC North, especially the Bengals, thanks to Ryan being a big fan and also the NFC North playing them this season, and I live smack in the middle of Colts country.

Also, please disregard my pre-season predictions (earlier in this blog). Some were not bad… others were terrible. And I apparently forgot to pick a second wild-card team in each conference.

That said, I’m going to do my best.

Jets @ Bengals

I cheer for the Bengals, so this is a scary match-up. I want to see them win, but last week’s loss was crushing. The Bengals defense needs to shut down the Jets’ running game, which would force Mark Sanchez to make risky throws and turn the ball over. The Bengals need the offense to click, and luckily should have multiple important players returning from injury, particularly Peko (a major run-stopper). Although the Bengals have more than enough reasons to play with emotion (Vicki Zimmer and Chris Henry, not to mention a 19-year playoff drought), they need to calm down. They saw what happened last week when they didn’t play Cedric Benson, so I hope the Bengals will commit to the run game. I do think they can pull it off, but it will be close. Bengals, 21-17

Eagles @ Cowboys

Last week, I was shocked at the disparity between these two teams. The Eagles have been solid, but the Cowboys have incredible momentum at this point in the season. Tony Romo, in particular, is reigning in his gunslinger ways and has a career-low number of season interceptions. Hopefully Anthony Spencer (go Purdue) will help put the pressure on the Eagles offense, and DeMarcus Ware has made a huge impact when healthy this season. The Eagles will put up more of a fight, but it won’t be enough. Cowboys, 28-24.

Ravens @ Patriots

Patriots will struggle incredibly without Wes Welker. The Patriots will move Randy Moss and Kevin Faulk around, but the Ravens will have a much easier time covering the electric Patriots offense. Tom Brady won’t be any worse for the wear, but it will be harder to make the big plays without Wes Welker in the slot and drawing coverage off of the other receivers. The Ravens will surprise a lot of people by holding the Patriots at bay, but the Ravens’ run defense matches up well and forces Tom Brady to make a couple of picks. Patriots make it through by the skin of their teeth. Patriots, 18-17.

Packers @ Cardinals

The turnover differential, to me, is the biggest factor here. Charles Woodson has led

the Packers to a +24 turnover differential, while the Cardinals are at -9. The Packers offense depends entirely on the offensive line. They are much improved, but they still don’t guarantee much room for Grant to run or much time for Rodgers to throw. Luckily, Rodgers was one of the top passers in the league even while getting sacked over 35 times in the first half of the season, and the receiving corps is strong but varied. The Cardinals have a good but injured secondary, which just won’t be enough to cover Jennings, Driver, and Finley adequately- and Jones and Nelson to boot. The Packers’ punter is terrible, so the Cardinals will try to take advantage of good field position. Charles Woodson has said he will be covering Larry Fitzgerald a lot- what a great matchup- and Clay Matthews should continue to make a huge difference throughout the playoffs after leading the Packers with 10 sacks. I am completely biased, and I realize that last week Leinart played instead of Warner for much of the game, but we still looked great against them- not only last week, but in the third week of the preseason while both teams had their starters in. Packers, 31-21.

In the next round…

Cowboys @ Vikings

Both NFC matchups are the same story- one of the top teams throughout the beginning and middle of the season who has sort of dropped off in the last few games against a team that had something of a slump before turning it on at the end of the season. The Vikings are a force to be reckoned with, though- Adrian Peterson’s powerful run game is complemented well by not only Brett Favre’s passing to Offensive Rookie of the Year Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Sidney Rice, and Visante Shiancoe… but also Chester Taylor’s run-pass combo threat. I- unfortunately- don’t think the Cowboys can shut down all of that. Barring major injuries, I don’t see the Cowboys being able to pull it off. Vikings, 34-16.

Packers @ Saints

Again- this is the “hot” team versus the “great” team, and in this case I’m actually going to take the upset. (Yes, probably that bias again.) I know the Saints sat some of their starters in the last few games- but even before they did, it wasn’t looking great. I think Woodson and Sharper are going to have an interception contest, which will be hard considering the caliber of the quarterbacks. But seriously though! Both have played for multiple teams, including the Packers. Both are “getting old” (33, 34)- and yet were selected to the Pro Bowl this year after having fantastic seasons. Sharper has had an injured knee, but I think he’ll still play, and I look forward to the matchup. This won’t be a case of crappy defenses- rather, it’ll be a case of defenses playing well to force turnovers and score themselves. Anyway- both of these teams have great passing games, and while I think the Saints generally have better balance, I see the Packers defense scoring enough to take the edge. Multiple lead changes make it a hard game to call. Packers, 44- 37.

Bengals @ Colts

The Colts do have an MVP Quarterback, and for once I’ll say that he earns the praise he’s getting. I believe he is the primary reason that a new head coach had little or no impact. Essentially, Peyton is calling the plays and running the team anyway. I also think that, for once, the Colts didn’t have it easy. They had a lot of games against a variety of teams come down to very close calls that they could have easily lost. (I, for one, turned off the TV with no hope left during Monday Night Football when they ended up coming back in the last few minutes.) The barrage of injuries the Colts faced left a lot more of the work up to Peyton, and The Robot did come through. (He has always done well, but I have always said it’s hard to measure his singular greatness while he is surrounded by and protected by so much other talent.) This one’s tricky for me. I think the Colts are a better team, but it does concern me that their momentum has been stopped with resting for the playoffs. Still, I think after a rocky start, the Colts will wake up and slide through. Their offense- Dallas Clark, I’m looking at you- is able to make it happen when the Colts need it most. They won’t be playing Vinatieri, but their other kicker will make it anyway. Colts, 20- 17.

Patriots @ Chargers

Mum’s been the word about the Chargers, despite an 11-game winning streak coming into the playoffs. They remind me a little of the Patriots during the “dynasty” (ewww) in that they don’t have all that many super-standout players, but the talent is spread around the team. L.T. is still a good rusher, but he has been stopped (even by, say, the Redskins). Not a good sign for the Chargers- but they have Darren Sproles, as well, and Philip Rivers, and Nate Kaeding… and this, I think, is where the loss of Wes Welker kills the Patriots. They aren’t a bad team by any means, and no one wants to face the Patriots in the playoffs- but they’re not who they have been the past few years. They weren’t vying for ‘perfection,’ and they lost to the Jets, Broncos, Dolphins… some decent, but not great teams. I think the Chargers have them. Chargers, 24- 17.

Conference Championships

Packers @ Vikings

At this, all I have to say is… again? Ugh. A part of me loves the chance to beat the Vikings again, but a loss? The entire state of Wisconsin may as well take a sick day on Monday. Anyway- in all seriousness, I think this would be a different game. The media coverage would be the same (and unbearable), but these two teams have not played each other since Week 8, and the Packers’ offensive line has stepped up considerably since then. The sacks taken by Rodgers were cut more than in half in the second half of the season. While I think the game will be close and I really really want the Packers to win, I don’t think our defense has the skills yet to shut down Adrian Peterson and the passing game. Vikings, 33-24.

Chargers @ Colts

So we’re at this again. The Colts have an unfortunate history of being knocked out of the playoffs by the Chargers in the last few years. (If it’s not the Patriots, it’s the Chargers.) Both are great, well-rounded teams, but I think the Colts are primed to

make it through this time. Their almost-loss the week before will scare them just enough to bring back the precision we’re used to seeing from this team. The Colts’ defense will step up to make some critical stops. Colts, 17-13.

The Big Game

Yeah, I lost too, just by typing that.

Vikings vs. Colts

I would be cheering for the Colts so hard in this one, but when it comes down to this matchup… ugh. It’s really tough to say. I think so much will depend upon injury, especially with the Colts. Addai is injured frequently, and I like Donald Brown but he can’t be a No. 1 yet. The Colts are very lucky that Manning rarely goes down, because the end of the season made clear that Purdue’s Curtis Painter is not ready for the big leagues, much less the Super Bowl. So much depends on players like Freeney, Mathis, Sanders, and Saturday- all of whom have been injured this season, I believe. The Vikings are probably more likely to be injured at quarterback (old), but he’s also less likely to play it safe and sit out. For now, I don’t want to, but I think I’d have to call it in favor of the Vikings. They are such a well-rounded team and while the Colts are, too, the Colts have had many more super-close games. At some point, they’ll probably lose one of them. Vikings, 34-30.