Wednesday, November 18, 2020

2020 Ram Recap - Weeks 1, 2, 3, and 4 - Smorgasborg

As one would expect with a newborn arriving the first week of November, the amount of time available to digest the performance of the CSU football team has been minimal. Now that little Morgan has arrived and we are settling into our routine, I have found pockets here and there to keep my creative endeavors moving. This includes recaps of what the Rams have produced thus far this season. And wow - the results are all over the board. Seems about right for the year 2020.  


Week 1 - New Mexico

The state of New Mexico has been a hotbed of COVID activities and, despite the efforts of the universities and the Mountain West Conference, the game between the Lobos and Rams was cancelled with no plan to reschedule. This game was one that I was looking forward to - the Rams have a decade-long win streak against our southern state neighbors. The Lobos, like the Rams, are in the first year of a head coaching regime. Their program has been in shambles over the last several years. This could have been a great warmup game to get the Addazio squad game-ready and game-tested. Alas, we are CSU football fans and cannot have nice things. 

Final score:
New Mexico - 0
Colorado State - 0
COVID - 1

Week 2 - Fresno State

As I filled in my predictions, the number of games that looked like wins was LOW. I scrambled to find a game that looked close that I could flip the Ram's way. I ended up flipping the Fresno State game in favor of my team. In hindsight, that was a poor choice. The Bulldogs had lost the previous week against Hawaii so there was some hope as kickoff neared. From the jump, the Bulldogs were the better team and this continued through the entire game. The starting of Todd Centeio at quarterback took the Ram faithful by surprise; everyone had expected Patrick O'Brien to start with Centeio as a change-of-pace option strategically used within the gameplan. Instead, we got a run-heavy option approach that was not able to keep up with the Fresno State scoring. By the time O'Brien was inserted into the game, the score was out of reach with the time remaining. The first game of the Joey Lynch offense at CSU was not the most impressive, but he was without Dante Wright (stud). 

The biggest concern from that game was the secondary. Fresno State receivers were running wide open the entire game. The weakness in the secondary showed prominently on multiple third and long plays that resulted in large gains for first downs or short 4th down situations that Fresno was able to execute. 

Final score:
Colorado State - 17
Fresno State - 38

Week 3 - W(h)yoming

The last time that we had our hands on the Bronze Boot was 2015 - Bobo's first year as head coach with a roster full of Jim McElwain recruits. Bobo could not mess that one up and his first year Boot victory gave us a false sense of excitement around this new coaching staff. This year was different - a new staff with a bunch of Bobo recruits who had a string of losing seasons behind them and not much optimism with the program. 

But man, did the Rams show up to play. The Rams received the opening kickoff and gained one first down before punting. Then the Rams set the tone - Xazavian Valladay was stuffed in the backfield on first down, bringing up second and 12. An incomplete pass put Wyoming in the exact position that had killed CSU the week before: third and long. Luckily, Levi Williams is not Jake Haener and a great break on the ball by Marshaun Cameron ended up with Cameron and the football in the end zone. 7-0 Rams. 

Next possession, Cameron sacked Williams and forced a fumble which was recovered by Dequan Jackson. One play later, Trey McBride was waltzing into the end zone with the football and the Rams had what I have been told is a "two touchdown lead". It has been so long, I had forgotten what that was. 

The Cowboys are a resilient team and naturally fought their way back into the contest. With a little over eight minutes remaining in the game, CSU received a kickoff following a Wyoming touchdown to bring the score within seven. Patrick O'Brien, A'Jon Vivens, Dante Wright, Marcus McElroy, and Trey McBride took nearly six minutes off the clock and moved the ball to the Wyoming 29 yard line. Freshman kicker Robert Liss, who had missed a 45 yard field goal earlier in the game, walked out and stuck the dagger in the Pokes with a 48 yard beauty through the uprights. The ten point lead would hold and the Rams would finally get to rush across the field to grab that beloved "trophy" (again, this is a word that I have not used in five years so I am a bit rusty). I do not care what happens the rest of the year - we won the Boot. Life is good. 

Final score:
W(h)yoming - 24
Colorado State - 34

Week 4 - Boise State

Did we pick a bad week to play Boise State. The previous week, Boise was ranked in the top 25 and hosted a top 10 team in BYU. BYU ran roughshod over the Broncos, embarrassing them at every turn. The CSU game was a bit of a revenge/recovery game for Boise State and they flat steamrolled the Rams. 

The game started off poorly and the Rams could never recover. Let us take a look at the possessions to start the game... 
  • CSU: 3 plays, -3 yards, Stonehouse punt blocked and returned for a Boise touchdown (0-7)
  • CSU: 3 plays, 4 yards, punt - fumbled by Boise and recovered by CSU only to produce...
  • CSU: 3 plays, 4 yards, punt 
  • BSU: 10 plays, 48 yards, TD (0-14)
  • CSU: 4 plays, 13 yards, punt
  • BSU: 3 plays, -9 yards, punt
  • CSU: 6 plays, 44 yards, blocked field goal returned for a Boise touchdown (0-21)
Just like that, the Rams were down by three touchdowns. Game over. For anyone keeping track at home, the Rams currently are the proud owners of [calculator noises][super complicated math going on in the background][Dustin Hoffman Rain Man brain] zero victories against Boise State. We have never won a football game against them. Fortunately, they are a junior college and we crush them in academics, which is totally what all the cool kids use as their metric.

Final score:
Colorado State - 21
Boise State - 52

Looking Ahead

The University of Nevada Southern Showgirl Edition is scheduled for this upcoming Saturday. There were some reports of the game being cancelled due to COVID, but those reports were unsubstantiated as of this post being posted. Naturally, the games that CSU have a great chance of winning are the ones that are impacted by COVID. The joys of being a CSU fan. If the game does happen, I like CSU at home against the Rebels. Even up the record and get closer to bowl eligibility (I snorted). 

Flick's Picks

Enough about the football team - how did YOU do Mike? Well, not great, Bob. 

WeekOpponentPredictionResultFlick's Picks
1New MexicoWCOVID0 - 0
2at Fresno StateWCSU 17 - FSU 380 - 1
3WyomingLUW 24 - CSU 340 - 2
4at Boise StateLBSU 52 - CSU 211 - 2
5UNLVW
6at Air ForceL
7at San Diego StateL

8Utah StateL


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Inktober 2020

Another October in the rear view, another Inktober completed. I still get excited about this challenge every year and it was great to see more people join in on the fun (The usual crew of Jason, Clayton, Keaton, and Robert participated. Mackenzie did the whole month and Carson made it way longer than last year. Even Nat and Matt did it this year and they don't consider themselves to be artists!!). While all of my creations have been posted to social media already, I like to capture all of the drawings from the year into a single location. Mostly because it allows my parents (anti-social media folks) to see this year's doodles.

Going back through my drawings, there seem to be a high number of silhouetted people. Don't have to draw their faces if they are a shadow! 

I would highly recommend participating next year. Inktober is a great way to force yourself to make time for things that are creative and outside of our normal 9-to-5. If you absolutely cannot wait until October 2021, you can join me in a new promotion that debuted this year - Inktober52. One prompt for each week of the year. More info for that is here: Inktober52. I have been slowing cranking out these guys, but I'm still 20 weeks behind. FINISH THE CRAPPY YEAR STRONG!!

As always, happy drawing!! 

October 1st - Fish

I started the month with something I've loved since my days at Big Tool Box/Highlands Garden Center as a high schooler - koi fish and water lilies. 

October 2nd - Wisp

What started as an idea around a wisp of wind blowing a wisp of hair turned into wisps of wind blowing wisps of hair on the head of Mrs. Hamburgler as she rakes leaves. 

October 3rd - Bulky

This was supposed to be Dwayne Johnson. The only thing I got right was the bald head and The Rock bull logo. Otherwise - too small. Can you smelllllllllllll what The Rock is cooking?!

October 4th - Radio

A boombox or standard radio seemed too standard. I went another direction.

October 5th - Blade

"I move for no man."

October 6th - Rodent

I shared some thoughts on Speedy on the social media accounts the day I drew him: "Fun fact about Mikey that is probably only fun for one person (me) but is nevertheless a fact: for my entire childhood, I had a blanket that had Sylvester and Tweety on it (said blanket is still at my parents’ house). I loved cartoons and animation and I loved Looney Tunes. One year, I got a Looney Tunes calendar for Christmas or my birthday and those 16 months of Looney Tunes drawings were the inspirations for many of my sketches and doodles. Today, drawing Speedy took me back to those early days where I worked feverishly to mimic the lines and textures of some of my favorite characters drawn by people who had the job I wanted."

October 7th - Fancy

Here's your one chance Fancy, don't let me down.

October 8th - Teeth

This could be considered a self portrait.

October 9th - Throw

My thoughts on 2020, in three frames.

October 10th - Hope

Yes, she may be embroiled in all sorts of weird domestic abuse claims and she might be a bit on the crazy side, but Hope Solo is a freaking amazing goaltender. 

October 11th - Disgusting

Couldn't think of anything more disgusting than this.

October 12th - Slippery

Bon Jovi on the turntable. Bon Jovi on the wall. Metallica on the shelf.

October 13th - Dune

One of the greatest pilot episodes all time resulted in an underwear clad Walter White standing in the middle of the desert with a gun in hand accepting his fate as a criminal on his first venture into the underworld. It was fun to use the Breaking Bad chemistry logo concept on that day's prompt.

October 14th - Armor

An exercise in textures.

October 15th - Outpost

Few people probably got the reference - in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an early episode has a young crew of clones defending a remote outpost on the Rishi moon. There is a scene where the blaster doors open and the rookie clones open fire on the attacking droids. 

October 16th - Rocket

I am Groot.

October 17th - Storm

A barn. A silo. A corn field. A tornado.

October 18th - Trap

One of my favorite trap artists with their most recognizable album cover - Outkast's Stankonia. 

October 19th - Dizzy

The concept was inspired by the stairwell scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. The other details were freestyle additions to heighten the dizziness as the drawing developed.

October 20th - Coral

I have made it a point to improve my ability to draw faces - the smooth and blended edges of facial features are hard to capture with the abrupt lines of ink. When a prompt immediately made me think of the famous Walking Dead memes, I jumped at the chance to draw one of the most annoying characters on the series. I still cannot figure out how to ink a human mouth...

October 21st - Sleep

Count backwards from 10...

October 22nd - Chef

This commercial is still funny after all of these years. Great googly moogly. 

October 23rd - Rip

I was supposed to go golfing with Matt, Robert, and Blaine on the 16th. Due to a potential COVID exposure, we pushed it to the 23rd. The high temperature on the 23rd was 34 degrees. This was the only golfing I did that day... :-(

October 24th - Dig

I love construction equipment. Have since day one.

October 25th - Buddy

The iconic glasses, but with a different spin.

October 26th - Hide

Problems go away when you hide from them, right?

October 27th - Music

My love of Page, Jones, Bonham, and Plant started back in grade school at All Souls. To this day, Zeppelin is still one of my favorite bands of all time. 

October 28th - Float

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is always on the Flick television on Thanksgiving morning. Tom Turkey has been a part of that parade for longer than any other recurring float. 

October 29th - Shoes

Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Or in this case, both. 

October 30th - Ominous

We had a few kids (and some adults) in our neighborhood dress up as the grim reaper for Halloween. Nothing more ominous than impending death... 

October 31st - Crawl

After a long hiatus due to COVID, CSU football made its flat-faced return to our televisions on October 29th by getting thumped by Fresno State. My thoughts on "crawl" were on the scrolling ticker at the bottom of the screen. Adam assumed it meant "crawl under a bridge and die" and Robert assumed it was "time seemed to crawl by watching that game". Being a Ram fan is fun, y'all!!




Thursday, October 29, 2020

You Play to Win the Game (Part III)

This year has been a wacky one all around, so it is not surprising that our sports got messed up along the way. After cancellations by conferences around the country paused our college football season, we were supposed to enjoy the first week of Mountain West football last week. Which we did with one noticeable exception: my favorite team. New Mexico was scheduled to head to Fort Collins to kick off the season, but outbreaks of COVID in the county surrounding the Lobo's campus caused the game to be cancelled. This was disappointing - I was excited for the Rams to play under the new coaching staff and against a team that they should beat (and have not lost to in a decade). We moved onto week two and it gave me an extra few days to pull together my predictions for the year. And wow... not sure how to predict anything at this point. But I have done it for the past two seasons, so here we go again... 

New Mexico

COVID wins. Everyone else loses.

at Fresno State

CSU is a slight road favorite over the Bulldogs. Fresno lost last week to Hawaii. Since this appears to be one of the few winnable games on the schedule, I'm riding the Rams in this one. 

Wyoming

The Rams have not beaten Wyoming since 2015. Life is terrible and the Bronze Boot returns to Laramie. 

at Boise State

El. Oh. El. A win on the Smurf Turf would be a goddamn miracle. This is a blowout loss. 

UNLV

Thankfully, there are a few Mountain West Conference teams that are struggling like our Rams. UNLV is one of them and this is a game the Rams NEED to win. 

at Air Force

Just like Wyoming, CSU has not beaten Air Force since 2015. The Ram/Falcon trophy stays with the Zoomies. 

at San Diego State

A road trip against a team that is consistently at the top of the West Division. Rams lose a close one. 

Utah State

Aggie on Aggie violence. Despite the home matchup, Utah State has been a problem for the Rams. CSU closes out the season with another loss. 

Final tally: 

2-5-1 (Wins-Losses-COVID). The Steve Addazio era has begun. 

WeekOpponentPredictionResultFlick's Picks
1New MexicoWCOVID0 - 0
2at Fresno StateW
3WyomingL
4at Boise StateL
5UNLVW
6at Air ForceL
7at San Diego StateL
8Utah StateL

Friday, June 05, 2020

Black Lives Matter

Closing my eyes and falling asleep has been more difficult for me recently. The images and videos from across the nation flash through my brain. The emotion and angst of the people protesting fill my mental voids. I am a 37 year old white male who grew up in a middle class suburban family who now has a college degree, a stable career, and my own middle class white suburban family. What the hell do I know about the struggles and injustices of the black community? 

The murder of George Floyd was the latest episode in this horror story of police brutality directed toward minorities. Nine minutes of unlawful and inhumane torture ended the life of a man whose crimes were being a black man and an alleged counterfeit $20 bill. The absurdity of that last sentence creates pits in my stomach. How can you not be outraged? 

Everything in my life has been a product of the privilege that I have been fortunate to have since birth. My family life, my education, my opportunities, my employment, my health, my house, my cars, my safety - all receiving assistance along the way from the color of my skin, the zip code of my birth, and the income of my family. In the casino of life, I am the house. 

1619 (exact date disputed among historians) - First slaves arrive on American soil
1863 - Emancipation Proclamation
1865 - 13th Amendment to the Constitution
1934 - National Housing Act
1964 - Civil Right Act
1965 - Voting Rights Act
1968 - Fair Housing Act
1970s and 1980s - War on Crime
1994 - Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act

Hundreds of years of slavery. One hundred years between the end of slavery and national legislation protecting the rights of black humans. From Lincoln's famous address until today, we have seen practices like redlining, Jim Crow laws, active hate groups, mass incarceration, a privatized prison system profiting off full facilities, excessive minimum sentencing, racial disparity in the legal system, a financially crippling health care system, and militarized police forces all holding poor communities in their increasingly poor situations. And those disadvantaged communities are overwhelmingly filled with people who earned their freedom after we had a head start of several hundred years. 

The nasty and horrible truth is that the system that we reside in favors those of us who have been in power the longest. It is that system that allows those inhumane policemen to commit violent (even deadly) acts against minorities with little to no repercussions. It is that system that is being protested. And it is that system that must be changed. 



Part of what has been on my mind has been my uncertainty as to what I can do as a 37 year old white male in the suburbs to help combat these injustices. Luckily, I have found people like Emmanuel Acho to help me figure that out. 

I owe it to Paul, Emmanuel, and the black community to do my part. Personal accountability is key in improving our society, so here is my individual pledge. It is not enough, but it is a start.   

First and most importantly, I promise to listen to Paul and Emmanuel and others who can provide first-hand knowledge on their upbringing as a black human in this world. 

I promise to educate myself on the history and current struggles of the black community. I will never be able to fully comprehend the depths of your struggles, but I can do my research and I can have empathy. 

I promise to educate my children in the same regard. Change starts in the home. Fortunately, this already started with an intense and deep conversation just the other night between my wife, my kids, and me about race and the current state of affairs. Their natural disgust toward racism was a warm reminder that hate is taught and that we are going through this process with genuinely kind and good kids. 

I promise to use my power as a voting citizen to fill our local, state, and federal government with individuals who understand the importance of this issue and who will work to right this wrong. 

I promise to support and empower minorities in my line of work. That starts with a personal re-engagement with the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) and a new commitment to organizations like the CSU chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) to promote a more equitable, inclusive, and diverse workplace.

If you do not think there is a problem in our society, how would you respond to Jane's request?