My Fantasy Football Experiment

    I’m a pretty big football fan and a die hard fan of the Buffalo Bills.  Every year I have the chance to join someone’s fantasy league but never really wanted to try it.  I had never done it and it always seemed like a pain in the ass.  This year I decided to do it, except I decided to try something different.  First off, this was a free league with nothing more than “bragging rights” for the prize.  Fine with me.  All this meant was that I was free to be as crazy as I wanted to be.

    The draft was the most fun.  You had the predictable choices go first in the beginning rounds…but I decided to be ridiculous.  Or was I?  I didn’t understand the logic of picking random players from different teams.  So what if they are the best players.  I looked at the Buffalo Bills roster this year.  The defense was looking great, the offense has impressive weapons with two starting running backs, and the quarterback (at the time) was supposed to be decent.  So in my eyes, EJ Manuel is either going to pass it to his two top receivers, or to his 2 running backs….and if hes not passing it to them, they will be running the ball with those two running backs.  Its almost double the points every play!  Right!?  The people I ran this by before the draft laughed at me…but nobody really told me “why” it wouldn’t work.  The only drawback I saw was the bye week.  My goal was to make the playoffs with this method, so sacrificing the bye week was something I was willing to do.

   Of course I kept this a secret from everyone in the league accept my friend Pat who was pretty excited to see how this would work as well (although laughed at it as being ridiculous.)  I had my draft board laid out, 6 overall pick, and determined to get all my players.

My first pick:
C.J. Spiller

I figured, out of all my players, he would be first to go if someone where to take a Bill.

My second round pick:
Sammy Watkins

He has gotten so much hype in the off season, I didn’t want to chance losing him/  I wasn’t really worried about losing Manuel at this point.  I figured I could snag him in the 3rd round (like the Bills probably could have done…)

My third round pick:
EJ Manuel

My fourth round pick:
The Buffalo Defense

In the end I got everything I wanted:

EJ Manuel
Robert Woods
C.J. Spiller
Fred Jackson
Scott Chandler
Mike Williams
Buffalo Defense

Backups for bye week:
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Brian Hartline
Mark Ingram
Delaine Walker
DeAndre Hopkins

The Bye week will be tough to get through, my best shot at points is Fitzpatrick because he doesn’t have to win, he just needs to get me those garbage stats hes known for.

So how have I done?  I’m 2-2.  I should be 3-1.  I lost the first week by only a few points because I forgot a player when setting my line up.  I didn’t know “w/r/t” was basically an extra player to use.  What was once a laughing stock during the draft…is now raising eyebrows.  Nobody wants to lose to my team.  Nobody.

Chicago Bound

   Nicole and I are in the airport on our way to Chicago.  I should have some really great pictures from this trip as we plan on getting a lot in.  More to come, go Bills!

Things I meant to post from the past week…

   I meant to post these things earlier in the week but had forgotten to.  A few cool things went on last weekend:

              -Week 1 of the NFL.
              -City of Night:  An art show event in the old Buffalo grain elevators.

   Football is pretty serious here in Buffalo even though it seems that each year we come closer and closer to losing our team.  While we have a team though, we decided to make week 1 a major event in our household.  My friend Justin brought over 3 monster racks of ribs to BBQ while I picked up the chicken along with the Cajun corn, corn bread, and BBQ beans.  Oh man.  It was amazing.  We had to get a really early start because the ribs take so long to cook.  We started cooking around 10 am.  The perfect time for a Foster’s Breakfast Stout.

Totally not my picture.  I was too excited at the time and drank it before I could take a picture…

    If you are able to get this beer in your area, I highly recommend it.  It is a stout with amazing rich flavors of coffee, chocolate, and oatmeal.  It is nothing short of phenomenal.   We read online numerous ways to cook ribs, the most ideal way would be to grill them on coals.  Unfortunately I have a gas grill, so we had to change the methods a little bit.  We started cooking them in the oven for almost 2 hours and then finished them off on the grill.  We also placed a pan with some water in the oven to help not dry out the meat.  When we finished them off on the grill, it was a bit challenging because there was a grease fire every few minutes, but with skills of some ex-Applebees cooks, we were able to get through it. 
Our friends Molly and Pat also joined us bringing over a S’mores cake that was super delicious.  All of the food was great and it was great watching football again, unfortunately the game was awful and the Bills got destroyed.  Better luck next week.  I won’t be able to watch next week because Nicole and I will be in Chicago.

Getting the corn bread ready.

Ric is waiting for us to drop the ribs.

Luckily the char was mostly just BBQ sauce, the ribs didn’t burn.

   Last Saturday night I rode my bike downtown to the old grain elevators where they were having an event.  I went by myself because Nicole wasn’t feeling well, but it was a nice experience regardless mainly because it was such a nice night and it gave me an excuse to take a bike ride through the city.  It was truly my favorite part of the outing.  When I actually arrived at the event, I didn’t stay too long, but it was definitely cool.  Some people don’t understand the grain elevators, after all, they are just grain elevators right? Whats the big deal?  These structures are a part of our cities history, and are really something to see in person.  I guess you either care about stuff like that or you don’t, but I enjoy these things about Buffalo.

I was there early. This was around 6:30-ish, the event lasted until 2am.  I’m guessing it got busier later.

Artists were scattered all over displaying their work.  Some pretty cool stuff.

My favorite part of the outing was the bike ride along the waterfront.


Huge weekend!

    This weekend was huge.  Friday our contractor finished the work,  The kitchen and the bathroom are now finished. It feels like Nicole and I had a roommate move out. All of the tools, the chaos, the filth, is gone.  The house is finally all ours and we love it.  Saturday my dad came down and helped hang some drywall.  It was the second time he has come to visit me in buffalo in like 9 years, but it went fine and wasn’t awkward at all.  It probably helped that we had work to do together in the house which created less awkward moments, but when it was done it seemed like he wanted to help out with more so I think we may see more than 1 visit a decade from now on. I learned a lot about drywall which is good because I am awful at it.

Getting ready to hang the Bill’s Screen TV

Hanging some drywall.  There’s a few more pictures but they were not very flattering.  With our new kitchen being in, its time to eat healthy.  Also, whats my butt doing here?

    Saturday night I went to pick up something from the jewelry store and then came home to propose to Nicole.  Alright, it wasn’t that random.  Nicole and I have been talking about it for a while and have been looking at rings.  She doesn’t ever wear jewelry so looking for a ring was challenging.  Nothing about anything we do is traditional, but that’s how we are, and I love it.   We picked out rings together Friday because we ended up finding one that she really liked.  She also said I would still have to ask her and that she wasn’t going to wear it until I did.  So Saturday night I went to pick up the rings.  For weeks I had been thinking about it.  You always see dudes doing extreme things to propose, often involving public displays which Nicole and I find to be obnoxious.  I wanted to create a t-shirt with us on it, and in Italian would say: “Mi vuoi sposare.”  I designed the shirt when she wasn’t home and planned on mailing it to her in an anonymous package.  Unfortunately, the image of us looked like it was part of a Rorschach test.  So she would end of receiving a shirt with something written in a foreign language on it, and weird random ink blots trying to resemble an image.  All of this coming from an anonymous sender.  That wouldn’t be too creepy would it?  So i decided not to.  So Saturday night I left to go pick up the rings.  I stopped over to her mom’s house to get permission which turned into a much expected awkward moment, but hilarious in hindsight.  I walked into the house, and said “Hello.”  Her mother walked over to the door while Nicole’s sister Amanda came down stairs with little Jake (her son/Nicole’s nephew) and sat on the landing, staring at me.  So there I stand, with the two dogs running around screaming and barking, with Amanda, Jake and her mom staring at me wondering why I have arrived at 7:30pm by myself.  I didn’t want to ask her mom to speak in private, because that would have made it even more odd, so I just looked her in the eyes and asked her for her permission to marry her daughter.  She looked at me with a completely emotionless expression, and said, “No.”  We then just stood there looking at each other for a few moments and finally that emotionless face turned into a genuine smile and she told me that her and Nicole’s dad both give me their blessing.  Amanda and Jake said that they liked having me around.  So with the blessing from the new additions of my family, I left to go pick up the rings!
    Once I had the rings in my hands, and saw how great they came out, I couldn’t wait.  I have been in love with her for a long time, and every day I love her more.  We never fight, and we love spending time with each other.  Never have I felt so connected to a person like I feel with her. I drove home rehearsing the lines that I wanted to say to her in Italian, trying to get it just right so that I didn’t sound unnatural.  That was going to be impossible, so I had to just make sure I could say it the best I could.
    I pulled up to the house, took a deep breath, and walked through the front door.  Nicole was in her pajamas on the couch with a big towel in her hair watching TV.  I walked over to her and got down on one knee, only i was behind the couch and it didn’t register to her what I was doing.  I, of course, was too nervous to understand that she couldn’t see me on one knee and had no idea what I was doing.  She was watching “Date Night” and awful movie with Steve Carell and the volume was up higher than usual making it difficult to speak in a normal voice.  We looked at each other oddly for a moment when I said, “Can you turn the volume down, I’m trying to talk to you.”.  She turned down the volume on the TV while laughing at me, still not really registering what it was I was trying to do.  I just looked totally weird crouching down behind the couch with a look of confusion on my face.  I said to her, “Ti amo sempre.  Mi vuoi sposare?”.  What she said right after that moment was sort of a blur because I think I was overloading mentally.  I believe she smiled and said, “ohh…thanks”.  I realized that I had to follow up in English, so I said, “That means, will you marry me?”.  She said “yes” and then let me know that she sort of understood “Ti amo sempre” (I love you always), but had no idea what else I had said.  I put the ring on her finger and followed the happiest moment of my life to date with a kiss and phone calls to our family.  My mom was incoherent because she was crying so hard.

The animals are really excited.

    So the entire process of getting engaged was not how I imagined, but a lot more memorable because of it, and I’d have it no other way.  We don’t plan on having a huge wedding, just immediate family and a few close friends and some dinner.  Nicole and I don’t like big productions, and would prefer to spend money on other things, like our planned trip to Italy in June.

    I will have more entries this week on a regular basis.  With the work in the house being completed, I’ll have more time to do some entries.  Lots of things to talk about! Go Bills!!

Excited for the Weekend!

    I can’t wait for this week to be over.  I have a boat load of stuff to do this weekend and hardly any room to breathe, but I like it…..I think…so far.  Our contractor thinks he will be finished with everything by the end of next week.  The new counter is set to go in around Wednesday and I’ll be able too cook again and share my pizza recipes. 
    Saturday, Nicole and I need to spend the day making sure that we don’t have pealing paint on any of our windows, so it will be an entire day of doing that.  There can’t be pealing paint when the inspector comes.  We just want to be able to cook again like normal people and have a bathroom sink again!
    Sunday is going to be awesome.  I am a Bills fan.  I’m not a Bills fan that cries about how bad we are and puts them down all the time.  Every season is a new shot in my eyes and this season is no different.  I like what they have done with the defense and the QB that I pushed for to be the starter from the beginning is starting.  Sunday will be a day of football and food and I cannot wait.

    I’ll have a new restaurant review this weekend.  We want to go out to eat tomorrow so I should have something new to share.  Once this house stuff ends, I should be able to get back to the normal posting on here, beers, food, and shirts!

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