Wednesday, November 26, 2008

NFL Predictions - Week 13

Last week was bad for all four of us, which was good for me because I kept a pretty healthy lead. I said last week had some tough games to pick, but this week may be even tougher. Here we go:

Titans at Lions - A really good defense against a poor offense. A strong running team against a poor defense. At least you'll be eating pumpkin pie while you watch this one.

Seahawks at Cowboys - Another big week for T.O. and Romo?

Cardinals at Eagles - If the Cardinals win this one, you could make a pretty strong argument that they're the second-best NFC team, right?

Niners at Bills - But who cares?

Ravens at Bengals - Again, a good defense against a poor offense. This one should be a gimme for the Ravens.

Colts at Browns - The Colts are really putting it together lately. The only hope for the Browns is that it's really, really, really cold (and maybe snowing) on Sunday!

Panthers at Packers - Man, this is a tough one. I want the Packers to win, and I have no doubt that they can, but the Panthers are pretty good. Maybe weather will play a factor.

Dolphins at Rams - The Dolphins can't give up now, there's still hope!

Saints at Bucs - If this pick is right and the Packers do beat the Panthers, things get really interesting in the NFC South.

Giants at Redskins - The Giants are GOOD.

Falcons at Chargers - Michael Turner shows the Chargers what they could have had if they had kept him, making the NFC South even more interesting.

Steelers at Patriots - Game of the week, without a doubt. I'm not feeling too confident in this pick. I actually chose the Patriots first and then changed my pick.

Broncos at Jets - Jets are playing so well, but can they close out the season strong and win the division?

Chiefs at Raiders - Blaaahhh.

Bears at Vikings - HUGE game in the NFC North, especially if the Packers beat the Panthers. I think the Bears have to win this game if they hope to win the division because they've still got to play the Jaguars, Saints, Packers and Texans.

Jags at Texans - What the heck?

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Week of Thanksgiving

By now, you probably know that I love to take and share pictures. As i was looking at some pictures I recently took and thinking about Thanksgiving, I got an idea.

Each day this week I am going to share a picture with you and list all the things in that picture that I am thankful for. Hopefully this isn't too cheesy. If nothing else, it will be good for me to remember how blessed I am.

So, let's get started!

Today's picture is of my family on our front porch just a few weeks ago. Based on the way I'm dressed I think it was a night where I was trying to gather and burn leaves. But before I got to work, we took a few minutes to capture a memory.

The first thing in this picture that I'm thankful for is my amazing family. My wife Katie, my daughter Hanah and my son David are an incredible blessing to me and they bring me unimaginable joy every day.

I'm also thankful for the beauty of the setting we are in. God has blessed us with an amazing place to live and the time to enjoy it.

I don't know if you can tell or not, but in the bottom right corner is our dog Gus. I'm thankful for him. He's been a great dog and a fun friend for our kids. Earlier this year we thought he was going blind, but we were told he has juvenile cataracts. His eyesight has actually improved from that time and, while his vision is not normal, he's getting along just fine.

Finally, I'm thankful for holey jeans. A pair of jeans that has holes in them is one of the most comfortable things in the world. But that's not why I'm thankful for them. I am thankful because we have been blessed with everything we need - food, shelter, clothing, transportation - and even more than we need. God is good and I'm thankful.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NFL Predictions Challenge - Week 3

OK, last week was good for me (13-1-1) but there are several games that are going to be tough to pick this week. I've got a 3-game lead on Derry and a 5-game lead on both Dan and Craig, but I just hope to maintain that with these picks:

Bengals at Steelers - This is not one of those tough games I was talking about. I still think the Steelers are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. And I still think the Bengals are legitimate No. 1 Draft pick contenders.

at Lions - This is another easy pick. There are some tough ones coming up, I promise.

Jets at Titans - This one might not seem like a difficult pick, but the Titans are bound to lose some time and the Jets just proved they can beat really good teams with an overtime win against the Patriots. I think the Titan's first loss doesn't come until at least week 16.

Bills at Chiefs - The Bills are not the team everybody thought they were early in the season, but they're not as bad as the Chiefs. Man, there are some really bad teams in the NFL this year, huh?

Bears at Rams - This might be just what the Bears need after a blowout against the Packers last week. Kyle Orton, Matt Forte, Greg Olsen and maybe even Devin Hester could have a great day in St. Louis. The Rams ... probably not such a great day.

Patriots at Dolphins - Somebody, whose name starts with a C and ends with a G, suggested that I'll probably pick the Patriots to win the rest of their games. But, his record in this challenge is 18-11 so that tells you how accurate he is with predictions! The Dolphins beat the Patriots earlier in the year, but I don't think the Patriots are going to get swept by a division rival.

Vikings at Jaguars - I hate to say it, but this could actually be a good game. Both teams still have a lot to play for. Both have pretty decent defenses and exciting running backs. I won't be watching it, but maybe you should!

Eagles at Ravens - The Ravens are bound to win a big game, and I think this qualifies. Two reasons why I think the Ravens win: I like this kid, Joe Flacco; and the Eagles tied Cincinnati last week!

Texans at Browns - Win No. 2 for Brady Quinn. I like the direction the Browns are heading with Quinn at quarterback. If Braylon Edwards would just remember that he's a Pro Bowler and Jamal Lewis would rush for 100 yards just once (fantasy owner angst), the Browns will be OK. I don't think they're going to make the playoffs, but at least they can make this season respectable.

49ers at Cowboys - Plain and simple: Good team vs. Bad team.

Raiders at Broncos - Neither team is good, but the Broncos can put up some points.

Redskins at Seahawks - The 'Skins stay alive in the wild card hunt. The 'Hawks start contemplating who the best prospects are for the 2009 NFL Draft.

Giants at Cardinals - When I said there were some tough games to pick, I was mostly referring to this one. The Cardinals are GOOD (4-0) at home. Brandon Jacobs may not be 100% for the Giants. Eli vs. Kurt. Wow, that was a tough choice.

Panthers at Falcons - Did you know that the Panthers are 8-2? How did I miss that? Wow.

Colts at Chargers - Here's another of the tough ones. The Chargers seem to have the Colts' number lately, but I really like the direction the Colts are heading. Even if they lose, the Chargers' remaining schedule is quite favorable and they can still catch the Broncos in the West. Honestly, one of the reasons I picked this way is because I'm assuming the rest of the guys are going to pick the Colts. We'll see.

Packers at Saints - Yet another difficult pick. I'm sort of going with my heart, but also the fact that the Saints have been quite disappointing this season. I love the way the Packers ran the ball last week and I think they're passing game is always a threat. The defense will have its hands full, especially if Reggie Bush is back.

Your Lucky Day

Just wanted to give you something to brighten your day. Depending on your location, you might be looking out the window at snow on the ground or you may not even have a window to look out of, so I hope this picture of these two little people helps!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Looking Out My Office Window

Yes, it's kind of pretty, but it doesn't make me smile.

NFL Predictions Challenge - Week 2 Results

Things really took a turn for the worse this week ... for everybody but me!!!

(I really should stop gloating because it's bound to catch up with me)

I was nearly perfect this week, going 13-1-1, to take sole possession of first place with a season record of 23-6. Derry is in second place at 20-9 while Craig and Dan are tied for third at 18-11.

We threw out the game between the Eagles and Bengals that ended in a tie. There's really no point in including that one, so that's why the records show 29 games picked instead of 30.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Successful Weekend

It may be too early to say this, but this may be the first week this year that I'll go undefeated in Fantasy Football.

I'm in three leagues and I have wrapped up one win for sure and the other two look to be pretty much sealed up. Plus, I outpicked Dan, Derry and Craig in the NFL Predictions Challenge.

With all that said, I might have jinxed myself in the two leagues where my victory isn't certain. And, I'll be wearing knee pads, elbow pads and a helmet because I'm sure a big fall is coming! (you know, pride goes before a fall ...)

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I bought gas for $1.89 on my way into work this morning.

I just wanted to write it down somewhere so I don't forget, just in case I'm paying twice that much in the next few months!


Last night Derry was the only male in a room packed full of high school girls and answered some pretty tough questions for them, including:

What are guys thinking when they are making out with a girl?

What are guys thinking when girls have swimsuits on?

This could very well have been the first time some of those girls were given an honest answer to those questions from a guy's perspective. That takes guts.

You can see the full list of questions he answered here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

NFL Predictions Challenge - Week 2

After one week of this challenge I am in a tie for first place with Derry at 10-4. Dan Erickson is alone in third place at 9-5 and Craig is in fourth at 8-6.

It's time for round two as we pick all the games in Week 11 of the NFL season.

Jets at Patriots - I feel like Matt Cassel is settling in, gaining confidence and getting comfortable. That said, the Jets' defense is pretty solid. That said, Randy Moss and Wes Welker have yet to see a defense that can shut them down. That said ... I got nothing else.

Broncos at Falcons - I just think the Broncos are bad and the Falcons are becoming a really good story for this NFL season.

Eagles at Bengals - Even though they lost, the Eagles looked pretty impressive against the Giants last week. Last year I thought Donovan McNabb might be washed up, but on the contrary, he might be one of the top 5 quarterbacks in the league right now.

Bears at Packers - This is not me just picking with my heart (like some Colts fans tend to do). I really had a hard time deciding on this one. In the end, I think the home team has a slight edge. I won't be surprised if the Bears win this one.

Texans at Colts - The Colts seem to be putting the pieces together. I don't think they can catch Tennessee in the AFC South, but rolling the Texans this week will keep them in the Wild Card hunt.

Saints at Chiefs - How did the Saints go from one game away from the Super Bowl just two season ago to a team you're not sure can beat the Chiefs? I still think the Saints win, but won't be surprised if I'm wrong.

Raiders at Dolphins - I just found out that the Dolphins are only one game back in the AFC East? What??!!! Well, cruising past the Raiders this weekend and a loss for either the Jets or Pats keeps that division very interesting.

Ravens at Giants - I firmly believe the Ravens are a team that could do damage if they make the playoffs, but a loss to the Giants this week is not going to help them in that quest. The Giants are just too good.

Vikings at Buccaneers - I don't feel good about picking either of these teams, but again the home team gets the edge.

Lions at Panthers - Looking at the Lions' schedule the rest of the season (at Carolina, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Minnesota, at Indy, New Orleans and at Green Bay) it's not that crazy to think they could go winless.

Rams at 49ers - The Rams are not as bad as the Lions, but still can't pick them - even against a 2-7 team.

Cardinals at Seahawks - After pulling off a close win Monday night, I think the Cardinals come out hot and put this game away early.

Chargers at Steelers - I still think the Steelers are the real deal. If this game were in San Diego, I might not feel so certain of this pick.

Titans at Jaguars - Could this be the week the Titans lose their first game? Don't think so.

Cowboys at Redskins - Tony Romo is back. The Cowboys are fighting for their playoff lives. Clinton Portis is questionable. Cowboys get revenge for the two-point loss earlier this season.

Browns at Bills - Again, is this seriously a Monday Night game? Well, maybe Brady Quinn gets his first win in the NFL.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NLF Predictions Challenge - Week 1 results

After spending much of the day with no clue what was happening in the NFL, I was sure I was going to finish last this week. As it turns out, however, the guys I'm challenging aren't any better than me at picking NFL games!

Derry and I are currently in first place with records of 10-4 while Dan Erickson is in third at 9-5 and Craig is fourth at 8-6. It was a very close week all the way around.

I think this week may cause some separation . . . we'll see!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pilots 5K Run

There's good news and bad news here.
The good news is that I ran a personal best and improved my pace by more than a minute and a half from my half marathon.
The bad news is that I did not make my goal of 25 minutes or better, and I had to walk during the race.
It was the coldest weather I've ever run in - my car thermometer read 39 degrees when I left for home. It was also windy in certain spots, which made it difficult to keep pace.
I was right on pace the first two miles - right around 8:18/mile. I would have had to improve on that pace slightly during the last 1.2 miles to beat 25 minutes, but ideally the last mile is the fastest.
Well, my body realized how cold it was and how fast it had been running for the first two miles and decided it had had enough. The last 1.2 miles was really hard and I stopped to walk twice, but only for about 30 seconds each time.
It was a fun race. The course was around and through the Bethel College campus, which kept it interesting.
I am happy that I ran the race, if for no other reason than that it kept me on the treadmill for the last month.
Now comes the real challenge - staying motivated to keep running with no scheduled races in sight. I'll let you know how that goes.

Friday, November 7, 2008

NFL Predictions Challenge update - the meter

You may have noticed by now, but many of you are reading this through a blog reader so you haven't noticed, but there is a new graphic on the right side of this page that keeps track of the NFL Predictions Challenge.

I named it the DDDC (Dan, Dan, Derry & Craig) NFL Second-Half Weekly Predictions Challenge. I know it kind of oversimplifies the event, but I was trying to keep the name from getting too long!

If you're looking at it and wondering why the star behind my face is green and all the others are blue, it's because I'm a Packers fan (yes, I'm admitting it) and the rest love the Colts.

I hope you enjoy following this challenge as much as we'll enjoy being part of it!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

NFL Predictions Challenge Update

We've got a fourth participant ... Derry Prenkert. Check out his picks here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

NFL Predictions Challenge - Week 1

OK, here we go!

This is the second week for me to make my picks, but the first where I'm challenging Craig and Dan. Craig already made his picks, clearly going with his heart (which bleeds Colts blue)! Dan's picks are certainly coming soon. Check those blogs to see how they compare with my picks.

Also, if you want to join the challenge, there is still time. There is a NFL game Thursday night so just make sure you let me know and get your picks published before that game starts!

NFL Week 10 picks:

Broncos at Browns - This is because I think the Broncos may have the worst defense in the NFL, not because I have a great amount of confidence in the Browns, even with Brady Quinn starting. I hope he does well, but it may take a few games before he settles in and gets comfortable.

at Falcons - The Falcons are a big surprise this year, but I think the Saints get a big conference win. Drew Brees might be the best QB in the NFL right now (thanks to Tom Brady's injury and Peyton's sub par year so far).

at Bears - If Kyle Orton was playing, I might go the other way. I don't trust Sexy Rexy and I don't think the Bears can completely stop the Titans' running game.

Jaguars at Lions - No way the Jags lose to two winless teams in a row!

Seahawks at Dolphins - Dolphins are another surprising team. So are the Seahawks, just in a bad way.

Packers at Vikings - I'm starting to really like the Packers. It's obvious why they were able to say goodbye to Brett Favre and go with Aaron Rodgers at QB. I think the Vikings keep it close, but lose in the end. Bonus prediction: Greg Jennings scores at least one TD in this game, maybe two.

Bills at Patriots - No chance the Patriots lose two weeks in a row. Anyone care to guess when the last time they lost back-to-back games was?

Rams at Jets - Brett Favre does just enough to beat the Rams, but not before making you think he's going to throw the game away with a costly interception.

Ravens at Texans - I think the Ravens are going to be tough to beat the rest of the season. They're starting to score some points and the defense is tough. The Texans are rising, but not there yet.

Panthers at Raiders - Panthers are just better. That's it.

Colts at Steelers - I believe in the Steelers. The defense is solid. The offense is effective. This is no doubt the game of the week and it should be a close one. This is a tough pick and I won't be surprised if I'm wrong here.

Chiefs at Chargers - San Diego better get right quickly or missing the playoffs is a real possibility. I think LT goes off in this game for a couple TDs and more than 100 yards. Who knows, he might even throw a TD pass. It's about time for that, right?

Giants at Eagles - If Colts-Steelers is the game of the week, this is a close second. I think the Giants keep Donovan McNabb on the run, hurting the passing game.

49ers at Cardinals - Kind of a boring MNF game, but the Cardinals are pretty good. The defense is for real and Kurt Warner could throw for 450 yards and 4 TDs. By the way, is there a tougher guy in the NFL than Anquan Boldin - are you kidding me? How is he back to an elite level after that nasty injury?

By the way, the last time the Patriots lost two games in a row was in the 2006 season, losing to the Colts on November 5 and the Jets on November 12.

Old School Rap Mix

Following in the spirit of the iPod shuffle, I want to share some of the music I'm listening to today.

There's a great website called where you can enter the name of a musician or band you like and the site will play music from that musician/artist as well as others who have a similar sound. When you enter a name you create a channel and then you can come back to that channel anytime.

So today I picked my Beastie Boys channel and wound up with one of the most awesome mixes of old school rap I've heard in a long time. Here's a sampling of the bands I'm listening to as I type:

Beastie Boys
A Tribe Called Quest
LL Cool J
Digital Underground
The House of Pain
Young MC
Cypress Hill

Also, a bunch of songs from Rage Against the Machine got mixed in there. Not exactly old school rap, but I dig it.

Anyway, listening to this mix today has really taken me back to my past. I didn't realize how much of this music I used to listen to on a regular basis. It also makes me realize how much of that music I wouldn't want my kids listening to now!!!

NFL Predictions - Week 1 Results

I know it's only one week, and I could have done better, but I'm pretty pleased with my 9-5 record after picking the winners in Week 9 of the NFL season.
Here's how it went down (my correct picks are in green, incorrect picks are in red).

at Bills
Lions at Bears
Jaguars at Bengals
Ravens at Browns
Packers at Titans
Buccaneers at Chiefs
Cardinals at Rams
Texans at Vikings
Dolphins at Broncos
Falcons at Raiders
Cowboys at Giants
Eagles at Seahawks
Patriots at Colts
Steelers at Redskins

It looks like only two readers have agreed to challenge me from here on out, though there's still time for others to join. Dan Erickson and Craig Helfrich are on board and we'll see if anyone else comes out of the woodwork.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The iPod shuffle

Since I recently got a new iPod and since I haven't seen anyone do this in more than a year, I'm going to do the iPod shuffle.

Here's how it works:

You set your iPod to shuffle songs and write down the first 15 that play. Then you get others to do it. It's a good way to get to know fellow bloggers.

Here's the results from my iPod:
1. Why by Johnny Q. Public
2. Toby's Mac by Toby Mac
3. My Desire by Jeremy Camp
4. I Know You're Calling by Jeremy Camp
5. Be My Escape (Acoustic) by Relient K
6. Perfectly Done by Shawn McDonald
7. Truce by Jars of Clay
8. The Blues by Switchfoot
9. One Day At A Time by Jeremy Camp
10. Flake by Jack Johnson
11. The Innocent's Corner by Cademon's Call
12. Everytime by Jeremy Camp
13. A Little More by Shawn McDonald
14. Shifting Sand by Caedmon's Call
15. Come Ye Sinners by Todd Agnew

Wow, Jeremy Camp dominated that round! I'm a little disappointed in the lack of variety in this shuffle.

Now, for the tags. I want to see the shuffle from these people:

Dan Erickson
Rob Henschen
Derry Prenkert
Todd Owens
Kristy Mikel
Jeff Simpson
Craig Helfrich

And here are a few people who don't have a blog (at least that I know of) that stop by occasionally and could do the iPod shuffle and leave the results in a comment:

Katie Weiss
Jill Bause
Becky Rassi
Leslie Yoder

Finally, anybody reading this that wants to participate can do so in the comments section. Have fun!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

NFL Predictions - Week 1

I like sports. A lot. Ask my wife. (sound familiar?)

Lately, my favorite sport to watch has been shifting from college basketball to NFL football. Although, we'll have to see if that changes once the college basketball season gets into full swing.

For now, I'm all about the NFL. And while I have some growing allegiance to a certain NFL team happening, I'm still pretty neutral about most games.

Today begins Week 9 of the 2008-09 NFL season, which starts the second half. Technically, since there's 17 weeks, the second half really starts at the second half of today's games, but that's just silly.

Having watched the first half of the season and getting a pretty good feel for most of the teams, I'm going to start posting weekly predictions for every NFL game. I'll continue picking all the way through the playoffs and keep track of my record.

Anyone want to challenge me? If so, we can start the challenge next week since I'm posting this about three hours before kickoff of Week 9. If you want to challenge me, just leave me a comment and it's on!

Here's this week's picks:
(Winners are in bold italic)

Jets at Bills
Lions at Bears
Jaguars at Bengals
Ravens at Browns
Packers at Titans
Buccaneers at Chiefs
Cardinals at Rams
Texans at Vikings
Dolphins at Broncos
Falcons at Raiders
Cowboys at Giants
Eagles at Seahawks
Patriots at Colts
Steelers at Redskins

Saturday, November 1, 2008

This is What Fall is Supposed to Be

60-65 degrees.
Crisp air.
Pants and long sleeves.
Colorful trees.

I love it.