Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rams beat Saints 31-21 in the second biggest upset of the year

You are reading the blog of a pleased and relieved Ram-fan.  You are also reading the blog of an unhappy Bronco fan, but we will save that for a later time.

Some would say it was the biggest upset of the year, but I doubt that.  Many would say the Bills over the Patriots was the biggest upset of the year so far, but it doesn't look so big right now.  The Bills were just better than anyone gave them credit for being, and Patriots--as usual--were highly overrated.  I will save my blast at the great pretenders for another blog.

No sir, the biggest upset of the season this far involved the complete collapse of the Raven offense during out last Monday Night travesty.  The Ravens had no business losing to the Jags.  The Jags had no business wining that game, but win they did.  This was the biggest upset of 2011 season thus far.

We Ram-fans can enjoy the 2nd biggest upset for the moment.  After smoking the Colts 62-7, all the men of football--including me--were utterly convinced that the Saints had regained the form that made them SB44 champions.  The unstoppable offensive, the ultra-aggressive play-calling, the brutality to pour it on, it was all back in place in New Orleans.

Ad meanwhile, my Rams were winless and without our starting QB.  Our offense held just two cards in hand: one tired old running back and a freshly acquired receiver.  There was no chance we could keep pace with the offensive power of the Saints.  Everyone, especially me, braced for a massacre.

I decided to go to Dark Horse CrossFit gym this morning in Sherman Oaks.  I didn't want to watch the massacre in progress.  I had plenty of other reasons to go work out, but the lack of desire to see the humiliation was a good one.

When I returned home, my DirectTV tuner was still set for the NFL Network (212).  Of course, this was showing the NFL Scoreboard, and nothing else.  I nearly shit my pants when I saw that my Rams were leading 24-0 with just about 6 minutes to play in the 3rd quarter.  Surely this had to be a mistake.  No, it wasn't. had the same score, and it wasn't long before the Sirus voice on the HDTV began covering the most shocking upset of the day; the game everybody was watching.

As you know, the Saints began to pour it on, but they came up short 31-21.  You have to wonder if some of the World Series mojo the Cardinals had rubbed off on the Rams.  Let's hope that spirit has moved over to Edward Jones Dome.

There are a number of take home lessons from this game:

  1. For those of us who have been grasping at straws, trying to understand how a team that should have been improved could sink so low, this is gratifying win.  We knew we were better than the record--thus far--reflected.  This is a bit of proof.
  2. You have heard the poem "For the lack of nail a horse was lost.  For the lack of a horse, a Calvary man was lost.  For the lack of Calvary man a squadron was lost.  For the lack of squadron a battle was lost.  For the lack of the battle the war was lost."  
  3. For the lack of a Wide Receiver, our Rams lost the first 6 games of the year.  I am not kidding either. I am deadly serious.  Now that Brandon Lloyd is making insane catches for us, just look at what has happened.  Just one nail, on one horse shoe, on one horse, for one rider...  Now the offense can function and convert on key 3rd downs.
  4. When he's healthy, Steve Jackson is still a terrifying beast.  The Saints don't want to see him again any time soon.
  5. Our defense is as good as I said it was, and better.  I've been telling everybody it's not the defense's fault.  
  6. The fault lies on offense.  We just couldn't score or control the football.  Today we did both, and look at what happened.
  7. The defense made our 24 offensive points stand up, and they even contributed 7 more of their own.
  8. Many Ram fans are very sanguine at this moment, believing that this is a big turn around moment.  I would like to believe it, and I am a bit afraid of it, but don't jump to conclusions.
  9. Understand we had a big moment like this back in 2008 against the Cowboys.  We routed them worse than the Saints, and immediately won another game.  People were instantly talking about Jim Hasslet as the NFL Coach of the year.  Understand that we still finished 2-14 and Hasslet got fired that year.

Personally, I am a bit torn.  In theory, if we run the table, we can still win a good playoff spot, but how likely is that?  More than anything, I want Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State.  If we are ever to capitalize on our investment in Sam Bradford and become a Super Bowl championship team, we will need another deadly threat receiver to go with Brandon Lloyd.  Blackmon is that guy.

You know it's going to take a high pick to land him.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bod Pod XIII: The point of inflection

So, Bod Pod XIII went down yesterday morning around 9:00am.  I had no Jury duty due to the super-confab of Superior Court Judges that happened down town yesterday.  The Court schedule was dark. What were the results of the test?

  1. There were only 13 days in this cycle.
  2. We did reach the point of inflection
  3. My total body weight increased from 190.664 to 195.7 pounds.  This is an increase of 5.036 pounds.
  4. My lean mass increased from 146.95 to 151.14 pounds.    This is an increase of 4.19 pounds.
  5. Shockingly enough, my fat weight also increased from 43.714 to 44.56 pounds.  This is an increase of 0.846 pounds,
  6. Interestingly enough, my body fat percentage decreased from 22.9 to 22.8.  This is a reduction of 0.1% percent.  Yes, it's paltry, I know.
  7. My body volume increased from 82.627 liters to 84.78 liters.  This is an increase of 2.153 liters
Fate %
Fat Weight
Lean Weight
Body Weight
Of course, I am not happy about picking up 0.846 pounds of fat, but the 4.19 pound gain of lean was downright thrilling.  I have finally exceeded 150 pounds of lean mass.  Not only this, I have finally exceeded the 151 I was hoping for weeks ago.
This is an excellent sign.  It indicates several things.  First and foremost, it indicates that the CrossFit training is working extremely well.  It also means that the weight lifting sessions with Aaron are also working.  This sets me up for much better and more rapid weight loss in the weeks to come.  The more lean mass you have, the higher your BMR/RMR.

Now for some reality noise:
  1. This morning, my weight dropped to 192.6 pounds on the Tanita scale.  As you know, it would be lower on the Bod Pod.  
  2. Yesterday the Tanita vs. Bod Pod variance was very high, the highest figure seen yet.  The Tanita said 196.6.  The Bod Pod indicated 195.7.  This is a variance of 0.9 of a pound.
  3. This means I lost 4 pounds over night.
  4. This is enough to annihilate nearly all of my lean gain.
  5. This was the first Bod Pod test that I did not prep for.  
  6. In each of the 12 Bod Pod tests prior to this one, I would do extensive preparation the night before the test.  I would do my longest and best workout of the cycle.  I would do 30 minutes in the dry and steam saunas to shed excess water weight. I would get a massage and pop two Tylenol tabs to bring down inflammation further.  I would purge my intestines with Magnesium Citrate.
  7. My brother's band played at The Mint in West Los Angeles Thursday night.  Rather than prep for the test on Thursday night, I went to see him play.  This little adventure is a story I will tell you about some other time.
All of this casts doubt upon the results of Bod Pod XIII.  Without the normal prep before the test, there is no telling how much of this weight increase is just water retention and fecal matter.  On other hand, you could argue that these test results are more reflective of David on a normal day, not less.  Ergo, they are more valid and not less valid.  Still, the rapid drop this morning casts doubt on the entire weight figure.

In short, if we were in a court of law, we would have more than a reasonable doubt about these results.  I may have simply tested on an exceptionally heavy day. Further, I think this is clearly the case.  194.4 seems to have been my most common weight over the last several weeks.  196.6 and 195.7 are clearly exceptionally heavy weights for me these days.

Nevertheless, one thing is exceptionally clear:  We have reached the point of inflection.  The sign of the trajectory on this curve has flipped.  It has been negative, trending down.  It is now positive and trending upward.  Regardless of whether my weight is 194.4 or 192.6, my weight is now higher than it was 13-14 days ago.

I am not worried about this, as the indicator points towards a big increase in lean weight.  This is good and wonderful, and precisely what I have been looking for.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

2011 NFL Season Week 8 Picks

It was a tough week last week.  I posted my worst results of the year at 8-5.  Still, nobody at ESPN did better than I did, so I am gratified.  You guys should not have picked the Raiders, but you are a pack of old AFLers aren't you?

This week, we have a pretty easy collection of match-ups.  I don't think we're going to have a lot of drama here folks.  There are a couple of games that will be interesting, though.

  1. Titans and Colts is a game the Colts might win.  The Titans started strong and are fading fast.  After the loss of Kenny Britt and two straight blow-out losses, they look like they have resumed life as a rebuilding franchise.  Memo to the Colts:  If you are going to win one this season, this is the time to do it.  This is the game to get.
  2. Saints @ Rams is massacre waiting to happen.  I was worried about the Packers hanging 60 on us.  We better worry about the Saints hanging 60 on us.  They just did it to the Colts.
  3. Dolphins @ Giants is a bullshit match-up.  The Dolphins appear to be spinning out of control and edging towards the inevitable moment when ownership fires the coach.  The Giants are on their feet and playing better after a humiliating loss at home to the Seahawks.  This game is going to be boring.  Don't watch it.
  4. Vikings @ Panthers should prove interesting as a match-up of rookie QBs and little look at the future of both teams.  The Vikings played much better with Ponder at the QB, but I still like the Panthers in this game.  Super-Cam should provide enough power to overwhelm the Vikings.
  5. Cardinals @ Ravens looks like a major mismatch, but the Ravens just suffered an offensive breakdown of epic proportions against the Jags.  Seeing how the Ravens bounce back from failure should be the only interesting thing of note about this game.
  6. Jaguars @ Texans is problem matchup.  The Jags are fresh off a massive upset, and feeling good about themselves.  The Texans are fresh off a blowout victory and feeling very good about themselves.  I am concerned about another upset here, but the Texans should be getting Andre Johnson back for this game, and that is enough to tip the balance for me.
  7. Redskins @ Bills looks like another mismatch to me, and it is very unfortunate.  These were two rising teams who surprised us all at the start of the season.  Unfortunately, the Redskins blew out all the tires against the Eagles two weeks ago.  Now, I don't believe they are a match for the Bills.
  8. Lions @ Broncos looks like another epic mismatch, except for the fact that the Lions are on a two game losing streak.  Unfortunately for my other favorite franchise, I think the Lions are going to take out their frustrations in Denver.  Tebow may work a little magic in this game, but the Broncos just don't have enough talent to win this game.
  9. Patriots @ Steelers is the premier match-up of the day.  This will be the game that everyone watches.This is a very tough game to call, but I just don't think the Steelers are going to allow the Patriots to hand them their arse two years in a row.  The Patriots humiliated the Steelers last season in a loss that still irks them.  I think this is a grudge match.  I pick the Steelers based on pure meanness, violence, and homefield.
  10. Browns @ 49ers looks like a real mismatch.  The Browns just played one of the ugliest games of the season last week, and the 49ers are coming off a remarkable victory and a bye-week.  The Browns could upset if the 49ers come in flat and looking past them, but this is unlikely with a coach as good as Jim Harbaugh.
  11. Bengals @ Seahawks is a troublemaker of a matchup.  The pesky Seahawks aren't really competitive, but they posture as if they are.  They occasionally make trouble.  I am increasingly convinced that the Bengals are done rebuilding and they are growing into contenders with a young and fresh nucleus.  Unfortunately, the Seahawks have a heck of a homefield advantage, and they have a very stout defense.  This is going to be interesting, but I take the Bengals.
  12. Cowboys @ Eagles is the most tenuous and dangerous pick on the board.  These are two would-be contenders who both might miss the playoffs.  Both are desperate and fundamentally flawed.  Who wins this game?  Ultimately, I am going to pick the Eagles based on homefield, but I am very uncomfortable with this pick.  It could easily go the other way.
  13. Chargers @ Chiefs is also a troublesome matchup for game pickers.  Still, I can't seem to understand why everybody is picking the Chargers to win this game.  The Chiefs are coming off three-straight victories and they just shutout the Raiders.  The Chargers just laid a stinker in New York, collapsing in the 2nd half against the Jets.  I am taking the Chiefs based on momentum and homefield.

2011 NFL Season Week 7 Outcomes

So, my record this week was 8-5, the worst outcome yet.  I can't believe my Ravens let me down... I'm really pissed out this.

The very moment I publish a rant declaring that ESPN [that outpost of Boston sports we all know and ambivilate] has no right to rank the Patriots higher than the Ravens; that's the very moment the Raven offense suffers a complete breakdown on Monday night against a clearly inferior opponent.  Now all the ESPN guys are snickering and declaring they were right.

I still say that when the chips are down, the Raven defense will shove Tom Brady's head up his ass, and ESPN will be crying bitter tears in their Boston clam chowder.

In any case, this disappointing outcome is tempered with with some gladness.  I am glad I was wrong about the Texans.  Nothing smells right about these Titans.  I don't know how they were winning, but they were winning in this noisy and chaotic league of 2011.  I was wrong about them enough times that I felt I had to pick them.  Still, I greatly prefer the Texans.  I like the team coach Kubiak has built.  I am glad to see they are persevering after losing both their top offensive and defensive players (Andre Johnson and Mario Williams).  I am shocked they murdered the Titans as they did, but I am glad they did it.

The only thing you can take home from the Chargers v Jets game is that neither of these teams are contenders for the title.  The Chargers got out to a big lead, exposing how weak the Jets can be defensively.  Then the Jets came back and won in the 2nd half, exposing how inconsistent the Chargers can be both offensively and defensively.  What I saw was two football teams with fundamental flaws in their architectures.  Don't count on either of these teams to reach the 2012 portion of the playoffs.

The Lions are slumping a bit, but what I saw in the Lion v Falcon game was a desperate Falcon team playing dramatically better on the defensive side of the field.  The Lion offense didn't go to sleep.  Rather, the Falcon defense raised the level of their game tremendously.  The Lion offense didn't expect that level of resistance.  They got ambushed.  It was still a close and competitive 23-16 game.

I seldom talk about my victories, but I just have to crow about one of them this week.  How about that Chiefs v Raiders game?  For some stupid reason I will never understand, the Raiders are a romantic drama for men slightly older than myself.  For some foolish reason, these 54-46 year old men committed their hearts to the old AFL.  Not me baby, I am an old NFL/NFC guy.  For these old AFL guys, the Raiders mean original AFL team greatness.  They are forever bewitched and biased towards the Raiders.  Not me baby, I couldn't care less.  I will only pick them if I see a clear-cut reason why I have too.  They get no free love from me.

Of all the irrational picks I heard last week, those who picked the Raiders took the cake.  We hear all this bullshit about how the NFL is quarterback driven league.  We hear endless talk about how the QB position is the key position in football, and how making any change here is an organizational decision due to the magnitude of the impact.  Why did you think the Raiders could lose their starting QB, and then immediately win with either Kyle Boller or Carson Palmer (who came off the couch)?  There can be only one answer: it's because you are in love with the Raider mystique.  That is a totally fallacious reason for picking the Raiders.

194.4, the bounce back

The score a few moments ago was 194.4 English pounds on the Tanita scale.  Interestingly enough, my weight has bounced back from the low of 189.8 we saw a couple of days ago.  Despite some of the noisy details I will give you in a few moments, this strengthens my hypothesis that 194.4 is my new set-point. It's a strong set point also.

Just to color in this fact with a bit of background consider the following life-facts that factor into this bounce back.

  1. I got hammered with Superior Court jury duty yesterday, which broke my normal workout schedule, and will continue to disrupt my routine workout schedule for several days to come.
  2. Jury duty has also disrupted my eating habits.  I actually ate a dreaded hot dog from a street vendor yesterday.  It wasn't a Hebrew National Koshur Polish either, so there is no telling how bad that was.  
  3. I completed my first 4 CrossFit workouts as of Tuesday 10/25/2011.  The last workout--Tuesday noon--was followed by a full-cycle ROM workout in the evening.  That was clearly over-doing it, and I paid a high physical price for it yesterday.
  4. I was so blown out and sore yesterday, especially in the region of my right knee, that I could not have done any exercise anyway.  I was in a lot of pain yesterday; so much so that I actually had to reach for the dreaded Lortab so I could walk on that right knee.  I called off all workouts, and made it a complete day of rest.  This morning, I feel much better, and I will train today.
  5. CrossFit has produced a new level of physical hunger for me.  I am hungry for actual, real food again.  I have very specific cravings for eggs.  Nothing else seems to satisfy.  I'll take 'em any which way I can get them: Boiled, omelet, burrito.  I just want my eggs.  Chicken won't do it at all, and neither will steak.
  6. A recovery drink of 1% fat chocolate milk, 25g extra whey protein, and some omega-3 fatty acids oil is now my recovery drink of choice.  I mix this drink myself in one of my two bullet blenders.  Every other workout drink feels like a piss-poor substitute.  I'm still not satisfied by this drink, but it is the best I can do right now.  Specifically, whey protein feels like a poor substitute for egg protein.
  7. My arms & shoulders look different now.  There is no mistaking it.  The push-ups, pull-ups, ring-dips, and kettle bells are having an impact on my muscularity.  I know for a fact that I am packing more muscle now. This will show up on the next Bod Pod test, I promise you.
  8. CrossFit is affecting my sleeping habits.  I feel very, very sleepy these days.  I feel sleepy by 10:00pm, which is extremely unusual for me.  In the past, I usually had to force myself to go to bed around 12:30pm or 1:00am.  Not true anymore.  Now I can go to bed as early as 10:00pm, and I am usually in bed around 11:00pm.  I am just flat-cold exhausted and out of gas.  Also, I sleep like a dead man.  The lights go off, and I am unconscious in seconds.  I don't rouse at any point during the night.  I wake up without any memory of dreams, or sense that time has passed.  It's almost like Propofol sleep.
Next time, I will blog about my experiences in the CrossFit gym.  This is a very interesting way to train.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Not much time for a real blog entry this morning, but I had to make note of this result.  The score a few moments ago was 189.8 English pounds on the Tanita scale.  You know it would be lower on the Bod Pod.

Wow... shocking... and terrifying.  Just when I had written off all further gross-weight scale-loss, this burst happens.  You know I declared there was a 0.00% chance of me weighing in at less than 190 pounds when Bod Pod XIII rolls around this Friday morning.  Well, it looks like I may well weigh in at less than 190 pounds.

To what do I owe this sudden burst of progress?  It has to be the CrossFit training.  This is the only shakeup in my training regime that is likely to produce such results.  The three weight training sessions I did with Aaron are unlikely to produce weight loss, but rather weight gain.  I'm sore in all kinds of places I haven't felt in a long time, so I am absolutely working out different muscle groups in different ways during these workouts.  It would seem my body is responding to this new stress with a new wave of weight loss.

Still, the implications of going under 190 are fairly staggering.  This is officially the lowest my body weight has gone in my entire adult life.  I don't know how I like this idea.  The notion of being under 190 is horrifying to me.  Still, I know I have plenty of fat left to loose, so I should be grateful.  I just need to replace it with lean muscle mass and get back over 190.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

193.2 and size small pants

The score a few moments ago was 193.2 English Pounds on the Tanita scale.  The scale bounced back and forth between 193.0 and 193.2 a few times before it settled on 193.2.  As per usual, let's call it 193.1.

The Bod Pod variance seems to be jumping around a bit since they calibrated the machine.  However, I suspect my weight would be well inside the 192 zone this morning, if I were to be measured on the Bod Pod scale.

This is surprising because I have been settled around 194.4 for several weeks now.  To be sure, this is a small bump.  I could return to 194.4 tomorrow.  However, it is interesting.  Just as I wrote off all further potential weight loss, a little bump happens.

There is more interesting news.  Last night, I got tired of the baggy look created by my size-large pants, and decided to visit the Sports Authority.  Surprisingly, I found that size-medium pants [made by Nike and Under Armour] were still too large.

With great skepticism and disbelief, I decided to return to the clothing rack and grab a pair of small pants.  As I did so, I seriously doubted small pants would fit me.  I suspected I was stuck in an unhappy in-between spot; a spot to small for medium but too large for small.  I am just not a small guy, after all.

As it turns out, this was not the case.  I was flabbergasted as I discovered that the size-small pants fit perfectly.  I kept looking in the mirror for visible imperfections in the look.  I tried squatting and a couple of leg stretches in an attempt to prove that these small pants were too tight.  The pants felt comfortable in a deep squat. I didn't feel the material stretched very much.  I certainly didn't think they would rip.  The fit was comfortable.  I could exercise in these shorts and there would be no problem.

I have to say, this purchase triggered an identity crisis and personality meltdown for me.  I have never been a size-small guy.  I have always been the big man.  The mere notion that I might fit into small pants seems utterly preposterous to me.  Nevertheless, this is the fact.

When you consider it mathematically, it makes sense.  I stand 70.3 inches, or just over 5'10".  I weigh in at 192+ pounds.  I am about as big as an NFL Corner.  I am smaller than a lot of wide receivers.  Whatever else you want to say about them, these players are not considered big men on the field.  They may be in remarkable athletic condition, but they are average sized folks in a typical public setting.

Who the hell did they make size XXL for then?  Under Armour seems to be the official/unofficial brand of workout gear for the NFL players these days.  I suspect that XXL was tailored for really big men like Haloti Ngata of the Baltimore Ravens.  At 6'4" and 350 pounds, he is 6 inches taller and 150 pounds heavier than me.  He doesn't need to lose any weight either.  The dude is a concrete block.  His battle buddy, Terrance Cody, is also 6'4" and 349 pounds.  He could stand to lose about 20 pounds, I think.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

2011 NFL Season Week 7 Picks

Oh, this is a dangerous week for game-chosers folks!  Shake out season begins this weekend.  It's the first day of Scorpio.  In stark contrast to last week, there are very few easy picks on the board in Week 7. There are a lot of tough and dangerous choices on the board this week. There is even a true pick'em situation, but I won't punt on it.

I had to put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this one, and it probably won't stop me from going 9-4 again this week.  Scary choices, folks.

Consider the Broncos and Dolphins.  These are two lesser teams, with lesser talent pools.  The talent pool was further diminished this week when the Broncos gave the Rams a big gift in Brandon Lloyd.  This is hard game to pick objectively.  However, you know I have to go with my son, Tim Tebow.  I just can't pick against Tebow.  Further, I declared I would not pick the Dolphins again until Sparano convinced me that he has control of that locker room.  I am not convinced.

Consider the Texans and the Titans.  The Titans dropped a stinker against the Steelers, but they are better than that.  The Texans are minus Mario Williams and Andre Johnson.  I don't like the sound of that at all.  The Texans are minus their two best players, and the Titans are at home.  Scary choice folks, but I pick the Titans.

Consider the Redskins and Panthers.  The Panthers are 1-5, but Cam Newton has made them competitive in nearly every game.  The Redskins blew out all four tires last week against the Eagles.  They now have no left side of their offensive line, no tight end, and a change at QB.  I don't like the fact that DeAngelo Hall is injured in this game either.  I take the Panthers.

Consider the Seahawks and Browns.  On the surface, this doesn't look that difficult.  I think the Browns are a heck of a lot more talented than the Seahawks.  But those chickens of the sea... those little fuckers have a tendency to an upset here and there.  Further, their defense is hardening quite a bit.  I will take the Browns based on general superiority and home field, but I fear an upset here.

Consider the biggest pick'em of the day:  the Chiefs visit the Raiders at the black hole.  This is a maddening game for the fool who tries to get it right.  The Chiefs have been lousy, but they are playing a lot better now.  The Raiders have been good, but they just lost their starting QB.  Now it's Kyle Boller... or is it Carson Palmer... or is it Kyle Boller... or is it Carson Palmer... or is it Kyle Boller...  Ultimately, I should say pick'em, but I don't think it matters who starts at QB for the Raiders.  Neither guy is ready to roll in this situation.  The Chiefs are the riskiest pick of the day, but I am picking them.

There are other difficult choices, but I think this sample is enough

One quick rant about the NFL power polls

I just saw an NFL Power Poll on ESPN that just set me off.  Prepare for a rant.

What was the problem?  The Packers were listed as the #1 team.  No problem there.  I concur.  The Packers are #1.  The Patriots are listed as the #2 team.  WTF...?!?!?!?!

You gotta be fucking kidding?  The Patriots #2!?!?!  Fuck you!  Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.  The Patriots are not the best team in the AFC.  They may not even be the second best team in the AFC.  The Ravens are the #2 ranked team in the NFL behind the Green Bay Packers.

Nobody but nobody is better than the Ravens in the AFC.  The Patriots aren't all that close.  If the Ravens played the Patriots today, the Ravens would shove Tom Brady's head up his ass, with violence, much as they did during their last playoff meeting two years ago.

Do I need to remind you of the ass-whupping humiliation the Ravens inflicted on the Patriots in their house the last time they met in the playoffs?  Do I need to remind you that this Raven team is better than that Raven team?  Do I need to remind you that it is quite undecided whether this Patriot team is better than that Patriot team?

How in the hell can you pick a team with a highly suspect defense (the Patriots) over a team with with the one and the only elite defense in the NFL (the Ravens)?  You know and I know that offense wins games and defense wins championships.  Based on this hardcore principle of football it is clear to me that the Ravens are on course for the championship, and the Patriots are not.

By no means and under no circumstances is it rational or logical to rank the Patriots ahead of the Ravens.  That is absolutely and completely wrong.  It's not even remotely close to being accurate or even reasonable.

You will never find a better example of Quarterback bias anywhere at anytime in league history.  The reasons the fools did this is because they rank Tom Brady ahead of Joe Flacco.  They will drool on and on about how this is a pass-first, QB driven league, and I say one thing to you:  Your power poll is absolute bullshit.

Do I need to remind you that there there are 21 other starters out there on offense and defense?  A quarterback is not the only thing that makes a championship team.  A good QB is just one factor in a championship picture.  The defense is the main key factor.

Joe Flacco is one very good player among many on the Ravens' roster.  Tom Brady is one very good player among... eh... ah...  well maybe 2 or 3 good players on the Patriot roster.  Don't fool yourself into believing a lie:  This is not a particularly loaded Patriot team.  The Ravens are loaded.

The Ravens are the better team.  If you don't agree, you're wrong.

Shake-out season is upon us

Last year I wrote a little diddy about Scorpio-time being the time of the great shake-out during football season.  Scorpio season is where we separate the pretenders from the contenders.  This is when we separate the prospects from the suspects.

Well folks, today is the very last day of Libra.  Tomorrow is the first day of Scorpio.  I just heard the term shake-out for the very first time this season last night on sports-talk radio.  You will hear much more of this talk next week.

There's nothing better than November football.   However, the shake-out doesn't begin in November, as I was told when I was a kid.  The shakeout begins before November starts.

There will be a little shaking this Saturday in College football.  There will be much more next Saturday.  There will be some considerable shaking and quaking in the NFL this Sunday.  Some chumps are going to get cut this Sunday.  Note that Sunday, October 23 is the first day of Scorpio.

Consider the following propositions.  If, perchance, the Jets should lose to the Chargers, the Jets will fall to 3-4.  If, perchance, the Texans should lose to the Titans, the Texans will have a 3-4 record close to mid-season.  If, perchance, the Falcons should lose to the Lions, they will have a 3-4 losing record close to mid-season. If, perchance, the Bears should lose to the Bucs, they will have a 3-4 losing record close to mid-season.  If, per chance, the Cowboys should lose to my lowly Rams, they will have a 2-4 losing record close to mid-season.

The Jets, Texans, Falcons, Bears and Cowboys would all have losing records close to mid-season.  At best, they could go .500 by mid-season.  This is not how the script was supposed to play-out.  All of these are unexpected outcomes.  We thought the Jets were contenders.  We expected the Texans to scamper off with the AFC South now that the Colts are crippled.  Dan Patrick declared he would hand the Lombardi Trophy to Matty-Ice at the end of the season.  He did so on the Rich Eisen PodCast before the start of the season.  Hope springs eternal in Dallas.

Remember:  the shake-out commences Sunday October 23, the first day of Scorpio.

194.4 and the point of inflection

So the score on the Tanita scale was 194.4 just a few moments ago.  My weight has been relatively fixed around this point for more than 5 weeks now.  It's very clear that the hay days of extreme weight loss are now over.  My weight has stabilized, as Team Quilici would describe it. Indeed, my weight may even be moving North (gradually).  Hopefully, this is the good kind of North.

I, more or less, accepted this fact a week ago.  My lowest sustainable body weight as an adult was 192 pounds.  This occurred between the ages of 22-24 during my Army years.  I am very close to that point now, but back then I didn't have as much muscle tissue, loose skin, or as many chronic injuries.  I had less of all three.  The loose skin and muscle count as lean.  The chronic injuries don't show up on the scale.

I modified my workouts tremendously in the past week.  I did my first CrossFit training session last Sunday.  I will do my second in about an hour.  I did three sessions of heavy weigh lifting with my USC linebacker buddy, Aaron Graham.  In the meantime, I still managed to rip a few ROM workouts and continue burning over 1,000 kcal per day.  Consider my workout journal entries from yesterday:


Club Elliptical




The first two items were accomplished before work in the morning.  The next three were done at lunch before 1:00pm.  By 1:00pm in the afternoon I had already scratched out 71 minutes and 1,043.5 kcal.

It's astounding to me that such effort does not produce sizable weight loss.  The clear and present fact is that it has not produced weight loss results.  If I had been able to do this sort of work in March of 2011, the fat would have flown off my bones.  As you can see, the average intensity is very high.  I burned an average of 14.69 kcal per minute (above RMR) during the course of this workout.  That's pretty hard, buddy.

Of course, my hope is that my body composition is changing under the hood.  I am hoping that fat is being burned, and new lean is growing.  Of course, this has usually been my hope, and it usually has not been fulfilled.  Of course, I have not been training in the fashion I have this week.

Bod Pod XIII will be more interesting than usual.  This will be the first Bod Pod to show the point of inflection.  I fully expect my body weight to be higher this time than last.  There is a 0% chance I will be lower than 190 on this next test.  Rather, I will be at least 4 pounds higher.  I am just hoping that my fat weight comes in below 40 pounds.  If it does, this will be a significant victory.  This would necessarily mean that my lean weight has increased, and I have made progress on the BFP front.

It should be noted that the term point of inflection comes from differential calculus. It is the point on a curve where the trajectory changes signs (from positive to negative or negative to positive).

I totally hit that point a week or so ago.  Now phase I of the body remake story is over.  It's not about weight loss anymore.  Now the story changes.  The story is now about body building and lean muscle mass. It's about going to an elite level of fitness, not just a good level of fitness.

The moral of this story is clear:  There are absolute limits.  Even after a weight loss surgery as drastic as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, there are points you body won't go beyond without further medical intervention.  I seem to be up against one of those limits right now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2011 NFL Season Week 6 Results

My record this week was 9-4, just like the week before.  The system is becoming less predictable.  It looks like some pumpkins are turning back into pumpkins.  Others are not going too, or so it seems.

Before this week, I would have bet you real money that the 49ers would turn into a pumpkin before the Redskins.  Well... nope, not now.

The 49ers knocked off the Lions in a hell of a ball game, but I will bet you Lions win the playoff rematch, if there is one.  Nevertheless, Jim Harbaugh is the the NFL Coach of the year after 6 weeks.  There can be no doubt about that.  How he managed to whip these bums into shape and get them to play like a unit without benefit of off-season OTAs or a reasonable training camp is beyond me.  He is a hell of a coach.

Most of us are of the opinion that the 49ers are going to completely run away with the NFC West now.  The teeth of their scehdule is done.  They only have one un-winnable game ahead of them:  This is the Thanksgiving day match with brother John and the Ravens.

Their schedule is incredibly favorable.  People are going to say I am a fool, but the 49ers could theoretically finish 14-2.  I seriously doubt they will finish that high, but I think 12-4 is entirely possible.  They could bloody well be the #2 seed and face the Lions after a Bye.

Still, we have faithful former 49ers like radio color analyst Eric Davis questioning whether this is real and how it can be real.

But then we have the Redskins.  Jesus... what was looking like a real Cinderella story has just crashed on the rocks.  As we know, the Redskins blew a major gasket against the Eagles.  Not only did they lose, they lost badly.  We had a Bad Rex sighting as Rex threw four times into clouds of green and white jerseys.  Four ugly picks later, he was on the bench.

It get's a lot worse.  Left tackle Trent Williams suffered a high ankle sprain. Left Guard Kory Lichtensteiger tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and will miss the rest of the season.  Tight end Chris Cooley suffered a broken index finger, and he just might be their very best player.

You would not want to be right hander John Beck right now.  The so-called Beck era begins without a left side to the offensive line, and minus his best possession receiver.

There is more bad news for the Redskins.  Top-corner DeAngelo Hall is in doubt for the Panther game due to a knee injury that has hobbled him.  I don't like this at all.

The most shocking upset of the entire day was the Bucs over the Saints.  After the 49ers destroyed the Bucs 48-3 I had a sinking feeling that I had over-rated the Bucs.  I felt they were a young upstart going places.  Well,  it looks like they really are a young upstart going places.  They just laid an egg against the 49ers.

The Saints with they could do that one over again.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

So I applied for a job with the NFL

So it all started 24 hours ago.  My buddy Colin, who happens to be on the job market right now, sent me an eMail with a link to the NFL's website; or their employment website to be more precise.  

This was exciting.  Colin happens to live very near Culver City, and I thought he might have nailed a media position with the NFL Network or NFL Films.  I clicked the link. It turns out that the League is looking for a project manager... a software project manager; a web-oriented software project manager, to be precise.

Of course, Colin knows I am looking for my big break in software management.  I took 24 hours to think about it. If they say no, it's going to break my heart, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.  As coach Madden would say, you have to throw the football in the end zone if you want a chance at a touchdown pass.  You miss on 100% of the touchdown passes you don't throw into the end zone.

So I shook'em up and rolled the dice. Wouldn't it be lovely...

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Rams have acquired Brandon Lloyd

It's with a sense of relief that I write this entry.  By now, everybody knows that the Rams have acquired Brandon Lloyd from the Broncos.  The cost was a paltry 6th rounder in 2012.  It can be upgraded to a 5th if Brandon catches 30 passes.

Everybody knows we got a steal.  How do you get the #58 ranked player in the league for a 5th or 6th rounder?  According to the NFL Films' documentary The NFL's Top 100,  there are only 9 or 10 receivers who rank ahead of Brandon Lloyd.  The number depends on whether you view Devin Hester as a WR or a special-teams phenom.  Consider this list of WR who rank higher than Lloyd, minus Hester:

  1. Andre Johnson
  2. Larry Fitzgerald
  3. Roddy White
  4. Calvin Johnson
  5. DeSean Jackson
  6. Reggie Wayne
  7. Dwayne Bowe
  8. Wes Welker
  9. Marques Colston

We just borrowed one of the Top 10 Receivers in the league for something close to nothing.  Can't hurt, right?  He's in a contract year too folks.  He'll be on his best behavior.

There is just one catch:  No contract has been signed.  Lloyd is still set to become a free agent at the start of the new NFL business year.  There are rumors we will get some form of compensation in the year 2013 if Lloyd does not resign with us.  I am sure that will be a 7th rounder.

[Editor's note:  I just a piece with Michael Lombardi on the NFL Network.  He claims the Rams will be entitled to a 3rd round compensatory pick if Brandon Lloyd should scamper off into the ether in free agency.  The logic behind the statement eludes me.  If Lloyd is such a an esteemed performer by the league office, why did the Broncos deal him now (for a 5th) rather than wait for their 3rd rounder?  This adds the fuel of mystery to the fire in Denver.  Essentially, this makes it a no-lose proposition for the Rams.  In the worst case scenario, we trade a 5th rounder for a 3rd and get to borrow Lloyd in the meantime...  thanx!]

Unless something terrible happens, you can rest assured Brandon will catch 30 passes in the next 11 games.  He may be targeted 10-11 times per game for the next 11 games.  Brandon's biggest problem is that Sam Bradford has a high-ankle sprain, and that is a real problem.

We also got word that Mark Clayton may be coming off the PUP list as early as Thursday.  It is doubtful that he will start or play much against the Cowboys, but he is getting better.

If Clayton returns strong, we have a decent shot at a decent finish.  Clayton, Lloyd and rookie TE Lance Kendricks make a pretty decent trio of receivers.  Certainly, this will be the strongest corp that Sam has had a chance to work with in his brief career.  This is probably the best group we've had since 2006.

As a defensive coordinator, I wouldn't loose sleep over this group, but I wouldn't be thrilled by the prospect of facing them either.  Lloyd is a serious threat.  Kendricks is a mismatch problem.  He's too big for a safety and too fast for a linebacker.  You need to double him with one each.  If you double Lloyd and Kendricks, Clayton will eat up yards and prosper.

The math is going to be different now, folks.  The Rams are not going to be so easy to stop.  Just don't expect the world against the Cowboys.  That's just a little too soon for the whole picture to develop.  There will be a couple of weeks of re-jiggering.

With that said, I wouldn't want to be the Cardinals on week 9.  The machinery may mesh by week 9.

A strong finish is a problematic thing.  The only good thing about loosing your first 5 or 6 games out of the shoot is that you are in position to claim one of the better prospects in the next draft.  Even with Brandon Lloyd resigned, and we don't know if he will resign, we still have a desperate need for Justin Blackmon.

Blackmon, Lloyd, Clayton, Amendola and Kendricks would make a very nice receiver corp.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I am now an Inglorious Crossfit Basterd

So, my first-ever CrossFit training session went down this morning in Simi Valley 11:00am.  Of course, this is prime time for NFL Football, but I had to make a decision about what was important to me.

The training was good.  It was challenging.  I enjoyed it.  It was even exciting... when we got to the 200 meter sprints.

The CrossFit workout is divided into 3 phases.  There is the warm-up phase, there is an agility and flexibility phase, and then you have the Workout or WOD phase.  The head coach--and that is what they call him--will write a to-do list on a dry erase board under each of those three headers.  This is the game plan for the workout.

So our warm up phase consisted of the following items repeated three times:

  1. 400 Meters of Olympic Rowing
  2. PCB pipe stretches
  3. 10 push ups
  4. 10 pull ups
  5. 10 kettle bell swings.
The skills phase consisted of the following items:
  1. 20x jump rope.
  2. 10 reps of Lunges
  3. 10x pull ups
  4. 10 Olympic crawls
The actual WOD consisted of the following items
  1. 200 meter sprint
  2. 10x burpees
  3. 10x kettle bell swings
  4. 15x straight leg situps
  5. 10x jump rope
The WOD pattern was repeated as many times as possible for 20 minutes.  I managed 4 complete reps of this pattern and a little more running.  The running was exciting.  

Due to my knee problems and my body weight, I haven't run in years.  I honestly didn't know how my knees would respond to the running.  I just stayed in the moment and decided I had to give it my best shot.  It turned out I made that 200 meter run and it was easier the second time around.  It was easier still on the third rep.  By the third rep, I wasn't worried about whether my knee would suddenly shatter and my leg fold up in a bizarre way.

To know that I can run again--and not super slow either--was a great revelation.  If CrossFit restores my running ability, it will have done more than enough for me.  I suspect it will do a little bit more.

I had some knee inflammation after the workout, but that didn't concern me much.  What bothered me was the lingering pain in my right foot.  I sure hope I didn't break a metatarsal on the run.  That would truly suck.  That would break my current plans.

Anyhow, I hope to do this again tomorrow night.


So the score a few moments ago was 193.4 English pounds on the Tanita scale.  WTF...?  The metabolic pranks continue to rage around here.  It seems that every day is April Fools day around these parts, at least when it comes to my body weight.

This is a really an astonishing fact.  Just 25 hours ago, the Bod Pod weighed me at 190.664.  Today, my weight has soared to 193.4.  That is a raw increase of 2.736 pounds, but we need to account for the differential between the scales.

On that subject, I should mention that my Tanita scale weighed me in at 191.4 yesterday morning.  As I just mentioned, scarcely an hour later, the Bod Pod weighed me at 190.664.  This would indicate that the difference between the scale has widened to 0.736 pounds.  This is almost as large as the 0.85 pounds it used to be.  Perhaps the Bod Pod is losing calibration, and needs maintenance again.

For the sake of argument, let's presume the differential is now 0.736 pounds.  This would indicate an increase of 2 pounds.  Incidentally, 193.4 - 191.4 = 2 pounds.  We have a check sum.  We can conclude that my weight went up 2 pounds over night.

On second thought, this increase is not hard to account for.  If I walked into the Bod Pod test dehydrated to the tune of 32oz of water, you would have your difference right there.  Since I cleared my intestines with Magnesium Citrate and some banana fiber, you can also cover some of that 32 ounce differential with waste products, which are mostly lean, and partially fat.

But this begs the real question.  Follow me on this one.  If most of this weight differential was water and waste products, my lean weight would have shown up +2 pounds.  I would have been measured at 148.95, not 146.95.  Would this have changed the results of my test significantly?  Here's the scoop:

  1. My total body weight would have decreased from 193.284 to 192.664.  This is a paltry loss of 0.62 of pound.
  2. My lean would have increased from 147.62 to 148.95.  This is an increase of 1.33 pounds.
  3. My fat weight would have decreased from 45.663 to 43.714 pounds.  This is a decrease of 1.949 pounds.
  4. My Body Fat Percentage would have decreased from 23.6 to 22.69.  This is a decrease of 0.91 of a percentage point.
  5. My body volume figure would have been anybody's guess.
The change in Body Fat Percentage would have remained >1%.  Still, I would have preferred to see that lean mass increase.  I did myself a real disservice by spending some 30 minutes in the saunas and taking a 1,000 mg of Tylenol.  Of course, this sheds water weight and kills inflammation, but this only serves to reduce your lean weight on the Bod Pod test.

The indicators are better, but still not good.  The indication is that my current workout regime has stalled, and is not producing good results anymore.  The recommendation remains:  Change your workout regime.  do something more intense.

I was not able to setup a CrossFit workout yesterday.  My first CrossFit workout goes down in just about 3 hours; 11:00am in Simi Valley, to be precise.  Still, I am very proud of the workout I did yesterday.  I kicked-off with a full-cycle ROM Workout.  I went to the gym later and did nearly 60 continuous minutes of exercise, only breaking for 30 to 60 seconds to move from one machine to another.  The total looked like this:


ROM Upper

ROM Lower


Club Elliptical 1


Club Elliptical 2



There are two different brands of Elliptical Cross-Trainers at my 24 Hour Fitness in West Hills.  The short black one is very, very challanging.  The resistance is high and the range of motion is wide.  The calorie totals are very high on the black one.  The second one is blue-grey, and seems to stress your core (mid-body) more than anything else.  It is far less challenging, and provides lower calorie yields.

I felt great after that workout.  It's great to know that you can burn for 60 continuous minutes at high intensity.  Incidentally, high intensity is defined as more than 12 kcal per minute of exercise.  Last night, I burned 846 kcal in just 60 minutes.  This is a global average of 14.1 kcal per minute.  I was pretty well drenched in sweat at the end of the workout.

Still, I woke up two pounds heavier this morning.  What does that tell you?