Monday, December 1, 2014

chiefs! donkeys! part uno -- up to kickoff ...

“Would it help if I turned
A sad song on?  All by myself;
It’d sure hit me hard,
Now that you’re gone.

Or maybe I’ll fold some old
Yellow lost love letters –
It’s gonna hurt bad,
Before it gets better.

But I’ll never get over you,
By hiding this way.

I’ve never been the kind,
To ever let my feelings show!
And I thought that being strong?
Meant never losing your self control.

But I’m just drunk enough,
To let go of my pain.
To hell with my pride –
Let it fall like rain from my eyes!

Tonight?  I wanna cry! …”


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“Every score is going our way!  Every mother (trucking) one!  This is going to be our finest day in years!” – me, 3:04pm CT, shortly before the “Super” Chargers started – then completed – an epic comeback, on the road, in Baltimore.

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The lesson?  As always, I’m a (bucking) idiot.

Yesterday, at the most sacred hallowed of grounds in the National … Football League, the Kansas City Chiefs took the field with a sell-out, fired up, boozed up crowd of nearly 80,000 ready to explode in joy yet again, in this fall we all pray never ends.  (And there weren’t as many donkey fans as usual in the stands.  That was a happy development.  The donkey fan behind me?  Not so much.)

What could possibly go wrong?  The Royals owned October.  Mizzou football has owned November (and congrats on winning the SEC East yet again.  Yo, “Klassy One” – you still think Mizzou going to the SEC was a mistake?  And are you ready to retract your “Mizzou is going to the Big Ten, it’s settled” proclamation from four years ago?).  Surely, surely – with KU and KSU set to own this town come January, surely the Chiefs would own December!

donkeys 29, Chiefs 16, in a game that was utterly and thoroughly dominated by the denver broncos.  I said we were going to see greatness Sunday night, in the prediction post on Friday.  I was right.  Take a bow, jack “of the river” – your defensive front seven performed at a level you rarely see in the League.  Circle me thoroughly impressed.

And for what it’s worth, I thought “Bulldog” Bob Sutton did a damned admirable job last night too, with the Chiefs schemes.  Especially given the sh*tty spots the offense kept leaving him.  To only be down 13 at the half?  To be fielding a punt, down ten, with all the momentum on your side with 22 minutes to play?  To have the ball, only down two scores, with 6 to play?  Is a credit to the Chiefs defense.

But last night, the Bulldog was beat by a man who once thought Otis Taylor was a scab.  (In mr. del rio’s defense, the Chiefs were so horrific in 1987, I could understand the mistake, as immortalized in the scene in “The Replacements”, when Shane Falco’s pick-up truck is overturned in the player’s parking lot.  Yes, folks, that really did happen, in real life, with your 1987 Kansas City Chiefs.  The Jim Schaff Error Chiefs*, everyone!!!!!!!!)

So I wish to stress up front, whatever I may say when I get to the game recap in Part Dos later this week (and there’s at least one gigantic b*tch at referee Walt Coleman coming, and I was NOT the only one to notice what he was letting the donkeys – specifically, Number 64, Offense – get away with), the denver broncos won that game fair and square. 

The better team won last night.

Now excuse me while I go pour a stiff whiskey and Diet, and try to light myself on fire for the second time in fifteen days, before starting to put yesterday, into perspective and focus …

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(*: seriously, click on that Wikipedia link.  Not a SINGLE accomplishment listed.  Not.  One.  Even though he ran the franchise for thirteen years!  God, I so need a job where incompetence is promoted!)

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For the record, there were five moments I loved yesterday, and I mean loved, as in “they’re gonna be immortalized for as long as this thing Al Gore invented continues to exist” by being noted, in Part Uno.  Because in the span of four hours, you had …

* a good buddy admitting he’s the “high maintenance piece” of his relationship.  (Say wha?)
* a Voice of Reason’s Sister’s sighting … and she agreed with me about something for once!  (Fo shizzles?)
* not one, but two early Chrismukkah gifts given to me … and I don’t know which one I appreciate more.  (Wait, that’s a good thing!)
* an incredible brain fart … saved by the weather.  (Huh?)

And

* one I choose to keep to myself, on the walk in, about 6:15pm last evening. 

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The weekend started in crisis mode on Saturday.

I arrived at the Bus Barn around 4pm.  We had a holiday / birthday bash to attend that night at 7, and we had a few errands to run beforehand, to get everything for tailgating the next day.

Usually when I arrive, I just walk in Gus’ back door, the dogs barking lets him know I’m there, and I print out the early arrival pass, because for some reason, the “Second Parents” printer will not print that sucker.  It’ll print tickets off Stubhub, but it won’t print a parking pass off Ticketmaster.  Ridiculous.

The crisis came about, because Gus’ printer cartridge is about bone dry, and the bar code wouldn’t print.

And none of us wanted to pony up $35, to print out a free parking pass.

So I started crisis management mode.  Tried Susan at work; she’d already left.  Tried Jaimmie; ditto.  Couldn’t use “The Voice of Reason”, like with Mickie’s ticket a few weeks ago, because this was an “early in pass”, as in “before anyone else arrives”.

I tried printing random stuff onto Russ’ printer.  Worked fine.  Tried printing the parking pass again.  Nothing.  And worse yet, because it was selected to print, we were frightened that since it showed as “printed” with a confirmation number, even if we ever did get the damned thing to print, it wouldn’t be valid.

I figured, my worst case scenario, was to take the laptop to a FedEx Kinko’s first thing Sunday morning, and pay to print the thing off.

Finally, out of sheer frustration, I start reading the early-in pass, as it shows on the laptop.  And there, in very, very, very fine print, it says “If you have trouble printing this pass, you may need to upgrade to Adobe Acrobat 10.4”.

In the words of Mousey McDermott: “you have GOT to be kitten me!”

Because as soon as I downloaded the new version?

Printed perfectly.

Sonofabeach!

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Saturday was like Bermuda Triangle day in Raytown, apparently.  Mona got approached in the HyVee by some woman claiming poverty, who wanted her to drive her six miles to some party she was attending.  She could afford the booze, but not the cab ride.  Yeah, bullsh*t. 

Russ and I took The Bus to get gassed up and hosed off, and this ripped dude parked at the pump next to us, sees The Bus, and says “hey, you got beer on that thing?”  Well, of course we do, but not until Sunday, dimwit.  We try explaining that to him, and then he replies with “I’ll take warm, it’s cool!”  Not happening.

And then, once we got The Bus back into its night-before parking space, we decided we’d go ahead and vacuum it, to save some time.  Just one problem.  Neither Russ or I could figure out where the damned on switch was, for said vacuum.  We finally found it, and got the pathway cleared, but then, we couldn’t figure out where the suction hose hooked into.  What should have been a five minute job, turned into thirty, and when that was done, not a word needed to be said.

We’d earned that whiskey and Diet.

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Saturday night, went to a dinner for a friend’s birthday, and the dinner went fine.  Saw some folks I hadn’t seen in a while, which is always good.  Saw Bruce and Cathy away from the Double, which is even better, because it means I’m not inhaling four packs of Camel’s from the other patrons puffing away.  (Yes, folks, smoking in bars and restaurants is still legal in Raytown.  Circle me disgusted, Bert.)

That conversation with them led to some upsetting news, that will likely play out tomorrow, about another friend.  I’ll hope for the best.  But seeing Gus this morning, I’m braced for the worst.

After the party broke down, off to home for the night … and we didn’t know what to do with ourselves.  Usually the night before is a mad dash to get everything prepared and loaded as much as possible, for the next morning 5am wake-up call. 

I gotta admit, not setting the alarm before a home game?

Has its perks.

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Perhaps the weather change should have been the sign, for what was to come.

Saturday?  My brother replaced his back screen door in shorts and a t-shirt, and the shirt was optional.  It was a balmy nearly 70 degree day here in Kansas City.  Even Saturday night, I wore shorts and a long-sleeve t-shirt to the birthday bash.

Sunday morning, I woke up, showered, and we still had a few things to pick up that we’d opted to put off until GameDay morning.  (Namely, ice; there’s no room in the freezer, and the temp was too warm Saturday night, to leave it on the garage floor.)

The temp when we left for the Apple Market, pushing 10am Sunday morning?

28 degrees.  With a brutal wind pushing 20mph.

It would only get worse.  Although to be fair, the only time yesterday I was truly cold?  Was the walk back to The Bus after the game.  I could barely move, I was shaking so much from the cold.  Tailgating was fine temp wise, especially with the EZ-Up.  Even the game itself, I wasn’t that cold.  But the walk back, good God.

Remind me again why I moved back here from balmy Fort Worth, when my college years were over?

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That trip Sunday morning was a debacle.  In addition to ice, we needed to get a thermometer for the deep fryer.  We open at the Apple Market.  No thermometer.  But they did have ice.  But all we thought we needed was drink ice, so we only got a small bag.

So from there, it was off to the True Value on Noland … and we looked, and looked, and looked, and there wasn’t a deep fryer compatible thermometer to be found … until we checked the Holiday portion of the store.

They had one.

Which begs the question: who the hell hangs grilling equipment, in the Christmas section of their store?

So, drink ice and thermometer in hand, back to Gus’, to grab the cooler ice.

Only one problem.

He sorta, kinda, maybe, like, innocently … forgot to make any.

Hey, it’s cool; there are things more important in life, than remembering to turn the ice maker on the night before.

So back to the Apple Market for a couple more bags of ice, when I notice that they have hand warmers for $1 each.  What a steal!  Even if they don’t work, you’re only out a buck!

(Or, as that fine, uuh, “dining room host” would note at the “Outback”: “It’s just a buck, so what the f*ck!”)

I bought enough for our group, Russ threw in a box of donuts, and finally, we were ready to get this party started.

A solid hour, after it should have.

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Six rode out yesterday on The Bus: myself, Russ, Mona, Susan, Anthony, and Jaimmie.  We got a call from Keith that the Springfield folks were running late, so could we save a few spots for them.  Sure, no problem.  The usual two?

Five.

Uuh … ok, we’ll try.  I also needed to save a spot for Chris, and my brother wasn’t sure if he’d park by us, or where his pass is valid at.  Folks?  I’m one person, trying to save seven spots here.  Cut me some slack, if I only managed to save six.  Which, thankfully, was all we needed; the Springfield folks consolidated cars from five to four. 

So, you ask, how does one (incredibly) hot as hell 37 year old, manage to lug enough equipment, to save six parking spots, before the gates open.

Oh yeah.  We went old school.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  No, I didn’t start shedding clothing to save spots and go streaking!  I saved those spots with something much more 2002-ish.

The orange cones.

The parking nazis were furious.  First, they accused me of stealing their cones.  I told them “look around – you see any missing?”  (Also, as I pointed out -- the Truman Sports Complex cones, are all orange; ours are orange … with a black base.)  Then they dropped the “well, you can’t save this many spots!” blast.  I reminded them that if you enter the gates within a half hour of the posted opening time (which was 3pm), you can park any damned place you want to, within your respective lot, and save spots for the folks arriving, before that half hour of posted entry time is done.  (With the early in pass, this is never an issue for us.)  Then they complained when I went to move their parking gate, to let The Bus through.  I pointed out how insane their parking design is, that cars can’t make a right turn from a right turn lane, because of their cones and sawhorses and God knows what else.  Then they b*tched that I moved their cones inside Lot G to let The Bus turn around.  I pointed out to them that I put everything back, and if you’d actually let people park where they want to inside their assigned lot, you wouldn’t need cones and sawhorses and … yeah.

Finally, they gave up.

About twenty minutes later, once we were finishing setting up, the parking nazi by us, seeing we had coffee and hot chocolate out, asked if she could have a cup.

Denied.

I would like to think that in the great beyond, I put on an All-Star performance, worthy of the late, great Randall Carlyle Wakefield, in dealing with those assholes.

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About the only thing that went wrong in getting set up, was that I could not get the iPhone to play on the stereo.  The folks next to us hijacked the 88.1 frequency I usually use.  And Roger’s group always uses 88.9, and those are the only two I’ve found that work fairly clearly.

So I spent fifteen minutes trying to find one spot where the phone, adapter, and radio would perfectly intersect … on 88.3.  And by God, I found it.

And once I did, I made Jaimmie stand there, holding everything in perfect place, while I grabbed duct tape, to tie everything down in an unmovable fashion, before adding a “do not move!” note.

My part of the setup complete, I did what I do best:

Let 13 get his coozie on.

I paced myself quite well yesterday.  I try not to drink a whole lot at the denver game, mostly because I know how I feel about that team, and more specifically, 99.22% of their fans, and if you get me into my typical state of intoxication at a game, it isn’t gonna end well for me.

My pregame consumption was two Coors Lights, and three mimosa’s.  I even passed up Castro offering me a shot of Patron, and that happens about as often as I get laid (rimshot!) 

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So this is Moment Uno from pregaming, that made me laugh out loud.

Roger wound up parking across the aisle, since they had more folks coming than usual, and my buddy Brad wanders over to exchange pleasantries with everyone.

And after talking for a few minutes, he asks if we have any “mixers”.  “You know, like Sprite or OJ or –“

We had OJ.

So he hands over a glass he’s been carrying that had a clear liquid in it (“What is vodka for $400, Alex), and Mona asks if he’s taking that back to his girlfriend.

“No, no.  (Pause).  I’m the high maintenance one in this relationship.  She pretty much drinks hers straight.”

For the record, this girl is ridiculously hot.  If I can find a picture of her somewhere (and I know I’ve got one on one of the laptops), I’ll have to post it.

“I’m the high maintenance one in this relationship.”

That’s a man who’s whipped.

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Moment Dos mentioned above, actually occurred between Moment Tres Part Uno y Part Dos, but what the hell, let’s shake things up.  We had a Jenni sighting!

After exchanging pleasantries and catching up with the sister I never had, we headed down so that The Voice of Reason could get his early Chrismukkah gift for me out of the car.  And as Jenni and I are walking back, she notes:

“I am so cold.”

Circle me stunned, Bert – we finally agree on something!

“I don’t think I could ever move back somewhere this cold again.”  To which I replied “so how cold does it get out there (Sacramento)?”  To which she replied “well, we did hit 28 once last winter; people didn’t know what to do.”

Again – why the hell did I move back here – from the warmth of Texas – after college?

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Jasson and Brent passed by next, which prompted Jenni’s funniest comment of the day:

“Oh, now all that’s missing is Tim, and I’d have all my boys back!”

Readers?  You will be stunned – if not shocked and awed! – that Jenni was pretty much the only girl in the picture, circa 1991 … 1992 … 1993 … 1994 … hell, well into the late 1990s, for most of my good friends and me.  Stunned.  You’d think we took over her Super NES and played Super Tecmo Bowl all weekend long.  (Pause).  Oh.  Wait.

Let’s move on.

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Moment Tres, is actually in two parts … and I guess I’ll do them in chronological order, just because.

When Jaimmie and Anthony arrived, they handed me a nicely wrapped present, and simply said “this is for you!”  Anytime someone hands me a present, it’s sweet, right?  Especially when they note “you might want to use this today!”  You hand me a gift, and suggest I will want to use it today, it can only be one thing, right?

(homer simpson voice) The cause of – and solution to – all of life’s problems!

Well … no.  Not exactly.

Ladies and gentlemen, peoples and peepettes, I give you the best Chrismukkah gift I will probably receive this year (unless God somehow allows denver to crap the bed at home against Buffalo or oakland, and the Chiefs win out).  Something some of you have seen, in full sized, ladder-climbing form, in the front of Lot G most weeks.  Something, when I saw it last year, I took a picture, texted it to a few friends, and everyone’s collective response was basically that of Lily Aldrin’s at seeing “Let’s Go To The Mall” for the first time.

Readers?  I am now the proud owner … of …

Well, let the picture do it justice.


(Image credit: me, via my iPhone 5c.)

Oh Hell Yes I Own Drinko!!!!!

It even has chips to shoot down the board to boot!

I mean, how do you top that?  How?

Somehow, The Voice of Reason at least matched it.

He kept noting on the walk to the car that “this was something I knew you’d love”, and that “this is something only you’d truly appreciate”, and then dropped the “this is something that is game used, game worn!”

I mean, come on – dead giveaway right?  HAS to be an Ed Hearn Royals jersey!

Thank God, no.

This, is what landed at Mr. Reason’s feet, at the close of the Seahawks game two weeks ago:




(Image credit: me, via my iPhone 5c.)

Victory streamers!  Nobody loves those more than me!

So thanks to two awesome friends, for starting this epic Chrismukkah month out right!

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Technically, Moment Cuatro occurred first.  And yes, it is an epic, epic, epic Stevo brain fart that I offer no real defense for … other than I managed to save it.

I … (Pause).  Do I really have to admit this?  (Pause.)  Fine.

I sorta, kinda, maybe, possibly, indefensibly … left Quad Noose at home yesterday.

Triple Noose Donkey almost got off the hook, without his fourth noose getting added.

Indefensible.  And I offer none (unless “Went To Bed Intoxicated for $600, Alex” is allowable.  (Pause).  It’s not?  Damn!).

Thankfully, I can occasionally be resourceful … and saw the ropes hanging from the top of the EZ-Up.  Problem solved.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Quadruple Noose Donkey!!!!!!!



(Image credit: me, via my iPhone 5c.)

Poor guy.  Excuse me while I smack him around a lil’ bit more …

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The menu yesterday was bronco burgers, hot fries, and jalapeno poppers, to go with assorted desserts, the (late, great Mr. William Grigsby voice) Prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrresidential Platter from Gates, as well as a few other assorted odds and ends, and a dessert or three.

I have to say, bronco burgers never get old.  They just get better every year (or, in the summer, every weekend).  And the jalapeno poppers?  I’m eating a few while writing this, thank you very much.

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About 5:30ish, we made the decision to start breaking down, since the sun was descending, and we had EZ-Ups, speakers, tables, food, coolers, you name it, to, uuh, break down.

And then, another crisis.

The stakes were driven so far into the ground, to hold the EZ-Up in place, that we had nothing to get them out.

It took me, a pair of pliers, and a solid twenty minutes, but I managed to finally get all the stakes out, and the EZ-Up down.  

And a little after 6pm, our group started to head down towards the HyVee Gate, knowing most of us would stop off at the Bulance, for a five, ten minute conversation, before heading in.

Which is when the moment I choose to keep to myself, occurred.

It is a moment I never saw coming ... and it is a moment, that made that defeat almost bearable.

But God bless it, was it one HELLUVA great moment in time.

Between two former friends.  Me being one of them.

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No towels handed out as you headed in.  That stunned me.  I still have the jersey towel from the Patriots Monday Nighter hanging in my cubicle.  I have the blue Royals towel from the Wild Card game at home now, but it hung in that cubicle every day of the postseason run.

Last night, the giveaway as you entered the gates … was free samples of the HyVee brand dark chocolate.

(Pause).

Is this where I mention, I do not eat chocolate?

(I know you randoms reading this won't believe that last sentence ... but I do not eat chocolate.  Save for those Mint M&M thingies at this time of year.  Those, I'll eat.  Otherwise, I stick to the Skittles and/or Dots.)

That should have been the sign.  That should have been the “this isn’t going to end well” moment, I tend to feel entering games that end, uuh, not well.  For example, as everyone on my trip to South Dakota last week can attest: I have been saying all week entering that game, that the oakland game scared me more than denver.  (Go figure, I was right.) 

(Also, Part Dos is coming by Friday.  It's about two-thirds complete.)

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Since I need to shut this down at least eight pages and one epic "bleep you Walt Coleman!" rant early, due to having to work for the first time in eighteen days tomorrow, allow me to note five things, from the pregame and/or first seven minutes of the first quarter, that I do not want to miss:

1. Jessica Harp on the National Anthem!  The Chiefs were 2-0 against denver entering that game when she sang the Anthem.  Let's just say, she's out of the Stevo Permanent National Anthem Rotation after yesterday -- we're down to three a year from Ida McBeth, the Rev. Hal Weeks, Patti DiPardo-Livergood, and David Cook gets biggest game of the year honors.

2. In case you weren't there, and doubted the images from your flat screen: yes, the NBC window for the broadcasters booth was wide, wide, wide open.  I looked across at least ten times, and every time, theirs was the only open window, on Broadcast Row.  Al and Cris were every bit as miserable as the rest of us were, in the cold.  So when they look shivering cold?  They really were.  The dead animal on Al's head?  Possibly fake.  But bundling up to stay warm?  Definitely real.

3. The Chiefs first play from scrimmage?  Was the EXACT same play we ran at Indy in the playoff game, that the EXACT same target (Donnie Avery) caught for a touchdown in Indy, to break the game open in the 2nd Quarter, eleven months ago.  I totally, totally dug that play call.  And I tried texting that to a few of you I usually communicate with during every game, only …

4. No cell reception for most of the game for me.  What.  The.  Hell?  The only person – the ONLY person! – I texted that it went through regularly, was The Voice of Reason, who (go figure) is with Sprint.

Chiefs?  I was logged into your WiFi.  I literally work across the street from the Sprint campus.  I cannot get reception inside the office absent the WiFi … but logged into the WiFi?  No problems whatsoever.  That was ridiculous last night, the lack of cell service, even on the WiFi.

(And yes, smart asses – I paid the bill.  Hence being able to text with Gregg.)

And

5. The Eric Berry support ad.  I get that it fell flat.  I can actually understand why (denver just drove the field to deflate the crowd, and the weather was deflating the rest of it).

But that?

That was one damned cool ad.

bE Bold.
bE Brave.
bE Berry.

(Note: I tried to link, but it's not on kcchiefs.com, and it's not on Youtube!, and I'm too damned lazy to look anywhere else.)

We stand with ya dude.  Now, then, and always.

Because love?  Is the best thing we do.  Even if it's destined to fail ... like last night by the Red and Gold ...

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