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LAL Season 2 - Crystal Ball Fantasy Predictions

My fantasy predictions as follows:
Marcelino and Brittany - Knowing he is already almost broke, Marcelino takes the bill and mortgage money and in a desperate attempt to prove to everyone that he is indeed, the best poker player ever, takes it to Binions Golden Nugget and goes all in... and loses everything. Flash forward: Marcelino drives a FedEx route and has custody of all his kids because the state pressed charges against Brittany for assaulting him on tv. The series then flashes back to when Marcelino was telling that guy he was in love with/marrying a convict and the guy says “What’s she in for?” and Marcelino responds with “You mean, this time?”
Clint and Tracie- Alice, having major anxiety about Clint and his poor decision making abilities is rescued by Clint’s father. His patience with Clint finally used up, his dad and he get into a fistfight. Alice calls the police and Clint is arrested. Tearfully, he calls his mom from jail to admit he has a drug problem and a Tracie problem. He moves to another state to get help. Tracie, knowing Clint is in rehab, returns to the house and guts it for the copper wiring to support her habit. Blazer and the cat are re-homed. Tracie has one last giant drug blowout. It’s a cliffhanger though - death or jail?
Andrea and Lamar- Tennison takes control. Since it’s a tie between Cali and Utah, Tennison decides. Lamar and Andrea will pay rent for a house in Utah where Tennison will take care of Nyla and Priscilla since he does that anyway. Priscilla will go stay with Lamar in Cali on school holidays and over summer and he is welcome to come stay with the kids in Utah anytime he likes. Squee Bastard comes for a visit and decides Salt Lake City may well hold the creative keys to break Lamar’s rap career. They open the first recreational marijuana dispensary in Sundance! It is a hit! Andrea, arrested for assaulting Lamar (and the viewers senses) is kicked out of the Mormon church. She becomes “gay for the stay” and pays for prison closet sex.
Tony and Angela - The wedding takes place. But first, Tony dons his white suit, is taken down to the edge of the Mississippi river and is baptized in it by Angela’s preacher in an attempt to pray away his addictions to sex with prostitutes. The wedding is on the beach in Biloxi. Afterwards, the wedding party retires to a nearby casino (smoking allowed) and the all you can eat buffet commences. Tony backslides within hours, forcing Tommy to go home and get into his karate outfit for a throw down! Angela burns the white suit and returns to university to get her Ph.d. A new list for Tony is attached to the fridge and rules get added daily. Tony buys a fireproof pup tent for when he has to sleep in the yard.
Chon/Chane/Laceup - The epic fight is on! Chon swaggers in screaming “Daddy’s home” while flexing. Chane braces up but it is all over in minutes when Laceup’s dad removes pipes from the trampoline and knocks Chon right out. He invites Chane to come live with him and the kids while Laceup nurses Chon in her ample bosom. Chon goes right back to using but he and Laceup finance their love through online porn and HVAC repair. Chane, under supervision from dad, cleans up his act. He ends up marrying an ok country gal and invites the whole clan to come live in the holler with him.
5head/Cabbage Patch Kid/Haggis/Beyoncno- CPK was obulatin’ again and as it turns out, so were Haggis and Beyoncno!! 5head has 3 more “pretty gurls” scattered throughout the United States. It is not long before he is arrested on a human trafficking charge when a girl on an airplane slips the flight attendant a note to say 5head is abducting her. CPK finds a new man. Since he is hispanic, she drops the Blaccent (but not her hoops) and adopts Spanglish. Haggis loses her kids to the system and continues her low level Backpage business. Beyoncno continues to take 5heads collect calls from prison but her father takes custody of her child. She is beyond all hope. She is invited to be in the Love and Hip Hop Fort Worth franchise (its own train wreck) and in the ultimate twist, is seen paying for closet prison sex with 5head!! It is not long before Squee Bastard picks up her contract and she moves to Sundance to become Utah’s first leading lady of really bad rap.
Bonus: Cheryl really does marry a serial killer in an insane asylum. Their love story is filmed for ID Channels “Killer Couples.” Josh still lives with his mom at home but she signed off on his new wife. He is back in prison after trying to rob the falling down castle after a banquet.
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The Killing House

There is a house near New Orleans, and before you make any jokes; no it isn't called the Rising Sun.
It does have a rather memorable reputation though, and a name that will probably make you think twice about visiting.
They call it the Killing House, and it only opens once a year on Halloween night.
The premise of the Killing House is simple, you go in and while spending the night any type of crime you commit is off the record, total anonymity ala The Purge.
As you might have guessed, this doesn't sit too well with the local authorities, so each year the proprietors have had to change location and keep it super secret.
Usually they do this by advertising on 4chan or other smaller forums in the darkweb, and then the rest is accomplished by word of mouth.
I'm not going to make it sound like what they are doing is ok by any means, but as it turns out; I had a reason to go this past October.
That reason was Rosemary Gilcrest.
About two weeks before the main event, I got on a Discord group that promoted the other local scare fairs, and met her in a NSFW chat.
Being down and out with my own wife, meeting a feisty no nonsense redhead half my age was quite the thrill.
After a few flirtatious encounters on the forum she popped the question about hooking up outside of cyberspace.
I told her I would love to, but figured given my age that she would probably consider me too old and worn out for her taste.
"The older the wine the sweeter the berry," she teased.
So I told her I was game, and we agreed that a secret rendezvous would be best.
"How about the Killing House?" she suggested.
If we had been in voicechat she probably would have heard me laugh out loud at the audacious idea.
"That place is uh... well it's got that name for a reason," I said.
Just last year the cops pulled three bodies from the basement. They were stripped of teeth, fingerprints and skin, so identification wasn't possible, and the rumors were there were at least five others found during the weeks to follow.
"That stuff is all just fake news! It's meant to be spooky to draw customers! I went last year and had the time of my life! They have an unlimited bar and grill, and the best spa this side of Houston!" she insisted.
I was hesitant of course. But I also didn't want to look like some kind of coward to her, so I gave in.
I know what you're probably thinking now, what a dumbass.
I was thinking the same thing as I drove to the spot where Rose said we would meet just off of 23 almost at Scarsdale.
The night air was calm near the water, and it felt like we were completely alone despite the city lights.
She had told me she would be wearing a green scarf for me to figure out who she was, but all i had needed to see was those sparkling green eyes.
She giggled and jumped at me as I walked over from my Jeep.
"I was beginning to think you had chickened out!" she told me as we had a quick make-out session.
"Mm, for you I couldn't say no. Are you sure we have to go to this stupid haunted attraction? I'm sure I can make you scream right here," I teased her.
"Naughty boy. Nope. You come to the house or you don't get the goods! That's the deal!" she told me with a laugh.
"Fine. So where to from here?" I asked.
"It should be here any minute now," she said excitedly.
I was about to ask her what she meant when I saw something moving upriver. It was an old style Mississippi steamboat, the kind that normally is only used for tours and the like on the main riverfront.
Now all of the rumors about the Killing House made sense. How they were able to remain under the radar and keep the law away.
It was dark in color, like a phantom ship in the night as it approached our parking spot and then I heard the sound of a foghorn as one of the attendants tossed the ladder over the side of the ship.
Rose took my hand and encouraged me to set sail, and for almost half a second I thought about turning around and going home.
Still, her kiss lingered on my lips and a man has needs so like a dumbfounded puppy dog I followed onboard.
All of the attendants wore the same skin tight mesh that prevented me from seeing their faces, another step in their scheme to obscure who these wackos were.
"Welcome to your death. I'll be your server tonight," one said as we entered the main foyer.
The steamboat seemed larger on the inside than I expected, almost like a palace. I wagered from the elaborate architecture and room design it was once used as a casino of some sort.
Soft repetitive music played as Rose led me down the stairs to where at least thirty other individuals were eating and chatting like this was an everyday event.
"What can I get you to drink?" the masked bartender asked us.
The ambience and general cheer in the air threw me for a loop as Rose ordered us two Bloody Mary tonics.
Everyone looked like they were having a good time, dancing and carrying on about their plans for the night.
A lot of it sounded like weird BDSM stuff, and other parts were a tad on the torture porn level. It made me squeamish to imagine they were just chitchatting about this as though they did it all the time.
But all in all I was beginning to get the idea that the rumors of actual murder might have been just for publicity like Rose had said.
I was just feeling like getting up for a dance when a newcomer entered the fray and rushed toward us.
"Eve? Is that you?" a man said walking up half drunk from the grill to my date.
Rose looked down at her drink trying to ignore him as he said, "It's me Sam! From the convention in San Antonio!"
"I think you have me mistaken for someone else," she began but he wasn't hearing it.
"Nah... you're Eve all right. Let me guess this is your latest catch?" he said as he looked me up and down like I was some kind of trophy.
"Not bad at all. I bet he'll last. Hey buddy did you bring any kind of lube... you're gonna need it!" He laughed.
I saw Rose look more and more uncomfortable with each passing moment, and I pushed the guy away muttering, "Listen buddy, we're just trying to have a good time. The lady said she doesn't know you, so why don't you scram?"
Sam raised his hands defensively as he backed away and winked at my date.
"Definitely a keeper you got here. Well, best of luck to you two. You're gonna need it!" Sam laughed as he walked out of the dining room.
Rose continued to stir her drink as I gave her an odd look, waiting for her explain what just happened.
Finally I sighed and said, "That was uh... interesting."
"Can we just drop it?" she muttered.
"Oh sure, sure," I said as I looked up toward the television.
Most of the monitors seemed to show the same program, an old horror movie from the 70s about a prison; I forget the name. Then it suddenly changed to a black screen with numbers counting down.
A few in the room started cheering excitedly and Rose grabbed my arm.
"We should get to our room," she said.
"Hold on a second. What's going on?" I asked as I looked around. Most of the people were getting ready to leave as well as the clock started ticking down.
"It's almost time. Not a good idea to be here when it gets started. Too open," Rose told me.
She began to tug on my jacket again, but I guess my brain finally kicked into gear and I wanted a few answers from her.
"I'm not going anywhere until you tell me at least who that guy was, how he knew you and why the hell you really brought me here," I told her.
She looked down at the floor trying not to tremble. I realized she was genuinely upset about something and she mumbled. "Please.. just get to the room. I'll explain everything there."
For some reason I fell for that routine.
I followed her out of the dining hall and into the hallways.
The corridors seemed constricted and out right claustrophobic as people packed in to get to their rooms.
Finally we arrived at our suite and Rose closed the door and I stood there waiting for an explanation.
"I wanted to tell you everything at first. But I was scared you would say no," she mumbled.
"Tell me now and then I can decide if I want to jump ship," I said crossing my arms angrily.
"Sam and I dated about three years ago. It wasn't a great run, but sure we had a few laughs. Until... until he got really shitfaced drunk one night and... and..." she began.
Then she started sobbing and fell into my arms.
I immediately realized what had happened. That pervert had raped her.
I sat her down on the bed and ran my fingers through her hair.
"I'm sorry... I'm so sorry Rose..." I told her.
"I'm... not finished... it was more than just what he did to my virginity... he..." she looked down at her trembling hands.
"He got me pregnant," she explained in a voice that was almost a whisper.
I clenched my fists and stood up staring at the wall.
I couldn't help but to punch a hole in the siding, realizing there was another aspect of the story that was unsaid but all too clear.
"You lost the child didn't you?" I asked.
"Sam was older than me... he panicked and forced me to get an abortion... threatened he would kill me if I didn't..." Rose sobbed.
All the pieces were falling into place. "So... you've been coming to the Killing House every year to find him. Is that it?" I asked.
She only nodded meekly.
"He's been... taunting me ever since. Holding it over my head. That he got away with it... and... and..." she paused and just broke down entirely.
"Is that how you got your scars? You tried to take him down alone?" I asked in shock.
"What choice did I have?! No one else was going to do it!" Rose snapped back.
I could see the rage in her eyes. I understood it more than I could even express.
"That's why you brought me here... isn't it?" I asked.
She reached into her bag and pulled out a gun.
"It isn't registered. And I made sure the bullets would be untraceable. I've tried so hard to move on past this. But Sam... he's a monster. If anyone deserves to become another body for this house, it's him," she told me as she laid it on the bed.
I stared at it for a long time before I heard a loudspeaker go off elsewhere on the boat.
"ladies and gentle beasts. It's that time for our main event! The Killing House is in international waters and that means the sky is the limit! We'll be back in dock by six in the morning so please keep in mind to clean up after yourself before then!"
Then a horn went off and the music stopped.
It was time for the hunt. I know that I said that the Killing House doesn't really have any rules, and for the most part that's true. You can literally do whatever you want while you're there.
But there are a few unspoken principles that seem to guide how things work during the main event.
I found out about all of them the hard way the night that Rose gave me an unregistered gun.
I must have stared at it for ages, trying to figure out just what to make of the story she had spun.
For all I knew it could be one big lie. I didn't really know her at all, and had no reason to believe any of this.
But the conviction and hatred she had for her ex seemed real enough, and I know a thing or two about being abused.
"Stay in here," I told her as I moved toward the door.
She didn't object as I stepped out into the cramped corridor, and I heard a few random slurs tossed out from across the hall.
The queer fetishes these people seemed to revel in was on full display in the next room, a man and woman wearing bondage items and pleasuring each other with them while a crowd watched.
It made me feel sick to stay there any longer.
I needed to find Sam, figure out what was really going on here and then get out.
I moved down the hallway back to the main dining room, only to find that the previously crowded area was now pitch black and empty.
One of the employees was sweeping up beer bottles and looked at me as I moved closer. He immediately noticed my gun.
"This area is off limits during the event sir. You'll need to return to the play floor for use of weapons," he said, his voice muffled from the ski mask.
"Who is in charge around here? I need to see security tapes of the evening."
"Sir I'm afraid that isn't possible," he began but I made a warning shot up in the air and he jumped in surprise.
"R-r-right this way," the employee said taking me behind the bar.
There was a door marked employees only and he used his key to get us inside and then move down a wider passage where several of the attendants were sitting back and drinking a few rounds themselves.
None of them were wearing masks anymore and as the younger attendant brought me in with my weapon to the back of his neck I saw surprise and confusion on their faces.
"Bloody hell, what's going on here?" One older man asked gruffly.
"He wants to see the Captain," my captive answered nervously.
"You're barking up the wrong tree here Mister. Now put that weapon down and we can talk," another said.
"You must be joking. You're going to show me where the Captain is at so I can review some security footage. Simple as that," I told them.
They looked at each in amusement and then laughed which only made me more frustrated.
"Something funny? Do I need to show you how serious I am?" I said shoving their friend to a wall.
"Easy there tiger. It's just a dumb request. This must be your first time here. We don't keep surveillance of the event, or otherwise the cops would find it leaked online. Same thing for mobile devices and other electronics. Not allowed aboard," the older man explained.
I frowned in disappointment my original plan going to pieces rather quickly.
"Do you have a manifest? So you know who is supposed to be aboard?" I asked.
The men seemed hesitant to answer and I smiled as I realized I was on to something now.
"Of course you do, how else would you make certain no uninvited guests hopped aboard? Where is it?" I asked.
They didn't respond so I kicked at their coworkers ankles to force him to the floor.
"Tell me where," I growled.
"Fine. The boss can handle you," one guard said in frustration.
He stormed out of the room as though encouraging me to follow and I picked the young employee up by his shirt collar and shoved him down the passage.
"Lead the way."
We walked down a flight of stairs into what looked like a boiler room of some sort.
Given that the idea was that this was meant to be an abandoned steamboat it surprised me to find that most of the equipment was in good working order.
Something told me that this place was used on a regular basis for another purpose I thought as the guard led me toward another room that was more finely decorated.
There was a big fat man sitting on a plush red pillow in the middle of the next room as the guard opened the door. Five scantily clad women were around him acting like he was some kind of idol but when they saw my gun they all scattered like the roaches they were.
"Damien this better be good. Who the hell is this?" the fat man asked his guard.
"One of our guests. He wants a look at the manifest."
"You're out of luck stranger. That's for our administrative staff only," the fat man laughed.
"I need to find someone, see if he's aboard," I explained.
"And you thought coming in here guns a blazing would get you what you wanted?" The fat man asked.
I was about to answer when I felt a blunt instrument hit the back of my head. Everything went black instantly.
I woke up later strapped and naked to a table. The fat man was standing nearby smoking a cigar. We were back in the boiler room.
Several of the guards were gearing up the machinery as they finished tightening my bonds.
"So we did a little digging and it looks like the one name that isn't on the manifest is yours Stranger. How exactly did you get aboard?" the fat man asked.
"What are you going to do if I don't talk?" I teased.
But I don't know why I was being so smart in the first place.
One of the guards brought over what looked like a branding iron. It had strange markings on it like the kind you have for slaughterhouses on cattle.
Before I could even scream in defense they placed it against the side of my ribs, piercing flashing pain scorching my body.
"WHAT THE HELL!!!"
"It doesn't really matter who you are, to be honest. You're just what we need to spice things up," another man said.
I was trying my hardest not to whimper as I felt the pain make my side go numb.
"Now you're marked. Guess you’ll get that death wish to come true huh?" The guard said as he put the branding iron down.
"Marked for what?"
"We're getting to that. You still haven't answered our questions. Are you going to tell us how you came here?" the fat man asked.
I decide playtime with this lot was over. I spilled and told them about Rosemary and Sam.
The group looked at each other as though this news sounded familiar and then left the room to consult privately.
I struggled for a second to free myself of the bonds but it was pointless. They were back before I was half way there.
"It's your lucky day partner. Your buddy Sam turns out to be a participant too, so you're going to get to meet him," the fat man laughed.
"Take him to the arena," another guard ordered.
"Wait... what? What the hell?" I asked as they dragged me up.
I felt like I was being treated like an animal, naked and afraid.
A few moments later they shoved me into what looked like a freight elevator and it started to move up.
I pushed my weary body up and watched as the transport shook and shimmied trying to figure out what was going on.
The door opened to a wide open gala room which looked like it had once been used for some type of live theater.
Sam was there on the other side of the room, also naked and marked on his side.
XIX his marking said. Mine was XIII. What was going on? A blare-horn sounded again.
I knew this would be a fight only one of us would walk away from.
I won’t sugar coat what happened next. I fought for my life.
Sam rushed toward me, fear and anxiety covering his face. He pushed me down into the dirt and started hitting scratching and kicking me in every part of my side. There wasn’t a chance to talk it over.
I pushed him back, kicking him away and rolling near the edge of the ring. One of the men pushed me back toward the center, all of them chanting for the bloody battle to continue.
From somewhere up above, one of the proprietors dropped a knife into the sand and dirt. Both of us paused for a moment and then dropped into a charge position to make for the weapon.
Sam made it there first, and I toppled over him and kicked at his back to push him down. The knife slid. The whole boat seemed to sway. I scrambled to grab it and sliced it against Sam’s thigh. He screamed out and the crowd went wild.
But I wasn’t about to let this madness continue for their enjoyment.
I scanned the exterior of the ring, looking at the chains that linked toward some of the pipes above and ran toward them without question. Sam was struggling to stand up and ignore the injury as I began to climb.
I kicked him away, pushing my foot into his mouth and pulling harder and harder to get up. I was halfway up the chains when someone shouted to the owners of my attempted escape. If I didn’t get out soon I knew there wasn’t going to be a second chance. I saw an air vent. I kept the knife in my mouth and started to swing on the chain.
I grabbed ahold of the vent as I heard an alarm blare and several armed men come into the arena below. One of them used the blunt end of their gun to knock Sam down. The others aimed their rifles at me. I hastily grabbed the knife from my mouth and slammed it against the rusty hinges on the vent.
A bullet grazed my back. It took everything in my power to ignore the pain and keep working at the vent. Finally, the bottom half of the hinges fake lose. Then another round of bullets hit my arm and I dropped the knife.
I started swinging again. I kicked at the vent as they kept trying to shoot me down. Then the vent fell down and I pushed my body into the vent as yet another shot grazed my foot. I was crawling in my own blood. My body bruised and swollen.
I found another vent and started working to escape into the winding maze of the belly of the boat. I still needed to find that manifest.
Maybe I wouldn’t be able to help Rose but if I could get that list and then turn it over to the authorities.
My bare feet hit the cold floor and I looked about where I had come out at. It was some type of locker room. I found one of them that was open and grabbed a dirty towel to press against my open wound.
I stood there naked, confused tired and trying to think of where to go next. I wouldn’t be able to get far like this. I looked around and found a uniform for one of the workers on the steamboat. This was the key to getting back upstairs unseen.
It was a little tight and worn. But I figured that the employees around here likely came and went faster than the management could keep track of. A second later, a woman stepped into the room and paused to stare at me. “New?” she asked. “Yeah… sorry. This all got to be a bit much so I went to get some air,” I said. It was a good enough lie that she didn’t bat an eye. She guided me upstairs into what appeared to be a ballroom.
Dozens of people were waiting again, chatting and enjoying the festivities of the night. I was doing my best to keep my head down when I heard that same fat man make an announcement.
“Ladies and gents! We’ve had quite a few casualties on the ship tonight and the festivities are rounding up to a big finale. So to get things started for our final venue, we are asking all of you to a dinner,” he said.
Several workers were moving long gurneys into the back of the room. The lady I was working alongside pulled me into the kitchen to do the same.
I knew immediately what was under the white sheets. Bodies. And the smell of burnt skin covered the room. It made me want to vomit. I suddenly understood how the Killing House was able to hide all the carnage that happened aboard. They either burnt or devoured the dead. I covered my nose and pushed the gurney into the buffet room. People were lining up to grab a meal. They were eagerly anticipating the chance to become cannibals.
I pulled back the sheet that I was pushing and did a double take. It was Sam. I had seen him only twenty minutes ago and now he was dead. I hardly knew the man but still this cut me to the core. He had died because he came here searching for Rose. What would have happened to me if I had followed through with her request? Would this cult like fervor surrounded me and made me feel like a hero? I couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t care about the manifest or even the truth about Rose.
A sudden rage filled my body and I pushed the gurney over before anyone could defile this man’s body.
The crowd gasped in surprise and a few guards raised their weapons. Before they could fire a shot I pushed over a candle and fire spread across Sam’s skin. I grabbed another and tossed it straight into a guard’s face. Screams filled the air. I dropped down and began to crawl as the fire spread faster. Sprinklers activated a second later. Then I pushed another table over and rushed toward the fat man. I was on top of him before anyone could stop me. My hands around his neck. The guards pointed toward guns straight at my head but the fat man motioned for them to stop. “You… you were in the… arena,” he said with realization. I choked hard as I could but he motioned for me to stop. “I can give you whatever you want…” he insisted.
I calmed down for a moment and let him go. “You are quite a feisty one aren’t you?” he said with a laugh.
“I told you that he would be a good one Johnny,” a new voice said across the room. It was Rose. I stared at her, not too stunned to find that Sam had been right. “Ah. My daughter. This is the one that you said we could make part of the team?” the fat man asked. “Daughter?” I repeated in shock as the guards lowered their weapons and the crowd dispursed.
She only smiled sweetly. Like this was all a big game and they had won. “He did fabulous. Killed two guards and then made this whole deck a fucking fire hazard. He will be a great addition to next year's main event,” Rose said. “What? Are you insane? I’m getting the fuck out of here!!” I shouted angrily.
The fat man laughed. “And go back to your wife? You are so so simple,” he said. I felt my heart drop. they had gotten to her? “While you were busy just trying to get in my daughter’s pants, we sent out men to take care of that problem. View her as leverage,” the fat man said.
“Why..” I said desperately feeling my head spin. “Because the Killing House needs more attractions. And you have the fire to really make this place go to the next level,” Rose explained. That was why they brought me. To blackmail me. They showed me videos they were eager to spread to the police. Carefully edited to make me appear like a lone wolf killer.
So I caved. I chose to work for this mad house. I know it isn’t the best choice but I haven’t exactly made many good choices lately. I lost everything, I really did even lose my life here at the Killing House.
I don’t know if any of you will ever get an invite to come here. But take it from someone who has lived through it:
the Killing House will be the death of you.
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Weekly Events Thread 12/30/19 - 1/5/20

Please, feel free to add any events below! Check out the Events Calendar and Visitor's Guide for more info!

Looking to meet up with people? Check out Meetup St. Louis.

New Year's Eve Events



Sporting Events This Week
Attractions Around the Area
Recurring Outdoor Activities
Recurring Events on the Mississippi River
Comedy This Week
Live Music This Week
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2015 Offseason Review Series: Day 2 (Cleveland Browns)

Cleveland Browns

Division: AFC North

Intro

I don't think I need to pontificate too long one where the Cleveland Browns stand coming out of 2014. The Browns hit a promising 7-4 record after week 12, in spite of key injuries to Alex Mack and Jordan Cameron, with Josh Gordon suspended, and well-hyped rookie QB Johnny Manziel sitting on the bench. Most seasons, this would be considered a success of the new coaching staff and front office, and a sign that maybe the team was heading in the right direction for the first time in the Jimmy Haslam era, but things ended in a complete trainwreck by most accords: hometown hero QB Brian Hoyer wasn't playing up to snuff and would be benched for Manziel, who actually played worse. The lack of depth and internal drama within the coaching staff and front office became the headlines, and to make matters worse, Manziel would manage to find himself injured only 7 quarters into his football career during the Week 16 encounter against the Panthers.
Cleveland slammed the brakes hard and ended with a 7-9 record, with more questions than answers about the state of the team and the front office than ever. Hell, for most of this offseason, people have genuinely been wondering if Cleveland wasn't going to go out of its way to draft a replacement QB for Johnny Manziel, who barely played 2 games. If that doesn't tell you all you need to know how rough this season ended…
Having lived through awful regime after awful regime in the ownership (Randy "Aston Villa Enthusiast" Lerner), front office (Phil "How Much Can We Trade To Dallas" Savage, Carmen "Can't Wait to Go Back to Cali" Policy, and Mike "Worst Draft Gambler Of All Time" Holmgren), and the coaching staff (Butch "Arrogant Fuck" Davis, Romeo "Carl Winslow" Crennel, Eric "Mangina" Mangini, and Pat "Incompetent Shitbrick" Shurmur), all I'm hoping to get coming out of this offseason is a sign that things are on the right path for the first time in a while, and they may just be.

Coaching Changes

  • January 8, 2015: Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan leaves the Cleveland Browns after disagreements with the front office.
  • January 9, 2015: QB’s coach Dowell Loggains is fired.
  • January 15, 2015: WR’s coach Mike McDaniel leaves the Browns in a mutual end.
  • January 21, 2015: The Browns hire John DeFilippo as the new Offensive Coordinator from Oakland.
  • January 28, 2015: The Browns hire Joker Phillips as the new WR coach, his first stint coaching in the NFL.
  • January 31, 2015: The Browns hire Kevin O’Connell as the new QB coach, his first stint coaching in the NFL
So the Browns had a busy January. >_>
The issues with Kyle Shanahan and the Cleveland Browns became so prevalent near the end of his run that they nearly eclipsed the Manziel discussion (at least locally) during the 5-game losing streak to end the 2014 campaign. He clearly didn’t see what the front office saw in Johnny Manziel and there was a lack in synergy between him, Mike Pettine, and the decision makers. It was also clear that Dowell Loggains might have been a contributor to the problems, stemming all the way back to draft night rumors that he’d been texting Johnny Manziel about “wrecking this league”. The move was inevitable, but all things considered, the Browns went from young offensive minds to more young offensive minds in their replacements.
While losing Shanahan’s “prodigal” offensive coaching ability hurt, gaining John DeFilippo, who had been instrumental in working with a young Mark Sanchez in his best season and seemed to have a positive early influence on Derek Carr, certainly softened the blow. DeFilippo fits with what Pettine wants in hard-nosed guys, and hopefully will be a catalyst towards some change on and off the field with this group. Adding Joker Phillips, who is seemingly eternally better suited as a coordinator, and Kevin O’Connell, who seems to be exclusively working to find young talent a QB, might have a set-up in Cleveland made for beyond 2016. It's not a sexy group of coaches, but they will be capable; inexperienced nevertheless, but still capable.

Free Agency

Coming off a mass coaching exodus on the offensive side of the ball, it's no surprise a lot of change in on-field personnel was coming this offseason as well:

Players Lost

Player Position New team
Brian Hoyer QB Texans
Jim Leonard SS Retired
Miles Austin WR Eagles
Jordan Cameron TE Dolphins
Ahtyba Rubin DL Seahawks
Jabaal Sheard OLB Patriots
Buster Skrine CB Jets
Paul McQuistan OL Released
Spencer Lanning P Buccaneers
Nick McDonald OL Released
Christian Yount LS Released
Major Losses: Brian Hoyer, Jordan Cameron, Ahtyba Rubin, Jabaal Sheard, Buster Skrine
When you’re losing 5 freaking starters from 2014, it’s never a good thing.
Brian Hoyer may have completely fallen apart in the second half of last season, but it’s become more and more difficult to determine where it was lost; was it coaching? Did Hoyer just go cold or was he never that good to begin with? Were we in love with the idea of him more than what he really was; a hometown boy who was peaking too quickly? Any way you dice it, after a dismal finish, Hoyer left, hopeful for greener pastures in Houston. When Hoyer had a healthy offensive line and was on point, he wasn't setting the world on fire, but looked capable enough to work as a system QB. Maybe he'll never go on to be more than a backup in the longer term, but with what limited time he had, Brian Hoyer, in spite of a 19-19 TD/INT line, was 10-6 as a starter, which by most counts is a playoff team. I don't think anyone wishes him ill, we just wish he'd been more 2013 Brian Hoyer.
He would be followed out after a, frankly, confusing free agency mess over Pro Bowl TE Jordan Cameron, which involved Charles Clay ending up in Buffalo and Cameron turning around after an offer from Cleveland and signing with Miami the same day. I heard this entirely play out on the radio as our hosts seemed to have less of a clue than I did as to what was going on. Any way you dice it, Cameron's venture out to free agency was not a graceful exit, but Cameron was an excellent athletic target when he was healthy. He removes a big piece from the passing game and if Miami can tap into him and keep him on the field, he can be a top-tier TE.
On the other side of the ball, some would argue that Ahtyba Rubin became disposable after a somewhat pedestrian 2014, only logging 28 tackles on what was considered a significantly poor defensive line, but Rubin was a leader on defense since 2008.
The same could be said about Jabaal Sheard, who slipped a bit in production last year but was locked into an odd spot between Krueger and Mingo in the pass rush, is only 26 years old, and still has potential for success in New England; and the fact that he was rather active with the Cleveland fan base only makes it a tougher.
Buster Skrine at any given time was the most beloved and most reviled CB in Cleveland Browns history, but he earned his keep in 2014 with a strong campaign in spite of young challengers at CB behind him.
Minor losses: Jim Leonard, Spencer Lanning
More than anything, Jim Leonard was a good dude, who was an impactful player on special teams, with a wealth of knowledge for younger players. But retirement comes to all. There are still some great veterans on this squad, but at the end of the day, solid support from well vested veterans does matter.
I'll miss you forever, Spencer Lanning.

Players Added

Player Position Old team
Josh McCown QB Buccaneers
Brian Hartline WR Dolphins
Dwayne Bowe WR Chiefs
Tramon Williams CB Packers
Randy Starks DL Dolphins
Rob Housler TE Cardinals
Thad Lewis QB Texans, Bills, Browns, fuck, maybe Argonauts?
Andy Lee P Niners (Trade)
Major Additons: Tramon Williams, Randy Starks, Brian Hartline, Dwayne Bowe
The Browns were sitting on a ton of draft picks and still had a lot of talent (when that talent decided to play...looking at you Justin Gilbert) from last year's draft. They needed to get younger while providing leadership on defense, and that's what two of these signings did. The other two were simply pick-ups that were by utter necessity. But there was still cap space to be shed by the Browns, and although they approached FA lightly (so as to accumulate compensatory picks in 2016)
Tramon Williams got himself $21 million because if you're a CB, Mike Pettine wants you on his team. I believe we currently have brought 94 CB's to camp this year. But beyond Pettine's depth-in-the-secondary fetish, Williams is a solid cover-man who can help alongside Joe Haden to add veteran leadership to the motley crue of CB's. Yes, he's 32, and he did get a bit big of a pay-day, but at this point, if you want Pierre Desir, Justin Gilbert, and Ka'Waun Williams to reach their potential (that's not even counting the other 2 freaking CB's we drafted), you need more than Haden to get them there with Skrine departing.
In the same vein, Randy Starks. Starks isn't going to set the world on fire on that defensive line, but he will likely not be asked to be the anchor with some other additions this offseason in the draft, and can provide guidance to the young players on a defensive line that was frankly...well, shit, and has been shit for any number of reasons for several years. Be it the health of the team or the lack of talent, stopping the run was a key point from this offseason, and the Browns actually took action to fix it.
Rounding out the big pieces on the FA class, your 2011 fantasy WRs! Neither Dwayne Bowe nor Brian Hartline has been anything more than above-average in their long-term careers, and there's any number of things you could blame that on; poor QB's, poor coaching staffs and offensive schemes, or their own limited ability as WR’s, but both bring one thing Cleveland lacks; veteran targets. With the departure of Miles Austin and...well, something else we'll get to shortly, the Browns have no weapons for whoever ends up throwing the damn ball aside from slot guys like Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel. Even if the Browns get very little in the long term from either guy, they are going to be the Browns' receiving corps in 2015; and both have plenty to prove.
Minor Additions: Josh McCown, Rob Housler, Andy Lee
Let's be clear: the signing of Josh "It's Josh Fucking McCown, Do We Even Need a Nickname?" McCown was not because the Browns thought he was some incredible QB who could be the answer. He's 34, he's coming off an awful season, and I think we all know the McCown "career backup" legacy he and his brother Luke have created. Honestly, McCown is here to be a quiet backup. Although he may be called on to start a bit this season, he's not here to be the long-term QB. The Browns fielded him a bit extra money because of the cap room, but he's here as a very, very short bridge to either seeing what we have in Johnny Manziel or "Cardared Hackookiel" next year. And that's fine. I'm not a huge fan of it on the whole, but in that sense, it at least is rooted in some reason.
Another injury-bugged TE in Rob Housler, Housler at least offers some hope of finding a target at the position for a team that lacks it. And he's only 27; he's still got a little time to get it right.
The trade to the 49ers was an odd one (mainly because if I wanted a special teams player from San Francisco, it would be PHIL WE MISS YOU) but Andy Lee is a damn good punter who will do one thing; facilitate the defense. If the offense is struggling as it seems they may, Lee should be able to pin the opposing team deep in their own territory to allow the defense to try and make them make mistakes.

Draft

...wait, there was supposed to be an angry rant here. Where'd I put that?
....no. No fucking way. The Browns didn't completely muck up this draft?
Player Round, Pick Analysis
Danny Shelton, DT, Washington 1.12 The main commitment from the Browns this year was to fix the run D, and Feast Mode is here to do just that. Shelton is a big, BIG boy at 339lbs, and although most expect him to be a 2-down player, he's an animated, deceptively quick anchor NT who happened to do his workouts for the draft in a fucking lava lava. He then won the hearts of America when he attempted to hit Goodell with the belly-to-belly suplex. We already love this dude, his story is incredible, and I hope he becomes a fixture on the defensive line for years, maybe even as a 3-down player if his weight keeps in check. It's high time we got the D-Line right in the long term.
Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State 1.19 In the bar I was sitting in watching on draft night, almost everyone walked out when the Browns passed on Breshad Perriman. Perriman may turn out to be a fantastic WR, but this pick was honestly way smarter than Farmer's gotten credit for: One, it provides a safety net for if Alex Mack opts to leave Cleveland after this offseason, as Erving was a more than capable C at FSU. Two, it pushes Mitchell Schwartz and John "Get Pushed Back Seven Yards Every Play" Greco into competition on the right side of the line. If you aren't elite, shoring up the lines is never a bad idea, and this was an investment with not just 2015 but 2016 and beyond in mind. That's something you don't see in Cleveland often.
Nate Orchard, OLB, Utah 2.19 A theme of this draft was "Let's pass on Jaelen Strong and make JohnnyFire angry", but we made up for that getting a guy who was just an awesome fit. Orchard may have been a bit of a "one-year sensation", but he also fits exactly the character and play style that Pettine is looking for in the pass rush and will quickly make up for the loss of Jabaal Sheard, as well as pushing Mingo and Kruger to keep up. This seemed so obvious even dumb me was able to predict it on the /Browns contest this year.
Duke Johnson, RB, Miami 3.13 At this point in the draft I'd accepted the Browns were just not going to take a WR, especially since now all of the ones with any hype (aside from Sammie Coates) were well off the board. That said, Duke Johnson possess speed that Terrance "Instagram Failure" West lacks and escapability that Isaiah "Lunchables Enthusiast" Crowell lacks, and he can catch passes. Yes, the Browns maybe didn't need Duke Johnson, but who cares; if there's a special player available as the BPA, you get him, and if Johnson lives up to his potential, he could be a huge get for the Browns.
Xavier Cooper, DL, Washington State 3.32 Much was made post-draft of how heavily the Browns scouted the Pac-12, and this is true when they garnered (to some) the best two D-Line prospects in the conference. Cooper actually fits a bit more of the mold of Randy Starks, and although he is a raw talent, he'll have a great mentor and get time to develop. To sneak up and grab a second highly-touted piece to stop the run and improve the Front 7 was incredibly solid of this FO.
Ibraheim Campbell, SS, Northwestern 4.16 Oh hey, the guy I always grabbed using the First-Pick simulator to bump up my final score in the 4th round! Truth is that Donte Whitner isn't going to be around forever, and Campbell was a strong S prospect (albeit in a weak class) that could learn well from the veteran, and will contribute heavily on special teams with the loss of Jim Leonard.
Vince Mayle, WR, Washington State 4.24 Okay, Farmer, let's talk a moment. I love what you did with this draft. I really do. But this is the first WR you opt to take? Yeah, Mayle has prototypical size, and yeah, he could certainly be molded into a solid weapon due to his raw athleticism. But in order to get to this point, you left on the board Devante Parker, Breshad Perriman, Phillip Dorsett, Devin Smith, Dorial Green Beckham, Devin Funchess, Tyler Lockett, Jaelen Strong, Chris Conley, Sammie Coates, Ty Montgomery, Jamison Crowder and Justin Hardy. Many of those guys I honestly didn't even want, but this pick sadly reeked of just being too-little-too-late. But I'm gonna root for Super Smash Bros. Mayle and hope he develops quickly.
Charles Gaines, CB, Louisville 6.13 Mike Pettine has a fetish for CB’s, we know this. Gaines lacks a lot in size, and that's the main thing that kept him from getting over the hump, but working in the slot and using his speed, he could be beyond just a depth or special teams guy when called upon. An okay depth move all things considered.
Malcolm Johnson, TE/HB, Mississippi State 6.19 With the Browns going run-first in 2015, you need to get someone who can work better as a FB than...god, I can't even make a joke here because I can't remember the name of a Browns FB to save my life. Johnson will probably end up being asked to be an H-Back TE who could slot in at FB and help open lanes, or push forward.
Randall Tefler, TE, USC 6.22 Another Pac-12 find. I wasn't a huge fan on many TE's in the draft class, although I would've liked to see the Browns make an effort to get someone more dynamic. That said, Tefler is a solid blocker who will likely be used to add depth/replace Gary Barnidge or Jim "Forgot About" Dray in the blocker TE role. If nothing else, a low-risk depth move.
Hayes Pullard, ILB, USC 7.2 A very patient player who seemed to lack the killer instinct that other ILB prospects showed on the field, Pullard this late was a decent pick-up. He'll have a good mentor in Dansby and he can function well as a role-player and special teams guy.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon 7.24 I was actually watching the pre-Kentucky Derby at a casino in Cleveland when this pick was made, and there was an audible "HOLY CRAP!" from so many people around when the pick was finalized. There will be a lot asked for Captain IEO (He needs to moonwalk for his touchdown pick-6 return celebrations while "Another Part of Me" plays, real talk.) to get back to full strength in 2016, but if Ifo manages to get back to there and meets his expectations, this secondary could be fucking insane. Haden, Williams, a ton of young talent, and a guy who would've been a first round pick if he'd come out one year earlier. There was no risk in this; this late in the draft, see if you can't find your next Richard Sherman.
The main thing we didn't touch in this draft was WR, and yes, that list from earlier is true. I would've liked to see us add a pure WR1 here, but the commitment was clearly to round out this defense, which is exactly what the FO did. It was almost refreshing; a draft that wasn't going for splash players, but was made as honest-to-god building blocks for 4-5 years down the line. Using foresight in a Cleveland Browns draft, who'd have thought that was fucking possible?
Note: I also did a defending the draft piece which sums up most of what I said. Check out the whole series over at /NFL_Draft.

Other Offseason News That Affected The Team

...okay, fuck.
  • Johnny Rehab: Johnny Manziel basically hit the wall, and hit it hard, starting with a party on the Friday night before the season ending game in Baltimore, which resulted in a ton of drama and punishments for multiple members of the team. After every hot take that could ever be made about Manziel's ability to succeed and his potential dependency on the party life, Manziel finally checked into rehab on February 4th. I'm not sure where Manziel goes from this, honestly. Since his check out from rehab, he did have what seemed like a majonon-incident at a golf course, but he also left his party-enabling lavish apartment at "The 9" downtown to move to the suburbs, dropped the "Johnny Football" moniker, and by most accounts seems to be working his ass off after a first season that went absolutely off the rails. The Browns have dug themselves into a Manziel shaped hole, and 2015 is going to either tell us if Manziel can dig his own way out, both on and off the field, or just keep digging deeper until the Browns have to give up and try again in 2016. We'll see.
  • Text-gate-gate: Ray Farmer will be suspended for the first 4 games for sending texts down to the field discussing play calls. I'm conflicted, because it feels like Farmer is a good guy with an eye for late-round talent and UDFA's, who was jerked around in 2014 by Old Man Haslam. Was he doing Haslam’s stooge work here, or was he just passionate about righting the ship? Just...Ray, I like you for the most part. Please just stay out of trouble for 2015. I don't wanna turn over this organization yet.
  • Josh Gordon Suspended...Again: ..........sigh. Josh Gordon gets caught drinking on a plane after the regular season had ended during a trip to Vegas and gets tested upon landing. He didn't know he couldn't drink until the end of the entire season, and writes a passive aggressive letter about how he doesn't have a substance abuse problem and the entire team starts getting fingers pointed at, even drawing "Uncle" Phil Taylor into a response. Whether you think Gordon is an addict or not, it doesn't matter; he's been through the ringer and still doesn't fucking know better. If he's back in 2016 and can keep his moronic ass on the field, fantastic, because the Browns need him, but if not, this might be the end. Inevitably, he'll go win a Super Bowl somewhere else, we know this. But if you're trying to change the culture, you can't let this guy fuck up again, and they did. This many chances to play in the rules of the system he backed into on his own accord, it's frustrating to watch. He's got Megatron-level talent but his biggest enemy seems to be himself.
  • The new Browns, Same As the Old Browns: This year was Nike's rebranding for Cleveland, and things did not start well with the new logo, which was the same logo with a brighter gradient in spite of media hype and some internal push for how exciting the rebrand would be. It resulted in an insane amount of mockery early on as a result. Although the "brown was unchanged", the uniforms were not, and although the damn stripe that cuts off just before the shoulder pisses me off, they've grown on me a bit, so kudos on that much. Hopefully this is a catalyst to the culture change that front offices and fans in Cleveland have been dying for.

Projected Starting Lineup

Offense

QB: Josh McCown, followed by Johnny Manziel - Kind of hilarious that every pundit is suggesting that Josh McCown is being asked to be the long term starter for Cleveland as a 34 year old career backup, but I have a feeling that he'll be starting off the season. But at the end of the day, it's all down to Manziel to play this season. You must see what we have in this kid and take the good and the bad, because learning you have nothing is better than blindly hoping you have something. Or McCown.
RB: Duke Johnson - If you read into camp, Duke Johnson has been playing his dick off. I think that the RB1 role is going to be fluid with Crow and West, but Duke's pass-catching ability might move him into a prominent role faster than expected.
FB: Malcolm Johnson - We’ve got nobody else.
WR1: Dwayne Bowe - Bowe is the closest thing on this team to being a pure WR1 right now in the absence of veteran help or a true star, so he'll have this role.
WR2: Brian Hartline - Hartline worked well as a WR2 in Miami and he'll be called upon to be more of the same here. I expect Vince Mayle to be waiting in the wings.
Slot WR: Andrew Hawkins - After getting a...well, absurd contract in the steal from Cincinnati in 2014, Hawkins lived up to what was needed in the absence of big-bodied WR's in 2014 and should continue that trend. Taylor Gabriel and Travis Benjamin will be waiting.
TE: Rob Housler - This is honestly the biggest toss-up coming out of camp stories, because we don't know if Housler can truly make the jump this year. But I'd venture that Housler will be the top option with Barnidge getting some other opportunities and TefleDray getting blocking reps.
LT: Joe Thomas - ...duh.
LG: Joel Bittonio - ...yawn.
C: Alex Mack - ...zzz.
RG: Cameron Erving - Erving has been exponentially better as an inside lineman. I figure he will be moved between RG and RT as needed to see what sets work best with Greco and Schwartz, but I think he is ultimately an upgrade over Greco. His next best option would be to be at RT, and to move Schwartz into the RG role.
RT: Mitchell Schwartz - I believe this is his contract year, so he'll have a lot to prove either here or at RG, that he’s beyond his 5th round evaluation.

Defense

LDE: Desmond Bryant - Desmond played a tough 2014 campaign, and although Cooper will probably push him for this spot (along with Armonty Bryant), I think Desmond will have it locked down to start.
NT: Danny Shelton - Feast Mode is having a luau.
RDE: Randy Starks - Veteran presence wins out. Xavier Cooper might see some play time, but I don't see him completely lapping Starks. Expect Phil Taylor to also be in the mix here, if not at NT.
LOLB: Barkevious Mingo - Yes, a baby did eat my Mingo. Hopefully he can continue his progress into this season, because he needs to with Orchard nipping.
LILB: Karlos Dansby - A veteran leader coming off injury who should continue to be a spark in the LB corps.
RILB: Craig Robertson - I'd like to see Robertson make a stronger push this season into becoming a more well-rounded open-field defender, but he’ll do for now.
ROLB: Paul "T-1000" Kruger - THOSE EYES
CB1: Joe Haden - Haden's emergence as a leader and great talent at the CB position locks him in.
CB2: Tramon Williams - Tramon is going to have to battle to keep this all year; you've got a hungry bunch behind him in Gilbert/Williams/DesiGaines.
FS: Tashaun Gipson - Beyond the contract struggle, Gipson has been rock solid at the FS position lately and hopefully continues his progression.
SS: Donte Whitner - Twitter Troll Supreme

Special Teams

P: Andy Lee - Put 'em on the 1 yard line, Andy.
K: Not Billy Cundiff - At this point, fucking anybody. If I had to watch Billy Cundiff botch one more close distance FG I was going to lose my fucking mind.
KR: Marlon Moore - Moore's role on this team is pretty much exclusively this, but Duke Johnson and Travis Benjamin will likely challenge him. I hope Benjamin can turn back the clock and get his KR status back to the shape it once was.

Position Group Strengths and Weaknesses

Position Group Strengths Weaknesses
QB Manziel is still young. McCown won't do anything too stupid. Manziel is still a rookie. McCown won't do anything too smart.
RB Depth. Three dynamic backs bringing something different to the table with each. Lack of experience; two sophomores and a rookie.
WTE Lots of guys with a lot to prove. That proof needs to come fast: no proven talent, no proven game-changers, no proven big-bodied true WR1.
O-Line Depth has been added, the left side is fucking impeccable, could be a top 10 line this year if all are healthy. The weakest point (Mitchell Schwartz) will be pretty weak comparatively.
D-Line Heavy investment in developing the Lake Erie Buffet Line with Starks, Shelton, and Cooper. A few odd-men out in the rotation, need to get Shelton to speed quick.
LB Corps Strong veteran presence, Mingo getting better. But if the pass rush does improve, is it time to revamp again?
Secondary Deep as fuck, young, two strong starters and solid nickel options. I still wouldn't want to run sets with Haden not on the field; where does Gilbert fit?
Special Teams We don't have Billy Cundiff anymore. Our kicker is not Phil Dawson.

Training Camp Battles to Watch

QB - Manziel vs McCown: The obvious answer here. Will Manziel make enough progress to wrestle away the starting job from McCown before we need to go with McCown being forced into high-pressure situations? COULD CONNOR SHAW EMERGE AND DESTROY SOME WORLDS AND SHOCK EVERYONE?!
RB - Johnson vs West vs Crowell: Early line says Crowell will be the starter because he appears the most well rounded; West has a plow-forward play style that might be in better shape with the healthy offensive line; Johnson is a dynamic pass-catching back with elusiveness. I'm with the Duke, and all 3 should get touches, but who knows?
TE - Housler vs Barnidge: This is the closest thing to competition in the receiving corps we'll have due to proven talent ahead at everything else. I think Housler locks it down but both should find playing time.
RT/RG - Greco vs Schwartz vs Erving: How this eventually plays out should be interesting to watch; it's going to come down to whatever two make the most sense opening up on the line. For me, it's Erving at RG and Schwartz at RT, but it all depends.
DE - Bryant vs Starks vs Cooper vs Taylor vs A. Bryant: With Armonty Bryant and Uncle Phil healthy, there could be serious competition for the ends this year; Cooper and Taylor have to fit somewhere, and Armonty played his ass off in limited time in 2014.
CB2 - Tramon Williams vs The field: Can Justin Gilbert step up and take away the CB2 role from the veteran? Can a Ka'Waun Williams jump into the lead role, or even Pierre Desir? Is Charles Gaines capable enough to tap into finesse and take the spot?

Let's Talk Schemes, With JohnnyFire, Who Doesn't Know How Schemes Work For Shit

This was an optional point of the review, but hey, lemme attempt to work it out.
Offensive scheme: In case it wasn't obvious, with the offensive line shoring and the addition of another talented RB, the Browns are going to be working a run-first offense. Everything will be going through the ground game, meaning the interior of the line will be called on to open up big run lanes early. It also means that we're not going to be gunslinging, least of all with McCown in there. The short passing game and smart out-routes will likely be the staples for this offense until we get another weapon in 2016, so I expect Hawkins (and Johnson as an option) to get tons of looks. Long term, it’s also key that we play into what strengths Manziel actually exhibits, and not try to fit a square peg into a round hole here; Manziel's legs and deep-ball awareness can still be tapped into if asked. It's going to be a bit of a mish-mash ground-and-pound short-game offense in 2015, unless Manziel's skill set has expanded far beyond what we think.
Defensive scheme: Jim O'Neill's D shouldn't be changing up too much, only becoming expanded on with more playmakers. O'Neill suggested that although the Browns are currently running a 3-4, the talent they have could open up some 4-3 sets (likely meaning we would see a front 4 of Bryant/TayloShelton/Starks or Cooper, with a 3-rush LB of KrugeDansby/Mingo. That's very intriguing.) I wish I could go more technical into this, but quite honestly, it's not my forte; I just know that Pettine and O'Neill wanted a strong all-around D, and although we need to see what the new additions actually do, on paper, it looks like a strong squad now and moving forward.

Schedule Predictions

The Browns have a tougher schedule than they did in 2014, and with much of the same defense and an offense in transition, they went 7-9. The offense is now in limbo while the defense got better, so...ehhhhhh? I'll aim for as reasonable as I can.
Week 1: @ New York Jets: New York's revamped D is solid, but their offense could still sink them. If the Browns can make their offense falter early, they'll have a chance, but winning week 1 on the road isn't exactly easy. Let's assume the D is up to the challenge for NYJ right off the bat and make this a close defensive effort on both fronts, with Cleveland losing a tough one. Cleveland loses 17-13 (0-1)
Week 2: vs Tennessee Titans: Here's the coming out party for this defense and the first chance to see if this offense is good enough. Tennessee's team is just flatly lacking in overall talent right now, although they do have some playmakers here. The last thing the Browns want is to get spanked by oft-mocked-to-them Mariota. I think they can pull off a motivated home opener win. Cleveland wins 20-14 (1-1)
Week 3: vs Oakland Raiders: Oakland, in my view, had a pretty solid draft, but I'm not sure they've entirely turned the corner, even with the emergence of Derek Carr. I think a strong defensive front and the strong secondary can keep him in check long enough for whoever is slinging the ball to keep it together into a solid but close win. Cleveland wins 24-21 (2-1)
Week 4: @ San Diego Chargers: Unfortunately I can't see Cleveland heading out to the West Coast and dominating a still fairly tough Chargers team. Unless they rattle Rivers hard and fast right off the bat, but that's doubtful honestly. They could keep it competitive though. Cleveland loses 28-17 (2-2)
Week 5: @ Baltimore Ravens: The Browns have not won in Baltimore since 2007, and only 3 times since 1999. That's...bad. And Baltimore is still good enough to keep that trend up I fear after an offensive reload. Cleveland loses 35-20 (2-3)
Week 6: vs Denver Broncos: You have no idea how much I'd love to spank Peyton Manning at home, and I'd imagine this will probably be closer with the Browns getting some attention against the tougher team. But I can't doubt Denver just yet; I do think the downfall for Denver may be on the horizon, but not yet. Cleveland loses 31-21 (2-4)
Week 7: @ St. Louis Rams: Another "Tough D vs so-so Offense" matchup. My hope is by now the offense will have settled in with whoever's at the helm (I'd assume Manziel by this point) and can get the big road win, even though this could be a toss up if Nick Foles and the strong D finally make this St. Louis's "next year" we've been waiting on. Ah, fuck it. Let's call it an upset. Cleveland wins 18-17. (3-4)
Week 8: vs Arizona Cardinals: I have pretty high hopes for Arizona if they stay healthy, and at the mid-point of the season, that's pretty much all it will come down to. This is the start of a tough 3-game swing for Cleveland and if Carson and the D remains upright, I think they dispatch the Browns post haste. Cleveland loses 24-13 (3-5)
Week 9: @ Cincinnati Bengals: ALERT! ALERT! Primetime Andy Dalton Game! Primetime Andy Dalton Game! We probably will actually get blown out as revenge for last season, but fuck it, I have to rip on someone other than my own team at some point in these predictions! Cleveland wins 24-21 (4-5)
Week 10: @ Pittsburgh Steelers: Fucking Steelers with their good drafting and respectable organization and history of winning and Super Bowls. And then they have a solid 2015 draft too. But hey, their RB smokes weed and got caught and got suspended everyone point and laugh, please, my self esteem needs it, HAHAHAHA--we're not winning this game are we? Cleveland loses 30-13 (4-6)
Week 11: Bye
Week 12: vs Baltimore Ravens: Monday Night Football in Cleveland, OH. Reason dictates that this will be the biggest game of Cleveland's season, and coming off the bye and a tough in-division loss to Pittsburgh, I'm going to buck the trend here and say that Cleveland pulls off the upset and wins a key game in primetime in the division, shutting down the revamped offense and Sam the Eagle. Cleveland wins 27-21 (5-6)
Week 13: vs Cincinnati Bengals: Damnit, I wanted two games with Primetime Andy Dalton. If we take the jokes aside, the Bengals are a strong squad that will be in playoff contention, and this late in the season, this will probably be a must-win for them. Cleveland loses 28-14 (5-7)
Week 14: vs San Francisco 49ers: I honestly feel bad for San Francisco at this point. They're probably not going to completely fall off, but coming into a year wish such promise, there has just been so much turnover in that organization this year it's almost mind numbing. I'd hope Cleveland can keep their heads up and take advantage of it. Cleveland wins 31-18 (6-7)
Week 15: @ Seattle Seahawks: ......fuck. Cleveland loses 35-13 (6-8)
Week 16: @ Kansas City Chiefs: Because going from the loudest stadium in the NFL to the second loudest stadium in the NFL is just a thing that happens. Cleveland loses 27-24 (6-9)
Week 17: vs Pittsburgh Steelers: There is nothing more important in any given season than logging a win against the fucking Pittsburgh Steelers. At least until we get over this mental and metaphysical hump that has held the Browns down for so damn long in their own wallowing. After two tough challenges on the road, I think the Browns can pull off one season-ending upset in spite of everything to end the season strong and accomplish two things: match last year's record without an elite QB, and hit .500 in the division. Cleveland wins 17-14 (7-9)

Verdict:

Reasonably, I'd say between 6-10 (drop either the STL or PIT game) and 8-8 (win against SD early?) is pretty solid. Our offense just plainly is not good enough right now. If Cleveland shows up for some big games or takes advantage of their strength on defense early, they might be able to break .500, but I don't see this squad hitting the playoffs in 2015. The lack of a franchise QB limits my optimism for toss ups.

Wrap-Up

I said last year that the most important thing for Cleveland in 2014 was not to make a playoff push or to win "x" amount of games; it was to facilitate a culture change, to get away from the "LOLBROWNS" and the "woe is me" that has permeated the organization since their return from expansion. Many people have tried to make that happen, but stupid moves, or regressions, or giving up too early, or just plainly getting the wrong players at the wrong time, it's all added up to misery. With that said...this is the closest I've seen this team to having a long-term plan in place to get over that hump. Yes, you have some issues on offense, but the offseason, the draft, the move to get more compensatory picks in 2016, the feeling that Pettine and Farmer are locked in, it's a good feeling.
Are the Browns going to light the world on fire in 2015? No. But they don't need to right now. Get that defense up to working speed. Keep the run game and offensive line strong. Don't panic fire Pettine or Farmer because things don't add up to a 10-6 finish. Don't start scrambling around or getting cheeky with your QB if things go crazy. I no longer see this team as rebuilding, but rather finally fucking building; investing heavily in the trenches and crafting a strong defense. There have been growing pains of this regime, but unlike in the Holmgren era, or the Policy era, or the Savage era, it doesn't feel for naught. There is something being established, and if we as fans can have some patience for a change, I think we could see the second half of this decade be very, very fun if the course stays.
...or we'll be LOLBROWNS again. Such is the cycle of Browns fans.
Special thanks to admiralkit, TheFencingCoach, skepticismissurvival, TheVetNoob, everyone over on /Browns, and Dusty Rhodes. We been through some Hard Times, bay-beh.
submitted by JohnnyFire to nfl [link] [comments]

What's happening around town (Wed, Jul 27th - Tue, Aug 2nd)

Tulsa's event list.

Wednesday, Jul 27th

Thursday, Jul 28th

  • Culture Club (The Joint - Catoosa) Start Time: 8:00pm Culture Club
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    Thursday, July 28 • 8PMDoors open at 7PM
    Tickets on sale, April 28
    Price: $75, $85
  • 🍴 Day Camp (Camp Loughridge) 1 day left Start Time: 9:00am Camp Loughridge is a Christian non-profit 501(c)(3) organization accredited by the American Camp Association. Our staff is selectively hired and specially trained to facilitate a safe and fun day camp experience for everyone with a 1:5 counselor to camper ratio. Keep up with your kids' adventures through daily parent emails and other media!…
  • 🍴 Tulsa Drillers Paint & Sip Event by Pinot's Palette (ONEOK Field) Start Time: 4:00pm Summertime, baseball and the American Flag. We're All American! You're an All Star and will knock this one out of the park. We will be painting "All American" inside overlooking Oneok Field before the Drillers Game from 4-6pm. The price includes a 2 hour painting class, a ballpark meal (All You Can Eat Buffet, see below) and a ticket in…
  • Drillers vs Travelers (ONEOK Field) Start Time: 7:05pm vs Arkansas Travelers Thirsty Thursday / Nolan Arenado Jersey Shirt Giveaway
  • Fair Meadows Live Racing (Expo Square: Fair Meadows Race Track) Thru Sat, Jul 30th
  • Happy Hour Show!! Night Demon- 7PM (Soundpony Lounge) Start Time: 9:00pm
  • 😂 John Evans (Loony Bin) Thru Sat, Jul 30th
  • Morris Day and the Time (Osage Million Dollar Elm Casino) Start Time: 7:00pm
  • Movie in the Park: Home Alone (PG) 1990 (Guthrie Green) Start Time: 8:30pm
  • One-Eyed Doll (The Vanguard) One Eyed DollVoodoo dolls, MorganThu 7/28Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm This event is all ages
  • Pokehunt on the Hill (Rogers State University - Claremore) Start Time: 3:00pm Pokehunt on the Hill will start at 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 28, in the Centennial Center. During the event, you can expect cool refreshments, giveaways every 30 minutes, free exclusive stickers and 10% discount on Hillcat gear at the RSU Bookstore. If you gotta catch 'em all, you gotta come to Pokehunt on the Hill!
  • Saliva Returns (The Shrine) Start Time: 7:30pm
  • Siamese + Noun Verb Adjective (Soundpony Lounge) Start Time: 9:00pm
  • 🎭 Tulsa's Story Telling Competition - Open Mic (IDL Ballroom) Start Time: 7:30pm Tulsa's Monthly StorySlam is looking for people to come share their stories onstage in front of a live audience (21+, $5 cover). No experience necessary and we need contestant/storytellers just like you! Join us at IDL Ballroom downtown and hear people (anyone and this means you!) tell TRUE (funny, serious, sad, harrowing, interesting) stories…
  • Story Time in the Garden - "Trees and Leaves" (Tulsa Garden Center) Start Time: 10:00am Story Time in the Garden is a program for children held in the Linnaeus Teaching Garden in Woodward Park. Admission is FREE! For more information, visit our web site at: http://tulsagardencenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/2016-July-Story-Time-2nd-revision.pdf
  • World Wide Paint Horse Congress (Expo Square: Built Ford Tough Livestock Complex) Thru Sun, Jul 31st At the World Wide Paint Horse Congress, horses and riders compete in a wide variety of events at Tulsa Expo Square.…

Friday, Jul 29th

  • 🍴 Day Camp (Camp Loughridge) Last Day Start Time: 9:00am Camp Loughridge is a Christian non-profit 501(c)(3) organization accredited by the American Camp Association. Our staff is selectively hired and specially trained to facilitate a safe and fun day camp experience for everyone with a 1:5 counselor to camper ratio. Keep up with your kids' adventures through daily parent emails and other media!…
  • DJ Trigger Warning and Dj Swang EM's Blender Drag Party (Soundpony Lounge) Start Time: 9:00pm
  • Drillers vs Travelers (ONEOK Field) Start Time: 7:05pm vs Arkansas Travelers News on 6 Friday Night Fireworks
  • Fair Meadows Live Racing (Expo Square: Fair Meadows Race Track) 1 day left
  • 🍴 Film on the Lawn: How to Steal a Million (1966) (Philbrook Downtown) Start Time: 7:30pm Join the summer tradition of Philbrook Films on the Lawn! This year we debut a bigger screen, better sound, and more. Bring your picnic basket, blanket, and friends and experience these great films in our beautiful gardens. Food trucks and concessions will be available on site for those must-have movie snacks. In the event of rain, the films…
  • First Friday Art Crawl w/musical guest Native Strange !!! (Gypsy Coffee House & Cyber Cafe) Start Time: 9:00pm
  • 🎨 FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK @ MAINLINE! Beth Knight, 'Tulsa Titans' (Mainline) Start Time: 6:00pm Join us for a festive First Friday at Mainline as we welcome Tulsa artist Beth Knight and her exhibit 'Tulsa Titans'! Beth Knight is an artist whose works directly respond to the surrounding environment and uses everyday experiences from the artist as a starting point. Often these are framed instances that would go unnoticed in their original…
  • Home & Garden Expo of Oklahoma (Expo Square: River Spirit Expo) Thru Sun, Jul 31st The Home & Garden Expo of Oklahoma in Tulsa is the largest summertime home and garden show of its kind in northeast…
  • Infamous / MME (The Shrine) Start Time: 9:00pm
  • 😂 John Evans (Loony Bin) 1 day left
  • Kihekah Steh Powwow (Skiatook) Thru Sun, Jul 31st Head to Skiatook this July for the annual Kihekah Steh Powwow. This important Native American event will occur northwest…
  • Kingdom of Giants (The Vanguard) Start Time: 8:00pm Darkness Divided, Divisions
  • 🎭 My Big Gay Italian Funeral (American Theatre Company) Thru Sat, Aug 6th Roar with laughter as the outrageously entertaining Staten Island family from "My Big Gay Italian Funeral"…
  • 🎡 Rock the Border Summer Music Series! (On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina) Start Time: 7:30pm There is no better way to kick off summer than with live entertainment, thirst quenching beer, and our flavorful guacamole! On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina is inviting you to join the fiesta with your amigos at our patio throughout the month of July! Every Friday in July, On The Border is giving everyone a reason to celebrate summer…
  • Sam and the Stylees and In the Whale (Mercury Lounge) Start Time: 10:00pm Fri Jul 29 10:00 PM
    Sam and the Stylees and In The Whale 
  • World Wide Paint Horse Congress (Expo Square: Built Ford Tough Livestock Complex) Thru Sun, Jul 31st At the World Wide Paint Horse Congress, horses and riders compete in a wide variety of events at Tulsa Expo Square.…

Saturday, Jul 30th

  • An evening of all original music w/ POPA J live (Gypsy Coffee House & Cyber Cafe) Start Time: 9:00pm
  • 🏃 Bedlam Run Presented by Williams (Blue Dome District) If you are in Oklahoma and hear the word bedlam, your thoughts immediately go to the rivalry between The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University. This annual event celebrates over 100 years of spirited competition between orange and red. Proceeds will benefit the OSU Alumni Association, and OU Club Of Tulsa.
  • Cherry Street Farmers Market Thru Wed, Jul 27th Start Time: 8:30am
  • Compagnie Herv KOUBI (Tulsa Performing Art Center) Start Time: 8:00pm Compagnie Herv� KOUBI July 30 at 8 p.m. :: Chapman Music Hall Herv� Koubi is recognized as one of Europe's most distinctive choreographers. Drawing from his Algerian roots, Herv� Koubi's work "What the Day Owes to the Night," was more than three years in the making and combines capoeira, martial arts, urban str... AVAILABLE BY SUBSCRIPTION
  • DJ Sweet Baby JAyzus (Soundpony Lounge) Start Time: 9:30pm
  • Drillers vs Travelers (ONEOK Field) Start Time: 7:05pm vs Arkansas Travelers Tulsa's Channel 8 Grand Slam Saturday / Back To School Drillers Hat Giveaway / Mascot Mania
  • The Drunkard and Olio
  • 🎭 The Drunkard and the Olio (Tulsa Spotlight Theatre) Start Time: 7:30pm
  • Fair Meadows Live Racing (Expo Square: Fair Meadows Race Track) Last Day
  • Tulsa Flea Market (Expo Square)
  • Happy Hour Show!!7PM --Jam eCono + Hidden Ritual (Soundpony Lounge) Start Time: 6:30pm
  • Henna Roso: Food Drive & Launch Party (Guthrie Green) Start Time: 2:00pm
  • Home & Garden Expo of Oklahoma (Expo Square: River Spirit Expo) 1 day left The Home & Garden Expo of Oklahoma in Tulsa is the largest summertime home and garden show of its kind in northeast…
  • Jim Gaffigan (BOK Center) Start Time: 8:00pm Don't miss out on acclaimed stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan as he brings his Fully Dressed Tour to Tulsa's BOK…
  • 😂 John Evans (Loony Bin) Last Day
  • Josh Abbott Band (Cain's Ballroom) On sale May 6th! This event is all ages Advance $20 | Day of Show $22 | Door $22 | Mezzanine (21+) $35 There is a $2 fee that applies to each ticket purchased at the Cain's Box Office. No re-entry! No smoking! No refunds! OK Joe's BBQ will be open and available to ticket holders from 7pm - 8:30pm!
  • Kihekah Steh Powwow (Skiatook) 1 day left Head to Skiatook this July for the annual Kihekah Steh Powwow. This important Native American event will occur northwest…
  • 🎭 My Big Gay Italian Funeral (American Theatre Company) Thru Sat, Aug 6th Roar with laughter as the outrageously entertaining Staten Island family from "My Big Gay Italian Funeral"…
  • Oh, Sleeper (The Vanguard) The Ongoing Concept, Earth Falls Before Me
  • Perceptual Art Going Large (Tulsa Performing Art Center) Start Time: 10:00am Perceptual Art � Going Large June 2-July 30, M-F 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (excluding July 4) and during Chapman Music Hall events :: PAC Gallery Contemporary artist Jason Wilson's work was influenced by watching his Native American grandmother design, assemble and sew quilts when he was a child. He says his art is as much about building the painting…
  • R.K. Gun & Knife Show (Expo Square: Exchange Center) Day 1 of 2 For a high quality gun show with great prices and selection, visit the R.K. Gun & Knife Show in Tulsa. RK Shows have…
  • Jenks Saturday Market (2nd & Main - Jenks) Start Time: 9:00am A classic Saturday market experience with local farmers, produce, crafters, food trucks, live music, kid's activities and so much more... Come join the fun! Every Sat 9:00am - noon - weather permitting.
  • 🎭 Summer Heat International Dance Festival (Choregus Productions) Thru Sat, Aug 6th Witness contemporary dance performances and experience the art of movement during Summer Heat International Dance…
  • 🏃 Summer Sizzle Poker Run (Expo Square) RunnersWorld Tulsa presents: Summer Sizzle 5 mile Poker Run
    Saturday, July 30, 7:00 AM
    The Summer Sizzle Poker Run is a non-timed fun run/training run event in conjunction with the RunnersWorld Tulsa Marathon/Half training program but it is open to the general public and all runners/walkers are welcome. The run starts at 7AM. You can…
  • Summer Vendor Show (Osage Event Center) All ages are invited to attend the Summer Vendor Show from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, July 30, at the Osage Event Center, Tulsa. Approximately 45 vendors will be on site including handmade art and crafts, home décor, jewelry, skincare, wellness, and much, much more. The Osage Event Center is an 8,000-square-foot facility located inside the…
  • The Whiskey Misters (Mercury Lounge) Start Time: 10:00pm
  • World Wide Paint Horse Congress (Expo Square: Built Ford Tough Livestock Complex) 1 day left At the World Wide Paint Horse Congress, horses and riders compete in a wide variety of events at Tulsa Expo Square.…

Sunday, Jul 31st

  • Abandoned By Bears (The Vanguard) Start Time: 8:00pm Save The Lost Boys, Southview, LOCAL TBA, LOCAL TBA
  • the best karaoke in the UNIVERSE! w/ Ron Hammond! (Mainline) Start Time: 8:00pm
  • Brandon Clark (Mercury Lounge) Start Time: 9:00pm
  • Darell Christopher & the Ingredients (Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame) Start Time: 5:00pm
  • Tulsa Drillers (ONEOK Field) Start Time: 1:05pm vs Arkansas Travelers Kids Eat Free! / Princess/Super Hero Appearances / Super Hero Cape Giveaway
  • Home & Garden Expo of Oklahoma (Expo Square: River Spirit Expo) Last Day The Home & Garden Expo of Oklahoma in Tulsa is the largest summertime home and garden show of its kind in northeast…
  • Kihekah Steh Powwow (Skiatook) Last Day Head to Skiatook this July for the annual Kihekah Steh Powwow. This important Native American event will occur northwest…
  • 🎭 Koresh Dance Company (Tulsa Performing Art Center) Start Time: 8:00pm Koresh Dance Company July 31 at 8 p.m. :: John H. Williams Theatre Over the years, Koresh Dance Company's artistic director, Roni Koresh, has developed a vast repertoire of work that ranges from explosive and passionate to intimate and restrained. This evening's feature work, "23: Deconstructing Mozart," is a new co... AVAILABLE BY SUBSCRIPTION
  • 🎭 My Big Gay Italian Funeral (American Theatre Company) Thru Sat, Aug 6th Roar with laughter as the outrageously entertaining Staten Island family from "My Big Gay Italian Funeral"…
  • R.K. Gun & Knife Show (Expo Square: Exchange Center) Day 2 of 2 For a high quality gun show with great prices and selection, visit the R.K. Gun & Knife Show in Tulsa. RK Shows have…
  • Save The Lost Boys et al. (The Vanguard)
  • 🎭 Summer Heat International Dance Festival (Choregus Productions) Thru Sat, Aug 6th Witness contemporary dance performances and experience the art of movement during Summer Heat International Dance…
  • World Wide Paint Horse Congress (Expo Square: Built Ford Tough Livestock Complex) Last Day At the World Wide Paint Horse Congress, horses and riders compete in a wide variety of events at Tulsa Expo Square.…

Monday, Aug 1st

Tuesday, Aug 2nd

  • After Trivia: Pleasures (Soundpony Lounge) Start Time: 9:00pm
  • 🎓 Tulsa Lead Exchange (a business networking group) (Marley's) Start Time: 12:00pm Tulsa Lead Exchange is a business networking group of professionals. We meet each week on Tuesday at noon to exchange business leads and help each other build our business contacts and sales. Membership costs $40.00 per month (which pays for your lunch). If you are interested in becoming a member and building your business, contact one of the…
  • Tulsa's Longest Running All Original Works Open Mic !!!! (Gypsy Coffee House & Cyber Cafe) Start Time: 7:00pm
  • 🎭 My Big Gay Italian Funeral (American Theatre Company) Thru Sat, Aug 6th Roar with laughter as the outrageously entertaining Staten Island family from "My Big Gay Italian Funeral"…
  • Oklahoma Music Academy Summer Jam (Cain's Ballroom) Start Time: 7:00pm Everyone attending is required to make a cash donation of any size or bring an in-kind donation for Youth Services of Tulsa. Oklahoma Music Academy Summer JamTue Aug 02Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm This event is all ages
  • 🎭 Summer Heat International Dance Festival (Choregus Productions) Thru Sat, Aug 6th Witness contemporary dance performances and experience the art of movement during Summer Heat International Dance…
  • Tedeschi Trucks Band (Brady Theater) Start Time: 7:30pm WHEELS OF SOUL 2016 TOUR Tedeschi Trucks Band with Special Guests: Los Lobos North Mississippi Allstars Tickets On Sale FRI 4/8 at 10am Brady Box Office & Starship Records in Tulsa Buy For Less locations in OKC Charge by phone @ 866.977.6849 online @ protix.com Reserved Tickets: $79.50, $59.50 & $39.50 Doors open at 6:30pm All Ages Welcome
  • Trivia with Jack (Soundpony Lounge) Start Time: 8:30pm

See Also

submitted by tulsanewsbot to tulsa [link] [comments]

Is it too much to ask that people appreciate what you're doing for them for their birthdays?

October was my moms birthday, and I bought her a hoodie, 3 pairs of pants, and 3 shirts. She only knows about the hoodie, she lives in North Carolina and I live in Mississippi so I have to ship it to her, and I am a heavy duty procrastinator so I'm barely getting around to it today... I know I'm terrible.
Anyway, I told my mom yesterday that I was going to send it today, and she says, "It's not going to do me any good, it's North Carolina, but ok."
Seriously? The fuck? First, she gets all excited saying she needs a hoodie, now she's quick to tell me my present for her isn't going to do her any good? How fucking rude is that shit, what happened to pretending to like a gift someone gave you because it's the thought that counts? Nope. If you don't like it just say it's not going to do you any good.
The 29 of this month is my sisters birthday, she lives in the same town as me. I get paid on the 20 so I called her and told her that on the 20 she is going to need to get her husband to watch the kids, because I am taking her somewhere but I'm not going to tell her what it is.
I'm going to take her to the casino down here that has the best snow crab and king crab buffet. Well, apparently she thought I was going to take us to go play pool, because that's what we used to do a lot when my mom was down here, and I believe we did that last year on her birthday? or the year before? I can't remember.
Anyway, she told mom to hint around to me that she doesn't want to do that. How fucked up is that?!? I don't exactly make a lot of damn money, so what if that was all I could fucking afford to do? And then mom tells me "Your sister doesn't want to play pool" What was I supposed to do then? I already told her we were doing something so then I'd have to find something else for us to do.
Is it to hard to fucking ask that people appreciate shit? Hey my daughter bought me a hoodie, thank you! hey my sister is taking me out for my birthday, how nice of her thank you!
Nope. Hoodies isn't going to do me any good, and I don't want to play pool.
Fuck you both.
I'm going to continue to make my mom think that the hoodie is all I got her, and I'm going to keep laying hints to my sister that were playing pool on her birthday, then she'll be really surprised when we don't, and I get to see her upset until we get to where were really going.
If someone gives you a birthday present, or is planning on taking you out, don't be a picky bitch who has to let the person know they don't like your gift, or they don't want to go where they think you are taking them, and just appreciate the fucking thing! Fucking H Christ.
submitted by Thriftstoremployee24 to rant [link] [comments]

[Table] IAmA Las Vegas Casino Dealer...AMA

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2013-06-08
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
Two questions, actually! Completely unrelated: 1) What's the weirdest conversation you've had with a gambler in recent memory? 2) Have you ever advised a first time gambler / someone who isn't quite sure of the rules..on let's say, the blackjack table? I've had guests tell great stories of there experiences with "working girls" as we call them.
All the time...most guests do not know how to play...that is actually part of the dealers job description...helping/advising guests how to play the games
Any asshole celebrity stories? I've meet an enormous amount of pro-athletes...I have nothing bad to say about them. Second hand celebrity stories...tons. J-Lo is a notorious stiff...Ben Afflack, Barkley, Rodman...nothing but great things.
I heard Beyonce was beyond rude...stiffed a cocktail waitress at the Wynn It is common knowledge among dealers that Jordan and Tiger do NOT tip.
I took a cab ride in Vegas, cabbie told me that Scottie Pippen is known as "No tipping Pippen". I haven't heard anything about Pippen...maybe it is b/c Pippen doesn't play the tables and when I refer to someone as a stiff it is about them not tipping dealers...not necessarily how they treat waiters, waitresses, etc etc.
What's the most money someone won in your table? Or lost? What are the skills required to be a dealer? I dealt to one person who lost 1 million playing craps the night the Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl...the first time. The most...I've seen a 100k winner...I am mostly in dice, so I never dealt and supervised baccarat, which is the game that gets all of the BIG action...I mean BIG play. People with multi-million credit limits, Royalty, etc etc...skills required by a dealer is simply just one who is talkative, gregarious, outgoing.
Have you ever seen the move Casino? Yes...my grandfather and his siblings actually worked in Vegas at that time...so much money was made...by everyone.
Thats pretty cool. My fathers Aunt said DeNiro's character was god awfully ugly and Sharon Stone's character was gorgeous...I had an accounting professor who was on the Gaming commission at the time they put Tony Spilatro (Pesci's character) in the black book.
Is there any reason you would NOT let someone play? Card counters are not allowed to play blackjack, but can play the others such as roulette, craps, and bacc. If one becomes too intoxicated, that may be a reason to "back them off" If a player becomes aggressive is another reason, but the previous two reasons, intoxication and aggressiveness are subjective and dependent on the player.
Forgive me for not knowing this, but how do you know if someone is counting cards? Very easy actually...it is all about how they bet and play...one does not necessarily know how to count to catch a card counter...in order for someone to be profitable at counting, they must have a large "bet spread" for instance a minimum bet of say $25 and a maximum of $500...one indication is if a person is betting: 25, 25, 50, 75, 500...that may be a sign...how one plays is another indication.
I know you don't make the rules, but it's such bullshit. They literally kick people out for using their brain to play a game. Yes and no...I see it from both sides...the advantage for a card counter is actually very small...it brings the advantage to slightly over 1%..so really it's a grind...and not automatic. A positive count for the player is also a positive count for the dealer. There have been times I've dabbled...got a 20 and the dealer pulls a 21.
Has anyone ever come into the casino in a disguise that had previously been 86ed for card counting? Not that I know of...I've never caught anyone like that...a good documentary about card counting is: HolyRollers
What gives the player the advantage is that the dealer is more likely to bust. And a 1-2% advantage is exactly what the casino's normal advantage over players who play basic strategy is. So for a counter to have that allows them to always be profitable in the long run. It's simple math. Yes...but it is a grind. It is not the romantic thing that I think people think it is. In the long run, absolutely a good counter will be profitable...but that counter will have put in a lot of hours and experience a lot of swings.
Thanks for doing this AMA. Your proof pic is a bit blurry, but I think I'm looking at a Cosmopolitan ID card there. If so, could you let me know a bit about the comp structure at the Cosmopolitan? I usually play blackjack, at $1000 per hand. What can I expect for my kind of play? Yes my proof is blurry and yes it's from the Cosmopolitan...for the comp structure I'll refer you to a co-worker, a host...I'll PM you his info later tonight, early Sunday morning...when you say $1000k a hand...I hope it means $1000 k a hand at least every hand.
Biggest tip you've gotten? In one night my crap table, which consists of 4 dealers made approximately 12k...my tips are usually accumulated throughout a night v. one big hand-in.
Has the casino you worked at ever done "shady business"? i.e. ripping off people, beating them? No beatings...they do not have to resort to "shady business" 1. all of the games have an advantage built in...most people now a days just come to party and not necessarily to "make money" very few people, I mean very few actually give themselves a fighting chance. They are just there to let loose and party. One practice some of the casinos have picked up which I do not like, but people still play is paying the 12 crap in the field double instead of the traditional triple...and playing blackjacks 6-5 instead of 3-2.
Are there any casinos left in LV that let dealers keep their own tips? In other words, a 'go for your own' house, rather than pooled tips? Yes...very few...Hooters and Silverton...If I wasn't getting out of the business, I would attempt to work at Silverton...I've talked to numerous "old timers" and of course goin for your own is far superior. I actually heard a co-worker describe recently working at the Silverton as making "score" as better than sex.
The current structure of "pooling" tips is the reason I went back to school 5 yrs ago and I'm getting out now.
What are the best and worst bets at the casino? The slot machines are terrible, the carnival games, such as Let it Ride, Three Card Poker are terrible...the best table game is baccarat, then craps (if played correctly)
What is the biggest, "No no," in a casino? Really touching any of the staff and the cards on a table and if someone reaches in the rack or towards it, even joking...they will get thrown out.
What are your favorite restaurants in Vegas? Romas on Spring Mtn...I've eaten at Hot 'n' Juicy Crawfish but was very intoxicated so I do not remember if I liked it or not. Lindo Michoacan on Trop is okay...I used to eat Ricardo's a lot on flamingo and decatur...on the strip...the Wynn and the Cosmopolitan buffet is awesome...Comme Ca is very good, Holsteins has a great beer selection as does Freaken Frogs across from UNLV on Maryland.
Cool, thanks. I was in Vegas last week and had no idea where to eat. Fortunately we got lucky with some Italian restaurant at the Cosmopolitan. I'll remember your picks for next time. Yea you probably ate at Scarpetta...I didn't mention it b/c I haven't eaten there yet.
What are the telltale signs of someone who's counting cards? An irregular, large bet spread and play. Splitting tens against a bust card with an enormous bet, and nothing but tens and aces show is a great indicator. When someone takes insurance on a dealer's Ace with a bad hand but a lrge bet is another.
What about splitting tens against a bust card with a normal bet? I love doing this at low limit tables. I normally wouldn't b/c you have a 20 and most likely will not improve your hand, but there are situations that say it is the play.
How many people ACTUALLY cheat? It actually happens more than you think...they do it in teams now-a-days...sometimes even the dealer is in on it...heres one
Whats the cleverest one you've seen. The cards at some casinos had a slight pattern that were barely noticeable and only when the cards were turned a certain way. Apparently some players from Asia recognized this, deposited a large amount of money in the casino bank and told the casino they wanted to play baccarat. They also stipulated they would only play if the dealer turned the cards a certain way before exposing the card...once the dealer did this one time through the deck...all of the cards were able to be read from the back...it is very confusing unless someone understands how baccarat is played.
Are you trained to catch a cheater? As a supervisor I took a class that taught some techniques and what to look for...what really prevents cheats is the fact that camaras are ubiquitous...and the dealers are taught "game protection" that prevents cheats. For instance in craps always making sure when the person shooting the dice always hit the back wall, the dice leave the shooters hand simultaneously, and both dice are airborne, in addition to the stick person always having his/her eyes on the dice.
I thought Baccarat cards were only used once. Normally yes...but I think they requested the same deck be used...yes this should've sent off a flag.
Shit, missed this ama.. I have some real questions here.. Fire away...I have about 20 mins b/f I leave for work.
Approximately 4 guys? Yea there was a group of guys together...it was about 3 yrs ago when I was dealing to them...cannot remember if it was 4 or 5 of them...but one of the guys did claim he lost about $2500.
Thanks for all this, by the way. No I am kind've a hard ass when I floor craps, so I nip shit in the but...only on video
How much do you make playing us rubes at poker after your shift ends? Man, gotta leave when the dealers pull up for happy hour, but you're so fun to drink with! I haven't played poker seriously in over two yrs...I've been finishing up my degree so I haven't had the time to invest.
Poker dealers are notorious for being loose.
What game do I have the best chance at winning? Baccarat then craps, in craps the way to play is a pass or don't pass bet with full odds...then a come bet or don't come bet again with full odds
Do you gamble? A little...all the bars in Vegas have machines at the counter...I'll put anywhere from $20 to $100 in...get free drinks and sometimes free food.
Do you have any experience with anyone having incredible/unbelievable luck and you're convinced that he/she isn't cheating? Actually pretty recently...some guy just got incredibly hot in blackjack and won about 90k...which was a lot compared to his normal play.
I honestly think I know these guys. Was it the week of CES? It was around that time, in January.
You ever been a dealer in the WSOP? No that's poker...I am a table games dealer, well supervisor now
Biggest tip you've ever gotten? Favorite casino game? Most someone has ever won at your table? Throughout a night I've made into the thousands Favorite game is craps Most won-over 100k.
How can card counting considered cheating? Isnt that a major dick move from the casino? "Oh you can't use your brains, you'll have to be dumb and lucky." It's not considered cheating, that is why one would not get into trouble for doing it...the only response the casino has is to refuse service *not allow you to play bj.
What's your stance/opinion on that Phil Ivey casino incident? Context: Link to www.thestar.com That was the same scam I spoke of earlier...with the card backs having a design issue...in my opinion, as long as no devices were used...it was the fault of the casino and the casino should take the hit...they were negligent. IMHO.
Do some dealers cheat? I know its harsh in Vegas, but what about more easy places like Cruise liners etc? Cheat for who? Dealers work on tips, more so than waitresses. So they are not gonna cheat so the player loses.
I just spent a weekend at Las Vegas [first time] with a client who curiously only played slots [to the level he got comp'd regularly]. It was a surreal experience. However since it looks like there will be repeat visits, it got me wondering: what would be the best way to go about learning a table game like blackjack and the best way to teach my [Jpn] client/friend? Ask the dealer...it is part of there job to help.
How much does the casino spend in card decks per day or month or whatever the period would be? How many decks is that? What about dice? Edit: corrected Swype mistake from Reddit Mobile. That I do not know.
How often do they replace dice? 8 hrs.
You get new dice every 8 hours? What do you do with the old ones? Some casinos sell them...others not sure.
Have you even been to the tunica casinos? If not, what have you heard about them? My grandfather always liked goin to Mississippi.
What is the highest amount of dough you've ever seen anyone lose? 1 million.
Holy shit... How pissed was he? He gets pissed when he loses... I've dealt and floored his games numerous times... He's pretty cool other than that.
What is your favorite non-cassino game to play, such as board games and video games? I love to play cards...euchre, all forms of rummy, knock, skat, spades...as for video games I pretty much only play Madden.
How rich is he? do you know what he does? I cant imagine losing a milly...even if i was rich. Whats the point?...i doubt he does it for the money. Maybe the rush? He's a professional gambler.
Obviously not professional enough, eh? ;-) I wouldn't go that far...people lose, even pros. He doesn't play craps professionally...but he is a professional gambler.
How much money does the casino have at any point inside the building ? It depends on the chips in play...differs from casino to casino.
By law a casino has to have enough money in hand to cover every bet in play on its floor, correct? Not sure what the exact percentage is...but it is stricter than our banking system, lol.
Ever hear of Steve Forte? No but I work with his son John.
Damn... To someone like me, He is royality. I'd pay good money to watch him shuffle.. Sounds weird, but its true. I'll ask John about it tonight.
1st, huge fan of your work, I love anything to do with chance or cards. 2nd, what is a good amount of money to bring into a casino? I've been making a Vegas fund and I need to know when I need to actually go. It depends on the amt of money you'd like to bet...usually around a couple thousand should be okay.
I've had guests tell great stories of there experiences with "working girls" as we call them. All the time...most guests do not know how to play...that is actually part of the dealers job description...helping/advising guests how to play the games One story was when approximately 4 guys were sharing a room...one of the guys got nearly blackout drunk, brought a worker upstairs to the room, he was so drunk, he passed out and the working girl made off with thousands of dollars.
That's the most hilariously sad story i've ever heard...thanks for the answers! Your welcome...another was when a guy was in with his wife...he picked up a girl at the table when his wife was elsewhere...he attempted to bring the girl to the room...on his way his wife happened to be waiting at their room door...when they got there the working girl kept walking(apparently with payment) that was a 2nd hand story but I definitely believe it.
Keep going! Lol...one guy had a terrible bite on his bicep...I asked him what happened...he told me he brought a girl upstairs...she began to pleasure him orally...he looked down and she had her hands in his pocket pants which were around his ankles looking for money...he went to grab her...she bit his arm and ran away.
Have u ever stacked a deck Never...not necessary...the casinos do not need to "stack the deck" the games are in their favor
Baccarat then craps, in craps the way to play is a pass or don't pass bet with full odds...then a come bet or don't come bet again with full odds wizardofodds
No that's poker...I am a table games dealer, well supervisor now It's a good way to get experience I've heard for those with little time dealing poker and want to get an in.
Throughout a night I've made into the thousands Favorite game is craps Most won-over 100k. I split my tips with every dealer working that day, so If I make a score, it doesn't matter...that's part of the reason I stopped dealing.
Last updated: 2013-06-12 18:41 UTC
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[Table] IAmA Person on day 44 of Paddling the entire Mississippi River

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Date: 2012-05-29
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How do avoid the larger river traffic (barges, ships, etc..) that might not be looking out for something as small as a kayak? Any close encounters? The barges stay in their marked channel well and are not a huge problem. I was in a few large pools this last weekend when everybody took out their motor boats. A bunch of drunks in speedboats are scarier to me. I had a guy Sunday come within a few feet of me. I almost threw my paddle at him.
When I was passing through Burlington Iowa 2 boats collided a few miles down from where I was camping. 4 people died and I have been much more cautious since then.
I had a barge sneak up on me from behind near the Wisconsin, Illinois border. I about pooped my self when it blew it's horn at me. Stupid Iowa NPR had a segment called "steamboat stories" that had that sound every time it started and would send shivers up my spine.
Not that I'd be pulling rank with a barge, but don't you technically have the right of way being that you have no motor? At least sail boats always have the right of way. Barges stay in their channel that is well marked by bouys. I might have the right of way but that means nothing if they can't see me.
Simple question- Why are you doing this? Also, any pics to share? Generic answer I give - "Because life is short and I wouldn't want to live it without having paddled the Mississippi"
Personal answer - "I need to get back to nature to figure out some stuff after Iraq"
Reason Now - "I want to come back next year and help a wounded warrior to become the first paraplegic to paddle the entire river. The amount of freedom I feel everyday is breath taking and I want to share it with someone who deserves it"
*edit - I am uploading an album to imgur now.
I want to come back next year and help a wounded warrior to become the first paraplegic to paddle the entire river. Please let us know when you get to the planning phase of this. I'll gladly kick in some money towards it. First thing when I get back. This is my new biggest priority besides not dying on the river.
Personal answer - "I need to get back to nature to figure out some stuff after Iraq" If you find yourself in New Orleans next Saturday, I will buy the booze. I will be there in 4 weeks.
The first answer is good enough for me, but each one after gets better and better. Best of luck to you :o) The ups is that I go as far as I want everyday, stop when I want and have time to really discover myself. I also can sing as loud as I want to a Kesha or Pink song on the radio while I am paddling.
Another question if you will? - What are the ups and downs to doing this solo? (Note: Solo, not alone) The downside is it is very lonely. When I first started out I would not see people for days and was alone which was ok and I felt fine. Now that I am somewhere where I see people all the time I feel lonely. Every person I meet asks me the same 3 or 4 questions.
Where do you jerk off? In my tent, the hammock makes it hard to maneuver.
When will you pass through Memphis? I reddit work literally on the banks of the river just south of the I-55 bridge. In about 8 days.
1) What are the expected total costs (gear included)? 1) The boat and gear ran me about 2000 dollars. 400 dollars for the ticket to Minneapolis, 300 to the guy who took me to Itasca. Then about 20 dollars per day I was on the river.
If you ever need a ride from Minneapolis to Itasca again, please just come to /twincitiessocial or PM me. $300 is ridiculous and I know that we could find someone to tote you up there for much less. I gave him 300$ because while I was waiting to go up I was bumming around the Mall of America, killing time. A cute girl asked me if I wanted to go to a casino and I said yes, because I love buffets and knew I could eat whatever I wanted. Waiting for the bus back to the mall so I could catch the shuttle back to my hotel I put 20 dollars in the Ghostbusters slot. I won 600 dollars. I don't really gamble and so I bought a nice hat and some nicer sunglasses for my trip. The guy who gave me a ride would have done it for free but I felt he deserved more and so gave him half of my winnings.
Is your name Huck or Jim? I am glad you did not write out Jim's name like Mark Twain did.
Would that even be possible? You'd exert so much energy per mile compared to going downstream... Everything from Minneapolis to St. Louis is flat because of the 29 locks and dams. It makes the river more like a staircase than a slope.
I noticed there was a picture of you inside a lock. Do they actually let a tiny boat like yours through the locks? Do they open and close the locks just for your little kayak? It seems a bit excessive but they send me through all by myself. The people at the locks are the only people I regularly talk to and are usually cool guys. In the locks with the bigger drops it feels like Star Wars with the giant gates opening.
But I mean you're going against the current regardless. Do kayaks skim the water so it wouldn't be too difficult? I guess I imagine paddling downstream somewhat like tubing down a river. Am I wrong? Back when the river was small and shallow there are sections that are class 2 rapids that would be very very difficult to paddle upstream. Also Saulk Rapids a couple of days north of Minneapolis would be almost impossible to paddle through. I think a rowing skiff would work best on most of it.
Pool 26 represent. FYI, St. Louis's sewer company, MSD, dumps raw sewage into the Mississippi. Hows the water quality now that you've come to our fine city? It has been nasty since Minneapolis. Everybody's poo goes into the river.
How do you get on reddit? I am at a hotel today. I have a smartphone and reddit is fun on it.
1) how are you going to paddle to pensacola? is it safe to take your boat through the gulf? 1) I plan on paddling the inter coastal most of the way from the mouth to Pensacola, my boat is very stable and can handle the gulf if I need it to.
2) do you like living in pensacola? do you consider it part of the deep south? 2) I do not like living in Pensacola, I plan on moving back to SLC. Pensacola is a great place to visit but not so much to live in, and yes it is very deep South.
Do you stop and visit some places you pass? If so, did you stop in the quad cities? (that's my hometown) I paddled through the quad cities at night. Your hometown is probably the most polluted area on the Mississippi. The water smelled like paint. I broke my paddle in the quad cities and was not very happy there.
How did you break your paddle? Going through the last lock in the quad cities I had to pee very bad. There is a rocky area just left of the locks when you exit. A lock can take 30 minutes and I had to go really bad. When I was paddling into that rocky area my paddle hit a rock and the blade broke.
Twin cities resident here! Did you see all the dogs along the shore chasing balls and having a merry time just before passing Fort Snelling? I did. They were on my left as I paddled by. Dogs love to come to the banks and bark at me. *edit - I keep a detailed journal while I am out here but you just reminded me of something I might have never remembered had you not asked. Thanks.
Had I been there that day this may have greeted you. Link to imgur.com I do have a serious question though: how has gear weight played a part in your selection of gear? How much does all of your gear weigh sans kayak? How often do you stop to resupply food and how much food and water do you carry with you? I do not have to worry about weight like I do when I backpack. My kayak alone weighs around 65 pounds. My gear is probably around 45 pounds now and I have about 15 pounds of food. I carry usually a weeks supply of food that is mostly mac and cheese and stovetop stuffing for dinner with pop tarts and candy bars for the day. Water is more difficult than food. I have a 10 liter MSR water bag and a 4 liter platypus bag. I have not been able to filter or treat my water since Minneapolis, and usually fill it up with a hose.
Do you not have a good enough filter & treatment for the water or just don't trust it given the water quality? You can't filter water from an oil slick.
So yeah, antiseptic. Hand sanitizer would be cheap and relatively light. I worked in Yellowstone after college at the Snow Lodge. Fly fishing is an art I will never master. If you ever have a chance to go out there and fish the Snake River or the Yellowstone River, take it. I am glad your eye is ok now.
I have plenty of other questions as well: when it's time to sleep do you simply pull off and sleep on shore? I know there has been some torrential rain lately, how has this effected your trip? Any weather situations that have forced you to stop for the day/had you scared shitless? When I was crossing Lake Cass it began sleeting on my and the winds were causing 3 foot waves. I fell in. I had a bag with fleece pants a fleece jacket and a pak-towel in case of this. After I got into dry clothes I paddled upriver to a lodge I saw earlier. I went into the shower and could not touch the water with my hands without intense pain. Without having been prepared I could have died that day, but luckily I didn't.
I usually just find an island on the river and set up there.
Do you have it setup so things stay in the kayak if it tips? Yes everything is strapped down and in waterproof bags.
What is this monkey swing you speak of? I take one arm and grab a tree branch then swing way back so my poo does not hit my feet. I call it the Monkey Swing because I feel like a monkey swinging from branch to branch.
How was La Crosse? Did you stop there by any chance? I did. A beautiful girl at the awesome river park recommended a pizza place and I ate four very large slices. La Crosse was a beautiful town with a great river front.
What did you do with your boat while you went to get the pizza? The rocks up to the park are pretty steep and it was such a nice clean place I felt like it was safe there.
Awesome! It's my hometown. (I'm in Ohio right now for school.) I'm glad you enjoyed it! What pizza place was it, do you recall? Good luck on the rest of your journey, sir! It was across from a bar called the library.
Beautiful women, recommending pizza? I must go to this place. She had just come from a food co-op also.
Australian cricket legend and World War II fighter pilot Keith Miller put things into perspective when he was asked how he handled the pressure of international cricket. His reply: "Pressure? A Messerschmitt up your arse is pressure. Playing cricket is not." My question: Does your currrent undertaking feel like a walk in the park compared to your time in Iraq? Do you think that this challenge is made (or feels) easier in some way by the experiences you made during your service? Apples and Oranges. We relied on each other a ton over there and it was a shared experience. I feel that my time in the service gave me the confidence to try to achieve something that might seem impossible.
Are you going through the locks when you come to them? Or are you going around on foot? I am going through the locks. I pull a little cord right before them that signals the lockmaster and they put me through just like a barge. I sometimes have to wait upwards of an hour and a half for the barges to go through first. Before Minneapolis I would have to carry my boat around the dams, sometimes up to a mile.
How do you carry the kayak? I've found them a lot harder to portage than canoes. I usually take 2 trips. First I carry all my gear then I use a handle on the side of my kayak to carry it.
Once you conquer the Mississippi what will be your next adventure? I want to come back and help a paraplegic be the first to paddle the entire river. I have had this on my mind for the last month and I think it could be done. The biggest obstacle is portaging around all the dams in Minnesota.
Someday I would like to ride a bike from Coney Island, NY to Chicago then take route 66 to LA. Then I will have done my personal triple crown. Walk up the country, float down then peddle across.
Are you worried about how violent the river becomes in Louisiana? That undercurrent is a killer, literally. Yes I am. 5 people have died on the river within a few miles of me since I have been out here. 4 in Burlington Iowa and one near Hannibal, MO. I stay very near the shore to avoid barges and to be safe. I am very aware that it will be dangerous but will continue anyways.
Most people who die on the river do so because they leave their life vests and brains on the dock to make room for more beer. I have never been or will be on this river without my life vest. I keep a small drybag on my vest with my phone and wallet in case I get separated from my boat.
Are you doing your ama from a mobile device on the water or are you taking a break right now? I am taking the day off. I am at a holliday inn with a business center. I do check reddit every couple of nights from my phone but have to conserve my battery in case I need my phone for an emergency. I stay in a hotel about once every 10 days and this is the second time I took an entire day off. I woke up today and was unable to close my fingers in a fist without a ton of pain and thought it would be a good idea to rest.
Where is your kayak while you are in the hotel room? Did you take it in with you? A marina here is letting me keep it there overnight. Sometimes I hide it among the trees on the shore when I run into town.
How much gear have you ditched so far because you overpacked? Haven't ditched any gear but have lost or broken; solar panel, gps, laptop, gloves, knit hat, kayak paddle and a fleece.
What piece of gear do you wish you had that you don't? What piece of gear has surprised you most? What piece of gear has disappointed you most? I wish I had a spare kayak paddle. My kayak paddle dissapointed me when it broke but the worst piece of gear I had was a Brunton Solar charger. It just straight up did not work even with 12 hours of direct sunlight.
Cat can stove? Cat Can Stove! I don't think anything inflatable could make it down this river because of all the debris.
Do you have any plans for future excursions? I want to do the river again but to act as a guide for a paraplegic and help him/her around the dams and such. It has become clear to me out here that life is better when you stop worrying about yourself and start helping others. If I could share this freedom with someone who might feel confined by their chair then that is a pretty good life.
One day I want to ride a bicycle across the country to complete my triple crown. Walk up, paddle down and ride across. I want to touch the South Pole before I die.
Ehat do you mean by "walk up"? Can you elaborate? When I hiked the Appalachian trail I walked up the country from Georgia to Maine.
When you camp on the side of the river, do you just do it wherever? did you have to organize/reserve locations, or do you just hobo-style it? any problems with authorities ever? I usually stay on islands and pull my boat all the way off the water. No one can really see me.
What kind of wildlife do you see?? At the start there was an amazing amount of wildlife. My favorite was a small furry wolf that was drinking from the riverside. I have seen a ton of deer, ducks, geese, loons, herons and beavers. I also saw a whooping crane. I have a picture of it.
How enormous are the whirlpools? I heard the Mississippi gets massive whirlpools, if so, have you ever gotten stuck in one? They can be upwards of 20 feet. They can be frustrating because there seems to be no good way to paddle around them without being spun around a bit. The more speed you have when skirting by them the less effect they have.
How fast does the Mississippi move? Like, you say you're paddling down it, but could you conceivably just float down it? From Minneapolis to St. Louis the river is controlled by locks and dams. Usually the wind comes from the South and if I do not paddle it pushes me upstream. The current picks up a ton after St. Louis because there are no more dams and floating becomes an option.
Tell us about the stuff you need to figure out about Iraq. What have you been doing since you came back, and why the need for adventure right now? The weight of being responsible for other people's deaths weighs heavy on my heart. I worked for the company that made the drone I flew for a while until they told me I would have to go to Afghanistan. I went back to school for a bit and waited tables. I knew in my heart that I was an adventurer and the only way to get back to that is to dive in.
How polluted is the Mississip? Outside of the cities it is not too bad. I have been by probably 25 coal power plants and tons of factories. The quad cities treats the river like a dump. The water is polluted beyond belief but local groups keep the shoreline decently clean, except in Minneapolis.
As someone who is looking at the filthy bastard right now, (Muscatine, Iowa) what made you choose the Mississippi? I grew up in Memphis and used to hang out at the river. I am just one of those people that when they see a mountain they want to climb it.
Ever read the story "Big Two-Hearted River" by Hemingway? You sound a bit like the character in that. Enjoy your journey and thanks for sharing. No I did read The River Why, Down the River, Huck Finn, and A River Runs Through it though.
How swole are your arms? I lifted a while before this and my arms have actually gotten smaller but more toned.
Any close calls with shady people? Any times where you feared for your safety? Thank you for your military service. Whenever I go through a larger town or city there are people who hang out under the bridges. I avoid them.
Once you get to the mouth in Venice, Louisiana. Would you like to have a beer with me? Sure.
How often do you listen to Black Water by the Doobie Brothers? I heard it on the radio about two weeks ago and sang along. The stroke by Billy Squire and Drift Away are 2 good paddlin songs too. You can usually find me singing along to Brittney Spears and Ke$ha to be honest.
How easy would it be to do this? Like how much experience do you recommend having before you set out on this journey? You need a decent amount of paddling experience for this and must know how to read a river.
Cool.... Where would you get started for all of this? Join a local paddling club. I went through the Memphis canoe and kayak club's courses on whitewater canoeing and kayaking in the 90's growing up. Even if you don't own a boat your local club will probably help you find something to paddle. When I am on my kayak it moves like another limb of my body. When you can paddle and not think about it you are golden. I used to work for an Outdoors shop in memphis. After work every day I would go to a small public lake at shelby farms and paddle for 2-3 hours. I did it because I loved it, even though I just went around in small circles. I did not know at the time that it would lead to this. Start small and dream big. I love the feeling of being on the water. Some people love climbing rocks. If it is el Cap, Everest, a solo sail around the world or maybe a float of the Mississippi that is your calling you will know.
Have you been smacked by any Asian carp yet? Yes they do hit my boat daily. Since lock 19 in Iowa they have been everywhere.
Very cool, I think it is very cool to see someone actively crossing things off a bucket list! Too many people just talk about doing those things but are never serious. Thank you for your service as well! I was paddling north of Minneapolis when I saw a couple of kayaks in front of me. I paddled to catch up and there were about 40 people paddling down the river. I had not seen anyone else paddling before and I was excited. They were a river club from Minneapolis that was out for a day paddle. One of the nice older ladies offered me a place to stay but I did not take the offer and paddled another 10 miles after they got out.
Just curious, how did you get by the Coon Rapids Dam in Minnesota? I imagine you just pulled out some where and put back in down river but I'd be interested to hear how anyway. There is a ridiculously long trail that goes up and down over 2 old rail beds, across a concrete path, down a steep hill, across a 2 foot wide bridge, up a hill with a tree fallen in the middle, then down a long path, that turns into another long path, that finally goes down a hill into a parking lot and then down another steep hill. The path was covered in ticks and there was dicarded panties and broken liquor bottles the whole way. I described it in another response as "rapey". It was not a good time.
How long do you plan on this trip taking? And did you do anything special to prepare for a journey of this magnitude? 70-80 days Nothing too special to be honest. Having gone through SERE-C in the Army helped as well as a lifetime of trips in the outdoors.
Welcome to St. Louis! Just wondering if the river's as muddy everywhere else as it is here? We even have a cake named Mississippi Mud Cake, so, yeah... lol. I used to drink the water and see down 6 feet. Since Iowa it has been bad. Remember playing "hot lava" as a kid. It is like that but with cancer.
Why? I once heard that the afterlife might be a separation from time and you live your life over and over again. Do yo measure life in dollars or in sunsets?
To an alien my life has purpose. What do you have. If it is kids and love you win. If not . . .
Because I own things that money could never buy.
Did I miss the imgur link to OP's pictures? The link is in my comments.
I work at a kayak rental shop in Cleveland, on lake Erie. Im assuming the boat is about 17 feet because you are obviously an experience paddler. Is that right? It is 14 feet.
Did you bring any weed? No :(
Bummer man. I might find a stealth grow on the banks one of these days but I wouldn't want to steal it. I will keep on looking though.
Real men paddle FROM Pensacola TO Minneapolis. If I could find someone to fund it I would turn around and paddle back when I am done.
I'd love a brief overview of the gear you're using. The kayak is a Jackson Cuda Sit on top. I was using an Accent kayak paddle until the blade snapped in the quad cities. I use an Accent paddle board paddle now. I sleep in either my REI 2 man tent or on my ENO hammock. I cook with a denatured alcohol stove. I always wear my life jacket which I have a dry bag attached to hold my phone and wallet. I have a rather large river knife attached to my vest also. I use a Marmot 30 degree sleeping bag with a Thermarest Z-rest for my bed. I had a solar panel and a gps but the river took those from me a month ago.
LOVE my ENO hammock! Slept in it all weekend... Good luck brotha! The ENO hammock is my favorite piece of gear.
As would I! I can't imagine using a sit on top for expedition paddling...a sea kayak feels so much more cozy to me. I picked the Jackson Cuda because I can stand and paddle it like a paddle board. I didn't go with a traditional kayak because I was afraid my legs would not be able to handle months inside a regular kayak.
Good luck, sir. I hope you find what it is you're looking for. You seek a great fortune, you three who are now in chains. You will find a fortune, though it will not be the one you seek. But first... first you must travel a long and difficult road, a road fraught with peril. Mm-hmm. You shall see thangs, wonderful to tell. You shall see a... a cow... on the roof of a cotton house, ha. And, oh, so many startlements. I cannot tell you how long this road shall be, but fear not the obstacles in your path, for fate has vouchsafed your reward. Though the road may wind, yea, your hearts grow weary, still shall ye follow them, even unto your salvation.
Post that shit everywhere :D Maybe our numbers will swell abit. And the trivia team will grow.
Please tell me that's not a fishing pole. I hope you don't plan on eating any fish from that river. Polluted nasty poop fish! That's my poop you are kayaking with! (I live in STL) I would not eat anything south of the quad cities.
You are still north of myself - but when you reach Cairo to Caruthersville (spelling) anthing along that stretch - Basically the Convergance of Ohio and Miss - to where I44 crosses the River. Thanks. I will be passing by probably Friday. I could definitely use a new kayak paddle but I think my mom in Memphis has a spare she will lend me. Mine broke in the quad cities and I have been using a paddleboard paddle like a canoe paddle. It is a mess and I can't close my hands fully anymore but I kind of like it.
You need anything because I could probably get it to you. You can come out and we can high five if you want.
So - regarding Paddle and whatever - looks like I can swing heading North along the river on Thursday - so we are not constrained to a Friday crossing timeline. So outside of the Paddle - any "inland" favorites you desire let me know and we will try and work this out. I talked to my mom and I have an old paddle of mine at her place in Memphis. If you just want to come say hi that would be nice.
Because of the width and the height of the Cuda, a 240cm paddle would be best if you're going to provide a replacement. Maybe the Bending Branches infusion with the soft grips... I was using a 240 before because of the cuda's height. When you set the chair in the low position it is actually not that tall. It is an amazing vessel.
You should launch a Kickstarter campaign to write/document your travels. Perhaps when you do the trip again with a Wounded Warrior. The Wounded Warrior project could perhaps help too. If I could raise money I might. I am well read and well educated but I feel no need to share this. If I could help someone by being popular that would be good. I would rather just die with this than let someone sell it.
I plan on writing a book but I do not like attention while I am doing it. I have already written over 120 pages in my journal but I feel the river is the true story, not some asshole like me going down it If I do ever publish a book about this I want it to be like cannery row, a bit of the wild slipping on the knife. Some days I just wish I was like the kid in into the wild and if I die out here it is worth writing about.
I'm pretty sure I recall you posting your "ride wanted" ad in the twinscitiessocial subreddit or something of the like. Glad to see you found your ride! I recently traveled alongside the river just in Minnesota alone and am really jealous of your trip. No questions here, just good luck! Give some love to mn_redditor. Without him I would not be here.
When you come through Vicksburg, Mississippi, let me know! I will send you a message when I am close.
Did you get bitten by a snake. I fear most bodies of water because of this T_T. I have only seen two snakes in the water, both while waiting for locks. There will be more.
Oh my gosh HEY, i know you! I work at the Four Points you stayed at in MPLS and drove you around in the shuttle :) So fun to see your post on here and see the pictures of where you've been! Hey thanks for the radio station advice. You were a cool chick.
I admire your exercise in Zen. I find mine climbing rock walls. Enjoy the solidarity, risk, and enlightenment. The process of present moments is what matters. The best days are the ones where the hours melt like minutes.
When you get back the zombie contamination will be over. I always wanted to be patient zero in the zombie apocalypse. Maybe the foul waters of lousiana will cause this.
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