Melissa Monroe is like the Hannah Buehler of tattooing (and that’s a good thing!)


I mean, can’t you see the resemblance?  OK, so maybe the above looks more like a before-and-after photo for some fundie poster proclaiming “This is Your Daughter After She Listens to Slipknot!” or some such nonsense…but I found myself watching Ink Master this season for much the same reason I used to watch those Buffalo Bills “Off the Field” videos online.  Much like the former Bills reporter, this season’s youngest Spike TV competitor, Monroe, comes across as the sweet, wholesome girl next door–except with piercings and tattoos.  They’ve even got the same Northern accent, which I find sweetly charming.

As she told her local Wisconsin alt weekly, Monroe is “not much of a TV person;  I probably looked like a scared puppy the first few shows – I’m super awkward.”  And yet, she’s pretty darn good with a needle, especially for someone who’s only been inking people for three years.  While one of the other three female competitors this season flaked out in the second episode, Monroe made it all the way to the Top 5 before a Japanese snake got the best of her last night.  I dunno guy, but I’m pretty sure that the waiting list to get tattooed by Melissa is three years long now.  How close is Port Washington, Wisconsin to Toronto, anyways?

On the other hand, I think I shed a single tear when I saw an episode of Under Review in my Daily Buffalo Bills Buzz today that wasn’t hosted by Hannah.  It seems she’s moved on to local ABC affiliate WKBW, which might be the only Buffalo-based station that I never watch, ever.  (I mean, when was the last time ABC had any good shows!?)  That said, I think I can stop pretending to be a Bills fan now.  After the Bills in Toronto Series went on permanent vacation, losing Hannah to the local news has gotta be the last straw!

Know what else I found out tonight that these two young ladies have in common?  They’re both engaged.  Erm, this blog post will self-destruct… :o

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Bye Bye Buffalo Bills…

Yesterday, it was announced with little fanfare (and surprisingly few comments from the peanut gallery) that the Bills in Toronto Series was being “postponed” for 2014.  Yeah, and the last time I “postponed” a date, I never saw her again.  Looks like the writing’s on the wall for the Bills in TO, and as someone who attended every single one of those games–except for last year’s sorry-ass contest–all I hafta say is “It’s not me, it’s you.”

Let’s face it, the Bills haven’t helped themselves by bringing some gawd-awful squads up here.  This franchise hasn’t made the playoffs since Doug Flutie was their QB (that was 14 years ago, in case you’re wondering), and their results weren’t much worse in Toronto than they were at any stadium in America–a mere 1-5 in six regular season contests.  But it’s not just that they lost those games, but how they lost them: 16-3 to Miami, 19-13 to the Jets, 22-19 to Chicago, 50-17 to the Seahawks…  OK, so I quite enjoyed that last loss.  But it’s no secret I was sitting on the visitor’s sideline for that one. ;)

When they announced the 2013 opponent as the Atlanta Falcons, I was a little less enthused.  After all, I did have a bit of a beef with Atlanta–who knocked the Hawks outta the playoffs on a last-second field goal in 2012–but I figured that the reigning NFC South champs would make Buffalo burgers out of the Bills, who had about as much depth and talent at QB as the Calgary Flames have got in goal.  As it turns out, Atlanta’s season went been shitty *inside joke* in a hurry, and they were about as bad as Buffalo coming in…but even with Seattle playing on MNF that week, I opted to sit at home and watch a Broncos game rather than pay money to see that sorry spectacle.

It figures that last season’s game was the highest-scoring Bills contest in Toronto, with the so-called home side losing 34-31 in overtime.  That could actually be considered exciting–if either team had anything to play for.  But the biggest complaint afterwards wasn’t about the Bills giving up a game-tying TD in the last two minutes, or the piss-poor play of EJ Manuel (18-32, 210 yards, 50.3 QBR); it was about all the fans cheering for the Falcons.  Cuz hey, it may be 1,600 km away, but Atlanta’s still on the East Coast, so their fans’ll still travel.  And it’s not like the visitors making more noise was a new thing–any Bills fans who hadn’t left by halftime wanted to puke, not shout, in that Seattle game.  In fact, Bills center Eric Wood went on local radio afterwards and said stuff like “[Toronto]’s a bad atmosphere for football. I mean, nobody wants to play there.  I guess for opposing teams it beats the hell out of going in somebody else’s stadium and dealing with a bunch of crowd noise.”  Really, he could’ve been talking about any Bills in Toronto Series game there…except maybe their lone win over Washington.

Now, there are some–including The Mayor of This CityTM and his First Brother–who think that as a world-class city, we deserve a world-class team in a world-class football league.  Well, the Bills may play in the NFL, but they haven’t been a world-class team in 20 years.  And as I’ve said before, Toronto’s just not that big into football.  I mean, the Argos haven’t brought a decent crowd out to Rogers Centre since Doug Flutie was their QB.

Speaking of which, it’s probably just as well that I won’t hafta pretend to be a Bills fan once a year anymore.  Even after dropping a lotta weight these past few months, I just barely fit into my Flutie jersey…

The first time I saw Peyton pass the pigskin in person was anything but Super…

Did I mention that I’m going to the Super Bowl on Sunday?  Well fine, I just said it again.  Obviously, I’m a Seahawks fan and I’ll be there to support my team, but getting to see one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time at the peak of one of his best seasons ever, well, that gives me added incentive to sit outside in below-freezing (Celsius) temperatures for 3+ hours.

Mind you, this wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen Peyton Manning in person, but it’s a huge step up from the last such occurrence–a preseason game… against the Bills… in Toronto, of all places!  (In case you’re a stickler for detail, this would’ve been August 2010.)  Now, as anyone who’s attended a Bills in Toronto Series game can attest, this dog-and-pony show consistently gives both the NFL and the city of Toronto a bad name.  Just ask Bills center Eric Wood–or, y’know, any of the long-suffering Bills fans who’s ever made the trip up north.  There might actually be a few Bills fans in Toronto, but let’s just say their Jim Kelly jerseys are still in pristine condition.

And did I mention that this was a preseason contest?  To paraphrase a former Colts coach, “Preseason?  Don’t talk about preseason–you kidding me?  Preseason!?”

In any case, I took some time out of my not-so-busy schedule to attend this contest.  Because hey, one quarter of Peyton Manning is better than watching a full season of J.P. Losman/Trent Edwards/Ryan Fitzpatrick/(insert quarterback here), am I right?  Alas, the first quarter of the second preseason game of 2010 was hardly the stuff of legend.  Peyton completed just 8 of 15 passes for a mere 91 yards, and while he tossed a TD to Jacob Tamme, he also had an interception returned for a Buffalo score.  And yes, I stood up and shouted afterwards.

Things got better afterwards, if by better you mean crappy players putting points on the board. As I remarked at the time, “A scoreless third quarter ensued, with the Buffalo third-stringers outplaying the Indy benchwarmers.  They added a couple more scores in the fourth to win by 13, but by then I was already gone, off to the Bovine to see Purple Rhinestone Eagle and company, who were much more entertaining than a buncha future CFLers and Arena League rejects.”

But hey, at least the Bills won.  Whatever happened to Purple Rhinestone Eagle, anyways?

No wonder I’ve been losing weight this season!

A new study in Psychological Science has found that “vicarious defeats experienced by fans when their favorite football team loses lead them to consume less healthy food.”  In case you’re wondering why the average Buffalonian looks like an offensive lineman, well, 13 years of vicarious defeats will do that to you–not to mention those four straight Super Bowls.  As per the study’s abstract, “These effects are greater in cities with the most committed fans, when the opponents are more evenly matched, and when the defeats are narrow.”  Or in other words, Wide Right Into the Extra Large Pizza! ;)

On the flip side, the study’s author, Pierre Chadron, told NPR that “After a victory, people eat better,” to the tune of five-per-cent fewer calories and nine-per-cent less saturated fat.  And hey, I kinda get that.  After Super Bowl XL, my t-shirt size went up to an XL–from a medium–but lately, my weight has been headed in the opposite direction.  As the Seahawks start the season 4-0 for the first time in franchise history, I’m having a hard time finding a pair of pants that fits me in my closet, cuz they’re all too big for me now.

The funny thing is that I actually used to eat more after a Seahawks win.  Since most of their games kick off around 4:30 pm Eastern Time, and I don’t have a personal chef, there’s no way I’m making dinner until the final whistle blows–which means not consuming a full meal until 7:30 or so.  When they won, I’d usually order take-out, but being that I’m no longer next door to Burrito Bandidos and their mouthwatering halibut on white with everything, I’ve had to put a stop to that tradition.  It also doesn’t hurt that the Hawks have only had one 4:25 kickoff thus far this season…

But on the other hand, my calorific intake during games is directly related to negative performance.  Simply put, whenever the Seahawks surrender a touchdown, I crack open a beer.  During a losing season, I’d go through a sixer a game, but lately, the stout SeaFence has me almost stone-cold sober at the end of each contest.  Which certainly does wonders for my calorie count–not that I’m counting, anyways.

Granted, my calorie count isn’t strictly tied to Seattle’s early success this season.  Since moving to my new apartment in April, I’ve actually started using the exercise room, and I also walk to work now.  My diet, on the other hand, remains more-or-less unchanged.  That being said, if Seattle goes to 5-0 this afternoon, I am so eating a queeno tomorrow!

Living in an animal house…

You can’t live here—it’s bat country!  The National Post is reporting that a Saskatoon bachelor apartment has turned into an above-ground Batcave, with rodents the size of Doug Flutie.  As displaced tenant Christina Abbott puts it, “With their wings spread out, they’re maybe about nine inches. They’re about the size of a deck of cards when they’re huddled up. They look like Buffalo Bills quarterback bats.”  At least, I’m assuming she’s referring to Flutie, and not current Bills rookie QB E.J. Manuel, who’s six-foot-five.  I think he might even be bigger than Bruce Wayne…

Meanwhile in Utah, the Mormon enclave whose state flag actually has a beehive on it, a beekeeper needed 10 hours to remove some 80,000 bees from a couple’s bedroom.  As ABC News reports, “Though quiet, the bees had built a virtual village behind the Judd’s bedroom wall, totaling between 70,000 and 80,000 in number, according to [the beekeeper’s] estimate.”  These poor folks apparently had moved in just four months prior.  Aaaaand that’s why you don’t buy your house on Craigslist.

COMMENT OF THE DAY: I guess the other 43,967 just show up to drink, fight and tailgate, eh?


Speaking of the (Not-So-)Super Bowl, Rogers announced today that it’s extending the Bills in Toronto Series for another five seasons—twice as long as your typical Rogers contract.  This should probably pay for a pretty good portion of those upgrades to Ralph Wilson Stadium, mind you.  Never mind that players have publicly stated they hate playing at Rogers Centre, bitter Buffalonians don’t take the trip to support their losing team, and your typical Torontoninan couldn’t care less… as a Seahawks fan, I sure enjoyed this season’s contest! ;)

Of course, the official attendance for the Bills and Hawks was listed at 40,770, far from a sell-out, and a far cry from the Ralph’s capacity crowd of 73,967.  But according to this omniscient sometime Bills supporter, the crowd in Buffalo wouldn’t be any bigger if you took away their booze ‘n blue cheese:


(Then again, even if the unthinkable were to happen, and the Ralph operated at 40.5586% capacity all season, they’d likely still outdraw the Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts.  But don’t get me started on that…)

Hey Wood, it’s not like you would’ve won anyways!

After the 50-17 thumping of the Buffalo Bills by the visiting Seahawks last Sunday, some speculate that this might be the end of the Bills in Toronto Series.  The original agreement between the team and the city was for five years, but according to the Toronto Star, “word is a new deal will soon be announced.”  Just don’t tell that to Bills center Eric Wood, who lashed out at Toronto and its so-called fans on a Buffalo radio station today.  “I think the Toronto series has turned into pretty much a joke,” he said on 97 Rock, as per the Star. “It’s a bad atmosphere for football. I mean, nobody wants to play there.  I guess for opposing teams it beats the hell out of going in somebody else’s stadium and dealing with a bunch of crowd noise.”

The funny thing is, there was a pretty decent crowd—in terms of size and noise—at the 100th Grey Cup a few weeks earlier, although that appears to be an anomaly.  The Argos don’t draw well otherwise, and as for the Bills game, which was reportedly sold out, it had “Only 40,770 fans, the majority cheering for the playoff-bound visiting Seahawks”—Star reporter Bob Mitchell’s words, not mine.  Then again, can you blame Toronto fans for not jumping on the bandwagon of a losing team once a year—or Buffalonians for not taking the cross-border trip to see a team that was all but eliminated from the playoffs by kickoff?  Even in the eyes of someone who only attends one football game a year (someone I can’t really relate to), the choice between the Grey Cup and the Bills game was pretty much a no-brainer.  Of course, I went to both…

Mind you, while most Bills backers have been bashing the team on its website for weeks now, they still show up to the other home games.  Well, most of them, anyways.  When the team’s not winning, there tend to be a few blackouts—which, incidentally, means the Toronto market gets to see different teams on TV.  But when those angry Bills fans do go to the games, at least they show some passion.  As Wood puts it, “I mean, it’s a crucial third down for them in the first quarter, and they’re running just regular snap count, where I don’t care if we have a half-filled Ralph Wilson Stadium, they don’t do that.”

And even if they’re winning (which has only happened once at Rogers Centre, mind you), well… “That game up in Toronto last year worked out in our favour. We got up on them (Washington) early and they pretty much fell asleep with no crowd noise. They gave in quick, too. It’s just not a fun game for us.”

Me, I can’t wait to see what the Daily Buffalo Bills Buzz has to say about this…