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

hannahmonroe

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?

From: http://www.thestar.com/sports/football/nfl/article/1321292–buffalo-bills-rogers-centre-reach-deal-to-continue-playing-one-nfl-game-per-season-in-toronto

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:

cotd129

(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…

Today, I’m heading back into enemy territory (well okay, it’s more of a neutral site…)

At the 100th Grey Cup, I was surprised by all the Argos jerseys in the stands.  I’ve been to quite a few Toronto games over the years, and I’d never seen so many supporters in double blue.  Of course, I was decked out in Stampeder red-and-white…  So much for that, though! :(

However, just a few weeks later, I’ll be heading back to the Rogers Centre, once again wearing enemy colours.  Well, enemy might be a bit of a strong word.  There isn’t much history between the Buffalo Bills and the Seattle Seahawks, and the latter were clearly selected for this year’s installment of the Bills in Toronto Series because they hail from the opposite end of the continent.  Chances are, there’ll be more Bills backers than Seahawks supporters in the stands, which is what the organizers were hoping for.  That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see several other teams’ jerseys in the crowd; casual fans drawn to an NFL contest here in Canada, complete with a halftime performance by Mr. Gangnam Style himself, Psy.

And this game will hardly have a championship atmosphere, either.  From what I gather, Cincinnati’s win on Thursday night officially eliminated eight-loss Buffalo from playoff contention; having already lost to the Bengals on the season, there’s no way they could finish ahead of Cincy in the Wild Card race.  (Let’s face it, a team with an 8-8 record probably wasn’t going to make the playoffs, anyways.)  On the other hand, Seattle already has eight wins, and is trying to hold off a few teams for a Wild Card spot in the NFC.  Having beaten the Bears, Cowboys and Vikings, the Seahawks are in pretty good shape should it come down to a tie-breaker scenario–and an NFC West title isn’t even out of the question.

Y’see, while Seattle heads north to Toronto this week, their division-rival San Francisco 49ers are also taking a long trip to meet the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football.  The 10-3 Pats are coming off a dominating 42-14 home win over a solid Houston Texans squad, have won seven in a row, and have only lost once at Gillette Stadium all season–a fluky 20-18 setback to the Arizona Cardinals all the way back in Week Two.  Considering that they’ve only been held under 29 points twice since then, I wouldn’t expect a repeat of that performance.

And, should Seattle win today, it would set up a meeting between the 9-5 Hawks and the 9-4-1 Niners at CenturyLink Field next week.  Because the only way Seattle loses today’s game is if they look past Buffalo.  I can’t say I see that happening.  C.J. Spiller should get the bulk of the carries for the Bills, but I don’t see Ryan Fitzpatrick putting up big passing numbers, even against a somewhat-depleted Seattle secondary.  And since Buffalo seems to be a pass-first team, despite the lightning in the backfield, they’re bound to have trouble moving the ball.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t predict a repeat of last week’s 58-0 shuffling of the Cards–but I don’t think this game will be very close, either.  Seahawks 32, Bills 13.

LET’S GO HAWKS!!!!

COMMENT OF THE DAY: As a Seahawks fan, I approve this message!

From: http://www.thestar.com/sports/football/nfl/article/1299932–buffalo-bills-fans-accept-grudgingly-game-in-toronto

With a few die-hard Buffalo Bills fans grudgingly trudging up to Toronto this weekend for the latest installment of the Bills in Toronto Series, their team all but eliminated from playoff contention, tickets are apparently 85 per cent sold.  Of course, it remains to be seen how many of those seats will be empty after Psy performs at halftime.  That said, any Torontonians with half a brain should be rooting for the Seahawks.  So says this guy:

cotd1210

(And no, I did not post that comment on the Toronto Star…)

GUILTY PLEASURES: Daily Buffalo Bills Buzz

I must say that I’m not really a Bills fan.  Sure, I’ve accepted the fact that their games will always be shown on TV in Toronto (when they’re not blacked out in Buffalo, that is), but I usually spend the 1 o’clock slate flipping between the 3-4 games on digital cable–unless Seattle’s playing an East Coast opponent, of course.  That said, I saw enough of the Bills-Texans game yesterday to know that Buffalo fans didn’t have too much to celebrate.

Now, since I bought the Bills in Toronto Series four-game ticket pack back in ’07, I receive various emails from the team, including the Daily Buffalo Bills Buzz newsletter.  I suppose I could always unsubscribe, but hey, it helps me keep tabs on the team I cheer for once a year when they play at Rogers Centre–although this year will be different, for obvious reasons. ;)  Alas, while the articles are mildly informative, and off-the-field reporter Hannah Buehler is smokin’ hot, in a girl-next-door kinda way, what keeps me coming back for more are the comments from disgruntled Bills fans on every writeup.

Now, I suppose I can see the source of their frustration.  This is a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since ’99, when they benched the best CFL player of all-time for some bum named Rob Johnson–who, to his credit, put up some pretty big numbers against somebody’s third-string defense in Week 17–and proceeded to lose on a trick-play kick-return in the dying seconds.  In a way, they’re kinda like the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NFL; y’know, if the Leafs had actually made it to the Stanley Cup final and lost in ’93–as well as ’91, ’92 and ’94.  Okay, maybe a (slightly) more realistic scenario would be if the Seattle Seahawks had gotten screwed not just in Super Bowl 40, but Super Bowls 41, 42 and 43 as well–then proceeded to miss the playoffs for the entire following decade.  Ouch!

While I can’t quite say I feel their pain, there’s no denying that Bills fans are pretty fed up with their franchise.  These are actual comments posted on the Bills Buzz following the loss to Houston.  And yes, these people are all (supposedly) Buffalo Bills fans…

Naturally, you’re bound to get criticism of the head coach…

(Holy run-on sentence, Batman!)

…as well as a hearty helping of vitriol (along with some not-so-creative nicknames) bestowed upon the starting quarterback:

Even when the rare positive comment appears, it’s quickly met with a snide remark:

Meanwhile, you also get much putative purchasing of billboards and extensive Christmas wishlists:

(Hey, I always wondered what happened to Big Shot Bob!!!)

Alas, it seems there must not be any decent furniture stores in Buffalo (or Jacksonville, for that matter), because “ALL OUR COUCHES SUCK”

Again, the following is coming from a Bills fan.  At least, he must be, cuz it says here he’s a Top Commenter:

Another common theme: this is not a real NFL team (or some variation thereof)…

I gotta say, the switch to Facebook commenting before the start of this season has added a whole ‘nother level to these comments.  For instance, the believer that the rapture is coming before the Bills turn things around seems so much more credible once you see it’s a guy with a bandana and a porn stache who lists his profession as “MAFIA WARS.”  On the other hand, this comment is kinda scary, considering the poster’s profession:

(Aaaaand that’s why you don’t put your kids in public schools!)

This guy plays the “us commenters know better than the coaches” card, paired with “these guys make too much money, and I’d do better if you paid me!”  Uh, Go Fish?

Meanwhile, the ghost of this guy’s grandmother could beat the Bills DBs!

(And yes, there are 30 more comments where that came from!)

I think this one pretty much sums it up:

(The Bills aren’t just bad, they’re Major League II bad!)

Mind you, this week’s collection of comments seems pretty tame compared to a couple weeks back, when they blew that game against the Titans.  There were definitely a few fightin’ words exchanged afterwards, to put it mildly!