Saturday, June 21, 2014

"A New Sniper" - Call of Duty Montage

Like I said, I was going to start messing around on Youtube uploading videos of my gameplay from Call of Duty; I've started. Eventually I'll start adding stuff like Madden gameplay, etc. But for now, I'll stick with Call of Duty as that's the community I'm most intrigued by regarding Youtube.

"A New Sniper" was my first ever attempt at video editing, and it started on Playstation 4's Share Factory. I liked what I had there, initially, and transferred the file over to my laptop, where I edited the transitions a bit using Windows Live Movie Maker, and Sony Vegas Pro 13.0. When I was rendering the final product in Vegas Pro, I was really happy with what I had and thought it was an incredible project (for a starter), so I uploaded it to Youtube, and this is what I had:

As you can see, it looks relatively clean, but the transitions ran too long, and they drowned out the end of the previous clip, where I had initially cut one second after a kill... so too often in my clips, there were kills that just did not show up.

I decided I would just add commentary to a clean version of the video, taking out all of the transitions and just sticking to the clips themselves until I learn how to properly handle transitions. I love my Beats Studio headphones, they're amazing for gaming... but there's a mic installed on one of the stock wires for the headphones and it really is not the best equipment ever. Needless to say, there's still a lot to not like about video editing after attempt 1.5, but I think I have at least a decent presence and some fun clips for those into the Call of Duty online sniping community. Here is the commentary video:

If you can, please head over to my channel and leave a like on the videos and subscribe. Thank you, and don't laugh, people.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Don't Laugh, Youtube?

First of all, I want to thank the DLP community for keeping up with the site even though we haven't been too active recently. It says a lot that we've actually seen an increase in viewers even though we haven't been keeping up with posting. All of my writers and myself have been busy elsewhere, or just not too interested in blogging, and I even asked in advance if anyone wanted a platform to write.

I am hoping to get back into posting here, especially now that I have a desire in a new hobby... POSTING my gaming videos. I have been watching a lot on Youtube recently of Call Of Duty snipers like Pamaj & the FaZe guys, and there is a really cool community in that specific area. I feel like I have a good enough base for promotion already, and doing something like that could help that base grow.

Let's keep it real though, I'm not even half as good as those guys are... but I never classified myself as a sniper before. I always played with SMG's and AR's... only occasionally dabbling in sniping for fun and challenges. But in 2012 when Black Ops II came out, I made a real effort towards the final months of playing that heavily to learn how to quickscope and I started getting some cool clips... but I never uploaded anything. When I traded in my PS3 in order to put money towards my PS4, I deleted my files, so I don't have my Black Ops II stuff left, and now that I've started watching these videos, I really regret it.

However, with Ghosts, I've made an even greater effort to step up as a sniper, even with Infinity Ward nerfing [note: that's when they decrease the ability of the guns] the class. I feel like I do pretty good, and now with my focus on watching and learning from these Youtube guys, I'm noticing myself getting even better. So much, in fact, that I've started saving a lot of my content and began doing [beginner] video editing in order to put my clips together. I'm not insecure with my play, and while I know I'm far from as good as most who do it, I know I'm decent, and I'm confident enough that some people will like my clips.

Besides, it's another venture, and hopefully it motivates me to step my game up even more on COD to the point that there's growth all around. I also feel it would be even more beneficial to Don't Laugh, People by helping attract more viewers/subscribers and also hopefully create opportunities for affiliation and sponsorship. I should have my first video up soon, and I will post it here, so I hope when I do, the people who have been dedicated viewers will head on over and watch.

Monday, May 5, 2014

To Mom

Dear Mom,

I chose to do this a day after Mother's Day because no one day should ever define what you mean to me. I have a birthday where my thoughts are with you, not with the years I've lasted on this planet. Because if not for you, my birthday would not be my birthday.

I don't always express my thankfulness or tell you how much you mean to me. I know that you know how I feel about you. Of course, it's always nice to have that recognition. Every single day, I try to compose myself in a way that would make you proud and hopefully let others see that I am the product of a great mother.

I have never asked of you to be anything near what you are. You could have very well been a dead-beat mother who did not care. But you have, for coming up on 27 years, been everything great that you could be, and more, for me and Kenny. Even when times were tough, when things could have been easier on you for you to step back some and be a little less supportive (which we would have understood), you always put all of your effort and love into us.

I wish there was something, anything, that could truly show you how grateful the both of us are. I wish I could do something right now to make sure you never live a day with stress again. I know we're hard to deal with at times. I know you probably get frustrated by us coming to you for support in dumb little things. I'm certain you have considered, at least once, taking a long vacation away from us if you had the means. Or maybe you haven't... I'm sure, I know, I'm certain you haven't... because you've always done more than your best for us.

All I can tell you is I'm truly appreciative of everything you do, big or small. I admire your work ethic and your unwavering strength. I'm forever grateful for your support, your dedication, and your love. I know Kenny is as well.

Thank you for giving us a life, and doing whatever you could to make sure we got to live it more than well enough so far.

With all the love and thanks in our hearts, Happy Mother's Day,

Sean & Kenny

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My Diabetic Cat

I woke up early on a Monday morning in September 2013 and found my cat laying very still on his side, eyes glazed, unable to move. When I put him onto his stomach, he tried to stand and couldn't. I tried to help him to his feet but he collapsed back onto his side and laid there, unable to make a sound when trying to meow. I was convinced he was dying... 17 years old. I wanted to make him comfortable, and did not know how. I tried to get him to eat, and he wouldn't, but he drank water like he was taking in oxygen. He could drink, he had a thirst, and that gave me hope that maybe it was something we could figure out.

I called the veterinarian and they told me to bring him in as soon as I could. I got him wrapped up in a towel. He was unaware of everything around him.

When we got him to the vet, they did all the standard examining, checking his coat (matted; which we thought was just him being a long-haired cat in humidity). They checked his temperature, which was fine. They checked his teeth, which were fine. They checked his legs, which weren't fine. I was scared now that maybe he had fallen off of something and injured his legs or his spine. They quickly assured me that wasn't the case as he was not showing signs of excruciating pain or severe discomfort. They checked his claws to be sure there weren't signs of a foreign disease or various conditions. He responded well to the vets. The next idea was to do a blood test.

While waiting for those results, they clipped his claws and shaved most of his body to help rid him of the matted fur. His skin was dry, and he was extremely underweight. For those who do know about my cat, he is humongous. His head is larger than a softball, and he is long from tail to nose as well as toes to ear. As I said, he is a long-haired cat, so noticing significant weight loss is not something that would be easy... he always looks fat.

Their initial opinion from his bloodwork was diabetes.

We started him on insulin right away. Euthanize my cat? Nope, not an option. If he was going to die, it was going to be at home and it would be while trying to help him deal with his diabetes. I got home and immediately started doing all of the research I could. Some lived. Some didn't. Some improved and regained strength in their hind legs, others never recovered that much before dying. One of the most common themes in all of these cases was whether or not the owner of the cats followed through with a good diet high in protein. My cat, being extremely underweight, needed all the protein he could get.

We immediately jumped into a high-protein, wet food diet. With the insulin, he was less dependent on water, and more dependent on food. All the signs he had showed before never occurred to me. It is fairly hot, he is a long-haired cat, so I always perceived his higher thirst to be his way to cool off. He did spend a lot of time laying near the vents in the house when the air conditioning was on, so I never imagined his thirst had anything to do with diabetes.

All other tests that the vet did came back fine. He did not have a thyroid problem, and his pancreas was not the cause of his condition. And for the two weeks after, his insulin was really helping him out. He was regaining strength in his hind legs, even managing to jump a little bit, though he still walked around more towards his haunches.

Another two weeks went by, and while he wasn't exactly running everywhere, he was on his pads walking around. He was also playful. Again, for anyone who does know my cat, he's the meanest little asshole ever. Another month went by, and he was running. He was getting up and down the steps. He was back on solid food and gained a lot of his weight back. He was jumping at least 3 feet from the floor. He slept more peacefully.

It is now February, and my cat is still on insulin, one unit twice a day. He is, presumably, as healthy as he can be. His glucose levels are stable now. He does not have bad days, although he does have bad moods. He is still treated to a high protein diet. If you are reading this and trying to decide how to approach dealing with your cat who has been diagnosed with diabetes, please consider trying. Mine is proof that they can improve, and perhaps live out a fuller, healthier life than you could imagine.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

In Memory of Michael Kirby Alvarado

Depending on the version of the bible you open, the translation will always be worded differently. But the essence of the message is widely recognized and understood. Jesus said "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" [Matthew 19:19].

On Thursday, November 21, 2013, my next-door neighbor Michael Kirby Alvarado, 25, was taken from this world by a senseless act of violence. Michael [Mike] has left behind a countless number of family and friends who he made a great impact on.

A great athlete from childhood, Mike was a standout football player at Gaithersburg High School. His play for the team earned him a scholarship to William & Mary to play football for the Tribe. Mike never finished school, but his focus and his dreams stayed ahead on big and positive things.

If you have ever had a conversation with Mike, you know he is a tremendously caring and intelligent soul, with an incredible gift to communicate--not just talk, but listen--and he never forgot the things you told him. Mike made an impact in his time here on Earth, and has left his mark on all who had the honor to borrow a moment of his time.

I first met Mike a number of years ago as children. He lived right here in Newport, and my aunt used to watch my brother and I after school right up the hill. I was far from the closest person to Mike, but whenever I saw him, even if it was brief, we spoke. I went to every school from elementary to high with Mike, so we always saw each other.

My family moved to Newport a few years ago, and our fathers spoke often. Mike's father wouldn't let a conversation pass without talking about his children, especially Mike. He was proud of Mike no matter what was going on in his life, and bragged about his son's football. Our fathers never hesitated to ask about the other's kids. Mike and my father grew close as well. I can recall a number of times Mike was right there on my front porch chatting with my father about everything from football to cars that didn't belong in our parking lot. Mike often yelled up to say hi or ask me to come outside and just chat for a minute. His hospitality is truly admirable.

What always stood out to me about Mike was that he was never too busy to stop and acknowledge you. I have walked outside to get in my car and passed Mike while he was on the phone or talking to a friend and he would stop mid sentence to give a quick handshake or point over and ask "Aye, what's good with you?" You couldn't just let it slide when Mike asked you a question, because you knew he absolutely had to hear an answer from you. He never meant it as disrespect to the people he was talking to, just solely as respect to the person he was inquiring about, because he cared. His heart was pure and full of love for everyone. On Mother's Day, Michael knew all too well about appreciating motherhood. Mike lost his mother when he was a child, and on Mother's Day, he walked up to my front porch and gave my mom a hug and told her, "Happy Mother's Day moms!" This gesture was small to Mike, but huge at the same time, and it left an impression with my mother who is forever grateful of his incredible act of consideration, caring, and kindness.

Life does not come without trials, and we all know that. Mike had his share of bad days, but those days do not reflect on the amazing man that Mike had grown to become. While his days at college ended, his focus on music started. His commitment to motivation grew tenfold, and Mike just wanted to touch the hearts and minds of people. His giving nature was never turned off. Just this past summer, I watched Mike teaching his nephew how to improve on the basketball court. His charisma was apparent, he had his nephew's undivided attention. His teaching paid off immediately, as his nephew showed right away that he understood every word Mike said to him. Mike loved his friends, but he unquestionably loved his family.

I hope everyone who is affected by this finds comfort in the days, weeks, months, and even years to come. Mike surely would not want anyone to suffer, and would look to console everyone. I'm thankful to have known Mike, and I hope I am able to carry on the kindness, consideration, and respect he always showed me and my family, not just as neighbors, but as friends, and as people. I hope all who Mike treated with such love and compassion are able to do the same, because he made many lives better, and we can make many more better just the same. For all it is worth, I love you and hope to see you later, Michael. Thank you for being you.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thoughts on Redskins vs. Vikings

Disappointing. Infuriating.

The Washington Redskins are a mess. A total mess. It was Denver 2.0, but it was against the Minnesota Vikings who entered the game 1-7, although arguably a better 1-7 than they really were. But they were missing 4 key offensive starters--the scene was set for the Redskins to have a good day and walk away with a win. It was time for the offense to prove they could play two good games in a row, and for the defense to prove they could hang with an offense that didn't feature major weapons at WR.

The big concern was Adrian Peterson, who had the bulk of the Vikings' success in the first half, but didn't really manage to do much. The Redskins' offense was rolling with Alfred Morris getting major chunks of yards. Robert Griffin III was hitting Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed, and Leonard Hankerson for good gains. He tried to hit Logan Paulsen once early for a dropped TD, and hit Paulsen for another TD. His TD pass to Reed was all brilliance, as he pump faked to draw the defender away and buy Reed space, and the communication between the two to hit the middle of the field at the goal line was spectacular as Rob made an unbelievable throw while getting drilled. The TD to Garcon was a thing of beauty; Garcon sold a crosser, stepped back when he recognized zone and Rob hit him for a "screen" and Garcon had a clear path to the endzone with blockers out in front. The Redskins had 3 big drives for TD's of 78, 79, and 80 yards. They also had a field goal to enter the half with a 27-14 lead. This was the offense everyone has been waiting to see.

Coming out of the half, and the team completely unraveled. You can see some honest critique from the Comcast SportsNet post-game crew here. Charley Casserly had some interesting thoughts, and Trevor Matich broke down the Vikings scheme with something I want to drive home here.

The Redskins had run Robert Griffin to the outside in the first half a number of times. The Vikings accepted those runs as they were keying in on Alfred Morris in the Read Option. Alfred Morris was getting big gains with huge blocks from Darrel Young and Trent Williams creating a crease for Alfred to cut back into as the Vikings DE's were playing aggressively up the field to keep RGIII in the pocket. In the second half, the Vikings were every bit as willing to let Alfred beat them through the middle and play the pass, hoping to take away the post route RGIII was hitting Garcon on the entire first half. The problem? The Redskins weren't dialing up runs. Especially not up the middle. The few runs I remember before the final drive were stretch zones to the outside where the aggressiveness of the ends caused the interior O-Line to collapse to the powerful Kevin Williams and Alf had to pick up 1 or 2 yards into the arms of the backside end or a linebacker. These weren't 1-on-1's that Alf was going to win with consistency as his focus was on the one-cut and getting upfield with patience. Instead of attacking with quickness and power into the crease the defense was willing to give up. But those were only a few plays. Kyle Shanahan opted to pass, pass, and pass. The problem was, he was dropping RGIII back into the pocket against two aggressive ends powering 8 or 9 yards into the backfield to keep Robert in that pocket, forcing him to step up. Only problem for the Redskins was, time and again, Robert was stepping up into the body of Kevin Williams, who was beating double teams by Will Montgomery and either guard (usually Chris Chester) right through them. There was a play where three men met Robert in the pocket at the same time for a sack. One of those men was an unblocked rusher. Another? Kevin Williams beating that Montgomery/Chester double team. Yes... a defensive tackle beat a double team and reached the QB at the same exact time as an unblocked rusher. Inexcusable.

Kyle was obviously trying to counter punch the Vikings. The only problem is, the Vikings didn't change anything about their scheme from the first to second half. They were doing the same thing trying to pin Rob inside and challenging the Redskins to beat them in that crease with Alf. Kyle didn't accept that challenge, he took the bait and bit. The Vikings got the Redskins offense off the field because Kyle Shanahan wasn't willing to stick with what he had working for him and taking what the defense gave him.

That led to the Vikings attacking through the air on playaction passes when 8 in the box were fighting Peterson. Ponder dropped some passes in over the backers and right into the hands of a WR or TE who was running in front of the secondary who was playing deep in a sort of prevent-style defense. It wasn't that it was horrible scheming by Haslett. It was working... but the pressure wasn't hitting the QB and the secondary wasn't able to bite up and pick off a poorly thrown pass as happened by Meriweather in the first half. The defense surrendered points, and the offense couldn't get anything going because Kyle Shanahan was outcoached.

I told people on Twitter after Kyle "accepted the blame" for the Denver loss, that I didn't buy it and he would go right back to the same old BS. He gave us a game against the Chargers where he did... okay. But he came right back here against the Vikings with a 13-point lead at halftime and he crumbled. He went right back to who he is. One man last night stopped Alfred Morris, and it was Kyle Shanahan. If the only way to get Kyle out of here is to get rid of Mike Shanahan, I am all for it--but I am more keen on keeping Mike Shanahan here on an extension with HIS team and no cap penalty for a couple seasons. The kid will not get a head coaching job going forward off of this year unless he miraculously turns us around in these last seven games like he did in 2012, so there's no reason to believe he deserves to call plays for us. His mystique is gone.

Yes, the players lost battles last night. The players made dumb mistakes on penalties. Niles Paul cost us one huge delay of game because he spent 8 seconds waiting for the snap and not focusing on the QB and going into the hand-signal motion that his teammates were even trying to cue him to (a mistake I don't think Fred Davis would have made). Perry Riley's personal foul was one of the most disappointing moments of the night. I won't even go into how bad the officiating was, but it was.

There is no reason to believe this team can rattle off 7 wins. Robert Griffin III, over the last 2 games, is playing his best football of the season. He looks like he is on form. It helps that receivers seem willing to put it all on the line for him right now. The offense is/was rolling when they're playing to their strengths.

As Kyle Shanahan put it after the Denver game: "You don't want to be over-obsessed with tendencies and not put best players in the best position to succeed." I said it then, and I will say it now - coming from him? BULLSHIT!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sean Taylor Trial Offers Closure

We're very nearing 6 years since the passing of Sean Taylor. The trial has been delayed over and over again. Five men were arrested and charged in relation to the murder, all five pointing fingers. Yesterday, Monday, November 4, 2013, the allegedly admitted trigger-puller was found guilty of 2nd-degree murder. He faces up to life in prison. I will not post his name because he does not deserve the kindness.

The details of the trial painted a grim picture of what took place inside the house that night. It painted an even darker picture of how the entire event was planned. An early questioning of Taylor's then-girlfriend painted the narrative that because Taylor kept a lot of cash in the house, that somehow his client was less guilty of murder; almost justifying death if the robbery is planned out perfectly and the cash is actually there to be stolen. But you have to make obscene arguments in murder cases. We know this. We can't be shocked by it. Yet it's still disheartening.

While there are surely sighs from Taylor's family, friends, and fans, this is not closure. There still stand three who will go to trial for their role in the events of that night. They all took bargains to fingerpoint at the murderer. There are surely going to be details uncovered by the roles of the other three that will add more to the narrative of that night and the crime scene will look different even then.

I was nothing more than a fan of Sean Taylor, from his days as a Miami Hurricane all the way through his final day as a Washington Redskin. Like many, he was my favorite player on the team. Like many, I didn't know much about him off of the football field. What I did know is what Sean talked about... making the fans scream and roar was what he wanted every single week, by making plays to help his football team. Football was Sean's life, according to his father. Little tidbits like that show you just how close Sean Taylor was to the fanbase. It's as if the only Sean that he could be was a football player. The fans were and are forever connected to Sean Taylor. We didn't know him off of the field, but Sean wanted to be known for what he did on the field.

On the field, we lost one of the greatest potential players in franchise history, and perhaps in league history. There had never been a safety with the size, speed, and range of Sean Taylor. One of the most intimidating hitters to ever step on the field, perhaps pound for pound one of the most violent hitters. A young man growing into his own both on and off the field, Sean was starting to put the pieces together and do everything right. Then, just like that, it was all gone. Taken from him. Taken from his family. From his friends. From his coaches and teammates. From his fans.

The shooter is found guilty. One other from that night already serving a lengthy sentence for his role in another crime. The other three, like the rest of us, still waiting. Sean Taylor still is not resting peacefully, but he is remembered favorably among many. His daughter will never grow to be held by her father, or hear advice directly from his own mouth. The lone detail about this entire case that brings comfort to anyone? Sean Taylor died a hero, protecting his loved ones, and sacrificing his own life to ensure his daughter did not lose hers. That is the closure.

A hero.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Thoughts on Washington Redskins vs. Denver Broncos

Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. Unbelievably, terribly disgusting.

The Washington Redskins went into halftime tied at 7 against the Denver Broncos, the lowest point total the Broncos have posted in the first half all season. The defense was playing very well, while the offense was doing just enough to not get us in serious trouble.

Enter the second half, and the Redskins get up 21-7 off of outstanding defense and capitalizing. Alfred Morris was running hard.

And then the Broncos mount a comeback, and build a lead, and rattle off point after point on their way to a 45-21 victory. The worst part about it was the absolute collapse of the PLAYCALLING, not all the PLAYING.

Yeah, RGIII was off, badly. You counter that by giving him a few screens to THE RUNNING BACK to find his rhythm and help keep the defense honest by not sending insane blitzes up the middle. Rob had plenty of opportunities to take off or hit a man deep (missed pass to Morgan and Garcon who was open on his way to the endzone). Will Montgomery had his worst game as a Redskin from my viewpoint. Perhaps the guards let him down, but I saw a whole lot of Will making critical mistakes with the snap, and getting demolished by the interior rush.

We weren't fooled by going up 21-7. Our team matched up perfectly today with the Broncos. But Kyle Shanahan continues to call the dumbest game of his life on 2nd & medium and 3rd & short. Why on Earth was Kyle calling some of the pass plays he called on 2nd and medium after Alf got some good yards and we were running their defense into the mud? Why was Kyle refusing the run on first down when up 21-7? Or 21-14? Or when the game was tied at 21-21 when he threw three straight times? Where are all of these 2-man routes coming from against coverage that was clearly locking us down all day? Yeah, Rob can make some better throws, he can take off from time to time when he had obvious opportunities, or he can make plays with his body language to help get his receivers a step or more to get open, but Kyle needs to call plays based, 1.) on what the defense is giving him and 2.) what the players on the field are accomplishing. If Rob is off, take the pressure off of him. If he's getting hit in the face by the blitz, call the zone-read keeper so he can bounce it outside. Call the halfback leak screen. This was the worst coached game I've seen in a while out of Kyle Shanahan. But the worst call of all that I saw from Kyle today, was 1st & 10 down by 7, Kyle calls that ridiculous pitch play to Alfred which loses yards. SIDEBAR: Kyle said earlier this year that the read option was not being called as much because defenses were taking it away (no, Rob just couldn't run effectively enough at the time, but I dig what you were saying). Well, the pitch has not worked more than twice this season, and both times, Alf had to make a phenomenal play in order to gain a few hard-earned yards. If the pitch is that ineffective, why has it not been taken away? This call was the only one worse than 3rd & 1 putting Rob in the Pistol for the HB dive and Will snapping it way too early.

Jim Haslett? He called as good a game as we could have asked up until the team went up 21-7. The first score after that came after Hall's return, so it was understandable that the defense may have been a little fatigued. However, Haslett resorted to the zone and calling off the hounds. CALLING OFF THE HOUNDS! How many times over the years from every defender, coordinator, and coach have we heard that a defense playing with a lead pins their ears back and gets after the QB? Where was that in the entire second half after going up 21-7? I didn't see it. Nobody did. In fact, Haslett got ripped apart for going to the zone. He got content with what he did up until that point, and then punked out. No, the offense wasn't helping. Rob's costly throws and the line's shitty blocking got us beat... but I haven't seen coordinators this uncoordinated since we went searching for an observer & playcaller in the bingo halls.

Mike Shanahan will take blame because his staff is a reflection of him. His players are a reflection of him. But it should be clear to everyone that Mike isn't the one calling these plays... his son and that idiot Haslett are two of the worst playcallers I have seen since Zorn... and both show the potential to be damn-near masterful at it, so there's absolutely no excuse for the debacle of this afternoon.

We had the Broncos on the ropes... and we let them rope-a-dope us. We got beat by getting soft and conservative. Instead of putting our foot on their throats, we took our foot off the gas pedal and we got passed, and lapped, in one of the most embarrassing losses we've suffered.

And then? Sav Rocca. With the worst punt I've seen out of him as a Redskin. I'm fed up of the old guy. Thanks for the good years you gave us. Last season and all of this season have been terrible. It's time you get out of the Burgundy and Gold and call it a career.

Players of the Game:

DeAngelo Hall: I've not seen a guy play this inspired since Fletcher finished last season with a string of games with huge, clutch INT's and turnovers. DeAngelo Hall is playing his best football of his career right now, and unfortunately it's all for nothing except what should be a well-deserved trip to the new Pro Bowl format.

David Amerson: I didn't think he'd perform so well against Eric Decker who was coming off of a career game last week against the Colts. Amerson impressed and made a number of solid plays.

Alfred Morris: I can't let Kyle going away from him or the result of this game take away from his play today. He ran hard and fought for every little yard.

Hard to give any more credit. Safeties didn't do anything too stupid but didn't really do anything extremely exceptional. I'm sick. I need to see the All-22... but I'm definitely not happy about the playcalling and I'm sure the tape will verify that feeling for me even more than it will prove it was just sloppy play.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Second Constitutional Convention

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by
their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit
of Happiness."

It was upon this idea, this singular principle that We the People of these United States made our stand against the British Empire and declared our independence. It was upon this principle that the Founding Fathers established the supreme law of our land and laid the foundation for our future. And it is upon this principle that We the People must now stand upon that foundation and erect a nation greater than anything the Founding Fathers could have envisioned.

The United States Constitution, the supreme law of our land, was conceived as a living document dynamic enough to account for and adapt to change, yet static enough to provide stability. The concept itself was genius and the execution, for that time, virtually flawless. It is a magnificent construct and its impact on the world at large has been incalculable. But as is the case with human beings and our limited knowledge, the truths of yesterday become the falsehoods of today and the certainties of yesteryear devolve into present-day ambiguities. For the past two hundred twenty-five years, United States citizens have lived, flourished, died and given way to new generations under this constitution. As we have progressed, we have borne witness to the evolution and growth of our public consciousness, all reflected in amendments to the Constitution. But as we move deeper into the twenty-first century, we have also borne witness to the devolution of the public intellect. As we have attempted to legislate humaneness into our mindsets by legally recognizing the humanity in beings of differing complexion, sexual orientation, age and even gender, we have grown lax as thinkers, as doers and as innovators. That is not to say we are at fault for trying to humanize our culture and society, but rather that we have lost sight of why the social matters we fight each other over even matter.

From the dawn of humankind to the end of the twentieth century, we burgeoned and blossomed as a result of a keen intellect, a genius for innovation that elevated our species to the status of the globe's most dominant apex predator. But the wisdom to properly, effectively and humanely utilize that genius and status did not come hand in hand with that growth. We have advanced our technological powers to ungodly levels, but continue in our pattern of intellectual misstep after misstep, none the wiser for all our forefathers mistakes. And now, as we near the precipice of humankind's greatest peak, we appear even more hellbent to err and fail, barreling at top speed toward the edge, dooming ourselves for a headfirst plunge off of that cliff into darkness.

There are projections that suggest our planet has enough resources to comfortably house ten billion human beings. The total human population on Earth is estimated to be at about seven billion. Of those seven billion, nearly four billion live in abject poverty. Of the three billion persons not living in abject poverty, only a few hundred million, a population once archaically referred to as the "First World", live in reasonable comfort. And while those few hundred million only make up about five percent of the human population, they annually consume a quarter of the world's total resources. In short, five percent of human beings enjoy having all their basic needs, and then some, met, while nearly sixty percent live in squalor. Suffice it to say, the economic disparity in the world is unfathomably enormous. And even more egregious than the size of the disparity is the reality that we as a species possess the means by which said disparity could be eradicated. We possess the technology and the resources to satisfy the basic needs of all human beings, but as a result of greed, humankind across the world suffers and will continue to suffer. Men and women suffer, children and old folk suffer, souls of every complexion and craniofacial build suffer, souls of every sexual orientation and physical constitution suffer. But in the wake of varying modes of persecution, we came to believe that the struggles different humans face are wholly separate and completely independent of one another. No. This is an illusion. Though each struggle is of different origin and circumstance, the truth of it is that humankind as a whole has been languishing in this hell of inequity. It is because of this inequity that the war we wage for social freedom as individuals and individual groups is all for naught. Man is, at present, far too greedy for any legal advance on these matters to truly make a difference in men's souls - hence why racism, sexism, ageism and the like are all still alive and well. As long as there is greed, as long as men desire for, tax and keep more than they could ever actually need, there can be no free and fair society.

But make no mistake - this is not a mere indictment of greed. That would be pointless, as greed is as natural to us now as say hunger, thirst or lust. Questions of how much is enough have plagued us since we settled down and became an agricultural species. But these questions only persist because we are, by nature, doomed to need. And as fears of being denied our needs escalated into ambition, greed was born - fathered then mothered by need. Alleviating need would probably fail to eradicate greed, much in the same way that one could not hope to put a rabid dog down by putting its' parents down. But our purpose is not to attempt to change or solve the riddles of human nature with legislation, that is beyond the reach of any set of laws or legalisms. Our purpose is to defend the right of human beings to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, to answer humankind's most basic needs and to provide for the growth and maturation of our species. And at present, our Constitution does not fully guarantee nor protect those needs. It does not provide for basic human needs: sanitary food, clean water, adequate shelter, weather appropriate clothing, sanitation, education and healthcare. Food and water that will not have deleterious effects on our health must be a given. Clothing and shelter to protect us from the elements are as necessary to life as the first two. Sanitation and healthcare must also be provided for, as the first four will be all for naught in the wake of unhealthily dirty living conditions and disease. Education, once it is revolutionized to serve as a sincere means of personal development rather than as an agent of human commoditization, must be included in the general welfare through to undergraduate levels, with graduate levels being, at the very least, provided for. These things are all unarguably essential to life in this modern society. As such, it must be made illegal for a single one of these needs to be left unmet and the government must be held accountable.

After our lives, our liberty too is at stake. Many of the guidelines set in place to govern political behavior were arbitrarily chosen and ambiguously worded, leaving room for the current day socioeconomic developments that have obstructed and irreversibly impaired the democratic process. Women are not properly represented or protected, the executive branch is overburdened, affluent corporations have too powerful an influence over government and government at large is not properly checked by the People it is meant to serve. If a power is existent in government, the collective body of representatives for the community, it must first have been existent in the individuals said government is meant to protect. For if the government should have powers that are not legally possessed by individuals, it has power over the citizenry, which it must not. The government is servant of the People, vicar of the People. It is not a tool by which wealthy men may impose their will on the People for the purpose of personal gain. It is a tool by which human beings must answer and then protect the immediate needs of humankind at large.

Given that the former two, life and liberty, are left unprotected, it is a given that the last is as well: a person cannot know or find happiness if their lives are eternally entrenched in the misery of merely surviving. And if the usurpation of these inalienable rights was enough for the colonies to wage war against the British Empire, it must also be enough for us. Where the Founding Fathers once stood against the British Empire, We the People must now stand against ourselves and the prejudices that sully our souls, obstruct our growth as a community and blind our judgement as human beings. Where our Continentals and ragtag militiamen once stood against British soldiers, We the People must now rise against the political corruption that destroys the democratic principles upon which our Republic was meant to stand. Where our American forefathers once fought to realize a dream of freedom from religious and monarchical persecution, We the People must now fight to realize the dream of a world freed of economic and prejudicial oppression. Though they may appear Hobbesian in tone, these words merely speak to the idea that the best of human beings is yet to come. And as the foremost political power on this Earth, We the People of these United States must lay the groundwork for future generations of human beings, even if doing so means abolishing the forms to which we have become accustomed.

It will be suggested that the Constitution be amended rather than totally overhauled. But we are at a crossroads. Despite the fact that government is meant to serve the public, it is able to and does act independent of the public will, something that has proved and continues to prove detrimental to the public. So not only would any effort on the public's part to petition for amendment be fruitless, the fact is that any amendment penned and ratified by the powers we seek to reform would fail to suffice. Faced with a crisis the likes of which our species has never known, the impoverishment and starvation of billions of men, women and little children, now is not the time for the uncertainty. Now is the time for clarity of purpose. Now is not the time for apathy nor fear. Now is the time for humanity. Now is not the time for standing pat and shortsightedly protecting Self while the world around us collapses. Now is the time for We the People to act with vision, to understand that elevating society beyond mere survival requires us to act together, as a whole, in Union. Now is the time for We the People to reconstruct the supreme law of our land so that it can wholly and more accurately provide for the security of all the People of the United States, which in turn will allow for America to revitalize the world.

It must begin with the People and end with the People, there is no other way.


May love ever possess you, may peace come into your life.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Washington Redskins Fall to Green Bay Packers

It was eerily similar to Monday Night Football's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. TheWashington Redskins offense was wildly ineffective and crumbled early. The defense was on the field too much, fatigued, and incapable of tackling. The special teams unit shot itself in the foot over and over again. By the time anything looked right, it was too late in the game to make any difference. The Redskins fell to 0-2 to start the season and there are nothing but questions.

Kyle Shanahan's playcalling didn't come under much fire last week by us, but it seems pretty apparent now that we should focus a bit on the coordinator. Robert Griffin III looked a little more accurate and a little quicker when he went mobile, but the playcalling was very conservative and the Green Bay Packers took advantage of every opportunity. Kyle let drive after drive pass where the Packers were blitzing on 3rd down no matter the distance, and it wasn't until a 2nd and obscenely long play late in the game that he called a screen to halfback Alfred Morris to counter the pressure. There were a ton of WR screens and RGIII will take flack for a few of those plays even though Clay Matthews showed patience and committed to batting the pass instead of letting RGIII get it off cleanly. Sure, Rob might have been able to run in one or two of those situations, but the Packers were content keeping two linebackers in the middle of the field and hitting whatever came through the middle. There were slants galore, and the Packers did everything they could to play physical and take the quick pass away from the Redskins.

Alfred Morris eventually broke off a couple of long runs on course to rush for over 100 yards in the game, but his performance was inconsistent and didn't help change the outcome of the game. Alf again struggled to find running lanes or bounce it outside when the edge was available. He committed too early to many cuts and ran into defenders. He didn't finish his runs by making defenders pay for trying to tackle him.

RGIII's interception today goes on his stat-sheet, but Joshua Morgan should take all the blame. The pass was right at Morgan's chin level, and hit Morgan directly in the hands but bounced straight up and overhead for the interception. Receivers dropped a lot of catchable passes, but Griffin also failed to lead his receivers into receptions at times. He also missed a few open targets at times as he got shaky in the pocket and didn't manage to escape the pocket. Robert also had a few opportunities to move the pocket outside with his legs, or step up inside, but he stayed where the pressure was and forced himself to make difficult passes. Griffin's arm is strong enough to do these things sometimes, but his mind is clearly not all there yet coming back from his knee injury.

Many fans expected it would take time for RGIII to work back into the offense. Fans didn't want to rush him back, but a lot of people are suggesting the Redskins should have gone against doctor's orders and played him in the preseason. Some people want to see him benched in favor of Cousins until Rob is clearly 100% mentally and physically, but these are the same people saying that in-game action is the only thing that will get Griffin ready to play. You literally cannot have it both ways. Again, the problem may very well be Kyle Shanahan's seeming refusal to spread in the first half, which could not only open things up for Morris, but allow receivers to show defenses you have to respect them early.

I was very impressed, however, with the effort of Trent Williams and Kory Lichtensteiger, particularly on a WR screen to Pierre Garcon. Garcon caught the football and took off downfield - following two 300 lb. monsters as they surged full-speed towards the safeties. It didn't spring Garcon for a TD, as his patience to remain behind the two behemoth blockers slowed him up enough for the defense to make a play, but two linemen that big showing off that kind of athleticism and willingness to make a play downfield for their team says a lot about their effort.

The line has not been that impressive, however. Montgomery has appeared slow on snaps several times, and I twice noticed yesterday that the entire offense was moving before Montgomery was getting the snap off, or so it appeared. He also got flagged for a low block which did not help the offense get things going. The right side, again, hasn't been run to much... part of me wonders if this has to do with allowing Rob to turn smoothly back to his natural side to show he doesn't have the ball instead of turning into his blind side with his right leg toward the defense. But if the coaches aren't trusting the run to the right side, could there be reasons with the linemen, or is Morris to blame?

On defense, I'm not confident in the tackling ability of almost anyone. I'm seeing guys flying around and throwing their body at people, but the only wrap up tackles I have seen are from Orakpo, Kerrigan, and David Amerson. I also can't figure out what happened to Haslett's refocusing on the gang-tackle strip. DeAngelo Hall seems to be the only guy getting the memo about stripping at the ball, but he's doing it when ball carriers aren't being gang tackled, and the receivers are breaking off another 3-6 yards every play because of it. I don't believe Hall has looked anywhere near as bad in coverage as a lot of fans still want to believe, but just because he's not playing that horrible doesn't mean he isn't playing bad. I do believe a lot of the defense's struggles come from not being able to sit on the sideline for an extended period of time, as they've been on the field for more drives than almost any other defense. But another major problem is that there is no communication between the corners and the safeties, a problem which plagued as last year, and Bacarri Rambo's development doesn't help those matters because he's still learning how to play the professional game, not just how to react to his assignment and communicate. Once the game becomes instinctive for Rambo, he will undoubtedly become a very solid pro in the NFL, but that will take time, and we need better execution from everyone to help make his transition easier.

To focus a little more on Rambo, I emplore you to have some patience, Redskins Nation. Rambo is a very talented football player, who really does learn well. Yes, the missed tackles, poor angles, and blown assignments are severely frustrating, but I do want to remind you that the late Sean Taylor did his fair share of that in his rookie season as well (a rookie season in which he became a starter a few games later than Rambo). Free Safety is one of the most difficult positions in football just based on the proximity of the player every play. It's even more difficult in the league now with the emphasis on the passing attack. For a rookie to come in as a day-one starter at the position is really incredible. You just have to believe the kid will get better, and give him the chance. Yes, he needs to know he is not doing his job right, but we do not need to talk about getting rid of him already.

Speaking of the Safety position, Meriweather has two regular season starts with the Washington Redskins, and both went pretty much the same way. A big, energetic play got the defense fired up, and then he's out for the game. The league will be investigating both the hit Meriweather placed on Packers' rookie RB Eddie Lacy, as well as the hit he tried to deliver on RB James Starks. One has to believe Redskins coaches are not pleased with Meriweather at this point.

While we're on the subject of possible penalties, perhaps we can focus on arguably the worst special teams units this team has ever fielded. There have been too many drives starting in Washington's own 10-yard line, and several times in both the Eagles game, and 4 times we counted yesterday, where special teams negated a return outside of the opponent's redzone with stupid penalties. Perhaps the most egregious and upsetting was Niles Paul slapping a Packers' player after a return. Replays showed that Paul was dragged down by his collar, but Mike Shanahan has emphasized to this team many times that retaliating with penalties will get you in trouble, not the other team. The only way a division, conference, or league champion retaliates on the field is by playing good football, winning the field position battle, and scoring points to help your team possibly win the game. Making Robert drive 90+ yards every single drive is not the answer to our problems, it may actually be the cause.