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The Wake of the Wake

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It’s a little early for a year-end recap, but my year hasn’t really been defined by a calendar. It’s been over a year since I started becoming the person that 2012 has made me. In some ways for the better; in others, not so much. I’ve never doubted my inherent goodness, but it may have fallen out of focus on occasion. I may not have always been who I wanted to be, but I feel like I was who I needed to be. Now it’s time to be who I am supposed to be.

At some point, I lost faith in people. Well, strangers really. I never doubted my friends. I’ve always been outgoing and never missed an opportunity to make a new acquaintance. That has not wavered too much, but the intent did an about-face. I used to want to create genuine, lasting, even loving relationships with anyone and everyone. Of late, I just wanted more options. I didn’t care enough to get to know people, and I refused to open up to almost everyone. I was superficially engaging or charming or whatever in order to achieve my goal, but I almost never made a real connection. (There are obvious exceptions to this, and I trust you know who you are. CC, etc.)

There are several specific times I can think of where I was cold to someone that did not deserve it in any way. I won’t go into details because it’s not necessary to air out potentially sore subjects, but I’m sorry. I’ve been selfish all year, and at times, it came out in both my words and actions. If I hurt or upset or ignored you, I was being a jerk and I’m sincerely sorry.

With that said, though, this is still what I needed 2012 to be for me. I was not used to being anything short of rock solid, and I needed to branch out in order to find a comfortable situation for me. Some details could’ve been adjusted, and it’s not exactly how I planned it from the beginning, but it’s how my psyche reacted, and I’m not mad about it. There’s no doubt that I’ve had a ridiculous amount of fun the last 12 months. Some of you were a part of that fun, and I don’t regret a second of it. (Special shout out to Luna and most bars in Detroit; couldn’t have done it without you!)

As some of my long-time friends can attest, I’m a markedly different person now than I was a few years ago. It seems like a switch was flipped for me to make that change, but I’m not sure that switch can just be simply switched back. I’m going to work towards cultivating a hybrid of past and present. I’ve never forgotten where I came from and who’s been there all along, and I’m obviously happy with the close company I keep now. Balance will be the name of the game for me moving forward.

This week is basically a condensed schedule for how I want to change my life. Wednesday night to Thursday to Saturday. Current lifestyle to calm family settings and partying with friends. I’m excited to put myself in a position to be more well-rounded and just generally available again.

Not sure if I really had a point to all of this or not, but I’ll just end it by saying that I love you all and I love myself, and I hope you all get to spend more time with me, for both our sakes.

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Written by aaron

November 20, 2012 at 11:52 pm

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Detroit Lions 2011 NFL Draft Grades

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Entering the 2011 offseason, the Lions’ greatest needs were obviously in the defensive back seven, specifically outside linebacker and cornerback. Upgrades and depth are needed at almost every other position, but the Lions have one linebacker on the roster that can play outside linebacker efficiently, and that’s DeAndre Levy, their starting middle linebacker. He gives them flexibility if they find value at inside linebacker in the draft (or free agency), but asking him to play three positions at once is probably out of the question. Detroit’s top corner from 2010 was Chris “League Average” Houston, and he’s a free agent. Even if he is re-signed (which is in question for a variety of reasons, including the ever-fluctuating labor dispute), he’s a number 2 corner at best. Free safety Louis Delmas looks like a potential Pro Bowl player, but strong safety is also a huge need in the defensive backfield. The strength of the Lions team is their defensive line, with stud tackle Ndamukong Suh turning himself into a dominant force and solid veterans Kyle Vanden Bosch and Corey Williams still contributing. Cliff Avril is a decent end, but is really more of a 3rd down pass rushing specialist. Sammie Lee Hill, Lawrence Jackson and Turk McBride are decent backups, but are definitely candidates to get upgraded.

On offense, the biggest concern is the health of both Matthew Stafford and Jahvid Best. If healthy, the Lions have a top 10 quarterback, and top 15 running back, and possibly the best wide receiver in the NFL, Calvin Johnson. Offensive line has been the single most criticized unit on this roster, but the team has put forth a concerted effort to improve their blocking over the past 2 years. Left tackle Jeff Backus is without a doubt the most underrated player on the Lions; he’s average to slightly below average, but he’s far from the worst in the league and he’s started every game for the Lions for ten straight years. Rob Sims is one of the best all-around guards in the league, and between former first round pick Gosder Cherilus and surprise fill-in Corey Hilliard, right tackle should be ok. Dominic Raiola and Stephen Peterman need to be upgraded, but would still be starters on a number of other teams. Jake Fox and Tony Ugoh have great pedigrees, even if they haven’t put it all together because of health issues, and offer decent/acceptable depth on the line. Skill position depth is almost non-existent with the Lions, though. Nate Burleson is a nice piece to have opposite Johnson, but he’s better served as a 3rd/slot receiver at this point in his career. Maurice Morris and Aaron Brown are the only legitimate backups at running back, but neither of them are top flight talents, nor do they offer much in terms of complementary skills to Best; a big, powerful back would be a perfect fit for this offense. Coach Jim Schwartz could/should be aiming for a Chris Johnson/LenDale White type backfield like Tennessee had when he was coaching there.

With all of that laid out, here are the grades.

DT Nick Fairley, Auburn, Round 1, Pick 13 (13 overall)

Once thought to be a lock as the number 1 overall pick, this is an absolute steal for the Lions. They chose to build on a strength rather than “reach” for a need. (Note: by “reach,” I’m not saying a player like cornerback Prince Amukamara wouldn’t be worth that pick, but he probably wasn’t in the top 3 or 4 players on the Lions’ draft board at the time, and that early in the draft, that small difference would still qualify as a reach.) Despite already having a great defensive tackle combo, Fairley is talented enough to start right away and be productive, while giving the Lions the flexibility to move Suh around even more than they did last year. Hall of Fame defensive end Reggie White was drafted as a tackle with similar expectations to Suh, and made the move to the outside with nearly unparalleled results, so there are plenty of options for Detroit’s front four. The concerns with Fairley that pushed him down to the 13th selection are motivation and experience (he only had one productive year in college, but it was an amazingly productive year). He was without a doubt the most dominant player on the defensive side of the ball in all of college football last year, so the upside is huge. Even though this doesn’t fill a need directly, having this dominant of a pass rush will take an incredible amount of pressure off of Detroit’s thin secondary. Grade: A

WR Titus Young, Boise State, Round 2, Pick 12 (44 overall)

First things first: the current Detroit Lions regime has drafted only one wide receiver in the previous two years (3rd round pick Derrick Williams two years ago), so we can’t hold Matt Millen’s drafts against the team for making this pick. That being said, my first reaction was disappointment. With so many needs, taking back-to-back players that don’t fill the most pressing needs seemed extremely ill-advised. After calming down and looking at the player the Lions got, though, I’m pretty happy. Titus Young was projected to go right around where the Lions selected him, so considering that he is a perfect complement to Calvin Johnson, he very well could have been the highest rated player on Detroit’s draft board. Young is basically DeSean Jackson-lite. He ran a 4.42 40 yard dash, but is considered to play even faster than that. Opposing defenses will no longer be able to bracket Calvin Johnson (jam him with a cornerback and have a safety playing over the top) because Young’s speed will force a safety to shade his way, as well. Defenses will have to choose between having single coverage on both Johnson and Young, with one safety deep, or bracket both wideouts, effectively committing 4 defenders to just 2 of our offensive players. If the Lions can play 9-on-7, even with their offensive line troubles, they can have a top 5-8 offense. In addition to all of that, pairing Young with Stefan Logan gives the Lions perhaps the best return game tandem in the league. Grade: B+

RB Mikel Leshoure, Illinois, Round 2, Pick 25 (57 overall)

(Everything that I said about not holding the current regime accountable for Matt Millen’s horrible drafting applies here, too.) The Lions traded up and sacrificed a few later picks to take what I view as the second best running back in this draft. My personal comparison for Leshoure is Steven Jackson. Mikel may not become a top 5 running back like Jackson, but they share similar skills. He’s a big back with decent hands and great speed for his size. In my opinion, Leshoure’s natural talent is unmatched at his position in this year’s draft, including Mark Ingram. The college production isn’t quite as impressive as you’d like to see, and there are a few off the field concerns (Leshoure got in a fight with a teammate in 2008 resulting in Mikel’s jaw being broken, and also got suspended from the Illinois football team in 2009 for violating team rules), but there’s no denying the immense upside. Leshoure was thought to possibly sneak into the end of the first round, so getting him near the end of the second round is as big of a steal as Fairley at pick 13. It’s unfortunate that the Lions had to sacrifice so much to make this deal, but I fully believe that they will get at least that much value out of Leshoure. Pairing him with Best will create scheme nightmares for opposing defenses. Again, this doesn’t fill a pressing need, but I can’t argue with the value the Lions got by taking a top 25-30 player at pick 57. Grade: A-

LB Doug Hogue, Syracuse, Round 5, Pick 26 (157 overall)

For the first three selections, the list of other players available didn’t affect my grades as much because of the value Detroit was getting with their selections. So now that the Lions finally select a linebacker to fill their biggest need, they leave better linebackers on the board. Quan Sturdivant out of North Carolina and even local favorite Greg Jones from Michigan State seem to have more upside and certainly had more collegiate production at the same position. Hogue is a decent player that might start right away considering the complete lack of competition he’ll face on this roster, but I can’t see him being more than a very good special teams player on a good team. Hogue is one of the strongest and fastest linebackers in this draft class, so perhaps the Lions can coach him into a solid contributor at weakside linebacker (lining up behind Vanden Bosch). He’s not a horrible pick, but with Sturdivant rated as a 2nd or 3rd round prospect and Jones as a 3rd or 4th round prospect, they could have gotten a better player with higher upside at the same position. Grade: C+

OT Johnny Culbreath, South Carolina State, Round 7, Pick 6 (209 overall)

A Division 1-AA Second Team All-American, he’s 6’5″ and 323lbs, so he has good size to play 4 positions along the offensive line. Definitely a project pick, but he’s extremely athletic. There’s not much more to say one him, but he did visit with the Lions before the draft, so it’s safe to assume that he’s a good kid and will fit in well with this team. There are no sure-thing players in the 7th round, so an athletic player with his upside at a position of need is a really good choice. Grade: B


Summary

It’s easier said than done, but we have to try to analyze how the Detroit Lions operate during the NFL Draft without assuming that this is the same old Matt Miller-run organization. Popular sentiments were that the team needed to use almost every pick on the defensive side of the ball. If they had shored up the secondary and linebacking core with early draft picks, could the Lions have been able to sneak into the playoffs this year? Absolutely. Could they have competed for a championship? Absolutely not. This team made huge strides last year, but they needed more than just one more offseason to assemble a top-tier roster. The Lions’ needs certainly were not addressed in the order that was expected, but all of these picks filled some kind of need. Keep in mind, depending on how the labor agreement dispute plays out, there are plenty of options available in free agency on the defensive side of the ball. Free agent Stephen Tulloch is one of the best middle linebackers in the league and played under Jim Schwartz in Tennessee, so it’s possible that this connection could land him in the middle of the Lions defense, flanked by Levy and Hogue. Also, if the labor dispute lasts for most of the offseason, meaning that the free agency signing period gets shortened to only a couple of weeks, it will put the players at a huge disadvantage from a negotiating standpoint. That perfect storm could allow the teams that are considered lesser free agent destinations, Detroit included, to find some good players at great values. Without knowing what’s going to happen with any of that though, this draft was still productive and solidifies a great foundation for the Detroit Lions. A division crown in 2012 is very much a possibility. Overall Grade: B+

Written by aaron

April 30, 2011 at 4:29 pm

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Thirteen Thursday Thoughts

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I just realized that my big toe nails are on a different trimming schedule than the other 8 toes. I’m disappointed that my body isn’t naturally more efficient.

I can’t stop laughing out loud to Parks & Rec. When I grow up, I want to be Ron Swanson’s moustache.

‘Washing machines’ is much better as a compound noun than a sentence.

Has anybody actually had laundry detergent last as long as it claims on the box?

Erin Andrews being a hot, famous chick makes my full name even more hilarious.

I’m pretty sure I’m more of a crazy cat lady than Lauren.

YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT A SHARK IS RIGHT NOW.

Remember that time we realized my calf is bigger than Megan’s thigh? That makes me want veal.

I have unofficial word that I’m going to once again be an employee of BD’s Mongolian BBQ. Assuming Garrett isn’t a liar. I’m pretty excited for the workout/sauna effects. Yes, I will sweat while I cook your food. Sorry.

Remembering that the more important thing to do about running out of laundry detergent was to add it to my shopping list, and not just to write something funny about it, was a nice little victory to end a great day with.

Remembering that the more important thing to do about running out of laundry detergent was to add it to my shopping list, and not just to write something funny about it, was a nice little victory with which I’m ending a great day. (For Kevin, et al.)

I’m not sure if that last one counts as a thought. Or this one.

Goodnight.

*Update:

Is it ironic that people only know what “irony” isn’t?

(That’s just in case one of those don’t count.)

Written by aaron

April 21, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Progress Report

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I made it my New Year’s Resolution to become a supercomputer. I think I’m actually well on my way. My perspective on going to the gym is getting sunnier with every warm(ish) day we get. I’ve been begun studying up on things like politics, history, cars, design, creating music and coding. I’ve gotten back into seeking out and downloading new music. I’ve never had more sports knowledge. I went bananas learning about/watching/rewatching every movie and television show that I could. Since that’s what people can probably most relate to, here’s a pretty comprehensive list of what I’ve been doing with my private television/computer time. (Some items omitted.)

Movies watched in 2011

  • Rushmore (2nd time)
  • Vertigo
  • For Your Consideration
  • Good Will Hunting
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Duck Soup
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • On The Waterfront
  • Jaws
  • Network
  • One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Apocalypse Now
  • Shutter Island
  • Blazing Saddles
  • Where The Buffalo Roam
  • Space Cowboys
  • Best In Show
  • Outbreak
  • The Shining
  • Stripes (first time NOT on basic cable)
  • What About Bob? (millionth time)
  • Groundhog Day (millionth time)
  • Mystery Team
  • This Is Spinal Tap
  • 127 Hours
  • Almost Famous
  • Iron Man 2
  • Mulholland Drive
  • The Fighter
  • The American
  • The Graduate
  • The Social Network

[This is not even counting rewatching any dvds that I own. Otherwise, I’d have to include Reservoir Dogs, Star Trek and a bunch of Judd Apatow movies at the very least, all of which I’ve seen numerous times.]

Complete TV Series watched in 2011

  • Seinfeld (2nd time; can’t wait for 3rd)
  • Party Down (2nd time)
  • Freaks and Geeks (2nd time)
  • Better Off Ted
  • The Office (UK)
  • Arrested Development

Current TV Series I’m up-to-date with

  • Parks and Rec
  • 30 Rock
  • Community
  • The Office (US)
  • Modern Family
  • Dexter
  • Psych
  • The League
  • Breaking Bad
  • Mad Men
  • How I Met Your Mother

Currently watching

  • The Larry Sanders Show (in season 2)

[Fuck. And that’s all in roughly 3.5 months? Good lord.]

Next in line

  • Dr. Strangelove
  • Body Heat
  • The Green Mile
  • Gangs of New York
  • North By Northwest
  • True Grit
  • Schindler’s List
  • The Godfather series
  • Lord of the Rings series
  • The Other Guys
  • The Wire
  • Pushing Daisies
  • Friday Night Lights
  • Soap
  • Slings and Arrows
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Twilight Zone
  • Twin Peaks
  • Married…With Children
  • Cheers
  • Frasier
  • Weeds
  • Entourage
  • Eastbound & Down
  • 24

A lot of the TV shows I plan on watching soon I’ve seen an episode or two, and with Frasier, Weeds and entourage, I’ve seen almost the whole catalog, just need to watch in order and fill in the blanks.

Netflix Viewing Party!

Written by aaron

April 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm

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great to see you!

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it’s obviously been a while since i’ve put anything in here. long enough for me to watch every single resolution i made for this year fall by the wayside. i could list off a bunch of excuses for falling short of my own expectations, but really it all boils down to me not caring enough. taco bell is delicious and convenient and books are overrated. hurting my back and then my leg are actually adequate reasons for not running (thus making both the marathon and weight resolutions nearly impossible). if my leg comes around soon, i guess i could hit that 190 lb goal. we’ll see. the music stuff didn’t go so hot. i’m still a beginner pianist, amateur guitarist, and novice drummer. still better than most people, i suppose! as for the job, i actually had one incredibly random and lucky encounter with a potential career suitor, however, nothing came of it, and i wouldn’t have been able to accept any job offer with my school schedule anyway. oh well.

despite my disappointing commitment to bettering myself, things are looking up. school’s going well, albeit at the expense of some aspects of my social life and sanity. i’m currently in the middle of ignoring a ~1.5 hour long explanation of a 15 minute, 5 multiple choice question quiz in my tax class. if there was a good portion of the class not understanding what’s going on, this would be wholly appropriate. however, seeing as most everyone seems to be grasping all applicable concepts, this lengthy discussion is completely unnecessary.

if anybody wants to meet up any day that isn’t monday or tuesday to talk about things relevant to my (our?) schooling or to just be productive together, let me know. i’d love your help in staying motivated, while at the same time being pseudo-social.

i’ve been thinking a lot lately about how my routines/lifestyle have changed over the past few years. i used to stay well ahead of the curve with new music; i was always playing some type of sport several days a week; 2 years ago, i went to like 35 tigers games. i think a big part of it is circumstance (schedule, money, etc.), but i wonder if i’m growing up. is having less drive to illegally download music “growing up”? i sure hope not. i mean, i still love hearing new bands, so what’s my deal? i’m also finding it difficult to adjust to not seeing my friends every day. that’s a direct result of not living in my old house anymore, though. knowing that is the cause doesn’t make it any less frustrating, though.

i’m really starting to appreciate movies more. not from a critical standpoint, but simply as entertainment. i’ve found the perfect ratio of my attention to have a movie playing while doing homework/studying. i wish that i could cite that on my resume as proof of my multi-tasking ability. so, if anyone has any recommendations, throw them my way.

i want to start coming up with nicknames for all of the anonymous people in my classes based solely on the way they look, but i can’t stop thinking of new monikers for this one guy. ostrich, tuna salad, also a client, pachycephalosaurus. he’s just a pleasure to have sitting in front of me. i think his newest nickname should be jesus, because he is sacrificing himself to save the others.

i wanted to get up to 750 words so that i could unofficially be participating in that stupid website’s stupid plan to get the world writing, but i think i’m done here. 599 will have to suffice.

600.

that feels at least a little better.

Written by aaron

July 27, 2010 at 7:02 pm

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too many music

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i don’t really have much to say today, so here are some videos!

oh yeah, and i sold my house. weird.

Written by aaron

January 8, 2010 at 11:52 pm

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resolutions/predictions, 2010th edition

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resolutions:

  • no fast food
  • read at least 2 books per month (school books don’t count) (not that i read school books anyway)
  • run a marathon
  • become adequate at 3 instruments, likely guitar, piano and drums
  • stay around 190 lbs forever
  • get a job that will lead to, if not be, a career
  • become world class chef
  • maintain this blog, and possibly restart (with watson/tony/whoever) our sports blog

predictions of resolutions:

  • mcdonalds breakfast and taco bell late night will tempt me endlessly, but i will hold out til at least the end of summer, if not go the whole year
  • two months out of the year, at least one of the books will be Green Eggs and Ham or Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs; still counts!
  • i will run a marathon, but not in my goal time (3:30); i will however be under 4 hours, which is pretty alright
  • my gpa is reliant on me learning piano, so that one’s for sure; i’ve played guitar before, so hopefully i can pick it back up; drums are 100% dependent on kevin being willing to teach me
  • if i stay active and get in shape to run a marathon, the weight will fall into place; i’m guessing i’ll dip down to 180-185 for a bit, but stay around 190 most of the year
  • the job thing might be tough; gonna take a bit of luck to land something that i want before i’m actually done with school
  • almost there with the cooking; see: lamb’s head
  • writing isn’t too hard, right?

predictions for the world:

  • michigan will be shamed into seceding from the union
  • the jamaican bobsled team will fail to earn a medal in vancouver, but will do so with class and much fanfare
  • curling will temporarily replace baseball (even though it’s really football now) as america’s pasttime
  • google will buy the entire internet, and shortly thereafter, buy the entire world
  • not surprisingly, after the 2010 elections, both the senate and house majorities will belong to team jacob
  • pitchfork will complain all year that they “like the older stuff better” from every band, then realize that because of this they are unable to compile a year-end top album list

predictions for our friends:

  • nib will befriend several high school girls; not because he’s a creep, but because he wants to eat the mostacolli at their graduation parties
  • watson will go all year without putting his tongue in his cheek for a picture (bj faces are so 2009)
  • daryl will continue to have a perfect beard
  • 2 people will pee their pants on february 19
  • 3 couples will get engaged/married (not counting carie and gretchen)
  • i will use the phrase “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” 2,418 times

i’m feeling pretty confident about all of this.

Written by aaron

January 7, 2010 at 11:57 am

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