One more time!

One more time, for Sting Coach!

After an agonizingly painful game which saw the Hokies best UVA for the 12th consecutive time, Virginia Tech finishes the regular season at a sparkling 6-6, meaning that Virginia Tech has all but secured their place in one of the 40 Bowl games to be played around New Years.  This means Frank Beamer’s retirement is prolonged yet one more game, even after it’s already been announced that following Frank begins the audition* for Justin Fuente, now formerly of Memphis.

*I say “audition” due to the fact that in modern sports, contracts are irrelevant, and barring immediate and sustained success will henceforth be rephrased as “an era,” otherwise the coaches are vilified after their first negative season and immediately fired.

Regardless, in spite of just how stressful the game was, I was happy to see Tech pull out the victory over the Hoos, I was happy to see that Frank Beamer’s bowl streak continued all the way to the end, and this is where I’d say that I was happy to see that Frank Beamer’s career doesn’t end on a loss, but make no mistake, there’s a very, very, very high chance that at whatever Bowl Virginia Tech makes it into, they’re probably going to lose.

Long gone are the days of perpetually making it into a “good” Bowl, like the Sugar, Gator, Orange or Peach Bowls.  Despite the forced importance of bowl eligibility for Virginia Tech, the reality is that Virginia Tech is going to get into a very known second-or-third-tier Bowl game, and Bowl games are where Frank Beamer simply does not have a very great record.

I’m not going to pretend like I know how Bowl invitations work out, but I’m going to immediately rule out the (Hyundai) Sun Bowl, the Russell Athletic Bowl and the Military Bowl (presented by Northrop Grumman), based solely on the fact that these are the three Bowls that Tech has already played in within the last three years.  That being said, there’s still a variety of Bowls, named more after sponsors than anything else, that the Hokies will likely be playing in:

  • New Era Pinstripe Bowl (vs. Big 10)
  • Quick Lane Bowl (vs. Big 10)
  • Camping World Independence Bowl (vs. SEC)
  • Belk Bowl (vs. SEC)
  • Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (vs. SEC)
  • TaxSlayer Bowl (vs. SEC)

Given the fact that Virginia Tech’s likely Bowl opponent will be a Big 10 or an SEC school, they’re pretty much fucked.

As far as the Big 10 is concerned, there are basically five ranked schools, and seven total schools with better records than Virginia Tech; only so many of them will get into upper-tier Bowl games, meaning that there’s a high probability that like a 9-3 Michigan will be slated to play against Tech in a Bowl game, and give me negative flashbacks to the fucking 2012 Sugar Bowl.  Virginia Tech’s best chances lie if whatever Bowl committee likes the idea of pitting Frank Beamer against a reputable program like Penn State (7-5), and maybe ol’ Frank can work some magic against the weakest bowl eligible program out of the Big 10.

If it’s an SEC school, I may as well just finish out writing Frank Beamer’s professional eulogy.  Sure, there’s zero percent chance that Frank Beamer will ever have to play against Alabama again, since they’re pretty much already in the College Playoffs, and it’s safe to assume that Florida is headed to a top-tier bowl.  But out of 14 SEC schools, ten of them have equal or better records than Virginia Tech does, and the entire SEC West division is Bowl eligible.  The most favorable matchups, I would have to say would be Arkansas or Auburn, since technically they’re the weakest records among the ten Bowl eligible teams, but if I had my pick, I would prefer to see a matchup against Tennessee, since the Vols seem to be the one SEC school that Tech has faired positively against historically, and despite my fatalistic view, I really would like to see Frank Beamer go out on top.  Worst-case scenarios would be Georgia, LSU or Texas A&M, as all of those schools are way better than their records, would probably win any other division outside of the SEC, and are more than capable of hanging 63 points on the Hokies.

My hope:  Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee at the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, with Tech winning 24-17 :)

More likely:  Virginia Tech vs. Georgia at the Music City Bowl in Nashville, with Georgia winning 52-10 :(

Either way, it’s hoping for the best, expecting the worst, and wishing as much good mojo for Frank Beamer’s last game as possible.

I feel like the Black Friday bubble has burst

It’s probably just me, because I have the penultimate first world problem in the fact that despite how much I look around my personal belongings, I have just about all the things that lots of people typically get themselves geared up for Black Friday for.  Television(s), game systems, laptops/computers, tablets and other miscellaneous electronic gizmos; these are all things that I’ve got already and/or don’t really need to be replaced yet.

Men’s fashion doesn’t change so dramatically that I need to go out and replace all sorts of clothes, and for the most part, I dress fairly neutral, often times wearing things that are fairly timeless and/or devoid of any real time stamping.  Needless to say, I bought a few things here and there in terms of clothing, but nowhere near the hundreds of dollars I’ve spent over the last two years’ Black Friday periods.

I had a few ideas for gifts for certain people, but they were all pretty cut and dry, and were not at all that difficult for me to acquire, so I haven’t really had the necessity to get out in my car, go out somewhere, and risk fist fights in order to get the things I had in mind.

All of the above, combined with the fact that Black Friday shopping has once again encroached on yet earlier times this year, leading vigilant people like myself to gain access to deals earlier and earlier, has lead me to believe that Black Friday, as an entire concept is pretty much dying out.

Seriously, I slept in until 8 am this morning, as opposed to years in which I would strategically wake up at 3:30 am, and drive to the first place of a meticulously crafted gameplan of stores to hit, and targets to purchase.  After doing some non-shopping errands, I stumbled across a PetSmart, for a chance to see if I could get some cat litter, an indispensable consumable which cat-homes will always need; in previous years, I remember going into PetSmart for the same purpose, only to discover empty pallets and dazed employees, glazing over the hell of people storming the store, and buying every single 35 pound container of litter to stockpile.  I wasn’t expecting to find any litter at all, but was instead shocked to discover essentially, a fully-stocked store, in which I was able to buy several containers, as much as I thought my car would hold.

In fact, between cats and my dog, I probably purchased more pet-related goods over myself or any other human beings.

The thing is, while driving around in the morning, there was an eerie sense of calm, all over roads in which in the past, I’ve seen full of SUVs of people marching their way to the malls and shopping centers scattered throughout Metro Atlanta.  I know there’s a hangover period between like 9am-noon, in which the stores that have had their doorbusters are all sold out of the hot ticket items, and people have retreated back home, but this was more like a sense that people weren’t even out at all.  Restaurants and Starbucks coffee shops were empty and calm, as opposed to the people who were getting their re-fueling done for round two of shopping day.

What this all felt like to me that perhaps the Black Friday bubble has completely burst, if this wasn’t already the astute assessment from last year.  People like me are able to do a vast chunk of their shopping over the internet, up to a week in advance of Black Friday, and frankly I think people are willing to pay a little bit extra for the convenience of not having to partake in the insanity of doorbuster-hunting, and it’s showing in the fact that at least in my observation, people just weren’t going out.

I guess this is somewhat of a good thing for society as a whole, as this might possibly reduce the number of Black Friday related violent incidents, and frankly maybe people will actually spend time with their families on Thanksgivings.  But me being a person that’s inherently reluctant to acknowledge change, this seems all too strange to me that at least for me, this particular Black Friday has been so calm.  Granted, it’s yet for another year, different than how I’ve been doing them, but I can’t help but have this almost melancholy feel about how the world might actually be changing in some fashion, at least in a commercial sense.

Perhaps there’s a part of me that enjoyed having years of consumerist goals to attain, and the thrill of the hunt of finding the best deal, and making plays to try and get them.  Even if it meant getting up at 3 in the morning, and braving the cold and waiting in lines.  There was just something so gratifying about spending a fuckton of money on things that I might not ultimately need, but it just kind of felt good to get them.

If this year is any indication, then by next Thanksgiving, Black Friday deals will be available as of November 10, the doorbusters for actual Black Friday will be items that people will literally have to murder other human beings in order to acquire, and by 9 am, day after Thanksgiving, the basic plot of The Purge will occur, and people will kill the shit out of each other, and by noon calm will return to the world, as does full retail prices.  Regardless, I think the bubble has burst, and it’s going to take capitalist America some re-tooling to figure out to cash in on a massive shopping event all over again.

Thanksgiving in a nutshell

WWE Power Rankings, revisited

While watching RAW, I was asking myself what the heck was there to look forward to after The New Day had finished their segment?  Needless to say, it’s a really dark time for the WWE right now.  With John Cena taking a well-deserved break from television, and the unfortunate timing of Seth Rollins’ injuries set to shelf him for almost a whole year, the sheer lack of depth in the WWE is being brutally exploited right now.

There are a lot of guys on the roster, but not nearly enough of them have been developed to the point where they could shoulder more television time and not bore the audience of start generating X-Pac heat, and it’s times like these where I’m curious just how big of a challenge it is to fill a three-hour block now.

With Sheamus cashing in Money in the Bank, the WWE has basically burned its biggest creative get-out-of-jail-free card, but I can’t help but feel that they jumped the gun on it just a little bit.  Ultimately, my opinion on the MITB case is that it serves as a hard-reset to storylines, just in case a storyline doesn’t go the way it really should have, and instead of trying to phase it out, simply pull the plug on it with the MITB; however, by Sheamus having cashed it approximately five minutes and fifteen seconds after Roman Reigns had won the World title, they basically pulled the plug on a title run that didn’t even have a chance to fail.

The bottom line is that Sheamus is the World Heavyweight champion now, and I couldn’t think of anyone on the roster that could be worse than him.  It’s not that he’s a bad worker or anything, it’s just the simple fact that Sheamus is fucking boring.  There is absolutely nothing interesting about him, and I feel as if putting the responsibility of shouldering the main event scene on him is a terrible mistake.  The difference is now, with MITB off the table, the company no longer has the capability to pull the plug on the Sheamus run, and will have to have the challenge of actually writing it out when it ends, presumably, by either the Royal Rumble the show after that, because the thought of Sheamus being in the main event of Wrestlemania is frightening.

Anyway, I thought that in light of current storylines and the state of the WWE, I thought it would be a good time to go back and revisit the power rankings, namely as far as the championship belts are concerned, because frankly there’s not much else besides championship belts worth discussing with the current state of the company.

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This is an example of what’s wrong with Atlanta

TL:DR: City of Johns Creek votes “full and complete opposition” to MARTA expansion into its city limits.

Johns Creek is often lost in the shuffle when it comes to the affluent, predominantly-white regions of the outskirts of Metro Atlanta.  However, much like Roswell and Alpharetta, Johns Creek is the oft-overlooked third member of the north Fulton “Milton” county region, that likes to stir the pot and raise controversy every few years about how they want to secede and become their own county, and not be lumped in with the rest of Fulton county AKA “where all the black people live.”

Make no mistake, when it comes to demographics, atmosphere, and sense of entitlement, Johns Creek is sparsely different than its neighbors in Roswell and Alpharetta.

Except when it comes to the acceptance of MARTA, and the stigma that comes along with MARTA.

Although it’ll seem like another lifetime before it actually comes to fruition, Roswell/Alpharetta have taken the risky plunge and provided it doesn’t fall through along the way, expansion into way-north Fulton county is the plan, providing the area with a means to transit their way into Midtown/Downtown Atlanta without having to sit in the parking lots of 400 and the Connector.

Johns Creek, however?  I would have assumed that the Gold line that ended in Doraville, would have been proposed to have continued to travel northbound into John’s Creek, adding anywhere from 3-6 additional stops along the way.

But that’s going to happen because Johns Creek apparently unanimously shot the idea down, because much like other detractors of MARTA like all of Cobb county, they don’t like black people.

Seriously, let’s not sugarcoat it, or act like that’s not the reason why places like Johns Creek and Marietta don’t want MARTA.  I’ve said it before, I’ve seen firsthand what could happen with the introduction of mass transit connecting urban areas to affluent suburban ones, and there’s little to no effort to even attempt to integrate.  It’s basically Charlie Wilson’s War, but on a slightly lesser scale, and resulting in only local violent organizations springing up, and not al Qaeda.

Now I don’t hide the fact that I love to criticize, glorify and take legions of cheap shots at MARTA.  It’s practically a national pastime for me, undoubtedly.  However, the truth of the matter is that as far as transit in Metro Atlanta goes, MARTA is really all we’ve got, and if Metro Atlanta wants to have any shot at actually being considered the world-class city they like to often boast about them already being, they’re going to need some fucking mass transit.

And not more stadiums.  Fuck more stadiums.

Sure, I’ve seen what transit can do to an unprepared area (RIP Springfield Mall).  But I’ve also been to places and seen what good having reliable mass transit can do, within the United States, and especially in cities in Europe.  It is absolutely incredible to be able to get from the airport into the center of Amsterdam within 30 minutes without having to worry about needing a car.  I was able to get from hotels located on the outskirts of Chicago and Boston to Wrigley Field and Fenway Park without having to spend a single minute in the crippling traffic that both cities are known to have on the roads.  I laughed at road ragers in Paris before slipping into the Chatelet station for the 50th time before hopping on the 4 train that basically took me everywhere I wanted to go in the city.  And only on rare occasions have I really ever needed a car to get anywhere I needed to go whenever I went into Washington D.C., when I could park my car in Springfield and Metro it instead.

Sure, there’s the obvious stigma and half-truths to the idea that MARTA is full of Africans being Moved Rapidly Through Atlanta, but I think it’s how the potential expansion sites handle the expansions and the influx of people, not just the blacks, that determines whether or not a place becomes another Springfield Mall, or flourishes like actual world class U.S. cities like Boston, Chicago or New York.

I mean, it’s easy for me to say, but I don’t know, create more jobs like security, reinforce the idea that MARTA expansion is still safe, and hope that it doesn’t deter but actually encourage more people to come to Johns Creek to leave their money behind, or perhaps expand, and possibly flourish?

The way Johns Creek xenophobia sounds, it’s like they believe a black person from like Riverdale county will hop on a bus to get on a train to College Park, where they will ride it all the way to Johns Creek, walk to the nearest affluent white neighborhood, bust down a door, steal a 60” television, walk back to the MARTA station, hop aboard a train with a 60” television in their arms, all the way back to College Park, take a MARTA bus back to Riverdale where they will successfully have heisted.

Doesn’t really matter though, I’m just one person, and Johns Creek is many.  But in a nutshell, this is what’s wrong with Atlanta.  The city wants to talk a big game about how they’re a world class city, but it’s full of segmented neighborhoods that want all the benefits of being lumped into a major market, without having to actually give the undesirable black people access to them.

The racism is abundantly transparent, regardless of what anyone says and until places like Johns Creek and all of Cobb county get over their inherent fear of black people, Atlanta as a whole will never be united, and with no unity, all hopes for true expansion and growth will always fall short.