James Patrick Casey LIVE – Vikings vs Packers – 2/10/14

(bit of a crappy title, but it’s midnight right now)

00:14 – Evening all. With the blog’s birthday approaching (this Sunday, 5th of October!), I thought I’d branch out a little bit and try some new things, regarding my style of blogging as opposed to just the topics I talk about. Also, this blog is about my life, so whatever I’m doing is therefore a valid (if uninteresting) topic. Putting these things together, I’ve come up with this DIY Live-blog, in which I will update this post in the WordPress editor for the next five hours or so, while I get excited for, and watch, the Vikings-Packers game in the NFL.

00:17 – A couple of warnings first. I don’t want the focus of this to be on the game; the game is important in motivating me to stay up, but you people are here for me, not for NFL updates (go to the NFL’s site for those), so I’ll try to talk about what I’m thinking and feeling as I become increasingly sleep-deprived, rather than gushing over the tip-toed catches of Jordy Nelson all the time (but I’m sure I’ll do that a bit). Secondly, I don’t really expect you to read all this; three minutes’ worth of updates have taken 200 words, so this could be a blog post of Biblical proportions by the end of the evening; I would ask that you at least skim it, and read the end to see how I’m feeling, because that’s the bit I’ll be most interested in rereading later. And finally, I apologise in advance for any racism/sexism/homophobia/general discrimination/failed attempts at humour/references to Naruto I might slip into tonight – this disclaimer doesn’t excuse those things, but I’m just throwing a warning out there before caffeine and phone alarms end up as the only thing keeping me awake.

00:21 – I think I’m also doing this because I’m really excited to write things; I’ve joined two magazines here at UCL, the Writers’ society includes constructive criticism sessions so I can see if my novel will be anything more than laughable to other human beings, and I’m looking into women’s sport match reports and Apprentice live-blogging as part of the Feminism society and Savage magazine, all of which will involve me spending all my time writing (and not writing my actual course essays). Honestly, earlier today I wanted to write like three posts, and upload them all immediately I was feeling so good. I’m not motivated to write about Milton yet, but I’m sure that will come this weekend as my essay deadline approaches.

00:25 – On another note, has anyone heard of Last.fm? It’s a website where you produce a list of your favourite bands (it links to iTuns so it can do it automatically) and gives you recommendations of new bands. It’s pretty hit-and-miss – I got the awesome Anti-Flag from putting Rise Against, but a generic collection of pop-punk and airbrushed female-fronted ‘metal’ from listing the brutal and atmospheric Anavae – but it’s fun scrolling through pages of these to see what you can find. They also notify you of gigs in your local area that you might be into, based on your selected bands, which will probably be more useful down the line. There’s a link here.

00:44 – Yeah I just followed that link and got distracted by Rage Against The Machine for twenty minutes. That can happen.

01:01 – You know, Cruel Hand is a rather good band; their album covers are floral!

01:06 – I’ve just realised that I bought four cans of Diet Coke to get me through this evening, and I finished the first one about half an hour ago. This isn’t gonna go well.

01:10 – Okay now I’m just exploring the ‘melodic hardcore’ tag on Last.fm and totally ignoring the game I’m using as the purpose for this whole stupid undertaking (Aaron Rodgers I’m happy for you, and I’mma let you finish, but Ignite’s Let It Burn is one of the most consistently impressive things of all time!).

01:19 – It depresses me that Last.fm only focuses on the female-fronted-ness and use of guitars and drums of Anavae; they’re so aggressively atmospheric – they create a sound that’s both hypnotic and melodic, both musically and vocally, but are also heavy enough to attract the ignorant metal-listening demographic that I populate. But I can’t really blame Last.fm for that, it’s hard to sum all that up in a single-word tag.

01:26 – Ooh, the game’s starting! I’d forgotten that Sky don’t have a pre-game show on Thursday Night Football, so it was a bit of a shock coming here from Skarlett Riot.

01: 29 – Huh, four minutes in and there’s a possible head injury. Welcome to the NFL!

01:30 – No-one really believes that tapping the top of a Coke can before you open it really stops it fizzing up on you, do they? Because it totally doesn’t. Also NFL update, Christian Ponder has just come onto the field for the Vikings, and I think I’m the only person other than his own mother who rates him pretty highly; I might take him over Andy Dalton if he’s on a hot streak.

01:34 – First break in the action, and because it’s a Thursday night game there isn’t any underrated Sky Sports punditry, or highlights from other games, so we’re stuck with adverts. And they aren’t even the well-made, while morally reprehensible, gambling and beer adverts, because this is the frakking one-thirty in the morning slot which is so worthless I could probably buy it if I went without food for a few days.

01:38 – Eddie Lacy does lack a bit of speed once he breaks into the secondary doesn’t he? Minor complaint though, because Green Bay just scored a touchdown, and Randall Cobb jumped into the arms of a fan wearing one of those plastic waterproof ponchos; deduct two points for that fan’s terrible choice of outdoorswear.

01:41 – Just saw a KFC advert and recognised the burger in it. This does mean that I’m more knowledgable of American fast food in popular culture than music in popular culture, and I’m trying to write for a magazine that includes both a culture and a music section.

01: 45 – I don’t think Jim Nantz should colloquially use the phrase ‘butts heads’ referring to breaking tackles in a sport dogged by head injuries and concussion problems.

01:54 – A man just took some balls to the face and it’s somehow been portrayed as a manly razor advert. Advertising! Also Green Bay just scored again – I hope this won’t continue my streak of every game I’ve seen this season being a Patriots loss or a depressingly one-sided affair.

01:59 – Oh god Minnesota are awful again after being great last week. I’m starting to regret this marathonning thing and I’m only an hour or so in.

02:02 – I made lunch plans with a friend tomorrow, and it’ll probably end up like breakfast plans if I’m gonna go all the way with this. I wonder if that sushi place I saw does a full English breakfast?

02:07 – Well it’s 14-0 after one quarter and it probably should have been about 21-0; can we just go ahead and rename this Thursday Sh*te Football whenever I decide to watch it? Also why the frak does our society’s anti-perspirants last longer than its contraceptives? You’d think the latter would be the priority.

02:13 – This game is so bland that Tracey the sideline reporter, who usually comments on game-changing injuries, is lecturing us in the synthetic nature of the grass, and their officiating expert is literally giving a ‘back in my day’ talk about the grips on the footballs. God almighty.

02:17 – Today a friend of mine mistook my Rise Against shirt for a My Chemical Romance shirt; he’s not particularly into punk, so I shouldn’t expect much from him, and I like both bands so there’s no need for me to be offended, but I was a little annoyed because of the (rather unfair) perception of MCR as a bunch of emo losers. I guess I just don’t want to be associated with such simple instances of hatred – I’m into Charlie Brooker-style comedic hatred!

02:20 – Just seen another advert involving a person wearing generic hipster glasses; literally everyone in the English department who wears glasses apart from me and one woman I don’t know wears them, and I swear at some point I’m gonna lose it and break all those frakking glasses in anger. The irony, of course, is that they won’t be able to see me do it. *sighs*

02:25 – Now even Green Bay are sucking; it’s just a series of three-and-outs and punts which don’t make for great casual viewing.

02:31 – Ooh, Minnesota are getting a few plays going here! They might even score some points!

02:32 – Oh for frak’s sake Ponder just threw a pick-six.

02:36 – Oh come on, another pick Christian? I can see why Bridgewater was drafted.

02:38 – And that’s 21-0. Bastards.

02:40 – Hey, next week’s TSF (Thursday Sh*te Football, as I am calling it) includes two much more evenly-matched teams (in theory); I SHOULD LIVE-BLOG THAT TOO!

02:44 – The Vikings got a drive going, then they fumbled it and killed everything. I do feel bad for the poor bastards at this point. Also does anyone remember Cookie Crisp cereal? That crap was cookies for breakfast why did that get past concepts / pitching / parental research groups / economic forecasting / health checks / cultural hesitances towards eating cookies for breakfast?

02:54 – HALFTIME: Minnesota 0-28 Green Bay. I regret buying all that Diet Coke now.

03:02 – I think I’m past the point where I can claim to not be obsessed by this NFL thing. I can’t even be happy and comfortable about being obsessed either, so it’s like joining a cult based around stamp collecting, where you have to have a painfully intricate stamp design carved into your back as an initiation ceremony, but you’re afraid to raise your voice around groups of people you don’t know.

03:12 – ‘There is no sleep till bedtime’, according to a Travelodge advert. How right you are, omniscient disembodied narrator of temporary accommodation-finding holiness.

03:17 – The commentators are remarking on the referee’s misreading of the number ‘thirty’ as ‘three’. Excitement! Also, Christian Ponder looks like Moriarty in Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ Sherlock. And he’s about as involved as the great villain was in season three.

03:19 – ANOTHER TOUCHDOWN GREEN BAY this is nonsense now; but Eddie Lacy ran it in, bouncing off a defender and bouncing it back to the other side, like Marshawn Lynch on an elastic band. It was very impressive, and he’s deserved it for his good running today. Minnesota 0-462,457 Green Bay.

03:22 – The aerial shots of Lambeau Field would probably be more impressive if the stadium didn’t didn’t look like a folded-out Micro Machines truck track set.

03:32 – I’m using my chair as a coaster. Aren’t you glad you read this?

03:33 – The godawfulness of this post’s name is now starting to bother me as the time of uploading approaches, but I’ve not got a better idea; I’d like to include ‘live’ somehow, because it’s a live blog, but this post (and blog) are about me, so surely it has to be James Patrick Casey live, right? Maybe Late-night live? Thursday Night / Sh*te / Football Live? I don’t know man.

03:34 – Lacy runs for another touchdown, hitting 106 yards for the day and 2 TDs. The gap between the scores of Green Bay and Minnesota is now larger than the space between London and Uzbekistan, measured in inches.

03:38 – Phil Simms hasn’t said anything in a while; he might have died of boredom, or the Vikings might be asking the 59-year-old retired quarterback to step in for Christian Ponder, Matt Kalil, Matt Asiata, and the rest of the entirety of the Vikings offense.

03:40 – THE VIKINGS HAVE ENTERED PACKERS TERRITORY! Someone get Christian Ponder a pay check / knighthood / on-field sexual favour from an intern or practice squad member. I’m now scared the Vikings will score, and the only source of entertainment – seeing if Green Bay can record a shutout – will go before the fourth quarter even starts.

03:45 – Jim and Phil are having a rather heated discussion about the importance of year-round scouting versus a player’s pro day, in which Phil accuses Jim of listening to the opinions of the media and commentators, rather than professional scouts or one’s own opinions. Phil is apparently oblivious to the fact that he and Jim are commentators who work in the media, and so have a social responsibility to tell people what to think about things in place of real experts or individual thought. But whatever, Ponder and some penalties I wasn’t paying attention to (but were probably more helpful to the Minnesota cause than their quarterback) driven the Vikings into the Red Zone as the third quarter ends.

03:49 – GOAL! ACE! TRY! SIX! BASKET! Other nouns to describe short-term sporting achievements! Christian Ponder has run in for a Vikings touchdown, meaning that, in keeping with his luck, his best piece of work offensively won’t be recorded on any of the stat sheets that will go on to define his career as a quarterback, the position based around passing, not running.

03:52 – The Packers have scored 42 points, Rodgers has got three touchdowns, and he has completed twelve passes. Twelve. He’s gone back to the bench for the rest of the game, presumably so Matt Flynn can trick a QB-needy team into thinking he’s a decent full-time starter based on five minutes’ competency for the 432nd time in his career; with Seattle and Oakland having solutions at the position, could we see Flynn-to-Bills, -Jets, or -Texans rumours? I’m calling it now.

03:55 – Approaching the four-hour mark now and I have newfound respect for American sports commentators.

03:56 – Christ, now Eddie Lacy’s sitting the rest of the game; I know this is garbage time, but this is basically a preseason game at this point. There’s still a full quarter to go!

03:57 – Excitement! Except not really! Flynn threw a pick with his first throw of the season, but the Green Bay fans haven’t appeared to have noticed; they’re probably checking their phones for weather reports so they know whether to wear or remove their plastic ponchos. And yes, I’m still not over that. Just to take the piss further, Ponder’s now playing like the competent backup a part of my brain is convinced that he can be. Maybe he’s only effective when no-one gives a frak.

04:01 – Wow, a field goal! I think Mike Zimmer just called for a FG to upset the fact that the scores were, so far, neatly divisible by seven, making it easy to work out how many scores had taken place, and of what nature. Zimmer knows the game is lost, but he’s still gonna screw with your mind a little. Minnesota 10-42 Green Bay, 10-odd minutes left.

04:04 – Jim and Phil touched on this, but it’s nice to see the Packers fans sticking around until the end; they’re the only 100% fan-owned team in the big four (football, baseball, basketball, and ice hockey) of American sports, and they’re showing it at a time where most other fans would have packed up the plastic ponchos and buggered off home. Good on you, Cheeseheads!

04:07 – The clock says eight and a half minutes to go! At this rate the game’ll finish in time for me to change my underwear before I go to meet my friend at half one this afternoon for lunch.

04:08 – Also ‘this afternoon’ – it’s been tomorrow for four hours now, but it’s starting to hit me that I’ll have lost about five hours of sleep because of this bloody blowout.

04:12 – Props to the CBS directors too, for only showing about three shots of depressed Vikings fans (kudos to them for sticking around this long too); when Sky Sports are in control, a good half the crowd shots are of crying children or swearing, security-underminingly drunk men.

04:14 – In dull logistical news, I’ve had this WordPress page open in a window on the left side of the screen, and the game open in a separate NowTV window (legal, I know) on the right of the screen; the NowTV window is not in full-screen (obviously) but it fits snugly between the WordPress window and the edge of the screen. The NowTV window takes up slightly more than half the screen too – the screen being a 13″ Macbook Air, by the way. AREN’T SPORTS COOL?

04:17 – Ooh, only three minutes left! And, for the record, Ponder has thrown for more yards than Rodgers today – really this should be 42-10 Minnesota right, it’s a quarterback league.

04:20 – I’d like to draw attention to the American phrase ‘winningest’, which is, hoenstly, a real word. Basically, US sports teams are ranked by win percentage, rather than the European model of awarding points for wins, draws and defeats; so an English soccer team with three wins and no losses would have ‘nine points’ (three wins) while an American Football side with the same results would be said to be ‘3 and 0’, i.e. three wins and no losses. This means that coaches and players win a percentage of their games over their career, rather than amassing an amount of points, so the best coaches and players are those with the greatest winning percentage, the ‘winningest’, while silverware is perhaps more emphasised in European sport. Did that make sense? I think it did.

04:22 – Ooh, a fourth down! The Vikings go for it and Ponder completes a pass  for the first down, adding some much-needed excitement to this riveting sporting … zzz

*continues to snore*

04:23 – The relentless pace and continued excitement of this game woke me up. I’m now fully alert to watch … oh god, the quarterbacks are Christian Ponder and Matt Flynn aren’t they?

04:25 – Well Ponder is leading an impressive Red Zone charge, which might be in garbage time, but it’s still gotta be encouraging for Ponder to complete a few passes and move down the field. Now it’s fourth-and-goal with nineteen seconds to go! Excitement! Except that it’s 42-10!

04:27 – It’s no good! This game is now the second most one-sided blowout in the history of Thursday Night Football, as Jim Nantz took great pleasure in building up! This is history in the making!

04:28 – And that’s it! Green Bay were brutal on defence, especially the pass rush, efficient on offense, and didn’t give the banged-up Vikings a chance to implement whatever the hell they have in place of a gameplan these days now that Adrian Peterson has sodded off and Teddy ‘Please Don’t Be Another Ponder’ Bridgewater was injured. The Packers didn’t break a sweat, the Vikings didn’t break a tackle, the final result didn’t break any records, but I’ve broken my record for my longest post – this is a mighty 3,141 words – and I’ve almost certainly ruined my chances of a fun meetup later today! Let me know if you enjoyed this, because I genuinely did, and would like to do it more regualrly with more enjoyable subject matter as a background, but if you don’t like it I can see why. Now I’m gonna sleep off a litre of Diet Coke and try to get back to being diurnal. See ya!

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