Ryan Welton

Sports + Digital + Music + Life

Yearly Archives: 2018

Look back at 2018 & channeling my inner Don Draper

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Don Draper from 'Mad Men'

The period between Christmas and New Year’s is one of my favorite each year. It’s a time filled with anticipation for the year ahead, a time to look back at the year gone by and a time to state the obvious.

I don’t know why I like that lede so much. Strikes me as first-cup-of-coffee funny on a gray winter’s Saturday morning.

The start to this weekend finds me at my local Subaru dealership, getting an oil change, rotation and a fuel service. I think they call it an induction service, but to what I’m being inducted I don’t know. It’s 27 degrees outside, gray and still and gorgeous. I can do any kind of weather with no wind.

Boy, am I in the wrong state (Oklahoma) for that!

But on to the business at hand.

I love looking ahead to the new year and looking back at the year previous. I am never one to say, “Good riddance!” to the year. There are always highs to balance the lows.

A look back at 2018
And this year had plenty of high moments. I got engaged to a wonderful woman with whom I have enjoyed many an adventure and plan to enjoy decades more. Being a 48-year-old bachelor, I never anticipated what it would feel like to be engaged or married or even tightly coupled. However, I also didn’t spend my bachelor years overly concerned about how I would feel about it. To the contrary: I spent most of those years considering how to do it right in a world where at least half of all marriages ultimately fail and even more relationships fade into the ghosted ether.

With all that said, I feel extraordinarily confident about the start of my marriage in 2019.

We’re getting married on April 12, which would have been my mom’s 80th birthday. She passed away on June 5, and that was certainly the low mark for 2018. However, I gave myself a gift in anticipation of that moment several years ago with the daily phone conversations we’d have on my commute home from work. The regular communication with family is good for the parent, to keep them engaged and connected, but it’s also a giant deposit into the barrel of goodwill and good karma that you’ll be able to lean on when the loved one passes.

For anybody who has aging parents to whom they’re close, I can’t encourage you enough to develop that kind of routine.

Also, I may have some snippets of our conversations thanks to the fact that sometimes Mom didn’t turn off her answering machine when I called and it picked up before she did.

Work ain’t hard if it’s passion
My professional life has gone exceedingly well, especially so because I get to be in news and work with a wonderful newsroom. Over the years, some folks have labeled me a workaholic, but that’s never been true. I enjoy working and, more so, being in motion. Sitting still is not in my DNA. Any time or situation when it’s felt like I’m overworking myself is the product of poor management on my part, failing to delete the actions that need dismissing and overvaluing money for time.

Time is the arbitrage for everything.

It’s why voice is the technology of the 2020s. It’s why Uber exists. It’s why you should hire a housekeeper and a lawn care person (GreenPal is fantastic). It’s why you should get up early (good sleep is awesome but long sleep is insanely overrated), and it’s definitely why you should get off the couch and explore your city, state and world.

Time is the single currency you can’t amass. You can always make more money.

And travel is more important than acquiring any ‘thing.’ Just thought I’d add that.

But I digress.

As I get older, my professional focus is more about helping other people achieve more. I’m taking on more the role of a teacher or mentor to anybody willing to be taught or mentored (willing is ‘key’), and what I realized early on is that words have super little impact where no actions live. The best way how to tell anybody how to do anything is to show them, by setting the example.

So, whether I’m always successful or not, I’m focused on the examples I set every day.

Various side projects
My digital life has been a lesson in drifting, an enjoyment for sure but no real accomplishment other than an exercise in patience. Take my YouTube channel for example. I gained 86 subscribers in 2018, but that’s in a world where it’s not uncommon to gain thousands.

Why is that?

It all depends on how you look at my channel. Is it a songwriter’s channel? A performer’s channel? If so, it’s super clear that the quality of the content at a creative and technical level isn’t moving the needle. However, that’s not totally true. Two of my biggest organic videos of the year were contemporary jazz tracks I recorded and posted a decade ago.

RyanWeltonMusic YouTube watch time 2018

Step To It” picked up another 6,456 minutes of watch time in 2018.

Nocturnal” earned 1,237 minutes of watch time.

But those weren’t performed. They were produced. There’s probably a lesson there.

Views are important, but the currency on YouTube and, eventually on any video platform, is watch time. How long can you keep a person watching your video content? It’s important because it indicates quality. Most folks are willing to click on a video. Very few are willing to sit there for 7 minutes and 32 seconds.

In the list above, you’ll see a couple of original songs with a high amount of watch time. Those weren’t organically achieved. I ran two types of ads in 2018: Google ads against YouTube videos and Facebook ads against Facebook posts on my teeny-tiny Ryan Welton Digital Facebook page that point to my YouTube channel.

The Google ads did an amazing job of boosting my superficial stats, but they failed to produce engagement and subscribers.

The Facebook ads, especially when executed against cover songs, did an amazing job of turning targeted viewers into subscribers. Mind you, for me, we’re talking dozens of new subscribers instead of hundreds or thousands, but any one of us learns or achieves in nuggets. The snowball falling downhill gets bigger the farther it goes.

On the other hand, my No. 1 video for 2018 didn’t require a dime for it to catch fire. It was called “How To Play ‘Rosanna’ By Toto For Piano,” and it amassed 8,044 minutes of watch time for the year. I don’t even know that I did such a great job with it, but it helped some people get the gist of the chord progressions in the song and, a bit, of how to play the imposing synth solo in the middle of the track.

It had value.

And for the 95 percent of us who aren’t young, beautiful or incredibly talented, value is where it’s at.

Teach somebody how to do something. Pass along your experiences to other people. Document your adventures. Share wisdom.

Do it over and over and over.

That’s the plan for 2019 in my digital life. When it came to this blog, I was largely all over the place, writing about the Sooners and Browns and baseball and YouTube, and that’s all well and good. I think I can still do that as the mood hits, as inspiration strikes.

But as I look at other platforms, I’ll be doing so more closely with an eye for value I can offer to somebody else. I’ll also be looking at eliminating content that provides low return and focus on content that provides much greater return. Whether it be in work or play, passion or necessary mundanity, we all have way too much wasted motion.

In that regard, 2019 is a year to move the needle in a big way.

Walk, don’t run?
don’t know, however, that it’s going to be the year I run my fourth consecutive half marathon in Oklahoma City come the last weekend in April. My training in 2018 was poor, and while I blamed it a lot on the weather, I should also pin it on the extra 10 pounds (now 20) I was carrying.

Mid-year grief sure didn’t help, and neither did a pre-Thanksgiving car wreck. Kristi and I walked away from that, sure enough, but it’s been a giant pain in the butt on numerous fronts ever since. As I sit here finishing this blog post on a Sunday morning, I can confirm that my right knee confirms the accident.

The swelling on the inside of it might not seem the result of Grade 3 whiplash, but when you start connecting the physical dots from spine-to-foot, it’s not unbelievable how that could be. And there’s not a chance I could run to the mailbox right this moment much less a quick three miles.

Not that there’s ever been anything quick about my running.

We’ll see. You all know how much I love running; now it’s just a matter of how much I love training. Need to be better at the latter to be able to enjoy the former. 

Trash talk
Any time I spend ‘not training’ I’m liable to spend on my newest passion: eBay and all-things-flip. Earlier this year, Kristi and I started a little store called R&K’s Happy HodgePodge, and it was born of young Olivia’s enjoyment of garage sales meshed with my inner drive to turn everything into a quest.

I had watched some Gary Vee videos on that ‘flip life,’ and then got interested in how people do it. How they source their products. How they price them. And how they manage a small business based on the simplest of retail tenets: Buy low and resell higher.

That’s all that retail is.

Plus, if I get good at it, it could provide a nice little retirement nest-egg or some money for more travel. I’m telling you: for me, long-term, there is nothing I’d rather spend my money on than travel.

Either way, it’s a fun little side venture.

It seems I’m mostly rambling now, but I’ll leave you with this thought from the wise sage of the advertising world, Don Draper. One of the things I admired most about his character in the series “Mad Men” is his ability to stoically maintain his focus on tomorrow.

“I have a life, and it only goes in one direction: forward.”

Cheers to an amazing+challenging+satisfying 2019 ahead.

Hallelujah & Hollywood: Marquise Brown practiced today for Sooners

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We’re three days from college football’s playoffs, a pair of semifinal matches stuffed in between relatively meaningless bowl games.

Oklahoma fans learned today that Heisman winner Kyler Murray wasn’t feeling well and missed media time. They also learned that Marquise Brown practiced.

“Thank the good Lord,” it was proclaimed even by the most agnostic football fans in the Sooner state.

Hollywood! And Hallelujah.

If only it were that easy. If dressing out for practice meant anything for sure. If Marquise’s injury was to his shoulder and not a lower extremity.

I’m not overly confident that Marquise Brown is going to be close to full-strength come Saturday night versus Alabama in the Orange Bowl.

But he doesn’t have to be to help Oklahoma. Mostly, he needs to be on the field and drawing Alabama’s best coverage. He’ll be the deadliest decoy in the sport, for one night.

Maybe Hollywood plays dead for a quarter and then busts out in the second. Maybe the third. Or the fourth.

Or maybe Marquise is good for a few possession catches and to free up other Oklahoma receivers. That’s a damned big deal if so.

Hollywood could finish the Alabama game with only a catch or two and have a major impact on the Sooners’ success.

But from one Sooner fan to another, can I give you some news that has me even more fired up?

Trey Sermon is healthy.

Remember when we lost Rodney Anderson for the season, and we thought all was lost relative to Oklahoma’s ground game?

All I have to say is: Trey Sermon + Kennedy Brooks. Oklahoma is going to have a full-strength running game.

Sermon brings the thunder, and Brooks flashes lightning. They’re both effective tools for the Oklahoma passing game.

And if Hollywood is out there drawing double-teams, whether he’s full-strength or as gimpy as Kerri Strug, he’ll be making opportunities for CeeDee Lamb and Grant Calcaterra and Myles Tease, Lee Morris, Sermon and Brooks.

So, will Hollywood Brown be ready to go at full-strength?

Don’t know.

But it sure looks as if, with three sleeps before kickoff, that Hollywood Brown intends to play.

And that is huge for the Sooners.

Marquise Brown injury: ‘Hollywood’ ending still possible for Sooners, with or without star WR

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The question on everybody’s mind is: Will Oklahoma make the College Football Playoff with Alabama beating Georgia Saturday hours after the Sooners took care of Texas, 39-27, in Dallas?

The answer is almost certainly will Oklahoma be in as a four-seed at worst, third at best.

The question on my mind is: how is Marquise “Hollywood” Brown? He left the game in the second half with a foot injury and not only didn’t return for Oklahoma, he was carted off and returned in a boot and on crutches. Hollywood is one of the best receivers in Oklahoma history, and definitely the most explosive. He’s ‘Little Joe’ explosive.

In a national title game situation, he’s an X factor — against anybody.

To be honest, the injury appears to be a foot injury, not an ankle injury. My fear is that he broke his foot on the top of it or along the midfoot, also known as a Lisfranc injury. That makes me sound smart, but I’m not. I got the idea from a tweet:

I thought, “That’s a very specific proclamation,” so I looked it up. It fit what I was seeing in how the trainers were looking at Hollywood’s foot. For what it’s worth, head coach Lincoln Riley had nothing to say about it other than stating the obvious: Brown suffered a lower-body injury, and they’d examine him further. Multiple reports indicate that Brown seemed to tell his coach that he’d be OK although that could just be him saying it’s out of his hands and not to worry about him.

Without Brown, the Sooners are much less lethal on offense. With him, Oklahoma has a chance to win the whole thing.

Eventually they’re gonna win it all, you know.

And with or without him, what Saturday’s 39-27 win over the Longhorns showed is Oklahoma’s resiliency. This is the second season in a row in which the Sooners lost midway through the year and still made the playoff. Or so we think. I think it would be the third in four, too. To be able to come back and win out in each instance is highly impressive and speaks to a team’s mental fortitude as much as anything else.

Yes, I hate that the team’s defense was non-existent for much of the season.

Yes, I’m over those 59-56 games. That’s not good football.

These Sooners had every reason to throw in the towel or let up after the Texas loss. They had every reason to cave after getting blistered on social and in the press for a defense that gave up 47 to OSU or 40 to Kansas. Yuck! It’s not like they didn’t have it coming; they weren’t really improving.

However, they just took care of business, won games and waited for the moment the defensive side of the ball would step up.

They stepped up today.

That resiliency is proof positive that Oklahoma fans don’t need to sweat too much the loss of Marquise Brown. Hollywood will be back if he can, and if he’s not available for a Dec. 29 national semifinal, these Sooners of all Sooners are well equipped to figure it out.

Not because it wouldn’t hurt losing a player the caliber of Hollywood Brown.

But because this team, even though they’ve made us crazy for much of the season, might just be the most resilient Sooners of them all.

Resiliency is a winning quality. Winners are resilient.

Well done, men.

Heck of an example to the rest of us.

Horns Down? The NFL has figured out what college hasn’t

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A few years ago, you wouldn’t have ever heard me say that the NFL was more fun to watch than college football.

The tailgating. The atmosphere. The tradition.

But now, between 74-72 football games and conference rules stifling even the most modest of player celebrations, I find myself at the end of the college football season eagerly awaiting its end — and it’s been like that for at least the past five years. Mind you, when the Sooners make the College Football Playoff, I’ll be gung-ho if but for one more day.

Today’s decision by the Big 12 Conference to penalize Oklahoma if a Sooner player, or coach presumably, makes a “horns down” gesture just cements the conference among a sea of snowflakes in an over-sensitive universe. Of course, the rule-follower that I am, I’m not overtly among those who are suggesting the Sooners as a team do it at the beginning of the game — but the conference has practically begged for it, and I bet we see something a la Georgia-Florida a few years ago.

Lol, this was awesome, btw.

Georgia went on to win 42-30, fwiw.

This isn’t even an OU vs. Texas issue. We both agree.

Are we going to ask Longhorns fans not to chant, “OU Sucks!”? Never. If I don’t hear “OU Sucks,” how am I to even believe it’s Texas?

It’s part of the game. Heck, does anybody remember that once upon a time, Longhorns and Sooners would line up along Commerce and basically drunkenly yell at each other for hours?

My capacity for caring about this topic hasn’t even lasted as long as the writing of this post, except to say this: The NFL figured it out. In desperate need of a PR boost in the wake of Anthem Kneeling ’17, the league decided to let their players have fun again.

They allowed them to celebrate touchdowns.

The horror.

And, trust me: there is plenty of shade being thrown in some of these celebrations. It just takes a little sleuthing.

But besides it being the right thing to do, it’s smart marketing. If we’re going to have to sit through a four-hour 59-56 game, let’s see these guys bring their best celebrations. Heck, get the audience in on it and have a vote for the celebration of the game in the fourth quarter for $25,000 to a worthy charity?

Lighten the heck up already.

Cover photo is from soonersports.com.

A Thanksgiving (car crash) to remember…

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We were heading to dinner, ready to try a new place, new for us. A place called Kwan’s Kitchen was calling, and we were ready for a chance to unwind before the holiday weekend.

As we headed down Memorial Road, past Rockwell Avenue, in Oklahoma City. I was daydreaming into the distance. Like usual. And, no, I wasn’t driving.

Kristi was, and I suddenly heard her scream.

“Bam!”

We had been hit and hit hard in the intersection of Memorial and Rockwell. Kristi somehow managed to wrest control of the vehicle and keep us from flipping. I was 90 percent sure we were headed down the embankment and maybe onto the Kilpatrick Turnpike below.

As the person in the passenger seat, I’d describe it is being on a really bumpy boat ride on the lake. The vehicle was just thrusting about, and the morning after, I was quite sore — more sore than after I finished my half marathons. By a lot. Some of that was compounded by achy hips from a golf outing earlier in the week.

Getting old sucks, folks, haha!

I got out of the vehicle instantly and urged Kristi to get out. See, I watched too many Emergency!-like shows in the 1970s, and I knew that the car always exploded in the aftermath of a wreck.

It didn’t.

Right as I was walking toward the other driver, to whom I was going to ask, “What the ****?,” a gentleman walked up to me and gave me his name and number. He and his wife had seen the whole thing. The other dude ran a red light, a light that had been red for quite a while.

We’re not sure how fast the guy was going, but I immediately got concerned for him and walked up to him, not in anger, but just to make sure he was OK. He was extraordinarily apologetic, which made me immediately conciliatory, and I stood with him as his teenage daughters got out of their Honda Odyssey. For the record, we think he was going 30-40 mph through the intersection.

What struck me is how hard the hit was. It was really hard. Two airbags went off, both on Kristi’s side of the car, and she whacked her head. The hit was so hard, it popped the gear shift out of place in the middle of the front of the vehicle. The hit was so hard that it BENT MY SUBARU FORESTER CAR KEY.

I shit you not. The key must have been against something in my left pocket, but the impact bent it. We got it fixed pretty easily with WD-40 and duct tape, which is how you do it in the South.

How much harder then is an impact at 55, 60, 70 miles per hour or beyond?

If you weren’t a believer in seat belts before, you became one.

If you weren’t a believer in staying hands-free with any device before, you were now.

Oklahoma City Police came out to help, and while they were helpful, I would also note that they’re short. No time for any extra commentary or questions. All business, and that’s understandable and standard. I add that as a word to the wise if you’re ever in an accident: minimize the number of words you speak and maximize their impact.

“Ma’am, do you want an ambulance?” the officer asked Kristi.

“Yes,” I replied, “She does, at least to get checked out.”

“I’m not asking you,” the officer said.

Clap the heck back, why don’t you?! Ha!

My response emanated from the brief conversation I had with the witness, who (it turns out) is a former police officer. He said, “Have the ambulance come over and check you out, even if you don’t think you need it.”

And here’s why.

When you’re in an accident, your body automatically goes into fight-or-flight, meaning the adrenaline is at the max, and while you’d be likely to feel a broken bone, you’re less likely to feel what they call “soft-tissue injuries.” In this case, Kristi had sustained a nasty bump to the head. The paramedics checked her out and held her for a couple minutes for high blood pressure that quickly went down.

We’re both pretty sore today. I’d say that I’m much more sore than I expected to be. Achy like the flu.

The other reason you need to get checked out by the ambulance at a wreck is for insurance documentation. In fact, at every step, if you have symptoms of anything after a wreck, you need to get checked out. What makes the whole process feel very shady is that average folks like us often err on the side of not bothering people.

“I’ll be fine. Don’t bother the doctor or paramedic!”

“It’s just a bump!”

In the hard, cold, real world, that just translates to, “not really hurt,” even if that’s not true.

It’s enough to make a person pretty jaded — or get that law degree and chase a few ambulances!

However, we’re lucky. We lived. No broken bones. A big pain in the ass, figuratively and literally, but aside from some paperwork and administrative headaches the next few weeks, all good.

And the other guy and his family lived. And he has insurance, too. Thank the good Lord. I can’t tell you how little sympathy I have for anybody who’s driving without insurance. Driving is a privilege, not a right.

Later over dinner, watching the Thunder game, I told Kristi, “Hey, it was another first for us. Our first car wreck together.”

“How romantic,” she responded.

We both agreed though: we’ll never forget this Thanksgiving! It could have been oh, so much worse.

The YouTube king of ASMR has returned after nearly a year

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For those of you who are into ASMR videos, I’ve got great news for you. Arguably the king of ASMR is back.

After nearly a year-long hiatus in which he graduated from college with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida (and a minor in Physics), RaffyTaphyASMR dropped a new video on YouTube two weeks ago — and he has since produced two more. To give you a sense of how popular he is, Raffy has 435,534 subscribers as of this moment, and he has a growing audience despite not having posted for the past 10 months.

ASMR stands for “autonomous sensory meridian response,” and it refers to the tingle sensation or relaxation that comes from hearing certain sounds. It might be a whisper or the swishing of a water bottle. ASMR might explain why my dad always fell asleep in the barber chair; the entire process of a haircut is one giant ASMR event.

Not everybody experiences ASMR, but I have from the very beginning and remember reacting to it as young as 8 or 9 years old. ASMR is why PBS painting instructor Bob Ross has long been called “human Valium.” The sounds he and Raffy produce induce relaxation to the point of meditation and physical sleep.

And what I’m writing about doesn’t even begin to touch on the visual opportunities in ASMR. Many ‘ASMR artists’ as they’re called use hand movements to further induce relaxation.

Anyway, what makes Raffy so popular, besides being highly likable in my opinion, is his mastery of audio production for ASMR combined with having a perfect voice for ASMR, a round, breathy quality that isn’t high in pitch like most female voices. Just a preference. Raffy also is one of the only ASMR artists on YouTube who has mastered tapping for effect, especially sounds he makes with only his own hands.

So, he’s produced three videos in two weeks.

The first has 1.1 million views (or listens).

The second, which I’m listening to now, has 1,029,246 video views.

And a third that he posted less than 12 hours ago has 153,000 video views already.

Given that he hadn’t posted for 10 months, it makes you wonder whether he’ll fade away into oblivion for another 10 months — but he gave viewers an update noting his school work and his girlfriend of two years. On the other hand, he noted that he’d never be one of those YouTubers who would post every single day. I think there is something to be said for the way Raffy has managed supply and demand.

As he noted, keeping YouTube as a hobby and not an obligation keeps the “magic” in it.

Anyway, his absence made the hearts of his fans grow ever fonder. Welcome back, dude!

Can we agree that Lincoln Riley owns the Oklahoma defense next year?

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They allowed Kansas 544 yards of total offense including 405 yards on the ground.

On the ground, they allowed the Jayhawks 8.3 yards per carry.

The ‘they’ I’m referring to is 1-10 Rutgers, one of the worst teams in all of college football.

It could have as easily been Oklahoma. The Sooners, despite a 55-40 win, allowed Kansas 524 total yards, 348 on the ground and at a 9.7-yards-per-carry clip. Oklahoma’s pass defense was also on par with Rutgers’, given the common opponent.

Oklahoma is 10-1, and Rutgers is 1-10.

Thank God for the Sooners offense because this team — without Kyler Murray and a brilliant offensive mind in Lincoln Riley — could as easily be 3-9.

The downward spiral of the Oklahoma defense absolutely started with Bob Stoops, the third best coach in the history of Oklahoma football. The man has a national championship to his name, and he brought the Sooners an entire era of winning. However, the move toward the spread offense went from 1999 gimmick to plague for the entire Big 12 conference, whose teams never bothered to learn how to defend against it.

And in the past five seasons, Oklahoma has gone from a modicum of aggressiveness to playing a permanent prevent defense against virtually every team, per the strategy of Bob’s brother, Mike and a full staff of coaches who have supported him, including current interim defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill.

So, what’s the big deal, you ask? We’ll just out-score everybody.

You’re right, but that becomes tougher when you play teams out of conference, especially teams from the SEC, Big 10 or an Independent team like Army. The Black Knights, in a 28-21 loss, held the potent Oklahoma offense to 355 yards and four scores, and they did it with ball control.

Where this philosophical discussion becomes tougher to argue is in discussing Alabama. If you were to poll 1,000 pretty knowledgeable college football fans, I think they’d say (aside from Clemson), the two teams that stand the best chance against the Crimson Tide would be Michigan (because of its awesome defense) and Oklahoma (because of our unstoppable offense).

I firmly believe Oklahoma could beat Alabama under close-to-perfect circumstances, but that score would probably look like 52-49. Maybe as many as three or four out of 10 times.

But Oklahoma could also, potentially, lose to virtually any team in Division I on a close-to-perfect day.

The Sooners are an injured quarterback away, a head coaching change away from reverting back to the Blake years. I think it’s super naive not to see that, and it’s not the end of the world if that were to happen. Makes you appreciate the great years, right?

I’m of the firm belief that Lincoln Riley is at once an offensive genius and quite possibly woefully incomplete as a head coach. But he’s got the opportunity to right that side of the ball.

This year, the terrible defense is on Mike Stoops and, largely, too, Ruffin McNeill.

But next year, can we agree that Lincoln Riley owns this?

Your breakfast idea for the weekend starts with Trader Joe’s sriracha ranch

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You don’t need to go to the big city for the best breakfast in America. You can have it at home, and all it takes is Trader Joe’s sriracha ranch dressing.

That was the impetus for the breakfast Kristi made last weekend, both days. We feasted, and it was delicious. Of course, my role in the festivities was to take photos and tell you all about it, guided of course by my talented fiance.

This was essentially an egg dish with a potato side. I’ll tell you about the egg dish first.

“Sriracha Ranch Eggs”

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • Turkey lunch meat, 8 slices, chopped
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Trader Joe’s sriracha ranch dressing
  • Dried chives

Beat your eggs. While you’re beating, put that chopped turkey lunch meat (or whatever you have at home) into your dry pan and brown it a little.

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Then you slip in those beaten eggs, all nice and smooth-like.

Add a sprinkle of cheddar cheese to the extent of your cheese-aholic-ness.

Add a couple drizzles of that sriracha ranch, but not more than about a tablespoon.

Add a tablespoon of dried chives.

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Cook it and stir until you get it to the consistency you like.

Put it onto a plate with a little cheddar cheese sprinkled and sriracha ranch dotted atop it.

***

The potatoes dish is even easier.

“Potato Delight”

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of sliced new potatoes
  • Garlic salt
  • Small / medium onion, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Pepper
  • Dijon mustard

Put a little olive oil into your skillet, and then add those potatoes (drained, of course).

Then add your chopped onion, and add some pepper to taste.

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When everything starts to brown, add a tablespoon of Dijon mustard.

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Sauté until the dish gets slightly crispy, tossing your potatoes every once in a while. Do this on medium to medium high heat.

Serve with a little avocado and your favorite breakfast beverage, and bon appétit!

2 reasons why the Cleveland Browns could win their next 6 games

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Like the rest of Sooner Nation and Browns Backers worldwide, we toasted the weekend performance of not only Baker Mayfield but also Nick Chubb, Antonio Callaway, Duke Johnson, Joe Schobert, David Njoku, Rashard Higgins, Myles Garrett and the entire Cleveland Browns organization.

This wasn’t Thursday night magic against the Jets.

This was a complete team win, a whipping put on a good Atlanta Falcons club.

There is no doubt that Baker Mayfield showed enormous improvement this weekend: decisive passing, better improvisation and world-class play action. However, Mayfield also had much better protection Sunday than at any other point this season. Heck, watching Oklahoma’s 48-47 win over Oklahoma State, we Sooners fans bemoaned the protection for Kyler Murray, something we don’t typically have to worry about.

The Cleveland defense with Joe Schobert and Denzel Ward both back in the lineup is a different beast altogether, especially Schobert. They take on a completely different identity with the third-year linebacker from Wisconsin. He clogs the middle.

Dare I say that if Cleveland were to play like they did in their 28-16 win over the Falcons, they could win any or all of their remaining six games.

The Browns have two games against the Bengals, who are at the bottom of the NFL in passing yards per game and two spots lower than the Browns in points given up per game. Cincinnati and Cleveland are No. 30 and 32, respectively, in yards allowed per game.

And come to find out this week that the Bengals plan on hiring former Cleveland coach Hue Jackson?

Who is that supposed to help? Seriously, I’m asking.

Cleveland has a shot to win both of those games, as they do the Baltimore game. The Browns have already beaten the Ravens once, a 12-9 thriller at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 7. That game was one of four overtime games the Browns have played this season, and if you think about it, there is every possibility that the other three could have fallen Cleveland’s way, meaning they’d be 7-3 right now.

The Browns are not a bad football team fundamentally; they’re just learning to put it all together and to do it with consistency.

Cleveland has a tough two-game stretch at Houston, a team that has figured out how to put it all together, and against the Carolina Panthers at home. Both of these opponents currently sit at 6-3, and on the development scale, they’re seemingly far ahead of the Browns. However, the Texas notoriously under-achieve, and we get Cam Newton in front of the Dawg Pound.

No guarantees, but definitely not for-sure losses.

When you looked at the Browns’ chances against a Steelers team in Pittsburgh or even a hot Kansas City team at home, you had to think any win would be a significant upset. When faced with the task of beating the Texans or Panthers, the thought is — if the Browns execute like they did against Atlanta.

And if they were to somehow get past the Bengals, Texans and Panthers, a trifecta that could absolutely land the beloved orange-and-brown at 0-3 for the set, Cleveland would head to Denver for a Saturday-night showdown against the Broncos that could decide the Browns’ playoff fate.

No, I’m not drinking. This is a schedule that provides some room for hope for a club that is improving under Gregg Williams the way they’ve shown over the past couple of weeks.

Cleveland absolutely could run the table and finish 9-6-1.

If they did that, Baker Mayfield wouldn’t just be Rookie of the Year; there would be serious conversation about Baker as MVP.

But he’s not even the reason I think there’s hope for such a run.

It’s this: Cleveland’s takeaway-giveaway ratio is +12, second only to the Chicago Bears.

It’s also this: The Browns are third in the NFL in total rushing yardage and sixth in yards per game at 133.2.

It helps when your running back is also an awesome rookie:

Forget what the crazy blogger man here thinks. Take those two stats seriously. Being able to run the ball and being able to force some turnovers will keep you in ball games.

And then you have a coach who nobody believes would be given a shot at the gig full-time, a Kansas City boy named Gregg Williams looking for redemption after running afoul of league rules in New Orleans. You watch him make a speech like this and wonder if, really, Cleveland hasn’t found their guy:

Williams didn’t add “in miracles” to the end of his question. He just asked the team, “Do You Believe?”

In the process. In the details. In the coaching staff. In each other.

Belief is a powerful drug. Add that to a +12 takeaway/giveaway ratio and an ability to run the ball well, and the Browns are going to have more of a chance in each of these games than virtually anybody will give them credit for.

WordPress Tip: How to edit the bio at the bottom of your posts

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Thought I’d devote a quick post to this in hopes of helping somebody not waste 25 minutes trying to find it.

I love WordPress, but I also think the CMS is largely unintuitive, especially without search. On several occasions over the past few months, I’ve wanted to update an outdated bio at the bottom of each blog post.

Not only was the information out of date, but it was devoid of HTML, so it looked like a jumbled heap of words.

So, I hopped into the WordPress admin tool and clicked here. And clicked there. And then I did a quick Google search, and then I started to grow frustrated because there is no search in the WordPress admin that I can find — and it should all just be easier than this.

And then I eventually figured it out.

I’m going to show you so that, maybe, you don’t have to waste your time.

  1. Go to WP Admin
  2. Click on ‘Users’ in the left-hand column.
  3. Then click on ‘Your Profile.’

What you’ll see looks like this:

wordpress-profile-update

Type in all the updates you’d like, and note that you can add HTML links to things like social media sites. I tried adding paragraphs and line breaks, and that was no-go. Just add the simple <a href HTML code around any link you have, and it should work.

Then you click the ‘Update Profile’ button just below that, and – boom – all done!

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