Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Phil Dawson Responds And Why He Is Awesome


If you know anything about me, you know that I am a Cleveland fan through and through. I love anything about my city and I will fight you until you cry to prove it, especially if we are talking about sports.

Looking at all of the Cleveland sports teams, the Browns are the team that fans always cling to the concept of "Next Year" while wallowing in sorrow from the past season. There is always next year. Next year we will get the quarterback, coach, whatever. Next year we are going to the playoffs. You get the point.

That roller coaster of emotions makes it tough to be a Browns fan, always waiting for next year. Looking at our players - as a fan -I had to cling to a hope that we are really going to win one day. Starting with the hope of winning a game. That hope for me is Phil Dawson.

Yes, before we go on, he is a kicker. A damn fine kicker, but yes, at the end of the day he is *just* a kicker.

Dawson is going to go down in Browns lore as the best kicker in Browns history. More then that, the man is the epitome of clutch. This year in the game against the Chargers, he scored all 15 points. Whoa. But, still, he is just a kicker. Right?

At some point I decided to stop throwing my money to players that would be gone after a season (so says the 3 Charlie Frye jerseys hanging in my closet), and go for the long term guy, Phil Dawson. But still, a kicker?


Do you remember those Life's Little Instruction Books? Everyone got one for graduations, birthdays, and any other occasion you needed a warm fuzzy kick in the pants for. The books are filled mostly with little wisdom nuggets that you wish you wrote down and made a fortune from book out of. Stuff like, "Root for your team to win, not the other team to lose" or "Never buy a car wearing your good watch." In general, good advice.

One that stuck with me was a long quote to the effect of going to a college baseball game and cheering and making good luck signs for the left fielder. Interesting concept. The left fielder is just as important as any other guy on the team, except the home run star or the closer get the glory. Talk to a guy that missed a fly ball in left field and he would agree.

That is part of why I root for Phil Dawson. Well, at least in the beginning. There were so many bad seasons that I had to look for a glimmer of hope.

The first few times I wore my Dawson jersey, other fans would give me a sideways look and then it caught on. The weird looks transformed to excited high fives and stories of how Awesome Dawson is and how someone's cousin met him and he was great or someone saw his wife at the store and she was friendly.

I have yet to find anyone in the city of Cleveland to make a negative comment about Dawson. In this city, that my friends, is a testament to his sheer awesomeness.


This year, it seemed particularly egregious to me that Phil Dawson has never made it to the Pro Bowl. For some reason I couldn't shake the fact that he needed to be there. Maybe it was all of the Life's Little Instruction Book's that I grew up with, but I felt like the fans had to do something.

In the era of LeFoolio, we have in Dawson, who by all accounts, is a great guy that wants nothing more than to win for his team. How can we not support that?

In the age of social media, I took it upon myself to get Phil Dawson to the NFL Pro Bowl through sheer will and repetitive messages. If Cleveland could select a chucklehead like Peyton Hillis to the cover of Madden, the least we could do is get Dawson to the Pro Bowl.

My efforts did not go unnoticed.  I received tweets from the NFL and OMG Phil Dawson himself.

Thankfully, my Phil Dawson memes did not enrage people and the fans of Cleveland got behind the campaign and didn't ostracize me for my fervor. Something clicked and Phil Dawson to the Pro Bowl campaigns sprung up everywhere. Even Browns punter Reggie Hodges pushed for Dawson to go the Pro Bowl. It was amazing to not be the only one talking about Dawson.


In the end, we did it.

As fans, we made the right decision and supported a guy that has been with us since the team came back in 1999. No matter how awful the game, or crappy the weather, Dawson went out there and made seemingly impossible kicks (Ahem, Ravens game anyone?) week after week. He is the reason we were even in contention for most games as of late.

Through shares and retweets and clicking and fan voting, Dawson finally made it to his first Pro Bowl this year.

In  my excitement, I sent Phil a tweet to see if he would answer questions for this little blog, since we are best buddies and all. To my surprise, he answered.

Eek.

So of the half dozen or so I rattled off to him, he chose probably the best one to answer:

And that comment shows you what type of guy Dawson is. He is the kind of guy that other plays got excited for when he made the Pro Bowl.

Dawson may be Texas proud, but he will always have a special place in the heart of Cleveland.

Let's hope the Browns brass realize that and keep him on. I'm not sure they are ready for a Dawson To Retire As A Brown campaign.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

GV Artwork Tee Winner!


Congratulations to @CarlyRose0711 who won the GV Artwork + Design CleveLand That I Love T!

Thanks for participating everyone!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Verizon Customer Service Gets A Wow


I'm not going to lie.

I can be a customer service worst nightmare. I expect a lot because I am coughing up my hard earned money and, more importantly,  I have been in their shoes. I have worked in retail, bars and restaurants and I get it.

I painfully understand what it takes to deal with someone that is truly frustrated with a product or service and someone that is a jackwagon. My first job, working at Marc's in Middleburg Heights, taught me that people can be jerks. Plain and simple jerks. A highlight was a woman that threw 25 dog bones at me because she thought they were 25 for .99...they were 25 for $1.

So, before you call me a jerk, know that if I am irritated by service, in a restaurant for example, I take into account if the server is in the weeds, if they are the only one on the floor, etc. I never blame a server for a crappy steak. However, I also can tell when my food is cold because the server spent all her time griping about her hangover and questioning where she left her car to the hostess.

I recently received *amazing* service from Verizon Wireless and I wanted to share. Well amazing service after craptastic service.


This year, I left T-Mobile after being with them since before they were T-Mobile. My first cell phone with them was a giant thing. You had to puuulllll out the antenna and there was even a switch for when you moved from one zone to another, in short, I was with them for quite awhile. The final straw for me with them was a rather ugly encounter with a customer service rep. I tried to explain how many years I had been with them and I didn't want to leave, but unless the service improved I would have to. The response was, if you don't like it, fine go to another provider.

Grrr.

Enter Verizon Wireless.

For the most part, they have been pretty helpful, although at least with Verizon, I have learned you only want to deal with Corporate Stores. There may be good franchise ones out there, I just don't have the time time to find them.

This past week, I put Verizon to the test and great googily moogily they succeeded...for the most part.

During TribeFest, my phone started acting, for the lack of a better descriptor, wonky.  By the end of the weekend, it had crashed and set up its own password. If there is one thing we learned from Terminator, that is not good.

I jumped directly to panic and stopped by the Verizon Store in my home of Brunstucky to get help. The staff there tried to assist.

Ahem.

The young man told me that he could hard reset the phone but I would lose everything on it. Awesome. He also told me it was a common thing for phones to decide on their own passwords. While he worked on resetting the device, his co-worker told me how much my phone sucked.

Anyone that is with me for five minutes or so could attest to me being a smart phone junky, so dude #2 telling me how much my phone sucks probably wasn't the best move. Dude #2 also told me (with the support of Dude #1) that since my phone was soooooooo full of suck that they could sign me up for yet another line (I have 3...I did exactly what Judge Judy said not to and got phones for my rents), and I could pay $9.99 a month plus the cost of a new phone. Dude #1 told me I needed a new sim card (what I originally asked for) but said he didn't have any since my phone was obsolete.

Grrr.

I politely declined their upsells and took my newly reset phone, with over 1,200 pictures deleted, home and sent a tweet to my friend VerizonAl.

Ok, his real name isn't VerizonAl, it is Alex,  everyone in the interweb knows him as Verizon Al. Alex is a friend I met in the friendly confines of Twitter and I have hung out with in real life. He is a pretty cool guy, so I felt completely comfortable freaking out on him about my phone.

After my freakout, someone from the Verizon Social Media Team (awesome) contacted me via twitter about my wonky phone. This is where is gets weirdly awesome kids...they were incredibly helpful.

I know, I'm going to pause for a second. A wireless company that was helpful.

They walked me through all the possibilities and then gave suggestions and promised to follow up.

Shockingly, Verizon did follow up with me. My phone was still wonky and I honestly thought I was screwed. I'm not eligible for an upgrade until July so I buckled up, getting ready for the hard sell on a new phone, a new plan with some 8 year contract, in general, I prepared for nonsense.

This is where the wow comes in. I was thrown off guard by their apologetic niceness. By the end of the conversation, I was offered a one time replacement of my phone.

Wow.

My beloved out of warranty phone was being replaced and shipped overnight to me...for...free. They also shipped me a new sim card...overnight...free.

I couldn't be happier if I had a bean bag chair shaped like a pierogi.

Ok, that would make me happier, but you get the point.

I have a nice working phone and better yet, I received great customer service.

Like it or not Verizon, you are stuck with me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

GV Artwork + Design CleveLand That I Love Giveaway

 If there is one thing that I love about my city, it is our pride. What other city has several thriving companies that promote it on t-shirts and other swag? Let me answer that for you...none. Ok, maybe NYC, but come on kids, that is it.

As much as I love and adore the city of Cleveland, I love t-shirts, so I say to you that it was a match made in pierogi filled heaven when GV Artwork + Design asked me if I would be interested in giving away one of their CleveLand That I Love ts.

If you aren't familiar with them, you can check out the website here, one of the best guys Cleveland has to offer. He has created a great line of Cleveland-centric ts, that can help the world see your love for Cleveland.

I have several of his ts already


 And...let's not forget...
The best part about the Lyin King t is that I actually came out to his house to pick it up (ok, the best part is he let me). At the last minute I had NBA playoff tickets for the Indiana Pacers game against the Heat and I needed to be ready. I can not tell you the joy I had when LeFoolio poser fans came up to me, saw LeFoolio's face and then realized what my shirt said. Most would quietly ask if I was from Indianapolis. The look in their eyes when I announced proudly that I was from Cleveland and I was in town just for the game was something I will treasure for all of my sports loving days. I also appreciated the space that they gave me when they slowly backed away and proceeded to stare at the floor.

So kids, here is the fun part. Do you love Cleveland? 
Want to win a CleveLand That I Love t? 
Enter my little giveaway!

There are a couple of ways to enter, so make sure you leave a separate comment for each method of entry. I let a computer do the winner picking so if you don't comment, you lose an entry.

1. Leave a comment telling me which GV Art + Design t you love the most.
2. Tweet the following: "I want to win a @GVArtwork t-shirt from @ClevelandChick! http://bit.ly/VoSQlT #GVTee"
3. Follow @GVArtwork on the Twitter.
4. Follow GV Artwork on the Facebook.
5. Leave a comment about what you love most about Cleveland.
6. Follow @clevelandchick on the Twitter.

You have until Tuesday, January 29th at 11:59 a.m. to enter. You can tweet once per day. Let's face it, if you tweet more than that, people will want to hurt both of us.  
Good Luck!

Disclosure: GV Artwork + Design offered me one t-shirt and provided me one to give away. My words are mine and are fueled my diet vanilla coke and winking lizard boneless wings today.


Monday, January 21, 2013

My Piada Giveaway WINNER!

Congratulations to A Sleepyheaded Mom for winning the Piada giveaway! The winner has been notified. Stay tuned for more fun!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Piada Italian Street Food Giveaway


There are few things more fun than Italian food...one thing that ranks right up there is a giveaway! Piada is a fast casual Italian Street Food restaurant...think an Italian Chipotle, that has recently opened locations in Northeast Ohio.

What's Piada you may ask...
A fast casual, authentic Italian eatery serving hand rolled Piadas, Pasta Bowls, & Chopped Salads.  Born from the belief that everyone is entitled to experience fresh, authentic Italian food, in a warm and inviting atmosphere.
The Piada website has videos that walk you through the ordering (something I wish Starbucks would do so I wouldn't get a death glare when I order a large coffee) options whether you order a piada (a thin crust dough), a pasta bowl or a salad.

With the average check being around $9, I'm ready to give it a try!

Locations are popping up all and I am looking forward to trying the South Euclid spot soon!

Now the fun part...want to win a $25 gift card to try out Piada? Here is how you do it:
1. Enter with a comment telling me which awesome dish you would try first.
2. Tweet the following: I want to win a @mypiada gift card from @Clevelandchick http://tinyurl.com/cxyogff  #mypiada (leave  me a comment telling me you tweeted - you can tweet once a day)
3. Follow @mypiada on Twitter (leave me a comment telling me you followed them
4. Like Piada on Facebook (leave me a comment telling me you liked them)
5. Follow @clevelandchick on Twitter (leave a comment telling me you followed me)
You have until noon on Monday, January 21 to enter.

Good luck!

Disclaimer: I was given a $25 gift card to giveaway and a $25 gift card for me to try it out. The opinions in this post are mine and have only been influenced by the 3 diet mountain dews I have chugged today.

Friday, January 11, 2013

LeFoolio Akron Zip Bobble Fail

 Oh Zippy, how we have failed you.

Today, it was promoted that at an upcoming Akron Zips game there will be a LeBron James bobblehead giveaway. Let me be the first to tell you, I am not thrilled.

Before I go into why I am less than exstatic over this promotion, let me share a little with you. Any regular readers or followers will know that I am not a fan of LeFoolio. I find him to be a selfish quitter that gave up on the city of Cleveland. Not only did he give up on Cleveland, but he giggled with glee as he skipped across the playground to play with his little friends in Mihammy. I make my feelings pretty clear about it here, so let's move on to the other nugget...I am a Zip.

I spent my undergraduate days at the University of Akron. I worked hard, got scholarships and paid for the rest of my education. I *earned* my degree at UA, and I'm proud to call myself an alum.

Part of what has me so fired up over this promotion is not only that they are doing it, but the fact that LeFoolio is wearing an Akron uniform.

I have been going back and forth with the Facebook and Twitter faces of the Zips and they have been doing their best to defend themselves with all the good that LeFoolio does in Akron. One guy accused me of not being informed.  They responded to every positive post in the bunker mentality of no one understands LeBron like Akron does. He does sooooooooooo much.

Let's be clear, if LeFoolio has finally found the philanthropic spirit, God bless. Good for him, because he certainly didn't have it in Cleveland.  The list is endless of kids he stood up and events he blew off when he was with the Cavs. He seems to actually want to help kids stay in school now, so good for him. But don't for a second tell me what a great guy he is. I'll believe that when you can find a bartender in the city of Cleveland that can vouch he gave a good tip...if left one at all.

Ahem.

Back to the uni. When I barked about LeFoolio wearing a Zips uniform I was told it is because he is a supporter of the basketball program. That friends, offends me. It smacks against every man and woman that worked to earn the right to be on a Zip team.  Another way to look at it is to imagine he had never been a part of the gold medal olympic team. But...let's say he supported his NBA friends in their quest for the gold and let's even say he was generous with his financial resources.

Because he is a "supporter" of the olympic team, he is forever bobbled with a gold medal around his neck.  Isn't that offensive to anyone that put in the work and made the sacrifices to to be an athlete?

LeFoolio is an example of everything that is wrong with professional athletes. He is and will forever be known as a quitter. There is nothing you can ever do to convince me of otherwise - game 5 against the Celtics? Come on. The worst part is, LeFoolio's ego is in the way of him ever understanding. He will never understand that it was never Akron vs. Cleveland. He will never understand the importance of keeping a promise. To do what you say you will.

I hope he finally does get it. I hope that he truly becomes a philanthropic force in the sports world.

Until then, not on my bobblehead.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cleveland Indians TribeFest

Are you ready for some baseball?

With the Browns season in the books and the Cavs season limping along painfully, let's start thinking about Indians baseball.

In a new adventure this year, the Tribe is doing away with the mall tours and holding a giant fanfest at Progressive Field January 19 and 20. From noon - 6 each day, fans can meet and greet tribe players, get autographs, pictures taken with players, tour the batting cages and clubhouse (which if you have not done yet, it is awesome) and kids activities. I'm nerdily excited for the roundtable with Indians broadcasters and there will be an opportunity to submit your 2013 MLB FanCave application.

The players and Tribe personalities that will be there is nothing to sneeze at. Skipper Terry Francona, Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, Vinne Pestano, Lonnie Chisenhall, Drew Stubbs, Carlos Carrasco, Zach McAllister, Francisco Lindor, Nick Hagadone, Corey Kluber, Cody Allen, Tom Hamilton, Jim Rosenhaus, John Adams (my hero), Katie Witham and the Cleveland Blues.

Whew.

OK, so if Ketchup and Kipnis isn't enough to get you there, how about a chance to win a suite for a game for you and 11 friends?

For an added twist of fun, the Tribe is holding a Twitter Scavenger Hunt, randomly selecting a winner from all of the complete applications for the big prize of a suite. If you want to start thinking about the pictures and planning your day, check here for all the rules and requirements. One word of warning, I completely didn't read the rules correctly and it isn't the first person that completes the tasks. The winner is chosen at random, so be creative. Be cool.  Just be sure to follow the rules and tag your posts correctly. 

My favorite recently added event is a tweet up for social media kids on the Sunday, the 20th at 3:30 pm, so check the Indians Twitter page to sign up for the official announcement as space will be limited.Terry Francona and Mark Shapiro will be there and there will be some autographed items given away as well. WOOT!

You can get tickets for the event and all of the official scoopage here. Tickets are 10 bucks, well worth it for the chance to shake hands and maybe try to sneak a hug from Jason Kipnis while offering him a Christmas Ale if you asked me.

All year as fans we whine and mope about the Indians and their connection to the fans. Here is our chance to support the team and get fired up for the season.

53 days until I report to Spring Training.

Go Tribe!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Amish Mafia = AWESOME

John, Alvin, Levi and Jolin - the Amish Mafia.
Every now and again, a show hits cable that is based on such a ridiculous premise that it boggles the brain to think it even exists. But it does exist. And it is good. That my friends is Amish Mafia on the Discovery Channel.

The show is a docudrama following Lebanon Levi and his crew of Amish enforcers in Lancaster county, PA. Levi is the Tony Soprano if you will of the group. He does the dirty work for the Church, protecting the Amish community, whether it is from rogue English people damaging buggies or my favorite, English people pretending to be Amish and sell fake Amish goods.

Levi's right hand man is Alvin, who loves to whack stuff with a baseball bat and then torch it while quoting scripture.

John is the dumber than a box of rocks new guy in the crew. He can be seen on his sisters scooter speeding down the street to his next meeting at the barn. John is always trying to get ahead and fails miserably at every turn. My opinion is he would be the first to get whacked.

Jolin is the Mennonite member of the crew, allowing him to do things that the Amish guys in his group can't such as drive and be tatted up to the extreme. If he were in Goodfellas, he would be like Henry. Never able to be a full member of the crew.

The other main character is John's sister Esther, who is an Amish Snooki. She gives the viewer an insight into Amish life and occasionally lets her hair down. Look out party people!

With those descriptions, how could you not watch?

Various members of the Amish community, faces blurred, show up to Levi's barn office and in the midst of horses and hay, they ask for his help. Maybe it is to report a woman hanging her undergarments out to dry in the open yard, a Church Bishop hanging out with a prostitute or in an explosive scene, a damaged buggy.

The Amish pay Levi and his gang what amount to protection money, an Amish insurance policy. If there is a claim, Levi sends a foot soldier out to investigate and goes from there.


In an early scene, Jolin investigates a woman who claimed that her buggy was damaged by an English (you and me) man when he tried to pass in his car. The woman starts speaking in Pennsylvania Dutch, which according to Esther is what Amish do if they don't want you to know what they are talking about, telling Jolin what happened. He shows up at the man's trailer, sees the damaged car and tries to confront him. When the guy refuses to take responsibility, Jolin deals with the situation in the biblical sense...he takes his shot gun and blasts out the windshield.

The season finale in on Wednesday night on Discovery, and I strongly encourage you to tune in. If you are watching for an in depth understanding of Amish culture and religion, you won't find it. If you want an amazing piece on entertainment, you are getting your money's worth for sure.



The Case For Lovie Smith



The Browns Head Coach search is chugging along looking here and there and everywhere - except in the direction of recently chopped Lovie Smith. The fact that the Browns are ignoring Smith borders on the offensive.

The first man the Browns’ Dynamic Duo of Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner looked at was the Cardinals Defensive Coach Ray Horton. Interestingly enough, the Browns have narrowed their focus and expressed intentions to look in the direction of Offensive minds. And here is the interesting part; Horton is African-American, and enough to satisfy the Rooney Rule.  

Before we move further in my case for Lovie Smith, let’s talk about the Rooney Rule. The Rooney Rule is named for Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. As chairman of the NFL’s diversity committee, Rooney saw the lack of diversity, primarily African-Americans, in leadership positions within the teams. In 2002, the rule he inspired went into effect, requiring teams to interview at least one minority candidate in head coaching searches. 

The Browns checked that box off with Horton and on to the real search, or so it would seem.  All of the other candidates, all white by the way, are from the Offensive ilk. Doug Marrone (who went to Buffalo), Bill O'Brien (staying at Penn State), Josh McDaniels (announced he was staying in New England), Chip Kelly (wined and dined taking everyone for a ride and staying in Oregon complements of Nike) and the only other guy still in play - Ken Whisenhunt (fired from the Cardinals and still in play).

So why interview Horton at all? If they were looking at a Defensive guy, who would you rather, Lovie Smith or Ray Horton? I think they interviewed Horton because he as there.

In my mind, it is between Whisenhunt and Smith. Whisenhunt, while going to the Superbowl with Kurt Warner, has had a crap sandwich of an offense since then. Smith, also had a ball of poo for a QB, also went to the Superbowl, which is more astounding since he is considered a Defensive guy. I'm perfectly fine with interviewing either one...as long as we interview both.

Ultimately though, I want Lovie Smith in Cleveland not only for his coaching ability, but also for his experience. The man has seen champions. He has been to championship games...when was the last time the Browns had a coach that could motivate the players? I cringed when the NFL Network showed Shurmur and his fired up speech after winning a game. It was embarrassing...but he hadn't won before, he isn't a winner and never knew how to deal with it.When pundits complain about Smith's record and him being a rehashed coach...think about another guy with almost the same record and a team in Indianapolis gave him a shot...Tony Dungy. Yes, Dungy had Manning, but a Peyton Manning is a once in a generation Hall of Fame guy.

Just because Smith isn't an "Offensive" coach, it doesn't mean he doesn't get it. That is like saying even though I am fond of a filet wrapped in bacon that I don't know how to make a salad.

Bring in a great Offensive Coordinator, maybe Bruce Arians, to groom him for the head coaching job.

The point is, give Lovie a chance. We will regret it if we don't interview him. We waited 7 hours for Chip Kelly to stand us up... why not fly out to Chicago and meet him at Harry Carey's for a nice steak dinner?

Who do you think the Browns are going to go with?