Archive | October 2015

F#ck Cancer

Heather SnowI had a last minute shoot cancellation on a Sunday in Denver recently, and because of the foliage and quality of light this time of year, I really wanted to be photographing SOMEONE.  It seemed like a crime not to be.. it’s just so pretty outside right now.  So I put out a post on Facebook:  Sexy Denver woman needed.  Let’s make some art.  (It was worded a little better than that, but you get my drift.)  I got so many responses that it was impossible to choose.  I wanted to photograph all of these women.  I don’t do well when given too many choices of anything.  Picking out a restaurant or a meal that I want takes FOREVER.  SO needless to say, by Friday evening, I was still going back and forth, but I had finally decided to go with the first person that responded.  It took the choice out of my hands.  That’s when I received a Facebook message from Emily.  To sum it up (poorly), it said: You should take pictures of Snow (aka Heather Snow).  She doesn’t know that I’m writing you this..As you know, she has Leukemia…I can’t think of anything sexier or stronger than Snow and her drip stand, Edward.  

AND.. Decision made!

Heather and I have been making photos together for several years now.  She is a super funny comedian & writer (read her blog!).  She’s six feet tall, and since her last name is SNOW, we took some promo photos of her as the Abominable Snow-woman a couple of years ago, as well as many different headshots over the years.  We always have such a great time shooting together–I’m a big fan.  She learned recently that she has Leukemia (it’s the craziest story.. seriously, read her blog), and has been in the hospital for the last month.  When I say she’s been in the hospital, I mean, she couldn’t leave.  Ever.  Even leaving her room was a huge pain (because her immune system was so fragile).  So, no enjoying the amazing foliage and light I spoke of earlier.  To sum things up (poorly again–for real, go read her blog..right now even..it’s so much better), She went through chemo treatments, lost her hair (after trying out a couple of awesome short haircuts), had a major drug allergy (that they couldn’t figure out) which produced a rash over all of her skin, found a bone marrow donor, and got her blood cell count back up enough so that she could be released from the hospital for a short time.  Which brings us to the present.  She is out in the world right now, trying to stay away from germs, and in official remission, which is awesome, because it means that she should be able to have her bone marrow transplant soon.  After which, she will be in the hospital again for another month.

Heather Snow 2When I saw Heather for these photos, she was two days away from being released from the hospital.  She still seemed blown away by all of it.  How randomly it came, how supportive people have been, how some pieces have fallen into place, how difficult it has been.  Her room was filled with cards and artwork, and fake flowers (she can’t have real ones due to GERMS/pollen, etc).  One of the nurses said that it is the most decorated room she has ever seen in that hospital.  A repeat phrase I kept seeing around the room was “Fuck Cancer!”, which seems like a pretty great mantra to me.  Heather told me a lot about Leukemia, and how it turns people’s lives upside down.  How if this had happened to her 5 years ago, she would have been financially ruined.  How people lose their jobs and homes, or don’t get good donor matches, and so end up being hospitalized for much longer due to complications.  Or die.  She said that all that she has gone through is kind of a ‘best case scenario’ (good insurance coverage, family donor match, her body’s response to the treatments).  Which completely blows my mind, because of how awful it all sounds.  I can’t imagine it being worse for people.  She was honest, blunt, and real about her experience.  Which is what I’ve always admired about her.  No filter.

Thank you, Heather for being both vulnerable & strong, by allowing me to capture these images of you during this time.  I think they will serve as an inspiration to those of us watching, people going through it, and to you years from now when you look back at what you fought and survived through.  You are such a bad ass, even in the way you are fighting cancer.  And that is super sexy.  You rocked this shoot.  I hope you are getting to enjoy even just a little bit of the foliage before your transplant.  Fuck you, Cancer!

**Thank you, Averi Trevino for doing the makeup, and for Seddy Gomez & Heather Cameron for recommending her!

~Crystal Allen

To read more about Heather’s story, please visit: Sixfeetofleukemia.com

To donate to the Heather Snow Family Fund, please visit: Give Forward

Corned Beef and Cabbage in Guinness

Corned beef and Cabbage in Guinness3.5-4 pounds flat cut Corned Beef Brisket
1 bottle or can of Guinness Draught
1 medium Yellow Onion, peeled and cut into wedges
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/4 teaspoon Ground Allspice
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 head Cabbage, cut into wedges, rinsed & drained
6 medium White Potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 pound Carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

Rinse the meat under cold water, and pat dry. This will help to remove some of the excess saltiness.

Heat a heavy stock pot over high heat with some oil and brown the meat well on all sides. Pour the beer into the stock pot and top it off with enough water to just cover the meat.

Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and pepper to the stock pot. Bring it to a boil and skim off any foam. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and simmer for about 3 hours.

Add the carrots, then potatoes and then the cabbage wedges to the pot, in that order. Cover the pot again and continue cooking until the meat and vegetables are tender.

Remove the meat to a cutting board and the vegetables to large bowl, leaving the liquid in the stock pot. Over high heat, bring the cooking liquid to a boil,and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by half.

After the meat has rested, slice it against the grain in strips about 1/4 thick. Serve with the vegetables and the sauce on the side.

~Robert Clement

Remember This Titan

Falcons Titans FootballIn last week’s article I dug deep into the crystal ball to recommend Redskins TE Derek Carrier. Carrier seemed destined to make me look like a fantasy Nostradamus when he caught a touchdown pass midway through the first quarter. However, aside from a desperation 2 point conversion attempt and a late 4th quarter 20 yard scamper up the sideline, Cousins never looked in his direction again. This was due in large part to Cousins’ inability to get through his progressions. Carrier was actually open all afternoon, but Cousins wasn’t able to find him. Carrier was still able to put up a 10+ point fantasy day, and there are still good signs of a significant breakout coming. Unsurprisingly, Jordan Reed will miss yet another game, which will give Carrier another opportunity to put himself on the fantasy map. This time, however, it will come after a week of game film where the coaching staff will have no choice but to see how often he was shaking his defenders and getting open. Something tells me he’ll have a few plays designed for him this week rather than relying on Cousins to go through his progressions in order to find him. So if you you took a shot on him last week, be happy with the 10+ fantasy points he garnered you, as that not only put him in the top 10 at his position, but it also put him ahead of guys like Rob Gronkowski, Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett, and Jimmy Graham. I would actually expect an improvement upon that this weekend, as he should get targeted a lot more often after the coaching staff analyzed the game film this week.

With this week’s sleeper selection, I could’ve easily gone with Chiefs running back Charcandrick West, as he should be an extremely usueful pickup after Jamaal Charles blew out his knee. However, unless you live in a cave or this is your first time ever playing fantasy football, you were already well aware of West’s sudden value. Andy Reid loves to get his RBs heavily involved, so look for West to put up solid fantasy points for the remainder of the season. If he stumbles along the way, Knile Davis will be waiting in the wings to vulture up carries or scores. Another sneaky-sleeper play for this weekend could be Buffalo Bills running back Dan Herron. Karlos Williams is still in the NFL’s concussion protocol and will sit out, and Shady McCoy’s status is still uncertain. All indications are he’ll miss another game, which would leave the Bills with only Boobie Dixon and Herron as options. Dixon looks like a turtle running through peanut butter, so if you’re in one of those 1 week fantasy leagues, or you’re just looking for a bye week fill in this wek, Herron might be worth taking a gamble on as I would expect him to lead the Bills in touches.

If you were hoping for more of a long term sleeper and missed the boat on Charcandrick West, have no fear… I may have your answer. A forgotten man, Titans running back David Cobb is eligible to return to practice next week after being placed on the IR with a calf injury on September 6th. Cobb had impressed the coaching staff this past preseason with strong and explosive running, to the point where GM Ruston Webster mentioned him as a player who stood out in training camp, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt was on the verge of placing him atop the depth chart after an impressive 2nd preseason game vs the Atlanta Falcons. In his time on the IR, Bishop Sankey has failed to impress, recently added Terrance West has looked cuttable, and rookie Antonio Andrews has struggled with only 3.1 yards per carry. RB/WR Dexter McCluster has played well, but at 5’8 170, he’s nothing more than a gadget/change of pace back. This leaves the door wide open for Cobb upon his return. Cobb was a workhorse BEAST in his senior year at Minnesota, carrying the ball over 300 times for a Golden Gopher record 1626 yards. He also hit pay dirt 13 times, so he has a nose for the end zone and at 5’11 230 he has no trouble muscling his way in when it’s within sniffing distance. The Titans are in desperate need of a bell cow who can handle big carry totals effectively, and Cobb is well suited to be that guy for them.

If you’re looking for immediate fantasy miracles, he’s not your guy. He won’t be eligible to return until November 8th vs the Saints, and may need a game or two to kick it into full gear… but if you’re confident that your team will still be in the hunt by then, or you’re in a keeper league, he’s a sneaky 3-week stash right now. Reports of him being eligible to return to practice are starting to surface, so if you’re in a very competitive league it won’t be long before the light bulb goes off in your opponent’s heads and they beat you to the free agent/waiver wire to scoop him up. If you have roster room, beat the rush and scoop him up now. He could very well wind up a valuable TD hog over the second half of the season for the Titans.

~Jamie Capria

Air-craft Carrier

CarrierThe 2015 NFL season is 4 games old, so it’s about time we revive Comedian for Cancer’s fantasy sleeper articles for all you die hard fantasy freaks. For those of you who didn’t follow the articles last year, I don’t waste your time with the fairly obvious “sleepers” that dozens of fantasy experts are rushing out to stick a flag in. It’s not exactly a major revelation if someone is tipping you off to a 2nd string running back who is suddenly thrust into a feature role when the guy who beat him out in camp blew out his knee the week before. You can find guys like that on just about any fantasy football site, and those types of recommendations are geared towards the casual or less-than savvy fantasy hobbyist. So, all apologies if you’re in a 6 to 10 team semi-competitive league and you’re looking for miracles, because these probably aren’t the articles for you. These articles are for the die hard fantasy freaks who are in deep leagues, ultra-competitive leagues, or keeper leagues where they’re perpetually looking for that diamond in the rough super-sleeper they can grab off the free agent list before the rest of their fantasy freak competition realizes their potential and beats them to the punch.

With that being said, we’re going to dig deep into the crystal ball for this year’s fantasy sleeper recommendation debut and tip you off to a guy who can potentially spark your team with solid production out of that pesky TE slot most fantasy teams have difficulty getting production from. Meet Derek Carrier, a converted WR on his 4th team in 3 years with virtually no success to date. See what I did there with the title of the article? Air-craft Carrier? ***Dodges 3 or 4 tomatoes and continues typing***

Carrier was signed by the Oakland Raiders in 2012 out of Beloit College (huh?) as an undrafted free agent, and ultimately waived before ever taking an NFL snap. The Philadelphia Eagles then scooped him up and put him on their practice squad for about a year before he was eventually cut once again. The 49ers immediately came calling and he got his first NFL break when he was added to their active roster in November of 2013. He made brief appearances in 11 games in 2014, starting one, and recorded 9 catches on 14 targets for 105 yards over the course of the season. So why am I recommending a TE who had only 9 catches and one start in his career prior to this year? Because he’s a freakish size/speed athlete who is finally in a great position to bust out of virtually nowhere onto the fantasy scene. Carrier shattered every Beloit College receiving record in his time there, but I know… it’s Beloit, so big deal, right? Ok, but it wasn’t just because he was at a less than prominent football school, his raw physical abilities had just as much to do with it. He was a multi-sport athlete who entered Beloit as a three year starter in basketball and baseball (center field) coming out of high school. He started 21 games for the Beloit basketball team, and even tried his hand at Beloit in track and field where he ran a 6.68 in the 55 meter, had a long jump of 21 feet 5 inches, and a triple jump of 43-4. Ok, ok, the overwhelming majority of even the most die hard fantasy football freaks have no idea what those numbers mean, so allow me to put it into a more fantasy football relevant perspective: He’s 6’4, 240 pounds, with soft hands, runs a 4.49 forty, and has a 40 inch vertical. Now I’m talking, huh? These are the sick physical abilities that had all 32 NFL teams requesting his game tapes before the 2012 draft.

So why now? After wallowing in obscurity for 3 years, why is he suddenly relevant? Because the Washington Redskins acquired him from the 49ers in August for a 5th round draft pick and he’s been slotted as the second stringer behind Jordan Reed. Yes, the same Jordan Reed who can’t seem to stay healthy, and shocker… he’s hurt AGAIN. This time it’s a concussion, sprained ankle, AND sprained knee. No clear word yet on how bad the sprains are, but he hasn’t passed the NFL’s concussion protocol, so the door is cracked open for Carrier nonetheless. It’s also worth noting that Carrier pulled a 3.87 in pre-med, and also tested ridiculously high on the Wonderlic intelligence test at the 2012 NFL combine, so it’s safe to say he should have no trouble picking up the Redskins playbook in a pinch. Additionally, he drew praise for his run and pass blocking as a 49er in 2014, so he’s not just a gadget player for passing downs, he’ll be an every down starter.

I’m not about to anoint him Rob Gronkowski, but he has the mind and the physical talent to succeed, and he suddenly finds himself in a good position to break out. Kirk Cousins isn’t exactly RG3 circa 2012, so his lack of mobility coupled with a shaky offensive line also leans heavily in a soft-handed TEs favor. At the very least, he’s got big time sleeper potential for this weekend, but with Jordan Reed’s propensity for injuries (he probably pulled an eye muscle just reading this article), there’s a very good chance we could be getting an extended look at Carrier. There’s also an outside chance that even if Reed’s injuries don’t persist, he could very well get Wally Pipped right out of a starting role by the freakishly talented Carrier. Those of you in daily leagues, weekly leagues in need of a sleeper or bye week fill in, and/or those of you in keeper or dynasty leagues should all take a long hard look at Carrier, he could very well be on the verge of serious relevance.

~Jamie Capria