FIWK the NFL: Wrap Up

So I wanted to thank Royce for the Rise Against song. I still haven't figured out the best way to thank him or return the favor, but I do know the first step is using this photo. In fact, when you go to Google Images and type in "antonio cromartie" the third suggestion is "antonio cromartie one handed interception" with plenty of awesomeness on display.

As I said earlier, because we have no idea how many teams are trying hard or for how long, I really don't like making picks for the last week of the season. So today I'm going to look through the divisions and give my insights as to what actually happened this year. Kind of like the Pro Bowl voting, I'm going to analyze the year when it's only 94% complete.

Beer Wednesday: Affligem Noel and St Bernardus Christmas Ale

That's right, Belgian Christmas beers! Because I'm pretentious like that. I had the Affligem Noel and St. Bernardus Christmas Ale over the weekend, and I really liked them both. Very good holiday beers, I'd recommend them to anyone who digs strong, cold-weather beers.

Music Tuesdays - Injection by Rise Against

In the holiday spirit, I am giving Aaron the gift of a song he probably actually likes. For once. I was not familiar with this Rise Against song but I like it... it has their specific sound, certainly.

FIWK the NFL: Go Titans!

Remember how I said the Chargers need some help? Well, the Rams didn't help. In fact, the Chiefs helped the 49ers. And the Steelers and the Saints didn't help either. So, I am going into this week assuming the Chargers will take care of business and cover the 7.5 points against the Bengals and be cheering extra hard for the Titans. Go Kerry Collins and Chris Johnson! Cortland Finnegan can shut down Dwayne Bowe. In fact, I will be focusing more on the Titans, than the Chargers. No, that's not true...the Chargers are still #1 in my heart...but the Titans are #1b this week. Updating my playoff analysis, it looks like it's going to be the Patriots, Jets, Steelers, Ravens, then the Colts or Jaguars and Chiefs or Chargers. I guess the Titans and Raiders are technically still alive and it would be really cool if the right circumstances plays out for one of those teams because that means the Titans would have to beat the Chiefs. In the NFC, it's the Eagles, Bears, Falcons, Saints, the NFC West winner and the Giants, Packers and Bucs fighting for the last playoff spot. Actually, that all sounds familiar. I guess I actually added the Titans and Raiders...but I took out the Dolphins. Go Titans!! It makes me happy that Football Outsiders says the Titans are the better team.

Music Tuesdays - Christmas Songs

In honor of Christmas I am putting up a song from my favorite Christmas special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. I could watch this 1,000x and never get tired of it.

What is your favorite Christmas special? What is your favorite traditional Christmas song (I love almost any rendition of White Christmas)? What is your favorite non-traditional Christmas song (easy: the not creatively named Christmas Song by Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds)?

FIWK the NFL: The playoff picture is starting to clear up.

There are 7 NFC teams competing for five playoff spots. And the winner of the NFC West gets the last spot. The two AFC wild card spots are probably coming from the AFC East and North. The AFC South is down to the Colts and Jags, who just happen to be playing this weekend. The AFC West is down to the Chiefs and the Chargers. I guess I'm saying there are 8 teams fighting for six spots, but I don't want to count out the Dolphins completely.

When I went to look for a picture for this weeks Chargers game, 90% of the available images were from the Super Bowl, which made me I'm taking the Chargers and going on to the rest of the picks.

Tech Thursday: IBM's "Next Five in Five"

Today, IBM unveiled their latest "Next Five in Five" - 5 innovations you should expect to see in the next 5 years that will change the way you work/play/live. It is their 5th installment (how's that for symmetry?), and they've had a pretty strong record over the previous four issues (as seen after the break). My favorite for this year is the "personalized commute" concept of adaptive traffic systems w/in GPS systems, allowing users to avoid this:

Image via GPS Systems.

Beer Wednesday: Chicory Stout by Dogfish Head

I had another review queued up for today, but then I drank the Chicory Stout by Dogfish Head two nights ago and decided I had to review it immediately. I am a big fan - apparently more so than most people.

Music Tuesdays - Beg Steal or Borrow by Ray LaMontagne

Douchey music alert: this is a very folksy, acoustic song... Aaron need not listen. Something about this song makes me feel like it should be in a cowboy movie.

FIWK the NFL: The Chargers no longer control their own destiny.

Going into last week, the Chargers controlled their own destiny. They were 6-5 with a 1-2 division record. The Chiefs were 7-4 with a 1-2 division record. After beating the no-longer-as-impressive-looking Colts, if the Chargers continued their winning streak and won out, defeating the Chiefs along the way, they would have finished 11-5 with a 4-2 division record and the Chiefs at best could have finished with at 11-5 with a 3-3 division record. With the Chiefs losing to the Raiders and the Broncos in weeks 9 and 10, the Chargers controlled their own destiny. Now, not so much. We need to beat the Chiefs, we need to win out, we need to not fumble the ball away on special teams or allow a special teams touchdown... and we need some help. If the Chargers win out, they finish 10-6 with a 3-3 division record. If the Chiefs lose to the Chargers, then defeat the Rams, Titans and Raiders, they finish 11-5 and win the AFC West. Now we need the Jets, Patriots, Ravens or Steelers to lose six games and have a worse conference record for the Chargers to have a shot at a wild card spot (best chance is for 8-4 Baltimore with their 6-3 conference record to lose to two out of Houston, Cleveland and Cincinnati so that the Chargers have a better conference record). OR we need the Chiefs to lose to the Raiders so that the Chargers finish with a better division record. As for what every other team needs to have happen to make the playoffs...

Music Tuesdays - Mirrorage by Glasser

Yes, another quasi-haunting female vocalist. I am becoming a parody of myself with my music choices.

The National Football League: I put my heart and soul into this!

If Aaron were writing this, that is what he would say to answer your "how come you don't get this post up until after work on Friday?!!?" question. Since I'm not Aaron, I'll get this week's NFL review up early - albeit with less insights and considerably less predictions. Aaron is currently in route from Orlando, which is why I'm stepping in to save the day. I'm not sure why he was there, nor do I think MP cares too much. Without further ado, this week's picture!

Image via PE.

Wine Wednesday: Alamos Malbec vs Crios de Susana Balbo Malbec

Malbec is a wine varietal I really like. It tends to be flavorful but easy to drink and is generally a good value in the states - you can find a lot for $20 or less that are pretty good. I also went to Argentina last year, which is the premiere Malbec growing region in the world currently, and became familiar with a lot of the names of the producers. In the US, Malbec is currently becoming very popular according to our old pal Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV.

With that in mind, I tried two Malbecs from BevMo recently and had a pretty good experience: the Alamos Malbec '09 which was $9.99 at BevMo and the Crios de Susana Balbo Malbec '08 which was $12.99 at BevMo.

Music Tuesdays - Fader by the Temper Trap

Another fun song by the Temper Trap, creators of the iconic song "Sweet Disposition" (2nd song listed) which anchored the movie 500 Days of Summer. Fun fact: I always get Temper Trap and Passion Pit confused because their names are so similar.

FIWK the NFL: Thanksgiving needs to step up!

The Thanksgiving games need to not suck this year. Last year, the closest game was Dallas beating Oakland 24-7. The year before that, the closest game was a 25 point Dallas victory. The prior year did have an 8 point victory for Green Bay over Detroit, where the game was never closer than 8 points after halftime. I don't think I'm asking too much for theses games to just not suck. You know what game is not going to suck? Chargers-Colts. Even though the Colts are usually the better team, the Chargers always play Peyton Manning pretty tough. Anything can happen this Sunday night. It's a short week, so you're getting a shorter column.

Beer Wednesday: Ichtegem's Grand Cru by Brouwerij Strubbe

I had a really fantastic beer this week. It was called Ichtegem's Grand Cru by Belgian brewer Brouwerij Strubbe (they only have detail on their website for its sister beer), and its style is "Flanders Red Ale". You need to know two things to understand this review: 1) Flanders Red Ales are a sour ale style which can get VERY sour (like, make-your-stomach-hurt-sour); and 2) I can handle a little sourness in beers, but not too much.

Music Tuesdays - Young Blood by the Naked and Famous

This song was in my head so deep it actually became the soundtrack to a dream I had. No joke. What genre or sound is this song? I can't really decide, but I would be somewhat surprised if Scooter didn't like it.

FIWK the NFL: Underdogs galore!

I have competed in many different NFL pools in the last ten years or so and the largest one was about 50 people run by my father-in-law. Of these 50 people, one guy always bought two entries every week; one of all the home teams and one of all the favorites. Overall, he did just ok...but I always beat him. In fact, I don't know if he actually won a single week using either strategy. In the three years I competed (I didn't quit, they stopped running the pool) I never won a week. I could consistently pick 55-60% of games against the spread, but to win a week you usually had to go 14-2, and even then you had to win the tiebreaker (which I lost three times). That's my forte...consistently averaging 55% against the spread. I promise no more, no less. This year I am 78-60 ATS (Odd8483: 1183/25643 = 96 percentile) by following this three step method: 1) Always pick the Chargers. (Not because they have an impressive ATS record...because I'm a complete homer) 2) Click on all the underdogs and take the points. 3) Examine the games and determine if you can find a compelling reason that the favorite will not only win, but cover the spread. Following that formula, here are my picks for the week:

Tech Thursday: Listening TVs!

We've touched upon the television a couple of times in this space - TVs became 3D; TVs & the 4th Wall; TVs becoming Interactive. This 'post' will expand on that last topic - particularly around some of the cool concepts AT&T unveiled today as a part of its "Innovation Showcase".

  • Can your TV be voice-activated? Sure - why not?
  • Should you be able to see Twitter 'ratings' for a program? Of course!
  • How about translation - do you want that? Uh, yes...

Video via Gear Live.

Tech Thursday: The Internet is 20 Years Old

I've been absent for a while (really, I don't have an excuse, so here's some candy - tell them Scott sent you), but found this article on Wired to be rather relevant for FIWK. 20 years ago, today, Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau submitted a proposal to CERN for funding for HyperText (a.k.a. The Internet!). It's amazing to think that 20 years ago, the backbone for today's world had a $0 budget. Oh, how far we've come.

Image via Wikipedia.

Wet Wednesday: I like to drink beer while watching the NFL

There's a Thursday game this week. And I'm out of town tomorrow and Friday. And the Chargers have a Bye. So I'm giving you my picks today. I don't know what the Chargers having a Bye has to do with making my picks today, but it does explain the picture above. It actually takes place on the deck of an aircraft carrier because San Diego is a Navy town and there are many goodwill opportunities entertaining several thousand sailors before they ship off on a six month deployment.

There are 32 teams in the NFL. Every team has played 8 or 9 games, four wins is probably .500 or really close. There are 22 teams with between 4 and 6 wins. 22. Over two thirds of the NFL has 4 wins. Only 6 teams are more than two games back in their division (32-6=26 teams within two games of the division lead). And that includes 2-6 San Francisco who is only two games behind the 4-4 Rams and Seahawks. Since I've only had two days to prepare, instead of the normal four, I will only be making a prediction if I feel it's appropriate and/or relevant to my thoughts at the moment.

Music Tuesdays - Favela Rock by Afrobots

Warning - This song gets in your head and becomes kind of annoying. But it's still kinda fun. Yes, I absolutely got this song from the FIFA 10 soundtrack.

This week in sports: Home dogs

Last week every home team was favored. They went 8-5 ATS and 9-4 SU with the Chiefs being the only home team to win and not cover. I picked eight underdogs and only five favorites, but still went 8-5 overall. This week has seven home underdogs. For the year home underdogs are 22-16, which isn't really significant enough to draw any conclusions. Let's make some overly generic predictions before getting to the slightly more specific predictions. I think home underdogs will go 4-3 ATS (I know...such a bold prediction) and since I always take the Chargers, I have to find two more home dogs I think will lose. Between Buffalo (vs. Chicago), Cleveland (vs. New England), Detroit (vs. NY Jets) and Cincinnati (vs. Pittsburgh), who are all underdogs by 3-4.5 points, I think one team will get blown out, one team will lose, but cover, one team will win outright and one team will provide an extra game so that my odds of getting this prediction right are much higher than you think. Although Chicago @ Buffalo is actually in Canada (saying Canada makes it seem so much farther away...driving from Buffalo to Toronto only takes about two hours, and most of that is because there is a big lake in the way), so do we count them as a home dog? Are they half home, half neutral site? Would this allow me to say that 3 or 4 home underdogs will beat the spread this week? Can I be less bold?

Slap Them, They're French

A tip of my cap to fellow FIWKer Royce for dropping this Economist article on the aftermath of the French pension reform protests into my lap today. I have been dying to discuss the situation in France - and especially since Black Tuesday - and why not let this be the forum?

This week in sports: I'll take the ______ and the points

I hope this happens on Sunday. The Chargers causing a fumble would be much more helpful than fumbling it away a couple times. The Chargers have the #1 offense, the #1 defense and the #32 special teams. I don't think they actually have a measurement for special teams, but whatever it is, if it says any other team in the NFL is worse than the Chargers, it's wrong. I'd like a Charger's game to end in an emotion other than frustration. As for everyone else in the NFL, underdogs are 62-40-1 against the spread (ATS...for those in the biz). I don't think this has anything to with gambling gods or karma. Underdogs are 46-58 straight up (SU) so the lines are accurately reflecting the favorites being the better team, but so many teams are so close that getting any points at all is enough to make the difference. Last week there were two games decided by one single point. When I make my picks, I click on every underdog first, then go back and actually analyze whether I think the matchup determines that I should take the favorite and give the points. As a result, I am 56-43 ATS and 60-44 SU.

Tech Thursday: Cloud Alliance

Today, Intel announced that it's leading a group called the Open Data Center Alliance in a project called Cloud 2015 (not to be confused with the Cloud Gate). What is Cloud 2015?

Image via IncomingIT.

Music Tuesdays - Semaname by Mercan Dede

Mercan Dede (pronounced mehr-john day-day) is a Turkish DJ/producer to makes some fairly cool sounding music. I got one of his albums on my trip and I'm looking for some good songs for future Music Tuesdays. I don't know what kind of music this is - house music? I feel like this might be up Scott's alley.

This week in sports: The Chargers are favored?

The Chargers are 2-4 and are dangerously close to being classified as a bad team. At the very least, they are below average. The Patriots are 4-1 and look like one of the best teams in the league (you know, if you only look at offense) and the Chargers are favored? But as I announced before, I am taking the Chargers every time. Because I'm the good kind of homer. I'm dedicated, optimistic and blinded. Here's a quick recap around the league...hell, because it's late on Friday, for a few of these games, I'll just give my pick and the predictions.

Wet Wednesday: Variety is the spice of life

I saw something glorious on Sunday...but before I get to it, you need a little history. As I mentioned in my own personal history of beer, the first step to liking beer came in the form of Pyramid Hefeweizen. That bottle was my "monkey using tools" moment. It was my small step. The natural progression was to Widmer Hefeweizen and other wheat beers. I slowly began trying new beers and styles. A few friends and I went to Hooters and on the server's suggestion a buddy and I ordered a Sam Adams Boston Lager and a Sam Adams Summer Ale. She set the Summer Ale down in front of me and the Boston Lager down in front of my buddy. We each took a sip, then passed the beers across the table so that we could each try both beers. He never gave the Summer Ale back.

Music Tuesday: Rise Against - Savior

After a long, hard day at work yesterday, I got in the car and this song was on the radio. The high energy immediately put me in a better mood and as soon as I got home I changed and went for a 20 minute run. What songs give you more energy than any food, drink or drug could?

This week in sports: F*ck if anyone knows.

I love this picture. It makes me so happy reminiscing how great LaDainian Tomlinson was (is?). It also illustrates the proper way to execute a stiff arm. 1) Place the heel of your hand just under the facemask of the defender. 2) Do not close your fingers because you will be called for a penalty. 3) Shove the defender's helmet off his head. It's a simple three step process. This week, as always, I'm taking the Chargers minus whatever. If the Chargers don't allow a special teams touchdown, I imagine they will win by 30 or so. As for the rest of the league, there are a few bad teams, a few good teams and a lot of teams in the middle that no one including the teams themselves have any idea about. I feel like I'll be taking a lot of points this week.

Tech Thursday: Robot Cars!

Last week we talked briefly about computers that could read (well, we more talked about how surprised we were by the "blockbuster-ness" of some recent movies, and that MP is an idiot). Six months ago we talked about towel-folding robots. In between, we talked about a lot of other things. This week, we'll continue the robotics theme with Robot Cars! Monday saw Google unveil their self-driving car, which has driven an amazing "140,000 miles with only occasional human control." (1K with no human control). Not to be outdone, Germany's Freie University unveiled their self-driving taxi this morning. No word yet how many miles it's driven, but the video in the link is pretty awesome.

Image via NY Times.

This week in sports: Not so bold predictions

The Chargers have had a guaranteed two wins against the Raiders every year since 2004. The Chargers have beaten the Raiders 13 straight times, and if I had a research department like TV broadcasts do, I'm sure I could give you exactly what the record for one team's dominance over another is. In fact, I'm putting the odds at -500 that the broadcasters mention the Chargers over Raiders streak and what the record is, at least once during the game. This is actually the easiest time for me to pick the Chargers minus 'it-doesn't-matter-how-many-points'. And to appease Scott, here is my new format...

Funny Story

It's a story of drugs, millionaires, arrest warrants, emotion and a donkey.

By Penelope Trunk

I would put this on Twitter, but for some reason I am having trouble sending out Tweets and this blog has more followers.

Tech Thursday: A Reading Computer!

"Right Now A Computer Is Reading Online, Teaching Itself Language"

That's the title of a recent Gizmodo article that caught my eye. I have to say there's not much else they could have put in that title, nor much they could have changed that would have made me read the article any quicker. The concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been around the block a few times, and has been the subject of a few Hollywood blockbusters over the past decade. While the title immediately caught my attention, I must admit that I have little-to-no knowledge of the topic other than that its probably really hard to develop a self-thinking, learning computer. That said, the Gizmodo piece points to one such project that has over an 80% success rate with learning facts (e.g. Pikes Peak is a mountain in Colorado) - that's insane!

Image via Wikipedia.

Music Tuesdays - Tightrope by Janelle Monae

I originally heard about Janelle Monae on Prima Mag's site, which in turn I heard of via our friend C-Mac. This sequence of discover was also responsible for the awesome Uffie song a few weeks back.

Turns out Monae performed this song on Dancing With the Stars last week, so she qualifies as well-known by now. I like the video cause it's really fun, matching the mood of the song well.

This week in sports: The Bye weeks start

The Chargers have the best offense in the NFL after three weeks (as measured by the always dubious total yards metric), which surprises no one. This is a pretty boring observation because the Chargers have had a top five offense (measured by either yards or points) for the previous six seasons. What is a little surprising is that the Chargers currently have a top five defense as well. The Chargers have had a top five defense (again by yards OR points allowed) only once in the past six seasons. In fact, this year, in games where they don't allow a special teams touchdown, the Chargers are scoring an average of 38 points and only allowing an average of 13 points. So that should be the Chargers focus this week. Don't allow a special teams touchdown to the other team and everything else will fall in place. I say the Chargers follow this advice and beat the Cardinals handily. This week there are four teams on bye's so this column should be 12.5% shorter than last week.

Tech Thursday: Google's Good at Risk?

While not really in-line with the original goal of Tech Thursdays (but wait - we've strayed off track before!), today's Tech Thursday shows us that Google is really good at Risk. TechCruch reported today that, in addition to Brazil and Ireland, Google has added Antarctica to it's StreetView product, thus completing its world dominance.

Image via TechCrunch.

Wet Wednesday - From Across the Pond Version

This is a first for me, a Wet Wednesday post. I wish it was due to a more momentous libation, but it just so happens I'd like to tell you about one of my favorite beers to drink. Good ol' Kronenbourg 1664, one of the few non-vine beverages out there that can legitimately claim to be good and French.

I recently returned to Kronenbourg's homeland, after spending 3 years in San Francisco frantically searching the microbrew/imported shelves whenever I wanted a pull from a 1664. My, how times have changed. If you are a French bar and you don't have Kro on tap, then - mon ami - you just aren't trying hard enough. The stuff is everywhere...and did I mention it's ON TAP?? In the City, a Kronenbourg was an occasion (usually shared with my fellow Franco-beer-ophiles Matt and Paul). Here? It's a Tuesday night in Montparnasse. And you know what? I'm not sure that one is better than the other.

Over there, I savored the crispness and clean finish, always wondering when I'd next be willing to commit to a 6-pack (they were only sold in 6-packs). Here, I still appreciate that it doesn't leave a wheaty or hoppy aftertaste later that night or the next morning. And I love that it can be the go-to choice no matter where I go. Reconnecting with my Frenchness has been as much about defaulting to 1664 as it has been about looking forward to 5 weeks of guaranteed vacation and protesting in solidarity (if not philosophical support) of those condemning the raising of the retirement age to 62.

Vive la France. And Vive Kronenbourg 1664 on tap.

Weekend Comedy 9/25

I try to make FIWK a Penny Arcade comic news feed (I love every one)... but I couldn't help myself this week

This Week in Sports: I'm addicted to the NFL

In a good way... not a bad way. Although, is any addiction really a good thing? Is being a workaholic bad? What if you're a CEO? So my strategy last week of finally picking against the Chargers for the first time in four years failed miserably. And honestly, it's the Karma that I deserve for picking against the Chargers. So from here on out, I am picking the Chargers ATS (for my pick 'em group where I pick every game...I'm still going to use discretion as to whether I include the Chargers in my FIWK picks). As for my quick thoughts on the other games...

Tech Thursday: Interactive TV

Disclaimer: I'm tooting Nielsen's horn with this one...

Disney/ABC is premiering their newest Fall drama, My Generation, tonight @ 8PM. I really have no desire to watch the show; however, I the interactive aspect of the show has received some rave reviews. I'm not sure if I'm quite on board, but imagining a world in which we can make fun of each others' football picks real-time (and not through Gmail), while sitting on our respective couches entertains the hell out of me.

Image via.

Music Tuesdays - Monster by Kanye West ft. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Bon Iver and Nicki Minaj

Pretty entertaining song featuring a hilarious line about sex with a pharaoh and an absolute tour de force feature by Nicki Minaj... enjoy it?

This week in sports: The Chargers are favored by 7?

The Chargers lost 21-14 to the Kansas City Chiefs last week. The Jaguars beat the Broncos. I am a huge Chargers homer. Bill Simmons correctly pointed out what I texted Royce on Sunday; that the deluge at Arrowhead Stadium significantly increased the randomness and led to a fluke upset. Jacksonville features two UCLA alumni in Maurice Jones-Drew and Marcedes Lewis. This week the Chargers opened as 8 point favorites and it was bet down to 7.5 then 7. (Another interesting line move: Philly opened as a 3 point favorite over Detroit and is now favored by 6.) I haven't picked against the Chargers in years. What does all this mean?

Beer Wednesday: Bourbon County by Goose Island

I had the Bourbon County Stout by Goose Island a while back, and it was intense. But it was a good intense. At the time I could barely drink more than half my glass. Then I found myself thinking back and pondering it for the next week or so. Which I take as a good sign.

Here are my quick notes from when I drank it:

Insanely dark (pitch black), smells like car oil; super alcoholic (bourbon) at first, transitions nicely, has a vanilla extract and coffee bean finish

If that sounds heavy and complex, it really is. The car oil smell reallyyy put me off at first, and the super alcoholic first impression backed that up. But it moves into such interesting flavors on the palate, and it is so viscous, that I couldn't help but be intrigued.

This beer is extremely well-rated at both ratebeer and Beer Advocate, which makes sense because it's their kind of heavy beer. It is 13% ABV and I don't know the cost because I didn't buy it, my buddy did. I do recommend it to heavy beer fans, but only to them.

Music Tuesdays - Marvin Gay singing the national anthem

That's right people, I just went old school. This is Marvin Gay singing the national anthem at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game. When a singer can do this with the national anthem, you know they are something special.

Happy Friday! White People Problems

I was inspired to post this because our friend Natalie is having white people problems today. Exceptionally long line at the fancy cupcake bakery or something. And it reminded me that "white people problems" and of course "double rainbow" are my two favorite new terms of the last year. In fact, this white people problems video is a double rainbow, to use the appropriate parlance. (Yes, that phrase just earned me 170 points on the douche scale.)

What are your favorite new pop culture phrases of the year?

Tech Thursday: "The Social Network"

This week's post will be a bit different; Vanity Fair just posted a great piece on Sean Parker, one of the co-founders of both Napster and Facebook. I really can't add much to the piece, other than that it's fascinating that a single man can be at the center of so much change. Parker definitely is right about technology (not business or government) being "the real driving force behind large-scale societal shifts." Is anyone out there interested in watching the movie? Does this 'character' piece make you sway one way or the other?

Image via.

This Week in Sports: I know more about the NFL than I do about writing blogs

I was going to do a separate post on each division, but life and work keep getting in the way. So a quick story, then a lot of little thoughts that hopefully incorporate most teams and divisions. Drew Brees was drafted with the first pick of the second round by the Chargers the same year they drafted LaDainian Tomlinson. Before Brees was an All-World QB and Super Bowl champ, he was quite pedestrian at best. He was fine, but never great and closer to disappointing than pleasing. The Chargers did the right thing in drafting Philip Rivers three years later. But Rivers held out (like all Chargers first round picks did for most of this decade) and this slight lit a fire under Brees's ass and he got good...well better. For the next two years the Chargers are having to decide between Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. The former with more experience and comfort in the offense, the latter with the far superior physical skills. In that second year Brees injures his shoulder in the pointless last game of the season during the final year of his contract and the Chargers let him walk away. Even though I wish we had won the Super Bowl, I have no regrets and hold no ill will on either side. You have to remember your history and how things played out to understand that they really did happen the right way. Let's go Chargers!!

Now, the predictions of the bold and the boring:

Beer Wednesday: Bitter American by 21st Amendment

While in Napa last week we visited a fantastic bar-restaurant in downtown Napa called Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin' BBQ. (Quick aside: this place was awesome. The bbq was amazingly delicious, they had wine tastings, and they had a solid beer list. And it had a cool ambiance. Wish there were a bar like that near me.) One beer we tried was the Bitter American by 21st Amendment Brewery, based out of San Francisco. It caught me off guard because it was very good, which I was not expecting.

Music Tuesdays - Naive by the Kooks

A couple years old, but a song I keep coming back to cause it's more fun and unique sounding than most pop songs (maybe it's the heavy British accent)

Weekend Comedy 9/4

The Double Rainbow Song is meant to champion the awesomeness of the original double rainbow video, which I just assume everyone has seen by now.

Tech Thursday: Tibiwangzi!

I've always wondered how Asia's youth (more specifically, those with character-based languages) would be affected by the Western-centric PC and mobile worlds. This brief article (and quoted study) from AFP (China Youth Daily) shows that many of those who grew up with the computer have been affected, and have been affected more severely than you may have imagined: 83% of those surveyed "admitted having problems writing characters"

Wet Wednesday: Developing your palate

Sutter Home White Zinfandel is delicious. It's cheap, tastes good, it's wine, it's alcoholic. It is very easy to drink. It's a little sweet, but very light. It can go with a meal or you can drink a glass by itself. A single glass can get a lightweight tipsy, while an experienced drinker could probably polish off a bottle him or herself.

Cabernet Sauvignon is difficult to drink. There is such a wide variety that you never know how your bottle is going to taste. It is often the most expensive wine on the menu, so if you get it wrong, you have a bad taste in your mouth AND you spent a lot of money in the process. And even if you do get the right bottle, there are many people who just don't like cabernet sauvignon.

So why is a cabernet sauvignon a good wine and a white zinfandel a bad wine?

Tech Thursday: The Web is Fragmented!

The Web may be Dead, but there sure are a lot of people out there vying for that "shrinking piece of the pie" - or, so says N-Map/Gizmodo. I'm again floored by the visual representation provided by this article, but the best part is playing with the interactive tool N-Map provides. Here's one fun analysis (goes to show you where our society's priorities are - eh?)