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.