Music Tuesdays - Sleepwalking by The Chain Gang of 1974



This song appeared in Grand Theft Auto 5, and has been getting some radio play lately.  I really enjoy the sound - reminds me of Depeche Mode crossed with M83.

NFL Week 17: Who is playing for something?


Favorite


Underdog Final
Carolina X vs
@Atlanta 6.5
@Cincinnati X vs
Baltimore 6
@Tennessee X vs
Houston 7
@Indianapolis X vs
Jacksonville 11.5
@Miami X vs
New York (NYJ) 6
@Minnesota
vs X Detroit 3
@New York (NYG)
vs X Washington 3.5
@Pittsburgh
vs X Cleveland 7
Green Bay
vs X @Chicago 3
Denver
vs X @Oakland 12.5
@New England X vs
Buffalo 9.5
@New Orleans
vs X Tampa Bay 12.5
@Arizona
vs X San Francisco 0
@San Diego
vs X Kansas City 9.5
@Seattle X vs
St. Louis 10.5
Philadelphia
vs X @Dallas 6.5

College Football: Pac-12 Dominance?

The 2013-2014 college football season is coming to a close; that means it's bowl season. The biggest story, according to the mainstream media, is that this is the final year of the much-debated BCS (aka Bowl Championship Series). However, I'm here to bring to your attention to something new I just uncovered: the Pac-12 is favored in each of it's 9 bowl games. This, even though we only have 7 bowl-commitments.

So, to recap: 75% of the conference is in a bowl game (28% above our commitment rate), and each of those teams is favored against it's opponent. Yes, I think that counts as dominance.


NFL Week 15: Go Chargers!!


Favorite


Underdog
@Denver
vs  X San Diego 10.5
@Atlanta
vs  X Washington 7
@Cleveland
vs  X Chicago 0
@Indianapolis X vs 
Houston 5.5
New England
vs  X @Miami 1.5
Philadelphia
vs  X @Minnesota 4.5
Seattle X vs 
@New York (NYG) 7
San Francisco X vs 
@Tampa Bay 5.5
Buffalo X vs 
@Jacksonville 2
Kansas City X vs 
@Oakland 4.5
@Carolina X vs 
New York (NYJ) 11
@Dallas X vs 
Green Bay Off (0)
Arizona
vs  X @Tennessee 2.5
New Orleans
vs  X @St. Louis 6
Cincinnati X vs 
@Pittsburgh 2.5
@Detroit
vs  X Baltimore 6

NFL Week 14


Favorite


Underdog
Houston X vs 
@Jacksonville 3
@Cincinnati X vs 
Indianapolis 6.5
@Green Bay X vs 
Atlanta Off (0)
@New England X vs 
Cleveland Off (0)
@New York (NYJ)
vs  X Oakland 2.5
@Philadelphia
vs  X Detroit 2.5
@Pittsburgh
vs  X Miami 3
@Tampa Bay
vs  X Buffalo 2.5
Kansas City X vs 
@Washington 3
@Baltimore X vs 
Minnesota 6.5
@Denver
vs  X Tennessee 12
@Arizona
vs  X St. Louis 6.5
@San Diego X vs 
New York (NYG) 3
@San Francisco
vs  X Seattle 2.5
@New Orleans
vs  X Carolina 3
@Chicago X vs 
Dallas 1

Music Tuesdays - Take Me Home by Poolside



I enjoy the trance-like qualities of most Poolside songs.  Put this song on in the background as you do something, and it has a good chance of overcoming you and seeping into your subconscious.

NFL 2013 Thanksgiving week


Favorite


Underdog
@Detroit
vs  X Green Bay 6
@Dallas
vs  X Oakland 9.5
@Baltimore X vs 
Pittsburgh 2.5
@Cleveland X vs 
Jacksonville 7
@Indianapolis
vs  X Tennessee 4.5
@Minnesota
vs  X Chicago 1
@New York (NYJ)
vs  X Miami 2
@Philadelphia
vs  X Arizona 3
@Carolina X vs 
Tampa Bay 8.5
New England X vs 
@Houston 7.5
@Buffalo X vs 
Atlanta 3
@San Francisco X vs 
St. Louis 8.5
Denver
vs  X @Kansas City 4.5
@San Diego
vs  X Cincinnati 1
New York (NYG)
vs  X @Washington 1.5
@Seattle X vs 
New Orleans 5

FIWK the NFL: Thursday Quick Pick Week 12

New Orleans at ATLANTA -9.5

Atlanta is atrocious & New Orleans is a top-4 team (Seattle, KC, Denver,  & NO in whatever order you like). However, the last 4 games these 2 have played in Atlanta have either been a Falcons win, or a Falcons loss by 3. So, you get the feeling this won't be a Saints blowout. Wait no, it will; Atlanta is atrocious. The Saints cover easily: Saints 35, Falcons 18.


Music Tuesdays - Elevate by St Lucia (live on Kimmel)



I'm a St. Lucia fan in general, and I thoroughly enjoyed this performance of theirs on Kimmel last week.  Strong work by them.

NFL Week 11


Favorite


Underdog Line
Indianapolis
vs  X @Tennessee 3
@Buffalo X vs 
New York (NYJ) 1
@Chicago X vs 
Baltimore 3
@Cincinnati X vs 
Cleveland 5.5
@Philadelphia X vs 
Washington 3.5
Detroit X vs 
@Pittsburgh 2
Atlanta
vs  X @Tampa Bay 1
Arizona X vs 
@Jacksonville 7
@Houston
vs  X Oakland 7
San Diego X vs 
@Miami 1
@New Orleans X vs 
San Francisco 3
@New York (NYG)
vs  X Green Bay 5
@Seattle X vs 
Minnesota 12
@Denver
vs  X Kansas City 8.5
@Carolina X vs 
New England 2.5

FIWK the NFL: Thursday Quick Pick Week 11

Indianapolis at TENNESSEE -3.0
It looks like Jake Locker is out for the season, so I have no idea why Tennessee is only getting 3.  Maybe it's because the Colts got their doors absolutely blown off by the Rams last week?  Aaron - do you have an explanation for that?  I still have no idea whatsoever how that happened.  I remain confused but I'm sticking with the Colts to beat the Titans' backup QB.


Music Monday (because if I wait until Tuesday I might forget) - Wake Me Up by Avicii



There's a chance, based on the music video, that this song applies to Royce, Scott and myself.  I wasn't sure that was possible.

FIWK the NFL: Week 10 Picks

I don't have much to say about the lines this week, so I'm just going to highlight those that interest me.  And, sorry Aaron, but a lot of point lines have moved significantly during the week, so I'm going to point those out.


FIWK the NFL: Week 9 Picks

Week 9 picks are in the bag!  How many incorrect 'locks' am I going to decide upon this week...


FIWK the NFL: Thursday Quick Pick Week 9

Cincinnati at MIAMI -2.5
I kind of like this Cincy team.  Okay so Andy Dalton isn't the league's best QB, but he might be average and that might be enough with guys like AJ Green to throw to.  Their defense is really good (league's 4th-best by DVOA) so an average or above-average offense should help them win this.  Meanwhile I don't know what I'm getting from Miami, they confound and confuse me.  What's your take on Miami?

For what it's worth, Football Outsiders has Cincy's DVOA at +22% (4th best) and Miami's at -10% (22nd in the league).  So that's a big disparity, probably worth the less-than-2-FGs in the spread here.


Music Tuesdays - Isjaki by Sigur Ros



I am surprised we have never had a Sigur Ros song on Music Tuesdays before.  I absolutely love this song; but I realize this band isn't for everybody.  I waited a long time to post this because I was hoping I could find a different video (I hate this one, it bores and disturbs me), but alas I can't find another.  The live versions don't have quite the same haunting aural soundscape as the album track.

FIWK the NFL: Week 8 Quick Picks

No time for commentary!  Go go go!



Dallas at DETROIT +3.0

KANSAS CITY vs. Cleveland -7.5

NEW ENGLAND vs. Miami -6.5

Buffalo at NEW ORLEANS +11.0

PHILADELPHIA vs. ny giants -5.5

San Francisco at JACKSONVILLE -16.5

CINCINNATI vs. ny jets -6.5

OAKLAND vs. Pittsburgh +2.5

DENVER vs. Washington -12.5

ARIZONA vs. Atlanta -2.5

Green Bay at MINNESOTA -9.5

ST LOUIS vs. Seattle +11.0

FIWK the NFL: Week 7 Picks

This week I've got a goal:  at least one joke for every game.  This is going to be a comedy bloodbath.

Week 7 picks here we go!

FIWK NFL Thursday Quick Pick: Week 7

A better matchup on paper this week.... but the Thursday games have sucked:

Seattle at ARIZONA -6.5

Seattle's not amazing on the road, but the half-point makes me feel more comfortable.  That being said, Seattle has a DVOA of +34%, while Arizona's DVOA is -2%, so I feel on solid ground with this one.  This ought to be a matchup of two good defenses and not as good offenses.  That fact makes me nervous about the 7 points.... can Seattle score enough to exceed that?  We'll see.

Actually I've just talked myself back into this game being ugly just like every other Thursday game.  Ugh.  Bet on: "ME PLAYING GRAND THEFT AUTO 5 vs. Me watching this game -10.5".  Sneaky fantasy question here.... how good is Russell Wilson actually?  He's not amazing on my fantasy team.  But if he ever gets some good receivers, like say Percy Harvin If He Stays Healthy, could he vault into an elite type QB?  Or is his ceiling just 'fantastic low-stat game winner'?

Music Tuesdays - Falling by Haim



Haim (sounds like 'rhyme') is blowing up right now, I really enjoy their recent album, I predict Aaron won't like them, and that is all.

NFL Week 6: Throwback to when Aaron wrote it

Chargers play the Colts this week, and while the Colts are the better team, I have never really feared the Colts.  Maybe it's because of the Antonio Cromartie picture above, or this Michael Turner run, or this Darren Sproles run.  Granted, those three guys aren't on the Chargers any more, but the spirit remains.  If we can beat the Colts at home on Monday night (I'm betting we'll at least have the lead at halftime), beating the Jaguars should be a given, sweep the NFC East (they're terrible and we already beat two of them), take two from the Raiders, go 2-2 in our 4 games against the Broncos and Chiefs (that's probably the hard part of this projection, but maybe a home and home kind of thing) that's 10 wins without counting our games against the Bengals and Dolphins.  What's that?  We already lost to the Raiders around midnight last Sunday?  Well shit.  I have no idea what to expect of the Chargers this season.

NFL Week 5: THERE'S NO TIME!!


Favorite


Underdog Spread
@Cleveland X vs 
Buffalo 3.5
@Chicago
vs  X New Orleans 0
@Cincinnati
vs  X New England 1
@Green Bay X vs 
Detroit 7
Kansas City X vs 
@Tennessee 2.5
Seattle X vs 
@Indianapolis 2.5
@St. Louis
vs  X Jacksonville 11.5
@Miami
vs  X Baltimore 3
@New York (NYG)
vs  X Philadelphia 2
Carolina X vs 
@Arizona 2
Denver X vs 
@Dallas 7.5
@San Francisco X vs 
Houston 6.5
San Diego X vs 
@Oakland 4.5
@Atlanta
vs  X New York (NYJ) 10

FIWK NFL Thursday Quick Pick - Week 5

Quick pick for Thursday night, elongated picks to follow closer to the weekend...


CLEVELAND vs. Buffalo -4.0
It feels like Cleveland should be favored by more than 4 pts at home?  After two solid weeks of making fun of Brian Hoyer, I feel like I have to take him seriously now.  It's like Cousin Sal said.... if we've said it once, we've said it a thousand times - when in doubt, trade away your best player and put in your 3rd string QB.  Always works.  Meanwhile Buffalo has been inconsistent (at best) away from home... right?

It looks like the DVOA ratings have been updated to adjust for opponents now... and Buffalo actually comes out ahead at +9.4%, while Cleveland is down at -12.1%.  Is this a big enough gap to scare me off?  Let's just say I won't be betting this game.  But part of Cleveland's rating includes the pre-Hoyer era, which really is akin to evaluating the Broncos based on the pre-Manning era.  So I'm sticking with Cleveland!

Music Tuesdays - Pompeii by Bastille



A fun song.  I am curious if Aaron, in particular, enjoys this song.

FIWK The NFL - Week 4 Picks


Nailed the SF -3.0 pick on Thurs night.  Now running through the weekend's games...

FIWK NFL Thursday Pick - Week 4

A quick pick for the Rams vs. Niners game...

San Francisco at ST. LOUIS -3.0
This is a pick based primarily on the concept that the Niners are going to right the ship.  If they lose this game, against what is certainly a decent Rams team, they are going to be in a full-on tailspin.  So this is purely an emotional call on my part - I think they are too good to fall into a crisis this early in the season.

That being said, they have real issues throwing the ball with all the injuries now.  So if they do lose, it's safe to say their expectations for the year are seriously downgraded.  What's your pick?

Quicker NFL Week 3 picks


Favorite Favorite Win
Underdog Win Underdog Final
@Philadelphia
vs  X Kansas City 3
Green Bay X vs 
@Cincinnati 2.5
@Dallas
vs  X St. Louis 4
@Tennessee
vs  X San Diego 3
@Minnesota X vs 
Cleveland 6
@New England X vs 
Tampa Bay 7
@New Orleans X vs 
Arizona 7.5
@Washington
vs  X Detroit 1.5
@Carolina
vs  X New York (NYG) 1
Houston X vs 
@Baltimore 2.5
@Miami
vs  X Atlanta 2
@New York (NYJ)
vs  X Buffalo 2
@San Francisco
vs  X Indianapolis 10.5
@Seattle
vs  X Jacksonville 19
Chicago X vs 
@Pittsburgh 2.5
@Denver
vs  X Oakland 15

FIWK Thursday NFL Quick Pick - Week 3


Getting this up for the Thursday game early, then blowing out a bigger list prior to the weekend's games...

PHILADELPHIA vs. Kansas City -3.0
This is an interesting game because Kansas City is a pretty good team (and way better than last year... new QB + coach will do that).  As a Chargers fan, I wish they weren't, but unfortunately they make me really scared in the division.  That being said, I think San Diego is pretty good too and their win over the Eagles isn't exactly a referendum on the Eagles sucking.

Can Kansas City play the same kind of ball possession football that San Diego used to beat Philly?  With Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles, and solid receivers, you'd think they can eat up some clock and pick up first downs.  And their defense is pretty good.

All that being said, I still think Philadelphia is really good, and since they're at home I feel comfortable taking them as a field goal favorites.  But it's not a game I'd feel comfortable putting money on.

How about you guys?

Laziest NFL picks Week 2


Favorite Favorite Win Vs. Underdog Win Underdog Final
@New England
vs X New York (NYJ) 12
@Atlanta
vs X St. Louis 6.5
Carolina X vs
@Buffalo 2.5
@Chicago X vs
Minnesota 6
@Green Bay
vs X Washington 7.5
@Indianapolis
vs X Miami 2.5
@Kansas City X vs
Dallas 3
@Philadelphia
vs X San Diego 7.5
@Baltimore
vs X Cleveland 6.5
@Houston
vs X Tennessee 9
Detroit X vs
@Arizona 1
New Orleans X vs
@Tampa Bay 3.5
@Oakland
vs X Jacksonville 5.5
Denver X vs
@New York (NYG) 4.5
@Seattle
vs X San Francisco 3
@Cincinnati
vs X Pittsburgh 7

Just copy/pasted from my Yahoo picks.  You don't even get a picture.

FIWK the NFL Weekly Lines - Week 1

NFL Season starts tonight!  Get pumped people!  The Chargers still aren't mathematically eliminated from playoff contention!


FIWK NFL Preview via Grantland - Prop Bets from Barnwell and Mays

As discussed on the Bill Barnwell and Robert Mays Grantland NFL Preview Podcast series, here are player props and their picks.  Further discussion at the bottom.

Ephraim Salaam standing in for Bill Barnwell in this photo

Music Tuesdays - Her Morning Elegance by Oren Lavie



Really fun video for this song.  One of the best we've seen on the site?  At least since Gangnam Style, right?

Music Tuesdays - The Mother We Share by Chvrches



I don't know a ton about Chvrches, but I do know that they are from Glasgow, which is a cool city.

Music Tuesdays - Hearts Like Ours by The Naked and Famous



Speaking of New Zealand bands, The Naked and Famous have a new song out.  This is from their new album which will apparently release in September.  They are really good at creating a soaring pop chorus, much like their previous hits.  I also have absolutely no clue what is happening in this video; it kind of perturbs me.

Music Tuesdays - Royals by Lorde



This song by a New Zealand teenager is currently tearing up the radio.  I enjoy the song, and I'm a MASSIVE fan of this video.  I'm guessing it's set in New Zealand (Auckland, where Lorde is from?), but it could be any suburb full of monotonous teenage life.

The shot at 2:00, of the kid just staring up at a dilapidated basketball net, slays me.  Really every image of non-glamour is gorgeously framed.  Captures the spirit of the song perfectly.

By the way - between Lorde, the Naked and Famous, and Kimbra, are we seeing something of a New Zealand music invasion?  That seems like a solid number of hit bands for a relatively small country.  NZ is punching above their weight in the music world at the moment.

Music Tuesdays on Friday - Dreaming by Smallpools



I am thoroughly enjoying this song lately.  I agree with the YouTube commenters that it has kind of a Passion Pit or Temper Trap vibe to it.

Music Tuesdays - DNA by Empire of the Sun



This song comes from a new album by Empire of the Sun, who are from Australia.  Incidentally, this is one of the first recommendations we had on a Music Tuesday post, recommended by our friend C-Mac.

To me, this is the one song from the new album that really holds up to their two previous hits "We Are the People" and "Walking On A Dream".  Digging it.

Music Tuesdays - Holy Roller by Thao and the Get Down Stay Down



It took me a little while to realize this is the same Thao [Nguyen] formerly of Thao & Mirah, whose songs I enjoyed.  Love the band name "the Get Down Stay Down".  I heard them perform this song on KCRW and I think I enjoy the energy of their live performance of the song a bit more than the record version, but this video just makes me smile.

Thao also has a really nice "Tiny Desk Concert at NPR Music" on YouTube that I enjoyed.

Beer Wednesday - "Enjoy by 05.17.13" IPA by Stone

This beer is a little unusual.  Stone's "Enjoy by" series is meant to be a fresh IPA that you drink before a certain optimal date.  Beer advocate has a list of the different releases so far.  I had the release named Stone Enjoy by 05.17.13 IPA.


I'm going to copy the description on the back of the bottle provided by Stone, because it's the easiest way to summarize what they're going for:
"You have in your hands a devastatingly fresh double IPA. While freshness is a key component of many beers - especially big, citrusy, floral IPAs - we've taken it further, a lot further, in this IPA. You see, we specifically brewed it NOT to last. We've not only gone to extensive lengths to ensure that you're getting this beer in your hands within an extraordinarily short window, we made sure that the Enjoy By date isn't randomly etched in tiny text somewhere on the label, to be overlooked by all but the most attentive of retailers and consumers. Instead, we've sent a clear message with the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right now to enjoy this IPA."
 Anyway, I'm not a huge IPA guy in general (I tend to prefer darker beers) and I thought this beer was pretty good.  I certainly do not prefer it to, say, Stone's Ruination IPA.  However, it is a pretty interesting concept and I've read several positive reviews from other beer sites (from Das Ale Haus and Tasty Mug, for example)  For big IPA fans like Aaron it might be worth trying just for the fresh IPA experience.

Earlier batches such as the 09.21.12 release and the 04.20.13 release have also received rave reviews.  So there's that.

The beer is 9.4% abv and cost me $6.99 for a 22oz bottle.

US Open 2013 preview: Merion













 The US Open starts tomorrow.  It's being played at Merion Golf Club, where Ben Hogan hit a 1-iron on the last hole on his way to winning the the 1950 US open.  Most pros these days would be hitting a 6-iron from that spot.  Well, Jim Furyk might hit a 5 iron and Bubba Watson might hit a 7, but you get the idea.  Instead of flags, Merion has these weird wicker baskets on the top of the sticks marking the hole location.  No one knows why they have wicker baskets, just that they are now tradition.  Don't worry about the wicker baskets though, they won't come into play.  The thing about Merion that will come into play is just how short the course is.  And there's been a ton of rain and more on the way.  So you're looking at a short, soft course.  The kind of course that pros could hit wedges really close and rack up the birdies.  I do not want to see this.  I don't want a -16 under.  My only hope is that they keep the fairways extremely narrow and the rough long.  If there is some really long wet rough, that could provide enough of a deterrent that players never use a driver.  They could hit long irons into fairways, which leaves longer shots into the greens.  I am a little prepared to be disappointed, but maybe a Tiger victory could change that.

Music Tuesdays - The Walker by Fitz & The Tantrums



I'm using the Jimmy Kimmel Live performance of this song because I think it's more fun when you can see the energy of the performance (the album version on YouTube currently has no video).

The Fitz & The Tantrums album has an astonishing number of fun songs.  I feel like it has the largest number of radio-friendly songs since like a Lady Gaga album or something.  I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far.

Music _____day: Satellite by Rise Against


Rise Against - Satellite from Isi Goe on Vimeo.

I'm done studying (until next year) and I really want to thank this song in particular for getting me through it.

Music Tuesdays - Riptide by Vance Joy



I am really enjoying this as a nice start of summer song.  I wasn't familiar with this artist before hearing the song, but I'm interested in finding some more Vance Joy songs now.

Music Tuesdays - Don't Swallow the Cap by The National



I don't know anything about this band, but I enjoy the song.  The vibe of the song and the singer's voice really reminds me of someone, but I can't put my finger on it.  Thoughts?

Music Tuesdays - Go With It by Tokimonsta (ft. MNDR)



I am familiar with Tokimonsta (TOKiMONSTA ?), but this is probably my favorite song that I've heard of hers.  I like that she puts out a lot of different sounding songs.  The vocalist on this is I believe MNDR.  Fun names people!

The NFL draft is tonight.

This really is designed from a Chargers fan's point of view, but it does give my quick thoughts on the top dozen players in the NFL draft tonight.

Coachella Music Week - Countdown by Phoenix



Amongst my friends, Phoenix was the top draw (well, maybe tied with Eric Prydz). This performance from weekend 1 pretty much sums up why.

Coachella Music Week - Crystalised by The xx



Since I am awesome, I failed to realize that Coachella in fact start this past weekend (April 12-14) and not the prior weekend.  So there's that.

Anyway, now we are well and truly in Coachella Week.  To memorialize this, here is a song from the first album by The xx, a band we've enjoyed here at FIWK.  This one's for Monday, I'll add another pick for every day this week.

Any Coachella stories that intrigued from the past weekend?

Coachella Music Week - Time To Run by Lord Huron



Since I'm a big fan of Lord Huron, you absolutely knew that I would put them in Coachella music week lineup.  One of the bands I definitely would've seen were I at the festival.

Coachella Weekend Kickoff - King and Lionheart by Of Monsters and Men



Coachella starts this weekend, and we are going to post a bunch of songs by Coachella bands in order to commemorate the festival.  Of Monsters and Men is one of the bands playing the Friday session today.

Somehow we've never put up a song by Of Monsters and Men, but I personally enjoy their songs.  The song Little Talks is their big breakout on the radio; however, the song of theirs that I first heard is King and Lionheart, above.

Music Tuesdays - Trouble Town by Jake Bugg



This song is shared partly in honor of Coachella this weekend and next.  Jake Bugg of England will be a performer at Coachella.

Tangent - has a random song ever fit a brand's logo more appropriately than Jake Bugg's song "Lightning Bolt" fits this Gatorade commercial?  It's uncanny.

Tangent no. 2 - Also in honor of Coachella next week I'll be highlighting the artists performing there that we here at FIWK have enjoyed over the past year or so.  Are there are any artists playing Coachella that you'd be particularly excited to see?  Anyone you're surprised is on the bill?

Weekend Bonus Music - On the Road Again by Keane



Keane is one of those bands like Hootie and the Blowfish, Goo Goo Dolls, or more recently Lord Huron, where all their songs sound kind of the same.  To the point where if you aren't super familiar with their songs you would be confused as to which particular one you're listening to.  But I enjoy their songs, so I don't really mind.  Keep on doing your thing, Keane.

Music Tuesdays: Hit or Miss - New Found Glory


When I study, I tend to listen to punk and/or rock music.  The Offspring, Sum 41, Rise Against, Hoobastank, Social Distortion, 3 Doors Down, more Offspring, more Rise Against.  The energy gives me a lot of adrenaline to stay focused for hours.  And I am able to tune out the lyrics enough to really focus on what I am reading.  This song has been making me happy for several weeks now.  Love the energy.  If you focus on the lyrics, there's a chance Royce will like it more.  I have no idea about Scott.

A lazy FIWK discussion on Nielsen ratings or something like that

Royce: Hey Scott,

I haven't had a chance to put this on FIWK yet, but I found this article about Nielsen trying to capture TV ratings vs. online ratings, etc very interesting:

While I'm gone it's possible you or Aaron could put it on FIWK and comment.  If not I'll probably do a short write up when I get back.... my main point of commentary was going to be that I cannot BELIEVE how outdated (and small of sample size, 22k houses) the old-school Nielsen 'set-top box' rating methodology is.
 

Music Tuesdays - Summerlong by Xylos



Am I publishing this a few months early for summer?  Yes I am.  But I couldn't help myself.  It has a bit of a retro vibe that reminds me slightly of Tanlines' "All of Me" or Electric Guest's "This Head I Hold" from last year, or something along those lines.  Can't quite place it though.  Does it remind you of anything?

FIWK the NBA - Outperformers vs. Underperformers

It's NBA mid season recap time!  Who has destroyed expectations?  Who has destroyed fantasy seasons?  Let's investigate.  (Spoiler: I am going to say LARRY SANDERS! a lot.)

LARRY SANDERS!

Music Tuesdays - One Day (Reckoning Song) (Remix) by Asaf Avidan



This song is weird but haunting, and I kind of like it.  I have no idea what's happening in the music video but I kind of like that too.  The androgynous singing (not unlike Tune-Yards), unusual vibe and persistent beat of this song definitely got into my head.

Music - Try by Pink


I've been listening to this song on the radio quite a bit and enjoying it.  Then I went to YouTube to hear the song at my office and actually watched the video.  I was genuinely impressed by Pink's dancing.  She looks like a classically trained dancer and it was totally unexpected.  Even more impressive than that guy's abs.

Music Tuesdays - I'm On Fire by Shakey Graves



I just heard some songs by Shakey Graves recently, and I enjoy the minimalist, haunting, folk style.  He is another artist out of Austin, just like Gary Clark Jr. is, although their styles are quite different.

I predict Aaron will hate this song.

Music Tuesdays - Jack White at the Grammys


Jack White Grammy Awards 2013 (2) by dm_511f5e89b0eac
Another live performance on the FIWK music blog.  This one is from the weekend's Grammys - I thought Jack White absolutely rocked it.  We are generally fans of Jack White here at the blog, but this is probably my favorite version of him... as the immortal MP put it, this is the old school, ass-kicking, hillbilly rock vibe at its best.

Music Tuesdays - Closer by Tegan and Sara (live)



I'm going with a live performance I saw recently on Jimmy Kimmel because I thought Tegan and Sara killed it.  I find this interesting because Tegan and Sara have been popular indie artists for a long time and have enjoyed a lot of success, including a collaboration with Scott's boy Tiesto.  With the new record they have a stronger pop sound, similar to some of their previous collaborations, and are getting play on a lot of major radio stations (at least in LA).  I also enjoy the 80s dance vibe in the song.

NFL 2012: Super Bowl

This is what it all comes down to.  The whole enchilada.  The supreme burrito.  The crepe de points.  The winners are forever immortalized as the greatest players ever and the losers might as well retire.  I mean, after this game either Colin Kaepernick or Joe Flacco will be identical to Peyton Manning and the loser will basically be Rex Grossman, because Super Bowl victories are the only thing that matters, right?

The biggest problem for me coming Sunday is I don't know where my emotions will lie.  In the past, my emotions align with my picks pretty well.  But this Sunday, I will be watching the game with a large number of people, and (n-2)/n% will be 49ers fans.  [That is, only me and my daughter aren't 49ers fans...(shut up Scott, I won't be having any of that.)]  And I know that I would probably have a good time aligning my rooting interest with the rest of the room.  I mean, I have no problem going totally contrarian and being the only guy cheering when the rest of the room is groaning...and maybe I can get some good odds on the Ravens by a die hard 49ers fan...but I don't know if that will actually happen.  Mostly because this game is so close that I really won't be confident in my pick either way.  A couple weeks ago, I picked the Falcons confidently and looked to be in good shape when the score was 17-0, and as the game wound down, my emotions really did side with the Falcons +4.  But I know my smallest $ pick is going to be one of the teams against the spread.

Music Tuesdays - Miracle Mile by Cold War Kids



I've been waiting all weekend to post this song, really enjoying it at the moment.

FIWK NFL 2012 (-13) Conference Championships

I had actually gotten used to seeing the trophy on the left, then all of a sudden there are new conference championship trophies, which you can see on the right.  I started looking for other things to talk about, because as soon as I saw the lines, I knew what my picks were going to be.  I knew the Patriots were giving too many points and that I would be taking the home underdog in the NFC.  I mean, I went through the analysis anyways, but I was only surprised by one slight detail that I will reveal later.  As for the two games we are going to watch this weekend, if we get even half the excitement we got last weekend, we are going to have a lot of fun.  I mean, just look at the quarter by quarter scores of the Ravens-Broncos game.  I mean, it was an incredibly exciting game BEFORE Jacoby Jones caught a 70 yard pass to tie the game.  Just check out the changes in the win probability throughout the game.  The Green Bay-San Francisco game was tied halfway through the 3rd quarter before Colin Kaepernick put on a show for the ages.  I had plans Sunday morning and left my house when the Falcons led at halftime 20-0.  It was pretty boring until a schizophrenic last minute.  I happened to check my phone as the Seahawks scored a touchdown to take a 28-27 lead.  About 15 minutes later I meet my family at a cousins first birthday party and see Matt Ryan being interviewed.  Initially I was confused why they were giving the losing quarterback so much air time.  I made sure to watch the replay of that game on the NFL Network.  Maybe now coaches will stop trying to ice the kicker.  I was also especially happy that my Seattle +2.5 still covered.  That's just part of the craziness.  With a 2.5 point spread, the favorite won outright, but didn't cover.

Music Tuesdays - Little Numbers by BOY



This song has been getting a lot of play on KCRW lately - and I absolutely love it.  My favorite song in a while.  The band is called BOY but is apparently composed of girls.  Kind of like a reverse Barenaked Ladies situation.

NFL 2012 Playoffs Week 2: Life is good

This morning the OB/GYN told us our baby fetus is perfectly healthy.  Tonight I'm going to go see a couple movies with friends on a Friday night.  Tomorrow I'm going to watch playoff football, then go to another friend's house for a nice dinner.  On Sunday, I'll watch more playoff football and go to a birthday party for one of Violet's cousins and it will be a lot of fun.  Even all the 49ers fans around me are happy and excited going into the weekend.  You know what this means?  It's really hard to write with angst and disgrunt when you have such a positive outlook on life.  Even my $-130 week last week can't get me down.  Wait, maybe it can a little.  I can start to feel the emotion boiling up inside me.  I can start to envision losing to Scott and MP, and worst of all, giving up my $50 lead over Royce.  That will really frustrate me.  I put in so many hours and devise a pretty sound process and these schmucks come in and "go with their gut" and emerge victorious.  You know what really irks me?  The fact that I really, really do think the Patriots and Broncos will meet in the AFC Championship, but 9.5 is just too many damn points.  ARRRGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

Music Tuesdays - Heavy Feet by Local Natives



Really, really enjoying this song by Local Natives.  They will be performing on KCRW this week I believe.

Bonus Weekend Music - Lonesome Dreams by Lord Huron



I have been thoroughly enjoying this album, also called Lonesome Dreams, by band Lord Huron.  Many songs on there that I really dig.

NFL 2012 Playoffs Week 1: Don't bet against...

Don't bet against Chuckstrong.  Don't bet against Adrian Peterson.  Don't bet against Aaron Rodgers.  Don't bet against JJ Watt.  Don't bet against a retiring Ray Lewis. Don't bet on a rookie quarterback. Don't bet against AJ Green in garbage time.  You're going to have to violate some of these to make your picks?  You know why that doesn't bother me, because I really don't care.  I take a look at team Pythagorean winning percentage (man, Seattle and New England look really good) and then for the playoffs, I add in the offensive and defensive interception rates (New England looks even better).  Why don't I look at interception rates for every game?  Because I don't have the time to do it for four times as many games, but more importantly, it is actually more subjective and not just something I can input into a pre-created Excel model.  For example, among teams in the playoffs, New England was the best at not throwing interceptions and the second best at catching interceptions.  That's a pretty scary combination going into the playoffs.  But does that really tell you much about their odds of winning?  Not really.  So I'll take a look and mention it if I think its relevant, but only because I step my game up for the playoffs.  Well, my statistical analysis game steps up.  So far, it doesn't look like my style, humor or overall interestingness steps up.  But back to Chuckstrong.  Leukemia vs. retirement.  What do you think is the bigger motivator?  You know what I think the biggest motivator is?  Talent and game plan.  Also, looking at interceptions might give me a better idea of who I think will win outright, but it doesn't help against the spread.  Well, I guess it does to some degree, if you are subjectively more confident a team will win outright, then you inherently feel more confident that that team will cover.  Those are correlating feelings.  Where am I?  What's going on?