i left the house around noontime, carry a small box full of jars of sichuan paocai and fermented glutinous rice (that my parents gave me when i returned from china but never had time to eat). i drove leisurely to belmont, keeping the speed limit, stopping at yellow lights, allowing pedestrians to cross. i was in no rush: there were 2 football games today, but none of the teams were the patriots, so i wasn't emotionally invested. sure, the outcomes would determine playoff opponents, but i was still buzzed from last night's victory to worry too much about next weekend.

while my mother cooked up some glutinous rice balls soup with eggs, i was out in the backyard with the dog. hailey is a snow dog even though her body isn't exactly designed for the snow (too lean, not enough fur) but once released into the backyard she didn't want to come back inside. most of her time was preoccupied with keeping the backyard free of squirrels. there was a thin layer of snow on the lawn, not thick enough for the grass not to poke through. besides dog tracks, there were also some other animal tracks which i figured were rabbits. rabbit tracks can look similar to squirrel tracks but the way squirrels run their tracks often line up in a row compared to rabbits. besides, i also found a scattering of rabbit droppings so that was another clue.

the 1:00 game was an NFC match between the packers and the cowboys. both quarterbacks were playing with injuries: rodgers with a calf muscle tear, romo with his perennial back pain issues (i heard he needed spinal injections before games just to function). i had no stake in either teams, but i was rooting more for the cowboys since they seemed like the underdog (game was in green bay). the outcome of the game pretty much hinged on a long cowboy 4th down pass in the final minutes of the game. it looked like receiver dez bryant caught the ball within yards of the end zone, but stretched out his arm to try and score a touchdown. originally called a reception, green bay challenged and the call was reversed. the referee said bryant didn't have full control of the ball before he dropped it trying to score an extra few yards. and like that, the packers ran out the clock and won the game. it doesn't seem fair, that dallas' season ended based on a referee's call that could've gone either way. had the reception been maintained, chances are the cowboys would've won the game since they were a foot away from the end zone. regardless, the packers are heading to seattle next weekend, and with a healthy and young seahawks team (the reigning superbowl champs no less), common wisdom says green bay will most likely lose that game.

the 4:30 game had direct ramification on new england since the winner of this game would come to foxboro next sunday to face the patriots. it was a game with a dramatic back story, peyton manning of the broncos facing his former team the colts, going up against the quarterback who took his old job away. most new england fans would say they were rooting for indianapolis, since in terms of patriots match off, they seemed to be the weaker team. the pats have a long history with peyton manning, and are more scared of him than they are colts QB andrew luck. once again, i wasn't invested in either teams. the numbers say the colts would be a better (i.e. easier) match for NE, but a part of me would've looked forward to seeing peyton again (on the old adage that in order to be the best, you want to beat the best, not win it by going up against easy teams). so i was really surprised to see denver doing so poorly. they had the bye week, and they were playing in their home stadium. but something wasn't right, and the colts ended up winning the game.

patriots had success against the colts in the regular season, a dominant week 11 victory of 42-20. but i think it'd be deceptive to think history would repeat itself in the postseason. i think for a rematch, the losing team has an advantage because they can focus on what they did wrong and improve on them. for the winning team - especially winning by so much - how do you improve on that? do you just say, okay, we'll do the same thing we did last time. your best bet is to just start over with something new, don't even think about the last game.

my parents made chinese dumplings for dinner. later my father gave me a ride back to cambridge. i spent the rest of the evening watching the golden globes, but napped for like 10 minutes near the middle when it got a little boring. i'm glad fargo won for best mini-series (if you haven't seen it you should) and billy bob thornton won for best actor in a mini-series (lorne malvo is one of the best tv/movie villains of all times, up there with hannibal lecter and anton chigurh).