Friday, May 29, 2009

Ten Random: 05/29/2009

Sadly, time constraints dictate that you'll only get the ten random songs. Also, because I only have my iPod with me, not my full music library on my home PC, this will be from a smaller sample size (3000+ instead of 11000+)

1. My Chemical Romance - The End (Welcome to the Black Parade)
2. Have a Nice Life - Who Would Leave Their Son Out in the Sun (Deathconsciousness)
3. Fort Minor - Remember the Name (The Rising Tied)
4. Jimmy Eat World - Just Tonight (Futures)
5. The Go! Team - Panther Dash (Thunder, Lightning, Strike)
6. P.O.S. - Graves (We Wrote the Book) (Never Better)
7. The Alarmists - Hired Gun (The Ghost and the Hired Gun)
8. Flight of the Conchords - Ladies of the World (Flight of the Conchords)
9. Lil' Wayne - Dr. Carter (Tha Carter III)
10. P.O.S. - I Play the Matador (redo) (Ipecac Neat)

Monday, May 25, 2009

How Amazing Is Joe Mauer?

Joe Mauer came off the bench and hit yet another home run in today's 6-5 loss to the Red Sox. That gives him 11 on the year, good enough to break the top ten in the AL. There are several amazing things about this fact.

  1. He missed ALL of April. That means that he's caught up to the rest of the AL - and he spotted them a whole month.
  2. He's never really been a power hitter before, his career high in home runs is 13 (in 608 plate appearances, as opposed to 11 in 100 plate appearances this year). Until this season, he had averaged a home run every 46.8 at bats - this year he's averaging one every 7.36 at bats.
  3. Most of the homers he has hit (seven) have gone opposite field, none of them have been dead pulls - none (he's hit two to dead center, and two to right-centerfield).
  4. He's hit 5 just this week.
It could be said that he's gotten lucky with a few of these, as there have been a decent number of them that have just barely sneaked over the left field wall. Even if he's been lucky with the home runs, his batting line is a ridiculous .444/.530/.914 - including an otherworldy .527/.597/1.055 against righties.

I've pretty much run out of positive adjectives to describe how he's playing. This is the best I've ever seen anyone play the game. These numbers are obviously completely unsustainable, but add in the fact that he's a freaking catcher, and he's got to merit some serious MVP talk assuming he stays healthy.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Downloadables: Highway Hunter Soundtrack

A strangely fond memory from back in my younger days was purchasing shareware computer games at our local grocery store. I say "strangely" because all of the games were clones of other, more famous games, and also because you were only ever able to play through half the game before a screen would come up and tell you that you were done, at that if you wanted to play through the entire game, you would have to pay. Since I had no credit card at age 12, and since my parents were wary of buying online (a restriction they've since gotten over with a vengeance), I never completed a single one of them - I simply beat the playable portion dozens and dozens of times. Of all the shareware games I purchased, the two that stick out the most in my memory were Wacky Wheels (a cutesy Mario Kart clone that actually holds up pretty well), and Highway Hunter.

Highway Hunter was, for all intents and purposes, a Spy Hunter clone with way more weapons. The story made zero sense (you were supposedly "saving the world", but in the end, a short cutscene shows you driving toward the open road - seemingly leaving humanity to be destroyed... good times), and the enemies fit about three basic templates (run into you, shoot lasers at you, or shoot what looked to be rocks at you), but the game itself was kind of fun. It's a nostalgic game, of course, meaning that if you haven't already played it, there's next to no point in hunting it down now, but the music was classic old school MIDI game music. As far as I know, Serge Shishkin hasn't done any other game soundtracks - which isn't surprising, the company that developed the game (Omega Integral Systems) only made Highway Hunter.

I've downloaded Highway Hunter and ripped all the music from it into MP3 form. The bitrate is intentionally low (it's MIDI, after all - nothing is lost at 128KBPS). As far as I know, this is the only copy of the actual soundtrack online, so have at it. It's your soundtrack to killing strange alien bosses while they chuck little red blobs at you, all the while wondering why exactly the ridiculously inferior M-Laser is the final weapon upgrade, and why the almighty P-Laser ends up with no ammo as a result.

Download the full soundtrack here.

Please note: it may look like some of the tracks are missing (i.e. The Lost Roads 2), but for some reason a couple of the levels borrow tracks from previous levels. It's all here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ten Random: 05/22/2009

You know the drill - ten songs, links to listen. Let's rock this out...

1. The Who - I Don't Even Know Myself (Who's Next - Remastered 1995 Version)
To be completely honest, I've don't usually get this far into Who's Next. I usually hit up the original 9 tracks and move on. This is a pretty good song, though. What can a person honestly say about The Who that hasn't been said six billion times?

2. Phil Joel - El Salvador (The Saviour) (Watching Over You)
I never really got into this CD. In fact, truth be told, I couldn't tell you if I've ever listened to it all the way through. This is only track three, but I don't remember it at all. It's actually halfway decent for easy listening Christian music, with Phil's trademark accent working to nice effect. Maybe I should give the source CD another shot? Mmm... after a couple of other tracks, I'm thinking I was probably right the first time - this one's still halfway decent, though.

3. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium (Stadium Arcadium)
The thing about Stadium Arcadium is that it's practically impossible for me to listen to both discs all the way through. It works a lot better to create one disc full of the best songs from both discs. This particular song would be on such a disc.

4. Relient K - The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything (The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything)
This song is kind of dumb. It's a punk-pop remake of a Veggie Tales song, so that should really tell you all you need to know about it. I actually sort of enjoy both Relient K and older-school Veggie Tales, but this song..... eh.

5. DJ Amuro - AA (Dance Dance Revolution: Somethingoranother)
This song is off one of the Dance Dance Revolution soundtracks (the particular game's name eludes me at the moment, and I'm feeling lazy about looking this useless fact up). The style is knd of a cool mashup of classical string & piano alongside a fast-paced electronica backbeat. I don't mind this song, but the previous song to this one (Simply called 'A') is much better.

6. Bleach - Sun Stands Still (Bleach)
It's truly shocking how many of the songs this whole random thing is coming up with are songs that I have no recollection of. I suppose that with a sample size of well over 10,000 it was bound to happen, but it's still weird. I bought this CD at a pawn shop for $1 - strictly for the song "Once Again Here We Are". This song is - again - actually pretty good.

7. Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard - Blood on My Hands (The Dark Knight)
A nice cut off of the Dark Knight soundtrack. It's not terrifying like "Why So Serious?" or supermega epic like "A Dark Knight", and it's fairly easy to overlook in the context of the rest of the soundtrack, but it's nice, anyway.

8. The All-American Rejects - One More Sad Song (The All-American Rejects)
Linds is a big fan, I'm not so much, but they're actually not bad in concert. This is one of the better songs off of their first CD - not that that's saying much.

9. Lifehouse - We'll Never Know (Lifehouse)
Lifehouse is pleasant enough, but the obvious problem is that if you've heard one Lifehouse album, you've heard their discography. They come in two flavors: soft aching ballad & fairly generic pop-rock song. There's nothing that bad about them, but it's all pretty much the same. This song falls into the second category... which basically means that even if you haven't heard it, you've heard it.

10. Beck - Lazy Flies (Mutations)
The same friend that scored me the complete works of Faith No More did the same with Beck. I honestly haven't dug into Mutations very much, but I hear it's pretty good. This song is decent, but not the type of song that grabs your attention first time through.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

This 'n That: Ugly Losses, Stuff I've Been Listening To,


Last night's Twins game was so great for the first eight innings. Morneau crushed two homeruns on his birthday, Mauer added one of his own, Johnny Damon got ejected... going into the ninth inning, the Twins were two runs up. In his career, Joe Nathan's only blown four two run leads. Things got ugly - fast. Nathan had a meltdown and gave up three runs in the bottom of the ninth to lose the heartbreaker. The outfield had some issues, including the normally solid Denard Span over-pursuing a line drive down the left field line, which led to an inside-the-park home run. Hopefully the Twins will be able to get to Joba Chamberlain early today and put the evil empire in their place.

Micro Album Reviews
  • I'd been eagerly awaiting Viva Voce's new CD 'Rose City' since I'd heard of its upcoming arrival. The finished product is pretty decent, but they've sort of stripped away a lot of the melody that made them so undeniable before. Most of the songs expand on the jam-heavy sound from "Get Yr Blood Sucked Out". It's a pretty good album, but it's going to take some time to get everything out of it.
  • Wilco's new album (amusingly titled "Wilco (The Album)" is good. It's streaming for free at their website now, so you really don't have any reason not to check it out.
  • Mewithoutyou's new album, "It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright" might actually kind of suck. After a couple of listens, I haven't gotten much out of it. The original mwY sound as featured on '[A-->B] Life' is gone. Aaron Weiss no longer has any fire left in his vocals, everything is either straight singing or done in his "sing-talking" style. All of this wouldn't really be a problem if the lyrics were up to mwY's usual caliber. Instead we get awkward lyrics with none of the drive that we've been used to from previous efforts. So to recap, they've lost their musical, vocal, and lyrical intensity - what actually is left to draw a listener in?

In Which Things Get a Little Weird on the Bases...

With one out and runners on first and third, Michael Cuddyer (the runner on first) took off as the pitch was being thrown. Brian Buscher (the batter) hit a looping drive which was caught by the centerfielder. Cuddyer had slid into second base already, so he started running back to first, as Morneau tagged up to score. Bizarrely, Gardner ignored the easy double play option in Cuddyer and threw home to try to catch Morneau. His throw was unbelievably pathetic, and Morneau scored in plenty of time. At this point, they appealed to second, and the umpire ruled that Cuddyer had not tagged second on his return to first (even though he had not run past second at all). Somehow, the run counted. Which rules govern this, and why did Cuddyer get called out for not retouching second even though he had not travelled past second base, but rather had simply slid into it?

While We're At It...

Derek Jeter is a great baseball player and a liekly first ballot hall of famer. However, he does not now, nor has he ever had "great range" or really even good/average range. He is a subpar fielding shortstop who knows how to make certain plays look very flashy. Thank you.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ten Random: 05/15/2009

You know the drill... ten random songs, links to listen. Let's rock this out.

1. The Hush Sound - Honey (Goodbye Blues)
I really like this song. The Hush Sound are an indie pop band with just the slightest bluesy bend to their music (very enjoyable in concert). This is the best song off of their newest, which happened to be a pretty solid CD.

2. Michael Card - Jubilee (Joy in the Journey)
This is the second CD I ever owned. I was 11. There's not much in terms of non-nostalgic value for a lot of it, but some of it has a certain lyrical way to it. This song in particular takes me back to a certain road trip to see my grandparents in Arizona (during which my parents purchased this for me - I actually requested it for reasons unknown).

3. Death Cab For Cutie - Marching Bands of Manhattan (Plans)
I guess Plans is supposed to be Death Cab's worst CD. I don't know exactly where that thought comes from, I thought the melodies were excellent, and the best songs rank with some of the best stuff the band has put out. It's not quite as good as Transatlanticism, but matching up to that one is a pretty tall order. This is the opening track from Plans. It's pretty unassuming, building up to sort of a false crescendo before breaking into the truly awesome 'Soul Meets Body'. Still a good song.

4. Broomtree - Sunshine (Maybe This Time)
I really don't remember this song that much. This was Broomtree's "mature" CD - which, of course, means it was the last one they put out. It wasn't bad, and this song has some tasty guitar midway through it (or, should I say, as tasty as guitar riffs get in this sort of music). Decent enough, I guess.

5. Robbie Seay Band - Better Days (Better Days)
I have no idea how this song got on my computer. I can't say I'm really a big fan. Who exactly are these guys? Sort of a really laid back vibe to it.

6. Tom Smith - Cat Macros (The FuMP Volume 3)
Oh. Dear. Lord. Lolcats put to song. Truly these are the end of days.

7. Fanmail - I Want It That Way (Fanmail 2000)
This is sort of getting embarassing. My brother downloaded this while he was in some sort of "Ironic punk covers of famous pop songs" phase. I'm not sure how I came across it, but there must have been a time where I didn't find such songs to be annoyingly desperate attention grabs disguised as ironic detachment. Those days are gone, and this one is a particularly egregious example. Ironic covers are really tough to do well without sounding like a hipster douchebag or a attention starved covers band (for the record, this doesn't really sound like either... I'm just not a fan).

8. Trocadero - Alien Champion (Red vs. Blue: Season 3)
Nice, hazy pop from the Red vs. Blue soundtrack.

9. Martin O'Donnell & Michael Salvatori - Opening Suite (Halo)
Speaking of halo... This is the famous 'choral monk halo chant' with a little bit of original score after it. I like it, but Lindsey finds it to be one of the most annoying recorded sounds put to media of any type. We're talking vehement hatred. There's no quicker way to get her attention.

10. Tomoyasu Hotei - Battle Without Honor or Humanity (Electric Samurai)
Easily on the short list of "shit is going down right here and right now" songs - a list that is topped by Dropkick Murphy's "I'm Shipping Up to Boston", btw. Used to good effect in "Kill Bill", and to absolutely horrible effect in "Dance Dance Revolution: Supernova" (seriously... how are you supposed to dancedance to this??) Hearing this song makes me want to toss on some ridiculously expensive sunglasses, pull out a sword, and start swaggering down the street, shooting dangerous glances at the frightened passersby....and creepy as that sounds, with this song backing it, it would be AWESOME.

Thank You, Joe Crede

Okay, follow along.

Twins get out to an early lead.
Tigers first pound starter Glen Perkins, then start on increasingly useless Luis Ayala. They take the lead in the 6th.
Twins get a triple from Denard Span to put them back in the lead in the 6th.
Tigers get a couple of homeruns and take a two run lead in the 7th.
Jason Kubel ties the game with a 2-run homer in the 8th.
The game stays this way for a while.
Granderson gets a one out triple in the 13th, then startles Jesse Crain into committing a run-scoring balk with two outs. Things look bad.
Jason Kubel gets a single, Punto pinch runs, gets bunted over to second, then scores on a ball that was just barely trapped in the bottom of the 13th.
A couple of walks happen (including a two out intentional walk to Morneau), then Joe Crede hits a walkoff grand slam to win the game?

Epic WGOM game log, epic game. As was posted over yonder by BrainS, "Crede just ceased being an ex-White Sox. He's now a Twin."

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ten Random: 05/08/2009

I missed last week, but as I mentioned a couple weeks ago, 'Ten Random' is a idea from the always brilliant WGOM. I listen to ten songs at random, note them here, and make any comments that come to mind as I listen. I'll be putting links where (most of) the songs can be listened to for your convenience.

Last time was pretty diverse, let's have another go at it.

1. Quarashi - Malone Lives (Jinx)
Among all guilty pleasures that have ever existed (a topic I still plan on mentioning at some in this space), Quarashi have to be my favorite. Iceland is generally known for heady stuff like Björk, Sigur Rós, and the like. Quarashi is a rap-rock band that breaks almost no new ground. They sound like the Beastie Boys, they take almost nothing seriously, and they rule. This song is one of my favorite "chilled out" songs of theirs.

2. Kaiser Chiefs - Oh My God (Employment)
Another Kaiser Chiefs song. It's a good song, and one of their more popular (as well as one of their better covered). I really don't listen to all that much Kaiser Chiefs. Most of their stuff is great through a couple listens, and becomes sort of filler sounding after 4 or 5. 'OMG' is still a good song, though.

3. Stereomud - Don't Be Afraid (Perfect Self)
A song I first heard on Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder (a game which also introduced me to Shaun White). While this song may sound like every other generic early 2000's anger anthem - and make no mistake, it certainly is exactly that - it has a certain resonance to me. It captures the sound better than most did, I thought. Every other song I've ever heard from Stereomud makes me want to vomit in my shoes.

4. Justifide - 9 out of 10 (Life Outside the Toybox)
Bah. A regretable purchase. One of several I made while under the influence of P.O.D. and their ilk. This song sounds.... exactly like all of the others on the album.

5. Lacuna Coil - Aeon (Comalies)
The first time I heard this song, I thought I had purchased a bad CD (the parts where it skips and seems to jump around). Interesting song on a pretty good CD. It's really more of an interlude than anything, though. It's also worth noting that the song it bleeds into ("Tight Rope") wins three dozen internets for its well-placed 'Descent' sound clip.

6. Oasis - Guess God Thinks I'm Abel (Don't Believe the Truth)
It's a known fact that I'm a big Oasis fan, but it took seeing this song in concert last fall for it all to fully connect. The album cut is pretty good, but it doesn't have that same feel. It does earn props for being on Oasis' "comeback" album, though.

7. Kelly Clarkson - Low (Live: Independent Tour, St. Paul: 01/31/2004)
I was at this show, so I guess that's something. Kelly Clarkson is Linds' all-time favorite musical artist, so it stands to reason that I've been to more Kelly Clarkson concerts than any other artist. I'll probably end up going the next time she's in town. Ah, well...

8. Sölvi Blöndal - Eve (EVE Soundtrack)
Sölvi was one of the founding members of Quarashi. This is a song he did for the soundtrack of the MMO game 'EVE'. Most of the other stuff off the soundtrack has a electro-industrial sound to it ('Assault Team' in particular is an energetic track), but this one is pretty laid back.

9. Megadeth - Tears in a Vial (The System Has Failed)
Why so blue, Dave Mustaine? 'The System Has Failed' was pretty good, but this is not one of the better tracks off of it. It's also kind of interminable.

10. The Hold Steady - Hot Soft Light (Boys and Girls in America)
The perfect way to close this list out. A great song by a great band.

Great Moment in Google Search Terms, Volume 1

To whoever got here using a search for "ladybugs mating in a music video", I'm not sure what exactly you may have been looking for, but it seems unlikely that you found it here. Here's hoping that your search came to fruition at some point.

Also... it seems you found my site about 48 pages into the search. I don't mean to pontificate, but who searches through 48 pages of Google results for "ladybugs mating in a music video"? Who even wants to see that that badly?

You Got Firefly in My XKCD...

So, what's better than XKCD?
The answer, of course, is XKCD doing a hilarious weeklong series of Firefly-related strips.

Seriously, reading that series of strips made me break out the DVDs for another spin....and it's midnight on a night where I have to get up for work tomorrow.

Too awesome not to happen.

The Race: Part 1

The Race: Part 2
The Race: Part 3
The Race: Part 4
The Race: Part 5

Side note: XKCD book coming this summer! This is literally the best news I've heard all week - and I've had a damn good week.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Oh, Wow.

[11:05] The Nordqui: How's the pete?
[11:05] Pete: bogged down

That might be the lamest joke in recorded history.