Sunday, June 28, 2009

That's a Good Plan, Let's Go With It

I've already got this figured out. In ten years, when I'm 35, I will grow a killer mustache/goatee combo. People will, of course, attribute this to a mid-life crisis and a vain attempt to recapture the vitality of youth.

What they won't realize is that I just wasn't awesome enough to properly rock the kickass mustache/goatee combo until this point. It's not a mid-life crisis - it's a mid-life awesome.

While I think I'll be able to grow a sufficiently bushy scrub, it will take a long time, and it will look truly hideous in the meantime. Because of this, if you hear that I've disappeared for about 3 months around the time I turn 35, this will be why.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Star Tribune is Poorly Edited

From today's Star Tribune:

Who is Steve Zahn?

The "Jeopardy" answer is: He's that Minnesota-bred actor who's now Jennifer Aniston's leading man.

What? No... That is not the "Jeopardy" answer. That is just a normal question, followed by an answer to that question.

For reference, Jeopardy switches around the questions and the answers for no good reason. I don't know how a person could possibly have looked at that and thought "Having never seen Jeopardy, I'm going to reference the popular game show, and incorrectly. People will love me."

Is this nitpicking? Yes, but come ON, man... have you ever even seen Jeopardy?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ten Random: 06/19/2009

It's back! Ten more songs, picked at random. Your results may vary.

1. Phil Joel - El Salvador (The Saviour) (Watching Over You)
Wait... haven't we already seen this one? Like, just one month ago? That makes two repeats. I wouldn't have expected that to happen this quickly. Statistically speaking, this would seem to be an anomaly.

2. Another Soundscape - Golden Feathers (Racing Chocobos - Place Your Bets!) (Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the Lifestream)
This is a mildly annoying remix of a fairly memorable song from the Final Fantasy 7 soundtrack. It's from a large remix project put on by the masters of the video game remix, It's a little too perky for my taste, but the middle eastern flavoring is kind of cool, I suppose.

3. Lucerin Blue - Cold (Tales of the Knife)
I never seem to know what to think of Lucerin Blue. If I'm in just the right mood, they sound powerful and energizing. If I'm in the wrong mood, they sound samey and mostly tuneless. Regardless of which mood I'm in, the guitar line to this song, simple as it may be, resonates to some extent. This song is one of the better ones on the CD.

4. Relient K - Down in Flames (The Anatomy Of The Tongue In Cheek)
This CD and the next showed Relient K at their best. Sarcastic and fun music that didn't take itself too seriously. I wish they still made music like this.

5. Panic at the Disco - Northern Downpour (Pretty. Odd.)
It's strange to listen to old Panic (minus the '!') now. The ridiculous thesaurus-laden emo-punk-pop blitz replaced replaced by equally ridiculous thesarus-laden Beatles-inspired pop. I definitely prefer the newer band, but it has to be mentioned how completely "not cut out for it" they are. It's refreshing that they don't care.

6. Elbow - An Audience With the Pope (The Seldom Seen Kid)
I really liked The Seldom Seen Kid when I first heard it, and it's only grown on me since. It's another band that I can't get anyone into. It's too slow for some, too over-the-top for others. Absolutely worth a listen, though.

7. The All-American Rejects - The Wind Blows (When the World Comes Down)
A very different sounding song. Sounds something like what an emo band would have been if such a thing had existed in the realm of 80's pop. Doesn't make any sense at all as a single.

8. KJ-52 - Where Were You (feat. Golden Child) (Collaborations)
Oh. Well. Let's pretend this whole phase never happened. Failing that, let's put it this way. KJ-52 is responsible for some of the worst things to ever happen in music. What's worse than a blatent Eminem copycat? When said copycat attempts to make rap-rock music. KJ-52 makes me rage like few musicians in history can. Gaah...

9. Oliver Lieb - Subraumstimulation (John Johnson RMX) (Crystal - Volume 1)
Ah, nothing like a dollar store techno CD. While Crystal doesn't have the obvious highs of, say, Electrocution, it's still classic Dollar Store material. This particular one is fairly generic trance music to my ears, but I don't dance, and I'm not tripping on E, so I might not be the target audience.

10. The Hit Crew - Smack My Bitch Up [Domestic Abuse Mix] (Electrocution)
Speak. of. the. Devil. I'd absolutely listen to original a million times before I'd listen to this one again, and it's easily one of the worst songs on the aforementioned Electrocution disc, but this is the soundtrack to many a ridiculously late night with Stu, Branny, and Jordo. Obviously this song can't be mentioned without mentioning the famous music video to the original song (NSFW).

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hitters Who Would Better Leadoff Batters Than Matt Tolbert: A Handy Reference

Ron Gardenhire seems to think that in lieu of an actual leadoff hitter (Denard Span), he should simply place a speedy player at the top of the lineup. Normally, it would only matter to a limited extent, but putting a batter who's hitting .175 (also sporting a nifty .270 OBP and .237 SLG!) the highest number of plate appearances in a given game seems like a great way to not score very many runs.

Since Gardy is obviously confused as to what makes a good leadoff hitter (hint: see pitches, get on base for other hitters to get you in), I've composed this helpful cheat sheet.

List of People Who Would Be More Apt to Bat Leadoff Than Matt Tolbert

Brendan Harris
Joe Mauer
Nick Punto (and, my God, does that distress me)
Luis Ayala
Cecil Fielder

This man and his two career stolen bases would be a much better leadoff hitter than Matt Tolbert.

Scott Baker
Emilio Navarro (propped up with a series of levers and pulleys)
An unoccupied batter's box
Carlos Gomez (but only just barely... that was a long, angering road I'd rather not go down again)
A Sony Aibo
American Idol winner Kris Allen
Most of the commenters at the Star Tribune's website
Doctor Who
The gun toting corpse of Charlton Heston
That one guy on Lost... you know... the bald-ish guy, the mysterious guy with the shifty eyes... yeah, him
Eddie Gaedel
A sentient jack-in-the-box
Ordinary buttered toast

But is it scrappy buttered toast? Does it battle its tail off??

Lest you think I'm overly pessimistic, here another list.

List of Hitters Who Matt Tolbert Would Probably Be Better Than

Alexi Casilla
Bob Buhl

Please, listen to reason. Scrappy, light-hitting infielders who strike out almost as often as they get on base do not in any way scream "leadoff hitter".

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ten Random: 06/05/2009

Back and at full strength! Click the links... listen to the songs... you know you want to.

1. Nobuo Uematsu - Aerith's Theme (Final Fantasy VII Soundtrack)
I really like a lot of old-skool(ish*) video game music. The best of it manages to be incredibly nostalgic, which somehow makes it sound like more than the "just barely above MIDI quality" that it actually is. This is actually one of the more famous video game tracks out there, not quite "Mario Brothers" level, but very well known by folks who dwell in the creepy, dark corners of the internet where this sort of thing is revered. The slightly more fully arranged, piano-only "Advent Children" version is pretty sweet as well.

* Does not apply to old Atari games or most Nintendo games with which I have no nostalgic connection.

2. MF Doom - One Beer (mm.. food)
This man spouts word salad. AWESOME word salad. Rhyming things like "pizza guy" with "skeezers eye" - all over some of the most colorful beats and old-school comic references rap has to offer. Highly enjoyable. His new CD (Born Like This) doesn't compare to mm.. food, but it's still pretty good.

3. Quarashi - Malone Lives (Jinx)
This track was already featured in the second Ten Random, and is thus our first repeat. 11,000+ tracks and already a repeat? Ridiculous!

4. Beck - Steal My Body Home (Mellow Gold)
I really do like Beck, and Mellow Gold has some of his most interesting music, but this is a weird song. Beck goes ultra-slow and sings this with his molasses drawl. It's still good, but weird.

5. Spineshank - New Disease (The Height of Callousness)
Another song from the Shawn Palmer soundtrack. It's fairly generic Nu-Metal, but I guess it serves its purposes. I actually hadn't listened to this one in a long time til now.

6. Blur - On Your Own (Blur)
I prefer Gorillaz to Blur. That being said, this is a pretty great song. My initial experiences with Blur, like about 80% of America, revolved around Song 2 (aka "Woohoo!"), but most of the rest of this CD is quite a bit better, if slightly less energetic. Still holding out for more Gorillaz, though.

7. P.O.S. - Gimme Gimme Gunshots (Ipecac Neat)
Love me some P.O.S., and this is the first song off his first full length, so it gets hella points. As a song, it's pretty strange. The beat is so slow, as is the rapping, that it almost sounds like normal talking over a beat until the hook (or rather, the closest thing in the song to a hook) hits. The beat doesn't really change, but suddenly he's rapping about 15 times faster - it's sort of exhilerating. It's a good live song.

8. Church of Rhythm - I Still Believe (Church of Rhythm)
Oof. This song ruled when I was 12. Another one of those that really hasn't aged all that well, but the fact that it's off of the first CD I ever had (a sampler CD - a gift from my mother, who bought it in the bookstore at a bible camp) makes it just about irresistable to me. Cheesy as all get out, but what can you really do?

9. Coldplay - Death And All of His Friends (Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends)
I wasn't able to convince anyone that this CD was actually pretty damn good. Seriously, listen to Lost! and tell me that isn't at least a little interesting. This song's alright. It's the closing song to the album, and it draws the whole thing to a close nicely.

10. People in Planes - If You Talk to Much (My Head Will Explode) (As Far As the Eye Can See)
I really liked this CD when it came out (2006), and Baracuda remains an awesome song (I still can't over the opening guitar riff), but a lot of the rest of the CD sort of strikes me as "okay" now. This song still packs in the melody and crunchiness that drew me to the band in the first place, though. It just seems like a band like this should be able to make more consistantly interesting music.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Snipers on the Auction Seas (A Tragedy in 3 Acts)

Act I (In Which Our Hero Spies the Item of His Desires)

The Protagonist is perusing eBay. He spies a copy of Quarashi's self-titled debut CD.

The Protagonist: I need to buy this!

Chorus: When last you saw this item, it sold for $90. Your coffers are far too bare for such an undertaking.

The Protagonist: Nonsense! I'd never forgive myself if I didn't at least make an attempt.

Chorus: Then make your attempt, though it be in vain.

The Protagonist: Fifty dollars ought to at least give me a chance.

Chorus: Fifty dollars is a foolish number. It is neither so small as to be sensible, nor so large as to assure victory. Your efforts are both wasted and unwise.

The Protagonist: Not at all! See there? The bid is only at thirteen dollars right now.

Chorus: Four days yet remain. Temper your unchecked optimism.

Act II (In Which Ominous Signs Gather)

The Protagonist: I suppose I must tell my wife about my impending purchase.

Chrous: This ought to be good.

The Protagonist: I'm buying a CD.

The Wife: Why are you telling me this?

The Protagonist: It's sort of an expensive CD.

The Wife: What do you mean? How expensive?

The Protagonist: My high bid is fifty dollars?

The Wife: ...

The Protagonist: The current bid is only fifty dollars....wait....never mind it's at fifty dollars.

The Wife: ...

The Protagonist: Don't worry, it's a collectors item - any serious Quarashi fan would pay this much and more.

The Chorus: You talk about "serious Quarashi fans" as if they are tangible things that exist in this world.

The Wife: Are you out of your mind?

The Chorus: Our thoughts are akin.

Act III (In Which Hope Is Dashed Upon the Rocks)

The Protagonist: With one minute on the clock, I'm still in the lead.

Chorus: Sixty seconds is an eternity in this place.

{Forty Seconds Pass}

Masked eBay Sniper the first: I strike! Sixty dollars!

Masked eBay Sniper the second: HA! I strike! Seventy dollars!

The Protagonist: Wait! NO!

Chorus: Fifty dollars was already a fortune. Seventy would be too foolish even for you. Will you relent?

The Protagonist: Yes.

The Protagonist: This is ridiculous! The eBay system is built along the concept of a maximum bid being the highest you will pay for a given item. What point is there in this pointless sniping? If the user had placed seventy dollars as his maximum bid in the beginning, they still would probably have won the CD, and I wouldn't have had to go through all this nonsense. I'm sure it saved them a dollar or two, but so what? Stupid. I hate snipers.

Chorus: You are merely angry because it's a legitimate strategy and you're neither wealthy nor savvy enough to take advantage of it.


Chorus: Well?

The Protagonist: And what if I am?

Our hero resumes his searches, knowing them to be in vain.